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Joe Mariani

Number of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships by precision use of American military force under George W. Bush:
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The problem seems to me to be the definition of "free speech". Liberals define it as anything they want to say or do that opposes America. I say "speech" ends where "action" begins. Once you pick up a gun for the enemy, throw a rock at a cop during a "peace" march, send money to a terrorist organisation, or travel to Baghdad to block an American JDAM with your ass, you have crossed the line from free speech to costly action.
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When Democrats Attack
Did prominent Democrats switch positions on Iraq just to attack President Bush for political gain? (See the updated list.)

Was Iraqi Freedom Justified?
An honest, step-by-step analysis of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq that Congress voted into law shows that it was.

Saddam's Philanthropy of Terror
Details of solid ties to organised international terrorism

How The Left Betrayed Iraq
by Naseer Flayih Hasan

Did We Botch The Occupation?
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The Fatal Conceit:
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Articles Previously Published at
Useless-Knowledge.com

- When Good Liberals Go Bad - 05/29/03
- How Stupid Do Democrats Think You Are? - 05/31/03
- Who Are These 'Rich' Getting Tax Cuts, Anyway? - 06/02/03
- How Can We Miss The Clintons If They Won't Go Away? - 06/04/03
- Whining of Mass Distraction: How To Discredit A President - 06/05/03
- Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 06/10/03
- Liberalism: Curable or Terminal? - 06/14/03
- Filibustering Judges: Hijacking Presidential Powers? - 06/17/03
- Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror? - 06/22/03
- How Malleable Is The Constitution? - 06/26/03
- Rejecting Our Biological and Cultural Heritage - 06/30/03
- I Need Liberal Assistance, Now! - 07/02/03
- Bring Them On - 07/03/03
- We Need You Arrogant Warmongering Americans...Again - 07/09/03
- Much Ado About Nothing, Again - 07/13/03
- Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush - 07/18/03
- Was WWII Also Unjustified? - 07/20/03
- Clinton Backing Bush? Don't Bet On It! - 07/24/03
- How To Be A Hypocritical Liberal - 07/28/03
- The Clinton Legacy: In Answer to Mr. Stensrud - 07/30/03
-What Is 'Good News' To Liberals? - 08/02/03
- Bush's Big Blunder - 08/06/03
- The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War - 08/10/03
- More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 08/14/03
- You Can Have Cary Grant; I'll Take John Wayne! - 08/19/03
- Where Is The ACLU When It's Actually Needed? - 08/25/03
- Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Ten Commandments? - 08/28/03
- From The Weasels: Thanks For Nothing - 08/30/03
- The Liberal Superfriends - 09/02/03
- Liberal Superfriends 2: The Sequel - 09/05/03
- Saddam and 9/11: Connect the Dots - 09/08/03
- Throwing Away the Southern Vote - 11/02/03
- Libya: The First Domino Falls - 12/20/03
- Is the UN Playing Games with American Politics? - 03/04/04


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Thursday, May 25, 2006
With Amnesty and Citizenship For All

The Senate immigration reform bill is as close to amnesty as the Senate dares to make it, but it could be even worse. The majority of Americans already prefer the House "enforcement-only" bill over the Senate approach by a 2-to-1 margin. Yet some in the Senate doggedly cling to the hope of granting amnesty and citizenship to the estimated twelve million illegals currently living in the US.

Of course it's amnesty -- what else can it be when penalties for illegal entry, forgery, tax evasion, identity theft, misuse and theft of government services, social security fraud and dozens of other crimes are waived? Where is the amnesty for American criminals? Surely there's too many of them to catch and imprison all at once, which is the excuse for not enforcing our immigration laws.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced an amendment to the Senate bill that would have given amnesty and a direct path to US citizenship to anyone who could prove that they were in the country before the beginning of 2006. Among all the amendments and surprises hidden in the bill, this would have been the worst. Illegals would have been given an "orange card" that would allow them to stay in the US while their citizenship is processed, unlike the millions of law-abiding foreigners who wait patiently in their home countries for permission to emigrate, even temporarily. The amendment was defeated, but garnered 37 votes. One Republican actually voted in favor of the amendment, and two Republicans didn't bother to vote at all.

The following Senators voted to reward foreign lawbreakers with amnesty and citizenship:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Joe Biden (D-DE)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Richard Durbin (D-IL) - Co-sponsor
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - Proposed bill
Tom Harkin (D-IA) - Co-sponsor
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Ted Kennedy (D-MA) - Co-sponsor
John Kerry (D-MA) - Co-sponsor
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Barack Obama (D-IL) - Co-sponsor
Jack Reed (D-RI) - Co-sponsor
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
 
Michael Enzi (R-WY) - did not vote
John Rockefeller (D-WV) - did not vote

Some of these Senators are up for re-election this November, and the voters in those states could send no more powerful message than removing each and every one of the following from office:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)


Posted at Thursday, May 25, 2006 by CavalierX
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006
MySpace and Your Space

There's a lot of negative buzz these days about MySpace.com, a social networking site currently popular among young people. The news reports story after story about predators stalking kids and teens on MySpace, all of which make it sound like a dangerous site that no right-thinking person would visit. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is even reported to be "cracking down" on "sites like MySpace.com." A dangerous web site that allows sickos to access the personal information of teenagers ought to be shut down, right? Where's my torch and pitchfork?

Trying to shift responsibility to the website provider is entirely the wrong approach. That's like blaming General Motors if you drive your car off a cliff, or Craftsman if you hit your thumb with a hammer. The bad guy is not MySpace, nor any other web host. The predators themselves are at fault. The kids make themselves vulnerable through ignorance and lack of responsibility, both of which can be remedied. Although MySpace could do a better job of screening ads on their site, it's not really their job to police the information users post or teach them caution. They just host free web pages, blogs and photo albums.

Kids are going to do dangerous and stupid things unless they understand the pitfalls -- and will probably do them anyway, if they can get away with it. If it isn't MySpace, it'll be some other site that encourages information exchange. Posting personal information on any Web site is a bit like walking through New York's Central Park at midnight -- you can do it, if you want to, but it's somewhat dangerous. There's unfriendly folks there. Most people know enough to avoid lonely places at midnight, but most of them don't seem to understand the ramifications of personal exposure on the internet. Some people blame MySpace for not combing through every post to remove personal information, like a WWII censor blacking out sections of soldiers' letters. That's like blaming the guy who cuts the grass if you get mugged in Central Park.

Consider the conversation I recently had with a MySpace enthusiast. I was reading a book on a train, minding my own business, when a young woman chatting on her cellphone got on and sat down across from me. I couldn't help but overhear the conversation, which started with school, then went on to MySpace, discussing who wrote a post, who made a comment on whose page, and so on.

When she hung up, I closed my book and looked at her. "MySpace-dot-com, huh?" I said. "I never use it, myself." She launched into a passionate explanation of how much fun it is to post messages and talk to her friends, share pictures, and meet new people online. She told me she had never used a computer much before, but couldn't get enough online time now. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was using a 300-baud modem to post on bulletin boards before she was even born.

"You know that anything you post online can be read by anyone, even if you don't know them, right?"  I asked. "So I hope you're being careful about posting personal information you don't want everyone to have." From the look on her face, it was apparent she didn't see the need for caution. Why hadn't someone mentioned this to her before? "Not everyone you meet online is friendly, you know," I told her. "Just like in real life."

"For instance, consider what I know about you just from sitting here. I know what you look like and where you go to school." I gestured to the college sweatshirt she wore. "I heard at least two of your friends' names. And once you get off the train, I'll know more or less where you live. How long do you think it would take someone with that knowledge to show up at your house? But it took sitting here while you talked on the phone to learn that. I'll bet a lot of people could get all that information and more from your MySpace page." "I never thought of it like that," she confessed. "Most people don't -- but they should," I answered.

The answer to the MySpace problem, like so many other problems, is education. Too many people go running into the jungle with their arms wide, expecting the critters there to be like the friendly stuffed animals back in their bedroom. Parents and teachers need to constantly warn teenagers: if you're posting pictures and personal information on a web site, you can bet that someone's looking at it.


Posted at Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by CavalierX
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Friday, May 19, 2006
A Tale of Two Amendments

As the Senate works towards giving amnesty and a "path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants, some Republicans, at least, are trying to tone the bill down with amendments. Unfortunately for America, the Senate as a whole seems hell-bent on killing any restrictions on their bill.

The Senate voted 50-49 to
kill an amnesty bill amendment introduced by John Ensign (R-NV). The Ensign amendment would have prevented illegal immigrants, even if given amnesty for entering the country unlawfully (not to mention amnesty for forgery, fraud and tax evasion), from collecting Social Security benefits accrued under Social Security numbers fraudulently obtained while working in America. Hey, who said crime doesn't pay? And they still want us to believe this isn't amnesty?

The Senate has also voted 58-35 to kill a bill introduced by John Kyl (R-AZ) that would prevent so-called "guest workers" from becoming permanent residents instead of going home. Wasn't that the entire purpose of the "guest worker" program Bush has been touting -- that they'd go home when their time was up? Now it's just another vehicle for mass immigration. The Senate bill ought to be called "No Mexican Left Behind," as the entire country should be empty in a few years at this rate.

The following eleven Republicans voted to allow criminals to collect Social Security benefits "earned" while violating our laws:

Sam Brownback (KS)
Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Lindsay Graham (SC)
Chuck Hagel (NE)
Richard Lugar (IN)
Mel Martinez (FL)
John McCain (AZ)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Ted Stevens (AK)
George Voinovich (OH)

The following 18 Republicans voted to allow foreign "guest workers" to become permanent residents:

Lamar Alexander (TN)
Sam Brownback (KS)
Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Thad Cochran (MS)
Norm Coleman (MN)
Susan Collins (ME)
Larry Craig (ID)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Chuck Hagel (NE)
Richard Lugar (IN)
John McCain (AZ)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Gordon Smith (OR)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Ted Stevens (AK)
George Voinovich (OH)
John Warner (VA)

Comparing these lists with the list of
18 Republicans who voted against securing the border
before working on amnesty, I'm starting to notice a pattern emerging here...

Posted at Friday, May 19, 2006 by CavalierX
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Senate Rejects Border Security

The US Senate says this border is secure enough for now

The Senate held its first votes on the illegal immigration issue, and decided not to secure the border before discussing amnesty or any other immigration changes by a vote of 55-40. The following 18 Republicans voted against dealing with border security first:

Bob Bennett (UT)
Sam Brownback (KS)
Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Norm Coleman (MN)
Susan Collins (ME)
Larry Craig (ID)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Lindsey Graham (SC)
Chuck Hagel (NE)
Richard Lugar (IN)
Mel Martinez (FL)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Richard Shelby (AL)
Olympia Snow (ME)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Ted Stevens (AK)
George Voinovich (OH)
John Warner (VA)

The following 4 Republicans did not bother to vote:

Thad Cochran (MS)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Trent Lott (MS)
John McCain (AZ)

Please call and email them today.

Securing our southern border should be a priority, not a political ploy. It's telling that those who favor amnesty insist on a "comprehensive" bill. They know that most Americans do not want amnesty granted to foreign criminals and invaders, and they know that if such a bill stood on its own, it would be defeated. Studies have shown that mass legalisation could result in over 100 million uneducated, unskilled, disease-ridden immigrants pouring over our border in the next two decades, forever altering our country beyond recognition.

An increase of 6,000 National Guard troops or extra border patrol is an insult when five times that number are clearly needed, along with a physical wall and strict punishment for knowing employers of illegals. Illegals should be given six months during which to leave on their own, after which unlawful presence in the US should become punishable by permanent banishment. If more than half the illegals currently living in the US didn't make a run for the border in that six months, I'd eat my hat. Then they could truly get in the "back of the line" for citizenship -- since that line actually forms on the OTHER SIDE of the border.


Posted at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 by CavalierX
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Monday, May 15, 2006
Boo to Bush's Border Speech

And the result of President Bush's immigration speech, after all the hype, was... rather disappointing. Bush threw a few bones to Conservatives, like actually calling illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants." He listed some of the problems illegals cause and crimes they commit on a daily basis. At least those problems and crimes might, at last, enter into discussions on Capitol Hill.

The President mentioned issuing "tamper-proof" ID cards to temporary workers, cracking down on those who employ illegals and ending the "catch and release" program. All of this is a good start toward enforcing our laws. However, his plan to increase the Border Patrol by a paltry 6,000 is a joke, when five times that number is needed.

He made no mention of physical border security, except to note that the National Guard units to be stationed at the border will be used to install some "high tech" fencing, not to patrol or arrest. His refusal to separate border security from the guest worker and amnesty proposals is a sign that he doesn't take this debate seriously enough. Without a real wall, at least in some areas, the hope of securing the border collapses.

Worst of all, as I feared, President Bush wasted his time and ours pushing the amnesty-that's-not-called-amnesty so many Americans dislike. He stated his belief that those who have already sucessfully broken the law should have to "wait in line" to gain citizenship. They will, however, be allowed to live HERE in America while they wait. What sort of punishment or deterrent can that be? Why is it so difficult to understand that the line to enter actually forms on the other side of the border, where millions wait for approval?

Our only hope now is that the House refuses to compromise on amnesty for lawbreakers and a slap in the face to those who respect our laws. I'd rather see no bill signed than one such as the Senate is currently considering. Perhaps then, the border states would take a hand in their own security, since -- as even President Bush had to admit -- "illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, it strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities." The half-measures proposed by the President will do very little to relieve that pressure.


Posted at Monday, May 15, 2006 by CavalierX
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Saturday, May 13, 2006
Bush's Make-or-Break Border Speech

The remainder of George W. Bush's presidency may well hinge on the speech he plans to give on Monday. If Bush has somehow come to realise this, and why it is so, he may be able to turn things around for himself. If not, then the Republican party is likely to lose big this November... and if the Democrats regain a majority in Congress, the last two years of Bush's term will be scarred by a massive recession, not to mention the vindictive and very personal impeachment of the President while we are at war.

The Democrats' plan, should they gain control, has already been laid out by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). They will try to reverse pretty much every law written in the past six years, especially those passed to keep the nation safe in the wake of 9/11. They will raise taxes as well as the minimum wage, both of which will cause the economy to reverse its great gains. Democrats will launch a series of trumped-up hearings and investigations aimed at finding some way to support their pre-planned impeachment of President Bush. Meanwhile, Iran will gain nuclear capability unopposed, and we Americans will get to watch our military run away from yet another war we are actually winning. Of course, the border with Mexico will remain just as open as it is today. After all, the Democrats won't want to stop the flow of new voters and new government dependents once they've regained power.

Insiders say that the President plans to put the National Guard on the border, to show the American people he's serious about border security. If that's all he does, however, the vast majority of us are not going to buy it. First of all, merely sending them to the border is no guarantee they'll be doing anything to stop illegal immigration. Arizona's Democratic Governor, Janet Napolitano, tried to fool the voters with that ruse not long ago. She claimed she had deployed the Guard to reinforce security on the Arizona border, but it turned out they were performing vehicle inspections at checkpoints, not stopping illegal crossings between those checkpoints.

Unless the President plans to stand them shoulder-to-shoulder along the entire length of the border 24 hours a day, humans alone cannot take the place of a wall. Walls don't sleep, they don't look the wrong way at the wrong time and they don't leave. If the President's only security proposal is augmented border patrols, even with UAVs and other electronic detection capabilities, it'll be just a temporary sop to our anger over loose security. As quickly as they can be deployed to the border, the National Guard can be withdrawn. An actual wall, on the other hand, would be harder to remove.

If the President wants us to believe he's finally heard our demands for a secure border, he won't waste the entire speech talking about "jobs Americans won't do" -- a crock if there ever was one. It's "wages Americans won't pay" that creates a market for illegal labor in the first place. He won't waste time cadging support for amnesty by telling us how illegal immigrants are good-hearted people who just want to feed their families. By that measure, if I steal a car in order to go to work to feed my family, not only should I be forgiven, but allowed to keep the car.

President Bush wants to keep his amnesty hopes alive, without losing Congress to the Democrats in the upcoming election. His only hope for doing so is to abandon his support for a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill until we see a more secure border. The majority of Americans are not willing to even discuss amnesty -- whatever it's called -- while the borders are still wide open to more lawbreakers.

The House passed a law enforcement and border control package that left the problem of how to deal with the12 million or so illegal immigrants for a later bill. The Senate verges on passing a bill that provides almost no law enforcement whatsoever, while giving illegals a slap on the wrist and a way to gain US citizenship. Guess which one Americans prefer by a 2-to-1 margin? "81 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents, 57 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of Hispanics" thought the House bill was a "good or very good idea."

That same bill was reviled by hordes of foreign criminals brazenly marching in our streets, waving Mexican flags and Spanish signs ordering us to leave "their" land. There are so many of them that they feel they can tell us what laws to pass. We must stop the influx of new criminals before we can discuss how to deal with those already here. And merely beefing up the woefully undermanned Border Patrol with a few National Guard troops until the furor subsides isn't going to do that. We need a three-pronged approach: more border patrol agents, a real barrier and increased law enforcement against employers who hire illegals.

It's all up to President Bush. If he gets this right, the Republicans will surely retain a majority in both House and Senate, if not gain control. (Control would require a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which is unlikely to happen.) If he gets it wrong, it could be the beginning of a long, slow-motion disaster for all of us.


Posted at Saturday, May 13, 2006 by CavalierX
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006
The Hayden Maneuver

It's time for another grueling confirmation battle in Washington, and, during an election year, you can be sure that no stone will be left unturned into a soapbox. Whether politicians come out for or against General Michael Hayden as new head of the CIA, the only thing we can be sure of is that the trial -- I mean, confirmation hearing -- will be loud and ugly.

The resignation of Porter Goss seemed like a surprise to many at the time, but not in hindsight. He was appointed to head the CIA in the wake of three spectacular foreign intelligence failures. The CIA failed to anticipate 9/11, failed to notice that Saddam was moving his weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq and failed to warn us that al-Qaeda, Iraqi criminals and Saddam adherents would work together to create a serious threat to the emerging democratic Iraqi government. After these three strikes, Clinton appointee George Tenet resigned, and Porter Goss was put in place to change the entrenched reactionary bureaucracy that permeated our premiere spy agency. Unfortunately, his power to do so was soon sapped.

The 9/11 commission demanded a new layer of bureaucracy in the form of an "intelligence czar," for which post Bush nominated John Negroponte. This move effectively made Negroponte Goss' boss, reducing the latter's authority. For years, the CIA bureaucracy has been lashing out at Bush by leaking damaging information to the media like a broken sieve, and the leaks only increased. Goss responded by removing some of the entrenched bureaucrats, creating an even more hostile environment in the Agency. The last year has seen a lot of tension between Negroponte and Goss as well, finally culminating in the Goss' resignation and the appointment of Hayden.

President Bush's choice of Air Force General Hayden to head the CIA is an inspired one, on several levels. Hayden knows more about intelligence-gathering -- from both sides of the Iron Curtain, and both sides of the desk -- than most Washington denizens can even imagine. There is no way for opponents to challenge his credentials for the job. Hayden will also have no problem working with Negroponte, having already served as his deputy. In fact, the Director of Central Intelligence will become just that -- a deputy to the Director of National Intelligence. Hayden is under no illusions about the scope or power of his new position. The job of bringing the CIA, which has almost become a rogue agency operating on its own agenda, under Negroponte's control will be an important part of Hayden's new job.

The political strategy behind the nomination is almost self-evident. Democrats (and a few Republicans) will only be able to attack Hayden on two counts, both of which will put them in a bad light with the American public. They will oppose Hayden because he's a general, and the idea of a military man running the CIA -- though it's been done before -- is anathema to them. Admiral Stansfield Turner, for instance, headed the CIA under President Carter. Democrats who attack Hayden's trustworthiness on the grounds that he's wearing a uniform will send the clear message, "we don't trust the military," no matter how they try to disguise it.

The main attack on Hayden will concern the warrantless surveillance on terrorists, which Hayden spearheaded during his time in the NSA. Democrats seem not to have gotten the message that the public generally supports eavesdropping on terrorists, no matter who they're talking to. Attacking Hayden over monitoring terrorists' conversations without a warrant will seem like protecting terrorists from spying. Hayden and Bush seem almost eager for a chance to defend the NSA terrorist surveillance program in a public forum, which would serve as a warning if Democrats weren't so smugly certain they'll win the House and Senate this November.

If the Democrats were paying attention, they could avoid showcasing their distrust of the military and support of privacy rights for terrorists by simply confirming Michael Hayden without a fight. But Democrats pay even less attention to what the people think than Republicans. The chance they will refuse to grandstand in front of the cameras and have their concerned soundbytes played on the evening news is, as always, virtually nil.

I think we can expect a vicious confirmation fight, followed by Hayden's confirmation, a slight rise in Bush's poll numbers as well as those of Republicans in general, and a lot of confusion about all of it on the Left.


Posted at Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by CavalierX
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Saturday, May 06, 2006
What Did We Learn from the Moussaoui Trial?

Zacarias Moussaoui deserved to die far more than any of the innocent victims of 9/11. Instead, he was tried in a civilian court and sentenced to live a long and healthy life at taxpayer expense, if not a comfortable one. As far as I'm concerned, the minute he said, "I am a member of al-Qaeda," he should have been taken out back and shot without another word. Unfortunately, membership in an organisation dedicated to the deliberate mass murder of innocent people in order to enslave the world under a twisted religious dictatorship doesn't happen to be grounds for immediate execution. Meanwhile, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei has already spoken of a "possible demand for transferring Zacarias Moussaoui" to France. That's what happens when we treat terrorism as a matter of law enforcement rather than an act of war.

In June 1942, eight German agents entered the United States in two groups of four, landing by submarine in Florida and New York. They carried "enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support an expected two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production." George John Dasch, the leader of one group, apparently lost his nerve. He called the FBI and surrendered. Dasch convinced another man, Ernest Peter Burger, to talk to the FBI as well. Because of the information they gave under interrogation, the others were rounded up within days.

The eight saboteurs were tried before a military tribunal and sentenced to death. In ex parte Quirin, the Supreme Court decided that the eight men had violated the rules of war by wearing civilian clothing during a military operation. President Roosevelt commuted Dasch's sentence to 30 years and Burger's to life imprisonment. The other six were executed within a few days of sentencing. They never got a chance to commit even a single act of sabotage. The Nazis were so stunned by the utter failure that they never tried another such operation. That's the proper way to handle enemy agents in a time of war.

Moussaoui, on the other hand, was sent through our criminal justice system. He had foreknowledge of a terrorist act that cost the lives of nearly 3,000 innocents. He confessed that he had planned to fly a plane into the White House in a separate operation. He was in FBI custody before 9/11, yet deliberately lied to prevent anyone from discovering the plot before the attack took place. As an agent of a foreign power intent on committing terrorist acts in the US, surely he deserved the same fate as those long-dead Nazi agents who only planned to blow up defense installations. But because he was tried by a civilian court instead of a military tribunal, Moussaoui was allowed to live.

We've all heard the reasons for not sentencing Moussaoui to death. "He had a rough childhood" is one of my favorites. Lots of people have rough childhoods; it's no excuse for becoming a terrorist. "He didn't actually kill anyone" is another. Neither did those Nazi saboteurs; the only crimes they actually committed were immigration violation and conspiracy. There's also the smug "he wanted to die, and we denied him his wish." Next time I get stopped for speeding, I'm going to tell the cop that I really want a ticket, and the best punishment would be to deny me my wish. Maybe I can get away while he's laughing.

Some might think that by showing "mercy" to Moussaoui, we've made some sort of point with either our enemies or our allies. A trial is supposed to be about law and justice. Sometimes it's about retribution and punishment. One thing a trial should never be is a world popularity contest. Our allies don't need to be reminded who we are and what we stand for, and there isn't a single enemy who will think, "Gee, maybe the Great Satan isn't so bad after all." On the contrary, we've shown the world that we don't take this war seriously by allowing Moussaoui to live.

Our enemies will take the Moussaoui sentence as a sign of the same weakness of will that led them to plan 9/11 in the first place, and maybe they have a point. We treated terrorism as a law enforcement problem all through the nineties, while our enemies were at war with us. The response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, for instance, was a trial. Few dared to look beyond the immediate perpetrators to seek those who sent them. The entire fiction of "stateless terrorism" was created just to avoid confrontation with Iraq over the bombing.

Ramzi Yousef, the "mastermind" of the 1993 bombing, sits in the same Supermax prison for which Moussaoui is destined. Did Yousef's trial and incarceration stop our enemies, the way executing Nazi saboteurs did? On the contrary, Bin Laden and his kind saw that we arbitrarily bound ourselves in ways that gave them freedom to act, and let them take the initiative against us. They saw that we would not act without clear evidence and court orders. Yousef got to watch 9/11 unfold in his cell while reading his Qur'an. What future attacks might Moussaoui get to witness?

War has different rules than catching crooks, for obvious reasons. Common criminals generally aren't trying to destroy our civilisation; they're trying to live off it. Soldiers on a battlefield don't have to collect evidence or conduct a trial before shooting an enemy. But in this kind of war, the battlefield is everywhere, and enemies hide among our own people. Captured enemies should be brought before a military tribunal and executed without long delays. If we return to the law enforcement mindset when dealing with terrorists, we return to the sort of willful blindness that let our enemies plot to kill thousands.

One can only hope that we learn a lesson from this whole Moussaoui trial: civilian criminals are one thing, and enemies another.


Posted at Saturday, May 06, 2006 by CavalierX
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Sunday, April 30, 2006
Mayday for America

Mayday is the international distress signal, from the French phrase m'aidez or "help me." It's also a common term for the first day of May. And this May Day, no one needs help more than the American people.

We have been subjected to a slow-motion invasion by foreigners who knowingly broke our laws when they crossed our borders. They excuse their violation of the law by citing the fact that we have a better economy and more freedom than they can find in their home countries. Every single day they are here, they commit further crimes including identity fraud, theft, tax evasion, falsification of information, misuse of government services and more.

Now these illegal immigrants have the temerity to demand that we grant them amnesty for all their past crimes, and even allow them to apply for citizenship, as though they had followed the procedure to come here legally. They march in our streets, waving foreign flags and signs telling us what to do in foreign languages, fly those foreign flags above the American flag, and have even disrespected our national anthem by rewriting it and publishing their bastardised version in Spanish.

Illegals show their contempt not only for our laws and traditions, but for the millions upon millions of people who have obeyed the rules and spent years waiting for permission to come to America. I have no respect for people who deliberately break the law and then insist that they deserve no punishment, and no respect for those who excuse their behavior. Illegals and their supporters label anyone who simply wants the law enforced a racist, as though "lawbreaker" has its own ethnicity. America is tired of hearing insults and demands from criminals who have no right to even be here.

These illegal immigrants tell us that we can't do anything about their presence, and that if we try, they will cause large-scale economic disruption. We are to be held hostage to a mob of criminals trying to frighten us into submission. On the first of May 2006, they plan to protest, boycott and even close down entire cities to show their "power" over Americans. They claim that they want to be treated like Americans, but real Americans don't deliberately damage our own economy just to make a political point. This is nothing short of terrorism, in my opinion, and it will not be borne.

But who will help us stop these invaders? Who is defending the country? Not our politicians, most of whom are scrambling to curry favor with the new crowd before the others can get a piece of the vote. Not our local law enforcement, which will be too busy with crowd control at these rallies to check for green cards. Not our federal law enforcement, which takes its marching orders from the pandering politicians. 

Imagine waking up to find your neighbor sitting on your couch, watching your TV, and calmly smoking a cigarette. He explains that since you have a nicer house than he does, as well as cable tv, he decided to enter through an unlocked window. As he puts his clothes in your closet and his decorations on your wall, the neighbor explains that he has a right to seek a better life and better things for himself. The fact that it's your house doesn't seem to bother him. When you call for help, the police explain that you must simply accept this new addition to your household. He's already moved in, and it would be too much trouble to make him leave. After all, he cleans up after himself and takes out the garbage. Oh, and don't lock that window -- it wouldn't be fair to your other neighbors to start doing so now.

This is the position in which we Americans find ourselves. We're frustrated and angry that those responsible for upholding our laws are ignoring them in a mad scramble for votes. But those illegal immigrants don't have the vote yet, and there will be more elections before they do. More than 80 percent of the American people want border enforcement and no amnesty -- illegal immigration may be the only issue that nearly unites both sides of the aisle. Many Senators and Congressmen who vote for amnesty -- however it's worded -- and against stopping the flow of illegal immigration will lose the power they so cherish.

Many Republicans define themselves as belonging to the party of law and order. This makes them more vulnerable than Democrats, who already pander shamelessly to criminals and foreigners. It may be worse for the country as a whole if the Democrats take the House and/or Senate this year, but it will happen nonetheless, if the Republicans don't stand up for what most of the people want. Even if the Democrats don't take control, enough people will remember which Republicans voted to give amnesty and citizenship to foreigners who perform the ultimate home invasion when the next primaries come around for those quislings.

Enforce the law. Uphold the Constitution. This is what we pay taxes for. We have the right to a reasonable expectation that all will be treated equally before the law. When some people receive special treatment, when the laws are overturned or ignored to suit certain groups, we lose faith in our system and respect for the officials we elected to positions of power. In a time of such turmoil, with our country fighting terrorists and opposing rogue regimes around the globe, can our government really afford to throw away the confidence of its citizens to appease a mob of lawbreaking foreigners?

Let's not find out.

- copy of a letter I sent to my Senators and Representative, as well as House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and President George W. Bush.


Posted at Sunday, April 30, 2006 by CavalierX
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Gasoline and Government

Gas prices rise, and suddenly everyone in Washington becomes a raging anti-capitalist. (Washington D.C., that is -- the other Washington already has more than its fair share.) Outrage over the audacity of oil companies daring to make money is something you expect to hear from a hippie at a Left-wing anti-everything rally, not the leadership of the greatest capitalist nation on Earth. The shock comes upon hearing the same rhetoric coming from both sides of the aisle.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) asked President Bush to order a probe into "price gouging" and "fixing." I can think of no better way to feed into the standard Liberal conspiracy theories concerning oil companies. But the Federal Trade Commission investigated the same allegations yet again just last year, and summed up "the vast majority" of thirty years of similar investigations by concluding that "market factors" were "the primary drivers of both price increases and price spikes." Politicians are considering whether to temporarily suspend gas taxes, but Democrats want to raise taxes (surprise!) on oil companies to "pay for it." Not to be outdone, Senator Arlen Specter (R?-PA) has begun gathering support for a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies! I wouldn't be surprised to see the Greenpeace flag flying over the Capitol building tomorrow instead of the Stars and Stripes, if not the ol' Hammer and Sickle itself. It just goes to show how skin-deep the Conservative beliefs of too many Republicans really are.

A lot of people point to the $400 million retirement package awarded to Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond and ask, in effect, "why don't the oil companies give me that money?" Politicians point to that figure in their complaints that oil companies make "too much money," whatever that means. The answer, according to politicians and Liberals, is for the Federal government to dictate how much profit oil companies are allowed to make -- in essence, to nationalise the oil industry. Is that really what we want to happen, and is that the precedent we want to set? Perhaps we'll see a Federal limit on actors' salaries next, because movie ticket prices are getting too high. It's capitalism! Supply and demand!

If the government is really interested in lower gas prices, there are plenty of ways to help without slipping into Socialism. Chief among these would be eliminating gas taxes, permanently. The Federal government tacks 18.4 cents onto the price of every gallon of gasoline sold, and each state adds an average of 27.5 cents to the price as well. The companies that actually ship, refine, transport and sell the gas only make about 8 cents in profit on every gallon sold. And then they pay taxes on that.

Another thing the Federal government could do to lower the price of gas is to stop the practice of mandating "bouquet blends" for different regions, a result of letting environmentalists dictate policy. Such artificial controls make it impossible for places with a surplus to relieve areas of shortage. Environmental restrictions were lowered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to allow that region to use gas from others, and it worked. But when GOP lawmakers tried to expand the easing of restrictions, Democrats accused them of exploiting Katrina to make money, and they backed down.
 
Yet another example of unwarranted government interference is the forced reliance on ethanol. The energy bill Congress passed last year should have simply ordered the use of oxygenated blends, and allowed the market to figure out which worked best in different areas. Instead, the ethanol lobbyists did their job well. Politicians promoted and protected ethanol use, while refusing to protect manufacturers of
rival additive MTBE from lawsuits. (Both are technically carcinogens, as a byproduct of burning ethanol is aldehyde, but it would cost more to clean MTBE from water supplies in event of a spill.) The coastal states were forced to switch to ethanol, which is expensive to make and hard to ship, and works well only in the Midwest, where supply lines are short. It turned out that domestic ethanol manufacturers couldn't keep up with the demand, so we have to use imported ethanol -- and imported ethanol carries a 54-cent tariff on every gallon.

The most direct cause of high gas prices is something the Federal government could only partially avoid -- the high price of foreign oil. Hasn't anyone in the government noticed that gas prices rise when oil prices rise, and fall when oil prices fall? For decades, the environmental lobbies that have influence over the entire Democratic party (and too many Republicans) have forced us to rely more and more on foreign oil. Now, with China buying every drop of oil they can get their hands on, we see the result.

We have not had a new nuclear power plant since the 1970's, nor have we had new oil exploration or drilling. The same Liberals who complain that we need to stop using foreign oil consider ANWR (the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve) and the continental shelves to be some kind of holy ground. But if not foreign oil, and not domestic, than what? If Congress had any real desire to lower the price of gas, we would see oil rigs spring up on that desolate patch of barren Alaskan wilderness overnight. We would see offshore drilling on both coasts. We would see workers breaking ground for new refineries and nuclear plants. For crying out loud, Cuba is drilling off the Florida coast -- why can't we?

Instead of taking steps to alleviate the problem, Democrats and big government Republicans may use it to exert greater control over what should be solved by market forces. In the face of gas price complaints, Congress will likely impose punitive taxes, more restrictions and tighter regulations on America's oil industry instead of lower taxes, fewer restrictions and more American self-reliance. If they do, it will prove to be a colossal mistake. Haven't we learned by now that the worst way to solve a problem is to let the government take charge of it?


Posted at Tuesday, April 25, 2006 by CavalierX
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