Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Choosing Life for the Right Reasons
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision made by the Supreme Court was arguably the worst abuse of judicial power ever committed in this country. No other Supreme Court decision has caused so much death, nor caused so many people to become so callous about the taking of innocent life. Roe v. Wade was a severe blow to the moral fiber of America... which is why Liberals must fight so fiercely to protect it from Americans, even after all these years. Abortion is THE issue in any political ring, despite Democrat protests that they don't have a litmus test for candidates and judges. That's a bit like the College of Cardinals claiming they don't have a litmus test to approve only Catholic candidates for Pope.
The Supreme Court's decision was based on a right to privacy that is presumed to exist, one of the "others retained by the people" mentioned in the Ninth Amendment. The "right to abortion" was supposedly discovered in mysterious "emanations" of "penumbras" surrounding the Bill of Rights. In other words, the Bill of Rights doesn't actually mention abortion at all, but the Court wanted to find a way to force the Federal government to protect it.
The Bill of Rights, one must remember, is not a document that grants rights to the people... instead, its purpose is to limit the Federal government's power to encroach upon the rights of both people and states. If an issue isn't specifically mentioned in the Constitution, the Federal government has no automatic right of jurisdiction in the matter. The Tenth Amendment specifically states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
The Supreme Court decided that abortion was too important to let the hoi polloi have a say, and removed the right of either states or people to decide the question by creating a new Federal power with a pen stroke. No matter what you may think of abortion, Roe v. Wade is a bad ruling: judicial activism at its worst.
And worse, it's a bad ruling based on a falsehood, one that has become so essential to Liberals that they repudiate any evidence that runs the danger of altering the conclusion. Abortion can only be legal as long as unborn children aren't considered human. That's the debate we really need to have.
Many Liberals continue to insist that an unborn child is about the same, medically speaking, as a wart or tumor. One doesn't need permission to have a wart removed, nor does a tumor have any constitutionally protected rights. As long as they can pretend that an unborn child isn't a human being (though they never seem to say what it might be, in that case), the Left can argue in favor of abortion. They call this "choice," as though opponents of abortion are opposed to making choices. The difference is that abortion opponents usually believe that "choice" is what you make when you get into a bed or a car and the clothes come off. In the real world, choices may lead to unwanted consequences, and killing an innocent life you created is no way to avoid them.
So how can we know whether an unborn child is human, and thus protected by law? Science and reason may help us find the correct answer. To be human is to be a member of the species Homo sapiens sapiens. One's species is determined by one's unique genetic makeup, which is formed at conception and never alters (at least, not in nature). An unborn child is, therefore, demonstrably human -- a living creature with unique human DNA -- and he or she should be entitled to at least some legal protection.
Returning to the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment states: "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Allowing one person to deprive another of life without due process is a violation of the latter's Fifth Amendment rights. Taking the lives of the most helpless of human beings because they are inconvenient -- the reason almost all abortions are performed -- is simply wrong.
The Left's biggest fear is that Judge Sam Alito, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will overturn Roe v. Wade. The ruling could only be overturned if a state abortion ban like the one proposed in Ohio is challenged by pro-abortion groups, and comes before the Supreme Court. Even if the Court does overturn it, the only effect would be to return the abortion decision to the states, where it belongs. When that happens, the damage done to the Constitution in 1973 will be healed, and the debate over the fate of unborn children can begin in earnest, instead of being suppressed by fictional constitutional "rights."
Many state legislatures, more responsive to actual voters than the Federal government, would regulate or abolish abortion. In 2004, the Associated Press reported that thirty states were preparing to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade was overturned. (Of course, the story may have been exaggerated in an attempt to frighten voters into defeating President Bush's re-election.) Some states might throw the question open for the people to decide by direct referendum.
That's how the Founders intended such unanticipated questions be addressed, but the thought of regular people making real choices is a fearful thing to Liberals. It's strange to see people who supposedly advocate "choice" insisting that people have no say in their own laws.
Posted at Tuesday, January 24, 2006 by CavalierX
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Iran: Deja Vu All Over Again
Are we really going to go through this whole Kabuki dance all over again? I thought we'd had enough of fake international support from backstabbing allies and a corrupt United Nations the last time we faced down a self-described enemy in the Middle East. Do we have to act out the same scenario again, or can we avoid the same pitfalls this time? Who benefits from this diplomatic ballet, anyway? Certainly not America or her real allies.
Once again, we must deal with a defiant Middle Eastern dictatorship that everyone agrees is working on weapons of mass destruction, has declared us an enemy, oppresses its own people, supports terrorism and uses oil to prevent being called to account for any of it. Once again, the United Nations is talking tough, and every nation stands behind us -- as long as we take no direct action. If we decide to do more than write stern letters and make speeches, you can bet that some of those who supposedly back us now will once again back away. And you can bet that it will be some of the same countries that do so. In the words of Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again."
It was only a little more than three years ago that the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to stop the threat posed by Iraq to the entire region. When push came to shove, three members of the Security Council refused to live up to all the resolutions for which they had voted. France, Russia and China, while voting to condemn Saddam Hussein, continued to support him in private. All three countries had oil exploitation deals with Iraq that they would lose with a change of regime. France had rights to the Majnoon and Nahr Umar oil fields, Russia had rights to the West Qurna, and China had rights to oil from Al Ahdab. All three countries, as well as Germany, had extensive economic ties to Iraq. All four of those countries vigorously opposed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, when the time came to act.
Iraq refused to surrender all the materials and documents related to its WMD programs and other biochemical processes by the specified date. UNMOVIC continued to warn us that Iraq may be holding stockpiles of banned weapons. Yet France, Russia and China refused to even consider the "serious consequences" for non-compliance in the resolution they had signed. France's ambassador to the UN stated that he would veto any resolution that called for the use of force. France and Russia, along with Germany, continued to sell weapons and military equipment to Saddam right up to the day he literally crawled into a hole and pulled it in after him.
It was only after the Butcher of Baghdad was overthrown that we began to discover just how deep in his pocket influential people and institutions in France, Russia and China (among so many other countries) were. The UN's Oil-for-Food program, designed to prevent economic sanctions from being too harsh on the Iraqi people, became the "Oil-for-Votes" program instead.
Now it looks as though the United Nations will make similar strong demands on Iran, to convince them to halt their nuclear program. Sanctions against that country are being discussed... but sanctions will solve nothing, as they solved nothing in Iraq. If Iran should back down in the face of sanctions, how long do we keep them in place? What kind of hardship will they impose on the average Iranian citizen? Will we see another Oil-for-Food program take shape -- and will it, like the Iraqi version, become a cash cow for the regime it's supposed to humble?
This time, we are assured, the United States has the backing of every nation on the Security Council, including France, Russia and China. We are lulled by the thought that all of Europe is with us this time, including Germany. But we had their full backing and support in November 2002, didn't we? As long as standing up to terrorist dictatorships working on illegal weapons consists solely of putting words on paper and making tough speeches, we will have the support of countries that have economic ties with those dictatorships. When it comes time to back those words up with force, though, we can't trust nations whose economies depend on the enemy. We will undoubtedly see the same scenario play out with Iran that we did with Iraq. Which of our allies will stall, and finally veto, the use of force in Iran?
A Chinese delegation was in Iran as recently as December 2005, attempting to negotiate an oil contract worth one hundred billion dollars. In 2004, the Chinese firm Sinopec signed a deal with Iran for exploitation of the Yadavaran oil field near the border with Iraq. There are few reasons for China to back sanctions, let alone military action, against Iran.
Europe is becoming overrun with Middle Eastern immigrants. Between 15 and 20 million Muslims live in Europe, making up four to five percent of its population. France's Muslim population comprises between seven and ten percent of the whole. Most Muslims may be decent, law-abiding citizens, but terror groups, some funded by Iran, run almost unchecked throughout Europe. Not many European countries, especially France, will want to risk repeating the Paris riots of November 2005.
Russia is actually helping the Iranians build nuclear reactors, and even signed a deal to supply the fuel to power them in February 2005. Why would Russia abandon what might be its most dependable source of revenue for the next decade? Given Russia's deepening ties with China, that country could block any action against Iran as a way of appeasing both allies at once.
By working through the United Nations, we once again subject ourselves to unnecessary debate, delay, danger and demoralisation, even as Iran draws us all closer to the brink of nuclear war. The same countries that fought the overthrow of Saddam for economic reasons will likely fight the overthrow of Iran's government, and for the same motive. Shouldn't we learn from our mistakes, and stop entrusting our safety to those who have proven themselves untrustworthy?
If we must deal with Iran militarily, we will certainly need the support of other nations -- but let it be through NATO, not the UN. And let it be soon.
21 Jan 06 UPDATE: Iran signed a deal giving the Chinese oil firm COSL partial oil rights in the Caspian Sea yesterday. The odds that China will agree to sanctions or regime change in Iran are now slimmer than ever.
Posted at Thursday, January 19, 2006 by CavalierX
Saturday, January 14, 2006
No More Pointless Confirmation Hearings!
Four days of grueling confirmation hearings for Judge Sam Alito, and what have we learned that we didn't already know? Nothing. No one's mind was changed -- every Senator already knew which way he or she would vote soon after hearing that Alito would be the nominee, if not before. The only purpose of such a show is to play a public "gotcha" game, as Senators attempt to trap nominees into saying something that can be used to hurt them in the media.
It's about time we stop forcing nominees to endure hostile interrogations that serve no purpose whatsoever, and possibly violate restrictions on psychological torture. At one point, as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) apologised for the reprehensible behavior of the Democrats on the committee, Alito's wife broke down in tears. We don't need any more of these useless confirmation hearings, the specter of which probably keeps some excellent potential public servants out of the job pool.
Harlan Fiske Stone was the first Supreme Court nominee to appear before the Judiciary Committee in 1925, but the process of confirmation hearings didn't become standard until thirty years later. As far as I'm concerned, the process ceased to have any meaning in 1993, when Ruth Bader Ginsberg perfected the now-standard practice of saying nothing at all before the Committee through lawyerly evasion and use of double-speak. Her non-performance has been the template for all confirmation hearings ever since.
We already knew that Senators love to hear themselves talk more than anything else, and will take any opportunity to grab as much "face time" in front of the cameras as humanly possible. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), for instance, spoke for twelve minutes straight at one point, before he remembered that he was supposed to be asking a question. Alito, like every Bush nominee to every position, was forced to spend several days keeping absolutely still, wearing a poker face, as his personal and professional reputation, his judgment, his morals and his life were savaged before the cameras. The sight of Senator Ted "Splash" Kennedy (D-MA) accusing anyone of being a misogynistic elitist would have been laughable, were it not so morally repulsive. The only thing missing from the circus was Senator Bobby "Sheets" Byrd (D-WV) making a special guest appearance to accuse Alito of being a racist. Instead, that task also fell to Kennedy, who lied about Alito's record, stating that Alito had never decided any case in favor of a minority.
Before the hearings, we knew that no matter how many times the Senators asked the same questions, Judge Alito would never reveal what he thought about controversial cases like Roe v. Wade. "Controversial," especially in this case, means, "a bad judicial ruling that violates the Constitution, that everyone nonetheless is supposed to pretend is a proper law." The Democratic Senators -- and not-quite-Republican Senator Arlen Specter (R?-PA) -- practically demanded that Alito chain himself to upholding Roe v. Wade at all costs. Specter even referred to it as a "super-precedent," although there is no such term in law or logic.
The Left wants all judges to swear by "stare decisis" -- a Latin term meaning to stay with that which has been decided -- in this one case alone, while cheering such decisions as Brown v. Board of Education and Lawrence v. Texas, both of which reversed previous Supreme Court decisions. The Brown decision of 1954 rightly overturned the 1896 Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the "separate but equal" doctrine was upheld. The Lawrence decision of 2003 overturned the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision, in which the Supreme Court had correctly determined that sodomy laws, not being specifically addressed in the Constitution, should be decided by individual state legislatures. So why insist that this one case must never, ever be re-examined? Because the Left can not allow representatives elected by the people, supposedly answerable to the people, to vote on the most important element of the Liberal agenda.
We knew before the hearings that Alito briefly became a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton several decades ago because they were against throwing the ROTC off campus. We knew that he didn't immediately recuse himself from a case involving the investment firm Vanguard, although he did so when the plaintiff questioned his involvement. He had no legal obligation to recuse himself, as Vanguard did not benefit from his decision (and a completely different court reached the same verdict in a new trial).
We knew that he would have allowed the strip-search of a ten-year-old girl, because the warrant specified searching "all persons present" in the home of a known drug dealer. Not only was the girl a person, and present, but if the court suddenly discovered a Constitutional "age exemption" from search warrants, every criminal in America would keep a child nearby for concealment in case of a raid. We also knew that none of those things have any bearing on his fitness to sit on the Supreme Court.
How did we know all these things before the camera-hungry Senators on the Judiciary Committee wasted our tax dollars interrogating Judge Alito for four long days? Because the American Bar Association already took all those circumstances into consideration before unanimously granting Alito their highest recommendation, and their findings are a matter of public record. All those questions have already been answered for all to see.
Instead of staging a showy public witch-hunt for their own benefit, the ABA quietly studied hundreds of Alito's decisions and writings, and interviewed thousands of people with whom he had associated. No one can say that their analysis is flawed or their methods not transparent. The process of interviewing "well over 300 judges, lawyers, and members of the legal community nationwide" from "varying and different political, racial, ethnic and gender backgrounds" yielded "consistent and virtually unanimous comments" attesting to Alito's exceptional personal integrity, even judicial temperament and professional competence. Why can't the Senate use methods similar to the ABA for vetting nominees, instead of forcing us all to witness the taxpayer-funded character assassination of decent people nominated to important government positions?
It's lucky for some members of Congress that there is no such vetting agency that might impartially examine their integrity, temperament and competence. The "mainstream" media once held that job, but seems to have abandoned it to the "new" media of talk radio and the internet.
Posted at Saturday, January 14, 2006 by CavalierX
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
What If Liberals Wrote the Bill of Rights?
It's become increasingly difficult to hold rational discussions with those who regard the Constitution of the United States as a "living document," subject to change without having to go through the bother of voting. It sometimes seems as though most Liberals have never read the Constitution, or at any rate not understood it. They persist in reading things into it that the Founders never intended, nor would have considered likely in their day.
The process for amending the Constitution is simple and clear, as laid out in Article V -- a vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, followed by a ratification by three-fourths of the various state legislatures. Yet activist judges continually seek ways to alter or read the Constitution so as to find support for their agenda, and most of those judges are Liberal. While Conservative activism is just as bad, it is far less common, as most Conservatives believe the Constitution should be used to judge the validity of the law, not the law used to undermine the integrity of the Constitution.
Nevetheless, Liberals seem to see things, especially in the Bill of Rights, that the rest of us just cannot find there. If Federal-level "rights" like abortion and gay "marriage" were specifically enumerated as Liberals insist they were, they must have been secretly written on the back of the original document in lemon juice, just before it was ratified in 1791. Liberals must, therefore, have their own version that they refer to during arguments.
After careful consideration, research and discussion, I have managed to discover what I believe to be the actual Liberal version of the Bill of Rights, hidden away since the 18th century and only revealed to Liberals. Its existence explains why so many Liberals are so wrong so much of the time.
Bill of Rights (Liberal Version)
There shall be no show of respect for any Judeo-Christian religion, or people who believe in a Judeo-Christian religion, or Christian-based holidays, and no one who professes belief in any Judeo-Christian religion shall be considered fit for any government position or office. No law shall abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people, peaceably or otherwise, to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, unless that speech, that press or those people are in support the actions of Christians or Republicans, or in condemnation of the actions of Democrats, or might be construed as giving offense to anyone.
The military and police being the only forces necessary to the security of the State, the right of the common people to keep and bear arms shall be removed, weighed down with restrictions and regulations until private citizens can no longer own anything that might be used as a weapon.
No soldier shall, in time of peace, be regarded as necessary to maintaining that peace. When at home, soldiers of any rank are to be considered disposable, interchangeable, dull-witted robots, who can be instantly trained at need, and considered dangerous, uncontrollable, dull-witted barbarians bent on murder, rapine and torture when overseas. As a group, American soldiers are to be lauded and pitied, but individually, reviled.
The right of all people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against any searches and seizures shall not be violated without a court-ordered warrant, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by the kind of evidence of wrongdoing that could only be gathered with a warrant, and the warrant must precisely describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Personal security shall be considered inviolable for American citizens, foreigners living in America, and foreigners living elsewhere.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, because crimes are the fault of society, and not the individual. Republicans and Conservatives, on the other hand, shall be deemed guilty upon indictment by a grand jury, or even upon accusation of wrongdoing. No person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, unless that person show evidence of Conservative thinking. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, unless that person shall be unborn or mentally incapacitated, or otherwise be deemed useless to the State, or a burden. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation, public use being defined as anything that might benefit the State in some way, including higher tax revenue from said property.
In all prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial in the media, and later, if necessary, by jury. Guilt shall be determined by the extent of public outcry that can be created over the nature of the crime, but reduced by the level of celebrity status enjoyed by the accused. The word of anonymous witnesses and experts may be used as evidence in the media trial. If a person found guilty of a crime is able to claim disadvantaged status -- meaning non-white, non-Christian, non-male, poor or homosexual -- that person shall have the right to full and open public sympathy by celebrities and members of the media, unless that person happens to be Conservative or Republican, both of which are forbidden to members of disadvantaged groups.
The right of trial by jury shall be preserved for captured opponents during time of war, who shall be accorded all the rights and benefits of American citizens in addition to the disadvantaged person status, which shall automatically be granted to all "enemies" of America.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted, not even curtailment of any freedoms or rights whatsoever. Those held for committing a crime shall be afforded luxuries in entertainment and food to make up for the injustice of being incarcerated, as well as the right to at least one book deal.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, especially the unquestionable rights of abortion, tax-paid health care and gay marriage.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the Judiciary, who shall have the power to overturn decisions made by vote of the people, amend the Constitution and even change the meaning of the words written herein at will and without recourse by the people.
Posted at Tuesday, January 10, 2006 by CavalierX
Saturday, January 07, 2006
A National Security Double Standard
It may be both entertaining and instructive to compare the Left's shifting positions on national security under different circumstances. It seems that whether Liberals and Democrats celebrate or condemn security leaks depends solely on whether the situation can be used to benefit them politically.
For more than two years we have been listening to Liberals, puffed up with (self-) righteous indignation, attacking the Bush administration over the supposed "outing" of CIA desk-jockey Valerie Plame. The Left chooses to ignore the fact that she was not, at the time, a covert agent, nor had she been stationed overseas in at least five years -- either of which condition is specifically indicated for criminality in the law they claim was broken.
A columnist named her work for the CIA as the reason her husband, Joe Wilson, was chosen to evaluate reports that Saddam Hussein had attempted to purchase "yellowcake" uranium from Niger. Robert Novak was understandably curious about the selection, as Wilson is a rabid Bush-hater who never actually investigated the question, and who published his "conclusions" in the mainstream media instead of a report to those who sent him. When Democrats flew into a rage over Novak's publication of supposed national secrets, which they claimed would put the lives of other agents at risk, Novak mentioned that an administration official had let the name slip during a conversation.
Liberals and Democrats immediately divined that Karl Rove, assistant to President Bush, had deliberately exposed Plame's identity in order to punish Wilson. In their view, it makes perfect sense that he would do this, as many Liberals seem to act on emotion rather than reason. Of course, the fact that Iraq actually did send a trade delegation to Niger, which Wilson himself reported as "a possible attempt to buy uranium," made Wilson's false public declarations to the contrary seem a bit odd. And the further fact that nearly 500 tons of yellowcake uranium was actually found in Iraq, and more radioactive material was discovered in at least one shipment of scrap metal from Iraq, made them downright laughable.
The Left was infuriated, demanding that Rove's treasonous act, his betrayal of national security, must be punished to the very limit of the law. When the much-ballyhooed special investigation finally came to a head, however... no one was indicted for exposing or betraying any secrets at all. Fitzmas (so named by the giddily expectant Left in honor of the prosecutor who would surely destroy the Bush administration) was a fizzle.
The simple fact is that no actual crime was committed in the Plame case. Even if events took place exactly as Liberals envision them, they would not rise to meet the standard for illegality laid out by the law. You can take out billboard ads along the highway for the purpose of displaying lists of common, everyday government employees, if you wish... so long as one of them is not currently under cover or has not been assigned to another country in the last five years.
Yet, if you listen, you can still hear Liberals chanting the name of Valerie Plame to this day... like a magical incantation with which to bring about the downfall of President Bush.
Somehow, in all this zeal to safeguard national security, the Left has lost track of the number of times security has truly been violated. When it's done by Democrats, or can be used to attack President Bush, however, violating national security apparently earns the Liberal Seal of Approval. "Leakers" become "whistle-blowers," a term formerly reserved to describe those who expose real government abuses, and usually for other than political purposes.
The real name of a covert CIA analyst was divulged by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in April 2005, despite the fact that the CIA "asked news organizations to withhold his name," according to the New York Times. Kerry's defense was that the agent's name had been in the press years ago, when he had been the National Intelligence Officer for Latin America... and besides, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) said it, too. At the time of disclosure, however, Fulton Armstrong held a sensitive undercover assignment. Calling attention to his real profession may have put him in danger. No one, as yet, has officially called for Kerry's or Lugar's impeachment, arrest and trial. You have to wonder why those who demanded arrests and impeachments over the Plame "outing" haven't clamored to see John Kerry frog-marched out of the Capitol building. Perhaps that "D" after his name stands for "Don't Prosecute."
Details of secret Eastern European prisons where captured al-Qaeda operatives were kept leaked out to the press in November 2005. The disclosure including locations, registration numbers from planes used as transport and the names of companies that were used as CIA covers. Every agent associated with those countries, those prisons, those planes or companies is now in jeopardy. The likelihood of a retributive terrorist attack against those countries will cause other countries to reconsider aiding the US, for fear of becoming terrorist targets. Those who should be calling for an investigation into this severely damaging leak seem to regard it instead as a tool with which to attack President Bush. How dare he abrogate the rights of terrorists, and treat them as enemies?
Many Democrats continue to fight the PATRIOT Act, which allowed the same law enforcement tools used in murder, mob and drug investigations to be used to investigate terrorism. It also tore down the "wall," erected at the urging of deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick during Clinton's presidency, that prevented law enforcement agencies from sharing vital information. How anyone claiming to care about national security can oppose the act on the grounds that someone might figure out how to abuse it someday is beyond me. No violations of any American's civil liberties under the PATRIOT Act have ever been verified, despite the hysterical hyperbole one hears from the Left.
Most recently, the fact that the NSA tapped phones whose numbers were found in al-Qaeda databases and speed-dials was leaked. 2006 being an election year, the Left is foaming with faux outrage over this action, pretending not to understand why warrants were not requested under FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978). For those who actually don't understand: the phones were tapped without knowing who was using them, because al-Qaeda was obviously reaching out to touch someone in the United States. You can't get a warrant for "whoever picks up," but the President can order wiretapping without a warrant when the subject is associated with a foreign power. Even the FISA review court itself had to admit in 2002 that the President has the power to order warrantless surveillance to gather intelligence, especially as we are at war. (If it helps, pretend the Feds were only listening to the known al-Qaeda contact on the other end of the line.)
So where are the self-appointed security hawks on the Left? Are they demanding investigations into real exposure of covert agents' identities? Are they fighting to extend the PATRIOT Act, so the government will have the tools it needs to track down terrorists before they can strike? Are they calling for heads to roll over the leaking of classified information about where terrorists are housed and interrogated? Are they supporting the efforts of the NSA to gather information on those who have relations to al-Qaeda? Not at all... they're too busy prostituting information vital to national security for talking points and votes.
Posted at Saturday, January 07, 2006 by CavalierX
Monday, January 02, 2006
As a new year begins, it's almost impossible to resist trying to predict what it will bring. Naturally, as a Conservative, I look forward to the new year with more optimism than pessimism. Therefore, this is as much a collection of hopes as a series of predictions.
On the home front, the economy will most likely continue to grow at between 3% and 4% overall. When Liberals say that economic indicators like the stock market and unemployment are back where they were in 2000, they're ignoring some essential facts. The late 1990's economy they praise was based on the unstable technology "bubble" that burst in early 2000, plunging us into a recession that was deepened by 9/11. The Bush tax cuts have fueled several years of recovery and solid economic growth. Not even the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was able to slow the economy.
The Dow will almost certainly break 11,000 in 2006. New Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke will probably continue Alan Greenspan's policies, at least for now. It's possible that the Fed may stop raising interest rates, and even cut them, by mid-year. If that happens, the stock market will spike, possibly reaching as high as 11,500. The only thing that could harm our economy would be a sudden, sharp rise in oil prices... and that, unfortunately, depends on events in the Middle East.
A showdown with Iran seems likely this year, unless that country halts its nuclear program. Israel will never allow a theocratic Islamofascist state founded on terrorism, whose president declared that "Israel must be wiped off the map," to build nuclear weapons. The only way to avoid either a nuclear-armed Iran or a direct attack on that country may be to blockade the Straits of Hormuz. With their main oil-exporting route closed, the shaky Iranian economy would likely collapse within weeks. Unfortunately, oil prices would probably rise drastically for months, making such a blockade during the winter or summer less likely. China and Europe (with its various struggling economies) would protest any real action against Iran. Things may come to a head in March or April, while we still have a substantial military presence on Iran's doorstep.
Conditions in Iraq will continue to improve despite terrorist activity, forcing the mainstream media to switch its defeat theme from "Iraq is a quagmire" to "the political situation in Iraq isn't perfect." Syria may be forced to scale back support for terrorism, as even the UN is forced to scrutinise Bashir Assad's involvement in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. After some more courtroom antics and delaying tactics, Saddam Hussein will surely be pronounced guilty of ordering the killings at Dujail. The sooner the death sentence is carried out upon him, the sooner the majority of Iraqi insurgents will lose hope, causing a greater split between them and the terrorists. American troop levels will drop as the Iraqis continue to build and train their own military, but look to the Democrats to claim that the President is pulling out because he's finally agreeing with them that we can't win.
The Chinese, meanwhile, will continue to manipulate events in Asia. Their military alliance with Russia and North Korea will embolden them to threaten the US over Taiwan. Secretary of State Condi Rice will have a difficult job this year, as she tries to steer the Russian government away from China, and away from the dictatorship it seems to be slipping into. Putin's plan to give his political party even more control over the process of appointing governors may cause more domestic problems and unrest. If Russia can be swayed back onto the democratic path, however, China may tone down the rhetoric over Taiwan.
The UN will continue to wallow in scandal, corruption and anti-Americanism, despite Ambassador John Bolton's attempts to institute reform. Kofi Annan's tenure is too rife with dishonesty and exploitation to change significantly while he remains the Secretary-General. His term is over at the end of 2006, however.
Without a doubt, there will be disasters around the world this year -- natural as well as man-made. As always, American citizens will respond with aid, while the Left will castigate the Federal government for not taking more of our money and deciding where to send it for us. That won't bother most Americans, however -- the people in front of the cameras are not the people who need the help.
Back home, Democrats will continue to ramp up the anti-Bush rhetoric as the midterm elections approach, despite the fact that President Bush is not up for re-election. They're stuck in permanent campaign mode, and will blindly resist anything the President tries to do during his second term. If they continue to resist fighting the War on Terror with anything approaching seriousness, they may lose a few more seats in Congress, though not enough to give the Republicans a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Fighting judicial nominees like Samuel Alito -- who will be confirmed by the Senate -- will also expose them to the American people for what they are. There may be one more Supreme Court vacancy this year, and the Democrats would do better to hoard what strength they have left.
On the other hand, one of the big issues in the 2006 elections will be illegal immigration. If the Bush administration doesn't do anything to stop the flood of illegals flowing into this country, the Democrats may take control of the issue and even regain control of the Senate, if they can keep their opposition to national security out of the spotlight. It would be difficult for a Democrat to pretend to be serious about keeping the borders secure while opposing other measures designed to keep the country safer.
If President Bush continues to defend himself before the American people, instead of letting political attacks go unanswered as he did during most of 2005, the Democrats will be forced to go even further out on the Liberal limb, losing even more votes. Some politicians who are up for re-election in 2006, like Hillary Clinton, will claim to have been hawks all along, advocate border security, and retain their seats. Unfortunately, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVa) will likely be re-elected, while Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) may lose to Bob Casey Jr. I wonder whether President Bush will campaign as hard for Santorum, who has always supported him, as he did for wishy-washy Senator Arlen Specter (R?-Pa), who frequently stabs him in the back?
Will there be a successful terrorist attack in the USA this year? It's impossible to tell at this point. If Congress doesn't renew -- or significantly weakens -- the PATRIOT Act, a terror attack will certainly be easier to plan and carry out. The same applies to the Democrat attempts to portray the NSA's tapping phone calls to and from known al-Qaeda numbers overseas as "illegal spying on Americans" -- if they manage to gain traction with this non-issue, they may cripple our ability to defend ourselves. Who knows what other fake scandals the Democrats are holding in reserve, ready to spring on the public before the 2006 election?
The best weapon the terrorists have is time, unfortunately. More people will forget about 9/11 this year, as the little emergencies of everyday life push the memories into a corner. Hollywood will continue to do its part to vilify America, capitalism, Christianity and the Bush administration in movies, television and foreign interviews. Liberals will continue to disparage and degrade all the good America does while exaggerating any bad effects, becoming more shrill and divorced from reality as more people grow tired of their rhetoric and stop paying attention to the news and politics. Demotivating centrist and right-leaning voters would be a big victory for the Left.
However, the one prediction I can make with certainty is that the country will endure. I don't doubt that the Left will try their hardest to undermine those things that most Americans believe in, but I have no doubt that they will continue to fail this year.
Posted at Monday, January 02, 2006 by CavalierX
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Helpful New Year's Resolutions for the Left
The Left has been having a real hard time lately. The rebuilding of Iraq is actually going fairly well on the whole, there haven't been any terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11, the economy is screaming along like a freight train, and Americans are fighting back against the forced secularisation and judicial takeover of the country. With their pet political party openly becoming the party of obstruction and defeatism, Leftists can only look forward to having a tough time in next year's elections as well. As always, however, I'm here to help. If the Left makes and keeps the following suggested New Year's resolutions, I'm sure they'll do better in 2006. Really.
1. Stop being so reasonable, polite and quiet during debates. Instead of presenting boring facts and figures like Conservatives do, scream more catchy, emotion-laden slogans like "Bush Lied, People Died!" No one wants to be bored by reason; everyone expects you to be entertaining. If slogans work for the advertising industry in commercials, they'll definitely work for you. Feel free to recycle slogans from the sixties and seventies, as no one remembers them.
2. When you do need to present facts and figures, focus even more on sensationalism than accuracy than you've been doing. No one cared when 1,999 troops died in Iraq, but everyone wanted to hear about the 2,000th death, right? Use big numbers to make the Iraq war sound really bad, even if you have to make them up. Truth is relative -- yelling "Bush killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis!" lets people know that you really care about Iraqis, and Conservatives don't. Even if that number has been completely fabricated, it sounds good. I mean, bad.
3. Put more people like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Berg in the spotlight, as often as you can find them. In fact, the next time you find an aging hippie willing to tap-dance on his or her child's grave for you, actually bring the corpse along to rallies for effect. That'll wow the crowd for sure. If you can manage to find an anti-war parent who's lost a child in Iraq who also happens to be a cop-killer like Wesley "Mumia" Cook or multiple murder like Stanley "Tookie" Wiliams, you've got a media sensation that's guaranteed to bring down the Bush administration. Really try hard to find one this year -- it'll pay off in votes.
4. Show more support for the military. By "support," of course, I mean that you should increase the clamor to get them out of danger -- that's not what a military is for! Let everybody know that you just want those lovable brainwashed mass-murderering children to be safe and sound at home -- unless the UN tells them where to go and who to kill.
5. More made-up scandals and false accusations of wrongdoing will do the trick in 2006. Stop flinging them out one at a time, though -- it's too easy for Conservatives to defeat them with those darn facts and reason that way. If you simultaneously accuse Bush of a half-dozen or so crimes and Constitutional violations all at the same time, people will believe you, because some mud will be sure to stick if you just throw enough.
6. Be more open in your contempt for the common American. If more people only knew that you understand what's good for them better than they think they do, they'd be more willing to let you take charge. Don't pander to the masses anymore -- let them know right up front that they're all stupid and ignorant, and need you to tell them how to live in a more enlightened, European fashion.
7. Increase your demands for the government to acknowledge that so-called "terrorists" have the same Constitutional rights and legal protections as so-called "Americans." We're all citizens of the world, and one person's "terrorist" is another person's "freedom fighter," right? If the law is to be truly fair to everyone, all moral judgments must be suspended. Well, don't put it in precisely those words, but you know what I mean.
8. It seems that more and more black people are embracing non-Liberal ideas like personal responsibility and color-blind hiring or school admission policies. Some even support President Bush! When they do, make sure you continue to launch vicious personal attacks, calling them "Uncle Tom" or "Aunt Jemima," throwing Oreo cookies at them or forcing their charities to close down. This is guaranteed to keep them all firmly on the Left, among those who truly respect them and their independence as a people and as individuals.
9. Spend more time publicly complaining that your First Amendment right to free speech has been taken away. Not enough people are getting the message that your right to express yourself is gone. Also, whenever well-known Conservatives are giving speeches in your area, you must make more of an effort to drown them out. Scream, bang drums and cause disruptions so that no one can hear them. People will respect you for taking a stand.
10. Apologise more for all the evil things America has done. Europeans and Muslims need to hear how sorry you are that President Bush is putting people like the Taliban and Saddam Hussein out of business, intimidating leaders like Moammar Ghaddafi, and spreading democracy where no one wants it. After all, Saddam was elected in a 100% landslide by his own people, who obviously loved him! Surely when other Americans see you beating your breast over how horrible we all are, they'll realise that you and only you are qualified to lead the country.
Bonus: Seriously? Give up. Your defeatist, anti-capitalist, anti-military, anti-religion, anti-tradition, anti-America stance will never be accepted by most Americans.
Posted at Thursday, December 29, 2005 by CavalierX
Sunday, December 25, 2005
The Nativity with Donors and Saints Jerome and Leonard
ca. 1510–15 Gerard David (Netherlandish, born about 1455, died 1523)
from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Posted at Sunday, December 25, 2005 by CavalierX
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash
Prior to 21st century America, had one group of officials tried to prevent their own government from discovering the plans of enemy agents hiding among the populace, they would have been tried for treason -- if they were lucky. Had some members of Congress tried to prevent the government from tapping the phones of known Nazi collaborators during WWII, or attempted to protect the "right" of Confederate spies to pass information to the South during the Civil War, they would have been arrested. Unlike anything we've seen before, the Left is turning national security and the prosecution of a war against terrorists into political talking points.
Since shortly after 9/11, the NSA has been monitoring international phone calls to and from domestic phone numbers known to be affiliated with al-Qaeda associates. Without an easy way to communicate with al-Qaeda leaders overseas, another attack would be more difficult for terrorists to plan and execute. It was a wartime decision essential to our defense, and as such came directly under the authority of the President as commander-in-chief. Those who claim that the Legislative or Judicial branches of the Federal government should have control over military decisions are clearly unfamiliar with the Constitutional separation of powers, or how "efficiently" bureaucrats can run a war. The Left likes to pretend terrorism is merely a matter of civilian law enforcement, but this is a war, not an episode of CSI: Terrorism. Treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, like jaywalking or stealing apples, is what allowed al-Qaeda to plan 9/11 so elaborately and secretly in the first place.
The fact that phone calls with al-Qaeda have been monitored is not news, though the Left seems to think it is. In 2002, the Associated Press reported that the government had "recently uncovered numerous calls from difficult-to-track prepaid cell phones, Internet-based phone service, prepaid phone cards and public pay phones in the United States to known al-Qaeda locations overseas." The story mentioned that the phone calls were "one piece of a growing body of evidence pointing to the presence of suspected members of terrorist sleeper cells operating on U.S. soil, and a growing sophistication on their part to keep their communications secret." The Left's response, three years later, is to attack the Bush administration for not having the proper paperwork on file when they eavesdropped on conversations with terrorists.
In fact, warrantless electronic surveillance has been done before, and since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was signed in 1978. President Carter authorised wiretapping without requiring a court order in 1979. President Reagan authorised warrantless searches against agents of a foreign power. President Clinton authorised electronic surveillance without a warrant in 1995, as well as physical searches of property. Clinton's Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Gorelick, testified before the Senate that the "Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes." Some may remember Gorelick as the person responsible for building up the wall between law enforcement agencies that kept them from sharing information they gathered during terrorism investigations.
But does electronic surveillance without a court-issued warrant violate the law? In 2002, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review examined the issue of warrantless surveillance. The Court noted that "all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." Is the President's authority under the Constitution limited by FISA? "We take for granted," the Court stated, "that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." Since that is precisely what FISA was created to do, doesn't that essentially make FISA itself unconstitutional?
And what of our Constitutional rights? There is, as yet, no evidence that American citizens were targeted for electronic surveillance, but what if they were? The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects us against "unreasonable searches and seizures." Is it unreasonable to tap phone numbers discovered in al-Qaeda databases? Is it unreasonable to listen in on phone calls to or from known al-Qaeda locations?
The Left is merely ramping up paranoia, hoping that people fearful of government intrusion will vote the Big Government party into power in 2006 and 2008. The fact is that no one actually cares about your recipe exchanges with Aunt Sally, or how you complain about your boss and to whom. Unless your Aunt Sally is a known al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan, no one's even listening.
If Osama bin Laden calls me up from his Baluchistan hideout, however, you can bet I want the Feds taking notes. Moreover, I want them tracking the call to its source and sending every JDAM and MOAB in our inventory.
Exploding Liberal Myths 10: The Plame Name Game
Exploding Liberal Myths 9: The Separation of Church and State
Exploding Liberal Myths 8: The Nazi Meme
Exploding Liberal Myths 7: Fidel Castro, Demigod?
Exploding Liberal Myths 6: A Less Safe Post-Iraq
Exploding Liberal Myths 5: The Moral United Nations
Exploding Liberal Myths 4: Runaway Global Warming
Exploding Liberal Myths 3: Outsourcing Woes
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
Exploding Liberal Myths 1: Nigerian Uranium
Posted at Saturday, December 24, 2005 by CavalierX
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Score One For Democracy... Three For Terrorism
It's sad, even tragic, that for every advance abroad, we seem to take several steps backward at home. Our enemies no longer have any need to attack America directly -- they have the services of the "mainstream" media and the political Left.
Despite the Left's continued attempts to portray Iraq as a failure or disaster, that country is well on its way to becoming the focal point of a spreading Middle Eastern democracy -- the only realistic answer to terrorism's root cause. Two critical tests remain for the Iraqi government: whether they can form a stable government out of the 275 members of Parliament that have recently been elected, and whether its members can effect a smooth transition of power when their term of office ends in four years.
Events are taking place in the Middle East that have never happened there before, and never quickly and smoothly anywhere. It was seven years between the end of the American Revolution and the time our own Constitution took effect in 1789. If ratification had been thrown open to a popular vote as it was in Iraq, the process would certainly have taken well over a decade. How can three years be termed a "failure" by any but the childishly impatient standards of Liberals? No reasonable person expected this process to take less than three to five years, even without the meddling of Iran and Syria -- not to mention the terrorists and their "war on this evil principle known as democracy."
The Coalition government appointed a representative group of Iraqis to write a temporary constitution; Iraqis voted under that constitution in January 2005 to elect an interim government of their own. The interim government wrote a permanent constitution that was ratified by 79% of the voters in October 2005. Iraqis recently turned out in overwhelming numbers, coming from all factions and ethnic groups, to vote for their first democratically-elected government -- the first such government in the entire Arab world. Now the members of the Iraqi Parliament will have the chance to participate in a give-and-take representative governing system such as we have... well, no one said a democratic government was perfect, but it's certainly better than a fascist dictatorship. Iraqis have bootstrapped themselves from a collapsed totalitarian government to free elections under their own constitution in less than three years, with our help.
On the other hand, home politics have forced what can only be seen as victories for our enemies in the War on Terror, offsetting our amazing successes abroad. Democratic Senators are filibustering the renewal of the PATRIOT Act -- a piece of legislation hated by the Left for no good reason. Not one single instance of abuse of any citizen's civil liberties under the Act has ever been verified. All the PATRIOT Act really does is allow the same methods used for investigating organised crime, serial killings and drug rings to be used when investigating terrorism. Yet some Senators are working to undermine the PATRIOT Act, on the shaky grounds that they think can see a way someone might possibly figure out how to abuse it somehow, though it may take a concerted effort of the entire Federal government to do so. If the PATRIOT Act is not renewed, key provisions expire at the end of 2005 -- and those who block it will be partially responsible for any future acts of terror that could have been prevented by it.
Aiding the Democrats in their effort to undermine the President are, of course, the members of the "mainstream" media. Just as the Senate went into heated debate over renewing the PATRIOT Act, the New York Times decided to attack the President for allowing wiretaps of phone conversations in America several years ago. Ramping up unfounded fears of unconstitutional government activities is a sure way to pressure Senators to let the PATRIOT Act lapse. The story (coincidentally printed just in time to aid sales of the author's upcoming book on the subject) claims that the President unlawfully allowed the NSA to listen in on foreign conversations involving American citizens without getting an advance court order. The only part of the claim that's untrue is the word "unlawfully."
It turns out that not only was the action authorised under FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978), but that some of the members of Congress pretending to be shocked by this revelation were kept apprised of the NSA's actions all along. Though FISA contains a clause preventing secret surveillance of a "United States person," the character of someone who might be an "agent of a foreign power" -- which includes anyone working with a terrorist group -- should logically pre-empt that designation. Naturally, if America's security agencies are prevented from tapping American phones even when used by terrorists, all the terrorists need to do is pick up some disposable cellphones with American numbers and throw them away after one use, before a court order to tap them can be obtained. Thanks to the New York Times and whoever leaked information about a secret, legal tactic to gather information on terrorist activities, this will probably become standard operating procedure for terrorists in the future.
Last, but certainly not least, is the protection for terrorists recently advanced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and agreed to by President Bush. This is a blow to US efforts to glean information from captured terrorists. McCain wants to prevent the US from using torture or "degrading treatment" to coerce terror detainees to surrender information. McCain's answer to critics is that the President could simply authorise breaking the law under extreme circumstances. Well, then, what's the point of writing such a law in the first place? Laws should not be written just because they sound nice and get a US Senator media approval. That's a poor use of my tax dollars.
The torture part is not a problem -- the US does not condone the torture of anyone, not even terrorists. The question is what constitutes torture. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defined torture in 2002 as inflicting severe pain, organ failure or permanent damage that was "specifically intended." The Left has used that definition (since broadened to exclude some highly aggressive methods) arrived at by Gonzales' legal team to slander him as "condoning torture" ever since. Gonzales expressed no personal opinion on the use of aggressive interrogation techniques, however. Mere discomfort or fright is simply not torture, despite the Left's hypersensitive caterwauling, and can lead to cooperation by breaking the subject's morale. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a high-ranking al-Qaeda leader (and 9/11 planner) captured in 2003, lasted all of two-and-a-half minutes before breaking down under the "waterboarding" technique, which simulates drowning but has no lasting physical effect.
The word "degrading," however, is far too ambiguous and subjective to be used without definition. Many on the Left feel that the terrorists themselves should get to decide what's "degrading." If a terror suspect objects to wearing handcuffs, not being able to choose his own clothing or having a woman anywhere in sight range, he could term his treatment "degrading" -- and many on the Left would accept that as a proper description. Personally, I feel it's degrading to Americans to be forced to treat terrorists as honorable opponents who follow any sort of honor code. There can be no reasonable objection to aggressive interrogation techniques that force subjects to reveal information that saves American lives, as long as real torture is not involved. Name-calling, orange jumpsuits and rap "music" should certainly not be defined as "degrading" (although the rap could be classified as "torture.")
If we're going to get anywhere in this war, we have got to stop treating terrorists with kid gloves, cease granting them rights and privileges they don't have and don't deserve. Why would any captured terrorist give up information, knowing that there's nothing we can do to him to make him talk -- not even keep him up past his bedtime? The fact that terrorists think we're too soft and spineless to fight back was the reason they kept attacking us with increasing ferocity and confidence through the decade culminating in 9/11.
Were they right, after all?
14 Jan 06 UPDATE: I'm not surprised by the sudden surge in sales of disposable cellphones, as reported by ABC News:
Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.
The phones — which do not require purchasers to sign a contract or have a credit card — have many legitimate uses, and are popular with people who have bad credit or for use as emergency phones tucked away in glove compartments or tackle boxes. But since they can be difficult or impossible to track, law enforcement officials say the phones are widely used by criminal gangs and terrorists.
Posted at Sunday, December 18, 2005 by CavalierX