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April 30, 2008

Planning Durban II

There are two new commentaries up on the preparations and agenda-setting for the U.N. confab known as "Durban II", which is ostensibly a conference on combating racism, but if it resembles the first Durban gathering, will be an anti-Israel and anti-American hatefest, and an attempt to redefine freedom of speech as a license for Islamophobia.

Joseph Klein

Planning for the “Durban II” conference against racism, scheduled for 2009, is proceeding right along. Following a number of procedural meetings, the first “substantive” session of the Durban Review Preparatory Committee commenced in Geneva on April 21, 2008. The world’s leading human rights abusing countries are running rough-shod over the agenda. They are planning to set up Israel in particular for non-stop blood libel. They also intend to hold the Western democracies publicly accountable for what the planners brand as the twin ‘crimes’ of Islamophobic racism and religious defamation.

So far, the United States, Canada and Israel have announced their intention to boycott the conference, except in the unlikely event that the Durban II planners shift course in a far more positive direction. The U.S. will also withhold a portion of its funding for the United Nations budget, equivalent to its share of the budget going to pay for the conference planning.

Anne Bayefsky:

The Organization of the Islamic Conference has spent years dominating U.N. proceedings, and Durban II — the centerpiece of the U.N.’s alleged “anti-racism” crusade — is their progeny. By the end of the week, it was with genuine exasperation that the Egyptian representative coined a new word: “Durbanophobia.” A couple of days ago he came up with Arabophobia. And we already know about the worldwide plot hatched in the Oval Office, Downing Street, and the basements of evil Danish publishers, called Islamophobia. Now there is a plot against a harmless group of diplomats who just want to hang out together and shmooze about human rights.

In contrast to attempts to speak about anti-Semitism, nobody thought to interrupt Iran’s declaration that it plays a leadership role in the battle against discrimination. Did you know that the state whose president has advocated modern-day genocide by wiping out Israel “is fully committed to eradicate any policy based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and has actively struggled against this phenomena at national, regional and international levels”? In fact, “in order to promote access of all people to social justice and to eliminate discrimination” Iran has just created “a special committee to deal with cases of discrimination.” Presumably, the women stoned for alleged adultery, and the homosexuals hanged and strung up on cranes in public places need not apply.

April 29, 2008

Browns Draft

There was too much going on last weekend for me to pay much attention to the Browns draft, but over at TheClevelandFan.com, Bob Fergus and Hiko had my back with some good info and commentary.

The PD Browns blog has the names of some free agent signings by the team. The one name that jumps out at me there is Tony Temple, a running back from Missouri. He looked awfully good in a couple of games I watched this past season.

UPDATE 4/30: Just up at TheClevelandFan.com this evening is my new article on baseball free agency, which features my silly notion that the highest dollar offer might not necessarily be the best one for the player.

Wright Stuff

One of the more interesting of the 312 articles I saw today on Rev. Wright was this one by Cliff Kincaid of AIM, who traces Rev. Wright's inflammatory claim of a government program to use AIDS against black people to a crank author, forged documents, and a report by Dan Rather.

Other Wright stuff that's worth a look would include roundups by Tom Maguire and Instapundit, and opinion columns by George Will, Jonah Goldberg, James Lewis, Dennis Prager , and Dean Barnett.

Hot Air has video of Obama's second attempt at distancing himself from the Reverend...plus numerous updates. That this press conference by Obama was widely predicted and said to be absolutely necessary for the candidate makes it somewhat less effective as a damage-control device. Obama's contention that the Reverend Wright we saw yesterday was not the same man he listened to in the pulpit for 20 years is unconvincing to me, although his denunciation of Wright was more clear this time around. It had to be.

Bawer On Cultural Surrender

It's been linked everywhere in the blogosphere for two days, and rightly so. Don't miss reading An Anatomy of Surrender by Bruce Bawer, writing at City Journal.

April 25, 2008

Recommended Bloggage 4/25

Ed Morrissey on the Nanny State

Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot on Obama's response to the Ayers question.

Claudia Rosett - What do Libya, Iran, Cuba, Russia and Pakistan All Have in Common?

At Brussels Journal, John Laughland recounts his visit to Moscow

At Contentions, Gordon Chang on the U.N. and the global food crisis.

EU Referendum on the state of the eurozone economy

Rich Lowry with a Gotcha! moment on Yglesias.

John Hawkins notices that we aren't hearing the "chickenhawk" argument much anymore.

Gateway Pundit on the Pelosi gasoline price reduction plan.

April 22, 2008

Climate Miscellany

Iain Murrray's new book, The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don't Want You to Know About--Because They Helped Cause Them merits a plug even though I haven't read it yet. I have read Murray's blog items and articles for years, as well many of his other contributions to the dialogue on climate issues, so I'm sure the book will be compelling.

Murray previews one of the seven in a piece at NRO today. And here's a NY Post review of the Murray book. Kevin Hassett makes some similar arguments about misguided environmental policies, this time on ethanol. UPDATE 4/25: Murray has a pretty good preview of his book up at American Spectator.

A WSJ op-ed says the administration will force Congress to consider costs as well as benefits if there is to be a global warming bill.

Investors Business Daily notes the passing of the torch to China as the world's biggest polluter...with a bullet.

Benny Peiser - Climate Blowback

Henry Payne at Planet Gore on Time's disrespectful cover. More here.

K-Lo does Q&A with Lawrence Solomon on the occasion of the release of his book "The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud *And those who are too fearful to do so".

The Amazon page for The Deniers has a listing of some of his subjects, as supplied by the publisher. See them after the jump...

From the Publisher:

Al Gore says any scientist who disagrees with him on Global Warming is a kook, or a crook.

Guess he never met these guys

Dr. Edward Wegman--former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences--demolishes the famous "hockey stick" graph that launched the global warming panic.

Dr. David Bromwich--president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology--says "it's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now."

Prof. Paul Reiter--Chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute--says "no major scientist with any long record in this field" accepts Al Gore's claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.

Prof. Hendrik Tennekes--director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute--states "there exists no sound theoretical framework for climate predictability studies" used for global warming forecasts.

Dr. Christopher Landsea--past chairman of the American Meteorological Society's Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones--says "there are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity."

Dr. Antonino Zichichi--one of the world's foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society, who discovered nuclear antimatter--calls global warming models "incoherent and invalid."

Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski--world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research--says the U.N. "based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false."

Prof. Tom V. Segalstad--head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo--says "most leading geologists" know the U.N.'s views "of Earth processes are implausible."

Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu--founding director of the International Arctic Research Center, twice named one of the "1,000 Most Cited Scientists," says much "Arctic warming during the last half of the last century is due to natural change."

Dr. Claude Allegre--member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, he was among the first to sound the alarm on the dangers of global warming. His view now: "The cause of this climate change is unknown."

Dr. Richard Lindzen--Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists "are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right."

Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov--head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science's Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometria project says "the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations."

Dr. Richard Tol--Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University, calls the most influential global warming report of all time "preposterous . . . alarmist and incompetent."

Dr. Sami Solanki--director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun's state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."

Prof. Freeman Dyson--one of the world's most eminent physicists says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are "full of fudge factors" and "do not begin to describe the real world."

Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen--director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice-president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun's behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2.

And many more, all in Lawrence Solomon's devastating new book, The Deniers

April 21, 2008

Draft Withdrawal

Browns fans will be sitting on their hands...or something...on the first day of the NFL Draft. This is to make them feel better. (hat tip to Jack H.)

These three YouTube videos of the Monday Night Football Game in 1979 between the Browns and the Cowboys might be of interest to any NFL fan, what with the Hall of Famers like Staubach, Dorsett and Randy White playing for the 'Boys, and Howard Cosell doing his thing.

But Browns fans will definitely dig it. (Hint: Browns kick Cowboy ass.) The videos feature the MNF intro and then highlights of the first quarter, after which the game was essentially over anyway. Lots of nostalgia here for some big names in the orange hats. It was near the end of the line for Browns standouts Clarence Scott and Jerry Sherk, but young stars like Ozzie Newsome, Clay Matthews and Mike Pruitt were just emerging at that time.

It was a veteran group overall, with guys like Brian Sipe, Greg Pruitt, Thom Darden and Dave Logan in their primes, and role players Ron Bolton, Reggie Rucker and Lyle Alzado filling out the team. I believe it's Gifford who at one point says "these Browns can move the ball on anybody." I remember this game as sort of Ozzie Newsome's national coming out party. The final was 26-7.

Here are the links. Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Or click "Continue..." below for the embeds.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

April 20, 2008

OSU Spring Game 2008

I'm very pleased to have begun an association with the web site TheClevelandFan.com as a contributor. My first piece for the site is a report on yesterday's Spring Game at Ohio State, which went up this morning, and can be seen here.

I'll be writing on any and all local sports teams and issues, with some focus on OSU-related stuff. My thanks to site proprietor Rich Swerbinsky for the opportunity. I've been promoting his site here for months, because I believe he and his staff are filling a sports information void in this market that has long gone ignored by traditional media organs. It is exciting to now be a small part of that project.

UPDATE 4/24: ESPN.com has a feature on the 2008 Bucks. The site suggests that the Buckeyes are "the Buffalo Bills of the BCS." I realize that memories can be short in sports, but it has only been a bit over five years since Ohio State won the national championship. This from a network that referred to USC as a "dynasty" when they won one in a row!

April 18, 2008

Recommended 4/18

Charles Krauthammer on post-nonproliferation - Living with the Unthinkable

Michael Totten - Hope For Iraq's Meanest City

At No Left Turns, video of one of the greatest plays in baseball history.

Rachel Neuwirth - The Expulsion Libel: 1948 Arab "Exodus" Reconsidered. See also Noah Pollak at Contentions

Emmett Tyrrell - Jimmy Carter Amok. More on Carter from Bret Stephens at the WSJ - Jimmy's World

Ta-Nehisi Coates writing at Atlantic.com, on the audacity of Bill Cosby's conservatism; "This is How We Lost to the White Man"


If he wants to see bitter, he should try taking away their guns. - "The Week" - National Review

Politicians Gone Wild

I had to post this video of highlights from Dick Cheney's remarks at the Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner. He gets off some pretty good lines, and the stone-faced looks in the left-leaning audience are alone worth the time to watch. By the way, if you didn't catch the non-story a few days ago about the image reflected in Cheney's sunglasses in a photo of him, take a look at this before viewing the video. It'll help you get a couple of the jokes that would otherwise leave you saying "Huh?"

Mitt Romney also pokes fun at himself in his own version of the Top Ten List...

April 16, 2008

C.C.'s Blues

C.C. Sabathia's early season meltdown continued tonight, and the Indians are playing like a team without a leader. As horrendous as the Tigers start was, they have pulled even with the strangely lackluster Tribe. The Tigers are finally finding their hitting strokes, an outcome dreaded by Tribe fans for days now, as they looked down the schedule and saw the resurgent Tigers coming, and then glanced out to the Indians' unsettled bullpen, and to their shell-shocked ace starter.

My thoughts are with Sabathia, who must be wrestling with all sorts of personal, competitive issues, in addition to the pressure of the contract year hanging over him. He is carrying around the weight of the missed opportunity in a home start in Game Five of the 2007 ALCS to put the Indians into the World Series. That's heavy stuff. He's coming back from a season in which he led the majors in innings pitched. That's heavy wear and tear. He's trying to lead his team to another playoff. Did I mention the nine figure free agent contract that everyone says is in the bag for him, but that he doesn't have yet?

Sabathia cut off negotiations with the Indians when the season started, using the well-intended rationale that this would prevent him from being distracted by the contract situation. Only he knows if that has worked or not. For his sake, I'm hoping he figures out soon just what the distraction is.

UPDATE 4/17: Call it scratch for the itch...salve for the burn...whatever. The Indians badly needed a game like this tonight. The luck of the draw meant I was in the customary seat in Sec. 259, watching the Indians hit like they haven't since the opening series, as they rocked the Tigers 11-1 on a balmy evening in Cleveland.

Wedge had called a rare closed-door meeting before the game, presumably to remind the team that before they can play well they must pull their heads out of their asses, where they had been stuck for most of the last two weeks. It seems to have worked. This looked like the team we watched in 2007.

April 15, 2008

McCarthy Interview

Andy McCarthy's book Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad, was officially released this week, and today he answers questions from Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO. Such as...

Lopez: What’s the most devastating lesson from 15 years ago we still haven’t learned?

McCarthy: That the primary cause of Islamic terrorism is Muslim doctrine, and that we are not fighting a tiny, rag-tag collection of fringe lunatics who have somehow “hijacked” the “true Islam.”

Mark Steyn reminds us of Toynbee’s observation that civilizations die from suicide rather than murder, and our mulish refusal to look at what we’re up against is case in point. It’s really a frightful commentary on the low regard we have for ourselves: that we don’t think we are capable of soberly assessing the Islamic challenge without smearing all Muslims as terrorists — as if, in the scheme of things, it’s more important to shield the tender sensibilities of Muslims than fulfill our duty to protect American lives.

The stubborn fact is: Islamic doctrine is supremacist, chauvinist, and rife with calls to violence against non-Muslims. That doesn’t mean that these are the only elements of Islam. Nor does it mean that all Muslims, or even most, have any interest in acting on those elements. But moderate Muslims, no matter how great a majority of the faithful they may be, do not make Islam moderate. Islam is the font from which springs what we call fundamentalist Islam, radical Islam, militant Islam, political Islam, Islamo-fascism, or whatever we are calling it this week to avoid any hint that Islam has anything to do with the problem.

There are many different interpretations of Islam, of course. The one that truly threatens us — let’s call it fundamentalist Islam, since I think that’s closest to accurate — is not a fringe ideology. It is a comprehensive social system, with political, legal, and theological prescriptions. It is 14 centuries old; has in its history won the fealty of rich and poor, educated and illiterate, etc.; cuts across divides like Sunni-versus-Shiite; and today boasts hundreds of millions of adherents — not a majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims, but an influential, dynamic minority.

Lots more good stuff in the interview, and the book is terrific. I'd put it right up next to Wright's The Looming Tower as must-read accounts of the formative years of al Qaeda, and the exportation to America of the radical Islamic jihad. McCarthy brings an insider perspective to the story as the prosecutor who put the "blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and assassin Sayyid Nosair in prison for life for acts of terror on American soil, and it makes for riveting reading.

More on Willful Blindness here.

April 14, 2008

More Bitters

Lots more pixels devoted to Barack Obama today.

Noemie Emery

Hugh Hewitt

George Will

Peter Wehner

Mickey Kaus

Thomas Sowell

Nothing for me to add after that lineup.

UPDATE: 4/15: Except James Taranto and Rich Lowry

April 12, 2008

Learning What Obama Believes

So here's the Barack Obama quote, from remarks to a group of wealthy liberal San Francisco supporters, that has sparked a media and blogosphere kerfuffle...

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Let's see. Past government failure - to provide new jobs apparently - has made small town Pennsylvania people embrace their prejudices and fears and hatreds, and "cling" to their guns? Their faith serves them as a way to "explain their frustrations" and deal with the bitterness caused by the under-performance of the federal government in their lives?

I'm not sure whether it's the condescension, the bizarre detachment from American culture, or the economic theory implicit in the statement that is the most striking. The bemoaning of the bitter Pennsylvanians' "anti-trade sentiment" is especially galling, given the candidate's protectionist campaign through the Midwest, dishonest though it was.

Obama really does have no clue about Americans and their guns, does he? Like that they've been clinging to them since 1776...and before. And I guess that clinging to religion habit is also something not just born of bitterness, but presumably curable by enlightened government action. Can he really think this way?

There's a piece at the HuffPo by Mayhill Fowler, who is learning things about Pennsylvanians while covering the campaign there. She allows that "his frank words about Pennsylvania may not have translated very clearly."

That's the problem. Obama has a different message for Californians than he does for Pennsylvanians. It needs to be translated depending on the audience. The "anti-trade sentiment" thing is mind-boggling. If anything it reveals for a broader audience that Obama's anti-NAFTA stance in Ohio and the industrial Midwest has been cynical and contrived.

I imagine Obama to be genuinely concerned about the plight of some people in Midwestern towns hurt by some de-industrialization two or three decades ago. What concerns me is that he thinks it should be the province of the federal government to see to it that those people have a job in a factory in their town again...doubtless manufacturing something Green. Either that, or he doesn't believe it, but he's willing to tell some rural rubes in flyover country that he does, because that's what he thinks they want to hear. Neither inspires hope.

The message is that he'll deliver on that promised regeneration (I must have forgotten this) that the last two Presidents couldn't accomplish. The fact is lots of those Midwestern towns have regenerated... and they're the ones who successfully attracted new manufacturing and service industries with tax incentives, good local leadership and private sector investment, to go along with their skilled and unskilled labor pools. But enough about what works. We're talking politics here.

So here's a sample of what the pundits are saying...

Allahpundit at Hot Air

What’s most offensive? The condescension displayed here by the intelligentsia’s candidate of choice? The sheer breadth of the stereotype, which would send Team Obama screaming from the rooftops if a white politician drew a similarly sweeping caricature of blacks? The crude quasi-Marxist reductionism of his analysis, which he first introduced in his speech on race vis-a-vis the root causes of whites’ “resentment” — namely, exploitation by the bourgeoisie in the form of corporations and D.C. lobbyists? Or is it the shocking inclusion of religion, of all things, in the litany of sins he recites? What on earth is that doing there, given His Holiness’s repeated invocations of the virtues of faith on the trail? Note the choice of verb, too. Why not just go the whole nine yards and call it the opiate of the masses?

...lots more at Hot Air, including comment by Senators Clinton and McCain and the customary quality linkage.

Ace goes off....unexcerptably.

Lots of comment at contentions, including...

Jennifer Rubin:

...if that is these people’s reason for adopting an uninformed view on trade what is his explanation for embracing protectionism?

John Podhoretz:

Obama’s astonishing sentence offers a syllogistic string of superciliousness: Gun ownership is equated with religious fanaticism, which is said to accompany hatred of the other in the form of opposition to immigration and support for trade barriers. It drips with an attitude so important to the spiritual well-being of the American liberal — the paternalistic attitude that says, “Oh, well, people only do thing differently from me because they are ignorant and superstitious and backward” — that it has survived and thrived despite the suicidal impact it has had on the achievement of liberal political goals and aims.

And in The Corner, Lisa Schiffren:

It is striking that Obama makes clear that he believes that clinging to religion is no different than clinging to guns, (— we know his class of elitist Democrats has no respect for either the Second Amendment or deer-hunting —) racism, xenophobia, and anti-trade sentiment — as if they are all equivalent signs of lack of education and gullibility.

I now feel fully vindicated in my suspicion that Obama's attendance at Wright's church was entirely political and expedient. No one who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ — or even moderate respect for other people's religious views — thinks in these terms about why working class people might believe in God. Or believes that a more enlightened government will supplant that.

Mark Steyn:

I had a ton of fun covering Kerry's awkwardness with Americans but, in fairness, it was essentially a consumerist snobbery: he preferred the Newburgh Yacht Club for lunch over the local Wendy's, he'd rather be windsurfing off Nantucket than rednecking at Nascar, etc. Obama's snobbery seems more culturally profound, and unlike Kerry he can't plead the crippling disadvantage of a priviliged childhood. Rather, Barack's condescension reveals a man out of touch with the rhythms of American life to a degree that's hard to fathom. As Michelle says, they "chose" to "leave corporate America", and Barack became a "community organizer" and she wound up a 350-grand-a-year "diversity outreach coordinator". I've no idea what either of those careers involve, and most of us seem able to get along without them. But their remoteness from the American mainstream perhaps explains why the Obamas seem to have no clue how Americans live their lives.

And yes, I'm a foreigner. But it takes one to know one, and this guy seems weirdly disconnected from everything except neo-segregationist Afrocentric grievance politics and upscale white liberal condescension. Not much of a coalition.

and Victor Davis Hanson:

“antipathy to people who aren't like them”—as in the case of Rev. Wright’s views of Jews, whites, Italians, or Americans in general? In short, Obama accuses rural Pennsylvanians of a racism that they haven’t expressed while contextualizing the racism that his own Rev. Wright has.

“Anti-immigrant sentiment”? As in wishing that drivers’ licenses are not issued to those here illegally, or that we insist that those who immigrate to the U.S. do so legally?

The worst hypocrisy, of course, is Obama’s charge that these small towns in Pennsylvania express “anti-trade sentiment.” It was not George Bush or John McCain, but Barack Obama himself who tried to salvage Ohio by demagoguing NAFTA and opposing a free-trade agreement with Columbia. His entire campaign is predicated on showing more anti-trade sentiment that the Clintons.

Obama has come out with an unapologetic apology, tagged by Michael Goldfarb: "Obama's Sorry You're Too Stupid to Understand What He Meant" :

Here's another response from the Obama camp.

A photoessay from the Obama event in San Francisco on April 6.

Donald Sensing was getting the same message I was, and he expands on it:

Reading the full context of Obama's remarks, it strikes me that he believes that all of these (presumed) symptoms spring from the fact that there is too little control of the economy by the federal government. Obama said that all of these dysfunctions began when the government let their jobs go away and then, through both Republican and Democrat administrations, did nothing to "regenerate" them.

It is the lack of regulation of the economy, Obama believes, that makes people bitter, racist, religious, hunters, patriotic or protectionist. All these things are bad, and they all result from free-market, democratic capitalism. I know that many of you reading this will think I'm over-reaching here, but I stand my ground: Obama's remarks are in fact as clear a declaration of cleaving to socialism as almost anything he could have said.


what I find especially disturbing in Obama's remarks, that I have not seen in Mrs. Clinton's ever, is the ideal of the "perfectibility of man." This is the hoariest socialist doctrine of all, explicit in Marxism and later, Marxism-Leninism. This is an idea so utterly vacuous and foolish that not even the Euro socialist governments cleave to it, if they ever did, except in Eastern Europe, and then only when they were communist. Clearly implicit on Obama's remarks is the idea that since racism, religion et. al., arise from the lack of government regulation, they can be expunged by more of it.

You see, we can all become virtuous if only the government controlled our lives.

Not only are Obama's remarks a clarion call to socialism, they also objectify the people he refers to. He dismissed them as free, moral agents in their own right. Gosh, it's no wonder those white people hate blacks and Hispanics, go to church and buy guns and feel angry - they can't help it. The government has let them down. But with proper government regulation, intervention, activism (oh, just pick your own name), then they won't be racists, religious, xenophobic, or own guns.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has more, including this quote from Newt Gingrich:

If you go to the most expensive private school in Hawaii and then move on to Columbia University and Harvard Law School, you may not understand normal Americans. Their beliefs are so alien to your leftwing viewpoint that you have to seek some psychological explanation for what seem to be weird ideas.

They can’t really believe in the right to bear arms.

They can’t really believe in traditional marriage.

They can’t really believe in their faith in God.

They can’t really want to enforce the law on immigration.

Therefore, they must be “bitter” and “frustrated.”

This is the closest Senator Obama has come to openly sharing his wife’s view that “America is a mean country”. Not since Governor Dukakis have we seen anyone so out of touch with normal Americans. It makes perfect sense that it was in a fundraiser in San Francisco that he would have shared the views he has so carefully kept hidden for the entire campaign.

Ed comments...

This distills the Obama viewpoint about middle America to its essence. He assumes that gun ownership, religious faith, and a desire to enforce border security grows out of a mental defect or simple petulance. He cannot understand any of it as deeply held values or beliefs because they are all so foreign to him. His cure is a huge, whopping dose of government intervention to replace all of it. That’s the hubris, the condescension, and the elitism rolled up into a precise point.

All you can eat, at Memeorandum

UPDATE 4/14: Bill Kristol in The New York Times

April 11, 2008

The New Pamphleteers

They said 2008 would be the first YouTube election. Of course it's impossible to predict the effect it will have on the outcome, but the rhetoric is sure getting cranked up. Viral video doesn't require a 527 organization. I think Thomas Paine would be proud. This one on Obama is getting lots of blog play today.

April 10, 2008

Pelosi Does Pique

In the Washington Post today, the editors criticize Speaker Pelosi for putting off a vote on the trade agreement with Colombia, and for acting more out of pique than principle.

The year 2008 may enter history as the time when the Democratic Party lost its way on trade. Already, the party's presidential candidates have engaged in an unseemly contest to adopt the most protectionist posture, suggesting that, if elected, they might pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared her intention to change the procedural rules governing the proposed trade promotion agreement with Colombia. President Bush submitted the pact to Congress on Tuesday for a vote within the next 90 legislative days, as required by the "fast-track" authority under which the U.S. negotiated the deal with Colombia. Ms. Pelosi says she'll ask the House to undo that rule.


...political turf-staking, and the Democrats' decreasingly credible claims of a death-squad campaign against Colombia's trade unionists, constitutes all that's left of the case against the agreement. Economically, it should be a no-brainer -- especially at a time of rising U.S. joblessness. At the moment, Colombian exports to the United States already enjoy preferences. The trade agreement would make those permanent, but it would also give U.S. firms free access to Colombia for the first time, thus creating U.S. jobs. Politically, too, the agreement is in the American interest, as a reward to a friendly, democratic government that has made tremendous strides on human rights, despite harassment from Venezuela's Hugo Chávez.

Naked partisanship on parade.

Rather's Suit Gutted

CBS termed it a "setback" for Dan Rather, but it sounds more like the case has been "cored".

A Manhattan judge has dismissed portions of a lawsuit Dan Rather has filed against CBS and Viacom.

Judicial Hearing Officer Ira Gammerman on Thursday allowed the lawsuit to go foward, but struck down the parts of the suit that name Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, CBS President Leslie Moonves and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

A lawyer for the defendants, lead outside counsel James Quinn, said the judge's ruling eliminated Rather's core complaints of fraud and breach of good faith and fair dealing.

It is a report by CBS News after all, but somehow the words "forged documents" didn't find their way into the story. Instead it is said that "questions arose about the story", and that "an independent review for the network determined the story was neither fair nor accurate."

I naturally navigated to LGF to see what Charles Johnson had to say...which led to Hot Air.

McCain Polling Well In Ohio

Rasmussen Reports:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Ohio shows John McCain leading Barack Obama 47% to 40%. He also leads Hillary Clinton 47% to 42%. Last month, McCain led both Democrats by six percentage points.

Another report has McCain gaining nationally as well, pulling even with either Democrat.

We'll try not to get overconfident.


All in one place, The 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time. Heavy on SNL and Monty Python....not that there's anything wrong with that.

(via C&S)

April 9, 2008

How Awful Is It?

Davis Freddoso with a little perspective on the current negative labor indicators.

Karsenty Decision Near

Nidra Poller has been following the court proceedings in the appeal of the defamation case brought against Philippe Karsenty by France2 TV and Charles Enderlin, in what has come to be known as "the al Dura affair."


Lots of al Dura background and links here

Best Indians Trades

Rich Swerbinsky, proprietor of TheClevelandFan.com, has ranked The 16 Greatest Trades in Cleveland Indians History.

Getting Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips for Colon is a popular one lately, but at least Colon was a productive starter for several years after the trade. They got Omar Vizquel for two nobodies, and he won eight Gold Gloves here. Hall of Famer.

Swerb picks the trade that brought Tris Speaker to Cleveland in 1916 as the best deal ever. No argument here.

April 8, 2008

Saddam and EIJ

Stephen Hayes reporting....Saddam's ties to Islamic terror organizations documented...stop me if you've heard this one.

Not What They Supposed

Four months after the start of the Iraq war, two former senior Clinton administration national security officials took to the pages of the New York Times to demand accountability for the Bush administration's claims about Iraq and terrorism. Or, as they put it in their opening sentence, "Iraq's supposed links to terrorists."

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon wrote that the Bush administration's assertions about Iraqi support for terrorism were "suspect" and demanded scrutiny. One sure way to know the truth about Iraq and terrorism, they argued, was to consult the mountain of evidence the regime left behind as its leaders fled in front of American forces. "Military and intelligence officials need only comb through the files of Iraq's intelligence agency and a handful of other government ministries," and we would have our answers.

Well, we have our answers. They came in the 1,600-page Pentagon study released on March 13 and entitled Iraqi Perspectives Project, Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents, produced after a review of some 600,000 documents unearthed in postwar Iraq. And it is a devastating indictment of the U.S. intelligence community's analysis of Iraq, the Clinton administration's counterterrorism policy, and the arguments of anyone who would use the word "supposed" to describe Iraq's links to terrorists.

Hayes puts the findings of the Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) up against the words of Clinton administration analysts, and lets the contrast do the talking. It goes without saying that the document exploitation (DOCEX) effort will continue to yield new information going forward. Three and a half years after the invasion, in late 2006, only an estimated 3% of the captured Iraqi regime documents had been exploited. It's hard to imagine they've even cracked 10% by now. In other words, stay tuned.

For now though, we have a document proving that an agreement existed between Saddam's Iraq and Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) a terrorist organization led by Ayman al-Zawahari, current right hand to bin Laden, and al Qaeda's top theologian, to finance and help conduct terrorist commando operations against the Egyptian regime and "hostile alliance governments."

If it's not a "smoking gun", it's damn close, and perhaps it's enough to convince all but the BDS sufferers among us that Saddam was in the Islamist terrorism business as early as 1990. Check out the Hayes article and see much more of his stuff at the link below.


Saddam - al Qaeda article archive

Climate Change is Redundant - Part XCVII

The Vanities of the Warmists - Jon Caruthers

Chris Horner with Dim Bulbs at the Planet Gore blog, asking: "Would the NYT and WaPo stop decrying the U.S.'s environmental record if we were to do what Europe does — increase emissions while making, and breaking, unenforceable promises?"

Warming links from Iain Murray

Al Gore in his own words, at Climate Skeptic.

April 7, 2008

Sarkozy in London

Nicholas Sarkozy's remarks during his visit to London included a statement of heartfelt thanks to Great Britain for their courage and sacrifice on France's behalf in two world wars, going to lengths rare among post-war French heads of state. The ironies abound in Sarkozy's visit and message, according to Michael Huntsman at Brussels Journal . Among them is Sarkozy's praise for a hard-won parliamentary system that Great Britain has now all but given away. (Sarkozy's remarks in italics)

…it is an exceptional honour to address members of both Houses of the British Parliament. It is indeed here, within these walls, that modern political life was born. Without this Parliament, would parliamentary democracy have ever existed in the world? Hasn’t this parliamentary practice, begun in this place, become the best guarantee against tyranny?

I wonder if he realised quite what he was saying. If we contemplate two facts: (1) that 70-80% of the laws which now enter into force in the United Kingdom every year emanate not from the elected representatives of the British people but from an unelected and wholly unrepresentative coterie of foreign civil servants; and (2) that with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon Britain shall yield up almost all that remains of its sovereignty to that same group who will thus acquire almost unlimited power to impose the Brussels Diktat upon British laws, is it not then right to assert that the ‘best guarantee against tyranny’ of which he spoke has been recklessly and casually thrown away? And has not thus Parliamentary Democracy, so long in the evolution, been in a few short years ruthlessly stifled?

For we should be under no illusion but that what we understand by Parliamentary Democracy, which is indeed a formidable (though not impervious) bulwark against tyranny and which we have now effectively abandoned, has been replaced by a formidable Euro-theocracy. And from them tyranny we shall have, the tyranny of laws to which neither Her Majesty’s Government nor the British Parliament has assented as more and more ‘competences’ are given up to the thrall of Qualified Majority Voting.


...how ironic that a foreign President should come to praise Britian at the very moment of its eclipse.

Lots more.

April 6, 2008

Barry From 17,000 ft.

This a few weeks old, but I just saw it for the first time. (thanks, Judy)

Dave Barry's colonoscopy.

If you've had one, it's a laugh. If you're over 50 and you haven't, it's a public service announcement...and a laugh.

Congress: First....Wake Up!

Where was the Washington Post with this when Bush was trying to get some traction with Social Security reform three years ago?

The Future of Entitlements

The federal budget is on an autopilot course to ruin. Spending on the three big entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- grows automatically, consuming a large and growing share of the budget with benefits that flow mostly to the elderly. Meantime, there is almost no public discussion about the trade-offs involved: Would the money be better spent on education, homeland security, defense or infrastructure? Even before the baby boomers retire, more than four dollars out of every ten go to these programs; if health-care spending increases at the current rate, within 40 years Medicare and Medicaid alone will amount to as large a share of the economy as the entire federal budget comprises today.


Last week an impressive and ideologically diverse collection of economists and budget experts proposed an intriguing mechanism for forcing lawmakers -- and the next president -- to focus on the problem. The group, whose members come from think tanks ranging from the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute to the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, would take Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off autopilot growth and require lawmakers to set 30-year budgets. These would be reviewed every five years to determine whether the costs are set to remain within the allotted limits. If not, there would be automatic adjustments -- the experts' paper doesn't specify what those would be -- unless lawmakers acted to override this trigger.

It's a start. Yes, slapping Congress up side the head, and demanding some sort of accountability from them on the issue would be a start. As one of the budget experts, Alice Rivlin is quoted as saying, the status quo is not an option.

Those built in benefit increases, which are tied to the Consumer Price Index rather then the inflation rate, ought to be fair game for review, as should allowing citizens to invest some of their own retirement dollars, rather than have the government just spend them out of the general fund every year like any other tax dollar it collects. But any talk of reducing the rate of increase in benefits can expect to be spun by Democrats as a cut in Social Security, and thus off the table. And allowing a portion of citizens' Social Security taxes to be held in private retirement accounts, as a way to insure that at least some of their retirement dollars are actually being saved, has already been ruled out by Obama as a reform option to be considered in a Democratic administration. What you don't hear much of from Democrats is talk of the only other two remaining options...raising payroll tax rates...again...or raising the retirement age...again.

A Report from Heritage.org has some of the numbers in their own plan for a fix:

In the coming decades, the cost of these programs will leap from 8.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 18.6 percent of GDP—an increase of 10.2 percent of GDP. Without reform, this increased cost would require raising taxes by the current equiva­lent of $12,072 per household or eliminating every other government program. Funding all of the prom­ised benefits with income taxes would require rais­ing the 35 percent income tax bracket to at least 77 percent and raising the 25 percent tax bracket to at least 55 percent.

Although aware of this coming crisis, Members of Congress have largely ignored it because all of the possible reforms are considered politically risky. Yet delays only increase the pain of the ultimate reforms, which are becoming about $1 trillion more expensive annually. Furthermore, many believe that Americans ages 55 and over should be exempt from any reforms. One-third of all baby boomers have already crossed that threshold, and at 4 million per year, all of them will have crossed it by 2019.

What appears to be brewing is a younger generation that will take a look at its aging baby-boomer population and say "screw you...you got us into this." And they'll be right. More from Heritage...

Entitlement reform is more than just an economic issue. Americans need to decide whether they want a future in which older Americans have an automatic claim on one-fifth of the future income of their grandchildren—who will be raising their own chil­dren and paying off their home mortgages. Under the current system, retirees will spend one-third of their adult lives in taxpayer-funded retirement while national security, education, health research, and antipoverty programs fight for the few remain­ing tax dollars.

Read the whole sobering thing.

Having lacked the political capital to make a dent in the status quo on Social Security, and having signed the prescription drug plan into law, George Bush can only be said to have failed overall to stem the tide of irresponsible entitlement growth, which has been presided over by baby-boomer politicians of both parties.

Congress must learn that they had better grab onto that 'third rail', or we'll shock them right out of their seats. If only. I have no reason to think they'll get any pressure from an Obama White House to steer us away from the cliff. McCain's record on entitlement reform is "mixed". Obama, of course, has no record to speak of, but he suggests that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire (raising your other income taxes) and raising the income ceiling for Social Security withholding will solve the problem. It won't even come close.

UPDATE 4/7: Just discovered this informative post by Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog, which includes a helpful chart demonstrating how the large Social Security surpluses over the last dozen years have helped mask larger deficits, and how the declining revenues and rising outlays will catch up to us sooner than most people think.

April 4, 2008

Recommended 4/4

Times Online reports on pre-Olympic intimidation via murder by Chinese police.

A common sense post by Steve Schippert at The Tank blog, on why Americans won't pay to see movies telling them how awful their country is.

David Brooks, "The View From Room 306", on the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's murder.

Peter Berkowitz reviews George Weigel's book in "Fighting Jihad".

Via the American Thinker blog... The U.S. and Israel will organize a boycott of the U.N. Conference on Racism if, like its predecessor, it continues to shape up as an event dedicated to U.S. and Israel-bashing rather than a dialogue on racism.

Selections from the transcripts of Ayman al-Zawahiri's Online Chat, from Power Line.

Better late than never....read Michael Totten's "The Liberation of Karmah, Part Two.

April 3, 2008

McCarthy Memoir Rebuts Lance

(Ali Mohamed)

I unwrapped my copy of Andy McCarthy's new book "Willful Blindness; Memoir of the Jihad" Monday afternoon, went straight to the index, and took in the 25-30 pages McCarthy devotes to the story of Ali Mohamed, perhaps the most enigmatic and elusive of the Islamic jihadist conspirators over the course of the two decades preceding the 9/11 attacks.

Having done that, I can go back now and take the book from the top, but I had been waiting for months to hear McCarthy's side of the Ali Mohamed story. It turns out that McCarthy was just as eager to tell it.

But first a little background...(OK, a lot of background)

The author was serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York during the 90's, and successfully prosecuted the "blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman, the man who inspired the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, and who led the New York cell of jihadists that eventually bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. Working with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, McCarthy also secured a life sentence for Sayyid Nosair, Kahane's assassin, and put other conspirators in the Kahane murder and the "Day of Terror" plot behind bars.

Ali Mohamed isn't one of the better known names among al Qaeda operatives, but that may be partly because he has been in U.S. government custody since before the 9/11 attacks. In any event, it's important to know something about him if you're going along with me for this ride. (Ali Mohamed resources can be found here, here, and here.)

By the time the Egyptian-born Mohamed came to the U.S in the early 80's with an elite Egyptian army unit for a cross-training program with the U.S. Army, he was an accomplished soldier who spoke four languages, and was already a committed jihadist, recruited into the ranks of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ).

After leaving the Egyptian military, Mohamed offered his services to the CIA in Hamburg in 1984, and even after having been outed as untrustworthy in his brief stint, he somehow managed to gain entry to the U.S., acquire U.S. citizenship, and join the U.S. Army. He rose to the modest rank of Supply Sargent in a Green Beret unit, and yet still managed to schmooze his way into a job as an instructor in Middle East language and cultural studies at the John F. Kennedy special warfare school at Ft. Bragg. His subsequent service as a trusted aide and advisor to Osama bin Laden, and to the cause of jihad had become a major source of embarrassment to the United States military and intelligence services.

Among his many escapades was his brazen, unauthorized leave from the Army to go to Afghanistan to fight the Russians, and then to just as audaciously return to his post...all the while daring to flaunt his Muslim piety, and all the while taking advantage of the U.S. military's unfailing deference to his religious practices and ideas, and of their seeming obliviousness to the dangers he posed.

Mohamed was called into service by Osama bin Laden in the early 90's, when his U.S. Army service was finished, and he was asked to personally oversee the logistics and security for bin Laden's move from Afghanistan to Sudan. Mohamed also escorted current al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri on two trips to the United States to raise funds for the still young al Qaeda organization, and trained al Qaeda operatives and security personnel in Africa and Afghanistan.

Add to that Mohamed's theft of documents from Ft. Bragg which later turned up in the belongings of Kahane's assassin, Nosair, and the photographic intelligence he acquired in the early 90's which was later used by bin Laden in the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya, and it's easy to see how compromised and shamed the U.S. military and intelligence services were by Mohamed's terror-related activities. An agent of Osama bin Laden's inner circle had functioned from inside the United States Army, and had carried out his tasks as an open and unapologetic radical Muslim. Compelling stuff.

Enter Peter Lance. Lance is the author of "Triple Cross", a book which purports to expose Ali Mohamed as "The Rosetta Stone" of the 9/11 story. Lance has pieced together the story of Ali Mohamed's remarkable career (pdf) as a double... even a "triple agent", and documents what he says are the manifest failings of the FBI and their Justice Department colleagues to keep a handle on this loose cannon of a terror suspect. Among other things, Lance contends that Mohamed was assisting, even leading the training of the New York-based cell that the FBI had under surveillance as early as 1989 conducting weapons training outings at Calverton, Long Island, years before the first WTC bombing.

By compiling and analyzing evidence, and largely with the benefit of hindsight, Lance comes to criticize the FBI and the SDNY for their failure to connect Kahane's murderer Nosair to a larger conspiracy of the New York cell, or to stay on top of the Jersey City check-cashing store four doors from the blind sheikh Rahman's mosque, a storefront where Nosair had an account, whose owner was a terror suspect, and which was later used to provide false ID's for some of the 9/11 hijackers. Lance tries to make the case that the African embassy bombings, the 1993 WTC bombing, and perhaps even the entire 9/11 plot might have been interdicted if the FBI had been more diligent in their scrutiny of the store's activities and patrons. This is one of many instances cited by Lance in which the incompetence, bureaucratic infighting, careerism, misplaced priorities or lack of inter-agency communication in the Justice Department contributed to lapses that may have enabled otherwise preventable terrorist attacks.

Fitzgerald and McCarthy both come in for criticism in the Lance book, although it is Fitzgerald who is really hung out to dry. He is featured in the book's subtitle, "How Bin Laden's Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI, and Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him". He is also pictured on the book's cover.

I had stumbled upon Lance about a year ago, watching some video of his book tour talks for "Triple Cross", and had found the Ali Mohamed story fascinating. I bought and read the book immediately, and set about to learn more about him, including why the 9/11 Commission had seemed so incurious about this Islamist terrorist who had assisted the 9/11 mastermind bin Laden throughout the 90's, while duping his credulous FBI handlers and living as a free man in Santa Clara, California, seeming to enter and leave the United States at will under his cover as an import/export businessman.

Lance had amassed an incredible amount of information on the blind Sheikh case, the first WTC bombing with Ramzi Yousef, and the mysterious tale of Ali Mohamed. He suggested that the role of Ali Mohamed in the 9/11 conspiracy might have been much greater than the U.S. government had let on. The Justice Department, he implied, had covered up their blunders and miscalculations rather than admit that they had been repeatedly duped and embarrassed by Ali Mohamed. In an article at the Huffington Post in November of 2006, Lance says...

Ali, aka "Amiriki" or "Ali the American," was a one-man 9/11 Commission capable of ratting out the Feds on how he had eaten their lunch for years - how the two bin Laden "offices of origin" in the NYO and the SDNY where Fitzgerald was head of Organized Crime and terrorism - had been outgunned by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri dating back to that Calverton, L.I. surveillance in 1989. Fearful of what he would say if put on the stand and subjected to cross examination by defense lawyers in the upcoming Embassy bombing, Fitzgerald made sure that Ali was hidden away under a John Doe warrant. Finally, by October, 2000 Fitzie had cut a deal allowing the master spy to cop a plea and escape the death penalty.

In the end, Fitzgerald made his bones as the Justice Department's top al Qaeda buster by convicting El Hage and several other relatively minor bomb cell members. in U.S. vs. bin Laden in 2001. But the real "mastermind" of the Embassy bombings skated. Mohamed was allowed to slip into the security of custodial witness protection where he remains today - the greatest enigma of the war on terror.

In late 1994, McCarthy, Fitzgerald and the SDNY were preparing for the Day of Terror trial, which would eventually convict the blind Sheikh and Sayyid Nosair for Rabbi Kahane's murder (the government had accepted a guilty plea on a lesser gun charge in Nosair's first trial) along with numerous other defendants who had plotted to blow up New York landmarks and monuments in a series of attacks that had been successfully thwarted.

Nosair's defense attorney, Roger Stavis had discovered the existence of Ali Mohamed, about whom little was known at the time outside the Justice Department and the intelligence community, and sought to locate and interview him. His defense strategy for Nosair was said to revolve around the contention that, since Nosair had been trained by Mohamed, a known CIA asset and U.S. Army veteran who had also assisted in training Afghan rebels in fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, that Nosair was in effect a functionary of a U.S. government-sponsored militia and that the U.S. government therefore shared responsibility for Kahane's assassination. Far-fetched surely, but a good attorney takes what he can get. (McCarthy would later say "this defense never had a prayer")

Lance takes note of a meeting McCarthy had with Mohamed in California during the time Nosair's attorney Stavis sought Mohamed's testimony. Stavis couldn't locate Mohamed, who was on other al Qaeda terrorist business in Africa at the time, but Lance suggests that McCarthy's motive for meeting with Mohamed was "damage control". Lance writes:

...prosecutor Andrew McCarthy was worried. At that point, no one outside the Bureau or the SDNY knew that Ali had been an FBI informant. McCarthy could only guess what the former army sergeant might say if he got on the stand in open court.

Lance's implies that McCarthy went to meet with Mohamed to tell him to ignore the subpoena from Nosair's attorney, out of fear that Mohamed's testimony would embarrass the Justice Dept. in untold ways.

Lance cites a written statement by Nosair's cousin, Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, also convicted in the Day of Terror trial, in which he claims to have spoken to Ali Mohamed when they shared a jail cell in Manhattan four years later, and that Mohamed had claimed McCarthy told him to ignore the subpoena to testify in the Nosair trial.

I'll get to McCarthy's responses to many of Lance's contentions in a minute, but first one more bit of set-up. I had found the material in Lance's book tour videos and in "Triple Cross" to be fairly compelling, even given the fact that he had engaged in a lot of what I considered speculation assisted by hindsight. When I finished "Triple Cross", I put together a draft of a blog post with tons of quotes from Lance, links to other source material, and my own minimally informed comment on what I saw to be the mystery surrounding Ali Mohamed. But two things kept me from hitting the "Publish" button.

First, I realized that Ali Mohamed had been accurately portrayed as a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and also accurately associated, however tangentially or briefly, with U.S. government agencies including the CIA, FBI and US Army. Any suggestion that there was a connection between a U.S government operative of any stripe and the man who attacked the WTC on 9/11 was going to place me in the unsavory company of some of the more unhinged "9/11 Truther" elements, and that was an association of which I wanted no part.

And second, I also came to find out soon after finishing "Triple Cross", that Andy McCarthy had written an email to Lance, which Lance had chosen to make public along with his response, and in which McCarthy had called Lance's work "an atrocious book", and Lance "an irresponsible journalist", among other things, all of which gave me pause, considering the respect I had come to hold for McCarthy over the years, both for his dedicated public service and also for his skills as a writer and thinker. As it happens, McCarthy's email was just a warm up for his lancing of Lance in Willful Blindness.

Not only had Lance called into question McCarthy's professional integrity as a federal prosecutor with his intimations, he had repeatedly criticized and ridiculed McCarthy's friend and colleague Fitzgerald in the book. I found one example of McCarthy's high regard for his erstwhile Justice Department associate in a June, 2004 post at The Corner blog, during the 9/11 Commission hearings:

Chicago U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald, one of my two partners on the blind Sheik case and later the lead prosecutor on the embassy bombing case, is, bar none, the best prosecutor in the U.S., and probably the best lawyer (and certainly one of the best people) I have ever met. He testified this morning before the 9/11 Commission, which makes sense because he knows more about al Qaeda than anyone who is not actually in al Qaeda.

So there were at least two big reasons why McCarthy says on p.95 of Willful Blindness, "Actually, I have been dying for years to tell the story."

Despite McCarthy's differences with Lance, they would probably agree that the justice system was 'broken' in terms of our performance in dealing with terrorism. Lance's focus is on bureaucratic incompetence however, while McCarthy's theme in Willful Blindness is the many problems inherent in treating national security and terrorism matters like we treat garden variety domestic criminality.

Not that McCarthy minimizes or apologizes for Justice Department incompetence in the pursuit of terrorists in the 80's and 90's. Far from it. Of the Ali Mohamed case, he writes in Willful Blindness;

There is no way to sugarcoat it. Mohamed is a window on breathtaking government incompetence.

In an article he did for Commentary, "When Jihad Came to America", in which he recounts the story of the Rabbi Kahane murder and subsequent pursuit of the nascent New York terror cell, McCarthy documents more bureaucratic bungling and finger-pointing...

A dozen years later, after radical Islamists had finally destroyed the World Trade Center and murdered 3,000 Americans, an embarrassed FBI would blame others for the failure to deal with jihadism in America when it was still relatively young. In testimony to Congress in 2002, FBI officials would claim that the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau had...

...resisted attempts to label the Kahane assassination a “conspiracy” despite the apparent links to a broader network of radicals. Instead, these organizations reportedly wanted the appearance of speedy justice and a quick resolution to a volatile situation. By arresting Nosair, they felt they had accomplished both.

This was nonsense. Federal authorities do not, ever, allow themselves to be hemmed in by New York State law-enforcement officials, and nothing had prevented the FBI from pursuing a broader conspiracy angle against Nosair and his fellow jihadists. The Bureau simply decided it was not worth the effort. In December 1990, after a mere six weeks of investigation, the FBI let the Times know that it believed “more strongly than ever that Mr. Nosair had acted alone in shooting Rabbi Kahane.”

And what about Abdel Rahman? The federal investigators said they regarded his presence in New York “as a tantalizing but possibly meaningless footnote.” There was, they claimed, “no evidence that the sheikh had known Mr. Nosair or had ever spoken with him in private.” No evidence, that is, other than the cassette tapes seized from Nosair’s home that no one had troubled to analyze and that contained recordings of Nosair and Abouhalima bantering with the blind sheikh about paramilitary training for jihad.

And after waiting so long to tell the inside story of the Ali Mohamed affair, McCarthy understandably relishes his opportunities to set the record straight....and to take Peter Lance down a few pegs...

Of all the Islamic radicals we have come to know over the last three decades Mohamed is easily the most intriguing. He has nonetheless been difficult for me to discuss, a happenstance that has led the writer Peter Lance to speculate that I am stonewalling to cover up egregious behavior by myself and some of my colleagues. In point of fact, I have stonewalled only Lance, with whom I declined to cooperate upon concluding, after reading some of his oeuvre, that he's an irresponsible journalist-an impression more than vindicated by the publication of his loopy book about the government's investigations of radical Islam.

And again...

There is considerable misinformation about his [Mohamed's] military career, largely thanks to Sayyid Nosair and Peter Lance, who for different purposes - Nosair trying unsuccessfully to get acquitted, Lance trying unsuccessfully to sell books - have portrayed Mohamed as a top-secret, special operations commando. In truth, he enlisted in America as a lowly private, climbed no higher than E-5 sergeant, should have been discharged for serious misconduct, and never held a security clearance of any kind.

Ouch...and again...

His [Lance's] tome, to the extent one can slog through it, reads like a series of bad acid trips.

one more time...

...One might have thought that Lance, who likes to brag about how heavily footnoted his books are (as if footnoted nonsense were any less nonsense), would have realized that...

McCarthy takes care in Willful Blindness to correct the record regarding many of the inaccuracies and unfounded flights of speculation in Lance's Triple Cross. Among them:

-- As noted above, Lance overstates Mohamed's access to top-secret documents at Ft. Bragg. While he did steal documents there, he had no access to anything classified, let alone anything Top-Secret.

-- Lance claims that McCarthy and the SDNY covered up the intelligence they had about the New York terror cell's training exercises in 1989 at Calverton, Long Island in order to hide the fact that they had been aware of this cell months or years before some of its members took part in the Kahane murder and the first WTC bombing. McCarthy counters that the Calverton training information was in the public domain in 1993 and 1995 indictments and trial testimony. Here Lance appears to have been guilty only of having had lousy sources.

-- Lance contends in Triple Cross that Ali Mohamed had a lead role in the paramilitary training of the New York cell's terror operatives at Calverton. McCarthy says there is no evidence that Mohamed ever attended those training exercises, and that Lance has exaggerated Mohamed's role beyond what were a few classroom sessions he conducted with the cell's operatives in 1989, to make it appear that Mohamed was a major player in the blind Sheikh's New York operation. McCarthy calls him "a fleeting participant on the New York scene, but not a leader."

-- Lance repeatedly criticizes Fitzgerald and McCarthy for not indicting or arresting Mohamed sooner (such as when they met with him in person in 1994) suggesting that his al Qaeda activities, especially those connected to the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya in 1998, might have been prevented. (Mohamed was eventually arrested in 1998.) But Lance apparently didn't understand the timeline.

The intelligence that Mohamed had provided to bin Laden, which was used to plan the 1998 embassy attack, was gathered in 1993, before McCarthy met Mohamed, and years before his role was discovered. In fact, McCarthy says in Willful Blindness that nearly all of Mohamed's useful al Qaeda activities took place before their 1994 meeting, because after that meeting, he was no longer fully trusted by the al Qaeda leadership. But the government still had no solid case to press against him at the time. And rather than cover up Mohamed's shady past, McCarthy returned to New York convinced Mohamed was a dangerous jihadist, "raised holy hell", and warned his colleagues to keep the guy on a short leash if they were to utilize him at all as an informant.

-- But the most incendiary of Lance's claims was that McCarthy's face-to-face meeting with Ali Mohamed in 1994 was part of a cover-up and a ploy to keep Mohamed from testifying in Nosair's trial. It fact, as McCarthy says in Willful Blindness, he was simply doing his job. Nosair's defense attorney Roger Stavis had subpoenaed Mohamed as a trial witness, and McCarthy...

...had to interview Mohamed because I needed to get to the bottom of what classified information issues his testimony might entail (the law requires questions about the admissibility of classified information to be resolved prior to trial).


I learned a few very important things. First, I had no need to be concerned that his testimony would help Nosair. What he said about Nosair has never been made public. Suffice it to say, however, that I had an obligation as the government's lawyer to disclose to the defense any information in our possession that was exculpatory. No disclosures were required after my interview of Ali Mohamed.


...Peter Lance alleges that I instructed Mohamed to disappear rather than honor Nosair's trial subpoena; argues that I am one of a cabal of corrupt and incompetent government operatives, led by Pat Fitzgerald, who allowed Mohamed to run rampant until, finally, he helped bomb the U.S. embassy in Kenya; and speculates that I may have given Ali Mohamed crucial intelligence information that he shared with al Qaeda. It's a toss-up which of these slanders is the most lunatic.

The "crucial intelligence information" that Lance suggests was provided to Mohamed by McCarthy was a list of the 200 or so names of the unindicted co-conspirators that the government was required by law to provide to the defense in the blind Sheikh trial. Mohamed did in fact acquire that list, presumably from defense counsel sources, and provided it to the al Qaeda leadership via fax, where it eventually reached bin Laden himself. McCarthy doesn't know why Lance would suggest that he was the source of the list, especially in the absence of any imaginable motive McCarthy might have had to do so, let alone any evidence. Hence the "irresponsible journalist" tag.

-- McCarthy also rips Lance for using the word of a convicted terrorist (El-Gabrowny) as the sole basis for his book's speculation that McCarthy told Mohamed to ignore the subpoena in the Nosair trial. McCarthy then sets about dismantling the theory that the government had anything to gain from keeping Mohamed off the witness stand.

This was not the only time that Lance had trumpeted documentation he uncovered in the course of his investigative journalism and touted as evidence of "cover up", that wouldn't have even been discoverable at all were it not for the requirements of the traditional American justice system that McCarthy argues ill serve our efforts to combat the new brand of terrorism. McCarthy repeatedly makes the point (as if to try to drill it into Lance's skull) that the discovery requirements that allowed Mohamed to make off with the list of co-conspirators, and which hamstring the government in so many terror prosecutions, represent the polar opposite of "cover up", and as McCarthy says later....

...arm international terrorist organizations with a trove of intelligence, including information that identifies intelligence methods and sources, thus further improving their capacity to harm Americans.

Far from critiquing that traditional American system of justice, McCarthy reveres it, and seeks only to protect it:

...there is a profound but often undetected corrosion of our justice system when we force the square peg of terrorism into its round hole. My belief that we oughtn't treat terrorists as criminals, far from being caused by disdain for the rigorous demands of civilian due process, reflects instead an abiding reverence for our system's majesty. Treating jihadists as if they were U.S. citizens accused of crimes and presumed innocent reduces the quality of justice Americans receive from their courts.

And finally, having already quoted way more text from Willful Blindness than I ever intended to, there's a passage that I thought represented McCarthy's ultimate response to Peter Lance, who had accused him and his colleagues of negligence, delay, cover up, and incompetence in the case of Ali Mohamed. McCarthy reminds Lance and others that in the end, they convicted Ali Mohamed and put him away. And as he has consistently done, McCarthy credits his associates in the process.

I have an instinctual loathing for shameless self-promotion, of which there is more than a little in government service. I learned long ago that the stars, unlike the empty suits, don't need to tell you they're stars-you'll know it when you see it. I am very proud, however, of my role in Ali Mohamed's downfall, both because my apoplexy helped put a stop to the government's insane dalliance with one of the most dangerous people ever to come on our radar screen, and because that ultimately led to Mohamed's finally being brought to justice by two of the best prosecutors in the history of the United States - my friends Patrick Fitzgerald and Mary Jo White, who have collectively done more and sacrificed more to fight the jihadist menace plaguing our country than any combination of Americans outside our heroic armed forces.

(Note: The excerpts in this post from Willfull Blindness; Memoir of the Jihad, by Andrew C. McCarthy, are used here without permission from the author and publisher, for the narrow purpose of illustrating McCarthy's responses to claims made by author Peter Lance in his book Triple Cross. I will gladly accede to the wishes of Mr. McCarthy or the publisher if it is their feeling that I have exceeded a fair-use guideline in my excerpts of their copyrighted material, or if I have in any way mischaracterized or misquoted him. Oh yes...need I say...buy the book. - DW)

Related resources:

New York Times articles about Ali Mohamed

NYT BIn Laden Links

Cooperative Research - Ali Mohamed page