Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Once more I was able to convince myself how criminal the capitalistic octopuses are. On a picture of our old and bewailed comrade Stalin, I swore not to rest before these capitalistic octopuses are destroyed.Ernesto Guevara to his aunt Beatriz (1953); as quoted in Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (1997) by Jon Lee Anderson (found at Wikiquote, here).
Bidding on the hair is to start at $100,000. Materials for cleansing this grisly artifact of the blood of thousands of Cuban political prisoners not included. As to the sale, the Miami Herald thinks that Hugo Chavez, tin-pot tyrant of Venezuela, may want to buy. How appropriate.I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal. He gasped for a little while and was dead. Upon proceeding to remove his belongings I couldn't get off the watch tied by a chain to his belt, and then he [another rebel] told me in a steady voice farther away than fear: "Yank it off, boy, what does it matter." I did so and his possessions were now mine.
A sorrowful pity somebody didn’t send Guevara to Hell a bit sooner.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
The letter, addressed to the CEO of Clear Channel Communications – Rush’s broadcaster, was a blatant attempt to use the power of the Senate to silence a private citizen by intimidating his regulated broadcaster. “Here, Clear Channel, we’re big-shot senators: you’d better shut that right-wing loudmouth up,” they thought to say. Here's to Rush for throwing it back in their faces. The drafters and signers of this letter, a document belonging on the letterhead of the Supreme Soviet of Joseph Stalin, not the United States Senate -- ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers.
The entire proceeds of this auction.. the entire high bid... will be donated to The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation, a registered charity which provides financial assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers. Rush Limbaugh serves on the Board of this organization and has been active on its behalf. All costs of this auction will be paid by the seller... every dollar of your winning bid will go to this charity, which has to date distributed over $29 million.
Better use for toilet paper could not be found anywhere. The current bid is $851,000. What a great cause, more power to the sellers.
To begin with, the proposed legislation is pernicious on ideological grounds because it recognizes journalists as a different, higher life-form than the rest of us ordinary citizens. Determining who is a journalist under the vague definition of “covered persons” in Section 4 of the House's bill will provide hours of fun for lawyers, commentators and courts. The House bill helpfully clarifies that “foreign powers” or agents thereof, and terrorists aren’t “covered persons.” Gee, thanks for small miracles, and bully for us. Clearly, the first thing Chinese intelligence or Hezbollah needs to do is buy a newspaper or a network and hire some journalists.
The proposed legislation has serious national security implications. If, for example, CIA Employee X, who lost the policy argument, and who doesn't like the policies of the Bush administration, violates both his oath and the law by leaking the existence of a secret wiretapping program that spies on Al Qaeda bigwigs to the New York Times, which then prints the expose in a Page 1 story -- destroying the effectiveness of the program, the reporter, under current law, can – and should -- be compelled to tell a court who his source is -- and CIA Employee X may, or may not, go to jail.
The First Amendment, which guards the liberty of the press, protects the right of a reporter to publish his story, and, properly, immunizes him from prosecution for so doing -- but it does not in any way mean he cannot be compelled to give up his source, when his source has no legal right to give him information. The journalist is not a journalist only, but a citizen too, and the liberty of the press gives the journalist no right to protect the identities of persons in the face of the right of the authorities to find evidence.
The unauthorized disclosure of materials in government files is often a crime. 18 U.S.C. § 641 bars the theft of public money, property and records; and 18 U.S.C. § 798 provides for punishment of whoever “knowingly and willfully communicates, .furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person. . .any classified information…” which among other things includes information concerning the communications intelligence activities of the United States; or information obtained by such activities. Moreover, the Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. § 793 et seq) prohibits the disclosure of national defense information which could be used to the injury of the United States.
Persons with security clearances are under oath to keep classified information confidential. The shield legislation pending in Congress would mean that the journalists (such as those writing the article in the New York Times that exposed the Treasury Department’s funds tracking programs; or the authors of articles describing classified details of the NSA’s surveillance programs) could not be compelled to give up evidence – that is the names of government employees who have violated the law and their service oaths by leaking to the press. The fact that the government has not (yet) gone after the leakers is shameful and a national scandal, and this legislation makes the problem worse: in practical terms, abetting an open season on leaking by making it virtually risk-free.
It is, as Seth Leibshon and Andrew C. McCarthy, argue this morning in National Review Online, absolutely “mind-boggling that Congress would take what is very likely criminal behavior and turn it into immunized behavior”(emphasis in original).
Contact your Senators! I hope and believe this legislation will be rejected in the Senate; and in the event, it passes, I believe the President will veto it. But the Senators need to be reminded that citizens have rights also -- the right to have our security secrets kept confidential when necessary; the right to have political decisions made by the elected officials constitutionally charged with making them, and not by disgruntled bureaucrats using the press to carry on turf-wars; and, the right to expect that our fellow citizens will give evidence when they are called on to do so. This bill needs to be stopped.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
In case you don’t get it yet, Mr. Sabato is the author of a new book: A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America A Fairer Country. Now I haven't read this book yet, but in general, I have found that when professors or politicos start talking about “fairness as a society,” or “making America a fairer country” or fixing “systemic” and “structural problems,” watch your wallets and get ready to be shaken-down or nagged by Those Who Know Better.
Professor Sabato tells us that the “. . .Constitution remains brilliant in its overall design and sound with respect to the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers.” The problem is, though, that there are “numerous archaic provisions that inhibit constructive change and adaptation.” Well, thank God for small miracles ! The Federal government, indeed all government in this country – is powerful enough to suit me just fine, thank you very much. Inhibiting change that our chattering class betters no doubt think we need is Jim Dandy to yours truly.
I agree with Professor Sabato that the Constitution has some problems. I just don’t agree that Professor Sabato’s list of deficiencies (at least as set out in the Times piece) are really problems; and I agree even less with his proposed solutions.
First, Professor Sabato wants to “restore the war powers balance.” Dr. Sabato rightly says that the Founders probably would not approve of the ability of the President to use his powers as commander-in-chief to effectively wage war on his own. To fix things, Dr. Sabato proposes a “Mother, May I ?” system of allowing the President to commit soldiers to action for up to six months – and then every six months thereafter, to seek Congressional permission to keep them there (albeit without permitting filibusters).
No thanks. In spite of some recent history, I trust Presidential instincts about war, peace, the military and national security far more than those of congressional camera-hogs and would-be candidates for President. Besides, as Professor Sabato says, we live in a “hair-trigger” world, where our welfare and security can be immediately and directly affected by what happens on the other side of the planet; and when the kaka hits the proverbial fan, there is, as Han Solo once put it, "no time to discuss this in committee." Yes, the Presidential war powers may be very emperor-like, but overall, I’d rather keep them that way than institute a system even more subject to daily media and political manipulation than current arrangements.
Next, Dr. Sabato thinks we need a “more representative Senate” He doesn’t like it that Wyoming can elect as many Senators as California. He wants to build a “fairer Senate” by granting the ten States with the greatest population two extra Senators, and the next 15 one extra, each. This is of a piece with his criticisms of the Presidential election system, giving more populous States additional electors to preclude the split between popular votes and electoral votes that occurred last in the 2000 election.
No sale again. The upshot of Professor Sabato’s proposed “reforms” would be to give more power to larger States and to big cities. If you want elections and public policies decided by New York, Chicago and LA; the bi-coastal Great and Good in media and academia to have even more influence; and the priorities of those of us in Flyover country ignored more than even currently – than Professor Sabato’s plans will suit your needs perfectly. The arrangements established by the Founders ensure that Presidential candidates have to campaign and attract support in every region of the country; and the current set-up also promotes legislation with support all across the country, and not just in major urban areas.
Finally, Professor Sabato wants to “end. . .second-class citizenship” by altering Article II Section 1 of the Constitution, and allowing immigrants or persons not born as US citizens, to be elected President. Sabato thinks this is outmoded, and notes that “[t]he founders were concerned about foreign intrigue in the early days of an unsettled republic” and that we now have 14.4 million Americans who were not born on US soil, and we need to give people who are citizens for at least 20 years the “right to aspire to the White House.”
Nope, don’t like that one either. In a world where the whole concept of national sovereignty is under philosophical attack, where populations are increasingly mobile, and where we have an educational system failing us so badly that we have substantial numbers of people who cannot tell us what the War Between the States was – no offense, but I’m not buying it. I see no compelling interest in blurring national distinctions even more by altering present arrangements, even if it means that Arnold Schwarzenegger can never be President.
A little reform can indeed be a dangerous thing. Professor Sabato can keep his proposed new Constitution. As for what I’d change, more on that another time. . .
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I've come around to the view that the culture war can best be understood as a conflict between two different kinds of patriotism. On the one hand, there are people who believe being an American is all about dissent and change, that the American idea is inseparable from "progress." America is certainly an idea, but it is not merely an idea. It is also a nation with a culture as real as France's or Mexico's. That's where the other patriots come in; they think patriotism is about preserving Americanness.
For such globalists, it just seems obvious that the U.S. Supreme Court should consult polls of Africans or the laws of France to glean the real meaning of the American Constitution. And, of course, John Kerry was right to say that there's a "global test" for what America can do in the name of its national interest.