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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 14, 2008


By Glenn McCoy




By Charles Johnson

Federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial are rejecting the claims of radical Islamic front groups ISNA and NAIT that they were unfairly listed as unindicted co-conspirators in the case: U.S.: Facts Tie Muslim Groups To Hamas Front Case.

In a filing yesterday in federal court in Dallas, prosecutors said the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust suffered no lasting harm by being included on the co-conspirator list prosecutors filed prior to the trial last year of the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers because evidence supporting the claim became public just weeks later.

“During last year’s trial, numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case,” the prosecutors wrote. “They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to HAMAS. ... That ISNA and NAIT appeared in these documents and share a common history with these defendants is a reflection of the evidence, not any attempt to ‘disparage’ or ‘vilify.’”  Sunday, July 13, 2008




By John Hinderaker

This morning Scott wrote about an article in the current New Yorker magazine about Barack Obama's early days in Chicago politics. The New Yorker issue has become controversial less for its contents than for its cover, which depicts Obama and his wife Michelle. Barack is a Muslim, Michelle has an Afro and totes an AK47, a portrait of someone who looks like Nasrallah hangs on the wall, and an American flag burns in the fireplace:

The incorrigibly left-wing New Yorker didn't mean the cover to be unflattering, of course. They titled the picture "The Politics of Fear," as their press release explained:

On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of The New Yorker, in ‘The Politics of Fear,’ artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.

The cover is supposed to satirize the charges that we right-wingers have leveled against Obama:

The Obama campaign quickly condemned the rendering. Spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive." ...

“I talked to the editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, who tells me this is a satire, that they are making fun of all the rumors,” [media critic Howard] Kurtz added.

Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune defended it as “quite within the normal realms of journalism,” adding that “it's just lampooning all the crazy ignorance out there.

Obama isn't a Muslim, and his wife doesn't carry an AK-47. But Obama's long-time associations with anti-Americans like Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn and Jeremiah Wright are not "rumors" or "misinformation." Nor is it "crazy ignorance" to note that Obama's candidacy was endorsed by Hamas (although Hamas later withdrew its endorsement when Obama tacked toward the center) or that his wife says America is "just downright mean." Obama doesn't want to deal with these very real issues, and prefers to respond to the straw man that he's a Muslim. The New Yorker tried to help him in that effort, apparently, but I doubt that it did him any good. That image of a flag burning in the fireplace hits uncomfortably close to the mark.

PAUL adds: This is another illustration of how the liberal media's blind hatred of, and desire to slander, conservatives trumps its focus on helping liberal candidates. It's just about the only thing that can trump that focus.  Sunday, July 13, 2008


By Paul Mirengoff

A Newsweek poll showing Obama leading McCain by 3 percentage points is generating some buzz. That's because the previous Newsweek poll had Obama up by 15 points.

As we contended at the time, however, the spread reflected in that earlier Newsweek poll lacked credibility. Thus, the disappearance of that spread should not be considered significant.

The two polls I watch most closely -- the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls -- continue to show a tight race that isn't changing much. Throughout July, Gallup has had Obama at around 47 percent and McCain at around 43. That's just about what the same tracking poll generally showed last month, though McCain pulled even briefly.

Rasmussen shows a little bit of movement in McCain's favor. When "leaners" are included, Obama is holding steady at 47-48 percent, but McCain has edged up from about 44 percent to 47 percent over the past week.

The 3 point Obama lead in the latest Newsweek poll is well in line with Gallup and Rasmussen, and accurately reflects, I think, where the race stands, where it has been recently, and where it's likely to stay for a while.  Saturday, July 12, 2008




By Eric Allie




By Ed Morrissey

How far Left do people have to be for the New York Times to call them “far Left”?  MoveOn?  International ANSWER?  Young Communists?  William Yardley discovers them in — surprise! — Portland, Oregon, and also discovers that the natives are restless after the last few weeks of Barack Obama flip-flops:

In the breathless weeks before the Oregon presidential primary in May, Martha Shade did what thousands of other people here did: she registered as a Democrat so she could vote for Senator Barack Obama.

Now, however, after critics have accused Mr. Obama of shifting positions on issues like the war in Iraq, the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants, gun control and the death penalty — all in what some view as a shameless play to a general election audience — Ms. Shade said she planned to switch back to the Green Party.

“I’m disgusted with him,” said Ms. Shade, an artist. “I can’t even listen to him anymore. He had such an opportunity, but all this ‘audacity of hope’ stuff, it’s blah, blah, blah. For all the independents he’s going to gain, he’s going to lose a lot of progressives.”

To answer my first question, the far Left appears to be people who switched from the Green Party to Democrat because of Barack Obama.  Now some of them have switched back out of disillusion, including Ms. Shade.  Given that her windows feature slogans such as “Occupation is Terrorism” and “Free Gaza”, she doesn’t exactly represent the mainstream — as even she admits.

(By the way, free Gaza — from whom?  Does Shade know that Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza any longer, but that Hamas does?)

Jeralyn Merritt, however, “occupies” a spot closer to the mainstream among the Left, and she has the same disgust:

I see no transformational quality to either Obama or his candidacy. Obama said he was a new kind of politician. He sold an entire younger generation on the theory of change, a new kind of politics in Washington and he’s delivered the status quo. He’s shown us that on FISA, the death penalty, guns, religion, Iraq, Afghanistan and trade policy (so far) he’s all about preserving the status quo and not rocking the boat in his quest for votes. How much more “politics as usual” can you get? …

How does anyone know what Obama really believes or, even more problematic, what beliefs he’ll decide are worth expending political capital on once he’s elected?

Jeralynn will still wind up voting for Obama, but the disillusionment with Obama has started in earnest with his votes on FISA reform, and that will matter.  Obama gave up public financing — another source of disillusionment — and now needs to spend his time on fundraising more than he otherwise would.  The lack of enthusiasm among Democrats from the former Greenies to Hillary Clinton supporters like Jeralynn will impact Obama’s ability to raise funds with the alacrity he enjoyed in February.

McCain — who has had similar problems with his Republican base — has two distinct advantages here.  First, the “disillusionment” with McCain came a long time before he won the nomination, and the base has had a lot longer to get used to that in terms of his candidacy.  Second, McCain doesn’t have to do as much fundraising as Obama will, since he’s accepted public financing, although he’ll still need to do some of it for the RNC.

The transformative veneer has been stripped from Obama, leaving the opportunist exposed for all to see.  Obama may have peaked already.  Sunday, July 13, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Patterico has been following the vile comments that are being approved for posting at the LA Times about Tony Snow: More Viciousness at the L.A. Times About Tony Snow.

Here’s the LA Times comment thread for Tony Snow’s obituary. Warning; it’s disgusting beyond belief.

And note: comments at the LA Times do not appear until approved by an editor.


By Charles Johnson

Several readers emailed about the disgusting and disgraceful posts at CNN’s iReport web site about Tony Snow; here’s an index: Tony Snow remembered: News & Videos about Tony Snow remembered - iReport.com.

Click on any of the links to see a deluge of hatred and ugliness. Stay classy, CNN.


By Charles Johnson

Yet another major policy reversal for Barack Obama, and again he’s blaming it on “poor phrasing.”

He’s very obviously giving in to the enormous pressure from pro-Palestinian groups.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said on Sunday he used “poor phrasing” in a speech supporting Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.

“You know, the truth is that this was an example where we had some poor phrasing in the speech. And we immediately tried to correct the interpretation that was given,” he said in an interview aired on Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria — GPS.”

“The point we were simply making was, is that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the ‘67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent,” Obama said.

Obama’s campaign has issued similar clarifications since the candidate’s speech to pro-Israel lobby group after he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination early last month.

In the speech, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that if elected president in November, he would work for peace with a Palestinian state alongside Israel. “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” the Illinois senator said. Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay. [And so, under the bus with you, Jerusalem! – ed.]

The bottom line here is that Barack Obama tried to pander to AIPAC with one of the most important issues for Israel, telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. Then he basked in the applause.

And now he’s weaseling out of it.  Sunday, July 13, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Democrats in the Pennsylvania state legislature face multiple counts of corruption as a probe by the state’s Attorney General continues.  Representatives Mike Veon (formerly second in House leadership), Sean Ramaley, and 10 former aides allegedly used government offices for Democratic Party fundraising and activities.  One aide had no other job but fundraising, and the rest got bonuses for the amounts of money they brought in — paid by Pennsylvania taxpayers:

When you worked for former Rep. Mike Veon, the No. 2 Democrat in the state House, two things were certain, prosecutors said: You would work hard on political campaigns while on the government clock; and if you did a “rock star” job, you would get something extra in your paycheck.

All compliments of the taxpayers, of course.

That illegal culture of underwriting political campaigns with public dollars was spotlighted yesterday in sweeping indictments of Veon, 10 former and current legislative aides, and a sitting lawmaker.

The allegations strike at top party staffers in the House, and more charges are expected, say prosecutors. Court documents suggested that hundreds of Democratic staffers might have been involved in illegal work.

AG Tom Corbett says that the probe will continue, and the rumor is that Republicans shouldn’t get too excited by these charges.  More are coming, and some Republican lawmakers may need legal representation as well.  As with most large-scale political corruption, everyone tends to get their taste.

However, the charges Corbett revealed are breathtaking for their hubris.  Democrats in the House used taxpayer money to pay bonuses for political work, and used government-paid aides for personal business.  Veon had two of his aides drive motorcycles owned by he and his wife to the annual biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, so he could fly there to attend it.   The bonuses for 2006 came to almost $2 million in taxpayer money, which could have paid for a lot of trips to Sturgis.

Ramaley ran his general-election campaign from Veon’s office.  After winning the primary for his House district, Veon hired Ramaley as an aide — but the only work Ramaley did was to run his campaign from Veon’s office.  He used computers, phone lines, and fax machines funded by Pennsylvania taxpayers as his own campaign communication center.

This comes at a very bad time for Democrats.  They need to hold Pennsylvania in November if they want to win the Presidency, but a massive corruption scandal makes that a lot less likely.   It means the end of Ed Rendell’s hopes for a VP slot on the ticket this year, too.  Unless a lot of Republicans start getting indicted, this could tip the Keystone State into the red column for 2008 — and possibly several more cycles beyond that.  Sunday, July 13, 2008




By John Hinderaker

In the post immediately below, Senator John Cornyn talks about the need to get serious about solving our energy problems by developing our own domestic resources. One good example is shale oil, of which the U.S. has more than any other country. In fact, Rocky Mountain shale is believed to contain the equivalent of 2 trillion barrels of oil. Is that a lot? The entire world has used around 1 trillion barrels since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859.

This chart by the Institute for Energy Research shows graphically how America's shale oil reserves compare to other countries' petroleum reserves. Click to enlarge:

Can shale oil be developed economically? At today's prices, of course. A few years ago it was estimated that shale oil development would be competitive at around $40 a barrel. That figure may have risen a bit, but with world oil prices over $140 a barrel, shale oil development is a no-brainer.

Republicans in Congress like Utah's Orrin Hatch have been pushing for shale oil development for years. But, like drilling in the outer continental shelf and in ANWR, shale oil development is being blocked by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrats in Congress. The future of America's economy is at risk as a result.


By Scott Johnson

John Cornyn represents Texas in the United States Senate. Senator Cornyn has forwarded a post commenting on John Hinderaker's "Democrats sucking wind on energy policy." Senator Cornyn writes:

After reading John Hinderaker’s post on Friday about lack of Democratic leadership on energy, I can report that the view looks about the same from my Senate office. Nancy Pelosi promised an effective new energy plan before the 2006 election – that’s about 809 days ago – and we’re still waiting. They’re now postponing votes because some Democrats fear reality has finally set in – and Congress may actually approve more domestic exploration for new energy.

We’ve put ourselves in an irrational box. We’ve put 85 percent of our prime energy exploration lands off-limits. The U.S. is the only country in the world that refuses to develop its own natural resources. With a growing worldwide demand for energy, we’re willing to enrich foreign governments – some of which wish us harm – instead of helping ourselves.

The U.S. is well on the way toward transitioning away from over-reliance on fossil fuels. I’m for pursuing every source of energy out there – solar, nuclear, clean coal, wind, biofuels, hydrogen, shale. We need it all. But we’ve built up an infrastructure over 100 years that must be relied upon as we make the change to renewable sources. Congress has to get out of the way and allow the U.S. to develop its resources for that infrastructure – or we’re headed towards economic catastrophe.

As John notes, a number of Democratic officeholders have heard from their constituents, and they want to vote to expand energy exploration. But their leadership is making sure they cannot. You can feel the Democratic solidarity on this fragmenting. One of two scenarios is likely. Either the leadership wakes up and allows expanded development – in Alaska, outer continental shelf, shale – or I suspect Republicans are going to do a great deal better in this fall’s elections than most pundits now assume.

I’m staging an "Energy Independence Days" discussion this week on my Web site. I will be joined by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and others who see clearly the need to produce more domestic energy and reduce our reliance on foreign sources. You know I am a long time and enthusiastic Power Line fan, and it’s an honor to communicate with your readers. I hope many of you will join me at JohnCornyn.com this coming week, and share your thoughts on our energy problem.

Thanks to Senator Cornyn for the kind words and for his report. We look foward to checking out the discussion Senator Cornyn will be hosting next week.  Saturday, July 12, 2008




By Ed Morrissey 

The New Hampshire Union-Leader has a novel approach to solving the energy crisis: send Democrats to economics classes.  In an editorial yesterday, the U-L flunks Congressional Democrats for their work so far on addressing a supply shortage by blaming those reacting to it.  Instead of demonizing “speculators” who can only foresee more shortages as America refuses to produce its own resources, perhaps Congress should unshackle domestic production instead:

MAYBE THE quickest way to lower oil and gas prices would be this: Immediately enroll every Democratic member of Congress in an entry-level economics class.

The lack of even a basic grasp of economic concepts has led Democrats to oppose sensible policies that would begin to lower oil and gas prices. Instead, they push hair-brained ideas that make no sense.

That should be hare-brained, but let’s not split hares.  Er, hairs.   On speculators and their effect on oil prices, the U-L has it exactly correct:

Any step Congress takes to produce a large increase in future supply — opening the outer continental shelf to drilling, for example — will reduce current prices. If there will be a lot more oil 10 years from now, a barrel of oil today loses some of its investment value, and its price falls.

As Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein wrote in The Wall Street Journal on July 1, “Increasing the expected future supply of oil would also reduce today’s price. That fall in the current price would induce an immediate rise in oil consumption that would be matched by an increase in supply from the OPEC producers and others with some current excess capacity or available inventories.”

This is pretty basic stuff. And yet Democrats are oblivious. They adamantly oppose more domestic drilling, claiming that it won’t affect prices for decades. Clearly, they have yet to grasp the basic concepts of supply and demand.

Democrats clearly don’t understand the mechanisms of pricing.  Their rhetoric on speculators demonstrates this, as it misses the point.  Speculators matter only in shortage economies, as the future value of any commodity becomes more relevant in inverse proportion to its availability.  Even apart from that, speculators want to make money just as in any other commodity trading.  If they foresaw a glut of oil, they’d bet short on it just as quickly as they’re going long on oil now.

All of this is Econ 101, as the U-L notes.  That may be a bit below King Banaian’s focus as chair of economics at St. Cloud State University, but I’m pretty certain that King would be gracious enough to schedule a lecture series for Congressional Democrats who want to learn how markets work rather than continually work from ignorance to the detriment of the nation.  (via Let Freedom RingSunday, July 13, 2008



The Taliban launched a complex attack against a newly established combat outpost in the Pech district in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar. Heavy fighting is currently underway, and US forces have taken multiple casualties in the attack. Nine US soldiers have been killed during the battle.

The Taliban launched the attack early this morning at approximately 4:30 AM according to a press release from the International Security Assistance Force. The Taliban initiated the battle "with small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars using homes, shops and the mosque in the village of Wanat for cover."

Afghan and US forces based at the outpost have fought back and called in artillery and helicopter support and airstrikes.

Afghan, US, and Taliban casualties had not been released as the fighting is ongoing, but ISAF reported that "there have been casualties on both sides of the fight." The Associated Press reported that nine US soldiers have been killed. ISAF later confirmed nine US troops were killed, and 15 US soldiers and four Afghan troops were wounded. The attack is one of the largest incidents of US casualties during a ground engagement in Afghanistan.

In separate incident in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 24 Afghans and wounded more than 40 in a deadly suicide attack at a market. Security officials said Afghan police were the target, and several policemen were reported killed in the attack.

In Helmand province, US Marines and Afghan forces have killed over 40 Taliban fighters after being ambushed by a 75-man force in the Sangin district. More than 30 Taliban boats and several bridges were also destroyed during the engagement. The day prior, a suicide bomber killed two Afghan soldiers and two children in an attack on an Afghan Army base in Sangin.

Today's attacks play directly into al Qaeda and the Taliban's propaganda and military strategy. The Taliban have launched a series of assaults on US and Afghan bases and patrol and government centers throughout the eastern regions of Afghanistan that border Pakistan’s tribal areas. The extremists hope to destabilize the Afghan government and overrun an outpost or district center as a show of strength.

Al Qaeda spokesman and Afghan commander Abu Yahya al Libi released a seven-minute videotape earlier this week titled "A Message To One of the Sheiks." Al Libi said the attacks on Coalition bases and suicide attacks show the Taliban is gaining strength and is "determined to turn the upcoming winter to hell for the infidels." The Taliban in Afghanistan "are going through continuous triumphs ... and are in a better shape compared with what they had been before," he stated.  Sunday, July 13, 2008


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