Friday, March 31, 2006

DNA, Capital Punishment and Humanity

Now that we have DNA evidence to make certain that we have the right person who committed a particular crime, I believe the time has come to change our approach to capital punishment. Recent actions by the former governor of Illinois in stopping, temporarily, all executions should have given all thoughtful people pause. Our system of justice is based on the premise that it is better that 10 guilty persons go free than for one innocent person to be convicted. In the case of a capital crime, this principle is especially important.

I believe that capital punishment is in order only in certain first degree murder cases. I am in favor of capital punishment only when DNA evidence guarantees that the right person has been charged. As the Illinois review confirmed, there have been too many cases of mistaken identity, botched evidence, botched defense, and, occasionally, police or prosecutorial misconduct. The only exceptions to this general rule would be in situations where there are multiple convictions or in the case of the murder of an officer of the court. I believe that court officers (police, judges, prosecutors, and prison and court guards) deserve this extra protection.

I believe that capital punishment is the only way to guarantee the long-term safety of the community, by deterring acts of murder and by eliminating persons capable of murder. If convictions are allowed only where DNA evidence is the deciding factor, it follows that the long periods of endless appeals that we have now, that place people on death row for decades, would end or greatly diminish. Capital punishment based only on DNA would therefore end the burden on the community to have to support and to guard that individual – usually for decades.

For those who, like me, believe that capital punishment is a necessary tool in a civilized society, requiring positive confirmation by DNA would have another benefit: it would slow down or reverse the movement to get rid of the death penalty. Currently twelve states and Washington, DC have removed the death penalty, and in New York and Kansas, their statutes imposing the death penalty have been ruled unconstitutional.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just When Things Are Going Right

With the confirmation of Justice Alito, South Dakota has now passed an anti-abortion bill, and Mississippi is following suit. If you want to see Roe vs. Wade overturned, whether for constitutional reasons (which I share) or for religious or moral reasons, this action by the state of South Dakota is a big mistake.

In the first place, the addition of Alito, by itself, did not change the liberal vs. conservative balance on the Supreme Court. We need another conservative justice to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Kelo vs. New London (the eminent domain decision) and McCain-Feingold (the campaign finance fiasco). I’m afraid that the action by South Dakota, combined with the lame duck weakness of President Bush, will combine to energize the opposition to another conservative. If you think the left was rough with Alito and Roberts, wait until you see what they are capable of if another conservative nominee is put forward soon.

It seems that just when things appear to be going pretty well for progress on conservative issues, the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee shoot themselves in the foot by voting to sabotage the president on the Dubai ports deal, and the South Dakota legislature exhibits the patience of a three year old. Their action on abortion is not only a mistake in the context of the bigger picture with respect to the Supreme Court, it is also meaningless to the residents of South Dakota where almost no abortions are currently performed.

This new legislation has already been challenged, and will undoubtedly be rejected as unconstitutional by the first federal court that hears the case. What is needed now is a recognition by South Dakota’s governor and attorney general that appealing the case would be counterproductive to the long-range objective of restoring sanity to our Supreme Court, and would actually be counterproductive to the goal of reducing abortions.

I am e-mailing this column to South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds (at his website, and also to the South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long (at

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Monday, March 27, 2006

We Horse-trade; They Kill Each Other

Dick Morris spent several years as former President Clinton’s closest political advisor until they had some sort of a falling out. He appears often on television (usually on Fox News) where he presents his analysis of various political issues and events. I don’t always agree with him, but I always enjoy listening to him because he goes to the heart of the matter, and his interpretations of events and his forecasts are usually incredibly perceptive. Here he presents his analysis of the current state of affairs in Iraq that I hope is reasonably accurate and worth considering:

Just Bloody Politics


March 24, 2006 – “The liberal media is hyping the notion that Iraq is on the verge of a civil war. It's not true. Much of the violence and bloodshed, deplorable and disgusting as it is, really represents maneuvering to gain advantage in these negotiations.

The Iraqis are dickering over the composition of a coalition/unity government. The negotiations are vital to all participants, since control of Iraq's oil revenues hangs in the balance. Just as Mafia dons might resort to assassinations to re-order the family structures, so the thugs in Iraq, on all sides of the equation, blow up mosques and kill innocent children in order to make their political points.

The current spate of violence simply underscores the truth of von Clausewitz's dictum that "war is the continuation of politics by other means."

When the French negotiate, they resort to massive street demonstrations and general strikes like what we're witnessing in Paris today. When Americans negotiate, we shut down the government, try to impeach the president and introduce resolutions of congressional censure.

The Iraqis use overt violence. It's a different style, but the goal is the same: to use some variety of force to achieve political power.

How is this different from a civil war? Very different. In a civil war, the fundamental nature of the nation itself is at issue - and the loser faces total destruction. Here, all sides accept the idea of a united Iraq embracing all three groups. The differences arise over issues such as the degree of local autonomy, the makeup of the Cabinet and procedures for amending the constitution.

The violence now playing out should not obscure the fundamental reality that American casualties are dropping. For the period from Jan. 1 to March 15, the Defense Department reports a 27 percent reduction in U.S. military deaths per day over last year's level.

We are, increasingly, the trusted intermediaries. It's a violent and vicious political fight - but one that will lead to a government that will permit us to leave Iraq and leave it in relatively stable hands.

Unfortunately, success in Iraq is almost as messy as failure would have been. Up close and personal, seen through the eye of the news media, the killings can easily seem nothing more than clannish barbarism.

But remember what happened in Bosnia. That country faced not just a spate of bombings and attacks, but the systematic extermination of 250,000 Muslims by the Bosnian Serb Army, cheered on by Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. After the American bombing brought the Serbs to their knees, U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke imposed a constitution on the Serbs, Muslims and Croats that set up a tripartite government designed as much to keep the previously warring factions apart as to bring them together into a loose federation.

Few felt it would last. But it has - for more than a decade. And now Bosnian, Serb and Croat leaders are getting along so well that they're scrapping the Holbrooke system and setting up a united government to further their chances of joining the European Union. This success story went unmentioned in most newspapers; at best, it got buried deep inside.

And so it will probably go in Iraq: In 2015, deep inside the paper, we will read that the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites are eliminating the controls of the current constitution to form a more lasting union. And even when the wisdom of his policy becomes apparent, George W. Bush will receive as little credit for his Iraqi success - just as Bill Clinton is now getting little credit for the fruition of his Bosnia policy.” Dick Morris

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

CAIR Reveals It’s True Nature; Now What?

In previous posts I have pointed out the considerable evidence that CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is an American-based front organization for radical Islamic terrorism. Since CAIR promotes itself as a peace-loving group that exists only for the protection of the civil rights of Muslim-Americans, and that it raises funds only for humanitarian reasons, it would seem important that it take pains to disassociate itself from any activities that look terrorist-related.

As time goes on, and as American citizens slowly wake up to the fact that we are in a war to the finish with savages whose only common characteristics are that they are Muslim, and that they do not hesitate to kill anyone who might stand in their way, the essential question is: is this a minority faction of Muslims, or do most Muslims support the aims and techniques of Al-Qaeda. My views, as expressed here many times, are 1. that the Islamofascist butchers represent only a small minority of the more than 1.3 billion Muslims world-wide and 2. that CAIR is a terrorist-front organization that must be taken down.

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea that America and the west faced a deadly threat from well-organized and well-financed fanatics was pooh-pooed by many Americans – particularly if they were liberals, and that the threat, if there was one, could be handled by the criminal justice system. Many non-Muslim Americans still believe, however, that CAIR is strictly a civil-rights organization. A recent legal action may serve to put that misbelief to rest.

An anti-CAIR website (ACAIR) was sued by CAIR; this week the case was settled out of court. The following is an excerpt from the respected website, PowerLine:

“Yesterday the New York Sun reported that "CAIR settles a libel suit against critic," the critic being Andrew Whitehead. At his site, Whitehead lists the statements he has made about CAIR that formed the basis of CAIR's libel claim:

*“Let there be no doubt that CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia law in America.”

*CAIR is an “organization founded by Hamas supporters which seeks to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States and replace it with an Islamist theocracy using our own Constitution as protection.”

*“ACAIR reminds our readers that CAIR was started by Hamas members and is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries.””


And from another well-respected website, Jihad Watch, on the same lawsuit:

“The group's lawsuit, filed in a Virginia state court in March 2004, accused Mr. Whitehead of libeling Cair by calling it "a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists." The suit also charged that Mr. Whitehead falsely claimed Cair was founded by supporters of a Palestinian Arab terrorist group, Hamas, and that the organization favored the "overthrow of the United States Constitution" and the imposition of Islamic law, known as Shariah.

In June, Cair amended its suit against Mr. Whitehead, dropping its challenge to several of the statements, including the claim that the group was started by Hamas members and has received funds from terrorists.

Mr. Hooper said that despite the withdrawal of the suit, his organization, which describes itself as "a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group," still contends that Mr. Whitehead's assertions are false. "We've always denied them. We continue to deny them," the spokesman said.

Mr. Rubenstein said Cair's interest in settling the suit intensified late last year just as a judge was considering whether the group should be forced to disclose additional details about its inner workings, including its financing and its alleged ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups.

"It would have opened up Cair's finances and their relationships and their principles, their ideological motivations in a way they did not want to be made public," said Mr. Rubenstein, who represented Mr. Whitehead without charge.” Jihad Watch

If Muslim-Americans who are defending and supporting CAIR do not force a complete change in CAIR’s leadership, finances and mission, they will have no-one to blame but themselves when this organization and everyone associated with it become widely recognized as terrorists and dealt with accordingly. Those of us who have some sense of history know that this war between western culture and Islamofascism, as it pertains to the United States, is just getting started.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Three Real and Growing Threats to Our Free Speech

Three disturbing trends threaten the free speech of all Americans: 1. the attempts by certain liberal judges to have constitutional issues decided by the application of international laws, 2. “hate speech” being redefined as any criticism of a religion or of any characteristic of a group, and 3. the attempts now underway to reinstate what is cunningly called “the Fairness Doctrine”.

Supreme Court justices Breyer and Ginsburg, both liberals, have recently given speeches in which they argued for the application of international laws in deciding cases that came before the Supreme Court. Not only do these justices have liberal activist agendas that motivate them to ignore the Constitution of the United States in order to advance their ideas, but now they want to be able to decide issues on the basis of the laws of France, Germany, Belgium and other countries instead of being guided only by our Constitution and/or by precedents set by earlier decisions. If it can be shown that they, in fact, have relied on international law to reach a position, they should be impeached.

In a similar way, the ACLU is also playing a role in subverting our Constitution.

The following is an excerpt of an article on the Stop The ACLU website:

“Currently the ACLU is appealing to the U.N. Human Rights Committee with their cries of how evil the United States Government is.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Human Rights Network today urged the U.N. Human Rights Committee to hold the U.S. government accountable for flagrant and repeated violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

“Locally, nationally and globally, the United States has repeatedly failed in its responsibility to uphold basic human rights,” said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU. “We are appealing to the international arbiters to hold the U.S. accountable to basic human rights standards.”

As sickening as this is; it is only one step in the ACLU’s agenda to undermine America’s sovereignty and freedom that so many soldiers have sacrificed and died to preserve. The ACLU is obviously frustrated by their inability to advance their radical agenda more quickly under the U.S. Constitution, and are now determined not only to convince the American judiciary to look to international law, but also to use it as a means to their ends. They hold it as a higher authority than our own Constitution and are more than willing to sacrifice our sovereignty in their pursuit to force change on America to fit their own radical views.”

As to point number 2 above, various Muslim groups are trying to stop any public criticism of the Islamic religion by labeling such criticism as “hate speech”. The question of whether western culture is under attack only by radical Islamists or whether Islam itself is our enemy is a vital question that needs extensive investigation, analysis and discussion. If these Muslim groups succeed, we will have lost our First Amendment rights forever.

We have already lost a major battle in the freedom of speech arena with the passage of the horrendous McCain-Feingold Act. As this excerpt from City Journal explains:

“The most imminent danger comes from campaign-finance rules, especially those spawned by the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act. Republican maverick John McCain’s co-sponsorship aside, the bill passed only because of overwhelming Dem support. It’s easy to see why liberals have spearheaded the nation’s three-decade experiment with campaign-finance regulation. Seeking to rid politics of “big-money corruption,” election-law reforms obstruct the kinds of political speech—political ads and perhaps now the feisty editorializing of the new media—that escape the filter of the mainstream press and the academy, left-wing fiefdoms still regulation-free. Campaign-finance reform, notes columnist George Will, by steadily expanding “government’s control of the political campaigns that decide who controls government,” advances “liberalism’s program of extending government supervision of life.”

The irony of campaign-finance reform is that the “corruption” it targets seems not to exist in any widespread sense. Studies galore have found little or no significant influence of campaign contributions on legislators’ votes. Ideological commitments, party positions, and constituents’ wishes are what motivate the typical politician’s actions in office. Aha! reformers will often riposte, the corruption is hidden, determining what Congress doesn’t do—like enacting big gas taxes. But as Will notes, “that charge is impossible to refute by disproving a negative.” Even so, such conspiracy-theory thinking is transforming election law into what journalist Jonathan Rauch calls “an engine of unlimited political regulation.”

McCain-Feingold, the latest and scariest step down that slope, makes it a felony for corporations, nonprofit advocacy groups, and labor unions to run ads that criticize—or even name or show—members of Congress within 60 days of a federal election, when such quintessentially political speech might actually persuade voters. It forbids political parties from soliciting or spending “soft money” contributions to publicize the principles and ideas they stand for. Amending the already baffling campaign-finance rules from the seventies, McCain-Feingold’s dizzying dos and don’ts, its detailed and onerous reporting requirements of funding sources—which require a dense 300-page book to lay out—have made running for office, contributing to a candidate or cause, or advocating without an attorney at hand unwise and potentially ruinous.”

The same City Journal article goes on to describe the effects of restoring the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”, and the motivation on the part of the left to use it to silence conservative voices:

“Though campaign-finance madness is the Number One regulatory threat to the new media, it’s not the only one. The Left is now pushing Congress to restore the Fairness Doctrine, which would kill talk radio and possibly conservative-friendly Fox News, too.

For those who don’t remember, the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine, formalized in the late forties but dating back to 1929, required radio and then broadcast television stations to cover “vitally important controversial issues of interest in the community served by the broadcaster” and to provide “opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints on such issues”—what came to be known as the “equal time” rule. Any broadcaster who didn’t follow these regulations could face fines, free time given to voices that federal regulators felt hadn’t gotten fair treatment, and even loss of operating license. Concern that particular partisan views could dominate what was then a very limited broadcast spectrum, which government felt it had to parcel out with the public interest in mind, drove this meddling. But politicians and advocacy groups frequently used (or abused) the Fairness Doctrine to go after their political enemies, as one former Kennedy administration official acknowledged: “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too costly to continue.”

The doctrine made it hard to program political talk radio in today’s Rush Limbaugh–Sean Hannity sense—boisterously opinionated, unafraid to name names, informative, and, if you disagree with the host’s politics, infuriating. If a station ran a show like Limbaugh’s, drawing upward of 20 million listeners a week, it would also have to run a lefty alternative, even if— as has been the case with ratings-challenged Air America in some markets—it can’t get any sponsors. Too risky, most radio execs concluded, and kept opinion programs off the air. In 1980, talk shows of any kind numbered fewer than 100 nationwide.

All that changed in the eighties, when Ronald Reagan’s free-market-minded FCC stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine and then dumped it entirely in 1987. Because cable and satellite television and FM radio had vastly expanded the number of television and radio stations, “the new technological abundance,” in regulatory theorist Peter Huber’s phrase, had robbed the doctrine of any plausible “scarcity” rationale.

That the doctrine was also “chilling to free speech,” as FCC head Mark Fowler argued, became crystal clear after it was gone: AM radio exploded with political talk shows. From under 5 percent of all programming, “informational” programming expanded to over 20 percent of the AM mix just seven years after the Fairness Doctrine’s demise. Today, more than 1,400 stations feature the talk format exclusively—and the vast majority broadcast conservative voices, because that’s what draws the listeners, desperate for an alternative to the liberal mainstream press.

Small wonder, then, that House Democrats proposed two bills in 2005 to bring the Fairness Doctrine back—and as a law, rather than a mere agency regulation. New York Democratic representative Louise Slaughter, who introduced the first of the two bills, says that Right-ruled radio is a grave threat to American freedoms, “a waste of good broadcast time, and a waste of our airwaves.”

If the Dems take back Congress or the White House, watch out. Nothing would please them more than to drag the country back to the good old days, when liberals didn’t have to put up with Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly and Matt Drudge and the countless other upstarts recasting our public debate.”

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Another Way to Make Your Web Surfing Easier

Awhile back, I explained how to speed up your web surfing tremendously by subscribing to site feeds for the sites you like to visit on a regular basis. Some of you have tried that and like it. If you missed that article, go to my site and look for: “How to Make Your Web Surfing 10X Faster” in the October, 2005 archives. Today I’d like to tell you about three applications I use that also make my life a lot easier when using my computer while connected to the World Wide Web.
The applications are: “Evernote” (free), (free), and “QuickPhrase” (a $14.90 download).

Evernote” looks like a word-processing window, but is actually a never-ending roll of note paper reproduced electronically. If you come across some article or bit of information on the web, and you would like to save it or part of it for future reference, you need only to click on the “Evernote” icon placed in your Windows Explorer Tool Bar when you installed the program. The article or piece of information is then placed in the “Evernote” roll. When you have time, you can open the program and review the notes you have placed there. You do not have to be online to do this. The real key is that you can then categorize each note and even cross-reference them by multiple categories. At any time you can go back and look at only those notes you have for a particular category. By clicking on that category, only those notes appear in the window.

When you are through with a note you can delete it, and it moves to a deleted status, but remains available until you delete it a second time. That way you can trim your active-category notes once in a while, but still retain the original note until you are sure you will never need it again. Another great thing about this program is that when it saves the original note, it also saves the link to the original source of the article. If you are online and reading the note in “Evernote”, you can return to the original source with Ctl-click. You can also copy the link if you wish to include it as a reference in something you are writing.

In addition to the “Evernote” icon placed in your Windows Explorer Tool Bar, you will find an “Evernote” option in the list of options when you right-click your mouse while inside an article on the web. I find this even more convenient than clicking the icon. A couple of other nice features is the time-bar “Evernote” places to the right of its window, and its automatic backup feature.

Whenever “Evernote” captures a note for you, it not only gets and keeps the source link, it also notes the date. If you can’t remember the category you used for a particular piece of information, but you remember about when you got it, you can click in the time bar and bring up those notes recorded on a particular day or days.

I love this program and have only outlined some of its features. I hope I never have to go back to the days when I would copy and paste an article into a Word file and then forget about it or forget what title I gave it and never find it again. is another great application that is a free download. Once you download it and are online, whenever you encounter a word or subject you need explained, either Alt-click on the word or type the description of the subject into a little search box that pops up. A window then opens that contains an encyclopedia type description of the item or subject. It is a wonderful timesaver and short-cut research tool.

In the days of DOS (I am dating myself), you could program lines of frequently entered text (like your name or your e-mail address) into a function key like a macro. Download “QuickPhrase” and get a similar timesaver that puts frequently typed text phrases into documents and input boxes either on or offline. This program costs $14.90 to download after you try it for free for 90 days.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

He Paid His Debt to Society

Of all the trite sayings we hear from time to time, this one is particularly offensive to me. It is particularly galling to witness someone defending a convicted child molester’s ‘right’ to live where he pleases because, “he has paid his debt to society”. Any one who has seen up close and personal the devastating effects of child molestation for the entire lifetime of the person molested - and on every member of that person’s family and children to come - know that this particularly heinous type of incurable criminal can never “pay his debt to society”. It is also ludicrous to use this phrase, “he paid his debt to society”, in connection with a convicted violent rapist or a murderer upon his parole. I’m not calling for cruel and unusual punishments, but prison time does not ever seem like adequate punishment for violent crimes against a person. It’s the only punishment we have, but such a person can never “pay his debt to society”.

Just as galling are the recent attempts on the part of some well-meaning or, possibly, devious people to try to reinstate an ex-felon’s “right” to vote in those states where that right is taken away. The following are excerpts from a particularly good article on this subject by Edward Feser in the City Journal:

“Forty-eight states currently restrict the right of felons to vote. Most states forbid current inmates to vote, others extend such bans to parolees, and still others disenfranchise felons for life. A movement to overturn these restrictions gained swift momentum during the 2004 presidential campaign, and pending legal and legislative measures promise to keep the issue in the headlines in the months to come. It hasn’t escaped notice that the felon vote would prove a windfall for the Democrats; when they do get to vote, convicts and ex-cons tend to pull the lever for the Left. Had ex-felons been able to vote in Florida in 2000—the state permanently strips all felons of voting rights—Al Gore almost certainly would have won the presidential election.

Murderers, rapists, and thieves might seem to be an odd constituency for a party that prides itself on its touchy-feely concern for women and victims. But desperate times call for desperate measures. After three national electoral defeats in a row, the Democrats need to enlarge their base. If that means reaching out to lock in the pedophile and home-invader vote, so be it. Even newly moderate Democrat Hillary Clinton has recently endorsed voting rights for ex-cons. This is inclusiveness with a vengeance.

The liberal advocates and Democratic politicians seeking the enfranchisement of felons deny any narrow political motivation, of course. Their interest is moral, they claim: it is just wrong to deny felons the vote. Their various arguments in support of this conclusion, though, fail to persuade.

The most frequently heard charge is that disenfranchising felons is racist because the felon population is disproportionately black. But the mere fact that blacks make up a lopsided percentage of the nation’s prison population doesn’t prove that racism is to blame. Is the mostly male population of the prisons evidence of reverse sexism? Of course not: men commit the vast majority of serious crimes—a fact no one would dispute—and that’s why there are lots more of them than women behind bars.

Regrettably, blacks also commit a disproportionate number of felonies, as victim surveys show. In any case, a felon either deserves his punishment or not, whatever his race. If he does, it may also be that he deserves disenfranchisement. His race, in both cases, is irrelevant…….

Someone who violates another’s rights to life, liberty, and property forfeits his own rights to these things; society can legitimately punish him by removing these rights. The criminal has broken the social compact and violated the trust of his fellow citizens. He cannot reasonably complain if they mete out to him a measure of the very harm that he has inflicted on them. Their doing so is a means of dissuading others from breaking the social contract.

Seen in this light, disenfranchisement seems a particularly appropriate punishment for felons. The murderer, rapist, or thief has expressed contempt for his fellow citizens and broken the rules of society in the most unmistakable way. It’s fitting that society should deprive him of his role in determining the content of those rules or electing the magistrate who enforces them…..”

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Monday, March 13, 2006

The ‘Specter’ of condemnation hangs over all property

I have sometimes thought that Senator Arlen Specter was put on this earth to torment me. I understand that I have to fight constantly against the likes of Senators Kennedy and Durbin, whose view of America is so plainly distorted and whose need for power overwhelms all sensibilities; but Senator Specter likes to pose, from time to time, as my friend – as someone who shares my values and beliefs. Then, just when he has me lined up, he strikes. It’s like Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football – surely she’ll hold it for me this time. Yes, the same Senator Specter, who rose to fame by originating and promoting the infamous “single bullet” theory has struck again. Yes, the same Senator Specter, who questions the need for a wartime president to spy on our enemies, has struck again – this time to sink the effort to finesse Kelo vs. New London until it can be overturned. The following article is a long one, but it is a great explanation of the damage being wrought by the Kelo decision and the underhanded game being played by Senator Specter. Let’s not let him get away with it.

The ‘Specter’ of condemnation hangs over all property
By Tom DeWeese
Mar 9, 2006

It's unfortunate for property owners that the battle for the right to own and control their land has fallen on the shrugging shoulders of Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Senator is Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which will decide the fate of the Property Rights Protection Act, (S.1313). That's why the bill's future doesn't look promising.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator John Cornyn, (R-TX) on June 27, 2005, as an immediate response to the infamous Supreme Court decision, Kelo VS New London, CT. That decision said local governments could team up with private developers to bull doze homes in order to build new projects to bring in more tax dollars for the city. The ruling caused Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to warn that "any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party." She went on to say, "The specter of condemnation hangs over all property."

The decision caused an unprecedented firestorm of revolt across the nation. Forty-three states are now pushing legislation to protect private property from eminent domain abuse. Two commercial banks (BB&T of North Carolina and Montgomery Bank of Missouri) have announced that they will no longer finance projects where the land was taken by eminent domain. Said the Chairman of the Board of BB&T, "It's just wrong." And the U.S. House of Representatives quickly passed its own version of the Property Rights Protection Act in November, essentially cutting off federal funds to any community that uses Eminent Domain for community development.

But Senator Specter isn't falling for these arguments. He's a big government boy all the way. You know, one of those guys who just naturally has the answers for how the rest of us should live. Senator Specter never saw a big government deal he didn't like. People, in Senator Specter's way of thinking, are just sheep to be coddled at election time. In Senator Specter's world, people who speak out about losing their homes or jobs to government dictates just get in the way of serious work.

In short, it's an ideological war between Americans who believe government is to be feared and controlled verses those who believe government is the answer to every question. Senator Specter likes to make life easy. He'll choose good old government every time. Remember, it's just for the common good.

That's why Senator Specter is sitting on S.1313. No action has taken place in his committee since it was introduced back in June. Yes, he did hold a hearing on the bill in September. A very high profile one at that. In fact, he allowed Suzette Kelo to take center stage and tell her story to the nation. But that's where action stopped.

What Senator Specter is perpetrating is a well-know legislative flimflam. While the nation is inflamed over the Court's decision, he is stalling, hoping the furor will die down and go away. Then he and his big government brethren can go back to business as usual.

Of course, the Senator doesn't put it exactly in those terms. He tells us that he's just being cautious, reviewing the legislation. H e doesn't want to rush to judgment on so vital an issue, he assures us. The Hearing in September gave him good cover. He got to make headlines on the issue, which served to calm the people into believing that he was actually doing something. It will also probably help him fool some of his voters at reelection time.

And he is doing something. He's buying time for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. Now, these are folks Senator Specter can get cozy with. They think alike. They don't act through a motivation of selfishness like the bothersome property owners. Nope. They answer to a higher authority - the common good. Of course, only such big government jackals can construe the common good to be privately-owned shopping centers and luxury condos.

As the restless property owners grow confident that they are going to win a slam-dunk victory to stop eminent domain abuses, these two big government groups are wisely using the time Specter has bought them. The Mayor's Conference's and League of Cities' lobbyists are swarming over Capitol Hill, assuring Congress that state and local governments are not abusing their power to make declarations of blight or their use of eminent domain for economic development. They call the protests of property owners "emotionalistic reactions." They call for "cooler heads to prevail."

Indianapolis, Indiana, Mayor Bart Peterson calls the charges of abuse "inaccuracies and stereotypes." He says, "eminent domain is used sparingly." Interestingly, the Institute for Justice, the group that defended Suzette Kelo before the Supreme Court, reports that it has found 10,000 cases in which condemnation was used or threatened for the benefit of private developers during a five-year period. And that study probably doesn't come close to the real figure, because it was just based on those that were reported in the newspapers.

Incredibly, Mayor Peterson told one of Senator Specter's subcommittees that when government threatens to condemn people's property, "a majority of the time, most people agree to sell." It's the old "willing sellers" ruse used time and again, even written into land grab legislation, to offer some assurances that government won't just take land. It gives the impression that the property owner has some say in the matter. In reality, owners only sell after first being threatened, intimidated and harassed by government agents. Owners sell as a last resort. Then the government announces that it's got yet another "willing seller." Of course if the government was to then present their willing sellers to the public, we could all see the black eyes and broken bones they got in the deal.

Consider how the "willing sellers" were treated in New London, CT, as reported by Suzette Kelo in her testimony before the Specter committee. She had no intention of selling. She had spent a considerable amount of money and time fixing up her little pink house, a home she could afford with a beautiful view of the water. She planted flowers in the yard, braided her own rugs for the floors, filled the rooms with antiques and created the home she wanted.

It was less than a year later that the trouble started. A real estate broker suddenly showed up on her door representing an unknown client. Suzette said she wasn't interested in selling. The realtor's demeanor then changed as she warned that the property was going to be condemned by the city. Then, one year later, on the day before Thanksgiving, the sheriff taped a letter to her door, stating that her home had been condemned by the City of New London. A year after that there was a trial where the "willing sellers" attempted to save their homes. The city gave ten different reasons why it wanted to take their property. It seems the city had no specific plan for the "common good." First they said it was for "park support." Then they said "roads." Then for a "museum."

The homeowners did not surrender their property. They stood firm. Then the harassment started. Government agents knocked on doors or called on the phone at all hours, insisting that homeowners sign the contracts to sell. As soon as an owner did cave to the pressure a bulldozer was immediately brought in and the home demolished. It was then parked in front of the next home, waiting. And the process was repeated until the neighborhood looked like a war zone. Finally, roads were blocked, denying residents access to their homes. It was all for the common good, remember.

Worse, the New London actions are not just an isolated case of a government run amuck. These are the bullying tactics used in communities across the country. In the city of St. Pete Beach, Florida, the local government has filed suit against five residents who say they are opposed to a redevelopment plan officials claim will increase population and tax bases. The residents simply want to put the issue on the ballot and let the community decide. City officials sued because they say the state won't allow citizens the right to vote on a redevelopment plan like the one under consideration. Apparently letting people vote wouldn't be sound policy for the common good.

It goes on. In Norwood, Ohio, Carl and Joy Gamble stand to lose their home of 35 years so developer Jeffrey Anderson can expand his $500,000,000 empire with a new mall. More than 20 homeowners in Long Branch, NJ, many of whom have owned their oceanfront homes for generations, may be kicked off of their land for the construction of expensive condominiums. In Riviera Beach, Florida, a predominately black community (and one of the last affordable waterfront neighborhoods in Florida) is threatened by a massive redevelopment plan that may condemn up to 2,000 homes and businesses in favor of more expensive homes, upscale retail, and a yacht club, boat marina and other luxury amenities. Apparently, such luxuries are essential to the common good.

In downtown Washington, DC, homes are being torn down in order to make room for a new baseball stadium. The new location will only be a few miles from the existing RFK stadium, already owned by the city. But the venerable old facility lacks the luxury boxes and fancy amenities. So people's homes must go and business must pay taxes to pay for the new one. It's ironic, even as the homes are condemned and destroyed, the DC City council may refuse to agree to terms dictated in a contract with major league baseball and so the team may leave the city. Oh well. Perhaps the homeless can be housed in the luxury boxes. Wouldn't that be a victory for the common good?

This is how Americans are supposed to be treated, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors? Keep these true actions in mind as you consider the words of U.S. Mayors Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran when he said, "As I have said in the past, the power of eminent domain provides elected officials at all levels of government one of the basic tools they need to ensure the growth and well-being of their communities. Local-elected leaders take the issue of eminent domain very seriously and use it judiciously, most often as a last resort, to further economic development." Americans need to start asking: growth and well being for whom? The people in the community? The rich who now have the power to take what they covet?

Such is the state of America today, in city after city. Government, armed with the power to take property at will does what government does best, it takes it. No valid reason needed. And no home or business is secure from any scheme to pad the pockets of the powerful. The policy is officially called Sustainable Development. Some call it Smart Growth, though the policy is, as the Wall Street Journal calls it, "really pretty dumb." It's the official policy of every single city, town and small burg in America. It's the official policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as is prominently displayed on the group's website. Under Sustainable Development there is no room for individual whims like property rights. The common good (social equity) takes precedence over every decision. Sustainable Development means top-down control.

Meanwhile, alarmed that legislation may actually acknowledge that people have rights to the property they've bought and paid for, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has issued an emergency resolution at its 74th Winter Meeting that "underscores the use of eminent domain as integral to the economic development of local communities." "Without the use of eminent domain," the Resolution goes on, "it will be very difficult and/or expensive for many cities to carryout public/private economic development." (public/private - that's Sustainable Development policy which they can't carry out with out a powerful sledgehammer over property owners.)

The Mayors and the League of Cities are terrified that their days of abusing property rights are coming to and end. In the heat of the fight they have turned to the age-old tactic that has always worked in this day of sound-bite politics and emotion-driven policy. Delay. Let it all calm down. Sneak it passed the unsuspecting public. The Mayor's Resolution calls on the federal government to take no further action to "alter the rules governing eminent domain until it has 1) received the report on the results of a study currently being conducted by the Government Accountability Office on how state and local governments are using eminent domain across the nation; 2) and held comprehensive hearings." Delay.

Not mentioned in the Resolution, but understood by all involved, is that if the delay can last until the end of this congressional legislative session, the Property Rights Protection Act passed in the House and pending in the Senate will die. Property rights advocates will have to start over again in the next congress. All know there is little hope of that happening. The battle is now or never.

And so, as Senator Specter steps into the breach and gives the local governments the delay they desperately want, the land grabs go on, accelerated by Supreme Court vindication. The people will forget. The fight will subside. The condemned homeowners tossed aside. The common good proudly served as the proper pockets are lined with gold. By reelection time, will anyone remember that it was Arlen Specter who drowned the fire of the property rights revolt?
Copyright by Tom DeWeese,

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Liberals, Try This Just For the Sake of Argument

Just for the sake of argument, are there any liberal Democrats or other liberals out there who can momentarily lay aside their views on several issues and just consider these possibilities?

Suppose (again, for the sake of argument):

1. That in Florida in November, 2000, Katherine Harris was correct in understanding and carrying out Florida law, and that the twelve investigations by newspaper journalists were correct in concluding that Bush won under every scenario.

2. That the Israeli and Iraqi generals and the Saddam tapes are telling the truth about the weapons of mass destruction, that the WMD were on hand just before Operation Iraqi Freedom and were shipped to Syria, which is also ruled by a Baathist party, and that Saddam was continuing to restore his nuclear weapons development program.

3. That the captured tapes, documents and CDs and Able Danger data mining results that show Saddam’s extensive support for Islamic terrorists are accurate.

4. That with the world’s oil supplies peaking as world consumption explodes, it might be a good idea to nurture a friendly democracy in the most highly educated Muslim country in the Mideast – which just happens to straddle most of the world’s oil.

5. That the effort to establish a democracy in Iraq (completely contrary to Sharia Islamic law) might draw many of the world’s organized Muslim terrorists there and divert them from attacking us on US soil, and that the Iraqis will deal with the sectarian strife as they put their new government in place.

6. That the “hockey stick” data underpinning global warming fears are invalid, and the temperature data showing a long series of warming and cooling cycles (including the ‘little ice age’) taking place over thousands of years are reasonably valid.

7. That the predictions by all actuarial experts that the Social Security program is in serious trouble and will require large tax increases and/or large benefit cuts for most baby-boomers are a harbinger of a disaster that should be addressed now.

Would you therefore continue to obstruct and undermine the President on every front including 1. the war against Islamofascist terrorists, 2. the efforts (not including Kyoto) to reduce greenhouse gases by going nuclear and 3. the efforts to restructure Social Security? Would you continue to call President Bush a “liar”, a “Hitler”, a “terrorist”, insult our troops, disclose and publicize secret intelligence programs and call for our immediate withdrawal and surrender in Iraq? Or would you act somewhat differently?

If the answer is yes, that you would act somewhat differently, you give me heart to continue to try to get out the truth as I see it, and possibly reach you, drip by drip. If the answer is no, I wonder why you bother to listen to any news and information source, when you can find out everything you need to know from Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

We Lost One As House Members Panic and Pander

We are engaged in a war that may eventually challenge the survival of western civilization. We probably cannot win that war without the support and friendship of moderate Muslim states like Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, and the fully half of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims who live under democratically elected governments in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey. Yesterday, bowing to racism, xenophobia and hatred of Muslims, we lost a major battle in that war when a large block of Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee joined with every Democrat to vote 62 to 2 to block the Dubai ports deal, thus robbing the Bush Administration of an important and valuable weapon in this war on Islamic terrorists, and embarrassing themselves and their president at the same time. The Arab company has taken us off the hook by withdrawing from the deal, but the damage has been done.

When I vacationed in Savannah, Georgia a couple of years ago, I was amazed at the commercial activity going on at the port in the mouth of the river. There I saw the largest container ship on the east coast being serviced by special trucks that drove trailers onto the ship and then picked up a different trailer and drove off. The temporary bridge they drove over was a part of the ship, which extended it to the dock when needed. I was further surprised to learn that the company that ran these operations and owned these assets was Saudi-owned. If our Republican Congress-members and also Senator Schumer took a little time and went to Google for five minutes, they would learn that the Saudis also have owned and operated oil terminals and storage tanks in Bridgeport, Connecticut for several years, and that these same United Arab Emirates who wanted to own facilities at some US ports have operated a jet airline service and a terminal at JFK Airport since 1985 that makes daily flights to and from the Middle East carrying both passengers and freight. They also routinely fly in and out of Newark, New Jersey and Houston, Texas.

A little more research would also reveal that not only do the Emirates provide landing rights, port facilities and other support for our military aircraft and warships in Dubai, but that they have made it possible for US operatives to monitor closely the affairs in Iran, which is just across the Persian Gulf from their country. All this information is unclassified and available to anyone with access to the web. What we don’t know are any arrangements in addition to these that the Bush Administration has covertly made with the Emirates, and which it does not wish to make public.

I have not been so disgusted with Republican politicians since the horrible Terry Schiavo controversy.

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Republican Heroes; Democrat Heroes

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Manifesto and a Rebuttal

In a recent posting (Perhaps The Most Important Question of Our Age), I said our war on terrorism is directed only at the relatively small number of the world-wide Muslims that are Islamofascists – those who want to use any means to advance the spread of militant Islam, and I said that most Muslims want nothing to do with this movement to conquer the world by violent means. I also complained that these peaceful Muslims are making me uneasy by their silence and their absence in this struggle.

Today I want to present two items: first, a group of Muslim and ex-Muslim intellectuals has issued a manifesto condemning Islamofascism, and I think this may be an important development and the kind of thing I have been looking for. It is presented below. Immediately after the manifesto I am publishing here an article that rebuts my views on this by someone who thinks we must regard all Muslims as deadly enemies.

First the manifesto:

Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from somilian origin, is member of Dutch parliement, member of the liberal party VVD. Writter of the film Submission which caused the assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an islamist in november 2004, she lives under police protection.

Chahla Chafiq
Chahla Chafiq, writer from iranian origin, exiled in France is a novelist and an essayist. She’s the author of "Le nouvel homme islamiste , la prison politique en Iran " (2002). She also wrote novels such as "Chemins et brouillard" (2005).

Caroline Fourest
Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist ideologies), author of several reference books on « laicité » and fanatism : Tirs Croisés : la laïcité à l’épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère Tariq : discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She receieved the National prize of laicité in 2005.

Bernard-Henri Lévy
French philosoph, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism, antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L’Idéologie française, La Pureté dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.

Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane Mais Libre"). She speaks out for free expression based on the Koran itself. Née en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa famille musulmane d’origine indienne à l’âge de quatre ans et vit maintenant au Canada, où ses émissions et ses livres connaissent un énorme succès.

Mehdi Mozaffari
Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from iranian origin and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles and books on islam and islamism such as : Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.

Maryam Namazie
Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year award.

Taslima Nasreen
Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her positions defending women and minorities brought her in trouble with a comittee of integrist called « Destroy Taslima » and to be persecuted as « apostate »

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany’s Author of the Year Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Center. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

Philippe Val
Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing french newspaper who have republished the cartoons on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the danish citizens targeted by islamists).

Ibn Warraq
Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim ; Leaving Islam : Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins of the Koran , is at present Research Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historical research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.

Antoine Sfeir
Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed french nationality to live in an universalist and « laïc » (real secular) country. He is the director of Les cahiers de l’Orient and has published several reference books on islamism such as Les réseaux d’Allah (2001) et Liberté, égalité, Islam : la République face au communautarisme (2005).

The following piece is an excellent rebuttal of the idea that most Muslims do not support the terrorists. I reject the thoughts expressed in this article, but I understand its logic and appeal.

March 1, 2006
Absolute Certainty
By Bruce Thornton

Coming hard upon the heels of the cartoon riots and the election of the Hamas terrorists, the destruction of the Shi’ite mosque of the Golden Dome in Samarra by Sunni jihadists, and the subsequent Shi’ite bloody retaliation, should put to rest Western delusions about the true nature of Islam. But don’t hold your breath. Such displays of Islam’s violent intolerance have been coming thick and fast the last few decades, and can be found on every page of history going back to the 7th century, when Islam began its expansion with the blood of several hundred decapitated Jews.

Yet still some Westerners, enthralled to their own materialist assumptions and multicultural “we are the world” sentimentalism, wave away this evidence and reduce this destructive behavior to any and every cause except the one that counts: spiritual belief. So we hear that the violence is caused by a lack of jobs, or a lack of liberal-democratic institutions, or “frustration” and insecurity about the dismal backwardness of most Muslim states, or wounded pride in the face of Western success, or resentment of Western imperialist and colonialist sins, or oppressive autocrats, or . . . take your pick. The same therapeutic mentality that thinks destructive behavior in teens results from a “lack of self-esteem” reduces the religious values of Muslims to mere “epiphenomena,” as the Marxists see it, symptoms of some underlying condition rooted in material deprivation, political impotence, or psychological trauma.

The problem with Islam, however, is not a lack of self-esteem but too damned much. This is a faith fanatically certain of its truth and righteousness, the culminating vision of God’s relations with humanity, the ultimate meaning of human existence on every level, including the social and political. As such, its destiny is to spread over the whole world until the benefits, both in this life and the next, of submission to God are bestowed on all humans, and the dysfunctional man-made values–– including democracy, materialism, “equal rights,” and freedom–– are swept away. For however alluring, these do not deliver true happiness or true freedom, but mere hedonism and license that create misery and degradation in this world, and put the soul at risk in the next.

If, then, you are in possession of this truth that you are absolutely certain holds the key to universal happiness in this world and the next, why would you be tolerant of alternatives? Why should you tolerate a dangerous lie? Why should you “live and let live,” the credo of the spiritually moribund who stand for everything because they stand for nothing? And why wouldn’t you kill in the name of this vision, when the infidel nations work against God’s will and his beneficent intentions for the human race?

This is precisely what the jihadists tell us, what fourteen centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence tell us, what the Koran and Hadith tell us. Yet we smug Westerners, so certain of our own superior knowledge that human life is really about genes or neuroses or politics or nutrition, condescendingly look down on the true believer. Patronizing him like a child, we tell him that he doesn’t know that his own faith has been “hijacked” by “fundamentalists” who manipulate his ignorance, that what he thinks he knows about his faith is a delusion, and that the true explanation is one that we advanced, sophisticated Westerners understand while the believer remains mired in superstition and neurotic fantasy.

And of course, it doesn’t help that the Westernized Islamic apologists and propagandists, having taken the measure of the West’s own superstition and fantasy, speak in our terms and manipulate our materialist causes. So we hear that Western support of autocrats is really to blame for terrorist discontent — but overthrowing Saddam Hussein, one of the most brutal murderers of Muslims ever, and creating for the Iraqi people an inclusive, law-based government, earn us absolutely nothing other than more hatred and murder. Ah, but the neo-colonialist Zionists are responsible, we are told. Yet billions of Western dollars given to the Palestinian Arabs, decades of obsessive, fawning attention on the part of the Western media and the U.N. even as millions have suffered and died elsewhere, have not moved us one inch closer to resolving the crisis or removing the existential threat to Israel. Give us jobs, we are told, an excuse echoed recently by Thomas Friedman, and we will be happy. Yet the terrorists in the main are not poor or dispossessed. Their leaders are billionaires, surgeons, engineers, and the college educated. But the West disrespects Islam, they cry, all the while our apologetic gestures of admiration for Islam do not stop the persecution and murder of Christians, do not elicit reciprocal apologies for the vile insults to Judaism that appear in state-run media throughout the Muslim world.

Meanwhile, all our attempts to bolster Muslim self-esteem, our desperate protestations of respect for their wonderful religion, our groveling apologies for exercising our own rights and values, our donning of the hair-shirt of racist, colonialist, or imperialist guilt, do nothing more than convince the jihadist that his spiritual superiority is justified. He looks at our appeasement, our fear, our rationalizations, our self-doubt, our unwillingness to defend the values we preach to the world, and sees the craven inferiority of the dhimmi, the conquered infidel who must acknowledge by his public actions the superiority of Islam, and who must pay the jizya, the “poll tax” that purchases his trembling security. Only we call the poll tax “foreign aid” or “welfare payments,” and the gestures of submission “respect for diversity.” We think our submission buys us affection and gratitude and respect for our interests, but in fact it purchases nothing except more contempt for our spiritual bankruptcy, more scorn for our belief that money and material comfort trump spiritual truth.

The true measure of our failure adequately to respect spiritual motives can be taken from the Bush administration’s steadfast refusal to put the crisis with Islam in these terms. The materialist left, of course, has been taught by Freud and Marx that religion is an “illusion,” so obviously we can’t expect them to grasp how powerfully spiritual imperatives can move people. But when a self-proclaimed born-again Christian either can’t or won’t see the clash of spiritual goods underlying the conflict, then we know how thoroughly the materialists have done their work of marginalizing religion in the West.

Perhaps the best example of this contempt for our spiritual foundations came when the President apologized for using the word “Crusade.” The demonization of the Crusades is a historical distortion that acquiesces in the jihadist rewriting of history in order to exploit Western self-loathing and spiritual emptiness. Whatever the sordid or brutal motives and actions of the Crusaders, they were still for the most part driven by a spiritual imperative to restore the Holy Land to the Christian civilization that had defined the Middle East for six centuries before being violently transformed by the armies of Allah. For the most aggressively imperialistic culture in the history of the world to whine now about Western imperialism — and be taken seriously by Westerners — testifies to the intellectual corruption endemic in the West.

If we continue down this road of appeasement, apology, and blackmail, then our outlook is indeed grim. A culturally weaker and ruder Europe turned back the Islamic tide because it was united by its Christian faith, the spiritual strength of all those before us who died and killed so that this prosperous, free world we enjoy could exist. But what unites the West now, when our credo seems to be that juvenile sentiment from John Lennon’s “Imagine”: “Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too”? Is this the belief that can resist an enemy who knows with absolute certainty what is worth killing and dying for?

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oops, Bush Didn’t Lie; Sorry About That

Today’s Herald-Tribune, southwest Florida’s leading newspaper, published a letter to the editor demanding the impeachment of President Bush “because he lied about knowing the levies would be breached”. Perhaps this is a rant of another leftist kook who has given up on ‘Bush lied’ about WMD, but more likely it was the direct result of the lie that the Associated Press told earlier this week that, in fact, the President was told that the levies would be breached.

It is little consolation that, under fire from hundreds of bloggers, AP has issued a retraction of its original story. Newspapers like the Herald-Tribune, which gets most of its news stories from the New York Times and the AP, and the three major TV networks and also CNN are watching their readers and viewers plummet as they continue to lie and twist the reporting of events to put the Republican administration and President Bush always in the worst light possible. The decline of the major media is probably more closely tied to the rise of talk radio, the growth of the internet and the success of Fox News than to the intentional misreporting and outright bias that has turned the mainstream media into an arm of the Democratic Party. The thing is, however, I might never have turned to Rush Limbaugh, the internet and Fox News if I had not become sickened by the propaganda I was being fed by the MSM.

Here is the AP’s first report on March 1, - "federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees..."

This statement by the AP is completely false, and on March 3 the AP issued a clarification that Bush was actually told that there was some chance of the levees being “topped” by Katrina.

Anyone who has dealt with the federal government knows what to expect - delays, bureaucracy, red tape and incredible inefficiency and ineptness. This is a fact of life with big government, no matter who is running things, and in an emergency like Katrina was, the local and state governments have the prime responsibility to confront the threat. Anyone who watched what happened there can never forget the incredible bungling of Mayor Nagin or the incompetence of deer-in-the-headlights, Governor Blanco, the delay in the evacuation order and those hundreds of school buses just sitting there in the flood waters.

There is no question that the federal government, largely FEMA, did not react as quickly or as well as it should have in confronting this huge, natural disaster, but as ‘Popular Mechanics’ pointed out, “In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Dozens of National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters flew rescue operations that first day--some just 2 hours after Katrina hit the coast. Hoistless Army helicopters improvised rescues, carefully hovering on rooftops to pick up survivors. On the ground, "guardsmen had to chop their way through, moving trees and recreating roadways," says Jack Harrison of the National Guard. By the end of the week, 50,000 National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast region had saved 17,000 people; 4000 Coast Guard personnel saved more than 33,000.”

I think that a couple of quotes from two of the bloggers who exposed AP’s lie of the week say it all:

From – “I think it's reasonable to assume that the AP's "clarification" is the result of our dissection of their incredibly lame story. I think this highlights, though, how hard it is for truth to catch up to error. Hundreds of newspapers printed the AP's misinformation, and it was the basis for television news on all of the broadcast networks. The correction (or "clarification") will never catch up to most of the tens of millions of people who heard the original story. The news business is all about impressions, and corrections, days after the fact, never take away the impression that the original story falsely created.”

And from
“What we have here is a very strange confluence of events: this story started just as Mardis Gras brought New Orleans back into the public eye. Normally, the story would be about how New Orleans is recovering - but the story instead was a bogus re-write of videos that the Administration had long ago provided to the MSM. I smell a rat here - a DemocRAT, if you ask me. This is simply too beneficial for the Democrats for it to be coincidence - there could very well be collusion, and that would make what the AP did a de-facto campaign contribution to the Democratic Party. I believe that such a donation - which would have to be figured as a value of tens of millions of dollars - would be illegal under our campaign finance laws.

We should have a full hearing in Congress, with the AP and the DNC forced to turn over all documents which may in any way be related to Katrina from the day it went ashore to the day this AP story ran last week. We need to get to the bottom of this, lest the MSM - by getting away with this - merely become an adjunct of the DNC dressed up as an independent media.”

Dan Rathergate, wherein CBS used obviously forged documents and showcased the half-deranged ravings of a long-time Bush-hater to try to influence the outcome of the last election, showed the world just how rotten this bias has become on the part of the main stream media. Open minded people need to withhold their judgment on issues until they have evaluated the information they get from several sources.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

How Much Did the ACLU Get From YOU Today?

Under federal law, an attorney or an organization of attorneys that wins a civil rights case in a federal court can charge legal fees and collect damages from the losing defendant in the case. This includes cases of so-called “religious discrimination” under the “establishment” clause of our Constitution. This means that when the ACLU brings an action against a city or town that has allowed a crèche or an opening prayer or anything else that some disaffected atheist feels offends him, and wins the case, not only does the country lose another symbol of our heritage, but the city or town can be bankrupted by the courtroom loss. This may help explain why many municipalities run for cover and refuse to defend the religious symbols in question.

There is an action going on right now in the Congress to stop this situation – at least so far as “establishment” cases governing mentions of religion are concerned. I urge every citizen to support this change. The bill in question is HR 2679, which was introduced by Representative Hostettler and others, as shown below:

Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005 (Introduced in House)
HR 2679 IH

1st Session
H. R. 2679

To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney’s fees.

May 26, 2005

Mr. HOSTETTLER (for himself, Mr. WAMP, Mr. NORWOOD, Mr. JENKINS, Mr. PAUL, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. SODREL, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. PITTS, Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina, Mr. OTTER, Mr. DUNCAN, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. KINGSTON, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland, Mr. POE, and Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney’s fees.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005′.


(a) Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights- Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983) is amended–
(1) by inserting `(a)’ before the first sentence; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(b) The remedies with respect to a claim under this section where the deprivation consists of a violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion shall be limited to injunctive relief.’.
(b) Attorneys Fees- Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following: `However, no fees shall be awarded under this subsection with respect to a claim described in subsection (b) of section nineteen hundred and seventy nine.

It’s no secret to any of my viewers that I believe strongly that the ACLU has morphed into an anti-American organization which must be opposed in every way possible. The passage of this bill will strengthen the resolve of our local officials to defend our heritage and drastically reduce the flow of funds from our tax dollars into the coffers of the ACLU. Without this change, YOU are financing the anti-religious, anti-American efforts of the ACLU through the taxes you pay to your local community.

The intent of the framers of our Constitution in enacting the “establishment” clause was to prevent the government from proclaiming and enforcing a particular religion, as has happened in many countries with deleterious results. The twisting of this protection into the removal of all mention of religion is one of the many crazy situations that judicial activism of a liberal, atheist agenda has inflicted on the great majority of Americans.

You can quickly send an e-mail to your House and Senate members by entering your Zip code in the banner at the right side of my site under the Archive Months and asking for them to support HR 2679.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Further Thoughts on the Dubai Ports World Deal

Since President Bush has shown no inclination to pander to terrorists, and has kept us safe for 4 1/2 years in the face of incredible criticisms and partisan attacks, it might possibly be a good idea to support him on the UAE port terminals deal. Long after the purchase has been completed and forgotten, we will still have to figure out how to cut through the hypocracy of politicians from both sides of the aisle.

Listing to Port
By Daniel Ikenson
Published 3/2/2006 12:07:51 AM

WASHINGTON -- The firestorm over the proposed lease of certain U.S. port facilities to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, raises several chilling questions. None has anything to do with the deal itself. It was approved in accordance with the same law and procedures followed in more than 1,500 prior cases where national security implications were assessed.

But to be extra certain, and to atone for its political maladroitness in failing to keep key congressional leaders in the loop, the Bush administration has instituted a full 45-day review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Its outcome should be honored.

The chilling questions have more to do with the proclivity of certain politicians to exploit understandable American anxieties about security for their own political purposes. Do members of Congress have legitimate reasons to question the administration's efforts at protecting the homeland? Do they really believe the administration would subordinate national security concerns to other considerations? Have they no faith in an oversight process they themselves authored?

If the answer is "yes" to any of those, Americans need to hear why. Credible evidence that our security has been systematically compromised might shatter a covenant we take for granted. Despite any doubts and misgivings many of us may have about government's capacity to do things well, and regardless of our affinity, indifference, or disaffection for the Bush administration, most of us believe that the administration views national security as its paramount responsibility.

The same goes for any administration. Failure to honor the sanctity of that foremost responsibility would constitute the worst breach of trust between the people and their government. That is why we deserve to see evidence when a public official asserts or implies such a breach.

Referring to certain pledges made by DPW to make policymakers more comfortable with the deal, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) asserted that the company's "promise isn't worth the paper on which it is written." Why? The comment implies that Sen. Menendez has credible evidence that this company is untrustworthy. What is that evidence? And what are the national security implications?

Congressional detractors who have no evidence or who would answer "no" are guilty of exploiting fears or of knowing too little about port security to even begin to question the efficacy of CFIUS's endorsement of the deal. The website of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) claims, "Next week control of the Port of New York and New Jersey will be handed over to Dubai Ports World..." That is patently false. Control of the ports, including security functions, has been and will remain the domain of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

To speak from a position of authority without understanding port security operations is reckless and misleading. Such demagoguery is worthy of stern rebuke, particularly considering the potential collateral damage caused by the hysteria.

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S MIDDLE EAST policy, which some argue has been an utter failure, consists of carrots to complement the more familiar sticks. The carrots include access to the U.S. market through bilateral free trade agreements. The United States has agreements with Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman, and is in the process of completing a deal with the UAE. None of the Arab free trade agreement partners participates in the Arab boycott of Israel. Bahrain turned its back on the boycott right after signing the agreement. The UAE would likely follow suit.

Encouraging moderate Arab states to remain moderate and to embrace capitalism and other western institutions is the quiet success of the administration's Middle East policy.

It is also threatened by reflexive political opportunism that is driving the furor over the port deal.

Maybe a debate about CFIUS, its processes, and the possibility of involving key members of Congress in decision-making is warranted. Maybe Arab investment should be held to a higher security standard than that of other would-be acquisitions. Maybe it already is.

Regardless, it is imperative that Congress and the administration get on the same page about the purpose and operation of CFIUS. As the world economy becomes even more integrated, we should expect to see more foreign acquisitions, particularly if the dollar depreciates, as many in Congress advocate. A cheaper dollar makes hard U.S. assets more attractive to foreign buyers. Let's not impede that important process with rules that are perceived as arbitrary and capricious.

Granted, matters of national security trump matters of commerce. If U.S. security would be legitimately compromised by some commercial transaction, that transaction must be prevented. So far, the investigation into the ports deal has produced no credible reasons to intervene.

Daniel Ikenson is a trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

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