Saturday, January 28, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

NYT The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Did he believe his talk was consistent with government policy, or did he think he was elected to set government policy
The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.
Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions.
Then he should make sure his resume is up to date.
"They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.


Hamas Leader Sees No Change Toward Israelis

NYT reported The exiled political head of the radical Islamic group Hamas said Saturday in Damascus, Syria, that the group would adopt "a very realistic approach" toward governing the Palestinian Authority and would work with the Fatah president, Mahmoud Abbas, on an acceptable political program.

But the leader, Khaled Meshal, also said Hamas would not "submit to pressure to recognize Israel, because the occupation is illegitimate and we will not abandon our rights,"
As long as he maintains that position I feel sure the US will not help support the Palestinians, and I hope the weak willed Europeans will not either.
nor would it disarm, but would work to create a unified Palestinian army.
Will the army be loyal to the elected Palestinian Authority, whoever that is, or will it be loyal to Hamas, regardless of who wins future elections?
He insisted that "resistance is a legitimate right that we will practice and protect," and he defended attacks on Israeli civilians, which included many suicide bombings until a cease-fire nearly a year ago. Then he said Hamas was "ready to work with Europe and even the United States if they wish."


WaPo calls it A Discredit to the GOP

WaPo reported The Bush administration's distortion, for political purposes, of the Democratic position on warrantless surveillance is loathsome.
So is the MSM's distortion, for political purposes, of what the NSA is doing.
Despite the best efforts of Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, and Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, to make it seem otherwise, Democrats are not opposed to vigorous, effective surveillance that could uncover terrorist activity.
Then tell them to shut up.
Nor are the concerns that they are expressing unique to their party. Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.) have expressed legal doubts about the surveillance program. Do they, too, have a "pre-9/11 worldview," as Mr. Rove said of the Democrats?
Either that, or they want to increase the power of the Congress, and decrease the power of the President, even if it will hurt the country.
Believing there should be constraints on unchecked executive power is not the same as being weak-kneed about the war against terrorism. Critics are suggesting that President Bush should have gone through normal procedures for conducting such surveillance or asked Congress to provide clear legal authority for the National Security Agency activity. They are not contending that such surveillance shouldn't be conducted at all.
By suggesting he should get a warrent for each call sounds very reminiscent of the way Clinton approached things, being unwilling to accept it when countries wanted to turn Osama over to us, because we did not have enough evidence to prosecute him in court. Bush is not involved in Domestic Surveillance where both ends of the call are in the US.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1942, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York, from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support an expected two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production. On June 17, 1942, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption. By June 27, 1942, all eight saboteurs had been arrested without having accomplished one act of destruction. Tried before a Military Commission, they were found guilty. One was sentenced to life imprisonment, another to thirty years, and six received the death penalty, which was carried out within a few days. I am sure these saboteurs needed to take to each other, and probably while they were in the US. Did Democrats of the day insist that the FBI get a warrent every time the wanted to listen in on their plans, or did they not mind, since FDR was a Democrat?
No leading Democrat has argued for barring this kind of potentially useful technique.


Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History

NYT In recent weeks, President Bush and his administration have mounted a spirited defense of his Iraq policy, the Patriot Act and, especially, a program to wiretap civilians, often reaching back into American history for precedents to justify these actions. It is clear that the president believes that he is acting to protect the security of the American people. It is equally clear that both his belief and the executive authority he claims to justify its use derive from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

And that is exactly what he has said.
A myriad of contested questions are obviously at issue here — foreign policy questions about the danger posed by Iraq, constitutional questions about the proper limits on executive authority, even political questions about the president's motives in attacking Iraq. But all of those debates are playing out under the shadow of Sept. 11 and the tremendous changes that it prompted in both foreign and domestic policy.

Whether or not we can regard Sept. 11 as history, I would like to raise two historical questions about the terrorist attacks of that horrific day. My goal is not to offer definitive answers but rather to invite a serious debate about whether Sept. 11 deserves the historical significance it has achieved.
Since the NYT would prefer that people forget about 9/11. Which is strange, because the greatest loss of life was in New York. But I guess since it was the Trade Towers, the Left Wing NYT may feel the Capitalists deserved to die.
My first question: where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
It is the most recent, and it represents an attack on this country, i.e. the original 48 states. We went to war when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but that was in Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.

Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.
The Islamo Terrorists that attacked on 9/11 are just as great a threat to democracy and capitalism as Hitler was, and if they get nuclear weapons, they definitely will use them, while it is unclear that Russia would have been stupid enough to attack us from Cuba (they certainly were not stupid enough to let Castro have control of the missles).


Blogs Attack From Left as Democrats Reach for Center

WaPo reports Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience.
That is the problem with the Angry Left. They will attack their own for not being extreme enough, just as they attack the Right. And I like that just fine, because it means that the liberals can't pretend to be moderates to attract the independents, and if someone from the Democratic Party comments that so and so really does not mean what they are saying, it is just to attract the moderates, some conservative will find it and trumpet how dishonest the left is being.
These activists -- spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns -- have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts. First, liberal Web logs went after Democrats for selecting Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to deliver the response to Bush's speech next Tuesday. Kaine's political sins: He was too willing to drape his candidacy in references to religion and too unwilling to speak out aggressively against Bush on the Iraq war. Kaine has been lauded by party officials for finding a victory formula in Bush country by running on faith, values and fiscal discipline.
That is because he is smart, and he knows most in the center and on the right are religious to one extent or another, and they want their leaders to support the military.
Many Web commentators wanted Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading critic of the Iraq war who advocates a speedy withdrawal, to be the opposition voice on the State of the Union night. Most Democratic lawmakers have distanced themselves from the Murtha position. "What the hell are they thinking?" was the title of liberal blogger Arianna Huffington's column blasting the Kaine selection.

CQ blogged Kerry has decided that the blogs and the leftist activists that control them own the Democratic Party future and has aligned himself with them for better or worse. Kerry's actions this week are all about positioning himself as the anti-Establishment candidate for 2008, the Eugene McCarthy of the next presidential election cycle. Just as he stole a march on Howard Dean after the Vermont governor stumbled in Iowa, Kerry plans to manipulate the left-wing elements of the base to carry him through the primaries against the party Establishment's choice, Hillary Clinton. If that means civil war in the Democratic Party, then Kerry appears happy to foment it.

Betsy blogged I'm sure comments like those from Mr. Elmendorf, indicating that Democrats want the bloggers' money, influence, and energy to help Democratic candidates without giving in to what these leftists are really upset about will not endear him to those bloggers. The only way to make good use of that energy is to channel it into a negative campaign against Republicans in the way that these liberal activists were able to unite in their hatred of Bush and help John Kerry, a man for whom they had no real affection. So, expect to see more and more demonization because that will be the only common ground between the more pragmatic Democratic politicians and their extreme supporters. As someone who has long tired of such internal battles among conservatives, I will be happy to enjoy watching this intra-party squabble among liberals.

Byron York blogged Left-wing bloggers -- "netroots" activists -- are feeling their oats these days. This morning, the biggest of them all, Markos Moulitsas of the DailyKos, comments on a Washington Post story which contains the following quote:
"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
That might seem a sensible strategy for a candidate seeking election in all but the bluest areas, but by saying it, Elmendorf unwittingly set himself up as the newest target of "netroots" rage -- and revenge. Moulitsas writes:
Mr. Elmendorf almost got it right. The trick, in reality, is to stop appearing like our Democrats are held captive to sleazebag amoral lobbyists. Here's notice, any Democrat associated with Elmendorf will be outed. The netroots can then decide for itself whether it wants to provide some of that energy and money to that candidate. There's nothing "extreme left" with demanding Democrats act like Democrats, no matter how much these out-of-touch and self-important beltway insiders think it is.
For an example, susanhu blogged Fight a GOOD FIGHT ... That's all we want right now. We know only too well we're in the minority. We see evidence every damn day. We simply want all Democrats to ACT LIKE you've got some guts, some nerve, some fight in you. That's why I've totally kissed and made up with John Kerry after his actions this week (I even signed up again for his newsletter after quitting in disgust last November).
If the Left is kissing and making up with Kerry just because he proposed a filibuster which does not stand a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, we should be able to play them off against and Dem that reaches for the center.
And Hillary is getting the spanking she deserves. (Besides the Iraq issue, that flag burning pandering bullshit amendment did it for me.)


Friday, January 27, 2006

Turning the tide on Zarqawi

Iraq the Model blogged The Anbar tribes’ campaign to rid the province of Zarqawi’s terror organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq is in its 2nd day and so far, 270 Arab and foreign intruders have been arrested.

Fantastic News!!!!!
... Usama Jad’aan, the leader of Karabila tribes in Qaim told al-Hayat that “the operation will continue to eliminate terror elements according to a quality plan” and added “270 Arab and foreign intruders have been arrested, in addition to some Iraqis who were providing them shelter”. Sheikh Jad’aan added “the operation is conducted in coordination between the tribes and the minister of defense Sa’doun al-Dulaimi and since we arrested hundreds of terrorists, I don’t expect the operation to take a lot of time”.


Mixed Support for Wiretaps

NYT Americans are willing to tolerate eavesdropping without warrants to fight terrorism, but are concerned that the aggressive antiterrorism programs championed by the Bush administration are encroaching on civil liberties, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Even with extremely misleading questions half of the people support the wiretaps.
In a sign that public opinion about the trade-offs between national security and individual rights is nuanced and remains highly unresolved, responses to questions about the administration's eavesdropping program varied significantly depending on how the questions were worded, underlining the importance of the effort by the White House this week to define the issue on its terms.
When the American people understand how limited the program is, and how inappropriate it is to call it Domestic Spying, I predict they will turn against the media that has been misleading them.
The poll, conducted as President Bush defended his surveillance program in the face of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans that it is illegal, found that Americans were willing to give the administration some latitude for its surveillance program if they believed it was intended to protect them. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they supported eavesdropping without warrants "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism."

The results suggest that Americans' view of the program depends in large part on whether they perceive it as a bulwark in the fight against terrorism, as Mr. Bush has sought to cast it, or as an unnecessary and unwarranted infringement on civil liberties, as critics have said.


Libby To Pursue Media

NYT reported Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff asked a federal judge on Thursday to order the prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case to turn over all documents in his possession related to what journalists knew from any source about the intelligence officer at the heart of the case. The lawyers for the former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., said in their motion that the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, had refused to turn over to the defense documents that would shed light on whether any reporter knew about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, before her name was first disclosed in a newspaper column on July 14, 2003.

Libby is not going to just roll over, but is going after the press.
Mr. Libby's lawyers said in their motion that "the prosecution invoked an extraordinarily narrow conception of its disclosure obligations." The prosecutor turned over, the defense said, only documents related to Mr. Libby's contacts with reporters, refusing to turn over documents about what these and other reporters had learned about Ms. Wilson from other sources.

The defense team said that such documents were highly relevant as Mr. Libby's lawyers sought to find out "the identity of all reporters who knew that Ms. Wilson worked for the C.I.A., and to discover when they learned such information, from whom they learned it and whether they disclosed it further after learning it."

Just One Minute blogged We are especially intrigued by the defense attempt to learn about "any agreements to limit the scope of information provided by the reporters [to Fitzgerald]". Gentlemen such as Mr. Pincus of the Post may be asked questions by the defense that Fitzgerald passed over, such as, "Was the leak you received on July 12 your first hint that Ambassador Wilson's wife was at the CIA, or had other sources mentioned this to you earlier?".... My Not So Bold Prediction - this trial will mark a watershed in the history of the media in America.... The WaPo nearly brought a tear to me eye with this:
The defense effort to delve deeper into Fitzgerald's investigation, if successful, could divulge the identities of some anonymous, high-level government sources whom reporters and news organizations have spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees protecting from public view.
Oh, poor dears. This next bit echoes David Johnston of the Times:
The defense strategy is expected to pull several high-profile Washington journalists into a legal battle over the First Amendment, many of them for a second time.
Many for a second time, some for the first. The subpoena, the court fight, the adverse rulings, the deposition, the testimony - these high profile journalists may as well prepare themselves to walk the line.


What will Hamas do?

The Head Heeb blogged ... Everything that was said yesterday about balances of power obviously no longer applies. Hamas can govern if it wants, either by forcing Abbas to appoint a Hamas government or by making it impossible for a Fatah minority government to function. If there is a national unity government, as some leaders of both parties have suggested, it will be constructed largely on Hamas' terms. Abbas still has a trump card in his ability to dissolve parliament and call new elections, but using it at this juncture would be more a confession of weakness than anything else.
I believe Fatah has said it will not participate, so it will be a totally Hamas government. If Abbas does not resign, he can let Hamas try to run a government, and then dissolve parliament and call for a new election when they are the weakest, but I suspect Abbas will be forced to resign.
This makes Hamas' internal debate all the more important. The faction will have to choose what to do with its power: whether to accept the Oslo framework and move toward negotiations with Israel, or whether to lay Oslo to rest and potentially declare unilateral independence. Before the election, some Hamas leaders were suggesting that the party might avoid confronting the issue head-on by taking the social welfare ministries and letting Abbas handle diplomacy, but this will be harder to do as a majority party than as a junior partner in a national unity coalition.

I'm not sure that even the Hamas leadership counted on getting this far, so the party itself may not know which alternative it will choose. It may also be that the election has changed Hamas' internal balance of power in addition to the political balance within the PA. Hamas' assumption of office in a Palestinian political entity may give the local leadership an independent political foothold and strengthen it at the expense of the hard-line expatriates, especially since many of the elected representatives will be from the relatively moderate West Bank party organizations. Just as Fatah is in rebellion against its old-guard Tunisian leadership, Hamas may now escape the tutelage of its Syrians. On the other hand, the internal debate may result in the parliamentary delegation becoming an instrument through which Khaled Meshaal's hard-liners exert influence. We're not going to know for some time.

A Hamas victory will also affect Israeli politics more than the strong second-place finish that was expected this time yesterday. All the same, barring a resumption of large-scale violence, I doubt that its impact will be decisive. Likud now has a new campaign issue and the center will probably lose some ground to the right, but most of Kadima's voters are already convinced that there is no Palestinian negotiating partner, and Hamas' win may actually strengthen support for further unilateral moves.
They might withdraw support for a few settlements hard to defend, but this will just mean completing the wall even faster.
Again, a great deal will depend on what Hamas does with its newfound strength, and the full ramifications may not become apparent for several weeks. All we know now is that, once again, Middle Eastern politics may have turned upside down in an instant.


Kerry Gets Cool Response

NYT Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts could not attend the Senate debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Thursday. He was in Davos, Switzerland, mingling with international business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum. But late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Kerry began calling fellow Democratic senators in a quixotic, last-minute effort for a filibuster to stop the nomination. Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.

Kerry is not stupid enough to think the fillibuster will succeed. He is just doing this to curry favor with the extreme left wing interest groups that want a fillibuster. However he is stupid if he thinks that means it is going to get the Democratic nomination in 2008. Hillary may or may not have it locked up, but if she does not get it, they certainly are not going to give it to Kerry.
"God bless John Kerry," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee. "He just cinched this whole nomination. With Senator Kerry, it is Christmas every day."
Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman working on the nomination, said Mr. Kerry's move "says a lot less about Alito than it does about the Iowa primary in 2008," suggesting that Mr. Kerry, who lost the presidential race in 2004, was playing to his party's liberal base in a bid to recapture its nomination.

WaPo reported Several prominent Democratic senators called for a filibuster of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination yesterday, exposing a deep divide in the party even as they delighted the party's liberal base. The filibuster's supporters -- including Sens. John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts -- acknowledged that the bid is likely to fail and that Alito is virtually certain to be confirmed Tuesday. But they said extended debate may draw more Americans' attention to Alito's conservative stands on abortion, civil rights, presidential powers and other matters.
Which will make the liberal interest groups even more angry when he gets in.
AP reported Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose confirmation seems certain in the Republican-run Senate, padded his modest Democratic support Thursday with endorsements by Sens. Robert Byrd and Tim Johnson.
The Byrd support was originally a surprise, until one realizes that he is up for election, and has a strong opponent, and the Senate really ticked off a lot of West Virginia voters with their behaviour toward Alito.
Alito already was assured the votes of the 55 Republicans in the 100- member chamber _ enough to be put over the top _ when West Virginia's Byrd and Johnson of South Dakota joined Nebraska's Ben Nelson in saying they'll vote yes.

Michelle Malkin asks Sen. Robert Byrd took to the Senate floor earlier today to criticize the manner in which the Alito hearings were conducted. Watch this and file it under "Even a broken clock is right twice a day." What's really going on with ol' Bobby?

Rush Limbaugh explains Sheets Byrd has gone off on the disgrace that were the judicial committee hearings. He said he has gotten e-mail from all over the state of West Virginia and all over the place talking about what an absolute disgrace it was to have to sit through this, that these have simply become made-for-TV hearings. He says the hearings were an outrage and a disgrace. Even the people who didn't support Judge Alito are sending Sheets Byrd mail, saying, "We didn't support the guy but this was an embarrassment." He talked about Mrs. Alito fleeing the hearing room to protect and maintain her dignity, leaving those in the hearing room with little of their own. Now, he hasn't mentioned any names, right? But, of course, he doesn't have to! He doesn't have to.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bank to Deny Loans if Land Was Seized

NYT BB&T, the nation's ninth-largest financial holding company, announced yesterday that it would deny loans to developers building shopping malls and other private projects on land acquired through eminent domain.

Fantastic. I hated the KELO decision, and while I suspect another bank will just issue the loan, I applaud BB&T for taking this position.
"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided — in fact, it's just plain wrong," John A. Allison, the chairman and chief executive of the bank, said in a statement. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T has more than 1,400 branches, mainly in the Southeast.


Sen. Kerry calls for filibuster of Alito

CNN reported Sen. John Kerry has decided to support a filibuster to block the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, CNN's Congressional Correspondent Ed Henry reported Thursday.
Leave it to Kerry to shoot the Democrats in the foot.
Kerry, in Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum, was marshaling support in phone calls during the day, Henry said. He announced his decision Wednesday to a group of Democratic senators, urging they join him, Henry said. Kerry also has the support of his fellow Massachusetts senator, Democrat Edward Kennedy.
That makes it two idiots. How many more will they get?
Some senior Democrats said they are worried that the move could backfire.
I am sure they are right. The Gang of 14 will probably shoot the Filibuster down before it gets started, but if they do get one going, I feel sure the Republicans will pull the trigger on the Constitutional Option, which will mean that a number of Bush's appointments to the Court of Appeals will get through, and then we just have three years to wait to see if 85 year old John Paul Stevens will be forced to resign, giving Bush yet another Supreme Court nomination
StopTheACLU blogged This will definitely backfire on the dems. This absolutely makes the democrats look bad, even more so on the sore loser making as big of a show out of things as he can in hopes of gaining support for another shot at the presidency. This man has been dragged through the democrat’s drama enough. Its time for an up or down vote now! Many redstate democrats have already demonstrated that they think Alito is deserving not only of a vote, but a yes vote. Obviously Kerry didn’t like the way the things were headed, and decided to be the big dog to crash the party. It is possible that the nuclear option may just have to be invoked after all.


China-Google Protest Album

Michelle Malkin has collected a number of very cute modifications of the Google logo in "honor" of their despicable decision to help the Chineese Goverment block information from Chineese citizens.


ACLU is leading us down a dangerous path

The following is a StopTheACLU Blogburst:

Convincing liberals that the ACLU is leading us down a dangerous path is about as productive as talking to a rock. Perhaps this is because I mostly deal with far left liberals who share the same insane views and have the same radical agenda as the ACLU. Anyone who believes that the ACLU is there to purely defend the Constitution is naive at best. Surely there are some moderate liberals out there that can concede that the organization is in need of reform.

But if they saw how the Left Win WingNuts treated the WaPo Omsbudman recently they are probably afraid to say anything.
A balanced society can not survive resting in the fringe. A Nation only concerned with security will drift toward a police state, and one that follows the absolutist views of liberty like the ACLU will drift toward anarchy.

The ACLU proudly display a banner that states, Keep America Safe and Free, but any honest person will admit that the ACLU have done nothing for the safety of America. As a matter of fact, all evidence leads to quite the opposite. The ACLU are always ready to put the security of America at risk in the pursuit of its absolutist views of liberty.

Many of the ACLU's former leaders have noticed the irresponsible shifting of the ACLU away from true civil liberty protection into a much more dangerous agenda. For example take the words of this former Executive Director of the ACLU
The right to express unpopular opinions, advocate despised ideas and display graphic images is something the ACLU has steadfastly defended for all of its nearly 80-year history.

But the ACLU, a group for which I proudly worked as executive director of the Florida and Utah affiliates for more than 10 years, has developed a blind spot when it comes to defending anti-abortion protesters. The organization that once defended the right of a neo-Nazi group to demonstrate in heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., now cheers a Portland, Ore., jury that charged a group of anti-abortion activists with $107 million in damages for expressing their views. Gushed the ACLU's press release: "We view the jury's verdict as a clarion call to remove violence and the threat of violence from the political debate over abortion."

Were the anti-abortion activists on trial accused of violence? No. Did they threaten violence? Not as the ACLU or Supreme Court usually defines it, when in the context of a call for social change.

The activists posted a Web site dripping with animated blood and titled "The Nuremberg Files," after the German city where the Nazis were tried for their crimes. Comparing abortion to Nazi atrocities, the site collected dossiers on abortion doctors, whom they called "baby butchers." ...

This is ugly, scary stuff. But it is no worse than neo-Nazi calls for the annihilation of the Jewish people, or a college student posting his rape fantasies about a fellow coed on the Web, both of which the ACLU has defended in the past.

None of the anti-abortion group's intimidating writings explicitly threatened violence. Still, the ACLU of Oregon refused to support the defendants' First Amendment claims. Instead, it submitted a friend-of-the-court brief taking no one's side but arguing that speech constitutes a physical threat only when the speaker intends his statement to be taken as one.
And how is the person threatened supposed to know the intent of the threatener?
...Before anti-abortion zealots started getting sued, the ACLU had much more tolerance for menacing speech. Few of the 20th century's great social movements were entirely peaceable. The labor, civil-rights, antiwar, environmental and black-power movements were an amalgam of violence, civil disobedience and highly charged rhetoric. But to gag fiery speakers who call for harm to the establishment because others in the movement pursue their political goals with fists, guns or bombs would do terrible damage to strong, emotive pleas tot social change. It is something neither the ACLU nor, thankfully, the courts have countenanced in the past.

That's why in 1969 the ACLU helped defend a Ku Klux Klan member who had called for violence against the president, Congress and the Supreme Court. At the ACLU's urging, the Supreme Court ruled that speech advocating violence was constitutionally protected unless it incited imminent lawless action and was likely to produce such action. This case was later used to defend the speech of black militants.

The ACLU also applauded a 1982 Supreme Court decision that found that speeches promising violent reprisals were protected by the First Amendment. During the civil-rights movement, a leader of the NAACP called for "breaking the necks" of blacks who violated a boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi, and published a list of those who did. Some of the boycott violators were beaten. The court ruled that despite the atmosphere of fear, all the speeches and lists were part of a debate on a public issue that needed to be "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open."

I would argue that the Constitution doesn't protect all of these extreme positions of the ACLU, but that isn't the point he is trying to make. The issue is the ACLU's curious commitment to "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open" free speech when it involves things such as virtual child pornography, but not when it involves a something like a boss making racially offensive statements.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are so hypnotized by the ACLU's absolutist views and of the ACLU's campaign for pedophilia and child pornography that they are prepared to defend an organization that has become a shadow of its former self--a group that lets its idealistic and skewed understanding of the establishment clause trump freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Stop the ACLU had the opportunity last year of interviewing a former ACLU lawyer. He was concerned with much of the same things.
The ACLU played a helpful role in the civil rights movement defending these people, and I can’t turn my back on that. I have to give credit where credit is due.” “But….that being said, what they have done in the past is completely eviscerated by what they do in the present. The ACLU has become a fanatical anti-faith Taliban of American religious secularism.”

“The ACLU is involved in the secular cleansing of our history. This is not just a fight about free exercise, but about the protection of our American history. The ACLU want to deny America the knowledge of their Christian heritage.”
It seems that the many of the ACLU's greatest critics came from their very ranks. The division within the ACLU will continue as long as the ACLU continues on the irresponsible, hypocritical path it is on. America needs a civil liberties union, sadly the ACLU isn't doing that job. If the ACLU succeeds in the dangerous direction it is steering America, they will ironically be putting in jeapordy the very liberty they claim to protect.

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at or Gribbit at You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 115 blogs already on-board.


Go Get 'em Tom

Tim Chapman wrote in Townhall When Oklahomans elected Dr. Tom Coburn to the United States Senate they knew that they were sending a man to Washington who would not dance the D.C. two-step. But Beltway types have underestimated the determination of this man not to go along to get along. Very soon, that will change. According to Senate aides, Dr. Coburn has notified his colleagues that he intends to challenge every earmark—or pork project—on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Coburn, who has been a champion in the fight against wasteful federal spending, believes that the congressional earmarking process is the genesis of the current Abramoff-related lobbying scandals.

Fantastic. I would be happy if any Senator was doing this, but I am particularly happy it is an Oklahoma senator, since I now live in Oklahoma.
Coburn’s threat will dramatically slow the appropriations process because he will demand many more votes and more debate than normal on all spending bills. The added debate will allow senators to learn the merits (or lack thereof) of each earmark and affirm or reject.
According to one GOP Senate aide, many of the old-bull appropriators are not taking the threat seriously and are confident in their ability to apply pressure tactics and parliamentary maneuvers in order to ensure business as usual on spending bills. But that aide points out Coburn’s commitment, “It will take a lot of votes on one or two appropriations bills before the appropriators figure out that [Coburn] means business.”

Betsy blogged If his efforts gain traction, it could be a fun sight to watch the pretzels that Senators will twist themselves into when they have to explain why their appropriations for some special museum or project for their district needs to be funded by the federal government.


Roe v Wade Joke Page

Greg Gutfeld presented a Roe v Wade Joke Page in The Huffington Post. To be fair to the left wing wingnuts, many of the comments did not find the jokes funny, but I believe that many of the attempts at humor showed something important about the liberal mindset:

A fetus wakes up one morning only to realize he's in the process of being aborted. The fetus looks at the doctor and asks, "What the hell are you doing?" The doctor turns to the patient and says, "Don't worry, not all of them are this stupid."
We all know that the fetus can feel pain, but here we have a liberal suggesting that they can even speak, and yet they find it funny that it is being aborted.
A man finds a fetus on a park bench, crying, and asks "What's the matter?" The fetus responds, "I just got aborted!" "That's terrible," says the man, "but it could be worse. If you were born you'd probably end up fighting a war you don't support in Iraq."
The Left is so preocupied with their hatred for the war on Iraq they have to interject it even in their humor about abortion.
Girl:did i ever tell you about the worst abortion i ever had?
Man: no.
Girl: It was great!
The worst abortion she ever had was great??? This is absolutely evil.
How is planned parenthood like a cattle drive?
They head em up and move em out!
The Left admits that Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with Planning, but just running an abortion mill, and somehow that is funny?
After a couple has sex, the woman turns to the man and says, "If i get pregnant, what should we call the baby?" "A fetus!" he bellows before erratically speeding off to his home in Hyannisport, Mass.
As I understand it the Left thinks that the woman has the right to choose, but here we have a woman correctly referring to it as a baby, and it is a man from the liberal state of Massachusetts calling it a fetus. And they find this funny?


Iraq's WMD Secreted in Syria

New York Sun reported The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.
I wonder what the Democrats, who keep saying Bush lied about the WMDs, will think about this.
The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun. "There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."
Absolutely right.
Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."


White House Dismissed '02 Surveillance Proposal

WaPo reported
The Bush administration rejected a 2002 Senate proposal that would have made it easier for FBI agents to obtain surveillance warrants in terrorism cases, concluding that the system was working well and that it would likely be unconstitutional to lower the legal standard.
That is reasonable. The NSA should get enough evidence by listening in to calls from Al Qaeda outside the US to their cell members here in the US that the FBI can then get a warrent under the current FISA law.
The proposed legislation by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) would have allowed the FBI to obtain surveillance warrants for non-U.S. citizens if they had a "reasonable suspicion" they were connected to terrorism -- a lower standard than the "probable cause" requirement in the statute that governs the warrants.
We certainly want the NSA to have the ability to listen in on International phone calls, where a known or suspected Al Qaeda is on one end of the call, but before the FBI starts listening in on domestic calls we want them to get a FISA warrent.


Hamas Win Unsettles Peace Process

Yahoo! News reports Hamas won a huge majority in parliamentary elections as Palestinian voters rejected the longtime rule of the Fatah Party, throwing the future of Mideast peacemaking into question, officials from both major parties said Thursday.

The Palestenian's have replaced a corrupt government that wants to destroy Israel slowly with one that offers services, but which wants to destroy Israel right away. It will be interesting to see what sort of a government they form. Ideally it would be a government that offers services but is willing to negotiate with the Israelis. But I am not holding my breath.
Palestinian leaders huddled to determine what role the Islamic militant group will play in governing the territories. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will ask Hamas to form the next government, with his defeated Fatah Party weighing whether to form a partnership or serve in the opposition. A Hamas government, without Fatah as a moderating force, would greatly complicate Abbas' efforts to restart peace talks.
Peace talks require someone to talk to, and if Hamas is on one side of the table, I don't expect Israel to be on the other side.
The Islamic militants, who carried out dozens of suicide bombings and seek Israel's destruction, have said they oppose peace talks and will not disarm. Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Hamas.
There goes the Road Map
CQ blogged It's not like the Palestinians gave themselves much in the way of choice for their first Parliamentary elections in ten years, but in a surprise, the hardline Hamas terrorists took a bigger slice of the vote from the more moderate terrorists of Fatah in today's vote. Exit polling shows that Hamas will likely trail Fatah by a handful of seats in the new assembly, forcing the new government into the uncomfortable position of adding Hamas to its cabinet when most peacebrokers consider them part of the problem:.... Perhaps this election will finally convince the United States, if not Europe and Russia, of the folly of continued efforts on "road maps" and the like. Gaza showed that Fatah cannot govern a state, and the West Bank just elected bloodthirsty terrorists almost to a Parliamentary majority. These people want war. They will not settle for half the land when they believe a war will bring them all of it. In the end, it may be better for the world to let the two sides fight their war in order to make them both sick enough of the consequences to start selecting leaders that want peace and plan for it. If all the Palestinians understand is death and martyrdom, then let them have their fill of both.

GOP Vixen blogged Oh joy. Brings new meaning to the phrase terrorist state: It's not just that the state sponsors terrorism, but the parliament has terrorists!

Stop the ACLU blogged Kofi Annan congratulated the Palestinian people for electing a terrorist organization to represent the will of its people? I wonder if the Palestinian State he speaks of resembles the map at the U.N. that pre-dates the formation of Israel as a state. This is definitely a giant step backwards in the peace process in the Middle East, not that there was any real progress in that area anyway…but still.

Sister Toldjah blogged The only people this election is good news for are the pro-terrorism-against-Israel Palestinians who voted Hamas into the government in the first place, and folks like Jimmy Carter - who seems to be mystified as to why Hamas would even be labelled a terrorist organization.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Diane Feinstein is out of touch with reality

Betsy's Page blogged

Diane Feinstein really needs to review her history. This is what she said about why Alito's nomination differed from Breyer and Ginsburg. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said things are different from when the Senate considered Breyer and Ginsburg, who were confirmed 87-9 and 96-3 respectively. "There was not the polarization within America that is there today, and not the defined move to take this court in a singular direction," she said.
Gimme a break! As if Clinton wasn't trying to move the court in "a singular direction." Of course he was, but Feinstein just liked that direction so she didn't mind.
A Democrat does not notice something that supports the direction she thinks it should go, or news reports that support that direction, because they think they are always right. But they get very upset when things go in a Conservative direction, or when news reports give the Conservative side.
And tell me that America wasn't polarized during the Clinton presidency. Does she have a total blank about the those years? And is her argument that, if the country is polarized politicially, the president can't nominate someone of his or her own ideology? Would she make those same arguments if Hillary were president? She better watch out. It's quite possible that a Democrat could be elected president and face a Senate that still has a majority of Republicans. Does she expect the GOP to suddenly become saints and roll over for the Democrats after their display on the Alito nomination?
There is not a snowball's chance in hell of that. Even if the Rebublicans lose their majority position, they have now learned how the Democrats want to play, and the Dems are going to be very upset when they see what they did, done to them.
More disappointing things have happened with the GOP, but she shouldn't count on it. If the Democrats were smart, they'd acknowledge that Alito's confirmation is inevitable and have fifteen to twenty Democrats vote for him, just so they can have that talking point if a Democrat wins in 2008. But casting strict party-line votes (with a handfull of exceptions) will create a precedent that could very well come back to bite them.
Not could, but WILL


Sowell usually makes sense

Betsy's Page blogged:
Thomas Sowell is back arguing that we should pay legislators in Congress millions of dollars so that they wouldn't be tempted to take bribes.
If we paid every member of Congress $10 million a year, that would not increase the federal budget by one percent. Chances are that it would reduce the federal budget considerably, when members of the Senate or the House of Representatives no longer needed campaign contributions or the personal favors of special interest groups and their lobbyists.
What makes you think that $10 million is enough. People always want more money, in fact the more they have, the more they will want.
One term in the Senate would bring in $60 million, which most people could live on for life, without being beholden to anybody and without having to seek a job afterwards for special interests, much less having to sell their soul to continue a political career.
The could live on it, but will they? You would have to couple this with an absolute requirement that they not get a job having anything to do with politics, lobbying, or anything else. And you would have to impose absolute term limits. And even then, the demand for such a highly paid job is going to be so great that people will get beholden to special interests just to get the job.
Money is not the only thing that corrupts. Power also corrupts and some people go into politics for power. Nothing can be done about such people -- except force them to compete with other people, drawn from a far larger pool, including top people in highly paid professions who today can seldom afford to serve in Congress at the expense of their family's standard of living and financial security.
Gosh, unless such an idea was paired with a term limits amendment, think of how cutthroat the fights would be to maintain a seat would be. If our legislators were getting paid that kind of money they'd do anything to get the job and stay in. It wouldn't be pretty.


Firefox has built in blogging tool

TechBlog reports that Firefox now has a built in blogging tool:
Performancing is a blogging editor built as an extension to Firefox. It works in a split screen, with the page you're blogging at the top and the editor at the bottom. It also makes it easy to insert Technorati tags (which I've done below, for the first time in TechBlog) and work with bookmarks. It works with the most popular blogging programs, including Movable Type, WordPad, WordPress and Drupal.
This was posted using that new tool


Men in Mexican Army Uniforms in Border Standoff

FOXNews reports Men in Mexican military-style uniforms

Why be so "politically correct" and not say Mexican Military
crossed the Rio Grande into the United States on a marijuana-smuggling foray, leading to an armed confrontation with Texas law officers, authorities said Tuesday.
This is another reason why we need to station our military on the borders.
No shots were fired. The men retreated and escaped back across the border with much of the pot, though they abandoned more than a half-ton of marijuana as they fled and set fire to one of their vehicles, authorities said. The Mexican government denied its military was involved.
Of course they deny it; they don't want war with the US. But their police and their military are both corrupt, and are being paid by the narco-trafficers.
The confrontation took place Monday and involved three Texas sheriff's deputies, at least two Texas state troopers and at least 10 heavily armed men from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, said Rick Glancey of the Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalition.


Google Agrees to Censor Results in China

Breitbart reports Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country's free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet's fastest growing market.

Interesting. They refuse to provide information to help fight child pornography, but they agree to help the Chinese government suppress their citizens, in return for greater access to China.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China's Web suffix ".cn," on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google's search engine has previously been available through the company's dot-com address in the United States. By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous country. Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google's China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time. The service troubles have frustrated many Chinese users, hobbling Google's efforts to expand its market share in a country that expected to emerge as an Internet gold mine over the next decade.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Amending FISA

The Washington Monthly reported Here's another point related to General Hayden's admission today that the NSA's domestic spying program isn't some kind of dazzling high tech black op, but merely garden variety wiretapping that was done outside normal FISA channels because NSA couldn't meet the "probable cause" standard normally needed to get a warrant issued.

Clinton had several opportunities to get Osama but he passed them up because he did not have the necessary "probably cause" to take him to court. Probable Cause is reasonable when we are talking about what people are doing in this country to other people in this country, but when it comes to terrorists overseas talking to their cells in this country, probable cause should not be required. Even "reasonable cause" is too strict. I think they should go with "possible suspicion" or something like that.
Administration apologists have argued that the White House couldn't seek congressional approval for this program because it utilized super advanced technology that we couldn't risk exposing to al-Qaeda. Even in secret session, they've suggested, Congress is a sieve and the bad guys would have found out what we were up to.
There are some secret aspects to identifying what numbers to track that we don't want out.
But now we know that's not true. This was just ordinary call monitoring, according to General Hayden, and the only problem was that both FISA and the attorney general required a standard of evidence they couldn't meet before issuing a warrant. In other words, the only change necessary to make this program legal was an amendment to FISA modifying the circumstances necessary to issue certain kinds of warrants. This would have tipped off terrorists to nothing. So why didn't they ask Congress for that change?
They asked about that, and were told it probably would not go through, so they found another way.
It certainly would have passed easily. The Patriot Act passed 99-1, after all. Hell, based on what I know about the program, I probably would have voted to approve it as long as it had some reasonable boundaries.
Then encourage the Dems to show how strong they are on security and let them propose an ammendment legalizing what is being done.


Rove's Early Warning

E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote in WaPo Perhaps it's an aspect of compassionate conservatism. Or maybe it's just a taunt and a dare. Well in advance of Election Day, Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, has a habit of laying out his party's main themes, talking points and strategies. True Rove junkies (admirers and adversaries alike) always figure he's holding back on something and wonder what formula the mad scientist is cooking up in his political lab. But there is a beguiling openness about Rove's divisive and ideological approach to elections. You wonder why Democrats have never been able to take full advantage of their early look at the Rove game plan.

Because they are so filled with hate that it clouds their judgement.
That's especially puzzling because, since Sept. 11, 2001, the plan has focused on one variation or another of the same theme: Republicans are tough on our enemies, Democrats are not. If you don't want to get blown up, vote Republican.
That's about it.
Thus Rove's speech to the Republican National Committee last Friday, which conveniently said nothing about that pesky leak investigation. Rove noted that we face "a ruthless enemy" and "need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in."
And we certainly don't need someone who is proud of voting for something before voting against it, and thinking that will show how strong he is.
"President Bush and the Republican Party do," Rove informed us. "Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many Democrats." Rove went on: "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview, and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong." Oh, no, those Dems aren't unpatriotic, just security idiots.
I think some of them are unpatriotic, but they certainly are idiots who want to pull out of Iraq and let it turn into a failed state just like Afganistan, but this time one much easier to get in and out of.
Here's why the same approach keeps working. First, note that phrase, "the same cannot be said for many Democrats." This is Rove's wedge through the Democratic Party. Rove has always counted on Bush's capacity to intimidate some Democrats into breaking with their party and saying something like: "Oh, no, I'm not like those weak Democrats over there. I'm a tough Democrat." The Republicans use such Democrats to bash the rest of the party.
So you admit that the rest are weak.
Moreover, these early Rove speeches turn Democratic strategists into defeatists. The typical Democratic consultant says: "Hey, national security is a Republican issue. We shouldn't engage on that. We should change the subject." In the 2002 elections, the surefire Democratic winners were a prescription drug benefit under Medicare (an issue Bush tried to steal),
He did steal it. The result is a mess, but he did steal it.
a patients' bill of rights, the economy and education. Those issues sure worked wonders, didn't they?

By not engaging the national security debate, Democrats cede to Rove the power to frame it. Consider that clever line about Democrats having a pre-Sept. 11 view of the world. The typical Democratic response would be defensive: "No, no, of course 9/11 changed the world." More specifically, there's a lot of private talk among Democrats that the party should let go of the issue of warrantless spying on Americans because the polls show that a majority values security and safety.
They certainly should. On 9/11 people were saying why didn't we connect the dots. Will now they are connecting the dots, and the public wants that to continue.
What Democrats should have learned is that they cannot evade the security debate. They must challenge the terms under which Rove and Bush would conduct it. Imagine, for example, directly taking on that line about Sept. 11. Does having a "post-9/11 worldview" mean allowing Bush to do absolutely anything he wants, any time he wants, without having to answer to the courts, Congress or the public? Most Americans -- including a lot of libertarian-leaning Republicans -- reject such an anti-constitutional view of presidential power. If Democrats aren't willing to take on this issue, what's the point of being an opposition party?
They can't pretend to be strong on defense when they are really so weak on defense.
Democrats want to fight this election on the issue of Republican corruption. But corruption is about the abuse of power. If smart political consultants can't figure out how to link the petty misuses of power with its larger abuses, they are not earning their big paychecks.

And, yes, the core questions must be asked: Are we really safer now than we were five years ago?
Has the Iraq war, as organized and prosecuted by the administration, made us stronger or weaker?
Do we feel more secure knowing the heck of a job our government did during Hurricane Katrina?
We did just fine except in a state with a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Mayor who both screwed up. And we did even better with Rita.
Do we have any confidence that the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies will clean up their act if Washington remains under the sway of one-party government?
A lot better than if the weak on defense Dems get control.
Imagine one Super Bowl team tipping the other to a large part of its offensive strategy. Smart coaches would plot and plan and scheme. You wonder what Democrats will do with the 10-month lead time Rove has kindly offered them.


Monday, January 23, 2006


Cat at EIMC blogged Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, “Why did my son have to die in Iraq?”

Another mother asked Harry Truman, “Why did my son have to die in Korea?”

Another mother asked Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?”

Another mother asked Woodrow Wilson, “Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?”

Yet another mother asked Abraham Lincoln, “Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?”

And yet another mother asked George Washington, “Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?”

Then long, long ago, a mother asked, “Heavenly Father, why did my son have to die on a cross outside Jerusalem?”

The answers to all these questions are similar:

“That others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom.”

I could not have said it any better.


The President's End Run

WaPo editorialized The most detailed legal justification to date for the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance has emerged from the Bush administration, but the 42-page version isn't any more convincing than its shorter predecessors. In some ways -- particularly in its broad conception of presidential power in wartime -- it is more disturbing.

It may not be convincing to Left Wing Newspapers like WaPo and NYT, but the American People seem to understand that we must "connect the dots" and that Al Qaeda cells do not have the right to communicate privately to their bosses overseas, even if they are in this country.
As it had implied previously but never flatly stated, the administration asserted that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would be unconstitutional if it were read to prevent the president from engaging in the kind of warrantless surveillance that the administration has been conducting.
The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and when a country is at war, it has the right to try to find out what the enemy is planning, before they attack.
This interpretation, with its expansive view of the commander in chief's powers, would call into question Congress's ability to prevent the administration from engaging in torture or cruel and inhuman treatment or to establish rules for detainees and military tribunals -- exactly the areas in which we have been encouraging Congress to step up to the plate.
That is because you are more concerned with restoring the Democrats to power than to worry about protecting the United States.
The administration, appropriately, would prefer to avoid the constitutional argument. Instead, it contends first that FISA's warrant requirements were superseded by the post-Sept. 11 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allows the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force" to prevent "any future acts of international terrorism against the United States."
And you don't want to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States?????
The administration cites this sweeping language and the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld , in which a plurality found that the AUMF allowed the president to detain U.S. citizens captured on the battlefield as enemy combatants. The administration says that reasoning applies equally to "all traditional and accepted incidents of force . . . including warrantless electronic surveillance to intercept enemy communications both at home and abroad."
And you don't want the communications intercepted???
A critical difference between detention and surveillance, however, is that Congress has already passed a law outlining detailed requirements for domestic surveillance -- even during wartime; FISA specifically provides a 15-day grace period for warrantless surveillance in time of war. The vague wording of the AUMF can't reasonably be read to implicitly trump FISA.
FISA is one way to do it. Getting an ordinary warrent is another. And using wartime powers is yet another.
The administration goes on to say that if the AUMF doesn't provide such approval, and if FISA is interpreted to prohibit such wiretapping outside its procedures (the law says it is to be the "exclusive means" for authorizing foreign intelligence surveillance), the statute would be unconstitutional.
It certainly would not be in the country's best interest.
President Bush, the paper says, "determined that the speed and agility required to carry out the NSA activities successfully could not have been achieved under FISA." Because those activities "are necessary to the defense of the United States from a subsequent terrorist attack, FISA would impermissibly interfere with the President's most solemn constitutional obligation -- to defend the United States against foreign attack."

Before and since the 1978 passage of FISA, presidents have asserted that they also possess the inherent constitutional authority to authorize warrantless searches. Yet there is a major difference between claiming such inherent presidential power and stretching it -- too far in our view -- to conclude that, when Congress has spoken on an issue, the president is free to ignore that legislative action.
So you are saying it is ok for them to claim a power, they just should not use that power?
Especially without knowing the parameters of the surveillance, we hesitate to second-guess the president's argument that FISA's limits are unduly constraining. The surveillance may be critical for national security, and a law written in a different technological age may well need to be refurbished. But the proper way to handle that -- which the administration rejected -- would have been to seek changes in the law, not to do a stealthy end run around the legislative process. In such an amorphous, long-running conflict as the war against terrorism, it's critical to ensure that limits are in place to prevent the executive branch from overreaching.
And to be sure to give the terrorists a fair chance to strike again.


Tagged by Danny Carlton

Danny Carlton blogged I've ignored the last two times I was taged, but since I've been too busy to blog today I'll respond.

I think at least one of those tags that he ignored came from me, but I will not ignore his.

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life:

Computer Consultant, Systems Programmer, Computer Operator, delivering supplies to Tug Boats
Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have:
Down Periscope, The Passion of The Christ, Harry Potter, and Star Wars
Four Places I Have Lived:
Tulsa, OK; Dallas, TX; Pasadena, TX; Amarillo, TX
Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:
CIS, CIS Miami, Mythbusters, Touched by an Angel (no longer on)
Four Places I Have Been On Vacation:
I am not sure what a vacation is, but four places I have been to overseas would be London, Amsterdam, Rome, and Israel.
Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Michelle Malkin, Anchoress, Hooah Wife, and EIMC
Four Favorite Foods:
Roast Beef, Ham, Barbecue, Fried Chicken
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
Since I am homebound, just about anyplace other than my home.
Four People I Am Tagging With This Meme:
Anchoress, Hooah Wife, Deb @ EIMC, Cat @ EIMC


Most & Least Desired 2008 Republican Nominee

Right Wing News reports a survey of 58 right-of-center bloggers and asked them to send us a ranked list 1-5 of the candidates that they would most like to take the Republican nomination for President in 2008 and the 1-5 candidates they'd least like to see as the Republican nominee in 2008.

Most Desired

  1. Condoleeza Rice I would love to see her, but has said she is definitely not running
  2. Rudy Giuliani I agree, but can a pro life candidate get nominated
  3. George Allen He is a governor, and a governor is more likely to know how to run the country than a Congress Critter
  4. Newt Gingrich I like his ideas, but doubt his ethical problems would let him get the nomination
  5. Dick Cheney who has made it clear he is not running
Least Desired
  1. John McCain
  2. Chuck Hagel
  3. Bill Frist
  4. George Pataki
  5. Jeb Bush


Judge Alito's Radical Views

NYT reported If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife's bizarrely over-covered crying jag,

The NYT objects to its coverage because it was one of the things that pointed out how much the Dems abused Alito.
it is because they confirmed the obvious. Judge Alito is exactly the kind of legal thinker President Bush wants on the Supreme Court.
That is why Bush nominated him
He has a radically broad view of the president's power, and a radically narrow view of Congress's power.
Apparently the NYT considers any idea contrary to its own is radical. However I believe that they NYT is the one with radical views.
He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights.
It doesn't. It was a handful of activist judges that created that right, and then proected that right.
He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy.

As senators prepare to vote on the nomination, they should ask themselves only one question: will replacing Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Alito be a step forward for the nation, or a step backward?
If Ruth Bader Ginsburg could replace Byron White (Roe's leading dissenter), why can't Alito replace O'Conner.
Instead of Justice O'Connor's pragmatic centrism, which has kept American law on a steady and well-respected path, Judge Alito is likely to bring a movement conservative's approach to his role and to the Constitution.
Precisely the reason that George Bush was elected.
Judge Alito may be a fine man, but he is not the kind of justice the country needs right now.
He is exactly what we need.
Senators from both parties should oppose his nomination.

It is likely that Judge Alito was chosen for his extreme views on presidential power. The Supreme Court, with Justice O'Connor's support, has played a key role in standing up to the Bush administration's radical view of its power, notably that it can hold, indefinitely and without trial, anyone the president declares an "unlawful enemy combatant."

Judge Alito would no doubt try to change the court's approach. He has supported the fringe "unitary executive" theory,
I don't recall him ever refering to such a theory during his confirmation hearings, but it is true that we do have just a single president, i.e. the Presidency is not a committee
which would give the president greater power to detain Americans and would throw off the checks and balances built into the Constitution. He has also put forth the outlandish idea that if the president makes a statement when he signs a bill into law, a court interpreting the law should give his intent the same weight it gives to Congress's intent in writing and approving the law.
It seems reasonable to me. The primary thing is what the law actually says, and Alito said that is what he would follow, but if a judge is going to also look at congressional intent it seems reasonable to also look at executive intent, since both branches are involved in making a law.
Judge Alito would also work to reduce Congress's power in other ways. In a troubling dissent, he argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed a law banning machine guns, and as a government lawyer he insisted Congress did not have the power to protect car buyers from falsified odometers.
Congress frequently exceeds its power.
CQ blogged Like the rest of those who have come out in opposition to his confirmation, the only basis for their rejection is ideological, transforming the process into an election rather than an appointment. Either one has to believe that Supreme Court justices have to be vetted for ideology or that the process should be non-political. In both cases, the New York Times gets it wrong. If ideology is to remain outside of the process, then the only question for Judge Alito's confirmation is whether he has the competence to work on the Supreme Court. The ABA found him to have the highest degree of competence -- not the most conservative of groups either, one should remember -- as well as the highest degree of ethical practice. He has spent 15 years of fine public service on the federal appeals bench and almost a decade of work before that as a federal prosecutor, serving the people of the United States and enforcing the law. Outside of ideology, Judge Alito has the most experience in appellate law for a nominee in 70 years.

If ideology is to be considered, then the New York Times has it even more wrong. It asks whether a conservative should replace a centrist on the court. If ideology has suddenly become a qualifier, then one has to look at who nominates the candidate. The President won election twice, and at least during the last election, Supreme Court nominations clearly were a major issue. He has the mandate of the election to pick the ideological bent of the replacements for any opening on the Court; there is no quota system for leftists, centrists, and conservatives, nor have Presidents been particularly apt at guessing which categories their nominees would fill in the long run anyway. Bush's two elections show that the people want a more conservative court -- so as long as the Times considers ideology a basis for selection, then a conservative judge should be the most acceptable as a manifestation of the demand of the people.

OTB blogged The "unitary executive" theory merely holds that the President is the ultimate decision-maker in the executive branch, which is not only not "radical" it is the view of the Framers of the Constitution.

Hugh Hewitt blogged The trouble is that the paper's certainty about Alito's vote on abortion rights and its characterization of the judge's alleged consistent bias are both howlers and easily recognized as such. Hysterical claims of certainty and assertions of absurd lies don't persuade. They repel. Does the editorial board ever wonder why it has no influence? Zero?

Patterico blogged Note to the editors of the New York Times: If you are trying to persuade Sen. Lincoln Chafee to vote your way on this nominee, your argument would be more convincing if you at least try to spell the Senator’s name right. Hint: it’s “Chafee” — with only one “f.”

Ed Whelan blogged ’ll limit myself to the NYT’s core claim – that Judge Alito “has a radically broad view of the president’s power.” One problem with this claim is that the editorial offers not a shred of credible evidence to support it. The editorial charges that Alito “has supported the fringe ‘unitary executive’ theory, which would give the president greater power to detain Americans and would throw off the checks and balances built into the Constitution.” But the “unitary executive” theory merely takes seriously what Article II of the Constitution states: that the “executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” As Judge Alito testified repeatedly, it does not reach the separate question of the scope of that executive power. Indeed, the editorial’s charge that the theory “would give the president greater power to detain Americans” is contradicted by the fact (seemingly never acknowledged by those trying to use the “unitary executive” as a stick to beat Alito with) that Justice Scalia, a proponent of the unitary executive, took a much more restrictive view of executive power than Justice O’Connor did in the Hamdi case.

Rick Moran blogged Quick! Someone tell the editors at the New York Times that we had an election more than a year ago and that a liberal didn’t win nor did a “centrist.” A conservative won the Presidential election of 2004, one who promised to appoint conservative judges if he were re-elected. He didn’t promise to appoint centrists or women or minorities or anyone the New York Times could remotely approve. President Bush ran on a platform and repeated constantly that if given the opportunity, he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

This is what sticks in the craw of the Times’ editors. The people of the United States elected George Bush because he is a conservative. And the Times thinks that overarching fact should not matter. It bespeaks a contempt for the very concept of democracy that more and more, the editors of the New York Times are having a hard time in hiding.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

College literacy

MSNBC reported Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.

But I bet they can quote all of the talking points of the Democratic Party.
Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.
With the price of higher education today, why send kids that don't seem to be learning anything.
More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school. The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents, and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.... Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.


Months to form Iraqi Government

Iraq the Model blogged Reactions to the results announced yesterday varied from one party to another but in general it seems that the results were welcomed outside Iraq more than inside as politicians here re still have the task of looking for a way to form a government that convinces all concerned parties.

The hard work.
The positive thing about those reactions is that objections weren’t as harsh as they were when the preliminary results surfaced. Now, those with objections confirmed that they want to push the political process forward; on al-Hurra, a spokesman of Maram said today that "although we have reservations on the results, we intend to go on with the political process" and this will most likely be enough to cast away the ghost of a bloody conflict we were afraid of.

All are convinced now that solutions lie within politics and negotiations but what concerns us now is that some parties will perhaps keep a high ceiling for their demands. It is true that no single bloc can form a government without forming a coalition with other bloc(s) but the number of seats each bloc got will remain the factor that decides the form of and terms of cooperation despite the calls for forming a government of national unity that overlooks election results and focuses more on dealing with the current challenges and dangers.
What he is talking about is that while the Shi'ites did not get enough to form a government, they are close enough that they can partner with any of the other major groups, so while if they are smart they will try to make all of the other groups happy, they are not going to be forced to do anything against their interests.
Today the supreme judicial board decided to extend the term of the interim national Assembly and interim government for another 3 months after a request submitted by the presidency council, apparently to avoid facing constitutional vacuum.
This decision suggests that forming the government is expected to take quite a lot of time.

The UIA looks excited and seems to be rushing things more than other blocs; yesterday they said they’ve formed to committees to direct talks with the two other major blocs; the Kurdish and the Sunni. The UIA hope they can form the government before the end of February when the reconciliation conference will be due, maybe to avoid external influence from Arab countries-that back the Sunni parties and Allawi-on the process. However, I think the UIA will not make it and will have to come to the conference before the government is in place.
If they are smart they will form a government, probably with the Kurds.
The UIA is discussing many internal issues now, among which is the issue of nominating the PM as well as the need to reorganize their lines after facing objection on the policy of the UIA from the Fadheela and the Sadrists who said that it’s not the right time now to talk about federalism.

I expect the UIA to focus on renewing their coalition with the Kurdish parties but I doubt it will be as easy as it was last year for the changes that erupted on the Kurdish end, mainly the recent union of the two Kurdish administrations.
The other thing that may hurt with the Kurds is that this time they got fewer seats because votes from outside their region were not included, but they still have enough to team with the Shi'ites.
The UIA has put a condition-though they refuse to call it so- on the participation of the Sunni, that is “we want to form the government with the good elements in their bloc”. I believe this was a wrong choice of words because the Sunni too do not think that all UIA members are “good” and I think both parties should look at each other as a whole since all members in each individual bloc have come together to enter the election as one body after agreeing on a unified policy. This selectivity on the UIA’s part is in my opinion illogical and impractical.


States of Confusion

William Baude editorialized in NYT It's no longer just anti-abortion advocates who oppose Roe v. Wade. These days, Roe's traditional critics are joined by a surprising and increasing number of people who are pro-choice but willing - in fact, eager - to have the ruling overturned. In an October column titled "Support Choice, Not Roe," The Washington Post's Richard Cohen expressed his fatigue with "having to defend a Supreme Court decision whose reasoning has not held up."

I agree with him. It was a foolish decision, with logic twisted to achieve an end, which requires that all future judges must be chosen to try to protect or reverse that end.
Similarly, Benjamin Wittes in The Atlantic Monthly and Eleanor Clift in Newsweek have argued that abortion-rights supporters should welcome (if not necessarily hasten) the end of Roe. The emergence of this pro-choice anti-Roe movement seems fueled by a hope that if it were left to the states, and not the Supreme Court, to set abortion policy, the result would be a more secure and less acrimonious compromise.
I favor the matter be returned to the states. Some Blue States will probably permit it, but many Red States will forbid or strongly limit it. Population will increase in the Red States, increasing their representation in Congress, and we could see whether God would shower more blessings on the Red States that did not kill His newest creations.
But what would actually happen if Roe were overturned? It's unlikely that Congress would pass a comprehensive federal ban on or right to abortion.
That is why it was so bad for a handful of activist judges to "create" a law that Congress never would have passed (either for or against).
So in the absence of Roe, states would largely be free to regulate the issue as they saw fit. Some states would permit abortion on demand, while some would ban it; many would fall somewhere in between. A patchwork of state abortion regulations, however, will lead not to compromise, but chaos.
I am surprised that a second year law student at Yale would be so ignorant of the law that he would think that.
The common refrain in the anti-Roe pro-choice camp is that women in anti-abortion states will simply travel elsewhere to end their pregnancies. But it's unlikely that states with strict regulations on abortion would stand idle, and they will have many legal tools at their disposal. States could make it illegal to cross state lines in order to abort a fetus - a tactic Ireland tried in the early 1990's, until a court decision and subsequent constitutional amendment recognized a right to travel.
Ireland did not have a Commerce Clause to contend with.
While the Supreme Court has recognized a constitutional right to travel across state lines, it has also recognized exceptions.
The only ones I can think of apply to criminals, and they do not forbid travel, they merely say that traveling across state lines allows federal law to apply, but we just agreed that federal laws would not be made either for or against abortion.
If states can decree that life begins at conception, they might also be able to use child custody laws to curtail the movements of pregnant women. For example, many states are legally allowed to hold children in protective custody if there is reason to believe the parents will misbehave. Once Roe has been overturned, a state may be able to place unborn children into protective custody, forbidding their mothers to take them across state lines.
Extremely unlikely, and certain to be reversed by the court.
Furthermore, in recent decades, the Supreme Court has ruled that a state can regulate its citizens' activities while they are elsewhere and prosecute them for violations of state law upon their return. This so-called long-arm jurisdiction has been invoked to allow states to regulate Internet sites based beyond their borders, or to prosecute murders that followed interstate kidnappings. Anti-abortion states could forbid their residents to obtain or perform abortions, even while out of state. Would such measures be legal? The current law is unclear.
Only to a second year law student.
Abortion-rights states would undoubtedly respond in kind. For example, Rhode Island, where 63 percent of residents favor abortion rights, has rebuffed efforts at regulation in the past. Just as Utah could make it a crime for a resident to go to Rhode Island for an abortion, Rhode Island could forbid Utah's law-enforcement officials from interfering with her decision to get one. Similarly, if an anti-abortion state places a fetus in protective custody, an abortion-rights state might do the same for the woman. And so on.
Sheer paranoid foolishness.
Without Roe, the federal courts would be flooded with such disputes. Abortion cases, now further encumbered by issues of family rights and the powers of states to regulate trade across state lines, would once again end up before the Supreme Court. And though a doctrine called "conflict of laws" exists to settle legal disagreements between jurisdictions, this kind of interstate regulatory warfare has been mercifully rare in our nation's history. The precedents are muddy, the standards unclear, and so it is almost impossible to know how a future Supreme Court would resolve the matter.

Indeed, American democracy has rarely resolved moral battles of this scope at the state level. The most significant moral conflict ever devolved to the states, after all, was slavery. The problem of escaped slaves made it necessary to include a Fugitive Slave Clause in the Constitution, but it was impossible to contain the moral controversy within state borders. Disagreements over how to determine who was a fugitive slave, how to regulate slavery in the territories, and how to maintain the balance of power between South and North meant that slavery would inevitably become a federal issue. "A house divided" could not stand.

Overturning Roe and leaving the states to regulate abortion will not be the compromise that ends the debate. Rather, it will worsen it.
Did ANY of the things you worry about exist before Roe (when it was a state decision)? Or is the fact that Roe permitted the birth of a large Abortion Industry, where organizations like Planned Parenthood ceased to be what their names imply, and just became organizations to provide and promote abortions.
Pro-choice and pro-life states will not enjoy an easy and untroubled coexistence, as some would like to believe. Nor will overturning Roe get the federal government, or the federal courts, out of the business of abortion jurisprudence. Instead, state regulation will make a complex legal matter even more complicated, and the divisions over abortion that much wider. If Roe is reversed, the ensuing chaos will demand a federal resolution to the abortion battle - again.