Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lyndon B. Johnson-America's Most Fascinating President?

One has to admit that in the past couple of generations, we have seen some pretty interesting characters come and go as president. When I was born, Harry Truman was in office though I have no memories of him. My memories of presidents past begins with Dwight Eisenhower. I was 18 when John F Kennedy was assassinated. Other figures like Reagan and Clinton had their share of interesting qualities both in and out of the White House. Yet, of all the presidents in my lifetime, I still think that the most interesting character was none other than Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Johnson's principle biographer, Robert Caro, is presently writing the fourth and final book in his history of the life of Johnson (The Years of Lyndon Johnson). I have read the first three, The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, Master of the Senate, and eagerly await the fourth, which will deal with his presidency.

Johnson, who came up poor in the hill country of Texas, was a complex figure. He was crude and foul-mouthed. He was a woman chaser, though hardly of the ilk of Bill Clinton or John F Kennedy. Prior to going into politics, he was a lowly school teacher, whose pupils were mostly dirt-poor Mexican-American children, an experience which made him a life-long supporter of the underdog. During World War II, Johnson was already in Washington though a Lt Commander in the Naval Reserves. He did spend a month in the Pacific and rode along on one combat mission in which he experienced enemy fire. He then returned to Washington, where he rose to become the most powerful man in the Senate and was known as the consummate politician and deal-maker. He was elected to the Senate in 1948 and earned the nickname of "Landslide Lyndon" because of a razor-thin and highly controversial election victory in Texas. As Senate Majority Leader in 1957, he helped get the 1957 Civil Rights Act passed.

After losing to Kennedy in the 1960 Primary Election, he shocked everyone by accepting the VP spot on Kennedy's ticket though it was thought that the two men detested each other. Many of Kennedy's aides and followers resented Johnson, a feeling that carried over into his presidency.

Upon taking office when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Johnson made his mark as President in two areas; Viet Nam and Civil Rights. Though, under Kennedy, the US had troops in Viet Nam as advisers, under Johnson, it became America's war after the controversial Gulf of Tonkin incident. It was the prime issue that drove Johnson from power as he decided not to run for re-election in 1968 in the face of nation-wide protests. Those around him all said that Johnson, who micro-managed the war, agonized over the reports of increasing US deaths.

But it was his involvement in the Civil Rights movement that stands as Johnson's monument. His contributions to the passage of civil rights legislation over the objections of many in his own party in Congress cannot be minimized. Many wondered why Johnson, a Southerner known to occasionally use the "N-word", went so far to champion this cause. At any rate, Johnson used all his political skills to get the votes needed for passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Act, which had been initiated by President Kennedy, had been bottled up in committee. It was Johnson more than any other person who got the legislation through Congress and to his desk for his signature.

During the 2008 Democratic Primary, Hillary Clinton drew heat when she made a comment on Johnson's importance to the Civil Rights movement which seemed to belittle Martin Luther King's contributions. Yet the fact remains that no other president aside from Abraham Lincoln and probably no other white person besides Lincoln did more to advance the rights of African-Americans in this country.

With the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, Johnson left office and died five years later, aged beyond his years. He was 64.

Probably more than any other president (with the possible later exception of Clinton), Johnson's memory survives in Secret Service folklore. Of course, the code of the Secret Service prohibits agents from publicizing the dark little secrets that they learn about the people they protect, a code which they adhere to being the professionals that they are. Yet, among themselves and certain other federal law enforcement agents, stories do circulate, and those about Johnson were legion. As a DEA agent who occasionally worked with the Secret Service, I heard a few which are hysterically funny. As stated above, Johnson had a reputation for crudity. He was a stern taskmaster, and when he walked into a room, everyone knew who was in charge. He was not universally liked by his protection detail. One story that I will repeat goes along the lines that when he died and was buried on his property along the banks of the Pedernales River, one of his agents walked out to the fresh grave site later that night when it was dark and proceeded to urinate on his grave.

(If anyone from the Secret Service is reading this, forget the subpoenas. It was long ago, and I don't remember who told me this or when and where I heard it.)

History has not yet been too kind with Johnson, mostly due to Viet Nam. Johnson suffered from a lack of charisma. He was not a gifted public speaker, nor was he an attractive-looking man in his later years. History still seems to be working out whether his civil rights contributions outweigh the tragedy of Viet Nam. Make no mistake about it though; Lyndon Johnson was a giant.

Samantha Power Paving the Way for Hillary at State!!??

Samantha Power at the State Department

"The monster is coming! The monster is coming!"

It is now being reported that Samantha Power is on Barack Obama's transition team. Specifically, she is doing a departmental review at the State Department. So who is Samantha Power, you ask?

You don't want to know.

But you need to know, so I'm going to tell you anyway. First of all, Ms Power is a Pulitzer Prize winning Professor at Harvard University. That is strike one. Second, she is the one who was fired from Obama's campaign after she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" during an interview with a British news outlet (that's ball one).

Immediately after making the comment coupled with some references to Hillary doing anything to win, she added, "that's off the record." Yeah right, Samantha. Your secret will always be safe with the media. So much for her judgement.

In the aftermath of the comment, Power apologized to Her Majesty claiming that the remark in no way reflected her true feelings about Sen. Clinton, whom she admired greatly. Yeah, right. So much for her honesty.

Power has written on the subject of genocide, and she apparently believes in armed intervention to stop human rights abuses.

Another thing you need to know is that Ms Power is a big supporter of the Palestinian cause. Consider this:

"Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Power said in 2002, that if she were an advisor to the U.S. President she would recommend investing "billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force [in Palestine], not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence", even though this may alienate "a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import".[7]"

* Wikipedia. The footnote references an interview of Power by Harry Kreisler of UC Berkeley

Is this a harbinger of an Obama foreign policy that will feature more overseas adventures, albeit for different reasons? I don't know. Is this a harbinger of an Obama foreign policy that will favor the Palestinians over Israel? I hope not, but I am not optimistic.

But how does this square with Hillary Clinton supposedly becoming the next Secretary of State? Is Obama playing games with her, like a cat plays with a mouse before he delivers the coup de grace? Is he trying to maneuver her into telling him to keep his Secretary of State position? Who knows, but as we all know by now, anything that involves Hillary Clinton has to be accompanied by some sort of melodrama.

Who knows? Maybe Obama will actually give the post to Ms Power. Now that is one scary thought.

Friday, November 28, 2008

In Memoriam

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and wife Rikvi

Murdered in cold blood by Muslim terrorists at the Chabad Lubavitch House in Mumbai, India

Meanwhile at the UN..........

"Anybody home?"

Almost as an afterthought (perhaps because the United Nations is little more than an afterthought), I checked out the UN's webpage today to see how they were reacting to the events in India. As I suspected, there isn't much there, although certain pages are suddenly not available, such as the "Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" page. Yet, it is instructive to see what is posted at the UN website.

There is a statement that the Security Council has strongly condemned the acts of terror in Mumbai, expressed sympathy for the victims and called for the prosecution of those arrested. There is also a similar statement from Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. There is little mention of the perpetrators beyond a vague reference to a group that has claimed responsibility and probably doesn't even exist. (Deccan Mujahadeen). There is no mention of the Chabat House, the Jewish center in which several Jews including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivki, were executed in cold blood as Indian commandos closed in.

If you click the page on events in the Middle East, it contains mostly a litany of Palestinian grievances against Israel.

Then I clicked on the page concerning UN actions against terrorism. It is nothing short of a white paper, something every official organization needs to have in its files when the inspectors come looking. It condemns terrorism in all its forms, calls for worldwide coordination to combat it, speaks of conferences and resolutions.....

Oh yes, it stresses that terrorism has no connection to any religion, people, nationality.....

Yet, beyond one passing reference to Al-Qaida and the Taliban, I could find no reference to Islamic terror nor any reference to specific victims of terror-like Jews, Americans, Israelis and other non-Muslims. In all those reams of paper and resolutions, the word Islamic does not appear once. There is no mention of terror-sponsoring states like Iran and Syria. As far as the UN is concerned, terrorism must be committed by Martians.

What a useless and corrupt organization is the UN. It is a body that gives new meaning to the word, "empty".


I was going to wait until the tragedy in Mumbai (formerly Bombai) India was over before writing my thoughts down, but I couldn't wait. As I write this, it is said that over 150 people are dead. The courageous Indian commandos are still fighting their way through the Taj Hotel clearing out the remaining terrorist murderers and still rescuing hostages. The exact group that is responsible for this mass atrocity is still unclear, but one thing is clear; they are Muslims. Their targets were Westerners, British, Americans, and yes, Jews. One of the locations raided was Chabat House, a Jewish center. According to news reports, hostages, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife,Rivki, were murdered in cold blood as commandos closed in. (Their two-year-old son miraculously escaped.) I am outraged, and I am fed up with the excuses. It is long overdue, but we need to call a spade a spade and demand that the Muslim world rise up and remove this evil from its house.

By any means necessary.

Mumbai is now India's 9-11. We have suffered ours. We reacted, and at least, we can now say that two murderous regimes have been driven from power. Spain had their own 9-11. They reacted and elected a cowardly government that promptly pulled their forces out of Iraq. Britain had theirs and now prostrates itself at the feet of a hateful Muslim minority that spits in the face of British society as they demand Shariah law.

This latest incident is pretty much the final blow for me personally in trying to appeal to decent Muslims to take a stand. It is not easy. I know decent Muslims. I teach Muslim students, mostly from Saudi Arabia, who seem quite nice. I listen to the words of American Muslim leaders who speak of moderation and say they condemn terrorism. I have heard President Bush describe Islam as a religion of peace as he meets Muslim leaders. One of those leaders, whom he has invited to the White House, is Imam Muzammil Siddiqi, former head of the Islamic Society of North America and now head of the Islamic Society of Orange County-himself an Indian.

Last week, I attended a joint Jewish-Muslim discussion at Chapman University, where Dr Siddiqi spoke for Islam. (See post of last week). Dr Siddiqi is considered a "moderate Muslim", who decries terror. Yet, he has made statements in the past regarding Jihad and Shariah that many Westerners might find troubling. In the 1990s, he hosted the "Blind Sheihk" Rahman at his mosque. Let's just say I wasn't convinced at Siddiqi's words last week.

I have just checked the websites of CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Islamic Society of Orange County. Only the Islamic Society of North America has a statement on Mumbai, condemning the attacks and offering prayers for the victims. That is all well and good, but nowhere-nowhere is there any mention of the fact that the perpetrators were Muslims. There is also no mention of the attack on Chabat House. This is insufficient. As for CAIR and the Islamic Society of Orange County, there is nothing on their websites about Mumbai (as of this writing). What will they eventually say? What will the Muslim Student Associations at our US universities say about Mumbai when they have their next "Islam Awareness Week"? Will they continue to claim that they are not anti-Jewish, only anti-"Zionist"? That is the constant disclaimer they use, yet the raid on Chabat House puts the lie to that. It is clear that the killers wanted to include Jews (in India) among their targets. Why?

Because they hate Jews.

So what is it that Muslims in America must say and do, you ask? What is needed is for them to stand up and publicly condemn the MUSLIMS who are carrying out these atrocities in India and around the world in the name of Islam. Muslim leaders need to tell their congregations and members that if they sympathize with these actions, they are not welcome in their midst. They must give the FBI the names of those in their communities who they suspect to be involved in subversive activities. They must publicly proclaim to the world that they are Americans and will stand with America and defend her against ISLAMIC terror.

A few, of course, have stood up and condemned the actions of terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Nonie Darwish and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are a couple that come to mind. They have gone beyond bland statements about "condemning terrorism and that Islam is really a religion of peace". They call it what it is, and as a result, they will spend the rest of their days-in Western countries even-living with bodyguards and dealing with threats to their lives because they are considered apostates.

You see, people like Darwish and Ali have crossed the line. They have spoken out against Islamic doctrine itself. They have said what people in CAIR and Siddiqi cannot say; that so much of what is in the Qu'ran is nothing more than an incitement to hate, shun and murder those who are not Muslims.

You will not hear these Muslim leaders, even if they are "moderates", say that the very words of the Prophet Mohammed are wrong, and that they are not appropriate in the modern world. The problem is that the Prophet Mohammed was a warrior. That is an undeniable fact. Mohammed was not a mythical figure who may or may not have existed. He, indeed, existed, and he spread Islam at the point of a sword. As a result, thousands of people died in the Holy Land. The words in the Qu'ran are his words. If there are conflicts and contradictions, then the latest writing takes precedent.

Mohammed stated that Muslims should not take unbelievers as friends. Almost every page and Sura in the Qu'ran speaks of non-believers burning in Hell, a point constantly reinforced. There, of course, is the famous and oft-quoted Hadith that speaks of trees and bushes saying, "there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him."

There is the principle of Shariah law, which no Western democracy could ever allow to be adopted; honor killings, stonings, limited rights for women and non-believers, taxes for dhimmis, death for the "crime of apostasy", and on and on. Islam is a belief system that is designed to control every aspect of life including the very law itself.

You see, there is a limit as to what the Muzammil Siddiqis of the world can say when they "condemn terrorism". There is a line they cannot cross. How can they engage in a theological debate with the so-called "extremists"? Is it not the "extremists" who are following the teachings of Mohammed-to the letter? Thirty years ago, we were calling them "fundamentalists"-for a reason. We seemed to have dropped that term. Why? Because it would mean that they are merely following the teachings of Mohammed and Islam.

I think the time is long since past when we in the non-Muslim world wake up and recognize the unavoidable fact; that our enemy is not just a group of a few thousand fanatics around the world-it is an idea. It is an idea that can be found within the covers of a book written by a man who had no concept of a larger world outside the region where he lived and fought.

It could be argued that Islam was in a centuries-long slumber-from which it is awakening with a vengeance. And it is growing. In mosques and hadrassas all over the Muslim world-and in many cases in Western countries as well, children are being taught that according to the Qu'ran, they have mortal enemies-non-believers and especially Jews. Many young Muslims in Western countries are being taught that their mission is to spread Islam until the day comes when Islam will rule that country-and indeed the world.

I have heard many say that Islam needs a Reformation. A nice thought, but it would require more than just "reform". Martin Luther, in his Reformation, was rebelling against a corrupt Vatican that had lost its way. He was not rebelling against the Bible or the teachings of Jesus Christ. To reform Islam would requiring rejecting many passages in the Qu'ran and many of the teachings of Mohammed as simply not being applicable to a modern world-and as being morally wrong. But how do believers decide that their religion does not contain Eternal Truth? That is a big leap.

Meanwhile, so many in the West delude themselves into thinking that this phenomena we call terrorism does not represent true Islam. They insist that Islam is a religion of peace, and that we who bring up the inconvenient facts about the life and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, the words in the Qu'ran and the words of so many Muslim clerics, are somehow Islamophobes, and that Islamophobia must be fought with the same vigor as anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia. Last week, I listened to a respected rabbi, a decent man who only desires peace and understanding, say that very thing at Chapman University.

Let me set this straight. Aside from the fact that the word "Islamophobia" itself means "fear of Islam", an understandable feeling given world events, I do not believe that individual Muslims should be persecuted. They have a right to practice their religion (indeed, there are some aspects of Islam I find admirable) as long as it does not conflict with the rights of others and local laws. Certainly, there are many Muslims who are used to living around non-Muslims and have no desire to be engaged in violence in any way. Surely, many older Muslims have spent their lives picking and choosing which parts of the Qu'ran they choose to obey. Yet, many are afraid to speak out because of the fear of violent retribution. I have long resisted the temptation to repeat the mocking statement of others when these events happen as, "the religion of peace strikes again." Yet, what other phrase is appropriate?

Yes, it has reached the point where Muslims must take a stand if they want to be accepted by the rest of the world. It is not just in America or Britain or India. Thai Muslims must stand with the majority and reject Muslim insurrection in that country's south. Filipino Muslims must do the same. This is not a call for persecution of innocent Muslims. But how can they be accepted by the larger societies in which they live as minorities if they remain silent? Do they really want to live isolated from the larger society? Some, I believe, actually do.

Meanwhile as the 9-11s, the Londons the Madrids now Mumbais continue to add up, more and more people can only turn against Islam and become "Islamophobes". And fewer and fewer people will be able to insist that Islam is really "a religion of peace".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tribute to Marty

As I was driving north from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley with my mother and daughter to attend a family Thanksgiving dinner today, I happened to listen to the Sean Hannity Show on the radio as I usually do when in my car on a weekday. Since it was Thanksgiving, the show was a taped replay of previous broadcasts. Thankfully, I was wearing thick, dark sunglasses because Sean's show started the tears flowing down my cheeks. You see, Sean was doing a tribute to his friend, Marty Kenney, a daily caller to his show who had died November 4th at the age of 90.

Marty was not just any caller. He had been calling into Sean's show on a daily basis since 1996. He was not just a radio talk show enthusiast. Marty, who lived in New Jersey, was a true American patriot and true American hero. As a young soldier during World War 2, he had participated in the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

On countless, occasions while driving in my car, I had listened to Marty call in to Sean's show in the closing minutes for a short comment-always accompanied by Sean's tape of a turn-of-the-century piano piece. Marty's comments were simple and to the point-he loved his country, and he loved the young men and women in uniform who are defending it today.

Today, I listened to Sean talk about what Marty meant to him, what an inspiration Marty was to him, and how Marty had become like a second father to him.

Marty didn't like to talk about his experiences in World War 2, particularly in Normandy though Sean wanted to hear about them. For Marty, it was too painful. Today, Sean's show played a tape of his conversation with Marty this past anniversary of D-Day, in which Marty managed, through his emotions, to recount the horrors of landing at Normandy amd struggling past the bodies of his killed comrades as he tried to fight his way to shore and across the beach.

As I listened to Marty talk about that day, I recalled the day in the 1980s when I and my family visited Normandy. I will never forget walking through the cemetery among the headstones and thinking how the young men who were buried there had truly died for a noble purpose. As we walked down the hill to the beach, I imagined the soldiers coming in the opposite direction, fighting their way across the sand dunes and trying to scale the hill in the face of withering German machine gun fire.

Had it not been for those young men and so many others like them, what corner of the world would be living in freedom today?

Marty Kenney was one of those men.

Marty was one of those people who were part of the "Greatest Generation". As their numbers dwindle, it is sad that so many of our younger generations are so ignorant about their sacrifices. Sadder yet that so many Americans don't appreciate what our military has done and does today. It seems to me that it should be a standard part of every young American's education to take them on excursions to places like Normandy and Pearl Harbor.

I won't demean Marty's memory here by comparing him to certain well-known contemporary figures who have shown nothing but disdain for their country. They don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Marty Kenney. Just let this be a tribute to a great American and thanks to Sean Hannity for sharing Marty with the rest of us.

Somali Pirates? What Somali Pirates?

Happy Thanksgiving

And if you don't like it, tough turkey

PS- There's a great football game going on in Detroit as I write. Turn it on and catch the exciting finish.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Holy Land Foundation Trial

Ghassan Elashi-CEO of Holy Land Foundation

On November 24, 2008, a jury in Dallas convicted 5 members of the Islamic charity Holy Land Foundation(HLF)for funneling approximately 12 million dollars to the terrorist organization, Hamas, disguised as charitable contributions to the Middle East, principally in the Palestinian territory. This ended a years-long effort by federal authorities to bring the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation in the US to justice.

In 2001, the US Government froze the assets of the HLF as did the EU. Three years later, in 2004, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted the organization and several of its members on 42 counts of providing financial aid to a designated terrorist organization (Hamas). It is believed that much of the funding went into the recruitment of suicide bombers (including the indoctrination of school children) targeted against Israeli civilians. In July of 2007, a mistrial was declared when jurors were unable to agree on a verdict. This week marked the culmination of the retrial. The jury deliberated eight days before convicting the defendants, who are identified below:

Shukri Abu Bakjer
Mohammad El-Mezain
Ghassan Elashi
Mufid Abdulqader
Abdulrahman Odeh

Due to the possibility of long prison terms, the defendants were remanded to custody pending sentencing.

Below is a link to the US Government witness list:

Note the expected testimony of several of the witnesses linking the HLF not only to Hamas but to the Muslim Brotherhood, that organization that portrays itself as a peace-loving opponent of terrorism.

Another piece of evidence introduced at the trial was an interesting document entitled: "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America", which is dated 5/22/1991. It was written by Mohamed Akram and consists of 18 pages in English. It is addressed to several Muslim groups in North America. This document is stamped, "US v HLF (Holy Land Foundation) and bears prosecution exhibit number 003-0085, which identifies it as a government exhibit in the the Holy Land Foundation prosecution. It is now in the public venue.

Of particular interest is page 7 of the document, section 4, which is entitled:

"Understanding the Role of the Muslim Brother in North America". It reads;

"The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process' with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal".

On October 8, 2008, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Ibrahim El-Houdaiby, appeared at the University of California at Irvine. He spoke to a group of students in a class per the invitation of Professor Mark LeVine, a Middle East expert who is known to be sympathetic to the Palestinian side in the struggle against Israel. The appearance was open to the public. During the speech, El-Houdaiby presented the Muslim Brotherhood as a peaceful organization that opposed violence. During the Q&A, I confronted El-Houdaibi with the above document and gave him both Arabic and English copies as I read the document for the audience. El-Houdaiby promptly questioned where I had obtained the document and pronounced it a forgery. What ensued was a series of exchanges between El-Houdaiby and me on this blog in which he insisted the document was a forgery and that the Muslim Brotherhood was a non-violent organization.

So what does the verdict in the Holy Land Foundation tell us? Without trying to paint all US Muslims as terrorist supporters, I think it illustrates the undeniable fact that we have a cancer growing in this country. Of course, I understand that very few Muslims in the US could be expected to take the Israeli side. Yet, Israel is our ally, and we are committed to support that country. If US Muslims are sending funds to organizations like Hamas, they are not only supporting terror, but they are working at cross purposes with our government as well.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, with the exception of the Dallas newspapers, it seems that the mainstream media (once again) has chosen not to make this front-page news.

The convictions in Dallas are encouraging. Yet, they are disturbing as well because we are going to have to face an unpleasant truth. We have a 5th column in this country. It is not all Muslims, but there is a segment we need to be concerned about.

Kalifornia Krashing

Our beloved governor-leading the way to a brighter future

Twenty-eight billion dollars and counting, folks. That's the latest budget deficit in California under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the left-wing Democrats in Sacramento. To "solve" this crisis, Arnold called the legislators into special session in the State Capitol. Yesterday, they all went home for Thanksgiving, and, since the new legislature comes in the first of December, some won't be back at all.

What did they accomplish? Nothing. The Democrats, as is their wont, tried to increase taxes. For example, one idea would have tripled the car tax. Republicans, of course, refused to go along with any tax increases. So it was back home to carve the turkey.

Arnold, of course, slammed the lawmakers and described the whole legislature as a "kindergarten". That charge is true, of course, but our governor, under the careful guidance of his wife, Maria Shriver, has been complicit in the whole mess. Once he learned that he could not get Sacramento to cut its insane spending and that he could not win against the powerful state employee unions, he joined them.

So now the deficit is 28 billion. In a couple of months, it will probably be 35 billion. Who is to blame? Sacramento, of course, and the irresponsible people who infest the state capitol.

In the words of an old friend, long forgotten, "you could drop a nuclear bomb on that place and not harm one innocent bystander."

The Claremont Thanksgiving Affair- A Happy Ending

Warning: The above picture is politically incorrect and not suitable for children.

* Please refer to my previous post on this topic entitled: "Assault on Thanksgiving in California" (November 21, 2008).

Who says a protest can't have a happy ending? After the Claremont (Ca) School Board reacted to one parent's letter of protest about a planned Thanksgiving dinner in which children from two local elementary schools would dress up as Pilgrims and Indians by banning the costumes, parents took matters into their own hands.

Outraged at the politically correct decision by School Superintendent David Cash that would have ended a decades-long tradition, the overwhelming majority of the concerned parents went ahead and dressed their kids up in the costumes anyway and accompanied them to Condit Elementary School yesterday. Once there, the children sat down to their Thanksgiving feast dressed in their paper outfits.

Meanwhile, several parents participated in a demonstration on the street outside the school and exchanged angry shouts with those protesting the costumes as an affront to Native Americans. Police had to be called to make sure nothing got physical. The kids meanwhile, had their feast and played with each other, oblivious to the commotion. Of course, the news media was there from as far away as Los Angeles, and some kids came up to the cameras asking to get on TV.

A wonderful time was had by all. Except for Superintendent David Cash, who asked the local gendarmes to patrol his house due to hate mail he has received.

And that's not all, folks. Today, most of the parents are keeping their kids out of school. What that means to the schools is-money. No attendance-no money from the government. The schools figure to lose $50 per student who is absent today.

Now that's a protest I can get behind. It's about time common folks stood up to officials imposing political correctness on them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deal- or No Deal?

Why is it that everything that involves Hillary Clinton has to be carried out like a soap drama? The appointment of a Secretary of State could and should be carried out in a simple and dignified manner-befitting the post. Not so with Madame Hillary. We the public have had to be treated with two or more weeks of suspense wondering if America's political diva, our own version of Evita Peron, would become our next Secretary of State. It is typical Clinton tackiness, and it doesn't make Barack Obama look like much of a leader. This whole show looks like some kind of "Deal".

The issue of why she is a disastrous pick for State is the subject of another essay. What concerns me here is how she came to be the pick for this position.

Remember that secret meeting in Washington at the home of Senator Dianne Feinstein, when it was obvious that Obama was going to be the nominee? There were questions of if and when she would end her campaign. Would she support Obama and ask her followers to do the same? Would she campaign for Obama after the convention?

Now, with all this nonsense leading up to The Big Announcement, is it fair to ask if any deals were made for Hillary's role in an Obama Administration? So what, you ask. That's just politics. True. However, I would argue that the position of Secretary of State, especially in this dangerous era in which we are living, is too crucial to give the position to someone as part of a "Deal". Obama should be seeking out the best possible choice for this position, and I would argue that Hillary Clinton is not the best choice-not even close. She is not qualified.

So, it seems that the announcement will be made after Thanksgiving, and we learn that the vetting process is underway and will be done by then. What about the question of the notorious Clinton finances (i.e. all the money Bill gets from Middle East entities for his library, foundation and giving speeches)? People have been trying for about 16 years to get to the bottom of the Clintons' finances-without much success. And the Obama team thinks they can vet it all in a few weeks?

Give me a break.

This episode involving this woman and her erstwhile husband, who refuse to go away, coupled with the massive appointments of Clinton Administration retreads, leads me to wonder who will really be in charge in the Obama Administration. Will it be President Obama-or the couple that won't go away?

Deal-or no deal?

Let's Play, "Name That Ballpark"

Taxpayer Field- Your tax dollars at work

News item: Two New York City Councilmen in Queens have suggested that the New York Mets new ballpark, which will open next year, have a slight name change. You see, Citi Group (that outfit that is getting a 25 billion dollar bailout from the Government), is paying the Mets 400 million dollars over the next twenty years for naming rights to the stadium. Thus, the new ballpark will be known as "Citi Field".

The council members have suggested that the ballpark be known as "Citi/Taxpayer Field".

I like the idea, but why not just call it "Taxpayer Field". You know, cut out the middleman.

"America's Sheriff" on Trial- Did Greg Haidl Get Preferencial Treatment?

Greg Haidl- With a son like him, you need all the favors you can get.

Tuesday's session of the Mike Carona corruption trial continued with the testimony of an Orange County Sheriff's deputy who testified about a 2003 encounter with Greg Haidl, the son of star witness, Don Haidl, who had just finished testifying for 11 days.

As background, it should be remembered that Don Haidl was a successful businessman who was appointed Asst Sheriff by Carona-with no law enforcement experience. The defense has been arguing that there was no legitimate motive for Haidl to funnel illegal money and gifts to Carona since he (Haidl) was already a wealthy man. Haidl has testified that his motive was to be in a position of power where he could receive special favors and advantages.

Well, according to Tuesday's testimony, Haidl's son, Greg, received a special favor in 2003 when he was already out on bail charged for his involvement in a gang rape that he and two of his friends video-taped. (They were all convicted.)

According to the testimony of one deputy, John Roche, he encountered Greg Haidl and two other youths in a business parking lot in San Clemente, where they were skateboarding. During the encounter, Roche found a baggie of marijuana in a nearby car that Haidl was driving. Haidl denied ownership of the marijuana, and eventually, following a short period of time in which the deputy left the three together, one of the boys, a 16 year old, stated that the marijuana was his. (It was suspected that Haidl might have pressured the younger boy to take the blame.)

At any rate, the deputy called his supervisor since it was known who the younger Haidl was. Apparently, a couple more phone calls were made up the ladder, and the deputy was instructed to take Haidl home and not charge him. It was also ordered that the marijuana not be logged into evidence at the police station.

Lt Lloyd Downing testified that he was watch commander on that date, and was instructed by Asst Chief George Jaramillo not to log in the incident, lest the news media get ahold of it.

"I was only following orders", Downing testified.

Under cross-examination by Carona defense attorney, Jeff Rawitz, Downing was asked if he knew whether Carona had any involvement in the incident, to which he replied in the negative.

If that wasn't enough, about five days later, according to the testimony, Roche was instructed to write a report and log the evidence in. Roche testified that Lt William Hunt, a commander at the station, ordered the deputy to re-write his report in a way to absolve Haidl from any guilt.

Eventually, local news reporters started getting leaks from disgusted Sheriff's deputies about the incident, and it became a big news story in Orange County-already outraged about the pending criminal trial of Greg Haidl and two others for gang-rape and the fact that his father, Don Haidl, was an Asst Sheriff without any previous law enforcement experience.

As local LA reporter, Eric Leonard was reporting the testimony on KFI's John and Ken radio talk show, Hunt called into the show to vehemently state that he did nothing wrong, was only acting on the information known to him at the time and had received no orders from higher up. (Hunt, actually ran against Carona for Sheriff a couple of years back claiming that he would reform Carona's running of the department. Carona won and later, according to Hunt, retaliated against him by demoting him after the election.)

What was the importance of dragging up the Greg Haidl mess? It went to corroborate Don Haidl's stated motive of wanting to be in a position to get special favors. The defense, as stated, is trying to destroy Haidl's testimony as to his motives for having a secret financial relationship with Carona. In that incident in 2003, it appears that Don Haidl got a special favor from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

After the above testimony, Carona's former secretary, Rlaine Vasquez, took the stand. She provided evidence regarding the obligation of people like Carona to provide information annually regarding their financial interests. This is done on a state form 700. According to Vasquez, she helped Carona file these reports in cases where he had been provided gifts or favors, such as a free limousine ride to Hollywood to view "The Lion King" at the Pantages Theatre. In cases like this, the Sheriff would send a letter to the donor that as Orange County Sheriff, he was not allowed to accept such favors free and would enclose reimbursement.

Why was that mundane testimony important? It went to show that Carona actually knew the law regarding favors, and, in several instances, actually followed the law. The prosecution is arguing that in cases where Carona's inner circle (Haidl, Jaramillo, etc) was providing the favors, he ignored it. According to Vasquez, she never saw any report of the alleged $1,000 monthly payments from Haidl to Carona.

The saga of "America's Sheriff" continues with a half-day of testimony on Wednesday before breaking for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Latest UN Shame

This is what you will see at the UN

This is what you won't see at the UN

If you had not marked today's date on your calendars, folks, you may have missed the Big News. Today, November 24th, has been designated by that august body, the United Nations as its annual "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People".
Of course, no expression of "solidarity" with the Palestinians could go by without bashing the state of Israel.

Sure enough, that temple of world understanding in New York will feature a film that compares Israelis as Nazis ("La Terre Parle Arabe" or "The Land Speaks Arabic."), a film that compares the "Zionist plan for Palestinians" with the Final Solution, as well as an exhibit that paints Israel's 60 years of existence in a terrible light. never mind the fact that 60 years ago-November 29, 1947, the same UN proclaimed two states, Israel and an Arab state side-by-side. The Jews accepted the idea. The Arab world rejected it and prepared for war. The UN lobby will be festooned with a display entitled; The Palestinians- 60 years of struggle and enduring hope.

In addition, there will be resolutions. There will be exhibits. There will be speeches-all condemning Israel for violations of human rights. The UN's former Secretary General, the corrupt Kofi Annan has referred to November 29 as a "day of mourning-a day of grief."

What you won't see-what you won't hear is this:

Nothing will be said about the millions of Jews who were driven from their homes and communities in places like Iraq, Egypt or Syria after 1948.

Nothing will be said about acts of Palestinian terrorism. There will be no mention of the airplane hijackings. There will be no mention of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes. There will be no mention of the Achille Lauro takeover in the 1980s, when Palestinian terrorists took over a cruise ship. Nothing will be said about Leon Klinghofer, an elderly American Jewish passenger, who was murdered and tossed overboard-in his wheelchair. There will be no mention of the airport massacres carried out by Arab terrorists in Rome and Vienna in the 1980s. There will be no mention of the suicide bombings carried out by Palestinians in crowded buses, cafes and pizza parlors.

There will be no photos of Palestinians dancing in the streets and passing out candy on 9-11.

There will be no discussion of the corruption of Yassir Arafat.

There will be no discussion of the hanging or stoning of women in Iran for the "crime" of adultery. Similarly, there will be no discussion of the execution of homosexuals in Iran.

There will be no discussion of rape victims being punished for the "crime" of having illicit sex in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

There will be no discussion of forced female circumcision in parts of Africa.

This "commemoration" is just another sad example of why the UN has no further justification for its existence. This body is just a collection of nations, the majority of which are corrupt, third world countries which don't practice democracy, and have no respect for democracy. Human rights? How many of these banana republics know the first thing about human rights? How many of these countries can match Israel (the only democracy in the entire Middle East) when it comes to human rights?

So why does this useless body exist? Probably to transfer wealth from the developed world to their own sorry countries-where government leaders can siphon it off to Swiss bank accounts while their people live in extreme poverty. They certainly don't exist to stop genocide (witness Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and others). They certainly don't exist to save people from natural disasters. When the tsunami struck Indonesia and Thailand a couple of years back, the US military was on the ground delivering food, equipment and medical supplies while the UN bureaucrats were scheduling meetings in Tokyo to decide what they should do first. Then, as American citizens were donating millions of dollars to relief agencies, the UN had the cojones to criticize the US and other developed countries for not doing enough! They seem to forget that, courtesy of the US taxpayer, our country pays almost 25% of their total budget.

It is high time for the US to form a coalition of democratic states and leave this thing called the United Nations in the dustbin of history where it belongs. And as for this idea of "solidarity with the Palestinians", you can count me out.

Let's Play, "Name That Bailout!"

Which of the below Detroit firms do you think will get the next government bailout?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Proposition 8 Backlash-Is it Time for RICO?

In the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 in California establishing marriage as between one man and one woman, the gay activists are mobilizing for a multi-front fight. Already, a series of lawsuits is being filed and the California Supreme Court has already agreed to entertain the case-yet again. The most prominent attorney filing against Prop 8 is the ubiquitous Gloria Allred, who seems to attach herself to every controversial case in the stste. Other factions are vowing to put the gay marriage issue on the ballot yet again in 2010. All that is part of our legal and constitutional system. What is truly objectionable, however, are the massive attacks on Christian churches for their support of Prop 8. The Mormon Church, which gave huge financial support to the measure, has been singled out for special attention. The recent disruption of services at Mt Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan on November 9 by a group calling itself, "Bash Back" was especially outrageous. Demonstrators shouted, "Jesus was a homo". The pulpit was stormed, parts of the church were vandalized and worshippers confronted and intimidated. Believe it or not, no arrests were made. See details at:

My question is this; if gay activists and their supporters, specifically "Bash Back" are organizing disruptive actions against churches across the nation, is it time for the Justice Department to take a look?

I am in no way suggesting that the right to conduct legal demonstrations and protests be abridged. Yet, as we all know, many protests do get out of hand, become violent, and thus, cause police to make arrests. The violent and disruptive invasion of church services is a crime and should not be tolerated.

What appears to be shaping up is a nationwide wave of intimidation and disruption aimed at the American religious community. Diverse as they may be, most faiths are opposed to same-sex marriages. Many elements of the so-called gay community are singling out the religious communities for blame-and retaliation. If it turns out that this is a nation-wide, organized movement that crosses the line of legitimate protest, then it may be appropriate for the US Justice Department to launch an investigation. One possible way might be the RICO Statute.

The RICO Statute (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations-Chapter 96, Title 18 US Code 1961-68) was passed in 1970 to deal with interstate criminal organizations-in effect- Organized Crime. It also proved to be useful in the prosecution of large-scale drug trafficking organizations that were operating across state lines or internationally. It provides for enhanced penalties and has civil provisions as

Since its passage, RICO has been applied to other organized forms of criminal activity. (There was also an unsuccessful attempt to apply RICO to abortion clinic protesters).

I should add that I am not an attorney, so I am not calling for the Justice Department to initiate a RICO investigation at this point. The disruptive actions of certain gay groups may simmer down as they concentrate on the legal avenues they can follow. I cannot even say with authority that RICO would be appropriate. That would have to be figured out by the Justice Department attorneys if the pattern of church harassment such as what happened in Lansing continues.

I do have a feeling, however, that this gay marriage issue and the backlash caused by Proposition 8 may be the start of a concentrated, organized and nation-wide campaign to target the faith communities. This group called "Bash Back" appears to have branches in Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Memphis, and a few other cities as well.

There are legal ways to protest outside churches, and in many cases, protesters outside churches have not crossed the line. However, if Lansing becomes part of a pattern, then I feel the Justice Department has a duty to protect churches from undue intimidation and harassment. Investigating "Bash Back" may be a good place to start.

But would an Obama Justice Department led by Eric Holder undertake such action if the situation continues and worsens?

Time will tell.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hate on our College Campuses

Tolerance on parade-The Minutemen appear at Columbia University

Gary Larson of Frontpage has written about an incident that happened on election night at Augsburg Collage in Minnesota. It may be read in its entirety at the site below:

According to the report, 18-year-old freshman, Annie Grossmann was accosted on campus after leaving an election night gathering. Her attackers were 4 young black women (unknown to her)who followed her from the event and beat her up a short distance away. Ms Grossmann suffered a concussion and blurred vision. As yet, the attackers have not been identified or arrested.

What was the motive for the attack? Grossmann, who is a Republican, was wearing a McCain-Palin button. During the beating, she was called a racist by her attackers. In earlier social gatherings, Grossmann had been jeered for identifying herself as a Republican.

My reaction to this article is outrage but not surprise. First of all, college campuses across the nation are becoming hotbeds of intolerance. Intolerance of what, you may ask. Is it intolerance of blacks or Hispanics? Hardly. Any sign of that is met immediately by condemnation from the university and the student body-and rightfully so. Actually, it is more an intolerance of ideas that go against the majority sentiment on university campuses. In other words, if you represent anything conservative, Republican, pro-US or pro-Israel-you will be singled out to be ostracized. Universities, which traditionally have been supposed to be centers of discourse and the exchange of ideas from all sides, are now bases for the propagation of ideas from the left. If you want to bash the US Government, the President, our military, or Israel, your speech will be welcomed in the name of "Free Speech". On the other hand, if you want to honor America, support Israel, speak out against Islamic terror, praise the US Government and our military-you will be jeered-not only by students-but by professors as well. Need I recite the long list of conservatives who have had their appearances at colleges disrupted by know-nothing students-egged on by know-nothing professors?

This is the climate that exists on university campuses today. I know. I have taught part-time at the University of California at Irvine for 10 years.

Recently, at Elmhurst College in Illinois, a young Muslim woman filed a police report that she had been attacked by an unidentified male in a campus restroom after speaking at a campus event. The college and the community rallied in support of the woman. Candlelight vigils were held to speak out against hate. All well and good-until a few days later, the woman was arrested for perpetrating a hoax and filing a false police report. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which had posted the news of the "attack" on its web site, waited 5 days before they took it down.

Question: Has anyone at Augsburg College held a candlelight vigil for Annie Grossmann? I seriously doubt it.

I could go on and on about the double standard that exists on college campuses when it comes to these types of conflicts. Yet, I need go no further than UC Irvine where the Muslim Student Union sponsors hateful speakers on a regular basis. To listen to these speakers is to listen to anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic diatribes. (They even brought in the odious Ward Churchill a couple of years back.) There have also been incidents of physical confrontations against Jewish students on campus. A Jewish female student had her camera shoved in her face by a Muslim student while she was filming an MSU event. The university and campus took no action. Last May, a Jewish female student who had filmed an MSU speech was followed back to her car, surrounded and intimidated by a group of MSU men. The campus police and the university took no action.

Of course, as I have written repeatedly, the people who run UCI are apparently terrified of the MSU and probably CAIR as well. They not only tolerate this inciteful hate speech on campus, but won't even condemn it beyond making vague statements about hate speech in general. A couple of years back, after an incident of vandalism of a Jewish display on campus, the university organized a kumbaya event to condemn hate and hate speech in general. Guess what. The leaders of the university dis-invited the campus Jewish organization group from the event.

You see, under the code of political correctness, it all depends who the victims and perpetrators are. If the victim is white, Jewish, conservative, Republican, then no one will care. If the victim is black, Hispanic, gay or Muslim, the candlelight vigils break out all over the place. I'm sorry folks, but this is hypocrisy in its purest form. It should not matter who the victims are or the perps. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. This is something that has been lost on universities across the land for several years now.

Mayne someone should call for a national candlelight vigil-to mark the death of our universities as centers for serious learning.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Assault on Thanksgiving in California

Viewer warning: The above picture may contain disturbing images. Viewer discretion advised.

Claremont, a community southeast of Los Angeles, is now the scene of a fight over a Thanksgiving celebration that was scheduled to be held by two local elementary schools. The planned event would have involved some 150 elementary schoolchildren from Condit Elementary School and nearby Mountain View Elementary School. The program, which was in the preparation stages, would have involved the kids dressing up as Indians and Pilgrims as they shared a Thanksgiving dinner. In preparing for the event, the children were busy at work cutting out their costumes from paper. Then it all came crashing down.

What happened was that one woman, the mother of one of the children, wrote a 2 1/2 page letter to the Claremont School Board, protesting the event as being denigrating and demeaning to Native Americans. As a result, the costumes have been scrapped by the school board.

In the letter, the woman, who is an Asst Professor of English at the University of California at Riverside and apparently of Indian heritage, described the Thanksgiving dinner as a "celebration of genocide". She compared the depiction of the first Thanksgiving dinner to showing slaves having dinner with their masters and Jews having dinner with Nazis.

On Thursday evening, the Claremont School Board held a public meeting, in which several parents showed up to defend having the event. They were told by the Board that the decision had already been made to have the students dressed in their normal clothes-and that no costumes would be permitted.

Whatever happened to Native Americans in our history, what in the world is wrong with showing a historical event that was conducted in friendship-before the wars began? Is this the first step in an all out assault on Thanksgiving-much as we have seen with Christmas? That this cowardly and/or politically correct school board would capitulate to one activist professor is absurd. Did she threaten them with a lawsuit? So now, in the interest of "sensitivity", to use the Board's own words, the event has been reduced to something as meaningless as an outing to Chucky Cheese.

The Carona Trial-Haidl Under "Cross-Examination"

From car auctioneer to "Asst Sheriff" to "rat"-Don Haidl

This week, Don Haidl continued his testimony against ex-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona in the federal corruption trial in Santa Ana. Today, Haidl was cross-examined by Silvia Torres-Guillen, who is the public defender for co-defendant Debra Hoffman (who was Carona's mistress and accused co-conspirator).

Ms Torres-Guillen spent considerable time trying to get Haidl to admit he was a "snitch" or "rat". No Perry Mason moment there.

She also irritated the judge by trying to make a major point of how many times Haidl had met with prosecutors and police when he began cooperating. Haidl didn't recall but accepted Ms Torres-Guillen's number of 18 as being pretty close. At this point, the attorney tried to have Haidl read the government report for each meeting out loud in court. The judge put a quick end to that idea-probably to the relief of the jurors who are now anticipating a trial that might go into January.

But the real laffer was when Torres-Guillen went after Haidl's testimony about some $100,000 that Haidl had funneled into propping up Hoffman's failing law firm (she is also charged with bankruptcy fraud). Torres-Guillen put up an enlarged image of a check book purported to be Hoffman's that showed two payments of $2,000 each as "evidence" that Hoffman was repaying the "loan". Haidl replied that it was his own check book that the attorney had put up and that these were payments made by him.

Moral of the story; if you ever get arrested, don't get a public defender. You might as well plead guilty.

Muzammil Siddiqi at Chapman University

Imam Muzammil Siddiqi

Last night I atttended a panel discussion at Chapman University in Orange, California. The event was hosted by the Dept of Religious Studies at Chapman and featured Rabbi Stuart Altschuler and Imam Muzammil Siddiqi, both of whom are on the staff at Chapman. The moderator was the Department Chair, Marvin Meyer. The topic of discussion was Muslim-Jewish relations. About 30 members of the community attended.

Prior to descibing the event itself, I am cross-posting a summary of Siddiqi which has been published by the Investigative Project with appropriate citations: (I apologize for the disjointed text.)

"Muzammil Siddiqi was born in India in 1943 and studied at Aligarh Muslim
University and Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow. After receiving a
graduate degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Islamic University of
Medina in Saudi Arabia, he went on to earn an M.A. in Theology from Birmingham University in England and a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion from
Harvard University.[1]

He is the director of the Islamic Society of Orange County


and was formerly the president of the Islamic Society of North America
(ISNA) from 1997 to 2000.[3]He

> still serves on ISNA's board of directors and is Chairman of the ISNA
> affiliated North American Islamic Trust

> (NAIT).[4]

> ISNA's founders had roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Siddiqi's
> public statements range from endorsing laws in countries where homosexuality
> is punishable by death to wishing for Sharia law to govern America.
> ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Hamas-support
> trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). The
> society was listed among entities that were part of the Muslim Brotherhood
> structure in America. In a statement issued during the trial, ISNA said it
> "is not now nor has it ever been subject to the control of any other
> domestic or international organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood."

> [5]

> However, ISNA was mentioned repeatedly in internal Brotherhood documents
> from the late 1980s and early 1990s seized by federal law enforcement
> officials and introduced at the HLF trial.
> In one introduced at trial, a strategy

> memodated

> May 22, 1991, ISNA is the first listed among 29 groups labeled "our
> organizations and the organizations of our

> friends.[6]"

> The ISNA Fiqh Committee and the ISNA Political Awareness Committee also
appear on the list.[7]

> But it is the strategy laid out in the memo that has garnered the most
> attention and concern. Written by Mohamed Akram, AKA Adlouni, the strategy
> memo lays out the role of the Muslim Brothers in North America:
> The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the
> word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind
> of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from
> within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of
> the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious
> over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up
> to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a
> Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he
> lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny
> except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the

> Mujahedeen be equal.[8]

> The year after this memo was written, Siddiqi's mosque hosted a lecture by
> Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, according to *The New

> Yorker

> * Sheikh Rahman, longtime spiritual leader of Egypt's largest Islamic
> militant group, al-Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) was indicted in 1993
> for conspiring with a group of followers to destroy New York bridges and
> tunnels. He was sentenced to life in prison. Siddiqi translated Rahman's
> lecture in real time. According to the *New Yorker*:
> Abdel Rahman dismissed nonviolent definitions of jihad as weak. He stressed
> that a number of unspecified enemies had "united themselves against Muslims"
> and that fighting them was obligatory. "If you are not going to the jihad,
> then you are neglecting the rules of Allah," he said. The opportunities for
> jihad were virtually everywhere, ranging from apostate Middle Eastern
> regimes to "those who are taking the wealth of Muslims from petrol or from
> oil." As he spoke, a red toolbox, with a slit cut into its lid for
> donations, was passed around the room. Videotapes of the lecture were later
> offered for sale at the society's

> bookstore.[9]

> Regarding the incident, Siddiqi said Rahman "was touring, and some people
> insisted that he should be

> there."[10]

> In addition to his role at ISNA, Siddiqi served as Chairman of the
> Department of Religious Affairs at the Muslim World League (MWL) Office to
> the United Nations from 1976 to

> 1980.[11]The

> Muslim World League (MWL) was set up in 1962 by the royal Saud family,
> to "promote Islamic

> unity"[12]and
to spread the Wahhabi brand of Islam.

> [13] Since its

> founding the MWL has frequent allegations levied against it for linkage to

> terrorist activity.[14]

> The following examples show Siddiqi speaking in his own words:
> - At a "Jerusalem Day Rally" in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on
> October 28, 2000, Muzammil Siddiqi said Jerusalem is land "that belongs to
> Muslims."
> …
And al-Aqsa, my brothers and sisters, is our sacred mosque. It belongs to
> Islam. It belongs to all the Muslims of the world, 1.5 billion Muslims of
> the world, it belongs to them. We cannot accept any threat to the al-Aqsa
> mosque. We cannot give up Jerusalem. Jerusalem belongs to Islam.
> America has to learn that because if you remain on the side of injustice, the
wrath of God will come .

> Please! Please all Americans, do you remember that, that Allah is watching
> everyone. God is watching everyone. If you continue doing injustice, and
> tolerating injustice, the wrath of God will come.[15]
> - During a "Live Dialogue," on on May 31, 2001, Siddiqi
was asked about implementing *Sharia* (Islamic law) in the U.S. Siddiqi
> answered:
> The criminal law of the Sharia is not practiced here [in America] and it is
> not even required for Muslims to practice the criminal law in a non-Islamic
> state. Muslims have to continue living their own lives faithfully and
> presenting the message of Islam to others. Once more people accept Islam,
> insha'allah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas.

> [16]

> During the same dialogue, Siddiqi was asked about participating in American
> politics and whether Muslims should participate in it or focus on building
> Islamic schools instead:
> As an American Muslim do (you) think that by voting we as Muslims can bring
> Sharia in this country or to even think that the Kufar (unbelievers) are
> going to help us establish ourselves in this country when they have been
> supporting countries such as Turkey, Russia, India and China and list goes
> on and on, where every practising Muslim is being oppressed? If they really
> care about our vote they would not have lobbies(legal bribery institutions
> working in this country? I think we should build Islamic schools rather then
> support AMC or any other political unless all of these organizations have an
> agenda to make Muslims

> "Modern."[17]

> Siddiqi responded:
> We should not lose hope, Islam is a religion of optimism. Prophet Muhammad
> (SAAWS) started his work as a single person in Mecca and by the grace and
> mercy of Allah, he was able to bring a large portion of humanity to the path
> of truth and righteousness. We should also work with sincerity, devotion and
> wisdom. We should work in all fields: social, economic, political,
> spiritual; the Islamic dawa includes

> everything.[18]
> - In the Oct. 18, 1996 issue of the newspaper, *Pakistan Link*, Siddiqi
> wrote an articlein

> which he responded to reader questions. On the subject of the
> political
> participation of Muslims in a non-Islamic state, he said:
> It is true that Islam stands for the sovereignty of Allah subhanahu wa
> ta'ala and Allah's rules are not limited to the acts of worship, they also
> include social, economic and political matters. By participating in a
> non-Islamic system, one cannot rule by that which Allah has commanded. But
> things do not change overnight. Changes come through patience, wisdom and
> hard work.
> I believe that as Muslims we should participate in the system to safeguard
> our interest and try to bring gradual change for the right cause, the cause
> of truth and justice. We must not forget that Allah's rules have to be
> established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.

> [19]
> - In a video recording made roughly 15 years ago in California, Siddiqi

> lectured on "jihad," proclaiming:
> When people really carry on Jihad, they carry on the Islam in its peak in
> its totality. And that's why in the hadith the Prophet (SAS) said (Arabic),
> 'No people have ever neglected Jihad except they became humiliated.' And
> people leave, renounce Jihad, they became humiliated. That means in order to
> gain the honor, Jihad is the path, Jihad is the way to receive the honor.
> …
> I can see that there is already some impact after Jihad in Afghanistan in
> the Intifada movement in Palestine. With this, more courage, more strength,
> more confidence and shall I even say that in a few years we will be
> celebrating with each other the victory of Islam in Palestine. Insh'allah,
> we shall be celebrating the coming of the Masjid al-Aqsa under the Islamic
> rule. We shall be celebrating insh'allah the coming of Jerusalem and the
> whole land of Palestine insh'allah and the establishment of the Islamic
> State throughout that area.
> - The *San Francisco Chronicle* published a story in June 2001 about
> homosexuality among Muslims. Siddiqi was interviewed for the story, as shown
> in the following excerpt:
> "I ask those people to repent, turn to God and take Islam seriously," said
> Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America and the
> director of the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove. "Being gay
> and Muslim is a contradiction in terms. Islam is totally against
> homosexuality.
> It's clear in the Koran and in the sayings of the prophet Mohammed."
> Siddiqi said he did not condone violence against gays, but supported laws in
> countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. As in the Bible,
> Siddiqi said, the Koran includes the story of Lot, in which men who have sex
> with men are punished.
> "How can people accept something that is against the Koran, unless Muslims
> stop being Muslims?" Siddiqi said.

> [20]
> - In a September 2002 speech at an ISNA convention, Siddiqi stated of

> 9/11, well after Osama Bin Laden took credit for the attacks:
> It is, the point is that we said, whosoever did it, we condemn it. We did
> not say it is Muslims who did it. We did not say this and that. But the
> point is that whosoever did it, it was wrong. And this is a basic point … We
> cannot say in surety whoever did it or not. But the point is that if the
> name of Islam is taken, we have to clarify the name of

> Islam.[21]
> - During a 2006 sermon, Siddiqi offered mixed messages about the

> controversy surrounding Danish political cartoons that mocked the Prophet
> Muhammad. He said he did "not condone any violence and strongly reject those
> who misbehaved in expressing their disapproval," but then advocated limits
> on free speech when it offends religious

> sensibilities.[22]

> "Religion and religious figures are dear to people's hearts. Their emotions
> are attached to them. Even if one does not believe in a religious figure,
> one should express one's criticism in a responsible and respectful manner."

> [23]

> He added: "We do not force others to believe in Prophet Muhammad the way we
> believe in him; but they should not insult us and humiliate us by abusing
> his name, his personality and character in

> public."[24]
> ------------------------------
> [1] "Dr. Muzammil

> H. Siddiqi," Pakistan Link,
> (Accessed December 14,
> 2007).; "Islamic Director's Biography," Website of Islamic Society of Orange
> County (ISOC), (Accessed
> December 14, 2007).

> [2] "Islamic

> Director's Biography," Website of Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC),

> [3] "Muzammil

> Siddiqi, Past President," ISNA Website,
> (Accessed December
> 18, 2007).

> [4] "Board of

> Directors (Majlis Ash-Shura)," ISNA Website,
> (Accessed December 18, 2007).

> [5] ISNA

> Statement of Position: Who We Are and What We Believe," ISNA website,
> September 12, 2007.

> [6] *US. v, Holy

> Land Foundation*, (TXND 3:04cr240) Government Exhibit 003-0085; "An
> Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North
> America."

> [7] Ibid.
> [8] *US. v, Holy

> Land Foundation*, (TXND 3:04cr240) Government Exhibit 003-0085; "An
> Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North
> America."

> [9] "Azzam the

> American: The Making of an Al Qaeda Homegrown," *The New Yorker*, Raffi
> Khatchadourian, January 15, 2007

> [10] Ibid.
> [11] Dr.

> Muzammil Siddiqi," .

> [12] "Muslim

> World League," Saudi Arabia Information Website,
> (Accessed December 21, 2007).

> [13] Evgenii

> Novikov, "The World Muslim League: Agent of Wahhabi Propagation in Europe,"
> Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 9, May 6, 2005,
> December 21, 2007); Dore Gold,
> *Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global
> Terrorism*(Washington, DC: Regnery Publising, 2003), p. 76.

> [14] Susan

> Schmidt, "Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in U.S.," *Washington Post*,
> October 2, 2003.

> [15] Muzammil

> Siddiqi, Jerusalem Day Rally, Washington, DC, October 28, 2000.

> [16] Dr.

> Muzammil Siddiqi, "The Future of the Muslim Community in America," Live
> Dialogue,, May 31, 2000.
> December 14, 2007).

> [17] Ibid.
> [18] Ibid.
> [19] Dr.

> Muzammil H. Siddiqi, "Issues and Questions," Pakistan Link, October 18,
> 1996.

> [20] Christopher

> Heredia, "Gay Muslims battle oppression," *San Francisco Chronicle*, June
> 21, 2001.

> [21] Muzammil

> Siddiqi, ISNA Convention, September 2002.

> [22] Khutbah

> (sermon) by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, "Freedom of Expression or Freedom to
> Abuse," Islamic Society of Orange County, February 3, 2006.

> [23] Ibid.
> [24] Ibid."

If I could characterize the tone of the three speakers, I would say that it was all about brotherhood and fighting both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Dr Meyer reminded us that we are all people of the Book and sons of Abraham. Rabbi Altschuler spoke of the centuries-old relationships between Muslims and Jews in the Holy Land. Siddiqi echoed Altschuler's remarks stressing the need to come together to solve the World's problems.

After both Altschuler and Siddiq had spoken for abut 10 minutes each, the floor was opened for questions. I asked the first question. Without going into detail, I directed Siddiqi's attention to the on-going problems at UC-Irvine regarding hate speech by MSU-sponsored speakers. I specifically recited statements made at UCI by Amir Adbel Malik Ali and Mohammed al-Asi, statements which were clearly anti-Semitic and asked him if he would condemn such statements. (Siddiqi is well aware of the situation at UCI since he has served as the head of the Islamic Society of Orange County.)

Siddiqi's answer was a long, indirect reference to "outside" speakers who were not from Irvine. He then started talking about speeches made at UCI by Daniel Pipes. Somewhere along the way, he made a general condemnation of hate speech-including the speech of which I was referring.

A couple of minutes later, Ted Bleiweis, the head of the Independent Orange County Task Force on Anti-Semitism, asked Siddiqi to comment on certain specific acts of anti-Semitism that had occurred at UCI perpetrated by members of the MSU. Again, Siddiqi (who speaks heavily accented English), gave a long winding answer that danced all around the issue.

Another member of the audience, a middle-aged Jewish man, asked Siddiqi what the attiude of most of his congregation was toward Israel. Did they want Israel extinguished? Siddiqi answered that attitudes were mixed on that question, but used the question to launch into a recital of the Palestinians and their plight of being treated unequally and removed from their homes and homeland. He asked the questioner how he would feel if his people experienced something like that.

Comment: Is Dr Siddiqi even aware of something called the Holocaust?

He was also asked about passages in the Qu'ran that spoke of killing Jews. The convoluted answer was that one had to consider context and what the state of conditions were at that time. The other speakers also pointed out questionable passages in the Old Testiment.

In fairness, Siddiqi used the opportunity near the end of the discussion to say that he has condemned suicide bombings. That was by far his most positive comment.

I think it is fair to say that the audience (mostly Jews) had a strong desire to connect with Muslims and create mutual understanding. The stated goal of Rabbi Altschuler and Dr Meyer are obvious-to come together with Muslims. This is an admirable goal. Dr Siddiqi also spoke in moderate terms. After the event ended, many of us lingered to chat. Dr Siddiqi came over to me and we shook hands and exchanged small talk. Mr Bleiweis and I spoke extensively with Altschuler and Meyer about the situation at UCI. (Siddiqi had already left).

So what is my impression of Siddiqi? After reading the above report from the Investigative Project, I was-and am-leary of him. He is soft-spoken and comes across as a true gentleman. Though he has been in the US for many years, his English (while fluent) is often a little hard to follow due to his soft voice and heavy accent. Obviously, I think he sort of danced around his answers to my question and that of Mr Bleiweis. (I should also add that our questions seemed to cause Dr Meyer some discomfort since they broke the atmosphere of love and brotherhood that was the intended message-although we were always polite and professional.)

In summary, I wish Rabbi Altschuler all the success in the world in what he is trying to do. Unfortunately, I cannot share his optimism.


Let's Play, "Name That Steeler"!

This is a Pittsburgh Steeler. His name is Troy Palamalu.

This is a Pittsburgh Steeler. His name is Ben Roethlisberger.

This is a Minnesota election stealer. His name is Al Franken.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Amir Abdel Malik Ali Speaks at UC-Irvine

Amir Abdel Malik Ali on a previous visit to UC-Irvine

This week is Islam Awareness Week at UCI, where the Muslim Student Union brings in speakers to tell the masses how evil America and Israel are. As is their wont, the MSU featured their old standby, Amir Abdel Malik Ali, an Oakland-based imam who comes to our campus on a periodic basis to spread his message of hate.

In the wake of a recent trip to Israel (Olive Tree Initiative)by Jewish and Muslim students which lent hope that understanding was being reached on both sides, it was anticipated that the MSU might ask Ali to moderate his rhetoric. Yesterday afternoon, he spoke on the topic of "One God". I was not able to attend because I was teaching class. However, one of my colleagues did attend and reported that it was a pretty mild presentation. I attended in the evening. There were about 50-75 people in attendance predominantly Muslim students. Most of the females wore hijabs. Ali's topic in the evening was "My story", which described his life growing up in Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area, his student days at San Francisco State University as a young black activist and his conversion to Islam.

In describing the years of black activism, Ali made reference to the election of Ronald Reagan. He stated that it was that very night, he decided to quit marijuana and get serious in activism. He also stated that after Reagan was elected, blacks started being hanged in the South again and also referred to the serial murders of black children in Atlanta, implying that there was a connection to Reagan's election! He also spoke of the assassination of Malcolm X, leaving the audience with the impression that the US Government carried that out. (He later stated explicitly that the Government was complicit in the murder of Martin Luther King.) He also referred repeatedly to H Rap Brown without telling the audience that H Rap Brown was currently in prison for murdering a police officer. He went on to talk about how the Government destroyed the 1960s movement corrupting it with drugs and gangs and added that today in 2008, when a black man "stands up"-he is killed.

Ali left Israel out of his discussion, only referring once in passing to "Zionist oppression" in the same vein as US Government oppression and oppression of blacks.

In the question and answer session, Ali was asked about the election of Barack Obama. Ali dismissed Obama as a "Fitna" (deception) who would continue the same policies. He also pointed out three of Obama's aides, "Rahm 'Israel' Emanuel, Madelyn Albright and David Axelrod", one of whom he called a "Zionist" (I don't recall which.)

In my view, this was a telling moment because it told me that the Olive Tree Initiative had not had the desired effect of moderating the MSU and leaving out the anti-Semitic speech. If the MSU had, in fact, asked Ali to moderate his speech, in the end, he failed.

I was the first questioner to walk to the microphone. I had not decided whether I would ask him anything depending on the tone of his speech. He gave me the issues, however. I told him that since I was a few years older than he, I also recalled many of the historical events he talked about. I first told him that he had implied that the Government had killed Malcolm X when the real assassins of Malcolm were members of the Nation of Islam under the orders of Elijah Muhammed. I also reminded him that the serial murderer of the children in Atlanta in the 1980s was a black man (Wayne Williams-Ali corrected me on the first name). Finally, I threw in a fact that he had not mentioned about H Rap Brown-that Brown was currently in prison for killing a police officer.

In his response, Ali gave me and the audience three conspiracy theories to the effect that;

1 The US Government, through its informants, had manipulated the Nation of Islam into killing Malcolm X.

2 Wayne Williams was convicted on the flimsiest of evidence (carpet fibers). In other words, Williams is innocent. I added that even at the time, I found it preposterous that some white person....

Ali: "Or white persons" (Ali's theory is that the Government wanted to prevent civil unrest if it was found that a white person was guilty of the murders.)

...could drive through the black neighborhoods of Atlanta picking up black children without raising red flags and having people notice and call police.

Finally, Ali told me and the audience that H Rap Brown was also innocent, and that another man had come forward and confessed to the crime only to be ignored by the police.

I want to say at this juncture that Ali is not a stupid man. He is educated and well-spoken. At times, he is quite impressive in what he says. I don't know if he actually believes these conspiracy theories or he is simply standing up there and lying to young and impressionable students. While he was responding to me, I turned to look at the audience to see if they were buying into his conspiracy tales. As I said, almost all were Muslim students and they seemed impassive. (as I sat down, one young Muslim girl in hajib was actually smiling at me in what I perceived as a friendly, not mocking manner.

All in all, "My story" degenerated into the MSU's featured speaker bashing the US Government as an evil entity. Yet.....

A couple of things Ali said should be taken seriously. He stated-and repeated, "Islam is coming. Islam is coming." He also pointed out, correctly in my view, that the more our society and our leaders are corrupted, the more Islam will grow.

Much of what Ali says should be condemned. Some other things he says can be laughed away.

That final comment, I think, bears remembering.