Obama throwing his spiritual mentor overboard?

Obama throwing his spiritual mentor overboard?

Ed Lasky
The New York Times reports on its front page today about Obama’s strained relationship with his pastor, also known as his “spiritual mentor.” The Times does tend to downplay some of the harsher statements that Pastor Wright has made about Israel, Wright’s support for Louis Farrakhan; trips to Libya and more. A I wrote over a month ago:

Pastor Wright is also a supporter of Louis Farrakhan, and in 1984 traveled with him to visit Col. Muammar al-Gadaffi, an archenemy of Israel’s and America and a firm supporter of terror groups.
Wright has also been a severe critic of Israel. In his own words

The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.

The Divestment issue will hit the floor during this month’s General Synod. Divesting dollars from businesses and banks that do business with Israel is the new strategy being proposed to wake the world up concerning the racism of Zionism. That Divestment issue won’t make the press either, however.
Once this history came to light, Obama started publicly distancing himself from his spiritual mentor, disinviting Wright from various Obama campaign events. Wright rationalized his current persona non grata status by stating that otherwise

“a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell”


Soros, Obama, and the Millionaires Exception

Soros, Obama, and the Millionaires Exception

By Ed Lasky

It is well-known that George Soros, the hedge-fund manager, major Democratic Party donor and anti-Israel crusader, has been a generous contributor to Barack Obama. But relatively few people realize that a loophole in McCain-Feingold allowed Soros his family members to be particularly generous in support of Obama’s Senatorial campaign.

Because Obama was running against Blair Hull in the primary and then Jack Ryan in the general (both multi-millionaires), Obama could, and did, receive especially large donations from individuals, to so-called “millionaires exception.” Normally individuals are limited to giving $2300 to candidates in federal elections, but when candidates are running against millionaires, these limits are lifted and candidates are allowed to receive up to $12,000 from a single individual. Soros and his family gave Barack Obama $60,000. This does not include money that Soros was able to funnel to so-called 527 groups (Moveon.org, for example) that have also been politically active; nor does it include money that Soros was able to raise from tapping a network of friends, business associates, and employees.
After taking advantage of the special freedom to raise large amounts of money from influential individuals, and as the campaigns entered their closing rounds, news was leaked to media outlets that both Hull and Ryan had personal scandals associated with them. The release of this news devastated both of their campaigns, leading to an easy run to victory for Obama in the primary and then in the general election. The New York Times Magazine revealed earlier in the year that David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political and media adviser, may well have been behind the leak of the story that doomed the Hull candidacy as the primary reached its home stretch.
Axelrod is known for operating in this gray area, part idealist, part hired muscle. It is difficult to discuss Axelrod in certain circles in Chicago without the matter of the Blair Hull divorce papers coming up. As the 2004 Senate primary neared, it was clear that it was a contest between two people: the millionaire liberal, Hull, who was leading in the polls, and Obama, who had built an impressive grass-roots campaign. About a month before the vote, The Chicago Tribune revealed, near the bottom of a long profile of Hull, that during a divorce proceeding, Hull’s second wife filed for an order of protection. In the following few days, the matter erupted into a full-fledged scandal that ended up destroying the Hull campaign and handing Obama an easy primary victory. The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had “worked aggressively behind the scenes” to push the story. But there are those in Chicago who believe that Axelrod had an even more significant role – that he leaked the initial story. They note that before signing on with Obama, Axelrod interviewed with Hull. They also point out that Obama’s TV ad campaign started at almost the same time. Axelrod swears up and down that “we had nothing to do with it” and that the campaign’s television ad schedule was long planned. “An aura grows up around you, and people assume everything emanates from you,” he told me.
In mid-March George Soros wrote his latest broadside against the “Israel Lobby”-calling for the Democratic Party to “liberate” itself from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby and stating that America should be dealing with Hamas, the terror group that is now the governing authority of the Palestinians. This was published in the influential New York Review of Books. So inflammatory were Soros’s comments that a few leading Democrats issued rebuttals. While some Congressmen did so personally (Robert Wexler, Eliot Engel), a spokeswoman did so for Barack Obama. Jen Psaki, of the Obama campaign, said,

“Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinion. But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree.
“The U.S. and our allies are right to insist that Hamas – a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction – meets very basic conditions before being treated as a legitimate actor. AIPAC is one of many voices that share this view.”

Obama received some praise for separating himself from George Soros on March 21st, even if he chose to do so through a spokeswoman. The New York Sun ran an article with the headline, “Obama rebuffs Soros” on March 21st . Hope springs eternal, but in this case, not so much.
New York magazine revealed in an article regarding Barack Obama’s fundraising prowess that a mere two weeks later, after this so-called rebuttal of Soros (on April 9th), Barack Obama attended a fundraiser at the New York residence of Steven and Judy Gluckstern. There was a photo at the beginning of the article of Obama speaking from a stairwell to the small group assembled to give him money for his campaign? None other than…George Soros was in the audience.
It seems that Obama’s “criticism” (or rather the perfunctory criticism offered by a spokeswoman) of Soros for his anti-Israel diatribe (which was also a veiled insult to  American supporters of Israel) has not prevented Barack Obama from socializing with, and receiving money and support from, George Soros.
Since Barack Obama has proudly proclaimed his purity regarding fundraising ethics, one might ask him two questions about his campaigns against Blair Hull and Jack Ryan. When the scandals surfaced that led to these millionaire opponents withdrawing from the races, did Obama then refuse to accept donations that exceeded normal campaign limits because he was no longer running against millionaires? 
And since he was no longer running against multi-millionaire candidates that could fund their own expensive campaigns, did he see fit to return any of the excess amounts he collected under the millionaire’s exception?
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker

Fitzgerald: The School of Qom and the School of Najaf

April 30, 2007

Fitzgerald: The School of Qom and the School of Najaf

A little background on the claque that has, for roughly the past three years, found Sistani to be the Man of the Hour in Iraq.

At My Weekly Standard the claque consists of Reuel Gerecht and the carriers of Weiss-Schwartz Syndrome. Fouad Ajami, whose usefulness is limited given his tiptoeing around the subject of Islam, was enchanted with his own reception by Sistani. In his book “The Foreigner’s Gift” — so tellingly mistitled (it ought to have been “The Infidel’s Gift,” but that would raise too many problems for Fouad Ajami) — he describes, I am told, this meeting. But he does not explain what it was that prevented Sistani from meeting with any other American save for Zalmay Khalilzad. What could it be? And why shouldn’t people have explained to them what it is that prevents this Holy Man of the Hour from meeting, say, with Bremer, or Rice, or any number of other Infidels?

In Washington, there are those who like to construct out of world politics something akin to soap operas, with the villains and the heroes. Everything is reduced to the “good guys” (i.e., the “moderate” Muslims in this case) and the “bad guys” (the “immoderate” Muslims). And a little shadow-play is put on, Chinese shadows, ombres chinoises. The Good Muslim needs to be supported to the hilt, because only he can stand up to the Bad Muslim.

In the case of Sistani, the Shadow-Play relies on the banal observation that the main Shi’a clerics in Iraq do not wish to support the idea, which Khomeini introduced as part of his new and improved Islamic Republic of Iran, of direct rule by clerics. In Khomeini’s case, he thought that the best thing would be direct rule by the Most Enlightened and Deeply Learned Cleric. Apparently he had someone special in mind. And when that impressive Internal Candidate showed up — he, Ayatollah Khomeini himself — there was no need for any nationwide search, or even a resume, much less that grueling day of interviews. No, Sistani does not want to rule directly. It’s too messy. Besides, why should he and the rest of the marjiyah have to bother their decorously turbaned heads with garbage collection in Baghdad, or the municipal water system in Basra? They prefer to be eminences grises, behind the scenes, or in some cases burattinai, marionette-masters, tugging at strings as the occasion demands.

Yet, among those who should know better, this appears to be an important concession on Sistani’s part — because they do not have any knowledge of Islam, and they are afraid or unwilling to do what is necessary to acquire that knowledge. They have gotten in the habit, over many decades, of not having to engage, even if only for a few months, in the kind of study that perhaps they once were capable of, but are not any longer.

So they posit a “Qom School” (bad) of Shi’a Islam, and a “Najaf School” (good) of Shi’a Islam. The Iranians are the Qommers, with Khomeini and then Khameini as representative figures, and the Najafians, with Al-Sistani at their helm, are the embodiment of wonderful Shi’a Islam.

Shi’a Islam is not wonderful. And if Chalabi, Allawi, Rend al-Rahim and Kanan Makiya are acceptable figures, are people one feels one can talk to, it is not because they are Shi’a Muslims. Rather, it is because having lived in the West for many decades, they have become, at least in part, westernized and secularized. They are rational people, even if their aims must be different from ours. But they do not, and dare not, make any connection between the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of the Islamic world, and the tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam.

That is something no true believing Muslim will do, whether he remains one out of filial piety (that pious and kindly grandmother), or embarrassment (and a desire therefore not to abandon, but to protect, Islam), or out of dislike of the West and a proud refusal to take lessons from that decadent West (how dare Westerners, with their own sicknesses, get on their high horse and preach to us) will do — unless he is either a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim, such as Bassam Tibi or Magdi Allam, or has jettisoned Islam altogether, as have Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Azam Kamguian, Irfan Khawaja, and a cast of tens of thousands.

But it is the latter who could have told us all along how empty this Shadow-Play with Sistani really was.

Reagan’s men are backing – an actor

Reagan’s men are backing – an actor
Telegraph.co.uk ^ | 4/29/07 | Tim Shipman

Posted on 04/28/2007 4:34:10 PM PDT by Politicalmom

Ronald Reagan’s closest allies are throwing their weight behind the White House bid by the late president’s fellow actor, Fred Thompson.

The film star and former Republican senator from Tennessee will this week use a speech in the heart of Reagan country, in southern California, to woo party bigwigs in what insiders say is the next step in his coming out as a candidate.

Fred Thompson, Reagan’s men are backing – an actor Fred Thompson’s character in Law and Order is ‘the president all Americans want’

A key figure in the Reagan inner circle has now given his seal of approval to Mr Thompson, best known as a star of the television crime drama Law and Order.

As deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver was a key member of the “troika” of aides who kept the Reagan White House on track. With the chief of staff James Baker and special assistant Ed Meese, he was the master of image and presentation.

Mr Deaver sees the same raw material in Mr Thompson as was perceived in Ronald Reagan, describing him as someone “that could really make a difference”. He added: “He is very popular in his party. He could change this whole thing and turn this primary system upside down.

“As Ronald Reagan used to say, after he stole a line from Al Jolson, ‘Stay tuned, you ain’t seen nothing yet’.”

Mr Thompson’s political and acting careers have been closely interwoven for more than 20 years. He originally worked as a lawyer and -Republican campaign -manager, and was a key legal counsel in the Watergate scandal in the Seventies

He was then asked to play himself in a 1985 film about a real-life judicial corruption scandal in Tennessee, supposedly because the producers could not find a professional actor who could portray him plausibly. That launched his acting career, which he has maintained alongside stints as a senator and continued Republican campaigning. advertisement

He has been a popular choice for on-screen authority figures, playing variously a White House chief of staff, a CIA boss, a highly placed FBI agent, and a senator. As one New York Times critic noted: “When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him.”

Mr Deaver voiced the view of many Republicans that the current crop of declared candidates is unsatisfactory. Of the front runner, the former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani, he said: “His popularity may be a mile wide and an inch deep. I’m sure that lead will shrink.”

Mr Deaver’s intervention is significant. He is very close to Mr Reagan’s widow, Nancy, and is seen as the keeper of the Reagan flame.

Clark Judge, a White House speechwriter for Mr Reagan, said: “Fred Thompson, like Ronald Reagan, is a man of tremendous substance. There is a sense in the party that none of the candidates is quite ‘it’.”

Mr Reagan, he said, had “embodied the mission of the party – entrepreneurial growth, limited government and a strong national defence. Whoever can bring that mission into this age will be the nominee. And it may be Fred Thompson.” Roger Stone, who was a Reagan campaign strategist, said: “The president Americans want is, in fact, the guy they see on Law and Order: wise, thoughtful, deliberative, confident without the cockiness of George W Bush, urbane yet country. Fred Thompson communicates all those virtues.”

In 1965, when Mr Reagan, then the host of the television show Death Valley Days, was considering whether to enter politics, members of the Lincoln Club in Orange County persuaded him to run for governor of California.

On Friday Mr Thompson will address the 45th annual dinner of the Lincoln Club, which is billed as the “largest and most active political club in the United States.” The invitation was one that other Republican candidates had tried to secure.

The club includes some of California’s richest businessmen – a necessity if you need to raise $20 million quickly in order to compete with Mr Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. The club found $100,000 for the 2003 campaign to oust California’s Democrat governor, Gray Davis, which helped Arnold Schwarzenegger into the post.

Mr Thompson has shown that he recognises the importance of assuming the Reagan mantle. He is on record as saying: “Ronald Reagan believed in something. How much we need that today. He showed what can be done if you have the will to push for tough choices, and the ability to ask the people to accept them.”

Mr Reagan himself, asked whether his training as an actor had prepared him for the presidency, once replied: “I don’t see how any fellow that wasn’t an actor could do this job.”

Americans need not wait for Mr Thompson to win next year’s election to see him in the Oval Office. He plays President Ulysses S Grant in the film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which opens next month.

The White Feather postcard campaign — Get involved

The Threat of Islamist Terrorism to Germany

The Threat of Islamist Terrorism to Germany
Jamestown Foundation/Anouar Boukhars
The recent al-Qaeda threat to Germany over its forces in Afghanistan coupled with the arrest of four Arab men accused of supporting al-Tawhid—a terrorist organization believed to have links to al-Qaeda—have convinced German authorities of the rising jihadi threat to Germany. “It is decidedly false to believe that Germany need not fear terrorist attacks because it is not involved with the Iraq war…Germany is the leading nation in the fight against the Taliban, with which al-Qaeda is tightly allied…We are part of the hated West,” Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein declared. Yet, while Germany is by no means immune to home-grown terrorism, it is still a fact that the ideologies that spawn terrorism or radicalism elsewhere in Europe have not found fertile ground in the country’s Turkish immigrants who make up three quarters of the Muslim population.

Thus far, the Turkish community has appeared largely immune from pietistic movements like Salafism, or Tabligh, or even from political Islam or Salafi-Jihadism. With the exclusion of the Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş (Islamic Community of the National Vision, IGMG), Islamic activism appeals far less to the Turkish Muslim element than it does to the rest of the Muslim minority. The few jihadi suspects apprehended so far are of Arab origin or were German converts. Despite the scare of Islamist ideologues exporting their creed to a marginalized Muslim minority, the federal Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), the equivalent of Britain’s MI5 and the U.S. FBI, puts the number of Islamists at about one percent (32,100) of the Muslim population—27,250 of Turkish origin (26,500 of which belong to IGMG), 3,350 of Arab origin, 150 of Iranian origin and 1,350 of other nationalities. The Muslim Brotherhood is believed to claim 1,300 members while Jama’at Tabligh has about 500 members, Hamas 300 members and Hezbollah 900.

A Hamas spokesman in an interview granted to an Iranian TV channel: Abu Mazen does not have full authority to engage in negotiations with Israel and Hamas will oppose any agreement reached in such negotiations

A Hamas spokesman in an interview granted to an Iranian TV channel: Abu Mazen does not have full authority to engage in negotiations with Israel and Hamas will oppose any agreement reached in such negotiations


1. Ayman Muhammad Saleh Taha , a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, noted in an interview granted to an Iranian TV station that Abu Mazen does not have full authority to engage in negotiations with Israel and that Hamas rejects any agreement reached in such negotiations.

Ayman Muhammad Saleh Taha
(Al-Alam TV, April 11, 2007 )

2. On April 17, Al-Alam, an Iranian TV channel in Arabic, broadcasted a talk show called Al-Mihwar (“the axis”). The show featured an interview with Ayman Muhammad Saleh Taha, a former Hamas operative who was held prisoner in Israel and is now one of the Hamas spokesmen and a member of the inter-organizational committee for preventing conflicts between Hamas and Fatah. In the interview, Ayman Taha was asked about Hamas’s position on the contacts held by Abu Mazen with Israel . The highlights of his reply follow:

a. The stance of the Hamas movement has not changed and will not change regarding the “Zionist entity” and the meetings held by Abu Mazen with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert: “The movement is being very clear when it says that these meetings are pointless and do nothing to further the Palestinian cause.”

b. “The government platform is not the platform of Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement. The fundamental principles of the unity government are the lowest common denominator agreed upon by the Palestinian factions. We are saying loud and clear that the Hamas movement still considers itself the spearhead in the conflict with the oppressive enemy [ Israel ]. It will not relinquish its platform of resistance [i.e., violence and terrorism]…”

c. “In the strongest of terms, we oppose such negotiations and everything that will come out of it. We, the Hamas movement, will not agree to it, and I think these are clear, explicit statements already made by Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar and by the head of the Hamas faction in the [Legislative] Council, Dr. Khalil al-Hayya. While they expressed their confidence in the government, they stressed that they had reservations about giving the president full authority in the negotiations…”

d. When asked what Hamas would do when Abu Mazen would reach an agreement with Israel and whether the Hamas movement would oppose the government that it heads, Taha replied: “Definitely. That is, we are saying that we will not accept any negotiations with the occupier on the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights. We will not bargain about those rights and will refuse to do so, whether in the government or in the Legislative Council…”