Tag Archives: Terrorism

ISLAM / ISIS and Extremists criticized as not ‘Nation of Islam’ but ‘Anti-Muslim’

ISLAM / Where are the moderate Muslims speaking out? If you ignore anything said by a Muslim then you probably have heard nada, zip, zilch.

Last week the highest cleric in Egypt, the Grand Mufti, unconditionally condemned ISIS and extremism.

On September 10th, the American Muslim community held a press conference that strongly condemned extremists, and specifically ISIS. They also pledged their love and respect for the American ideal … being an ideal for all.

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PRIVACY‬ / Obama’s ‎DNI‬ Spy Chief Reverses Course. Now Favors NSA‬ Reform aka the ‘USA Freedom Act’

Bill4DogCatcher.com(NextGov) The ‘USA Freedom Act’, originally introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner last year, would end the government’s ability to collect bulk metadata of phone records and usher in a series of new privacy and transparency measures designed to prevent abuses at the nation’s intelligence agencies. It would bar the government from retaining metadata—the numbers and time stamps of calls but not their actual content—and instead require phone companies to keep those records, which would be given to intelligence agencies after the government earned approval for data searches from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Read full story.

Rhetorical question:
So does this mean that they found a loophole?

THE USA FREEDOM ACT (from Rep. Sensenbrenner’s webpage)

Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act
H.R. 3361/ S. 1599
Purpose: To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.

End bulk collection of Americans’ communications records

• The USA Freedom Act ends bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
• The bill would strengthen the prohibition on “reverse targeting” of Americans—that is, targeting a foreigner with the goal of obtaining communications involving an American.
• The bill requires the government to more aggressively filter and discard information about Americans accidentally collected through PRISM and related programs.

Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

• The USA Freedom Act creates an Office of the Special Advocate (OSA) tasked with promoting privacy interests before the FISA court’s closed proceedings. The OSA will have the authority to appeal decisions of the FISA court.
• The bill creates new and more robust reporting requirements to ensure that Congress is aware of actions by the FISC and intelligence community as a whole.
• The bill would grant the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority to investigate issues related to privacy and national security.

Increase Transparency

• The USA Freedom Act would end secret laws by requiring the Attorney General to publicly disclose all FISC decisions issued after July 10, 2003 that contain a significant construction or interpretation of law.
• Under the bill, Internet and telecom companies would be allowed to publicly report an estimate of (1) the number of FISA orders and national security letters received, (2) the number of such orders and letters complied with, and (3) the number of users or accounts on whom information was demanded under the orders and letters.
• The bill would require the government to make annual or semiannual public reports estimating the total number of individuals and U.S. persons that were subject to FISA orders authorizing electronic surveillance, pen/trap devices, and access to business records.

National Security Letters

• The USA Freedom Act adopts a single standard for Section 215 and NSL protection to ensure the Administration doesn’t use different authorities to support bulk collection. It also adds a sunset date to NSLs requiring that Congress reauthorize the government’s authority thereby ensuring proper congressional review.

Read More about The USA Freedom Act

 

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Nelson Mandela the Terrorist?

Nelson Mandela the Terrorist?

Nelson Mandela - 1990 South Africa
Nelson Mandela – 1990, South Africa

Not all of what has been written since President Mandela’s death has been about the good that came from his life. There are those that prefer to focus on why he went to prison in the first place: armed terrorism … or was he a freedom fighter? =^)

My buddy Lou D’Abbraccio gave an eloquent perspective on this and the plight of black South Africans:

“… would the country have agreed to the changes necessary to address past injustice without the threat, or the reality, of violence? That question will go unanswered; Were I in his position, I might have embraced the same tactics if that is what it took to bring about change. If he had persisted in those tactics after de Klerk ended apartheid, he would have been like any other post-colonial thug. What made Mandela different, and worthy of praise, is that when he rose to power, he did reject those tactics, and pursued reconciliation over retribution. He could have been Mugabe – but he wasn’t. In his moment, he chose to be a statesman. It doesn’t excuse the rest, no – but it is worthy of praise nonetheless.”

Well said, Lou.

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Truth in Spending: The Case for a War Tax

A Guest Blog by Aaron Alghawi

Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, is widely regarded as the father of capitalism, as well as a strong influence on the founding fathers of the United States. He believed in a war tax and once said that the willingness of citizens to be taxed is the greatest test of public support for war. I agree with such a philosophy. In a time of record deficits and debt, everything must be on the table in terms of cuts. But with a sluggish economy, we do need to raise revenues. Some 50% of Americans pay little or no income taxes. This must change. But could we have a more democratic tax system–for semantics I mean one based on political opinion at the individual level?

According to this USA today article,  the FY 2010 cost of our failed nationbuilding in Afghanistan was approximately $105 billion.According to a March 2011 ABC/Washington Post poll, which was quoted in this National Review post by Katrina Trinko:

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today. Sixty-four percent think the war hasn’t been worth it, with 49 percent agreeing strongly.” And only “Thirty-one percent remain convinced that the war was worth fighting.”

For simplicity’s sake, lets just assume 2/3 of Americans oppose the war. If we had a balanced budget amendment and were required to use such a tax to continue operations in Afghanistan the coffers would dry up pretty quick unless it was a significant tax. If the 1/3 or so of Americans that support the Afghan war each donated $1000 extra to the IRS this year, we’d still be a few billion short of the cost necessary to pay. Based on our current population it’d be about $102,915,179,333.33

So, lets up it to $1100 each. That way we’d have a few billion extra to help with making sure the troops were well protected, or to pay off various war debts we have.

I’m against our continued involvement, but if I was rich, I’d make the donation for fiscal sanity’s sake!

I’m guessing not all of these pro-war people are wealthy. Since its 1/3 of Americans, let’s assume a normal distribution meaning a per capita income of around $47,000. That $1100 tax would hit pretty hard at your pocketbook on such an income. My father makes more than that and he feels the difference in such a tax hike or cut.

The Dems want tax hikes, but only on the “rich”. I say instead hike taxes with a fee-for-service concept. If you support the war, you pay an extra $1100 regardless of income. If you don’t want the government to cut your entitlement programs, be prepared to pay more money! Somebody else can do the math on those and then get back to you!

I bet when faced with such tax hikes, that 1/3 of Americans would start to shift toward opposing the war and all those people saying “don’t touch my [insert imperial federal government program here]” would start to reconsider the benefits of those programs vs. the cost. Americans lately seem pretty opposed to the national debt and like to call for cuts, until it touches something that personally affects them. There should be no sacred cows!

You can find Aaron on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheOnlyAaronAlghawi


Bill4DogCatcher welcomes guest blogs on items of interest to the dogs in our community. Your blog item should be thoughtful and facts should have a basis. Appearance on Bill4DogCatcher.com does not represent an endorsement of either the idea or the content — but obviously I find your thought or thesis interesting or it wouldn’t be appearing. DUE TO COPYRIGHT issues: I really need your permission to publish a specific item on Bill4DogCatcher. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts please send an email to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com and send your item or tell me that I have permission to include a specific article from your blog, etc.

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WAR | Britain to compensate ex-Guantanamo detainees alleging abuse

The British government announced on November 16th that it will pay
several million dollars in compensation in an out-of-court settlement
to some former British Guantanamo Bay detainees. This follows British
Prime Minister David Cameron’s July inquiry into Britain’s role in
torture since the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Rather than risk
further discussion that focuses on Britain’s role the settlement
essentially silences the former detainees from taking their stories to
the public.

B4DC >> You don’t lose your rights just because you were in the wrong
place at the wrong time. If you are guilty of a crime then you should
be charged. If you are charged then then there should be proof offered
to substantiate the claim.

B4DC >> We cannot be protecting our ‘values’ if we are willing to
ignore those values when we want a predetermined outcome.

B4DC >> When all is said and done, these individuals lost years of
their lives and in the end … there appears to have been no case
against them other than wrong place at the wrong time.

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St. Nicolas, Ground Zero, and the $60,000,000 Government Funded Church

By Bill Golden
Bill4DogCatcher.com

Much has been made of who is financing the building of the mosque that is not really a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. The Cordoba House, as the mosque that is not a mosque is called, is estimated to cost $100,000,000 — none of it coming from U.S. government, state or local governments. And so far none of the funding for the building of Cordoba House has been raised either.

But what if I told you that there is a church just blocks away from the Cordoba House that is being built with taxpayer money at the cost of $60,000,000 or approximately $857,142 per family that attends the church (1). The church is St. Nicolas, a Greek Orthodox church.

The blogosphere is alive with how New York’s government is favoring Cordoba House but bureaucratically blocking the rebuilding of  ‘a Christian church’ damaged in 9/11. Most stories do not even give the name of the church and offer even fewer details as to how the rebuilding of this Christian church is being bureaucratically blocked by New York.

About St. Nicolas:

  • If you visit the church’s website you will find that they are still collecting money for their own rebuilding of the current church and there is no complaint about any roadblocks being imposed by New York.
  • There has been a general design plan for the rebuilding of St. Nicolas, but that is part of the Twin Towers and included within the 9/11 Memorial Funding. The construction is part of a campus concept; change in one part of the design affects other parts. View rebuilding of the Twin Towers via live webcam.
  • St. Nicolas appears to be open only for weekend services and is not otherwise a functioning church offering other regularly scheduled services and community activities.
  • Some speculation and controversy exists that Cordoba House may accept some foreign funding, yet there seems to be no concern expressed that St. Nicolas has accepted foreign government funding (Greece) to rebuild and to repair the original church; Greek government funding is documented on St. Nicolas’ website.

St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church New York NY framed by the Twin Towers

THE REST OF THE STORY:

  • 2004: New York Governor Pataki pledged to rebuild St. Nicolas which was partially destroyed on 9/11 by terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. The funding is to be part of the 9/11 Memorial on the campus of the new Twin Towers.
  • 2004-2008: As planning progresses, the city of New York formally offered to spend up to $60,000,000 of taxpayer money as part of the 9/11 memorial funding. $20M was for the church and $40M was to build unique protections for the church should the new twin towers be bombed again.
  • 2008:  St. Nicolas announces a deal in July 2008 for the full $60 million of U.S. taxpayer money to design a new church six times its original size.  St. Nicolas also releases the following statement as to how FAST New York was in helping them: “It’s welcome news,” said Nicholas P. Koutsomitis, an architect who prepared the master plan for St. Nicholas. “They’re running it through very, very quickly. I hope the rest of the schedule for the job gets the same kind of attention.”
  • 2009The deal was still a go in March of 2009 — with the church getting $20 million of taxpayer money up front.
  • 2010: The deal went bad in March 2010 when St. Nicolas appears to have decided that what it really wanted to do was to move to a new location, and to rebuild using taxpayer money.
  • 2010: Fox News reported in mid-August 2010 that the church rejected New York’s offer of $60 million taxpayer dollars to rebuild where it is, instead of paying for a new church to be built elsewhere.

New York Port Authority statement (August 2010):

“St. Nicholas Orthodox Church has always had and will continue to have the right to rebuild on its original location. The question was whether public money would be spent to build a much larger church at a separate location on the site and ensuring that construction wouldn’t delay the World Trade Center further,” spokesman Stephen Sigmund said in a written statement. “On that question, we worked for many years to reach an agreement and offered up to 60 million dollars of public money to build that much larger new church. After reaching what we believed was an agreement in 2008, representatives of the church wanted even more public commitments, including unacceptable approvals on the design of the Vehicle Security Center that threatened to further delay the construction on the World Trade Center and the potential for another $20 million of public funds.”

Throughout most of the blogosphere, and even in most traditional media reporting, almost none of the above is offered in discussion.

NOTES:

1- There are approximately 70 families that belong to St. Nicolas which mathematically works out to $857,142.85 ($60M / 70 families).

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An open letter to conservatives by AmericanDad, aka Russell King

Bill4DogCatcher sez: The original version of this letter can be found here. While I may not agree with everything, the points made in this letter are largely and overwhelmingly valid criticism of the state of American conservatism in 2010.


Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You’re going to have to come up with a platform that isn’t built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party — the GOP — and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it’s tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples — by no means an exhaustive list — of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you’re going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you’ll have to start by draining this swamp:

Hypocrisy

You can’t flip out — and threaten impeachment – when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that’s centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can’t vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it’s done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) — 114 of you (at last count) did just that — and it’s even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can’t fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can’t call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they “unlawful enemy combatants” or are they “prisoners of war” at Gitmo? You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can’t refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn’t meet with you.

You can’t rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can’t rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can’t be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can’t enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can’t flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can’t complain that the president hasn’t closed Gitmo yet when you’ve campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can’t flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn’t even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed leaders of countries that are not on “kissing terms” with the US.

You can’t complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt — the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can’t attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn’t issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can’t throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when — in fact — only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can’t condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attempted terror attack on his.

You can’t mount a boycott against singers who say they’re ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he’s ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can’t cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it’s too short.

You can’t support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can’t demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can’t praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it “treasonous” under a Dem president.

You can’t propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can’t be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can’t damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you’ve paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can’t condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president’s party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can’t be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can’t vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of ‘open debate’.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it’s 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you’re taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God’s stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can’t send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can’t criticize Dems for not doing something you didn’t do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can’t decry “name calling” when you’ve been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can’t spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can’t praise the Congressional Budget Office when it’s analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it’s unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don’t.

You can’t vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don’t. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can’t call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can’t spend taxpayer money on ads against spending taxpayer money.

You can’t condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the mandates were your idea.

You can’t demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don’t.

You can’t whine that it’s unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party’s former leader admits you’ve been doing it for decades.

You can’t portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can’t complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you’ve routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain — threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented — and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can’t question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn’t object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can’t preach and try to legislate “Family Values” when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer’s wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife’s mother;

Hyperbole

You really need to disassociate with those among you who:

History

If you’re going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they’re NOT synonymous!)

You can’t cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you’ve decided you don’t like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word “terrorism” or say we’re at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you’re going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can’t just pretend historical events didn’t happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn’t make it better.)

You can’t say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from “socialist utopia”; health care reform is not “reparations”; nor does health care reform create “death panels”.

Hatred

You have to condemn those among you who:

Oh, and I’m not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we’ll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King

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