Justices may extend gun owner rights nationwide

Justices may extend gun owner rights nationwide

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 2, 9:12 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court suggested Tuesday it will strike down U.S. cities’ outright bans on handguns, a ruling that could establish a nationwide ownership right fervently sought by gun advocates. But the justices indicated less severe limits could survive, continuing disputes over the “right to keep and bear arms.”

Chicago area residents who want handguns for protection in their homes are asking the court to extend its 2008 decision in support of gun rights in Washington, D.C., to state and local laws.

Such a ruling would firmly establish a right that has been the subject of politically charged and often fierce debate for decades. But it also would ensure years of legal challenges to sort out exactly which restrictions may stand and which must fall.

Indeed, the outcome of the Washington lawsuit in 2008 already has spawned hundreds of court challenges, including one in Massachusetts over a state law requiring gun owners to lock weapons in their homes.

Two years ago, the court announced that the Constitution’s Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws and struck down a ban on handguns and trigger lock requirement for other guns in Washington, a city with unique federal status. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms.

The court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local laws. Still, “states have substantial latitude and ample authority to impose reasonable regulations,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was among the majority in the 2008 decision.

“Why can’t we do the same thing with firearms?” he asked.

Alan Gura, the lawyer who represents the Chicago challengers, also has filed a new suit against Washington over the city’s prohibition on carrying loaded weapons outside the home.

The justices themselves acknowledged that only through future lawsuits would the precise contours of the constitutional gun right be established. “We haven’t said anything about what the content of the Second Amendment is beyond what was said in Heller,” Chief Justice John Roberts said, using the name of the Washington resident who challenged the city’s ban.

Roberts and the four other justices who made up the majority in the Washington case remain on the court, so it would not be a surprise to see them extend the Second Amendment’s reach to the states.

Still, James Feldman, a Washington-based lawyer representing the city of Chicago, urged the court to reject the challenges to the gun laws in that city and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill. Handguns have been banned in those two places for nearly 30 years, although they appear to be the last two remaining jurisdictions with outright bans, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Feldman ran into difficulty with several justices who formed the majority in 2008 — the ruling’s author Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Kennedy and Roberts. Only Thomas asked no questions, as is his custom during argument.

Even those who were not in the 2008 majority appeared to recognize that some extension, or incorporation as it is called, of the Second Amendment is likely. “Would you be happy if we incorporated it and said reasonable regulation is part of the incorporation?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who only joined the court last year.

As in earlier cases applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the states, the justices suggested they use the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which was passed in the wake of the Civil War to ensure the rights of newly freed slaves.

The court has relied on that same clause — “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law” — in cases that established a woman’s right to an abortion and knocked down state laws against interracial marriage and gay sex.

This is the approach the National Rifle Association favors.

For years, Scalia has complained about the use of the due process clause. But Tuesday he said, “As much as I think it’s wrong, even I have acquiesced in it.”

Gura urged the court to employ another part of the 14th amendment, forbidding a state to make or enforce any law “which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Breathing new life into the “privileges or immunities” clause might allow for new arguments to shore up other rights, including abortion and property rights, liberal and conservative legal scholars have said.

But why use that approach, calling for overturning 140 years of law, Scalia said, “unless you’re bucking for a place on some law school faculty?”

Gura assured the court he was not in search of a job.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

The case is McDonald v. Chicago, 08-1521.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Bribe ‘Em: Obama Now Trading Judgeships For Votes

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Bribe ‘Em: Obama Now Trading Judgeships For Votes

 

Posted by Lori Ziganto (Profile)

Wednesday, March 3rd at 8:58PM EST

8 Comments

Chicago-style politics once again coming home to roost. The Weekly Standard is reporting that Obama is now selling judgeships for health care votes:

Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

“Scott Matheson is a distinguished candidate for the Tenth Circuit court,” President Obama said.  “Both his legal and academic credentials are impressive and his commitment to judicial integrity is unwavering.  I am honored to nominate this lifelong Utahn to the federal bench.”

Huh. How convenient. Especially when one takes into account Matheson’s past record on the health care boondoggle:

He voted against the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee back in July and again when it passed the House in November. But now he’s “undecided” on ramming the bill through Congress. “The Congressman is looking for development of bipartisan consensus,” Matheson’s press secretary Alyson Heyrend wrote to THE WEEKLY STANDARD on February 22. “It’s too early to know if that will occur.”

Perhaps they learned from the bribes of Senators “you don’t even have to get us drunk first” Landrieu and Nelson that outright cash money bribery back-fires a bit and are trying different tactics for Congressman. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch — your brother’s!

For anyone other than a delusional egomaniac, the fact that you have a super majority yet still cannot pass legislation — because no one wants it — would be enough to tell you, hey, maybe this isn’t a very good idea. Not Obama! Raised up politically in Chicago, he resorts to what he knows; strong arm tactics and outright bribery. This isn’t the first time more than just shades of his Chicago political background have come into play. He pulled the Chicago version of the petulant child saying “La la la, I can’t hear you” when he tried to freeze out Fox News and censor the citizenry’s news.

When that failed, much like everything he touches, he moved onto the Chicago-style equivalent of the smarmy, unethical Class President candidate, promising Pizza Fridays for votes. Now, for your brothers too! It has become a pattern, starting with bribery attempts for inconvenient primary challengers to drop their bids and has now moved onto vote buying. I’m starting to think that the Pay Czar is actually a Payola Czar.

They can’t, however, bribe the public with the public’s money. I do believe the 2010 elections might teach them that lesson.

Lid blows off Obama’s forgotten scandal

Lid blows off Obama’s forgotten scandal

March 3rd, 2010

By Drew Zahn, WorldNetDaily

 Obama’s Cronyism is being revealed

An updated investigation report on the scandal known as “Walpingate” adds fuel to the suspicion that President Obama may have fired Gerald Walpin, an independent inspector general, as an illegal act of political cronyism and revenge.

“Throughout our investigation of Mr. Walpin’s removal, the White House has repeatedly communicated that the president was not motivated by inappropriate political reasons,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., one of the authors of the updated report. “The fact is Gerald Walpin led an aggressive investigation of a political ally of President Obama that successfully recovered taxpayer dollars. While firing an investigator who uncovered the abuse of funds by a political ally might be considered an act of ‘political courage’ in Chicago politics, for most Americans it raises troubling questions.”

As WND reported, the White House fired Walpin shortly after the inspector general exposed sexual misconduct and gross misappropriation of federal funds by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a prominent Barack Obama supporter.

Independent federal inspectors general, however, are supposed to be granted special protection from political interference or retaliation – thanks in part to a law co-sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama – to ensure they are free to investigate waste and fraud uninfluenced by political cronyism.

The firing led to an investigation by inspectors general advocate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Darrell Issa. Their initial 62-page report last November concluded that the administration did not adhere to the law governing inspectors general, that Obama’s defense against charges of political retaliation was “unsupported and unpersuasive” and that the White House “orchestrated an after-the-fact smear campaign to justify” Walpin’s termination.

Read More:

Obama’s Land Grab

Obama’s Land Grab

March 3rd, 2010

By Sen. Jim DeMint, Washington Times

  Obama is considering a blatant land grab

You’d think the Obama administration is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers, but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now learn they’re planning to increase their control over energy-rich land in the West.

A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that’s essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers.

President Obama could enact the plans in this memo with just the stroke of a pen, without any input from the communities affected by it.

At a time when our national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, it is unbelievable anyone would be looking to stop job-creating energy enterprises, yet that’s exactly what’s happening.

The document lists 14 properties that, according to the document, “might be good candidates” for Mr. Obama to nab through presidential proclamation. Apparently, Washington bureaucrats believe it’s more important to preserve grass and rocks for birdwatchers and backpackers than to keep these local economies thriving.

Read More:

How the Congressional Democrats Doom Obama to One Term

How the Congressional Democrats Doom Obama to One Term

By Clarice Feldman

At a dinner party at my home, a Democrat friend (who is a Washington player with extensive experience as a congressional staffer and in the executive branch before he entered the private practice of law) and I were discussing those things on which we did agree: the overstaffing on the Hill; the fact that much of that staff is young and utterly inexperienced; how the dismantling of the seniority system — which we’d all been for when the Southern committee chairs blocked civil rights legislation — had not been an unmitigated good; and the failures of this administration, with the almost certain consequence that Obama will not be elected to a second term.

I had in the back of my mind been mulling over my estimation that Obama is failing because he allowed the congressional Democratic leaders to shape major legislative endeavors. I believed that this delegation to Congress had resulted in unpopular legislation which filled the coffers of the various interest groups behind the party without meeting critical national needs. Further, I thought that this had been done in a way that was so openly corrupt (like the Louisiana Purchase) that it weakened the president and makes it increasingly likely that he will achieve nothing of significance…and certainly will be denied a second term.
I had considered this collapse of the incumbent’s power and popularity down to Obama’s failure to focus and his laziness and inattention to detail — not to mention his utter failure to master the executive skills he lacked when elected.
My friend had a very different take, and I think it so brilliant that I’d like to share it with you.
He believes that there is an interrelationship between the staffing situation on the Hill and the ineffectiveness of recent Democratic presidents like Carter and Obama — a structural problem that, if it remains uncorrected, will doom most Democrat presidents to a single term in office.
He observes that where once legislative initiatives originated in the office of the Chief Executive, in recent decades, they are increasingly being written on the Hill (by those inexperienced twenty-something staffers). The problem is that once a Democrat is elected president, if he has a Democrat majority in the Congress, then the Committee chairmen believe and act on the assumption that they are in charge. (He didn’t say this, as he remains a staunch Democrat, but I will — many of these congressional leaders come from safe districts far to the left of the majority of Americans.) They craft bills which might be popular in, for example, San Francisco or Manhattan or Boston, but are wildly unpopular across the country. The White House is largely cut out of the process, except to sell the package or twist what arms can be twisted in a White House gathering to obtain needed votes.
This process, my friend continued, dooms the president to one term because he quickly loses national support.
He concedes that there were two exceptions: Clinton and LBJ. He explains that LBJ never allowed himself to be manipulated by Congress. He paid great attention to every move on the Hill. He personally called in each recalcitrant committee chair and member and ruthlessly employed threats — such as promises to block all funds and assistance to their districts — if they failed to support him. Clinton, as we all know, manipulated Congress by his outsized charm and ability to seduce the opposition inside and outside his party to work with him on acceptable compromises.
It’s possible to nibble away a bit at my friend‘s thesis on some historic points. My friend didn’t say this, but, of course, Clinton’s charm offensive was more critical when the Republicans took over Congress. In fact, it may mean that Clinton was not an exception to the rule. One might argue, as well, that LBJ might not have been that exceptional either because the Democratic leadership in the 1960s was less extremely leftward than it presently is.
But without getting too far afield, I think my friend has made a valid point in general, and without a substantial change in the drift of the congressional Democratic leadership, his analysis will be applicable going forward.
That brings us to my friend’s final point: No one should be elected to the presidency without having had a lot of executive experience — either in business or at a government level outside of the Congress (governor, for example, or cabinet secretary).
Given the historic congressional overreach into executive functions and the disparity in the views of the safe Democratic districts from which so many congressional chairmen come compared to those of the American people, unless a president forcefully commands control of the process as LBJ did, or has the charm and skill of Clinton to woo his colleagues to his way of thinking, Obama and any other Democrat elected to the office can count on no more than one term.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/how_the_congressional_democrat.html at March 03, 2010 – 03:37:47 PM CST

Economists: Another Financial Crisis on the Way

Economists: Another Financial Crisis on the Way

Nonpartisan Group Led by Nobel Winner Calls for Stronger Financial Reforms

By MATTHEW JAFFE

March 2, 2010 —

Even as many Americans still struggle to recover from the country’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, another crisis  one that will be even worse than the current one  is looming, according to a new report from a group of leading economists, financiers, and former federal regulators.

In the report, the panel, which includes Rob Johnson of the United Nations Commission of Experts on Finance and bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren, warns that financial regulatory reform measures proposed by the Obama administration and Congress must be beefed up to prevent banks from continuing to engage in high-risk investing that precipitated the near-collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008.

The report warns that the country is now immersed in a “doomsday cycle” wherein banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management  and when the risks go wrong, the banks receive taxpayer bailouts from the government.

“Risk-taking at banks,” the report cautions, “will soon be larger than ever.”

Without more stringent reforms, “another crisis  a bigger crisis that weakens both our financial sector and our larger economy  is more than predictable, it is inevitable,” Johnson says in the report, commissioned by the nonpartisan Roosevelt Institute.

The institute’s chief economist, Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, calls the report “an important point of departure for a debate on where we are on the road to regulatory reform.”

The report blasts some of Washington’s key players. Johnson writes, “Our government leaders have shown little capacity to fix the flaws in our market system.” Two other panelists, Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT, and Peter Boone of the Centre for Economic Performance, voiced similar criticisms.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner “oversaw policy as the bubble was inflating,” write Johnson and Boone, and “these same men are now designing our ‘rescue.’”

The study says that “In 2008-09, we came remarkably close to another Great Depression. Next time we may not be so ‘lucky.’ The threat of the doomsday cycle remains strong and growing,” they say. “What will happen when the next shock hits? We may be nearing the stage where the answer will be  just as it was in the Great Depression  a calamitous global collapse.”

The panelists call for major banks to maintain liquid capital of at least 15 to 25 percent of their assets, the enactment of stiffer consequences for executives of bailout recipients and for government officials to start breaking up firms that grow too big.

In the report, Elizabeth Warren, who was chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, reiterates her calls for an independent agency to protect consumers from abusive Wall Street practices.

“While manufacturers have developed iPods and flat-screen televisions, the financial industry has perfected the art of offering mortgages, credit cards and check overdrafts laden with hidden terms that obscure price and risk,” Warren writes. “Good products are mixed with dangerous products, and consumers are left on their own to try to sort out which is which. The consequences can be disastrous.”

Frank Partnoy, a panelist from the University of San Diego, claims that “the balance sheets of most Wall Street banks are fiction.” Another panelist, Raj Date of the Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institutions Policy, argues that government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become “needlessly complex and irretrievably flawed” and should be eliminated. The report also calls for greater competition among credit rating agencies and increased regulation of the derivatives market, including requiring that credit-default swaps be traded on regulated exchanges.

With the Senate Banking Committee, led by Chris Dodd, D-Conn., poised to unveil its financial regulatory reform proposal sometime in the next week, the report calls on Congress to enact reforms strong enough to prevent another meltdown.

“Sen. Dick Durbin once said the banks ‘owned’ the Senate,” says Johnson. “The next few weeks will determine whether or not that statement is true.”

In response to the report, a spokesman for the Treasury Department told ABC News that the administration’s regulatory reform proposals would be the most significant Wall Street overhaul in generations.

“We laid out our strong principles of reform last June and we have been fighting every day since to see them enacted in law,” said Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams. “While we have a tough fight ahead, we are getting close to seeing Congress pass the most significant overhaul of the financial sector in our lifetimes

No longer Londonistan but Hamastan

No longer Londonistan but Hamastan

Wednesday, 24th February 2010


An immensely important and chilling analysis by the authoritative Intelligence and Analysis Information Centre in Tel Aviv highlights the shocking extent to which Britain has become the European epicentre of Hamas activity. Hamas, let us remind ourselves, is the genocidal terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, now in cahoots with Shi’ite Iran, which is pledged to exterminate Israel and kill Jewish people everywhere, along with extinguishing human rights within the Islamic world. Its cause should be absolute anathema to the west, which should be doing everything in its power to stamp it out as the unconscionable threat that it is to life and liberty. Yet for the past decade, Britain has turned itself into the principal focus within Europe for the political, propaganda and legal activities of Hamas. The report states:

…in recent years, Hamas, with Muslim Brotherhood support, has managed to take over a considerable portion of the Palestinian discourse in Britain, at the expense of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, and has contributed to turning Britain into a center for extensive anti-Israeli activity.

A broad network of activists and supporters: Initially composed of a core of Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the 1990s, it is aided by radical Islamic elements (most conspicuously by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization), along with radical leftist organizations hostile to Israel and the West. They make it possible for Hamas and its ideology to infiltrate British politics, media and universities. Hamas has supporters in the British political system affiliated with the radical left such as George Galloway, Ken Livingstone,1 Jenny Tonge and Jeremy Corbin.2

C. As far as the media are concerned, Britain is one of the most important centers in the world, especially for the Arabic-language press, television and Internet. By exploiting the Arab media operating in London and by issuing its own publications, Hamas gained the capabilities to spread its message to the Muslim communities in the West and its target audiences in the Middle East.

D. As far as legal aspects are concerned, Hamas exploits the British legal system, which enables it to use British courts to bring suits against senior Israeli political and military figures on accusations of so-called “war crimes.” Thus for Hamas (through its network of local supporters), Britain is a convenient arena in which the Goldstone Report can be employed to make political and propaganda capital against Israel, using it as a basis for trying Israeli public figures and delegitimizing the State of Israel.

3. In the extensive anti-Israeli activity undertaken by Hamas in Britain, the movement is careful to hide its identity to keep from running afoul of the British legal system and authorities. For that reason its activists and supporters (including those who were formerly Hamas operatives) are careful not to identify themselves formally as Hamas activists, preferring to appear as supporters of the Palestinian cause, identifying it with Hamas’ ideology and policies.

Examples of this activity include:

An online bi-weekly Hamas magazine is published in London. Called Al-Fateh, it is aimed at children, who a very important Hamas target audience. The magazine does not specifically say it is affiliated with Hamas, but its contents are clearly Hamas-oriented.

… The monthly Filastin al-Muslima, Hamas’ main publication, has been issued in London since 1981. It spreads hate propaganda against Israel and encourages terrorism and terrorists.

the satellite channel Al-Hiwar. It is an Arabic channel operating from London affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood… It spreads radical Islamic messages and hatred for Israel.

…[Hamas]involvement in (and possibly initiating) legal actions to try senior Israelis in British courts: Dia’a al-Din Madhoun, head of the Hamas’ “documentation committee” (Al-Tawthiq) said that the committee had initiated suits in British courts against former Minister Tsipi Livni when it became known that she planned to visit Britain on December 13, 2009. He said that the committee was working in coordination with a lawyer in Britain named Tayib Ali and a group of other lawyers.7 Hamas’ “documentation committee” seems to provide such lawyers with “evidence” (concocted by the de facto Hamas administration) as “legal” foundations for trying Israelis. Tayib Ali is active in forums in Britain working to try so-called Israeli “war criminals,” and to that end, on December 7, 2009 lectured at a seminar to promote trials of “Israeli war criminals” under the sponsorship of a group called The Middle East Monitor.

… in our assessment, Hamas’ involvement in university activity is carried out through radical leftist organizations and radical Islamic elements (such as activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood). Their activities include anti-Israeli incitement (through Hamas-supporting speakers who appear at university functions or student activities), initiatives for academic boycotts of Israel and for supporting the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. Hints of Hamas involvement can be seen in the London School of Economics’ Student Union decision on November 26, 2009, to twin with the Islamic University in Gaza, Hamas’ political and military stronghold in the Gaza Strip. The Student Union of Queen Mary College followed in their footsteps (December 8, 2008). Both institutions are part of London University.

Providing money and material support for the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip through Lifeline convoys: The convoys are dispatched to the Gaza Strip by an organization called Viva Palestina, founded by pro-Hamas British MP George Galloway.

Every MP should be sent a copy of this report. We in Britain are no longer living in Londonistan, it seems, but in Hamastan.

A New Day for Iran — Amil Imani Freedom of Iran

A New Day for Iran Print
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Compelled by the inalienable right of the people to institute their government and replace it when it fails to serve its constituents in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, millions of Iranians representing the entire spectrum of society are demanding change from the repressive theocracy to an open secular democracy.

More than three decades of rule by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has not only failed to advance the security and well-being of the people, it has ensnared the nation in a stifling theocracy where the rights of the governed are routinely violated for the benefit of the governing.The revolution of 1979 that brought down Mohammad Reza Shah’s dictatorship in the hope of instituting a democratic government was quickly usurped by a religious autocracy.

Endemic to autocracies is the subjugation of the interests of the people to that of the state and the IRI has been no exception. In order to maintain its hold on the nation, the IRI has employed suppressive measures, some of which are briefly listed here:

* The IRI has replaced every protective provision of the Universal Charter of the Declaration of Human Rights with theocratic fiats of the state which govern all aspects of the citizens’ private and public life.

* The IRI has abandoned the administration of justice in accordance with the due process of law practiced in civilized societies and has adopted the discriminatory laws of Sharia. The sacrosanct assumption of innocence is discarded. Arbitrary arrests, long detentions without formal charges, the administration of all forms of physical and psychological torture, and summary execution of political dissenters and religious minorities have became the standard behavior of the system.

* All forms of freedoms, mankind’s precious legacy, were either taken away or severely restricted. Freedom of assembly, of the press, and association were taken away from the people and became the exclusive prerogatives of the state.

* Journalists and writers of all subjects were forced to serve the state or face merciless punishment. Numerous journalists, writers and thinkers were imprisoned; some languished for decades and some met an early death.

* The religious and ethnic diverse groups of the nation, which has been a great source of its strength and cherished heritage throughout the ages, were severely repressed in an attempt to force the populace into a monolithic religious mold advocated by the state. Religious minorities such as Baha’is, Jews, Christians and others found themselves persecuted in a variety of ways in their own homeland. Some abandoned their livelihood, homes and relatives to flee to the four corners of the globe in search of religious freedom and safety. In Iran many ended up as prisoners of conscience, some were forced to recant their beliefs, and a number were executed and buried secretly in unmarked graves.

* Women, who during ancient times were honored as equals to men, were reduced to the rank of second-class citizens. Their family rights became severely constricted.  Their access to occupations such as judgeships was denied, in line with the theocracy’s belief that women are incapable of rendering sound verdicts, and allowed only a token presence in high-ranking government positions.

Forward: Secular Green Movement of Iran

Delving extensively on the misdeeds of the IRI diverts us from focusing attention on the most promising development that calls upon both Iranians and the entire membership of the human family for change. The Secular Green Movement of Iran (SGMI), birthed by tens of millions of liberty-loving, long-suffering Iranians, is squarely based on our ancient triad of Good Thoughts, Good Speech, and Good Deeds.

The guiding principles and objective of the SGMI, although presently focused on Iran, can serve as a universal template for every people in our common planet home. Close examination of the SGMI’s proclamation reveals an enthralling vision:

* Fundamental to effective change is the replacement of the old faulty and destructive beliefs with universally emancipating principles and behavior. Prejudice of all forms has been the scourge of humanity forever. Prejudice of gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs and more has tied humanity to separate chains and has prevented it from living as the true family that it is and from reaping the full benefits of its potentialities on earth. It is with firm belief in complete and unconditional equality for all people, irrespective of any and all considerations, that the SGMI summons the entirety of the human family for a new beginning.

* Some 2500 years ago, a farsighted and benevolent king, Cyrus the Great, issued an historic proclamation to the varied peoples of his vast empire. He granted every people their rights to dignity, independence, beliefs and their way of life. The trailblazing king, considered as the first author of the Charter of Human Rights, showed the justice as well as the feasibility of diverse peoples living peacefully with one another to the benefit of all.

* Pivotal to the emancipation of the people, their well-being, and prosperity, is the enshrining of liberty as the birthright of every individual, group, and nation. Without freedom of thought, belief, and conduct within the bounds of the law, both the individual and the collective will be stifled resulting in a human enterprise unworthy of the name. The SGMI is unalterably committed to freedom in all its forms. It is freedom that energizes the flourishing of mankind’s best ideas and achievements in all spheres of life. It is freedom that sets humanity apart from other species that are captives of their nature.

* Indispensable to the exercise of freedom and protection of the rights of all people to choose their government is the complete separation of religion and state. The merits of this principle are self-evident. Religion and civil governance are two separate realms and intrusion by one into the other is fraught with great harm. Hence, iron-clad provisions are needed to keep the two domains apart.

* Iran is home to a religiously and ethnically diverse people and each and every one is an equal shareholder of the homeland. Guaranteeing equality to all its citizens, therefore, demands no less than full adherence to the principle of unity in diversity, a unity of purpose that draws from the strength and uniqueness of its constituents.

* Fruition of mankind’s perennial dreams is not possible without permanently renouncing wars and the development of its cataclysmic instruments. The SGMI renounces violence of all kinds, be they execution of minors for alleged crimes, stoning of sexual offenders and killing people for commitment of victimless crimes, genocidal campaigns against groups, or aggressing against other nations.

* The non-violent position of the SGMI transcends its pragmatic value. It is inspired by the longstanding Iranian belief in the organic oneness of humanity as expressed by the classic Persian poem—“Bani adam azaye yek paykarand; ke as adamiyat ze yek joharand; cho ozvi be dard aavarad roozegaar; degar ozvhaara namaanad gharaar.  In English, “the children of Adam are members of one body; their creation is of the same essence; when a member suffers; other members have no peace.”

* Transition from the present failed Islamic regime to a secular democracy is the central objective of the SGMI. In pursuance of this objective, a Constitutional Assembly, elected by the entirety of eligible Iranian voters under the supervision of international monitors could be the means to usher in the new system of governance. The SGMI, without reserving any special privilege for itself, would gladly serve as a sponsor and a clearinghouse for any and all preliminary consultations and actions that are needed to implement the transition.

* Vital to the success of the effort is the abandonment of old suspicions, parochial thinking, and scheming for special privileges for any individuals or groups. Goodwill and work for the common good is required of all. This new beginning is a paradigm shift from the destructive ways of the past. There is much to be gained by all when justice and equity are not exclusive to the few. Justice in all its forms, as is the case with freedom, must be the guiding principle of the new Iran, recalling the warning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

* This is the dawn of a new day for our homeland, Iran. Over three decades of darkness has reached its inevitable end. People on the mountaintops are clearly discerning the rays of the new sun that inevitably will chase away the gloom of darkness. And these witnesses make up the Secular Green Movement of Iran which, with open arms, welcomes every Iranian into one unified, free democratic nation. It is time to celebrate the new day by enlisting all of us in the work of ushering in the light of freedom and insuring that never again will it be replaced by the darkness of oppression. The SGMI is calling upon all Iranians, whether at home or abroad, as well as all individuals and nations to join in ushering in the new day and to contribute whatever they can to make it a truly magnificent change of fortune for Iran as well as for the entire home of humanity, the global village earth.

Liberal Pacifism VS Islamic Extremism — Amil Imani

Liberal Pacifism VS Islamic Extremism Print
Tuesday, 02 March 2010
The Gospel writers have noted that Jesus called his disciples to a way of life in which any act of violence can be overcome by love. We must not return evil for evil, Jesus taught, but must return good for evil; we must not hate those who wrong us but must love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. The Qur’an never says this. Instead it explicitly declares that Allah does not love those who do not believe in him:

“For He loves not those who reject Faith” (30:45)

Although many Muslims become angry about anyone “insulting” their religion, but here is what the Qur’an says about Jews and Christians:Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (9:30) (See also Bukhari 8:427), one of the last things Prophet Muhammad ever said on his deathbed was “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians.”)

Drawing a distinction from the Gospel writers are a few brushstrokes suggesting ubiquitous and intrinsic Islamic extremism and also let us keep in mind that the basic difference between Islam and Christianity is that only Islam has a tradition and doctrine that sanctions war against unbelievers:

“Allah, deal with the Jews, your enemies and the enemies of Islam. Deal with the crusaders, and America, and Europe behind them, O Lord of the worlds.” Ahmad Abu Halabiya

Hadith says that Muhammad believed rats to be “mutated Jews” (Bukhari 54:524, also confirmed by Sahih Muslim 7135 and 7136).

 “To push the enemy – the greatest kufr – out of the country is a prime duty. No other duty after Belief is more important than [this] duty. Utmost effort should be made to prepare and instigate the Ummah [community of Muslims] against the enemy, the American-Israeli alliance – occupying the country of the two Holy Places.” Osama bin Laden

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. …Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Complacency and appeasement on the part of the free world can only serve Islamic hatred. There is absolutely no chance for co-existence with Islamic dogma. All one needs to see is what is happening in Islamic countries. That is exactly what is in store for free people of the world if Islam is not held in check.

My fellow human beings, reforming Islam is not about prosperity, it is about the survival of the human race, and the ability for all non-Islamic ideologies to survive. However, in the absence of evangelism, and without the ability to reveal peace-loving belief to the Muslim world, people just don’t wake up and suddenly denounce it. Does a seed grow in infertile soil?  The brave are the ones who enable personal conversion, not those who justify Islamic slavery by alluding to salvation in nations possessed by evil.

Our Western liberals who actively aid and support evil regimes are in fact “Useful Idiots” and their strange but pleased Islamist bedfellows use them as pawns. In the recent past it was the socialist evils of Nazism and Communism that also used Muslim hatred to further their goals.  Apparently evil wears many masks.

Islam is not compatible with Christianity and Western morality. Currently, Islam has dominated American public life. Unfortunately, you can’t reason with people blinded by centuries of hate and violence. You can’t debate with people blinded by Islamic faith. Islam takes away the power of the individual. Islam prevents women from achieving of their potential. Islam does not believe in the religious freedom of others. Islam loathes the pre-Islamic heritage of other nations, as though, the world did not exist before the arrival Islam. Islam is an invader with its creeping Sharia law into our system of governance. Islam is against free will and disregards democracy, liberty and justice for all man.

A true Muslim does not and cannot believe in liberty. Everything is up to Allah, so says Mohammad. Everything that a Muslim does is contingent upon the will and decree of Allah. It is for this reason that the phrase inshallah (Allah willing) always accompanies any promise or commitment that a believer makes. By embracing Muhammad as the unerring and eternal emissary of Allah, a Muslim surrenders his liberty to decide for himself.

The Muslims’ surrender of Liberty is not merely a matter of personal choice. The Muslims, having abandoned their most precious rights, are out to make all non-Muslims also do so, by hook or crook. It is said that misery loves company. And the type of misery that Islam has visited on the Muslims and the Islamic lands is a rapidly spreading plague that must be resisted by all who cherish their God-given Liberty.

Until citizens, as well as other people of the world, must understand the threat of radical Islam to its society and culture is real. If we simply ignore this threat, people will continue to die in these sporadic attacks. Until there is a true understanding of this faith and a means to control its fire, we, along with other people will continue to die as a result of its teaching. There are many Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, (who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, and hurt 30 others) are running around in our country. But our “Useful Idiots”  look the other way. America, the threat of Islam is real. Until the United States citizens understand that all violent Islamic fundamentalist groups and all devout Muslims wish to kill all non-believers, we will continue to remain at the mercy of the Islamic terrorists.

So, who is right? What are the facts about Islam and how does Islam impact the ever-shrinking village Earth and its inhabitants? Can Islam ever be reformed?  What can the civilized world do to diminish this threat to its survival? How can we take out the militant Islam out of the book? Admittedly, this is a huge question and cannot be answered satisfactorily in one article.

The idea of reforming Islam is not new. Islam cannot be reformed. Keep in mind that Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah’s book is sealed.

About the only universal agreement that exists among Islamic authorities is that every word of the Qur’an is the word of God and is not subject to human modification, ever. The ‘Hadith’ also enjoys a similar sacrosanct standing. And of course, the faithful Muhammad’s conduct as recorded in the Sunna is the model to be emulated. Hence, one can pick and choose, but one cannot discard or revise any part of the scripture. For this reason a Martin Luther type reformation has not happened and will not likely ever happen within Islam.

Numerous people have tried it in every imaginable way. The Mu’tazelis tried it, the Sufis tried it, hundreds of old and new schools tried it and they all failed. Islam is not reform-able for at least the following reasons:

* At the heart of the problem is the Quran, Islam’s sacred book, considered as the literal perfect and immutable words of Allah.

* Islam is a perfect religion:

Quran.5:3 : Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me shall be your religion.

How can fallible limited humans possibly reform or improve the handiwork of the all-knowing, all-wise author of the universe?

* Freedoms of all forms are anathema to Islam, which is squarely based on total submission to the dictates and will of Allah. Muslims must obey Allah and His Messenger.

Quran.33:36: And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.

* Violence is part and parcel of Islam.

Quran 2: 216: Fighting is ordained for you, even though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know.

* Reforming Islam, requires discarding Sharia, but also purging the Quran itself from enormous suras that are not only patently false, but totally repugnant to a civilized humanity. This line of thinking, to sanitize Islam is explicitly forbidden in the Quran:

Quran 2:85: Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection; they will be consigned to most grievous suffering? For God is not unmindful of what you do.

* Islam is a super religion:

Muslims consider Islam, a super-religion and final religion of Allah. Judaism and Christianity are the only other two religions that are granted a grudging minimal recognition by Islam. All other religions and those without religion are blasphemy and blasphemous. In short, Islam is not reform-able. Reforming Islam requires purging of its sacred book, the Quran. By so doing, then, we have a different religion, not Islam.

Let us look at some other points by explicit provisions of the Quran:

* Islam is misogynist. Men are superior to women. Women are to obey men and are to be beaten when disobey or misbehave.

* Islam is racist. The Quran stipulates that the Arabs are superior to all others and it clearly condones slavery. It explicitly stipulates discriminatory laws for slaves.

* Islam denounces other belief systems and marginally recognizes the validity of only two religions, Judaism and Christianity.

* Islam is violent. It not only condones jihad, it recommends it and promises great reward for the jihadist.

* Islam is already splintered in a number of major sects and innumerable numbers of secondary sects that harbor huge disagreement and animosity toward one another as well as toward all infidels.

* Those who claim that they want to reform Islam, want to transform it by stripping it of a great many provisions that are anathema to civilized humanity. These people are, in fact, trying to make a new religion out of the old with no divine authority that was, supposedly, bestowed upon Muhammad to launch his religion.

If a reform should occur, the Islamic religious high authorities play a critical role in steering the masses toward or away from hate. The late Pope’s public pronouncement, for instance, absolving the Jews as the Christ killers has reduced anti-Semitism among the rank and file Christians. Fatwas—religious decrees—by Islamic Moftis and Ayatollahs carry considerable weight with their respective followers. Sadly, most decrees and adjudications of these high Islamic authorities are exclusionary and even hostile toward the out-groups.

These high divines are the suppliers of opinions as well as the teachers of the rank and file clergy who take the same ideas to the masses in villages and cities. Madresehs in Pakistan, schools in Saudi Arabia and Maktabs—religious schools—in Iran, as well as numerous mosques serve as places where the disease of hate can be transmitted with considerable success to the just too willing believers.

In Islam’s theocracy, religious authority is conferred by an informal consensus of the peer group. One becomes an Ayatollah, for instance, by demonstrating to other ayatollahs his undeviating devotion to the dogma they hold. If one deviates from the accepted line, he is not likely to make a village mullah, much less an Ayatollah. This is a systemic problem that is not amenable to change. It is a pathological theological inbreeding.

The Islamists, with the help of our liberal leftists, take advantage of the provisions of the most benign system known to humanity, democracy, to implode it from within. Islamists, by sheer numbers, will soon be in a position to vote out democracy in many countries and eventually in the U.S. They will elect Muslims to all positions of local influence, who will create and enforce policy according to the Quran.  Once they have control over a town, they will begin to establish informal Sharia, and there’s nothing the government can (or will want to) do about it. Multicultural diversity is the elephant in the room allowing the ultimate incursion and inclusion of Sharia law into the United States government and into the way of our lives. To put it mildly and nakedly, the West is on the road to Sharia.

Sharia is the brutal means by which Islam controls its populations by force, intimidation, and punishments for offenses against Allah.  Already, in many European countries, national governments have, out of fear, given Islamofascists the right to establish their own shadow governments within the borders of countries like Sweden, England and Netherlands where they can control their own populations without accountability.  Proposals for Sharia are being taken seriously by Canada.  Politicians, hungry for votes and devoted to the practice of political correctness, bend backward to accede to Islamists’ demands.

The current U.S. administration must represent the people of America rather than catering to Muslims and Muslim organizations and keep repeating the same mantra of its peacefulness while Americans soldiers die by the religion of peace. Appointing Muslims in high and sensitive governmental places is simply a risky business and a threat to our national security.  

“In 1991, Mohamed Akram wrote a memo for the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood that explained its work in America as “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

One thing is certain, those who are not willing to speak up for fear of being called a racist or an Islamophobe or afraid of losing their prestigious jobs, should be discharged from their offices immediately. The lesson is clear. Beware of the liberal pacifists who live in our democracies. Knowingly or unknowingly, they serve as the greatest volunteer and most effective soldier of Islam. They pave the way for the advancement of Islam and they will assuredly be among the very first victims of Islam as soon as it assumes power.

Obama Seeks To Divide And Conquer GOP With Health Care Window Dressing

Obama Seeks To Divide And Conquer GOP With Health Care Window Dressing

March 3rd, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

ra3193468090

Washington Post:

As Democrats on Capitol Hill prepared a risky effort to muscle sweeping health-care legislation to final passage, President Obama on Tuesday made a last gambit to split Republicans on the issue, proposing to incorporate a handful of GOP ideas into his signature domestic initiative.

On Wednesday, Obama plans to call on Congress to bring the year-long debate to a swift close, and congressional leaders expect him to signal support for a strategy that includes a special budget maneuver known as reconciliation. Under that strategy, the House would adopt the bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve and approve a separate package of fixes to reflect a compromise worked out between Democrats in the two chambers.

Under reconciliation rules, the fixes could not be filibustered and Senate Democrats could approve them with a simple majority vote — a move intended to bypass a Republican caucus that remains united in its opposition to the legislation. Republican leaders said Obama’s offer to adopt some of the ideas they promoted at last week’s health-care summit would do little to improve what they consider a fundamentally flawed measure.

“If the President simply adds a couple of Republican solutions to a trillion dollar health care package that the American people don’t support, it isn’t bipartisanship. It’s political cover,” Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the No. 2 House Republican, said in a statement.

Obama’s gesture to include GOP-backed provisions on cutting health costs and preventing fraud appeared to strengthen the resolve of congressional Democrats, however, who were initially queasy about pressing forward after Republicans claimed a crucial 41st Senate seat six weeks ago in a Massachusetts special election. On Tuesday, Democratic leaders seemed increasingly confident that they could revive the bill and deliver it to Obama’s desk, perhaps before the Easter recess begins March 29.

“We’re anxious to get health care done, which we will get done,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters.

Even some Democrats who had been reluctant to support the original package seemed ready to ignore a growing barrage of criticism from Republicans such as Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), who characterized reconciliation in a Washington Post opinion piece Tuesday as an attempt to “jam” a bill through Congress “against the will of the American people.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a crucial swing vote who opposed the use of reconciliation in the early stages of last year’s health-care debate, said she is comfortable using the procedure to advance a narrower package of changes to the legislation. “The general feeling in our caucus is we’ve worked very hard, this is a very reasonable, general approach to health-care reform, that the status quo is wholly unacceptable, and that we’re hoping to move forward,” Landrieu said Tuesday.

Reconciliation is a procedure created in 1974 to help lawmakers advance politically difficult budget legislation, particularly measures that reduce the deficit. It has been used 22 times by both parties since 1980 to promote a variety of policies, including overhauling the welfare system, creating COBRA health benefits for people who lose their jobs, and cutting taxes in two huge packages championed by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.

Administration officials have for days signaled support for the maneuver; White House health-care reform adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle called Sunday for “a simple up-or-down vote” on the legislation. In a letter sent Tuesday to congressional leaders, Obama flatly rejected GOP demands to scrap the existing legislation and start over with more modest measures.

“Piecemeal reform is not the best way to effectively reduce premiums, end the exclusion of people with pre-existing conditions or offer Americans the security of knowing that they will never lose coverage, even if they lose or change jobs,” Obama wrote. “Both parties agree that the health care status quo is unsustainable. And both should agree that it’s just not an option to walk away from the millions of American families and business owners counting on reform.”

As a sign of his willingness to “draw on the best ideas from both parties,” Obama wrote that he is open to four proposals Republicans offered at the health-care summit, all aimed at lowering health costs while making coverage more affordable.

Potentially the most significant is the expansion of health savings accounts, which, combined with high-deductible health plans, could create a new coverage model for young people who are less likely to receive comprehensive plans through their employers. Obama also offered to explicitly permit insurance companies to sell high-deductible policies through the new state-run insurance exchanges that would be created under the legislation.

The president also embraced a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) to root out fraud in Medicare and Medicaid with random undercover investigations of health-care providers. And he suggested an additional $50 million to fund state projects aimed at averting medical malpractice lawsuits, a top Republican priority.

Obama also expressed interest in a move by GOP lawmakers to increase payments to doctors who treat Medicaid patients, provided Congress address the issue “in a fiscally responsible manner.” Republicans — and many Democrats — have complained that the health legislation would add up to 15 million people to state Medicaid rolls at a time when many current recipients are struggling to find doctors willing to see them.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said House and Senate leaders had not yet decided precisely how to move forward, but said discussions were ongoing. “We need an agreement between the House and the Senate about where we’re going,” Hoyer told reporters as he left Reid’s office late Tuesday.

Lawmakers and budget experts monitoring the talks said the most likely path would begin with a House vote to approve the Senate bill, despite House Democrats’ deep-seated reservations about that legislation, quickly followed by approval of a reconciliation package. That package is likely to be crafted in the Rules Committee by House leaders in consultation with Senate Democrats and the White House, budget experts said. In addition to the health-care fixes, it could include a major Obama initiative aimed at overhauling the federal student loan program, Democrats said.

The Senate could then take up the House reconciliation bill, moving it rapidly to the floor, where Coburn and other Republicans are vowing to try to rip it apart by challenging the relevance of its provisions — under Senate rules, reconciliation can be used to advance only measures that directly affect the budget — and by offering dozens of amendments.

Though a reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered, Senate Republicans can offer an unlimited number of amendments once debate has closed. Senate Democrats, eager to avoid changes to the bill that would require another round of votes in the House, were exploring ways to cut short the amendment period.

Such a move, said G. William Hoagland, who spent years as a senior budget adviser to Senate Republican leaders, “would be unprecedented and would certainly poison the water even worse than it already is.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers