Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.
As we all know, there are terrorists that are captured by our forces, and others in their own countries. When we would like to interrogate them, or have them interrogated, we utilize the resources we possess. That, of course, comes from operatives that work in the shadows. Marcie may cover the troops—stands up, yells, shouts, and curses those that persecute them—but I get this field. Not because I am extremely knowledgeable, which, in some ways I am, compared to the average American, but because my research into the subjects of espionage and intelligence are wide and varied. The subject has always grabbed my attention. And, I have a personal connection to it, as well.
But what the NY Times printed today could be construed as borderline sedition. I’m not going to cite the entire piece. It takes up three pages on MS Word, and is over 2600 words long. If you want to read it in it’s entirety—and urge our readers to do so—the link is below. Make your own decision, but after reading twice, I’m pretty convinced that this was designed to do damge to the CIA, and overall, it tells a new tale to our enemies abroad. (TY NY Times Editors: We have unzipped our fly, once again, thanks to your ilk)
SMITHFIELD, N.C. - The airplanes of Aero Contractors Ltd. take off from Johnston County Airport here, then disappear over the scrub pines and fields of tobacco and sweet potatoes. Nothing about the sleepy Southern setting hints of foreign intrigue. Nothing gives away the fact that Aero's pilots are the discreet bus drivers of the battle against terrorism, routinely sent on secret missions to Baghdad, Cairo, Tashkent and Kabul.
When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job. If agency experts need to fly overseas in a hurry after the capture of a prized prisoner, a plane will depart Johnston County and stop at Dulles Airport outside Washington to pick up the C.I.A. team on the way.
Aero Contractors' planes dropped C.I.A. paramilitary officers into Afghanistan in 2001; carried an American team to Karachi, Pakistan, right after the United States Consulate there was bombed in 2002; and flew from Libya to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the day before an American-held prisoner said he was questioned by Libyan intelligence agents last year, according to flight data and other records.
While posing as a private charter outfit - "aircraft rental with pilot" is the listing in Dun and Bradstreet - Aero Contractors is in fact a major domestic hub of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret air service. The company was founded in 1979 by a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency's Vietnam-era air company, and it appears to be controlled by the agency, according to former employees.
The planes, regularly supplemented by private charters, are operated by real companies controlled by or tied to the agency, including Aero Contractors and two Florida companies, Pegasus Technologies and Tepper Aviation. The civilian planes can go places American military craft would not be welcome. They sometimes allow the agency to circumvent reporting requirements most countries impose on flights operated by other governments. But the cover can fail, as when two Austrian fighter jets were scrambled on Jan. 21, 2003, to intercept a C.I.A. Hercules transport plane, equipped with military communications, on its way from Germany to Azerbaijan.
Some of the C.I.A. planes have been used for carrying out renditions, the legal term for the agency's practice of seizing terrorism suspects in one foreign country and delivering them to be detained in another, including countries that routinely engage in torture. The resulting controversy has breached the secrecy of the agency's flights in the last two years, as plane-spotting hobbyists, activists and journalists in a dozen countries have tracked the mysterious planes' movements.
Is there seriously a problem with this. Who cares where these animals are being taken? I don’t. But then again, I guess I have a higher "intestinal fortitude" than those on the Left do. Get what you can from these people, and lock them away. They have no rights. I don’t advocate torture, per se, but I do advocate using any and all means to gain information from these people. They’re not just going to start singing like canaries. Some measures are needed, and I don’t care if it’s the CIA or Mossad doing the interrogating. Memo to the Left: We’re at war with an enemy that has zero compunction about doing illicitly evil deeds to meet their goals, i.e., 11 September 2001.
The authorities in Italy and Sweden have opened investigations into the C.I.A.'s alleged role in the seizure of suspects in those countries who were then flown to Egypt for interrogation. According to Dr. Georg Nolte, a law professor at the University of Munich, under international law, nations are obligated to investigate any substantiated human rights violations committed on their territory or using their airspace.
International law doesn’t apply in this war towards these terrorists. These people don’t even have the basic protections under the Geneva Convention for a prisoner of war. And honestly, where does beheading fall into the "fair treatment" of a prisoner. Someone might want to ask Zarqawi about that one. I’m pretty sure that beheading was a no-no. So, quite honestly, Italy and Sweden can stick their inquiries where the sun doesn’t shine. Italy’s already on my s**t list for un-redacting the Sgrena Report, and putting all those names out in the open.
A C.I.A. spokeswoman declined to comment for this article. Representatives of Aero Contractors, Tepper Aviation and Pegasus Technologies, which operate the agency planes, said they could not discuss their clients' identities. "We've been doing business with the government for a long time, and one of the reasons is, we don't talk about it," said Robert W. Blowers, Aero's assistant manager.
Smart lady; she saved her job. There will be an internal investigation over this; I guarantee it. The reason they have lasted as long as they have is because of the necessity of secrecy. The last thing we’re going to broadcast is when and where we’re picking these people up. I’m sure the MSM would love to have that information; they’d splash it across the front pages. Oh wait, the Times just did, in a way. They ran a story acknowledging the existence of this sort of an operation. Thanks for tipping our enemies off.
Most of the shell companies that are the planes' nominal owners hold permits to land at American military bases worldwide, a clue to their global mission. Flight records show that at least 11 of the aircraft have landed at Camp Peary, the Virginia base where the C.I.A. operates its training facility, known as "the Farm." Several planes have also made regular trips to Guantánamo.
But the facility that turns up most often in records of the 26 planes is little Johnston County Airport, which mainly serves private pilots and a few local corporations. At one end of the 5,500-foot runway are the modest airport offices, a flight school and fuel tanks. At the other end are the hangars and offices of Aero Contractors, down a tree-lined driveway named for Charlie Day, an airplane mechanic who earned a reputation as an engine magician working on secret operations in Laos during the Vietnam War.
Again with revealing information about this operation! I’m pretty ticked at this point. It’s not bad enough that it’s in the open, but thus far the Times has given away plenty about this. Honestly, I don’t want to see our enemies conducting any sort of raid on an airport when they put two-and-two together, and connect the departure of one of their leaders to the Gulfstream V that just landed at Baghdad International airport. Our enemy may be a bit on the desperate side, but they’re not stupid.
Aero appears to be the direct descendant of Air America, a C.I.A.-operated air "proprietary," as agency-controlled companies are called.
Just three years after the big Asian air company was closed in 1976, one of its chief pilots, Jim Rhyne, was asked to open a new air company, according to a former Aero Contractors employee whose account is supported by corporate records.
"Jim is one of the great untold stories of heroic work for the U.S. government," said Bill Leary, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Georgia who has written about the C.I.A.'s air operations. Mr. Rhyne had a prosthetic leg - he had lost one leg to enemy antiaircraft fire in Laos - that was blamed for his death in a 2001 crash while testing a friend's new plane at Johnston County Airport.
Mr. Rhyne had chosen the rural airfield in part because it was handy to Fort Bragg and many Special Forces veterans, and in part because it had no tower from which Aero's operations could be spied on, a former pilot said.
Now we get the guy who is the brains behind the operation, and where his company operates from. Nothing like the Times painting a big red target on your base of operations, and on your head as the leader of the operation.
Aero's planes were sent to Fort Bragg to pick up Special Forces operatives for practice runs in the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina, dropping supplies or attempting emergency "exfiltrations" of agents, often at night, the former pilot said. He described flying with $50,000 in cash strapped to his legs to buy fuel and working under pseudonyms that changed from job to job.
He does not recall anyone using the word "rendition." "We used to call them 'snatches,' " he said, recalling half a dozen cases. Sometimes the goal was to take a suspect from one country to another. At other times, the C.I.A. team rescued allies, including five men believed to have been marked by Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, for assassination.
When Saddam Hussein was captured in Iraq the evening of Dec. 13, 2003, a Gulfstream V executive jet was already en route from Dulles Airport in Washington. It was joined in Baghdad the next day by the Boeing Business Jet, also flying from Washington.
OK. No offense, but if the Times can connect the dots, so can our enemies. And if that’s the case, then someone is flapping their yaps a bit too much. This hole had better be plugged. The lives of the people participating in these operations are now at risk. And maybe this is why I entertained the idea of treason this afternoon against the times. We’re at war, and the NY Times is running a story like this, which gives plenty of details into this operation.
The above isn’t the whole story. Follow the link, and read it for yourself. I know enough about the intelligence field to know that this report that the Times ran is one of two things. It is either true—wouldn’t surprise me as this will only cause commotion on the Hill—or it is patently false, and is meant to be so from the CIA itself. I’m not a conspiracy nut, and based on the research I’ve done on this story alone, it smells like it’s authentic.
The reality of this being revealed is shocking to me; as I stated above, I’m unaware of any MSM source that has done this before. It has always been supposition. That’s not the case with the Times’ reporting of this. There are allusions to "circumstantial" evidence, but they are reporting this as true and authentic. If this is true—and I’m 99.9% sure it is—then this goes beyond "egregious". It goes to treasonous. And I don’t use that word loosely.
Can anyone imagine if the Times had run an expose like this about the lead-up to Normandy? How about our campaigns in the Pacific. The MSM has been nothing if not a detriment to our war efforts. And it’s time it should come to a close. Between trumped-up charges and media-driven scandals, it’s hard for the average Americans to discern what should really grab their attention. I’m not saying America is stupid, but for those that still trust the likes of CBS and CNN, there has to be a question as to what is real, and what ends up being simply trumped-up for reaction, and discarded soon after the accusations are issued.
Another month has come and gone. News and events have bombarded us day after day. And even we have to step back once in awhile, and recharge our batteries. Doctor’s orders at the Asylum that the loonies get plenty of rest when they need it. Otherwise, we’ll just get nuttier. Some of these topics we’re about to recap will be familiar. Other’s you’ll recall quickly. The MSM didn’t pick up on it—much, or at all—but the alternative media did. And on a few of these, the swarms got big real quick.
Of Options and Obstinence I get to start us off this time. Of course, I am going to take us right to where the majority of news rested this month, which was the impending Constitutional Option vote that should have been made last Tuesday. The Option, once activated, would have prevented the Democrats from filibustering or obstructing any more of the president’s judicial nominees. What happened instead was last Monday night, seven dimwitted Democrats and seven rogue Republicans came up with a "compromise". It was anything but a compromise; it was capitulation. In exchange for the "promise" the Democrats would give the three most contentious judges their rightful votes, the other seven nominees went overboard. The Republicans involved in this deal are paying a seriously hefty price right now. Even McCain’s home office in Arizona is being deluged with calls expressing some anger at his move. And it is rightly placed on them. With this agreement, the fourteen senators involved made themselves the virtual trump card when it comes to the president’s judicial nominees. If one side engages in a filibuster, or other deliberate delay in calling for a vote, the other side may decide if the tactic does indeed lead to an "extraordinary circumstance" about the nominee. If the other side disagrees, they may execute the Constitutional Option; for right now, that Option is currently off the table for the next eighteen months. It is all in the agreement, which is available at the site below. It followed this fight the best amongst the bloggers. But the agreement is explicitly clear, and many people—normal, average everyday Joes—have picked up on this, as well.
What It’s All About The whole point of the fight over the use of the Constitutional Option revolved a glaring fact: In one month, the United States Supreme Court may have a vacancy. We started hammering this point home this month when that was finally confirmed. Chief Justice William Rehnquist may step down from the high court because of his thyroid cancer. And President Bush is already preparing his list of appointees. Many insiders, legal scholars, and Constitutional experts point to J. Michael Luttig as a front runner to fill the vacancy created once President Bush moves an associate justice up to the Chief Justice’s chair. All money is on Scalia for this position because months ago, Justice Thomas said he would not even entertain such a notion. So, we will surely have a fight when and if Luttig is appointed. And should Justices O’Connor, Stevens, or Ginsburg step down, we will have another fight. The Democrats will obstruct these judges coming up. And should the Seditious Seven agree with their cronies across the aisle that the nominee warrants the obstruction through the aforementioned, and never defined "extraordinary circumstances", then any attempt to execute the Constitutional Option—to restore the powers back to the President that he has, and the natural order of the Senate—will fail. They won’t back it. And that is why this Option should have been executed; to protect the president’s power to nominate, and the Senate’s power to consent to them—properly.
Bawling Babies and Bolton Speaking of nominees, John Bolton—I am sure—is tired of waiting on the Democrats to end their garbage over him. Is the man contentious? Yes. Can he be abrasive? Ask Harry Reid, who is beyond abrasive. We need a man like John Bolton in the UN, especially on the heels of the Amnesty International accusations that Gitmo is a gulag. The UN recognizes their irrelevant authority on such matters, and Bolton could have been there to answer that allegation. But the Democrats are too busy digging up angry ex-employees he worked with ten years ago, and requesting classified State Department papers to smear him some more. Why? Because they cannot just keep bringin up the talking points on Bolton. People are sick of hearing it. And there are more people that want a level of reform at the UN than there are Democrats acting like spoiled children, and blubbering Republicans (Voinovich) that think that Bolton is just too extreme for these "strategical" times. Bolton understands that, and he also understands that the UN is a mess right now. I suppose the Democrats missed the report that came out earlier this month showing the culpability of those that managed the UN Oil-For-Food program. That report—released by members of the House investigating the UN—is positively damning, and has not only implicated several members of the UN Security Council, but also prominent businessmen here and abroad. This fiasco only goes to prove that yes, it is time for some reform at the UN, and if Bolton must crack skulls to get it done, then so be it.
The Nitwits Of Newsweek Newsweek joined Dan Rather and Eason Jordan on the wall of shame of non-existent journalistic integrity. They ran, like Dan Rather did, a phony story. The story was about prisoner abuse, but a key part of that story involved the supposed flushing of a Koran down a toilet at Gitmo. Never mind how preposterously insane that is, because what it appears to have happened is that militants in Afghanistan took hold of that story, and started riots over there. Now, it was originally cited that 17 people died in those riots. As it stands right now, the blogosphere is trying to hunt that down. There may not have been any that died in those riots. But the casualties wasn’t what irritated a majority of the blogosphere. It was their blatant disregard for the truth. Like the LA Times has done, like Eason Jordan and Linda Foley have done, like the NY Times does—on an almost daily basis—the Newsweek piece was a hit-piece, and it targeted our soldiers. How are we supposed to react to a story like this? Of course we’re outraged. But it’s typical nowadays among the papers and broadcasts of the MSM. They dislike this president, his administration, and what he’s doing to their precious world. The MSM would rather write pieces about the likes of Arafat and Castro being these grand reformers, standing up for the poor and destitute. Never mind about paying attention to the troops in the field, doing their job to protect us.
And A Babbling, Lying Idiot Shall Lead Them Giuliani Sgrena, the Italian journalist involved in a checkpoint incident with our troops in Baghdad, was proven to be a liar at the beginning of this month. The after action report was released by those investigating the shooting, and it obliterated this woman’s incessant and slanderous charges that the troops opened fire on the car she was in without warning. That same malfeasance, according to her, claimed the life of Nicola Calipari—an Italian intelligence officer sent to retrieve her. The report shows that she lied about the speed of the vehicle, and that, yes, they tried to run the checkpoint. Our troops have specific rules of engagement when it comes to situations like this, and they performed properly. The car carrying Sgrena was given the proper warnings, and was given plenty of time to slow for the approaching checkpoint. The driver refused to stop, and the troops opened fire. This happens in a war zone when you do not abide by the warnings provided. It was not our troops that got Calipari killed; it was, in essence, his own stupidity. He only notified the senior Italian official in Iraq—the second-in-command of coalition forces—of their presence in the country, and why they were there. The general was aware that his fellow countrymen were paying a ransom, but Calipari swore him to secrecy. We were not supposed to know. And there was his mistake. Had we known, we would have, likely, allowed them through the checkpoints. But we were not notified, and Calipari died. If Sgrena would like to dig deeper for blame, she might want to focus on a mirror. It was her blind stupidity that led her there, where she disregarded being an imbedded reporter, and therefore under our protection. She opted to go it alone, and it was because she completely disagrees with every aspect of our war. Fine. She is biased. I understand that, but had she been an imbedded reporter, she could have still been anti-American, and under our protection. Calipari would not have died, and everything would have been fine. She opted for a different approach. Her fault. His fault. It is not the troops fault that they did the job they were trained to do.
And, What Do They Owe Us? The Newsweek piece is just a small piece of the overall MSM. But it’s one that is becoming more and more prevalent within the media. Call them mistakes, call them blatant, it makes no difference. It’s wrong. And if they supposedly believed that the stories they printed or ran were accurate, why is that so many people can fisk them, destroy them, and leave the original propagators of the story looking like a moron? The simple fact of the matter is the MSM can claim they support the troops all they want, but it’s blatantly evident that they don’t. Any chance—ANY—to smear the troops seems to be what makes their headlines. Abu Ghraib, Lt. Pantano, Gitmo, you name it. If the press smells even the hint of misdeed among the troops, they’re the first ones to jump on it, and ride it until it is dead. Look at how they still ride Abu Ghraib; a scandal completely concocted by them. The Army was the group that acknowledged the possible abuse months before CBS ran with the story. But CBS ran with it as though it were breaking news. Newsweek slammed the men at Gitmo. Eason Jordan impugns our troops, and accuses them of war crimes. Linda Foley utters a nearly identical accusation, along with Giuliani Sgrena. The MSM doesn’t like this war—any aspect of it, even the stage in Afghanistan—and they abhor having to state that they "support the troops". But what’s truly sickening about this whole mindset of the MSM, and perhaps the reason why so many people are turning them off, is that the MSM should be thanking the troops. "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." That’s what the troops do for the media; without a Constitution to enumerate their freedom, you have no such freedom. And it’s the troops that put their lives on the line to ensure we have those freedoms. So, they—the media—owe us a lot, but they owe the troops their existence.
The Plight Is Over 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano is finally free. He is free with his honor and integrity intact, as well as his life. Lt. Pantano was facing a murder charge for killing two Iraqis running from a building his squad had just raided. The facts of the case surround the insurgents running to a truck, and only stopping said truck when Pantano’s men were prepared to shoot it. Once out of the truck, as it was being searched, both men made moves towards Pantano that he deemed as threatening, and he did not blink in ending their existence. I applaud him. He is a soldier doing his job, and should not even have faced such a charge. However, as the case unfolded, it became more clear that the soldier bringing the charge seemed to have an ax to grind. Pantano had relieved him of the squad’s command just a week or two prior to the incident. This soldier was the first one to levy charges against Pantano, which started this mess to begin with. The primary investigator in the case, after reviewing all the materials, the testimony, and affidavits concluded that Pantano should not be prosecuted for murder. He reacted properly, and dealt with the situation decisively. The only complaint the United states Marine Corps had with him was the amount of ammunition he used, and he left a particularly riling message around the neck of one of them. It read: "No better friend, no worse enemy", which was a slogan the Marines use. (It is also one of Thomas’ favorite sayings, and a belief he lives by.) For this, he is receiving administrative punishment, which I will accede to. The military has it’s rules, and I am not one who will question those rules. If this is the most he faces, so be it. But I am extremely happy that Lt. Pantano had the murder charge dropped. And in my opinion, charging our troops with murder in a combat zone would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. (Speaking of the Indy 500, I am unhappy that Danica Patrick lost this past Sunday. She was so close.)
Dizzy Dean Devolves Deeper It’s so nice to see that Howard Dean is delivering as expected. He is just as nuts, and just as wacky as ever. His recent interview with Tim Russert showed it, but along with that interview is the underlying fact that neither he, nor the Democrats, have a clue how to get power back. They held onto it for so long that they have forgotten how to fight for their power. Petty victories, like the one over the Constitutional Option, isn’t going to help them. They’re still in the hole—one of the deepest they’ve ever seen—and all they have is a ladder that reaches half-way out; it doesn’t reach the top. And the more they fume, the more they froth, the more their goal becomes unattainable. Now people will warn me in being overconfident, but to them I say "just be patient". We conservatives have cultivated our base for a good, long time. We have built it through blood, sweat, and tears. They have relied on theirs to always be there. But as the election of 2004 showed, they’re losing people from their base. Demographically speaking, Pres. Bush made strides when it came to minorities in this nation. They believed in him, and they’re only starting to depart the party they once believed in. A black conservative was once a rarity in this nation. We see Clarence Thomas, Janice Rogers Brown, Rod Paige, and Dr. Condoleeza Rice now; the four most prominent black conservatives in America. And they’re backed up by pundits like Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. More and more conservatives are making their voices known. And Dean doesn’t get it. He can’t figure out how to gin up his base. He thought he had the key in the election with all of his Deaniacs, and Left-wing bloggers. But they can’t carry the day. More bloggers are right-center than to the Left, and we conservatives have shown we can hang in a debate; only, of course, if you can keep the Left-wing nut on topic.
This has been a long and draining month for both of us. That is not to say that we have not enjoyed it, or that we wished we were doing something different. On the contrary, we are at home, right here, in the heart of the blogosphere. It has quickly become our "home away from home". We relish being here, and despite the fact that our mailing lists have shrunk considerably over this past month, we are still here. We are still racking up hits, prompting discussion topics, and informing our readers on things that are occurring right around them. Some may be a bit hard to take at times, like the case of Linda Foley, or of Indira Nooyi of PepsiCo comparing America to the middle finger. But it is true, and we back it up with the links we provide. As the year rolls on, we know that we are getting leaner and meaner. We call things as we see it, and we are not apologetic if feelings get hurt. Tough. Being a part of the blogosphere means calling attention to things that even do not want to address, but we do so anyway. We are on the front-lines of the political war, and now, there is no turning back. We will stand here as watchdogs at the gate because it is what we feel we have been called to do.
While Thomas and I posted our initial thoughts of Memorial Day yesterday, I am touched to read some of the offerings on the Internet from other people. Michelle Malkin has a running list of special sites with tributes up. She does link to the story concerning the tribute that Sec. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers attended today, known as "Rolling Thunder". http://michellemalkin.com/archives/002592.htm
And she also links to Col. Austin Bay’s site for his thoughts. Col. Bay was asked to give an address at what was known as Potter’s Field; a graveyard for the indigent that were killed in war. No family. No wife. No kids. Anyone who stands up to defend this nation honorably, should they be killed in action, deserve nothing less than the same honor they gave.He had been asked by Tejanos in Action to address the people invited to the Memorial Day tribute. His speech was good, and his thoughts are even better. Amongst the "milbloggers" of the blogosphere Austin Bay is one of the best, and he is an active duty colonel.
Longtime CQ readers will remember my friend Mike the Contractor, who spent a long time in Iraq both in the Seals and as a contractor. I've published some of Mike's letters in the past, especially those to his young sons in explaining the war on terror. Today Mike sends this message to his friends and family, reminding us of the role that his contractor friends continue to play in protecting Americans and Iraqis in the most dangerous areas. Mike will return to Iraq in the near future to continue this work himself.
This is what greeted me when I arrived there this morning. I encourage everyone to visit Captain Ed’s site, and read this newest letter from his friend, Mike. These "rough men" have not only ensured that we sleep in peace at night, but also the innocent civilians in Iraq. And Mike reminds us that while they do their job, accidents and incidents occur. No amount of training can keep you alive and unscathed. War is not scripted. Things happen.
And every time I hear of another soldier losing his life in the line of duty, it hurts. It hurts me a lot. I have mentioned it once or twice before, but I rarely discuss the subject of my brother being in the Army—A United States Army Ranger in Afghanistan. And I worry about him quite a bit, but I trust him to be smart and I trust his training will serve him well.
So, on this Memorial Day, I am not just reminded of those that came before us to fight for this nation; those like my grandfather who fought in World War II. Nor am I simply reminded about those that fight now, like Captain Ed’s friend, Mike, and my brother. But more importantly to me on this day of remembrance is why they did it. Why did they join and fight? (The MSM might want to take notes on this because I think they’ve forgotten.)
They did so out of love for this nation. They joined to protect this nation, it’s citizens, and it’s freedoms. Just like those that first took up arms to defend and create this nation, our brave men and women do so now in honor of those that did so before. Someone must stand up against those that wish to do us harm, and these people do so. So, we owe them a debt that can never be repaid, yet we can honor for their courage, their convictions, and their accomplishments. And we should.
It is the least that we, as citizens of America, can do for those that provide the security blanket we sleep under each and every night.
I’m guess that the Left really despises someone who leaves their ranks. Most of this comes from the fact they’ve matured. They’ve seen that the movement they joined in their youth (I’m referring to those from the 60’s and 70’s) is dead. It’s mutated into a befuddled mess that includes a distaste for anything that is right and just for this nation. Below is excerpted text from a piece written by Keith Thompson. He’s a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, and this piece ran yesterday. I urge our readers to read the thing in it’s entirety. He is one of the most recent "awakened ones" from the movement of the Left. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/05/22/INGUNCQHKJ1.DTL
Nightfall, Jan. 30. Eight-million Iraqi voters have finished risking their lives to endorse freedom and defy fascism. Three things happen in rapid succession. The right cheers. The left demurs. I walk away from a long-term intimate relationship. I'm separating not from a person but a cause: the political philosophy that for more than three decades has shaped my character and consciousness, my sense of self and community, even my sense of cosmos.
I'm leaving the left -- more precisely, the American cultural left and what it has become during our time together.
I choose this day for my departure because I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity with oppressed populations everywhere -- reciting all the ways Iraq's democratic experiment might yet implode.
My estrangement hasn't happened overnight. Out of the corner of my eye I watched what was coming for more than three decades, yet refused to truly see. Now it's all too obvious. Leading voices in America's "peace" movement are actually cheering against self-determination for a long-suffering Third World country because they hate George W. Bush more than they love freedom.
A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.
When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport.
I look back on that experience as the beginning of my departure from a left already well on its way to losing its bearings. Two decades later, I watched with astonishment as leading left intellectuals launched a telethon- like body count of civilian deaths caused by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Their premise was straightforward, almost giddily so: When the number of civilian Afghani deaths surpassed the carnage of Sept. 11, the war would be unjust, irrespective of other considerations.
Stated simply: The force wielded by democracies in self-defense was declared morally equivalent to the nihilistic aggression perpetuated by Muslim fanatics. Susan Sontag cleared her throat for the "courage" of the al Qaeda pilots. Norman Mailer pronounced the dead of Sept. 11 comparable to "automobile statistics." The events of that day were likely premeditated by the White House, Gore Vidal insinuated. Noam Chomsky insisted that al Qaeda at its most atrocious generated no terror greater than American foreign policy on a mediocre day.
Wait, it gets better. When actor Bill Cosby called on black parents to explain to their kids why they are not likely to get into medical school speaking English like "Why you ain't" and "Where you is," Jesse Jackson countered that the time was not yet right to "level the playing field." Why not? Because "drunk people can't do that ... illiterate people can't do that."
When self-styled pragmatic feminist Camille Paglia mocked young coeds who believe "I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy's room without anything happening," Susan Estrich spoke up for gender- focused feminists who "would argue that so long as women are powerless relative to men, viewing 'yes' as a sign of true consent is misguided."
And the Left will click their tongues and disdain him for his change in ideology. It’s not that Mr. Thompson has changed; he’s matured. Many on the Left during the 60’s looked for a way to rebel. Most of them found it. Many of them, and Mr. Thompson mentions them, like Noam Chomsky found their niche in academia, and began to turn the youth to their side.
Of course the cultural shift had a significant role to play in that wanton rebellion. Kids were looking for freedom they thought they didn’t possess in more ways than one. Freedom from oppression wasn’t the only thing they were looking for. They were looking for the freedom to rebel against a system they believed was tyrannical and repressive. To them, the status quo of the times was what they wanted to change. And the problem that comes with all "visionaries" is that once they get a taste of power and prestige, they’re apt to drop their cause to drink more from the trough. Anyone remember the pigs in Animal Farm?
Mr. Thompson doesn’t acknowledge that communism and socialism drives the Left now, and has for quite some time. The term "progressive" was a monniker that the Communists of the 30’s and 40’s used to get around having to use the word "Communist". Now, the Left—cultural or political—have once again returned to their roots, and taken up the name they believe best defines them. But that word can’t truly define their ideology. When asked what defines them, we get a laundry list of items that range from gender and racial equality, wishing to help the poor, better education for kids (read: indoctrination), and doing everything they can to maintain their status quo.
They disregard the strides made for gender and racial equality that has been made in this nation. They claim it’s not enough. They sniff and cry over the poor despite the fact that "poor" today is not what "poor" meant in the 50’s and 60’s, and the "poor" today would have been considered rich during the Great Depression. Their ideas for better education is just simply throw money at the schools. But the hierarchy within the schools—between teachers and administrators—makes it difficult to spend the money properly. And when the Teacher’s Union gets involved, it’s even more difficult to deal with the real issues regarding education, or the removal of a teacher. They dislike having to dismiss a teacher, and the Union digs in it’s heels when a teacher’s head is called for; and it doesn’t matter the "crime" they commit. In Arizona, the last three teachers that have been accused of either molesting a student or having an "affair" with a student, are still kept on the payroll; Union’s orders.
We have watched as the institutions of higher learning that were once well-respected have now evolved into bastions of Liberal ideology, with ramparts of willing and motivated protesters to shout down any sort of conservative voices or change. Ward Churchill can't be removed because of "tenure" despite the fact he lied to get his position. And there are many more teachers that get away with egregious offenses; again, due to tenure. "Tenure" is the new excuse for those on the Left in academia to prevent the loss of the only job they know which is lying and peddling fibs about this nation. Revising history to suit your needs makes them no better than the communists that rose to power in the former Soviet Union or in China. We are a nation founded on morals and principles that our Founding Fathers believed in because they wanted to leave all of Old Europe behind. They didn’t want to embrace the ideals they were escaping. And look at Old Europe now. It’s still old, it’s still socialist, and it still has no clue; just like the Left. And the above statements from people like Estrich, and Sontag, and Chomsky are prime examples of the cluelessness of their ideology and their party. Anyone who disagrees, go read Marcie's fisking of Howard Dean's comments made to Tim Russert last week.
I applaud Mr. Thompson for realizing the error of the ideology he once believed in. He is now a "classic liberal" in the way that FDR, JFK, and "Scoop" Jackson were. A strong nation. A strong defense. (Yes, I’m aware that FDR tried to implement many socialistic ideas, but it doesn’t change the fact that he took this nation to war—a war to win—to defend our freedoms.) But Mr. Thompson should take this to heart. He wasn’t the first to turn away from the Left, and their slow self-destruction. And I can guarantee that he won’t be the last one, either.
Unfortunately, all too often, we civilians forget that "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." We are reminded twice a year, and that is not nearly enough. The men in uniform, whether they be Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, they all stand ready "when the wolf growls at the door." They do their job, never questioning whether it’s right and just. This is what it means to be in the military. The president gives orders, they hear it, and follow it.
And they’re underappreciated. They have been for quite some time. The elites of the Left have disdained them for far too long, and quite frankly, it’s time for them to stick a sock in it. These men go and do what many of can’t, or are unwilling to do. I had aspirations to join the military and serve proudly. Unfortunately, physical problems prevented me from doing that. I’m not going to be one of these social experimenters demanding that the rules be changed for me. I know my physical limitations, and I also know that I would only be a detriment to a detachment, a squad, or a team; they are only as strong as their weakest link. I know I would probably be that link; strong in heart and mind, just not in the body.
But we do not look down on those that have tried. And we most certainly do not look down on those that serve now, or have served before. I have met a number of veterans on the Internet. I love them like they are my family, and I always give them the respect they are due. These people are the ones that put their lives on the line—day in and day out—to ensure we have the freedoms that we possess, and the liberties we all own. They are ours, but only as long as the man with the rifle is standing on that wall.
Or the one who carves the line in the ground, and calls to our enemies "This far and no further", and means it. That man is whom we respect and honor this weekend. We do so on a daily basis, defending them to detractors, praying for their safety and safe return home when their duty is done. We always look with reverence to those that came before us, and defended this nation we live in. They are, as Tom Brokaw appropriately called, "The Greatest Generation". That applies to everyone that fought in any war this nation was a part of; from the Revolutionary War to the Global War On Terror. These people—these proud and brave men and women—are owed more than this country can ever repay.
So, to them, we honor through a moment of silence, and a silent prayer today. That they may return home to their wives, their children—their families—safely, and that their efforts were not in vain. So to you men and women, we salute you. May God Bless you and watch over you.
Yesterday afternoon, Hugh Hewitt had Sen. George Allen on his show for an interview right before the vote for cloture on John Bolton. If anyone heard this, then you could sense that Allen knew Bolton was not going to get enough votes. And when the subject turned to the deal and the judicial nominees, one could tell that Allen definitely was not pleased. Below is a partial transcript of that interview (Hat-tip to RadioBlogger for putting it up. You can go to Duane’s site—via the link below—to read the transcript in it’s entirety.) http://www.radioblogger.com/#000719 HH: Senator Allen, thanks for breaking away from the great debate over John Bolton. Will you get to a vote before you go on recess, Senator?
GA: We better. This is...we were supposed to be voting right now, as I'm on the sidelines in the Cloak Room, here. So I'm a sidelines reporter for you, and as is typical with the Senate, punctuality means about as much to the Senate as it does to a pig. And so, here we are waiting. And I'm not sure...we're going to try to get a cloture vote, and we need sixty votes. John Bolton will be an outstanding advocate for American...our taxpayers to the United Nations, and so it's going to be a pretty close vote on cloture, and hopefully we'll get to it this evening.
HH: Senator, will you be speaking later in the evening?
GA: On John Bolton?
GA: No, I've already spoken today. We were supposed to vote at 6:00 on cloture, and here we are, of course...
HH: Has anyone made the point that Lebanon is heading into crucial elections, about which the U.N. may have a strong influence on their fairness, and we do not have an ambassador there?
GA: I haven't...a good point, Hugh. Gosh, if I were going to speak, I could say that.
HH: Well, pass on a note to someone.
GA: I can't pass on a note. No one is speaking now. They're all huddling in the usual confusion, but the point is, the United Nations actually can be useful. It hasn't lived up to what we would hope, and obviously with the fraud and abuse and the scandals, people in this country question whether the United Nations is worth the $2 billion dollars we spend every year. But it can be made more credible, more useful, and someone like John Bolton is the type of person who I think would be perfect. He is not going to get seduced by all these meaningless pontifications of bureaucratic functionaries, but he's going to make sure these reforms and changes are made. And I want a watchdog up there, not somebody who's just going to be happy to warm a seat.
HH: Well, do you think you have the votes for cloture?
GA: Not sure. We're not sure.
HH: That's amazing.
GA: That's why things are so up in the air right now.
HH: Three hours ago, David Espo, AP, filed a story that Senator Reid said the Monday deal, about which we're going to talk shortly, could bring bipartisanship...
HH: ...and three hours later they're denying cloture on the Bolton vote. Is that bipartisanship?
GA: Yup, there you go. That's pretty good influence there. I think we have every Republican. Even Voinovich is going to vote for cloture. He'll vote against Bolton, but he's going to vote for cloture. And so, therefore, we have to pick up five Democrats to get to sixty, although one of our members is apparently on a train, and I don't know this, Hugh. This is heresay and rumor.
HH: Oh well, good luck in that, Senator...
GA: Yea, but you know, all this bipartisanship, that's right. And this is not a lifetime appointment. HH: Well, I wrote a piece for the Weekly Standard this morning that, don't let this go to your head, I'm sure you read it every day, that you were the big winner out of Monday's disaster, because everybody else's reputation sort of, they got taken off the board for dealing the deal. I've heard you say on Imus and other shows that it was a bad deal. But I haven't had anyone explain to me yet, what happens to Brett Cavanaugh and Griffiths and the other great judges that are in committee? Are they guaranteed an up or down vote?
GA: No. That's unclear, Hugh. Once we get through Janice Rogers Brown and Judge Pryor, I think the next one that should test all this should be William Myers for the 9th Circuit. Let's see what that means. Why did they...it seems to me that they threw Judge Saad and William Myers, or Bill Myers overboard in the midst of this deal, and that's a disappointment. The Democrats apparently got the scalps they wanted. I have urged that we go forward with those...that nomination, and he's for the 9th Circuit. And the reason that this is important to test what this is, this so-called deal, is one to see, all right, they said they're not going to be filibustered, so what are they going to do on Myers. And secondly, it's the 9th Circuit, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is reversed so often, they are Exhibit A of activist judges, who ignore the will of the people. This is the same court that struck down the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools because of the words under God.
HH: Yea, it's Harry Pregerson, it's Reinhardt, it's your worst nightmare. I practice in front of it, Senator, so I know the 9th Circuit well.
GA: Well, okay. And if there's one court that needs some common sense judges, who understand the role of the judiciary's not to invent the law or apply...act as a super-legislature, it is the 9th Circuit. And let's see if the Democrats want to be on the side of these ludicrous, terrible rulings out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. And that's why I think William Myers, or Bill Myers, is such a good, outstanding choice. And he's from Idaho, and I've talked to the Idaho Senators, and they think this guy is top notch. They'll try to characterize him, you know, far right-wing and so forth. As far as some of the folks I've talked to, they say gosh. He's not conservative enough.
HH: If Bill Myers comes up, and is filibustered, I can understand that being part of the deal. But do you expect any of your colleagues actually pledged votes against nominees? Is that rumor there? Because then, that's different than a deal. That's an actual attack on an individual, which I don't think people would be very approving of.
GA: Yea, there are, and I don't want to breach confidence, as there are some who are opposed to, who have at least stated, that they are opposed to...will vote against a...one of these judicial nominees. I don't want to breach confidences.
GA: Now how this applies to Cavanaugh and others is really unclear. The other thing that is even more unsettling is that one of the reasons I wanted us not to be cowering and timid on this, and not letting the Democrats steal the march on us on this issue that matters so much to people all across this country, and get it done sooner rather than later, is there's likely to be a vacancy next month on the Supreme Court.
HH: Or two.
GA: Or potentially two. But clearly, there'll be one, and that's when they usually, Justices, announce their retirement, because it's at the end of the term, and the president and the Senate have all the way until October, the October term, to fill the vacancy. I don't care to be going through this Constitutional option battle in the midst of the Supreme Court vacancy.
HH: It's a tactical screw-up, yup.
GA: Yea, and so see the Democrats, in this deal, doesn't settle that at all, and the Democrats would rather fight this on a Supreme Court nominee than they would on Circuit Courts, that most people may not necessarily understand. I also am very proud of what I call our magnificent seven. These are the magnificent seven new Republican Senators. They all understand, as I did campaigning with them. Whether I was down in the Carolinas and Floria, or Cajun country in Louisiana, Oklahoma or South Dakota, that the issue of judges was a key issue. And in fact, it fired up people more than even tax cuts, even more than less regulation. People were for energy independence, they were for leadership and innovation, but I tell you. I'd always finish off, give us a strong Republican majority, and we'll get judges who apply the law, not invent the law.
HH: And on that point, Senator Allen, I just had Dana Milbank on, and he said it's only social conservatives who are upset about the judges. Was that your experience as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee?
GA: Not at all. The social conservatives certainly were, but I think all people...just...the way I'd characterize it was, President Bush's nominees deserve, or should be accorded the fairness of an up or down vote. That's just simple fairness and due process that you don't hold up outstanding nominees, well qualified men and women, for three, four years, and then after they run through the gauntlet, not even give them the courtesy of an up or down vote. And so, I think that our base surely was fired up on this. But I also think that fair minded independent voters realized this is not an approach that is to their liking. After all, the architect of all this, Tom Daschle, who I branded as the chief obstructionist, is the first leader, Senate leader, to be defeated in 52 years.
HH: Yea, it resonated.
This was an awesome interview, and Sen. Allen is a man I can respect. He is a man that could very well be presidential material one day. He has the knowledge, he has the wisdom, and he has the backbone. He was governor of Virginia from 1994-1998. He has served in the US House, and the State House in Virginia. He was the chairman of the NRSC in 2002. The man has led before; he does know how to do so. He is up for reelection in 2006, and I hope he wins. Based on his popularity in Virginia, it would be a curse of hellish-proportions if he lost. Sen. Allen is precisely the sort of leader that the Republicans need in the Senate.
The leadership of the GOP is marching in lock-step. They know what must be done, and they are doing their best to assist the president in getting his agenda passed through the Senate. But we have far too many in the Senate that care nothing for the party. They care only about themselves. Sen. Allen stated in this interview that he had spoken to Lindsey Graham, and no, his colleague does not regret his decision from Monday. It is pathetic that someone cannot even recognize a serious error such as completely disregarding the Constitution of the United States; the same Constitution that that swore an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend."
If this is the sort of protection that the moderates are promising, then it is time to remove the moderates. And I disagree with anyone who believes this to be a foolish statement. Thomas and I have both said that the party has plenty of room for moderates. The mom-and-pop, Joe Q. Six-packs that put their money and their trust in the Republicans are fine. And moderation on legislation is fine, as well. But there is no room for moderation on the Constitution. It burns a lot of conservatives up when they see McCain and his ilk spitting on it. And that is what we take it as. Our troops do not go out to protect our flag. They go out and protect this nation and the very document that ensures that freedom. I would certainly expect that from people like John McCain, who is such a vaunted and lauded "war hero", but I guess some things change.
What will never change is we expect our representatives to go to Washington, and speak for us. We expect them to protect and respect our rights, and to respect the Constitution. This week has been one in which we have watched a rogue group of senators wreck the Constitutional checks and balances, while both sides of the leadership diddled.
John Bolton was filibustered yesterday—just three days after the seditious dwarves of the GOP and the Democrats cut a deal on judges. Yes, yes, I know that Bolton isn’t a judge, but Reid stood up yesterday in front of the National Press Club yesterday and promised a new era of cooperation between the parties. Then, he turns around and begins a filibuster of a man that seriously need in the UN. But what is telling about what happened yesterday are the papers this morning.
"It is unfortunate," conceded Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio and a prominent member of the so-called Gang of 14 who drew up the judicial compromise. "It is too bad. But the deal was on judges, not anything else."
YES. The the deal was on judges, but this is a prime example of the fact that the Democrats can’t be trusted. They filibustered another nominee. A nominee is a nominee, you dunce.
"In this atmosphere of trust, you have to take people's word," said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, as he left the Senate chamber.
That word didn’t last more than three days. I would have honestly expected more intelligence from Arizona’s senior senator. Oh, what the hell am I thinking? You have no brains when it comes to anything about trust. I'm sure Pres. Bush loved how you slammed him in the press during the last election, while you were campaigning for him.
"I am disappointed that tonight we were unable to have a vote on Bolton," Mr. Reid said. "But it is not the fault of the Democratic caucus. We're not here to filibuster Bolton, we're here to get information."
No, you’re there to obstruct. You have been doing so for five years, and it wasn’t until last November until you were crowned "king of obstruction"; only after Daschle was forced to relinquish his. You’re not there for information. You have plenty of it. You can make an educated decision one way or the other.
Dr. Frist said "actions speak volumes" in his statement after the Bolton defeat, referring to Senator Reid's speech. "Tonight, after the Democrats have launched into yet another filibuster of a presidential nomination," he said, "those words seem empty and hollow."
The words spoken at the NPC, and after the dwarves finished their diddling on Monday were "empty and hollow". It was lip service to America, all over again. But America’s not stupid, and they see who their enemies in the Senate are; which ones stand for America, and which ones stand for themselves.
"This is what is disappointing," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and another one of the Gang of 14. "The spirit of the deal was that we can do better if we all try."
No, Sen. Graham, you’re wrong, and you’re a disappointment to the people who put you in the Senate. The spirit of the deal—in a nutshell—was the Republicans would take the Constitutional Option off the table if the Democrats would allow judicial nominees their vote. You morons took it off the table, and walked away with three judges that would get their vote, and two others that may or may not get votes. You people sold the party and it’s last option out.
Those quotes came from the New York Times this morning. But I’m not done. There’s plenty more inane idiocy that came from the other papers. Next up is the Washington Post.
Biden said yesterday's vote was meant "to tell the administration that they cannot dictate to the United States Senate. Maybe they'll take notice," Biden added. "But the administration is so arrogant, you can't be sure."
The president isn’t dictating a damn thing to you, Sen. Know-Nothing, other than to quit obstructing his nominees and give them their appropo vote. And as for your assertion of "arrogance"...you sound like the pot calling the kettle black. Sen. Biden, when was the last time your party took a look in the mirror?
"Please, find a better candidate," he [Voinovich] implored President Bush.
Sen. Voinovich, please find a better job, because I have a feeling that you lost a lot of support over the last couple of weeks. Did you accidentally get handed a glass of the Democrat’s kool-aid? You have gone just plain nuts, and that weepy performance earlier this week may have gotten you an Oscar, but you turned off your base back home. You deserve every whack they hand out to you.
He [Thune] said of Bolton, "I don't think he's the best man for the job."
I would slap Thune around for this comment, but I share a bit of disdain with him. This move could be because Ellsworth AFB is on the closure list. It’s in South Dakota, and he represents South Dakota. I don’t besmirch him for this; he’s looking for a horse trade.
"Maybe this was just a bridge too far at the end of the most stressful week in recent memory. . . . The spirit that we were trying to create has been damaged." That one comes from Lindsey Graham. The spirit you idiots created was one where you ticked off your base, while making out with the enemy. Why do you think I want your ilk out of my party?
It was about "the mystery of the unknown" in the requested documents, Warner said.
Well, Sen. Warner, you’re not getting those documents. The White House has stated—repeatedly—that those documents are classified. Quite Frankly, many in the Senate can’t be trusted to keep their yaps shut about classified materials. Take Harry Reid, for example, about FBI files of judicial nominees. Or how about John Kerry’s revelation during the debates about the new nuclear weapons we were developing. (Right before he shoved his foot completely down his throat when he said he’d give Iran nuclear fuel.)
"Let's be frank," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said yesterday. "He is not a career diplomat, either by profession or temperament."
Look who’s talking about their temperament. Another pot and kettle moment. Sen. McCain, you really haven’t gotten over getting your butt whipped by the president, have you? And you, like a liberal, twist the truth around. The president didn’t go after you in South Carolina. You went after him. You lost, and you’re the most bitter SOB in the Senate.
"John Bolton was picked by the president" and "a president ought to be able to bring people into his administration" who share his values and goals, Allen said. Criticisms of Bolton, Allen said, are "tangents" that distract from "the dire need for change in the United Nations, the need for accountability . . . the need for reform."
THANK YOU GOD! A level of intelligence, and is it any wonder that it comes from Sen. Allen? He hits the nail squarely on the head. It is time for the United Nations to go through a level of reform—from top to bottom—if it is to continue in it’s existence, or if we’re to continue being a member of it. They’re already thoroughly irrelevant. I’d like to see it extinct.
And now, finally onto the LA Times. And I’ll give credit where credit is due, the Times article started out decently, but then you get to page two of the story, and they use the dreaded ‘M’ word that is usually associated with McCain (maverick) in reference to Voinovich; the cry-baby turn coat that started all of this. The quotes aren’t much better than those from above. However, there were these two little gems at the very end of the article.
"If we do have a vote today, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to let their consciences and their commitments to the best interests of the nation guide them," Voinovich said. "The allegations have caused great damage to Mr. Bolton's credibility and the allegations will impair our credibility [at the United Nations.]"
Sen. Voinovich, I have no idea why you’re doing this, but I do know this much: You’re an embarrassment to the party. I hope you relish the headlines you make, and the praise you get from the Left. Because, sir, right now, you’re political career isn’t worth a plug-nickel.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Bolton "sees clearly" where the United Nations "is going astray," and "has the credibility to be a force for change" at the world body.
OK, this guy can’t tell the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground on judicial nominees, but he gets it on Bolton. I’m shaking my head at the utter stupidity sometimes of our elected official, and I’m doing the same with Graham. A nominee is a nominee, either way they’re sliced. They have had their debate in the committee, and now they deserve a vote. The Seditious Seven on Monday forgot all about that, and responded to the unconstitutional filibusters by side-stepping them with an unconstitutional agreement. They have stepped on, spit on, and crapped on the Constitution long enough, and I’m sick of it. Until the leaders of the GOP wake up, I can only offer one thing...
Despite Carpings To The Contrary, It Never Left The Table.
I picked this piece up from a very good friend, and fellow blogger. She is on top of things as recent events in the Senate unfold. (Yes, we are too, however, a new perspective might be needed in some respects. Thomas alluded to that this afternoon.)
The following comes from statements made by Frist yesterday on the floor of the Senate. For all those that have stood in opposition to Frist’s continued tenure as majority leader (Thomas and myself included) this is a welcome relief. Not that there was not hope, but this should reassure the base, for now, that he has not given up the fight.
"The purpose of the filibusters was not only to keep the President's nominees off the bench, it was to wrest effective control of the appointments process from the President. Anyone who did not pass the minority leadership's ideological litmus tests would be filibustered. (read abortion) That meant a minority would dictate who the President should appoint if he expected the nominee to get a confirmation vote. This was a power grab of unprecedented proportions. And with more filibusters threatened for this Congress, the power grab would become even bolder and more entrenched."
He is correct in this. The minority Democrats have a serious problem on their hands. They failed to defeat Bush in 2004, therefore, he gets the opportunity to appoint his nominees. Frist still stands behind that idea. He knows what was done to him and the party on Monday. Do I believe Frist was completely in the dark? No. He may not have known what his party members were truly discussing, but he knew they what they were doing; he just did not realize how extreme their move was until that pathetic news conference.
"Fundamental Constitutional principles were called into question. These included the separation of powers, checks and balances, the independence of the judiciary, and negation of the Senate's right to advise and consent. The minority claimed the right to impose a 60 vote threshold before a nominee could pass muster, for that is number needed to invoke cloture and break a filibuster. The Constitution doesn't say that. It only requires a majority to confirm. But for a minority spinning novel Constitutional theories, the real Constitution took a back seat."
Again, Frist is correct. The extra-governmental powers for the Senate may be spoken of in the Constitution. Both Houses have the right to create rules for themselves—to better handle the decisions they must deal with. However, those rules should never supersede the Constitution, which is precisely what the Democrats filibusters, and demands for a cloture vote, did.
"The Republican majority tried at first to invoke cloture on each of the nominees. But driven by the minority leadership, the filibusters proved resilient to cloture. Then, we introduced a filibuster reform proposal and took it through committee. But it died without action because it was sure to be filibustered itself. So, we turned to the voters, and the election strengthened our majority. But the minority ignored the election and dug in its heels."
The minority was not the only ones who dug in. The RINO minority in the Senate also dug in, and exploited a clearly obvious political opportunity for their own petty, selfish accolades. What those seven Republican senators did was not just stab the party in the back. They unzipped their flies, and urinated on the base. This was a clear-cut case of disrespect for the voters that put these people in office, and it is reprehensible. When they do come up for reelection, the voters need to deal with them in the same manner they handled us. Almost 60% of this nation was behind Frist, and his Constitutional Option; they knew that this fight was the one they were waiting for. The Republicans all campaigned on this issue—including the Shameful Seven. This was important enough for America to give the Republicans Bush back in the White House, and a greater majority in the Senate.
"The moment of truth was to have come on May 24. But action was preempted by an agreement between seven Republicans and seven Democrats to forestall use of the Constitutional option in exchange for confirmation votes on several nominees and a promise that filibusters would only be maintained in extraordinary circumstances. I was not a party to that agreement nor was the Republican Leadership. Now we move into a new and uncertain phase..."
It is not an "uncertain phase". The Democrats may have won the initial fight, but they painted themselves into a corner. If they filibuster when the majority believes it is not an extraordinary circumstance, then the Constitutional Option comes back on the table. And I’m glad he points out the fact that no one in the leadership was involved. However, it does beg the question of why he did not shut down those negotiations. As the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, those alternate negotiations should have been nixed immediately. The punishment for violating Frist’s command would have been the removal of chairmanships for any Republicans involved in those negotiations. If someone was not a chairman, then they are frozen out of anything dealing with party business, aside from voting. That means a removal from committees as well. Frist could have pulled it off, too. He is an eloquent speaker, and would have had no problem convincing the caucuses of pulling their positions from the committees.
"I am now hopeful but wary. As Ronald Reagan was fond to say, trust but verify. If nominees are confirmed and the sword of the filibuster is sheathed, then the Republican Leadership can be proud that its courage arrested a dangerous and destructive trend. If filibusters again erupt under circumstances other than extraordinary, we will put the Constitutional option back on the table and move to implement it."
I do hope the Democrats were taking careful notes on his words. Frist is serious. These nominees deserve their vote. I am as upset as anyone over the failure to gain cloture on Bolton, but we knew his was going to be an uphill fight. (If I were the president, over this upcoming congressional recess, I would make a recess appointment of Bolton to his position, and the Senate can continue debate with the 110th Congress takes session.) But on the subject of the judges, Frist needs to pull up another nominee, some like Myers, or Cavanaugh, in an effort to force the Democrats into another filibuster.
Thomas might be right. Maybe if the "just wobbly" senators see that they just got spit on, it might make them change their minds on voting for the Constitutional Option.
Regardless, if something is not done soon, the GOP may face a serious backlash in the removal of long-time senators from their positions, and either see Democrats take their place, or more right-leaning Republicans. I would vote for the latter, and Thomas and I both are supporting the latter when it comes to Chafee, Snowe, and DeWine. The moderates must go. They are giving up the farm to our ideological enemies.
The fallout continues from Monday’s lame-brained defection of the Seditious Seven. There will be plenty of time for beating on these fools for their asinine and batty notion that three judges are better than ten, and that the GOP was ready to "wreck" the Senate over partisan politics. Washington was burned to the ground in this nation’s history; only the Senate survived. There would have been no meltdown in the Senate save the Democrats throwing yet another fit, and shutting it down. When these seven wake up, let me know. Until then, I’ll be taking swipes at them for awhile.
But a recent interview that Hugh Hewitt had with Sen. George Allen provided a bright, glaring light to the issue as a whole. In one month, Chief Justice Rehnquist will—more than likely—step down. His thyroid cancer is making it more difficult for him to perform his duties, and it’s been rumored for months—since the announcement about his cancer—that he will be the first one to step down. I say first because it’s also talked about that Justice O’Connor may join him. That’s two vacancies.
It’s mindful to remember that when one looks at this deal. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist. This is in the first clause of section 2 in this deal. So, again, what constitutes an "extraordinary circumstance"? None of the fourteen senators involved in this deal have explained it. None of the Seditious Seven are jumping up to give their thoughts on what establishes "extraordinary circumstances". This should have been spelled out, but it’s not. It’s left in the hands of these morons.
But I’m sure we’ll find out soon because more than likely the Democrats will consider anyone to the right of Josef Stalin a jurist that must be filibustered under the "extraordinary circumstances" clause of this agreement. Just wait until Rehnquist steps down, and the White House nominates Justice Scalia to the vacancy. The Left will take to the streets with pitch forks and torches to burn the originalist jurist to the ground. Reid, himself, praised Scalia months ago. I’m sure those lauded words of acclaim will disappear when Scalia comes up.
If that’s the case, then I can’t wait for Judge Luttig. Luttig is considered the most conservative judge on the White House’s "short-list" of Supreme Court nominees. His decisions reflect the same attitude as Priscilla Owens, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Justices Scalia and Thomas. He is an originalist, like Scalia. (Textualist, if you wish) Luttig would make a fine addition to the high court, and he would help bring a better stance of balance—to depoliticize the Court, as Mark Levin remarked yesterday on Hugh Hewitt’s show—back to the Supreme Court.
And the Supreme Court could use it. With so many important cases heading to them right now—Gonzales v. Oregon—the assisted suicide case; Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood—the New Hampshire abortion case—are among them. It’s a necessity to give some new blood to the high court. For far too long have activists sat on that hallowed bench. I, for one, will not shed a tear when O’Connor steps down, and I might throw a party when Ginsburg finally steps aside.
But before we get to this point, the GOP needs to test this deal. And they can do it with one individual. William Myers. Myers is being appointed to the 9th "Circus" Court of Schlemiels, which is a serious stronghold of judicial activism. It is the most overturned court in United States history—all due to their idiotic interpretations of the Constitution—and hands down some of the most controversial decisions from the federal bench. (No offense, I may not be an attorney, or a Constitutional scholar, but I have a keen mind when it comes to our Constitution, and I KNOW I could interpret the founding document better than these fools.)
Myers is going to be savaged, and no I’m not one for handing up sacrificial lambs, but the true test of this deal will come up when he comes up. The Left is going to do everything in it’s power to prevent someone like Myers unbalancing their precious 9th "Circus Court". That court ends up being the starting point for many of these nutty lawsuits. (Anyone remember Elk Grove Unified School Disctrict v. Newdow? That is where the Pledge of Allegiance was challenged.)
Myers could be the spark that reignites the Constitutional Option debate, and this time it’s implementation. We know that McCain, Chafee, and Snowe will never come around. They’re screwed anyway. Neither Chafee or Snowe will win reelection, and McCain’s plans for redecorating the White House are already flushed. BUT, there’s a possibility that the other four senators (Graham, Collins, DeWine, and Warner) might get a bit ticked at being undermined in that deal. They may be willing, at that point, to side with Frist, and execute the Option. Right now—at 4:05 p.m., AZ time—Reid is sitting on the floor of the Senate, after making lavish statements about bipartisanship and better relations with the GOP, and leading a filibuster of John Bolton. Granted, the deal on Monday deals solely with judicial nominees, but what part of the Constitution needs to be hammered into people’s heads. "Advice and Consent", ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, means that now Bolton has moved on—as has every judicial nominee—from committee to the floor, there should be a vote. There isn’t one happening. There’s more obstruction from the Democrats. So much for operating in "good faith".
This continued obstruction by the Democrats, and the GOP’s refusal to stand up—as the majority party—is going to result in a backlash neither party may be ready for. There are already movements around the country to locate better conservatives for the GOP in elections coming up in 2006; and that warning is extended to Democrats, as well. You may lose people (Nelson, Byrd, and Lieberman are all up for reelection in 2006; DeWine, Snowe, and Chafee are up for the GOP). The Democrats don’t want to lose those seats, and I’m sure if the vote were held today, three of the Seditious Seven would lose solidly. Point being, people are ticked, and at this point, they wouldn’t bat an eye at ridding themselves of people that disdain the Constitution; Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter.
The last thing either side wants to see are solid conservatives that moderate little, or none at all. The "Magnificent Seven" freshman have made quite a name for themselves, and are already earning a reputation as solid conservatives in the Senate. (Martinez-FL; Vitter-LA; DeMint-SC; Isakson-GA; Coburn-OK; Thune-SD; Santorum-PA) These seven give me hope when I see the Seditious Seven in action. Why? Because it’s only a matter of time for the Seditious ones before people toss them out on their ears; or for anyone that stands against our Constitution.
Many things in the news anger me, or leave me a bit depressed. Being a blogger means having to address news that we may not always like to read about or hear about. But there are occasions where good news comes out, and it is cause for note, and possibly celebration. We will drink a toast tonight that the United States Marine Corps saw this case the way it should have been seen. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050526/ap_on_re_us/marine_iraq_death Marine Cleared in Deaths of Two Iraqis
By TOM FOREMAN Jr., Associated Press Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Marine Corps dropped murder charges Thursday against an officer accused of riddling two Iraqis with bullets and hanging a warning sign on their corpses as a grisly example to other suspected insurgents.
Autopsies conducted on the Iraqis' exhumed bodies backed 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano's assertion that he shot them in self-defense after the men disobeyed his instructions and made a menacing move toward him, Marine officials said. "The initial findings of the autopsies did not support the allegation that 2nd Lt. Pantano committed premeditated murder," Marine spokesman 2nd Lt. Barry Edwards said. "Rather, the initial findings corroborated 2nd Lt. Pantano's version of the events."
The decision to drop the charges was made by Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune. The move ends the prosecution of Pantano, a former Wall Street trader who rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Down at the unit level, there was never a question about Ilario's conduct and whether or not he did the right thing," said Charles Gittins, Pantano's civilian lawyer. "It was up in the higher echelons. The people removed from combat situations needed to put more trust in their officers rather than assuming they're guilty."
The two Iraqis were killed during an April 2004 search outside a suspected terrorist hideout in Mahmudiyah, Prosecutors said Pantano, 33, intended to make an example of the men by shooting them 60 times and hanging a sign over their bodies — "No better friend, no worse enemy," a Marine slogan. Pantano did not deny hanging the sign or shooting the men repeatedly.
Huck's decision was based in part on autopsies performed in the past few months. In the past, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Marines did not feel secure enough to exhume bodies in Iraq.
Earlier this month, a Marine hearing officer recommended the murder charges be dropped, saying that one witness' accusation that Pantano shot the men while they were kneeling with their backs to him was unsupported by other testimony or evidence.
Witnesses testified that the sergeant who was Pantano's main accuser was a weak Marine who was bitter about being removed by Pantano from a leadership role in the platoon. More than a half-dozen Marines who served with Pantano in Iraq portrayed him as an able leader who remained cool in combat and was friendly toward Iraqis.
The hearing officer recommended Pantano face nonjudicial punishment for allegedly desecrating the bodies by reloading and repeatedly shooting them. But the commanding general decided Pantano should face no punishment for any of his actions.
"The best interests of 2nd Lt. Pantano and the government have been served by this process," the Marine Corps said in a statement.
Supporters of Pantano had complained that troops were being second-guessed for decisions made in the heat of combat. A North Carolina congressman had urged to intervene and dismiss charges.
"Needless to say, we are quite ecstatic," said Pantano's mother, Merry Pantano of New York.
Pantano is now helping to train troops at Camp Lejeune, but his attorney said he hopes the decision will clear the way for the Marine to return to a combat unit. The ruling "demonstrates that Ilario acted honorably in combat and the suggestion that he didn't that tarnished his reputation was unjustified," Gittins said. "I'm pleased for Ilario and his family because the nightmare is over."
I am more than happy for 2nd Lt. Pantano. The witch hunt that occurred through the press early on was a rather grievous offense. They used their own driven scandal, Abu Ghraib, to really paint this Marine in a bad light, and it also goes to show that the media cannot be trusted.