Tuesday, 29 April 2008

PASTOR DISASTER? IF SO, FOR WHOM?

Ken Berwitz

Pastor Disaster:  That is the clever little headline in today's edition of the New York Post. 

jeremiah wright, the hate-filled, hubris-filled big-mouthed loose cannon that Barack Obama has inexorably tied himself to, let loose with enough garbage in the last 48 hours to fill an entire scow.

Unbelievable.  First wright emphatically tells us that every hate-filled lunatic raving we've seen on those video tapes was out of context, a Fox-created fraud, yada yada yada.  Then this breathtakingly egotistical fool has REPEATS the same ravings in FULL context over the last two days. 

(Note:   On one small personal level I have to admit finding this very amusing.  I have been the recipient of several unbelievably angry, insulting e-mails from someone I have been told is a relatively significant Democratic operative (I can't vouch for the characterization) from the midwest.  Between insults and irrational ravings, he has demanded proof that wright said the things I have claimed he has.  Now,wright has repeated them, pretty much in so many words. 

I wonder what the next angry rant from this person will be.  I assure you it's coming..........)

Anyway, wright has managed to do something that I would have thought to be nearly impossible.  He has united a large segment of the left and the right.  Key people from both sides are telling Obama he must divest himself completely of wright to have any viable chance at the presidency. 

Yesterday I blogged about a daily kos piece saying this.  Today I read (conservative/right wing) Rich Lowry and (liberal/left wing) Bob Herbert saying it.  The cable shows are loaded with people saying it. 

And it is hard not to think that more and more super-delegates are saying it too, very much including at least some who are - at preseent - committed to Mr. Obama.. 

Every time wright opens that grand canyon-sized pie hole of his, Obama loses votes.  This reality will not be lost on the 800 super-delegates who will decide whether Ms. Clinton or Mr. Obama is the nominee if this fight continues to the Democratic convention.  

So there does not seem to be much doubt that wright is a pastor disaster.  But who is he a disaster for?

Obviously he is a disaster for Barack Obama.  wright is a vote-losing machine for Mr. Obama, but that's not where it ends:

-The fact that wright will get in front of the cameras and spew his obnoxious, objectionable and hate-filled bile right  in our faces makes Obama's claims - first that he never heard anything like this in 20 years at wright's church, then that he may have said things like that but Obama was never there to hear it - look like even bigger, more flagrant lies than they originally did.  

-And when wright says that Obama is ducking from him because that's what politicians have to do, he is clearly communicating that Obama, in reality, is OK with wright but is just playing a little rope-a-dope for the voters --- with the voters being the dopes. 

Put another way, who cares that Hillary Clinton lied about dodging sniper fire at Tuzla for a few minutes?  That's small potatoes.  Obama has trumped her with a 20 year lie.

But I'll tell you one group for whom these revelations are not a disaster.  That group is....us.  The voters. 

Until now Mr. Obama and his people were doing their best in a difficult, clumsy situation by trying to assure us wright wasn't all that bad, wasn't all that connected to Barack Obama and, therefore, wasn't all that big a problem for the Obama candidacy.  That is no longer possible.  We know exactly what wright - the man who Barack Obama would not abandon (his words) - is, and can now incorporate it into the mix when we decide who to vote for.

If Barack Obama is the Titanic, then wright is the iceberg.  And if he keeps talking, Obama may sink so completely that not even Molly Brown could survive.

steve schneider i find it interesting that wright was invited to speak by a known hillary supporter and hillary then goes on the campaign trail blaming the republicans for bringing up rev. wright. she has no shame. steve (04/29/08)


SHARPTON VERSUS OBAMA: ROUND 1

Ken Berwitz

Question:  When does a supporter forget he is a supporter and become a critic?

Answer:  When being a supporter might cost money.

al sharpton has had little other than praise for Barack Obama.  Until now.  So what happened?  What would cause sharpton to bare his fangs at Mr. Obama?  Well, the fangs were bared because Mr. Obama did not hold with sharpton's call to shut down New York City over the Sean Bell verdict.

As you probably know, Sean Bell was the groom-to-be who was gunned down and killed in his car at his bachelor party.  Three police officers fired a total of 51 shots at the car after, it is alleged, it tried to ram a policeman and one of the officers screamed that he had a gun.

No one can read al sharpton's mind.  He might, for once, have been simply looking for justice in this case and felt it was not provided.  Or, more likely, he sniffed a major monetary settlement that went "poof" when the verdict came down.

Either way, sharpton was furious and threatened to shut down New York City over it.

But then along comes Barack Obama.  And what was Obama's crime?  He called for calm. 

CALM??????????????  How do you intimidate anyone into a settlement with CALM???????????  So sharpton went off on him.

Here are the particulars, courtesy of today's New York Post:

SHARPTON RAPS OBAMA

By CHUCK BENNETT and KAVITA MOKHA April 29, 2008 --

Barack Obama made a call for nonviolence in the aftermath of the Sean Bell verdict - infuriating the Rev. Al Sharpton, who accused the presidential candidate of trying to "grandstand in front of white people," sources told The Post.

During what a source described as a "heated" phone call yesterday, Sharpton told Obama he was disappointed with the Illinois senator's words on Friday, when Obama said "resorting to violence to express displeasure" was "completely unacceptable and counterproductive."

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"[Obama] issues this statement and not a single rock had been thrown," said a source. "How does the candidate of change ask people to accept a verdict that is unjust?"

The source said Sharpton had hoped Obama would "side with the Bell family" and not use it as an "opportunity to grandstand in front of white people."

An Obama spokesman described the conversation as a chance to "hear [Sharpton's] views and to get his perspective."

Sharpton ratcheted up the pressure on federal prosecutors yesterday by bringing Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to Kalua, the Queens strip club where the Nov. 25, 2006 shooting took place.

"We are going to put together a federal strategy on how to deal with the case," Conyers said.

Also yesterday, Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman, who rendered the not-guilty verdict, refused to comment on his decision.

"He said what he had to say on the bench," his law clerk said.

Nice, al.  Great line.  Now you're accusing Barack Obama - or maybe just half of him, since he is 50% White - of being an Uncle Tom.  I guess the other half must be just plain racist.

And why?  Because he counselled that there be no violence over the verdict.  Exactly what Martin Luther King almost certainly would have said.

I have to tell you, I don't envy Mr. Obama the world he is trying to walk a tightrope through.  Instead of being respected for suggesting that people cool down, al the opportunist calls him a racial suckup.

I wonder what jeremiah wright will have to say about this.  Let's wait and see......

steve schneider sharpton calling anyone an opportunist is probably the funniest thing i've heard all day. steve (04/29/08)


MOSQUE INTERROGATION

Ken Berwitz

What you will see below is an article published at www.newmediajournal.us and written by Bos Smith.

I do not know Mr. Smith and can't vouch for him.  But he seems to have a pretty strong base of facts for the piece he wrote, so I'm passing it along to you. 

See what you think:

Escape from a Brooklyn Mosque
Terrorism Bos Smith
April 29, 2008
Dont snap a photo of the Masjid At-Taqwa in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn unless you want to be hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty security guards in karate suits will interrogate you.

 

This might sound preposterous. But it happened on Saturday, April 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon.

 

Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahajs mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission.

 

He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space.

 

Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape is not a comforting place to be for a Wall Street financier.

 

We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating Dont Be Caught Dead Without Islam; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting.

 

This explanation was not sufficient.

 

Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed.

 

I ask the questions here, he said, and you provide the answers.

 

Realizing that we were in a bit of a pickle, my companion explained that we were interested in various religions and knew Siraj Wahaj, the imam of the mosque, was a prominent Muslim figure whom we would like to interview for a news outlet.

 

This didnt work too well since we could not produce a business card from a wacko blog, let alone credentials from a national publication.

 

At last, we blurted out that we were admirers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) and wanted to obtain information about conversion. We were even knowledgeable enough to blurt out Salaam and Allahu akbar.

 

The last utterance seemed to be the Open Sesame that got us out of the basement and back to Bedford Street, where we managed to take a picture of the mosque before hailing a cab and making a getaway.

 

The experience was disconcerting. Surely, anyone who takes a picture of St. Patricks Cathedral or the Riverside Church is not hauled off to a basement for questioning by a threatening figure in a karate uniform and a band of Ninjas.

 

What is taking place within Masjid At-Taqwa?

 

And what about Siraj Wahaj, the celebrated imam of this mosque who claims to be a moderate?

 

Masjid At-Taqwa at 1226 Bedford Street was an abandoned clothing store, which Wahaj purchased at an auction in 1979 for $30,000 with cash from oil-rich Saudis. The interior is divided into spacious, windowless rooms that have been painted green and beige.

 

At Friday afternoon prayers the meeting room is crammed with hundreds of congregants. Some show up in do-rag stocking caps and Sean John sweatshirts; others wear finely embroidered, authentic-looking Muslim caps and flowing robes of crimson and gold. About half of the attendees are African-Americans. The others are immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Worshipers range from Brooklyn street bums to the local celebrities, such as former heavy-weight champion Mike Tyson.

 

The place has played host to a number of notorious exponents of radical Islam, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El (Dr. Rashid), a key player in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Mr. Hampton-El is presently cooling his heels in a federal slammer since he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Mr. Hampton-El, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fought as a mujahadeen under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

 

Upon his return, Hampton-El was hailed as a hero by members of the mosque. Imam Wahaj has said that he was sought out by young and old alike for spiritual advice as an elder in the community. Wahaj, in fact, appeared as a character witness for Hampton El when the former mujahadeen stood trial before Judge Michael Mukasey in New Yorks Federal District Court on charges of seditious conspiracy and attempted bombing.

 

Hampton-El is currently serving thirty-five years in a supermax prison for Americas most dangerous inmates.

 

Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman visited Masjid At-Taqwa on many occasions while serving as the imam of the nearby Masjid al-Fooqra at 554 Atlantic Avenue, several blocks from Masjid At-Taqwi. On the second floor of Rahmans mosque, al Qaeda had opened an office under the name of the al-Kifah Refugee Center. It became a favorite haunt for members of Wahaj's congregation.

 

Rahman also spoke on occasion at Masjid At-Taqwa. In one speech, the fiery sheikh suggested that Muslims should rob banks to benefit Islam.

 

In 1995, Sheikh Rahman was hauled into court as the alleged architect of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and for planning to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge, and buildings throughout Manhattan. At his side was his good friend Siraj Wahaj who provided testimony of the sheiks sterling character.

 

In a Feb. 2, 1995, letter to defense lawyers in the landmarks-bombing case, then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named about 170 people as "un-indicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators." Imam Wahaj was on the list.

 

Other infamous characters reportedly have made their way to the Bedford Street mosque, including Imam Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, whose son Adnan has been singled out by the Justice Department as the next Muhammad Atta. Gulshair, it turns out, served a stint as imam at another radical Brooklyn mosque the now defunct Masjid Nur a-Islam, at 21 Church Street.

 

Another visitor, according to informed sources, was Sheikh Gilani, the founder of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, who served as the imam of yet another Brooklyn mosque the Yasin Masjid at 777 Saratoga Avenue. This infamous mosque is now a beauty salon. From 1980 to 1995, it served as a recruiting center for the jihad and for paramilitary Islamic compounds that remain in existence throughout the country.

 

Since the time of its inception, Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been responsible for more terror attacks on American soil (30 and counting) than all other terrorist groups combined. Members of ul-Fuqra, which maintains headquarters in Pakistan, have been convicted in US courts of such crimes as homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, firebombing, gun smuggling, grand theft, counterfeiting, and workers compensation fraud. Others remain leading suspects in criminal cases throughout the country, including ten unsolved assassinations and seventeen fire-bombings. Some of the better-known adherents of ul-Fuqra are Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway sniper.

 

But what of Wahaj? Is he an exponent of radical Islam a man who poses a threat to millions of Americans?

 

He is a well-known and welcome figure in Washington DC. He was the first Muslim cleric to offer the invocation at the opening session of Congress. He has dined with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and serves on the boards of no less than five major Muslim organizations. He has received commendations from the Brooklyn police for eradicating crime from the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. In 2003, Siraj Wahaj Day was celebrated in Brooklyn in recognition of what one borough official called a lifetime of outstanding and meaningful achievement.

 

But the proof of the real Wahaj is in the proverbial pudding.

 

In one of his sermons, Wahaj announced that the "real terrorists" are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In another, he said, "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam." He proclaimed that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers are stoned to death and apostates beheaded, would be vastly superior to American democracy.

 

To a Muslim audience in New Jersey, Wahaj advocated the idea of Muslims forming a coup to take control of the federal government. If we are united and strong, he said, wed elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. Take my word for it, if six to eight million Muslims united in America, the country will come to us.

 

His so-called moderate interpretation of the Quran became clear by this remark: "If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it's the obedience of Allah and his messenger nothing personal."

 

Wahaj informed an audience of black women wearing Muslim head coverings in Orlando, Fla., that Islam condones a man's marrying up to four wives, and that this rule, when introduced in the seventh century, served as a restriction on arrangements involving even more wives per husband.

 

And there are the national organizations to which Wahaj remains affiliated. He served as emir (president) of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been charged with funneling millions to terror groups, and as an advisory board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been labeled by author and counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson as a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.

 

All this may be well and good, save for the fact that Wahaj and his mosque retains a small army not of brown-shirts but black-belts who now claim the right to collar ordinary citizens on the sidewalk and to haul them off for interrogation.

 

Youre only safe in Brooklyn at this writing if you say your prayers meaning, of course, the Basmalah.

Bos Smith holds a law degree from Wake Forest University. He serves in the securities division of a major Wall Street investment bank. The research for this article was conducted in preparation of Within the Belly of the Beast: Jihad in America.

Let me point out again that I cannot vouch for the honesty or dishonesty of Bos Smith. 

But if this is an accurate account of what happened to him and his two associates it is genuinely bone-chilling.  I hope the incident, and the mosque, are investigated.  If there's nothing to any of this, then all fine and well.  If there is, that would be, to say the least, another story.

Meanwhile, if Siraj Wahaj, the head of the mosque, is what Smith says he is, can we please keep him the hell out of the DC insider circuit?   Thank you very much.

TRUTHSEEKER This story of Bos Smith and Paul L. Williams has no bases in facts. Bos Smith was recently interviewed on NO COMPROMISE RADIO BLOG. Where he states that he was not hauled off by force nor illegally detained. When he was invited to speak to someone in authority he voluntarily accepted out of professional curiosity. There are other refuting accounts posted by eyewitnesses and a RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE who was present that day, who states that this kidnapping allegation never occurred. There is an old journalist saying, CHECK YOUR SOURCE. (05/11/08)


DISOWNING WRIGHT

Ken Berwitz

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother" :  Barack Obama speaking of Reverend jeremiah wright, March 17, 2008

The wolves were howling.  From the left and from the right.  He had to be tossed from the sled.

So Barack Obama, who said last month that he could not disown jeremiah wright......disowned jeremiah wright. 

Today, after almost 20 years of being his revered spiritual mentor, wright has suddenly become persona non grata to Barack Obama.

This is something Mr. Obama HAD to do, like it or not.  wright is an absolute, nuclear catastrophe for him, especially after the last two days of his nutcake rants.  There was no choice.

But the believability of Mr. Obama bouncing wright from his life after all this time under his guidance and in the pews of his church?  Nonexistent.

Here's a little realpolitik for you.  Barack Obama was an Ivy league educated street organizer in South Chicago with strong political ambitions.  The only way to realize such ambitions in south Chicago is to take up with the jeremiah wrights of the area.  That's called "street cred".

Then, when Mr. Obama's horizons expanded to national office?  The same jeremiah wright who was a political imperative for him in South Chicago became a nine inch nail in his side. His biggest asset summarily became his biggest liability. 

For months Mr. Obama tried, against all reality, to square this circle and stay with wright.  But he can't anymore.  So wright is over.

How bad is the damage to the Obama campaign?  Very bad.,  As pointed out above there isn't a lot of credibility to this breakoff.  And who knows how much damage Mr. Obama has wreaked among his own constituencies, including Black voters and no small number of hardline White liberals who think wright's ravings are dead-on accurate.

If Obama should lose Indiana next week (and I suspect he will), Hillary Clinton will run, not walk, to the super-delegates supporting him with a story of his bad judgment and her winning the big states one after the other.  The number of these superdelegates who will react favorably to this story equals the likelihood of Ms. Clinton overtaking Mr. Obama and winning the Democratic nomination.

What a mess.

Zeke "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother" : Barack Obama speaking of Reverend jeremiah wright, March 17, 2008 Now, Barack has disowned both his White Grandmother and his minister, Reverend Wright. Did they get thrown under the same bus ? (04/30/08)


THE DNC UNDER HOWARD DEAN: DISHONESTY AT WORK

Ken Berwitz

A tip of the hat (if I ever decide to wear one) to Charles Johnson at www.littlegreenfootballs.com for his expos of this fraud being perpetrated on unsuspecting voters by the DNC:

New DNC Ad Shows US Troops Being Blown Up

Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 8:24:10 am PDT

Howard Dean sent the following email to his mailing list yesterday:

Dear Friend,

John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. Hes said it, and its on tape.

But his campaign hates that he was caught. Theyve viciously attacked anyone who reminded the American people that he said it, including me. Theyve said that those who reference the 100 years comments are deliberately misleading voters.

So weve taken John McCains own words video of him saying that 100 years would be fine with me and made a TV ad. Theres no confusion, no distortion, no misleading its John McCain, on tape, for voters to judge on their own.

Its one of the most powerful political ads Ive ever seen. Its devastating and the McCain campaign will spend the rest of the election trying to fight it.

In addition to the McCain clip, this nasty advertisement features a clip of ... American soldiers being killed by an IED.

Yes, thats right. The Democratic Party is using images of US troops being attacked by terrorists to make political points against John McCain.

Its devastating, all right. But not to John McCain.

(Video player requires Flash Player.)

Those are someones husbands, someones brothers, someones sons that you see being blown up in that video. I wonder how their families would feel about their loved ones being used for political gain in such a callous, unfeeling, cynical way?

UPDATE at 4/29/08 8:40:17 am:

Even more unbelievably, the IED clip comes from Michael Moores Fahrenheit 9/11. Its at about 1:35 in this trailer: Fahrenheit 9/11 trailers. (Hat tip: MacGregor.)

UPDATE at 4/29/08 9:10:07 am:

And thats not even the only reason this ad is beyond the pale; the entire ad is based on a rank falsehood, according to FactCheck.org:

The DNCs message portrays McCain as bent on fighting an endless war in Iraq.

DNC: We cant afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq. ... On the war, McCain scoffed at Bushs call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying Make it a hundred!
That of course is a serious distortion of what McCain actually said to a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire back on Jan. 3. His actual words are posted in a video on YouTube. Far from advocating endless war, he said the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would be fine with me provided that theyre not being killed or wounded. Heres the full quote:
McCain, Jan. 3: Make it a hundred. ... Weve been in Japan for 60 years. Weve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as American, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Its fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintained a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.
It should be noted that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, despite their frequent talk of withdrawing from Iraq, have said repeatedly that they would maintain at least some troops in a combat role in Iraq for some time, possibly their entire term of office.

Theres little doubt that McCain is less eager than either Clinton or Obama to bring troops home without further suppression of insurgent attacks. But its a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage endless war based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea.

Dean knows that this ad is based on a lie.  It has been out there for weeks.  But let's be frank here, he is counting on you NOT knowing it is based on a lie and swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

It will be hard enough for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to win the presidency after ripping each other to shreds for months.  Does Dean intend for them to then have to defend a thoroughly fraudulent ad like this?  Evidently he does. 

Will it make the eventual Democratic candidate more likely to lose the election?

Well, if Dean demonstrated one thing in 2004 it was that he knows how to lose.


HELLO AL? WHAT ARE YOU DOING BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER?

Ken Berwitz

I'll make this short and sweet.

-Barack Obama is imploding right before our eyes;

-If  Hillary Clinton overtakes him by winning a majority of super-delegates, it would alienate so many Obama supporters that she almost certainly would lose.

If ever there was a time for someone to come riding into town and save the day, this is it.

And who better than the guy who these people think DID win the Presidency in 2000.  A guy who is seen as saving the planet.  A guy who has become an international superstar.  A guy who the media are deeply in love with.

And his wife is hot!

If I were a Democrat I would be begging Al Gore to say he will be available if asked.


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