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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 14, 2008


By Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler




By John Hinderaker

The Al Franken campaign is using a series of lawsuits to try to bully the ex-comedian's way into the United States Senate. So far, though, they aren't going too well.

Franken has demanded that Minnesota counties give him lists of would-be voters whose absentee ballots were rejected. Some have complied, but others have refused. Today Franken sued Ramsey County, where St. Paul is located, to force the county to turn over such a list. Franken wants to use it, obviously, to track down voters favorable to him, as to whom the ballot disqualification might be overturned.

The centerpiece of Franken's Ramsey County lawsuit was a sob story involving an 84-year-old Beltrami County woman whose ballot was supposedly rejected because her signature did not match the one on file with the county. The reason, Franken alleged, was that the woman had suffered a stroke:

An 84-year-old Beltrami County woman, whose election ballot was rejected, helped convince Al Franken's campaign to go to court seeking the names of all Minnesotans whose ballots were not counted last week.

Franken campaign officials said the woman, a nursing home resident, told a campaign volunteer that her signature had changed due to a stroke after she first signed her voter registration forms. Her signature on absentee ballot paperwork did not match her signature for this election, so election officials rejected the ballot.

That example is being used as why the U.S. Senate candidate, a Democrat, wants to know about every rejected ballot.

There's only one problem with Franken's story. It isn't true:

Al Franken's campaign needs a new story to establish the need for a lawsuit it filed Thursday. ...

A touching story the Franken campaign told at mid-day Thursday about how a Beltrami County women's stroke-impaired signature led to her ballot being rejected proved flawed. ...

The woman's story was carried by news organizations in Minnesota and beyond.

Franken's U.S. Senate campaign originally said an 84-year-old Beltrami County woman's post-stroke handwriting did not match her voter registration signature, so election officials rejected her ballot.

The county's top elections official said she told the Franken campaign that was not the case.

"Beltrami County does not have one ballot that was rejected because signatures didn't match and the Franken campaign was clearly told that," County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Mack said. "I don't know where they are getting that from."

So it appears that Franken deliberately lied.

Notwithstanding this embarrassment, there is a serious danger that Al Franken will bully and lie his way into office. No one is reassured by the presence of left-wing DFL activist Mark Ritchie as Secretary of State. Like Franken, Ritchie has trouble keeping his story straight:


By John Hinderaker

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that an 18-year-old freshman at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Annie Grossman, was assaulted by four young women on election night. The attackers called Grossman a "racist" because she was wearing a McCain/Palin button. Grossman was diagnosed with blurred vision and a concussion.

The four attackers are believed not to be Augsburg students, but Grossman's parents say she has had trouble in school, too:

Grossmann's parents, Bruce and Dawn, said that in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Annie had trouble on campus because of her political leanings and for being a hunter.

Bruce Grossmann said a "PETA person" had to be removed from her dorm room because he was upset by a photo of her with a black bear she had shot. Also, he said, she attended an icebreaker on campus and was booed when she identified herself as a Republican.

"I don't think she was prepared for the close-mindedness," he said. "I told her she needs to take a lower profile [for the sake of] her academic and her sports careers."

That's probably good advice, but it's one more reminder of why our colleges and universities have been described as "islands of repression in a sea of freedom."  Wednesday, November 12, 2008




By Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne




By Charles Johnson

At a special session of the United Nations General Assembly, the leader of the religious apartheid kingdom of Saudi Arabia will sit down in the same room with an Israeli for the first time. What would bring Abdullah to do this, an act that must be repugnant to him? Answer: the possibility that he may be able to talk the gullible infidels into criminalizing blasphemy.

WASHINGTON - World leaders gathering at the United Nations this week for a special session of the General Assembly to advance interfaith dialogue should have no illusions that their efforts will miraculously promote mutual respect between religious communities or end abuses of religious freedom.

Saudi King Abdullah, who initiated this week’s special session, is quietly enlisting the leaders’ support for a global law to punish blasphemy – a campaign championed by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that puts the rights of religions ahead of individual liberties.

If the campaign succeeds, states that presume to speak in the name of religion will be able to crush religious freedom not only in their own country, but abroad.

The UN session is designed to endorse a meeting of religious leaders in Spain last summer that was the brainchild of King Abdullah and organized by the Muslim World League. That meeting resulted in a final statement counseling promotion of “respect for religions, their places of worship, and their symbols ... therefore preventing the derision of what people consider sacred.”

The lofty-sounding principle is, in fact, a cleverly coded way of granting religious leaders the right to criminalize speech and activities that they deem to insult religion. Instead of promoting harmony, however, this effort will exacerbate divisions and intensify religious repression.

This isn’t a low-level campaign; it will be attended by world leaders, and some of them have already signaled their acquiescence to the agenda: The Big Saudi Swindle.


By Charles Johnson

At some point, we might want to ask if there are any Islamic charities who aren’t financing Hamas: US cracks down on Islamic charity.

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration acted Wednesday against an Islamic charity suspected of helping to bankroll Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that the United States considers an international terrorist organization.

The Treasury Department’s action against the Union of Good means that any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to the charity found in the United States will be frozen. Americans also are barred from making donations to the group, which the U.S. government alleged was created by leaders of Hamas to transfer money to Hamas.  Thursday, November 13, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

System rape is defined as an act of genocide or crime against humanity by the UN, and one might expect a call for that tactic to come from the most lunatic of radical Islamist terrorist leaders. Instead, we hear it from an Egyptian lawyer — a female — on al-Arabiya, with the show host nodding his head in agreement:

As Omri at Mere Rhetoric notes, she’s not just excusing whatever cases occur as an inevitable result of the so-called occupation.  She wants all Arabs to use rape as a tactic to drive Israelis out of Israel.

Al-Arabiya operates out of Dubai, UAE, and is heavily subsidized by the Saudis — two American allies.  Just for the record.


By Ed Morrissey

CIA Director Michael Hayden says that Osama bin Laden remains alive more than seven years after the 9/11 attacks, but that he’s not enjoying it much.  American military and intelligence efforts have largely cut him off from his organization, and most of his focus has been on staying alive.  Hayden also said that the US has disrupted his plans to attack America on a grand scale:

Osama bin Laden is alive and “putting a lot of energy into his own security,” the director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, said today.

He also claimed, without providing details, that the US intelligence community had disrupted an attack “that would have rivaled the destruction of 9/11.” …

Without directly referring to the CIA’s offensive blitz of unmanned missile attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the CIA boss said the US had successfully isolated the al Qaeda leader bin Laden, referring to him in the present tense.

“He appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he leads,” Hayden said in a speech delivered to the Atlantic Council in Washington.

The plot to which Hayden refers got reported on Monday by a London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds al-Arabi.  According to their Yemeni source, described as close to senior AQ leadership, the new AQ attack would have eclipsed the scale of the 9/11 attacks and returned AQ to relevance.  Hayden appears to confirm that in this speech, which should remind everyone that al-Qaeda still poses a threat to the US.

According to ABC, a debate has broken out among the Obama transition team about Hayden.  They like his performance and his efforts to rescue the CIA, and they want to retain some continuity in the war effort.  Others on Team Obama feel that they cannot have Hayden remain, though, because of his connections to the warrantless surveillance and controversial interrogation techniques, even though those haven’t been in play since 2003.  Since Obama himself voted to support the surveillance compromise, that doesn’t seem like as big a hurdle as this report paints it.

I’d expect Hayden to be asked to resign within a short period after the inauguration.  Who will they tap to replace him?  Richard Clarke?


By Ed Morrissey

Oil continues to drop to lows not seen in almost two years as the global markets plumb the bottom of the financial collapse.  Yesterday’s trading closed below $55 per barrel despite OPEC warnings of production cuts:

Oil dropped to a 22-month low under $55 on Thursday as evidence piled up global recession would have a deep impact on demand and news OPEC might take more emergency action did only a little to halt the sell-off.

U.S. crude futures were 19 cents firmer at $56.35 by 1158 GMT, recovering from a session low of $54.67 — the weakest level since January 30, 2007.

London Brent crude fell seven cents to $52.30.

The International Energy Agency on Thursday in a monthly report slashed its global oil demand growth forecast for next year and said this year’s increase in consumption had been the slowest since 1985.

Growth forecasts got cut in half from last month, and traders foresee a glut on the markets throughout 2009.  A global recession will curtail need for expanded energy use, and speculators — remember them? — aren’t buying oil futures as a result.  OPEC has twice warned that they would defend specific price levels, only to see the market ignore them completely.  They’re in danger of becoming irrelevant.

This has ramifications far beyond the gas pumps, where prices have returned to 2006 levels.  Domestically, the ambitious programs of the Democratic Party relied in part on the ludicrous “windfall profits” taxes that Barack Obama pledged to impose on the oil industry.  Revenues and profits will tumble on these prices, removing that revenue source from the incoming administration.  Either Obama will have to scale back his programs or massively increase tax revenues from other sources.

Internationally, though, the lower price will help kneecap Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.  Venezuela’s crude is only desirable when other sources cost too much; otherwise, their sulfuric crude is a poor alternative to other oil, and the price will fall even farther for Hugo Chavez’ product.  Iran and Russia built their economic and military strength on expensive oil.  Now that the price of oil has collapsed, both countries will have enormous hardships in maintaining their militaries, their internal security, and their ruling regimes.  Vladimir Putin in particular will now have to start making nice with the G-7, as Western financial assistance will almost certainly be required to keep Russia afloat.

Overall, though, the traders are betting on a long, hard recession throughout most of 2009.  That prediction appears to have grown stronger since the election of Obama and his soon-to-be-adopted economic policies.  Thursday, November 13, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers describes Barack Obama as “a neighbor and family friend” in the new edition of his book Fugitive Days.

Funny how this is only coming out now, isn’t it?

In a new afterword to his 2001 book, Bill Ayers, former leader of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground, describes President-elect Barack Obama as a “family friend” and denies he wished his group had set off more bombs in the 1960s.

Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, adds few new details about his relationship with Obama in the afterword to Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist. The book is being reissued this month.

“We had served together on the board of a foundation, knew one another as neighbors and family friends, held an initial fund-raiser at my house, where I’d made a small donation to his earliest political campaign,” he writes.  Thursday, November 13, 2008



Iraqi and US forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and captured 149 suspects, including two senior leaders, during operations in Iraq's North over the past three days. In Mosul, an Iraqi soldier shot and killed two US soldiers and wounded six others during a joint patrol in the eastern part of the city.

Iraqi forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and rounded up 67 suspected al Qaeda operatives and insurgents were in the northeastern province of Diyala. Nine local al Qaeda emirs were captured "in an underground bunker used for torturing and beheading captives," AFP reported, while five operatives were killed when troops raided a weapons cache.

Iraqi forces captured two senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, including Riyad Wahab Hassan Falih, who was described as "the number-one butcher."

"Iraqi forces received intelligence on a very dangerous terrorist known as the number-one butcher who was responsible for a beheading squad that slaughtered innocent people," an Iraqi general told AFP. Falih "also supervised the training of terrorists specializing in beheading Iraqis."

Iraqi police and soldiers also detained Ahmed Hassan al Azawi, an al Qaeda emir, or leader, in the Khalis region in Diyala.

In Ninewa province, a joint Iraqi police and Army force detained 66 "wanted men" during raids in southern Mosul on Nov. 11. Sixteen al Qaeda fighters, including a Syrian, were captured during raids in western Mosul the day prior.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has retreated to the rural regions of Diyala province and is attempting to hold onto the city of Mosul in Ninewa. Diyala and Ninewa are two of the four remaining provinces that have yet to be transferred to Iraqi control. Fourteen of Iraq's 18 provinces are under the control of Iraq's security forces.

Iraqi soldier kills two US troops in Mosul

Two US soldiers were killed and six more were wounded by an Iraqi soldier during a joint patrol in Mosul, Multinational Forces Iraq reported.

"Initial reports indicate the attacker was an Iraqi soldier who was hiding in a building when he engaged the patrol," the US military said in a press release. US troops returned fire and killed the attacker.

An Iraqi official claimed a US soldier insulted the Iraqi trooper by slapping him on patrol, but the US military denied this. "There was no argument," said. Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of US forces in the North. "There was no spitting or cursing between the individuals. In fact there was not even a conversation between the Iraqi soldier who was shooting and the soldiers who were shot."

"This attack is believed at this time to have been conducted by a lone Iraqi soldier," said Colonel Bill Buckner, a spokesman for the Multinational Corps Iraq. "The other IA soldiers in the area immediately came to the assistance of the CF and provided medical evacuation. The coalition forces involved in this incident have worked with the IA unit for a long time in strong partnership and we will uncover what happened leading up to the incident."

The US military has launched an investigation.

The Mosul incident is a rare case of direct fighting between US ad Iraqi forces. Tens of thousands of US troops are partnered with Iraqi soldiers and police unit in hundreds of combat outposts and joint security stations throughout Iraq.  Wednesday, November 12, 2008


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