Words to Read By

Permanent Webstand V

Complete listing of all news quote pages.

Juan Williams Is Right: Political Correctness About Terrorists Must End! Michael Moore, Huffington Post, October 22, 2010.
Here's what [Faisal Shazad] said at his recent sentencing (after talking about being a droplet in a flood):
[Saladin] liberated Muslim lands... And that's what we Muslims are trying do, because you're occupying Iraq and Afghanistan... So, the past nine years the war with Muslims has achieved nothing for the U.S., except for it has waken up the Muslims for Islam. We are only Muslims trying to defend our people, honor, and land. But if you call us terrorists for doing that, then we are proud terrorists, and we will keep on terrorizing until you leave our land and people at peace.
And this is what Shahzad said when he plead guilty back in June:
I want to plead guilty, and I'm going to plead guilty 100 times over, because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.
Then there's email that Shahzad sent to a friend in 2006:
Everyone knows the current situation of Muslim World... Friends with peaceful protest! Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows? In Palestine, Afghan, Iraq, Chechnya and else where.
And then there's what Shahzad was telling friends and relatives even before that:
Mr. Shahzad had long been critical of American foreign policy. "He was always very upset about the fabrication of the W.M.D. stunt to attack Iraq and killing non-combatants such as the sons and grandson of Saddam Hussein," said a close relative. In 2003, Mr. Shahzad had been copied on a Google Groups e-mail message bearing photographs of Guantánamo Bay detainees, handcuffed and crouching, below the words "Shame on you, Bush. Shame on You."
So what do you say, Juan? Now that you have a new $2 million contract with Fox, let me come on with you for some in-depth discussions about the terrorists' real motivations. We can't let another day go by letting the PC brigade stop us from telling the truth: Terrorists aren't trying to kill us because they hate our freedom. They're killing us because we're in their countries killing them.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. If you want to understand suicide bombings, be sure to read the new book that studied every instance of it for the past 30 years. It's been used by many groups of many religions, not just Arabs and not just Muslims. And almost all such terrorism has one motivation in common: occupation by foreign militaries.
Why center-left parties are collapsing, Michael Lind, Salon.com, November 2, 2010.
The setbacks Democrats are poised to suffer in the midterm election have to be viewed in a trans-Atlantic context. The backlash against Barack Obama and the contemporary Democratic Party is part of a global wave of popular disapproval of social democratic parties that abandoned their traditional working-class constituents in order to woo bankers and professionals.

Parties or coalitions of the left hang on to control in Norway, Spain and Austria. But every major country in Europe -- Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- is now ruled by the center-right. From the Baltic to the Mediterranean, social democratic parties are crumbling.
That white working class, Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, November 3, 2010. The whole thing:
Plainly, the one mega-group in the electorate that Barack Obama has the most trouble reaching is the white working class. In the 2008 primaries, Hillary Clinton clobbered Obama in this group, which is why she defeated him in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Tuesday, it was in these states - our former industrial heartland - where the Republicans made their greatest gains.

In the nationwide exit poll, whites with no college degree favored Republican over Democratic candidates by a 62 percent to 35 percent margin. The group constituted 39 percent of Tuesday's electorate. Indeed, one way to gauge a state's politics is to look at the percentage of the electorate that the white working class comprises. In Ohio, where the Democrats took a pasting, whites with no college degrees comprised 48 percent of the electorate, and in Pennsylvania, where the Democrats lost as well, these voters comprised 43 percent of the voters. In both New York and California, however, according to the exit polls, they comprised just 28 percent of the electorate - so even though they favored Republican candidates in those two states, there weren't enough of them to make a difference.

The working-class white percentage of the American people shrinks a little every year, and that's to the Democrats' long-term advantage. Latinos voted Democratic yesterday by better than two-to-one, and in California, where exit polls showed them supporting Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman by a 65 percent to 31 percent margin, they comprised 22 percent of the electorate. But America isn't California and won't be for some time. For now, the Democratic coalition is strong among Americans with post-graduate degrees and working-class people of color. That's enough to ensure their victories in the Northeast and on the West Coast. But in the South and the Midwest, it's not enough.

Obama was never going to appeal to working-class whites by virtue of his cultural affinities with them. In the Midwest - the most downwardly-mobile American region - his prospects have hinged on his ability to stop the economic slide and mitigate the desperation of an economically hopeless people. These are things he hasn't done, and his party paid for that big-time yesterday.
Our Banana Republic, Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, November 6, 2010.
The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.
Don't Look At Me, David Bromwich, New York Review blog, November 5, 2010.
The Republicans of 2010 are a party led by a movement. From early 2009, the movement declared that its strategy would be to denounce the growth of the national debt, oppose the bank bailouts, attack health care reform, and undermine the legitimacy of President Obama. On November 2, that effort largely achieved what it had aimed for. Many Democrats are saying it was a typical midterm election, where the majority party is bound to suffer. The rest they put down to the bad state of the economy. But suppose the unemployment rate in October had dropped to 9.0 percent, would the outcome have been much different? This midterm result was a vote of no confidence in President Obama and the Democratic congress.

Obama’s long-drawn-out attempt to settle himself in a place above politics has injured his party and found no takers on the other side. Only in the last three months did he begin to blame his predecessor for anything. Yet to blame George W. Bush for the economic collapse was a half-truth. The fault goes back at least to Lawrence Summers’s deregulation policies under President Clinton; and it was Obama himself who brought Summers back into government. Such improbable shifts of tactics are one reason why many people who voted for Obama in 2008 no longer think he is someone on whom they can rely.

It is true the recession hurt the Democratic Party on November 2; and the origin of the recession was out of Obama’s control. (He never explained this satisfactorily, and the time to explain it was early.) Within his control were some other things: his decision, for example, to put the stability of the banks and money firms—as measured by these same banks and firms—ahead of the creation of jobs. Partly in his control, too, was the length of the delay he asked while he sought Republican support for health care. Obama has a strangely plastic sense of time. Among the independents who brought him victory in 2008, the decisive disenchantment probably came last summer. The president’s immobility and near speechlessness regarding the BP spill seemed to say that he wished it had not happened and wished that people were not looking at him.
Guilty Until Proven Guilty, Karen Greenberg, Mother Jones, November 19, 2010.
This Wednesday's stunning acquittal of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani on all but one of 284 counts by a jury in a federal courtroom in Manhattan was the first sign in years that jurors felt confident enough to utter the word "acquittal" inside an American courtroom in a terror trial. (He may still get a life sentence for the single charge on which he was found guilty.) It was also the first time a jury had not been cowed by the notion that to be accused of terrorism is tantamount to being guilty. This verdict probably ensures that the Obama administration will never bring KSM before a jury of American civilians.

I've been following terrorism cases, both in civilian courts and at Guantanamo, for years and it would be easy enough for me to go off on a jag about the need to prove that civilian courts can try terrorists (without fear of a terrorist attack). Or I could write about how indefinite detention, a concept which lies outside the accepted norms of American civilian and military law, could take us down a path leading to the eradication of civil liberties on a far wider scale.

I could recite—yet again—all the ways in which transparency should be a key to such trials, and how healing it is for victims to be able to observe a trial in process. I could reassure you about how KSM's guilt is remarkably well-documented and how he might get what so many seem to want for terrorists, and what, as he's made completely clear, KSM wants for himself: execution.

All of that is important. But with the Ghailani verdict and the administration's recent non-decision over what to do with KSM as our guide, we should really be looking at something even more basic to our system: the presumption of innocence. It's clear that the Obama administration is now shying away from its earlier inclination to bring key terror suspects into civilian courts out of fear that the political backlash from a decision to try KSM in Manhattan will prove disastrous, and that the ongoing national hysteria over national security, easy to trigger and hard to calm, will be ratcheted up by the thought of acquittal, the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to terrorism trials.

0 comments: