Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ACLU Repression 

The ACLU is considering stifling free speech for its board members. Imagine! Pot, meet kettle.

That organization really ought to take a step back from itself and see how ridiculous that is.

Credit Instapundit for the pointer.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

ABC News Whines About Investigation 

This piece [at ABC News' "The Blotter"] coyly states "ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls."

Ummmm, isn't it possible, if the "phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation" that the information was either obtained by virtue of a search warrant, duly issued and approved by a Federal magistrate, or was legally obtained without a warrant because such information has been held not to be private? In fact, isn't it PROBABLE that this is the case, given that the Feds must surely be aware of the likelihood of leaks, and that the whole operation will be spun by the media as a violation of free speech and due process?

How can the lamestream media seriously push the idea that the government is full of evil geniuses engaged in a vast conspiracy to destroy our Constitutional rights while at the same time implying that government investigators are so stupid that they'd knowingly give the media such ammunition against themselves?

I'll tell you what I believe in this story: (a) the government is investigating leaks; (b) they are trying to find out who in the media suspected leakers are talking to; (c) somebody in the government (probably more than one person) has been asked to sign a document (probably under penalty of perjury) saying that he/she isn't the source of a particular leak; (d) the investigators have dotted all their legal i's and crossed all their legal t's.

Mostly this article is all speculation and spin, presenting, as clearly intended, the lamestream media as victim. Sorry, ABC, I don't buy it. Cross posted to Blotter comments.

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments. The tinfoil hat wearers are out in force. Hilarious!!

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Da Vinci Boycott? 

I read in our local paper that Archbishop Angelo Amato, the second ranking person in the Vatican's doctrinal office, has urged Catholics to boycott "The DaVinci Code" movie (and presumably the book).

Geez! Doesn't the Archbishop realize that by doing that he's probably increased by half the number of people (including Catholics) who will go see the film? "Banned in Boston" still sells.

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Mark Steyn on Clooney on Darfur 

Thanks to Austin Bay's blog, I read an essay by Mark Steyn published in The Australian. Steyn notes the recent public plea by actor George Clooney for a "multinational force to protect the civilians of Darfur," and analyzes what the term "multinational force" might mean.

If it means paying lip service to the notion that "something must be done" in Darfur, then "multinational force" means some cobbled-up UN sponsored group of people carrying guns who stand around and watch as more African Muslims and Christians are slaughtered and gang-raped. If, on the other hand, the term means a competent, professional and well-led military organization with the means, the will and the stated mission to bring an end to the genocide (not the UN's term) in Darfur, then "multinational force" means at least two of four countries (the US, UK, Australia and Canada) plus whatever others have the gumption and the will to send a company or two of soldiers.

The sad fact is that the English-speaking countries are the only ones to call when you want real results. Unfortunately, members of the chic left like Clooney don't want to admit it. According to Steyn, Clooney thinks "liberal" has become a dirty word and he wants to change that. Steyn's priceless response: "[Y]ou're never going to do so as long as your squeamishness about the projection of American power outweighs your do-gooder instincts."

Steyn is not only a clear thinker on these kinds of issues, but he can turn a lovely phrase. Here's his last two paragraphs (but you really should read the whole thing):
Those of us on the Free Iraq-Free Darfur side are consistent: There are no bad reasons to clobber thug regimes, and the postmodern sovereignty beloved by the UN is strictly conditional. At some point, the Left has to decide whether it stands for anything other than self-congratulatory passivity and the fetishisation of a failed and corrupt transnationalism. As Alexander Downer put it: "Outcomes are more important than blind faith in the principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and multilateralism."

Just so. Regrettably, the Australian Foreign Minister isn't as big a star as Clooney, but I'm sure Downer wouldn't mind if Clooney wanted to appropriate it as the Clooney Doctrine. If Anglosphere action isn't multinational enough for Sudan, it might confirm the suspicion that the Left's conscience is now just some tedious shell game in which it frantically scrambles the thimbles but, whether you look under the Iraqi or Afghan or Sudanese one, you somehow never find the shrivelled pea of The Military Intervention We're Willing To Support. (Emphasis mine.)

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zarqawi the "Warrior" 

Have you seen that video that Fox News is showing? It includes the out-takes from the propaganda video that al-Jazeera ran last week. It's full of entertainment value.

As a warrior, Zarqawi is not too impressive. Z-man is wearing New Balance sneakers, and has to be shown how to clear his weapon after it locks. I can't wait to hear the bastard snivel when we finally catch him. In the meantime, we ought to broadcast the out-takes wherever and whenever we can, so that anyone who's contemplating signing up with Zarqawi (if there are any left) can see what level of competence the boss-man has.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

McCain and Free Speech 

First, go read Day by Day for 3 May 2006.

Welcome back!

That's why I could never vote for John McCain for President, even though I have immense respect for the man personally, and immense gratitude for all of his service to our country. If he gets the Republican nomination, I'll either not vote for President in 2008, or vote for some third party candidate. (I can't imagine voting for any Democrat that presently seems to have a chance to be their candidate.)

I wonder how many other registered Republicans feel the same.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Drugs and Thugs: What To Do? 

In the weekly "Americas" (link probably available to subscribers only) op-ed in the 28 April issue of the Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O'Grady postulated that the United States' prohibition of drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana has given rise to a powerful criminal thugocracy in Mexico and other Latin American countries, just as prohibition of alcohol in the United States gave rise to such worthies as Al Capone, John Dillinger, Detroit's Purple Gang and, of course, the Mafia. The problem is getting so bad in Mexico that there are fears that drug money will influence the upcoming presidential election. O'Grady's final paragraph is telling:
The question is not whether dangerous drugs are innocuous. Let's agree they are not. The question is which policy is best to manage the problem. We can't make that calculation until we face honestly all of the costs of prohibition and the suffering of our neighbors. (Emphasis in original.)
This is not a new issue. People have been talking about how best to deal with the drug problem for decades. It should be obvious to anyone that whatever we've tried over the years hasn't worked, despite the heroic efforts of the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs, the FBI and hundreds of state and local police agencies. Drug use is still a problem in the US, and the addicts commit all kinds of crimes to get the money they need to feed their habit, not to mention the pressure they put on public health facilities when they OD or get sick because of poor nutrition and hygiene.

Although she isn't explicit, it appears to me that O'Grady might be in favor of legalizing, or at least decriminalizing drugs like cocaine, heroin and marijuana, in order to bring the price down to a level where users don't have to commit so many crimes to afford their drugs, and the profit from selling the stuff isn't worth the risk to the smugglers. This is, I think, what the recently derailed law in Mexico was trying to accomplish, but the language of the statute was reportedly so loose that it amounted to total deregulation of the recreational drug trade.

I might be in favor of decriminalization under certain circumstances, to wit: taxpayer funds would only be used for programs designed to diminish the market for drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana, and to shut down any nonsanctioned dealing in such drugs, and there would be severe legal consequences associated with using such substances. Here's a rough scenario:

Drugs would be dispensed free or for a nominal cost by the government, but only to persons who undergo a blood test to verify the existing use of the drug. Persons who are "clean" would not be given any drug. Drugs would have to be consumed on the premises of the drug clinic. Anyone else dealing or distributing drugs would be subject to major criminal penalties.

No taxpayer funds would be spent for acute medical treatment of any conditions caused by or related to a person's drug use. If someone wants to commit suicide by OD, let 'em. It's harsh, but I guarantee such a policy would reduce the demand for drugs. Public money would be directed only to detox and rehab programs designed with the goal of eliminating the market for drugs.

To go along with that, laws should be enacted imposing strict civil liability on persons who commit torts while having any such drugs in their bloodstream, and making the presence of drugs an aggravating factor for any crime committed by a user, leading to more severe sentences and mandatory drug rehab. Some changes might be required in evidence rules, especially as regards proof of dealing or distributing. Also, a strong and consistent antidrug education program that emphasizes the fact that using equals suicide, both socially and literally, in terms that kids and teens will understand and, most importantly, internalize.

I have no illusions that what I propose would solve the drug problem, I only mean to illustrate the kinds of things that would be necessary to have my vote for decriminalizing these dangerous and evil substances. (If you don't think they're evil, talk to some victims.) Most importantly, the fact that we've not as a society done anything to solve the drug problem but "more of the same" for the last 50 years suggests either that we are not serious about it, or that we don't really think it's a big enough problem to worry about.

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