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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, August 22, 2005


AMERICAN DINER

05.08.19.AmericanDiner-X.gif

www.coxandforkum.com

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ABOMINATION AT GROUND ZERO

Today's New York Daily News reports: "Another insult to America's heritage at Freedom Center." Daily News reporter Douglas Feiden writes:

A global network of human rights museums is urging the International Freedom Center to downplay America in its exhibits and programs at Ground Zero, the Daily News has learned.

The Daily News comments in an editorial: "Making a mockery of Ground Zero." The editorial observes:

The IFC's organizers have...cited plans to host exhibitions by members of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience as a reason why the Freedom Center would be a perfect fit for the hallowed ground where 2,749 people were murdered. To which we can only say that IFC leaders Tom Bernstein and Richard Tofel must be nuts. The advice the coalition gave them is neither inspirational nor practical. It is pure anti-American hogwash.

The coalition's wisdom, as spelled out in its 2004 annual report, begins by expressing concern about how religious Muslims would view the Freedom Center and climaxes by offering Bernstein, Tofel & Co. an offensive prescription: "Don't put America first." The coalition also worries that "the average Bangladeshi" feels "his/her human rights have been violated by the U.S." Come again? Exhibits on what amounts to a mass grave of slaughtered Americans will be decided by what the average Bangladeshi feels? Not bloody likely.

Consider this, too: "The Freedom Center is a caricature of the typical American response to everything (telling every story from an American viewpoint)." Exactly what viewpoint is an American museum on American soil marking an American tragedy supposed to express? Oh, right. Bangladeshi.

It is past time to put an end to the abomination in the making at Ground Zero. Please lend your support Debra Burlingame and the good folks who have been sounding the alarm at Take Back the Memorial.

SPECIAL REPORT: AIR AMERISCAM

New York Sun Communications Manager Maggie Shnayerson writes:

Because of the high demand for access to the Sun’s Air America stories, we have decided to put together a special web page containing the entire series. I have included a free link to the site created for you and your readers. Enjoy!

Access to reporter David Lombino's entire series of articles covering Air Ameriscam is available at Special Report: Air AmericaSunday, August 21, 2005

www.powerlineblog.com

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AIR AMERICA: STIFFING THE TALENT (AND THE UNION)

The third installment in the investigative blog series by Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney covers the litigation arising from former host and programmer Lizz Winstead, the first of the 'talent' to join Air America well before its launch. Winstead also has the distinction of being the first host they fired after the Piquant fraudulent conveyance buyout. At the time it raised a few eyebrows; after all, the ratings for "Unfiltered" couldn't have been that much worse than the rest of the AAR lineup.

The counterclaims filed by Winstead and Piquant Media clear up quite a bit of the mytery, as Michelle and Brian point out:

On May 20, 2005, comedian Lizz Winstead filed suit in New York, detailing a laundry list of allegations against Air America Radio parent Piquant LLC.

Accusing the company of failing to pay wages, promotional fees, accrued holiday compensation and severance, Winstead is seeking $290,716, plus interest. ...

It seems clear Winstead was utilized in dual programming and on-air roles at Air America. Published reports from early 2004 listed her in both, here and here. Mediaweek noted she'd been programmer and host, in this blurb regarding her exit.

It's not known what was in her original employment agreement, or for which programming decisions Winstead may have been responsible (other than her own "Unfiltered"). One thing isn't in dispute: on May 24, 2004, she agreed to sign a release supplied by the company.

What exactly it was intended to cover is exceptionally confusing. Winstead believed it to be a release of monetary claims against Progress Media, so Piquant could take it over, without facing demands for unpaid compensation.

But wait a second-- Air America's party line is that Piquant merely purchased the assets of Progress Media, not its liabilities. Why the worries, then, about past claims being brought against the new company?

It gets much better than that. After the transfer to Piquant, AAR simply quit paying her on-air salary and stopped reporting her wages to AFTRA, the union that represents on-air talent. AAR only honored the management compensation (for program management) portion of the agreement, despite Winstead's continuing on-air performance. When Winstead woke up and sniffed the java, AAR terminated her and reassigned her two on-air hosts to other duties.

To no one's surprise, Winstead sued, claiming back wages. Incredibly, AAR responded by saying that Winstead never served in a management capacity, even though they had stopped paying her on-air talent fees. Michelle and Brian have the court filings that either enraged or amused Winstead to no end. Read through the entire installment.

But here's one macro political point that Michelle and Brian missed, understandably so given their highly detailed investigation into Air America's scandalous conduct. Their sponsors, especially in the Twin Cities market, tend to heavily represent labor unions. Unions flock to the populist/liberal messengers in order to bolster their organizing efforts and push their members to listen to AAR to underscore their own political messages. With Winstead's lawsuit showing that AAR shafted a major union on dues by refusing to compensate on-air talent, how long will those unions stick by AAR? And if AAR's response to Winstead's lawsuit claims she never worked in management, how exactly do they explain to AFTRA their failure to report her compensation?

It looks to me like Sheldon and Anita Drobny and the rest of the far-left management at Piquant love labor unions as long as they keep their questionable businesses afloat. When it comes to partnering with labor, as AAR hosts demand from places like Wal-Mart and other corporate entities, the Drobnys and other Piquant owners have granted themselves a huge, hypocritical exception.

Pull up a chair and pass the popcorn, folks. This is really getting good now.  Saturday, August 20, 2005

www.captainsquartersblog.com

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HOW TO BECOME A LEADER

Nebraska's Senator Chuck Hagel has become a vocal critic of the Iraq war. Today he said that the United States is losing in Iraq, and Iraq is like Vietnam. The Associated Press reports:

A leading Republican senator and prospective presidential candidate said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

But wait! What exactly makes Chuck Hagel a "leading Republican senator"? Not seniority; he is a second-termer. Not any official responsibilities; Hagel is not a member of the Senate leadership, nor does he chair a Senate committee. Not legislative accomplishment or influence; Hagel has little noteworthy legislation to his name, and is more often an eccentric voice--e.g., in his call for reinstatement of the draft--than an influence on his fellow Senators. It is hard to escape the conclusion that for the Associated Press, any Republican who attacks the Bush administration and claims that we're losing in Iraq is automatically promoted to "leading Republican senator" status.

And "prospective presidential candidate"? Not as a Republican.

Via Power Line NewsSunday, August 21, 2005

www.powerlineblog.com

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THE RED-GREEN-PINK ALLIANCE

Radical leftist group CODEPINK is joining forces with radical Islamic front group The Muslim Public Affairs Committee and academic America-hater Mark LeVine, to sponsor an event on September 12 in Los Angeles:

On Monday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m., Middle East historian Mark LeVine presents his new book Why They Don’t Hate Us: Unveiling the Axis of Evil and engages in conversation with CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans, who has made several trips to Iraq, along with Baghdad-born Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a progressive voice for Muslim Americans based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The evening is moderated by political scientist Suzi Weissman, host of KPFK’s “Beneath the Surface” Monday edition, and is cosponsored by CODEPINK and MPAC.

This evening is free to the public and takes place at Levantine Cultural Center, 5920 Blackwelder Street, Culver City 90232. Info 310.559.5544.

Salam Al-Marayati is notorious for telling radio station KCRW, within hours of the September 11 mass murder: “If we’re going to look at suspects we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.”

Quite a “progressive voice,” eh?

CAMERA has a long list of similar statements by Al-Marayati, supporting extremist movements and terrorist groups, vilifying Israel, and condemning US anti-terrorism measures.

And Daniel Pipes also has a piece about this character: Needed: Muslims against Terror [and Not Salam Al-Marayati].

Yet mainstream media continues to portray him as a moderate Muslim civil rights advocate—and they never bring up these statements at all.

RADICAL LAWYERS AND RADICAL MUSLIMS JOIN FORCES

The ACLU, who are relentlessly campaigning to expunge all traces of religion from public places, are joining forces with radical Islamic group CAIR to promote the use of Korans in the courtroom. (Hat tip: Steven Den Beste.)

N.C. — Traditionally, witnesses taking the stand in court are sworn in by placing their hand on the Bible.

But when Muslims in Guilford County, N.C., tried to donate copies of the Koran for courtroom use, judges turned them down.

Chief District Court Judge Joseph Turner says taking an oath on the Koran is not allowed by North Carolina state law, which specifies that witnesses shall place their hands on the “holy scriptures,” which he interprets as the Christian Bible.

“We’ve been doing it that way for 200 years,” he said. “Until the legislature changes that law, I believe I have to do what I’ve been told to do in the statutes.”

But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the Guilford County Courts.

“This was the first time that we had a judge ... going on record and stating unilaterally what is a holy scripture and what is not — what we believe to be a violation of the establishment clause,” said Arsalan Iftikhar of CAIR.

RED CROSS: THE DICTATOR'S HELPER

The International Committee of the Red Cross is helping Saddam Hussein distribute incitement and propaganda.

In Jordan, two newspapers published a letter from Saddam Hussein in which he vowed to sacrifice himself for the cause of Palestine and Iraq, urged Arabs to follow his path and implied he would become a martyr for the Arab cause.

The letter was delivered through the International Committee of the Red Cross to an old friend of Saddam’s now living in Jordan.

“My soul and my existence is to be sacrificed for our precious Palestine and our beloved, patient and suffering Iraq,” the letter to an unidentified friend said.

“It is not much for a man to support his nation with his soul and all he commands because it deserves it since it has given us life in the name of God and allowed us to inherit the best.”  Sunday, August 21, 2005

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog

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HAMAS CLAIMS EVACUATION IS VICTORY FOR THE SUICIDE BOMBERS

Yes, but this is the "extremist" view, right? Right? Abbas and the PA are much more moderate, right? Well, no: Abbas said the same thing.

From the Telegraph, with thanks to Sr. Soph:

All week long, as Israeli soldiers and settlers fought running battles in the soon-to-be-dismantled Jewish settlements, their Palestinian neighbours could hardly contain their delight.

In the teeming slums of Gaza, Palestinian officials marked the end of 38 years of Israeli occupation by organising poetry and painting competitions, which summed up the Palestinians' view of Israel's unilateral decision to forcibly remove 9,000 settlers from their homes....

In the poetry category, an entry by Ibtisam Mustafa was singled out for particular praise. "O brigades, be prepared, Gaza has been restored. Start preparing to liberate the rest of the land. Drive the Zionists out. O Hamas, let's liberate Jerusalem with the help of your soldiers and glorious rockets."

While Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, tries to argue that the Gaza withdrawal is an important step towards reviving the dormant Middle East peace talks, Palestinian militants apparently have little interest in achieving their goals through peaceful dialogue.

In Palestinian-controlled Gaza last week, virtually everyone The Sunday Telegraph spoke to said that Israel's indihar, or retreat, had been forced by the scores of young suicide bombers who have killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians in the five-year-long intifada, or uprising.

"The Israelis are leaving Gaza because they can no longer tolerate the bloodshed we have inflicted on them," said Mohammed Khatif, a local shop owner.

"We will continue the struggle until we have reclaimed all the land of Palestine."

Five founding Hamas members made a rare group appearance in a Gaza restaurant to assert their right to continue the armed campaign.

"Our land, including Jerusalem, is still occupied, the refugees are still deported, the wall and the settlements are still eating more of our land," said one leader, Ismail Haniya.

In Beirut, a Hamas spokesman, Khaled Mashaal, was defiant. "The resistance and the steadfastness of our people forced the Zionists to withdraw," he declared last week. "The armed struggle is the only strategy that Hamas possesses. As long as Palestinian lands remain under occupation, Hamas won't lay down its weapons."

' I WILL GO TO DO JIHAD AGAIN AND AGAIN'

"'I Will Go to Do Jihad Again and Again': Prisoner's Story Highlights Pakistan-Based Training Network for Insurgents," which is of course something we have highlighted here at Jihad Watch many times. From the Washington Post, with thanks to Sr. Soph:

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The prisoner perched on a metal chair, hugging his knees to his chest and rocking slightly, like a nervous child.

But his expression relaxed into a blissful smile as he described what he would do if released from his cell in the headquarters of the national intelligence service.

"When I get the chance, I will stick to my promise," said Sher Ali, 28, a Pakistani man with cropped black hair and a long beard. "I will go to do jihad again and again."

Ali said he took his vow to wage holy war against U.S. forces in Afghanistan earlier this summer, just before embarking on what he described as a 20-day weapons training course at a secret mountain camp in northeastern Pakistan.

He was captured by Afghan police about three weeks ago, shortly after crossing into Afghanistan's rugged, northeastern Konar province. The area has been a haven for armed renegades from an assortment of groups, including al Qaeda, the Taliban and backers of former Afghan leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is now a fugitive....

Ali spoke in the presence of an Afghan intelligence official, but he did not show signs of having been mistreated. Some details, such as the existence of jihadist training camps and the recruitment of Islamic fighters, have been reported separately in the Pakistani press or described by prisoners after their release.

"We know where a lot of these training camps are. We have their names. And we've given the Pakistanis all the information we have," said a senior Afghan intelligence official. "We're waiting for Pakistan to show the willingness to fight."...

Ali said Zubair told him and his companions that Western troops were bombing, arresting and torturing innocent Afghans. "He kept saying, 'It's our duty as Muslims to go there and help,' " said Ali.

That night, Ali recalled, Zubair turned to him and asked point-blank: "Do you want to join the jihad?"

It's the "duty of Muslims." No one yet -- outside of Jihad Watch, anyway -- has explored the implications of how jihad terrorists recruit by appealing to Islamic purity and loyalty.

Read it all.  Sunday, August 21, 2005

http://jihadwatch.org

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JEW-HATER GETS TOP UK "ANTI-EXTREMIST" JOB

Wow. The British government still doesn’t get it: Top job fighting extremism for Muslim who praised bomber. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

He may hate Jews, and Western civilization, but judging from the picture in this article he does own some nice suits.

A Muslim accused of anti-Semitism is to be appointed to a government role in charge of rooting out extremism in the wake of last month’s suicide bombings in London.

Inayat Bunglawala, 36, the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, is understood to have been selected as one of seven “conveners” for a Home Office task force with responsibilities for tackling extremism among young Muslims, despite a history of anti-Semitic statements.

Mr Bunglawala’s past comments include the allegation that the British media was “Zionist-controlled”.

Writing for a Muslim youth magazine in 1992, he said: “The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade [then the chief executive of Channel 4 and now BBC chairman] and Alan Yentob [BBC2 controller and friend of Salman Rushdie].”

The three are reported to be “close friends... so that’s what they mean by a ‘free media’.”

In January 1993, Mr Bunglawala wrote a letter to Private Eye, the satirical magazine, in which he called the blind Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman “courageous” - just a month before he bombed the World Trade Center in New York. After Rahman’s arrest in July that year, Mr Bunglawala said that it was probably only because of his “calling on Muslims to fulfil their duty to Allah and to fight against oppression and oppressors everywhere”.

Five months before 9/11, Mr Bunglawala also circulated writings of Osama bin Laden, who he regarded as a “freedom fighter”, to hundreds of Muslims in Britain.

UK MUSLIM GROUP WHINES, SEETHES

The radical Islamic front group known as the Muslim Council of Britain is whining and seething about ... wait for it ... the BBC’s pro-Israel agenda: Muslim Group Slams BBC Portrayal of Islam.

LONDON - Britain’s most powerful Islamic body criticized a television documentary broadcast Sunday that accused the country’s Muslim leaders of ignoring the spread of extremism within their communities. ...

The British Broadcasting Corp’s Panorama documentary said groups affiliated with the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s most powerful Islamic body, were peddling hard-line, intolerant religious views.

The council’s Secretary General SIR Iqbal Sacranie said the program was “deeply unfair” and was “purposefully trying to sabotage” Muslims’ progress in mainstream political participation.

Sir Iqbal, who was knighted this year and is viewed as the voice of moderate Islam by the British government, said: “The MCB urges British Muslims to remain calm and vigilant in the face of recent concerted attempts being made by known hostile elements to divide them.”

Sir Iqbal also condemned suicide bombings by British Muslims anywhere and said there was no difference between the life of a Palestinian and the life of a Jew and all life was “sacred.”

The council — an umbrella organization with more than 400 affiliated groups — already has written to the BBC claiming the documentary has a “pro-Israeli agenda,” he said.

DOG BITES MAN, LEFTIES LIE

The Soros-funded hard left group Media Matters has been caught red-handed, falsely accusing AIM’s Cliff Kincaid of fabricating a letter from an Afghan ambassador: Media Matters Lies, Busted in Kincaid, AIM smearSunday, August 21, 2005

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog

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THE GORELICK WALL ENCOMPASSED DEFENSE, CIA, AND STATE

One of the arguments at places like Think Progress and other sites which have made themselves the defenders of former Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick consists of pointing out that Gorelick didn't work at the DoD when she erected the "wall" separating intelligence and law enforcement operations. Therefore, they argue, she had no effect on the DIA's decision not to share information with the FBI. As I pointed out earlier, that argument fails for two reasons. The first is Gorelick's earlier assignment at the DoD as general counsel for ten months, during which one supposes she promulgated Bill Clinton's policies as the top attorney at Defense just as she did later at Justice. The second, and most obvious, is that as the number-two person at Justice, she still set policy for the FBI. Since sharing and cooperation require two parties to work together, her wall would have made any attempt to engage the FBI pointless.

Now William Tate at What's In The News points out another reason why the "wall" constrained Defense. Gorelick addressed her 1995 memo to several different people:

* Mary Jo White, US District Attorney, prosecuting the 1993 WTC bombing terrorists

* Louis Freeh, FBI Director

* Jo Ann Harris, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division (DoJ)

* Richard Scruggs, Chief Counsel, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review

This last addressee makes the connection to the Department of Defense that the Gorelick defenders claim didn't exist. As Tate points out and as the OIPR website makes clear, the DoD looked to the OIPR for legal opinions on anything having to do with the legality of their operations, especially in regard to those involving domestic targets:

The Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, under the direction of the Counsel for Intelligence Policy, is responsible for advising the Attorney General on all matters relating to the national security activities of the United States. The Office prepares and files all applications for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, assists Government agencies by providing legal advice on matters of national security law and policy, and represents the Department of Justice on variety of interagency committees such as the National Counterintelligence Policy Board. The Office also comments on and coordinates other agencies' views regarding proposed legislation affecting intelligence matters.

The Office serves as adviser to the Attorney General and various client agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Defense and State Departments, concerning questions of law, regulation, and guidelines as well as the legality of domestic and overseas intelligence operations.

The inclusion of Richard Scruggs, the lead counsel at the OIPR, intended to send the message that any advice given to the DoD, CIA, and State regarding the sharing of files had better fall in line with her new stated policy of going "beyond the law" to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Given that Gorelick held a high-profile position within Justice as a political appointee of Bill Clinton, this policy would rightly get attention as an official directive of the President's wishes. The one office that all of these intelligence agencies would consult in terms of sharing and coordination between themselves and law-enforcement operations would therefore have advised all agencies to follow the Gorelick Wall as a standard and as White House policy.

Given that kind of connection, it doesn't take much imagination to understand why all of these agencies became shy about even attempting to stretch the limits of the Gorelick policy.

The notion that Gorelick's memo had no effect outside the DoJ does not stand up to scrutiny at all, once the fact and intent of including Scruggs and the OIPR become known. This shows why Mary Jo White objected so strenuously to this memo and its implementation, and why she went out of her way to antagonize her bosses at the DoJ with a second and more heated memo predicting, correctly, that such a policy would leave America unprotected against the very people she had just successfully prosecuted.

It's bad enough that Gorelick erected that wall in 1995. It's ludicrous that four years after 9/11, people waste their time defending her and her participation in the 9/11 Commission as a panel member instead of a witness.

Addendum: Relating this to Able Danger, one can easily see why the Wall kept the DoD from pursuing an FBI investigation of the program's findings. The AD team would have asked for permission from DoD attorneys, as Col. Tony Shaffer has said was done three times, and all three times the attorneys denied the request. Either they already had great familiarity with Clinton's policies -- which probably was the case -- or they consulted with the OIPR and got the Gorelick policy from Scruggs and his team.

Scruggs, by the way, was no mere bystander in this issue. He pressed for stricter constraints on information sharing in 1994, after the prosecution of Aldrich Ames for espionage. He complained about the supposedly loose interpretations of FISA at the FBI and in the intel communities, and on his own began imposing his own "wall" even without direction to do so from Reno or Gorelick. This action gets Scruggs his only mention in the Commission report (page 78).

SACHI: SO WHO DOES CINDY SHEEHAN SPEAK FOR?

Ever since Cindy Sheehan started protesting in Crawford Texas, the mainstream media has been portraying her as the voice of grieving mothers. She has absolute moral authority, as Maureen Dowd of New York Times, puts it.

Newspaper articles and television shows claimed that a flock of people, including parents who lost children in Iraq, had gathered in Crawford, Texas to show their support for Sheehan. According to AP, "By Thursday, about 50 people had joined her cause, pitching tents in muddy, shallow ditches and hanging anti-war banners; two dozen others have sent flowers." On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, the announcer said "Within days, the numbers grew along this Texas roadside. Other parents who had lost sons and daughters to the war, seasoned antiwar protesters, ... all made Cindy's cause their own."

Surprisingly though, neither of these two sources showed any grieving mother (or father) who supported Sheehan.

Don't get me wrong. She has plenty of supporters in Camp Casey, as they call it. One man, Trucker Craig Delaney, altered his route from California to Texas, just to be with her; he just isn't a grieving parent. In fact, the only grieving person CNN could find at all was a young woman who lost her soldier pen-pal in Iraq.

Even on Military Families Speak Out, a website dedicated to military families who oppose the war, I could not find a single article naming any parent who lost a child in Iraq and who supports Sheehan, despite many stories about her on the site.

The only exception to the rule so far is today's Minneapolis Star Tribune, which featured two grieving mothers who supported Sheehan... along with ten who do not, even if they are not necessarily pro-war. "I was not in favor of the war...but my son was a gung-ho soldier, so I back him and all of our troops in Iraq and everywhere," said Norma Benson, who lost her son Sgt. First Class Michael A. Benson only a few days ago. Out of twelve mothers featured here, only two emphatically support Sheehan, one of whom is Minnesota state senator Becky Lourey of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, a well known Bush critic whose son, Army Chief Warrant Officer Matt Lourey, died last May.

By contrast, I have heard and read many comments from parents of fallen heroes who support the president and our war effort from, e.g., Cherenkoff and the Wall Street Journal.

Clearly, Cindy Sheehan does not represent most greiving mothers, let alone have "absolute" "moral authority" in this matter. The recent survey taken by Rasmussen confirms this point: "Among those with family members who have served in the military, Sheehan is viewed favorably by 31% and unfavorably by 48%." the study said.

It seems I am not the only one who is having a hard time locating grieving mothers who support Cindy Sheehan's anti-war protest. Dana Millbank, hardly a right-winger, reports that MoveOn.org was quite open about their deception:

"We're also asking that you bring pictures of children," MoveOn.org requested, and it didn't matter "whether or not you have a child serving in the military."

There must be many grieving families who oppose the war, but they evidently choose to grieve differently than does Sheehan. At least they have not made their presence known in Crawford, Texas.

RICH 'SWIFTBOATS' HIMSELF IN TO IRRELEVANCY

Rarely does a columnist for a national news outlet publish a piece as intellectually bankrupt as Frank Rich's entry today in the New York Times. The only item in the column that has full engagement with the truth is this single, lonely statement:

Nicholas D. Kristof and David Brooks are on vacation.

Otherwise, Rich engages in transparent sophistry that must be fisked to be believed. First Rich decries the supposed character assassination of Cindy Sheehan by engaging in the same tactic himself:

Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had "other priorities" during Vietnam.

The most prominent smear victims have been Bush political opponents with heroic Vietnam résumés: John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry.

Two points have to be made here. First of all, if one wants to decry character assassination, perhaps one should not engage in it. Unfortunately, that would leave the serially dishonest Mr. Rich out of a job. Second, the transformation of Swift Boat into a verb implies that the 250+ veterans of the Viet Nam war lied about their testimony regarding the in-country and post-war behavior of John Kerry. If Rich wants to get back into that debate, he's welcome to it, because the Swift Boat vets have not been disproven in any of their major allegations -- while Kerry was forced to retract his Christmas in Cambodia tale, the arrogation of Tedd Peck's service record on PCF 94, the battle stories including David Alston as a member of his Silver Star engagement, and so on and so forth.

Besides, if Rich wants to argue that this country cannot abide any criticism of the political rants of a Gold Star Mom, how can he tar these men who actually served in battle as liars? Does that make any sense to anyone at all? Why not just address the criticisms themselves?

True to form, the attack on Cindy Sheehan surfaced early on Fox News, where she was immediately labeled a "crackpot" by Fred Barnes. The right-wing blogosphere quickly spread tales of her divorce, her angry Republican in-laws, her supposed political flip-flops, her incendiary sloganeering and her association with known ticket-stub-carrying attendees of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Let's let Cindy speak for herself, and let people make up their own minds. Here she is in April of this year:

We have no Constitution. We’re the only country with no checks and balances. We want our country back if we have to impeach George Bush down to the person who picks up the dog sh-t in Washington! Let George Bush send his two little party animals to die in Iraq. It’s OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but we are waging nuclear war in Iraq, we have contaminated the entire country. It’s not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. Hypocrites! But Israel can occupy Palestine? Stop the slaughter!

Or in Dallas:

“And the other thing I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” she exclaimed.

“There, I used the ‘I’ word – imperialism,” the 48 year-old mother quipped. “And now I’m going to use another ‘I’ word – impeachment – because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

As the veterans in Dallas rose to their feet, Sheehan said defiantly, “My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don’t owe you a penny...you give my son back and I’ll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we’ll put this war on trial.”

Cindy Sheehan has every right to protest in this manner. However, reasonable people reading her rants come to the understandable conclusion that she represents the most radical leftist positions possible without advocating violent overthrow. Rich writes that this characterization comes from a Fox-led effort to associate her with people who attended Fahrenheit 9/11, but Sheehan herself made that association plain when she began posting her views on Michael Moore's website. Did Fox arrange for that to happen?

In Rich's little world, the First Amendment applies only to those whose views he shares, and the use of free speech to criticize the political stands of his comrades amounts to character assassination. Harry Truman said it best when he advised the heat-sensitive to stay out of the kitchen. Sheehan has gone on speaking tours and courted the national media that has treated her far too generously thus far. Her pronouncements are fair game for criticism, and if she and Rich can't abide it, they can go back to the oblivion for which they seem eventually destined.  Sunday, August 21, 2005

www.captainsquartersblog.com

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www.daybydaycartoon.com

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WE HAD A SECRET HANDSHAKE TOO

In a hilarious bit of historical recreation, the New York Times has been investigating the Harvard of John Roberts' era. The headline: Roberts's Harvard Roots: A Movement Was Stirring.

Two amazing graphs:

"Conservatives were like the queers on campus," said Eric Rofes, a classmate of Judge Roberts who later became an organizer on gay issues. "People made fun of them. They mocked them and saw them as jokers or losers. I don't think in the moment many people realized this was the start of an ascending movement. People felt it was like the last cry of the 1950's."

In fact, a striking number among the small cluster of conservatives at Harvard in Mr. Roberts's era went on to become important figures in the conservative resurgence, which began gaining momentum around the time of the 1980 election. Some of them now say that being a part of that often ridiculed minority left them with skills that have been essential in their movement's subsequent success.

Who were the young conservative illuminati on the banks of the Charles that the Times now reveal to have been organizing their coup even that long ago? Spencer Abraham, Stephen H. Galebach, Grover Norquist, and, ahem, me:

Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio talk show host and political blogger, was at Harvard in the same period

Had the paper bothered to call --they have in the past on other stories, but not on this story which names me-- I could have given them much better stuff from which to build a conspiracy: Former Reagan appointee James Strock (later California's EPA Secretary), presidential historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith, and libertarian Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman were also running around Cambridge in these years. All three were presidents of the campus Republican Club. Alan Keyes was one of Harvey Mansfield's prize grad students.

But the Moby Dick for conspiracy hunters was also there: Bill Kristol!

My guess is that pretty much all of these people took either Gov 10 or Gov 106(a) and (b), taught by Harvey C. Mansfield.

"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them"

Geez. I can hardly believe this nonsense is in the New York Times. The Rofes quote in particular is just bizarre. The Times managed to get a couple of quotes from conservatives to bolster their thesis that there was a besieged "tiny cadre of active conservatives," but in fact there was student body of about 6,000, and the folks who were inetrested in politics --left and right-- hung around together at the Institute of Politics regardless of political affiliation. The hard core of all stripes made their way to the Crimson, and the rest of us simply preferred arguing politics to studying. Which is why, of my roomates, I went off to work for David Eisenhower and Richard Nixon in San Clemente, one went off to Oxford and Harvard Law en route to National Security Council service under both Presidents Geroge H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and one started with Congresman Robert Drinan and ended up as Bill Clinton's Communications Director and head of the Peace Corps.

Trying to create an ideological divide and genuine partisan conflict on a campus where no such thing existed is lousy reporting and agenda journalism. Trying to present "conservatives" as a coherent organized group is another absurdity. (Just look at this column by Frank Gaffney hammering Grover Norquist.) What has happened to this newspaper?

UPDATE: Next time the Times can use this and save themselves the trouble of making a half dozen calls. (HT: Opposable Thumb)

THE GREAT RAID AND THE AGENDA JOURNALISM OF MOVIE CRITICS

My wife and I took in The Great Raid this afternoon. It is a very, very good movie, and though about an episode of heroism from World War 2, it ought to increase every civilian's appreciation for the courage, honor and sacrifice of everty member of the military and their families.

Powerline's Scott Johnson commented days ago on the negative reaction to the movie among film critics. I don't read movie reviews of films until after I have seen them for the very reason that agenda journalism all too often distorts a critic's assessment of a movie's merits.

The New York Times' reviewer sniffed that "[i]t is not the actors' fault that their characters fail to establish any emotional connection; they aren't given the words for the task." Actually, the inability of the reviewer to emotionally connect with a movie about heroism in time of war tells us much more about the author of the review than it does the quality of the film.

I don't know the reviewer's --Stephen Holden-- politics, though TimesWatch's summary reviews of Mr. Holden's work suggests an anti-war mindset nested within a generalized distaste for the idea of just war, which would hardly surprise.

I do note, though, that in a review of the documentary "Fog of War" about Robert McNamara and Vietnam, Mr. Holden veered from the subject at hand to tutor his reader in the history of American brutality during WW2:

"The Fog of War" goes far beyond Vietnam. During World War II Mr. McNamara served as a commander under the arch-hawk Gen. Curtis Le May, who appears in old photos and film clips as a caricature of a pragmatic, cigar-chomping warmonger. Under Le May, Mr. McNamara was part of the team that made the decision to firebomb 67 Japanese cities, killing large numbers of civilians. In Tokyo alone, more than 100,000 civilians died one night in March 1945.

Perhaps Mr. Holden's dismissive review of The Great War is anchored in part in the lesson this movie teaches about why the American actions at the end of World War 2 were so intentionally devastating. First hand knowledge of the brutality and fanaticism of Imperial Japan persuades most observors that the capitulation that followed the two atomic bomb attacks could never have been achieved through other means except for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. From a distance of 60 years it is easy to denounce American tactics. The Great War makes it much harder to do that. Maybe that's why Mr. Holden would prefer you skip the movie.  Sunday, August 21, 2005

www.hughhewitt.com

*

THIS IS JIHAD

By Bill Roggio

As al Qaeda continues to fight in Iraq, it exposes its true nature to the Iraqi people, and to the rest of the world... if only the world would pay attention. Chester points us to an interrogation of Abed, a member of al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Islam. Abed’s band of murderers routinely practiced rape and political assassinations. A revolting taste:

Interrogator: "Is this Jihad – raping women? Is this Jihad?"

Abed: "It is because they collaborated with the Americans."

Interrogator: "That's why they were raped?"

Abed: "Yes."

Interrogator: "A student who is simply going to her university is kidnapped, raped, and then slaughtered?! This was an American collaborator?!"

Abed: "Mullah Al-Raikan would give the names to the squad commander."

Interrogator: "My information says that they were kidnapped and brought to Mullah Al-Raikan's headquarters. True or false?"

Abed: "He would interrogate them."

Interrogator: "Were they raped after the interrogation?"

Abed: "Yes. He would give them to the squad, and they would kill them. Some would rape them."

Interrogator: "You bastards. This is Jihad? You call this Jihad? "

Al Qaeda has nothing to offer but what we see in the interviews of Abed and Adan Elias, another member of Ansar al-Islam. Elias participated in torture, the dismemberment of corpses and booby trapping the dead so their families would be murdered when picking up their loved ones.

Freedom and Jihad cannot coexist, and therefore al Qaeda is forced to turn its weapons on the only ethnic group where it retains some measure sympathy, giving them a taste of Jihad. A sure sign of desperation, as the war is now in al Qaeda's back yard. In Mosul, three Sunni election workers of the Islamic Party are assassinated attempting to register voters.

They were driven to another neighborhood, shoved against a wall near the Dhi al-Nourein mosque, and shot dead while more masked gunmen blocked a major street, witnesses said. The gunmen then fled in three cars, leaving the bodies.

In Ramadi, Sunnis’ attempts to convince their neighbors to vote is met by violence.

Masked gunmen in the western city of Ramadi responded violently Thursday to recent calls for political participation among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority, opening fire on local leaders who had gathered to discuss plans to register voters for a nationwide constitutional referendum.

The midmorning attack wounded three people, including the branch heads of the Sunni Endowment, the government agency responsible for Sunni religious affairs, and the Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's most influential Sunni religious group. The hail of machine-gun fire from slow-moving sedans came at the close of the meeting, as tribal leaders and Anbar province's governor, Mamoun Sami Rashid, were answering reporters' questions on the steps of the city's Great Mosque…

Asked about the threats by insurgents, one attendee, Mahdi Salih, a former major general in Hussein's army, said people would not be scared away from the polls. "We are going to risk our lives for the sake of our children if the Zarqawi group insists on its position," he said.

Mahdi Salih isn’t exaggerating when he states his children’s future is at risk.

Intimidation. Torture. Rape. Assassination. Murder.

This is the future al Qaeda offers to the Iraqi people, and the rest of the world if given the chance.

Make no mistake, this is Jihad.  Saturday, August 20, 2005

http://billroggio.com




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