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Archive for March, 2006

I read a couple articles this morning that typefy all that’s wrong with the Democratic Party. Here’s a glimpse into the first article:

“To me, this is not really and should not be a partisan question,” Dean told the panel. “I think it’s a question of institutional pride of this body, of the Congress of the United States.” He added in prepared testimony that if Congress doesn’t have the stomach for Feingold’s resolution as drafted, it should pass some measure serving Bush a warning. “The resolution should be amended, not defeated, because the president needs to be reminded that separation of powers does not mean an isolation of powers,” Dean said in prepared remarks.

It’s amazing that Democrats are so desparate to prove Bush broke the law that they’re calling on a convicted felon with a notorious axe to grind against conservatives to verify their beliefs. Mr. Dean’s assertions weren’t based in fact but rather on general platitudes that might be summed up as saying ‘Congress should have a say in this’.

If he tried arguing that to the Supreme Court, he’d be laughed out in 10 minutes. I watched him read his prepared statement this afternoon on C-SPAN2 and found it to be totally uninspiring to the point of being boring and inconsequential.

Here’s something from the second article:

Sen. Joe Lieberman’s strong stand on national security has so rankled some fellow Democrats that they actually booed him at a political dinner on Thursday night. The rude response to his speech came even as he was being endorsed by popular Sen. Barack Obama. Obama, an Illinois Democrat who is considered a rising star in the party, was the keynote speaker at the annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner in Hartford.

The Connecticut Democratic Party is so hate-filled that it’s willing to dump one of the best and most honorable senators in the last quarter century. What’s worse is that this is further evidence that Democrats aren’t serious about winning the GWOT.

The first article proves that: (a) Democrats hate everything that President Bush does and stands for and (b) Democrats are willing to scrap an important tool in detecting attacks against the U.S. for purely partisan reasons. That’s both disgusting and intolerable.

The second article proves that Democrats think that Saddam’s Iraq wasn’t an important cog in the global reach of various terrorist groups. In fact, based on what they’ve said in the past, it’s safe to say that they think the GWOT is only about law enforcement and capturing UBL. That’s insane and incoherent at minimum, dangerous and scary at most. Remember that Arlen Specter said Feingold’s resolution has no merit.

Here’s more of what Feingold said during the ‘hearing':

Where is the attorney general and Mr. Comey, who, according to reports, have indicated their discomfort with this program? Why are they not before this committee talking plainly about their objections? You know what word comes to mind, Mr. Chairman? It’s a word that first came into my consciousness in 1974, cover-up. It’s a cover-up. Now — before I ask my question, I want to get to this question. You didn’t help me draft this thing. But if you want the words bad faith in there, let’s put ‘em right in because that’s exactly what we have here. The whole record here makes me believe with regret that the president has acted in bad faith both with regard to not revealing this program to the appropriate members of Congress, the full committees that were entitled to it, but more importantly by making misleading statements throughout America suggesting that this program did not exist.

At this point, Feingold storms out of the room. He’s still just a little hothead that won’t debate substance with anyone who isn’t a lightweight reporter. All that’s missing from his diatribe is Sen. Feingold crying.

As a Minnesota native, I’ve always said the worst thing to come out of Wisconsin was the Packers but I think they’re a picture of dignity compared with this idiot. In a way, I’d love seeing the Supremes take this issue up so they could publicly humiliate Feingold, AKA Sen. Whiney Britches.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The immigration debate that we’re having is the wrong debate for Republicans to be having. What I’m proposing instead is something that’s both politically intelligent and good policy towards Mexico.

Here’s what the GOP immigration policy should include:

1. Building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out. We simply can’t have people getting into this country unchecked. This isn’t controversial with the Hispanic community in general and it just makes too much sense.

2. Fine businesses that hire illegal aliens on a progressive scale. Their first infraction should get their undivided attention. Their second infraction should hurt them. Their third infraction should cripple their business.

3. This is the first proactive facet of the policy. It’s both sensible and defensible. We should be encouraging Mexicans to be voting only for politicians who want to make Mexico’s economy work. Anything short of that shouldn’t be tolerated. This is something that President Bush should make the cornerstone of American policy toward Mexico going forward.

4. Working with Vicente Fox, we should establish a goal of eliminating the Mexican drug lords within a 5 year window. Last night, Newt Gingrich told about the sheriff of Neuvo Laredo resigning after just 8 months on the job. Here’s how the Houston Chronicle reported his resignation:

“Everything is fine; everything turned out well,” Pimentel said in an interview Thursday, reflecting on his tenure as top cop in one of Mexico’s most violent cities. “I’m leaving with my head held high.”

His predecessor was gunned down hours after taking office, victim of a turf war between rival drug cartels that continued unabated during Pimentel’s watch, leaving at least 57 dead in Nuevo Laredo this year alone.

The proven ability of the cartels to kill and intimidate people in law enforcement, local government and the news media has left Nuevo Laredo a place of fun-house mirrors, where the ordinary meanings of civic life are continually distorted.

If law enforcement is intimidated by the drug cartels, how can we be surprised that people want out of Mexico? What chance do they have against well-funded, well-armed cartel militias?

Establishing a strike force along the lines of Special Forces would go a long way towards cleaning up Mexico’s terrorist-induced instability.

Here’s why this will help all parties involved:

1. By advocating this comprehensive policy, Republicans could tout their policy as helping Mexico develop a viable middle class, something that’s all but nonexistent at this point. This will ingratiate Hispanics to the GOP for at least a generation.

2. Eliminating the corruption and violence in Mexico’s border towns would buy the GOP lots of goodwill with the Hispanic community while it stabilizes the region. The importance of this can’t be stressed enough. Yes, it’d take money but it’s smart money that will go a long ways towards stabilizing our border with Mexico.

3. We’ve seen the work ethic of Mexicans. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t work hard in Mexico to position their families for future prosperity. The thing that most seems to be holding business development back is the overregulation and overtaxation on businesses.

If the U.S. started a high visibility program that told the Mexican people that their government should be helping them create businesses that Mexicans can run, word would get out that life inside Mexico could improve in a relatively short time.

If the U.S. helped drain the Mexican ‘swamp’ of the Cartel’s terrorists, it would go a long ways towards improving life in Mexico. Based on the terrorist activities and the impotent economy, who can blame Mexicans for wanting to leave?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Democrats’ wailing about the GOP’s “culture of corruption” suffered another blow yesterday when a U.S. district court subpoenaed six aides to Rep. Willliam Jefferson, (D-LA). Here’s the details:

A U.S. District Court has issued grand jury subpoenas to six aides to Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat who has been implicated in a bribery case. In statements read on the House floor Thursday, the aides notified House Speaker Dennis Hastert that they had been served with grand jury subpoenas for testimony issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The court, located in Alexandria, VA, is set to hand down a sentence to a former aide to Jefferson, Brett Pfeffer, who last January pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bribery of a public official and conspiracy. Pfeffer, 37, who faces up to 20 years in prison, said a congressman demanded bribes in exchange for his assistance in brokering two African telecommunications deals. Court documents make clear that Jefferson is the accused congressman without specifically naming him.

Methinks that thinking people will ignore Democratic charges of corruption the next time Ms. Pelosi trots that phrase out again.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The LA Times is running an article that ‘highlights’ just how little Democrats are to be trusted when they trot out their ‘Real Security’ campaign. Here’s the section that calls them out:

In other action, Republicans on the committee defeated a Democratic amendment that sought to force the Bush administration to reveal the budget for the controversial NSA espionage program. The Democratic measure would have withheld 20% of the NSA’s budget unless the White House agreed to disclose how much was being spent on the domestic eavesdropping program.

At the time that Democrats are talking up their ‘Real Security’ credentials in public, they’re attempting to slash spending on the NSA intercept program policy that’s kept us safe thus far. Couple that with their bragging about killing the Patriot Act and you’re left wondering if they aren’t a bad sideshow from a third-tier circus.

You’d think that they’d at least act like adults while they’re focusing their attention on national security. But that would force that leopard to change its spots and we know that ain’t happening, don’t we?

We should know better when you think about it. After all, what do Reid and Pelosi have to do with intelligence?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The AP is running an article about the Defense of Marriage Amendment debate. The last paragraph is pure Democratic spin. It reads like this:

But DFL’ers say the tactic shows that Republicans are growing desperate in the face of declining public support for the marriage amendment.

That is so much like whistling past the graveyard. If anyone thinks that culturally conservative Catholics & protestants are suddenly opposed to amending Minnesota’s Constitution so that liberal justices can’t overturn precedential rulings, then they need a reality check.

I don’t know who the AP got this line from but I suspect that it’s someone that desparately wants this issue to go away.

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As you know, I’ve been all over Dean Johnson’s self-created fiasco from Day 1. It seems that Katherine Kersten, the talented Strib columnist, is asking much the same questions that I raised yesterday. Now I’ve got one last set of questions:

If Johnson actually talked with one or more Supreme Court justices, who initiated the conversation?

This is important to know because I can’t imagine the justices seeking this type of conversation. Further, I can’t imagine that it happened but if it did, this issue needs to be addressed.

If Johnson initiated the conversations, why did he initiate them?

Did he not know that this might cause the justices to violate their ethics? This isn’t a small consideration.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the Willmar newspaper that says it’s time to move on. Here’s a glimpse into the article:

Many of Johnson’s critics, both locally and around the state, who are claiming he lied are giving little consideration to the possibility that some type of discussion with a justice actually did occur. Certainly, politics has played a role in some of the criticism of Johnson. That does not excuse Johnson’s “embellishment.� But the fact that discussion of the gay marriage issue with a justice occurred is a possibility that should be considered as it could have happened. After all, judges are only human.

This is clearly a puff piece from a sympathetic newspaper. It shows a disregard for how government must work. If this newspaper cared about it, they’d see that Katherine Kersten & I have asked legitimate questions that can’t be ignored.

Just because Johnson sounded contrite doesn’t eliminate his claims. If, as the paper suggests, a conversation really did happen, then an entirely different investigation must find out who initiated it & what was said by the various participants.

To not get these & other questions answered is a whitewash of the situation. It’s shoddy reporting. Johnson’s attorney shouldn’t get away with making such accusations without proving them. The newspaper’s lack of curiosity shouldn’t be excused, either.

UPDATE II: Now some pastors have started blaming the pastor who blew the whistle for this entire fiasco. Here’s a glimpse of their letter to the West Central Tribune:

In their letter, the pastors said they appreciate Johnson’s apology and urged lawmakers to move past debates about banning gay marriage and on to “poverty, health care, education, gambling” and other important issues.
Much of their letter was reserved for castigating the Rev. Brent Waldemarsen, of Willmar’s Harvest Community Church, who recorded the meeting and later released the tape to marriage amendment advocates. The pastors said they were disappointed in Waldemarsen and that he has “much to apologize for.”
“We wait with bated breath for your apology as we attempt to rebuild trust in our community and among our colleagues,” wrote the pastors, the Revs. Simon Fensom and Matthew Peterson of Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer and the Rev. Kathy Hartley of Peace Lutheran Church in New London.
———-
In their letter, the pastors said they appreciate Johnson’s apology and urged lawmakers to move past debates about banning gay marriage and on to “poverty, health care, education, gambling” and other important issues.

Can you believe these pastors? They’re more worried that Pastor Waldemarsen didn’t play nice than they’re concerned about the truth.

Their words show that they’re more worried about a liberal agenda than they’re worried about the truth. These pastors should be ashamed of that. That they care more about “poverty, health care, education, gambling” than about the truth shows their liberal bias.

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Here’s the headline from yesterday’s E & P article:

Gallup: In Shift, More Americans Now Call Themselves Democrats

Here’s a glimpse into what E & P wrote:

In a (perhaps) historic shift, more Americans now consider themselves Democrats than Republicans, the Gallup organization revealed today. Republicans had gained the upper hand in recent years, but 33% of Americans, in the latest Gallup poll, now call themselves Democrats, with those favoring the GOP one point behind. But Gallup says this widens a bit more “once the leanings of Independents are taken into account.”

This is spinning if ever I’ve read spin. The latest polling can’t tell you anything about party registration. To get truly accurate readings on that information, they need to get it from the U.S. Census Bureau, which keeps track of party registrations.

In other words, the Gallup poll doesn’t say that there’s been a drop in registered Republicans; it’s saying that that’s what percent of the people called identified themselves as D’s or R’s.

After reading articles like this, I’ve asked myself what qualifications some of these idiots have for being a reporter. If you figure it out, let me know.

UPDATE: The indespensible Michael Barone is on this case like I thought he would be. Here’s Michael’s take on the issue:

I’m not sure why this is treated as news. Since Gallup pioneered random-sample polling in October 1935, Democrats have always had an advantage over Republicans in party identification. When I entered the polling business in 1974, Democrats had a huge advantage in party ID, something on the order of 49 percent to 25 percent.

I don’t know why it’s treated as news, either, Michael. It’s amazing what the Agenda Media considers news these days.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, I wrote an article titled How To Spot a Power Grab. In it, I made a serious mistake. I accepted as fact the AP’s reporting of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the NSA intercept program. Here’s how the AP characterized it:

Five federal judges gave a boost Tuesday to legislation that would bring court scrutiny to the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA), the judges reacted favorably to his proposal that would require the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct regular reviews of the four-year-old program.

Powerline got a transcript of the hearing. Here’s what the transcript said:

Judge Kornblum: Presidential authority to conduct wireless [Sic. Presumably Judge Kornblum meant “warrantless.”] surveillance in the United States I believe exists, but it is not the President’s job to determine what that authority is. It is the job of the judiciary. The President’s intelligence authorities come from three brief elements in Article II….As you know, in Article I, Section 8, Congress has enumerated powers as well as the power to legislate all enactments necessary and proper to their specific authorities, and I believe that is what the President has, similar authority to take executive action necessary and proper to carry out his enumerated responsibilities of which today we are only talking about surveillance of Americans.
Senator Feinstein: Now I want to clear something up. Judge Kornblum spoke about Congress’s power to pass laws to allow the President to carry out domestic electronic surveillance, and we know that FISA is the exclusive means of so doing. Is such a law, that provides both the authority and the rules for carrying out that authority, are those rules then binding on the President?
Judge Kornblum: No President has ever agreed to that.
Senator Feinstein: What do you think as a Judge?
Judge Kornblum: I think–as a Magistrate Judge, not a District Judge, that a President would be remiss in exercising his Constitutional authority to say that, “I surrender all of my power to a statute,” and, frankly, I doubt that Congress, in a statute, can take away the President’s authority, not his inherent authority, but his necessary and proper authority.
Senator Feinstein: I would like to go down the line if I could.
Judge Baker?
Judge Baker: No, I do not believe that a President would say that.
Senator Feinstein: No. I am talking about FISA, and is a President bound by the rules and regulations of FISA?
Judge Baker: If it is held constitutional and it is passed, I suppose, just like everyone else, he is under the law too.
Senator Feinstein: Judge?
Judge Stafford: Everyone is bound by the law, but I do not believe, with all due respect, that even an act of Congress can limit the President’s power under the Necessary and Proper Clause under the Constitution.
Chairman Specter: I think the thrust of what you are saying is the President is bound by statute like everyone else unless it impinges on his constitutional authority, and a statute cannot take away the President’s constitutional authority. Anybody disagree with that?
[No response.]
Chairman Specter: Everybody agrees with that.

Thank you, Chairman Specter, for that observation. I’ve been saying this for a very long time. Still, idiot moonbats have said the President doesn’t have these powers. In addition to the precedents for the NSA intercept program, I’ve made the argument that the President has certain enumerated duties as spelled out in the Constitution.

To then say that he doesn’t have the authority to carry out those duties is absurd. If moonbats are right, the President would need Congressional approval to do what the Constitution mandates him to do.

Let’s flip that on its head, then, shall we? If that logic is right, then Congress doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to do what the Constitution mandates without the approval and permission of the Executive branch.

To further illustrate my point, legislation can’t usurp the President’s ability to do what the Constitution mandates any more than an executive order can usurp Congress’ authority to do what the Constitution mandates Congress to do.

My point is this: If the Legislative Branch has Constitutional authority to do what the Constitution mandates it to do, then the Executive Branch has the Constitutional authority to do what the Constitution mandates the Executive Branch to do.

In any event, it’s obvious that what the AP wrote doesn’t remotely resemble what the judges testified to. Shame on them for that.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The AP’s Marriam Fam is reporting that CSM reporter Jill Carroll has just been released. Carroll says that she wasn’t mistreated.

American reporter Jill Carroll was set free Thursday, nearly three months after she was kidnapped in an ambush that killed her translator. She said she had been treated well. Carroll, 28, was dropped off near the Iraqi Islamic Party offices. She walked inside, and people there called American officials, Iraqi police said. “I was treated well, but I don’t know why I was kidnapped,” Carroll said in a brief interview on Baghdad television.

Thus ends a dramatic ordeal. Thankfully, it ended right.

“I’m just happy to be free. I want to be with my family,” she was heard to say under the Arabic voiceover. Carroll said she was kept in a furnished room with a window and a shower, but she did not know where she was. “I felt I was not free. It was difficult because I didn’t know what would happen to me,” she said. She said she was allowed to watch TV once and read a newspaper once. Asked about the circumstances of her release, she said, “They just came to me and said we’re going. They didn’t tell me what was going on.”

I doubt that that description is enough to point authorities to where she was held but it at least gives them something to work with.

The AP’s Peter Yost is reporting that 5 federal judges have testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the NSA intercept program. Here’s a glimpse into the article:

Five federal judges gave a boost Tuesday to legislation that would bring court scrutiny to the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA), the judges reacted favorably to his proposal that would require the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct regular reviews of the four-year-old program.

How quaint. Just what would the FISA court review? Whether the NSA is reviewing only communications that either originate or end in a foreign country? Or would they eventually require approving warrants for these intercepts? If they aren’t moving towards warrants, then what would the FISA court be doing that the Judiciary committees can’t do?

This is a typical Washington power grab. Specter and other senators don’t like that they’re out of the power loop on this. The judges like Specter’s legislation because it’d give them additional powers and responsibilities.

Another question about the legislation: If warrants were eventually required, what standard would be set for granting them? Would they be able to issue warrants when data mining techniques are used? If that doesn’t pass judicial muster, doesn’t that essentially shut the NSA program down? If it’s shut down, how can this or any other President protect the U.S. from “all enemies, foreign and domestic”?

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative