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Saturday, September 30, 2006
Cause Hell's Broke Loose In New Hampshire And The Devil's Polling Hard
Jerry Falwell responds to the leftist howling over the latest non-scandal:
Earlier this week, the so-called mainstream news media were up in arms over a statement I made last weekend at the Values Voters Summit. During my speech, I remarked that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, it would induce evangelical Christians to oppose her more than if the devil himself were running.
Actually, if he were serious he'd be right. Conservatives would trust moderate swing voters to vote against the Devil and wouldn't be so compelled to show up at the polls. The Clintons are famous for hoodwinking moderates, so conservatives would show up in droves to make sure that Hil doesn't get elected.
...Christians aren't supposed to have a sense of humor. Watch a network or cable TV show depicting a Christian and you'll see a morose individual on the verge of breaking out in a fire-and-brimstone sermon at any moment.
Conservative Christians are continually defined by the media as humorless individuals who want to convert the world into mindless Christian zombies. So if someone like me utilizes irony or utilizes a whimsical phrase, it is taken as a threatening statement.
Part of the reason for this stereotype is the common notion that conservative Christians are opposed to fun, failing to note Christian claims that the "fun" in question has long-term misery that outweighs the short-term enjoyment.
On the other hand, Hollywood personalities can make far more malicious statements and nobody questions it.
Take, for example, actor Alec Baldwin's proclamation on Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show a few years ago in which he called for the stoning of pro-life Rep. Henry Hyde, R, Ill.
On the broadcast, Baldwin stated: "I'm thinking to myself, if we were in other countries, we would, all of us together, all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would go to their homes, and we'd kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families."
Funny stuff, huh?
Ah yes, double standards. Hugo Chavez can call Bush "el Diablo" and get thunderous applause from the Left, but a Falwell joke comparing Hillary's electability to Lucifer's is cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For the second time in two years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses.
The governor said the state should wait for federal regulations designed to combat terrorism. The federal government first needs to draft guidelines for the REAL ID Act passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks before California takes action related to its main identification cards, he said.
The bill's author, Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, said his legislation complies with the federal law, although he acknowledged it goes beyond what federal law requires. His bill, SB1162, provides for security measures and a special mark showing that the license is held by an illegal immigrant.
Illegal immigrants don't need a special ID. They need to be deported.
In the upcoming November 3 episode of "Law and Order," Chevy Chase will play a television celebrity who launches into an antireligious tirade when pulled over for drunken driving. The article doesn't say which religion earns this attention.
What will Andrew Sullivan do now? The Democrat leader in the House is quoting the Bible to set national policy. The context is the debate on how to treat captured terrorists–do we aggressively interrogate them or not? Pelosi is in the "not" crowd, and the Bible is her guide:
"This is a time when the Golden Rule really should be in affect. Do not do unto others, what you would not have them do unto your troops, your CIA agents, your people in the field.
Actually, the Bible says "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Luke 6:31) - proactively seek to benefit people as you would want to be benefited. Pelosi cited the negative corrolary to the Rule: don't treat others as you woudl not want to be treated.
One of the basic applications of the Negative Golden Rule is to refrain from murder, since virtually nobody wants to be killed. So how does one apply the Golden Rule to suicide bombers?
Russia will ship fuel to a controversial atomic power plant it is building in Iran by March under a deal signed Tuesday, news agencies reported, as Tehran's nuclear chief met with a Russian security officer at the Kremlin.
The agreement signed by Sergei Shmatko, head of the state-run company Atomstroiexport, and Mahmoud Hanatian, vice president of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, should allay Iran's complaints that Moscow is dragging its feet on supplying fuel for the Bushehr plant.
It will also renew concerns by the West, which accuses Tehran of seeking to enrich uranium in order to build nuclear weapons.
The Cold War is over, and Putin arms our enemies. Great.
In describing its portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America's present situation. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"
No reason, Mel? How about violation of the ceasefire agreement with regard to WMDs? A recent FrontPage Magazine article details some of the evidence of those violations:
In subsequent months, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) found parts of banned al-Samoud 2 (SA2) missiles shipped around the world as "scrap."
In April 2004, Jordanian officials seize 20 tons of WMDs from al-Qaeda containing 70 different chemical agents, including Sarin and VX gas. King Abdullah announced on April 17 the stockpiles originated in Iraq. If detonated as planned, they would have killed at least 80,000 people.
The following month, Saddam loyalists fired a "chemical binary projectile" filled with Sarin gas at U.S. troops in Iraq.
In early 2006, Gen. Georges Sada, the number two man in the Iraqi air force, told American media outlets that Saddam Hussein buried some WMDs in concrete underground bunkers in Iraq; others he shipped or airlifted to Syria with Russian assistance.
Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait...
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;
Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens...
While Iraq has not been implicated in the 9/11 attacks, Iraq has had ties to Al-Qaeda for more than a decade. The evidence of this is irrefutable and the people who are denying it are doing so for political purposes. Here are just a couple of quotes that prove what I'm saying...
"(Abu Musab al) Zarqawi was said to have received medical treatment in Baghdad in May and June of 2002 after being wounded in Afghanistan during the war. His leg was amputated, U.S. officials say, by a surgeon in Iraq. Before the war, Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed to Zarqawi's al Qaeda-affiliated group that he said was operating inside Baghdad, as evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq." -- Today, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was in Iraq before the war began, is leading terrorist attacks against the Coalition and Iraqi people.
"Credible reporting states that al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs." -- CIA Director George Tenet in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on October 7, 2002
A 2004 article in the Weekly Standard reports on one of those connections: Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Hikmat Shakir of the Fedayeen Saddam. A man with that name is known to have attended an al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in January 2000. Solid evidence turned up days after the 9/11 attacks:
Six days after September 11, Shakir was captured in Doha, Qatar. He had in his possession contact information for several senior al Qaeda terrorists: Zahid Sheikh Mohammed, brother of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, the Iraqi who helped mix the chemicals for the first World Trade Center attack and was given safe haven upon his return to Baghdad; and Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, otherwise known as Abu Hajer al Iraqi, described by one top al Qaeda detainee as Osama bin Laden's "best friend."
Read the whole thing.
So why are we still there? Because we don't want to abandon an ally to conquest by thugs who will use their power to oppress the Iraqi people and to support terrorists who want to kill us.
Now Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale, seeks in "The Great Risk Shift" to call attention to another alleged failing of the new, more market-oriented economy: rising levels of risk and insecurity. "Over the last generation," he writes, "we have witnessed a massive transfer of economic risk from broad structures of insurance, including those sponsored by the corporate sector as well as by government, onto the fragile balance sheets of American families."
As evidence, Mr. Hacker cites the growing volatility of family incomes, escalating bankruptcy and foreclosure rates, the collapse of defined-benefit corporate pensions, and the swelling ranks of Americans without health insurance. And where does the primary blame for these ills reside?
He points the finger at "America's sweeping transformation away from an all-in-the-same-boat philosophy of shared risk toward a go-it-alone vision of personal responsibility." The consequences of this "Personal Responsibility Crusade" can be seen in the rapid rise of 401(k) plans, the creation of Health Savings Accounts and the proposal to replace traditional Social Security benefits with personal retirement accounts.
Lindsey notes that these changes have not resulted in decreased material wealth - quite the opposite:
Next, look at the two main indicators of middle-class status: a home of one's own and a college degree. Between 1970 and 2004, the homeownership rate climbed to 69% from 63%, even as the physical size of the median new home grew by nearly 60%. Back in 1970, 11% of Americans 25 years of age or older had a college or higher degree. By 2004, the figure had risen to 28%.
As to consumer possessions, the following comparison should suffice to make the point. In 1971, 45% of American households had clothes dryers, 19% had dishwashers, 83% had refrigerators, 32% had air conditioning, and 43% had color televisions. By the mid-1990s all of these ownership rates were exceeded even by Americans below the poverty line.
Hugo Chavez speaks before the United Nations:The leftist leader, long at odds with Washington, appeared to be making one of his boldest moves yet to coalesce international opposition to the Bush administration. Chavez began Wednesday's speech noting that Bush spoke from the same podium a day earlier.
"The devil came here," Chavez said. "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of."
He then made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if praying and looked up to the ceiling.
It's obvious that doing good by freeing gazillions of people from tyranny hasn't won us any points with the world, so I say it's time to stop making friends and start making money, Roman style. Rather than freeing all these people, protecting Europe from commies and Nazis, policing the oceans, and saving Tsunami victims, all gratis, it's time to start extracting tribute from every country that has benefitted from American foreign policy.
Click the link and check out his ideas. I submitted a couple in comments.
Apologists for Islam like to quote the first portion of Sura 2,256 ("There is no compulsion in religion") to counter charges that Islam is militarily aggressive by nature. Explain to me this, then - if there is no compulsion in Islam, then why did Mohammed compel the polytheists of Mecca to surrender the Kaaba, which was then their shrine, to be transformed into an Islamic mosque?
Note that the Ottoman Turks followed this example when, upon the conquest of Constantinople, they transformed the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Has anyone noticed that a lot of the people who refuse to blame Islam for Muslim terrorism are more than willing to blame Christianity for the crusades and the witch hunts?
A religion is defined by its founders. If its caretakers violate the original creed, those violations cannot be considered part of that creed. Otherwise one reading the Old Testament would have to conclude that Judaism changed from time to time with regard to tolerating idolatry. The Law of Moses never changed; certain Hebrew monarchs simply chose to disobey.
Christians were never given the political authority granted to ancient Israel (see my 2003 post The Bible, Theocracy, And Troublesome Laws), and not even theocratic Israel was empowered to prosecute general heresy. Also, the medieval methods for identifying witches are not in the Bible.
A thorough accounting of the Koran's statements on just and unjust war would settle the issue on Islam's views on various terrorist practices.
It should be noted that at the time of the emperor's dialogue all Islamic expansion had been violent - in Arabia, North Africa, Iberia, Persia, modern-day Iraq, the Levant, Sicily. And in 62 years Constantinople would fall to jihad.
Some may react, "Well the same thing happened under Christianity." Not quite. Christianity began under peaceful private-sector voluntary association; its institutions were later coopted by the State. Islam began as an arm of a state that Mohammed was building. I think it's safe to say that Byzantine emperor Manuel II saw no difference between Mohammed's conquests and his successors' conquests. Would Mohammad have approved of the Caliphate's expansion into the Near East, Africa and Europe after his death?
In a recent lecture delivered at his old academic stomping grounds at the University of Regensburg in Germany, the Pope had some things to say about Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos' 1391 dialogue with an "educated Persian" about religion (emphasis added in all following excerpts):
The emperor must have known that sura 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war.
This is the passage that gets the Pope in hot water:
Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".
From there, the emperor condemns violent religious proselytization:
The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood Â? and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...
It should be noted that at the time of the emperor's dialogue all Islamic expansion had been violent - in Arabia, North Africa, Iberia, Persia, modern-day Iraq, the Levant, Sicily. And in 62 years Constantinople would fall to jihad.
Many Muslims have expressed outrage at Benedict's remarks - LGF has stories here, here, here, here and here. I don't think stories like these would have caused Manuel II Palaiologos to change his tune. Or Oriana Fallaci, for that matter.
I Guess She Won't Be Making That December 18 Court Appearance
Italian author Oriana Fallaci passed away, denying her detractors the spectacle of seeing her face trial for defaming Islam.
Last year the Center for the Study of Popular Culture awarded her the Annie Taylor Award to Fallaci, "for her lifelong struggle against totalitarian ideologies." (This article explains that the award is named for the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive.) Here is the speech David Horowitz delivered at the award ceremony.
The former Texas governor passed away after battling esophageal cancer last Wednesday (Wikipedia article here).
From 1983 to 1990 she served as state treasurer, and it is that part of her political career that earns distinction. Prior to her tenure there, the treasury was a bit lazy about depositing checks it received, which meant lost interest income; Richards put an end to that. I vaguely recall stories about her making some out-of-state trips to cash certain checks at the banks that issued them; the checks would be processed in one day instead of several, and they were large enough that the cost in air fare was less than the interest income that would be gained.
Most of y'all know about her stint at the 1988 Democratic convention, where she razzed GHW Bush with those famous words, "Poor George, he can't help it...He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Many of y'all might not be aware of this:
President-elect Bush has sent Ann Richards a handwritten "peace offering" and a tiny silver pin shaped like a foot.
Ms. Richards, the Texas State Treasurer, declared in her keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in July that Mr. Bush, a Republican, had been "born with a silver foot in his mouth."
After the election Nov. 8, however, Ms. Richards sent Mr. Bush a telegram wishing him "the very best" in his new Administration.
Mr. Bush wrote her a note dated Nov. 21, saying: "You've probably received a hundred of these 'feet' but I want you to have this one from me - a peace offering.
"Really, that was a nice telegram. Many thanks, George." Ms. Richards said Monday: "I think it was a kind and generous gesture on his part. I was delighted that he saw and enjoyed the humor in the keynote address."
Clayton Williams, her opponent in the 19090 governor's race, is credited with one of the worst verbal blunders in Texas political history:
Williams made an infamous joke to reporters, likening bad weather to rape, quipping, "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."
The public reaction was thermonuclear - and still Richards won with a plurality and not a majority, 49% to Williams' 47%.
The two most memorable events of her governorship helped to secure her to one term: passage of the highly controversial Robin Hood school finance plan, and voters' discovery that Texas Lottery funds were going into the general fund and not being earmarked for education as they were led to believe. (Since 1997 lottery funds started going into the Foundation School Fund.) The crumbling of the state Democratic Party didn't help her, either.
Richards supported the North American Free Trade Agreement. I personally believe that NAFTA has a lot of unnecessary bureaucratization but still serves as an improvement over the previous state of affairs. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has photos of her typed speech she delivered on November 1, 1993 to promote the treaty. Her closing remarks is worth noting:
The bottom line is this...we have been begging, badgering and bashing Japan to give us a level playing field, open markets and an opportunity for friendly competition and cooperation.
Now the Canadians and Mexicans are freely offering the same thing.
Now our friends are willing...and we ought to take them up on their offer.
Left shoulder roll (from a standing position, step forward with left foot, bend down, flip forward while rolling on left shoulder blade, come up in standing position - DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITHOUT INSTRUCTION)
Aslam Abdullah, director of the Islamic Soceity of Nevada, rejects the call to jihad issued by al-Qaeda's top operative in Iraq:
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, recently issued a decree to its supporters: Kill at least one American in the next two weeks "using a sniper rifle, explosive or whatever the battle may require."
Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American too. Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill.
I am not alone, there are thousands of Muslims with me in Las Vegas, and many more millions in America, who are proud Americans and who are ready to face your challenge. You hide in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don't show your faces and you have no guts to face Muslims. You thrive on the misery of thousands of Muslim youth and children who are victims of despotism, poverty and ignorance.
While worrying about minor bits, they've missed that the real harm is simply the reminder of the terrorist threat, which they've tried to downplay, but which they've magnified in people's minds by making a stink. Going on the offensive like this just reminds people that they've been downplaying it for over a decade.
If they'd kept their mouths shut, this would be about the terrorists, which would be bad enough. Now it's about the terrorists and the Democrats.
I taped it, haven't watched much of it. Saw the capture and trial of Ramzi Yousef while the VCR was taping.
The three-hour event starts tonight at 7PM CST. I really don't knbow what to make of the controversial scenes - RedState.org has them here. These scenes revolve around three contested allegations:
That Sandy Berger scrubbed a chance for special forces ground troops to nab Bin Laden.
That prior to the embassy bombing in Kenya, the US government had suspicions about a certain individual but did not act on them; that individual participated in the bombing.
That Madeline Albright notified the Pakistani government in advance of the missile attack on al-Qaeda's Afghan training camp, and that this tipped off Bin Laden through one of his Pakistani government connections.
Berger and Albright denied that that's the way it was. I want to see evidence backing up their claims, and I want to hear from Path To 9/11's producers their side of the story - whether those scenes were creative license or on Clintonista-unfriendly documentation. Cough it up.
We do know these things for sure. Clinton did not take the al-Qaeda threat seriously. His administration did not make a serious attempt at nabbing Osama, and made several key blunders, the biggest of which was inaction. The 1998 embassy bonbings should have triggered the biggest clandestine manhunt in world history, but it didn't.
A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally.
South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible.
Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend 'Mardi Gras' event in Cardiff.
A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality'.
You know where this is going.
The leaflets were headed Same-Sex Love - Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?, and included a series of quotations from the 1611 King James Bible, a text usually regarded as one of the foundation stones of the English language.
Aimed at demonstrating Biblical disapproval of homosexual sex, they included from the Old Testament Leviticus 18.22, 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination'.
The leaflets also quoted Romans 1:25-27 from the New Testament, to the effect that homosexuals are given to 'vile affections'.
The handbills urged homosexuals to 'turn from your sins and you will be saved'.
Here's what one voice of dissent has to say:
Colin Hart of the Christian Institute think tank said: 'This was a very gentle leaflet. There was no use of words like "perversion". I have to wonder if churches, bishops and archbishops are now vulnerable to arrest for their views on homosexuality.
'It is noticeable that police never arrest Muslims who make remarks about homosexuality. They pick on Christians because it is easy, just as they pick on middle class drivers for speeding because it is easier than catching burglars.'
In Eugene Volokh's post on this story, I made this comment:
Censorship assumes that government can always interpret accurately the intent and influence of publications, and that when it comes to judging what is worthwhile to read, government knows best.
We've taken care of everything The words you hear, the songs you sing The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes. It's one for all and all for one We work together, common sons Never need to wonder how or why.
We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx Our great computers fill the hallowed halls. We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx All the gifts of life are held within our walls.
Astute readers may have noticed in my Tuesday Khatami post that Judge Lamberth blames the Iranian government for instigating a 1983 attack through a terrorist organization that was founded in 1984.
No, Iran didn't get hold of that time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future. Lamberth's ruling (PDF file) established that Hezbollah existed as a faction within another organization known as Amal as early as 1982, and that since that time Hezbollah was being directed by the Iranian government's Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS).
The key evidence linking Iran to the bombing is cited on pages 12 and 13 of the ruling:
The complicity of Iran in the 1983 attack was established conclusively at trial by the testimony of Admiral James A. Lyons, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operation from 1983-85. As deputy chief, Admiral Lyons routinely received intelligence information about American military forces. On October 25, 1983, the chief of naval intelligence notified Admiral Lyons of an intercept of a message between Tehran and Damascus that had been made on or about September 26, 1983. The message had been sent from MOIS to the Iranian ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, who presently serves as an adviser to the president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami. The message directed the Iranian ambassador to contact Hussein Musawi, the leader of the terrorist group Islamic Amal, and to instruct him to have his group instigate attacks against the multinational coalition in Lebanon, and "to take a spectacular action against the United States Marines."
Pages 13-15 connects the dots between Mohtashemi and Hezbollah:
Although it is not presently known whether Ambassador Mohtashemi contacted Musawi, evidence was presented at trial that Mohtashemi did proceed to contact a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (“IRG”), and instructed him to instigate the Marine barracks bombing. The Court heard the videotaped deposition testimony of a Hezbollah member known by the pseudonym "Mahmoud," who was a member of the group that carried out the October 23 attack. Mahmoud, a Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim, testified that Ambassador Mohtashemi contacted a man named Kanani, the leader of the Lebanese headquarters of the IRG. Mohtashemi instructed Kanani to go forward with attacks that had been planned against the 24th MAU [24th Marine Amphibious Unit] and the French paratroopers [Third Company, Sixth French Parachute Infantry Regiment]. Mahmoud testified that a meeting was later held in Baalbek, Lebanon, which was attended by Kanani and Sheik Sobhi Tufaili, Sheik Abbas Musawi, and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah is the present leader of Hezbollah. Musawi, Nasrallah’s immediate predecessor as the leader of Hezbollah, was killed in a February 16, 1992 Israeli attack. Tufaili is a former secretary general of Hezbollah.
During this meeting, Kanani and the Hezbollah members formed a plan to carry out simultaneous attacks against the American and French barracks in Lebanon.
"Whoa, did I see a familar name in that list of attendees?" Yes you did - Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, current archterrorist of Hezbollah. Ceasefire, schmeasefire - that dude should be at Guantanamo.
I plan to do a little research to dig up more details about the official founding of Hezbollah, and if Khatami was involved with any of its activities prior to 1984. One of my sources is on vacation, so I have no ETA.
The former president of Iran is scheduled to speak at Harvard on September 10. Cox and Forkum have some background info on his anti-Semitic rhetoric and the violence surrounding his political career. One significant milestone is this (emphasis added):
In 1984, as minister of culture and Islamic propagation, he presided over the creation of Hezbollah, Iran's proxy army of terrorists in Lebanon and elsewhere. He thought that was exactly what the Islamic Republic of Iran needed to do to expand its influence around the world.
If Khatami gets any police protection, it won't be from the State of Massachusetts. Governor Mitt Romney released an official statement:
Governor Mitt Romney today ordered all Massachusetts state government agencies to decline support, if asked, for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami's September 10 visit to the Boston area, where he is scheduled to speak at Harvard University.
"State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel," said Romney.
Romney's action means that Khatami will be denied an official police escort and other VIP treatment when he is in town. The federal government provides security through the U.S. State Department.
Romney criticized Harvard for honoring Khatami by inviting him to speak, calling it "a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists, especially on the eve of the five-year anniversary of 9/11."
Romney also has a few things to say about Khatami's legacy:
During the period of time he was in office, from 1997 to 2005, Khatami presided over Iran's secret nuclear program. Currently, the Iranian Government under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is snubbing the international community's request to cease nuclear weapons production.
In the recent conflict along the Israel-Lebanon border, Khatami described the terrorist group Hezbollah as a "shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world."
Khatami has endorsed Ahmadinejad's call for the annihilation of Israel.
During Khatami's presidency, Iran refused to hand over the Iranian intelligence officials who were responsible for the attack on the Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. military personnel.
In his own country, Khatami oversaw the torture and murder of Iranian students, journalists, and others who spoke out for freedom and democracy. Khatami relaxed freedom of speech laws giving democracy reformers a false sense of security only to engage in one of the largest crackdowns in the country's history.
In Khatami's Iran, there was no religious tolerance. According to the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom, Iran was one of the worst offenders of religious persecutions. Minorities, such as Evangelicals, Jews, Catholics and others, have suffered.
(Link to Romney memo via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi email)
Update: I have sent the following form email to Mitt Romney's inbox:
To: Governor Romney From: Mr. Alan K Henderson , [email address] Subject: Request for assistance on Public Safety (Homeland Security )
Dear Governor Romney:
Seriously, since Mohammed Khatami was involved in the creation of Hezbollah , and since US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut "was carried out by the group Hezbollah with the approval and funding of Iran's senior government officials" , doesn't the State of Massachusetts have the obligation and grounds to have Khatami arrested?
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday that he has taped an opinion segment that is scheduled to air on the "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric."
He told his listeners Ms. Couric herself had asked him to participate in the new segment titled "Free Speech." He said he accepted after being given "certain promises [and] conditions," because he figured all the "hype" about Ms. Couric's debut as "Evening News" anchor this week would produce a tune-in of 8 million or more viewers.
"So I did it as an opportunity to reach that audience," Mr. Limbaugh said. "There's going to be a lot of curiosity and tune-in factor. She was very open and honest about all this when we were setting it up."
CBS isn't saying yet who will appear on the segment in the future:
An "Evening News" spokeswoman confirmed that Mr. Limbaugh's segment, first reported on the Drudge Report, is scheduled to air Thursday. But she would not confirm other early participants reported by the Drudge Report, including former Presidents Bush and Clinton, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and HBO political-observer-in-residence Bill Maher.
It'll be interesting to see how much ideological diversity this segment features over time. Even one Limbaugh appearance outdoes NBC Nightly News back when John Chancellor (who once worked in the LBJ administration) hosted the "Commentary" segment.
The fact is, fewer and fewer workers join unions on their own volition these days. The corruption and political activism of union officials is one turnoff. Union featherbedding, uneconomic and wasteful work rules, and the lack of consideration of merit and performance alienate others. Because of this, even though Big Labor resources continue to grow, less than eight percent of private sector workers today belong to a union, while roughly fifteen percent belong to government unions.
Unions respond by insisting on yet one other turnoff:
Union officials now claim that the secret ballot election process for unionization should be banned. Instead, Big Labor is pushing an intimidating organizing scheme wherein workers must say "no" to union organizers face-to-face in a so-called "card check" campaign.
This has government support:
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) introduced legislation to ban the traditional secret ballot election process outright, and federally mandate "card check" unionization.
Miller is a shameless hypocrite:
Ironically, just five years ago Congressman Miller and 15 other members of congress implored the Mexican government to establish a secret ballot election process in that country because, they wrote, they "are essential to ensure that employees are not intimidated or coerced."
Union imperialism is a far cry from the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states, but mock election is a tactic of both. (At least the unions allow more than one list of candidiates.) What the unions can't get through voluntary agreement they'll try to get by force.
One other element of the union arsenal are forced unionism laws. Compare the National Right to Work Foundation's map of right-to-work states with the two maps on this page - one illustrating the 2004 Economic Freedom Index, the other the 2004 electoral map. Note that the ten least economically free states supported neither Bush nor right-to-work laws. Of the ten freest states, all but New Hampshire, Colorado, and Missouri are right-to-work states, and only New Hampshire went for Kerry. Of the 11th-20th most free states, all went for Bush and only Indiana is forced-unionist.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country" is dependent on five factors:
Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of "labor" and "management" insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don't really do anything, that their organizational duties isn't really "work." I use "entrepreneur" and "labor" to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.
Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.
Some outlets reported that she will also be the first Muslim in space, but Rand Simberg can't find any documentation of her religious affiliation.
Update: In comments, Michael takes issue with my use of the word "native" - the term usually means, to quote Merriam-Webster, "one born or reared in a particular place." The dictionary also accepts a looser definition: "a local resident; especially : a person who has always lived in a place as distinguished from a visitor or a temporary resident." Since I meant "citizen," I'll use that word.