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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ronald Reagan - A Time for Choosing

This speech is a verbatim transcript of "The Speech" given as a portion of a pre-recorded, nationwide televised program sponsored by Goldwater-Miller on behalf of Barry Goldwater, Republican candidate for the presidency whom Ronald Reagan actively supported.
4,626 words

Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us that they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer--not an easy answer--but simple.

If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based upon what we know in our hearts is morally right. We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion now in slavery behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skin, we are willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Let's set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace--and you can have it in the next second--surrender.

Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face--that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand--the ultimatum. And what then? When Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he has heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he would rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin--just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well, it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits--not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Thank you very much.

Commanding Heights Part 2 The Agony of Reform

Commanding Heights Part Two: The Agony of Reform "As the 1980s begin and the Cold War grinds on, the existing world order appears firmly in place. Yet beneath the surface powerful currents are carving away at the economic foundations. Western democracies still struggle with deficits and inflation, while communism hides the failure of its command economy behind a facade of military might. In Latin America populist dictators strive to thwart foreign economic exploitation, piling up debt and igniting hyperinflation in the process. In India and Africa bureaucracies established to end poverty through scientific planning spawn black markets and corruption and stifle enterprise. Worldwide, the strategies of government planning are failing to produce their intended results. From Bolivia and Peru to Poland and Russia, the free-market policies of Thatcher and Reagan are looked to as a possible blueprint for escape. One by one, economies in crisis adopt "shock therapy" -- a rapid conversion to free-market capitalism. As the command economies totter and collapse, privatization transfers economic power back into entrepreneurial hands, and whole societies go through wrenching change. For some the demands and opportunities of the market provide a longed for liberation. Others, lacking the means to adapt, see their security and livelihood swept away. In this new capitalist revolution enlightened enterprise and cynical exploitation thrive alike. The sum total of global wealth expands, but its unequal distribution increases, too, and economic regeneration exacts a high human price.

Commanding Heights - Part 1 - The Battle for the World Economy

The Commanding Heights Part One: The Battle of Ideas "A global economy, energized by technological change and unprecedented flows of people and money, collapses in the wake of a terrorist attack ....
The year is 1914. Worldwide war results, exhausting the resources of the great powers and convincing many that the economic system itself is to blame. From the ashes of the catastrophe, an intellectual and political struggle ignites between the powers of government and the forces of the marketplace, each determined to reinvent the world's economic order. Two individuals emerge whose ideas, shaped by very different experiences, will inform this debate and carry it forward. One is a brilliant, unconventional Englishman named John Maynard Keynes. The other is an outspoken émigré from ravaged Austria, Friedrich von Hayek. But a worldwide depression holds the capitalist nations in its grip. In opposition to both Keynes and Hayek stand not only Hitler's Third Reich but Stalin's Soviet Union, schooled in the communist ideologies of Marx and Lenin and bent on obliterating the capitalist system altogether. For more than half a century the battle of ideas will rage. From the totalitarian socialist systems to the fascist states, from the independent nations of the developing world to the mixed economies of Europe and the regulated capitalism of the United States, government planning will gradually take over the commanding heights. But in the 1970s, with Keynesian theory at its height and communism fully entrenched, economic stagnation sets in on all sides. When a British grocer's daughter and a former Hollywood actor become heads of state, they join forces around the ideas of Hayek, and new political and economic policies begin to transform the world. "

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Bill of Rights

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Top 10 Economic Myths of 2011

This year the media's myth were wide-ranging: from conspiracy theories about economic sabotage, to overpopulation panic and Occupy Wall Street's mantra 'We are the 99 percent.'

By Julia A. Seymour
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 4:56 PM EST


Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths.

Here is our 2011 list:

10. Congress took a "machete" to the budget in August.
9. In order to win, the GOP wants to sabotage the economy.
8. Who cares about a Soros' sponsored effort to remake global economy?
7. With 7 billion on the planet, it's time to panic.
6. Apocalypse Al is a "genius," and climate change is a real threat.
5. The jobs are right around the corner.
4. Occupy Wall Street is the new Tea Party.
3. Green jobs are the future.
2. $52 million from Soros doesn't mean we're biased.
1. "We are the 99 percent."

10. Congress took a "machete" to the budget in August.
Media Myth: Spending cuts actually cut spending.

One of the most illusory things in Washington, D.C. is a spending cut. After all, once taxpayer money is being doled out it can be very difficult to stop the flow.

So in August 2011, when the news media reported on the debt ceiling talks they anticipated major cuts to the federal budget, but ordinary taxpayers weren't given the whole picture. ABC's Diane Sawyer spoke of "expected" "machete" cuts and NBC's Ann Curry worried those cuts would hurt the economy.

Media outlets called the cuts "sharp" and "severe," but rarely admitted that federal spending will keep on growing. BMI looked at the transcripts for 43 stories, interviews and news briefs about the debt ceiling deal on morning and evening news programs and found that only 2 admitted the debt will rise anyway. That means 95 percent of stories ignored the fact that the federal debt would still rise by $12 trillion (from $14.29 trillion to $28.8 trillion).

As Cato's Chris Edwards explained, "The 'cuts' in the deal are only cuts from the CBO 'baseline,' which is a Washington construct of ever-rising spending. And even these 'cuts' from the baseline include $165 billion of interest savings, which are imaginary because the underlying cuts are imaginary."

So next time the news media claim Washington is cutting spending, remember that real spending cuts by the government are nearly as fantastical as finding a leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

9. In order to win, the GOP wants to sabotage the economy.
Media Myth: "Republicans want the cconomy to get worse"

Economics editor Dan Gross of Yahoo! Finance made a bold assertion in June 2011 that every Republican running for the White House, if they were "being honest" would want the economy to be worse off in 2012.

But Gross, who used to write a financial column for the left-wing Slate.com, took the accusation even further saying: "[I]t stands to reason that if you have the ability to have a role in policy that you would engineer policy to get that outcome. That's what political parties do …"

He cited conservatives who were opposed to TARP and the stimulus, labeling them "a element" "that just wants to blow stuff up." Apparently in Gross' mind, a philosophical belief that bailouts and government spending do not improve the economy was illegitimate.

The insulting charge from Gross was reminiscent of the economic conspiracy theories entertained by the news media in 2006 and 2008. CNN's Jack Cafferty cynically wondered in 2006 if oil companies were lowering gas prices to help the GOP. Left-wing radio host Ed Shultz said essentially the same thing two years later, predicting that "Gasoline's gonna be a buck-47 ($1.47) when Bush gets out of office. This has just been all so pre-arranged."

If the economy remains in trouble, this myth is likely to become even more widespread during the 2012 election cycle.

8. Who cares about a Soros' sponsored efforts to remake global economy?
Media Myth: Soros meeting to rearrange "the entire financial order" is unimportant.

If the volume of news coverage an event earns reveals its significance, then the Bretton Woods conference on April 8 was no more important than a spelling bee.

The media obviously considered it trifling since they did almost no reporting on the left-wing billionaire's conference of cronies, despite the fact that Soros said in 2009 he wanted "a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order."

Soros has also said that "the main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat." The Bretton Woods conference made it clear he had been pursuing that goal. The global gathering got almost no press attention, despite at least four journalists on the speakers list. But at the conference, Soros set in motion a major move against the dollar. The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 1, 2011, that Soros now thinks the world financial system is "on the brink of collapse." Soros said the system is in a "self-reinforcing process of disintegration."

The April conference was orchestrated by Soros who founded the New York City-based Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) (the group that hosted the conference). Many of the attendees were supporters of Soros, on the board of INET, grantees of INET or contributors to some other Soros-funded operation like Project Syndicate.

7. With 7 billion on the planet, it's time to panic.
Media Myth: In 2011, Earth's population crossed the 7 billion mark and that was reason to freak out.

The media have embraced overpopulation myths for years, fitting in nicely with climate alarmism and left-wing environmentalism. So it was no surprise that in 2011, when the world population neared the 7 billion milestone, the media began repeating those concerns again.

The Washington Post cautioned that "ecological distortions are becoming more pronounced and widespread." The fear-mongering of radical environmentalists like Paul Watson, James Lovelock and Paul Ehrlich has been echoed by willing partners in the mainstream media. Ehrlich famously predicted England would not exist in 2000.

(As of 2011, England still exists.) But as recently as 2010, the New York Times quoted Ehrlich as a "population expert." And the Los Angeles Times favorably interviewed Ehrlich in February 2011.

Overpopulation fears resurfaced in 2011. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman titled his July 7 column "The Earth is Full." The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board titled a May 15 op-ed "Defusing the Population Bomb." The Los Angeles Times also published a July 21 op-ed coauthored by Mary Ellen Harte and Anne Ehrlich (wife of Paul Ehrlich), which argued that "Perpetual [human population] growth is the creed of a cancer cell, not a sustainable human society."

Many predictions about overpopulation simply haven't happened, because mankind finds ways to adapt and innovate. Colin Mason, director of media for the Population Research Institute, told BMI that fears of overpopulation are unfounded because: "Historically, as human population has grown and developed technology, the manner in which we use resources has changed. For instance, as human population has grown, we have needed to produce enough food to feed our burgeoning numbers. But as our civilizations have developed, we have also developed ways of increasing crop yield, and of growing crops on previously infertile land."

As Mason explained, a declining population (as is happening in many countries) will actually result in many negative economic and social consequences. For example, entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare depend upon having enough workers to pay into the system, but if too few children are born to replace retirees, the programs collapse.

6. Apocalypse Al is a "genius," and climate change is a real threat.
Media Myth: Almost-president Al said the climate change "debate's over" so it must be true.

As Al Gore's error-filled propaganda film turned 5 in May 2011, BMI looked back at broadcast news coverage of "movie star" Gore about climate change as well as mentions of "An Inconvenient Truth" throughout that time. They found that nearly 98 percent of those stories failed to challenge the supposedly scientific claims of the movie, including its dramatic predictions of sea level rise and links between climate change and extreme weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and droughts.

Many of those claims have been challenged, but scientific criticism was rarely included by ABC, CBS or NBC. There was also little opposition to the "environmental evangelist" found in the reports; more than 80 percent excluded any criticism of Gore or his film.

Rather than examining some of the dubious claims of the former vice president's movie, all three networks used it to push him to run for president (again) or accept some position within the Obama administration. In one CBS "Early Show" interview, Harry Smith literally tried to pin a "Gore '08" campaign button on him.

In one of Gore's morning show interviews promoting his film in 2006, NBC's Katie Couric mentioned that there were people on the other side of the debate. But once Gore replied, "There's really not a debate. The debate's over," and blamed oil and coal companies for "pretending there is a debate," Couric fell in line as if she'd been hypnotized. Shortly thereafter Couric declared, "Where there is disagreement among scientists is not IF, but WHEN we may see drastic environmental changes across the globe. Al Gore says the clock is ticking."

Yet, Christopher Booker, a journalist and commentator with The Telegraph (UK), quoted sea level scientist Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner calling Gore's predicted 20-foot sea level rise "the greatest lie ever told." Mörner is the former chairman of the International Commission on Sea Level Change and studied sea levels across the globe for 35 years. He said "the sea is not rising" and that any rise this century would "not be more than 10 cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10 cm."

5. The jobs are right around the corner.
Media Myth: Obama is creating jobs and more are on the way.

Yes, Virginia. There is a jobs crisis. No matter which way you spin 8.6 percent unemployment there is a jobs crisis underway in the U.S, but that hasn't stopped the news media from trying to downplay the unemployment rate or look for good news in the bad. Look around many communities and you'll find businesses that have had to shut down and people struggling to find work.

President Obama's record on jobs is that his promises have fallen flat. His economic policies were supposed to create 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. The results have been dismal with a net loss of 1,623,00 jobs lost since Feb. 2009. But the news media have continued to look for "silver linings" and "bright spots," only to be disappointed by "unexpected" jobs data.

CBS "Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley spoke of "a little bit of good news on jobs" Sept. 7, 2011. He optimistically reported that there were 3.2 million job openings posted in July. "That's the most in nearly three years," Pelley said without noting the huge shortfall between available jobs and the roughly 14 million who were unemployed in August or the loss of more than 4 million jobs between Feb. 2009 and Sept. 2010.

As of November 2011, the broader measure of unemploymrnt was a very high 15.6 percent and the labor force participation rate had fallen to 64 percent. That was a "red flag," according to James Pethokoukis who wrote for The Enterprise Blog "in a strong jobs recovery that number should be rising as more people look for work."

4. Occupy Wall Street is the New Tea Party.
Media Myth: "Occupy Wall Street: A Tea Party for the Left?"

Beginning in September, protesters took over a private park in New York City to demand free education, bailouts for main street instead of Wall Street and to condemn the rich. It didn't take long for some in the media and the public to try to draw a comparison between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

Time magazine asked, "Occupy Wall Street: A Tea Party for the Left?"

In reality, the two couldn't be more different. The Tea Party protesters were peaceful, promoted small government and worked to elect candidates with their values, all while the media did its best to portray them as "terrorists" and "racists." On the other hand, OWS lacked a unified message - but the protesters' big government, anti-free market and at times anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiments have been on display. The volume and tone of news coverage was also dramatically different.

Violence (including rape and sexual assault), crime and disrespect of authority has also been evident at many of the OWS rallies. The twitter feed @OccupyArrests claimed 5,248 arrests as of the morning of Dec. 7. According to The New York Times, OWS troublemakers are merely a fringe minority of the protesters. Yet, the Tea Party was '"responsible for the behavior of people" at its rallies. The broadcast networks chose to ignore violence at the "peaceful" rallies such as Occupy L.A.

3. Green jobs are the future.
Media Myth: Alternative energy will be the "road map" to a better future for the planet and workers.

For years the mainstream news media have been promoting green jobs, even encouraging government to subsidize them. Obama promised to create 5 million of them through tax credits and other government subsidies. But in 2011, bankruptcies of green companies, failures of green programs and then a huge scandal at Solyndra (a solar company) came to light (thanks to an ABC News investigation) and should have shifted the news coverage.

Shortly before that scandal broke, BMI looked at coverage of green jobs by the three broadcast network news. They found that 49 stories out of 53 (92 percent) had no criticism in their green jobs stories from Jan. 17, 2009 to Aug. 17, 2011.

Not one of the three networks reported during that time that United Solar Ovonic (Uni-Solar) plants in Michigan were "running at a fraction of their full capacity and employment is well below projections," despite $37 million in tax incentives. Uni-Solar had been touted by NBC "Nightly News" in 2009 for having 380 jobs and "500 more coming."

NBC's Anne Thompson had praised such green efforts by the Obama administration saying, "New industries [are] providing a green road map to give workers and the planet a better, more secure future." Uni-Solar wasn't the only company not to meet expectations. Fisher Coachworks, Green Vehicles, Evergreen Solar inc. and Solyndra all went bankrupt. Seattle found that their city's green jobs program was a "bust."

Once ABC exposed the failure of Solyndra, all the networks had to cover the scandal, since the company declared bankruptcy after getting a $535 million loan guarantee from the government in 2009. All three networks mentioned it, and even acknowledged it was an "embarrassment" for the White House. But none of the reports BMI analyzed at that time explicitly used Solyndra's failure to argue that green "investment" programs were flawed.

But the amount of coverage of Solyndra, a solar energy firm connected to the Obama administration, paled in comparison to Enron, an energy company with Republican ties. The Media Research center found a 24-to-1 disparity in the volume of scandal coverage of Enron vs. Solyndra.

2. Millions from Soros doesn't mean we're biased.
Media Myth: George Soros is just another left-wing philanthropist.

Billionaire George Soros is arguably the most influential liberal financier in the United States, donating more than $8 billion just to his Open Society Foundations. In 2004, he spent more than $27 million to defeat President George W. Bush and has given away millions more since to promote the left-wing agenda. But what has gone almost unnoticed is Soros' extensive influence on and involvement with the media.

Since 2003, Soros has donated more than $52 million to all kinds of media outlets - liberal news organizations, investigative reporting and even smaller blogs. He has also been involved in funding the infrastructure of supposedly "neutral" news, from education to even the industry ombudsman association. Many other operations Soros supports also have a media component to what they do.

All that money has created a liberal "echo chamber," that in the words of one group he backs, "in which a message pushes the larger public or the mainstream media to acknowledge, respond, and give airtime to progressive ideas because it is repeated many times."

Of course Soros has denied his influence, blaming Fox News: "Another trick is to accuse your opponent of the behavior of which you are guilty, like Fox News accusing me of being the puppet master of a media empire." But as BMI exposed in multiple reports, Soros' dollars reach far and wide into the media industry.

That echo chamber is often used to further Soros' view, including his view that the "capitalist threat" is a bigger problem than communism these days. He has also stated that he wants to see the global financial order rearranged.


1. "We are the 99."
Media Myth: Occupy Wall Street claims to be the "99 percent," pushes class warfare rhetoric that captures attention and favorable coverage from media.

When the Occupy Wall Street movement launched in September, it quickly garnered positive media coverage as the "protest of this current era." One of the few coherent and common messages of the movement was "We are the 99 percent."

That intentional separation from the 1 percent of the rich they were protesting was the basis of the class warfare fight the OWS crowd wanted. Hollywood celebrities from Mark Ruffalo to Michael Moore who are likely part of the 1 percent sang the praises of the OWS movement while touring Zuccotti Park. Ironically, most of those protesters are in the top 1 percent of earners if you compare the entire world (instead of the just the U.S.).

But the extreme anti-capitalists, anarchists, communists and socialists protesting in NYC and other cities across the country did not speak for 99 percent of people. In fact according to the Seattle P-I, as of Nov. 13, only 33 percent of people supported OWS based on a poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling firm. This despite overwhelmingly positive media coverage.

The media's promotion of OWS did not come as a surprise because it was the natural outcome of the mainstream media's reporting on wealth and inequality and the liberal economists they interview. The phrase "We are the 99 percent" shouted by protesters in Zuccotti Park and Occupy Wall Street encampments may be new, but the class warfare foundation for it has "roots in a decade's worth of reporting," The New York Times admitted in a front page homage to OWS on Dec. 1. It was an entire article by Brian Stelter on the influence of "99 Percent" in the "lexicon."

A month before the protests began, PBS NewsHour wanted to find out if "the growing gap between rich and poor contributed to the 2008 financial collapse." With four economists on the same side, the story was heavily weighted to argue yes. Similar arguments were made by Soros-funded (and Soros friend) liberal economist Joseph E. Stiglitz in Vanity Fair in May 2011.

Muslim comics and documentary pushing Muslim Brotherhood-invented concept of "Islamophobia"

by Jihad Watch

No comedy show, no matter how clever or winning, is going to eradicate the suspicion that many Americans have of Muslims. This is because Americans are concerned about Islam not because of the work of greasy Islamophobes, but because of Naser Abdo, the would-be second Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; and Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas; and Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; and Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; and Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; and Naveed Haq, the jihad mass murderer at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle; and Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, who hatched a jihad plot to blow up a Manhattan synagogue; and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and many others like them who have plotted and/or committed mass murder in the name of Islam and motivated by its texts and teachings -- all in the U.S. in the last couple of years.
The fact that there are other Muslims not fighting jihad is just great, but it doesn't mean that the jihad isn't happening. This comedy show simply doesn't address the problem of jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism.
As David Horowitz and I show in our pamphlet Islamophobia: Thoughtcrime of the Totalitarian Future, the term "Islamophobia" is a politically manipulative coinage designed to intimidate critics of Islamic supremacism and jihad into silence.
Claire Berlinski explains how Islamic supremacists from the Muslim Brotherhood devised it for precisely that purpose:
Now here's a point you might deeply consider: The neologism "Islamophobia" did not simply emerge ex nihilo. It was invented, deliberately, by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the International Institute for Islamic Thought, which is based in Northern Virginia. If that name dimly rings a bell, it should: I've mentioned it before, and it's particularly important because it was co-founded by Anwar Ibrahim--the hero of Moderate Islam who is now trotting around the globe comparing his plight to that of Aung San Suu Kyi.Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former member of the IIIT who has renounced the group in disgust, was an eyewitness to the creation of the word. "This loathsome term," he writes,
is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.
And in fact, FBI statistics show that there is no "Islamophobia." In fact, many "anti-Muslim hate crimes" have been faked by Muslims, and Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be the victims of hate attacks.
The Muslim Brotherhood is dedicated in its own words to "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within." One easy way to do that would be to guilt-trip non-Muslims into being ashamed of resisting jihad activity and Islamic supremacism, for fear of being accused of "Islamophobia." I doubt these comics are aware of this program, but they're useful tools for it.
"Muslim American comics’ tour and documentary," by Tara Bahrampour in the Washington Post, December 27 (thanks to James):
Beware, America. The Muslims are coming, and they look and act suspiciously like you.
Sheesh. No one says they aren't. This is just a straw man designed to demonize opponents of jihad.
Negin Farsad, an Iranian American stand-up comic from California, wears eye-catching mini dresses, curses liberally and has awkward sex talks with her mother (though hers sound more like alien encounters. Actual quote: “You had intergender flesh relations without the security of external safety product?”).
Then she has more to worry about from observant Muslims than she does from "Islamophobes."
Such conversations, painfully private in traditional Muslim societies, are public fodder for Farsad and three other Gen X and Gen Y Muslim comics with whom she traveled to the deep South this past summer.The tour, which later extended to Western states and included other Muslim comics, will form the backbone of “The Muslims Are Coming!,” a documentary film about Islamophobia in America that Farsad is working on with Palestinian Italian American comedian Dean Obeidallah.

This is going to be the usual victimhood-mongering and deflecting of attention from the real causes of suspicion of Muslims in the U.S. Obeidallah contacted me and asked me to be interviewed for the piece, and assured me he would give me a fair hearing. But then he went on Twitter and called Pamela Geller a "Muslim-hater" -- echoing the deceptive Islamic supremacist claim that fighting for free speech and equality of rights for all people is "hate." His true agenda thus revealed, I bowed out of the interview.
The documentary, which includes interviews with comics such as Jon Stewart and Louis Black and commentators including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, explores freedom of religion and what it means to be a minority in America.
Note the implication: that minorities have it so tough in America. No mention will be made, no doubt, of the far more precarious position of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim societies.
Muslim American stand-up comedy is a relatively new phenomenon, the domain of second-generation immigrants who are American enough to satirize the Muslim American experience, said Obeidallah, who lives in New York City.“We’re confident enough to do this,” he said. “An immigrant would be less confident to use comedy to try to challenge perceptions of who we are. We’re confident enough in being Americans and knowing what that means, that we can push against those who are exhibiting behavior which is less than consistent with the values of this nation.”

Note that in Obeidallah's world, the people who are "exhibiting behavior which is less than consistent with the values of this nation" are those fighting for freedom and Constitutional rights, not Brotherhood-related groups dedicated to bringing to the U.S. elements of a legal system that denies freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for women and non-Muslims.
A major factor driving Muslim Americans toward comedy was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “There were no Middle Eastern comics before 9/11 that anyone knew about,” Obeidallah said. “The phenomenon really grew in the last 10 years, because of the [anti-Muslim] backlash.
There was no backlash, of course. Innocent Muslims are not being victimized in the U.S. Muslims live better here than in many Muslim countries. Obeidallah -- clueless or complicit? You be the judge.
I think a lot of people in our community started doing it as a form of political activism.” As they started appearing on national television, he said, “it spurred other Middle Eastern comedians to get involved.” Now, he said, there are about 10 full-time professinals and a growing number of aspiring professionals.Going to the South, where anti-mosque demonstrations and anti-immigrant sentiment has made some Muslims feel unwelcome, the comedians hoped to break through some of the cultural walls that have arisen since Sept. 11.
The point was to see “how would people in the heartland take to us?” Obeidallah said. “Would we encounter angry people going, ‘Get out of here, you Muslims,’ or would they understand?”
Traveling through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, they gave free performances in cafes, community centers and theaters. They set up tables in public places, with scripture-related guessing games and the opportunity for people to “Ask a Muslim” anything they wanted.
“I could kind of like Muslims, but why do you guys like terrorism so much?” some asked. “What do you think of 9/11?” was another common question.

How horrible! They got asked uncomfortable questions! Oh, the "Islamophobia"!
On the whole, the public response was encouraging. While a few people drove by and yelled, “Go back to your country!” the one-on-one encounters tended to be positive.
Oh, the horror! They encountered some rude jerks! Almost as bad as being Christians in Nigeria, eh?
“Most people are more open-minded and not that concerned about Muslims,” Obeidallah said. “It’s really the fringe that’s driving that narrative.”Maysoon Zayid, one of the comics on the tour, said people were surprised to see that “I’m such a Jersey girl, I’m so accessible. . . . I think they are really surprised that I wasn’t this oppressed woman trying to convert people.”
The comedians acknowledged that they were unlikely to win the hearts of the most fervent anti-Muslim types.
“A show called ‘The Muslims Are Coming’ — people self-select to come see it,” Farsad said. “We’re never going to be able to touch the extreme haters. . . . We’re trying to affect the people in the middle, people with questions, the ‘persuadables.’ ”

Do Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah really want to eradicate "Islamophobia"? As long as Islamic jihad and supremacism continue, a comedy tour will never do the trick. But here is an easy way. They can call on Muslims in the U.S. to do these things:
1. Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
2. Renounce definitively, sincerely, honestly, and in deeds, not just in comforting words, not just "terrorism," but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means. In line with this, clarify what is meant by their condemnations of the killing of innocent people by stating unequivocally that American and Israeli civilians are innocent people, teaching accordingly in mosques and Islamic schools, and behaving in accord with these new teachings.
3. Teach, again sincerely and honestly, in transparent and verifiable ways in mosques and Islamic schools, the imperative of Muslims coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis, and act accordingly.
4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach sincerely against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
5. Actively and honestly work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
If Muslims do those five things, voila! "Islamophobia" will evanesce!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Biggest Jewish Defense Agency Supports Radical Muslim School, Lets Jews Twist in the Wind

Posted by Charles Jacobs Dec 5th 2011 at 11:40 am

It might have been just some local government scandal: A shuttered public school sold in a no-bid contract to a private buyer after officials told other interested buyers the building was not up for sale; residents up in arms and suing. … Nasty, but it could happen almost anywhere.
It turns out, however, that the new owner plans to turn the school into a mosque. And that among the buyers who were turned away was a religious Jewish school. And that the mosque-building group is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. And that the Anti-Defamation League – the nation’s largest Jewish defense organization – did nothing for the Jewish school, but is defending the mosque deal. This is not just some local corruption story.

The drama is unfolding in Michigan’s Farmington public schools, a district in the most affluent county in the state, not far from Dearborn and Detroit. The Islamic Cultural Association of Michigan (ICA) – the organization that got the inside deal – is affiliated with the North American Islamic Trust – which is, according to federal authorities, a Muslim Brotherhood front. The ICA invited the vicious anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein to lecture to its members. The Brotherhood’s recent massive rally in Cairo featured mass chants of “kill all the Jews.”
When the good citizens of Farmington Hills discovered what had transpired, they were angry but also perplexed. How did the ICA snatch up the school behind the public’s back? Some initial digging unearthed a set of circumstantial facts that might whet the appetite of a prosecutor:
The school district’s legal firm, Miller Canfield, funds an interfaith project that is closely allied with a state-wide Muslim umbrella group – the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, of which the ICA is a member. Miller Canfield was also the main sponsor of a speech by controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who had been banned by the Bush administration from the United States because of his ties to Hamas fundraising, but since allowed in on a visa. Ramadan was recently videotaped praying that Allah “strike the enemies of Islam” in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Miller Canfield provided a secret property appraisal that cinched the $1.1 million deal between the school district and the ICA. When Farmington residents asked for the details of the appraisal, the school board denied the request, claiming lawyer-client privilege between itself and Miller Canfield.
A local news outlet sifted through county records and found that two school board members up for re-election had received campaign donations from ICA members. One, Karen Bolsen, received almost half of her campaign funds from people at the ICA. Just two days before a critical school board decision on the sale, a self-identified ICA member donated $2,000 to Bolsen’s campaign, double the legal limit.
On June 14, at an explosive school board meeting lasting past midnight, residents questioned the district’s failure to follow normal and transparent procedures. Speakers, many of them from outside the district, supported the deal. They claimed their opponents weren’t really bothered by breaches of fiduciary duty, but instead were motivated by racism and Islamophobia.
Calling ICA members his “constituents,” Dawud Walid, executive director of the local branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), made that same accusation. CAIR is a radical organization, identified by federal authorities as a front for Hamas, a terror group with a charter that calls for genocide of the Jews.
School officials joined in the attack. Board member Bolsen complained of the “feeling of hate … directed at us.” Board member Timothy Devine called the opponents “abominable, juvenile.” Board member Sheilah Clay told the residents: “You made me disappointed. … I’m sure that when African Americans moved into Farmington you probably said the same thing.”
CAIR’s use of the “bigotry” card surprised no one. What did surprise was the seeming alliance between CAIR and some of Detroit’s Jewish leaders. Concurring with CAIR’s Walid in support of the deal were Betsy Kellman, ADL’s Michigan director, and Robert Cohen, executive director of the Detroit Jewish Community Relations Council. They accused Farmington residents of having “strong anti-Muslim feelings” and “making generalizations about Muslims.”
They said nothing about the proposed mosque’s radical links or its likely animus toward their own Jewish constituents. They said nothing about the board’s barring the Jewish school from buying the property. CAIR thanked them for their support and then falsely attacked the pro- Israel group StandWithUs for instigating the opposition. In a phone interview, ADL’s Kellman told me she knew nothing about other buyers being turned down. She did not know that ICA is linked to the North American Islamic Trust. She did not know that the Islamic trust is a Muslim Brotherhood front. She told me it was the Huda Muslim school that invited Finkelstein, not the ICA. She did not know that the Huda school is operated by the ICA. She told me that the whole issue is dead because a lawsuit by opponents of the ICA purchase was thrown out of court. This is also not true – the case is pending in appeals court.
When I asked why the Huda school would have invited Finkelstein, she said she didn’t know. When I asked how she could be sure that ICA was not tied to radicals, she referred me to the ICA Web site. “They pledge not to take foreign money.” Not exactly a vigorous vetting.
Kellman chairs the interfaith group ALPACT, which includes CAIR. She defends that by saying that law enforcement agencies and the NAACP also belong. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder caused controversy when he addressed an ALPACT meeting with CAIR present – despite an FBI policy not to deal with CAIR.
I would admire a Jewish leader who quit ALPACT and used the occasion to instruct the public on the dangers of Islamist Jew-hatred.
Abe Foxman, ADL’s national head, acknowledges that Islamic Jew hatred poses the biggest threat to Jewish life, yet he does little to educate and warn Jews about it: Over the last 15 years, for example, only 3 percent of ADL’s press releases focused on Islamic extremism and Arab anti- Semitism (see www.charlesjacobs.org). Foxman told The Advocate that his organization feels it must fight “Islamophobia” – so that the Muslim community “will stand with us.” Even if this were not as naively delusional as it sounds, why does opposing some presumed anti- Muslim bias require the ADL to support radical Muslim groups who invite Norman Finkelstein? Is inattention to radical Islam’s deadly threat to Jews part of ADL’s strategy to get Muslims to “stand with us?”
Finally, President Barack Obama himself just signed a law prohibiting the FBI from dealing with terrorism trials’ unindicted co-conspirators – groups like CAIR and the ICA-affiliated North American Islamic Trust. What in heaven’s name is the ADL doing?
Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, wrote this column with researcher Ilya Feoktistov.
Originally published in the Boston Jewish Advocate

Government Gone Wild

December 6, 2011

By Monty Pelerin

Our economic problems rightfully dominate the news. However, they are merely symptoms of a bigger, underlying problem: government.
For many, the previous paragraph is heresy. They "know" that government is necessary and good. They "know" that government solves problems and brings order to the chaos that would prevail in its absence. "They" are wrong!
Government has become little more than a carefully crafted myth based on propaganda disseminated by government itself. It has devolved into a scheme of plunder whereby the elites plunder the masses.
It did not start that way, at least not so egregiously. Government transmogrified into a vicious predator, preying on the wealth of the productive to enrich the political class and its cronies. It is no longer a force for good, but for evil. It has turned into the biggest criminal enterprise known to man.
This quote from Albert J. Nock is eight decades old, but appropriately describes what passes for government in Washington, D.C. today:
Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.
Americans have always viewed government skeptically. The vast majority of people still believe government is necessary. They also believe government is a potential, if not actual, evil because of its monopoly on power. Our Founding Fathers were explicit regarding this potential. George Washington described government as follows:
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
A carefully crafted Constitution was drawn up to contain government and its power. Over time, it was effectively demolished. With it went most limitations on government.

The myth of government rests on two key assumptions -- government is necessary and beneficial. Both are supported via the State's propaganda machine. Few citizens recognize government as a predator enriching the elite. More realize that something is terribly wrong and that government has become too big and intrusive.
Government is deemed necessary because, it is claimed, there are things that the private sector would not or could not do, at least not efficiently. This assumption contains both a value judgment and an efficiency judgment.
The value judgment implies that individuals or firms would be unwilling to provide important services justifying government coercion to improve society. But this belief raises the question of whether the value judgments chosen are correct.
A small cadre of men imposing its will on the rest of society is very dangerous. Even if one accepts a particular role for government, it does not mean that the form which is implemented will be acceptable.
The efficiency aspect of government can be meaningfully explored. How well government has measured up on the efficiency criterion is discussed in the next section.
There are two levels on which to explore government efficiency:
The Macro Level pertains to the performance of government with respect to the economy.
Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, leading figures in Austrian economics, maintained that an economy is too complex to be managed centrally. Infinite decisions based on infinite pieces of knowledge cannot be managed by a central decision-maker. From their standpoint, economies afford greater efficiency and satisfaction with limited government and a laissez-faire approach.
John Maynard Keynes and his disciples saw economies as inherently unstable. They believed that government management of an economy is necessary to ensure full employment and high output. For eighty-plus years, the Keynesian interventionist views have prevailed and enabled government to continue to grow and become increasingly intrusive.
Studies generally show an inverse relationship between large government and economic growth and well-being. These can hardly be termed decisive. Extreme cases of centralized economic management like Communist Russia, Communist China, Nazi Germany, Cuba, and North Korea are clear-cut. All were economic failures which produced great human tragedy.
East Berlin and West Berlin, North Korea and South Korea, and Taiwan and Communist China were laboratory-like experiments. In every instance, free-market economies dramatically outperformed government-directed economies.
The Social Welfare State has been the philosophy and excuse for bigger government. The European States, its leading proponent, are in process of failing. They will shortly be unable to meet their social promises and sovereign obligations. This collapse appears imminent and will likely signal the retreat of this philosophy, at least for a while.
The Micro Level pertains to individual programs run by governments.
The U.S. is an example of what is considered a mixed economy. Government runs some programs or sectors. Comparisons of efficiency at the federal level are difficult because there are virtually no private counterparts.
At the local level, direct comparisons are available. Publicly run and privately run services like garbage collection, transit systems, etc. often coexist among neighboring municipalities. These comparisons generally show public services to be higher-priced and lower in quality. Some studies have shown inefficiencies in the neighborhood of 100% -- that is, private service are half the cost of public.
More devastating than direct efficiency comparisons is the tendency for government to eventually bankrupt everything it manages, including itself. Amtrak, the Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare, Fannie and Freddie, FHA, FDIC, FSLIC, Student Loans, etc. are some examples.
Major government initiatives are likewise judged failures. The War on Poverty, the Farm Program, the War on Drugs, etc. have wasted trillions of dollars and produced no improvements in terms of their intended objectives. Many programs actually made matters worse. The War on Poverty, for example, has created major disincentives regarding work which lead to increased poverty. Thomas Sowell argues that this program is responsible for many of the single-parent families and the breakup of the black family.
Government-directed investment or research fares no better. It is ineffective, wasteful, and corrupted by the political process. "Green energy" is the latest blatant example, being exposed for the fraud, favoritism, foolishness, and failure that is associated with crony Socialism.
Regulatory efforts often produce results opposite of their intentions. There is no crueler law in terms of harming the poor than the minimum wage.
Even if regulations are properly designed, they are ineffectively enforced. Bernie Madoff is one example. MF Global is another. Regulations were in place to prevent both. Regulators dropped the ball in both instances.
Regulatory failure produces only more regulation. The Dodd-Frank bill, so-called financial reform, consists of 2,300 pages, none of which will prevent another systemic failure. It is bad legislation that will not accomplish its stated objective. Likely it will do much to favorably influence the wealth of politicians and their friends.
ObamaCare is another recent example of unwise legislation/regulation. If implemented, it will cause health care to deteriorate and health costs to rise. It will likely cause the economic collapse of the government, assuming collapse does not happen prior to its full implementation.
These are a few examples of a list that could be expanded greatly. Every one of these government programs failed, at least with respect to their stated purposes. Every one of these programs will result in bankruptcy of either the program itself or contribute to the bankruptcy of the entire government.
Government supporters may argue that I cherry-picked the examples with a conclusion in mind. Yet these are the major programs of the last 50 years or so. None have succeeded. Furthermore, I am unaware of any major government program which has not failed in terms of its intended outcomes. I know of no government program that has stayed within budget.
It would be a valuable exercise for proponents of big government to create a list of programs which they believe have been successful. Those blinded by reality will make claims that some (all?) government programs have succeeded. I shall be happy to subject any so-called successful programs to an objective test based on intended objectives and cost considerations.
While they are busy compiling and defending their lists, the rest of us should be dealing with the problem of regaining control of a government gone wild before it bankrupts itself, the country, and its citizens.
Monty Pelerin blogs at Monty Pelerin's World.

Bagless in Seattle

Posted on by Scott Johnson in Liberals

In August 2009 the people of Seattle decisively rejected a 20-cent fee for every paper or plastic bag they get from supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores, the fee having been adopted by an ordinance which had not yet taken effect. Greg Pollowitz hailed the outcome at NRO, quoting an AP story that memorialized the comment of one Rob Gala (shouldn’t that be Gaia?), a spokesman for the Seattle Green Bag campaign: “This campaign is about much more than just one decision of the voters. It’s really about raising the awareness of voters, and we’ve really accomplished that.”
Unsatisfied with raising the consciousness of the voters, however, the bagless are back. It’s sort of a Night of the Living Dead situation. The Seattle City Council is proposing a ban of plastic carryout bags. The law would ban plastic bags from grocers, retailers and department stores. It would also impose a charge of five cents for each paper bag to encourage reusable bags.
The Seattle Times reports that the bagless now have a handy prop in the campaign to ban plastic bags:
A gray whale that washed up on a Puget Sound beach last year has become Exhibit A in the debate over whether to ban plastic bags in Seattle.
Environmentalists point to the contents of the dead whale’s stomach, itemized in a necropsy, as a compelling argument that the thin-film carryout shopping bags should be outlawed. The inedible trash that the whale had ingested included sweatpants, a golf ball, surgical gloves, small towels and more than 20 plastic bags.
“While it’s true we don’t know what killed the whale, I think we can all agree those plastic bags don’t belong there,” said Dan Kohler, regional director of Environment Washington, which — along with several other environmental groups including People for Puget Sound and the Sierra Club — supports the city’s proposed ban on plastic bags as a way to protect the Sound and marine wildlife.
Why pick on plastic bags? Opponents of the law make a good point:
[O]pponents of the ban, including the plastics industry and some independent grocery stores, say plastic bags represent a fraction of the litter that ends up in the water. What’s more, they argue, plastic bags are convenient, reusable and recyclable.
“The hysteria around this issue is remarkable,” said Michael Johnson, inside-sales manager for Poly Bag in Tacoma, which makes plastic bags and packaging. “If we’re using the itemized list of things that ended up in the whale’s stomach, I’d like to see all those other things banned as well.”
You’d think that discrimination against plastic bags would be illegal in Seattle.

Jon-Bubba twist: MF Global hired Clinton’s group

By JOSH MARGOLIN
Last Updated: 3:07 AM, December 6, 2011
Posted: 1:32 AM, December 6, 2011


Even as Jon Corzine’s MF Global was collapsing, a firm that includes former President Bill Clinton in a senior post was raking in huge fees for public-relations and financial advice from the ill-fated brokerage, The Post has learned.
Clinton’s office insists the former president did not profit from the relationship between MF Global and Teneo Holdings, where he is chairman of the advisory board. But Teneo, on whose advisory board former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also sits, was paid $125,000 a month for at least five months in one of MF’s biggest consulting arrangements, according to sources at the brokerage house.
FRIEND$ AT THE TOP: Former President Bill Clinton and British ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair both sit on the advisory board of Teneo Holdings, which was paid at least $625,000 to do public-relations and financial-consulting work for Jon Corzine’s failed brokerage, MF Global.
Ron Sachs /CNP
FRIEND$ AT THE TOP: Former President Bill Clinton and British ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair both sit on the advisory board of Teneo Holdings, which was paid at least $625,000 to do public-relations and financial-consulting work for Jon Corzine’s failed brokerage, MF Global.
 
The relationship was controversial within MF Global even before the company’s financial problems hit the news as executives questioned why an outside firm was needed for work that had long been done in-house.
“I don’t know what they did,” one MF source said. “It was always unclear.”
Another MF employee told The Post that Teneo originally wanted $200,000 a month for its work, but that was too steep a price for MF decision-makers.
Teneo served as a personal p.r. firm and political consultant for then-MF Global CEO Corzine, the former governor and senator from New Jersey. It also offered advice on European financial investments — like the ones that ultimately led to MF’s collapse in October.
“It was very controversial and other consultants we had work for us for years were upset,” said an MF source.
MF is now bankrupt and is the subject of investigations by federal prosecutors and regulators.
Corzine himself has been subpoenaed to testify this week before the House Agriculture Committee, one of several congressional committees examining the company’s failure — the biggest bankruptcy since the Lehman Brothers crash.
Corzine and MF Global declined comment about the Teneo deal, as did Teneo execs.
Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said “President Clinton does not advise clients on the firm’s behalf.” Clinton does make money from Teneo, but has declined to disclose the sum.
Corzine and the former president have been close for years. Clinton campaigned for Corzine repeatedly and Corzine, in turn, became the first sitting governor to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the presidency when she ran in 2008.
But Corzine’s ties to Teneo are not so much the result of his relationship with Clinton as with one of Teneo’s top executives, Tom Shea, sources said.
Shea was Corzine’s chief-of-staff both in the Senate and the governor’s office.
jmargolin@nypost.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

SIOA Trademark Lawsuit: Geller vs. United States Patent and Trademark Office Before the Trademark and Appeal Board

Monday, December 05, 2011

By Pamela Geller

Today, two of the nation's leading preservers of our cherished freedoms and my crack legal team, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, filed our Reply Brief and our Request for Oral Argument to the ridiculous denial of our trademark for SIOA (Stop the Islamization of America).
Back in early 2010, our federal agency rejected a request for a trademark by our organization "Stop Islamization of America" because its name may "disparage" Muslims. I kid you not. That's how influential Muslim Brotherhood groups and Hamas groups are in the US government. Government Dhimmitude Rejects SIOA Trademark.
WND reported at the time:
The group launched by Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch has drawn national attention for its bus-sign campaign offering support for Muslims who want to leave Islam. SIOA currently is organizing opposition to plans for an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero in New York City.
Now the group reports the U.S. government has refused its request for a trademark designation for its name.
The government response, posted on the site, states, "The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease.
The proposed mark further disparages Muslims because, taking into account the nature of the services ('providing information regarding understanding and preventing terrorism'), it implies that Islam is associated with violence and threats," the government agency said.
"The trademark examining attorney refers to the excerpted articles from the LEXISNEXIS® computerized database referencing how many Muslims view terrorists Sioa towers as illegitimate adherents of Islam. … Therefore, the suggestion that Islam equates terrorism would be disparaging to a substantial group of Muslims," it said.
Geller commented in a report on the group's site
"It is everywhere, folks, in every aspect of our lives from the big stuff (Major Hasan cover-up) to the minutia (trademark registration)," she said. "Take a look at this. Robert and I registered the name Stop Islamization of American for trademark. It was refused."
A link to a 20-page summary from the government's office of trademark applications listed definitions for Islam and terror.
"Accordingly, the applied-for mark is refused under Section 2(a) because it consists of matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute Muslims and the Islamic religion," the government report said.
A participant in the website's forum page weighed in.
"'It implies that Islam is associated with violence and threats.' IMPLIES?? … It is associated with violence and threats," "Islam is a terror group as defined by their own Quran [a]nd imams." Read it all.
Back in 2010, I engaged David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center to pursue this matter legally. Once again, these legal warriors did not hesitate to take the case pro-bono. They had filed the this response (first step in the administrative appeal process). The whole thing (exhibits and all) is available at the trademark website (and by then typing in the application no: 77940879).
This position paper is timely and necessary, especially now with advancing sharia. This position paper is the template for our side, the side of freedom. Here is the entire document: Download EnceLetterreResponsetoTrademarkRegistrationRefusal_Final
David Yerushalmi explained, "Essentially, what they do is make the very cogent argument that Islamisation is NOT simply a conversion of an individual or even a whole society to the religion of Islam or being even more culturally Islamic. Rather, the threat of Islamisation is the process of implementing Shariah into a society to convert the society to a Shariah-compliant Islamic state. The paper begins by showing the connection of the word to the Muslim Brotherhood, actually using their own documents. We then point to how the professional and academic literature uses the word. Bottom line: Stopping Islamisation and linking this doctrine to terrorism does not implicate good, patriotic, loyal Muslim Americans only those who seek our constitutional Republic’s demise."
Today we we filed our reply brief here: Download SIOAApplicant's Reply Brief TTAB Final-1:
IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BEFORE THE TRADEMARK TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD
Mark: Stop the Islamisation of America Applicant: Pamela Geller Examining Attorney: Maria-Victoria Suarez
Law Office 108
EX PARTE APPEAL APPLICANT’S REPLY BRIEF
SERIAL NO: 77940879
COMES NOW the Applicant, Pamela Geller (“Applicant”), by her undersigned counsel, and hereby respectfully submits her Reply in the matter of the appeal of the Examining Attorney’s refusal to register the mark STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA in standard characters. I. OVERVIEW OF THE EXAMINING ATTORNEY’S BRIEF
The Examining Attorney and Applicant agree on the statement of the relevant analysis for determining whether a Mark is disparaging under Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). Specifically, that analysis involves two steps: (1) the Office must determine what the mark means; and (2) the Office must determine if that particular understanding of the Mark is disparaging to the group at issue. In re Lebanese Arak Corp., 94 U.S.P.Q.2d 1215, 1217 (TTAB 2010); see also Harjo v. Pro-Football, Inc., 50 U.S.P.Q.2d 1705 at 1740-41 (“Harjo I”), rev’d on other grounds, 284 F. Supp. 2d 96, 68 USPQ2d 1225 (D.D.C. 2003), remanded, 415 F.3d 44, 367 U.S. App. D.C. 276, 75 U.S.P.Q.2d 1525 (D.C. Cir. 2005), on remand, 567 F. Supp. 2d 46, 87 U.S.P.Q.2d 1891 (D.D.C. 2008), aff’d 565 F.3d 880, 385 U.S. App. D.C. 417, 90 U.S.P.Q.2d 1593 (DC Cir. 2009) (T.T.A.B. 1999) (“Our analysis is essentially a two-step process in which we ask, first: What is the meaning of the matter in question, as it appears in the marks and as those marks are used in connection with the services identified in the registrations? Second, we ask: Is this meaning one that may disparage Native Americans?”).1
1 In Applicant’s Opening Brief, Applicant concedes that the statement of the analysis on “meaning” in the first step was improperly limited to merely the “group at issue,” referring specifically to Muslims as opposed to the public at large. However, the discussion of the “meaning” prong of the analysis in Applicant’s Opening Brief properly discussed “meaning” in its larger context to the relevant public audiences. (Applicant’s Br. at 8-9). In Harjo I, it is clear that the meaning of the Mark for the purpose of the first-step in the analysis includes the broader meanings to the public at large in the context of the use of the Mark. Thus, the TTAB in Harjo I and the District Court on appeal of the TTAB’s ruling in Harjo I applied the meaning of “Redskins” not just to Native Americans but to the public at large. Harjo I, 50 U.S.P.Q.2d at
1 Applicant’s Reply Brief—Ex Parte Appeal: SN 77940879
The Examining Attorney, however, takes the artificial position that a broad dictionary definition of the meaning of the term “Islamisation” (used within the Mark) as referring to all things Islamic (and notably conversion to Islam) is the relevant meaning for purposes of the first step in the analysis. However, the Examining Attorney does so by (1) relying on only one of two possible dictionary definitions; (2) failing to provide any evidence whatsoever of the actual understanding of the use of the term “Islamisation” in any context by in turn failing to provide any actual use whatsoever (except one use that actually supports Applicant’s position); (3) ignoring the way the term “Islamisation” is actually used by academics, professionals, and Muslims themselves; and (4) relying on cherry-picked comments left on Applicant’s blog as somehow indicative of how Applicant uses the Mark in connection with Applicant’s services.
Once Examining Attorney created an artificially overbroad meaning of the term “Islamisation”—converting the meaning to all things Islamic—the second step in the analysis becomes a fait accompli when focusing on the word “Stop.” But, it is precisely the Examining Attorney’s flawed analysis by which she creates an overly broad meaning unrelated to the actual Mark that causes her to reach the conclusion that the Mark is disparaging of Muslims generally.


1740-41; see also Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo, 284 F. Supp. 2d 96, 126-27 (D.D.C. 2003) (“Harjo II”). Yet, the TTAB specifically excluded any possible meaning to the public relating to the term “redskin” as a kind of peanut because “there is no evidence in the record that any of these possible meanings of the word ‘redskin(s)’ would pertain to the word as it is used in respondent’s marks in connection with the identified services.” Harjo I at n.108. Similarly, how Muslims understand the meaning of the term “Islamisation” impacts directly on whether they will consider the “meaning” disparaging, thus illustrating that “meaning” in the first step of the analysis cannot be entirely separated from the “group at issue” when approaching the second step in the analysis (i.e., whether Muslims would be disparaged by the meaning of the Mark, Stop the Islamisation of America). Thus, in Harjo II, the court recognized that the term “Redskins” could mean the professional football team, or it could mean Native Americans in a demeaning context. But the court overruled the TTAB’s conclusion that Native Americans would necessarily consider the term demeaning because, in part, there was not sufficient evidence that Native Americans themselves accepted the term as referencing Native Americans in a demeaning context as opposed to the former non-disparaging meaning. Harjo II, 284 F. Supp. 2d at 127-33.
2 Applicant’s Reply Brief—Ex Parte Appeal: SN 77940879
II. THE EXAMINING ATTORNEY ARTIFICIALLY AND IMPROPERLY DEFINES “ISLAMISATION” TO MEAN “ISLAMIC” DESPITE EVIDENCE THAT ITS RELEVANT AND ACTUAL MEANING TO THE PUBLIC IS A POLITICAL MOVEMENT PREVALENT IN A SOCIETY OR SOCIETAL UNIT WHICH SEEKS TO EMBRACE A POLITICAL DOCTRINE THAT CALLS FOR THE APPLICATION OF SHARIA (I.E., ISLAMIC LAW) AS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE SOCIETY.
The opinions in both Harjo I and Harjo II make clear that a term that has multiple meanings must be understood—for purposes of the “meaning” analysis—in context of how it is used in the public domain relevant to the Mark. “Redskin” could mean all things relating to the professional football team or it could refer to Native Americans in a demeaning fashion. But, both meanings remained for purposes of the second phase of the analysis—do Native Americans consider the term as used in the context of the pro football team disparaging?
Examining Attorney chooses simply to ignore the overwhelming evidence in the record that the term “Islamisation” has only been used to refer to a political process replacing civilian laws with Islamic religious law (i.e., sharia) to impose Islamic political rule on society. Moreover, Examining Attorney also ignores the fact that the only evidence in the record—indeed Examining Attorney’s own evidence—demonstrates that even Muslims consider the term “Islamisation” to mean an undesirable political process imposing Islamic law on previously non- sectarian political orders.
A. Examining Attorney Ignores Her Own Selected Dictionary Definitions.
As demonstrated in Applicant’s Opening Brief, Examining Attorney chooses to ignore the definition of “Islamisation” which conveys the meaning proffered by Applicant. Thus, Dictionary.com, proffered in the Final Office Action (“FOA”) as Att. No. 1, specifically includes the definition “[t]o cause to conform to Islamic law or precepts.” (emphasis added). Encarta.com, proffered by Examining Attorney as Att. No. 4, defines the term as “make subject
3 Applicant’s Reply Brief—Ex Parte Appeal: SN 77940879
to Islamic law” and then explains this definition as to “cause people, institutions, or countries to follow Islamic law.”
B. Examining Attorney Fails to Present Any Evidence of How the Term “Islamisation” is Actually Used and Understood.
Having ignored the second and more specific dictionary definition, Examining Attorney pretends as though the analysis of “meaning” is more or less finished. But, given the two dictionary definitions, one of which conforms with Applicant’s stated use of the Mark, Examining Attorney’s failure to offer even a single instance of how the term “Islamisation” is actually used is fatal to her case. Harjo II makes this point in its reversal of the TTAB’s determination of “disparagement.” Harjo II, 284 F. Supp. 2d at 127-33. If there are two or more meanings of a term used in a Mark, the meaning of the term and its perceived disparagement to the specific group at issue becomes the critical question. Yet, Examining Attorney offers no actual use of the term “Islamisation” that would suggest that the meaning is anything but the meaning proffered by Applicant—i.e., a sectarianization of a political society through efforts to “make [it] subject to Islamic law.”
C. The Only Actual Evidence Proffered by Examining Attorney about the Use of the Term “Islamisation” Demonstrates that Muslims Themselves Understand “Islamisation” as the Undesirable Conversion of Representative Government to a Sectarian Islamic Political Order.
The only evidence Examining Attorney proffers that remotely references the actual use of the term “Islamisation” is a public letter written by British Muslims to a group in England called Stop the Islamisation of Europe (“SIOE”). In that letter, as discussed in detail in Applicant’s Opening Brief, the British Muslims expressly reject and oppose the process of Islamisation, seeking to join with SIOE’s objectives and objecting only to SIOE’s demonstrating outside a mosque the British Muslims consider not to be a part of this destructive Islamisation movement.
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(Applicant’s Br. at 12-15). In an apparent effort to obfuscate this patent understanding of “Islamisation” as proffered
by Applicant and adopted by the British Muslims—an understanding that Examining Attorney strangely relies upon—Examining Attorney proffers articles where Muslims object to the notion that all or most Muslims are terrorists or that Islam as a religion adheres to terrorism. Thus, Examining Attorney’s Brief quotes from select articles attached to her FOA that were gleaned from LexisNexis and which bemoan the characterization of Islam and Muslims with terrorism. (FOA at 11-33 [of the unnumbered digital pdf file]). The problem with Examining Attorney’s reliance on these articles is that none of them—literally none of them—has anything to do with the term “Islamisation” or the terms incorporated within the Mark. Rather, these are Muslims protesting the characterization that because one is a Muslim, he or she is a terrorist. But that is not implicated in the specific meaning of “Islamisation” or the Mark “Stop the Islamisation of America,” given the specific meaning set forth by Applicant, the alternative meaning of “Islamisation” in the dictionary definitions, which accords with Applicant’s meaning, and the position of the British Muslims cited by Examining Attorney.
D. Examining Attorney Ignores the Way the Term “Islamisation” Is Actually Used by Academics, Professionals, and Muslims Themselves.
Beyond the fact that Examining Attorney ignores the dictionary definitions that support Applicant’s use of the term “Islamisation,” and beyond Examining Attorney’s failure to present to the TTAB a single example of the use of the term “Islamisation” that supports her choice of definition, Examining Attorney has ignored the only actual uses of the term “Islamisation.” All of the evidence on the actual use of the term was provided by Applicant, and this evidence makes clear that the professionals, academics, and Muslims who use the term use it in a way that mirrors Applicant’s definition of a political process that would turn our form of government on
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its head and reduce the U.S. Constitution to dead letter law and replace it with a “divine” Islamic law. Indeed, the record before the TTAB, as set forth in Attachment No. 10 to Applicant’s Response to Examining Attorney’s non-final Office action, establishes that the process of “Islamisation” discriminates grotesquely against women and non-Muslims. And, unlike Examining Attorney’s failure to present any evidence of how “Islamisation” is actually used in context, Applicant’s evidence is a representative sampling of every single LexisNexis search of the use of the term “Islamisation.”
D. Examining Attorney Futilely Cherry-Picks Third-Party Comments to Applicant’s Blog in a Final Effort to Artificially and Improperly Restrict the Meaning of “Islamisation” to the Broad Definition of “Islamisation” Proffered by Examining Attorney but Not Found in Actual Use.
Examining Attorney cites to footnote 111 in Harjo I to establish the principle that citing to “fans” of Applicant as they are posted on a public blog is proper. The problem with this position is twofold. First, as argued in Applicant’s Opening Brief, there is nothing to suggest that open public comments on a blog, cherry-picked by Examining Attorney, is representative of how the general public perceives the meaning of “Islamisation.” Indeed, nothing in these specific comments cited by Examining Attorney addresses the specific meaning of “Islamisation.” Second, even assuming some small subset of the “blog commenting” public opposes Islam or even considers “Islamisation” to be the general meaning proffered by Examining Attorney (i.e., all things Islamic), this does not eliminate the very real and actually used meaning of the term as argued by Applicant. As in Harjo I, and as emphasized in Harjo II’s overruling of Harjo I, the fact that “fans” of an applicant embrace a disparaging definition of a trademark, this “meaning” remains only one of several meanings to be tested against how the group at issue (in this case, Muslims) understands the term “Islamisation” and whether they consider the Mark, “Stop the Islamisation of America,” disparaging.
6 Applicant’s Reply Brief—Ex Parte Appeal: SN 77940879
II. EXAMINING ATTORNEY HAS FAILED TO MEET HER BURDEN THAT THE MARK IS DISPARAGING TO LAW ABIDING MUSLIMS.
Given the available meanings of the term “Islamisation,” notably the meaning and actual use of the term by academics, professionals, and Muslims themselves as a political movement to replace man-made laws by the religious law of Islam, Examining Attorney has presented literally zero evidence in the record that Muslim Americans, or indeed any Muslims, would object to the Mark. Examining Attorney has provided no evidence of any Muslim anywhere in the world who would view the Mark as disparaging, other than perhaps those lawless persons who advocate replacing the law of the People (i.e., the Constitution) with the law of Allah. The LexisNexis articles cited by Examining Attorney in her Brief and as attached to her FOA are noteworthy for the fact that they are statements by Muslims objecting to Islam / Muslims being equated with terrorism. But Examining Attorney has provided no evidence whatsoever that that is the meaning of the Mark “Stop the Islamisation of America.” More importantly, the one document provided by Examining Attorney actually referencing “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” demonstrates that law abiding British Muslims support the effort to prevent the “Islamisation” of British political society.
In Harjo II, the court rejected Harjo I’s approach to the analysis of disparagement precisely for failing to identify an evidentiary basis for the proposition that Native Americans as a group felt disparaged by the term “Redskins.” Because the TTAB had not found any substantial evidence of this disparagement by the group at issue, beyond unrepresentative samples, the court in Harjo II overruled the TTAB’s ruling on disparagement. In the case presently before the TTAB, Examining Attorney has not reached even the deficient threshold of
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Harjo I. That is, Examining Attorney has not found a single law abiding Muslim who opposes or would feel disparaged by the Mark and Applicant’s use of the Mark. What is especially telling is that Examining Attorney not only has failed to find any Muslims who have articulated disparagement arising from the term “Islamisation,” or, for that matter, from the Mark itself, Examining Attorney has failed to respond to the fact that the British Muslims she referenced in her evidence actually embrace the goals of Stop the Islamisation of Europe.
III. CONCLUSION
Examining Attorney has failed to satisfy the requisite burden necessary to deny Applicant’s Mark because her efforts have failed to understand the meaning and import of the Mark by the public generally as inferred from the multiple dictionary meanings, the academic and professional public who actually use the term “Islamisation” in their published works, and actual Muslims who have written and published on the subject of “Islamisation.” Moreover, Examining Attorney has not provided any actual evidence regarding how Applicant uses the Mark in the marketplace in connection with Applicant’s goods and/or services. The Mark’s use of the term “Islamisation,” quite simply, is not understood by Muslims or by the professional and academic classes who use the term as relating to Islam qua Islam. Rather, the term is quite narrowly focused on a political-legal movement that works to destroy civil liberties and to supplant the rule of man-made law with a theologically-centered law understood to be divine. Finally, Examining Attorney has provided no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that law abiding Muslims would be disparaged by this common and dominant usage of the term “Islamisation” and of the Mark more specifically.
For the foregoing reasons, Applicant respectfully requests that the TTAB reverse the FOA and order the registration of the Mark.
8 Applicant’s Reply Brief—Ex Parte Appeal: SN 77940879
Respectfully submitted, LAW OFFICES OF DAVID YERUSHALMI, P.C.
/s/ David Yerushalmi David Yerushalmi, Esq.
THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER
/s/ Robert J. Muise Robert J. Muise, Esq.
Counsel for Applicant Pamela Geller