Saturday, May 05, 2012

Today's Tune: Adele - Set Fire To The Rain (Live)

The Muslim Brotherhood in America: A Video Course

By Mark Tapson
May 4, 2012

Just in time for the President’s reelection campaign to pick up steam, the Obama administration last week declared an end to the War on Terror. A few drone strikes, and voilà – mission accomplished! Yet, in an awkward coincidence, in the same week as that announcement came the release of an online video course exposing the alarming degree to which we are losing the broader war against the enemy we officially refuse to identify.

Of course, it was never a war on “terror” anyway; as many have pointed out, terror is a tactic, not an enemy. We weren’t waging a War on Blitzkrieg in World War II. And terrorism was never the only threat posed by our Islamic enemy, which Obama limits to “al Qaeda and its affiliates.” In fact, our focus on violent jihad has left us vulnerable to the subversive Muslim Brotherhood’s more insidious “civilization jihad,” which continues apace.

Obama himself has been supportive of the Brotherhood’s rise to political power internationally and has opened the door for them at home. He has literally welcomed them into the White House (at least his predecessors made them work for such access by infiltrating), pretending that we are now partners in the political process instead of enemies. But while the Obama administration trumpets this and the waning influence of al Qaeda as the end of the ill-named War on Terror, Frank Gaffney declares that we are no closer to victory than we were on 9/11.

Gaffney runs the Washington D.C.-based Center for Security Policy (CSP), a nonprofit organization for national security research and policy advocacy founded in 1988. In 2010 Gaffney and CSP published Shariah: The Threat to America, a highly acclaimed report on the dangerous reality of political Islam. Now he and his team have rolled out a free, ten-part, online “video briefing” entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: A Video Course,” designed to educate American citizens about “a threat most Americans are even unaware even exists within our country, let alone the peril it represents”:
The threat is the totalitarian, supremacist doctrine its adherents call shariah, and the organized, disciplined, and increasingly successful efforts such adherents – most especially the Muslim Brotherhood – to bring it here.
Gaffney describes the course as a “distillation of all we’ve learned” in the 24 years since the CSP’s inception. Narrated by the quietly intense Gaffney himself, the videos range from fifteen minutes to two hours in length (eight hours total), and define how and why our very civilization is in danger.

Part 1 lays the groundwork in “The Threat Doctrine of Shariah & the Muslim Brotherhood.” Part 2 elaborates on the Brotherhood’s plan to “eliminate Western civilization from within” in “The Brotherhood’s ‘Civilization Jihad’ in America.” In Part 3, the course takes a closer look at the Brotherhood’s penetration and manipulation of the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America – a development which will come as a shock to those who are concerned only about the complicity and naiveté of the left.

In Part 4, the course examines a case study in such infiltration, the story of a Brotherhood-linked conservative activist named Suhail Khan. Part 5 offers examples of the many ways in which Khan’s mentor, influential tax reform advocate Grover Norquist, and his team are actively promoting the Islamist agenda, and Part 6 scrutinizes how Norquist’s Islamist protégés are running for office as Republicans. In Part 7, Gaffney et al. examine how Norquist’s ongoing Islamist influence operation is advancing the agendas of the civilization jihadists.

In “Part 8: Team Obama & the Islamists,” the course looks at “Brotherhood-associated individuals who have been allowed access to – and, in some cases, given prominent positions in the Obama administration” – figures like the influential Daliah Mogahed. Then in “Part 9: Team Obama & the Islamist Agenda,” the course takes a hard look at Obama’s plan to “fundamentally transform” this country, in a “two-hour deep drill-down into the disastrous policies of the Obama White House, its State Department, Defense Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and more.”

The course isn’t solely educational. It also seeks to empower American citizens “to take myriad steps to counter this civilization jihad.” It concludes with “Part 10: What’s to be Done?” in which Gaffney offers practical suggestions on “how to defeat the most serious and imminent of such dangers in our time”: the attempt to impose shariah through violence or stealth. Those suggestions include educating others, engaging the media and elected representatives, and developing a support network. Some of these steps can be undertaken as individuals, some through organized efforts, and others as a nation.
The website also provides Endnotes for documentation, and Resources which include links to books and films on the subject, like Robert Spencer’s Stealth Jihad and Islam: What the West Needs to Know. The Resources section contains links as well to organizations like CSP and the David Horowitz Freedom Center and to activist groups such as Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT for America and Stop the Islamization of Nations.

The site also lists 16 “Key Findings” about shariah and the Muslim Brotherhood, in light of which “there is an urgent need for rigorous congressional oversight and investigations aimed at exposing the extent of the civilization jihad – and the need for corrective action aimed at countering it.” A sampling of those findings:
2. Shariah is principally about power, not faith. Accordingly, acting to realize its political end of overthrowing the U.S. government is seditious and must be prosecuted, not treated as protected religious practice…

15. The conduct of seven key federal agencies suggests the considerable success of the Muslim Brotherhood in destroying us from within by our own hands – starting with the policies and directives emanating from the Oval Office…
A unique and monumental project by Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy, “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: A Video Course” is both an essential guide to comprehending the depth and breadth of the threat posed to America by the Muslim Brotherhood, and a useful plan of action to counter that threat.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Fauxcahontas and the melting pot

Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when men would be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their great-great-great-grandmother’s wedding license application. And now it’s here!

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
May 4, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senate candidate from Massachusetts

Have you dated a composite woman? They're America's hottest new demographic. As with all the really cool stuff, Barack Obama was doing it years before the rest of us. In "Dreams from My Father," the world's all-time most-unread bestseller, he spills the inside dope on his composite white girlfriend:

"When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn't be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn't. She could only be herself, and wasn't that enough..."

But being yourself is never going to be enough in the new composite America. Last week, in an election campaign ad, Barack revealed his latest composite girlfriend – "Julia." She's worse than the old New York girlfriend. She can't even be herself. In fact, she can't be anything without massive assistance from Barack every step of the way, from his "Head Start" program at age 3 through to his Social Security benefits at the age of 67. Everything good in her life she owes to him. When she writes her memoir, it will be thanks to a subvention from the Federal Publishing Assistance Program for Chronically Dependent Women but you'll love it: Sweet Dreams From My Sugar Daddy. She's what the lawyers would call "non composite mentis." She's not competent to do a single thing for herself – and, from Barack's point of view, that's exactly what he's looking for in a woman, if only for a one-night stand on a Tuesday in early November.

Then there's "Elizabeth," a 62-year-old Democratic Senate candidate from Massachusetts. Like Barack's white girlfriend, she couldn't be black. She would if she could, but she couldn't. But she could be a composite – a white woman and an Indian woman, all mixed up in one! Not Indian in the sense of Ashton Kutcher putting on brownface makeup and a fake-Indian accent in his amusing new commercial for the hip lo-fat snack Popchips. But Indian in the sense of checking the "Are you Native American?" box on the Association of American Law Schools form, which Elizabeth Warren did for much of her adult life. According to her, she's part Cherokee and part Delaware. Not in the Joe Biden sense, I hasten to add, but Delaware in the sense of the Indian tribe named in honor of the home state of Big F—kin' Chief Dances With Plugs.

How does she know she's a Cherokee maiden? Well, she cites her grandfather's "high cheekbones," and says the Indian stuff is part of her family "lore." Which was evidently good enough for Harvard Lore School when they were looking to rack up a few affirmative-action credits. The former Obama Special Advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and former Chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel now says that "I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am," and certainly not for personal career advancement or anything like that. Like everyone else, she was shocked, shocked to discover that, as The Boston Herald reported, "Harvard Law School officials listed Warren as Native American in the '90s, when the school was under fierce fire for their faculty's lack of diversity."

So did the University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania. With the impertinent jackanapes of the press querying the bona fides of Harvard Lore School's first Native American female professor, the Warren campaign got to work and eventually turned up a great-great-great-grandmother designated as Cherokee in the online transcription of a marriage application of 1894.
Hallelujah! In the old racist America, we had quadroons and octoroons. But in the new post-racial America, we have – hang on, let me get out my calculator – duoettrigintaroons! Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when men would be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their great-great-great-grandmother's wedding license application. And now it's here! You can read all about it in Elizabeth Warren's memoir of her struggles to come to terms with her racial identity, Dreams From My Great-Great-Great-Grandmother.

Alas, the actual original marriage license does not list Great-Great-Great-Gran'ma as Cherokee, but let's cut Elizabeth Fauxcahontas Crockagawea Warren some slack here. She couldn't be black. She would if she could, but she couldn't. But she could be 1/32nd Cherokee, and maybe get invited to a luncheon with others of her kind – "people who are like I am," 31/32nds white – and they can all sit around celebrating their diversity together. She is a testament to America's melting pot, composite pot, composting pot, whatever.

Just in case you're having difficulty keeping up with all these Composite-Americans, George Zimmerman, the son of a Peruvian mestiza, is the embodiment of endemic white racism and the reincarnation of Bull Connor, but Elizabeth Warren, the great-great-great-granddaughter of someone who might possibly have been listed as Cherokee on an application for a marriage license, is a heartwarming testimony to how minorities are shattering the glass ceiling in Harvard Yard. George Zimmerman, redneck; Elizabeth Warren, redskin. Under the Third Reich's Nuremberg Laws, Ms. Warren would have been classified as Aryan and Mr. Zimmerman as non-Aryan. Now it's the other way round. Progress!

Coincidentally, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission last week issued an "Enforcement Guidance" limiting the rights of employers to take into account the criminal convictions and arrest records of job applicants because of the "disparate impact" the consideration of such matters might have on minorities. That's great news, isn't it? So Harvard Law School can't ask Elizabeth Warren if she's ever held up a liquor store because, if they did, the faculty might be even less Cherokee than it is.

My colleague Jonah Goldberg wrote the other day about Chris Mooney, author of "The Republican Brain," and other scientific chaps who argue that conservatives suffer from a genetic cognitive impairment that causes us to favor small government. In other words, we're born stupid. So, thanks to gene sequencing, we now know why conservatives aren't as smart as, say, Pete Stark, the nigh-on-half-a-century Democrat congressman who believes that Solyndra, which is based in his district, is an automobile manufacturer: "I wish I had a big enough expense allowance to get one of those new 'S's' that Solyndra's going to make down there, the electric car," he told The San Francisco Chronicle this week. "My 10-year-old is after me. He no longer wants a Porsche. He wants Dad to have an 'S' sedan." Pete sounds so out of it, you have to wonder if maybe he's 1/32nd Republican on his great-great-great-grandmother's side.

But, if conservatives are simply born that way, shouldn't they be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission?

Aw, don't waste your time. Elizabeth Warren will be ahead of you checking the "right-wing madman" box on the grounds that she gets her high cheekbones and minimal facial hair from Genghis Khan. And "Julia" will be saying she was born conservative but thanks to Obama's new Headcase Start program was able to get ideological reassignment surgery. And Barack's imaginary girlfriend will be telling him that she'd be left if she could, but she's right so she can't, but she'd love to be left. So he left her.

Good thing the smart guys are running the joint.


Friday, May 04, 2012

Katie Pavlich's 'Fast and Furious'

By David Limbaugh
The Washington Examiner
April 17, 2012

Of all the myriad scandals of the Obama administration, there is one, largely ignored by the mainstream media, that could actually be its worst.

That scandal is the operation run from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the Justice Department, known as "Fast and Furious," through which the federal government actually encouraged and even ordered American gun shops to sell guns — against the store owners' better judgment — to "straw" purchasers who were funneling guns to Mexican drug gangs while the ATF sat back and watched and did nothing.

As Katie Pavlich shows in her remarkable and eye-opening new book, "Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up," the whole scheme was either absolutely harebrained or, as some have more ominously theorized, intentionally designed to manufacture "evidence" for tightening gun control legislation.

Pavlich exposes how extreme gun control measures have been a top political goal for President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and other important leaders within the administration — and she draws the lines that link this goal directly to the implementation of Fast and Furious. Just as importantly, she shows how the administration has shamelessly tried to obscure those links.
The operation resulted in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the murder or wounding of some 200 Mexican citizens.

In the operation, there was no attempt to track the weapons sold, and some agents who tried to follow the purchasers were told to stand down. Not only that, but our government kept Mexican authorities wholly in the dark about the operation. Allowing these guns to "walk" into Mexico without surveillance and behind the backs of Mexican authorities guaranteed they would end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels and only be recovered after crimes had been committed, which is exactly what occurred.

As one ATF agent testified to Congress, "you can't allow thousands of guns to go south of the border without an expectation that they are going to be recovered eventually in crimes and people are going to die."

In their reports on Fast and Furious, congressional investigators concluded that the Department of Justice "had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged." Indeed, Attorney General Holder claimed that he had been unaware of Fast and Furious until a few weeks before May 3, 2011, but it was shown that he had received numerous memos about it much earlier, which he later insisted he had not read.

Rep. Darrell Issa has said that the DOJ has spent more time and resources trying to protect the careers of its officials who knew about the operation than in holding accountable those who were involved. In fact, the evidence shows that the only ones who have been punished are those who blew the whistle on the operation, while those who were engaged in wrongdoing have been rewarded — reassigned or promoted with their pensions still intact.

Meanwhile, the DOJ, according to the committee report, "has blamed everyone except for its political appointees for Fast and Furious." Ken Melson, then the ATF's acting director, said that the DOJ is "circling the wagons to protect its political appointees."

Though Holder told the House Judiciary Committee his office was working "tirelessly to identify, locate and provide relevant information" to Congress, Republican representatives and senators say he and his department have been stonewalling their investigation. Sen. Charles Grassley said that Justice was withholding some 74,000 pages of relevant documents from the investigators.

The ongoing investigation also reveals a disturbing lack of coordination and cooperation among the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, all of which are under the domain of Holder's DOJ. One deputy attorney general, upon being confronted with this issue, just casually replied, "We will look into it."

The committee's report said that everyone involved was blaming others: The ATF pointed the finger at the Justice Department for encouraging the operation, and Justice blamed the U.S. attorney's office in Arizona for implementing it. DOJ officials who could have stopped the operation blamed their staffs for not bringing critical facts to their attention. Making matters worse, U.S. attorney's office personnel have taken the Fifth Amendment in refusing to testify before Congress, or the DOJ has prohibited them from appearing before Congress at all.

Katie's book is a real reporter's book, loaded with interviews with inside sources, including conscience-stricken government agents who are appalled by the politicization of the ATF. She quotes ATF agent John Dodson, who says, "I have never heard an explanation from anyone involved in Operation Fast and Furious that I believe would justify what we did."

This book, which is the best reporting yet on the Obama administration's bloodiest scandal — and its most unconscionable one — will make your blood boil. You should purchase and read it.

Examiner Columnist David Limbaugh is syndicated by Creators.

Katie Pavlich, Fast & Furious BS, and Generation Scary

By Doug Giles
April 22, 2012

If you’re looking for light summer beach reading then do not, I repeat … do not … buy Katie Pavlich’s disturbing new book, Fast & Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.

Further, if you want to live undisturbed in Obama la-la-land, you need to put your tennis shoes on and run away from this tome. Indeed, Pollyanna, this book will smash all the windows of your enchanted little cottage and grind your rose-colored Obama glasses into powder.

Fast & Furious parlays into the public arena the scurrilous way the ATF, at the behest of the DOJ, allowed thousands of weapons to get into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. These firearms, in turn—as anyone with even half a brain can imagine—were used to slaughter thousands of Mexicans and to take the lives of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE’s Jaime Zapata.

Now, why would our government agents give thousands of working, untraceable arms to some of the worst SOBs on the planet? Well, we the sheeple were told it’s how the ATF could “know who the bad guys are”—or some crap to that effect.

Hey, wizards at the ATF and the DOJ: If you want to know who the major Mexican dirt bags are who are moving big chunks of weed and mowing down their people and ours with AK-47s, why not use Google versus giving Miguel a machine gun? Por qué?

Most folks, when they take a poke into the Fast & Furious debacle, say, “How can our feds be so stupid?” Which begs the question, was placing thousands of functioning, high-powered weapons in filthy thugs’ hands stupidity on steroids or some twisted scheme with a hidden agenda? Pavlich smelled the latter. The DOJ says it was a whoopsie daisy. Katie thinks they should go sell crazy somewhere else.

Pavlich said “puh-lease” to the 5th amendment-pleading DOJ: “If you’re going to bloviate and obfuscate, Mr. Holder, then I’m going to investigate. And if I find dirt then I’m going to expose you and this massive and murderous crime and cover-up.”

And investigate Katie did, and the gold (or, rather, blood) she found led her to pin the blame on the Attorney General, the Department of Homeland Insecurity and ultimately, the president himself. Katie concluded in her investigations, coupled with the insane lack of media attention and the stalling and bawling by the DOJ, that F&F was not an op that went awry but rather a backdoor grab for our guns that was uncovered when Terry was murdered. FYI to naysayers: Good luck refuting Katie’s conclusions.

Finally, I’d like to praise the 23-year-old Miss Pavlich, the product of a strong and loving dad and a stay-at-home mom—y’know, the kind of mom who “doesn’t work” whom the Left loathes? My tribe and I have been friends with Katie for the last couple of years, and here’s what I dig about her personally and professionally and which other young people would do well to emulate …

1. Katie, unlike the occupunks, believes that America and the principles upon which our nation was founded do not suck. She believes that the U.S.A. deserves our respect and is definitely worth fighting for.
2. Katie picks big fights. BHO, the DOJ and Mexican drug cartels are no small targets, mind you. Go big or go home, boys.

3. Katie is a hard worker and is not a prissy wannabe conservative starlet begging to be fawned over.

4. Katie is a happy warrior. Fighting for justice in this crap-laden culture can be a joy-sucking, hopeless business. Katie’s confident, however, that in time truth will prevail; it simply needs someone to find it, dust it off and declare it without fear.

Katie and other young twentysomethings like her whom I know—including both of my daughters and my son-in-law—represent what I have come to call “Generation Scary.” They are some of the scariest and most fearless young patriots walking this great land, and everybody and their dog who loves this country should get behind them and praise them and promote these young charges wherever the sun doth shine.

Once again, for those who can handle truth in an uncut form, this balls-out book picks no small fight and is definitely worth your time and money.

Watergate … meet #Murdergate.

PS: The DOJ just appointed Media Matters to run interference for them regarding Fast & Furious. You cannot make this stuff up.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Junior Seau's apparent suicide brings into focus the question of how many people must die for love of football

Seau's death is only the latest in a series of NFL tragedies

By Mike Lupica

The Daily News
May 3, 2012

Sometimes this is the violent end to a violent sport, another ex-football player, a great one this time, Junior Seau who had his best years with the San Diego Chargers, shooting himself in the chest in an apparent suicide.

Twenty years in the National Football League and he does not even make a few years of retirement before it ends like this for Seau, the way it ended not so terribly long ago for an old Chicago Bears safety named Dave Duerson, who also shot himself in the chest so that doctors could study his brain, find out the damage that a violent sport had done to him.

This is not to say that Junior Seau is Duerson, that somehow they are the same because they were football players and their lives took them to these lonely and brutal deaths. No one could ever say that with certainty, even if their lives brought them to this kind of moment with a gun.
But even one death like this is too many and now there is another one for an ex-football player and if there is no way of knowing at this time that Junior Seau, who came out of the University of Southern California to become one of the most famous defensive football players of his time, the Lawrence Taylor of the San Diego Chargers, was another ex-player suffering from some kind of traumatic brain injury.

But would anyone be surprised if he did suffer from that kind of injury? He played 20 years in the NFL. He had been taking shots to the head since he was a star high school player at Oceanside High School, and probably earlier than that. A big, fast, violent player in a violent sport. How many hits to the head is that, between Oceanside High and Junior Seau being found dead at his home in Oceanside yesterday morning?

Maybe it was something else with Junior Seau, maybe it is never just one thing. But now he is dead, at the age of 43. Another ex-football player shooting himself dead with his own gun. After all the cheering, in all the great stadiums of his sport, after being as big a star as there has ever been in San Diego, the last sound is the gun going off.

“We believe it was a suicide,” an Oceanside police lieutenant, Leonard Mata, said. “There is no indication of foul play.”

He played his game as hard as it could be played for longer than most defensive players have ever played it. Twenty years in the pros, and college before that, and high school football before that. Again: We don’t know if brain injuries brought Junior Seau to yesterday, but we know that he wasn’t just leading with his shoulder pads all those years.
Dr. William Focazio is the founder of Pain Alternatives, Solutions and Treatment, a group that treats retired NFL players and other former athletes. Focazio and his people do not only provide free medical testing and care, because they run into so many ex-athletes who are destitute, they are even likely to pay for travel and lodging when the athletes fly in to see them from out of town.

“Given the style that Seau played,” Focazio said Wednesday, “I’m sure he had head problems. We know that repeated hits lead to depression.”

And then Focazio said, “Nobody wants to give up their lives to play (football), but that is basically what they are being offered.”

Seau played with the Chargers until 2003, played with the Dolphins after that and finished up with the New England Patriots. The stats on him were easy to find after it came out that he was dead by his own hand on Wednesday, that he had 1,526 tackles in his career, and had 561/2 sacks and even intercepted 18 passes.

And there were less glittering parts of his resume, an arrest once because of an investigation into domestic violence against a girlfriend with whom he was sharing a home in Oceanside, the woman saying that Seau had assaulted her during an argument. A few hours after that, he went down a seaside cliff in an SUV and survived.

This was less than two years ago, and maybe the post-playing life of Junior Seau was starting down a cliff at the same time.

Finally it played out on Wednesday the way it did, the body of the greatest San Diego Charger of them all found with a gun beside him, that body finally loaded into a medical examiner’s van and taken away. The news stories out of Oceanside said that fans took pictures as the van pulled away.

This was the dark ending to such a bright, loud, colorful career, for the football player known as “Say Ow.” An ex-Falcon named Ray Easterling killed himself on April 19. So that is two suicides in two weeks for ex-NFL players. It feels like an epidemic. Maybe we will never get an answer about why it was Junior Seau this time. Or maybe we don’t have to get hit upside the head to know the answer already.


The Foggiest War

We don’t know the enemy. What’s worse: We don’t want to.

By Clifford D. May
May 3, 2012

The “fog of war” is a concept derived from the writings of Carl von Clausewitz, the great 19th-century Prussian military theorist who recognized that those leading troops into battle often lack data, perspective, and situational awareness. Enveloped within this “fog of uncertainty,” they may not know whether they are winning or losing, and they may take actions that weaken their position and strengthen their enemies.

Would Clausewitz not be fascinated by the war dominating the 21st century, a conflict so murky we can’t even agree on its name? Is it the “War on Terrorism” or the “Long War” or the “War Against al-Qaeda” or just “Overseas Contingency Operations”?

Over at Foggy Bottom — an apt nickname if ever there was one — an unnamed “senior State Department official” told National Journal’s Michael Hirsh that “the War on Terror is over.” He (or she?) elaborated: “Now that we have killed most of al-Qaeda, . . . people who once might have gone into al-Qaeda see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.” A White House spokesman later issued a “clarification”: “We absolutely have never said our war against al-Qaeda is over. We are prosecuting that war at an unprecedented pace.”

Both statements miss — if not the elephant in the room — the guerillas in the mist. Yes, Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes and many of his lieutenants have learned the hard way how accurate American-made unmanned aerial vehicles can be. But as Rand Corporation scholar Seth Jones recently noted, with “a handful of regimes teetering from the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda is pushing into the vacuum and riding a resurgent wave as its affiliates engage in a violent campaign of attacks across the Middle East and North Africa. . . . Al-Qaeda is regrouping.”

Nor have we defeated al-Qaeda’s many affiliates and allies. Among them: the Taliban, the Haqqani network, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

And, most significantly, there is Iran, which the State Department itself has for years designated as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s rulers do not think their war against “the world of arrogance” is over. And they have standing on this issue.

As for “legitimate Islamism,” that is meant to imply the Muslim Brotherhood — whose members may indeed believe that elections are preferable to violence as a path to power. But if the Brothers differ with the jihadis over means, they sing from the same hymnal when it comes to ends. Both believe in Islamic supremacy; both are committed to the establishment of Islamic hegemony over the Middle East and, eventually, well beyond; both seek the power to silence critics at home and abroad; both are engaged in persecuting religious minorities in “Muslim lands”; both are committed to the destruction of Israel, the only Middle Eastern nation not ruled by Muslims.

And, as Andrew C. McCarthy recounts in The Grand Jihad, American Muslim Brothers meeting in Philadelphia in 1991 produced an internal memorandum candidly proclaiming their mission: “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house.” Should we really be calling this “legitimate Islamism” — and should we really be comfortable with it?

There are those who predict that the Islamists taking power in Egypt and elsewhere will become pragmatic once they have to pay bills, fill potholes, and curry favor with voters. But that has not happened in Iran over the past 33 years — much as we’ve tried, from time to time, to convince ourselves such a transition was at hand. Nor has it happened in Pakistan and Turkey — both have become increasingly Islamized in recent years.

Others scholars — my friend and colleague Reuel Marc Gerecht prominent among them — argue that Islamism should be seen as a way station rather than a destination. They argue that Muslim-majority societies will learn soon enough that it’s not true that “Islam is the answer” to all the vexing questions of economic and societal organization. Once that happens, they predict, a process of liberalization and democratization will commence. But what is the basis for the belief that the Islamists will allow themselves to be voted out of power? Again, that’s not been possible for Iranians who, ample evidence suggests, long ago became disenchanted with theocracy.

That brings us to the most egregious way in which our thinking has been befogged. In 2009, President Obama visited Fort Hood to honor the 13 Americans massacred by Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army officer who proclaimed himself a “soldier of Allah.” The Americans who were gunned down, Obama said, “did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great state and the heart of this great American community. This is the fact that makes the tragedy even more painful, even more incomprehensible.”

Such incomprehensibility not only persists — it is being reinforced by official U.S. policy. Last week, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ordered all military schools to make sure they are not including “anti-Islamic themes” in training courses. Dempsey’s order prohibits instructors and guest lecturers from “advocating ideas, beliefs and actions that are . . . disrespectful of the Islamic religion.”

Imagine if, during the 1930s, the U.S. government had prohibited ideas, beliefs, and actions that might be seen as disrespectful of the German, Italian, and Japanese nations. What if, during the Cold War, there had been a ban against ideas, beliefs, and actions that could be seen as disrespectful of Russian culture — or of socialism since most socialists are not “violent extremists”?

To see through the fog of war, Clausewitz wrote, requires “a fine, piercing mind.” He probably took for granted that it also requires intellectual courage — something not often exhibited by Western leaders in the current era.

— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Today's Tune: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Listen To Her Heart (Live)

The path to bin Laden’s death didn’t start with Obama

By Jose A. Rodriguez Jr.

As we mark the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, President Obama deserves credit for making the right choice on taking out Public Enemy No. 1.

But his administration never would have had the opportunity to do the right thing had it not been for some extraordinary work during the George W. Bush administration. Much of that work has been denigrated by Obama as unproductive and contrary to American principles.

He is wrong on both counts.

Shortly after bin Laden met his maker last spring, courtesy of U.S. Special Forces and intelligence, the administration proudly announced that when Obama took office, getting bin Laden was made a top priority. Many of us who served in senior counterterrorism positions in the Bush administration were left muttering: “Gee, why didn’t we think of that?”

The truth is that getting bin Laden was the top counterterrorism objective for U.S. intelligence since well before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This administration built on work pain­stakingly pursued for many years before Obama was elected — and without this work, Obama administration officials never would have been in a position to authorize the strike on Abbottabad, Pakistan, that resulted in bin Laden’s overdue death.

In 2004, an al-Qaeda terrorist was captured trying to communicate with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terror organization’s operations in Iraq. That captured terrorist was taken to a secret CIA prison — or “black site” — where, initially, he was uncooperative. After being subjected to some “enhanced interrogation techniques” — techniques authorized by officials at the most senior levels of the U.S. government and that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel confirmed were consistent with U.S. law — the detainee became compliant. He was not one of the three al-Qaeda operatives who underwent waterboarding, the harshest of the hard measures.

Once this terrorist decided that non-cooperation was a non-starter, he told us many things — including that bin Laden had given up communicating via telephone, radio or Internet, and depended solely on a single courier who went by “Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.” At the time, I was chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. The fact that bin Laden was relying on a lone courier was a revelation that told me bin Laden had given up day-to-day control of his organization. You can’t run an operation as large, complex and ambitious as al-Qaeda by communicating only every few months. It also told me that capturing him would be even harder than we had thought.

Armed with the pseudonym of bin Laden’s courier, we pressed on. We asked other detainees in our custody if they had ever heard of “al-Kuwaiti.” Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, reacted in horror when he heard the name. He backed into his cell and vigorously denied ever hearing of the man. We later intercepted communications KSM sent to fellow detainees at the black site, in which he instructed them: “Tell them nothing about the courier!”

In 2005 another senior detainee, Abu Faraj al-Libi, told us that this courier had informed him that Libi had been selected to be al-Qaeda’s No. 3 official. Surely that kind of information is delivered only by highly placed individuals.

A couple of years later, after I became head of the National Clandestine Service, the CIA was able to discover the true name of the courier. Armed with that information, the agency worked relentlessly to locate that man. Finding him eventually led to tracking down and killing bin Laden.

With some trying to turn bin Laden’s death into a campaign talking point for Obama’s reelection, it is useful to remember that the trail to bin Laden started in a CIA black site — all of which Obama ordered closed, forever, on the second full day of his administration — and stemmed from information obtained from hardened terrorists who agreed to tell us some (but not all) of what they knew after undergoing harsh but legal interrogation methods. Obama banned those methods on Jan. 22, 2009.

This past weekend, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin attacked statements made in May 2011 by me, former CIA director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Michael Mukasey regarding what led to bin Laden’s death. They misunderstood and mischaracterized our positions.

No single tactic, technique or approach led to the successful operation against bin Laden. But those who suggest it was all a result of a fresh approach taken after Jan. 20, 2009, are mistaken.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

With 'Tyranny of Clichés,' Jonah Goldberg Delivers a Second Triumph

No one who writes for a living wouldn't want to be the person behind Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," which was not only a number-one New York Times' bestseller, but also a seminal publication in the growing canon of conservative-leaning books. What I would wish on no writer, however, is having to face the challenge and pressure of writing a follow-up to such a stunning debut. But with "The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas" (out today), not only has Goldberg (editor-at-large for National Review Online) avoided the sophomore slump -- in many ways he has an even bigger triumph on his hands.

Everything conservatives will be looking for is on every page of "Tyranny." Just as he did with "Liberal Fascism," Goldberg uses scholarly history, damning logic, pop culture, and laugh-out-loud humor to connect the dots that expose the Left as the vacuous, dishonest, State-addicted mercenaries they really are. But what sets "Tyranny" apart from its predecessor and, in my opinion, improves on it, is two things:

First, simply by its title alone, "Liberal Fascism" was red meat for the Right; a delicious, timely, page-turning balm in The Year Of Obama. As we were getting our electoral butts kicked in every corner of America -- as our worst political nightmares were impossibly coming true -- we could at least get under the covers and flick a flashlight onto Jonah's reassurance that we were right, dammit!

"Liberal Fascism" is ours and all ours, but to its credit, "Tyranny" is less so.

"Tyranny" isn't red meat as much as it's an argument. Yes, so was "Liberal Fascism," but that was a more pointed argument made from a somewhat belligerent posture (which I loved). "Tyranny," though, is something I would (and have) send to my Obama-loving, swing state-dwelling, left-wing mother. For years now, the two of us have fired books at one another in the hopes of persuading the other to see the light, and because Goldberg's theme is less about partisan politics than it is about intellectual honesty, I'm convinced it's going to be one of my more persuasive missives.

"Tyranny" isn't about ideology. Don't get me wrong, Goldberg still takes it to the Left, but liberalism (for very good reason) is merely the vehicle the author drives to explore the much bigger theme of how and why the left and their allies in media and academia have allowed political debate to devolve into cliché. The over-arching theme, however, is even bigger and speaks to conservative and liberal alike:




Unfortunately for the Left, they're the ones most guilty of failing in that department (don't worry, Republicans take a few well-deserved licks), but I can't imagine any reasonable liberal, like my mother, reading Goldberg's words and not only rethinking how they themselves argue, but also feeling a little unsettled and bamboozled by some of the arguments they've bought into. Which brings me to my second point:

In 2008, "Liberal Fascism" wasn't a weapon as much as it was educational comfort food for those of us suffering through the slow-motion, year-long train wreck that was hope and change -- and God bless every page of it. Things, though, are different in 2012, and thankfully "Tyranny" is perfectly calibrated for that difference and will therefore be an indispensible political weapon in this election, even if liberals choose to treat it like Kryptonite (Jon Stewart's already declined a rematch.)

Anyone paying attention to what's already happening in the 2012 presidential campaign knows that the left and their media allies intend to use every rhetorical trick at their disposal to avoid the discussion of Obama's failed record. "Tyranny" is like an instruction manual for countering this, and not just for the talking heads who debate the likes of David Gregory on NBC, but for anyone looking to pull a reasonable liberal or Reagan Democrat into daylight.

Trust me, their quick and lazy liberal "feel good" suddenly won't feel so good.

Chapter by entertaining and informative chapter, Goldberg methodically hits all the lazy buzz phrases and straw men we're familiar with (diversity, middle class, social justice, dissent). Better still, though, Goldberg drops the scales from our eyes (at least mine) with some that might've slipped past us (slippery slope, dogma, pragmatism). At the close of each chapter Goldberg's deconstruction is so scholarly and complete, no one who isn’t intentionally manipulating our language will ever hear this nonsense in the same way again. You're also loaded for bear the next time some Lefty tries to shut down debate by whipping out this age-old but admittedly effective arsenal (and shutting conservatives up -- the tyranny -- is a big factor in why these clichés were invented in the first place).
Let me back up just a moment to ensure I'm not misunderstood. There's nothing dated about "Tyranny." For as long as the Left uses rhetorical nonsense, Goldberg's book will be required reading -- which means "Tyranny" is and always will be a vital work. My point is that the timing of the release couldn't be better. In other words, you buy a copy, read it over the summer, and come out for the Labor Day presidential push much better prepared for what will be the key battle in this election: the verbal jiu-jitsu of lies we're about to have to cut through in order to persuade a few thousand independent voters to come our way (by the way, Goldberg gives the lauded political "center" a delicious shellacking).

But politics and elections and argument and debate aside, the primary reason to recommend "Tyranny" is The Writing. I should send Jonah a bill for the three yellow highlighters his prose cost me. Goldberg is not only the rare writer with a real voice (who makes you burst into laughter regularly), but his ability to persuasively bring together history and wit and quotes from "Animal House" into incredible packages of knowledge and insight makes "Tyranny" a page-turner you don't want to end.

"The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas" is available at

Obama's Chicago-Style Campaign

By Ed Lasky
May 1, 2012

Barack Obama has a take-no-prisoners approach when it comes to waging political campaigns. But perhaps he has taken a step too far this time around. Not content to attack his opponent, his campaign is going after his opponent's supporters. Kimberly Strassel, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, gives us one more reason not to vote for Barack Obama: he is a thug who has disgraced the office of the president of the United States by engaging in behavior more befitting of the dictator of a banana republic.

Strassel writes of the Obama's campaign's latest efforts to smear and attack donors to Mitt Romney. She projects what happens when one exercises one's right in a democracy to support a candidate:
[...] Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. His campaign brands you a Romney donor, shames you for "betting against America," and accuses you of having a "less-than-reputable" record. The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money. [...]

Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice.

Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules. This past week, one of his campaign websites posted an item entitled "Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney's donors." In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent. Describing the givers as all having "less-than-reputable records," the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that "quite a few" have also been "on the wrong side of the law" and profiting at "the expense of so many Americans." [...]

"We don't tolerate presidents or people of high power to do these things," says Theodore Olson, the former U.S. solicitor general. "When you have the power of the presidency -- the power of the IRS, the INS, the Justice Department, the DEA, the SEC -- what you have effectively done is put these guys' names up on 'Wanted' posters in government offices." [...]

He's targeted insurers, oil firms and Wall Street -- letting it be known that those who oppose his policies might face political or legislative retribution. He lectured the Supreme Court for giving companies more free speech and (falsely) accused the Chamber of Commerce of using foreign money to bankroll U.S. elections. The White House even ginned up an executive order (yet to be released) to require companies to list political donations as a condition of bidding for government contracts.
This is the sinister reason why the Obama campaign has repeatedly called on the Romney campaign to release the names of the latter's big donors. The Obama team needs to win not just by creating and attacking straw men and scapegoats; it needs flesh-and-blood villains as well. The richer the villain, the more tempting the target. The Obama campaign needs to conjure up plutocrats to further stoke the politics of rage that Barack Obama hopes will power him to re-election.

Hence, we have the focus on the Koch brothers, who have funded various conservative and libertarian causes (as well as medical research, art and cultural projects, and many other worthy causes) and candidates over the years. Recall that almost two years ago, President Obama singled out one of the groups the Kochs help fund, Americans for Prosperity, for special opprobrium. This was a signal to what some may characterize as the vast left-wing conspiracy to attack the Kochs. The New Yorker, supplied with material by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, went to work on the brothers. What was even more scandalous was that White House officials apparently had access to tax returns of the Kochs and their companies and used it as opposition research when meeting with journalists. Has any other president used the IRS for political purposes -- and what type of media backlash ensued then?

An Obama effort to shine the light on political donations is rich with hypocrisy. Barack Obama's own campaign disabled security measures on its donation page in ways that allow people to mask donors' identities and evade limits on how much individuals can donate to candidates. They did the same in 2008 (and one of the revelations was that Palestinians from Gaza were donating to his campaign; those donations were returned when exposed). George Soros and other billionaire sugar-daddies of the left have been funneling money to 527 groups, think-tanks, media outlets, and the like to bend politics in their direction in ways that meet no one's definition of transparency.

These efforts to intimidate donors to Republicans have borne fruit in the past. When it was revealed that Target donated $150,000 to a group that ran ads backing a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota who opposed same-sex marriage but who otherwise had a pro-growth agenda, a boycott effort began that led to Target halting its donations. Similar boycott threats (including ones led by Obama acolyte Van Jones) have dissuaded other companies from donating to such pro-growth groups as the American Legislative Exchange Council. In the latter case, charges of racism have been ginned up to discourage support for the group. The same potent weapon -- the charge of racism -- has also been used to compel financial institutions to make loans to unqualified borrowers; those loans came back to help devastate the American economy.

There was a reason why Barack Obama was so riled up by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which supported the right under the First Amendment of corporations to support political candidates. He and his supporters leveled spurious (and false) claims that foreign money would be used to fund political campaigns in America. Similar charges have been made against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce once that group began running ads questioning Barack Obama's agenda.
Clearly, Barack Obama wants to gut the Citizens United decision by other means. He views politics as a blood sport and believes in clearing the field of candidates so as to leave voters with no other choice but to support him.

Why should we be surprised by this type of thuggish behavior on the part of the president? He all but announced his modus operandi back in 2008 when he warned that his style of campaigning could be summed up by the maxim "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."

He had previously shown an inclination to use all methods, foul and fair, to win elections. The man who touts the need to register all potential voters (a policy taken to its extreme by his attorney general) felt free to disqualify a political opponent when he ran for the state senate in 1996 from being on the ballot by challenging signatures on his opponents' nominating petition. Obama's team, at Obama's direction, flooded the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners with complaints about the validity of the signatures on such petitions for every single one of his four challengers. Every single one, including a former political ally, Alice Palmer, was forced off the ballot. As David Jackson and Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune wrote:
Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.

But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.

A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.
But he was only warming up for more creative steps to win elections.

The history of Obama's later run to become a U.S. senator has been obscured, but those familiar with his career see signs that all was not on the up-and-up when it came to his 2004 primary and general campaigns. In the primary, he faced a formidable and well-funded opponent, Blair Hull, who was leading quite strongly in the polls until stories started appearing in the Chicago Tribune that Hull had physically abused his ex-wife. Although the provenance of these allegations was never made public by the Tribune, Obama's campaign strategist at the time (and who has kept his role over the years) was David Axelrod, who not only had spent years working at the paper, but had already known that Hull was vulnerable to such accusations. The exposure occurred right before the primary vote, leaving Hull no time to rebut the allegations and leaving no time for other candidates to emerge on the Democratic side to challenge Obama for the nomination.

In the general election, he faced Jack Ryan, a promising Republican candidate who had made a fortune in investment banking but gave up that career to teach in inner-city schools. Suddenly, the Chicago Tribune started a public campaign that he be forced to unseal and reveal his divorce records. They were sealed to protect his and his ex-wife's young children. Eventually, Jack Ryan was compelled to open them to public inspection. There were embarrassing tales of his sexual fantasies. Ryan was forced to leave the race. The hapless Republicans resorted to bringing in a carpetbagger, television personality Alan Keyes, to run against Obama. The next thing you know, Obama is a United States senator, having never faced a serious foe with a chance of winning.

Even when he was a freshly minted president, Obama could not resist taunting people he perceived to have slighted him. When the University of Arizona decided not to give him an honorary degree (considering it a premature honor), he warned that "[university] President Crow and the board of regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS." Inappropriate humor, perhaps, but it was revealing nonetheless of an unpleasant aspect of the president's character, especially given the fact that he was vastly expanding the audit staff at the agency. Was he ignorant of Richard Nixon's history of using the IRS as a weapon against his political adversaries or, for that matter, people who just offended him?

There have been other signs that Obama has brought Cook County politics into the already fetid swamp of D.C. politics.

He has routinely insulted and demeaned various groups and people during the last few years -- especially as the campaign seasons (in 2010 and now) have heated up.

He has practiced the politics of personal destruction in a way no other president has done in modern history. As political commentators have noted, he personalizes political differences. This leads him to unload heaps of scorn on those he perceives to be not just political adversaries, but blood enemies. He puts down those who rub him the wrong way (something very easy to do with thin-skinned people) in a very personal and public way (some examples listed in "President Put-Down" and "The Abuser In Chief"). Such behavior not only disgraces the office, but is certainly not conducive to compromise and to working across the aisle on issues important to Americans. Instead, as America has seen with ObamaCare and other actions, President Obama and his allies have resorted to all sorts of trickery to promote their agenda (czars, signing statements, executive orders, regulatory interpretations, and a raft of other items that have raised concerns over their constitutionality). These shady methods are also a betrayal of his promise to end "politics as usual" and to work in a bipartisan way -- promises made on the campaign trail that led many people to vote for him. But all of Obama's promises have an expiration date.

He has compiled and continues to compile an enemies list in a way that is reminiscent of Richard Nixon. Sometimes he likes to personally denounce and insult his "enemies" (Paul Ryan, John McCain). More often he outsources the wet work to others -- and not just his campaign staff.
Is it a coincidence that one of the few magazines Obama praises and says he reads is the New Yorker -- mentioned above? Under the leadership of David Remnick (who wrote a hagiographic biography of Barack Obama), the magazine has turned into an organ of Obama's re-election campaign. The periodical has published many unflattering articles on those considered to be Obama's "enemies." For example, Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee was subject to a hit-job article by then-New Yorker political columnist Ryan Lizza because, apparently, he "makes life difficult for Obama." How? Issa has been very busy investigating an administration he considers the most corrupt in history. Hence, he has certainly moved up in the rankings of Obama's enemies. Sheldon Adelson, billionaire political donor to Republicans and a man who has made it quite clear that he wants to see Barack Obama defeated, was also the subject of a scathing article in the New Yorker, and to top it off, that reliable adjunct to the Democratic National Committee joined the "fun" at Adelson's expense, revealing painful personal details of his life that had no possible bearing on his political activities and portrayed him in a very unflattering light.

George Soros-funded groups Media Matters and the Center for American Progress have been useful attack dogs fielded against those who oppose Barack Obama's agenda. Media Matters was recently enriched with additional money from Soros to take on Fox News. The Center for American Progress released a report that cherry-picked the people who were purportedly promoting "Islamophobia" in America. Not only did the "blacklist" include the names of these people, but it also made sure to identify many of them as also supporting Jewish or pro-Israel causes. In other words, this was a target list of "enemies of Islam." It is shameful that officials of this group routinely meet with Obama and other White House officials and that its former head once headed up Barack Obama's transitional team before he became president. The Center's current leader used to work in the Obama White House. This group -- that can fairly be accused of spreading anti-Semitism and inviting attacks on prominent Jews -- should be shunned and not embraced.

The coming months will see a campaign waged by Barack Obama that is a disgrace to the image of the presidency. There will be carpet-bombing attacks against not only Mitt Romney, but also his supporters. They will be considered not "collateral damage," but instead legitimate targets by Obama and company -- because everyone who does not support him is an "enemy." Who defines them as such? Barack Obama, when he told Hispanics that politics is about "rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies" (italics mine).

The hoi polloi that Barack Obama might characterize as "bitter clingers" are not slighted. The Obama campaign has plans for them, too. The campaign has asked its supporters to send them contact information on people they may know who do not support the president. The campaign would then have a list of people who oppose Barack Obama. What is next? Cameras in the voting booth?

Americans will witness a contest marked by smears, lies, and distortions. There will be more threats issued to those who have the temerity to oppose Barack Obama and support Mitt Romney. The right of Americans to free speech and the other rights given them under our Constitution will be under pressure.

The next two hundred days (like the last thousand) will be a blot on our history.
And one man is to blame.

Islamic ‘Death-Sex’ in Context

By Raymond Ibrahim
May 1, 2012

Aside from provoking shock, disgust, and denial, last week’s news of Egyptian parliamentarians trying to pass a “farewell intercourse” law legalizing sex with one’s wife up to six hours after she dies has yet to be fully appreciated.

To start, consider the ultimate source of this practice: it’s neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the Salafis; rather, as with most of Islam’s perversities—from adult breastfeeding to pedophilia marriage—Islamic necrophilia is traced to the fount of Islam, its prophet Muhammad, as found in a hadith (or tradition) that exists in no less than six of Islam’s classical reference texts, including Kanz al-‘Umal by Mutaqi al-Hindi and Al-Hujja fi Biyan al-Mahujja, an authoritative text on Sunni Doctrine, by Abu Qassim al-Asbahani.

According to this hadith, Muhammad took off his shirt and placed it on a dead woman and “lay” with her in the grave. The buriers proceeded to bury the corpse and the prophet with dirt, exclaiming, “O Prophet, we see you do a thing you never did with anyone else,” to which Muhammad responded: “I have dressed her in my shirt so that she may be dressed in heavenly robes, and I have laid with her in her grave so that the pressures of the grave [also known as Islam’s “torments of the grave”] may be alleviated from her.”

What was Muhammad saying and doing? Perhaps his magical shirt would transport the dead woman to heaven, and his blessed body would protect her from the “pressures of the grave”? A more cynical—a more human—reading is that he stripped his shirt as a natural step before copulating; that he precisely meant the act of sex would “alleviate” the pressures of death from the corpse; and that the observers covered them with dirt for privacy and/or for shame.

This interpretation is given much more weight when one considers that the secondary meaning for the word I translated above as “lay” is “intercourse”—further demonstrating that the proposed Egyptian law is, in fact, based on this hadith: after all, the Arabic word used for “intercourse” in the phrase “farewell intercourse” is the same word that Muhammad used to “lay” with the dead woman.
As if all this was not enough, one finds even more validation in Islam’s legal texts. For example, according to al-Sharwani’s Hawashi, “there is no punishment for having intercourse with a dead woman” and “it is not necessary to rewash the dead after penetration.”

Incidentally, this issue of “death-sex” far precedes Egyptian parliamentarians. In fact, I first wrote about this macabre topic back in 2009, based on an episode of Father Zakaria Botros, where he explored the perverse sexual habits of the prophet Muhammad (see here for summaries).

Interestingly, when that episode first aired, many Muslims were livid, denying the existence of the hadith, and renewing calls to assassinate the priest for trying to “defame” Islam: yet here it is, once again—only this time, the hadith is being passed into a “law,” further validating the existence and legitimacy of necrophilia in Islam.

Which leads to a final eye-opener: it is no longer this or that “radical” cleric, but parliament members who are, not merely acknowledging bizarre Islamic practices, but trying to implement them as “laws.” (Perhaps this should be unsurprising, considering weeks earlier in Egypt, suit-and-tie wearing Muslim court lawyers attacked with knives a Christian defendant for supposedly “blaspheming” Muhammad.)

What else do such “parliamentarians” and “lawyers” have in store for Egypt and its neighbors? If this little known, disgusting practice is being endorsed simply because of one arcane hadith, how much support must be given to those other ideas of Islam—for instance, Islam’s position on non-Muslims, whom Muhammad unequivocally condemned, ordered Muslims to fight and/or deceive in perpetuity, and to keep in a state of subjugation?

When it comes to Islam, it is high time for the West to learn to connect the dots.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Coach, the Biographer and the Last Chapter

The New York Times
April 30, 2012

Joe Paterno last November, shortly after Jerry Sandusky's arrest. More Photos »
(Richard Perry/The New York Times)

“This won’t be another book about X’s and O’s, will it?” Joe Paterno’s daughter Mary Kay asked.
Joe Posnanski, then a senior writer for Sports Illustrated who had done a flattering profile of Paterno for the magazine in 2009, was trying to persuade the famous Penn State football coach and his family to agree to cooperate in a full-blown biography. In his pitch to the family, Posnanski quickly identified one of their initial misgivings.

“This seemed to be the early worry of the people closest to Joe, that this would be another in the series of surface Joe Paterno books,” Posnanski wrote in a book proposal delivered to publishers, “that it would not delve deeply enough into what Joe means, the impact he has made on countless people and a college town in Pennsylvania and the game of football.”

In the proposal, Posnanski then emphatically, even ardently, tried to reassure the Paternos.

“This book, I told them, will have a few O’s, and almost no X’s,” wrote Posnanski, a product of Cleveland, a onetime columnist at The Kansas City Star and a writer with a self-confessed soft spot for sports greats of the past. “This book will tell the remarkable story about a man who could have been anything but decided that the best way he could help change America was one college football player at a time.”

Indeed, Posnanski promised, his proposed biography would be nothing less than “the most amazing football story ever told.”

Posnanski’s pitch worked. Paterno agreed, and Simon & Schuster paid Posnanski a reported $750,000 advance to produce the biography.

Of course, Paterno’s story ended with a couple of spectacularly unexpected chapters: last fall, a former top assistant was charged as a serial pedophile, and Paterno was fired for having failed to do more after being told in 2002 that the former assistant had molested a young boy in the showers of the Penn State football building. The former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, went on to molest more boys, prosecutors have charged.

Paterno, saying little about the matter publicly, was dead months later. He owned the record for most victories by a major college football coach, but to many, it seemed as if, very late in the game of life, he might have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Certainly, the jarring revelations, and Paterno’s exit as a consequence of what Penn State’s board of trustees deemed a failure of moral leadership, created warring camps among those left to debate Paterno’s legacy.

There was a chorus of furious critics who pilloried Paterno, saying he turned out to be just another big-time coach willing to place the interests of the football program over basic human decency. This camp had more to seize on when The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Paterno, again in contrast to his polished public image, had regularly over the years tried to intimidate university officials when his football players wound up in trouble or were arrested.

On the other side, there was an aggrieved, angry population of Paterno loyalists who charged that he had been made a scapegoat, that a lifetime of accomplishment and distinction had been cast aside by a lynch mob of self-serving university officials and a knee-jerk press corps.

Then, too, there was Posnanski, the Paterno believer and biographer faced with one of the more remarkable late-project twists to reckon with. Would he halt his project, or recalibrate its timetable to allow him to trace the fuller meaning, if there was fuller meaning, to the revelations and accusations concerning Paterno? Could there be more secrets? Or would the imperative be to publish sooner rather than later, to maximize the storm of notoriety? There are, after all, 550,000 living Penn State alumni, many of them, judging by their protests and letters to the editor, hungry to have the Paterno they thought they knew delivered back to them.

Posnanski, a near compulsive blogger and poster on Twitter, offered a kind of glimpse of his predicament soon after the initial revelations last fall. In a blog post for Sports Illustrated titled “Darkness,” he acknowledged that he was still trying to process the news.

“I came to State College to write about a real man,” he wrote. “I won’t tell you anything surprising: This terrible, evil story has made it harder. But I do buy into Tom Hanks’s line about baseball. It’s supposed to be hard.”

Posnanski, 45, has since moved on from Sports Illustrated and fallen largely silent on his biography. He would not be interviewed for this article.

One salient and sensitive question appears to have been settled by his publisher. Jonathan Karp, the publisher of Simon & Schuster, decided to move up the book’s publication date to late summer, in time for the start of football season, from Father’s Day 2013. “One of the reasons we accelerated is that there is so much more public interest,” Karp said. “Joe believes he can tell this story now — the pages I’ve read so far are superb.”

A book proposal, Karp stressed, “is a starting point,” noting that Posnanski has total editorial independence.

“I am confident this book will be the defining word,” Karp said. “He was far along in his work when all this happened.”

A Love of Sports and Metaphors

Posnanski’s challenge has been faced by scores of biographers before him, and several said in interviews that they could sympathize with his situation; it is part and parcel, they said, of doing meaningful research that you find out unpleasant and unknown episodes about your subject. Vince Lombardi had great difficulties with his family, for example.

Still, it is pretty unusual for a biographer to be forced to consider such a potentially significant and arresting discovery in the middle of the task at hand.

David Maraniss of The Washington Post, who has written acclaimed biographies of Bill Clinton and Lombardi, said that Posnanski had reached out to him as he started the Paterno biography. When the Penn State news broke, Maraniss said, “All I was doing was thinking: how is he going to deal with this?”

The question, Maraniss said, is how to integrate the final days into the story of a life. “Am I writing a biography or am I writing a book about a tragic ending?” he asked. “It is an incredible ending and frame for the book, but it is not the whole book. The worst thing you can do with a book of history or biography is put it in a temporal frame that will be overtaken, that captures a zeitgeist that will not last.”

Posnanski, whose first and deepest sports love has been baseball, is a model for a certain kind of modern sportswriter. He is as comfortable writing a stylized profile as he is dashing off a Twitter post to his more than 50,000 followers about the scene in a Las Vegas casino; he is also apt to cite arcane statistics to make a case for an underappreciated infielder.

But the history and majesty of sport assume a prime place in his writing — his first book was a sentimental attempt to follow a baseball season through the eyes of a different Kansas City star, the Negro leagues player Buck O’Neil.

In other words, Posnanski revels in sports for their own sake, but also eagerly plumbs them for metaphors for life. And certainly it was his fluency with the tools of metaphor-rich, sepia-toned sportswriting that helped him conceive and then land the Paterno biography.

First, there was his profile of Paterno, shortly after he arrived at Sports Illustrated in 2009, complete with the writerly conceit that the article was addressed to Paterno’s father, Angelo. In Posnanski’s hands, the elderly coach with the huge number of victories was depicted as a son trying to live up to the standards of his father. Paterno’s success, even in Angelo’s demanding terms, was evident in the profile, and was announced by the headline that appeared above it: “Joe Paterno Top of the World, Pa!”

Soon enough, there was the book proposal, a copy of which The New York Times obtained. It spoke of “the grand experiment” that Paterno carried out at Penn State by stressing academics and athletic success. But the pitch also spoke about sons and fathers. The biography would be about much more than sports for their own sake.

Elaborating on his conversations with Paterno, Posnanski wrote in the proposal: “He was told again and again that the story is not about a season or a game or a stolen moment behind the scenes. It is about a remarkable life and the many people who have been touched by it.”

When Paterno agreed, Posnanski shared the news with his readers. In a March 22, 2011, post titled simply “Announcement,” he wrote: “I cannot begin to describe how excited I am about this project. I am, as you could probably tell from my previous stories on the man, a huge fan and admirer of Joe’s. But even more than that I am endlessly fascinated by him and his lifelong quest to do something large, to impact America, through football. So writing about Joe, his triumphs, his struggles, his journey, well, it really is everything I’ve ever wanted to do as a writer.”

With the new demands of a book, would he be able to keep up the blogging and tweeting?
“I don’t think I’m the kind who can just disappear into a cave and emerge with a book” is how he answered his own question. And his blog was peppered with updates from the field — stories Paterno told, say, about recruiting against the N.F.L. legend Al Davis when Davis was the coach at the Citadel. Posnanski, only recently relocated to Charlotte, N.C., from the Kansas City area, described his daughters’ visit to State College, Pa., a k a Happy Valley, where he would be ensconced with Paterno and the family during the 2011 football season.

Then, on Nov. 5, a comment popped up on Posnanski’s blog — 30 deep, among heated arguments about the intentional walk. The commenter, Grulg, asked: “So Joe, while you are covering all things Penn State/Joe Paterno, have you any light to shed on the child molestation story about Mr. Curley there? pretty nasty stuff. Just curious.”

That day, Tim Curley, the Penn State athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business, were charged with perjury and failure to report to the authorities what they knew of the allegations against Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Paterno. Sandusky had been arrested that weekend.

Conflicted but Committed

As has become well known, Sandusky is accused of exploiting his charity in State College to befriend boys whom the authorities say he sexually assaulted. The most staggering allegation came from the Penn State quarterbacks coach, Mike McQueary, who told a grand jury that when he was a graduate assistant, he saw Sandusky rape a boy in the football building’s showers in 2002. Sandusky has denied the charges, and a trial is scheduled for June.

It was McQueary’s account that brought Paterno directly into the story. McQueary has testified that he told Paterno, complete with graphic detail, of the attack. He said he told Paterno in the coach’s home, at his breakfast table, the morning after the suspected rape.

Paterno, by his own testimony, never told the police. He never sought to inquire after the welfare of the boy. He never confronted Sandusky, a man he had known for more than three decades and who, while retired, had free run of the Penn State football facilities.

Instead, Paterno notified Curley, the athletic director, even waiting 24 hours to do that. Several days after Sandusky’s arrest, Paterno was fired. Paterno issued a statement at the time, saying he regretted not having done more and encouraging people to pray for Sandusky’s suspected victims.

In his nearly stream-of-conscious writings, Posnanski began to reveal the stress the developments had caused. “This story, for me at least, needs time,” he wrote in November. “This thing is so vile, so grotesque, that it is human nature to want everyone to pay. Innocent children were hurt, scarred, and as a parent, this is something so horrible that I cannot even think of a penalty harsh enough. There is no way to see this thing clearly now, not for me, anyway.”

His comments were immediately scrutinized for tone, and for what they didn’t say.
He wrote how he felt pressured to speak out against Paterno. “I know there are people who believe that I have a responsibility to write more, to have an opinion, to come out strong, I know this because many, many people have written to tell me that in no uncertain terms,” he wrote on his Sports Illustrated blog. “I respect their opinion. But I disagree with it. The way I see it: I have a responsibility to write the best, most insightful and most honest book I can possibly write about Joe Paterno. That’s what I signed up for. I’m not backing down from that because of this awful, evil situation. I’m also not walking away from a life and a man.”

A Biographer’s Obligation

Maraniss, and others, can appreciate the tension of the moment, and the obligation.
“In this case, the characteristics that turned people away from Paterno, from his seemingly glowing career, might have been characteristics that were there all along — not in a venal way,” Maraniss said. “That’s Joe’s challenge.”

In the case of Bill Clinton, Maraniss had already published his biography, “First in His Class,” before the Monica Lewinsky scandal nearly derailed Clinton’s second term. But he said that when the news broke, it conformed to his narrative of Clinton. “For me, it was an opportunity to explain what Clinton does — his endless cycle of loss and recovery,” Maraniss said. “The characteristics can be explained beyond sex.”

As for the opportunity to judge his subject, Maraniss, whose latest biography subject is President Obama, said: “I was asked all the time, did I like Clinton or not like him? And I would say, he is my character.”

Mark Kriegel, a sports columnist who has written biographies of Joe Namath and Pete Maravich, was more expansive. “I believe to do a biography, you need to love your subject, but you have to balance that passion,” he said. “On some level, you have to love your subject, you have to have the devotion to your subject’s flaws and virtues. You have to care enough to become obsessed with your subject’s flaws.”

Creating distance is important, too. “In some ways, that was easier for me with Namath, who didn’t cooperate,” Kriegel said.

While the episode was hardly as serious as the events surrounding the Penn State program, Kriegel recalled how he learned about Namath’s drunken encounter with an ESPN sideline reporter, Suzy Kolber.

“I had just handed in the manuscript, went out to dinner with my then-wife and saw my message light on my answering machine — we had answering machines then — blinking furiously,” he recalled. “ ‘Did you see what happened?’

“My first instinct was, I have to rewrite everything,” he said. “I wound up adding three-quarters, half a page. It had to go this way.”

Kriegel added that the episode “made it much more difficult, I suspect, for Namath to complain about all these scenes of alcohol and alcohol abuse.”

History or Myth?

Posnanski’s initial thoughts on Paterno and the scandal provoked an array of complaints. When Posnanski’s comments to a Penn State communications class about Paterno (yes, since 2008, there has been a class on Paterno at Penn State) defending the former coach leaked out via Twitter, he was held up to even more criticism.

It was that week that Posnanski appeared at his lowest moment, and he wrote that he was going “underground.”

“I have done something in the last week that I haven’t done in years,” he wrote Nov. 17. “I’ve unplugged. I have dropped off Twitter. I’m not on Facebook. I’m not scanning the Internet. And, as you may have noticed, I’m not posting on the blog.”

He lasted four days, but the point had been made. Posnanski again wrote about Paterno in January, shortly after Paterno died at 85. In that column, he presented Paterno’s final summing up: “It doesn’t matter what people think of me,” he told Posnanski. “I’ve lived my life. I just hope the truth comes out. And I hope the victims find peace.”

Also in that column, Posnanski contrasted Paterno’s “full life” with “a single, hazy event involving an alleged child molester.” That description of a “hazy” event again drew criticism. Since then, Posnanski has truly turned silent about Paterno.

In an interview last week with Dave Kindred of the National Sports Journalism Center, Posnanski said he hoped to finish the book by the end of April. He said the biography had become a “very, very different book,” in light of the startling final chapters of Paterno’s life.

“But in many ways, it’s still the same,” Posnanski said. “It’s still about his life — a life that changed dramatically at the end.”

David Garrow, a longtime history professor whose biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Bearing the Cross,” touched on King’s personal failings, said it was important to challenge your subject, even one as celebrated as King. “We are not in the business of being uplifting — that could be myth, but it ain’t history,” he said. “The lives of saints is not history, it’s myth. I think it is a far more powerfully inspiring story for readers to appreciate the inescapability of human imperfection than to spin myths.”

He recalled the final pages of “Bearing the Cross”: “One of the real fears I’ve always had is that people will think that King is different in kind than they are. If there is a moral purpose to history, it is conveying to people that humanity does not include perfection.”

Garrow said that from his casual following of the Penn State situation, he was much more intrigued by The Wall Street Journal article on Paterno’s intervention in academic discipline than by his reaction to the Sandusky case. The Journal article is “the foundational piece on my perspective (as an academic) on Paterno,” Garrow wrote in an e-mail.

But it is no surprise that Garrow would create his foundation in the administrative hallways, rather than, say, the football field.

Sports biographies are necessarily different from the work Garrow has produced. Although athletes and coaches often have rounded lives — whether as a humanitarian like Roberto Clemente, a trailblazer like Jackie Robinson, a strategic innovator like Lombardi — their celebrity is invariably linked to the performance on the field.

“All of us do that — confuse victory and virtue; after a winning streak we think, ‘He must be great, we must have been wrong about him,’ ” Kriegel said. “The Paterno character was less well regarded,” he said, when Penn State had a string of bad seasons, but “when they became contenders, that success becomes proof of his lasting moral standing.”

He added, “But that is something endemic to sportswriting.”

The Sports Illustrated profile that Posnanski wrote about Paterno — which laid the groundwork for the biography — appeared in 2009, when the Nittany Lions were coming off one 11-2 season and midway through another.

Posnanski is unabashed in looking to sports for qualities that can be in short supply in the rest of the world. In his final column for Sports Illustrated this month — he is leaving to write for a joint venture between Major League Baseball and USA Today — he wrote about the miraculous shot by Bubba Watson at the end of the Masters.
“He hit that crazy shot,” Posnanski wrote. “It did everything he had hoped — off the pine straw, around the corner, on the green, toward the hole, all as light faded at Augusta and the gallery at No. 10 went out of their minds. There was one guy there just jumping up and down over and over and over again. He looked like he would never stop. Bubba two-putted and put on the green jacket. As I said, this is personal. This is why every day I remind myself how lucky I am, how lucky I have been, how wonderful it has been to write for Sports Illustrated. This is what sports can do.”