Wednesday, 30 January 2008
TAKING THE TERRORIST THREAT SERIOUSLY
Do you think we take the terrorist threat seriously? The answer for a
lot of us is no, not even in New York City where the major attack occurred.
Read this Associated Press report and see for yourself:
Plea for New Sentence in NY Terror
Wednesday, January 30,
(01-30) 08:10 PST NEW YORK, (AP) --
A prosecutor urged an appeals court to order
resentencing of a civil rights lawyer convicted of helping an imprisoned
terrorist sheik communicate with his disciples because she received a "slap on
Lynne Stewart was sentenced to two years and four
months in prison, escaping a maximum punishment of 30 years behind bars.
Prosecutors have said Stewart and co-defendants helped spread blind sheik Omar
Abdel-Rahman's call to kill those who did not subscribe to his extremist
interpretation of Islamic law.
The sheik, who was sentenced to life in prison for
plotting to blow up five New York landmarks and assassinate Egypt's president,
was one of Stewart's clients.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Barkow told a
three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday that the
case should be returned to Judge John G. Koeltl for resentencing, arguing that
the trial judge made a mistake in being lenient because no violent acts could be
traced to the messages.
Stewart was arrested six months after the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The indictment was brought by former Attorney
General John Ashcroft in 2002. She was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the
United States, conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorist
activity and providing and concealing material support to terrorist activity in
She also was convicted of two counts of making
Barkow told a three-judge panel of the appeals
court that the trial judge was wrong not to apply a terrorism enhancement to the
68-year-old lawyer's conviction on charges that she smuggled messages between
Abdel-Rahman and senior members of an Egyptian-based terrorist
"She received a sentence that amounted to a slap
on the wrist," Barkow said.
Appeals Judge John Walker seemed to agree during
oral arguments Tuesday, questioning the message Koeltl sent with the
"There's a serious aspect to this case the role
of lawyers sworn to uphold codes of conduct and ethics and to behave in a
particular way," he said.
Walker said Koeltl failed to adequately consider
the factors he was supposed to address as he explained the sentence.
"We don't want totally freewheeling judges just to
make decisions that they choose," he said.
But another appeals judge, Guido Calabresi, said
Koeltl appeared to have given the case considerable thought and reached a
sentence he thought was fair.
"I find the work Judge Koeltl did admirable to a
degree that is amazing," Calabresi said. "There's no case quite like this
The appeals panel did not immediately rule. The
third judge and likely swing vote on the panel, Robert Sack, did not join the
This is so insane it's hard to even type the
-A radical islamist is convicted of trying to blow up landmarks around the
-His lawyer, a radical USA-hating lunatic names lynne stewart, is
convicted of illegally being a courier between the radical islamist and
his terrorist associates.
-Then, after years and years of the radical USA-hating lunatic lawyer
being free to walk the streets, she is given a sentence some people get
for stealing cars
-And when it is demanded that the sentence be changed to reflect
the seriousness of her crime, useful idiots pop out of the woodwork to praise
the judge for his orignal one.
Asking again: Are we taking the terrorist threat
seriously? You tell me.
FLORIDA RESULTS VERSUS POLLS
First the results of Florida's presidential primaries:
Republicans: McCain 36%, Romney 31%, Giuliani 15%, Huckabee 14%, paul
3%, All Others 1%.
Democrats: Clinton 50%, Obama 33%, Edwards 14%, All Others,
Now, how did the political polls make out this time? For
Republicans they were pretty good compared to the abysmal showing
in previous primaries, but not particularly accurate. For
Democrats (and this is a first if you've followed the results along with me)
they were very accurate.
On the Republican side, two - Survey USA and Mason-Dixon - had Romney
winning. Whoops. Only one, Suffolk surveys (whoever they are, I
never heard of them until now) came within 5% of the actual margin of
On the Democratic side, every poll showed Hillary Clinton winning with
margins ranging from 13% - 22%, with an average of 19%. She won by
17%. This is the first and only time most polling companies got both the
winning percentage and the winning margin about right. Congratulations to
Next up is Super Tuesday and 22 individual states. So my series of
putting up every poll in each state is now at an end. If this troubles you
I suggest reading War and Peace or Great Expectations, both of which would be
about as lengthy as the blog I would need to do it.
Ok, tell you what: Maybe I'll put up the averages for Republicans and
Democrats, as compiled by www.realclearpolitics.com.
That's still a relatively long blog but a very condensed amount of
information. Then on Wednesday I can cherry pick the most and least
Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll do it.
TERRY MORAN LOVES...ER, INTERVIEWS BARACK OBAMA
Here, from www.newsbusters.org, is Scott Whitlock's look at
how ABC News' Terry Moran conducts a hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners interview with Barack
Obama (yes, that is sarcasm):
ABC's Moran: Obama Makes
'Connections' and Overcome Divisions
Terry Moran spent the day with Barack Obama on Tuesday and continued his habit
of spouting talking points for Democratic candidates. This included telling
viewers that Obama's campaign revolved around "connections" and then
elaborating, "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion
that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of
It should be pointed out that fellow "Nightline"
anchor Martin Bashir promised viewers at the top of the show that Moran, who
interviewed Obama in a restaurant in Kansas, would obtain "tough chili and
tough questions." One might think that would include asking about the
senator's connection with indicted campaign operative and former supporter
Tony Rezko. It
didn't. Instead, Moran repeated campaign bio about how Obama's grandfather was
born in Kansas and offered queries such as "So, you're home?" He told Obama, in
what can't really be described as an actual question, "It always seems that
the biggest applause lines are those where you tell people, let's come
Oddly, the ABC reporter seemed to understand that
Obama will, eventually, have to talk about the tough issues. Moran explained,
"To get the nomination, Obama needs to do more than inspire voters. He needs
to convince them that he has pragmatic solutions to the country's problems."
The "Nightline" anchor then added, "And so he's making promises, big
promises, on taxes, education and healthcare." Moran, however, never found
time to ask about these "big promises" or any of those subjects. Instead, he
recited banal lines that could be drawn from the Illinois politician's speeches.
He closed the segment by informing viewers that Americans have "a hunger for
a politics that could dissolve the old categories, start a new story."
In fact, despite talking about transcending
categories, such as race, Moran spent a large chunk of the interview focusing on
racial issues. While enjoying a meal with Obama in a restaurant, he asked, "Do
you think that back when your grandfather was growing up in this town, the '20s
and '30s, you could have sat at this lunch counter?" One of the (very few)
questions that could be considered even mildly tough came when the "Nightline"
co-host wondered about possible GOP challenger John McCain: "Would that be a
harder race for you, for somebody as junior as you are, to run against John
Moran has become well known for gushing over
Democrats. In November of 2006, he said this of Obama: "You can see it in the
crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an
American political phenomenon." Providing "balance," on January 24, 2008, he
told viewers that a "brilliant" Bill Clinton
"implores you to believe." .
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR said "the only thing we have to fear
(from Japan and Germany) is fear itself".
After reading this story, I say "the only thing Barack Obama has to fear
(from Terry Moran) is an on-air marriage proposal".
But listen to the Terry Morans of the media squeal like stuck pigs if
you call them biased.
THE SANTANA FIASCO
A quick departure from politics. Let's talk Johan Santana.
Mr. Santana is arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball. He is
certainly among the top 3 or 4. And he's only 28 years old (he'll be 29 on
opening day) so he will probably be in his prime for years to come.
Mr. Santana pitches for the Minnesota Twins, a relatively small market with a
budget far lower than, say, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or New
York Mets. And he is in the last year of his current contract, after which
he can opt to become a free agent.
Given that Santana is probably worth $20 million a year or more in today's
market, it would be very difficult for Minnesota to retain his services.
And they certainly don't want him to just leave after the 2008 season as a
free agent, because that means they would get virtually nothing for
him. So they have been trying to trade Santana for months.
So far this makes sense.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were involved in extensive trade
talks for Mr. Santan. But both decided that Minnesota was asking too
for too much in return.
The Yankees, in particular, were reported to have offered Melky Cabrera
(their young, extremely talented starting centerfielder), Phil Hughes (who may
be their single best pitching prospect and who fought through injuries to
go 5 - 3 for them last year), and another lesser prospect. It was turned
The Twins demanded so much more than the Yankees (and Boston) were willing to
give up that they both passed on him.
Based on the above, you'd figure the demands for Mr. Santana would be
pretty high for other teams as well.
We're still within the confines of logic, aren't we? Well, keep
Yesterday it was announced that the Minnesota Twins traded Johan Santana to
the New York Mets, (contingent on the Mets and Santana working out a long term
contract deal). And who did the Mets give up to get Mr. Santana?
Four prospects, only one of whom has ever played in the major leagues (he played
in parts of 58 games and hit .234 with 2 home runs and 12 runs batted in).
That's it. The end.
So much for logic. The train left logicville at about 400
I just checked the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's sports section and they are
asking fans to vote on whether the Twins got enough for Santana. So far
the vote is 21% yes and 79% no. To me this proves that one out of
five Minnesota Twins fans are living in a dream world.
Look, I may be wrong here. The four Met prospects might all work out,
Santana might lose his skills faster than anticipated, and the Twin brain trust
will be seen as geniuses.
But to tell you the truth, I'm thinking more that they will look like the
Russian government after Seward bought Alaska.
EDWARDS AND GIULIANI DROPPING OUT?
There are reports that both John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani will drop out of
the presidential race today.
Based on their showings - especially for Edwards - dropping out is something
of an afterthought.
If the reports are true, we go to Super Tuesday with two-person contests in
each party. You can't say it won't be interesting.
THE MEDIA WAR AGAINST ISRAEL
I would like to apologize to the media described in the article below, which Bob
Owens has cited in the blog he wrote for www.pajamasmedia.com. Specifically, I apologize
introduction of facts which refute their stories...because facts are pretty clearly not what
they had in mind.
Please read Mr. Owen's piece below and you'll understand:
A Media Blackout on the Truth in Gaza
The recent blackout in Gaza was reported dutifully
around the globe with Israels responsibility for the lights-out nearly always
leading the story. The fact that it was Hamas that cut off electricity to
City and then staged the candlelight
protests against it was no secret yet the U.S. media stuck to the Hamas-driven
narrative, writes Bob Owens.
The international media hasnt been
reporting it prominently, so you may or may not know that rockets have been
raining down on southern Israel regularly over the past few months as many as
fifty a day. The Israeli militarys attempts to respond with pinpoint
counter-strikes against Hamas buildings and rocket launching sites were largely
Fed up with daily barrages of rocket attacks
launched from Gaza and the physical and mental toll they were taking on their
population, Israel began a blockade of the Gaza
Strip on Thursday, January 17. They
stopped the flow of commercial goods, reduced the flow of fuel, and began
letting though only humanitarian aid, such as food and medicines.
By Sunday evening, Gaza City was in a complete
blackout. And of course, it was Israels fault. Or was it?
Hamas spokesmen blamed Israel for the power
shortage, claiming that they were forced to shut down power because of a fuel
shortage brought about by the blockade. That same night, Al Jazeera began live
broadcasts of a spontaneous candlelight protest in a darkened Gaza. The
heart-wrenching images were broadcast throughout the Arab world and picked up by
wire services and cable news outlets internationally.
It was great theater, but it was far from accurate
news reporting. Gaza was not without electrical power during that time, and both
the darkness and the candlelight protests were the results of a calculated ploy
The Gaza Strip receives 70 percent of its electricity from the Israeli Electric Company (IEC) (perhaps the only
power company in the world regularly attacked by their customers.) Egyptian
power companies chip in another five percent. The energy flowing into Gaza from
Israel and Egypt, and making up three-quarters of Gazas power supply never
ceased and never slowed during the blackout.
At that time, only power that went down was cut
off when Hamas closed the single power plant that provided most of the power to
As the plant closed amid great ceremony by Hamas
in front of eager media cameras, Aryeh Mekel, the
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, cried foul. We only stopped providing fuel
today, and obviously there cant be a shortage within a few hours. They have
plenty of fuel. The blackout in Gaza is simply another propaganda ploy by Hamas
to pretend that they have a shortage, on the backs of their
And yet, the near-instantaneous blackouts and
candlelight protests Sunday were reported dutifully around the globe the next
day. Israels culpability for the blackout nearly always led the story, while
the fact that Israel power kept flowing was mentioned much further down in the
article, if at all.
Meanwhile, the Hamas narrative and showmanship was
never questioned. And it worked. By Tuesday, Israel lifted the blockade, and
began shipping in over 2 million liters of fuel.
Hamas had won the media war.
It was however, a dishonest campaign.
Writing in Contentions, a blog
of Commentary magazine, Noah Pollak was among the first observer to decry the
duplicity involved in the Hamas media campaign, and the complicity of western
news media in that effort. Pollak noted that what was occurring during the
blockade was something very typical, alas: a collaboration between journalists
and Palestinians in manufacturing anti-Israel propaganda.
He cited an article in the
Jerusalem Post by Khaled Abu
Toameh, in which Palestinian journalists
reported that on at least two occasions, Hamas staged scenes of darkness as
part of its campaign to end the political and economic sanctions against the
The terrorists of Hamas may be brutal,
but they understand how to wage war in the media far better than the Israelis
do. They knew the fact that Israel had never cut the electricity to Gaza or
even reduced it was entirely beside the point, and would probably not be
investigated by reportersand they understand that images of people sitting in
darkness with their faces illuminated by candlelight are visually compelling
and can do more to convince the world of Palestinian victimization than a
hundred press releases could ever accomplish.
Yet the fact remains that the speciousness of
this story is readily available to anyone with an Internet connection and a
basic sense of skepticism and curiosity. But that hasnt stopped the
rigorously fact-checked exemplars of the MSM from repeating
He went on to cite examples of this lack of
skepticism throughout the most respected organs of the U.S. press, from
editorials in the New York
Times, the Washington
Post, and Time
One of the most blatantly - and clumsily -
orchestrated Hamas photo opportunities involved photographers from Reuters.
Roger L. Simon and Michael Weiss of Pajamas Media
picked up upon the Time Magazine example cited by Pollak as a particularly vile example of media complicity, noting that in one photograph run by Time Magazine
of Hamas officials meeting by candlelight, daylight could be seen streaming in
through the curtains. Palestinian journalists later confirmed that the meeting
had occurred in daylight.
The photograph was staged. The media was
complicit. Pollak seemed hardly surprised, as he made clear speaking to Pajamas
Media from Jerusalem:
The pulse here in Israel for these
kinds of things is generally one of indifference. I havent seen it talked
about all that much; the basic understanding here I cant really say that
its wrong is that large segments of the international press more or less
has it in for this country, and will gladly publish whatever makes Israel look
bad, irrespective of its fairness or accuracy.
Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Amir Mizroch
media response to Hamas domination of the blackout: narrative, including the
choreographed candlelight ceremonies, noting the failure of the Israeli
government to put forth a unified communications strategy to deal with the
propaganda efforts of Hamas. Mizroch noted that while the Israeli government is
competent at set-piece public relations, they often founder when confronted with
rapidly changing events on the ground. When contacted by Pajamas Media for
comment, Mizroch said:
I understand why decision makers dont
always want to have PR people in the room with them when setting policy -
there are many justifiable reasons for this. But I think communications is one
of many tools for war and diplomacy, and the sooner our leaders start using
that tool effectively the better.
If past behavior is any guide, Hamas rockets will
doubtless continue to fall on southern Israel, and a complicit media will once
again cast them as the victims when Israel is forced to respond. A call for
comment placed for Pajamas Media to the IDF spokespersons office Saturday
afternoon has not been returned, which, in light of Mizrochs critique, was
Amazing, isn't it? Israel supplies over 2/3 of the
electricity to a population that proactively elected a parliamentary majority from hamas. Hamas, a terrorist group committed to Israel's destruction, then took over
the entire Gazan government by force. And the bombs that
hit Israel from Gaza EVERY DAY are sent with the full
support of the hamas government.
Suppose Israel actually did to turn off the juice -- for
real, not just a figment of media imagination? Would Israel have been
attacked for it by those same media?
Tell you what: I consider myself a compassionate and humane
person. But if my enemy is trying to vaporize my country and kill me and
all of my coreligionists in the process, they can find some other source for
their effing energy. It is astounding that Israel provides them this
utility and even more astounding that media treats it as some kind of
responsibility for them.
When the hamas terrorists build the bombs to kill Israelis, is it Israel
providing the electricity to see what they're doing and to operate the
Maybe someday media will get around to talking about that. It will be
quite a change from the lying and fraud.
Don't expect it soon.
PRESIDENT BUSH'S "RESIGNATION" SPEECH
I got this in my e-mail today. It is from "Russ" (I still don't know if
he would want me to put his full name up here), who I met though my
collaboration with Barry Sinrod. Russ is a friend of Barry's, despite
being well to the right of center politically. Or, put another way, if
opposites attract these two should be picking out furniture together.
Anyway, though this satirical piece is angry, sarcastic, bitter and I don't
agree with everything it says, I also find enough of it funny, enough of
it (lamentably) on target and enough of it what Mr. Bush would
probably LIKE to say, to show it to you.
Here, folks, with minor revisions, is the President Bush "Resignation" speech:
The following "speech" was
written recently by an ordinary Maineiac [a resident of the People's Republic
]. While satirical in nature, all
satire must have a basis in fact to be effective.
is the speech George W. Bush SHOULD give:
Normally, I start these things out
by saying "My Fellow Americans." But I'm not doing it this
time. If the polls are any indication, I don't know who more than half
of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that
you're really not fellow Americans any longer.
I'll cut right to the
chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about
me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me
assure you: There's been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in
The reason I'm quitting is
simple. I'm fed up with you people. I'm fed up because you have no
understanding of what's really going on in the world or of what's going
on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too
damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.
start local. You've been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the
news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in
the tank. And that's despite record numbers of homeowners, including
record numbers of MINORITY homeowners.
And while we're mentioning
minorities, I'll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time
high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the
administration. I've mentioned all those things before, but it doesn't
seem to have sunk in.
Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock
market recently rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these
markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices.
Most of you are too damn
stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there's increased demand in
other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more
worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economic security.
We face real threats in
the world. Don't give me this "blood for oil" thing. If I were
trading blood for oil I would've already seized
's oil fields and let the rest of the country go to
And don't give me
this 'Bush Lied; People Died' crap either. If I were the liar you morons
take me for, I could've easily had chemical weapons planted in
so they could be 'discovered.' Instead,
I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty.
Let me remind you that the
rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also
remind you that regime change in
Iraq was official
before I came into office. Some guy named ' Clinton
' established that policy. Bet you didn't know that, did
You idiots need to
understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there
were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We
won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to
survive, just as we do. We were simply able to out spend and out-tech
That's not the case this
time. The soldiers of our new enemy don't care if they survive. In
fact, they want to die. That'd be fine, as long as they weren't also
committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they
are. They want to kill you, and the bastards are all over the globe.
You should be grateful
that they haven't gotten any more of us here in the
United States since September 11. But you're not. That's
because you've got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military,
law enforcement, and homeland security people have worked to make sure of
When this whole mess
started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I'm
disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts
to a single season of 'Survivor.'
Instead, you've grown
impatient. You're incapable of seeing things through the long lens of
history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few
months, a few years, tops.
Making matters worse, you
actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New
York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat's
political campaign, well, dang it, you might just as well FedEx a grenade
launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.
In this day and age, it's
easy enough to find the truth. It's all over the Internet. It just
isn't on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it
were, I doubt you'd be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch
I could say more about
your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out,
even if you're too stupid to leave a city that's below sea level and has a
I could say more about
your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money
comes from. But I've come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it
would sail right over your heads.
quit. I'm going back to Crawford.
I've got an energy-efficient house down there (one that Al Gore could
only dream about) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one
ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I'm done here
pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I'll be lucky
enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America
Oh, and by the way,
Cheney's quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President.
You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a
glimmer of hope
are just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing
around in 2008.
it. God bless what's left of
America . Some of you know
what I mean. The rest of you, kiss off.