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|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
I began this little blog because I reached a place in life where I felt I had some things to say and just wanted a place to say them.
Over time it has become a heady experience to get a link from a place like The Corner (who isn't ranked in the TTLB Ecosystem - but I feel certain that they are larger than anyone out there) and get inundated with 10,000 hits in one day for a piece written from the heart. Of course, this is followed a couple of days later by the precipitous plunge back to 'normal' search and link levels developed through toil.
Then I get an email today. It starts with:
"Whoever you are, you're a lifesaver."
So far so good. It continues:
"I participate in a chat room ... I must be a glutton for punishment as 95% of the members are liberals, some ravingly so."
I like this too - a compatriot doing battle to advance the cause. Then:
"One of the raving-est members persistently shrieks about how Republicans support torture, and can post about little else these days than how deplorable Judge Gonzales is. I scanned the internet and came across ONE and only ONE elaboration on the "quaint" and "obsolete" phrase used in Gonzales's memo to Pres. Bush. The rest of the sites completely misrepresented--out of ignorance or malice--the sense of Gonzales's memo...I... happened upon your site, which quoted the entire paragraph."
Whoa. "ONE and only ONE". I wrote that post on November 30th. Friend Jeff linked to it with a nice invitation to his readers. Got one comment from a moonbat that read it last week and must have thought that I wrote it the day he read it. Then this.
Dear reader goes on to elaborate more discussion at the chat room using the truth from my post and asks some questions. We've entered into a collaboration that I hope will be supportive to the discussion.
Since the Nov 2nd election, a few significant bloggers have hung up the keyboard. Allah is perhaps the most notable (though we've been fortunate to find him commenting from place to place). Jeff has recently expressed some misgivings about what really validates this experience.
We Northwest bloggers still have incredible excitement left in our wild gubernatorial experience. But we are approaching an after in a few weeks or a few months as well.
For me, just the expression, the getting it out activity is rewarding enough - what an amazing relief from the frustration of not feeling heard I have received from just expressing my thoughts.
But a gift like this is something precious. A post that is a "ONE and only ONE" for somebody with a common cause means a step beyond just expression. It means a contribution to change. What Hugh Hewitt might call making a difference.
I'll continue with the effort of expression and I'll be humbly thankful for blessings like this.
Well, about a month after the originally targeted date, they have begun today.
There has been little MSM coverage so far other than that the hearings are underway. I did see some brief coverage on CNN with Joe Biden rambling on so long about questioning Alberto's judgment that he wasn't able to work in a question. Looks like though, that C-SPAN has picked up coverage - they were showing a House debate until a few minute ago. Later, the hearing should be available via multimedia there.
I hope this is a sign that the Dems don't want to die on this hill. They are going to bluster and fume about Abu Ghraib but they seem to be content with using up all of their time pontificating and seeing how far they can spit from their position at table.
UPDATE: Dayside with Linda Vester on FOX is covering the Gonzales hearings - and Linda is actually making the points I made on the original 'Geneva' question.
UPDATE: Powerline weighs in. And as the hearings wear on today - it appears that the attackers are 'witnessing'.
Last week came and went with no confirmation hearings held for Alberto Gonzales - President Bush's nomination for Attorney General (and current White House Counsel). Despite the hearings being contemplated to begin on December 6th, The Senate adjourned last week and won't convene again until January 5th.
Either they plan to hold a flurry of confirmation hearings to confirm nine cabinet nominations by the president - or they don't much care to have a completed cabinet in place by inauguration day.
After Kerik's withdrawal over the weekend, we will need a new Homeland Security Secretary nomination, but otherwise the president's selections have all been designated.
As I detailed earlier, the most significant opposition has been mounting from the left against Alberto Gonzales.
It turns out though that there is opposition as well among conservatives who question what Gonzales' immigration policies would be.
I've been verbally told by several conservative friends that Gonzales is a "member of La Raza, an extreme pro-immigration group who advocate, among other things, the return of California to Mexico."
I wonder whether this, too, has resulted from little leftist liberal devils sitting on conservative's shoulders repeatedly whispering "La Raza, La Raza" in their ears.
Gonzales is not, nor has he been a member of La Raza. He was at one time on the board of a group called the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) an affiliate of La Raza.
Guilt by association is a common leftist tactic - has it been passed off to some conservative immigration watchdogs?
A little further look at AAMA discovers that President Bush even has some good things to say about them. I guess one of the most successful charter schools in the country and advocacy for the president's No Child Left Behind policies has little redeeming value - especially if such an organization is pro-Hispanic.
It shouldn't be too difficult to distinguish between pro-Hispanic advocacy with a focus on education and lax immigration advocacy as a fringe part of the overall pro-Hispanic movement. Yet some want to throw the baby out with the bath water by questioning whether Gonzales will properly administer immigration law.
I stated in my earlier post that the "People for the American Way, the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, the National Lawyers Guild, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, and the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights" are all arrayed against Judge Gonzales.
So, I ask my conservative friends who are concerned about immigration (as we all should be) - Who do you stand with? Do you want to stand with those organizations or will you stand with the President?
Because I love our country, I subject you to another long post. Please indulge me.
We all briefly heard a couple of weeks ago that the President chose Judge Alberto Gonzales to be the new Attorney General. According to a CNN report, it is the Senate Judiciary Committee's plan to hold the hearings the 6th, 7th, or 8th of December - next week.
What we may not be prepared for is that the Left is going to attempt to make these confirmation hearings into a pillory for Judge Gonzales and a referendum on Abu Ghraib and the civil rights of terrorists.
Here's what has been happening since November 10:
The ACLU issued a press release (of course claiming their - hold your gorge in, I know it will take some effort - 'uncompromising non-partisanship') which said in part:
Mr. Gonzales should be queried, moreover, on his January 25, 2002 memo, authored in his capacity as White House counsel, which described certain legal protections guaranteed in the Geneva Conventions to persons captured during military hostilities as "obsolete" and "quaint." His confirmation hearings should also examine in detail Mr. Gonzales’ approval of the now-disavowed Justice Department memoranda that condoned the torture and incommunicado and indefinite detention of detainees captured during the Afghanistan conflict.
This is what this means: "We call all organizations and persons of progressive stripe to conjure up allegations against this man that show him to be personally responsible for any civil rights violations that have occurred and show him to be someone who personally enjoys torturing poor defeated terrorists."
Many civil rights groups on Wednesday were quick to attack Mr. Gonzales for what they saw as legal policies and opinions that opened the door to the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Critics of Mr. Gonzales argue that such logic put military and intelligence officials on the path to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, even though the White House had previously insisted that the Geneva conventions applied to detainees. Mr. Gonzales has denied a link between those memorandums and the abuses. Yet the issue seems bound to be explored, and Anthony Romero, head of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the 2002 memorandum "will be the single toughest issue for him, because there's actually a paper trail."
This is what this means: "Many leftist groups are sure that one thing Judge Gonzales must be held responsible for is Abu Ghraib."
A November 11th (since updated on November 12th - to add, guess what? a Halliburton reference!) The New Standard published a report: "Bush Fingers Torture Apologist for Attorney General" which says in part:
"Making Alberto Gonzales the Attorney General of the United States would be a travesty," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, in a press statement. "It would mean taking one of the legal architects of an illegal and immoral policy and installing him as the official who is charged with protecting our constitutional rights. The Gonzales memo paved the way to Abu Ghraib."
This is what this means: "If we get enough leftist groups to say this enough times, it must be true."
By November 16th the fix was in. Leftist blogger Btc News penned in part:
One of the first tests of the senate minority will come with the confirmation hearings for torturer-at-large and attorney general nominee Alberto Gonzales and Rice. We'll see if the Democrats have the spine to bring up Alberto's sociopathic approach to domestic and international law... (Ed: italics mine)
There now, the straw man is built: Judge Gonzales himself has acted in the fashion of Genghis Kahn.
Leftist rant and cartoonist Ted Rall wrote in his "Monster of a Lawyer" 'strip' on November 16:
Alberto Gonzales, on the other hand, possesses one of the most twisted minds the American legal system has ever produced.
If Bush gets his way, the nation's chief law enforcement official will be a man whose warped interpretation of presidential power, contempt for due process and gleeful deconstruction of fundamental human values puts him at odds with every patriotic American.
Gonzales is the author of the infamous August 2002 "Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A," a legal opinion issued while on his current job as White House Counsel. The 50-page "torture memo," which provides government interrogators justification to torture suspects in the war on terrorism, isn't just another memo. It's a benchmark position paper, a document that Administration figures from Bush and Rumsfeld down to CIA interrogators at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib still rely upon to protect themselves from possible future prosecution for war crimes.
Oh yes, Judge Gonzales is also the twisted enemy of every patriotic American.
A Yahoo search for "+alberto +gonzales +torture" currently yields about 38,000 results. Not all of these, of course, accuse Gonzales as an apologist for torture - or worse, but the negative heavily outweigh the positive.
Last Friday, the Washington Times summarized the opposition, saying in part:
A coalition of liberal groups is vowing to challenge the nomination of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales as U.S. attorney general over his role in policies governing the treatment of detainees in Iraq and in the war on terrorism.
You know, any time the People for the American Way, the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, the National Lawyers Guild, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, and the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights are against someone, he's got to be a pretty fantastic guy.
Ready to hear the truth about those memos?
What does that one say that discusses "certain legal protections guaranteed in the Geneva Conventions to persons captured during military hostilities as 'obsolete' and 'quaint.'"?
Here's what it says exactly in the paragraph from the memo from which the straw man has been constructed (and it's why context is so important):
As you have said, the war against terrorism is a new kind of war. It is not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war that formed the backdrop for GPW. The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians, and the need to try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing civilians, In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments. (Ed: Italics mine)
The entire memo is here (requires Adobe Acrobat reader).
This is a memo from Judge Gonzales to the President of the United States on how, in the face of terrorist aggression, we should treat those terrorists who in many cases may be 'nonstate actors' or are part of al Qaeda or the Taliban - rogue semi-states at best. As we have continued to learn in the intervening years since this was written - the face of our enemy is one of evil and we see it in the beheadings, the draggings, the burnings, the bombings, and the Fallujah slaughter houses. Such wanton beasts - who do not distinguish military target from civilian - do not deserve politeness or visits to the neighborhood store, or salary, or soccer outfits, or telescopes - quaint indeed.
The ACLU release and the mad descent following are patently false on their faces.
And, despite Rall's rant, Judge Gonzales did not write the "infamous August 2002 'Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A,'" memo. Perhaps in his misguided haze, Rall couldn't distinguish between the word 'for' and the word 'from' - as this memo was written 'for' Judge Gonzales, and was not 'from' him. It was signed by Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee.
This is a wide ranging legal theory document (requires Adobe Acrobat reader) in which every aspect of considering how to deal with despicable rabble whose entire life focus is to kill Americans is explored. September 11, 2001 changed the world. It isn't unreasonable to perform an exhaustive exploration of the legal theory behind how to treat with homicidal butchers. In a press conference earlier this year, Judge Gonzales has already fully and clearly explained the administration's position on this subject.
And Ted Rall owes Judge Gonzales a written retraction.
Next week bears the prospect of the first major showdown for George Bush's second administration.
We have many young men and women who carry the cause of freedom abroad and who are, as I write, sometimes sacrificing their very lives for our grand American ideal. Many of us here, who cannot defend Her abroad, must defend this great land from the unholy alliance between the left and the terrorists at home. We must choose with whom we will stand. Will we stand with those that defend the indefensible? Or will we stand with the President?
Note that some of the leftist organizations are calling for a Democratic filibuster. I realize that the Vietnam era set a very high bar for sedition and treason - but, in my book, this obtains.
Senators - Before any of you decide to ally with those who support terrorists and hate America, think about the fate of Tom Daschle. If you obstruct this appointment or truck with these liars, you will lose your office. The majority of Americans will not allow threats to our families to realize while you make us suffer your antipathy.
UPDATE: Many thanks for the link from Jeff at Protein Wisdom.