Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy (A Follow-Up)

This article is a follow-up to the article I posted yesterday that pointed out the fallacy of investing in biofuels and believing that they will help solve our energy problem. We must face facts in order to solve our energy problems - not chase after windmills.

Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy
Posted 10/27/2006

Energy: Bill Clinton's back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. "If Brazil can do it, so can we," he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil's need for foreign oil. Once again, he's telling whoppers.

Brazil did achieve independence from foreign oil all right. It happened this past April. But Clinton, true to form, doesn't quite recall the critical point showing how it was done.

Here's a clue for the semi-retired former president and policy wonk: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva didn't celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field.

No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil's vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil's oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil

Which is the very thing Clinton, in his Proposition 87 television ads, seeks to pile taxes on.

Clinton is hawking the idea that taxing offshore oil drilling companies, from 1% to 6% — a 600% hike for some — and then turning the spoils into a new government bureaucracy for ethanol development is the way to end California's dependence on imported oil.

"Imagine if we stop being dependent on foreign oil. Brazil did it. They made a simple switch to their cars. Switched to ethanol, grown from their own crops. And it's 33% cheaper than gas," Clinton said, neglecting one key detail: cars must use three times as much ethanol as gas.

"With Proposition 87, we can switch to cleaner fuels, wind and solar power," he says in a political ad, "and free ourselves from foreign oil. If Brazil can do it, so can California."

But as a matter of fact, that's not what Brazil did.
It launched a crash program of offshore oil drilling in the late 1990s, working with a Manhattan Project-like determination to develop its own natural resources.

In 1997, Brazil opened its oil sector to foreign competition, encouraging companies like Royal Dutch Shell to explore and drill for oil in its offshore waters for the first time. It offered incentives — like tax cuts. It also turned its inefficient state oil company, Petrobras, into a for-profit company run like a real business instead of a government cash cow, forcing it to compete on an international-standard level. In short, it got out of the way.

Net result, lots more oil for Brazil — enough to enable the once-oil-dependent country to actually export some, all from fewer energy reserves than the U.S.
Brazil's new P-50 rig has boosted output to an average 1.9 million barrels of oil a day, a bit more than the 1.85 million Brazil consumes.

By contrast, ethanol output in Brazil, the world's biggest producer, is only a small share of its energy consumption.

Last year, the country squeezed out just 282,000 barrels a day mostly using sugar, a more efficient and clean-burning energy source than the corn-based stuff produced in the U.S. But sugar-based ethanol still isn't as efficient as gasoline.

Not surprisingly, Brazil's ethanol production began as a big government project in 1975, curiously similar to what Clinton is touting. It was run by the military junta, and was costly — the junta pumped in about $16 billion in loans and price supports to sugar companies over two decades. The output still was meager.

Ethanol output didn't take off until government fetters were lifted in 1989 and the market was free to develop it without government involvement. It became a far more viable energy source after that.

Clinton has had a long history of raising political funds from agri-biz giants — like Archer Daniels Midland — interested in government contracts. As Brazil's example shows, taxing oil to subsidize ag firms is exactly the wrong way to produce ethanol — or oil. If Clinton were really sincere about ethanol itself, he'd be lobbying for an end to tariffs on cheap ethanol from Brazil.

But it looks like he'd rather repeat Brazil's decades of energy mistakes instead of cutting to the real reason for Brazil's success: its decision to drill offshore for oil. Investor's Business Daily

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Again, Biofuels Are a Foolish Diversion

Awhile back I posted a column pointing out that we Americans and Congress, in particular, are making a terrible mistake by encouraging the development of biofuels and by placing severe restrictions on domestic oil drilling. Ethanol and other biofuels can never supply more than a tiny fraction of our fuel needs, and we will continue to be largely dependent on Middle East oil for the foreseeable future if we do not resume extensive drilling and also start building lots of the new, safe, PBR nuclear plants.

I noticed the following column about ethanol that appeared in the Providence Journal that again states the case against biofuels:

J. Allen Wampler: Where we must drill -- Don't let ethanol blind us to crude


IF EVER THERE WAS A SYMBOL of hope clashing with reality, it is the much-publicized goal of producing ethanol at a price cheaper than gasoline. Despite generous federal and state subsidies, a mass market for ethanol does not exist, because it's too expensive and it delivers about 30 percent fewer miles per gallon than does gasoline.

But thanks to a mandate from Congress, the market for ethanol is about to expand, and consumers will be digging deeper into their pockets to pay the bill. An estimated 5.1 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended with gasoline this year, up from 4.2 billion gallons in 2005, and the amount will rise every year to at least 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Now some politicians want to push production still higher, in the mistaken belief that the United States should emulate Brazil's heavily subsidized ethanol program -- even though if it weren't for subsidies, the ethanol industry would cease to exist.

Ethanol mandates and subsidies are almost certainly contributing to higher gasoline prices. At 51 cents per gallon of ethanol, the federal subsidy comes to billions of tax dollars that wind up each year in the hands of the ethanol producers. And 14 states, mainly in the Corn Belt, also provide subsidies for ethanol production.

While blending ethanol with gasoline could extend gasoline supplies well into the future, the question is: At what cost to the consumer and taxpayer?

We know that ethanol isn't cheap. Consider how it's made. Large amounts of oil and natural gas are used to make fertilizers and pesticides for growing corn and to run the farm machinery and irrigation systems. Carrying the corn to ethanol plants requires fuel. There, the corn needs to be ground up, mixed with water, and fermented. Then a mixture of about 8-percent ethanol must be distilled, again and again, until it becomes almost pure ethanol.

If you add up all the steps in the process -- oil to run tractors, natural gas to heat the fermented corn, and fuel to carry the ethanol by truck or train to refineries -- it takes almost as much energy to produce ethanol as provided by the fuel itself, according to a study by Argonne National Laboratory.

So now biofuels advocates propose that the United States produce ethanol from sugar cane, since sugar-cane-based ethanol yields more energy than corn-based ethanol. It's ethanol, they say, that has let Brazil become energy-independent.

They are wrong. Brazil achieved energy independence mainly through increased production of crude oil. The fact is, in 2004-05 the jump in Brazil's crude-oil production was nine times larger than its increase in ethanol production, and it was four times larger between 2000 and 2005. By the end of this year, Brazil's crude-oil production is expected to reach 2 million barrels a day, which will be more than enough to cover its daily consumption of 1.8 million barrels. And the country has announced plans to raise oil production to 2.3 million barrels a day by 2010.

The irony is that the United States produces more ethanol than Brazil does. Brazil's ethanol program has not been the unqualified success that one would think from all the hoopla. In truth, for 30 years Brazil has relied on command-and-control policies to force the use of ethanol, but the effect of the policies has been to reduce flexibility in fuel markets and produce ethanol shortages.

Such problems mounted to the point at which the Brazilian government recently cut the ethanol content of gasoline to 20 percent, from a longstanding 25 percent, and announced that the rule would stick for the foreseeable future.

It would be an unwise and unnecessary move for the United States to launch an ethanol program patterned after the one in Brazil, even if large quantities of sugar cane could be grown in this country. It becomes even more unwise given that ethanol is a costly pork-barrel monster.

Here's what we should be doing: If we want to reduce our dependence on imported oil, the more sensible thing to do is open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the mountainous West, and the Outer Continental Shelf to oil exploration and production.

The Interior Department estimates that the coastal waters off the lower 48 states contain 59 billion barrels of oil -- enough to maintain the current level of oil production for 105 years. And there's plenty more oil and gas on land.

That's right: The oil is right under our nose. But it's in places that are restricted or off-limits. Not to tap it is absurd.

J. Allen Wampler, a consultant to business on energy matters, was assistant energy secretary in the Reagan administration.

Shortly after this column was written a huge discovery of oil was found in our area of the Gulf of Mexico that may eventually add 50% to our oil reserves.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Florida Voting and Some Questions on the Election

My area of Florida has a wonderful early voting system in place, and I was able to vote the other day. I had to present my driver’s license, thus preventing voter fraud so prevalent in some areas, and I voted using a touch-screen computerized machine. The early voting system meant no lines, and the whole process took about 5-10 minutes – even with several lengthy amendments to consider. I was very pleased that Florida has a constitutional amendment on the ballot that should end using eminent domain to take private property to turn over to other private owners – a horrendous practice now legal since the US Supreme Court rendered its Kelo v. New London decision. I certainly voted for it, and I hope it passes.

My thoughts turned to the following points as I voted Republican across the board: if Congress or the president were Democrat,

1. would a 700 mile fence on the southern border have been approved?

2. would the Dept. of Homeland Security have been directed to stop all illegal immigration by land and sea within 18 months?

3. would Justices Alito and Roberts have been named and confirmed?

4. would the interception of communications by foreign Al Qaeda have stopped the plan to blow up 10 transatlantic jets from England to the US?

5. would banking transactions by Al Qaeda be tracked?

6. would the rights of US citizens have been given to foreign terrorists?

7. would tax cuts have pulled us out of both the Clinton recession and the 9/11 recession – leading to low unemployment, low inflation and high growth?

8. since Gerry Studds had actual sex with a minor and stayed a Democrat in a Democrat Congress for 13 years, would Mark Foley have been told to resign for online sex?

9. and, as for Iraq, would we be able to see this video ?

And if you are an Evangelical Christian and are disappointed that you didn’t get everything you wanted recently, consider the following:

“Justice John Paul Stevens is 86. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 73. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are both 70. Justice Stephen Breyer is 68. Justice David Souter is 67.

Senators elected in November will be casting votes on replacements for how many of these six justices during their six year terms? It is in the realm of possibility that all six will retire in the next half-dozen years, and a near certainty that more than one will.” Hugh Hewitt

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

An Admission from the Traitorous NY Times

The NY Times, which has revealed some of the nation’s most crucial secrets (including the surveillance of foreign Al Qaeda communications with domestic accomplices, and the SWIFT program that traces bank transactions of foreign terrorists) now opines that maybe it shouldn’t have revealed the SWIFT program to the world. The Public Editor of the Times (sort of an ombudsman) said yesterday:

“Since the job of public editor requires me to probe and question the published work and wisdom of Times journalists, there’s a special responsibility for me to acknowledge my own flawed assessments.

My July 2 column strongly supported The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.” New York Times

Thanks a lot for this admission, NY Times, I still want your company and its management prosecuted for treason, I want your owners in jail and your buildings locked and empty. I wonder how many Americans will die because of the defenses you have destroyed.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shut Up, You Right Wing Extremist Nut

There have been many articles lately about attempts by those on the left to silence their opponents. Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe, Peggy Noonan at the Opinion Journal and Victor Davis Hanson at Real Clear Politics, to name three such journalists, claim that the problem that exists is that liberals have been out of office for so long that they have become increasingly angry and frustrated – and that it is this anger and frustration that leads them to try to shut down or shout down any opposing viewpoints than their own.

I disagree. I think the whole history of events since the Communist Manifesto is filled with examples of leftists trying and often succeeding in shutting up anyone who disagrees. I remember my own experience while teaching at Stonehill College, a Catholic and traditional college, but still one where the Liberal Arts Department had been completely taken over by the left, and conservative views were not to be tolerated. One year the college had invited Mike Barnicle to speak at Commencement. This provoked a major protest by Liberal Arts faculty who did not want him to appear – apparently because, even though he is a liberal, he is not liberal enough. I wrote an open letter to faculty stating that a college is one place where different viewpoints should be heard, and that Mr. Barnicle was a famous journalist. I said that the protest was juvenile and should not be undertaken.

This brought a response that “a white, Christian heterosexual should just shut up and let those trying to define themselves set the agenda”, whatever that means. Anyone today who challenges Neodarwinism or global warming on a college campus also does so at the risk of one’s career, because these thoughts do not conform to what is ‘politically correct’ and, of course, are also part of the leftist credo along with abortion on demand and denial of this country’s Christian roots and traditions.

There were some recent common events that prompted the above journalists to speak out. For example, Peggy Noonan in The Opinion Journal (Excerpt):

“At Columbia University, members of the Minutemen, the group that patrols the U.S. border with Mexico and reports illegal crossings, were asked to address a forum on immigration policy. As Jim Gilchrist, the founder, spoke, angry students stormed the stage, shouting and knocking over chairs and tables. "Having wreaked havoc," said the New York Sun, they unfurled a banner in Arabic and English that said, "No one is ever illegal." The auditorium was cleared, the Minutemen silenced. Afterward a student protester told the Columbia Spectator, "I don't feel we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. . . . The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration."

On Oct. 2, on Katie Couric's "CBS Evening News," in the segment called "Free Speech," the father of a boy killed at Columbine shared his views on the deeper causes of the recent shootings in Amish country. Brian Rohrbough said violence entered our schools when we threw God out of them. "This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum. . . . We teach there are no moral absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children." This was not exactly the usual mush.

Mr. Rohrbough was quickly informed he was not part of the legitimate debate, either. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post: "The decision . . . to air his views prompted a storm of criticism, some of it within the ranks of CBS News." A blog critic: Grief makes people say "stupid" things, but "what made them put this man on television?" Good question. How did they neglect to silence him?”

Victor Davis Hanson (Excerpt):

“The Democrats have not elected congressional majorities in 12 years, and they've occupied the White House in only eight of the last 26 years. The left's current unruliness seems a way of scapegoating others for a more elemental frustration - that they can't gain a national majority based on their core beliefs. More entitlements, higher taxes to pay for them, gay marriage, de facto quotas in affirmative action, open borders, abortion on demand, and radical secularism - these liberal issues don't tend to resonate with most Americans.

To compensate, leftist pundits, billionaire philanthropists and politicians, from current officeholders to ex-presidents, work to ensure that isolated moments of Republican ineptness (George Bush strutting on a carrier deck in his flight suit) and wrongdoing (repulsive e-mails from a perverted Congressman Mark Foley) blare out as the only issues of the day. This distracting drumbeat, not their own agenda, is the only strategy for success in the next election….”

And Jeff Jacoby (Excerpt):

“In Seattle, two teachers are suing the affluent Lakeside prep school for illegal racial discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment. ``Among the plaintiffs' complaints," reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, ``was Lakeside's invitation to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza to speak as part of a distinguished lecture series." But D'Souza, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a veteran of the Reagan White House, never gave the lecture: Faculty members opposed to his views howled when he was invited, and the school's headmaster, bowing to the censors, rescinded the invitation.

Asked about the campaign against him, D'Souza had said: ``I am coming to speak on one day. If they think what I am saying is so awful, they have the rest of the year to refute it." But that isn't enough for the enemies of free speech. They insist not only that speakers with politically incorrect opinions be shunned, but that anyone offering them a platform be punished as well.

Then there is ``Grist," an environmental webzine whose staff writer David Roberts recently proposed that global warming skeptics be put on trial like Nazi war criminals.

``When we've finally gotten serious about global warming . . . we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg," Roberts wrote. Negative publicity led him to recant, but he is far from the only one invoking the Holocaust as a way to silence global warming heretics.

Environmental writer Mark Lynas, for example, puts dissent on climate change ``in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial -- except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes." This totalitarian view is taking root everywhere, making skepticism on climate change taboo and subjecting anyone reckless enough to question the global-warming dogma to mockery and demonization. Former vice president Al Gore lumps ``global warming deniers," some of whom are eminent scientists, with the ``15 percent of the population (who) believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona" and those who ``still believe the earth is flat."

The silencers are at work in the marketplace of ideas, using hook or crook to smother opinions they dislike. The lust to censor is as powerful as ever. If only liberty's defenders were equally vigilant.”

Leading Democrats have threatened to try again to impose what they call ‘the fairness doctrine’ if they gain control of Congress. If the FCC were to enforce ‘the fairness doctrine’, this would shut down Rush Limbaugh and other political talk shows, because it would require equal time to be given for each side of every issue. Although they talk about fairness, their object is to destroy Rush’s effectiveness and his program. They tried once and failed to remove his program from being broadcast to the military; they are hoping to try a new tack in the near future.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

How Can We Fix Clinton’s Error in Bosnia?

I feel duped because I supported the actions we took against the Serbs in 1999. The Clinton Administration and our media never told us that the atrocities committed by the Serbians were a response to centuries of brutalities by Muslims on them or that, in routing the Serbs from Bosnia and Kosovo, we were aiding and abetting Al Qaeda in their reconquest of Europe. I remember having serious reservations about our policy concerning Bosnia and Kosovo, especially since we were bombing a Christian ally during WWII and aiding Nazi supporters who also happened to be Muslims. Was our policy based on getting some good will among Muslims? If so, there is no evidence that it succeeded. If anything, any effort to appease the Islamic murderers only invokes their ridicule. Maybe the best you can say for it is that it did stop the violence on the ground.

Accuracy In Media:
“Of all the whoppers told by former President Clinton in his Chris Wallace interview, perhaps the most outrageous was his claim that he was involved in "trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo..." In fact, Clinton's bombing of the former Yugoslavia killed more people than died in this "genocide." And his policy benefited Osama bin Laden and the global Jihad.

In the year before the bombing, some 2,000 people had been killed in a civil war in Kosovo. A conservative estimate is that 6,000 were killed by U.S. and NATO bombs.

It's strange as well that Clinton complained to Wallace about the "neocons" attacking him when many of the same neocons in 1999 supported Clinton's war on Yugoslavia. The war was never approved by the U.N. or the U.S. Congress, and in fact violated the War Powers Act. The main beneficiary of the intervention was a Muslim terrorist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with links to bin Laden, who had declared war on America in 1996, bombed our embassies in Africa in 1998, and would later, of course, orchestrate 9/11.

When former CIA official Michael Scheuer says that the Clinton Administration "had eight to ten chances" to kill bin Laden and "they refused to try," he is making a statement that goes far beyond acknowledging Clinton Administration incompetence or a lack of will. The fact is that Clinton had a pro-Muslim foreign policy that actually benefited bin Laden and facilitated 9/11. Most Republicans don't mention this because too many of them were duped into backing Clinton's misguided policy in Kosovo. President Bush, then a candidate, even backed U.S. military intervention there through NATO.

Scheuer's CIA also has a lot to answer for. It is noteworthy that the CIA issued a January 2000 report that essentially whitewashed the nature of the KLA and claimed it was pro-American. The only public release of this dubious report came through Rep. Elliot Engel, in a posting on the website of the National Albanian American Council, which supports an Albanian Muslim takeover of Kosovo.

That report was prepared under CIA Director George Tenet, who on February 2, 1999, gave testimony referring to the Serb "massacre at Raçak," which provided the pretext for NATO intervention against Serbia but which turned out to be a hoax. Tenet was, of course, kept on by President Bush. Not only were Tenet's fingerprints all over the failed and deceptive policy in Kosovo, he told Bush that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a slam dunk.

Interestingly, Al-Jazeera celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by airing several al-Qaeda videos, one of which showed two of the 9/11 hijackers saying their actions were designed to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya. Nothing demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Clinton policy more than that. Not only did Clinton order the CIA to help the KLA in Kosovo, he approved Iranian arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims, in order to help them establish a Muslim state in Bosnia. Still, that wasn't good enough for the Jihadists. Nothing appeases them.

The Clinton policy of supporting the same extremist Muslim forces in Europe that subsequently attacked us on 9/11 is far more controversial than the policy of regime change in Iraq, which was officially a policy of Clinton, Bush and the Congress. Kosovo was never a threat to the U.S., and Serbia didn't even pretend to have weapons of mass destruction…..”

I am well aware that Accuracy in Media is a very conservative website whose postings need to be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, there have been many rumblings of late that our policies toward the former Yugoslavia were naïve and uninformed, that we supported the wrong side, and that the main job of NATO and American forces there now is to combat the Muslim terrorism we let loose. I would welcome anyone’s thoughts on this.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

9-11 Republicans Are Most Welcome

There is a phrase gaining attention, "9-11 Republicans" – alluding to philosophical Democrats who vote Republican now in their disgust at the “peace at any price” activists who have taken over the Democratic Party. Paul Kujawsky, a member of the California Democratic Party Central Committee seems to have captured the meaning and the driving force of this phenomenon in the following piece he authored recently for the LA Daily News.

The following article was written before the votes were cast in Congress 1. to establish military tribunals, 2. to establish rough questioning techniques for captured foreign terrorists, and 3. to establish military tribunals. On all of these votes a large majority of Democrats voted against these measures - further establishing that they just don't get it - that they are more interested in granting rights of US citizens to foreign terrorists than in protecting the American homeland. These votes make the following article even more on target:

Paul Kujawsky, Guest Columnist
LA Daily News

IN the 1960s, my sister was part of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley. She was arrested in a civil rights sit-in. Naturally, she was a lifelong Democrat.

Today, she is a “9-11 Republican.” She is not alone.

My sister is no less committed to civil rights than before. But she believes that not being murdered by Islamist terrorists is also an important civil right. She is not sure that the Democratic Party completely agrees with her.

For 9-11 Republicans, this is the most significant political issue. The GOP “gets it,” while the Democratic Party doesn't.

Many recent former Democrats are astonished and a bit embarrassed to see where they have landed politically. The rest of the Republican program may leave them cold. They may have doubts about Bush's handling of the war, treatment of prisoners and everything else. But unless and until the Democratic Party fixes its national-security problem, my sister and others like her will not vote Democratic in November's congressional races, nor in the 2008 presidential contest.

How can the Democratic Party woo back the 9-11 Republicans? It won't be easy. The key is for the Democratic Party to adopt the following, or something like it, into our party platform:

There is a war between civilization and the political-religious movement usually called Islamism or Islamo-fascism (not Islam). We didn't seek this conflict, but we cannot avoid it.

While not the only issue facing America, this war is the single most important issue of our generation.

We must unequivocally win this war, however long it takes.

This would be a liberal platform plank, because liberal democracies have an obligation to defend themselves against and defeat the darkest, most illiberal force in the world today. As we led the war against fascism in 1940s, the Democratic Party could and should lead this fight. A Democratic Party that took seriously the war against Islamism would do a better job of defeating it than the current administration.

Such a Democratic Party would realize that the war of ideas matters as much as the clash of arms: There are Muslims who can be persuaded, not bullied, to support liberalization.

We would be more consistent in supporting Muslim liberal democrats, who are everywhere ready to move their societies towards freedom.

We would insist that elections are the end, not the beginning, of democratization: A free press, an independent judiciary and a bureaucracy purged of corruption are among the preconditions of a successful transition to genuine democracy.

We would do more to make America energy-independent, uprooting the influence of Middle East dictators over America.

We wouldn't claim to be enhancing homeland security while consistently failing to appropriate the funds necessary to protect our ports, nuclear facilities and borders.

But before we can differentiate our approach from Bush's, the Democratic Party must establish its bona fides with the above three-point plank. If Democrats said: “President Bush is botching the war against Islamism; we can do better,” we would begin to earn some credibility. Instead, we're obsessed with getting out of Iraq, not with winning.

Under pressure from the party's activists, the main quarrel among congressional Democrats appears to be whether to set a firm deadline and leave as soon as possible, or a flexible deadline and leave as soon as “reasonably” possible. Either way, it's a losing proposition with 9-11 Republicans.

They understand that the Iraq war is not a senseless blunder — it is the principle battlefield of a global war against us. It may be that Saddam Hussein didn't have WMD when we invaded, but President Bush didn't “lie” about it. Democrats and Republicans alike believed that Saddam had them, and there is no doubt that Saddam had maintained the infrastructure to resume production of WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted.

The claim that Saddam had nothing to do with Islamist terror because his regime was secular is equally foolish. It simply disregards the facts, from financial support for families of Palestinian suicide-murderers to meetings with al-Qaida agents. It's rather like saying there was no Hitler-Stalin pact, because there couldn't have been one; after all, Nazis and Communists were enemies who could have no common interests.

Nor is Iraq a quagmire. Bush has made many mistakes, but there has never in history been an error-free war. The battle for Iraq and the war against Islamism are winnable, if we are patient and steady.

Thus, on the one hand we have a party that is trying to win the war against Islamism, however ineptly. And on the other hand we have a party whose 2004 presidential candidate said, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance.” In short, a party that is serious about this war, and one that is not serious.

Amending the party platform as I have proposed — and meaning it — would recapture some defectors, but would alienate most of the current Democratic activist “base.” Fine. Today, the party's loudest voices are damaging the party.

The party's left wing defeated Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary over the single issue of his support for the war. Despite Lieberman's lifelong record of sensible liberalism, agreeing with Bush on national security was an unforgivable sin for the “netroots.” These are people who apparently believe that Bush is more to be feared than Osama bin Laden and his followers.

The party would benefit if such people would be more quiet, or just go away.

After all, the Democratic Party as a whole is more centrist than its leftist activists. For example, a 2005 Penn, Schoen and Berland poll shows that only 27 percent of registered Democrats describe themselves as “liberal,” while almost twice as many — 53 percent — consider themselves “moderate.” (The remainder are “conservative.”) These centrist folks, the weight of the party, need to become its dominant voice again.

If not, the Democratic Party can expect to lose my sister, and national elections, for the foreseeable future.

Paul Kujawsky is a member of the California Democratic Party Central Committee.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lynne Stewart Proves President Bush Is Right

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives, and therefore between most Democrats and most Republicans, concerns whether the fight to defeat the Islamic terrorists is best handled by the criminal justice system or by the military. This is one of the reasons why so many Democrats have opposed warrantless wiretaps on foreign Al Qaeda communications with domestic accomplices, why they opposed the Patriot Act, why they opposed tough questioning of enemy combatants, and why they opposed the ‘Military Tribunals Act’ President Bush signed yesterday.

It also goes a long way towards explaining why Jamie Gorelick, former President Clinton’s Assistant District Attorney, erected a wall between the FBI and our intelligence agencies – a wall that has now been removed. Lynne Stewart is an American citizen (and unlike Hamdi and Padilla, who renounced their country and were caught in overt acts) was correctly tried in the criminal justice system, but should have been given a punishment fitting her crime. The outcome of her trial cements the reasons for the ‘Military Tribunals Act’.

Cross Posted from Captains Quarters:

“Today's sentencing of Lynne Stewart, who turned herself into a conduit for an Islamic terrorist who had already conspired to attack the United States once, demonstrates the fecklessness of pursuing terrorists through the civil courts. A federal judge sentenced Stewart to 28 months in prison for assisting Omar Abdel Rahman (who is serving a long sentence for plotting the 1993 Trade Towers bombing) in activating his terrorist network while the US held him in custody -- and then temporarily released her on her own recognizance:

A firebrand civil rights lawyer who has defended Black Panthers and anti-war radicals was sentenced Monday to nearly 2 1/2 years in prison — far less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted — for helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his followers on the outside. ...

The judge said Stewart was guilty of smuggling messages between her client and his followers that could have "potentially lethal consequences." He called the crimes "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct."

But in departing from federal guidelines that called for 30 years behind bars, he cited Stewart's more than three decades of dedication to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients.

"Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Koeltl said.

The judge said Stewart could remain free while she appeals, a process that could take more than a year.

This woman sent messages to Rahman's followers in Egypt that instructed them to begin terrorist activity. She knew exactly what she did -- after all, she had defended Rahman and had seen the evidence against him -- and turned her back on her country and her humanity in order to suck up to a man who plotted the murder of tens of thousands of Americans. Stewart's actions could easily have led to the deaths of many innocent civilians.

The government took this case to the appropriate venue; Stewart is an American citizen and committed a grievous crime. However, Judge Koeltl showed why the law-enforcement model will never defeat terrorism. Here we have an important part of a communication chain meant to instigate murder on a global scale, and the judge sentences her to 1/15th of the possible sentence. Koeltl waxed on about Stewart's previous good works, all of which would have amounted to zero comfort to anyone lost in a terrorist attack she enabled. In fact, we still don't know that there hasn't been an attack based on that communication.

Koeltl sent a message today that certain people can commit or enable acts of terror, as long as they have the correct political background. Stewart will do a few months at a minimum security work camp, and with her illness will probably avoid the work part of it. When she gets released, she will once again become the toast of the hate-America circuit, where she will once again claim she did nothing wrong and that the real terrorists are the people who have tried -- and succeeded -- to keep this country safe for the last five years.

It's a pathetic display, and Koeltl should be ashamed of himself.”

Bush Signs Law Creating Tribunals for Terror Suspects (Update3)
By Roger Runningen,

“Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush signed legislation to allow the trial of suspected terrorists by military tribunals, and his administration immediately used the law to challenge suits by hundreds of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The government took its first action under the new Military Commissions Act, which Bush said ``provides a way to deliver justice to the terrorists'' captured after the Sept. 11 attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union said the law will make Guantanamo and other detention facilities a ``legal no-man's land.''

Among those who will be brought to trial under the law is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind. He and 13 other terrorism suspects, who were labeled ``high value'' and had been held in secret overseas prisons operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, were transferred last month to the U.S. facility at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba….”

That foreign Islamic terrorists should be given the rights of an American citizen is absurd. This would have allowed them access to evidence, methodology and informants; endangered the lives of witnesses, juries and their families; and opened the possibility that a liberal judge, like Judge Koeltl, would turn them loose to mass murder other Americans. When Italy decided to rid itself of the Mafia, it found it needed to employ similar procedures after years of murdered witnesses and juries and dismissed proceedings.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Attempt by Democrats to Steal Florida

Not content with their hypocrisy on the Mark Foley situation (considering their responses to the Gerry Studds, Barney Frank and Bill Clinton escapades), the Democrats in Florida have launched a campaign to keep voters in the dark on November 7. Since the ballots are already printed with Foley’s name, a vote for Foley goes to the Republican substitute, Joe Negron. It seems obvious that voters should be informed of this, but the same party that rejects voter identification, rejects the counting of soldiers’ ballots and lobbies for felon voting, is preventing the voters in Florida from getting this information.


Democrats sue to block Foley notice at polls
By KEVIN DALE, Herald Tribune
Oct 14, 2006

“The Florida Democratic Party has challenged the decision of election officials to post polling-place notices that inform voters that a vote for Mark Foley will count toward Joe Negron, the Republicans' replacement congressional candidate.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Leon County, has both parties trading accusations of voter manipulation, and will bring the already bizarre contest for the 16th Congressional District, which includes most of Charlotte County, into the courts….

Negron, a six-year state legislator from Stuart, was quickly named as Foley's replacement. But because of a quirk in the state's election laws, Foley's name must remain on the ballot.

The secretary of state's office said any notice, whatever form it takes, is simply a nonpartisan measure designed to let voters know who is actually running.

"It's not about a specific candidate. It's not about a political party," said Jenny Nash, spokeswoman for Secretary Cobb. "It's just common sense: letting the voters know about that change."

Nash noted that similar notices were posted in 2004, when Democratic congressional candidate Robin Rorapaugh replaced Jim Stork, who ended his challenge to U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw shortly before the election because of health reasons.

Notices alerting voters to the change were posted in Broward County, Nash said. "The Democrats didn't have a problem when the supervisors posted notices for their replacement candidate," Nash said

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Positive Reasons to Vote Republican Nov. 7


Thanks to M.N. Johnnie, who posted this list online, we can present some perspective on the accomplishments of President Bush, the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress over the past six years. We are bombarded on a daily basis by vitriolic complaints from the left that are multiplied over and over by their accomplices in the Main Stream Media, and it is sometimes hard to remember what the facts are, and how much has been accomplished by this president. WARNING! This is a long list.


Abortion & Traditional Values
1. Banned Partial Birth Abortion — by far the most significant roll-back of abortion on demand since Roe v. Wade.
2. Reversed Clinton's move to strike Reagan's anti-abortion Mexico Policy.
3. By Executive Order (EO), reversed Clinton's policy of not requiring parental consent for abortions under the Medical Privacy Act.
4. By EO, prohibited federal funds for international family planning groups that provide abortions and related services.
5. Upheld the ban on abortions at military hospitals.
6. Made $33 million available for abstinence education programs in 2004.
7. Supports the Defense of Marriage Act — and a Constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman.
8. Requires states to conduct criminal background checks on prospective foster and adoptive parents.
9. Requires districts to let students transfer out of dangerous schools.
10. Requires schools to have a zero-tolerance policy for classroom disruption (reintroducing discipline into classrooms).
11. Signed the Teacher Protection Act, which protects teachers from lawsuits related to student discipline.
12. Expanded the role of faith-based and community organizations in after-school programs.

Budget, Taxes & Economy
1. Signed two income tax cuts, one of which was the largest dollar-value tax cut in world history.
2. Supports permanent elimination of the death tax.
3. Turned around an inherited economy that was in recession, and deeply shocked as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Economy now in low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates mode.
4. Is seeking legislation to amend the Constitution to give the president line-item veto authority.
5. In process of permanently eliminating IRS marriage penalty.
6. Increased small business incentives to expand and to hire new people.
7. Initiated discussion on privatizing Social Security and individual investment accounts.
8. Killed Clinton's "ergonomic" rules that OSHA was about to implement; rules would have shut down every home business in America.
9. Passed tough new laws to hold corporate criminals to account as a result of corporate scandals.
10. Reduced taxes on dividends and capital gains.
11. Signed trade promotion authority.
12. Reduced and is working to ultimately eliminate the estate tax for family farms and ranches.
13. Fight Europe's ban on importing biotech crops from the United States.
14. Exempt food from unilateral trade sanctions and embargoes.
15. Provided $20 million to states to help people with disabilities work from home.
16. Created a fund to encourage technologies that help the disabled.
17. Increased the annual contribution limit on Education IRA's from $500 to $2,000 per child.
18. Make permanent the $5,000 adoption tax credit and provide $1 billion over five years to increase the credit to $10,000.
19. Grant a complete tax exemption for prepaid or college tuition savings plans.
20. Reduced H1B visas from a high of 195,000 per year to 66,000 per year.

Character & Conduct as President
1. Changed the tone in the White House, restoring HONOR and DIGNITY to the presidency.
2. Has reintroduced the mention of God and faith into public discourse.
3. Handled himself with enormous courage, dignity, grace, determination, and leadership in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 hijackings and anthrax attacks. He almost single-handedly held this country together during those searing days:
* Just three days after the attacks, in his address at the National Cathedral, the President reassured the nation when he said: "War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing."
* On Friday, September 14, 2001, President Bush visited Ground Zero. Standing on a crushed and burned fire engine atop the smoldering pile at Ground Zero, he put his arm around a retired firefighter who had volunteered to help, and began speaking to the crowd. Rescue workers shouted that they could not hear him. Someone handed him a small American flag and bullhorn. The President spontaneously shouted: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." The crowd roared with cheers and chants of "USA! USA! USA!" Then he raised that American flag and rallied a nation.

Education & Employment Training
1. Signed the No Child Left Behind Act, delivering the most dramatic education reforms in a generation (challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations). The very liberal California Teachers union is currently running radio ads against the accountability provisions of this Act.
2. Announced "Jobs for the 21st Century," a comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by strengthening post-secondary education and job training, and by improving high school education.
3. Is working to provide vouchers to low-income students in persistently failing schools to help with costs of attending private schools. (Blocked in the Senate.)
4. Requires annual reading and math tests in grades three through eight.
5. Requires states to participate in the National Assessment of Education Progress, or an equivalent program, to establish a national benchmark for academic performance.
6. Requires school-by-school accountability report cards.
7. Established a $2.4 billion fund to help states implement teacher accountability systems.
8. Increased funding for the Troops-to-Teachers program, which recruits former military personnel to to become teachers.

Environment & Energy
1. Killed the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty previously rejected by the Senate.
2. Submitted a comprehensive Energy Plan (awaits Congressional action). The plan works to develop cleaner technology, produce more natural gas here at home, make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy, improve national grid, etc.
3. Established a $10 million grant program to promote private conservation initiatives.
4. Significantly eased field-testing controls of genetically engineered crops.
5. Changed parts of the Forestry Management Act to allow necessary cleanup of the national forests in order to reduce fire danger.
6. Part of national forests cleanup: Restricted judicial challenges (based on the Endangered Species Act and other challenges), and removed the need for an Environmental Impact Statement before removing fuels/logging to reduce fire danger.
7. Killed Clinton's CO2 rules that were choking off all of the electricity surplus to California.
8. Provided matching grants for state programs that help private landowners protect rare species.

Defense & Foreign Policy
1. Successfully executed two wars in the aftermath of 9/11/01: Afghanistan and Iraq. 50 million people who had lived under tyrannical regimes now live in freedom.
2. Saddam Hussein is now in prison. His two murderous sons are dead. All but a handful of the regime's senior members were killed or captured.
3. Leader by leader and member by member, al Qaida is being hunted down in dozens of countries around the world. Of the senior al Qaida leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators the U.S. Government has been tracking, nearly two-thirds have been taken into custody or killed. The detentions or deaths of senior al Qaida leaders, including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, and Muhammad Atef, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command until his death in late 2001, have been important in the War on Terror.
4. Disarmed Libya of its chemical, nuclear and biological WMD's without bribes or bloodshed.
5. Continues to execute the War On Terror, getting worldwide cooperation to track funds/terrorists. Has cut off much of the terrorists' funding, and captured or killed many key leaders of the al Qaeda network.
6. Initiated a comprehensive review of our military, which was completed just prior to 9/11/01, and which accurately reported that ASYMMETRICAL WARFARE capabilities were critical in the 21st Century.
7. Killed the old US/Soviet Union ABM Treaty that was preventing the U.S. from deploying our ABM defenses.
8. Has been one of the strongest, if not THE strongest friend Israel has ever hand in the U.S. presidency.
9. Part of the coalition for an Israeli/Palestinian "Roadmap to Peace," along with Great Britain, Russia and the EU.
10. Pushed through THREE raises for our military. Increased military pay by more than $1 billion a year.
11. Signed the LARGEST nuclear arms reduction in world history with Russia.
12. Started withdrawing our troops from Bosnia, and has announced withdrawal of our troops from Germany and the Korean DMZ.
13. Prohibited putting U.S. troops under U.N. command.
14. Paid back UN dues only in return for reforms and reduction of U.S. share of the costs.
15. Earmarked at least 20 percent of the Defense procurement budget for next-generation weaponry.
16. Increased defense research and development spending by at least $20 billion from fiscal 2002 to 2006.
17. Ordered a comprehensive review of military weapons and strategy.
18. Ordered a review of overseas deployments.
19. Ordered renovation of military housing. The military has already upgraded about 10 percent of its inventory and expects to modernize 76,000 additional homes this year.
20. Is working to tighten restrictions on military-technology exports. 21. Brought back our EP-3 intel plane and crew from China without any bribes or bloodshed.
21. Pushed thru Congress the 1st Military Death benefit raise in decades. Rasied the grant for survivors of military personal killed in the line of duty from a pitful $10,000 to over $100,000.

Globalization & Internationalism
1. Challenged the United Nations to live up to their responsibilities and not become another League of Nations (in other words, showed the UN to be completely irrelevant).
2. Killed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court.
3. Told the United Nations we weren't interested in their plans for gun control (i.e., the International Ban on Small Arms Trafficking Treaty).
* 4. The only President since the founding of the UN to essentially tell that organization it is irrelevant. He said: "The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?" We all know the outcome and the answer.
5. Told the Congress and the world, "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."

Government Reform
1. Improved government efficiency by putting hundreds of thousands of jobs put up for bid. This weakens public-sector unions and cuts undeserved pay raises.
2. Initiated review of all federal agencies with the goal of eliminating federal jobs (completed September 2003) in an effort to reduce the size of the federal government while increasing private sector jobs.
3. Led the most extensive reorganization the Federal bureaucracy in over 50 years: After 9/11, condensed 20+ overlapping agencies and their intelligence sectors into one agency, the Department of Homeland Security.
* 4. Ordered each agency to draft a five-year plan to restructure itself, with fewer managers.
5. Converted federal service contracts to performance-based contracts wherever possible so that the contractor has measurable performance goals.

1. Strengthen the National Health Service Corps to put more physicians in the neediest areas, and make its scholarship funds tax-free.
2. Double the research budget of the National Institutes of Health.
3. Signed Medicare Reform, which includes: * A 10-year privatization option. * Prescription drug benefits: Prior to this reform, Medicare paid for extended hospital stays for ulcer surgery, for example, at a cost of about $28,000 per patient. Yet Medicare would not pay for the drugs that eliminate the cause of most ulcers, drugs that cost about $500 a year. Now, drug coverage under Medicare will allow seniors to replace more expensive surgeries and hospitalizations with less expensive prescription medicine. * More health care choices. * New Health Savings Accounts: Effective January 1, 2004, Americans can set aside up to $4,500 every year, tax free, to save for medical expenses.

Homeland Security, Border Enforcement & Immigration
1. *See Government Reform above. Under President Bush's leadership, America has made an unprecedented commitment to homeland security.
2. Has CONSTRUCTION in process on the first 10 ABM silos in Alaska so that America will have a defense against North Korean nukes. Ordered national and theater ballistic missile defenses to be deployed by 2004.
3. Announced a 9.7% increase in government-wide homeland security funding in his FY 2005 budget, nearly tripling the FY 2001 levels (excluding the Department of Defense and Project BioShield).
4. Before DHS was created, there were inspectors from three different agencies of the Federal Government and Border Patrol officers protecting our borders. Through DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now consolidates all border activities into a single agency to create "one face at the border." This not only better secures the borders of the United States, but it also eliminates many of the inefficiencies that occurred under the old system. With over 18,000 CBP inspectors and 11,000 Border Patrol agents, CBP has 29,000 uniformed officers on our borders.
5. The Border Patrol is continuing installation of monitoring devices along the borders to detect illegal activity.
6. Launched Operation Tarmac to investigate businesses and workers in the secure areas of domestic airports and ensure immigration law compliance. Since 9/11, DHS has audited 3,640 businesses, examined 259,037 employee records, arrested 1,030 unauthorized workers, and participated in the criminal indictment of 774 individuals.
7. Since September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard has conducted more than 124,000 port security patrols, 13,000 air patrols, boarded more than 92,000 vessels, interdicted over 14,000 individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally, and created and maintained more than 90 Maritime Security Zones.
8. Announced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an internet-based system that is improving America's ability to track and monitor foreign students and exchange visitors. Over 870,000 students are registered in SEVIS. Of 285 completed field investigations, 71 aliens were arrested.
9. This week, the US-VISIT program began to digitally collect biometric identifiers to record the entry and exit of aliens who travel into the U.S on a visa. Together with the standard information, this new program will confirm compliance with visa and immigration policies.
10. Eliminated INS bureaucratic redundancies and lack of accountability.
11. Split the Immigration and Naturalization Service into two agencies: one to protect the border and interior, the other to deal with naturalization.
12. Signed the workplace verification bill to prevent hiring of illegal aliens.
13. Established a six-month deadline for processing immigration applications.
14. Information regarding nearly 100% of all containerized cargo is carefully screened by DHS before it arrives in the United States. Higher risk shipments are physically inspected for terrorist weapons and contraband prior to being released from the port of entry. Advanced technologies are being deployed to identify warning signs of chemical, biological, or radiological attacks. Since September 11, 2001, hundreds of thousands of first responders across America have been trained to recognize and respond to the effects of a WMD attack.
15. Signed authorization for 700 mile fence and improved border surveillance.

Judiciary & Tort Reform
1. Is urging federal liability reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
2. Killed the liberal ABA's unconstitutional role in vetting federal judges. The Senate is supposed to advise and consent, not the ABA.
3. Is nominating strong, conservative judges to the judiciary.
4. Supports class action reform bill which limits lawyer fees so that more settlement money goes to victims.

1. His leadership resulted in Republican gains in the House and Senate, solidifying Republican control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.
2. Signed an EO enforcing the Supreme Court's Beck decision regarding union dues being used for political campaigns against individual's wishes.
3.Has prosecuted 527 corrupt Union bosses in an effort to reform the rampant corruption in the Labor Unions.

Second Amendment
1. Ordered Attorney General Ashcroft to formally notify the Supreme Court that the OFFICIAL U.S. government position on the 2nd Amendment is that it supports INDIVIDUAL rights to own firearms, and is NOT a Leftist-imagined "collective" right.
2. Signed TWO bills into law that arm our pilots with handguns in the cockpit.
3. Currently pushing for full immunity from lawsuits for our national gun manufacturers. 4. *See Globalization & Internationalism.

Traditional Values, Compassion & Volunteerism
1. Endorses and promotes "The Responsibility Era." President Bush often speaks of the necessity of personal responsibility and civic volunteerism. He said, "In a compassionate society, people respect one another and take responsibility for the decisions they make in life. My hope is to change the culture from one that has said, if it feels good, do it; if you've got a problem, blame somebody else — to one in which every single American understands that he or she is responsible for the decisions that you make; you're responsible for loving your children with all your heart and all your soul; you're responsible for being involved with the quality of the education of your children; you're responsible for making sure the community in which you live is safe; you're responsible for loving your neighbor, just like you would like to be loved yourself."
2. Started the USA Freedom Corps, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities ever offered. For the first time in history, Americans can enter geographic information about where they want to get involved, such as state or zip code, as well as areas of interest ranging from education to the environment, and they can access volunteer opportunities offered by more than 50,000 organizations across the country and around the world.
3. Established the The White House Office and the Centers for the Faith-Based and Community Initiative — located in seven Federal agencies. The faith-based initiative supports the essential work of these important organizations. The goal is to make sure that grassroots leaders can compete on an equal footing for federal dollars, receive greater private support, and face fewer bureaucratic barriers. Work focuses on at-risk youth, ex-offenders, the homeless and hungry, substance abusers, those with HIV/AIDS, and welfare-to-work families.
4. The White House released a guidebook fully describing the Administration's belief that faith-based groups have a Constitutionally-protected right to maintain their religious identity through hiring — even when Federal funds are involved.
5. Issued an EO implementing the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling, which requires moving disabled people from institutions to community-based facilities when possible.
6. Increased funding for low-interest loan programs to help people with disabilities purchase devices to assist them.
7. Revised the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 rent subsidies to disabled people, permitting them to use up to a year's worth of vouchers to finance down payments on homes. HUD has started pilot programs in 11 states.
8. Committed US funds to purchase medicine for millions of men, women and children now suffering with AIDS in Africa.
9. Heeding the words of our own Declaration of Independence, the president laid out the non-negotiable demands of human dignity for all people everywhere. On January 29, 2002, he said, "No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture. But America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity." As stated by the President, they are a virtual manifesto of conservative principles:

* Equal Justice
* Freedom of Speech
* Limited Government Power
* Private Property Rights
* Religious Tolerance
* Respect for Women

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

We Should Care More About C.A.I.R.


One aspect of life that has been unfathomable to me is the continued support the left in America gives to CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations. I recognize that their initial support came from the honest belief that CAIR was a civil rights organization dedicated only to protecting the rights of America’s Muslims, but, by now, even the most close-minded liberal must admit the terrorist activities of this organization.

First, one of CAIR’s founders made it clear that a main objective of CAIR is to impose the Sharia on the United States. We have gone over this before.

Then we have the case of CAIR 'cause célèbre' Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor and the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A news report of his trial this year had this to say:

"In a closed proceeding before a federal magistrate at U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida last week, Al- Arian pleaded guilty to Count Four of the indictment against him — a charge of conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The plea hearing was closed over the objections of the government and unsealed today. The guilty plea was accepted by U.S. District Court Judge James S. Moody, Jr. this afternoon. Sentencing was scheduled for May 1.

Al-Arian’s agreement with the government calls for a recommended prison sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison, based on a five-year maximum statutory sentence. Al-Arian, 48, who has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 20, 2003, has agreed to stipulate to deportation to another country by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement once his prison sentence has ended. Al- Arian has lived in this country for approximately 30 years."

And now, just this week, two more terrorists with ties to CAIR have been convicted:

American citizens aided Hamas terror
Former CAIR member gets 7 years,
Imam in 'quiet' town pleads guilty

Posted: October 13, 2006

"Two American citizens with ties to a major U.S. Islamic civil rights group faced judgment in court today for aiding the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, with one sentenced to seven years prison and the other pleading guilty.

Ghassan Elashi, a founder of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and a member of the founding board of directors of the Texas branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking terrorist and for making illegal computer exports to countries that back terrorism.

Meanwhile, an Atlanta Imam, Mohamed Shorbagi, pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hamas."

These are not just isolated cases, either, and some prominent Democrats including Senator Schumer of New York have denounced CAIR.

Cross-posted from Anti-CAIR-Net:

"Senior CAIR employee Randall Todd Royer, a/k/a “Ismail” Royer, pled guilty and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for participating in a network of militant jihadists centered in Northern Virginia. He admitted to aiding and abetting three persons who sought training in a terrorist camp in Pakistan for the purpose of waging jihad against American troops in Afghanistan.
Royer’s illegal actions occurred while he was employed with CAIR.

CAIR's Director of Community Relations, Bassem Khafagi , was arrested by the United States due to his ties with a terror-financing front group. Khafagi pled guilty to charges of visa and bank fraud, and agreed to be deported to Egypt.
Khafagi’s illegal actions occurred while he was employed by CAIR.

On December 18, 2002, Ghassan Elashi, founding board member of CAIR-Texas, a founder of the Holy Land Foundation, and a brother-in-law of Musa Abu Marzook, was arrested by the United States and charged with, among other things, making false statements on export declarations, dealing in the property of a designated terrorist organization, conspiracy and money laundering. Ghassan Elashi committed his crimes while working at CAIR, and was found guilty.

CAIR Board Member Imam Siraj Wahaj, an un-indicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing, has called for replacing the American government with an Islamic caliphate, and warned that America will crumble unless it accepts Islam.

Rabih Haddad served as a CAIR Fundraiser. Haddad was co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”). GRF was designated by the US Treasury Department for financing the Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations and its assets were frozen by the US Government on December 14, 2001."

So I ask again, how can any American support the continued existence of this organization? Would someone on the left please enlighten me?

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Korean Comedy Show

Now that North Korea has probably tested a nuclear weapon, the depth to which the Democrats have sunk with their laughable talking points has actually become ludicrous. We now have two points that totally defy history pushed in our faces over and over by their talking heads and which further make the Democrats into a laughing stock:

1. “We (the Democrats) have always been in favor of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. Despite everything we’ve ever said (we ridiculed it by calling it “Star Wars when Ronald Reagan first proposed it), and, despite all the times we voted against it, secretly we have always been in favor of such a system.”

2. Despite the fact that North Korea developed nuclear weapons by immediately and continually cheating on an agreement negotiated by the Clinton Administration (the actual negotiations were carried out by Jimmy Carter and by Madeline Albright), and using nuclear materials we, the USA, supplied them under that agreement, all of a sudden the blame for all of this is on President Bush.

I feel like turning on its head a comment credited to Adlai E. Stevenson: “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Democrat friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Republicans, we will stop telling the truth about them.”

The terrible, and deadly, irony in all this is that former President Jimmy Carter put the Ayatollah Khomeni in charge in Iran, and laid the groundwork for North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons – Iran and North Korea now being the two outlaw nations threatening the world with nuclear destruction. Will America and the world ever recover from Jimmy Carter?

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Friday, October 13, 2006

The Challenge of Iran and the Defeat of Terrorism - Part I

This is Part I of a two part series. Part II is just below.

It should be obvious to any thinking person that we in the west are engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the dark side of Islam. From the turmoil we are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the obvious support that so-called, peaceful Muslims in the Middle East give to the terrorists, and from the clear indications that in large portions of Europe, they have already won, it’s also clear that we are in for a long and difficult struggle for the survival of our way of life and of our civilization. I say that Europe is already close to lost because we see cave-ins to Muslim demands on a daily basis in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Great Britain.

Although the Saudis and the Emirates have financed terrorism outside of their countries, the Emirates have clearly reversed course, and the Saudis seem to have recognized that their actions have blown up in their faces, both literally and figuratively. Iran and Syria have become the focal point. They are now the main supporters and instigators of terrorism in the Middle East, but since the decline of the Soviet Union, Syria is largely dependent on Iran, and if Iran withdraws, so must Syria. Iran has become the key.

Let’s first examine the Islamic world that we confront – a world consisting of approximately 1.6 billion people of Muslim faith. (Yellow areas have large populations, but not a majority of Muslims.)

According to most sources, including the US Library of Congress, present estimates indicate that approximately 85-90% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and approximately 10-15% are Shi'a. Today there are roughly 216 million Shi'as (including Twelvers, Ismailis, Zaydis and Alawis) all over the world, and around three quarters of those reside in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and India.

A large portion of the world's Shi'a live in the Middle East. They constitute a majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain,Oman and Azerbaijan. They remain as significant minorities in Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Turkey and Yemen. In Lebanon Shi'as form a plurality (the largest of groups, with none forming a majority). Among smaller Persian Gulf states, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have significant Shi'a minorities, as do the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

I’m not knowledgeable enough about the Muslim religion and its divisions to approach matters from a religious standpoint, but it is clear from recent events that the Shi'as and the Sunnis have no great love for one another. The events I am referring to include the sectarian violence in Iraq, where Al Qaeda terrorists have been basically routed, but Sunnis and Shi'as have taken up killing each other, and the reactions of certain Sunni states (like Saudi Arabia and Egypt) to the (Shi'a) Iran-supported Hezbollah in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Although the Shi'as are a small minority within the entire Muslim world, they constitute a large portion of the Muslims who live within the Middle East. If all else seems to be failing, this might provide an opportunity to direct the death culture of the Islamic fundamentalists inward, rather than towards the infidels (us), and it might provide an approach to solving the grave threat presented by the prospect of Iran gaining nuclear weapons.

I think everyone and anyone thinking rationally about Iran and its (seemingly) crazy leader, Ahmadinejad, shudders to think of the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran, and would conclude that this must not be allowed to happen. The problem is, Iran, with its heterogeneous culture and its widely dispersed nuclear program presents a very difficult problem. Taking out a single reactor as the Israelis did in Iraq is not an option. There are also many signs that large segments of the Iranian population do not want nuclear weapons development there, and there is a reasonable potential for regime and policy change there. Here below is a pretty good picture of the complexity of the Iranian population and the dispersal of its nuclear program.

Opinion Journal
"Iran's nuclear program raises the stakes of its deceit to U.S. national security. There is little doubt that Tehran's nuclear program is not peaceful. On Feb. 14, 2005, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Kharrazi, secretary-general of Iranian Hezbollah, promised, "We are able to produce atomic bombs and we will do that." In February 2006, Mohsen Gharavian, a Qom theologian well-connected to the Islamic Republic's staunchest ideologues, called Iran's possession of nuclear weapons "natural."

Iran's nuclear program has advanced through the trust of diplomats and their willingness to provide hard currency in the name of dialogue and engagement. Between 2000 and 2005, European Union trade with Iran almost tripled. Tehran invested much of this money in arms and nuclear infrastructure. For more than a decade, through both the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations, Iranian authorities hid the existence of a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Khondab. That Western diplomats label Mr. Rafsanjani a pragmatist and Mr. Khatami a reformer underscores the danger of judging Iranian officials by style rather than action.

In February 2003, the Iranian authorities opened the secret plants to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. Their subsequent report was damning: Not only had the Iranian government designed the Natanz facility to house at least 50,000 centrifuges, but Tehran had the import of almost a ton of uranium from China, and could not account for missing processed uranium. During subsequent inspections, Iranian authorities repeatedly changed their stories when asked about the origin of weapons-grade uranium traces. Subsequent inspections exposed other lies. Finally, on Sept. 24, 2004, the IAEA Board of Governors, after recalling a litany of Iranian mistruths, found Iran in breach of its Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement. While Iranian officials have made many subsequent pledges to cooperate, their actions belie their words. They have yet to abide by the Additional Protocol's inspection standards and, earlier this year, turned away IAEA inspectors from Natanz in violation of the NPT."

Mr. Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is co-author, with Patrick Clawson, of Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos (Palgrave, 2005).

American Spectator
"It seems to me that the Islamofascists of Hezbollah have made a parlous mistake. They have demonstrated that they have missiles that can cause dreadful localized carnage and that they are continuing to improve those missiles. Someday these weapons will be able to cause widespread carnage. Hezbollah's killers have demonstrated that they will infiltrate their brutes into civilian neighborhoods and use suicide bombers. They have refused to abide by United Nations resolutions. They have revealed that they have powerful supporters in Syria and Iran. Actually the Syrians and Iranians have not been coy about showing their support for Hezbollah's brutal asymmetrical warfare, and here they too have made a mistake. In their unconscionable bellicosity Hezbollah's guerrillas, the Syrians, and the Iranians have all donned bull's-eyes. They have made themselves targets." R. Emmett Tyrrell
"Iran is one of the most surprising and confounding countries I've visited. It's more modern than one expects, more open, more diverse. You hear conflicting opinions on almost every topic -- from different factions within the government, the clergy, the media, the business community. This isn't North Korea, or even China -- where a ruling party enforces consensus. At the center of the Iranian government is a black hole, a group of senior clerics whose decisions are wrapped in mystery. That's the essence of the problem -- there are so many competing factions, and so many checks built into the system, that sometimes nobody seems to be steering the ship of state.
Which is the real voice of the country -- the fulminating rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the measured tones of Iranian parliament member Kazem Jalali, who insists in an interview that Iran is ready for negotiation with the West? Is it the gravelly sermon of Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who leads the crowd of worshippers in chants of "death to America'' at Friday prayers at Tehran University? Or is it the learned discourse of Grand Ayatollah Yusef Saanei, who tells me in his seminary at Qom that he favors dialogue with the West and that in today's Iran, "there is talk of human rights everywhere you go.'' David Ignatius

President Bush is being criticized for 'not doing something to stop North Korea and Iran from getting nuclear weapons'. If you are paying attention, North Korea acquired nuclear weapons by bamboozling the Clinton Administration with Jimmy Carter enabling the hoodwinking; also, we have a heavily armed fleet in the waters off Korea watching developments there very closely.

As for Iran, the situation is a hundred times more complex than with North Korea, as I have tried to lay out here. See Part II (my next post) for a further discussion

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Challenge of Iran and the Defeat of Terrorism – Part II

“After all, who truly believes, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that the status quo in the Middle East was stable, beneficial and worth defending? How could it have been prudent to preserve the state of affairs in a region that was incubating and exporting terrorism; where the proliferation of deadly weapons was getting worse, not better; where authoritarian regimes were projecting their failures onto innocent nations and peoples; where Lebanon suffered under the boot heel of Syrian occupation; where a corrupt Palestinian Authority cared more for its own preservation than for its people's aspirations; and where a tyrant such as Saddam Hussein was free to slaughter his citizens, destabilize his neighbors and undermine the hope of peace between Israelis and Palestinians? It is sheer fantasy to assume that the Middle East was just peachy before America disrupted its alleged stability.”
Condoleezza Rice

Whatever else you might think about the war in Iraq, the fact is that the Iraqis have stopped supporting Islamic terrorism outside their borders and no longer pose a threat of using or supplying WMD to these monsters. Al Qaeda violence in Iraq has been quelled, and the problem there has shifted to the traditional enmity between Shi’as and Sunnis that has led to extreme violence in the presence of a weak government and our reluctance to use overwhelming force. The scene has now shifted to Iran, where major Islamic terrorism against America started in 1979, and where, fortunately, we just happen to have armies next door on both sides.

In my previous post on Iran, I described that country as the key now to ending the extreme violence in the Middle East and, if Iran withdraws from supporting terrorism, the problem for the rest of the world should become more manageable, and both Hamas and Hezbollah would lose their main sponsor. Unfortunately we are confronting an Iran that has a large and heterogeneous population, huge resources, and a leadership that is constantly threatening to use the nuclear weapons they are developing against the US and our allies (especially Israel). To confound policymakers even further, there are many signs and signals that large segments of the Iranian population want to cast off the rule of the fundamentalists, end the nuclear weapons program and pursue a peaceful and democratic advance into the 21st century.

Given the number and disbursement of heavily protected sites known to exist, there seem to be only two ways to end the Iranian nuclear weapons development program so long as the fundamentalists remain in power – a gigantic and extensive bombing campaign that would take many months and jeopardize many pilots' lives; or a nuclear strike followed by a costly invasion. The moral question aside (we would kill large numbers of innocent Iranians, many of whom are pro-America), neither alternative is attractive or likely, given the present stretching of our own military, the divisions in our country, the rallying cry this would certainly supply to Muslim terrorist groups, and the opprobrium America would undoubtedly receive from the rest of the world.

I believe that the only course of action that makes any sense is a strategy that takes two directions: 1. reverse course in our dealing with Iran, end the sanctions, and try to develop as many contacts as possible – government to government and person to person, while also improving our intelligence capabilities. Find ways to encourage and support groups there to achieve a true democracy, 2. at the same time, expand our military, forget about leaving Iraq any time soon, build permanent bases there and in Afghanistan and a capability to respond massively and immediately at the first sign that the Iranians are planning a nuclear strike. I believe that the Sunni-majority nations in the area, which seem to fear a strong, heavily-armed Iran as much as we do, would be silently supportive of such a strategy.

With a divided nation behind him and with so many Americans unwilling or unable to face the eerie Islamic conquest of Europe now taking place, with memories of 9/11 fading under the slime of incredibly nasty partisan politics, President Bush has been unable or unwilling to call for the sacrifices necessary to preserve our way of life. In the past, shielded by oceans and distance, America has always had time to wake up out of our slumber and rearm. We no longer have that luxury. We need a draft. We need to forget about leaving Iraq for many years. We need a many-fold expansion of our military to confront the threat we face from Islamic terrorism world-wide and from nuclear armed madmen in Iran. There are signs that President Bush recognizes that step 1 is necessary. It may take another 9/11 to convince the American public that step 2 is overdue.

The alternative may be denial to us of access to 55% of the world’s oil and living our lives under the Sharia. In a province of Canada, Muslims came close to imposing Sharia law, they are succeeding in parts of mainland Europe, and getting close to succeeding in Great Britain.

“What would President Bush say to the Iranian people if he had a chance to communicate directly with them? I was able to put that question to Bush in a one-on-one interview in the Oval Office on Wednesday. His answer made clear that the administration wants a diplomatic solution to the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program -- one that is premised on an American recognition of Iran's role as an important nation in the Middle East.

"I would say to the Iranian people: We respect your history. We respect your culture. We admire the entrepreneurial skills of your people. I would say to the Iranian people that I recognize the importance of your sovereignty -- that you're a proud nation, and you want to have a positive future for your citizens," Bush said, answering quickly and without notes.” David Ignatius
This Just In As We Publish:

US secretly woos Khatami
Toby Harnden in Washington
UK Telegraph

The Bush administration made secret overtures to former Iran president Mohammed Khatami during his visit to the United States last month in an attempt to establish a back channel via the ex-leader.

American officials made the approach as part of a strategy to isolate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr Khatami's hard-line successor, by using the former president as a conduit to the Iranian people.

Mohammed Khatami at the UN
They also hoped that Mr Khatami would report his conversations to senior members of Iran's theocratic regime who are wary of the current president. Diplomatic sources said that "third parties" were authorised by Nicholas Burns, the US under-secretary of state responsible for relations with Iran, to talk to Mr Khatami in a step towards "engagement" with senior Iranians.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Reflections on the UN Peacekeeepers


United Nations’ Credibility on the Line
Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers Enter Third Month in Captivity
By Scott Garrett
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

On July 12th, Hezbollah guerillas killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped another two, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. All the while Hezbollah continued to launch rockets at civilian targets in Northern Israel. These acts against Israel’s sovereignty sparked Israel's defensive measures and the subsequent escalation of the conflict. In the end, as a direct consequence of Hezbollah’s belligerence, more than 1,000 Lebanese and Israeli civilians lay dead and the infrastructure of Lebanon lay in ruins.

When the cease-fire was brokered by the United Nations, it was with the understanding of all parties, particularly Israel, that the UN would work toward the release of Israel’s kidnapped soldiers. Today, more than two months later, those two brave young men remain in captivity and their families remain uncertain of their future. Furthermore, Hezbollah remains armed with as many as 20,000 rockets aimed at Israel – according to the terrorist group’s own claims. Just this past Friday, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threw a victory rally in Lebanon taunting Israel, the peace-seeking government of Lebanon, and the United Nations with the probability that no one will ever see these two soldiers alive again. In fact, not only did Nasrallah note that these soldiers would only be returned in exchange for some of its jailed terrorist foot soldiers, Nasrallah also vowed that UN and Lebanese troops would not be allowed to disarm Hezbollah guerilla troops in Southern Israel and threatened the Western-friendly Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.

There can be no doubt that Nasrallah and Hezbollah have become bolder, more dangerous, and a graver threat to peace in the Middle East.

And yet, Israel has honorably abided by the terms of the cease-fire, as a sign of good faith and its commitment to peace in the region. It leaves one to wonder at the effectiveness of the UN to rectify the still unresolved injustice. This situation brings to light, yet one more example of the dramatic short-comings of the United Nations in its ability to carry out the good for which it was originally created. In fact, at the very time the United Nations was seeking to implement this cease-fire in Lebanon, it was entertaining Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who surprised no one with a tirade before the UN General Assembly alternating between anti-American vitriol and ad hominem attacks against Israel.

Of course, if the United Nations is going to be an effective broker for peace and conduit for diplomacy, it must itself be above reproach. The United Nation’s track record with regard to Israel, specifically, is unbalanced at best; anti-Semitic at worst. In just a single session of the UN General Assembly, it passed 21 individual resolutions criticizing Israel. And, over a 30-year period of time, the UN has actually funded three organizations that disseminate anti-Israel propaganda. Furthermore, only Israel has been called upon to defend itself as an individual agenda item for the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Even on a more general level, it’s little wonder that the UN has lacked the credibility to broker international agreements, let alone enforce them. With its current track record of internal corruption and its roster of greedy little machine bosses, the UN is hardly able to claim the moral high ground necessary to occupy that position. Consider just the Oil-for-Food scandal that facilitated as much as $17 billion in grants, scams, and smuggling, keeping Saddam Hussein living the lap of luxury while the people of Iraq starved and also paying for the rewards for the families of suicide bombers. Even now that the first conviction of a central figure to that scandal has been served and dates have been set for the trails of several other co-conspirators, the UN continues to protect some of the most egregious offenders.

It’s been long enough. I urge the United Nations to do what is right – to defend the sovereignty of the State of Israel and take the necessary measures to insure the soldiers’ immediate and safe return to their families and to give evidence of its credibility as a true broker of peace in the Middle East.

Congressman Scott Garrett represents New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

Practically everywhere you look in the operations of the United Nations, you find incredible graft, corruption and disgusting criminal behavior. The time has come to withdraw all support from this organization and let it fall apart – starved of funds. We can find some other use for the buildings and grounds while leaders from the important countries of the world meet to plan a successor organization. Let the United Nations follow the League of Nations into the dustbin of history, as we try again to find a way to resolve the world’s problems peacefully.

As a moderate-right conservative, it distresses me to reach this conclusion, because I have always thought that having a place where the peoples of the world could meet and talk would always be a good idea, no matter what. However, the obstructionism, the inefficiency, the anti-Semitism, the arrogance and the incredible waste of resources are one thing, but the scandals involving rape and child molestation and oil-for-food bribes are quite another. As more and more information dribbles out, it has become clearer and clearer that these scandals involve the highest levels of UN leadership, and are widespread and so deeply rooted, we will never see meaningful reforms

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