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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 17, 2008


By Eric Allie

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie




By Paul Mirengoff

So Barack Obama came to Joe Wurzelbacher's town looking for votes, and Joe asked him a question about tax policy. As sometimes happens when Obama is not scripted or hyper-prepped, Obama revealed his real thinking on the matter. That thinking, as usual, was decidedly leftist. Delighted that Obama's mask had dropped for a brief moment, John McCain pounced.

For the sin of causing Obama to talk candidly, Joe has come under fire. According to Michelle Malkin lefty bloggers are excited by reports that Joe is related to a guy who is the son-in-law of Charles Keating and who served time in connection with Keating's role in the savings and loan scandal. Is the theory that Obama was entrapped into saying what he thought?

Meanwhile, the press is attempting to find dirt on Joe. So far it has discovered that he doesn't have a plumber's license (but he apparently doesn't need one because he's working for licensed company) and that Joe owes less than $2,000 in taxes. That's more digging than the press did on Bill Ayers, Obama's political ally, and more than all but one reporter did on Rev. Wright, Obama's spiritual mentor, until the story broke quite belatedly.

Finally, as John has noted, Talkin' Joe Biden weighted in by expressing doubts that a mere plumber could ever make $250,000 a year.

I don't see Obama's response to Joe the Plumber saving this election for John McCain. But to the extent that Obama, or his supporters, or his sympathizers in the media are seen as attacking the guy, there might well be a backlash. After all, Joe isn't running for office; he's just trying to make a living.


By John Hinderaker

As Paul noted earlier today, John McCain is "hanging around" in the Presidential race despite what would seem to be overwhelming odds. Maybe even doing a bit better than hanging around, as the current Gallup poll has Obama up by only two points, within the margin of error, among "traditional likely voters." Which illustrates the problem pollsters have, trying to figure out who will actually vote this year.

I think several developments may be helping McCain a bit. The emergence of ACORN as an issue is one. Voter fraud really angers people, for good reason, and most voters understand not only that ACORN is registering Democratic voters, but that Obama's relationship with ACORN is much deeper than he admits. Today, the New Mexico Republican Party released evidence that ACORN's voter registration fraud--a fact that no one denies--has already led to actual voter fraud:

Public records released in New Mexico today confirm that fraudulent voter registrations are in fact turning into fraudulent votes. ACORN, currently under investigation by the FBI, is now confirmed to be responsible for producing fraudulent voter registrations and illegal votes in New Mexico. An inspection of public records has revealed that illegal votes were cast in New Mexico's 2008 primary election.

"This is a bombshell. We now have undeniable proof that a significant number of fraudulent voters were cast in Democrat primary races for the New Mexico state legislature as a result of ACORN's voter registration fraud," remarked State Representative Justine Fox Young (R-Albuquerque). "No longer can ACORN argue that their phony voter registration forms don't translate into fraudulent votes. They do and today we can prove it." ...

"It is safe to say that the number of illegal votes being cast dwarfs the 366 votes that decided the 2000 Presidential election in New Mexico," said Nina Martinez, Secretary for the Republican Party of New Mexico.

Another factor working in McCain's favor is the emergence of Joe the Plumber, who finally--and more effectively than the McCain campaign has ever been able to do it--put Obama where he belongs, in the long tradition of tax-raising, wealth-distributing liberals. The McCain campaign jumped on the bandwagon with this effective ad:

Joe Biden, meanwhile, made matters worse by expressing doubt that a mere plumber could earn $250,000 a year, thereby insulting small business people everywhere. It's a good reminder of how far removed from reality the patrician Democrats are.


By Scott Johnson

As Paul MIrengoff notes in his comments on last night's debate, Barack Obama made a number of mystifying comments about his own record. He seems to have denied that he launched his political career in Bill Ayers's living room:

MCCAIN: Well, again, while you were on the board of the Woods Foundation, you and Mr. Ayers, together, you sent $230,000 to ACORN. So -- and you launched your political campaign in Mr. Ayers' living room.

OBAMA: That's absolutely not true.

MCCAIN: And the facts are facts and records are records.

OBAMA: And that's not the facts.

But when Obama chose to run for Alice Palmer's seat in the Illinois legislature, he in fact appeared at an event hosted by Ayers and Dohrn in their Hyde Park home. Obama's denial is nothing more than quibbling with the facts, as Lynn Sweet does here.

On the subject of charter schools, it's even more difficult to construe Obama's comments: "Charter schools, I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois despite some reservations from teachers unions."

I thought I must have heard this wrong last night and waited to check the debate transcript this morning. Doing a quick Google search durng the debate, I found that Obama had proposed to double federal funding for charter schools. I thought that must be what he said.

But no. I heard it right (as Paul did). What was he talking about? Lynn Sweet has posted the Obama campaign's account of Obama's bipartisan accomplishments:

Obama Passed A Bill To Double Charter Schools In Chicago; The Bill Was Sponsored By Members Of Both Parties. In 2003, Obama was the co-sponsor of collective bargaining bill requiring Chicago Board of Education to enter into a partnership agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union regarding advancing student achievement and "authorizing an increase in the number of Chicago charter schools to 30 from 15." [Chicago Defender, 4/9/03; 93rd GA, SB 0019, 2/6/3, 3R P; 55-0-0, PA 93-0003, 4/16/03].

So Obama "doubled charter schools in Illinois" in that he got his name placed on a bill that required the Chicago Board of Education to enter into a partnership agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union (which the teachers' union, according to Obama, supposedly opposed?). Barack Obama must be quite confident that if he can sound sufficiently soothing, no one will care enough to pay much attention at this point.

JOHN adds: Well put. At this stage of the campaign, sounding soothing is just about Obama's sole objective. We didn't know it when the campaign started, but it's turned out that this is one of those races where all Obama has to do is not fall out of the chariot. To his credit, Obama seemed to realize that fact before just about anyone else and has run his campaign accordingly.  Thursday, October 16, 2008




By Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok




By Charles Johnson

If you need any more evidence that you cannot trust the media in this election, here you go.

All week, every media organization in America has been endlessly repeating that someone shouted “Kill him” at a Sarah Palin rally when Barack Obama’s name was mentioned. As Jake Tapper might say, they were all “atwitter” about it, and used this incident to promote the view that McCain and Palin were deliberately inciting “dangerous extremism.”

Just one little problem. The Secret Service investigated the incident, interviewed security agents and dozens of audience members, and the only person in that whole crowd who heard “Kill him” was ... the reporter, David Singleton of the Scranton Times-Tribune.

It’s a phony story.

Secret Service says ‘Kill him’ allegation unfounded.

SCRANTON – The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.

The Scranton Times-Tribune first reported the alleged incident on its Web site Tuesday and then again in its print edition Wednesday. The first story, written by reporter David Singleton, appeared with allegations that while congressional candidate Chris Hackett was addressing the crowd and mentioned Obama’s name a man in the audience shouted “kill him.“

News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim, with most attributing the allegations to the Times-Tribune story.

Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.

“I was baffled,” he said after reading the report in Wednesday’s Times-Tribune.

He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, after seeing the story, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than Singleton.

Slavoski said more than 20 non-security agents were interviewed Wednesday, from news media to ordinary citizens in attendance at the rally for the Republican vice presidential candidate held at the Riverfront Sports Complex. He said Singleton was the only one to say he heard someone yell “kill him.”  Thursday, October 16, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

The Washington Post accused the McCains of using their influence to get a temporary cell tower installed at their ranch earlier this year, but as it turns out, James Grimaldi didn’t do his homework.  The Secret Service requested the additional coverage earlier this year in order to bolster communications for their security detail on John McCain:

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon’s statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.

“We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs,” said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Zahren said the Washington Post story was “confusing two different issues — the temporary fix and the permanent solution to the tower.”

They’re confused, all right.  Grimaldi reports on the two requests as coming from the McCains:

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem — the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be “an inappropriate way” to build its network. “It doesn’t make business sense for us to do that,” he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a “cell site on wheels” — free of charge — to the McCain property in June, after the Secret Service began inquiring about improving coverage in the area. Such devices are used for providing temporary capacity where coverage is lacking or has been knocked out, in circumstances ranging from the Super Bowl to hurricanes.

This would have been a strange sort of scandal, anyway.  Cindy McCain offered the use of the land for free in exchange for a cell tower.  She initiated the request, not her husband, and did it through the proper channels.  While Verizon certainly must have realized who the McCains are, that doesn’t make Mrs. McCain’s request or offer inappropriate.

And what was the benefit?  Better cell coverage?  Well, there’s a scandal.  That’s so much more important than looking into Barack Obama’s funding of ACORN, the millions of dollars that he took from contributors named Qwerty Fghjkl;’ from ZX, and the cesspool of corruption in Chicago that Obama never bothered to reform but instead endorsed.  I hope the WaPo didn’t have to tear too many people off of the tanning-booth beat in Wasilla to cover this blockbuster.


By Allahpundit

He’s up a point in each: 50/46 now in Rasmussen, his best showing this month, and 49/47 in Gallup’s model of traditional likely voters. In the expanded model, which tries to account for the higher turnout among new voters that will probably occur this year, it’s 51/45. The bad news? Neither tracker includes data gathered after the debate, which means he’s headed for another downturn if the CNN and CBS snap polls last night were right (but a major uptick if Treach’s poll of one was!). The good news? From Red State, for what it’s worth:

I have an interesting story to relay that took place earlier this week between my boss (a senior VP in the company I work for) and one of the Obama campaigns’ internal pollsters…

As she was explaining her perspective it dawned on her to ask why he (the Obama internal pollster) was interested in her view of Palin. He replied that Obama’s campaign is extremely nervous about the energized republican base and what he called the “unkown factor” regarding Palin’s draw as a candidate.

In the polls they’re conducting around the country, and my boss wasn’t able to relay specific numbers, the Obama campaign is very, very worried about how Palin appears to be energizing whole groups of people who don’t typically get energized about politics, precisely because she appeals so strongly to the middle class, as well as women and dissatisfied republicans that stayed home in 2006.

More than that, they don’t know how to guage and predict the support of people typically turned off by politics, but that are enamored with her “up from the bootstraps” appeal.

I say all of this because this pollster conveyed strong concern about their standing going into the homestretch. They are very concerned about winning the vote of the middle class and whole swaths of the electorate they consider the “unkowns.” In fact, and based on her conversation with this internal pollster for Obama, he’s not ahead in the polls as we’re being told. He’s at best tied.

I.e. it’s not just The One who might have an impact on that expanded likely voter model. Remember, Tapper also claimed recently to have heard from sources in the Obama camp that objects in their rear-view mirror are closer than they appear. Exit question: Perfunctory expectations-lowering or is Maverick really creeping up?  Thursday, October 16, 2008




By Robert Arial

Political Cartoons by Robert Arial




By Ed Morrissey

USA Today’s editorial board comes out in opposition to Card Check today.  The editorial notes the Orwellian construct of a bill named the Employee Free Choice Act that strips workers of the right to a secret ballot in organizing elections.  The only way to stop it, according to USA Today, is to keep Barack Obama from becoming President:

This misguided measure passed the House shortly after Democrats took the majority in 2007. But it needs several more votes in the Senate and a president who will sign it. Barack Obama supports it; John McCain does not. It’s no surprise, then, that the AFL-CIO plans to spend an eye-popping $200 million this election cycle to support Obama and Democratic candidates for Congress. A win for Obama and big gains for Senate Democrats could remove the remaining obstacles to the euphemistically named “Employee Free Choice Act.”

Cajoled choice is more like it. The proposed change would give unions and pro-union employees more incentive to use peer pressure, or worse, to persuade reluctant workers to sign their cards. And without elections, workers who weren’t contacted by union organizers would have no say in the final outcome.

Labor leaders, such as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in the space below, argue that the proposed law wouldn’t prohibit private balloting. This is accurate but misleading. Union organizers would have no reason to seek an election if they had union cards signed by more than 50% of workers. And if they had less than a majority, they’d be unlikely to call for a vote they’d probably lose.

The editors point out another strange addition that has gone unnoticed in the EFCA.  Right now, when unions and management reach an impasse, the federal government has only limited powers to force a settlement, usually by invoking a cooling-off period to prevent unions from striking or management to conduct a lockout.  The EFCA gives the federal government power to impose a contract on both sides in the event of an impasse.  Since when did that become a federal power?

The argument of divided government is a powerful one, but one that the John McCain campaign has been reluctant to make explicit.  In this case, as with judicial appointments, it may be the best argument McCain has left.  Obama would get clear passage for any judicial appointments in a Senate dominated by his own party.  Likewise, the EFCA will also sail through Congress and get passed into law in an Obama administration.

Right now, it looks like John McCain is all that separates the workers of American from the risk of losing their secret ballots in union organizing elections.  Anyone interested in protecting themselves from union thuggery had better consider that calculation very, very carefully.  Thursday, October 16, 2008



By Charles Johnson

Fresh from a no-Jews-allowed “Global Dialog” conference with the mullahs in Tehran, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announces his endorsement of Barack Obama: AFP: Former UN chief mulls ‘phenomenal’ Obama presidency.

DUBLIN (AFP) — A US presidential poll victory for Barack Obama would be “phenomenal,” former UN chief Kofi Annan said Thursday, adding that whoever wins needs to learn the lessons of the last eight years. ...

When asked if the United States and the world was ready for a black US president, he said: “I think it would be a phenomenal change for the US and for the world.

“It would introduce a new dynamics (sic) and a new relationship between the US and the world. Whoever wins this presidency will have to come out prepared to work in partnership with the rest of the world,” he told reporters.

And he added: “I think we have learned some lessons in the past eight years and I hope whoever wins will bear that in mind.”  Thursday, October 16, 2008





Abu Qaswarah. Image courtsey of Multinational Forces Iraq.

Abu Qaswarah, al Qaeda in Iraq's second in command who was killed by US forces in Mosul, was a naturalized Swedish citizen who was wanted by United States, according to information obtained by The Long War Journal.

Abu Qaswarah al Skani (the Swede), whose real name is Mohamed Moumou, was killed in Mosul during an Oct. 5 raid on an al Qaeda command center. He detonated his vest after being mortally wounded and killed three women and three children.

The US military said Abu Qaswarah was a Moroccan who trained in al Qaeda camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1990s. He had close connections with Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the slain leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, and commanded al Qaeda forces in northern Iraq before being appointed second in command.

Today, a Swedish newspaper reported that Abu Qaswarah was a naturalized Swedish citizen. Abu Qaswarah was "born in Morocco and became a Swedish citizen in the 1990s," The Local reported. He was tied in with the notorious Brandbergen Mosque in Stockholm, which has been linked to other terror suspects.

The US military could neither confirm nor deny Abu Qaswarah's citizenship. "He had many alias but I cannot confirm any of them," Technical Sergeant Chris Stagner, a Public Affairs Officer serving in Baghdad told The Long War Journal. "And for clarification, MNF-I [Multinational Forces Iraq] never said he was Swedish. Our operational information is confirming that Abu Qaswarah was Moroccan-born."

But in an inquiry with a senior US military intelligence official who is familiar with al Qaeda in Iraq's command structure, it was confirmed that Abu Qaswarah was indeed a Swedish citizen, and in fact is none other than Mohamed Moumou, a wanted terrorist who trained in the al Qaeda-run Khalden terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

A look at Mohamed Moumou's history, provided by the US Treasury Department, and Abu Qaswarah, as provided by the US military and the Swedish press, shows their background is nearly identical. Mohamed Moumou was classified by the Treasury as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on Dec. 7, 2007.

Both Abu Qaswarah and Moumou have been identified as Moroccan nationals with Swedish citizenship. Both are said to have travelled to Afghanistan in the 1990s to train and maintained close tied to senior al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both were part of Zarqawi's inner circle (the US Treasury described Moumou as "Zarqawi's representative in Europe for issues related to chemical and biological weapons).

Qaswarah and Moumou have been described as senior leaders in the in the Brandbergen Mosque (the US Treasury described Moumou as "the uncontested leader of an extremist group centered around the Brandbergen Mosque").

Ansar al Sunnah / Ansar al Islam connections

Qaswarah/Moumou was a leader in Ansar al Islam, a radical Kurdish terrorist group that has aligned itself with al Qaeda. The group, which renamed itself Ansar al Sunnah after the US invasion of Iraq, and then renamed back to Ansar al Islam earlier this year, operates in northern Iraq. Ansar al Islam was officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Department of State on March 22, 2004

Ansar al Islam was founded by Mullah Krekar in December 2001. The group seized a series of villages in northeastern Iraq along the border with Iran and imposed a Taliban-like style of government. Ansar al Islam established a series of camps and crude chemical weapons factory in the town of Halabja. Zarqawi is thought to have run a camp in with the approval of Ansar al Islam. These camps were later destroyed during the US invasion in April 2003. US and Kurdish forces killed an estimated 250 members of Ansar al Islam during the assaults.

The group survived the US onslaught and was taken over by Abu Abdallah al Shafi in late 2003. Mullah Krekar entered Norway during the summer of 2004 where has been funneling money to fund terrorist activities in Iraq. Krekar has traveled to Iraq several times since 2005, according to the US Treasury Department. "During one of his longer stays in northern Iraq, Krekar appears to have recruited and trained combatants," the agency said.

The US Treasury Department identified Krekar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorists on Dec. 7, 2006. But Norway has been unable to deport Krekar to the US as his case has been tied up in Norwegian courts.

Ansar al Islam has been behind major terror attacks against the two secular Kurdish political party. As the insurgency grew, Ansar al Islam conducted bombing and suicide attacks against Iraqi civilians as well as US and Iraqi forces.

Sweden is thought to be a haven for Ansar al Sunnah and other terrorist groups. In 2006, Ansar al Sunnah released video clips of what it claimed was "a small isolated training camp in southern Sweden," the Christian Science Monitor reported in 2005.

"We wish to inform the Ummah [Muslim community] that the Army of Ansar Al-Sunnah in Sweden are well-trained to defend our holy countries ... having established a Mujahideen training camp, located in Skane ... with the help from Allah," the group said on its website.

In June 2008, a Moroccan court sentenced Ahmed Essafri for being part of "a 27-man 'terrorist structure' which was recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq," The Local reported. Essafri was also born in Morocco. He holds Swedish citizenship, lived in the country for 30 years, and attended the Brandbergen Mosque. Moroccan intelligence reportedly questioned Essafri about Moumou during his interrogation.  Thursday, October 16, 2008


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