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Friday Digest

Digest

Sep. 21, 2001

Quote of the week…

“The Clinton administration’s sly way of handling the 1993 bombing plots gave rise to the fraudulent notion that there was a new kind of terrorism. Yet there was nothing new about the terrorism. What was new was how the U.S. handled it. Clinton dealt surreptitiously with the national-security issue of state involvement and very publicly with the criminal question of the guilt or innocence of individuals – through trials. Predictably, more terrorism followed and the role of states in those attacks was never addressed. That led directly to last week’s tragedy, as well as to our inability to recognize their real author.” –Laurie Mylroie

On cross-examination…

“What did the Clintons do with their two administrations? They left behind a country more damaged, more removed from its old, rough idealism; a country whose children live in a coarser and more dangerous place; a country whose political life has been distorted and lowered.” –Peggy Noonan

Open Query…

“But the acid test of our Constitution’s health will be the energy with which Americans are able to defend themselves and to subdue our enemies. In the 21st century as before, the Constitution gives us the tools. Will we be able to finish the job?” –Charles R. Kesler

The BIG lie…

“Iraq has absolutely no link with what happened or with the groups the United States accuses of being responsible.” –Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, President Bush signed into law a $40 billion relief package for New York City, the Pentagon and economic sectors damaged by the September 11th attack, saying, “Our whole nation is unalterably committed to a direct, forceful and comprehensive response to these terrorist attacks and the scourge of terrorism directed against the United States.” Of course, the cost in terms of human lives is incalculable.

In the House of Commons, late last week, Members voted 420-1 on House Joint Resolution 64 “to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) cast the lone vote against the resolution. This is the same Barbara Lee who: participated in a “citizens delegation to Cuba” to lobby that the U.S. embargo against Cuba should be lifted; criticized the U.S. bombing of Iraq, saying the U.S. has “a special, urgent need to exhaust all diplomatic approaches”; and opposed President Clinton’s impeachment, calling those House votes “a tragic day for Americans and for the world,” and the entire House impeachment process “a complete farce.”

In the House of Lords, late last week Senators in a rush to “do something” to respond to the terror attacks passed by voice vote an amendment permitting the government authority for so-called “trap and trace” of communications, which raises significant questions about consistency with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections. Here is the real area in which “restraint” and “patience” are appropriate.

Regarding the rush to restrict Constitutional liberties on various fronts, friend of The Federalist Sen. Phil Gramm noted: “I’m not interested in changing the way I live. I’m interested in changing the way they live.”

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of injustice on the left, speaking of airlines, a federal appeals court has upheld a San Francisco ordinance demanding airline carriers at San Francisco International Airport offer domestic partner benefits to their unmarried workers. San Francisco’s 1997 law, the nation’s first, requires contractors doing business with the city to offer the same benefits to unmarried employees’ domestic partners as they do to married employees’ spouses.

On the Left…

The Leftmedia were living down to their usual tricks in reporting the terrorist attacks – albeit not so often as usual. Some of the talking heads seemed enlivened by the thought of repression in the United States as a necessary measure to safeguard against further terrorist attacks. NBC talkinghead Tom Brokaw said, “We will have to revisit our freedoms…. America has been changed by all this.”

Moreover, the Leftmedia must be even prouder of the airtime and ink they have dedicated to “exclusive interviews” with Osama bin Laden – prior to September 11. A sample from the platform provided bin Laden – in his own words:

“We are sure of our victory against the Americans and the Jews as promised by the Prophet: Judgment day shall not come until the Muslim fights the Jew, where the Jew will hide behind trees and stones, and the tree and the stone will speak and say, ‘Muslim, behind me is a Jew. Come and kill him.’ … So we tell the Americans as people, and we tell the mothers of soldiers and American mothers in general that if they value their lives and the lives of their children, to find a nationalistic government that will look after their interests and not the interests of the Jews. The continuation of tyranny will bring the fight to America.”

The nation’s leading Leftmedia print publication could not help but take a shot at President Bush’s request for funds to rebuild lower Manhattan and a portion of our nation’s national defense infrastructure. The New York Times, in an editorial, argued: “To secure true bipartisanship, Congress needs to do something far more difficult – reconsider the gigantic tax cut enacted earlier this year…. Mr. Bush and Congress ought to be willing, in effect, to conscript that portion of the tax cut that takes effect a few years from now and lowers taxes on the wealthiest Americans.”

Contrary to the Times’ position, we think Mr. Bush should move aggressively to restore economic confidence, and propose additional tax reductions – and social spending reductions.

And in case you were wondering why Rev. Al Sharpton, New York City’s resident Leftist rabble-rouser, has not been in front of every camera in lower Manhattan, perhaps he is concerned that someone may recall his words in The Federalist three weeks ago when announcing his 2004 presidential bid. Sharpton criticized President Bush’s plan to shore up our military because he claimed there was “no real threat to American security. …We are going forward with situations when they are harmful to the people involved to build up to take care of some enemy that is not there, some threat that does not exist.”

The Commissars…

Proposals for a national identification card – long sought by closeted and not-so-closeted tyrannizers in our country – are floating around again. Such misguided responses in fear must be squelched, and with all vigor possible under current circumstances.

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

The United States has given more than $117 million in assistance to Afghanistan so far in fiscal year 2001, according to United States Agency for International Development figures, including millions for humanitarian relief both in Afghanistan and in support of Afghan refugees in neighboring Pakistan, making the U.S. Afghanistan’s largest benefactor. Anybody know the Afghani phrase for self-sufficiency?

From the department of military readiness…

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stripped out of $344 billion military spending legislation a provision supporting missile defense testing. Attempting to temporarily avert the fight against missile defense that Levin still plans, he introduced the missile test measures as a separate bill postponed for later consideration.

From the states…

Just to assure our readers that we are watching other developments, while most of the media have been rightfully focussing on East Coast events, Left Coast lawmakers in California passed some very bad legislation, including a bill that will redefine traditional marriage in the state and award new marriage rights to homosexual couples. The California Assembly passed AB 25, on a vote of 42-29, conveying 13 new rights and benefits on homosexual “domestic partners.” The bill now goes to Gov. Gray Davis, who has indicated in the past that he would like to sign such a measure. You may recall that California voters decisively rejected just such a measure when it appeared on the March 2000 ballot as Proposition 22. We guess representative government may be a lost cause on the Left Coast.

“You’d think they would have had the decency to wait a few days before launching this reckless assault on society’s premiere institution,” said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute. “On one coast, terrorists are committing acts of war against American citizens. On the other coast, California politicians are overturning 5,000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition and openly sponsoring sinful behavior.”

In economic news…

The New York Stock Exchange reopened Monday, after its longest ever closure, immediately dropping hard, with the Dow 684 points down by closing. The U.S. economy had already been heading downward, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman observed, “Whether or not we use the word recession is just a question of semantics.” Proposals for government intervention to prop up economic performance in the wake of the terror disruptions have raised other questions. Commenting on pleas for urgent assistance from the days-grounded airline sector, supply side economist Art Laffer noted, “Any bailout is a very significant event, using a tremendous amount of resources. Those resources don’t come from the tooth fairy. While you could make a case for a very modest bailout, the existing shareholders who own the stock in the companies should be the first to suffer losses. After all, they make money when the airlines are profitable.”

In business news…

U.S., British, German, Japanese and Italian government agencies are investigating links between alleged terrorist ringleader Osama bin Laden and various unusual stock transaction patterns in the United States and Europe just prior to the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Reported first by Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper, the story was later picked up by United Press International. Suspicious trading patterns included high levels of put options and short-selling related to WTC-headquartered companies, as well as airline and insurance stocks, banking on their future drop in price.

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

Amid all the discussion about arming commercial pilots – many of whom are military veterans – a new Federal Aviation Regulation scheduled to take effect on November 14, 2001, will remove an existing rule that, for the last 20 years, has authorized pilots to carry firearms. FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto acknowledged, “Crew members will no longer be allowed to carry arms.”

And speaking of “pilots,” for several months, the FBI had two men associated with an Islamic Jihad terror group on a border watch list, but the pair got into the U.S., probably across the Canadian border. Those men, Nawaf Alhamzi and Khalid Al-Midhar, took flight training from instructor Rick Garza at a suburban San Diego airstrip – before Garza flunked them: “I told them it’s not happening, their English was terrible. I told the FBI they seemed like ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ You just would not expect this from these people. They just didn’t have the intelligence.”

Nawaf and Khalid appear now to have been on American Airlines Flight 77, used to assault the Pentagon, though there is a possibility these men swapped identities with two other terrorists in their cell – to sow confusion and cover their tracks. This is a similar tactic to that used by the terrorist convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing under the borrowed identity of Ramzi Yousef.

Culture comment…

The 7-year-old and 9-year-old daughters of Desert Storm veteran Donnie Meyer, of Pasadena, Texas, were admonished for T-shirts emblazoned with the American flag, which they wore last Friday, honoring the national day of prayer and remembrance. The girls’ McMaster Elementary School principal told them their shirts were not appropriate under the school’s dress code. Embarrassed school district administrators later claimed the decision was a mistake.

Faith Matters…

This is a time for simple, serious reflection, rather than rancorous political debate over such theological subtleties as how the permissive will of God may interact with removal of divine protection from a formerly less sinful country. As columnist Armstrong Williams pondered, “…[I]t is a necessary step for the nation to pause amidst such tragedy, and to find some solace. But how do we define faith during times of senseless tragedy?”

On the frontiers of science…

The National Institutes of Health have decided to fund studies of the efficacy of prayer in health outcomes for AIDS sufferers and patients diagnosed with brain tumors. “This is not about religion and is not about faith. It is about healing intention and about consciousness, and that is very much within the realm of science,” argued Dr. Elizabeth Targ, of her studies. Hey, we thought the effectiveness of prayer in healing involved both religious faith and science….

Around the world…

Reactions to the terror attack on the U.S. continued to ripple in…. Our Editorial Board Member in Tel Aviv tells us that reports of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians are greatly exaggerated, with serious firing continuing on Gaza, and one Israeli woman murdered Thursday.

And international tyrants, while publicly claiming to “stand with” our country against terror, are moving to hobble our justified response by emplacing UN restrictions. Iranian President Seyed Mohammad Khatami asked that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan convene a global summit “to combat terrorism,” arguing that the UN is the only “appropriate framework to organize this struggle.” Red Chinese leader Jiang Zemin concurred in a reply to British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s inquiry about the Red Chinese position: “It is necessary for the UN Security Council to play its due role.”

“We are not at war,” intoned Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, whose nation had just signed a NATO document to the effect that “an attack on one alliance member was an attack on all.”

But we agree with conservative Canadian commentator Mark Steyn about the best world reply so far: “The foreign leader who said it best last week was the Queen, though she didn’t really say a word. … The Queen stands on ceremony and she has a lot of ceremony to stand on. But on Thursday, for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, she ordered the Coldstream Guards to play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ – the first time a foreign anthem had been played at the ceremony. The following day something even more unprecedented happened: At Britain’s memorial service for the war dead of last Tuesday, the first chords of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ rumbled up from the great organ at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Queen did something she’s never done before – she sang a foreign national anthem, all the words. She doesn’t sing her own obviously (‘God Save Me’), but she’s never sung ‘La Marseillaise’ or anything else, either; her lips never move. …But she understands something that few other leaders of the West seem to – that today the ultimate guarantor of the peace and liberty of her realms is the United States. If America falls, or is diminished, or retreats in on itself, there is no ‘free world.’ That’s the meaning of the Queen’s ‘Ich bin ein Amerikaner’ moment.”

And last, we watched and were deeply moved by last week’s memorial service at National Cathedral. It was a solemn occasion on all fronts – except one. Outside the Cathedral, as Bill Clinton was performing something like a wedding greeting line, Chester Lott walked up to Clinton and the two of them had a big laugh – like they were at a Capitol Hill cocktail party. We want to know what was so funny that Chester and Bill could not find a more appropriate venue for their jovial exchange?

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