Spokesman Stein - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Spokesman Stein

May I mention the unmentionable?

To the staff and news people at The American Spectator! A blessed Christmas and a wonderful prosperous New Year’s. I have enjoyed reading every news item you print on the net. You guys and gals keep me sane (kinda). Thanks!
Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana

Re: Ben Stein’s A Patriot Acts:

Ben, please, seek an appointment as the President’s PR guy. Your writing style and his speaking style are perfectly matched. More important, your words on paper are undoubtedly the words in his mind. These common sense but powerful and compelling messages are the ones that President Bush should be shouting from his bully pulpit at every opportunity!
Doug Nichols
Seattle, Washington

Dr. Stein should be the new White House spokesman. He would even be better than Ari Fleischer was. (Boy, do we miss him). He simply hits the nail on the head every time. Brilliant!
John P.
Elmhurst, Illinois

How wonderful it is to have someone like Ben who is able to state so clearly what most of us believe, but can’t always find the words.

Right on, Ben!!!
Tom O’Reilly
South Portland, Maine

Ben has done it again. His common sense and insight are wonderful. Maybe we all needed a little slap in the head to bring us back to our senses, Ben slapped us. Good load of ammunition here to toss at our other enemies. Anyway, Merry Christmas to all and God Bless us, everyone.
Pete Chagnon

If the RATS are willing to torpedo 300 million Americans should they ever regain power, what are 25 million Iraqis to them?
Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

You miss the point, friend. We should not have to wait until someone is harmed before calling for some really hard questions regarding the Patriot Act. You see, Ben, the U.S. Constitution may be at stake here, and we should be asking some questions about all this. Asking questions, challenging the President is good American-ism. That your article appears on the same internet page that carries an ad equating the ACLU with communism suggests that a broad understanding of American history — including vigorous dissent — is missing here. Freedom was gained at a hell of a price, Ben, and while previous presidential actions have undercut those freedoms for periods of time, they were so stated by the Presidents doing the curtailing! But, Ben, “this President” denies he is undercutting the Constitution, even for the duration of the war. Yet, your argument in defense of Bush’s moves admits we are chipping away at the Constitution. We can’t debate this both ways: either the President is correct in saying that his actions do NOT undermine the Constitution, or YOU are correct in saying they do, and we can justify doing so by referring to past actions by presidents. So, which way is it? Is Bush correct? Or are you correct? You’re defending Bush with an argument he denies!

That one justice, appointed to his post by a Republican says there are serious legal questions in Bush’s moves, and in light of that question resigned his post, suggests there may be something afoot here, Ben, that needs airing. After all, we are all in it together.

Has anyone been hurt by the Patriot Act and wire-tapping? That is NOT the point here, Ben. The point is one of constitutional philosophy, as well as freedom. That officials have admitted they have gone beyond what the Patriot Act intended, that the agencies, by law, directed to spy on foreign sources have spied ON AMERICANS, is a strong indication the law has been broken. Are you willing to wait until someone is “hurt” by Bush’s actions before taking a different stance? Is that your criteria? Someone being hurt? Ben, by the time someone is hurt, history tells us it’s too late.

When the populace allows the leadership of a nation to break the laws of that country, and does not question those acts, we come close to the actions of the 1930s in Europe. You see, Ben, America lost a lot of lives in securing freedom; we have a knee jerk reaction to question every effort to chip away at those freedoms, regardless of the circumstances. Such is the glory of American Freedom.

Sure, question moves by our leaders appears to undercut those leaders. But to NOT question, undercuts the very root of American Freedom.

So, Ben, be glad the questions are being raised. Remember, your guy is in power, your party is in power — and all should be well with the country. If the right-minded people are in control you should have no problem. Oh yeah, Ben, IF it turns out that your guy and his people HAVE broken laws, will you be ready to stand up as a good American and demand they be impeached as you did when a previously thoughtless president behaved miserably in his private life? After all, we are asking questions this time that affect the lives — and deaths — of Americans. Last time, Ben, it was one man’s zipper we were dealing with; this time it’s the lives of young Americans, and the very freedoms they are supposedly dying for.

And, there is one more thing to consider here, Ben: So many of the people you support are under clouds of wrong-doing, it is appropriate that the American people ask a lot of questions of just about every act our leaders take. That so many of those leaders stand to make billions of dollars off this war, means the American people need to have a lot of answers to a lot of questions.

Oh yeah…seeing that your website equates the ACLU with communism, will you be offended when right-wing organizations are equated with the Nazis? Remember, Ben, the Nazis condemned questioning, and if one did question, they were sent off to concentration camps. Ben, are you comfortable with this kind of atmosphere in America? I’m not, and I’ll be damned if someone like you is going to label me, or any liberal, a communist! Shame on you, Ben, shame on you. That’s about as Un-American as a person can be!

Shame on you!
R. S. Hale

This should be required reading for all persons in our country. When will certain individuals come to their senses? After another attack on U.S. soil?
Thanks and Merry Christmas,
John P. Walks, P. E.
Pascagoula, Mississippi

Stein center punches the Left again.

I think it is time for another vote in Congress. When phone numbers or similar information are discovered that may have links to the War on Terror, do we throw them away or investigate? If they have no value, then stop risking life and spending resources to get them.

Just vote on it and record the votes. This controversy is another attempt to alter the assumption that we are at war with a stateless terror group to an assumption that we are experiencing an isolated event of criminal activity. Some people still want to retreat to the warm and fuzzy safe spot in their mind that equates planes crashing into buildings with an abused and misunderstood gang that was vandalizing a few buildings on 9-11. This world view is dangerous and the voter needs to have it on record where their representatives stand on this.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

As usual Mr. Stein is eloquent and persuasive. The Democrats aren’t. They have become a bunch of collective whiners and most southern states that were once solid Democrats will never be again. This is a shame. We ought to have two political parties in America. We may never again. However, that isn’t what worries me and keeps me up at night.

As a mother of two in the military what bothers me about the Democrats harping all the time is its effect on our soldiers and the encouragement of our enemies. These Senators and Congressmen have forgotten we have a country we could lose. Yes, lose. We could lose this war and do they think the enemy would give them and the ACLU their civil rights?

But, most of all I am bothered by the real enemies of America, those that leak secrets. Shameful, President Bush called them. He was polite. I would have called them treasonous. We need to bring back that term and file charges on those who leak deliberately. And the parents of those who have died since these secrets were leaked and since our enemies were refueled to fight us need to file a class action lawsuit naming the names of Senators like Durbin, Schumer, Kerry, Kennedy, and those others who gave comfort to the enemy. They should file under the charges of reckless endangerment.

America needs to rise up against the stupidity and stupid showmanship by a party that truly threatens our civil rights, those who caterwaul from Congress.
Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Perfect article, as usual. I say a pray everyday that the Dems do not get back in power with their tails tucked between their legs, since Clinton used a cigar maybe that is all they have between their legs. The Dems want to hand our country over to the EU or worse the UN, if you care about your FREEDOM do not let the Democrat party get back in power.
Elaine Kyle

The unmatchable Ben Stein (who always draws heavy Reader Mail reaction) drew the ultimate conclusion about “opponents” of President Bush in today’s TAS offering, saying, “…I am afraid that they would rather have us lose the war and humiliate Bush than win the war and have Bush succeed…”

Ben, of course, has nailed it again. ALL of the feigned outrage, ALL of the smug self-righteousness, ALL of the furrowed-brow media journalistic “concerns” about the war are nothing more than political theater. Most national political figures are not dumb people (as opposed to the Hollywood and media types who so often are). They know that what they say- or neglect to say- is harmful to the President and our troops and helpful to our enemies. However, the embarrassment of being forced politically to be so wrong time after time and watching a man they consider their inferior making the right moves precludes their support. The magnitude of such naked political vanity is without precedent when only a mensch like Joe Lieberman will offer a positive message on the war.

Thanks for asking the questions, Mr. Stein. Americans already know the right answers. Happy Hanukkah to you and your family.
Deane Fish
Altamont, New York

Thank you for pointing out so clearly and concisely what should be obvious to all.
Ben Stein for President in 2008!
Julie Mastroserio

Read with great interest Ben Stein’s article on the Patriot Act. Sadly; Ben forgets one thing; to Chuck Schumer, John Kerry and Ted “Water Buffalo” Kennedy, George Bush is the enemy. They view the President as an illegitimate imposter, elevated to office by the Supreme Court. Subsequent electoral victories in 2002 and 2004 were hysterical reactions from bumbling voters to the attack of Sept 11, 2001, at least according to their gospel. Sadly; it’s my belief the aforementioned Senators, their supporters and acolytes would secretly revel in a lost Iraq and another attack on our soil.
Bob Montrose
Fort Lee, New Jersey

Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Accidents Happen:

Alas, as one willing to defend “Intelligent Design” I was disheartened by Mr. Homnick’s emotional plea to Beauty as the ultimate answer to “random evolution.” Each example proffered is SO EASILY explained in Darwinian terms, I hope this isn’t the best AmSpec can offer from the design camp!

Take “bad smells” for example. Obviously, the gaseous or small-particulate matter wafting through the atmosphere doesn’t INHERENTLY smell “good” or “bad” — it’s quite literally in the nose of the beholder! (Or even more accurately, the BRAIN of the beholder.)

It’s not mere chance — Darwinians would say — that we have evolved to think of things such as feces and decomposing flesh as a “bad” smell (and the corollary, bad-tasting). And although there is no “benefit” to the “bad”-smelling object, well, the object is what it is and it outgasses what it outgasses; that is entirely neutral. That is, no benefit-to-the-object is even NEEDED for the Darwinian to point out that the benefit comes to the potentially-consuming organism in evolving its own tendency to THINK of certain scents as “bad” odors, since consumption or even mere living amongst the stuff can be deleterious to one’s health. And this evolutionary step isn’t mere “chance,” but rather the Darwinian mechanism of Natural Selection simply caused more critters who equate these chemical odors with “bad” to survive to produce more offspring, than those who might revel in the scent.

Use-of-existing-functions questions such as like why we think of certain scents as “bad,” are virtually ALL quite easy to answer strictly Darwinian terms once an organism exists that is already HAS the underling capabilities (in this case, a. smell and b. thought). Intelligent Design relies more on questioning how IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX, but fundamental, biological functions came to be in the first place. The first hurdle for Darwinians being the “birth” (by whatever term they would used) of the very first self-replicating living cell; and there are plenty more hurdles higher up the complexity chain.

Won’t any of your authors PLEASE read Darwin’s Black Box (or comparable ID explication), and give us an article or more on the SCIENCE of Intelligent Design??? Such DOES exist, and IS sound, self-“I’ll-be-called-‘activist'” activism-denying judges notwithstanding…
Kevin Amaro
Hayward, California

Thanks for “Accidents Happen” by Jay Homnick. To paraphrase George Orwell, some things are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them. Random evolution assaults everything we know to be true about life and the universe and expects us to swallow it uncritically. If we don’t, they call us “science haters.”

Those of us who love real science should consider ways to rescue science from evolution. Much of evolution is junk science at its best. Here are some examples:

1. In the theory of the formation of the universe, evolutionists expect us to believe that energy suddenly popped into existence out of nothing. No evidence exists that such an event can, or has ever, happened.

2. Evolution teaches that the energy that came from nothing “cooled” and transformed into matter. No evidence exists that energy can be transformed into matter. Scientists have searched for a generation for the Higgs Boson that would make the transition possible and finally gave up. While it’s easy to see matter turned into energy, reversing the process is impossible. Science teaches us that energy does not condense into matter, as does water vapor, but dissipates into lower forms of energy.

3. Biological evolution tries to convince us that living things can come from nonliving matter. Again, no evidence exists that such a thing is possible or has ever happened.

4. Creationists divide evolution into micro and macro. Micro evolution is nothing more than what farmers have practiced for millennia and call selective breeding. Darwin’s great contribution to knowledge was simply that selective breeding can happen in nature. He then proposed that selective breeding can change one animal into a completely different one, which we call macro-evolution. Almost all of the evidence for the theory of evolution comes from micro-evolution, which creationists have no problem with. We disagree that these micro changes can result in macro changes. Evolutionists argue that there is no reason to divide evolution into micro and macro; that the process is seamless. But that just begs the question, where is your evidence that the process is seamless? The fossil evidence for macro-evolution is so sparse that evolutionists spend most of their time explaining why they have so little evidence. But a truly scientific theory should be based on evidence, not excuses.

In fact, we argue that if macro-evolution were true, we should not only find millions of transitional fossils, but we should be able to visit a wild life preserve and see creatures in all stages of transition.

5. There are a lot of problems with evolution’s clocks. For example, scientists have shown that the potassium-argon method will date rocks newly minted from a volcanic eruption as being millions of years old, when in fact they are just a few months old. The method fails because of the assumption that no argon appears naturally on the planet. When corrected, it provides accurate dates, but gives an age for the earth of less than 100,000 years.

The uranium-led method gives ages of many millions of years for the earth, except when you examine the helium formed in the process of decay; it shows an age for the earth of less than 100,000 years.

When paleontologists attempt to date a rock formation, they send samples to several different labs. Those labs return widely varying dates, so the paleontologist simply picks the one that agrees with their assumptions.

Many other “clocks” of the age of the earth, such as the amount of dust on the moon, the salt levels in the ocean, and the decay of the magnetic field indicate a very young earth. Creationists have a lot of evidence that the earth is much too young for the process of macro-evolution to have taken place.

I could go on, but whole books have been written by great scientists on these subjects. Your best resource is the Creation Research Institute in California.

Evolutionists have countered by telling creationists that if we could come up with an explanation for the origins of live and the universe that didn’t involve God, they would consider it. Well here’s one: The Universe popped into existence out of nothing fully formed about 10,000 years ago. The only difference between this theory and the theory of evolution is the age and state of the universe at formation. It’s just as scientific as the theory of evolution and it fits the evidence much better. After all, shouldn’t we base theories on evidence in order to call them scientific?
Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

So, according to Jay Homnick, those of us who recognize the fact of evolution are just crazy, then? If we’ve merely lost our minds, our critical thinking, then I wonder how it is that generations of scientists and archaeologists have discovered an abundance of physical evidence that undeniably proves that evolution has occurred and have used the scientific method (you know, hypothesis, observation and, most importantly, verification) to do so?

I would also have to wonder what the evidence for the support of so-called “intelligent design” is. What does it consist of and where can I see it? I can visit any museum of natural history anywhere in the world and see, firsthand, fossil evidence of the evolution of human beings, as well as many other species. I can read thousands of volumes of scholarly scientific papers on various aspects of evolution. Where are the scientific papers written in support of intelligent design? How was intelligent design verified, or has it been? Where is the evidence of “intelligent design,” other than in the minds of those who subscribe to this re-dressed version of “creationism?”

I’m a conservative, by the way. We don’t march in lockstep on every issue, you know.
Gary Rea

Your published articles regarding evolution bring into question your competence in other areas.

If you wish to dumb down America, so be it. When science meets religion, religion must alter perceptions. Your article on evolution was emotional, dramatic, and completely without merit. If your vision of God does not mesh with evolution, maybe your vision of God is wrong.
Joseph R. Davey
Tucson, Arizona

Of course Intelligent Design is correct. But it has no more place in science education than does “diversity,” “rain forest appreciation,” or “global warming.” Science education in the U.S. is abysmal. We have ceded the 21st century to the Indians and Chinese. We ignore the basics as we focus on making sure kids feel good about themselves. Now imagine the state of science education five years from now, after the education establishment has incorporated ID into the curriculum. Better hope your kid can shoot hoops or play the guitar.
Raj Wall, PhD

Thanks to Mr. Homnick for his article pointing out that in the world of evolution there’s no accounting for taste… or smell, or sound, or beauty. But there’s another unexplainable, the big one, in fact: free will.

The strictest proponents of evolution (such as William Provine of Cornell) admit that the theory, carried to its logical conclusion, disallows free will. Per the theory of evolution molecules colliding randomly are just that, molecules colliding randomly. Neither we nor any other being or entity has control over how these molecules interact, nor of what such interactions may cause. Therefore thought and free will are really nothing of the sort but are rather merely the result of random processes over which there is no control.

But I think, therefore, evolution’s a sham.
R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

Intelligent Design? Einstein believed in it, but I don’t recall him dismissing Darwin.

Darwin’s premise is a theory; it can be tested by scientific evidence. Scientists are not now agreed on the matter. How it will come down remains to be seen. The Intelligence behind the Design is the mind of God. Our faith tells us that God created the Universe. If we believe that then why are we doubting that God could set things up in whatever form we find them to be? He designed the dinosaurs after all and they were improbable beasts.

This is much ado about nothing!
G. B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

Jay D. Homnick replies:
My article was a response to the notion of “random evolution,” as I explained at the outset. It was in no way intended to dismiss the idea of evolution forming a component, or the core, of the Divine process of Creation.

As I have written elsewhere, the Bible is explicit on two points, 1) that Creation was a process that was phased over time, and 2) that Man was fashioned from materials already present in the physical stuff of the world. Evolution as a schema of development comports gracefully with this scenario; you need God to start it and… to stop it.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) of Hamburg, Germany, put it best during Darwin’s lifetime. If evolution is ever conclusively proven, he said, then we should “give even greater reverence than ever before to the one, sole God Who…needed to bring into existence no more than a single, amorphous nucleus and a single law of ‘adaptation and heredity’ in order to bring forth…the infinite variety of species we know today.”

Re: Christopher Orlet’s Bush and His Christmas Offensive:

While I don’t always agree with him, I think the President usually provides good leadership. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I think the administration has been slow to “toot its own horn,” as we say around here. Obviously, the mainstream media is not going to do any of that, so it behooves the President to spend more time citing accomplishments. All I ever hear from the mainstream media is the so-called bad side of the economy. It seems to me if this were 5 years ago, the mainstream media would be awestruck at how good the economy is doing, but now they seem to only want to make headlines of whatever stuff like how low consumer confidence is, how the Dow struggled to get to 11,000, whatever. And, as has been noted, whenever something truly amazing happens, like free elections in Iraq, they manage to pull something totally irrelevant out for a headline.

Now today, I read where Saddam is claiming to have been beaten, poor guy. I suppose we will be hearing how W personally pummeled him, contrary to every known law in the civilized world. I suppose also that Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were there taking turns with the President…

And while I’m ranting, I’m all for taking the gloves off concerning the leakers of the left. If there has to be a “fairness doctrine” for television and radio coverage of political stuff, maybe that should be applied to special investigations, independent counsels, etc, etc. I wonder how many taxpayer dollars are spent on these ridiculous investigations over nothings. How many resources are tied up in investigations that could be applied to better government?

The only reason I ever watch network news anymore is to see what new depths they and their liberal counterparts in the Congress can go to to make Bush look bad. Thank God for the rise of the conservative media and the Internet!
Mike Storer
Waveland, Indiana

Several times over the last few days the President has mentioned the fact that on at least 12 occasions he has briefed members of Congress about the NSA information gathering activities, and yet still the Democrats complain about being kept out of the loop.

Would it be that big a deal for the President to publish the dates of these meetings and a list of attendees each time? Seems to me that would go a long way to silence the critics.
Rich Belaire
Ann Arbor, Michigan

I just hope most of the American people understand that every time the Dems open their mouths to say we need to pull out of Iraq, the terrorist just get more determined to keep fighting. I am ashamed that we have people like that in any kind of power, they have the blood of many of our soldiers on their hands and they don’t care. Many of the RINOs are also leaning toward the terrorists. Just look at McCain and his new bill to coddle them and I am sad to say my Senators are backing that bill.
Elaine Kyle

Re: Paul Johnson’s A Six-Course Feast:

For a year and a half, ending last month, Churchill’s six volumes on WW II were my bedtime reading. It was a joy and a privilege to end the day suffused with the presence of the man who in my opinion is the greatest figure of the 20th century.

I was left with two massive understandings about the world. In the last fifty years alone we have seen killers like Hitler in Russia, Uganda, Cambodia, Iraq, North Korea, the hills of Afghanistan, now Iran, and those are only the most conspicuous examples. Churchill called WW II “the unnecessary war.” He points out that the demonstration of just a little resolve in France in the mid-’30s would have backed Hitler down and perhaps led to his overthrow. All Hitler and his ilk understand is force. Negotiating and compromising with them is always perceived by them as weakness.

The other is that these psychopaths can only exist in the context of a totalitarian ideology. The best means of ridding the world of them is to see representative democracies take hold in every nation of the world. This has become especially pressing now that the demise of the Soviet Union has put atomic weaponry on the free market.

I believe that Winston Churchill would have understood the reasons why the United States is in Iraq.

Fine article.
Allen Hurt

Re: Jed Babbin’s All the President’s Spies:

I thoroughly enjoyed your article titled in the subject line. I’ve also heard you sit for Laura Ingraham on occasion and enjoy listening to you also. I have a question for you in reference to the NYT putting out information that directly impacts our countries efforts in the war on terror. Why can’t these morons be arrested for sedition or whatever would apply to the situation in a time of war? I am retired from the Air Force and was also in the Navy. I happened to be aboard the USS Nimitz when Walker was arrested and hauled away for giving secrets to the Soviets back in 1985. I am getting quite fed up with the people who do this kind of stuff and desperately want something to be done about it. I would be interested to hear what you think.
Terence Otis TSgt USAFR Ret.

I wish you would STOP calling my neighbors POWs. They were NEVER ever POWs. I’m referring to your latest piece in the Spectator called “All the President’s Spies.” Paragraph four you mention FDR putting my neighbors in “Internment Camps” and equate that with POWs. No way! They were in “Protective Custody,” and that my friend does not make them POWs!

I am so thankful G.W. Bush is our president. As for the senators that leaked secrets regarding terrorists, they should be arrested and jailed. As for many of the democrats, they should realize that many of us in this country think they have lost their minds. They lie constantly. They do fool some of the people, but not all of us. I hope the president just keeps doing what he has been doing. We have not had an attack. It would be foolish to think the terrorists haven’t tried.
Anita Wagner
North Dakota

Mr. Babbin asks rhetorically whether President Bush is “as radical as FDR was in interning Japanese citizens in World War II.” (“All the President’s Spies,” December 19, 2005). The error here should be quickly correctly: the internees were American citizens of Japanese ancestry, not “Japanese citizens.” Mr. Babbin’s basic point is thus even stronger, since it was the rights of American citizens that were in issue.

For those interested in such matters, a summary of the case may be helpful: The internments were challenged in court, but were affirmed by the Supreme Court (6-3) in Korematsu v. U.S., 323 US 214 (1944). It was pointed out that the exclusion of Americans of Japanese ancestry was adopted well into 1942, long after the danger of invasion of the West Coast had passed. But Justice Hugo Black, writing for the majority, had not trouble upholding the action:

“Here, as in the Hirabayashi case, supra, 320 U.S. at page 99, 63 S.Ct. at page 1385, ‘… we cannot reject as unfounded the judgment of the military authorities and of Congress that there were disloyal members of that population, whose number and strength could not be precisely and quickly ascertained. We cannot say that the war-making branches of the Government did not have ground for believing that in a critical hour such persons could not readily be isolated and separately dealt with, and constituted a menace to the national defense and safety, which demanded that prompt and adequate measures be taken to guard against it.’ Like curfew, exclusion of those of Japanese origin was deemed necessary because of the presence of an unascertained number of disloyal members of the group, most of whom we have no doubt were loyal to this country. It was because we could not reject the finding of the military authorities that it was impossible to bring about an immediate segregation of the disloyal from the loyal that we sustained the validity of the curfew order as applying to the whole group. In the instant case, temporary exclusion of the entire group was rested by the military on the same ground. The judgment that exclusion of the whole group was for the same reason a military imperative answers the contention that the exclusion was in the nature of group punishment based on antagonism to those of Japanese origin. That there were members of the group who retained loyalties to Japan has been confirmed by investigations made subsequent to the exclusion. Approximately five thousand American citizens of Japanese ancestry refused to swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and to renounce allegiance to the Japanese Emperor, and several thousand evacuees requested repatriation to Japan.

We uphold the exclusion order as of the time it was made and when the petitioner violated it.” [Footnotes omitted.]

The fact that the U.S. government adopted the exclusion/internment policy or that the Supreme Court rather summarily upheld it does not mean that it was necessarily wise or generous policy. The action could be criticized over various legal grounds, as it was by the three dissenters. But the point of relevance today is that the fact that the law plainly upheld the actions taken. Reading the New York Times today, one would never guess it.
Philip Marston
Alexandria, Virginia

Is there any possibility that Rockefeller’s letter is not 2 1/2 years old but 2 1/2 days old? Handwritten letter to the vice president? Kept a copy in a sealed envelope in a secure vault? I am suspicious. Could it be that this letter was written this weekend to serve as a distraction from Rockefeller’s involvement in leaking the existence of this program to the NYT? Here’s my take. Am I crazy or just too cynical?
Mark Impomeni
Allendale, New Jersey

Re: David Holman’s Romney’s “Mormon Problem”:

Want more info on LDS? Link here.

Would someone explain “Literal Son of God” vs. Virgin birth?
New York

Re: Ben Berry’s letter (under “Persons Familiar With U.S.”) in Reader Mail’s All the Spectator‘s Readers:

Two observations if I may:

First, Mr. Berry, I am afraid you must have missed that part of civics class as to what your rights truly are. The government can snoop and pry all day long on you and break not a single law. They don’t even need a warrant to do so, but for three crucial points: A) Should the government desire to use such intelligence against you in a court of law they must have a warrant, prior. B) That even with the warrant there has to be probable cause for the necessity of it. C) That for the government to enter and seize property there must be a warrant. Fifty years of SCOTUS rulings have made that very clear.

Think of the consequences of such a legal setup. Were you to be privy to the fact that the government was performing a warrantless surveillance on you there is not much you can do and yet everything you can do. In that scenario, everything that the government learns, while lacking a warrant, will most likely be inadmissible in court. You could literally commit a capital murder right in front of the FBI agent and they would be powerless to use that against you. The fountainhead of opportunity that led to the observation is tainted evidence.

Second, I am afraid the government has been roasted on its own efforts. For the last 30 years the government has been expounding and expanding the concept of extraterritoriality of the state beyond the waters edge. Not for the purpose of protecting the citizen, that’s merely a secondary result, but more to have jurisdiction over that person for tax purposes. That is, avoidance of tax payment or legal schemes to avoid paying same. But in so doing they have extended 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment privileges offshore much to their determent from a GWOT perspective. The declassified portions of USSID 18 in Section 1.1 goes to great length on extraterritoriality of the 4th Amendment rights extended to U.S. citizens offshore.

To my mind, and I would suspect most AmSpec readers, our rights end the moment that we are beyond the confines of the U.S. I have no expectation that the U.S. Air Cav come riding to my rescue if I was kidnapped somewhere in Jordan. (Though I would pay handsomely to be able to watch them whoop them in my behalf.) Nor would I expect the same when it came to spying. Had the concept that the rights and privileges of a U.S. citizen end at the waters edge and the enforcement ability does as well; the issue of whether any agency of the U.S. government can spy on a citizen overseas would be very clear. But they would have to forego collecting on what is perceived today as tax evasion.

Personally it’s a trade I am willing to make.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Perhaps Mr. Ben Berry might’ve reassessed his silly statement about this war if he’d had a relative in the Pentagon back on 9-11.

Re: Will Pickering’s letter (under “A Clinton Connection”) in Reader Mail’s Traitor Watch and David Holman’s Romney’s “Mormon Problem”:

Just a word to the wise and to the person comparing Clinton’s bio to Joseph Smith. No Man Knows My History is as reasonable as accepting a book about President Bush as accurate and written by John Kerry who then says many of Bush’s traits are like evil dictators. WHAT TRASH!

Miss Brodie died a lonely elderly lady. She lost much in her life, and it is sad. Her book is totally colored by her own bitterness and that came as a result of excommunication from her faith. Sorry, but she has no credibility. George Q. Cannon is the best author on the life of Joseph Smith, if anyone is interested in truth and accuracy and carefully documented. It is a great book written by another great soul.

When you want to learn about someone, ask those who are friends or were friends who knew him and are people of integrity. NEVER EVER ask someone’s enemies, that is a bitter fountain and it is obvious what your information would be. True?

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