Darkness visible 5

We draw our readers’ attention to Iftikhar Ahmad’s comment  on Islam tightens its grip on Europe, below.  

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 22, 2008

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Reply awaited 0

 Michael Isikoff has questions for Obama. The odd thing is he asks them in Newsweek – not the first publication that springs to mind when you think of questioning the One. 

 We could think of better questions, but answers to these would be interesting and we too would like to hear them. We don’t, however, expect a swift reply.    

1. Define " inappropriate, " make good on your pledge of transparency and show us the internal report. All of it.
Mr. President-elect, you have said that nobody on your staff was "involved in inappropriate discussions" with the governor or his aides about his apparent plans for your Senate seat. Please define "inappropriate." And, in light of your pledge for greater transparency in government, will you also turn over a full, unedited copy of the internal report conducted by transition lawyers into this matter, including the notes of all interviews they conducted with your staff members, as well as all phone records and e-mails documenting the contacts between your staff, Blagojevich and his team?

2 Explain what happened with Senate " Candidate 1. "
In the criminal complaint released by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Blagojevich is quoted in a Nov. 11 tape recording as saying that you wanted him to name Senate Candidate 1 (since identified as your close adviser Valerie Jarrett), but that you and your aides were "not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them." How would Blagojevich have gotten the idea that this was your view? Were you or any of your aides aware, at any point, that Blagojevich wanted more than "appreciation"—such as contributions to his campaign fund or a seat in your cabinet—in exchange for appointing Jarrett? And why did she withdraw from consideration right after this conversation?

 

3 What did you know about Blago  s exit strategy?
In other parts of the complaint, Blagojevich is quoted as saying that he wanted you to tap wealthy "Warren Buffet types" and put up "10, 15 million" for a political advocacy group that the governor could then head up, and draw a salary from, after he leaves office. Were you ever told of Blagojevich’s interest in creating such an organization?

4 Have you shared everything you have on Rezko?
The criminal complaint makes a number of references to Tony Rezko, a convicted Blagojevich fundraiser who also raised money for your campaigns and who, on the same day that you bought your South Side Chicago home in June 2005, purchased property from the same owner right next door. Are there any records in your possession relating to your contacts with Rezko that you have not publicly released?

5. Will you promise to leave Fitzgerald alone?
Will you pledge to keep Patrick Fitzgerald as your U.S. attorney in Chicago and guarantee that he will face no impediments to completing his investigation by your Justice Department—wherever it might lead?

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 22, 2008

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Reply awaited 0

 Michael Isikoff has questions for Obama. The odd thing is he asks them in Newsweek – not the first publication that springs to mind when one thinks of questioning the One. 

We’ d like to know the answers too, but don’t expect a swift reply. 

1. Define " inappropriate, " make good on your pledge of transparency and show us the internal report. All of it.
Mr. President-elect, you have said that nobody on your staff was "involved in inappropriate discussions" with the governor or his aides about his apparent plans for your Senate seat. Please define "inappropriate." And, in light of your pledge for greater transparency in government, will you also turn over a full, unedited copy of the internal report conducted by transition lawyers into this matter, including the notes of all interviews they conducted with your staff members, as well as all phone records and e-mails documenting the contacts between your staff, Blagojevich and his team?

2 Explain what happened with Senate " Candidate 1. "
In the criminal complaint released by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Blagojevich is quoted in a Nov. 11 tape recording as saying that you wanted him to name Senate Candidate 1 (since identified as your close adviser Valerie Jarrett), but that you and your aides were "not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them." How would Blagojevich have gotten the idea that this was your view? Were you or any of your aides aware, at any point, that Blagojevich wanted more than "appreciation"—such as contributions to his campaign fund or a seat in your cabinet—in exchange for appointing Jarrett? And why did she withdraw from consideration right after this conversation?

 

3 What did you know about Blago  s exit strategy?
In other parts of the complaint, Blagojevich is quoted as saying that he wanted you to tap wealthy "Warren Buffet types" and put up "10, 15 million" for a political advocacy group that the governor could then head up, and draw a salary from, after he leaves office. Were you ever told of Blagojevich’s interest in creating such an organization?

4 Have you shared everything you have on Rezko?
The criminal complaint makes a number of references to Tony Rezko, a convicted Blagojevich fundraiser who also raised money for your campaigns and who, on the same day that you bought your South Side Chicago home in June 2005, purchased property from the same owner right next door. Are there any records in your possession relating to your contacts with Rezko that you have not publicly released?

5. Will you promise to leave Fitzgerald alone?
Will you pledge to keep Patrick Fitzgerald as your U.S. attorney in Chicago and guarantee that he will face no impediments to completing his investigation by your Justice Department—wherever it might lead?

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 22, 2008

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A cork bobbing on a stormy political ocean 0

 Victor Davis Hanson wrote in yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily:

Once upon a time, Obama and his fans asserted that Iran was a hyped-up threat, that we could go openly into Pakistan if need be to beat al-Qaida, that the surge wouldn’t work, that the Patriot Act and the Guantanamo Bay prison have torn asunder the Constitution, that we have alienated our European allies, that defeating terrorists is more a matter for criminal justice than military force, and that pushing democracy on traditional Islamic societies is culturally chauvinistic and naive.

But like his predecessors, the Obama administration will quickly learn that present U.S. foreign policy is mostly a result of reasonable decisions taken amid bad and worse choices. Therefore, don’t be surprised if a President Obama continues much of what we are now doing — albeit with a kinder, gentler rhetoric of "multilateralism" and "U.N. accords."

Obama has not assumed office yet, and already Iran has mocked the president-elect’s campaign suggestions for unconditional diplomacy. Already, old-new Defense Secretary Robert Gates has indicated a desire to stabilize Iraq before withdrawing forces.

Already, commanders have told the president-elect that a simple surge of more troops into Afghanistan offers no magical solution. Already, we are learning that whether we try more aid or ultimatums, Pakistan will remain Pakistan — a radical Islamic, nuclear failed state that is deeply anti-American rather than merely anti-George Bush.

As Inauguration Day approaches and campaign rhetoric ends and governance begins, words begin to have consequences. Truth is, there are not many alternatives to the present strategy against Islamic terrorism.

Obama doesn’t want a terrorist attack after seven years of quiet — certainly not of the sort that occurred in Mumbai last month. He may tinker with, but not end, Homeland Security measures. He may better articulate the complexities of a tribal Middle East, but he won’t stop American efforts to foster democracy there.

A President Obama may show more anguish over the necessary use of violence, but I suspect he won’t cede a military victory to terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. He will talk up the Atlantic Alliance, but likely complain in private that the U.S. inordinately does the heavy lifting in NATO. And if terrorists dared again to kill hundreds of Americans here at home, our new president would probably take military action.

Most conservatives and moderates expected that candidate Obama’s grand campaign talk of novel choices abroad would end with President Obama’s realist admission of very few new options.

His problem is instead his left-wing base, which for some reason believed Obama’s electioneering bombast that he could magically make the world anew — and so now apparently should do just that or else!

We think this is a fair prediction. But it implies that Obama himself will make decisions. We doubt that he will. We doubt that he can. A man who voted neither yes nor no most of his time as a Senator is not likely to become suddenly decisive. He will float above the hurly-burly of decision-making for as long as he can. Eventually, however much it will pain him, he’ll have to take responsibility for the decisions made for him by others – such as Rahm Emanuel (if he survives the Blackguardovich scandals), and, in foreign affairs, the Clintons. 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 20, 2008

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Clash of interests 0

 Take this newly revealed information (from an article by Jacob Laksin all of which is worth reading here

 Among those who’ve made a total of $492 million in contributions to the Clinton Foundation are several troubling figures and governments – including supporters of the terrorist group Hezbollah, and the rulers of Saudi Arabia – whose identities the former president would have preferred to keep private.

with this from the Washington Times

The incoming Obama administration plans to create a new position to coordinate outreach to Iran and is considering a number of senior career diplomats, State Department officials and Iran specialists say… A State Department official said the idea of naming a senior Iranian outreach coordinator was broached in the first transition meetings with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s choice for secretary of state, and her transition team earlier this month. "The idea is that the position should build on the existing diplomatic framework," the official said. He asked not to be named because a nominee has not been announced. A spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton declined to comment for this article. Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for the transition, also would not comment. However, several Iran specialists said such a position was in the works.

and recall that Hizbollah – ‘the Party of God’ – is an Iranian creation and that Saudi Arabia is financing the Islamic conquest of the Western world by mean of ‘soft jihad’.

Then let’s ask rhetorically whether Hillary Clinton, against whom there have been plausible allegations of corruption, is really the best choice for the position of Secretary of State, to look after American interests in a world in which the greatest menace to America, to freedom, to the West in general comes from Islam, above all from Iran and Saudi Arabia.  

Will those who pay the piper no longer insist on calling the tune?  And is there no reason to suspect that the Clintons are a venal couple? 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 19, 2008

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Islam tightens its grip on Europe 9

 Here is part of an important speech given by Geert Wilders – the Dutch MP who made the film Fitna – in New York on September 25, 2008, under the auspices of the Hudson Institute.  Read the whole speech here.  Thanks to our reader roger in florida.

The Europe you know is changing. You have probably seen the landmarks. The Eiffel Tower and Trafalgar Square and Rome’s ancient buildings and maybe the canals of Amsterdam. They are still there. And they still look very much the same as they did a hundred years ago.

But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world, a world very few visitors see – and one that does not appear in your tourist guidebook. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration. All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighbourhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It’s the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corner. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighbourhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe, street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city.

There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam, Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighbourhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities. In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims. Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear “whore, whore”. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can in many cases no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity. In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighbourhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan. Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 19, 2008

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Great fun 0

 At last! But what took it so long?

The contradiction of values between the West and the Islamic world – that multiculturalists pretend does not exist – emerges at the UN. 

From Reuters:

The U.N. General Assembly split over the issue of gay rights on Thursday after a European-drafted statement calling for decriminalization of homosexuality prompted an Arab-backed one opposing it.

Diplomats said a joint statement initiated by France and the Netherlands gathered 66 signatures in the 192-nation assembly after it was read out by Argentina at a plenary session. A rival statement, read out by Syria, gathered some 60.

The two statements remained open for further signatures, the diplomats said. No resolution was drafted on the issue and there was no voting, they added.

The division in the General Assembly reflected conflicting laws in the world at large. According to sponsors of the Franco-Dutch text, homosexuality is illegal in 77 countries, seven of which punish it by death.

The European Union-backed document, noting that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was marked this month, said those rights applied equally to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

It urged states "to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention."

But the opposing document said the statement "delves into matters which fall essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states" and could lead to "the social normalization, and possibly the legitimization, of many deplorable acts including pedophilia."

"We note with concern the attempts to create ‘new rights’ or ‘new standards,’ by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration and international treaties to include such notions that were never articulated nor agreed by the general membership," it added.

This, it said, could "seriously jeopardize the entire international human rights framework."

Muslim countries have for years opposed international attempts to legalize homosexuality.

U.S. officials said the United States had not signed either document. They said the broad framing of the language in the statement supporting decriminalization created conflicts with U.S. law, but gave no further details.

But Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters it was a "very special day at the U.N."

"For the first time in history a large group of member states speaks out in the General Assembly against discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said. "With today’s statement, this is no longer a taboo within the U.N."

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters sponsors of the statement had "cornered" other members by springing the declaration on them.

We can’t wait to see what happens next!

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 19, 2008

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AIG makes more ruinous decisions 2

 Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance – to save which from its own folly every tax-payer in America is suffering extortion by the government – is introducing Sharia-compliant products. 

The dangers of this are set out clearly here.

Thanks to our reader Pete Seeker.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Britain’s self-humiliating retreat from Iraq 3

 From an article in Front Page Magazine by Douglas Stone:

In retiring from Basra, the British Army essentially handed over the city to local Shi’ite militias and criminal gangs. When the Iraqi government decided early this year to take back the city with a joint Iraqi-American effort, the Brits remained at their airport base, where their role was largely that of spectators.

Beyond merely local failure in Iraq, the retreat from Basra and the gradual drawdown of British forces is important for what it says about the nation most Americans still regard as our most important ally: Whatever its glorious history – whether on land, on the sea, or in the air – British military capacity today is such a shadow of its former self as to be scarcely a factor on the international scene.

The reason is two-fold: the military’s lack of resources and the lack of will on the part of its civilian masters. Indeed, the lack of resources is a function of a degraded resolve among increasingly pacifist Britons, which prominently includes a substantial part of the ruling Labour Party but also important elements of the Conservative Party, not to mention large segments of the media and cultural elite.This reluctance to use force to defend national interests has been developing since World War II, and particularly since the beginning of Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1964. It was only momentarily reversed during the Falklands War by the special nature of Mrs. Thatcher’s personality and politics, as she almost single-handedly willed the country to a successful outcome. But that was the exception that proves the rule. Parliament has refused for more than 40 years to spend what is necessary to have a military that is even close to being proportionately as strong as the United States, and the country lacks the spirit and resolve to make the sacrifices in blood and treasure necessary to take on a difficult fight.

The British retreat in Iraq was been made possible by Brown’s ascent as Prime Minister in 2007 and is a measure of both the strength and weakness of his position in British politics. As the leader of a new administration, he was more capable than Tony Blair to alter Britain’s commitment to an unpopular war. At the same time, he was more sensitive to a largely antiwar press and Labour Party as he consolidated his power, tried to establish a reputation, and worked through months of scandal and failure that compromised his authority. Brown has suggested that Britain’s work is done in Iraq. He and his flaccid Foreign Minister, David Miliband, are emphasizing the importance of the NATO effort in Afghanistan over the struggle in Iraq and offering soft soap and rationalization to cover its failure to withdraw pari passu with its American allies…

Among professional observers in the UK, the British military is widely considered to be overstretched, even with no more than 12,000 troops combined in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, it is often short of equipment; the equipment doesn’t work properly; or it is out of service. As the Brits might say, the proposition that Great Britain remains a serious military power has been tested to destruction… As events in Iraq have demonstrated, Britain’s has neither the will nor the way to make a substantial and sustained contribution to American efforts in any kind of serious military operation.

What they do have in abundance among the leftist elites is the gall to presume that Britain has some special right to offer guidance to the United States when its role in the world is dwarfed by our own …

Like the Grand Old Duke of York, the British marched up the hill in Iraq and marched back down again – all to little avail. But their failure in Iraq is no trifling story: it’s a brutally plain statement of Britain’s inability to commit resources and muster the political will necessary to engage in controversial and dangerous military operations.

The British bulldog is no more, its military scarcely rising to the ferocity of a lap dog. A hard saying, perhaps, but something we need to keep in mind in assessing the value of our British ally in potential future conflicts. And not least in understanding the implications of the so-called “Special Relationship.”

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Filling a niche 0

We suspect that Obama would have liked to appoint his long-time friend and some-time colleague William Ayers, the Commie terrorist, as education secretary, but hasn’t got that much audacity. Next worst choice, the one he made, is Arne Duncan, for reasons touched on politely by Investor’s Business Daily.

Note the ‘reform’ idea of Duncan’s to educate homosexuals separately

Duncan’s record has been unimpressive. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Chicago Public Schools have remained below the national average during Duncan’s term.

Under Duncan, Chicago schools’ average reading scores rose just one point on average from 2002 to 2007, to 250 out of 500. The national average in 2007 was 263, and 75% of Chicago students scored less.

In math, scores rose from 254 in 2003 to 260 in 2007. But the national average that year was 280. Again, 75% of Chicago students scored below the national average. In writing, the story was the same, with about half falling below the national average.

One notable reform proposal of Duncan’s — a separate-but-equal high school for gay, lesbian and transgendered students. "If you look at national studies, you can see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates … I think there is a niche there we need to fill," the Chicago Tribune quoted Duncan as saying in October.

Duncan also had ties to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, founded and financed through the efforts of ex-Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers [and Barack Obama]. Ayers saw the CAC as a chance to radicalize Chicago public school teachers and students.

In a recent Education Week article, Ken Rolling, the executive director of the CAC and a former associate director of the Woods Fund, which Ayers was also involved with [as was Obama], said Duncan relied on the CAC to build the Chicago Public Schools agenda.

Like most efforts to improve the government monopoly by throwing money at it, the CAC was a failure, and a costly one at that. The CAC ultimately threw $160 million at the problem.

A report on that effort said "the Challenge had little impact on student outcomes." The report added on page 15: "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."

But in rates of indoctrination ‘gain’? Betcha! 

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 18, 2008

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