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Odd Behavior

Has Jack Bauer gone soft? Democrats and waterboarding. Democrats and taxes. Dobson's cast of thousands. Plus much more.

11.13.07

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GREEN IN THE FACE
Re: Philip Klein's Jack Bauer's Creator Speaks:

Philip Klein's piece read: "'To me, the liberal movement is old and repressive,' he said. 'If you want drinking, smoking, and red meat, you have to hang out with Republicans.'

"That's the advice Joel Surnow, the executive producer of the hit television series 24..."

Excuse me!

24 now has gone "green" in loud and unending show promos. Jack has made public service announcements that we have nothing to fear from Islam and can sleep tight in our beds. The writers and producers have gone out of their way apparently to appease CAIR and other hate America, pro-jihad groups by not using Arabs as villains, even the head choppers and even shown how we should "understand" them?

Oh, please this desperate attempt to summon back the "faithful" is pitiful when viewed against the show promos we have been exposed to over the last year...
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

I found it interesting to read "Jack Bauer's Creator Speaks" and learn that Joel Surnow (the creator) claims that 24 is a conservative show. The fact that Jack Bauer follows no law but his own, and frequently violates a wide variety of rights, is not, by the common understanding of the term, conservative. That he is willing to protect this country and recognizes the threat posed by terrorism does, I grant, put him far outside the mainstream of any in the Democrat party.

But having a widely successful show, and arguing that it allows him the freedom to do what he wants, why does series creator Surnow write stories straight out of the liberal Hollywood playbook? Sure there have been a few Arab Islamofascists portrayed (often with plenty of caveats and sops to the CAIR crowd -- such as last season's terrorist stand-in for UBL who wanted to find peace), but generally they are red herrings for the (fill-in-the-blank group of) rogue military, intelligence, Freemason/Luminati/Halliburton/Neo-Nazi death cult that has somehow infiltrated the White House and is plotting a coup -- all of whom are always led by right-wingers in the mold of Richard Nixon, Dick Cheney or other liberal bogeyman. How is 24's past story line of Serb war criminals, Russians looking for past Soviet glory, or a sinister shadow cabinet planning to unleash nukes on a U.S. city any different from the cartoon villains depicted in Ben Affleck's Sum of All Fears or the bad guy right-wing military unit in Die Hard 2, The Rock or some other nonsensical liberal hokum?

If you want me to believe that it is a conservative show, how about having a terrorist plot involving real terrorists -- Al Qaeda types perhaps? And maybe they're being aided in their plan to destroy America by a female Democrat Senator with thoughts of running for President hoping to embarrass the Republican administration, or a cabal of shadowy global financiers who operate a variety of 527 organizations, which may be fronts for anti-Americans world-wide, or a group of rich pampered lawyers representing G'tmo inmates interested in advancing their own egos regardless of the consequences to the country. Something like that would be a conspiracy I'd be interested in seeing portrayed.
-- Chris Booth
Herndon, Virginia

Mr. Surnow, as quoted by Mr. Klein, is absolutely correct. Conservatives have behaved exactly like their radical, liberal counterparts now controlling the Democrat party.

Conservatives spent enormously and foolishly, having the federal government do things that need not be done at all.

Conservatives grew venal and corrupt, being driven by polls and power.

Conservatives created a double standard for living. One for us and one for them.

And yes, conservatives became hypocritical too. Just look at the bathroom behavior of a senator.

All-in all conservatives transformed themselves into radical liberal Democrats.

The solution? America desperately needs leadership, fiscal responsibility, and a man or woman who will speak directly to the people, and not permit their message of pride in America, achievement, and self reliance to be filtered by the entirely left-wing MSM.

Conservatives must to be bold people, with huge dreams and confidence in America's freedom that radiates in their every word and deed. They must accomplish things.

Let timidity, cowardice, incrementalism, victimhood, and venality be forever the province of radical liberal Democrats, and them alone.
-- Jay Molyneaux

TORTURED LOGIC
Re: Mark Goldblatt's Torturous Questions:

So that's what the Senate's expert on death by drowning said about waterboarding, this time around. Somehow, it didn't get reported in any mainstream media I saw.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Kennedy is a good one to talk about waterboarding being a simulated drowning. What does he call death by drowning? Too bad we cannot check with Mary Jo Kopechne.
-- Elaine Kyle

When compared and contrasted to beheading, stoning, mutilation of many hideous forms, how can anyone say waterboarding is torture? No one dies and no one loses vital body parts -- they are terrified they MIGHT die. But what is so bad about that?

There you have it. As always when the DC-types start massaging their thoughts (and ours), all good sense goes out the window!!!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

The OED defines torture as "the infliction of severe bodily pain especially as a punishment or a means of persuasion." As evidenced by the Democrat led inquisition of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, many Americans and their elected representatives wish to prohibit the U.S. government, its armed forces and its agencies by statute from ever engaging in torture. Those opposed to the practice inevitably assert that an individual subjected to torture will ultimately say or sign whatever will result in terminating the torture, whether or not the statement is true or false. For the vast majority of individuals subjected to torture, this assertion is demonstrably true. But should that be the one and only criterion for deciding on the moral justification or lack thereof for torture?

Never considered during the Mukasey hearings, neither in Congress nor in the press, are the two very different circumstances for imposing torture or physical coercion. One circumstance is to obtain a "confession." The other is to obtain information that is not necessarily relevant to future treatment of the object of the torture or physical coercion. Most Americans, regardless of their political persuasion, categorically reject the use of torture to obtain the former result. John McCain, perhaps the most prominent Republican to abjure the use of torture under any circumstances, was himself the victim of torture courtesy of his North Vietnamese captors while, unlike al Qaeda and virtually all Afghan and Iraqi detainees, a prisoner of war clearly compliant with and protected by the Geneva Convention, and for the ostensible purpose of obtaining a "confession" of his "war crimes," if not simply for the sheer sadism of imposing it. No American is making an argument in favor of torture to obtain a "confession." Perhaps the most historically astonishing example of torture, at least by modern standards, for the purpose of obtaining a "confession" is documented by Gibbon in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Gibbon notes that Roman officials found it "helpful" to torture individuals who were suspected of engaging in the then forbidden rites of Christianity. In this particular context, "suspects" who under torture denied the "crime" were exonerated and free to go. Only those "serious" cases who even under torture admitted to the "crime" were eventually dispatched in the gruesome manner that Imperial Rome found appropriate.

But applying torture or physical coercion to obtain information is a different matter. No "confession" is implied. Immunity could even be legitimately awarded. In this context, no "right" answer, no "yes, I did it," is implied or demanded. Information is extracted, and its validity independently tested. When the timely application of such information results in the saving of American lives, versus when the failure to obtain such information results in the potentially catastrophic loss of American lives, is the case against torture then as simple as the single criterion mentioned in the first paragraph above?

Most Americans if asked "is there any circumstance where killing an enemy of the United States is morally justified" would answer in the affirmative. If it can be morally justified in some circumstance to kill an enemy of the United States, why would it never be morally justified to make an enemy of the United States say "ouch"? Does the difference in the contexts, battlefield versus basement cell, somehow reverse the common sense moral preference for survivable coercion versus death? And if not, then has the Congressional committee and its supporters in the electorate failed to completely think the matter through?
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

UNCOMMON NONSENSE
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Credibility Tax:

The Credibility Tax must find it's way to a bumper sticker. This is a fabulously wicked article about an idea whose "time" has apparently come!
-- Tina Salisbury
Chico, California

Regarding Jeffrey Lord's credibility tax; I think he is on the right track. However I would like to suggest a little grander vision.

I propose a Constitutional amendment that makes liable for any new tax increases only the constituents of those congressmen who vote for the increase. Conversely only those citizens who live in the districts of congressmen who vote for tax cuts would receive them. I believe that would permanently end the problem of our increasing tax burden.

The only fly in the ointment is the necessity of a constitutional convention to craft the amendment as it obviously would never make it out of Congress.
-- Brian Bonneau

I love it! To think that these panderers could have put their money where their mouths are, figuratively and literally.

Let's see; there are 280 of them in Congress @ $160K each. If they went the full monty @ 15%, that would tabulate to $ 6.7 million per annum. Hillary could get her hippie museum and Johnny could put a down payment on his intelligence center -- no, wait, that already went through.

Using the constant dollar method over the 167 years that the "Gifts to the United States" program has been in place and available for liberals in all shapes and sizes to use, the total would have been $1.1 billion -- that represents quite a few down-and-outers getting their health care, housing, and food gratis.

The Dems should put up or shut up, preferably both.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Ah, the joy of proclaiming "tax the rich" always does seem to involve picking somebody else's pocket, doesn't it? But keep in mind that these guys don't just want to decide who and what to tax, they also want to be in charge of spending the money when it comes in. From their point of view, who better than they?
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Jeffery Lord has hit another home run with his article "The Credibility Tax." Republicans in Congress and groups like the Club for Growth need to start running ads nationwide, demanding that rich Democrats who want to raise taxes on working Americans ante up 15% for the national deficit, right now, from their personal incomes. If they refuse, as they will, they should be pilloried for the two-bit "populists" and hypocrites they are. Of course, these "inordinately" rich liberal pols and vulture capitalists (the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Rangel, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Gore, Soros, Buffett and Gates) will not only refuse to sacrifice they will do everything they can to punish good Americans who actually contribute to society by their work and efforts.

To paraphrase King Juan Carlos -- it is time for Democrats to put up or just SHUT UP!!!!
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

What makes a great Democrat? One who wants to raise taxes on others, but not themseslves.
-- Mark L. Saleman
Flushing, New York

RETROSPECTIVE EASE
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's The 9/11 Blame Game:

The problem with 9/11 is that the Bush administration and its supporters rushed to judgment as they had planned to do all along and blamed the wrong country. To this day, the real perpetrators are out there, probably gloating over their accomplishments while thousands of Americans and Iraqis die for a deed of which they have no responsibility. Even if Hussein had WMDs, which he did not, that did not justify what Bush has set forth in Iraq -- an unending unjustified debacle that has no end.
-- MM

Nice job of stating the obvious but often overlooked aspects of 9/11 and the American responses. Consider writing the same piece about Katrina. I suspect even the mayor of New Orleans did not do everything wrong.

In retrospect,
-- Bob Sneed

SAFETY FIRST
Re: The Prowler's Turningi Up the Heat:

The endorsement of Rudy by the legendary Pat Robertson shows the pure logic of those who think with their brains and are not guided by emotion. The only, I repeat, ONLY candidate with a shred of a chance of defeating the demon that wants our freedom is the true blue conservative Rudy Giuliani. Ask yourselves, my fellow conservatives, who has the fire in the gut required to take the cross and garlic to the true enemy in this upcoming campaign? Please, don't let the names of the small candidates pass your lips. Those who understand the truly monumental importance of this election don't waste their time pondering alternatives to the One and Only. Once again, the true issues are the safety of the Americans and their allies and the pruning back of the endless assault on our personal and economic liberties. Rudy is a man who does not care who likes or dislikes him in the political arena. He has an objective: the defeat of the countries enemies, whether they are foreign or domestic, and the whimpering cries of the endlessly affronted liberal will not deter him. The pointless issue of abortion, used as a dagger by Democrats for decades to defeat Republicans, is an issue to be determined by the COURTS, not by the opinions of individuals. Guess what? Rudy will appoint justices along the line of Scalia, Thomas and Roberts. So drop your pointless quibbling, pull out those checkbooks and focus your energy on the only candidate that will beat the brutal and avaricious Hillary like a bloody drum: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.
-- Steve Heafey
Alamo, California.

The Democrats have no choice but to nominate Zell Miller for President...a true man...a Truman...a real Democrat.

Fred Thompson looks like a bloodhound. Rudy looks like a pit bull and Hillary is a Shitzu.

I want a pit bull in the White House.
-- Fred Edwards

SPEAKING FOR THOUSANDS
Re: The Prowler's Huckabee's Salvation:

I was indeed surprised at such an uninformed report from The American Spectator. I would expect such from others who are not so interested in the facts, but not from you.

The Prowler?

Honestly, that's pretty telling. Maybe next time you would want to choose someone with a little more maturity who would be interested in facts, not tales, when reporting on a story with such a widely-known base of listeners of Dr. James Dobson has.

While your story raised some eye-brows. I'm afraid the eye-brows were raised at your credibility, not Dr. Dobson's. He is wide open on his views. He is not shy, nor is he secret in his beliefs. Maybe, your Prowler fellow or gal should tune in and listen and then there would be no doubt where the man stands. Or perhaps he or she should have just contacted Dr. Dobson personally and asked for the facts. Wouldn't that have been a noble idea!

Your report reminded me of the teenager playing mind games to manipulate situations. If you knew very much about Dobson or his listeners, you would know that they do what they do based on their world view and belief system and most likely will not be swayed, nor even upset greatly by your Prowler reporter/contributor. (I have problems giving him/her a title of reporter.)

And, just for your information, there are thousands of us out here in voter land who know exactly what we are going to do when that important day arrives to pull the lever, punch or mark the ballot. We just don't talk to contributors called "Prowler." I do hope that you, as editor of The American Spectator will take a more hands-on approach the next time you endorse a story that has such a huge audience. It will do your publication well. Right now there is a huge black eye bulging from your front page cover with your name on it.

Thank you very much for hearing me out. I have respected the Spectator publication in the past, and will be watching attentively to what happens with this story in the future as I am sure thousands of Dr. Dobson's listeners will be.
-- Nancy Boren

OUR ENEMIES
Re: Jeff Emanuel's The Longest Morning:

First and foremost, from one Iraqi Combat Vet (Desert Storm) to another (Operation Iraqi Freedom), bravo zulu. Mr. Emanuel, your article "The Longest Morning" (AmSpec November 2007) was compelling reading of the highest order. Finding one word from over three thousand may well be nitpicking in the extreme, but on page 34 you refer to the enemy combatants as "these animals." Words have meaning and consequences, and because you chose every other word with such precision and aptitude, I find making a case against this slur to be imperative.

The gods were not angry that Achilles killed Hector in mortal combat but that Achilles acted with shame and desecrated the body of his enemy. Such immoral actions grew out of the seeds of seeing his enemy as less than human. The soldiers who died honorably in Somalia where mistreated much as our Greek hero, and if the Boy President had any testicular fortitude, he would have sought justice for our fallen heroes instead of withdrawing in dishonor. (That our troops were deployed on a mission that was not in U.S. interest is not argued here; that the Prez withdrew our troops for cowardly reasons of his own may be disputed.) The insurgents have a mission that is as important to them as ours is to us. Yes, theirs is misguided and wrong. (With all due respect to Mark Twain and Bob Dylan, God is on our side in this war.) As a nation, and especially as warriors, we are compelled to remember we are not leading animals to slaughter, but we are killing enemy combatants, human beings. We do this willingly knowing full well the costs. If we do not know it in the moment itself, we often do with forethought, and certainly in reflection.

Dehumanizing our enemy lands us in their snare; they cannot conceive of us humans of differing ideology. To them, we are simply infidels to be destroyed. We retain the moral high ground as long as we retain our dignity and allow others to do the same. America has shown a great tolerance for others, including the Arab world for most of our short existence. (I am no Pollyanna; I understand both the history and the Realpolitik of America's past; we are not a perfect nation, but ours is still a shining light to the world.) Despite the foul rhetoric of many who hate America (especially our own citizens), let it be remembered, we did not go looking for a fight; the fight was brought to us because our enemies hate and demonize us. If they saw us as fully human, they might come to convert us, but they do not seek conversions; they seek annihilation.

If we are to remain a moral people, we cannot kill because we despise "these animals," but we will act to protect ourselves and seek justice. By choosing this course of action we will have both peace and dignity. This is the American way.

No warrior prays for war, but war is often necessary. War has come to us, since our warriors have entered combat, they must be prepared to act morally, even in the most extreme of conditions, or they may very well jeopardize the very ideals for which we fight.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

DON'T DOUBT THOMAS
Re: Michael Showalter's letter (under "Dorell vs. Thomas") in Reader Mail's Dobson's Relevance:

I'm not sure whether I can make enough sense of Mr. Showalter's letter to muster up a decent response, but what the heck?

Income tax doesn't seem to have much to do with Clarence Thomas, but yes, I support it. Mr. Showalter may feel comfortable without national security, roads, government, etc., but those are things that I find come in handy from time to time. Certainly I agree that the tax code has been manipulated by various special interests and ought to be simplified. As far as redistribution of wealth is concerned, I would like to see wealthy Americans, hedge fund managers in particular, pay taxes at a regular income tax rate rather than at a capital gains rate.

My point about Clarence Thomas wasn't that I think affirmative action is the greatest invention since apple pie, or that all of the entitlement legislation from the 1960s and 1970s was a good idea. I would go as far as to say that it would be in the interest of the nation to provide some support to disadvantaged members of the population, but not to the extent, say, of providing financial restitution to the descendants of slaves, which I think would be absurd. I was simply concerned that Justice Thomas bit the hand that fed him. For Thomas to say that affirmative action should be banned is like Fidel Castro saying that all future revolutions should be banned: in both cases, they would be renouncing everything that gave them a voice in the first place. In Thomas's case, he is telling blacks that it was OK for him to get the benefits and become a Supreme Court Justice, but that it was, after all, a bad idea, and no one else deserves the privilege. If affirmative action is unconstitutional, its downfall should come from someone other than a hired hand of the conservative establishment who has been disowned by the majority of blacks.

Unfortunately for Mr. Showalter, I am retired now and have plenty of idle time to peruse all kinds of nonsense. You may hear from me occasionally, but don't worry -- I'm mellowing with age.
-- Paul Dorell
Evanston, Illinois

TALKING POINTS
Re: Michael Tomlinson's letter (under "Laugh In") in Reader Mail's Dobson's Relevance:

Among the many factual errors and faulty judgments in Mr. Tomlinson's letter, I draw your attention to:

Mr. Tomlinson asserts "The war in Iraq was never waged for oil. Mr. Greenspan acknowledges this in his recent book." Unless Mr. Greenspan recanted or shaded his opinion, and I missed it, he said exactly the opposite.

Further, Mr. Tomlinson writes, "Even before Jimmy Carter abetted the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, created the theocracy in Iran and gave birth to modern Islamic extremism the poppy was the major cash crop of Afghanistan." The Carter administration spent at least $40 billion aiding the Taliban against the Soviets. Mr. Tomlinson has an interesting understanding of what it means to "abet." Of course, we all know that nothing happened in Iran prior to Mr. Carter's administration to lay the foundation for theocracy, nor were there Islamic extremists before he was inaugurated. Just as we all know that Mr. Reagan single-handedly destroyed the Soviet Union in eight years.

Talking about LOL moments:

Talking points -- Since when have Democrats/liberals been able to get it together to have "talking points"? The Republican/conservatives are masters at this art form.

Clinton's Chinese and Muslim buddies -- The Clintons' ties to the Saudi royal family pale in comparison with the longstanding Bush family ties. I don't recollect ever seeing Mr. Clinton walking hand-in-hand, literally, with a Saudi prince as did Mr. Bush. The sight must have been disconcerting for some. As for the Chinese, they are laughing all the way to the bank. The "spend and charge" Republicans have put us into enormous debt and the Chinese hold the note.

"Moving the ball." Remind me again of how many justifications the Bush administration floated for the war in Iraq. Now that was moving the ball!

I could go on, but at the expense of wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.
-- Mike Roush
North Carolina

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