Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The NorKs upped the ante

I think it's about time we took this runt out. After the nuclear test on Monday, lighting off a long range missile, and three short range missiles this runt has the audacity to directly threaten South Korea:

North Korea announced Wednesday that it is no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War, the latest and most profound diplomatic aftershock from the country's latest nuclear test two days earlier.

North Korea also warned that it would respond "with a powerful military strike" should its ships be stopped by international forces trying to stop the export of missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

The twin declarations, delivered by the country's state news agency, followed South Korea's announcement Tuesday that it would join the navies that will stop and inspect suspicious ships at sea. North Korea has repeatedly said that such participation would be a "declaration of war."

They followed other developments in North Korea that have added to the sense of jangled nerves across northeast Asia since Monday's underground nuclear test.

The North fired three more short-range missiles off its east coast on Tuesday, said Yonhap, the South Korean news agency. North Korea had fired two missiles into the same waters on Monday.

And U.S. spy satellites have detected signs that North Korea has restarted its nuclear plant, a South Korean newspaper reported Wednesday. Chosun Ilbo cited an unnamed South Korean government source as saying that steam has been detected from a reprocessing facility at North Korea's Yongbyon plant.

He's proceeding with nuke tests, which is against the UN sanctions on his regime. He's testing missiles which is another violation of UN resolutions. He's threatening South Korea, and by default Japan. And the best reaction Barry has is a strongly-worded condemnation? Dear Lord, who is running the show in DC?

Kim didn't take Barry seriously from the word go, and the apology tour in Europe just reinforced what he believed about him: Barry is a push-over. When he conducted his missile test back in April, and Barry backed off the missile defense system, he knew he had him right where he wanted him. Look, Kim is a whack-job, but he's not stupid. He's not going to play chicken with the dozen or so warheads he's got right now. But he could go to war with the South in an effort to prove his mettle. He'd lose, of course, because the South Koreans are better trained and equipped, and they have the backing of the United States. If Kim is foolish enough to launch a nuke on the South, they'll have to contend with us, and regional powers like China.

We could put this little runt in his place if we gave the South nuclear weapons, and if we gave Japan the same. Japan is the problem nation because they don't want nukes but with Kim acting this way, Japan is rightly worried. Barry decided that there was no need for a missile defense system, and without that Japan is vulnerable. The only other possibility of containing Kim is if the regional powers form an alliance to oppose him, which if Barry fails to act they may have no other choice. (No, I don't think that would ever happen, but geopolitics offers strange bed-fellows.)

We have to do something here, and sitting on our hands or running to the UN just isn't going to cut it. Barry should make an announcement that missile defense is back on the table, and open talks with the Japanese to offer them nukes.

Of course, this is Barry we're talking about here, and he might embark on another apology tour if he makes those announcements. After all, he thinks runts like Kim just need a hug and some attention.

Publius II

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NorKs unimpressed by UN "saber-rattling"

They didn't accuse the UN of rattling it's saber. No, that's the snark I threw in on this. The UN issued it's usual sternly-worded, carefully-crafted response to the NorKs nuclear test over the weekend, and another missile test. In response to the condemnation, Kim Jong-Il promptly wiped his @$$ with it, and launched two short-range missiles today:

North Korea, defiant in the face of international condemnation of its latest nuclear test, fired two more short-range missiles off its east coast on Tuesday and accused the United States of plotting against its government.

In a move certain to compound tensions in the region, South Korea said it would join a U.S.-led initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction, something Pyongyang has warned it would consider a declaration of war.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a government source in Seoul as saying the North had test-fired one surface-to-air and one surface-to-ship missile off its east coast. The missiles had a range of about 130 km (80 miles).

North Korea could also launch by Wednesday more short-range missiles, perhaps toward a disputed sea border with the South, South Korean media quoted government sources as saying.

What exactly did the UN say? Um, can you say typical do-nothingness?

The U.N. Security Council swiftly condemned North Korea's nuclear test on Monday as "a clear violation" of a 2006 resolution and said it will start work immediately on another one that could result in new sanctions against the reclusive nation.

Hours after North Korea defiantly conducted its second test, its closest allies China and Russia joined Western powers and representatives from the rest of the world on the council to voice strong opposition to the underground explosion.

After a brief emergency meeting held at Japan's request, the council demanded that North Korea abide by two previous resolutions, which among other things called for Pyongyang to abandon all nuclear weapons and return to six-party talks aimed at eliminating its nuclear program.

It also called on all other U.N. member states to abide by sanctions imposed on the North, including embargoes on arms and material that could be used in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and ship searches for banned weapons.

In an AP interview in Copenhagen, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the test as a "grave violation" of council resolutions and called on the council in a statement to send "a strong and unified message" aimed at achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and peace and security in the region.

Wouldn't it have been prudent to have stiffer sanctions already on deck? After all, we know this little sawed-off runt with the bad hairdo is going to continue to push his luck. China's getting fed up with him, but because he is such a loose cannon they'll be against the UN doing anything substantive. Besides his response was pretty much a done deal. As long as he sees us going to the UN to whine every time he does something, he knows nothing will happen to him. He's seen Russia and China befuddle the UNSC over Iran, so again, he knows nothing will happen.

And then there's Barry, who's doing his best to suck-up to runts like Kim. Barry just doesn't get it. We can't let these rogues do what they wish, especially with the ambition Kim has with regard to South Korea. He'd rather make nice with these guys, the same way Clinton wanted to, so we don't offend them. He wants to have them as a friend to the United States. The problem is they don't want to be friends with us. They want us out of the way so they can pursue their ambitions without anyone in the way.

We despise the fact that we've become the world's cop; that we're the ones sounding the alarm over the ambitions of runts like Kim and Ahmadinejad. But no one else is doing it, and these guys are a danger to the world, moreso to their region. And we have allies in those regions that look to us for help. We'll never get it if we keep running to the UN. But Barry's content, as was Bush, to go to the UN with hat in hand. Lord knows why we give any legitimacy to such a worthless organization.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: Just had my moment on Hugh's show, and I was discussing missile defense. Let me make this clear: Kim Jong-Il is a man who has nuclear weapons, and he's testing ballistic missiles. Right now he has missiles that could carry a nuclear payload to any of our allies in the region, be it South Korea or Japan for starters. Yes, he only has a few nukes, but on the heels of the last test, the president announced we would cease a missile defense system for us and our allies.

This strikes us as not only naive, but also reckless. Kim Jong-Il, while nutty, is a dangerous man with the world's most devastating weapon. Sure he has a few, but are we willing to write off the innocents that might get killed when he throws a tantrum when he's not getting the attention he desires? We think not. It was a mistake for the president to make that announcement. It's not only selling out our immediate security, but the security we promised to our allies.

Publius II

California SC Upholds Prop. 8

This is just breaking over the news wires, but the California State Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8. They ruled that this was a constitutional amendment to the state constitution and not a constitutional revision. A revision would have had to go through the state legislature.

Because there was not a provision in Proposition 8 to abolish the gay marriages conducted thus far -- approximately 18,000 by Gabriel's number-crunching @ AoSHQ -- those marriages stand. They are legal, and are to be recognized as legal under the law. (I find it amusing that they claim those are legal under the law when it was the California supreme court that overruled the law -- the will of the voters -- in the first place.)

The opinion is here in pdf form, and according to Gabriel the website is in a state of flux. Take his advice and download it to read it. Do not read it directly from the website. The site is not stable right at this moment.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a 185 page opinion to dive into.


Sotomayor is the pick: Is the GOP ready for the fight?

Barry has finally made his SCOTUS pick, and it's the woman first mentioned, and long thought to be his number one choice -- Sonia Sotomayor. Now there's a lot to discover on this woman. We can tell you this much -- she's a bleeding-heart liberal judge. She's exactly the sort of judge that Barry was looking for. For those needing a primer on her, I recommend this as a starting-point primer. It's the YouTube video of her stating that policy is made in the Court of Appeals. And then there's this from Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network (HT to Michelle Malkin for that link). According to Wendy Long, Ms. Sotomayor is exactly the sort of jurist Barry's in favor of, especially in the case Ms. Long highlights in her criticism of her:

TO: JCN Members and Interested Parties
FROM: Wendy Long, Counsel to Judicial Confirmation Network
RE: Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor

-- President Obama has threatened to nominate liberal judicial activists who will indulge their left-wing policy preferences instead of neutrally applying the law. In selecting Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee, President Obama has carried out his threat.

-- Judge Sotomayor will allow her feelings and personal politics to stand in the way of basic fairness. In a recent case, Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor sided with a city that used racially discriminatory practices to deny promotions to firefighters. The percuriam opinion Sotomayor joined went so far out of its way to bury the firefighters' important claims of unfair treatment that her colleague, Judge Jose Cabranes, a Clinton appointee, chastised her.

-- According to Judge Cabranes, Sotomayor's opinion "contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case" and its "perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal." Even the liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen expressed disappointment with the case, stating, "Ricci is not just a legal case but a man who has been deprived of the pursuit of happiness on account of race."

-- Sotomayor's terrible decision in Ricci is under review by the Supreme Court and an opinion is expected by the end of June.

-- Sotomayor readily admits that she applies her feelings and personal politics when deciding cases. In a 2002 speech at Berkeley, she stated that she believes it is appropriate for a judge to consider their "experiences as women and people of color," which she believes should "affect our decisions." She went on to say in that same speech "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." She reiterated her commitment to that lawless judicial philosophy at Duke Law School in 2005 when she stated that the "Court of Appeals is where policy is made."

-- The poor quality of Sotomayor's decisions is reflected in her terrible record of reversals by the Supreme Court.

-- Sotomayor is a favorite of far left special interest groups. In addition to her record as a hard left judicial activist, Sotomayor has been recommended for the Supreme Court by Nan Aron of the very liberal Alliance for Justice, who stated in a 2004 memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Sotomayor had "been through an initial vetting and fit into the criteria that we believe should be the standard for any Supreme Court justice."

-- The White House is sure to argue that Sotomayor is a "bipartisan pick" because Bush 41 appointed her to the district court: President George H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor in 1991 only because the New York senators had forced on the White House a deal that enabled Senator Moynihan to name one of every four district court nominees in New York. In 1998, 29 Republican senators voted against President Clinton's nomination of Sotomayor to the Second Circuit.

On that last point, Souter was a supposedly "bipartisan pick" that the GOP in Congress should have killed in committee. (Rule #1, folks: When Democrats are happy with what you did, be concerned. Don't take it as a bury-the-hatchet moment.) All of the above is very concerning to us, especially the racially-tinged comment about a "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Madam, your life experiences have absolutely NOTHING to do with how a jurist INTERPRETS the law, as it is written.

Barry got his empathetic judge. The rumblings coming out of the GOP on a possible filibuster, we believe, is a tad premature. Let's see them knock her off in committee. It's clear that in Ricci alone, and some of her more incendiary statements, that she lacks: A) The temperament to be a jurist on the Supreme Court; B) The basic knowledge and education to take the job seriously; C) The philosophical maturity to be a judge whatsoever.

Will we support a filibuster of this nominee? That depends on what we find out about her in the committee hearings. If she is as extreme as the other high-court watchers claim, then yes we will. the last thing we want to see is another highly-partisan jurist that believes in ruling on things other than the rule of law. If she's as extreme as we believe, we absolutely would support a filibuster of her.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: For more on her check out Captain Ed's post on her, take a look at Ed Whelan and the crew at Bench Memos, and the guys at Verum Serum. These guys have taken the lead today in sounding the alarm.

People are going to say we're making a big deal out of nothing over Ms. Sotomayor. No, really, we're not. We're sounding the alarm with the rest of the conservatives on this pick because she has no respect for the rule of law unless where it suits her, i.e., racial matters, which seems to drive her philosophy. Also, the White House is already gearing up to pull the race card out on anyone who is critical of her nomination.

Can she be stopped? The chances are slim and none because the Democrats have the numbers to pass her out of committee and pass her onto the Supreme Court. (The good news, if you can call it that, is that she's only one of nine on the Supreme Court. Whatever Barry may want out of her, she's not going to dominate the high court.)

One last note: For all of those people out there who refused to vote for John McCain for a host of reasons (many of which we can rattle off the top of our heads), congratulations. You are now reaping what you sow. Elections have consequences, and one of them is when a hard-Left, partisan, thuggish, liberal is elected president, he's going to get a chance to appoint hyper-partisan, emotionally-driven judges on the federal bench which is just going to screw up our justice system even more.

Publius II

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Thomas and I have plans for the day. Some time together, some time with the family, etc., but we did not want this day to go by without acknowledging this day.

To all those that have served, thank you for your service, and thank you for the sacrifice that you gave to this nation, and the sacrifice your fellow brothers in arms gave. This day is for them. It is for us, as a nation, to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice given for our freedom.

So while you enjoy the day with your families and friends, take a moment to reflect on that ultimate sacrifice, and remember what that sacrifice means to you and this nation.

Because of those people we are still a free nation. We throw hammers at the Left all day, and the Left tosses them right back at us. We bicker and argue, but had those soldiers not given their all, we just might not have that, or have it to the extent we do today.

So remember those still alive -- they have sacrificed as well -- and remember their fallen brothers. God Bless them for their service to this great nation.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iran tests a news missile; Barry yawns

OK, he didn't yawn, but he seems rather uninterested in what Iran's doing. The meeting with Bibi Netanyahu didn't go exactly as planned. Netanyahu wants a solid timetable in dealing with Iran, and Barry's response to him was "If you give the Palestinians their state, you'll deter Iran." Barry isn't all that bright is he? Iran is not going to stop it's provocative moves even if the Palestinians do get their state. Netanyahu has stated he is in favor of the continuing peace talks. That should be a deterrent to Iran, right? I mean, Barry said so so it must be true, right? If that's the case why is Iran testing ballistic missiles with a range capable of hitting Western Europe?

Iran announced Wednesday that it successfully tested another "Sajil" missile, a surface-to-surface missile with a range that makes it capable of reaching parts of Europe.

A similar test was carried out in November.

The United States confirmed that Wednesday's test of the missile -- with an approximate range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) -- was successful, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN. The official did not want to be named for security reasons.

When asked if the missile indicates a new capability for the Iranians, the official said, "it advances the ball somewhat."

The test shows that the Iranians are looking to increase the sophistication of their ballistic missile program, and to increase their weapons stockpile, the official said.

The test should be more of a concern to Europe than to Israel, since previous missiles tested by Iran could already reach the Jewish state, an Israeli official said. ...

The Sajil is a new generation of surface-to-surface Iranian-made missiles that "demonstrates a significant leap in Iran's missile capabilities," Uzi Rubin, the former director of Israel's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, told Jane's Information Group after the November test.

"Regardless of the success of the test, this missile places Iran in the realm of multiple-stage missiles, which means that they are on the way to having intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities," he said. ...

Iran says the missiles have a range of almost 2,000 km (1,243 miles). If that is true, the missile brings Moscow, Athens and southern Italy within striking distance from Iran, according to Jane's -- which provides information on defense issues.

After the November launch, the United States restated its objection to such tests, saying they violate Iran's obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions. ...

President Barack Obama, who met with Netanyahu on Monday, stuck by his refusal to commit to an "artificial deadline" for Iranian negotiations on its nuclear program. But he also warned that he would not allow such talks, which he expects to accelerate after the Iranian presidential election in June, to be used as an excuse for delay.

He said the United States is not "foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions, in assuring that Iran understands that we are serious."

Serious? Are you kidding me? Iran is already blowing off the UN sanctions that have been slapped on the Islamic state, and Barry thinks new ones will reign in Iran. I guess he really is that stupid.

Iran is working on creating ballistic missiles that can hit Western Europe and the US -- it's version of a deterrent against the West. They are also working on nuclear weapons. The last thing we need is for Iran to get the bomb. Not only could it possibly spark and arms race in the region, but Iran could also use their nukes to blackmail the region. That is actually our bigger concern.

We don't buy the "arms race" argument being made right now amongst the so-called experts. That's not something Iran is concerned with. Why? Because when they do get a nuke, or several of them, they will threaten their neighbors not to pursue the same weapons. They'll have the power in the region, and there are enough hardliners in the regime who wish to reestablish their former empire.

Make no mistake folks, this test sent ripples through the intelligence and defense communities. As one analyst mentioned in the news piece said, Iran's clock is ticking really fast right now, and we're trying to catch up. If we screw this up we're in for some dark days in dealing with Iran. With someone like Barry at the helm we're virtually assured to see Iran get a nuke before his first term is over. That is unless Israel strikes Iran first. We won't do it. I know a lot of people will argue with that, but Barry has no inclination to really send a message to Iran.

He's content with harshly-worded letters and empty sanctions with no teeth. Iran is content to move along at its pace, and achieve their goals. Barr thinks we can negotiate with Iran, and that Iran will negotiate with us in faith. President Reagan had an axiom that is as true today as it was when he said it.

"Trust, but verify."

Learn it, Mr. President because that is the wisdom you should be following when it comes to dealing with Iran.

Publius II

Colin Powell Fires Back, Misses Target

Colin Powell has been the focus of a great deal of ire recently. Dick Cheney was asked about him, and Rush Limbaugh has fired off scathing missives in his direction. Mr. Powell fired back last night and missed the target. No surprise with that, and it is apparent he misses the point of the Republican party's anger with those like him:

Colin Powell issued a sharp rebuke Tuesday night to Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney for trying to exclude him from the backbiting Republican Party.

Before some 1,500 business leaders in Boston, as well as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen, the retired general and former secretary of state spoke openly of the dispute roiling the Grand Old Party after election setbacks and polls putting its popularity at roughly one of five Americans.

"Rush Limbaugh says, 'Get out of the Republican Party.' Dick Cheney says, 'He's already out.' I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there's another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again," Powell told the crowd.

Powell, the former secretary of state, split from the Bush-Cheney administration over the Iraq war after he presented to the United Nations what he had been told was ironclad evidence that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. That, of course, turned out not to be true.

Then, just before last November's election,
Powell delivered his prized endorsement to President Obama, giving him a major last-month boost.

Powell, who was talked about as a presidential candidate himself over the year, called Obama "a transformational figure" who "brings a fresh set of eyes, a fresh set of ideas" at a time the nation urgently needs them. "He has met the standard of being president," he said.

If I may explain something to Mr. Powell? The Republican base is, at it's heart, conservative in nature and demeanor. The sort of Republican party Mr. Powell is waiting for is the Rockefeller Republican party. The snooty blue bloods that none of us can relate to. They stood for nothing except their own, pitiful selves, and paid next-to-no attention to the people.

The base of the Republican party is not like that. We believe in fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, abiding by the rule of law, and upholding the Constitution of the United States. The sort of party that Mr. Powell is waiting for is the same one that Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, and Meghan McCain are trying to make right now. It would be one run by moderates, which is little more than Democrat-Lite right now.

In our humble opinion the problem with the Republican party is that in the late nineties we gave too much of a voice to the moderates within the party. Because of that they now believe they run the show, which they do not. I am sorry to say but we, the people, run the party. And we have said what we want. It is people like the moderates in the party that refuse to see that, and they demand we look at things through their rose-colored glasses.

The base of the Republican party stands on federalism and the rule of law. We do not want bigger government constantly interfering in our lives. The moderates are nothing more than a more friendly version of the Democrats; minus the vitriol, spite, and demagoguery. And while Mr. Powell claims that we should do away with people like Mr. Cheney and Mr. Limbaugh, he fails to understand that the bulk of the party's base thinks much along the same lines as those two men do. So, in essence, he is saying that we conservatives should leave as well.

We have no party to identify with save the Republican party. No third party is viable, nor is any third party strong enough to win a national election. Third parties do not work. My apologies to those who believe differently but the last time a "third party" won a national election was back in 1850. That was Millard Fillmore, who was a Whig. (WE will recall that the Whigs were ridiculed as being nothing more than a reconstituted Federalist party, and was formed by a number of Republicans in opposition to Andrew Jackson and the Democrat party.)

If the Republican party is to survive it is time for us to take the leadership voice from moderates like Mr. Powell, and others I listed above. They do not speak for us. We speak for ourselves, and we want a return to the ideals of true conservatism. We do not want "big-government conservatism." That is an oxymoron because conservatism NEVER stood for bigger government. It stood for the small government that the Founding Fathers created. If Mr. Powell and others wish to embrace their moderate roots, then we suggest they change parties, or be silent. They do not have the pulse of the party, and we believe they do not have the nation's best interests at heart. His idea of the Republican party is one that we have seen before, and not only did it win nothing on the national level but it enabled the Democrats to have virtually unfettered rule in Congress for four-plus decades.

His version of the Republican party is not ours. It is anathema to our views and the views of the base. We suggest Mr. Powell take his endorsement of President Obama, and make the jump to the Democrats. That is what he is, after all. No insult to the man's service to this nation, but he is hardly the spokesman for our party. Pack your bags, Mr. Powell. Your services are no longer needed.


As California goes ...

Yesterday was voting day in California. Six ballot propositions were put up for voters to approve. Lawmakers claimed it would close the budget gap that California is facing right now. Voters, however, knew better, and voted down five of the six propositions, and voting in favor of the sixth one -- a pay freeze for legislatures. Are lawmakers happy? Nope. Is the governor happy? Nope (and frankly that's good because Schwarzenegger is a putz in his second term as governor). The headlines in the LA Times says it all, at least from a liberal perspective: "California voters exercise their power -- and that's the problem". That says everything you need to know about the LA Times, and why they're circling the drain the way the New York Times and Boston Globe are. (A quick aside folks, that's how the liberalistas think: It's a bad thing when us voters actually voice our opinions at the ballot box.) From the OC Register:

California voters overwhelmingly rejected five of six budget reform measures Tuesday, setting the stage for more brutal spending cuts and further jeopardizing the state's financial stability.

Final election returns early today showed three-fourths of voters rejecting Propositions 1A through 1E. Prop. 1F - which does not raise any funds but restricts pay to state leaders - was approved by that same margin.

Pre-election polling had predicted failure for the measures, which would have borrowed against future lottery proceeds, delayed payments to schools, redirected state revenues, capped state spending and extended temporary tax increases.

"I think the voters spoke resoundingly tonight," Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, said at a No on Prop. 1A election party less than an hour after polls closed at 8 p.m. "I think the Legislature has one last chance to get it right, and if they fail, I believe voters will take matters into their own hands and enact a solution that will shake the foundation of the political establishment from the Pacific to the Atlantic."

The voters' rejection of the measures ranks as one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest political defeats and leaves his budget solutions in tatters.

The measures were part of the February budget deal including tax increases and spending cuts that were supposed to close a $42 billion deficit. But in the time since the measures were crafted, sales and income tax revenue has continued to tank.

Now, the state faces a $21.3 billion deficit - a huge number although just half of the deficit state leaders faced early this year.

The five that went down in flames were going to do nothing to pull the state out of the mess it's in. The advocates for the passage of the five propositions that failed used fear-mongering scare tactics on the voters. "Vote for this, or your house may burn down because there won't be enough firefighters." "Vote for that or your school may close because we won't have enough money to pay for teachers." Give me a break, already.

The propositions were taxes and fees to raise revenue for the state. California is mired in sh*t-Hell, and it's not due to the taxpayer. It's all due to the legislature, and their free-spending ways. They spent themselves into this mess, and they wanted to put the taxpayers on the hook to sew up the damage. The problem is voters saw through this little ruse, and voted all but the cap on legislature pay down. (The problem with the pay raise proposition is that it should have been a hard cap on the pay, period, and not one that said if tough economic times hit the state, and the budget isn't balanced, lawmakers don't get a pay raise. Puh-leeze. The state legislature will find a way around this.)

As for the people taking matters into their own hands, who knows. They just might. Anyone remember 1978 with California's Proposition 13? Some lawmakers are working to get a two-thirds majority to bury Prop 13 in an effort to gain new tax revenue. They don't like their limits and we all know what happens when government gets ticked at the people for limiting their power. Eventually they'll get their way. But that didn't happen yesterday. Yesterday the voters sent an overwhelming message to California.

Fix the problems without foisting a heavier tax burden on the people. Cut spending and be fiscally responsible. The legislature has plenty of tax revenues coming in to make ends meet and balance the budget. It is not the fault of the taxpayers that the monkeys in the legislature haven't managed the money wisely. The California legislature would be wise to take that into consideration. If they don't, they just might face a larger revolt when the legislature comes up for election.

Publius II

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

At Least Congress Has a Brain

Give credit where it is due, especially on this particular issue. Today the Senate followed the footsteps of the House from last week in sending a clear message to the president that they will not fund the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility where the detainees we have captured are currently residing. From the story today:

President Barack Obama's allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison until the administration comes up with a satisfactory plan for transferring the detainees there, a top Democrat said Tuesday.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said
Obama's plan to close Guantanamo is not dead — only that the funding will have to wait until the administration devises an acceptable plan to handle the closure and transfer the detainees. Obama has promised to close the military prison by January.

"The administration has not come up with a plan at this point," said Durbin, who is the whip, or No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. He added that Democrats are likely to address the issue on later legislation. "I think Guantanamo should be closed and we have to wait for the president's direction on what happens to the detainees."

With debate looming on Obama's spending request to cover military and diplomatic
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo's 240 detainees.

The administration has yet to develop a
plan for what to do with the detainees, and Obama's promise to close the facility is facing strong GOP opposition.

It appears to be a tactical retreat. Once the administration develops a plan to close the facility,
congressional Democrats are likely to revisit the topic, provided they are satisfied there are adequate safeguards.

Explaining the reversal, Durbin said: "The feeling was at this point we were defending the unknown. We were being asked to defend a plan that hasn't been announced. And the administration said, 'Understood. Give us time to put together that plan and we'll come to you in the next appropriations bill.'"

We could not get our allies to take any of these detainees. Attorney General Eric Holder was told as much in his quick jaunt to Europe a couple weeks ago. And none of those in Congress want trained, hardened terrorists released on US soil in their back yard. Of course, can anyone really blame them?

We have a good deal of terrorist cells suspected of being here in the US right now. These cells are supposedly still under surveillance -- surveillance ordered by President Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The last thing we need to happen is for any of these detainees to hook up with their associates here in America. The outcome could have wide-ranging and devastating effects on the nation. Do we really want to help our enemies carry out another attack? No we do not. We want to remain safe and secure, and right now the only way we will stay that way is to ensure those detainees stay where they can do this nation no harm.

We give praise to the Senate for following suit with the House, and telling the president that until he comes up with a plan to deal with these detainees they will not authorize or fund the closure of the detention facility. I should note that they are not closing the entire base down, just the detention facility, and Congress has said they will not go along until a sensible plan is on the table.


Excuse Me Mr. President, About Those Tax Cuts?

Forget them. They never existed. They were never going to be implemented. Thanks to the passage of the S-CHIP bill, cigarette and tobacco taxes went up, and they directly affect the middle class and poverty-level citizens. They are working on bringing beer and wine on par with hard alcohol -- the latter is taxed three dollars a gallon; beer and wine are taxed pennies on the gallon. In the wake of the government's "seizure" of the auto industry ( I believe the description is appropo), the president is unveiling an unprecedented, radical idea that he claims will tackle two things. His new plan will reduce carbon emissions, and bring fuel efficiency standards up:

President Barack Obama wants drivers to go farther on a gallon of gas and cause less damage to the environment — and be willing to pick up the tab.

Obama on Tuesday planned to announce the first-ever national emissions limits for cars and trucks, as well as require a 35.5 miles per gallon standard. Consumers should expect to pay an extra $1,300 per vehicle by the time the plan is complete in 2016, officials said…

…Administration officials said consumers were going to pay an extra $700 for mileage standards that had already been approved. The comprehensive Obama plan would add another $600 to the price of a vehicle, a senior administration official said.

The extra miles would come at roughly a 5 percent increase each year. By the time the plan takes full effect, at the end of 2016, new vehicles would cost an extra $1,300.

That official said the cost would be recovered through savings at the pump for consumers who choose a standard 60-month car loan and if gas prices follow government projections.

What about those of us who are still waiting on the proof that man has caused climate change, or that climate change is actually occurring? Can we take a pass on that new increase on the cost of a car?

This is simply another bone tossed to his far-Left base. Notice how he does his best to keep his word to his fringe supporters. The rest of the nation? Not so much. In fact, based on the post at National Review's Campaign Spot blog written by Jim Geraghty on Barack Obama's broken promises to America he really does not think much of the populace of this nation unless you are a slobbering supporter of his.

We are not pleased he chose to make an end-run around Congress regarding these new standards. He has tasked the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure these standards go into effect. Of course the price offsets that are being hyped are not guaranteed. They are based on speculative government projections, much like the president's predictions of deficits in his first term; projections that the CBO claims are low-balled, at best.

When will this nation wake up and realize that when a Democrat claims they will reduce taxes that their vow is never accomplished. President Obama promised to cut taxes for 95% of the population in America, and instead he is raising them. Before it is all said and done, the middle class will not exist. It will be shoved into the poverty-level brackets. He is spending this nation into bankruptcy and borderline Third World status. His idea of change -- change to make this nation better -- is not as advertised.

He is not making this nation better. He is making more people beholden to the the government by increasing the taxes they pay. He firmly believes that government is the solution to what ails this country. I am sorry, Mr. President, but President Reagan was quite correct when he stated, in no uncertain terms, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Government, Mr. President, has always been the problem because all it ever does is create an even greater bureaucracy that will never die.


This Man is a Loon

I had a professor when I was completing my undergrad studies a couple years ago that liked Seymour Hersh. Only Lord knows why as Mr. Hersh's allegations have never been proven, except in the case of the My Lai massacre. He is prone to wild allegations, and does not cite named sources in his "investigative" pieces. Richard Perle once quipped that Mr. Hersh was the "closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist." It appears that Mr. Hersh is at it again. This time he is accusing former Vice President Dick Cheney of authorizing the assassination of Benazir Bhutto: (A tip of the hat to Jammie @ Jammie Wearing Fool)

A special death squad assassinated Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the orders of former US Vice-President Dick Cheney, an Arab TV channel has reported.

“Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he cleared the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit,” The Nation quoted US columnist Seymour Hersh, as saying.

The US death unit killed Bhutto because she had told Al-Jazeera TV about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, Hersh said. The US leadership did not want Osama to be declared dead. It would have raised questions about the US Army’s presence in Afghanistan, he claimed.

According to Hersh, the former Lebanese PM Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief were murdered for not safeguarding US interests and for refusing to set up US military bases in Lebanon.

Mr. al Hariri was assassinated by a Syrian team, on the orders of Bashir Assad. Though Mr. Assad denies having anything to do with the murder of Mr. al Hariri, he was sweating quite a bit when the UN and EU began investigating the assassination back in February 2005. In the wake of the assassination Lebanese officials arrested four individuals in September of 2005 that they believed was involved in the attack. They are still awaiting trial under the international criminal court.

Could Mr. Hersh provide some credible evidence of what he accuses the former vice president of doing, please? For once? This fever-swamp moonbat needs to slink back into whatever hole he crawled out of. He should consider himself lucky he has not yet been sued for libel or slander with the wild, unfounded allegations he tosses around. And is it any wonder that these accusations sound almost like a conspiracy-theorist's tirade?

He should not be writing for any news publication. He should be writing for the Weekly World News, reporting on Bat-boy's newest story, or discussing the specifics of a meeting between President Obama and the Martian secretary of state.


Captain Gaffe-tastic strikes again

Say what you want about Dick Cheney, but at least he knew how to keep his mouth shut regarding secrets that needed to be maintained for the safety and survival of the nation. Captain Gaffe-tastic apparently missed that memo:

Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.

According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president.

The bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks.

Eleanor Clift, Newsweek magazine's Washington contributing editor,
said Biden revealed the location while filling in for President Obama at the dinner, who, along with Grover Cleveland, is the only president to skip the gathering.

According to Clift's report on the Newsweek blog, Biden "said a young naval officer giving him a tour of the residence showed him the hideaway, which is behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment."

Clift continued: "The officer explained that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed, an image that Biden conveyed in a way that suggested we shouldn't be surprised that the policies that emerged were off the wall."

On Monday, Biden's press office issued a statement in response to this story, denying the bunker report.

"What the Vice President described in his comments was not -- as some press reports have suggested -- an underground facility, but rather, an upstairs workspace in the residence, which he understood was frequently used by Vice President Cheney and his aides," said Biden's spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander. "That workspace was converted into an upstairs guestroom when the Bidens moved into the residence. There was no disclosure of classified information."

OK, the Left is given to referring to Cheney as "Darth Cheney," but we sincerely doubt that Cheney would have an "upstairs workplace" behind a "massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock." Something just doesn't wash in the official statement clarifying yet another gaffe made by the vice-president; namely one that exposes him in the event of an attack in an attempt to behead the leadership of the country.

This is just another example of an amateur trying to play himself up, and it's backfired. The White House recognized that, and tried to cover up the mistake. The news report goes on to explain to readers the depth of this revelation which, again, doesn't wash with the white-wash the White House press office tried to play down:

In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974.

The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory's superintendent, calling the work "sensitive in nature" and "classified" and that it was urgent it be completed "on a highly accelerated schedule."

Residents said they believed workers were digging deep into the ground, which would support Biden's report of a secret bunker, but officials never confirmed the purpose of the work performed.

Construction was begun in 2002 in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks. It was decided then that it was necessary to protect the chain of command for the United States, and the bunker was an obvious result of those concerns. What did Captain Gaffe-tastic do? He painted a big, ol' target on his gaffe-tastic head. "Come blow me up, Mr. Terrorist. I'm right here."

Way to go, Joe. We knew you could be counted on to multiply the stupidity we initially associated you with. We knew we could count on you.

Publius II

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Issue Up!!

Call it jumping the gun, if you want, but the Chief got the newest issue of Common Conservative up today (as opposed to tomorrow) and as always it's free of charge.

The Chief starts us off with a look at the mismanagement regarding the swine flu outbreak.

Larry Simoneaux goes over all the crises that are bombarding us daily, and he's just fed up with it all.

Marcie and I pick apart the three ring circus of Nancy Pelosi over what she knew and when she knew it.

The Chief kicks off the guest columns by reminding those Republicans criticizing the party for wanting the ideals of Reagan to return to the party that they are really urging the party to maintain it's suicide course.

John Lillpop embraces the new GOP rallying cry of being the "party of No."

J.R. Morgan observes that the Democrats have become a party more interested in image than substance.

J.J. Jackson takes it to the "flaccid right" and their inability to have the courage of their convictions.

Ralph Reiland takes a critical look at fixing GM, and wonders if the cure is worse than the disease.

And Peter Stern looks at the problems we have with Pakistan, and the continued interference by the Taliban and al Qaeda with our efforts in Afghanistan.

That's it for this issue. Enjoy reading!

Publius II

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The End of the Miss California Saga

We hope it is except we are sure noted dork, Perez Hilton, might have something to say about it, but Andrea Peyser in the New York Post observes the ultimate fallout from this fiasco. (A tip of the hat to Jammie @ JammieWearingFool)

There is no free speech in politically correct America.

Carrie walked into Trump Tower yesterday, tall, blond and poised well beyond her years. She was woefully alone, save for her parents and enough TV and still cameras to cover a modern Normandy invasion.

Since April, Carrie has become the victim of nothing less than a hate crime. Just don't ask Rosie O'Donnell to stand up for the beauty's civil rights. Ditto Sean Penn. Or the American Civil Liberties Union, for starters.

"This should not happen," Carrie, in a purple, ruffled blouse and waterproof mascara, said at Trump Tower, moments after Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump ruled she should not lose her tiara. ...

The hoopla began at April's Miss USA pageant, when Carrie was asked a question by a blogger "with an agenda," as she put it. It was a trick question -- there was only one correct answer.

He asked if she favored legalizing gay marriage. Here's what Carrie said:

"We live in a land where you can choose
same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

She came in second.

Her answer sounds reasonable to me. But from the reaction, you'd think she promoted human sacrifice.

"The president of the United States gave the same answer!" Trump implored yesterday.

No matter. In an awful display of intolerance, bloggers, TV types, and hunt-and-peck letter-writers crucified, tormented and threatened Carrie.

Only then did someone dredge up topless -- from the back -- photos taken when she was 17. Another risqué set taken two years ago by a surfing magazine was posted on the TMZ Web site. Imagine! Sexy, and partially topless, photos of a woman who parades onstage in a bikini.

Finally, the pageant had found a way to get rid of her! Not so fast. No one believed the pics had anything to do with the push to dump her.

The forces of diversity and inclusivity are lying. There is no room in this country for difference of opinion.

All of this over a simple question that should not have been asked in the first place. Perez Hilton injected politics into a beauty pageant. Worse, it was not just political, it was purposeful so the little dork could drum up attention. After all, that is what he is about, attention. To put is succinctly, he is, in fact and practice, an attention whore.

I have no idea why Mr. Trump would even let a person like Perez Hilton -- an openly gay man -- be the judge of a beauty contest for women. What he deems as beautiful is obviously not what Mr. Trump should be looking for, and the vitriolic response the nation witnessed from him should be an embarrassment to Mr. Trump. And to that, I cannot fathom why he is keeping him as a judge for the Miss USA pageant. After the shame he brought to the pageant, and after seeking a way to destroy the life of an upstanding young lady, if I were in Mr. Trump's shoes I would be letting loose with one of my most famous lines.

"You're fired!"

And before anyone jumps on my "upstanding young lady" sentence above, I am aware of the photos that have surfaced. While that might put a question mark over my statement, let us not forget that Ms. Prejean IS a model, and to date nothing that is considered risque has surfaced that can besmirch her reputation. But thanks to Mr. Trump yesterday the only reputation that is tarnished is the one belonging to the man who started this garbage because he had a political axe to grind.


The Glass Shatters

Speaker Pelosi has had a problem recently playing fast and loose with the truth when it comes to what she was told by the CIA, by her aides, or by colleagues when it comes to enhanced interrogation techniques. Yesterday CNN revealed that, once again, she is not being as truthful as she would like people to believe:

A source close to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now confirms that Pelosi was told in February 2003 by her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, that waterboarding was actually used on CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah.

This appears to contradict Pelosi's account that she was never told waterboarding actually happened, only that the administration was considering using it.

Sheehy attended a briefing in which waterboarding was discussed in February 2003, with Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, who took over Pelosi's spot as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

This source says Pelosi didn't object when she learned that waterboarding was being used because she had not been personally briefed about it -- only her aide had been told.

The source said Pelosi supported a letter that Harman sent to the administration at the time raising concerns. The source asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of matters discussed in classified intelligence briefings.

Pelosi admits attending one briefing in September 2002, but at a news conference last month, she was adamant that she did not know waterboarding was used.

"At that or any other briefing, and that was the only briefing that I was briefed on in that regard, we were not -- I repeat, we were not -- told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used, " Pelosi said on April 23.

Some Republicans have called for Pelosi to testify at congressional hearings.

The number two House Democrat -- Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland -- said Tuesday, "I think the facts need to get out" regarding what members of Congress had been told about harsh interrogations.

But when asked whether Pelosi testifying would be appropriate, Hoyer did not directly answer the question, saying, "The issue is what was done. If you don't have the facts pounded on the table, they (Republicans) are pounding on the table, or they are pounding on Speaker Pelosi. Take your pick. But they are doing so as a distraction, as a distraction from what was done in this case."

Majority Leader Hoyer can claim this as a distraction all he desires, but the simple fact remains that she is not being forthright about what she knew. See the problem we have here is that those in Congress do not wish to have the culpability test passed onto them despite the fact that they did sign off on what the CIA was doing.

I will be clear here, in the interest of disclosure, that neither Thomas or myself feel that the enhanced interrogation techniques constitute torture. What was done to the three people in question -- Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri -- was not torture. Their lives were never in danger, and based on what the memos released by President Obama state, they were told that interrogators would not put their life in jeopardy. Liberals love to claim that waterboarding is torture, but they never admit that those detainees that endured this technique were told basically what we tell soldiers who endure this. Remember, pilots and special operations operators go through this during SERE training. It is so they know what to expect should they be captured.

Speaker Pelosi needs to be brought before whatever hearing is convened, and she needs to be grilled. The CIA has already released memos showing that she knew more than what she claims. It is time they put her under oath and find out the truth. If Majority Leader Hoyer is serious about getting to the bottom of this issue, then he needs to make sure those who were aware of what was going on are brought before any sort of "truth commission" and given no quarter. Of course no one should be holding their breath regarding members of Congress summoned to testify. The cronyism within the halls of Congress is nearly as nauseating as it is in the Democrat party.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Go After Obama, says Bill Kristol

A tip of the hat to John McCormack @ The Weekly Standard Blog ...

Bill Kristol's column in today's WaPo is a must-read for any frustrated Republican wondering where our elected representatives are in directly challenging a president who clearly has no idea what he is doing, but is content to run loose like a bull in a china shop:

The Republican Party's navel is a pretty unattractive thing.

So maybe Republicans should stop obsessively gazing at it. Instead, the GOP might focus on taking on the Obama administration, whose policies are surprisingly vulnerable to political and substantive attack. Battling Barack Obama is an enterprise that offers better grounds for Republican hope than indulging in spasms of introspection or bouts of petty recrimination.

No, the payoff from a policy confrontation with Obama won't be immediate. The economy appears to be set for a short-term uptick. Obama remains popular. Many of his proposals look superficially attractive. But we haven't yet had a thorough airing of their implications, to say nothing of their real-world consequences if they are enacted.

So one should assume Obama will stay strong through the summer and perhaps even the fall. But 2009-10 could be the winter of Obama's discontent. Republicans should be making the case against Obama's policies now so that citizens know whom to blame next year.

To make things simple for busy and easily distracted GOP pols, I'll organize the Republican anti-Obama agenda into five categories, all beginning with the letter "D" (as in Democrat).

-- Debt. The extraordinary circumstances of the financial meltdown have dulled the shock that this year's budget deficit will top $1.8 trillion, four times last year's record amount. I'm not sure, though, that people understand the government is now borrowing one dollar for every two it spends. And are Americans fine with next year's deficit of $1.3 trillion on a budget of $3.6 trillion? This is to say nothing of endless record deficits in the future, never dipping below $500 billion and totaling more than $7 trillion between 2010 and 2019, even under Obama's rosy economic forecast.

The debates over Obama's budget in Congress this fall, followed by the unveiling of his fiscal 2011 budget in February, should give Republicans a chance to bring Obama's big spending and big borrowing plans into focus.

-- Defense. It's one thing to run deficits to fight wars and defend the country. It's another to throw money at everything except defense and to increase the national debt while skimping on defense spending over the next several years, to the point where such spending will be, by 2016, at its lowest percentage of GDP since before World War II. Is the world really the safest it has been since the 1930s? Is it responsible to declare a peace dividend when we're not at peace?

-- Diplomacy. Everyone hopes diplomacy will work -- with the Islamic Republic of Iran, above all, but also with Syria, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela and everyone else with whom the Obama administration has been hitting reset buttons. By early next year, though, reality will begin to render its verdicts. We'll begin to see concrete results -- or the lack thereof -- from Obama's charm offensive. We may also see the costs of faith in sweet talk -- such as nervous allies and emboldened adversaries.

-- Detention. Obama has created a major political problem for himself with his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by next January. This issue, with all of its permutations and ramifications, is going to be in the news constantly in the coming months -- and not in a way that will be helpful to the administration. Guantanamo feels more and more like the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977-78, a perhaps mostly symbolic issue that caused terrible political problems for both the Democratic administration and Democrats in Congress. The difference is that the issue of detention and interrogation is more central to the ongoing war against the jihadists than the Panama Canal was to the Cold War.

-- Docs (sorry -- it's the best "D" word I could think of to capture the health-care issue). The Obama administration seems confident it can win the health-care debate and has certainly tried to learn from the Clinton administration's failure in 1993-94. But the polling on health care is surprisingly similar to that of 1993: Everyone likes the idea of reform, but most Americans remain quite satisfied with the quality and accessibility of their own health care, and very worried about policies that would impair that quality or access.

He is correct on all five points in terms of strategy. These subjects are where the president is most vulnerable. Not only should he be forced to defend and clarify them, as should all Democrats, but Republicans should counter each of the defense points made, and they need to do it publicly. Our problem on the public front is still the "tingling" media sycophants that can't quit slobbering and drooling over the president.

The gains will not be noticed right away, nor will they come expediently, but the party faithful are waiting for our elected reps to do something. I do not wish to be mean or deriding, but at this point the best arguments against the overreach of the federal government and the out-of-control "stimulus" and reform ideas from the president appears to be the alternative media; talk radio and blogs. The problem there is while many listen to talk radio, and many read the blogs, they lack the reach the MSM has. And we all know the MSM does not want to put someone on who might be overly critical of the president.

We understand the idea that we are supposed to work with the president. After all, we are supposed to be working together to better the nation. But it is clear that President Obama's policies to date are not helping the nation. They are hurting, and radically changing, the nation as a whole. His policies are contrary to the founding principles of the nation.

We should be "the party of No" and "the party of Know," as in we know what he is planning, and we know it will not work. To do that, we need to return to being the party of ideas, and we need our leaders in Congress. Mr. Kristol is right: enough with the navel-gazing already.


Barry to Brits -- Talk and that ends our intelligence relationship

More thuggish behavior from Barry via Eli Lake at the Washington Times courtesy of Captain Ed. At the heart of this is a letter sent by the Obama administration sent to the Brits with regard to the treatment of one Binyam Mohamed. The administration is threatening to sever all intelligence ties to the Brits if they reveal the treatment Mr. Mohamed received while in US custody:

The Obama administration says it may curtail Anglo-American intelligence sharing if the British High Court discloses new details of the treatment of a former Guantanamo detainee.

A court filing from the British Foreign Office released recently includes a letter from the U.S. government, identified as the "Obama administration's communication." Other information identifying the U.S. agency and author of the letter appears to have been redacted.

The letter says:

"If it is determined that [her majesty's government] is unable to protect information we provide to it, even if that inability is caused by your judicial system, we will necessarily have to review with the greatest care the sensitivity of information we can provide in the future."

The letter stands in contrast to President Obama's decision last month to release four memos from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing fresh detail on the CIA's enhanced interrogation program.

But, the U.S. letter points out: "Neither in [those four] memoranda, nor in any statements of the administration accompanying their release, was reference made to the identity of any foreign government that might have assisted the United States.

"Given the declassification of the highly sensitive information contained in the memoranda, the fact that the president refrained from providing any information about foreign governments is indicative that the United States continues to preserve the secrecy of such information as critical to our national security."

At issue is whether the British courts will disclose a seven-paragraph summary of the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a former detainee who was released from Guantanamo Bay prison in February.

The British terrorism suspect was set free after charges that he had collaborated with convicted terrorist Jose Padilla in a plot to set off a "dirty bomb" in the United States fell apart. Mr. Mohamed says he was tortured while in U.S., Pakistani and Moroccan custody.

In February, the British Foreign Office claimed that the U.S. government had threatened to reduce intelligence cooperation if details of the interrogations and treatment of Mr. Mohamed were disclosed.

This is an unprecedented move by Barry. To threaten to curtail or sever intelligence ties to our number one ally is preposterous. We have always worked hand-in-hand with MI-5 and MI-6. We have saved their bacon, and vice versa. The Brits believed with the release of the OLC memos that is was cool to reveal other information regarding former detainees. The secrecy, the Brits believed, was a holdover position from the Bush administration, and that things had changed. Oh, they changed. they went from having a willing and able ally to a thug in the white House who uses threats and coercion to get what he wants. In fact, Captain Ed adds something that has seemingly been removed from the Lake piece:

“Public disclosure of this information, reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the United Kingdom’s national security. Specifically, disclosure of this information may result in a constriction of the U.S.-U.K. relationship, as well as U.K. relationships with other countries.”

Get that, folks? Not only will we curtail our sharing of intelligence wit Britain the administration just might tell other countries not to work with the Brits. Can you believe this? So, hypothetically speaking, let's say the Brits thumb their nose at Barry, and release the information anyway. Let's say that oh, maybe six months down the road we learn from sources in Pakistan (through our CIA officers there) that the Taliban is about to launch a devastating attack on London. Let's say the Afghanis know this, too. But we don't give the information to the Brits, and Barry leans on the Afghanis to keep their yaps shut. An extreme situation, you say? No way in Hell Barry would let them get hit without warning them? Riiiiight. This is Barry's show, and you keep telling yourselves he wouldn't do that if the Brits release that information. Remember Chrysler? Remember AIG? We have a thug-in-chief, folks. He'll do what he has to to show the nation and the world he means business.

But, as Captain Ed points out, wasn't the release of the OLC memos a danger to national security? After all, they detailed the methods we used in interrogation. Our enemies now know what we did do, and what we're unwilling to do now. So who's really hurting national security here? Seems to me that it's the Obama administration doing the most damage. He released the OLC memos. He has thrown the lawyers defending the techniques we used to protect this nation under the bus. He's dispatched a troop surge to Afghanistan without any clear-cut strategy. The same day that North Korea conducts it's latest long-range missile test, Barry announces that missile defense is under the bus.

This is an appalling decision by the Obama administration. The cat's already out of the bag, thanks to the president himself. The Brits just want to release what happened to this one particular individual, and Barry's throwing a tizzy. The man needs to grow up, and if he's not comfortable with others expanding on secrets revealed, maybe he ought to think twice before he flaps his yap.

Publius II

Friday, May 8, 2009

Liar, liar pants on fire: Pelosi knew what the CIA was doing

Of course that should come as no surprise to anyone. Granny Rictus couldn't recognize the truth if it came up and shook her hand. ABC's The Note backs up the op-ed written by Porter Goss for the WaPo that basically called her a shameless liar in the first place:

The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.”

EITs stand for “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding.

Brendan Daly, a Pelosi spokesman, said Pelosi’s recollection of the meeting is different than the way it is described in the report from the DNI’s office.

“The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used,” Daly said.

Daly pointed out that the report backs up Pelosi’s contention that she was briefed only once on “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Of course, of course. Yeah, she didn't know squat about what was going on, right? Let's see what Porter Goss said in his op-ed:

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

We understood what the CIA was doing.

We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

– We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

– On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues.

And let's take a look at a WaPo story from December 2007, and compare it to Granny Rictus's memory:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange. ...

Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

See, this is what's really irritating about this little mess. The Democrats were just as informed as the Republicans were. They knew exactly what the CIA was engaging in, and as Mr. Goss states in the latter WaPo story, they encouraged the CIA to carry out the interrogations in the manner they were briefed on. But will the media ever cover this? Will the media report on this?

No, they won't. Not only are they protecting Barry's backside, they're protecting any powerful Democrat who might be embroiled in this, like Granny Rictus. God forbid they actually start digging into what these people knew and when they we informed about it. But we're used to media hypocrisy by now. It's nothing new to us. And we're also used to the lies that come rolling out of Washington, DC, too. I mean, let's face it folks, if a politician's mouth is moving, chances are they're lying to you.

Is this really that big of a deal? Yes and no. No in the fact that these people will lie about what they knew and when they knew it to protect their political hides. Yes in the fact that if Attorney General Eric Holder is going to go forward with prosecutions on lawyers who put forth memos defending these practices, then it's time to start lining up those in Congress who were aware of what was being done. Most members of Congress are ((GASP)) lawyers. I'm willing to bet that nearly every member on both Intelligence committees are, and as they knew what was being done, and they gave enthusiastic, tacit approval, they should face the same sort of consequences.

Publius II

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tragedy Averted in Georgia

Let this be a lesson to those out there who believe that colleges should be gun-free zones. A quick-thinking-and-acting student reacted to two men breaking into an apartment when it appeared they were not just there to rob those there:

A group of college students said they are lucky to be alive and they’re thanking the quick-thinking of one of their own. Police said a fellow student shot and killed one of two masked me who burst into an apartment.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones met with one of the students to talk about the incident.

“Apparently, his intent was to rape and murder us all,” said student Charles Bailey.

Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.

That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.

The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey.

A tip of the hat to Professor Glenn Reynolds

Both Thomas and I own firearms. We do not have them so we can kill people. We own them to protect ourselves not only at home, but when we are away from home. We both have concealed-carry permits, and we regularly take our firearms with us when we leave home.

But this is obviously a case for why people own firearms. The average firearms owner is not a criminal. They simply want to protect themselves, their families, friends, and loved ones. This student should be hailed as a hero by his friends, and by the police. Had he not acted quickly to confront the gunmen, the police would be investigating the murder of ten people in that apartment.

And this is also a lesson for those out there that are opposed to people owning a firearm. I was taught that you do not ever pull your firearm unless you feel your life is in danger, and when you pull it you had best be prepared to use it. You never brandish it in a careless manner. It is a very dangerous tool, and this student knew that if he did not act, he and his friends were going to be killed.

This is one of those stories that only local media will cover. You will never see this story in the national media, despite the tragedy that was averted by one student who was not going to allow himself or his friends to become victims.