Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Reporters and Facts Don't Mix
In a press conference today, Scott McClellan (chief White House spokesman) revealed the President's military pay records from 1972. Those records should have disproved beyond a shadow of a doubt the oft-repeated accusation, soon to become a focus of the Democratic smear campaign against him, that G.W. Bush was AWOL from the Air National Guard or deserted for a few months during that time. The briefing that was televised, however, was actually the second briefing on the subject. The first briefing went a little differently, and another press conference had to be held. However, I just happen to have a transcript of the first briefing, and will reconstruct for you what really happened.
. . .
"These documents outline the days on which he was paid. That means he served," said McClellan, holding up a thick packet of military pay records. "I think these documents show that he fulfilled his duties."
Cries of "Foul!" "AWOL!" and "Liar!" came from the crowd of reporters. One shouted, "They're fake! Those documents were made up!" "We KNOW he didn't serve, so you can't prove he did" yelled another. "You can't prove something we know isn't true!"
"No, ladies and gentlemen," said McClellan, "I assure you they're real. The signatures have been verified by seven different handwriting experts. However, since you remain unconvinced, we also have documentary photographs." He held up pictures of a young George W. Bush sitting in an F-102 fighter, eating a meal with other pilots, and posing on the tarmac with fighters in the background. The cries of "Fake!" and "Fraud!" from the reporters grew even louder. A reporter in the back stood up and shouted, "Those pictures could have been doctored!" "It was all set up by his father!" yelled another.
Losing his smile, McClellan held up a photo of Bush sitting in a fighter reading a newspaper dated "July 3 1972", with two men putting up a sign in the background saying, "Happy Fourth of July 1972!". The media crowd was silent for a second, then one reporter said, "Well... we know that Saddam used doubles, and we know that Bush is no better than Saddam..." The room erupted in shouts of "It's a double!" and "Fake!" "Look, the dates are different!" "Liar!" and "We KNOW he never served; why can't you just admit the TRUTH?"
"We have fingerprints..." began McClellan. "Recent!" the reporters screamed. "DNA evidence!" said McClellan. "It must be a clone!" "I have here a sworn statement signed by the Pope..." began McClellan again, but the screams of red-faced outrage continued to drown him out. Suddenly the sky grew dark, the curtains blew in the wind, and in a flash of lightning, God Himself appeared, stunning the reporters into silence.
"I swear by Me that the President's statements are true," He began in a thunderous voice, but once again the room erupted into pandemonium. "No! No!" yelled one man, "You're a big fake too!" "How much did BushCo pay you?" "Fraud!" "Bush can stoop no lower than this!" yelled another. "He even got God to lie for him!" "He's even more evil than we thought!" screamed a woman in the back.
"I've had about all I can take of this," God muttered, and vanished. The angry reporters continued to yell at increasing volumes, until one by one they all collapsed, their eyes rolling up in their heads and flecks of foam on their mouths.
"I hate when that happens," McClellan sighed. An aide poked his head into the room. "What's going on, sir?"
"Let's just say they were allergic to facts," McClellan said. "Call the papers and tv stations; let's get their replacements out here and try again."
Posted at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, February 09, 2004
Trying to Burn Bush: The WMD Issue
Watching Tim Russert grill President Bush on the subject of Saddam's WMDs, I couldn't help but consider the irony: that the man who led the fight against one of the world's worst dictators is himself being treated like a criminal. Why? Because he dared to win that war and will probably win the upcoming election.
Russert tried over and over again to trick the President into saying that he, Bush, had decided to remove Saddam from power all by himself, with little or no evidence of wrongdoing, and against the advice of the CIA and Congress. Does that approach even make any sense, when Congress overwhelmingly approved the Authorisation for Use of Military Force in Iraq in October 2002? President Bush even apologised for giving the exact same answer no matter how many different ways Russert phrased it, but there really is only one answer to the question, "why did you say that Saddam had WMDS?"
And that answer is, "because almost every piece of evidence said that he did." Saddam's people said he did (once they escaped the country). Saddam's relatives said he did (once they escaped the country). The experts working under the United Nations said that he did. Saddam said he didn't, but the UN inspectors kept on finding banned weapons anyway. You can only hear someone say, "oh, yes, I forgot about THAT" so many times before you stop believing him or her. Somehow, Bush's detractors seem to suggest that he should have gone to Iraq himself and led UNMOVIC inspection teams instead of relying on their documentation and reports from nearly every intelligence service in the world. Or, perhaps, simply waited until Saddam's weapons capabilities were proved beyond a shadow of a doubt by a cloud of death floating over Jerusalem. Or New York City. Does anyone doubt that they would then scream that he'd failed to protect us?
If you smell smoke, hear a fire alarm, and hear people in the hallway yelling, "Fire!", how long do you wait to gather more evidence before you conclude that yes, the building is in flames? Do you wait until you wake up in the burn unit of the local hospital (if at all), or do you get your friends and family out of the building? If one person out of hundreds says, "I'm not yet fully convinced there's a fire," do you keep waiting, risking the lives of so many others, ignoring the mountain of evidence that the fire is real? That's precisely what the Left seems to claim President Bush ought to have done. They applied no similarly high standard to Mr. Clinton, of course, when he bombed Baghdad and an aspirin factory in Khartoum, and invaded Bosnia. No one claimed to have been misled.
Many have spoken even more definitely about the existence of Saddam's WMDs based upon the exact same evidence as President Bush saw. In 1998, Secretary of State Madeline Albright said, "Saddam's goal... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." National Security Advisor Sandy Berger said, "(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983." Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Daschle, John Kerry and others wrote a letter in 1998 urging the President "to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs". President Clinton did so (Operation Desert Fox), and told Larry King in 2003:
...Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know.
In October 2002, John Kerry said, "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Kerry also stated, "The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." Kerry also said, "(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ...And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm."
John "Flip" Kerry, the odds-on favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination, is singing a different tune these days. Former head of the Iraq Survey Group David Kay has reported not yet finding large stockpiles of those weapons Kerry himself railed about just months before the liberation of Iraq began. (Kay reported that everyone he spoke to sincerely believed that Saddam had such weapons, by the way.) Kerry's now backpedaling faster than a bicyclist approaching a cliff, saying, "We were misled not only in the intelligence but misled in the way that the President took us to war." Obviously, he doesn't include President Bush in that "we", though they had the same information upon which to base decisions.
But how do Kerry and the rest of the Democrats ascribe their own hawkish position on Saddam's WMDs six years ago to the "evil machinations" of President Bush only one year ago? Was the same intelligence not just as wrong then, if it was wrong at all? And how do they explain their vicious attacks on President Bush's veracity when no such outrage was aimed at Bill Clinton for citing the same intelligence analysis? As President Bush told Tim Russert in his interview, "It's politics."
Posted at Monday, February 09, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, February 06, 2004
The Unnecessary Death of Carlie Brucia
In case you haven't been following the news, or have been so traumatised by Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" that you've switched to the Weather Channel for a while, a serious miscarriage of justice recently occurred in Florida. In fact, that's too mild a phrase. What happened in Florida was a horrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided.
An 11-year-old girl named Carlie Brucia was kidnapped and murdered, apparently by a man who should never have been seen outside of a jail until she was in her thirties. Her real killer, however, was the justice system that somehow let her murderer walk free after repeated arrests and convictions.
37-year-old Joseph Smith appears to be the man seen in a surveillance video, wearing a mechanic's shirt with a name patch on it, showing tatoos on his arms that match Smith's. He's definitely the man who escaped justice so many times that it seems as though it must be a typo or mistake, as reported by AP News.
Smith has been arrested at least 13 times in Florida since 1993.
He served 17 months in prison in 2001 and 2002 for heroin possession and prescription drug fraud. Eight days after he got out, he was arrested for cocaine possession and placed on probation for three years. He also got probation for aggravated battery in 1993 and heroin charges in 1999.
A state correction official, Joe Papy, said that a probation officer had asked a judge on Dec. 30 to declare Smith in violation of his probation because he had not paid all his fines and court costs.
Papy said Circuit Judge Harry Rapkin declined to find Smith in violation, which could have returned him to jail. The judge defended his decision Friday, saying the probation officer never sent him the evidence he requested that Smith had willfully refused to pay.
Because the justice system was excessively tolerant of this animal, an 11-year-old girl is dead. How many more like him are walking the streets because we lack a consistent, national "three strikes" law such as California and 25 other states have, and because the ones we do have aren't being enforced? (The Federal three strikes law requires that the third offense, at least, be a Federal crime.) In 2002, the Mercury News "reviewed the case histories of all 181 individuals in Santa Clara County whose third strike was non-violent and found that 173 had been convicted of multiple violent acts, many predating the three-strikes law. Their rap sheets contain scores of robberies, rapes, sexual molestations, serial burglaries, assaults and other hard-core criminal behavior." Under this law, a convicted third-time criminal recieves 25 years to life, period. The California version doesn't mandate that the third offense be a violent crime, unlike the others; even non-violent crimes like burglary can qualify one for incarceration. And according to California officials, the law works, though the Supreme Court has been kept busy upholding it against challenges and no two states have the same three strikes law.
Florida instituted a three strikes law of its own in 1999. It is unclear to me why it wasn't used to put Joseph Smith where he belonged: serving his 25-to-life sentence instead of (allegedly, true) killing an innocent child. After the arrest for cocaine posession eight days after his last release from prison, his third (possibly fourth) drug charge in just three years, why was he given only probation?
Amber alerts, television coverage, and flyers passed out by neighbors and volunteers is no defense against the kind of evil that murders little girls. Our justice system is supposed to do that. But when the system lets repeat offenders roam the streets at will, despite laws enacted to prevent that from happening, what kind of protection does it really provide?
Posted at Friday, February 06, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Can We Trust Democrats With the War on Terror?
Though the Left hates to admit it (you're a "warmonger" if you mention it), America is in the middle -- actually, just the beginning -- of a long, hard, tough war.
The war actually began on 26 February, 1993, when al-Qaeda operatives entered the US (with assistance from Iraqi intelligence) and set off a truck bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center. The one-sided war continued for years, with al-Qaeda attacks on the barracks at Riyadh in 1995, Khobar Towers in 1996, the two US embassy bombings (Dar es Salaam and Nairobi) in 1998, the attack on he USS Cole in 2000, and finally the incidents that woke us up and changed the way we viewed the war on 9/11. Most of us are still awake, but by no means all of us.
For eight years, we pretended that the war was just a series of unrelated crimes. We pretended that there was no Enemy, no network of terrorists planning ever-larger attacks on us and our way of life. Lulled into a false sense of security by Bill Clinton's mishandling of terrorism, we ignored the most insidious threat we've ever faced as a nation until those terrorists forced us to acknowledge them.
Now it's an election year, and the Democrats want to regain power. They want to return us to that false sense of security in which we pay no attention to the hazy inner workings of the government. It's kind of tempting, isn't it? Who wants to live with the reality of terrorist threats every day? Who volunteers for that (besides, of course, the Israelis)? Just get rid of George W. Bush, the Democrats pledge, and all will be well. You can all relax! We'll take care of you. Wesley Clark even went so far as to promise no more terrorist attacks, if he becomes President. John Edwards is a trial lawyer not even finished his first term as Senator; to plunge him into the forefront of an international war would be to commit national suicide. And as for John Kerry, the current Democratic front-runner, according to his own web site:
Kerry recognizes that a global security effort and the war against terrorism require active participation of the international community. As President, John Kerry will move quickly to rebuild American alliances and define a global security strategy that is collective, not imperial, inclusive not exclusive, and cooperative not unilateralist.
Let's ignore for the moment the fact that nearly every country in the world is already assisting us in the war on terror, including France, Germany and Russia. Let's ignore for the moment the fact that if you handed Kerry a map and asked him to point out the countries that are part of the "imperialistic" American empire, he'd have to take a pass. Let's also ignore for the moment the fact that over sixty countries are a part of the Coalition that is helping Iraq move towards a democratic form of government for the first time ever (48 at the time Saddam was forcibly removed from power), utterly demolishing the "unilateralist" lie.
In the recent Democratic debate in South Carolina (29 January), John Kerry stated:
The war on terror is less -- it is occasionally military, and it will be, and it will continue to be for a long time. And we will need the best-trained and the most well-equipped and the most capable military, such as we have today. But it's primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world -- the very thing this administration is worst at.
The truth is that John Kerry, as much as any Democrat, sees terrorism as a mere law enforcement issue, even after all we've been through since 9/11. Even though treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter utterly failed us, and led us down the path to 9/11 with blinders on. That's the approach to terrorism the Democrats would bring back to the White House -- arrest the minions, ignore the masters, make pretty speeches about how we're handling it so well. President Bush might have been anticipating Kerry's weak Clintonesque approach to handling terror when, in the 2004 State of the Union address, he said:
I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. They view terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement and indictments. After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were indicted and tried and convicted, and sent to prison. But the matter was not settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations, and drawing up more ambitious plans. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
John Kerry -- like the rest of the Democrats -- actually thinks you'll believe that if only GW Bush wasn't the President, then we could just stop having the war on terror; that the world would love us "again"... as if they ever really did.
Posted at Wednesday, February 04, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, February 01, 2004
Oil for Blood: Saddam Bought the Anti-War Movement
The so-called "anti-war" crowd has spent two years castigating President Bush for "throwing away world support" by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Since the President named Iraq as one of the "axis of evil" countries in the 2002 State of the Union Address, some people have been working overtime to make him look as though he was using America's military might for personal reasons. They feigned the purest motives; they pretended to hold the moral high ground. 'No Blood for Oil!' was the rallying cry among the masses, many of whom were merely dupes in the ideological fight against America and the Coalition. They told us all they were working for peace, and were only working against war, not against America. Now, at last, we know who they were working for. It turns out that Saddam's oil bribes were paying for Iraqi blood.
ABCNEWS has obtained an extraordinary list that contains the names of prominent people around the world who supported Saddam Hussein's regime and were given oil contracts as a result.
All of the contracts were awarded from late 1997 until the U.S.-led war in March 2003. They were conducted under the aegis of the United Nations' oil-for-food program, which was designed to allow Iraq to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods.
Those documents were found in the Iraqi Ministry of Oil files in Baghdad, and the story was first reported by the Baghdad newspaper al-Mada. Their validity was confirmed by Naseer al-Chaderji, a senior member of Iraq's Governing Council. It is the height of irony that the perfidy of those who opposed the liberation of Iraq should be exposed by the symbol of the freedom that liberation brought: a free press. Just think about that for a second.
Other high-level opposition to the liberation of Iraq included then-Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan. Kofi Annan led the group that brokered the oil-for-food program with Iraq under the nose of which all this corruption was taking place. The UN has never allowed an outside audit of the oil-for-food program, under which the United Nations made a 2.2% "administration fee" on every transaction, as Claudia Rosset revealed last year.
Delving into these matters gets tough, because the U.N. shuns transparency. Given that more than $20 billion from the Iraq program is now sitting in U.N. escrow accounts awaiting some combination of Saddam's planning and U.N. processing, one wonders which banks, and which of those countries now taking part in the Iraq debate, might be getting thick slices of Saddam's business. A few years ago, all Oil-for-Food funds were kept at a French bank, Banque Nationale de Paris. More recently, the funds have been diversified among five or six banks, according to U.N. treasurer Suzanne Bishopric. But the U.N. does not permit her to disclose the names or locations of the banks, or details such as interest accrued.
"We don't like to make public where our money is," says Ms. Bishopric. Who audits the program? It's a strictly insider job: The U.N. secretariat, supplemented by a rotating set of member nations, with the task currently delegated to the government of the Philippines.
How much of the world was under Saddam's thumb? The dirty connections seem to never end. Many (though by no means all) of the oil-for-food connections, as well as the oil contract, electronics and weapons connections, lead to France and Russia... America's most vocal detractors and the most difficult opposition to the liberation of Iraq. If you think this is a coincidence, I'd like to sell you some swampland -- I mean, prime development real estate in Florida.
George Galloway, the British minister most adamantly set against Prime Minister Tony Blair's tough stance on Iraq, is on the list as receiving the rights to sell a million barrels of oil for less than the market price. At an average US$.50 profit per share, that's a sweet half-million dollars. Coincidence? Galloway, by the way, is not in the oil business. "I've never seen a bottle of oil, owned one or bought one," he stated. He didn't mention oil vouchers from Saddam, however.
Patrick Maugein received a hefty 25 million barrels' worth of vouchers. In case you don't know, he's a close friend and personal advisor to French President Jaques Chirac, as well as being one of his chief financial backers. Is it a coincidence that Chirac instructed the French ambassador to the UN to reject any proposal made by the US/UK that would carry a credible threat of force?
Surprisingly, the German and Chinese governments deserve credit for their absence from this list. Though Germany's opposition to the use of force in Iraq was almost as vociferous as France's, it appears -- so far -- to have been somewhat cleaner. China's opposition was much more passive. Many German and Chinese oil, electronics and weapons firms had large development contracts with Saddam's government, but the governments of those nations have not yet been tied to Saddam.
Russia, however, received in excess of 1.3 BILLION barrels' worth of oil contracts. From the Liberal Democratic Party (79.8 million barrels) to the various companies of the Communist Party (137 million), to the Russian Orthodox Church (5 million), Saddam's oil money -- and influence -- flowed throughout the country. Though President Vladimir Putin himself was not named, his party -- the Peace and Unity Party -- received 34 million barrels.
Most damning, for those who refuse to believe that Saddam had financial ties to terrorism, the PLO received 4 million barrels.
How can we go on pretending that the so-called anti-war movement was, at its heart, controlled by anything more than those whose souls were bought and paid for with Saddam's stolen oil? Just before the war in Iraq began, John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator and democratic Presidential hopeful, derided the Coaliton that liberated Iraq as a "trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted".
Perhaps he should have been looking at the "anti-war" movement instead.
Posted at Sunday, February 01, 2004 by CavalierX
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Headlines I'd Like to See
TALIBAN OFFICIAL COMPLAINS ABOUT MEDIA BIAS
"We had all the same elements as Iraq," stated an unnamed Taliban source, "but the Western media ignores the unfairness of our loss. Our country was taken away from us by Bush for even less reason than Iraq was from Saddam Hussein -- so-called humanitarian offenses, long-time support for terrorists (which the media ignores about Saddam), and ignoring American demands to give things up -- in our case, Osama bin Laden; in Saddam's case, information on his weapons. Yet the Western media howls about Iraq daily, while they never attack Bush for removing us from power. They do this only because Saddam had oil... it's just not fair. If we had only had oil, the media would have been against Bush then, too. Truly, it is all about the oil."
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS BANNED
In a move to clarify everyday speech, persecution for failing to use politically correct euphemisms has been banned in America. Everything may once again be called by its proper name according to the new law passed today and signed by President Bush. "No longer will the American people fear being attacked for failing to use convoluted names for everyday objects, professions, and people," Bush said. Without political correctness, "pro-choice" becomes pro-abortion, the "winter holiday" may once again be celebrated as Christmas by those who wish to, "undocumented foreign workers" may be called illegal aliens, and "affirmative action" may be referred to by its proper name, condescension. Liberals are horrified by this development. "How can we enforce the Constitutional rights of Americans to not be offended by rich white straight men?" complained an unnamed Liberal, who then insisted on being referred to as a "race, sexual orientation and gender-neutral temporary elected spokesperson". "Not that I set myself above anyone else," the spokesperson continued, "nor claim a right to speak for anyone other than a few of the many who..." (At this point, the interview was terminated by a display of outer-directed fist-enabled aggressive frustration on the part of the interviewer.)
STOCKPILE OF IRAQI BOTULINUM FOUND!
The world was stunned yesterday when, in a shocking development, Saddam's missing botulinum toxin was found hidden in Senator John Kerry's forehead. The Senator stated that he was angry about this accusation, but for some reason, did not look angry. David Kay, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, stated, "I could have sworn most of it went to Syria, but it appears to have been converted to Botox for the Senator's use".
GOVERNMENT REPLACED WITH DRUNKEN SAILORS
In an effort to reduce spending, all members of the US government were removed from office yesterday and replaced with drunken sailors by public demand. "I confess I was taken by surprise," former President Bush told the press. "But it makes sense from their point of view. Drunken sailors will spend far less money." In fact, government spending in all areas immediately decreased, except for a slight increase in alcohol and hooker expenditures. Former Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) demanded reinstatement on the grounds that he only lacked the qualification of being an actual sailor.
'UNDECIDED' WINS DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
In a result perfectly symbolising the internal squabbles tearing the Democratic party apart, the highest number of delegates for the Presidential nominee went to 'undecided', with 20% of the Democratic vote. "Well, in retrospect, that seems fair," DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe said in an interview immediately after the decision was announced. "Maybe we could sort of, you know, rotate the Presidency when we win, with every Democrat in the country becoming President for... around, say, a minute or two over the next four years. We'll have our people work out the math." President Bush could not be reached for comment, but raucous laughter could be heard in the background when a call was placed to the White House to request an interview.
NEWS FLASH: SENATOR JOHN KERRY WAS IN VIETNAM!
"I never knew," say close associates, "He never, ever mentions it."
Posted at Saturday, January 31, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
Perhaps the most misunderstood, mis-quoted, maligned and mistakenly hated piece of legislation in the history of America is the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism -- you just have to love government acronyms). Mentioning it within earshot of most Liberals (without the requisite sneer) has the same effect as waving a piece of raw steak in front of hungry, rabid pit bulls... they tend to eat the steak starting at your shoulder. This makes it abnormally difficult to find out just why Liberals hate it (the Act, not the steak -- vegetarianism is still a mystery to me) so much. Perhaps the most amusing part of President Bush's 2004 State of the Union Address was when he said, "Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year..." (wild applause from Democrats) "The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule." (sheepish looks from Democrats, applause from Republicans) Wearing a full suit of armor and wielding a big stick, however, you just might be able to get some answers to the question, "Why do you hate the PATRIOT Act?"
The most common intelligible reasons for hating the Patriot Act are, "it destroys our freedoms, especially freedom of speech", "it takes away our right to privacy", "it squashes our right to oppose the government" and "it makes people afraid to speak against the government". I've been over the text of the Act, and it's just not clear where these things occur. No one has been able to point it out, either; they speak vaguely of "a climate of fear" and "a chill wind" that silence them (anyone but me see the irony here?). Keep in mind that no abuse of anyone's rights by the PATRIOT Act has yet been proven, though (to be fair) 34 of the allegations of violations made in connection with the Act were deemed credible enough to be investigated. None of them, however, have yet turned out to be examples of civil rights trampled savagely upon by the Act itself.
I can't speak to the random, nameless fears of Liberals, but the Patriot Act merely allows law enforcement agents to use the same tools for terrorism investigations that are already available to drug, organised crime and serial/mass murder investigators. In a sense, isn't that exactly what terrorism is in law enforcement terms: organised mass murder partially fueled by drug money? Is that the "right to oppose the government" the complainers are afraid of losing? The investigative methods that have been used for years in those other areas should come into play in terrorism cases. Keep in mind that all law enforcement agents must have a signed warrant, to protect the rights of the subjects of investigation. Especially that "privacy right" Liberal judges claim to have detected hidden in the Fourth Amendment, which says in part, "no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause". Given that probable cause must be shown, no aspect of the PATRIOT Act violates the rights of any law-abiding citizen. So, what aspects of the Act do Liberals seem to hate the most?
Roving Wiretaps: Instead of being allowed to tap just one phone at a time, agents can tap any phone the subject uses. Isn't that simple logic, in the cellphone era? Terrorists, like sophisticated tech-savvy criminals and flighty teenagers, change locations and phones frequently.
Shared Information: All law enforcement agencies are supposed to share information about terrorism investigations with each other, the same way they do for the other investigations. Isn't the lack of information-sharing one of the things that led to 9/11? Three of the hijackers were stopped for traffic violations shortly before 9/11. If only the cops had known they were al-Qaeda members on the CIA Watch List, the 9/11 plot just might have unraveled. NOTE: This will, however, ruin the plot of any Hollywood movie where the unlikely, mismatched buddy cops stumble into the middle of a Federal terrorism investigation and are forced to turn in their badges before cooperating to solve the crime themselves. That's probably the real reason the Left Coast is so unhinged about the PATRIOT Act, come to think of it. That, and the word "patriot", which gives Limousine Liberals the shivering fits.
Delayed Notification: Nothing made terrorists feel safer than knowing that they would be notified of any search warrants being executed. Nothing made investigators feel more stupid, either. By the time investigators identified other members of the terrorist cell, they'd mysteriously vanish. Imagine that! Law enforcement agencies don't generally give polite notice before searching the homes of garden-variety criminals, so why should suspected terrorists get the kid glove treatment?
Business Records: If someone who's already being investigated (remember, probable cause) is buying truckloads of volatile fertiliser, I think I want to know about it. Perhaps he's just setting up a massive crystal meth lab... but then again, it could be a truck bomb in the making. Either way, I'd like it checked out.
Library Records: When the Zodiac Killer finally stopped, it was because the police figured out that his murders were "inspired" by the works of an obscure Scottish poet. They began checking library/bookstore records to see who had bought or borrowed that author. That was in 1974, and the Liberals haven't said a word in the last 30 years about the law being able to subpoena the library records of suspected serial killers. If someone already under investigation for terrorism (probable cause again) checks out something like "Bringing Down the Great Satan: A Step-By-Step Guide for the Terrorist in You", I want someone to know before it's overdue. Despite the hysteria over this provision, however, not a single request has ever been made for library records under the PATRIOT Act so far.
Advising and Assisting Terrorists: This part, section 805(A)2B, has recently come under fire as "unconstitutional" for inserting the phrase "expert advice or assistance" after "training" in the United States Code of law, section 2339A of title 18, chapter 113b, which covers support for terrorism. That would make the offending passage read (emphasis mine):
Definition. - In this section, the term "material support or resources" means currency or other financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation, and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials.
California District Judge Audrey Collins has a problem with this law. "The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature," she stated. Yes, that appears to be the actual point of writing that law... to prevent any kind of assistance being given to terrorist groups except medical and religious (in case the medical advice fails, I suppose). If the judge feels that particular group shouldn't be classified as a terrorist supporting group, perhaps she ought to address that issue.
The loudest complaint against the PATRIOT Act is that it somehow silences dissent. If that's true, then why are so many Liberals complaining so loudly about it? You'd think they'd all be in concentration camps by now... if they were right.
Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash
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 1: Nigerian Uranium
Posted at Thursday, January 29, 2004 by CavalierX
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Under A Democratic President...
When you look at all the major candidates vying for the 2004 Democratic nomination -- John "when I was in Vietnam" Kerry, Howard "shoot from the lip" Dean, John "I'm not the Crossing Over guy" Edwards and Wesley "what's my position today?" Clark -- they all have several campaign promises in common. Should any of them somehow be elected President (that is, if frontal lobotomy becomes the "in" elective surgery to have between now and November), certain common policy changes would be enacted. That's assuming they keep their campaign promises even half as well as President Bush has -- he's managed to fulfill nearly half of them so far, and about 25% more have been blocked by Congress. What policy changes would a Democratic President make?
All or most of the Bush tax cuts would be repealed under any of the Democratic front runners. For the average person, this would merely have the immediate, direct effect of a tax increase, plus a return to the penalty for married couples and a smaller deduction for children. When they say they'll only raise taxes for "the rich", keep in mind that "the rich" is variously defined as anyone making over $200,000, $100,000, or $87,500 a year -- in a word, an average working couple or a moderately prosperous small businessman, in various parts of the country. Repealing the tax cuts would affect all businesses, large and small; it would reverse the economic boom we've been experiencing, killing the recovery just as we get to the job growth stage. Stocks are now at a 31-month high mark, and even the dour Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, is confident that major job growth (always the last effect of a recovery) is on the way. (Howard Dean in particular has made it a point to say he will replace Mr. Greenspan because he didn't speak against the "disastrous" tax cuts that are driving the economy upward like we haven't seen in twenty years.) The effect would be to drive the economy back into recession, with spiraling inflation and unemployment, expanding the "victim" base for future Democrats. You see, a Democratic President wouldn't use that increased tax money to help businesses. Each one of them has a plan for socialised medicine to fund.
Instead of encouraging job growth and encouraging companies to offer affordable health care to employees (thereby encouraging people to get off the welfare rolls and take those jobs "Americans don't want"), any Democratic President would use the increased taxes to fund a socialised medicine program. If you want to know how well a government-run service operates in comparison with a private company, consider the efficiency and swiftness of the Post Office compared to Federal Express, which can get a letter or package anywhere in the USA overnight -- for a price. Those who can afford it get the faster, better service. Almost every company already offers some form of private health care to its employees. It's part of a standard employment package; one incentive to getting a better job is to get better health care. A Democratic President would create a business-hostile America, and make all Americans dependent on the government for health care, running the program with another massive red-tape-strangled bureaucracy. And speaking of bureaucracies... how quickly would a newly-elected Democrat President rush to kow-tow at the altar of the United Nations?
A Democratic President would either set up a quick puppet government and withdraw our troops from Iraq (leaving the Iraqis at the mercy of internal chaos fueled by their neighbors) or put them and the country under the control of the United Nations (leaving the Iraqis at the mercy of external chaos fueled by France). For some unfathomable reason, the Democrats are unable to see how badly the UN has mismanaged Bosnia, running everything by external fiat and top-heavy bureaucracy. Four years after the war (as of October 2003), refugees are still afraid to return home due to ethnic violence, unemployment is at 57%, and problems with the electricity supply still plague the country. Things are so bad under UN mismanagement that the people actually want their dictator back! The sacrifices made by all the Coalition troops in Iraq will have been in vain, and Iraq will become an even bigger hotbed of international terrorism than Iran.
But France will pat us on the head, and dictators will stop fearing us, and that's more important than making the world safer and freeing people from tyranny... isn't it? We can all go back to pretending that the world loves us, as we pretended all during the 1990's, while too many of those who smiled plotted our destruction.
And when the next 9/11 happens, we can bask in the faux sympathy of the world as our Democratic President makes stirring, empty speeches while we bury our dead.
Posted at Tuesday, January 27, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Slavery Reparations for the Irish!
Earlier this month, a "civil rights activist" (which can often be read as "blatant opportunist") named Bob Brown filed a lawsuit demanding reparations for African slavery from President George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, French President Jacques Chirac, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Pope John Paul II, and 66 other defendants.
Of course, Mr. Brown has no proof that any of these particular people ever actually owned slaves or participated in the trade, nor can he prove that he was ever actually a slave himself. To people like him, "reparations" are owed by anyone who might be descended from a slave owner, to anyone descended from anyone who might have been enslaved. No proof of any actual wrongdoing by or to specific individuals is required. In other words, it's a scam to get free money and publicity.
I've been thinking about this reparations deal, and I've decided that I want in on the scam... I mean, I want justice for damages done to my ancestors, too. Therefore, in the name of my forebears, I am demanding reparations from the governments of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and all countries once considered part of Scandinavia. Now, all I have to do is get a lawyer and wait for the cash to roll in, right?
You see, I'm part Irish. And the Vikings, it's been proven, engaged in vicious and unprovoked attacks on my people for hundreds of years. They even occupied parts of Ireland from 837 AD to 1014 AD.
It is possible, that an attack on the Northern Ireland coast and the Hebrides in 617 AD was the Vikings, but this cannot be proven. The first official attack on Ireland by the Vikings took place in 794 AD, about 10 years after the first attacks on the English coast, at Rechru (now the island of Lambay) very close to what is now Dublin. The raids continued for approximately 40 years, until finally in 832 AD the Vikings attacked in force under command of warrior named Tuirgeis.
One thousand warriors were under the command of Tuirgeis, and they sailed up the Liffey and the Boyne rivers raiding the interior of Ireland and establishing forts. Another fort was established as a base for the Vikings in 837 AD at Ath Cliath, which was also, called Dubhlinn (Dublin).
And yes, my ancestors were enslaved and sold in the far corners of the world, too.
This relatively concentrated population would have afforded the Vikings a source for a valuable commodity: slaves. Although slave taking was part of the early raids it reached significant proportions later when in 869 AD Amlaib captured over a thousand people in Armagh. Many of these found their way to Scandanavia and Iceland. In many of the Icelandic sagas Irish slave women are mentioned along with the genealogies of the Icelandic heroes.
As the descendant of the unfairly subjugated, taxed and enslaved Irish people, I think I'm owed reparations -- just as much as the descendants of enslaved Africans are. So if you happen to be Scandanavian royalty or a member of the various governments, email me. Hey, I even accept PayPal!
If this doesn't work, then I'll try suing the descendants of the Visigoths for sacking Rome. After all, I'm part Italian, too! They OWE me!
Posted at Sunday, January 25, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, January 22, 2004
The Exuberant Doctor Dean
As everyone in the Western Hemisphere is painfully aware by now, Howard Dean had a "Thorazine moment" as he spoke to his supporters following his coming in third place in the Iowa caucus. For several days now, every media outlet has had something amusing to say about his screaming the names of states, red-faced and harsh-voiced, while punching the air in punctuation, finally breaking into a manic cry of "Yeeeargh!" Every radio talk show and late-night tv host on the planet has had a field day with it (and becoming the butt of endless Tonight Show jokes is a sure sign of impending doom). Along with many others, I've laughed out loud every time someone finds a new way to "spring" that wild bird-like scream on me all week. I even downloaded the Dean Scream Remix from the great James Lileks.
But now, having had our fun, I say: let it be over. I've decided to chalk the whole episode up to Howard Dean's exuberance, and to try not to dwell on it. Why on Earth would I want to do that, you might ask?
Simple. It's because I don't want Dean to lose too much of his support, because this latest in a series of embarrassing moments makes it almost certain he'll never get the Democratic nomination. That's right: because.
I believe that Dean's supporters, bless their fanatical little hearts, will never let his Presidential bid die, even when he gets passed over for the Democratic nomination. It's my hope that they'll either refuse to vote for anyone else, or try to run him as an Independent candidate. Either way, the Democratic vote will be hopelessly split, or many will stay home. Even if the Democrats manage to hold the party together until the election, a win for President Bush (which is extremely likely at this point, even against my projection: a Kerry-Edwards ticket) will cause an ideological rift within the Democratic party that will be almost impossible to heal, taking years at least.
While in the long run, a two (or more) party system is a good thing for America, the current Liberal-controlled Democratic party shouldn't be one of them. Any American political party ought to have America's best interests at heart, or at least consider them more important than a pat on the head from France. The Democrats need to divest themselves of their radical Left-wing puppeteers before they can truly claim to represent more than a fringe element of Americans again. And if it takes tearing the party apart and rebuilding it, then that's what they should do.
So, in the interest of helping the Democrats rebuild their party to make America stronger in the end, I'm going to lay off Howard Dean for now.
Oh, what the heck, one last time (for now): YEEEARGH!
Posted at Thursday, January 22, 2004 by CavalierX