Friday Digest

Digest

Sep. 28, 2001

Quote of the week…

“It is obviously no easy task to destroy an almost invisible, ubiquitous enemy spread throughout the world, without expanding the war or infringing on our liberties here at home. But above all else, that is our mandate and our key constitutional responsibility – protecting liberty and providing for national security. My strong belief is that in the past, efforts in the U.S. Congress to do much more than this, has diverted our attention and hence led to our neglect of these responsibilities. …Punishing the evildoers is crucial. Restoring safety and security to our country is critical. Providing for a strong defense is essential. But extricating ourselves from a holy war that we don’t understand is also necessary if we expect to achieve the above-mentioned goals. Let us all hope and pray for guidance in our effort to restore the peace and tranquility we all desire.” –Rep. Ron Paul

On cross-examination…

“What’s the purpose of the new Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security that President Bush proposed last [week]? Isn’t the Department of Defense supposed to be concerned with the security of our homeland? If not, what exactly is it defending?” –John J. Miller & Ramesh Ponnuru

Open Query…

“Everyone is supposed to be ‘non-judgmental’ these days. But how can it be wrong to judge, when such a statement is itself a judgment?” –Thomas Sowell

The BIG lie…

Oracle chief Larry Ellison offered to provide the government with the technology for a national identification card, containing each citizen’s digitized photo and thumbprint, “at no cost.” No cost to what…?

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, President Bush and his national security team and diplomatic advisors have been soliciting – and rapidly enlisting – assistance in anti-terror efforts from around the globe. Some of the enlistees being sounded out have dubious pasts, to say the least. Iran Wednesday rebuffed the outreach, with Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declaring, “Iran will provide no help to America and its allies … in an attack on suffering, neighboring Muslim Afghanistan. …We do not believe American is sincere enough to lead an international move against terrorism.”

“Getting into bed with dictators is a bad strategy, generally, unless it’s a quickie,” observed Martha Brill Olcott, Central Asia specialist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Thursday, the President also asked Congress for quick passage of legislation tailored to allaying concerns of fliers about the safety of air travel, including rapid expansion of the sky marshal program for armed guards on planes. Other requested protections for passenger jets are reinforced cockpit doors and locks, and technological improvements including tamper-proof transponders and cockpit video monitors of cabin activity. And although Mr. Bush made no mention of it, our favored proposal for increasing air safety surfaced this week when the Airline Pilots Association weighed in, requesting that pilots be allowed to carry personal firearms to defend their craft and passengers. ALPA spokesman John Mazor commented, “The cockpit has to be defended at all costs.”

In the House of Commons, believe it or not, Rep. Gary Condit (D-California), of disappearing intern infamy, was added to the House subcommittee dealing with terrorism and homeland security. Can anybody say “security risk”?

And amid all the important legislation hastily crafted to deal with terrorist murders and the like, freshman Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) Tuesday introduced her own crucial bill … to honor union organizer and labor activist Cesar Chavez as a “national hero” for founding the United Farm Workers Union and leading the 1960s “grape boycott.”

Even worse mischief was afoot as well. Using the recent “distraction” as cover, the House passed, 194-226, legislation sponsored by homosexual activist Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), to create marriage-like status for homosexual and unmarried heterosexual “domestic partners” in the District; this action allows your tax dollars to pay for these “marriage-lite” benefits.

In the Senate, despite the acknowledged need for rebuilding our military, members gave approved four more military base closures, voting 57-43 to table an amendment to stop the base closures sponsored by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) and supported by Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS). “Now, more than ever, we should hold off further downsizing until we have analyzed how to fight the first war of the 21st century,” Mr. Bunning asserted. We concur, further noting that we view as a constitutional violation the method approved for implementing this procedure – creation of a new base closure commission composed of external appointees whose package of recommended closures may only be voted up or down in total.

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, the Supremes now have a chance to do the right thing, as Tuesday they decided to hear a case from Ohio, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, considering a Cleveland public school system program offering $2,500 school vouchers to qualified low-income parents to pay for their children’s attendance at the private or parochial school the parents choose. The Ohio state legislature has modified the law authorizing this voucher program to address concerns raised as challenges to the law wended through state and federal courts.

In the halls of injustice on the left, also from Ohio, a federal judge struck down a statewide ban on partial birth abortions, also striking down any equal protection under law for nearly born infants killed in this procedure.

On the Left…

Je$$e Ja¢k$on may be on the move again – right over to Afghanistan. He has offered to possibly undertake a “clergy-to-clergy” mission “dialogue” with Taliban leaders. Anecdotes suggest Taliban followers punish such infractions as women wearing nail polish by cutting off the offending fingertips. If he believes his reputation has proceeded him, for straying from his marital vows with mistresses, perhaps Rev. Ja¢k$on ought to reconsider this trip. It could end up being very short….

On second thought, let’s pass the hat and send him first class!

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) has an excellent idea, although his proposal does not go far enough. Allen introduced legislation, similar to an earlier House bill, forgiving federal income and inheritance taxes owed by the victims of the terror attacks and their survivors. Allen’s proposal includes full death tax repeal, while the House bill merely cuts the federal inheritance tax in half for survivors of those killed.

From the department of military readiness…

We do not put much stock in polls, as longtime readers of The Federalist know. But a recent poll from Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates replicates public opinions that are quite stable: Most Americans support construction of a national missile defense system (76% in this poll), and even a majority of Democrats (57% here) supported such programs.

And perhaps nobody has better expressed the crucial nature of public support for the coming war on terror, than David Hackworth: “Once again our very survival is at stake. And real patriotism won’t be about waving a flag or singing a song. It will be having the courage and commitment to stay with this war until dawn’s early light, even after we’re long weary of the slow-going and the sacrifice.”

From the department of military correctness…

An oft-repeated aphorism is that truth is a first casualty of war. This time, canny phraseology fell as early prey of political correctness. The name for the overall 10-year antiterror campaign in tandem with Britain is still “Operation Noble Eagle,” but the initial offensive is now “Operation Enduring Freedom,” replacing “Operation Infinite Justice.” When the Pentagon choose the name “Infinite Justice” for its opening salvo against Osama bin Laden and other Islamic extremists, we speculated planners were aware that “infinite justice” comes right out of the Quran – and intended the reference to that justice reserved for Allah. Seems nobody knew enough about Islam to make the connection. So, after complaints from Muslim clergy, the operation was renamed.

Who could make this stuff up…?

From the states…

Oklahoma workers won back some freedom Tuesday, as special election voters overwhelmingly supported a “right to work” ballot initiative, with workers no longer forced to join a union in order to get a job. The unions reportedly pulled out all the stops, including spending $20-30 million dollars, to kill the initiative.

Speaking of unions, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has ordered the National Guard to prepare for taking the reins of state government, as the government employee unions American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 6 and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees plan going on strike Monday.

And from the Left Coast, in California, Gov. Gray Davis Tuesday announced formation of a central anti-terrorism center to coordinate information sharing to avert attacks threatened against the state – and to respond should such attacks occur.

In economic news…

We all knew the economy was tanking, even before September 11, and now the most recent confirmations: Rising unemployment figures, going from 4.5% to 4.9%, and the biggest fall in consumer confidence since the 1990 Persian Gulf War, a 16.4-point decline in the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index to 97.6. Further collateral economic damage is expected to include a $1 trillion loss of stock market wealth and more than 100,000 layoffs.

In business news…

Southwest Airlines became the first major passenger air carrier to do the really smart business move after recent events – lower air fares. Other commercial airlines competing with Southwest’s regional market quickly matched these price reductions.

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

A suburban Sacramento area sixth grade teacher has been suspended with pay for allegedly burning part of a U.S. flag in his classroom while his 30 distressed students watched, one week after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. “Certainly, it wasn’t very thoughtful for this age of students. And in this context, it was definitely inflammatory,” District Superintendent Carl Mack Jr. said of the incident at North Avenue Elementary School. And now, the Sacramento Fire Department has begun an investigation to determine if this is an arson case. “Anytime there’s a fire on school property, we have to investigate it,” said fire department spokesman Capt. Don Braziel.

Faith Matters…

Ringgold, Georgia, now has a notable distinction, discovering how to bridge the non sequitur of the “free exercise” of atheism – as the town council decided, in response to the terror attacks, to post in public buildings a display of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and empty picture frames. Calling for a return to Christian values, Councilman Bill McMillon explained that the blank frames were included to acknowledge the “faith” of “those who believe in nothing.”

On the frontiers of science…

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that aspirin has broad protective effects against all forms of heart disease-related deaths, with regular aspirin use associated with a 33 percent death risk reduction. The study, conducted at the Cleveland Clinic, found those most likely to benefit were the elderly, people with pre-existing heart disease, and those in poor physical condition, concluding, “Our findings provide additional support for recommending the routine use of aspirin in patients with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease – not only for preventing morbid events but also for reducing all-cause mortality.” (If you have not already found today’s text error, take two aspirin and call us in the morning!)

Around the world…

In case you were confused last year by Hillary Clinton’s embrace of Yasser Arafat and his PLO, on September 11, the very day thousands of our countrymen were murdered by terrorists, Arafat’s news organ, Al Hayat Al Jadida, printed this: “The suicide bombers of today are the noble successors of the Lebanese suicide bombers, who taught the U.S. Marines a tough lesson in [Lebanon]…. These suicide bombers are the salt of the earth, the engines of history…. They are the most honorable people among us….” Hope that clears up any misconception about who is friend and who is foe!

In other global news, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan attempted a diplomatic hijacking of his own, solemnly intoning, “This was an attack on all humanity, and all humanity has a stake in defeating the forces behind it.” No, this was an attack on U.S. citizens and their guests in the United States of America, by a vicious part of humanity, and supported by an even larger part of humanity.

And speaking of the UN, from the “Keen Sense of the Obvious” Department, the World Health Organization alerted nations to be prepared for terrorist attacks using biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction – and not a minute too soon!

And last, Leftist anti-constitutionalists in Michigan shelved plans for a referendum to overturn that state’s concealed carry law. Apparently, public support for our Second Amendment’s assurance that government may not tread upon our right to self-defense – or to possess an effective means for self-defense – has increased significantly this month.

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