Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday's Hero

This post was suggested by Pet

Sgt. Maj. Charles Morris

Sgt. Maj. Charles Morris
64 years old from Fancy Gap, Virginia
503rd Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade
December 29, 1931 - August 22, 1996

U.S. Army

From then S/Sgt. Morris's Medal Of Honor citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Seeing indications of the enemy's presence in the area, S/Sgt. Morris deployed his squad and continued forward alone to make a reconnaissance. He unknowingly crawled within 20 meters of an enemy machinegun, whereupon the gunner fired, wounding him in the chest. S/Sgt. Morris instantly returned the fire and killed the gunner. Continuing to crawl within a few feet of the gun, he hurled a grenade and killed the remainder of the enemy crew. Although in pain and bleeding profusely, S/Sgt. Morris continued his reconnaissance. Returning to the platoon area, he reported the results of his reconnaissance to the platoon leader. As he spoke, the platoon came under heavy fire. Refusing medical attention for himself, he deployed his men in better firing positions confronting the entrenched enemy to his front. Then for 8 hours the platoon engaged the numerically superior enemy force. Withdrawal was impossible without abandoning many wounded and dead. Finding the platoon medic dead, S/Sgt. Morris administered first aid to himself and was returning to treat the wounded members of his squad with the medic's first aid kit when he was again wounded. Knocked down and stunned, he regained consciousness and continued to treat the wounded, reposition his men, and inspire and encourage their efforts. Wounded again when an enemy grenade shattered his left hand, nonetheless he personally took up the fight and armed and threw several grenades which killed a number of enemy soldiers. Seeing that an enemy machinegun had maneuvered behind his platoon and was delivering the fire upon his men, S/Sgt. Morris and another man crawled toward the gun to knock it out. His comrade was killed and S/Sgt. Morris sustained another wound, but, firing his rifle with 1 hand, he silenced the enemy machinegun. Returning to the platoon, he courageously exposed himself to the devastating enemy fire to drag the wounded to a protected area, and with utter disregard for his personal safety and the pain he suffered, he continued to lead and direct the efforts of his men until relief arrived. Upon termination of the battle, important documents were found among the enemy dead revealing a planned ambush of a Republic of Vietnam battalion. Use of this information prevented the ambush and saved many lives. S/Sgt. Morris' gallantry was instrumental in the successful defeat of the enemy, saved many lives, and was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Charging Bundy With Racism While Ignoring Harry Reid's Negro Dialect Remark

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the word “Negro” more than once in his I Had a Dream Speech. Had he lived, MLK would be about 89 years old today. I wonder if he would have embraced the word “black,” and/or insisted on African American and denounced the word “Negro,” considering that in his time, ‘Negro’ was apparently not objectionable. Also not objectionable was Senator Harry Reid saying Barack Obama has “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Reid, the pasty white man of an age when “Negro” was considered a polite way of describing a person with black skin, obviously thought it not desirable to have a “Negro” dialect, and obviously thought it also unusual for a “Negro” not to have a “Negro” dialect. Harry Reid didn’t lose his speakership, wasn’t sanctioned by the U.S. Senate and was re-elected even though he reminded us that Obama might have something “Negro” about him. How did we get to this place today, when a proper noun, “Negro” is considered a vile pejorative?

The word is believed to have evolved from “nigro,” spelled without vowels, N-G-R, pronounced “en-ger,” and found on ancient Egyptian temple walls in “sacred writings and hieroglyphs,” and has “divine origin and meaning,” referring to “God.” How did we get to this place today, when a proper noun, “Negro” is considered a vile pejorative?

Niger and Nigeria, undoubtedly, played a part in this history of the word. Niger is perhaps named after the Niger River, one of Africa’s longest. The river existed long before the country we know today, and became part of the Saharan trade routes. Why was the river named “Niger?” Seems no one knows. As a Nigerian (not Nigerien) essayist explains, neither country has a reason for it’s name. The river is not a “black” river.

The origin of the name Niger is unknown. It is often assumed that it derives from the Latin word for “black”, niger, but there is no evidence for this,…in any case the Niger is not a blackwater river. The name is thus thought to be indigenous, but no convincing origin has been found among the 30 languages of the Niger delta…
This lack of origin [Nigeria] is one that has led to a weakness of attitude, which translates to weakness of character…When we do not know the meaning of our name, we do not know why it was chosen, our case can then be only likened to getting a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. Read more.

So, negro/nigro in particular would have been spelled like so: Ngr. So, it would not matter what vowel sounds

Fast forward to today and you see the descendants of those that created the actual word, despise it, banning it and going through a process of having a funeral for it. The term “ignorance” can not fully describe the actions taken by a people who have been stripped of their very dignity and divine wisdom.
 - Ernie A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Linguistics and Doctor of Internal Medicine. Read more here.were placed in between the letters, the word was the same…

In which classrooms are black children taught that whites are plenty smart enough to see the irony of blacks calling blacks Ngrs yet hating whites for using phrases like “The Negro?” That’s not a rhetorical question.

Which brings me to Cliven Bundy’s remarks this week, that will not be allowed to be merely “in-elegant” or “misspeaking,” as is always the excuse for shameless high-profile Liberals. Congresswoman Maxine Waters comes to mind, telling an oil executive that “this Liberal” would “be about socializing — basically — taking over and government running all of your companies.” That unconstitutional threat didn’t draw a peep from the main street media — a serious threat that to the liberty and welfare of people of all colors. She said it on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Anyone out there upset about Cliven Bundy should think again.

Barack Obama calls some of us “bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them…” Ask blacks what they think their futures will be with 15 million illegals in the U.S.
The worst of Bundy’s press conference was the intimation that it could ever be better to be a “slave” than a free person, but if we are intellectually honest, we know from other comments he made, that he was talking about learning skills and supporting ones self as a free man or woman, and he came right out and said we “sure don’t want to go back” even to the time of the Watts riots when people felt “unhappy” and “thinking they don’t have freedom.”

“The Negro” and “picking cotton” are the quotes the main stream media jumped on — not much about “government subsidies,” or Bundy’s praise for the lifestyles of illegal Mexicans inside the U.S. Here’s a snippet. His full remarks are below.
I was in the Watts riot. I seen the beginning fire, I seen the last fire. What I seen in civil disturbance, is that people are not happy. People thinking they don’t have the freedom. They don’t have these things and they don’t have them. 
We’ve progressed quite big since that day until now, and we sure don’t want to go back. We sure don’t want these colored people to have to go back to that time. We sure don’t want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies and do it in a peaceful way.
Bundy ably made the point that all people will be better without government interference. He obviously has great empathy for blacks and Hispanics, but he’s an old-timey rancher, and yes, he is definitely in-elegant, but put Joe Biden in a tux or go ahead, just give him a microphone, and he’ll make Bundy sound like a Wall Street cattle trader living in a Central Park penthouse. You cannot seriously think Cliven Bundy condones slavery without a political agenda behind that belief.

A black Marine with the handle Charlie Delta defended Cliven:
…if you take the time to do your own research, you’ll find that his statements about some black Americans actually hold weight. He posed a hypothetical question. He said, “I wonder IF” … Hell, I’m black and I often wonder about the same about the decline of the black family. Bottom line is that we are all slaves in this waning republic, no matter our skin color. Mr. Bundy could have used any racial demographic as an example: Native Americans on reservations, whites in trailer parks, etc. He noticed the crippling effects of receiving government “assistance” and the long term result of accepting handouts. Read more at The Black Sphere
Each and every one of us has color to our skin, some more than others. Each of those colors make up an imperfect human being, some more imperfect than others. Give most of us some power and black, white, brown, red, or yellow turns ugly.

Consider those known as “Americo-Liberians.” By 1820-1822, before the Civil War, America was freeing African American slaves wanting to return to the homeland of their ancestors, and funding their voyage. From those 13,000 to 15,000 who went to the brave new world of Liberia to form the first Africa Republic, without any drama in telling the tale, the new Liberians from America set about keeping to their own superior society, and enslaving the black natives whom they considered inferior. Some of the indigenous peoples were also slavers. In fact, many of the first slavers, ever, were blacks. Imperfect persons having nothing to do with the color of their skin — just an historic fact. All skin colors have enslaved people.
The Americo-Liberian elite’s historical faults are sizeable: denying citizenship to indigenous Liberians until 1904, denying full voting rights until well into the 20th century; one-party oligarchic rule for 133 years; lack of property rights, and forced labor which “prompted a League of Nations investigation” and poor leadership focused more on nepotism and kleptocracy than producing wealth to develop the country. Source: The Grio
 So Harry Reid is the recipient of the timely Cliven Bundy distraction, moving the conversation away from a lawless Bureau of Land Managment (BLM) scandal, which sent snipers and men with body shields to take on Bundy and his supporters, and herd cattle off the property with helicopters hovering right behind the cow’s rear-ends, and by the time it was over, some laid dead on the sand, and some under the sand. PETA didn’t care. The BLM didn’t care that Bundy’s cattle provides protein-rich dung to shuttle the dusty little shelled creatures across and through the desert brush.

Yes, Bundy broke the law, but some laws are both legal and unjust and we have only to think back to the civil rights battles to understand the truth of it. In fact, every government since Andrew Jackson has broken the promise to return the trust of the land back to the people.

Fine Bundy if it must be done, put liens on his property, and we’ll be waiting to see what Harry Reid and his son develops in the area near Bundy property.
The following the the full transcript of Bundy’s press conference.

CLIVEN BUNDY: I was in the Watts riot. I seen the beginning fire, I seen the last fire. What I seen in civil disturbance, is that people are not happy. People thinking they don’t have the freedom. They don’t have these things and they don’t have them.
We’ve progressed quite big since that day until now, and we sure don’t want to go back. We sure don’t want these colored people to have to go back to that time. We sure don’t want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies and do it in a peaceful way. 
Let me talk to you about the Mexicans. These are just things I know about them and the Negro. I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. When I go through Las Vegas, north Las Vegas and I would see these little government houses and in front of that government house, the door was usually open and the older people and the kids, and there’s always at least a half-a-dozen people sitting on the porch. They didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do, and because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better as slaves, pickin’ cotton and having a family life and doing things or are they better off under government subsidies? 
They didn’t get more freedom. They got less freedom. They had less family life and their happiness, you can see in their faces, they have to step on that concrete sidewalk. They [inaudible] were probably going to church. So that’s all government. That’s not freedom. 
Now let me talk about the Spanish people. You know I understand that they come over here against our Constitution, across our borders, but they’re here and they’re people and I’ve worked side-by-side with a lot of them. Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes, and don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people. When you see those Mexican families, their together, they picnic together, they’re spending their time together, and I’ll tell you, in my way of thinking, they are awful nice people, and we need to have those people join us and be with us. Not coming [through or to???] our party. 
He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race. ~Adam Nagourney, New York Times 
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. 
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” ~Cliven Bundy, according to the NYT

Monday, April 28, 2014

Palin: Gun Free Zone is Stupid on Steroids - Baptize Terrorists by Waterboarding

Sarah Palin spoke at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Stand and Fight Rally in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis saying "if I were in charge they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists," the idea of gun-free zones is "stupid on steroids," and referring to Eric Holder's vision that gun owners will wear bracelets giving access to their guns, to only them, said: "Hey Holder, you don't want to go there, buddy," spinning off of Holder's threat to Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX). An all-round feisty speech that was greeted with cheers and standing ovations.

Random photo not from NRA Stand and Fight Rally
"They are trying, though. You know who 'they' are?" she asked the 13,000 attendees at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, referring to the Obama administration. "If you control oil, you control an economy. If you control money, you control commerce.

"But if you control arms, you control the people," she added. "And that is what they're trying to do.".. She charged that the administration's attack on the Second Amendment was also an assault on the nation's "foundational values and tradition. "They are not right when they preach tolerance and free speech," Palin said. "So when a kid at school is cursing away like any character in any [Quentin] Tarantino movie, no one bats an eye. But when a kid says a prayer in school, these hypocrites lose their minds. Source: NewsMax, read it all here.
Palin also explained the three bracelets she wears every day, two of which I've known about: 1) Don't Tread on Me, 2) honoring a soldier who gave his life in Afghanistan, given to Palin by his widow and the third, a bracelet celebrating 1791, the year the Bill of Rights was ratified.

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie's Notebook

Another 'Free Speech Zone' Intended for Students Handing Out Copies of Constitution

During an outdoor student-on-campus event, the University of Hawaii forced, or tried to force, students Anthony Vizzone and Merritt Burch, to stand in an area referred to as a "free speech zone" while handing out free copies of the U.S. Constitution. The University of Hawaii is a public university. Read about the lawsuit, and the young men involved, below.

University of Hawaii at Hilo 'Free Speech Zone'

Pull-out Quote:
“The First Amendment is not optional at public colleges, it’s the law. Enforcing restrictive free speech zone policies that prevent students from passing out copies of the Constitution is impossible to justify.” Greg Lukianoff, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
In the early days of the Bureau of Land Manangement's (BLM) assault on Cliven Bundy's cattle, the BLM tried to herd Bundy supporters into a small cordoned-off area the BLM designated a "First Amendment Area," complete with a sign paid for by taxpayers.
Anthony Vizzone and Merritt Burch are members of the University of Hawaii chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. The pair of young men filed a First Amendment infringement lawsuit over the matter in federal court on Thursday. The college students contend that school administrators violated their constitutional free speech rights during an outdoor student event held on the campus in January. Student groups were reportedly permitted to set up information tables and distribute literature during the gathering. The Young Americans for Liberty members are being represented by Davis Wright Termaine, the same attorneys who represented a Modesto Junior College student who was also prohibited from handing out copies of the Constitution. The California college student won a $50,000 settlement against the school. Source: Inquisitr
Please take the time to visit Young Americans for Liberty's website, which is "libertarian-leaning," and seeking to "mobilize young people committed to winning on principle." Look around and introduce your children to "winning on principle."

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie's Notebook

Sunday, April 27, 2014

MSU Anti-Israel Week at UC Irvine: Who the Hell is Loubna Qutami?

Gary Fouse


The circus is coming back to UC Irvine tomorrow, which means that the Muslim Student Union will be up at the crack of dawn setting up their tent mock wall on Ring Road. In fact, it will be the "new improved" mock wall after a weekend of refurbishing the old one at the Islamic Center of Southern California, courtesy of head imam and man of peace, Muzammil Siddiqi.

Unfortunately, it looks like there are no headliners this year, unless they are planning to pop Amir Abdel Malik Ali out of a wedding cake as a last minute surprise. In fact, the only announced speaker thus far is somebody named Loubna Qutami of something called al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, whatever that is. (The only Palestinian policy I am aware of is suicide bombs.)

And who is Loubna Qutami, you ask? I didn't know myself, so I went back in the historical archives to find out.

Digging deeper, we find that al Shabaka is populated with all kinds of rag-tag "illuminaries", like UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, Electric Intifada  founder Ali Abunimah, and San Francisco State University professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who has gained recent notoriety as the academic mentor of Palestinian students who have been fantasizing about murdering Israeli soldiers.

Same old fertilizer, same old weeds, as they always say.

Of course, the little rascals in the MSU like to play their cards close to the vest, and I suspect they may pull a surprise out of the hat at the last minute just to keep us off balance someone like say, Norman Finkelstein, perhaps.

Or how about the star of last year's show, the last angry man from Israel, Miko "My Father was an Israeli General" Peled, fresh off his star performance at the Coronado Public Library?


On second thought, Miko doesn't like to be videotaped.

Pretty disappointing lineup, if you ask me.

I got it! How about Donald Sterling? He probably doesn't like Jews either.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Confronting Militant Islam: Time to Criticize Our Own

Gary Fouse

I have thought long and hard before composing this piece because I don't like to air dirty laundry in front of our enemies, who for purposes of this essay, are the militant Islamists who seek to impose their values upon the rest of us-one way or the other. It's hard because I am going to criticize people who should be on our side, and in some cases, are definitely on our side.

As I have often said, Christians and Jews need to stand together to face the Islamist threat (Note: I did not say Muslim threat. I said Islamist threat. There is a distinction.) Unfortunately, we don't. On the Christian side, it is sickening to see entire national churches that have aligned themselves with the Palestinian cause and march hand in hand with those who want to destroy the Jewish state of Israel. Need I mention the Presbyterian Church USA and the Methodist Church UK? How about the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, where Pastor Ed Bacon laments about "Evangelical Zionists", equating them with those who carried out the Inquisition and Holocaust? (Yes, I personally heard him say it. Here it is. It is at the one hour mark in the video.) I have come to the conclusion that this is not about what they consider justice. It is anti-Semitism.

Then there are the interfaith groups, which include Christians, Jews and Muslims. On the surface, they seem admirable, especially in America, where we believe in accepting all religions. Surely, some of them are well intentioned on all sides. However, the few that I have witnessed consist of gullible or progressive Jewish rabbis and Christian pastors combined with  dissembling imams. Those are little more than exercises in indoctrination taking advantage of our natural instinct to see the best in our fellow man. Incredibly, I have met a lot of Jewish people who seem to have never even heard of the Holocaust. Try to fight anti-Semitism and point out Islamic anti-Semitism, and you make as many Jewish enemies as Muslim enemies. I can personally attest to that.

Take the Anti Defamation League, for example. They will speak out when the anti-Semites are skinheads, neo-Nazis, or Aryan Brotherhood types. But while they are looking under the bed for those folks, Israel's neighbors are trying to kick down the front door, while Muslim immigrants in Europe are literally driving European Jews out of their respective countries. Suffice to say, the ADL is usually missing in action when anti-Semitism comes from Islamic quarters, and that includes on American university campuses. The Jewish Federation? In many parts of the country (like Orange County), they are part of the problem as is Hillel depending on what the local chapters are. It is a case of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil when it comes to anti-Semitism on university campuses arising out of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I should add that in the case of Hillel, while I leave it up to the individual Jewish college student to make his or her own decision when it comes to these issues, I expect the adult leadership to be active and speak out when anti-Semitism raises its ugly head on a college campus. Instead, too many simply tell the students to stand down, telling the public that Jewish life is thriving on campus, pointing out all the wonderful social events going on, and in the case of UC Irvine, pointing with pride to I-Fest, a one-week festival featuring signs telling people that Israel invented cell phone technology, belly dancing, and hookah stands. Great. That is Hillel at UC Irvine.

But there is one other issue I would like to address, and this goes to the so-called counter-jihad movement in the US, of which I consider myself a part. Like everybody else, we have our differences and squabbles (though nothing like the Sunnis and Shia), and I admit I have been no exception at times. I will not name any names here, but there are some people who are at the top of our movement, people who are nationally known, people who are doing great and courageous work, people whom I respect and support, but who need to stop and do some self examination. All too often, some of these people tend to get swelled heads and inflated egos because of their fame and look down at the little folks in the movement forgetting who they are dealing with.

I strongly suspect that some of these people who are flying around the country giving speeches see their audience as nothing more than fans who come to listen to their speeches, shake hands, buy their books, get an autograph, and have their picture taken with a famous person. Do they know that many of these people are in the trenches fighting the battles at public meetings and universities, writing letters to the newspapers, protesting, complaining to cowardly university administrators, confronting militant Islamist speakers and stealth jihadists when they make speaking appearances, videotaping and documenting hate speech, and in many cases providing the information that the big shots run with? In many cases, do they even know who their local resources are around the country when they appear in these locales? I don't think they do.

Some of these people need to stop and take a gut check. We don't need arrogance and big egos. In the end, it is counter-productive to our common cause.

Of course, these are not the greatest problems. The bigger problem is that we currently have a government that is not protecting us from militant Islam. But that is the subject for another discussion.

Louis Palme's Response to Complaints About 9-11 Memorial Video

Gary Fouse

Hat tip Annaqed

This past week, certain leading Muslim leaders including Professor Akbar Ahmed, CAIR's Nihad Awad and MPAC's Salam Al Marayati, voiced their displeasure at a video that is being featured at the 9-11 Memorial Museum, which refers to Islamic jihadists etc. They are concerned that uninformed people might get the impression that Islam itself was to blame for the attacks.

Louis Palme, writing in,  responds by posting the farewell letter found in 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta's luggage. I think it is highly instructive to read Atta's words.

So are 1.6 billion Muslims to blame for 9-11? No. On the other hand, I think the blood of those 3,000 Americans who died on 9-11 gives us every right to examine and discuss the ideology that drove them. CAIR, MPAC, and Professor Akbar Ahmed can disown Mohammad Atta all they want and try to isolate and pin all the blame on an organization called al Qaeda. But Al Qaeda is not THE problem; it is only a manifestation of the problem. The 9-11 hijackers did not commit those atrocities in the name of  stopping global warming.

I as a non-Muslim will not be so presumptuous as to go along with the liberal and politically-correct mantra that Atta and his fellow hijackers did not understand their own religion. At some point, we have to take our enemies at their word. Louis Palme has figured that out. Too bad so many others have not.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ph.D. English Professor Takes Common Core High School Tests and Comments

Rebecca Steinitz, a parent with impressive credentials in education (Ph.D. in English) and a supporter of Common Core, wrote an open letter to the Obama's comparing what her daughter and excellent student, Eva, found about Common Core testing, that Obama's daughter, Sasha, wouldn't know about, as she is apparently not required to take the same tests. The short story is that this mother and educator has seen the "quality and rigor of Eva's schoolwork," under Common Core, but believes testing under PARCC [Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers] is a mess.

Not Eva

Rebecca Steinitz, the mother of Eva and a literacy consultant in urban high schools, a writer and an editor, previously the director of the High School Program at Lesley University's School of Education, and an English Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University directing the Freshman Writing Program gave an example of a question (read it here) that her daughter thought "crazy," "a stupid, impossible test." Eva, an "excellent student and an avid reader," made a C on the test.

What I find interesting is, Mrs. Steinitz's took some of the tests herself:

I have a Ph.D. in English, I’ve been in college and high school classrooms for over 20 years, and for much of that time I’ve trained and coached high school English teachers. I was shocked that the ninth grade test included an excerpt from Bleak House, a Dickens novel that is usually taught in college. I got seven out of 36 multiple choice questions wrong on the eleventh grade test. And I had no idea what to do with this essay prompt on the third grade test:

Old Mother West Wind and the Sandwitch both try to teach important lessons to characters in the stories. Write an essay that explains how Old Mother West Wind’s and the Sandwitch’s words and actions are important to the plots of the stories. Use what you learned about the characters to support your essay.
Would Sasha have been able to figure this out in third grade? And, more importantly, is there any reason a third grader should have to figure out an essay prompt this broad and abstract?

According to "Achieve," an organization deeply involved in Common Core, " most high school students need remedial English help in college," including those entering a two-year college.
There is no way to look at this problem without facing the fact that students are routinely passed on to the next grade when they cannot read.

Passing failing students is every day life in the U.S. We've been doing it for years. Are teacher's forced to be "politically correct" and pass these kids on?

If teacher's have not taught a generation of children to read, how will Common Core change that reality with the next generation?

How Dare They?

Gary Fouse

It seems that Islamic groups like CAIR and MPAC cannot even let us have our 9-11 memorial museum without them dictating what can or cannot be said about why we suffered 9-11 in the first place. The below article by the Investigative Project on Terrorism has a link to the letter written by slimeballs like Nihad Awad and Salam al Marayati.

What an outrage. How dare these arrogant Islamists try to censor accounts of 9-11. This is our hallowed ground. If these clowns had their way, we would just blame 9-11 on George W Bush, Dick Cheney and the Mossad.

This would be akin to letting Joseph Goebbels preview and make changes to Schindler's List. Yes, let's tell the story of the Holocaust but remove all  mention of Germans or Nazis. And while you're at it, take down those swastika images.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

BDS Rejected (Big Time) at SDSU

Gary Fouse

Hat tip JJ Surbeck of Training and Education About the Middle East

Yet another boycott resolution at a university has gone down this time at San Diego State University. JJ Surbeck of Training and Education About the Middle East was at the 6-hour session last night and has a report.

"Well, that went rather well. After much finagling, the Student for Justice in Palestine had managed today (Wednesday, April 23, 2014) to bring in front of the Associated Student (AS) Council an anti-Israel resolution targeting the usual US companies “supporting Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians, and … bla-bla-bla”. One can admire the anti-Israel groups for their good organizational level and their relentless enthusiasm at doing nothing more constructive than stirring up hatred against Israel, but one thing they lack is imagination. It’s the same stale, accusatory, slogan-laced, excessively hyperbolic language used in every one of their resolutions, coast to coast. No one on the AS council yawned openly, but the results clearly showed that they didn’t buy it. If anything, a majority of the senators expressed their distaste for the excessive language, the lack of supporting evidence and the overall sloppy work of the resolution writers. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The whole event started at 3:30 pm and ended around 9:00 pm, which overall was a record in speed compared to the almost all-nighters that had happened before at UCSD and other campuses.

Most of the afternoon was filled with a long string of statements made by proponents and opponents of the resolution. We had been informed that the time allotted was to be 2 minutes, only to learn upon entering into the meeting hall that it had been cut down to 1 minute! That was ridiculous. Try to make a cogent statement in 1 minute, let alone one meant to sway the opinion of on-the-fence senators! There was one way around this absurd rule, however, and that was when someone who had signed up to speak yielded his or her time to another speaker, allowing the latter to accumulate precious minutes. So some speakers ended up with 4 or 5 minutes, which is a lot better than just 1.

Be that as it may, the voices for both sides were roughly equal, and the pro-Israel students made excellent statements that balanced out the other, more emotional tones of the pro-Palestinians. Two professors spoke against. So did yours truly. On the other side, local anti-Zionist Miko Peled spoke and stayed until the end. The result must have been a bitter pill for him to swallow, not that I feel in any way sorry for him given the usual lies he presented (he enjoyed a 4 minute period). Oh, I almost forgot, Graubart spoke, too, and even if he didn’t make an impression, he of course declared himself in support of the resolution. I might add also that the pro-Israel students had the backing of StandWithUs, Hillel, ADL and T.E.A.M., all represented in the room, together with several members of the community (who are to be thanked for having made the trek to SDSU for the occasion). Even though by and large they did a great job on their own without needing assistance, they knew they could count on our support and that they were not left to fight this battle alone.

Then came the crucial part. One of the council member who didn’t seem amused by this blatant attempt by SJP to hijack the SDSU AS for their narrow purposes pointed out that he had examined the resolution carefully and in particular checked every one of the links they had provided as “evidence” in support of their statements. And he had thus discovered that most were either faulty or inaccurate, or came from web sites with questionable reliability or reputation. One of the pro-Palestinian council members then dragged the council in a long, drawn-out procedural battle to “find” more reliable links. This went on until one of the pro-Israel students pointed out that maybe it wasn’t the council’s job to improve poorly drafted resolutions submitted for its approval! The council didn’t act on this fundamental remark immediately, but eventually it decided to vote against several more attempts to “improve” the content of the resolution, and finally decided to vote on the resolution itself. 

While a few senators voted by simply saying “no”, most took their time to explain their votes. A clear majority defined itself quickly as opposed, most based on the fact that they found the text of the resolution offensive, crude and one-sided. In other words, the SJP shot themselves in the foot with their usual extremism. In the end, the verdict was without appeal: 16 against, 3 in favor and 3 abstentions. To call this therefore a crushing defeat for the BDS is an accurate depiction of what happened. Let’s note that while the pro-Palestinian side was loud, clapping when it was not supposed to, and would have undoubtedly erupted in screams of joy if they had won, there was none of that on the part of the pro-Israel participants. It was very dignified. The satisfaction of having seen reason prevail among the AS members was its own, highly satisfactory reward. 

Predictably, the Students for Justice in Palestine tried to mask their disappointment by clamoring that they would come back again and again until they have this resolution passed. We should take them at their word. They will indeed try again and again. But that does not mean that the next AS will be more sympathetic to their views and tactics, on the contrary. If anything, this council, like many others around the country, showed signs of irritation and antagonism at having to deal with this nonsense year after year when in fact it shouldn’t even be discussed by the AS since it doesn’t fall within the parameters of its mandate. With enough lobbying on our part, we can nurture the hope that the day will come when the AS will flatly refuse to let the pro-Palestinian students attempt to hijack it to their cause. The poisonous impact these attempts has on the campus population would therefore be nipped in the bud. It’s not impossible, and we should start working towards that goal right now."

J.J. Surbeck
Executive Director

Training and Education About the Middle East
Tel. 760-613-9993


It  appears that the SJP's tactics have worn thin at SDSU. I note that Miko Peled, that arrogant Israeli guy who hates his own country was there. Apparently, he lives full-time in the SoCal area now having turned his back on Israel. I understand he is speaking at the Coronado (SD) Library tomorrow morning at 10 am about his "struggle for peace." If you are in the area, drop in and give him my regards. Warning: He has a short fuse. He is not struggling for peace. He is firmly aligned with the forces that want to destroy the Jewish state.

And how about Professor Jonathan Graubart, who proclaims himself to be pro-Israel yet shows up to speak on behalf of the BDS? That also should speak volumes to his students about the supposedly objective and balanced lecture series he is putting on at SDSU, which recently featured Richard Falk, Israel-hater and 9-11 Truther.

SDSU appears to be one campus where the truth about the SJP and their "adult" supporters is sinking in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Home Mortgages, Business Loans Still Slow in US, But Palestinians Need Homes, Businesses So We Gave Them Millions

U.S. tax payers sent $313 million tax dollars to Palestine to "fund" mortgages for Arabs, and another $110 million in loans to small and medium-sized businesses on the West Bank. The Fed has been printing $85 billion every month for a very long time to shore up the U.S. economy. We are told most of it is going to banks, yet lenders are not exactly generous to American businesses or home owners with our inflation-generating monetary policy. Look at this:

“Despite the confluence of promising signs,” write Peter Eavis and Jessica Silver-Greenberg today, “little in the vast system that provides Americans with mortgages has returned to normal since the 2008 financial crisis, leaving a large swath of people virtually shut out of the market.”

Of course, mortgage availability was way too lax in 2006-7, and the new index doesn’t have historical data going back before the end of 2010, so we can’t really see what was normal before things went crazy. But anecdotally, it’s much harder to get a mortgage now than it used to be.
In the NYT article, the Center for American Progress’s Julia Gordon says that “a typical American family” with a credit score in the low 700s is “being left out”: that’s a very long way from subprime, which is what you’re considered to be when your credit score is below 620. Source: Reuters January 2014
We have a program for these financial ventures. Of course we do. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is "federal." Cute, huh? Sticking that word "Private" into the name.

“OPIC provides financial products, such as loans and guaranties; political risk insurance; and support for investment funds, all of which help American businesses expand into emerging markets.”
The GAO report released Tuesday described some of the actions OPIC is taking in the emerging market of the Palestinian territories...

“OPIC has committed to lend about $313 million; PIF [Palestine Investment Fund] has committed about $72 million, and two banks account for the balance of the committed lending,” says the GAO. “However, as of April 2013, OPIC and PIF had not yet disbursed any funds. Second, OPIC and PIF are co-guarantors in a Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) program in the West Bank, guaranteeing up to $110 million and $50 million in loans, respectively, to nine regional banks to support lending to small-and medium-sized enterprises.”
The PIF is an entity that was created by the Palestinian Authority president.
How many rockets did $313 million buy? How many sophisticated tunnels into Israel did $423 million buy?

At least in America we are paying attention to credit scores. That's a good thing. Lenders were forced by the government to give mortgages to home buyers with no credit, with no down payment required, for homes they knew they could not afford. When the industry went bust, those "buyers" walked away. Didn't have a dime in the house, and didn't lose a dime, leaving neighbors with substantial equity in their homes bereft and living close to homes left vacant, in disrepair and their own homes valued less than their unpaid mortgage.

The monies above are in addition to the $426 million in aid slated for Palestine, bringing the total to about $850 million in 2013. The budget for Palestine in 2014 is $440 million.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) report is here. The direct dollars and loans came from the U.S. State Department.

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie's Notebook

Richard Falk at SDSU

Gary Fouse

Richard Falk spoke earlier this month at San Diego State University as part of lecture series hosted by Professor Jonathan Graubart. The event was videotaped by JJ Surbeck of Training and Education About the Middle East (San Diego). This was one in a series of speaking appearances in Professor Graubart's class. The first hour was open only to the class and the second hour was open to the public. Surprisingly, and probably by design, Falk did not speak about the Israel-Palestinian conflict-at least in the second hour. Below is Mr Surbeck's report verbatim.

Well, the big event so many people were waiting for finally arrived: the infamous Richard Falk in person showed up at SDSU on Monday afternoon April 7, 2014, at the invitation of Jonathan Graubart, a professor of political sciences. Falk's reputation as an obsessive anti-Israel voice preceded him and prompted a lot of people to complain to SDSU President Elliott Hirschman to step in and rescind Graubart’s invitation. These calls were (obviously) ignored. To appreciate why there was such a brouhaha over his appearance there, we need to remember why Falk is held in such disregard. The following is a limited list of his many offensive comments or actions:

- In 2013, he blamed American policy, including its alliance with Israel, for the Boston Marathon Bombings. For that he was widely condemned by U.S., UN, and European officials.

- In 2011:
- he publicly endorsed Gilad Atzmon’s “The Wandering Who?”, a book widely criticized as anti-Semitic.
- he was condemned by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay for posting an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog.
- he wrote that there was “an apparent cover-up” by the U.S. government over 9/11 and praised David Ray Griffin, a leading proponent of the claim that 9/11 was an inside job. His remarks were condemned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and many others.
- he accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Palestinians in East Jerusalem, when fact the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem has grown by 280% over the last four decades.

- In 2010:
- he endorsed the one-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, meaning the elimination of Israel and its replacement with a majority Palestinian state. This would end Jewish self-determination, in violation of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states All peoples have the right of self-determination.”
- even the Palestinian Authority itself called Richard Falk “a partisan of Hamas” and called on him to resign as UN Special Rapporteur.

- In 2007, he falsely accused Israel of planning a holocaust, or genocide, of Palestinians.

You get the idea. Truth and fairness do not belong in Richard Falk’s vocabulary or even universe.

The room where he was to speak was packed, every seat taken, and people literally lined the walls. Clearly there was a sense of expectation, and Graubart himself looked a little nervous. He opened the lecture by complaining that StandWithUs was being unfair to him and was clearly against freedom of speech because it tried to have the event cancelled. To quote him exactly, he said the following:

“…. The first hour is just me and the students going over class material. We’re not plotting anything sinister those first 45 minutes as one outside group has suggested. You can ask the students. No cabal. …. So, before introducing our speaker Dr. Richard Falk, I feel compelled to make a few comments on a campaign launched by an advocacy group that bills itself as “pro-Israel” against my inviting Dr. Falk to speak. And I put “pro-Israel” in quotes because I consider myself pro-Israel as well as pro-US, and don’t find what the group is advocating as pro-Israel. Although in its press release the group claims to be “unequivocally committed to upholding free speech and academic freedom”, its demands express the exact opposite message. It called upon San Diego State to either cancel the lecture, move it off campus, or change the format to a debate, something that’s not asked of any of the other speakers for this lecture series. To justify this call for censorship, the group cited a litany of attacks from others, selective quotations and interpretations, and a blurb Dr. Falk wrote for one book. As you know, Dr. Falk has given blurbs during his long career for hundreds, maybe thousands of books. What I found most striking, though, in the alert from this group is that at no point did they mention any of Dr. Falk’s many scholarly writings, or even the title of today’s talk, which is “In pursuit of human rights and global justice: hopes and frustrations”. Presumably the group’s view is, because they don’t like Falk’s views on Palestine-Israel, he shouldn’t be allowed to speak about any topic. I thank however the SDSU leadership, my colleagues, the SDSU student body, and many members of the community for their kind messages of support. And the fact they stand with us in supporting academic freedom, opposing character assassination and rejecting efforts at intimidation and distortions from outsiders.” Interesting but not at all surprising that Graubart didn’t see the irony of his own statement, questioning as he did StandWithUs’ own free speech rights to question his abuse of free speech and academic freedom.

Before proceeding to introduce Falk, he then made a very surprising comment, however, to inform the audience that Falk would not be speaking about Israel, but would follow the theme of the lecture’s title, i.e. "Building a Global Framework for Human Rights and Justice: Looking Back, Moving Forward”. Specifically, he said the following: “With that said, moving to today’s topic. It’s not about Palestine-Israel, but it’s about the final section of our class, which is reviewing the global historical record of promoting human rights and trying to prevent mass atrocities, and discussing what role the United States has played in this enterprise. We’re thinking about the moral responsibility. I have invited four speakers on the topic…. So there are few people more qualified than Dr. Falk to reflect on this topic.” He went on to paint Falk as a staunch defender of human rights, which is of course to be understood as a defender of human rights only when said human right are violated by either the US or Israel, and not at all from the myriad of other violators around the world."

That’s a trick Graubart has pulled before: two years ago he had invited Judge Richard Goldstone, of the famous report fame, and everyone was of course expecting the discussion to swirl around said report, especially in view of the fact that Goldstone had just recanted the conclusions that had been written under his name, but Graubart stunned everyone by declaring right off the bat that Goldstone would not be discussing the Godlstone Report!!! Why invite Goldstone then if it was not to talk about his report? With a sense of déjà vu, it became clear that this is one of Graubart’s manipulative gimmicks: invite a controversial figure (the more controversial, the better, since that spurs debates among the students, or so Graubart assures us, even if some of these individuals are loathed by the whole world), but then eliminate any possibility of real debate about the topics these guests are known for when the public audience comes in! And he’s the one complaining about censorship? His abuse of the whole process is shameful.

With that clarified, just as Goldstone had done, giving an interesting lecture on his otherwise rich career in the field of Human Rights, so did Falk, who started right off by reminding us that today was the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the hideous Rwandan genocide during which some 800,000 people were killed, most hacked to death with machetes. Starting with this grim memory, he then went on to describe in a relatively balanced way the conflicting forces at play regarding the necessity of intervention when large-scale massacres and genocides are known to happen. His well-known anti-Americanism peaked up a few times but he remained contained and managed to come across as a reasonable judge of the situation of human rights in the world. Most shocking was the fact that he stayed carefully away from the Israeli-Arab conflict, as announced by Graubart. Instead, he peppered his presentations with references to nebulous notions of “liberal humanism”, “global humanism” and “humanitarianism”, whatever that may mean. At one point he explained that they refer to “a system of laws that treats all equally”. Really? Given the remarkably unequal way he’s spent his life applying this lofty notion to Israel, it would have to be redefined as “Falk humanism: good for all except Israel". This was grotesque.

Nevertheless, the plot hacked by Graubart overall succeeded: Falk spoke fort an hour, in a slow, at times halting but deliberate tone that made him sound off as a reasonable man genuinely dedicated to the cause of human rights, or at least that’s the impression anyone not aware of his career highlights was left with. He projected his best Mr. Jekyll side, while keeping his Dr. Hyde, amply and repeatedly revealed during his six-year career at the UN Human Rights Commission (and long before) in check.

Then came the questions. One of Graubart’s students started off by asking an excellent one, i.e. “How do you deal with a situation like North Korea?”. To which Falk responded vague generalities along the lines that we live in a world that is state-centered, and there are regimes that are oppressive and not amenable to transformation, and the best we can do is hope that there will be “internal political changes to challenge the status quo”. With that highly unsatisfactory answer, he veered off into reminiscing how he visited South Africa just before Mandela was released, to point out that no one expected the end of Apartheid to happen as it did as a result of “soft power”. Why deal with a difficult case like North Korea when you can have so much fun harping exclusively and without impunity on Israel alone?

I pointed out the contradictions between the two sides of his persona mentioned above (although I didn’t use the Jekyll/Hyde analogy), and asked him how he managed to reconcile the two. He took it in stride and gently reassured us that there was no conflict since he’s been merely “following his conscience”. To be exact, he said: “… Anyone with a 10% open mind would come to the same conclusions regarding the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as I have reached. But these issues, from the perspectives of international humanitarian law, are so clear that… as special rapporteur, as well as I’ve done to be an honest witness to what I perceived of that reality. Others of course would perceive it differently. I can only report as I have understood the issues and bring the relevant thoughts to bear on the facts. So I don’t find an inconsistency between what I have tried to express in this lecture and the kind of views that I hold over the conflict. As I said in the beginning, my vision of the future is a just and sustainable peace between equals, but it has to be based on acknowledgement of Palestinian rights, denied and deprived now for too long” . In other words, no he doesn’t see any contradiction between stating lofty goals about human rights around the world (even if he can’t do anything about them, like North Korea and dozens of other murderous regimes), and hammering mercilessly one of the few countries in the world that is actually paying more attention to human rights than anyone else. What a joke.

Another questioner, who identified herself as the mother of a student, asked essentially what it would take for action to be taken whenever genocides start or are even allowed to be under way. To that Falk had nothing better to say than pointing out the fact (accurate as it is) that without political will to do something, no one will do anything. A rather meek and discouraging answer coming from a figure allegedly recognized as a champion of human rights.

And finally, an obviously knowledgeable speaker in the audience asked how Falk could support an institution like the United Nations Human Rights Commission, where he was special Rapporteur on the situation of the Palestinians for the last six years, where the worst violators of human rights in the world sit without ever being bothered by a resolution condemning their behavior because all the attention is deflected from them to focus on Israel’s alleged violations. To that Falk said - surprisingly enough - that there was no doubt there was a massive manipulation from countries violating human rights to deflect attention from themselves. He went on to explain that one needed to remember that it was because Israel was created by the international community, exclusive of any other (he was referring to the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine), therefore that same international community has a special responsibility to right the wrongs that resulted for the Palestinians. The same questioner replied (correctly) that it is false to present the creation of Israel as unique when in fact all the countries of the Middle East were created primarily by the colonial powers, to which Falk responded weakly by saying that it was a matter of interpretation. Right….

So the real question to ask after watching (some might want to say enduring) this theater is: what was Graubart hoping to achieve by inviting not only Falk, but even worse, namely Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, better known by its acronym ISM, whose declared goal is to go on campuses and try to lure young Americans to join them and become human shields between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists. What is exactly the pedagogical value in inviting this kind of people on campus? It seems clear that Graubart enjoys being a provocateur, stirring the pot at every opportunity, but doing it in such a way that even if he invites people with questionable morals and motives, they come off as relatively moderate, thus undercutting the accusation that he invites extremists.

But no one should be fooled. If Graubart is so convinced of the sacrosanct character of free speech and academic freedom, he would have no problem inviting opponents of the views held by the people he brings to SDSU in public debates that leave equal time for cogent comments to be shared among the different speakers (at the same time, not separately). Anything less leaves him open to the deserved accusation that he is manipulating the academic freedom he is enjoying to brainwash his students in the political directions that he favors, and everyone knows what they are (hint: they are not on the right, or even in the center).

The tactics used by Graubart and professors like him all around the country have been well deconstructed and documented in a remarkable book called “The Uncivil University - Intolerance on College Campuses”, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in this crucial issue (link to Amazon: ).

The question we're left with is what is the community willing to do to rein Graubart’s excesses, as well as others like him. Nothing, as usual (you know, let’s not rock the boat)? Or shall we gather together a task force with the goal of not allowing ideologically-motivated professors like him to dominate the debate regarding the Middle East? He is entitled to his opinion like all of us, but he has no right to manipulate the system the way he does with impunity to instill his political views on class after class of unsuspecting (and trusting) students.

I videotaped the whole lecture. If anyone is interested in viewing it, let me know (it is amateur work, but you can hear the speakers).

J.J. Surbeck
Executive Director

Training and Education About the Middle East
Tel. 760-613-9993