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The Asylum

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.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This Idea Is A Mistake: Born Out Of State's Bureaucrats

The administration announced today that it would open itself up to one-on-one talks with Iran.

The United States said Wednesday it would join in face-to-face talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear program if Tehran first agreed to put challenged atomic activities on hold, a shift in tactics meant to offer the Iranians a last chance to avoid punishing sanctions.

Iran dismissed the offer as "a propaganda move."

Before leaving for meetings in Europe on Iran, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while the U.S. was willing to join talks between European nations and Iran, it was also helping to prepare a package of sanctions that Tehran could face should it decline the new offer.

"We're prepared to go either way," she said

At the White House, President Bush said, "I believe that it's important that we solve this issue diplomatically, and my decision today says that the United States is going to take a leadership position in solving this issue."

The overture to join stalled European talks came after mounting pressure on the U.S. from European allies.

The administration is convinced Russia and China would support sanctions or other harsh measures if new talks fail to persuade Iran to abandon nuclear efforts that the West fears could lead to a bomb, said a senior administration official. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because the secretary was continuing talks with other countries.

This is a mistake, and it'll be a repeated one if this does go down. We're making the same mistakes we made with North Korea. These one-on-one talks can only amount to capitulation by the diplomats while Iran continues to work its program. The problem that I have--more than anything else--is that Iran isn't North Korea. As the story reminds readers:

She said the United States was not offering full diplomatic relations with Iran and would not swear off ever using military action to stop what the U.S. contends is a rogue program to build a nuclear weapon.

"This is not a grand bargain," Rice said. "What we're talking about here is an effort to enhance the chances for a successful negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem."

The administration has given arms-length support to European efforts to bargain with Iran, but also has been the prime mover for sanctions or other tough United Nations action. Russia and China, Iran's commercial allies on the council, have so far blocked that path.

What do you think these three nations are trading? Doilies? Russia and Iran are negotiating the building of two new nuclear reactors, and they have an agreement for surface-to-air missiles that will be protecting their nuclear sites. They are currently in talks with both nations in an attempt to acquire a couple ICBMs, but they do have missiles right now that can reach Israel, and possibly the extreme edge of Western Europe. An upgrade to a longer range missile, or the acquisition of an ICBM would make Iran a global threat overnight.

What I'm afraid of is that the diplomats haven't learned their lesson from North Korea. Not only could we not verify that North Korea wasn't working on it's nuke program, but we were willing to give them the fuel to power those reactors before we verified their compliance. That's what I'm afraid is going to happen this time around, as well, and that these talks are completely worthless. Iran's reaction to the proposal alone should show anyone what they need to know about their program.

They're continuing with it. They feel they have a right to create nuclear weapons. And anyone who doesn't like it can go to Hell. (Note that Iran, by the time it's too late, will be able to ensure the one-way trip themselves.)

Russia and China serve as the two greatest obstacles in this mess. With their absolute refusal to go for sanctions right now with Iran's refusal to abide by the IAEA mandates they have shown their clear conflict of interest. They're all trade partners. We get that, but their trade isn't in a commodity or any other public necessity. It's in weapons and technology, and that technological help is assisting them on their path to possessing the worst weapon created, yet.

(Don't misunderstand me. I'm not anti-nukes; I'm pro-nuclear responsibility, and Iran doesn't even come close when they're threatening to use them against Israel to "wipe them off the map." That's not responsible. It's reckless and dangerous, and hardly worth those that will die. When we dropped the first ones, it was to save millions of Marines whow would have had to storm the Japanese beaches. This time, from Iran, it would be genocide; thus completing the job Adolf Hitler started.)

And that is why we are screeaming that this IS 1938 all over again. We seem to be making several mistakes with this issue. Not only are we acting like the Allies did when Hitler rose to power, but we're also getting ready to let the fox guard the henhouse in Iran. And Iran, of course, will be demanding security guarantees; the guarantees that they won't be attacked by the United States. (For our sake, let's hope the diplomats DON'T say "Oh, OK. We won't go after you.") As the president has stated on numerous occasions, the military option is never off the table.

Good, let's hope that's true, and let's hope that he's willing--if necessary--to exercise that option before Iran goes full nuclear. But these talks are a mistake. The Iranians will play the same games that North Korea did in one-on-one talks with the United States, and just like the way Saddam Hussein played the UN like a "Stradivarius."

Publius II

Michael Moore Deserves This Payback

For those living in a Taliban cave, Michael "Jesusland" Moore's last film, Fahrenheit 9/11, was a scathing critique of the Bush Administration over the Iraq phase of the Global War On Terror. And while many people did go see this piece of Riefenstahl-esque propaganda, many more were disgusted by the outright lies, and blatant misrepresentations in the film. The New Media, after the movie was done in the theaters, moved on, and treated Michael Moore like the nut he was.

One person, however, is not happy with him, and is taking him to task. Sergeant Peter Damon is filing a lawsuit against Michael Moore for using him in that piece of pap that wasted celluloid:

A veteran who lost both arms in the war in Iraq is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for $85 million, alleging that Moore used snippets of a television interview without his permission to falsely portray him as anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sgt. Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Middleborough, is asking for damages because of "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation," according to the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week.

Damon, 33, claims that Moore never asked for his consent to use a clip from an interview Damon did with NBC's "Nightly News."

He lost his arms when a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and another reservist were servicing the aircraft on the ground. Another reservist was killed in the explosion.

In his interview with NBC, Damon was asked about a new painkiller the military was using on wounded veterans. He claims in his lawsuit that the way Moore used the film clip in "Fahrenheit 9/11" - Moore's scathing 2004 documentary criticizing the Bush administration and the war in Iraq - makes him appear to "voice a complaint about the war effort" when he was actually complaining about "the excruciating type of pain" that comes with the injury he suffered.

In the movie, Damon is shown lying on a gurney, with his wounds bandaged. He says he feels likes he's "being crushed in a vise."

"But they (the painkillers) do a lot to help it," he says. "And they take a lot of the edge off of it."
Damon is shown shortly after U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., is speaking about the Bush administration and says, "You know, they say they're not leaving any veterans behind, but they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."

Damon contends that Moore's positioning of the clip just after the congressman's comments makes him appear as if he feels like he was "left behind" by the Bush administration and the military.
In his lawsuit, Damon says he "agrees with and supports the President and the United States' war effort, and he was not left behind."

He said that, while at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering from his wounds, he had surgery and physical therapy, learned to use prosthetics and live independently. He also said that Homes For Our Troops, a not-for-profit group, built him a house with handicapped accessibility.

"The work creates a substantially fictionalized and falsified implication as a wounded serviceman who was left behind when Plaintiff was not left behind but supported, financially and emotionally, by the active assistance of the President, the United States and his family, friends, acquaintances and community," Damon says in his lawsuit.

Moore did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday. A message was left for Moore at a personal number in New York and with HarperCollins, publisher of Moore's 2002 book, "Stupid White Men...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!"

A spokesman for Miramax Film Corp., also named as a defendant, did not immediately return a call.
Damon did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

"It's upsetting to him because he's lived his life supportive of his government, he's been a patriot, he's been a soldier, and he's now being portrayed in a movie that is the antithesis of all of that," Damon's lawyer, Dennis Lynch, said.

Damon is seeking $75 million in damages for emotional distress and loss of reputation. His wife is suing for an additional $10 million in damages because of the mental distress caused to her husband, Lynch said.

When I first heard of this story, I had to giggle. As Thomas and I have been repeating for the past couple of weeks (albeit over a different issue) you reap what you sow. Mr. Moore has sowed dissatisfaction in the nation, and peddled lies that directly attacked the President of the United States in his capacity as Commander in Chief. The "just desserts" that he was hoping for did not come to fruition, as President Bush was reelected.

But now the piper has come a-calling, and it is coming in the form of a wounded veteran that does not appreciate the portrayal of himself in that movie. And I believe that is why he agreed to be in the "answer" to Fahrenheit 9/11 that was put together by Dick Morris, Fahrenhype 9/11. In Mr. Morris's movie, Sergeant Damon makes it a point to state that Mr. Moore deceived the public in his film, and how he twisted the situation that was filmed. Furthermore, he states--repeatedly--that he supports the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he supports the president completely. There is no animosity harbored by Sergeant Damon towards the administration or America.

In the end of that interview in Fahrenhype 9/11, Sergeant Damon asks Michael Moore why he lied in his movie. The answer did not come. Maybe now it will, and I can only hope that Michael Moore loses this lawsuit. He owes more to Sergeant Damon than money can buy. In addition to an apology, which Mr. Moore owes to all the soldiers serving to protect this nation right now, there needsa to be a level of respect for those people who sacrifice their lives so that Mr. Moore can continue to put together his tin-foil hat "crockumentaries." The man has been a liar from the start, and this soldier is about to make him pay, in spades, for those lies.

The Bunny ;)

Y'all Knew I Was Going To Touch On This

I have been watching the news unfold over the Haditha incident that Representative Jack Murtha brought up about a week ago, and at first, I had to jump on him. Without any further evidence released by him or anyone else, the story sounded phony. Now, it seems, that it may not have been so. The Times points out:

A military investigator uncovered evidence in February and March that contradicted repeated claims by marines that Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha last November were victims of a roadside bomb, according to a senior military official in Iraq.

Among the pieces of evidence that conflicted with the marines' story were death certificates that showed all the Iraqi victims had gunshot wounds, mostly to the head and chest, the official said.

The investigation, which was led by Col. Gregory Watt, an Army officer in Baghdad, also raised questions about whether the marines followed established rules for identifying hostile threats when they assaulted houses near the site of a bomb attack, which killed a fellow marine.

The three-week inquiry was the first official investigation into an episode that was first uncovered by Time magazine in January and that American military officials now say appears to have been an unprovoked attack by the marines that killed 24 Iraqi civilians. The results of Colonel Watt's investigation, which began on Feb. 14, have not previously been disclosed.

It should be noted that Colonel Watt's investigation is not complete, and very little has trickled out of his office in regard to this story. Also, for the Times to breathlessly report that the Pentagon had begun an investigation of this before Representative Murtha's allegations is utterly retarded. Of course the Pentagon was investigating this, as were the Marines. This is no different than the media admitting months after the Abu Ghraib incident that the Pentagon had been working on an investigation the whole time.

Yes, unfortunately for the MSM, the military does know how to take care of its own. The abusers at Abu Ghraib were punished. And should it be determined that these Marines committed a crime, they, too, will be punished. We cannot excuse this act if it has occurred. But I would like to take issue with a couple of things I keep seeing and hearing.

First, to the MSM, this is not My Lai. My Lai was an atrocity during Vietnam that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Haditha had only 24 deaths. The soldiers at My Lai clearly had no intention of allowing a single villager to live. Had the Marines in Haditha desired the same thing, there would be no survivors to make the accusations in the first place. While this is a crime--again, if it has occurred--this is not the atrocity that My Lai was. The MSM needs to drop this misnomer; to maintain such is a slander on our troops.

Next, to Representative Jack Murtha, whose words serve to malign our troops. Yes, we have had two instances where people have been abused or murdered. Not bad for the professional military over the course of three years in country. And while those responsible for crimes committed should be disdained (remember they are innocent until proven guilty, please, Rep. Murtha), the rest of our troops should be celebrated for a job well done, up to this point, and be given encouragement from the nation to finish the job that was started. Representative Murtha would prefer to paint a picture with a broad brush that our troops are doing no good in Iraq, and they are all stressed out.

I sincerely doubt the second allegation, and the first is a bald-faced lie.

Representative Murtha will not change his tune. He is spouting the mantra of the John Kerry, extreme Left, antiwar Democrats, and getting patted on the back the whole way. As this man is up for reelection this year, I do hope his constituents punish him for his disrespect to our troops in Iraq. If this is to be his talking points until the mission is done in Iraq, I want him gone from the House. Our troops do not need to hear this sort of drivel from an elected representative in Congress. If Representative Murtha feels that we are doing a bad job over there, or that our troops are at their wit's end, I suggest he pick up a rifle and stand at post.

Either way one looks at it, John Murtha needs to keep his mouth shut, and allow the Marines and Pentagon to finish their investigation to determine whether these Marines committed a crime. If they did, the Marines will not give them a pass. Their next stop will be Fort Leavenworth, or a return to civilian life with a dishonorable discharge.

The Bunny ;)

Back In The Saddle Again, And Beating On The MSM

It does feel good to be back on the Internet after the unforseen hiatus that had both of us fiending to get back in the game like a couple of drug addicts. But we're back, and we're not in a mood to be trifled with. And for the "re-opening" of our site, I'd like to focus on this poor fool from the Boston Globe. (HT: Hugh Hewitt

LIKE A LOT of conservatives, I won't be voting Republican in the congressional elections this fall. Admittedly, I won't have a choice -- in Massachusetts, Republican candidates for Congress generally spare voters the trouble of defeating them by not bothering to run in the first place.

This column by Jeff Jacoby starts off like a seminar caller to a talk show. That's not to say that he really isn't a Republican, or even a conservative, but rather that is the tone that's being taken. And as for his choice, that's a cop out. Pennsylvania's "earthquake" in the primaries showed that for change to succeed, one has to work at it. Does Mr. Jacoby think that the voters of California don't push for conservatives despite the apparent liberal slant of the state? Please. Excuses don't equate change.

But millions of conservatives will have a choice. And the closer Election Day draws, the clearer it becomes that plenty of them will choose not to vote Republican. Unless something changes dramatically -- and soon -- the GOP is poised to lose its most reliable voters, and with them any hope of keeping its congressional majority.

No offense to the Tapscottians out there, but that's a loser's strategy. We have to fight this year--more than ever--to ensure the majority in Congress, and continue the president's agenda. This goes deeper than making the GOP pay this year for their ineptitude of the first five years of President Bush's tenure in office. This goes to the war, above and beyond anything else, and the confirmation of originalist jurists. Those that preach staying home on Election Day seem to have forgotten that should the Democrats win, the war is over.

The Democrats will follow the Jack Murtha approach to finishing a mission, and retreat. Likewise, there will be no defense of the troops in harm's way. We see with Haditha that Murtha's allegations aren't just confined to these few Marines. His words are an indictment on all of our troops, and that's not right. (Marcie is most displeased with this bloviating windbag; to the point that she sees red everytime this doddering old fool opens his yap.) We can't abandon the mission. The enemies of freedom are simply lying in wait. Their licking their chops, hoping that the Democrats will win, and leave them to continue wreaking havoc on a free nation.

Not only will the war against terrorism be over, but the war for the courts will most assuredly end. Right now the GOP stands with 55 votes in the Senate nearly filibuster-proof. Imagine if the GOP had lost seats in the 2004 election, and ask yourself if we would have gotten Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, or Judge Kavanaugh advanced. If your answer is "yes," then you're not paying atrtention to the climate in DC. The Democrats gave each nominee a serious go-round, but the problem they faced, in the end, was that there was enough support to pass all three. Likewise, the three judges listed in the Gang of 14 deal--Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Prscilla Owens--all passed through the Senate with a better than fifty vote majority.

The Gang of 14 deal was a trick to get the GOP to dump the other seven nominees overboard. Like a compliant, abused dog, the GOP gave the Democrats what they wanted. However, with the deal in place, the GOP warned that any sort of hold-up on the aforementioned trio would trigger the Constitutional Option, thereby killing the filibuster for good in the Senate over judicial nominees. The Democrats, with their hands tied, had no choice but to pass Roberts, Alito, and Kavanaugh.

Losing the majority in the Senate, and coming close to losing it in the House would be a death knell for the last two years of the president's last term in office. That's a proposition that good, solid, reasoned pundits in the base aren't willing to let happen. We're a couple of them. And while Mr. Jacoby's sentiments are noted, as is his frustration (which is matched by our own), we can't sit idly by and watch what we've worked for fall by the wayside in some petty display of stupidity.

We earn change through hard work. That hard work is already underway by the likes of many within the blogosphere. And I hate to disagree with many of the pundits out there, but the GOP will carry the day on Election Day. That is, if they don't manage to shoot themselves in the foot too badly between now and then. Regardless, even if they do, we're not giving up.

Publius II

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Our Apologies ...

Thomas and I have both been away for a few days. Actually, we have been gone since last Friday when both our main computer and our laptop died. The problem was completely unpredictable, and despite our best efforts we could not get back online to post. This is our first post since last Friday, and we owe an apology to our readers for not being better prepared.

We will do our best to prepare for such problems with the appropo contingencies so this sort of incident does not sideline either of us again. We will beging posting regularly again tomorrow, without fail. So, to our regular readers who wondered where we went, we are still here.

The problem is fixed (hopefully), and we will be right back in line tomorrow afternoon.

The Bunny ;)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Despite George Galloway, Tony Blair Moves Forward

Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, has decided to embark on another historic undertaking. And it is one that is similar to our own. According to Captain Ed and the New York Sun Prime Minister Blair is about to throw down the gauntlet to the UN: Reform, or become irrelevant in the free world's eyes:

Prime Minister Blair, whose close friendship with President Bush was forged in the heat of the war on terror, on Friday will urge radical reform of the United Nations, the culmination of that other great Anglo-American war partnership, between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.

Mr. Blair will argue that the various world institutions, set up 60 years ago to better facilitate a peaceful resolution of conflicts between states, are no longer suited to the present world's needs. He will question the role and membership of the Security Council and will plead for a major overhaul of the council to rehabilitate the United Nations in the eyes of the world.

He will tell an audience at Georgetown University that the lofty ideals that inspired Roosevelt and Churchill to set up the United Nations at the end of World War II are being betrayed today by small-mindedness, narrow national interests, irrelevant politicking, and corruption. The much-touted "reform" of the world body suggested by Secretary-General Annan has made minimal progress, yet until true reform is carried out, the United Nations will remain a mere talking shop with little influence and no power.

Mr. Blair has turned to U.N. reform - and the reform of world bodies like the International Monetary Fund and the G8 - because he feels it is time for America and Britain to move beyond the war in Iraq, a country he has said has been transformed by the democratic elections and Prime Minister Maliki's coalition government of many faiths that has followed. ...

... "We don't want a conflict with Iran," he said. "We have got enough on our plate doing other things. But if Iran goes out of its way then to breach its international obligations, of course the international community, through the U.N. Security Council, has got to take up the issue."

In Friday's speech, Mr. Blair will say it is time the world's governments faced up to the fact that the world bodies founded in the aftermath of World War II have become moribund and ineffective. Whereas 60 years ago the world was divided into nation states that could operate more or less independently of each other, now international leaders are confronting an ever diminishing world brought intimately together by globalization, a technological revolution that has led to revolutionary approaches to labor employment, and greater economic interdependence between states.

Yet the world bodies have not kept up with the economic and social progress of the last 60 years, Mr. Blair will say. A smaller world entailed sharing values such as extending the freedom of movement and freedom of information enjoyed by the West with the rest of the world. Above all, the democracy that some nations take for granted should be provided to those trapped beneath restrictive and repressive regimes.

Unlike some American conservatives, Mr. Blair has said he believes that world bodies like the United Nations have not only an important but a leading part still to play in extending freedom to the whole world. But if the United Nations is to take up this task, it must reform itself so that it becomes a body that inspires respect from the world because of the clarity and wisdom of its leadership.

Mr. Blair will demand that Mr. Annan, who retires in the fall, be replaced by a strong successor, who should be granted greater independence from the General Assembly in appointing staff and in intervening in world crises.

The world bodies should be made more transparent in the way they operate and more representative as well, he will say, but they also must be prepared to reflect a greater political will to take on hard issues and not duck them. He will cite as an example the need to make the G8 more representative, transforming it from a small Western club into a body routinely including nations with emerging economies.

In our opinion as long as the UN continues down it's corrupted path, there will be no reform. There will continue to be misery and despotism in a world that has grown tired of conflict. The Oil-For-Food scandal was the curtain torn away at the end of the Wizard of Oz to reveal nothing more than a man, and not some all-powerful wizard. The world has watched as the UN makes empty promises and non-binding resolutions. The common joke amongst conservatives when it comes to the UN dealing with dictatorships like Saddam's Iraq and Ahmadinejad's Iran is "Stop, or I'll say stop again ... Okay, you have forced us to send you a strongly-worded letter."

As of right now, the UN is a joke. That does not mean that there are not humanitarian causes that they do work towards, but the embarrassing sex scandal in the Congo, the blind eye to the genocide in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Darfur are more examples of a world body that lacks the teeth to back up threats from the world community, or a lackadaisical attitude towards anyone other than those with power. And it seems, as Eric Shawn is indeed correct: Many UN bureaucrats will not move on true reform if it threatens their position, or their nation's standing, in the UN. (Thomas finished the book this past Tuesday, and I picked it up yesterday. It is quite the interesting and informative read, to say the least.)

The UN needs to recognize that this new century--even in its infant years--is one that will certainly be a challenge. Not only to mankind, but to the free world, as well. We live in a world right now that is at war, and it's war is with a blood-thirsty enemy that adheres to a system of beliefs dating back to the times of Mohammed. They hold onto this belief though a great majority of their brethren in Islam have turned away from those paths. It is the Islamofascists that are running the show, being the mouthpieces for that religion; for those people.

The UN has failed to recognize this. Their idea of tackling terrorism was to create a committee, and debate the issue to death. Even Kofi Annan admitted that the UN was incapable of addressing the issue. If the Secretary General is admitting there is a problem with the body, then it is time for a top-to-bottom reform. I have no idea what the reform would entail (I need to do more research on that particular subject and idea) but it must be comprehensive. I can give Congress a start on that reform by encouraging them to withhold money from the UN unless it is for humanitarian needs. We give the UN more money than any other nation, and we watch it disappear into a bureaucracy that seems more and more content with just maintaining the status quo.

This will not do in the world we live in today. For the UN to truly be relevant, for it to truly be a representative of the free world, reform is the only solution. Prime Minister Blair and President Bush are right in pushing for such reform. The free world cannot wait on these petty bureaucrats to form a committee to investigate whether or not reform is needed. It is. And it is truly sad when the leaders of the free world recognize it, and the General Assembly and UN Security Council do not.

The Bunny ;)

George Gallowy: The Assassination Of Tony Blair is "Morally Justified"

I caught this on Drudge last night, but was too tired to touch on it. The Independent has his statement in which he states that yes, the assassination of British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be "morally justified."

The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.
In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"

Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

The Labour MP Stephen Pound, a persistent critic of Mr Galloway during previous controversies, told The Sun that the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London was "disgraceful and truly twisted".

He said: "These comments take my breath away. Every time you think he can't sink any lower he goes and stuns you again. It's reprehensible to say it would be justified for a suicide bomber to assassinate anyone."

The Stop the War Coalition criticised Mr Galloway: "We don't agree with Tony Blair's actions, but neither do we agree with suicide bombers or assassinations."

We should bear in mind that Galloway has been a controversial figure in British politics for some time now. He got kicked out of Labour in 2005 for his antiwar views, but was later reelected to Parliament under "his own banner." He quickly rose to the top of the antiwar nutters in Britain. He was tainted by the UN's "Oil-For-Fraud" scandal. Senator Norm Coleman had him testify before his committee over the allegations he took bribes from Saddam. Galloway lost his temper and his marbles during that hearing, proclaiming for all that he didn't receive a solitary cent in the Oil-For-Food payoffs. Five months after that performance, Senator Coleman and his committee found the financial records tying him to over $715,000 in monies received. ($446,000 through a charity he set up, and later funneled money into his private accounts, $150,000 to Galloway's wife, and the Volcker report detailed another $120,000 to his wife.)

If that isn't enough--that a noted British politician would take money from a dictator to help said dictator get sanctions removed so he can back to "business as usual" in his country (torturing, murdering raping his people, and continuing down the path of WMD construction and research)--this statement of a suicide bomber killing Tony Blair takes the cake entirely. We knew this guy was a nut. But how nutty can you get to publicly state such a view. This is like Randi Rhodes tasteless "joke" about killing President Bush:

Comparing Bush and his family to the Corleones of "Godfather" fame, Air America host Randi Rhodes reportedly unleashed this zinger during her Monday night broadcast: "Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw. "

Rhodes then imitated the sound of a gunshot.

(For the record, Fredo sold the family out to its enemies; the reason why Michael had him killed.)

But this doesn't excuse Galloway's comments, and I'm happy to see the antiwar groups in Britian distancing themselves from this nut. And we should also keep in mind that the Independent is hardly "right-wing." It is noted for it's staunch, hard-Left politics, and it's antiwar stance. However, even they could not endorse such a statement by Galloway. And there are others in British politics and government who have condemned this statement.

But Galloway loves the thugs. He always has. From Saddam Hussein to Fidel Castro, and every thug in between, it's assured that somewhere along the way, Galloway will pimp for them .... and at the right price, too.

Publius II

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Time Out: Readressing Boneheaded Legislation

I know that Marcie's post regarding the Senate's immigration reform package has a few upset. I get that. I wasn't too pleased either. But take heart dear readers ...

... this still must go through committee. Now the committee will be a dogfight; possibly one of the nastiest in recent history. There are a couple of things I'd like to see tweaked in the version that will eventually be sent to the president. It's not much, but it's got wisdom behind it.

--First, chuck the three-tier system for normalization. They're not accomplishing anything with it. And people will be going to those who can forge papers showing that they've been here past the point of automatic deportation.

--The fence must be higher and longer. That was a good starting point in the House bill and the Sessions Amendment, but there needs to be more. Remember: This goes to national security, and another hurdle terrorists have to clear to get into the nation.

--Finally, limit the involvement of Mexico's consultations regarding where the fence can be placed. I completely understand the argument made by Captain Ed. But the role of the Fox Adminsitration should have little to do with our decisions where the wall can be erected.

Again, this is about our security. We're not protecting Mexico, too. We are making sure that our borders are secure, and to the best of our abilities control who comes into the nation. But this can't be the same sort of half @$$ed effort given over the last twenty years. If it is, then it'll mark the second time that we haven't listened to history. And if we do that, our enemies just might be willing to take a greater risk to get here. I don't know about the rest of America, but I'd rather avoid that, if possible.

To make it possible, make sure you make your voice heard. Call your representatives in Congress, and give them your thoughts about immigration. Be patient. Be polite. But be firm and stern regarding what you expect in terms of immigration legislation. (202) 224-3121

Publius II

BREAKING NEWS: Mexico Has A Say In Our Fence

(Scroll down for update!)

I am ticked. Michelle Malkin has the lowdown on this low blow by a bunch of idiots in the Senate that seem to miss the point as to sovereignty. And lookee here, we have the "ususal suspects" in the GOP involved in this amendment that was supposedly allowed today:

Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Chafee, Coleman, Collins, Craig, Graham, Hagel, Lugar, Feingold, Collins, McCain, Specter, Stevens, Warner, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe and Voinovich

And here is the crux of the story from The Senate by Cboldt blog:

UPDATE @ 17:16 - Senator Specter notes that the managers package is ready for a vote, he says that it (the package) makes making sausage look good. Senator Kyl asks to speak for one minute on the managers amendment. He says it has been in busy negotiations, right up until now. Federal, state and local entities in the US would be required to consult with Mexican government before building a wall. I predict this amendment, S.Amdt.4188, will pass. Off to find the language that Senator Kyl referred to.

UPDATE @ 17:23 - Found it. Senator Dodd talked against a fence on May 18, and his S.Amdt.4089 contains the following language:

(b) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT.--Consultations between United States and Mexican authorities at the federal, state, and local levels concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures along the United States-Mexico border shall be undertaken prior to commencing any new construction, in order to solicit the views of affected communities, lessen tensions and foster greater understanding and stronger cooperation on this and other important issues of mutual concern.

UPDATE @ 17:40 - Bonus prediction (the managers' amendment), now four for four. Senator Frist voted against the managers' amendment, for what it's worth.

S.Amdt.4188 - Specter: Managers' amendment, a collection of amendments, including Dodd's S.Amdt.4089 that requires local, state and federal governments to consult with Mexican counterpart authorities before commencing new construction, was PASSED on a 56 - 41 vote.


We bow to no nation when it comes to our sovereignty, and if Vinny Fox and Mexico do not like it, then they can file that complaint with the appropriate person, who will hopefully tell them to get stuffed.

The Bunny ;) (Originally posted at 5:56 p.m. Arizona Time)

ADDENDUM: 8:01 p.m. Arizona Time Allah Pundit has the roll, and as with this amendment, the usual suspects are within the Republicans.

Bennett (R-UT)
Brownback (R-KS)
Chafee (R-RI) -- (Are we really surprised?)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Craig (R-ID)
DeWine (R-OH)
Domenici (R-NM)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

All I have to say is that the Republicans are making it really hard for us Geraghtyites to keep defending a party full of so much idiocy. I would venture the question of "WHY should Mexico have ANY consultations in our border fence?" Vincente Fox's government has encouraged illegal immigration, and reaps profits off it it via the money sent back to Mexico through the illegal aliens here. Unbeknownst to many, the taxes on the money being sent back home simply continue to fill the government's coffers, and NONE of it is helping a potential third-world nation take the steps to make things better. Corruption still runs rampant in Mexican politics.

And, of course, who can forget the story that irritated America when we found out that some in our border patrol were tipping off people as to where the Minutemen were, and really hampering our abilities to control our borders.

The Bunny ;)

Iranian Students: "We Don't Want Nuke Power, You Nut!"

OK. I made up the "you nut" part, but the above is true. The report comes from MEMRI. (HT: the very talented Roger L. Simon. )

Several media outlets in Iran reported, albeit in a restricted and censured fashion, that there has been rioting on several university campuses in Tehran for the past four days. The reformist Internet daily Rooz reported that over 500 members of riot-control units have besieged the Tehran University campus, and that there have been clashes between rioting students and Basij and police forces.

Everyone remembers the Basij, right? Those would be the "shock troops" that Ahmadinejad gives honr to on a regular basis. This shows just how cruel this bastard is. The Basij are blood-thirsty enforcers of Ahmadinejad's regime. Rereading Marcie's post regarding the Basij and Mr. Kuntzel's expert analysis of this group, I can only say I hope they had their leashes on when they were cut loose.

The riots broke out following a student protest over what appeared to be a purge of the academic faculty of Tehran University. This coincided with the marking of the "Second of Khordad," the day of the Persian month of Khordad on which Mohammad Khatami was first elected president of Iran (May 23, 1997).

During the riots, eight student leaders were arrested, and, according to eyewitnesses quoted in Rooz, 25 of those under siege in the campus were wounded, five of them severely. Eyewitnesses reported that students were chanting anti-regime slogans, such as "We don't want nuclear energy" and "Forget Palestine - think of us."

With the MSM trying to pick this story up, I'm sure that they'll drop those slogans. Or, they may use the "We don't want nuclear energy" slogan for responding to President Bush's call for more nuclear energy use in the nation yesterday.

The eyewitnesses also reported that Iranian security forces fired live bullets, and that shots were fired at homes outside the university. One of the students told Rooz: "The university campus is on fire, raids are being conducted throughout the campus, and the students are in fear and anxiety... Gunfire is heard from all directions... There is blood everywhere."
[2] The university's telephone lines were reported to have been cut.

Anyone still think the Iranians are all about freedom? This is what happens when people speak up in Iran. They're attacked, quite literally, and there is no end to the bloodletting until the mullahs are sure the problem has been quelled. This has been going on for four days, and these people are being slaughtered and arrested. Yeah, Ahmadinejad's a guy we can work with. I'm sure the Democrats will find a way to pooh-pooh this unprovoked and violent retribution for speaking one's mind.

According to other eyewitnesses, "police riot-control units entered the campus with helmets, shields, and clubs, and beat students so severely that many can't even walk." A campus security guard told a Rooz reporter: "We were told that we were permitted to use violence against the students, but not to hit them on their heads or their faces, in order to avoid leaving marks. We were told not to be respectful towards any student, unless he is a member of the Basij student union."

That's probably because the Basij wouldn't be participating in a demonstration against the government controlled university. Ya think? Maybe?

One of the students said: "They are sending more riot-control forces [into the campus]. I estimate that they are about 3,000 strong... There is also an intensive presence of Ansar-e Hizbullah forces in vehicles or on motorcycles. They have also brought in several fire trucks [to disperse the students]..."
[3] One of the reporters said: "Reporters who came to cover the events were stopped by university security guards, and none were permitted to enter [the campus]." [4]

This reminds me of a story we covered a while ago. The Chinese cracked down on protesters in Dongzhou village when they rose up over the seizure of their land. This isn't about land, but it has similar reflections in responses. The chinese also moved in additional troops, and did what they could to stop word from getting out. Not only did they cut off all communication to the outside world, and tried to buy the bodies of the dead off of the families so no proof existed. That goes right in line with avoiding any blows to the head and face. No "marks" allows Ahmadinejad to spin this incident any way he sees fit.

Local police claim that only 100 students were involved in the riots, but according to eyewitnesses quoted by Rooz, the riots involved some 3,000 of the 4,000 students attending the main campus, and another 2,000 from the law and political science campus.

The ultra-conservative daily Kayhan, which is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, called the student leaders "American representatives of the [U.S.] Congress in Tehran University," and reported that "yesterday afternoon, illegal forces demonstrated in the [university] classrooms after several faculty members were forced to retire." According to Kayhan, the demonstration organizers are not even students but are from outside the university.

Morteza Talai, commander of the Tehran Metropolitan Police, told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) that "at 9:30 PM, 100 students gathered at the campus gates, and 20 or 30 of them started throwing stones, sticks and firebombs at homes in the area." The report continued: "[Talai said that] the police reacted with restraint, and, until 5:30 AM, made efforts to curb the demonstrators throwing the firebombs... but [the students] paid no heed... Only in the morning did the police raid [the campus], and by 7:00 AM, it had made arrests and cleared the area, with the help of municipal forces... During this activity, three students were injured while attempting to climb onto the roof of the dormitory building."

Spin, spin, spin. That's what all the official statements will say. The students started this, they were the violent ones, and their injuries were the result of their own actions. Pay no attention to the jack-booted thug beating him with a club, or the sadistic riot police firing LIVE ROUNDS into a crowd of unarmed people.

Oh yeah, we can trust Iran to be "good." NOT!

Publius II

DoJ: Twenty-six People Charged With FEMA Fraud

Again, off the wires this afternoon:

Twenty-six individuals have been charged in "Operation Storm Chaser" that is aimed at detecting and prosecuting instances of fraud in Central Florida related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, U.S. Attorney Paul I. Perez of the Middle District of Florida announced today. The charges are set forth in 23 separate indictments and in one information and include conspiracy, submission of a false claim to a governmental agency, theft of government property, mail fraud, wire fraud and making a false statement to a government agency. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment for conspiracy, five years' imprisonment for submission of a false claim to a governmental agency, 10 years' imprisonment for theft of government property, 20 years' imprisonment for mail fraud, 20 years' imprisonment for wire fraud, and five years' imprisonment for making a false statement to a government agency.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officers began arresting the defendants this morning and they will be making their first appearance in Orlando federal court this afternoon. As of noon today 18 of the 26 were in custody. (See attached list of defendants).

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast Region of the United States. On that date, President George W. Bush declared that a major disaster existed in portions of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Less than a month later, on Sept. 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border. On that day, President Bush declared that a major disaster existed in portions of Louisiana and Texas.

After those disaster declarations were made, people in the affected areas became eligible to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Different forms of disaster assistance were made available by FEMA for those people located in the affected areas. Because many people were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA provided a streamlined process for victims to receive expedited assistance in the form of a $2,000 disbursement. To obtain such expedited assistance, a person could apply by calling a toll-free telephone number for FEMA, by sending an application by using the Internet, or by applying in person. Each applicant for expedited assistance was asked to provide their name, Social Security number, current and pre-disaster addresses, and telephone numbers, among other things. If approved, an applicant could choose whether to receive their FEMA disaster assistance by a check that would be mailed to an address selected by the applicant or by a wire transfer that would be sent to a bank account selected by the applicant.

The only people entitled to receive disaster assistance from FEMA for Hurricanes Katrina or Rita were those people whose primary residence was located in one of the areas that was designated as being affected adversely by one of those major declared disasters. At no time was any county in the Middle District of Florida included in the areas of the country for which residents were eligible to obtain disaster assistance from FEMA for Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

During the investigative phase of Operation "Storm Chaser," federal agents discovered a number of applications for FEMA disaster assistance that appeared to have been submitted on behalf of Central Florida residents who did not live in any of the affected areas that were eligible to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Further investigation revealed that the 26 individuals charged in Operation "Storm Chaser" submitted fraudulent claims to FEMA totaling more than $170,000. Of that amount, they were successful in obtaining more than $150,000 in FEMA funds. The 26 charged in Operation "Storm Chaser" were involved in fraudulent claims as little as $2,000 and as much as over $100,000.

"As announced by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales when he visited New Orleans on October 20th of last year, the Justice Department has a 'zero tolerance' policy for FEMA fraud," said U.S. Attorney Perez. "In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, our nation came together to support the people whose lives were devastated by those disasters. People who took advantage of that generosity by engaging in fraud can not be allowed to get away with it. As we enter a new hurricane season next week, we will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to take advantage of a natural disaster to defraud FEMA or anyone else."

These case were investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal's Service. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.

These cases are part of the effort by the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force to prosecute disaster-related crimes from last year's hurricanes. The Task Force was created in September 2005 by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to deter, investigate, and prosecute federal crimes arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force -- chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division, includes members of the Secret Service, the Postal Inspector's Office, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.

An indictment or information is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
Names of Defendants Charged in Operation Storm Chaser

Ronald R. Tarver (See Note), 42, Eustis, Florida, 15 checks and 4 wire transfers totaling $46,749.51

Ronnie Lee McNeil, 42, Apopka, Florida, 5 checks totaling $10,000

Preston Angelo Williams (See Note), 38, Orlando, Florida, 4 checks totaling $16,858

Jacqueline M. Collington (See Note), 29, Apopka, Florida, 6 checks totaling $12,000

William Lewis Clark, 43, Orlando, Florida, 5 checks totaling $10,000

Marvin Lee Williams, 61, Plymouth, Florida, 3 checks totaling $6,358

Dedrick Delano Franks, 41, Plymouth, Florida, 3 checks totaling $6,000

Fredrick Deon Harrell (See Note), 26, Plymouth, Florida, 3 checks totaling $6,000

Lorenzo Vanlenoor Moody, 36, Apopka, Florida, 3 checks totaling $4,554

Leroy Rufus Scarlett, 21, Plymouth, Florida, 2 checks totaling $4,000

Anthony George Cherry, 37, Plymouth, Florida, 2 checks totaling $4,000

Herbert Neal, 35, Plymouth, Florida, 2 checks totaling $4,000

Clarence Malcom Williams, 39, Mount Dora, Florida, 2 checks totaling $4,000

Antwan Derrell Harper, 21, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Karen Rachel Smith (See Note), 31, Zellwood, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Katrina Rachelle Smith (See Note), 31, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000 (Note: Not yet in custody as of noon today)

Sabrina Seline Smith (See Note), 28, Zellwood, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Annette Harrell, 41, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Darrell Lamont Harrell, 22, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Felicia Lafaye Harrell (See Note), 24, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Rodney Lamar Bridges, 38, Apopka, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Samuel J. Scarlett, 20, Plymouth, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Donna Lynette Simmons, 41, Apopka, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Monica Martres Simmons, 25, Apopka, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Timothy Lofton Mosley, 35, Apopka, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

Melani Jamianicole Brown, 18, Apopka, Florida, 1 check totaling $2,000

No offense, but the nation was more than generous with it's contributions to those people displaced by the hurricanes this past year. Thomas and I gave more than we probably should have, but we were not about to let children and adults displaced by the natural disasters go uncared for, unfed, and not housed. We donated to Save the Children and the Salvation Army. Millions of Americans dug deep to help those that needed it.

And then you have these yay-hoos who just could not resist the free handout they thought would go unnoticed. It is incidents like this that make it extremely difficult for Americans to justify giving to those in need when such needs arise. Regardless of their motivations behind the fraud, it does not excuse the crimes. These people defrauded the government--nay, they defrauded the nation--so they could reap their own, selfish rewards. I hope each and every one of them get their just desserts when the feds prosecute them. No mercy, and take these cases to their fullest extent. Send the message that crime really does not pay.

The Bunny ;)

Off The Newswires: Reid To Frist--Focus On America

Yes, Senator Reid is calling on Senator Frist to get serious about the legislative agenda. Of course, this will come after their all important Memorial Day break, but Senator Reid is serious as this news release shows (or maybe not).

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today called on Bush Republicans in the Senate to put aside their partisan agenda and tackle the issues that matter most to Americans. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Frist has announced the Senate will spend June focusing on gay marriage and the politics of division and distortion.

"Today, Bush Republicans kicked off their campaign of dividing the country instead of addressing the real priorities of American families. Our country faces great challenges: record high gas prices, skyrocketing health care costs and an intractable war in Iraq. Yet instead of addressing these issues, Senator Frist has chosen to put the politics of division ahead of real progress by pushing for a debate on a divisive amendment that will write discrimination into the constitution.

"This is exactly why the American people are looking for a new direction that puts their priorities ahead of partisan politics. Democrats stand ready with real solutions for the country. This Memorial Day, Democrats will be focused on the high cost of gasoline that is squeezing millions of American families who are filling their tanks and hitting the road this weekend. Unfortunately, Bush Republicans would rather focus on
purely divisive maneuvers than real solutions that address the growing energy crisis."

And Congress is working on that. The president pushed for more nuclear power plants yesterday, which are far safer and cleaner now than what they were back in the 1970s and 1980s. We are looing for solutions to the rising cost ogf health care and prescription drugs (and no, it is not Hillarycare). He states that the Democrats "stand ready" with their solutions for the nation, yet they have not unveiled any sort of platform for 2006. I see and hear the constant attacks on the president, the consistent calls for a withdrawal from Iraq, and the mantras of Democrat candidates who have called for the impeachment of President Bush.

I ask, is this their plan? Is this the plan America has been waiting for? Because if it is, maybe I should come out of my Taliban cave more often. As yet the Democrats have no plans to deal with the energy problems in this country (unless you count Hillary demanding that we reduce speed limits to 55 mph). They have no solution to the War on Terror, and how it can be one (but John Kerry wants to hold multinational talks about it with nations like Syria and Iran). They have no solutions at all in regard to Iran (who just finished testing a medium range missile easily capable of hitting Jerusalem). And to top it all off, their only answer to this sort of inquiry is to fall back on the "culture of corruption" charge that has become a whole new mantra for them (nevermind the fact that Rep. Jefferson is in serious trouble, and we're still digging up the dirt on Sen. Reid and his Abramoff money).

The Democrats fell behind this year when they failed to reveal their platform. They could not reach a concensus on it at all. It took the conservative base less than a couple of minths before we had our platform, and it is one that our candidates are sticking to. Come on, we know the platform well enough:

Win The War
Confirm The Judges
Cut The Taxes
Control The Spending
Secure The Border

(And yes, after Thomas put the order in today, we will proudly be wearing those wonderful shirts while camapigning for the GOP this year.)

Before Senator Reid decides to come over to our glass house and swing his baseball bat, he might want to try repairing the broken windows in his own home; a home clearly wrecked by the unsupervised "children" of the Left. Fix your own house, senator before you start picking on mine. Unlike those on the Left, we do hold ours accountable when they make mistakes or break the law.

The Bunny ;)

Possible New DC Circuit Appointee?

Rumors among the federal judiciary are wide and varied (if I hear one more rumor surrounding Justices Stevens, Kennedy, or Ginsburg, I'm going to throw up), but that doesn't mean that such rumors aren't interesting. And Hugh Hewitt's got a helluva a rumor. Debra Livingstone, professor of Law at Columbia Law school is said to be pegged to take one of the vacant seats on the DC court.

For those unfamiliar with the DC Circuit Court, it is second only to the US Supreme Court in terms of importance. Many cases that reach the DC Court also reach the high court. And many jurists on the DC Court arelooked at to ascend to the high court. So, it's importance is assured amongst the legal minds.

Now Hugh admits that he knows nothing about her. Neither do I. The links below are what he was bale to dig up regarding her, including a fairly extensive bio:

Here is her bio from Columbia Law.

This is a Webcast from Ole Miss that was a Fourth Amendment symposium.

This is a response to 11 September from Columbia Law School, and Ms. Livingstone had the following to say: (Emphasis mine)

Legislation now being considered by Congress will change existing law with regard to electronic surveillance in the United States. The proposed changes represent an attempt to provide a better domestic response to the threat posed by terrorism. The changes cover a variety of subjects. Many of them, however, are directed at one goal: to make it easier for the intelligence community (responsible for the country's national security position) and criminal justice community (responsible for the bringing of criminal cases) to work more seamlessly with each other. The proposed legislation contemplates that in this area these communities can and should work as partners, sharing information and using shared information to prevent future occurrences of terrorism.

This closer cooperation would be a big change primarily because two distinct statutes on surveillance have governed these two communities. Criminal justice matters are governed by a statute called Title III, which imposes warrant and multiple probable cause requirements on criminal investigators. A different statute - the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) - governs the actions of groups involved in protecting national security. One significant way FISA differs from Title III is that it allows for some warrantless electronic surveillance involving official foreign powers when there is no significant likelihood that such surveillance will intercept communications of U.S. persons. In addition, FISA warrants are issued on somewhat less stringent standards than traditional criminal warrants. A Title III warrant can authorize interception for no more than 30 days (absent an extension), while a FISA warrant can last up to 90 days - and under proposed legislation, can issue for a period of up to one year.

The legislation before Congress sets up a means for national security personnel to obtain FISA warrants and to engage in foreign intelligence surveillance even when criminal prosecution is a significant goal of the interception. The information from such surveillance can be used in criminal prosecutions, so long as foreign intelligence gathering was one of the purposes - as opposed to the single or overriding purpose - for the interception. The proposed legislation also makes it easier for the intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information obtained through electronic surveillance.

Now called to work together, the criminal justice and intelligence communities will face new challenges. For example, federal grand juries, prosecutors, and law enforcement agents, who have not had to focus on preventing harm in the immediate future as a principal aspect of their jobs, will now have to think in those terms. How do we ensure that the information uncovered in a criminal investigation is rapidly disseminated, as necessary, to prevent threatened occurrences? In this context, I think we are going to see a move toward more rapid investigation, more search and seizure, and also investigation that may not be principally about bringing offenders to justice, as opposed to avoiding immediate harms.

The Boston Globe is in the mix with this piece just shortly after the New York Times blew the cover of the NSA terrorist surveillance program:

''Long before 9/11, the NSA gathered from the ether mountains of [overseas] phone calls and e-mail messages on a daily basis," said Columbia Law School professor Deborah Livingston. ''If you have such an extensive foreign operation, you'll gather a large amount of phone traffic and e-mails involving Americans. That's something we've lived with for a long time."

Now Hugh signed off his post (all the links above come from him) with the fact he had to do show prep. So, here is where I picked up from. A couple of thoughts before I start laying out more links. My first impression of Ms. Livingstone is that this is a thoughtful, reasoned legal mind who understand national security and law enforcement legal issues. And as we can see in her thoughts regarding a post-11 September America, she knew that the steps being taken by Congress--especially in relation to the Patriot Act and FISA--were big ones. Mammoth steps that hasd one simple goal: Make sure 11 September doesn't happen again. To me, this speaks volumes in terms of her jurisprudential thinking. She gets it. She knows the law well enough--as is evident by her quote to the Globe--that she isn't like the Erwin Chemerinsky's of the nation that go nuts and scream "Fourth Amendment protections!" every time these issues come up.

On 31 October, 2002, Ms. Livingstone was a speaker at a NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) . There isn't any sort of record of what she said, but the topic of her speech was "Dollars and Sense: How To Get Value of Citizen Review."

FactCheck.org cited her in a debunking they did regarding "sneak and peek" searches:

Debra Livingston, a professor of law at Columbia University Law School, is a former Editor of Harvard Law Review and a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She told FactCheck.org that delayed notice is an old practice:

Livingston: In essence what the delayed notification provision did was to standardize a practice that numerous courts had already authorized, which was to delay notification of a search in cases where the government could give a good reason. The searches are still authorized by a judge based on a probable cause. This is not a radical departure from prior law.

Again, sound, logical, and reasoned thinking. There's no unhinged nature in this woman. She sounds just fine. Here's another Webcast from her school dealing with law enforcement issues; it was originally compiled in December of 2000, and was last modified in January of 2004.

Here is a forty-three page pdf file regarding her ideas about law enforcement accountability and the Justice Department.

And here is another symposium she participated in at the University of Chicago where she say on a panel discussing overproceduralism.

Ms. Livingstone seems to have a book coming out here in October. It's entitled Foundations of Criminal Procedure 2003.

And on 21 April, 2005, she moderated a debate between John Yoo and Prof. Jeremy Waldron at the American Constitution Society. This was live-blogged by the guys at Ex Post. (For the Record, I have read Mr. Yoo's phenomenal book, "The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11"

There is also this, a multi-page address give at St. John's on "Police patrol, judical integrity, and the limits of judicial control."

(I'd like to note that the last two links provided came from Oz, a commenter on Confirm Them's post regarding this rumor.)

Personally, I have no problem with this woman, and its based completely on what I've read of her today. As Hugh knows nothing about her, the same goes for me. And now the same goes for our readers. You all know as much as we know. And based on what I have found regarding Ms. Livingstone, she would make an excellent addition to the DC court.

Oh, and only three sites have even brought this up. Hugh's, Confirm Them, and right here at The Asylum.

Publius II

UPDATE: 3:14 p.m. AZ Time

Fourteen minutes into Hugh's show, and he has confirmation that Professor Debra Livingstone will be named. This is no longer a rumor.

The WaPo Comprehends This Issue: There Is No Constitutional Crisis

Adding onto the post that my lovely, talented, and intelligent better half put up early this morning is this piece from the WaPo. (She cited it in a link at the end, but I think the lack of sleep was catching up with her. Here's a taste of the WaPo piece):

The FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's congressional office was an aggressive tactic that broke a long-standing political custom. But while it might violate the spirit of the Constitution, it might not violate the letter of the document or subsequent rulings by the Supreme Court, legal analysts say.

The issue could turn on whether a court finds that the items seized from Jefferson's office were related to such protected legislative activities as writing, researching and voting on bills. Other things could be fair game for the prosecution, analysts said.

"An official legislative act is immune, but interference with anything beyond that" is not covered by the constitutional provision that shields Congress from executive and judicial branch interference, said Michael J. Glennon, a former legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who teaches at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

The precise materials sought in the raid were blacked out in a publicly released copy of the search warrant, but Jefferson (D-La.) said in a court filing yesterday that FBI agents took two boxes of documents and copied computer hard drives.

Both the search warrant for Jefferson's office and the raid to execute it were unprecedented in the 219-year history of the Constitution. In that sense, they violated an interbranch understanding rooted in the separation of powers -- and, indeed, in the events of 1642, when King Charles I burst into Parliament and attempted to arrest five members of the House of Commons, triggering the English Civil War.

But the taboo against searching congressional offices was a matter of tradition, not black-letter constitutional law.
"It's really a matter of etiquette," said Akhil Reed Amar, a professor of constitutional law at Yale University. "I don't see any constitutional principle here."

To correct here though, it isn't the WaPo that agrees with her. That would be Charlie Lane, the writer of the piece. But Mr. Amar, in the last paragraph, is quite correct. There is no principle that states that people in Congress are completely immune from what law enforcement does. Are they essentially above the law? It may seem so, at times, such as with Cynthia McKinney's latest fiasco. Though it shoud be noted that she didn't commit a crime until she struck the Capitol police officer. Congressional members can bypass security gates.

The fact that both leaders in the House--Hastert and Pelosi--are joining forces to literally take this to Justice and the executive branch is positively ridiculous. And this might be one of my biggest gripes with members of Congress. Well over half of the people in Congress have law degrees, and no one ever uses theirs. They think they do, but they really don't.

But it seems that the message of "Don't play CYA games with the public" is starting to sink in as this AP report shows:

Some lawmakers are warning of a voter backlash against members of Congress "trying to protect their own" if party leaders keep escalating a constitutional dispute over the FBI's raid of a representative's office.

Yet not long after House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded on Wednesday the bureau return documents it took, White House aides were in talks with Hastert's staff about the possible transfer of the material, perhaps to the House ethics committee, according to several Republican officials.

The goals of any transfer, they said, would be to deny the documents both to prosecutors and to Rep. Willliam Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat ensnared in a bribery investigation, until the legal issues surrounding the weekend search of his office are resolved. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the discussions.

I'm sorry, but if I were the official handling this investigation at Justice, I'd tell Hastert to get stuffed. This didn't violate any of the privileges and immunities of Rep. Jefferson. It is, as Marcie stated repeatedly last night, an ongoing investigation into whether or not Jefferson took bribes. The FBI has camera footgae of him doing so. So, in the House's view, should we simply allow him to continue serving despite the evidence accumulated thus far? And what Speaker Hastert must remember is that he, like every other member of the House, is up for reelection this year. This sort of behavior could translate into a backlash.

The confrontational approach by Hastert, R-Ill., and Pelosi, D-Calif., did not sit well with some colleagues.

"Criticizing the executive and judicial branches of our government for fully investigating a member of Congress suspected of criminal wrongdoing sends the wrong message and reflects poorly upon all of Congress," Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., said in a statement. "They should not expect their congressional offices to be treated as a safe haven."

BINGO! Give Rep. Cubin the fuzzy bunny! Their congressional offices aren't pointed out in the Constitution as being free and clear of any investigation. That means that the FBI does have the right, and with Justice's backing, the authority to conduct a search of a congressman's office. The FBI has stated for the record that Jefferson wasn't cooperating. I'm guessing that Jefferson was hoping his privilege under Article I, Section 6 protected him against investigations. Nothing could be further from the truth. He can't be stopped in the halls of Congress, but he can sure as hell be nailed in his office. And that goes right out the window when it comes to his crime. Again, Marcie appropriately pointed out that bribery is a felony, thereby waving the privileges in Section 6.

A GOP colleague, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, said the public "will come to one conclusion: that congressional leaders are trying to protect their own from valid investigations."

Let's see here, Whitewater, Monica-gate, China-gate, Travel-gate, etc., and those were executive branch mishaps. The public didn't like former President Clinton too much during those days because we watched as his own attorney general ran interference for him. If Hastert and Pelosi think that this sort of grandstanding is going to play well with their respective bases, think again. It's already not sitting well. Marcie rarely launches such a pointed attack in the direction of the GOP. But when she does, she means it.

While some lawmakers contended the executive branch overstepped its authority, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has declined to condemn the search.

"I'm not going to beat up on the FBI," said Reid, a frequent critic of the White House's use of executive power.

Their voices were in the minority on Capitol Hill in the wake of the 15-hour search during which agents collected evidence against Jefferson, an eight-term Democrat.

Historians said it was the first such search of a congressman's quarters in the more than two centuries since the first Congress convened.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said the raid was lawful and necessary. Justice Department officials have said Jefferson had refused to cooperate with the investigation.

RIGHT THERE! Jefferson had refused to cooperate with Justice. I'm guessing that Justice was cordial and polite about requesting the records, but when Jefferson told them to got take a flying leap off a rolling donut, Justice executed it's "fail-safe" option. That was obtaining a warrant, and providing it to Jefferson and his staff prior to executing it. This is perfectly legal. This violates no area of the Constitution, and the House leaders are just plain wrong.

In their rare joint statement, Hastert and Pelosi demanded that the FBI return the documents and that Jefferson then would have to cooperate with the investigation.

Um, I'm wondering why Jefferson still has his seat. It's clear from the video the FBI has that he is seen taking a bribe. So why hasn't he been brought up to the thics committee, and been removed from the committees he serves on. And if he refused to cooperate tfrom the start, what's going to make him cooperate now. This is a CYA, stalling game being played here, and it's irritating the hell out of me.

As evidence of Pelosi's lack of support for her fellow Democrat, she said he should step down from the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Jefferson filed a motion Wednesday asking the judge who signed the search warrant to force the FBI to return the seized items.

The congressman has refused to step down from the tax-writing committee and has acknowledged no wrongdoing.

Pelosi's curt letter to Jefferson, and the public nature of it, has riled a sizable bloc of her House troops — the 42-member Congressional Black Caucus. At private meetings with and without Pelosi on Wednesday, members of the roup grew emotional and complained that Jefferson was being singled out.

The congressional Black Caucus needs to STFU. This has nothing to do with race. If it were a white guy, I'd be just as vehement about getting to the truth. And it can't be found if all the House is going to do is try to exert some authority on Justice. They complain that the executive branch violated the Constitution by breaking the "separation of powers laid out within the Constitution, yet their own reactive response shows that they, too, are overstepping their boundaries when it comes to the separation of powers. Demanding the materials be returned, or handed over to the House Ethics Committee? Please. Shut up, and let Justice do its job.

They pointed out that another member under investigation, Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., was forced to step aside as ranking member of the Ethics Committee but allowed to keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman, GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, announced a hearing next week, "Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?"

While I do like James Sensenbrenner, he's dead wrong. This didn't trample the Constitution. It's still intact, and the privileges enjoyed by the members of Congress still apply. But when Justice is conducting an investigation--particularly one in which the person in question ius an elected representative--cooperation is expected. Jefferson wasn't doing that. He was thumbing his nose at Justice and telling them to basically get over it. What was Justice to do? Discard an pertinent, ongoing, and equally relevant investigation? Did prosecutors drop the Cunningham case simply because "Duke" was a member of Congress? Hell no they didn't. And despite the fact that I also like him, Cunningham belonged in jail. He broke the law. (That's for the Lefty nutters out there that think we "rah-rah" the GOP too much. NO ONE is above the law, and the law is what we three here at the Asylum answer to.)

But Vitter released a letter to his own GOP Senate leaders asking them to stop saying that the FBI raid violated the Constitution.

"For congressional leaders to make these self-serving arguments in the midst of serious scandals in Congress only further erodes the faith and confidence of the American people," Vitter wrote.

And if they don't stop it, they're going to get bit by the base. They had better remember that the base is unhappy with their recent shenanigans. They've seen the Abramoff scandal explode all over Capitol Hill, and watched as lawmakers scrambled like a colony of roaches when the lights were turned on. They've seen the Cunningham fiasco go down, and watched as a man--an elected and well-respected congressman--admit to basically selling his vote to the highest bidder. And now we have William Jefferson. I know this may be a lot for the House to bear and even accept, but Justice has a job to do, and they're going to do it.

And they don't really care what Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi have to say. They could give a rip less about William Jefferson's continued request through the courts for his documents back. They're following their investigation. 'Nuff said. But these people would be wise to remember that the base is watching this unfold, and if they're anything like Marcie and I you can bet they're not too happy about this little drama unfolding in Congress.

Publius II

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