Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Monkeys


Lots of news last week: Haiti’s earthquake, Scott Brown’s victory, the Pentagon report on the Fort Hood Massacre, and the beginning of the Geert Wilders trial in Holland. Three out of the four stories pertain to Radical Islam. Only Haiti doesn’t, but it and the Massachusetts election drowned out coverage of the last two stories.

One of the many facets of Scott Brown’s upset win was what his Democrat opponent Martha Coakley, said about the Afghanistan’s Taliban in their debate. Even though the Taliban has been killing American soldiers in Afghanistan for years, and at a accelerating rate, Coakley said: “They’re gone. They’re not there anymore.” That is astonishing ignorance in someone vying to become a US Senator during wartime. The scary fact that she almost won makes me wonder: How many other high officials in our government are that stupid? A big clue is in the Pentagon’s report on why Major Nidal Hasan shot forty-something people at Fort Hood. It looks like the answer is quite a few of them are - perhaps even most.

When I was a little boy, I had a recurring nightmare in which I was in the back yard of our suburban Boston home being chased by a monster. My father was cooking at his grille but didn’t even look up. I knew my father could defeat the monster if he would only look and see what was happening, but he never did - and that’s what scared me the most.

Now I’m afraid that way again, only this time it isn’t a dream. The Pentagon report on the Fort Hood Massacre, says columnist Diana West, “is 86 pages long and doesn't mention the words ‘Muslim,’ ‘Islam,’ ‘jihad,’ ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law), ‘Koran’ -- despite the fact that we know, among other things, that the killer, who initiated his massacre with a cry of ‘Allahu Akbar,’ was a Muslim inspired by Islam to perform an act of jihad as sanctioned by Sharia derived from the Koran.”I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. As I wrote last November: “After US Army Major Hasan openly admired Muslim suicide bombers, declared the US an ‘oppressor’ of Muslims, asked an al Qaeda recruiter what he could do “to further the Jihad,” shouted ‘Allahu Akbar!’ while he gunned down forty-three US soldiers. President Obama said: ‘Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable.’ Inexplicable? We’re in deep trouble.”

Then, three days after the Christmas Pantybomber burned out his crotch trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253, Obama said Abdulmutallab was “an isolated extremist.” Then, last week, the Pentagon again pretended Radical Islam had nothing to do with the Fort Hood Massacre.

Some of us look for the truth. Some of us run from it. Others of us claim there’s no such thing. Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders went on trial last week for rubbing the painful truth in the faces of his countrymen. He made a film called Fitna in which he quoted sermons made by Radical imams (clerics), and quoted from the Koran as well - juxtaposing these words with images of Radical Muslim attacks. Then he compared all this with quotes from Mein Kampf - Hitler’s autobiography. The similarities were obvious, painful, and apt. No one questioned their veracity. Radical Muslims threatened Wilders with death if he released the film, but he released it anyway - knowing he would have to spend every minute of every day under armed guard for the rest of his life.What did the Dutch government do? Did it root out the radicals in its midst? Did it offer protection to a member its Parliament threatened with death? No. Incredibly, it charged Wilders - one of its own - with hate crimes for “offending” Radical Muslims with their own words! I wish I were making this up, but that’s what is happening. Last week, the Dutch government started laying out its “case” against Wilders. If convicted of “hate speech” for telling the truth, Wilders faces two years in prison and fines of 18 thousand Euro, or about $25,000.

Multiculturalism trumps truth in Holland - and in the rest of old Europe as well. Radical Muslims are killing us, but we mustn’t hurt their feelings. It's as if we had do discuss fighting Hitler's Germany without mentioning the evils of Nazism.

The truth is - there is evil in our midst once again. It threatened western civilization twice during the 20th century in the form of fascism and communism. Both times we ignored it, then appeased it, until it got so bad that tens of millions died before it could be subdued. We listened to wimps like Neville Chamberlain and ignored leaders Winston Churchill until it was almost too late. Then "sophisticated” and “nuanced” intellectuals ridiculed Ronald Reagan for calling the Soviet Union “The Evil Empire.” Then they scoffed at George W. Bush for calling Syria, North Korea and Iran “The Axis of Evil.” Now the USA, the UK and the EU are the three monkeys of “See no evil, Hear no evil, and Speak no evil.”
Those monkeys seem to have originated with an 8th century Chinese proverb, declaring: “If we do not hear, see, or speak evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil.” But we won’t be spared until we pull our hands away, look Radical Islam in the face, and call it what it is.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hateful? Who Is?


Last October I made a TV commercial for “Stand For Marriage Maine,” the Catholic-led organization to repeal the gay “marriage” law passed by the Maine’s legislature. We won, and it was a setback for homosexual activists nationally as liberal Maine became the seventeenth state in a row to vote against it. Wherever citizens vote, it loses, but fallout from bitter homosexual activists continues.

Three of us made the same commercial. My version was rejected, but Nokomis High School guidance counselor Don Mendell’s version ran for weeks. Now his job is threatened because two other guidance counselors filed complaints with Maine’s licensing board claiming he violated the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) code of ethics by appearing in the ad.

If there’s an occupation with more homosexuals than hairdressing or interior decorating, it’s social work. In the first complaint, social worker and guidance counselor Ann Sullivan claimed “Don [Mendell] has a history of being unsupportive of GLTBQ issues.” That long acronym would mean “Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, and Questioning.” Sullivan complained that “When Nokomis High staff assisted students in beginning the Gay Straight Alliance [GSA], Don was very vocal in his opposition to this group.”

Mendell should be commended for opposing a GSA at his high school, considering that President Obama’s embattled Safe Schools Czar, Kevin Jennings was “the faculty advisor to the nation's first Gay-Straight Alliance” Jennings then founded GLSEN - the “Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network” - and used taxpayer money to teach fourteen-year-olds sexual techniques like “fisting” - too perverted to describe or this column couldn’t be printed in family newspapers. Jennings also passed out guides to gay bars in Boston, pointing out which ones specialized in “leather” fetishes. That’s code for homosexuals who prefer sick, sadomasochist practices such as those favored by Maine gay “marriage” activist Bruce LaVallee-Davidson, recently convicted of manslaughter. GLSEN gives such literature to students all over the country. Instead of being praised for trying to protect Maine students from depravity, Mendell is harassed by the state.

Days before the vote, I was invited to appear at a press conference where I spoke about some of this. Private school, and retired public school teachers were there, but I was the only active public school teacher present. Why? Mendell’s ordeal is a good example of what we can expect if we speak out against homosexual propaganda in school or even in private life.

In December, the Baldacci Administration ramped up pressure. According to the Sebasticook Valley Weekly: “Maine Assistant Attorney General Robert Perkins . . . has requested that Mendell turn over transcripts of the video commercial he made in support of a YES vote on the recent gay marriage referendum [and] provide copies of any ‘letters to the editor’ that he may have written in the past year concerning the gay marriage issue.”

That’s chilling.

Mendell says his First Amendment rights protect him from charges other counselors made to shut him up. Clearly, they’re supportive of propaganda groups like GSA and GLSEN who actively recruit students to their miscreant subcultures. Considering the average life expectancy of homosexual men is twenty years shorter than other men, it is the two complainants’ ethics which should be questioned, not Mendell’s.

Twenty years ago, homosexual activists jumped on the civil rights bandwagon with the dubious claim that homosexual orientation is biological or “in the genes,” for which there’s absolutely no scientific proof. Nonetheless, the majority of psychotherapists and social workers, like the two complainants, believe homosexuality is inborn and immutable. That’s the kind of propaganda GSA and GLSEN pushes in Maine and in thousands of schools across the nation.

But what if they’re wrong? What if schoolchildren are malleable and can be steered toward homosexual or transgender inclinations by exposure to GLSEN propaganda? It’s one thing for Maine public schools to provide “transgender bathrooms” (which some do), but it would be quite another if they should refer children to newly-opened “transgender clinics.” Children’s Hospital in Boston offers hormone treatments to prevent the onset of puberty in children as young as seven! According to Foxnews.com: “The drugs stop the natural flood of hormones that would make it difficult to have a sex alteration later in life, allowing patients more time to decide whether they want to make the [surgical] change.”

“‘Treating these children with hormones does considerable harm and it compounds their confusion,’ said Dr. Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University. ‘Trying to delay puberty or change someone’s gender is a rejection of the lawfulness of nature. . . . At some point in childhood,’ McHugh said, ‘many children role play as the opposite sex, but it is a social, not a medical issue.’”

Especially when they’re only seven.

That’s one direction in which homosexual activists are heading. Maine voters set them back and Don Mendell is feeling their wrath.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Deadly Infection


Only recently have I become aware of the depths to which political correctness has permeated our culture. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know how bad. It’ll be the ruin of us if we don’t kill it and comb its nits out of our hair.
I began to get a clue at a private reception for Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders in Washington last February. After Wilders was escorted out by his bodyguards (radical Muslims ordered him killed for making a movie called “Fitna.”), I found myself in extended conversation with a young Defense Department analyst who had been tasked by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to research and report on the ideology of our radical Muslim enemies. He immersed himself in Islamic law and came to the conclusion that it’s the radical Muslims who appear to have the doctrinal base in Islam, not the moderates.

He said that most of the highest officials at the Pentagon rejected his brief. Then they rejected the young man himself - and that was during the Bush Administration. The Pentagon, he said, “as an institution,” wanted to believe that the Radical Muslim interpretation of jihad, which is holy war against infidels worldwide - convert them or kill them, was an aberration.

I had hitherto believed that our National Security planners knew the threat, but were just being polite in their public statements. Not so, according to my young friend. Radical Muslims posing as moderates had more influence with Pentagon planners than he did, he told me. It was their advice the Pentagon was heeding. I’m withholding his name because that’s how he apparently wants it at this point. Last week he was interviewed by Bill Whittle of Pajamas TV (Go here, then click on "The Islamic Infiltration, Part 1") and appeared only in silhouette as he told his story.

Next, Whittle interviewed a former FBI special agent (also a silhouette) who spent most of his fifteen-year career working on the Islamic movement in the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic doctrine. He said our Department of Homeland Security is being advised by people from the Council for American Islamic Relations or CAIR. The trouble is, he claims they’re a front for Hamas - a Radical Islamic organization. The Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Society of North America - ISNA - a huge financial entity for Hamas in the United States.”

A little background for readers: The Muslim Brotherhood, according to author Robert Spencer, spawned both Hamas and al Qaeda. Khalid Sheik Muhammed, who planned the September 11th attacks for al Qaeda and goes on trial in New York City soon, belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now back to the anonymous FBI agent in Whittle’s interview: “CAIR and ISNA (both closely affiliated with Hamas),” he said, “are the two groups that DOD, DHS, the State Department all use to do their Muslim outreach in North America. “They sit in on brainstorming about investigative techniques that our agents are using in the field.”

“I have to stop you,” said Whittle, “because, frankly, that sounds so absurd that I have to really make sure I’m understanding you correctly. Are you saying that the radicalized Muslim groups are invited in to learn our investigative techniques, that they’re invited in to get their feedback on how we’re going to fight against them. Is that what I understood you to say?”

“Yes,” he answered. “The General Counsel of the FBI invites them in as well as the ACLU and other groups in [to make sure that whatever our government agencies did] was okay and not offensive to these organizations.  . . . that’s nothing short of outrageous.”

“So you’re giving away the farm in order to make sure their feelings don’t get hurt,” said Whittle.

Evidently, political correctness could be fatal.

“There’s no training for local law enforcement officials about the real nature of the threat,” said the agent. “The training they get is given by agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“How did this happen?” asked Whittle. “How did [it] get this far?”

“The Muslim Brotherhood has a long-term strategy,” said the agent. “They’re well organized with hundreds of front groups that support their public relations, their research arms, they have insinuated themselves into our largest universities. They have Muslim Student Associations (MSA), which is [sic] the first Muslim Brotherhood organization that formed in the United States in 1963. MSA is on every major college campus in the United States recruiting people to the Brotherhood on our own campuses.”

No wonder we haven’t captured Osama Bin Laden after eight years.

When we know how closely foxes are consulted on the design our National Security chicken coop, we can begin to understand why our Commander-in-chief said he wasn’t sure Fort Hood’s Major Hasan was a radical Muslim after he shot more than forty of our soldiers while yelling “Allahu Akbar!” or why he said the Christmas Pantybomber was “an isolated extremist.” We can understand why he won’t call this a war with Radical Islam and instead refers to it as “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Radical Muslims are fanatic, yes, but they understand us better than we understand ourselves. They know we’re so infected with political correctness that we’re more afraid of offending them than we are of losing a war to them.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bias? What Bias?

Graphs courtesy of Media Research Center

As a history teacher, I must strive for objectivity. However, I know it’s not possible for a thoughtful person to study history, politics, or economics and not develop biases. Best practice would be do disclose those biases to students because it’s inevitable that I’ll teach concepts I believe in with more enthusiasm than concepts I don’t believe in. It’s human nature. To detect this, students would need to understand the left/right political spectrum and the terminology used to describe it, so I sketched one out and taught it. Then I advised them point out my bias when they detect it. Those exercises train them to identify and to be aware of a presenter’s political perspective when any sort of information is promulgated.

As their own biases develop, students need to be conscious of them as well when they listen to information. Facts are facts, and when they learn things that contradict their tentative understanding of cause and effect, they have to be willing to do the work necessary to adjust it. Thoughtful, informed teachers and students inevitably develop a point of view on issues. Only a robot could play it completely down the middle every time.

The same would be true for a reporter. Some stories are just straight news and bias doesn’t come into play, but when a reporter researches background to find causes for example, it probably will. He or she will look for certain things and not others according to his/her understanding of cause and effect. An editor can mitigate that by suggesting alternative areas of inquiry to the reporter, but when the reporters and editors all share the same biases, that’s just not likely to happen, and that’s been the case for decades in our mainstream media.

Up to now, I’ve been pointing out unintentional bias, but evidence is increasing that Mainstream Media (MSM) bias is becoming more and more deliberate. By MSM, I mean the three major broadcast networks of ABC, NBC and CBS. I mean the big-city broadsheets like the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. I mean the weekly newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek, and I mean taxpayer funded media like PBS and NPR.

Although MSM influence is waning fast due to the rise of the internet, of talk radio and of cable news, it still predominates with much bigger audience share. The clearest example of MSM left-wing bias is their coverage of the last presidential campaign. Compare the merciless vetting of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin with the almost complete lack of scrutiny into Senator Barack Obama. Obama had been impressing crowds with his oratorical skills - especially compared to the hum-drum speechifying of Republican rival Senator John McCain. But when McCain picked Palin as his VP nominee, she gave a speech that electrified the GOP base and many independents as well. Then she followed up with another hard-hitting speech at the GOP convention and the MSM went after her relentlessly. One poll indicates that 90% of Americans believe he MSM actively helped Obama get elected and 70% believe they’re promoting his presidency.

When he promised to lower ocean levels by reducing carbon emissions, the MSM cooperated by hyping alleged human causes of global warming. When Democrats pushed Obama’s Cap and Trade bill, CBS’s Scott Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. When a hacker exposed the bias, lies and hypocrisy of global warming scientists in Europe and the United States just prior to the big “climate change” summit in Copenhagen, again the MSM ignored the story.

When Obama made his speech before Congress on health care “reform,” he used erroneous examples of people who allegedly suffered at the hands of insurance companies, but the MSM declined to investigate. When he made a speech in New Hampshire claiming surgeons would rather make $30-50 thousand on a amputation than treat a patient to save his leg, that was a whopper. Medicare pays $700-1200. Did you see any scrutiny of that? Not unless you saw it online, or on AM Radio, or on Fox News.

Then there was ACORN, the “Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now,” for which President Obama worked on and off while an attorney in Chicago. ACORN officials were filmed during a sting operation in five cities across the country offering to help people avoid tax laws, start prostitution services, and smuggle in underaged illegal aliens to work in them - all with public tax money. The MSM ignored the story until Congress cut off ACORN’s funds.

As a columnist, I deal in opinions. Pushing a point of view and is part of my job. However, my turf is increasingly encroached upon by people purported to be reporters in the MSM. They brazenly amplify stories reinforcing their point of view and they play down or ignore stories that contradict it. Do they do so consciously and deliberately? Evidence is mounting that they do, and that is the most insidious form of propaganda.

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