Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
FrontPageMagazine.com Monday, January 28, 2008
There used to be a time when the greatest threat within the United States government emanated from Arabists in the State Department, Arabists meaning those persons who favor Arab interests and positions in international affairs. Today, a new threat has emerged and from the most unlikely of places, the Department of Defense (DOD), and this time it’s not from Arabists but from Islamists, coming from outside the department, looking to infiltrate the most sensitive of areas in our nation.
On September 1, 2006, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England was featured as a speaker at the 43rd annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA. He began his speech by stating the following:
Friends, fellow Americans, people of faith - Good afternoon! Thank you to Dr. Louay Safi for the kind introduction, and a special thank you to Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdulla, and Dr. Ingrid Mattson, for your leadership and for the invitation to join you at this Islamic Society of North America conference.
Thank you also for the pleasant lunch, and the opportunity to dialog with the Society’s leadership. It was most beneficial to share ideas and values.
It is a profound honor for me to be here with you today, representing all the men and women in the United States military, and all the civilians who serve America in the Department of Defense and throughout the US Government.
ISNA was established by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-associated Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1981, helped into existence by a group of MSA alumni and a teaching assistant at North Carolina State University (NCSU) named Sami Al-Arian, who only two years prior co-founded Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Egypt. ISNA was incorporated using the same physical address as the MSA, which was also the address used to incorporate the American Hamas financing wing, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
In December of 2003, ISNA was the subject of a terrorism investigation launched by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee “into possible links between nongovernmental organizations and terrorist financing networks.”
In June of 2007, ISNA was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a legal case brought by the Justice Department against HLF officials that dealt with the funding of millions of dollars to Hamas. During the trial, a May 1991 MB document bearing ISNA’s name was presented as evidence, stating: “The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and G-d’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Even today, right on ISNA’s official website, one can read the following quotes: “May Allah fight the jews and the christians. They took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration . Two deens [religions] shall not co-exist in the land of the Arabs.” And “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” The statements have been on ISNA’s site since March of 2006, months before England gave his speech.
Furthermore, ISNA Executive Council member Muhammad Nur Abdullah (see above) and board members Jamal Badawi, Yusuf Ziya Kavakci, and Muzammil Siddiqi all currently serve as Sharia Scholars for the ‘Fatwa Bank’ on Islam Online. Contained in it is a fatwa (religious ruling) mandating violence against American troops, entitled ‘Seeking Martyrdom by Attacking US Military Bases in the Gulf.’ It states, “[A]ttacking American soldiers who came to launch war against Muslims is an obligation and Jihad, as they are true invaders. Hence, killing any transgressing American soldier is an obligation and a kind of Jihad since those occupying troops came to invade Muslim lands.”
For such a high-ranking government official, as Deputy Secretary England is, to participate in an event sponsored by ISNA is alarming to say the least, but the series of events that followed the speech were far worse and will have much greater implications for the future.
England was named Deputy Secretary in May of 2005. Prior to that, he had held two terms as Secretary of the Navy. Serving on England’s staff, while he was with the Navy, was an individual by the name of Hesham Islam. Islam, an Egyptian-born former Naval officer (Retired Commander) and former Merchant Marine for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, while at Naval Postgraduate School, wrote a thesis exhibiting what has been described as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic viewpoints. Islam has since moved on to join Deputy Secretary England’s DOD staff as his Special Assistant for International Affairs.
It has been reported that it was Commander Islam that suggested England address ISNA’s annual conference. And of course, England going to ISNA was an open invitation for ISNA to return the favor by coming to DOD, which the group took advantage of.
On April 26, 2007, DOD issued a “News Article” about ISNA’s visit with the agency the day before. A photo in the release depicts Deputy Secretary England with the President of ISNA Ingrid Mattson and the U.S. Vice President of ISNA Mohamed Hagmagid Ali. It was taken at England’s office in the Pentagon.
Also attending the event was the President of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Esam Omeish, who, last September, resigned his government appointed position to the Virginia Commission of Immigration, after a video surfaced showing him advocating violent jihad. Information regarding Omeish’s attendance is found on the website of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE), an organization created by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) to bring radical Muslims closer to the U.S. government. In March of 2002, IIIT’s Virginia offices were raided by the FBI in a terror financing probe. In March of 2006, DOD helped pay for an IIIT conference.
Now, it needs to be said that the April photo op and the England speech were not the first times DOD had had dealings with ISNA. In truth, ISNA has been a part of DOD’s Muslim chaplaincy program since July of 2002, when it was named as an “endorser of Chaplains.” However, not everyone was happy about ISNA’s involvement in this program.
In a meeting of the terrorism subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee held in October of 2003, Senators Charles Schumer, Jon Kyl and Dianne Feinstein voiced concern over ISNA’s role at DOD. Senator Schumer cited the fact that Siraj Wahhaj, an individual named by the U.S. government as a possible co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was at the time a board member of ISNA. Nonetheless, little was done; ISNA kept its position.
Today, thanks to its chief advocate in the government, Hesham Islam, ISNA’s role within the Department of Defense is stronger than ever. As has been discussed in depth by such journalists as Bill Gertz, Frank Gaffney and Kenneth Timmerman, this relationship has forced the Islamic law expert for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Stephen Coughlin, out of his job.
Coughlin, a major in the Army Reserves working as a civilian contractor for the Joint Staff, had recently put together a 333-page document exposing radical Islam’s threat to the West, entitled “TO OUR GREAT DETRIMENT”: IGNORING WHAT EXTREMISTS SAY ABOUT JIHAD [PDF]. As well, he had raised concerns about the dangerous ties of ISNA and other groups that have been courted by Commander Islam. Coughlin understood what many inside the government do not, that there are mainstream American Muslim organizations that threaten our country from within.
While groups like ISNA and MAS work hard to create a false aura of moderation and modernity, and while they cunningly strive to make inroads in the most sensitive of U.S. government sectors, these same groups hide within their websites declarations of violence aimed at non-Muslims. In reality, they hide their true self. And when individuals, such as Stephen Coughlin, come along, they try to discredit them and remove them from the process. This time, they were successful.
Earlier this month, DOD’s Central Command (CENTCOM) canceled a speech that was to be given in front of its personnel by Ahmed Bedier, a leader of the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In doing as such, CENTCOM, the arm of the government responsible for combat operations abroad, exhibited integrity.
It is time for the Defense Department to follow its military offspring and match that integrity by removing ISNA and its friends from its offices. These organizations are threats to our security and have no business taking part in our government, let alone being in our country.
DOD does a great job protecting us, by fighting our enemies abroad. It mustn’t forget that those same enemies have counterparts stationed here, as well.
“Ultimately we can never be full citizens of this country… because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
- ISNA board member, Ihsan Bagby, ‘Political Activities of Muslims in America,’ 1991
“We are those who have given a pledge of allegiance to Muhammad that we will carry on Jihad as long as we live.”
- ISNA official website,‘Fighting in the Cause of Allah (Jihaad),’ March 17, 2006 - Present
Sunday, January 27, 2008
On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"
... Noonan responds,
This is absurd.
George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.
Were there other causes? Yes, of course. But there was an immediate and essential cause.
And this needs saying, because if you don't know what broke the elephant you can't put it together again. The party cannot re-find itself if it can't trace back the moment at which it became lost. It cannot heal an illness whose origin is kept obscure."
I have to give Noonan credit. Along the way she gave warnings and tirades against what the Republican Party (under King George's "leadership") was doing. Most did not listen. My beef with the Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs (and others) of the world is that they're too close to the trees to see the forest. They are such Party animals they can't smell their own Party's effluent! If you still identify yourself with "the Elephant" you are "party" to International Socialism, Mexico-first, Saudi-loving, money trumps everything - anti-Americanism!
If you can't see that, too bad for you.
Can the Elephant be saved and forgiven? Yes, just as all us sinners can be. But not from the leadership we have now.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
By Samuel Gregg - NRO
His nickname is “the black pope.” Elected on January 19 as father-general of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás now leads one of Catholicism’s most influential — and controversial — religious orders.
A Spaniard who spent most of his life teaching theology in Japan, Nicolás succeeds Dutchman Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. The designation “the black pope” partly comes from the black robe worn by many Jesuits since the order’s founding in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola but also from mythology about hidden Jesuit power. Witness the 1998 film Elizabeth, which ludicrously portrayed Jesuits as priests with licenses to kill.
Whatever the myths, few question Nicolás has inherited an order in crisis. You know something is terribly wrong when Rome had to tell a prominent Jesuit in 2004 that his book contradicted basic Christian dogmas concerning “the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity . . . and the resurrection of Jesus.” These are hardly debatable subjects for Catholics.
In a January homily in Rome, Cardinal Franc Rodé, the Vatican official who oversees religious orders, politely told his Jesuit audience that their order could not persist in its present direction. So why would a senior Vatican cardinal tell one of Catholicism’s most successful orders that change was essential?
The Jesuits, after all, played a major role in the Counter-Reformation that rolled back Protestantism’s frontiers in Europe. For almost 500 years they have imparted a superb education to thousands of people. Famous Jesuit alumni include Cervantes, Descartes, de Gaulle, Molière, and Scalia — as well as Castro, Diderot, and Voltaire.
The Jesuits themselves were no intellectual slouches. In How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Thomas Woods notes that Isaac Newton counted Jesuits as among his most prized scientific correspondents. Thirty-five lunar craters are named after Jesuit mathematicians and scientists. Jesuits helped identify key concepts underlying market economics 200 years before Adam Smith.
These are no small achievements. Yet it’s hard to deny today’s Jesuits are in trouble. In raw numbers, the Jesuits have dropped from 36,000 in 1965 to about 19,000 today.
A key figure in the story of the Jesuits’ implosion is Fr. Pedro Arrupe — another Spaniard who lived in Japan — and who, oddly enough, employed Nicolás as his personal barber. Elected 28th General of the Order in 1965, Arrupe was either a “second Ignatius” of prophetic proportions or a well-meaning naïf, depending on whom you talk to. Under Arrupe’s guidance, the Jesuits’ 1974 General Congregation decreed “the promotion of justice” as an “absolute requirement” for Jesuit activities.
The problem is that many Jesuits’ “promotion of justice” collapsed almost immediately into radical left-wing activism. Sensible Jesuit-authored critiques of Latin American oligarchies, for example, soon degenerated into Marxist versions of liberation theology.
Many Jesuit universities have become virtually indistinguishable from your average left-wing secular academy. Some Jesuits candidly say the order’s intellectual edge began seriously fraying in the 1970s, corroded by an idolatry of the contemporary — marked particularly by an embrace of Marxist critiques that would engender bad politics and even worse theology, including efforts to water down Christ’s uniqueness in the name of that ubiquitous word: “dialogue.
”By the early 1980s, Rome had had enough. In 1981, John Paul II took the radical step of suspending the order’s normal governance. In 1983, Fr. Kolvenbach was elected Father-General. Though widely considered a good man, it’s unclear he affected any significant change in the Jesuits’ direction.
For example, three of the last four Catholic theologians publicly notified by the Vatican’s doctrinal office that their writings contradict basic Christian beliefs were Jesuits: Frs. Jon Sobrino, Roger Haight, and Jacques Dupuis. Some see this as the price of doing cutting-edge theology. Others view it as the result of simply muddled theology.
Consider Fr. Sobrino: One gets the sense from his theological writings that salvation comes only to the materially poor. Not only does this raise the question of why we would want anyone to escape poverty, but it also seems to prioritize economic status over faith in Christ through His Church. For his part, Nicolás contributed an article to an edition of the hyper-progressive Catholic periodical Concilium in 2005 that Sobrino helped edit, in which he extolled “the religious wealth of other religions and the real and actual salvation they have brought to a thousand generations.” This begs the question of why heroic Jesuits like Saint Francis Xavier would have even bothered to engage in missionary activity.
In his first homily as Jesuit Father-General this past Sunday, Nicolás did little to assuage fears that muddled theology remains ascendant in the Society of Jesus: “In this globalized world of ours the number of those excluded by all is increasing,” the new Father-General intoned, “since our society only has room for the big and not the small.”
More troubling than this 1970s boilerplate, Nicolás seemed to imply that the order would seek to further relativize the gospel to accommodate non-Christians: “[W]hat is the color, the tone, the image of salvation today for those many people who are in need of it, those human non-geographic nations that demand salvation.” He’s off to an inauspicious start.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The Hispanic outreach director for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign is a dual American-Mexican citizen known for his "Mexico first" declarations to immigrants in the U.S., WND has confirmed.
Word of the appointment, made in November, spread across the Internet last night, sparking reaction from secure-border activists who charge Juan Hernandez's position in the campaign belies the Republican candidate's attempt to position himself as an advocate of border security.
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers emphasized to WND that Hernandez is "a non-paid volunteer to the campaign, and he does not play a policy role."
"Juan works with us to reach out to the Hispanic community to meet with the folks in the various states," Rogers said.
Asked if the McCain campaign has repudiated Hernandez's "Mexico first" declarations, Rogers did not give a direct answer.
Twice he referred WND to McCain's immigration position on the campaign presidential website arguing for border security.
In an appearance on ABC's Nightline in 2001, Hernandez said, referring to Mexican immigrants in the U.S., "I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think 'Mexico first.'"
Hernandez told the Associated Press the same year, "I never knew the border as a limitation. I'd be delighted if all of us could come and go between these two marvelous countries."
Last August, Hernandez published a book entitled "The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?" in which he argued Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, were at the forefront of establishing a new North American market combining the U.S. with Mexico.
Mark Krikorian, director for the Center for Immigration Studies, asked last night on a National Review Online blog, "Has McCain offered Hernandez, a former high-level foreign government official who presumably swore an oath to uphold the Mexican constitution, a place on a future McCain Administration? That's not a rhetorical question."
Columnist Michelle Malkin posted equally critical comments this morning on her blog HotAir.com.
Noting that McCain has attempted to distance himself from the comprehensive immigration reform bill he co-sponsored with Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, Malkin said the appointment of Hernandez "tells me that John McCain is as weak on border security now as he ever was."
While McCain is now emphasizing border security, the policy posted on his website repeats many of the "flexible labor market" arguments advanced in the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration reform bills, arguing for the necessity of a guest-worker program.
Hernandez has appeared on various cable news talk shows aggressively arguing against building any fence on the Mexican border, insisting the frontier need to remain wide open so illegal immigrants can easily cross into the U.S.
Hernandez was the first U.S.-born cabinet member to serve President Vicente Fox, operating from Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. Hernandez represented the 24 million Mexicans living abroad whom Fox then called "heroes" for representing Mexico in the foreign nations in which they lived.
In 1996, Hernandez was responsible for inviting Fox, then governor of the Mexican state of Guanajuanto, to speak at the University of Texas, Dallas, where he met George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, for the first time.
Allard, of St. Olaves in the U.K., had a choice: Delay treatment to save her baby, or terminate the pregnancy to save herself.
"If I am going to die, my baby is going to live," Allard told her husband, Martyn, according to the Mail.
The courageous and selfless mother was able to get out of bed and hold her tiny son several times beside his incubator before her death. Liam is the Allards' fourth child and first boy; his sisters are Leah, 10; Amy, 8; and Courtney, 20 months.
... Photo by Archant
... it makes you kinda humble to see such LOVE - doesn't it? - Tiger
Bill Gates, bloviating at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is issuing a clarion call for a “kinder capitalism” to aid the world’s poor. Mr. Gates says he has grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He thinks it’s failing much of the world. This, of course, from a guy who’s worth around $35 billion (give or take a billion). Don’t you just love it?A guy without a college degree who invented a new technology process in his garage that literally changed the entire world, a guy who took advantage of all the great opportunities that a free and capitalist society has to offer and got filthy rich in the process, is now trashing capitalism and telling us it doesn’t work. What chutzpah.
Next: Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, explains why the GOP: might be "out on their earmarks".As House Republicans escape to the Greenbrier resort for a working retreat, the biggest item on Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) menu is pork. The GOP, once the party of fiscal responsibility, has rivaled its Democratic counterparts in spending over the past 12 years, losing its credibility--and majority--in the process. At the heart of this weekend's retreat is determining just how committed members are to restoring their reputation and "kicking the spending habit." Our frugal friends Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) are proposing a year-long moratorium on congressional earmarks, a bold move that faces serious resistance from many who use pork projects to secure hometown re-election support. The other option for infusing some discipline into the process is appointing an outspoken earmark-loather like Rep. Flake to the vacant seat on the House Appropriations Committee. Flake, revered among fiscal conservatives, embodies the type of staunch, passionate gatekeeper needed to eliminate congressional waste. Unfortunately, Minority Leader Boehner, who has never requested an earmark since entering Congress in 1993, is under tremendous pressure to support Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), a social liberal, for the seat. A Republican Reichert may be, but a conservative he is not. In the last year alone, he voted against the Mexico City policy, which bans the United States from funding overseas organizations that promote abortions, and in favor of taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research and expanding federal "hate crimes." His record shows no particular affinity for fiscal restraint, and, as Robert Novak pointed out in his Washington Post editorial today, "his sole qualification appears to be that he is the most endangered Republican House member in 2008 and needs to bring home the bacon." Join us in reminding Congress that what it needs to bring home are some genuine standards for eliminating pork when so many American families are trying to make ends "meet." Call your congressman's office today at 202-224-3121 and give him or her plenty of incentive to follow through and zero out earmarks.
Now: the former LIBERAL explains it all by describing his own experience. By David Horowitz.
It is not for nothing that George Orwell had to invent terms like “double-think” and “double-speak” to describe the universe totalitarians created. Those who have watched the left as long as I have, understand the impossible task that progressives confront in conducting their crusades. Rhetorically, they are passionate proponents of “equality” but in practice they are committed enthusiasts of a hierarchy of privilege in which the highest ranks are reserved for themselves as the guardians of righteousness, and then for those they designate “victims” and “oppressed,” who are thus worthy of their redemption. Rhetorically they are secularists and avatars of tolerance, but in fact they are religious fanatics who regard their opponents as sinners and miscreants and agents of civil darkness. Therefore, when they engage an opponent it is rarely to examine and refute his argument but rather to destroy the bearer of the argument and remove him from the plain of battle.
Consequently, misrepresentation of facts, distortion of motives and general acts of character assassination are the preferred modes of progressive discourse, as any conservative who has acquired a public persona can attest. The raw material for this verbal malice is stored on data sites with titles like RightwingWatch, SourceWatch, MediaMatters and MediaTransparency, which provide a reservoir of abuse for use by progressive activists in their engagements. Efforts by the targets of this malevolence to correct fabrications and mis-statements of fact are guaranteed to fail nearly every time, in part because progressives don’t regard their judgments as opinions but as a received moral (and therefore incontrovertible) truth. Eventually an alternative reality is created by this process which no one would even think to check.
Of course not all leftists are ideological zealots or totalitarians, and even many progressives are offended by such company. Last week we posted an interview that was conducted by an intelligent and reasonable young progressive at Campus Progress named Jesse Singal. Before agreeing to be interviewed by Singal, I asked him to correct a malicious “profile” of me, which Campus Progress had posted as one of the guides it provides to its student activists under a general heading “Know Your Right-Wing Speakers.” In its grotesque distortions of my statements and positions, the profile is typical of what passes for “David Horowitz” in the progressive world and is an obvious product of the collective misrepresentations that underpin its general perspective.
When Singal offered to correct any errors in the Campus Progress profile, I made myself available for the interview. A month later, the original profile still stands, although Singal assures me it’s just a matter of fact-checking and I have no reason to doubt that he was and is sincere. I will wait to be surprised. In the meantime, the profile which was last updated March 30, 2007 can be read here I have provided an annotated rebuttal of the profile below. At the end are the comments of readers on their site. What is striking is the good sense expressed in these comments, although this does not seem to have shaken Campus Progress’s confidence in their error-ridden profile.
... the article continues - worth the read!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The very expectations of glittering shari’a finance (Islamic banking) profits hypnotize financial institutions, securities exchanges, and banks--and there are few regulatory or monitoring protections against abuses. So why did United Arab Emirates (UAE) government IP address 188.8.131.52 send some 30,000 to 40,0000 spam messages on December 8, 2007, soliciting Islamic finance clients among U.S. citizens and small businesses?
“Need assistance,” the spam asks, soliciting inquiries to email@example.com, registered to Emirates Telecommunications Corporation at UAE’s federal domain authority.
Maybe gorging on U.S. strategic assets increases UAE appetite--even though, the lower stocks go, the more prime U.S. investment companies Middle East investors scoop up. Maybe UAE spammers may want to lasso U.S. credit crunch victims desperate for cheaper home or small business loans.
Let's hope U.S. consumers and U.S. presidential candidates--unlike those U.S. financiers falling like flies before UAE sheiks--will carefully scrutinize the entire Islamic banking scam.
The UAE email solicitation purports that Islamic finance provides four “attractions:”
* Good alternative source of funds
* Risk perceptions of Islamic financiers
* Off-balance sheet financing
* Preferred mode of financing for certain corporate (sic) and individuals
Many grave secular risks accompany shari’a’s growing foothold in Western markets.
With wife-beating, stoning women, dismembering thieves, hanging homosexuals, supremacist ideology and an annual head tax (jizya) on non-Muslim subjects--shari’a also orders Muslims to fund jihad (financial jihad--al Jihad bi-al-Mal). As in Qur’an 61:10-11, “strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives….” and Qur’an 49:15. “Financial Jihad [is]…more important…than self-sacrificing,” says Saudi cleric and Muslim Brother Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi.
Consider the four purported advantages.
First, the Saudi-favored shari’a finance “alternative,” as noted in FrontPageMagazine earlier, is a 20th century construct without basis in Islamic history--and often funds destruction. It’s an “invented tradition” empowering Islamic radicals, writes USC King Faisal Professor of Islamic Thought, Timur Kuran, in Islam and Mammon: “Neither classical nor medieval Islamic civilization featured banks in the modern sense, let alone ‘Islamic’ banks…”
Muslims expect “humanitarian” Islamic finance to buy their “reward in the Hereafter.”
Conversely, Americans expect alternative “ethical” and “socially responsible” investing to build human rights in southern Sudan, common shareholder rights, and good corporate governance and transparency--terms not in the shari’a finance lexicon.
Then take “risk perceptions of Islamic financiers.”
Evidently bankers have forgotten to whom the advantage of this second bogus UAE-invoked “attraction” accrues: Citibank’s Islamic financiers in 1955 launched its Saudi American Bank subsidiary in Jeddah and in 1966 opened a Riyadh branch--without presenting due diligence on the risks of operating under shari’a law, which include sudden confiscation. So Citibank discovered in 1980, when the Saudis seized SAB by royal decree, denied Citi any future profits, and ordered the bank to train Saudis staffers.
Likewise, the “risk perceptions of Islamic financiers” apparently aided criminals at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was founded as an Islamic bank. BCCI perpetrated the largest fraud in banking history, costing depositors and investors at least $21 billion before U.S. prosecutors closed it in 1991. BCCI was also established “to help the world of Islam, and [as] the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists,” as Rachel Ehrenfeld noted in Evil Money (Harper Collins, 1992, pp. 160, 164-5, 169-70). Thus under UAE president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan’s late, terror-financier father, BCCI funded such “alternative” organizations, states and projects as Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Syria, Iran and Pakistan’s nuclear bomb manufacturing.
And Islamic banking's third “advantage”--its off-balance sheet financing--most readily explains its fourth: the domain's preference by “certain corporate (sic) and individuals.”
But even the Finance and Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which sets standards for the self-regulated accounting industry, would agree with a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in December 2007, calling for more and better market and banking oversight--not less.
And that includes leashing the downside risks in off-the-books financing. Hundreds of billions of dollars in subprime mortgages caused the current global credit crisis, which is ravaging global equities and bond markets, and could slice $6 trillion from U.S. home values and take years to resolve.
In the 30 years since Bank of America technology and an 8.5% BOA mortgage-backed “pass-through” spawned a landmark market innovation--securitization--underwriters transformed trillions of dollars in claimed cash flows on illiquid assets into increasingly liquid, traceable securities. Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) made mortgage-backed and other complex lending securities so liquid that in the 1980s, U.S. brokerage firms practically sold them on street corners.
During that 1980s securitization boom, the Muslim Brotherhood heavily used the new Western financial technology to develop MB founder Hassan al-Banna's shari’a banking invention. Today, Islamic financial institutions also manufacture “special purpose entities” (SPEs)--the same kind that coincidentally helped destroy Enron. Naturally, Islamic financial engineers renamed the prickly SPEs “special-purpose vehicles (SPVs)”--legal devices to “restructure interest-bearing debt, collecting interest [as] rent or [a] price mark-up.”
So-called sukuk al-ijara (shari'a bond) issuers sell real estate or assets to SPVs, which capitalize their investment by selling share certificates. In turn, the SPVs then lease back the assets they purchased to the sukuk issuers, collecting principal plus interest, which they pass on to sukuk investors as “rent.” When the sukuk matures, the SPVs sell or return the property to the sukuk issuers.
In short, the supposed “alternative” Islamic finance instruments, which claim to avoid usury, use Western structured finance tools--“some of the most complex ever created.” You got it. Shari’a bankers transform liquid, traceable cash flows from interest-bearing debt into illiquid assets.
How is that more secure for the financial markets?
Actually, financial innovation has sometimes caused market dislocations. Often, the bigger the innovation, the greater the unforeseen consequences--and market declines. Take the role of “portfolio insurance” in the 1987 crash. Or the 1994 bust of mortgage-backed bonds, which wiped out $1 trillion in value--then roughly 10% of the U.S. bond market. That free-fall took down (by several notches) many huge pension funds, municipalities and institutional investors--and also beached a few hedge funds like dead whales.
So how does the complex purported shari'a finance alternative create more security for Western financial markets?
It doesn't. Under “complexities,” the December UAE solicitation for Islamic finance clients admitted, “Shari'a regulations can override commercial decisions.”
The email also noted two other major shari’a finance problems:
* Documentation is not standardized
* Inter-creditor agreements can be complex (emphasis added)
Taking monumental risks does not even eliminate usury. All “Islamic finance today is interest based,” complains Rice University Islamic economics, finance and management chairman, Mahmoud el-Gamal, in the Financial Times. Disparaging Islamic banking as “shari'a arbitrage,” el-Gamal calls it “first and foremost about religious identity.” And the “forefathers” of so-called “political Islam” intended precisely that in their conception of this 20th century financial concoction.
In reality, “innovative” Islamic financial securities involve enormous risks, which may be an intended prong of the Muslim Brotherhood's strategic financial jihad.
Sukuk issues entice investors with yields much higher than Western bonds. While central Western banks orchestrate historic, simultaneous rate reductions to contain losses feared to equal those of the 1986 to 1995 savings and loan crisis, a sukuk index with a mere 3.8 year duration sported 6.2% "coupon" on Nov. 30, 2007. Meanwhile, in mid January, yields were only 2.89% on intermediate Treasuries--and just 5.25% on the Lehman Brothers intermediate U.S. corporate bond index. Only long term U.S. corporate debt yielded more than 6.5%. No wonder sukuk issues have been fully subscribed.
But two key determinants of bond quality remain--the surety of payments for the scheduled life of the loan, and the certainty that, on maturity, investors will recover 100% of their principal.
Simply believing Islamic sukuk to be inherently safer than Western bonds doesn’t improve their quality of their higher interest rates--oops--“rent.” Islamic or not, buying a sukuk makes its purchaser a creditor. And for the same reasons “junk” is synonymous with high-yield bonds, larger returns carry greater risks.
Which says nothing of the dubious underlying “profit and loss sharing” Islamic finance philosophy. Investors should look doubly hard at whether to expect profit or loss when a sukuk matures--that is, whether recouping the loan’s entire “face value” is even in the cards. That might depend on the values of underlying properties or assets at maturity. But then, “Shari’a regulations can override commercial decisions,” and so on.
In 1983, my esteemed colleague, former Forbes senior editor Howard Rudnitsky, warned in a booming real estate tax-shelter market, “heavy leverage involves risks, and if the market turns bad, the top-heavy financing could wipe out the equity. The creditors would get the property back, the syndicator would keep his fees and the investor would get the shaft.” Not to mention the back taxes, interest and penalties if the Internal Revenue Service ruled the enterprise “uneconomic.”The same principles apply here. With or without spam, better, safer and fairer for government and IRS regulators, banks, markets--and investors--to take all finance, unIslamic.
Friday, January 18, 2008
It is becoming increasingly and painfully clear that voters in both parties are having a hard time settling on a frontrunner. Not only has there been no consistent winner in either party’s primaries thus far, no one in either party won a majority in any primary until Hillary Clinton, running virtually unopposed in Michigan, received just over half the votes, while “uncommitted” received 40 percent.
What is wrong with this year’s candidates?
The short answer is that most of the Republicans are questionable and all three leading Democrats are dangerous.The only real conservative candidate is former Senator Fred Thompson, but his low vote totals in all the Republican primaries thus far make him a one-man endangered species. If he doesn’t get some serious voter support in South Carolina, it is hard to see how he can become a viable candidate. And, if he drops out, it is hard to see who conservative Republican voters will support — either in the primaries or in the general election in November.
That raises the very serious possibility — and the very dangerous possibility — that Hillary Clinton will become President of the United States if conservative Republicans stay home on election day.
While Barack Obama and John Edwards have been irresponsible demagogues, the Clintons have a record of lawless and ruthless corruption that goes back not only to their White House days in the 1990s but even back to their time in the governor’s mansion in Arkansas.
Nor is this simply a matter of domestic politics. It was Bill Clinton who ignored the advice of military and intelligence officials when he gave China the technology that can be used to enable their nuclear missiles to hit American cities.
It was Bill Clinton who gave the North Koreans help on their nuclear program in exchange for promises that have — predictably — proved worthless. This was just one of the dangerous problems that he swept under the rug and left for his successor.
People like this are not to be trusted with the highest office in the land in an era when Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons that can easily be turned over to international terrorists.
Conservatives should be the last ones to let the Clintons take control of the White House again, just because they cannot find an alternative candidate who meets all their desires.
It may not be emotionally satisfying to vote for the lesser of two evils but a lot depends on how bad the worse evil is. Nobody running on the Republican ticket is as dangerous as the Clintons.
Some of the objections to former governor Mitt Romney raise a disquieting question as to whether religious differences alone are enough for some voters to pass up a candidate whom they would consider voting for otherwise.
It is one thing to say that particular policies of a candidate go against fundamental moral principles derived from your religion and something very different to be against a candidate whose actual policies are consistent with your principles but who simply attends a different church.
Would someone vote against Rudolph Giuliani because he is a Catholic? John F. Kennedy put that issue to rest nearly half a century ago. Do we need to wait another half century before a Mormon can be judged on his record? Mitt Romney has a record as governor of Massachusetts and his father had a three-term record as government of Michigan.
Anybody’s record can be attacked — and should be attacked, if you disagree with it. But that is wholly different from opposing a candidate because his church differs from your church.
Mike Huckabee’s record as governor of Arkansas — including his wholesale pardons of criminals and his raising of taxes — should not escape scrutiny because some voters belong to the same church he does. Nor should he be singled out for attack by voters who go to a different church or to no church.
The stakes are too high to do anything other than select the best person available, even if none of the candidates seems ideal.
... voting for the last surviving Republican will be the only choice although it will still be WRONG! Voting for a Republican will be a vote for International Socialism, voting for a Democrat will be a vote for International Communism. We need a "Revolution" against the powers that be, but the American people simply don't have it in them anymore. - Tiger
Thursday, January 17, 2008
All his efforts, however, blew up in the massive explosion of violence of the Intifada. It was failure on a grand scale. Shortly before the end of his presidency, with his entire “legacy” lying in ruins, Clinton spoke to Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat on the phone. When Arafat called Clinton a “great man,” the dejected outgoing president retorted, “The hell I am. I am a colossal failure and you made me one.” Which was a bit unfair to Arafat, given Clinton’s propensity for scandal.
Apparently, President Bush has taken a look at Clinton’s disastrous peacemaking policy and decided, “That was a good idea. Let’s give that one another try.”
It’s unclear what exactly motivates U.S. presidents to end their tenures by chasing the great white whale of a Mideast peace deal. Clinton probably was angling for a Nobel peace prize in hopes of erasing the stain of impeachment, while Bush seems to expect that midwifing a peace agreement will help cement a coalition of Middle Eastern states allied against Iran. But Bush’s repeat performance in the Israeli-Palestinian arena has yielded the same dismal outcome as Clinton’s efforts, only in a much shorter time span.
Several months ago, the Bush Administration launched a new demarche in the Middle East, effectively discarding the “road map” that had called for both sides to undertake specific measures before they advanced to new stages of peacemaking. The problem was that the road map’s first stage called for the Palestinians to crack down on anti-Israeli terrorism. With Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s total destruction, now in control of the Gaza Strip, the merry peace bus envisioned in the road map had become a broken-down jalopy stalled in the first stage. (duh !)
So last week, President Bush went to Israel to encourage Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert to skip over those annoying little prerequisites -- like ending Palestinian terrorism -- and begin final status negotiations on issues such as dividing Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Olmert immediately complied, announcing the beginning of final status negotiations with the Palestinians.
Of course, the new policy was predicated on Olmert remaining in power long enough to carry it out. And Bush clearly expected that he would be. According to Haaretz, “U.S. President George Bush left Israel last Friday convinced that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition was stable enough to advance the peace process, a senior Western diplomat said Tuesday.”
That was Tuesday -- as in yesterday. Today, Avigdor Lieberman announced he will pull his rightwing Israel Beiteinu party out of Olmert’s government to protest the beginning of final status negotiations. The party’s departure will surely provoke the exit of the other rightwing party, Shas, from the coalition, thus costing the government its majority in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. The paralyzed government, possibly with the addition of the far-left Meretz party, will then limp along for a brief period as rightwing MKs submit a series of no-confidence motions until one of them passes and brings down the government. Opinion polls show that the rightwing Likud party will win the next election, most likely running on a platform explicitly rejecting concessions on Jerusalem or the commencement of any other final status negotiations.
If this scenario sounds familiar, thatit’s because it happened in 2000, when rightwing parties withdrew from former prime minister Ehud Barak’s coalition after he proposed dramatic concessions to the Palestinians, including the division of Jerusalem. Barak’s government collapsed, leading to the election of the Likud under the hawkish leadership of Ariel Sharon.
It’s rare that a major U.S. foreign policy overture fails so spectacularly in such a short period of time. It’s hard to conceive that Bush could not foresee this turn of events, since Lieberman has emphatically declared since he joined the government over a year ago that he would go into opposition if the government began negotiations over Jerusalem’s division. If Bush was hoping for some flexibility, perhaps the leader of an ideological Zionist party to the right of the Likud was not the best place to look for it.
Bush visited Israel in hopes of strengthening Olmert’s government to carry out Bush’s new peace policy. But instead, Bush has single-handedly sparked the beginning of the downfall of the government in which he invested his credibility. One would be hard pressed to recall a more counterproductive diplomatic mission in recent American history.
We can only wonder how America’s top diplomatic minds could have advised Bush to undertake such a futile enterprise, especially in light of the depressing results of Clinton’s previous gambit in this area. “I’m a colossal failure,” Clinton admitted after his Mideast peacemaking efforts backfired. Now Bush knows how he felt.
... and remember, the Saudis will now have improved weaponry! : ) - Thanks George!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
... rhetorical question time - What better way to have "peace" in the middle east than to get rid of the "problem", namely Israel? Is it King George's intent? - Tiger
in fairness, the administration representative states:McCormack said the administration would not do anything that might jeopardize Israel's security or its "qualitative military edge" over its Arab neighbors.
"We've spent a lot of time ensuring that we abide by our commitments to a qualitative military edge for Israel," he said. "We are committed to maintaining that qualitative military edge for Israel."
Monday, January 14, 2008
On Friday, U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement urged the Supreme Court to rule that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not absolute and is limited and subject to "reasonable regulation" by the government and that all federal restrictions on firearms should be upheld, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In his brief, Clement stated that such reasonable regulations include the federal ban on machine guns and other "particularly dangerous types of firearms," and that the government forbids gun possession by felons, drug users, "mental defectives" and people subject to restraining orders.
"Given the unquestionable threat to public safety that unrestricted private firearm possession would entail, various categories of firearm-related regulation are permitted by the Second Amendment," Clement said in his filing concerning the District's ban on keeping handguns at home for self-defense, which a federal court has ruled violates the Second Amendment.
(... the case will determine if the 2nd Amendment applies to every citizen, not whether existing federal law is valid, therefore Clement's words are suspect! Of course, we already know the Amendment applies to the citizenry, so this entire case is suspect! - Tiger)
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence, told the Times he saluted the administration for recognizing a need for limits on gun rights. Alan Gura, a key gun-rights advocate leading the challenge to the District of Columbia's gun law, said he was disappointed over the administration's position, adding that he was troubled that Clement advised the justices to send the case back for further hearings in a lower court.
"We are not happy. We are very disappointed the administration is hostile to individual rights. This is definitely hostile to our position," Gura said.
The Times noted that later this year the Supreme Court is expected to "rule squarely on whether the Second Amendment gives individuals a right to have a gun despite laws or ordinances restricting firearms."
That amendment provides that "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Pro-gun-control groups insist that that the law applies to militias, such as the national guard, and not individuals.
In the case now before the court, the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's ordinance is at issue. Clement in his brief agreed that the Second Amendment "protects an individual right to possess firearms, including for private purposes unrelated to militia operations," and contends that D.C.'s ban on handguns goes too far and is probably unconstitutional.
He cautioned, however, that the court should move cautiously and make clear that the Second Amendment does not threaten most current restrictions on guns and gun owners, and said the court should stop short of striking down the D.C. ordinance on its own, and that the case should be sent back to a trial judge, the Times reported.
"The D.C. ban may well fail constitutional scrutiny," he said, because it totally forbids private citizens from having a handgun at home. Such a ruling however, should not threaten other laws, he said. "Nothing in the Second Amendment properly understood . . . calls for invalidation of the numerous federal laws regulating firearms."
The court will hear arguments in the D.C. case in late March.
In another development, President Bush signed the nation's first new gun-control legislation in 14 years on Saturday to help keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. The law appropriates $250 million a year for states and their courts to computerize their records on mentally ill people and forward the information to to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to prevent anyone who is seriously mentally ill, a criminal or who has a restraining order against them for domestic violence from buying a gun.
( ... has anyone out there ever taken pills for depression? ...for anxiety? ... do you have a heart condition where you're concerned about having an attack on a daily basis, and have been prescribed "pep" pills? - all of these people can be refused the RIGHT to have personal weapons for self-defense. All it takes is one letter from your LIBERAL doctor to the local LIBERAL magistrate! The NRA is bleeding members daily because of their support of this legislation. BTW, the legislation is sponsored by Charles Schumer! - Tiger)
Sunday, January 13, 2008
We are fighting a two-front war against the Islamists. The violence-prone jihadists, who consider the West the “far enemy” that must be destroyed in order to save the Islamic Ummah, are using all the technological tools they can muster to kill us en masse. This would include nuclear weapons as soon as they get their hands on them, which makes the fragile situation in Pakistan today so dangerous. The Cold War deterrence strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction does not work with an ideology that exalts death over life.
We are also facing a subversive war of ideas in which more moderate-seeming Islamists exploit the vocabulary of Western values in order to undermine those values slowly but surely from within.
We must fight back on both fronts by staying on offense and by using our technological superiority to render their source of wealth for funding terrorism and their propaganda obsolete. The development of alternative fuels to completely end our sole reliance on Middle Eastern oil should be an urgent priority for our next president immediately upon taking office.
We must also find better ways to expose the moral bankruptcy and ultimate futility of Islamic ideology to the masses drinking the Kool-Aid served to them by the Islamist extremists. Since there is no viable movement of true Muslim moderates willing to stand up for reconciling Islam and democracy, we have to stop pretending that Islam as it is practiced in its predominant form today is a moderate, peaceful religion. It is not.
Unless responsible leaders of a Muslim reformation come forward and lead a counter-charge against the extremists, we must completely destroy the radical Islamic infrastructure that forms the basis for indoctrination and intimidation.
Finally, we cannot compromise on our own core beliefs such as separation of church (or mosque) and state, equality, and freedom of expression. This means no appeasement of Islamic “sensibilities” in the name of multiculturalism. It means rejecting insidious ideas such as legislating against “defamation” of religions. It means refusing to subsidize the UN’s embrace of the radical Islamists’ agenda in whatever forum it appears.
As long as Islamists do not respect other peoples’ beliefs, we should not demean ourselves by coddling theirs to our own detriment.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Stephen Coughlin Update.
Here is an excellent summary piece on Coughlin's firing, its implications, and what must be done next.
Objective: The objective of this paper is to clarify the incidents surrounding the firing of Mr. Coughlin, and enumerate the implications of this event to U.S. National Security and the GWOT (Global War on Terror).
Background: Mr. Stephen Coughlin works as a contractor on the Joint Staff, J-2 (Intelligence) for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. The Joint Staff specifically requested him because of his knowledge of Islamic Doctrine as it applies to “Jihad” and the Strategic objectives of our enemy. He is, by many accounts, the leading expert on Islamic Doctrinal drivers of Jihad within the U.S. Government, and likely, in the United States. His thesis, “To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad,” was recently accepted by the National Defense Intelligence College, and deals specifically with Islamic Doctrine dealing with doctrinal drivers of jihad, and the failure of the United States leadership to learn and understand this doctrine. He has a background in Law and international business. Mr. Coughlin is also a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves, and was activated after 9/11 to serve as a Strategic Targeting Officer for the U.S. forces. He has taught, lectured, and briefed senior members of DoD, members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials, and many law enforcement and intelligence officers in the United States. He is a regular briefer at the Information/Operations course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Joint Forces Staff College. He has briefed at the Navy War College and the Marine Corps War College, and recently briefed the General Officers of I MEF, United States Marine Corps.
Event: Via a campaign undertaken by Hesham Islam, the senior advisor for International Affairs to Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, on Thursday, January 3, 2008 Mr. Coughlin was told by his employers that his contract would not be renewed due to the fact his message, and therefore he himself, had become too “politically hot.” In a meeting between Mr. Coughlin and a member of Mr. England’s staff, at which Hesham Islam unexpectedly attended, Mr. Islam asked Mr. Coughlin to “soften his message” regarding Islamic Doctrine. Mr. Coughlin refused. Islam was heard referring to Coughlin as a “Christian zealot with a poison pen.” Despite the fact that no one in his chain of command has disputed the veracity, accuracy, and balance for his thesis, lectures, or briefings, Coughlin’s employment is being terminated for speaking the truth to the Department of Defense.
Analysis: This event on its own reveals that a senior U.S. advisor is being removed from his direct and critical role in the current war in which we are engaged solely because his message was defined as “extreme” by an advisor who caters to Islamist organizations in the U.S., not because it was factually incorrect. This alone seems significantly problematic given the current war in which we are engaged. Additionally, some of the details suggest Mr. Coughlin’s civil rights, to include his First and Forth Amendment rights, as well as federal law, may have been violated, which suggests an inquiry is required. The effort to silence Mr. Coughlin came from a senior advisor to a senior U.S. official under official cover – a violation of law. Most disturbing is that Mr. Islam is associated with groups and organizations which have been designated as Muslim Brotherhood organizations within the United States. If this is in fact true, the implications are devastating.
Implications: If it is determined that Mr. Islam (whose clearances to be handling such high level issues are unsubstantiated) was acting directly or indirectly on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood or any other non-state sponsor or nation, it would indicate a direct effort to thwart the U.S. effort in fighting the war in which we are engaged by an outside entity. This is, therefore, a penetration of our government at the most senior levels. In this case we are obligated to undertake actions to determine, who is Mr. Islam, why was he hired, what are his true intentions, and are there others in our government at this level who have penetrated other U.S. government agencies.
Actions: It is recommended that the following actions be taken immediately:
1) It is imperative that an investigation be open to determine the facts of this matter. If the investigation determines the facts of the matter to be true, provide the extent of the penetration within DoD, an assessment of the damage, potential violations of federal law, and recommended changes to Department policy and procedures to prevent a recurrence.
2) Conduct closed Congressional Hearings to provide oversight of Federal Departments and Agencies, specifically DoD, DNI, FBI, CIA and DHS to determine if there has been (1) a significant penetration of US Government Departments and/or Agencies by non-state actors hostile to the United States, and (2) the ability and structure of the U.S. counterintelligence efforts to identify and prevent penetration by subversive movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
With the war in Iraq politically on the backburner, illegal immigration is heating up as a campaign issue. The public wants action, and the candidates are scrambling to react.
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s sure nomination was first questioned when she flubbed an easy debate question about driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.
Sen. John McCain’s recovery took off when he backed away from his support of immigration reform that did not first ensure the closure of the border. (McCain is the "Amnesty" candidate - Tiger)
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is no longer for “sanctuary cities” that shield illegal aliens from arrest. Like former Gov. Mike Huckabee, he’s now a born-again opponent of illegal immigration.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney assures us that some illegal aliens can be deported within 90 days after he’s elected.
Sen. Barack Obama may talk of “change,” but his relative fuzziness about illegal immigration can’t last forever, and at some point he will have to offer more specific proposals.
Some time ago, supporters of open borders lost the debate. The majority of Americans want them closed — now! They ignore the tired slurs like “anti-immigrant,” “racist,” “protectionist” and “nativist.” And noisy May Day parades with Mexican flags and heated rhetoric from the National Council of La Raza (“The Race”) only turn more people off.
It doesn’t do any good, either, for a Mexico City functionary to cry about how mean we are to want a secure border with Mexico. Most Americans also tuned that out long ago.
They know instead that Mexico cares mostly about sending north those it won’t or can’t feed and house — so it can skim off from them billions in remittances once they arrive in the United States.
Mexico City, of course, could reform the country’s laws and economy whenever it wants. But it changes only enough to draw in tourists or Americans looking to buy vacation homes, not to better the lives of millions of its mestizo poor in the heartland.
The spin masters may think illegal immigration is an issue that pits conservative Republicans against liberal Democrats. But it doesn’t always.
Nowadays, worry about illegal immigration is just as likely to mean that African Americans are terrified of racist alien gangs in Los Angeles. Asian Americans are frustrated that their relatives with college degrees wait years to emigrate legally, while thousands without high-school diplomas to the south simply break the law to enter the United States.
And many Mexican Americans are probably tired of being expected to defend the indefensible of foreign nationals breaking immigration laws simply because they may share an ethnic heritage with illegal aliens.
To the extent Democratic candidates ignore illegal immigration, or demonize those who worry over hundreds of thousands of new illegal aliens each year, or talk of guest workers and amnesty before they mention closing the borders, it is a losing issue that could alienate millions of voters.
Democratic candidates can’t really claim that redneck racists are rushing to the border to clash with poor campesinos just crossing to better their lives, because many poor Democrats also resent how illegal labor drives down their own wages. It is mostly the American poor and middle class who worry about the sudden influx of thousands who don’t speak English and often need public assistance.
But the Republican candidates have to watch it, too. If blanket amnesty is a losing issue, so also is mass deportation — the practicality and morality of which are rarely considered by those rightly calling for an end to illegal immigration. Busing every illegal alien back to Mexico right now might resemble the past messy partition of India and Pakistan, and reopen the issue in a way that Democrats can legitimately exploit.
What then might an astute candidate advocate?
Close the border now through fencing, more agents, employer sanctions, enforcement of the law, and verifiable identification. Restore faith in the melting pot by insisting that new legal arrivals learn English and the customs and protocols of the United States.Explain to the Mexican and Central American governments that using the United States to avoid addressing internal problems — while making easy dollars off the backs of their own expatriate laborers — is over.
Finally, deport aliens who have broken the law, are not working or have just arrived. Some illegal aliens will not like the new atmosphere of tough enforcement and will voluntarily go back home. Others may have criminal records or no history of employment and should leave as well.
But many millions of law-abiding, employed illegal aliens of long residence will wish to stay. We should allow these to remain in the United States while they apply for citizenship — if they are willing to learn promptly our language and customs.
Republican candidates must risk angering their base by ruling out mass deportation. Democrats should support closing the border tightly and quickly — and not cave in to open-borders pressure groups.
Making these tough choices now is what most voters want. The candidates of both parties in the next few months will either adjust accordingly or lose elections.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
The Surge is working very well, thanks to Gen. Petraeus. Is the success in Iraq just a small step forward in the whole affair?
"The focus of war should be shifted from Iraq or Afghanistan to Islam. No doubt, it is necessary to fight this war militarily, but it should also be fought doctrinally. It is an ideological war. We need to expose Islam to the world. This will force the so-called vast majority of the not-so-good Muslims to discard, at least the violent part of it. They would remain contented with the ritual part of Islam, like prayer, fasting etc. These rituals do not harm others. When this happens, the Jihadists will find it extremely difficult to recruit new suicide bombers and Islamist killers. That is how Islamist terrorism should be fought. It will take time."
Quoted from: Abul Kasem, an ex-Muslim who is the author of hundreds of articles and several books on Islam including, Women in Islam. He was a contributor to the book Leaving Islam – Apostates Speak Out as well as to Beyond Jihad: Critical Views From Inside Islam
... Read the entire interview. Col. Hunt is still right - "they just don't get it"!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
2. Bush's refusal to pardon imprisoned Border Patrol Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were prosecuted by the president's friend, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton: Last month, a bi-partisan resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives calling on President Bush to commute the former agents' sentences immediately, allowing them to be home with their families by Christmas.
3. Research refuting man-made global warming: Former Vice President Al Gore won a Nobel prize in 2007 for his global warming campaigning to add to the Oscar for the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth. But numerous reports were issued throughout the year challenging the mainstream media's oft-repeated contention that the debate is settled over whether or not humans are causing global warming.
4. Lack of action on border fence mandated by Congress: The Secure Fence Act of 2006 required the construction of a double-layered barrier covering 854 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, but Democrats led efforts to squelch the plan.
5. California bill introducing homosexuality to young children: Children as young as two years of age are in the bull's-eye of coming changes in California's school curriculum, which "gay rights" advocates now admit will alter the very foundation of information presented to public school classrooms.
6. Hillary and her felonious fundraising: A shady Chinese megadonor to Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign named Norman Hsu drew some attention from mainstream media then faded. But virtually ignored was the fact it merely represented a host of illegal fundraising accusations against the Clintons. One case proceeding in the courts will require Sen. Clinton and her husband to testify under oath to fraud charges in the midst of the presidential election campaign this year.
7. Illegal aliens who rape, murder, kill driving drunk, commit voter fraud, welfare fraud and burden the system: WND has reported on the growing list of illegal immigrants who have not only ignored U.S. immigration laws, but state laws against drinking and driving as well, killing innocents on the highways in the process.
8. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resignation from the Senate Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, which she chaired, amid a conflict of interest due to her husband's ownership of two major defense contractors. : The firms owned by Feinstein's husband, Richard C. Blum, reportedly were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by the senator.
9. Progress of Law of the Sea Treaty: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on a 17-4 vote, moved forward the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST, despite a wide spectrum of critics charging it would grant the United Nations control of 70 percent of the planet under its oceans and undermine U.S. sovereignty.
10. Syria's alleged WMDs and Israel's attack: Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed Israeli jets hit an unmanned military facility in a Sept. 6 raid. The Israel Defense Forces remained quiet, later admitting it targeted a military installation. But reports surfaced that Israel destroyed a facility at which North Korea was transferring nuclear technology to the Syrians.
... click Title link for full article - Tiger