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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hamdan

I haven' tread the decision yet, but it seems thh Court has ruled for the terrorists and the liberals. Apparently, the court said that the Executice cannot try the terrorists in a military proceeding. However, the court did say that the prisoners could be retained until the end of hostilities. So when is the war over? The war is over when Al Qaeda says its over or when we no longer hear from Al Qaeda. As long as Bin Ladin keeps making tapes, we should retain the prisoners.

Further, what happens when we attempt to release the prisoners in their home country where they are wanted criminals. Will they try to claim asylum here? Will the liberal courts release them into American society. How absurd.

When did terrorists have Geneva Convention rights? This is unbelievable.

We should shoot the terrorists as spies.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

This blog is dying a slow death.

12:39 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Arrrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhh!

1:14 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Everyone's busy earning money for the government to spend on other people's children.

9:58 AM, July 01, 2006  

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Floods close IRS

I couldn't explain why I felt so light of heart this morning, so benevolent, so free of care, as if all was right with the world. There was a spring in my step, a glimmer in my eye, a rosiness of cheek.

My euphoria was inexplicable until I read in the Star Tribune just now that:
The Internal Revenue Service headquarters, the Commerce Department and the
National Archives were also closed Monday morning because of flooding . . .


Ahhhh. Were this only the case more frequently, I could start to believe in world peace and random acts of kindness.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Frog March This Man


Bill Keller is the executive editor of the New York Times, and in all seriousness, I believe federal agents should walk into the Times, handcuff this man (along with several key reporters) and hall him off to jail to stand trial for treason.

Am I actually serious? Yes.

One of the valid criticisms of the Bush adminstration is that they seem to want to fight a war (the big one. The one against Islamic fascist jihadists) without naming it or actually acting like were in a war. This war is real, it's serious, but the Bush administration seems to want to pretend it's not. No wonder the Democrats like to call it the "so called" war on terrorism and other such nonsense.

But part of taking the war seriously is taking treason seriously. Blowing the cover of the telephone monitoring and now the bank monitoring is just that, treason. If the Bush adminstration wants to convince us that they take the war seriously, this man needs to stand trial, public relations be damned.

Blogger King Oliver said...

Agreed. See clever anti-treason posters on Michelle Malkin's blog: http://michellemalkin.com/archives/005433.htm

4:29 PM, June 24, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

This comment courtesy of Diamond Dog:

Your assessment of Bush's "unseriousness" is silly. Because this is an asymmetric war and is not to be confused with a war waged upon all of Islam, the Executive's nuance is necessary. But then perhaps you agree with Coulter and think we should begin to carpetbomb Saudi Arabia.

I think you are dead on right about Keller, however. This is treason and Mr. Keller and his top writers blowing the Swift story should be jailed. I propose Guantanamo, where they can see and then eventually report upon conditions in that facility and they will be able to rub elbows with folks who would like to thank the NYT for their help.

Prosecution is not an option, but a necessity. If we do not prosecute, the msm will continue to jeopardize the safety of the American people.

Good call. Frog march this man.

3:37 PM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Andy McArthy at NRO writes a persuasive argument that while it would be right to prosecute the NY Times, it wouldn't be smart because given our current Supreme Court, we would lose and the Times would end up being seen as the victorious defenders of the Constitution. Instead, he proposes we go after the leakers through the NY Times. That is, they admit they know who the leakers are and the Plame case makes clear that we can get the courts to require them to give their names or go to jail for contempt. I agree that if this is feasible, this is good enough since if the press chooses to give up their sources, the leaks will dry up, and if they don't, every time they do it, some of them spend 18 months in jail. That is probably a big enough disincentive.

But Diamond Doug, am I still silly about my seriousness comment if Bush does neither of these? Can you be serious and do nothing whatsoever about something like this?

3:47 PM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

Diamond Dog (a visiting blogger) responds:

HP. So now you want to "about face" and restrain yourself from frog marching Keller?

As a Power Line reader, I believe I am informed that statutes on the books criminalize what the Two Timers have done in compromising our national security during wartime.

"But Diamond Dog, am I still silly about my seriousness comment if Bush does neither of these? Can you be serious and do nothing whatsoever about something like this?"

Bush is not doing "nothing whatsoever." The White House has to choose its battles. It seems to me W is wisely using the bully pulpit to advocate his stand while the citizens of this country tell their congressmen they are fed up with the liberal press.

Frog march.

1:36 PM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

About face? I think not.

In a world with a good judiciary, they should be frogged marched. They have no right to do what they did and we have every right to criminally prosecute them and jail them for it.

But for the sake of argument assume:

1) The courts will allow the editors and reporters to be held for 18 months, not for publishing, but for not revealing their sources.

2) The courts won't allow them to be jailed for publishing, instead they will find section 798 of the criminal code (the law they broke) unconstitutional.

Would it still make sense to go for the frog march given these (assumed) facts? Remember, either way they go to jail (unless they reveal their sources, in which case the sources go to jail).

9:53 AM, June 29, 2006  

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Wersal Story in Strib

GOP lawyers awarded $1.4 million for work on judicial election case

"Minnesota taxpayers, or possibly attorneys in the state, will be on the hook for the nearly $1.4 million in fees, which still could increase."

It should be noted that later in the story the Strib identifies the budget from which the funds will likely come: "The Judicial Standards Board receives at least $277,000 a year from the state, and it has regularly gotten legislative appropriations to cover special expenses. The Lawyers Board has a budget of about $2.6 million, raised mostly from lawyers' registration fees."

". . . [A] portion could be passed on in higher licensing fees for Minnesota attorneys."

Taking the money from increased lawyers' registration fees is okay with me. Lawyers are not high on my lovable people list at the moment, with the exception of most JAS lawyers, themselves an exception.

Blogger King Oliver said...

Money well spent to be rid of fake elections. Congratulations, Mr. Wersal!

1:52 PM, June 23, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

An MPR story last week implied AGAIN that Mr. Wersal will be the one collecting the legal fees. WCCO plainly states he will receive the fees in their headline even though the actual story states otherwise. As I have discussed previously on this Blog, Mr. Wersal has stated he will receive no money from the lawsuit.My wife made a comment to me recently that “Mr. Wersal sure made a lot of money off that law suit” – clear proof that some misreporting is going on. It is obvious that as part of the their media campaign to discredit the idea of real judicial campaigns, the media wants to make Mr. Wersal appear as something he is not.
My wife made a comment to me recently that “Mr. Wersal sure made a lot of money off that law suit” – clear proof that some misreporting is going on. It is obvious that as part of the their media campaign to discredit the idea of real judicial campaigns, the media wants to make Mr. Wersal appear as something he is not.

4:46 PM, June 26, 2006  

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why is Downtown Minneapolis so ugly?


I know to ssc, everything is probably beautiful right now, but, I've been noticing more and more how ugly downtown Minneapolis is. Minnesota is nice, St. Paul is nice, and parts of Minneapolis like the lakes area, neighborhoods like Tangletown and along the river can be beautiful, but here in the warehouse district, and downtown in general, Minneapolis is butt ugly.

Why? Other American cities look great. Chicago is cold too, but it has trees, flowers and banners everywhere. Here, its impervious surface from the edge of one building to the edge of the other across the street. And it's not getting better from the look of the new buildings.


You would think liberals would care about public spaces more.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Why so harsh, Pencil? Surely Minneapolis has simply not spent enough money. There's more blood to squeeze from those turnip taxpayers.

4:56 PM, June 22, 2006  

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Wersal's Attorneys Fees Granted

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit approved Greg Wersal's and the Republican Party of Minnesota's application for attorney fees. The total fees approved exceeded $1,300,000 and does not include fees incurred in the lower court which can be applied for later. The court's order can be found here. Wersal notes, "The unconstitutional Canon 5 policies of the Minnesota Supreme Court cost the Minnesota taxpayers dearly."

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:55 PM, June 22, 2006  

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

WMD FOund in Iraq

Documents released today show that over 500 chemical warheads have been found in Iraq. Critics say that all of the warheads were manufactured before the Gulf war and has since degraded. Therefore they are not WMD enough....even though Saddam said he destroyed all the weapons.

Note that this story has yet to break onto the AP wire. Instead the AP is currently reporting that 7 marines are being charged with murder of an Iraqi and that Al Gores documentary wins a "special award."

When people said a few months back that chemical warheads had been found, the anti-war crowd said, yes, but it is only a few leftovers, and therefore not enough to consitutute "stock piles" How many is a "stockpile" Now that 500 have been found what will they say now? Its only 500 - thats not enough.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Of course, we've merely stumbled upon Iran's hidy-hole.

Truthfully, I never did doubt that Iraq had WMD. I thought we'd found some before, for what the internet's worth. All I want is for us to make a graceful exit, and concede we can't do that on a moment's notice. On that note, we also can't force a peacful Americanism on a country with separate populations hell-bent on killing each other.

5:02 PM, June 22, 2006  

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Democrats and Amnesty



Democrats recently came out swinging after they heard rumors from Iraq that as part of a reconciliation program, amnesty may be given to insurgents who have killed Americans:


"It is shocking that the Iraqi Prime Minister is reportedly considering granting amnesty to insurgents who have killed U.S. troops," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "On the day we lost the 2,500th soldier in Iraq, the mere idea that this proposal may go forward is an insult to the brave men and women who have died in the name of Iraqi freedom. I call on President Bush to denounce this proposal immediately."


I am not sure exactly what the democrats are talking about. I do not think it is an "insult" to our brave men an women who fought this war to grant amnesty to the enemy if the enemy in return ceases hostilities. Rather, it would be an insult to our brave men and women not to try and win this war. The goal of the war is to win. If you can win by granting amnesty, that is a win. A win is a win is a win! Besides, if you are at the point where the other side is willing to accept amnesty, you have already won.

I think Democrats think the war is some sort of police action and not a war. What are they thinking? What if a chance to end the war came up by offering amnesty to most of the insurgents - are the Democrats arguing that they would oppose that? The same Democrats who want to cut and run by the end of 2006?

This is not a police action. This is a war where we are battling a movement and not just men. Granting amnesty would not only result in defeat for the insurgents but also the movement. Amnesty is an ancient method of reconciliation and an important tool for adding long lasting substance to victory. Amnesty can take many forms by pardoning those involved in a rebellion to pardoning an entire nation (as we did with Germany and Japan after WWII). Abraham Lincoln granted amnesty to the Southerners after the civil war (and would have granted amnesty to Jefferson Davis, but for assassination). Amnesty was also part of the agreement of whites giving up power in South Africa. In contrast, amnesty was not granted to Germany after World War I, and we know what happened with that.

Certainly, amnesty should not be granted to the terrorists who specifically target and kill civilians, however, I think everything else should be on the table. And I guarantee that the insurgency will eventually end with an offer of amnesty to the few who remain (much to the disappointment of democrats).

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Jonah Goldberg put this perfectly by saying essentially, amnesty is the booby prize for the losers to accept their loss. That is, if the Sunnis stop fight in return for amnesty, we've won and they've lost. Saddam is out and the majority, not the Sunnis, rule. The only thing they get from the winning side is better treatment given their loss. That this gets criticized by those who essentially believe we should pull out even if that means losing is appalling.

5:38 AM, June 19, 2006  

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Zarqawi Document

If you haven't read the captured document Zarqawi had on a flash card in his pocket, it is worth reading. The document is by far one of the most interesting ones from the war.

The document argues that the only way to get rid of the Americans is to provide a distraction of another war for America to fight - preferably with Iran.

Blogger King Oliver said...

Somehow El Qaeda has adopted the analytical language of Communist revolutionaries, which adds an intellectual patina to the most primitive risk-benefit calculus. Do they all go to the same school? This document bolsters the case that we are winning this war.

6:07 PM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I agree. Al Qaeda needs to start worrying about fundamentals such as making sure they have enough recruits and ample money to wage even a basic campaign.

I read recently that some MSM commentators think the Zarqawi letter is fake because they refer to Americans in the letter as Americans rather than Crusaders, or the great Satan or some other colorful expression. It makes me wonder if our intelligence officers, in writing secret reports, ever threw in a “Kraut” or “gook” to spice up their report.

It also makes me wonder if those in the MSM making such criticism realize that Al Qaeda engages in propaganda. It is likey that the leaders of Al Aaeda don’t generally use such colorful descriptions in their day to day speech.

11:40 PM, June 17, 2006  

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Personal Attacks On Wersal Begin

Greg Wersal has become a powerful anti-establishment figure.

The Main Stream Media now is attacking him. In a recent article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the reporter mis-quoted a Wersal letter to the editor to suggest he was a Nazi sympathizer. Mark Cohen of the Minnesota Lawyer recently wrote a column suggesting that Wersal was a gadfly who needed a hobby.

If I recall, Wersal won in the U.S. Supreme Court. Wersal convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that he was right and the Minnesota Supreme Court was wrong. Wersal is a hero -- not a gadfly.

Go Greg!

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

You should post the stories or links. It would be great to read and comment.

11:42 PM, June 14, 2006  

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"Unprincipled Exceptions": Lawrence Auster On How Liberalism "Works"

The unprincipled exception defined VFR readers have occasionally been introducing the concept of the unprincipled exception into debate in other online forums, which is great. However, the UE is a tricky, abstract notion and people who are unfamiliar with it are likely to have no idea what it means. Therefore a short definition and explanation are needed.
Definition: The unprincipled exception is a non-liberal value or assertion, not explicitly identified as non-liberal, that liberals use to escape the suicidal consequences of their own liberalism, and that conservatives use to resist the advance of liberalism, without renouncing or opposing liberalism itself.
Explanation: Modern liberalism stands for principles of equality and non-discrimination which, if followed consistently, would make a decent life in this world, or any life at all, impossible. But modern liberal society does not permit the public expression of non-liberal principles, by which rational limits to equality and non-discrimination, or indeed the very falsity of these ideas altogether, can be articulated. This fact forces liberals continually to make exceptions to their own liberalism, without admitting to themselves and others that they are doing so. Such exceptions must take inchoate, non-conceptual, pre-rational forms, such as appeals to brute self-interest or to common sense. As an example of such a “common sense” UE, a liberal who wants to escape from the negative consequences of his liberal beliefs in a given instance will say that a certain liberal idea “goes too far,” without his indicating by what principle he distinguishes between an idea that has gone “too far” and one that hasn’t. In fact, it’s purely a matter of what suits his own convenience and comfort level.
Conservatives also must have recourse to the unprincipled exception, but for a different reason than the liberals. Conservatives, of course, oppose liberalism, or, at least, they oppose some aspects of liberalism, but, since the conservatives also live in modern liberal society, in which principled opposition to liberalism is not allowed (not allowed, that is, for those who want to have a place in mainstream society), the conservatives’ only available means of opposing liberalism is by unprincipled exceptions, such as appealing to common sense, or habit, or saying, “that’s just the way things are,” or arguing that a particular liberal belief is “silly” or “stupid” or “extreme.”
Needless to say, the above does not apply to all conservatives in all situations. There are many instances where a conservative opposes a liberal position on the basis of a clearly articulated principle. But even these more serious conservatives will tend to oppose only some particular aspect of liberalism, not liberalism as such. For example, a conservative might advocate the exclusion of Muslim jihadists from U.S. immigration. But he will not challenge the underlying liberal belief in non-discrimination, incarnated in the 1965 Immigration Act, that compels us to admit Muslim jihadists in the first place.
Another important thing to understand about the unprincipled exception is that it is only a holding action. This is because liberalism, with its principled demand for the elimination of all discrimination (or rather for the elimination of all discrimination against minorities, non-Westerners, and the “oppressed”), keeps becoming more and more comprehensive in its goals, keeps moving forward and delegitimizing the remaining unprincipled exceptions to itself one by one, and so becoming more and more extreme until the society is destroyed.
Thus, under the rule of modern liberalism, both liberals and conservatives are dependent on the unprincipled exception to contain the excesses of liberalism , even though, as a weapon against liberalism, the UE is non-rational and ultimately impotent. They will only be free of it when it becomes permissible to express non-liberal concepts. To put it another way, liberalism forces people to be irrational. The aim of traditionalism is to help them become rational again. And that can only happen when modern liberalism with its strictures against non-liberal thought ceases to be the ruling power of society.

Posted June 14, 2006 on Lawrence Auster's View From The Right, www.amnation.com/vfr/

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Perhaps I don't quite understand the point, but I always accepted non-discrimination as being more of a conservative ideal (non- discrimination under the law) and that it is the liberals who want to impose discrimination to achieve their definiton of equality.

10:27 AM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Perhaps I don't quite understand the point, but I always accepted non-discrimination as being more of a conservative ideal (non- discrimination under the law) and that it is the liberals who want to impose discrimination to achieve their definiton of equality.

10:27 AM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

You can say that again.

1:06 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Thanks for contributing.

8:45 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

My pleasure!

8:46 AM, June 16, 2006  

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Liberal Guilt Observed

Denunciation of liberal guilt trickles into the mainstream. See Ed Koch's essay linked here:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brothels and the World Cup

Father Jonathon, a columnist with Foxnews.com, comments on prostitution, which was legalized in Germany in 2002, at the World Cup:

Unscrupulous entrepreneurs have built a sprawling web of prostitution facilities to “serve” the estimated two million men who will descend upon the 12 German host cities. In Berlin, for example, a 10,000 square feet mega-brothel has been built next to the main World Cup venue. It is designed to receive as many as 50 customers at a time, with wooden “performance boxes” lined up one after the other to take advantage of every square foot.

Most striking was:

But as the market adjusts to new demands (the price of sex is less than a ticket to a soccer match), more people see the obvious — prostitutes, legal or illegal, are first and foremost a financial commodity in the hands of greedy men, “providers” and “consumers” alike.
What is going on over there in Europe.... is it digressing?

Here is more:

The German capital's largest legal brothel, the four-story Artemis near the Olympic stadium, is ready for the hordes of mostly male soccer fans from around the world who are flooding the city for the start of the World Cup tournament Friday.
Mini soccer balls decorate the reception area, where each guest pays a 70 euro charge, or about $90, for access to the women, whirlpools, restaurants and bars. The 50 or so prostitutes have been outfitted with thong bikinis with a soccer ball motif. The movie theater will interrupt its usual pornographic features to show live games. "We want the clients to be sure they aren't missing anything," said Vanessa Rahn, the club's public relations manager. "And sex is allowed anywhere, of course, except in the restaurants."

I imagine this will become a large political issue in Germany in the near future. After all at some point prostitution was legal, and then it became illegal and now it is legal again and all for the purpose of providing job opportunities and a safe work environment for women?

Why is prostitution required as a job generator for women. What happen to housewives?

Perhaps Germany should try free markets for less controversial jobs such as farming or industry. Imagine if all the prostitutes went on strike.... its only a matter of time.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Future Senator Mark Kennedy


Congressman Mark Kennedy came to speak at my place of employment this morning. He gave a short speech and then answered questions from a crowd of about 50. I was impressed with Kennedy and agreed with him on basically all his points of view. I also thought he had a great personal story - growing up in a a rural setting, attending St Johns and receiving and MBA at Michigan and later succeeding in business. He will be able to relate to a lot of differnet people around the state. In contrast, his probable opponent, Amy Klobuchar, Graduated from Minneapolis Suburban schools, attended Yale and Harvard (graduating at the top of her class), and is an attorney. I imagine it will be difficult for Klobachar to relate to rural Minnesota. Further, Klobachar will need to start explaining why crime has taken big jumps during her tenure as Hennepin County Attorney. In fact, the FBI just reported that Minneapolis had one of the largest increases in violent crimes for any city in the country.

Interestingly, most past Minnesota Senators do not have ivy league backgrounds:

Wellstone (UNC)
Dean Barkley (UofM)
Grams (Anoka Jr College/Carrol College)

Dayton (Yale)
Coleman (Hofstra/Iowa Law)
Durenburger (St. Johns/UofM Law)
Boschwitz (NYU)
Mondale (UofM)
Anderson (UofM)
Humphrey (UofM)
McCarthy (St. Johns/UofM)

Because Dayton is a weird anomaly and doesn't really count, it is safe to say that only Boschwitz meets that definition by attending NYU (although Boschwitz grew up in New York).

Check out Kennedy vs. The Machine for day by day blogging about Kennedy and the race.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

While I will certainly support Kennedy over Klobuchar, it is a sad day for Minnesota if graduating at the top of your class from Harvard goes into the debit column for a candidate. That's populism at its worst.

And thank God that the Yale's of the world have restricted, although not completely eliminated, the ability of geniunely stupid rich kids like Dayton to get in. Let's hear it for meritocracy!

9:47 AM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Oh, and unlike Columbia, NYU is not Ivy League.

(It is a fine school, however.)

5:02 PM, June 13, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

Mark Kennedy is a great candidate. Give him all the help you can. [This message is entirely the writer's own does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the officers or members of the John Adams Society or the JAS Blog.]

3:20 PM, June 14, 2006  

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Mother Jones Recognizes Greg Wersal

I am sorry to do this long article. But, Mother Jones has recognized Greg Wersal as a national figure in this article . . .

The Bible Bench
News: The message from fundamentalists to state jurists is clear: Judge conservatively, lest ye not be a judge.
By Margaret Ebrahim
May/June 2006 Issue
ON THE MORNING of November 14, 2003, Iowa District Judge Jeffrey Neary met with lawyers to approve routine court orders. One of the cases before him was a divorce. It was uncontested, and Neary didn’t think twice about signing the papers dissolving the marriage. Then he glanced at the couple’s names and realized the breakup was anything but typical. He turned to the lawyer for one of the parties and exclaimed, “These two people are ladies!” Neary had just signed divorce papers for Kimberly Brown and Jennifer Perez, a lesbian couple who had entered into a same-sex civil union in Vermont. Same-sex unions are not recognized in Iowa, but instead of withdrawing the order, Neary amended the paperwork to indicate that he had terminated a civil union and settled property disputes between the women.
When Neary’s decision made the news a few weeks later, Christian conservatives were enraged. In late January, a score of protesters picketed the Sioux City courthouse, waving banners that said “God Hates Fags” and denouncing Neary as a “liberal activist” and a member of an “antichristic court.”
“I was just trying to settle a dispute between two people,” Neary says. But he made his decision just days before the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the legality of same-sex marriage in that state. Conservative Christians were ready for a fight.
In late summer 2004, Neary began preparing his race for retention. Because voters simply mark yes or no for one candidate, he hadn’t planned on running much of a campaign—Iowa judges typically win retention races with more than 75 percent of the vote. But the protests against him revived. The Iowa Family Policy Center, a local Christian activist group, summoned Colorado evangelical leader James Dobson to speak at a rally exhorting Iowans to throw Neary out of office. “Now judges are telling us they want to redefine the definition of marriage,” Dobson told the crowd. “We say not in our lifetime!” The rally was followed by radio ads and brochures depicting Neary as an out-of-control liberal hell-bent on making Iowa the national capital of same-sex marriage. In response, Neary offered to talk to anyone who wanted to know why he’d terminated the same-sex union, and even asked to meet with Dobson, though Neary later said, “I never got a phone call.”
Neary squeaked by with an embarrassing 59 percent of the vote, despite the fact that he had launched a fundraising committee that raised nearly $28,000—a huge sum for an Iowa judicial race—and bought newspaper and television ads attesting to his character. The experience has made Neary think twice before ruling on controversial cases. “When I write opinions, I will cover myself, so people know why I decided the way I did,” he says. “I will think a little bit about timing. I will sit on decisions around retention time. Yes, this experience has curtailed the third branch of government.”
Other judges share his concern, the highest profile being retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In an unusually stark speech given at Georgetown University in early March, she asserted that “attacks on the Judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedom.” While not referring to him by name, O’Connor singled out former House GOP leader Tom DeLay for taking aim at the Supreme Court last year after its ruling in the Terry Schiavo case during a televised rally of conservative Christians called Justice Sunday. She expressed dismay over increasing physical assaults on judges as well as calls for “reforms” such as impeachments. “I am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning,” she said. “The courts do have the power to make presidents, the Congress, or governors really, really angry. But if we don’t make them mad some of the time, we probably aren’t doing our jobs as judges…. We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the Judiciary into adopting their preferred policies.”
Despite the urgency of her remarks, O’Connor was never in a position to be voted off the bench. But that’s been a real threat for judges like Loren McMaster of the California Superior Court. With the support of Tony Andrade—the man who spearheaded the petition drive that resulted in the recall of California governor Gray Davis— a conservative Christian group called Campaign for Children and Families helped mount a recall initiative against McMaster, leading him to conclude, “Some social conservatives don’t want judges making decisions without first sticking their finger in the wind.” The initiative failed, as did an effort in Missouri to oust Judge Richard Teitelman. The first Jewish (and first legally blind) judge to be appointed to Missouri’s Supreme Court, Teitelman had spent most of his legal career serving poor people—a line of work that, according to Joe Whisler, former president of the Missouri Bar Association, displeased conservative voters.
In the weeks before voters were to decide whether to keep Teitelman on the bench, he was attacked in a spate of negative advertisements. They’d been placed by Missourians Against Liberal Judges, a newly formed alliance that was assisted by speaker pro tem of the Missouri House Rep. Rod Jetton, and organizations including the Eagle Forum, the Missouri Family Network, and the Missouri branch of the National Rifle Association. Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, dispatched automated “robo-calls” to Missouri residents, saying, “Missouri voters have only one chance to vote no on liberal activist judges who rule against traditional marriage, rule for abortion, rule against gun rights, reduce the sentences of brutal murderers, and side with trial lawyers whose lawsuits are driving doctors out of our state.”
The anti-Teitelman forces “sucker-punched everybody,” Whisler recalls. Missourians Against Liberal Judges created a website, www.stopliberalmissourijudges.org, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said misrepresented Teitelman’s positions. The coalition raised $41,000 to unseat the judge; the Missouri Eagle Forum’s political action committee (PAC) alone spent $13,000 on the last-minute ad blitz, according to public records. In the end, Teitelman kept his judgeship with only 62.3 percent of the vote.
In the year and a half since Dobson’s Iowa rally, evangelicals not only have increasingly targeted individual judges, but they’ve worked to abolish state statutes designed to insulate judges from politics. Ironically, they’ve gone after the kinds of protections invoked by Supreme Court candidates as they sit before the Senate Judiciary Committee and refuse to tip their hand on hot-button issues like abortion. Yet the Supreme Court itself ruled in 2002 that common state rules restricting what judicial candidates could talk about were unconstitutional, opening the door to greater pressure by outside groups. In short, the principle of maintaining impartiality has been jeopardized.
Against this backdrop, the near death experiences of Judges Neary, McMaster, and Teitelman were merely practice runs in a crusade to remake state courts to fit a conservative agenda. Those judges accidentally strayed into the sights of the religious right. In the future, such confrontations promise to become more systematic, as religious conservatives across the country examine judges and smite the ones who don’t obey God’s law, as they see it, or fail to agree with their interpretation of the Constitution. With 87 percent of the nation’s 11,000 state judges having to face voters in some type of election, the right’s well-funded assault on the courts could have a tremendous impact, not just on obvious issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, school vouchers, medical research, and school prayer, but on the way justice is delivered day by day.
“When judges have to look over their shoulders at special interests, fair and impartial justice is in real danger,” says Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign, a nonpartisan organization that tracks judicial elections. “When you step into court, you want the judge focused on your rights, not on political pressure and interest-group ultimatums.”
THE UNITED STATES has a patchwork of laws governing how judges are chosen. In the nation’s early years, most states selected their judges the way the federal government did—by appointment. The democratic reform movement of the early 1800s spurred conversion to judicial elections as a way to provide greater accountability. But, notes judicial scholar Rachel Paine Caufield of the American Judicature Society, this system also had problems; some elected judges were corrupt and in the pockets of local politicians. In an effort to lessen political influ- ence, Caufield says, a dozen states switched from partisan to nonpartisan elections.
In 1940, Missouri came up with an even more aggressive plan and became the first state to switch to merit selection. Under the plan, a bipartisan screening commission recommends candidates to the governor, who then makes the final decision. After a year or more on the bench, the appointed judge must then run, unopposed, to retain his or her job. Under this practice, known as the Missouri Plan, sitting judges have rarely failed to win public approval. Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia use a form of merit selection, and 39 states elect judges at some level.
Until the 1980s, judicial races were typically low-key, small-budget affairs. Then, as class action cases boomed, trial lawyers poured money into judicial candidacies, stacking several state supreme courts with plaintiff-friendly jurists. Defense lawyers and the businesses they represent fought back with their own deep pockets, reclaiming some seats and upping the campaign ante. The national Chamber of Commerce began vetting judges and putting money behind pro-business candidates. In 2004, judicial candidates raised $46.8 million—up from $29 million in 2002, and a $40.6 million increase over 1990.
Along with the cash came all the trappings of costly political races: television commercials, high-priced consultants, fancy fundraisers, and big-time conflicts of interest. The American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Judicature Society, alarmed that judges were collecting so much money from donors who had business before the bench, pushed for a switch to merit selection throughout the country. The National Voting Rights Institute, a Boston-based civil rights organization, sued the county of Los Angeles, claiming that the high cost of running for a judgeship discriminated against black candidates, who would be less likely than whites to raise enough money to win.
By 2004, a handful of states were poised to switch from elections to the Missouri Plan. But while reform groups were seeking to insulate judges from outside pressure, a newly radicalized group of American fundamentalists was pushing in the opposite direction. Many on the religious right felt that the third branch of government should be as accountable to the public as the legislative branch was. Their venture into judicial campaigning is an expansion of their efforts to lobby the White House on judicial nominees. “There’s nothing the matter with [judgeships] being political,” Schlafly told the Kansas City Star. Andrade agrees. “That’s what makes this country great,” he says. “That we can influence the judiciary or any other branch of government.”
Armed with their own deep pockets, the evangelicals began working against judges with whom they disagreed on such issues as school vouchers, school prayer, abortion, and, as Neary learned, same-sex marriage. “Courts are overriding the will of the people,” says Peter Brandt, senior public policy director of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. “If we get involved in judicial elections, we might be able to change that.”
And not just by campaigning. They are attempting to reengineer judicial elections to destroy the legal measures that protect the impartiality of judges.
THE PERSON THEY HAVE TO THANK for their newfound ammunition is Greg Wersal, a conservative lawyer who in 1998 was running for the Minnesota Supreme Court for a second time. He didn’t have a chance against the incumbent, he felt, if he couldn’t tell voters his stance on pertinent legal issues. But the code of judicial ethics in Minnesota, as elsewhere, barred candidates from compromising their impartiality by discussing their views on disputed legal or political matters. This “announce clause,” as it is known, was developed by the ABA in 1972 and is in use by nine states to help maintain judicial impartiality and public faith in the courts. Twenty-five other states have imposed a “commit clause,” also developed by the ABA in 1990, which gives candidates more leeway to discuss the issues, as long as they don’t commit to a specific position. And 40 states prohibit making any “pledges or promises” about future judicial actions. (On the federal level, only judicial nominees who are sitting judges may not comment on pending cases and face a general requirement of impartiality.)
To dramatize his opposition to the announce clause, Wersal stood outside the Minnesota Supreme Court building fastened to a ball and chain labeled “Canon 5,” a reference to the section of the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct that includes the announce clause and other restrictions. Wersal’s children stood nearby, carrying signs that read “Free Our Dad.” Wersal had a knack for flamboyant expression; in a successive (and likewise unsuccessful) race, he traveled with a herd of life-size plywood cows, one with a placard that read “Judicial elections are a bunch of bull. Who would know better than a cow?”
In the midst of his 1998 campaign, Wersal filed suit against the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards, charging that the announce clause violated his right to free speech. His suit caught the eye of the GOP, which joined his effort, and when the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, it retained James Bopp Jr., a Terre Haute, Indiana, lawyer with a long conservative pedigree. The case of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (named for Suzanne White, then head of the Board of Judicial Standards) was decided by the Supreme Court in 2002—and the decision went to Wersal.
During an interview in his office, Bopp said he believes that all judicial candidates, whether they’re appointed or elected, have a right to talk about controversial issues and cases as long as they don’t promise to rule a certain way on a specific case. But such a distinction hardly provides true protection against politicizing the courts; a candidate doesn’t need to name Roe v. Wade to indicate hostility to abortion rights. Bopp’s victory stunned the liberal judicial establishment.
“The door is now open for conservatives to rip apart carefully crafted state judicial codes designed to hedge court pressure from outside groups,” says Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “Before the White case, there were questionnaires going around to judges, and in many cases they could say, ‘I can’t answer that.’ Now, the implicit message is that you can answer, and if you don’t, you won’t have our support.”
Not surprisingly, the White decision opened the door to a host of new surveys pressing judicial candidates to state their positions on abortion, school prayer, stem-cell research, and gay rights. “It’s about political free speech—not just for conservatives, but for liberals too,” argues Bopp. But few liberal groups have adopted the strategy as aggressively as the right.
Georgia is among the states that are now permitting candidates to discuss issues likely to arise in court. In 2004, the Christian Coalition of Georgia circulated a survey there asking state Supreme Court and appeals court candidates to disclose their positions on U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion, school prayer, school vouchers, and homosexual conduct. Two candidates responded—both giving answers in line with Christian Coalition positions. One of them, Grant Brantley, was challenging incumbent Leah Ward Sears, the first African American woman on the court. Sears did not respond. The coalition incorporated the candidates’ answers in a guide sent to some 725,000 voters. The booklet indicated “no response” for Sears. At the bottom of the page, the coalition listed Sears as supporting homosexual conduct, based on her support for a decision that struck down Georgia’s sodomy law. Sears prevailed with 62 percent of the vote.
Other surveys have fared less well. In Alabama in 2004, the state League of Christian Voters developed a questionnaire for state Supreme Court and circuit court candidates. Among the questions were: “Are you a born-again Christian? Please give your testimony” and “Do you believe marriage should be defined as a union between one man and one woman?” The League asked a judicial ethics panel for permission to submit its questions to the candidates. The panel declined to hear the request, angering those who felt such questions were allowed under the White decision.
“In my opinion, it was illegal and violated the Minnesota case,” says attorney Jim Zeigler, who heads the League. Zeigler says that his organization has “finessed the problem.” The finessing represents an escalation of the judicial wars: The League recruited an entire slate of candidates for open judgeships. “We encouraged conservative Christian attorneys to run,” Zeigler says. Some candidates were handpicked by former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, who made national news when he was kicked off the bench for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse grounds. Before the primary, the League’s website noted “Alabama Christians are now more concerned than ever about electing bold Christians to these Supreme Court seats. All eight Associate Justices voted to remove the Ten Commandments, and all opposed the stand of Chief Justice Roy Moore. ALL. NONE STOOD WITH HIM, AND NONE STOOD WITH US.” Out of the three candidates the League backed, two won, including Tom Parker, a former adviser to Moore. Parker replaced Justice Jean Brown, a business-backed candidate. Zeigler says they’ve decided not to try to use the questionnaire again in 2006 but will continue to recruit judicial candidates of faith for the five seats on the Supreme Court that will be contested in 2006.
This sort of juggernaut election push is taking shape elsewhere. In Washington state, a coalition of conservative lawyers backed by the Christian Coalition formed a PAC late last year to raise money for like-minded candidates. Because Washington is one of only four states that permit donors to contribute unlimited funds to judicial and other candidates, the committee may have an enormous impact.
When the Family Foundation of Kentucky, a Focus on the Family affiliate, sent out questionnaires in 2004 probing candidates on cloning, religion, and abortion, nearly all of them declined to respond, citing the state’s code of judicial conduct, which had both a commit and a “pledges or promises” clause. Bopp sued the state on behalf of the Family Foundation, arguing that the White precedent should be applied to any restrictions. (The Supreme Court considered only the announce clause in the White case.)
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bopp and the Family Foundation. Focus on the Family’s Peter Brandt exulted, “Judicial candidates who do not want to be held accountable for their decisions cannot run and hide behind judicial ethics anymore. We have a right to ask where the candidates stand on issues important” to Christians. And those aligned with the right may get a crucial boost. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito penned a thank-you to Dobson after his confirmation, saying that “the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force,” according to Dobson. Judicial candidates in the future might be thankful not just for prayers but votes.
That prospect makes people like Kentucky Chief Justice Joseph Lambert worry that the tenor of judicial campaigns will deteriorate. One group of concerned lawyers has come together to form the Georgia Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns, whose chairman, William Ide, asked judicial candidates to sign yet another pledge: a refusal to indicate how they might rule in future cases. Essentially, they were asked to ignore the conservative campaign questionnaires.When Sadie Fields, chair of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, heard about Ide’s request, she invoked White. “The courts have declared that we do have a right to learn about the philosophy of judicial candidates,” Fields told the Fulton County Daily Report.
Resistance in other states is likewise encountering conservative ire. By Bopp’s count, at least 40 states are defying the White precedent by instructing judicial candidates not to respond to surveys or answer questions on hot-button issues. He has sued six states total and has so far prevailed in three: Alaska, North Dakota, and Kentucky; the Indiana and North Carolina cases are pending.
While some states have chosen to ignore White, a different tack was tried in South Dakota, where state Circuit Court Judge David Gienapp and others, wary of the ground shifting in neighboring Minnesota, pushed the state to adopt merit selection in 2004. “We wanted to keep the judiciary independent and didn’t want special interests invading our judicial elections,” Gienapp says. Their effort took the form of support for a state referendum called Amendment A.
Amendment A was supported by the majority of South Dakota state legislators, lawyers, and judges, and even by the Republican governor, Mike Rounds. But Dobson, flushed with success from the White decision and eager to mobilize voters in South Dakota, urged tens of thousands of Christian voters at the LifeLight Festival, a musical religious gathering, to reject merit selection. “Get informed, register, go to the polls, and vote in November,” Dobson told concertgoers. Amendment A went down in flames—62 to 38 percent. Tom Fritz, a former president of the South Dakota Bar Association, explains that once Dobson started rallying his troops, Amendment A supporters had a tough time educating the public about the real implications of continuing to have judicial elections. “They were highly organized and effective,” Fritz says of Dobson and his allies. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
SO FAR, MOST OF the social conservatives’ attempts to unseat judges have failed. (In Kentucky, where more than 250 judicial seats are being contested this year, judicial officials are trying to head off inappropriate conduct by holding educational sessions for candidates.) Still, conservatives are having a large and increasing impact on the judicial selection process, says Roy Schotland, a law professor at Georgetown University. “The right is hot, hot, hot against judges,” he says. “Drawing attention to the courts and banging on judges is natural for them, and, I believe, even helps their side’s turnout for other races.” And, as O’Connor warned in her speech last March, such efforts have an impact beyond the fate of any one judge or the outcome of a single case. Invoking the experience of developing, or formerly communist, countries where dictatorships have been allowed to flourish, she noted that, according to NPR, “the nation’s founders wrote repeatedly that without an independent Judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government, those rights and privileges would amount to nothing.”
After he was attacked, Jeffrey Neary mounted his own effort to inform the public about what judges are actually supposed to do—uphold the law. In a democracy, he said, sometimes “we have to make decisions that are unpopular but that are based in the law.”
But even as he argued on the judicial merits, Neary felt he was a pawn in a larger, and very lucrative, game. He notes the rich financial haul that Dobson got for a new PAC he formed in April 2004: Focus on the Family Action, a 501(c)(4), provides the evangelist with a means to support legislative and political issues while keeping Focus on the Family’s tax status as a nonprofit organization. Focus Action’s tax filing for 2004 reports that in its first six months of existence, the group raised $8.8 million. The PAC spent $884,248 on six “Stand for the Family” rallies around the country and has an agenda that includes ousting judges. “These rallies touched approximately 38,000 people, communicating the responsibilities of Christians to vote in November 2004 based on their conscience and values,” according to the report. The group also spent $2 million on newsletters, emails, and articles promoting its agenda to 1.2 million households and $899,763 on radio broadcasts concerning “public policy issues and how listeners can become involved in effecting legislation” important to Christians.
Meanwhile, the far right’s strategy escalates. Peter Brandt says that Christian conservatives will focus on dozens of judges this year, when 30 states will hold supreme court races. They will continue to press judicial candidates through questionnaires, mobilize their grassroots members to oust unsuitable judges, and, Brandt says, “where opportunities arise, we would like to impeach judges.”
The group’s target: any judges anywhere who have ruled against marriage, as conservatives define it, or—to cite a common rallying cry—against the “rights of the unborn.”
“We’re better organized,” says Brandt, “and ready for the next round.”
Margaret Ebrahim, formerly of 60 Minutes II and the Center for Public Integrity, is an investigative reporter for the Associated Press.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It's still amazing that some people still argue to restrict speech during an election campaign. It makes no sense.

11:28 PM, June 12, 2006  

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Haditha Update

I blogged about Haditha in an earlier post below. The specific subject was some of the discrepencies pointed out by Sweetness and Light. However, the problem with these stories was still the fact that the incident at Haditha has been reported all along as a roadside bomb killing 15 civilians. This fact made the story very suspicious and gave weight that the incident could have been a massacre. However, this weekend the Washington Post reports that some of the Marines invloved in the incident claim they never reported the incident as a road side bomb killing civilians. Instead they report on a firefight with insurgents that left civilians dead. Apparently, the incident was miscommunicated by the military to the public:

Wuterich told his attorney that he never reported that the civilians in the houses were killed by the bomb blast and maintains that he never tried to obscure the fact that civilians had been killed in the raids. Whether Wuterich gave false information to his superiors is the focus of one of the military investigations. He said the platoon leader, who was on the scene, never expressed concern about the unit's actions and never tried to hide them.

Marine Corps public affairs officers reported that the civilians had been killed in the bomb blast, a report that Puckett believes was the result of a miscommunication.

This fact changes the perception of the story from a "massacre/cover" up to why are terrorists shooting out of houses occupied by civilians....(maybe its because they are terrorists).

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Why we should Support the War

Why we should support the War in Iraq. The constant screams and concentration on negative stories from Iraq by the Left requires that the supporters of the war restate their reasons for supporting the war. My reasons remain unchanged. 1) The first reason is that I agree with the “neocon” philosophy that spreading democracy in the middle east is the best and perhaps the only reasonable way to reduce the risk that nuclear weapons will be used against us by terrorists. History shows that the proliferation of nuclear weapons will be impossible to prevent. However, recent history has shown that there are two philosophies that can prevent their use. The first is to use deterrence or “mutually assured destruction.” While deterrence may work with an enemy or “competitor” such as the USSR, China, or North Korea, deterrence will not work against the terrorist on Jihad. The other way is to create free and democratic societies who choose not to create nuclear weapons or would not use them because it is not in their own public interest. I believe that it is possible to reorganize tyrannical states to reject proliferation. President Bush often states that with nuclear weapons, we need to act preemptively to prevent a threat from becoming imminent. I agree with this theory for both the obvious reasons of preventing one of our cities from being nuked, but also for the long term reason. If we were hit by nukes and ultimately determined that we could not prevent future attacks, then the only successful response would be complete annihilation of our enemy’s civilization (nuking most of the middle east). This response is nothing new. The ancients often razed societies and killed all inhabitants if the cities could not be converted. The most famous example is the destruction of Carthage. As of 2002, Iraq was the most likely tyrannical state to develop nukes. First, Saddam had a history of aggression unlike any other nation in the world) (Iraq has invaded most of their neighbors under Saddam), Second, Iraq had the government and political means... Saddam had total concentrated power both politically and economically. Saddam could put to death any subordinate with impunity, and could use the entire oil revenue of the country for his own personal means.

2). The second reason for supporting Iraq is a strategic one regarding the war on terror. I believe that invading Iraq was a strategic choice in choosing the location of the battlefield for the War on Terror. Being able to choose the battlefield is half the victory. We did it to the Nazis in World War II and the Soviets did it to us in the Cold War (in Vietnam and Korea.... See also Marathon, Salamis, Lake Trasimene, Tuteburg Forest, Hattin, Agincourt, D-Day as other examples of the importance in choosing a battlefield).History tells us that fighting in Afghanistan is a losing proposition. It is now clear from information obtained from the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that Osama Bin Ladin wanted the United States to attack him in Afghanistan. A war there would attract all the jihadis from around the arab world and Osama needed another major victory to increase his stature so he could recruit enough followers to achieve his ultimate goal which was to reestablish the caliaphate – united the Arab world under one islamic state. He wanted us to come to Afghanistan because he had beaten the Russians there after a long conflict and he wanted to beat us there too.. Osama was trying to choose the battlefield. The Russians learned quickly that Afghanistan is a terrible battlefield for a modern industrialized army. It is rugged, mountaneous, and full of hiding places.

Second Afghanistan has no sea water port. We could never field a signifcant army in Afghanistan without either having a port or a reliable neighbor. Afghanistan is bordered by Russia, Iran, China, Uzbekistan, etc... none are reliable neighbors. Further, we had no reliable indigenous Afghan allies. We were not friendly with any of the tribes in Afghanistan prior to Sept 11 (i.e. Tajiks or Uzbecks or Pashtuns) These ethnic groups have a long history of duplicity - being on any side that is convenient. Finally, the Afghan people do not have the wealth to sustain a fight against Islamic fascism. Afghanistan is an impovershed country with no natural resources. American forces would have to not only have to stay in Afghainstan for decades, but it would have to operate in Afghanistan to keep the terror camps from being rebuilt.In contrast, Iraq has everything Afghainstan does not. It does not have the reputation of Afghanistan (the graveyard of armies). It is mostly desert and plains and urban - perfect conditions for the modern army. It has a sea port and is bordered by more reliable allies (Kuwait). We also have a long and friendly relationship with the Kurds, an indigenous Iraqi ethnic group. George W. Bush is the most popular foreign person in Kurdistan (and for good reason). Finally, Iraq has an extended middle class with lots of natural resources. This is probably the most important point about Iraq. It means that we can eventually leave Iraq to allow Iraqis to finish the war on Terror. Further, the Iraq war has drained all the jihadi manpower from the war in Afghanistan.

Thus, the war in Iraq allows us to achieve victory in Afghanistan because Al Queda puts no resources into Afghanistan and the proximity of Iraq attracts all the Jihadists and all the MONEY (who would have gone to Afghanistan).

Blogger King Oliver said...

While I agree with Sloanasaurus that the attack on Saddam was justified by our security interests, I don't see why he thinks that establishing democracies is especially helpful in preventing nuclear proliferation. Israel, India, France, and Pakistan are all democracies that have insisted on developing their own nuclear weapons. (Did Britain develop its own capability, or did we give it to them?) China, the USSR, and North Korea have done so as dictatorships. We can prevent a country from going nuclear either by force or by agreement. If we do so by force, it is not entirely self-governing, and thus not a democracy in a very full sense. But we can do so by agreeent only with a country that has a stable government. Otherwise, the renunciation of nuclear weapons can be renounced by the next government.

We have fostered a revolution in Iraq, and we hope we will get a non-proliferation agreement from the revolutionary government, but the government has no history yet and will not to be able to give up such a significant prerogative of sovereignty until it is much better established than it is. If that process is repeated ad infintium, we will end up with many failures, especially where we abandon the force option.

3:40 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I don't think that establishing democracies will prevent proliferation (if I said so I was mistaken), I think proliferation is inevitable. However, I believe that democracies will be less likely to use nuclear weapons against other democracies.

10:59 PM, June 14, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

No one has ever launched a nuke knowing that someone else would immediately obliterate him and every man, woman, child, dog, cat, and cockroach in his country. But there's a first time for everything.

6:11 PM, June 16, 2006  

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Good Bye Zarqawi

Rejoice, the wicked man is dead. I heard the news this morning on NPR at about 4 am. It was quite shocking because the NPR reporter had a hard time controlling his excitement. He kept saying over and over that Zarqawi is dead - almost like it was a sporting event (I am sure such excitement was short lived for the traitors over at NPR). I also found it interesting that when the Iraqi Prime Minister annouced the news at an Iraqi press conference, all the local Iraqi reporters stood up and cheered. If that is not a positive sign, I am not sure what is. It would be unimagineable to see our press corps cheering on President Bush (other than for his demise of course)

The critics say that Zarqawi's dirt-nap will have little effect on the war. That is unknown. Sometimes the effectiveness of a leader is not recognized until the leader is gone and his replacement is in charge. Zarqawi was a popular figure - the symbol of the insurgency outside Iraq which is especially important for new recruits and raising money. Who will do the recruiting now?

Blogger festivus said...

Yes, most excellent news. I have a sneaky sense that his 72 virgins are made of fire and brimstone, through and through. Have fun, you ___________.

8:55 AM, June 08, 2006  

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pet Shop Boys meet World War II hobbyists

Maybe, its just me, but I laughed my ass off while watching this video.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

It's just you.

7:51 AM, June 06, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Maybe its 6-6-6

8:58 AM, June 06, 2006  

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Iraq and the Old West

With the war in Iraq winding down for the U.S. military, it seems that some parts of Iraq is entering a period of criminal gangs and lawlessness, perhaps similar to America in the settlement days or the old west. However, instead of Indians murdering scores of civilians, in Iraq it is Sunni and Shia criminals kidnapping or killing sunni and shia civilians. The problem with this level of lawlessness is that the authorities will never have enough resources to denfed the populace. Consequently, civilians will be forced to defend themselves just as America's settlers defended themselves against the indians. We should be hopeful that the lawlessness will eventually subside. One way it may subside is for the general populace to eventually become armed 24 hours a day to protect themselves, which would not only seriously deter the criminal gangs, it could also make it extremely difficult in the future for a strongman to retake control of the country. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Five Important Issues Republicans should address for 2006

There is a lot of griping about Republicans for the coming cycle. My top 5 important domestic issues are:

1. Immigration - Stop all new illegal immigration. I am less concerned about the so called "path to citizenship" however, I would never agree on a compromise for such a measure unless future illegal immigration is stopped and future legal immigration is restricted. Build the Wall! However if they can stop all new illegals and send the current illegals back home, that would be the best answer.

2. Cut Spending. Smaller government is always better. Spending should be reduced and government programs made to do more with less. I have a feeling that Homeland Security is the "education spending" of the 21st century. Special attention should be given to Homeland Security spending.

3. Keep Tax Cuts. Make the tax cuts permanent. Cut taxes in Minnesota

4. Reduce Regulation. Get rid of Sarbanes-Oxley and the rest of these ridiculous laws and regulations that are out there to protect stupid people. Stay alert - make sure no global warming regulations worms itself into the law.

5. School Choice/Vouchers - a better system than currently exists.

Friday, June 02, 2006

MN Top Ten for 2005

Most Significant Developments in Minnesota Politics (Part one)

I thought I’d give this blog a break from talk about the Middle East and immigration issues by reminding MN conservatives to focus on what of significance has been going on in their state and communities as they decide who to campaign for or even vote for in this election cycle.
Here’s my list for the ten most significant developments in Minnesota politics in 2005. Readers are invited to make suggestions for my soon-to-be-unveiled list for the first half of 2006. As for 2005, in ascending order of significance:
10) Chris Coleman trounced Randy Kelly to become mayor of Saint Paul, reassuring politically correct statists traumatized by past leaders’ ties to the nefarious G.W. Bush that their home city was still a hospitable place for nanny-state New Leftism. The election also proved that without Norm’s yuppie charisma, the average St. Paulite resists anyone or anything tied to Republicans. The reason this development ranked as low as it did is that Randy Kelly, in his own words and actions, is a traditional liberal “Democrat for economic-justice reasons,” who believes in “good unemployment compensation, workers’ comp, and prevailing wage” who boasted that he “carried minimum-wage [hike] bills for almost 20 years in the legislature.” Norm Coleman proved a that a charismatic liberal Republican could get re-elected in St. Paul, but there is no indication that he made it easier for a conservative to ever get elected there.
9) Years after Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Minnesota finally was forced to abandon the gag rule that has historically made a sham of its judicial elections. But, ironically, the support from top Republican politicians with ties to the discredited old system may not be there now to capitalize on the opportunities freer judicial elections could create for conservatism.
8) Due in no small part to Gov. Pawlenty and Republican legislative leaders’ willingness to approve the dessert of bonding projects long before the meat-and potatoes budget work was done, Minnesota experienced the first partial government shutdown in its history. Not surprisingly, life went on without any major catastrophes. Just in case, judges proved willing to overstep their traditional bounds by authorizing dubious “emergency” spending.
7) Following Brian Melendez’ election to replace Mike Erlandson as DFL state chairman, Ron Carey was able to supplant establishment favorite Ron Eibensteiner to become the state Republican party chairman. Other than deservedly tossing out someone who had been unappealing as a spokesman and ineffective at electioneering, it remains to be seen as to what else the Republican change of party chairman will accomplish. One less-than-encouraging sign is that most of the establishment operatives weren’t tossed out along with the figurehead.
6) The Minnesota Personal Protection Act was re-introduced and re-passed on its own merits—a sign that politicians still feel compelled on occasion to acknowledge reality and admit that doomsday scenarios (in this case, about concealed weapons) yield a lot more barking than biting.
5) Gov. Pawlenty signaled his willingness to support hiking the state’s mandatory minimum wage, thereby becoming chiefly responsible (just as Arne Carlson was in 1997) for giving Democrats the gift of signing an increase into law without any allowance of a credit for tipped employees (a credit that exists in most of the neighboring states).
4) Sen. Paul Koering publicly revealed his homosexual inclinations, becoming a poster boy for Log Cabin types and for Republican politicos falling over themselves in a rush to tell the media how little difference Koering’s sexual inclinations mattered to them. Of course, everyone refrained from asking or answering the tough questions (such as, “If Koering could tell his friends and Senate colleagues he was gay, why couldn’t he—or his friends or colleagues--tell the people whose endorsement and votes he sought to get elected?” or “How indiscreet was he that his sexuality was no secret to his colleagues or many political operatives?” or “Is defending someone who calls himself ‘a good Catholic boy’ openly living a homosexual lifestyle inviting a backlash from orthodox Catholics?” or even something this basic: “Does being a ‘nice guy’ explain why Republicans should remain loyal to you, even as your voting record has gotten more liberal each year you’ve been in office?” Koering’s announcement and his colleagues’ reaction to it demonstrates how for so many of them social conservatism is a cloak to put on or take off, depending on the political circumstances at any given place or time.
3) You’ve heard of “bracket creep” or “mission creep”. 2005 marked a year when “special session creep” grew to ridiculous levels. It actually started in the waning days of 2004, when the governor’s spokesman suggested it could be beneficial to do a session with lame-duck legislators so that we could help fund Medtronic’s expansion plans. It continued right through October of 2005, this time so we could get a new football stadium for the Gophers and a Hennepin County stadium for the Twins before it was “too late”. House Speaker Sviggum said special sessions should be limited to items for which there was enough “common ground to move forward”. Not so long ago, that standard would have been used to justify passing a new law in a regular session. Lawmakers who served in the 1950s and 60s experienced only a couple special sessions for the entire time they served as legislators; conversely, we have witnessed 11 special sessions in the past 13 years. From a cynical standpoint, the governor can criticize legislators for “not getting their work done” in a timely manner, yet wield more power in special sessions, where most legislators are reduced to rubber-stamping pre-arranged agreements negotiated between the governor and the legislative leaders.
2) An unholy alliance of special interests got a huge gas tax increase passed by both chambers of the Minnesota legislature. Thankfully, it was vetoed by Governor Pawlenty.
1) Gov. Pawlenty atoned for one of his rare good decisions since 2003—vetoing a gas tax hike—by making a very bad one when he proposed and instituted the disingenuously-named “health impact fee”. This type of slick doublespeak is what made Bill Clinton so reviled by conservatives. Pawlenty’s decision to extort revenue from a socially unfashionable group in order to balance the budget without reining in spending exposed the governor and those allied with him to widespread ridicule. The other unavoidable consequence of the “fee” was that it ensured a libertarian challenge would start with more credibility and momentum than ever before in the history of our state. Instead of a fringe candidate pushing legalization of drugs or prohibition of religious expression in the public square, you got a smart, independent businesswoman personally harmed by the Governor’s actions on smoking and the minimum wage. Pawlenty has no one but himself to blame for that development.

Haditha Town Doctor

I was previously under the impression from the media that the 24 men, women, and children who were allegedly gunned down by crazy marines had been examined by "credible" sources. However, now it turns out that the only source for examination of the bodies (from the original Time Magizine story) was the local town doctor. From Time:



Dr. Wahid, director of the local hospital in Haditha, who asked that his
family name be withheld because, he says, he fears reprisals by U.S. troops, says the Marines brought 24 bodies to his hospital around midnight on Nov. 19. Wahid says the Marines claimed the victims had been killed by shrapnel from the roadside bomb. "But it was obvious to us that there were no organs slashed by shrapnel," Wahid says. "The bullet wounds were very apparent. Most of the victims were shot in the chest and the head–from close range."
Wait. I thought there were more sources? Remeber all the doctors at Jenin? I assumed that some military investigator had actually seen the 80 year old man in his wheelchair dead with gunshot wounds, or the young chidren shot in the head from close range with M-16s. I guess not. Apparently, the town doctor has a prior reputation regarding the reporting of incidents.

The lack of sources on examination of the bodies is corroborated by a story in the Washington Post today stating that the bodies are going to be exhumed:

A source close to the inquiry said Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials have interviewed families of the dead several times and have visited the homes where the shootings allegedly occurred to collect as much evidence as possible. Exhuming the bodies could help investigators determine the distance at which shots were fired, the caliber of the bullets and the angles of the shots, possibly crucial details in determining how events unfolded and who might have been involved.

I thought they already had the bodies? The story makes no mention as to whether the bodies have been examined by anyone other than the town doctor. It seems that if the bodies are located by investigators, it should be relatively easy to determine how they were killed and by what kind of weapons. However, it is obvious that the bodies have never been examined.

The article goes on to say:


The gap between the incident and the beginning of the NCIS investigation is going to cause major problems in prosecuting any charges, a Marine officer familiar with the case agreed. "They have huge proof problems," he said, citing the lack of identified bodies.

"The long and the short of it is, until they prove the cause of death," they don't have anything, said one civilian defense lawyer representing a Kilo Company Marine. "Photographs won't be enough to do it. Good luck with that."

Is this implying that the bodies may no longer exist? Is the media realizing that they could be wrong and trying to cover their ass by saying "We know the incident happened, we just can't prove it, because it has been too long..."

It reminds me of "just because the documents are fake doesn't mean the contents aren't true." fake but accurate.

Opening The Borders As A Religious Duty

Good post by Lawrence Auster on the nation-destroying perversion of Christianity being used to bolster the open-borders cause by the editors of the Wall Street Journal: http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005783.html

Where is the global warming evidence?

I obtained these graphs US Global Change Research Program: The Green line represents the actual temperature data from the US. The red and blue lines are based on differnet climate change models. I don't know about you, but I recall from math class that trends from graphs are usually based on the existing data. You find the average points on your data line and then extend that trend line outward. In these graphs, the projections seem almost unrelated. In fact, if you drew a line for the actual U.S data, the line would be straight across. The actual data shows wild fluctuations, but on average shows there has been no tempature change in the United States from 1900 to 2000. How can that be?

Conservative Derangement

In the past few months - perhaps even since Katrina I have noticed that some conservatives have slipped into a derangement where emotional response is substituted for obvious facts. The Dubai ports deal also revealed this emotional response. Further, I now hear some conservatives citing fake facts to support their tough positions on immigration. While I think their position is reasonable and a position I would accept, the fake facts don't help convince people.

Now here is a perfect example from Hugh Hewitt:

The Department of Homeland Security has made funding decisions that are simply absurd, and recognized as such immediately by Americans of every political stripe. These allocations should immediately be withdrawn by order of the president for re-evaluation in light of the obvious threats which face population centers and the great cities of the United States. Like the ports deal, these proposed funding allocations cannot be defended. To attempt to do so is to drag out the embarassment. Pull them back, get some serious people in the room, and rework the numbers to reflect the wisdom of the many which understands that al Qaeda goes back to its targets again and again.

If you examine facts in this case you will notice that some of these big cities are getting almost the same percentage they did last year out of a smaller budget. Further, New York City reportedly asked for funds to do stuff that is unnecessary while some smaller cities do not even have an emergency program yet. Money should be spent wisely. Hewitt just assumes that the decision is a stupid one without asking why. Hewitt is the one being stupid.

One of the reasons I claim to be conservative is because conservatives are supposed to use their brain when deciding issues - remember that Churchill quote: "conservative before 25 no heart, liberal after 25 no brain?". Using your brain also leads to optimism because the future can reveal itself through reason. This is why Reagan was an optimist. However, too many conservatives now days are all heart and emotion, which breeds pessimism. Pessimism is rooted in emotion and in my opinion is a weakness some conservatives have.

Some are predicting that the Republican coalition is breaking up. If it does, it won't be because of issues, it will be because the hearts and brains will no longer understand each other.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Connecting Haditha to Bush

The Left's goal in the Hadita incident is going to try to connect the incident ultimately to Bush. Consider this story from ABC news.

Military sources told ABC News that there are likely to be charges filed against officers up the chain of command in connection with the killing of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.
Those who could be charged include senior officers who were not on the scene at the time of the killing but should have known something wrong had happened and done something about it. Emphasis mine.

Maybe I am missing something, but doesn't this comment from ABC news tie Hadita to marine officers and ultimately to Bush. "those...who were not at the scene at the time of the killing but should have known something wrong had happend..." ABC now is implying that a doctrine of "strict liability" should be applied to marine officers and therefore Bush. Bush should have known something was wrong and should have done something about it. I have heard of this doctrine in civil cases....but for the criminal law? Imagine being prosecuted criminally for something you "should have known about..."

The article concludes:

Sources familiar with the investigations told ABC News that the initial report claiming the civilians were killed by a bomb was filed by Sgt. Frank Wuterich. Wuterich was the top ranking Marine on the team that went into the houses where the civilians were killed. The question now, though, is where were his superiors?


Does ABC News now believe that the entire chain of command (including Bush) should have been on patrol that day at Haditha. They imply that mommy should have been watching over Sgt. Wuterich and that mommy was negligent in letting Sgt Wuterich out to play with out proper supervision? Does ABC News realize that a sergeant is in fact the commanding officer of a squad?

Can't anyone accept that some people including soldiers are criminals. Everytime a person does a criminal act does not mean someone else is responsible other than the criminal. However, it is typical leftism to blame someone else (especially Pres. Bush).

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