Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The above photo includes, among other things, a picture of Obama endorsing Vermont's self-described socialist Bernie Sanders in 2006.
Here are a couple of creative "income redistribution" plans sent to me by some patriotic individuals:
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NEW COMPANY POLICIES:
1. All salespeople will be pooling their sales and bonuses into a common pool that will be divided equally between all of you. This will serve to give those of you who are under achieving a "fair shake."
2. All low level workers will be pooling their wages, including overtime, into a common pool, dividing it equally amongst yourselves. This will help those who are "too busy for overtime" to reap the rewards from those who have more spare time and can work extra hours.
3. All top management will now be referred to as "the government." We will not participate in this "pooling" experience because the law doesn't apply to us.
4. The "government" will give eloquent speeches to all employees every week, encouraging it's workers to continue to work hard "for the good of all."
5. The employees will be thrilled with these new policies because it's "good to spread the wealth." Those of you who have underachieved will finally get an opportunity; those of you who have worked hard and had success will feel more "patriotic."
6. The last few people who were hired should clean out their desks. Don't feel bad, though, because President Obama will give you free healthcare, free handouts, free oil for heating your home, free food stamps, and he'll let you stay in your home for as long as you want even if you can't pay your mortgage. If you appeal directly to our democratic congress, you might even get a free flatscreen TV and a coupon for free haircuts (shouldn't all Americans be entitled to nice looking hair?) !!!
If for any reason you are not happy with the new policies, you may want to rethink your vote on November 4th.
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Here is another creative example of giving away other people's money:
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REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed. Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.
When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.
I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.
At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.
I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.
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Many thanks to my creative, conservative friends!
Vote for John McCain as if your wallet depended on it...
Charles M. Grist
Sunday, October 12, 2008
There have been a few political leaders around the world whose voices inspired the common people. These silver-tongued devils managed to skip the unpleasant details of how they would run things even as they threw cookies and cake to the foolish masses.
In the end, some of these masterful orators were able to rise to the top politically and they became powerful leaders. Eventually, the gullible masses discovered that such leaders were mostly masters of hocus pocus politics, that magical way of twisting the minds of the little people. By the time the people discover what they have foolishly done, it is too late.
Lenin, Hitler, Castro, Chavez and others have used their ability to hypnotize crowds with their oratory and they have successfully capitalized on tough times and the weak leaders who preceded them.
Tough times are here and we have been betrayed by corporate leaders and politicians who fell prey to greed and corruption. We need to fix our nation, but we need leaders of substance, not leaders of fluff. We need those who are proven “doers”, not those who have accomplished nothing but fancy speeches.
I suggest that we elect John McCain the next President of the United States. He is the ultimate doer and a man of proven integrity, courage and grit. He is the one who can best lead us out of the crisis of confidence in which our nation is mired.
The following article is great:
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Swimming in a fetid pond
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post Published October 12, 2008 at 12:01 a.m.
Convicted felon Tony Rezko. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. And the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is hard to think of any presidential candidate before Barack Obama sporting associations with three more execrable characters. Yet let the McCain campaign raise the issue, and the mainstream media begin fulminating about dirty campaigning tinged with racism and McCarthyite guilt by association.
But associations are important. They provide a significant insight into character. They are particularly relevant in relation to a potential president as new, unknown, opaque and self-contained as Obama. With the economy overshadowing everything, it may be too late politically to be raising this issue. But that does not make it, as conventional wisdom holds, in any way illegitimate.
McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing. He should months ago have begun challenging Obama’s associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate.
McCain had his chance back in April when the North Carolina Republican Party ran a gubernatorial campaign ad that included the linking of Obama with Jeremiah Wright. The ad was duly denounced by The New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist.
This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.
Nonetheless, John McCain in his infinite wisdom, and with his overflowing sense of personal rectitude, joined the braying mob in denouncing that perfectly legitimate ad, saying it had no place in any campaign. In doing so, McCain unilaterally disarmed himself, rendering off-limits Obama’s associations, an issue that even Hillary Clinton addressed more than once.
Obama’s political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber — even a repentant one — he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he “didn’t do enough.” Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright’s angry racism or Ayers’ unreconstructed 1960s radicalism? No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.
First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with — let alone serve on two boards with — an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics? Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.
Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the “old politics” — of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.
Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama’s core beliefs. He doesn’t share Wright’s poisonous views of race nor Ayers’ views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.
Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright’s pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse.
Do you? Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect. There is a difference between temperament and character. Equanimity is a virtue.
Tolerance of the obscene is not.
Charles Krauthammer’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Charles M. Grist
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Barack Obama made a conscious decision to have a political and professional relationship with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers. Ayers was a punk when he was blowing up buildings trying to kill people and the grown-up punk is pictured above stomping on the American flag.
Obama must be confronted with this issue when he debates John McCain for the last time. Unfortunately, the questions selected by the “moderators” of the debates so far do not help resolve the questions about Obama’s left-wing pals.
This article is a good one. Check it out and send it to your friends:
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The Obama-Ayers Connection
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
In the best tradition of Bill Clinton's famous declaration that the answer to the question of whether or not he was having an affair with Monica depended on "what the definition of 'is' is," Barack Obama was clearly splitting hairs and concealing the truth when he said that William Ayers was "just a guy who lives in my neighborhood."
The records of the administration of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge(CAC), released last week by the University of Illinois, show that the Ayers-Obama connection was, in fact, an intimate collaboration and that it led to the only executive or administrative experience in Obama's life.
After Walter Annenberg's foundation offered several hundred million dollars to American public schools in the mid-'90s, William Ayers applied for $50 million for Chicago. The purpose of his application was to secure funds to "raise political consciousness" in Chicago's public schools. After he won the grant, Ayers's group chose Barack Obama to distribute the money. Between 1995 and 1999, Obama distributed the $50 million and raised another $60 million from other civic groups to augment it. In doing so, he was following Ayers's admonition to grant the funds to "external" organizations, like American Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) to pair with schools and conduct programs to radicalize the students and politicize them.
Reading, math and science achievement tests counted for little in the CAC grants, but the school's success in preaching a radical political agenda determined how much money they got.
Barack Obama should have run screaming at the sight of William Ayers and his wife, Bernadette Dohrn. Ayers has admitted bombing the U.S. Capitol building and the Pentagon, and his wife was sent to prison for failing to cooperate in solving the robbery of a Brink's armored car in which two police officers were killed. Far from remorse, Ayers told The New York Times in September 2001 that he "wished he could have done more."
Ayers only avoided conviction when the evidence against him turned out to be contained in illegally obtained wiretaps by the FBI. He was, in fact, guilty as sin.
That Obama should ally himself with Ayers is almost beyond understanding. The former terrorist had not repented of his views and the education grants he got were expressly designed to further them.
So let's sum up Obama's Chicago connections. His chief financial supporter was Tony Rezko, now on his way to federal prison. His spiritual adviser and mentor was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of "God damn America" fame. And the guy who got him his only administrative job and put him in charge of doling out $50 million is William Ayers, a terrorist who was a domestic Osama bin Laden in his youth.
Even apart from the details of the Obama/Ayers connection, two key points emerge:
a) Obama lied and misled the American people in his description of his relationship with Ayers as casual and arm's-length; and
b) Obama was consciously guided by Ayers's radical philosophy, rooted in the teachings of leftist Saul Alinksy, in his distribution of CAC grant funds.
Since Obama is asking us to let him direct education spending by the federal government and wants us to trust his veracity, these are difficulties he will have to explain in order to get the votes to win.
Now that Obama is comfortably ahead in the polls, attention will understandably shift to him. We will want to know what kind of president he would make. The fact that, within the past 10 years, he participated in a radical program of political education conceptualized by an admitted radical terrorist offers no reassurance.
Why did Obama put up with Ayers? Because he got a big job and $50 million of patronage to distribute to his friends and supporters in Chicago. Why did he hang out with Jeremiah Wright? Because he was new in town, having grown up at Columbia and Harvard, and needed all the local introductions he could get to jump-start his political career. Why was he so close to Rezko?
Because he funded Obama's campaigns and helped him buy a house for $300,000 less than he otherwise would have had to pay.
Not a good recommendation for a president.
Copyright (c) 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.
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Barack Obama's left-wing, radical Marxist buddies are surely still advising him from the shadows. This makes Obama the most dangerous man in America right now.
Our fellow citizens must wake up, look at the facts and vote for John McCain. Time is running out...
Charles M. Grist
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Barack Obama and his supporters have done everything possible to conceal information about his college years, including how he managed to come up with such large loans to pay for Harvard.
An interview with one man seemed to indicate that the notorious Khalid Al-Mansour (pictured above) may have helped young Mr. Obama afford his expensive education.
Did Khalid Al-Mansour help pay for Obama’s Harvard education? Watch this video:
The truth may or may not set us free, but Americans who think they want a "President" Obama better wake up pretty soon.
Vote for John McCain - for yourself, for your children, for your job or your business and for your fellow Americans.
Charles M. Grist
Monday, October 6, 2008
The American people must not minimize the associations that helped create the man we know as Barack Obama. From his friendship with a black minister who preaches a black liberation theology rooted in Marxism to his attempt to minimize his political cooperation with 1960's terrorist William Ayers, Barack Obama has not chosen his friends wisely.
I cannot think of a single instance where I could have socialized with an admitted terrorist who tried to kill politicians, police officers, soldiers and ordinary American citizens. The fact that Ayers is not spending the rest of his life in prison is only due to prosecutorial blunders. He does not hide the fact that he did these horrible things. How could Obama "break bread" with such a dispicable character?
For any reasonable person to believe that Obama didn't know the left-wing, anti-white rascist views of Rev. Wright is absurd. How could any normal person allow such a bigoted individual to administer their marriage vows, baptize their children or provide any counsel under any circumstances?
Barack Obama will take America on a road to a far-left socialist world that is not the America of the founding fathers. If you don't believe me, watch the following segments from HANNITY'S AMERICA:
Barack Obama: History of Radicalism
Obama’s College Years
Obama’s Community Organizing Years
Obama's ACORN Association
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If Barack Obama becomes our President, he will open the doors of the White House to some of the most left-wing, bigoted radicals in the country. It is these horrible individuals to whom Obama will turn for advice and counsel.
It is because of such unpleasant realities as these that Barack Obama is quite possibly the most dangerous man in America today.
We cannot permit our beloved nation to embark on such a path. Vote for John McCain for President; our nation and our way of life depend on it.
Charles M. Grist
Sunday, October 5, 2008
It is now official. I have received my retirement orders which are effective on my 60th birthday of February 28, 2009.
By the way, although I have spent my somewhat disjointed post-Vietnam military career as a non-commissioned officer (i.e. sergeant to sergeant first class), my retirement orders are for “First Lieutenant Charles M. Grist II”. I will retire at my old Vietnam platoon leader’s rank. (Twenty-one year old second lieutenant Grist is pictured above in 1970 just before he left for his first war.)
Yeah, I know; if I’d had my stuff together and I’d been a little more “politically correct” and ambitious, I would have retired a general, a colonel or a sergeant major. That’s O.K. I’ve spent my Army years either leading, serving with or training average soldiers like me and I consider that both a blessing and an honor.
I have a little more time to finish all my medical stuff and get my records up-to-date. Then I will begin my terminal leave in early December. My final mobilization as a reservist will end on January 31 and I will return to the police department. After all, there are still a lot of “neighborhood insurgents” who must be dealt with.
Time marches on, but I believe I am still a long way from the finish line. After all, I am a Baby Boomer and, like the rest of my generation, I will continue to seek more of life’s great adventures.
I truly believe that some of my best years lie ahead and that many of my greatest adventures are just over the next hill.
Rangers lead the way!
Charles M. Grist
Saturday, October 4, 2008
The following article discusses the invaluable assistance that American police officers are providing to the new Iraqi police. I am also a cop and I will return to my police department in February. I am extraordinarily proud that my fellow law enforcement officers are willing to enter the world of war to make a difference, just as they are willing to put their lives on the line back here in the States.
I met many of these DynCorp Interternational instructors when I was in Baghdad in 2004 as the training of the Iraqi police was just getting underway. Several DynCorp police contractors have been killed or wounded during their own tours and our thoughts and prayers are with them, their families and their law enforcement communities.
Regardless of what some might say, police officers are warriors too and they put their lives on the line here and overseas. When people are threatened, these brave men and women use skills that range from effective and peaceful communication to the other extreme of deadly force. They stand between us and both foreign and domestic “bad guys” and that makes them members of America's elite warrior class.
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Los Angeles Times
October 4, 2008
U.S. Civilian Cops Offer Expertise To Iraq Police Force
By Doug Smith and Saif Rasheed, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
RAMADI, IRAQ — Like most days in the field for Atlanta cop Brian Acree, this one was shaping up as a polite but determined competition between the Army way, the Iraqi way and the Georgia way.
Acree, a towering, slow-walking, shaved-headed police investigator, was crammed into an 8-by-10 office with three U.S. soldiers, three Iraqi policemen and an interpreter. As the air conditioner weakly rumbled in the background, U.S. Army Sgt. Chai Kim lectured his Iraqi counterpart on the proper role of a logistics officer.
"They keep the numbers on the vehicles. They don't fix them," Kim said through the interpreter. "How many trucks? Who took it out? How many miles? What purpose?" Iraqi police 1st Lt. Mushtaq Talib answered dourly.
"The motor pool, they have a guy for that," he said.
"That is going to change," Kim replied. "Being a logistics officer is about money management."
Acree stayed silent. But later, he let Mushtaq know that he thought Kim might have been a little inflexible.
"You know how to get your job done and I know you know," he had the interpreter tell the young Iraqi officer.
A key assignment
Acree, on leave from his post with the Georgia state police, is in the capital of Anbar province as a civilian consultant to the Ramadi Police Department. Eighteen months after the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq was run out of town, his job is to help rebuild a key institution in the western province.
Acree is one of about 800 civilian police officers working under a military contract with DynCorp International. Unlike the thousands of civilian contractors who have come to Iraq to supplement the military, Acree and his colleagues don't provide security services. They're here to impart their experience in urban police work to a young and inadequately trained and equipped force.
The consultants, whose pay starts at $134,000 a year, are assigned to U.S. military police units and travel in convoys of Humvees. Acree and two other DynCorp contractors bunk with a company of Marines in an abandoned warehouse on Ramadi's eastern outskirts.
The cops weren't authorized by DynCorp to give interviews, but the military police unit allowed The Times to come along for two days to observe the training program. The unit has been teaching neophyte Iraqi policemen, known as shortas, basic skills such as arrest procedures, traffic control and field communications. DynCorp runs formal classes on specialized subjects such as detective technique at the main military base, Camp Ramadi.
Acree and his roommates also make the rounds of the city's police stations to work with more senior officers, trying to improve procurement practices, discipline and accountability.
Like many of his colleagues, Acree, 37, is older than the MPs he works with and sometimes has more tolerance for the tradition-bound style of the Iraqi police, even as he pushes them toward a Western model.
Acree, who arrived in Ramadi in March, has made a commitment to stay in Iraq a year and expects to sign up for a second year. Because U.S. military units often deploy for less than a year, Acree was working with the Ramadi police before the arrival of the 914th Military Police, the unit he stays with, and will remain after it's gone. That, combined with his languid Southern style, gives him a longer-range view of his mission.
At times, a deep tolerance for frustration is Acree's most useful skill.
One morning, he and the MP unit commander, Staff Sgt. Jeff Klein, were dumbfounded by the timing of a request from the commander of the Adala station on the southern edge of Ramadi. The previous week, a worker using an earthmover had discovered 11 bodies in a shallow grave. An Iraqi lieutenant colonel asked Klein to send a forensic team to the scene.
Incredulous, Acree said it was far too late.
"Next time he finds a crime scene, if he needs our help, he needs to call us immediately," Acree told the interpreter.
Later, Acree told the Iraqi officer he was alarmed when he saw two mopeds enter the station without being searched.
"Ask him who searches people at the police station," Acree said. "There needs to be one on the ground and one in the tower. The guy in the tower may know the guy in the moped. But how well does he know him? He needs to at least stop him and look in the moped."
Then, catching himself, Acree acknowledged the limitation of his authority.
"Tell him I'm not demanding, just asking," he said.
Later in the day, Acree adopted a more understanding tone when he teamed with Kim to counsel Mushtaq, the young logistics officer he obviously respected and liked. After Kim grilled Mushtaq about his job duties, Acree moved on to what he considered a more serious problem: the station's armory. AK-47 assault rifles were stored in a room at the end of a hallwhere detainees were lined up each day to wait their turn in the bathroom.
Worse, the ammunition was stored in the same room, and the shorta assigned to guard it was unarmed.
"Why do you have shortas in charge of the armory when he doesn't have a gun?" Acree asked. "I think he needs to have a Glock on his side."
"You have to be an officer to have a sidearm," Mushtaq told Kim.
Kim then instructed Mushtaq to assign his pistol to the guard each day, a prospect that put a sour look on Mushtaq's face. Noticing that Mushtaq didn't even have a holster for his gun and stowed it in his desk drawer, Acree found a way to defuse the tension.
"Ask him if he has a holster for his gun," he told the interpreter. Mushtaq shook his head.
"Tell him tomorrow I'm going to give him a holster that's mine," he said. A brightened Mushtaq then led them to the other side of the station, where the departing Marine unit had lived. It was going to be the new armory, he said. Seeing a look on Mushtaq's face that seemed to crave approval, he told the interpreter: "Tell him if I didn't like him I wouldn't be here with him."
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I am proud to be a soldier as well as a police officer and it is an honor to serve as a member of America’s warrior class.
Charles M. Grist
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The following article from Stratfor brings us up-to-date on the status of Al Qaeda. This company has a great track record in forecasting and analyzing international military and political issues:
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AL QAEDA AND THE TALE OF TWO BATTLESPACES
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
Over the last year or so, a lot of debate has arisen over the physical strength of al Qaeda. Some experts and government officials believe that the al Qaeda organization is now stronger than at any time since the 9/11 attacks, while others believe the core organization has lost much of its leadership and operational capability over the past seven years. The wide disparity between these two assessments may appear somewhat confusing, but a significant amount of the difference between the two can be found in the fundamental way in which al Qaeda is defined as an entity.
Many analysts supportive of the view that al Qaeda has strengthened tend to lump the entire jihadist world into one monolithic, hierarchical organization. Others, like Stratfor, who claim al Qaeda's abilities have been degraded over the years, define the group as a small vanguard organization and only one piece of the larger jihadist pie. From Stratfor's point of view, al Qaeda has evolved into three different -- and distinct -- entities. These different faces of al Qaeda include:
The core vanguard group: Often referred to by Stratfor as the al Qaeda core, al Qaeda prime or the al Qaeda apex leadership, this group is composed of Osama bin Laden and his close trusted associates. These are highly skilled, professional practitioners of propaganda, militant training and terrorism operations. This is the group behind the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qaeda franchises: These include such groups as al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Although professing allegiance to bin Laden, they are independent militant groups that remain separate from the core and, as we saw in the 2005 letter from al Qaeda core leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, there can be a great deal of tension and disagreement between them and the al Qaeda core. These regional franchises vary in size, level of professionalism and operational capability.
The broader grassroots jihadist movement: This group includes individuals and small cells inspired by al Qaeda but who, in most cases, have no contact with the core leadership.
Stratfor's Current Assessment of al Qaeda
We believe, as we did last summer, that the core al Qaeda group has weakened and no longer poses the strategic threat to the U.S. homeland that it did prior to 9/11. However, this does not mean it is incapable of re-emerging under less pressured circumstances.
On the franchise level, some groups -- such as AQIM, the Yemen franchises and the franchises in Pakistan and Afghanistan -- have gained momentum over the past few years. Others -- such as those in Iraq, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the Sinai Peninsula and Morocco -- have lost steam. In our estimation, this ebb and flow has resulted in a constant threat on the franchise level, though the severity has migrated geographically as groups wax and wane in specific regions. The franchises have done little to expand their operations outside of their regions of interest and to conduct attacks against the "far enemy" -- that is, attacks in the United States or Europe.
At the grassroots level, homegrown jihadists have posed a fairly consistent, though lower-level, threat. In the past, we have said that these jihadists think globally, but act locally. While there are far more grassroots jihadists than there are militants in the al Qaeda franchises and vastly more than in the small al Qaeda core, the grassroots jihadists tend to be highly motivated, but poorly equipped to conduct sophisticated terror attacks.
Beyond the Physical Battlefield
We believe that any realistic analysis of al Qaeda's strength must assess more than a basic head count of militants willing and able to conduct attacks. As we have noted previously, there are two battlespaces in the war against jihadism: the physical and the ideological. Although the campaign against al Qaeda has caused the core group to become essentially marginalized in the physical battlespace, the core has undertaken great effort to remain engaged in the ideological battlespace.
In many ways, the ideological battlespace is more important than the physical battlespace in the war against jihadism, and in the jihadists' war against the rest of the world. It is far easier to kill people than it is to kill ideologies. We have recently seen this in the resurgence of Bolivarian Revolution ideology in South America, despite the fact that Simon Bolivar, Karl Marx and Ernesto "Che" Guevara are long dead and buried. Ideology is the decisive factor that allows jihadists to recruit new fighters and gather funding for militant and propaganda operations. As long as the jihadists can recruit new militants, they can compensate for the losses they suffer on the physical battlefield. When they lose that ability, their struggle dies on the vine. Because of this, al Qaeda fears fatwas more than weapons. Weapons can kill people -- but fatwas can kill the ideology that motivates people to fight and finance.
We are not the only ones who believe the ideological battlespace is critical. A video released earlier this month by al Qaeda mouthpiece As-Sahab entitled "The Word is the Word of Swords," one of al Qaeda's leading religious authorities, Abu Yahya al-Libi emphasized this point from within the network.
In the video, al-Libi said the jihadist battle "is not waged solely at the military and economic level, but is waged first and foremost at the level of doctrine." He also said that his followers are in a war against an enemy that "targets all strongholds of Islam and invades the minds and ideas in the same way it invades lands and dares to destroy beliefs and meddle with the sacred things in the same way it dares to spill blood."
Interestingly, although the video recording is dedicated to detailing the preparations for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, the bulk of the 64-minute video addresses the ideological war against al Qaeda and how "true Islam" has been undermined by leaders such as King Abdullah and the Saudi religious establishment.
In an ironic twist, the progress of the combatants is easier to assess in the ideological rather than physical battlespace -- largely because most militants plotting terror attacks attempt to stay invisible until they launch their operations, while the ideological battle is for the most part conducted in plain sight.
One such visible indication on the ideological battlefield was a book written by al Qaeda's number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, which was released in March. The book -- known as "The Exoneration" -- is a long response to a book written by Sayyed Imam al-Sharif. Also known as Dr. Fadl, al-Sharif is an imprisoned Egyptian radical and a founder (with al-Zawahiri) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
Published in 2007, al-Sharif's book, "Rationalizing Jihadist Action in Egypt and the World," provides theological arguments that counter many of the core jihadist teachings. Included among those teachings is the concept of takfir, or the practice of declaring a Muslim to be an unbeliever in order to justify an attack against him. Al-Sharif also spoke out against killing non-Muslims in Muslim countries and attacking members of other Muslim sects.
Al-Sharif was a significant player in the development of the jihadist theology that shaped the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and eventually, through al-Zawahiri and other EIJ members who became influential members of al Qaeda, al-Sharif's concepts became instrumental in shaping the ideology of jihadism as promulgated by al Qaeda. One of his books, "The Essentials of Making Ready for Jihad," was reportedly required reading for all new jihadist recruits at al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The renunciation of jihadist ideology by such a pivotal figure was a significant threat -- one serious enough to spur al-Zawahiri's refutation.
The Saudi ulema or Muslim scholars and former jihadist ideologues are not the only people assailing the ideology of jihadism. Of course, Western figures, such as Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders have been highly critical of jihadism. But these outsiders have little ability to sway Muslim opinion on the street -- a critical objective in fighting the ideological battle. In recent years, however, we have seen more Muslim figures speak out against jihadism, which they believe is a perversion of Islam. However, criticism is not without danger. Figures such as Egyptian political analyst Diaa Rashwan have been threatened with death because of their criticism of al Qaeda and jihadist ideology.
In addition to the previously discussed video, As-Sahab has released two other lengthy videos this month. The first, to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary, was called "The Harvest of Seven Years of Crusades." The second, called "True Imam," was released Sept. 29. Essentially, it was a tirade against the government of Pakistan and a tribute to Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the July 2007 storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad by the Pakistani military.
Sometimes, things that emerge in the ideological battlespace can provide indications of important developments in the physical battlespace.
For example, one of the As-Sahab videos featured clips of Mustafa abu al-Yazid (aka Sheikh Said al-Masri). An Egyptian al Qaeda military commander, al-Yazid had reportedly been killed in an Aug. 8 operation in Bajaur. But since al-Yazid makes reference in the video to the Aug. 18 resignation of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, he obviously was not killed 10 days earlier.
Two others noticeably absent from these three videos were Osama bin Laden and Adam Gadahn. Bin Laden, who has not been heard from since a May 18 audio message, is once again rumored to be dead. Gadahn may also be dead, according to rumors that he was killed in a January airstrike in Pakistan's North Waziristan agency in which senior al Qaeda military commander Abu Laith al-Libi was killed. Gadahn, who has appeared in several al Qaeda video messages since emerging on the scene in 2004, has been conspicuously absent from the organization's propaganda since the January strike.
Typically, al Qaeda has been fairly forthcoming in "declaring the martyrdom" of fallen commanders like al-Libi. The death of a central figure such as bin Laden, however, could be seen as severely detrimental to the jihadist world's morale. Therefore, the group could be motivated to conceal his death. If bin Laden is still alive, however, we anticipate a message from him by the U.S. presidential elections Nov. 4, given his appearance before the 2004 presidential elections.
It would be somewhat out of character, however, for al Qaeda to avoid publicizing the death of a lesser figure such as Gadahn. With all the rumors circulating about jihadists seeking to use European-looking operatives in attacks against the West, one wonders if the silence regarding the American-born jihadist's fate is designed to keep U.S. authorities in suspense -- or if it is a real indication that Gadahn is alive and has left his post in the ideological battlespace in order to go operational on the physical battlefield.
Of course, the fate of these individuals, even a central figure such as bin Laden, is not nearly as important as the fate of the ideology. And we will continue to focus on the ideological battlefield for significant developments there.
One place that needs to be watched carefully is Pakistan, where events like the Red Mosque operation and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto have potentially sown the seeds for a ripe ideological harvest for both sides. It will be important to watch and see if the Marriott bombing will, as some claimed, prove to be a watershed event that marks a change in public opinion capable of rallying popular support against the jihadist ideology in Pakistan.
This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with
attribution to www.stratfor.com.
Copyright 2008 Stratfor.
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Check out the Stratfor website – good stuff..
Charles M. Grist
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Received this from a well-read historian:
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ACORN, Obama, and the Mortgage Mess
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The financial markets were teetering on the edge of an abyss last week. The secretary of the Treasury was literally on his knees begging the speaker of the House not to sabotage the bailout bill. The crash of falling banks made the earth tremble. The Republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign to deal with the crisis. And amid all this, the Democrats in Congress managed to find time to slip language into the bailout legislation that would provide a dandy little slush fund for ACORN.
ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a busy hive of left-wing agitation and "direct action" that claims chapters in 50 cities and 100,000 dues-paying members. ACORN is where Sixties leftovers who couldn't get tenure at universities wound up. That the bill-writing Democrats remembered their pet clients during such an emergency speaks volumes. This attempted gift to ACORN (stripped out of the bill after outraged howls from Republicans) demonstrates how little Democrats understand about what caused the mess we're in.
ACORN does many things under the umbrella of "community organizing." They agitate for higher minimum wages, attempt to thwart school reform, try to unionize welfare workers (that is, those welfare recipients who are obliged to work in exchange for benefits) and organize voter registration efforts (always for Democrats, of course). Because they are on the side of righteousness and justice, they aren't especially fastidious about their methods. In 2006, for example, ACORN registered 1,800 new voters in Washington. The only trouble was, with the exception of six, all of the names submitted were fake. The secretary of state called it the "worst case of election fraud in our state's history." As Fox News reported:
"The ACORN workers told state investigators that they went to the Seattle public library, sat at a table and filled out the voter registration forms. They made up names, addresses, and Social Security numbers and in some cases plucked names from the phone book. One worker said it was a lot of hard work making up all those names and another said he would sit at home, smoke marijuana and fill out the forms."
ACORN explained that this was an "isolated" incident, yet similar stories have been reported in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado -- all swing states, by the way. ACORN members have been prosecuted for voter fraud in a number of states. (See www.rottenacorn.com.) Their philosophy seems to be that everyone deserves the right to vote, whether legal or illegal, living or dead.
ACORN recognized very early the opportunity presented by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. As Stanley Kurtz has reported, ACORN proudly touted "affirmative action" lending and pressured banks to make subprime loans. Madeline Talbott, a Chicago ACORN leader, boasted of "dragging banks kicking and screaming" into dubious loans. And, as Sol Stern reported in City Journal, ACORN also found a remunerative niche as an "advisor" to banks seeking regulatory approval. "Thus we have J.P. Morgan & Co., the legatee of the man who once symbolized for many all that was supposedly evil about American capitalism, suddenly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to ACORN." Is this a great country or what? As conservative community activist Robert Woodson put it, "The same corporations that pay ransom to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton pay ransom to ACORN."
ACORN attracted Barack Obama in his youthful community organizing days. Madeline Talbott hired him to train her staff -- the very people who would later descend on Chicago's banks as CRA shakedown artists. The Democratic nominee later funneled money to the group through the Woods Fund, on whose board he sat, and through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, ditto. Obama was not just sympathetic -- he was an ACORN fellow traveler.
Now you could make the case that before 2008, well-intentioned peoplewere simply unaware of what their agitation on behalf of non-credit-worthy borrowers could lead to. But now? With the whole financial world and possibly the world economy trembling and cracking like a cement building in an earthquake, Democrats continue to try to fund their friends at ACORN? And, unashamed, they then trot out to the TV cameras to declare "the party is over" for Wall Street (Nancy Pelosi)? The party should be over for the Democrats who brought us to this pass. If Obama wins, it means hiring an arsonist to fight a fire.
Copyright (c) 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.
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“Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country”.
In other words, vote for John McCain as if your life depended on it…
Charles M. Grist