The late senator, the story goes, created a climate of fear in the early 1950s by conducting a witchhunt that called liberals “Communists” and Communists “spies.” We now know better. The witches were real. Today, even many of McCarthy’s most extreme and ridiculed statements—alleging “a conspiracy on a scale so immense” or lambasting “twenty years of treason” in Democratic administrations—seem, if anything, to understate the pervasiveness of Communist infiltration of the U.S. government and the enormity of its damage.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
She was reported by that Marxist institution, the public school, whereupon the police were called in and three of them interrogated her son one by one.
She has asked not to be named out of fear that she will lose her child (as was threatened in a similar situation in Sweden where parents were told they would lose their child if they made any aspect of the cases in question public).
Monday, October 29, 2007
It would appear talk of a Second American Revolution is a hot topic on the Internet. My article is here. The Gary Dog's opinion is below.
Think about it… What would be your cause? How would you explain to the generations to come those issues?
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Do we have such a situation extant?
We are nearing a precipice. The strange aspect is the fuzzy definition of said precipice. It strikes me as oddest of all that the above offers no definitive exemplars that suit our situation. Congress fits, the Executive fits, and the Judicial fits… Depending on your particular current perspective.
Leftards Becoming Daily Even More Radical
While it appears from more than one point of view that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are situations from which we may never be able to extricate ourselves, from the mountains of Pakistan comes a very simple solution: convert to Islam.
This Video is about an hour long but well worth the listen. I think if those who scream racism every time they hear the words BNP and Islam in the same sentence might actually have a change of heart were they to listen to this clip.
Britain's New Churchill Speaks On The Contemporary Nazi Movement
Following extensive help by the forensics dept of the FBI, the obliterated sentences of the original Danbury letter by Thomas Jefferson was revealed.
Though it cannot reveal the mindful intentions of Thomas Jefferson it can and does bring to light the context in which Thomas Jefferson wrote this letter.
His fears of the British celebrations of Christian festivals in the US as a back door entry to return to a monarchial /monocrat system of Government.
This is one of my favourite documents which when properly revealed blows out of the water both the erstwhile claims that T.Jefferson was Atheist and the claim that the Constitution disallowed free displays of belief in Government buildings.
Not sure if I need to post it in two posts, it's rather long. We'll see.
I hope ''y'all'' take the trouble to read it.
'A Wall of Separation'
FBI Helps Restore Jefferson's Obliterated Draft
By JAMES HUTSON
Following is an article by the curator of a major exhibition at the Library that opens this month and runs through Aug. 22. A key document on view in "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" (see LC Information Bulletin, May 1998), is the letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, which contains the phrase "a wall of separation between church and state." With the help of the FBI, the draft of the letter, including Jefferson's obliterated words, are now known.
Thomas Jefferson's reply on Jan. 1, 1802, to an address from the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, congratulating him upon his election as president, contains a phrase that is as familiar in today's political and judicial circles as the lyrics of a hit tune: "a wall of separation between church and state." This phrase has become well known because it is considered to explain (many would say, distort) the "religion clause" of the First Amendment to the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...," a clause whose meaning has been the subject of passionate dispute for the past 50 years.
During his lifetime, Jefferson could not have predicted that the language in his Danbury Baptist letter would have endured as long as some of his other arresting phrases. The letter was published in a Massachusetts newspaper a month after Jefferson wrote it and then was more or less forgotten for half a century. It was put back into circulation in an edition of Jefferson's writings, published in 1853, and reprinted in 1868 and 1871.
The Supreme Court turned the spotlight on the "wall of separation" phrase in 1878 by declaring in Reynolds v. United States "that it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [first] amendment."
The high court took the same position in widely publicized decisions in 1947 and 1948, asserting in the latter case, McCollum v. Board of Education, that, "in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'" Since McCollum forbade religious instruction in public schools, it appeared that the court had used Jefferson's "wall" metaphor as a sword to sever religion from public life, a result that was and still is intolerable to many Americans.
Some Supreme Court justices did not like what their colleagues had done. In 1962, Justice Potter Stewart complained that jurisprudence was not "aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the 'wall of separation,' a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution." Addressing the issue in 1985, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist lamented that "unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson's misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years." Defenders of the metaphor responded immediately: "despite its detractors and despite its leaks, cracks and its archways, the wall ranks as one of the mightiest monuments of constitutional government in this nation."
Given the gravity of the issues involved in the debate over the wall metaphor, it is surprising that so little effort has been made to go behind the printed text of the Danbury Baptist letter to unlock its secrets. Jefferson's handwritten draft of the letter is held by the Library's Manuscript Division. Inspection reveals that nearly 30 percent of the draft -- seven of 25 lines -- was deleted by the president prior to publication. Jefferson indicated his deletions by circling several lines and noting in the left margin that they were to be excised. He inked out several words in the circled section and a few words elsewhere in the draft. He also inked out three entire lines following the circled section. Click here to see the text of the final letter.
Since the Library plans to display Jefferson's handwritten draft of the Danbury Baptist letter in its forthcoming exhibition "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic," the question was raised whether modern computer technology could be used to uncover Jefferson's inked-out words, so that the unedited copy of the letter might be shown to viewers alongside Jefferson's corrected draft. The Library requested the assistance of FBI Director Louis Freeh, who generously permitted the FBI Laboratory to apply its state-of-the-art technology to the task of restoring Jefferson's obliterated words. The FBI was successful, with the result that the entire draft of the Danbury Baptist letter is now legible (below). This fully legible copy will be seen in the exhibition in the company of its handwritten, edited companion draft. Click here to see Jefferson's unedited text. By examining both documents, viewers will be able to discern Jefferson's true intentions in writing the celebrated Danbury Baptist letter.
The edited draft of the letter reveals that, far from being dashed off as a "short note of courtesy," as some have called it, Jefferson labored over its composition. For reasons unknown, the address of the Danbury Baptists, dated Oct. 7, 1801, did not reach Jefferson until Dec. 30, 1801. Jefferson drafted his response forthwith and submitted it to the two New England Republican politicians in his Cabinet, Postmaster General Gideon Granger of Connecticut and Attorney General Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts. Granger responded to Jefferson on Dec. 31.
The next day, New Year's Day, was a busy one for the president, who received and entertained various groups of well-wishers, but so eager was he to complete his answer to the Danbury Baptists that, amid the hubbub, he sent his draft to Lincoln with a cover note explaining his reasons for writing it. Lincoln responded immediately; just as quickly, Jefferson edited the draft to conform to Lincoln's suggestions, signed the letter and released it, all on New Year's Day, 1802.
That Jefferson consulted two New England politicians about his messages indicated that he regarded his reply to the Danbury Baptists as a political letter, not as a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion. His letter, he told Lincoln in his New Year's Day note, was meant to gratify public opinion in Republican strongholds like Virginia, "being seasoned to the Southern taste only."
Expressing his views in a reply to a public address also indicated that Jefferson saw himself operating in a political mode, for by 1802 Americans had come to consider replies to addresses, first exploited as political pep talks by John Adams in 1798, as the prime vehicles for the dissemination of partisan views. A few weeks earlier, on Nov. 20, 1801, Jefferson had, in fact, used a reply to an address from the Vermont legislature to signal his intention to redeem a campaign promise by proposing a tax reduction at the beginning of the new session of Congress in December.
In his New Year's note to Lincoln, Jefferson revealed that he hoped to accomplish two things by replying to the Danbury Baptists. One was to issue a "condemnation of the alliance between church and state." This he accomplished in the first, printed, part of the draft. Jefferson's strictures on church-state entanglement were little more than rewarmed phrases and ideas from his Statute Establishing Religious Freedom (1786) and from other, similar statements. To needle his political opponents, Jefferson paraphrased a passage, that "the legitimate powers of government extend to ... acts only" and not to opinions, from the Notes on the State of Virginia, which the Federalists had shamelessly distorted in the election of 1800 in an effort to stigmatize him as an atheist. So politicized had church-state issues become by 1802 that Jefferson told Lincoln that he considered the articulation of his views on the subject, in messages like the Danbury Baptist letter, as ways to fix his supporters' "political tenets."
Airing the Republican position on church-state relations was not, however, Jefferson's principal reason for writing the Danbury Baptist letter. He was looking, he told Lincoln, for an opportunity for "saying why I do not proclaim fastings & thanksgivings, as my predecessors did" and latched onto the Danbury address as the best way to broadcast his views on the subject. Although using the Danbury address was "awkward" -- it did not mention fasts and thanksgivings -- Jefferson pressed it into service to counter what he saw as an emerging Federalist plan to exploit the thanksgiving day issue to smear him, once again, as an infidel.
Jefferson's hand was forced by the arrival in the United States in the last week of November 1801 of what the nation's newspapers called the "momentous news" of the conclusion between Britain and France of the Treaty of Amiens, which relieved the young American republic of the danger that had threatened it for years of being drawn into a devastating European war. Washington had proclaimed a national thanksgiving in 1796 to commemorate a much more ambiguous foreign policy achievement, the ratification of Jay's Treaty that attempted to adjust outstanding differences with Great Britain. Would Jefferson, the Federalists archly asked, not imitate the example of his illustrious predecessor and bid the nation to thank God for its delivery from danger by the Treaty of Amiens? The voice of New England Federalism, the Boston Columbian Centinel, cynically challenged Jefferson to act. "It is highly probable," said the Centinel on Nov. 28, 1801, "that on the receipt of the news of Peace in Europe, the President will issue a Proclamation recommending a General Thanksgiving. The measure, it is hoped, will not be denounced by the democrats as unconstitutional, as previous Proclamations have been."
The Centinel and its Federalist readers knew that Jefferson would never issue a Thanksgiving proclamation, for to him and the Republican faithful in the middle and southern states, presidential thanksgivings and fasts were anathema, an egregious example of the Federalists' political exploitation of religion. Federalist preachers had routinely used fast and thanksgiving days to revile Jefferson and his followers, going so far in 1799 as to suggest that a Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic was a divine punishment for Republican godlessness.
During the Adams administration, Republicans organized street demonstrations against presidential fast days, ridiculed them in the newspapers and boycotted them. Since Federalists knew that Jefferson would never proclaim a national thanksgiving to praise God for the Treaty of Amiens, they calculated that they could use his dereliction as evidence of his continuing contempt for Christianity, which had spilled out again, in their view, in his invitation to "Citizen" Thomas Paine to return from France to the United States.
To offer the nation's hospitality to Paine, author of The Age of Reason, the "atheist's bible" to the faithful, was, the Washington Federalist charged on Dec. 8, 1801, an "open and daring insult offered to the Christian religion." Here, for the Federalists, was the same old Jefferson, the same old atheist. Political capital, they concluded, could still be made from sounding the alarm about presidential infidelity.
During the presidential campaign of 1800, Jefferson had suffered in silence the relentless and deeply offensive Federalist charges that he was an atheist. Now he decided to strike back, using the most serviceable weapon at hand, the address of the Danbury Baptists.
Jefferson's counterattack is contained in the circled section of his draft and in the inked-out lines. He declared that he had "refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion," i.e., thanksgivings and fasts, because they were "religious exercises." This was conventional Republican doctrine that could be found in any number of party newspapers. On March 27, 1799, for example, an "old Ecclesiastic" declared in the Philadelphia Aurora that "Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer are religious acts belonging to the kingdom of Christ" over which the civil magistrate, in the American system, had no authority.
Jefferson took the gloves off when he asserted that the proclamations of thanksgivings and fasts were "practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church," i.e., by George III, King of England. By identifying the proclamation of thanksgivings and fasts as "British," Jefferson damned them, for in the Republican lexicon British was a dirty word, a synonym for "Anglomane," "Monocrat," "Tory," terms with which the Republicans had demonized the Federalists for a decade for their alleged plans to reverse the Revolution by reimposing a British-style monarchy on the United States. One of the most obnoxious features of the Federalists' American monarchy, as the Republicans depicted their putative project, was a church established by law, and Jefferson doubtless expected those who read his message to understand that, by supporting "British" fasts and thanksgivings, the Federalists were scheming, as always, to open a door to the introduction of an ecclesiastical tyranny.
In indicting the Federalists for their "Tory" taste for thanksgivings and fasts, Jefferson was playing rough. Thanksgivings and fasts had regularly been celebrated in parts of the country since the first settlements: to sully them with Anglophobic mudslinging, generated by the partisan warfare of his own time, as Jefferson did, was a low blow. But who was being more unfair: Jefferson or his Federalist inquisitors, who continued to calumniate him as an atheist?
The unedited draft of the Danbury Baptist letter makes it clear why Jefferson drafted it: He wanted his political partisans to know that he opposed proclaiming fasts and thanksgivings, not because he was irreligious, but because he refused to continue a British practice that was an offense to republicanism. To emphasize his resolve in this matter, Jefferson inserted two phrases with a clenched-teeth, defiant ring: "wall of eternal separation between church and state" and "the duties of my station, which are merely temporal." These last words -- "merely temporal" -- revealed Jefferson's preoccupation with British practice. Temporal, a strong word meaning secular, was a British appellation for the lay members of the House of Lords, the Lords Temporal, as opposed to the ecclesiastical members, the Lords Spiritual. "Eternal separation" and "merely temporal" -- here was language as plain as Jefferson could make it to assure the Republican faithful that their "religious rights shall never be infringed by any act of mine."
Jefferson knew and seemed to savor the fact that his letter, as originally drafted, would give "great offense" to the New England Federalists. Reviewing the draft on Dec. 31, Postmaster General Granger, the object of unremitting political harassment in Connecticut, cheered Jefferson on, apparently welcoming the "temporary spasms" that he predicted the letter would produce "among the Established Religionists" in his home state. When Levi Lincoln, a cooler head, saw the letter the next day, he immediately perceived that, as written, it could hurt Jefferson politically among the growing number of Republicans in New England. People there, Lincoln warned Jefferson, "have always been in the habit of observing fasts and thanksgivings in performance of proclamations from their respective Executives." To disparage this custom with an "implied censure" by representing it as a tainted, Tory ceremony could be politically disastrous, however well the slur might play south of the Hudson River.
Before and after: Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists contained the famous phrase "a wall of separation between church and state (in the sentence just before the area circled for deletion). The text as recovered by the FBI Laboratory shows that Jefferson first wrote "a wall of eternal separation." In the deleted section Jefferson explained why he refused to proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving, as his predecessors, Adams and Washington, had done. In the left margin, next to the deleted section, Jefferson noted that he excised the section to avoid offending "our republican friends in the eastern states" who cherished days of fasting and thanksgiving.
Jefferson heeded Lincoln's advice, with the result that he deleted the entire section about thanksgivings and fasts in the Danbury draft, noting in the left margin that the "paragraph was omitted on the suggestion that it might give uneasiness to some of our republican friends in the eastern states where the proclamation of thanksgivings etc. by their Executives is an antient habit & is respected." Removed in the process of revision was the designation of the president's duties as "merely temporal"; "eternal" was dropped as a modifier of "wall." Jefferson apparently made these changes because he thought the original phrases would sound too antireligious to pious New England ears.
In gutting his draft was Jefferson playing the hypocrite, sacrificing his principles to political expediency, as his Federalist opponents never tired of charging? By no means, for the Danbury Baptist letter was never conceived by Jefferson to be a statement of fundamental principles; it was meant to be a political manifesto, nothing more.
Withholding from the public the rationale for his policy on thanksgivings and fasts did not solve Jefferson's problem, for his refusal to proclaim them would not escape the attention of the Federalists and would create a continuing vulnerability to accusations of irreligion. Jefferson found a solution to this problem even as he wrestled with the wording of the Danbury Baptist letter, a solution in the person of the famous Baptist preacher John Leland, who appeared at the White House on Jan. 1, 1802, to give the president a mammoth, 1,235-pound cheese, produced by Leland's parishioners in Cheshire, Mass.
One of the nation's best known advocates of religious liberty, Leland had accepted an invitation to preach in the House of Representatives on Sunday, Jan. 3, and Jefferson evidently concluded that, if Leland found nothing objectionable about officiating at worship on public property, he could not be criticized for attending a service at which his friend was preaching. Consequently, "contrary to all former practice," Jefferson appeared at church services in the House on Sunday, Jan. 3, two days after recommending in his reply to the Danbury Baptists "a wall of separation between church and state"; during the remainder of his two administrations he attended these services "constantly."
Jefferson's participation in House church services and his granting of permission to various denominations to worship in executive office buildings, where four-hour communion services were held, cannot be discussed here; these activities are fully illustrated in the forthcoming exhibition. What can be said is that going to church solved Jefferson's public relations problems, for he correctly anticipated that his participation in public worship would be reported in newspapers throughout the country. A Philadelphia newspaper, for example, informed its readers on Jan. 23, 1802, that "Mr. Jefferson has been seen at church, and has assisted in singing the hundredth psalm." In presenting Jefferson to the nation as a churchgoer, this publicity offset whatever negative impressions might be created by his refusal to proclaim thanksgiving and fasts and prevented the erosion of his political base in God-fearing areas like New England.
Jefferson's public support for religion appears, however, to have been more than a cynical political gesture. Scholars have recently argued that in the 1790s Jefferson developed a more favorable view of Christianity that led him to endorse the position of his fellow Founders that religion was necessary for the welfare of a republican government, that it was, as Washington proclaimed in his Farewell Address, indispensable for the happiness and prosperity of the people. Jefferson had, in fact, said as much in his First Inaugural Address. His attendance at church services in the House was, then, his way of offering symbolic support for religious faith and for its beneficent role in republican government.
It seems likely that in modifying the draft of the Danbury Baptist letter by eliminating words like "eternal" and "merely temporal," which sounded so uncompromisingly secular, Jefferson was motivated not merely by political considerations but by a realization that these words, written in haste to make a political statement, did not accurately reflect the conviction he had reached by the beginning of 1802 on the role of government in religion. Jefferson would never compromise his views that there were things government could not do in the religious sphere -- legally establish one creed as official truth and support it with its full financial and coercive powers. But by 1802, he seems to have come around to something close to the views of New England Baptist leaders such as Isaac Backus and Caleb Blood, who believed that, provided the state kept within its well-appointed limits, it could provide "friendly aids" to the churches, including putting at their disposal public property that even a stickler like John Leland was comfortable using.
Analyzed with the help of the latest technology, the Danbury Baptist letter has yielded significant new information. Using it to fix the intent of constitutional documents is limited, however, by well established rules of statutory construction: the meaning of a document cannot be determined by what a drafter deleted or by what he did concurrently with the drafting of a document. But it will be of considerable interest in assessing the credibility of the Danbury Baptist letter as a tool of constitutional interpretation to know, as we now do, that it was written as a partisan counterpunch, aimed by Jefferson below the belt at enemies who were tormenting him more than a decade after the First Amendment was composed.
Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of the majority opinion, stated that the Constitution does not explicitly mention a right to privacy but, "in varying contexts the Court or individual justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right." The right to an abortion was then considered an extension of this privacy right. As Blackmun stated,"This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." This decision made it unconstitutional for any state to restrict abortion in most circumstances.*
Because of this decision, I continually hear pro-choice advocates claim that my, and other's, opposition to Roe is uninformed and misplaced, since Roe gave women a "constitutuinal right" to an abortion. However, Roe v Wade, the very case which made abortion a constitutional right, is in fact, not based in the Constitution. The Court's decision is riddled with contradictions, law-making decisions (which the Court is not supposed to do), and rather strange Constitutional interpretations.
Let's start with the Fourteenth Amendment -- how does it supposedly relate to Roe? The Fourteenth Amendment deals with procedural limitations regarding life, liberty, and property. While we are guaranteed such rights without government interference, the government can indeed infringe upon our life, liberty or property as long as it gives notice and an opportunity to be heard. This amendment was also used to extend the Bill of rights to states as well as Congress, but it was not intended to add concrete rights to the Constitution. Nowhere, in fact, does the Constitution mention privacy, which is invaded by any government action and certainly any criminal statute. So where do privacy rights come from?
In 1965, a person named Griswold challenged an essentially dead and unenforced Connecticut law which made it a criminal offense for a married couple to buy contraceptives. However, since appellate courts will not hear challenges to statutes in the abstract, someone had to actually be arrested for violating the law for the law to be challenged. In what some say was a scenario set up specifically to challenge and overturn this law, Griswold was convicted of buying contraceptives and fined. Griswold could then challenge the constitutionality of the statute on appeal.
In the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down this Connecticut law, holding that the Constitution actually created substantive rights which were so "fundamental to the principles of liberty" that they could not be restricted by government. The Constitution does not mention contraception or privacy, but the Court declared that the other rights in the Constitution contained a "penumbra" of implied rights, and the general right to privacy was determined to be one of these rights. The statute prohibiting use of contraceptives was then voided as an infringement of the right of marital privacy
This right of privacy was developed from the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. A concurring opinion cited the Ninth Amendment ("The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people") to support the assertion that the Constitution protects certain penumbral rights, despite the lack of a specific provision in the Constitution. ** Griswold was the first case that created a right relating to reproduction without naming a specific clause in the constitution.
But how would the Court determine these unmentioned, yet constitutional, >rights? The Court decided that the Constitution must evolve, and that the Court was free to consider current public opinion when deciding whether a right was sufficiently "fundamental" to deserve constitutional protection.
So, in summary, the Court in Griswold decided that:
There are unmentioned, yet fundamental rights within the Constitution.
The lack of a specific mention of a certain right doesn't mean it does not exist.
These unmentioned, fundamental rights, can not be restricted, and the 14th Amendment applies this restriction to the states.
The "right to privacy" was one of these rights which is not mentioned, but implied within the Constitution.
Now, back to Roe. Blackmun decided that a "right of personal privacy...does exist under the Constitution" and this personal privacy "right" creates a limited right to have an abortion, especially in the first trimester when the fetus was not viable. Blackmun found that the state interest in protecting life did not override the limited right to an abortion until third trimester, when the fetus is most certain to be a viable person; since 90% of abortions occur in the first trimester, abortion became an almost total "constitutional right." Remember: this opinion was not grounded in any constitutional text, but instead on one broad interpretation after another. Blackmun also cleverly used the word "under" as opposed to "in" when referring to the privacy right, and only claimed it to be a limited right (balanced against the state interest) to somewhat mask the fact that the actual text of the Constitution does not support the Court's opinion, and even the Griswold decision did not go as far as allowing an abortion. Blackmun could not use the rationale of Griswold; Justice White, who was in the majority in Griswold, did not believe that abortion was private in the sense that contraception was. Three new court appointees, moreover, disagreed with Griswold. So Blackmun argued that the 14th amendment words "due process" went further than the penumbra of the Bill of Rights, and created rights "implicit in the scheme of ordered liberty". From this, he developed a limited right to an abortion.
It's debatable whether there is indeed an implied right to privacy in the Constitution, but regardless of one's opinion on that, it seems tenuous and irresponsible of the Court to expand this right to the right to terminate the life of the unborn. After all, the right to privacy doesn't expand to many other areas in a woman's life, but somehow, without specific justification, it extends to the right to have an abortion? In addition, the idea that the right to an abortion is a "constitutional" right begs the question: are there then constitutional rights that apply only to certain groups of people? After all, this "right" to abort certainly does not extend to men, so does this mean that women have fundamental rights that men do not? Should men then, have a Constitutional right that applies to them, but excludes women? What other rights beside privacy are "implied" by the Constitution, if any? And what is "private" about an abortion--is it any more private than infanticide? Is there any government intrusion that does not invade privacy? Many jurists, including Justice Ginsburg, have already hinted that a better argument would be the equal protection clause; criminalizing abortions penalizes only women, since only women become pregnant, and forcing her to carry the child to term without just compensation would be (argualby) and unconstitutional burden. But the gender issue (as I have noted) can be argued the other way also, and was never discussed in Roe or Griswold.
One might also argue that the earlier decision to consider public opinion in determining these unmentioned rights aided in the decision to extend privacy rights to cover abortion, but aside from the fact that the climate in 1973 did not strongly support a Constitutional right to an abortion,*** even if people were clamoring for a constitutional right to abort, the idea that the Court decides how to interpret the Constitution on what they deem to be "popular opinion" contradicts the original purpose of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights detailed fundamental rights, and judicial review (the power of the Court to overturn acts of Congress, as established in Marbury v. Madison (1803)) helped ensure that these rights were extended to all people. Without such review, it would be possible for the majority to vote to infringe on the fundamental rights of a political or religious minority. Public opinion is relevant to deciding what the states meant when they ratified amendments; for example, libel laws are considered constitutional because states had them when they ratified the 1st amendment, and thus the people did not intend free speech to cover knowingly false statements. The Constitution has a procedure for adding amendments, and if public opinion supported abortion rights, the people (through their elected officials) could add such an amendment (public opinion regarding women's rights almost led to ratification of the ERA at about the same time as Roe). But the Court in Roe usurped this prerogative and, citing "public opinion", amended the constitution by creating a right that most constitutional scholars agree does not exist. The Supreme Court is actually supposed to protect people FROM majority opinion; for example, it will uphold unpopular demonstrations as protected free speech, or protect suspected criminals from a biased trial.
In addition, prior to 1973, the Court had always used liberty as a legal term, but in Roe, liberty was described in psychological, sociological, and economic terms. "The unwanted child," Blackmun avowed, would cause a woman psychological stress, and impose family responsibilities and economic hardships. He therefore concluded that the woman had a "liberty interest" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The problem with defining liberty in such a way seems obvious wanting psychological stress or the imposition of family responsibilities be applied to any number of situations? Couldn't a born child, or even a difficult relative also interfere with this definition of "liberty"?
The argument for such examples would be that obviously, someone's privacy right wouldn't override the right of someone to live, since such an application would allow for the abuse of others, so long as it was done in private. Ah, but the Court got around this too, by labeling the unborn as less than fully human, and asserting that the Constitution only protects "post-natal" life. This meant that the state could not weigh the child's privacy right against the mother's, only the state interest in protecting potential life.
First, it would seem apparent that the unborn was not specifically mentioned at the time because the framers of the Constitution did not have adequate medical knowledge to know what we do now about the biology of the unborn; or, they assumed that it would be clear that the unborn was covered, since they didn't deem it necessary to specify that each stage of a person's development was constitutionally protected. The Court seemed perfectly content to ignore these very real possibilities, and placed the liberty of the woman above the unborn's right to live.
Secondly, The Ninth Amendment, which the Court used to justify their position in Griswold, ironically, directly contradicts this decision. As discussed earlier, the Ninth Amendment states that "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The word retain, designates that the rights expressly guaranteed by the constitutional text should not be interpreted so as to deny rights not specified, but that preexisted in the Constitution. One would assume that the Court would have questioned whether the "right" to terminate a pregnancy would "deny or disparage" a right "retained" by the people. Had the Court questioned this, its distinction between "potential" and "full" human life would have been seen as an obvious violation of the right to life.
The right to life? Yes, the right to life - ever heard of that? It's one of those unalienable rights that's mentioned in the nation's charter, the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal" and are endowed by their Creator with the certain unalienable rights, one being the right to life. The Declaration is clear that this right belongs equally to all human beings. Thus, under this definition of the right to life, there can be no distinction based upon whether human life is "potential" or full. Yet, that is the core distinction of Roe v Wade, and it directly contradicts the right to life retained by the people according to the Ninth Amendment! So ironically, the Ninth Amendment was used to justify a newly found, unmentioned right to privacy that magically extends to the right to abort, when in fact, denying the unborn rights based on the fact that the unborn is inside, rather than outside the womb, contradicts the Ninth Amendment! In addition, the Court used the Ninth Amendment to justify this unmentioned right to privacy, yet then turned around and denied the unborn rights because the unborn child was not specifically mentioned! So how can we say that we have a constitutional right to privacy that extends to abortion even though it is not mentioned in the Constitution, and then turn around and deny rights to another human because the unborn wasn't specifically mentioned!? Roe actually extended this nonexistent right, saying the 14th amendment went even further than the Bill of Rights.
It gets better. Justice Blackmun also cites the "fact" that "the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense" to justify denying rights to the unborn. First, that "fact" is not accurate. The unborn child was, and is still treated in certain tort and negligence law as a person. Secondly, we seem to be going back in time a bit, when we arbitrarily decided that some people are not "full persons."
Recall the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford decision, which declared that slavery could not be prohibited by Congress in any territory of the U.S. and that African Americans were not full persons and not afforded the same rights as "full persons." Sound familiar? President Lincoln argued that the slaves were persons, not possessions, and that their unalienable right to liberty was protected by the Declaration of Independence unborn. To add to the irony, after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, came the Thirteenth (1865) and Fourteenth (1868) Amendments, all which overthrew slavery and the erroneous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. The Fourteenth Amendment...how ironic. One of the Amendments which helped overturn Dred Scott is now used to further the "non-person" argument -the same argument the Amendment was created to prevent! How can the Supreme Court use the Fourteenth Amendment to help justify denying the unborn unalienable rights when this Amendment was supposed to protect people from such selective rights attribution? It would seem obvious that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment implicitly included the unborn child in the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
It's about at this point that someone is bound to jump up and proclaim "Ah! This Amendment mentions citizens and the unborn isn't a citizen until birth, so this does not apply to the unborn!" Not quite, since the Fourteenth Amendment states that the State shall not deprive any person, not just citizens, life, liberty, or property without due process. In addition, the idea that the life of a non-citizen is not protected based solely on his/her non-citizen status is rather absurd, since that would mean that a born, non-citizen, could be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. The Court can only argue that the fetus is not a person; but then why is there sufficient state interest in the third trimester to outlaw abortion? Why are they sure, by the third trimester, that it is a future person, but not in the first? What is the medical basis for this? What happens as medical advances secure the health of the fetus at an earlier stage? What if the fetus, though still in the womb, is viable? Why do 50 states consider it homicide to kill an infant one minute AFTER it is removed from the womb?
Blackmun states that "the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense alone" to justify abortion up until the precise moment that the infant leaves the womb. Blackmun believed that the unborn have never been recognized by the law, but he later states in Roe that "at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant" over the woman's "right to privacy"? To try and get around this contradiction, Blackmun created "trimesters" which gave some protection to the unborn in the later stages of pregnancy.* By doing this, Blackmun contradicts himself yet again, since he also stated in Roe that "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer." So, Blackmun states that the judiciary should not speculate as to when life begins, and then precedes to do just that as he defines levels of fetal protection based on trimesters.
Not only is Blackmun's definition of trimesters a contradiction of Blackmun's other statements, but it goes against what the Supreme Court is supposed to do. The Supreme Court is not supposed to create laws - the Court is supposed interpret the Constitution, but not legislate from the bench. Article VI, Section 2 of the United States Constitution lists three things as "the supreme law of the land": (1) This constitution; (2) The laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance of it; and (3) All treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States. Court decisions are not mentioned. Court opinion was, and is now seen as only "evidence of law." Thus, a Supreme Court decision can be overturned by a subsequent Supreme Court decision if is later deemed that the interpretation was incorrect. For instance, Abraham Lincoln refused to accept the Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott as the law of the land, vocally denounced it, and eventually it was overturned by amendments to the Constitution. So, when Blackmun arbitrarily decided when a fetus becomes "potential life" that may be protected by the state, and what restrictions the state can or cannot place on abortions, he is creating laws, which is not one of the jobs of the Supreme Court. It is clearly a state function to determine when life begins.
Ridden with contradictions and highly debatable constitutional decisions, I hope that one day Roe v Wade is chalked up, just like Dred Scott v Sanford, as one of the grievous errors of the Supreme Court, and overturned. Until then, it seems as if the discrimination will continue against those who are unable speak for themselves - the type of discrimination the Constitution should fight against, not justify.
*Abortion restrictions were broken down by trimesters
(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.
(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
(c) For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. (see Roe V Wade)
While restrictions could be placed on third trimester abortions, such restrictions can be circumvented due to Doe V Bolton, (Jan 22, 1973), which decided that abortion is constitutionally protected whenever it is necessary to protect a woman's health. "Health" is defined to include "all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age". (see Doe V Bolton)
** I realize there are some who will debate this interpretation of the Ninth Amendment, since many believe that this is not the correct interpretation. Whether this interpretation is correct or not though, doesn't change the fact that it was misapplied in this case. If the interpretation used in the article is incorrect, then it is obviously erroneously applied in Roe v Wade. However, if it is correct, the Amendment is still misapplied, as is explained in the article.
*** At that time, abortion was completely illegal in 33 states except when necessary to save the life of the mother. The remaining 17 states allowed abortion in various circumstances. The most permissive, New York, allowed abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks, though New York did not allow third trimester abortions for "emotional health" as required by the Supreme Court.
Less that two months after an Israeli air raid on a suspected Syrian nuclear facility, the Damascus government has apparently completed a hurried clean-up of the site, removing remnants of a large building that may have housed a partially-built nuclear reactor.
Today's edition of The New York Times, using satellite imagery from two commercial firms, indicates that Syria rushed to dismantle the facility after the Israeli airstrike. An image from Digital Globe, obtained on 24 October, shows all traces of the building have been removed, and the ground appears smooth and undisturbed. A similar photo, taken on 10 August, showed a tall, square-shaped structure on the site. Analysts estimate that the building measured 150 feet on a side, providing up to 22,500 feet of floor space.
Experts interviewed by the Times were stunned at the pace of Syrian clean-up efforts.
“It’s a magic act — here today, gone tomorrow,” said a senior intelligence official. “It doesn’t lower suspicions; it raises them. This was not the long-term decommissioning of a building, which can take a year. It was speedy. It’s incredible that they could have gone to that effort to make something go away.”
David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that this week released a report on the Syrian site, said Thursday that the building’s removal was inherently suspicious.
“It looks like Syria is trying to hide something and destroy the evidence of some activity,” Mr. Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector, said in an interview. “But it won’t work. Syria has got to answer questions about what it was doing.”
“It’s clearly very suspicious,” said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The Syrians were up to something that they clearly didn’t want the world to know about.”
Publicly, U.S. officials have refused to confirm that the site imaged by the commercial firms is the same one struck by Israeli jets on 6 September. But privately, a senior intelligence official told the Times that was, indeed the same location.
Obviously, you don't need to be an imagery analyst to understand that Damascus was in a hurry to get rid of whatever was left after the Israeli airstrike. The unnamed intelligence official is quite correct in describing the clean-up as "speedy" and "incredible." Syria apparently spared no effort--or expense--in attempting to cleanse the site, a process that normally takes months to complete.
The motivation for the clean-up job is clear: under an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Damascus is obligated to report on its nuclear plans and development efforts. And, like a blind-and-deaf bloodhound with a bad nose, the IAEA has finally caught wind of the Syrian program, and is making noises about accountability and possible inspections.
But it's a safe bet that the dismantled facility near the Euphrates River was never reported to the agency, and Damascus will stall inspection requests for as long as possible. And--assuming they gain access to the site--inspectors will find it difficult to figure out what was actually there, thanks to the Syrian clean-up job. Damascus understands that the IAEA has a poor record in detecting covert nuclear programs, and the reported dirt work is, quite literally, an attempt by the Assad government to cover its tracks.
Still, the sanitization effort at that Syrian facility does offer potential insights on nuclear cooperation between rogue states, and the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to gather vast quantities of information, in an attempt to monitor WMD programs.
On the cooperation issue, it has been widely reported that the Syrian "reactor" was based on a North Korean design, and technicians from the DPRK may have been killed in the Israeli airstrike. But the clean-up may also provide additional indications of Iranian involvement in the project. The hasty--but effective--clean-up is reminiscent of a similar effort in Tehran a few years ago.
When Iranian dissidents identified a building at a Tehran university as a nuclear R&D center, the complex was quickly demolished, despite a recently-completed expansion. Workers removed all traces of the building in a matter of weeks, and the ground was scraped by bulldozers and earth-movers. The Iranian demolition job was smaller than the one observed in Syria, but it followed the same pattern. We can only wonder if Iran--which is probably financing the Syrian project--also provided expertise in getting rid of the facility once it had been detected and bombed.
In terms of following activity at the site, readers may note the two-month "gap" between the before and after images provided to the Times. While commercial platforms don't image targets as often as classified spy satellites, they make frequent passes over high-interest areas, including Syria.
So, what happened to all those images of the nuclear facility between 10 August and 24 October? They were (most likely) snapped up by the U.S. intelligence community, which has huge contracts with commercial imagery providers, using their products to supplement their own satellite images. After learning of the Israeli airstrike, the spooks moved quickly to buy up available imagery of the target area, denying it to other customers, including media outlets.
That move was prompted by two considerations; first, getting all available information to make required assessments, and secondly, to allow the U.S. (and its allies) to manage speculation and spin on the raid. As two members of Congress noted in a recent WSJ op-ed, the Bush Administration has "thrown a veil of secrecy" over the airstrike and its target, offering briefings to only a handful of law-makers. At the same time, there have also been comments about how raid "narrowly avoided World War III." In that context, it's little wonder that you can't satellite images of the Syrian facility in the weeks just before--and after--the Israeli attack.
AUSTRALIA faces a "London-type bombing" if relations between Muslims and the intelligence and police authorities do not improve, an influential Islamic youth leader has warned.
Fadi Rahman, who runs one of Sydney's biggest youth centres at Lidcombe in the city's west, said overseas Islamic elements were attempting to radicalise Muslim youth with their hardline ideologies.
But in a warning that will resonate with Australian authorities, Mr Rahman said Muslims did not trust ASIO or the Australian Federal Police and that the bungled terror case against Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef had worsened the situation.
"The biggest problem ASIO and the federal police have is that no one in the Islamic community trusts them enough to give them a heads-up about anything," Mr Rahman told The Australian.
"Look at the Haneef thing - why would we trust these guys when all you see is one fumble after another? People are afraid."
Dr Haneef, an Indian national, was detained in July on suspicion of having played a role in the foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow, but the case fell apart after a series of prosecution mistakes.
Mr Rahman said a battle for the hearts and minds of young Muslims was under way in Australia between influences from overseas wanting to radicalise youths and more moderate influences in Australia.
Mr Rahman said he believed he had been the target of a recruitment attempt but when he responded "defensively" those talking to him said they had merely been joking.
Asked about the anatomy of a recruitment, he said: "Most of the time they start at the local mosque in small groups - they move quickly into the garage, then people's homes. You get sucked in."
He said the typical recruiter was in their 40s or 50s, "from overseas, well-educated and tapping into young people's frustrations and anger".
"I think we are very similar to London," he said. "There are these individuals from overseas who are basically in their mid-life who have these ideologies and because of the animosity they have experienced in their own countries have deep hatred of the Western world. It's very easy to tap into the mind of someone who has a low education level, unemployment and who has basically given up on life.
"The right ingredients are there. We need to do something or what happened in London, a London-type bombing, will happen here."
The "something" includes programs to give opportunities to Muslim youth and a "less hostile" attitude by the federal Government. Mr Rahman said the Government was spending too much on campaigns directed at people who did not know what was going on - such as the Be Alert, Not Alarmed campaign - but not enough in communities such as southwestern Sydney, where about 250,000 Muslims live.
"It's not like it will be John Smith on the north shore of Sydney who will have information, it will be Mohammed or Ahmed out here," he says.
Mr Rahman said he and Toufic Mallah, the man he brought into the youth centre to stress moderation, preached non-violence.
About 50 of the youths at the centre, which has about 460 members aged 10 to 35, are former criminals who have done time in jail. Mr Rahman said they could go "either way".
At the Independent Centre of Research Australia, he runs anger-management programs and has opened a prayer room run by Sheik Mallah. Sheik Mallah said the second chapter of the Koran stressed that "we have made a moderate nation".
He says non-Muslim Australians should approach their local sheiks if there was anything they did not understand or like about their local Muslim communities. "Come and speak to us," he said.
Mr Rahman brokered a deal with IBM last week under which the computer company will mentor 10 youths from the centre and offer three traineeships.
Mr Rahman said this sort of support gave the young people and their families and friends hope. In the aftermath of the Cronulla race riots in Sydney in 2005 there was progress between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, but since then "things have taken a nasty turn".
"The blame game" of all Muslims being blamed for terrorism "will only put people offside", he said.
"When the sh-t hits the fan we will all be covered with it. It's just a matter of time before someone says I've had enough. Unless something is done and attitudes change something will happen.
"We haven't learnt our lesson post-September 11, the Bali bombings, the Cronulla riots and the London bombings. There's deep-seated hatred on both sides. When young Muslims go into other areas they go in with force.
"I cop it from both ends - who do you please? Do you please your own community or the wider community? A lot of them are saying don't waste your time, you will never get anywhere with these people."
Mr Rahman said one of the biggest problems in the Lebanese community was that many of his generation, although they loved their parents, felt caught between two worlds.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I got the surprise of my life when I looked at the Sunday paper today. A Florida newspaper that is always a shill for Democrat propaganda and anti-Bush rhetoric actually published this piece. I can only guess that it is part of an attempt by Democrats to avoid being on the wrong side when America succeeds in the Iraq mission. At least they are moving in the right direction.
A Soldier Speaks and Sees Successes
October 28, 2007, Herald-Tribune, Joe Roche
Contrary to anti-war defeatists, our mission in Iraq is succeeding. Al-Qaida and Iran are facing strategic failure there, and our continued commitment to Iraq is the key to victory.I joined the Army in 2002, before we invaded, specifically to go to Iraq. I spent years in the Middle East studying the terrorist threat and never believed Afghanistan would achieve long-term success. Even before 9/11, Iraq was the key. Despite toppling the Taliban and evicting al-Qaida from Afghanistan, U.S. and Western standing in the Persian Gulf and Middle East was still collapsing. We had to go to Iraq.
Saddam Hussein's regime supported terrorists from all over the region.
After surviving the 1991 Gulf War, he constantly called for the overthrow of moderate Arab governments, undermined peace efforts, terrorized his people and organized annual gatherings of leading Islamic fundamentalists in Baghdad. Our air wars of attrition over the no-fly zones were failing, the containment of him was falling apart, and it was only a matter of time before Saddam broke out as an uncontrollable megalomaniac. Had we stopped after Afghanistan and limited ourselves to killing al-Qaida, this war would have been an aborted effort from the start.
President Bush was absolutely right to lead us into Iraq. My time there with the Army made this clear to me. Iraq borders on all the major powers of the region and contains the Arab world's most vigorous people. Had we fought this war any other way after 9/11, failure would have been unavoidable. Instead, though it is going to take years, victory is achievable through success in Iraq.
Prevailing against Democratic Party defeatism, Bush's surge policy is a huge success. Overall civilian casualties are down 70 percent since January, with none occurring last week in Anbar province, once the most violent of Iraq. U.S. casualties are down 40 percent with bombings cut nearly by half. According to Army Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock, other statistics include 59 percent reduction in Baghdad's violence, 65 percent drop in car bomb attacks, 80 percent drop in road side bomb injuries, and 77 percent decrease in victims from enemy attacks since June.
Osama bin Laden acknowledged failure on Monday. He basically apologized to the Iraqi people for "wrongdoings" and "mistakes," going so far as to chide jihadis in Iraq for "extremism." He accused his followers of being "tardy in performing" and lambasted Iraqis for fighting against terrorism, calling them "hypocrites.
"He said this because of the stunning reversal in Anbar where Sunnis who once invited in the jihadists are now joining together with us. This is a massive blow to al-Qaida. Bin Laden has said Iraq is the central front, with jihadists from all over going there. Their terror campaign is failing.
Even in 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's chief deputy, appealed to then al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for money. This was because the global al-Qaida effort is lost without Iraq. Had we not gone there, Saddam would be embroiling the whole region in war and turmoil, while al-Qaida would be free to focus on attacking us here in America and overthrowing Arab governments. Instead, the peace process might be restarted between Israel and the Palestinians, reforms are spreading throughout the Arab world, elections will take place in Lebanon, and no government faces being overthrown.
Iran now also faces strategic defeat via our mission in Iraq. Iranians threaten Israel and support global terrorism. However, their worst nightmare is an Iraq that can threaten Iran. They still suffer from the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. This is why Iran causes so much trouble with the Shiites in Iraq. They are terrified we might succeed.
The problem is that we are surrounding Iranians while their aggressiveness is making them more isolated each day. Their effort to get a nuclear bomb is desperation, and now Iran is in turmoil about how to avert the nightmare of U.S. success in Iraq.
Tehran thought we would retreat in defeat when the Democrats took over Congress last year, but Bush countered with the surge. Then Iran thought Gen. David Petraeus would call for retreat, but instead he affirmed our success.
Now Iranians are realizing that Bush is focusing on keeping them out of Iraq. So much has this thrown the Iranians into turmoil that key leaders are resigning in power struggles and factions are fighting over whether to negotiate with the United States or just pursue the bomb.
Al-Qaida faces defeat. This is why it is vital that we remain committed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iran is facing defeat there, al-Qaida is facing defeat there, and if any good over the long term for the whole region is going to be accomplished strategically, we must succeed there.
I saw fellow soldiers fall in Iraq, and I have visited many in hospitals in Germany and the United States after returning. I hate the human toll this takes, but this isn't the fault of Bush or our policies. This is the fault of past neglect and apathy that allowed the terrorist threat to emerge and for terrorist-supporting tyrannies to grow strong as they did for decades. However, I also know that our casualties in this war are nothing compared to past wars, and that calls from defeatists for retreat in the face of sacrifice are immoral and a betrayal.
No threat in human history has been ended by retreating while under attack. Surrendering Iraq to Iran and al-Qaida will not bring peace. We are doing the right thing there, and with the surge's success, I hope Americans will join me in supporting Bush against anti-war defeatism.
Joe Roche, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, is visiting Sarasota while on Individual Ready Reserve status. He served in Iraq from May 2003 to August 2004 as a combat engineer and in technical rescue. Later, he served in Washington, D.C., with the elite Rescue to Protect National Command Authority. He earned a bachelors degree in history from the University of Minnesota in 1998.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
I advocate this serious step towards civil war and/or revolution because I see the ruling Establishments on both sides of the Pond increasingly moving in the direction of tyranny and are already making a de facto and de jure war against the God given civil rights of Britons and Americans. Therefore, we who love our countries, have no other good option except to revolt against current ruling oligarchy whose vast numbers of petty politicians and bureaucrats seem determined to ignore all our petitions of redress and place the chains of slavery on us all.
A British cousin responds (His words in bold)
I made a comment in passing to the excellent Gunslinger about the laws here in the UK, and in response she went ahead and posted a call to arms. Literally.
I can't better what she's said, nor really get halfway towards her quality, so here's a sample:
"History has proven that the first step to enslaving a people is disarming them. It happens every single time. The fact that this lesson is never learned is one that makes me doubt the intelligence of our race. How is it possible that we allow ourselves, regularly, to be stripped of the one thing that might defend us against tyranny, and ensure liberty?
But, it is only a temporary situation. One that can be altered by a simple act of personal will.
Guns are illegal. Against the law. Proscribed. But what does that really mean? It means that the government says you can't own a gun. Law-abiding citizens do what the government says. And in this instance, they become victims of those that don't do what the government says and keep their guns —the outlaws—and of the government itself who has disarmed the many which can now be controlled by the few."
I've spoken with others who say that it is unlikely that this can be done without weaponry, but this is the next level, so to speak. Go read it, I recommend it highly. Very thought-provoking. Very thought-provoking indeed. As, indeed, was one of the comments left to it which I will reproduce in full here:
I would like to first tell my British friends and cousins that I mean no disrespect towards the British People by using the metaphor of the American Revolution.
Let me say also, that I personally consider the Revolutionary War a tragedy; it was a civil war between the Establishment faction and the Republican faction that had friends and foes on both side of the Atlantic that could have been settled by the compromise proposed in the Albany Plan of 1754 by Ben Franklin that would have allowed American delegates in Parliament and the King the right to appoint the "President-General" of America.
I would note that even in Parliament during the Revolutionary Period, the American republican cause had much support, especially in the Whig Party, even the famous Edmund Burke spoke in favor of the revolutionists. And let us not forget that more than a few Britons, such as Thomas Paine, sailed to America to join the rebel cause against the Establishment: the British army and navy, the best on the planet at that time, only fought a half-hearted struggle against their fellow countrymen; that George Washington never defeated the main British army in North America, but that army withdrew intact with honor in 1783 from New York City when the King ordered it done.
GET TO THE POINT, MAN!
My point is that in both Britain and America today we have fallen into two hostile camps and all attempts at compromise have ended in abject failure.
On the one side we have the Establishment faction that seeks to impose tyranny by means of appeasement with Islamic barbarians who are allowed free run in our countries because of the multiculturist-international viewpoint that all cultures are equal, even the most barbaric.
On the opposing line we have the Rebel Faction that has been largely put out of the debate by the Establishment and ignored.
This faction has tried for years and years to obtain redress from the ruling elite. They have been ignored and the Establishment is at this very moment attempting to destroy the last bastion of defense in the English speaking world -- Freedom of Speech.
Therefore, men and women of good will, Britons and Americans, true patriots one and all, have no other choice than to pick up the gauntlet of civil war thrown down by their respective Establishments and resist violence with violence.
May we all once again meet at "Lexington Green" and say to tyranny's command to surrender the words of a former British soldier, Captain Parker of the King's North American militia:
"Stand your ground men; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war; let it begin here."
TREASON YOU SAY?
If this be treason make the most of it my fellow Countrymen.
In many ways, the above comment, left at the Gunslinger's blog by 'Ronbo' reminds me of something I read in a Telegraph comments thread a while back. One commenter wrote that s/he was growing to hate his/her country, the UK, because of what it is becoming. But in the light of Ronbo's comment I've been able to put my finger on why this struck on off note with me from the first.
One should never hate one's country because one hates its government. A real patriot will hate his government because he loves his country.
Many bloggers who write like this end the post with 'everyone else sucks, so vote BNP as the only hope'. But I'm not many bloggers.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I see it this way: If you want to convert me, or if, by some quirk, I accidentally manage to convert you, then fair is fair. It’s a good system, and it’s worked for thousands of years.
But for God’s sake, or for Allah’s, let’s don’t engage in the mutual adulteration of one another’s religions by dialoguing up buckets of nonsensical mush about how our square is really not so different from your circle.
All of which I mention only because I see once again where people who should know better have been playing at “interfaith dialogue.”
And I also feel a need to explain why, where I would ordinarily rely on quotations to better illustrate my point, when it comes to stories about ecumenical dialogue [sic], the language produced is so nauseatingly tepid and meaningless, that I can't find one thing substantial enough to find worth quoting, let alone worth re-reading. These interfaith events are the only examples I can think of where I actually support punitive government regulations being applied to compel drastic reductions in carbon emissions.
Poor Gregg Krupa at the Detroit News got the assignment to report about local Catholic and Muslim leaders gathering at the Islamic Center of America, where they “worshipped together,” (which is impossible), and, of course, contemplated, collaborated, dialogued, and spiritual journied, and all that other vapid nonsense. (“Catholic, Muslim interfaith dialogue opened”).
And the following will be my only example of the smog such unnatural intercourse brings:
"First of all, we recognize the fact that although these are two distinct religious traditions, we both have at their very heart good solid reasons why we engage in dialogue," said the Rev. Francis Tiso, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the bishops' conference.
The language abuse is bad enough. But for me, the really embarrassing thing is that the Catholic leaders really believe they are working toward a common goal of mutual understanding, whereas I have no doubt that the ISNA, (the Muslim Brotherhood front group that is organizing the Muslim role in this sideshow), wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t see in it some opportunity for dawah.
The Brotherhood in North America (again, for which the ISNA is a mere front) has gone on record that its goal is “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” ("Just What Is the MSA?").
In other words, (and I say it even with something like a grudging admiration), Islam just doesn’t do interfaith dialogue.
Islam’s idea of ecumenism, (which in its Greek root denotes the entire inhabited world), is to invite all nonMuslims on Earth to embrace Islam, and then, whoever refuses to accept it thereafter will be forced to submit to dhimmi status, Sharia law, and the payment of the Jizya tax, and, whoever refuses to pay the tax, will submit to being killed or sold into slavery. For that matter, those dhimmis who don’t resist haven’t any more rights than those who do, and may also be killed or sold into slavery.
Put bluntly, there’s no place in the Koran for sharing common theological ground with Kuffirs.
Which means there’s already a sizeable element of hypocrisy here, (or Taqiyya?), on the part of the Islamic hosts of this “dialogue.” I can’t imagine these discussions serve any other purpose for Muslims than to highlight the weak-mindedness and pliability of local Catholic leaders.
Nor can I take seriously the claims of the local interfaith participants that “they explored guidelines to govern attempts to convert Muslims to Catholicism and Catholics to Islam.”
Islam's guidelines on Muslims converting to Catholicism don't bear much exploring, because, quite simply: “The prophet Muhammad said that anyone who rejects Islam for another religion should be executed.” (“Conversion a thorny issue in Muslim world”).
We saw this last year after Abdul Rahman, an Afghani who converted from Islam to Christianity, faced execution for apostasy, and only escaped with his life by obtaining exile and asylum in Italy. In view of Rahman's case, Pope Benedict pointedly spoke about concerns he had about “communities who live in countries where there is a lack of religious freedom, or where despite claims on paper they in truth are subjected to many restrictions.” (“Italy Grants Asylum to Afghan Christian Convert”).
Last year during another interfaith field trip to the Islamic Center of America, we were witness to the spectacle of Catholic schoolgirls offered as lambs by their Catholic-school teachers to Islamic shearers. (“Catholic Schoolgirls Learn to Cover Hair, Think Islam Is 'Cool'”).
Since then we’ve seen instance after instance of Christians submitting to Islamic demands, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, (and Catholic), Nancy Pelosi, donning a hijab while engaged in an appeasement campaign with the dictator of Syria. Then there was Dutch Bishop Martinus “Tiny” Muskens suggesting “that Christians should refer to God as ‘Allah’ to promote better relations with Muslims.” (“Pray to Allah, Dutch Bishop Suggests”).
Then, there was Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who decided she was a Christian and a Muslim, “just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman.” ("I am both Muslim and Christian").
Okay, Redding is not a Catholic, but an Episcopalian priest. But in these circumstances I don’t know if Muslims place that much importance on distinctions among Christians.
My point is, search in vain for photos of young Muslim schoolgirls clutching rosaries, or poring over Bibles, or gathering in a Catholic sanctuary to hear explanations of the ancient Christian doctrines of the Atonement, and the Incarnation, and the Three in One cherished so dearly by those they’re pretending to be dialoguing with. You won't find those images. In these interfaith meets, Mohammed never goes to the mountain, but always vice versa.
And the symbolism of the Kumbayistas going as supplicants to the Islamic Center of America is not lost on the Muslim audience.
Fortunately, a lot of the local silliness of American prelates is neutralized by the firm pastoral hand of Benedict in Rome. Making short work of the recent duplicitous call for dialogue of the 138 Muslims a couple weeks ago, the Vatican promptly came out with a statement that dialogue was hardly possible when Muslims see the Koran as the literal word of God--strictly off-limits to interpretation or being discussed in depth. (“Cardinal signals firm Vatican stance with Muslims”).
Then, speaking for the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran also issued this further challenge:
The fact that Muslims can build mosques in Europe while many Islamic states limit or ban church building cannot be ignored, he said. "In a dialogue among believers, it is fundamental to say what is good for one is good for the other," he said.
Since Benedict knows perfectly well that Islamic leaders will never tolerate treating with Christians on equal terms, the impossibility of “dialogue” is baldly apparent. It’s also apparent which party is the intransigent one, and why. (Okay, for those who sometimes miss the obvious, it’s the Muslims ).
Someone's crying, Lord.
Oh, that would be me.
and the ones who say there isn't.
Why don't you come on back to the war?
--Leonard Cohen, “There Is a War”
As I see it, the greatest danger we face is not from the jihadists at all.
It’s not from the Iranian nuclear program, the al Qaeda cells festering here and abroad, the madrassas, the Arab language programs disseminating Wahhabism, the weak press, the appeasing politicians, the treacherous foreign ministries, the insane imams, the hobbled intelligence agencies, and most certainly not the thoughtless, feckless anti-Americanism of the radical Left.
The danger is all those millions of us who don’t believe there even is a war.
I say again, I’m not talking about the danger of CAIR or the other open apologists for jihad, nor the bitterly anti-American leftists, nor about the silly, spoiled, self-hating anarchists who’ve been the public face--and most useful idiots--of our jihadist enemies. We know they long for this country’s defeat, for whatever reasons, or lack of reasons, and in that war they've willingly chosen to side with our enemies.
But the real struggle we’re in right now is to wake up to the reality that we are in a war. As certain as most of our readers and I believe that we’re in a war, many of our countrymen are convinced that we are not.
And if we aren’t in a war, then doesn’t that make so much of what we’re trying to do in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with Iran and Syria, in the NSA and with the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay seem like so much unnecessary loss of life and cruelty?
Recently, Herbert E. Meyer at American Thinker had this to say about what’s been going on:
The 9-11 attacks did more than start a war; they started a war about the war. No sooner had the World Trade towers collapsed and the Pentagon burst into flames than two perceptions of the threat began competing for the public's support:
What he calls “Perception One,” that “we’re at war,” and “Perception Two,” that “we’re reaping what we’ve sowed” through our own unjust policies, which provoke occasional acts of violence against us by our many frustrated victims around the world. (“The War About the War”).
The problem with the two perceptions is that they can’t communicate with each other.
As Meyer explains:
There is no middle ground between these two perceptions….Either we're at war, or we've entered a period of history in which the level of violence has risen to an unacceptable level. If we're at war, we're in a military conflict that will end with either our victory or our defeat. If we're in an era of unacceptable violence stemming from our values and our policies, we are faced with a difficult but manageable political problem.
Meyer goes on to explain what many of us already know: in the war about the war, the holders of “Perception Two are pulling ahead”:
Here in the US, virtually every poll shows that a majority of Americans want us ‘out of Iraq’ sooner rather than later, and regardless of what's actually happening on the ground in that country. Support for taking on Iran - that is, for separating the Mullahs from the nukes through either a military strike or by helping Iranians to overthrow them from within - is too low even to measure. There isn't one candidate for president in either party who's campaigning on a theme of ‘let's fight harder and win this thing whatever it takes.’ Indeed, the most hawkish position is merely to stay the course a while longer to give the current ‘surge’ in Iraq a fair chance. Moreover, just chat with friends and neighbors - at barbeques, at the barbershop, over a cup of coffee - and you'll be hard-pressed to find a solid minority, let alone a majority, in favor of fighting-to-win.
However it's phrased, just about everyone is looking for a way out short of victory.
That’s what makes this such a dangerous time. The jihadists who are making war on us have absolutely no doubts that they’re in a war. And they’re fighting their war to win.
So when they begin to lose battles they shore up their defenses and call for more soldiers, money, and bombs. I doubt you’ll find an editorial anywhere in the Islamic press calling for al Qaeda to get out of Iraq because of their failed strategy.
I myself can’t credit the average American who discounts the war on terror as just a “so-called” thing with bad faith: look at what he’s been told by the popular press, and for how long he’s been told it. Our national ADD works against us here, too. 9/11 got our attention--but immediately the clock on that started ticking, and within 3 months the Democrats were right back to challenging the legitimacy of the 2000 election, and saying we deserved the hatred of the terrorists.
So are the Left and the Democrats all acting in bad faith, or are they just stupid?
I don’t know, but I’m inclined to believe the latter. To me it’s telling that since 9/11, with the exception of Senator Lieberman, the Democrats have consistently been incapable of identifying the focus of this war, or the scope of radical Islam, always reducing their idea of the “real” war on terror to catching bin Laden, or only fighting al Qaeda (just not al Qaeda in Iraq), or only fighting the “root causes” that force desperate, impoverished Arab males who can find no other meaning in a world than to become suicide bombers. They really just do not get this.
But our enemies are well aware of the war we’re having about whether there is a war, and they’re doing their best to keep those who don’t know there’s a war firmly stuck in that delusion.
The primary goal of CAIR, the ADC, and the other Islamic public advocacy groups defending jihad is not to plant IEDs in Peoria or Minneapolis, or to fire Kassam rockets into West Dearborn. It's to rush out after every media report of jihadist conspiracy or violence denying vehemently that the perpetrators’ actions had anything to do with Islam. There is no war! Islam is peace! Anyone who tells you that Islamic radicals are more than a tiny marginal group of hijackers of our religion is an Islamophobic bigot and a right-wing warmonger!
Now, Americans under the age of 67 happen to be hard-wired to no tolerance for being called any name ending in either -phobe or -ist. And where people believe it’s discretionary whether or not to see themselves as living in a time of war, or not, it’s only natural that so many opt out of war-thinking, especially if it’s a long and discouraging war. What was psychologically inescapable on 9/11 had become, by 11/11 or 12/11/2001, (like so many other American things), merely a matter of personal choice.
When Leonard Cohen wrote his song, “There Is a War,” he was exploring, I have always believed, the fundamental and pretty much unavoidable conflicts of fallen mankind: the wars between the man and the woman, the black and white, the left and right, the odds and the evens.
But it’s no peace song, it’s no antiwar anthem, which is why I love it. He gets his share of peaceniks applauding at all the wrong places when he performs, but I think Leonard sees farther than that. There is a war, he says. And so the only way forward is to fight it, not flee it, and not to pretend it isn't there. So why don’t you come on back to this war?
Running deep within the Christian imagery upon which Leonard Cohen heavily relies is the Pauline concept of spiritual warfare, of a soul battle in which every believer is engaged, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the world rulers of this present darkness. The irreducible strategy of prevailing in this war is not necessarily to win it, but often just "to stand," and never, ever to be lulled into the foggy delusion that there is no war.
As Cohen understands, ignorance of the war means subjection to the enemy, to weakness, to losing the war:
You cannot stand what I’ve become,
you much prefer the gentleman I was before.
I was so easy to defeat,
I was so easy to control,
I didn’t even know there was a war.
And when you don’t know there's a war on, your enemy going to gain a lot of ground before you know what's hit you.
Years later, when Leonard Cohen wrote about the 9/11 attacks in “On That Day,” he wasn’t buying the lazy self-blame and weak excuses, finding himself instead reacting with a sense of an almost martial loyalty, and duty:
Some people say
It's what we deserve
For sins against g-d
For crimes in the world
I wouldn't know
I’m just holding the fort.
Since that day
They wounded New York.
And later still others try to explain the attack in that: “They hate us of old/Our women unveiled/Our slaves and our gold.” But still he disclaims knowing that for the truth, and continues “just holding the fort.”
Still he won't leave it there. Because there’s a war, and where there’s a war, there are sides, and 9/11 means no one can be neutral any more.
But answer me this
I won’t take you to court
Did you go crazy
Or did you report
On that day
On that day
They wounded New York?
Go crazy, or report? Those are awfully stark choices for a Buddhist poet from Montreal.
A few years back leftist intellectuals were entertaining each other with books and articles explaining conservative opinions they disapproved of as symptoms of mental illness. I don’t feel right about returning the insult. I really don’t believe that everyone (but yes, some, definitely), who refused to “report” after 9/11 had gone crazy.
But I do believe that many people, naturally aroused after 9/11, scared themselves with their own anger, or maybe got scared for their, or their children’s, well-planned futures, and simply couldn’t face the reality of this particular enemy, fleeing for refuge right back into their own heads again.
Which isn’t exactly an example of complete mental health, either. It was tried before by many a war-weary Frenchman and Briton in the 1930s, leading inexorably to the deaths of many French and British during the 1940s. The mistake they made was believing they could simply will themselves at peace after a determined, armed, and ruthless Reich long since made its blood oath for total war.
This is Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. On campuses and in media all across the USA people are being told that Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is being organized by racists, and that its purpose is to foment hatred of Arabs and Muslims. Both statements are lies. The lies are intended to discount the reality that we are at war.
The purpose of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is to bring to people’s minds the fact that there is a war, that we have an enemy, and who our enemy is. The particular emphasis of the organizers is the brutality and injustice visited by Islamo-Fascist regimes upon women. As such, it is laying a heavy challenge of hypocrisy on the allegedly feminist and peace-loving pretenders of the American universities. Naturally, they aren't responding well.
Yeah, and if you didn’t know it already, the news that we're at war isn’t good news. But this is one of those times when what we don’t know might kill us.
As Mark Steyn wrote just before this year’s anniversary of 9/11, “Where’s the War?”:
In his pugnacious new book, Norman Podhoretz calls for redesignating this conflict as World War IV. Certainly, it would have been easier politically to frame the Iraq campaign as being a front in a fourth world war than as a necessary measure in an anti-terrorist campaign. Yet who knows? Perhaps we would still have mired ourselves in legalisms and conspiracies and the dismal curdled relativism of the Flight 93 memorial’s “crescent of embrace.” In the end, as Podhoretz says, if the war is to be fought at all, it will “have to be fought by the kind of people Americans now are.” On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.
What do you see?