Last year, Florida pastor Terry Jones sparked worldwide outrage when he threatened to burn a copy of the Quran outside his church. In the midst of the controversy over the Park 51 Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City, Jones announced that he would burn the Islamic holy book in order to “stop Islam.” He declared that “what we are also doing by the burning of the Quran, we’re saying stop, stop to Islam, stop to Islamic law, stop to brutality.”
The response from U.S. leaders was swift. Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said the burning “could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort.” President Obama called it a “destructive act.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates personally called Jones and asked him not to go through with his plan.
Jones agreed to postpone the burning, but this week, without much fanfare, he burned it anyway. On Sunday, Jones held a “trial”of the Quran in his church, found it “guilty,” and “executed” it.
Fifteen people were killed this morning in Kabul, including ten United Nations workers, when residents enraged at Jones’ act stormed a U.N. office:
Protesters angered by the burning of a Koran by a fringe American pastor in Florida mobbed offices of the United Nations in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing ten foreign staff members and beheading two of the victims, according to an Afghan police spokesman. Five Afghans were also killed.
The attack began when hundreds of demonstrators, some of them armed, poured out of mosques after Friday Prayer and headed to the headquarters of the United Nations in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
One Afghan official said “several hundred demonstrators were peacefully protesting the purported burning when the gathering suddenly turned violent.” This unfortunate but predictable violence is exactly what Petraeus, Gates, and others warned about.
It’s important to note that several prominent members of the far right — many of them leaders of the anti-Park 51 movement — bashed Petraues for his warnings. Blogger Robert Spencer said he opposed Jones’ plan but called Petraeus’ remarks “a recipe for surrender.” Frank Gaffney criticized Petraues’ “deeply troubling” remarks, and said “[t]he risk is that, were one to take statements like General Petraeus’ to their logical conclusion, any objection to the Quran-derived program of shariah could be deemed an endangerment to our troops overseas. The result of such a practice would inevitably be to put at risk here at home both the American people and their Constitution.” And hate blogger Pamela Gellar wondered “[i]f we stop doing things they dislike, where will we draw the line?”
West Virginia gubernatorial candidate and state Treasurer John Perdue (D) is going up with a two-minute television spot that bills him as a “big man with big ideas,” as he seeks to separate himself from other Democratic candidates on the issue of utility rates.
“His friend Robert Byrd used to call him ‘Big John,’” says the narrator of the ad. “Six foot six; and tough as nails; he’s a big man with big ideas,” various supporters say in the ad.
The ad, which you can check out after the jump, was produced by Fletcher, Rowley & Riddle and will air Thursday and Friday.
Herman Cain Goes Birther: Obama Must ‘Prove He Was Born In The United States’
While no major candidates have yet declared a run for the 2012 GOP nomination, the race for most outlandish long-shot bid is heating up, with pizza mogul Hermain Cain seeing golf course and hotel mogul Donald Trump’s birtherism with his own. Yesterday, in an interview with Florida conservative blog the Shark Tank, Cain said Trump is right to question President Obama’s birthplace, saying that he himself is unsure about Obama’s birthplace because he hasn’t hasn’t “studied” the issue enough:
INTERVIEWER: What do you think of [Trump’s] lead? Do you think he’s off base with asking the president to supply his birth certificate?
CAIN: No, he’s not off base. Just like the people who have been challenging his place of birth for the last couple of years. It’s just not an issue that I have studied enough to have a view one way or the other. … I respect people that believe he should prove his citizenship. He should prove he was born in the United States of America.
But Cain is best known for his anti-Muslim bigotry. He told ThinkProgress last week that if he were elected president, he wouldn’t appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal judiciary. He reiterated this in the Shark Tank interview, and added that anyone who takes the oath of office in a Herman Cain administration would have to swear to the Christian Bible:
CAIN: Now, I don’t know one Muslim who will denounce Sharia law and then say they support the Constitution. So my assumption based upon what I know about this belief system, is that they are not give up Sharia law. Anybody that takes the oath of office in a Herman Cain administration will put their hand on the Bible, not the Koran.
Cain’s demand that any member of his administration place their hand on the Christian Bible would likely make not just Muslims, but Jews, Hindus, or members of any other religion uncomfortable.
You’ve got to give Obama credit for being able to make the tough decisions. Whatever his inscrutable motives, it couldn’t have been easy to throw yet another of his own under the wheels of his bus by sending the USA into war against Muammar Gaddafi:
As President Barack Obama sought Monday to explain to the nation the U.S. military action in Libya which he authorized, past associations between Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and U.S. Muslim organizations, some of which have been linked to Obama, are attracting attention. …
In 2009, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the Libyan ruler for what was estimated to be tens of millions of dollars to distribute one million copies of the Koran to Americans, particularly government officials. …
The meeting was said to have been one of several between leading American Muslims and Gadhafi. They included leaders of the Nation of Islam, with which Barack Obama was associated in the 1990s, specifically in assisting with the organization of the 1995 Million Man March. …
A minister and attorney has asserted that [rabidly racist Nation of Islam leader and openly admired associate of Obama’s 20-year spiritual mentor Jeremiah “G-d America” Wright, Louis “Calypso Louie”] Farrakhan was a major influence on both Obama and the black community. E. W. Jackson, bishop of the Exodus Faith Ministries, cited Obama’s role as organizer and “enthusiastic supporter” of the Nation of Islam leader during the so-called “Million Man March” in Washington in 1995.
“Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities,” Jackson, who does not claim a personal friendship with Obama, said. “He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective. His construct of ‘The Muslim World’ is unique in modern diplomacy. It is said that only The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements of the religion use that concept. It is a call to unify Muslims around the world.”
Let’s not single out the Mullah Obama. Slick Willie has been friends with friends of Gaddafi too:
In 2004, Abdul Rahman Al Amoudi, founder of several American Muslim groups, was sentenced to 23 years for receiving money from Gadhafi as part of a plot to kill Saudi King Abdullah. During the 1990s, Al Amoudi served as an Islamic adviser to then-President Bill Clinton.
If we don’t want folks with extremely nefarious connections in positions of authority, maybe we’d better steer clear of Democrats in general.
On a tip from G. Fox.
Our Nobel Peace Prize laureate Moonbat Messiah is even more hawkish than W, according to Mark Halperin of left-liberal Time:
“By almost every metric you can use in terms of being a muscular executive — acting alone without congressional authority, extending the Bush policies overseas, particularly in the War on Terror and Afghanistan and Iraq — he’s been more hawkish than George Bush.”
Progressives may remember George Bush as the fascist warmonger whose bloodlust was going to plunge the world into chaos, and worse yet, make people not like us.
Cheer up, libs. The Manchurian Moonbat makes up for it by not acting in America’s interest. Gaddafi was pacified by Reagan and has been quiescent for years. The al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood types Obama is helping into power on our dime and at the inevitable cost of American lives are anything but.
A friend emailed this Dilbert cartoon, which just came out today:
In ordering air and naval strikes on a country that neither threatened nor attacked the United States, did President Obama commit an impeachable act?
So it would seem. For the framers of the Constitution were precise. The power to declare war is entrusted solely to Congress.
From King William’s War to Queen Anne’s War to King George’s War to the Seven Years’ War, the colonists had had their fill of royal wars. To no principle were they more committed than that the power to declare war must be separate from the power to wage it.
And Obama usurped that power.
His defenders argue that under the War Powers Act he can wage war for 60 days before going to Congress. But that applies only if the president is responding to an attack or has determined that the nation is under imminent threat.
Had JFK ordered air strikes on the Cuban missile sites, he would have been responding to an imminent and potentially mortal threat.
When Ronald Reagan ordered the liberation of Grenada after Marxist thugs murdered the president and 500 American medical students there seemed in danger of being taken hostage, he acted within the War Powers Act. Some 100,000 AK-47 automatic rifles were found stockpiled on the island.
Reagan again acted within the spirit and letter of the act when he used the New Jersey and carrier-based air to retaliate against the terrorist camps of those who engineered the massacre of the 241 Marines in Beirut and when he retaliated against Libya and Moammar Gadhafi for the attack on U.S. soldiers at the Berlin discotheque.
But before George H.W. Bush went to war to liberate Kuwait and George W. Bush took us to war against Iraq, each went to Congress and got roll-call votes authorizing those wars.
Obama worked the phones to get the approval of 10 of 15 members of the Security Council, but not Russia, China, Germany, India or Brazil. He then sought the benediction of the Arab League, which reveals much about where Obama thinks real moral authority in this world resides.
The president described his reasoning: “(W)hen innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Gadhafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives — then it’s in our national interest to act. And it’s our responsibility.”
But if Obama’s U.N. mandate was to “protect civilians” in besieged Benghazi, why did we put a Tomahawk cruise missile down the chimney of Gadhafi’s compound, 600 miles away?
Saturday, Ajdabiya fell to the rebels after U.S. planes pulverized its defenders. If civilians were in danger in Ajdabiya, it was because of a rebel attack that could not have been mounted had U.S. planes not conducted air strikes on tanks and troops defending the town.
What civilians were we protecting in Ajdabiya — or Brega and Ras Lanuf, all of which fell over the weekend?
A time for truth. U.S. intervention prevented Gadhafi victories in a campaign to crush an insurgency. We have since destroyed his air force and smashed his armor and decimated his ground forces to demoralize and cripple his army until its officers realize they cannot survive weeks of U.S. bombing — and they move to remove or kill him.
America is fighting the rebels’ war.
So the questions arise that were never answered when Obama ignored Congress to start his war. Who are these rebels, some of whom belong to al-Qaida, as others show their hatred of Gadhafi by smearing his posters with a Star of David?
When we win the rebels’ war for them, whom do we put in power? Who is our Hamid Karzai?
What allied troops come to occupy Libya?
Many NATO nations have spotty records there. The Turks ruled it in Ottoman days. Benito Mussolini held it for 20 years. Gen. Erwin Rommel, a Hitler favorite, used it for his desert campaign against the British.
What credibility will our Libyan proteges have when all in Libya know they hold office because Americans came and killed their army?
How many troops will it take to police the smashed cities and prevent reprisals? Who provides those troops? If a Battle of Algiers war begins, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and are still going on, who fights that war? And if a regime’s use of violence against protesters justifies a U.S. attack, does Obama have carte blanche to attack Syria and Iran?
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman thinks so. As he said in Paris: “The same principles, activities, the Western world has taken in Libya … I hope to see those regarding the Iranian regime and the Syrian regime.”
Is Libya the dress rehearsal for Syria and Iran?
Neocons could not be giddier. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol is ebullient: “Despite his doubts and dithering, President Obama is taking us to war in another Muslim country. Good for him.”
Perhaps. But will bloodying another Muslim country be good for America?
On NYT paywall logistics Felix Salmon gets deep into the weeds. The Onion parodies:
In a move that media executives, economic forecasters and business analysts alike are calling "extremely bold," NYTimes.com put into place a groundbreaking new business model today in which the news website will charge people money to consume the goods and services it provides.
In a case that could deal another setback to campaign finance laws nationwide, the Supreme Court heard arguments Monday to determine whether governments are constitutionally allowed to help publicly financed candidates maintain financial parity with privately financed opponents .
The case, McComish v. Bennett, features a set of conservative business groups challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law, which they contend undermines their 1st Amendment right to free speech. The law mandates public-financed candidates, after contributions exceed an original lump sum, receive additional subsidies for every dollar their privately financed opponents raise or every dollar spent on attack ads by third-party groups.
Supporters of the law contended that it encourages political speech and stymies corruption. Arizona voters originally passed the law, the Citizens Clean Elections Act, in 1998 after a string of corruption cases there. Critics of the law told the justices Monday that it limits free-speech rights for groups and candidates who opt against using public financing.
The attorney for the business groups, William Maurer, argued that the matching funds inhibit candidates and other potential donors from contributing money. Why make a $ 1,000 contribution, he argued, when it guarantees the same amount will be delivered to the other candidate?
Patriots who revere the Founding Fathers may now be overshooting their mark by almost a century-back to the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s: If anything went wrong then, the answer was to find the servants of Satan responsible and get rid of them.
In Congress and statehouses across the country, newly minted Tea Party officeholders are hounding public employees and their unions as a response to frustration over economic woes-a solution that makes as much sense now as it did in Salem-and are edging into the kind of behavior that prompted Arthur Miller to write “The Crucible” in the 1950s as a response to McCarthyism.
For asserting that the GOP has blighted Wisconsin’s tradition of “neighborliness, decency and mutual respect,” a distinguished historian has been subjected to a demand for copies of all e-mails to or from his university account with the word “Republican” and names of Republican politicians, in a reprise of what Paul Krugman calls “the thought police.”
In Washington, House Republicans are putting the AARP in the dock for supporting “Obamacare” with hearings intended to smear the senior citizens’ organization, while the Florida GOP votes to ban automatic deductions of union dues…
Bill Maher questions President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize now that he’s involved in three wars, “He said he’s going to keep it, but he would only wear it with his tie that looks like a keyboard so people know it’s ‘ironic’.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., could face eligibility problems during a White House 2012 run.
Today’s Must See Moment — Fast forward to 1:00 when Obama fulfills another campaign promise.
Take our Late Night Poll after the jump!
**Written by Doug Powers
In 2009, President Obama pitched the porkulus plan at a Caterpillar plant in the company’s home state of Illinois, claiming it would allow the company to rehire thousands of laid off workers (which Caterpillar’s CEO said wasn’t the case). Obama also said “you can measure America’s bottom line by looking at Caterpillar’s bottom line.”
Just a couple of months after that, Caterpillar posted its first quarterly net loss in 16 years — and America’s bottom line was off and running.
Fast forward the tape to this week. Caterpillar is now saying the company may be forced to pull out of The One’s home base altogether — a hopenchangus-interruptus of huge proportions — in order to to seek more welcoming business climes:
Caterpillar Inc., suggesting that it could shift jobs out of Illinois, is prodding its home state to cut government spending and roll back tax increases.
Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of the giant Peoria, Ill.-based maker of construction and mining equipment, protested against the state’s tax and spending policies in a March 21 letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who took office in January 2009.
In the letter, first reported Friday by the Lee Enterprises newspaper chain and provided to The Wall Street Journal Saturday, Mr. Oberhelman said other states have stepped up their efforts to lure Caterpillar.
Indiana has been smelling blood in the economic water of Illinois for some time now, and Oberhelman’s email box is no doubt overflowing with serious offers from other states offering roses and a box of chocolates to a shrugging Atlas.
I thought the economy of Illinois would be doing a little better due to the recent Wisconsin fleebagger stimulus their hotel industry just received, but I guess that didn’t make enough of a difference.
**Written by Doug Powers
Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law Goes Into Effect Despite Court Order
After a Democrat judge put a restraining order on the Wisconsin collective bargaining law passed by the State legislature that prohibiting it from being published as per state law, it looked like a court battle was upcoming.
But in an interesting twist, the legislation was published Friday to the Legislature’s website with a footnote that acknowledges the restraining order by a Dane County judge. But the posting says state law “requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment.”
The Legislative Reference Bureau was not named in Judge Sumi’s restraining order!
Walker’s top cabinet official, Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, gave only a brief statement:
“Today the administration was notified that the LRB published the budget-repair bill as required by law,” he said. “The administration will carry out the law as required.”
Bill Cosh, a spokesman for Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, said in a statement that no action is needed for the reference bureau to publish the law, and noted that Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette is not in violation of the restraining order ( which was actually issued against him) because he didn’t direct the reference bureau to publish the bill.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice will evaluate how the lawful publication of Act 10 affects pending litigation. We have no further comment at this time,” Cosh said.
Needless top say, the Democrats and the public employee unions are going absolutely bananas over this.
It will certainly be interesting to see where this goes…and I predict the Obama Department of Justice will likely try to intervene to attempt to kill the law.
“Why Are You Abandoning Us?” Broadcasting to China Goes Quiet
The end of an era is at hand. Today marks the last day of BBC World Service Broadcasts to China and Russia after 70 years on the air. Voice of America (VOA) may not be far behind.
VOA several years ago closed down its Russian broadcasts, and, according to the President’s 2012 budget request, broadcasts to China are soon to follow. Already shortwave service in Cantonese has been closed down, and in October, Mandarin is to follow. Next year, television as well as AM and FM radio are on the cutting block.
The Chinese people have been able to rely on truthful information from VOA and the BBC throughout their many national traumas, including Tiananmen Square. No more. While some VOA shortwave programming is to be transferred to Radio Free Asia (which is also owned by the U.S. government), the Internet will henceforth be the primary medium of communication with the people of China, a country whose government is world-class when it comes to Internet censorship.
On VOA’s Chinese service, which devoted an evening show to the broadcasting cuts last week, callers from China expressed their disappointment and dismay with the radio silence from the West that is about to befall them. Contrary to arguments that radio and satellite TV are completely jammed by the Chinese government, callers from a number of provinces, from Beijing to rural China to Inner Mongolia, spoke of their reliance on VOA as an honest and credible source of source of news. They spoke of not knowing where to turn if the broadcasts go off the air. One expressed deep mystification and sadness: “Why are you abandoning us?”
For instance, a caller from Hunan believes that the U.S. still has the capability to provide this service and that the U.S. should consider the needs of the Chinese people when making cuts to VOA. A caller from Shandong pointed out that only VOA provides a different view from the official media apparatus in China.
A caller from Beijing, a longtime listener of VOA, said that if VOA makes its service available only through the Internet, the Chinese government can totally cut off the service. A caller in Guangdong explained that he lives in the countryside and that it would be very difficult for him to get VOA on the Web. Many rural Chinese can get VOA only through satellite TV and radio. This point was echoed by a caller from Guangxi, who said that many ordinary Chinese will lose the ability to get VOA broadcasts if it moves solely to the Web. Furthermore, he said, it is impossible to get real information about the ongoing unrest in the Middle East at this time on the Chinese Internet.
The caller form Inner Mongolia offered the opinion that VOA should not cut back but actually increase its investment in all mass media, a point echoed by a number of callers. One caller from Gansu even said that if money is the real issue, then Chinese listeners would be more than happy to donate to VOA. This last comment ought to make an impression on decision makers here in Washington. Has the U.S. as a world power really come to this?
As the President’s budget has not been approved by Congress, there’s still time for reconsideration of this decision. Congress—specifically, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—is getting ready to hold hearings on broadcasting, and high time it is.