With Rep. Peter King holding hearings on "Muslim Radicalization", and American Muslims being screamed at and harassed while attending a fundraiser for battered women, can Muslims safely live and pray in the United States of America?

In his new video "Wandering Strangers," @jasiri_x raises questions about who's a terrorist, and why people seem to forget freedom of religion is a constitutional right. It was produced by Kreid and directed by Paradise Gray.


And I too shed tears on 9-11
asking God why looking for the signs in heaven
But let me remind the reverend
When it came to lynching the Christian knights were behind the weapons
When burning crosses in the nighttime were present
In the name of Jesus we were terrorized no question
Our hurt is the witness but we aint hate the church or religion
We put the blame on the person who did it you should search for forgiveness
this verse for the critics you're totally wrong
why did Thomas Jefferson have a Holy Qur'an
when you mention radicals why is it only Islam
wasn't Timothy McVeigh OK with a bomb
didn't the government fund Saddam
and the Taliban in Afghanistan before it was Obama's Vietnam
didn't ya forefathers come to these shores and waters
to escape persecution religious wars and slaughter
and wrote the Constitution will you ignore the authors
without freedom of religion then do you see us as citizens
burning Qur'ans just leads to more division
ain't that what the terrorist wanted which sides really winning

Imagine being denied a place to pray
in America where your just trying to make a way
Is this the land of the free I think it's safe to say
we coming face to face with hate today
wasted racists make it seem like Islam's the enemy
callin Obama a Muslim want him gone like Kennedy
wasn't love thy neighbor how Jesus formed his ministry
but I don't qualify cause I'm the wrong identity
say good bye integrity and so long dignity
They say it's not religion just the mosque vicinity
to Ground Zero
then dishonor the 1st responders by denying em health care is that how you crown heroes
this is the way truth sounds in ya earlobe
stop listening to those Fox clowns and weirdos
how you gonna justify vilifying and hating
when the funder of the Kingdom foundation owns ya station
and if it's about freedom what are we really debating
if we all brothers and sisters why aren't we relating
they say it's about respect then call us terrorists
Nazis, jihadists, but never Americans


Copyright 2011 – http://www.jasirix.com

This afternoon, I stopped by my mom's house…

…just to check in on her, as I try to do regularly, even if I don't need the free lunch. When I arrived, she was scanning pages of my Dad's war diary, a classic piece of memorabilia chronicling his 25 missions over Germany in a B-17 "Flying Fortress," while serving in the Eighth Air Force's 96th Bomb Group in England from 1943 to 1944. 

Noticing something odd, I snatched the paperback-sized tome from her, and was shocked to find a newspaper photograph stuck to an inside cover page, from whence it must have come unstuck after some 65 years of being hidden there between that page and the book's inside cover. This incredible artifact, shown below, witnessed my dad being medaled with the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of our nation's highest military honors.

Medaled with him, are the three other surviving crewmen from what was surely deserving of the title, "a mission from hell."  The six other crewmen aboard that ill-fated flight were all killed. Returning over the English channel, after one of the largest daylight bombing raids of the war, their aircraft sustained heavy anti-aircraft flak damage, and punishing incoming cannon and machine gun rounds from two different flights of German fighters. The pilot, a friend of my Dad's since flight school, took an exploding flak shell right in his torso and died instantly. His entrails rained down on the navigator's station directly below his chair—where my father sat. Trained as a pilot, Dad was summoned to what remained of the cockpit by Fred, the co-pilot, himself badly wounded and unable to fly. Dad moved Fred below, and took control of the aircraft, and got it back on course, heading across the Channel to the English coast, but only after the crew had taken their typical "Do We Desert and Head for Sweden and Sit Out the War" vote. (Despite all the nonsensical movie portrayals of the imagined heroics of that time, this vote was a regular event aboard many Allied aircraft throughout the war). 

The plane limped across the water at an altitude of only 250 feet.  With two flaps shredded, and an unresponsive rudder, Dad was pretty sure the plane wouldn't make landfall.  But ditching in the water would mean almost certain death for two crewman who were still alive (at that time), so he pushed on, desperately scanning the air charts for an emergency landing field. He found one on the charts, but as he approached it, there were no runway lights on. Confused, he radioed the field, and a young British officer told him that the field was closed for some reason that she would not elaborate about, but he was ordered to either find another field, or ditch the aircraft. He radioed back, "Well, young lady, you might want to open it again, because I'm about to land there, and having your permission isn't the first thing on my mind right now."

So land he did. And both he and his crew were immediately arrested and detained for about 12 hours. It was quite remarkable why the field was closed, and due to something widely documented, and which had a dramatic impact on the British people, as well as my father's life. I can't tell you what that is, however, because the event is traceable, and it would reveal my Dad's identity, and thus, that of your's truly, as well.  All I can say is that this medal ceremony was witnessed by a major figure in the war, who personally commended Dad not only for his flying skills, but also his judgment in disobeying a direct order in order to save what remained of his crew.

My father was about as liberal as an economist who believed in capitalism could be. And it skeeves me to this day, when some moronic conservative berates me or some other liberal as being somehow unpatriotic, disloyal, or cowardly in the face of imminent danger to their country or themselves.  Few of those blowhards ever faced a real threat, as my father had, except perhaps in their fantasies.  And I have little doubt that if they had, even fewer of them would perform as well as he did—or as valiantly.

In my view, our nation is now under a greater attack than anything the Nazis or Japanese ever threw at us.  The ruthless greed and unthinking recklessness of the super elites and their conservative tools must be stopped, or future generations will never know of the liberal luxuries which my father's generation, through their service and their bravery, helped me and my contemporaries to enjoy.


I almost forgot the best part of this story.  For years, I thought I had lost my Dad's medals. I only learned years later from my older brother, that in fact, he had sent all of them, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, to President Nixon, as an act of protest, after learning of his secret invasion of Cambodia.

Update 2

My older brother has added yet a new detail I was unaware of until now. My father's takeaway from his WWII experience was that war, for almost any reason, is insane, and something to be avoided at all costs. His contempt for the Vietnam War was not at all in step with his own generation, and the thought of my brother being drafted was so loathsome to him that he had quietly considered weatherizing our family's Canadian cottage to give my brother  sanctuary there, should it come to that. Fortunately, it did not.



About this post

What follows was extracted from an 8700 word essay that I wrote yesterday, entitled:  On Jane Hamsher And Our Fact-Free Media: It’s Not Just For Fox News Anymore. That too-lengthy screed tried to explain a number of ethical fails that explain Jane Hamsher's Twitter attacks on me, after I had criticized some of what I considered to be FDL's reckless and self-serving coverage of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Unfortunately, more than a few important threads got overwhelmed and lost in all that sauce.

So this post will focus on a few of those threads, adding only a postscript and update at the very end,  which has some new information, as well as an important question for Bradley Manning's "friend," David M.House).

[About] All those [Firedoglake] funding drives…

…may very well be the reason that Jane [Hamsher] is so upset with me. Since I have been fearless about calling her out, perhaps she fears that I just won't shut up, and that I will keep talking about all that damn money, continuing to remind readers that despite her blithering about progressive values, she's mostly running two very successful businesses; FDL and her advertising network, Common Sense Media. Both enterprises are highly vulnerable to conflict of interest charges, especially considering how often Jane conducts various fundraising drives for something or other. Oh yes, how she hates it when people talk about that damn money.

And she should be more than a little nervous, because few of her readers really know just how the professional fundraising game is really played, or how many magical accounting tricks get used to conceal expenses or other fiduciary mechanics which might appear questionable, even when legitimate. Yes, yes, yes, of course all those funding drives are always tied to non-profits.  But in the fine print of many of them, one can almost always find a convenient disclaimer that some funds raised will be used for, among other things, "speaker fees, events, communications, advocacy, etc.." Just the "event" expenses can cover for anything from promotion, travel and entertainment expenses, to simple hair and make-up fees. As written on an FDL contribution page

The Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund is a new public advocacy effort for Bradley Manning that will organize events, issue press releases, recruit spokespeople to speak out on Bradley’s behalf, and assemble researchers and witnesses to help with Bradley’s case.

Anyone care to place any bets on who gets fees as a "spokesperson?" To be fair, this fiscal smokescreen is common in many left and right political efforts, but it almost always roughly translates to: "Oh, by the way, it's not unlikely that some amount of money—or even a lot of money— will probably go to FDL and/or Jane Hamsher or her designees, for whatever perfectly legal administrative costs, personal services fees, or other expenses will not fail too many smell tests." FDL claims the Manning funds are being passed to a bona fide, tax-exempt non-profit called the "Institute for Media Analysis." While this group is legitimate, and has worked with Democracy Now (in some capacity that I couldn't determine), the "contact" for this charitable effort, is one "Trever Fitzgibbon," who, curiously enough, became an FDL blogger only on January 25th, 2011, posting a few minor articles about Manning, almost as if this would validate an ongoing interest in the case.

Hmm. Now why would Trevor want to suddenly pop up as an FDL blogger? It ain't like his career needs the exposure. Fitzgibbon is a well known professional media consultant who founded "Fitzgibbon Media," a very successful firm which almost exclusively farms opportunities arising from progressive celebrities, causes, interests and liberal organizations including Health Care for America Now, Moveon,org, Bruce Springsteen, etc.. We can assume the firm—and it's founder—are handsomely compensated for their efforts. And perhaps because he has such experience and clout, and knows how to drive efforts that produce the really big bucks, Fitzgibbon has slipped into the FDL blogging stream to help ramp up the visibility of…

A second "advocacy fund" for Bradley Manning?

On their contributions page for this "fund," Hamsher's FDL doesn't seem to feel obligated to point out that nearly $160,000 dollars has already been raised by another, far more established public advocacy and defense fund run by "Courage to Resist." That effort is clearly stating that much of the tax-deductible contributions are for advocacy efforts, while a separate stream of non tax-deductible money goes directly into a trust established by David Coombs (Manning's attorney) for actual legal costs. This group, which has Michael Moore and Daniel Ellsberg on its advisory board, has a long and proven track record at raising money for similar causes to Manning's.

But back to FDL's contributions page.  Note the very misleading words in the page title, "Donate to the Bradley Manning Advocacy fund: make a tax-deductible contribution for the public defense of Pfc. Bradley Manning." Here, the word "defense" has a slightly ambiguous—if not an overtly misleading—implication. And then further down the page, we find the following copy:

We think this fund to advocate for Bradley is deserving of your support. 100% of contributions to this fund will be used to pay expenses related to the advocacy and defense of Bradley Manning. (Bold emphasis theirs. Underline, mine.)

Only their lawyers can say for sure, but it certainly appears to me that the wording suggests that most of the funds will be used for advocacy related purposes.  Yet the wording, first ambiguously, and then unambiguously, suggests that at least some monies will go toward Manning's legal defense costs. They are clearly designing their copy to aim it straight for those good Samaritans who would want to help out with Manning's legal fees, while minimizing any questions that might arise about what else the money could be used for. Regardless of the real or inadvertent intent in FDL's wording, a careful observer still can't help but wonder, "why the duplication of fund raising efforts at all?"

If such famous people like Moore and Ellsberg are already raising money for public advocacy and defense, wouldn't a consolidated effort make far more sense? But then, of course, Hamsher wouldn't have any control over the use or accounting of that other fund, and thus, not have a very easy time billing it for any expenses that she, David House, or FDL staff or associates might wish to recover from it. But these matters are above my pay grade. I will leave such questions to the real journalists to ask Ms. Hamsher. I'm just some anonymous man who lives with his mother.

These kinds of fiduciary details, and adequately disclosing them (or the appearance of adequately disclosing them), have often seemed problematic for Hamsher. Especially those oh so tricky political action committees. The legendary Rogers Cadenhead has famously told much of that story, and far better than I ever could.


Let me add here a comment not in the original post. My purpose in bringing this up is to show that Firedoglake, considered such and "important blog" on the left, has a Jane Hamsher wing with its own agenda, and it stands apart from the rest of the FDL community, which as I have said before, has many good and well intentioned bloggers. The Hamsher wing, on the other hand, is not all that different from Fox News, @msnbc, or Michele Malkin's HotAir.com. It's a commercial enterprise, and acts like one. It plays upon progressive sentiment and issues so that it might drive website traffic from its core demographic; American liberals who feel there are important voices at FDL.  And there are some. Many in fact.

But none are so prominent as Jane Hamsher, who uses FDL as a vehicle for her own self promotion. With all the problems facing America right now, such egocentric publishing venues, especially run by someone so clearly willing to take no prisoners, and use any and all tactics available to her to crush or smear even a casual critic, is neither very progressive, nor conducive to progressive causes, and certainly not helpful for building a progressive future for America.

Update: Feb 1st

This morning Jane attacked me again, eager to employ anyone she felt could help to throw anything available at me, even if it again meant she had to buddy-up with the execrable wingnut, Erick W. Erickson (CEO of Redstate.com). Even more remarkably, she jumped into Twitter-bed with one of Twitter's more deranged borderlines, the perpetually unemployed Daniel Spengies (Warning: graphic info enclosed). a.k.a @Ratboy1979.

This character, famous for tweeting into any stream that gets him negative attention, might be described as mobile sociopathic research laboratory in the body of an overweight sumo wrestler who'd been bottle fed on crack cocaine and drain cleaners as a baby. Yep, he was the perfect hit man for any progressive leader who presumably had a reputation to protect.

In a twisted conversation few could believe was happening outside of a video written by @theOnion, the two of them confirmed each other's hypothesis that @Shoq, an anonymous cat (who was on Twitter for a year longer than she was), just couldn't  possibly have more followers than she did. Thus, the only explanation was that he was some sort of master hacker with access to the "authority nodes". No one seems to know what they are, exactly, but we're sure it's a reference to some peer-to-peer networking jargon that she picked up somewhere or other, while trying to impress someone or other.

She also tries to (feebly) suggest that Trevor Fitzgibbon was solely responsible for the Bradley Manning Defense Fund, even though she knows that under IRS rules, his nonprofit doesn't have to reveal diddly about its donors. Thus, unless he wanted to reveal his contacts and bookkeeping to the world, any arrangement with FDL would be known only to he and Jane Hamsher.

For his part, Trevor (who is on Twitter) seemed to wisely stay far away from her mayhem, no doubt realizing that nothing good could come of drawing still more attention to the curious questions I was raising. Questions that might lead to inconvenient questions about why such a famous promoter had been brought in late, to raise money for a poorly articulated advocacy effort, and a vaguely described legal defense fund, both of which were redundant with a prestigious and well managed existing effort with exactly the same goals.

You can see Jane's latest responses, in all their embarrassing viciousness, here: : http://chirpstory.com/li/628

A message for  David M. House: David, you can keep refusing to respond to my question on Twitter, but I will keep asking it anyway:

When did you actually meet Bradley Manning (whom you characterized as a "friend of friends," even one time?" In researching your story, and your Boston programming associates, I cannot seem to get an answer to this riddle. Is it possible that, until you visited him at Quantico Brig for the first time, and began your storied TV career, that you had not actually met him even once before? All I can find are connections to at least one complicit associate of Adrian Lamo (who outed Manning). But surely you had other connections to Manning besides a link to those hackers, also deeply implicated in the Wikileaks affair… right? I'd appreciate your answer, by Tweet or direct message. Thank you.


Shoq's Related Posts

Team Manning Attacks

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