Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Comparing Apples And Oranges On The Mosque Issue

That is what people who claim there are mosques four blocks away from Ground Zero, so what's the big deal with building one near Ground Zero? How far is far enough to suit these Islamaphobic bigots anyway?

That is just apples and oranges - yes, there is a mosque four blocks away from Ground Zero, but it has been there for DECADES. Its site was not chosen specifically because it was close to an area targeted by Islamic extremists. The Masjid Manhattan was not chosen precisely because [art of the landing gear of a jet that had been turned into a WMD fell into it, as was the case for the Park 51 mosque. There is a world of difference between the two. It is disconcerting that people like Alex DiBranco, who wrote the article linked above, or since you've probably not heard of him, Mara Liasson of NPR, who made that argument Monday, 8/30, on Fox News All Stars:
[snip] Right, the critics of the project do have a responsibility to say where in Manhattan it would be OK, because there is a mosque four blocks from ground zero, currently. Would they like that one moved?

If it's just the location, and it's not the fact that a mosque is being built, where would it be OK? On Staten Island, the upper west side? Where would it be OK? Because there have been other anti-mosque demonstrations elsewhere around the country that are very far from ground zero.

So I think it's important for the people against this to be extremely clear about exactly what they're against.[snip]

Well, gosh, Ms. Liasson, I think people have been EXTREMELY clear about why they do not want this mosque built in that location by this developer and why.

Good grief. There is a serious lack of logic operating there (or rather, not operating). How can these people be so obtuse? Is it intentional, or do they really not see there is a huge difference between the two?

The same goes for Obama and his ridiculous, uh, I mean, "brilliant" statement to the effect if Jews wanted to build a synagogue there, or Christians a church, a Hindu temples, etc., that should be A-Okay. No problem with that at all. Well, for once I agree with him, but not because of the conflation and distortion he is utilizing, but because, yes, those groups should be able to build near Ground Zero if they wish (or perhaps an interfaith center to house them all). Why? Because THEY DID NOT MURDER THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS as a direct result of their faith (distortion that it may be). That's why.

Jews, Christians, Hindis, Buddhists, Wiccans, any other group you can think of, did not pick a location close to where a group affiliated with their religion murdered thousands of people BECAUSE it was close to that site.

And it wasn't their first attack on that site, either, though too many people seem quick to forget that. This was the second time in less than ten years that Muslims attacked the World Trade Towers. Again, they weren't terrorists who happened to be Muslims, but because of their particular belief system, were terrorists because they were Muslims.

Just yesterday, we had two more Muslims from Detroitpicked up in Amsterdam who were conducting a dry run to see if they could get materials on board a US flight. The scary thing is, they were able to do so. There was the "Christmas Day" bomber. The NYC bomber. There are Muslim extremists planning - actively planning - to do us harm.

Of course, that does not mean all Muslims are bad, or out to get our country. We understand that, too. But to continue to deny that there ARE terrorists out there who want to harm the US because of their Muslim faith is the worst kind of "tolerance." That isn't "tolerance," that is stupidity.

So, yes, there are over 100 mosques in New York City. We know this. That's fine. Whatever. And yes, there is one four blocks away that was built decades ago. So? All these folks making that point, or what they think is a point, just need to stop trying to act like its the same thing. It is not.

As I have said before, it is about decency and compassion for those who lost loved ones at Ground Zero, and for the whole country, which may not ever fully heal from that attack on our soil. Conflating this one mosque being built (by a developer with a rap sheet a mile long, I might add) near Ground Zero in a building that had part of the jet land in it has absolutely NOTHING to do with where other mosques are, especially ones that have been there for decades. Nor does it have anything to do with other religious faiths being able to build near Ground Zero.

These are red herrings, obfuscations, the sole purpose of which is to deny the reality of what happened at Ground Zero through the appearance of "tolerance." Maybe Mara Liasson can forget it. Maybe President Obama can forget it. But the majority of Americans cannot, have not, and will not.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Here's Ya A Sign..."

Actually, here are a number of signs, in fact. Allegedly, these are real signs on Northbound I-5 in Washington State, below Seattle (and I wish I knew who to credit for these). With so much going on right now, there is nothing like a little humor to deal with it all, right (even if some of the words are misspelled)? Enjoy:

And for some "News You Can Use," there is this tidbit - guess who else owes back taxes (you know, besides Charlie Rangel, and Timmy Geithner before he became the head of the IRS)? That would be the developers of the mosque near Ground Zero:
The mosque developers are tax deadbeats.

Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show. (Emphasis mine.)

El-Gamal's company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.

The delinquency is a possible violation of El-Gamal's lease with Con Edison, which owns half of the proposed building site on Park Place. El-Gamal owns the other half but must pay taxes on the entire parcel. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Oops. So, after all of this brouhaha around this developer building a mosque so close to Ground Zero (for its proximity to that hallowed ground), all of the angst this has caused so many people may very well have been for nothing. Are you kidding me? Sure seems that way since this massive delinquency this could violate their lease.

Um, no one thought to check the tax records before? What a mess, and getting messier by the day.

Oh, and here is another good one from the Dallas News about Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas:
Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so "unknowingly" and would work with the foundation to "rectify the financial situation." [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

As Rev. Jeremiah Wright said, "Americans chickens are coming home to roost..." Amen to that, brother, but I bet this isn't what he meant by it. Still, truth will out, at least sometimes.

Just ask the drivers on Northbound I-5...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Orleans Today, Five Years After Katrina

New Orleans is in the news this week as we mark the Fifth Anniversary of Katrina, and the devastation wreaked on this city. It is remarkable to see how much has changed, and how much hasn't.

But who could forget the images from the Superdome, both the structure itself, and the refuge it provided for numerous people. Look at it now:

What a remarkable difference between then and now. But there are still major issues that need to be addressed, like transportation and housing:

No doubt, people are still angry in the New Orleans area. How could they not be? They lost so much, homes, pets (one of my best friends adopted a dog who was displaced from the Hurricane Katrina. He worked with an organization in NC to provide shelter for these animals.) People moved away in droves from the New Orleans area, and many have yet to return.

Dr. Dale Archer, a psychiatrist who grew up in Louisiana, talks about the issue of people not yet returning, and other pressing issues facing New Orleans:

New Orleans (and its surrounding environs) are only five years into a twenty year rebuilding plan. They still have quite a ways to go, especially when, as Dr. Archer pointed out, they are also contending with the BP oil spill, along with the rest of the Gulf States. The impact of the BP oil spill cannot be minimized. It was a huge blow on top of the current regrouping underway post-Katrina.

All of that is to say, the people of New Orleans continue to deal with a lot, but they are a resilient people. Those who stayed are working hard to breathe new life into this one-of-a-kind city. They need our continued support, as well, both on a governmental level, and with our tourist dollars. If you can, go visit. And have a beignet for me at Cafe DuMonde.

Go, Saints!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Who Let The Dogs Out?"

Apparently a GOP district in Minnesota as evidenced by a video created by some knuckle-dragger who thought it would be, gosh, I don't know - funny? membership recruitment? cool? - whatever this webmaster person thought he was doing when he created a video highlighting how much better looking Republican women are than Democratic women. Only he didn't put it that nicely. And yes, he used the song, "Who Let The Dogs Out" in it to describe the Democratic women.

Well, one of the alleged Republican women depicted in the video, supermodel, CEO, and chief designer, Kathy Ireland, took exception to the depiction of women in this video in a BIG way. In this AOL News opinion piece, Ireland spoke out:
There are so many warning signs that negativity is devouring honest political discourse in our country, and one of these recently made me a very unwilling part of it. When misogyny becomes part of victory at any price, our democracy is embarrassed and endangered.

Here's what happened, and here's why I'm angry and why I feel any American of whatever party or gender should be furious too.

Suddenly it was widely reported on the Internet that a GOP political blog in Minnesota had posted a disgusting video that proclaimed Republican women -- candidates and supporters -- are attractive and that their Democratic counterparts are, in the most disturbing and distorted photo presentations in their video, just the opposite. This vulgarity and flat-out misrepresentation of all women identified as Democrats was to the accompaniment of the rock song "Who Let the Dogs Out?" That shows the level of maturity.

The more appropriate question is, "Who in the Minnesota Republican campaign let these people near a computer?" Everything about this sordid business was vile. But the most awful fact is that it is absolutely representative of the tastelessness and negativity that is now the American political landscape.

I had become personally involved in this low point of political conniving because these bloggers identified me by name and photo (in swimwear, of course) as one of the "Republican babes" about whom they were boasting. My assumption is that my open position on the life issue has caused the video makers to place me in a Republican box. I'm too odd-shaped to fit into any neat little box. I vote for integrity, character, leadership and policy, regardless of party label. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Dang - you go, Ms. Ireland! You tell 'em! And did she ever as she continued:
But my fury derives from the way these "leaders," and a bipartisan collection of other political negativists on both sides of the aisle, are debasing our democracy and the essential exercise of our privilege to vote our leaders in or out. Political candidates of every stripe are responsible for holding their supporters and campaign teams to their own ethical standards, or else we have to assume that these excesses (whether their prejudices are misogyny or any other form of ignorance) represent what the candidates stand for. [snip]

Snap!!! You said it (and click here to read the rest). You betcha - this kind of thing is indicative of how a candidate, a politician, sees women. Like when Obama's Chief Speechwriter, Jon Favreau, now his White House Chief speechwriter, had a photo taken of him groping the breast of a Hillary Clinton life-size cutout, which he put on his Facebook page, and was still able to keep his job, it told us EXACTLY what we needed to know about Obama. Not only did he keep someone who clearly had a disrespect for women, but disrespected his future Secretary of State, that said it all. Not that those of us paying attention needed any more proof. We had seen plenty enough misogyny spewed Clinton's way from Obama, his team, and the DNC long before this disturbing incident.

Good for Kathy Ireland for calling this what it is - misogyny. I appreciate her speaking out in no uncertain terms about what this looked like, and felt like, to her. She really nailed it on the head, and was absolutely right to call people to account for this kind of video.

I should add, the Minnesota GOP was none too pleased with this video, as this Atlantic article acknowledges, "Minnesota GOP Not Pleased With Sexist Video":
[snip]The video was released by a Republican Party unit, akin to a county committee, in Senate District 56, and the Minnesota Republican Party is quick to point out that this is NOT their doing. They are, in fact, none too pleased with it.

"It was down before we even knew it was up, and obviously it's wrong and obviously it's inappropriate," Minnesota GOP spokesman Mark Drake said.

"I think some people from the party have been in touch with them," Drake said when asked if the state party has called the Senate District 56 Republicans to scold them about the web ad. "I don't think anyone's pleased that it was up." [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Good for them for making that clear. So did some of the Republican women candidates.

And how about the guy who made the video, Randy Brown? What does he have to say about it? I bet you know what's coming. It was just humor, people.

Um, no. It wasn't humor, and it wasn't funny. Kathy Ireland said it all: it was sexist and misogynistic. Maybe Brown thinks that's funny. I sure as hell do not.

One last note, and this is to John McEnroe, who felt compelled to demonstrate his sexism once again in this NY Post article, "Tennis Loudmouth John McEnroe Says Women Players More Fragile Than Men," please stop talking now. Yes, he said it:
Tantrum-prone tennis bad boy John McEnroe hit a smash shot at the ladies Friday, saying women players aren't tough enough to compete in as many tournaments as men.

"They should be required to be in less events. There should be less events for the women," McEnroe said on a CBS Sports conference call about its coverage of the U.S. Open, which starts Monday in Flushing Meadows.


"You shouldn't push them to play more than they're capable of," McEnroe said of the female players.

"It seems it takes an actual meltdown on the court or women quitting the game altogether before they realize there's a need to change the schedule." [snip] (click here to read more.)

Do I even have to mention that former pro player, Mary Carillo, and current tennis announcer with McEnroe, was not amused? Especially since she won the 1977 French Open mixed doubles championship with him. I am sure, beside Carillo, most of the pro women weren't either. I'd love to see him say that to Serena Williams face, wouldn't you?

John, here's a little tip for you - put a tennis ball in it, you sexist pig. Oh, and you have a call - it's from Kathy Ireland.

Friday, August 27, 2010

News You Don't Want To Miss (aka, You Won't Believe This)

There is much in the news about our current economic crisis right now, the mosque Imam Rauf wants to build near Ground Zero (on purpose), and Obama's 274th vacation (okay, not really, but it seems like it).

But I'm not talking about any of that. Nope, I have some interesting little news tidbits for you.

First up, Rep. Maxine Water's attorneys are irritated that she is still being investigated. Yes, they want the Ethics Committee to "Leave Maxine ALOONNNEEE!" They assert that since the formal probe is over, the Ethics Committee should knock it off. But as The Hill article indicates, they aren't the boss of the Ethics Committee:
[snip] Unlike criminal proceedings, however, the ethics committee itself, not a judge, determines whether Waters’s legal arguments are accepted or dismissed. For that reason, it’s unlikely the panel will halt its activities after receiving the letter from Brand and Herman. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

So, there's that. Perhaps it didn't occur to them that Rep. Waters might have committed additional ethics violations. Just a thought.

Second up, and you're going to love this, is Ed Schultz, of MSNBO and Air America fame, had himself a little "Mel Gibson" moment, as this NY Post article, "MSNBC's Ed Schultz Goes Bonkers." Just wait until you read why:
MSNBC talk show screamer Ed Schultz had a meltdown in the network's 30 Rock newsroom, shouting at staff, "I'm going to torch this [bleep]ing place."

The hot-tempered anchor of "The Ed Show" lost it during a phone call in the packed studio and slammed down the phone before exploding.

As astonished MSNBC staff members fell silent, Schultz glared around the room and yelled, "[Bleep]ers!"

A witness told us, "Ed was furious the network was running election-night promos and he wasn't in them. He'd been arguing on the phone with marketing, then he slammed down the phone and exploded. It was like Mel Gibson had entered the newsroom." [snip]

But wait - there's more:
[snip] Our source added, "Schultz was told: 'If you do that again, you are fired.' He broke down crying."

Sources say the hothead was pushed over the edge by MSNBC's catering to bullying fellow anchor Keith Olbermann and its focus on golden girl Rachel Maddow. [snip]
(Click HERE to read the rest.)

Poor Ed - not feeling the love. Just breaks your heart for him that the MSNBO Execs love Keith and Rachel more, doesn't it? Oh yeah, my heart bleeds for him.

Finally, did you know that the other name by which the Tea Party should be known is the KKK? Oh, yes, indeedy. Check out this OBC, I mean, ABC, report:

Did you catch that quote at the end? Apparently, Rev. Fauntroy didn't since he justified his remarks with this explanation:
[snip]Fauntroy attempted to explain the comparison to white supremacists by saying that organizers behind the "Restoring Honor" rally are the same people who cut audio cables from a sound system the night before the historic March on Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Well, that certainly makes it all better: Tea Party = White Supremacists. I mean, c'mon, who could possibly take offense at that connection? Never mind that it is completely false, but hey - you know, that's all he meant by it. No big deal or anything.

Good grief. All because the Tea Party dared to hold a rally around the same time they are being compared to KKK members? I have to say it - Rev, Fauntroy completely missed the message Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was trying to impart. His son said it all - his father "would not want to limit voices." So, why is Rev. Fauntroy attempting to do so with this incendiary speech? That's what I would like to know.

I am sure there are more stories out there that we may have missed. Let's have them!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Right To Vote, The Right To An Education

Recently, the United States celebrated the 90th anniversary of women's right to vote. That right was won by the significant efforts of a number of women, many of whom were jailed, beaten, and starved, fighting for this right. We honor them, and all that they have made possible for us 90 years later.

Now we have women governors, senators, representatives, and Secretaries of State. I can only imagine what out founding mothers would have thought of that, the joy, the excitement, the relief. No doubt, things have changed in this country for women. Not that women are treated as full equals yet in the United States. The sexism and misogyny evidenced by one of the two major political parties in 2008 made that abundantly clear. But things are better. We strive, still, for equal equal pay, for equal representation, for our first woman president, but there is no denying we are better off now than we were 90 years ago.

Indeed, our foremothers worked hard for this, as many of us have in the intervening years. But there are other countries, like Afghanistan, for example, where girls are in danger for merely trying to get an education. Yes, on Wednesday of this week, a girls' school had poisonous gas spread throughout the school, sickening a number of the girls and teachers. Who would do such a thing? The Taliban would:
[snip] Wednesday's incident follows a similar pattern seen in other recent attacks at girls' schools involving an airborne substance which officials say could be some form of gas.

Those have raised fears that the Taliban and other allied groups who oppose female education are using a new method to scare them away from classes. [snip]

Wow. I scarcely know how to respond to this. It is despicable. And it is a pattern with the Taliban:
[snip] "This has happened a couple of times before, mainly in the northern province of Kunduz. At the time, it was also said, that these girls were poisoned and officials pointed the finger at the Taliban and rightly so," she said.

"However, there is still no hard conclusion on who is behind this attack and what kind of poisoning is taking place."

The Taliban banned education for girls during their Afghan rule from 1996-2001, but have condemned similar attacks in the past.

They have, however, set fire to dozens of schools, threatened teachers and even attacked schoolgirls in rural areas.

In one attack in Kandahar in 2008,around 15 girls and teachers were sprayed with acid by men on motorbikes.

In parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan, particularly in Taliban strongholds, schools for girls still remain closed. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

This attitude toward women and girls is a bitter pill to swallow. As is this headline from The Hill, "Sen. Kerry: 'Very active' efforts under way to reach settlement with Taliban." What? How? Why? Kerry explains:
[snip]"I can report without being specific that there are efforts under way. They are serious, and I completely agree with that fundamental premise — and so does General [David] Petraeus and so does President Obama — there is no military solution," he told NPR. "And there are very active efforts now to seek an appropriate kind of political settlement."

U.S. officials have acknowledged that some sort of political settlement must be reached with the Taliban — a loosely affiliated group of Islamic insurgents that control large swaths of territory in Afghanistan — in order to bring an end to the almost nine-year-long U.S. war there.

The beginning of settlement negotiations represents a significant development in terms of Western involvement there...

Kerry said any "appropriate" settlement would have to include "a renunciation of al Qaeda," a "reduction of violence," a "recognition of the constitutional rights of both Pakistan and Afghanistan and greater efforts to reduce sanctuaries for insurgency."[snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

And what about the women and girls, Senator Kerry? What about them, in your "negotiations" with terrorists? Yeah, I know - who gives a damn about them? They are just "casualties," I suppose, necessary capitulations to this woman-hating group.

How it is Kerry, and Obama, think having active negotiations with the Taliban is a good thing? What are the chances, really, that, if they can even get some of these groups to come to the table, they will even keep their word should a compromise be reached?

And what about these women, these girls? The ones gassed by members of the Taliban to prevent them from learning? Or, the Taliban members who throw acid in the faces of these girls in an attempt to force them our of school? Oh, yeah - these sounds like just the kind of people with whom we should be engaging in "very active" negotiations. You know, since we are choosing to negotiate with terrorists in the first place.

I cannot help but be reminded of this powerful moment (again) of CJ Craig on "West Wing":

Wow. Yep, that sounds a little too familiar...

Indeed, I am thankful, grateful, and humbled for the work our foremothers did to secure us the right to vote in this country. For the women who fought to make this possible: Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and all the other remarkable women who enabled for us to have this right, thank you.

May the young girls and women of Afghanistan one day be allowed to learn, to study, to be educated. And may they, one day, one day soon, be full participants in their country. Sadly, that day is not today.

One other note - almost 200 women and 4 boys were raped near a UN Peacekeepers camp in Congo. And what has the UN said about it? They're looking into it. Well, it only happened three weeks ago, so you can see why it might take them a while to come out with any kind of statement. Right. Sec. Clinton spoke out about this atrocity, and you can read her remarks HERE, but this sums it up:
[snip]"Sexual violence harms more than its immediate victims. It denies and destroys our common dignity, it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as humans, it endangers families and communities, it erodes social and political stability, and it undermines economic progress. These travesties, committed with impunity against innocent civilians who play no role in armed conflict, hold us all back. [snip]

Amen to that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"You're Either Down Or You're Not!"

"You're either with us, or you're not," so says Dr. Wilmer Leon, a radio talk show host, about Obama and the African American community, in this article by Caroline May in The Daily Caller, "African-American Leaders And Intellectuals Express Dissatisfaction With President Obama."

Oopsie daisy - sounds like another faction unhappy with Dear Leader. The African American community has been one of the most stalwart groups in supporting Obama in the polls, so this could be a troubling change for Obama. Those days may be coming to an end, at least for some in the community, and with good reason:
[snip]Since Obama has taken office African Americans have faced a number of disproportionate “highs,” few of them good, such as an exceptionally high unemployment rate, a high foreclosure rate, and a high number of African-American political figures deprived of the president’s support or dismissed from his administration (such as former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, former Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, South Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, former green energy czar Van Jones, Democratic Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, Democratic New York Gov. David Patterson, would-be Democratic New York Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., and Democratic Reps. Charlie Rangel of New York, Maxine Waters of California and Kendrick Meek of Florida).

Dr. Cornel West, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, is one African-American leader who has been far from pleased with Obama’s neglect of African-American issues. West told The Daily Caller that he has been extremely frustrated with the president’s relative disinterest in civil rights

“He can take the black base for granted because he assumes we have nowhere else to go,” West said. “But we just won’t put up with it. He has got to respect us.”

West is not the only black leader who feels this way. Behind the scenes, West says, many African-American leaders are not happy with Obama’s failure to address issues important to the black community, especially considering the support the community gave the president during the 2008 election. But, according to West, many of those dissatisfied leaders are hesitant to step forward.

“There hasn’t been a lot of talk about it because I think most black spokespeople, at the moment, are scared of the Obama machine,” West said. “A lot of us are trying to put the pressure on him without aiding and abetting the right wing.” [snip]

I just have to say, as someone living in SC, surely no one really expects Obama or ANY Democrat, for that matter, to support Alvin Greene. For heavens sake, the man was just indicted on two counts of showing pornography a couple of weeks ago. He was kicked out of a SC restaurant on Tuesday. Originally, it was a campaign stop - until those pesky little indictments came down. The organizers canceled the meeting, but Greene came anyway. He, and a companion, were, um, ushered out of the establishment. Heck, even I don't blame Obama, or ANYONE, for steering clear of this guy. Just saying.

As for my former professor, Cornell West, it is a bit surprising that he, and others, like Dr. Leon, are speaking out already. Now, West was a Hillary supporter, just to be clear, prior to Obama's being given the nomination by the rule-breaking DNC. But that does not mean he wouldn't have some real expectations about what Obama might do for the African American community in this country.

Shelby Steele from the Hoover Institute, has some thoughts on the matter, as well:
[snip] Steele pointed out that Obama does not owe the black community as much as they believe he does due to the fact that whites were the ones who elected him — specifically by throwing their support to him during the Iowa caucus. Initially, the African-American community was significantly supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

“Once blacks began to see that whites were with Obama they didn’t want to be left standing at the station so they jumped on board,” he said. “They were not his base anyway. So he is not confused about that. That said, blacks will continue to vote for him. They vote for every Democratic candidate at a rate of 90% so Obama can absolutely take them for granted and will.” [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

This raises a couple of points for me. One, not only are whites the ones who elected Obama, they are also the ones who REARED Obama. It is remarkable to me how completely and fully both Obama's mother and grandmother have been wiped from history. They are the ones responsible for rearing him. That is to say, he was not raised in a traditional African American community. To pretend otherwise has been one of the most glaring manipulations of the entire election.

Two, yes, many in the African American community were breaking for Hillary Clinton. My first rally in Charleston was easily, easily 1/2 African American, if not more. But, when Obama and his campaign played the race card against Hillary Clinton in SC, employing that turncoat, backstabber, Jim Clyburn, that many in the African-American community turned away from her. She, along with her husband, were characterized as racists by Obama, and for some reason I still cannot fathom, the community, the COUNTRY, bought that, despite their long, long history standing in stark defiance of that claim. But they believed Obama.

Instead of a hard-working Hillary Clinton in the White House, who would indeed have worked on behalf of the African American community, and ALL Americans, who would not be taking vacation after vacation after vacation while the Home sales worsen, more jobs are lost, and the DOW tanks, they got Obama. Even if he IS vacationing in the "historically black section of Martha's Vineyard" at a gazillion dollars a week, I might add.

Still - it begs the question: just what did the African American community think Obama was going to do specifically for them? Oh, wait - I remember:

Wow. That is still hard to believe, that anyone thought that would happen if Obama became president. But someone clearly spread that word - she was not the only one who seemed to think that was the case.

Anyway, I think Leon sums the issue up perfectly:
[snip] “My take on that is, you have to treat him the same way you would treat any other president,” Leon explained. “Especially since he is not giving you any reason to treat him otherwise. And it is going to be very difficult, whether it is 2012 and he is not reelected or it is 2016 and we’re dealing with a new president — who most likely will not be African American — it is going to be very difficult to hold that new president to a different standard.” [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

There's a concept - treat Obama like every other president. That would be a change, wouldn't it? Holding Obama to all the same standards as every other president or presidential candidate? What a novel idea. It's too late for the latter now, but 2012 is not that far away (it just feels like it is).

I guess we will just see how this continues to play out, and if the dissatisfaction with Obama trickles throughout the African American community, not just the leaders and intellectuals. Time will tell...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Does Anyone Else Find This Ironic?

Yes, yes, more about the whole mosque thing in New York, though this is about a different aspect of it. And that would be our First Amendment right to free speech.

Remember how Obama went on and on about the mosque-builders and freedom of religion, as if this had anything whatsoever to do with freedom of religion? I know, I know, how could anyone forget THAT little debacle.

But get this. Now the concern is about those of us who are speaking OUT about building the mosque near Ground Zero are inciting terrorists. Yes, if we have the audacity to be upset that Imam Rauf wants to build his cultural center and mosque at a site he picked SOLELY for its proximity to Ground Zero and as a site that was hit by part of the jet that disintegrated flying into the Twin Towers, we are empowering the terrorists.

Oh, how I wish I was making this up, but it was reported by no less than NPR in this piece by Dina Temple-Raston, "Rancor Over Mosque Could Fuel Islamic Extremists." Oh, oh - someone didn't get the memo that we don't use that term anymore - "Islamic Extremists." What, are they bigots or something? Ahem. Anyway, yes, by us utilizing our Constitutional Right Of Free Speech, we are giving ammunition to the Islamic Extremists who want to do us harm, according to this article:
Experts worry the controversy surrounding an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing right into the hands of radical extremists.

The supercharged debate over the proposed center has attracted the attention of a quiet, underground audience — young Muslims who drift in and out of jihadi chat rooms and frequent radical Islamic sites on the Web. It has become the No. 1 topic of discussion in recent days and proof positive, according to some of the posted messages, that America is indeed at war with Islam.

"This, unfortunately, is playing right into their hands," said Evan F. Kohlmann, who tracks these kinds of websites and chat rooms for Flashpoint Global partners, a New York-based security firm. "Extremists are encouraging all this, with glee.

"It is their sense that by doing this that Americans are going to alienate American Muslims to the point where even relatively moderate Muslims are going to be pushed into joining extremist movements like al-Qaida. They couldn't be happier."

Ah, yes. It is all our fault that we want just a little sensitivity from this Muslim cleric. How dare we. (And if you want to read the rest of the NPR piece, click HERE.)

Hmmm - what does it say that there is a concern that even "moderate Muslims" in the US, because people are asking for sensitivity, not a pox on all things Islamic, could be coerced into acting against the country in which they live? I can't decide if that is a backhanded slap against moderate Muslims that they could so easily be pushed, or an attempt to silence critics in general.

But here's a little newsflash: We don't have to do a damn thing but be Americans to incite these Islamic Extremists. I'm serious. All we have to do is be who we are, and that is sufficient. Remember the first WTC bombing in 1993? I don't recall anyone going out of their way trash-talking Islam to incite that event. Remember 9/11? The WTC, the Pentagon, and whatever the target was of the plane that was wrested away from the terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania? Was anyone going out of their way to talk smack about Islam? No, I don't think so. How about the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000?

If you want to get an idea of how much Islamic terrorists have wanted to attack us for a period less than a decade, click here to read a statement to the Joint Chiefs from 2002 listing the numerous terrorist attempts on the US or our territories. That is just from 2/93 - 9/01.

Unfortunately, I could go on and on and on. No amount of political correctness, or respect for Islam in general, can negate the reality that there are Islamic radicals who want to attack Americans here and abroad. And if we stop exercising our rights as American citizens to try and pacify them, to not raise their ire against us, then THEY HAVE WON.

If that is the case, then all of those who died in the attacks on the US Embassies, those 17 sailors who died on board the USS Cole, and the thousands who died on 9/11, did so in vain. And that cannot stand.

We cannot allow the threat of more violence to silence us, whatever the issue is. We cannot be coerced to give up our Constitutional rights on the possibility that our fulfillment of these same rights might feel antagonistic to those who wish us harm. We cannot stop being Americans lest we somehow, whether consciously or not, enrage a group by our sheer existence.

Can we?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mosque Rallies And Other News Of The Day

There are some doozies in the news this morning. But first, in case you missed it, there was a big rally near Ground Zero on Sunday. Protesters and supporters of the mosque/cultural center plans to be built in that area showed up to make their voices heard. Clearly, this issue is not going away anytime soon:

You know, when I saw the CNN report, I just knew that CNN was under-reporting the numbers of those opposed to the mosque being built near Ground Zero. And CNN made it seem as if there were a couple hundred protesters on BOTH sides. I knew they were full of crap:
[snip] Hundreds of critics and supporters of the proposed center in New York showed up despite an overcast and drizzly sky to express their views amid the national debate over the facility.

Police estimated that supporters of the center numbered up to 250, and critics numbered about 450 during the demonstration. [snip]

Uh huh. Nothing like inflating the numbers on one side, and deflating them on the other. Oh, you just gotta love the LMSM (Lame Mainstream Media). Or not.

By the way, if you think for one second Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf did not know that the landing gear from one of the planes flew into that building, and the relevance of it being so close to Ground Zero, you are sadly mistaken. That is why he picked that location, and why Muslims started coming to that building to pray. At least according to this December 8, 2009 NY Times article, "Muslim Prayers And Renewal Near Ground Zero":
[snip]But for months now, out of the public eye, an iron gate rises every Friday afternoon, and with the outside rumblings of construction at ground zero as a backdrop, hundreds of Muslims crowd inside, facing Mecca in prayer and listening to their imam read in Arabic from the Koran.

The building has no sign that hints at its use as a Muslim prayer space, but these modest beginnings point to a far grander vision: an Islamic center near the city’s most hallowed piece of land that would stand as one of ground zero’s more unexpected and striking neighbors.

The location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July. A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Nope, that site was no accident. It was chosen PRECISELY because it is close to Ground Zero, and because part of the landing gear fell.

Again, to those who keep acting like this is just some random site and those opposed to it are off our rockers, here's the proof. From Imam Rauf's own mouth. Satisfied yet? Yeah, that's about what I expected - no amount of facts will matter. Whatever.

And then there is this story. It is no secret that California has been struggling mightily with its budget and deficits. That makes the following story even more disturbing than it would be otherwise:

Have these people lost their minds? Marble? In a public high school? While they are having to cut back on Education? That is just nuts.

Okay, one more, if you can stand it. This is the former head of the DNC, failed presidential candidate, and former governor, Howard Dean, giving advice to the Obama camp. Wait until you hear it. There is a bonus discussion about an organization funding Republicans:

Oh. My. Gosh. A bit of advice, Governor Dean - put down the Hopium pipe. You have had way too much...

And George Soros doesn't hide behind an organization? Really? Huh. Is there an organization he funds that supports Democrats that has his name in it? If so, lemme know.

There ya go - a few stories of the day. Feel free to talk about these, or any other, stories.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We're Number Eleven! We're Number Eleven! Woohoo!!

Well, at least according to Newsweek, that is. Yes, the brain trust at Newsweek have decided that the US ranks eleventh in the world.

Why? Well, I bet you can guess if you think about it for a minute. Give up? This headline by Brent Baker at Newsbusters will make it clear, "Newsweek Ranks U.S. the 11th 'Best Country' - Bush's Fault, Obama Can Stem The Tide." Yep, it's all Bush's fault, but Obama the Messiah can right this listing ship:
Newsweek, recently sold for one dollar by the Washington Post Company but still in its hands, ranked the United States 11th, just behind Denmark, in this week’s “The Best Countries in the World” cover story which put Finland at #1, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. There’s hope for improvement, however, thanks to George W. Bush’s departure from the White House and Barack Obama’s arrival. Michael Hirsh explained the beyond the top ten rank:

America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public...he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush.

The August 23 & 30 two-week edition cover story package certainly reflected Obama’s policy agenda. A sidebar (apparently not online) on the nations with the best health care, which put Japan at the top, touted fourth-best Spain where “universal coverage is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses aside from some prescription drugs.” The U.S. wasn’t even one of the top ten countries listed (the full list online has the U.S. at #26 in health, tied with the Czech Republic and Chile and behind Slovenia.) [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Blech. Seriously, these people need to put down the Hopium pipe, and you know they're on it. How else to explain selling a magazine for a BUCK? I mean, I know things are tight right now, but c'mon! Ahem.

Perhaps it would interest the authors of this piece to learn that Bush is actually more popular in some major "frontline" districts than their Revered One. It seems those areas are ones of great concern to Democrats since they currently hold the seats there. Oops!

But back to being Number 11 - woohoo, celebrate, woot, woot! I'll let Stephen Colbert have the last word on this (again), and Newsweek, too:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Newsweek Ranks the World's Best Countries
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And The Discussion Continues On The Mosque Near Ground Zero

What a riveting issue this has turned out to be. Voices on both sides continue to speak out on whether or not a mosque should be built less than 600 feet away from Ground Zero.

I have said all along that I think it should be built elsewhere. It is not an issue of religious freedom, as Barack Obama tried to paint it as being. Of course we have religious freedom in this country for all people. That has never been in question. It is about sensitivity to a catastrophic event in our history that occurred so close to the area in which Imam Rauf wants to build a mosque.

Many of us who share that sentiment have been called intolerant, "hicks," ignorant, and more, by those conflating political correctness with amnesia. We have been depicted as anti-Muslim for acknowledging a fact - the 9/11 terrorists acted as Muslims, not as terrorists who happened to be Muslim. They attacked the Twin Towers, and the United States, as a direct result of their beliefs. That was the catalyst. This revisionist history serves no one.

To acknowledge that fact does not implicate ALL Muslims, as some contend. It is simply a fact. And so, many of us, as previously noted, more than 2/3 of the nation, and more than 2/3 of New Yorkers, think it is insensitive to build a mosque so close to what is considered hallowed ground. This does not make us bigots.

And if it does, how do those who label us as bigots, as intolerant, as ignorant Americans, consider Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, a professor of Islamic Studies at American University? He, too, feels that building a mosque so near Ground Zero is insensitive.

Professor Ahmed is a Muslim. I think he has a pretty firm grasp on the issue, and makes a compelling point:

What excellent suggestions Ambassador Ahmed makes! Wouldn't it be a true act of humanity, of compassion, if the Imam and his wife took him up on them? I suppose time will tell, though to be honest, I am not holding my breath.

I might add, to those who keep trying to paint those of us who support moving the mosque in a derogatory manner, who keep claiming we don't know anything about Islam, that this isn't about sensitivity, and on and on and on, I am going to hazard a guess that Ambassador Ahmed has a better idea than YOU about Islam and about cultural sensitivity. On the former, as a professor of Islamic Studies, he is most definitely an expert. On the latter, I imagine that unless you have been an Ambassador to Pakistan, and are a Muslim yourselves, he knows a tad bit more about cultural sensitivity when it comes to this particular issue.

And if Ambassador Ahmed's point of view isn't enough for you, maybe Miss USA's support for the mosque to be moved elsewhere will do it. Rima Fahik is Muslim, after all. And she is clear on the distinction between religious freedom, and why this is a sensitive issue:
"I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on Constitutional rights of freedom of religion," Fakih told "Inside Edition" in an interview that will air tonight.

"I also agree that it shouldn't be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion." (Click here to read the rest.)

There ya have it.

So, enough with the ad homiems already, against those who do not view everything through Kool Aide infused lenses, and who do not engage in "political correctness" to the point of denying reality. Try opening your eyes, and your hearts. A little compassion goes a long way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

An Auspicious Occasion - Combat Troops Out of Iraq *UPDATED*

Whether you supported the Iraq War or not (and as I have said numerous times, I did not), there was very good news coming out of Iraq on Thursday. The troops are coming home (at least most of them):

While there may be debate on what constitutes success in Iraq, there is one area in which strides are being made:

That is good news indeed, though, clearly, women have a long, long way to go in countries where Sharia Law is dominant, like Afghanistan. Certainly it is my hope that women's rights will be written into the Constitution in Iraq, and that women will obtain equality.

As for this most auspicious occasion, surely President Obama weighed in. Wait, what? He didn't? Well, um, you know, he was busy. Yeah, right, that's the ticket. Yep, he was on his way to vacation on Martha's Vineyard. Hey, being president is "hard work," so he needs another vacation after a few days of working. Leave Barry aloooonnnneeeee!

Well, Stephen Colbert has a few suggestions for Obama about what he SHOULD have done to mark this day as only Colbert can:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - What If You Threw a Peace and Nobody Came?
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

So glad you are on your way back, troops. Welcome home!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mosque Supporters Want WHO To Speak Out?

You might not want to be drinking coffee or anything right this moment. Why? Well, when I tell you just who the mosque supporters want to come out in support of building the mosque 60 feet from Ground Zero, whatever beverage you're consuming may end up on your computer screen. Okay. Ready?

George W. Bush. No, really - I'm serious. They want George W. Bush to weigh in on the building of this particular mosque near Ground Zero. Would I lie to you? No. And wait until you see who a couple of the writers are requesting Bush's input in this Byron York article in the Washington Examiner, "Mosque supporters beg George W. Bush to come to Obama's rescue":
It's time for W. to weigh in," writes the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Bush, Dowd explains, understands that "you can't have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam." Dowd finds it "odd" that Obama seems less sure on that matter. But to set things back on the right course, she says, "W. needs to get his bullhorn back out" -- a reference to Bush's famous "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" speech at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is also looking for an assist from Bush. "I…would love to hear from former President Bush on this issue," Robinson wrote Tuesday in a Post chat session. "He held Ramadan iftar dinners in the White House as part of a much broader effort to show that our fight against the al-Qaeda murderers who attacked us on 9/11 was not a crusade against Islam. He was absolutely right on this point, and it would be helpful to hear his views."

And Peter Beinart, a former editor of the New Republic, is also feeling some nostalgia for the former president. "Words I never thought I'd write: I pine for George W. Bush," Beinart wrote Tuesday in The Daily Beast. "Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion." Beinart longs for the days when Bush "used to say that the 'war on terror' was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me…"

Come on, isn't that hilarious? These are the same people who vilified Bush routinely, routinely!!! And now, now that the man they supported after consuming massive amounts of Kool Aide, and smoking tons of Hopium, and shoved down our throats, refusing to do any vetting whatsoever, has made such a mess of this issue, they want BUSH to weigh in? This is one of the funniest things I have heard in a while. Maureen Dowd?? Eugene ROBINSON?? Oh, wow.

Well, someone else who has weighed in is Debra Burlingame, from the 9/11 Families. Did she ever have something to say, especially about Madam Speaker Pelosi's remarks about funding:

Well, Ms. Burlingame certainly didn't mince words. Agree with her or not, there is no misunderstanding from where she is coming on this issue.

There is one group from whom we have not heard on this whole mosque business. And that would be moderate Muslims. What is their take on Imam Rauf's building the mosque near Ground Zero? They, too, are quite clear: don't build it. That is the upshot of this Daily Caller article by Caroline May, "Moderate Muslims Oppose Location of Cordoba Mosque - On Religious Grounds." This article is well worth the read, but a few salient quotes:
[snip] Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, told TheDC that moderate Muslims have been silent on the matter, despite possible disagreements, due to religious concerns. According to Fatah, however, the need to avoid causing another person pain should trump such conflicts.

“There is a widespread belief among Muslim teaching that anyone who opposes the construction of a mosque, which is the house of God, is committing a sin,” he said. “So a lot of people who want to voice their opinion do not want to become a part of the controversy. But especially during the month of Ramadan it is important that our actions not cause pain to anyone. Any action by a Muslim that causes any pain to anyone else should be halted!” [snip]

That explains a lot - the widespread belief, that is. It helps to know why moderate Muslims have been quiet throughout this discussion. There is more:
Fatah believes the mosque plans are moving forward because they have the support of the American government. “I think they have an official green light either from the State Department or the White House telling them to, ‘Go ahead, you have our full backing,’ and they want to use this Islamic center as a place for diplomacy to the Middle East to demonstrate that the United States is a place where Muslims thrive. But that has backfired because this could have been done in many other ways.”

Jasser said that the building of this mosque is ‘fitna,’ a religious term meaning mischief-making, which is severely frowned upon in Islam. “‘Fitna’ is anything that causes chaos in society,” he said. “This mosque is causing chaos, it is causing ‘fitna’ and that is not the Islamic thing to do … This is ‘fitna’ and ‘fitna’ is wrong.”

Fatah agreed saying that ‘fitna’ is an ethical and moral issue that ought not be taken lightly. “If a step taken by an individual causes disharmony then it is ‘fitna.’ [The mosque] has caused so much pain. There are many mosques already in New York, nobody has ever opposed a mosque, if there is opposition to a mosque on grounds of hatred I would be the first to confront it. But over here it is a matter of sensitivity and there is no residential community even near the community center.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

"Mischief-making." Yes, that seems to be a good term for what Imam Rauk is doing, along with Obama, I might add. And yes, the State Department sending Imam Rauf on a tour of the Middle East on our dime, at a cost of $16,000, certainly appears to condone the building the mosque by essentially endorsing Rauf.

But Fatah said it all. This is not about hatred. It is about sensitivity (about which I wrote recently, too). This decision is causing pain, to a number of people. Two thirds of New Yorkers oppose building the mosque there. Two thirds of Americans oppose building the mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero. Not because they/we/I oppose building mosques in general, but because we oppose it being built THERE, overlooking where Ground Zero stands, a hallowed ground to New Yorkers, to our nation.

George W. Bush can say something or not, doesn't really matter to me. As far as I am concerned, the opposition is about sensitivity to those who lost loved ones, and to a nation that suffered a devastating attack there. It is not a matter of "freedom of religion," or "freedom to practice religion." It is about ceasing the mischief making, an "ethical and moral issue" of some weight.

I think that pretty much says it all, don't you?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New On The Job At West Point

I don't know about you, but I am ready for a break on all of the mosque brouhaha (e.g., are they building it or aren't they, will they consider a different location, or won't they?), Obama's "incoherent message," the continuing economic woes, and all the rest.

So about that new person at West Point. He may be new there, but he is definitely not a "newbie." That would be Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, the new Superintendent of West Point, the prestigious military academy. How refreshing to see someone so accomplished, especially these days (talking about you, Obama).
Below Lt. Gen. Huntoon gives his first interview as Superintendent to Fox & Friends Brian Kilmeade:

The General is an impressive man, to be sure. His three sons, all currently in service to our country, are chips off the old block, apparently. Wow.

I admit, Kilmeade is not my favorite, but he is right - the courage these young people demonstrate by their sheer desire to attend not just West Point, but any military academy, knowing they will see combat, speaks volumes.

One last thing, speaking of West Point. One of their best, and brightest, Katherine Miller, ranked #9 in her class, has decided to tender her resignation to West Point. Why? Because she is a lesbian, and can no longer abide hiding who she is as a result of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." While she has had a stellar career at West Point, she has also endured some hardships as a result of her sexual orientation. That is disturbing. It is one thing to abolish a poorly conceived (though way better than what they had before) law, but it is another thing to change attitudes.

Certainly, I hope for both to happen - DADT abolished, and attitudes changed, but we are not there yet. That is sad for Ms. Miller, and sad for both West Point and the Army in losing such a tremendous young woman.

I wonder how Lt. Gen. Huntoon's tenure will change the environment at West Point, or will it? Time will tell.

The following video, about which I learned from my oldest niece, also speaks volumes. Her husband, a Marine, is about to re-deploy, leaving his four young children. My niece suggested people get a box of Kleenex, and I concur with that suggestion. Get some tissues before you watch:

Finally, you know I was not a fan of George W. Bush, to put it mildly. But, I have to hand it to him for what he and his wife, Laura, did the other day:

Thank you, indeed...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shoe's On The Other Foot Now, Madam Speaker

This is rich. Remember back when Bush was president, and his Administration, was accused of distributing propaganda to support its programs? People were outraged at the news, remember? I sure do - I was mighty upset that our taxpaying dollars were going to support downright propaganda, for programs I opposed, I might add.

Well now, the shoe is on the other foot. Rep. Darrell Issa of California has documented numerous instances of the Obama Administration doing much the same thing. Yes, they have been using our tax paying dollars to prop up their programs, most recently with an ad featuring Andy Griffith speaking to seniors. Yep, turns out that little ol' ad was paid for by the Health and Human Services Department. You might also notice you aren't seeing it anymore. Hmmm. How very coincidental. Ahem.

Anyway, this information, and more, is documented in an article by Jonathan Strong of the Daily Caller, "Issa Hits Obama Admin For Extensive Use Of 'Propaganda' To Boost Health Care, Other Priorities." Let's see what else is in there, besides the Andy Griffith Ad, which Issa said violated federal law due to its partisan nature. This is another good one:
Another important instance cited by Issa’s report regarding the health care bill involves Jonathan Gruber, a noted health care expert who was revealed to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars from government contracts during the period he was authoring editorials in favor of the health care law and being cited by journalists for his health care expertise.

Gruber was paid by nearly $300,000 by HHS for “technical assistance” as a consultant on estimating the economic impact of the health care law. Gruber did not disclose his government contracts when discussing the health care law with numerous journalists. Articles that relied on Gruber’s testimony and were favorable to the health care law were promoted vigorously by the president himself.

Oops. Gosh, so is Issa saying that a bunch of the crapola shoved down our throats about the health care law was propaganda?? Wow - that is shocking (not that we didn't know it was a bunch of crapola, but that it was paid-for propaganda is mighty telling).

It gets better, though:
Gruber said after his contracts were revealed that he “never intentionally withheld [his] two HHS contracts from Congress or the media.”

Oh, I am so sure it was just an oversight on his part! Just like Geithner and Rangel forgetting to pay their thousands and thousands of dollars in income tax, I am so sure Gruber just forgot to mention he was getting $300,000 in contracts from the government!!

Oh! And remember the NEA propaganda sponsored by Buffy Wicks the Deputy Director of the White House Office Of Public Engagement who, according to Jonathan Turley was accused:
[snip] of encouraging artists supported by the National Endowment for the Arts to produce works supporting President Obama and his policies. The story first appeared in BigGovernment.com.

On the transcript of an hour-long conference call, Buffy Wicks states “We’re going to need your help, and we’re going to come at you with some specific ‘asks’ here,. But we know that you guys are ready for it and eager to participate, so one we want to thank you, and two, I hope you guys are ready.” Personally, I am more concerned about a high-ranking official using the verb “to ask” as a noun. That falls into the category of saying “my Bad” as an immediate cause to be sent to Gitmo for waterboarding and re-education.[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Oh, yeah - that's in Issa's report, too!

Back to Jonathan Strong's article. Guess who was just shocked and appalled by what she learned abt the Bush Administration's propagandizing? You know it, our Speaker of the House:
[snip] The Issa report compares Gruber’s $300,000 in government contracts to an instance in the Bush administration when the Department of Education paid columnist Armstrong Williams $240,000 to advocate the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

When it was revealed Williams was receiving taxpayer funds, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decried the “underhanded” tactics, saying it was “not worthy of our great democracy,” the Issa report notes.[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Well, dang - I am sure she will be ALL over this report by her colleague, Rep. Issa! Don't you know it! I am sure by the end of the week, we are going to hear that she has filed some suit or something against the Administration for misappropriation of funds.

Why are you laughing? Oh, c'mon, it could happen! In about a billion years, but it COULD happen!

The fun with the Obama Administration just never stops, does it?

Monday, August 16, 2010

"An Unholy Alliance"

In the recent special on an "honor killing" in Texas, an activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, spoke out about the treatment of women in Islam. Hirsi Ali knows a lot about how women are treated having grown up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya. She has survived the genital mutilation that was (is) common in her culture (I chose not to put the tale of this act committed against Hirsi Ali, then a 5 yr old girl. If you wish to read about it, click here.).

But that is just the beginning of who she is. There is so much more to this woman's remarkable life. In addition to the activism for which she is known now, she was elected to the House of Representatives in the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali has written and spoken out extensively about not only her life, but the lives of women in general living under Islam, a life of subservience, of subjugating much of what makes them who they are. She speaks of her mother's life:
[snip]Like all Somalian women, she had been pressured all her life to suppress her personality, to sublimate everything to men and to God – to become what Ayaan calls "a devoted, well-trained work-animal". [snip]

Hirsi Ali's activism has not been without a price, though. She continues to live under a fatwa, even now in the United States, where she has to travel with armed guards to this day as a result of her outspokenness on Islam. But at least she is still alive. The director who worked with her on a documentary about women and Islam is not so lucky, as this article, "My Life Under A Fatwa" from the Independent UK highlights:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was stabbed into the world's consciousness three years ago. One wet afternoon in November 2004, her friend Theo van Gogh – a film-maker, and descendant of Vincent – left his house and was about to cycle off through Amsterdam. But a young Dutch-born Muslim called Mohammed Bouyeri was waiting for him – with a handgun and two sharpened butcher's knives.

Wordlessly, he shot Van Gogh twice in the chest. Van Gogh howled: "Can't we talk about this?" Bouyeri ignored his pleas and fired four more times. Then he pulled out a knife and slit Van Gogh's throat with such strength that his head was almost severed from his body. He used the other knife to stab a five-page letter on to Van Gogh's haemorrhaging corpse.

Ayaan explains: "The letter was addressed to me." It said that Van Gogh had been "executed" for making a film with her that exposed the widespread abuse of Muslim women. Now, she would be "executed" too – for being an apostate.

Her story is recounted in that article, and what a life it has been. I urge you to read the rest. It is quite a story indeed.

All of that is to say, Ayaan Hirsi Ali knows whereof she speaks when it comes to Islam as a woman who grew up Muslim, and who has lived in several Muslim nations. Heaven knows, she is far more than an authority on it than I am.

And so, given the current brouhaha over the proposed mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, and the imam who wants to build it currently on a trip to the Middle East on our dime, this seems like a good time to focus a bit more attention on what Hirsi Ali has to say. It is timely, provocative, and disturbing.

The following clip deals more with Islam in Europe, though Hirsi Ali does mention the United States. Still, what she says encompasses what is happening in the States:

And now, Hirsi Ali speaks specifically about the United States. You do not want to miss this. It is quite something:

An "unholy alliance" - WOW. The point she makes about the second type of liberal was breathtaking.

There is so, so much more to this woman's life, and what she has to say. I encourage you to watch more of her interviews. She is quite something.

Oh, and about that mosque near Ground Zero? Well, Hamas has weighed in on this issue. Yes, Hamas, the terrorist organization, has something to say about it. They say, build it, as this S.A. Miller NY Post article, "Hamas Nor For Ground Zero Mosque" points out:
[snip]"We have to build everywhere," said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and the organization's chief on the Gaza Strip.

"In every area we have, [as] Muslim[s], we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer," he said on "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio" on WABC. [snip]

Oh, it gets better:
[snip]"First of all, we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation, totally different," he said.

"We already are living under the tradition of Islam.

"Islam is controlling every source of our life as regard to marriage, divorce, our commercial relationships," Zahar said.

"Even the Islamic people or the Muslims in your country, they are living now in the tradition of Islam. They are fasting; they are praying." [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

And Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf still refuses to characterize Hamas as a terrorist organization. Right...

I understand well Hirsi Ali's point that liberals like many of us do not want anyone to be subjected to the kind of discrimination African Americans and others (Chinese, Japanese, and Hispanics, to name a few) have experienced in the United States. I completely get that. But I think she raises some good points about how we cannot allow that to blind us to some realities we may not want to admit for fear of the historical reality some groups have faced here.

And yet, address these issues we must, with eyes wide open...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The State Department Is Doing What With Our Money, Exactly?

That would be sending Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, to name two, on our dime, as a representative of the United States. And yes, he first began his work for the State Department in 2007. This will be his third trip. Given his claim in 2001 that the United States was an "accessory" to what happened on 9/11, it boggles the mind that our government would use him in ANY capacity, much less to travel as a representative of our country ...

So, yes, Imam Rauf will be going on his third trip abroad. On our dime. In a program to "promote the role of religion in the US." If his name sounds familiar, it should. He is the same one who wants to build the Cordoba Institute/Mosque near Ground Zero, in case you didn't know that already.

Here to discuss the trip, is State Department Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, PJ Crowley:

You'll have noticed that this clip covers that Governor Patterson of New York offered Imam Rauk state property to build his mosque. That raises the separation of church and state issue. Did Patterson mean he would SELL the property to Rauk, and if so, for how much? Surely, he couldn't have expected to just GIVE it to him, as a state sanctioned mosque would have been the end result. That is unacceptable. And it would be if it were a church or synagogue, or Buddhist temple or Pagan circle, or anything related. Just to be clear.

But here's the thing that gets me about this interview. Crowley claims that, even though Imam Rauf is going on a program to discuss the role of religion in the US, he will not be discussing religion. Huh? So, um, why exactly is he going then? At our expense, I might add? That makes no sense to me, but that could just be me.

Or maybe not. Here is more on the separation of church and state from a more conservative position:

And this "certain pile of cash"? I am pretty darn sure that is our money, too. Unless some wealthy benefactor gave it to the State Department to do as it damned well pleased, like sending an Imam who blames the US for 9/11.

But that is only part of the story with Imam Rauk. Here is the big question: why is the State Department, under Secretary Hillary Clinton, enlisting an imam who supports Sharia Law, despite the State Department claims that he is a "moderate"? Sharia Law is NOT a moderate position.

Never mind that Rauk claimed he does not believe in "religious dialogue," according to this piece by Walid Shoebat of Pajamas Media in this post, "Ground Zero Imam: 'I Don't Believe In Religious Dialogue.'" So, that pretty much puts to a lie the whole meme that this imam wants to build "interfaith understanding," or whatever is the catch phrase du jour to justify Rauk's intention to build his mosque near Ground Zero.

But that's not the end of the story, either. According to Madeline Brooks, also of Pajamas Media, "Terror Ties: Ground Zero Imam Attended Hizb-ut Tahrir Conference." This was in 2007. And while many of us may not be aware of this group (I wasn't), this should clear things up:
[snip] Hizb-ut Tahrir al Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) has been banned in many countries — Germany, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia — but not in the United States or Britain. This is a dangerous group. It is alleged to have attempted coups in Jordan, Syria and Egypt, which were defeated, fortunately. As we see in these photos, Rauf looks quite relaxed and happy at the Hizb-ut Tahrir conference, as do the other participants with him. In fact, there is a feeling of celebration in these photos. The language in the text accompanying the photos is Malay. Although the conference was held in Indonesia, there were many Malaysians attending, including Rauf, who has lived for a great part of his life in Malaysia. An English language website promoting the caliphate states that 100,000 people attended the conference.

Hizb-ut Tahrir is similar ideologically to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek worldwide Islamic supremacy and the imposition of Islamic law to replace the Constitution and democracy. But Hizb-ut Tahrir differs by also espousing Marxist-Leninist methodology, and is entirely open about its ambition to dominate the world, unlike the more discreet Muslim Brotherhood.

On two occasions, Hizb-ut Tahrir in America called for terrorism recruitment conferences in Chicago to establish their long-awaited caliphate, which would knock down capitalism, democracy, and equal rights for non-Muslims and women, and institute a Muslim-run society under sharia law. One conference, called “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam” and scheduled for July 2009 in Chicago, actually did occur. But a follow-up conference slated for July 2010 at the Chicago Marriott in Oak Brook, titled “Emerging World Order: How the Khilafah Will Shape the World,” was canceled by the hotel. [snip]

And the State Department considers this man a MODERATE? Well, maybe there is the big problem right there - they are operating under a very different dictionary than the majority of us. Sharia law, blaming the US for 9/11, and associating with this group do not constitute a "moderate," at least not in my book.

After all is said an done, what I truly do not understand is this: How is it that Secretary Clinton, a champion of the rights of women and children for her entire adult life, can possibly give this man a thumbs up? I simply do not understand this. I cannot understand it at all.

Surely there is a Muslim cleric in this country who truly is a moderate, who does not support Sharia Law, or associate with an organization banned in a number of countries, isn't there? And it begs the question, why is the organization not banned here and in Britain? I think I know, but I want to hear what you have to say. So, why this man? Why, Secretary Clinton?