Sunday, September 03, 2006

Midnight News -- 9/3/06

Hillary Clinton may back away from running for President. She is probably realizing she can't win the Presidential race without first winning her party's nomination, and that her exceptionally plotted steps towards the White House have not made her popular with the Democrat core of liberal-left voters. My sense is that they hate both her positions on the Iraq war and her phony, empty-suit personality. Not fertile ground for her to win their votes. The puffery that supports Clinton's fame can now be seen for what it is: great for winning safe seats like the Demcratic Senate seat for New York, and for maintaining a high profile amongst the nation's editorialists, but useless for actually winning a contested race.

An American has renounced of his home to join Osama Bin Laden in the caves of Afganistan. He suggests we all convert to Islam.

The nascent terror group that kidnapped two FOX News reporters has only just begun it's war on Jews and the West. They plan more assaults on non-Muslims: "'Any infidel blood will have no sanctity,' the group said in the statement." If they were American, they would be roundly denounced by all quarters; since they are Palestinians, their murderous hatred will be excused, forgiven, and even praised by many American leftists.

Russians riot against the presence of Chechen immigrants in their northern city after two Russians are killed in a Chechen restaurant.

A 24-year-old American basketball player for the Sydney Kings of Australia has been charged with rape.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hugo Ready To Throw A Tantrum

Venezuela will hold presidential elections on December 3, and the tyrannical Hugo Chavez is preparing to take action should his popularity continue to slip. Upon returning from his most recent overseas effort to build an anti-American alliance, he claimed that his opponents were preparing a coup d'etat.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he had uncovered a plot to topple his government, blaming his political opponents and calling them "lackeys" of the United States.

Chavez's mention Friday of a coup plot prompted whistles and shouts from thousands of supporters who filled the streets to welcome him home after a foreign tour in which China, Malaysia and Syria offered to support Venezuela's bid for a U.N. Security Council seat.

He called opposition presidential candidates "lackeys of U.S. imperialism."

His viciousness and his simpleminded attacks may betray his fear. As the article notes, his popularity has been polled at about 50%. This is ridiculously low for a man who has spent the better part of a decade destroying civil institutions and who has built an army of dependents reliant on his government's generosity.

His popularity may be even lower than 50%. From Publius Pundit:
But since the arrival of Zulia-state opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, an authentic democratic alternative from an independent part of the country not affiliated with the old guard Chavez unseated seven years ago, something has shifted the wind.

Suddenly, Chavez has lost those padded middle-region areas of support he had earlier and now seems to be down to the left-leaning hardcore ahead of December's presidential election. He's got only about 27% support now, and he may even lose that. So explains pollster Alfredo Keller, whom Daniel Duquenal at Venezuela News & Views assures us from experience is reliable. He's got all the details and some analysis of his own in this post here.

Chavez perhaps senses he might go the way Ferdinand Marcos should the election proceed, so he has begun to contrive a way to stop the election completely. That it may involve the unjust imprisonment of the opposition, or even their deaths, would not concern a man such as he.

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Mystery Surrounds Attack On National Guardsman

Pierce County, Washington police are investigating a brutal attack on a National Guardsman. The soldier, who was attacked while wearing his uniform, claims he was beaten by a group of anti-war thugs who called him a "baby-killer". A witness had cast doubt on the Guardman's testimony, that witness has now contradicted his own testimony and the police are back at "square one":

The witness told police he saw several men in uniform beat a man in civilian clothes, but later changed his account to back the guardsman.

Investigators said the witness's stories were inconsistent with the guardsman's, and they are back to "square one" in the investigation.

A story headlined "Witness Claims Guardsman Attack Not What It Seems", presumably referring to the witness above, has shown up on Google searches since the day the attack was reported, but the URL of the story turns up broken.

Bizarrely, the father of Jon Lester, a young and promising starting pitcher for the Red Sox recently diagnosed with cancer, is a sergeant with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

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Euro Terror News

14 people were arrested in England on suspicion they were plotting terror attacks. 12 were arrested at a "halal Chinese" restaurant in London:

The restaurant was full of people, including children, when around 40 police officers wearing riot gear raided it shortly after 2200 BST on Friday.

Diners were told they were being questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Each was asked to give their name and address, after which those arrested were taken away in handcuffs.

The police also investigated a plush Islamic school in rural England:
According to its website, for an annual fee of £900, the Jameah Islameah school provides its students with "an opportunity of a lifetime in the form of Islamic teacher training".

It continues that "these trained individuals will then be qualified enough to teach in local Masajeds and Madares".

The school was formerly a convent: fools rush in where angels abandon their treading.
Last weekend it emerged that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza booked a weekend for him and his followers at the school after he saw an advert for the retreat in a London mosque.

Bilal Patel, the school's imam, said he was immediately worried about Hamza's behaviour and on what impact the sight of the cleric and his 15 followers would have on the neighbours.

In Germany, investigators have concluded that the men arrested in a train bombing plot were motivated to kill innocent westerners by the Mohammed cartoons:
The publication of caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammed was the trigger for a failed attempt to bomb passenger trains in Germany, police have concluded.

One of the main suspects, Youssef Mohammed el Hajdib, who was arrested in Germany on August 16, "interpreted (the cartoons) as an insult to Islam by the western world," Joerg Ziercke, the director of Germany's federal police, told Focus magazine in an interview to be published on Monday.

He and the other main suspect in the failed plot, Jihad Hamad, who was arrested in Lebanon on August 24, were also influenced by the killing of the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in June, the police chief said.

How ignorant they are to understand the actions of one magazine from a small country as the action of the entire western world. What brittle weaklings they are to be so offended by cartoons.

Back in England, life is becoming increasingly dangerous for Jews.
On Thursday an all-party parliamentary inquiry will state that anti-Semitic violence has become endemic in Britain, both on the streets and university campuses. The report will call for urgent action from the Government, the police and educational establishments.

The religion of peace is behind many of the attacks:
Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, said: "In July, when the conflict in Lebanon began, we received reports of 92 incidents, which was the third-worst month since records began in 1984." In 2000 the monthly average was between 10 and 30 incidents.


The July incidents "were more dispersed than usual", Mr Gardner said. "It is usually a small number responsible for a large number of attacks, but these were very widespread across the country and included graffiti attacks on synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow."

The attackers, when visible, are from across society, he said. "When it's verbal abuse, it's just ordinary people in the street, from middle-class women to working-class men. All colours and backgrounds. We hardly ever see incidents involving the classic neo-Nazi skinhead. Muslims are over-represented."

The British elite, and the American elite as well, need to explain how it was they could ever believe that multi-culturalism is beneficial. All it seems to do is provide a cover for people who want to bully, tyrannize, and kill.

Midnight News -- 9/2/06

The Mexican left has decided to cast aside one of their country's greatest political traditions to protest an election that no one but them believes was corrupt. Current Mexican president Vincente Fox was literally left to fume in the wings as leftist legislators threw a tantrum that prevented him from giving his annual state of the nation address. He instead presented the legislature with a copy of his speech and gave the address on television.Exploiting the fact that only 9% of the polling places were reviewed, they hope to prevent the Mexican public from noticing that the Mexican electoral court completely rejected all of their claims of electoral wrongdoing.

Democrats and liberals seem all too gleeful over the extent of sectarian violence in Iraq, where about 3,000 Iraqis have died each month. The end result for America needs to be a stable Iraq; the end result for Democrats is to have their party control the White House and Congress. When they are willing to sacrifice votes to have the former, I may be willing to tolerate the latter. I see no evidence that they are actually interested in preventing a civil war in Iraq. The report that has them so exicted is here.

Kofi Annan would like us to believe that Syria, which has already decided to build a Hezbollah-like force in the Golan Heights, is interested in peace and the security of Israel. Annan can't leave the U.N. fast enough.

A Japanese corporation may be responsible for helping North Korea and Iran develop nuclear weapons.

In the Bihar province of India, suspected criminals are regularly lynched. "Jagender Prasad, a businessman, said: 'People are fed up with growing lawlessness and rising crimes. As the police do little to curb the crimes, they (people) have started punishing the criminals.'" Whether we wish to admit it or not, this is democracy in action: the state having abdicated, the people become the state.

The IRS made a mistake on its taxes, and should be forced to pay a penalty. The penalty should be precisely the amount of the refunds mistakenly awarded American taxpayers.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes

People have been using the term Islamofascist since 9/11. In my opinion, this is as accurate as the phrase German fascist, indicating a mixture of the peculiar traits of a national culture with the peculiar traits of fascist ideology. Now that Donald Rumsfield and George Bush have used the term to describe the threat we face from Iran and other Muslimn states, the term is considered politically incorrect, and various groups not concerned with the persistence of American values are trying to shame us away from the word.

That the word is accurate can be proven not only be correctly defining Islam as type of nation -- the umma, after all, is a national community -- and correctly identifying the traits of fascistic Islamic movements. It is also proven by the actions of those who wish us to stop using the word. By controlling the language, they wish to control our right to resist their incessant demands.

In Rosemont, Illinois, just outside Chicago and near O'Hare airport as well as my office, the Islamic Society of North America is holding a convention. Its newly elected female leader, Ingrid Mattson, is one of those people trying to purge "Islamofascist" from our vocabulary:

"But I think that when we then bestow that term upon them we only make the situation worse and somehow give validity to their claims which we need to deny and reject," she said at the opening of the group's 43rd annual convention.

To a point, she has a point. The terrorists to which she refers do claim authority over all Muslims, and it is perhaps wrong to indulge their claim by appearing to acknowledge its validity. To her credit, her demand we stop using the word is put in practical terms, and is free of the whiny victimhood that usually accompanies such demands.

However, to use a different word would be false. The Islamic community, as I noted, is a nation, perhaps even more than it is a religion. The terrorist movements within that nation are fascist in nature. To demand we ignore this fact is to demand we ignore reality. This perhaps is her real goal. It would make the demands her organization no doubt wishes to make on the rest of us more palatable. (For the record, I would say that any ethnic or religious group intends to make such demands, and that this is not peculiar to Islamic groups.)

I would be inclined to sympathize with her, were it not for the fact her group has invited a true totalitarian to speak to their assembly, with no acknowledgment whatever of the evil he represents:
The Islamic Society drew its own fire for inviting former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who is expected to address the convention Saturday.

"Khatami ... behaved as an enemy of America and our most cherished values," said Jay Tcath, vice president of the Chicago Jewish Federation in a statement. "It is disturbing that any American organization would honor him by providing such an important platform."

Tcath said American Jews remember "the egregious 1999 imprisonment and circus trial of 13 Iranian Jews on trumped-up charges of espionage for Israel," which happened under Khatami's presidency.

Mattson said the group hopes to show Khatami "how the American Muslim community has dealt with issues of religious freedom and tolerance and perhaps he can carry some of that message back."

Khatami, whose receipt of a visa was announced this week by the State Department, also plans to attend a U.N. conference in New York and to speak on religion's role in promoting peace at the Washington National Cathedral during his trip to the United States.

The persecution of minorities in general and Jews in particular on trumped up charges of treason is a hallmark of a fascist state. Iran is also an Islamic state, in fact referring to itself as the Islamic republic. If Mattson wishes to purge our language of the useful and descriptive term Islamofascist, she will have to stop indulging real Islamofascists herself.

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A Few Good Jihadis

An appeals court handed down a decision affecting the ocnviction of a group of American jihadis who attempted to fight for the Taliban in 2001, after 9/11. The convictions were upheld, and one case was referred back to the district court because his sentence was too light. The decision, available here as a PDF, is fascinating for two reasons.

First, laying out the facts behind the charges, we can see the cultishness and self-absorption of conservative Islam.

Between 1999 and September 11, 2001, Khan, Chapman and Hammad [the appellants] attended the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia where Ali Timimi ("Timimi"), a primary lecturer, spoke of the necessity to engage in violent jihad1 against the enemies of Islam and the "end of time" battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. Several of the attendees, including Chapman and Hammad, organized a group to engage in activities in preparation for jihad. (pg 4)

Right next door to the Capital, while we were all obsessing over stained dresses, a group was indulging in end times fantasies. Earlier in the Clinton administration, a similarly Armageddon minded group was treated to a siege.
In the spring of 2000, members of the group began simulating combat through paintball exercises and practices at firing ranges. By early summer, the group was meeting every other weekend. Chapman, Hammad, and others brought AK-47 style rifles to paintball training and also practiced marksmanship. Members were required to follow three rules: don't tell anyone, don't bring anyone, and invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if questioned by the police. pg 4)

Not unlike the 9/11 hijackers attending at flight school, they took advantage of a mundane recreational activity to plot violence against us. The appellate judge did not buy their arguments that their little paintball sessions were merely recreational.

What's a little disappointing is that the FBI was aware of their paintball activities in 2000, but did nothing about the appellants. This is after one of them had traveled to Pakistan, joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), and fired on Indian positions in Kashmir.

9/11 galvanized the appellants. Timmini argued that the attacks should not be condemned. He was thereafter turned out of the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center and tapes of his speeches destroyed. Shortly thereafter, the appellants decided to travel to Pakistan to make their way to join the Taliban. They failed to do so, and although they spent time in Pakistan's terror training camps, they eventually returned to the U.S. They were not arrested and charged until 2003.

The second interesting aspect of the decision is how cowardly and weak these men appear now that they are faced with punishment for their crimes. It may be that their actions and arguments are solely an attempt to manipulate the legal system, and that they don't really believe what their lawyers are saying. But it is also possible that they are, deep down, rats scurrying from a fire.

First, one of the conspirators turned on the others.
Caliph told the FBI that paintball was used for jihad training and that the reason the trainees had acquired AK-47-style rifles was that they were the type of weapon used overseas. When Hammad learned of the admissions, he called a colleague with the "bad news" that Caliph had "cracked."

Later, they made utterly preposterous arguments for their innocence. One of them attempted to challenge the finding that he knew that LET was engaged in violent jihad by saying that although he provided material support to them, he never learned the nature of LET as an organization. The court did not indulge this argument:
The evidence reflects that LET broadly disseminated its goals for the destruction of India, America, and Israel on its web site and elsewhere. Khan was personally acquainted with Singh, an LET official, whom he assisted in purchasing paramilitary equipment. Even if Khan remained unaware of the nature of LET's activities before training in its camps, he was certainly aware of it by the time he returned to them after leaving temporarily because the LET camps were full of descriptions of LET's violent exploits. (pg 11)

Another attempted to argue that the group's paintball exercises had nothing to do with training to fight for the Taliban.
This assertion, however, is belied by the record. Ample evidence demonstrates that Hammad continued to train people in his paintball group after he learned that some members of the group were going to work with LET in the fight against India. In light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the district court expressly declined to "credit [Hammad's] testimony that paintball was strictly for recreation and physical fitness." J.A. 3207. We conclude that sufficient evidence supports Hammad's conviction for knowingly providing material support to LET in the form of trained personnel. (pg 15)

These appellants are no different than the members of a criminal gang. Once caught, once challenged, they give up on their cause and start looking out for themselves. Timmini, their spiritual leader, had told them that only cowards would turn from war against the U.S. Eventually, these men turned.

The case should also serve as a reminder to all of us of the importance of allowing law enforcement to pursue cases like this. The court does not provide detail in this decision as to why the FBI zeroed in on these jihadis in 2003. Since they had ties to LET overseas, and had provided LET material support, we can speculate that the NSA surveillance program might have intercepted some of their communications.

If that's the case, then thank God the New York Times editors hadn't turned on us earlier. Who knows what this bunch might have gotten up to if they hadn't been caught.

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John Travolta Really Likes This Dude

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

How this will go over with the infamously anti-gay "church" of scientology I have no idea. I suppose their legion of attorneys can come up with some way of spinning this photo, but I can't see anyone really buying it. It's probably best they just start with the lawsuits and bully the tabloid that ran with this story into a retraction.

Come to think of it, I should probably call my lawyer.

Via Wuzzadem.

Jon Lester Has Cancer

22-year-old Red Sox starter Jon Lester has been diagnosed with cancer and will start treatment immediately:

Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester has been diagnosed with a treatable form lymph node cancer.

The Red Sox made the announcement on behalf of Lester's family shortly after 6 p.m. ET on Friday.

The specific condition is known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and Lester is expected to begin treatment within the coming week.

"Jon and his family wish to thank all those involved in his care at Massachusetts General Hospital," the family said through a statement. "Our gratitude also extends to the Red Sox organization, which has provided Jon and his family much needed support during this ordeal.

"We ask that you respect our need for privacy during this difficult time."

Lester, in his first Major League season, is 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts for the Red Sox.

Let's all pray he enjoys a speedy recovery.

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Pipe Bomb At Chicago Commuter Train Station

Once again, we must parse the euphemism and denial surrounding a possible terror attack. A pipe bomb was set off at a suburban Chicago Metra station:

A man is in police custody after allegedly putting a pipe bomb in a trash receptacle at a Metra train station this morning in west suburban Hinsdale, authorities said.

The device went off, but no injuries were reported. Nor was damage extensive. Remnants of the device were found in the Hinsdale Station, 21 E. Hinsdale Ave., around 7 a.m.

"At this time we do not have any reason to believe this was a terrorist act, nor do we have any reason for this act," Hinsdale police said in a prepared statement.

It's too soon to say what this is all about, and probably too soon to jump all over the police and reporters for not telling the whole story. However, I'm not going to hold my breath that this will be the day that law enforcement officers and journalists decide that the public is capable of hearing all the facts, should those facts prove politically incorrect.

Here's a Google map of the location.

The Chicago Tribune story above describes the suspect thusly:
A witness saw the suspect, described as a tall and skinny 20-year-old man, put an item in the garbage can, Hinsdale police said. The suspect then got on the 6:56 a.m. or 7:04 a.m. Metra train heading to Chicago.

CBS2Chicago adds the detail of his race:
The suspect was described as "tall and skinny," a black man about 20, according to the release, which said authorities did not believe this to be an act of terrorism.

The bomb did not disrupt Metra traffic at all.

UPDATE: But wait! There's more! From an updated version of the Tribune article:
A pipe bomb exploded in a trash receptacle at a Metra train station in Hinsdale today and, in a separate incident, passengers evacuated a train in Park Ridge after detecting a strange odor, authorities said.


Meanwhile, in northwest suburban Park Ridge, authorities sent bomb-sniffing dogs onto a Metra train following reports of an unidentified chemical smell aboard the train.

The strong odor was reported on train No. 638, which was traveling toward the Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago around 10 a.m. near the Dee Road Station, at 881 N. Dee Rd., authorities said.

I used to pass that station on my commute everyday. It was just rebuilt. There's no word on what caused the smell, but this incident did delay the trains about an hour.

Metra spokeswoman, Meg Reile claimed the two incidents were unrelated. That statement may be true, but so far has not been justified by any fact whatsoever.

UPDATE 2: The latest version of the story states the man arrested originally has been released. Here's reassuring bit of information:
[Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley] Bloom said the department has not ruled that man out — or anyone else — but said police don't have a good description of who may have left the bomb. There are no security cameras at the station, and nobody actually saw anyone place the bomb into the trashcan, he said.

They might consider installing some cameras, maybe a few of those red light cameras that have proven so lucrative for so many communities. There must be a few that can be spared. Chicago is not entirely dissimilar a target from London, Mumbai, or Madrid.
Still, the device was more sophisticated than some - it had a timer that allowed it to have a delayed detonation, authorities said.

"We're a little concerned, because it was a somewhat sophisticated device," Bloom said, referring to the timer. "And it was just inside the door (of the station)."

This is what concerns me: a timer suggests great sophistication, even if the bomb itself does not. It makes the pipe bomb story worth paying attention to.

And it makes the perfunctory declarations that this event has nothing to do with terrorism somewhat less than believable.

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Thomas Klocek On Constitutional Public Radio Today

DePaul professor Thomas Klocek will be on Constituional Public Radio this afternoon -- 3:05 pm CDT. Marathon Pundit has the rundown of the show, some other guests, and some links of interest to those who have been following the Klocek affair.

For any parent of a high school junior who might be considering applying to DePaul, here's a quick reference guide to the school:

Professor Thomas Klocek: fired under false pretenses because he refused to bow down to radical pro-Palestinian students.

Professor Norman Finklestein: not fired despite saying things like, "I say this without fear: for those who believe in freedom and dignity, we are all Hizbullah now."

If your kid ends up going to DePaul, now you know why he or she comes back a little deranged.

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Midnight News -- 9/1/06

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has stirred a controversy by asking immigrant groups to learn English, adopt Australian values, and cast aside primitive treatment of women. Naturally, the head of the Government's Islamic advisory committee is suggesting that Howard tone down his remarks lest another race riot break out. Blackmail is blackmail in any language.

Thanks to Typhoon Ioke, the world has one less island.

It's hard for a Florida Democrat to be politically correct when voting in that state's gubernatorial primary. They suffer a choice between coldblooded, law-and-order racism and a tool of the corporate elite. You'll forgive me if I don't shed a tear for them.

It is good to be a shareholder in Lockheed Martin this morning.

Munch's "Scream", uncharacteristically silent when stolen two years ago, has been recovered.