Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Good for Allen West. He has a spine and courage and is dead on.
Hat Tip: BB
By Leon Weinstein
Most Republicans think that the upcoming elections will be about Obama’s record and his ability to lead the nation to economic prosperity. Democrats on the other hand are sure that the elections will be about the choice between the two candidates, i.e. Romney vs. Obama. Each side planned its strategy according to their beliefs. I personally think that both sides are right, but there is an angle to that and whoever misses it will lose.
Republican voters will go en masse to the voting booths because they do not want Obama and his policies. An ABO (Anyone But Obama) sentiment will bring out a lot of people who are opposing Obama to cast their votes. Thus, the enthusiasm of the conservative side looks almost like the enthusiasm the Democrats had in 2008. If the Republicans will all go to the voting booths in numbers like the Democrats did in 2008, then Obama is expected to face a defeat of Carter‘an proportions. Many observers however say that this election will be decided by a handful of independent voters in several swing states. Those guys do not oppose Obama to the extent the conservatives do. They are not enthusiastic about the current president, but they will vote for the candidate that they believe will do less harm and will help them to solve their problems. In short they will vote for the one that gives them hope.
Independents are largely confused about Romney. They want a savior, but they are not sure he will fit the bill. So, they are asking themselves: “Will Romney be able to play the role and lead us, or is he a miss?”
Let’s start from scratch. What do we all want? My take is – prosperity, good health, security, opportunity and freedom. I listed freedom last because I am not entirely sure that everyone wants it. For example, in the Soviet Union where I am originally from, most people didn’t want freedom. In Russia, for thousands of years people prayed for a “good Tsar” that will be like a father to the nation. They didn’t want to be free. They just wanted to be less oppressed and given a bit more in material goods. The dream of a just Tsar, however, never came true.
History teaches us that most of the human population on Earth does not need or really want freedom. People mostly want security and prosperity. However, there are few of us that do want it and those few want it badly.
Freedom, or its almost identical twin “liberty” (people should, must and ought to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions), are not easy ways of life. We just assume that given a choice most of us will opt for liberty vs. oppression or tyranny. I hope that people do prefer it, but I am not entirely sure of that and wouldn’t bet my life on it. Americans of all people do appreciate individual responsibility and unlike most of the rest of the world, we want liberty. This is what made America unique and great.
For about 6500 years of recorded history, humans created a variety of societies ranging from tribal and pastoral to agricultural societies with nobility providing protection in exchange for food and goods, to monarchies, theological tyrannies and even democratic societies such as the ancient Greek democracies. During all that time, we the humans succeeded in creating a good life for a very small minority of the citizens. The rest lived in poverty, bad health and total dependency on the whims of the rulers.
Then comes capitalism and changes everything. Free markets paired with liberty produced unheard of results. The majority of the people in the very first country that fully embraced the principles described above (the U.S.) gave a surge of prosperity that was impossible even to dream about during the earlier history of humankind. Technological developments contributed to that as well. However, other countries who had the same opportunity as the United States to reap technological benefits, decided to go the way of “social justice,” re-distribution of wealth and the nanny state and couldn’t produce a bearable life for their citizens who often died from terrible living conditions, absence of medical care and even starvation.
This was the most remarkable lesson of the 20th century. The countries that went rogue, individualistic, that allowed citizens to become rich by trading goods and services and keep most of the fruits of their labor to themselves, created a great life for almost everyone. I doubt it is humanly possible to create a good life for everyone without exception.
The list of such countries includes Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and some others. Those that went any other way still experience poverty, short life expectancy, hunger, oppression, discrimination and many other problems the so-called developed nations had earlier in the pre-capitalist past, but mostly resolved them when they embraced capitalism.
This second list consists of North Korea (where life is very different from capitalist South Korea), Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Albania and in the not-so-distant past the USSR, Poland, East Germany (as I personally witnessed how different it was from the capitalist West Germany), Bulgaria, Cuba, Estonia, Latvia and many others. The only semi-successful countries in this category are those that have enough natural resources to sell in order to sustain a high quality of life for those that support the ruling regimes.
In short, history proves that capitalism (a combination of liberty and free markets) is good for people and the lack of capitalism, including socialism, communism, fascism, real monarchies (not ceremonial like in Great Britain) and theocracies – are not. Furthermore, the more capitalism that is mixed into a country’s social structure, the better and freer the population in this country lives. Argentina can attest to what happens to an economy powerhouse when socialists (led by Juan Perón) took over. In Argentina during a mere four years, socialists and progressives totally devastated the country, both economically and socially. Then in order to provide the benefits Perón promised to the population, the capitalism bashing leftists had to nationalize industries, impose censorship and start repressions against the very same people they promised to feed, cure and save from the terrible injustices of the free markets.
An old soviet joke that Milton Friedman made famous is a great illustration of the Argentinian case: If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
Both of the U.S. 2012 presidential candidates are telling us that they are fighting for the good of the middle class. And very possibly they are. They, however, understand differently what is good and what is bad. Obama for example thinks that inequality is terrible. Romney thinks that this is a non-issue. The important issue is how a person lives, not how his life is compared to the life of their neighbor.
Obama thinks that society must provide health care, housing and food to all those that can’t or won’t earn themselves. Romney thinks we shall teach those that can work to earn money by themselves and make them responsible for their own decisions… and have those Democrats who demand higher taxes to put their money where their mouth is and pay as much in taxes as they propose others to pay. If they want to give more of their income to both local and federal government, let them do it. Let’s not stand in their way.
Obama is for unfair payment of all taxes by the so-called rich. He calls it “fair share,” but what he means by that is a part of the population should pay for everyone. Romney stands for fair distribution of taxes and other burdens. It is your country and you shall contribute to its defense, to protection from hoodlums and help those that can’t take care of themselves.
Both Obama and Romney are very well to do. Obama’s wife wears a blouse worth seven thousand dollars and he himself gets millions from the sales of his books. Romney is much richer, but since he made his money the old fashioned way, good for him. I personally applaud him and would love to be in his shoes.
Romney wants to continue on the path that made America strong and prosperous. Obama wants fundamental change and steers us toward the European/Argentinian model of a welfare state, the same model that is falling apart in front of our eyes in Europe.
Recently, I received a reply to one of my articles where the author of the note wrote that in his opinion you can judge a manager (he was talking about a president) by his ability to appoint qualified people to key positions. And he stated that in his opinion, Obama did a very good job of appointing the right people.
First of all, this statement shows a certain lack of business experience on the part of my correspondent. It is however a common mistake of people who have never been responsible for a payroll to judge managerial success by different qualities the manager displays. There is however only one measure by which we can effectively judge managers. And this measure is success.
If you achieved your stated goals within your stated time frame and the allocated budget, you are a good manager. You can do it alone or employ thousands of bad or good people; you can dance on a roof every night and do nothing or work like a horse. It is all irrelevant. Did you succeed in doing what you were doing? This is the only question we shall ask to see if a person who managed our assets did it successfully.
Do we care how our president manages his people or how he communicates to them? Do we care if he meets with them every morning or once a month, yells at them or whispers, plays tennis ten hours a day, has a Ping-Pong table in the Oval Office, makes grammatical mistakes in his notes or has calligraphic handwriting? No, we do not and we shouldn’t. We all are shareholders of the great United States of America and we want one thing from our Chief Executive Officer – success.
So the question that I have as a person who all his life managed something (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much) is simple: “How did Obama and Romney achieve their own goals?”
In 2008, we gave Obama his job because he promised us something. We are about to decide to continue his employment or fire him and hire another guy.
Let’s start with Romney. When he was at Bain Capital, his goal was to make money for the shareholders. The main reason people organize businesses is to make a profit. There are different types of organizations that take care of the needy, bring people together to worship, help to save nature and so on. The type Romney was managing was supposed to make money. Did he do his job?
We all know that he fulfilled his goal brilliantly and didn’t do anything illegal in the process. Looks like his shareholders, his colleagues and his clients were quite happy with him. Did he have difficulties or occasional failures? Of course he did and we know that from time to time he lost his own money, but overall it was a success.
As a governor, Romney promised to work with the opposite party, keep unemployment low and create a good climate for business in his state. During his tenure, he created a health care program that was a bi-partisan project, kept unemployment at about four per cent and succeeded in implementing some Republican ideas in this mostly Democratic state. He did fulfill his promises.
When Romney was invited to save the Olympics, the project was running huge negatives and was investigated for corruption. Many venues were not ready for the games. Romney’s goal was to do everything in time and have a surplus instead of a deficit. He succeeded brilliantly.
In all those cases, Romney proved that he knows how to achieve stated goals. Now let’s go to Obama.
Obama promised us that if his administration got a trillion dollar stimulus he would keep unemployment under 6%. This goal was not achieved. The unemployment rate has been above 8% for two years and counting. Now Obama says that he didn’t suspect that the recession was that deep. But he didn’t tell us that. He said if the recession is what it seems now, we will be able to reduce unemployment. He said – give me the money and I will reduce unemployment.
Obama promised that at the end of his first term he would cut the deficit in half. This goal was not achieved. Obama’s administration has created the largest deficit in the history of the United States.
Obama created a bi-partisan commission known as Simpson-Bowles to make recommendations on how to reduce the deficit. The commission made its recommendations. The administration failed to implement them. This goal was not achieved.
Obama created the Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The council was made up of Democrat-leaning executives who while being members of the council, constantly shifted jobs of their respective companies abroad. In 2012, Obama met with the council once in January and per his spokesperson, was too busy with other important tasks and didn’t have time to discuss their ideas of how to create jobs in America. During the Obama administration, the country lost between one and three million jobs. This goal was not achieved.
Obama proposed an annual budget that was killed in the Senate unanimously by Republicans and Democrats alike. Obama failed to negotiate the budget. This goal was not achieved.
Obama promised to deal with the illegal immigration issue. During the first two years of his presidency, he had both the House and the Senate on his side. Nothing was done with the borders, with illegal immigrants and with the violence on the Mexican border. This goal was not achieved.
Obama promised that health care reform would be deficit neutral. The latest figures show that it will be a huge burden on the U.S. taxpayers. This goal was not achieved.
Obama promised to close Guantanamo. This goal was not achieved.
Obama promised to work with “both sides of the aisle” and be “not the blue states, not the red states,” but all of the American states’ president. His stated goal was to unite Americans. He is however one or the most divisive presidents in American history. He attempted to start class warfare and his people play the race card whenever they can. Obama failed in the goal of uniting America miserably.
Obama stated that his goal is to make government transparent and open. The latest examples of “business as usual” are his administration’s attempts to stonewall investigations of “Fast and Furious” and the infamous national security leaks. He failed in achieving this goal as well.
Obama promised not to use lobbyists in his administration and not to allow them to influence his decisions. Obama promised… and we can go on and on. The results of the Obama presidency will be reduction of American economic power, increase of our dependency on foreign energy, turmoil in the Middle East and deep problems with entitlements that might bring this country to the brink of nationwide riots and chaos.
There are positive results of Obama’s presidency as well. Some Europeans like us better. Another good result is that millions of American voters woke up and began to pay attention to where we are going and what we are doing to our children and grandchildren. They are not yet fully awake. They just opened one eye and are suspiciously examining why they can’t buy a large soda in New York… can the Mayor of a city withdraw business licenses of companies that do not share his political views and values? I am talking about Chick-fil-A and the Mayors of Chicago and Boston… or why their president is telling them that they are not responsible for their own success.
The answer is simple. If a person is not responsible for his or her own success, he is also not responsible for his failures. Per Obama, he is not to blame for the economy or other problems because of the Tsunami, European markets, Bush, another Bush, cost of gas and a bit of an annoying Bill Clinton. Obama is not (never) responsible. Or is he?
Personally I am voting Romney into the White House and Republicans into the Congress. Enough is enough!
Coming back to Romney vs. ABO – Romney is ABO. There is no other choice or chance to kick Obama out of the White House. And now Romney has proven that he is serious about cutting expenses, making government smaller and the business climate friendlier – his VP pick shows that he has guts and that he reads America right. So stop talking nonsense about a generic Republican candidate and Romney’s weaknesses. He is the guy whom history entrusted with this task and he is a great guy to manage this country. He is totally qualified and he will win. By a landslide.
Hat Tip: BB
My God, it’s refreshing to listen to sane, good people for a change.
By: Felix Imonti for Oilprice.com
Saudi Arabia has gone on the offensive against Iran to protect its interests. Their involvement in Syria is the first battle in what is going to be a long bloody conflict that will know no frontiers or limits.
Ongoing Disorders in the island kingdom of Bahrain since February of 2011 have set off alarm bells in Riyadh. The Saudis are convinced that Iran is directing the protests and fear that the problems will spill over the twenty-five kilometer long COSWAY into oil rich Al-Qatif, where The bulk of the two million Shia in the kingdom are concentrated. So far, the Saudis have not had to deal with demonstrations a serious as those in Bahrain, but success in the island kingdom could encourage the protestors to become more violent.
Protecting the oil is the first concern of the government. Oil is the sole source of the national wealth and it is managed by the state owned Saudi Aramco Corporation. The monopoly of political power by the members of the Saud family means that all of the wealth of the kingdom is their personal property. Saudi Arabia is a company country with the twenty-eight million citizens the responsibility of the Saud Family rulers.
The customary manner of dealing with a problem by the patriarchal regime is to bury it in money. King Abdullah announced at the height of the Arab Spring that he was increasing the national budget by 130 billion dollars to be spent over the coming five years. Government salaries and the minimum wage were raised. New housing and other benefits are to be provided. At the same time, he plans to expand the security forces by sixty thousand men.
While the Saudi king seeks to sooth the unrest among the general population by adding more government benefits, he will not grant any concessions to the eight percent of the population that is Shia. He takes seriously the warning by King Abdullah of Jordan back in 2004 of the danger of a Shia Crescent that would extend from the coast of Lebanon to Afghanistan. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria, and the Shia controlled government of Iraq form the links in the chain.
When the Arab Spring reached Syria, the leaders in Riyadh were given the weapon to break the chain. Appeals from tribal leaders under attack in Syria to kinsmen in the Gulf States for assistance could not be ignored. The various blinks between the Gulf States in several Syrian tribes means that Saudi Arabia and its close ally Qatar have connections that include at least three million people out of the Syrian populations of twenty-three million. To show how deep the bonds go, the leader of the Nijris Tribe in Syria is married to a woman from the Saud Family.
It is no wonder that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in February that arming the Syrian rebels was an “excellent idea.” He was supported by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani who said, “We should do whatever necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves.” The intervention has the nature of a family and tribal issue that the prominent Saudi cleric Aidh al-Qarni has turned into a Sunni-Shia War by promoting Assad’s death.
The Saudis and their Qatar and United Arab Emirate allies have pledged one hundred million dollars to pay wages to the fighters. Many of the officers of the Free Syrian Army are from tribes connected to the Gulf. In effect, the payment of wages is paying members of associated tribes.
Here, the United States is not a welcomed partner, except as a supplier of arms. Saudi Arabia sees the role of the United States limited to being a wall of steel to protect the oil wealth of the Kingdom and the Gulf States from Iranian aggression. In February of 1945, President Roosevelt at a meeting in Egypt with Abdel Aziz bin Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, pledged to defend the kingdom in exchange for a steady flow of oil.
Since those long ago days when the U.S. was establishing Pax Americana, the Saudis have lost their trust in the wisdom or the reliability of American policy makers. The Saudis urged the U.S. not to invade Iraq in 2003 only to have them ignore Saudi interests in maintaining an Iraqi buffer zone against Iran. The Saudis had asked the U.S. not to leave a Shia dominated government in Baghdad that would threaten the Northern frontier of the Kingdom, only to have the last American soldiers depart in December 2011. With revolution sweeping across the Middle East, Washington abandoned President Mubarak of Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s favorite non royal leader in the region.
Worried by the possibility of Iranian sponsored insurrections among Shia in the Gulf States, the Saudis are asserting their power in the region while they have the advantage. For thirty years, they have been engaged in a proxy war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Syria is to be the next battlefield, but here, there is a critical difference from what were minor skirmishes in Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere. The Saudis with the aid of Qatar, and the UAE is striking at the core interests of Tehran; and they have through their tribal networks the advantage over an isolated Islamic Republic.
Tribal and kinship relations are being augmented by the infusion of the Salafi vision of Islam that is growing in the Gulf States. Money from the Gulf States has gone into the development of religious centers to spread the fundamentalist belief. A critical part of the ideology is to be anti-Shia.
Salafism in Saudi Arabia is promulgated by the Wahhabi School of Islam. The Wahhabi movement began in the eighteenth century and promoted a return to the fundamentalism of the early followers of the Faith.
The Sauds incorporated the religious movement into their leadership of the tribes. When the modern state of Saudi Arabia was formed, they were granted control of the educational system and much else in the society in exchange for the endorsement of the authoritarian rule.
When the Kingdom used its growing wealth in the 1970s to extend its interests far from the traditional territory in the battle against the atheistic Soviet Union, the Wahhabi clergy became missionaries in advancing their ideology through religious institutions to oppose the Soviets. More than two hundred thousand jihadists were sent into Afghanistan to fight the Soviet forces and succeeded in driving them out.
There is no longer a Soviet Union to confront. Today, the enemy is the Islamic Republic of Iran with what is described by the Wahhabis as a heretical form of Islam and its involvement in the Shia communities across the region. For thirteen centuries, the Shia have been kept under control. With the hand of Iran in the form of the Qud Force reaching into restless communities that number as many as one hundred and six million people in what is the heart of the Middle East, the Saudis see a desperate need to crush the foe before it has the means to pull down the privileged position of the Saud Family and the families of the other Gulf State rulers.
The war begins in Syria where we can expect that a successor government to Assad will be declared soon in the Saudi controlled tribal areas even before Assad is defeated. The territory is likely to adopt the more fundamentalist principals of the Salafists as it serves as a stepping stone to Iran Itself. It promises to be a bloody protracted war that will recognize no frontier and will know no limits by all of the participants.
By: Felix Imonti for Oilprice.com
The descendents of the Sons of Freedom sect have launched an action through B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal demanding an apology from the B.C. government for using the police to force them into a residential school in New Denver back in the 1950s.
I have two questions to ask the plaintiffs in this case. Why didn’t your parents just send you to school when you were kids? Didn’t your parents want you to learn English like everyone else in this country?
The Sons of Freedom left the Prairies and quit being Doukhobors (my people) to continue living the way our ancestors did back in Russia. Why go to such lengths to escape oppression in Czarist Russia only to attempt to re-create our Old-World existence here in the New World?
For my great grandparents and their children, adopting the language and ways of our new culture, for the most part, came naturally. Sure, it was difficult for some, and learning a new language is never easy. But my predecessors knew that after being rescued by Queen Victoria (who had been petitioned by none other than Leo Tolstoy to help us), and after receiving free land, we owed at least some debt of gratitude to Canada. Not so for the Sons of Freedom.
They claimed children were being taught militarism in Canadian schools; an absurd notion, largely based on the fact that portraits of England’s King and Queen hung in public schools, just as they do to this day. But to hear my dad and granddad explain it, rural schooling in the 1950s comprised entirely of reading, writing and arithmetic, precisely the type of learning we had been denied when we were illiterate peasants back in Russia!
But, alas, to the recalcitrant Sons of Freedom it all had to be escaped. And, once established in the Interior of B.C., they went as far as to burn down their own property, blow up public property, and march in the nude, just to demonstrate their rejection of all that was Canadian. This was quite embarrassing for those of us who stayed in the Prairies.
But it was the refusal to send their children to school that really set the communal Sons of Freedom apart from independent Doukhobors like my grandparents.
To this day, failing to send a child to school is not taken lightly by officials, and rightly so. But for the Sons of Freedom it was their way or the highway. And that brings us to where this story began… to the point where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called upon by provincial authorities here in B.C. to take children away simply so they could be educated, and not be radicalized like their parents whose actions, let’s face it, often amounted to terrorism, plain and simple.
Quite unlike this country’s First Nations’ people who had no choice whatsoever in being forced to watch as their kids were taken away to residential schools, sometimes never to be seen again, the Sons of Freedom had a choice.
Try to imagine sticking to your guns on a matter of principle and not being willing to concede, not one iota, as your own flesh and blood was being ripped away from you. Wouldn’t you at least consider conceding the point?
While my grandparents and every other independent Doukhobor that stayed in Saskatchewan embraced education, the Sons of Freedom were antagonistically intent on rejecting it, so much so that they were willing to let their own children be taken away just to demonstrate their resolve. Shameful!
So again I ask the plaintiffs… Why didn’t your parents concede when the police arrived, and agree to send you to school?
There is no valid claim here. The people who ran B.C.’s Ministry of Education so long ago did the right thing. The issue is, quite clearly, with the parents of the plaintiffs.
Mischa Popoff is a writer of Doukhobor descent with a degree in history.
Hat Tip: Nancy Jacques
By: Trevor Loudon
Because of redistricting, veteran Michigan congressman John Conyers is facing his first tough race in years.
Conyers is a ranking member and former chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, serving more than twenty term in Congress. He is the second most senior member of the House and dean of the far left Congressional Black Caucus. He was also a founding member of the DSA initiated Congressional Progressive Caucus and was an original member of President Nixon’s Enemies List.
Not wanting to lose such a valuable ally in Congress, the Michigan DSA Marxists are openly fundraising and campaigning for their man.
Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee held a fundraising reception for Representative John Conyers, Jr. at Colors Restaurant on Sunday, May 27th 2012, from 2-5 PM. Guest of honor was longtime DSA affiliate Jim Hightower — noted progressive radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown.
Co-hosts were David Bullock, President of the Detroit branch of Operation PUSH, DSAer Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, DSAer David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the DSA dominated Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network.
As you may know, Congressman Conyers faces a serious primary challenge in a new district. In the past, he has never needed to raise much money for his campaigns. This time is different. We anticipate significant negative advertising will be directed against him. He will require sufficient resources with which to respond.
John Conyers is an icon to the progressive community. He is the only elected official ever to be endorsed by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. As the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, he opposed the Patriot Act and has been a staunch defender of civil liberties. He is the sponsor of the Medicare for All Act (HR 676), a single-payer health insurance bill which would provide comprehensive health care benefits ton all Americans while simultaneously containing health care costs. He is the sponsor of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act (HR 870), a bill which would use a tax on financial transactions to create a national jobs program aimed at producing three to four million new jobs per year in infrastructure improvement, social services, and green energy. In short, Congressman Conyers shares our politics.
Yes, John Conyers does share DSA’s politics, which is why, hopefully, this will be comrade Conyers’ last term in office.
The conservative movement appears to be at a crossroads in its approach to the threat of Islamic supremacism—not only abroad but at home. Does the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood as the dominant force of the “Arab Spring” bode ill for America? Or is the Brotherhood merely another “political actor” as the Obama administration would have us believe? Is Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, a potential security risk worth investigating, as Representative Michele Bachmann and four conservative congressmen have suggested? Or is the mere raising of this question a witch-hunt, as Senator John McCain and Speaker John Boehner and numerous Democrats maintain?
A few months ago, these questions reached another flashpoint in an unlikely setting. The incident took place at an irregular board meeting of the American Conservative Union, an organization usually intent on keeping wobbly Republicans honest. The rump group in attendance — several key board members told Frontpage they were not even aware the meeting had been called – voted “unanimously” to dismiss long-standing accusations against two ACU board members. The accusations had been made by Center for Security Policy head, Frank Gaffney. Their focus was on the activities of Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, two prominent ACU board members, whom Gaffney claims are influential agents of Islamist agendas. The ACU’s dismissal of Gaffney’s claims was contained in a memo written by attorney Cleta Mitchell, who called them “reprehensible” — terms no less damning than McCain’s slap down of Michele Bachmann.
Frank Gaffney is a former defense official in the Reagan administration and first made these claims public in 2003 in an article, “A Troubling Influence,” which was published on this site. In introducing the article, Frontpage editor David Horowitz acknowledged that Norquist had played an important role in the conservative movement, but also described Gaffney’s claims as “the most disturbing that we at frontpagemag.com have ever published.” He further characterized them as “the most complete documentation extant of Grover Norquist’s activities in behalf of the Islamist Fifth Column.”
The Frontpage article documented Norquist’s links to supporters of Hamas and other Islamist organizations dedicated to “destroying the American civilization from within” in the words of a Muslim Brotherhood document, and its Israeli ally. These figures included Abdurahman Alamoudi—who is currently serving a lengthy sentence for his involvement in a terrorist plot—and Sami Al-Arian, who was the finance head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist organization responsible for over a hundred suicide bombings in the Middle East. Before Alamoudi and Al-Arian were arrested, Norquist and Khan served as key facilitators between them and the Bush White House. Now that both have been convicted of terrorist activities, there can no longer be any doubt that they were working on behalf of America’s terrorist enemies.
Among the Norquist-sponsored initiatives furthering the Islamist agenda, according to Gaffney, was his effort to abolish the use of classified national defense intelligence evidence in terrorism cases. Islamist organizations and Norquist himself typically refer to this as “secret” evidence and suggest that the use of it offends the Constitution. But as former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy explains, the cases in which it is normally used are immigration proceedings, not criminal prosecutions. Unlike American citizens, aliens do not have the right to be in the United States in the first place, and should not be able to force disclosure of the nation’s defense secrets as the price tag for demanding that they leave. Sami Al-Arian was the prime-mover of the “secret evidence” campaign, which he launched to protect his brother-in-law, a member of his terror network, from a pending deportation.
In addition, Gaffney charges, Norquist used his own organization, Americans for Tax Reform, to circulate and promote a letter from Republican Muslims attacking conservatives opposed to the controversial “Ground Zero Mosque.” He also campaigned to protect the Iranian regime from sanctions, from its domestic opposition, and from military action against its nuclear program – all the while demanding draconian cuts in U.S. defense spending.
The other subject of Gaffney’s concerns is Suhail Khan, a Norquist protégé with longstanding personal and professional ties to a variety of Islamist movements. Khan’s father, the late Mahboob Khan, was a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the founders, in the 1960s, of the Muslim Students Association, the cornerstone of the Brotherhood’s American infrastructure. As Daniel Greenfield documents in his pamphlet, Muslim Hate Groups on Campus, the Muslim Students Association has been instrumental in indoctrinating young Muslims in Islamist ideology, and has an alarming legacy of senior members – Anwar Awlaki most prominent among them – graduating to positions of prominence in al Qaeda and other terrorist networks. In the 1980s, Mahboob Khan was instrumental in creating an MSA spinoff, the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA. ISNA became so deeply enmeshed in the funding of Hamas that it was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. [For more information on how the Muslim Brotherhood has targeted the United States for subversion, see Robert Spencer’s pamphlet, Muslim Brotherhood in America.]
Suhail Khan’s mother, Malika Khan, was a close partner in her late husband’s work, and is a long-time leader of another Brotherhood front, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was created out of the Brotherhood’s Hamas-support network. Its parent organization was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Malika Khan currently serves on the Executive Committee of CAIR’s San Francisco chapter, which distinguished itself in 2011 by promoting a conference that urged Muslims not to co-operate with FBI investigations.
These familial activities are not incidental because Suhail has publicly embraced his parents’ “legacy,” and done so before Brotherhood audiences. Despite this background and thanks to Grover Norquist’s patronage, Suhail was able to gain access to the Bush 2000 campaign, and was then appointed to a position in the Bush administration. According to Gaffney, while working at the White House, Khan helped craft and disseminate deceptive notions such as “Islam means peace,” al Qaeda “hijacked” Islam, and jihad is only a “personal struggle,” never a holy war against infidels.
In 2001, Khan appeared on a platform with about-to-be-convicted terrorist and top Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abdurahman Alamoudi. The setting was an American Muslim Council conference in Washington. Alamoudi is the founder of the Council, and once explained to a Brotherhood audience: “I think, if we are outside this country, we can say ‘O Allah, destroy America.” But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it….”
A video tape of the 2001 event shows Alamoudi heaping praise on Suhail and his father (see here from 5:38 on). At the time, Khan was serving as the Muslim gatekeeper in the White House Office of Public Liaison, a role he used to afford access to Muslim Brotherhood guests. Introducing him, Alamoudi expressed the hope that Khan was preparing for higher office:
We have with us a dear brother, a pioneer, somebody who really started political activism in the Muslim community …. When it was a taboo for the Muslim community, no doubt about it. When Suhail Khan started not too many people were aware that we had to do something….Some of you saw him today in the White House, but inshallah soon you will see him in better places in the White House, inshallah. Maybe sometime as vicepresident soon, inshallah. Allahu Akbar!
The terrorist, Alamoudi, also had praise for Suhail’s father:
Suhail Khan is the son of a dear, dear brother who was a pioneer of Islam work himself. Many of you know his late father … who was part of all kinds of work … Suhail inherited from his father not only being a Muslim and a Muslim activist, but also being a Muslim political activist. [emphasis added]
After effusively thanking Alamoudi for these words, Suhail said: “Many of you, of course, knew my father. He was someone who dedicated his life to the community and I’ve always felt that I have to work in the same – those footsteps.”
The footsteps of Mahboob Khan have been traced to some un-reassuring places. Shortly after 9/11, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Mahboob Khan had played host to Ayman Zawahiri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, who had entered the U.S. in the mid-nineties to obtain funds and recruits for al Qaeda. One of his stops was at the al-Noor Mosque in California, a mosque founded by Mahboob Khan.
After 9/11, Suhail Khan had to give up his role at the White House as a result of the fallout from his Brotherhood associations. Yet with the support of Norquist, he managed to land on his feet and was given a political appointment in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.
Aside from Khan’s multiple Islamist connections, Gaffney charges he has also been actively engaged in agendas championed by the Brotherhood, including trying to undo the statute making material support for terror a crime. That law was put into place in part because large sums of zakat—Islamic “charity” monies – were regularly going to fund the terrorist activities of Hamas and al Qaeda.
Is there validity, then, to Gaffney’s charges? In discussing Gaffney’s original article, David Horowitz told me:
What disturbed me most—and ultimately persuaded me that Frank was on to something—was the fact that Grover didn’t respond to Gaffney’s charges although I invited him to do so in Frontpage. Then when I caught up with Grover at a CPAC conference, and said he really needed to answer the charges, he brushed me off saying he didn’t have time – he was ‘too busy with the revolution,’ were the words he used, a reference to his conservative crusades. Then I spoke to Suhail, who had called me to complain about the claims Frank had made about his father. In this conversation, Suhail flat out denied them, saying his father was only a member of the mosque rather than its founder, and that he couldn’t remember an event with Zawahiri. When I asked Frank for his sources for these claims, he sent me the [San Francisco Chronicle], which described Mahboob Khan’s role in founding the mosque and hosting Zawahiri. I sent this to Suhail for a reply, but never heard from him again. That made me realize there was something to be concerned about.
Khan was not so reticent – or in such denial — about his father’s Muslim Brotherhood activities when he appeared before audiences of the faithful, however. At a 1999 conference of the Islamic Society of North America, Suhail told those in attendance:
It is a special honor for me to be here before you today because I am always reminded of the legacy of my father, Dr. Mahboob Khan, an early founder of the Muslim Students Association in the mid-nineties and an active member of the organization through its growth and development in the Islamic Society of North America.
Despite these disturbing manifestations of Khan’s allegiances, Norquist sponsored Suhail to become a member of the board of the American Conservative Union in 2010. At this point, Gaffney’s concerns intensified. With Grover’s help, the Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the very heart of the conservative movement. By this time, however, Gaffney’s access to the ACU’s audiences was restricted. Because of his charges against Norquist, a very powerful member of the ACU Board, Gaffney had long since been barred from speaking at its annual CPAC gathering. But Horowitz, who was not a Washington insider like Gaffney, was a different story, and he was invited to keynote the 2011 CPAC conference. Horowitz used the occasion to address the issues raised by Norquist’s activities and Khan’s presence on the ACU Board, and to put them in historical context:
Over the last ten years, the influence of the Brotherhood has spread throughout our government. There is nothing new in this sad reality. In 1938, Whittaker Chambers attempted to warn President Roosevelt that one of his White House advisers, Alger Hiss, was a Soviet agent. When Roosevelt was given Chambers’ information, he laughed and disregarded it. Alger Hiss remained as the president’s adviser until the House Un-American Activities Committee flushed him out….
Frank Gaffney has been the courageous bringer of the bad news about Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan to the board of the American Conservative Union. Many good conservatives on the board have refused to believe the evidence of Suhail Khan’s Brotherhood allegiances and agendas. They are of the opinion that Suhail’s public appearances with Alamoudi and the Muslim Brotherhood fronts took place a decade ago, and that he doesn’t promote violent agendas. I understand this. My parents were Communists in the heyday of Stalin. The Party’s slogan was not “Bring on the dictatorship of the Proletariat” or “Revolution Now.” But that is what they believed. The slogan of the Communist Party was “Peace, Jobs and Democracy.”
The ACU’s response to Horowitz’s remarks was to withdraw his invitation to speak at CPAC events, although he had been a regular speaker over many years.
Earlier this year, Gaffney and his organization put together a ten-part video course called “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within.” Featured in the course were the roles played by Norquist (Parts 3-7) and Khan (Part 4) in promoting and enabling Brotherhood influence operations. The Khan segment includes a clip (starting at 4:28) from the speech that Khan gave at a 1999 ISNA conference. In the speech, Khan embraces the well-known Muslim Brotherhood ethos:
The earliest defenders of Islam would defend [against] their more numerous and better equipped oppressors, because the early Muslims loved death—dying for the sake of Allah Almighty—more than the oppressors of Muslims love life. This must be the case when we are fighting life’s other battles [i.e., politics]. What are our oppressors going to do with people like us? We are prepared to give our lives for the cause of Islam. I have pledged my life’s work, inspired by my dear father’s shining legacy, and inspired further by my mother’s loving protection and support, to work for the ummah.
This is classic jihadist rhetoric. (“We love death, the U.S. loves life; that is the big difference between us,” explained Osama bin Laden in one of his fatwas.) In effect, Khan praised history’s earliest jihadists, portraying them as “defenders” and their victims as “oppressors,” just as al Qaeda does in its present-day fatwas. Khan used the same language that glorifies “martyrdom” (or suicide-attacks) on behalf of Islam. (“Death in the service of Allah is our highest aspiration” is part of the Muslim Brotherhood motto.) Khan then praised his father’s Muslim Brotherhood “legacy,” and pledged his life’s work to the Muslim umma, which translated means the “Islamic nation.”
Are these remarks merely a “youthful” indiscretion? Horowitz, whose biography makes him something of an authority on second thoughts, answered the question during his keynote address at the 2011 CPAC event:
As for the question of whether Suhail Khan believes now what he openly said then, my answer is this: When an honest person has been a member of a destructive movement and leaves it, he will feel compelled to repudiate it publicly and to warn others of the dangers it poses. This is a sure test of whether someone has left the Muslim Brotherhood or not.
Suhail Khan has never repudiated his father’s Muslim Brotherhood legacy or the patronage of the convicted terrorist, Abdurahman Alamoudi. Nor has he disavowed his praise for Islamic martyrdom, nor has he taken steps to warn his fellow Americans of the Islamist threat posed by his past and present associates (part 4 of Gaffney’s videos documents Khan’s continuing involvement with Mohamed Magid, Muzammil Siddiqi, Nihad Awad and other top Muslim Brotherhood figures and organizations.) Instead, he has denied that the Muslim Brotherhood even operates in America.
On September 21, 2011, the ACU finally took up the issue of Frank’s charges. The occasion was an unusual meeting of the ACU board, which normally meets only twice a year – in Washington and via teleconference. This particular meeting took place in Orlando, Florida, where an ACU event was being held. Because of the unusual venue, far away from ACU headquarters, most of the ACU board members did not attend, including several whom Frontpage talked to who had not been informed of the meeting and who were not in sympathy with its result. When the rump board met, they voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that dismissed Gaffney’s charges out of hand, and declared their “complete confidence in the loyalty of Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist to the United States,” and “welcome[d] their continued participation in the work of ACU and of the American conservative movement.” In adopting this resolution, the board members also declared that they “profoundly regret and reject as unwarranted the past and on-going attacks upon their patriotism and character.”
In making its decision, the board appears to have relied entirely on a memorandum provided by one of its members, Cleta Mitchell, a well-known and widely admired conservative lawyer. In her memorandum, and despite its sweeping conclusions, Mitchell addressed the specifics of only one of Gaffney’s many findings, while categorically dismissing them all: “There is absolutely nothing contained in any of the materials” presented by Gaffney, she wrote, “that in any way linked Suhail (or Grover) to such [‘Muslim extremist’] organizations or their activities.”
The one specific that Mitchell took issue with was an unlikely one given her categorical statement there was absolutely nothing that in any way linked Suhail to Islamist organizations or their activities. This was the video of Khan’s 1999 address to the Islamic Society of North America featured in Gaffney’s video course. ISNA is the principal Muslim Brotherhood organization in the United States; it was founded by Suhail Khan’s own parents; and before this audience Khan spoke in the ritualistic language of the Muslim Brotherhood about how Muslim warriors love death more than their opponents love life, about his devotion to the Muslim nation, and his readiness to die for Allah. Mitchell dismissed his comments in these words: “Yet, even in that speech, there is nothing that suggests Suhail is unpatriotic or subversive. The clip from the speech is simply (in my view) rhetoric that is, quite frankly, meaningless in terms of substantiating any of Mr. Gaffney’s allegations.” But is it meaningless to paraphrase the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood to a meeting of the most important Muslim Brotherhood organization in the United States, and embrace it as one’s own aspiration?
Mitchell rests her case against Gaffney and in behalf of Khan on a single point: “Suhail was subject to FBI background checks and cleared to work directly for the President and Vice-President? How would the FBI have ‘missed’ ties to such groups if those ties existed?”
In fact, as Gaffney observes — under the right circumstances, and with the right sponsors — it would have overlooked them quite easily. “The fact that Suhail Khan received a security clearance during his time in government is an indictment of the clearance process, not evidence that his background is problem-free: Ali Mohammad—Osama bin Laden’s ‘first trainer’ and longtime al Qaeda operative—also went through a background check and received a security clearance to work with the federal government. Major Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood killer, not only obtained a clearance, he was even promoted from captain to major despite his monitored communications with al Qaeda leader Anwar Awlaki, and the fact that in the course of his military education, he announced during a lecture that it was the duty of Muslims under shariah to kill infidels preparing to attack other Muslims (i.e., U.S. soldiers awaiting deployment to Afghanistan).
Horowitz agrees. He points to the fact that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, has a top security clearance, notwithstanding the undisputed fact that her closest family members have been Muslim Brotherhood leaders and that for twelve years prior to being hired by the State Department, she worked for an Islamist organization founded and run by Abdullah Omar Naseef, a top funder of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, and a Muslim Brotherhood eminence.
Given these well-known facts, Khan’s security clearance seems a pretty thin reed on which to base so sweeping a dismissal of Gaffney’s concerns, let alone refer to them as “reprehensible.” To understand her position better, I tried to interview Mitchell, but she declined to comment, saying by email “I am precluded from talking to anyone about this because of the confidentiality provisions of the boards on which I serve which have been dealing with Frank Gaffney issues.”
That confidentiality, however, had been already breached when someone on the ACU board leaked the details of its Orlando meeting and the contents of Mitchell’s letter – and leaked them not to conservatives but to the left-wing organization “ThinkProgress.” One of the things I wanted to ask Mitchell was how she thought this letter might have been leaked and by whom (Norquist? Khan?). Accompanying ThinkProgress’s release of the Mitchell letter was this summary on its website of what had transpired:
Gaffney … was unanimously condemned by the one of the most powerful conservative organizations in America, as two documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress this week show. Last September, the board of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which puts on CPAC and includes top leaders of various factions of the conservative movement, unanimously passed a resolution (read it here) condemning the “false and unfounded” attacks Gaffney had made against Norquist and Khan, both board members, after having another board member, Cleta Mitchell, look into Gaffney’s serious charges of sedition and abetting an enemy. In a letter to the ACU board (read it here), Mitchell, a prominent and very conservative attorney, said that after reviewing the “evidence” Gaffney presented (including a lengthy PowerPoint presentation and DVDs video laying out the case against Norquist and Khan), she found his “ceaseless war” to be “reprehensible.”
Another issue I wanted to ask Mitchell about was what she thought of the fact that her sweeping memo along with the leak had given powerful ammunition to the Brotherhood and its agents in their campaign to silence critics of Islamism. ThinkProgress had previously published a “report” on “Islamophobia” (following an earlier one by CAIR on the same subject). As David Horowitz and Robert Spencer demonstrate in their pamphlet, Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future, Islamophobia is a term actually invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to silence its critics. The ThinkProgress report on Islamophobia attacked a dozen leading conservative critics of the Islamic jihad (also singled out by CAIR), including Frank Gaffney, as “bigots” and “racists.” Future editions of the report and future left-wing attacks will undoubtedly draw on the testimony of ACU board.
When asked about these events, Gaffney noted the irregular nature of the board meeting that condemned him, and deplored its lack of due-diligence that led to its categorical dismissal of the readily available evidence. He stated:
By acting solely on the basis of Mitchell’s defamatory and superficial memorandum, and then through the deliberate leak to a Soros-funded leftwing organization, the leadership of the American Conservative Union has discredited itself and given ammunition to those who want to prevent legitimate inquiries into Islamist influences in Washington.
This seems a more than reasonable concern. Since many prominent ACU board members were not present to conduct this auto-da-fé, there appears to be ample basis for it to seek a second opinion in regard to the case of Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan. Should it fail to do so, the ACU board will simply reinforce suspicions that it has been successfully infiltrated and subjected to an influence operation by those opposed to everything for which the conservative movement stands.