Daily Archives: October 10, 2007

Ron Paul Wins Oregon Republican Straw Poll by a Landslide



Ron Paul on Hardball after 10-09-07 Debate

Statesman Journal | Oct 9, 2007

The Oregon Republican Party sent this press release yesterday:

First Oregon republican presidential straw poll picks Ron Paul

PORTLAND, Ore. – In the Oregon Republican Party’s first 2008 Presidential Straw Poll on Saturday, October 6, 2007, Ron Paul won by an overwhelming majority of the vote.

“I was impressed with the organization of the Ron Paul campaign, turning out more than 80 activists,” said Vance Day, Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. “At $20 a vote, their contributions will have a large affect on the Oregon Republican Party’s ability to recruit and elect republican candidates.”

To be eligible to participate in the straw poll, voters had to be Oregon residents and registered republicans. Out of 115 votes cast, the results are as follows:

Ron Paul – 66.96%

Mitt Romney – 15.65%

Fred Thompson – 10.43%

Mike Huckabee – 4.35%

Rudy Giuliani – 1.74%

John McCain – 0.87%

The straw poll was part of the Oregon Republican Leadership Conference, an annual event designed to train republican candidates, consultants, and political junkies on the new tools and techniques they need to win races. The conference included presentations and trainings by nationally recognized organizations like GOPAC and the Leadership Institute on microtargeting voters, campaign tactics, and voter registration.

Iraq seeks $8 million for each Blackwater victim killed

Sydney Morning Herald | Oct 10, 2007

by Anne Davies

IRAQI authorities have demanded $US8 million ($8.9 million) in compensation for the families of each of the 17 people killed when Blackwater USA guards opened fire on a crowded square last month.

A report issued by the Iraqi Government, which calls on the US Government to end its relationship with the controversial security firm within six months, is set to further raise tensions between the Government of the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the White House.

The report said the compensation – totalling $US136 million – was so high “because Blackwater uses employees who disrespect the rights of Iraqi citizens even though they are guests in this country”.

The US military pays compensation to the families of civilians killed in battles or to cover property damage, but at far lower amounts. The Iraqi Government has called on US authorities to hand over the Blackwater security agents involved in the shootings to face possible trial in Iraqi courts and has disputed US claims that a law agreed to in 2004 grants the Blackwater guards immunity.

“The investigation committee appointed by [Mr Maliki] has finished its inquiry and has found that there was no evidence that the convoy of Blackwater came under fire directly or indirectly,” a Government statement said, quoting the inquiry’s findings. “Employees of the company violated the rules governing use of force by security companies. They have committed a deliberate crime and should be punished under the law.”

The Iraqi Government would now take “judicial measures to punish the company”, the statement said.

The US embassy was tight-lipped on whether those involved in the killings would be handed over for prosecution in a case that has thrown the spotlight on the murky world of private security operators in Iraq.

“This and other matters will be discussed by the joint commission as they proceed with their work [so it is] best not to prejudge the outcome of their discussions,” an embassy spokeswoman, Mirembe Nantongo, told AFP, referring to a joint Iraq-US inquiry into the shootings.

Blackwater USA has more than 1000 contractors in Iraq protecting US diplomats, reconstruction and aid officials. On September 16 an operation went horribly wrong when a convoy entered the crowded Nisoor Square and the square was sprayed by machine-gun fire. Since then, it has been revealed that the company has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2004.

Blackwater officials have claimed that the convoy on September 16 was under attack from gunfire, but no Iraqi witnesses have corroborated the report.

The report found that Blackwater guards also had killed 21 Iraqi civilians and wounded 27 in previous shootings since it took over security for US diplomats in Baghdad after the US invasion.

The Iraqi Government did not say whether it would try to prosecute in those cases.

The US has not made conclusive findings about the shooting, though there are multiple investigations under way and Congress has opened inquiries into the role of private security contractors.

Bush: All religions pray to ‘same God’


‘That’s what I believe. I believe Islam is a great religion that preaches peace’

WorldNetDaily | Oct 7, 2007

President George Bush has repeated his belief all religions, “whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God” – an assertion that caused outrage among evangelical leaders when he said it in November 2003.

Bush made the statement Friday in an interview with Al Arabiya reporter Elie Nakouzi.

Al Arabiya is Al Jazeerah’s top competitor in the Mideast.

As the president and Nakouzi walked from the Oval Office to the Map Room in the White House residence, Nazouki asked, “But I want to tell you – and I hope this doesn’t bother you at all – that in the Islamic world they think that President Bush is an enemy of Islam – that he wants to destroy their religion, what they believe in. Is that in any way true, Mr. President?”

“No, it’s not,” said Bush. “I’ve heard that, and it just shows [sic] to show a couple of things: One, that the radicals have done a good job of propagandizing. In other words, they’ve spread the word that this really isn’t peaceful people versus radical people or terrorists, this is really about the America not liking Islam.

“Well, first of all, I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That’s what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren’t religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that – we had a person blow up our – blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that’s not a Christian act to kill innocent people.

“And I just simply don’t subscribe to the idea that murdering innocent men, women and children – particularly Muslim men, women and children in the Middle East – is an act of somebody who is a religious person.

Friday’s statement echoes one made by Bush in November 2003 during a joint press conference with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. A reporter noted Bush had frequently expressed the view that freedom is a gift from “the Almighty,” but questioned whether Bush believes “Muslims worship the same Almighty” as the president and other Christians do.

“I do say that freedom is the Almighty’s gift to every person. I also condition it by saying freedom is not America’s gift to the world,” Bush replied. “It’s much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god,” reported the London Telegraph.

Reaction from U.S. evangelical leaders was swift and strong.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, was quoted in the Baptist Press as saying the president “is simply mistaken.”

According to a Washington Post account, Land said in an interview: “We should always remember that he is commander in chief, not theologian in chief. The Bible is clear on this: The one and true god is Jehovah, and his only begotten son is Jesus Christ.”

The Rev. Ted Haggard, then-president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also contradicted the president in a press statement. “The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health,” said Haggard. “The Muslim god appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each god are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them. Muhammad’s central message was submission; Jesus’ central message was love. They seem to be very different personalities.”

In November 2006, Haggard was forced to resign from NAE following allegations of drug use and sex with a homosexual prostitute.

Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate and president of American Values, said Bush’s comment was “not helpful to the president. Since everybody agrees he’s not a theologian, he would be much better advised to punt when he gets that kind of question.”

In Friday’s interview with Al Arabiya, Bush emphasized his outreach to Muslims.

“We are having an Iftaar dinner tonight – I say, ‘we’ – it’s my wife and I,” Bush told Nakouzi. “This is the seventh one in the seven years I’ve been the president. It gives me a chance to say ‘Ramadan Mubarak.’ The reason I do this is I want people to understand about my country. In other words, I hope this message gets out of America. I want people to understand that one of the great freedoms in America is the right for people to worship any way they see fit. If you’re a Muslim, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, you’re equally American.

“And the value – the most valuable thing I think about America is that – particularly if you’re a religious person – you can be free to worship, and it’s your choice to make. It’s not the state’s choice, and you shouldn’t be intimidated after you’ve made your choice. And that’s a right that I jealously guard.

“Secondly, I want American citizens to see me hosting an Iftaar dinner.”

“That’s a strong message for the Americans,” said Nakouzi.

Last year, WND reported criticism of Bush from Wafa Sultan, a native of Syria, who said the president was empowering terrorist leaders whose ultimate aim is for Islamic law to govern the world by proclaiming Islam a “religion of peace.”

“I believe he undermines our credibility by saying that,” said Sultan. “We came from Islam, and we know what kind of religion Islam is.”