Monday, 02 July 2007

THE WORDS OF A REFORMED JIHADIST

Ken Berwitz

My son Scott forwarded this to me.  It apparently is from a young man in the UK claiming to be a former jihadist who has broken free of the movement. 

To be honest, the man's name, Hassan Butt, caused a great deal of initial skepticism on my part.  Remember the so-called Jenin massacre in Israel some years ago?  The "massacre" that turned out to be a complete hoax, even though media around the world immediately reported that it really took place (when it comes to bashing Israel, there don't seem to be many accuracy checks)? 

There was one eye witness to this nonexistent massacre;  a man named, so help me, "Kamal Anis"  Google him and see for yourself.  Now, say the name out loud, accenting the first syllable each time, and see what you come up with. 

That's right, you come up with "camel anus".  Not only was the massacre a hoax, but the name of the phony eye witness to this non-existent  massacre was created to taunt  the "journalists" who were stupid and lazy enough to buy into it.

So I googled the name Hassan Butt, half expecting to find another hoax, just like Kamal Anis.  However, in doing so I find that there really is such a person, and he really was a "spokesman" of sorts for jihadists several years ago. 

I don't know for sure if the following letter is truly from Hassan Butt, or someone co-opting his name for dramatic purposes.  But it was published in yesterday's UK Observer so it very well might be, and I am passing it along to you.  I think you'll find what the writer has to say extremely informational and extremely compelling:.

My plea to fellow Muslims: you must renounce terror
As the bombers return to Britain, Hassan Butt, who was once a member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun, raising funds for extremists and calling for attacks on British citizens, explains why he was wrong
Hassan Butt
Sunday July 01 2007
The Observer


When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the 'Blair's bombs' line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

Friday's attempt to cause mass destruction in London with strategically placed car bombs is so reminiscent of other recent British Islamic extremist plots that it is likely to have been carried out by my former peers.

And as with previous terror attacks, people are again articulating the line that violence carried out by Muslims is all to do with foreign policy. For example, yesterday on Radio 4's Today programme, the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: 'What all our intelligence shows about the opinions of disaffected young Muslims is the main driving force is not Afghanistan, it is mainly Iraq.'

He then refused to acknowledge the role of Islamist ideology in terrorism and said that the Muslim Brotherhood and those who give a religious mandate to suicide bombings in Palestine were genuinely representative of Islam.

I left the BJN in February 2006, but if I were still fighting for their cause, I'd be laughing once again. Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7 July bombings, and I were both part of the BJN - I met him on two occasions - and though many British extremists are angered by the deaths of fellow Muslim across the world, what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.

How did this continuing violence come to be the means of promoting this (flawed) utopian goal? How do Islamic radicals justify such terror in the name of their religion? There isn't enough room to outline everything here, but the foundation of extremist reasoning rests upon a dualistic model of the world. Many Muslims may or may not agree with secularism but at the moment, formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion. There is no 'rendering unto Caesar' in Islamic theology because state and religion are considered to be one and the same. The centuries-old reasoning of Islamic jurists also extends to the world stage where the rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) have been set down to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war.

What radicals and extremists do is to take these premises two steps further. Their first step has been to reason that since there is no Islamic state in existence, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr. Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world. Many of my former peers, myself included, were taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief. In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

This understanding of the global battlefield has been a source of friction for Muslims living in Britain. For decades, radicals have been exploiting these tensions between Islamic theology and the modern secular state for their benefit, typically by starting debate with the question: 'Are you British or Muslim?' But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Islamic institutions in Britain just don't want to talk about theology. They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex topic of violence within Islam and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is peace, focus on Islam as personal, and hope that all of this debate will go away.

This has left the territory of ideas open for radicals to claim as their own. I should know because, as a former extremist recruiter, every time mosque authorities banned us from their grounds, it felt like a moral and religious victory.

Outside Britain, there are those who try to reverse this two-step revisionism. A handful of scholars from the Middle East has tried to put radicalism back in the box by saying that the rules of war devised by Islamic jurists were always conceived with the existence of an Islamic state in mind, a state which would supposedly regulate jihad in a responsible Islamic fashion. In other words, individual Muslims don't have the authority to go around declaring global war in the name of Islam.

But there is a more fundamental reasoning that has struck me and a number of other people who have recently left radical Islamic networks as a far more potent argument because it involves stepping out of this dogmatic paradigm and recognising the reality of the world: Muslims don't actually live in the bipolar world of the Middle Ages any more.

The fact is that Muslims in Britain are citizens of this country. We are no longer migrants in a Land of Unbelief. For my generation, we were born here, raised here, schooled here, we work here and we'll stay here. But more than that, on a historically unprecedented scale, Muslims in Britain have been allowed to assert their religious identity through clothing, the construction of mosques, the building of cemeteries and equal rights in law.

However, it isn't enough for Muslims to say that because they feel at home in Britain they can simply ignore those passages of the Koran which instruct on killing unbelievers. By refusing to challenge centuries-old theological arguments, the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern world grow larger every day. It may be difficult to swallow but the reason why Abu Qatada - the Islamic scholar whom Palestinian militants recently called to be released in exchange for the kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston - has a following is because he is extremely learned and his religious rulings are well argued. His opinions, though I now thoroughly disagree with them, have validity within the broad canon of Islam.

Since leaving the BJN, many Muslims have accused me of being a traitor. If I knew of any impending attack, then I would have no hesitation in going to the police, but I have not gone to the authorities, as some reports have suggested, and become an informer.

I believe that the issue of terrorism can be easily demystified if Muslims and non-Muslims start openly to discuss the ideas that fuel terrorism. (The Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from this state of denial and realise there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists.) However, demystification will not be achieved if the only bridges of engagement that are formed are between the BJN and the security services.

If our country is going to take on radicals and violent extremists, Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence. And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.
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R.I.P. BEVERLY SILLS

Ken Berwitz

When someone brings beauty and joy to the world that person should be celebrated. 

The 78 year celebration of Bevery Sills came to an end today.  And the loss is irreplacable. 

In a world all too ready to hate and destroy, Beverly Sills gave us nothing but beauty and creativity and art.  

Rest in peace, "Bubbles".  No one ever earned it more.

- Brooklyn-born opera singer, Beverly Sills, died of cancer on Monday, her manager said. She was 78.

Sills was best known for her dazzling voice, bubbly personality and management moxie in the arts world.

Just last month, it had been revealed that she was gravely ill with inoperable lung cancer. Her manager, Edgar Vincent, said she died about 9 p.m. Monday.

Beyond the music world, Sills gained fans worldwide with a style that matched her childhood nickname, Bubbles. The relaxed, red-haired diva appeared frequently on "The Tonight Show," "The Muppet Show" and in televised performances with her friend Carol Burnett.

Together, they did a show from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera called "Sills and Burnett at the Met," singing rip-roaring duets with funny one-liners thrown in.

Long after the public stopped hearing her sing in 1980, Sills' rich, infectious laughter filled the nation's living rooms as she hosted live TV broadcasts. As recently as last season, she conducted backstage interviews for the Metropolitan Opera's high-definition movie theater performances.

Born Belle Miriam Silverman in Brooklyn, she quickly became Bubbles, an endearment coined by the doctor who delivered her, noting that she was born blowing a bubble of spit from her little mouth.

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CHRIS BENOIT AND STEROIDS - AS IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW

Ken Berwitz

I would find it extremely difficult to believe anyone seriously doubted that Chris Benoit, the professional wrestler who apparently killed his wife, his 7 year old son and then committed suicide, was on steroids.

But, just in case, read the following excerpt (you can find the entire article at http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0702071benoit1.html )

.DEA Knew Of Benoit's Excessive Steroid Buys

Killer wrestler bought 10-month anabolic supply every few weeks

 JULY 2--Wrestler Chris Benoit was identified by Drug Enforcement Administration agents as an "excessive purchaser of injectable steroids" who, over the past year, was prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids every three to four weeks by a Georgia doctor who was indicted today on federal charges. Benoit, who last week murdered his wife and son before committing suicide, came to the attention of DEA agents probing a company called RX Weight Loss. It was during that investigation, which is "currently being prosecuted in the Northern District of Georgia," that narcotics agents discovered the World Wrestling Entertainment performer's steroid purchases, according to a June 29 search warrant affidavit (an excerpt of which you'll find below). The warrant was executed at the home of Phil Astin, Benoit's doctor. In the affidavit, DEA Agent Anissa Jones reports that pharmacy records show that, from May 2006 to May 2007, Astin has prescribed Benoit, on average, "a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids...every three to four weeks." Astin, the affidavit notes, has been the "subject of concern for excessive and/or suspicious prescribing activity" by local police and pharmacies. Astin was named today in a seven-count indictment charging him with the illegal distribution of substances like Percocet and Xanax between April 2004 and September 2005.

You may have watched the Today Show last week, when they had the head of  WWE (Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment) Vince McMahon on, to explain how he could possibly have claimed, as he did immediately after the bodies were found, that steroids could not have had any part in this horror story.    As usual with McMahon, he clumsily weaseled and danced around his ludicrous, dishonest, self-serving initial comments. 

If there is a slimier human being in the United States than this one, I have yet to see him (and fervently hope it stays that way).

Some years ago, the doctor McMahon picked to "administer" to his wrestlers, Dr. George T. Zahorian III was sent to jail for illegally giving them steroids. 

Over the years, many of the most famous wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, etc. etc. etc. owned up to taking steroids.

Just this past March Sports Illustrated did a story about 11 more WWE wrestlers being accused of steroid use (that's not to say there are only 11, it is to say those are the ones accused so far).  Here is an excerpt from the story:.

...there is a claim that a medical doctor from Arizona, David Wilbirt (whose right to practice is currently suspended in that state) prescribed steroids and human growth hormone (HgH) for the following current WWE performers: Edge ( real name: Adam Copeland), The Hurricane (Shane Helms), Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gutierrez ), and Randy Orton, who was alleged to have received six different types of steroidal substances.

Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle, who now works for TNA Wrestling, and most troubling of all, the deceased Eddie Guerrero, whose death two years ago was attributed by a coroner's report to have been the product of heart disease cause by steroid use, were other patients of Wilbert that received prescriptions for steroids. .

When  I was growing up in the 50s, professional wrestling was a silly, fun source of TV entertainment.  I loved the garish costumes and the often hilariously funny "interviews".  I knew even then (as any kid knows today, believe me) that there was nothing real about it. 

In those days professional wrestling was a scripted series of good guy vs. bad guy stories.  The "sport" of it was trying to figure out who would win (I didn't have a script so, for me, it was a guess), which good guy would suddenly, inexplicably become a bad guy, and vice versa.

Today, thanks to the sick excesses of people like Vince McMahon, professional wrestling is a dissolute, anti-social death trap for dozens upon dozens of young men.  Men who are all too willing to trade a great many years of their lives for the fame and money they get until the steroids do them in.  Last week (June 25th) I blogged that, since 1985, 63 professional wrestlers had died under the age of 50 - and that most of those deaths appear clearly to be steroid related. 

All those young lives lost so that people like Vince McMahon, already rich as Croesus, can become even richer.

This has to stop.


Never wish ill of anyone........except Ann Coulter

barry sinrod        
 

During an interview with right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on the June 28 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough asked Coulter about an exchange Coulter had with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, on the June 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Scarborough noted that Elizabeth Edwards "said that you had written some column where you had made light of John Edwards' dead son," and asked Coulter: "What's the story behind that?" Coulter replied: "Needless to say, that is not true. ... You can look it up. It's all over the Web. It's a fabulous column, titled 'The Party of Ideas,' written in 2003. I had to go back and get the full gist of the column. It was about all of the Democratic primary opponents." In the column, published on November 19, 2003, Coulter, addressing John Edwards, wrote: "If you want points for not using your son's death politically, don't you have to take down all those 'Ask me about my son's death in a horrific car accident' bumper stickers?" Coulter further said on Morning Joe, "I'm the only person in America who has to go back and constantly explain an entire column when it is lied about like this. ... I am getting a little fed up with being described as the aggressor in these matters. In any event, it was about the Democratic presidential nominees back then." But Coulter did not explain how what Elizabeth Edwards said constituted a "lie[]."

On the June 26 Hardball, Elizabeth Edwards, who called into the show to speak to Coulter, said: "You had a column a couple of years ago, which made fun of the moment of [brother of then-presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean] Charlie Dean's death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said, 'Ask me about my dead son.' " But contrary to Coulter's claim on Morning Joe that Edwards "lied about" the content of her November 2003 column, Coulter did joke that John Edwards "had a bumper sticker ... that said, 'Ask me about my dead son.' " From the column:

John Edwards injects his son's fatal car accident into his campaign by demanding that everyone notice how he refuses to inject his son's fatal car accident into his campaign.

Edwards has talked about his son's death in a 1996 car accident on "Good Morning America," in dozens of profiles and in his new book. ("It was and is the most important fact of my life.") His 1998 Senate campaign ads featured film footage of Edwards at a learning lab he founded in honor of his son, titled "The Wade Edwards Learning Lab." He wears his son's Outward Bound pin on his suit lapel. He was going to wear it on his sleeve, until someone suggested that might be a little too "on the nose."

If you want points for not using your son's death politically, don't you have to take down all those "Ask me about my son's death in a horrific car accident" bumper stickers? Edwards is like a politician who keeps announcing that he will not use his opponent's criminal record for partisan political advantage. I absolutely refuse to mention the name of my dearly beloved and recently departed son killed horribly in a car accident, which affected me deeply, to score cheap political points.

I wouldn't want John Edwards to be president, but I think even [White House senior adviser] Karl Rove would be willing to stipulate that the death of a son is a terrible thing.

Furthermore, Coulter wrote of Charlie Dean's death in the same column:

Howard Dean talks about his brother Charlie's murder at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. Bizarrely, after working on the failed George McGovern campaign, Charlie Dean went to Indochina in 1974 to witness the ravages of the war he had opposed. Not long after he arrived, the apparently ungrateful communists captured and killed him. Hey fellas! I'm on your s-- CLUNK!

When Edwards mentioned the column on Hardball, Coulter did not claim -- as she would later on Morning Joe -- that her column had been "lied about"; she merely responded, "That's now three years ago," and, echoing an audience member, asked, "[W]hy isn't John Edwards making this call?"

Also on Morning Joe, Coulter claimed that her March 2 comments at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) were misunderstood. She said, "And if you want to go back to CPAC, I was speaking to a group of 7,000 College Republicans and no, I will not be arranging my words so the stupidest person in the liberal blogosphere understands what I'm saying." On the June 25 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Coulter similarly suggested that her CPAC comments had been misconstrued, asserting, "I did not call John Edwards the F-word. I said I couldn't talk about him because you go into rehab for using that word." At CPAC, Coulter concluded her speech by saying: "Oh, and I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot' ... so I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards. So I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."

From the June 28 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: OK, but Ann, you -- I think sometimes you give people too much credit when you make references to Isaiah Washington at CPAC, from Grey's Anatomy, when you make references to Bill Maher --

COULTER: I described the entire Bill Maher scenario in one sentence. If the Good Morning America audience -- which is pretty large and pretty broad -- gets the joke and no one figured out a way to truncate that sentence until 36 hours later -- I mean, it's not like the liberal blogs weren't -- as they always do -- watching my appearance and instantly posting from the moment I walked off Good Morning America all of their indignation, which apparently centered on my comparing George Bush to FDR, because he's great on foreign policy, lousy on domestic policy. Nobody even thought of how to lie about what I said for 36 hours. So don't tell me I was giving them ammunition. And if you want to go back to CPAC, I was speaking to a group of 7,000 College Republicans and no, I will not be arranging my words so the stupidest person in the liberal blogosphere understands what I'm saying.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Now, I will tell you the part of that Elizabeth Edwards interview that jarred the most people -- jarred me, jarred just about everybody I spoke with -- was the part where she brought up the fact -- she said that you had written some column where you had made light of John Edwards' dead son. What's the story behind that?

COULTER: Needless to say, that is not true. And coming from people who have done what we have just seen them do in the earlier segment, I don't think they deserve a lot of credibility on this. You can look it up. It's all over the Web. It's a fabulous column, titled "The Party of Ideas," written in 2003. I had to go back and get the full gist of the column. It was about all of the Democratic primary opponents. And by the way, lifting a quote out of context from a short, five-minute TV interview is a little quicker to correct than an entire column --

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

COULTER: -- written four years ago. There is a point to a column. There is a woof and a wharf, and let's see -- oh yeah, that's right. I'm the only person in America who has to go back and constantly explain an entire column when it is lied about like this and describe why I chose this adverb rather than that adverb. And was this a joke? Was that a joke? So, you know, I am getting a little fed up with being described as the aggressor in these matters. In any event, it was about the Democratic presidential nominees back then. You know, [former Rep. Dick] Gephardt [MO], Dean, of course, this guy -- the trial lawyer -- and how they were not talking about the war, they were not talking about the economy.

What they were talking about was either they're running for president either because they had a dead relative -- "Vote for me!" -- or had suddenly discovered a Jewish heritage. And in the various dead relative categories, that included, of course, "well, one who wasn't running, but the one who started it all" Al Gore in two, two speeches at the Democratic National Convention. Once, it was the sister, once, it was the near fatal accident of his son, so that it got to the point that all of his family members had to start fearing more runs for higher office.

You had Dean's brother. You had Gephardt's -- I don't know -- sister or the close death of a child. And then I went through the trial lawyer. A fact that is now memorialized in Bob Shrum's book, who describes John Edwards telling -- John Kerry felt queasy about it and almost didn't put John Edwards --

SCARBOROUGH: That's right. Yeah.

COULTER: -- on the ticket because Edwards kept saying to him, "I've never told anyone this story before," and then tells a tear-jerking story about how he climbed up onto his dead son's slab at the funeral home.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Again, I wouldn't have written that in a column, Ann, but certainly, nobody's talking about this.

COULTER: Why not?

SCARBOROUGH: Because it's not just who I am. I don't do that.

COULTER: You would write what in a column? [inaudible]

SCARBOROUGH: I wouldn't have put on a bumper sticker -- I would not have put on a bumper sticker 'ask me about my dead son.' That's just not me. That is you. And there are certainly people out there that provoke thought that way. I don't do that, but at the same time --

COULTER: Well, I kinda think you have to read the full thing in context..

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

COULTER: And apparently, however I write --

SCARBOROUGH: OK, fine. Hold on a second, Ann. Let me make a point.

COULTER: I have written five New York Times best-sellers.

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

COULTER: People like the way I write.

SCARBOROUGH: All right, Ann. Let me make my point, Ann.

COULTER: I comment on America in a lively and entertaining way. These are legitimate topics and I'm a little sick of being browbeaten by a bunch of harridans about why I chose this word or why I told that joke. And then people turn around and say "Oh, you're so mean! You're so mean!"

SCARBOROUGH: Well, Ann, I'm not browbeating you here. I'm trying to put it in proper context.

COULTER: Well, you haven't spent 24 hours being asked, "Oh, why did you use this word?"

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

COULTER: I've never seen people avoid ideas so much in such an obvious way and try to alert Americans not to read anything, not to listen to something someone says -- not because of what she's saying, but by trying to portray her as a Nazi. This happens every time I put a book out, and I'm getting a little bored with it. To use a Smith College word, it's getting a little tiresome..

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, that is a Smith College word. I -- again, trying to put this in context. We're reading Shrum's words, and --

COULTER: "The Party of Ideas" -- November 20th, 2003. It is one of the greatest columns ever written and I highly recommend it.

SCARBOROUGH: OK, well, we will recommend that to everybody Ann, and I greatly appreciate you being on with us. And again, the thing is -- I appreciate it, Ann. The thing is, you know, obviously Ann is very angry right now. And you all have been around me when I've been angry because my words have been wrenched from their context. And, you know, the thing is, again, whether you talk about the first issue -- whether it's Good Morning America where they just cut out the last part of that instead of telling the whole story about it, you know, it's misleading. There's no doubt. The wire services have been misleading, a lot of news shows, because people hate Ann Coulter so much that you can get away with it. That's just the bottom line.

From the June 25 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

CHRIS CUOMO (co-host): Some tough words for you by the three top candidates in response to what you had said. Some were calling it a homosexual slur, you said it was a taunt. They all came out when you were talking about John Edwards and said, "This was wrong. We must deny it." Fair criticism of you or a shift towards the tolerant among the GOP?

COULTER: No, no. There were -- I was denounced all over. All over. I think the one that hurt the most was from I'mALittleGirlInAPinkPartyDress.com.

CUOMO: Why?

COULTER: Very upsetting.

CUOMO: You --

COULTER: Though about the same time, Bill Maher said -- and by the way, I did not call John Edwards the F-word. I said I couldn't talk about him because you go into rehab for using that word.

CUOMO: You say you were joking.

COULTER: About the same -- oh yeah. I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards. Now, that would be mean. But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.





See what's free at AOL.com.


TIME TO SUE ANOTHER HOSPITAL....

Ken Berwitz

Interesting.  It turns out that, despite all the PR and all the grandstanding, and that sickening, maudlin show-biz quality press conference about his wife's cancer, John Edwards raised only $9,000,000 in the past three months.

Now, in the real world, 9 million dollars is nothing to sneeze at.  I know it would be a valued addition to my checking account.  But, in politics, when your two opponents raise $32 million (Obama) and $27 million (Clinton), you come out looking like an afterthought.  And that is without Al Gore - who, if he jumps into this, might very well dwarf them all.

Maybe this is the beginning of the end for the human oil slick.  If he can't raise but a small fraction of what the others are raking in, how can he compete?  And it's not like the big guys will want him as the #2 on their ticket....not after his VP candidacy gave john kerry exactly nothing in 2004.

So what is left to do?  If the contributions aren't enough to keep him in the race, Edwards may have to go back to what he does best.  Suing hospitals and doctors.  Yeah, that might work.  A couple of big-time settlements and there'll be money for the campaign, the finishing touches on his 28,000 square foot house, and enough left over for a haircut or two.

Stay tuned..........

 


SCOOTER LIBBY'S SENTENCE IS COMMUTED

Ken Berwitz

President Bush did not pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby today.  But he did commute his sentence so that Mr. Libby will not spend any time in Jail.

Good.  It's about damn time.

Now when do we get an explanation from Patrick Fitzgerald, the rogue IC of this ridiculous case, as to why, if he KNEW who leaked Valerie Plame's name right from the beginning (RICHARD ARMITAGE), he conducted a three year witchhunt supposedly to look for the person he already knew

I want to know why so many millions of dollars were spent by so many people on so many lawyers to protect themselves from.....nothing.

I want to know why, if the object of this investigation was to learn who leaked the name, Richard Armitage has never been indicted or charged with a thing.

I want to know why mainstream media, which loved this investigation to pieces when they thought it could nail President Bush, or Vice President Cheney, or Karl Rove, or Condoleezza Rice or Donald Rumsfeld, or other significant members of the Bush administration,  magically lost all interest in the case when it turned out that the actual "culprit" (if there is one at all) is Richard Armitage, a Bush critic.

When do we get some answers? 


DEMOCRATS AND OPEN GOVERNMENT

Ken Berwitz

Did you actually believe the Democratic leadership when they told you they'd do things more openly, more reasonably, that they would improve the tenor in Washington DC? 

Hooboy, did you also buy a pet rock hoping you could make a profit by breeding it?

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Times, that should disabuse you of any remnant of your halcyon fantasy:  .

Democrats go slow on confirmations

By Joseph Curl
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
July 2, 2007

The new Democrat-controlled Senate has confirmed just 29 percent of President Bush's nominations so far this year, leaving many government agencies without key officials and slowing work to a crawl in some departments.

Since Jan. 7, the president has sent 229 major nominations to the Senate, but just 66 have been confirmed. Those figures exclude U.S. attorneys, marshals and judges, but the White House says those nominations also have an alarmingly low confirmation rate just 18 of the 46 (39 percent) sent to the Senate this year have been approved.

The confirmation rate is far below that of the first six months of 1995, when the White House was occupied by a Democrat and Republicans had just taken over the House and Senate. Back then, President Clinton sent up 188 nominations between January and June, winning approval for 112 a 60 percent confirmation rate.

While some of the pending nominations are lower-level employees at lesser-known agencies, dozens of important positions remain unfilled. Among them are the secretary of the Army; the Energy undersecretary for nuclear security; assistant secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and Labor; and the Treasury undersecretary.

"As a nation at war, it is critical that senior leadership positions at the Department of Defense are filled in an expeditious manner," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "The Senate plays a vital role with regards to the confirmation process, and we will continue to work closely with senators to fill these critical positions."

The White House agrees. "It really is debilitating," said one former senior administration official, who asked not to be identified. "What happens when, say, the assistant secretary isn't there? All the decisions get punted until that person arrives. All the personnel decisions get punted.

"It really has a crippling effect on the agency. There's no excuse for not getting this done," the former official said..

You can't seriously be surprised, can you?  This is the leadership of Nancy Pelosi-Ricardo and Harry "the corpse" Reid we're talking about.

What's important here is not how ridiculous it would be to assume that either of these two (or a number of their equally smallminded Democratic colleagues) would act on behalf of the country over partisan politics.  What's important is that when they behave this way it hurts the country.

Behaving in a way that might frustrate the Bush administration may feel great to partisan hacks like Pelosi-Ricardo and Reid.  But when it hurts the country - particularly in time of war - it is just wrong.  Dead, flat-out wrong.

When do these people do something useful?  When do they stop politicking and start legislating?  Ever?


MICHAEL MOORE VISITS HIS ALLIES

Ken Berwitz

This dispatch is excerpted from Iran's government-controlled media.  It speaks for itself;  I'm just posting it so you know, because mainstream media aren't likely to tell you. 

After all, why would our media tell you that Mr. Moore is happy to take his phony-baloney "documentary" straight to the people who hate us?  Straight to the people who are so instrumental in the world's terrorist activity - especially against our fighting men and women in Iraq, and very especially against the civilian population of Israel? 

Why, to do that would mean....the media are putting Mr. Moore's reputation in question.  And we can't have that, can we?:

ISNA - Tehran
Service: Art

TEHRAN, July 02 (ISNA)-Writer, producer and director, Michael Moore is to come to Iran for the screening of his new production SICKO in the first international documentary film festival held here.

This festival will be held from the 15th to the 19th of October in Tehran.

According to reports in SICKO, Michael Moore interviews Americans who have been denied treatment by the U.S. health care insurance companies, whose policies are designed to maximize profits at the expense of providing essential care. The consequences of these individuals' plights range from bankruptcy to the unnecessary deaths of loved ones.

Moore then looks at universal free health care systems in Canada, France, Britain, and Cuba, debunking all the fears (lower quality of care, poorer compensation for doctors, big-government bureaucracy) that have been used to dissuade Americans from establishing such a system here. The roots of those health care systems are explored, and our failure to establish free health here care is traced to a) President Richard Nixon's deceptive support of the then-emerging HMOs pursuing huge profits and b) subsequent pressures for Congress to sacrifice sound health care in favor of corporate profit.

A group of Americans who became ill from volunteering at 911 Ground Zero, but were refused health coverage for their illnesses, are ferried by Moore to Cuba, where they receive the top-rate, free care one would hope they'd get here at home.

In his interviews, historical reportage, and typical sarcastic wit, Moore soundly condemns American health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the politicians who have been paid millions to do their bidding. He makes the case that there is something wrong with Americans that we cannot learn from the successes of other countries in providing better quality-of-health than we enjoy in the USA.

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