Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Mad Macedonian Reviews "Alexander"

His review here. He liked it.

I still doubt I'll pay $9 to see a 3-hr sexbio of an ancient tyrant. I'll probably catch the DVD, if only to see if Angelina Jolie really does sound like Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle.

About four years ago I was watching a PBS documentary on Napoleon, that spent less time on the battle of Austerlitz as with his honeymoon with his Austrian wife. At that point I told my friend this was the New History: "Who/how did he screw?"
And so it has come to pass.

Dutch Can't Wait To Start Killing Babies

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.
...In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.

The Health Ministry is preparing its response, which could come as soon as December, a spokesman said.

Three years ago, the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to inject a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant at the request of adult patients suffering great pain with no hope of relief.

It seems clear that such review would be done after the fact:
The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital's guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.

The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child's medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it's best.

Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a rare blistering illness.

The hospital revealed last month it carried out four such mercy killings in 2003, and reported all cases to government prosecutors. There have been no legal proceedings against the hospital or the doctors.

It is fortunate that Stephen Hawking is English.
The Groningen Medical Academy believes it is only doing what everybody else does anyway--just ask the anonymous experts of secret medical crimes:
Child euthanasia remains illegal everywhere. Experts say doctors outside Holland do not report cases for fear of prosecution.

"As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting."

Vetting?
"Can we kill this baby?"
"Mmm...No."
"Too late."

But of course that happens just across town from you, only your doctors aren't as honest as the Dutch. Just ask the experts.
However, experts acknowledge that doctors euthanize routinely in the United States and elsewhere, but that the practice is hidden.

"Measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks are stopped. This happens routinely, namely, every day," said Lance Stell, professor of medical ethics at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and staff ethicist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "Everybody knows that it happens, but there's a lot of hypocrisy. Instead, people talk about things they're not going to do."

More than half of all deaths occur under medical supervision, so it's really about management and method of death, Stell said.

I've often thought that the job of bioethicists is not to ensure the limits on science are crafted by people knowledgeable in the subject matter, but rather to find the most popular 'spin' on research and techniques so that science has no limits at all. Dr. Stell seems a good example.

There is a vast difference between rejecting "measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks", and injecting "a sedative and a lethal dose of muscle relaxant" to end life instantly. The Vatican, hardly a vacillating moderate on this issue, describes the first as licit and the second as evil.

The general public understands this difference full well. We don't describe rejecting chemotherapy as a form of euthanasia.

But this view is not useful to Dr. Stell or other "experts".

Thankfully we have elected a President who is not mesmerized by labcoats.

Oh, the Humanity

By Neil A. Lewis, New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 - The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at Guantánamo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in Guantánamo..

Gestapo tactics such as fake come-ons!
...Some accounts of techniques at Guantánamo have been easy to dismiss because they seemed so implausible. The most striking of the accusations, which have come mainly from a group of detainees released to their native Britain, has been that the military used prostitutes who made coarse comments and come-ons to taunt some prisoners who are Muslims.

But the Red Cross report hints strongly at an explanation of some of those accusations by stating that there were frequent complaints by prisoners in 2003 that some of the female interrogators baited their subjects with sexual overtures.

Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention and intelligence operation at Guantánamo until April, when he took over prison operations in Iraq, said in an interview early this year about general interrogation procedures that the female interrogators had proved to be among the most effective. General Miller's observation matches common wisdom among experienced intelligence officers that women may be effective as interrogators when seen by their subjects as mothers or sisters. Sexual taunting does not, however, comport with what is often referred to as the "mother-sister syndrome."

But the Red Cross report said that complaints about the practice of sexual taunting stopped in the last year. Guantánamo officials have acknowledged that they have improved their techniques and that some earlier methods they tried proved to be ineffective, raising the possibility that the sexual taunting was an experiment that was abandoned.

Through an anonymous, unimpeachable source with ties to the Bush Administration, I have an audio clip of deliberate brutality and sexual taunting.

The Red Cross, in all seriousness, claims the following are "torture":

-Forcing people to hold uncomfortable positions
-Cooperation between interrogators and medical personnel
-Loud music
-Sexual taunting
-Unspecified release dates or detention status
-Having the air-conditioning cranked up
-Sending prisoners to interrogation in their underpants

The report of the June visit said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantánamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions." Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly "more refined and repressive" than learned about on previous visits.

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to "some beatings." The report did not say how many of the detainees were subjected to such treatment.

Maybe they should investigate Greyhound. I once took a LandCruiser from San Bernardino, CA to Ames, IA; I must report low temperatures, cramped positions, loud music, sexual taunting, uncertainty as to when I could leave, and a deliberate attempt to submerge my will to that of the guy up front in uniform.

Lewis makes one editorial error. It is not true that "the issue of whether torture at Guantánamo was condoned or encouraged has been a problem before for the Bush administration"; the political opponents of the President have not been able to demonstrate there was any torture in the first place.

If the Red Cross must find something to complain about or lose the appearance of legitimacy, hasn't the substance of legitimacy been sacrificed?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Thanksgiving in Maryland

Supposedly, a commitment to secular education and a reduction of religious content in the classroom requires Maryland to strike mention of the religious aspects of the first Thanksgiving from the lesson plan.

A commitment to secular education and the separation of church and state require that it be taught.

The English colonies prospered because a broad section of the wealth and society of England were committed in the Americas. English colonies were not operated as a royal business, as with Spanish and French colonies, but as thriving communities living under the English Crown.

This was uniquely possible in the English colonies because of the religious repression in England during the 17th century. As the Crown and Parliament settled on one faction of one denomination, discordant groups were urged to either submit or take exile. Because the area of contention was personal conscience, the dispute affected all social and economic classes. Great Catholic lords, and Quaker friends of Court, as well as Puritan merchants and clerks sought refuge in America.

The various colonies were not beacons of tolerance. They determined to create intolerant communities of the untolerated, isolated in the wilderness. Any who dissented could leave, and expulsion was a formal penalty in some places.

But the similar problems of an import economy, unwelcome environment, and hostile neighbors, as well as common origins, provided a framework for cooperation among the colonies. They came to work together directly, because issues of religious contention could be put aside to resolve civic concerns, so long as individual conscience was firmly respected.

The guarantees of individual liberties and ban on government interference on religion are so strong in this country, because religious liberty was once prized above all other concerns. That is a simple lesson that deserves to be taught, not ignored out of cowardice.

DaVinci Code Cracked

Lex Communis has a fun parody of the DaVinci Code.

I'm not sure why more Protestants aren't angry with the book, since the alleged conspiracy at the Nicene Council would pervert all Christianity. Perhaps they just denounce it as crap, instead of preparing refutations.

Once I read a MAD Magazine parody called "The Fershlugginer Falcon". At the end, after the punk, the dame, and the fat man, have all been gunned down, Spayed ambushes and unmasks the sniper: the bartender from the opening scene...

"Surprised to see me?" he wheezed.
"Not really," I said. "Everybody else is dead."

The DaVinci Code is like that.
Sorry to spoil it for you.
"The Fershlugginer Falcon", I mean.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Opposing Lifetime Tenure

Norman Ornstein has a good article on ending the lifetime tenure of the judiciary.

The thought has occurred to me before, not just for the Supreme Court, and not just as a contingency.

Ornstein gives several good reasons, although the role of the Senate deserves more consideration.

I think it unreasonable to expect the 100 most opinionated and least self-effacing people in America to accept their own impending mortality when considering judges. They know the judges they vote on will outlive them, and judicial appointments offer them a chance to fix their legacy as with no other legislation.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Welcome to Shaking Spears!

ShakingSpears joined the BFL this week. A good informative read. Welcome!

Up From The Deep Freeze

It's interesting what working the graveyard shift can do to your knowledge of current events.

Iraq seems to be mastering democratic government; from viewing CNN headline news on my shift, the big question in Iraq is "Will Democracy Look Bad To Its Critics?" not "When Allawi Goes To The Wall Who'll Be In Line Behind Him?"
Big News From Iraq: People Who Don't Make the Decisions Demand Different Decision. Clear proof they are absorbing our political system.

Ukraine is in ferment over elections; its voters clog the streets like USC/Notre Dame fans, awaiting resolution.

Hugh Hewitt wants us to boycott Target because they pushed the Salvation Army off the sidewalk.
I am bothered with Hugh's reasoning for two reasons.
First, when I go gift shopping I think of a gift or category of gift (home electronic gadget) and then I go to whatever store I am sure has it in stock. I don't go to the mall and browse. Boycotting a store makes little sense to me, I don't think of a store at all until I consider where to make my definite purchase.

Second, it reminds me too much of quasi-socialism I saw up in Minnesota when the Twins wanted to move: I have childhood memories of the corporation, so I have a voice in its affairs.
Hugh said that Target's donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital did not balance pushing a "faith-based organization" to the curb, and besides the Salvation Army actually puts money to feed the needy whereas St. Jude is just medical research.
Not quite: St. Jude's research is slashing the mortality rates of childhood cancer; their budget includes inpatient care for indigent cancer patients, and it's named St. Jude because of a religious pledge to the patron of lost causes.
I don't think either is inappropriate for Target.

Anyhow I'll symbolically join the boycott, as I'm not going to buy anything this year beyond cards, what with being unemployed for ten months.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Desperate Tug At the Brake Cord

By ministers of Arab dictatorships that do not want a successful election to take place in Iraq.

Had a laugh today?

In Syria, the state-owned daily Ath-Thawra said that the Sharm el-Sheikh conference represented "the best chance for the international parties to affirm the importance of the United Nations and neighbouring countries" in organizing the elections.

But it also warned: "The elections must take place on all Iraqi territory and not on 75 percent of the country as the United States hints at due to the insecurity in regions where resistance actions are taking place."


Elections in Syria are currently held in whatever room Assad is sitting in when he decides to remain El Supremo. They're pretty big rooms, but are probably too small to measure as a percentage of the national territory.

As we hammer out victory in Fallujah--and we must be winning since NBA fights are bigger news--the sob sisters of the Left are rushing to declare that wars are won when feelings change.
Jackson Diehl's piece is a good summary of the feeling.

But that still leaves the question of whether the hard-hitting combat tactics employed in Fallujah, including the liberal use of heavy artillery and 500-pound bombs, will in the end prove to have done more harm than good. Yes, the Marines and Army were able to rout the dug-in insurgents in relatively short order, with relatively few U.S. casualties, thereby achieving a textbook victory according to traditional U.S. doctrine. But what of the aftermath? Will others -- Fallujans, Iraqis, other Arabs, the world -- judge that the U.S. attack involved "excessive force"? And if so, will we still have won?


It's not enough that the Americans are satisfied, or that Falluja somehow looks over its ruin and shrugs, or that the rest of Iraq is happy that we broke that den of vipers, or even the rest of the Arab world accepts Falluja--if the "world", if France or Germany opposes the US, the Iraqis, and the Arabs, then maybe it wasn't worth it.

[Bombardment anecdotes] prompted some acerbic commentary from the veteran Israeli journalist Zeev Schiff, a sympathetic observer who has covered his own country's wars for decades. After resorting to warplanes and artillery in urban areas, he wrote in the daily Haaretz, Americans should at least find it more difficult to issue reports lambasting Russian military offensives in Chechnya or Israel's in the Gaza Strip.


I wasn't aware Americans had done so. But then I don't regularly read the Washington Post.

Alternatively, U.S. commanders could learn something from the Israelis, who, Schiff says, found out the hard way that "this is not World War II" and that "the legitimization of international public opinion" is needed to fight terrorists successfully.


And Israeli journalists could learn something from watching A&E, if they compare the superficial damage in Fallujah to WWII. "The legitimization of international public opinion" is a pyrite idol. America prefers the legitimization of doing the right thing, globally popular or not.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Both Use Whitewash, Actually

Drudge tried to argue that Clinton's Library was even more brazen than Nixon's Library at playing fast and loose with the facts.

I've been to Nixon's Library. He's got a twenty minute audio-visual display on Watergate, where a narrator does his darnedest to explain just how misunderstood Nixon was.

The "smoking gun" for example, was just an attempt to keep the FBI apolitical. They've got audio of Nixon explaining that to his diary, after the Watergate scandal broke. "What Nixon actually meant..."

I was there at the same time as a senior citizen tour, and the elderly man listening next to me threw his headphones on the floor.

But Drudge may have a point, since Nixon's Library was privately funded. And Clinton's does resemble a trailer home. And balancing Clinton's legacy over a deep, fast-moving river is probably not the metaphor they wanted...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I Regret The Wasted Bullet

I don't understand Hugh Hewitt's complaint that NBC "provided aid and comfort to the enemy" by airing video of a US marine shooting a wounded Iraqi in the head, since apparently that video is entirely negative and can only provide a gold mine of propoganda to the enemy.

First of all, if doing something to piss off the Arab street is treason, Hewitt the Christian author and Bush supporter would make the Ten Most Wanted list.

Secondly, the Arab street is aroused by Israeli walls, bare legs, Johnny Walker billboards, and women drivers. Worrying about arousing Islamist fanatics is like worrying about arousing pedophiles: they've got irrational standards that cannot be rationally appeased.

And yes: I compare anybody who'd slit a girl's throat for not wearing a scarf, with a pedophile.

Bush holding the Thanksgiving turkey was useful propoganda if you transpose it with images of burning cities.
Read the press reports, they all have Muslims outraged that we shot the guy in a mosque. Why was that? Did we capture those men in the suburbs, truck them into a mosque and then shoot them? No, we fight in mosques because that's where the bad guys hole up and shoot from. The Arab street doesn't care: we desecrated a mosque. Pfui.

We should fine any American one penny for providing such yahoos with the rant of the day?

Third, I'm getting sick of hearing everybody run away from this video.

From the tape I don't see him offering to surrender, and to the experienced Marines, he wasn't incapacitated to the point that he posed no threat. In that situation I'll back the Marine every time. They're not peace officers, they're warriors.

I also hear American commentators shocked, shocked, that the Marine appeared to quip "He's dead now" after pulling the trigger.
Are we to expect Marines to shoot our enemies like the boy in Old Yeller, with a trembling hand and a tearful eye?

"Oppose us, and die a dog's death". Now, there's a message for the Arab street.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Gallic Froth

This is rich.

Chirac wants us to mind our place, at the same time he wants us to hammer out a Mideast peace plan? You wanna sit at the big table with the USA as an equal, go out and win your own Nobel Peace Prize.

Sheesh, Jimmy Carter does people a favor and they mistake it for a permanent duty.

I could see saying Rumsfeld lacks sense, or observation, or even sanity or sobriety, but calling him out on a lack of culture? Should he listen to more Wagner? It can't be about the hair, not with Chirac...

Maybe Chirac doesn't remember two years ago, when he told half the continent that it missed a good chance to remain silent on Iraq.
To us rubes, telling somebody to shut up and look pretty indicates a rift.

Chirac once worked as a soda-jerk at a Howard Johnson's. There's a great commercial in that. For Holiday Inn.

Man At Work

Sporadic blogging this week. I've finally found steady regular employment as night-clerk/auditor for a local hotel. As I train on their system my hours vary from dawn-to-midafternoon, midafternoon-to-11pm, and 11 to dawn.

Once my schedule settles down I'll talk about the Counterinsurgency, the Cabinet shuffle and the rumored seduction of conservative Senate Dems.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A CA Jury Does It Again

So Scott Peterson planned the death of his wife Laci, but the death of his unborn son Connor was unpremeditated?

So you're tired of living in a hotel without newspapers or TV and losing members day by day and starting over each time, can't you take a day or two more to get it right?

Land of Fruits and Nuts, is right.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Battle for the Sunni Triangle

Belmont Club has some interesting and informative posts on the insurgency, their latest attempts to spark unrest outside of Fallujah itself, and the government response.

Everytime the insurgents stand and fight, they lose men and materiel and territory. However, the presence of chaos gives them propaganda points inside the USA.

Thankfully, we've chosen a President with thick enough skin to weather this tactic.

Summing Up on Specter

It appears clear that Arlen Specter will win his chairmanship on the Judiciary Committee. Apparently, the GOP leadership has his solemn promise not to steer us into ditch (although the cynic in me wonders what promises the GOP leadership made to Specter?).

This minor affray has revealed a deep division in the Party between those who expect action on the pro-life platform and those who think any such activity is too politically risky to undertake.

I'll subside on this issue, pending future events, with two Laws of Republican politics for consideration:

1. The GOP will never be anything better than first-alternate for pro-choice voters.

2. Pro-choice voters can only be wooed at the expense of pro-life voters.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Victory On The March

Central Command

Yesterday:
At Camp Fallujah, Maj. Gen. Abdul Qader Mohammed Jassim checked the status of his forces at about 4 a.m., Nov. 9, while his soldiers engaged the insurgents in the city—the night sky flashing sporadically from artillery rounds and tracers from small arms fire.

“Before I came to Fallujah, I asked a cleric if I should come here and he told me, ‘Yes, you must go. It is God’s will. God be with you,” Qader said.

Today:
Fallujah, Iraq – Early this morning, multinational and Iraqi officials here stated that forces had fought their way through half of the city, including the Jolan District, suspected of being the epicenter of insurgent activity in the city. The combined Iraqi and multinational force operation had encountered light resistance along the way into the heart of the city, running into small pockets of fighters as they made their way through the restive town.

Forces of Operation Al Fajr, Arabic for “dawn,” have retaken key civic buildings, including Fallujah’s mayoral office, which was taken over by multinational and Iraqi forces at about 4 a.m. today. Several mosques, key bridges and other military and civic buildings have also been retaken. Insurgent reinforced strongholds in and around the city have been destroyed, including insurgent defensive positions on the outskirts of the city.

Reports from combat units indicate that several weapons and explosives caches have been found, as well as car bombs and improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs.

Yesterday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Ayad Allawi announced that Maj. Gen. Abdul Qader Mohammed Jassim, the Iraqi ground forces commander in Fallujah, was appointed as the interim military governor of the Western Anbar province until a civilian can take control of the area once order is restored. The province includes Fallujah.

The appointment comes as multinational and Iraqi forces continue their operation “on schedule and as planned,” officials here stated.


In recently liberated Al-Sadr City:
Making the job of finding IEDs a little bit easier, local residents regularly tell 1st BCT patrols of explosives that have been installed near their homes. Such intelligence, combined with other sources, is then compiled into a list of potential ‘targets’ for the 766th and the 20th to neutralize during daily missions.

“It’s promising to see that people realize we’re here to help,” Distefano said.

Improvements to the living conditions of other areas of Baghdad have often correlated with a decrease in insurgent activity, making clearing IEDs in Sadr City an essential step towards stability in the region.

51-50 and Fight

Hugh Hewitt offers a comprehensive summary of his posts regarding Specter:

We are already deep into an age of bitter politics, where every maneuver is justified by the ends being pursued. The decision in the last couple of years --led by Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy-- to radicalize judicial nominations even beyond the terrible precedents of the Bork and Thomas nomination battles was one of the most irresponsible ever taken, and now the prospect of filibusters and smear campaigns seems inevitable. The only chance of repairing this process is for a united and determined GOP caucus to demand a return to past, pre-Bork practices, and failing to obtain that demand, to launch and win a great debate leading to new rules on judicial nominations. That debate would be ferocious and would lead to an up-or-down vote on a package of rule changes on the floor. This so-called "nuclear option" was not attempted in the last few years because GOP leadership doubted that it had the votes. With a caucus of 55 and some sober Democrats across the aisle, the threat of that option might be enough to calm the Democrats and undo the knots which they have tied. The Specter debate is giving exactly the wrong signal, and forcing the very confrontation that might have been avoided.

Perhaps some folks welcome the battles. I think it is better to win quietly than it is to emerge with a nominee confirmed by a single vote of the Vice President, the nominee's reputation scarred by the slanders of an out-of-control left, the country even more polarized, and two or three more nominations to go. These are the circumstances upon which the fever swamp and the Michael Moore caucus of opportunists feed.

Jeffords, Jeffords, Jeffords.


I'll settle for consistent victories on judicial appointments.

Sure, I'd love to have loyalty from moderate Senators, generosity from Senate Democrats, accuracy from the MSM, sanity from the fever swamp, and amity from the Left. But, we're talking about loyalty from a man who Hewitt thinks is for sale at the price of a chairmanship; generosity from people who violated over 200 years of tradition to filibuster federal judges; accuracy from people who said Fallujah would be another Hue City, as if the memory of Hue was a dark shadow; sanity from people who shriek that an ill-fitting jacket proved Bush cheated to lose a debate; amity from people talking about secession from the Union because they lost an election.

The 229th birthday of the Marine Corps suggests an analogy: It would have been better to win by warping up to the docks at Saipan and Tarawa and Iwo Jima, and walking down the gangplanks to accept the surrender of the Japanese garrisons. Since they refused to cooperate, our victory required hard fighting.

We talk about judicial reform in absolutist terms because the opposition made them absolutist. No ban of abortion. No restrictions on abortion. No discouragements to abortion. Period. Exclamation point! Either that arbitrary fiat stands or it doesn't. Given our lifetime judiciary, we can't pick our moment to fight; we must act when vacancies occur or concede the issue.

And a number of bloggers have noted: First we couldn't reverse Roe because we didn't have the White House and the Senate. Then it was because we didn't have the votes in the Senate. Now it's because we don't have enough friends in Hollywood and the MSM to prevent calumny of strict constructionists? We never will!

"[A] nominee confirmed by a single vote of the Vice President, the nominee's reputation scarred by the slanders of an out-of-control left, the country even more polarized, and two or three more nominations to go" represents a success, a judge or Justice with an appropriate understanding of the Constitution to counter the foriegn-consensus and emanations-and-penumbras cliques. A success with looming opportunities for further successes.

I don't want a Democrat agreement to renounce the judicial filibuster, without forcing the issue with the "nuclear option". Such agreement could be reversed anytime they felt like it.
I want them--and every other future minority--explicitly barred from trying such stonewalling ever again.

Since we agree we could win, why not win?

Monday, November 08, 2004

If We Wreck Ourselves, We Lose On Our Own Terms!

That about sums up the case for Specter's chairmanship, as made by the partisans.

Puh-thetic.

PS: Hugh Hewitt is asking today: what if we try the nuclear option and Specter's been insulted and other moderates vote with him against the GOP and cloture fails?

The answer is, the same result as if Specter is confirmed and other moderates vote with him against the GOP and cloture fails.

In his comments last Wednesday, his statement Friday, over the weekend, and yesterday with Judy Woodruff, Specter continues to insist that the Democrat filibusters are a political reality that the GOP has to accept.
I don't call that offering leadership against the illegitimate and atraditional filibusters of judicial nominees. I don't even call it a condemnation of the practice.

Speaking of seeking cover, I think it is Specter who is seeking the cover of the filibuster; so that he can shrug his shoulders and say, "Well, I tried"--as he's done for the past two years.

A lot of us detect the stench of bad leadership emanating from the GOP Senate: "Well, of course we would win, but do we really want to pay the price? What if the Democrats are sore losers?"

How bout we whup them every time?

'Nuke' the Moderates

I remain opposed to a Specter chairmanship. I saw his remarks with Judy Woodruff and am not impressed. He continues to describe the judicial filibuster as a fact of life.

Destruction of the judicial filibuster should be a GOP priority in this Congress. The "nuclear option" was dropped to buy votes for GOP legislation--a clear sellout-- and should be resumed. If Dems try to filibuster it, make it a general filibuster so that nothing is resolved until they quit. Meet them head-on and break them!

The imminent retirement of Supreme Court Justices will not likely recur for another decade at the earliest. An ever growing number of federal seats remain vacant. We must be poised to take full advantage of these opportunities, not only to restrain judicial activism, but to prevent the greater outrage of submission to foriegn legal theories.

Without the filibuster, and with a firm conservative as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, our nominees can be passed without a single Democratic vote, and we could lose up to 5 Republican votes on each nominee and still win through with the Vice-President's vote.

We have everything to gain by aggressively pursuing our agenda and marginalizing the moderate fringe with the opposition.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Damn You Sir, You Will Try

The Corner has posted the transcript of Arlen Specter's remarks to the press on Nov. 4th 2004. His open intent to frustrate the clear pro-life/strict constructionist agenda of the GOP renders him unfit for the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
JORDAN: Senator, you didn't talk about the Judiciary Committee, it is something you are expected to Chair this January. With 3 Supreme Court Justices rumored to retire soon, starting with Rehnquist, how do you see this unfolding in the next couple of months and what part do you intend to play on it?

SPECTER: You know my approach is cautious with respect to the Judiciary Committee. I am in line, Senator Hatch is barred now by term limits and Senate Rules so that I am next in line. There has to be a vote of the Committee and I have already started to talk to some of my fellow committee members. I am respectful of Senate traditions, so I am not designating myself Chairman, I will wait for the Senate procedures to act in do course. You are right on the substance, the Chief Justice is gravely ill. I had known more about that than had appeared in the media. When he said he was going to be back on Monday, it was known inside that he was not going to be back on Monday. The full extent of his full incapacitation is really not known, I believe there will be cause for deliberation by the President. The Constitution has a clause called advise and consent, the advise part is traditionally not paid a whole lot of attention to, I wouldn't quite say ignored, but close to that. My hope that the Senate will be more involved in expressing our views. We start off with the basic fact that the Democrats are have filibustered and expect them to filibuster if the nominees are not within the broad range of acceptability. I think there is a very broad range of Presidential Discretion but there is a range.

ODOM: Is Mr. Bush, he just won the election, even with the popular vote as well. If he wants anti-abortion judges up there, you are caught in the middle of it what are you going to do? The party is going one way and you are saying this.

SPECTER: When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v Wade, I think that is unlikely. And I have said that bluntly during the course of the campaign and before. When the Inquirer endorsed me, they quoted my statement that Roe v Wade was inviolate. And that 1973 decision, which has been in effect now for 33 years, was buttressed by the 1992 decision, written by three Republican justices-O'Conner, Souter, and Kennedy-and nobody can doubt Anthony Kennedy's conservativism or pro-life position, but that's the fabric of the country. Nobody can be confirmed today who didn't agree with Brown v. Board of Education on integration, and I believe that while you traditionally do not ask a nominee how they're going to decide a specific case, there's a doctorate and a fancy label term, stari decisis, precedent which I think protects that issue. That is my view, now, before, and always.

ODOM: You are saying the President should not bother to send somebody up there like that.

SPECTER: Can't hear you

ODOM: You are saying the President should not bother or make the move to send somebody up there who is clearly anti-abortion.

SPECTER: I don't want to prejudge what the President is going to do. But the President is well aware of what happened when a number of his nominees were sent up, were filibustered, and the President has said he is not going to impose a litmus test, he faced that issue squarely in the third debate and I would not expect the President, I would expect the President to be mindful of the considerations that I mentioned.

JORDAN: However, Senator the President has President has sent up, as you know, a number of very very conservative judges socially, you have made a point in this campaign of saying that you have supported all of those ______ at least I the last two years, how is this going to square with what you are saying today about wanting the Republican party to be big tent and moderate.

SPECTER: I have been very careful in what I have said and what I have done. The nominees whom I supported in Committee, I had reservations on. As for judge Pryor, there had been an issue as to whether as Attorney General he had raised money, I said in voting him out of committee, that he did not have my vote on the floor until I satisfied myself about collateral matters. The woman judge out of California, who had dismissed a case on invasion of privacy where the doctor had permitted an insurance adjuster to watch a mammogram, I had a reservation on it, so I wanted to talk to her to see if that was aberrational or whether that really reflected her judgment on each and every one of those cases. This may be more detail than you want, but there was one judge for a district judgeship, Judge Holmes, in Arkansas, who was first in his class at the University of Arkansas, had a PhD from Duke, had a master's degree, was touted by both Democratic Arkansas Senators, was supported by 2 pro-choice women, Senator Landrieu and Senator Lincoln, highly regarded in the Arkansas editorial pages, and for a district court judgeship I thought. He had made two statements, and they were, one was in a religious context that a wife should be subservient to a husband, that was in a religious context. Then he made a statement doubting the potential for impregnation from rape, and made an absurd statement that it would be as rare as snow in Florida in July. That was about a 20 year-old statement and I brought him in and sat down, had a long talk with him and concluded that they were not disqualifiers. He was the only judge whom I voted to confirm on the floor vote where any question has been raised and I think that was the right decision for a district court judgeship, not to make that a disqualifier. There are few if any whose record if you go back over 30 or 40 years, and not find some dumb thing, I don't want you to take a to close a look at my 40 year record.

HIGHSMITH: Talk to us a little bit beyond judgeships, you said again today and last night that your goal now is to moderate the party, bring it to the center.

SPECTER: Correct

[BREAK-Bringing the Country Together Question]

[BREAK-Stem Cell Question]

MACINTOSH: What are the characteristics that you are looking for in any candidate for the high court who might come your way in the next year or two?

SPECTER: Well I would like to see a select someone in the mold of Holmes, Brandeis, Cardozo, or Marshall. With all due respect to the U.S. Supreme Court, we don't have one. And I haven't minced any words about that during the confirmation process.

MACINTOSH: Meaning?

SPECTER: Where I have questioned them all very closely. I had an argument before the Supreme Court of the United States on trying to keep the Navy base, and you should heard what the eight of them had to say to me. They were almost as tough as this gang here this morning.

ODOM: Senator, the judges you mentioned are obviously renown. Are you saying that there are no greatness on there, is that what you're driving at?

SPECTER: Yes. Can you take yes for an answer Vernon? I'm saying that we don't have anybody of the stature of Oliver Wendell Holmes, or Willy Brandeis, or Cardozo, or Marshall. That's what I'm saying. I'm saying that we have a court which they're graduates from the Court of Appeals from the District of Columbia basically, some other Circuit Courts of Appeals. I think that we could use, and I am repeating myself again, a Holmes or a Brandeis.

ODOM: Would you resign to take the appointment? You're the only person I can think of?

SPECTER: I can think of quite a few other people.

JORDAN: Like who?

SPECTER: I think there's some possibility, just a slight possibility, I may not be offered the appointment.

JORDAN: Senator, who do you think would be a good candidate?

SPECTER: For the Supreme Court?

JORDAN: Yes.

SPECTER: I have some ideas but I'm going to withhold my comments. If, as, and when the President asks that question, Lara, I'll have some specific information for him. In the alternative, if you become President, I'll have it for you.

[BREAK-Election 2010 question]

[BREAK-Iraq questions]

Jordan: Do you expect to continue supporting all of President Bush's judicial nominees?

AS: I am hopeful that I'll be able to do that. That obviously depends upon the President's judicial nominees. I'm hopeful that I can support them.

[BREAK-Election question]

[End Press Conference]

Specter's own words show he considers Roe v. Wade settled, the Democrat filibusters unstoppable, the President's past nominees unworthy, the party too conservative.
What defense, other than the rococo evolutions of the Senate, can be cited in defense of Chairmanship?

What a Suprise

France sinks deeper into a quagmire in its former colonial empire.

The US mission in Iraq is in the tradition of British conservative intervention a la Palmerston and Churchill: Pick a side, back it to the hilt. Our mission is to break the back of the insurgency so that the national government we support prevails through the whole country.

Whereas France has got itself in a real quagmire, a peacekeeping operation where all factions remain present but are supposed to be kept nonviolent. Since tensions have to be pretty high for a civil war to erupt at all, the French have no support for their UN-mandated stalemate and must be prepared for violence from all sides--which despite MSM propaganda to the contrary, is not true of US troops in Iraq.

Bon chance, Jacques! Our troops in Iraq are fighting for a win, not a draw. Wanna bet who finishes the mission first?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

Iraqi and American forces are moving into place to assault Fallujah.

This time the Iraqi authorities have approved the assault in advance, having already exhausted their patience with the insurgents.

Kofi Annan hasn't though:
However, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that the election could be undermined by a new campaign against Fallujah because of a possible backlash from the Sunni Muslim community.

In a letter dated Oct. 31, Annan told American, British and Iraqi leaders that the United Nations wants to help prepare for the elections but fears a rise in violence could disrupt the process.

''I have in mind not only the risk of increased insurgent violence, but also reports of major military offensives being planned by the multinational force in key localities such as Fallujah,'' Annan wrote in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press.

Wasn't this the guy who said he didn't think elections could be held because of insurgent violence and the presence of insurgent enclaves?

You know, I think American conservatives are wrong about the UN? I think our Cold War experience has skewed our perspective. Certainly, when a Leonid Brehznev or Deng Xiaoping stood up and spewed nonsense, we were right to suspect that they didn't believe it either, that their own bloody ambition was preparing a snare to destroy us.

But when Boutros-Boutros Ghali or Kofi Annan spews nonsense--You know the guys who are killing anybody who works for the interim government? Maybe driving them into the desert to cower in holes will undermine your election?--I think we're wrong to suspect them.

I begin to believe they really are that clueless.
Thankfully, Lincoln was right. 51% of Americans can't be fooled all of the time.

From Deep Left Field

Paul Krugman:
The resurgence of Al Qaeda, the debacle in Iraq, the explosion of the budget deficit and the failure to create jobs weren't things that just happened to occur on Mr. Bush's watch. They were the consequences of bad policies made by people who let ideology trump reality.

...But Democrats are not going to get the support of people whose votes are motivated, above all, by their opposition to abortion and gay rights (and, in the background, opposition to minority rights). All they will do if they try to cater to intolerance is alienate their own base.

...Rather than catering to voters who will never support them, the Democrats - who are doing pretty well at getting the votes of moderates and independents - need to become equally effective at mobilizing their own base.

In fact, they have made good strides, showing much more unity and intensity than anyone thought possible a year ago. But for the lingering aura of 9/11, they would have won.


There's a lot of material to work with in just four paragraphs!

The phrase "ideology trump reality" better describes an economist who doesn't see 16 months of consecutive job growth, including 337,000 in October 2004 alone; a political writer who misses the consistent political development in Iraq, and the disruption of Al-Qaeda around the world.

If the secret motivation driving Republican opposition to abortion and homosexuality is racial intolerance, then why are increasing numbers of ethnic minorities siding with the GOP on those issues? What dark bigotry drives them?

It’s ridiculous to look at an election where more people voted than ever before, and turnout was its highest in 36 years, and the victor won 51% of the vote, and claim you lost because your base wasn’t out there on Election Day.
It’s self-destructive to label a majority of American voters as bigots lashing out, sheep fleeing imaginary (but “resurgent”?) threats.

It’s instructive that Krugman clearly doesn’t think the conservatives are the party’s base; moderates and independents aren’t the Democrat base; who’s left?

But to hell with it! To hell with 59 million Americans who won’t change their minds anyhow! Write off anybody who cares about winning in Iraq, roaring job growth, fighting terrorism, heterosexual marriage, banning partial-birth abortion and abortion on demand for any nubile female, absolute institutional equality as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and all that other crap!

Remember that ostrich/eagle ad? Exactly backwards.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Won One With The Gipper?

When the Republicans stormed the House of Representatives in 1994, the Democrats refused to acknowledge the power of the Contract with America. Instead they scrambled for a politically harmless explanation, such as sympathy for Reagan after he announced his retirement in ill health.

I thought that was silly then.

But this year, I think the massive week-long eulogy of Reagan did have a subtle effect favorable to Bush.

I don't think people suddenly viewed Bush as the obvious heir to Reagan's legacy.

I think the near universal praise and salute to Reagan as a national hero undermined the fever-swamp propaganda.

This year, they couldn't declare a devoutly religious, prolife, tax-cutting, global crusader Republican was an obvious threat to the American way of life.
This year, it did no good to spin tax relief as creating a decade of suffering.
This year, it wasn't enough to claim America could not change the world or "fight an idea".

Clinton proved that a majority of Americans could be persuaded to thinking these fallacies were true.
But not this year, the year we celebrated Reagan.

Stop the Autovoxiphiliac Jackassertarian

From The Corner:
SPECTER: THIS IS WHAT TO DO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Frist knows our beef (probably painfully well). Call your Republicans senators. When they meet on leadership posts (next week), they can vote against extending the judiciary chairmanship to Specter. Here's the Senate website. Call and email. (I'll get you a straight list of all the numbers and emails just as soon as possible.) I think that transcript emphasises Specter does not have the conservative temperment or instincts to be judiciary chairman. Why, after yesterday's victory, would the majority party put in place such a huge obstacle, just because of tradition?

Amen!
The Corner has a transcript of Specter's comments. Despite the damage-control spin from Specter's office (also on the site), it's actually worse than I thought.

Not only does Specter state that Roe v Wade is as firmly unchallengeable as Brown v Board of Education, he believes the constitutionally dubious and historically baseless Democrat filibusters are facts-of-life the President must consider when making nominations.

And Specter indeed did belittle the entire Supreme Court:
ODOM: Senator, the judges you mentioned are obviously renown. Are you saying that there are no greatness on there, is that what you're driving at?

SPECTER: Yes. Can you take yes for an answer Vernon? I'm saying that we don't have anybody of the stature of Oliver Wendell Holmes, or Willy Brandeis, or Cardozo, or Marshall. That's what I'm saying. I'm saying that we have a court which they're graduates from the Court of Appeals from the District of Columbia basically, some other Circuit Courts of Appeals. I think that we could use, and I am repeating myself again, a Holmes or a Brandeis.

Read the whole transcript. You can just see the journalists with their tongues hanging out, as the Senator destroys his own reputation for the love of the sound of his own voice.

We might as well have let Daschle back, if his desperate tactics and abortion-on-demand platform will be perpetuated by our Judiciary Committee chairman.

Shame, Shame

Mirror

The Guardian:
Mr Bush faces a clear choice at home. He can treat his mandate as a blank cheque to govern in the interests of the conservative (and for conservative read, in many cases, anti-black) voters who backed him in such numbers - shaping a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, waging war on legal abortion, amending the constitution to prevent gay marriage, unpicking affirmative action, limiting and marginalising dissent still further, flirting with the notion of declaring the USA an explicitly Christian, English-speaking nation, seeking in all things to construct the conservative Republican hegemony for which Karl Rove has long dreamed and schemed. Or he can recognise the greater wisdom and the greater long-term security that mutual respect and bipartisan reconciliation will provide to a United States, and to a wider world, in which the belief in America's manifest destiny is not shared with such fervour as it is among evangelical conservatives - or even shared at all. We have few illusions about the course he will take. Yet both America and the world need a handshake right now, not a clenched fist of defiance. In an interconnected world, such choices matter and shape all our uncertain futures.


The Independent:
Financial markets rose after his victory, largely from relief that there would be no repeat of the unsettling confusion of Florida four years ago. But the gains also reflected the hope that, having secured victory by appealing to his base, he will now reach out to the country as a whole. For its part, the world awaits Mr Bush's next moves with a mixture of caution, apprehension and not a little scepticism. The first test of whether the election has given birth to a new Bush will come at an Asian summit later this month. But many critics fear that, if anything, this President may be even more convinced of the rightness of America's cause.

On the campaign trail and in his debates with Mr Kerry, he famously refused to admit the slightest mistake - and won the backing of a majority of his countrymen for his pains. For them, Mr Bush is the man best equipped to keep them safe, and protect traditional values.

I'll let Muad'ib respond:
"For your part in this I could have you strangled,"he said. "You couldn't prevent it!" he snapped as she stiffened in rage. "But I think it a better punishment that you live out your years never able to touch me or bend me to a single thing your scheming desires."--Frank Herbert, Dune

Arlen Specter, Jackassertarian

Sen. Arlen Specter has come out with words of warning for the President.
He also bemoans the lack of "giants" on the current Supreme Court.

A Democrat friend of mine says this arrogance and intransigence by Senators like Specter, Chafee and Jeffords marks them as neither Republicans or Democrats, but "Jackassertarians".

If the new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to let Ted Kennedy pick our judges, there's a good case that Bill Frist is a bigger failure than Tom Daschle.

This is the big flaw in Hugh Hewitt's sunny partisanship. The party is not a professional organization for career politicians. It is a collection of like-minded citizens for the pursuit of certain policy decisions.

The fact that Bush's nominees were successfully filibustered is entirely the fault of Senate Republicans. They could have overturned the practice in a single afternoon, by asking the clerk of the Senate to rule on the constitutionality of the practice, and using their simple majority to either affirm his negative opinion or overturn his positive opinion.

The fact that this simple, direct and wholly licit practice is called the "nuclear option" by Republican Senators indicates they don't belong in federal politics.

I'm not a partisan. I'm an ideologue. I don't care how many seats Republicans win, if policy doesn't change, we've failed. And consistent failure in politics is basically a personnel problem.

If the filibusters continue--or worse, if Specter refuses to hold hearings and the rules aren't rewritten to reassign him to a Joint Committee of Metric Conversion--then we need to consider LOSING the Senate, giving Kennedy direct control of what he already controls through the cruise-director mentality ("We're here to have a good time!") of the GOP Senate leadership, and purging the party of Jackassertarians for another generation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

An Uphill Battle

Senator Kerry:
I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that. Now, more than ever, with our soldiers in harm's way, we must stand together and succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror.

Kudos to you for the sentiment, Senator, you'll have to begin with Senator Edwards:

But the battle for you and the hark-working Americans who built this country rages on...And it rages on for the mother who wants to know why her son was sent over there and will not come home.

Explain it to him, would you?

No! NO! NOOOOOOOO!!

It's fun watching the Left in total denial about Bush's clear victory.

Bill Handel on KFI640 acknowledged that the President had won a clear victory, though Bill denied he had a mandate.
With the new majorities in Congress, what if Bush governed as if he had a mandate?

Jim Lehrer asked last night if Bush was a lame duck. The consensus on the Lehrer Newshour Team: not for two years. Robert Shields put forth a theory of a six-year itch, claiming the GOP would lose in 2006, the sixth year of Bush's term.
Well they may deserve to, but we've heard the "wait til next time" every year since 1994.

Daily Kos is more coherent this morning, aware that the Democrats under McAuliffe resemble a Yugo hit by a freight train. Last night he was less than acute:

I've always said today was merely a battle in a long war. The GOP built its electoral dominance over 40 years by building a massive, well-funded message, training, and media machine.

We started putting ours together last year.

In what country? I suppose Clinton was just cruisin'?

I've always laughed at that sort of nonsense, but for the first time in a year, I can do so without any reservations. Thanks Mr. President!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Last Laugh

To top off a long night with a belly laugh, here's Rush Limbaugh with a sample of Senator Kerry's trademark precision and focus.

A Class Act

Remember Bush's Thanksgiving visit to Iraq?

I didn't see him use this footage in any of his ads. It's not as if he didn't want to mention Iraq.

Bush has offended conservatives with liberal spending, he's offended liberals with conservative policies, he's offended centrists by being judgemental. Yet he wins through, because he has such admirable qualities of character.

Bells and Whistles

Did some modifications to the cookie-cutter template Blogspot handed down.

Learning html was one reason I started up this blog; it gave a good vent for my anger and frustration at the rampant defeatism of last April.

It looks as though the country has come around, rejecting the archspokesman of Vietnam defeatism. It's morning in America, again.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Helen Thomas Has a Little List

The Queen Bee of the Washington Press corps, Helen Thomas, has a new online op-ed:

The presidential election on Tuesday is one of the most crucial in American history.
There are many reasons -- in foreign policy and on the domestic front -- why President George W. Bush should not be reelected.
Among them is the dominance of the radical right in his advisory councils, who are taking the United States down the wrong road at the start of the 21st century.
The road could lead to more mindless wars abroad and a widening gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

By “mindless wars” I assume she means Iraq and Afghanistan, where we have a clear political goal, a strategy for achieving it, and local support for our goals and strategy; and not Kosovo, where we have no goal beyond stasis and the locals are as divided as the day we set up camp.
There will be only one way to read the election results if Bush wins: The world will see his victory as an affirmation by the American people of his disastrous preemptive war policy, which led the United States to invade Iraq without provocation.

The UN Security Council didn’t think so, when it unanimously voted for Resolution 1441, a detailed list of Iraq’s refusal to accept the generous peace terms offered in 1991.
The U.S. attack on Iraq is a clear violation of international law and has made us helpless to condemn others for similar acts.

The same private citizens that challenge the power of a President of the United States to condemn a sovereign government for violations of international law, condemn this president for violations of international law.
As for a global wave of aggression triggered by America's war in Iraq, where is it?
Contrast this decade with the 1970s, a period when the US government gave the firmest support for international arbitration and all but renounced independent action. This witness attempted land grabs in Israel, Yemen, Indonesia, Tanzania, Central America, Afghanistan, and Cyprus, by Communists, NATO allies, and nonaligned Third World nations.
It would seem dictators are more cowed by an American President on the warpath than by a Nobel Peace Prizewinner.
If he wins reelection, Bush may see his victory as a signal to follow the neo-conservative dream of a political transformation of the Middle East through military force.

George Bush has invaded exactly one Middle Eastern nation, and erected a democracy there.
His predecessor, Bill Clinton, erected a Middle Eastern ogliarchy that will live as long as Arafat does.
Their predecessor, George Bush, restored a monarchy, and his predecessor Ronald Reagan failed to stabilize anarchy in Lebanon with brutal and lasting results.
His predecessor, Jimmy Carter, infamously supported a brutal tyrant and opened a running sore in the Middle East that festers to this day.
So clearly, Bush has broken with his predecessors, and for the better.
Or would Ms. Thomas prefer interventions to preserve autocracy? So long as we can’t allow the Middle East to descend into anarchy and general war, we’re going to intervene.
The president also would likely continue his new-style isolationism by giving short shrift to post-World War II treaties, such as those banning biological and chemical weapons.

Who’s talking about biological and chemical weapons treaties? Is this yet another attempt to condemn the negotiated death of the ABM treaty as an act of bad faith? You may not like the result of the open, bilateral talks to dismantle the ABM treaty, but there was nothing to complain about with regard to procedure or diplomacy. It is equivalent to the United Kingdom and People's Republic of China negotiating the handover of the entire Hong Kong colony, when the 99-year lease only covered mainland Kowloon.
There is nothing to indicate Bush is willing to stop the gross violations of the Geneva Conventions on the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

Nothing, apart from the prosecutions and prison terms for such violations?
The Taliban in Afghanistan are no more a licit army under the terms of the Geneva Convention than the Army of God that exploded pipe bombs in 1990s America. Those riflemen are not American citizens and they weren’t captured on US soil.
Dark reports of the shameful treatment and secret transfers of detainees still emanate from Iraq and the U.S. brig at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba.

Secret transfers are not a form of abuse. If the transfers were known, their own friends would blow them up and their American guards with them.
Despite his vehement denials, Bush may be compelled to call for another military draft if he persists in making war.

Yes, he might. Any President might, should some other nation declare war against the United States. That is why there is still a Selective Service, because we do not fully control whether we stand at peace or at war.
As to the War on Terror, even with Iraq we are mobilizing about 15% of our Reserves and Guard, and we are continually enlisting eager Iraqi volunteers.
He is scraping by now with his all-volunteer military, along with reservists and National Guard members, keeping them on duty longer than planned with a so-called a back-door draft. If he wins a second term, he wouldn't have to worry about running again and would have a free hand to undo his read-my-lips campaign promises.

Helen Thomas has believed this war is "Mr. Bush's war" so long, she now views the troops fighting it as "his all-volunteer military".
When these people enlisted, they agreed to serve a set period as active duty personnel, and then remain under orders as reserves pending a national emergency as declared by the government.
This is not a back-door draft any more than mandatory overtime for firefighters represents Soviet-style forced labor.
Anyhow, the draft cannot be restored except by Act of Congress, who just voted down a draft 402-2. And they also are adamant that there be no draft. In light of those facts, no serious person can claim opposition to the draft are campaign lies.
On the homefront, the rich will be sitting pretty again with big tax cuts while the budget deficit and national debt zoom sky high.

I remember the 1970s, when the rich dodged taxes by lending to the government instead of seeking commercial enterprise, the budget was still in deficit, and the national debt was growing despite a top marginal rate of 70%.
Bush donors from the military-industrial complex are being well rewarded, especially Halliburton, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, which already has reaped no-bid contracts to the tune of billions of dollars.

Are you complaining the job went to Halliburton?
Or that the job costs as much as it does?
Or that the job is being done at all by anybody?
Organized labor will still be behind the eight ball under a new Bush administration. Workers will be pressured to accept "comp time" in place of overtime pay, and the lowered safety standards imposed by Bush's Labor Department will lead to more industrial accidents.

“Pressured” as in, they cannot be denied the legal right to refuse in favor of legally-mandated overtime pay.
In what way have unions been currently repressed? Unless denying their lobbyists a slam dunk in Congress counts as a form of repression, I don't see it.
Don't expect Bush to lift a finger to stem the tide of outsourcing of the nation's biggest companies to China, India and other points East, where they can find cheaper labor.

What? You would have us violate our sworn oaths regarding the World Trade Organization? Even if a US President decided to throw the WTO out the window and tackle outsourcing, what could be done? The problem for us is that there is a foreign labor pool every bit as qualified and capable but with lower earnings expectations. The federal government has intervened already; after the dot.com bubble burst, techies raised loud wails about the ease with which Asian techs were obtaining visas to work in the USA for less than the going wage. And Congress heard them, and closed the open door. Now John Q. Singh can’t get into Silicon Valley to earn a living. Was he supposed to take up a spindle and loom in a Benares sweatshop, and forget he could do programming? Either our companies take advantage or the foreign competition will. We saw this in the 1980s with Asian manufacturing, now it is starting to creep into the services industries as well.
The president is expected to keep trying to weaken public education with voucher programs to aid private schools, many of them religious.

“Weaken” in the sense that American parents will have clear options regarding their children’s education, beyond blind faith in the school board and the teachers’ union. Opposing voluntary enrollment in religious education verges on bigotry, since religious instruction for children is an obligation for Catholics, who are some 25% of the American population.
He is certain to follow through on his pet project to privatize part of the Social Security system with voluntary private investment accounts, driving a big hole in the program's trust fund. We should all hope that Congress won't go along with such a dangerous idea.
Social Security was the 1936 Depression-era program to support the elderly, the disabled and deprived dependent children.

The upcoming Social Security crisis was defined by government back during Bush the Elder’s tenure. Nothing has been done about it. If nothing is done, the program will definitely be in a crisis. The worst-case scenario: Bush’s plan is tried, fails, Congress steps in and restores complete government coverage.
Senior citizens, meantime, are staying away in droves from Bush's highly touted prescription drug program, which the administration publicly underpriced by $1 billion.

Actually they’re not, they’re taking advantage of Uncle Sucker in ways the Administration and Congress naively underestimated. Hence the revised bill.
Furthermore, the resident's compassionate conservative legislation banned importation of cheaper drugs from Canada. That is not expected to change in a new Bush term.

Forcing American drug companies to offer lower prices to Canadian government health care--which they must do or risk their patent in Canada--while at the same time purchasing those American products at the artificially-low Canadian price, is a quick recipe for bankrupting an American industry.
Bush also wants to cater to corporate interests by capping damages in medical malpractice suits at $250,000.

Yup. If individual doctors or three-man clinics count as ‘corporate interests’.
If reelected, Bush -- who has injected religion into public affairs more than any president has in modern times -- is expected to continue his messianic mission in the White House. He will blur even more the separation of church and state.

“Modern times” apparently began in January 2001. I vastly prefer President Bush, who does not hesitate to cite religion in explanation of his own conduct, to President Clinton, who did not hesitate to cite religion in explanation of what he would compel America to do.
For women and minorities who support abortion rights and affirmative action, there is the scary prospect that the candidate who wins Tuesday may be able to appoint three, perhaps even four Supreme Court justices.

How about whites and men who support abortion rights and affirmative action? Ha ha.
It’s a measure of just how undemocratic and un-American those policies are, that there existence depends not on the support of a majority of Americans, but on “three, perhaps even four Supreme Court justices”.
Bush undoubtedly will see his reelection as a mandate to push the country further to the right. And if he elected, he will be answerable to no one.

Who would President Kerry answer to? I though Bush was a puppet of the neocons and fatcats…

New century not working out for you, Ms. Thomas?