Saturday, February 26, 2011

Libayans Being Slaughtered While Obama Waits For Polls

Calling Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s slaughter of his own citizens “outrageous” and “unacceptable,” President Barack Obama said Thursday that he was exploring the “full range of options” to respond to the crisis. “This violence must stop,” he declared.

But then, undercutting this stern warning, Obama announced that he was sending Under Secretary of State Bill Burns to Europe to “intensify our consultations with allies and partners about the situation” and Secretary Hillary Clinton to Geneva on Monday, again, “to consult” with other foreign ministers at a Human Rights Council meeting. (That is the same Council, by the way, to which Libya was elected last year, though State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday that Washington also wants Libya ousted from the Geneva-based, 47-member group.)

Obama said he was consulting with allies to ensure that “we join with the international community to speak with one voice to the government and the people of Libya.”

But while the diplomats blather and dither, Libyans are being killed. To put down the rebellion that has already liberated Benghazi and the western, most oil-rich part of the country, Gadhafi has taken the unprecedented step of paying African mercenaries to massacre his own people. There are reports that his planes have strafed civilian protesters and bombed residential compounds. This was too much even for the Arab League, which voted to suspend Libya’s membership in the organization.

No one is certain how many people have died so far in the rebellion against Gadhafi in this oil- rich nation of 6.5 million that Gadhafi has ruled since a coup some 42 years ago. But New York-based Human Rights Watch puts the death toll at nearly 300, according to a partial count. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called estimates of some 1,000 people killed "credible."

Rather than wait for Gadhafi to escalate and carry out threats to use poison gas and house-to-house searches to root out his enemies, Obama should act now, unilaterally, to stop the slaughter.

One of the options he should consider is to create a “no-fly zone” over the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern part of the country which Gadhafi-loyal troops still control. President George H. W. Bush imposed such a zone over the Kurdish part of Iraq in 1991 after the Gulf War to prevent another monster, Saddam Hussein, from punishing the Kurds for rising up against him.

Pentagon friends tell us that shutting down Libyan air space to prevent Gadhafi from using his air force to bomb his own people would be relatively simple to do in a few hours. Radar-homing missiles could target Libyan radar, and the country’s 13 airstrips could be bombed to prevent them from being used to land aircraft. Americans could also target Libyan Air Force planes on the ground, along with their contract Ukrainian pilots. Only about half of the 400-plus plane Libyan Air Force is estimated to be operational, the expert said.

Such a unilateral, immediate step makes good military sense, but even better political sense for Obama, whose leadership ratings have dropped to new lows, according to the latest Rasmussen poll. Both Gallup and Rasmussen show Obama's overall job approval having dropped some 3-5 points from its high water mark this year.

The reason is clear and unambiguous: Americans are deeply concerned about the impact of events in the Middle East on regional security. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in a recent Newsweek/Daily Beast poll said they feared that recent events would lead to more instability and fundamentalism in the region.

The American people want decisive action in the region generally, and in Libya specifically, to save lives and do whatever can be done to hasten the elimination of the murderous Gadhafi regime. More generally, they feel we could be doing more to confront extremist elements throughout the region.

Domestically, even Democrats feel that the president has been largely absent from the conflicts raging over collective bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana — politically important states in 2012 and elements of his victorious coalition in 2008.

So the domestic stakes in far-away Libya couldn’t be higher. His pollsters must be telling him that Jimmy Carter lost the presidency in 2000 due to the perception that he had failed to rally Americans at home, then bedeviled by stagflation domestically, or to confront enemies abroad, where Iran continued to hold American diplomats hostage.

If Gadhafi truly intends to fight to the last “man, the last woman, the last bullet,” as his son has vowed, Obama should act now to save lives in Libya and say to the American people — indeed to the world — that this administration will not wait for U.N. or even NATO meetings to stop the slaughter.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Obama Opposes Free And Fair Elections In Wisconsin

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s foreign relations or domestic disputes, President Obama is always on the wrong side of history.  Millions took to the street during Iran’s Green Revolution that protested a patently phony election which declared Ahmadinejad the president within an hour of the polls closing.  That mind blowing speed is not bad for a country mired with an authoritarian religion and culture based in the 7th century.  It’s also impossible.  Yet, our president kept silent for 10 days in 2009.

His initial comments were actually supportive of the government. We wouldn’t want to be construed as meddling, would we?  Ultimately, his only admonition to the government was to be nice to the demonstrators. That worked well. Ask all the dead ones.  He never called for new elections or even to request that the opposition to be a part of any negotiations.

But fast forward to today in Wisconsin.  We have a democratically elected Governor Scott Walker and a state legislature with a state that’s going broke because of the burden of union payrolls and pensions.  Here is a Republican governor and a Republican legislature that wants to do the right thing, reign in out-of-control spending and balance the budget.  Hmm, isn’t this something the American people think Obama should be doing in Washington?   Remember, the last election in 2010?  Republican swept the House.  So what does Obama do?  He has the nerve to open his yap to object to the Wisconsin governor and release the dogs to attack and bring havoc to his state. This is Ahmadinejad and his goons redux here in America. Obama is inciting a riot. Outrageous.

It’s outrageous on several fronts:

1) State’s Rights. Not only is Obama interfering in state politics (suing Arizona wasn’t enough). Obama doesn’t understand state’s rights.  He needs to read the Constitution; it’s in there.  Everything else Obama supports:  Obamacare, GM bailout, etc.  is not.    He then sends in his storm troopers, literally.   His Organizing with America, his political arm, has been coordinating the chaos and mayhem in Wisconsin in concert with union thugs.

2)  The Organizer In Chief can’t get his own house in order. Obama’s position of opposing the  reigning in of union largesse is now clearly shown for the world to see.  It stands in sharp contrast to Obama’s own federal budget plan.  There he is expanding the size of his deficit with his proposed federal budget, while simultaneously giving lip service to “deficit reduction” and being “business friendly”. Why he’s even met with top business execs this past week in Silicon Valley.   Helloooo, just how stupid does he think the American people are?  Plenty stupid, apparently.   But America is not buying what Obama is serving.   A Rasmussen poll released today shows just 23% of Americans strongly approving and 41% Strongly disapproving of the president.  Memo to Michelle, it’s not too early to ask your army of valets to start packing.

Incredible as that might be,  it doesn’t end there.

3)  A New Level of Radicalism. How radical is Obama’s position?  Obama finds himself very alone in his rabid support for his union thugs.  He’s now given up on playing that “centrist card”.    That didn’t last long.  His mentor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose New Deal and a Supreme Court packed with statists and lefties steered America more leftwards than any other president in American history, could not even support public civil service unions.
“Meticulous attention,” President Roosevelt declared in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
Why did Roosevelt say that?   Because as later expressed;
“[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”

Here’s how the Socialists are working the Wisconsin civil unrest- they love it.

The taxpayers are paying for the teachers to demonstrate. They’re unlawfully using their sick days.  This underscores the very reasons why Governor Walker is right in demanding reforms of the outrageous labor laws.  And as of today, the governor is not blinking and standing his ground. In most states, like Wisconsin and California, the labor unions write their own ticket and a kowtowing legislature rubber stamps it.  How else can we daily read about all the outrageous:  pensions, overtime, padding, lifetime employment, health benefits and salaries that make a normal working stiff wince?  The outrageous gravy train of benefits have already toppled a dozen cities and now threatens to topple scores more cites, counties and states.

4) Who is Getting Screwed? The Students, Parents, and the hapless Taxpayers.

Obama opposes the workings of a democratically elected Wisconsin governor and legislature.  The people voted in fair and open elections, this is what Obama doesn’t like.  He apparently likes rigged elections like those in Iran, where he supported the government- over the democracy movement during the Green Revolution there. 

Maybe, Wisconsin should borrow a page from Iran and develop its own nuclear bomb, that’ll quickly quiet up Obama, the nation’s first and hopefully last Community-Organizer-in-Chief.

Obama’s Alinsky-ite rantings are all to the detriment of students who have no classes, parents who must lose work to care for their stay at home students and for the hapless taxpayers of Wisconsin who are underwriting the demonstrations. 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Nazis Of The New Millenium

Here's an interesting exercise in history repeating.  Just take the following report from the AP, replace Hezbollah or Shiite with Nazi, Israel with "the Jews", and take a look at what you end up with: 

The Third Reich's leader told his Nazi guerrilla group Wednesday to be prepared to invade the Jews, a day after the Jewish defense minister warned that the quiet along the tense border could erupt into violence.

The comments by the two sides illustrate the fragile situation along the frontier since they (Jews and Nazis) fought a bitter, six-week war in the summer of 2006. The war ended in a U.N.-brokered truce but officials on both sides of the border believe it is only a matter of time before hostilities resume.

"I tell the holy warriors of the Third Reich to be ready for a day when, if war is imposed on us, your command might ask you to control the Jews," Nazi leader Adolf Hitler said in a televised speech Wednesday. The Galilee refers to land in northern Israel.

On Tuesday, Jewish Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured the Jewish military's northern command and told soldiers there that the quiet along the frontier might not last.

"This is not forever and it could under certain conditions deteriorate, and then you will have to be called on again, with everything you learned in training," he said. "Today the units are better trained and more prepared but there is always more to be done and you need to be ready for every test."

The Nazis and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Jews dead.

Also Wednesday, a Nazi cell commander who escaped from an Egyptian prison during the country's recent uprising appeared at the Nazi rally.  Adolf Hitler, better known as Der Fuerher, held up a Nazi flag and raised his hands in a V-for-victory sign Wednesday during the rally in Beirut.

The Nazi militant group says that Hitler was among the thousands of prisoners across Egypt who are believed to have escaped or been set free shortly after the revolt against longtime President Hosni Mubarak erupted Jan. 25. But this was his first public appearance.

Hitler was convicted in 2010 along with 25 others of spying for the Nazis and plotting attacks in Egypt.

Now read the article as it was actually written:
Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah's leader told his Shiite guerrilla group Wednesday to be prepared to invade northern Israel, a day after Israel's defense minister warned that the quiet along the tense border could erupt into violence.

The comments by the two sides illustrate the fragile situation along the frontier since they Israel and Hezbollah fought a bitter, six-week war in the summer of 2006. The war ended in a U.N.-brokered truce but officials on both sides of the border believe it is only a matter of time before hostilities resume.

"I tell the holy warriors of the Islamic Resistance to be ready for a day when, if war is imposed on us, your command might ask you to control the Galilee area," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech Wednesday. The Galilee refers to land in northern Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured the Israeli military's northern command and told soldiers there that the quiet along the frontier might not last.

"This is not forever and it could under certain conditions deteriorate, and then you will have to be called on again, with everything you learned in training," he said. "Today the units are better trained and more prepared but there is always more to be done and you need to be ready for every test."

Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead.

Also Wednesday, a Hezbollah cell commander who escaped from an Egyptian prison during the country's recent uprising appeared at the Hezbollah rally.  Mohammed Youssef Mansour, better known as Sami Chehab, held up a Hezbollah flag and raised his hands in a V-for-victory sign Wednesday during the rally in Beirut.

The Shiite militant group says that Mansour was among the thousands of prisoners across Egypt who are believed to have escaped or been set free shortly after the revolt against longtime President Hosni Mubarak erupted Jan. 25. But this was his first public appearance.

Mansour was convicted in 2010 along with 25 others of spying for Hezbollah and plotting attacks in Egypt.

If you haven't been concerned about the recent surge in radical Islam around the world, perhaps it's time you should be.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Public Sector Unions Win, The People Lose

The ferment in Wisconsin is no workers' uprising against the rich and powerful. It is instead political muscle-flexing by a well-funded special interest group, which is limbering up for President Obama's re-election bid. Obama's campaign, operating as Organizing for America, is bussing protesters to the state capitol and manning phone banks to apply pressure to state legislatures. Obama himself has called Gov. Scott Walker's bill curbing government-sector collective bargaining "an attack on unions."

While liberal writers wax romantic about a workers' uprising (former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote on Twitter "Wisconsin is spreading to Ohio -- America's microversion of Tunisia and Egypt. People are taking to the streets to get their rights"), what we're really seeing is the labor movement acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

Liberals and the White House try to blur the issue by lumping together government unions and labor unions in general. Obama wrongly calls Walker's bill "an attack on unions." It is, at its heart, a measure changing the way the state government procures labor -- Walker would end single-source contracts with a politically connected special interests.

Government unions in Wisconsin perfectly match the definition of "special interests," a term Obama often invokes. Four of the top six Wisconsin contributors to the 2010 elections were labor unions, with the state's teachers union giving $119,342 and the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees spending $83,888. The teachers union gave 96 percent of its money to Democrats, while Wisconsin AFSCME gave Democrats every penny.

Government unions spent $573,868 on Wisconsin's 2010 elections -- almost all of it going to Democrats -- while government employees spent another half million, with most going to Democrats.

Another characteristic of "special interests" is that they benefit at the expense of the public interest. Start with teachers unions that often work against students. Even setting aside the Wisconsin teachers abandoning their students last week in order to protest for higher pay and benefits, the teachers union has fought on the state level to interfere with Milwaukee's trail-blazing school choice program, which is so popular that Democrats in 2009 voted to cap the number of enrollees.

And of course, there's the budget question. Wisconsin has raised taxes in recent years, and is still facing a multibillion-dollar deficit. Other state programs are being trimmed, and Walker's effort would be about spreading the pain -- specifically shifting some of the government workers' retirement contributions from taxpayers to the workers. If the government unions win, they guarantee more pain for everyone else, especially taxpayers.

In the romantic liberal vision of this union uprising, determined workers are standing up to the powerful. But there's no fat-cat owner wanting to pocket more profits here. The unions' target in Wisconsin is the taxpayer.

At bottom, this is the unions versus the people.

For much of the Left, though, this about protecting the power of labor. Again, this ignores the fundamental difference between public-sector unions and private-sector unions. Even Franklin Roosevelt said, "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, campaign contributions by government-sector unions, collected through mandatory dues, help elect the public officials who are then supposed to negotiate with them: "The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table."

With this kind of leverage, it's no wonder that unions are thriving in the public sector -- only 6.9 percent of private-sector workers are unionized while 36.2 of government workers are. Moreover, as conservatives have long argued, when unions overreach in the private sector, they drive their employers out of business, and so unions only flourish under those employers -- governments -- that can't go out of business.

While governments won't go out of business, they are going broke. The electorate apparently now has an appetite for austerity, as evidenced by the Tea Party's success, Chris Christie's election in New Jersey, and Walker's election in Wisconsin.

Obama has shown how the Democrats will play this: as an opportunity to rally the base and try to pump more money out of the unions that spent tens of millions of dollars to elect him. It could backfire if taxpayers see the likes of Walker as a rare grown-up under attack by opportunistic and utterly politicized unions populated by overpaid government workers.

It's still unclear how Republicans will play this, though. Walker seems to be following the Christie model of standing up to the unions. Knowing Ohio Gov. John Kasich's temperament, he'll do the same. But will any GOP governors feel tempted to go the Arnold Schwarzenegger route of playing ball with the government unions?

With state budgets in crisis and the Democratic machinery already in all-out campaign mode, war has already been declared -- and if the unions win, the people lose.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Public Employee Labor Unions Should Be Outlawed

Q: What do Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama, the AFL-CIO, and the SEIU all have in common today? 

A: Supporting anarchy and encouraging the skirting of due process of law.

There has been a huge amount of inflammatory talk flung about in Wisconsin for the past few days.  The President is using words like "assault" to characterize the Governer's attempt to bring a bill up for vote in an attempt to deal with the state's budget gap.  Jesse Jackson is calling this a "Martin Luther King moment".  And Michael Moore is, well, being Michael Moore.  (Plus he heard about all the great pastries they have in Wisconsin and wouldn't miss it for all the tofu in Hollywood.)

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.  We did elect a man whose entire experience consisted of being a community organizer. But surprising or not, this blatant effort to incite class warfare is deplorable.

Michele Malkin stated it well in an op-ed piece in today's Washington Examiner:

This modest call for shared sacrifice has triggered the wrath of the White House-Big Labor-Michael Moore axis. On Thursday, President Obama lamented the "assault on unions." AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union bosses dubbed Walker the "Mubarak of the Midwest" while their minions toted posters of Walker's face superimposed on Hitler's.

Moore goaded thousands of striking union protesters to "shut down" the "new Cairo" while the state's Democratic legislators bailed on floor debate over the union reform package.

Does this sound like the language of people who are concerned with truth, justice, or the betterment of society?  More like rhetoric designed to evoke strong emotions, while distracting people from the truth. 

In the real world that most of us inhabit, employees have to contribute to their health insurance costs and their retirement savings plans.  We don't have collective bargaining agreements that allow for pay increases simply based on our tenure. 

She continues:

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that bringing American union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the workforce is tantamount to dictatorship.

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that by walking off their jobs and out of their classrooms, they are "putting children first."

If ever there were proof that public unions no longer work in the public interest, this is it. Big Labor dragoons workers into exclusive representation agreements, forces them to pay compulsory dues that fatten Democratic political coffers and then has the chutzpah to cast itself as an Egyptian-style "freedom" and "human rights" movement.

And that is the question that all Americans should be considering.  Is it fair to the rest of society that Big Labor leaders should be allowed to garnish wages from their members, protect them from the public against accountability for their job performance, then give millions of those dollars to political parties and candidates that promise to protect the empires they have built? 

After all, it is the PUBLIC that foots the bill for all of this.  We don't have a choice.  The law dictates that we must pay our taxes.  It's not like the rest of society where the consumer has the ability to do their business elsewhere.  If you are able to afford private education you're free to make that choice.  But you'll still have to pay for your local schools. 

Maybe the tax-paying public should form a union to protect their interests?  A union consisting of laws that do not allow employees of the public to collectively bargain for OUR money.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why Did CBS Cover-Up The Rape of Lara Logan In Tahrir Square?

Dateline — Egypt:
“[60 Minutes] correspondent Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs yelling, ‘Jew! Jew!’ as she covered the chaotic fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s main square Friday.”  Powerful reporting on an important story. Two problems: It didn’t run until yesterday, and CBS didn’t run it. The quote is from the New York Post. And it was The Wall Street Journal that reported “the separation and assault lasted roughly 20 to 30 minutes.”
“60 Minutes”...
But CBS? They sat on their own story. For five days, as reporters reveled amid giddy celebrations in Tahrir Square, and as President Obama praised President Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis, CBS reported nothing.

Only when other media had the story did CBS break the news that its own chief foreign correspondent was the victim of “a brutal and sustained sexual assault.”

Five days of silence — not even “60 Minutes” coverage of the Egypt story. No mention of the “mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy” who attacked their own reporter.  How is that not news?

Some women journalists, like WGBH’s Callie Crossley, complain that CBS should never have reported the story, that Logan should be treated like a rape victim in the United States.

But I’m with liberal columnist Richard Cohen of The Washington Post: “The sexual assault of a woman in the middle of a public square is a story  . . .  particularly because the crowd in Tahrir Square was almost invariably characterized as friendly and out for nothing but democracy,” Cohen wrote.

Watching the same complicit media we all saw, Cohen notes most journalists covered the mobs “as if they were reporting from Times Square on New Year’s Eve, stopping only at putting on a party hat.”

Even CBS’s own statement said Logan was “covering the jubilation” and was attacked “amidst the celebration.”  Having 200 “good guys” gang assault a female reporter while screaming “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative. Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public is a story about culture.

Rapes happen everywhere, it’s true. And political protests are a global phenomenon, too. But as’s Rachel Larimore says, “there’s a huge difference between flipping over a truck and spraying friends with beer and prying a woman away from her security detail and sexually assaulting her.”

Larimore wonders if “Logan’s attack [is] an anomaly, or is it to be expected from men raised in a culture that treats women as lesser citizens?

I would point her to the 2008 broadcast on the Al-Aribiya network of a female lawyer arguing that it’s OK for Muslim men to sexually assault Israeli women, because the Jews
have “raped the land.”

Or this week’s story of Hena, the 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl raped by a family member, then sentenced to 100 lashes by Muslim authorities for having sex out of wedlock. After 80 lashes, Hena died.

There are stories like this — and Logan’s — every week, all with the same cultural denominator.

For the record, Logan isn’t Jewish. And because she’s not Muslim, there’s no possibility she’ll face the lash.
But Lara Logan is a story. Why did CBS work so hard not to tell it?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hamas Chief Claims Americans Live Like Animals

The U.S. empire is in decline and will fall because of the country's "immorality," promotion of "open sexuality" and political "injustice," argued Mahmoud al-Zahar, the chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

He also predicted the rise of China and India as new superpowers, while hailing the revolution in Egypt that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally.

Zahar was speaking today by cell phone from Gaza to Aaron Klein on the latter's investigative program on New York's WABC Radio. It was the Hamas chieftain's first public comments on the recent chaos in Egypt.

After claiming Americans "live like animals," Zahar told Klein the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – the most organized opposition in Cairo – is the "most moderate organization, the most democratic organization, even more than the Western people."

Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Egypt.

'U.S. like fallen empires'
"It is well known," Zahar said, predicting the decline of the U.S., "any state without morality will not survive. Morality is not only having money. Morality is having justice. You are not implementing the justice."

He claimed Hamas was a weak and besieged authority in Gaza and stated, "You are going sooner or later to suffer from the same problem when your power decreased and the power of others, for example, China, India, Japan, as your history (shows) becomes more supreme."

"You are not serving your national interests" he said.

He also compared the U.S. to former European empires.

"Look to the British empire. Look to the French empire. Look to the German power," he said. "What was the cause of their destruction? Their immoralities. So I am not here fabricating or inventing a story or a theory. This is well known."

"Where is (sic) the big powers in the history? Finished. Why finished? Because of the injustice, because of the immorality," he concluded.

'Americans live like animals'
Zahar slammed U.S. culture and upheld Islamic Shariah law as the template for a moral society.

"Your (American) style is very bad style, is animal style. Life like animals," he exclaimed.

"You have one husband but you have 50,000 female girlfriends. And you have, the woman has one husband and has many boyfriends. This is the style? This is the animal style, this is not the human style."

Zahar lectured: "The human style has one family, one husband, or two or three [wives] according to our tradition if she has no chance to deliver or to have pregnancy, or if she is sick or so on."

Zahar pointed to Hamas' official television network, Al Aqsa TV, as espousing proper Islamic tradition and music. "But this is not the music to see the body of the woman bare. This open sexuality is not allowed for us," he said. "That destroyed your country. That destroyed your family and your integrity."

He continued, "We produce film, we produce songs, but it's committed to our morality, not to your style."
He went on to slam the U.S. for "injustice" against minorities.

"Your history in the West is not a history of justice," he said. "The discrimination between black and white, the discrimination between Muslim and non-Muslim, this is not lasting, or a life-lasting system."

Zahar told Klein that the West can learn from Islamic law: "Ask the Christian people in Egypt and the Christian people in Gaza about the Islamic law, that is the only law that protected the minority whether they are Jews or Christian," he stated.

Klein confronted Zahar about reports of persecution of Christians in the Gaza Strip under the rule of Hamas.

"What about taking a look at Hamas in the Gaza Strip?" asked Klein. "Since you came to power, Christians in Gaza have been targeted. We've had churches firebombed, we've had Christian leaders complain they cannot celebrate the Christmas. We had the sole Bible store in Gaza firebombed, its owner murdered. We've had Christians complain of rampant persecution and intimidation in Gaza."

Klein was referring to the October 2007 murder of Rami Ayyad, who managed the only Christian bookstore in Gaza. That murder was widely blamed on Islamists in Gaza.

Zahar countered, "This is one case killed. Now how many Christians [were] killed by the hands of the Christians in America? How many bodies went to the schools and shot the students in America? These are the crimes, but it is not the Islamic tradition."

Hails Middle East revolution
Zahar hailed the recent riots in Egypt that led to the downfall last week of Mubarak.

He warned, "Any leader who will be not supported by his people" will suffer a fate similar to Mubarak's.

He continued: "Jordan, there were demonstrations there. In Yemen, there are a lot of debates between the authority and others. So it is not a secret to say the phenomenon of the change is present all over the Arab countries."

Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, Zahar claimed, "The problem in the West is they are afraid from the Muslim Brotherhood because they know nothing about them."

The Hamas chieftain upheld the Brotherhood as "the most moderate organization, the most democratic organization, even more than the Western people. Don't search for the devil."

He said the Brotherhood strategy to assume power was one of progressive democratic gains in the Egyptian parliament.

"They [the Muslim Brotherhood] are going to participate by one third of the number of the parliament," he said.  "They can achieve more than that, but now in the expected era, they are going to participate only by one third of their power," he said. "This is the first step, but they are going to participate in the local councils in order to serve the people and to reconstruct what was destroyed by the corrupt systems."


Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama's Supporters Want to Declare Him an Atheist, But Even They Don't Really Know

President Obama‘s coddling of Islam has many Americans questioning his national-security judgment, if not his intentions. In his administration’s muddled response to the crisis in Egypt, one clear message came from all the president’s men: A new government in Cairo “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors,” as stated by White House spokesman Robert L. Gibbs. The hitch is that in the Middle East, nonsecular means radical Islamist, like the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, in the middle of this global clash of civilizations, Mr. Obama‘s own religious disposition is being questioned – and not from the right, but the left.

On his HBO show “Real Time” on Friday, host Bill Maher said of Mr. Obama, “I think he’s a centrist the way he’s a Christian – not really.  … His mother was a secular humanist and I think he is.” When Princeton University professor Cornel West challenged Mr. Maher‘s point about Mr. Obama‘s religion, saying, “He changed his mind on the God question, brother Bill,” the comic retorted, “It’s like when he says ‘I struggle with gay marriage’ – you don’t struggle with gay marriage, you’re fine with gay marriage.” Another guest – who insisted Mr. Obama has “always been pretty centrist” – helpfully reminded that Mr. Obama “did go to church before he was a candidate for the presidency.” That church, of course, was presided over by the racist, anti-American, hate-spewing Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Bill Maher can be a funny guy. His website flashes the crack, “It doesn’t make me un-American to say I’d rather live in Paris than in places where cheese only comes in individually wrapped slices.” Aside from the fact that bashing France is a national pasttime and a pretty reliable measure of patriotism, a man who prefers unpasteurized fromage can’t be all bad. That said, his humor has a very tangible dark side, especially when it comes to faith.

In the past, Mr. Maher has called Christianity “the ultimate hustle” and ridiculed the fight of good versus evil as a shakedown: “If God gets rid of the devil – and he could, he’s all powerful – well, then there’s no fear. There’s no reason to come to church. There’s no reason to pass the plate.” 

Liberals hate it when anybody throws their own gaffes back in their faces. Media Matters can chuck bricks at us all they want for taking purported cheap shots at the president. This debate over Mr. Obama‘s religion is happening among his most ardent supporters, just like the birther flames being fanned by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Mr. Obama‘s critics just sit back and laugh while Democrats do their dirty work for them. With friends like Mr. Maher, Mr. Obama doesn’t need enemies.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Is Global Warming Creating Weirder Weather or Just Weirder People?

Getty Images

Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter's fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December's blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.

But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.

As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."

In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.

Some climate alarmists claim that cyclones, such as Cyclone Yasi, are a result of man-made CO2 emissions.
We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don't know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors—solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets' gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.

Given the unknowns, it's possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change—as it always has.

That's not to say we're helpless. There is at least one climate lesson that we can draw from the recent weather: Whatever happens, prosperity and preparedness help. North Texas's ice storm wreaked havoc and left hundreds of football fans stranded, cold, and angry. But thanks to modern infrastructure, 21st century health care, and stockpiles of magnesium chloride and snow plows, the storm caused no reported deaths and Dallas managed to host the big game on Sunday.

Compare that outcome to the 55 people who reportedly died of pneumonia, respiratory problems and other cold-related illnesses in Bangladesh and Nepal when temperatures dropped to just above freezing last winter. Even rich countries can be caught off guard: Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain's GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames "the bad weather."

Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain's future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.

A sliver of the billions that British taxpayers spend on trying to control their climes could have bought them more of the supplies that helped Dallas recover more quickly. And, with a fraction of that sliver of prosperity, more Bangladeshis and Nepalis could have acquired the antibiotics and respirators to survive their cold spell.

A comparison of cyclones Yasi and Nargis tells a similar story: As devastating as Yasi has been, Australia's infrastructure, medicine, and emergency protocols meant the Category 5 storm has killed only one person so far. Australians are now mulling all the ways they could have better protected their property and economy.

But if they feel like counting their blessings, they need only look to the similar cyclone that hit the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008. Burma's military regime hadn't allowed for much of an economy before the cyclone, but Nargis destroyed nearly all the Delta had. Afterwards, the junta blocked foreign aid workers from delivering needed water purification and medical supplies. In the end, the government let Nargis kill more than 130,000 people.

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Does George Soros Support The Muslim Brotherhood?

An international "crisis management" group led by billionaire George Soros long has petitioned for the Egyptian government to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The International Crisis Group, or ICG, also released a report urging the Egyptian regime to allow the Brotherhood to establish an Islamist political party.

The ICG includes on its board Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the main opposition leaders in Egypt, as well as other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a June 2008 report entitled, "Egypt's Muslim Brothers Confrontation or Integration," Soros' ICG urges the Egyptian regime to allow the group to participate in political life.

The report dismisses Egypt's longstanding government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood as "dangerously short-sighted."

The ICG report called on President Hosni Mubarak's regime to "pave the way for the regularization of the Muslim Brothers' participation in political life," including by allowing for the "establishment of a political party with religious reference."

The ICG specifically stressed allowing the Brotherhood to serve as an Islamist party several times in its 2008 report.

The ICG and its personalities also long have petitioned for the Muslim Brotherhood to be allowed to join the Egyptian government.

WND reported earlier this week that Soros is one of eight members of the ICG executive committee. ElBaradei suspended his board membership in the ICG two weeks ago, after he returned to Egypt to lead the anti-Mubarak protests.

U.S. board members include Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to Jimmy Carter; Samuel Berger, who was Bill Clinton's national security adviser; and retired U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering, who made headlines in 2009 after meeting with Hamas leaders and calling for the U.S. to open ties to the Islamist group.

Another ICG member is Robert Malley, a former adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. He resigned after it was exposed he had communicated with Hamas. WND reported Malley long had petitioned for dialogue with Hamas.
The ICG defines itself as an "independent, non-profit, multinational organization, with 100 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict."

Meanwhile, Soros also has other ties to opposition groups in the Middle East.  His Open Society Institute's Middle East and North Africa Initiative has provided numerous grants to a wide range of projects that promote so-called democratic issues across the region, including in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood stands to gain from any future election.

Soros' Open Society also funded the main opposition voice in Tunisia, Radio Kalima, which championed the riots there that led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In September, Soros' group was looking to expand its operations in Egypt by hiring a new project manager for its Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which is run in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative. The group is seeking to develop a national network of legal empowerment actors for referral of public-interest law cases. Such organizations in the past have helped represent Muslim Brotherhood leaders seeking election or more authority in the country.

Soros himself on Friday made public statements in support of the protests in Egypt, which the Mubarak government has warned will result in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country.

In a Washington Post editorial entitled, "Why Obama Has to Get Egypt Right," Soros recognized that if free elections were held in Egypt, "the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force, though it is far from assured of a majority."

He stated the U.S. has "much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy" in Egypt.

He claimed the "Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei … is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system."

Soros did not mention his ties to ElBaradei.

Soros did, however, single out Israel as "the main stumbling block" in paving the way toward transition in the Middle East.

"In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks," he wrote.

Muslim Brotherhood awakens terrorist wing
WND reported yesterday an Egyptian Islamist terrorist organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood is re-establishing itself amid the political upheaval in Cairo.

Both Egyptian and Israeli security officials said the group, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, is being reconstituted at the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The officials affirmed Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya serves as the de fact "military" wing of the Brotherhood, which originally founded Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.

Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya is suspected of involvement in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and it took credit for the 1995 attempt on the life of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. It has carried out scores of deadly terrorist attacks, some targeting foreign tourists.

The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.

While the Brotherhood claimed it abandoned violence to push for a peaceful takeover of Egypt, the group's new spiritual leader, Muhammad Badi, recently publicly has called for violent jihad, including against the U.S.  On Sunday, an Egyptian security official was quoted in the news media stating Egyptian troops had arrested two armed Palestinians from Hamas who entered the country illegally from the Gaza Strip.

The security official told reporters the men had crossed from Gaza into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula using smuggling tunnels and that they were arrested in a stolen car in the town of el-Arish, near the border, along with three Egyptian smugglers.

The official told the Associated Press the two Hamas men were caught with weapons, hand grenades, two RPGs and about $8,600 in cash.

A senior Egyptian security official speaking to WND on Monday said an investigation found the two Hamas men were aiding in the reorganization of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, which, he said, is attempting to reconstitute itself under the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian security official said Hamas is helping Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya organize into divisions and to arm itself with weapons currently in the Sinai waiting to be smuggled into Gaza.

Both Israel and Egypt say Hamas has amassed a large quantity of weapons in the Sinai Peninsula, where the Islamist group has been attempting to smuggle the weaponry into Gaza.

Now, the Egyptian security official said, some of those weapons are going to arm the reconstituted Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.

Notorious terrorist attacks
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, and is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S., European Union and Egypt. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, the group is dedicated to the overthrow of Mubarak, seeking to replace his regime with an Islamic state.

The group has carried out numerous deadly attacks.  Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya may have been involved indirectly in Sadat's assassination. The group's leader has talked publicly about collaborating in planning the murder with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was blamed for the killing.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya carried out scores of terrorist acts in Egypt, including the murders and attempted murders of prominent Egyptian writers and intellectuals. The group also targeted tourists and foreigners.

In 1997, it carried out the notorious Luxor massacre in Luxor, Egypt, killing 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians. Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya went on a shooting rampage in that attack, even reportedly mutilating the bodies of victims. A note praising Islam was found inside one disemboweled body.

One year earlier, in 1996, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya carried out a shooting rampage at the Europa Hotel in Cairo, killing 18 Greek tourists.

In 1995, the group took responsibility for a car bomb attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, murdering 16 people.

After a massive Egyptian crackdown on the group in 1997 following the Luxur attack, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya brokered a deal with the Egyptian government that is known as the Nonviolence Initiative, in which some leaders of the movement said they renounced violence.

Still, exiled leaders of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya maintained the group would not give up its violence.

Brotherhood declares war on U.S.
Multiple prominent U.S. commentators also have been claiming the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization and denying any Islamist plot to seize power.  In November, the Brotherhood's new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi, delivered a sermon entitled, "How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny."

"Resistance is the only solution," stated Badi. "The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan because it has been defeated by Islamist warriors."

Badi went on to declare the U.S. is easy to defeat through violence, since it is "experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading toward its demise."


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Egyptian Military Will Select The New Ruler

With the current upheaval in Egypt, a quick look at the history of government there might help in considering what changes, if any, might be expected.

Fatimid Caliphate
In the late 10th Century, the Fatimids conquered Egypt, transferring their capital there in 969. The Fatimids were an Arab family claiming descent from Mohammad’s daughter Fatima who established themselves among the Berber population in what is modern day Tunisia. They eventually established a Shia Caliphate across North Africa after defeating the Abbasid Caliphate. Their power was based on foreign troops, particularly their Mamluk slave-soldiers. They eventually lost control of their various troops who began fighting each other, leaving their state vulnerable, first to the Crusades, and eventually to the leader of the army that defeated the Third Crusade.

Ayyubid Dynasty

In 1171 Saladin finally did away with the last Fatimid Caliph and declared himself ruler of Egypt. Saladin had been in Egypt fighting the Crusaders and simply took advantage of the chaos to create his own state.  Like the Fatimids, Saladin’s army was composed primarily of Mamluk slave-soldiers. When Saladin’s sons proved significantly less adept at both war and politics than Saladin, and the Crusaders returned, the Mamluks moved to replace the Ayyubids.

Bahri Mamluks
In 1259 Louis IX of France led the Seventh Crusade into Egypt. The reigning Ayubbid Sultan died suddenly and before his heir could arrive the Mamluks defeated the Crusaders and declared their own state in 1260.  The Mamluks were, as noted, slaves. They were typically Christians who were captured or purchased as children and converted to Islam. The Bahri dynasty was of Kipchak Turkic heritage, and managed to hold Egypt against both the Mongols and additional Crusades until a revolt that began in Syria spread through their realm and another Mamluk dynasty replaced them.

Bujri Mamluks
In 1377 the Bujri Mamluks, of Circassian heritage, took advantage of the latest chaos to replace the Bahri Mamluks. During their reign they fought against the Muslim ruler Tamerlane before eventually being conquered by the Ottomans and their Janissary slave-soldiers.

The Ottomans
Although the Ottomans had overthrown the Mamluks they eventually turned most of the control of Egypt back to them, contenting themselves with appointing a Governor, and letting the wealthy Mamluk families who served as the nobility run things. Over time these families came to dominate politics so much as to be semi-autonomous, owing little more than token fealty to the Sultan.

The French
In 1798 Napoleon carried out his plan to conquer Egypt in an attempt to cut off British trade to the Far East. Initially successful the combined British and Ottoman response, failing support from the Mamluk noble families, and decaying political situation in France caused Napoleon to leave the expedition, the remaining troops holding out until they negotiated a surrender to the British in 1802. Although of short duration the expedition opened the door for the next ruler of Egypt.

Muhammad Ali Dynasty

The Albanian leader of Ottoman troops sent to deal with the French, Muhammad Ali seized the opportunity to eliminate the last remnants of the Mamluks, expel the Ottoman governor, and declare himself ruler of Egypt. He fought for the Ottomans against the Sauds who were attempting to conquer the Hejaz (the area of Arabia containing Mecca and Medina), but later turned on them completely, seizing Syria, and threatening to overthrow the empire entirely. Intervention by the British and French, who did not want to see an expansion of Russian power if the Ottomans fell, forced him to settle, and he retained only Egypt. His children were nowhere near as competent as he was, and they swiftly fell under British control.

British Egypt
Starting in 1876 the British government began taking increasing control of the Egyptian government as it went bankrupt trying to conquer Sudan. This turned to complete occupation in 1882 when British troops landed. Under varying forms and names the British would control the government of Egypt through the descendents of Muhammad Ali until 1922.

Muhammad Ali Redux – Kingdom of Egypt
When the British finally gave up their protectorate the current ruler was declared a King. Despite the formal end of the protectorate Kings Fuad and Farouk were still considered puppets of the British, and discontent persisted throughout their reigns, exacerbated by the defeat in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1952 the Egyptian army mutinied, replacing Farouk with Fuad II, formally ending the monarchy in 1953.

Republic of Egypt
Following the overthrow of the monarchy, Egypt established a republic in 1953. Since then Egypt has had four Presidents. The first, Muhammad Naguib, was one of those idealistic rebels who actually expected to turn Egypt over to civilian rule. He lost a power struggle with Nasser and was forced out after holding office for a year. The other three, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar El Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak, have all ruled effectively with the approval of the army, by way of the National Democratic Party, and under emergency law for most of the time since 1967. Despite the name it has always functionally been a military dictatorship, with more in common with the Mamluks than an actual republic.

Depending on how you view the Fatimid Caliphate, Egypt has been under military rule for 829 or all of the last thousand years.  Depending on how you view Soviet and American subsidies, Egypt has been under foreign influence or foreign dynasties for all or all but 58 of the last thousand years.  It seems almost certain that only direct foreign intervention will prevent the Egyptian military from determining who the next ruler of Egypt will be. All that remains uncertain is the exact identity of that person.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Obama Begins Talking About Religion Again. Why?

President Obama inhabits a largely secular presidency, rarely blending his religious beliefs with his public duties, and spending more Sundays shooting hoops than going to church. So it was a notable shift when Obama went deeply devout for last week's National Prayer Breakfast, telling attendees the role daily prayer plays in his life.
"When I wake in the morning, I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to give me the strength to do right by our country and its people," Obama said. "And when I go to bed at night, I wait on the Lord, and I ask Him to forgive me my sins, and look after my family and the American people, and make me an instrument of His will."

A cynical interpretation would note Obama's intensely religious rhetoric -- even for a prayerful event -- coincides with the unofficial start of the presidential campaign season.  At the same time, Obama talked frankly about his family's "certain skepticism" about organized religion, and noted his father was "a nonbeliever." Obama's own path to religion was through the civil rights movement.

"Religion is a touchy thing and it has to be handled very carefully to not make it seem like the president is doing it for political reasons," said Jim Pfiffner, a professor of public policy at George Mason University.

Religion maintains a central role in politics and is likely to do so in 2012. Among other features, two Mormons, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are considering Republican primary runs, along with Mike Huckabee, an evangelical Christian.

While the Republicans are more closely associated with religion and politics given the strong role Christian conservatives play in the party, John C. Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron, noted the Democrats have their religious constituencies as well.  Obama in 2008 won in part with the support of black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Jews, Muslims and more, Green noted.

"The question in 2012 will be which side, which party will be able to develop that enthusiasm from their core religious constituencies," Green said.

Obama's former congregation in Chicago, Trinity United Church, came under scrutiny during the 2008 presidential campaign when pastor Jeremiah Wright's sermons were judged by critics to be intemperate, even anti-American.

Obama has yet to find a regular congregation in Washington. The family reportedly enjoys attending services at the Evergreen Chapel when they are at Camp David, and have sampled local Protestant churches.

Obama's predecessor, former President George W. Bush, was by contrast a born-again Christian who used evangelical language frequently in his presidency, often talked about how his religion informed his decision making, and was a regular church attendee.

Mark Gammon, an assistant professor of religion at Simpson College in Iowa, noted that Obama "comes out of that spiritually adrift generation," a background that made him compelling to many Americans.
"I think there are people for whom there are these religious litmus tests, and they take them very seriously," Gammon said of voters.