PowerLine – Harry Reid accused of telling candidate to stand down because “a Muslim can’t win”

PowerLine – Harry Reid accused of telling candidate to stand down because “a Muslim can’t win”

Harry Reid accused of telling candidate to stand down because “a Muslim can’t win”

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 09:18 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)The Washington Post reports that a Muslim Democrat running for a U.S. House seat in Nevada says Harry Reid encouraged him to end his campaign because “a Muslim cannot win this race.” Reid reportedly made this statement during a private meeting last year.

Reid’s spokeswoman confirms that the meeting took place but denies that her boss made such a comment. She calls the candidate — Jesse Sbaih — “a liar.”

Immediately following the meeting Sbaih sent an email to a top Reid aide. He wrote:

As an American citizen who deeply loves his country, I am profoundly disheartened and saddened that the Democratic Party is refusing to accept a candidate like me because of my religion and ethnicity. It’s distressing to hear that my religion and ethnicity somehow disqualify me from running for a congressional seat despite everything that I have accomplished and contributed to our country and its people.

Reid’s aide responded:

[T]his was never about the Democratic Party not embracing your ethnicity or religion….it was about how to create a path and a base of support so you could withstand the attacks that we knew would inevitably come from the opposing side.

The “path” that, in the words of Reid’s aide, “would ultimately help you in your long term political and professional goals” consisted of being appointed to some commission in lieu of running for Congress.

Did Reid tell Sbaih that he shouldn’t run for Congress because, as a Muslim, his prospects of winning were poor? Jon Ralston, the dean of Nevada political reporters, says “the man who has a gaffe catalog thicker than War and Peace will have a hard time getting people to believe he’s not capable of saying it.”

Whatever Reid’s precise words, it was clearly Sbaih’s takeaway that he shouldn’t run because of his religion. Reid will have an even a harder time convincing people that this isn’t what he intended to convey.

There’s actually nothing wrong with the kind of political calculation that Reid stands accused of engaging in. Why shouldn’t he, as Party boss, discourage the candidacy of a man who, for whatever reason, is unlikely to succeed?

Only in the twisted world of political correctness is Reid’s sentiment, however he expressed it, problematic. But if it’s a problem for Reid, and for Democrats hoping to win the open seat Sbaih seeks, how can we complain?

After Brussels, it’s time to revisit enhanced interrogation

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 08:38 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)According to reports, the terrorists who carried out last week’s attacks in Brussels acted sooner than originally planned because they feared that captured terrorist Salah Abdeslam would inform authorities of the attacks. Apparently, they need not have worried.

Belgian officials questioned Abdeslam only lightly, and not at all about possible new attacks. Instead, using the discredited law enforcement model, they focused on the Paris attacks of last November, presumably hoping to obtain a confession.

Back in the days of the controversy over waterboarding, there was talk about a “ticking time bomb” scenario. The question was: When we know there’s time bomb ready to go off, but don’t know the location, is it okay to waterboard a captured terrorist who likely has knowledge of the impending attack?

Opponents of waterboarding, having no satisfactory answer, tended to pooh-pooh the question. It was based on an unrealistic scenario, they insisted.

Tell that to the victims of the Brussels attacks.

In reality, most captured terrorists present a variation of the ticking time bomb scenario. These days, organizations like ISIS are constantly planning new attacks. A captured terrorist who has been active recently might very well know something about upcoming attacks in his locale.

It’s unlikely that even in the Age of Obama, the U.S. would have handled Abdeslam as ineffectively as the Belgians did. One can imagine our people declining to question the terrorist for 24 hours because he was hospitalized and then questioning him only for a fairly short time because “he seemed very tired” after surgery. But I doubt that we would have failed to ask about future attacks.

But how far we would have gone to obtain answers? Marc Thiessen suggests we might not have had to go far. He says that “in the CIA’s experience, two-thirds of detainees cooperated without any enhanced interrogation techniques at all.” That’s because “just the experience of disappearing into secret detention — with no idea where they were and no lawyer present — was enough to get them talking.”

But would the Obama administration have “disappeared” Abdeslam following his highly visible capture? And if it had, would he have started talking in time to enable authorities to act on his information?

Finally, and this is key, what if Abdeslam proved to be among the one-third of detainees who don’t cooperate without enhanced interrogation?

In that scenario, no one with a decent regard for innocent human life could object to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on a terrorist like this. Abdeslam was the mastermind behind the Paris attacks. According to Thiessen investigators had found detonators and weapons in a safe house with his fingerprints. This was a ticking time bomb scenario.

It’s time to revisit the question of enhanced interrogation, a question that the U.S. answered incorrectly during a lull in the terrorist threat.

Quotations from Chairman Barry

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 05:49 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Yesterday President Obama spoke at the annual ceremony in Washington to present Syracuse University’s Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting in honor of the late New York Times reporter Robin Toner. Obama used the occasion to “rebuke of the campaign reporting that has allowed Donald Trump to receive nearly $2 billion worth of free media since last summer, without allowing for a critical assessment of Trump’s policy positions,” as Pete Kasperowicz reports the Washington Examiner.

The guy who held himself out as a messiah for nonbelievers in 2008 said:

“When people put their faith in someone who can’t possibly deliver on his or her promises, that only breeds more cynicism.”

The guy who founded his signature program on a barrage of demonstrable lies said:

“When our elected officials and our political campaigns become entirely untethered to reason and facts and analysis, when it doesn’t matter what’s true and what’s not, that makes it all but impossible for us to make good decisions on behalf of future generations.”

Investor’s Business Daily’s Andrew Malcolm has more here.

Jihad on the defense team [updated]

Posted: 29 Mar 2016 05:06 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Mohamed Farah is one of the ten “Minnesota men” charged with seeking to join ISIS; his case is set for trial along with four others before Judge Michael Davis in federal court in Minneapolis in May. Yesterday Judge Davis entered a somewhat cryptic order. The order states that on March 25 prosecutors notified Farah’s counsel of their “intent to introduce testimony and and evidence at rial in which a member of Mohamed Farah’s defense team, Sheikh Hassan Jami, is referenced by a co‐conspirator apparently preaching about jihad and related topics.”

Based on the notice, Judge Davis has ordered that the prosecutors “file a motion and supporting memoranda to inquire as to whether there are grounds to disqualify counsel Murad M. Mohamud and P. Chinedu Nwaneri and/or Sheikh Hassan Jami before noon” today. The other parties are to file responses. The matter is set for a hearing before Judge Davis on Friday afternoon. The Star Tribune story on Judge Davis’s order and related background is here.

What is going on here? It is not clear to me.

One Farah defense team “member” is the source of the issue. Judge Davis gives his name as Sheikh Hassan Jami. The Star Tribune gives his name as Sheikh Hassan Ali Mohamud Jami. The Sheikh’s home base, the Minnesota Da’wah Institute, gives his name as Imam Hassan “Jaamici” Mohamud. Check out Mohamud’s résumé here. Mohamud was born in Somalia. He memorized the Koran at the age of thirteen. He is an expert in Islamic law. In 2009 the local FOX affiliate found Mohamud advising Muslims to avoid the “hellfire that comes with living in America.”

Mohamud is not listed on Judge Davis’s order as one of Farah’s lawyers. Mohamud is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul (now Mitchell Hamline College of Law). It is not apparent to me that Mohamud is licensed to practiced law in Minnesota. What is Mohamud doing on Farah’s “defense team”? Nwaneri lists him as a member of his firm here; the Nwaneri firm’s listing does not state that Mohamud is licensed to practice law in the United States.

Mohamud explained to the Star Tribune that jihad is indeed preached in Islam, but it’s not what you think: “We don’t believe jihad is killing civilians. We don’t believe jihad is disrupting the lives of normal people.” Mohamud added: “It is protecting innocent people who are now struggling in Syria, those who are helpless and who [President] Bashar [Assad] is now slaughtering.” Whether or not jihad includes joining ISIS is apparently beyond the limits of the Star Tribune’s curiosity, as is the meaning of the word “innocent” in Mohamud’s lexicon.

The Star Tribune’s story adds an oblique reference to the Countering Violent Extremism program that I wrote about here in the Weekly Standard and here in the Star Tribune: “Last month, Mohamud was uninvited from a behind-the-scenes security tour with about 50 imams and other members of the Muslim community at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport [!]. He has said he believed that action came in response to his critiques of Minnesota’s federal pilot project aimed at stemming terror recruitment.” In a long article on the CVE program, the Guardian quotes Mohamud: “For the US attorney’s office, the office that’s supposed to prosecute people, to join social service initiatives, that creates a lot of suspicion among the community.”

The Star Tribune story refers to a behind the scenes airport security tour for local members of the Muslim community. Reading the story, my printable reaction is you’ve got to be kidding me. The tour is another one of the many loose ends related to the case. This morning I sent the Metropolitan Airports Commission a request for information regarding the tour. I’m sure those of us who frequent the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport would find it of interest. The tour, however, is also apparently beyond the limits of the Star Tribune’s curiosity.

As for the matter involving Imam Hassan “Jaamici” Mohamud pending before Judge Davis, we will have to check back on Friday.

UPDATE: Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan promptly responds: “The MAC was not involved in the tour. It was conducted by federal agencies working at MSP. I’m not sure whether Customs and Border Protection or the Transportation Security Administration was the lead on the tour, but it was a federal event, not a MAC event, so I don’t have details or even know who was invited.” As I say above, you’ve got to be kidding me.

Emory Doubles Down on Beclowning Itself

Posted: 28 Mar 2016 11:12 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Back in December in an installment of our “Spreading Virus” series about kampus kraziness, when Emory University was presented a list of ridiculous demands from oppressed aggrieved crybully students, we noted the pathetic sniveling reaction from the dean of campus life, Ajay Nair. One highlight of Dean Nair’s capitulation was this:

However, today’s activists and other students are growing up in a wonderfully diverse, polycultural global society that increasingly acknowledges and embraces our individual “multidimensionality” as complex beings with many identities.

Paraphrasing Gabby Johnson from Blazing Saddles, we said: “That is some authentic academic gibberish!”

Dean Nair returns to the pages of Inside Higher Ed today to continue the beclowning with a commentary on the now famous “Trump 2016” “chalking” incident. Here are some highlights:

News media coverage and even our own campus dialogues have largely essentialized this incident into the right to free speech versus the need for . . .

Wait! Stop the tape! “Essentialized” this incident? Essential is either an adjective or a noun; it is not a transitive verb. You know when you see a fancy person like Nair turn “essential” into a transitive verb that you are in the presence of no ordinary mediocrity. No wonder Nair is an administrator.

Anyway, to continue:

Although the phrase “Trump 2016” in and of itself may seem innocuous to many, in the context of the important work happening on our campus to ensure that every student experiences a sense of belonging, the recent chalkings spurred students to enunciate their claim to an institution in which they can feel like invited guests.

It always comes down to “context” for these folks, but there is no context that can rescue Nair’s tendentious nonsense. Nair is too chicken-you-know-what to come right out and say that he thinks Trump is a racist, etc. More:

Second, some of the chalkings on Emory’s campus were a violation of university policies, certainly not because of the content, but because the chalkings were done in unacceptable locations and without reserving the space. Our guidelines concerning public messaging are crucial to maintaining open expression.

By coincidence, tonight I’m up at Berkeley, staying a short walk away from Sather Gate, the scene of the beginning of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in 1964. That famous eruption began because of . . . university restrictions on the places where students could put up card tables and engage in political messaging. Now students and weak-minded administrators like Nair want to crack down on political speech, but only when it is politically unacceptable speech. It would be one thing if “chalking” were prohibited campus wide, but this is clearly just a bureaucratic hedge to clamp down on speech the left doesn’t like. Would Nair make this same statement if campus Republicans objected to someone chalking “Sanders 2016”? Don’t make me laugh.


The intensity, timing and anonymity of the “Trump 2016” chalking incident produced a tipping point. In the context of a college campus, we thrive on open and civil dialogue, inviting even the most controversial perspectives and remarks.

Pretty clear that the last clause here—“even the most controversial perspectives and remarks”—is a lie.

I could go on, but the disgrace that is Dean Nair is pretty evident at this point. Besides, if you have a moment, check out the comment thread at the Inside Higher Ed link. They are uniformly negative. Our work here is done. The only question is: When is Emory president James Wagner going to put an end to this embarrassment?

According to Emory’s 2014 IRS Form 990, Nair’s base salary that year was $302,405, with additional compensation listed at $43,008. I think I can see an easy way for Emory to cut its budget.

Meanwhile, it appears the Trump virus is spreading to other campuses, like Scripps:

Scripps Trump copy

First of all, a whiteboard on the student’s door!!?? There’s a microaggression right there. Putting whiteboards on students’ doors might even rise to the level of a macroaggression. “Also, dude, ‘hispanic’ is the preferred nomenclature for our southern friends. . .” Because the Chinaman is not the issue here.

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