Christian Science Monitor
The Times (London)
Manchester Guardian (UK)
San Francisco Chronicle
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
The Great Drug War: Supporting Notes and Documentation
Fatal Distraction: Supporting Notes and Documentation
The Heroin Solution,
Second Edition: Supporting Notes and Documentation
Paying The Piper
December 24, 2007
MORE OF THE OBVIOUS ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS IN THE WASHINGTON POST
December 20, 2007
THE DISHONEST REPORTER AWARD 2007
This comprehensive year-end summary deserves careful study. HonestReporting is one of many organizations fighting the good fight to expose the dishonesty in much mainstream reporting around the world regarding the Mideast conflict. I agree that CNN and Christine Amanpour deserve the booby prize this year. Now is a good time to make a contribution to HonestReporting and the other organizations that combat constant distortions of the truth about Israel and the Arabs.
However, I am disappointed that more attention has not been paid to the horrible reporting of the Washington Post. The editors and reporters and the ombudsman deserve the condemnation of all decent people regarding their stories and columns on the Middle East.
December 20, 2007
NEWT GINGRICH A MODERN DAY CHURCHILL
The world has turned upside down when I find myself agreeing more with Ol' Newt instead of the liberals I used to love. But here is a good argument that the world is indeed changing. Melaine Phillips has seen signs that Newt Gringrich is playing a similar role to that of Winston Churhill in the days preceding World War II. She quotes a speech of his to help prove her point: "So then you look at Saudi Arabia. The fact that we tolerate a country saying no Christian and no Jew can go to Mecca, and we start with the presumption that that's true while they attack Israel for being a religious state is a sign of our timidity, our confusion, our cowardice that is stunning. It's not complicated. We're inviting Saudi Arabia to come to Annapolis to talk about rights for Palestinians when nobody is saying, ‘Let's talk about rights for Christians and Jews in Saudi Arabia. Let's talk about rights for women in Saudi Arabia."
December 14, 2007
RARE GOOD RULING FROM SUPREME COURT ON DRUG ISSUE
Recently the Supreme Court ruled by a 7 to 2 vote that federal judges have broad discretion when it comes to imposing prison sentences on those who violate the law by possessing crack cocaine. This will go a long way towards eliminating the disparity between penalties for powered cocaine and crack, which have proven to be de facto racial discrimination with 80% of the inmates in prison for crack violations being black. As many as 19, 500 federal prisoners convicted of offenses involving crack cocaine could have their jail time reduced.
December 12, 2007
INTIMIDATION IN THE JURY ROOM
The Investigative Project on Terrorism presents us with an astounding story that can not help but to remind one of the classic film 12 Angry Men. One juror alleges that bullying by another juror was the real reason behind the acquittals in the terrorism-support trial of the five Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officials
December 11, 2007
SO UNJUST IT MAY HELP WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Rebeca Chapa has written about a Saudi Arabian woman who was gang raped because she met an ex-boyfriend to retrieve a photograph of herself. Known as the “Qatif woman," she was sentenced to 90 lashes for her crime. When her lawyer spoke to the media about the case he lost his license and the punishment was increased to 200 lashes, as well as, six months in jail. Chapa expresses the hope that, ”In a perverse way, the Saudi justice system's zeal for unjustly punishing the Qatif woman may be the best thing to happen to women's rights. It has shed yet more light on a problem too many women have suffered for too long.”
December 11, 2007
SAUDIS GIVE MILLIONS TO AMERICAN COLLEGES
A special report in today’s Washington Times details the millions of dollars being given by wealthy Saudis to academia here in the United States. Reporter Julia Duin acknowledges the controversial nature of these gifts saying that, ”Some call the Saudi gift Arab generosity and gratitude for the years American universities have educated the elite of the Arab world. Others say the sheer size of the donations amounts to buying influence and creating bastions of non-critical pro-Islamic scholarship within academia.” Also, she quotes Martin S. Kramer an author of Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America as arguing that, ”Of course, this is why we can't ever expect to get the straight story on Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and oil from people who operate within Middle Eastern studies. If you want a fabulously wealthy Saudi royal to drop out of the sky in his private jet and leave a few million, you had better watch what you say - which means you had better say nothing.”
The print version of this report contains the following chart:
December 10, 2007
THE WASHINGTON POST KEEPS UP THE DISTORTIONS ON ISRAEL
I just returned from speaking at the European Parliament and found to my regret even more evidence of the distortions on the part of the liberal MSM, in this case again the Washington Post. Please spread the word to everyone you know. And as I have said before send a donation or two to EyeOnThePost,org.
December 10, 2007
ROLLING STONE EXAMINES THE FAILED DRUG WAR
Rolling Stone has recently made available a comprehensive history of drug prohibition’s last thirty five years of consistent failure. The article is by contributing editor Ben Wallace Wells and is titled How America Lost the War on Drugs.
December 9, 2007
ACADEMIC FREE SPEECH FOR EVERY VIEWPOINT
Alan Dershowitz discusses the disparity of free speech rights with regard to the Middle East taking place on American college campuses. He argues on The Huffington Post that those who oppose Israel have much more latitude than those who support Israel. He ends his essay with the very sensible plea for all to ”support complete free speech for every perspective relating to the Middle East, not just for perspectives supported by the hard left.”
December 9, 2007
NO WIDESPREAD USE AFTER LEGALIZATION
The mainstay of the prohibitionist argument is the idea that if drugs were legalized then there would be a widespread increase in use. The DRCNet is presenting strong evidence that this notion simply is not true. It comes in the form of a Zogby Poll that asks the question; "If hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine were legalized, would you be likely to use them?" Only 0.6% of the respondents said yes.
December 6, 2007
BIN LADEN MAYBE SHIFTING FOCUS TO EUROPE
Calling Afghanistan an "occupied Muslim land." Osama bin Laden is preparing his followers for attacks in Europe. Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, informs us of this in a column published by The Washington Times. He asserts that; ”The forthcoming attacks are being prepared now with al Qaeda propaganda mentioning former and current British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. What links all these leaders in the mind of bin Laden? It is not only the past; rather it is the future. The supreme commander knows global jihad has begun in that continent. Salafists have already waged violence in Europe and the so-called youth gangs in France's suburbs - manipulated by the radical clerics - are at war with the French state. Al Qaeda wants to claim it, own it and boast about it. That's what is on bin Laden's mind.”
December 5, 2007
THE WASHINGTON POST CONTINUES ITS BIASED REPORTING
There is no doubt that this continues and forces any sensible person to wonder why. Perhaps it is because the left or the liberals have been infected with some strange malady that affects their reason. Because I have been on the left most of my life I still do not understand this. I wrote the ombudsman of the Post a few days ago asking if she could identify one story discussing Israel and the Palestinians wherein the impression was given that the Israelis were the good guys. No response yet.
December 4, 2007
USEFUL DEVELOPMENT IN ANNAPOLIS
While he did not see a lasting peace or even the advancement of Israeli and American interests as being the outcome of the Annapolis meeting Daniel Pipes now perceives at least one positive development. That being Israeli Prime Minister Ehurd Olmert’s break with that country’s previous leaders by insisting that the Palestinians accept Israel's permanent existence as a Jewish state.
This, of course, engendered a very negative response from many Arab commentators. For example Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department asserted that, "The Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined." Pipes responds to this by pointing out that, “56 states and the PLO belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference” and that, “the religious-national nexus extends well beyond Muslim countries. Argentinean law, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe points out, ‘mandates government support for the Roman Catholic faith. Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England. In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the constitution proclaims Buddhism the nation's ‘spiritual heritage.' … ‘The prevailing religion in Greece,' declares Section II of the Greek Constitution, ‘is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ'."
December 3, 2007
THE WORLD ORGANIZATION OF DEMOCRACIES
I will be attending and speaking at a conference of visionaries and idealists at the European Parliament in Brussels this week, December 5-8. One of the lead organizations is the Transnational Radical Party. I am a member of the governing General Council. The other major sponsoring organization is the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) which functions within the European Union, These wonderful people support all sorts of moral projects that at times seem hopelessly idealistic and at the same time contain much hope for the future. One of their most important initiatives is promoting the creation of an international Community of Democracies which could lead to a World Organization of Democracies. In my mind this could supplant the corrupt and biased UN. Here is a recent description of this major effort which will be discussed at the EU later this week.
December 2, 2007
MORE SMALL SIGNS OF HOPE FROM A MUSLIM REFORMER
It is a pleasant surprise to keep encountering signs of hope -- or Sparks of Hope, as I tentatively title my next book -- that demonstrate that some Muslims are displaying courage and wisdom in suggesting a more peaceful and personal version of their religion. The latest I have discovered is Moez Masoud, a televangelist who openly advocates a new version of Islam that includes concern for love and relationships among the young, tolerance toward non-Muslims and also tolerance regarding homosexuals. That is just the start. Such approaches would lead to major changes in the threat of constant wars over perceived insults to that religion.
November 27, 2007
PROSPECTS FOR PEACE DEPEND ON THE QUESTION BEING NEGOTIATED
On the pages of The Wall Street Journal Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton and the author most recently of From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East, discusses prospects for progress towards Middle East peace at the Annapolis summit. He argues that if the issue on the table is the size of Israel then there is a reasonable chance for a positive outcome. However, ”if, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.”
November 27, 2007
THE DANISH FLAG - A SYMBOL OF WESTERN FREEDOM
What follows is an interesting and very important discussion of the unintended consequences of a too generous heart. American policy makers should take heed.
VETERANS JOURNAL September 11, 2007 -- By Susan MacAllen
In 1978 - even in Copenhagen, one didn't see Muslim immigrants. The Danish population embraced visitors, celebrated the exotic, went out of its way to protect each of its citizens. It was proud of its new brand of socialist liberalism - one in development since the conservatives had lost power in 1929 - a system where no worker had to struggle to survive, where one ultimately could count upon the state as in, perhaps, no other western nation at the time. The rest of Europe saw the Scandinavians as free-thinking, progressive and infinitely generous in their welfare policies. Denmark boasted low crime rates, devotion to the environment, a superior educational system and a history of humanitarianism.
Denmark was also most generous in its immigration policies - it offered the best welcome in Europe to the new immigrant: generous welfare payments from first arrival plus additional perks in transportation, housing and education.. It was determined to set a world example for inclusiveness and multiculturalism. How could it have predicted that one day in 2005 a series of political cartoons in a newspaper would spark violence that would leave dozens dead in the streets - all because its commitment to multiculturalism would come back to bite?
By the 1990's the growing urban Muslim population was obvious - and its unwillingness to integrate into Danish society was obvious. Years of immigrants had settled into Muslim-exclusive enclaves. As the Muslim leadership became more vocal about what they considered the decadence of Denmark's liberal way of life, the Danes - once so welcoming - began to feel slighted. Many Danes had begun to see Islam as incompatible with their long-standing values: belief in personal liberty and free speech, in equality for women, in tolerance for other ethnic groups, and a deep pride in Danish heritage and history.
The New York Post in 2002 ran an article by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, in which they forecasted accurately that the growing immigrant problem in Denmark would explode. In the article they reported:
"Muslim immigrants constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending."
"Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes."
"Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less to mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane."
"Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem."
"Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark's Muslim population grows large enough - a not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim."
It is easy to understand why a growing number of Danes would feel that Muslim immigrants show little respect for Danish values and laws. An example is the phenomenon common to other European countries and the U.S.: some Muslims in Denmark who opted to leave the Muslim faith have been murdered in the name of Islam, while others hide in fear for their lives. Jews are also threatened and harassed openly by Muslim leaders in Denmark, a country where once Christian citizens worked to smuggle out nearly all of their 7,000 Jews by night to Sweden - before the Nazis could invade. I think of my Danish friend Elsa - who as a teenager had dreaded crossing the street to the bakery every morning under the eyes of occupying Nazi soldiers - and I wonder what she would say today.
In 2001, Denmark elected the most conservative government in some 70 years - one that had some decidedly non-generous ideas about liberal unfettered immigration. Today Denmark has the strictest immigration policies in Europe. (Its effort to protect itself has been met with accusations of "racism" by liberal media across Europe - even as other governments struggle to right the social problems wrought by years of too-lax immigration.) If you wish to become Danish, you must attend three years of language classes. You must pass a test on Denmark's history, culture, and a Danish language test. You must live in Denmark for 7 years before applying for citizenship. You must demonstrate an intent to work, and have a job waiting. If you wish to bring a spouse into Denmark, you must both be over 24 years of age, and you won't find it so easy any more to move your friends and family to Denmark with you. You will not be allowed to build a mosque in Copenhagen. Although your children have a choice of some 30 Arabic culture and language schools in Denmark, they will be strongly encouraged to assimilate to Danish society in ways that past immigrants weren't.
In 2006, the Danish minister for employment, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, spoke publicly of the burden of Muslim immigrants on the Danish welfare system, and it was horrifying: the government's welfare committee had calculated that if immigration from Third World countries were blocked, 75 percent of the cuts needed to sustain the huge welfare system in coming decades would be unnecessary. In other words, the welfare system as it existed was being exploited by immigrants to the point of eventually bankrupting the government. "We are simply forced to adopt a new policy on immigration. The calculations of the welfare committee are terrifying and show how unsuccessful the integration of immigrants has been up to now," he said.
A large thorn in the side of Denmark's imams is the Minister of Immigration and Integration, Rikke Hvilshoj. She makes no bones about the new policy toward immigration, "The number of foreigners coming to the country makes a difference," Hvilshoj says, "There is an inverse correlation between how many come here and how well we can receive the foreigners that come." And on Muslim immigrants needing to demonstrate a willingness to blend in, "In my view, Denmark should be a country with room for different cultures and religions. Some values, however, are more important than others. We refuse to question democracy, equal rights, and freedom of speech."
Hvilshoj has paid a price for her show of backbone. Perhaps to test her resolve, the leading radical imam in Denmark, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, demanded that the government pay blood money to the family of a Muslim who was murdered in a suburb of Copenhagen, stating that the family's thirst for revenge could be thwarted for money. When Hvilshoj dismissed his demand, he argued that in Muslim culture the payment of retribution money was common, to which Hvilshoj replied that what is done in a Muslim country is not necessarily what is done in Denmark. The Muslim reply came soon after: her house was torched while she, her husband and children slept. All managed to escape unharmed, but she and her family were moved to a secret location and she and other ministers were assigned bodyguards for the first time - in a country where such murderous violence was once so scarce. Her government has slid to the right, and her borders have tightened.
Many believe that what happens in the next decade will determine whether Denmark survives as a bastion of good living, humane thinking and social responsibility, or whether it becomes a nation at civil war with supporters of Sharia law.
And meanwhile, Americans clamor for stricter immigration policies, and demand an end to state welfare programs that allow many immigrants to live on the public dole. As we in America look at the enclaves of Muslims amongst us, and see those who enter our shores too easily, dare live on our taxes, yet refuse to embrace our culture, respect our traditions, participate in our legal system, obey our laws, speak our language, appreciate our history, etc ?.. .
We would do well to look to Denmark, and say a prayer for her future and for our own.
"History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 27, 2007
JOHN MCCAIN WANTS TO CONTINUE THE DRUG WAR
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire police officer Bradley Jardis, a speaker with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.) asked presidential candidate John McCain a question. Jardis said, "I've served here in my state as a law enforcement officer for going on 9 years now, and after nine years working the street, I've come to the conclusion that the War on Drugs is a terrible failure... I have seen firsthand that the War on Drugs causes crime, it causes children to have access to drugs easier, and it does nothing to curb the problem of drug abuse. Just like Alcohol Prohibition after the 18th Amendment passed, the country wised up and we passed the 21st Amendment which curbed the violence problem in this country greatly. What is it going to take for powerful politicians such as yourself to realize that the War on Drugs is a failure and we need to... we need to get smart about drugs, not tough. We need to be smart." McCain made it clear in his response that if elected he will not be smart.
November 23, 2007
A MESSAGE OF FORGIVENESS AT THE TIME OF THANKSGIVING
The Amazing Nonie Darwish must be heard again!
November 21, 2007
MORE MUSINGS ON THE ISLAMIC TERRORIST THREAT INSIDE AMERICA
Yesterday, I put on the site two comments relating to the threat of Islam inside America. One problem with the new technology is that it is so easy to put material on the Internet and spread it around the world. I read over the material to which I had linked and -- to show the complexity of the subject -- I was disturbed by parts of it. For example, I certainly do not believe that all Muslims are terrorists. On the other hand, I do believe that most of the facts in that material are correct. If so, then we are ignoring real threats to the security of the country by being too naive. Is that true? I would be interested in receiving comments on any side of this important matter.
November 20, 2007
IN THEIR OWN WORDS NOT, I WOULD CLAIM, TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT
Here are some names and pictures and messages from leading Muslims in the United States. The standard mainstream response is that only bigots and rascists would post such a list. If so, call me any of those names and more, but please do read this.
November 20, 2007
A LIST OF MUSLIM TERRORIST OFFENDERS IN THE UNITED STATES
It is difficult to see how anyone can read this list and not be appalled on many grounds. Again the instinctive mainstream American response is that the list itself shows proof of Islamophobia. I would submit it shows just the opposite.
November 19, 2007
THE SLEAZY SIDE OF BOB NOVAK APPEARS AGAIN
Like many people in this little town, I have developed a virulent case of a common Washington disease: revulsion at the very name of Bob Novak. I have come to dislike him, his arrogant personality, and his utterances. I contracted the disease years ago when I sometimes appeared opposite him on CNN’s “Crossfire” and faced his perpetual sneer. Every time I read his newspaper column over breakfast these days, the revulsion recurs.
That feeling of revulsion has come back in full flower for me and many others at his latest caper. He recently reported in his column that the Clinton campaign was in possession of a bit of juicy damaging information about her main rival, Barak Obama, but for various reasons the Clintonistas were not divulging the dirt, yet. The derogatory column was instantly attacked as slovenly journalism replete with unconfirmed rumors.
As Sam Stein just wrote in The Huffington Post, Novak took to the Fox Network to defend the controversial column, and after seeing the segment Stein observed that the “smear column is even weaker than it first appeared.” I agree especially after seeing a clip of Novak’s appearance myself. He did not receive the rumor directly but heard it from someone who had heard it from someone else. He did not go to Clinton staff and seek confirmation. This reveals the sleazy side of Bob Novak once again.
It amazes me that in light of such antics Novak seems to have such power in this town and that his columns have appeared for years in major newspapers such as The Washington Post. It also amazes me that I spent a good part of last summer reading his latest book, a memoir on his fifty years of reporting in Washington : The Prince of Darkness. Perhaps like so many other people in this town I keep trying to understand the enigma of Bob Novak.
Here are my often contradictory reflections on my long summer read.
While it pains me to say it, this is a truly important book. It demonstrates that at times Robert Novak appears to be a brilliant, hard working, tough, courageous reporter, much admired by legions of colleagues. He provides valuable inside views of powerful governmental figures and adds to the historical record of important elections and the manner in which major policy decisions were made.
In so many respects he is admirably honest. Novak makes clear that he has a doctrinaire conservative point of view and evaluates politicians through that lens. He admits that for many years he was addicted to alcohol and that he committed some pugnacious blunders - like actually hitting people -- due to consumption of gallons of that poisonous drug. Moreover, he reveals in great detail his income from all sources, including television.
Of course, I found much to criticize in that book as I have in this column. Consider his pettiness in insulting by name anyone who did him wrong over the past half century. In the book he maligns the reputations of dozens of people who now have the choice of ignoring him or mounting a defense that will simply call attention to his contemptuous assault on their competence and characters. This fits exactly what he did again to both Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Then there is Israel . Robert Novak is part of that large group of journalists who seem unable to say anything good about that country. Criticism of Israeli official actions is rampant in the free Israeli press, but Novak joins other purveyors of darkness around the world who scandalously distort basic facts. He and his late partner, Rowland Evans, have spewed out column after column over decades spreading consistently negative interpretations of any incident involving the Jewish state.
Some of these biased nuggets, such as the allegedly intentional Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, appear scattered throughout the pages of this book. Moreover, Novak hints that American Jews have conspired to silence him by using dark and evil methods. He denies vehemently that he is anti-Semitic but one could be forgiven for believing that the rank odor of this ancient hate swirls about him.
His column on the Plame affair caused Novak more grief than any other. On July 11, 2003, he wrote, “ Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.” Wilson is of course Joseph Wilson, the former diplomat who had been sent on a mission to Niger by the CIA to see if that country had been involved in providing nuclear material to Iraq. Wilson trumpeted that he had found no such evidence and that President Bush had lied when he included the famous sixteen words in his 2003 State of the Union address. That allegation supported the widespread claim that Bush had lied America into the Iraq war.
It was also widely claimed that the Bush Administration had conspired to out a CIA agent in order to destroy the credibility of her husband. Novak has convinced me in this book that he was not an agent of the White House as part of such a campaign. What he has not done is justify in my eyes his releasing the name of a CIA employee for the purposes of proving his continued journalistic prowess. He suffered a criminal investigation by the FBI, by special prosecutor Fitzgerald, and by a grand jury. It was concluded that he had not violated any law and he was eventually, after years of distress, free as a bird. However, many people, including old powerful colleagues, still treat him as if he were pond scum, even a traitor as a direct result of his revealing Plame’s status.
In perhaps the ultimate manifestation of his arrogance, Novak still doesn’t get it. He continues to brag that because he was not indicted, this proves he did nothing wrong. Near the end of his book, he referred to his delight “in showing my contempt for a trivial incident that had been exaggerated into a scandal by the Left and its outriders in the news media.”
That was one of the truly ugly elements in this fascinating memoir. My hope has been that the decent side of this intrepid reporter will emerge in time for him to publicly admit that it was indeed wrong … and yes truly ugly. The latest Obama-Clinton affair suggests to me that my hope will take a long time to be realized.
November 19, 2007
GIVING THANKS FOR AMERICA
Much of the world has no idea what Thanksgiving means to America. Here the usually perceptive Mark Steyn explains what is does mean -- and also suggests that the whole world ought to give thanks for this country.
November 17, 2007
ORGANIZED STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH TERRORISM
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a conference in Washington DC on October 22nd and 23rd with the title Overcoming Extremism: Protecting Civilians from Terrorist Violence. The object of the meeting was to ”develop a shared international agenda for protecting civilians from terrorist violence.” Plenary Session III can be viewed here.
November 16, 2007
AL DURA HOAX EXPOSED IN OPEN COURT
The alleged killing of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, in September of 2000 by the Israeli army provoked a great deal of retaliatory violence and condemnation from the world’s media. Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem bureau chief for the France 2 television network, broke the story and it distributed a 55-second film of the death to all the other networks free of charge. Subsequently, substantial evidence has emerged that in fact the event was staged.
In November 2004 one of the critics of the France 2 story, Philippe Karsenty, published an article on his website, Media Ratings, about the incident and France 2 decided to sue him for defamation. Karsenty lost in court and then appealed. The raw footage taken by France 2 has been shown in open court on November 14, 2007. This was covered by HonestReporting whose witnesses said there is virtually no evidence that Israel had anything to do with the death, if it even occurred.
How soon should we expect contrite comments sympathetic to Israel, and condemnation of Palestinian distortions from the likes of Jimmy Carter, Bob Novak and other Arab apologists such those on the editorial pages of The Washington Post?
November 16, 2007
IS RON PAUL ANTI-SEMITIC?
Ron Paul’s call for ending foreign aid to all countries including Israel and the unsavory nature of some people who publicly support him have caused the charge that he is anti-Semitic to circulate. Many responsible commentators believe the charge to be true. However, the Jewish Theological Seminary’s news service JTA examines the question in depth and it finds an argument that in fact such an end to aid would benefit Israel. They quote Paul as saying that, “our foreign military aid to Israel is actually more like corporate welfare to the U.S. military industrial complex, as Israel is forced to purchase only U.S. products with the assistance. We send almost twice as much aid to other countries in the Middle East, which only insures increased militarization and the drive toward war.” He also asserts that the American control over policy, which comes with the assistance, limits Israeli options and hurts progress towards peace.
In addition, the JTA discovered that though it is not widespread there is some support for the Ron Paul candidacy within the Jewish community. It includes groups such as Jews For Ron Paul and Zionists For Ron Paul.
November 16, 2007
WHAT DO THE EVENTS IN JENA LOUISIANA TELL US ABOUT RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA?
Heather Mac Donald writing about the recent protests over racial injustice in Jena Louisiana for the City Journal asks the question; “does it follow that this latest object of frenzy on the media’s racism beat is emblematic of America’s judicial system or the state of race relations today?” She answers with a thoughtful well reasoned, but sure to be controversial, no. Mac Donald concludes that “the Jena situation is undoubtedly a bit more complex than the tale that the press has woven of hate-filled whites and peace-loving blacks. But even if it were not, the catharsis that this morality play has offered to its participants is spurious. The real tragedy is the dysfunctional culture that holds back too many blacks from seizing the many opportunities open to them.”
Moreover, she lays out a challenge to all those concerned with the status of blacks in American society to face the disturbing fact that the civilizing institution of marriage, along with the presence of fathers raising their own children, has all but disappeared from many black communities. This is a tragedy for all of us black, white, and polka dot. So called black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson almost never mention this awful reality. Thank heaven thoughtful leaders like Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, who just put out a book, titled Come On People; On the Path From Victims to Victors, are facing the situation and calling upon blacks to deal with it responsibly.
November 16, 2007
THE BRITS STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT TERROR
November 15, 2007
EX-MUSLIM CHRISTIANS MUST LIVE IN GREAT FEAR
Great Britain’s Channel 4 has broadcast a documentary on the persecution faced by Muslims who convert to Christianity that is now taking place in the United Kingdom. According to a disturbingly large percentage of Muslims, living in a land renown for its religious toleration, the penalty for conversion should be death.
November 14, 2007
A CALL FOR ENDURING FRIENDSHIP
Nicolas Sarkozy, the new President of France, eloquently explains why the French American alliance means so much to him and why it must and will continue. He asserts that "the United States and France remain true to the memory of their common history, true to the blood spilled by their children in common battles. But they are not true merely to the memory of what they accomplished together in the past. They remain true, first and foremost, to the same ideal, the same principles, the same values that have always united them.”
November 14, 2007
WINSTON CHURCHILL OPPOSED ANTI-SEMITISM
On the website of the Wall Street Journal Arthur Herman, author of the upcoming volume Gandhi & Churchill, offers a powerful history lesson concerning Winston Churchill and his support for ”the bedrock of traditional Western moral and political principles”, the Jews. He recommends the book Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship by Mark Gilbert and argues that ”Churchill offers the powerful example of a Western statesman who--unlike other statesmen in his own time and ours--understood the malignant nature of anti-Semitism and did what he could to oppose its toxic effects.”
November 4, 2007
SOUND ADVICE FROM INVESTMENT BUSINESS DAILY
An essay published by Investment Business Daily which is titled ”Close the D.C. Madrassa” highlights The Washington Post’s, which supports the institution’s continued existence, tolerance for Islamic intolerance. The editorial quotes from an eighth grade text used by the school in question: ”The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus."
November 3, 2007
SOMEONE WHO STILL STRONGLY BELIEVES IN DEMOCRACY
Matthew Kaminski, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, updates us on the life and views of the courageous former Soviet refusenik and Israeli government minister Natan Sharansky. He tells us that a big concern of the ex-dissident ”is the West's own weak stomach. This is a familiar theme for Mr. Sharansky and others who waged the Cold War battle on the other side of the Wall. Prosperous, stable societies can lack, by these lights, moral clarity and courage and are prone to cynical compromises or gullibility. Under totalitarianism the challenge is to fight evil (he paraphrases the British writer Melanie Phillips), and in free societies it is to see evil.”
November 3, 2007
EVIDENCE THAT THE MINORITY IS NOT SO SMALL
In an article for Frontpagemag.com Robert Spencer presents some numbers that offer scant comfort. Using data reported by columnist Michael Freund, he shows us recent disturbing survey results: ”25% of Muslims in Britain approved of the July 7, 2005 jihad terror bombings in London; 30% said they would rather live under Sharia than in a Western pluralistic society. 44% of Muslims in Nigeria thought suicide attacks were “often” or “sometimes” justified, with only 28% rejecting them in all cases. Roughly 14% of Muslims in France, Britain and Spain approved of suicide attacks against civilian targets, and only 45% of Muslims in Egypt considered terror never justified.”
Spencer also makes a good point about the contention that the term “Islamo-Fascism” is an attack against all Muslims, arguing that it is no different than “'white racism' or 'Italian fascism,' which no one has ever taken to suggest that all whites are racists or all Italians fascists.”
November 1, 2007
RIGHTING A 21 YEAR OLD WRONG
Former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts and Pat Nolan Vice President of the Prison Fellowship Ministries have written an editorial calling for an end to crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparities. They report that a group of four lawmakers (Republican Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Cornyn of Texas, and Democratic Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ken Salazar of Colorado) are pushing legislation to deal with the current 100-1 discrepancy.
Watts and Nolan argue that this, “disparity was passed in 1986 and based largely on the assertion that crack cocaine was more dangerous than powder cocaine, that it was instantly addictive and that it caused violent behavior. Since then, copious scientific evidence and U.S. Sentencing Commission analysis have shown that these assertions, which were not supported by sound data, were exaggerated or even outright false. The disparity has resulted in a hugely disproportionate number of black Americans sentenced under this mandatory-minimum law. While the intent was not to single out one racial demographic over another, the impact of these laws amounted to discrimination.”
November 1, 2007
THE TERRORIST VIEWPOINT
Frontpagemag.com features an interesting and wide ranging interview with the author of Schmoozing With Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal Their Global Plans to a Jew!, Aaron Klein. He and Jamie Glazoz discuss how terrorist leaders view aspects of America culture including who they would like to win the next election.
October 29, 2007
THE WASHINGTON POST'S BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL
The upcoming Annapolis peace conference has prompted the organization.eyeonthepost.org to issue alerts making the public aware of the biased reporting on the Middle East which appears in The Washington Post. They give four recent examples of coverage slanted against Israel that have occurred within just the last ten days.
Eyeonthepost argues that this is significant because; "The Post's anti-Israel, pro-Arab propaganda pieces are syndicated in scores of newspapers around the US and the world. The Post's bias is a problem not only for residents of the Washington, DC area but for all news consumers who hope for and expect balanced and truthful reporting. Please forward these alerts to everyone you know with an interest in critically examining the news coverage of the Israel-Arab conflict. Let them see how a newspaper with a reputation for quality news reporting is not living up to its reputation."
October 24, 2007
MORE ON NONIE DARWISH: CAN THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY SURVIVE?
This is another alarming report from a woman who should be regarded as a true hero. Because she speaks uncomfortable truths she is not allowed to speak freely on American campuses.
October 23, 2007
NONIE DARWISH: ONE OF MY SPARKS OF HOPE
Read this interview and you will realize why I have focused on Ms. Darwish and Muslim dissenters like her as the subject of my next book. What guts! What a powerful argument for change!
October 23, 2007
DESACRILIZING JIHADIST TERROR ATTACKS
Back in 2001 Bill Maher lost his TV show for asserting that while the acts of the 9-11 terrorists were abhorrent they were not cowardly. In a column appearing in today’s Washington Times Louis Rene Beres a professor of international law at Purdue University makes the counterargument that the perpetrators were in fact cowards. Beres asserts their motivation involved an attempt to escape lives on earth, made intolerable by among other things unnatural sexual repression, to ones of eternal bliss. Therefore military options will be ineffective because as he puts it such, “policies and postures will always fall on deaf ears. These prospects will never be received by our enemies with apprehension, but, instead, with a delirious cry of joy or even with a collective groan of fulfillment. Islamist terror is not about politics. It is about ecstasy.”
Instead Beres maintains that in order to, ”deter the Islamist suicide terrorist plotting now underway in Iraq, Israel, Europe and also the United States itself, we must confront this enemy with a tangible threat of real suicide. Let us recall that violence and the sacred remain inseparable for the Islamist suicide fighter. We should think, immediately, in terms of ‘desacrilizing’ this enemy's explicit inversions of holiness. Without thinking about how to accomplish this desacrilization, our war on terrorists who ‘love death’ will remain based on narrowly operational grounds. Then we would surely fail.” Certainly, a large part of this desacrilizing effort must be taken up by moderate Muslims.
October 22, 2007
THE EXTENT OF ISLAMIC SENSITIVITY
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is presenting a very interesting article by Andrew G. Bostom about Kaaba rage. Muslim students in the northern Kashmir city of Baramulla are protesting the shape of a building in New York City calling it an insult to Islam. Bostom links this phenomenon to some very ancient forms of Islamic anti-Semitism.
October 21, 2007
MORE ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITY AND ISLAMO-FASCISM AWARENESS WEEK
I do not feel I have been sufficiently clear or complete in my discussion of American University and Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW). As is generally well-known, I spent many years teaching at that university and have great affection for it and its people. I am particularly delighted that my old friend, Neil Kerwin, ended up as the new President of the place recently.
At the same time, I do believe that there is a rigid liberal/multicultural slant to much of what goes on there. I have no great complaint with that fact except when the slant produces ugly results. This seemed to have occurred when it was decided that the university would not participate in IFAW. As far as I can tell, this decision was made by an amorphous group of students and faculty, with the greatest burden being taken by the students. At least that is my guess. In any event, the faculty and deans must take some of the responsibility because the decision reflects the culture of the place which I have often observed. What triggered my outrage, though, was the editorial in the student newspaper, The Eagle, which bragged about the fact that the Week would not be celebrated on the campus. The reasons given were that the content of the Week was hysterical and extreme and that it was insulting to all Muslims.
This is a campus that welcomed with open arms the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US in January. There was no outrage exhibited by the students who listened to his talk nor by the reporter who wrote a story about the visit in The Eagle. Thus American University, my old school, has a record which suggests that it accepts the devious words of the representative of one of the most repressive Islamic societies in the world -- without dissent and without a complaint from anyone on campus -- a place where a vicious form of human repression or fascism is the ruling dogma of the society, yet my old school will not even allow IFAW on campus so that the issues can be debated.
I suggest that The Eagle should be renamed The Gelding. I wonder what the new name for the university should be if these trends continue and are not reversed.
October 20, 2007
MAJOR ORGANIZED EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISLAMIZATION AND SHARIA
There is a huge new effort in Europe to combat the surrender of Europe to the forces of Islamization and the imposition of Sharia law. It is a fascinating story with both bad news and good news. The bad -- the fears of the particpants that it is too late to save some European countries. The good -- that this organization exists and is starting to fight back in a coordinated fashion.
October 19, 2007
INTOLERENCE FOR DEBATE AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
I am not in love with the folks behind Islamo Fascism Awareness Week but to both deny they should be on campus and to crow about it as the Eagle editors do in the essay below -- well that is so sad. Is the university losing its soul? It hosted the Saudi ambassador in January but won't even consider letting this event happen on the campus.
American University Eagle staff editorial, October 18, 2007
None of the clubs or organizations on campus chose to "confront the two big lies of the political left," as the planning Web site promoted. None chose to raise awareness of how Islam represses the rights of women and gay people, as also stated on the Web site. None chose to "memorialize" victims of Islamic terror or pass out petitions asking students and professors to pick a side: us or them.
Though AU students love to voice their minds and have opinions on everything from stem cells to composting, this decision to not join the debate is an even stronger demonstration of our university's commitment to crosscultural understanding and fair dialogue.
Events like Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week serve to pigeonhole communities and complex ideas into simple black-and-white, good-versus-evil blocs. They target radical sects present in almost every religion or culture and project such abnormalities onto those who are peace-loving, good-hearted citizens.
No one can condone terror. Whether perpetrated by militant groups of Irish Catholics, anti-abortion Christians or small, angry branches of Islamic cults, professing a belief through physical violence and pressuring politics through fear is never permissible or just, yet furthering stereotypes will not end Islamic terror. In fact, fueling racism and bigotry only adds to the divide and animosity between the many people we call American.
AU students are right to step away from the propagandist and biased activities of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Though our silence cannot bridge such entrenched prejudices, denying a voice to extremists starts to close the gap that prevents acceptance.
October 19, 2007
RUDY GIULIANI NOT LIKELY TO BOW TO ARABS
Columnist Maureen Dowd talks about Rudy Giuliani’s likely support for Israel if he is elected president and his unwillingness to be intimidated by Arab interests. She quotes him, in regard to the Democratic candidates’ self imposed ban on the words Islamic terrorist, as saying they, “have a very hard time getting those words out of their mouth, I think it’s quite clear to me now, having listened to seven or eight of their debates, that they think it’s politically incorrect to say the words. I don’t know exactly who they think they’re offending. I don’t know what kind of view of the world they have. I understand when I say ‘Islamic terrorism,’ I’m not offending all of Islam. I’m not offending all of the Arab world. I’m offending exactly who I want to offend and making it clear to them that we stand against them.”
October 15, 2007
COMMON SENSE DRUG POLICY FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS
The Chief Constable of the North Wales Police, Richard Brunstrom, has issued a courageous report that calls for the legalization of drugs with its author saying the current strategy is ”unworkable and immoral.” The document, titled Drug Policy - a radical look ahead, also recommends that his organization work with the Tranform Drug Policy Foundation, a leading British drug policy reform group, to achieve a change in policy.
The statement is remarkably well documented with 128 footnotes and has a thorough discussion of the historical factors, including the role of the United States government, that have created the present situation. The author also makes it clear that he is in no way the only one who has reached similar conclusions. Chief Constable Brunstrom argues that, ”If policy on drugs is in the future to be pragmatic and not moralistic, driven by ethics not dogma, then the current prohibitionist stance will have to be swept away as both unworkable and immoral, to be replaced with an evidence based unified system (specifically including tobacco and alcohol) aimed at minimisation of harms to society. Such a strategy leads inevitably to the legalisation and regulation of all drugs.”
October 10, 2007
MITT ROMNEY SHOWS HIS COMPASSION
What could we expect in the way of drug policy from a Mitt Romney administration? This video posted by Scott Horton on his Blog is full of clues. The clip shows among other things that he is clearly against medical marijuana; however, it does not reveal the most important piece of information, why. Now, being against Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon is not a reasonable position, unless, his adherence to that religion affects public policy in an adverse way. Also, if Romney is opposed to medical marijuana because of his Mormonism then what are the implications for his stand on other vital issues? Therefore, it is important for the integrity of this election that before anyone votes Romney be made to answer the question; why are you against medical marijuana?
October 10, 2007
ORDINARY AMERICANS VERSUS JIHAD
Audrey Hudson of The Washington Times is reporting that regular “Americans are tracking down U.S. Web sites used by al Qaeda and jihadi sympathizers and then using the Internet to persuade the service providers to snuff out the sites.”
October 5, 2007
AN ESSAY ON DRUGS WHICH HOPEFULLY WILL HAVE AN IMPACT
The prestigious and influential journal Foreign Policy has the words “Legalize It” emblazoned across the cover of its September/October 2007 issue. The occasion is a superb article pointing out the dismal failure of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs. The piece is by Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). It has been recommended by John McLaughlin on his program and even FOX News felt the argument worthy of respectful discussion. Nadelmann concludes his essay by asserting that, “The global war on drugs persists in part because so many people fail to distinguish between the harms of drug abuse and the harms of prohibition. Legalization forces that distinction to the forefront. The opium problem in Afghanistan is primarily a prohibition problem, not a drug problem. The same is true of the narcoviolence and corruption that has afflicted Latin America and the Caribbean for almost three decades-and that now threatens Africa. Governments can arrest and kill drug lord after drug lord, but the ultimate solution is a structural one, not a prosecutorial one. Few people doubt any longer that the war on drugs is lost, but courage and vision are needed to transcend the ignorance, fear, and vested interests that sustain it.”
October 3, 2007
HOW "MODERATE" PALESTINIANS CHEER AND GENERALLY SUPPORT MASS MURDER OF AMERICANS
These are chilling reports that we have seen before but which most leaders in America seem to want to ignore. I wonder what Jimmy Carter says in reaction to such reports? Perhaps: this is caused by Israeli repression and by American blind support of Israel?
October 2, 2007
GERMANY REPLACING GREAT BRITAIN AS MOST IMPORTANT COUNTERTERRORISM ALLY
Yonah Alexander, a professor and director of the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington Virginia, has substantial praise for Germany in its new role as America’s key ally in the war against international terrorism. He asserts that mention, “should be made of Germany's leadership in implementing EU counterterrorism strategy in regard to preventing radicalization and the recruitment of terrorists, protecting ordinary citizens and infrastructure, pursuing and investigating suspects, and improving the response to consequences of attacks.” Alexander then goes on to give examples of how this activity has certainly saved lives.
September 30, 2007
TWENTY MINUTES TO GET YOUR HEROIN DELIVERED IN DC?
On Wednesday, September 26, I spoke at a luncheon seminar at the Center for International Policy in downtown Washington. The Center is located in a very nice area on Massachusetts Avenue near DuPont Circle, about ten minutes from the White House. I had been invited by the CIP director, William Goodfellow, a good friend. He wanted me to discuss my latest book, Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror. It was quite informal and very pleasant. My thanks to Bill and to Abigail Poe, a CPI staff member who made most of the arrangements. The discussion centered on the failures of the present system of drug control and also on the practical details that would be involved in creating a new legal system to control presently illegal drugs.
We also discussed aspects of the evidence that prohibition does not work. In advance of the seminar I called another old friend who has a junky past and who also keeps in touch with the current drug scene in part as a counselor to current junkies. I asked him if it would take an hour or two for someone to make a contact and buy some heroin on the street in the DuPont Circle area. He replied that as far as he knew it would be difficult to make street buys in that area but that you could call a number and, if you were trusted, you could get the heroin delivered in twenty minutes. I responded with doubt and he replied that yes, it would probably take only that long, and "I'll give you the number." Because the traffic is so bad there, I still have my doubts that you could get anything, even a tuna fish sandwich or a pizza, delivered that fast, but my friend insists that he knows what is happening and that deliveries are quite prompt.
Whether it is two hours or twenty minutes, there seems no doubt that prohibition does not work even in the midst of an army of police officers in the midst of the capital city of the most powerful nation on earth, and in a sense in the belly of the prohibition beast.
What follows is a perceptive editorial written by David Borden, who was present during the luncheon discussion
The annual FBI Uniform Crime Report came out last week, and the news it brought about drug arrests in 2006 was no surprise. Unsurprisingly, drug arrests again hit a record level -- 1,889,810 this time, 829,625 for marijuana, more than eight out of ten drug arrests for just possession. Almost nine out of ten marijuana arrests were for possession alone.
This all transpired in a year when violent crime was on the increase, 1.9% over 2005 and the second year in a row after a decade's decline. One should not exaggerate a relatively small number like 1.9%. But at a minimum an opportunity may have been lost to reduce violent crime. Why do we continue to plough such vast resources into drug enforcement that could otherwise be used to protect us from attacks -- attacks of whatever kind?
Despite a small up tick in the street price of cocaine recently -- due only to short-term operational challenges facing the industry -- all of this drug enforcement has been a massive failure. On Wednesday I attended a lunch talk at a DC-based foreign policy think tank given by Arnold Trebach, founder of our modern drug policy reform movement (he started the Drug Policy Foundation) and a professor emeritus of American University. In order to make the point about the futility of drug war, Arnold called a friend of his who is knowledgeable about the heroin scene prior to coming downtown for the talk. He wanted to know where one would go now in order to acquire heroin. After all, it's been awhile since he researched his 1982 work, The Heroin Solution.
Things have indeed changed since then, but despite perhaps millions of drug arrests over the years (10 million? 15? 20?), heroin has not become less available. In fact, it's easier to obtain it than ever before, at least if one knows the right people. According to Arnold, his friend told him that now you wouldn't go out to buy it, you'd just call the delivery service, and if you have any references to vouch for you, they would get it to you in about 20 minutes.
20 minutes. We could have finished our lunches, listened to half of Arnold's talk, then ordered some heroin, received it before the end of the talk and consumed it with dessert. (Of course for a variety of reasons, not limited to our need to get work done the rest of the day, we didn't do that and instead just took Arnold's friend's word that we could have.)
The diversion of resources away from more important -- and more feasible -- tasks is only one of many reasons to go with legalization. The money being spent on the illicit drug trade -- estimates globally are in the hundreds of billions of dollars -- is fueling violence, both global and local. I don't know whether the increase in drug arrests in the US played a role in the increase in violence last year, but it's clearly possible. Far more importantly, a chunk of the violence that we have suffered with throughout the years is directly or indirectly related to the drug trade.
And the money is warping society. How many young people have been lured into lives of criminality through the promise that the drug trade appears to offer? Most of them don't end up making great money doing so. But it's there, there's a prospect for advancement, and depending on your outlook it's glamorous and it lets you be part of something larger than yourself. Money from the drug trade is also helping to support those who want to carry out terrorist attacks, and in some places is fueling civil wars. All of this is happening because drugs are illegal, not because of any intrinsic properties of the drugs.
But would the sky fall if drugs were legal? Would so many more people use and get addicted to drugs that the harm would be greater from that than from the criminality created now by prohibition? Arnold told the audience that he believes we can devise a system for controlling a licit drug trade; that it would not be unduly difficult to do so (we do this already for the currently legal drugs, after all), and "we would survive." We could still help people with drug problems, we can regulate the drugs any number of different ways, we can face that challenge.
I in fact think the overall public health harm from drugs would decrease, not increase, even if more people experimented with them. After all, most people don't destroy themselves with drugs today, legal or illegal, despite their widespread availability, simply because they don't want to destroy themselves. For those who do get addicted to drugs like heroin, but who don't earn a fairly generous personal income, the artificially high prices that prohibition brings about for the drugs is a big part of making the habit so disruptive to their lives. I believe that on the public health side as well as on the criminal justice side, legalization will overall be a winning move, despite the harms that some drugs can have.
It can be hard to advance this discussion in circles of power. Arnold commented that at least eight people in US officialdom told him they would be glad to meet with him, they appreciated what he was doing, but they preferred not to meet him in their offices. They wanted to meet at one restaurant or another, where they hopefully would not been seen with him and thereby get in political hot water. That was a long time ago, but it is still the situation in many ways today.
And yet we do advance -- this organization and newsletter are here, for example, and the movement is growing in diversity and experience and size. Now it's time for the leaders to get real -- drug legalization is viable and it's the right thing to do. So stop demonizing it and start talking about it. Because sometimes leadership means actually leading.
(Signed copies of Arnold's two re-released books -- "The Heroin Solution" and "The Great Drug War" -- as well as his new work, "Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror," can be obtained as membership premiums by donating to DRCNet.)
September 29, 2007
DEBUNKING YET ANOTHER MYTH ABOUT THE INNOCENCE OF THE ARABS IN PALESTINE
Alan Dershowitz explains the reality behind the myth.
September 26, 2007
IMPORTANT NEW BOOK ON RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM
Joshua Sinai, a program manager for counterterrorism studies at the Analysis Corporation, has favorably reviewed a new book, Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism, by Neil J. Kressel, a professor of psychology at William Paterson University. Sinai believes the volume can be of great value to the counterterrorism community because Kressel makes the important point that "only Muslims can delegitimize and root out Muslim extremists in a lasting way. The struggle must come from within and, despite the West's vast resources, good intentions, and occasionally important support, this must, ultimately, be a battle waged by Muslims for the heart of their culture."
September 25, 2007
THE SMILING FACES OF MONSTERS
These unique photos (click on audio slide show) of the so called human beings who sent other innocent human beings to horrible deaths should make us all think of the true nature of the human race, at least of some parts of it.
September 25, 2007
NO MISTAKE TO INVITE AHMADINEJAD
Columbia University’s decision to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak there created a firestorm of criticism. What the naysayers forgot was that Ahmadinejad would not have that platform to himself. In his introductory remarks Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger argued that it, “should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.” He then proceeded to oppose the Iranian leader’s agenda by asserting that “you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator” and also asking some very pointed questions about Holocaust denial, Israel’s right exist, sponsorship of terrorism, nuclear weapons, and the suppression of dissent in Iran. Bollinger’s words are powerful testimony to the wisdom of confronting tyrants such as Ahmadinejad in a free and open forum.
September 22, 2007
AN EXPERT DISCUSSES JIHAD
The Jerusalem Post has run an informative interview with Steve Emerson. He is the executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism and the author of American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us as well as other books on the subject. Emerson tells the interviewer about his upcoming book, The Grand Deception, saying that it “is about how the US government, the media and the intelligentsia are witting and unwitting enablers of radical Islam, by accepting front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood or for Hamas as credible and legitimate. This is particularly egregious at the highest levels of the government - such as the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and the FBI - who meet and greet groups they should be investigating, not embracing. This sends a terrible signal to genuine Muslim moderates and the Muslim rank-and-file, reinforcing their sense that it is the radical groups who are respected by the government.”
September 19, 2007
MARIJUANA VERSUS MAD COW DISEASE
Lately, a fairly common occurrence is the discovery that marijuana may be effective in the treatment of yet another illness. Recently, scientists at National Centre for Scientific Research in Valbonne, France found that an element in marijuana could prevent the development of prion diseases, The most famous of this class of malady is bovine spongiforme enzephalopathy commonly known as mad cow disease, which when transmitted to humans is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The BBC tells us that, “French researchers reported that the non- psychoactive cannabis constituent CBD inhibited the accumulation of prion proteins in both mouse and sheep prion- infected cells, whereas other cannabinoids were either weak or not effective. Moreover, after infection with mouse scrapie, a prion disease, CBD limited accumulation of the prion protein in the brain and significantly increased the survival time of infected mice. CBD inhibited the nerve damaging effects of prions in a concentration-dependent manner.”
September 17, 2007
THE IRRESPONSIBILITY OF WESTERN JOURNALISM
On September 30, 2000 the television station France 2 broadcast the apparent death of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, attributing the killing to the Israeli Defense Force. The occurrence sparked significant retaliatory violence and provided yet another excuse for hatred of the Jews. However, there is considerable evidence that the incident was in fact a hoax. In her column, occasioned by an appeal of the libel conviction of Philippe Karsenty, founder of the French online media watchdog Media Ratings, for questioning the integrity of France 2, Melanie Phillips presents a strong case that the supposed death was mere hate propaganda. She asserts that this, “scandal has many layers of evil. It reveals the wickedness of the Palestinians who so cynically stage hoaxes like this, as a result of which murderous hatred and mass hysteria are exponentially spread and innocent people are attacked and butchered in a rising spiral of terrorist atrocities. It reveals the wickedness of western journalists who transmit footage they know is a fraud as a matter of routine, becoming as a result active collaborators in the deaths of innocents.”
Septmeber 17, 2007
FEDERALISM AND THE WAR ON MARIJUANA
In his essay on the conflict between the Drug Enforcement Agency’s raids on medical marijuana providers and the principle of federalism, Radley Balko, a senior editor for Reason magazine, relates the good news that Barak Obama has promised to stop the incursions if elected. In doing so Obama joins all of the other Democratic presidential candidates in recognizing the senseless cruelty of these actions. On the other hand, only Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul among the Republican contenders for the oval office are offering such enlightened leadership on this issue. Balko concludes that this “is unfortunate for a party that once fancied itself the torch-bearer for federalism - the idea that most laws should be made on as local a level as possible, both to encourage state ‘laboratories of democracy’ to experiment with different policies and to allow people to utilize the freedom of movement to choose to live in those jurisdictions with laws that best reflect their own values.”
September 12, 2007
AN ORGANIZATION THAT PROMISES HOPE
When all is said and done the most important organization contributing to the quest of ending Islamic terrorism just may be LibforAll, co founded by former president of Indonesia H.E. Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, who is more widely known as Gus Dur. He is also the leader of Nahdlatul Ulama an organization with more than 30 million Muslim members and some describe him as the world’s foremost Islamic religious figure.
In her column Mona Charen tells us that “Gus Dur denies that normative Islam is the faith of the torturers and suicide bombers, of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and that “he and LibforAll co-founder C. Holland Taylor, an American former telecom entrepreneur who speaks fluent Indonesian and is very familiar with Islam, have launched what they hope will be a worldwide effort to counter radical Islam by enlisting moderate Muslims.”
Among LibforAll’s educational projects is an effort to translate the song "Warriors of Love" into Arabic, Urdu and other languages and distribute it throughout the Muslim world. The tune is by Indonesia’s enormously popular singing star Ahmad Dhani and includes the following lyrics: "If hatred has already poisoned you/Against those . . . who worship differently/ Then evil has already gripped your soul/ Then evil's got you in its damning embrace."
September 5, 2007
A BIT OF IMPORTANT HISTORY: THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION
On a visit recently to a museum at one of the leading universities in this country and the world, I encountered a wonderful exhibit on slavery and the curbing of that evil practice in the United States. Inscribed in one of the most impressive documents of the exhibit was the statement that in the United States the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, issued by President Lincoln, ended the practice once and for all throughout the US. This is of course not true as can be seen in reading the full text of the proclamation, which was a mix of noble and practical motives. It also showed the immense constitutional power of the presidency in times of war, a fact to be considered today in other contexts besides slavery.
Question: then what did indeed end slavery once and for all in the US?
September 5, 2007
THE RAPID DECLINE OF THE BRITISH INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS CONTINUES
It is sad and shameful and also scary to see how well-respected British publications now read like they were written by Nazi stooges in the 1930s. The New Statesman was one of my favorite juournals. I am personally offended and yes saddened.
September 4, 2007
MORE MEDIA DISTORTION CONCERNING ISRAEL
The organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is distributing a very harsh critique of the first installment of the CNN program God's Warriors hosted by Christiane Amanpour. The initial part of the series deals with Judaism and the review published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America calls it “one of the most grossly distorted programs to appear on mainstream American television in many years.” One of their strongest complaints is that CNN fails to make clear that, “there is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe, either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought.”
August 25, 2007
A CRUCIAL TEST OF OUR ABILITY TO SURVIVE IS COMING IN OCTOBER
This will be presented in the form of the project called Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which will be held on more than 100 college campuses in the US during the week of October 22-26. Among the speakers will be Nonie Darwish and Wafa Sultan, as well as other well-known people who are seeking to either reform Islam or to point out the dangers from the way it is often practiced in America and in other Western countries. Many times when such people speak on American campuses they are shouted down by Muslim extremists and their nutcase supporters on the domestic Left and Right, mainly the former. These reformers are the central subject of my next book, now titled SPARKS OF HOPE.
If they and their supporters are allowed to speak without the usual attacks, then there is some hope for this country. If the usual spineless college leaders let the usual hoodlums take over, then I fear for our future as a free and open society. Certainly, our universities will then be teetering on the edge of an Islamist abyss.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is sponsored and led by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which at times is a bit too doctrinaire in its right-wing views and pronouncements. Even though dire circumstances have moved me to the right, I often disagree with those rigid utterances. Nevertheless, in this case I agree wholeheartedly with the plans for this important project. Read this article and see if you agree.
August 25, 2007
THERE IS A SOLUTION FOR THE HIGH MURDER RATE AMONG BLACK PEOPLE
Economist Walter Williams has written a column in which he discusses the high murder rate within the black community. He offers the statistics that although Blacks make up only 13% of the population they account for 52 % of America’s homicides and they constitute 46% of the homicide victims. Williams then waxes nostalgic when he writes that, “During the 1940s and '50s, I grew up in North Philadelphia where many of today's murders occur. It was a time when blacks were much poorer, there was far more racial discrimination, and fewer employment opportunities and other opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility were available. There was nowhere near the level of crime and wanton destruction that exists today. Behavior accepted today wasn't accepted then by either black adults or policemen.”
In the next paragraph Williams does indirectly acknowledge that the difference between then and now is a far larger and much more lucrative mayhem inducing inner city drug trade. However, he does not take this train of thought to its logical conclusion; that the most effective step that could possibly be taken to lower the murder rate among black people would be to legalize drugs thereby ending the violence generated by this black market.
Instead, Williams suggests a possible solution from the example of the Mayfair neighborhood in Washington D.C. where Black Muslims began to patrol causing a subsequent drop in gang activity and drug dealing. There is no doubt that violence in this area of the city did decline after the Black Muslim began their activity there. There is also little doubt that drug sales increased in other District neighborhoods at about the same and that the overall level of violence in that city was probably greater than it would have been without the relocation of the illegal trade and its inevitable often deadly struggle for control of new turf.
August 24, 2007
THE RED SOX AS AMERICA'S TEAM
Now we are talking about something truly important. This story appeared on the front page of USAToday yesterday. All true, every word
August 24, 2007
A ZILLION YANKEE FANS BEG TO DIFFER
Of course, they are wrong but we will give them their say here.
August 23, 2007
INCREDIBLE BIGOTRY BY THE SAUDIS THAT WE DO NOT CHALLENGE
The question is: how long will we in the West allow the bigots of Arabia to impose their bigotry on us without a complaint or even a peep of protest?
August 20, 2007
FRIGHTENING TIMES CALL FOR COURAGEOUS ACTIONS
My take on the border and the drug war in the Washington Times today.
Article published Aug 20, 2007
By Arnold Trebach - A recent article in The Washington Times by Sara A. Carter shows the frightening importance of the alliance between Arabic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels. It documents how well known this dangerous situation has been for several years, for which no effective action had been taken by the Department of Homeland Security or local officials.
As an old drug-policy hand, I thought I had heard everything about it. But parts of the story were news to me and terribly disturbing. One example was the report that "approximately 20 Arab persons a week were utilizing the Travis County Court in Austin to change their names and driver's licenses from Arabic to Hispanic surnames." I do not claim that this horrendous problem is easy to deal with; it is not.
However, I do claim that some obvious first steps come to mind. In the short and medium term, there must be greater legal controls on name changes and also more border agents and border fences. To the expected objections by the Mexican government and by our own group of the usual fuzzy-minded critics, my reply would be, cleaned up a bit: "Terribly sorry you feel that way."
In the longer run, our government must start taking even more courageous actions that account for the dynamics underlying this lethal alliance. That alliance is based on the fact that American drug laws and strategies have managed the majestic alchemy of converting relatively worthless plants into substances often worth more, ounce for ounce, than gold and diamonds. If we assume that the Arabs are jihadists planning to harm this country, then it follows that they have no interest in the drugs but rather in the great treasure to be made and the access to our cities and nuclear plants to be gained by associating with the Mexican gangs.
But is there a way to make the plants cheap again? There is of course an obvious but politically unpopular answer: It is to treat the plants and the derivative powders as legal articles of commerce. If, say, marijuana and cocaine were worth roughly as much as alcohol and tobacco, there would be no Mexican gangs involved with these legal substances and thus no such gangs to form an alliance with the jihadists who want to destroy America and its people, except for those who accept Islam.
To those who say that we will all be destroyed by drugs if we make drugs legal articles of commerce, I have several responses. For starters, I won't be destroyed by them because the very thought of using them bores me. Moreover, based upon research, I estimate that perhaps 95 percent of Americans feel the same way. We are not a nation of suicidal fools. Millions of American recently drastically reduced their consumption of readily available red meat, alcohol and tobacco for reasons of personal health.
In my latest book, "Fatal Distraction," I went over all the evidence that proved the war on drugs was indeed a fatal distraction. By that I meant that the drug war has never worked and now diverts limited resources from combating more deadly menaces - bombs, not bongs. Today, in the Drug Enforcement Administration alone, a total of 10,891 federal officials are employed to save us all from drugs - usually marijuana - at an annual cost of $2.5 billion.
It is high time in this perilous era that we say to these dedicated officials in the DEA and in hundreds of other police agencies that we as free citizens accept the personal responsibility to save ourselves and our families from drugs (and red meat, alcohol and tobacco). You focus attention on dealing with the new threats emanating from the jihadists who want to destroy us.
Of course, Congress and the president must soon demonstrate the political courage to repeal the drug laws, dismantle the expensive drug-control bureaucracy and create a new legal system to control the formerly illegal drugs. That's no small task, but stopping another September 11 demands guts and imagination.
Arnold Trebach is a professor emeritus at American University.
August 17, 2007
DO NOT READ THIS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
This is awful on many counts. The horror of the murder. The horror of the response by many Muslim citizens. The implication that Muslim immigration may have to be reduced.
August 16, 2007
BOYCOTTERS OF ISRAEL, PAUSE AND PONDER
I have seen many of these articles that list tiny Israel's accomplishments . Here is another from a surprising source in the UK. Is it all true? What else should be listed here?
August 15, 2007
A BLOCKBUSTER- HOW TO DISTORT THE NEWS
Jamie Glazov of FrontPageMagazine.com has an interview with Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, the Chairman of the Board of Fellows for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. They discuss Gerstenfeld’s “new project which exposes how much of the world's media present Israel and the Middle East conflict in a negative light.”
August 15, 2007
DANGEROUS POLITICALY CORRECT DOUBLE STANDARD
Rabbi Aryeh Spero a radio talk show host, a pulpit rabbi, and president of the Caucus For America has an article in which he discusses the double standard now being applied to treatment of the Koran. He tells us of an instance involving a Pace University student charged with a felony hate crime for putting a Koran in a toilet.
Spero argues that, “This case is important not only because an American is going to be criminally charged for an act that, while not nice, is simply not criminal but because, in the name of political correctness, we are changing centuries of legal definitions in order to appease bullies who are now telling us what we can do and what we can't. Worse, they are making us submit to a double standard where what is allowable for them is not allowable for us. For example, people can burn the Christian Bible but not soak a Koran. While American museums can display depictions of Mary in dung and Jesus in urine, one is prohibited from demonstrating disapproval and horror regarding verses in the Koran.”
August 13, 2007
FORD, OBAMA AND THE ELECTION
Here is my take today in the Washigton Times on Obama's foolishness recently. I still think he and Hillary are good folks and predict they will be the Dems ticket with Hillary for prez and Barak for vice. This old recovering liberal does not plan to vote for them for the reasons stated below. As my friend Dale Geiringer has just reminded me, however, almost no one is worse that Rudy on drug policy. It may be an awful choice for me and other sensible drug policy reformers who will decide that survival is more important now than drug policy reform.
Article published Aug 13, 2007
It would seem that there is no end of them. Like bad dreams, they keep reappearing. That is, truly dumb remarks by presidential candidates on truly important subjects.
Let us recall this statement by President Ford in the second televised presidential debate with Jimmy Carter in October of 1976: "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration." Max Frankel, Associate Editor of The New York Times, asked a follow-up question that would have given Mr. Ford a chance to say he really did not mean it. Instead, Mr. Ford blundered on, insisting that each of these occupied Eastern European countries was "independent" and had "its own territorial integrity."
In its Oct. 18, 1976 edition, Time magazine labeled this in a headline, "The Bloober Heard Round the World." That is how I and my other Democratic friends viewed those remarks and also the statements that candidate Ford made during those next few days in an attempt to extricate himself from this incredible set of falsehoods. Mr. Carter called the remarks "absolutely ridiculous," as did I.
They lent strength to my inclination to vote for Jimmy, who was of course elected, to my great joy and to that of millions of liberals like me at the time.Now fast forward to just several days ago and listen to presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama's statement in answer to a question from a reporter: "I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance." After a brief pause he added, "involving civilians." Then there was another pause, and candidate Obama tried to retreat: "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table."
These remarks violated a set of generally observed ideas and rules of procedure by the leaders of most civilized nations on this incredibly sensitive subject. To wit: We view with horror the very prospect of ever using nuclear weapons in another war, but we reserve the right to do so in the extreme circumstance when no other type of weapon can control a rogue state committed to a massive attack.
The main point here is that ambiguity rules and no rational leader ever takes the nuclear option totally off the table. Yet that is what Mr. Obama did, and then he immediately said that the whole issue was off the table. He later went on to declare that he was prepared to pull out of Iraq and then to invade Pakistan so as to get the terrorists who have done the American people so much harm and who continue to pose an extreme threat. All of this gave chills to much of the world and certainly should have also chilled any rational voter planning to vote for Barack Obama for president.
Now, take a deep breath and reflect on some other realities. They will cause some confusion but they are realities. Good people can slip and say some truly stupid things. Gerald Ford would have made a better president than Jimmy Carter, who turned out to be one of our weakest presidents and is without a doubt our worst ex-president. He is causing immense harm to America and to Israel.
Indeed, Mr. Carter appears to be a bigot willing to sell his soul and his voice to rich Arab interests. I sincerely regret my vote for him. Barack Obama is brilliant, decent and well-motivated. Months ago I predicted that the Democratic ticket would most likely be Clinton for president and Obama for vice president; I stick to that prediction today.
If elected, this would mean that two rational and good people would be in charge of this country - and of much of the world. Despite all of their recent divisive attacks on one another and the ugly sniping back and forth, they both seem like basically fine human beings. If we elect them, we will moreover make history in a positive way in terms of gender and race.
Nevertheless, many old Democrats and recovering liberals will not be able to vote for these good people because they are prisoners of the rampaging left and of the Democratic leadership that calls for retreat and appeasement.
While many of us are not happy with Mr. Bush's record and are sad about all the American and Iraqi casualties, rather than retreat we will support the candidate who promises to adhere to the difficult and politically risky Bush Doctrine of fighting terror and spreading democracy.
Do not be surprised therefore if many so-called liberal voters end up voting for the Republican ticket, which, in my opinion, will probably be headed by Rudy Giuliani.
Arnold Trebach is a professor emeritus at American University.
August 6, 2007
BRITISH LIBEL LAWS A JIHADIST WEAPON
In a column appearing in the Orange County Register, Mark Steyn begins with the question, “how will we lose the war against ‘radical Islam’?” He then goes on to argue that suppression of information may be a significant part of the problem The case in question concerns a book by J. Millard Burr, a former USAID relief coordinator, and the scholar Robert O Collins, Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World that the public now has virtually no access to.
Saudi Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz does not like the information contained in the manuscript and he has threatened to employ the notoriously plaintiff biased British libel laws against the publisher. Therefore, Steyn informs us, “Cambridge University Press agreed to recall all unsold copies of "Alms for Jihad" and pulp them. In addition, it has asked hundreds of libraries around the world to remove the volume from their shelves.”
August 6, 2007
IRAQ AND VIETNAM A COMPARISON
Alan W. Dowd is a senior fellow at Sagamore Institute for Policy Research has written an interesting article comparing and contrasting the American experiences in Iraq and Vietnam suggesting that the two are not so much alike.
August 1, 2007
THE LEFT’S TENDENCY TO TOLERATE ANTI-SEMITISM
The website Daily Kos has been much in the news lately with pundit Bill O’Reilly calling the site’s main writers promoters of hate speech and criticizing Democratic presidential candidates for choosing to attend the YearlyKos convention. Robert Goldberg, vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, agrees with O’Reilly in one respect when he points out the enormous amount of anti-Semitic rhetoric that appears on that forum.
Goldberg quotes from the last post of Eyal Rosenberg a diarist for the DailyKos who resigned on May 9 with the words that “reading these past months on dkos has led me to believe that people here, under the 'progressive' banner, support views that end up in one place: me dead.” He also informs us during Rosenberg’s time writing there 5000 posts, about 23 per day, appeared that referenced Jews or Israel the great majority of them in a very negative way.
Goldberg ends his piece reminding us and the Democratic presidential candidates that “Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right.’ Translation: If you can't tell the YearlyKos there's no place for anti-Semitism you lack moral courage.”
July 29, 2007
A FEW OF THE BRITS ACTUALLY HAVE SOME BACKBONE WHEN IT COMES TO FACING MUSLIM DEMANDS
This is sort of a silly story but it is becoming increasingly rare: a British Airline captain actually ordered three Mulsim pincesses off his plane because they demanded that male passengers be removed from their presence because they were unrelated and strangers. Too often we in the West, especially in the UK, try to show how reasonable we are by giving in to every petty demand based on their religion, not on our values. Not in this case. For a change
July 26, 2006
ISLAMIC-FASCISM A JUST TERM
Some people object to the term Islamic-fascism saying it is unfair to link the religion of Islam with the political ideology of fascism. However, if we look at the plight of Iranian union organizer Mansour Osanloo we can realize that there is often a strong connection between the two. Reporter Colin Freeman of the Sunday Telegraph quotes the now jailed Osanloo as saying "We decided it is better to die than to live like this." Freeman then goes on to assert that this type of statement “has invited the ire of Iran's mullahs, for whom any independent organisation with a large membership poses a potential threat similar to Solidarity, the Polish shipyard workers' union led by Mr. Walesa, which opened the first major cracks in communism in the early Eighties.”
July 24, 2007
A TIME FOR INTOLERANCE OF THE INTOLERANTS AMONG US
Is this piece by Burt Prelutsky on Jimmy Carter and Muslims and other so-called catastrophies over the top? I must confess that he is expressing thoughts I never believed I would support, but do now.
July 21, 2007
ANOTHER MAJOR THREAT TO THE SAFETY OF OUR KIDS -- AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TERRORISM
The greatest threats to the safety of our people, including our kids, has always been the automobile. Now a new element has been recognized. Thanks to Stephen Wallace for bringing this article to my attention.
July 20, 2007
CENSORSHIP AN IMPORTANT JIHADIST WEAPON
In a column posted on Jihad Watch its director Robert Spencer describes an ongoing legal battle, taking place in both Great Britain and the United States, between billionaire Saudi financier Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz and Rachel Ehrenfeld, founder and director of the American Center for Democracy over her book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It.
The Saudi sued Ehrenfeld for libel in the British courts and won even though she lives and the book was published in America. There is a counter suit pending in the United States in which Ehrenfeld maintains her 1st Amendment rights have been violated. Spencer expresses the sincere hope that Miss Ehrenfeld prevails in this struggle because “if Saudis or others who have indeed supported the global jihad are able cover their tracks using British libel laws to silence investigators, the only winners are the jihadists.”
July 18, 2007
A PARTISAN OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
The House Oversight and Government and Reform Committee chaired by Henry Waxman has discovered documents which reveal an orchestrated partisan effort by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to aid vulnerable Republican candidates in the last election. Drug Czar John Walters and his deputies appeared at 20 events in the months prior to the 2006 contest.
The evidence includes an e-mail, written by Douglas Simon, the drug policy office's White House liaison, which described a meeting where Karl Rove praised the campaign endeavor. Simon asserted that, “The Director and the Deputies deserve the most recognition because they actually had to give up time with their families for the god awful places we sent them.” Meanwhile The Washington Post reports that “The drug control office has had a history of being nonpartisan, and a 1994 law bars the agency's officials from engaging in political activities even on their own time.”
July 16, 2007
LISA’S FALSE CHOICE
Tom Batiuk creator of the comic strip Funky Winkerbean has won public service awards in the past, however, at the moment he is doing his readers and the general population, especially those who have or will face cancer, a grave disservice. One of his long running themes is the story of Lisa a woman who has been coping with breast cancer. The storyline has reached a point where Lisa believes she must decide between the pro-longed life that chemo-therapy can give her and a better quality of life that she might have in the absence of treatment. Lisa has now chosen to die early. In bringing the tale to this crossroads Batiuk has presented his character with a false choice.
There has been no mention, as of yet, concerning the possibility of Lisa using marijuana to counteract the side effects of her chemo-therapy. While this strategy is still controversial that is because of political not scientific or medical reasons. Even the National Cancer Institute acknowledges the potential effectiveness of marijuana in alleviating the debilitating side effects of Lisa’s chemo-therapy saying that, “Marijuana cigarettes have been used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and research has shown that THC is more quickly absorbed from marijuana smoke than from an oral preparation.”
If Tom Batiuk is going to accept praise and awards for tackling this subject then it is incumbent upon him to do so in a responsible manner. So far he has not done so, instead, he has put his cartoon strip in the service of the simplistic and questionable, moral and political statement that marijuana is bad. Just like the federal government in the real world, Batiuk has put politics above the life of his character, Lisa.
By Keith Halderman
July 12, 2007
DOES THE BROWN GOVERNMENT WANT THIS FOR BRITISH WOMEN TOO?
Nadine Hoffman, director of the Leadership Council for Human Rights, has a column in which she discusses the plight of many Kurdish women in Iraq. Among other things she describes an honor killing in the city of Erbil where “the perpetrator reportedly kills his daughter while she kisses his feet and begs in vain for her life.”
July 11, 2007
MELANIE'S WORDS ON THE UNMENTIONABLE REACH A WIDER US AUDIENCE
Those words are full of despair. The British leadership are all for surrender now, or so it seems. And now what of the Americans?
July 9, 2007
LEARNING THE RIGHT LESSONS
Chairman of Plexus Scientific Corporation, Mike Walker, who was acting secretary of the Army and deputy director of FEMA in the Clinton Administration, implores us not to take the wrong lessons from the recent failed terrorist attacks in Great Britain. He asserts that, “We should take no comfort in incompetent terrorists. Not all of them will be incompetent. What we should be concerned about is a growing number of disaffected people, influenced by the al Qaeda ideology, who are beginning to adopt martyrdom as an accepted tactic of expression. For them, a democratic society's outlets for dissent are not enough. In fact, they discount the validity of democratic government entirely, believing that only God, not man, should rule on earth.”
July 7, 2007
NORM COLEMAN BETRAYS HIS PAST
Republican Senator from Minnesota Norm Coleman and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) board member Norm Kent attended Hofstra University at the same time in the late 1960s. They became friends there and also used marijuana together. Recently Kent received a form letter from his old smoking buddy stating that "I oppose the legalization of marijuana because, as noted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana can have serious adverse health affects on individuals. The health problems that may occur from this highly addictive drug include short-term memory loss, anxiety, respiratory illness and a risk of lung cancer that far exceeds that of tobacco products. It would also make our transportation, schools and workplaces, just as examples, more dangerous."
This event prompted Kent to write an open letter to Coleman reminding him of his past position on marijuana which had included a forceful call for legalization. Kent pointed out that, “You never said then that pot was dangerous. What was scary then, and is as frightening now, is when national leaders become voices of hypocrisy, harbingers of the status quo, and protect their own position instead of the public good. Welcome to the crowd of those who have become a likeness of which they despised. “
Faithful readers of this space may well understand Norm Kent’s anger at Coleman since there is no scientific evidence that when used sensibly and in moderation marijuana causes adverse health effects. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s own Administrative Law Judge, Francis L Young found that “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
Nor is marijuana a highly addictive drug. None of the great objective commission reports from the 1894 British Indian Hemp Drugs Commission report to the recent study by the Canadian Senate and all those in between have ever found marijuana to be addictive.
Also, there is no causal relationship between marijuana and respiratory illness, including lung cancer. Indeed, Dr. Donald Tashkin of the UCLA School of Medicine, a staunch opponent of cannabis use, presented a large case-control study which showed an inverse correlation between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. And, attempts to link marijuana use with mental illness such as increased anxiety are false too.
In addition, there is little creditable evidence, despite widespread belief to the contrary, that marijuana use makes people more dangerous drivers. However, there is evidence that the opposite may be true. Certainly, we must take into consideration that marijuana prohibition encourages the consumption of more alcohol and that without doubt makes transportation, schools, and workplaces more dangerous.
Norm Kent ends his eloquent open letter with some good advice, for Norm Coleman and many others in the political class as well, saying, “How about you looking back at your past and saying: ‘What I did was not so wrong and not so bad and not so hurtful that generations of Americans should still, decades later, be going to jail for smoking pot -- nearly one million arrests for possession last year.’ Can't Norm Coleman come out of the closet in 2007 and say ‘These arrests are wrong -- that there is a better way, and we need to find it.’ You might find more integrity and honor in that then adopting the sad and sorry policy of our Office of National Drug Control Policy. You might find the person you were.”
By Keith Halderman
July 4, 2007
FRANK GAFFNEY QUESTIONS SOME OF THE ADVICE BUSH IS RECEIVING
In a column Frank Gaffney Jr. questions President Bush’s decision to visit the Saudi-underwritten Washington Islamic Center last week and his plans to appoint a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Gaffney believes that, “if we are to prevent further terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans and their government must stop blurring the distinction between Muslims who are determined to bring about - one way or another - our demise as freedom-enjoying people, and Muslims who are fully committed to preserving the liberties secured for us 231 years ago.”
July 4, 2007
MELANIE PHILLIPS SPEAKS THE AWFUL TRUTH AGAIN!
How horrible that the UK is intent on suicide and how wonderful that Ms.Phillips has the true grit to keep exposing it.
July 3, 2007
BARRY BEYERSTEIN: WE HAVE LOST ONE OF THE BEST
When I say one of the best, I mean that in every sense of those words. Barry, who just died at the young age of 60, was a superb scholar, teacher, social activist, and human being. He was wise, compassionate, and kind to everyone with whom he came in contact. I cannot remember in all of the years I knew him -- almost half of his life -- any action on his part that was not gentle and caring and very, very wise.
My condolences to his wife, Susie, and his children, daughter Lindsay and son Loren. Thanks to Ethan Nadelmann and Kevin Zeese for telling me about this sad but important news.
Here are my reflections, somewhat meandering but that is how I am feeling this morning -- that and traumatized and a bit pissed at the sometimes cruel vagaries of fate.
It has been easy to follow Lindsay's progress because she has become one of the new breed of internet experts or bloggers, affiliated with, I believe, Google. Why do I remember those years ago, when a much younger Lindsay intrigued a visiting scholar from France because the French she learned in school and in which she was fluent -- was, well, classical and a modern French person rarely heard it anymore? Barry and Susie chortled as they told me that story. I am sure I do not have it exactly correct and hope I will be straightened out soon.
I first met him and his wife, Susie, when they attended one of my comparative drug policy seminars in London at Imperial College. This must have been in the early 80s or late 70s. My memory is not the best but I recall quite well that Bruce Alexander was also at the seminar. At any rate, I can recall that we had great Canadian professionals in attendance and that we all stayed in student housing at Imperial in the heart of London, or close to the heart. It was a fine time and we kept in contact ever since. By then I am sure that I had completed my first monograph on drug policy, The Heroin Solution. It covered the comparative history of drug control in the US and the UK -- and of course the history of heroin. Soon I went to work on the next one, which dealt with the then-current situation in the US, with a bit of comparative info on Canada and also of course on Britain. I wanted to title it The War on Us. The frontispiece quote would be We have met the Enemy and it is Us. I am sure Barry liked that idea. My publisher convinced me to title it The Great Drug War. Even today, I do not particularly like that title. The biggest point here is that I could count on Barry and also Bruce to react to every twist in my research and to read all of the manuscript. What dedication and what enormous help! I quoted Barry extensively in an important footnote in that book.
Barry and Bruce were quite helpful as I later went about the process of setting up the Drug Policy Foundation, with the constant close help of Kevin and my wife, Marjy. Both Barry and Bruce were on the Advisory Board and provided wonderful guidance.
My family considered Barry and Susie's family an extension of ours, even though we did not keep constantly in touch. When our middle son, Paul, married Joanne Hughes in Seattle, Barry and Susie were in attendance.
Barry's interests went far beyond drug policy and in more recent years he was heavily involved in the skeptical inquiry/paranormal arena. This is a field beyond my ken and I cannot talk sensibly about it. However, I will attach links to other comments on him and I plan to write more about him in the near future. I will also issue corrections when anyone sends in information contradicting my chancy memory.
In closing this rambling memoir I recall a note Steve Jobs just sent out to the effect that we are all going to die and while we are here we damned well better live our lives so that we do that which is closest to our hearts and our souls and to our personal sense of ethics. All that -- and I would say without fear. Of life or of death. I would also say that Barry did just that, all of it.
July 2, 2007
IT IS RELIGIOUS HATE AND FANATICISM, STUPID
The recent horrors in the UK still have not brought forth a realistic explanation from British Muslim leaders or from the UK government. These atrocities are not based on the UK foreign policy in the mid-East or elsewhere -- as British Muslim leaders and the government say. They are based rather on unreasoning ancient religious hatred and fanatcism. As usual, Melanie Phillips gets it right on the money.
June 28, 2007
GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ HIDDEN BY THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA -- OR WHAT?
I tend to believe this story -- and pray that my belief is correct. Let's hope it is not just hype.
June 27, 2007
THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF SOVIET DUPLICITY AND DEVIOUSNESS REGARDING THE SIX-DAY WAR
Kudos to two Israeli scholars, the Yale University Press, and FrontPage Magazine regarding this amazing piece of scholarship and investigative journalism. The true evil of the Soviet Union is revealed if all of this is true -- and it appears to be.
June 26, 2007
ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE STORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE U.K.
It is breathtaking to observe the continuous collapse of reason and the rise of simple bigotry among the chattering classes in Britain. Indeed, among virtually all classes. Thanks to HonestReporting UK for alerting us to one of the latest cases of bias and utter ignorance in a British newspaper. In this case, of course the cause of suicide bombing is .... you guessed it, the most prominent victims, the Jews.
June 25, 2007
OPPOSE THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI ACADEMICS
June 20, 2007
DNA DAMAGE FROM ANTI-COCA HERBICIDE
Environmental journalist Stephen Leahy is reporting that aerial spraying of coca plantations in Columbia, paid for by the United States, is causing severe damage to the DNA of local residents. Ecuadorians living near the border were found to have, “suffered a variety of ailments immediately following the spraying, including intestinal pain and vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, numbness, burning of eyes or skin, blurred vision, difficulty in breathing and rashes.” Researcher César Paz y Miño, head of human molecular genetics at the Catholic University of Ecuador also has discovered that, “the extensive damage to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) found in the randomly selected individuals may activate the development of cancer or other developmental effects resulting in miscarriages.“
June 19, 2007
OUR WORLD: GROUNDED IN FANTASY
By Caroline Glick
Iran and its client state Syria have a strategic vision for the Middle East. They wish to take over Lebanon. They wish to destroy Israel. They wish to defeat the US in Iraq. They wish to drive the US and NATO from Afghanistan. They wish to dominate the region by driving the rest of the Arab world to its jihad-supporting knees. Then they wish to apply their vision to the rest of the world.
June 15, 2007
SOME REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
Recently this space linked to an analysis of a report put out by the Pew Research Center on Muslim Americans by Irshad Manji that found cause for optimism and now journalist Audrey Hudson has reported a story which does the same. She informs us that membership in Council on American-Islamic Relation (C.A.I.R.), an organization that many believe to be an apologist for Islamic extremism, has dropped from 29,000 in 2000 to fewer than 1,700 in 2006, a decline of more than 90 percent. The director of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, M. Zuhdi Jasser explained that C.A.I.R. has been “of little use in the war against militant Islamism. Their ideological sympathies for Islamism and inability to condemn Muslim terrorist organizations and dictatorships by name have made them a liability for a number of American Muslims who do not share their ideology."
Meanwhile halfway around the world on the island of Bali in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, a conference was held, co-sponsored by the U.S.-based Libforall Foundation and the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, for the express purpose of countering the one held in Iran last year that questioned the existence of the Holocaust. Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid a supporter of the Libforall Foundation addressed the assembly saying that, “I visited Auschwitz's Museum of Holocaust and I saw many shoes of the dead people in Auschwitz. Because of this, I believe Holocaust happened."
June 13, 2007
THE VILLIFICATION OF ISRAEL NEEDS TO END
In a very eloquent essay for The Independent Howard Jacobson discusses the legacy of the Six Day War and the boycott of Israeli academics proposed by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU).
About the war he recalls that The Independent wrote at the time that "The war that changed our world" but then goes on to assert that "if the war changed us, we have, in our turn, changed the war. Compare what was said about it at the time with what is said about it now and it is hard to believe it is the same event. No one then, not even members of the far Left who, if anything, rather favoured Israel both for its being progressive and the underdog, would have recognised today's version - an expansionist adventure carried out by a barbarously racist Neo-Colonial power which should never have existed in the first place." The problem in Jacobson's mind is that the Six Day War has never truly ended and he argues that "continuous war and fear of war must make wary and suspicious even the kindest of hearts. Considering this unceasing agitation and dread, it strikes me as miraculous how many of the civic arts of civilisation and culture have managed to flourish in modern Israel."
On the subject of the boycott Jacobson believes its real purpose is to silence one side. He points out that, “the UCU resolution includes proposals to ‘organise a UK-wide campus tour for Palestinian academics/educational trade unionists‘. In other words, we will hear them, we will not hear you. Anyone familiar with the emotional politics of the campus will be able to imagine the rapturous applause awaiting these Palestinian educational trade unionists - given free rein to vent their grievances while the other side of the argument is gagged.” He also sees no good coming from such action arguing that to, “alienate that very section of Israeli society which is most amenable to reason and approach - teachers at universities which Arabs are already free to attend, academics who at this very moment are working to lift travel bans and extend those freedoms - is not only to close down future avenues of peace, it is to confirm Israel in the belief that it can count on the outside world for nothing, and drive it into an isolationism from which the Palestinians too will have little to gain.”
June 9, 2007
NEW WORK NEEDED ON A VERY OLD PROBLEM
Last May the Bush Administration appointed Gregg J. Rickman Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and he has written an Op-ed piece which tells of an important upcoming high level conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, commonly known as the Helsinki human rights process, to be held in Bucharest, Romania.
In the essay Rickman describes this worldwide problem by pointing out that, “Jews are being assaulted, some even murdered. Synagogues are being attacked. Jewish gravestones are being desecrated by the hundreds. Even the historical fact of the Holocaust is being questioned. The threat today is not existential. There is no room for complacency.” This dilemma is all the worse because much of this activity is occurring in “fully democratic countries where governments and civil society have admirable records of promoting tolerance and actively combating anti-Semitism.”
Our envoy views the Bucharest event as essential to the solution because it, “will be vitally important to identify new programs to combat anti-Semitism that originate not from the Jewish community, but from outside of it. More non-Jewish voices need to be heard. Anti-Semitism must be understood not solely as a Jewish issue but as a fundamental human-rights issue and treated as such.”
June 8, 2007
THE INTERNAL THREAT TO COMMON SENSE AND AMERICAN FREEDOM
Some idea of the number and vehememce of nutcase and Jihaidist and anti-Semitic/anti-Israel groups is given by their planned demonstration on June 10 in Washington -- and thankfully by the effort to opppose them.
June 6, 2007
CLEARLY A GLOBAL PROBLEM
Walid Phares, who is director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy, has a column in The Washington Times which draws lessons from the recently foiled terrorist plot to kill thousands at Kennedy Airport in New York. Noting that parts of the operation were staged in Trinidad and Tobago as well as in Guyana in South American, Phares asserts that, “the first lesson to draw is that indeed the war with jihadism is a global war on terror, and thus this is an invitation to the U.S. congressional panel and the European Commission, which asked to drop the concept of "global war" with terrorism, to review their statement on the matter. For it has been clearly shown, before and after since September 11, that the jihadists, regimes, organizations and individuals are distributed in multiple countries and are targeting many other countries, hence the global dimension of it.”
June 6, 2007
LETS HOPE IRSHAD IS CORRECT ON THIS HOPEFUL ANALYSIS
The report issued by the Pew Research Center on Muslim Americans is the subject of an analysis by Irshad Manji in the Wall Street Journal. While she deplores the fact that a quarter of those respondents under the age of thirty accepted suicide bombing saying that, "honoring any religion of peace through violence is like preserving virginity through pre-marital sex," Manji also believes that, "the Pew report offers a lot more good news. Political Islam has not caught on in America as it has in Europe because most Muslims in the U.S. are--dare it be said--treated with dignity."
June 5, 2007
THE AMAZING ATTEMPT TO REWRITE THE HISTORY OF THE SIX-DAY WAR
And also the attempt to boycott Israel academics. Honest Reporting UK explains the bizarre behavior of leading UK intellectuals on the left and leading Establishment figures. Should this read-the end of the UK as we knew it or the decline and fall of the British empire?
May 31, 2007
DR. TOD MIKURIYA WILL BE MISSED
Those patients suffering from AIDS, cancer needing chemo-therapy, MS, glaucoma and countless other maladies who find relief in the medical use of marijuana owe a great deal to Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a tireless advocate on their behalf. Sadly, the good doctor passed away from complications of cancer on May 20th. Fortunately for the world, Mikuriya left a rich legacy of valuable research into the medicinal properties of cannabis and he inspired numerous others to pursue knowledge about marijuana and health. Also, it should be noted that the courageous physician pursued this course, at some cost to himself, in the face of a government bent on denying people the medical benefits of cannabis. He will be missed.
However, Dr. Mikuriya will not be forgotten as long as work such as three recent investigations continues. A German study looked into effect of the cannabinoid dronabinol on the nighttime agitation experienced by patients with dementia. The German scientists concluded that, “the study suggests that dronabinol was able to reduce nocturnal motor activity and agitation in severely demented patients. Thus, it appears that dronabinol may be a safe new treatment option for behavioral and circadian disturbances in dementia.”
Meanwhile, in Columbia, an investigation into cannabinoids potential as neuroprotective compounds in Alzheimer's disease (AD) came up with results that, “suggest that CP55,940/( JWH-015) protection/rescue of PBL from noxious stimuli is determined by p53 inactivation. These findings may contribute to a better understanding of the role played by cannabinoids as neuroprotective agents to target and interrupt molecular signaling that induce damage in AD disorder.”
Also, researchers at The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology in La Jolla, California discovered that, “compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Abeta aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.”
Tod Mikuriya was a pioneer in a field of scientific endeavor that promises to ease the suffering of literally millions of people. With each study, such as those above, it becomes clearer and clearer that the pledge will be fulfilled. It is not too much to state that Dr. Mikuriya was a hero.
On a personal level, he was unfailingly polite and kind. He was a fine person.
May 30, 2007
DR. COLIN BREWER MOVES ON TO NEW PASTURES -THE ATHEISTIC PRIEST!
I last wrote of Dr. Colin Brewer in regard tohis troubles with the GMC in the UK regarding the treatment of addicts. He has moved on with his partner to produce a play about a priest who did not believe in God. I offer no comment on the play but only on the fact that another old guy has found a life beyon drug policy and treatment. Good for you Colin!
"The Last Priest explores the life of Jean Meslier (1664-1729), a French Catholic priest and the author of a bitter atheistic testament. He was a little-known hero of the Enlightenment, and an instigator of the socialist ideals of the French Revolution.
Jean's passion for truth, his stubborn conscience and his fear of discovery leading him to the betrayal of his own principles all make him a compelling character. His story, with its disturbing parallels to the religious unrest of today, places this work at the heart of the current zeitgeist."
May 28, 2007
THE COMMANDS IN THE KORAN THAT ALL MUSLIMS SHOULD RESPECT JEWS AND ISRAEL
On this day -- when Memorial Day in the US is celebrated -- is a good time to be reminded by Melanie Phillips about the commands in the Koran that all observant Muslims should repect Jews and their right to their homeland in Israel. It is also fitting that Phillips refers to the website of Arabs for Israel, which was originated by one of my new friends and heroes, Nonie Darwish.
The Islamic duty to respect Israel
A reader wonders why more is not made of the fact that in several verses the Koran declares that Israel is the divinely appointed homeland of the Jews. The relevant verses are provided on the Arabs for Israel website and read thus:
2:47 Children of Israel! call to mind the favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other nations.
Curious indeed that we don’t hear anyone else referring to this particular interesting theological insight.
May 28, 2007
MORE TERRORIST DRY RUNS ON OUR PLANES?
Kudos to The Washington Times for continuing to work of this story. Whether or not a real threat is involved there is no doubt that we will be tougher in future responses.
May 21, 2007
A DEFENSE OF THE BUSH DOCTRINE -- AND OF THE MAN HIMSELF
My op-ed in The Washington Times today lays out the case for supporting the Bush Doctrine, which seems to be derided by the left, right and center -- with a few exceptions.
The Bush Doctrine
Most of us in America know of friends, family members, professors, or press pundits who seem to agree that President George W. Bush is a dunce, an arrogant cowboy and a total disaster. He has, moreover, allegedly squandered the goodwill that America had built up in the world, especially after September 11. The prime example of presidential incompetence is of course the war in Iraq.
The congressional elections in 2006 demonstrated just how much the American people had turned against this once-popular president. Voters and opinion leaders of both major political parties decided that the only way to end the agony of Iraq was to elect Democrats and to demand that our troops be withdrawn within a definite time period. There is every likelihood that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008 and will make sure that the Iraq adventure is at last buried.
While I have often complained that there was a surplus of incompetence in this administration, nevertheless I viewed the popular demand to withdraw from Iraq as itself a disaster, a combination of retreat and appeasement. It pained me that my traditional party, the Democrats, seemed ignorant of history and collectively determined to retreat no matter what the cost. Thus I saw increased -- even existential -- threats to this nation emanating from my own party.
Thankfully, Robert G. Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, has just appeared on the national stage talking about his new book, In Defense of the Bush Doctrine. He presents a thoughtful, comprehensive case. It ranks in my mind as the most historically powerful support of Mr. Bush and his doctrine, including the Iraq war, that I have encountered. Mr. Kaufman is also powerful in another way: he is used to answering hostile questions about that support. He does so in a knowing, articulate fashion -- in stark contrast to the bumbling ways in which our president and his spokesmen often defend his policies.
The Bush Doctrine is composed of two main elements. First, this nation cannot rely on containment, deterrence, or reaction to attacks after the fact. While such strategies may have worked in the past, they cannot be successful when dealing with fanatical terrorists and the fanatical leaders of rogue regimes in the nuclear age. Accordingly, when more peaceful measures have been attempted and failed, then pre-emptive military action will be implemented. Such action may well be taken unilaterally if the United Nations or other instruments of collective security fail to protect this nation and its people.
Second, an overriding goal of American foreign policy is to spread the ideals of a free society and democracy to other nations. Only in that way will future conflicts be avoided.
Both of these important pillars of the Bush Doctrine have been derided in this country and around the world as being impractical, arrogant, destructive of international morality and in violation of American traditions. Mr. Kaufman answers that the doctrine is consistent with the best in the American tradition and that this country proved it could work in the past, most notably in Germany and Japan. Both nations were vicious, authoritarian dictatorships before we defeated them in World War II at a huge cost in American blood and treasure. Moreover, the predictions of State Department experts saw enormous difficulties in turning them into functioning democracies. They were wrong.
Mr. Kaufman places Mr. Bush in the Truman tradition: a very unpopular president who stayed the course in an equally unpopular war, but whose reputation was rehabilitated by the passage of time. Mr. Kaufman is quite certain that in time he will be rated as a great and courageous leader.
During his recent appearance at the Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill, I took the audience microphone to explain that I was a recovering liberal Democrat, that I was dismayed at the embrace of appeasement by my old party and that I would definitely consider, for the first time in my life, voting for a Republican president if I could be assured that the candidate adopted his view of the Bush Doctrine. Mr. Kaufman assured me that I could move over to the right side with confidence because he had been contacted by both the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani for advice on this matter. If indeed that advice is taken, perhaps there is some hope for our country yet -- although the odds for a Republican presidential victory seem remote, even if some old Democrats decide to defy history and switch parties.
May 18, 2007
NEW REVIEW OF THE HEROIN SOLUTION
May 18, 2007
TWO DIFFERENT VIEWS OF TURKISH POLITICS
Andrew Sullivan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have recently been presenting contrasting discourse on the struggle between Islamists and secularists over control of the Turkish government.
On The Daily Dish Sullivan links to a New York Times article downplaying fears of the Islamic party and quotes a reader as saying that “Turkey's version of secularism is aggressively nationalist and statist, linked to a tradition of authoritarianism, military rule, and a personality cult surrounding Atatürk that ought to make one very uncomfortable.”
Hirsi Ali, on the other hand is very afraid that the democratic heritage of Kemal Atatürk is about to be replaced by an Islamic theocracy. She argues that the secularist’s problems are of their own making. However, she has some hope in that an important trait of liberalism, “is the opportunity to learn by trial and error. Turkish secular liberals must start their own grass-roots movement, one with the message of individual freedom. They must restore the confidence of the electorate in entrusting Turkey's economy to them, and they must reconquer the institutions of education, information, police and justice.”
May 18, 2007
COURAGEOUS TEENAGER SAVES LIVES
A teenage clerk at a Circuit City store in New Jersey made a brave decision that just may have saved the lives of many American soldiers threaten by Islamic terror. Note the success of Muslim propoganda in that the clerk was afraid of being accused of being racist!!
May 16, 2007
OPIE AND ANTHONY SUSPENDED. DO THE TERRORISTS WIN?
We need to acknowledge that free speech is under attack in this country in a very serious and new way. It started with the firing of Don Imus and now continues with the suspension, by XM Satellite radio, of Opie and Anthony for something they did not even say themselves. One thing we should remember on the day that Jerry Falwell died is that when he sued the publisher of Hustler Magazine, Larry Flynt, for $45 million “charging that he was libeled by a liquor-ad parody that quoted him as saying he lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse” the Supreme Court ruled against him. The justices asserted that the joke, even though pornographic had a claim to 1st Amendment protection because Falwell was a public figure. The crude sexual humor about Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth II put forth by Opie and Anthony’s guest, Homeless Charlie, on the recent broadcast was absolutely constitutionally protected speech. Much of it was surely tasteless and offensive, but the constitution has always been most meaningful in protecting such utterances.
However, a new form of censorship is taking hold and it is the equivalent of small groups of people going around barricading and locking up theaters or lecture halls to keep the public out. They get away with this by threatening the livelihood of the owners of venues that allow a platform for speakers or material that they personally object to. The far greater numbers of people who want to hear this communication do not seem to count anymore. A belief in free speech is not just about the right to speak it is also about the right to listen, freedom of assembly.
How does this help the terrorists? Well, CNN’s Glenn Beck in a very articulate and informative segment pointed out that he too is a target of special interest groups whose goal is to remove him from the airways. This attention comes from his strong stand against Islamic terror leading, of course, to charges of religious bigotry. You do not have to stretch the rationale which led to the demise of Imus very far at all to justify Beck’s dismissal.
Beck believes the solution to this new type of censorship will come when society begins to focus on the personal responsibility of turning the dial in the face of material you as an individual find objectionable instead of the nebulous concept of corporate responsibility. This is especially true because the financially responsible thing for these companies, when faced with what are essentially hollow threats, to do is to keep someone who is generating ratings and revenue on the air.
One of Beck’s guests Debbie Wolf was co-founder of an organization, People Against Censorship which is attempting stem the rising tide of this new censorship. She has penned an eloquent letter to Executives of CBS and Free FM pointing out that they are “setting a bad example that other companies have begun to follow, your actions have also placed an insurmountable handicap on every person who broadcasts on every radio station in America (one that will likely extend to television as well). You have put them in a position where broadcasters cannot speak freely without a fear that they may offend some group that will result in their firing. Certainly you must be aware that it is impossible to speak, in this day and age, without offending someone. This is an untenable situation and must be corrected.”
On CNN Wolf argued that any broadcaster or musician or comic should be outraged and fearful that their ability as artists to express themselves will be lost. She might have added that anyone who enjoys discussion of controversial issues, music, or laughing should also be angry and concerned.
Beck’s other guest Michael Harrison publisher of Talkers Magazine unaware of the action taken later by XM Satellite maintained that free speech would not be lost but would rather move elsewhere. That is why the suspension of Opie and Anthony is so disturbing because satellite radio is the elsewhere he had in mind. And, once the so easily offended special interest groups have control of that medium is there any doubt that television is next, followed by the internet?
May 14, 2007
AN UNWISE, AN UNJUST VETO
by Keith Halderman
One of the many reasons I have for disliking President Bush is the fact that his actions leading to his unpopularity cost Maryland Republican Governor Robert Erhlich his reelection. Ehrlich was by no means a libertarian and was philosophically comfortable with paternalistic government. However, he was also a man of moderation when it came to governing and he pursued some worthwhile policies. He held the line on taxes and spending restoring the state’s finances. He supported slot machines to save Maryland’s historic racing industry against the selective moralists in the legislature. And, most important to me he signed into law a medical marijuana bill in the face of intense pressure from the federal administration not to.
Now we have Democrat Martin O’Malley in charge holding office only a few short months and he is poised to veto a bill that will reduce the harm done to the citizens of Maryland by mandatory minimum sentencing. You may recall that awhile back I posted linking to an excellent call for action letter from Naomi Long of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) in support of change and then expressed the hope that some of the legislators would actually read it. Well apparently enough of them did and the legislation passed. However, despite earlier indications that he would sign the bill O’Malley now appears ready to veto it.
The overwhelming majority of the unjust impact that mandatory minimum sentencing produces lands directly on the backs of poor Blacks and Hispanics, not just those jailed but their families including their children too. Are these not the people the Democratic Party is supposed to be looking out for? If Martin O’Malley halts this change in the law then he is not doing that and he is in fact betraying many of the very people who put him in office.
Perhaps the harshest mandatory minimum laws on the books are the Rockefeller Drug Laws operating in New York State. A very moving music video by Hip Hop artist and star Jim Jones, part of the upcoming film Lockdown, USA, really brings home the complete and utter injustice of these laws which waste enormous resources and make many people’s lives miserable for no good reason. You can contact the political leaders in New York urging them to pursue better public policy here.
In Maryland, there is still a little time to bring Governor O’Malley to his senses. He can be contacted through StoptheDrugWar.org or you can call (800) 811-8336, or fax him at (410) 974-3275. His written address is The Honorable Martin O'Malley, State House, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925. The bill he needs to sign in order to keep faith with those that elected him is HB 922. Any action taken must be done quickly as Thursday May 17th is the signing day.
May 14, 2007
THE RED SOX GIVE LESSONS FOR LIFE AND THE HEREAFTER
It is important that the world know that in this time of truly great issues and agonies, many millions of people in the US and around the world for that matter were focused on a simple game being held in a park in Boston. The Red Sox were in the process of losing 5-0 to the Orioles of Baltimore, last evening May 13. Miraculously, the Sox came back in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 6-5. The game at Fenway Park will be reflected on and talked about for years to come. The outcome had no impact on war and peace except to the extent that in the environs of Washington DC where I went out to dinner no one was discussing war and peace but the outcome of this game. Anyone with a bit of Red Sox clothing on -- such as my sacred cap with a B on it- was accosted by strangers who wanted to gloat about the victory. Yes even though this is close to Baltimore it seemed that there were many Red Sox fans walking the streets of Bethesda and Chevy Chase. Again I know this has nothing to do with TRULY GREAT ISSUES OF CIVILIZATION except that it must be recorded that the attention of much of Washington did not give a damn about those truly great issues -- or at least considered this improbable victory proof that there is hope for the human race, now and in the future. Regrets to my friends who were cheering for the Orioles.
May 13, 2007
AN IMPORTANT COST OF THE WAR IN IRAQ?
It has been said in this space before, that the key to winning the war on terror will come from the victory of moderate Islam over the Islamists. An article posted on website of The Columbian, describes a speech given by former national security advisor Richard Clarke at Clark College in Oregon. The reporter, Howard Buck, relates Clarke’s "three-rings" theory of terrorism, “A small, fanatic core of 100,000 al-Qaida fighters, bankrolled by perhaps 300 million Muslim sympathizers, with nearly 3 billion Muslims aghast at it all. Clarke said the key is defusing those 300 million supporters. But daily carnage from Iraq televised through the Arab world has made them tune out not only Americans, but many of their own imams who urge peace, he said.” Is Clarke on the right trail?
May 10, 2007
YES VIRGINIA THERE ARE MODERATE MUSLIMS
Lets hope Daniel Pipes is correct and that these marches actually demonstrate the presence of hundreds of thousands even millions of moderate Muslims in Pakistan and Turkey.
May 9, 2007
THE ANSWER COMES FROM WITHIN ISLAM
One country that is having some success in combating Islamic terrorism is Indonesia. Much of this progress is due to a former terrorist, Nasir Abas, who changed sides. 60 Minutes profiled him last Sunday and his story illustrates the point that the ultimate solution to the problem of Islamic terror comes not from military action, increased security, or changes in American foreign policy but rather from the struggle between moderates and radicals to define the meaning of Islam.
For Nasir Abas the impetus for change came in 2000 with a fatwa issued by Osama Bin Laden who is quoted by reporter Bob Simon as commanding that "It should be understood that killing Americans and Jews anywhere found are the highest act of worship and the highest form of good deeds in the eyes of Allah," However, Abas had been taught that murdering innocent civilians had nothing to do with holy war and was in fact prohibited. He therefore became an asset in the struggle against terrorism for religious reasons.
Abas now believes that educational settings are the most important battlegrounds and as CBS tells us “he is at the heart of the government’s de-radicalization program, which is all about persuasion, talking to university students, combating the dogma taught in religious schools, and most important, trying to turn terrorists in the prisons.”
May 9, 2007
NEW PREMIUM OFFER FROM DRCNET
One of the mainstays of and best sources for information about the drug law reform movement is the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet). They now have a new premium for those who become members involving the Trebach Trilogy, Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror, The Great Drug War, and Rational Proposals to Turn the Tide, and The Heroin Solution. You can choose any one free with donation of $35 or more, any two $65 or more, all three $90 or more. A review of The Great Drug War, and Rational Proposals to Turn the Tide by Philip Smith can be found here.
May 8, 2007
HAS AUSTRALIA GONE TOO FAR?
In dealing with Muslims in the country, that is. Some parts of this are appealing. Some are jarring. It involves tough talk which may be necessary in the current situation, but I am uncomfortable with pieces of it. Would it work in the US or elsewhere in the West?
May 7, 2007
MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVANCEMENTS
The principle that seriously ill people along with their doctors should decide the correct method of treatment rather than self interested government bureaucrats is now being advanced in Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, and Illinois. Recently in these states bills to make access to medical marijuana possible or easier have found varying degrees of success.
In Rhode Island both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed an access law with majorities large enough to override the expected veto of Governor Donald Carcieri. In Vermont legislation expanding the medical conditions which make patients eligible for use and reducing the registration fee under the existing law has been approved by both chambers. Minnesota's Senate for the first time has passed a measure giving patients access to therapeutic cannabis and it appears their lower legislative body will do the same. However, Governor Tim Pawlenty will most likely veto the bill. An Assembly committee in New York has approved a law making medical marijuana available by a vote of 15 to 4. The measure has been endorsed by the state Health Department's AIDS Advisory Council, the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the New York State Nurses Association, the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State, the Statewide Senior Action Council, Gay Men's Health Crisis and the New York AIDS Coalition. Finally, in Illinois the Senate will soon vote on a bill which has been approved by the Illinois Nurses Association and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
May 1, 2007
IMPORTANT MODERATE VOICES NOT BEING HEARD
Frank Gaffney Jr. president of the Center for Security Policy and co-executive producer of "Islam vs. Islamists” is once again speaking out about the suppression of this highly important film. He describes the core problem here by saying that “observant Muslims who dare to challenge the Islamists over ideological agendas pursued in the name of religion are shown being subjected to ostracism, intense coercion to conform and, in some cases, death threats. As long as these anti-Islamist Muslims are rightly seen as isolated, vulnerable and powerless, it would be foolish to believe that many of their co-religionists will want to emulate them.”
April 27, 2007
WHY IS JIMMY CARTER CONTINUING HIS BIZARRE BEHAVIOR?
The Simon Weisenthal Center provides a succinct set of answers to some of his major fabrications but does not even attempt to explain his motivations. That is what intriques me. Has he gone around the bend? Is it Saudi money? Simple bias?
April 26, 2007
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING TRULY IMPORTANT; THE BLOOD ON SCHILLING'S SOCK
Is nothing sacred? I heard that dumb announcer claim that it was all a fake. Here are the outraged responses. Just for the record I am now totally absorbed in the Red Sox, again. Most intelligent people are.
April 23, 2007
A DISTORTION OF “STOP SNITCHING’S” MEANING
On Sunday the CBS program 60 Minutes presented yet another piece of shoddy superficial journalism. The report hosted by Anderson Cooper dealt with the “stop snitching” phenomenon found in the urban black community. This is a philosophy which asserts that it is unacceptable to cooperate with the police under any circumstances.
Cooper’ thrust clearly put the blame for this way of thinking squarely on the backs of Hip Hop artists and the greedy record corporations behind them. Prominently featured was the rapper Cam'ron who went so far as to say that if he knew a serial killer lived next door he would not report that fact to the police but rather just move away.
Comments concerning Cam’ron’s words posted on such websites as The Daily Hip Hop News, Nobodysmiling.com, and VIBE.com were mixed with some defending his views but the majority expressing embarrassment over his thoughts, with a number asking why 60 Minutes had to choose someone so stupid as the spokesman for Hip Hop. More than a few people made the important point that what the rapper said had nothing to do with the true meaning of “stop snitching.”
The program also almost completely missed the point. The war on people who used certain kinds of drugs got only the briefest mention and the academic expert on the subject of “stop snitching” who believes its origin is to be found there was not allowed to speak for himself. Cooper then permitted a government official to minimize the role played by a brutal drug prohibition system, entirely dependent upon people betraying one another for convictions, without challenge.
Perhaps if the 60 Minutes producers had seen the documentary Snitch produced by Ofra Bikel they might have understood a little something about the subject they were reporting on. Maybe if they had acknowledged that drug war was the most racist institution operating in America today, with statistics from the Drug Policy Alliance which tell us that Blacks constitute 13 percent of all drug users, but 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of persons convicted, and 74 percent of people sent to prison, their story would not have been so shallow and misleading.
April 21, 2007
A positive story from WashPo's Jerusalem Bureau Chief. The first to my knowledge about Israel. Is my memory correct or not?
April 21, 2007
NANCY PELOSI'S FATHER AND THE HOLOCAUST: A FORGOTTEN STORY
Let me put it this way. I have a darned good memory about that period of my life and I did not know about this. Did you? I did know about Nancy's statement that when her father was mayor of Baltimore, she remembered attending Bar Mitzvahs on many weekends. In light of the many Jewish constituents her dad had, that was no surprise. But this is, at least to me, as I said.
April 21, 2007
ASSIGNING RESPONSIBILITY FOR VIRGINIA TECH
An outstanding essay about the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech is posted on The Chronicle of Higher Education website. In it author Gary Lavergne, who has written a book about the 1966 University of Texas murders, asserts that it is Cho Seung-Hui who bears sole responsibility for the horrible events of April 16th. He writes, “More than four dozen innocent people were gunned down by a murderer who is completely responsible for what happened. No one died for lack of text messages or an alarm system. They died of gunshot wounds. While we painfully learn our lessons, we must not treat each other as if we are responsible for the deaths that occurred. We must come together and be respectful and kind. This is not a time for us to torture ourselves or to seek comfort by finding someone to blame.”
Hat tip to Aeon J. Skoble
April 17, 2007
THE NEED TO REACH OUT TO MODERATE MUSLIMS
Besides the hope that a philosophical victory in the battle over the true nature of Islam by moderate Muslims over extremists advocating jihad will ultimately end the need for a war on terror there are immediate pragmatic reasons for reaching out to the more temperate. These are outlined today in The Washington Times within a piece by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross a counterterrorism consultant and the author of My Year Inside Radical Islam. He argues that “Working alongside moderates with whom we may disagree on some issues but who nonetheless genuinely oppose jihadist violence and the forceful imposition of Islamic norms will help bring more valuable, authentic voices into the discussion. Indeed, listening to and respecting differences of opinion are among this nation's strengths.”
April 17, 2007
IDEOLOGICAL CENSORSHIP OR NOT: ROUND THREE
First a column appeared by executive producer Frank J. Gaffney Jr. which charged PBS and its affiliate WETA with ideological censorship for failing to include his film Islam vs. Islamists among the documentaries being shown in the “America at a Crossroads” series now being shown. Then the series producer, Leo Eaton responded with a letter to the editor disputing Gaffney’s charges, claiming the piece was merely substandard. Now, Martyn Burke the producer of Islam vs. Islamists has had his own very convincing letter published.
While Eaton’s letter seemed somewhat vague as to what the exact shortcomings were, Burke’s makes very specific and damaging charges. Among these he asserts that “Mr. Eaton's letter ignores the fact that within weeks of taking over the series, he and Jeff Bieber, the WETA team, flew to Toronto to meet me in March 2006.
The sole purpose of this meeting appeared to be to demand that I fire my co-producers, Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev, for their political beliefs.
It was in that meeting that I heard the rather amazing question: ‘Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?’ As someone who once made a film titled’ The Hollywood Ten - a History of Politics in Filmmaking" and who had spent time with blacklisted screenwriters and directors, I was stunned to find myself being asked that question.”
April 15, 2007
SOME OF THE BEST COMMENTARY ON HILLARY YOU WILL EVER SEE
Wonderful insights from her classmates in college. These tell you she is for real and a person of great guts and integrity. Her classmates also provide wonderful rebuttal to all those lesser yahoos who love to criticize her as being shrill etc. Meaningless jibes. I had a neutral opinion of her until I read her book. Then I said that she was an amazing person. This does not mean that I intend to vote for her because I view my old party, the Dems, as having lost their way, a bunch of wimps on the world stage. Rather than the gang that couldn't shoot straight they are the gang that couldn't think or vote straight. The Dems stand for utter confusion as far as I can tell.
April 15, 2007
A PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE THREAT OF TOTALITARIAN ISLAM - AND BULLET- PROOF VESTS
These brave experts and dissenters talk in reasonable tones in an American university and feel the necessity to wear bullet-proof vests! They also encounter the usual nut cases etc. They also made a good deal of sense. All free people are indebted to them. If that degree of protection is required, are we not at war?
April 15, 2007
MARIJUANA PROHIBITION NUMBER ONE GOVERNMENT BOONDOGGLE
The website TomPaine.commonsense features a very sober and enlightening assessment of marijuana prohibition's record by Aaron Houston director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. His article titled Drug Enforcement Pipe Dreams makes clear that the policy is a complete waste of money. Despite a 23 year federal Cannabis Eradication/Suppression program domestic production of the substance has increased by 1000 metric tons and cannabis is the nation's number one cash crop valued at $35.8 billion in 2006, which exceeds the value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.45 billion) combined. Also, the U.S. government's 2006 Monitoring the Future survey reports that 84.9 percent of high school seniors find it easy to get marijuana.
Houston concludes his remarks with a very rational policy prescription, "Take marijuana out of the criminal underground and establish sensible controls. Treat it like we do alcoholic beverages, with everyone involved licensed and required to follow a strict set of rules. Educate teens about the dangers of drugs with materials that treat them with respect and present the facts honestly." Keep in mind that with the exception of Congressman Ron Paul, who is largely invisible to the mainstream media, no presidential candidate would endorse the above suggestion and judge our political system accordingly.
April 14, 2007
IMUS AND HIS COMMENT IN REALITY NOT VERY IMPORTANT TO BLACK PEOPLE
Well it happened radio host Don Imus lost his show over a highly insensitive and racially tinged remark about the Rutgers Woman’s Basketball team. His bosses are claiming the action was taken for moral reasons and the fact that sponsors American Express Co., Sprint Nextel Corp., Staples Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Corp left the program in the face of pressure from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and friends had no impact on their decision.
The situation has consumed an enormous amount of broadcast air time and generated tons of printed material. To my mind and in the opinion of many others the most cogent and important comment on this came from Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock who happens to be black. He wrote, “In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?
I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?
When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is - a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.”
April 14, 2007
CENSORSHIP OR A SUBSTANDARD FILM?
The documentary "Islam vs Islamists" produced for the "America at a Crossroads” series which airs next week on PBS will not be shown. This fact is creating a great deal of controversy and editorial comment. One of the film's executive producers Frank J. Gaffney Jr. asserts that this is a clear case of ideological censorship which is part of a broader pattern seeking to suppress the message of moderate Muslims.
In a letter to the editor responding to the charge Leo Eaton the Crossroads series producer argues that the hullabaloo stems from the disappointment of the filmmakers at not being included and their unwillingness to work with PBS towards improving a flawed substandard product.
April 14, 2007
ISLAM AND THE EUROPEAN LEFT
Muslims are the fastest growing population in Europe and columnist Paul Belien has a piece in The Washington Times explaining the disturbing political implications of that fact. Among other things he tells us that, "Last year the Muslim vote tipped the balance toward the left in the local elections in both the Netherlands and Belgium. The Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam found that 84 percent of the Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands voted for the left, as did 90 percent of the Moroccans. In Antwerp, Belgium's largest port, the anti-Islamist Vlaams Belang party won 33.5 percent in October's local elections. Sociologist Jan Hertogen calculated that without the immigrant vote the VB would have polled 40.4 percent and would have beaten the Socialists."
In return "European parties have begun to cater to Islamist causes. Left-wing politicians in Europe introduce separate swimming hours for women in public pools, impose halal food on cafeterias and demand that schools banish the Holocaust from history lessons." The question becomes what else will the leftist politicians give up in their quest for votes, their most fundamental values perhaps?
April 14, 2007
“AMERICA AT A CROSSROADS”
“America at a Crossroads” is a series of documentaries that explores the challenges confronting the world post-9/11, including the war on terrorism; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the experience of American troops; the struggle for balance within the Muslim world; and perspectives on America’s role globally. The series is scheduled to launch on Sunday, April 15, 2007 and will run through Friday, April 20, 9 - 11 p.m. (ET).
Irshad Manji says she has a show on April 19 on the series.
More info on Crossroads
April 12, 2007
THE IMUS FLAP SHOULD BE SEEN AS AN OPPORTUNITY
But for what? To have arrogant white men clean up their acts? Or to start reflecting on what has happened to Negro leadership in dealing with utter horrors in black music heard every day on radios all over the country? Michelle Malkin here should make us all think. This is awful stuff utterly igonored or accepted by respectable leadership of every color and gender. It is made all the more horrible by the claims of black hip-hop singers that they have the right to spout this garbage and that no white has any standing to object. I claim that I do.
Malkin here does not deal with the need to fire Jesse and Al as the leading Negro spokesmen. These race baiters belong in jail not on national television. Imus is stupid and arrogant but he is a damn sight more honest that any of these rappers or than Jackson and Sharpton.
April 12, 2007
PUBLIC BROADCASTING WORKS AGAINST PUBLIC INTEREST
Perhaps the most important struggle taking place in the modern world is the one between moderate Muslims and Islamic extremists. Now it has been reported that that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) are declining to air the documentary "Islam vs. Islamists" which they funded with $675,000 of taxpayer money. The producers of the film are labeling the action an "an ideological vendetta."
Commenting on the PBS decision, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy said "Until mainstream media and mainstream America understands the need to help this debate and expose the plight of moderates who push back against the Islamists within the Muslim community, we will continue to lose ground against militant Islamism. The censorship of this documentary tells us a great deal about the level to which our government is facilitating the ideology of Islamism which runs directly counter to our foundations of Americanism."
April 11, 2007
READ THIS FROM MELANIE PHILLIPS AND WEEP
...for Britain and to an extent for the entire West. See here.
April 10, 2007
REMEMBERING MY HEROES: ANN DALLY AND H.B. SPEAR
This essay just appeared this morning on the op-ed page of The Washington Times. The headlines writers, bless their hearts, for the print edition had it this way: MEDICINE'S SHOW TRIALS: Drug Treatment Innovators Drummed Out. That says it exactly.
The Washington Times
Bing Spear introduced Ann Dally to me in glowing terms: She was a sensible London doctor who saw the need to treat addicts on an individualized basis and not in line with the dominant rigid drug-clinic approach.
The professional relationship between Bing and Ann had a uniquely British aura to it. Bing was the distinguished H.B. Spear, chief inspector, Drugs Branch, Home Office; the doyen of official drug experts in the United Kingdom.
Ann was a psychiatrist in a high-toned London practice that included royalty, nobility and city bankers among its clientele. Suddenly, she somehow found herself with a number of drug addicts of a range of social classes among her patients. As was her custom regarding a new type of case, she went to the medical literature for guidance on how to treat drug addicts.
Even though the British system of drug control and treatment was, and is to this day, one of the best in the world, nevertheless there is no consistent scientific basis holding it together. That is a shocking, dirty medical professional secret that is not supposed to be mentioned in front of the children or in polite adult company over dinner. Let me state it another way: There is no scientific basis for the choice of any method for the treatment of drug addicts in any country, anywhere, ever in history. Science is involved but does not dominate the process. Ann discovered this soon after reading the major pieces of medical literature on the subject, terming most of it "gobbledygook."
She then started treating her addicted patients as she treated the others, based upon her own clinical judgment after extensive interviews of each person. By the late 1970s, numerous addicts had been repelled by the impersonal, rigid rules setting limits on the use of injectable drugs, on the amount, and so on that had been applied in many of the vaunted London clinics. She adopted a number of flexible modalities that seemed to help her patients and which could serve as a model for treatment in the United Kingdom and here. This involved the prescription of powerful narcotics, including injectable methadone, on a long-term basis in appropriate dosages. She never prescribed heroin because she did not have the required license. Of course, no American doctor can prescribe any injectable drug to an addict. Moreover, while heroin is available for pain control and addiction treatment in the United Kingdom, it is totally forbidden in the United States.
Thus was this American wandering scholar confronted with a situation where the leading drug official of the country had happily introduced me to a doctor who treated about 150 addicted patients in part by prescribing injectable drugs to them. Moreover, that official observed that Ann's methods of clean, prescribed drugs plus emotional support and guidance were assisting these potential derelicts to lead legal lives, away from the black market.
The ideal of helping an addict lead a fairly normal life on drugs, but not without them, was expressed in the historic Rolleston Report of 1926. Bing Spear saw himself as the latter-day custodian of that wonderful report and he also believed that Ann Dally was living up to its humane spirit. He was quite open for years in his support of Ann and also open in his criticism of the "London Mafia," as he called the group of doctors (including, among others, Thomas Bewley and Philip Connell) who ran the London clinics and who dominated the medical profession's approach to drug treatment.
At the end of the day, the "Mafia" docs won. Ann committed a number of "felonies" in their eyes. She was an uppity female. She was a medical journalist who wrote for the popular press and appeared in the electronic media fluently expressing her dissenting views, which were often dismissive of those of her professional betters. She was a "private" doctor practicing outside of the National Health Service, and, horrors of British horrors, charged fees for her professional services, but not for each prescription, as was often implied.
Starting in the early eighties, Ann was dragged before a series of medical committees and charged with "serious professional misconduct" and related medical offenses. I observed a number of these professional witch trials and assisted in her defense over the years, including an appearance in one of them as an expert witness. The trials demonstrated just how much good Ann was doing for her patients. They proved once again that styles in medical treatment are based upon professional hunches and personal judgments. One medical "school" of clinical judgment proceeds to destroy the career of the practitioner of another school, as has happened for decades in the United States and is now happening in the United Kingdom.
Unlike American doctors such as William Hurwitz who face criminal convictions and prison time, Ann Dally was never charged with a crime. However, she was banned from prescribing controlled drugs, and by the late eighties, exhausted by the mindless charges, withdrew from practice. H.B. Spear had left his post in 1986 and died at age 67 in 1995. Ann Dally just passed away at the age of 80.
Today, professional schizophrenia reigns on the United Kingdom drug scene. The NHS drug clinics continue in their rigid course, but a few have adopted a wide range of flexible, experimental practices that would have delighted Bing and Ann. Some private addiction treatment doctors the latest being Colin Brewer still get hauled before the medical heresy courts and defrocked. It remains a disorderly, confusing situation, but still a country mile better than the situation here in the belly of the prohibition beast and the war on drugs.
April 4, 2007
HOW WESTERN LIBERALS STAND IN THE WAY OF CONFRONTING VIOLENT RADICAL ISLAM
Tawfik Hamid is an example of the type of person who just might save us all, including millions of Muslims. Read this article from The Wall Street Journal which makes a lot of uncomfortable sense.
April 3, 2007
THE BIZARRE PROSECUTION OF TWO JEWISH AIPAC STAFF FOR ESPIONAGE
I cannot make sense of it and I have read nothing that does make sense. Does the FBI have nothing better to do? And what of the lack of courage on the part of AIPAC and on the part of the traditional civil liberties monitoring groups like the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights? Everybody involved looks as if they had lost their guts and their marbles all at once. Is there a secret cabal of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel agents in the FBI? I have never heard of one and assume it does not exists. Any help on understanding the mass, collective stupidity here would be helpful. As this article points out, if this standard were applied to the entire government the only one on the outside would be me, and given my memories of my times in government, and talking to government officials, I am not so sure of me, now that I think of it. Thanks to Mr. LA and to the WSJ for this one.
April 2, 2007
THE BASIC FACTS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA HAVE NOT CHANGED AS REFLECTED HERE
In its latest edition, The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform has resurrected some work I did many years ago. It still rings true today. The entire edition is well worth reading, not just the material that mentions my thoughts. Cheers to Jon Gettman and his continuing good work.
April 2, 2007
TEACHING ABOUT HOLOCAUST OFFENDS MUSLIMS, WHY?
It appears that the censoring of history in Britain with an eye towards pleasing Islamic sensibilities extends also to lower levels of the educational system. The Holocaust is being removed from some curriculum so that Muslims are not offended. This begs the question why would they be offended, unless there was a great deal of merit to be found in the banned lecture mentioned directly below.
April 1, 2007
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HITLERISM AND ARAB ANTISEMITISM:VERBOTTEN IN UK
That is, it is not a subject that may be discussed, at least in one UK university. The reason is that it might upset some Muslim students. It is remarkable that a learned lecture on this subject was considered too inflammatory for Leeds University. If that is the case, we are surrendering in advance to the forces of Islamism. Melanie Phillips explains and is properly outraged.
March 31, 2007
MORE SPARKS OF HOPE FROM IRSHAD IN JEWISH-MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS
For the foreseeable future I intend to focus on what I call sparks of hope in the relationship between Muslims and Jews and Christians. This is no easy task and I am not well-educated in this arena. However, I intend to keep learning on the theory that even old geezers can learn new tricks. The value of this particular item is that it comes from Irshad Manji, a devout Muslim who calls herself a Muslim Refusnik. She says that she is a devout Muslim who refuses to accept the harsh intolerant parts of the religion as preached by too many imams. Irshad is courageous and humorous. She is a force not to be ignored. Read on.
My next book will be on ths subject - the hope found in gutsy Muslim reformers and in their allies.
I must look for small sparks of hope because in most respects the intolerant Muslims are winning and the spineless West is losing.
March 30, 2007
WORDS FAIL ME RE THIS HORRIBLE GAZA STORY
However, it is fair to say that this awful event is a poster story on the entire situation in Gaza and in many other Arab and Muslim societies. Their hatred of Jews and Christians allows them to sink into a sea of ... you name it.
The original picture is here.
March 30, 2007
BOB BARR'S STUNNING CONVERSION
There was a time when the mention of former Republican Congressman Bob Barr’s name at any drug reform conference or event would elicit hisses and boos. This stemmed from the Georgian’s attachment of an amendment to a federal bill funding the District of Columbia, which prohibited the local government from spending the tiny amount of money necessary to count the overwhelmingly favorable votes already cast in a medical marijuana referendum.
Well times and the ex-Congressman's position have changed as The Politico has announced that he is going to become a lobbyist with the Marijuana Policy Project. Barr explained the rationale for this switch stating, “I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives.”
March 29, 2007
EFFECTIVE LOBBYING BY SSDP
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is organizing support for legislation soon to be reintroduced by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). The measure called the Removing Impediments to Students’ Education (RISE) Act will restore financial aid eligibility to students with drug convictions. They have convinced 175 prominent organizations to sign a letter to members of Congress asking them to co-sponsor the bill.
These groups include the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the College Board, the National Education Association, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the American Council on Education. The organizations that specialize in substance abuse and criminal justice issues include the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the American College Health Association, and the National Black Police Association.
March 28, 2007
MEDICAL MARIJUANA: KATIE COURIC'S LOST OPPORTUNITY
On last Sunday’s 60 Minutes program Katie Couric interviewed Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth who has been diagnosed with life threatening bone cancer. Couric, whose own husband died of cancer, has been criticized by some for treating the candidate and his spouse in an overly harsh and aggressive manner. (See here and here)
She should also be taken to task for a lack of substance in her questions. The interview was almost entirely devoted to the politics of the situation, with no discussion of the disease itself and its possible treatment. There was certainly no mention of medical marijuana’s value in combating the intense nausea which accompanies chemotherapy. The piece represents another lost opportunity to examine an important and woefully neglected issue this time with a major presidential candidate who now has a unique perspective.
In contrast, another Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has a strong public position in favor of medical marijuana. He will shortly sign a bill legalizing that medicine in his state, saying "So what if it's risky? It's the right thing to do." Not only will Richardson sign the law but he was instrumental in securing its passage.
March 26, 2007
A WORTHY RESOLUTION
Robert Ryan a former Maryland Republican Party Central Committee member who is now active with the Ohio Patient Network has authored and introduced the following resolution at the Amnesty International USA annual general meeting.
THE WAR ON DRUGS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
WHEREAS, the United States has the world's largest prison population, fueled by the War on Drugs;
WHEREAS the indiscriminate aerial spraying of herbicides from high altitudes in Columbia impacts the environment and human health, including genetic damage, skin tumors and thyroid damage, and is a direct result of the War on Drugs policies;
WHEREAS the incarceration of women convicted of low-level drug-related offenses has negatively impacted families, created drug war orphans, and dramatically increased the burden on social services;
WHEREAS Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran, Saudi Arabia and China have death sentences and executions for drug offenses, and the United States federal drug law also has death sentence provisions;
WHEREAS the US War on Drugs disproportionately affects people of color, as evidenced by the fact that while 72% of drug users are white and 15% are African-Americans, African-Americans make up 37% of those arrested and 57% incarcerated for drug felonies;
WHEREAS a growing number of organizations such as Blacks In Government, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Human Rights Watch, National Organization of Women, Unitarians Universalist, New England Journal of Medicine, the American Public Health Association and more have taken positions against Drug War policies;
WHEREAS Amnesty International USA overwhelmingly passed a resolution titled "The waging of a war on illegal drugs, known as the War on Drugs, and its effect on human rights and environmental integrity" at its 2002 Annual General Meeting; and
WHEREAS the Amnesty International USA Board of Directors recognizes that the "War on Drugs has had a negative impact on human rights around the world," and called for "taking a movement-wide position on this matter".
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Amnesty International USA take steps to educate its leaders and membership on the War on Drugs impact on human rights;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Amnesty International USA will work in coalition with the above-mentioned organizations and others to convey their common concerns regarding human rights violations in connection with the War on Drugs to the President of the United States; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Amnesty International is urged to take a public position against the human rights abuses carried out in the name of the War on Drugs.
March 22, 2007
BERNARD LEWIS PROVIDES A LONG VIEW OF THE ISLAMIC CHALLENGE
Unless the West gets smarter, or learns all of these lessons, we are the losers. See if you can find any glimmers of hope in this learned talk.
March 21, 2007
GEORGE SOROS WRONG AGAIN ON ISRAEL
I agree with George Soros on almost everything except Israel. To my knowledge in recent years he has opposed every policy of the Israeli government. Here is another example.
March 21, 2007
HELL HAS FROZEN OVER. WHY? BBC ADMITS BIAS
Of course, there is a mendacious reason for the admission, as this story indicates.
March 20, 2007
JUDGE ONLY QUALIFIED TO DECIDE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES
Up until yesterday the state of Florida considered Judge Lawrence Korda qualified to make important decisions about people’s personal lives such as where the paternity and custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby should be decided. This will probably change because he was caught smoking marijuana in a public park. You see, the state does not consider him to be competent when making personal decisions about his own life such as how he chooses to relax. If he had gotten drunk in a bar or had a prescription for an anti-depressant drug with a suicide warning on the bottle he would not now be in trouble.
When in the Anna Nichole Smith spotlight Judge Korda conducted himself and his courtroom in a professional and efficient manner that elicited no negative commentary. On the other hand, Judge Larry Seidlin, also involved in the Smith case, who promoted a circus like atmosphere in his courtroom and blubbered when announcing his decision will continue on the bench because he does not smoke marijuana or at least has not been caught doing so.
March 19, 2007
MISGUIDED STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT
The State Department has issued a 450 page report titled International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes proving once again that sacrifice, in this case less effective diplomacy, to further drug prohibition is standard operating procedure. In his devastating critique of the document, Richard W. Rahn, who serves as a director and board member of several economic policy organizations including the European Center for Economic Growth, points out that, “The Report, produced by the global nannies and nags at State, is filled with endless demands that other countries do a better job enforcing their laws, pass more laws, sign more international treaties and engage in some practices that would be illegal and unconstitutional in the U.S. Many of the demands would not meet a reasonable cost-benefit test, and are superfluous and banal - ‘be less corrupt.’”
March 18, 2007
ISLAMIC TSUNAMI ALREADY HERE
Israeli author Solly Ganor describes an interesting conversation with a fellow countryman who happens to be a Christian Arab construction boss on FrontPage.com. The tone of this dialogue on the Arab’s part is quite alarming as the following statement illustrates: “The Americans, the Europeans, and even you Israelis really don’t know what it is all about, do you? During the last generation hundreds of thousands of children have been taught all over the Moslem world in Madras schools to become martyrs for Allah in order to kill the infidels. These youngsters not only are ready to do it, but are actually in the process of doing it. Bombs are going off all over the world killing and maiming thousands of people, not only on 9/11 in the US, in London Madrid and Bali, but in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other places. The first signs of the Islamic Tsunami is already here, but the West doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand what is coming."
March 17, 2007
IRSHAD RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ST. PETERSBURG DECLARATION
I do not know how I missed this until now. I spoke to her several times at the summit and of course heard her speak. Fortunately, her objections are quite logical and she provides language to strengthen the declaration. The intent is to make clear that devout Muslims have a place in the movement and are covered by the declaration. I thought they had been but then again I am not a Muslim, which Irshad Manji is. Her concerns should be addressed by the other summit leaders of course. It is worth looking at her powerful site to see her rational objections to the declaration in the name of devout Muslims -- and for the other important information that the site contains.
March 16, 2007
TWO RELATED OP-EDS ON VITAL ISLAMIC ISSUES TODAY IN THE WASHINGTON TIMES
One by Diana West continues themes we discussed here a few days ago on the huge threat of an Islamic takeover in Belgium and the rest of Europe. At the same time, West finds some hopeful signs in the actions of a few Belgian politicians who are trying to preserve some of their country's old traditions. Then there is an op-ed by me [permalink] which is mainly positive in that it talks about the courage and wisdom of some of the leading speakers at the historic Secular Islam Summit which I attended recently in St. Petersburg, Florida. Allow me to apologize to those fine speakers at the Summit whom I did not mention. I will remedy that defect in future columns and in my next book which will focus on America's courageous Arab dissenters and reformers.
March 16, 2007
THE KSM CONFESSION SHOULD MAKE US RETHINK STRATEGY
It could be that he is simply bragging but at the very least it should make us rehtink what we are doing in dealing with monsters like him -- and those in this country who are sympathetic to him and his mad cause.
March 15, 2007
THE DRUG TESTERS LOSE ANOTHER ONE. AND THE AWARD GOES TO JENNIFER OF DPA
Recently, Jennifer Kern, a research associate with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) debated and decisively defeated Dr. Bertha Madras, the deputy director of Demand Reduction in the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on the pages of Newsweek. The topic concerned the government’s efforts to expand the drug testing of students in our nation’s schools. When asked what message the tests sent to the students the bureaucrat responded with the ridiculous assertion that the kids love it, while Kern correctly pointed out that, “They are undermining the very protective factors that are shown to keep people out of trouble with drugs. For instance, [there are] concerns that the testing breaks down relationships of trust between students and adults at school, hinders open communication and contributes to a hostile school environment and it risks deterring students from extracurricular activities.”
March 14, 2007
ISLAMIC RADICALISM ADVANCING ON MANY FRONTS
Two recent articles by European journalist Paul Belien in The Brussels Journal and The Washington Times speak to a European willingness for surrender to radical Islam. Meanwhile in America today’s Washington Post has a multi-page advertising supplement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, no mention of intolerance for other religions there, and the battle is about to enter the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis as six imams are suing US Airways because they were removed from a flight for frightening the other passengers. The suit, supported by the supposedly moderate Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), claims damages for "fear, mental pain, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, financial injury including lost business profits." After reading accounts of the incident, which had all the earmarks of a hijacking, one cannot help but believe that passengers have a much stronger case for intentional infliction of emotional distress than the imams do.
March 7, 2007
DRUG WAR CENTENNIAL
The San Fransisco Chronicle has published an important article by historian Dale Gieringer. It concerns the centennial of a significant event in the history of drug policy.
March 7, 2007
MORE HISTORY FROM ST. PETERSBURG: THE ST. PETERSBURG DECLARATION
The Secular Islam Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida, which just concluded, made history by merely taking place. It also made history by issuing a dramatic St. Petersburg Declaration. I attended the entire event and was sitting a few feet from the front of the room when the declaration was projected onto a screen. Then Ibn Warraq read it slowly in English. Then various members of the audience read it in Bangladesh, Farsi, and Arabic. Click here to see the full text and also to hear it read in English. I will put up other links to see many other stories on the event and the declaration -- and I will write more very shortly.
March 6, 2007
HISTORIC SUMMIT MAKING NEWS
The Secular Islam Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida is making historic news. Below are links to some of the more important stories:
Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens: "Islam's other radicals"
You need a WSJ subscription to view above
March 6, 2007
MORE ON THE WONDERFUL WASHPOST REPORTERS RE:WALTER REED
Sometimes the good guys and/or girls win. Couldn't have said it better myself.
A POWERFUL STORY AT WALTER REED
By Deborah Howell, Ombudsman
"The Other Walter Reed" series broke news -- and readers' hearts as well. The reporting of the dreadful conditions suffered by wounded Iraq war veterans brought a stream of praise -- even from the paper's frequent critics.
Important stories often come from strangers who have seen injustice up close but do not know what to do about it. That's what started The Post's investigation. A person who knew the concerns of soldiers and family members was horrified at how they were living and being treated.
That person cold-called reporter Dana Priest, and they quickly met. Priest said she was "shocked" at what she heard. "I left the meeting and thought, 'Could this be so?' It is so different from the image we all have" of Walter Reed Army Medical Center
National enterprise reporter Anne Hull came aboard right away. Priest and Hull are powerfully good reporters -- Priest on national security and Hull as a renowned feature writer. Priest did tough reporting on a story about secret CIA prisons that was part of Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage -- and that also led to her being called a traitor to her country. She is used to reporting the intricacies of intelligence on deep background but not stories deep in human emotion. "I didn't worry or ask about people's feelings," she said of the intelligence stories.
Telling human stories was Hull's stock in trade long before she came to The Post. She disappears into a story and writes it with beauty and selflessness.
The two set out, mostly separately and never undercover, and did the kind of plain old gumshoe on-the-record reporting that often goes unrecognized in this high-tech age. They started calling family members -- names they got from the tipster. They went over to Walter Reed to see outpatient treatment for themselves. They quietly observed and did interviews that brought more tips. "No one was really paying attention," Priest said of Army officials, which allowed them to stay "below the radar for as long as we did."
They found "a platter of problems," Priest said, from unsanitary conditions to a seeming disregard for the problems the soldiers had brought back from Iraq. Each time she left the hospital, Priest said, "I went through stages of outrage and sadness that were very motivating. These soldiers loved the military and were so angry" at their treatment.
Hull felt the same way: "Their stories made me furious." Hull and Priest were conscious of the need not to bring official retribution on soldiers, many of whom were waiting for disability discharges and feared what would happen if they complained.
They also did not go to veterans' or advocacy groups. "We didn't want to set off alarms," Priest said. She and Hull talked to dozens of soldiers and their families, wanting to make sure that there weren't just a few aberrant cases, Priest said. "We had to make sure it was true."
"It was Reporting 101," said Hull, who is known for her ability to sink into the scene (she spent a night on the floor of the room of one soldier and his wife), observe it and quietly ask questions. "You spend a lot of time to gain trust" with the people being interviewed, she said.
"No one was listening to them. We were willing to listen," Hull said. The power of listening is a quality that the best reporters have in spades
Hull worries that the injured soldiers, especially the older National Guardsmen, will not be able to perform their old jobs back home and will be jobless and dependent. Doing this story was "putting the burner on high" for the Army to do something, she said. "This is why we do what we do."
After reporting four months, the two reporters drew up a list of more than 30 questions for the Walter Reed brass several days before the series was scheduled to run Feb. 23. The two never considered going through Army public relations officials for fear that their access would be cut off. Army officials criticized their reports as "one-sided" but brought up no factual inaccuracies.
Priest said the project has been one of the most satisfying she has ever done because of the "overwhelming response." It was immediate. Within 24 hours, the military was painting rooms, killing roaches and mice, removing mold -- and paying attention to the bureaucratic problems that wounded soldiers faced. Members of Congress were calling for special investigations and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates named a panel of experts to make recommendations. He also fired Gen. George W. Weightman, commander of Walter Reed, on Thursday, the same day Priest and Hull had a Page 1 story saying top Walter Reed officials had been hearing these complaints for more than three years. On Friday, President Bush ordered a comprehensive review of care, and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey resigned.
A thousand blogs have linked to the story; it prompted record comments to washingtonpost.com and hundreds of letters to the editor.
Cynthia Farrell Johnson of Silver Spring wrote: "Bravissima! Thank you so much for the series on . . . Walter Reed Army Medical Center outpatients and their families. . . . [It] is a perfect example of how the fourth estate can help ensure good governance. These articles . . . were about shining the light on something in our government that needs fixing, calling people to account, and discussing how best to remedy the situation. Finally, this is a timely reminder of why we need a free and unfettered press. Good journalism is sometimes about giving voice to those who on their own would be unable to make themselves heard."
March 6, 2007
MANDATORY MINIMUMS IN MARYLAND
Naomi Long of the Drug Policy Foundation (DPA) has sent a call to action letter concerning the repeal of a mandatory minimum sentencing law in Maryland. I have seen quite a few of these over the years and found this one to be a very well written and powerful argument. One can only hope that some of the legislators actually read it.
March 4, 2007
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE-WHERE ARE YOU?
This is the equivalent of Car 54-Where are you? I do not want to pile on the poor federal government when its reputation for efficiency is not at the best but this is personal. I read about the wonderful idea of the opening up of investigations into cold civil rights murder cases by the Attorney General. I looked at the list in the newspapers and realized that I had investigated one of them in the hot sun of the south long ago when I was Chief of the Administration of Justice of the US Commission on Civil Rights. After thinking about it for a while I called the FBI and was referred to the Civil Rights Division of main Justice and told my story to a succession of officials. Honestly , I was humble and merely said that I had actually been there and talked to witnesses and might have some reports in my files that might possibly be of some use. I was not sure but as a good citizen here I am.
Zero interest. The main attitude was why are you bothering us? I left my numbers but no response. Ok sports fans if that is how you feel about it but I do recall that you folks missed some big leads before 9/11 with that attitude.
I am here and you can email me if you want to talk about that case. It is a matter of justice, which is in your name I think.
March 4, 2007
THE WEIRD BUSINESS OF DRUG SENTENCING
If any sensible person can find logic in the rules of sentiencing for drug convictions, congratulations. It is the world turned upside down, in my eyes.
March 3, 2007
MELANIE PHILLIPS RINGS THE ALARM BELL AGAIN ON THE SURRENDER OF THE WEST TO ISLAMISTS
Here is the full indictment, pressed down and flowing over. I suspect that she is correct on almost every point -- but fervently wish she was not. Is any body listening? Read carefully.
March 3, 2007
THE PULITZER PLUS PLUS FOR DANA PRIEST AND ANNE HULL
Never in the history of the press -- at least in my memory of history -- has a newspaper story or series of stories had such a dramatic and rapid impact as the stories on the mistreatment of wounded soldiers in the outpatient sections of Walter Reed Army Hospital by Dana Priest and Anne Hull. If there is any justice in the world, both should get Pulitzers and whatever other awards are possible -- certainly the Medal of Freedom or whatever the highest civilian award from the government is now called and certainly given by the president in the Oval Office. And then the Pope ought to consider some kind of special award also. I think canonization is a bit premature but something close. Full disclosure: my family and the Priest family are good friends, but we had no inkling that this story was in the offing and did wonder where Dana had disappeared to in recent months -- and the awards I suggest are based upon objective criteria. Then there is the fact that the WashPost has become one of my least favorite newspapers because of its bias in other areas; I had to set that aside and admit that these two reporters and the top editors hit back-to-back grand slams on this story.
March 3, 2007
THE SECULAR ISLAM SUMMIT IS CAPTURING NEWS AROUND THE WORLD
History is being made for the next few days in Florida. I will be there to observe it first hand but other can watch on CNN and on blogs. My next book will be on these brave pioneers who are seeking to hopefuly usher in the next Islamic Enlightenment.
Subject: Secular Islam Summit news
With less than two days until the opening of the Secular Islam Summit, this historic event is capturing media attention worldwide. The Summit has recently received coverage by Al Arabiya, Kuwait News Agency, and Muslim World Today, among others. Read more at www.secularislam.org.
SUMMIT LIVE ON CNN HEADLINE NEWS
The CNN Headline News primetime show, "Glenn Beck," will broadcast from the Secular Islam Summit on Monday, March 5, airing at 7pm, 9pm, and 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time. The program will feature interviews with Summit delegates and footage from the conference.
VIDEO BLOGS FROM ST. PETERSBURG
Even if you can't be in St. Petersburg for the Secular Islam Summit, you can be present by checking out video blogs--featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes clips--that will be posted throughout March 4th and 5th at www.secularislam.org.
Secular Islam Summit 2007
the next Islamic Enlightenment starts now.
March 1, 2007
MORE PRAISE OF AMERICA
It is strange but gratifying to see more praise of America. Take a look at this new ad from the folks at 18 Doughty Street in old London. Perhaps there is still some hope for the Brits after all.
February 28, 2007
ENDANGERING THE FREE SPEECH OF THOSE MOST CONCERNED
Those who support and benefit from drug prohibition seek to stifle debate whenever possible because they know that the only way they win the argument over drug policy is by not having the argument in the first place. Historically this tactic has been very successful.
Their latest opportunity comes in the form of Morse v Frederick a dispute to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. It involves high school student Joseph Frederick who showed up at a school sanctioned, off campus, event wearing a tee shirt reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”. While this slogan was juvenile and probably offensive to some people, it clearly also had a political policy connotation and thus was protected by the 1st Amendment. Nevertheless, as Kris Kane Executive Director of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) informs us the student “sued his principal and school board after receiving a 10-day suspension. Losing the case in federal district court, Frederick won his appeal to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. When his school board appealed that ruling, the Supreme Court accepted the case.”
Brooks M. Beard, lead counsel, and Alex D. Kreit have filed a very powerful Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of SSDP supporting Frederick. This document does an excellent job of demonstrating just how vile and damaging an attack on political free speech the government’s pursuit of this case is. They make the following three important points:
1) STUDENTS HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DISCUSS ISSUES RELATING TO DRUG POLICIES, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE DRUG POLICIES DIRECTLY AFFECT THEIR DAILY LIVES AND THUS RELATE TO SOME OF THEIR CORE POLITICAL CONCERNS
2) PUBLIC SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED TO RESTRICT STUDENT SPEECH RELATING TO DRUG POLICY SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT
3) PUNISHING RESPONDENT’S SPEECH WOULD STIFLE LEGITIMATE STUDENT SPEECH ABOUT DRUG POLICY
February 27, 2007
THE UNITED STATES IS A SHINING BEACON IN A GENERALLY HOSTILE WORLD
There, I have said it. It is remarkable that to say such a thing is now viewed in most intellectual -- especially left intellectual -- circles as utterly stupid, right wing, no nothing... blah bla blah. Yet, I am old enough to recall that I grew up believing roughly such ideas. Even though I have spent most of my professional life as a critic of many American policies, I still believe that my country, on balance, has been a leading force for good in the world. On many occasions when I have given talks overseas, say in the European Parliamant in Brussels, I have added to my criticisms just such ideas. Often, my audience was quite skeptical of my flattering remarks. However, please remember these ideas when you read of my criticisms of various US policies. A recent new history of the West says some of the same things not only about the United States but also about the British Empire. The author points out that such views are now seen as revisionist history! Here is a link to an interview with the author of that so-called revisionist history.
February 25, 2007
NEW RULES FOR BRITISH SCHOOLS
The Washington Times has published a column by Diana West describing a seventy-two page guide issued by the Muslim Council of Britain. The goal is to have the British state schools better accommodate the 2.7% of its students who are Muslim.
West also gives details about two recent and horrific crimes committed by Muslim extremists. She then concludes that “What is quite eerie about these horrific crimes is the striking fact that the perpetrators, who acted to avenge various infractions of Islamic law, would likely feel right at home in a British state school that had adopted the Muslim Council of Britain's recommendations. In other words, the outlaws and the advocacy group are working in their different ways to enact Islamic law. Which should teach us all a lesson - if we bothered to learn it.”
February 12, 2007
It is sad that the Arab world so often is incited by false stories that have nothing to do with the truth and only serve as an excuse for more violence against non-Muslims. As usual the mainstream media has got the excitement over the Temple Mount excavations all wrong and again tends to make the Israelis out to be grievously wrong. So also many major governments, especially those who would love to see Israel disappear. Here is a good review of the truth by HonestReporting, an organization that deserves the emotional and financial support of all those who believe in justice and fairness in the world.
February 11, 2007
THE [DELETED] BIGOTED WASHINGTON POST
Fill in the deletion with your favorite curse words. The Post suffers from the standard liberal or PC disease that requires almost any story on Israel and the Arabs to somehow make the Jews the bad guys and the Arabs the victims. The headline on the story today by Scott Wilson, from Jerusalem, is "JEWISH INROADS IN MUSLIM QUARTER." It seems that the despicable Jews -- labeled "settlers ' -- are intent on buying more land in Jerusalem and making the city have a more Jewish character. The Jews are using free market, peaceful measures and tempting Arab owners with cash. They are also using the power of their government to make it easier for Jews to get that land, much of it in the so-called Muslim Quarter. The Arabs sometimes use threats and violence. Read the story several times and my guess is that you will be confused as to the exact facts and as to where justice lies. It is truly confusing and the combined efforts of the reporter and the editors here in Washington did nothing to make it all easy to understand -- except to make clear that in case of confusion always blame the Israelis.
However, the story ignores or mentions only in passing some very important facts.
FACT: Under international law, this is all Israeli land. It was captured in a defensive war in 1967 when all of the neighboring Arab states launched yet another war to destroy the tiny nation of Israel and massacre all of its people, men, women, and children. Israel is the only nation in the region that allows the institutions of other religions to be controlled by clerics of those other religions. The so-called Muslim Quarter exists because of the desire of the Jews in Israel to exhibit tolerance and decency to other religions.
FACT: There are few Christian churches or Jewish synagogues in any of the neighboring Arab states. When the "moderate" nation of Jordan occupied the Old City, it destroyed the Grand Synagogue and one smaller one. Ancient Hebrew headstones were ripped from the hallowed ground of old cemeteries and used as urinals by Jordanian soldiers or for construction of new Arab buildings. It is standard Arab practice to destroy Jewish holy places whenever they gain possession of them. The world community somehow rarely criticizes such behavior on the part of the Arabs.
FACT: There has been a documented Hebrew presence in Jerusalem for at least three thousand years, long before the Muslim religion existed. The Old and the New Testament are full of mentions of the holy city of Jerusalem. Yet, Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran. Not once.
None of these facts is meant to be fully dispositive in the disputes over land purchases in Jerusalem today but they must be placed in the balance when weighing the comparative ethics in this confusing situation. The headline of course could have been "JEWS SEEK TO INCREASE THEIR POPULATION IN THEIR ANCIENT CAPITOL CITY."
February 13, 2007
THERE IS NO RIGHT TO SHOUT DOWN A SPEAKER
Too many university deans, and the heads of their campus police forces, believe that students have a constitutional right to prevent unpopular speakers from giving their speeches by shouting them down. This is now a standard tactic for Muslim student groups and for leftist students who disagree with those who support many American policies and those of Israel, among others. Quite the opposite. There is good support in the law for treating those who stop others from speaking as criminals and arresting and punishing them with criminal sanctions. Such thugs are also usually in violation of university codes of conduct. When Muslim students shouted down Daniel Pipes at University of California at Irvine, eventually the campus police led the group of thugs from the hall but only after they had been allowed to stop the speech for about thirty minutes. To my knowledge the gutless administrators of that university did nothing to punish the thuggish students who had violated the law and university codes of conduct. Fortunately, the situation was just the opposite when Walid Shoebat later appeared at the University of California at Davis. This was because an attorney advised the university and the Muslim Student Association -- which was planning a similar outrage -- that they would be subject to arrest and possible university sanctions if they did so. These proper threats worked. There were no interruptions to a wonderful speech that reached many Muslim students in attendance in a positive way.
There are many lessons here. The good guys must get tough with the thugs by demanding the university officials and the police assure First Amendment rights to all speakers and they also must punish those students who stop them from talking. The law is on the side of the speakers and not the thugs who shout them down. This may be a shock to many university leaders who should be sued if they do not live up to their obligations in running a university in a democracy. Here is a more complete description of Mr. Shoebat's appearance at UC Davis.
February 11, 2007
GLENN BECK, IRSHAD MANJI, AND THE SECULAR ISLAM SUMMIT
History was made a few days ago when Irshad Manji was interviewed for almost the entire show by Glenn Beck on CNN Headline News. Beck is wonderful and at times infuriating. However, he is mainly a force for good. He has presented the horrors of Islamic practices today and also the hope presented by many reformers and dissenters within that religion. Manji is breathtaking. She presents a positive picture of a faithful Muslim who wants to bring out the best features of her religion. To hear her talk I am reminded of the black protesters in the South and the North during my work in the American civil rights movement. People like Manji are using the terms of that movement and also the terms of the effort to free Soviet Jewry, such as refusenicks. More power to them. They represent one of the only hopes for a peaceful future for this small planet. Of course, the lives of many of them are often in danger because of the nutcases that tend to dominate any discussion of reform of Islam -- in the same way that violent nutcases opposed any progress in civil rights not too long ago in America. Click here to see information on the Beck, Manji and the Secular Summit in early March.
February 10, 2007
HNN Blog Response to Peter Cohen's Critique of Fatal Distraction
In December The Trebach Report presented a response to Peter Cohen's criticism of Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror. This item was cross posted on the Liberty and Power: Group Blog where it sparked a very interesting stream of comments reproduced here.
At the official launch of his campaign for president today in Springfield, Illinois he came across on national television as a powerful and brilliant force of nature. He was electric and vital and alive. He never paused to articulate a word or even to clear his throat. At the same time the speech lacked specificity. In time he has to take stands that anger some people. He keeps saying that we must leave Iraq. That is hardly a pioneering stand -- and I am not even sure that it is a correct one, however popular it may be. My hope is that he comes out for doing something that few other candidates can do. For example, work on repairing the rift between American blacks and Jews. That sits yawning there like a threat that can seriously hurt the whole country in time.
In any event, I now believe he would make a great president. That is a risky statement and I could be very wrong but there it is -- that is now my opinion.
Unless some disaster strikes during the next eighteen months , it would be logical for the Democratic ticket to be Hillary and Barak.
There is something else that must be said in this context. Only in America could a woman and black man be seriously considered for the top two jobs in the country and perhaps in the world. The American dream lives on!
Here is a glimpse of Obama in Springfield, the land of Lincoln.
February 10, 2007
Women and Islam
In Friday’s Washington Times Diana West has a column highlighting the different attitudes towards women found in Western and Islamic cultures. She praises the courage of writers such Bat Ye’or, Nonie Darwash, Brigitte Gabriel, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali for speaking out against the inequities faced by women living in the Muslim world.
West also mentions a remarkable debate, broadcast on Al Jazeera last year, featuring Syrian-born psychiatrist Wafa Sultan, with a transcript available online at the MEMRI: The Middle East Media Research Institute website. In her opening to this interchange, which has been referred to in this space before, Sultan states, “The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings.”
February 4, 2007
More on Daniel Pipes at UC Irvine
Another view of the thuggery by Muslim students at the University of
February 4, 2007
Suppression of Speech at UC-Irvine by Muslim Students:
I am Outraged! Take a look at this video from Little Green Footballs. Perhaps I am reacting too much like the old professor that I am who views the traditions of the university as quite sacred, indeed a cornerstone of Western democracy. This is not the first time that Daniel Pipes has been shouted down in this fashion, nor is it the first time that critics of Arab/Muslim Middle East policies have been treated in that fashion. Many Muslim students in the West act as if the only way to treat critics is to be thuggish and to stop them from talking. I worry that the universities seem paralyzed by this behavior and also seem unable to take tough actions against those students who deny fundamental freedoms to supporters of Israel and critics of anti-Semitism. Should those thuggish students be thrown out of the university? Should they be treated as heroes of dissent in the best Jeffersonian tradition? Of course my view is that they are trampling on Jeffersonian ethics by their behavior but many American university administrators see it just the other way around. This cannot keep happening on American campuses -- or we will have lost the core of the democratic tradition.
February 3, 2007
Brian Bennett Does it Again
The faint of heart should read Brian Bennett's blog regularly to gain courage
and perspective on the need for abolition of the drug laws, root and
branch. Here is his latest.
February 2, 2007
Thinking about a Palestinian State -- Facts We Would Rather Ignore
The problems in the Middle East are full of agony, fear, and hope -- hope
that rational people can come up with plans that will somehow pull
civilization back from the horrible abyss on which we all seem to be
teetering. One of the standard hopes is that the creation of a Palestinian
state will accomplish miracles and cause peace and love to break out in that
bloody piece of the earth. I still hope that this would be the outcome.
However, there are many voices now declaring some very uncomfortable facts
-- to the effect that the state already exists in Gaza and that it is a
horrible place, full of murder and mayhem and despair, where Muslims are
killing Muslims, where children often die in the crossfire without hardly a
murmur from the standard international critics. These are the critics who
would demand a Security Council condemnation of Israel if the Jews had
caused all of these deaths. Of course, there are those who would blame all
of this on the Israelis but at least for now such arguments seems to be
fading into the background. The current fratricide between Hamas and Fattah
is so bad that when the facts are squarely faced, the arguments for a
Palestinian state seem to be drowned in a sea of blood.
Here is a recent
exposition of this position by Caroline Glick. But if she is correct, what
is Plan B? I for one do not know.
To me, Milton seemed immortal and it is difficult to believe that he is
actually gone from this earth. We at the Drug Policy Foundation were in
frequent contact with him during the early Nineties. He was an easy fellow
to talk to and did not put on airs, even though he had every right to do so.
Both he and Dr. Thomas Szasz received awards at the Fifth Annual
International Conference on Drug Policy Reform in Washington. The book
mentioned earlier -- On Liberty and Drugs -- was based in part on the
important speeches both gave at that conference and upon selections from
their previous writing. The heavy lifting in preparation for that book was
carried out by a new, junior staff member, Rob Stewart. He went through a
vast amount of material and winnowed it down to the point where Kevin and I
could go through it once again and cut it down even more. Kennington Wall
and Dave Fratello also pitched in and dealt with more editing and also with
the layout of the book. From that joint effort came a book that we all can
be proud of because it contains kernels of wisdom from two libertarian icons
on the free market and prohibition. Make no mistake about it -- both laid
out ageless arguments in favor of full legalization of drugs. It is a
wonder, as I said above, that these arguments have been ignored in recent
commentary on the passing of Milton. Fortunately, Tom Szasz is still with
us and still maintains his legalization position. Also make no mistake
about the fact that none of this would have taken place without the strong
moral and financial support of Rich Dennis. On Liberty and Drugs may be
purchased by clicking on the link below.
January 31, 2007
Milton Friedman and Drug Policy
One reason that drug policy reform has proven to be such a difficult endeavor is that the subject is so often missing from discussions of public policy. An example of this can be found in the PBS documentary The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, which aired last Monday night.
The film looks at the influence of Friedman’s free market advocacy in countries such as the United States, Estonia, Chile, India, and China making a persuasive case that he is responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than anyone else in the history of mankind. Friedman’s significant arguments for school choice and against the military draft are also addressed; however, his steadfast and principled opposition to drug prohibition found no place in this piece.
This is a major omission as Friedman’s sharp and analytical mind produced some the most devastating arguments in favor of drug legalization ever written. His position on this issue was completely consistent with the same free market principles he applied to economic systems. In fact, in 1992 the Drug Policy Foundation published On Liberty and Drugs: Essays on the Free Market and Prohibition by Milton Friedman and Thomas Szasz; edited and with a preface by Arnold S. Trebach and Kevin B. Zeese. As far back as 1972 in an article for Newsweek Friedman got to the heart of the matter when he wrote,” I readily grant that the ethical issue is difficult and that men of goodwill may well disagree. Fortunately, we need not resolve the ethical issue to agree on policy. Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse-for both the addict and the rest of us. Hence, even if you regard present policy toward drugs as ethically justified, considerations of expediency make that policy most unwise.”
January 30, 2007
Ye Gads! Two events Making Sense in London in One Week
There may be some simple common sense left in the British people. I had thought it all had been lost, but read this story about the Pipes-Livingston debate.
Dr. Pipes goes to London
Like bookends at the beginning and end of a week, two significant events occurred recently which, because they conflicted with the received unwisdom, were simply ignored by the mainstream media. The first, reported below, was the Dispatches TV documentary about Britain's radical mosques. This provoked virtually no comment from either the media or politicians. The second was the encounter between the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the American scholar of Islam and director of the Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes, at a day-long event organised by the Mayor to discuss whether or not there was a clash of civilisations. Since this was an enormous left-fest on Livingstone's home turf, with virtually no speakers other than Pipes and his seconder Douglas Murray (and elsewhere in this jamboree, Oliver Kamm) to put up any opposition, and with an audience overwhelmingly composed of people who thought that American neoconservatives had horns and a tail, it was assumed that Pipes would be disembowelled and his head stuck on a Greater London Authority turnpike. So great was this certainty that Pipes was advised of his terminal foolishness in accepting Livingstone's deadly invitation.[FULL TEXT]
January 28 2007
On Friday The Washington Times reported that former President Jimmy Carter has apologized for what he labels as a “stupid passage” in his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The section on page 213, which many view as an indirect endorsement of terrorist tactics, reads as follows: "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel."
Among those who took exception to the above statement and had other issues with the Carter’s manuscript was Dr. Kenneth Stein. He left his position as a Middle East Fellow at Emory University’s Carter Center and wrote in a letter to FOX News, explaining his resignation, that, “being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook.” Fourteen members of Board of Councilors of the Carter Center also resigned their positions in protest over Carter’s recent writings and statements.
These defections are occurring at a time when Investor's Business Daily is raising serious question about the suppliers of funding for the Carter Center. An editorial points out the center’s “hazy disclosures” of where its money comes from and asserts that a more than substantial amount comes from Saudi Arabia and other Arab sources. It concludes with the hope that, “maybe someday, in one of those softball interviews he gives, Carter will be asked to reconcile what he supposedly stands for with those from whom he gets his money.”
Hat tip to Claudia Rosett.
January 18, 2007
The Jewish Heritage in Iraq
This is an amazing message. Please read and reflect.
Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Huerta from the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airmobile Divison provides some very interesting insights about our mission in Iraq.
'Climbing over the rotting garbage, I realized I was the first Jew to enter
this holy place in over 50 years.
I am writing to you from Nineveh, the city of the prophet Jonah. Its present
name is Mosul.
I have had the privilege of seeing its ancient walls, of touching its
stones, of going to the grave -- Islamic tradition says -- is the prophet Jonah's.
There is a mosque at the site; but hundreds of years ago, the Iraqis we work with tell me, it was a
January 17, 2007
Drug Testing Tour
An e-mail communication from Jennifer Kern of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) informs us that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is about to begin its fourth annual tour designed to promote drug testing in schools. She is calling for a response similar to last year’s when “dedicated drug policy reformers descended on every meeting with sharp questions and literature to counter the ONDCP's deceptive presentations. Many educators expressed dissatisfaction with the one-sided information provided by the ONDCP, and were grateful to hear what we had to say: that random student drug testing is unsupported by the best available research, and can deter students from extracurricular activities--the very activities that increase students' connection to their schools and to caring adults.”
Meetings will take place in Charleston, South Carolina on January 24th, Newark, New Jersey on February 27th, Honolulu, Hawaii on March 27th, and Las Vegas, Nevada on April 24th. The DPA provides an online toolkit for those who plan to attend.
An important point to remember, made by Richard Lawrence Miller in his book Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State, about drug testing is that it highlights the fact that drug use is a status crime not a behavioral one. The only reason you would need to test people for drug use is that you cannot tell whether or not they take drugs from the way they act. This explains why the ONDCP is so interested in spreading the use of testing because without it the drug problem might not be large enough for them.
January 14, 2007
Ron Paul Presidential Bid
Here is some potentially very good news for those favoring drug policy reforms. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that Republican Congressman Ron Paul “filed incorporation papers in Texas on Thursday to create a presidential exploratory committee that allows him and his supporters to collect money on behalf of his bid. This will be Paul's second try for the White House; he was the Libertarian nominee for president in 1988.”
One of the political keys to a more rational and humane drug control strategy is a greatly reduced role for the federal government. As you can tell from these short articles, on various aspects of drug policy, by the Congressman, posted here, here, here, here, and here in the Ron Paul Archives on LewRockwell.com, he sees a federal government that is tyrannical and destructive in this area.
January 12, 2007
Film on Resurgence of Anti-Semitism
The American Jewish Committee has been running a radio message promoting an important film, Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence, produced by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). There is a DVD available and the description of it reads as follows: “Many parts of the world are experiencing a massive resurgence of anti-Semitism. Worldwide, since the year 2000, major violent acts against Jews and Jewish institutions have nearly doubled from 1990s levels. Hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, this program explores the roots of anti-Semitism and examines why it flourishes today. The documentary was written, produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Goldberg.”
January 9, 2007
Conflict Resolution Principles Abandoned
Yariv Nornberg, who has a degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, worked as a graduate assistant at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta in the area of conflict resolution. There he developed a great admiration for President Carter, however, his esteem has turned to profound disappointment with the publication of Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. In a Washington Times column Nornberg asserts that the book “completely contradicts all that I was taught about conflict resolution at the Carter Center.” He also writes “Sadly, I must reach the conclusion that in writing ‘Palestine Peace Not Apartheid’ Mr. Carter decided to transform himself from a goodwill player to an ardent advocate of the Palestinian cause. I am not suggesting that it is not his right to do so, but I would have expected a more evenhanded account from a man of his stature. Unfortunately, I see instead that he has become an obsessively biased critic of Israel, and even worse, due to his perceived credibility, a new hero for those seeking to undermine Israel's very right to exist.”
January 9, 2007
Lost Privacy Rights
One of the unintended consequences of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs is the complete destruction of any meaningful right to privacy. Journalist Jacob Sullum describes a case in point when he writes about the federal government’s investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) concerning steroid distribution to, among others, Major League Baseball players. In the course of their exploration government officials obtained permission to search the offices of Comprehensive Drug Testing in Long Beach, California for the records of ten baseball players suspected of obtaining banned substances from BALCO. However, as Sullum points out, “They left with information that went far beyond what their warrant described, including data on 1,200 baseball players and almost 3,000 computer files unrelated to Major League Baseball drug testing.” Recently, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the government’s right to do this because the ten records were “intermingled” with the others. Even worse, Sullum tells us, many of the baseball player’s records were created because “management promised the players these drug tests, conducted in 2003, would remain anonymous and confidential. The tests were aimed at estimating the prevalence of steroid use in Major League Baseball, and they were not supposed to be the basis for disciplinary action, let alone criminal investigation.”
December 14, 2006
MORE ON JIMMY CARTER
So much has been written in criticism of Jimmy Carter that it is not necessary to add more. However, I thought this piece by David Horowitz was worth looking at again. In general Horwitz makes me uncomfortable with his harsh rhetoric and tough views but it all seems almost appropriate here. My main reason in referring to this piece is that he includes a brief summary of the complex region.
December 11, 2006
Response to Peter Cohen
By Keith Halderman
DRCNet has published a review by Phil Smith of Arnold Trebach’s latest book Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror in the most recent issue of Drug War Chronicle. The piece has sparked a number of published comments including one by Dutch drug policy expert Peter Cohen which I wish to address here.
While Cohen praises the author’s acumen as a student of drug prohibition he takes strong exception to Trebach’s support of Israel. Cohen writes “I happen to be one of those Jews who thinks that the creation of Israel is one of the desperate mistakes that came out of WW2. No concentration camp and no Nazi horror legitimizes that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were chased out of their homes and farms to make the existence of Israel possible.” Now, it is important to point out that the overwhelming majority of the people living in Israel today were either small children or not even born when the events of that state’s founding took place. They cannot possibly bare any moral responsibility for any wrongs committed at that time, yet, it is they who will be slaughtered if the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah achieve their most cherished goal.
Yes, the government of Israel sometimes acts in stupid, brutal, or unjust ways, but, we must remember that it is the only government in the world whose populace lives under the constant threat of extinction by it neighbors. When the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran talk about driving the Zionists into the sea they are not speaking about regime change, they are talking about genocide. And, it is not as though there are no historical precedents for mass killings of Jews.
Though the focus of Cohen’s comment is almost exclusively on Israel, Trebach’s manuscript is much more concerned with the wider threat to the world in general. The word Israel is mentioned on only fifteen of three hundred ninety eight pages. Instead, he deals with such subjects as the 9-11 commission, assassinations in the Netherlands, bombings in London, the often violent intimidation of voices speaking out against any aspect of Islam, and the inculcation of the philosophy behind the terror.
Lastly, it is implied in both the review itself and Cohen’s comments that Trebach seeks to replace the war on drugs with a war on terror. This can not be true because the war on terror, or more correctly the terrorist’s war on us, exists independently of drug policy. People in New York City, Madrid, and London have terrible first hand experience that Islamic terrorism is indeed very real. Trebach’s point is that we need to use all of our available resources to deal with it competently. It is too important not to.
December 4, 2006
The Changing Rationale of Marijuana Prohibition
By Keith Halderman
At first, in the 1920s and 1930s, the idea that smoking marijuana caused people to become violent and insane supplied the rationale for the drug’s legal proscription. The 1928 book Dope: the Story of the Living Dead by William Randolph Hearst employee Winifred Black contained typical arguments concerning marijuana. On page 42 she wrote “the man under the influence of Hasheesh catches up the knife and runs through the streets hacking and killing everyone he meets.” Black went on to say “you can grow enough Marihuana in a window box to drive the whole population of the United States stark, staring, raving mad” and she was believed.
This line of argument favoring cannabis prohibition ran into serious trouble when New York City Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia decided to form a committee of experts to study the effects of marijuana use. The body issued a report in 1944 which authoritatively disavowed the notion that cannabis use caused violent behavior or insanity. The government then began to argue that though marijuana use itself might not be so bad the real problem lay in the fact that the drug caused its users to crave more powerful and dangerous drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Thus the “stepping stone” or “gateway” theory became the primary pillar of support for the illegality of marijuana. They made this case despite the fact that Harry Anslinger, long time head of the Bureau of Narcotics and the nation’s leading authority on drug use, specifically denied the validity of the theory in 1937 during testimony before Congress.
The “stepping stone” or “gateway” theory lost much of its power in the 1960s when a dramatic rise in the number of cannabis users failed to engender a similar rise in the users of the drugs it was supposed to lead to. However, supporters of continuing the ban on marijuana quickly came up with a new reason, amotivational syndrome. They asserted that marijuana crippled its consumers by causing them to become apathetic and uninterested in anything other than getting high. Pot smokers, like the Irish, Blacks, Italians, and Mexicans had been before them, were labeled as being lazy and worthless. Yet, when the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released their first report Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding in 1972 they maintained that "The most notable statement that can be made about the vast majority of marihuana users - experimenters and intermittent users - is that they are essentially indistinguishable from their non-marihuana using peers by any fundamental criterion other than their marihuana use."
At the present time the principle arguments for marijuana prohibition consist of the residue of the previously discredited reasons as well as a frantic search for some kind of medical justification. This quest to prove cannabis harmful to health has reached a new level of absurdity with a study highlighted on the website World Science. Referring to researchers at Tel Aviv University studying marijuana the article reports that “In hefty doses, they argue, its active ingredient may protect the brain against various types of damage, whereas in tiny doses, harmful effects would come through.” Yosef Sarne and his colleagues reached their conclusion, published in the November 6th issue of the research journal Neuroscience Letters, the World Science piece states, by injecting ”mice with THC doses that they said were some 1,000 times lower than what humans would get from smoking a joint, taking into account body weight. The treatment significantly worsened the rodents’ performance on maze tests three weeks later, compared to untreated mice, they wrote.”
This study has three major problems that are often found in research claiming to prove that marijuana consumption is harmful to human beings. First they did not test the effects of marijuana instead they studied the effects of THC and the two are not the same thing. There are hundreds of little understood active ingredients in smoked cannabis and the Israeli scientists ignored this fact and therefore failed to take into account any influence these might have had on the outcome. Secondly, they tested rodents not people and again there is no real equivalency with this method. Lastly, consumption of marijuana that is the same as a thousandth of a normal joint simply is not going to happen in real life. Even one hit would be in the neighborhood of a tenth to a twentieth of a dose.
These researchers have told us absolutely nothing about cannabis use here and they revealed their bias in a previous work featured in Medical Hypotheses (2004) 63, 187-192 when they contended that ”Cannabinoids are the most widely used drugs of abuse” thereby equating use with abuse. Studies touting the negative effects of marijuana hardly ever are about real people using real marijuana in real situations and this one is no exception.
Hat Tip Ian Goddard
December 1, 2006
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT FOR ELITE U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO DISLIKE ISRAEL
There is disturbing evidence that it is now fashionable among many students at elite American universities to view Israel with disdain and to glorify the actions of the Palestinians. These students display a complete lack of a sense of history as to how Israel was created and why it acts the way it does. To them, Israel is powerful and the Palestinians are weak, the underdogs. There is no doubt that Palestinians are suffering but there is also no doubt that it is not a case of the powerful state of Israel against a relatively few, powerless Palestinians.
It is a case rather of 500 million Arab Muslims against five million Jews in Israel. In the minds of the radical Islamist leaders who plan on destroying Israel and all of the Jews in world, along with the Americans, the struggle in Palestine is the front line in the war against the hated Zionists and Crusaders. These leaders are quite willing to make the Palestinians suffer in order to carry out their plan of worldwide genocide. Their plan for worldwide domination starts with the destructions of Israel and all of its Jewish inhabitants, men, women and children.
To read about and see pictures of the ideology of these leaders, click here. For years, I have viewed such utterances as the words of a bunch of nutcases. My most fervent wish is that in the end they will just be considered that, blathering nutcases. However, I fear that they are gaining adherents all over the world, including all over the United States. Unless we recognize the danger they pose to all decent people and stop them, they will succeed.
Please read the attached material and send it on to any college student you know.
November 23, 2006
THE UNBELIEVABLE BIAS OF UN'S ARBOUR
It is always shocking to hear UN officials talk or act in regard to Jews and Israel. Their bias is taken as the usually expected behavior. No big deal. However, the latest from Commissioner Arbour reached a new low in my opinion. While at the scene of a rocket attack, she showed no sympathy for the Jewish man who was hit by a Kassam rocket -- and eventually died -- because many more Palestinians have died in recent months. She completely ignored the fact that Israel left Gaza and turned it over to the so-called Palestinians. There was no reason for any attacks on Israel and for anyone to die on either side. Here is the full story. See if you agree that this reaches a new low and is yet another reason why the US should leave the UN.
November 22, 2006
ARE THE JIHADISTS SCARING THEIR CRITICS SPEECHLESS?
That is what Caroline Glick is arguing. I have done so also on some occasions, but not quite as eloquently as she does. Her latest column lays out a chilling case for the success of the jihadists -- and ultimately for the doom of free speech in the West. Here is the full column.
November 21, 2006
Marijuana, Alcohol and Driving
Here are two studies from Great Britain that are very unlikely to ever appear on the websites or in the literature of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). First, researchers at the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology sought to determine whether or not cannabis use would enhance the negative effects on driving ability produced by alcohol consumption.
The study tested two groups, infrequent cannabis users and regular users of cannabis matched for other factors such as age, gender, alcohol use, and other drug use. They were given both alcohol and placebo then tested on a standard computerized tracking system used to evaluate various drugs effect on driving ability. The participants were required to track a moving target while a variety of distractions appeared on the screen. Both groups performed much better on the placebo as opposed to alcohol.
Conventional wisdom holds that impairment would be increased in the regular users, “but alcohol caused a significant deterioration in performance among infrequent cannabis users relative to regular users.” The investigation concluded: “For psychomotor skills relevant to driving, chronic cannabis use (in the absence of acute administration) does not potentiate the effects of alcohol. In fact, the superior tracking accuracy of regular users relative to infrequent users after alcohol, and their lower scores for dizziness, suggest that chronic cannabis use may instead confer cross-tolerance to specific effects of alcohol on behaviour.”
Secondly, there is work done at Middlesex Polytechnic also looking at the cannabis drinking combination. Both marijuana smokers and nonsmokers were matched for alcohol use and then had their peripheral vision, an essential driving skill, tested. The authors discovered that the “cannabis users were less impaired in peripheral signal detection than non-users while intoxicated by cannabis and/or alcohol” and deduced that the “findings suggest the development of tolerance and cross-tolerance in regular cannabis users and/or the ability to compensate for intoxication effects.”
November 12, 2006
MORE BIZARRE BEHAVIOR ON THE UK DRUG TREATMENT FRONT
It seemed inevitable but it is still sad to report that the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom has issued its verdict in the massive case against Dr. Colin Brewer and other Stapleford Centre doctors. In effect almost all were found "guilty" although that is not the term used in such proceedings. The GMC erased Dr. Brewer's name from the medical register, which means he is no longer licensed to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. In my view, his greatest offenses were that he was an outspoken critic of some standard UK practices, that he prescribed drugs at a higher level than many elite doctors, and that -- horror of horrors -- he functioned as a private doctor who accepted pay for his services. As can be seen below, at the same time that they destroyed what was left of his medical career, the GMC praised his contributions and criticized the shortcomings of many standard National Health Service addiction treatment clinics.
I wrote about my respect for Dr. Brewer and for the work of Stapleford in my latest book, Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror. As I stated there, the UK had developed a schizophrenic approach to addiction treatment. Its medical elite allows many doctors to follow their medical instincts and wisdom in treating addicts and destroys others who are doing virtually the same thing. I will write more about this situation soon. Below are some of the statements Dr. Brewer just issued .
As a general proposition, in my view, most doctors in the UK still have
great freedom to treat addicts in rational ways. That is why I call this
November 9, 2006
MORE BIAS IN REPORTS ON THE SAD GAZA DEATHS.
Like the Washington Post, the Guardian in London (see story here) can be counted on to treat the Israelis as the permanent aggressors. In both stories today there are no mention of these facts: 1. Unlike the Arabs, the Israelis attempt to avoid civilian causalties and apologize when they occur. They did apologize here. 2. Not only did they apologize, they offered medical help and went and took in some of the Arab victims for treatment in Israeli hospitals. 3. The Arabs have spent over six decades declaring their hate for the Jews and their desire and plans to destroy the Jewish state. I saw none of these facts in any of the MSM stories today.
November 9, 2006
MULTIPLE TRAGEDIES IN GAZA
Israel pulled out of Gaza last summer and thus offered the Arabs the chance to start building a peaceful, prosperous Palestinian state on land totally Judenrein. It was all Arab territory. There was no "occupation" to serve as a cause of conflict. Instead the Arabs proceeded to destroy the greenhouses and other buildings handed over to them, elected a genocidal party to lead them, and launched missiles and suicide bombers into Israel proper. Of course, the Israelis eventually responded with force. Because the rockets were often launched from civilian areas, thus using civilians as shields, some of the Israeli response hurt civilians.
Predictably, the MSM, including of course the Washington Post today, headlined only the harm caused to civilians yesterday. Those deaths were a tragedy. But there was also tragedy to be found in the fact that savage Arab terrorists chose to launch their rockets from those civilian areas and that many of the so-called civilians were terrorist themselves or willing accomplices. Tragedy was also found in the fact that many sleeping innocent children were the indirect victims of their own bothers' pathological savagery. And the final tragedy was that the MSM has set the stage for yet more violence with its bigoted reporting.
One can imagine a Washington Post lead on an attack on a German town in 1945: BRUTAL AMERICAN SOLDIERS KILL MORE INNOCENT GERMAN KIDS. Later in the story might be the facts that an SS division had fired artillery from the village at American forces.
November 2, 2006
DISGUSTED AT THE ATTACKS ON KERRY
As I hope I have made very clear, I do not love the Democrats, the party I have usually supported.. That lack of love is there for many reasons, not least that they appear softer on tough issues than the Republicans. I have often supported Republican candidates and rarely have voted a straight Democratic ticket. However, I will do do so this time. One of the main reasons is the way in which the Republican leaders -- Bush, Cheney, and the whole mob -- have attacked John Kerry over his comments on education and getting stuck in Iraq. Thank God for Keith Olbermann for his special comment last night, which I put up then and which you can see and hear now. Only he appears to have really got it correctly -- that his was an attack on Bush and not on the troops in Iraq and that the Republican leaders deliberately lied abot those remarks. Today the airwaves are full of comments that show how Bush and Cheney got away with it. I am truly disgusted that they have purposely lied and distorted the remarks of a genuine war hero who had volunteered for combat duty while our president and vice president were otherwise engaged..
November 1, 2006
A MUST-LISTEN FROM KEITH OLBERMANN: LISTEN AND LISTEN AGAIN!!
I have never been in love with the Democrats and have admired some of the toughness in the Bush Administration. However, this special comment tonight by Keith Olberman changed my mind. I doubt if I have ever heard a more devastating attack on an entire administration in my life. And this was done in in the matter of a few hours because it includes events that just occurred. Even most impressive, Olbermann gets it regarding the famous remarks by John Kerry. No other commentator has done so. Kerry was aiming at the president and not the troops. Yet the president and his minions deliberately distorted the remarks. This essay makes me proud to live in a truly free country -- and at the same time I worry that the network will lose its courage and punish
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