Daily Archives: October 16, 2008

sarah posner : fundamentalist #53

from The American Prospect

1. Sarah Palin, Conservative Heir Apparent.
Charles Dunn, dean of the Robertson (as in Pat) School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, tells the American Family Association’s news service that Sarah Palin is the “heir apparent” to lead the conservative movement and the Republican Party, even if Barack Obama wins the White House. Dunn predicts we’ll be saying goodnight to Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in 2012. Catapulting the Barracuda to a leadership role is also the goal of the fawning campaign biography of Palin, Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader, just out from Zondervan, a Christian imprint owned by Rupert Murdoch. While other tentacles in Murdoch’s media empire play the endless loop of smears and insinuations that Obama is subversive and un-American, the new Palin biography paints a vapid, unquestioning portrait of a salt-of-the-earth American gal whose supposed authenticity makes her the real embodiment of the change we’ve been waiting for. The animating theme of the book is that Palin’s political values and judgment are best understood through her personal life rather than her political resumé, and can best be summed up by Trig, Track, Bristol. Not drill, baby, drill, but baby, war, baby. Palin’s faith, writes author Joe Hilley, is to be implicitly trusted as right for America. “At the center of Sarah Palin’s moral core lies a profound belief in God, the Judeo-Christian God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is more fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.” She believes in the authority and truth of the Scripture, we are told, in the Ten Commandments, and in the authority granted in Genesis for humans “to exercise dominion and control over the earth.” This is all dog-whistle rhetoric for the religious right, of course — its loyalists interpret phrases like “Judeo-Christian God” (emphasis on the Christian), the “truth” of the Scripture, and “dominion and control over the earth” as being right in line with their “Christian nation” worldview.
2. Who’s Ken Blackwell to Talk About Unsavory Alliances?
Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, failed gubernatorial candidate, and now Family Research Council fellow and head of Tom DeLay’s Coalition for a Conservative Majority, has been at the forefront of pushing the right’s smear that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a voter-fraud front group for socialism and a fifth column for the radical terrorist Barack Hussein Obama. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Blackwell has been all over the conservative tabloids and on the airways, accusing ACORN of election fraud, of causing the financial crisis, and of — gasp! — hewing to the community-organizing model of Saul Alinsky, thus making it and Obama part of the same socialist one-world order. In the land of the religious right — be it on the pages of Townhall.com, on talk radio, or on Fox News, these are not the rantings of a tinfoil hat-wearing outlier. Blackwell is one of the religious right’s most revered non-pulpit figures, was the co-chair of the Republican Party’s platform-writing committee this year, and was one of a handful of activists dispatched to vouch for Palin’s credentials to reporters just moments after McCain’s decision to tap her as his running mate became public in August. But Blackwell has been at the center of election controversies himself. In 2004, Blackwell played dubious dual roles, overseeing his state’s election process as secretary of state and serving as the Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair. Alleged voting irregularities in Ohio under Blackwell’s watch are still the subject of litigation and a House Judiciary Committee investigation. At a recent hearing, where Blackwell denied there were any voting problems, Daniel Tokaji, a professor of election law at Ohio State University, criticized Blackwell’s office for “sorely lacking” in transparency in the election process.
3. Family Research Council Action PAC’s
First Anti-Obama Ad: False.

This week Family Research Council Action PAC launched a $100k anti-Obama advertising campaign, in direct response to advertising by the Matthew 25 Network, a Christian PAC that is supporting Obama. Matthew 25 has been running radio advertising in battleground states vouching for Obama’s Christian credentials, and recently launched a Web site, ProLifeProObama, featuring anti-choice Obama supporters vouching for his abortion-reduction strategy. FRC Action PAC promises to air its ad on Christian radio stations targeted by Matthew 25 in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Michigan, as well on television in the Washington, D.C., market. The ad falsely states that Obama’s first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would codify a woman’s right to choose as outlined in Roe v. Wade. In fact, Obama has said his first priority with regard to reproductive rights would be to enact FOCA, not that FOCA would be his highest priority above the economy and national security.
(See also Right-Wing Magnate Takes Up Anti-Abortion Banner, by Bill Berkowitz, on this campaign – RB)
4. Proponents of the California Gay Marriage Ban are Winning.
Proponents of Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California, are upbeat about a recent Survey USA poll that showed 47% of respondents supported the ban, while 42% were opposed, a 10% shift in the ban’s favor since late September. The shift came after Protect Marriage, the main advocacy group for the ban, launched a television ad showing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome shouting to an enthusiastic crowd that same-sex marriage was going to happen “whether you like it or not.” The ad continues with some standard religious-right tropes; that gay marriage would be “taught in public schools” and that churches “could lose their tax-exempt status.” In other words, any gain for LGBT people is a loss for Christians. Protect Marriage’s latest ad shows a little girl coming home from school, clutching a copy of King and King, the religious right’s favorite example of the alleged indoctrination of grade-school children with the “homosexual agenda,” and telling her mother that she learned that two princes could get married and that she can marry a princess. Egads! Last week, parents at a charter school in San Francisco organized a field trip so first graders could go see their teacher marry her partner at City Hall — with Newsome officiating. Although parents could opt their children out of the field trip, which was organized by parents, not the teacher, the incident has only fueled the anti-gay activists’ hysteria about school indoctrination. If Protect Marriage’s new school ad is as successful as the Newsome ad, the religious right might just succeed in banning same-sex marriage in one of the country’s most liberal states.
5. With Obama Ahead in the Polls,
Right-Wing Smears Get More Outlandish.

A sampling of headlines from the past week:
Life As We Know It Will End If Obama Is Elected.
(Strang Report).
Media Ignoring Obama’s Socialist Past.
(American Family Association News).
Forget Bill Ayers — Here Are Over a Dozen
More Virulently Anti-American Obama Friends.

(Family Security Matters).
Israel Fears Potential Obama Presidency
(American Family Association News).
Barrie Hussein: Congenital Liar?
(Pharmacists for Life International press release).
Muslim Fingerprints in Obama’s History
(Christian Worldview Network).

keeping the neocons in foie gras

Israel leads ME in approved arms purchases
Yaakov Katz, JPost (extracts)

For the first time in years, Israel surpassed Saudi Arabia in arms purchases in 2008, reaching just over $20b, the JPost has learned. Last year, the US DoD approved plans to sell Israel that amount of arms, including stealth fighter jets, transport aircraft, state-of-the-art missile ships and satellite-guided “smart bombs.” Total deals approved by the US to all countries surpassed $60b. The UAE finished a close second, after receiving Pentagon approval to buy advanced weapons systems for more than $18b. Saudi Arabia was third with approved sales of just over $12b, including a $9b contract for 72 Eurofighters signed last September. Iraq was also approved deals reaching just over $12b. Between 2001 and 2004, Saudi Arabia was the top arms buyer in the Middle East with arms deliveries totaling $19b. Israel did not sign any major deals in 2006, except for the purchase of two Dolphin class submarines from Germany. In 2007, the Pentagon announced plans to sell Israel military platforms valued at just $1.1b. The UAE led the region in missile defense deals, receiving approval from the Pentagon to buy Patriot 3 launchers and systems. It also became the first country outside the US to receive approval to purchase the THAAD system, designed to shoot down incoming missiles, in a deal valued at $7b. Saudi Arabia has also expressed interest in the system, and in December of last year Kuwait received approval to buy the system for just over $1b. Israel became the first country outside the US to receive Pentagon approval last month to buy the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35, and the new fifth-generation stealth fighter jet under development by Lockheed Martin. Israel asked for permission to buy 75 jets in a deal that could reach just over $15b.

smears in haaretz, quelle surprise

Is Israel’s booming high-tech industry a branch of the Mossad?
Yossi Melman, Haaretz (extracts)

In 2006, the Check Point Software Technologies company, which specializes in protecting computer systems from hackers and data theft, wanted to acquire an American company called Sourcefire, which works in the same field. The great advantage of Sourcefire was that its clients include the DoD and the NSA. The US administration, however, by means of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, did not approve the acquisition. The committee made its decision based on an opinion by the FBI and NSA security officers. The two organizations were afraid that Check Point, which was founded by Gil Shwed and fellow graduates of Unit 8200, the IDF’s high-tech intelligence unit, would have access to top-secret information, which it could pass on to Israel’s intelligence community. Unit 8200 is the Israeli equivalent of the NSA. The fear and suspicion currently is directed not only toward Check Point, but also other Israeli high-tech companies like Verint, Comverse, NICE Systems and PerSay Voice Biometrics, some of which work in data mining and engage in software development for tapping telephones, fax machines, email and computer communications. The above-mentioned Israeli companies and others are important software and technology suppliers for not only the US telephony companies, but for the NSA itself.

These accusations come from journalist and writer James Bamford, whose new book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (Doubleday), came out this week in the US. Bamford, a former producer for the ABC television network, has spent the last 30 years writing about the NSA, which is responsible for eavesdropping on telephones, fax machines and computers; intercepting communications and electromagnetic signals from radar equipment, aircraft, missiles, ships and submarines; and decoding transmissions and cracking codes. It has contributed immeasurably to US intelligence and national security.

Bamford claims that 80% of all US telephone transmissions are conducted by means of the Israeli companies’ technology, know-how and accessibility. Thus, Bamford believes, the US intelligence community is exposing itself to the risk that the Israeli companies will access its most secret and sensitive digital information. Bamford does not provide any backing for this thesis; he only points to a circumstantial relationship. The Israeli companies were largely established by graduates of 8200, and therefore he says they are connected by their umbilical cords to Israeli intelligence, and their CEOs and boards of directors include senior Shin Bet officials like Arik Nir or former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy (Nir is the CEO of Athlone Global Security, a hedge fund that has invested inter alia in PerSay Voice Biometrics, and Ephraim Halevy is a member of the Athlone Advisory Board).

To put it mildly, Bamford has no love lost for Israel. In his articles, he publishes claims by American Navy officials who believe Israel maliciously attacked the American spy ship Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War. He holds that the Sep 11 attack did not stem from radical Islam’s basic hatred of America, but rather from its anger at US support for Israel. He calls the nineteen Sep 11 terrorists “soldiers” and describes them with a great deal of sympathyDavids who “only” demolished four airplanes of the US Goliath. In this context, and apparently because of his deep hostility, Bamford asserts that in light of the problematic record of Israel, which did not hesitate to spy against the US on US soil, Israeli companies should not have been given the keys to the kingdom of the US’s secrets. His attitude toward Israel apparently pushes him over the psychological brink, as his book hardly mentions the close cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence communities, mainly in the war against international jihad terror or in monitoring Iran.

ali abunimah on the acre riots

Extremist West Bank settlers help stir Acre violence
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 15 Oct 2008 (extracts)

Acre, a mixed city of approximately 52,000 people in northern Israel, recently witnessed four days of violent clashes between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jewish residents. Palestinians in Israel view the events as the product of widespread incitement and organized efforts by Jewish extremists to force them out of their homes. One of the underreported factors is the extent to which militant Israeli settlers from the West Bank, funded by donors in the US, have instigated tension in Acre and other cities in an attempt to reduce their Arab populations. Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews live in close proximity in Acre, as they have done for generations. But in recent years, extremist Jewish groups affiliated with West Bank settlers have moved in with the stated aim of making the city more Jewish. Palestinians are concentrated in the central old city and near the harbor, while Jews are established in the eastern part and outer rings. The vast majority of the Jewish residents of the city are Mizrahim — working-class Jews whose first generation came as immigrants to Israel from Arab countries. Mizrahim, although Jews, also faced severe discrimination by an Israeli state dominated by European Ashkenazi Jewish elites. Mizrahim were often pushed to the edges of Israeli Jewish society, and in many cases were housed in the former homes of expelled Palestinians. Culturally marginalized, and much poorer than Ashkenazi Jews, the Mizrahim have became the base constituency for the right-wing Likud party, Shas and other overtly racist anti-Arab parties.

Some Arab residents blamed the worsening tension, not on long-time residents, but on an influx of militant youth affiliated with the national religious West Bank settler movement. Indeed, Baruch Marzel, a settler leader from near Hebron in the West Bank, visited Acre during the riots and vowed to help Jews in the city to set up a “defense organization.” Barzel was leader of the banned Kach party founded by the late Meir Kahane which supports the expulsion of all Palestinians, and he remains a prominent leader of racist settler groups. Yeshiva Hesder Akko, founded in 2001, is a pro-settler national religious school in the midst of a now majority Arab neighborhood called Wolfson. Over the years, many of the area’s Jewish residents had become more affluent and moved out, and poorer Arabs moved in. This hesder yeshiva, a school for Israeli Jewish men who combine military service with religious study, often attracting strict adherents of the militant settler movement, is run by Yossi Stern, a rabbi from the militant West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh. Stern, who is also on the Acre city council, told the WaPo last year that he and his associates were working on projects designed to “attract Jews to Acre,” including a 350-unit housing complex designated for Jewish military families, and another yeshiva. The WaPo also reported that Palestinian residents and leaders consider these efforts to be part of a systematic assault on their presence in the city, using tactics long deployed against Palestinians in the West Bank. Some accuse Acre’s Likud mayor of supporting the efforts.

Yeshiva Hesder Akko’s own website states that “from a luxuriant Jewish neighborhood, Wolfson has turned into a decrepit Arab neighborhood.” The school’s purpose is “to try to return and strengthen the Jewish character of the city.” Although the city was “almost lost” to Jews, the site states that “the long awaited salvation has begun.” According to the website’s “About Us” page, the yeshiva was built with funds from a donor in New York. Volunteers have also raised funds from synagogues in the US, for the “special aim of the yeshiva which is to attract more young Jewish families by strengthening and maintaining the Zionist Jewish character of this ancient Jewish city.” An almost identical hesder yeshiva was recently founded in the Arab Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, also with the goal of increasing the Jewish population of that city.

real virtuoso wingnut nonsense

As you study more and more of this ACORN stuff, you find that it has been part of an entire movement that has been going on for two, maybe three decades, right under our noses. We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered, but no, it is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-American Afrocentric black liberation theologists with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it, they have been training young black kids to hate, hate, hate this country, and they trained their parents before that to hate, hate, hate this country. It was a movement. It was a Bill Ayers, anti-capitalist, anti-American educational movement. ACORN is how it was implemented, right under our noses. They’re doing far more, folks, than just cheating when it comes to elections and registration. They are in deep in this mortgage crisis. ACORN and Obama and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the Democrat Party, have their fingerprints all over the subprime mortgage crisis. The whole concept of affordable housing was people that can’t afford a mortgage are going to get one, because America is unfair. It has been a movement, it has been a religion, and Obama and Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were all up to their big ears in it …

Rush Limbaugh via HuffPost

f. william engdahl (4 mins + 6 mins)

Part One

Part Two

al CIA-duh at play

AMY GOODMAN: Jim Bamford, can you talk about how the NSA picked up the very first clues about the 9/11 attacks, well before the 9/11 attacks?
JAMES BAMFORD: Well, the very first clue to the 9/11 attack occurred in late December 1999, when the NSA picked up a message from a house in Yemen. The house was being used by bin Laden as his operations center. He didn’t have much capability to operate out of Afghanistan, so all the phone calls, all the messages, email and all that, would go to this house in the city of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. NSA had been eavesdropping on that house for a number of years, and in late December 1999, it picked up a particular intercept, picked up a particular phone conversation. And the phone conversation said, send Khalid and Nawaf to Kuala Lumpur for a meeting. So, NSA picked that up, and they, first of all, they figured that Nawaf and Khalid had to be very important potential terrorists, because they were being assigned by bin Laden, out in Afghanistan, to go to a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. That seemed like a terrorist summit meeting. NSA gave that information to the other intelligence agencies, and the CIA set up a surveillance in Kuala Lumpur, and then they lost them in Kuala Lumpur. After they lost them, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi went to California. They got in without any problem. NSA, even though they had the last name of Nawaf al-Hazmi in their computers, they never bothered to check, so they both got in without any problem, into the United States. They went down, and they lived in San Diego. And they began calling back and forth to that house in Yemen, the house that NSA was eavesdropping on. So NSA is picking up their conversations to the house in Yemen, translating them and then sending out the conversations, or summaries of the conversations, to the CIA, without ever telling anybody that they were in the United States. And they were in the United States for almost two years. Al-Hazmi was there from January 2000 to September 2001. And again, they’re communicating back and forth ; NSA is picking up, but not telling anybody that they’re in the US.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain, Jim Bamford—
JAMES BAMFORD: And it got so bad—
AMY GOODMAN: You say that they set up their final base of operations almost next door to the NSA headquarters, in Laurel, Maryland?
JAMES BAMFORD: Well, that’s the ultimate irony, was they eventually travelled across country from San Diego, and they set up their final base of operations — this is the crew that was about to attack the Pentagon — about a month before, they set up their base of operations in Laurel, Maryland, of all places, that happens to be the same city that NSA is headquartered. So they set up their base of operations in this Valencia Motel, and almost across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is NSA headquarters. The director’s office is on the eighth floor, and, except for some trees, he could almost see the motel where they’re staying. So, NSA is over there, trying to find terrorists, and here is the 9/11 terrorists, sitting right opposite the NSA, on the other side of the parkway, making their final plans. Mohamed Atta flew there for summit meetings. And they had to take three hotels, at one point, to put all the people there. So, as NSA is looking for them, they’re having their final summit meetings there, and they’re walking around the Safeway, they’re exercising in Gold’s Gym, they’re eating in the restaurants there, they’re mingling with NSA employees. That’s NSA’s company town. It’s just the ultimate irony, that here you have the terrorists and the eavesdroppers, living side by side in the month before the final attack.

Democracy Now!

sage francis : conspiracy to riot

a zionist son to delmore schwartz

You killed your European son
You spit on those under twenty-one
But now your blue cars are gone
You better say so long
Hey hey hey bye bye bye …
You made your wallpaper green
You wanted to make love to the scene
Your European son is gone
You better say so long
Your cloud is drifting goodbye
– Lou Reed, “European Son (to Delmore Schwartz)”

“In five years, they’ll change its name to the State of Irving”
– Delmore Schwartz, on the birth of the State of Israel

Lou Reed is expected to perform in Tel Aviv alongside his new wife and long-time partner, Laurie Anderson. Reed will be joining Anderson for a number of songs during her two scheduled performances in Israel. The two have already cooperated on stage and in albums several times in the past. Reed and Anderson got married last April in a secret ceremony held in Colorado. Although many believed that the relationship between the two artists had ended, it turned out that Reed and Anderson did not give up on their partnership which began in the 1990s. The Colorado ceremony was kept a secret, but the two held a special party for their friends in their hometown of New York City. Anderon will arrive in Israel on November 3 for a gig in Tel Aviv’s Mann Auditorium. The next day, she will perform at the Reading 3 club at the Tel Aviv Port. Anderson last performed in Israel in 1992. Her current gig will be part of her US and European tour which was launched following her latest album, “Homeland.” Tickets for the show cost between NIS 225 and NIS 300 ($60-80). The person behind the performance is veteran Israeli producer Shuki Weiss. – YNet