Archive for December 27th, 2006

Hillary Hires Evangelical Advisor

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

At long last, Hillary Clinton has decided that there is some benefit to embracing “religion”. Too bad it is just another way to further her career. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the Dems only call on God when they need to win an election?

An “evangelical consultant” has been hired by Hillary Clinton to help attract Christian conservatives in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.

More than one-quarter of U.S. voters identify themselves as evangelical – a group that has long been courted by Republicans. In addition, a similar political operative has successfully aided Democratic candidates in several states in the midterm elections.

Clinton’s new hire, Burns Strider, is an evangelical Christian who directs religious outreach for House Democrats and the lead staffer for the Democrats’ Faith Working Group, headed by incoming Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the group last year when Democratic strategists observed that the party lost ground in the previous election in part because candidates failed to reach centrist and conservative voters in rural areas, who tend to be churchgoers concerned with moral issues, according to the Washington, D.C.-based publication The Hill.

Strider was an aide to Pelosi when the group was formed and joined Clyburn’s staff as policy director of the Democratic Caucus earlier this year, the paper reported.

“Observers of Clinton’s expressions of faith say religion has always been important to her, that she attended prayer group meetings while first lady, and that she joined a Senate prayer group shortly after winning election in 2000,” The Hill reported.

“Reporters anticipating Clinton’s ’08 presidential run wrongly discount her expressions of faith as cynical political maneuvering,” the observers added.

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Pelosi’s Four-Day ‘Coronation’ Draws Conservative Criticism

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

This woman is something else!!

(CNSNews.com) – The swearing-in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives next week will be the focus of four days of concerts, church services and fund-raising events that conservative analysts called a “coronation” that will emphasize partying over policy.

“It’ll be ‘all Nancy, all the time,'” Dani Doane, director of House relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service. “It’s almost as though she views this as a coronation as opposed to doing the people’s business.”

Doane noted that the goal of the events will be to try to recast Pelosi’s image. “What Democratic Party leaders are trying to do is make her personable, make her likable and flesh out her public persona,” Doane said.

“During the midterm election campaign, a southern Democrat was asked how he could align himself with a ‘San Francisco liberal,'” Doane recalled. “He shot right back, ‘Well, Nancy Pelosi is not really from San Francisco. She’s from Baltimore. She’s a down home kind of girl.’

“Everything has been carefully planned, and I’m sure they realize at this point they’ve got to try and make sure she doesn’t get tagged a ‘San Francisco liberal,’ because the Democrats are going to have to make some tough choices” after the new session of Congress gets underway, she said.

The four days of events culminating in the Jan. 4 swearing-in will begin two days earlier, when Pelosi travels to the Little Italy neighborhood in Baltimore, where she grew up as the mayor’s daughter.

To emphasize the speaker’s Italian-American roots, the current mayor, Maryland Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley will rename Albermarle Street as “Via Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi Street.” The speaker-designate will then visit St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church and have dinner with her extended family at an Italian restaurant.

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, Pelosi will attend morning mass at Trinity University, her alma mater in Washington, D.C., and then attend a gathering for about 400 female politicians, supporters and activists. That night, she will be honored at a dinner at the Italian Embassy, where performer Tony Bennett will sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

The following day, the House will convene to elect her as speaker. Before that happens, Pelosi will take part in a nondenominational service at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill and then eat brunch with hundreds of supporters at the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress.

In the evening, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will hold a fundraiser at which 1,200 people will pay $1,000 each to meet Pelosi and take in performances by singers Jimmy Buffett, Carole King and Mickey Hart.

The events will conclude on Friday, Jan. 5, when the new speaker will host what is being called an “open house” – though attendance is by invitation only – at the Cannon House Office Building.

“What? No fireworks?” the Washington Post Friday quoted Mike Murphy, a Republican political consultant, as saying. “I’m glad they canceled the tickertape parade. They probably couldn’t find biodegradable tickertape and a hybrid convertible.”

“This is a big deal,” Pelosi’s spokesman Brendan Daly responded. “We’ve never had a woman speaker before.”

“Actually, this is all about Nancy,” Doane told Cybercast News Service. Going back to her home town has nothing to do her being speaker, and it has nothing to do with policy.”

Instead, it may be an attempt to boost Pelosi after a series of missteps following the Democrats’ capture of both houses of Congress during the midterm election on Nov. 7.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer was overwhelmingly voted in as the new majority leader on Nov. 16 despite Pelosi’s efforts supporting Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, whose war hero status and Abscam involvement came under scrutiny earlier.

Then on Nov. 28, Pelosi announced she would not elevate Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) – her original choice for chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – because of concerns over his impeachment while serving as a federal judge in 1989.

Instead, she filled the post with Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes, whose lack of basic facts during a Dec. 8 interview was called “alarming” by political analysts.

Brian Darling, director of Senate relations at the Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service Pelosi’s “coronation” might present new ethical problems for the speaker-designate.

“One of the interesting aspects of the four days of parties honoring Nancy Pelosi is that this is being paid for out of her campaign committee, and presumably, much of that is lobbyist money that was given to her,” Darling said.

“It is ironic that there will be 96 hours [four days] of lobbyist-, PAC- and Big Labor-funded celebrations, followed by 100 hours of spending the taxpayer’s money, regulating business and reforming lobbying laws.”

Doane said Pelosi’s planned celebrations were dramatically different from Newt Gingrich’s two days of speeches on the “Contract With America” when he became speaker in 1995.

“While Newt was Newt, he also gave a lot of credit to the people around him,” Doane said. “I don’t think you’ve heard her say the word ‘Hoyer’ since she had to announce the fact that he won the majority leader spot.”

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U.S. Finally Admits Arafat Murdered American Officials

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

There really wasn’t any doubt.

WASHINGTON – After 33 years of secrecy, the U.S. State Department has finally declassified a document admitting it knew the late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, plotted and supervised the murders of two U.S. diplomats in Sudan in 1973, a cover-up first exposed by WND in January 2001.

The document, released earlier this year, with no fanfare, makes it clear the Khartoum operation “was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval” of Arafat, a frequent visitor to the White House throughout the 1990s who died in 2004.

In the attack March 1, 1973, eight members of the Black September terrorist organization, part of Arafat’s Fatah faction of the PLO, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum on Arafat’s orders, taking U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, diplomat Charge d’Affaires George Curtis Moore and others hostage, and one day later, killing Noel, Moore and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid.

The admission comes 33 years after James J. Welsh, then the National Security Agency’s Palestinian analyst, saw a communication intercepted from Arafat to his terrorist commandos in Sudan.

Within minutes, Welsh told WND, the director of the NSA was notified and the decision was made to send a rare “FLASH” message – the highest priority – to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum via the State Department.

But the message didn’t reach the embassy in time. Somewhere between the NSA and the State Department, someone decided the warning was too vague. The alert was downgraded in urgency.

The next day, eight members of Black September, part of Arafat’s Fatah organization, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, took Noel, Moore and others hostage. A day later, on March 2, 1973, Noel, Moore and Eid were machine-gunned to death – all, Welsh had insisted for years, on the direct orders of Arafat.

Welsh, who left the Navy and NSA in 1974, spoke to WND about the incident in 2001 after years of attempting to get answers from his own agency and the State Department. He became particularly troubled about the cover-up of Arafat’s role in the murders of American officials when President Clinton invited the PLO leader to the White House for direct negotiations on the Middle East.

Ever since, he had been on a personal one-man mission to uncover the tape recordings and transcripts of those intercepts between Arafat and Fatah leader Salah Khalaf, also known as Abu-Iyad, in Beirut and Khalil al-Wazir in Khartoum.

“I have decided that my oaths of secrecy must give way to my sense of right and wrong,” he told WND. “I was particularly outraged as I had spent four years following these individuals and, at the moment of our greatest intelligence coup against them, an uninformed GS level had pooh-poohed our work and cost the lives of two U.S. diplomats,” he recalls.

Welsh has continued to research the Arafat murders continually and stumbled upon the 2006 State Department document during a routine Internet search.

The document goes on to say that Fatah leaders never expected their hostage-taking to result in the freeing of the captives. A primary goal of the attack, it says, “was to strike at the United States because of its efforts to achieve a Middle East peace settlement which many Arabs believe would be inimical to Palestinian interests.”

The report also said the Khartoum operation demonstrated the ability of the Black September organization to strike where least expected and warned the U.S. was at risk of future attacks from the group and its Fatah allies.

Welsh believes the initial cover-up of the communications breakdown and the role of Arafat was launched to prevent embarrassment to the State Department and White House. President Nixon, he points out, was in the death throes of the Watergate scandal at the time. The last thing he needed, Welsh speculates, was an international scandal to deal with on the front page of the Washington Post.

Later, after Nixon was gone, Welsh believes the whole matter of the Arafat tapes was kept quiet to protect the future viability of signals intelligence intercepts of this kind. And, finally, he said, the cover-up persisted to foster Arafat’s role as a “peacemaker” and leader of the Palestinian cause.

Back in 1973, Welsh had received spontaneous transcripts of the dialogue between Arafat and his subordinates. But, under NSA protocol, he was not permitted to keep copies. Under normal procedure, he expected copies of the final transcripts and tapes to arrive on his desk for further analysis. They never came.

“Things were recorded but never arrived at my desk,” he recalls. “I know they were recorded because I was receiving simultaneous reports from a collection site. The warning I drafted for the State Department was based on those reports.”

After the deadly attack in Khartoum, Arafat ordered the eight gunmen to surrender peacefully to the Sudanese authorities. Two were released for “lack of evidence.” Later, in June 1973, the other six were found guilty of murdering the three diplomats. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and released 24 hours later to the PLO.

Before surrendering, the Khartoum terrorists demanded the release of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as well as others being held in Israeli and European prisons. Nixon refused to negotiate.

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Former U.S. President Gerald Ford Dies at 93

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Truly a person we can respect. He was thrown into a turbulent time in the country’s history and did well with it.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, the 38th president of the United States, died Tuesday at the age of 93 years old.

No cause of death was stated by his family in their announcement. Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments — including an angioplasty — in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He died at 6:45 p.m. PST at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

“My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Ford’s wife, Betty Ford, said in a brief statement issued from her husband’s office. “His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”

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