Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fast and Furious Deserves Better than a Slow and Genial Response


Yesterday’s House committee vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress has some commentators worried that the whole thing might lead to blowback against Republicans on Election Day. Better perhaps to stay focused on President Obama’s lousy performance on the economy. Bill Bennett is worried that Darrell Issa comes off as Oscar the Grouch.

My feeling right now is that, if America’s vacillating voter is so fragile, uninformed, and illogical that his only reaction to all of this is to be offended and vote for President Obama from spite, then we don’t need to bother with an election: we’ve grown too stupid to cohere any longer as a republic. For my money, I don’t think we need to be afraid of taking it to Obama with everything we’ve got. Lord knows we’ve got plenty.

The political analysts tell us it’s all down to independent voters, who apparently are a species as jumpy and hard to befriend as chipmunks. Any loud partisan words or edgy speculations about where the president was born will send them scurrying the safety of the Democratic ballot.

Our 2008 candidate ran under the smiley-face banner, and we all know how that turned out. John McCain, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and plenty of others, had their minds made up in 2008 that if they were seen by the public as embracing Obama’s genial and benign façade in good faith as the genuine Obama, then, even if Republicans lost the election, they’d enjoy a cooperative and mutually beneficial few years under a benign Obama presidency. Thence followed three-and-a-half years of serial backstabbing. The insistence by moderates that Republicans dare not step off the high road resulted in the current situation of the whole nation at the bottom of a very low ditch.

My definition of an independent voter is one who still hasn’t managed to figure out what side he’s on, requiring him to make up his mind every voting day based on whatever unpredictable criterion matters to him at the time. If he already needs to make a choice, I say we do all we can to make the distinctions between us and them crystal clear.

The difference on this issue can clarify that choice just as well as any other for a voter whose criteria are changing and ultimately unknowable.

Obama’s side knows this. That’s why his media friends have tried so hard to keep independents from finding out about it.


School Board Corruption in Farmington Hills?

We’ve received the following press release from the Thomas More Law Center.  Take a look at the detailed allegations behind the hyperlink.  They’re a good example of how sophisticated Islamists can play venal officeholders (like school-board officials, for instance] to establish an influential presence in a new community.

Ties to Terrorism? Grand Jury Sought to Investigate Allegations of Corruption Involving Farmington Public Schools and Islamic Cultural Association

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it submitted a letter to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asking that he conduct a grand jury investigation into the Farmington Public Schools sale of Eagle Elementary School to the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA), which has ties to terrorist organizations.  

The Law Center informed Attorney General Schuette that “a fog of corruption has indeed enveloped the Farmington Public Schools relating to its 2011 agreement to sell Eagle Elementary School to the Islamic Cultural Association, and that this fog of corruption can only be pierced by a grand jury investigation and the use of other investigative tools in the law enforcement arsenal of the Attorney General’s Office.”  [Click here to read entire letter]

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Council of the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “By agreeing to sell Eagle Elementary to the ICA under these suspicious circumstances, Farmington Schools sacrificed the interest of their children and taxpayers to bring into their community an organization with ties to terrorist organizations.” 

According to the real estate broker who represented ICA in the purchase of Eagle Elementary, ICA owns and operates the HUDA, an Islamic school in the Village of Franklin, Michigan. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, reports that ICA shares direct ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (hereinafter “CAIR”) and the North American Islamic Trust, Inc. (hereinafter “NAIT”), both of which were named as unindicted co-conspirators/joint venturers in U.S. v. Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. (“HLF”), the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history.   Federal prosecutors proved that HLF worked closely with the U.S. designated terrorist organization Hamas to fund terrorist activities.

Moreover, during the HLF trial, several FBI agents testified to the unmistakable financial connections and dealings between HLF, CAIR, and NAIT.  After the trial, the FBI severed ties with CAIR and NAIT due to their status as unsuitable liaison partners.  Steven Pomerantz, the FBI's former chief of counterterrorism, even noted that "CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups."  

Organizations such as CAIR and NAIT defend such criticism by diverting attention away from their misdeeds and financial ties to Islamic terrorism through accusing those who criticize their associations and actions as being “Muslim bashers” or “Islamophobes.” 

Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan, testified in support of ICA during the Farmington Public Schools board meeting relating to the purchase of Eagle Elementary.  

The interconnected relationships of ICA, CAIR and NAIT serve as a partial backdrop for the real estate transactions orchestrated by Farmington Public Schools.

The June 13, 2012 Thomas More Law Center letter to the Attorney General letter with 442 pages of exhibits was written on behalf of concerned citizens from West Bloomfield, Farmington and Farmington Hills.  According to the letter, these concerned citizens have information, which supports claims of bribery, illegal campaign contributions, and violations of the Open Meetings Act and governmental practices dealing with the sale of public property.  [Click here to read the 22-page Summary of Allegations

In creating a new Public Integrity Unit last year, Attorney General Schuette stated: "[e]nriching yourself at public expense is not only shameful, but compromises the integrity of government and violates the public trust.  Weeding out corruption is top priority.”  Information compiled through various sources indicates that the Farmington Public Schools (FPS) secretly negotiated a No-Bid, below-market, sale of valuable district property against the recommendations of its legal counsel, a specially-convened internal committee, and district residents. [Click here to see video clips of residents addressing  FPS Board]

While the District repeatedly rebuffed parties interested in purchasing the vacant elementary school telling them it was not for sale, FPS was exclusively negotiating behind closed doors in apparent violation of the Open Meetings Act, for many months with their favored buyer, the Islamic Cultural Association.  

Not only did FPS conceal its dealings from the public, it apparently misrepresented the status of the property to municipal officials from Farmington and Farmington Hills. On May 3, 2011, less than three weeks before it would publicly announce the Islamic Cultural Association’s offer to purchase Eagle Elementary, in a joint meeting with Farmington and Farmington Hills City Councils, FPS represented that Eagle was slated for demolition.

On October 16, 2011, two days prior to FPS’s determinative vote on whether to extend the expiration date of the purchase agreement for the ICA to obtain Eagle Elementary, Dr Nabil Suliman, who does not reside in the Farmington School district nor does he have any children in Farmington Public Schools, contributed $2,000 ($1,000 over the legal limit) to FPS Board member Karen Bolsen.  

Concluded Thompson, “Our letter to the Attorney General focused on a catalog of suspicious circumstances dealing with corruption that can best be resolved by a citizens grand jury.  A grand jury with the power to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony would insure that the guilty are brought to justice and the innocent exonerated.”


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Last Wednesday news reports began to surface about the arson of a Muslim community center’s storage garage here in Dearborn on June 12th.  Some graffiti insulting Arabs was also spray-painted on the structure.

By the time first news stories came out, CAIR was already calling it a hate crime and “possible religious intimidation.” (“Police unsure that fire, graffiti at Dearborn Woods was racially motivated”).

Imam Mohamad Mardini, of the adjacent American Muslim Center, called the fire an “isolated incident,” and said it was probably done by teenagers.

"See, this is not something because we're Muslims. I mean, yes, it is serious and we want to find who did it. But this is teenagers misbehaving," Mardini said.

Dearborn police were also skeptical that the motive was bias.

"I don't know that I see anything here to turn this into a racially motivated crime," said Sgt. Ken Muscat as he surveyed the scene Wednesday. Muscat and Detective Michael Moyer both said the phallic graffiti wasn't there when they initially checked out the fire Tuesday.

But CAIR already had its teeth in.

“If a bias motive is revealed in this case, the FBI should add its resources to those of local law enforcement authorities to help bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan.

But Walid didn’t intend to wait until a bias motive was or wasn’t revealed, because he’d already started broadcasting to his constituents that it was a hate crime.  That way, CAIR can just go ahead now and add this to its catalogue of hate crimes – more evidence that America is an Islamophobic country. Listen to how far Walid can run with a thing even without a shred of evidence:

"One person I talked to said, 'I can see this happening in Tennessee, but not in Dearborn, Michigan,' " said Walid, who notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the potentially racist crime. "That's a very bad sign of where we are in America.” (“Anti-Arab vandalism at Dearborn community center a "very bad sign of where we are in America," advocate says”).

It’s always helpful when a guy that every media outlet in America refers to as a “civil-rights advocate” maligns the entire population of Tennessee as bigots.

ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber also couldn’t help describing the vandalism as a “possible hate crime.”

By June 15, only two days after the first news stories about this “hate crime,” the Arab American News was reporting that the police had caught the suspects, and they were “young, and probably high school students.”  (“Police catch youth involved in anti-Arab graffiti near Dearborn mosque”). The students were not identified.

Then the story vanished.

So first a teenage prank becomes a hate crime and probably an effort at “religious intimidation,” and then the FBI sticks its nose in and voila!, CAIR now has another pin to stick in its national map of Islamophobic incidents.

And then, just like in this case and the 99.9% of the time, it all turns out to be nothing after all.  But we all know, and CAIR is banking on, how newspapers never run headlines afterwards saying, “Nothing Happened After All!” or “Never Mind!”

The fact that nothing really happened where most of those CAIR pins are stuck in doesn’t matter at all to CAIR.  The point is that there are lots and lots of them, and that all together they make a very large and very ugly stain on that USA map.  A blotch Walid  and Ibrahim Hooper can then point to as proof of  just how bad things are for you if you’re a Muslim in America.

I’m convinced that Walid knew from the earliest reports that this was going to turn out to be some goofy kids committing vandalism. He never believed the FBI was going to turn up evidence of a Christian militia launching the opening attack in their Islamophobic war against an outbuilding full of lawn mowers and garden rakes. As always, Walid’s demands for federal investigation are a cynical tactic in his own war against free speech about Islam in America.

He didn’t care at all about the culprits who started this fire, because punishing some kids for arson won’t give him what he wants. He didn’t care about the American Muslim Center, either, whose imam wanted nothing to do with the damage Walid was causing with his big mouth. On the very first day of this story cycle, Walid was already looking beyond this petty crime to CAIR’s ultimate goal:

"I think there’s a bigger issue we have to deal with in our country, in relation to anti-Muslim, anti-Arab disccusion that takes place," Walid said today. "Islamaphobia, in my opinion has become somewhat of an accepted form of bigotry in our country. Even if it was children, they were influenced by that discussion."

It’s not the serious crime of arson, not even the less serious crime of graffiti.  It’s not even the teenage vandals who started the fire. It’s the discussions we have to criminalize, says Walid.  We started the fire,  by talking openly, where the little pitchers could hear us, about the dangers of Sharia or the violence built into the religion of peace.  Walid wants to stop that.  He wants to stop the discussion, and he wants to stop the people who are having the discussion.

He wants to stop you and me. 

And he doesn’t care how many times he has to scream for a federal case to do it. 

Don’t look any farther, Mr. FBI Special Agent.  You’ve found your religious intimidation.


Guess the Secret Word

We’ve had our disagreements with the Dearborn Press & Guide. But the hometown paper deserves credit this week as the only media outlet that bothered, in its coverage of Lisa Brown’s vagina, (pun indifferently intended) with the crucial fifth W of the   5 W’s of reporting: who, what, when, where, and WHY.

Both the national and local coverage of the ludicrous events among Lansing Democrats last week in the capitol building tacitly affected cluelessness as to why a state rep would be sanctioned to a day of silence for the utterance of a mere “anatomically, medically correct term.”

Not so the P&G, or at least its special writer, Charlie Crumm, who understood the situation from the get-go:

When can you say “vagina” on the state House floor?
It's not the word itself, but how it's used, apparently.
Rep. Lisa Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat, ended her remarks Wednesday on legislation regulating abortion clinics in Michigan by saying that she was flattered that “you're so interested in my vagina, but no means no.” 

“It was thought that reference crossed the line and he gaveled her,” said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.  

“It had nothing to do with their gender, it had nothing to do with their religion. It had nothing to do with the topic itself,” Adler said Friday. “The fact that they said vagina on the house floor isn't a problem.” (“When can you say vagina? West Bloomfield House Democrat banned from speaking”).

Yes, of course,  it’s how it’s used – and why.  Brown abused her speaking privileges using it to insult her opponents in a crass and uncalled for manner just because her side lost.  It would have been hard to take coming from a bratty 13-year-old -- let alone a lawmaker. Brown should have been gaveled down, and I’m glad she was.

Similarly, when Brown’s colleague in juvenile mouthiness, Rep. Barbara Byum, had to throw her bit in by hollering “Vasectomy!,” Crumm also managed to report the other  side of why she was silenced:

Byrum, an Onondaga Democrat, was ruled out of order Wednesday when she attempted to introduce an amendment.
“There are times it’s been done by both sides,” Adler said. “Byrum had an amendment we considered not germane. She was not recognized. She started yelling on the House floor.”

“Rep. (John) Walsh (the Speaker Pro Tem) gaveled her down for her actions.”

Crumm only did what a competent reporter should do, which is report both sides of a controversy. It shouldn’t be outstanding in itself, but in this case it does stand out; not a single news account about this I looked at last week was able to manage it.

Most typical was Laura Berman at The Detroit News, who’s been a columnist in this town since the Boxer Rebellion. In order to stay solid with the hoo-hoo sisterhood, she had to play  “let’s pretend” really hard to come across as being a complete stranger to the notion of legislative decorum.  Blithered Berman last week:

Maybe there's an unwritten rule that Michigan legislators can't utter the word "vagina." Only last week, in a column for Dome magazine, 14-year former legislator Maxine Berman (no relation to me) revealed that she had never heard the word on the House floor. 

Ye gods! To think that in this modern age of the horseless carriage and penicillin there’s still a deliberative body somewhere that attempts to pass laws while never uttering the word “vagina”! No wonder no one’s been able to pass historic legislative initiatives like the Green Jobs and and Vagina Protection Bill, the Vagina Rights Act, and the Vaginal Dream Act of 2012?

And of course all right-thinking people would like to know how the all-male, paternalistic, sex-hating old-boys club Republican caucus in the Michigan legislature would like it if they’d been denied a century-and-a-half of floor speeches discussing their penises, penises, penises?!

Anyway, Lisa Brown, who has lied outright throughout this entire thing, was still insisting that she had no idea why she was gaveled out of order.

“Both Rep. Byrum and I were gaveled down without cause yesterday while voicing our opposition to the Republican’s war on women here in Michigan,” Brown said on her web page Thursday. “Regardless of their reasoning, this is a violation of my First Amendment rights and directly impedes my ability to serve the people who elected me into office.”

As polemical indicators go, “regardless of their reasoning” leaves no room whatsoever to hope that whatever follows will be reasonable. We’re very touchy about First Amendment violations here at DU; but when controversies come up, the reasoning of the participants simply has to be a factor.

In this case, reason hasn’t a damned thing to do with all this, which is why Pulitzer-studded NPR thinks Eve Ensler showing up to do a free performance of the Vagina Monologues is a relevant development in the story.  To put it delicately, Lisa Brown has done nothing but talk through her “anatomically, medically correct term.”

And the idiot media just have to play along.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sluts on Parade, or, Yes, Vagina, There Is a Panty Clause

“Shreck!” – Former Detroit City Council Member Monica Conyers at a Council meeting

“Nigger!” – Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the 2008 State of the City Address

“Vagina!” – State Representative Lisa Brown addressing the Michigan House

“Vasectomy!” – State Representative Barbara Byum’s outburst on the floor of the Michigan House

“Stop having sex with us, gentlemen. Find somebody else to do it with.” – State Representative Rashida Tlaib addressing Republican lawmakers from the floor of the Michigan House

What do all these Democratic politicians have in common? – oops — I think I just gave away the answer.

As part of this ongoing pattern, this past week has been a bad one for Michigan Democrats. Even if they don’t realize it.

First, as Robert Laurie explains it at Henry Payne’s The Michigan View (“Laurie: Another Embarrassing Week for Detroit”):

We started the week with an out of control attorney. In an inconceivable display that carried all the political weight of a child's foot stamping tantrum, Detroit's top lawyer, Krystal Crittendon, filed a lawsuit to block the consent agreement between the city and the state.

The consent agreement is literally the only thing standing between bankruptcy and payless paydays in Detroit on the one hand, and the appointment of an emergency financial manager by the governor on the other – a fate Detroit’s black movers and shakers consider nothing less than the reinstitution of antebellum chattel slavery.  Governor Snyder, who doesn’t intend to let a foundering Detroit pull the whole state down with it, made it plain that he wasn’t sending any more state aid if the lawsuit wasn’t dropped. After asking Crittendon, “pretty please,” to drop the lawsuit, Mayor Bing hired a law firm “to take on his city's own legal department.”

A circuit judge tossed out Crittendon’s suit, but it was near-run thing, judges these days being what they are.  Writes Laurie:

So, those who want to see the consent agreement move forward have scored a victory. The council, which has stalled the process at every turn, will now be force to implement the deal and will be dragged, kicking and screaming, to a brighter future for Detroit.

Yet, for some reason, they couldn't do this without giving the city one last black eye by making themselves, and Detroit, look foolish in the extreme. Once again, the eyes of the nation fell upon Motown, and once again, we emerged a laughing stock.

Meanwhile, in Lansing, outstate Democrats were misbehaving in the state legislature, after losing a fight over a bill to put some minor restrictions on abortion.

On the House floor . . . the rhetoric from female legislators on both sides of the divisive issue was emotional and personal.

"I'm flattered that you're all interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no,'" said state Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield.

State Rep. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage, dismissed claims that the bill is a "war on women."

"This bill is not an assault on women," O'Brien said. "Rather it's an important protection to ensure women are not forced into abortion, that women aren't given substandard health care."

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, called for women statewide to boycott having sex until Republican lawmakers reconsider the bills.

"Stop having sex with us, gentlemen," Tlaib said. "Find somebody else to do it with." (“Abortion bill passes House on mostly party line vote”).

Reporter Chad Livengood says the rhetoric was “emotional and personal on both sides,” but from what he writes it’s clear that’s not so. Rep. O’Brien is obviously talking about about the substance of the bill, while Reps. Brown and Tlaib are clearly talking about, respectively, Rep. Brown’s vagina, and Rep. Tlaib’s decision to stop saying “yes” to what sounds like her extensive active sexual activity with Republican lawmakers until they change their minds about this bill.

Not wanting to miss out on all-this high-minded fun, Rep. Barbara Byrum “shouted 'vasectomy!' after not being allowed to speak about a proposed amendment.”

In the face of these undisciplined outbursts, House Speaker Jase Bolger temporarily suspended both Brown and Byrum’s privilege to speak.

In response to being appropriately silenced for violating decorum, (not for saying the word “vagina”), Brown stooped even lower.  Brown told the media on Thursday that she was most likely “’banned for being Jewish and rightfully pointing out that HB 5711 was forcing contradictory religious beliefs upon me and my religion,’.”  Unless her religion requires her to dispose of her terminated fetuses by throwing them in a Dumpster, or requires her to get an abortion only in places that aren’t licensed to perform surgery, the bill shouldn’t clash with her faith.

In the wake of what should have been a hugely embarrassing display by the abortion caucus of the Michigan House this week, Laura Berman and other media folks are playing along with the pretense that they’ve never heard of the concept of legislative decorum before. The only thing that could explain why House leaders have temporarily silenced two misfit Democrat lawmakers is “an unwritten rule that Michigan legislators can't utter the word ‘vagina.’”

To finish out a perfect week, on Saturday Detroit hosted “SlutWalk,” a protest against “rape culture” that, from what I can make out, stands for the proposition that women who dress provocatively in public are constitutionally entitled to a before-the-fact guarantee of the quality of man they provoke, and the exact limits of his provocation. The protest includes an equally irrational message denouncing “victim-blaming” for women who’ve suffered sexual assaults, but that message made little sense to me. The epitome of blame-the-victim defenses in rape cases is to, in effect, call the victim a slut. These women are calling themselves sluts.

You figure it out, if you want.

Anyway, I was struck by the pictures of women carrying signs that prominently featured the word “VAGINA,” apparently explaining that it’s not a dirty (caption) Sixty-year-old Laura Freeman of Dearborn smiles as she befriends Inez Boynton of Detroit, who was hanging around in Grand Circus Park and was curious about the assembling protestors for SlutWalk Detroit 2012. Freeman's daughter Maggie McGuire (left) watches the interaction.  *** A vocal group composed predominately of women marched down Woodward Avenue to Hart Plaza and through Greektown chanting the word "vagina" along with anti-violence against women slogans during SlutWalk Detroit 2012. Photos taken on Saturday, June 16, 2012.  ( John T. Greilick / The Detroit News )
word. Events of the last week have taught me that Republicans and conservatives have a mortal terror of the word “vagina.” (Full disclosure: the more times I put the word “vagina” in an online post the more hits I get.)

Like most of the things liberals think about me and my kind, I have no idea what they’re talking about. The fact is, each morning I ask God to bless all the vaginas in the world. I don’t think I ever miss a day when I don’t ask female co-workers how their vaginas are doing, or if there’s anything new with their vaginas. Just the other day I asked a grandmother how her college-age granddaughter’s afflicted vagina were coming along, and commiserated with her that there aren’t more TV shows that focus on life with a vagina.

Vagina, vagina, vagina, that’s what I say.

Now can we move on already?


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Woman’s Right

I think we need a closer look at what the sex-selection abortion industry in America says about the whole abortion-on-deman regime.  Please take a look at my view of it over at American Thinker.

Citizen GM

From Wednesday’s Detroit News:

Commentary: Why is U.S.-owned GM partnering with company that does business with Iran?

Earlier this year, GM announced a new partner: French automotive giant PSA Peugeot Citroen (Peugeot). While many are still speculating about the financial implications of this trans-Atlantic alliance, there is no doubt that from a foreign policy perspective, it is problematic, and raises numerous questions that GM is unfortunately refusing to answer.

My organization, United Against Nuclear Iran, learned of the GM-Peugeot partnership earlier this year, as well as GM's subsequent acquisition of a 7 percent share of Peugeot. This concerned us greatly, since Peugeot was actively doing business in Iran — a nation run by a brutal regime that is allied with al-Qaida, has killed dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, plots terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, and is illegally pursing nuclear weapons.

The facts are beyond dispute: Peugeot is partnered with Iran's Khodro Group, a subsidiary of an entity — IDRO — controlled by the Iranian regime and associated with Iran's brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Over half a million Peugeot vehicles were sold in Iran in 2010 alone, making Peugeot the leading foreign auto manufacturer produced and sold there. Peugeot has more expatriate employees working in Iran than any other western company.

UANI respectfully raised these concerns in a March 9 letter to GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, asking that GM "use its influence and leverage to compel Peugeot to immediately end its business in Iran."

"In the event Peugeot does not comply," we added, "UANI calls on GM to end its partnership with Peugeot."

In response to UANI, a GM spokesman, Greg Martin, told Agence France-Presse that Peugeot has "halted its business dealings with Iran." GM also told the Wall Street Journal that Peugeot had "made the decision to suspend the production and shipment of material into Iran some time ago."

These would ordinarily be welcome and reassuring statements. However they simply do not jibe with reality.

According to industry data, in the last year, ending March 19, nearly half a million Peugeot vehicles were produced in Iran — some 38,000 in the final month alone. On April 15, a report out of the Middle East read, "Iran's largest carmaker Iran Khodro Company branch in Fars is scheduled to produce 15 thousand Peugeot Pars sedans." Another, on April 19, said that Peugeot's Iranian partner "has not yet received any official announcement from Peugeot indicating a halt in their mutual cooperation."

In fact, the very article in which Martin was quoted included a contradictory statement from a Peugeot spokesman, who said that while Peugeot had halted March and April shipments, the larger decision about ceasing business in Iran was being taken "month by month." Similarly, a report in Just-Auto last month quoted a Peugeot spokeswoman saying Peugeot had suspended Iran shipments until July, but is considering resuming them in September.

We are always open to new information or explanations but, faced with the facts, it is hard not to feel like GM and Peugeot are simply trying to make this controversy go away without making the responsible decision to truly end their business in Iran.

The tragedy is that Peugeot's business with Iran's regime and military has been occurring just as the U.S. and its allies are trying to economically isolate Iran and pressure it into changing course. Hundreds of companies have pulled out of Iran, either voluntarily or as a result of sanctions, including automakers Porsche and Hyundai. Both informed our organization this year that they ended their business in Iran, and we were happy to applaud them for their responsible decisions. Companies that remain in Iran, however, provide the regime with a lifeline it uses to stay in power and finance its nuclear program.

In light of the taxpayer-funded $50 billion bailout of GM and the U.S. Treasury Department's current 32 percent stake in GM, it is completely unacceptable for GM to be financially aligned with a company that is doing work with a regime responsible for the deaths of U.S. servicemen. The GM-Peugeot partnership seems to run afoul of U.S. sanctions, and it should be investigated. We call on Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to hold GM accountable for whom it partners with.

And we again call on GM and Peugeot to take the responsible action of evaluating Peugeot's business in Iran, and putting a complete and final end to it.

Mark D. Wallace is CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran. He served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, representative for U.N. management and reform.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tuesdays With Mortality

We've been inspired by the news that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama is a "student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas," whose views he consults when running the Presidential Index Finger down his kill list. This image was planted to portray President Obama as a “a steely commander who pursues the enemy without flinching,” yet still elegantly balancing his martial prowess by means of cerebral tête-à-têtes with comparably-gifted lightworkers from the Church’s history.

That all America didn’t react to all this with a great national vomiting shows just how conditioned we’ve gotten to the media’s most ludicrous claims about The One. That, or only 3% of us actually pay attention to news. Of course, then there’s always that double standard. President George W. Bush once made the political error of stating that he prayed for guidance as commander-in-chief, and it was three years before the New York Review of Books worked through the backlog of hysterical titles about America’s descent into a theocracy.

Not that I’m sorry about any of the guys Obama has ordered blown up, except on the sole ground that killing them deprives us of invaluable intelligence we would have if we captured them instead. There’s no room in the Obama strategy for that, thanks to his directives that American interrogation techniques had to be childproofed, and thanks also to his mixed-up approach to terrorist detention.

Until this recent suggestion was leaked that Obama likes to soak in the heavier Christian classics like Augustine and Aquinas, the external evidences of Obama’s interest in Christianity have been exactly zero. The Left complains a lot about the popular misconception that Obama is actually a Muslim, a misconception they always want to blame, unfairly, on Fox News. But Obama’s the one who’s shown a consistent animosity toward Christianity, even while observing a consistent reverence for, and indulgence of, Islam. Even if we wanted to believe the unattributable reports about Obama huddled up with his Summa Theologica and his pack of Terror Target baseball cards, it’s still too little, too late for rehabilitating his image to that of a Christian thinker.

To say Obama’s public attitude toward Christianity has been ambivalent is too kind by half. There was that crack about bitter Christians clinging to their religion for starters, and then his effort to excise reference to the “Creator” from the Declaration of Independence by means of executive misquotation, among a long list of other examples. Explaining Obama’s treatment of Christianity as consistent with current progressive thinking about the separation clause doesn’t explain the unabashed affection he displays for the religion of the Prophet. Nothing he’s ever said about Christianity, including his own experience of it, rivals his statement that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset,” or his unprecedented revelation that he considers it “part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” (Isn’t that already Ibrahim Hooper’s job?)

He always shows obvious reverence when speaking about or quoting the “Holy Qu’ran,” (the only reverence, I believe, he has ever shown toward anything).  But when Christian believers hear the way he speaks about the Bible or those who cling to it, that elitist-intellectual-professorial-liberal-agnostic dialect he adopts is as impossible to miss as a Brooklyn accent.

The New York Times reports that Obama studies Augustine and Aquinas’s just-war theory to aid his determination to take moral responsibility for [his] actions”  while targeting drone strikes.   I doubt very much there’s much in Augustine or Aquinas that could actually enable Obama to better distinguish which jihadi murderer is more deserving of a drone strike today. As John Yoo observes, the ancient traditions upon which just-war theory was built holds that all such terrorists are hostis humani generis, the enemy of all mankind, who merit[] virtually no protections under the laws of war.” (“John Yoo: Obama, Drones and Thomas Aquinas“). (I also don’t believe that Obama derived his high-flown terminology distinguishing just and unjust wars (“I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”) from the Doctors of the Church.)

In an odd turn, just before the Obama campaign decided to link the president with these two prominent heroes of the Church, the Air Force was shutting down a training course for missile launch officers because secularists complained it included “documents that appeared to be using a religious justification for missile launches,” including “references to St. Augustine”:

David Smith, a spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, said that the program had initially been designed to “help folks understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. In the missile launch industry, it takes a certain mindset to be able to walk in the door and say, yes, I can do that.”

But he added: “Senior leadership looked at [the material for the course] and said, no, we could do better than this.”

The last time we heard senior leadership saying “we could do better than this” was when the Muslim Brotherhood complained that FBI agents were being exposed to materials describing a link between Islamist violence and Islam. Now Air Force brains have to figure out a way to sanitize ethics training to exclude all traces of Judeo-Christian influence because “we separate church and state. They don’t do that in other countries. We do that here.”

I’m sure when they’ve found something better, they’ll pass it up right up to the Commander in Chief.