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.
Passing Thoughts In Life’s Rearview Mirror... My lovely and talented partner started off our month-ending collaborative post last month, so I get to open this one up. This month sure had it’s share of stories, but we have chosen the top six to make final comments on. Much of it involves the judiciary, as this month has been ripe with many a story regarding it. London became a victim in the war on terror, and Karl Rove was dubbed a pseudo-master of terror over the "Plame Game" perpetrated by her husband.
A New "Day" Dawns
Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court this month. We at the Asylum, and many constitutionally-minded "armchair lawyers" breathed a sigh of relief. A much more promising opening than the Chief Justice’s seat, but one that has shown it will not be easy to fill. The Democrats in the Senate are moving their pieces into place in the futile hope they can stop him, or at least delay him long enough to gather dirt on him, and attempt to "Bork" him. They’re already using the same tactics against the Roberts nomination they used in Estrada by demanding more documents from the White House than it is willing to give. It’s not because there’s "dirt" they don’t want revealed. This goes directly to attorney/client privilege. While Roberts was solicitor general to the US, he was a legal representative for the nation in the courts. His correspondence, e-mails, etc. are off limits to the Judiciary Committee. They’re just going to have to get over this fact. Originally, I predicted that the seas would be smooth for Roberts, but the port side of the ideological spectrum seems to be intent on making this confirmation anything but "quick" or "fair."
The Grotesque MSM
Thomas is right. The seas will not be smooth for the sailing of Roberts ship, and the MSM made sure of it as quickly as possible. The day after the announcement of Judge John Roberts as President Bush’s choice to replace Justice O’Connor, the LA Times and Washington Post wasted no time firing off the first shots. The Post went to the lowest common denominator by attacking Roberts’ family, especially as they stood off to the side in their "Sunday Best." Described as "Easter eggs" in their pastels, and his wife described as "Donna Reed," the Post did not just simply take a swipe at his family. They took a swing at the wholesome image they portray. It is so rare nowadays for the MSM to find such a wholesome family. Every family they seem to find is dysfunctional on so many levels that I am sure many people believe that the idea of the family unit was dead. The Times launched into speculation over who controls Roberts’ beliefs when they pointed out that his wife works with "Feminists For Life," a notably staunch advocate for overturning Roe v. Wade, and sending the abortion debate back to the states where it should be. The Times queried whether it was Roberts or his wife pushing an anti-abortion agenda. That agenda, as yet, has been unproved by the Times, and only serves to show the desperation of the Left over Roberts.
We Still Like You, We Just Think You’re Wrong
And from the starboard side of the ideological spectrum, Ann Coulter voiced her concern over Roberts in her typical screed-like fashion. Normally, I don’t mind her rants. They’re right on the money 99% of the time, and they’re quite amusing. (They are for anyone with a rapier wit, and a sharp tongue like myself.) As a writer, I share Ann’s passion, especially for politics, but I temper it with cool, reasoned logic and tons of research. She is right to worry that Roberts may turn out to be another Souter; an opinion I argue against based on the short record that Roberts has. Based on his decisions, I can reasonably state that Roberts will be on the side of the Constitution 90% of the time. A lot of people will jump on my backside for allowing that much leeway, but remember that I’m not a lawyer. I can only base my opinions on what I know of the law (which is quite a bit), and what I see in the cases presented. For the most part, people agree with the arguments I make. I cite back to the fact that many people linked to the Asylum after the Kelo case because I understood it, and dissected it so clearly. Roberts will do the same. He is not prone to being emotionally involved, and will thoroughly dissect the argument. I do hope that Ann is wrong, and that Roberts goes on to be a superb originalist jurist. We at the Asylum believe he will be. But don’t lose heart, we still like you, even if this is a first for you possibly being wrong.
The Animals Strike The Lion
On the 7th of July, and again on the 21st , Muslim suicide bombers struck London. In the first attack, over fifty people lost their lives. The second attack did not go quite as planned, and police are still piecing together the botched attempt. The second attack was a close call for London, as bombers were positioned in much the same way they were on the 7th. On the 7th, morning rush hour turned into a nightmare as three tubes were targeted, and a suicide bomber—who may or may not have gotten cold feet—blew up a double-decker bus. A similar modus operandi was executed on the 21st, as again, morning rush hour was chosen as the time, and the targets were identical in nature. But these fools wired the explosives incorrectly, and only the detonators popped. London police found a car that they believed was used by the bombers, and found several—at last count, sixteen—ready-to-go devices similar to those that did not detonate fully. The first attack was on the 7th, and today, the 31st, London authorities believe they have almost everyone connected to this cell, or group of cells, pretty much rounded up. This manhunt has taken authorities in London to Rome, and, as of this morning, a Jordanian man is being sought by Scotland Yard. The network is collapsing.
Talk About Biting The Hand That Feeds You
Egypt used to love terrorists. (That wasn't the "official line from the government, but they did; especially for use against Israel prior to their peace agreement.) But diplomatic pressure from the West, and two sprouting democracies in the Middle East has made Egypt rethink it’s position on terrorists. They have been key in helping us round up a number of al-Qaeda people in North Africa, including a few key leaders in the al-Qaeda movement that is attempting to take a firmer grip over the African continent. But, on the 23rd, the cowardly terrorists struck the Sharm el-Sheik resort. Over eighty people were killed, and over 200 were injured in the worst act of terrorism in Egypt in over a decade. (Yes, it’s been that long since Egypt started cleaning up it’s act.) Sixty Egyptians were killed, along with a number of Jordanians, Saudis, Germans, and British. A group tied closely to al-Qaeda claimed initial responsibility for the blast. So, this now makes three of our allies in this war that have been attacked. Spain folded up it’s tent and went home. Egypt and Great Britain are still on board. And they’re on board because they know if they pull out, the appeasement will only guarantee more trouble down the road. It’s best to stand now, and finish what was started. Tony Blair isn’t ready to recall his troops. Mubarrak is still hunting down terrorists in his country, and helping us round them up in Africa. We are still united. We are not backing down. And to quote a new site to the blogosphere that popped up after the London bombings on 7 July, "WE ARE NOT AFRAID."
The Plame Blame Game
Karl Rove has had more than his fifteen minutes in the spotlight, especially this month. The MSM jumped all over him in July because they ran with a story that somehow the White House lied, again (Lord when will you moonbats learn), and Karl Rove was the infamous leaker. He told the press who Valerie Plame was and what she did for a living. There is just one small problem with that. Rove did no such thing, and the media knows it. Over thirty affidavits were filed to the judge overseeing the grand jury—amicus curiae, or friend of the court briefs—by major news outlets on Rove’s behalf. Matt Cooper, a writer for Time that had been facing jail time if he did not give up his source, exonerated Rove by releasing the e-mail correspondence that they had, and told them of the phone call he placed to Rove. The subject was not over Plame, but Cooper snuck the mention of her in late in the phone call. Cooper revealed her to Rove, not the other way around. Add to the fact that Valerie Plame was anything but a covert operative for the CIA. She worked as a low-level analyst for the WMD proliferation group at CIA. She was not a NOC, or non-official cover. She had been back in the US too long to still maintain the one she had when she was abroad. Most NOC status people lose it after being back "in-country" for more than five years; Plame had been back in the states for six years. And lest we forget her sterling husband who mentioned her name in his own book, in his online biography, and lied to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence over what he learned in Niger, and what he reported to the CIA (which was nothing, as CIA denies they received no briefing from him, or a report.)Once again, the Left has egg all over its face for the "witch-hunt" they instituted on Rove, and the slanderous remarks they peppered him with.
All in all, the events of the month were not as varied as the usually are. Normally, the topics are wide and varied, but two things took the point this month. Those being the shenanigans amidst our judicial fight, and the barbaric animals that attacked London. I’d like to say that more good news will pop up next month, but I can’t guarantee it. I’d like to be like the prophets of old, and could warn people of what’s coming up. But, I’m not Ezekiel. I’m just your average Joe. A random lunatic in the Asylum of life, kicking back in the Mustang, and watching life pass by in the rearview mirror...
Our regular readers may think, from time to time, that we share the same brain. I can assure you that we do not, and this is a prime case to highlight this difference. You see, Thomas is of the mindset that the fight over Roberts is going to go fairly smooth. The Democrats will offer little resistance to the nominee so that they can go after the next one with teeth bared. What he fails to realize is that they are going after Roberts with their teeth bared.
Sens. Schumer, Leahy, Durbin, Boxer, and Kennedy have all voiced a dissatisfaction for this man. They are already setting up the fight against him. Their strategy is clear as day, and Thomas has highlighted it in a couple of his recent posts. But they are going to fight, and they are going to use every dirty trick they can to stall the procedures due to him.
In short, I do not wear the rose-colored glasses that he does. And to add more fuel to that pessimism was a post put up on Bench Memos by Mark Levin, where he stated that Pres. Bush did not interview jurists like Michael Luttig, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owens, Emilio Garza, etc. It is almost as though the president may have settled for a moderate to ease their passage through the confirmation process.
If this is true, the Ann Coulter is correct; the president violated the promise he made to the people about nominating jurists that believe in and uphold the Constitution. I can forgive a level of brain-dead behavior, but if this man is even half of what Souter is, then this nation is in trouble.
But regardless of who the president spoke with, and whether or not Roberts will be another Souter, the Democrats are still gearing up for a fight. We can expect invasive questions that skirt the level of professionalism that those int eh Senate are supposed to uphold. I have seen a list of questions that Sen. Schumer has.
SCHUMER'S QUESTIONS FOR JUDGE ROBERTS 1. First Amendment and Freedom of Expression: What, if any, are the limitations on the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution? When can Government regulate public speech by individuals? When does speech cross the line between Constitutionally protected free expression and slander? In what ways does the First Amendment protect the spending and raising of money by individuals in politics? Can Government regulate hate speech? What about sexually explicit materials? Specifically: Do you agree with the landmark decision in NY Times v. Sullivan (1964), which held that public criticism of public figures is acceptable unless motivated by actual malice? Who do you believe constitutes a public figure under this standard? Do you believe the Supreme Court was correct to strike down the Communications Decency Act in Reno v. ACLU (1997) on the grounds that pornography on the Internet is protected by the First Amendment? What is your view on the distinction the Supreme Court drew in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and McConnell v. FEC (2003) between contributions and expenditures in the course of political campaigns? Do you believe that it is legitimate to construe campaign expenditures as protected speech but not donations by individuals? 2. First Amendment and the Establishment Clause: Under the Establishment Clause, what, if any, is the appropriate role of religion in Government? Must the Government avoid involvement with religion as a whole, or is the prohibition just on Government involvement with any specific religion? Is there a difference between religious expression in Government buildings, documents, and institutions and Government spending on private, faith-based initiatives? What do you see as the Constitutionally protected or limited role of faith-based groups in Government-funded activity? In Government institutions? Specifically: In the two cases the Supreme Court decided on the Ten Commandments recently, a display of the Commandments inside a Courthouse was found unconstitutional, while a statue of the Commandments on the grounds of a state capitol was deemed acceptable. Do you agree with the distinction the Court drew between Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary Country v. ACLU (2005)? In your view, are these decisions consistent with each other? What is your view of the Supreme Court's opinion in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000), which held that prayer in public schools is prohibited even where it is student-organized, non-denominational, and at a football game? 3. Commerce Clause: Beginning in 1937, when it upheld the National Labor Relations Act, the Supreme Court has granted Congress great latitude in passing laws under the Commerce Clause. The Court has upheld a wide range of federal laws, including those that regulate labor standards, personal consumption of produce, racial discrimination in public accommodations, and crime. In the last ten years, however, the Supreme Court has shifted course, doing something it had not done in sixty years: striking down acts of Congress on Commerce Clause grounds. Do you agree with the trend towards striking down laws on this basis? What do you believe is the extent of Congress's authority to legislate under the Commerce Clause? Can Congress regulate local trade in a product that is used nationally? Can Congress regulate labor standards for states and cities under its Commerce Clause power? How closely connected must the regulated action be to interstate commerce for Congress to have the authority to legislate? Where would you look for evidence that Congress is properly legislating under its Commerce Clause authority? Do you rely exclusively on the text of the legislation? Do you look at the legislative history? Do you consider the nature of the regulated activity? What is the extent of the limitations imposed on state regulation by the Commerce Clause? Specifically: Do you agree with the Court's decision in United States v. Lopez (1995), which struck down the Gun-Free School Zone Act because education is traditionally local? Is there any circumstance under which Congress could regulate activities in and around schools using its Commerce Clause authority? Do you agree that it is the Commerce Clause that allows Congress to prohibit racial discrimination in public accommodations, as the Court held in Heart of Atlanta Hotel v. United States (1964)? 4. Under what circumstances is it appropriate for the Supreme Court to overturn a well-settled precedent, upon which Americans have come to rely? Does your answer depend at all on the length of time that the precedent has been on the books? Does your answer depend at all on how widely criticized or accepted the precedent is? What if you agree with the result but believe the legal reasoning was seriously flawed? Does that make a difference? Does it matter if the precedent was 5-4 in deciding whether to overturn it? Does it matter if was a unanimous decision? Specifically: Do you agree with the 1976 decision in which the Supreme Court held that Congress could not extend the Fair Labor Standards Act to state and city employees (National League of Cities v. Usery), or do you agree with the later 1985 decision, which held that Congress could (Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit, overruling Nat'l League of Cities). Was the Court right to overturn its precedent nine years later? Why or why not? Do you agree with the 1989 decision in which the Supreme Court held that it was constitutional to execute minors (Stanford v. Kentucky), or do you agree with the later 2005 decision, which held that it was unconstitutional (Roper v. Simmons). Was the Court right to overturn its precedent 16 years later? Why or why not? Do you agree with the 1986 decision in which the Supreme Court held that states could criminalize private sex acts between consenting adults (Bowers v. Hardwick), or do you agree with the later 2003 decision, which held that the states could not (Lawrence v. Texas)? Was the Court right to overturn its precedent 17 years later? Why or why not? 5. Under what circumstances should the Supreme Court invalidate a law duly passed by the Congress? What amount of deference should the court give to Congressional action? Should the Court err on the side of upholding a law? Do certain types of laws deserve greater deference than others? Regulatory laws? Criminal laws? How closely tied must a law be to an enumerated right of Congress under Article I for it to be upheld? Let me ask you about a few cases in which the Supreme Court has struck down federal laws: Do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Gun-Free School Zones Act at issue in United States v. Lopez (1995)? Why or why not? Do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision to strike down provisions of the Violence Against Women Act in United States v. Morrison (2000)? Why or why not? 6. Is there a constitutionally protected right to privacy, and if so, under what circumstances does it apply? The word "privacy" is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. In your view, does that mean it is wrong for the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution as conferring such a right? Do you believe that either the United States Congress or the states can regulate the sexual behavior of individuals within the privacy of their home? Specifically: Do you agree with the reasoning in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which held that the right to privacy in the Constitution protects the right of married couples to purchase and use contraception? Do you believe that Roe v. Wade (1973) was correctly decided? What is your view of the quality of the legal reasoning in that case? Do you believe that it reached the right result? Once the right to privacy has been found - as in Griswold and Roe - under what circumstances should the Supreme Court revisit that right? 7. What is the proper role of the federal government in enacting laws to protect the environment? Does the Constitution provide any instruction on how Congress should balance the interests of industry against environmental interests? Under the Constitution, how far can Congress go in imposing restrictions on people and businesses to protect the air and water? Under the Constitution, how far can the states go in enacting laws to protect the environment, and does it matter whether there is federal legislation on the same subject? Let me put this in the context of specific cases: Do you believe that the Supreme Court correctly decided that the EPA has the authority to pursue industrial polluters in a state where the local authority has declined to do so, as in Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004)? Can the Clean Air Act preempt local emissions regulations, as the Court held in Engine Manufacturers Association v. South Coast Air Quality Management (2004)? 8. What is the proper role of the federal government in enacting laws to protect the rights of the disabled? Does the Constitution provide any instruction on how Congress should balance the costs to business against the government's interest in creating equal access to facilities for disabled persons? Should federal laws mandating access to buildings for disabled people apply to both public and private buildings? For example, do you believe that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires state buildings to be accessible to the disabled, as the Supreme Court held in Tennessee v. Lane, or do you think that sovereign immunity exempts the states? 9. What is the proper Constitutional role of Government in enacting laws to regulate education? How far can the Government go under the Constitution to ensure equal treatment for all students? How far can the Court go to protect speech and/or prohibit violations of the establishment clause in the schools? For example, do you believe that Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe (2000) was decided correctly? Does the Constitution guarantee parents the right to choose their children's education, as established in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925)? 10. How do you define judicial activism? Give us three examples of Supreme Court cases that you consider the product of judicial activism. Is the "activist" label limited to more liberal-leaning judges, or can there be conservative activist judges? Can you cite any examples of conservative judicial activism? In cases where federal law and state law may be in conflict, who is the activist - the judge who voted to limit the federal law or the judge who limited the state law? Do you believe that the Supreme Court was engaging in judicial activism when it struck down provisions of the Gun-Free School Zones Act (United States v. Lopez) or the Violence Against Women Act (United States v. Morrison), both of which had been passed by Congress? Was the Supreme Court engaging in judicial activism in:Brown v. Board of Education?Miranda v. Arizona?Dred Scott v. Sandford?The Civil Rights Cases of 1883?Lochner v. New York?Furman v. Georgia?Bush v. Gore? What distinguishes one case from the other? 11. Do you describe yourself as falling into any particular school of judicial philosophy? What is your view of "strict constructionism"? What is your view of the notion of "original intent"? "Original meaning"? How do you square the notion of respecting "original intent" with the acceptance of the institution of slavery at the time the Constitution was adopted? 12. What in your view are the limits on the scope of Congress' power under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment? Does a law violate the Equal Protection Clause if it affects different groups differently, or must there be a discriminatory intent? Do you agree that, under the Equal Protection Clause, disparate impact alone does not render a law unconstitutional, as the Court held in Washington v. Davis (1976)? Do parents have a Due Process right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, as the Supreme Court held in Troxel v. Granville (2000)? 13. Where is the line between civil rights questions that are political and questions that are appropriate for a court to decide? Do you agree with the reasoning in Powell v. McCormack? Why or why not? Do you agree with the reasoning in Baker v. Carr? Why or why not? Do you agree with the reasoning in Bush v. Gore? Why or why not? What power does the Supreme Court have to intervene in state election laws (as in Bush v. Gore)? What role should the Supreme Court be playing in disputed elections? 14. Which Supreme Court Justice do you believe your jurisprudence most closely resembles and why? 15. When the Supreme Court issues non-unanimous opinions, Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg frequently find themselves in disagreement with each other. Do you more frequently agree with Justice Scalia's opinions, or Justice Ginsburg's? 16. Can you identify three Supreme Court cases that have not been reversed where you are critical of the Court's holding or reasoning and discuss the reasons for your criticism?
Pretty innocuous questions, right. All except for the ones involving specific cases that have already been decided by the Supreme Court. Based on these questions, though most of them a re pretty good, I would submit that Roberts journey through the shark-infested waters will not be easy.
I am an alternative media nut. I work it everyday I can on our site. I listen to talk radio. And I read tons of blogs. (Yes, we both read some MSM coverage, but not for news. We read them to see how they re twisting the news.) This morning, Michelle Malkin and a host of others are commenting on the suspension of talk radio host Michael Graham for his supposed "bigoted" comments towards the Muslim faith is a bit disconcerting to me.
Michelle has an excerpt from his column on her site. Let me say that I do not believe all Muslims are terrorists. I do not agree with that assessment. But Graham paints with a broad brush in his column.
I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth:
Islam is a terror organization.
CAIR threw a hissy fit over his comments, and finally got him off the air. I do not condone the move made by WMAL in DC. They backed Graham last week, and now his head is liable to be on the chopping block. I do like our side of the aisle when it comes to debate, and the exchange of ideas. There are hosts that I dislike. Mostly because all these people do is ramp up the rhetoric, and push a liberal, emotional reaction to their listeners. Michael Savage comes to mind. The man may have good ideas, sometimes, and may be on our side, but his show is just too over the top. How he conducts his show lends nothing to the realm of serious debate. I can understand why CAIR got so upset, but even they have quite a bit to answer for, as I will illustrate momentarily.
But Graham, and Tom Tancredo, really need to learn how to control themselves. Yes, he may have his views, but one does not indict an entire religion for the actions of a few. Hitler did that in Nazi Germany, blaming the Jews for all of Germany’s problems. Granted, Graham did not call for the extermination of all Muslims, but he did refer to their religion as a terrorist organization. Tancredo was, and still is, willing to "nuke Mecca" should an act of nuclear terrorism strike this nation. Like Graham, Tancredo immediately dove into an emotional response during an interview, and he is riding the wave high on his statement. A lot of people support the idea. Probably close to the same amount of people that agree with Graham. But that does not make their statements correct, just, or even educated. They may come from frustration or emotion, but they should be controlled. Tancredo still will not apologize, and I would wager that neither will Graham.
When I posted last week my fisking of Ann Coulter’s column regarding her dislike of Judge Roberts, I did not delve into the emotional side of the debate. Emotion clouds the logic of civil debate. I simply pointed out that while her objections are noted, the screed was not well-researched. There is absolutely nothing in his decisions or his past that would give many a level of pause. Of course people like myself and Thomas, and whole host of other originalist thinkers are holding our breath. He could turn out to be a Souter, but I just do not see the evidence for him to be the "second coming of Souter," as Ann stated in that column.
Now, back to Graham, he has legitimate gripes about Muslims. So do I. A fatwa recently made by Muslim clerics. The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and CAIR point to this fatwa as a shift in the Muslim ideology. The problem with it is it is bogus. It is a sham. Nowhere in the fatwa do they condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. The fatwa, in short, is window dressing so people will leave them alone. Graham did not state anything in regard to the fatwa, but his logic is well-grounded in the simple fact that these leaders will not denounce the violence. To them, it seems justified (a recent Muslim group in London was questioned about the legitimacy of suicide bombers, and their answer was "It depends") and they are grossly offended by anyone who questions them, or their religious beliefs.
Never mind the simple fact that many leaders of CAIR have been indicted in terrorism-related crimes, and that CAIR refuses to acknowledge groups like Hamas as a terrorist organization. Hugh Hewitt recently had a two day interview with Hussam Ayloush, the spokesman for the Southern California chapter of CAIR. Hussam refused to acknowledge the legitimate right of Israel to exist, refused to criticize the attacks on Israel in ’48 and ’73, and basically attempted to sluff off any serious question raised about the animals in the Muslim faith. Hussam finally admitted that, yes, he believed Hamas to be a terrorist group, but then reminded everyone listening that he was only an engineer, and not an "expert." The man actually tried to play the role of the victim on the second day when Hugh also had Frank Gaffney. Needless to say, Hussam was shown to be much like what this fatwa was. A sham.
I dislike the fact that a talk show host was yanked from the airwaves over his comments regarding Muslims. The last time I checked, we still had freedom of speech, and radio hosts, much like the MSM, still have freedom of the press. I understand it was a business decision for WMAL to yank him because of the pressure that CAIR placed on them, and I understand that CAIR has a right to speak up and defend their people. However, that is all they are doing. That is all the major Muslim groups are doing. They are protecting their people. They are quick to point to any possible violation of their rights, and to play the victim card. But I expect them to criticize the radicals within their religion that are making victims of innocent men, women, and children when they blow up a car bomb, or plant bombs on subways and buses.
Were a group of Catholics to begin bombing America over the fact that abortion is still legal, I would disavow them, and I am sure the Catholic Church would, too. Actually, they would probably be excommunicated for such acts. Why can the Muslims not do the same for the radicals they claim do not follow "true Islam?" I can understand those that are fearful of the repercussions, especially in the Middle-East. But spokespeople for CAIR and other Muslim groups can speak out here in America. They can do so in Europe. But they are quite silent. And they issue fatwas that are complete bravo-sierra.
Based on their reaction to the terrorists we are fighting, one would almost believe that what Graham said was true. I still hold out a tiny sliver of hope that Muslims will wake up and smell the java. The world is starting to look in their direction for answers, and they refuse to acknowledge the problem. And that problem is that the religion still exists with a Seventh Century mindset, and those animals are fighting what they believe is a holy war against the infidel West. We cannot allow the war to devolve to that.
The Global War on Terror is a war on the animals that refuse to evolve, that struck us on 9/11, and that continue to strike against nations and people who believe in freedom. It is not a war on their religion. Those days are long gone, and civilized society has condemned the actions back then. But the Islamo-fascists that continue their jihad seem justified, and they feel that way because their religion—those that command the power and respect of the Muslim faith—have not condemned them. It is time for a serious condemnation from the Muslim faithful. And until they do so, there will be more Michael Graham’s and Tom Tancredo’s out there.
Now, they’re coming out of the woodwork. That’s right the Democrats are coming out against Roberts. What started as merely a few embers of resistance is slowing growing into a full-on conflagration. Yesterday, I brought up Schumer and Leahy. Biden was in there, as well, but more for the point of the Ginsburg Rule. It seems that Babs Boxer has changed her tune again.
A group of female Democratic senators said yesterday that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. unless he vows to uphold abortion rights. ...
"Thousands of women a year died in back alleys," Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said of the days before Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established abortion rights. "For more than 20 years, Sandra Day O'Connor has been an important vote in upholding Roe v. Wade," she said. "Will Judge Roberts be that same important voice?"
Don’t you just love how she brings up the thousands of women that died in back-alley abortions (proof please, Babs?) but she ignores the thirty million babies killed by the process of abortion since 1973. And it’s so nice to see she’s going to use a page from the playbook called the litmus test. Schumer is going to bring it up in his questioning of Roberts when the committee hearings begin. But he’s hinted that there will be more litmus tests than just over Roe.
Schumer has stated that he might even include a religious litmus test against Roberts. That is unconstitutional. "...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." —Article VI, US Constitution. As a matter of fact, no litmus tests should be handed out to any nominee, and most especially a judicial nominee.
The nominee can be questioned in cases they have personally presided over. They can be questioned about the methods they use to arrive at decisions. But on cases that haven’t had anything to do with, such as Roberts has with Roe, should be out of the question. Questioning the man on his religion, whether he would recuse himself from the bench based on religious beliefs under certain cases, this sort of speculation should be forbidden. Were I the chairman of the committee, I wouldn’t allow any senator to engage in this sort of behavior.
Schumer, Leahy, Boxer, Kennedy, Biden, Durbin, and the rest of the "Little Rascals," have nothing to stand on. The strategy they’re using is going to back-fire on them. There’s nothing in Roberts’ past that can disqualify him. The only thing they can use against him will be his answers to questions about Roe, should he decide to answer. I wouldn’t, if I were in his shoes. I would refuse to answer any question regarding any potential case to the Supreme Court. If I explain my methods for arriving at such decisions, they should be able to come to a reasonable conclusion as to how I would rule.
Yesterday, Senators Schumer and Leahy continued to make further asses of themselves. Leahy wondered: "I don't see how somebody who said they didn't consider Roe v. Wade settled law ... I don't see how they get confirmed." Schumer took it a step farther, obviously still stinging over Roberts’ first time through the hearings where he refused to answer a few questions. "Most opinion leaders and scholars think that asking a nominee to answer questions about a specific, already decided Supreme Court case is an appropriate line of questioning," he said. "It would go a long way to creating a smooth and quicker-moving process if Judge Roberts were to decide to answer those questions."
To Senator Leahy, you obviously fail to remember that the only "settled law" is the Constitution. It’s settled because of the long process one must go through to amend it. Roe is anything but "settled." If it were truly settled law, then the Supreme Court would abide by the precedents they set. But it was Justice O’Connor in Stenberg v. Carhart and Planned Parenthood v. Casey that diverted from established set of rules for Roe. Both of those cases utilized a new test for abortion. So, if Roe were truly settled, and without any argument, then the Court would abide by the initial decision, and the way they made it, in 1973. But they don’t, and that sends a message to me that Roe could be overturned, and should be so.
To Senator Schumer, he should not be forced to answer questions about decided Supreme Court cases that he had nothing to do with. Without being there Judge Roberts would not be able to comment on those cases intelligently. That is not to say the man is stupid; he is not. But I submit that because I have not served in the military, I’m not able to speak about the military from an educated standpoint. It would be like asking an amateur athlete what the pros are like. Besides, as I stated yesterday, two issues keep rearing their heads in the Supreme Court during almost every session. The first s abortion. The second are challenges to the Establishment Clause. He should not be questioned on either subject, as they are potential issues the Court will be asked to address.
Further, Justice Ginsburg set the precedent itself when she refused to answer some 30 questions during her confirmation hearings. "A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process," she said during her 1993 confirmation hearings. This kind of garbage by the Democrats needs to stop. We can’t have two sets of rules, one for them and one for us.
As the Democrats snipe more at this man’s heels, he continues to gain more support. He recently had a sit down with Ben Nelson and Mike DeWine—two members of the Gang of 14—and both men liked the meeting, and they liked Roberts. Both men said that they saw no reason why Roberts could not be confirmed quickly. Time for the Democrats to wake up and smell the coffee: You’re losing this fight. You’re losing it amongst your constituents, and you’re losing the fight within your own party. More people are supporting this man than are opposed to him. I guess the dimwits in the party can claim one thing in this fight. They’re not alone. Ann Coulter still doesn’t like Roberts as a choice, and is disappointed in the president for not choosing someone else.
Listening to Hugh Hewitt today, he brought up a story about the FBI. They are still behind on transcribing and listening to the numerous wire-taps they’ve racked up since 11 Sept., but they’re prioritizing the important ones. The FBI’s translators have increased over 60% since 11 Sept. So, they are working through it all.
But Hugh Hewitt also brought up a glaringly obvious point. It’s not that the FBI isn’t doing what it can to get through these taps, but they are not openly recruiting. That is, they aren’t just taking every Joe Six-pack that can speak an Arabic language. The one thing that we should be wary of is who is doing the translating. It is not uncommon to have an enemy try to infiltrate our intelligence agencies. It was done during the Cold War, and there are recorded cases from World War II where when we debriefed people arriving from Europe, many lied to our military people.
So, the FBI is doing it’s job, and we’re working through those taps, and tracking down the cowardly barbarians. But, this took a striking turn, as I just read in Richard Miniter’s book "Shadow War." Below is an excerpt, from pages 118 & 119, where he relays what he learned through thorough research into the GWOT, and how we’re winning. (Emphasis below is mine.)
London--Babar Ahmad is a thirty-year-old British subject who ran websites and other businesses that American and British investigators believe were used to fund and recruit for Taliban and Chechen terrorists. On 6 August 2004, he appeared in a London court to hear charges read against him. Of course, he denied them.
However, a look at his computer's hard drive told a different story. E-mail records revealed he had received communications from a sailor aboard the USS Benfold, an American guided-missile destroyer. The writer said he was a "US naval enlistee" who was "sympathetic to the jihad movement."The sailor (who authrorities do not want to name) praised the Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya. This might not have been the sailor's first e-mail.
Ahmad's computer revealed that he had received sensitive US naval documents on 29 April 2001, showing the precise future movements of the Constellation battle group--of which Benfold was a member. The mysterious e-mailer noted: "They have nothing to stop a small craft with rocket-propelled grenades etc., except their SEALs Stinger missiles." US Navy SEAL teams, usually composed of four men, operate in small boats near naval vessels and are equipped with shoulder-launched Stinger missiles.
Documents found on Ahmad's computer detailed the specific assignment of each ship, the battle group's planned movements, and a drawing of the battle group's formation.
Investigators won't say if Ahmad passed these documents to the Taliban or al-Qaeda. If he is extradited to the United States, Ahmad faces a thirty-one-page indictment in a federal court in Connecticut. Only then will we know why the terrorists failed to strike and who the traitorous mole aboard the USS Benfold was.
So, the assessment made by Mr. Hewitt today seems to have some semblance to it. We saw what happened on the night prior to the invasion where a soldier in the US Army, sympathetic to the jihad, decided to roll live grenades into the tents of his commanding officer and other officers. This man was a Muslim, definitely on the side of the United States, and he was serving in Uncle Sugar’s Army.
This is a reality that we must also come to grips with. Our enemy sneaks into this nation, and lies dormant until the time is right to strike us. They’re in a lot of different jobs and a lot of different industries. Not only do our intelligence agencies have to watch out for the terrorists in America, but they also have to watch their doors to make sure one of the dormant ones doesn’t come walking through them, and helping his fellow jihadists.
I noticed that there was a lot of attention today about the new show on FX called "Over There." The show is supposed to give people a melodramatic look at the GWOT Phase: Iraq. Melodramatic is correct, as many bloggers—especially the excellent milblogs—have pointed out. Cliché after cliché, and mistake after mistake was made in the show. From the small mistakes, like which side of the weapon the spent cartridge is ejected from (a minor mistake in comparison; they reversed the angle) to showing a young soldier smoking a joint out behind the Motor Pool shed.
Now, I’ve never been in the military, so I can’t comment on the technicalities that many of the milbloggers are. I have a lot of "book knowledge" on the military, and I’ve talked to my fair share of veterans. So, I think I’m mildly qualified to speak, in part, on the military technicalities. The pot smoking soldier wouldn’t be around much longer. Random drug tests are conducted in the military, and especially in the field. And I criticize Steven Bochco, the creator of the show, for the laziness in this aspect. I’ll give two very different, yet similar arguments in the respect.
First, the movie "Gettysburg." When it was done, we all knew that it was going to bit a bit on the melodramatic side. A story here, and a story there, no different than the phony backstory for "Titanic," but the overall subject of the movie was as dead-on accurate as possible. When Ronald Maxwell began production, he wanted as close to reality for the movie as possible, and took to the task of building both armies. He used Civil War reenactors for that feat. They wore the right uniforms, used the right tools and weapons, and looked the part. Maxwell did his homework.
Second, "Black Hawk Down." The movie based on the ill-fated mission in Somalia on 3 October 2003. Now, there were some "authenticity" issues with the movie, like the names of the soldiers on their helmets. OK. Yes, it’s not right, but the movie isn’t about the helmets, it’s about the mission. I have spoken with a few Rangers that were there in Somalia, and each one has said that Ridley Scott did his absolute best to maintain that authenticity. The people that were there were represented properly, and the soldier’s stand behind Scott for his cinematic interpretation. Again, Scott did his homework.
There’s my point, when it comes to the basics of the show, it’s authenticity, Bochco didn’t do his homework. There’s a scene where the team is assaulting a mosque with heavily-entrenched insurgents inside, and a tank is off to the side and isn’t used. Many a soldier that I have spoken to that have come home from Iraq, and premier milbloggers like Austin Bay, have stated that wouldn’t happen. That tank would be put to good use in such an assault. I agree. It’s sound, simple reasoning.
But I have a further point to make. I didn’t always write politics. I didn’t always work on non-fiction. I started writing fiction, and many a people have told me it was good. I’ve got a sound imagination, I create believable, non-cliched characters, and I can drive a story. I follow all the rules of fiction writing, and mine was even more constrained because it was science fiction writing. But it wasn’t Star Wars "sci-fi." I paid a lot of attention to the science part. I didn’t laud my readers with Asimov or Clarke types of science explanation. Brief, and to the point, and it works.
The other complaint that many stated after watching this show was it wasn’t believable. It wasn’t real. The characters were two-dimensional, the situations were simply outrageous, and, as I stated above, the characters were all cliché. You have the pot-smoking black kid. An idiot lieutenant. A screaming sergeant. The country hick that loves the Army, but appears to be a bit dim. A college dropout. Blah-blah-blah. This show looks more like the GWOT through the eyes of Oliver Stone as many have cited in the comments sections of the milbloggers on this show.
Many people have done what I did, which is to compare the show to better movies, like "Black Hawk Down." Others have really eviscerated the show, thoroughly. If you’re interested in reading their thoughts, some links are below, including a couple of bloggers that actually live-blogged the show. (For those not up on your blogger speak, live-blogging is to blog during an event you are blogging on. It’s sort of like a running commentary.) Read them. These people know what they’re talking about.
Of course, I’m not above enjoying the occasional escapist entertainment. We both love the show Alias. OK. Fine. Even I can dumb myself down with escapism for about an hour. I still have 23 hours in the day, and plenty of things to do in those 23 hours. But I really wish Hollywood would finally learn a thing or two. Like how not to tick off half of America over your idiotic portrayal of our volunteer military? We all knew something wasn’t right with the show when so many of the newspaper reviews were glowing over this show. Personally, this show will be lucky to last through one season.
And for those that watched it and liked it, and are going to see the promos with the "acclaimed critical review," remember that those words were written prior to the first show. This lauded praise will be like much of anything else Hollywood puts out. It will be magical, but it’s also all fiction. Come to think of it, that reminds me of the MSM.
While perusing the alternative press today, I was greeted by this from the Drudge Report.
REPORTER VOWS TO 'KILL SELF' IF CHENEY RUNS FOR PRESIDENT Thu Jul 28 2005 15:32:13 ET
Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president.The newspaper HILL first reported the startling claim on Thursday.
"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."
This is almost as hilarious as Bobby Kennedy vowing to jump from the capital dome during the congressional hearings over Hoffa and the Teamsters. As a journalist, Thomas should know better than to tip her ideological hat. And in that piece from The Hill, she further shows her utter stupidity, or is it senility? She accuses Cheney of being as big a liar as Bush is. Yet, none of these nuts can prove a single lie. None. Not one. They keep hyping the WMD argument, and ignoring the overall content of the president’s State Of The Union speech. Yes, the president spoke about WMDs, but he specified them as programs—the same wording that Bill Clinton used in 1998 when he launched an attack on Iraq over Saddam’s weapons programs then. WMDs were not the overall point of the speech.
Terrorism was. The ties that Saddam Hussein had to terrorists (Zarqawi was labled and accepted as an Iraqi intelligence asset in 1995) which was the primary point of regime change. Plenty of people on the Left side have repeatedly stated that Saddam presented no threat to the nation.
Well, I wish I could take them at their word, but what would have stopped Saddam from sending terrorists into America to have them strike at us. Worse yet, al-Qaeda formed connections to Iraq so they could gain access to WMDs. A 2002 State Department report specifically states that those within al-Qaeda were being funneled into Iraq, and trained on the use of certain rudimentary WMDs, like mustard gas and Sarin.
So, I fail to see the "lies" that Cheney or Bush have uttered. The only lies I keep seeing are those perpetrated by the MSM in regard to the president, his administration, and our war efforts. They have painted the president as a liar and a deceiver. They have also painted him as a dunce and a dupe. Well, which is it? He cannot be both. He is either incredibly stupid, or incredibly brilliant. The MSM cannot even keep their own lies straight.
Every member of his administration is either "extreme" or "dumb." The port side of the blogosphere is regularly calling people like Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Porter Goss, etc., have been referred to in like fashion. They have been accused of being accepted by the president based on their association with the president, rather than their merits and qualifications. I have made no bones about the fact that Condi Rice is one of the best and the brightest in the administration. Helen Thomas, and her ilk in the MSM, have continuously shown the "bad" side of the GWOT. They pay little attention to the good that has occurred, and seemingly seethe when they are corrected, even by someone as young and as inexperienced as myself. They present overblown stories, such as Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. They raise the rhetoric to a fever pitch, and drive the sensible people in America nuts. For the most part, intelligent people pay barely a whit’s worth of attention to the MSM. And the attention we here at the Asylum give them is usually over another incorrect report or partisan attack.
Honestly, I could give a rip about Helen Thomas. If I were Cheney I would announce my candidacy tomorrow just to see if the senile old bat will follow through on her promise. Of course, that is the sadistic side of me that is slowly being brought to the surface. Blame it on Thomas.
As an Arizona resident, I shudder every time I hear Sen. John McCain speak. This man has more balls than brains, and his brazen blow-offs to the citizens of this state are appalling. This is a man that needs to go when his next election comes around—whether it be for his seat again, or for president. This man claims that he is a Reagan Republican, and every time he invokes that, I’m sure the former president spins in his grave.
John McCain is a US senator that is clearly drunk from his own power. And if, as a resident of this state, I’m that repulsed by John McCain I can only wonder how the citizens of New York feel about Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Sen. Schumer has been leading the Democrat attack on Judge John Roberts. He was one of the first ones out the gate taking swipes at the man, including reminding everyone why he was the only dissenting vote in the Senate when Roberts was confirmed to the DC Court. Now, he’s dragging out the same old playbook.
Here’s the strategy that Schumer and others on the Left are using. First, they’ve demanded documents from the White House during Roberts tenure as solicitor general. Now, for those that are inept in the realm of jurisprudence—like the moron I dealt with last night—that, in short, is a no-no. As solicitor general, Roberts’ client was the US government. The White House has released some 70,000-plus pages of documents during his time there. These are all documents that are available to the public. The vast majority of these documents can be found in the respective presidential libraries of Pres. Reagan and Pres. Bush (41), and within the National Archives. They want more than what is out there, and previous solicitor generals have stepped forward and told the White House not to give into the demands.
Second, Schumer is still steamed that Roberts did not answer everyone of his invasive questioning. So, he’s going to go through this again. Schumer is planning to ask Roberts about a number of things; many of the issues being involved in potential Supreme Court cases. When Justice Ginsburg went before the committee during her confirmation, she invoked Canon 5, which has since then been referred to as the Ginsburg Rule.
Canon 5 "prohibits a candidate for judicial office from making statements that commit the candidate regarding cases, controversies or issues likely to come before the court. As a corollary, a candidate should emphasize in any public statement the candidate’s duty to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal views."
That is according to the ABA’s website. The Canon includes other points in it, but this is the point that Ginsburg made during her hearings. Schumer is going to have absolute fits if Roberts steps up, and invokes the Canon. But he is doing it because of the Canon, and his views that he’s not going to speak on such subjects. According to a list of questions Schumer wants to ask the nominee — one numbered question reads: "Do you believe that Roe v. Wade (1973) was correctly decided? What is your view on the quality of the legal reasoning in the case? Do you believe that it reached the right result?"
Other issues Schumer plans on asking Roberts about include the First Amendment and Commerce Clause of the Constitution, under what circumstances it's appropriate for the Supreme Court to overturn "well-settled precedent" and Supreme Court cases Roberts considers the product of "judicial activism."
No offense to Schumer, but he’s not going to get any answers on those issues. Roe is most definitely off-limits. The Court seems to address a case on abortion almost every session. He’s not going to give answers on the First Amendment, especially those regarding the inflamed arguments over the Establishment Clause; much like Roe, cases involving the Establishment Clause are quite common for the high court.
The final part of the strategy is to, in concert with the above, ultimately delay his hearings. The Democrats are heartened by the fact that O’Connor will return to the bench on Oct. 1st if no nominee has succeeded making it through the confirmation process. It will give them time to go find dirt on Roberts, which I doubt there’s much, and use that against him like they did to Bork and Thomas. They’re hoping the above strategy will give them enough time and traction to derail Roberts.
But as I said above, Schumer’s not the only one. The Democrats have their fair share of nuts on this nominee. Trent Lott reminded people recently that Sen. Biden stood up for Ginsburg during her confirmation skirmish that she didn’t have to answer all the questions presented to her. In all, I believe there were over 30 questions that Justice Ginsburg refused to answer.
But Biden's office said that while it's improper to ask a judge how he or she would rule in a case, he's "likewise always maintained that it's fair game to examine the constitutional methodology and judicial philosophy which the nominee would bring to consideration of issues which come before the Supreme Court.
"The two positions are not inconsistent, but the GOP has tried to conflate them, in an attempt to argue that any questioning about a nominee's judicial philosophy or constitutional methodology is out of line. They're wrong," reads a statement released by Biden's office.
During his floor statement on July 15, 1993, Biden said, "In my view, the public is best served by questions that initiate a dialogue with the nominee, not about how she will decide any specific case that may come before her, but about the spirit and method she will bring to the task of judging."
Which is all fine and dandy, but that’s not how their side of the aisle plays the game. People like Biden and Schumer aren’t going to just question his methodology in determining what is and what isn’t Constitutional. They’re going to ask direct questions, and they’re going to throw a hissy fit when Roberts tells them to pound sand.
Leahy’s office is playing dodgeball by not answering questions from the MSM over what he will do. He’s a focus because he was one of those after the nomination that started talking about how "extreme" Roberts was. Durbin, Kennedy, and Boxer are among the others, though Boxer recanted within a day or so and said he wasn’t that bad. The only person that hasn’t said much about him, and it intrigues me, is Sen. Clinton. I’m not intrigued because it’s Sen. Clinton. I’m intrigued that as a lawyer she doesn’t seem to have an opinion. She has simply stated that he should receive a fair hearing, and his vote on the floor of the Senate. No, she’s not sick. She’s still trying to drag herself to the middle.
There is nothing in Roberts’ writings or his past to give anyone any serious pause. No offense to Ann, but she’s well-grounded in her worries, but way off base for screeching about him. And no, just because he’s been received well by the Democrats doesn’t mean he’s another Souter, Ann. I stated my two opinions on why the Democrats are playing nice. First, they really can’t find anything. (Come on, Schumer was screaming about some frog case in California. That isn’t much, and Roberts was right on in his decision.)
Second, they’re going to let Roberts slide through, hoping someday he may be as senile as Justice Stevens, or as loony as Justice Kennedy, so that when the next one comes up, they can go back to their extreme business as usual. And when we raise a stink, they’re going to point to Roberts. And they’re going to say, "See, we played nice with him but Judge (insert name here) is just too extreme."
It’s time for the Democrats to wake up. You’ve already lost this fight. The Gang of Fourteen has deserted them, and see no problem with Roberts. Ben Nelson from Nebraska, a Democrat facing an uphill battle for reelection in 2006, came out today after an interview he had with Roberts. (Hat-Tip: Captain’s Quarters)
Supreme Court nominee John Roberts gave assurances he wouldn't be an activist if confirmed, a key Democrat who already was leaning toward supporting him said Thursday.
"I don't see anything that's going to be disturbing" in his record, Sen. Ben Nelson told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with President Bush's choice to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the high court.
Democrats have been pushing to review as many of Roberts' writings as possible, hoping to gain a better understanding of his personal views and the extent to which he might seek to inject them into his judicial rulings.
"He said he would not be an activist judge," Nelson said.
Chuck, the fight’s over, and your side has lost again. You can’t win an election, and only through dirty back room deals can you win the fight for the judiciary. People see this, and they’re disgusted by this. They’re disgusted by a party that is so drunk from it’s own power, and so frightened they’re going to lose more, that they’re doing everything they can to keep it. The mandate that a congressmen has when he steps up to serve his people is to make decisions that makes America better. It’s not to play petty partisan games to hold onto your job. The nation comes first. Somewhere, throughout the 229 years this nation has existed, the politicos in DC have forgotten that.
(Hat-tip: Hugh Hewitt and Captain’s Quarters) The Algerian man convicted of plotting to blow up the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison.
Ahmed Ressam got a lighter sentence than prosecutors had requested, reflecting his cooperation in telling international investigators about the workings of terror camps in Afghanistan.
"There is no doubt about it. With this sentence, Ressam caught a bit of a break from this judge, mostly because the would-be bomber DID help the feds as an informant for many years following his arrest," said legal analyst Andrew Cohen. "I think the judge wanted to reward that behavior and he probably did."
But Ressam, 38, could have received a shorter sentence had he not stopped talking to investigators in early 2003. Prosecutors argued that his recalcitrance has jeopardized cases against two of his co-conspirators.
"This still isn't a light sentence but it is not nearly as long as a lot of people expected. Essentially, the judge gave Ressam time off in advance for his good behavior over many years of providing good information to the feds following his arrest and conviction," Cohen said.
In sentencing Ressam, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said he hoped to balance U.S. resolve to punish potential terrorist acts with Ressam's cooperation. Coughenour also said he hoped to send a message that the U.S. court system works in terrorism cases.
"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely or deny the defendant the right to counsel. ... Our courts have not abandoned the commitment to the ideals that set this nation apart," he said.
Ressam was arrested in Port Angeles in December 1999 as he drove off a ferry from British Columbia with a trunk full of bomb-making materials. Prosecutors recommended a 35-year sentence; Ressam's lawyers asked for 12 1/2 years.
What sort of message did this idiotic judge just send to our enemies. From my end of the keyboard it says to me, "Come on over and blow us up, and we will give you a ‘time-out.’" The utter stupidity of this judge is apparent, and unfortunately he was appointed by Reagan. (That makes two judges that I am disappointed in that Pres. Reagan appointed.)
But that is not all. Judge Coughenour took time during his sentencing statement to admonish the nation, and the Constitution. (Emphasis mine. And yes, I do answer the simple and stupid wisdom of a judge that does not deserve to sit on any bench.)
"Okay. Let me say a few things. First of all, it will come as no surprise to anybody that this sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on the bench.
"I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties' positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely.
A period of confinement? Is he serious? These people are willing to blow themselves up to further their fascist goals, and they are supposed to be intimidated by the idea of incarceration? Where did Pres. Reagan find this goof-ball, Mars? This judge thinks that throwing these people in prison is going to set them straight. Sure, if the prison is the overblown Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, with all their supposed abuses, but he is going to sit in a federal penitentiary. He is going to be alive, and he will be living on our dime.
The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is twofold:
"First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.
"Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.
This is a direct swipe at the administration, which is appropriately using the powers of the Constitution in the prosecution of this war. And I would like to point out that the rights enumerated in the Constitution applies to CITIZENS of this nation, not foreign nationals. Ressam was not a US citizen, and should have been tried in a military tribunal.
"I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.
The accused are afforded their due process rights. That is guaranteed, but if there is further speculation over his rights, refer to my previous comments above. He has none. He is guaranteed nothing, save his life. Had it been deemed that he would receive the death penalty (fat-chance in Seattle), then his life would be forfeit.
"Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.
Hello??? Dumbass! He was not a citizen. He should not have been receiving any sort of "fair treatment" under our civilian system of justice. That is for us, not animals like himself. This is positively disgusting that a sitting judge on the federal bench even entertained the idea that this man deserved the same rights we possess.
"Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.
A tribunal is secret for a simple reason. We do not need to know what is occurring there, and many people in this nation would not begin to understand it. If these sorts of arguments had been made over POWs in wars past, this judge would be off the bench in a heartbeat. These people are combatants in a war. In Ressam's case, and in the 99.9% of others we have in custody--like those at Gitmo--these "soldiers" are illegal combatants. No nation accepts them. No nation condones them. They do not operate in a uniform at the behest of any nation. These people require a tribunal, not a US court proceeding with 12 of his peers; people, I might add, that he sees as infidels.
"The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. "Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.
"It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess."
Yes, it is your job to uphold the Constitution, and pardon me for being blunt, but you have done a piss-poor job. By accepting that this man has rights under our system of justice, this has set, once again, a dangerous precedent. What is to stop any future bombers, like Ressam, that if caught, he is bestowed the rights that are not afforded to them. More specific, and to the point, unless you are a US citizen, the Constitution is off limits to you.
That is inherent. This is the reason for the Fourteenth Amendment, and the reason the word "citizen" is used within it. It applies only to us. It does not apply to someone from Mexico or Canada; France or Great Britain; Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, or Syria, etc. These people can be denied any such recognition in our courts. In the event of a crime being committed, they can be deported, and told never to return. We could take even more steps, provided the Congress institutes courts "inferior to the supreme Court" to deal with such cases. But we are not going to do that.
Ressam is a terrorist. He had plans to cause the loss of a lot of innocent lives. This animal should have never been given a trial in our justice system. And as for this poor excuse of a sentence (he was originally looking at 130 years before he started cooperating with federal investigators), the sentence is too long.
The sentence should have been just long enough to march him outside to the back of the courthouse, and crush his worthless skull against the wall.
As a female, I enjoy my freedoms in this nation. They are thoroughly enumerated in the Constitution. Governor Mitt Romney recently vetoed a bill that would have done many things to set back abortion in this nation. Of course, when I say "set back," I mean a set back for those in favor of this abhorrent act. Below, I have cited his entire op-ed piece in today’s Boston Globe.
Why I vetoed contraception bill
By Mitt Romney July 26, 2005
YESTERDAY I vetoed a bill that the Legislature forwarded to my desk. Though described by its sponsors as a measure relating to contraception, there is more to it than that. The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.
Such an idea is disgusting and reprehensible to young ladies like myself. I applaud the governor for this step. It was necessary to send a message to the dealers in death that supported an illegal measure. Yes, I said "illegal." If anyone would like to challenge me on the jurisprudence of Roe, I would be happy to debate the topic. Not from an emotional side, but rather the legal side, as my better half has instructed me.
Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it. What's more, this particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness of abortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold.
Children under the age of 18 must obtain parental permission to receive a piercing or a tattoo in Massachusetts, so why would they be able to avoid an abortion. Is defacing the human body more egregious than terminating a life?
I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward. I will honor the commitment I made during my campaign: While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state's abortion laws.
Despite my misgivings for moderate or liberal Republicans in the northeast, I must respect the governor’s decision. I do oppose abortion, mostly for legal reasons, but I will respect his pledge not to trump the voice of the people through their legislature or via ballot.
I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.
It should not have been determined through judicial fiat in the first place, and while I share the governor’s views, I disagree with his assessment over the division of the nation on this subject. Well over 70% of this nation dislike the concept of abortion, and wish they had a voice in it. As they do not, they accept—grudgingly so—the mandate set down by the Supreme Court. Had they their "druthers," I am positive a majority of this nation would outlaw abortion in a heartbeat.
Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state's democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.
For all the conflicting views on this issue, it speaks well of our country that we recognize abortion as a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good, and, in the quiet of conscience people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.
America is not happy with abortion, which is why it is such an influential and potentially-explosive issue in debate. This debate will rage over our hemisphere for years to come, unless the Supreme Court grows a set, and decides to revisit it. This is a concept, I doubt, I will see in my lifetime, but there is hope.
You can't be a prolife governor in a prochoice state without understanding that there are heartfelt and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the question. Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer. At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born.
As my better half would shout, "BINGO!!! Give the guv his fuzzy bunny." He hit the nail on the head. Since 1973, we have selfishly looked to the woman’s right, yet disregarded the right of the child to live. We have done so because we have debased that child to the title of "embryo" or "fetus," and in doing so, we have stripped it of it’s most basic asset. That of identification as a human male or female. That idea is too personal to pro-abortionists. That is too personal for the mother, where we are only looking to her feelings. To hell with the mother. What of the child? Does the mother trump the child in cases not of rape, incest or her life being in danger? It should not. Her right should end the moment she decides to deny another of life.
In some respects, these convictions have evolved and deepened during my time as governor. In considering the issue of embryo cloning and embryo farming, I saw where the harsh logic of abortion can lead -- to the view of innocent new life as nothing more than research material or a commodity to be exploited. I have also observed the bitterness and fierce anger that still linger 32 years after Roe v. Wade. The majority in the US Supreme Court's Casey opinion assured us this would pass away as Americans learned to live with abortion on demand. But this has proved a false hope.
America may have "adapted" to the reality of Roe, but given the opportunity to change it, I believe that it would be banned by a great majority of this nation. Despite the skewed polls showing different ideas, I firmly believe that those polls—like those taken during the presidential election—would be proven wholly wrong.
There is much in the abortion controversy that America's founders would not recognize. Above all, those who wrote our Constitution would wonder why the federal courts had peremptorily removed the matter from the authority of the elected branches of government. The federal system left to us by the Constitution allows people of different states to make their own choices on matters of controversy, thus avoiding the bitter battles engendered by ''one size fits all" judicial pronouncements. A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance.
Sounds like the text from a textbook speaking on the Constitution in 1781.
Except on matters of the starkest clarity like the issue of banning partial-birth abortions, there is not now a decisive national consensus on abortion. Some parts of the country have prolife majorities, others have prochoice majorities. People of good faith on both sides of the issue should be able to make and advance their case in democratic forums -- with civility, mutual respect, and confidence that democratic majorities will prevail. We will never have peace on the abortion issue, much less a consensus of conscience, until democracy is allowed to work its way.
That is the primary focus of the debate. Let the people decide; one way or another. I will not condemn people of other states for choosing to approve of abortion, just as I would not condemn a state for outlawing it. But it should have been handed to the people to decide. It was wholly improper of the Supreme Court to usurp the voice of the people—via ballot or elected representative—in pushing an ideologically partisan issue such as abortion. This was a matter best left to the people, not to the non-elected minority of jurists on the highest federal bench.
The link above will take you to the piece. And I am, frankly, flabbergasted that the Times would stoop to such a level. This really takes the cake among the "elites" of the MSM. This is reprehensible, in our eyes. The Times has the utter audacity to call our troops "mercenaries," which is just a step above Sen. Durbin equating them to the thugs among dictators of the past. And they refer to our troops this way, but are afraid to label Hamas and Hezbollah as the "terrorist" groups that they are. They have yet to do so, to my knowledge. But as this particular issue deals with the military, I now defer to she-who-will-be-obeyed.
Our troops do not sign up to serve this nation for money and benefits. My brother earns less than what he would have earned had he stayed in school. But after 9/11, like a lot of young Americans, he felt the need—the calling—to stand up and defend the nation he was born in, raised in, and believed in. Mercenaries, to correct the Times, reach for fame and fortune. They do not stand up and fight for a patriotic fervor or obligation. All they care about is the bottom line; that paycheck and the perks that come with it.
And I detest the Times for being so severely obtuse on this matter. The same "mercenaries" they slander are the ones protecting their right to publish and print such tripe. I would like to see the editorial board on the firing line protecting their right. But then I must remind myself that the board, in and of itself, is so cowardly that they would be as helpful as a broken arm on the front lines. And by their very nature, when it comes to painting such a bleak picture of the war effort, they would be more of a detriment than a benefit.
If someone were to ask me who the lowest form of life was on the planet, I would have to state that it is, overall, a journalist. Several reasons I will cite for this opinion. These people are lazy, as it obvious by how often they have been caught lying about, or exaggerating, facts they print. They do opine quite nicely, but news is not opinion or commentary. This is also a point I make against journalists. When we report on a piece of news, there is a level of commentary about it, but we report the facts first, then head to our opinion. And all of our readers know this when they venture here.
Reporters also hide behind their First Amendment protections, and state they have a right to print whatever without fear of repercussions. So, I guess they would prefer to avoid the libel suits that could be filed on behalf of their lies? Too bad. As it stands right now, bloggers are the only people holding these buffoons accountable, and aside from raising the ire of the populace, and causing hardship to a MSM outlet, there is not way to hold these people accountable. Look at Dan Rather. Dan Rather believed in his own mythic portrayal so much that he was willing to go on TV, use phony documents, and outright slander the sitting president of the United States prior to an election in the hopes his lies would stick. I am happy to report he failed, and is on the back-burner at CBS now.
In closing I would like to simply say this: Retract the "mercenary" comment, and issue an apology. At the very least, it is the proper thing to do. And I would expect professionals to own up to their mistake. If a retraction is not made, or an apology handed down, then I openly support a boycott of this paper. Despite the fact that Thomas and I peruse it’s pages daily, both of us would walk away from it right now. That goes for anyone or any organization that defames our troops. It’s not acceptable. Not during a time of war. One of FDR’s opponents during the election of 1944 stated that he would not criticize the president over the war. To do so, he would consider it treason. I believe that such partisan attacks against our troops and the president during a time of war skirts dangerously close to such a charge.
I know we post song lyrics. Both of us are pretty tired after our respective day's, so we are going to put up our lyrics, and head to bed.
We will see you--at least, he will--bright and early tomorrow morning. Enjoy the rest of your weekend prior tot he "slave mines" starting tomorrow.
Stay With Me (Brass Bed), By Josh Gracin Baby, the clock on the wall is lying It's not really that late It's too cold outside to be walking around the streets of this town Anywhere if you think you have to be can wait
[chorus] (Baby) Why don't you stay with me Share all your secrets tonight We can make believe the morning sun never will rise Come and lay your head on this big brass bed And we'll be alright as long as you stay with me, yeah
Baby, there's just no use in hiding The way that I am feeling right now With you standing there baby I swear I can't help but stare Girl you're wearing me out, wearing me out
(Baby) So why dont you stay with me share all your secrets tonight We can make believe the morning sun never will rise Come and lay your head on this big brass bed We'll be alright as long as you stay with me
Baby don't go it looks like it's starting to rain And it's so warm here in this apartment wrapped up in this blanket