Saturday, February 23, 2008

Barack the Messiah

"... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama" - Barack Obama

Lebanon, New Hampshire.January 7, 2008.

I just found out about this blog, ironically titled, Is Barack Obama the Messiah?, in a WND article.

The blog pretty much speaks for itself, but the material on it really must be seen to be believed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How Much Longer Must We Tolerate the Danes?

Danish youths riot for sixth night

Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:02pm EST
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Gangs of rioters set fire to cars and garbage trucks in northern Copenhagen on Friday, the sixth night of rioting and vandalism that has spread from the capital to other Danish cities, police said on Saturday.

Five youths were arrested in the capital on Friday after 28 cars and 35 garbage trucks were burned, Copenhagen police duty officer Jakob Kristensen told Reuters.

Danish media said arrests in other towns brought to 29 the number of people police were holding.

Scores of cars and several schools have been vandalized or burned in the past week. Police could give no reason, but said that unusually mild weather and the closure of schools for a winter break might have contributed.

Now, at the risk of coming across as politically incorrect, there is something I just have to say about the rioting in Denmark, and I don't really care whose feelings get hurt. I'm not buying this about the police not knowing the reasons for all this; they know darn well the Danish people clearly are out of control.

I’m getting sick and tired of the conspiracy of silence when Danish people have to cause, for no reason at all, this kind of violence and mayhem. Nor do I know why there's any nation left in Europe, or in America, still willing to put up with the Danish people, and especially with their angry and volatile youth. Obviously, things have gone too far when, as is widely reported by Reuters and others, the youth of Denmark are willing to riot, burn, and vandalize, for no other reason than that they’re not in school and the weather is mild.

But no one seems to want to face up to the plain truth of it. In one tragic example of denial, some social workers tried to tell Reuters they thought the riots "might" have been fuelled by the arrests of some Tunisians and a Moroccan, who happened to plan spending their school holiday murdering a cartoonist who’d drawn a picture of Mohammed.

Yet the social workers' explanation directly contradicts what the Danish police said, and aren't the police much better equipped to interpret facts and evidence than social workers are? Besides, as news report after news report repeatedly clarifies, the rioters aren’t Muslims or North Africans, but Danish youth.

My point is that West continues to ignore this growing Danish menace at its peril. Isn't it high time that political and religious leaders, media, and intellectuals stopped making excuses, and we all faced up frankly to the fact that no one can get along with the Danes?

And we all have a pretty good idea why.

While some waste time trying to point to the “root causes” behind the uprising of Danish youth, (high standard of living, free health care and tuition, a surplus of blonde girls), few are willing to discuss openly the role that religion plays in shaping the minds of impressionable young Danes.

Yes, I said it. I blame religion.

It happens to be a matter of history that from 1536 onward the Danish people have been forced to live under the state-sponsored brand of religion preached by the aggressive “Evangelical Lutheran Church.” So effective has been this dictatorship of the mind that 95% of the population now consider themselves Evangelical Lutherans. And we're supposed to believe this upsurge in violence has nothing to do with the Danish religion?

And I'm well aware that pointing out connections between uncivilized behavior and the influence of any particular religion is extremely offensive. Many believe that all religions are equal and deserve equal respect. It clearly follows that if one religion could be better or worse than any other, than multiculturalism would become impossible.

That's so logical, it’s hard to argue with. So let's supose for the sake of argument that maybe the problem isn't religion, but just that the Danish are, and have from ancient times, been naturally violent people, regardless of their religion.

After all, the Vikings were Danes, weren’t they? As far back as the 8th Century, even before they were Lutherans, the Vikings were trying to
take over the world.

They were forever raiding and committing rapine throughout Europe, even going so far as to attack Muslim Spain and Morocco.

Now, modern day Danish-Lutherans with Viking blood are still trying to impose their narrow views on other peoples, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Isn't it about time the world stood up to Denmark once and for all?

Wake up Europe! Wake up America!

Or some day very soon we're all going to be eating meatballs and watching American Idol in Danish.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sneeze Alert: Al Qaeda Fleeing Baghdad

If you read your Saturday’s Detroit News in a hurry, you may have missed this 72-word paragraph in the Nation/World Briefs:

Iraq premier: Al-Qaida is on the run

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's prime minister said Friday that U.S. and Iraqi troops have chased al-Qaida in Iraq out of Baghdad in the year since a security crackdown began, and he promised to pursue insurgents who have fled northward. Underscoring the rising violence in northern Iraq, a double suicide bombing targeted Shiite worshippers as they left weekly prayer services in the city of Tal Afar, killing at least four people and wounding 17, officials said.

I like the way this notice saves its “underscoring” not for the ongoing and unheralded success of coalition forces in Iraq, but for the “rising violence in northern Iraq"--which is only rising because a routed AQ has no place left to go.

Obama Is a River to His People

One 16-oz. bottle at a time.

From Radio Vice Online:

Oh Obamaaaaaa! (Insert Fainting Now)

Update: Coincidence?: Our morning show host Ray Dunaway pointed this out after sifting through DU. A little research and this is what I came up with. Coincidence? The Obama version of "crying"? Or am I just cynical (hard not to be these days)? There seems to be a trend at Obama rallies ... women fainting. And interestingly enough the Senator responds the same way every time, almost as if ... naah, couldn't be.

It happened here in Hartford ....Throughout the speech, Obama kept a close eye on the crowd. Upon hearing a small group begin chanting “We can’t wait” — a phrase Obama had just used — he pointed them out with an outstretched arm, and within seconds the entire arena was chanting the phrase in unison.And when a woman appeared to faint in the standing-only VIP section in front of the podium, Obama paused his speech for over a minute as he directed the crowd to make way for an EMT team and tossed a bottle of water from the stage.

but also here in New Hampshire ...

oh yeah ... and here ... in SeattleClimate change, the Iraq war and Obama tossing a bottle of water to a woman about to faint all received big cheers. As Obama told the crowd to part so that the woman in question could leave and called for help, a young girl in the crowd shouted out, "What a man!"

and In LA ... maybe this one started it all. He spoke for about 20 minutes, hitting his core themes of optimism and accountability."What's called for is a level of responsibility and seriousness that we haven't seen in a very long time," he told the cheering crowd, which included college students in short sundresses and big sunglasses and older couples in peace symbols.A woman standing in front of the stage appeared to faint as Obama spoke about Iraq. The candidate paused and asked the crowd to make way for firefighters.One supporter shouted, "You're a good man," leaving Obama momentarily at a loss for words."Well, I'm not the only one stopping to help her," he said, sounding almost embarrassed.and wait ...

here too in Madison ... and that was before he even got there. Obama exited to an exuberant crowd shouting, “fired up!” and “ready to go!” Before the senator arrived, students were tossing around an inflatable cow above the crowd. Three people fainted in the midst of all the enthusiasm.

This could be a really swell game ... count the number of people on the campaign overcome by the "vapas". OK ... one more time ... it has to be hypnosis.

Mortgage Fraud Going Strong in Dearborn

The Dearborn area’s latest mortgage-fraud case ended in a guilty plea for Kalil Khalil, who was convicted in federal court 2 weeks ago for a fraud scheme that raked in $21 million. (“Tax accountant sentenced in $21-million mortgage fraud case”).

According to Stephen Murphy, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Khalil’s “scheme began in January 2001 with fraudulent loan applications and documents.

“Murphy said the fraud occurred in several ways, including: loans received were not used to purchased or refinance a home; fake borrowers were named on the applications; the fraudulent borrower’s employment was false as were documents confirming employment; and appraisals were forged or inflated.”

Khalil’s partner in crime, Tariq Hamad, already was sentenced last September to nine years in prison for his part in the scheme. (“Dearborn man pleads guilty to mortgage fraud charges”).

After they fraudulently obtained money, Hamad and Khalil deposited it in various bank accounts, concealing their identitied by creating them in the names of straw title companies.

In a FrontPageNews article, (“Mortgage Fraud Funding Jihad?”), Patrick Poole details how these schemes often work:

The fraud usually begins when a seller is approached by a buyer with an offer too good to be true: the purchase of the home at a price well above list price (in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars). The catch is that the money over and above the list price is to be returned to the buyer by the seller at the time of closing. The incentive for the seller is that they receive their initial asking price, and in many mortgage fraud cases, the fraud ring tries to target homes that have been on the market for more than a year and where the seller will be eager to accept the buyer's unusual arrangements.

The next phase of the fraud almost always involves an insider at the mortgage company who will agree to a loan at the inflated value of the home (the list price plus whatever amount is to be returned to the buyer). In some instances, a phony construction company is established by the buyer on an associate to justify on paper the additional amount of the loan. Once the loan is approved, the deal goes to closing where the seller takes the equivalent of the list price and the buyer walks away with their share of the transaction. In a number of cases, no one ever occupies the home nor is a mortgage payment ever made.

The Columbus case demonstrates the flexibility and ease with which the fraudulent transactions are accomplished. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, one buyer, Mohamed A. Mohamed targeted homes in the inner city, where in one case a mortgage was obtained for $160,000 on a home that county officials had only appraised for $34,000. That mortgage was eventually foreclosed and Mohamed lost his mortgage brokers license, but he still maintains a real estate agent license and has been involved in other transactions in that capacity.

Conversely, a series of purchases made by Hany Rezk Ibrahim and his wife involve several of the highest priced residential real estate transactions made in the Columbus area in the past year, with the Ibrahims walking away with approximately $250,000 in each transaction. In one case, the pair bought a home for $1.3 million that had sold for $540,000 the year before. Just prior to going on his real estate purchasing spree, Hany Ibrahim incorporated a home improvement company, listing an address at a local condominium complex as the corporate address.

Poole also identifies at least three more recent incidences of mortgage fraud in Dearborn:
  • [In 2006] a Dearborn, MI man pled guilty to mortgage fraud in a plea deal with federal authorities to prevent being charged additionally with terrorist activities. At the time of his arrest, federal authorities found books, posters and recruitment videos for the Hezbollah terrorist organization inside the home of Nemr Ali Rahal. According to the Detroit News, a picture was also recovered of Rahal tearing up an American flag. Rahal had fraudulently obtained more than $500,000 by falsifying information on a mortgage application. Customs officials had also stopped Rahal and his son the previous year for having military-grade explosive residue on their passports as they reentered the US from Canada.
  • In another Dearborn-area case, two men, Mohammed Krayem and Mahmoud Youssef Kourani were accused in 2004 of transferring more than $200,000 obtained through real estate fraud and cigarette smuggling to Kourani's brother, Haider Kourani, the Hezbollah chief of military security for southern Lebanon. The money was to be used for purchasing military equipment from the United Nations Protection Force for use in attacks against Israel….
  • In June 2005, two Dearborn-area men, Ahmad and Musa Jebril, were convicted of mortgage fraud charges after defrauding six banks for $250,000 and dozens of people of up to $400,000. The Jebrils were active supporters of Hamas, and federal authorities said that Ahmad Jebril was training a cell of local men to wage jihad against the US. Both Musa and Ahmad Jebril had been thrown out of their local mosque, where Musa had been an imam, for their radical activities. A local Muslim writer has described in an article for Beliefnet the climate of fear that the two men created in the Islamic community by their jihadist preaching and activities. The indictment also noted that immediately following the November 1995 car bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which killed four Americans, the Jebrils faxed a statement in support of the attacks to CNN. Subsequent to their conviction of mortgage fraud, the Jebrils and one of their associates were additionally charged by the federal government with trying to bribe a juror during their fraud trial.
Then last October we reported (“Leader of Dearborn Mortgage Scam Gets 10 Years”) on Safi Sobh, 34, of Dearborn, who was convicted by a federal jury of leading a mortgage fraud conspiracy, sentenced to ten years in prison, and ordered to pay $1,256,579 in restitution.Sobh’s conspiracy worked by obtaining “inflated appraisals on residential properties, created false applications and obtained millions of dollars in bank loans.”According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the trial evidenceEstablished that between July 2002 and December 2005, Sobh led a large conspiracy that successfully corrupted the system of checks and balances lending institutions rely upon to determine how much money they can safely lend on a property, and whether a particular borrower is qualified to repay the loan. Ohio Savings Bank, Commercial Federal Bank and several other federally insured financial institutions relied upon the false representations of the conspirators and loaned millions of dollars, most of which has not been recovered. Working out of his realty, The Success Group, Sobh hand-picked and taught his co-conspirators how to commit these crimes. Eight indicted co-conspirators pleaded guilty to acting as corrupt loan originators, processors, appraisers, and straw buyers.

As we said last October, "mortgage fraud is a big problem in Dearborn for several reasons, not least of which include the destruction of property values, the deterioration of neighborhoods, and further destabilizing an already badly depressed real-estate market.Dearborn’s mortgage-scammers are also a problem because fraud is one more source of funds that find there way to international terrorist organizations, especially, in Dearborn’s case, Hezbollah."
In this most recent case, court records stated that Tariq Hamad claimed he invested the money in the stock market, where he lost it.

We at DU possess no information at this stage permitting us to contradict this, or to state the pair were in reality diverting the funds to terrorism. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable to draw an inference from the patterns of recent history.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Barack Scares Liberals, Too

Apparently Barack Obama’s childish foreign policy ideas are scary enough to shake up even those on his own side. Leon Wieseltier at The New Republic is by no means impressed with Obama’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, due, largely, to Obama’s attachment to the image of himself international “conciliator” when, as Wieseltier sees it, “we are heading into an era of conflict, not an era of conciliation,” specifically, in facing a massive military showdown with Al Qaeda in Pakistan. (“Forever Young”). (Thanks to Wll D for the link). In which case he’s not exactly telling us something we don’t already know. But these are New Republic liberals he’s talking to, and there’s an awful lot they don’t know, what with their heads so stuffed full of facts and figures about global warming. Wieseltier goes on to explain to them:

It is not "the politics of fear" to remind Obama's legions of the blissful that, while they are watching Scarlett Johansson sway to the beat, somewhere deep inside a quasi independent territory we might call Islamistan people are making plans to blow them to bits. (Yes, they can.)

Once again, the glaring facts that Islamists are planning to blow us to bits is boilerplate too those of us who've been living with and repeating this since 2001. We know they can. We watched them do it.

But to the antiwar, it’s-all-our-fault-anyway Left, Wieseltier is uttering something like a heresy. The media, academe, the intellectual classes, and the Democratic Party have all been agreement that it is “the politics of fear” for the Bush administration, or commentators on the right, to point out that we have Islamist enemies who want to blow us up. So dogmatic has the Left been on this point that they even drove Joe Lieberman--one of their own on almost every other point--right out of their party because he refused to stop talking about it. Nor has Hillary escaped criticism for her refusal to repudiate her Iraq war vote, in spite of all the creative triangulating she has done throughout her campaign.

So why does Wieseltier find Obama’s blind spot worthy of notice when he is only one amongst many, many millions who believe the terrorist threat is a made-up diversion cooked up to enrich Dick Cheney’s friends? Probably because he thinks Barack may actually wind up in the White House--the one situation in which a single unchecked liberal can do untold damage in no time flat. So Weiseltier's genuinely shook up about Obama’s utter failure to grasp global realities: (I can appreciate the emotion, as I share the same dread):

One of the striking features of Obama's victory speeches is the absence from these exultations of any lasting allusion to the darker dimensions of our strategic predicament. He makes no applause line out of American defense….

And into this unirenic environment strides Obama, pledging to extract us promptly from Iraq and to negotiate with our enemies. What is the role of a conciliator in an unconciliating world?... There are autonomous countries and cultures out there. The turbulence that I have described is not caused by misunderstandings. It is caused by the interests of powers and the beliefs of peoples. Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, Pyongyang, Islamabad, Gaza City, Khartoum, Caracas-does Obama really believe that he has something to propose to these ruthless regimes that they have not already considered? Does he plan to move them, to organize them, to show them change they can believe in?

Yes, indeedy. As Chesterton wrote somewhere, we can abolish war when we can abolish will. Mankind not being on the verge of abolishing will, (though I think Hillary Clinton hopes to make a start on that as part of her health-care plan), we therefore must face the tiresome necessity of defending ourselves from those who, if we let them, will happily step in and begin making decisions about our fate according to their own ideas.

Until now, the USA has only fought back against global jihadism, (that is, since 9/11), under the leadership of George W. Bush. On this one issue he is the only father figure the Left has ever rebelled against. Just like the bratty thirteen-year-olds (American thirteen-year-olds) with whom their fatuous worldview makes them comparable, they’ve abused Bush, protested at how unreasonable and unfair he’s been, vocally wished he was dead for six long years, and finally stomped up to their rooms to play their records too loud--thereafter slipping peacefully into their smug, European-based dreams with all the calm and confidence of kids nestled in the sweet knowledge that an adult is in charge of the house after all.

(Do you remember, right after 9/11, how all those liberals were rolling there eyes at one another, and passing embarrassed sideways smirks they thought we wouldn’t see: “Goddamn, to think that 3 weeks ago we were whining Al Gore wasn’t given the election--now thank God that pansy isn’t in the White House!”)

And now, with the idea that within a few short months the inexorable planning and violence of Global Jihadists may be the problem of a Democratic president, it's suddenly not so much fun to sneer at "Bush’s war." At least Bush fought his war (our war, my war), not perfectly, but with a will. If it becomes Obama’s war, well, he just won’t take ownership--he may not even vote "present." And that means someone else will step up and claim it--Bin Laden and Zawahiri, just for starters.

Which is why Wieseltier worries.

To which I say, "So welcome to our world."

The Audacity of Despair: Pelosi on Iraq

From page 11A of the Detroit News:

Iraq OKs provincial elections, sets stage for political change

Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press
-- Parliament cleared the way Wednesday for provincial elections this year that could give Sunnis a stronger voice and usher in vast changes to Iraq's power structure.

The new law -- which set the vote for Oct. 1 -- is one of the most sweeping reforms pushed by the Bush administration and signals that Iraq's politicians finally, if grudgingly, may be ready for small steps toward reconciliation.

Passage of benchmark reforms on healing the country's sectarian and ethnic rifts -- along with a reduction in violence -- were the primary goals of the 30,000-strong U.S. troop increase that President Bush ordered early last year.

We'll see how much attention this gets. Just this past Sunday, Nancy Pelosi was on CNN refusing to admit that any progress had been made at all in Iraq. She told Wolf Blitzer Iraq was nothing but a “war without end” and a “disaster.”

Pelosi calls Iraq a ‘failure’

By Mike Allen
Feb 10, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq “is a failure,” adding that President Bush’s troop surge has “not produced the desired effect.”

“The purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “They have not done that.”

The speaker hastened to add: “The troops have succeeded, God bless them.” …

Pelosi’s comment came during a discussion of her call for “the redeployment of our troops out of Iraq.”

Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked: “Are you not worried, though, that all the gains that have been achieved over the past year might be lost?”

There haven’t been gains, Wolf,” the speaker replied. “The gains have not produced the desired effect, which is the reconciliation of Iraq. This is a failure. This is a failure. The troops have succeeded, God bless them. We owe them the greatest debt of gratitude for their sacrifice, their patriotism, and for their courage and to their families as well…

“Afghanistan is not settled because the president took his eye off the ball and took the full attention that should have been in Afghanistan, and shifted some of that to Iraq, a war without end, without a plan, without a reason to go in, without a plan to win, without a strategy to leave. This is a disaster … we cannot perpetuate.”

Though she spoke before Wednesday’s parliamentary vote, Ms. Pelosi already knew about the months of steady and dramatic reductions in violence, the routing of Al Qaeda with Sunni assistance, the de-Baathification reforms passed weeks ago, and the progress in the sharing of oil revenues. But there was no political capital in saying that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stevie Wonder at UCLA: 'For Once in My Life, I Can't Write a Song'

One mark of leadership is the ability to draw out the best talents of others.

Abraham Lincoln inspired Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” in honor of his fallen hero; a misguided Beethoven originally composed his “Eroica” symphony as a tribute to Napoleon, until the latter crowned himself Emperor and ticked Ludwig off. Even Dion’s “Abraham, Martin, and John” (actually written by Richard Holler), still packs a punch for those of us of a certain age. I saw Dylan do it once as a piano duet with a gospel singer.

So when I hear this ditty by pop genius Stevie Wonder, I have to wonder just how vast Barack Obama's capacity for poor leadership really will finally out to be.

If you haven’t placed the melody stirring beneath Stevie’s song, what you’re hearing is nothing but the C major scale ascending, and then descending, with the name of “The One” glopped on top like a slice of Velveeta on a meat patty. Stevie would have mastered this scale when he was 6, at his first piano lesson. Then he would have moved on and started re-writing it into a hundred inspired songs.

Which is what makes it hard to figure out how the guy who came up with “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” “Superstition,” and “As,” couldn’t create an Obama anthem that accounted for more than 2.5 seconds of his creative attention, and 0% of his talent?

Or maybe Obama's ability to inspire a return to the hope-filled youth that he's actually caused Stevie to regress?

Stevie told the crowd “I want you all to remember this melody and sing it as you go along throughout the day.”

In that, he succeeded. Ever since I first heard it on Laura Ingraham’s show, it's been stuck in my head, a common psychological affliction possibly due to being overtired.

Fortunately, from time to time the Barack song is driven out and replaced by a much better one, a more musical song with better lyrics, and that actually has something to say. Enjoy it here, if you dare.

I think you'll agree the FreeCreditReport guys could easily write Obama a better song.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Still Be Haram

They keep coming up with more great reasons why people--well, male people, anyway--should become Muslims. Like there'd be no more coming up with lame excuses for forgetting Valentine’s Day, because it’s forbidden.

Saudis clamp down on valentines

Religious police in Saudi Arabia are banning the sale of Valentine's Day gifts including red roses, a local newspaper has reported.

The Saudi Gazette quoted shop workers as saying that officials had warned them to remove all red items including flowers and wrapping paper.

Black market prices for roses were already rising, the paper said.

Saudi authorities consider Valentine's Day, along with a host of other annual celebrations, as un-Islamic.

In addition to the prohibition on celebrating non-Islamic festivals, the authorities consider Valentine's Day as encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock - punishable by law in the conservative kingdom.

The Saudi Gazette reported that some people placed orders with florists days or weeks before Valentine's Day in anticipation of the ban, which is a regular occurrence.

"Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," one florist said.

Others were planning to travel to the more religiously liberal neighbouring countries, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates, to celebrate.

Saudi Arabian authorities impose a strict Islamic code that prevents men and women from mixing.

Story from BBC NEWS

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Freethinking Isn't Free

From time to time in politics there are issues that are so divisive they exclude any neutral position--claim a middle ground only at the expense of your moral existence and any claim to rational thought. These kinds of issues force people to choose sides, even against people whom formerly were close allies.

Abortion does that: you can’t deny what grows in a pregnant woman’s belly, so if you want to endorse its homicide you’ll have to choose to make your own the specious arguments of that side, like that aborting mothers are having their “lives” saved by the procedure, and "anti-choice" advocates are not trying to save babies, but only hurt women. It took 25 years for Naomi Wolf to finally admit, “Yeah, we know we’re killing babies. You got a problem with that?”

The war against jihadism is the same; with an enemy so explicit about hating us, and so devoted to killing us as the Islamists are, that denying we're in a war means a complete mental shutdown (you know, sort of like the Democratic debate series). So if you really must try to prevent our side from fighting back, you’ll have to embrace the insane position that all that violence out there is the result of us unfairly attacking them.

John McCain’s likely nomination is going to force that kind of choosing up. Supporters of McCain, many of them highly respected, very intelligent, usually rational, many of them exemplary leaders, are simply not going to be able to keep saying that McCain is clearly a conservative when he clearly is not. And because they all know he clearly is not, sooner or later they're going to have to choose to explain those of us who won't trust McCain the same way liberals always explain conservatives, as just a bunch of intolerant, narrow-minded wackos.

By way of example, today Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley, whom we here at DU have, at least once or twice, had a kind word for, reveals how angry he is that McCain isn’t being embraced by “the Republican Party's right wing.” In fact, he’s gone and called us all “self-righteous screechers” and “right-wing nuts.” (“No room in GOP tent for free thinkers”).

Using as an example the experience of former Michigan Congressman Joe Schwartz, (a one-term Republican turned out in 2006 for being too liberal), Finley describes how Schwartz must now watch “the GOP’s self-righteous screechers try to hang a scarlet ‘L’ around the neck of his good friend John McCain.” Finley explains that the self-righteous party purists can’t stand McCain because he’s an independent thinker who has engaged in the “occasional flirtation with moderate politics.”

But to describe McCain’s magnetic attraction to moderate-to-liberal politics as an occasional flirtation is like saying that Kwame Kilpatrick has been rumored, in those rare instances he encounters a woman he finds more attractive than his wife, to bestow upon her a chaste, good-natured wink.

Nor does it speak well for Finley’s confidence in his man’s bona fides that he has to viciously attack someone like Ann Coulter as a “character assassin” with an “emaciated face.” (We recall that Finley last year insulted our friend Debbie Schlussel by denouncing her as a “chubby Ann Coulter”; Nolan must have a very exacting standard for when a woman is just right). Anyhow, Coulter’s ironical-satirical announcement that she would vote for Clinton because President Hillary might arguably govern in a fashion less liberal than McCain is intended to draw attention to McCain’s liberal record, and has nothing to do with actually endorsing Clinton.

I'm sure the non-angry Finley might figure that out. But he's chafing against his loyalty to the freethinking John McCain. And we already know that when one side in an argument hasn’t any facts, it promptly resorts to name-calling. (By the way, I don’t consider political commentators referring to McCain as “liberal” as calling names. I haven't heard anybody call McCain a "liberal nut." Nor is it possible to discuss American politics without placing people and ideas somewhere along the liberal-conservative extremes. On the other hand, I think being called a “right wing nut” is meant to be an insult.)

Finley wants to see the GOP move to the center, which means farther to the left. But we didn't win in 2004, 2000, and 1994 by running away from conservative principles, even if our leadership didn't always live up to the ideals. And if the party had stayed closer to its tradition the past few years, we wouldn’t have lost Congress in 2006.

But Schwartz and Finley think the Republicans will be better off with more freethinkers and less “ideology,” (i.e., less Reagan conservatism). Schwartz describes those folks with cold objectivity as “the same gang that got me.”

Not that I’m saying these guys are “liberals,” (chubby, emaciated, or otherwise). But just check out this list of what Joe Schwartz and Finley like and don’t like about the current Republican Party.

They dislike “moral absolutism,”conservative orthodoxy,” and “doctrinal purity,” and they prefer “pragmatism,” “influence,”and victory based upon the sentiments of the “center” (the left).

Freedom of thought is one thing, being a “freethinker” another. The term “freethinker” actually denotes a person drifting along in a sea of moral relativism, resistant to hard-and-fast rules, and mistrustful of the constraints of tradition, religion, society, etc.--in other words, freethinkers are liberals. The opposite of being a freethinker is to hold firm principles. In other words, conservative. (The official flower of the freethinker, by the way, is the pansy. (“A Pansy for Your Thoughts”). Not, for all I dislike his politics, that I think McCain is a pansy.)

But it doesn’t shock my conscience if there’s no room for such freethinking people in the Republican Party. Don't they already have their own party, and at least 2 others if you count the Greens and the Socialist Workers Party? And isn’t Cindy Sheehan getting a new one up?

You see, it's the rest of us who still need a party. Leave this one alone.

Life sometime pitches us a moral dilemma. It may well be that I do vote for McCain next November, holding my nose, as all those other millions who say they’ll be holding their noses (here’s an idea: we can all leave the polls showing off our pinched red noses the same way the liberated Iraqis proudly showed off their purple fingers--we can even start the rumor that Bill Clinton secretly voted for McCain). I would do this, naturally, only to avoid the greater moral evil of helping elect a nation-ending Clinton or Obama administration. But the reason it will pose a dilemma is precisely because I'm squeezed from onse side by a pragmatic need to spare the country a Democratic government in wartime, and from the other by certain moral and political absolutes and orthodoxies that I hold dear--and that McCain does not hold dear-in fact, despises.

Also, I was one of the people extremely unhappy that in 2006 Republican voters felt that “punishing” their party by allowing a Democratic majority in Congress made either moral or political sense, when to me it made neither. Sometimes adulthood means you don't get a choice of good and evil, only a choice between evils.

In spite of Finley’s feeling the need to say it, McCain’s nomination is still not “inevitable.” It is not even mid-February. We conservatives have only just been bereaved of any viable conservative nominee, and we ought to be entitled to a few weeks of grieving the fact and discussing our options before we resign ourselves (if we do) to having to support a demon in preference to an archdemon. But I don’t have to put up with any revision of reality that will make me start believing McCain is a conservative.

To me that makes us, on some level anyway, principled. To the freethinking Nolan Finley, that just makes us all right-wing nuts.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Kwame's Minima Mea Culpa Points Out His Most Grievous Fault

In Detroit for the last two weeks both major daily newspapers have formed a solid front against the to-be-expected counteroffensive of lies coming from the Kilpatrick administration. The counteroffensive has come, and any wavering on the part of the media will risk Kilpatrick slipping past and revising history overnight.

Today’s editorial “Quick Hit” in the Detroit News, ("Kilpatrick recognizes why he's in mess"), is a worrisome crack in that solid front. Referring to the Mayor’s hour-long radio interview with Frankie Darcel on MIX 92.3 Friday, the editorial asks readers to, “Give the mayor credit for continuing to recognize that it was he who triggered the chain of events that now has him defending himself against allegations of a cover-up.”

Continuing to recognize his responsibility? That’s what we’re all still waiting for him to start doing. The Mayor has never recognized his role in the scandal that now engulfs him (it's his own fault 100%--the philandering, the misuse of city resources, the targeting of honorable cops for destruction, the wasting of city funds, and the cover-up). Nor was his Friday interview any different from his other self-serving public statements since the scandal of the text messages broke. His staged apology from church the Wednesday before allowed to him to take credit for nothing in particular--except caring too much for the city he loves.

Here are only a few of the statements Kingpin made in his Friday interview. Not only is Kilpatrick not continuing to recognize his responsibility, (because he never begins) he manages to cast the blame for his current troubles on one judge for illegal activity, on another for overthrowing Michigan law and the Constitution, on the jury (and the enitre SE Michigan region) for being racist and vindictive against him because he's black, (as were the plaintiffs), on the attorneys, and especially on the Detroit Free Press, whom he repeatedly charges with criminal activity by obtaining the text records "illegally.":

  • the recent things is the text messages, which were, you know, illegally obtained from the Free Press and, you know, now the whole paper now is covering up their illegal act with a lot of criminal activity and collusion in writing these reports.

  • MS. DARCELL: Was there a cover-up? MAYOR KILPATRICK: Oh, no. MS. DARCELL: Is there a cover-up by your administration? MAYOR KILPATRICK: Absolutely not.
  • I went to court and fought on the employment issue that this was not a whistleblower action. I lost. The $9 million dollars, or 8.4 million dollars comes from the jury. It's like I gave 9 million -- the jury decided the biggest settlement -- remember the makeup of the jury, remember the political nature of this case, they decided that that -- it was the plaintiff's decision, not me.

  • the Free Press after the case was over, they obviously had some meetings, and I think that they ought to answer to.

  • There cannot be any legal process that gave them records. And lastly -- lastly, the only person who legally had these records was the judge.

  • MS. DARCELL: That has become a question. Are you suggesting then, Mr. Mayor, that they obtained the documents illegally --MAYOR KILPATRICK: Absolutely.
  • Yes, yes. If they got them from the judge, both of those things are illegal.

  • They're throwing out a lot of issue in the front page of their paper to get these things public so they can have justification for their illegal activities.

  • There was no secret deal.,,, The reason why it's public now is because the Free Press, I don't want people to lose sight of this, the Free Press illegally obtained some very private phone conversations…. And so what they have now done is illegally obtained some information, and so what they're trying to do now is muddy everything up together, so they can have justification for going after that illegally. And if people are not watching this, then they can go after your stuff in the same way. Send in a legal subpoena, go in the back room with the judge, go to a lawyer's office.

  • [Judge Colombo’s decision to release secret agreement and the text files] violates every Michigan Court Rules that's ever been known to man, and we think it's wrong….I mean, this is one of the most protected processes under the law, and we need to keep that it way. Because Kwame Kilpatrick is a political figure that a lot of folk don't like, you can't violate the Constitution, the Michigan Court Rules, and everybody else.

  • my constitutional rights were violated, at best. At worst, and some of the other things it means, is that there's some real serious federal and state laws that have been violated here. There's a serious breach of contract issue with the plaintiff's attorney that is at issue here.

  • And let me just say one more thing about that civil documents. This is a very serious issue. Because it's not about Kwame Kilpatrick. It puzzles me. Councilwoman Joanne Watson has been doing all of those protests against the Wayne County Circuit Court, the jury pool, the judge's decision, how they operate over there, but when it comes to me it's a little different. There's some serious questions about how that court is run, about how Detroiters get justice at that court, and I believe that at the end of this, I just believe with all of my heart that God didn't bring me here to leave me here.

  • Because you've got to learn from not only your own mistakes, but the mistakes of others. And I made plenty, I'm not putting that the side. But at the same time, there's some things that I have to stand on as truth. And so I feel like, yeah, they finally got me, but they got me because of me. They got me because of me. And so this particular pickle that I'm in right now, for lack of a better expression, yeah, I do share some accountability in it, but there are some things that have been done by people who want to violate laws, want to do illegal things, violate court rules, that have never been sanctioned, never been questioned, violate constitutional rights, civil rights, do illegal things, and that has to be checked. Because at the end of the day it's not about me only. It's about the people of this community, make no mistake.

  • I think the way that we get off the front page now is the Free Press has to start being honest with the people who purchase it.

  • I don't think the media has been unfair. I think the Free Press has committed a crime, I believe they committed a crime. I think that they are -- and now, I read the editorial today from Steven Henderson, he's lumping everything together, so now their paper is involved in covering up their criminal activity. And so that's what I believe.
  • What I don't expect is our paper to be in collusion with whomever to bring people down with illegal activity. I don't expect that. I don't expect two reporters, Schaefer and Elrick, to go out and go in backroom deals and meet. I don't expect for them to obtain illegal information to try to use it to bring people down illegally. I expect that there's something in the newspapers at least to guide the ethical rules that we have to follow, and if you have questions based on that, we'll come and answer it. What's happening now with our Free Press is something that I've never seen before. And I believe it's a national story.
  • MS. DARCELL: How do you respond to people who say that relative to the jury's award and the 9 million? How do you -- you know, when you say something you're responsible for, do you feel responsible for that? MAYOR KILPATRICK: I don't. I don't. I feel that the jury erred, I feel that the case was not decided on any facts based in employment law, any facts based in the whistleblower. It is what it is. That case could have been up to $11 million dollars if it would not have settled.
  • The jury substantially erred….The court trial was never about that, and it was decided based on no legitimate facts dealing with any material issues, but it was about me, Kwame Kilpatrick, and the relationship that that jury and this region has with me.

Kwame's always ready to admits he's guilty of unspecified mistakes, (hey, nobody's perfect), for which he should be promptly forgiven and immediately allowed to resume his Divine assignment without further questions asked. At the same time, his perceived enemies are guilty of illegal activities, judicial malfeasance, and crimes, for which there must be a full divine accounting. It would be hilarious if he weren't actually going to get people to believe him.

One More Way Life Is Easier If You're Muslim

Hamas: We’re Allowed to Lie
2 Adar 5768, 08 February 08 02:36
by (

Hamas leaders spoke to the Arabic language Ash-Sharq il-Awsat newspaper recently and explained that as Muslims, they are allowed to lie. In an interview printed on Thursday, senior Hamas terrorists explained, “A Muslim is permitted to say things that oppose his beliefs in order to prevent damages or to be saved from death.”

This approach, known in Arabic as “taqiyya,” was behind several Hamas leaders’ recent public expression of support for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, they explained. Senior Hamas terrorists in Samaria, who were recently released from jail, publicly expressed disapproval with the Hamas takeover of Gaza and said they supported the PA forces.

The sources quoted in Ash-Sharq il-Awsat explained that the Samarian terrorists’ announcement was not a sign of dissent within Hamas ranks, but rather a permitted use of “taqiyya” to deceive Abbas and avoid prison sentences.

But our enemies are clever. How do we know if there’s really no such thing as taqiyya, and that Hamas is just lying about it?

Democratic Mayors: Semper Foolish?

Berkley is one thing, but now this is hitting close to home. Is Iraq the only place left that welcomes the US Marines? From Roger's Rules blog:

Toledo to Marines: Drop Dead

OK, so 200 Marines stationed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, piled on to five buses and came to Toledo, Ohio, yesterday to practice some urban patrol exercises. The Toledo police knew about the request for the three-day exercise well in advance, but somehow Mayor Carty Finkbeiner didn’t see the memo requesting permission for the event. So when when the first bus arrives at 3:20 p.m. and Staff Sergeant Andre Davis steps off, he is greeted by a city employee and told that the mayor wanted him and his soldiers out of town by 6 p.m. “I wish,” Sgt Davis drily remarked, “they would have told us this four hours ago.” [Update: a reader points out that it is incorrect to refer to Marines as “soldiers”: soldiers serve in the army, not the Marines. I regret the mistake.]

Indeed.I gather that Mayor Finkbeiner (a Democrat, readers will be surprised to learn), like the folks in Berkeley, California, can’t think of the United States Marines without having the first lines of “The Destruction of Sennacherib” float through his head (“The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold …”) “The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people,” said Brian Schwartz, the mayor’s spokesman.

Gee, isn’t that a shame?

Lance Corporal Brandon Bukrey-McCarty recalled how useful such training was when he had been deployed in Fallujah in 2006-2007. The training, he said, “got me used to looking up on rooftops, looking around every alley, every open door.”

Too bad, Brandon! Carty Finkbeiner thinks having U.S. soldiers in town will frighten the voters, so your comrades will just have to do without that training.

The company’s commanding officer, Major Jeffrey O’Neill, was disappointed by Carty Finkbeiner’s cold shoulder—it would, he noted, be difficult to find a suitable alternative venue for the exercise—but “we’re Marines,” he said, “We’ll adapt and overcome.”

I have no doubt about that. I hope part of the adaptation will be to present the City of Toledo—or maybe Carty Finkbeiner himself—with the $10,000 tab that the aborted exercise cost the Marines.

Mayor Finkbeiner can boast on his official website that Tony Packos Restaurant in Toledo was “made famous on the television show M*A*S*H.” But when he has an opportunity to help the men and women who in real life protect this country, including the City of Toledo, he refuses to grant them the sort of permit he would routinely give to a bunch of anti-American activists who wanted to organize a protest march down Main Street. I think it’s disgusting. If I lived in Toledo, I’d be wondering when Carty Finkbeiner was up for re-election and would look forward to sending him out on a 6:00 p.m. bus at the earliest opportunity.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cheney Tells CPAC That Tough Questioning of al Qaeda Detainees Is a 'Good Thing'

I’m going to miss Dick Cheney when he’s gone. He is always clear and to the point.

As Rep. John Conyers was using his House Intelligence Committee for yet one more grandstanding opportunity to condemn the Bush administration’s “torture” policies, the Vice President had this to say about it at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington:

Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, said "it's a good thing" that top al-Qaida leaders who underwent the harsh interrogation tactic in 2002 and 2003 were forced to give up information that helped protect the country.

"It's a good thing we had them in custody, and it's a good thing we found out what they knew," Cheney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, President Bush has "made the right decisions for the right reasons," Cheney said.

And I couldn’t agree with him more. It was a good thing to interrogate these guys, and it is a very good thing they remain in custody. Is there really anyone who can seriously argue with that?

The waterboarding everyone is referring to was used in 2002 and 2003--before a Supreme Court decision, and new laws, have discouraged (but not banned) the practice.

Conyers knows this, but it didn’t stop him from asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey, "Are you ready to start a criminal investigation into whether this confirmed use of waterboarding by U.S. agents was illegal?"

“No, I am not,’Mukasey answered bluntly. He said the Justice Departent could not investigate or prosecute people for actions that it had authorized earlier.

Not only that, he may well have reminded Congressman Conyers about what the Constitution says about ex post facto laws.

I don't consider myself qualified to an opinion on whether or not waterboarding is or is not torture. But I do know that Congress has refused to commit to banning it. If they refuse to step up and define it as a crime, they should stop using it as a platform for accusing the Bush administration of criminal activity--just because the administration--while trying to prevent a second 9/11-- sanctioned its use under limited circumstances.

Detroit's $8.4 Million Valentine

I don't care what anyone says. I think it’s sweet.

In the secret agreement that Kwame Kilpatrick and his paramour Christine Beatty personally signed off on, the one that doesn’t exist, and in which the pair magnanimously agreed to shell out $8.4M of city money to protect themselves, personally, from exposure and criminal prosecution, the contract language refers to the damning evidence, for short, as the “K&B records”: K&B, of course, for Kilpatrick and Beatty.

K&B. Romantic, huh? And charming the way it links Kilpatrick and Beatty, Together 4 ever."

You know, like Romeo & Juliet, Antony & Cleopatra, Bonnie & Clyde.

Kilpatrick & Beatty
Holed up in D.C.

And can’t you just envision that "K&B" carved in a tree, inside a big heart, with an arrow through it?

Or, how about, instead of an arrow, the Joe Louis Fist?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Kwame Has Lost His Mind

So the City of Detroit (aka as Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) has chosen the futile and money-wasting course of appealing the court’s decision to disclose the secret, and almost certainly unlawful, agreement intended to keep more embarrassing information about the Mayor from coming to light. ("Kilpatrick will appeal judge's order to release documents").

So what's the Mayor thinking?

He’s not thinking.

His mind is otherwise occupied.

You see, as he told us last week, from the study of his pastor’s office, since this latest scandal broke he’s been suffering through some bewildering experiences for the very first time.

For the first time in his life he's had to have a conversation with his 12-year old twins about “very grown up things.”

For the first time since he was crowned Mayor in January 2002, he has had to put everything aside and focus only on his family.

And most important of all, (though he left it out of his televised apology), for the first time since he hit puberty, he isn’t getting any at all. I mean, not any.

The closest Carlita comes to approaching him right now is when she’s waving aloft a rolling pin, the wooden kind she’s wickedly learned how to sneak past the city hall metal detectors.

And we know Christine Beatty’s no longer available as the Mayor's trusted Chief of “Staff”; and we know Tamara Greene and her co-stripper in Georgia are dead, and North Carolina tubmate Carmen Slowski is now just a chlorinated memory. (“Posh N.C. resort confirms mayor's massage for two”).

Not that there aren’t plenty of Jamaican whores and mink-wrapped boy-toys still perfectly eager to get busy with the Kingpin, but how to get at 'em?

At this moment the light’s so strong, and the news 'copters are circling so low, that a hard-working God’s man can’t get out for that essential restorative lovin’. Nor with all those reporters running around the City-County Building can the lovin’ ones get in to conduct needed mayoral, uh, transactions. The day after Kwame promised Detroiters “I’ll see you at work tomorrow,” he tried to issue an edict keeping reporters away from his private elevator and his eleventh-floor office was, but had to abandon that the same day. It would just lead to more lawsuits, you see. ("Kilpatrick continues to behave badly").

Then, to make the security net complete, there’s the First Lady camped outside the Executive Office Suite with that rolling pin.

All of which means that for the next little while the only mounting Kwame's going to feel will be his own frustration.

And such a physical, emotional, and hormonal deprivation, as those of you educated in public school sex ed classes all learned, will impair your mind.

All of which leads to some godly anger on His Honor’s part.

Is it any wonder his famous hip-hop smarts are failing him now? Last September, when he boldly answered, "Hell, yes!" to the question of whether he would appeal the jury's guilty verdict, that was a terrible decision, and he was still open for business, romantically speaking.

Now he's not even as smart as he was then. How could he be? He is being forced by his persecutors to live without the God-given perks of his elected office.

No wonder all those preachers feel sorry for him. No wonder all those sweet old Bible study ladies want to forgive him and have everybody else just drop it. They know he's hurting. They know he's only a man, (but what a man!), and he has needs.

It's the same way with all God's guys, ain't it?

Other men of God have suffered the same martyrdom, most prominently, Bill Clinton. Once the Monica scandal broke, Clinton was forced into celibacy almost overnight.

Before our eyes he was transformed from a handsome, cornfed statesman to a mere shadow of himself.

And by now his famed political judgment has become so clouded, Hillary's campaign is insisting he stay at home.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Must Be That British Humour

There is a reason Melanie Phillips gave Britain's capital the nickname, "Londonistan," "a complex cultural jigsaw," she writes, resulting from "the fusion of an aggressive ideology, and a society that has lost its way."

To get some idea of how badly Britons have lost their way, (and we aren't so different from Britons), consider the following article by Michael Hodges, who writes for a London "things-to-see-and-do" periodical called Time Out London.

Either Hodges meant his article as a joke, and is taking irony to a whole other level, or he's a sign of just how decadent Western liberal thinking has become--don't be afraid of rape, girls! just lie back and enjoy it!

I've added the bold and italics where I thought the writer simply had to be kidding.

Is London's future Islamic?

It’s the capital’s fastest growing religion, based on noble traditions and compassionate principles, yet Islam can still be tainted by mistrust and misunderstanding. Here Time Out argues that an Islamic London would be a better place

The noise from the expectant crowd hushed to a murmur as an open-backed lorry that had driven slowly up the Mall – known since the Islamic revolution of 2021 as The Way of the Martyrs – nudged its way through the thousands gathered in Mohammad Sidique Khan Square. On the lorry, two masked guards held a young man, black hood over his head; a quiver running through the material suggested he knew what was coming.

The lorry halted by the plinth that had once held Marc Quinn’s sculpture ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’ – long since removed as an insult to decency – and was now the place of public execution. A rope noose attached to a wire cable hung from a mechanised hoist. The main doors of what had been the National Gallery flung open and an Imam walked down the steps of the new Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, opened only a week before by Sultan Charles, Prince of Islam and protector of the faithful in England.

The official executioner placed a stepladder against the plinth. The lorry pulled up and the young man was pushed out, then forced up the ladder. The noose was forced over the condemned man’s head. The crowd chanted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greater than everything).

The hoist driver put his finger on a green button … Okay, not really – that’s a hysterical, right-wing nightmare of a future Muslim London: where an cruel alien creed is forced on a liberal city. A society where women are second-class citizens, same sex relationships a crime and Sharia law enforces terrible public disfigurement and death. But the reality is a long, long way from this dark vision.

For a start, Islam is not an alien religion to London. At the end of World War I the city sat at the heart of an Empire that had 160 million Muslim subjects, 80 million in India alone. London was the largest Islamic capital in the world. Forty years later and the end of the Empire, unrest and war and poverty in south Asia had lead to mass immigration to the mother country and London became a Muslim capital in another sense.

According to the 2001 census there are 607,083 Muslims living in London (310,477 men and 296,606 women). The majority of Muslims live in the east of the city and, by 2012, the Muslim Council of Britain estimates that the Muslim population of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest and Hackney will be 250,000. There are plans afoot (though no formal application has yet been submitted) to build the UKs biggest mosque – capable of welcoming 40,000 worshippers – near the 2012 Olympic site, a move which has prompted predictable outrage from some quarters. Consequently, Muslim disillionment with a reactionary and often ill-informed press is at an all time high.

But rather than fear the inevitable changes this will bring to London, or buy in to a racist representation of all Muslims as terrorists, we should recognise both what Islam has given this city already, and the advantages it would bring across a wide range of areas in the future.

Public health

On the surface, Islamic health doesn’t look good: the 2001 census showed that 24 per cent of Muslim women and 21 per cent of Muslim men suffered long-term illness and disability. But these are factors of social conditions rather than religion. In fact, Islam offers Londoners potential health benefits: the Muslim act of prayer is designed to keep worshippers fit, their joints supple and, at five times a day, their stomachs trim. The regular washing of the feet and hands required before prayers promotes public hygiene and would reduce the transmission of superbugs in London’s hospitals.

Alcohol is haram, or forbidden, to Muslims. As London is above the national average for alcohol-related deaths in males, with 17.6 per 100,000 people (Camden has 31.6 per 100,000 males), turning all the city’s pubs into juice bars would have a massive positive effect on public health. Forbid alcohol throughout the country, and you’d avoid many of the 22,000 alcohol-related deaths and the £7.3 billion national bill for alcohol-related crime and disorder each year.

The world is green and beautiful,’ said the prophet Muhammad, ‘and Allah has appointed you his guardian over it.’ The Islamic concept of halifa or trusteeship obliges Muslims to look after the natural world and Muhammad was one of the first ever environmentalists, advocating hima – areas where wildlife and forestry are protected. So we could expect more public parks under Islam, but halifa also applies to recycling: in 2006, 12,000 Muslims attended a series of sermons at the East London Mosque explaining the theological evidence for a link between behaving in an environmentally sustainable way and the Islamic faith.

Presently, Muslim students perform less well than non-Muslim students. In inner London, 37 per cent of 16 to 24-year-old Muslims have no qualifications (the figure for the general population of the same age and location is 25 per cent). When it comes to university education the picture is equally gloomy: 16 to 24-year-old Muslims are half as likely to have degree level or above qualification than other inner London young people.

Again, social factors rather than religion have led to this state of affairs. Young Muslims in London are often of south Asian origin and therefore more likely to live in households where English is not the first language, more likely to encounter racism (both intentional and unintentional) during their education, and more likely to suffer from poverty and bad housing conditions.

But Tahir Alam, education spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, claims Muslim children do better in their own faith schools than in the mainstream state sector: ‘Muslim schools have their own distinct ethos. They use the children’s faith and heritage as primary motivators to provide the backdrop for their education and behaviour. This ethos is consistent with the messages that children are getting at home, so it is a very coherent operation between the home and the school.’

If Islam became the dominant religion in London the same ethos could be applied to schooling across swathes of underprivileged and deprived areas of the city. This could have a revolutionary effect on educational achievement and, perhaps just as importantly, general levels of discipline and self-respect among London’s young people. While controversy rages over faith schools, there are 37 Muslim schools in London. As of 2004, only five were state schools, but there is growing pressure to bring more into the state sector which, according to Alam, will ‘help raise achievement for many sectors of the Muslim community. Many private Muslim schools are under-resourced and if they can be brought into the state sector this valuable experience can be extended to more children.’

Application of halal (Arabic for ‘permissable’) dietary laws across London would free us at a stroke from our addiction to junk food, and the general adoption of a south Asian diet rich in fruit juice, rice and vegetables with occasional mutton or chicken would have a drastic effect on obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders and associated public health problems. As curry is already Londoners’ and the nation’s favourite food (see our Brick Lane food feature), it would be a relatively easy process to encourage the adoption of such a diet. Not eating would be important as well. The annual fasting month of Ramadan instils self-discipline, courtesy and social cohesion. And Londoners would benefit philosophically and physically from even a short period when we weren’t constantly ramming food into our mouths.

Inter-faith relations
In an Islamic London, Christians and Jews – with their allegiance to the Bible and the Talmud – would be protected as ‘peoples of the book’. Hindus and Sikhs manage to live alongside a large Muslim population in India, so why not here? Although England has a long tradition of religious bigotry against, for instance, Roman Catholics, it is reasonable to assume that under the guiding hand of Islam a civilised accommodation could be made among faith groups in London. This welcoming stance already exists in the capital in the form of the City Circle (see Yahya Birt interview), which encourages inter-faith dialogue and open discussion.

Some of the finest art in London is already Islamic. The Jameel Gallery at the V&A houses ‘ceramics, textiles, carpets, metalwork, glass and woodwork, which date from the great days of the Islamic caliphate of the eighth and ninth century’ up until the turn of the last century. Or take a free daily tour of the Addis Gallery of Islamic art (at the British Museum). London-based Nasser David Khalili, an Iranian-born Jew, has amassed what is considered to be the world’s largest private collection of Islamic art. Islamic influences have also flourished in other areas of the arts, with novelists, comedians (Birmingham-born Shazia Mirza was an instant hit on the London circuit), and music (from rappers Mecca2Medina on, to the less in-your-face Yusuf Islam).

Social justice
Each Muslim is obliged to pay zakat, a welfare tax of 2.5 per cent of annual income, that is distributed to the poor and the needy. If the working population of London, 5.2 million, was predominantly Muslim this would produce approximately £3.2bn each year. More importantly, everyone would be obliged to consider those Londoners who haven’t shared their good fortune. London would become a little less cruel.

Race relations
Under Islam all ethnicities are equal. Once you have submitted to Allah you are a Muslim – it doesn’t matter what colour you are. End of story.

Michael Hodges, Tue Jun 5 2007
Back to Time Out London home

End of story is right.

Mr. Hodges, I think you need a Time Out.

Kilpatrick May Still Have to Answer to the Michigan Bar

The following article from the Michigan Lawyer's Weekly holds out some hope that justice for Mayor Kilpatrick need not be entrusted solely to the trembling hands of Kym Worthy or the Detroit City Council.

Next stop: Disbarment?

Allegations of perjury could land Detroit mayor in hot water with AGC

By Melissa P. Stewart, Esq.

Attorney Discipline
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick may pay a hefty price for his attempts to cover up an illicit affair when the dust from his text message scandal finally settles.
He could be forced out of office.

He could face jail time.

He could be disbarred.

While it is still unclear whether Kilpatrick will enter a courtroom as a criminal defendant facing a perjury charge, chances are good that he will never again enter one as "counsel of record."
According to Robert E. Edick, deputy grievance administrator for the Attorney Grievance Commission (AGC), "Generally speaking, anytime there is a suggestion that someone has made misrepresentations to a court, or even has gone so far as to testify falsely under oath, the allegation is considered very serious."

In Kilpatrick's case, "suggestion" is an understatement.

The mayor came under fire recently weeks after the Detroit Free Press dredged up text messages that seemingly show both Kilpatrick and his then-chief of staff, Christine Beatty, lied under oath during the Whistleblower Protection Act case that captivated Detroiters late last summer.

/>During the trial, in which two former Detroit police officers successfully claimed they were wrongfully discharged when they got too close to the skeletons in the mayor's closet, Kilpatrick and Beatty denied firing the officers and denied allegations they had engaged in a sexual relationship.

The jurors didn't buy it, and it appears their instincts were correct.

From the more than 14,000 text messages the Free Press obtained through means "independent" of the related lawsuits, it appears Kilpatrick and Beatty lied.

Not only did the pair document their love affair in great detail in the text messages, but they also openly discussed their decision to fire Brown.

For Kilpatrick, in particular, the misstep could mark the end of his legal career, even if he does, ultimately, salvage his life in politics.

"As President Clinton discovered [when he lied under oath], a person is a lawyer 24 hours a day," said Peter J. Henning, a professional responsibility professor at Wayne State University Law School, referring to the five-year disbarment Clinton received after he lied in a deposition taken as part of the Paula Jones case.

"It doesn't matter in what context the conduct occurs, you can still be sanctioned for it," Henning said.

As such, he continued, if it's ultimately determined that Kilpatrick did lie under oath on the witness stand, "the fact that [Kilpatrick] wasn't acting as a lawyer does not affect whether he can be disciplined."

Enter Edick and the AGC.

Though Edick would not comment on Kilpatrick specifically because the Michigan Supreme Court forbids the AGC from revealing whether a grievance has been filed, he did say, "If a lawyer was found to have committed perjury, there is generally a presumption that he or she should be disbarred."

That is "because lawyers are required to demonstrate a high level of character and fitness to be licensed as a lawyer," Edick said.

Unlike some states, however, Michigan does not permanently disbar a lawyer, no matter how egregious the ethical violation.

Rather, a lawyer is forbidden to practice law for five years, after which he may attempt to regain his license.

According to Edick, though, "as a practical matter ... most lawyers who are disbarred are never reinstated again" because "not only do you have to persuade the discipline system that you have been rehabilitated, but you generally have to retake the bar exam."

In terms of an investigation, Edick said a criminal conviction serves as per se proof of misconduct.

"But, even if a criminal prosecutor declined to [press charges], we can still proceed with our own case," he said. "We have to prove the lawyer committed misconduct that amounts to a crime."
Traditionally, an AGC investigation takes three to six months to make its way before the Commission — six lawyers and three non-lawyer members who meet monthly to decide whether to refer cases to the Attorney Disciplinary Board (ADB) for adjudication.

"In certain situations, though, we are able to streamline," Edick said.

"Obviously, if we are presented with a criminal conviction, then we could probably move very quickly," he said. "If, on the other hand, there were simply media reports as to whether a particular lawyer had committed perjury, and there hadn't even been criminal charges filed, then it would be harder to say when that case may flower into a public complaint within the discipline system."

Regardless of the AGC's specific timeline, it appears almost certain that an investigation into Kilpatrick's alleged perjury is immient, because, as Edick said, the offense "goes to the heart of whether a person is fit to be a lawyer or not."

If you would like to comment on this story, please contact Melissa P. Stewart at (248) 865-3105 or

By definition
MCL 750.423 defines perjury as "[a]ny person authorized by any statute of this state to take an oath, or any person of whom an oath shall be required by law, who shall willfully swear falsely, in regard to any matter or thing, respecting which such oath is authorized or required, shall be guilty of perjury, a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 15 years."

Domino effect
Depending on the circumstances, the Attorney Grievance Commission's investigation may not stop with Kwame Kilpatrick.

According to both Peter J. Henning, a professional responsibility professor at Wayne State University Law School, and Robert E. Edick, deputy grievance administrator for the Attorney Grievance Commission, Kilpatrick's attorneys could face their own perjury complaints if they "offered material evidence, and [came] to know of its falsity" but failed to take "reasonable remedial measures" in violation of Rule 3.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC).

Kilpatrick's lawyers would be subject to discipline "if they knowingly put on perjured testimony ... because it goes to the integrity of the judicial process," Henning said.

However, both agreed that proving actual knowledge of perjury, as required for disciplinary action, is no small undertaking.

"The nub of the problem is proving the state of mind," said Edick, because "someone who is being sued is entitled to have an aggressive defense."

That said, he continued, "Lawyers have to stop short of perverting the fact-finding process at a trial by deliberately presenting false evidence or testimony."

Despite the obvious challenges with proving an attorney's state of mind, Edick said, "It's a very suitable issue that would have to be investigated."

According to him, that investigation would include objective, albeit circumstantial, evidence used to prove that the lawyer has actual knowledge of the perjury.

In order to prevail on a complaint, "we don't need to have the lawyer admit he or she knew the testimony was false," Edick said.

Moreover, he observed, a lawyer's duty to take "reasonable remedial measures" does not end until "after the trial [has ended] and the appeals have been exhausted."

Meaning, if the attorneys involved in the Whistleblower case against the City of Detroit learned of the perjury following the trial — but prior to entering into the confidential settlement agreement — they could be subject to an investigation.

"In terms of ramming through a settlement, coupled with a confidential agreement, we would almost always investigate to make sure that there was no misconduct," Edick said.
But, he cautioned, "One or two small facts really can make the difference of whether something is innocent or should be prosecuted, so we do not prejudge."

Despite multiple attempts to contact them, neither Samuel E. McCargo, who represents Kilpatrick, nor Valerie A. Colbert-Osamuede, who represents the City of Detroit, responded to requests for comment.

Following suit?
Christine Beatty, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's chief of staff quit her day job in the aftermath of the text message scandal.

From the look of things, she might have to quit her night job, as well.

Beatty is presently enrolled as a part-time student at Wayne State University Law School, which means she will likely be sitting for the Michigan Bar Exam someday soon.

Character and Fitness Board Chair Robert B. Ebersole would not comment about what effect the text message controversy might have on a possible bar admission application by Beatty, except to say that "each case is evaluated individually."

Character and Fitness Committee member Lawrence J. Acker of Bloomfield Hills, however, said the type of behavior Beatty has been accused of engaging in "can be an indication that the applicant does not qualify to be admitted to the bar."

However, Acker cautioned, "the charge alone would not be a basis to prevent an applicant from passing character and fitness ... [because] the standard is that the applicant demonstrate clear and convincing evidence of their character and fitness to be a lawyer."

© 2008 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.

60 Minutes Buries the Lead on Saddam's WMD Programs

The following Wall Street Journal article examines a 60 Minutes interview with FBI agent Scott Pelley that aired two Sundays ago. Pelley debriefed Saddam Hussein after his capture, and, as WSJ points out, 60 Minutes "buried the lead" regarding Saddam's blunt admissions that as long as he remained in power he intended to reconstitute his WMD program. Leadslike this get buried because they flatly contradict nearly 5 years of false media accusations that the Bush administration "lied us into war."

Buried WMD Scoop

February 1, 2008

Journalists are taught never to "bury the lead." Yet it looks as if that's precisely what CBS's "60 Minutes" did in reporter Scott Pelley's fascinating interview Sunday with George Piro, the FBI agent who debriefed Saddam Hussein following his capture in December 2003.

The Lebanese-born Mr. Piro, one of only a handful of agents at the bureau who speaks Arabic, was able to wheedle information from Saddam over a matter of months through a combination of flattery and ego-deflation that worked wonders with the former despot. But as Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute first noticed, the most important news in the segment comes when Mr. Piro describes his conversations with Saddam about weapons of mass destruction. The FBI interrogator says that, while Saddam said he no longer had active WMD programs in 2003, the dictator admitted that he intended to resume those programs as soon as he possibly could.

Here's the relevant segment, which appears well down in the interview:

Mr. Piro: "The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there."

Mr. Pelley: "And that was his intention?"

Mr. Piro: "Yes."

Mr. Pelley: "What weapons of mass destruction did he intend to pursue again once he had the opportunity?"

Mr. Piro: "He wanted to pursue all of WMD. So he wanted to reconstitute his entire WMD program."

Mr. Pelley: "Chemical, biological, even nuclear."

Mr. Piro: "Yes."

Iraq's active WMD program had been destroyed, mostly by U.N. weapons inspectors, sometime in the 1990s, but Saddam told Mr. Piro that he maintained a pretense of having those weapons mainly to keep Iran at bay. This isn't exactly news. The key point is Saddam's admission that an Iraqi WMD program remained a threat so long as Saddam remained in power.

Opponents of the war argue that none of this matters because Saddam and his ambitions were being "contained" by U.N. sanctions. Hardly. As the Los Angeles Times reported in December 2000, "sanctions are crumbling among U.S. allies, who have begun challenging them with dozens of unauthorized flights into [Iraq]."

Bowing to this reality, the Bush Administration came to office the following month promising to ease the sanctions regime, even as it spent billions patrolling the so-called "No-Fly Zones." And as we learned after the invasion, Saddam was well on his way to breaking free of the sanctions by bribing everyone from a British member of parliament to a former French cabinet minister, all through a U.N. convenience known as Oil for Food.

In another telling moment in the "60 Minutes" interview, Mr. Piro relates that when he asked Saddam about his use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians, the dictator acknowledged that he had given the orders personally and explained himself in a word: "Necessary." The same still goes for getting rid of Saddam.