Inapplicable Now Playing:a lot of posh talk
Jeff Goldstein refers us to Andrew C. McCarthy's recent dismantling of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Here is just one hammerblow: a 1994 memo from Assistant AG Walter Dellinger to Bill Clinton's White House Counsel Abner Mikva on the issue of statutes sent to the President for his signature ---or ones already imposed upon him--- that may very well be unConstitutional. Dellinger wrote (my emphasis):
I have reflected further on the difficult questions surrounding a President's decision to decline to execute statutory provisions that the President believes are unconstitutional, and I have a few thoughts to share with you. Let me start with a general proposition that I believe to be uncontroversial: there are circumstances in which the President may appropriately decline to enforce a statute that he views as unconstitutional.
Evidently, presidential power -- including the authority to ignore statutory restrictions that would curtail the President's inherent power to collect foreign intelligence information and protect national security -- was worthy of vigorous defending when it was being wielded by a Democrat.
So what is Dellinger's opinion of this President's exercise of his Constitutional authority to gather signals intelligence? Need you even ask?
Dellinger is a signatory to this open letter to the Members of Congress (published in the New York Review of Books) in which we read the following:
We do not dispute that, absent congressional action, the President might have inherent constitutional authority to collect "signals intelligence" about the enemy abroad. Nor do we dispute that, had Congress taken no action in this area, the President might well be constitutionally empowered to conduct domestic surveillance directly tied and narrowly confined to that goal—subject, of course, to Fourth Amendment limits. Indeed, in the years before FISA was enacted, the federal law involving wiretapping specifically provided that "nothing contained in this chapter or in section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934 shall limit the constitutional power of the President...to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States." 18 U.S.C. ? 2511(3) (1976).
But FISA specifically repealed that provision, FISA ? 201(c), 92 Stat. 1797, and replaced it with language dictating that FISA and the criminal code are the "exclusive means" of conducting electronic surveillance. In doing so, Congress did not deny that the President has constitutional power to conduct electronic surveillance for national security purposes; rather, Congress properly concluded that "even if the President has the inherent authority in the absence of legislation to authorize warrantless electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, Congress has the power to regulate the conduct of such surveillance by legislating a reasonable procedure, which then becomes the exclusive means by which such surveillance may be conducted."
A dozen years ago, when the pain-feeling snake oil salesman Bill Clinton was in the White House, Dellinger made the case that the President is not necessarily obligated to follow those statutes he believes are unConstitutional.
But now, with the Chimperor in charge? Well, the Congress can insinuate itself into the areas of Presidential authority. It can erect a judicial firewall against the President's authority to root out our enemies. It can hold him to stupid and arbitrary rules, such as limiting warrantless searches in wartime to the first two weeks of a declared war. Whether we say the Authorization for Use of Military Force is something like a declaration of war, it really isn't ---and once again we realize that the FISA is an inapplicable statute that makes no sense in the current state of the art of surveillance.
The FISA is an unConstitutional weapon that was created by the Democratic Party a quarter century ago and is being used again in the service of its political agenda today. Keep pursuing this, you idiots, and you'll guarantee another electoral loss come November.
Yeah, Alright: One for the Thumb Now Playing:steelers by ten
I don't like the Pittsburgh Steelers for the sole reason that I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and still get pissed off at the very sight of Lynn Swann.
But since my guys ain't in Super Bowl XL, I really have no good reason to begrudge the Steelers their success. And, after all, I do have familial links to that town and I really respect the Rooney family and I like the class angle on this, so have at it, you'ns: I'll be rooting for you today.
A Board with a Nail in It Now Playing:run, kang! run, kodos!
Over at the Belmont Club, Wretchard references this Ralph Peters essay ---and I think it's got a nail in it:
A paradox of our time is that the overwhelmingly secular global media--a collection of natural-born religion-haters--have become the crucial accomplices of the suicide bomber fueled by rabid faith. Mass murderers are lionized as freedom fighters, while our own troops are attacked by the press they protect for the least waywardness or error. One begins to wonder if the bomber's suicidal impulse isn't matched by a deep death wish affecting the West's cultural froth. (What if Darwin was right conceptually, but failed to grasp that homo sapiens' most powerful evolutionary strategy is faith?) Both the suicide bomber and the "world intellectual" with his reflexive hatred of America exist in emotional realms that our rational models of analysis cannot explain. The modern age's methods for interpreting humanity are played out.
What do you call an anti-war Leftist who has so little sense of intellectual or moral responsibility that he would ally himself with Muslim extremists? These are sharia-abiding haters whose unambiguous rejection of democratic and secular principles obligates them to hate the anti-war Leftist as much as the pro-war Christian infidel.
Or does the typical anti-American journalist think that his own secular cosmopolitanism is going to make him an unjudging neutral in the eyes of an Islamist? The Christian and the atheist are the same thing to Mo: infidels. He also knows that many of these infidels are in favor of any or all of the following: pederasty, ice-cold beer, women in shorts, a catchy dance number, bitching about their leaders, gay marriage, depictions of Christ, and a big fat pork roast.
Why tolerate any Mohammedan who wants to take those things away from you?
Don't be a fucking dodo. Even pacifists have enemies, whether or not they know what to call them.
Throwing Them off His Trail Now Playing:there's a commenter tonight over at eschaton called manimal switchgrass. that is the shit!
Duncan Black is up tonight, trying to prove he's got a pair:
I don't want Iran to have nukes. I don't think that's a good thing for the world. I certainly didn't want Pakistan or India to have nukes. But is a nuclear Iran really a threat to us? Certainly an Iran-with-nukes could blow the hell out of a city or two, but an Iran that did such a thing would pretty much cease to exist. It isn't mutually assured destruction, it's you fuck with us a little bit and YOU NO LONGER LIVE BITCHES!
How can he be so overtly hostile to The Other? How can he look his groupies in the eye if he's falling for that stupid "Axis of Evil" rhetoric, too?
Is the new plan to go along with the leaders of your own country now that it looks like Europe will, too?
So Appalling That It Sinks in Only Later Now Playing:a brother of mine once said that multitasking meant taking a dump while talking on the phone Think about that: the Danish Embassy in Damascus was burned today by Muslim protesters over some cartoons depicting Mohammed as a man of violence.
If you ask an anti-Christian Leftist to concede that Jesus of Nazareth would not be similarly depicted because it would make no sense, you'll get some crap about how Jesus once turned over the moneychangers' tables in the Temple and, so, was also a man capable of violence.
Was it Alexander Pope who remarked that "a little learning is a dangerous thing"?
A Sorry Hovel Now Playing:some very grand handel
All apologies to all my commenters for the limitations of this particular type of blog. I think the Tripod blogging platform was originally conceived as a venue for old women to swap recipes and family gossip.
If you wish to get off another round at whoever's pestering you right now, feel free to treat this post as an open thread.
Snapping the Towel
I don't know if I've ever read anything else by Philip Kennicott, but this squirrely little taste of liberal arrogrance is pretty much going to be my quota. On the topic of Europe's major newspapers asserting their right to blaspheme Mohammed ---and the Muslims' wall-eyed overreaction to it--- Kennicott writes:
Perhaps because editorial opinion, like so many other freedoms, has been so curtailed by authoritarian governments, the cartoonists of the Middle East seize upon acceptable topics -- hatred of Israel and the United States -- with distressing frequency, unrelenting venom and vicious stereotyping.
This is the same sort of observation that Jimmy Carter would make: ignore the fact that these "cartoonists" are editorial cartoonists who produce anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda on demand. They "seize upon acceptable topics" because violent hostility towards Americans and Jews is the defining attitude of the newspapers for which they work and the audience to which they appeal. If there were any real independence of thought in these Arab and Muslim cultures, these editorial cartoonists would themselves be blaspheming the so-called Prophet. After all, what has he done for them lately?
Several of the original Danish cartoons are minted in the same style, beyond lampoon or caricature and well into the realm of pure defamation. Muhammad is seen with a huge knife and a wild thicket of a beard, flanked by two women entirely veiled but for their eyes; worse, and by far the most inflammatory, is one in which his turban holds a ticking bomb. These images confront the highest religious sensitivities of many Muslims with precisely the same style of virulent rage that Islamic countries so carefully, even ritually, cultivate against the two great boogeymen -- the United States and Israel -- of Middle Eastern politics.
This is garbage. A lot of what Big Media and the State Department itself are putting out there is calculated gibberish intended to give us official and political cover. If it "confront[s] the highest religious sensitivities" of Muslims to depict Mohammed's head or headgear as a bomb, then let them be confronted. They aren't entitled to eternal immunity from what they childishly regard as slurs on their religion ---and Westerners aren't obligated to respect their pathetic sense of dignity. Not when it revolves around mindless hatred of modernity and human liberty.
Americans may wonder why, given the reality of photographs from Abu Ghraib, these trifling, imaginary images of Muhammad would provoke such a reaction. In part it's because they do so in one of the few forms that are open and available for Muslim artists to express real anger.
See how that works? Abu Ghraib short-circuits any rational understanding of this clash of civilizations. It is supposed to stop cold in its tracks any justification that might be made of the righteousness of democratic freedoms because a small group of moronic Guardsmen decided to abuse some Iraqi prisoners a few years ago. And, now, the pictures from that outburst of indiscipline and stupidity trump all else ---and we as Americans are no longer allowed to suggest that our system is better than that of Muslim theocracy or Arab totalitarianism.
It's absurd, of course, that humiliation and blasphemy should be regarded as worse crimes than the practice of jihad, but that is where we are: being lectured by Big Media clowns who say they do not wish to offend Muslims when they really mean to say that they are afraid that Muslims will harm them if they point out the double-standards and the general infantilization of the Muslim as political aspirant.
One thing that you may be sociologically certain of now, if you weren't before: today's European is utterly contemptuous of religion. That original awe has been so thoroughly burned out of him through war and the state that he is indifferent to any of these Submitters' sensibilities. That will make for interesting times ahead.
UPDATE: Welcome to all my Lizardoid friends from Little Green Footballs. Feel free to click on "Latest" at the link below, or go have a look around the rest of my blog at the links to your left.
Hating Jews on the Way to Davy Jones' Locker Now Playing:muddy waters
When I first heard about the sinking of the Egyptian ferry this morning, I went and read that the Egyptians had even refused help from the Israelis. So now, many hours later when I go to make my little comments, I can find very little mention of this. And I have to ask: WTF? I read the first dozen or so news reports on Google's news site and there's no mention of it. Is it not true?
Oh, I've read in a few places that it is, but why is that not considered an important fact to mention in this particular period of strife in the Middle East? Is it not a relevant point, for the political consumption of those whom it concerns, that the Israelis had offered ---if they did offer it--- to help rescue the thousand and more returning pilgrims from Saudi Arabia? Why hide that?
If these reports I've been going through are true, the Egyptians also turned down offers of help from both us and the British. So maybe it's just a general distrust of Westerners and not just the stupid Jew-hatred I figure it must also be.
But I stopped with the above-linked Associated Press story because it is the first to mention this:
Passengers said fire broke out on board the ship early in its trip. Transportation Minister Mohammed Lutfy Mansour told reporters early Saturday that the fire was "small" and that investigators were working to determine whether it was linked to the sinking. He said there was no explosion on the vessel.
A fire? But no explosion?
At the Egyptian port of Hurghada, nearly 140 survivors arrived early Saturday — the first significant group to come to shore. They walked off the ship down a ramp, some of them barefoot and shivering, wrapped in blankets, and immediately boarded buses to take them to the hospital.
Many said the fire began between 90 minutes and 2 1/2 hours after the ship's departure, but that it kept going and the fire burned for hours.
"The fire happened about an hour or 90 minutes into the trip, but they decided to keep going. It's negligence," one survivor, Nabil Zikry, said before he was moved along by police, who tried to keep the survivors from talking to journalists.
Ahmed Elew, an Egyptian in his 20s, said he reported the fire to the ship's crew and they told him to help with the water hoses to put it out. At one point there was an explosion, he said.
So some people say there was an explosion and others say not.
I hope this turns out to be a Saudi-financed al-Qaeda-executed terrorist act against Egypt. I hope they blast each other's buildings into dust and waste their lives by the hundreds of thousands and tear their own governments down to the ground.
Because if you're so institutionally sick and stupid as to refuse any help ---even that of the wicked and ape-like Jews--- in saving the lives of your own citizens in the middle of the Red Sea, then you deserve to be punished. Your collective mind needs to be purged by the torture that comes with knowing that your medieval and retarded-ass shit will not sell on the open market, you goddamned rug merchants, and that your regressive notions of the Deity are demonstrably insane and that you will only live long enough to see all of it cut, cured, smoked, and forgotten right in your fucking faces.
special Now Playing:a standing o for the failure to address a major problem? shameful
Read what Tony Blankley says about the Democratic Party that attended the President's State of the Union Address last Tuesday. This may be one of the harshest editorials I've read in a major partisan publication in years.
Social Security is the single most iconic Democratic Party issue of the past hundred years — the Democrats created Social Security in 1935 and have won countless elections since then by beating up Republicans for allegedly not supporting it. It was the Democratic Party's sacred virgin. They would lie for it, die for it, steal for it, demagogue for it — but never cheer its demise or harm, even sarcastically.
Their collective decision to cheer the failure of the body politic to provide for sufficient revenues to pay the benefits was an act of historic shame for the Democratic Party.
Dhimmi Carter, Appeasenik Mood:
Jimmy Carter is a dope and here's why:
(CNN) -- Hamas deserves to be recognized by the international community, and despite the group's militant history, there is a chance the soon-to-be Palestinian leaders could turn away from violence, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday.
Carter, who monitored last week's Palestinian elections in which Hamas handily toppled the ruling Fatah, added that the United States should not cut off aid to the Palestinian people, but rather funnel it through third parties like the U.N.
Carter's cluelessness is so perfect that it is spherical. What an utter fucking idiot. It may be only national pride that keeps this country from more generally recognizing that the 39th President of the United States is little more than a cheap Ramsey Clark knock-off.
Carter expressed hope that "the people of Palestine -- who already suffer ... under Israeli occupation -- will not suffer because they are deprived of a right to pay their school teachers, policemen, welfare workers, health workers and provide food for people."
We already know that the average liberal will not assign blame to the individual if it is possible to blame The System instead. But what happens when individuals choose a new system ---by means of the democratic process--- which cannot work with any of the other systems around it? Whatever you think of Israel and the perfidious Jew menace that controls the world, you simply must acknowledge that there is absolutely no reason why Israel or the United States should consent to the financing of the Palestinian state when the Palestinian people have chosen a government dedicated to the destruction of Jews and Americans.
Turning the other cheek means kissing my ass real pretty, moron.
You will have noticed that when Tom Toles drew a chickenshit cartoon in the Washington Post insulting the sacrifices of our fighting men and women, the Joint Chiefs simply wrote a letter condemning him ---but when European newspapers published cartoons making fun of the Prophet (PBUH), the Islamofascists lose their water and swear death to the infidels.
Blasphemy, as one of the German papers noted, is a protected right. Damn straight, Fritz.