Can’t Grover Norquist stick to taxes?

Goodness knows with the Obama Administration taxing everyone everywhere wouldn’t you think Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, had enough to keep him busy that he wouldn’t have to get into promoting Islamic causes.   As a matter of fact,  I was just saying to a fellow real conservative the other day that Mr. Norquist has been conspicuously absent in the battle to rein in government spending during this period of arguably the worst attack on taxpayers in our nation’s history.  Now I know why.

Our interest in Norquist’s activities go back to August 2007 when he and fellow conservatives were drumming up support for the Kennedy bill to expand Iraqi refugee numbers entering the US (here).

So, now what is he up to?  From Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna last week:

Grover Norquist is a conservative activist and the president of Americans for Tax Reform. He is also well-known in Washington D.C. circles as a friend of Islam. Since the 1990s he has held weekly “Wednesday meetings” in which he briefs fellow conservatives and helps plot strategy for the Republican party.

Pushing appeasement:

According to several attendees who were present at Grover Norquist’s Wednesday meeting, the participants — presumably including members of Congress — were offered paperback copies of the “Changing the Course” document (pdf), which outlines the steps needed to help the United States achieve reconciliation with the Muslim world.

Unfortunately for non-Muslims in the United States, this prescription involves more engagement and more appeasement. It calls for yet more dialogue with and respect for Islam, and includes a special emphasis on removing Hamas and Hezbollah from the list of terrorist groups so that they can be recognized as legitimate negotiating partners.

The involvement of Mr. Norquist’s group raises questions about of the extent of Islamist infiltration throughout the conservative NGO groups.

Mr. Bodissey then goes on to connect the dots and point out that at the country’s largest gathering of conservatives in Washington in recent memory, there was no discussion of Islamic terrorism, save the privately sponsored speech by Geert Wilders which Judy and I attended, here.

If anyone is curious why this year’s CPAC — which has just folded its tents — didn’t have a single panel on radical Islam or the war on terror, remember that Grover Norquist is on the board of the ACU, which sponsors CPAC.

In July 2008 we told you more about Mr. Norquist to help explain why a supposed tax reformer was busy promoting the resettlement of large numbers of Iraqi Muslims to the US, not exactly a fiscally responsible thing to do.  Incidentally Norquist’s group also lobbied for amnesty for illegals.   In that same July post we  told you about an extraordinary charge by normally mild-mannered Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch:

Grover Norquist has been responsible, more than any other individual, for the infiltration of Islamic supremacists into the highest levels of the U.S. government. See here the seminal expose by Frank Gaffney of the immense damage Norquist has done.

It’s a great mystery to me, why don’t conservatives recognize the elephant in the living room?

US pullout in Iraq will have unintended consequences for refugees

President Obama’s plan to pull us out of Iraq may have deadly consequences for thousands of Iranian dissidents who have sought shelter in Iraq where they were protected by American troops.  

From the New York Times:

And in a remote part of northern Diyala Province, Iraqi soldiers surrounded a refugee camp for Iranian dissidents, Camp Ashraf, blockading food and water to the roughly 3,500 residents there. A spokesman for the dissidents’ group, the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, said Sunday that only the presence of Americans had prevented an attack on them.


Far to the north, the Iranian refugees at Camp Ashraf have been a renewed source of concern ever since American forces handed over responsibility for the camp’s protection to the Iraqi Army on Jan. 1.

Last Friday, however, Iraqi forces surrounded the camp and cut off supplies, according to Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the dissidents, reached by telephone in Paris. Then, on Sunday morning, the refugees resisted an attempt by Iraqi soldiers to enter one of the camp’s buildings, leading to scuffles and beatings of residents that stopped only when American officers there as observers intervened.

“If the Americans leave, you will see a very serious human catastrophe and a massacre in this camp,” said a camp spokesman, Shahriar Kia, who was reached by telephone. So far, though, no one has been seriously injured or killed.

Whew!  Who knew!  If the refugees are killed that won’t look so good for Obama.

Dutch court decision for freedom of speech could help Geert Wilders

In a hopeful decision, reports the Dutch news service NIS, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands…

produced an important ruling in principle in favour of freedom of speech. The highest court of the Netherlands acquitted a man of insulting Muslims although he dubbed Islam a tumour.

The man in question isn’t Geert Wilders, though the decision will obviously affect his case. A district court and an appeals court had found the man guilty. Here is how the court differentiated between insulting Islam and insulting Muslims:

The Supreme Court acquitted a man who in November 2004 stuck a poster in his window with the text: ‘Stop the tumour that is called Islam’. While people may not insult believers, they can insult their religion, according to the Supreme Court. “The sole circumstance of offensive statements about a religion also insulting its followers is not sufficient to speak of insulting a group of people due to their religion.”

The decision doesn’t automatically get Wilders off the hook.

The case was about Article 137c of the Criminal Code, which makes offensive statements about a group of people an offence. It was not about incitement to hatred or discrimination, the Supreme Court stressed.

Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Wilders, meanwhile internationally known for his struggle against Islam, will be tried for insulting Muslims as a group. The court that will handle his case will have to take yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling into account.

Originally, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) did not want to prosecute the MP, because it did not consider any of his statements a punishable offence. But in January, an appeal court in Amsterdam ordered the OM to change its mind.

As well as for insulting Muslims, Wilders will also be on trial for incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims. When the Wilders case will come to court is not yet known.

Distinguishing between insulting Islam and insulting Muslims is a fine point but an important one and I didn’t realize the Dutch law made that distinction. A small opening for free speech.

Hat tip to Jihad Watch. Our posts on Geert Wilders and freedom of speech are here.

Pregnant Iraqi refugee: “Every day I cry”

Yes, once again we have an unhappy Iraqi refugee story, this one from near Cincinnati, Ohio.  

“I’m nervous. Every day I cry,” Al-Sharea ( Rasha Al-Sharea) says.

Sometimes she wonders if her decision to leave the Middle East was too hasty.

She is alone, about to be evicted, and due to have a baby any day.   No wonder she is crying.

I don’t know what is going on.  Her story is about the twentieth such story we have written in recent months.  Ohio is one of 17* states where Iraqi refugees are left in the lurch, jobless and unhappy and often wanting to go home.   The stories are virtually the same, either reporters are lemmings and one such story leads to another or the problem is so pervasive it can’t be ignored.   If the stories were not all so uniformly critical of government contracted resettlement agencies, one might guess they were planted stories to drum up support for more funding for refugees, but I don’t know why these contractors would be willing to expose their failings in caring for these people.

Al-Sharea is a well-educated woman who thought she had won the lottery by being accepted to come to the US as a refugee, and now she is crying every day.   The agency that has apparently let her down is Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities South Western Ohio bills itself as the top provider of resettlement services for refugees in Greater Cincinnati.

Al-Sharea is one of 411 refugees since 2001 to arrive in the region after being sponsored by the local nonprofit agency.

Few arrivals are from Iraq, said Rod Huber, who heads the office’s refugee resettlement program. Last year brought five or six – including Al-Sharea – although the number of Iraqi refugees nationwide continues to swell.

As of early February, nearly 20,000 Iraqi refugees have resettled in the United States since 2007, according to federal statistics.

Catholic Charities lost track of her.

Catholic Charities in Cincinnati is among dozens of nonprofit agencies across the country with government approval to help refugees resettle in the United States.

Agency workers meet the refugees at the airport. They offer $425 in initial housing assistance, set refugees up with donations of furniture, household goods and clothing and offer job assistance. They hook them up with English classes if needed and help refugees apply for food stamps, cash assistance and Medicaid.

Refugees without children are entitled to eight months of public assistance by law. Benefits can continue if the family has children, Huber said.

Huber said services were offered to Al-Sharea. Then, the agency lost track of her.

Read the whole story about Al-Sharea and her misfortunes that could have been avoided if someone knowledgeable was guiding her through the red-tape maze of the welfare system.

This month, Al-Sharea received a letter from the apartment management saying the rent was habitually late and they wanted Al-Sharea to leave or face eviction.

Huber, of Catholic Charities, said he wasn’t aware of the latest housing flap or Al-Sharea’s problems getting food stamps.

A caseworker helped Al-Sharea obtain food stamps in November. But after that, they thought Malabeh had taken responsibility for her.

“We kind of bowed out at that point for that reason,” Huber said. “We want the family to be involved. We want the family to help them.”

The agency has only so much money, he said.

How much does it cost to follow-up with a phone call every month or so to see how a refugee is doing?   I can see maybe losing track of them after a year or two, but within months!   It would help the refugee not fall through the cracks as Al-Sharea obviously has, but if they have begun treatments for such things as TB (yes, refugees do enter the country with TB), it would protect the public as well to know where they are.

And, aren’t there reports that must be made to the Office of Refugee Resettlement involving employment?  I know there are because here is the site  (this is a pdf file, scroll to your state) at ORR where employment is reported.  So, if Catholic Charities didn’t know within months were Al-Sharea was, how were they able to report her employment, or lack of employment?    Makes you wonder about the accuracy of these reports doesn’t it?


*The 17 states where Iraqis have few job prospects and are unhappy include: Arizona, Maryland, New Hampshire,Virginia, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Idaho, Connecticut, New Mexico, California, Utah, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Washington. See our Iraqi refugee category for all these stories and more.