Today ACORN, Tomorrow … Lockheed Martin? Northrop Grumman?

Not much can top a federally-funded ACORN associate telling a (supposed) prostitute how she can launder her income — on camera. Except for maybe this:


or this:


Those are guards from the federally-funded ArmorGroup, which has a $184 million contract to protect our embassy in Afghanistan. When these photos emerged from a FOIA request by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), ArmorGroup fired 14 guards for a whole host of inappropriate, and perhaps even illegal activities. Subsequent reports indicate that the guards may have even been involved in running a prostitution ring.

According to Ryan Grim over at Huffington Post, the ironies have not been lost on Democratic lawmakers who have been whipsawed in recent days by legislation passed by the House and Senate to punish ACORN. The  House bill , however, would in essence de-fund any federally-funded organization guilty of a wide range of ethical and legal violations, including fraud. That, according to POGO, would apply not only to ACORN, but to possibly the ArmorGroup, and a long line of federal defense contractors, including tip-toppers like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. So far, they have identified 87 cases of fraud among 43 contractors.  Here’s the list — have fun.

Dogs, Donkeys and Women, Oh My!

A newly created group dedicated to fighting the “Islamization of America” will be walking the streets of Washington DC on September 25th engaging passers-by in a “dialogue” about Islam in America.

The group, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), stands out for its extensive ties to far-right bloggers in the US and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. It also has links to the European Far Right and Nazi apologists.

The choice of September 25 as the launch date is designed to coincide with “Jumah Prayer on Capitol Hill: A Day of Islamic Unity,” a gathering of Muslims on the National Mall. Its organizers say:

“The objective of this gathering is to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam. We intend to manifest Islam’s majestic spiritual principals [sic] as revealed by Allah to our beloved prophet Muhammad (PEACE BE UPON HIM) of Arabia. Likewise; we intend to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people. We shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin.”

SIOA, however, takes a dim view of what it calls “the doctrine of Islam, jihad, and Sharia (Islamic law),” especially in the United States.

“Islamic law and jihad are brutal, misogynist, and fundamentally contrary to our Constitution and to our concepts of human rights and freedom. Tolerance for ideologies that are opposed to our principles of individual freedoms and our Constitution is indefensible,” reads SIOA’s website.

The new group’s September 25 launch will include a number of high-profile guests, including Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and Christine Brim.

Both Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller were present at the 2007 CounterJihad Europa Conference in Brussels which was co-sponsored by the Belgian far-right Vlaams Belang (VB) party whose platform, among other things, calls for pardoning Belgians convicted of collaborating with the Nazis. Spencer, Geller and Brim have also been strong supporters of far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders and helped facilitate his fund-raising trips to the US. (Ali Gharib, Daniel Luban and I have written about Wilders and his American hosts here, here and here) Wilders has gone so far as to suggest that the Koran should be banned, along with Mein Kampf, as examples of hate speech.

Spencer, Geller and other attendees at the Brussels conference have denied that they’re allied with Nazi apologists, insisting that their European contacts in VB and Wilders’ Party for Freedom are totally unrelated to the fascists of the 1930s. By loudly claiming their affection and support for Israel, the new European Far Right has tried to distance itself from that era and, in so doing, has succeeded in gaining the support of some neoconservatives.

SpinWatch recently published an excellent article that details the development of the European far-right’s relationship with U.S. neoconservatives.

In 2007 Christine Brim, whose group Center for Vigilant Freedom helped organize the Brussels conference (along with VB) and who is listed as a speaker at the SIOA kickoff next week, elaborated on the neoconservative relationship with the European far-right in 2007.

“If such parties specifically state pro-Israel positions, and take real actions opposing anti-Semitism and disavowing previous positions – and reach out to Jewish constituents and encourage Jewish participation in party positions – these are real actions to observe, and to approve.”

Brim also serves as a senior vice president at Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.

Encouraging far-right political parties in Western Europe to reject anti-Semitism–formerly a tenet of their often fascistic views towards immigrants and non-Christians–is a positive step. But the willingness of U.S. neoconservatives such as Brim, Gaffney or far-right US bloggers, such as Geller and Spencer, to embrace politicians who have substituted Muslims as targets for their xenophobia and hate they once (and probably still, at some level) directed at Jews seems like a devil’s bargain. (Of course, this is not entirely new: prominent neo-conservatives, including Midge Decter and the late Irving Kristol, staunchly defended the murderous military junta in Argentina from the late 1970s until the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War against charges by Jacobo Timmerman and human-rights activists that it had a special affinity for Hitler and Nazi paraphernalia.)

Arutz Sheva called attention to SIOA’s “brainstorming” blog posts that suggested that donkeys, dogs and women should be brought to the group’s launch in order to interfere with the Jumah Prayer event on the Mall.

SIOA president D.L. Adams responded to accusations that such provocations were “extreme”.

“Because the Arutz Sheva article picked up on some of SIOA’s creative brainstorming posts to use humor and a bit of theatrics involving the things that are thought to disrupt prayer for Muslims – dogs, donkeys and women – some are already calling this loving group of people “extreme.”

I take the opposite viewpoint and contend that drawing attention to the Muslim belief that ”dogs, donkeys, women” (and don’t forget breaking wind) are the things that interfere with their prayers being received, rather than spiritual matters like insincerity of heart, highlights the essential materialism of this so-called religion.

Neither our Founding Fathers, nor Lao Tse, Confucius, Gautama Siddartha, Saint Paul, Jesus, Isaiah, Moses, nor Abraham would recognize Islam as a bona fide religion, but would instantly understand it as the massive intellectual fraud that it is. Our cowardly leaders, in both Church and State, who claim it doesn’t matter what people believe, are fools. It matters that Muslims believe non-Muslims are inferior human beings. It matters that Muslims believe women are inferior to men. It matters that Muslims believe obedience and worship are the same thing and that conformity is the same as morality. It matters that Islam requires territorial sovereignty. It matters that Muslims believe that leaving Islam is equivalent to high treason. It matters what Muslims believe just as it matters what communists believe and what neo-Nazis believe.”

SIOA’s kickoff will be followed by a “saunter” to “engage in conversations with our fellow citizens who might happen to be there on the same day on matters of moment.”

Thanks for supporting, by buying on Amazon

Last month we got a record $1700 from readers who bought stuff on by clicking on the Amazon link on the front page (or by bookmarking our auto-link to Amazon).

When you click on the link to Amazon, everything you buy on that visit nets a commission, ranging from 4-15%.

In addition to books, Amazon sells an amazing array of stuff, free of sales tax and often with free shipping.

Last month, our sales have included the following (our reports tell us what is being bought, but never tells us who bought it):

Mosquito Net Safari Hat
Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube
Notebook computers
Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection DVD (in Russian)
The latest IPOD
A very high-end Desktop Computer at a great price
Video Camcorder
Cat Food
Chewing Gum
Heinz Canned Beans
Organic Honey
Vegan Jerky
Dr. Bronner’s Soap
Essential Oils
Electric Shaver
Fishing Lures
Toilet Paper
Quesadilla Maker
Vacuum Cleaner
Pasta Maker
Music CDs
Office Furniture
Music Downloads
Movie Downloads
Video Game Downloads
Computer Software
Magazine Subscriptions
Canoe Hoist
Hedge Trimmer
Battery Pack
Luggage Lock

One person even bought 13 External Hard Drives. If you buy for a company, you can really help us by checking Amazon’s prices and buying via our link.

Civility, 2007-Style: Hanging George Bush

Some people who are outraged by anti-Obama placards have forgotten that, only a few years ago, many people were condemning George Bush in terms as harsh or harsher.

Here is a picture I took at an antiwar rally in Washington in January 2007. The sign – “What’s good for the goose….. gandar” – refers to the recent hanging of Saddam Hussein had been hung after a kangaroo trial. (Saddam was guilty as hell of many things, but the trial process was a disgrace to the United States and to Iraq). The Bush administration was in such a sweat to use the Saddam trial to influence the US congressional midterm elections that the Iraqi government announced Hussein’s sentence – death by hanging – even before they had officially released the sentence (which was not released until after the US election).

The artist’s representation of George Bush could have been better, but so could the photograph itself. Some people may have been offended by the title I added to the photo: “Bush Swings by Congress.” (The full size version of the photograph is available at my Flickr site here).</a>

Bush Swings by Congress

Daniel Ellsberg: The Most Dangerous Man in America

More like The Most Heroic Man in America. Daniel Ellsberg is the subject of a new documentary: Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

The movie is opening today in selected theaters.

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman interviewed Ellsberg this morning about the movie. Joining Ellsberg is his wife, Patricia, and the co-director, Judith Ehrlich.

The interview is available as a video stream, an audio stream, an MP3 download, or a transcript (at this time, only a partial rush transcript is available). Other formats are also available.