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11001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 21, 2008, 08:58:06 PM
SB,

You'll note I posted a piece criticizing McCain on this topic a while ago. Having said that, I doubt "Barry-O" wins in comparing character flaws to McCain.
11002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 08:36:46 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/21/whos-playing-the-race-card/

Preemptive strike!
11003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:55:45 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/04/30/hillarys-fake-multilingual-schtick/

Hillary’s fake “multilingual” schtick
POSTED AT 3:46 PM ON APRIL 30, 2007 BY BRYAN   


If you’re a Southerner, Hillary Carpetbagger thinks that you speak a for-een language. That’ll win over those red states.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she sees her sometimes Southern accent as a virtue.

“I think America is ready for a multilingual president,” Clinton said during a campaign stop at a charter school in Greenville, S.C.

The New York senator — who said she’s been thinking about critics who’ve suggested that she tried to put on a fake Southern accent in Selma, Ala. — noted that she’s split her life between Arkansas, Illinois and the East Coast.

Clinton added a Southern lilt to her voice last week when addressing a civil rights group in New York City headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton. On Monday, dealing with a microphone glitch at a fundraiser for young donors, she quoted former slave and underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman.

It’s not a “Southern lilt” that Hillary adds, or not just a Southern lilt. She always adds it when speaking in black churches. What the reporter is passing off as falling into an old habit is just a shameless pander. And a bad one at that.

I’m sure Hillary is joking about being “multilingual,” but that’s the kind of joke that would get a Republican in trouble. So would faking the accent. And besides, as a joke it’s not even funny. And why do Democrats tend to joke about what “America is ready for” anyway? Liberal political humor, when it comes, nearly always has an annoying top-down, know-it-all, we’re-your-betters quality about it.

Hillary’s phony accent has been good for a Hot Air joke, though. I’m sure she’ll be good for quite a few jokes between now and election day.
11004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:47:13 PM
Crafty,

Done...

GM,

Quote
“’Racism’” is the trump card in the indictment of Republicans,” points out Dr. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute. “But the cold fact is that the whole Jim Crow era in the South was dominated by Democrats.”

And?

If the Dems were so bad back then, why have they managed to maintain a lock on the African American electorate for so long? And why have Republicans struggled to bring African Americans "back" to the party?


Look at the "black leadership" that Obama and the left have wedded themselves to. Black conservatives are blasted as "Uncle Toms" and sellouts. Look at Obama's "spiritual advisor", who when he wasn't shouting "God damn America" was smearing Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice. The dems love "diversity", just as long as everyone marches in ideological lockstep. HRC can do her verbal minstrel show in speaking to black audiences and gets a free pass while President Bush has minorities in high ranking positions in his two terms and gets nothing but derision in exchange. Lip service to minorities from the dems wins approval while actual steps towards a colorblind society from republicans is ignored. Much like the utter hypocrisy of dems who "care about the environment" while jet setting around the world and living in sprawling mansions, because the dems give lips service to the professional race hucksters like Jackson and Sharpton and their lot, then real action isn't needed or demanded. It isn't logical, but this is the way things are today.


11005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:27:14 PM
http://www.townhall.com/Common/PrintPage.aspx?g=fec88e70-0648-453d-9a14-0e65f8354ffb&t=c

Obama or Not, America Still a 'Racist Nation'
Larry Elder
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Republicans show more optimism about race relations than do Democrats. A June 2007 Gallup Poll asked Republicans and Democrats to rate relations between blacks and whites. Among Democrats, 67 percent said relations were "somewhat good" or "very good," while 77 percent of Republicans gave those answers. Similarly, 22 percent of Republicans ranked black/white race relations as "somewhat bad" or "very bad," yet 31 percent of Democrats gave those pessimistic responses.

As I wrote in my new book, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose," a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked which type of presidential candidate would you not vote for, even if that candidate agreed with you on most issues. More Democrats (17 percent) than Republicans (13 percent) wouldn't vote for a Mormon. For a 72-year-old candidate -- again, more Democrats (19 percent) than Republicans (12 percent) refused to vote for someone that age. Likewise more Democrats (4 percent) than Republicans (3 percent) ruled out voting for a black candidate.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a black Clinton supporter, explained why whites vote for Obama. According to Cleaver, "This is (their) chance to demonstrate that we have been able to get this boogeyman called race behind us. And so they are going to vote for him, whether he has credentials or not, whether he has any experience …"

Here's where things get interesting.

As to the argument that an Obama election would show an America overcoming its history of racial injustice, Cleaver says no, it would show the opposite. "Yet Cleaver asserts," according to an Associated Press article, "that Obama as president could actually hamper efforts to curb racial injustice. He said future concerns about race 'would be met with rejection because we've already demonstrated that we're not a racist nation.'"

In other words, whites cleverly intend to vote for Obama -- not because they consider him qualified or the better candidate, but so that they can diminish future allegations of alleged racism and racial injustice. But Cleaver sees through the plot. To Cleaver, America remains a "racist nation." And Obama as president simply pulls the wool over the eyes of America, minimizing the continued and future victims of racism, while giving America's racists free rein to continue their deviousness.

Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter, makes the opposite argument. Ferraro claims that Obama's race gives him an advantage that obscures his otherwise thin resume. "If Obama was a white man," said Ferraro, "he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Black state Sen. Robert Ford, D-S.C., also a Clinton supporter, takes the Cleaver position. In explaining his refusal to support Obama, Ford said, "It's a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. But I'm not going to kill myself."

Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can now breathe easier. If Obama loses, blame race. If Obama wins, blame race. Either way, Obama's election, as regards race relations, means nothing. So Jackson and Sharpton and the rest of the like-minded traveling circus can remain in the business of ferreting out, exploiting and often exaggerating allegations of racism for face time on TV and continued relevance.

In 1911, former slave Booker T. Washington prophetically wrote about "black leaders" like Cleaver, Jackson and Sharpton: "There is (a) class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."
11006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 05:35:24 PM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/06/is_obamas_great_seal_illegal_1.asp

Change!
11007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 21, 2008, 05:08:41 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/21/another-one-hits-the-bus-obama-reverses-on-fisa/

Another one hits the bus: Obama reverses on FISA
POSTED AT 9:11 AM ON JUNE 21, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Barack Obama reversed his position on FISA reform yesterday, giving the Left a taste of the real Obama for the second time this week.  After Obama abandoned public financing, most of his supporters in the hard-Left base seemed willing to write that off as good politics.  This latest reversal has received a different reaction, as Paul Kane at the Washington Post notes:

In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party’s base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists. ….

This marks something of a reversal of Obama’s position from an earlier version of the bill, which was approved by the Senate Feb. 12, when Obama was locked in a fight for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama missed the February vote on that FISA bill as he campaigned in the “Potomac Primaries,” but issued a statement that day declaring “I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty.”

The wheels of the bus went round and round over Senators Dodd, Feingold, and that same grassroots movement of Americans.  Why?  John McCain has spent the last few weeks hammering Obama on his national-security weaknesses, and Obama’s repeated clinging to the Nuremberg military tribunals as an example of why he opposes military tribunals didn’t help. He needed to show that he can take a nuanced approach to the effort on the war, and he apparently chose FISA as the moment.  It’s sheer political calculus, much the same as Obama’s position on public financing, the death penalty, the Iraq war, and just about every position Obama has taken in this campaign.

It’s becoming clear even  to the Left that Obama has no real firm principles, only ambition.  This FISA package doesn’t differ much from the compromise Senate bill in February — one supported by a significant number of Democrats then — except that it requires a court to certify that telecoms meet the prerequisites for immunity that the first bill granted outright.  As Feingold notes, the bill drafts those requirements to ensure that the applications will be approved, as they should be, since the government assured the telecoms that the activities were legal.   Obama’s stated reason for switching — that it restores FISA and wiretap statutes — was true of the previous version as well.

What changed?  Obama doesn’t need the hard Left to get past Hillary Clinton.  In fact, Code Pink, International ANSWER, and that “grassroots movement”  will become liabilities in a general-election campaign against a nationally-known war hero.   He tossed them under the bus with as much consideration as he did Jeremiah Wright and Jim Johnson.
11008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 21, 2008, 12:33:11 AM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/


About that Israeli Exercise

The New York Times is reporting that the Israeli military carried out a large-scale exercise earlier this month that, in the words of U.S. officials, appeared to be a rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran.

According to the Times, more than 100 Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15s and F-16s participated in the drill, which was conducted over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June. Officials who spoke with the Times (on the condition of anonymity) described the exercise as an effort to “develop a long-range strike” capability, and “demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.”

We’d say it was more of an effort to practice long-range strike, since the IAF has had that sort of capability for decades. It’s been 27 years since Israeli jets destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, and more than a decade since the IAF flew across the Mediterranean and took out Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Tunis. In both cases, the Israelis achieved tactical surprise, demolished their targets, and suffered no losses of aircraft or crews.


As we’ve noted in the past, the IAF would almost certainly employ deceptive elements for a similar attack against Iran. That’s one reason that most analysts believe the strike package would be relatively small (no more than two dozen aircraft), with fighters flying in tight formation with their aerial tankers to minimize radar returns. The raid would likely follow an established air corridor, with Israeli aircraft mimicking the IFF “squawk” and radio callsigns of commercial aircraft.

By comparison, the “rehearsal” effort in early June was a much larger, and (arguably) more noisy effort, aimed at sending signals to the U.S., the Europeans—and Iran. As one American official told the Times:


“.. the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”


Officials interviewed by the NYT said they do not believe that Israel has concluded that it must strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and do not view such an attack as “imminent.” But, it’s worth remembering the U.S. was surprised by past Israeli air missions. Incorporating the expected deception campaign, the IAF could likely mask strike preparations and launch the raid without detection by American intelligence assets.


One unique feature of the recent exercise was the incorporation of Israeli helicopters, which could be used to rescue downed pilots. U.S. or Israeli officials have not revealed the extent of rotary wing activity during the drill, or its proximity to operating areas for fighter aircraft. Israeli helicopter crews routinely participate in search-and-rescue training in the eastern Mediterranean with American and Turkish units.

But combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) represents only one potential mission for the choppers. Israel’s long-range helicopters are a primary insertion platform for commando units, which could be used to designated targets, assist downed aircrews, or recover material after the attack. There are reports that Israeli special forces participated in last year’s strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor, scooping up evidence that was used to confirm its purpose.

More than two years ago, we reported that IAF officers told their American counterparts that planning for an Iran mission had largely been completed. Given Israel’s long concern about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, that claim seems entirely plausible. That would also suggest that the recent exercise was something of a rehearsal, not the “long-range strike development effort” suggested by the Times.

During the same 2006 encounter, IAF officials also suggested that special ops planning for an Iran operation had also been concluded. Without going into details, they indicated that Israeli helicopters, C-130 tankers (for refueling the choppers) and commando teams would be forward deployed in support of the raid. Turkey, a longtime ally of Israel, might be a possible basing location for SOF teams and support elements. A forward operating base in northern Iraq is another possibility.

While the recent exercise clearly served training (and diplomatic) purposes, we’d say it meet other needs as well. Given the mechanics of an actual raid against Iran, we believe the package would be significantly smaller, and incorporate deceptive elements not seen earlier this month. That’s why the early June drill may also support a disinformation campaign, aimed at confusing Tehran (and western intelligence) over the size, composition and tactics of a potential strike formation.

Here’s a historical fact: virtually every major IAF operation has been preceded by a carefully planned and executed deception effort. That’s why it would be a mistake for Tehran, the Europeans and the U.S. to accept this month’s exercise as the template for an actual strike. If past performance is any indicator, the Israelis still have a few tricks up their sleeve.
11009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 09:25:04 PM
Left-Wing Racism Remembered   
By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, May 19, 2008

Did you know…Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican? Every civil rights law, beginning in the 1860s through the 1950s and 1960s, was fought against by Democrats? Or the KKK had links to the Democratic Party? Not only are these questions addressed by the National Black Republicans Association (NBRA), but also more surprising facts.

A few months ago, we had the privilege to meet the chairwoman of NBRA, a brave and gusty woman named Frances Rice. “The double standard looms large when Democrats practice racism,” says Rice. “Those who search in the Republican Party haystack for the racist needles, ignore the mountain of evidence about racism in the Democrat Party.”

Rice does not initially appear to be the type of person who would strike out and dare to challenge a giant, but that’s just what this modern day “David” has done. Rice said her organization is working to set the record straight and “wake up” black voters and “shed the light of truth on the racist past and failed socialism of the Democratic Party.”

Little did we know Rice would soon be feeling the intense, sizzling heat of the national spotlight for reminding people and speaking the truth that the Democratic Party wishes we would all forget.

Last week, when Democrats became aware of NBRA’s Fall 2007 magazine being distributed at a black-voter event in Tallahassee, the liberal media and Democratic Party giants alike began firing their attacks. One headline in a newspaper read, “Magazine stirs race politics” and wrote that the magazine “pushes racial buttons by highlighting low points in the history of the Democratic Party.” A reporter from the The Miami Herald decried The Black Republican magazine, calling its comments “strident” and saying Democrats were “outraged.”

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Rice cites renowned liberal historian and author Dr. Eric Foner in her well-documented expose, “The Ku Klux Klan was the Terrorist Arm of the Democratic Party”. In “A Short History of Reconstruction,” Professor Foner wrote: “Founded in 1866 as a Tennessee social club, the Ku Klux Klan spread into nearly every Southern state, launching a ‘reign of terror’ against Republican leaders black and white.” Again, it was Foner who said, “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party…and all who desired the restoration of white supremacy.”

Several other articles, including one titled “Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Was a Republican,” also raised the ire of “giants.” Frances Rice says she knew MLK’s family and “there’s no way they were Democrats” in the 1960s. Not only did King vote for Eisenhower in 1956, but this was a time when racist southern Democrats such as Bull Connor used vicious dogs and fire hoses to break up protests; after all, segregation and discrimination were the law of the land in the South.

One who saw firsthand Connor’s atrocities was our nation’s first female black secretary of state, Condi Rice. Not only did she witness the brutality inflicted on the peaceful protestors at the 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, but Condi’s neighborhood experienced threats of violence. One of her childhood friends was killed in a church bombing by the Ku Klux Klan along with three other girls. Secretary Rice’s family repeatedly faced discrimination. A prime example of this was when John, her father, tried to register to vote with the Democratic Party. They told him that to register as Democrat he must first guess the number of beans in their jar. Not one to accept such insulting treatment, John Rice headed over to the Republican register and promptly became a Republican.

“’Racism’” is the trump card in the indictment of Republicans,” points out Dr. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute. “But the cold fact is that the whole Jim Crow era in the South was dominated by Democrats.”

The mission of the NBRA is “to be a resource for the black community on Republican ideals and promote the traditional values of the black community which are the core values of the Republican Party: strong families, faith in God, personal responsibility, quality education, and equal opportunities for all.”

We saw evidence of one of their bold campaigns in Florida. Prominently displayed on a gigantic billboard was the proclamation that “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican” along with a photo of the civil rights leader, the organization’s name and Web site. It was hard to miss. Currently NBRA has identical signs in several other states and hopes to go nationwide. To help and donate go to: www.NBRA.info

The Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, fought to free blacks from slavery. Now the daunting goal of NBRA is to “return black Americans to their Republican Party roots by enlightening them about how Republicans fought for their freedom and civil rights and are now fighting for their educational and economic advancement".
11010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 20, 2008, 08:10:26 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5213783

Intelligence Officials: Dozens of Europeans Have Trained in Terror Camps in Pakistan
Officials Fear This May be the Beginnings of a New Breed of al-Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorism

By PIERRE THOMAS and JACK DATE
June 20, 2008—

Dozens of white Europeans have trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan's tribal regions in recent months, U.S. intelligence sources tell ABC News, in what officials fear may be the beginnings of a new breed of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism.

Government officials suspect the terrorists, recruited in Europe, have been dispatched to plan attacks against Europe and possibly the United States. The alleged terrorists hail from Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Estonia, sources said.

There is growing evidence that some European recruits may have already gone operational. Two of the suspects arrested in a September 2007 plot to kill American soldiers in Germany were native Germans, and U.S. officials say they are investigating whether they were trained in Pakistan.

An April 2008 report from Europol also noted that an increasing number of European nationals attended training in Pakistan "and were later involved in, or suspected of, terrorist offences in the EU."

Intelligence officials say the remote tribal areas along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have in the last several years become a haven for terrorist recruiting and training. Hundreds of radicals from across the region have flocked to al-Qaeda training camps in the area.

In interviews with ABC News and in a series of little-noticed public statements and reports, intelligence officials have said they believe al-Qaeda has successfully completed a major goal: recruiting and training Western would-be terrorists.

"Al-Qa'ida is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.: the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the Homeland," according to a February Threat Assessment report from the Director of National Intelligence.

"[W]e have seen an influx of new Western recruits into the tribal area since mid-2006," the report said.

Those Western recruits are thought to be more difficult to detect and able to easily enter Europe and the U.S. and blend in with Western culture.

"They're recruiting operatives from Europe. Why? If you're from Europe, it doesn't require a visa to fly to the United States," Mike McConnell, the director of National Intelligence, said in a speech in March.

"So if you can get a disgruntled person in Europe to come to Pakistan to be trained in how to buy something commercially -- hydrogen peroxide -- [and] use it in a particular way, you could have mass casualties in the United States greater than 9/11," he said.

CIA Director Michael Hayden, in a speech in April, said the recruits "wouldn't cause you any concern or draw your attention if they were in the passport line at Dulles with you. I mean, they look Western and they fit in. So that's one, the continued intent to attack, training to attack, using Western operatives."

Despite these public warnings, members of Congress, including Republicans, say they are frustrated that the Bush administration and Pakistan have not done more to shut down the camps.

"The result that we have today is not acceptable," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich. "You can't have those camps in place in Pakistan."

Intelligence officials tell ABC News that the administration is trying to target key al-Qaeda leaders in the tribal regions with Predator airplane attacks and recently killed one leader who helped coordinate European operatives.

The U.S. has also urged the Pakistani government to be aggressive in pursuing terrorist leaders in the tribal areas, these sources said.

The Pakistani government has said it is committed to stopping militants in the area.
11011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 07:20:53 PM


[/quote]

I incorrectly though that partly because McCain is white and partly because neo nazi/kkk do usually vote Republican and run for office as Republicans-- they are the extreme right

[/quote]

"Neo nazi/kkk do usually vote republican" Huh? You base this on what, exactly?
11012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SPP: "Security and Prosperity Partnership"/United Nations on: June 20, 2008, 09:50:48 AM

http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/nau.asp

North American Union

Claim:   The leaders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico agreed in 2005 to subsume their countries into a greater "North American Union" by the year 2010.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2008]

I've heard rumors going around recently that President Bush, Mexican President Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Martin met in Waco, TX in 2005 and agreed to create a North American Union (NAU). In this plan it was (supposedly) outlined that by 2010 the borders between the three countries would be dissolved and there would only be a common border surrounding the former countries. Further, the plan called for a purposeful reduction in the value of the dollar to help facilitate the creation of a new currency (the Amero) common to the NAU. Also part of the plan is for the US to give up its sovereignty.

Origins:   In March 2005, the leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico (President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Paul Martin, and President Vicente Fox, respectively) met in Texas to
discuss plans for increased cooperation between their three countries in areas of common interest, such as border security, protection against terrorist threats, improved trade relations, competitiveness in the global marketplace, the combating of infectious diseases, and disaster response.

Contrary to the rumor expressed in the example quoted above, the three men did not sign any treaty or agreement to subsume the sovereignty of their countries to a greater entity called the North American Union (NAU), eliminate their common borders, or create a common currency (akin to the Euro) to replace their nations' currencies. What the leaders agreed to was the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a "dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries." The SPP is not itself an agreement or a treaty, it is not a movement to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a North American Union or to establish a common currency, nor does it seek to alter or subsume the sovereignty of those three countries.

The notion that the establishment of a North American Union (along with the dissolving of national borders and the creation of a common currency) is set to take place in 2010 stems from proposals such as Building a North American Community (a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations in association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales) which advocate more aggressive plans for North American cooperation, such as the "establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter." However, such proposals are merely analyses and recommendations developed by independent "think tanks"; they are not treaties, legislation, or official blueprints for future governmental actions.

None of this is to say that the three North American countries might not someday decide to form closer ties along the lines of the European Union, perhaps with a common currency and more fluid borders. But there is currently no official governmental plan underway to make all that happen by 2010.

Last updated:   9 January 2008

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/nau.asp


 
11013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SPP: "Security and Prosperity Partnership"/United Nations on: June 20, 2008, 09:42:26 AM
http://www.spp.gov/myths_vs_facts.asp

SPP Myths vs Facts
Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America
 


The SPP is a White House-led initiative among the United States and the two nations it borders – Canada and Mexico – to increase security and to enhance prosperity among the three countries through greater cooperation. The SPP is based on the principle that our prosperity is dependent on our security and recognizes that our three great nations share a belief in freedom, economic opportunity, and strong democratic institutions. The SPP outlines a comprehensive agenda for cooperation among our three countries while respecting the sovereignty and unique cultural heritage of each nation. The SPP provides a vehicle by which the United States, Canada, and Mexico can identify and resolve unnecessary obstacles to trade and it provides a means to improve our response to emergencies and increase security, thus benefiting and protecting Americans.

The SPP is meant to:

Coordinate our security efforts to better protect U.S. citizens from terrorist threats and transnational crime and promote the safe and efficient movement of legitimate people and goods;
Expand economic opportunity for all our people by making our businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, cutting red tape, and providing consumers with safe, less expensive, and innovative products; and
Enhance our common efforts to combat infectious diseases, develop responses to man-made or natural disasters to enhance our citizens’ quality of life, protect our people and our environment, and improve consumer safety.
The SPP benefits the American people in many ways, and much progress has already been made.  For example (see www.spp.gov for more information):

To save lives, prevent injuries, and make consumer goods safer, the United States, Canada and Mexico signed separate agreements for advance notifications when consumer goods violate one country's safety standards or pose a danger to consumers.
To strengthen border security, Mexican and U.S. agencies are exchanging information and establishing protocols to detect fraud and smuggling, and address border violence.
To speed up response times when managing infectious disease outbreaks, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to enable simultaneous exchange of information between virtual national laboratory networks.
To speed cargo shipping, the three countries are developing uniform in-advance electronic exchange of cargo manifest data for maritime, railroad and motor carriers.
To develop a coordinated strategy aimed at combating counterfeiting and piracy, a task force of senior officials from the three North American countries has been established
To reduce the cost of trade, the United States and Canada decreased transit times at the Detroit/Windsor gateway, our largest border crossing point, by 50 percent.
To reduce market distortions, facilitate trade, and promote overall competitiveness, the North American Steel Trade Committee developed a new strategy that focuses on improving innovation and market development.
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP):

Myth vs. Fact

Myth: The SPP was an agreement signed by Presidents Bush and his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Waco, TX, on March 23, 2005.

Fact: The SPP is a dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries.  The SPP is not an agreement nor is it a treaty.  In fact, no agreement was ever signed.

Myth: The SPP is a movement to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a North American Union and establish a common currency.

Fact: The cooperative efforts under the SPP, which can be found in detail at www.spp.gov, seek to make the United States, Canada and Mexico open to legitimate trade and closed to terrorism and crime.  It does not change our courts or legislative processes and respects the sovereignty of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  The SPP in no way, shape or form considers the creation of a European Union-like structure or a common currency.   The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers.

Myth: The SPP is being undertaken without the knowledge of the U.S. Congress.

Fact: U.S. agencies involved with SPP regularly update and consult with members of Congress on our efforts and plans.

Myth: The SPP infringes on the sovereignty of the United States.

Fact: The SPP respects and leaves the unique cultural and legal framework of each of the three countries intact.  Nothing in the SPP undermines the U.S. Constitution. In no way does the SPP infringe upon the sovereignty of the United States.

Myth: The SPP is illegal and violates the Constitution.

Fact: The SPP is legal and in no way violates the Constitution or affects the legal authorities of the participating executive agencies.  Indeed, the SPP is an opportunity for the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common goals and identify ways to enhance each nation’s security and prosperity.  If an action is identified, U.S. federal agencies can only operate within U.S. law to address these issues.  The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security coordinate the efforts of the agencies responsible for the various initiatives under the prosperity and security pillars of the SPP.  If an agency were to decide a regulatory change is desirable through the cooperative efforts of SPP, that agency is required to conform to all existing U.S. laws and administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment.

Myth: The U.S section of the SPP is headed by the Department of Commerce.

Fact: The SPP is a White House-driven initiative. In the United States, the Department of Commerce coordinates the ‘Prosperity’ component, while the Department of Homeland Security coordinates the ‘Security’ component. The Department of State ensures the two components are coordinated and are consistent with U.S. foreign policy.

Myth: The U.S. Government, working though the SPP, has a secret plan to build a "NAFTA Super Highway."

Fact: The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway.  The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a NAFTA Super Highway, nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority. There are private and state level interests planning highway projects which they themselves describe as "NAFTA Corridors," but these are not Federally-driven initiatives, and they are not a part of the SPP.

Myth: The U.S. Government, through the Department of Transportation, is funding secretive highway projects to become part of a “NAFTA Super Highway”.

Fact: Many States in the American Midwest are proposing or undertaking highway projects to improve or build roads as Federal-aid and State or private sector revenue becomes available. All projects involving Federal-aid funds or approvals are subject to normal Federal-aid requirements, such as review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including public involvement.  This public involvement, the common thread among all these activities, makes them anything but “secret.”  In addition, Congress directs Department of Transportation funding for specific highway projects.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will continue to cooperate with the State transportation departments as they build and upgrade highways to meet the needs of the 21st century.  Rather than evidence of a secret plan to create a NAFTA Super Highway that would undermine our national sovereignty, the FHWA’s efforts are a routine part of cooperation with all the State transportation departments to improve the Nation’s highways.

Myth: U.S. Government officials sponsored a secret SPP planning meeting in Banff, Alberta in September 2006.

Fact: The U.S. Government did not sponsor the meeting in Banff.  The North American Forum, a private initiative that is separate from the U.S. Government, hosted the September 12-14, 2006 conference “Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment.”  Academics, businesspersons, private citizens, and government officials from the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments attended the conference.  The North American Forum is not a product of the SPP.

Myth: The SPP will cost U.S. taxpayers money.

Fact: The SPP is being implemented with existing budget resources.  Over the long-term, it will save U.S. taxpayers money by cutting through costly red tape and reducing redundant paperwork.  This initiative will benefit the taxpayers through economic gain and increased security, thereby enhancing the competitiveness and quality of life in our countries.

Myth: The working groups and SPP documents are a secret and not available to the public.

Fact: The SPP’s initiatives and milestones with timelines can be found by clicking the Report to Leaders link at www.spp.gov.  The Web site contains a section to enable interested persons to provide input directly to the various working groups.

Myth: The SPP seeks to lower U.S. standards through a regulatory cooperation framework.

Fact: The framework will support and enhance cooperation and encourage the compatibility of regulations among the three partners while maintaining high standards of health and safety. Any regulatory changes will require agencies to conform to all U.S. administrative procedures, including an opportunity to comment. Enhanced cooperation in this area will provide consumers with more affordable, safer, and more diversified and innovative products.

Myth: The SPP is meant to deal with immigration reform and trade disputes.

Fact: Immigration reform is a legislative matter currently being debated in Congress and is not being dealt with in the SPP.  Likewise, trade disputes between the United States, Canada, and Mexico are resolved in the NAFTA and WTO mechanisms and not the SPP.

Myth: The SPP will result in the loss of American jobs.

Fact: The SPP seeks to create jobs by reducing transaction costs and unnecessary burdens for U.S. companies, which will bolster the competitiveness of our firms globally.  These efforts will help U.S. manufacturers, spur job creation, and benefit consumers.

Myth: The SPP will harm our quality of life.

Fact: The SPP improves the safety and well-being of Americans.  It builds on efforts to protect our environment, improves our ability to combat infectious diseases, such as avian influenza, and ensures our food supply is safe through the exchange of information and cooperation ─ improving the quality of life for U.S. citizens.  Americans enjoy world class living standards because we are engaged with the world.

Myth: The SPP creates a NAFTA-plus legal status between the three countries.

Fact: The SPP does not seek to rewrite or renegotiate NAFTA.  It creates no NAFTA-plus legal status.
11014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 20, 2008, 05:57:43 AM
SB,

I'll concede that it was some campaign staffer or staffers that did the selection of the backdrop. Still, I find it telling who was there for the photo op and their agendas, as articulated in the Debbie Schlussel article.
11015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 09:12:22 PM
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2008/06/muslim_grievanc.html#

Obama supporters! Just not in the photos....
11016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 09:06:52 PM
http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2008/06/021450print.html

June 18, 2008

Obama, Islamophobe? Muslims barred from picture at Obama event

Once again he throws a billion Muslims under the bus by tacitly acknowledging that they carry just a bit too much political baggage for him.

(But it's OK -- he apologized.)

"Muslims barred from picture at Obama event," by Ben Smith at Politico, June 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.
The campaign has apologized to the women, all Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."

Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate's message.

When Obama won North Carolina amid questions about his ability to connect with white voters, for instance, he stood in front of a group of middle-aged white women waving small American flags. Across the aisle, a Hispanic New Hampshire Democrat, Roberto Fuentes, told Politico that he was recently asked, and declined, to contribute to the "diversity" of the crowd behind Senator John McCain at a Nashua event.

But for Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics, and to embrace all elements of America. The incidents in Michigan, which has one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the country, also raise an aspect of his campaign that sometimes rubs Muslims the wrong way: The candidate has vigorously denied a false, viral rumor that he himself is Muslim. But the denials seem to some at times to imply that there something wrong with the faith, though Obama occasionally adds that he means no disrespect to Islam.

"I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to," said Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer who lives in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. "The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters."...
11017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 08:12:33 PM
Rachel,

I assume you are now retracting "I'm positive   Neo Nazi/KKK vote  will all be for McCain ."

Yes?
11018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 07:45:54 PM
- Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center - http://www.splcenter.org/blog -

President Obama? Many White Supremacists are Celebrating
Posted By Mark Potok On June 11, 2008 @ 11:56 am In Anti-Black, Hate Groups, Klan, National Alliance, White Supremacist | 78 Comments

With the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate clinched, large sections of the white supremacist movement are adopting a surprising attitude: Electing America’s first black president would be a very good thing.

It’s not that the assortment of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, anti-Semites and others who make up this country’s radical right have suddenly discovered that a man should be judged based on the content of his character, not his skin. On the contrary. A growing number of white supremacists, and even some of those who pass for intellectual leaders of their movement, think that a black man in the Oval Office would shock white America, possibly drive millions to their cause, and perhaps even set off a race war that, they hope, would ultimately end in Aryan victory.

“He will make things so bad for white people that hopefully they will finally realize how stupid they were for admiring these jigaboos all these years,” “Darthvader” wrote on the neo-Nazi [1] Vanguard News Network web forum. “I believe in the motto ‘Worse is Better’ and Obama certainly fits that description.” Just last week, [2] Ron Doggett (right), a Virginian who has been a key activist in the Klan, the paramilitary White People’s Party and the neo-Nazi National Alliance, chimed in with this: “I hope Obama wins because in four years, white people just might be pissed off enough to actually do something. … White people aren’t going to do a thing until their toys are taken away from them. So things have to be worse for things to be better.”

“Oh man,” enthused “Centimanus” on the white nationalist [3] Stormfront website. “I am gleefully, sadistically looking forward to Obama as president. … It will be a beautiful day when the masses look at the paper and truly realize they have lost their own country. Added “Fulimnata”: “To the average white man and woman, they could look at Obama and see plain as day that whites are not in control.” Another message, from “TheLastOfMyKind,” agreed: “Could it be that the nomination of Obama finally sparks a sense of unity in white voters? I would propose that this threat of black, muslim [sic] rule may very well be the thing that finally scares some sense back into complacent whites throughout the nation.” “Actually,” said another poster, “if Obama were to win, it would be the best thing that ever happened to the Klan. They would have massive growth.” And “TeutonicLegion” said that “a whole bunch of people will join us and find these boards” if Obama becomes president.

Even [4] David Duke (right), the neo-Nazi and former Klan boss who is the closest thing the movement has to a real intellectual these days, sees clear advantages in an Obama victory in the fall. “Obama will be a signal, a clear signal for millions of our people,” Duke wrote in an essay entitled [5] “A Black Flag for White America” last week. “Obama is like that new big dark spot on your arm that finally sends you to the doctor for some real medicine. … Obama is the pain that let’s [sic] your body know that something is dreadfully wrong. Obama will let the American people know that there is a real cancer eating away at the heart of our country and Republican aspirin will not only not cure it, but only masks the pain and makes you think you don’t need radical surgery. … My bet is that whether Obama wins or loses in November, millions of European Americans will inevitably react with new awareness of their heritage and the need for them to defend and advance it.”
Opinion on the radical right is far from unanimous on the topic of a possible Obama victory. Many of those writing on the topic — perhaps half of those who have posted recently — think an Obama presidency would destroy the country and oppose it mightily. On the other hand, there is virtually no enthusiasm on the radical right for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, who is widely seen by white supremacists as a sellout, particularly on the issue of nonwhite immigration into the United States. But increasing numbers think that a bad situation with a black president will be good for their movement.

“Thomas Dixon Jr.,” a Stormfront poster using the name of the racist author who wrote the classic novel [6] The Clansman, put it like this: “As WLP [William Luther Pierce, the late leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance] would say… ‘What is bad for the system is good for us.’” “Obama,” added “The Patriot” in the same thread, “would be better for our cause in the long run, no doubt about it.”
11019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 07:37:56 PM
Do you honestly  think Obama believes the government gave black people HIV ? Do you honestly think most of Obama's supporter believe that. I'm positive   Neo Nazi/KKK vote  will all be for McCain . It is not really a good reason to vote for Obama.

Obama sure didn't mind bathing in that hatred for 20 years and exposing his young daughters to it. Is black racism more palatable to you than white racism? As far as neo-nazis, they want to see Obama elected in the belief that this will be the cause of the race war they've been waiting for. So, actually by supporting Obama, one is supporting racist loons of both the black and white kind.
11020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 07:32:07 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/19/louis-farrakhans-newspaper-defends-poor-michelle-obama/

Looks like the Nation of Islam is a fan of Michelle Obama too!
11021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 07:22:40 PM
Will Obama stop the US gov't from giving black people the HIV virus if he's elected president?
11022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 19, 2008, 07:15:48 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/19/hot-air-tv-new-jihad-watchbound-and-gagged/

Jihad Watch.
11023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 19, 2008, 10:49:24 AM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/06192008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obama_vs__osama_116128.htm

OBAMA VS. OSAMA
By RALPH PETERS

June 19, 2008 -- NAME-BRAND journalists have let Barack Obama make any claim he chooses about Iraq, Afghanistan or coping with terrorism without pinning him down for details.
Yet many of his comments and positions seem stunningly naive about national security. Given that this man may become our next president, shouldn't he explain how he'd do the many impressive things he's promised?

This week, Obama claimed, again, that he'd promptly capture Osama bin Laden. OK, tell me how: Specifically, which concrete measures would he take that haven't been taken? How would he force our intelligence agencies to locate bin Laden? And he can't just respond, "That's classified."

He also claimed that fighting terrorism is a law-enforcement problem, not a military one (should we send the NYPD to Mosul and Kandahar?), and that the answer to terrorism is the approach taken after the 1993 World Trade Center attack, featuring conventional trials and prison terms.

That flaccid post-'93 response only encouraged terrorists - who are unfazed by the prospect of a US prison, where the quality of life's better than it was at home. The Clinton administration's hesitancy and softness gave us the subsequent attacks on the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia, on our embassies in East Africa, on the USS Cole and, ultimately, the events of 9/11.

The senator needs to tell us why it would be different now.

Obama has also said he'd send our troops into Pakistan, although he'll withdraw rapidly from Iraq. His unwillingness to discuss the consequences of a hasty retreat from Baghdad is one thing - but invading Pakistan would be an order of magnitude worse.

A substantial number of Iraq's 26 million citizens did welcome us. In Pakistan, with its 170 million Muslims and some of the most rugged terrain on earth, anti-Americanism prevails. Any US military incursion would be greeted with outrage and demands for a military response.

Nor does Obama appear to grasp that armies need fuel, ammunition, food, spare parts and other supplies. Nearly everything for our troops in landlocked Afghanistan, from bottled water to medical supplies, now comes via Pakistani ports, roads and railroads. If those long, difficult routes were cut, how would President Obama supply our troops? And no, it can't all be done by air.

Oh, Pakistan has nukes, too.

Also this week, Obama's advisers stated that, if apprehended, Osama bin Laden should be tried in a conventional US courtroom. My fellow Americans, do you believe that?

Do you believe that this arch-terrorist, publicly proud of his responsibility for 9/11, should be given all the rights of a US citizen and a public platform to engage in propaganda?

What the full-rights-for-terrorists advocates fail to comprehend is that our judicial processes - so dear to us - are viewed by terrorists as a means to advance their cause, to embarrass us, to reveal our intelligence methods and to perpetuate their martyr myth.

Harsh as it may sound, a dead terrorist is dead, but an imprisoned terrorist is a cause (and not just for his fellow radicals). Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is forgotten, but our Guantanamo prisoners are pop stars.

Obama appears out of his depth on all this, but the gushingly friendly media have given him a pass on every groundless claim or gaffe. It's time for journalists to start asking him tough questions - to press him when he doesn't give serious answers. Isn't that their job?

Those who knew Obama in his university days claim that he couldn't be persuaded to study history. It shows. And his lifelong lack of interest in the military is self-evident.

The response that "he has knowledgeable advisers" isn't enough. Obama's military and counterterror "experts" compose a unique collection of the dismissed, the discredited and the dysfunctional. Most appear to be out to settle personal grudges rather than to advance our nation's security.

Let's hope that just one high-profile journalist pushes Obama on the following questions:

* How would you find Osama bin Laden? What, specifically, would you do differently?

* What would be the rules for capturing or killing Osama?

* How would you manage the consequences of the military incursion into Pakistan you've threatened? Are you willing to go to war with Pakistan?

* What would be the specific results of a swift troop withdrawal from Iraq?

* Why would a judicial approach to defeating terrorists work this time when it failed to protect us in the past?

* Do you truly believe that self-admitted terrorists, when captured, deserve the full legal privileges of US citizens?

If this highly talented candidate has glaring gaps in his understanding of the world, voters deserve to know. If his campaign promises have no substance, we deserve to know that, too.

I support John McCain for president, but I live by the values that guided me as an Army officer: I will support my commander in chief as chosen by the American people, no matter who he (or, one day, she) may be. But until the people make their choice, both candidates should be held to the same tough standards of truth in advertising.

Sen. Obama, tell us how.

Ralph Peters' new book, "Looking for Trouble," will be published in July.
11024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 18, 2008, 09:22:55 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/18/bitter-half-alert-michelle-obamas-makeover-and-view-debut/

Michelle Malkin's take on Obama's "bitter-half".
11025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 18, 2008, 08:54:28 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/18/obama-pretty-psyched-for-a-nuremberg-trial-for-bin-laden/

Bad ideas, waiting to happen.
11026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 18, 2008, 08:51:23 PM
Back when she was bitter about having to pay student loans while just scraping by on 430,000 a year?
11027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 18, 2008, 08:05:06 PM
You are really buying the "re-imaging" of Michelle Obama? Really?  shocked
11028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 18, 2008, 10:41:19 AM
And you are free to use an older cell phone without GPS capacity, given that you'll find a provider that wishes to work with the older phone. I'm sure there is a technical solution to disable GPS. You have the option of buying a prepay wireless phone you buy using cash from a cameraless retailer that would be difficult, if not impossible to trace to you, depending on your use.

Today, just as long ago, the only way to track an individual's movement is by direct surveillance, just like 19th century gumshoes.

Corrupt politicians using their power for corrupt ends are nothing new, like Tammany Hall or the teapot dome scandal.
11029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 18, 2008, 09:24:51 AM
A couple point on the above story:

1. Vegas is a "top tier" target for jihad terrorism, domestic terror and all sorts of weird stuff that seems to drift into the city. Casino security should be much better trained than this.

2. If you see something, immediately say something to 911. Strange items emitting odors, possible WMD or IEDs, get lots of distance between you and it and report it. Do not touch, tamper or certainly don't take it from an outdoor location to a enclosed, populated one.

3. Cameras are important investigative tools, right Crafty?   wink
11030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 18, 2008, 09:17:32 AM
http://www.lasvegasnow.com/global/story.asp?s=8516184&ClientType=Printable

People Sick from Suspicious Package At Las Vegas Casino
Updated: June 18, 2008 12:16 AM

Several people are being treated after a suspicious package made them sick. It happened at Red Rock Hotel and Casino in northwest Las Vegas.

Metro Police officials say just after 7 p.m., casino security found a pillowcase in the garage. They said an unusually order was coming from the pillowcase, so they took it into the security office. Once it was inside, about five employees started feeling sick. Their symptoms included sweating and headaches.

Metro officials say they don't believe the illness is life threatening so everyone will be treated on the scene. Officials from the Clark County Fire Department and Metro officials have gone into the garage and are investigating.

"We have a team going inside to determine what's in that package at this time," said Metro Officer Jose Montoya.

Metro officials say the casino is operating as normally, but they will be taking a look at surveillance video to determine who left that package. No one is allowed in the garage to get their cars until officials can determine what's in that pillowcase.
11031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 18, 2008, 09:13:07 AM
From various media entities, including those from the "evil" Fox News, it seems that everyone that knew Tim Russert personally liked him and respected his journalistic professionalism. Having said that, how many cops and military personnel died in the line of duty while the MSM ran endless clip memorializing Mr. Russert. Not slamming him, just pointing out the self-centeredness of the MSM.
11032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 18, 2008, 09:05:01 AM
There is a profound difference between a dystopian system that mandates physically implanted GPS tracking on everyone vs. a free market where you freely chose to purchase technology and carry it. There are people that live in part, or totally "off the grid". Like any choice, it has it's pluses and minuses. As new technology comes on line, it's subject to the same legal scrutiny when used by law enforcement as in decades past. The same standards of "reasonable expectation of privacy" apply as much today as they did 50 years ago. As you are focused on cameras, I would remind you that long ago the courts have ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when you are in a public place or public building. Private entities are free to video record their premises at will as well.
11033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: June 17, 2008, 11:07:26 PM
Think anyone is listening? undecided
11034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:04:45 PM
You are free to not have a cell phone, in addition there are ways around the cell phone issue. As far as cameras, do you think they are readily searchable in most cases?
11035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: June 17, 2008, 07:11:16 PM
Hitler said what he was planning long before German troops crossed any borders, and then as now America slept.
11036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 07:08:48 PM
Depends on how the gov't is doing it. If it required a bar code tattoo and rectally implanted GPS tracking device for everyone, then the price would be too high. Certainly that's not even on the distant horizon.
11037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 12:16:58 PM
http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts224.html

I'd cite the above as a good example of what I was talking about.
11038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 17, 2008, 11:53:24 AM





June 17, 2008, 9:30 a.m.

Obama’s America Is September 10th America
His latest remarks betray an alarming ignorance.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

This is June 2008. That means it marks the ten-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s indictment.
He was first charged by my old office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in June 1998. That was before the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (hundreds killed), before the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (17 U.S. members of the U.S. Navy killed), and before 9/11 (nearly 3000 Americans killed). So it’s fair to ask: How is that strategy of prosecuting him in the criminal-justice system working out?

That’s a question Sen. John McCain ought to be putting to Sen. Barack Obama every day.

Sen. Obama, the Democrat’s presumptive nominee, made some astounding statements yesterday which provided his views on confronting the most urgent challenge facing the American people — that of radical Islam.

Taking aim at the Bush approach of regarding our terrorist enemies as, well, enemies, rather than criminal defendants clothed in all the rights and privileges of those American citizens whom these enemies pledge to kill, Obama asserted:

What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, “Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.”

So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.

This is a remarkably ignorant account of the American experience with jihadism. In point of fact, while the government managed to prosecute many people responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing, many also escaped prosecution because of the limits on civilian criminal prosecution. Some who contributed to the attack, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, continued to operate freely because they were beyond the system’s capacity to apprehend. Abdul Rahman Yasin was released prematurely because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him — he fled to Iraq, where he was harbored for a decade (and has never been apprehended).

But let’s assume incorrectly, for argument’s sake, that everyone was brought to justice in that case. What about Khobar Towers, Sen. Obama? After Iran and Hezbollah, perhaps with al-Qaeda’s assistance, killed 19 members of the United States Air Force, the Clinton administration responded with … a criminal investigation. The result? No arrests — in fact, no indictment was even filed until 2001.



After the embassy bombings, the aforementioned bin Laden was indicted along with his top henchman Ayman al-Zawahiri and nearly two dozen others. Exactly six of those men have been prosecuted as a result. And of those, the top-ranking al-Qaeda figure, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, has never been tried for the embassy bombings. When we gave him all the glorious privileges of the American Constitution, he used his access to free legal help as an opportunity to attempt a kidnapping escape from custody — in the course of which he maimed a prison guard by stabbing him in the eye before being subdued.

Then, of course, there was the October 2000 attack on the Cole in Aden harbor. No arrests, no indictment until well after the 9/11 attacks. The indictment has now been on the books for years as our Yemeni “allies” have pretended to pursue the al-Qaeda perpetrators — who, of course, have been permitted to escape from confinement. There is no prospect of an American prosecution because of the justice system’s painfully obvious limitations. Those terrorists are free to plot more American deaths, unless, of course, our military or intelligence operatives get them first.

And that’s the point isn’t it? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been under indictment by the Justice Department even longer than bin Laden. He was first charged in 1996, in connection with the so-called “Bojinka” plot to blow up American airliners as they flew over the Pacific (one Japanese tourist killed during a dry run). The plot was also found to include plans to assassinate President Clinton and Pope John Paul II.

So what happened? Because criminal prosecution is incapable of dealing with the likes of KSM — a highly insulated foreign jihadist operating from terror safe havens sprinkled across the globe — he remained free to plot murder and mayhem for years, finally masterminding 9/11.

KSM was apprehended only after the Bush administration changed strategy and started regarding terrorists as what they are: wartime enemies, rather than in possession of Obama’s suggested “criminal defendants” status.

The fact is that we used the criminal justice system as our principal enforcement approach, the approach Obama intends to reinstate, for eight years — from the bombing of the World Trade Center until the shocking destruction of that complex on 9/11. During that timeframe, while the enemy was growing stronger and attacking more audaciously, we managed to prosecute successfully less than three dozen terrorists (29 to be precise). And with a handful of exceptions, they were the lowest ranking of players.

When an elitist lawyer like Obama claims the criminal-justice system works against terrorists, he means it satisfies his top concern: due process. And on that score, he’s quite right: We’ve shown we can conduct trials that are fair to the terrorists. After all, we give them lawyers paid for by the taxpayers whom they are trying to kill, mounds of our intelligence in discovery, and years upon years of pretrial proceedings, trials, appeals, and habeas corpus.

As a national-security strategy, however, and as a means of carrying our government’s first responsibility to protect the American people, heavy reliance on criminal justice is an abysmal failure.

A successful counterterrorism strategy makes criminal prosecution a subordinate part of a much broader governmental response. Most of what is needed never happens in a courtroom. It happens in military operations against terrorist strongholds; intelligence operations in which jihadists get assassinated — without trial; intelligence collections in which we cozy up to despicable informants since only they can tell us what we need to know; and aggressive treasury actions to trace terror funds.

That is how you stop the homeland from being attacked, which is what we have done for the last seven years. And it is that from which Obama wants to move away.

Obama would bring us back to September 10th America. And September 10th is sure to be followed by September 11th .

— Andrew C. McCarthy is author of Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad and director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTFhZTdmZWZlMGExNDRjOWRlZWUxYzEwNjg0MWEzZDc=
11039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:30:29 AM
Absolutely. As long as there is police power, there is the potential for the abuse of the police power. Is the answer then to not have police? That would ensure there were no abuses of police power. There are certainly those who call themselves libertarians that advocate such a position. I think a cost/benefit analysis is a better method of examining the issue.
11040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:00:51 AM
In the US, we (meaning law enforcement, in it's various versions at the local, state and federal level) work for you (meaning the citizenry as a whole). I would not want it any other way. In most states, the county Sheriff is an elected position and especially in the western US the Sheriff has a very powerful role in shaping local level law enforcement. The US is the only nation in the world with elected law enforcement officials. Something I take pride in. Every other law enforcement executive answers to an elected official or officials and every act a law enforcement officer does in this country faces multiple levels of review and potential legal jeopardy for everything we do or don't do. I knowing accept this burden as does everyone else that goes through the laborious process of becoming a law enforcement officer in this country.

I understand that an inherent skepticism of gov't is a part of the core values our nation was founded on. My frustration is when it isn't rational skepticism but something irrational.
11041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 10:28:22 AM
CD,

No, it's more generalized towards what law enforcement generally faces from a percentage of the population. What percentage exactly, I don't know, but it's often verbalized under the guise of "civil liberties" or "libertarianism". I've never seen you bash police officers and the part about "donut eating, racist, bullies" was not aimed at you at all. My apologies for my poor articulation of my frustration.

I had a long night at work and was multitasking multiple sites and was viewing www.odmp.org and http://www.sacbee.com/photos/gallery/1017048.html and was in overwrought rant mode.

No disrespect intended towards you.


11042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 08:55:50 AM
"Technology will continue to advance. If there is an answer to your concerns, it's from legislation. What legislation do you suggest that will protect your privacy? Would this legislation cover both gov't and private entities? What technology should law enforcement be allowed to use, if any?"

Good and fair questions-- and I readily admit to not having answers to them worked out.  I do think though that as a society we had really better get to it though, before it is too late to stop things from going too far.

I will say that I have no problem with monitoring radiation as discussed in your previous post  cheesy

** "A policeman's lot is not a happy one...." Yeah, in general the public shares your ambiguity towards law enforcement. We should be omnipresent and all powerful when needed and invisible all other times. We are heroes only when our loved ones get a folded flag as bagpipes play "Amazing Grace" and donut eating, racist, bullies when we win the fight and face the monday morning quarterbacking, IAs and state and federal prosecution.**
11043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 17, 2008, 08:43:54 AM
http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121366596327979497.html

The Supreme Court Goes to War
By JOHN YOO
June 17, 2008; Page A23

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush has been painted as a stinging rebuke of the administration's antiterrorism policies. From the celebrations on most U.S. editorial pages, one might think that the court had stopped a dictator from trampling civil liberties. Boumediene did anything but. The 5-4 ruling is judicial imperialism of the highest order.

Boumediene should finally put to rest the popular myth that right-wing conservatives dominate the Supreme Court. Academics used to complain about the Rehnquist Court's "activism" for striking down minor federal laws on issues such as whether states are immune from damage lawsuits, or if Congress could ban handguns in school. Justice Anthony Kennedy -- joined by the liberal bloc of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer -- saves his claims of judicial supremacy for the truly momentous: striking down a wartime statute, agreed upon by the president and large majorities of Congress, while hostilities are ongoing, no less.

1
First out the window went precedent. Under the writ of habeas corpus, Americans (and aliens on our territory) can challenge the legality of their detentions before a federal judge. Until Boumediene, the Supreme Court had never allowed an alien who was captured fighting against the U.S. to use our courts to challenge his detention.

In World War II, no civilian court reviewed the thousands of German prisoners housed in the U.S. Federal judges never heard cases from the Confederate prisoners of war held during the Civil War. In a trilogy of cases decided at the end of World War II, the Supreme Court agreed that the writ did not benefit enemy aliens held outside the U.S. In the months after the 9/11 attacks, we in the Justice Department relied on the Supreme Court's word when we evaluated Guantanamo Bay as a place to hold al Qaeda terrorists.

The Boumediene five also ignored the Constitution's structure, which grants all war decisions to the president and Congress. In 2004 and 2006, the Court tried to extend its reach to al Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay. It was overruled twice by Congress, which has the power to define the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Congress established its own procedures for the appeal of detentions.

Incredibly, these five Justices have now defied the considered judgment of the president and Congress for a third time, all to grant captured al Qaeda terrorists the exact same rights as American citizens to a day in civilian court.

Judicial modesty, respect for the executive and legislative branches, and pure common sense weren't concerns here either. The Court refused to wait and see how Congress's 2006 procedures for the review of enemy combatant cases work. Congress gave Guantanamo Bay prisoners more rights than any prisoners of war, in any war, ever. The justices violated the classic rule of self-restraint by deciding an issue not yet before them.

Judicial micromanagement will now intrude into the conduct of war. Federal courts will jury-rig a process whose every rule second-guesses our soldiers and intelligence agents in the field. A judge's view on how much "proof" is needed to find that a "suspect" is a terrorist will become the standard applied on the battlefield. Soldiers will have to gather "evidence," which will have to be safeguarded until a court hearing, take statements from "witnesses," and probably provide some kind of Miranda-style warning upon capture. No doubt lawyers will swarm to provide representation for new prisoners.

So our fighting men and women now must add C.S.I. duties to that of capturing or killing the enemy. Nor will this be the end of it. Under Boumediene's claim of judicial supremacy, it is only a hop, skip and a jump from judges second-guessing whether someone is an enemy to second-guessing whether a soldier should have aimed and fired at him.

President Bush has declared, rightly, that the government will abide by the decision. No American lives are yet imperiled, as the courts will have to wrestle with the cases for months, if not years. But the upshot of Boumediene is that courts will release detainees from Guantanamo Bay, or the Defense Department will do so voluntarily, in the near future.

Just as there is always the chance of a mistaken detention, there is also the probability that we will release the wrong man. As Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion notes, at least 30 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay -- with the military, not the courts, making the call -- have returned to Afghanistan and Iraq battlefields.

The Boumediene majority has two hopes for getting away with its brazen power grab. It assumes that we have accepted judicial control over virtually every important policy in our society, from abortion and affirmative action to religion. Boumediene simply adds war to the list. The justices act like we are no longer really at war. Our homeland has not suffered another 9/11 attack for seven years, and our military and intelligence agencies have killed or captured much of al Qaeda's original leadership. What's left is on the run, due to the very terrorism policies under judicial attack.

Justice Kennedy and his majority assume that terrorism is some long-term social problem, like crime, so the standard methods of law enforcement can be used to deal with al Qaeda. Boumediene reflects a judicial desire to return to the comfortable, business-as-usual attitude that characterized U.S. antiterrorism policy up to Sept. 10, 2001.

The only real hope of returning the Supreme Court to its normal wartime role rests in the November elections. Sometimes it is difficult to tell Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain apart on issues like campaign finance or global warming. But they have real differences on Supreme Court appointments. Mr. Obama had nothing but praise for Boumediene, while Mr. McCain attacked it and promised to choose judges like Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both dissenters.

Because of the advancing age of several justices (Justice Stevens is 88, and several others are above 70), the next president will be in a position to appoint a new Court that can reverse the damage done to the nation's security.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03.
11044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Book Reviews on: June 16, 2008, 07:45:38 PM
Buchanan makes me ill. The fact that he is treated like a legitimate conservative by the MSM makes me even sicker.
11045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: June 16, 2008, 09:27:34 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/88_say_free_speech_is_good_but_only_53_oppose_ban_on_hate_speech

Death, by a thousand cuts.
11046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 16, 2008, 08:44:10 AM





June 16, 2008, 6:00 a.m.

A Quick Way Forward After Boumediene
Either Congress reasserts itself, or terror-friendly bedlam ensues.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

It is difficult to single out the most outrageous aspect of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s cataclysmic Boumediene ruling last Thursday: The reckless vesting of constitutional rights in aliens whose only connection with our body politic is their bloody jihad against Americans; the roughshod ride over binding precedent to accomplish that feat; or the smug arrogance perfectly captured by dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts’s description of a “constitutional bait and switch” — a Court that first beseeches the political branches to enact a statutory procedure for handling combatant detentions, and then, once a thoughtful law is compliantly passed, invalidates the effort for its failure to satisfy the eccentric predilections of five lawyers.
What is done, however, is done.

HANDWRITING ON THE WALL
It should never have come to this. Ever since the Bush administration quite rightly called for a new enforcement paradigm after the 9/11 attacks — the criminal-justice system having proved itself grossly inadequate to protect national security during the Nineties — it has been apparent that shifting to a pure military system was problematic.

The war on terror is not like other wars. No war has a determinate end, but this one does not have a foreseeable ending scenario. With radical Islam, there will be no treaty, no terms of surrender, no conquering enemy territory. Instead, there is only vigilance until the enemy’s capacity to project power is quelled. Because of that, strict application of the laws of war — which permit indefinite detention until war’s end — strikes our influential legal elites as unduly onerous.

Our enemies, moreover, are terrorists who operate in the shadows, in civilian garb not military insignia. In a just world, that would inure to their detriment. In the world we inhabit, it perversely benefits them by sowing doubt about their status. It makes plausible the possibility that we have scooped up at least some people in error.

The public anger over 9/11 has faded. With a relentless campaign, fired by sympathetic media coverage, our legal elites have succeeded in raising popular concerns about the specter of innocents being held in perpetuity at the whim of the executive, without an opportunity to challenge their detention before an independent judge.

This was more of a political challenge than a legal one. Long ago, Congress and the administration should have joined forces to forge a comprehensive system that would answer those concerns. To their credit, the political branches did at least try to shore up the military detention system by providing, for the first time in history, enemy access to a civilian court — the D.C. Circuit federal appeals court — so jihadists could challenge the completed military proceedings. It is beyond arrogance that five Supreme Court justices did not allow that system to work; that, to bask in international huzzahs, they scrapped it before the D.C. Circuit could wrestle with a single case on a concrete record — before the tribunals could prove they were not kangaroo courts after all.

But let’s face it: The handwriting for what happened last Thursday has been on the wall since 2004. That’s when the Court, in a fit of imperious recklessness nearly the equal of Boumediene, decided in Rasul v. Bush that the jihadists had statutory habeas corpus rights. The handwriting was brought into starker relief in 2006 when, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court selectively mined and tortured the language of the Geneva Conventions to vest the jihadists with trial rights under Geneva’s Common Article 3.

This has been coming at us like a runaway freight train. Congress and the administration should have seen it and stopped it. They failed to act, so the cure will be harder now — though we must, for the sake of our security, press ahead with a legislative cure.



THE FOLLY OF PUTTING COURTS IN CHARGE
Why harder? Well, until last Thursday, alien enemy combatants had no American constitutional rights. Their rights were limited to whatever the political branches, chiefly Congress, chose to grant them. If Congress, with the administration’s help, had undertaken to devise a comprehensive system of rules and procedures for terrorist detention and trial — what I have several times since 2004 proposed as a “national-security court” (see, e.g., here, here and here — NR subscription required for the last one) — it is very likely that the Supreme Court would have stayed its hand. Indeed, the justices originally declined to hear the Boumediene case before changing their minds at the end of the 2007 term, as public criticism of the military system mounted.

But the political branches ignored the neon signs. Now the Court has decided that the combatants have constitutional habeas rights. If you can follow this, the bloc of liberal justices reasons that the framers designed our fundamental law to empower enemies of the American people to use the American people’s courts as a weapon to compel the American people’s commander-in-chief to justify his actions during a war overwhelmingly authorized by the American people’s elected representatives . . . even as those enemies continue killing Americans.

The upshot of the ruling is that the judiciary, not Congress, could now become the master of deciding what rights our enemies have in wartime. When rights are based on the Constitution, rather than on statutes, Congress may not reduce them. Courts assert the power to define their ultimate parameters.

In the context of war powers — powers that are political, not legal — that would be a disaster. Courts are not responsible for our national security. Their task is to ensure that parties litigating legal cases before them are afforded due process. Moreover, the judicial tendency, when the United States is a party, is to bend over backwards to eliminate not just the reality but the mere perception of unfairness to the adversary — even if that adversary happens to be a ruthless, incorrigible enemy of the United States who would, given his druthers, torch the Constitution and install freedom-hating sharia law.

Worse, while waging war is a society’s ultimate political act, and thus suited for management only by the society’s politically accountable officials, judges are insulated from the political process. They needn’t fear being removed or voted out of office if they impose a regime that is overly solicitous of terrorist rights and heedless of national security. They can do what Leftist politicians would do if they weren’t so worried about the ballot box.

This perfect storm of institutional responsibility, natural proclivity, and political immunity hardwires judges to ratchet up due process demands over time. In the warfare context, the price will be paid in American lives.

The most reprehensible aspect of the Boumediene ruling is thus Justice Kennedy’s diktat that all “questions regarding the legality of the detention [of combatants] are to be resolved in the first instance by the District Court” — as if Congress, the law writing branch of our government, had nothing to say about them.

Congress must ignore that brazen overstatement. Boumediene is a terrible decision, but all it means for the moment is that the jihadists held at Guantanamo Bay have been given the opportunity to press their cases — i.e., to seek their release from custody — in the federal district courts. The combatants have not been ordered released, and the narrow majority did not presume to prescribe a procedure for how the district courts should handle those cases.

THE WAY FORWARD
That is the job of Congress, and it must act now. Bear in mind, even in the civilian-justice system, where the judicial competence is generally undeniable, it is Congress that enacts rules of procedure and evidence. We do not leave judges free to make it up as they go along. How much less should we do so with respect to combatant detention — a war power as to which judges have no institutional competence?

There may not be time now for ambitious, comprehensive projects like sculpting a national-security court. Boumediene has produced a crisis that demands an immediate fix. But Congress could very quickly accomplish the more modest task of enacting rules and procedures for combatant habeas proceedings. In fact, there is already a model of sorts.



Long ago, our lawmakers enacted a statutory scheme to control pretrial detention in federal criminal cases. It is codified at Section 3142 of Title 18, United States Code. In cases involving the most serious charges and defendants with the most vicious criminal histories, Congress has directed courts to grant the government a presumption in favor of detention. In detention hearings, furthermore, the law permits the parties to proceed by offering hearsay and attorney proffers of evidence; the presentation of witnesses is rare, and needn’t be allowed at all. In addition, a court considering detention is entitled to rely on any information developed in other proceedings — including on the fact that a grand jury has found probable cause that the defendant committed the alleged crime.

Mind you, that is in civilian criminal proceedings where the defendant is presumed innocent. We have long permitted lengthy periods of incarceration without trial, much less conviction, and this system has repeatedly been upheld in the face of all manner of constitutional challenge.

Obviously, being held as an alien enemy combatant in a terrorist war against the United States is a far more serious matter than even the drug and violent crimes (to say nothing of flight risks posed by foreign defendants) that routinely result in civilian pretrial detention. Thus, Congress could quickly enact a statute requiring the district courts in combatant habeas cases to afford the commander-in-chief a presumption mandating detention. That is, if the government established a rational basis for believing the detainee was an enemy combatant, he would be ordered detained unless the detainee proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not an enemy combatant.

Congress could provide for the presentation of evidence by hearsay, proffer, and affidavit — with a directive that the court may not compel the government (particularly, the military and intelligence community) to produce witnesses for testimony in court. It could provide for classified intelligence to be presented to the judge ex parte, with only a non-classified summary provided to the combatant. It could require the court to give deference during wartime to the conclusion of combatant status review tribunals already conducted by the military (allowing judges to disregard those conclusions only upon a showing that the conclusion was irrational — the same standard that compels federal appeals courts, in every single civilian criminal case, to refrain from disturbing a trial court’s findings of fact).

To promote efficiency, since the issues in these cases are likely to be repetitive, Congress could also direct that all petitions be filed in the District of Columbia, with all appeals to the D.C. Circuit and, ultimately, the Supreme Court. Though I would prefer to see the cases directed to a specialized court, it is not practical to expect one could be designed in the short-term. We need a solution that can be implemented tomorrow.

If Congress were to enact such a law, patterned on the pretrial detention statute but properly imposing greater burdens on petitioners who are alleged to be wartime enemies rather than mere criminals, the result would be that only the most egregious miscarriage of justice would result in a finding that a detainee was not an enemy combatant. That is as it should be — especially given that (a) alien enemy combatants have never before been afforded such rights and (b) only four years ago, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court itself said judicial deference to the commander-in-chief was due even if an alleged combatant was an American citizen.

We must, naturally, anticipate that the federal courts will find the occasional, egregious miscarriage of justice. Thus Congress should also provide for what would happen to such a combatant. In short, he should be detained until he can be either repatriated to his native country or sent to a country of our choosing which is willing to receive him; under no circumstances should he be released into the United States.

On that score, we must be mindful of an oft-overlooked fact: Unlike American citizens who file habeas-corpus claims challenging their detention after conviction in civilian cases, the alien enemy combatants making war on us are not relying solely — or even principally — on legal proceedings. To the contrary, they have governments aggressively pursuing their release by diplomatic means. That is why the detainee population at Gitmo is down to about 270 when once it was over 800.

Naturally, Sen. Barack Obama and other hard-Left Democrats are thrilled with Boumediene. They are enthused by the prospect that federal judges, if left to their own devices, could turn these proceedings into full-blown trials, with all the constitutional protections they would gladly give our enemies if they thought voters would let them get away with it.

We shouldn’t let them get away with it.

Unduly empowered by the bedlam of unguided judicial proceedings, many jihadists will be freed. If that happens, Americans will be killed. It is that stark, and it should be that intolerable. It is the solemn responsibility of our lawmakers to prevent that outcome. With an election looming, with nearly 200,000 young Americans putting their lives on the line, and with an enemy working energetically to reprise 9/11, every member of Congress should be challenged to tell us where he or she stands on Boumediene and its aftermath.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is author of Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad and director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGEwMTY5YTU3NGRiOWUyMzkxZTU3MDE1ZWUwMDYxOTM=
11047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? on: June 16, 2008, 08:25:09 AM
The Saudis plan to become a nuclear power to counter Iran. Wait and see.
11048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 08:28:23 PM
**Loss of freedom? Or rational policy post-9/11?**

EXCLUSIVE: Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants
Posted 12/22/05
By David E. Kaplan

In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.

Federal officials familiar with the program maintain that warrants are unneeded for the kind of radiation sampling the operation entails, but some legal scholars disagree. News of the program comes in the wake of revelations last week that, after 9/11, the Bush White House approved electronic surveillance of U.S. targets by the National Security Agency without court orders. These and other developments suggest that the federal government's domestic spying programs since 9/11 have been far broader than previously thought.

The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program. At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat. The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.

FBI officials expressed concern that discussion of the program would expose sensitive methods used in counterterrorism. Although NEST staffers have demonstrated their techniques on national television as recently as October, U.S. News has omitted details of how the monitoring is conducted. Officials from four different agencies declined to respond on the record about the classified program: the FBI, Energy Department, Justice Department, and National Security Council. "We don't ever comment on deployments," said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages NEST.

In Washington, the sites monitored have included prominent mosques and office buildings in suburban Maryland and Virginia. One source close to the program said that participants "were tasked on a daily and nightly basis," and that FBI and Energy Department officials held regular meetings to update the monitoring list. "The targets were almost all U.S. citizens," says the source. "A lot of us thought it was questionable, but people who complained nearly lost their jobs. We were told it was perfectly legal."

The question of search warrants is controversial, however. To ensure accurate readings, in up to 15 percent of the cases the monitoring needed to take place on private property, sources say, such as on mosque parking lots and private driveways. Government officials familiar with the program insist it is legal; warrants are unneeded for monitoring from public property, they say, as well as from publicly accessible driveways and parking lots. "If a delivery man can access it, so can we," says one.

Georgetown University Professor David Cole, a constitutional law expert, disagrees. Surveillance of public spaces such as mosques or public businesses might well be allowable without a court order, he argues, but not private offices or homes: "They don't need a warrant to drive onto the property -- the issue isn't where they are, but whether they're using a tactic to intrude on privacy. It seems to me that they are, and that they would need a warrant or probable cause."

Cole points to a 2001 Supreme Court decision, U.S. vs. Kyllo, which looked at police use -- without a search warrant -- of thermal imaging technology to search for marijuana-growing lamps in a home. The court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that authorities did in fact need a warrant -- that the heat sensors violated the Fourth Amendment's clause against unreasonable search and seizure. But officials familiar with the FBI/NEST program say the radiation sensors are different and are only sampling the surrounding air. "This kind of program only detects particles in the air, it's non directional," says one knowledgeable official. "It's not a whole lot different from smelling marijuana."

Officials also reject any notion that the program specifically has targeted Muslims. "We categorically do not target places of worship or entities solely based on ethnicity or religious affiliation," says one. "Our investigations are intelligence driven and based on a criminal predicate."

Among those said to be briefed on the monitoring program were Vice President Richard Cheney; Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration; and Richard Clarke, then a top counterterrorism official at the National Security Council. After 9/11, top officials grew increasingly concerned over the prospect of nuclear terrorism. Just weeks after the World Trade Center attacks, a dubious informant named Dragonfire warned that al Qaeda had smuggled a nuclear device into New York City; NEST teams swept the city and found nothing. But as evidence seized from Afghan camps confirmed al Qaeda's interest in nuclear technology, radiation detectors were temporarily installed along Washington, D.C., highways and the Muslim monitoring program began.

Most staff for the monitoring came from NEST, which draws from nearly 1,000 nuclear scientists and technicians based largely at the country's national laboratories. For 30 years, NEST undercover teams have combed suspected sites looking for radioactive material, using high-tech detection gear fitted onto various aircraft, vehicles, and even backpacks and attaché cases. No dirty bombs or nuclear devices have ever been found - and that includes the post-9/11 program. "There were a lot of false positives, and one or two were alarming," says one source. "But in the end we found nothing."
11049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 15, 2008, 08:08:27 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/14/AR2008061402032_pf.html

Smugglers Had Design For Advanced Warhead
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 15, 2008; A01

An international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, according to a draft report by a former top U.N. arms inspector that suggests the plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups.

The drawings, discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss businessmen, included essential details for building a compact nuclear device that could be fitted on a type of ballistic missile used by Iran and more than a dozen developing countries, the report states.

The computer contents -- among more than 1,000 gigabytes of data seized -- were recently destroyed by Swiss authorities under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is investigating the now-defunct smuggling ring previously led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

But U.N. officials cannot rule out the possibility that the blueprints were shared with others before their discovery, said the report's author, David Albright, a prominent nuclear weapons expert who spent four years researching the smuggling network.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," Albright wrote in a draft report about the blueprint's discovery. A copy of the report, expected to be published later this week, was provided to The Washington Post.

The A.Q. Khan smuggling ring was previously known to have provided Libya with design information for a nuclear bomb. But the blueprints found in 2006 are far more troubling, Albright said in his report. While Libya was given plans for an older and relatively unsophisticated weapon that was bulky and difficult to deliver, the newly discovered blueprints offered instructions for building a compact device, the report said. The lethality of such a bomb would be little enhanced, but its smaller size might allow for delivery by ballistic missile.

"To many of these countries, it's all about size and weight," Albright said in an interview. "They need to be able to fit the device on the missiles they have."

The Swiss government acknowledged this month that it destroyed nuclear-related documents, including weapons-design details, under the direction of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to keep them from falling into terrorists' hands. However, it has not been previously reported that the documents included hundreds of pages of specifications for a second, more advanced nuclear bomb.

"These would have been ideal for two of Khan's other major customers, Iran and North Korea," wrote Albright, now president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "They both faced struggles in building a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop their ballistic missiles, and these designs were for a warhead that would fit."

It is unknown whether the designs were delivered to either country, or to anyone else, Albright said.

The Pakistani government did not rebut the findings in the report but said it had cooperated extensively with U.N. investigators. "The government of Pakistan has adequately investigated allegations of nuclear proliferation by A.Q. Khan and shared the information with IAEA," Nadeem Kiani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said yesterday. "It considers the A.Q. Khan affair to be over."

A CIA official, informed of the essential details of Albright's report, said the agency would not comment because of the extreme diplomatic and security sensitivities of the matter. In his 2007 memoir, former CIA director George Tenet acknowledged the agency's extensive involvement in tracking the Khan network over more than a decade.

Albright, a former IAEA inspector in Iraq, has published detailed analyses of the nuclear programs of numerous states, including Iran and North Korea. His institute was the first to publicly identify the location of an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israeli warplanes last September.

A design for a compact, missile-ready nuclear weapon could help an aspiring nuclear power overcome a major technical hurdle and vastly increase its options for delivery of a nuclear explosive. Such a design could theoretically help North Korea -- which detonated a nuclear device in a 2006 test -- to couple a nuclear warhead with its Nodong missile, which has a proven range of 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles).

Iran also possesses medium-range ballistic missiles and is believed by U.S. government officials to be seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons in the future, although an assessment late last year by U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Weapons experts have long puzzled over whether Tehran might have previously acquired a weapons design from the Khan network, which sold the Iranian government numerous other nuclear-related items, including designs for uranium-enrichment equipment.

The computers that contained the drawings were owned by three members of the Tinner family -- brothers Marco and Urs and their father, Friedrich -- all Swiss businessmen who have been identified by U.S. and IAEA officials as key participants in Khan's nuclear black market. The smuggling ring operated from the mid-1980s until 2003, when it was exposed after a years-long probe by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies.

Khan, who apologized for his role in the smuggling network in a 2004 speech broadcast in Pakistan, was officially pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf without being formally charged with crimes. The Tinner brothers are in Swiss prisons awaiting trial on charges related to their alleged involvement in the network. They and their father are the focus of an ongoing probe by Swiss authorities, who discovered the blueprints while exploring the heavily encrypted contents of the Tinners' computers, the report said. Several published reports have asserted that Urs Tinner became an informant for U.S. intelligence before the breakup of the smuggling ring, but that has not been officially confirmed.

Switzerland shared the finding with the IAEA as well as the United States, which asked for copies of the blueprints, the report states. The IAEA has acknowledged that it oversaw the destruction of nuclear-design material by Swiss authorities in November 2007. However, IAEA officials would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a second weapons design or comment on Albright's report.

Albright, citing information provided by IAEA investigators, said the designs were similar to that of a nuclear device built by Pakistan. He contends in the report that IAEA officials confronted Pakistan's government shortly after the discovery, adding that the private reaction of government officials was astonishment. The Pakistanis "were genuinely shocked; Khan may have transferred his own country's most secret and dangerous information to foreign smugglers so that they could sell it for a profit," Albright said, relating a description of the encounter given to him by IAEA officials.

Pakistan has previously denied that Khan stole the country's weapons plans. Musharraf has not allowed IAEA experts to interview Khan, an engineer who is regarded as a national hero for his role in establishing Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Khan, in interviews last month with The Post and several other publications, asserted that the allegations of nuclear smuggling were false.

Albright said it remains critical that investigators press Khan and others for details about how the blueprints were obtained and who might have them. Because the plans were stored electronically, they may have been copied many times, he said.
11050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 07:53:02 PM
Technology will continue to advance. If there is an answer to your concerns, it's from legislation. What legislation do you suggest that will protect your privacy? Would this legislation cover both gov't and private entities? What technology should law enforcement be allowed to use, if any?
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