Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shia Blood is Halal


While this article is about the ongoing pogroms against Indonesian Shia muslims by Takfiri Salafists, there are many stark resemblances to the situation in Pakistan.  For instance, money from Gulf countries that is funnelled to scores of mosques and madrasses in Indonesia has been a primary factor in anti-Shia bigotry and violence against Shias in Indonesia.  Similarly, in Indonesia, authoritarian rule has also encouraged and fostered the growth of Salafist extremists who feel that killing Shia muslims is part of a divine agenda. The surrounding of a Shia village in Indonesia and subsequent massacres is eerily similar to the anti-Shia pogroms against Gilgiti, Pashtun and Hazara Shias by ISI-backed and Gulf funded Taliban and Jihadi militias.

What is different about this situation is that this report is far more honest than much of what is published by Pakistan's main stream media and human rights organization. Barring the last report on Shia Genocide by HRCP and the odd newspaper column, there has been either defeaning silence, obfuscation or outright dishonesty in highlighting this crucial issue. 

If Pakistan's civil society, government, political groups and media can raise their voices about the ill treatment of the Rohingya muslims of Myanmar, why is there no similar outrage on the mass killings of Indonesia's Shia Muslims? I think we all know the answer to this double standard

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama's Re-election ; a Russian perspective


There was a Rajkapoor film in which he dances boistrously to the song,
" Beganae ki shadi mein Abdullah Diwana" ie Unnecessary Euphoria .
 There has been full carpet coverage of the event on Indian TV channels since 6 November to which former Indian diplomats turned around to see the merits of USA and its favours to India came out gushing .It should be clear that Washington has been a hard bargainer as shown by their stand on nuclear treaty , NSG , UNSC membership ,purchase of US weapons and other goods .
 Below is a perspective from Russian TV 
US foreign policy after reelection 'won't be plain sailing'
RTV 07 November, 2012,
Obama's reelection is not being met with euphoria around the world as with his first win four years ago, but rather a resigned acceptance that he is a known entity and a lesser evil, as US foreign policy is expected to chart the same course.

Moscow and Washington: The sharp edges of the Oval Office

In striking contrast to the 2008 US presidential elections, keenly watched by a vast Russian audience, the 2012 Obama-Romney battle for the Oval Office, for all its twists and breathtaking moments, has little impact on most Russians.
Barack Obama's meteoric rise to power initially evoked high expectations and was met with an outburst of worldwide enthusiasm, including in Russia. Four years later, there is little in which to toast or believe, regardless of who is in control of the White House.
Obama is not seen by Russians as an American leader on which to pin hopes for the reinforcing of US-Russian ties. (Romney, hawkish and impolite, labeled Russia as America's "number-one geopolitical foe." Obama, somewhat polite and avoiding his challengers harsh rhetoric, launched a much-touted 'reset' policy with Moscow that ultimately lost steam.) There were differences in style, but not substance, between the two presidential contenders. The major bottlenecks – Iran, Syria, disagreements on US anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe, renewed lecturing on Russian democracy over the notorious Magnitsky case – poisoned and crippled the reset ahead of time.
There is growing evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking eastwards as part of his new Asia-Pacific doctrine and Eurasian project. As a result, US-Russian relations are left to discussions among a high caste of diplomats, as well as a handful of Russian political pundits splitting hairs over whether a bad partner in the White House is better for Russian interests than no partner at all.
Moscow and Washington now seem like an old married couple: Weary, bored and disillusioned, too tired for either a stormy divorce or for a new honeymoon.
The good news is that the ship of US-Russian relations will not sink, as Russia is too powerful to be ignored by any US administration, even one that's virulently anti-Russian. The bad news, however, is that the ship will likely be grounded for another four years. It will stay in the dry dock, hardly fit to venture out for deep-sea sailing.
Sergey Strokan is a journalist, essayist and a poet. He is also a political commentator with Russia's "Kommersant" Publishing House.

Muslim world welcomes Obama's return, despite little hope for change in tone

"Obama is a realist and he will probably have more room to reach a settlement regarding issues in the Muslim world. Obama might also be the one who co-ordinates to some extent with the new emerging regimes, such as the Morsi regime in Egypt".
It is possible or likely that he will change his [Middle East] policy, especially because changing policy might be connected to American interests. We all know that the new regimes in the Arab world after the Arab Spring, these new regimes will have to be more receptive to public opinion, so America won't have the easy task it used to have with the regimes of the Hosni Mubarak's.
Netanyahu has proven to be very stubborn; he has also proven during one of his visits to Washington where he received a standing ovation from Congress, he relies very much on the pro Israeli lobby. One thing that might be working against Neanyahu is the fact that the Jewish voice in America is no longer one block, no longer unified. And that is something that I think Obama should take advantage of, if he wants to pressure Neanyahu."
Ali Rizk, an expert on Middle East Affairs.

China welcomes Obama administration return as "known quantity"

"The Obama administration is a known quantity to the Chinese leadership. The Chinese more important concern has more to do with the fact that does the United States see Chins as a threat and therefore will it try and contain China and therefore make it difficult for China to emerge as an influential major power.
"The Chinese tend to believe that the economic relationship between the two countries is very close and highly interdependent and that the economies are mutually supportive and therefore various problems can be overcome through careful negotiations."
Professor Joseph Cheng of Hong Kong University

Scam at duty free shops *755*




Unbelievable, but please be aware AND pass it on to friends and colleagues - all those who travel a lot, please be very, very careful.

Read ahead...

An Indian was detained in Bangkok for stealing a box of cigarettes in a duty-free shop in Bangkok International Airport .  He had paid for chocolates and a carton of cigarettes.  The cashier put a packet of cigarettes extra into his bag and he thought it was a free pack.  He was arrested for shop-lifting and the Thai Police extortion price was 30,000 Baht for his release.  He spent two nights in jail and paid 500 Baht for an air-conditioned cell, 200-300 baht for each visitor and 11,000 baht for his final release.  The Police shared the money in front of his eyes.  On top of that, he was charged in court and fined 2,000 baht by the magistrate and handcuffed and escorted to his plane. His passport was stamped "Thief".  While there, his relatives requested help from the Indian Embassy and was told that they are helpless, many Asians are victimized similarly daily and letters and phone-calls to the Thai authorities are ignored.  He shared a cell with a Singaporean the first night who paid 60,000 baht for his release. T he second night was a Malaysian national who paid 70,000 baht.

Mind you this was not in a shanty shop in downtown Bangkok but in a duty free shop at the Bangkok Int'l Airport .  BE WARNED.

The above is 100% correct information because Mr. Rajan Khera's customer from India faced exactly the same scenario mentioned above when he was in transit at Bangkok Int'l Airport coming to Taipei .

Someone who went through the same ordeal in Dubai .  He bought stuff at the Duty Free upon entering.  The girl at Duty Free put a bottle of cologne in his shopping bag (he did not even see it happen).  He was arrested for stealing (this is before he even picked up his lugg age).  He sat at the airport jail where he was harassed for the whole day.  NO FOOD, NO WATER for one day and only after he paid a fine (bribe of US 500...).  That is all the cash he had in his pocket at the time.  They let him go.  These are scams that are happening all over the place.  Please BE CAREFUL!  All of this is pre-planned and the people who work at the airport know who to target.

Unbelievable but apply caution.... the duty free employees intentionally put extra items to scam the passenger and we think that our country is the most corrupted one.....


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

US SOFT POWER --$50 Million work on Pakistan Media


Dear All:

GEO, ARY, Dunya, AAJ and others have received $50 million ostensibly to promote the image of US in Pakistan. But, instead, of doing so, these dollars are being spent to demonize Pakistan's institutions, particularly, the Army, which is considered as an enemy. Create circumstances which would precipitate a clash among institutions.  

Some of the anchor persons are provided with junkets to Washington in the hopes that they will serve the good cause (1).

"Voice of America, a radio and TV platform that speaks for the government of the US already has a tie-up with Geo TV and now they have aligned with Express TV as well (2).

Hosts Drink and Dance Party For Pakistani Journalists at Islamabad.flv (3)

Pakistan's foundational principles are in coming days will be challenged. Programs emanating from India on AAG TV will be presented to show that we are the same culture. 


Manzer J.Durrani, Ph.D.

US Presidential Candidates Dont Make Policies,They just get a share in the Pie

US Presidential Candidates Dont Make Policies,They just get a share in the Pie

Agha H Amin

US Presidential candidates dont make policies , they just get a share in the pie.Wars are waged to benefit corporations.I have personally seen in last 11 years that main beneficiaries of Afghan war were Taliban,Afghan warlords and US big companies.And main loser US taxpayer .But then in history common man was always the loser.There is no US government only 1 % ruling USA.I guess it is the same everywhere.

John Fund: Voter Fraud: "Plan B", Shiraz Maher: Mob Rule Replaces Rule of Law

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Gatestone Institute
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Voter Fraud: "Plan B"

by John Fund
November 6, 2012 at 5:00 am
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I agree we should never disenfranchise people. But there are two ways to disenfranchise people. One is to block people from voting, or to intimidate them from voting, as the Ku Klux Klan did. But there is another civil right that every one of you has: it is the right not to have your vote canceled out. If there are people who do not have ID, I say, let's get them one. The ID should be free, and it should be easy to obtain. And speak up about these problems: the more the public speaks up, the easier it will be to solve them.
The basic trajectory of this race was set months ago. We have a very weak economy. We have an unstable foreign situation.
Now, history is not determinative, but the White House is very, nervous: they cannot break through 50.
There is one major fly in this ointment: there is always a plan B that the other side has. Plan B involves taking a thumb and putting it on the scale of democracy and pressing hard. If you cannot win a real majority, you create a new majority. As someone said, "I think you know what we mean by creating a new majority. It may not be the real one, it may not even be real people, but it exists."
This issue really makes the left nervous, in an astonishing way, because they only have two reactions to the subject of voter fraud. One is, it doesn't exist. How many of you have heard that: "It doesn't exist"? Everyone knows it doesn't exist.
Two, if you do anything to combat it, it is racist and discriminatory. End of conversation.
Well, to briefly address those two questions: It doesn't exist? Well, 66% of the American people, according to the latest Rasmussen poll this month, say it is a serious or somewhat serious problem. That includes 65% of African-Americans, who think it is a serious or somewhat serious problem; they often live in places where they can see the voter fraud right outside their window.
They are called machine cities, where, whether it's Chicago or Philadelphia or Detroit, they steal elections. And by the way, I think the biggest victims of voter fraud often are people in minority communities who live under the thumb of machine rule and cannot change City Hall if City Hall keeps stealing the election out from under them.
Whether it is Detroit or Philadelphia or the South border counties of Texas, Hispanic, African-American, Asian minority groups often suffer from the worst public schools, the worst roads, the worst services, the worst kind of government -- and they cannot change it because the election is stolen
Artur Davis, the former Democratic congressman from Alabama, who seconded Barack Obama's nomination for President at the Denver Convention in 2008, finally said that he'd had enough of this party. He said he knew they steal elections in Alabama, and that the biggest vote suppression in this country is the wholesale manufacturer of ballots in places where people are helpless to stop it.
He said there are counties that are ruled by machines in his district, and that he has been asked to contribute money to perpetuate the voter fraud. He refused. He said it is ridiculous to oppose voter-ID laws, but that he has given up.
And by the way, Artur Davis has just a couple of months ago finally become a Republican; he will be a major addition to the conservative ranks.
So voter fraud "doesn't exist." Well, let's just look at some recent examples. In Iowa, they just jailed three people for voting illegally. They were non-citizens: two Canadians and a Mexican.
In Maryland, the Democratic Congressional nominee in the Annapolis District had to resign. Why? Because she had been voting in Florida and Maryland in the same elections for years -- very civically minded!
A couple of years before that, a former Democratic Congressman in Pennsylvania was convicted of voter fraud. His crime was going into nursing homes filled with Alzheimer's Disease patients and, shall we say, assisting them unnecessarily with their ballots.
If a former Congressman and a Congressional nominee will do that, almost anyone will -- if the right incentives and the right lack of, well, prosecutorial zeal is available.
Bill Clinton of course says there is no voter fraud. He mounted the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in August to say that this is a solution in search of a problem as we all know there is no voter fraud.
Well, back in Arkansas, where he used to be the Attorney General and the Governor, the day he was making this speech, two hours before he mounted the podium, a jury convicted a Democratic state legislator, a city Councilman in West Memphis, and a police official at West Memphis, on 45 counts of what does not exist.
I do not know how many more examples you need. I will just leave you with one example of how voter fraud changed history. We all know that there was a very contentious Senate race in 2008 in Minnesota between former Senator Norm Coleman and Al Franken. In a very close race, Norm Coleman won on election night. There were recounts, he won those, but they kept recounting.
You all know the job of a recount brigade: you count, you count, and you count until your side is ahead, and then you immediately move to stop counting.
Well, after eight months of legal wrangling and court cases, the seat was finally declared Al Franken's by 312 votes. He went to Washington, he became the 60th Democratic Senator in 2009, and he became the 60th Senator for Obamacare. They needed 60 votes to break the Senate filibuster. We would not have Obamacare today if Al Franken had not been there.
Now, months after Obamacare passed, a watchdog group, called Minnesota Majority, found irrefutable evidence that 1,100 felons had voted illegally in that election: 1,100. We cannot be sure how they voted, but Mike Plant from FOX News went around to a bunch of people and asked them how they voted; they were the felons who had voted illegally. Nine out of ten said they had voted for Al Franken.
We cannot be sure how felons vote; it is a secret ballot. But when they register to vote, and in over half the states they register by party, the answer is 75-80% -- I leave it to you to figure out which party that is. So the reasonable assumption is Al Franken took his seat because of illegal votes.
You could not prosecute any of those people unless you could prove intent to commit the crime: that is the legal standard. So you basically had to have felons who were stupid enough to do the following: confess that they had voted illegally, admit they knew it was wrong, and basically said, What's it to you, copper?
Well, there were 198 of them, at least, who were stupid enough; and they have all been convicted of felony voter fraud in the Minnesota election which elected Al Franken. 66 more cases are in the pipeline, and dozens more are being investigated. We may yet end up with more people convicted of felony voter fraud in the Al Franken election than Al Franken's victory margin. Do not ever let anyone tell you that voter fraud doesn't matter and doesn't change history: It gave us Obamacare.
As for voter-ID laws and other attempts to clean up our election integrity, they are called racist. Let me tell you how absurd this has gotten. A private family foundation in Ohio and Wisconsin a few weeks ago put up 140 billboards which simply said, "Voter fraud is a felony: $10,000 fine, or three-and-a-half years in prison." And they had a picture of a judge's gavel.
Well, that brought everyone out. They said it was the return of Jim Crow -- that was what the Cleveland Plain Dealer called it. They said it was an attempt to intimidate voters. They said the unprinted message was, We will do anything we can to stop your vote.
A majority of the signs were in neighborhoods that were minority, but by no means all. And by the way, Cleveland and Milwaukee are primarily minority cities, so it should not surprise you that they might be in minority neighborhoods.
Cleveland and Milwaukee have had long histories of voter fraud. A 78-page police report by the Milwaukee Police Department's Investigative Unit a few years ago found an organized conspiracy that tried to steal the 2004 Presidential Election. They found there were 6,000 people, for example, who had registered to vote at the polls on election day. They voted, their ballots were counted, but when the mail went out to their addresses to give them their voter registration card, 6,000 of them came back: there was no such address, or it was a vacant lot, or the person had not been there for years.
So voter fraud does exist in Milwaukee and Cleveland. Originally, Clear Channel, who owned the billboards on which those messages were posted, said: Okay, look, we don't agree with the message, but it is a contract, we signed it, we are going to honor it.
But a few more days of protest and threatened boycotts from the same people who tried to boycott Glenn Beck, and what happened? Clear Channel said: Well, we made a mistake in signing the contract, we would never do it again.
Then, after a few more days of protests, they caved. They announced that all of the billboards were coming down, even though there was a signed contract; and that they were going to put up an equal number of billboards saying, "Voting is a right, not a crime."
This suppression of free speech should trouble all of us. It was simply a factual statement: Voter fraud is a felony. That, apparently, is racist. That, apparently, is an attempt to intimidate or deny people the right to vote and therefore cannot be said. So not only does voter fraud not exist, you cannot even say that it is a crime. This is how bad things have gotten.
The good news is that voter fraud is a lot like shoplifting. If stores do not put up signs that say, "Violators will be prosecuted," if they do not put up cameras, if they do not take basic security precautions, they are going to get a lot of shoplifting. But if they take these elementary security precautions, studies have shown they cut shoplifting right off the top at a 30 to 40% reduction.
The same with voter fraud: If you let people know you are talking about it, that you are aware of it, that it is an issue, that people are watching, that there is a group called out there training 300,000 people to monitor the polls, to look at absentee ballot applications, to see if they are kosher, to clean up voter registration rolls, I think we can dramatically reduce voter fraud.
And, believe me, it may be necessary. This election looks as if it might be as close as 2000 or 2004. And you never cheat in a landslide, you only cheat when you think it is close; that is why we have to worry.
We are constantly told that this is a civil rights issue, the right to vote is fundamental. Well, I agree, we should never disenfranchise people. But there are two ways to disenfranchise people. One is to block people from voting, to intimidate them from voting, as Klu Klux Klan people did in the South and the new Black Panther Party did in Philadelphia -- the case that the Obama administration decided to drop.
We fought a great civil rights struggle in the 1960s to stop that, and abolish poll taxes and literacy tests. We need to preserve those gains. We need to make sure we never go back to that. That is important.
But there is another civil right that each and every one of you has: it is the civil right not to have your vote canceled out. The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that if someone votes who should not be voting, if he is voting twice, if he is a non-citizen, if he is a felon, if he has moved out of state, if he does not even exist -- this cancels out your vote. This disenfranchises you just as much as if someone stood in the polling place door, held up their hand and said 'You cannot come in here'. That is a civil right too.
Chris Dodd, the former Democratic Senator from Connecticut, who passed one of the rare bipartisan voter reform bills in this country before this issue became racist, said it best. Ten years ago when he passed the Help America Vote Act, he said: "Our goal in our election should be to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat."
We can do both. These are not contradictory goals. Sadly, they have become contradictory issues. There is a bunch of people who somehow believe that any attempt to clean up our election system is wrong. Well, the system needs cleaning up.
The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan liberal organization, says that one out of eight voter-registrations in this country is either invalid or contains major errors -- one out of eight. It is higher in New York than other states.
Pew also says we have four million people registered to vote in more than one state. But of course no one would ever do that! Well, the New York Daily News a couple of years ago did a survey; it found 46,000 people in New York City who were also registered to vote in Florida. We call them Snowbirds. A thousand of them had also voted in more than one election in both states.
You say 1,000 votes is nothing. Florida decided the presidency in 2000 by 537 votes. It can be a big difference.
Another thing we are constantly told never happens is voter impersonation, as there are so few cases of people impersonating someone at the polls. Well, how would you know if someone impersonates a dead person? We have two million dead people on our voter rolls -- two million. I guarantee you, if you vote in the name of a dead person, he is unlikely to complain. I believe we should honor the dead.
Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, also claims there is no voter fraud, but in April, an associate of James O'Keefe, the man who did the videotapes on ACORN and NPR -- sent a 22-year-old white kid with an earring and a beard into Eric Holder's polling place in Washington D.C. Eric Holder had lived in that precinct for 32 years. It is not as if they didn't know him.
The 22-year-old kid walks up to the polling place. He does not say he is Eric Holder, he just says: Do you have an Eric Holder on Brookhaven Terrace? He does not even give the street address. And the poll worker's response was, "Oh, yes, here's your ballot."
The kid asks, "Do I have to show ID?
"Oh no," says the poll worker. "We don't ask for that here."
Now, the kid was not there to commit a crime; he was there to test the system. So he says, "Well, I really would feel more comfortable if I went out to my car and brought my ID in. I'll be back faster than you can say furious." The poll worker did not even get the inside joke.
If it can happen to Eric Holder, it can happen to anyone. And believe me, Eric Holder never voted in primaries, because after all, the Democratic primary does not decide anything in Washington D.C. No election decides anything in Washington D.C. It just moves on in its own path, between worst and worster - so we would never have known.
Another problem is that it is illegal for some states, the State of New York for example, to remove the name of someone who has died from the voter rolls. In 1993, the very first piece of legislation Bill Clinton of the Democratic Congress passed -- before budget, before anything, before the first funding for the Hillary Care Commission -- was something called Motor Voter. How many of you have heard of Motor Voter?
Probably most of you have not, and that is the way they like it. Motor Voter changed our election laws nationwide, even though the states and counties were supposed to run elections. This was an override of the states and counties. Motor Voter said basically two things: First, that anyone can register to vote with a simple postcard. He does not have to prove who he is, who he says he is, he does not have to prove anything. He can just send it in and he is automatically registered.
The second thing it said is, except under extraordinary circumstances, you cannot remove anyone from a voter registration list until at least nine years have elapsed after that person has stopped voting.
Now, there are some exceptions, but effectively, this is why we have one out of eight registrations that is invalid. There is a reason for this.
How did we get Motor Voter after Congress passed it? Well, the Governor of Illinois, Jim Edgar, tried to stop it. He was the former Secretary of State. He went to the federal courts and said, "Look, this is preposterous. I live in Illinois. We have Chicago here. I know what this is going to happen in Chicago. This is going to be increasing the massive voter fraud even more." He said, "It is also an unfunded federal mandate. It is unconstitutional for them to impose this on my state." So they had to go to court.
This case became the test case for all other challenges to Motor Voter, the precedent. The group that sued Governor Edgar in order to impose Motor Voter on Illinois and effectively the rest of the country was called ACORN.
Any of you heard of ACORN? Well, ACORN is now defunct, but is operating under new management in smaller subsidiaries. ACORN's lawyer was Barack Obama. He brought us Motor Voter. He created the template, the conditions by which he may try to adjust the results of this election. He has a long history with ACORN.
Before he was ACORN's lawyer, he was the top trainer at their seminars. Before that, he was the head of Project Vote, their voter registration arm in Illinois. He is marinated in ACORN. We have a President from ACORN in the White House.
Now, he, of course, will have nothing to do directly with anything that happens, but I can assure you he has friends, especially friends from his old days, who know exactly what to do and will operate behind the curtain. We know the three things that will be said on election day: There is no voter fraud; Those are not the droids you are looking for; and Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain and what he is doing.
What impact can they have in real-time? Will the 300,000 volunteers who are poised to monitor the elections be able to catch people committing voter fraud? Probably not, but that is not the issue. Deterrence is the issue. If you have observers at a polling place, you will have less fraud. If you have people looking through absentee ballot applications and saying, "This address no longer exists; you should not accept a vote that comes from this address," that helps.
For most people who prevent shoplifting, their job is not to catch everyone who shoplifts, their job is to deter people from shoplifting. Voter fraud used to have no risks at all. This year there will be some risk, and I think those 300,000 people just by being there will make a difference, but we can always make more of a difference -- and we should.
On the question of voter-ID, in many countries, such as Israel, for example, or France, there are close elections and very strict ID rules. Apparently they are still democracies. In America, you cannot do anything without an ID. You cannot cash a check, you cannot hold a real job, you cannot travel, you cannot marry, you cannot get a welfare benefit, you cannot get on Medicare, you cannot get on Medicaid. Without an ID you cannot do anything.
The Brennan Center, the George Soros-funded operation down at NYU, claimed that 10% of Americans do not have an ID, and and 25% of African-Americans do not. Unless you are bedridden or off the grid, how do you survive? If there are people who do not have ID, I say let's get them one. We are doing them a favor. The ID should be free, and it should be easy to obtain.
The Pennsylvania Law was so easy. Here is what the law said: You have to show a government-issued ID. It is free. If you forget it or you do not have one and you show up at the polls, you can cast a provisional ballot. It is set aside, to counted six days later, after you have submitted some identification. You can submit the identification by email, by fax, by regular post, or by showing up in person.
Let's say you lack the money to get the supporting documentation to get your ID, or cannot afford the $10 to get a copy of your birth certificate to get an ID. You sign a form at the polling place saying, "I couldn't get the documentation." They will count your vote anyway. If you cast an absentee vote, you do not even need an ID.
So the bottom line is, there was no way anybody was going to be denied the right to vote. Their claim was preposterous, but they managed to delay everything in court long enough that there wasn't time to implement it in the judge's final decision.
I think this election may come down not to Ohio, but to Pennsylvania, and that is why the left fought so fiercely against the ID Law.
But here is the irony: in Pennsylvania, the law will still require you, if you show up at the polls for this election, to be asked for your ID. If you refuse to give an ID, they still have to count your vote. But I think it will be very interesting for those 300,000 election observers around the country -- for the ones in Pennsylvania -- to be stationed at the polls taking note of who is it exactly who is asked for an ID and refuses to give one. That is a very interesting list we will be watching.
There is also the question: Is the problem one of lack of enforcement of existing laws, or an issue of laws just not existing? Is the main problem people voting at the voting station who should not be voting, or of invalid papers being mailed in?
The answer is that the bigger problem is ballot papers being mailed in as absentee ballots. But we will never know the full extent of how much of a problem there is at the polls, because if you do not ask for ID, how would you know? If, for instance, you found someone who had died, or someone you knew had moved out of state, if you voted in their name, I can almost guarantee you would not be caught. So how would we know?
Voting is a state matter. The constitution leaves election administration to the states, as it does education. Luckily, a lot of states are moving to reform their laws, including their absentee ballot laws. So I am hopeful in the long run, but the short run is now.
Voter IDs are also all handled at the state level. Any state that has passed an ID Law says the ID shall be free, so there is no charge it. The argument is -- as some states charge $10 or $15 if you do not have your birth certificate or another form of proof that you are who you say you are -- that this is a poll tax.
Voting is a right, but one that carries with it responsibilities, just as being a citizen does. So you have a right to vote, but in order to cast a legal vote, you have certain responsibilities you must undertake in order to have that vote counted. You must register to vote. You must fill out the ballot properly. You must put the ballot in the box….
I am not saying every place has voter fraud. There are a lot of places that do not. There are a lot of places that have very good election administrators. The good news is that these states are passing laws. We have, in fact, six states which have passed voter-ID laws now being held up in the courts.
If you are a lawyer or even have some legal background, you can go to the website,, Republican National Lawyers Association; or if you are a Democrat, you can go to the Democratic National Lawyers Association. You can volunteer to be a volunteer lawyer, monitoring the polls, preparing for litigation. You can go to and sign up. I am not advocating any one particular organization. There are other groups out there that do this: election integrity projects, voter integrity projects. But talking about it with your friends and making them understand would be a great help. The prosecutors have said that the more the public speaks up about these issues, the more easily they are able to prosecute those crimes, and the easier it will be to solve these problems.
74% of Americans support photo ID laws according to the Rasmussen poll, and only 12% of the American population thinks there is no voter fraud at all, or that it is not a problem. Authentification wins all 38 demographic categories; even self-described liberal progressives and MSNBC viewers support photo ID at the polls. So we have a winning issue.
For the military, a Senator pointed out recently that Congress had passed a law in 2009 which mandated the establishment of a voting office at every overseas military base to facilitate voting. After over three years, barely half of those offices have opened.
There is also a consistent problem with states sending out absentee ballots late; but the Obama Pentagon has been slow-walking this issue. How do I know they have been slow-walking it? Let me give you an example. A few years ago, I think at the beginning of the Obama administration, a group of military veterans convinced FedEx and DHL to provide at-cost delivery of ballots and return of ballots. Basically it would be the ultimate bulk rate, no profit. So we are talking $2-$3 a ballot, a very low price.
They went to the federal government and said, We will provide airmail shipment of the ballots and the return by FedEx or DHL for $2-3. The response of the Obama administration was, Oh, we cannot do that. This is such an important duty involving the United States government and its elections. We can only trust the paragon of efficiency called the United States Postal Service. And we all know they do a wonderful job….
By the way, one of the reasons I am so opposed to states such as Oregon and Washington that have gone to all-mail voting is that if you mail a 100 letters first class, do you think all 100 get delivered? Well, I know they don't. The most jealously guarded secret in the government is not anything in the Pentagon; it is the post office's non-delivery statistics. They are not huge, but they would still shock you. It is 2-3%.
So going back to today's election, I do not want another Florida type of meltdown as we had in 2000 with Bush v. Gore. We went through recount after recount -- the courts and the lawyers got involved in something the voters should have decided -- and we had 47 days of a constitutional crisis.
If we have a close election, the situation is much worse now than it was in 2000. In Florida, in 2000, the problem caught everyone by surprise. This year, there are 10,000 lawyers monitoring the election. You no longer have to win this November with a margin of victory. You only need to win with a margin beyond litigation. That is why if we are going to go to a sudden death playoff -- and we are going to go to recounts -- I want to make sure that we do as much as possible to prevent and limit voter fraud before the election; after the election it is too late.
This article was originally delivered in longer form as an address before the Gatestone Institute, New York City, October 23, 2012.

Mob Rule Replaces Rule of Law

by Shiraz Maher
November 6, 2012 at 4:30 am
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Politicians who want to challenge the blasphemy law are routinely killed or intimidated, making the government keen to pursue – rather than curtail – the blasphemy laws. Taseer's assassin was lauded not just by radicals, but by those who would be expected to oppose mob "justice": lawyers.
The ordeal of Rimsha Masih, a Pakistani Christian arrested on charges of blasphemy, is far from over. In Pakistan, an allegation of blasphemy can be enough to result in the accused being killed even in the absence of a trial or evidence.
Masih, age fourteen, was charged under Pakistan's notoriously draconian blasphemy laws with burning a copy of the Quran, and held for three weeks in Rawalpindi prison.
There are serious flaws in the case against Masih. Not only is she a minor, but there are also reports that she has learning difficulties and is not of full mental capacity. To complicate the matter further, a local imam has also been arrested over claims that he framed the girl due to an ongoing dispute with her family.
Despite this, blasphemy allegations continue to elicit such passions in Pakistan that authorities could not risk sending Masih home; and a number of her neighbours, fearing reprisals after mosques disclosed her address, have fled their village.
Blasphemy is such as contentious issue that despite being released on bail, Masih had to be taken by an armoured vehicle to a military helicopter and then transported to an undisclosed location where she is currently in hiding. Police fear that if Masih is allowed to return to her village, a vigilante mob would attack her.
These fears are not unfounded. A lawyer for the prosecution warned that if Masih were not convicted, such a scenario was likely. Last year the governor of the Punjab, Salman Taseer, was shot dead for merely suggesting the blasphemy laws should be changed. Weeks after Taseer's assassination Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic who was Pakistan's only Christian member of the Cabinet, and who opposed the blasphemy laws, was also murdered.
Far from causing revulsion, these assassinations were largely welcomed by militant groups and their supporters. Taseer's assassin was lauded not just by radicals, but by those who would be expected to oppose mob "justice": lawyers. Instead of being outraged, the young lawyers association of the Punjab offered to defend Taseer's killer pro bono.
Minorities, being subject to almost half of all prosecutions under the law despite comprising about only 3% of the overall population, have particularly suffered under Pakistan's blasphemy law, which is drafted in broad terms and states:
Article 295
B – Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur'an or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.
C – Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Politicians who want to challenge the law are routinely killed or intimidated, making the government keen to pursue – rather than curtail – blasphemy laws.
In 2009, in an effort an that is still current, Pakistan sponsored UN Res. 1618, to persuade the United Nation to adopt a law that initially would internationally criminalize questioning or discussing Islam, but was then changed to state "religions." The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, broke years of silence on the topic to sponsor an official three-day, closed-door meeting on the UN resolution in Washington D.C. just last December.
Pakistan has also started monitoring internet and text communications in Pakistan, to ensure that people are not sending, searching, or looking up material that could be considered insulting to Islam.
This is the impasse: No one in Pakistan is willing to challenge the blasphemy laws. Those who do are assassinated. Mob justice is rampant in such cases, with the issues becoming highly emotionally charged and little attention being paid to the facts. The implications for those accused of such crimes are devastating.
Masih has no future in Pakistan. To ensure she can live her life, the British Pakistani Christian Association is currently lobbying the British government to grant her asylum so she can escape the strictures of religious fanaticism in the country.
In Pakistan, the mere allegation of blasphemy imposes the life sentence of a death sentence.
Related Topics:  Pakistan  |  Shiraz Maher
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Fort Hood Victims Sue US Over Shootings

06 November 2012
Fort Hood Victims Sue US Over Shootings On the third anniversary of the Fort Hood rampage, 148 victims and family members sued the government Monday for compensation for the attack allegedly carried out by an Army psychiatrist who is awaiting trial. Read More
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Ugly truth about race and economy in US polity as exposed by the presidential elections 2012.Compare the syrupy coverage by Indian corporate channels and media

Race & Money — and the money in the race

P. SAINATH     Hindu  Oped  6N12

The polarisation that is emerging between the U.S. presidential camps, with colour as a major element, will haunt America in elections to come
It's just a few hours to the end of the race, but Race isn't going to end anytime soon. It was pretty ugly in the 2008 presidential poll, too. Yet, 2012 makes that year seem benign. On the last lap, Mitt Romney is running as the Great White Hope, a Captain America against the illegal immigrant from Kenya (which is how many Republicans paint Mr. Obama). Earlier, Mr. Romney's campaign co-chair John Sununu accused Gen. Colin Powell of choosing race over country. He claimed Gen. Powell had endorsed Mr. Obama's re-election bid on the basis of colour. Right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and his crew have described Mr. Obama's health care plans as "reparations" (compensation to the descendants of slaves). Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has freely used racist slang in attacking the President.


No surprise, then. Mitt Romney has more White voters, especially males, with him than the last challenger did. But this unfolds in an electorate that is increasingly less White. And the Republican Party is poised to do worse than it ever has amongst Black and Hispanic voters. Race remains a major factor in the U.S. presidential election.
In 2008, when he ran and won against John McCain, the powerful Fox News Network sought to expose the "real" Barack Obama. It dug up some deadly sins. Mr. Obama, it turned out, had personally known a couple of Pakistanis in his younger days. Worse still, he had once visited Pakistan. (That's passé now, with Mr. Obama's drones making those visits daily). The other 2008 tack, that he is a foreigner himself, is more in favour. Never mind the man's been President of the country for four years.
Barack Obama's stunning 2008 victory makes it easy to forget two things. First, in September that year, his rival John McCain had in fact moved ahead in several of the national polls. Race played a role then, too. Then came the financial meltdown. Wall Street did its thing and drowned the Republicans. The second is that Mr. Obama's great win in the electoral college vote — 365 to 173 — was not matched by his showing in the popular vote. There, his margin was much narrower. Just around 7 per cent. Even though voter turnout was at its highest — at 57.48 per cent — in perhaps 40 years. Again, race played a role in that. Yet, Mr. Obama got more White male votes then, than he is likely to get now.
There have been worse popular vote margins. George W. Bush actually lost the popular vote (-0.51 per cent) in 2000. He still beat Al Gore on the electoral college count in the dubious election that year. But Mr. Obama's 2008 popular vote margin was far lower than his emphatic win in the electoral college count. This time, it will be hard to improve on it. To see it fall further — quite possible, even likely — would be an embarrassment.
The kind of polarisation that's emerging, with race so major an element in it, will haunt the United States in elections to come. In the South, it draws on legacies of hatred going back to slavery and the Civil War. It is not that White people as a whole are opposed to Mr. Obama. He couldn't win if they were. But Mr. Romney has been clearly able to draw a lot more White voters in his corner in a racially-charged situation. On this trend, things can and will get worse.
At the same time, while Mr. Obama's election in 2008 was a huge symbolic moment for African-Americans, it's not as if he brought them all on board. Or that all of them agree with him. Voices within the community critical of Mr. Obama have been growing. African-Americans will indeed vote massively in his favour. Yet, most of those who will vote for him were always Democratic Party supporters. That Mr. Obama is one of them (in a limited sense) might give him an edge. But a huge number of them have voted overwhelmingly for other Democratic presidential candidates (like Mr. Clinton) in the past. The sharp polarisation promises another thing. If the result is close — CNN's poll suggests a photo-finish — that result will be bitterly disputed. There will be demands and fights over recounts. Get ready for endless lawyering. This is a nation where, anyway, that profession chokes the major institutions. Well over a third of all members of the U.S. House of Representatives are lawyers. In the Senate, that's more than half. Yet other members of both houses may have a law degree but have not declared themselves lawyers. There is also a huge overlap between the legal world and that of lobbyists, making their domination worse.


In 2008, the Wall Street meltdown destroyed John McCain. Many believe Hurricane Sandy will do that to Mr. Romney. And indeed, his television presence during the crisis has helped and will help Mr. Obama. Mr. Romney, as one analyst put it, "simply found no way to work himself into the news cycle during those days." This was true. But what lies beyond is not quite simple. Hurricane Sandy can have an adverse effect on voter turnout. And there is also growing anger amongst the affected — after the cameras have left. Long lines for, and panic buying of, gasoline continue. There are thousands whose homes were simply blown away. As many as 40,000 people may have been left homeless in New York alone. Wrecked neighbourhoods face a crime wave and looting.


Meanwhile, we're just hours from the conclusion of what has been the costliest and most cynical U.S. presidential election campaign in history. The two main rivals have spent half a billion dollars in just three "battleground States" — Florida, Ohio and Virginia. And nearly thrice as much in the remaining States. (Counting spending by the candidates, their parties and Political Action Committees).
The country was subjected to its greatest barrage ever of political commercials. Over a million ads ran on broadcast and national television through October. More than ever before. Some 40 per cent more ran in the same month in 2008. It's worth remembering that in 2008, Mr. Obama hugely outspent Mr. McCain. Mr. Obama out-advertised his rival by a ratio of four to one. This time, though, his rival has given him something of a run for his money, overall. If you've raised a billion dollars (as incumbent President) as Mr. Obama has but are still struggling, things aren't too bright. But Mr. Obama still held the edge in the ads race. Anything goes in that race, from innuendo to outright lies.


Then there are the Congressional races. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. The Center for Responsive Politics — the country's foremost poll-spending tracker — had reckoned total costs closing in on $6 billion (The Hindu, Oct. 18, 2012). That mark will be met and breached. Indeed, of this, the presidential race alone might have seen spending close to $3 billion. The trends are also reflected in the composition of the U.S. Congress. As "Occupy DC" had pointed out quite some time ago: 1 per cent of Americans are millionaires. But over 47 per cent of members of the House of Representatives are millionaires. So are 56 per cent of Senators. (the median wealth of a Senator, says the CRP, is $2.38 million).
Mr. Obama has had a fight on his hands at all stages, this time around. Two features have been constant for a while. Bad unemployment figures. And a lack of relish and enthusiasm. The zest for the action seemed to be far more in the media. (Which is also the biggest beneficiary of the wild spending). The raw enthusiasm and energy we saw in 2008, spurred in part by the meltdown, has been missing. The kind of blunders that Mr. Romney made — take his infamous 47 per cent comment — should have sunk him. They didn't. He's stayed in the fight despite them.
There are also those from all communities who cannot recapture the magic of 2008. They could never vote Mr. Romney. And some could go with the logic put out by one writer: 'My enemy's enemy is my President.' But some might not vote at all. They have seen a Corporate-World-Rules-as-Usual regime for four years. They have wearied of the wars and their costs. They know firsthand that most of the jobs coming up in the 'recovery' are low-skill, low-wage ones.
Mr. Obama has only gained after he gave up playing to a right-wing Democrat gallery and returned to the populism of 2008. That came very late in the campaign, yet, helped him out of a hole. Mitt Romney could find himself in one, that he might blame on Hurricane Sandy. He did have Mr. Obama on the mat, more than once. And while important pollsters speak of a dead heat and say correctly that either can win, it's harder for Mr. Romney to do so. Beating an incumbent U.S. President would be quite a feat.