Friday, April 27, 2007

Christopher Hitchens on Radical Islamic Anti-Semitism

Radical Islamic Anti-Semitism - Viral Videos - IFILM

This is a year old, but worth viewing if you haven't seen it...

Anti-Semitism to top talks at 2008 Roman Catholic bishops' summit

from Haaretz - Israel News (AP)

The need to step up the fight against anti-Semitism will be a key issue for the world's Roman Catholic bishops at a meeting at the Vatican next year.

An entire section of a preparatory document released by the Vatican on Friday is devoted to the Church's relationship with Jews, noting the close associations of the two in faith and calling for efforts to overcome every form of anti-Semitism.

The 60-page document, which was approved by Pope Benedict XVI, outlines the suggested topics and includes a questionnaire to be answered by local bishops.

After asking if priority is given to dialogue with the Jews, the questionnaire calls on bishops to investigate the use of biblical texts to ferment attitudes of anti-Semitism.

"Much has already been done, but everything must be done to dispel every shadow, the synod's general-secretary," Bishop Nikola Eterovic, said during a news conference to present the agenda for the October 2008 meeting.

The 1965 document of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, marked a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. It deplored anti-Semitism in every form and repudiated the deicide charge that blamed Jews as a people for Christ's death.

Subsequent landmarks have included visits to synagogues by Popes John Paul II and Benedict.

The general theme of the meeting is an examination of the way scripture is studied and taught in the Church, and how the word of God can be influential in contemporary society.

In particular, while the document encourages individual and group study of the Bible, it warns against the dangers of an arbitrary or literal interpretation of the Scriptures, which it says could lead to fundamentalism.

During the synod, bishops from around the world gather in Rome for two weeks to discuss the pre-established theme in general sessions and private groups. The body of bishops has no decision-making power, but can only present suggestions to the pope, who will then decide on them.

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Jewish woman attacked in France | Jerusalem Post

Jewish woman attacked in France | Jerusalem Post: THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 26, 2007

A 22-year-old Jewish woman suffered a vicious anti-Semitic attack by two men of Middle Eastern appearance in a train station in Marseille, France on Thursday night. The attackers tore the Star of David chain from around the young woman's neck, lifted up her shirt, painted a swastika on her stomach and then fled the scene.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Don't take the OSC investigation of Rove at face value...

Japan's fund for former sex slaves never achieved purpose

from The International Herald Tribune

TOKYO: Facing calls to compensate the aging victims
of its wartime sexual slavery, Japan set up the Asian Women's Fund in
1995. It was a significant concession from Japan, which has always
asserted that postwar treaties absolved it of all individual claims
from World War II.

But the fund only fueled anger in the very countries with which Japan had sought reconciliation.

By the time it closed as scheduled last month, only a fraction of
the former sex slaves had accepted money from the fund. Two Asian
governments even offered their own money to discourage more women from
taking Japan's.

The central problem was that the Japanese government had set up the
fund as a private one and made clear that the "atonement" payments came
from ordinary citizens. Critics inside and outside Japan saw the fund
as another tortured attempt by Tokyo to avoid taking full
responsibility for one of the ugliest aspects of the war.

"It was not directly from the Japanese government - that is why I
did not accept it," said Ellen van der Ploeg, 84, a Dutchwoman who was
taken from a prisoner of war camp in Indonesia and forced to work in a
Japanese military brothel for three months in 1944. "If you have made
mistakes in life, you must have the courage to say, 'I'm sorry, please
forgive me.' But the Japanese government to this day has never taken
full responsibility."

"If this were a pure government fund, I could have accepted it," Van
der Ploeg said by telephone from Houten, the Netherlands. "Why should I
accept money from private Japanese people? They were also victims
during the war."

The Japanese government has held up the fund as one way it has tried
to redress a past wrong, even as the U.S. House of Representatives is
considering a resolution that would call on Japan's government to
unequivocally acknowledge its role in the wartime sexual slavery, and
to apologize for it.

Of the former sex slaves who accepted money from the fund, most did
so secretly to avoid criticism. In the four countries where the women,
known euphemistically here as comfort women, were compensated
individually - South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the Netherlands
- the women and their supporters were deeply divided over accepting the

Even those who favored accepting the money said the fund reflected
an absence of moral clarity in Japan, an opinion that was recently
reinforced when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied the Japanese
military's role in coercing women into sexual slavery.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant, the President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Caught in Scheme to Disenfranchise Black Soldiers

Bush’s New US Attorney a Criminal? by Greg Palast

BBC Television had exposed 2004 voter attack scheme by appointee Griffin, a Rove aide.

Black soldiers and the homeless targeted.

by Greg Palast

There’s only one thing worse than sacking an honest prosecutor. That’s replacing an honest prosecutor with a criminal.

There was one big hoohah in Washington yesterday as House Judiciary
Chairman John Conyers pulled down the pants on George Bush’s firing of
US Attorneys to expose a scheme to punish prosecutors who wouldn’t bend
to political pressure.

the Committee missed a big one: Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant,
the President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of
Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand
behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior
to the 2004 election.

Key voters on Griffin’s hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men
and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue.
Targeting voters where race is a factor is a felony crime under the
Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In October 2004, our investigations team at BBC Newsnight
received a series of astonishing emails from Mr. Griffin, then Research
Director for the Republican National Committee. He didn’t mean to send
them to us. They were highly confidential memos meant only for RNC

However, Griffin made a wee mistake. Instead of sending the emails —
potential evidence of a crime — to email addresses ending with the
domain name “” he sent them to “@GeorgeWBush.ORG.” A
website run by prankster John Wooden who owns “” When
Wooden got the treasure trove of Rove-ian ravings, he sent them to us.

And we dug in, decoding, and mapping the
voters on what Griffin called, “Caging” lists, spreadsheets with 70,000
names of voters marked for challenge. Overwhelmingly, these were Black
and Hispanic voters from Democratic precincts.

Griffin scheme was sickly brilliant. We learned that the RNC sent
first-class letters to new voters in minority precincts marked, “Do not
forward.” Several sheets contained nothing but soldiers, other sheets,
homeless shelters. Targets included the Jacksonville Naval Air Station
in Florida and that city’s State Street Rescue Mission. Another target,
Edward Waters College, a school for African-Americans.

If these voters were not currently at their home voting address,
they were tagged as “suspect” and their registration wiped out or their
ballot challenged and not counted. Of course, these ‘cages’ captured
thousands of students, the homeless and those in the military though
they are legitimate voters.

We telephoned those on the hit list, including one Randall Prausa. His
wife admitted he wasn’t living at his voting address: Randall was a
soldier shipped overseas.

Randall and other soldiers like him who sent in absentee ballots,
when challenged, would lose their vote. And they wouldn’t even know it.

And by the way, it’s not illegal for soldiers to vote from overseas — even if they’re Black.

But it is illegal to challenge voters en masse where race is an
element in the targeting. So several lawyers told us, including Ralph
Neas, famed civil rights attorney with People for the American Way.

Griffin himself ducked our cameras, but his RNC team tried to sell
us the notion that the caging sheets were, in fact, not illegal voter
hit lists, but a roster of donors to the Bush-Cheney reelection
campaign. Republican donors at homeless shelters?

Over the past weeks, Griffin has said he would step down if he had
to face Congressional confirmation. However, the President appointed
Griffin to the law enforcement post using an odd little provision of
the USA Patriot Act that could allow Griffin to skip Congressional
questioning altogether.

Therefore, I have a suggestion for Judiciary members. Voting law
expert Neas will be testifying today before Conyers’ Committee on the
topic of illegal voter “disenfranchisement” — the fancy word for
stealing elections by denying voters’ civil rights.

Maybe Conyers should hold a line-up of suspected vote thieves and
let Neas identify the perpetrators. That should be easy in the case of
the Caging List Criminal. He’d only have to look for the guy wearing a
new shiny lawman’s badge.

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Syrian human rights activist Anwar al-Bunni sentenced to 5 more years in prison

BBC NEWS: Syria jails human rights activist Anwar al-Bunni

A Syrian human rights activist has been jailed for five years for spreading hostile information and joining an illegal political group, lawyers say.

Anwar al-Bunni, a prominent advocate for democratic reform in Syria, has been in detention since May 2006.

Correspondents say the heavy sentence sends a strong warning to the opposition and shows Syria has turned its back on Western pressure to reform.

Harvard study finds media treated Israel unfairly

The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media As A Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict

Evidence that the media co-operated with Hezbollah's disinformation campaign.

"Throughout the conflict, the rarest picture of all was that of a Hezbollah guerrilla. It was as if the war on the Hezbollah side was being fought by ghosts."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spain to quash court rulings from Franco era

Franco's courts to be declared illegitimate, says leftist coalition | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Spain's governing Socialists are to pass a law declaring the political courts that operated under dictator General Francisco Franco to be illegitimate, thus opening the way for thousands of sentences to be declared null, according to Spanish politicians.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gonzalez' testimony: unitary executive theory in action

Hmm. Maybe Alberto Gonzales was actually brilliant yesterday. - By Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Magazine

The theory of the unitary executive is a radical vision of executive power in which the president is the big boss of the entire executive branch and has final say over everything that happens within it. At its core, the theory holds that Congress has very limited authority to divest the president of those powers. An expanded version of this theory was the legal predicate for the torture memo: "In light of the president's complete authority over the conduct of war, without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority in these areas. … Congress may no more regulate the president's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."

One of the key issues in the early battles over unitary executive theory was the president's firing power. In its first incarnations, the notion of a unitary executive shored up the president's claim that he was entitled to fire executive officials—including the independent counsel and agency heads—as the mood took him.

If you watch the Gonzales hearing through this prism (and in this White House, even the bathroom windows look out through that prism), they were a triumph. For six impressive hours, the attorney general embodied the core principles that he is not beholden to Congress, that the Senate has no authority over him, and that he was only there as a favor to them in their funny little fact-finding mission...

Viewed in that light, Gonzales did exactly what he needed to do yesterday. He took a high, inside pitch to the head for the team (nobody wants to look like a dolt on national television) but hit a massive home run for the notion that at the end of the day, congressional oversight over the executive branch is little more than empty theatre.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Purged U.S. Attorneys Slam Gonzales Testimony

from Think Progress

Purged U.S. Attorneys Slam Gonzales Testimony

General Alberto Gonzales testified yesterday that the firings of eight
U.S. Attorneys was “justified and should stand.” Now those attorneys
are reacting.

Former Washington U.S. Attorney John McKay:

Gonzales cited McKay’s authorship of a letter
criticizing delays in implementing a law enforcement
information-sharing program, as well as comments he made to the Seattle
P-I last fall about the staffing levels in his office.

“Generally I recollect there being serious concerns about his judgment,” Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. […]

I think it’s a sad day for the Department of Justice,”
said McKay, who previously represented the Western District of
Washington. “The attorney general missed an opportunity to testify with

Asked to elaborate, McKay declined, saying, “The senators savaged him enough. I

certainly don’t want to talk about his absurd allegations. He’s
obviously so disconnected he has no idea what my performance was like
and what my judgment was like, and I’ll just leave it at that

Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias:

Iglesias watched the hearings from a naval base at Newport, R.I. He’s finishing a naval reserve deployment and called the hearings “painful to watch.”

“I can only liken Mr. Gonzales’ testimony to a bloodied swimmer in a shark tank. He’s really getting beat up,” Iglesias said. […]

“Now we’re hearing from the A.G. that he apologized on how this was
handled. That doesn’t quite get us to where we need to go which was
that they shouldn’t have done it. Kyle Sampson stated that under oath a
couple of weeks ago, that the Department of Justice should have never
gone down this path and if he had it to do over he would have never put
me on that list,” Iglesias said.

Pelosi's father bucked FDR and Truman to aid Jews and Israel

by Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.


Pelosi's father, the late Rep. Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. of Maryland, was known as a Roosevelt Democrat. What is not widely known is that D'Alesandro broke ranks with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the issues of rescuing Jews from Hitler and creating a Jewish state.

D'Alesandro was one of the congressional supporters of the Bergson Group, a maverick Jewish political action committee that challenged the Roosevelt administration's policies on the Jewish refugee issue during the Holocaust and later lobbied against British control of Palestine.

The Bergson activists used unconventional tactics to draw attention to the plight of Europe's Jews, including staging theatrical pageants, organizing a march by 400 rabbis to the White House and placing more than 200 full-page advertisements in newspapers around the country.

Some of those ads featured lists of celebrities, prominent intellectuals and members of Congress who supported the group -- including D'Alesandro.

D'Alesandro's involvement with the Bergson Group was remarkable because he was a Democrat who was choosing to support a group that was publicly challenging a Democratic president.

D'Alesandro also was not one of the conservative Southern Dixiecrats who sometimes tangled with FDR over various issues. He was a staunch supporter of Roosevelt and the New Deal. He even named his first son Franklin Roosevelt D'Alesandro.

Until late in the Holocaust, the Roosevelt administration's position was that nothing could be done to rescue Jews from the Nazis except to win the war. The Bergson Group was convinced that there were many steps the United States could take to rescue refugees without impeding the war effort.

Bergson's strategy for changing U.S. policy was anchored in the hope that humanitarian-minded Democrats like D'Alesandro would break ranks with the White House over the plight of the Jews. Rallying Congress was a way to put pressure on the president.

The Bergson Group's Holocaust campaign culminated in the introduction of a congressional resolution in late 1943 urging creation of a government agency to rescue refugees. Sen. Tom Connally (D-Texas), a loyal FDR supporter and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blocked the committee's consideration of the resolution.

However, when Connally was out sick one day, his replacement, Sen. Elbert Thomas (D-Utah), quickly ushered the resolution through. In the House, too, there was growing support for the rescue resolution.

The congressional pressure helped influence Roosevelt to do what the resolution urged -- in early 1944, he established the War Refugee Board. Despite its small staff and meager funding, the board played a key role in the rescue of more than 200,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Its many accomplishments included sponsoring the heroic life-saving activities of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Nazi-occupied Budapest.

After the war, D'Alesandro continued supporting the Bergson Group as it campaigned for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. That sometimes meant clashing with the Truman administration, which wavered back and forth on the issue of Jewish statehood.

Every member of Congress who supported the Bergson Group had his own particular reasons for doing so. Thomas, for example, was a Mormon, and his kinship with the Jewish people had been forged by both his community's experiences as a mistreated minority and his religious convictions about the Jews and the Holy Land. Rep. Andrew Somers (D-N.Y.) was of Irish descent, and his resentment of British rule in Ireland strengthened his support for the Bergson Group's campaigns against the British shutdown of Palestine to Jewish refugees. Another important Bergson supporter, Rep. Will Rogers Jr. (D-Calif.), son of the famous entertainer, was part Native American, and he attributed his interest in the plight of the Jews to his general concern for minorities.

D'Alesandro was a Catholic and the son of Italian immigrants. Perhaps those factors fueled his sympathy for religious minorities and refugees. Or perhaps it was just the simple humanitarian instinct of every sensitive person who hears of innocents being persecuted and wants to help, regardless of political considerations.

Whatever his motives, D'Alesandro was taking a big risk. He knew that by defying Roosevelt and Truman, he might be making enemies in the White House. In 1947, at the very moment he was breaking ranks with Truman over Palestine, D'Alesandro decided to run for mayor of Baltimore. If the White House had chosen to retaliate against him for his dissent on Palestine, he might never have been elected. If that had happened, his daughter, Nancy, might never have embarked on a political career of her own.

Message of Hope from the Palestinian Authority


Windows Media Player

#1426 - Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Sheik Ahmad Bahr (Hamas), Declared during a Friday Sermon at a Sudan Mosque that America and Israel Will Be Annihilated and Called upon Allah to Kill the Jews and the Americans "to the Very Last One"
Sudan TV - 4/13/2007 - 00:04:24



Ahmad Bahr: "You will be victorious" on the face of this planet. You are the masters of the world on the face of this planet. Yes, [the Koran says that] "you will be victorious," but only "if you are believers." Allah willing, "you will be victorious," while America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They are cowards, as is said in the Book of Allah: "You shall find them the people most eager to protect their lives." They are cowards, who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah. That is why America's nose was rubbed in the mud in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and everywhere.


America will be annihilated, while Islam will remain. The Muslims "will be victorious, if you are believers." Oh Muslims, I guarantee you that the power of Allah is greater than America, by whom many are blinded today. Some people are blinded by the power of America. We say to them that with the might of Allah, with the might of His Messenger, and with the power of Allah, we are stronger than America and Israel.


I tell you that we will protect the enterprise of the resistance, because the Zionist enemy understands on the language of force. It does not recognize peace or the agreements. It does not recognize anything, and it understands only the language of force. Our Jihad-fighting Palestinian people salutes its brother, Sudan.


The Palestinian woman bids her son farewell, and says to him: "Son, go and don't be a coward. Go, and fight the Jews." He bids her farewell and carries out a martyrdom operation. What did this Palestinian woman say when she was asked for her opinion, after the martyrdom of her son? She said: "My son is my own flesh and blood. I love my son, but my love for Allah and His Messenger is greater than my love for my son." Yes, this is the message of the Palestinian woman, who was over seventy years old – Fatima Al-Najjar. She was over seventy years old, but she blew herself up for the sake of Allah, bringing down many criminal Zionists.


Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book, the mover of the clouds, who defeated the enemies of the Prophet – defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them.

Dershowitz: The Palestinian 'right of return'

from the Christian Science Monitor

the major barriers to peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis
is the so-called right of return. In its broadest formulation, this
"right" belongs to some 4 million alleged descendants of the 700,000 or
so Palestinian Arabs who left what is now Israel as the result of the
war that began when Israel declared statehood in 1948.

Palestinians say the Israeli government used the war as an excuse to chase a significant percentage of its Arab population
out of the newly formed Jewish state. Palestinians call this war and its aftermath "al Nakba" – "the catastrophe."

insist this catastrophe was self-inflicted. By attacking Israel in a
genocidal attempt to push the Jews into the sea, the combined Arab
armies created the refugee problem. Israel acknowledges that it forced
out some local Palestinians who lived in areas critical to the defense
of the new state. But Israel insists that many other Palestinians left
of their own volition or at the behest of Arab leaders who promised
that the Palestinians would return triumphantly after Israel was

What is beyond dispute is that many of the refugees – regardless of how they became refugees – were placed in miserable camps
and kept there for half a century by the Arab nations in which they sought refuge.

millions of other refugees who were forced to leave their homes in the
decades following World War II – the Sudeten-Germans, the Greeks and
Turks, Pakistanis and Indians, and the 700,000 Jewish refugees from
Arab countries – have all been integrated and normalized. Only the
Palestinian refugees have been kept in camps by their Arab hosts. The
reason was and is entirely political: to maintain resentment and to
hold open the empty promise of a triumphant return that would achieve
demographically what the Arab nations have been unable to achieve
militarily – destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel sees the right not as an
individual, humanitarian claim, but rather as a collective, political
assertion designed to turn Israel into another Arab state. In 1949,
Egypt's foreign minister candidly acknowledged: "It is well known and
understood that the Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to
Palestine, mean their return as masters of their homeland, and not as
slaves. More explicitly: they intend to annihilate the state of

That is why Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert may have been correct in principle when he announced recently
that he would never accept a right of return by Palestinian refugees
and their descendants. His argument was simple: The Palestinians, aided
by the surrounding Arab countries, started a war against the new state
of Israel in an effort to destroy it; had they instead accepted the
partition – the two-state solution – Israel would have accepted the
presence of significant numbers of Palestinians in the new Jewish
state. But once the Palestinians started a genocidal war, the
inevitable consequence was the creation of refugees. Even if some were
in fact forced to leave by Israeli military commanders, such actions
were in response to the attack by the Arabs.

The best proof of the correctness of Mr.
Olmert's view is to imagine what would be happening today if the shoe
were on the other foot. Imagine if the Palestinians had won and many
Israelis had been forced to leave, while others left of their own
volition or as the result of fear. Now imagine those Jews seeking a
right of return, either in the immediate aftermath of the war or 60
years later. It is inconceivable that a Palestinian state would grant
Jewish refugees a right of return. Certainly that would be true if the
number of Israeli refugees and their descendants threatened to
outnumber the Palestinian population. How can a right of return go only
one way? Has Yemen offered its Jewish refugee population any right of
return or compensation? Has Egypt? Has Iran? Has Iraq? Has Syria? Of
course not.

Of all the post-WWII refugee claims, the Palestinian claim is the weakest, and yet it has received the widest and most vocal
support from the United Nations and the international community.

concluded that Olmert was right as a matter of principle, I also
believe that he may have been wrong as a matter of tactics. The
Palestinian narrative, whether factually correct or incorrect, is a
reality in the minds of most Palestinians. Earlier Israeli prime
ministers recognized that and were prepared to compromise principle for
a pragmatic peace. They indicated a willingness to accept some symbolic
right of return coupled with compensation. As current Israeli Vice
Premier Shimon Peres once put it: Don't destroy our enemies' dream;
just don't let them turn it into our nightmare.

This issue is of great importance in light
of the Saudi peace plan, which is ambiguous on the issue of refugees:
demanding a just resolution, but not specifying the details of such a
resolution. A just resolution could include a guaranteed right of all
refugees and their descendants to return to this newly established
Palestinian state, while also allowing those actual refugees – but not
their relatives – who can prove they were ejected, to be reunited with
families that now live in Israel or to be reasonably compensated for
their financial losses. A numerical cap would have to be placed on the
number of refugees allowed to move to Israel and their entry would be
subject to security requirements. A reciprocal right should be accorded
to Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

For peace to be achieved, pragmatism must be balanced with principle. The right of return should be implemented so as to protect
Israel against demographic annihilation without denigrating the Palestinian narrative.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates by Christopher Hitchens

Milton Friedman on how anti-Semitism played a role in causing the Great Depression

from City Journal: My Friend, Milton Friedman by Charles H. Brunie

Milton once told me: “Anti-Semitism may have been a factor in causing the depression of the 1930s, especially the 1929–1932 part, when the money supply declined over one-third. One of the governors of the Fed kept a very gossipy diary,” Milton explained. “In it, he noted he had had lunch with J. P. Morgan, Jr. in the fall of 1930.” At that time, Milton continued, there were only two prominent Jewish banks in the country: Manufacturers, which catered to the rag trade around Seventh Avenue in New York; and the Bank of the United States, many of whose depositors were Jewish immigrants. With no deposit insurance, and with deflation approximating 10 percent per year, one could have made a very respectable real return during those times of adversity by pulling out of the bank and putting currency in the mattress. So there was a classic “run” on the Bank of the United States. The Fed governor asked Morgan, “Are you going to provide liquidity to the Bank of the United States, as you have done for some two dozen other banks in the past few years?” Morgan replied, “No, I’m going to get those Jewish b------s for what they did to my late father.”

The son reputedly believed in the power of the so-called “Jewish press,” and his anger probably stemmed from how embarrassed his father and family had been during the Pecora Investigation of 1911, a follow-on to the money panic of 1907–08. J. P. Morgan, Sr. had a bad case of rosacea, an inflammation of the face, which resulted in a particularly large red nose in his case. One of the papers had dressed a dwarf in a young girl’s dress; J. P. picked “her” up and put “her” on his lap. Whereupon “she” reached up and twisted his nose. Flashbulbs went off all over the place, and it was front-page news the next day.

In the absence of help from the younger Morgan, the Bank of the United States failed, the first major bank to do so. In a chain reaction, depositors in other banks began to withdraw their money, banks failed across the land, the money supply contracted by a third, and GDP shrank by the same proportion.

By contrast—and a very dramatic contrast, at that—at the end of the 1907–08 money panic, J. P. Morgan, Sr., who reputedly had the ability to stay awake for two or three days straight, had locked up 24 or so major money men and investors on a Sunday night in his magnificent library on 36th Street, off Madison Avenue. He said, in effect, “I’m putting up some money on the opening tomorrow morning, and none of you is getting out of here until you promise to do the same.” (When I moved into my current home in Bronxville, New York in 1968, my next-door neighbor—Jackson Chambers, then in his 80s—told me, “I was a banking examiner for New York State during that crisis. As I recall, J. P. Morgan said, ‘I’m putting up 100 percent of my net worth on the opening, and none of you is getting out until you pledge to do the same.’” Clearly, investing 100 percent is a world of difference from “putting up some money.”) That buying caused a bottom to the market and ended the panic. But because they were buying when the Dow was down over 50 percent in a bit more than a year, they were pilloried for “making money during adversity.” Hence (among many other reasons) the Pecora Investigation, which led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the imposition of a federal income tax, and the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Headless bodies in stopless wars (Islamist busy season or business as usual? Part 2)

Al-Qaida Chief Appointed Minister Of War, Sunni Insurgents Appoint Al-Qaida In Iraq Chief As `minister Of War,' Execute 20 Men - CBS News
CAIRO, Egypt, Apr. 19, 2007 (AP) A Sunni insurgent coalition posted Web videos on Thursday naming the head of al-Qaida in Iraq as "minister of war" and showing the execution of 20 men it said were members of the Iraqi military and security forces.

7 Hostages Beheaded In Philippines, Officials Say Heads Of 7 Hostages Delivered To Army In Philippines - CBS News
MANILA, Philippines, Apr. 19, 2007 (AP) The heads of seven men believed to have been kidnapped by the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group on a volatile southern island were delivered to a Philippine army detachment Thursday, the military said.

The men _ six road project workers and a dried-fish factory worker _ were kidnapped at gunpoint in two separate incidents Monday near the town of Parang on Jolo island, where U.S. troops have been involved in counterterrorism training and campaigns to draw local support away from Muslim rebels.

Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael, commander of military forces on Jolo, said a group of civilians was ordered to take the heads to Parang by Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad, who operates in Jolo's mountainous forests.

Jolo Gov. Ben Loong and other officials confirmed the grisly delivery.

Somalia Violence Intensifies , Minister Blames Al Qaeda For Car Bomb At Ethiopian Military Base, 12 Killed In Fighting - CBS News
MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 19, 2007 Hawiye clan soldiers fire towards Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 19, 2007. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

Somalia's deputy defense minister has blamed al Qaeda elements for a suicide car bombing at an Ethiopian army base on the outskirts of Mogadishu. A witness said earlier that a car bomb had exploded at a base of hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers on the outskirts of the Somali capital. Ahmed Mohamed Shardi, who was driving a minibus, saw a car behind his vehicle pull into the Ethiopian army base, about 30 miles south of Mogadishu, and then explode.

PA President Abbas: "Alan Johnston is still alive"

ITV News - Alan Johnston 'still alive'
Thu Apr 19 2007

The Palestinian President has said that kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston is still alive.

President Mahmoud Abbas revealed intelligence services have confirmed that the reporter was alive, raising hopes for the release of Mr Johnston.

"Yes, I believe he is still alive," President Abbas said in Stockholm. "Our intelligence services have confirmed to me that he's alive."

President Abbas said he knew which group was holding Johnston, but refused to give details.

The 44-year-old correspondent has been missing for more than a month after he was abducted by masked gunmen as he left his office building in Gaza city.

Suggestions that Mr Johnston is alive come after a previously unknown Palestinian group, The Brigades of Tawheed and Jihad, sent a statement to news organisations at the weekend claiming it had killed the Scot.

Dems Warn Olmert About Playing Politics


Washington - Israeli officials and Democratic lawmakers are working to mend fences after the fallout between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following Pelosi’s visit to Damascus. But Democrats are still angry about what they see as Olmert’s desperate attempts to align himself with President Bush even if it means wading into American political controversies.

The latest flap erupted two weeks ago, after Olmert’s office released a statement — based on partial reports from a press conference that Pelosi had held in Damascus — suggesting she had done a poor job of delivering an Israeli message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli criticism of the speaker came as Bush administration officials were blasting the Democratic leader for visiting Syria.

Since then, Olmert is said to have apologized to Pelosi, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington has praised the speaker. But some Democrats are still upset at Olmert’s actions and attribute them to his weakened political standing at home.

“It’s all politics,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East. When asked what led Olmert to criticize Pelosi’s trip to Damascus, Ackerman said that the Israeli premier had “kissed President Bush’s ass.”

“All the criticism of Pelosi is a stupid, idiotic political bube moyse that the Republicans made up here in Washington,” Ackerman said, stressing that the entire debate had nothing to do with Israel but rather with American partisan politics.

“Bush is the only friend Olmert has left,” said a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill. “Our impression is that Olmert does want a good relationship with the Democrats, but he feels that he needs to support the administration.”

Despite his harsh comments, Ackerman, who just returned from a visit to the Middle East in which he met with Olmert, said he did not sense any tension in the relations between the Israeli leadership and the House Democrats.

In a speech Tuesday at the convention of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Pelosi insisted that her bipartisan delegation “delivered the message” — that Israel is ready for peace talks if Syria ceases its support for terrorism — “as we were requested.”

Pelosi, and other members of the delegation, said that in their meetings with leaders of the Syrian regime, they also stressed that Democrats join the Bush administration’s demand that Syria stop sponsoring terror and discontinue its meddling in the political life in Lebanon.

Rep. Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and joined Pelosi on the trip, called Olmert upon returning to the United States and told the Israeli leader that the delegation had conveyed to the Syrian leader the exact message that it was asked by Olmert himself to pass on. Pelosi telephoned Dalia Itzik, speaker of the Knesset, to make the same point.

Israeli officials have been working to clear the air after it became obvious that Olmert’s remarks were seen as a slap in the face to the Democratic leadership.

Olmert called Pelosi last week and thanked her for her efforts in Syria. According to sources who were briefed on the conversation, Olmert was apologetic and made clear that he did not mean to accuse Pelosi or other members of the delegation of mishandling the diplomatic mission.

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Sallai Meridor, issued a statement thanking Pelosi for her support of Israel and for raising the issue of captured Israeli soldiers in her meetings in Damascus. He described Pelosi’s efforts as “a unique manifestation of the strong bipartisanship friendship and alliance between our two countries.”

Another California Democrat in the delegation, Rep. Henry Waxman, said he does not see any long-lasting damage to the relations that Democrats have with Olmert, now that the disagreement over the Damascus trip has been settled.

“In my opinion, there is no problem between the Democrats and the Israeli government,” Waxman, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the Forward. “There may be differences of opinion, but on the central issue of supporting Israel and its security, there is no difference.”

But some Democratic activists do not see the flap over Pelosi’s trip to Syria as an isolated incident.

A month before her trip, Olmert spoke at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and warned against a hasty withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Olmert’s direct call on pro-Israel activists to support Bush’s Iraq policy came only hours after Vice President Dick Cheney warned the same forum of the dangers that setting a deadline for withdrawal would pose to Israel.

The backdrop for both speeches was the beginning of Democratic efforts in Congress to set a timetable for pulling American forces out of Iraq.

Olmert also praised Bush’s policy in Iraq after the two leaders had a White House meeting last November, days after the midterm elections in which the Democrats won control of Congress.

A Democratic staffer speculated that Olmert’s criticism of Pelosi came after “he got a call from the White House.” Lantos, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also suggested that the White House was behind drawing Olmert’s attention to the activities of Pelosi’s delegation in Damascus.

Israeli sources, however, told the Forward that while Israel does not wish to enter the American political fray, it has genuine strategic concerns relating to a possible rushed withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and sees a need to express these concerns in a variety of forums.

Tense relations between Israeli leaders and American politicians from either side of the aisle are not new. During the Reagan administration, Israel worked with the Democratically controlled Congress against the White House in a failed attempt to stop a sale of surveillance aircrafts of the Airborne Warning and Control System to Saudi Arabia. When Bill Clinton was in the White House, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged relations with Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich in what was seen as an attempt to counter the administration’s peace efforts in the region.

In contrast, Ariel Sharon, Olmert’s political predecessor and patron, maintained an excellent working relationship with President Bush but strictly refrained from taking any position that could be seen as explicitly siding with the Republicans, and he never made any public remarks about the conduct of the war in Iraq.

While the debate over Iraq has apparently created some discord between Jerusalem and Democratic leaders in Congress, on legislative issues there is no daylight. Democrats were responsible for curbing attempts by the Bush administration to provide support to the Palestinian Authority, and they have forced the State Department to cut back an aid package intended to bolster the forces of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas. They have also insisted that the administration not establish ties with the new Palestinian government.

In Democratic circles, Olmert’s low approval ratings — down to 3%, according to one poll — have become a source of comic relief and in some cases have taken the edge off the anger at the Israeli leaders. “Olmert and Bush put together have less than 50% support,” Ackerman said.

Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress and is also a member of Pelosi’s delegation to the Middle East, was a bit more colorful in making the same point during his appearance at this week’s convention of Reform activists. “There are,” Ellison said, “more people who believe that Elvis is alive than those who support Olmert.

Uh oh

McCain and the Beach Boys | New Republic

April 18, 2007| At (a South Carolina) campaign rally, McCain was asked if an attack on Iran is in the works, The Georgetown Times reports.

McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular Beach Boys song.

"Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann.

Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Endorses Bizarre Holocaust Belief

The former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel has endorsed a bizarre belief that the Holocaust was divine retribution for Reform Judaism. He seems to have a lot in common with Jerry Falwell.

Rabbi Blames Reform Jews for Holocaust -
Members of the Reform Jewish movement filed a complaint with police Wednesday against a former Israeli chief rabbi who blamed the liberal Jewish movement for the Holocaust.

The complaint accused Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of defamation after he told an ultra-Orthodox radio station last week that the Holocaust was punishment for Reform Judaism's liberalization of the religion...

Asked by a radio interviewer what was the sin of the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis, Eliyahu quoted a biblical verse about divine punishment for altering a ritual and added, "Those people (victims) were not to blame, but the Reform movement began in Germany. Those tinkerers with the faith got their start in Germany."

Divine wrath, Eliyahu added, "doesn't distinguish between the virtuous and the evil." The lesson, he said, was not to make "even the slightest change" to Jewish practice...

Eliyahu, 77, who served as chief rabbi for Israel's Middle Eastern Jews from 1983-1993, did not respond to requests for comment faxed to his office.

In 2005, Eliyahu raised a similar stir when he blamed nations "that don't help Israel, but want to ... interfere in our affairs and harm us," for causing the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed nearly 230,000 people in Asia and Africa.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Israel: Little Support for Holocaust Survivors - New York Times

Nearly a third of the estimated 260,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel
are living in poverty and struggling to get state medical services or
sufficient pensions, according to a report by the Holocaust Survivors’
Welfare Fund. The report, timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance
Day, was delivered to Parliament on Sunday. Hundreds of survivors,
advocates and students marched outside the building in protest. “We
keep being very critical of those who have not admitted guilt or deny
that there was a Holocaust, but here we are ignoring the people who are
living in dire poverty,” said Collette Avital, a member of Parliament
who advocates for Holocaust survivors. Isaac Herzog, the social affairs
minister, asked to take control of the care for Holocaust survivors,
now under the Finance Ministry. “I feel deeply ashamed,” he said.

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Greetings from the beautiful Gowanus Canal!

This story is a bit off my usual beaten path, but #1) it's in my neighborhood, #2) it's a whale swimming in a notorious waterway best known for being an open industrial sewer with the worst pollution in NYC with the occasional mob hit victim floating like marshmallows in toxic cocoa, and #3) it gets depressing dealing with the stuff I generally write about. So godamnit, I'm gonna blog it!

Young Whale Wanders into NY Harbor | TIME

A minke whale swims in New York City's Gowanus canal, Tuesday, April 17, 2007..

Marine biologists were standing watch on Tuesday over a young whale that lost its way in New York harbor and nearly wandered into a narrow waterway notorious for industrial pollution.

The animal, described as a juvenile minke whale about 15 feet long, was cruising around Gowanus Bay, the outlet from the mile-long Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. It appeared to be in good health and not distressed, said Kim Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Chutzpa, Lebanese style

Israpundit » Blog Archive » Lebanese Chutzpa: Pay Us For The War We Started

Lebanese Chutzpa: Pay Us For The War We Started

by Omri Ceren

If the definition of chutzpa is the child who kills his parents and then begs the judge for leniency because he’s an orphan, then surely starting a war and then demanding reparations from the other side is a close second:
Lebanon is preparing to go to an international tribunal to seek reparations from Israel for damage caused during last year’s month-long war, the country’s finance minister Jihad Azour said on Monday.

Speaking at Johns Hopkins University, Azour declined to say which court or international tribunal Lebanon would petition and added that the case is still being prepared. Israel invaded southern Lebanon in July after Hizbullah guerrillas captured two of its soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Quick review:

(1) Hezbollah - at that time a sitting member of the ruling Lebanese government - committed an act of war against the State of Israel.

(2) Hezbollah received public sanction for their acts from Lebaense Prime Minister Siniora:

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora thanked Hizbollah on Sunday for its “sacrifices” in its war against Israel. “We are in a strong position and I thank the Sayyed for his efforts,” Siniora said when asked about a Saturday statement by Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah calling on the government to take advantage of Hizbollah’s steadfastness against Israeli military might.”I also thank all those who sacrifice their lives for the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon,” he added.

(3) The State Department, not to mention the implicit assumptions and the explicit language of the internationally binding ceasefire, recognize that the conflict was between the governments of Israel and Lebanon.

So we don’t think it’s unfair to say that there’s something about this latest aggrieved cry of victimization that leaves us cold.

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Busy season for Islamists or business as usual?

Turkey: Three killed at Bible publishing house | Jerusalem Post

Attackers killed three people Wednesday at a publishing house that had been the
subject of protests for distributing Bibles in Turkey, the
government-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Police were giving no immediate information about the attack.
Dogan news agency said, however, that the three people killed had their
throats slit. It said a fourth person jumped from a window to escape
the attack, and was hospitalized with injuries.

Anatolia also said one person was hospitalized with a throat injury but later died.

The Zirve publishing house in the city of Malatya has been the
site of previous protests by nationalists accusing it of proselytizing
in this mostly Muslim but secular country, Dogan reported. Turks are
considered moderately religious, however, and view proselytizers with
suspicion. Many are detained and extradited.


Islamists attack Nigeria police (from BBC)

Armed members of a Nigerian Islamist group known as
the Taleban have stormed a police station in the northern city of Kano,
killing at least 13 people.
A police source told the BBC there were between 300 and 500 people, some of whom were heavily armed. The army has been sent in and police have evacuated the area.

Cotabato City, 16 April (AKI) - At least 70,000 Muslim civilians in the
southern Filipino province of Sulu were displaced due to fighting
between a faction of former rebel group, the Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) and the army. Abdul Wasan Mohamad, provincial social
welfare and development officer in Sulu, told Adnkronos International
(AKI) that the number may increase as six towns were affected in the
ongoing fighting that began when a group of MNLF forces, under leader
Habier Malik attacked a Marine base near Panamao, on 13 April. Eighteen
people, including two soldiers and a civilian, were killed in the

Underground Church Worker Beheaded in Kashmir
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

KASHMIR, INDIA (ANS) -- An active member of the Salem Voice Ministries underground House Church in Kashmir was brutally murdered on Saturday, April 14, according to news sources in India.

Manzoor Ahmad Chat, 33, was beheaded by Hizbul militants on Saturday before dawn. Local police recovered the head and the remains of his body from Gundi Pora and Pinglana villages in Pulwama District. Manzoor and his family became believers in Jesus Christ after converting from Islam and regularly attended prayer services held by the SVM (Underground) House Church. He was a prayer leader in the house church.

Manzoor was employed by the Government as a lineman of the Power Development Department (PDD) in the Kakapora area. On Friday he was traveling by scooter to carry out his duties. While he was going he met two believers and reminded them about the prayer meetings, but on the way he was kidnapped by the militants, according to police reports.

On Saturday, people in the village of Pinglena found Manzoor's headless body in a nearby paddy field. They also found the head kept in a polythene bag near the mosque.

According to SVM, militants had planned to kill him earlier. A gun battle between militants and armed forces had taken place at Manzoor's house last year. Reports say Manzoor seemed to have been brutally tortured and finally slaughtered to death.

Police registered a case and investigations have been launched. The dead body has been handed over to the family following a post mortem. Police also say they killed two leaders of the militant group Leshkar-e-Toyiba.

More here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

(Thanks to Jihad Watch)

Clarification on the U.K. Holocaust Education story

I reported here that some British schools were avoiding teaching about the Holocaust in order to avoid "offending" Muslim students. The Holocaust Educational Trust has issued a clarification of this story indicating that it really involves a report of only one instance of this occurring in one school. Read it here:

The Holocaust Educational Trust

"Within the ... report from the Historical Association, there is one particular line relating to
Holocaust education which has been the focus of the press and various alarmed emails. It features in the section addressing why teachers avoid teaching certain subjects and states: ‘… a history department in a northern city recently avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for ... coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic (sic) sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils’. (p15) ...

This is an anecdotal response from one teacher in one school out of four thousand five hundred secondary schools in the UK. While we cannot say what happens in every single school, our understanding is that this is highly unusual and not general practise of teachers around the country."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sliming Wolfowitz

Re: Why Wolfowitz did nothing wrong. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

I am not an apologist for Paul Wolfowitz. His failures with respect to the Iraq War are among the most serious in the history of the U.S. State Department. They should be discussed and analyzed. However, he should be held accountable for THOSE failures, not scapegoated for invented, exaggerated scandals.

The coverage of this story on the BBC World Service radio news was so inflated as to be comical. Yesterday's edition played this story as the major event on planet Earth (whereas it was only that important on planet BBC). It was their top story, and, listening for an hour on the National Public Radio station here in New York, I caught half an hour of reportage on the subject. By reportage, of course, I mean BBC reporters asking the opinions of people who agree with them. You see, that's what makes it news and not opinion.

My understanding is that he was raised in upstate New York, not Warsaw. However, BBC as a rule has pronounced Wolfowitz' name with an ersatz Polish or Yiddish accent, something like "Wolfervitz". They have portrayed him as a sort of foreign agent influencing U.S. policy for foreign, nefarious interests. In other words, he has become the target of BBC anti-Semitism.

BBC, which is currently in an expensive legal battle to suppress an independant study of bias in its reporting on Israel, would do better to be less blunt. If they want to influence public opinion, they need to be seen as objective. If they want to be seen as reporting without bigotry, they need to stop pronouncing Jewish names with odd, faux authentic accents. If they want to be a news agency, they need to stop reporting opinion as fact, and stop demonizing public figures they oppose. They should be frank about Wolfowitz' record (and those of Bush and Blair), and they should be frank about their own.

Alan Hart: If Alan Johnston is dead, who, really, was responsible?

Here, for all to see, is an example of paranoid anti-Israel bias, which in Britain circa 2007 is taken for sanity.

Alan Hart argues that, because the kidnapping and claimed murder of Alan Johnston harm the Palestinian cause, Israel MUST be responsible. Moreover, if the BBC doesn't allow its reporters to investigate Israel's responsibility, it MUST be because of pro-Israel bias. The logical fallacies, false assumptions and conspiracy theory paranoia pile up as Hart starts from his bigoted conclusion and, marching backwards, tramples the facts.

Hart's website states that he is the author of ''Zionism: the REAL enemy of the Jews'', and ''Zionism: the REAL enemy of the Jews, Volume 2''.

Daily Kos posts neo-Nazi video

lgf: The Protocols of the Daily Kos

Sabbah of the Daily Kos has posted an anti-Semitic video from the Vanguard News Network, a neo-Nazi website.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Australian film board okays a film promoting terrorism for kids

Islamic pro-terrorism hate film gets PG rating |

A PRO-TERROR hate film that urges children to martyr themselves in Islam's war on the West and calls Jews "pigs" has been rated PG by Australia's censors.

Sheik Feiz Mohammed's DVD box set, which also calls for the murder of non-believers, was initially seized by Federal anti-terror police.

But the Office of Film and Literature Classification has ruled that The Death Series is suitable to be bought and watched by children.

The shock decision has seen the nation's peak censorship body slammed as weak and out of touch by family groups and the Jewish community.

It has also made a mockery of the Attorney-General's plans to bring in tough new laws that ban material which "advocates" terrorism.

The PG decision comes as Australian-born Sheik Feiz, who is in exile in Lebanon, is still preaching to Australians by phone.

The films urge parents to make their children holy warriors and martyrs, and praises jihad as the pinnacle of Islam.

The radical sheik makes snorting noises on the films as he vilifies Jews as the "army of pigs".
(from LGF)

Republican presidential hopeful Thompson: Making money part of Jewish tradition

By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tommy Thompson told Jewish activists Monday that making money is "part of the Jewish tradition," and something that he applauded.

Speaking to an audience at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington D.C., Thompson said that, "I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."

Thompson later apologized for the comments that had caused a stir in the audience, saying that he had meant it as a compliment, and had only wanted to highlight the "accomplishments" of the Jewish religion.
Will he name Jimmy the Greek as his running mate?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Birds of a fascist feather flock together.

FROM faute de pire: Muslims for Le Pen?

"Muslims for Le Pen?
In a recent editorial for the Washington Times, Paul Belien of the Brussels Journal warns that demographic trends spell electoral disaster for the European right, where the growing Muslim populations of major cities have recently out-voted the right's homegrown base in a string of electoral defeats in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Turning to consider the French case -- of special interest with presidential voting just days away and the largest Muslim population in all of Europe -- Belien notes the curious but unmistakable overtures recently made towards France's Muslim voters by Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. What does it all mean?" (Read the rest here...)
There have always been affinities between the Eurpoean neo-fascist far right and the Islamists. For one thing, they share ideological roots in fascism and Leninism.

Read ''Milestones'' by Sayyid Qutb, primary philosopher of the Muslim Brotherhood, to see his regard for the fascist Alexis Carrel, whom he cites more than any other authority except the Quran. Carrel, a member of Doriot's Parti populaire français, advocated creation of a racial elite by means of eugenics. Qutb advocated creation of a political/religious elite by conducting jihad within the Muslim nations against those considered to be non-believers by dint of their opposing Islamism. (Prior to Qutb, this sort of summary excommunication from Islam was not a popular idea. His innovation was to use this as a stepping stone to a revolutionary Islamism.)

By the way, Le Pen cites Alexis Carrel as his favorite "environmentalist". Considering that Carrel did not deal with environmental issues per se, this must refer to Le Pen's view of a racial environment to be managed by the government as governments currently manage pollution. To me, this is one of Le Pen's most shockingly Nazi pronouncements.

All this having been said, it is difficult to imagine how on earth these disciples of Alexis Carrel can find agreement on their contradictory of interpretations of his thought. Perhaps Le Pen will consider "right-minded" Arabs to be "honorary Frenchman", just as Hitler considered the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to be an "honorary Aryan" by dint of his eye color and his anti-Semitism.

Yes, this is a very weird area of thought, involving superstition, pseudo-science, and race hatred. Maybe any attempt to find logic in this sea of irrationality is pointless. Where there is a will to power, there's a way.

UPDATE 4/16/2007: Last year, Solomonia had an excellent piece on Le Pen vying for Muslim support here:
Solomonia: The Right Welcomes the Islamists.

UPDATE #2: A reader writes to inform me that Le Pen opposed the French public school ban on girls wearing veils back in 2005, arguing that it would help "foreigners" to "blend in". It seems that Le Pen perceives his constituency to consist of all those who oppose integration, regardless of which side of the divide they're on. Reminds me a bit of Elijah Mohammed of the Nation of Islam inviting the neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell to address his followers on the evils of race mixing.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove

NPR : Documents Show Justice Ranking U.S. Attorneys

According to someone who's had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Rove on U.S. Attorney e-mails: my cyber-dog ate them.

Turkey pressures U.S. to fight Kurdish guerillas in Iraq. Threaten incursion.

Turkish army demands incursion into Iraq - Independent Online Edition

Turkey's military chief asked the government yesterday to approve an incursion into Iraq, increasing pressure on the US and Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas.

But military action was likely to be used only as a last resort: it would strain ties with Washington and could spark a mutiny from Kurdish lawmakers within Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's own party ahead of elections in November, analysts said.

"An operation into Iraq is necessary," General Yasar Buyukanit said, adding that his forces were fighting more than 2,000 guerrillas in the border region operating from within Turkey.

Ankara has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The Turkish military recently reinforced its troops in the predominantly Kurdish southeast.


East German Communists confront their guilty secret: anti-Semitism

More Republican memory failures... Soon to be followed by IT failures and document retention failures...

Gonzales Aide Suggested Replacements for Attorneys - New York Times

A Justice Department e-mail released on Friday shows that the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proposed replacement candidates for seven United States attorneys nearly a year before those prosecutors were fired, in contrast to testimony last month in which the aide said that no successors were considered before the firings.

The e-mail written by D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned last month as the top aide to Mr. Gonzales, provides the first evidence that the Justice Department wanted to appointed its own candidates, despite the insistence of Justice Department officials in recent weeks that the eight prosecutors, with one exception, were removed in December 2006 for performance reasons, without regard to who might succeed them.

Two of the replacement candidates named in the e-mail were later named to fill vacancies created by United States Attorneys who stepped down, suggesting that Mr. Sampson had a roster of preferred candidates to place in United States Attorneys’ jobs. The e-mail seemed to provide new evidence that the Justice Department removed the prosecutors, at least in part, to make room for other candidates.

The January 9, 2006 e-mail was sent by Mr. Sampson to Harriet Miers, the former White House Counsel, and William Kelley, another White House lawyer. In the e-mail, Mr. Sampson proposed the dismissal of a total of seven United States Attorneys and named at least one replacement candidate for each prospective vacancy.

Because of deletions in the copy of the e-mail turned over to Congress, the names of only four of the United States Attorneys slated for removal and their possible successors are disclosed. The names of the replacement candidates, in most cases, are followed by a question mark, suggesting that Mr. Sampson might have been uncertain about them.

The United States Attorneys identified for removal are four who were ultimately dismissed: Margaret Chiara in Michigan, Kevin Ryan in San Francisco, Carol C. Lam in San Diego and H.E. Cummins II in Arkansas. Justice Department officials have acknowledged that Mr. Cummins was an able prosecutor who was removed solely to make room for J. Timothy Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove, the White House senior political adviser. Mr. Griffin was appointed to the job on a temporary basis.

“Please treat this as confidential,” Mr. Sampson wrote...

Dershowitz on Human Rights Watch not watching Hezbollah's human rights violations.

OK. This blog is starting to look like an Alan Dershowitz fan club, But you should read his critique of Human Rights Watch and their double-standards with respect to Israel and Hezbollah. Here it is:

What Are They Watching?
August 23, 2006

When it comes to Israel and its enemies, Human Rights Watch cooks the books about facts, cheats on interviews, and releases predetermined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true. Consider the following highly publicized "conclusion" reached by Human Rights Watch about the recent war in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel: "Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack." No cases! Anyone who watched even a smattering of TV during the war saw with their own eyes direct evidence of rockets being launched from civilian areas. But not Human Rights Watch. How could an organization, which claims to be objective, have been so demonstrably wrong about so central a point in so important a war? Could it have been an honest mistake? I don't think so. Human Rights Watch not only failed to interview witnesses who had contrary evidence, it ignored credible news sources, such as the New York Times and the New Yorker.

"Hezbollah came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets," said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young Christian man, referring to his village. "They are shooting from between our houses." Mr. Amar said Hezbollah fighters in groups of two and three had come into Ain Ebel, less than a mile from Bint Jbail, where most of the fighting has occurred. They were using it as a base to shoot rockets, he said, and the Israelis fired back.

– Sabrina Tavernise, "Christians Fleeing Lebanon Denounce Hezbollah," the New York Times, July 28, 2006

Near the hospital, a mosque lay in ruins … A man approached and told me that he was a teacher at the Hariri school. I asked him why he thought the Israelis had hit a mosque, and he said, simply, "It was a Hezbollah mosque." … A younger man came up to me and, when we were out of earshot of others, said that Hezbollah had kept bombs in the basement of the mosque, but that two days earlier a truck had taken the cache away.

– Jon Lee Anderson, "The Battle for Lebanon," the New Yorker, August 8,

Read the rest...

Alan Dershowitz' letter to DePaul re Finkelstein.

Read it here and judge for yourself...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Francoise Ouzan's brief analysis of the purpose of the deligitimizing of Israel

This brief book review came out one year ago, but is still well worth reading.

Europe's Jewish Problem - Françoise Ouzan

Europe's Jewish Problem
Françoise Ouzan on
Les frontières d'Auschwitz:
Les ravages du devoir de mémoire
by Shmuel Trigano

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Was a British activist murdered by followers of Lyndon LaRouche for being Jewish?

New evidence shows 'suicide' student was beaten to death

Compelling new evidence suggests that a 22-year-old Briton who had become involved with a right-wing political cult in Germany was murdered, contradicting the authorities' verdict of suicide.

Two new reports from leading forensic pathologists suggest that Jeremiah Duggan, a student at the British Institute in Paris, was battered to death with a blunt instrument as he tried desperately to defend himself.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Opposition to Ilan Pappe, the new chairman of the History Department at Exeter University

From EJP via HNN:

UK’s Jewish leaders concerned over university appointment

British Jewish leaders have spoken of their concern after a Haifa University lecturer who has called for a boycott of Israeli academics, was made Chair of History at Exeter University in the south of England.

Ilan Pappe has published numerous books and essays accusing Israel of “ethnically cleansing” the Palestinians.

"Zionism is far more dangerous to the safety of the Middle East than Islam," Pappe said in one interview recently and two years ago he was a major supporter of the Association of University Teachers’ proposals for an academic boycott of Israel.

Walid Jumblatt alleges that elements of the Lebanese military are helping Hezbollah smuggle arms from Syria.

From Ha'aretz:

Lebanese official: Security agents helped Hezbollah smuggle arms

A senior Lebanese anti-Syrian politician alleged on Saturday that Lebanese security agents were involved in helping Hezbollah guerrillas smuggle in weapons across the country's porous border with Syria.

Druse leader Walid Jumblatt told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television channel that there is complicity between Hezbollah and some Lebanese security agents on the border who are allowing trucks to pass without being searched.

"Nobody knows what's inside these trucks," Jumblatt said without elaborating.

Alger Hiss exhonorated?

from History News Network:

Kai Bird: Suggests Alger Hiss Was not a Spy

Source: Washington Post (4-6-07)

An author who has researched the Cold War's most famous espionage case said new evidence suggests another U.S. diplomat, not Alger Hiss, was the Soviet agent who fed U.S. secrets to Moscow.

The claim was presented Thursday at a daylong symposium, "Alger Hiss & History," at New York University. It provided new information that, if true, could point toward a posthumous vindication of Hiss, who was accused of spying for the Soviet Union and spent nearly five years in prison for perjury before his death in 1996 at age 92.

Also at the conference, a stepson of Hiss argued that Hiss' chief accuser invented the spy allegations after his sexual advances were rejected.

Author Kai Bird said there was new evidence to suggest that the real spy was another U.S. official named Wilder Foote. Hiss was accused of feeding secrets to the Soviet military intelligence agency GRU under the code name Ales.

Bird said he and co-researcher Svetlana A. Chervonnaya had identified nine possible suspects among U.S. State Department officials present at the U.S.-Soviet Yalta conference in 1945. A process of elimination based on their subsequent travels to Moscow and Mexico City excluded eight of them, including Hiss, he said.

"It left only one man standing: Wilder Foote," Bird said.

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Historian Gary B. Nash on Florida's "History Law"

From History News Network

For background, read this interview with Gary Nash, and this piece on the tenth anniversary of Lynn Cheney's attack on reality-based history . Also, check out ''History on Trial'', which details Lynn Cheney's politicization of the issue of U.S. History pedagogy. Essentially, an attempt by history teachers to promulgate an effective, engaging and balanced U.S. History curriculum for public schools was demogogued by the right wing. ''History on Trial'' shows how the right deliberately distorted the proposed curriculum, sacrificing a noble effort to promote history education in order to score some cheap political points. The height of hypocracy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

French Jews mobilize opposition as Le Pen kicks off his campaign -- French Jews prepare for Le Pen campaign

Here was the reaction of the French Jewish community to Le Pen's 2001 campaign:

Norman Finkelstein: wrong as usual.

from YID With LID

Contrary to what Finkelstein and his minions claim, Dershowitz was ASKED by DePaul to comment on Finkelstein's record

Bush's inner circle gets smaller and smaller

Six U.S. Attorneys Given 2nd Posting in Washington -

A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records.

Acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, for example, has been effectively absent from his job as U.S. attorney in Montana for nearly two years -- prompting the chief federal judge in Billings to demand his removal and call Mercer's office "a mess."

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Gosh darn it! Giuliani just FORGOT that Kerik was getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the mob.

Meanwhile, Gonzo remembers it, but thought it was okay...

White House Looked Past Alarms on Kerik -

Monday, April 9, 2007

George Galloway Freaks Out During Iraq War Debate

Watch a George Galloway meltdown as he's called to task for being a friend of Saddam Hussein and a hater of, well, Jews...


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Modern racists claim many blacks fought for the Confedaracy, falsify evidence.

Retouching History
The Modern Falsification of a Civil War Photograph
Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite, Jr.

“In the past decade,” the Yale historian David Blight has recently written, “the neo-Confederate fringe of Civil War enthusiasm . . . has contended that thousands of African Americans, slave and free, willingly joined the Confederate war effort as soldiers and fought for their ‘homeland’ . . . . Slaves’ fidelity to their masters’ cause - - a falsehood constructed to support claims that the war was not about slavery - - has long formed one of the staple arguments in Lost Cause ideology.”

In this paper we discuss a graphic example of Blight’s contention by
examining a Civil War-era posed studio photograph of black Union
soldiers with a white officer. We maintain that this photograph has
been deliberately falsified in recent years by an unknown person/s
sympathetic to the Confederacy. This falsified or fabricated photo,
purporting to be of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards (Confederate), has
been taken to promote Neo-Confederate views, to accuse Union
propagandists of duplicity, and to show that black soldiers were
involved in the armed defense of the Confederacy. As of the date of
this website this photograph is being sold on the web by an on-line
retailer,, which promotes itself as “The Internet’s Original Rebel Store,” and advertises this photograph as a legitimate photo of “Members of the first all Black Confederate Unit organized in New Orleans in 1861.”


Thanks to History News Network

Norman Finkelstein in battle for tenure at DePaul University

From Inside Higher Ed:

Norman G. Finkelstein has been more controversial off his campus than on it. On his frequentspeaking tours to colleges, where he typically discusses Israel inhighly critical ways, Finkelstein draws protests and debates. When the University of California Press published Finkelstein’s critique of Alan Dershowitz and other defenders of Israelin 2005, a huge uproar ensued — with charges and countercharges abouthypocrisy, tolerance, fairness and censorship. But at DePaulUniversity, Finkelstein has taught political science largely without controversy, gaining a reputation as a popular teacher.

But the debate over Finkelstein is now hitting his home campus — and
in a way sure to create more national controversy. Finkelstein is up
for tenure. So far, his department has voted, 9-3, in favor of tenure
and a collegewide faculty panel voted 5-0 to back the bid. But
Finkelstein’s dean has just weighed in against Finkelstein.


Debates over scholars who take controversial views on the Middle East are, of course,
nothing new to academe. But Finkelstein’s case may be in a category all its own. He portrays
himself as a courageous scholar, bringing rationality to discussions of
the Holocaust and Israel — all the more bold for being Jewish and doing
so. While criticizing people who invoke the Holocaust to justify
political positions, he constantly identifies his parents as Holocaust

His supporters tend to characterize Finkelstein as the victim of
right-wing, pro-Israel forces — and there are plenty of conservative
supporters of Israel who despise Finkelstein. But among the groups he’s
currently sparring with is Progressive
magazine, a decidedly left-of-center publication that regularly
publishes pieces that are highly critical of Israel’s government.
Finkelstein and his supporters also say that criticisms of his tone are
an excuse for attacks on his political views — and that issue appears
to be key to the DePaul dean’s review.

Much of the criticism from the dean focuses on Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry. The book argues that supporters of Israel use the Holocaust unreasonably to justify Israel’s policies. While the book does not deny that the Holocaust took place, it labels leading Holocaust scholars “hoaxters and huxters.” A review of the book in The New York Times called it full of contradictions (at one point he rejects the idea that the United States abandoned Europe’s Jews and then he later praises a book for which that idea was the central thesis) and full of “seething hatred” as he implies that Jews needed the Holocaust to justify Israel. The reviewer, Brown University’s Omer Bartov, a leading scholar of the Holocaust, described the book as "a novel variation on the nti-Semitic forgery, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’"

By the way, have you noticed that, while Finkelstein constantly condemns others for citing their personal experiences of the Holocaust when debating political issues, he and his defenders frequently do just that with respect to his parents' status as survivors. (see Exclusive: Norman Finkelstein, DePaul Scholar and Son of Holocaust Survivors, Struggles for Tenure as an especially absurd example. The author wastes no time and gets it in the headline.)


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