AGHAST. That’s my reaction to this post by Glenn Reynolds:
THE REAL WILSON SCANDAL: Forget Valerie Plame, the big scandal is why anyone in the Bush Administration would ever have tasked a guy with Wilson’s views with an important mission.
Regardless of the rest of the story, heads should roll for that.I’m not even going to address what Wilson’s views might be. That isn’t the point, and it’s completely irrelevant to my concern here. “Forget Valerie Plame”? Even leaving room… [The Light of Reason]
Reynolds doesn’t care about felony that’s been comitted, or the lives that have been endangered, but instead he complains that Wilson shouldn’t have been sent to Nigeria because he wasn’t a Crusader (and therefor might be inclined to make an honest report). I’m constantly amazed at how anti-American the Crusaders are–that kind of “yes men only” thinking is more typical of dictatorships such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
From a mailing list I subscribe to:
bq. Rational WMD analysis
The glaring absence of unconventional Iraqi arms should not blind us to the fact that even if Saddam Hussein had amassed chemical, biological, and — yes — even nuclear weapons, he would not have posed a threat to the American people. As offensive tools, those weapons would have been useless.
How could that be? Simply put, with the United States armed with the most sophisticated weapons imaginable — including nuclear bombs — it is unthinkable that the former Iraqi president would have embarked on the suicidal mission of attacking [our] nation.
From recent history (Libya, Iran) he already knew that to sponsor even a conventional terrorist attack on Americans would bring deadly retaliation.
It should be kept in mind that until recently chemical and biological weapons have not been regarded as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This is a category deliberately broadened for rhetorical purposes — to spook the American people into supporting an offensive war against a government that did not attack them or, indeed, even show signs of wanting to.
The power to define is the power to control. Some of the most lethal weapons on earth are held by the U.S. government but are not classified as weapons of mass destruction. Yet if even one vial of old anthrax is found buried deep in the ground in Iraq, it will be proclaimed as proof that Hussein had an arsenal capable of killing multitudes. This would be propaganda, not rational analysis.
– Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom Foundation, 2003
Pissers & Moaners, Military Division. The Straight White Guy has an excellent post on people who join the various Armed Forces Reserves, and then discover (to their horror) that this commitment requires them to perform actual military duty(!):bq. Reservists are needed… we NEED men and women here to help us deploy quickly… but some of people who join the reserve…
[Kim du Toit]
One of the more vicious Crusaders demonstrates just how much he supports our troops.
CIA seeks probe of White House. The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman’s husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush’s since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned. (link)
So it finally hits the mainstream media. Of course, the lefty blogosphere has been following this story for a couple months, especially Mark Kleiman. See also this Washington Post story. [Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Blogs]
Arthur Silber has been writing about this for a while. Here’s his latest.
Kucinich and the Politics of Nonviolence. In Thursday night’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate (yes, I watched it — masochism, I guess), Rep. Dennis Kucinich suddenly declared himself a libertarian.
No, he didn’t use the L-word. But he announced his plan, should he be elected, to create a “Department of Peace” to bring about a “transformation of our society” by “making non-violence an organizing principle.”
Since nobody with Kucinich’s reverence for nonviolence could possibly want to increase “violent action or the threat of such action,” he plainly couldn’t seriously be calling for his projects to be governmentally enforced. He must instead be trying to persuade people to implement these programs voluntarily. [LewRockwell.com]
A tongue-in-cheek look at the philosophical implications of Dennis Kucinich’s claimed interest in non-violence.
Bringing Democracy to the World. From this week’s Onion: U.S. Invades Non-Oil-Rich Nation To Dispel Criticism LUXEMBOURG VILLE, LUXEMBOURG–In an effort to quiet criticism of U.S. military policy, 50,000 U.S. troops invaded and soundly defeated the non-oil-rich Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Monday. “Once again, the… [LewRockwell.com Blog]
* NRA Pitch Angers 2 L.A. Officials. When it comes to gun policies, the city of Los Angeles and the National Rifle Assn. could hardly be farther apart. Los Angeles passed one of the nation’s first assault weapons bans and has pushed other measures opposing the proliferation of firearms, while the NRA tirelessly defends the right to bear arms.
So two City Council members were outraged to learn that Los Angeles police officers are receiving solicitations to join the NRA when they buy Glock pistols at the city Police Academy’s gun shop. The membership pitch is sealed inside the packaging with the gun’s warranty and safety information. [FirearmNews.com]
The City Council certainly is determined to make sure that LA police officers know what political beliefs are considered acceptable.
Did you know that it’s against US law to conspire to deprive anyone of their rights?
bq. If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured -
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death
Title 18, Part I, Chapter 13, Section 241 US Code
Needless to say this law is never enforced. However, look around at the government employees you come in contact with or read about. How many of them should be in prison?
In particular, consider the private security guards, FAA bureaucrats, and members of Congress responsible for depriving the people on the 9⁄11 flights of their right to bear arms. Because death resulted from their violation of this section, every single one of them may be sentenced to death–and I would add that because of the huge number of deaths caused by their actions, every single one of them should be put to death.
Amina Lawal's victory. Al-hamdulillah, an Islamic appeals court in Nigeria has overturned the conviction of Amina Lawal:
He noted that under some interpretations of Shariah, babies can remain in gestation in a mother's womb for over five years, opening the possibility that her ex-husband -- whom she divorced two years before giving birth -- could have fathered the child.
Mai-Unguwa also said the policeman who first arrested Lawal in 2002 should have been flogged because he did so in violation of Islamic law, which requires four witnesses to the crime. Lawal was not "caught in the act," Mai-Unguwa said.
Ibrahim, the defense lawyer, welcomed the decision.
"It's a victory for law. It's a victory for justice, and it's a victory for what we stand for -- dignity and fundamental human rights," she said, smiling broadly.
Lead prosecutor Nurulhuda Mohammad Darma said he was "satisfied" with the ruling. The state has 30 days to appeal, but Darma said that was unlikely.
As I explained when I first posted on this issue last December, the conviction of Lawal was a travesty perpetrated by people who are either ignorant of Islamic jurisprudence or uninterested in applying it properly. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]
There's considerable irony in this poor woman being spared from a barbaric punishment for a non-existent crime in part because of a ludicrous defense that nobody could possibly take seriously.
I very much doubt the policeman will receive any punishment, flogging or otherwise. They never do.
civil liberties heroes of the day: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.
House lawmakers seek to curtail anti-terrorism law
By Drew Clark, National Journal's Technology Daily
Several high-profile surveillance provisions in the anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act would be modified under a bill that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Texas Republican Ron Paul pledged to introduce on Wednesday.
The bill would limit the Justice Department's power to use "sneak and peek" search warrants that let police delay their notification of suspects about the warrants. Justice's power to obtain business and library records under a foreign intelligence law also would be curtailed.
Those two powers have emerged as among the most controversial elements of the statute that Congress passed in October 2001. The House already has barred Justice from using its funds to implement "sneak and peak" searches, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued to halt the use of the business-records section of the law.
The bill also would limit the government's current ability to indefinitely detain non-citizens and curtail other policies of the Bush administration. Those include the ability for the FBI to monitor attorney-client conversations, enter houses of worship without cause and withhold information that otherwise must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Kucinich promoted his bill at a press conference with the ACLU.
"We now know that the PATRIOT Act and other measures went too far, too fast," said Gregory Nojeim, chief legislative counsel of the ACLU's Washington office. "Members from both sides of the aisle are calling for corrections to be made, and this bill stays true to Benjamin Franklin's call for a balance between security and liberty."
The new bill comes amid greater focus on the PATRIOT Act's surveillance provisions, including a high-profile speaking tour by Attorney General John Ashcroft. On Sept. 10, President Bush asked Congress to extend surveillance authority further.
In an attempt to counter fears that law enforcement officials excessively peruse business and library records, Ashcroft said he has declassified the fact that provisions in one section of the act have never been used.
"We have not been able to counter the troubling amount of public distortion and misinformation in connection with Section 215," Ashcroft said in a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller. "Consequently, I have determined that it is in the public interest and the best interest of law enforcement to declassify this information."
Privacy advocates said Ashcroft and other Justice officials are largely to blame for any misinformation because they have withheld data and failed to engage in public debate.
"It's still not clear that we have the full picture," Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said in an analysis of the section. "It seems very strange that [Justice] has never once used Section 215 to compel disclosure of travel records or car-rentals records or records of the purchase of bomb-making material or anything else."
Dempsey also picked apart an Ashcroft statement that the section applies only to foreigners, requires judicial approval and must be relevant to existing counter-terrorism investigations. All three statements are untrue, he said.
I salute the progressive Kucinich and the libertarian Paul, true patriots working together to restore the values that America stands for. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]
You know the Feds are pushing their luck when diametrically opposed politicans try to reign them in. This reminds me of the letter sent to Ashcroft in early 2001 objecting to the "drug war," which was signed by both the ACLU (an unofficial branch of the Democratic Party) and the NRA (an unofficial branch of the Republican Party).
Unfortunately, I don't think it will do any good. Politicians and civil rights groups are important, but when it comes to using and maintaining government power, the only people who matter are the bureaucrats--and they're answerable to no one. The "Patriot" Act increased the power of the Feds, and they will keep that power. Even if the act were repealed, they will go right on exercising that power.