Re: Robert A. Levy's Yaser Hamdi and Congress:
Mr. Levy, at my count you have just gutted the Amend. IV, V, VI & VIII. The problem with your argument is the following. The same branch of government that is making the charges is also presenting it's argument for closing the public process in the detention of the suspect. A direct situation that caused our forefathers to rebel against the crown.
It is odd that in this day and time, the government finds it necessary to shroud in secrecy the means by which they detain a suspect. We fought WWII without such mechanisms. Surely the government with all its resources can make its case without resorting to judicial trickery. Or is the Justice Dept. so incompetent they lack the facility to prosecute cases?
-- John McGinnis
Robert A. Levy replies:
The terms "unreasonable" seizures (Amend. IV), "due" process (Amend. V), "speedy" trial (Amend. VI), and "cruel" punishment (Amend. VIII) do not, in my view, foreclose the type of congressionally-enacted regime that I suggested in my article. That regime guarantees, after no more than 30 days of preventive detention, a public (not secret) hearing with access to counsel, among other safeguards.
I consider myself a hardcore civil libertarian, but I do not believe that WWII established a floor on civil liberties that cannot be breached no matter how different and dangerous the post-911 environment. Surely our Constitution can accommodate a brief period of preventive detention for suspected terrorists like Jose Padilla, who might well have murdered tens of thousands of innocent Americans. I am not suggesting that the treatment accorded Padilla was proper -- indeed, I have written elsewhere that his treatment was unconscionable and unconstitutional. But I am suggesting that Congress might have enacted a set of rules that would have permitted a few weeks of preventive detention without trampling on the Bill of Rights.
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's What To Do? What To Do?:
That final paragraph in Mr. Reiland's "What To Do" column probably explained my feelings better than 'most anything I'd read, 'til now.
I had been lamenting, tongue-in-cheek, "where's Ross Perot when we need him?" and still will probably vote for Mike Badnarik.
-- Geoff Brandt
Ralph Reiland's bit of humor on the inadequacies of democracy would be better offered in times when American men and women were not in the front lines -- in harm's way -- being wounded and killed. There are times when democracies must defend against inanities at home, and vicious attacks from abroad.
-- Allen O'Donnell
Mr. Reiland undermined his thesis when he used "enough monkeys pounding away at enough keyboards will eventually produce a perfect Sunday edition of the New York Times"--certainly not outside the realm of possibility currently.
-- Jenny Woodward
When reading the article I was reminded of one of the Man-on-the-Street TV interviews that Rush Limbaugh had on his TV show. On one occasion, the interviewing crew had pictures of world and U.S. leaders with a teaser thrown in. In most all of the interviews the only person identified was the teaser, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was Britney Spears.
-- Pete Brittain
Mr. Reiland's article brought back a memory to me of when I was elected a State Rep to the Vermont Legislature way back in '82. During the course of the "orientation" for freshmen Republicans (the Democrats had their own) it was mentioned not to worry about what the voters think about any particular vote since their attention span was less than 2 weeks. That was my introduction to the world of law making. In other words, what Mr. Reiland was talking about in his article is a known fact among the politicians and is used to their benefit constantly.
What can you expect though? We have a population that is basically addled when it comes to self-government. Imagine if our founding fathers came back today and saw some of the laws being passed in this country? They would probably wish they never fought for independence. We have made a mockery of the biggest gift a free people could ever have and that is the right to self-government under a just Constitution. The Founders did envision this as being a possibility, though. That is why they had a property requirement as a part of voting rights, and why they felt that education, in particular a moral one, was very essential to a free people.
Yes, they did disenfranchise some people based upon religion and other criteria, but isn't that what the liberals are trying to do today also? The Founders also saw the danger of an imperial judiciary subverting the Constitution to their own political agenda, thus the series of checks and balances. That today was been largely negated as the Congress and often the Administration have become subservient to an activist court. This is very evident at the state levels. However back to the main thought in the article. The reason why all this has taken place is that the average voter today doesn't have the intelligence or attention span of even a 2 year old when it comes to politics. Even the most educated among us tend to wax stupid when it comes to elections. That is a sad indictment of a people who in the past built the greatest and freest society on Earth. Next Tuesday, we have a choice to make which is more than just another election. It will determine whether we remain a free people or whether the great experiment called Democracy has run it's course.
-- Pete Chagnon
Re: Shawn Macomber's Our Reading of the Day:
Actually, libraries are filled with liberal action novels. That's why the vast right-wing conspiracy had to invent the Dewey Decimal System. Shhhhhhh......
-- Randy Gammon
BRINGING IT ON
Re: Pamela Yates's The Geek Factor:
To the editor of The American Spectator in response to this so-called article in your publication. Feel free to pass this on to its author, Pamela Yates.
The reason George Bush is not flaunting his personal war experiences is because he does not have any to flaunt. The fact is that Kerry not only went to Vietnam, but also while there, in combat situations, made quick decisions risking his own life to save others. He has personally shot and killed the enemy that threatened American troops under his command. If that is not showing that he is a real man I don't know what is. It is ironic that Pamela Yates, blinded by her partisan emotion (a feeling she is apparently against), can make an asinine argument that Kerry talks about being a real man, rather then showing it.
Had Kerry been a Republican such an argument would bring the author of the article into a state of uncontrollable rage. Then it would be un-American and unpatriotic. Since Kerry is a Democrat insulting his war record and spreading unscrupulous lies by people who did not serve with him (Swiftvets) is perfectly acceptable. At the same time asking questions about Bush's missing year of service in the Texas Air National Guard, otherwise known at the time as a place to sit out the war, is a bad thing liberals do to bring down the level of political rhetoric.
It took an incredible amount of personal courage to do what Kerry did in Vietnam and an equal amount of courage to protest the senseless war in which he took part after returning home. The closest Bush has ever come to resembling an alpha male is by yelling "Bring it on!" from a secure location thousands of miles away from where he sent our young men and women to die.
How that makes Bush more of a real man than Kerry, a decorated combat veteran is beyond me. And as for flaunting, if I hear one more time about what a strong leader Bush has been based on his idiotic decision to invade Iraq (in turn based on false premises) I will puke. Yelling "Bring it on!" at the enemy makes you an alpha male only when you are yourself in harm's way. Otherwise it makes you something that can't be printed here.
As for the author of the article wondering what has happened to the world around her in the last 30 years - the answer is very simple. It has evolved. I suggest that she make an effort to do the same.
-- Marat Ryndin
Re: Jed Babbin's Ghosts of 2000:
Jed Babbin is a gentleman. His assessment of this election's potential to go south in a big way (much like Jefferson Davis did) is well-modulated and sober.
We readers are gentlemen, too, and ladies. It is, therefore, upon us to take Mr. Babbin's warning very seriously, while comporting ourselves properly. Extremity in language and rash public behavior are, still, to be avoided.
Nonetheless, we should all be wide-eyed and howling inside, for there are three horsemen waiting at the gatehouse.
-- Paul Kotik
IN KERRY'S PEW
Re: George Neumayr's Kerry's Auxiliary Bishops:
I think George Neumayr hit the nail on the head with his analysis of the American Catholic bishops support of Kerry. In the wake of the terrible sex abuse scandal many of us orthodox Catholics are coming to the rude awakening that our bishops have left the Faith long ago for a vague politically-correct humanism that seems more Unitarian than Catholic.
Hold hands at Mass, sing Kumbaya, don't bring up any controversial issues, and we'll all call each other good Catholics is their motto. Oh, and don't forget the building fund, so we can democratize the church, knocking down beautiful churches to replace them with beautiful offices full of liberal staff. I've actually heard a priest, well known on Long Island for his diocesan TV program and work with troubled youth, say in a homily, "the only sin is that of intolerance."
The few bishops who hold true to the Church's teaching on the pro-life issue are suppressed and marginalized, as are we, the faithful who have tried to spread the word that letting John Kerry play the faithful Catholic is the worst kind of moral outrage.
I have distributed personally over 2,000 fliers from National Right to Life, merely outlining the candidate's stands on abortion at Catholic masses here on Long Island. I've had to operate stealthily, going into parking lots without pastor's permission. One pastor mocked the brochure, and threatened to "get to the bottom of it," as if some hate crime had been committed. Meanwhile, he presided at a class given by an ex-seminary professor who misrepresented all the moral teachings of the Church on sexuality.
The very fact that these two priests have the bishops' approval and pro-lifers don't, speaks volumes about their political stance. This problem can best be summarized with a quote by Senator Orrin Hatch, who called the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops "the Democratic Party at prayer."
-- Leticia Velasquez
East Moriches, New York
STEMS IN CIRCULATION
Re: Timothy Carney's letter ("Stemming Kerry Demagogy") in Reader Mail's Political Fatigues:
I second Mr. Carney's response to Mr. Turken's rather uninformed and muddled thinking letter. It has become all too apparent that the embryonic stem cell controversy has become a political football that Messrs. Kerry and Edwards are bound and determined to use in their favor, contrary to the real facts.
As a clinical biochemist, I am not involved in the field of stem cell research, but I have made it my choice to follow the developments drawing upon my own clinical background. At this point, there are now (as of 10/6/2004) 56 separate stem cell treatments utilizing adult stem cells, while there are none for embryonics. The use of stem cells obtained from fetal cord blood (obtained post-delivery) has shown great promise. Other research using embryonic stem cells has proven near disastrous, as these cells have spontaneously grown out of control into tumor-like masses. Yet the Doleful Duo of the Democratic party continue to rant and rave and claim like deranged faith healers that "miracles" are being prevented because we are not placing our faith in their hands and the hands of those who are pushing the use of embryonic stem cells (ESC).…
As far as the Alzheimer's treatment by ESC is concerned, and the recent claim by Kerry that "the current stem cell 'ban' is standing in the way of an Alzheimer's cure," columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is an M.D., quotes NIH stem cell researcher Ronald D.G. McKay as stating that "stem cells as an Alzheimer's cure is a fiction," but that "people need a fairy tale". Obviously, one told by the Brothers Grimm of the Democrats.
Carney correctly states "Again, scientists are allowed to use any cells they like. They are not allowed to use my money to create human life for the sake of experimentation or to do experiments on life created for that purpose." Allow me to remind everyone, especially Mr. Turken if he's reading this, that the Congress, since 1995, has annually reaffirmed, with support of both parties, its respect for early human life in the Dickey Amendment. This amendment specifically forbids federal funding of any research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed. The current 22 lines of embryonic stem cells available for research have already been derived from embryos that were destroyed before the ban was put into place.
Turken claims Carney is ignorant? The individual drinking the same delusion-inducing waters of Massachusetts as Senator Kerry seems to be the one that has no grasp on the realities of the subject.
-- James J. Bjaloncik
Re: David Hogberg's The Nation Loses Its Mind:
The article reports that The Nation magazine wrote that Bush "has pandered to a 'base' of religious fanatics, many of whom are looking forward to a day of 'rapture' when Jesus returns to earth and kills everyone but them [italics added]."
The folks at The Nation must not read their Bibles, or at least not carefully.
The Bible does not say that when Jesus returns and raptures believers into heaven that He will kill the remaining population. There will come a time of Tribulation when many people do die, but that's not at the Rapture. Everyone remaining is still allowed a choice of what they believe.
It's too common these days for people to claim things about what the Bible says without actually having read the Bible. But I suppose they don't really want to know what the Bible says, for then they would be forced to make a knowledgeable decision about whether they actually believe what the Bible claims.
-- Michael Cook
This was a good article, if the subject is one that is very evident to most of us. Given the level of liberal hysteria during this election cycle, it is not difficult to see their distress at the prospect of being out of the White House and not having control of congress.
Mr. Hogberg comments on The Nation describing the re-election of G.W. Bush as a "coup in slow-motion." This is indeed how most liberals and especially those who are closely involved in government or government affairs see it. This is not paranoia, however. This world-view is that of the liberal activist. It is their world-view.
For the last forty years, liberal activists and politicians have been actively engaged in just such a "coup in slow-motion." They have actively sought to transform this nation into one mirroring their own world-view.
To overcome the inertia (?) of the American people, they have enacted legislation designed to gradually erode the more conservative values of liberty and minimal government control. Aiding this is the work of radical judges and justices, who render judgments not only supporting radical actions but in some cases creating those actions. They do this by making "groundbreaking" legal interpretations. This is, of course, another way to say interpretations having no grounding in legislation, case law or the Constitution of the United States. And to prepare the way, the established media has been the propaganda arm of this same liberal movement. The media; through repetitive bias, innuendo and, sometimes, outright untruths; prepares the American public to accept these radical ideas as seeming sensible.
Now, why would the radical liberals of this country see a coup in the actions of conservative Republicans? Because it is the liberals' own agenda and methodology. That the American people have proven to be more intelligent and independent than they believed has shaken them deeply. Knowing their own struggle to "win" the hearts and minds of Americans, they believe that the more conservative Republicans are engaged in the same thing. This is not the case, however. For the Republicans are enjoying a mandate from the people, rather than having to deal with a coerced population. So, you see, this is not paranoia, it is projection. The projecting of one's own goals, objectives and methodology onto someone else, whether or not they share them. Are liberals losing it? You bet. Let's hope that they lose it entirely on November 2.
"Gee Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
-- Michael R. Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
It is fortunate that on this side of the pond, we live in the "civilized" world as opposed to Charlie Brooker's oh-so-"civilised" one. At the risk of showing my "civilised" side, though, I'll call Mr. Brooker a tosser.
-- Evelyn Leinbach
James makes the excellent point that pundits and politicians now use the nationwide vote counts to "prove" that Gore won. If Republicans in Democrat-controlled states (like mine: Maryland) don't vote (from frustration), then the nation-wide numbers will be skewed left again. There is a more sinister reason to vote. Every real vote must be cast to counter the fraudulent ones that get through! Sure, it's easy to catch the voter registrations with addresses that don't exist, but what about "smart" voter fraud? In my state, I don't have to prove I am me to register. That opens a whole can of opportunities for the unscrupulous. I am willing to bet that at addresses with willing participants, there are more registered voters than there are live humans.
For example, if the Democrats wanted to double their yellow-dog voters, all they need do is have them each register one fictitious voter at their home. If asked, they could claim it is a child who just achieved majority and registered for the first time. If they were afraid of being caught voting under a different name at the polling place, they could vote the fraudulent voter by absentee ballot, and vote their own in person.
It seems to me that all voters should have some evidence of existence. Excepting San Francisco and Berkeley, a person must be a citizen to vote. Barring extraordinary circumstances, U.S. citizens will have a SSN. It is needed to access almost everything from a job to health care.
I would think that if U.S. elections are to remain legal, then only human beings who are alive and living as U.S. citizens should be allowed to register to vote. Otherwise, we should let everyone "vote early and vote often" and give the elected offices to the people who can get the largest number of the 650 trillion registered voters in each county in America.
-- Newt Love
EMMY OF THE WEEK
Re: George Neumayr's Liberalism Camouflaged:
To paraphrase an old line, "John Kerry isn't a Conservative, but he plays one on TV."
-- Chris Norman
Durham, North Carolina