Friday Digest

Digest

Dec. 7, 2001

Quote of the week…

“Can you imagine apprehending a terrorist, either in the deserts of Afghanistan or on the way to the United States to commit a crime, and having to take them through the traditional justice system? Reading them the Miranda rights? Hiring a flamboyant lawyer at public expense? Having sort of ‘Osama television’ … allowing that kind of propaganda to go out, jeopardizing American assets in the intelligence community and in the war? Putting a courthouse and a community as a target for terrorism?” –Attorney General John Ashcroft

On cross-examination…

“Have those demanding civilian trials for foreign terrorists thought through the logic of their position? They are saying it is permissible to drop a 15,000 pound daisy-cutter bomb on Osama bin Laden and his extended family in Kandahar, but if he makes it to U.S. soil and blows up the Sears Tower, the families of his victims must pay for his defense and his trial can be carried on Court TV.” –Pat Buchanan

Open Query…

“What happens to a nation when massive blocs of foreign peoples enter its lifestream with little intention of assimilation?” –Diana West

The BIG lie…

“For too long, Republicans have stopped our efforts to help the economy and help the people who have been hardest-hit.” –Senate Demo Leader Tom Daschle

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, in response to the Hamas-sponsored attacks in Israel, Mr. Bush extended anti-terror actions against the organization, freezing and seizing assets used to support the murder of innocents: “Hamas openly claimed responsibility for this past weekend’s suicide attacks in Israel that killed 25 innocent people, many of them teenagers, and wounded almost 200 other people. Hamas is guilty of hundreds of other deaths over the years, and just in the past 12 months, it killed two Americans.” Mr. Bush also upped the pressure on head Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat to switch sides: “This is a moment where the advocates for peace in the Middle East must rise up and fight terror. Chairman Arafat must do everything in his power to find those who murdered innocent Israelis and bring them to justice.” The Federalist’s preference, there as in Afghanistan, is instead to bring justice to them.

Mr. Bush Wednesday tapped former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot as new chairman of the Republican National Committee, citing his “fine history of winning races. …He knows how to build grassroots organizations. He’s gonna reach out to members of the labor unions and the minorities, just like [the outgoing RNC chairman, Virginia Gov.] Jim Gilmore did to continue to take our positive, optimistic message to people that … in all kinds of neighborhoods around the country.”

In the House, Majority Leader Dick Armey expects the White House will soon toughen up on Senate Democrats bent on derailing the President’s nominees and initiatives such as the economic-stimulus package. “The president is a generous fellow, but he’s also a man whose patience can be drawn very thin. In my estimation, he is feeling, ‘Enough already. I have reached out, reached out, reached out, and you guys keep biting the hand that reaches for you.’ So I think he’s ready to draw some lines. Democrats do not see bipartisanship as a give-and-take proposition. They see it as a take-and-take proposition. …He’s beginning to understand how one-sided their interpretation of bipartisanship is.” Better late than never!

And Leftists in the Senate are not the only Clintonistas holding up appointments. Chairman Mary Frances Berry of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights stated that she will not accept Mr. Bush’s appointment of conservative commission member Peter Kirsanow, a Cleveland lawyer and former chairman of the Center for New Black Leadership – unless forced by federal marshals to seat him when the commission meets Friday. (Seating Kirsanow would create a 4-4 split on the commission, thus hamstringing Berry’s ability to control its decisions.)

The House Thursday voted 215-214 to give the president so-called “trade promotion authority,” formerly known as “fast track,” to conclude unamendable trade agreements with foreign nations. The Constitution explicitly assigns Congress “the power … to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” and no provision is granted for Congress to transfer this authority to the executive branch – unless by specific constitutional amendment – and certainly not by the sleight of hand of simply voting to cede this power to executive branch negotiators in agreements with foreign nations and beyond the control of U.S. citizens.

The Federalist has long opposed all such extraconstitutional reassignments of powers between and among the branches of government – and thus the rationale cited as TPA’s chief benefit is the precise reason we oppose it.

House Demo Leader Dick Gephardt, marking “World AIDS Day,” declared that more money will defeat the deadly virus: “…[W]e know how to stop the spread of the virus. I am pleased that we will be providing more resources to fight this war [on AIDS] in the budget bills that are close to being completed in Congress, but those increases are not enough. …Just as the world is pulling together to do what it takes to fight terrorism, we must be equally bold and do what it takes to fight this pandemic.” Gephardt made no mention of personal responsibility and sexual abstinence as a way of stopping the spread of AIDS around the world.

In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee Thursday grilled Attorney General John Ashcroft over Justice Department actions taken against terrorist suspects and suspected terror accessories and supporters. Sociocrats Ted Kennedy and Pat Leahy led the assault. It is no secret that a major offensive in the newly revived spirit of partisanship in the Swamp has been opened on Ashcroft, as the good AG is another one of us “rascally” radical Christian conservatives so vilified by Leftist Demogogues. For the record, while we have constitutional concerns about the potential long-term incursions of the USA PATRIOT Act on citizens’ rights, we agree with friend of The Federalist Jonah Goldberg who notes, “Wartime spies and war criminals get military tribunals; why should al Qaeda’s terrorists get better treatment?” Certainly a formal congressional declaration of war would have made these distinctions clearer….

In lighter news, the Senate Wednesday rose in a rare unanimous standing ovation, honoring the 99th birthday of South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, who responded, “I love all of you men but you women even more.” Now we know how he made it to 99!

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has reached settlement of a federal lawsuit with the Marion, Massachusetts, school district, under an agreement permitting a Christian organization to use school facilities after hours with “equal access” provided to secular groups. The ACLJ represented Gary Taylor, pastor of Marion’s South Coast Community Church, against the Marion School Committee after the Sippican School refused Pastor Taylor use of the cafeteria and community room after hours for a church meeting and a worship service. The school district had opened its facilities for a variety of day care, recreation and meeting purposes, but had an explicitly discriminatory building use policy stating, “[D]iscussions of subjects relating to religion doctrine must be barred.”

In the halls of injustice on the left, Illinois Judge Oliver M. Spurlock of Cook County Circuit Court admitted using his chambers for sexual trysts with a court reporter, while denying allegations he sexually harassed four female prosecutors. The Illinois Courts Commission ruled 4-2 that Spurlock had violated the state code of judicial conduct, saying, “His conduct was offensive to those individuals and an embarrassment to the robe.” Spurlock’s attorney stated he will not appeal but will leave the bench. Sounds like a Clinton appointee!

On the Left…

Rev. Al Sharpton, tuning his skills for a potential 2004 presidential bid, cranked up the rhetoric even higher. “We don’t owe America anything; America owes us,” he yelled to 700 attendees at the State of the Black World Conference in Georgia.

“We are in danger,” Jesse Jackson told the audience. “The extreme right wing has seized the government. Tonight, [Attorney General John] Ashcroft and the CIA and the FBI and Homeland Security and the IRS can work together, so look out. Because without a definition of who is a terrorist, anyone can be…. Martin Luther King could have been … Malcolm X, the Black Panthers. The right-wing media, the FBI, they are targeting our leadership.” Jackson played the race card even more in citing the importance of next year’s elections: “If we can win in 2002, we can empower 40 of our black leaders. Maxine [Waters] becomes a No. 1 congressional leader … and we can put on trial the Ashcroft contingent.”

Taking the rhetoric to a new low, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told another gathering of malcontents: “[Attorney General John Ashcroft] knows something about the Taliban, coming from as he does from that wing of American politics. Even before Sept. 11, he had moved the department to the far right, making it headquarters for the Federalist Society.”

We certainly hope so!

The Commissars…

Out Illinois way, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine attempted to vent their anti-firearms spleen by impeding development of a world-class trap shooting facility in southern Illinois. The prestigious Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) announced earlier this year a plan to move its headquarters and museum from Vandalia, Ohio, to a location near Sparta, Illinois. The new 1,300-acre headquarters would include state-of-the-art trapshooting, skeet shooting, and sporting clays facilities – and would host the renowned Grand American trapshooting tournament beginning in 2004.

However, the ATA facility’s operations required improvements to the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Act allowing out-of-state residents to purchase ammunition while taking part in competitive events. Although Daley political allies made unsubstantiated claims that implementing the proposed improvements would lead to more crime and violence, the Illinois House voted 90-23 in favor of these simple changes to the FOID Act.

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

A pork-packed farm subsidy bill coming up in Congress could mean higher milk prices for Americans. The Senate will soon consider a 1,000-page, $170 billion farm-spending bill – including an amendment establishing a price floor for milk that would result in a ten percent (26 cents) increase in a gallon of milk. The Farm Security Act would also increase farm subsidies by $69 billion, repeating payments to rich farmers who receive tax money for farming (or, in some cases, for not farming), such as Scottie Pippen, whose salary is $18.1 million, and who has gotten $100,000 over the last five years for not planting crops on his land in Arkansas; Ted Turner, who has gotten $176,077; and Arkansas Democrat Marion Berry, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee and has gotten $750,449.

From the department of military readiness…

The Pentagon announced its third successful hit-to-kill missile defense test on Monday. American Conservative Union’s David Keene noted its importance: Monday night’s “U.S. missile test is part of President Bush’s stated goal of building a missile-defense shield to protect against the launch of ballistic missiles from rogue nations, such as North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria and terror groups who either have weapons of mass destruction and can attack the United States, or have the ability to produce or acquire them and the appropriate launch capability.”

From the department of military correctness…

As The Federalist reported last week, a congressional move was on to sacrifice Veterans Day for the convenience of politicos’ elections. Well, on Wednesday H.Res. 298, sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry, passed the House unanimously (415 voting), “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Veterans Day should continue to be observed on November 11 and separate from any other Federal holiday or day for Federal elections or national observances.”

From the states…

In the People’s Republic of New York, Dr. Fran Levy, principal of the Thomas Jefferson Magnet School of Humanities in Flushing, issued teachers an edict encouraging display of a menorah and crescent and star but discouraging display of a nativity scene in the school. Catholic League President William Donohue replied, “Dr. Levy has set her school up for a lawsuit. It would be hard to find a more classic demonstration of discrimination against Christians in a public school anywhere in the nation.”

And down Arkansas way, in an ingenious response to shrieks for state tax increases to meet $142 million in projected red ink, Gov. Mike Huckabee announced creation of the “Tax Me More Fund,” for voluntary contributions to the state general revenue fund, saying, “I’m as serious as I can be. It’s put up or shut up time. Either put up the money, write the check and let us see you’re serious or quit telling me Arkansans want their taxes raised. Because, I’m convinced that Arkansans would say today, ‘my taxes are high enough.’” The fund has received a grand total of $250.

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

Sara Jane Olson, AKA Kathleen Soliah, a Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist in the 1970s, pleaded guilty to possession of bombs with the intent to murder police officers in 1975. Olson’s lawyer, Tony Serra, said she “bowed to a reality that … her case, centered on terrorist acts committed by the Symbionese Liberation Army, could be impossible to win in the post-attack climate.” Serra called his client, now a convicted and self-admitted terrorist, “truly a victim of September 11.”

As columnist Cal Thomas summed up: “The ‘60’s – that decade of self-indulgent certainty in which many of the spoiled young thought themselves morally superior to their parents’ generation – live on, especially in California…. ‘I pleaded guilty to something for which I’m not guilty,’ said [Sarah Jane] Olson. She said the recent terrorist attacks and pro-government mood in the country had persuaded her to accept a deal from prosecutors she had vowed never to accept. ‘I’m still the same person I was then,’ she said, referring to her days of political activism. One of Olson’s lawyers, Tony Serra, engaged in legal hair-splitting: ‘She will explain that she meant she is not guilty of holding the bombs and planting then, but that she is guilty of aiding and abetting. She is factually innocent, but there was a legal basis for her guilt,’ he stated. Come again?”

Culture comment…

Alaska Superior Court Judge Stephanie Joannides ruled against the state ACLU’s contention of discrimination in refusal of domestic partner benefits to state employees’ same-sex partners. The judge patiently explained that same-sex partners fall into the same category as unmarried male-female couples also denied taxpayer-paid benefits. But why is such common sense so uncommon?

Around the world…

In the Bonn, Germany, talks planning a post-Taliban future for Afghanistan, negotiators for the four factions represented agreed on Hamid Karzai of the Pashtuns as leader of an Afghan interim government set to take power later this month. Ethnic Uzbeks have already announced displeasure with the deal, citing their tribes’ lack of representation, which means international “peacekeepers” may not have a peace to keep.

Stay tuned – as this really may not be over, either in Afghanistan or around the world! Islamic clerics in Malaysia are urging all Muslims to rise up in jihad, participating directly in the fighting or indirectly with financial support. Abdul Ghani Samsudin, head of the Ulema Association of Malaysia, lectured, “Jihad in the form of sacrificing one’s life or material is required of all Muslims.”

And last…

A footnote to the story of Bill Clinton’s Lie-brary, which swept aside an African-American historical landmark in Little Rock: Mr. Clinton’s papers and records will be kept in a former car dealership until construction of the new facility is completed. Why does this seem so fitting?

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