The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, April 30, 2006

The REAL cause of high gas prices (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 4/30/2006 04:36:00 PM | Permalink | |

Harry Reid backs down on Immigration Bill

Well well well....There appears to be a crack in the stonewalling Senate Democrats' armor. From Captain Ed's report:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid backed away from his demand that the immigration-reform bill currently before the Senate receive a direct vote with no amendments from Republicans, a condition that scuttled the compromise agreement before the Easter break. Reid told reporters yesterday that he would allow a certain number of amendments as long as they did not unduly burden the bill:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday he is willing to allow consideration of Republican amendments to the comprehensive immigration bill, a concession that removes a primary obstacle that killed the bill earlier this month.

"We're willing to work through these amendments," the Nevada Democrat told reporters yesterday. "If they want to have these votes, we'll have the votes."

Republicans said they welcomed Mr. Reid's change of heart, while Democrats cautioned that other obstacles remain.

What part of 'yes' doesn't he understand," said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, who has offered several amendments that Democrats refused to allow to be considered. "That is exactly the position that I and others interested in immigration reform took three weeks ago. We could have had a bill voted out of the Senate three weeks ago today if he hadn't been the one who obstructed votes on amendments on the floor."

The Democrats had previously thought that stalling on immigration hurt the Republicans more than themselves and that they had enough crossover support from John McCain and others that the GOP would be forced to accept their direction. However, after Reid suddenly imposed the no-amendments condition and McCain publicly upbraided him for it, Reid and his caucus found themselves painted as the deal-killers. Senate Democrats received most of the criticism for the failure to pass the Senate legislation before the recess, and now Reid has to deliver some cooperation in order to get himself off the hook.

Reid and Frist will negotiate the number of amendments and their scope in the coming days, probably in time for Monday's session. The one amendment offered by Cornyn as mentioned above will almost certainly receive a vote now, although the Democrats claims it "guts" the reform bill they crafted. It's difficult to see why denying citizenship to people who have been convicted of felonies or three misdemeanors while living here illegally offends Democrats to such an extent. Even legal immigrants who reside here face deportation if they get convicted of such crimes. Why should illegal aliens get preferential treatment?

The Democrats say that they will easily defeat such amendments, and that they do not represent the spirit of the legislation. If that were true, then Reid would have allowed the amendments to come to a vote three weeks ago, as Cornyn also noted. The truth is that amendments such as Cornyn's and another which mandates a physical barrier system at the southern border will likely pass with bipartisan support. These will make the Senate bill that much closer to the House legislation that awaits a conference committee, and it will strengthen the Republican position in that negotiation. That is the real cause for Reid's obstructionism, and his capitulation makes it much more likely that a truly meaningful reform package will emerge for Bush's signature.
DiscerningTexan, 4/30/2006 04:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

The roots of Sedition: Dana Priest's husband and his hard left connections

A not well publicized fact about Washington Post reporter Dana Priest--the reporter to whom the partisan CIA agent Mary McCarthy was fired for leaking critical national security information--is that Priest is married to one William Goodfellow. Of interest is Goodfellow's list of connections and causes: it reads like a "who's who" of the rabid, Marxist, hard left.

Sweetness and Light has a very telling illustration up of Goodfellow's ties to the "Chomskyite left" here. Check it out, then play connect the dots over at Discover the Networks.

And then try and explain how a high-placed person in the CIA (Mary McCarthy)--who gave tens of thousands of dollars to John Kerry and other Democratic causes (not always easy to pull off on a Government salary...)--would choose Goodfellow's wife Dana Priest to leak a story involving State secrets; and which badly damaged America's ability to conduct intelligence operations.

Reporters with leanings towards the enemies of the United States, who print leaks received from partisan-left operatives within the CIA in wartime are every bit as guilty of engaging in treason--by printing information they KNOW to be classified and illegally obtained--as are the leakers within the Agency. Both Priest AND McCarthy ought to be in prison for conspiring to undermine our country--and, in following through with this conspiracy, causing great damage to the US in a time of War.

American reporters who blame America first, and who then by their illegal actions render aid to America's enemies should not be allowed to walk the streets of this country in freedom. It is time that the Justice Department (or the President, by invoking Constitutional wartime powes) would set a stern example for any other reporters who even condidered taking advantage of the very freedoms they have in this country to wage their own private war against the US.

A few historical facts about past American prosecution for sedition in Wartime--just to put this all into perspective:

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition.

"Freedom of speech!" the American Civil Liberties Union will protest. Before we buy into the slogan, we must remember our history. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and allowed governmental officials to arrest Rep. Clement Vallandigham after Vallandigham called the Civil War "cruel" and "wicked," shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, and had members of the Maryland legislature placed in prison to prevent Maryland's secession. The Union won the Civil War.

Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes rightly wrote, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." The Allies won World War I.

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war. The Allies won World War II.


This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional -- and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign to undermine it.
DiscerningTexan, 4/30/2006 02:16:00 PM | Permalink | |

Covering up Dem Incompetence with Prevarications 101

As is usually the case, this Sunday's Mark Steyn column in the Chicago Sun-Times does not disappoint; This week Steyn illustrates how prominent Democrats are using made up (false) quotations to cover up their own lack of any coherent policy or plan. A couple of highlights, with my own bold emphases:

John Kerry announced this week's John Kerry Iraq Policy of the Week the other day: "Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to deal with these intransigent issues and at last put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military."

With a sulky pout perhaps? With hands on hips and a full flip of the hair?

Did he get that from Churchill? "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, at least until May 15, when I have a windsurfing engagement off Nantucket."

Actually, no. He got it from Thomas Jefferson. "This is not the first time in American history when patriotism has been distorted to deflect criticism and mislead the nation," warned Sen. Kerry, placing his courage in the broader historical context. "No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' "

Close enough. According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "

Did Kerry's speechwriter endeavor to point that out? "Hey, boss, diss ain't a Jefferson quote."


When John F. Kennedy said, "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty" -- and, believe it or not, that's a real quote, though it's hard to imagine any Massachusetts Democrat saying such a thing today -- I could have yelled out, "Hey, screw you, loser." It would have been "dissent," but it wouldn't have been patriotic, and it's certainly not a useful contribution to the debate, any more than that of the University of North Carolina students at Chapel Hill who recently scrawled on the doors of the ROTC armory "F--- OFF!" and "WE WON'T FIGHT YOUR WARS!"

But the high holiness of dissent for its own sake is now the core belief of the Democratic Party: It's not what you're for, it's what you're against. Their current denunciations of Big Oil have a crudely effective opportunism but say to them "OK, what's your energy policy?" and see what answers you get: More domestic oil? Ooh, no, we can't disturb the pristine ANWR breeding ground of the world's largest mosquito herd. More nuclear power, like the French? Ooh, no, might be another Three Mile Island. Er, OK, you're the mass transit guys; how about we go back to wood-fired steam trains? Ooh, no, we're opposed to logging, in case it causes global warming, or cooling, or both.

Dissent for its own sake is like the Democrats' energy policy: We're opposed to any kind of energy; we prefer to be mired in enervated passivity. If the right is full of armchair generals, the left is full of armchair generalities: Nothing can be done, any course is futile, everything's a quagmire. All we can say for certain is that saying so for certain is the highest form of patriotism.

It's truer to say that these days patriotism is the highest form of dissent -- against a culture where the media award each other Pulitzers for damaging national security, and the only way a soldier's mom can become a household name is if she's a Bush-is-the-real-terrorist kook like Cindy Sheehan, and our grade schools' claims to teach our children about America, "warts and all," has dwindled down into teaching them all the warts and nothing else. Or as the Capital Times of Madison, Wis., concluded its ringing editorial on the subject:

"Thomas Jefferson got it right: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' And teaching children how to be thoughtful and effective dissenters is the highest form of education."

Teaching them authentic Jefferson quotes would be a better approach.

You can read the whole column here.
DiscerningTexan, 4/30/2006 11:26:00 AM | Permalink | |
Saturday, April 29, 2006

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 4/29/2006 06:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hezbollah, Illegal Immigration, and the Next 9/11

Anyone who does not think that protecting our borders is VITAL to our national security needs to read this article in Front Page Magazine by LTC Joseph Myers and Patrick Poole. The article is prefaced:

This article was prepared and approved before the London Times report this past weekend which verified that longtime Hezbollah terror chief, Imad Mugniyah, has been tapped by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to initiate attacks against the West, especially the U.S., in the event that any preemptive strikes are made against Iran's nuclear facilities. In the following article we identify Mugniyah and his extensive role in a number of attacks on Americans since the 1980s and have assumed that any action taken by Hezbollah would be directed by Mugniyah, but this new supporting information was important enough and directly relevant to the discussion at hand to warrant us including this author’s note to call our reader's attention to it. This new report reinforces our argument made here that Hezbollah and its operations inside America and throughout Latin America pose an immediate national security risk that should be among the primary topics of consideration in the ongoing border security debate.

The article itself is much too large to reprint here, and you can read it all here. But below is a representative sample:

The recent revelation by FBI Director Robert Mueller about the Hezbollah smuggling ring out of Mexico just barely scratches the surface of the group’s activities inside the US. Hezbollah engages in a wide variety mid-level crime ranging from cigarette smuggling to credit card fraud to selling fake Viagra, intentionally keeping their operations from getting too large to prevent raising the attention of law enforcement authorities. Hezbollah operatives have also been observed working out of New York Indian reservations to avoid detection and arrest.

Among the Hezbollah operations in the U.S. that have been uncovered by state and federal authorities are:

According to Diaz and Newman, one of the most well publicized incidents of a Hezbollah terror cell operating in the US involved a hit team sent here to kill President Clinton’s former national security advisor, Anthony Lake. Lake was moved into the Blair House across from the White House until the threat was neutralized.

Bob Clifford, former head of the FBI Hezbollah unit, told Diaz and Newman about a Hezbollah operative that was working at Boston’s Logan Airport – where American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, two of the four hijacked 9/11 flights, originated. According to Clifford, the FBI agent that told Logan security authorities about the potential threat was himself investigated for wrongdoing after the Hezbollah operative lost his job, though the agent was eventually cleared. Clifford claims to have arrested more than one hundred Hezbollah operatives in the US during his tenure at the FBI.

DEA officials busted an
elaborate methamphetamine drug ring in January 2002 operating in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix and several cities in California that funneled money back to Hezbollah. At least 136 people – most from the Middle East – were arrested and 36 tons of pseudoephedrine, 179 pounds of methamphetamine, $4.5 million in cash, eight properties, and 160 cars used for transport were seized.

According to investigative journalist Steve Emerson in his book, American Jihad, a Hezbollah cell operating in Charlotte, North Carolina was busted in a FBI sting in a July 2000 operation that netted 18 arrests. The accused were indicted for providing training, communications equipment and explosives to Hezbollah, which the federal indictment said were intended to “facilitate its violent attacks”.

In 2001, federal officials discovered
a Hezbollah fundraising cell in Charlotte, North Carolina that was purchasing untaxed cigarettes and selling them illegally in Michigan. In a year and a half, the network sold $7.9 million worth of cigarettes illegally, with most of the money being returned to Hezbollah headquarters in Lebanon.

In 2003, the FBI raided the Dearborn, Michigan home of
Mahmoud Kourani. He was indicted for harboring an illegal alien and conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah. Kourani’s brother is the chief of military security for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Kourani admitted to being smuggled across the Mexican border into the U.S. in the trunk of a car after arriving in Mexico on a visa he obtained from the Mexican consulate in Beirut after paying a consulate official $3,000.

In March 2006, indictments involving
another Hezbollah smuggling ring uncovered in Detroit were unsealed. The suspects are accused of bootlegging cigarettes, counterfeiting tax stamps, selling phony Viagra tablets, and hijacking shipments of toilet paper to fund Hezbollah activities.

The criminal activities serve the higher purpose of funding the thousands of personnel that Hezbollah maintains in the U.S., providing them financial means to insulate themselves further into American society. The proceeds from criminal activity also provide funding for high technology military equipment purchases here and in Canada to be sent back to Lebanon to improve Hezbollah capabilities against the Israeli military. In a recent case, Canadian authorities took down a Hezbollah cell that had received from Beirut a shopping list of equipment to obtain, such as night vision goggles, laptops, cell phones that could be used to remotely detonate explosions and intelligence drones.
DiscerningTexan, 4/29/2006 05:18:00 PM | Permalink | |

Another SUPERB United 93 review

I still have not seen the film yet, so I am holding back my own review and emotions about seeing the film until I have. But I have read several excellent reviews on the film now, including the one I highlighted the other day by Todd Beamer's father, this one in the Dallas Morning News, and--today--this excellent work by patriotic wordsmith Rick Moran. Although it is doubtful that a leftist bunch like the Motion Picture Academy will give this film the respect and accolades it is no doubt due (signt unseen), this may be the most important film to come out of Hollywood since 9/11. Finally a film to remind Americans what we are up against.

And to the ostriches who are crying "too soon, too soon...", I say: act like grown-ups for goodness sake. We Americans can no longer afford to pretend that the peril that is really out there facing us isn't real; it IS real, and the sooner Americans wake up to that fact, the better. Films like 'Untied 93' are enormously important towards that end.

Rick Moran highlights that sentiment in his fine review, of which a sampling is reproduced below (there is much more--read it all here):

There is a moment in the film United 93 where director Paul Greengrass takes a small step backward from the unrelenting intimate universe into which he has boldly thrust the audience and allows a glimmer of the larger truth of September 11 to be revealed.

Having committed themselves to their heroic effort to take back the cockpit, the passengers are in position in the back of the plane, the larger, stronger men occupying the first three rows closest to the terrorists. Then, it hits you. The look on their faces as they steel themselves to make the attempt mirrors exactly the looks on the faces of the hijackers just prior to their attack as the terrorists also had to summon up the courage to carry out their dastardly deed.

Whether intended or not, Greengrass reveals the faces of men at war. And even though there are no grand, overarching truths about humanity, or good and evil, or the superiority of one set of beliefs over another in U-93 (there is a short scene toward the end of the film that shows both passengers and terrorists praying), the singular fact that “they” attacked us and “we” fought back cannot be denied, cannot be hidden despite the desperate attempt by some over the last 5 years to do so. We are at war.

For those who insist that we are not, that the War on Terror is some gigantic plot of the Bush Administration to win elections, or seize power, or exercise some kind of monarchical control over the American people, United 93 at bottom, shows this kind of 9/10 thinking to be seriously deluded.

Indeed, there has been an attempt by many on the left to make war on the War on Terror itself, as if the enemy is not fanatical Muslims hell bent on killing Americans but rather a domestic ideology that seeks to prevent such a catastrophe. For at bottom, what many on the left seek to obscure is the simple necessity of acknowledging that a conflict exists in the first place.

On an existential level, they can deny the reality of war by turning cause and effect on its head - justifying terrorism as a logical outgrowth of US policies in the Middle East or toward Muslims in general. It is this intellectual dishonesty that is successfully countered by U-93 in its brutally simple yet deeply emotional subtext: a reminder of what it was like to be an American that day.
DiscerningTexan, 4/29/2006 01:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

Finally showing signs of life? Senate Republicans reportedly to invoke Nuclear Option soon

Part of the Republican strategy to get a filibuster-proof 60 vote majority in the US Sentate is to paint the Democrats as exactly what they are: more interested on obstruction than bipartisan cooperation for the good of the country.

Even for legislation that is obviously in the national interest (e.g. increased energy independence--which would lower gas prices, a booming enconomy and the role of tax cuts in making that happen, an immigration bill that really does protect our borders, tax reform, reforming social security, and most importantly: giving the President the funds and tools he needs to win the global war on Islamist terror), Dems do not want a Republican Congress and President to get the political credit for things the voting public clearly wants. So they obstruct...and obstrct...and obstruct. And then they try to blame President Bush for the failure to move through meaningful legislation.. And in the game of election-year politicsit is in the obvious interest of Republicans to ensure the public understands the Democrats' obsturct-at-all-cost mentality, and to raise the public's consciousness of the high cost to the country's security that this party-over-country mindset brings.

This is why when I saw this note from Robert Novak, which shows the Republicans possibly finally making a long-overdue decision to stand up to the Democrat tactics of filibustering appeals court judges they don't like--a tactic, by the way, that is unprecedented in American history--it gave me great hope for the fall elections; because should the Republicans be forced to play the "nuclear option" in the coming months, it will clearly show the Democrats to be the obstructionists they are.

On the other hand, the Democrats know this is coming; so when the rubber meets the road, the Democrats could back down on two Bush appointees they have been blocking for several years now. Either way, I hope Novak is right here--I think it is a win-win for the Republicans to make this move. I just hope Frist has the cajones to do it:

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday quietly blocked consideration of President Bush's 3-year-old nomination of White House aide Brett Kavanaugh as a federal appeals court judge, beginning a process that may trigger a constitutional test.

Under committee procedures, the Democrats can automatically block such a nomination only once. Kavanaugh is expected to be voted out of Judiciary on a straight party-line vote this coming week. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will come under heavy pressure to conduct a filibuster.

Assuming that Republicans cannot get the 60 votes needed for cloture, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist then intends to invoke the so-called nuclear option to confirm Kavanaugh by a majority vote. The showdown is expected within the next month. The same procedure may be used to try to confirm U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, whose appeals court nomination has been on the Senate floor for a year.
DiscerningTexan, 4/29/2006 11:22:00 AM | Permalink | |

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 4/29/2006 12:06:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, April 28, 2006

Post of the Week: Ralph Peters has a few choice words for the Leaking MSM

Ralph Peters, author of the great book New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy, does not let his comrades in the MSM off the hook for the leaks that are sabotaging our efforts to win the GWOT. Just reading this is cathartic to me, because it sums up all of my anger and outrage at a news media that is selling our country down the river in a time of WAR. The way I grew up, that used to be called sedition. Bold emphases are my own:

If a street-corner thug knowingly receives stolen goods for profit, he goes to jail. If a well-educated, privileged journalist profits from receiving classified information - stolen from our government - he or she gets a prize.

Is something wrong here?

Media outlets, including the generally responsible Washington Post, have had fits over a few retired generals' unclassified criticism of the Secretary of Defense, while simultaneously insisting on their own right to receive and publish our nation's wartime secrets - and to shield the identities of unethical bureaucrats who betray our nation's trust.

Since the Vietnam era, reporters have convinced themselves that they are the real heroes in any story. The archways above our journalism faculties soon may sport the maxim: "The Press can do no wrong."

But the press can do wrong. And it does it with gusto. Let me tell you what the illegal receipt and exploitation of our nation's secrets used to be called: Espionage. Spying. Yet today's "real" spies cause less harm to our national security than self-righteous journalists do.

A NATION at war must keep secrets. The media can't plead that classified documents just fell into their hands, obligating them to publish our secrets out of a noble respect for truth. That's bull, and every journalist knows it. Could a punk down on the block claim that, since he was offered a gun, he was obligated to aim it and pull the trigger?

Many in the media not only want to re-write election results and change national policies - they've been re-writing history, too. On the entertainment-and-propaganda side, George Clooney produced a gorgeous, seductive and whoppingly dishonest film about journalism last year, "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Deftly re-arranging the fall of Sen. Joseph McCarthy - by slighting the fact that only the Department of the Army had the guts to stand up to Tailgunner Joe at the height of his powers (a civilian lawyer for the Army asked the famous question, "Senator, have you no shame?") - the film leads the viewer to believe that a lone journalist, Edward R. Murrow, broke the senator's evil spell.
Of course, crediting the Army with the courage to defend the Constitution would have played havoc with the left-wing view of civil-military relations. But the greater omission had to do with Murrow's background. He made his bones with courageous radio coverage of the London Blitz. And he didn't feel compelled to tell the Nazi side of the story and help us feel Hitler's pain.

Edward R. Murrow kept secrets. Lots of them. He wanted the Allies to win. He even respected those in uniform. So he - and other journalists - remained silent about the landing exercise that went tragically awry at Slapton Sands, and about many another bad-for-morale event that might've made a hot headline. He kept D-Day-related secrets, too.

Do even our most self-adoring journalists really think that Edward R. Murrow would have published secret documents about prisons for senior Nazis during wartime?

None of us wants our media to engage in propaganda. We'd just like them to refrain from harming our country for selfish ends.

Which brings us to the Pulitzer-Prize-winning (and still not confirmed) story that claimed to reveal secret prisons holding a few high-ranking terrorists in Eastern Europe: If such facilities existed, what harm did they do to our country or the world? On the other hand, proclaiming their existence played into the hands of terrorists and America-haters.

That Pulitzer Prize wasn't really for journalism. It was a political statement. No one's going to get a journalism award for reporting on the War on Terror's successes or progress in Iraq. Only left-wing children get a prize.

After laboring in the intelligence vineyards for over two decades, I can assure you of a few things:

First, there are no super-top-secret, black-helicopter, kidnap-American-Idol-judges conspiracies hidden since 1776.

Second, there are legitimate secrets that must be protected - usually because revealing them would tip our collection methods or operational techniques to our country's mortal enemies (as the secret-prisons story did).

I can assure you of a third thing, too: If an intelligence professional saw a genuine threat to the Constitution or to the rights of his or her fellow citizens, he or she would step forward - and be justified in doing so.

But pique over your presidential candidate's defeat or mere disagreement with a policy does not justify anyone - intelligence professional or political appointee - in passing classified information to a party not authorized to receive it.

This applies to White House staffers, too, no matter how senior. The law should take its course, in every case, from the briefing room to the newsroom. The Washington culture of leaks is a bipartisan disgrace - and a real-and-present danger to our security.

We face savage enemies who obey no laws, honor no international conventions, treaties or compacts, and who believe they do the will of a vengeful god. Under the circumstances, we need to be able to keep an occasional secret.

So I would ask three questions of those journalists chasing prizes by printing our wartime secrets:

* Can you honestly claim to have done our nation any good?

* Did you weigh the harm your act might cause, including the loss of American lives?

* Is the honorable patriotism of Edward R. Murrow truly dead in American journalism?

If you draw a government (or contractor) paycheck and willfully compromise classified material, you should go to jail. If you are a journalist in receipt of classified information and you publish it to the benefit of our enemies, you should go to jail (you may, however, still accept your journalism prize, as long as the trophy has no sharp edges). And consider yourself fortunate: The penalty for treason used to be death.

When a journalist is given classified information, his or her first call shouldn't be to an editor. It should be to the FBI.

TELL it, Brother!

DiscerningTexan, 4/28/2006 11:02:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Face of Islam they don't tell you about in the MSM

Having purchased and read this book myself, I highly recommend it. Andy McCarthy of National Review has a spot on synopsis; he titles his column 'Not for the Faint of Heart--and he is absolutely right about that. The fact is that militant Islamists are not going to be swayed by reason, or negotiation, or money, or even by the return of Jerusalem to Palestine. They will only be satisfied when we are dead. And a great majority of them are about to get their hands on Nukes in Iran.

Beginning to see the "big picture" now? Let's hope that a lot of Americans are--our time is running out:

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), by Robert Spencer (Regnery, 233 pp., $19.95)

It is often said that in order to keep polite company polite, we must refrain from speaking of religion and politics. Yet, the two are not equals in the hierarchy of politesse. Political debate may be unwelcome in many settings, but no one clears the room by observing that the great totalitarian evils of the 20th century, Communism and fascism, were directly responsible for incalculable carnage.

Not so when it comes to religion — or, at least, one particular religion. The past three decades have borne witness to a rising, global tide of terrorist atrocities, wrought by Muslims who proclaim without apology — indeed, with animating pride — that their actions are compelled by Islam. Nonetheless, the quickest ticket to oblivion on PC's pariah express is to suggest that the root cause of Islamic terrorism might be, well, Islam.

That the possibility is utterable at all today owes exclusively to the sheer audacity of Muslim legions, who have rioted globally, on cue, based on what even their exhausted defenders must now concede are trifles (newspaper cartoons and a tall tale of Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay leap to mind). But the largest obstacle to any examination of creed — larger even than a growing alphabet soup of Muslim interest groups — has been the same Western elites who are the prime targets of jihadist ire. In the most notable instance, President Bush absolved Islam of any culpability even as fires raged at the remains of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. And, although attacks before and after that date have been numerous and widespread, it has become nearly as much an oratorical staple as "My fellow Americans" for U.S. politicians to begin any discussion of our signal national security challenge with the observation that Islam is a "religion of peace" — a religion that has surely been perverted, "hijacked," and otherwise misconstrued by terrorists.

No more, insists Robert Spencer, the intrepid author and analyst behind the Jihad Watch website. Spencer's theory is as logical as it is controversial: when the single common thread that runs through virtually all of the international terrorism of the modern era is that its perpetrators are Muslims, and when the jihadists themselves tell us that their religion is the force that drives them, we should seriously consider the probability that Islam is a causative agent, even the principal causative agent, of their terrorist actions. This he undertakes to do in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)...

One might once have assumed it inarguable that an ideological battle cannot be fought with complete inattention to ideology. But that has been the case with the war on terror, and Spencer's mission is to rectify that with a simple, user-friendly volume that walks the reader through elementary facts about Islam — its tenets, its scriptures, and its history, including most prominently the Koran and the life and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed. It is a tutorial shorn of wishful thinking.

While Spencer does not declare that anyone adhering to Islam is a terrorist waiting to happen, he clearly believes it is a perilous belief system. Make no mistake: This is a disturbing account. And most disturbing is that the truly arresting passages are not the author's contentions and deductions. They are the actual words of Islamic scripture and the accounts of several revered events in Islamic tradition.

The story by which Islam achieves hegemony over much the world and the loyalty of millions of worshippers, very nearly extending its dominion throughout Europe, is a story of military conquest. Mohammed, deemed the final Messenger of Allah — superseding the prophets of the Judeo-Christian tradition, a group in which Muslims include Jesus — was a warrior, in addition to wearing the hats of poet, philosopher, and economist, among others.

The Koran, Spencer argues, does not teach tolerance and peace. At best, he explains, there are isolated sections which urge Muslims to leave unbelievers alone in their errant ways, and which counsel that forced conversion is forbidden. But these must be considered in context with other verses, such as those directing that Mohammed "make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them," and that the faithful "slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them," and so on.

What are we to make of the seeming contradiction? Obviously, self-professed moderate Muslims point often to the benign passages, while terrorists echo the belligerent ones. Who is right? Spencer vigorously contends that the militants have the better of the argument. The Koran, which is not arranged chronologically but according to the length of its chapters (or "suras"), is theologically divided between Mohammed's Meccan and Medinan periods. The former, from the early part of the Prophet's ministry when he was calling inhabitants of Mecca to Islam, are the soothing, poetic verses. The latter, written in Medina after Mohammed was ousted from Mecca, are the more bellicose. The Medinan scriptures come later in time and, sensibly, overrule their predecessors.

This is bracing in at least two ways. First, even if there were a logical counterargument to this (and let us pray that someone comes up with a compelling one soon), it underscores the seeming impossibility of proving wrong those who commit atrocities in the name of Islam. When they claim justification in their religion for merciless attacks and other brutalities (such as beheadings), they are not imagining it out of thin air — it's right there in black-and-white. The reformers may try gamely to minimize or reinterpret, but they cannot make the words go away.

Second, those words are taken to be the words of God Himself. The Koran is not like the books of the Old and New Testaments. It is not thought to be "inspired," to be related through intermediaries whose assumed human gloss opens up possibilities of reinterpretation or correction. Muslims believe the Koran contains the unvarnished teachings of Allah, dictated directly to Mohammed by the archangel Gabriel. This renders all the more challenging (to put it mildly) the burden of discrediting terrorist operatives who claim to be doing precisely what they have been divinely instructed to do — and doing it in the service of jihad, the "striving" which, Spencer explains, is a bedrock obligation of all Muslims.

Islam, Spencer elaborates, aims at nothing less than total domination — first, unrivalled supremacy in any territory that is (or was at any time) under its sway, and, ultimately, spreading throughout the world — whether by persuasion or by sheer force. The bleak choices presented to non-believers in the Muslim lands are to accept Islam (and its attendant social system, which is particularly oppressive of women); to live the grim life of dhimmitude by submitting to the authority of the Islamic state (permitted to practice other religions under tight regulations and only if the jizya, or poll-tax on non-Muslims, is paid); or to die. The bleak future for non-believers in the rest of the world is a state of war until they are subdued, as — beginning in the seventh century — were the Byzantine Empire, Persia and the Christian strongholds of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

Consistent with the "Politically Incorrect" model, Spencer spends much of his time deconstructing "PC Myths." These involve not only the sugar-coated conventional wisdom about Muslim doctrine but also what he sees as the cognate project to revise Islamic history.

The "Golden Age" of Islam, for example, is, according to the author, a gross exaggeration. He does not deny that there were grand achievements under caliphates that ruled various places from the tenth through the fourteenth centuries, and Muslims themselves, he acknowledges, were responsible for important advances in mathematics and, to a lesser extent, medicine. Nonetheless, Spencer counters that many of the epoch's achievements either occurred despite Islam (particularly in the areas of literature, art, and music) or are better understood as the accomplishments (especially in science and architecture) of better educated peoples whom Muslims conquered.

Islamic culture, for Spencer, thwarted great possibilities. Muslim philosophers were singularly responsible for preserving and explicating the work of Aristotle — but over time, these philosophers were read primarily in the West, because waves of anti-intellectualism and a conceit that rote study of the Koran was sufficient education overtook the Islamic world. Medical advance was stymied because of traditions that forbade or discouraged dissections and artistic representations of the human body. Spencer does credit Islam with causing the Renaissance and the discovery of the New World — but only indirectly. The conquest of Constantinople caused Europeans (like Columbus) to seek new trade routes to the East and hastened the flight of Greek intellectuals to Western Europe.

A final "Myth" Spencer endeavors to explode is the legacy of the Crusades. While not gainsaying Christian excesses and brutality, the story, he asserts, is far from one-sided. It is just that, consistent with today's victimology leitmotif, only one side gets told anymore.

The comprehensive narrative, Spencer insists, stretches back for 450 years before the supposed eleventh century start of the Crusades — back to the conquest of Jerusalem in 638. "The sword spread Islam" and ultimately repressed the formerly predominant non-Muslim populations that are tiny minorities in what are now Islamic countries. The Crusades, Spencer relates, were largely defensive struggles to protect threatened Christians. He does not dispute that the political agenda of recapturing what had been eastern Christendom loomed large, but he does contend that the legends of forced conversions, insatiable looting, and mindless atrocities are largely overblown.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, it is well done and extremely important. Much of current American policy hinges on the notions that there is a vibrant moderate Islam and that it must simply be possessed of the intellectual firepower necessary to put the lie to the militants. These are the premises behind the ambitious projects to democratize the Middle East, to establish a Palestinian state that will peacefully coexist with its Israeli neighbor, and to win the vast majority of the world's billion-plus Muslims over to our side in the War on Terror.

They are, however, premises that are more the product of assumption than critical thought. In this highly accessible, well-researched, quick-paced read, Robert Spencer dares to bring that critical thought to the equation. The result is not a promising landscape, but it's a landscape we must understand. You really can't fight an ideological battle without grappling with the ideology.
DiscerningTexan, 4/28/2006 10:13:00 PM | Permalink | |

Saudi Jihadists launch cyber attack on Conservative Blogs

Today, the Islamists revealed what they fear so much: freedom of speech, the arena of ideas. The fact is, they just can't handle it--because at the end of the day they not only KNOW they are wrong--they know that their sick backwards ideology would never survive the sunshine of freedom.

Why else would they all be blowing themselves and women and children and even their fellow Muslims to bits in places like Iraq and Afghanistan? They know that wherever freedom becomes ingrained and sprouts roots, it is there to stay. And that scares them to DEATH. Why else would they pull crap like this? For Allah??? Yeah, right. I'd like to see where in the Koran it says to blow up women and children.. Or that a true holy man, deeply rooted in his faith, has anything to fear from what other people on the other side of the world have to say--unless of course they are busy murdering people in the name of Allah. What a bunch of sickos (via Michelle Malkin):

Many Hosting Matters-hosted blogs are down--including Instapundit, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, and tons of others large and small. Hosting Matters' own website is also down.

Blogger Chuck Simmins e-mails:
Denial of service attack on Hosting Matters. Most, if not all, their hosted sites are down. Attack is originating internationally.
Haven't been able to confirm. But stay tuned.

***update: LGF, a Hosting Matters blog on a different server than the others, confirms***

I’ve received quite a few emails this morning from people having trouble getting to blogs like Power Line and Captain’s Quarters.

The reason for the problem: Hosting Matters is experiencing a Denial of Service attack. They’re working to block it now.

More info on DoS attacks: Wikipedia: Denial-of-service attack.

UPDATE at 4/28/06 8:43:47 am:
Although LGF is also at Hosting Matters, we were moved to a different network after experiencing a similar attack. (That’s why we’re still up.)

UPDATE at 4/28/06 8:48:17 am:
I may have spoken too soon; some parts of the LGF system are beginning to act a bit flaky.

UPDATE at 4/28/06 9:27:25 am:
The attack reportedly originates in Saudi Arabia.

On a possibly related noted, Aaron's CC blog has been hacked several times over the last month, reportedly by cyberjihadis mad at his provocative images. His site is also down, though I'm not sure it's a Hosting Matters blog. Does anyone know?

Another update 1157am EDT. Chuck Simmins sends a link to the Hosting Matters support site...
Well, we know who the target is, and we know where the likely source of the attack originates...and I sincerely doubt that country's leadership has the least bit of concern for extraditing over something like this.
Stacy - Hosting Matters, Inc.

Just fyi: The cyberjihadis who have gone after the Aaron's CC blog reportedly originate from Saudi Arabia.

I greatly appreciated all the blogosphere's support when the cyberjihadis took down my site down over the Mohammed Cartoons. If you're down, please send me an e-mail and I'll keep a list here of all those affected. We are all affected by cyberterrorist tactics, wherever they may originate.
Blogs down:
Instapundit (***Glenn is posting on his back-up site here***)
Power Line
Captain's Quarters
Pundit Guy
Chuck Simmins
Small Dead Animals
Hugh Hewitt
Mountaineer Musings
Say Uncle
Counterterrorism Blog
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Castle Arggh! - John Donovan
She Who Will Be Obeyed - Beth Donovan
Michael Totten
Ticklish Ears
Theodore's World

300pm EDT update: Looks like most blogs are back up, but the story's not over. Aaron at Aaron's CC, the Hosting Matters blog singled out by the cyberjihadis, is also back up still down.

But for how long?

Hosting Matters announced:
Today, 11:46 AM This morning at approximately 10:00 AM Eastern time, we noted a sudden abnormal surge in traffic to the network.
Shortly thereafter, our upstreams confirmed that one of the servers within the network was the target of a massive DOS attack.
We worked with the NOC and the upstreams to further identify the target and steps were taken to isolate that target from the rest of the network.
Recovery on all segments except that target segment is complete. The target of the attack will not be brought back online and will be removed from the main network in the event they are the target of future attacks, so as not to negatively impact other clients.
We are currently working to address clients who may be on that same segment of the network to bring them back online.
Stacy - Hosting Matters, Inc.

Remember Nicholson's line from 'A Few Good Men': "The Truth? You Can't handle the Truth..."?

It is clear that people cowering in their fear of freedom on the other side of the world are pulling out all the stops to see that the truth gets supressed.

But the really sad thing is: our own mainstream media is spending just as much energy to bury the same truth. And--although these highbrow media elites like to think they aren't killing innocents like the psychos in Saudi Arabia are--in fact by denying through their biased reporting the truth from the American people--the MSM is costing lives; innocents and in many cases American lives. And THAT is the Truth. The War is on, and it is happening every day right in our midst.

The fact that they fear the blogs so much ought to hearten us greatly. Because they must--deep down--know we are winning.

Which is why we must keep fighting the War of ideas until the enemy is vanquished.
DiscerningTexan, 4/28/2006 09:08:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, April 27, 2006
DiscerningTexan, 4/27/2006 11:14:00 PM | Permalink | |

United 93: should we not ALL see this film?

This review in today's Wall Street Journal, by Todd Beamer's father has me even more determined to see this film, despite the protestations of the Discerning Wife, who does not want to go on such an emotional roller coaster. In a way I can understand--it will be hard for any patriotic American to watch--which is exactly why we all should see it. To watch this homage to "average" American citizens who--in a moment of peril and crisis--put their country above themselves is in my opinion a painful but necessary rite of passage to be a citizen of this great country. We ought to watch it--but they had to live it. Who among us will ever forget that day? For me I believe that seeing this film will bring forth emotions from all over the spectrum. But in the end I believe it will be both cathartic and uplifting. And after reading this review by a father who lost his son--who will go down in history as every bit the patriot that was Patrick Henry or John Adams--I can't wait to see it:

The calendar says it's April 25, 2006. At noon, my wife, Peggy, and I are walking around Battery Park--near the Tribeca area--in New York. It is our first time. The flowers are blooming; kids are fishing; people boarding the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Kids are laughing and noisy. The sun is shining. The vendors are hawking T-shirts, pretzels and some "designer" wares. And just up the street there is a hole in the skyline and in the ground.

In the park, there is a memorial with walls standing tall. Walls filled with so many names of those who gave their all in the Atlantic in World War II. How fitting that the names are here to honor those who gave their lives to enable this fun, this laughter--on this sunny day. The sights and sounds of freedom continue.

Fast forward--it is 10:30 p.m., April 25. We have just seen a movie premiere at the fifth annual Tribeca Film Festival. A film festival that has done so much to energize and revitalize the city, its people and especially the area that has that hole in the skyline and in the ground. This year the movie that had its worldwide premiere at the festival is titled "United 93." It is about the day when the hole in the skyline of New York was made--the day when a hole was made in the side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.--the day when a hole was made in a quiet mountain meadow in Pennsylvania. The day that our nation was attacked; the day when the war came home--Sept. 11, 2001. The day our son Todd boarded United 93.

Paul Greengrass and Universal set out to tell the story of United Flight 93 on that terrible day in our nation's history. They set about the task of telling this story with a genuine intent to get it right--the actions of those on board and honor their memory. Their extensive research included reaching out to all the families who had lost loved ones on United Flight 93 as the first casualties of this war. And Paul and his team got it right.

There are those who question the timing of this project and the painful memories it evokes. Clearly, the film portrays the reality of the attack on our homeland and its terrible consequences. Often we attend movies to escape reality and fantasize a bit. In this case and at this time, it is appropriate to get a dose of reality about this war and the real enemy we face. It is not too soon for this story to be told, seen and heard. But it is too soon for us to become complacent. It is too soon for us to think of this war in only national terms. We need to be mindful that this enemy, who made those holes in our landscape and caused the deaths of some 3,000 of our fellow free people, has a vision to personally kill or convert each and every one of us. This film reminds us that this war is personal. This enemy is on a fanatical mission to take away our lives and liberty--the liberty that has been secured for us by those whose names are on those walls in Battery Park and so many other walls and stones throughout this nation. This enemy seeks to take away the free will that our Creator has endowed in us. Patrick Henry got it right some 231 years ago. Living without liberty is not living at all.

The passengers and crew of United 93 had the blessed opportunity to understand the nature of the attack and to launch a counterattack against the enemy. This was our first successful counterattack in our homeland in this new global war--World War III.

This film further reminds us of the nature of the enemy we face. An enemy who will stop at nothing to achieve world domination and force a life devoid of freedom upon all. Their methods are inhumane and their targets are the innocent and unsuspecting. We call this conflict the "War on Terror." This film is a wake-up call. And although we abhor terrorism as a tactic, we are at war with a real enemy and it is personal.

There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war. Can't we just live and let live and pretend every thing is OK? Let's discuss, negotiate, reason together. The film accurately shows an enemy who will stop at nothing in a quest for control. This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life.

I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."

Be reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life, whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men, women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept. 11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact.

May the taste of freedom for people of the Middle East hasten victory. The enemy we face does not have the word "surrender" in their dictionary. We must not have the word "retreat" in ours. We surely want our troops home as soon as possible. That said, they cannot come home in retreat. They must come home victoriously. Pray for them.
DiscerningTexan, 4/27/2006 10:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 4/27/2006 10:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Jay Rockefeller Connection (continued)

Back in January, I pointed to a Clarice Feldman article which suggested that Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller was a person of interest in the NSA leak investigation. Now AJ Strata of The Strata-Sphere (with the assistance of Macsmind, Doug Hanson, and others) has found more evidence that Rockefeller's trip to Syria in 2002 was much more than just a courtesy call.

This is the kind of story that makes the blogosphere revolutionary; you will never find this kind of investigative journalism in the New York Times or Washington Post--for one reason and one reason only; the individuals suspected of wrongdoing do not have an (R) beside their name.

What began with an unbridled Special Counsel spending millions to get a trumped up charge in the media-overhyped Valerie Plame matter, has now grown to implicate the CIA and members and family of US Senators. Stay tuned:

Mac Ranger let slip some new details on the coming storm regarding the rogue ex-CIA types, Joe Wilson and one Senator Jay Rockefeller. I have written many times the under reported, unappreciated fact surrounding the Plame Game was Joe Wilson’s 2002 trip to Niger was not his first for Valerie or the CIA. Seems Joe just missed the good Senator at the airports here in DC.

I noted in this post the conditions in Niger in 1999 when Joe visited. A military coup d’etat had occurred and Joe was there after it happened, and bragged about how he talked (bribed?) the coup leaders into establishing a Democracy and stepping down. No one pulls of a coup and then quietly steps down without a good retirement plan!

This post posits that the 2002 trip was actually a mad dash to tell certain people in Niger to lay low because the US sensed a problem in the Niger uranium trade and suspicions about Iraq. With two teams in place, the addition of Wilson (with no expertise or current contacts) to go to Niger makes no sense whatsoever. Unless of course that was a cover for a different kind of trip. Note that Valerie’s positions in the CIA and at Brewster Jennings gave her a birds eye view of the uranium trade - and what we as a nation might trip over.

In this post it was shown a good trade good be made in closed down mines that still had plenty of uranium for the taking. Seems like we are going over information discussed many times on the blogosphere!

In response to the Douglas Hanson post at American Thinker, which shows how the UN and the IAEA have an oversight loophole, Mac Ranger points to an interesting article from Italy. It is from November 16, 2005 and mentions (once you find a translation site) some interesting things (in broken english spat out by the translators). The english is so bad from the translator no need to post it here.

Anyway, the Italian story mentions Senator Jay Rockefeller and his unique efforts against the invasion of Iraq. Among them is mention of “the relationship of the Senate American “. The story links the UN Oil For Food program and the Uranium trade (which I showed was possible in previous posts).

Then the story talks about a connection: “the French of the Cogema are in transactions with the magnates of the oil, comprised the group Rockefeller American. ” Wow. COGEMA is the French company (now Avera) that runs the Niger mines and monitors the uranium. Now I understand what Mac Ranger meant by this comment:

In the coming days you will see why Senator Rockefeller HAD to make such an emergency visit to Syria in 2002.

I had not made the connection until now that Wilson and Rockefeller both raced to the reqion in 2002! Maybe the heads up Rockefeller was giving Bathaast Bashir (and therefore Baathist Hussein) was not just about the pending war. The timing is right. Wilson went to Niger in February 2002, Rockefeller went to Syria in January 2002.

The article goes on to discuss the French Oil Company Elf, which is part or partner with oil giant Total, implicated in the Oil For Food scandal (see comments in this post and some here). I have long suspected Total could move OOF payments through Elf to COGEMA to pay for uranium shipments through another country like Libya. Proving it is well beyond my Google tools.

But then the articles mentions on Miranda Duncan, Grand Daughter of one David Rockefeller:

When David Rockefeller’s granddaughter, Miranda Duncan stepped down from Paul Volcker’s independent inquiry into the UN oil-for-food program it wasn’t, as the mainline media hinted, because the inquiry was giving an easy ride to Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Investigators Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan tendered their resignations to Volcker’s panel at the same time that allegations in oil-for-food were being ascribed to Canadian billionaire Maurice Strong, through his admitted association to media dubbed “Koreagate man”, Tongsun Park.

According to the official UN read on the matter, Parton and Duncan resigned after making what was described as an unspecified “personal decision”.

The Italian article ends thusly:

But the tie between Irak, oil, uranio and war in these days is made tightened more and more..

As Mac likes to say, the noose is apparently tightening. Addendum: More dots between the Rockefellers and Total/Elf:

On the payroll as an attorney with Volcker’s Independent Inquiry Committee is Miranda Duncan. Duncan, who worked for UNICEF, is David Rockefeller’s granddaughter. It was Rockefeller money that built the UN’s Manhattan headquarters.

Potential conflict of interest number one for Volcker is the fact he held a seat on Power Corporation’s international advisory board.
Wealthy Canadian businessman and Power Corporation founder, Paul Desmarais Sr. is a major shareholder and director in TotalFinaElf, the largest oil corporation in France, which has held tens of billions of dollars in contracts with the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein.

Volcker sat on Power Corp board with one Desmarias, and hired Duncan to work the OOF. No conflicts of interest here!

Update: More on Miranda here, indicating she may have been trying too hard to unearth a family connection and was forced out of the investigation by the older generation of Rockefellers:

Duncan was effectively blocked from any ability to testify about what she knows by former boss Paul Volcker. Next reports begin to surface in the media that this wonder woman with a law degree is being advised by her legendary grandfather David Rockefeller to keep a lid on it.

Maybe she and McCarthy are going to be star witnesses???
DiscerningTexan, 4/27/2006 09:20:00 PM | Permalink | |

Specter Threatens to Block GWOT funding over Wiretapping flap

How did the Republicans ever allow this man to head up the Judiciary Committee? Sweetness and Light's post reflects perfectly my opinion about Arlen Specter. Fortunately he is not up for re-election this year: because it is CRITICAL that Republicans win this year (except perhaps in the case of Lincoln Chafee). Anyway, here is what everyone is so riled up about:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday he is considering legislation to cut off funding for the Bush administration‘s secret domestic wiretapping program until he gets satisfactory answers about it from the White House.

Specter said he had informed President Bush about his intention and that he has attracted several potential co-sponsors. He said he‘s become increasingly frustrated in trying to elicit information about the program from senior White House officials at several public hearings.

"It is true that we have no assurance that the president would follow any statute that we enact," Specter said. He said he‘s considering adding an amendment to stop funding of the program to an Iraq war-hurricane relief bill being debated by the Senate this week and next.
DiscerningTexan, 4/27/2006 04:03:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Message from Bin Laden by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 05:12:00 PM | Permalink | |

Let's see how the Dems vote on THIS Amendment

From John Hindraker at Power Line:

Today the House of Representatives is debating the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2007. Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ) will offer an amendment in the form of a resolution expressing the view that illegal leaks of classified information should not be tolerated. Here is the text of Renzi's resolution:

1. The Supreme Court has unequivocally recognized that the Constitution vests the President with the authority to protect national security information as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander-in-Chief;
2. The Supreme Court has recognized a compelling government interest in withholding national security information from unauthorized persons;
3. The Supreme Court has recognized that secrecy agreements for government employees are a reasonable means for protecting this vital interest;
4. The Supreme Court has noted that "It should be obvious that no one has a 'right' to a security clearance";
5. Unauthorized disclosures are most damaging when they have the potential to compromise intelligence sources and methods and ongoing intelligence operations;
6. Potential unauthorized disclosures of classified information have impeded relationships with foreign intelligence services and the effectiveness of the Global War on Terrorism;
7. Media Corporations and Journalists have improperly profited financially from publishing purported unauthorized disclosures of classified information;Therefore, it is the Sense of Congress that the President should utilize his constitutional authority to the fullest practicable extent, where appropriate, to classify and protect national security information, and to take effective action against persons who commit unauthorized disclosures of classified information contrary to law and voluntary secrecy agreements.

It's unclear to me why the text defers so much to the Supreme Court. Intelligence and security matters are more immediately the province of Congress than the courts. Paragraph 6 is the key point, but I'm not sure what the reference to "potential" unauthorized disclosures means. The leaks haven't been potential, they've been actual; otherwise, they could not have damaged the GWOT effort.

No doubt the Democrats will respond to this amendment by giving speeches about Valerie Plame. But it will be interesting to see how they vote.

DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 05:02:00 PM | Permalink | |

Election Day Democrat Tire Slashers get Jail Time

DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 04:59:00 PM | Permalink | |

Big Sea Change Inside the White House

Thomas Lifson has some excellent commentary up on The American Thinker (one of my daily stops), about the changes that the White House is making--for example their excellent decision to name Tony Snow as press secretary--which are great signs for the fall election season...and for the country in general. I've highlighted some of the excerpts below in bold to emphasize certain points:

Gears are shifting at the White House. We are moving into election mode. Expect the national conversation to change.

The White House has a new spokesman, Tony Snow, whose appointment is being confirmed by his former employer, Fox News. He will be doing a very different task than his predecessor. Scott McClellan’s job was to absorb press abuse and communicate the message given him.

Tony Snow’s new job will be to grab hold of the narrative framework, and change it. His long service in the DC press corps and his inherent qualities of intelligence, articulateness, and sheer likability equip him superbly for this job.

And there is an entirely new subject likely to become a major topic of conversation, whether the media heavyweights want it or not. CIA officials who have violated their legal obligation to protect classified information and harmed the national interest are under investigation, and one of them has been let go.

The firing of Mary O. McCarthy has unleashed a torrent of data-gathering and speculation, some of it highly informed, on the existence and extent of ties among enemies of the President. The torrent of speculation exactly corresponds to the torrent of leaks which have bedeviled Bush presidency. Nothing is yet proven, but McCarthy served in the Clinton White House and then took a curious job in the Bush administration, in the Inspector General’s Office of the CIA.

Such a move is not explicable by careerism. This is an Internal Affairs dead-end sort of job, one that wins enemies not friends. But it is a job in which complaints about irregularities (justified or not) come across the desk with regularity.

Career suicide, but perfect for a would-be leaker intent on undermining a presidency and getting the opposition party candidate elected president. If there was planning to this, who was involved?

Many observers noticed at the time President Bush took office that a coterie of Clinton appointees remained in the bureaucracy. An unusually large number converted from political appointee status to bureaucratic status. Mary O. McCarthy was one of them.

Is there a ring of leakers infesting the national security apparatus? Hard evidence is lacking right now. As far as the public knows. We have been told that many other investigations within the CIA are underway. There are serious criminal penalties associated with leaking classified data, so once caught, there are incentives for leakers to implicate others who might be known by them to be engaging in violations of national security regulations.

We still don’t know if others will be charged, but meanwhile there is one aspect of McCarthy’s previous responsibilities well worth noting. Working in the CIA’s Inspector General’s office, she must have been involved in the bizarre referral of the Valerie Plame case to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation. Clarice Feldman has demonstrated that leaking of Plame’s name could not have been a criminal act.

Yet the CIA made the referral, after which there was no option but to proceed. To do otherwise would have caused howls of protest over a cover-up. Did McCarthy set-up the whole unnecessary investigation, resulting in the indictment of Scooter Libby?

The Libby case, which came from the referral, resulted in the jailing of a New York Times reporter, and the general approval by much of the press of the process of tracking down leaks, and getting aggressive with reporters. These tactics can and will be used to track down other leakers in the CIA and elsewhere – who may not be all be Republicans this time around.

Funny how that is working out. The press made a bad bet.

Other new appointees are joining the Bush team. They can be expected to help change the tone of politics as well. But change starts at the top. George W. Bush is shifting his own mode of politicking. He has done this before with great success.

There is much more; read it all here. There is new reason for optimism in Washington--the chickens may just be coming home to roost--and it's about time.
DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 04:39:00 PM | Permalink | |

Iran: "We're going to share our nukes with others"

Hitler was a nuanced diplomat next to the mad mullahs ruling Iran with a bloody iron fist. From The Strata-Sphere:

Iran wants to arm the world with nuclear weapons:

Iran’s supreme leader says his country is willing to share nuclear technology with other countries.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that Iran is prepared to transfer the nuclear experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists.

Anyone who watched Blackhawk down must realize what a totally insane and suicidal idea it is to arm the Sudanese with nuclear weapons. Maybe we are reaching the time of Armeggadon after all. We cannot allow this dispersion of WMD technology to occur. It would mean world wide devastation, a holocaust beyond imagination.

If Al Gore thinks CO2 is bad for the environment, wait until he sees what Iran is willing to do. It will bring a whole new meaning to Global Warming. Of course the left will minimize the danger because Bush is the true evil, not some mad mullahs led by a man who thinks he is the final messiah.
DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 04:32:00 PM | Permalink | |

CIA Replies to lawyer's assertion: Um...YES Mary McCarthy DID give up classified information to reporters

Despite her rushing to get a lawyered up yesterday, who then proclaimed her innocence, the CIA today again reiterated that McCarthy DID give up classified secrets to the press. From the "leaky" New York Times:

The Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday defended the firing of Mary O. McCarthy, the veteran officer who was dismissed last week, and challenged her lawyer's statements that Ms. McCarthy never provided classified information to the news media.


A C.I.A. spokeswoman, Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, said: "The officer was terminated for precisely the reasons we have given: unauthorized contacts with reporters and sharing classified information with reporters. There is no question whatsoever that the officer did both. The officer personally admitted doing both."

Ty Cobb, a lawyer representing Ms. McCarthy, said again on Tuesday that she never admitted divulging sensitive material. "She did not confess, orally or in writing, to leaking classified information," Mr. Cobb said.

Since 2004, the inspector general's office has been investigating the agency's role in the interrogation and detention of high-level terrorist suspects, as well as its network of secret jails abroad. At a minimum, intelligence officials said, Ms. McCarthy's work in that office gave her access to some of the agency's most sensitive information, including details about highly secret "compartmented programs."

It is clear that someone here is lying; my guess is that the liar is the big time Democratic donor and activist who just got summarily FIRED from her highly sensitive intelligence post...

And--what do you know--it looks like the DNC may help to pick up the tab for her defense (from Sweetness and Light):

Outed CIA analyst Mary McCarthy is denying through her lawyers that she was the source for the Washington Post’s Dana Priest in revealing the secret prisons that housed terrorists overseas. McCarthy’s lawyers, though, aren’t throwing cold water on the notion that McCarthy may have had political inclinations and agendas that came into play with what even they termed unauthorized or undisclosed contacts with journalists.

Perhaps that’s why the Howard Dean and others at the Democrat National Committee are looking to some of their donors to set up a legal defense fund for McCarthy."If Scooter Libby can have a legal defense fund and website, then McCarthy should have one too," says a DNC staffer. "The DNC wouldn’t set it up, we’d have some of our donors do it on the outside. There are plenty of consultants willing to help on this one, we think."

The whole legal defense fund notion is interesting if only because McCarthy is claiming that there is no need for one. The FBI has not received a request from the CIA to formally investigate her activities while an active CIA employee, and McCarthy claims she wasn’t the source. So case, closed, right?

Well, not quite. Republicans in both the House and the Senate view McCarthy as the first of what they believe are four or five individuals who used access to information for political purposes.

"Going back to the Presidential election in 2004, there was a lot of negative information coming out of Democratic campaigns," says a former Bush Administration staffer. "And it wasn’t the kind of stuff that was readily available from opposition research. This was leaked material. A lot of it wasn’t national security related, but it established a pattern that has followed form for almost two years now. There is orchestrated leaking, and the FBI, the CIA and Congress has to do something about it."

Fairly or unfairly, McCarthy may become a test case, and given her interest in the law, it should be quite the learning experience for all involved.
DiscerningTexan, 4/26/2006 04:10:00 PM | Permalink | |