Saturday, July 29, 2006

"This Far, And No Further"

Just when I think I know what my next blog article is going to be, along comes something irresistible at another blogger's site. This time, my find comes from Benning's Writing Pad. Below is a lengthy excerpt and is worth your time:
"Recently we have heard cries calling on Israel to respond to the Hezbollah terrorist attacks with 'proportionate response'. As in 'tit-for-tat', we must suppose. Hezbollah fights from hideouts within civilian neighborhoods, from within hospitals and mosques. They are shielded, usually knowingly, by the very civilians who we are told are innocent victims of Israeli aggression. And while the terrorist of Islam fire their rockets and missiles purposely into civilian targets in Israel, cower behind women and children in attacks against Israeli forces, the World would have us hold back Israel. We are called upon to safeguard the terrorists and denounce the people who have been attacked, again and again, by fanatics.

"The World continues to plead with our nation to convince Israel to seek a 'path for peace', as if that has not been tried again and again. We are told by former Federal government officials that we are the only super power in the region and that we hold sway with both sides, thus being the only ones who can stop the war there. Americans, told of the danger of Lebanon for years, and despite US State Department warnings against traveling to, or staying in, Lebanon, went there. And now endangered, they demand that the US government not only rescue them from the situation there, but stop it.

"Stop Israel. Keep them from killing innocent Lebanese civilians. And the Western Media proclaim the horrors of Israeli attacks on the Lebanese people and trumpet the sorrow, bloodshed, and horror of what is happening in Lebanon. And on occasion they also show us images of the victims of Hezbollah in Israel.

"But the World Media remain quiet about the Israeli soldiers kidnapped from Israel by Hezbollah in the north, and by Hamas in the south. Two Islamic terror organizations, shielded by their civilian neighbors in Lebanon, and elected to office in Gaza, commit acts of war, and then call upon the West to restrain the victims from seeking justice. And retribution.

"History in the region of the Middle East tells us quite clearly that for each step toward peace, made by Israel, they have been made to pay a steep price in blood. Every move Israel has made to promote peace in the region has resulted in increased violence from the Islamists. Each time Israel has conceded land to the Islamists they have been attacked for their weakness - for that is how the Islamists see Israel's concessions - and made to pay more for Peace than for War. And still the World calls on them to give up. To step back further, to concede again.

"Far too many in the West cannot, or will not, see the Evil that is Islam. They prattle on about its proud history: of exploration, of art, of medicine, of learning. All nonsense. And what they will not allow themselves to see now is the utter depravity of Islam and its interations with the Civilized World around it. This Cult of Death is granted concessions by the West that are suicidal in nature. Concessions that nobody would ever accept were the circumstances local rather than global.

"Imagine that your neighbors began lobbing M-80s into your yard, onto your patio, through your windows. Would your response be to grant them part of your yard? If they crawled under your fence and kidnapped your child, would you offer to sit down and discuss the matter with them? Or would you call the police? Would you expect the Authorities to punish the missile lobbers, retrieve your child, and punish the kidnappers? If so, then you are not considered nuanced enough to be discussing the Middle East 'situation'.

"And that 'situation' is but a tiny, though massively dangerous part of what is happening in the OWrld, whether we want to face it or not. For Islam is on the move. As it has since its violent, bloody inception, Islam is expanding, demanding converts or surrender, moving in and demanding that each place give in to its demands. Western Europe, which fought for its own survival centuries ago agaisnt this same Death Cult, finds itself once again endangered by Islam. This time it is different, though.

"Europeans, in their Liberal, compassionate way, allowed Islam to enter. Acts of mercy, giving home and sustenance to refugees from other Muslim lands, has resulted in a growing minority of demanding, violence-prone cultists who despise their adoptive homes and refuse to assimilate into the societies around them. They are attempting to take over those nations from within. First through legislative means, and political bullying (Hate Speech Laws anyone?), then through armed uprisings, violent criminal activities, and the cordoning off of entire areas within cities, where the actual native populace can no longer tread without fear for their lives and limbs.

"Europe may well fall this time, where they did not centuries ago. What will America do? Our own naysayers have emboldened the Islamist enemy. They have cost this nation precious blood through their tacit support of the Islamist Horde. Their incessant whining about the 'Rights' of the enemy attempt to weaken our resolve. We listen at our peril. Now is not the time to debate the finer points of diplomacy. Now is the time to gird up our loins, put on our armor, heft our swords and go fight the Forces of Darkness and Chaos. Because they are coming. Many are already here, working to weaken us from within. Using our Media, our Courts, our common decency as platforms from which to launch more attacks....

"It's time for us, the people of the United States of America, to stand up and say, 'This far, and no further!'"
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you, Benning!

[You can read Benning's full essay HERE]

Continue reading....

Friday, July 28, 2006

"What I Saw in Dearbornistan"

A must-read! As I recently posted, Hezbollah is here. The question still stands: CAN a good Muslim be a good American?

[Hat-tip to Nanc for that Dearbornistan link]

Continue reading....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Forbidden Question

A few weeks ago, I spotted the following, reproduced in its entirety at Eyes All Around:
Can a good Muslim be a good American?

I sent that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

The following is his reply:

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia.

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran).

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.

Politically - no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great Satan.

Domestically - no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).

Intellectually - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.

Philosophically - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.

Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

Spiritually - no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names.

Therefore after much study and deliberation.... perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both "good" Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish.... it's still the truth.

If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements, perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

Pass it on Fellow Americans. The religious war is bigger than we know or understand.
From Serge Trifkovic's The Sword of the Prophet (pages 295-296), emphases mine:
"While it is proper for democratic government to refrain from legislating the practice of religion in any way, Islam is a special case because it is, on its own admission, much more than 'just a religion.' It needs to be understood and subjected to the same supervision and legal restrains that apply to other cults prone to violence, and to violent political hate groups whose avowed aim is the destruction of our order of life.

"The collective striving of 'We the People' makes no sense unlesss there is a definable 'people' to support it. Most Muslim immigrants have no kinship with the striving and no connection to that 'people,' except for the unsurprising desire to partake in its wealth. But their deep disdain for the democratic institutions of the host-countries notwithstanding (and just like the members of communist parties before them), Muslim activists in non-Muslim countries invoke those institutions when they clamor for every kind of indulgence for their own beliefs and customs. They demand full democratic privileges to organze and propagate their views, while acknowledging to each other that, given the power to do so, they would impose their own beliefs and customs, and eliminate all others....'[T]rue Islam' does not recognize a priori the right of any other religion or world outlook to exist..."
Being or becoming an American involves a lot more that "partaking in wealth." The essence of being an American means loving freedom and respecting the rights of others as outlined in our Bill of Rights, particularly the first amendment guaranteeing religious freedom.

On July 20, 2006, the United American Committee posed a challenge, reproduced below in its entirety:
The United American Committee is putting out a challenge to all Islamic leaders with congregations in America to issue religious edicts, also known as 'fatwas', against Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri of al Qaeda as apostates to true Islam and calling for their deaths at the hands of all true Muslims.

LOS ANGELES, CA - July 20, 2006 (UACWIRE) - Osama bin Laden has admitted on videotape he was responsible for 9/11 as has Ayman al Zawahiri. Over 3,000 American died on 9/11 in New York and at the Pentagon at the hands of fanatics that the American Muslim community maintains did not represent true Islam due to the murders of innocent civilians. Those who claim to represent the mainstream Muslim community in America, such as CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, claim they oppose terrorism and violence. Others say these groups quietly work as cheering sections for international terrorism. Now, the United American Committee wishes to give the American Muslim community a chance to disprove such notions, and places an open challenge for American Muslim leaders to issue a fatwa against Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.

The UAC recognizes that a previous fatwa backed by a large number of American Islamic organizations ambiguously declared; “Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives,” this fatwa did not condemn any individuals by name, and did not define who is deemed to be innocent. Further, given that Muslims like Sheik Bakri of London declare, “Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar,” kuffar referring to any non-Muslims, leaves the fatwa greatly open to interpretation. Therefore, in August of 2005 the United American Committee officially denounced the fatwa and now puts a challenge to American Muslim leaders to issue a true fatwa against the Islamic terrorists Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and those who support them. The United American Committee believes that most American Muslims do not condone violence or jihad against American soldiers and civilian citizens. In accordance with this, the UAC is offering a true opportunity for all Muslim leaders in the United States to prove their loyalty to America by issuing a fatwa which encourages the Islamic world to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.

In coming months, the UAC will write to the leaders of Muslim congregations in the United States making this request and will share with the public the responses from each on the UAC website at UAC welcomes all patriotic American Muslims to show they are a supportive part of the American community as a whole in the War on Terror.

"This gives Muslim-Americans the same opportunity to stand up for our country as those brave volunteers did in the 442nd Regiment during World War II without actually going into combat," said UAC Member Peter James, referring to the all Japanese regiment of the U.S. Army in the Second World War. James continued, "If an imam refuses to issue such an edict, one can only assume he does so out of a desire that Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri not be stopped, and that Al Qaeda's killing spree is in fact something that Islamic leaders in America tacitly support. For Islamic leaders who consider themselves patriotic Americans, this should be a no-brainer."

The UAC's position is that given the long term nature of the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threats to American soldiers over there as well as threats at home, such edicts from American Muslim leaders would also bolster US support abroad in Muslim nations against anti-Americanism by creating a united front with all American Muslims regardless of their views on the war.

The UAC welcomes all Muslim-Americans into its ranks who wish to protect and preserve the United States of America and who do not support the goals of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri or al Qaeda.


Contact Information
Thus far, no American Muslim leaders have come forward in response to the UAC's challenge. Maybe with more publicity about the above challenge, some American Muslims will come forward as patriotic Americans. If they don't, then the forbidden question "Can a Muslim be a good American?" takes on urgency.

Continue reading....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blog News

Regular readers of this blog have recently been enjoying a new commenter here: "Anonymous," whose trademark is "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You MORON!" Scroll down to enjoy a visual representation of what Anonymous has been doing.

Spew alert! Set down any beverage you have in your hand and swallow first.

Wait for it. Keep scrolling.

Mr. Ducky has mentioned that I don't have a sense of humor. What say you, readers?

Continue reading....

Monday, July 24, 2006


Shamelessly borrowed from GM's Corner, who borrowed it from somewhere else.

Continue reading....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hezbollah: Not Just "Over There"

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Those of us who are studying the Islamification of the United States are already aware of the largest Muslim community here in the United States; that community is in and around Dearborn, Michigan. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that at least some Muslims in that vicinity are supportive of Islamic terrorist organizations.

According to Diana West's "Hezbollah and Main Street," which appeared in the July 21, 2006 Washington Times,
"...[T]his isn't, as they say, your father's heartland. Hezbollah itself is popular in Dearborn, which can fill a banquet hall to celebrate 'Lebanon Liberation Day' -- the day Hezbollah claims as victory when Israeli forces withdrew in 2000. Osama Siblani, the publisher of Dearborn's Arab American News, considers members of Hezbollah -- along with Hamas and other jihadist groups -- freedom fighters. And, as Mr. Siblani tells it to the Detroit News, he's not alone: 'If morally supporting Hizbollah or associating with [Hezbollah spiritual leader Muhammad Hussein] Fadlallah is a crime, "there is not going to be enough buses to haul the people out and take them to jail."'

"Mr. Siblani was speaking before the Israeli offensive began. But not before the 1983 Hezbollah bombings in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. servicemen, 63 U.S. Embassy personnel and 58 French paratroopers. And not before the 1984 Hezbollah torture-murder of CIA station chief William Buckley in Lebanon. And not before the 1985 Hezbollah hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the torture-murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem. And not before the 1988 Hezbollah torture-murder of Lt. Col. William Higgins. And not before the Hezbollah bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, killing 29; the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 96; or the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 U.S. servicemen...."
So how active is Hezbollah here on our continent? And in what kind of activities is the organization engaged? On July 19, 2006, Andrew Cochran published a reference list at Counterterrorism Blog (with internal links at the original site), reproduced below in its entirety:

Racketeering, Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing:

* U.S.A. v. Mohamad Youssef Hammoud et al., Charlotte, North Carolina: 25 individuals charged in connection with cigarette smuggling, money laundering, credit card fraud, marriage fraud and immigration violations. Four individuals were charged with providing “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” Hizballah, specifically providing “currency, financial services, training, false documentation and identification, communications equipment, explosives, and other physical assets to Hizballah, in order to facilitate its violent attacks.” In 2003, Mohamad Hammoud was sentenced to 155 years in prison, while his brother, Chawki, was sentenced to 51 months.

* U.S.A. v. Elias Mohamad Akhdar et al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: 11 co-defendants charged with racketeering related to the Charlotte, North Carolina scheme. In January, 2004, Akhdar was sentenced to 70 months in prison and was fined over $2,000,000 after having pled guilty in July, 2003.

* U.S.A. v. Imam Mohamad-Musbah Hammoud, et al., Michigan, Canada (Ontario, Quebec), Lebanon: In March, 2006, 19 co-defendants charged with a racketeering scheme involving contraband cigarettes, counterfeit Zig Zag rolling papers and counterfeit Viagra, counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, transporting stolen property, and money laundering. A percentage of the profits derived from the illegal enterprise were given to Hizballah. On July 7, two of the defendants, Imad Majed Hamadeh and Theodore Schenk, 73 pled guilty (pdf). Hamadeh and Schenk face a maximum possible penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Weapons and Planning:

* U.S.A.. v. Mahmoud Youssef Kourani (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: In November, 2003, charged with being a “member, fighter, recruiter, and fundraiser” for Hizballah. In June, 2005, Kourani was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison.

* U.S.A. v. Naji Antoine Abi Khalil, Montreal, Quebec; New York: Canadian/Lebanese dual citizen conspired with an Israeli, Tomer Grinberg, and charged with attempting to export military night vision goggles and infrared aiming equipment to Hizballah. In February 2006, Khalil was sentenced to 60 months in prison.

* U.S.A. v. Ali Boumelhem, Dearborn, Michigan: Man convicted in September 2001 of attempting to smuggle two shotguns, 750 bullets and assault weapon parts in a conspiracy to aid Hizballah, and 5 weapons violations. He was sentenced to 44 months in jail.

Tax Evasion:

* U.S.A. v. Talal Khalil Chahine et. al, Dearborn, Michigan: Restaurant owner and wife, Elfat El Aouar, in May 2006, charged with four counts of tax evasion and the concealment of more than $16,000,000 of cash from the federal government. The U.S. government, in a written proffer of evidence (in U.S.A. v. Elfat El Aouar, Cr. No. 06-20248, EDMI, 5/22/2006), states that Chahine and his wife attended a fundraising event in Lebanon in August 2002 with Hizballah Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Specially Designated Terrorist (see page 8), where the two men were the keynote speakers. The proffer also claims that a search of El Aouar’s residence turned up a “thank you letter” for sponsoring 40 “orphans,” as well as images of Chahine and his family in front of a Hizballah outpost. According to the proffer, “[t]he government is aware that the sponsorship of orphans is a euphemism used by Hizballah to refer to the orphans of martyrs. This is a common public relations and recruitment tool used by Hizballah. Hizballah gains favor with the public in Lebanon by supporting ‘orphans,’ while at the same time recruiting others into the terrorist organization willing to sacrifice their lives in terrorist operations based in part on the promise that Hizballah will take care of their families.” The government has yet to charge Chahine or his wife with any terrorism-related offense.

Drug Running:

* U.S.A. v. Mohammad Shabib, Cleveland, Ohio: Federal prosecutors charged Mohammad Shabib with hiding his role in a drug ring which profits were funneled to Hizballah. Shabib, a gas station owner, had $8,000,000 in a Chicago bank account, which authorities say Shabib amassed by shipping roughly 3 tons of pseudoephedrine from Canada to California, which he would sell to Mexican gangs who would use the drugs to produce methamphetamine. (See: Amanda Garrett, “Terrorists’ Money Takes Convoluted Path in U.S.,” The Cleveland Dealer, January 18, 2004).

Mexico: Human Trafficking:

* Mexico v. Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, Tijuana, Mexico: Boughader, proprietor of a Lebanese restaurant in Mexico, ran a smuggling ring into the U.S. Before he was arrested in December 2002, Boughader had trafficked roughly 200 Lebanese nationals, including Hizballah-linked individuals, across the border and into the U.S. Boughader admitted transporting a former employee of al-Manar television, which is owned and operated by Hizballah and currently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity. Boughder is quoted as saying, “[f]or us, Hezbollah are not terrorists."


* U.S.A. v. Nemr Ali-Rahal et. al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: Husband and wife pled guilty in January 2006 to credit card and bank fraud worth more than $500,000. Ali-Rahal was sentenced to 33 months in prison (see right side text box). While he was not charged with any terrorism related offenses, when FBI agents arrested Ali-Rahal, they discovered, in his home, Hizballah-related materials including a videotape of a 2002 Hizballah rally in Lebanon at which Rahal was present in Lebanon, as well as a collection of books, posters and videos including one titled “A Martyr Speaks About Martyrs” and a photo showing Rahal burning an American flag.

* Hizballah-linked Counterfeit Goods Ring in Los Angeles (pdf), Los Angeles, CA: Testimony of Lieutenant John C. Stedman, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, May 25, 2005: “There are also indicators that some associates of terrorist groups may be involved in (Intellectual Property Right/)IPR crime. During the course of our investigations, we have encountered suspects who have shown great affinity for Hezbollah and its leadership. The following are just two examples: during the search of a residence pursuant to an IPR related search warrant, I saw small Hezbollah flags displayed in the suspect’s bedroom. Next to the flags was a photograph of Hassan Nasrallah whom I recognized as the leader of Hezbollah. The suspect’s wife asked me if I knew the subject of the photograph. I identified Nasrallah and the wife said, ‘We love him because he protects us from the Jews’. Also in the home were dozens of audio tapes of Nasrallah’s speeches. During the search, one of my detectives also found a locket which contained a picture of the male suspect on one side and Sheik Nasrallah on the other. In 2004, detectives served an IPR search warrant at a clothing store in Los Angeles County. During the course of the search, thousands of dollars in counterfeit clothing was recovered as were two unregistered firearms. During the booking process, the suspect was found to have a tattoo of the Hezbollah flag on his arm.”

* In 2003, Hizballah’s website carried a page on Hajj with Hizbollah, complete with contact information for regions around the world. The page listed a Canadian phone number soliciting Muslims interested in going on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Other phone numbers included Beirut; Conakry, Guinea; Sweden; Switzerland; Ivory Coast; Denmark; Sierra Leone; Togo; Ghana and Gambia for people interested living in those places.

Maybe you've asked yourself, "If Hezbollah is such a terrible terrorist organization, why does it gain support in the Middle East and even here in the West?" The following, from CNN, provides a few clues:
"It opposes Israel and the West, and supports a fundamentalist Muslim government.

"It garners popular support among Lebanese by setting up schools, hospitals and other social services.

"It has become a social/political movement, holding 14 seats in the 128-member Lebanese parliament, according to the parliament's Web site.

"The word 'hezbollah' means 'party of God' in Arabic."
According to Patrick Briley, who has presented some of his findings to high-level staff for the Senate Judiciary and Senate and House Intelligence committees, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and the 9-11 Commission,
"...There is a terror network in OKC and Norman OK working directly with AlFuqra, AlQaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah (and previously with Iraq and currently with Syria and Iran) capable of assisting in carrying out the current threats of Hezbollah attacks in the US and in OK.

"The network has been well established and growing in OK and working with other similar terror underground networks throughout the US (such as Red House Virginia, Brooklyn and Dallas-HOLYLAND FOUNDATION and INFOCOM) and Canada and Mexico for over 16 years."
Supporting or at least not interfering with Hezbollah is both charity here on earth and a possible avenue to eternal life. While in Islam the only sure way to enter Paradise is through the highest jihad--that is, killing infidels--supporting jihad also has special status.

[Hat-tip to Mr. Beamish for sending me the link to Counterterrorism Blog]

Continue reading....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A List You Never See

My friend Warren has posted a must-see list. Excerpt:
"'The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.'--PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein, 1977"
The list begins with this:
"Jan 01, 1952 - Seven armed terrorists attacked and killed a nineteen year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, in Jerusalem.

"Apr 14, 1953 - Terrorists tried for the first time to infiltrate Israel by sea, but were unsuccessful. One boat was intercepted and the other escaped.

"Jun 07, 1953 - A youngster was killed and three others were wounded, in shooting attacks on residential areas in southern Jerusalem."
And the list ends with this:
"Apr 17, 2006 - Eleven people were killed and over 60 wounded in a suicide bombing during the Passover holiday at the Rosh Ha'ir shawarma restaurant, near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The victims: Philip Balhasan, 45, of Ashdod; Rozalia Beseneyi, 48, and Piroşca Boda 50, of Romania; Marcel Cohen, 73, of Nice, France; Ariel Darhi, 31, of Bat Yam; Victor Erez, 60, of Givatayim; Binyamin Haputa, 47, of Lod; David Shaulov, 29, of Holon; Lily Yunes, 42, of Oranit. Lior Anidzar, 26, of Tel Aviv died of his wounds on May 13. Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Florida (USA) died on May 14.

"June 11, 2006 - Marwan Abed Shweika, 35, of the Abu Tor neighborhood in Jerusalem was killed and two other Arab Israelis were wounded in a shooting attack while driving late at night West Bank highway north of Jerusalem."
As Warren notes in a comment:
"The list is not complete by any means and it doesn't include the atrocities and pogroms committed against Jews in the Holy Land back to the turn of the last century."
Go take a look at the entire list. Be prepared to scroll!

Continue reading....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Saudis Blame Israel

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

From this source, on July 19, 2006:
"Amid a campaign for Arabs' hearts and minds over the fighting in Lebanon and Israel, the government of Saudi Arabia has made it clear that it holds Israel responsible for the conflict.

"Earlier Saudi criticism of Hizballah's 'adventurism' -- a position viewed by U.S. officials as highly significant -- appears to have given way to the customary Arab stance of blaming Israel and accusing the international community of abandoning the Arabs.

"At a weekly meeting chaired by King Abdullah in Jeddah, the kingdom's cabinet declared that the war was an extension of Israel's 'occupation policies and hegemony in the region.'...

"The apparent shift in the Saudi stance followed criticism of the position taken earlier by the kingdom....

"Many Arabs view Nasrallah as a hero for standing up to Israel, and portraits of the black-turbaned leader of 'the resistance' feature prominently in protests across the Middle East.

"Reports from Bahrain said Sunnis and Shi'ites marched together in support of Hizballah. In protests there, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere, Arabs chanted slogans urging Nasrallah to bomb Tel Aviv...."
At the end of the article appears another reminder of Muslim unity (Remember what Pim's Ghost wrote about the Arab sense of honor?):
"The Egyptian newspaper also noted that on the eve of an Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo at the weekend, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Saloukh had stated: 'The Arab world cannot deny the heroics of Hizballah and we expect our Arab brethren to take our side.'"
The following also bears remembering:
"Hizballah holds 14 seats in Lebanon's 128-member parliament."

Continue reading....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Muslims Fear Superman Ad

From Democracy Frontline:

"Following its special edition called Daily Planet, which was intended to advertise a new movie ‘Superman Returns, Dubai based news outlet had to clarify to its readers (after several distress calls) that the Infidel called Superman was not really seen flying over Luxor in Egypt and Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai...."

You've got to read it to believe it!

Continue reading....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Virginia Blog Carnival

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Visit this site for the latest edition. Yours truly has participated.

Continue reading....

From Daily Kos

On Wednesday, July 12, 2006, an entry entitled "Imagine a world without Israel" appeared at Daily Kos. The following comment appeared late in the thread:
Imagine a world without Radical Islam

Women having rights, no killing women for adultery like in Pakistan.

Kids can watch the world cup without getting slaughtered like in Somalia.

No Taliban rule. What does the Taliban have to do with Israel.

No blowing yourself up for 72 virgins and Allah.

No beheadings, no textbooks in school about suicide bombings.

More tolerance to gays.

No more stoning to death. Less gruesome executions like in Saudi Arabia.

Imagine a world without radical islam terrorism.

We could be focusing on issues like stem cell research, health care, poverty instead of worrying about radical extremists blowing up trains.

Without radical islam no spain, uk, india train bombings.

No bali bombing.

No 9/11.

No governments like Somalia.

Radical Islam is the curse on this world we need to eradicate not Israel.

People like the Iran President that feed hatred about Israel need to go down and Israel needs to rise.
No, I didn't leave the comment.

Continue reading....

Monday, July 17, 2006

The World Gone Mad & Why We Can't "Understand"

Pim's Ghost has written an excellent essay which puts into words many of the same thoughts I've been having since reading Patai's The Arab Mind. Below is Pim's Ghost's essay in its entirety, including the graphic:

During a debate in the film "Aliens", Sigourny Weaver's character 'Ripley' turns and sardonically asks the groups, "Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?" I've always liked that quote. I haven't had the luxury of being frozen for half a century, but I have been able to watch world leaders take a major nose-dive when it comes to intelligent discourse in my relatively short lifetime. Even worse, though I was not alive during the World Wars, I have studied them and mourn the loss of resolve and the rise of relativism which has become a clamp on thought in the West. First in academia and then into the realm of politics, the world has seemingly lost its collective mind when it comes to international affairs. As is plain in almost every news report about the war beginning (and make no mistake, this IS war) now underway against Israel, the response by the rest of the world just doesn't make sense to any rational person. In fact, had anyone just woken up from a 50-some-odd year sci-fi "freeze", they'd be quite out of sorts and probably would start screaming right about now. If they hadn't started screaming for sanity already.

We're all familiar with the cries against Israel's use of "disproportionate response" of force.. This is war. Countries do not win wars by using an "equal response of force". The very idea makes no sense whatsoever. Europeans, with their leaders currently leadding the call for this idea, certainly didn't play at war against the Nazis. It was in fact an Allied "disproportionate response" to the attacks of both Germany and Japan that ended the war and brought about peace, even to the countries who started the trouble. I realize that this absurdity is being covered already by anyone with a keyboard, so I'll just leave this brilliant exchange of quotes from

"The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel," according to a statement issued by Finland which holds the EU's rotating presidency. "The presidency deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified."

"The government of Israel is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of one-sided language by the new European Union presidency concerning the situation in Lebanon," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said in response to the statement."

The one thing that has really grabbed my attention, in both the press and in comments sections on YouTube and forums I frequent, is the COMPLETE blame that has been foisted upon Israel in both this and pretty much any other situation regarding terrorism, problems in the Arab world, the economy, 9/11, etc. Somehow this small island of relative normalcy and its blend of Western and regional society is to blame for it all. Certainly the Arab world would have us believe such nonsense. They've been begging the West to understand their sense of humiliation and despair over that massive land grab by the Israelis in the midst of their stagnant little world. The problem is, we just cannot ever understand this "humiliation". It isn't in us as a culture, even as a divided one that the West may now be.

First of all, claims are growing regarding the fact that most Israelis aren't native to the region, and therefore don't belong there. Aside from this claim being absurd, this was a hated group of people in diaspora. They decided to end the diaspora, to the screams and futile military attacks of certain Arab nations. Claim # two: the Holocaust never happened, so the reasoning by Jews to resettle after World War II in Israel is unfounded. I, of course, find this claim unfounded and address it only because it is believed by Iran PM Ahmadinejad, who is now planning and scheming to bring about the very holocaust that he denied happened earlier. In this mindset, no Shoah before = SHOAH NOW!! Insanity, but I've already called that nonsense by its right name, though I could use more colorful language.

Israel has every right to exist as it does, the land of "Palestine" was never not populated by Jews, they were just held down as dhimmis as they were in the rest of the Arab world. Sorry Dar al Islam, just like in "al-Andalus", sometimes those you have subjugated decide to fight back. This is a fact of life, get used to it.

Yet the Arab world cannot get past this fact, nor get used to it. Hence, they have been begging the West and anyone else who would listen for years now that they have been ruined by this humiliation and the military and diplomatic support of Israel by the United States. The biggest problem here is that it is almost impossible for Westerners, even those engaged in the most absurd forms of self-flaggelation for being Westerners, to truly understand the Arab sense of "being" and what every Arab grows up understanding as their culture. Furthermore, since Islam is one of the greatest forces of imperialism on the planet, this mindset has been exported well beyond the Arab world, even if non-Arab Muslims don't feel the sting quite as much. The point is, the concepts of "honor" and "shame" mean something indescribably deep in the Arab world that the West will never be able to really get its head around. And not being able to understand it, Westerners have couched the Arab dissenters in Western forms. We have the "freedom fighters" instead of "terrorists". We have the "rage of the impoverished" instead of the fact that most doing the fighting are hardly poor. Any form of Western romanticism will do, as long as it's not that love of "the little guy", which Israel most certainly is, surrounded by a whole region determined to destroy it utterly (see above).

I have read, listened and watched for years now as Westerners try to grab onto this idea. All the while they damn the idea of being "Euro-centric" or "Western-centric", yet their diatribes and even reports of the Arab-Israeli conflict reek of it. Though the Arab world begs us to understand where they are coming from, we never will. Face it, we don't see it as a major point of humilation that any lands we once held have been lost. Some may not love the idea, but I can hardly picture any Brit crying into his tea over the fact that his Kingdom no longer holds India or parts of Africa. This sense of "manhood" and "shame" is alien to us, as alien as "honor killings" and Female Genital Mutilation, which we CAN understand in Western terms to condemn. As for the shame of losing a tiny bit of land to (allah forbid!!) infidels, and Jews at that, we in the West will never be able to understand that kind of fury and shame that cuts to the bone. It isn't in us. So the begging of the Arab world to try and make us understand will continue to fall on deaf ears, just as the self-flaggelating segments of the West will continue to find more Western-friendly words to describe why they do not support Israel. The rationalization in the West will continue along the lines that we can understand according to our non-Arab culture. Namely, in the idea of a "subjugated people", in this case the Palestinians, never mind the fact that they have done more to hold themselves back than any Jews. Even the Arab world holds them back to hold them up as an example to continue the hatred for Israel. They've admitted as much. They NEED the Palestinians to be wretched to justify their desire to demolish Israel. Meanwhile, in the West, people finally started falling for this clever ruse. Being not a very clever ruse at all, this represents the most steep "IQ drop" of the sort I mentioned earlier.

As for the current conflict, I AM cheering for the true underdog here. Every so often, people come up with a new rationalization for their hatred of Jews. At one point the rallying cry was that "they killed Christ". They "caused the Black Death", and were burned for it even as they died of it as well. They "managed to own everything!" (actually, that one's still going....conspiracy nuts will sink to anything). "They are leading to racial impurity" and "Hey! Look what they did to the "Palestinians"? There's always some rational that people think of to excuse their outright hatred and wonton slaughter of Jewish people the world over, and I just listed some of the Western ones, the Muslim ones being long enough for many articles on their own. So here you have it once again, bigotry "rationalized". It's once again just fine to hate Jews and root for their demise! And who said this era wasn't analogous to the 1930s again? Here's my vote for a "disproportionate response" on all fronts, military and in the greater discourse.
Thank you, Pim's Ghost, for writing such an eloquent essay! For several months now, I've been comparing the time in which we're living to the 1930s.

Continue reading....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Navy SEAL Needs Help

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

GM Roper has the details. Excerpt:
"Justin, 27, whose last name is not being disclosed at the request of the Defense Department, is in need, and Americans, especially readers in the Washington area, have an opportunity to help.

"Last month, the Iraq war veteran was diagnosed with leukemia, which is normally treated with chemotherapy. Justin, however, has a rare condition that makes his best chance of survival dependent on a bone marrow transplant....Unless a match can be found, leukemia patients often die within months....

"Testing is painless. Volunteers would be administered a simple swab on the inside of the cheek to find out if they're a match. That's it. In the rare case you are a match, the marrow extraction process itself is also relatively simple. The procedure includes the taking of a small amount of marrow via needle from the back of the pelvic bone, according to the Defense Department's Donor Program, at either Georgetown University Hospital or the University of Maryland's Greenbaum Medical Center in Baltimore. Patients are fully anesthetized at all times. Concerned readers are encouraged to contact Eddy Medina of the Defense Department program (800-627-7693 ext. 223) to learn more about the testing and procedure...."
Link to the DOD's marrow-donor program.

Walk-In registration programs are available at several bases throughout the United States. Click for more information.

Continue reading....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"The Same War" and "Moment of Truth"

Even it is a few days old, read Michael Ledeen's July 11, 2006 "The Same War." Also read David Horowitz's July 14, 2006 "Moment of Truth."

Continue reading....

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Iran's Obstinacy

I spotted the following, dated July 8, 2006, over at CUANAS::
"TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on Islamic countries to mobilise against Israel and 'remove' the 'Zionist regime'.

"'The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilise to remove this problem,' the president said in a speech to regional officials....

"He also issued an ominous warning to Western powers....

"'The waves of fury of Muslim nations will not be confined within the boundaries of the region, and the people who close their ears to the cries of the Palestinians and blindly support this regime will be responsible for the consequences,' he warned...."
Empty threats? Maybe. But consider this:
"The U.S. intelligence community has not been surprised by Iran's refusal to respond to a Western incentive package to suspend its uranium enrichment. Intelligence sources said Iran, following North Korea's model, intends to delay any response or negotiations for as long as possible.

"The European Union and the United States demanded that Iran reply to the Western incentive package of nuclear technology, fuel and aircraft by June 29. But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Teheran would submit an answer by Aug. 22.

"The U.S. intelligence community has been trying to figure out why Ahmadinejad chose that date. Sources said the community was stumped until some Islam experts translated the Gregorian date to that of the Muslim calendar.

"Then came the surprise that has the intelligence community worried.

"Aug. 22 corresponds to Rajab 27 on the Muslim calendar. The date is called Lailat Al Israa, when Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Al Aqsa mosque to receive the five daily prayers. Later, Al Aqsa came to represent Jerusalem.

"The Muslim commemoration is meant to be a night of struggle, accompanied by thunder and lightening, resembling the story of Moses ascending Mount Sinai to receive the Old Testament.

"Ahmadinejad could be hinting to the West that he is preparing a major attack on Israel. Or, the Iranian president could be warning that unless the West caves in, he would escalate tension in the region. The lightening in Mohammed's story could represent Iranian missiles.

"What is clear is that Ahmadinejad does not see himself as an Iranian leader, but a Muslim prophet, using imagery to portray himself as a messiah for both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims."
I don't know where Epaminondas got his information, but if he is correct, there is big trouble on the way. There's Something About Islam posted the following information on July 12, 2006:
"Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected Western demands that he respond to a new proposal regarding the cessation of Iran’s nuclear efforts by the middle of this month.

"To the consternation of officials in Europe and Washington, Ahmadinejad promised only to respond by the end of the Iranian month of Mordad (August 22).

"Why that date? Why so long to look over a simple package of incentives and give either a negative or a positive reply? Finding the answers to these troubling questions may require America and Europe to come to terms with a reality Western liberalism has done its best to ignore - that Islam remains engaged in a clash of civilizations with the Judeo-Christian world.

"You see, Ahmadinejad is a strong believer in the Shi’ite tradition of a 12th imam, the so-called 'hidden' Imam Mahdi who Allah has miraculously kept alive since his disappearance in 874 AD. As the story goes, Imam Mahdi will return at a time of great global chaos, oppression and bloodshed and usher in an era of (Islamic) justice.

"Ahmadinejad sees himself as Allah’s instrument to pave the way for Imam Mahdi, and constantly uses public appearances to urge his countrymen to prepare to back him in this task.

"Rumor is, Imam Mahdi could be returning this August (or shortly thereafter), just around the time some military experts believe Iran will be ready to construct its first nuclear weapon...
You can read the entire article here.

As a rule, I'm not keen on predictions based on specific dates, but as Mark Twain once noted:
"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today."

Continue reading....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Go See This Movie!

(This posting remains stuck toward the top through July 13. Scroll down for the latest postings by Always On Watch)

Right now, through July 13, Islam: What the West Needs to Know is playing in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. This web site gives more details.

The film opens with cries of "Allahu Akhbar!" and, after showing various world leaders proclaiming "Islam is a religion of peace," then proceeds to segments with Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Walid Shoebat, Bat Ye'or, and Abdullah Al-Araby, as each of these individuals addressed various aspects of the Islamic threat which the West today faces.

But the film does not consist merely of talking heads. Maps are included to show that the 1400-year history of Islam has been one of militant expansion, as is film footage of Muslim demonstrations in London and of a particularly strident imam in Baghdad; the latter ends his "sermon" by drawing a sword and calling for jihad against all infidels. For many in the audience, the most disturbing footage was that of children, one only twelve years old, expressing the desire to be martyrs for the cause.

Many quotations from the Koran and the Hadith are incorporated as appropriate to the specific topic under discussion in each of the six portions of the ninety-three minute film. Those interviewed explain that the Medinan verses, the most recent "revelation" of Allah, nullify the earlier, peaceful Meccan verses — a fact which Western leaders don't appear to recognize, perhaps because the Koran itself is not ordered chronologically but rather by length of chapter. In fact, the most recent "revelation" of Allah, "dictated" directly to Muhammad the Prophet by the angel Gabriel, is Sura 9 and is the one chapter of the Koran which doesn't begin with "Allah the Merciful." The instructions in Sura 9 are the most militant and the most violent in the Koran!

I found the portions in which Walid Shoebat spoke especially riveting because he himself was once a terrorist. He explained how, as a teenager, he yearned to be a martyr for Allah and indeed carried out missions. One reason that he was so eager to give his life is that, according to the teachings of Islam, dying while waging the ultimate jihad guarantees the one sure way to eternal life. Mr. Shoebat spoke about how he felt after his first bombing mission in Jerusalem and emotionally related how his conscience troubled him; toward the end of that particular portion, he mentioned that his cousins had died for the cause. "What a waste of life!" he said. Mr. Shoebat managed to hold back the tears. The audience was absolutely still and, I think, stunned.

This film was advertised as a documentary and fulfilled the requirements of that genre. The use of black and white in the poster for the film conveyed the obvious symbolism regarding good and evil, but the word evil was never mentioned during the film. Adding to the effect of the contrast between Westernism and Islamism was the director's use of black and white throughout the film, even though this movie is filmed in color. For example, each on-camera speaker sat in a black leather chair, and as the lighting played upon the back of the chair and upon the interviewees' clothing and, in some cases, eyeglasses, the symbolism could not have been clearer.

Islam: What the West Needs to Know doesn't demonize Islam, but it does uncover the whitewash which political correctness has foisted upon the West. Furthermore, the film explains why recognizing the dangers of Islam itself is of supreme importance for the survival of Western civilization. This film presents the explanation in simple and well-documented terms so that both the uninformed and the informed leave the theater in a somber mood.

When this film is released on DVD, I'll be buying my own copy.

Continue reading....

Crime Emergency And Political Correctness

Since the information from this article appeared this morning in the July 12, 2006 edition of the Washington Post, six more people have been attacked and robbed on the National Mall:
"D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey reacted yesterday to a recent surge in homicides by declaring a 'crime emergency,' a move that gives him the freedom to quickly adjust officers' schedules and restrict their days off....

"The declaration gives him the power to quickly shift the department's 3,800 officers to areas and times they are needed most. He can change schedules without giving officers 14 days' notice, as required under the union contract. Ramsey said he will increase patrols in hard-hit neighborhoods and put nonuniformed officers on the streets to help provide the increased coverage."
The following provides some specific information as to why Chief Ramsey has declared ths emergency:
"Thirteen people [Since the publication of this article, that number has risen to fourteen, and July is not yet half over] have been killed since July 1 in the District, and police are being pressured to take action by residents at community meetings and vigils to honor the dead. The victims included a popular store owner slain at closing time, a community activist killed in a park and a British citizen whose throat was slit in Georgetown....

"Ten men, two women and a 16-year-old youth have been killed in the city since July 1. The most recent killing occurred at 1:25 a.m. yesterday in the 3600 block of 22nd Street SE, where Laquanda Johnson, 24, was found fatally shot. A suspect was arrested about 12 hours later in Suitland.

"Despite the recent uptick in violence, the number of people killed this year is the same as at this point in 2005: 94. But the number of robberies is up 14 percent, and Ramsey and other commanders are concerned that more holdups will turn deadly.

"'Robbery is a very dangerous crime,' Ramsey said. 'You are literally one movement away from it being a homicide.'

"Police have linked robbery and homicide in the slaying early Sunday of Alan Senitt, 27, a British citizen who was caught by surprise while walking a friend home along a tree-lined street in Georgetown. Senitt's throat was slashed and his friend was nearly raped, police said. Four suspects are in custody -- including a woman who allegedly drove the getaway car and a 15-year-old who authorities want to prosecute as an adult. Senitt had been working in Washington with a political action committee set up for former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner (D).

"Two of the suspects in Senitt's killing -- Christopher Piper, 25, and Jeffrey Rice, 22 -- had criminal records. Piper was paroled this year after a prison term for armed robbery and a drug charge. Rice was released in May after serving time for a drug offense and probation violation. Authorities said the two are suspects in at least two robberies that took place in Georgetown in the weeks before Senitt's attack...."
Adding to the trouble is a police officer's statement at a community gathering in Georgetown, a predominantly white neighborhood and the cushiest part of D.C.:
"The declaration [of the crime emergency] came on the same day that Ramsey transferred a police official who was accused of making a racially insensitive remark at a community meeting Monday night in Georgetown. Ramsey temporarily reassigned Inspector Andy Solberg, who urged residents to report suspicious activity....

"About 400 people crowded into a church in Georgetown on Monday night to discuss the Senitt killing. Solberg, the commander of the 2nd Police District, was addressing that forum when he made his remarks about race. Senitt was white, and the suspects in the case are black.

"When he made the comment, Solberg was telling the crowd to report suspicious-looking people to police when they see them in the neighborhood. He talked about the suspects in the Senitt killing and described one as a 'chubby, stocky guy' and one as a 15-year-old. He said at 2 a.m. they 'are going to stand out' in the area.

"'They were black,' Solberg said. 'This is not a racial thing to say that black people are unusual in Georgetown. This is a fact of life.'

"...In an interview after the meeting, he told WJLA-TV (Channel 7), 'What should be suspicious is three guys standing out on a street corner at 2 o'clock in the morning.'

"Ramsey said yesterday that Solberg is 'a good man, not a racist or anything like that.' Ramsey said...He reassigned Solberg to the police department's security services section pending the outcome of the investigation.

"Bill Starrells, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission from Georgetown who was at the meeting, said he 'winced' when he heard the comment. 'Obviously it was out of place,' Starrells said. 'It was out of character for him. It was an unfortunate comment.'

"He said Solberg has done 'great work' in the 2nd Police District. Solberg, a 19-year veteran, took charge of the district in April.

"Other community activists in Georgetown and downtown said they were surprised that Solberg had been reassigned for the statement. Lowaunz Tascoe, a black shop owner who has lived in Georgetown for almost 40 years, said Solberg had merely stated the truth.

"'How come people don't know that? These people live in a box?' Tascoe said. 'It is highly, highly unusual to see three young black males roaming around up there in the residential neighborhoods.'

"Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Leroy Thorpe said he suspects that Ramsey transferred Solberg to 'play it safe politically' and ease racial tensions over radically different outcomes in two high-profile weekend killings."
The weekend murders of two rather high-profile individuals led to the declaration of a crime emergency: Alan Senitt, who was white, and Chris Crowder, who was black. Alan Senitt's killing was the more recent, by a day or two; as mentioned above in the citation from the Washington Post, his throat was slit and his girlfriend sexually assaulted during a robbery in Georgetown. Chris Crowder was shot several times as he sat in his wheelchair near the Washington Convention Center; again, robbery appears to have been the motive. Arrests have been made in the case of Alan Senitt's killing, Crowder's murderers have not been apprehended.

Perhaps Inspector Solberg's words were problematic, particularly in a public meeting. But is now the time to be pursuing political correctness?

When the police and the locals hear about murders in particular areas of the District of Columbia, shoulders are shrugged. "Well, that's Southeast" or "Well, that's Northeast" are the comments made. But when violent crime comes to Northwest, the section of town which includes the National Mall and Georgetown, a crime emergency is declared. Coincidence?

Addendum from Courtland Milloy's column today:
"A new crime trend is unfolding in the District -- and some suburbs, too: an increase in armed robberies committed by thugs whose motivation appears to be less about getting money than inflicting pain. For even if you comply with demands to hand over your belongings, you are still likely to be assaulted, raped, kidnapped or killed. Much of this crime is being committed by adolescents.

"'So far this year, we've had a 95 percent increase in juveniles arrested for robberies, and it's not uncommon to have physical assaults in the process,' D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told me. 'Young black males, in groups of five to six, ages 13 to 15, are displaying handguns and beating their victims.'

"Accompanying the increase in juvenile arrests for armed robbery has been an increase in juveniles arrested for carrying handguns -- a combination that Ramsey finds particularly disturbing. 'We're dealing with adolescents who have no remorse, no regrets,' he said. And they are well armed...."
Apparently, it is acceptable for Chief Ramsey to refer to "young black males" as criminals.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mr. Spock Got Old

This past Friday, my husband and I pursued an unusual activity — we went to a concert. Ordinarily, we don't spend money on such things, but having been given a gift certificate from my piano students, I decided to splurge. The following is the blurb about the concert:
To Boldly Go...
Emil de Cou, conductor
Leonard Nimoy, narrator

WITH FAMED STAR TREK ACTOR Leonard Nimoy as your guide, journey to the final frontier and beyond with music inspired by outer space! Your great galactic adventure begins with selections from Gustav Holst's The Planets, a symphonic exploration of our solar system. The work will be complemented by stunning images of the cosmos on giant screens. Then it's full warp-speed ahead through your favorite sci-fi and fantasy movies with music from Star Wars, The Twilight Zone, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and of course, Star Trek. Beam me straight to Wolf Trap, Scotty!
From the program's inception, I was a fan of the original Star Trek, which debuted on NBC-TV on September 8, 1966 (nearly forty years ago!), so this particular concert had the additional appeal of a personal appearance by Mr. Spock (aka Leonard Nimoy, who had done work other than Star Trek, including directing the film Three Men and a Baby as well as publishing two biographies and books of photographs and poetry). Apparently, several thousand others also found this concert's celebrity worthy of seeing in person. Wolf Trap was packed — so crowded, in fact, that it took us a full thirty minutes just to get out of the parking lot!

Wolf Trap is a beautiful and unique venue for concerts with an interesting history:

"In 1833 Thomas Fairfax and his wife divided Towlston Grange, his 5568-acre portion of land located in the south central section of the Providence Magisterial District, between their sons in portions of 1152 acres called Ash Grove and 2458 acres in the division of Towlston. The Ash Grove portion included the part of Wolf Trap Farm on the east side of Wolf Trap Run, the Towlston tract the land on the west.

"Various land owners and divisions of the property occured until 1930. At that time, Mrs. Catherine Filene Dodd (later Shouse) purchased a 53-acre plot, which made up the original tract of land that Shouse, keeping with its history, called Wolf Trap Farm.

"Indeed, from as early as 1632 records indicate that wolves had caused much damage in the region. The General Assembly, in trying to deal with the wolf menace, offered rewards of tobacco for those who constructed pits or traps to capture and deliver wolf heads to the General Assembly. A smaller reward was given to those who used a gun or some other means to kill the animals.

"As more people populated the area wolves became less prevalent and less of a threat. In an official land survey dated August 17, 1739 the name 'wolftrap' appeared as a branch of Difficult Run.

"Shouse purchased the aforementioned land for $5,300. She continued to purchase additional parcels of land until 1956, totaling 168 acres in all...."
A mere $100 per acre for land in Fairfax County? Those were the days! The cost of dining at Wolf Trap were not in line with the prices of days gone by, however. A hotdog cost $5.00 and just a bottle of water was an astounding $4.00! My husband and I skipped buying any refreshments except for a softie ice-cream ($4. 50) and a bag of stale, too salty popcorn ($5.00). Never mind the $28.95 charge for a steak at the one small restaurant. Next time we go to Wolf Trap, we'll do as the hordes and bring our own cooler.

Despite the drawbacks of the food prices, the huge crowd in attendance, and our aching backs from all the walking, my husband and I had a perfect evening for attending To Boldly Go. The weather at this time of year is usually hot and steamy, but last Friday evening was much like the beginning of spring or the start of autumn; several of the attendees had to don jackets as the evening wore on. Adding to the effect of the music combined with images from NASA, from time to time, the moon peeked through the slats of the pavilion where we were seated. And, conducted by a most enthusiastic director, the National Symphony Orchestra was in top form.

Most attendees obviously came to see Leonard Nimoy, who narrated the second portion of the concert. A few of those in the audience sported Trekkie shirts. And when Leonard Nimoy flashed the famous split-finger Vulcan salute, the crowd inside the pavilion and outside on the lawn went wild with cheers. They didn't seem to mind that Mr. Nimoy was seventy-five years of age and that, consequently, his voice wasn't young any more. In fact, the man's voice has so changed that I barely recognized it when he spoke at the end of the first segment, and my husband didn't recognize the voice at all. Nevertheless, Spock's words, as uttered in the epilogue to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and spoken offstage, provided a dramatic voice-over to the musical sounds of the National Symphony Orchestra:
"Space...the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her on-going mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!"
Mr. Nimoy's final words as narrator of Holst's The Planets were predictable:
"Live long and prosper."
Again, the crowd roared as they reacted to that famous split infinitive "to boldly go," perhaps the most famous such grammatical structure in pop culture today. At the conclusion of the concert, Mr. Nimoy and the conductor got a standing ovation and three curtain-calls. Therefore, one might say that the concert was a success.

But I found that seeing and hearing an aging television character who is forever young on the screen to be a bit disconcerting — even melancholy. Despite the twenty-year age difference between us and Mr. Nimoy's grace and stage presence, seeing an old Mr. Spock reminds me of my own mortality. I wonder if anyone else felt the same way as we left Wolf Trap last Friday night.

Continue reading....

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some Good News

This is a positive development.

Continue reading....

Friday, July 07, 2006

One Year Ago

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Today is the one-year anniversay of the London Bombings. Despite evidence to the contrary, many government officials and some terrorism experts have indicated that the attacks on London were not the work of Al Qaeda.

In "Al-Qaeda, Still in Business," a commentary in the July 2, 2006 edition of the Washington Post, Peter Bergen presents a different analysis. The following is Mr. Bergen's commentary, in its entirety:
Over the past four years, key members of the Bush administration have claimed that al-Qaeda is "on the run" (Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice), "disrupted" (George Tenet) or "decimated" (President Bush). At the same time, however, significant terrorist attacks around the world have dramatically increased since Sept. 11, 2001, most of them conducted by militant Islamists. How does one reconcile this apparent contradiction?

A new narrative that purports to answer that question has emerged: Yes, al-Qaeda as an organization is severely impaired, but it has been replaced by a broader ideological movement made up of self-starting, homegrown terrorists who have few formal links to al-Qaeda but are motivated by a doctrine that can be called "Binladenism." Recent examples would include the militants in Madrid who bombed commuter trains in March 2004 and killed 191 people, or the seven terrorist wannabes recently arrested in Miami in connection with an alleged plot to blow up federal buildings. They had embraced al-Qaeda's doctrine of destruction, yet had no ties to the terrorist group.

However, according to five veteran U.S. counterterrorism officials I've spoken with recently, al-Qaeda the organization remains a real threat. One longtime government terrorism analyst points to the four suicide attacks in London last July 7 that killed 52 people as evidence of the organization's resilience. "At a minimum, this was an al-Qaeda-supported operation," the analyst told me. And al-Qaeda's leaders don't seem to be feeling the heat of the "war on terror." On Thursday, Osama bin Laden released his third audiotape in three months, while his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has appeared on an unprecedented number of videotapes since the second week of June -- averaging one a week.

So while the rapid spread of al-Qaeda's ideology in the past two years -- partly fueled by the Iraq war -- should be of considerable concern, it would be quite wrong to conclude that al-Qaeda the organization is down for the count. Indeed, if the bombings in London are any indication, it may be staging a comeback.

The London attacks of one year ago have generally been portrayed as the work of four young British men of Pakistani and Jamaican descent from the north of England -- distinguished only by their utter ordinariness -- who embraced radical Islamist ideology and managed to carry out the deadliest terrorist attack on British soil in history without outside help. The Sunday Times of London even opined that "the new breed of unaffiliated terrorist is potentially far more dangerous than the IRA or even al Qaeda because he is almost impossible to identify."

But the more you delve into the London bombings, the more they look like a classic al-Qaeda plot. The British government's official account of the attacks -- issued by the Home Office two months ago -- provides a revealing picture. It explains that the presumed ringleader, Mohammed Sidique Khan, visited Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, spending several months there. On one of those trips, he aimed "to cross the border and fight in Afghanistan," the report stated. (Presumably, Khan did not plan to fight alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but rather to join the Taliban or al-Qaeda to kill Americans.)

The report goes on to note that Khan "had some contact with al Qaida figures" in Pakistan, and is "believed to have had some relevant training in a remote part of Pakistan, close to the Afghan border" during his two-week visit in 2003. The British government did not specify what sort of training he received, but given that the London bombs were made of highly efficient explosives that can't be readily made from recipes on the Internet, it is probable that the training was in the manufacturing of bombs. According to the report, Khan was also in "suspicious" contact with individuals in Pakistan in the four months immediately before the London attacks. Taken together, Khan's travels and contacts in Pakistan strongly suggest an al-Qaeda role in the operation.

Khan also appeared on a videotape that aired on al-Jazeera two months after the suicide attacks -- an important fact to which the British report did not give sufficient weight. "I'm going to talk to you in a language that you understand," Khan said on the tape, speaking in the broad brogue of his native Yorkshire. "Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood." He goes on to describe bin Laden and Zawahiri as "today's heroes." Appearing on the same videotape, Zawahiri trumpeted al-Qaeda's responsibility for the London bombings. As a veteran U.S. counterterrorism official told me, "Zawahiri does not take credit for things that he hasn't done."

On the videotape, Zawahiri referenced a prior al-Qaeda threat to explain the targeting of London, saying "Didn't . . . Sheik Osama bin Laden offer you a truce?" -- a reference to the al-Qaeda leader's April 2004 proposal of a peace agreement with those European countries willing to pull out of Iraq. Britain is the most prominent member of that coalition. Bin Laden offered a three-month grace period before the truce expired in July 2004. A year later, the four bombers blew themselves up in London.

But the key piece of evidence overlooked in the British government report is that both Khan and Zawahiri's statements were made on a videotape bearing the distinctive logo of al-Sahab ("the clouds"), which is al-Qaeda's television production arm. Al-Sahab's first tape, a two-hour al-Qaeda infomercial, debuted on the Internet in the summer of 2001, signaling that a major anti-American attack was in the works. Since then, al-Sahab has continued to release key statements from al-Qaeda leaders. Khan's appearance on the videotape strongly suggests that he met up with members of al-Qaeda's media team based on the Afghan-Pakistan border, probably in the tribal area of Waziristan. There is much we still don't know about Khan's activities in Pakistan, but additional information is likely to point toward further contact with members of al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan over the past year is also, in part, the responsibility of al-Qaeda. The use of suicide attacks and makeshift bombs and the beheadings of hostages -- all techniques that al-Qaeda perfected in Iraq -- are methods that the Taliban has increasingly adopted in Afghanistan, making much of the south of the country a no-go area.

Hekmat Karzai, an Afghan terrorism researcher at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore, points out that suicide bombings were rare in Afghanistan until 2005, when 21 such attacks took place. This year has already seen at least 16. In addition, Karzai reports that two of al-Qaeda's "most able" commanders -- Khalid Habib, a Moroccan, and Abd al Hadi, an Iraqi -- have been appointed to run its operations in southeastern and southwestern Afghanistan. These developments suggest that al-Qaeda is regrouping and strengthening along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

And, of course, bin Laden and Zawahiri remain at large in that border region, issuing a stream of tapes aimed at inflaming their supporters around the world. Zawahiri, for example, released a video last week urging further attacks on U.S. and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, bin Laden's ongoing influence over al-Qaeda's affiliates was confirmed after the death last month of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq. Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, al-Qaeda's new leader in Iraq, quickly released a statement on a jihadist Web site pledging allegiance to bin Laden: "We are at your disposal, ready for your command." Muhajer has longstanding ties to Zawahiri; they have both been members of Egypt's ultra-violent Jihad Group for more than two decades. A U.S. intelligence official told me that the intelligence community's recognition of bin Laden and Zawahiri's continued importance to Islamist terrorists worldwide has led to a renewed push in the past two months to locate them.

Almost five years after the attacks on Washington and New York, al-Qaeda not only remains in business in its traditional stronghold on the Afghan-Pakistan border, but continues to project its ideology and terrorism abroad. So now we face a world of ideologically driven homegrown terrorists -- free radicals unattached to any formal organization -- in addition to formal networks such as al-Qaeda that have managed to survive despite the tremendous pressure brought to bear against them since 9/11. And even more grim, they now feed off and strengthen one another.

Peter Bergen is a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader" (Free Press).
In the long run, it doesn't much matter if what the 7/7 terrorists did to London a year ago was specifically the work of Al Qaeda, although Mr. Bergen makes the case for those attacks having been the proxy work of Bin Laden. "Free radicals" plot and act upon the same ideology.

Addendum: Be sure to read Jason's 7/7 posting at Infidel Bloggers Alliance. Jason debunks three commonly-held myths about the London bombings: it's all about bin Laden, the extremists are shunned by the vast majority, and it's a reaction to our "aggressive" policies.

The hordes of "moderate" Muslims have not rushed forward to "take back" their faith. Why is that? The following graphic might provide a clue:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Border Insecurity: Two Stories

Below are two stories about those entrusted with our national security. The first story is about corruption in office and the second about naivete at best or infiltration at worst. How serious are the implications? Decide for yourself.

First Story
According to this June 30, 2006 article in the Washington Post, another little problem has arisen at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
"A Department of Homeland Security supervisor has been charged with falsifying immigration documents to help Asian immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship, officials said yesterday.

"Robert T. Schofield was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his Fairfax County office, where he is a supervisor for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes immigration applications."
For the past decade, Schofield had been in some trouble for his policies in approving immigration applications. These policies predated his employment at DHS. Bribery was involved as well. According to the papers filed last week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Schofield allowed twenty-three unqualified immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Just as an aside here, note the word “Asian” in the above excerpt from the Washington Post. In a few stories about crimes in Belgium and the UK, "Asian" has appeared as a euphemism for “Muslim." Maybe "Asian" doesn’t have that meaning in the Washington Post article.

But I digress.

While Shofield was working at INS, Schofield was also investigated for unbecoming conduct and for having an inappropriate relationship with a woman. Those charges don’t sound too bad, but apparently the ruckus was enough for Schofield to flee to East Asia. What did he do there? Retire? Not quite. According to the Washington Post,
"When confronted about that relationship by INS officials, Schofield fled to East Asia, where he made $36,000 worth of unauthorized purchases on his government-issued credit card, according to court documents."
Nevertheless, despite what seems to be a shady past, including making purchases with taxpayers’ funds, Schofield returned to the United States. According to the article,
"It was unclear when Schofield returned to the United States…"
Upon his return—whenever that was—Schofield found employment at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). In 2003, when DHS took over the operations of INS, Schofield became a DHS supervisor, despite some of the problems in his past.

The following provides a few details about the investigation which led to the recent charges:
"Court documents said the investigation began last year when an official in Schofield's office filed a complaint about him with the inspector general. The complaint said that Schofield had personally processed and approved an application from an immigrant not entitled to receive citizenship.

"The probe expanded when several other immigrants, in San Francisco and New York, tried to gain entry to the United States using stamps on their passports indicating that they had permanent legal residence or held a green card. Investigators traced the stamps, which were fraudulently issued, back to Schofield, according to documents.

"Using a cooperating witness and searching immigration application files, authorities determined that Schofield issued hand-typed naturalization certificates to at least 23 immigrants not entitled to receive them, the documents say, adding that Ye, the alleged broker, received nearly $30,000 from one immigrant the pair helped. The documents do not state whether Schofield made money from the alleged arrangement."
As middle-management, Schofield probably didn’t receive a high salary, particularly by the standards here in Northern Virginia. Somehow, I rather suspect that he might have made a bit of money on his criminal activities. After all, most criminal activities result in financial gain, but I suppose that it’s possible that he was approving unqualified applications out of humanitarian reasons.

I know several people who work for DHS. They are fine people. But the actions of which Schofield is now accused may serve to undermine even further the public’s confidence in government agencies. In the past several months, we’ve read many stories about corruption at various levels of our government. Schofield's story is one more to add to the list. Upholding one's oath of office no longer seems as serious a commitment these days.

[Hat-tip to Protect and Defend for the new definition of “Asian”]

Second Story
From Anti-CAIR, comes this story, "Customs & Border Protection Puts on Tour for Terrorist Supporting CAIR". Excerpt:
"On Wednesday, 21 June, the Council on Islamic-American Relations – Chicago (CAIR-Chicago) was taken on a guided tour of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) operations at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport....

"USCBP is interested in 'building relationships' with CAIR, a group that has proven ties to Islamic terrorism, supports Muslim terrorists, that accepts funding from Islamic terrorist supporting country’s and individual’s.


"What possible reason could the USCBP have for discussing anything with the very same people who defend those who are trying to kill us and turn our country into another cheap, thuggish, Middle-Eastern Islamist theocracy whose very presence on our planet is an insult to civilization?

"Keep in mind that CAIR defended Omar-Abdel-Rahman, the 'blind sheik' who is currently serving life for planning a series of attacks on New York City. CAIR also ran in to defend Sami Al-Arian, who is currently serving time for helping Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Muslim terrorist group that murdered an American in a suicide bomb attack.

"This group was taken on a walk through the point-of-entry, customs stations, agricultural screening and interview rooms....

"Isn’t that nice of the USCBP?...

"Once again, the rubes have been conned by the Muslim terrorist supporters of CAIR...."
The following is a little review about CAIR:
"Ibrahim Hooper...told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on April 4, 1993: 'I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.'

"Randall Royer, CAIR's communications specialist and civil rights coordinator, was indicted on charges of conspiring to help Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to battle American troops in Afghanistan. He later pled guilty to lesser firearm-related charges and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

"Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR's Texas chapter, was convicted in July 2004 along with his four brothers of having illegally shipped computers from their Dallas-area business, InfoCom Corporation, to Libya and Syria, two designated state sponsors of terrorism. In April of 2005, Elashi and two brothers were also convicted of knowingly doing business with Mousa Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas leader and Specially Designated Terrorist. He continues to face charges that he provided more than $12.4 million to Hamas while he was running the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), America's largest Islamic charity.

"Bassem Khafagi, CAIR's community relations director, pleaded guilty in September 2003 to lying on his visa application and for passing bad checks for substantial amounts in early 2001, for which he was deported. Khafagi was also a founding member and president of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an organization under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for terrorism related activities.

"Rabih Haddad, a CAIR fundraiser, was arrested on terrorism-related charges and deported from the United States due to his subsequent work as executive director of the Global Relief Foundation, a charity he co-founded; in October 2002, GRF was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. According to a CAIR complaint, Homam Albaroudi, a member of CAIR's Michigan chapter and also a founding member and executive director of the IANA also founded the Free Rabih Haddad Committee.

"Siraj Wahhaj, a CAIR advisory board member, was named in 1995 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as a possible unindicted co-conspirator in connection with the plot to blow up New York City landmarks led by the blind sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman.

"Ihsan Bagby, a future CAIR board member, stated in the late 1980s that Muslims' can never be full citizens of this country,' referring to the United States, 'because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.'

"Omar Ahmad, CAIR's chairman, announced in July 1998 that 'Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.'"
Just a bit more review:
"...The Wahhabist Saudi government began its ongoing 'colonization' of the West in earnest after World War II, Palazzi [2003 secretary general of the Italian Muslim Association] said, sending students abroad to study.

"Their mission, he said, was to create what was initially called the Muslim Student Federation, then 'after it became rooted in the country, to start creating the local mosques, local organizations and groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations,' or CAIR.

"Though it claims to represent moderate Muslims, Palazzi calls the Washington, D.C.-based lobby group the 'U.S. section of Hamas.'

"... CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association of Palestine, a group identified by a U.S. intelligence official as a front for Hamas. Awad was the group's public-relations adviser, and CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper also was an employee. Awad praised Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini and at a university forum in 1994 declared, 'I am in support of the Hamas movement.'

"Hamas itself has its roots in the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which al-Qaida was born, noted Palazzi."
Ah, the political correctness of U.S. Customs and Borders Protection, an operation which is supposed to be committed to our national security, and the power of CAIR! Those entrusted with our national security might do well to keep in mind the following information from across The Pond:
"Al-Qaeda sympathisers have been trying to infiltrate the British security service MI5, the BBC has learned.

"Whitehall officials confirmed what some had long suspected, says BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner."
And our elected officials and various government officials might also do well by reading Paul Sperry's Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. Except from Amazon's review:
"As Americans continue to worship at the altar of cultural diversity and endorse religious tolerance for tolerance sake, Muslims masquerading as 'moderates' have insinuated themselves into the very fabric of American society, taking advantage of our blind trust and gaining footholds in our education system, government, workplace, law enforcement, and military. In this startling book, investigative journalist Paul Sperry uses revealing new interviews and classified documents to courageously explain how, for the past thirty years, these Islamist extremists have been covertly working to destroy our constitutional government and the Judeo-Christian ethics on which our nation was built. Their goal, according to Sperry, is to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Quran and turn America into an Islamic state. And, as Sperry details point-by-point, they have been unwittingly aided in their sinister aims by the politically correct media, government, and citizens, who don't fully understand the dangers of the Muslim faith...."

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Independence Day, 2006

"The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them." --Thomas Jefferson

This site, created and hosted by the Independence Hall Association of Philadelphia, provides a wealth of historical information about the Declaration of Independence, including brief biographies of each of the signers, all of whom risked life and property as they took a stand for freedom.

Last year, I posted The American's Creed for Independence Day. For me, the words sum up the essence of what it means to be an American:

"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

America may not be perfect, and I do a fair amount of griping about the state of our nation. But I cannot imagine wanting to live anywhere else, nor can I imagine what life would be like without the freedoms we Americans have. We should not take our nation or our freedoms for granted!

On this Fourth of July, I again celebrate the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence and in The American's Creed. Those fireworks I'll be watching on the evening of July 4 represent something so much more important than a party-weekend. And since 9/11, I've come to value on a more personal level the meaning of Independence Day and the sacrifices of the patriots who came before me.

Since 9/11, I cry when I see those showers of sparkles as the fireworks bloom overhead. America has had to fight for her freedom time and again. And how close we came to possibly losing the backdrop of the Capitol Building for the annual celebration here, A Capitol Fourth! Perhaps that backdrop doesn't have the same significance for the rest of America, but for us locals, those exploding fireworks, with our monuments in the background, represent more than an awesome image.

Please take time out of your busy celebration of this year's Independence Day to turn on your speakers for John Wayne's America, Why I Love Her.

Have a safe Fourth of July, and don't forget the reason we celebrate!

(Illustration from A Capitol Fourth, as advertised by The Choral Arts Society of Washington)

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