Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Justice Alito Is Not Enough

Conservatives of all stripes have certain desires concerning the makeup and evolution of the Supreme Court. We may not agree on all details, but we are united in wanting the Court to act as a court should act – that is, interpreting and applying the laws as passed by representatives of the people, the House of Representatives and the Senate. To be specific with regard to widely discussed issues, we want to see Roe vs. Wade and Kelo vs. New London overturned, and we want the “establishment” clause of our Constitution to be interpreted and applied as it was meant to be applied.

What we don’t want is for liberal judges to continue to substitute their opinions on societal and political issues where the majority of our representatives has decided otherwise (i.e. partial-birth abortions) or where no vote has been taken at all, and we don’t want government power to be expanded in areas our Founding Fathers specifically forbade.

The one case on which I think there would be wide agreement, and one where many liberals would join conservatives, is Kelo vs. New London. This case is also one where thousands of people are in imminent danger of losing their homes and businesses through this unconscionable extension of government power (eminent domain). This is the issue I would concentrate on in bringing before the Court rehearings of past decisions.

The problem is that the elevation of Justice Alito to the Supreme Court is not, in itself, enough of a change to rectify the situation. Remember that the justices who voted in favor of New London were: Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy and Souter – all liberal judges. Those voting against were O’Connor, a swing judge, and justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas – all conservative judges. Chief Justice Roberts has replaced Rehnquist, and Justice Alito has replaced O’Connor. This means that the balance on the Kelo case probably has not changed; we need another conservative justice to overturn.

What this really means is that conservatives across the country must keep working and keep contributing money so that the Senate remains in Republican hands this year, and to avoid another filibuster, elect even more Republicans than we now have. Then we have to hope that President Bush gets an opportunity to appoint another justice who is a strict constructionist. By the way, not only did many of the Democrat Senators make fools of themselves at the Alito hearings, but they went on to welch on an agreement they had made with the leadership as to when the vote would be taken.

One last note – here is a definition we should remember if we are in favor of reasonable abortion rights AND the correct application of our Constitution:

January 17, 2006
What Planet Are Democrats From?
By Mark Davis
So, this is how far we have come.

In 2006, a good man like Samuel Alito can be lectured on human behavior by the likes of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Mr. Kennedy and his colleagues can gang up on a man who seems to have made almost no enemies and paint him as some pernicious closet misogynist bigot.

Meanwhile, their fellow Democrat senator who was an admitted member of the Ku Klux Klan is toasted as a pillar of virtue.

Robert Byrd can hang with lynch mobs in West Virginia in his past and get a free pass; but Sam Alito doesn't get a break for even the most tangential brush with the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, some of whose members might not have been the most enlightened souls in the Ivy League.

I expected this kind of character assassination in the juvenile exercise that these hearings have become. Martha Alito, his wife, apparently did not, brought to tears Wednesday by what has become pathetically routine: the perverse abandonment of basic decency in order to score cheap political shots in an election year.

As despicable as Mr. Kennedy's behavior has been – and this is without even addressing his questionless Bush-bashing diatribes that have wasted the time of the committee, the nominee and the public – his is not the most discouraging sin of these hearings.

That falls to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois for a comment he probably let fly without a second thought late Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Durbin was dwelling on the famous 1985 job application in which Judge Alito expressed pride in his view that the Constitution contains no right to abortion.

The judge was right then, and, if he has remained steadfast in this belief, he is right today.

But the fraud of Roe vs. Wade is so tightly woven through our society that those words have grown more controversial as the concrete of that horrible decision has dried.

The sad fact is that because of Democrat dishonesty on the issue and the complete failure of Republicans to call them on it, a majority of Americans probably do not have the slightest clue what would happen should Roe vs. Wade be punted.

And, apparently, some U.S. senators with law degrees do not know, either.

Mr. Durbin's quote to Judge Alito: "I'm concerned that many people will leave this hearing with a question as to whether or not you could be the deciding vote that would eliminate the legality of abortion, that would make it illegal in this country."

This is a moment of such profound deviousness or ignorance that the mind staggers.
Either the senator does not know how our system works (despite his Georgetown law school diploma), or he sought to foist an intentional scare on an underinformed America.

The moment Roe is reversed, every state gets to make its own abortion laws.
That's it. No federal ban on abortion. No back alleys. No coat hangers.

This is not like a light switch. Roe made abortion legal across the land, but the absence of Roe does not bring a coast-to-coast ban. It would simply fall to the 50 state legislatures to fashion their own laws, and that is where those favoring and opposing abortion rights would properly have it out to determine how easy or difficult it should be to terminate a life inside the womb from Massachusetts to Texas, from New York to Alabama.

Most states probably would keep the status quo of abortion guidelines that have become familiar in the 32 years of the Roe era. Some would curtail abortion availability, but still others might liberalize it even further.

If more people grasped this, we could probably have a reasoned debate about Roe, and more people could bring themselves to see that the abortion emperor has never had any clothes.

It was a sham for the Supreme Court to concoct a universal abortion right in the Constitution in 1973. Intentionally misrepresenting the effects of Roe's reversal is unforgivable.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Summing Up Some Politically Incorrect Positions

Dinesh D’Souza, one of my heroes, is usually credited with popularizing the term, “political correctness”. He explains in his book, “Letters To A Young Conservative”, that “political correctness is about pretending, about publicly insisting that something is true, when we know privately that it isn’t, about shutting down people who won’t conform to the prevailing orthodoxy”. I have to stretch this formal definition to cover two of my three examples below, but in all three areas liberals certainly like to shut people up who disagree with them.

The politically correct positions on manmade global warming is that it is happening and is the result of man’s nefarious activities, especially those of Americans; the PC position on macroevolution (neoDarwinism) is that it explains the origin and development of all life, with no exceptions; and the PC position on boys and girls is that they are exactly the same in all important aspects.

No-one seriously disputes the fact that the world seems to be in a warming phase, even though the data on which this conclusion is based is highly suspect, given the fact that we do not really even know what the average temperature of Massachusetts is right now. The science of computer-modeling, on which the conclusion that warming is due to the production of manmade greenhouse gases, is also a science that is suspect because it is in its infancy. But even accepting the data as reliable and valid, leads to the conclusion that this warming phase is a cycle that has been repeated over and over again over history, that there were many periods when the world was much hotter than it is now, and that the long term trend line may actually be a cooling one. We are, in fact, just coming out of what many scientists refer to as the “little ice age”. As far as CO2 and methane production is concerned, recent studies from reputable sources suggest that greatly increased plant growth across the planet is the prime result of increasing levels of harmless CO2 gas and that a large portion of the methane gas we see is produced by this increased abundance of all plants.

When you put all this together with the suspicion that many or even most of the Europeans and Canadians clamoring for US compliance with their demands are the same socialists who despise us for our power, our prosperity and our independence, and who try in many ways to cut us down to their size, you end up resisting their hysteria.

I recognize at least five main schools of thought in this area: 1. Creationists who believe the story of Genesis is literally true, and that the earth is relatively young, 2. Creationists who believe that evolution, both micro and macro, is just the unfurling of God’s plan, 3. Intelligent Design (ID) proponents who are coy about who the designer is, and want ID taught as the science they believe it is, 4. ID
proponents (like me), who believe that some undirected evolution takes place, but that God is the overall designer; who want children to be taught evolutionary biology, but told that Darwinism has some flaws, and that much of life’s workings is still a mystery, and 5. Darwinists who believe that life originated and all life forms appeared and developed through random changes that were favorable to their survival.

According to polls, most Americans belong to schools 1 and 2. Clearly the scientific establishment and scientism (the secular religion of the USA) accept no viewpoint except school 5. In fact, attempts by ID proponents to state their case are met with hostility, threats and even physical violence. What the Darwinists ought to realize is that time is against them, as each new discovery in microbiology exposes more and more of the sham of Darwinism.

It’s a given today that when successful conservative activists, like David Horovitz, Ann Coulter or Bernard Goldberg attempt to speak at invited college functions, they are physically attacked by leftist students and need police escorts. You just don’t see this happen on the other side (although I admit to carrying a sign that said “Murderer” at a Janet Reno appearance, and David Duke is on his own). Last year, though, marked a new low in academia when feminist faculty members (supported by subjugated male associates) castigated the president of Harvard College when he suggested that innate differences between males and females might explain their different attitudes and accomplishments in mathematics and hard sciences. The faculty organized a revolt against poor Dr. Summers, issued a statement of ‘no confidence’ and tried to get him fired. This is really a wonderful example of free speech, of the exploring of ideas, and of the way a great university is supposed to function. Dr. Summers finally bought off these leftist fascists with a series of humiliating apologies for having raised the possibility.

The real problem with all of this is that there are considerable differences between boys and girls, and the early education of boys is beginning to suffer greatly due to political correctness.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Leading experts on research into brain differences between boys and girls, told a National Press Club luncheon crowd on Friday the 15th that biology -- not social construction -- explains sex differences. This has significant implications for both education and the workplace….

The refusal of the education system to accept what science says about boys and girls is having devastating effects on children, especially boys, the panelists warned. "The problem with [popular feminist] dogma is that it gives enormous latitude to educators who want to tamper with children’s gender identities," said Christina Hoff Sommers, W.H. Brady Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of The War Against Boys.

This dogma has inspired activist-educators to take on the challenge of resocializing little boys to be more like little girls.

Tiger concluded by echoing Sommers. "We’re now trying to solve the problem of young males by saying that they’re essentially young females," he said. "What is happening though is that boys do less well in school and they don’t go on to college as often.”

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Test of Fitness to Judge

To help clear away from my memory the stench of the recent Alito hearings, and because I like to find different ways to educate young people about things they may not know and also point out some things others do not want to hear, I have a special test for you today. The rule is: only answer one question. If you know an answer, make a comment and give your answer, but don’t do any more. Let others have a chance to answer the other questions. I’d like each name answered by a different person. Don’t use extreme language or obscenities.

The questions are really a list of names. What is each of these people known for, and what do they all have in common? Expand on your answer.

1. Joe Gargan
2. Dominick Arena
3. Paul Markham
4. Dr. Donald Mills
5. Joseph Flanagan
6. Dr. Robert Watt

Readers should check back in a day or so to look at the comments.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Some Common Sense On Abortion

Of course, what I see as common sense will probably infuriate some who disagree. I have already disappointed and angered some of my conservative friends because, although I will work tirelessly to reverse Roe vs. Wade, I favor no restrictions on first-trimester abortion. Some see this as a contradictory position, but perhaps they do not realize what the Roe vs. Wade decision opened up in this country, nor do they really understand what was in store for many women before abortion became legal.

I think that abortion, as a form of birth control and as a matter of convenience, is morally repugnant, and I am against it; but I want it legally available in the first trimester to emancipated females with no restrictions and no questions asked and available after that only in exceptional circumstances. I never want to see us go back to the days of back alley abortions with girls and women dying horrible deaths or being maimed from toxic shock and infection. This is what was thought we were getting with Roe vs. Wade, but aside from the fact that the Roe decision grievously distorted our Constitution and solidified the idea of judicial activism, this decision has led to a horrendous situation known as “abortion on demand”.

The problem is that Roe, which permitted no restrictions by state governments during the first six months of a pregnancy, was accompanied by another decision, Doe v. Bolton (1973), that defined “health of the mother” so broadly that states and even the federal government have been effectively restrained from enacting any restrictions at all. Recently Congress passed, by an large margin, and the president signed into law, a prohibition on partial birth abortion. This law has been completely stymied by various federal courts of appeal, and we have been reduced to arguing about whether a minor child’s parents can have any input or even be notified of that child’s situation.

I know that repeal of Roe vs. Wade would mean that some states might pass restrictions that limit even first trimester abortions, but 1. most states were already liberalizing their laws before Roe, 2. the larger, more populous states would almost certainly have very liberal abortion laws, and 3. if a few states pass laws the rest of us don’t like, that’s what a republic form of democracy is all about.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Making Sense of Nonsense by Victor Hanson

A guest editorial by the always inciteful historian and commentator, Victor Davis Hanson.

January 20, 2006
Making Sense of Nonsense
Understanding what we’re in.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

The United States is engaged in the most radical and dangerous gambit in the Middle East since the end of the Ottoman Empire. Established powers are not often inclined to tamper with the status quo abroad, and so do not support the weaker and disenfranchised. They usually prefer to prop up whoever ensures order and stability. But after September 11, the old safe way was seen as dangerous, and the new dangerous way as ultimately more safe.

America not merely reversed its own past practice of supporting autocrats who pumped oil and kept Communists out, at least in the Middle East; but in staying on after the removal of Saddam Hussein — so unlike post-Soviet Afghanistan, Lebanon of 1983, or Mogadishu in 1993 — it spent billions of dollars and hundreds of lives to give birth to democracy.

On the principle of one-person one-vote, the United States has somehow enfranchised the hated Shia and Kurds, without demonizing the Sunnis. And the Sunnis will probably end up with political representation commensurate with their numbers, despite a horrific past association with Saddam Hussein and the blood of American soldiers on their hands.

And the response?
Shiites claim that we are caving in to the terrorist supporters of al Qaeda and the former Hussein regime. Sunnis counter that we are only empowering the surrogates of Iranian crazies. The Iranians show their thanks for our support for their spiritual brethren in Iraq by humiliating European diplomats with promises to wipe out Israel.

In the larger Middle East, the democratic splash in the Iraqi pond is slowly rippling out, as voting proceeds in Egypt and the Gulf, Syria leaves Lebanon, and Moammar Gadhafi and Pakistan’s Dr. Khan cease their nuclear machinations. Hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets in Lebanon and Jordan — not to slur the United States, as predicted, for removing Saddam Hussein, but to damn Bashar Assad and al-Zarqawi as terrorist killers. Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, now calls for Western pressure to root out the Syrian Baathists.

You’d never know all this from the global media or state-run news services in Europe and the Middle East.

We have sent tens of millions of dollars in earthquake relief to Pakistan, even though for over four years it has given de facto sanctuary to the killers responsible for murdering three thousand Americans. In response, the Pakistani Street expects Americans to provide debt relief, send them aid, excuse their support for our enemies — and then goes wild should we ever cross the border to retaliate against al Qaeda terrorists in their midst who are plotting to trump 9/11.

At home, much about Iraq has been turned around in Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass fashion. Indeed the debate over Iraq has too often descended into Jabberwocky-like gibberish. We were once slandered as hegemonic; but when we didn’t steal anything in Iraq, and instead spent billions in aid, suddenly we were called naive by the now realist Left.

The war was caricatured as all about grabbing oil. Then when the price skyrocketed, we were dubbed foolish for tampering with the fragile petroleum landscape, or with not charging Iraqi price-gouging exporters for our time and services.

Americans tried to remain idealistic on the principle that Iraqis, if freed and helped, could craft a workable democracy, and that such consensual governments would make the volatile Middle East safer, since elected and legitimate governments rarely attack their own kind. In response, the supposedly idealistic Left charged that we were bellicose and imperialistic — as if being on the side of the purple-fingered Iraqi voter was not preferable to being on the side of the terrorist and insurrectionist, who masked his fascism with national rhetoric.

The realist Right was aghast that profits and the balance of power were lost in the equation. The isolationists felt we were either doing Israel’s bidding, wasting lives and money on hopeless tribesmen, or fattening the government to administer a new empire. And all these alternative views were predicated on the 24-hour pulse of the battlefield, to be instantly modified, retracted, or amplified when events suggested dramatic improvement or disheartening setback.

The exasperated public is told that we had too few troops in postwar Iraq, but have too many now. We wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible, so as not injure Arab sensitivities or create perpetual dependency, but we ended up needing an unfortunately high profile just to put down insurrectionists.

Jay Garner was too much the military man; Paul Bremmer too little.

Prewar forecasts warned a worried public that we might lose 3,000-5,000 soldiers just in removing Saddam. Three years later, we have removed him and sponsored a democracy to boot, and at far less than those feared numbers. But we react as if we had faced unexpected numbers of casualties.

Despite the fact that al Qaedists were in Kurdistan, Al Zarqawi was in Saddam’s Baghdad, terrorists like Abu Abas and Abu Nidal were sheltered by Iraqis, and recent archives disclose that hundreds of Iraqi terrorists were annually housed and schooled by the Baathists, we are nevertheless assured that there was no tie between Saddam and terrorists. Those who suggest there were lines of support are caricatured as liars and Bush propagandists.

Apparently, we are asked to believe that the al Qaedists whom Iraqis and Americans kill each day in Iraq largely joined up because we removed Saddam Hussein.

After September 11, many of our experts assured us that it was “not a question of if, but when” we were to be hit again — with the qualifier that the next strike would be far worse, entailing a dirty bomb, or biological or chemical agents.

Yet when we are still free from an assault 52 months later, censors assure that our safety has nothing to do with the Patriot Act, nothing to do with wiretaps, nothing to do with killing thousands of terrorists abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nothing to do with creating democratic Afghan and Iraqi security forces who daily hunt down jihdadists far from America’s shores. And yet, strangely, there is no serious legislation to revoke the Patriot Act, to outlaw listening to calls from potential terrorists, or to cut off funds for operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Summarize what the media, the Europeans, the Middle East, and the opposition at home say about Iraq, and the usual narrative is that an initial mistake was made far worse by ideologues, leading to a hopeless situation that only makes the U.S. appear foolish and impotent, while ruining the military, creating a police state at home, and emptying the treasury.

Yet these same critics surely don’t want Saddam Hussein back. They concede that after three successful elections, Iraq just might be the first truly democratic society in the history of the Middle East. And they privately acknowledge that the reputations of Osama bin Laden and Al Zarqawi are on the wane. How was that possible when almost everyone fouled up?

So how do we make sense of what seems so nonsensical? Rather easily — just keep in mind four general talking points about America’s recent role in the world and most things gradually become clearer.

Point One (for Americans): My own flawless three-week removal of Saddam Hussein was ruined by your error-prone postwar peace.

Point Two (for Middle Easterners): We are for democracy — unless you Americans help us obtain it.

Point Three (for Europeans): We are privately for and publicly against what you do.
Point Four (for everyone else): When angry at either the United States (or yourself,) just blame the Jews in America, and Israel abroad.

Sometimes in these crazy times, that is all you need to know.
©2006 Victor Davis Hanson

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Some Neat Cartoons and More


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mario Lemieux, A Canadian and American Hero

Recently I rediscovered the joys of pro hockey and began following the Tampa Bay Lightning just the year before they won the last Stanley Cup series. In the mid-1970’s I had gone from being the world’s biggest hockey fan (Bruins) to being totally turned off - to the extent that I never watched another hockey game from then until 2003. That was the result of three things: anger at the Boston Bruins’ new owners for the way I perceived they had treated Bobby Orr, disgust at the mediocrity of the game after the big expansion of teams, and frustration with the helmets after years of being able to see the faces of players I idolized.

I never, therefore, had a chance to see the great Gretsky in action, and only got glimpses of the unbelievable Mario Lemieux. It has now become apparent that this great player, Lemieux, certainly one of the five all-time greats, has finally succumbed to age and sickness and will never play again. His life has been an incredible example, not only of athletic talent, but of determination and grit that can be an inspiration to anyone afflicted with disabling ailments. You just don’t ever give up if there is any chance at all.

He played through and came back from a ruptured disc and sciatica (both of which I know from personal experience are disabling, incredibly painful afflictions), from Hodgkin’s disease (a form of cancer) and from a serious heart ailment. He not only led his team in the fastest, toughest sport there is, he saved the team by buying and running it.

Lemieux, Mario, 1965–, Canadian ice hockey player, b. Montreal. A star for the Pittsburgh Penguins during 12 seasons, he was the team's first pick in the 1984 National Hockey League (NHL) draft and was Rookie of the Year. He led the Penguins to their only Stanley Cups (1991, 1992) and was a three-time winner of the Most Valuable Player Award (1988, 1993, 1996). Plagued by back injuries, he was also diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1993. After treatment, he played during 1993–94, took 1994–95 off, and returned for the 1995–97 seasons. In 1997 he retired with a total of 613 goals, 1,494 points (leading the league in scoring for six seasons), and 881 assists in 745 games. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame that year. In 1999, Lemieux headed an investment group that bought the Penguins, and he returned to play in the 2000–2001 season, scoring 35 goals as he led his team to the playoffs.

As one of the greatest to ever play the game, Lemieux has acquired nicknames such as "Le Magnifique", "The Magnificent One", and "Super Mario" while his surname literally means "the best." Due to his skill, size and stature (6 ft 4 in (1.931 m) and 230 lb (104 kg)), many analysts believe he could be great in any era. Lemieux is also the first active major sports league player in modern times to own a significant stake of his team. Position: Centre.

January 20, 2006
Team for Sale, and Lemieux Says He May Be Done

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 19 - Mario Lemieux announced Thursday that he and his ownership partners were entertaining offers to sell the Penguins, and he did not rule out the possibility that he had played his last N.H.L. game.

Lemieux, the 40-year-old Hall of Famer who also serves as the team's captain, missed his 15th consecutive game Thursday night because of an irregular heartbeat. He also missed four games in early December with the condition, which is known as atrial fibrillation.

In his owner's box before Thursday night's game here against the Rangers, Lemieux was asked if he wanted to play again this season. "I'm not sure," he said. "I'm just taking it day by day now, hopefully start to feel better, and we'll see."

Lemieux, who came out of retirement in December 2000, was also asked if there was a chance he had played his last game. "Well, there's always a chance," he said.

Lemieux was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. When he assumed control of the Pittsburgh franchise in September 1999, he was owed $20 million by the Penguins. The team had gone into bankruptcy in 1998.

The franchise continues to struggle. The Penguins are 11-27-9, the second-worst record in the 30-team league, ahead of St. Louis. Lemieux, who overcame Hodgkin's disease earlier in his career, said he did not know if the stress surrounding the team had contributed to his health problems.

"I'm not sure," he said. "The thing that I have now - atrial fibrillation - might be attributed to stress, and I've been getting a lot of stress the last couple of years. But you can't say for sure that's the problem."

What he did say was that the time had come to sell the franchise. The team's future in Pittsburgh hinges on whether a coalition assembled by the Penguins is awarded a license to run a slots parlor that could finance a $290 million project to build a new arena.

"I wanted to make sure, first of all, that we put the franchise in the best position to have a chance to stay here forever, and I feel that we're there," Lemieux said.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Finally, After the Apocalypse, Comes the Nuclear/Hydrogen Age

It’s a stretch, but possibly it can be argued that extreme environmentalists are indirectly responsible for the murder of 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001 and for other, anti-American terrorist acts over recent years. This is because these extremists, aided by certain journalists like Walter Cronkite and by movies like The China Syndrome killed the continued development of nuclear power in the USA, and forced us to become totally dependent on oil from Muslim countries. This has had disastrous consequences for our environment, for our economy, for our military, and for our future well-being.

If we had not been misled by these people, and had continued our development of nuclear power, say as France has, we might have eliminated the need to protect the oil-fields and supply routes of the Persian Gulf, greatly reduced the production of greenhouse gases, saved 10’s of thousands of lives of coal miners, soldiers and others, and saved Americans countless dollars that were transferred to the pockets of Arab sheiks. We might also have avoided handing them a weapon to use against us and a pretext to do so.

Now, as the “Peak” of affordable oil production passes, as is happening right now, and as oil prices skyrocket and supplies shrink, we face the need to develop nuclear power almost on a ‘crash’ basis. (In France, for instance, about 75 percent of electricity is generated from nuclear power. Worldwide, it provides 17% of our energy. The US has not brought a new plant online since 1996 yet still generates 788.6 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) yearly – almost 20% of the US total – accident free.)


City Journal:

“For such a nuclear-powered future to arrive, however, we’ll need to get beyond our nuclear-power past. In the now-standard histories, the beginning of the end of nuclear power arrived on March 28, 1979, with the meltdown of the uranium core at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The Chernobyl disaster seven years later drove the final nail into the nuclear coffin. It didn’t matter that the Three Mile Island containment vessel had done its job and prevented any significant release of radioactivity, or that Soviet reactors operated within a system that couldn’t build a safe toaster oven. Uranium was finished….”


Renewable fuels, by contrast, made no visible dent in energy supplies, despite the hopes of Greens and the benefits of government-funded research, subsidies, and tax breaks. About a half billion kWh of electricity came from solar power in 2002—roughly 0.013 percent of the U.S. total. Wind power contributed another 0.27 percent. Fossil and nuclear fuels still completely dominate the U.S. energy supply, as in all industrialized economies.

And uranium’s combination of power and super-density makes the fuel less of a terror risk, not more, at least from an engineering standpoint. It’s easy to “overbuild” the protective walls and containment systems of nuclear facilities, since—like the pyramids—the payload they’re built to shield is so small. Protecting skyscrapers is hard; no builder can afford to erect a hundred times more wall than usable space. Guaranteeing the integrity of a jumbo jet’s fuel tanks is impossible; the tanks have to fly. Shielding a nuclear plant’s tiny payload is easy—just erect more steel, pour more concrete, and build tougher perimeters.

Greens don’t want to hear it, but nuclear power makes the most environmental sense, too. Nuclear wastes pose no serious engineering problems. Uranium is such an energy-rich fuel that the actual volume of waste is tiny compared with that of other fuels, and is easily converted from its already-stable ceramic form as a fuel into an even more stable glass-like compound, and just as easily deposited in deep geological formations, themselves stable for tens of millions of years. And what has Green antinuclear activism achieved since the seventies? Not the reduction in demand for energy that it had hoped for but a massive increase in the use of coal, which burns less clean than uranium.

The accident at the Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1979, was the most serious in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, even though it led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community. But it brought about sweeping changes involving emergency response planning, reactor operator training, human factors engineering, radiation protection, and many other areas of nuclear power plant operations.

Detailed studies of the radiological consequences of the accident have been conducted by the NRC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now Health and Human Services), the Department of Energy, and the State of Pennsylvania. Several independent studies have also been conducted. Estimates are that the average dose to about 2 million people in the area was only about 1 millirem. To put this into context, exposure from a full set of chest x-rays is about 6 millirem. Compared to the natural radioactive background dose of about 100-125 millirem per year for the area, the collective dose to the community from the accident was very small. The maximum dose to a person at the site boundary would have been less than 100 millirem.

In the months following the accident, although questions were raised about possible adverse effects from radiation on human, animal, and plant life in the TMI area, none could be directly correlated to the accident. Thousands of environmental samples of air, water, milk, vegetation, soil, and foodstuffs were collected by various groups monitoring the area. Very low levels of radionuclides could be attributed to releases from the accident. However, comprehensive investigations and assessments by several well-respected organizations have concluded that in spite of serious damage to the reactor, most of the radiation was contained and that the actual release had negligible effects on the physical health of individuals or the environment.”

With respect to Chernobyl, as terrible as it was, the World Nuclear Association had this to say: “Thirtyone workers and firefighters at the plant were killed. But a 16-year investigation by the UN and WHO concluded that there were no public radiation deaths or injuries No significant increase in any illness resulted except for 2000 cases of childhood thyroid cancer, a highly treatable disease from which there have been few if any deaths. But fear of radiation led to unnecessary evacuation of large population groups, causing unemployment, depression, alcoholism and suicides. In the year after the accident, there were 100,000 additional abortions downwind of the accident, presumably in unwarranted fear of bearing a "nuclear mutant." Deformed "Chernobyl victims" used to raise money for relief were later found to be unrelated to the accident. Some were from far away, others were deformed before the accident...

The European Commission’s Marina II study recently concluded that North Sea oil and gas operations now contributed more man-made radioactivity to the seas of northern Europe than anything emanating from the nuclear industry. Meanwhile, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd is committed to reducing radionuclides emissions into coastal water to ‘nil’ over the next 15 years...

The new, high temperature nuclear reactors — now undergoing trials in Japan and the US — are able to produce both electricity and, as a by-product, hydrogen. This latter may be our brightest hope to avoid a descent into the Stone Age when the lights eventually, inevitably, go out in Saudi Arabia."

The PBR Reactor – Our Future?

“Physicists and engineers at Beijing's Tsinghua University have made the first great leap forward in a quarter century, building a new nuclear power facility: a pebble-bed reactor (PBR) – sometimes also known as a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). This reactor is small enough to be assembled from mass-produced parts and cheap enough for emerging economies. Its safety is a matter of physics, not operator skill or reinforced concrete. This reactor is meltdown-proof.

What makes it so safe is the fuel: instead of conventional fuel rods made of enriched uranium, PBRs use small, pyrolytic graphite coated pebbles with uranium cores. As a PBR reactor gets hotter, the rapid motion of atoms in the fuel decreases probability of neutron capture by U-235 atoms. This effect is known as Doppler Broadening. Nuclei of heated uranium move more rapidly in random directions generating a wider range of neutron speeds. U-238, the isotope which makes up most of the uranium in the reactor, is much more likely to absorb the faster moving neutrons. This reduces the number of neutrons available to spark U-235 fission. This, in turn, lowers heat output. This built-in negative feedback places a temperature limit on the fuel without operator intervention.

PBRs use high-pressure helium gas, not water, for cooling. Reactors have been “run dry” – without cooling gas. Result: they simply stabilize at a given temperature – lower than the pebbles’ shell melting point. No meltdown can occur.
South Africa may have the most modern PBR on the drawing board. With the help of German scientists – acknowledged leaders in the field - they have planned to build several reactors within the next five years. Images in this article come from their design.

PBRs use helium, which has high thermal conductivity and inertness (read: fireproof and noncorrosive) for cooling. This makes them more efficient at capturing heat energy from nuclear reactions than standard reactor designs. The ratio of electrical output to thermal output is about 50%.
The high-temperature gas design also has a silver lining – it can produce hydrogen. Think about that – fuel cell vehicles need expensive-to-produce hydrogen to run on – this reactor could make hydrogen as a byproduct.

Generation of hydrogen has been the biggest stumbling block to its adoption as a clean fuel. Hydrogen, found primarily in water, is expensive to extract as a gas. While the technical problems of handling, storage and use as fuel are largely solved, the high energy cost to produce hydrogen has made it an energy transport medium, not a source.

James Lovelock, well known green activist and creator of the Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a single self-regulating organism, published a plea to phase out fossil fuels. Nuclear power, he argued, is the best short term hope for averting climatic catastrophe:

"Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies, and the media. … Even if they were right about its dangers - and they are not - its worldwide use as our main source of energy would pose an insignificant threat compared with the dangers of intolerable and lethal heat waves and sea levels rising to drown every coastal city of the world. We have no time to experiment with visionary energy sources; civilization is in imminent danger and has to use nuclear, the one safe, available energy source, now, or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted by our outraged planet." - From the London Independent – May, 2004”

Hydrogen cannot be produced economically in low-temperature, water cooled nuclear plants or by other, conventional means. It is a practically free byproduct of the new, high-temperature nuclear plants now being designed and built, of which the PBR design looks the most promising. Perhaps our shutdown of the continued development of nuclear energy can be turned to our advantage, since our sunk cost in conventional nuclear plants is so low, compared to the size of the problem and the size of the opportunity that confronts us. Energy independence, a clean environment, cheap electricity and vehicle fuel - all seem possible, but to avoid the cataclysm confronting us, we must act now.
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Oil, Our Lifeblood and Our Worst Nightmare

Not only do the world’s 600 million automobiles depend on oil, but also do almost every other critical aspect of industrial civilization: airlines, chemicals, plastics, medicines, agriculture, heating, etc. Almost all of the increase in world food productivity over the past 50 years is attributable to increases in the use of oil-derived additives: pesticides; herbicides; fungicides; fertilizers; and machinery. Oil is the one commodity without which civilization cannot exist.
“When oil is gone, civilization will be stupendously different. The onset of rapid depletion will trigger convulsions on a global scale, including, likely, global pandemics and die-offs of significant portions of the world’s human population. The “have” countries will face the necessity of kicking the “have-nots” out of the global lifeboat in order to assure their own survival. Even before such conditions are reached, inelastic supply interacting with inelastic demand will drive the price of oil and oil-derived commodities through the stratosphere, effecting by market forces alone massive shifts in the current distribution of global wealth.”

In the late 1970’s President Jimmy Carter was ridiculed for insisting that a permanent oil shortage was upon us, and that everyone had to turn their thermostats way down and cut back sharply on their driving. President Carter, who famously was wearing a sweater as he made this announcement, was wrong, but almost all knowledgable people now agree that his message is coming true. He was just ahead of his time. We are now in or soon facing what is called the “Peak” of oil supplies. From the moment of the “Peak”, with demand from China and India increasing by a huge factor, we cannot get the oil we need.
“The world is quickly running out of oil. In the year 2000, global production stood at 76 Million Barrels per Day (MBD). By 2020, demand is forecast to reach 112 MBD, an increase of 47%. But additions to proven reserves have virtually stopped and it is clear that pumping at present rates is unsustainable. Estimates of the date of “peak global production” vary with some experts saying it already may have occurred as early as the year 2000. New Scientist magazine recently placed the year of peak production in 2004. Virtually all experts believe it will almost certainly occur before the end of this decade.

And the rate of depletion is accelerating. Imagine a production curve that rises slowly over 145 years—the time since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859. Over this time, the entire world shifted to oil as the foundation of industrial civilization. It invested over one hundred trillion dollars in a physical infrastructure and an economic system run entirely on oil. But oil production is now at its peak and the right hand side of the curve is a virtual drop off. Known reserves are being drawn down at 4 times the rate of new discoveries.

The reason for the drop off is that not only have all the “big” discoveries already been made, the rate of consumption is increasing dramatically. Annual world energy use is up five times since 1945. Increases are now driven by massive developing countries—China, India, Brazil—growing and emulating first or at least second world consumption standards. Fixed supply. Stalled discoveries. Sharply increased consumption. This is the formula for global oil depletion within the next few decades.

The situation is especially critical in the US. With barely 4% of the world’s population, the US consumes 26% of the world’s energy. But the US produced only 9 MBD in 2000 while consuming 19 MBD. It made up the difference by importing 10 MBD, or 53% of its needs. By 2020, the US Department of Energy forecasts domestic demand will grow to 25 MBD but production will be down to 7 MBD. The daily shortfall of 18 MBD or 72% of needs, will all need to be imported.

The reason is that a very major portion of the world’s oil is, by accident of geology, in the hands of states hostile to the US. Fully 60% percent of the world’s proven reserves of oil are in the Persian Gulf. They lie beneath Muslim countries undergoing a religious revolution that wants to return the industrial world to a pre-modern order governed by a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy. Saudi Arabia alone controls 25% of all the world’s oil, more than that of North America, South America, Europe and Africa combined. Kuwait, Iran and Iraq, each control approximately 10% of the world’s oil.

Another 15% of the world’s oil lies in the Caspian Sea region, also a dominantly Muslim region. It includes a group of post-Soviet, satellite and buffer states that lack any semblance of legal or market systems.”
“The United States currently obtains only about 18 percent of its imported petroleum from the Persian Gulf area. But Washington perceives a strategic interest in the stability of energy production there because its major allies, including Japan and Western Europe, rely on imports from the region. Also, the gulf's high export volume has helped to keep world oil prices relatively low, benefiting the US economy. With domestic production in decline, the National Energy Policy observes, the Persian Gulf "will remain vital to US interests"….

US policy with regard to the protection of Persian Gulf energy supplies is unambiguous: When a threat arises, the US will use whatever means are necessary to ensure the continued flow of oil. This principle, known as the Carter Doctrine, was first articulated by president Jimmy Carter in January 1980, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the shah of Iran. It has remained part of US policy ever since. In accordance with the principle, the US used force in 1987 and 1988 to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iranian missile and gunboat attacks, and then in 1990 and 1991 to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait”

Weekly Standard
“UKRAINE is the West writ small. Its confrontation with Russia over energy supplies, during the course of which Vladimir Putin gave "cold war" a new definition, is a warning to major energy-consuming countries that their long-term prosperity is in the hands of very dangerous people.

It's no news that the OPEC oil cartel is not the most reliable supplier of the oil that advanced economies need to keep their trucks and cars moving, their planes flying, and some of their homes heated. These oil-producing countries have combined to keep prices above competitive levels and have not hesitated to "unsheathe the oil weapon"--read, boycott consuming countries--when dissatisfied with American foreign policy, as they were in 1973 and 1974. That includes, most notably, Saudi Arabia which nevertheless attempts to pass itself off as a reliable supplier of energy.

As does Vladimir Putin, who kept a straight face when announcing that his willingness to end his cutoff of gas supplies to Europe--a supply shutdown that included refusing to allow gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to flow through Russian pipes--proves that Russia is a reliable supplier. Never mind that it was on his orders that Gazprom cut off supplies to Ukraine, and by extension to Germany, France, and other countries--despite existing contracts that run until 2009.

Remember: This dispute was not only about prices. Belarus, the former Soviet republic that has elected to stay in Russia's sphere of influence, has not been faced with the massive price increases Gazprom has imposed on more Western-oriented Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.

There's worse. Venezuela, one of America's top crude oil suppliers, has always been a reliable business partner, even honoring its supply contracts when the Arab members of OPEC instituted their boycott. Now, however, that country is run by the rabidly anti-American, pro-Castro, Hugo Chávez. He has raised taxes, sued for massive back taxes (shades of Putin's assault on Yukos), forced the major international oil companies to give state-owned PDVSA majority ownership of their oil concessions, and forged an anti-Yankee alliance with other Latin American oil producers such as Bolivia's Evo Morales.

Putin keeps prices to favored allies below market levels; Chavez makes cheap oil available to Cuba; Middle Eastern countries, with the possible exception of Kuwait, refuse to allow Western oil companies to invest capital and expertise to develop new reserves although the host countries would benefit from such development; China pumps $1.2 billion into Sinopec, a listed company, to cover its losses. These are the acts of power-maximizers, not profit-maximizers.”

Our civilization, and that of the rest of the industrial world, is entirely dependent on a disappearing resource. We can conserve it, we can fight for it and we can substitute for it, but it has become clear that these are stop-gap measures that will fall far short of our needs. Fortunately, there is an answer to our dilemma. Nuclear energy can more than fill this void. In my next post I will discuss this in detail, but, basically, we can turn to nuclear energy to replace the oil that we are consuming in the production of needed electricity, and the new generating plants we build can be the type that also produce cheap hydrogen as a byproduct. We must also build a hydrogen distribution and storage network that can supply the hydrogen-powered fuel cell automobiles now on the drawing boards. If we go forward with this program right away, the precipitous decline of oil supplies can have tremendously beneficial effects to America, because such a switch will result in 1. cheap, safe electrical power with no greenhouse gases, 2. low cost, clean running automobiles, 3. complete domestic control of our energy needs (and reduced need for military interventions), and 4. the application of available oil supplies to the production of petrochemical products such as fertilizer, plastics and medicine.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

$50 Per Gallon Gas and Chaos Around the Corner

When President Bush advanced the idea that hydrogen (fuel cells) should be the fuel of the future for transportation (“Hydrogen Fuel Initiative Can Make ‘Fundamental Difference,’” delivered in February 2003), I really didn’t take him too seriously because I had written my master’s thesis on fuel cells and believed they would never become competitive with gasoline or diesel fuels. Recently, though, in researching global warming issues, I have reached some major conclusions of overriding importance about our overall energy future:

1. We are approaching the “Peak” period in petroleum production and must prepare for sharp reductions in supply and use, preceded by sharp increases in costs.
2. The US economy, standard of living and way of life is so dependent on petroleum, we could descend into deep depression and even chaos if we do not act soon to replace petroleum as a source of electric power and to fuel vehicles.
3. Our worst enemies have been and continue to be extreme environmentalists who used events at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl to convince the American public to shy away from nuclear power, which many other countries have developed to their great advantage.
4. Nuclear power is the safest and cleanest way to produce electricity, and at a cost competitive with natural gas and lower than any other means.
5. Chernobyl, which used a design we would never have considered here, resulted in far fewer fatalities and sicknesses than first reported, while Three Mile Island resulted in no fatalities. The death rate and injury rate associated with other fuels is orders of magnitude higher than for nuclear.
6. Nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gases. Going nuclear is the fastest and most effective way to reduce the production of these gases.
7. The newest designs for small nuclear plants (which have no ‘meltdown’ possibility) produce cheap hydrogen as a byproduct, solving the basic problem I had with President Bush’s announcement. The transportation and distribution problems associated with hydrogen are eminently solvable.
8. A commitment to a program of building nuclear plants that produce electricity and hydrogen would therefore counter the impending oil disaster, deliver cheap electricity and transportation fuel, eliminate greenhouse gases and be the safest way by far to power the continued growth of the American economy.
9. Until this dual program is well underway, we must use our military to secure the available oil, drill domestically wherever possible, develop shale oil production and conserve, conserve, conserve.

It is my intention to follow this post with two articles that go into some details on this issue: the first dealing with the dangers posed to America from the worldwide oil situation, and the second dealing with the record and potential of nuclear power. In 2006 I am going to concentrate more on this issue, if not for my sake, for the sake of my children and my grandchildren.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Some Realism in the Global Warming Controversy

In a previous post I showed definitive evidence that the increase in destructive hurricanes that devastated our southeast coast for the last two years were a naturally reoccurring phenomenon and had absolutely nothing to do with greenhouse gases or global warming. Now recently our socialist comrades had a conference in Montreal on global warming where the main subject seemed to be the castigation of the USA for not supporting Kyoto. Even our Canadian friends, who have managed to exceed their Kyoto commitments by 26% had only words of scorn for the United States. Perhaps if they had paid some attention to the facts presented in the study below, they would have spent less time criticizing us and patting themselves on the back, and more time doing something realistic about reducing the burning of fossil fuels. Even though we are in the camp of those whose attention to facts leads us not to get very excited about greenhouse gases, we still greatly favor the reduction in fossil fuel use by every practical means for health and environmental reasons.

The best way to reduce fossil fuel use is entirely obvious given the recent publications of the actual minimal environmental destruction caused by Chernobyl and at Three Mile Island. By far the safest and least detrimental effect of any power generation source (other than windmills) on human health and the environment is nuclear power. Unfortunately the same people clamoring for adherence to Kyoto tend to be the same people who lobby actively against any expansion of clean nuclear power. As the US Senate voted 95 to 0 against Kyoto during the Clinton Administration, Kyoto is dead and should be buried.

The vote on the part of the US Senate, and the position taken by most conservatives also, is supported by many studies by renowned scientists. For example the following study presents an important analysis of the relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming. I have presented just the Abstract and Conclusion. You can see the entire study by clicking here. I have also included three of the many graphs contained in the full report.

Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 2251 Dick George Rd., Cave Junction, Oregon 97523
George C. Marshall Institute, 1730 K St., NW, Ste 905, Washington, DC 20006 January 1998

A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th Century have produced no deleterious effects upon global weather, climate, or temperature. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth rates. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in minor greenhouse gases like CO2 are in error and do not conform to current experimental knowledge.

World leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 to consider a world treaty restricting emissions of ''greenhouse gases,'' chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2), that are thought to cause ''global warming'' severe increases in Earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences. Predictions of global warming are based on computer climate modeling, a branch of science still in its infancy. The empirical evidence actual measurements of Earth's temperature shows no man-made warming trend. Indeed, over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly.
To be sure, CO2 levels have increased substantially since the Industrial Revolution, and are expected to continue doing so. It is reasonable to believe that humans have been responsible for much of this increase. But the effect on the environment is likely to be benign. Greenhouse gases cause plant life, and the animal life that depends upon it, to thrive. What mankind is doing is liberating carbon from beneath the Earth's surface and putting it into the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living organisms.

Rise In Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

The concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere has increased during the past century, as shown in figure 1 (1).

Figure 1: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations in parts per million by volume, ppm, at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

Figure 2: Surface temperatures in the Sargasso Sea (with time resolution of about 50 years) ending in 1975 as determined by isotope ratios of marine organism remains in sediment at the bottom of the sea (7). The horizontal line is the average temperature for this 3,000 year period. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum were naturally occurring, extended intervals of climate departures from the mean.

Figure 6: Satellite Microwave Sounding Unit, MSU, measurements of global lower tropospheric temperatures between latitudes 83 N and 83 S from 1979 to 1997 (17,18). Temperatures are monthly averages and are graphed as deviations from the mean temperature for 1979 to 1996. Linear trend line for 1979 to 1997 is shown.
Copyright 2001 © OISM

The key issue in the global warming controversy revolves around Carbon Dioxide gas. No-one can seriously dispute that it's level is increasing substantially from the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and to power internal combustion engines. This is detrimental to the environment, but has little to do with global warming - a naturally occurring phenomenon.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

What the Heck is CAIR?

Many Americans hardly realize that there is a Muslim organization called C.A.I.R (Council for American-Islamic Relations) operating legally in the United States that minimizes and even facilitates Islamofascist terrorism here and around the globe. Daniel Pipes was one of the first to point out the role and dangers associated with this group, not only for all Americans but also for the mostly loyal, 6 million Arab-Americans in our midst. Three years ago he had this to say (excerpt):

CAIR: 'Moderate' friends of terror
by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
April 22, 2002

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations presents itself as just another civil-rights group. "We are similar to a Muslim NAACP," says spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. Its public language - about promoting "interest and understanding among the general public with regards to Islam and Muslims in North America" - certainly boosts an image of moderation.

That reputation has permitted CAIR to prosper since its founding in 1994, garnering sizeable donations, invitations to the White House, respectful media citations and a serious hearing by corporations.

In reality, CAIR is something quite different. For starters, it's on the wrong side in the war on terrorism. One indication came in October 1998, when the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as "the sworn enemy," finding this depiction "offensive to Muslims."

The same year, CAIR denied bin Laden's responsibility for the twin East African embassy bombings. As Hooper saw it, those explosions resulted from some vague "misunderstandings of both sides." (A New York court, however, blamed bin Laden's side alone for the embassy blasts.)

In 2001, CAIR denied his culpability for the Sept. 11 massacre, saying only that "if [note the "if"] Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name." (Only in December was CAIR finally embarrassed into acknowledging his role.)

CAIR consistently defends other militant Islamic terrorists too. The conviction of the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing it deemed "a travesty of justice." The conviction of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who planned to blow up New York City landmarks, it called a "hate crime." The extradition order for suspected Hamas terrorist Mousa Abu Marook it labeled "anti-Islamic" and "anti-American."

Not surprisingly, CAIR also backs those who finance terrorism. When President Bush closed the Holy Land Foundation in December for collecting money he said was "used to support the Hamas terror organization," CAIR decried his action as "unjust" and "disturbing."

CAIR even includes at least one person associated with terrorism in its own ranks. On Feb. 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments. Yet CAIR deems him "one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America" and includes him on its advisory board.

For these and other reasons, the FBI's former chief of counterterrorism, Steven Pomerantz, concludes that "CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups."

To read this entire article, click here.

If you thought by now that this organization would have cleaned up its act, you will be disturbed by this recent article (excerpt) in the online edition of the Jerusalem Post:

Expert: Saudis have radicalized 80% of US mosques
Haviv Rettig

Mainstream US Muslim organizations are heavily influenced by Saudi-funded extremists, according to Yehudit Barsky, an expert on terrorism at the American Jewish Committee.

Worse still, Barsky told The Jerusalem Post last week, these "extremist organizations continue to claim the mantle of leadership" over American Islam.

The power of the extremist Wahhabi form of Islam in the United States was created with generous Saudi financing of American Muslim communities over the past few decades. Over 80 percent of the mosques in the United States "have been radicalized by Saudi money and influence," Barsky said.

Before the 1970s, she explained, "Muslim immigrants who came to the United States would build a store-front mosque somewhere. Then, since the 1970s, the Saudis have been approaching these mosques and telling them it wasn't proper for the glory of Islam to build such small mosques."

For many Muslims, it seemed the Saudis were offering a free mosque. However, Barsky believes for each mosque they invested in, the Saudis sent along their own imam (teacher-cleric).

"These [immigrants] were not interested in this [Wahhabi] ideology, and suddenly they have a Saudi imam coming in and telling them they're not praying properly and not practicing Shari'a [Islamic law] properly." This Saudi strategy was being carried out "all over the world, from America to Bangladesh," with the Saudis investing $70-80 billion in the endeavor over three decades.

Barsky, who heads the AJC's Division on Middle East and International Terrorism and is the executive editor of Counterterrorism Watch, said this means that "the people now in control of teaching religion [to American Muslims] are extremists. Who teaches the mainstream moderate non-Saudi Islam that people used to have? It's in the homes, but there's no infrastructure. Eighty percent of the infrastructure is controlled by these extremists."

To read this entire article, click here.

Recent surveys by the Pew Organization have confirmed that Muslims, by a large majority, have no use for terrorists and only want to live in peace and security, not only in the USA but around the world. President Bush, who is president of all Americans, rich and poor, black and white, Muslim and non-Muslim, has gone out of his way over and over again to promote the message that this is not a religious war, and that the rights of Muslim-Americans must be respected. I agree with him on this, not only because it is right, but because a religious war would force millions of Muslims around the world to make a choice they do not want to make. Even so, we must crack down on these nefarious activities of certain Muslim groups in this country, and we have the right to expect much more cooperation from Muslim-Americans than we are getting.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

A McCarthy Moment At the Alito Hearing

I’m sure many of you are too young, and the rest of you probably don’t remember the moment when Senator McCarthy’s putrid career came to an end. I remember it as if it were yesterday; I was a college student at Northeastern University, a cooperative college where you work at a course-related job for several weeks and then go to school for several weeks. I happened to be working at my co-op job at Dennison Manufacturing Company in Framingham, Massachusetts, where the company maintained a recreation area for their employees. We were at lunch watching the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV when Joseph Welch, that crusty Irish-American lawyer from Boston, while interrogating McCarthy, turned and said to him in a hushed voice, 'until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.' He asked Senator McCarthy if any 'sense of decency' remained in him.

The question, and Senator McCarthy’s reaction focused the country as nothing else could have on McCarthy’s mean-spirited destruction of any person who might disagree with him or get in the way of his march to power. It took condemnation by the Senate and his own alcoholism to formalize his demise, but he was finished as a power in this country as of the moment of that remark by Welch.

I was reminded of this while watching the Alito hearing yesterday, when a similar moment descended on us all – those of us who can recognize decency and also the lack of it in another person. The moment came when Mrs. Alito left the room in tears after hearing her gentlemanly husband peppered at length with cheap shots, lies and distortions by the likes of Senators Kennedy, Schumer, Biden and Leahy. It transfixed me as the Welch moment had, and I think and I hope it will have a similar effect – that of waking up those who still think that these cretinous senators have any idea of decency or even of the national interest.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Leftist Propaganda and Lies About Saddam and Halliburton

“Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.”
--Sen. Ted Kennedy
"Iraq was not a terrorist haven before the invasion."
--Sen. John Kerry

Ever since the start of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, opponents of President Bush in general and of the invasion of Iraq in particular have bombarded us with these messages:

We created the terrorists by going to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight them.

There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Muslim terrorism.

The war was started to give fat contracts to Halliburton, Cheney’s former company.

To say that we created the terrorists by fighting them is a lot like saying that chemotherapy causes cancer, and it makes about as much sense. One of the aims of our invasion of Iraq was to draw the terrorists there and fight and kill them there, rather than face them on American soil after they kill thousands more Americans. Since 9/11 there have been no further terrorist attacks within the USA, and 10’s of thousands of Muslim terrorists have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, we now have documented proof of what the president knew when he ordered the move into Iraq. Saddam indeed was financing and training thousands of Muslim terrorists for missions around the world. Here is an excerpt from a recent article by Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

“THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000.

Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives.”

The entire article can be seen here.

As far as Halliburton is concerned, having personally worked closely with Halliburton personnel, I have known for many years that they were a world-class company which had skill-sets that no other company could match, and that their personnel were not only extremely competent, but also honest. Now comes this report (excerpt) on Halliburton by respected journalist and historian, Richard Miniter in The Washington Times:

"Is Halliburton a war profiteer? Some antiwar activists scoff even at the question. They have little doubt that Halliburton made massive profits on the Iraq War and that its former chief executive, Vice President Dick Cheney, greased the skids.

At first glance, it would seem that a firm cannot be a war profiteer if it had next to no profits. Halliburton earned $85 million from $3.6 billion in Iraqi contracts, a profit margin of roughly 2.4 percent, in 2003. In the second quarter of 2004, Halliburton reported that it earned 1.4 percent profits on $1.7 billion worth of work in Iraq. These are pitifully small rates of return.

Would you stick with a mutual fund that invested for less than a 2 percent return? Neither would Halliburton.

As a result of poor performance, Halliburton wants to sell the division that runs Iraqi operations, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR).

Consider Halliburton's stock price. When current CEO David J. Lesar took over from Dick Cheney in August 2000, the company's shares were trading at $54. They sank to a record low of $8.70 in 2001. As of August 9, 2005, they trade at $58. If Halliburton had been raking in record profits in the war years (from 2003 to the present), its stock price would have climbed, not flatlined.

But these small, essential facts have not stopped critics from fulminating about secret deals, no-bid contracts, and yes, fat profits extracted from taxpayers.

In 1998, while Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO, Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries, its former rival in the oil-services business. A Dresser subsidiary, Harbison-Walker Refractories (which Dresser had sold in 1992), had made insulating bricks and coatings with asbestos decades before asbestos was banned. But the courts found Halliburton liable anyway. Halliburton finally settled its asbestos cases in December 2004, at a cost of $5.1 billion.

The bottom line? Because of that payout, Halliburton has earned virtually no net profits for the last five years.

Is it possible that the Iraq operations made mountains of money, but simply not enough to compensate for the Everest of litigation costs? Independent journalists who have extensively investigated Halliburton's operations reluctantly conclude that Iraq has not been a geyser of money for the troubled industrial giant.

In early 2001, before September 11, Halliburton won the Defense Department's "super contract," which covers food, maintenance, construction, and other services worldwide. In hopes of getting more government business, Halliburton "bid a price that was shockingly low. In addition to being reimbursed for what it spent, Halliburton would get a base fee of 1 percent and a maximum performance award of just 2 percent," noted Fortune's Peter Elkind."

Richard Miniter is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, "Losing bin Laden" and "Shadow War," and is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism.
The entire article can be seen here.

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Senator Kennedy is at it again

Yes, Senator Kennedy is at it again. Not content with destroying Judge Bork 20 years ago, Senator Kennedy, the same senator whose lifelong boorishness and feckless behavior brought such grief to his family and to the Kopechnes, has decided to savage the reputation of yet another good man, Judge Samuel A. Alito. I don’t know how anyone can keep a straight face as this man denigrates another person.

In case you have forgotten, while Judge Bork’s garbage was being stolen and analyzed by Kennedy operatives (a new federal law was later passed forbidding this vile practice), Senator Kennedy said the following about Judge Bork within hours of his nomination to the Supreme Court,
"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens of whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are at the heart of our democracy."

Now Senator Kennedy’s staff has written a new attack for him to wage on another decent and learned man who has been nominated to the Supreme Court and earned the highest recommendation of the ABA, Judge Alito. Here is Senator Kennedy’s attack piece followed by an analysis that shreds it.

Alito's Credibility Problem
By Edward M. Kennedy
Saturday, January 7, 2006; A17
The Washington Post

“Every Supreme Court nominee bears a heavy burden to demonstrate that he or she is committed to the constitutional principles that have been vital in advancing fairness, decency and equal opportunity in our society. As Judge Samuel Alito approaches his confirmation hearings next week, the more we learn about him, the more questions we have about the credibility of his assurances to us.
Consider these five areas:

1. 1985 job application : Alito was 35 when he applied for an important political position with Attorney General Ed Meese during the Reagan administration. Alito sought to demonstrate his "philosophical commitment" to Meese's legal outlook. He wrote that the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign had been his original political inspiration, even though he was only 14 at the time. His views on the law, he said, were inspired by his "deep disagreement with Warren Court decisions." He strongly objected to "usurpation by the judiciary" of the powers of the president, and supported the "supremacy" of the elected branches over the judiciary. Not surprisingly, Alito got the job.

The views expressed there raise serious concerns about his ability to interpret the Constitution with a fair and open mind. When this embarrassing document came to light, he faced a difficult decision on whether to defend his 1985 views or walk away from them. When I and others met him a short time later, he appeared to be renouncing them -- "I was just a 35-year-old seeking a job," he told me. But now he's seeking another, far more important job. Is he saying that he did not really mean what he said then?

2. Membership in "Concerned Alumni of Princeton." In 1972, the year Alito graduated from Princeton University, a group of wealthy alumni formed Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) to resist the growing influx of female, African American, Hispanic and even disabled students who were changing the face of Princeton "as you knew it." The university's most famous alumnus of the day, basketball star and later U.S. senator Bill Bradley, was invited into CAP initially but quickly found it "impossible to remain a member" because of CAP's "right-wing" views. A special committee of alumni, which included future Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, accused CAP of presenting a "distorted and hostile" view of the university. Alito joined CAP about that time, despite its purposes and reputation, and remained a member through 1985, when he cited his CAP membership as another qualification to join the Meese inner circle.

In 1987, when he was nominated to be U.S. attorney for New Jersey, and in 1990, when he was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, he did not mention his CAP membership to the Senate Judiciary Committee or to then-Sen. Bradley, who introduced him to the committee at the nomination hearing and endorsed him "100 percent." Bradley says today that had he known about Alito's long membership in CAP he would have had serious questions about it. Alito now says he can't remember anything at all about CAP.

3. Failure to recuse himself in the Vanguard case : In 1990, during the confirmation process on his nomination to the 3rd Circuit, Alito disclosed that his largest investment was in Vanguard mutual funds. To avoid possible conflicts of interest, he promised us that he would recuse himself from any case involving "the Vanguard companies." Vanguard continues to be on his recusal list, and his investments in Vanguard funds have risen from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands. Nevertheless, in 2002 he failed to recuse himself when assigned to sit on a case in which three Vanguard companies were named parties and listed prominently on every brief and on his own pro-Vanguard opinion in the case. In this case, he and the White House have floated many excuses, but none provided any sensible explanation for his failure to keep his promise or follow his "personal practice" of recusing himself whenever there was any possible ethical question about his participation in a case.

4. His pledge to be absolutely impartial where the government is concerned : While chairing his confirmation hearings in 1990, I asked Alito how he could remain neutral in the cases that would come before him as a 3rd Circuit judge after his more than a dozen years of service representing the U.S. government. He stated that he would be "absolutely impartial" in all his cases. But in case after case involving the actions of U.S. marshals, IRS agents and other government officials, he has sided with the government and against the citizens, even when his fellow judges have told him he was off-base.

5. His promise to leave his personal beliefs behind when he became a judge : That's what he told me in 1990 he would do. But has he? In November 2000, at one of many Federalist Society meetings he spoke at, he indicated that he was a true believer when it came to the society's longstanding theory of an all-powerful executive. His endorsement of presidential power and his criticism of the Supreme Court for undermining it made clear that his philosophical commitment in 1985 still drives him.
Alito's words and record must credibly demonstrate that he understands and supports the role of the Supreme Court in upholding the progress we've made in guaranteeing that all Americans have an equal chance to take their rightful place in the nation's future. "Credibility" has rarely been an issue for Supreme Court nominees, but it is clearly a major issue for Alito.”

The truth of the matter:

Teddy Kennedy's Incredible Attack on Alito
Ed Whelan 01/07 01:22 PM
The National Review

After a thorough investigation, the American Bar Association unanimously gave Judge Alito its highest rating (“well qualified”) on its criteria of “integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.” But that hasn’t stopped Teddy Kennedy from cobbling together a nasty hit piece on Judge Alito (“Alito’s Credibility Problem”) in today’s Washington Post.

Kennedy’s attack is a jumble of distortions, inventions, and non sequiturs. In the interest of brevity, I’m going to refrain from revisiting Kennedy’s own credibility. Here’s a quick response to Kennedy’s five stated areas of concern:

1. Alito’s 1985 job application essay sets forth a classic statement of American principles: “I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values. In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation by the judiciary of decisionmaking authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate.”

Kennedy asserts, without anything resembling an argument, that these views “raise serious concerns about [Alito’s] ability to interpret the Constitution with a fair and open mind.” He also claims that Alito tried to distance himself from those views by telling Kennedy that he “was just a 35-year-old seeking a job.” A well-informed source tells me that Kennedy’s quote is a concoction and that Alito has never tried to suggest that the 1985 essay was not a genuine statement of his views at that time.

2. Kennedy finds nefarious Alito’s “membership” in Concerned Alumni of Princeton. But Alito was enrolled in the ROTC program at Princeton when Princeton, in the midst of the Cold War, decided to eliminate that program. Concerned Alumni of Princeton opposed that decision and Princeton’s later resistance to ROTC. Alito’s membership in CAP evidently consisted merely of dues payment.

Although Alito admirably doesn’t pretend decades later to a specific recollection of why he joined CAP, it would seem obvious that its support for ROTC was the driving factor. Beyond its role in national defense, ROTC enabled students like Alito from families of modest income to attend Princeton.

I don’t claim to know much about CAP, but does the Left really want to advance the position that it is fair to impute to a person who joins an organization every single position that organization takes, as well as any statements made by members of that organization? If we want to play games like that, it’s interesting to note that Kennedy’s main expert on CAP (and the witness Democrats initially slated for the confirmation hearing) equates eating meat with complicity in the Holocaust.

3. Only Senator Kennedy seems to think it significant that Judge Alito failed to recuse himself from a case that ethics experts agree he had no obligation to recuse from. Alito has explained that his practice was to recuse from cases involving Vanguard even though he was not ethically obligated to do so and that, through an oversight, he mistakenly took part in one case. When the mistake was called to his attention, he remedied it by having the case re-argued before a different panel (which unanimously reached the same result that his unanimous panel had reached).

Lots of judges throughout the country have, through innocent oversights, mistakenly taken part in cases that the ethics rules would bar them from, and Kennedy himself was dismissive of far more serious complaints against Stephen Breyer, his former staffer, when Breyer was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1994. The notion that Alito’s inadvertent involvement in a case that he wasn’t barred from raises any issue of integrity is ludicrous. And Kennedy’s reference to Alito’s “investments in Vanguard funds” (as though there were some plausible argument that Alito was trying to advance his own financial interests) is shameful.

4. Kennedy claims that Alito has “sided with the government and against the citizens” in numerous cases and that this somehow shows that he has not been an impartial decisionmaker. It’s rather strange for an elected representative to posit the false dichotomy between the “government” and the “citizens”. In any event, Kennedy offers not a scintilla of evidence that Alito has not been impartial.

5. Kennedy somehow thinks that remarks that Alito offered in a non-judicial capacity bear on Alito’s commitment to set aside his personal beliefs when acting as a judge. Worse, he confuses the theory of the “unitary executive” with the distinct question of the scope of executive powers.

In sum, the only questions of credibility, fairness and decency raised by Kennedy’s op-ed (if indeed these questions are still open ones in anyone’s mind) are whether Kennedy can credibly, fairly, and decently assess Judge Alito’s manifest and compelling qualifications for the Supreme Court.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Gray Lady Joins Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally and Jane Fonda


Apparently a great many people agree with me that the NY Times again stepped over the line and committed treason when it revealed the NSA program to intercept calls between suspected foreign Al-Qaeda and their accomplices in the United States; also a Rasmussen poll reported that 64% of those surveyed agreed that this surveillance program is necessary and legal.

The federal law is 18 U.S.C. § 798, a law that precisely prohibits leaks of the type of classified information disclosed in the story. Subsection (a) of the statute provides:
Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—
(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

There are definite indications that the Justice Department is not only investigating the persons who leaked this information to the Times (there is no question that this was a serious crime), but also is seriously pursuing the question of the Times’ legal culpability in this matter. If the Times is charged, undoubtedly a First Amendment defense will be raised, and the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to rule on whether the press or a duly elected president of the United States has the authority to decide what is in the best interests of protecting the safety and security of American citizens who have been murdered by the thousands and are faced daily with the possibility of more incidents of mass murder.

You all know by now that I believe that the action by the NY Times was so egregious that freedom of the press is no longer an issue, and that the Times should be shut down and its publisher and senior editors punished. Some thought that extreme, but I find many other sensible voices being raised with similar thoughts. People who make their living at various positions in the media do shrink from reaching a conclusion as to what is an appropriate punishment for the Times, but that is only natural. Certainly a rebuke or a fine would be ludicrous for an action that has endangered all our lives, and during other wars could have been dealt with by a firing squad.

Excerpts from various journalists:

David Yerushalmi of
"Invariably, the prosecutor will turn to the New York Times, not simply to determine the source for the disclosure but for the crimes committed by the paper and its management. The facts as provided by the Times to date are that it learned of the NSA program over a year ago and held the story at the request of the White House (presumably the Times asked the Administration for confirmation). After at least one meeting with the President, the Times editor, Bill Keller, and publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., were convinced that the nation's security would be at risk with the publication of the leak and held it. Approximately one year later the Times published the story."....

"Again, we turn to the law for instruction. Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years for any "unauthorized" person "in possession of...information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates...the same to any person not entitled to receive it...." The law also makes it a separate offense to "conspire" to violate the law, something the Times must have done to grant confidentiality to its sources."

David Yerushalmi is of counsel to the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, a Washington D.C.- and Jerusalem-based think tank.

Conservative Tymes

"As the ACLU and CAIR (“Council for American Islamic Relations”—formerly Islamic Association for Palestine—an FBI identified front-group for the terrorist organization Hamas) join hands to stop US eavesdropping on al-Qaeda and other terrorists, in its own inimitable way the leftist mainstream media continues to chip away and undermine US national security. First and foremost, it is the duty of the President of the United States to protect the country. However, with the recent “reporting” by the New York Times and the Washington Post, one is led to believe that protecting US national security is criminal behavior.

Second, the NSA spying-on-terrorists scenario (once top-secret but ‘outed’ by the New York Times) is not only acceptable but, necessary if we the people want our country to remain. If President Bush had not affected it, he would have been accused by his domestic political enemies of dereliction of duty. Although it’s still hard to believe, the bi-partisan US Congress actually acknowledged that the President of the United States is constitutionally allowed to protect the country: “Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States,”, as Congress recognized in the joint 2 October 2002 resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40). That includes the very legal use of warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists both domestically and foreign. On this issue, even FISA did not have to be consulted. So, at this point in time, congressional Democrats actually recognized the power granted to the President of the United States to protect the US’ national security. Note: The US Congress has neither the right to grant these powers to the president nor to take them away. These powers are exclusive to the Executive branch of government. President Bush wanted to include Congress in this momentous decision. But, he was under no obligation to do so. Suffice it to say, in retrospect and considering the congressional liberals’ attempts to currently weaken if not usurp Executive powers, it may have not have been the best possible decision."

Michelle Malkin, RealClearPolitics

"Hello, 2006. The New York Times kicked off the new year by refusing to answer its own ombudsman's questions about the timing of the newspaper's anonymous illegal leak-dependent National Security Agency monitoring story. Long live transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, Times reporter James Risen launched his anonymous illegal leak-dependent book, "State of War," with a self-congratulatory appearance on NBC's "Today" show. Risen's leakers, he told Couric, were the opposite of the Valerie Plame case leakers because his people came forward "for the best reasons." How do we know that's true? Because Risen says it is. So there.

Risen then patted himself and his bosses on the back for their "great public service" in publishing the story (never too soon to go Pulitzer Prize-begging) and heaped more praise on his anonymous sources as "truly American patriots." Risen also told Couric that many of his law-breaking sources "came to us because they thought you have to follow the rules and you have to follow the law." Uh-huh.
Asked about the timing of the original story (held a year, then published in the midst of Senate debate over the Patriot Act and a few weeks before the release of his book), Risen said "it wasn't my decision" and refused to "discuss the internal deliberations."

In other words: Keeping secrets to protect counterterrorism operations is an impeachable offense, but keeping secrets to protect the Gray Lady's fanny is an elite media prerogative."

Cliff Kincaid, Media Monitor

President Bush has basically accused the New York Times of treason. In his remarks on how the paper disclosed the existence of a program to discover planned Al Qaeda terrorist operations on U.S. soil, Bush said this information was "improperly provided to news organizations," meaning the Times, and "our enemies have learned information they should not have…" He said "the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country."

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