Posts Tagged: Them

Sep 10

MPAC shows yet again that it would rather impede anti-terror efforts than help them

In July 2005, I wrote this about MPAC’s “National Anti-Terrorism Campaign”: “the concern here seems to be less on rooting out jihadists from within American Muslim communities than on protecting Muslims from uncomfortable attention from law enforcement.”

And here we are again. “MPAC’s One-Way Street on Cooperation,” from IPT News, September 30:

By denouncing an investigation aimed at uncovering a possible U.S. support network for terrorist organizations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) shows again it would prefer to impede law enforcement than help it.

Last Friday, FBI agents carried out raids in Chicago and Minneapolis to discover evidence of support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), both designated terrorist organizations. Speaking about the raids, Steve Warfield, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis said:

“the warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

MPAC, however, joined other organizations in criticizing the searches as “fishing expeditions.” In its press release, MPAC argued:

“squelching healthy and necessary discourse on public policy concerns sends one loud and clear message: The U.S. government has no regard for nonviolent work. Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that these activists were planning terrorist operations, then the justification of the raids is absurd.”

Such arguments reveal that MPAC either doesn’t understand what activity is proscribed under U.S. law, or simply doesn’t care. The government doesn’t need to show that these so-called “anti-war activists” were “planning terrorist operations,” in order to prosecute them. It is a crime for any person to provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO. Proscribed support includes:

“any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instrument or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials).”

There is more.

Jihad Watch

Sep 10

Dems get little cards to remind them of talking points. Whew …

Check this out. The cards read:

  • No. 1, Democrats will create jobs by getting businesses to make products in America.
  • No. 2, Democrats will stop tax breaks for big corporations who ship American jobs overseas.
  • No. 3, Democrats will protect Medicare and Social Security from Republicans who want to eliminate them.

These people are truly challenged.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Sep 10

47 House Democrats Sign Letter Putting Them To The Right Of Reagan On Taxing Investment Income

Too liberal for House Democrats.

Too liberal for House Democrats.

Nearly all of the discussion regarding the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of the year has focused on the effect the expiration would have on marginal income tax rates. But there were other facets of the Bush tax cut package, including cutting the capital gains and stock dividends rates to 15 percent.

President Obama has proposed increasing the rates on capital gains and stock dividends back to 20 percent for those making $ 250,000 or more. Republicans, meanwhile, have opposed allowing the increase to occur. And now they’ve been joined by 47 House Democrats:

Forty-seven House Democrats have signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging that tax rates on capital gains and dividends be maintained at the current level of up to 15% for all earners…The letter from House Democrats argues that raising taxes on dividends and capital gains would be harmful to companies’ ability to grow and add jobs.

The rationale for having a lower capital gains and dividend rate is that it will encourage investment, as investors will want to take advantage of a lower rate. Under President Clinton, the capital gains rate was 20 percent, while dividends were treated as regular income, so Obama is proposing a tax policy even more deferential to these sorts of income than was in place in the 1990’s. Plus, as Citizens for Tax Justice pointed out, these House Democrats are to the right of President Reagan when it comes to investor income:

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act that ended the tax preference for capital gains and taxed all types of income at the same rates. Conservatives have long complained about this Reagan tax reform, and have even incorrectly claimed that capital gains tax revenue actually fell as a result of it…Today, conservative critics of President Reagan have been joined by a group of House Democrats who also seem to feel that Reagan was not sufficiently devoted to tax preferences for the wealthy investor class.

Of course, Obama hasn’t proposed evening the rates between regular income and investment income either, but to think that wealthy investors need a capital gains rate 20 points below the top marginal income tax rate (currently 35 percent) in order to invest their money is silly. Do conservatives, and these House Democrats, really believe that the wealthy will squirrel away their money under the mattress if the capital gains rate goes back to the level at which it was under Clinton? In fact, business investment was stronger under President Clinton that it was under President Bush.

The overwhelming majority of capital gains go to the richest households. Keeping that rate so far below the rates applied to normal income is simply a giveaway to the wealthy that doesn’t boost the economy.

Wonk Room

Sep 10

US Senate Briefing, Tue 9/28/10: Dems want to create jobs by killing them. Hunh.

The Hill reports today, “Senate Democrats are moving forward with a vote on legislation they say will restrict the ability of U.S. companies to move jobs overseas, even as Republicans decry the legislation as mere election-year posturing. Democratic leaders are not optimistic they will achieve the 60-vote total needed to break a filibuster and bring the bill up for a final vote.” CongressDaily adds, “Democrats are now talking up a vote today on an anti-outsourcing bill they had until last week spent little time touting and which Democratic leaders forthrightly acknowledge will not pass and is on the floor mostly for political symbolism.”

This shows once again that the bill Democrats’ spent all day pushing yesterday is an unserious attempt at legislation, meant instead to message prior to leaving for the fall campaign. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said morning, “[W]ith just three days left in the Democrats’ two-year experiment in expanded government, they want to make a good last impression with a bill that they know has no chance of passing and which they have no interest in passing. So this is about as pure a political exercise as you can get.”

The Hill writes, “GOP aides compared Tuesday’s vote to [Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s reintroduction of the Disclose Act last week . . . . With the key Senate votes on the Disclose Act unmoved, Republicans viewed the vote as a partisan political exercise meant to put them on record as supporting corporations over middle-class Americans. ‘This is just another bill Democrats are pushing in hopes it will help them come November,’ one senior GOP aide said of the outsourcing bill. . . . ‘They’ve got a time crunch, they’ve got members not coming back, they’ve got Democrats on their side who are not serious about this bill — and they’ve written a revenue bill in the Senate instead of the House,’ the aide said.”

And even if Democrats were serious about this bill, it’s simply not a good idea. Democrats have expressed serious reservations about the bill. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the Finance Committee chairman, toldCongressDaily last week, “I think it puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage. That’s why I’m concerned.” And according to The Hill, “Another GOP leadership aide . . . noted that four Democratic senators — Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Maria Cantwell of Washington state and Ben Nelson of Nebraska — all opposed the bill in 2005.”

The Democrats’ competitive disadvantage bill is simply bad on the merits, as The Wall Street Journal explained in an editorial yesterday. “We’re all for increasing jobs in the U.S., but [this] plan reveals how out of touch Democrats are with the real world of tax competition. The U.S. already has one of the most punitive corporate tax regimes in the world and this tax increase would make that competitive disadvantage much worse, accelerating the very outsourcing of jobs that Mr. Obama says he wants to reverse.”

Sen. McConnell noted this morning, “As a number of my colleagues pointed out yesterday, the way to get U.S. businesses to produce more here isn’t to tax them even further, it’s to stop punishing them with our high corporate tax rate. If American businesses are going to compete with foreign corporations, we should have competitive tax rates. It’s that simple.”

Democrats still don’t seem to get it. Across the country, job creators are frustrated by the uncertainty stemming from Washington Democrats’ big government legislation. Employers are worried as they try to figure out whether the new financial regulation bill will impact them, whether they can afford to continue to offer health care after President Obama’s massive takeover, and whether their taxes will go way up in January. And now Democrats are proposing even more punitive taxes on American companies?

As Sen. McConnell said today, “Democrats made a very clear choice.  They chose to ignore the concerns of the American people and to press ahead with their own agenda over the past year and a half. And now, in the last three days of the session, they’ve decided they can at least pretend to be concerned. . . . [T]his bill is not a serious attempt to address a problem. It’s a purely political exercise aimed at making a good impression. Unfortunately, for Democrats, the impression they’ve made over the past year and a half stuck. And for good reason.”

On The Floor

The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate will resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 3816, Democrats’ competitive disadvantage bill to raise taxes on certain companies.

At 11:30, the Senate began a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to S.3816. If cloture is not invoked, the Senate will immediately begin a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 3801, the vehicle for the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government past the end of the 2010 fiscal year on Thursday.

From the Communications Center

Sen. McConnell: The Competitive Disadvantage Act

Sen. McConnell: Hands off political speech

Around the Hill

The Hill: Democrats not optimistic ahead of Senate vote on outsourcing bill

CongressDaily: Democrats Left With Little But Symbolism As Time Runs Out

The Hill: Obama says he has ‘grudging admiration’ for Mitch McConnell

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare’s Hotel California

AP: FBI Investigating Ex-SEIU President Andy Stern

Liberty Pundits Blog

Sep 10

Hamas says Arafat instructed them to attack Jews

Palestine Press Agency quotes Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar as saying that Yasir Arafat instructed Hamas to attack Jewish civilians at the start of the second intifada.

Speaking at an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the terror spree in September 2000, Zahar said “the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had ordered Hamas to implement a number of military operations in the heart of the Jewish state, after the failure of negotiations with the Israeli government at that time.”

We already knew that Arafat would use other organizations as cover for terror acts, but this is the first time we have seen Arafat colluding with Hamas for attacks (although the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades had cooperated with Hamas in the past.)

Most of Zahar’s speech attacked the idea of negotiations with Israel and the effectiveness of “resistance.”

He also said that Hamas’ rule in Gaza proves the usefulness of resistance, apparently saying that the Hamas police and security forces had participated in attacks on Israeli targets. If that is the real translation, then we have evenmore proof that Goldstone and other “human rights” organizations were wrong in trying to distinguish between Hamas’ “civilian” police and their military, and Israel was entirely correct in attacking the police stations.

Elder of Ziyon

Sep 10

Gitmo detainees to be tortured by giving them only one scoop of ice cream

Oh the humanity of it!
American Thinker Blog

Sep 10

Are Your Children Being Indoctrinated? Examining What Schools Give Them To Read

By Barry Rubin

Are your children being indoctrinated? In past Rubin Reports I pointed out that almost the entire social studies’ curriculum of my son’s fourth grade class last year consisted of three topics:

-America has not kept its promises and has been a racist and often bad country. The main example was the World War Two internment of Japanese which was the focus of reading material.

-Immigration is always good (with no mention of illegal immigration or any resulting problems).

-Man-made global warming is a serious threat to human survival.

Other viewpoints—indeed other issues generally—weren’t presented on any of these issues. There was little positive about America.

My son was upset at the portrayal of Israel in Junior Scholastic magazine of September 6, 2010, given to his fifth-grade class to read. So I gave that issue a thorough evaluation, trying to be fair and reasonable in doing so.

Main Article: “Obama’s In-Box” pp. 6-8. An article about challenges facing the President. Most of the short items are balanced—immigration, oil spill, terrorism (domestic only), Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea- in that they present more than one side and avoid partisan language.

There are three exceptions, however:

-The Middle East: This is seriously slanted. After being told Obama wants to make peace the kids are instructed:

“Muslim extremists often use U.S. support for Israel as an excuse to commit terrorist acts. But some Israeli policies, Obama says, work against peace.”

While the first sentence is certainly true, in this context (with no other factors being presented) the kids are being taught that U.S. support for Israel threatens their lives. (Obvious answer: Protect yourself by ending support for Israel.)

As for the second sentence, Obama’s considerable prestige is thrown in to blame Israel for the lack of peace. That’s it. No criticism of the Palestinians. Nothing about Hamas or any hint of anti-Israel terrorism or the goal of wiping Israel off the map.

Do I think this was conscious and deliberate? Probably not. Is it damaging and dangerous? Definitely yes.

-Jobs and the Economy: There’s still a recession, the kids are told, but good news! “In the last two years, the federal government has spent billions of dollars to try to save and create jobs. This has helped pull the nation out of a recession. But unemployment is still nearly 10 percent, and the housing market remains shaky.” An unnamed expert explains: the economy is growing but still slowly.

While the third and fourth sentence provides some balance, this is an endorsement of government high-spending policy. Has this really worked? No contrary view—Stimulus failed; cut spending, recession far from over- is given. Moreover, it should always be pointed out that money being spent doesn’t come from government but from taxpayers.

-Climate Change: This is presented as a major threat to the world. It quotes Obama as saying the United States must act before “the effects of climate change become `irreversible.’” There is no hint that anyone might disagree even with the proposition that minor human actions like cutting auto emissions would make a difference.

Article pp. 2-3: “Beyond the Cleanup: What’s The Long-Term Impact of the Gulf Oil Disaster”

[Important Note: This article is partly balanced by a debate on page 9 over off-shore drilling between the presidents of the National Resources Defense Council and the American Petroleum Institute.]

Message: We must reduce oil use even if this means lower living standards and go to alternative fuels(often unproven) even if they cost more.

Not mentioned: The blow-out was exceptional, deep-drilling was a response to environmental demands. This is almost like saying that the crash of an improperly maintained airplane shows Americans must reduce their dependence on air travel.


“What’s less clear [is] whether this disaster will finally get Americans to reduce their dependence on oil.”

While BP is mainly to blame “Americans also bear at least some indirect responsibility. The U.S. consumes more oil than any other country….This has led to drilling in riskier areas, including ever-deeper sites offshore.” That argument is simply untrue. There are vast areas closer in to shore and elsewhere where drilling has been forbidden by the U.S. government.

Your living standards are too high: “An estimated 71 percent of the oil we use fuels transportation. Most of the rest goes into making products that we often toss out in massive quantities. ”

Quote from fisherman—on National Public Radio (of course)—saying “I don’t see a future for us to catch fresh fish ever again—oysters, crabs.” This is clearly alarmist and is not matched by less extreme quote (terrible damage but we will come back).

Only one proposed solution offered: “President Barack Obama has called for the development of alternative fuels as one way to reduce our dependence. But much more will be needed. Are Americans willing to change their energy habits?”

Article: “We Are Americans Too!” Pages 16-19:

Important Note: The one quote from the play that is arguably balancing is also published as a large cut line prominently displayed: “They don’t know what’s in our hearts. They don’t know that we are loyal.”

Oh no, the Japanese internment story seems to be the main theme of American education. In the play, the father of the family is falsely accused of using his fishing boat to spy and smuggle in supplies for the Japanese army? This is NOT a true story but a PBS play and I doubt that anyone was specifically accused of espionage like this.

The focus is on how badly they are treated, insults, etc. I’m not going over the issue in detail here, only to say that while the action seems wrong and unnecessary from the perspective of almost 70 years later, at the time it was a reasonable thing to do given the lack of information about Japanese immigrant views, genuine fear of a Japanese attack on the Pacific coast, the fact that extensive spying had been done to prepare the Pearl Harbor attack (we now know mainly by the Japanese consulate in Hawaii), the existence of militant Japanese nationalist societies, the legitimacy of the existing Japanese government (in contrast to the usurper regimes in Germany and Italy), and the centrality of obedience to the emperor in the Shinto tradition. None of these points is mentioned in the article and these are never explained in the study of the issue in elementary schools.

I was puzzled by this obsession until I read what Daniel Pipes wrote on the subject. He explains that the subject is deliberately intended as a parallel showing why the main threat is Islamophobia and not Islamist terrorism and similar things. His article also shows additional reasons why authorities implemented an internament policy.

I should also note that the point is never explicitly made that not a single internee was killed, injured, or tortured, adding to the credit accruing to American behavior in the past. Finally, students are never taught about how Americans and others were tortured and mistreated in Japanese internment camps. This would NOT justify similar behavior by Americans, of course, but shows something vital for students to learn: Other peoples often behave badly, Americans and those in democratic countries almost always behave better.

My conclusion is that Junior Scholastic editors are partly trying to be balanced and do a better job of it than much of the mass media but that there are still serious examples of indoctrination on some issues.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle Eastand editor of the (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), The Israel-Arab Reader the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria(Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).


Sep 10

GOP Rep. Won’t Admit He Supports Health Law’s Benefits, But Says ‘Pledge’ Would Replace Them With Similar Provisions

This afternoon, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell asked Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) if the GOP’s ‘Pledge‘ to “repeal and replace” the health care law would eliminate all of the new health provisions that go into effect today and if he approved of the new benefits. Thornberry initially refused to say if he supported prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions and charging co-pays for certain preventive services, but awkwardly explained that Republicans would repeal all of them and then restore some of them:

O’DONNELL: I want specific answers from you on this — one of the things that went in place today, coverage for kids with pre-existing conditions. You want to repeal that? Yes or no?

THORNBERRY: Look at the document itself. It says when we repeal Obamacare, part of the replacement is protection for people with pre-existing conditions. It’s in the document itself.

O’DONNELL: So that’s a yes?


O’DONNELL: What about a ban on lifetime benefit limits? Yes or no, Do you want to repeal that?

THORNBERRY: We want to repeal all of the Obama health care proposal and begin to replace it. We laid out four or five specific things to replace it with immediately.

O’DONNELL: This is a simple question. It’s a yes or no. I asked you about expanded coverage for young adults. Everybody up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ health care insurance. Do you want to repeal that? Yes or no?

THORNBERRY: If you would let me answer the question. What I was about to say was this is a first step. This is not the whole answer to health care. It does not try to solve all of the problems about young adults who don’t have coverage personally. I support that. I have two kids about that age. But what’s in this plan is what people are talking about now. And it’s a first step towards greater — towards further steps on health care, budget reduction, and all the other issues.

Watch it:

Thornberry told O’Donnell that she misunderstood the document as a comprehensive health care proposal. It’s not. “It is not a party blueprint for everything we would do if given the opportunity in another Congress,” he said. “It is, again, a first step that we want to do now and now we would start with repealing the whole health care bill.”

Taken at face value, the GOP’s ‘replace’ proposal is full of regulatory loopholes, much like the the health plan Republicans offered last year. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that proposal would increase the number of uninsured to 52 million in 2019.

Wonk Room

Sep 10

New NRSC ad “Prove Them Wrong” has a familiar face


In the aftermath of the Delaware primary, a report from Fox News indicated that the NRSC wouldn’t support the winner, Christine O’Donnell, which raised howls from grassroots supporters until the next morning, when NRSC chair Senator John Cornyn announced the committee’s full endorsement and support for O’Donnell — including the maximum contribution of $ 42,000. Since […]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Sep 10

GOP Lawmakers Serenade Birther Conference With Praise; Bachmann Lies To Them

Last weekend, WorldNetDaily (WND) held its annual “Taking Back America” conference in Miami, Florida. WND is the for-profit, right-wing center for the “birther” conspiracy questioning President Obama’s citizenship. WND publishes work by Jerome Corsi, who began the allegation in early 2008. WND publishes literally hundreds of articles and blog posts on birther conspiracy theories, places billboards around the country about Obama’s birth certificate, hosts radio programs for prominent birthers like G. Gordon Liddy, and sells various products related to birtherism, including DVDs, signs, stickers, books, and magazines.

The conference was no different. It featured several speakers accusing President Obama of being born in Kenya and Indonesia (and for being a “secret Muslim”). While most mainstream conservatives avoided the event, two lawmakers, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), were slated to appear. Nunes — who recently published a book through WND which argues for the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan to privatize Social Security — hailed the WND CEO Joseph Farah for having the “courage to print the truth.” Later, Nunes explained to ThinkProgress that he did not see anything particularly objectionable in the birther movement.

Bachmann, however, canceled at the very last minute. In taped remarks offered in lieu of her speech, Bachmann thanked the WND attendees for “everything you are doing to keep the flame of liberty burning brightly.” “You are all patriots,” she added. Bachmann explained that she could not make the conference because she was in her home state of Minnesota campaigning for her reelection against “Howard Dean and the DailyKos”:

NUNES: Well look I’m never going to be one in this country to try to tell someone what they should think and what they should believe. And I think their motto is a “Free Press and a Free People,” they have a right to do and whatever they believe they believe. And we all enjoy individual liberty, at least for now in this country. […]

BACHMANN: I’m currently here in Minnesota working very hard for each and every vote. I wanted to express to each one of you there today my very deep and sincere appreciation for everything you are doing to keep the flame of liberty burning brightly.

Watch it:

Despite her claim to the birthers that she was in Minnesota working on her campaign on Friday September 17th, Bachmann was actually in Washington DC addressing another right-wing group. Around the same time WND played her taped remarks, Bachmann was actually busy addressing the Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in the Woodley Park neighborhood of the nation’s capital.

Think Progress