President Bush spends day at Victory Junction
October 19, 2006
02:00 PM EDT (18:00 GMT)
RANDLEMAN, NC -- President Bush paid a special visit to the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Wednesday, prompted by his interest in the humanitarian work that takes place camp for children with chronic medical conditions.
Upon the President's arrival he was greeted by Victory Junction co-founders, Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, as well as Richard Petty.
"This visit enabled the President to see how the camp provides a life-changing experience to the children and their families free of charge," said Pattie Petty, CEO of the camp. "I can't thank the President enough for taking the time to come visit Victory Junction. I hope this makes every child and parent that has visited the camp very proud."
The Presidential visit consisted of a tour of Victory Junction and participation in some of the camps program areas. Fishing took place at the Bass Pro Shop Catch, Kiss and Release Marina, where the President was met by Victory Junction campers Maddie Lee and Hank Grissom.
"Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp," Kyle Petty said. "This is exciting for all of us and we are truly humbled.
"So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp grow. President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone's dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child."
The second stop was Adam's Race Shop, a 9,000-square-foot building that looks like a racecar. Inside Adam's Race Shop, President Bush was greeted by Victory Junction campers Paul Rader, Will "Cheese" Kwapil and Morgan Sagerman as well as NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson.
The campers challenged the President to test his skills on one of the NASCAR simulators. The final stop was at the Fuel Stop (dining hall) where the President greeted and took a photo with the entire staff.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
President Bush spends day at Victory Junction
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/19/2006 05:52:00 PM
By Craig Tello
October 19, 2006
Former WWE Superstar Thomas Spear, professionally known as Corporal Kirchner, passed away of natural causes Sunday in his home in White Marsh, Md. He is survived by his two sons, daughter and step-daughter, as well as two grandchildren.
A Vietnam veteran, Kirchner is known for defending his country in the ring as well as out. He is not only revered as one of sports-entertainment’s toughest competitors, but also one of its greatest patriots.
In the early 1980s, Kirchner was a close protégé of another patriot, former WWE Champion and Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter. Perhaps one of Kirchner’s most celebrated victories took place at WrestleMania 2 where he defeated WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff in a Flag Match. See Kirchner in action in the Flag Match from WrestleMania 2.
Bill's Comment: You can go to www.wwe.com to see the clip. Thank you for serving our country, Mr. Spear. Thank you for making this country proud.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/19/2006 05:29:00 PM
Tiki Barber Considers Hanging Up Cleats
By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
Thu Oct 19, 6:26 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Walking away from the never-ending pain of professional football after this season for a career in front of a television camera might save Tiki Barber's body. It also would likely mean a significant pay cut for the popular New York Giants running back.
The 31-year-old Barber, who leads the NFL in rushing with 533 yards, created a stir over the past two days by saying he is leaning toward retiring after this season.
"I've been considering it for a few years now," Barber said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "It comes a point where your body just doesn't want to take it any more, you see other opportunities out there. I'm excited about the rest of my life as well as I am about this football season. So we'll see what happens."
Barber would be leaving a lot on the table _ $8.3 million _ the amount he would earn over the final two years of his contract.
At training camp in July, Barber spoke about the possibility of retiring, saying he was interested in working in television, writing books and getting involved in the financial field.
He seemed to leave the door wide open for a return next season, however. He closed it a lot the past two days.
Mark Lepselter, Barber's agent, said that the 10-year veteran has been "beaten up" this past season and gotten "bored of the monotony of the NFL."
Lepselter has been talking to broadcast networks about his client's future for a while, adding that Barber plans on being involved in both news and sports. He believes Barber will match his current salary, although industry observers disagree.
Barber has worked on several television shows, including "Fox & Friends" on Fox News.
Fox Sports President Ed Goren said a lot of networks will be interested in hiring Barber.
"There are two things about Tiki," Goren said. "He is TV savvy, and he is already experienced. His interests are so broad when it comes time to start a second career, the TV career will be more than sports."
Barber and his brother Ronde already have a weekly radio show on Sirius, "The Barber Shop."
George Gardner, director of strategic communications for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said Barber is an ideal prospect for a television slot.
"He (Barber) is one of those unique packages," Gardner said. "He is popular, articulate, credible, well-liked and one of those all-time good guys. He is very marketable in New York right now."
However, Gardner doubted Barber would make half as much as he is getting paid to carry the ball. He noted that a television sports analyst on a national level might start at around $750,000.
Richard Liebner, the N.S. Bienstock Inc. agent who represented CBS anchor Dan Rather, agreed with that assessment.
"He has all the potential in the world to be a successful broadcaster," Liebner said in a telephone call from his New York office. "They are not going to pay him $4 million. That's a lot of money. We don't know how much he'll earn. He has so much style and he is so well spoken."
Sports economist Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College in Northampton, Mass., believes Barber will be successful in any television field, whether as talk show host or a sports analyst.
"He'll be able to parlay this into anywhere from $1 million to $10 million a year, but I think it will be closer to $1 million," Zimbalist said in a telephone interview.
Brian Socolow, a sports attorney at Loeb & Loeb law firm in New York City, said there are economic pros and cons to Barber retiring after this season.
"The risk that he runs is that he might not have the same national exposure that he gets on a weekly basis playing for the New York Giants," said Socolow, whose firm represents athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michelle Kwan. "However, he has done well on other platforms and that could lead to new opportunities beyond the media."
Socolow said that if Barber got involved in Hollywood and business he could earn more than $4 million annually.
Barber did not know if anything would change his mind about retiring.
"I think the biggest thing is, and I recognize this, most players get kicked out of the NFL," Barber said. "They don't go out on their own terms. Being someone who takes a lot of pride in what I do, I kind of want to go out on my own terms."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/19/2006 04:58:00 PM
President Bush visiting Victory Junction Gang Camp
SCENEDAILY - 10:15AM ET WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 18, 2006 -
Kyle Petty will play host to President Bush today, giving him a tour of the Victory Junction Gang Camp that he and his wife, Pattie, founded to serve chronically ill children.
"Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp," Petty said. "This is exciting for all of us, and we are truly humbled.
"So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp. President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone's dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child.
"This visit will enable the President to see how the camp provides a life-changing experience to the children and their families free of charge. I can't thank the president enough for taking time to come. I hope this makes every kid and parent that has visited the camp very proud."
The Pettys founded the camp in honor of their son, the late Adam Petty.
Bush goes on base-building trip to N.C.
President Bush stands with Paul "Pauly" Rader, 9, right, who suffers from a brain tumor, and Will "Cheese" Kwapil, 12, second from left, who has a congenital heart defect, during a visit to Victory Junction Gang Camp, a center for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses, in Randleman, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006. Also pictured are Pattie Petty, back left, wife of NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, back right.
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - President Bush took a day off from the politics of national security Wednesday and went on a Southern charm offensive that included time with children, NASCAR drivers, devoted Republicans and sweet tea.
Bush's return to his "compassionate conservative" roots came during a base-building trip to North Carolina, a state he won easily in both his presidential races. But even in the conservative South, many voters have grown unhappy with Bush's leadership with Iraq under continuing violence.
Bush did not mention those troubles while visiting with voters three weeks before Election Day, instead focusing on his education agenda and old-fashioned politicking with plenty of local flavor. He visited an elementary school and a camp for sick children and dropped in on diners at a barbecue restaurant.
Noticeably missing on Bush's North Carolina itinerary were campaign stops with Reps. Charles Taylor and Robin Hayes, a pair of veteran Republicans facing spirited Democratic challenges that could help tip the balance of power in the House. He didn't go near their districts but raised $900,000 for the Republican National Committee at the home of Louis DeJoy, CEO of New Breed Inc., where no media coverage was allowed.
Rep. Howard Coble, who represents the district that includes the children's camp, told the News & Record of Greensboro this week that he wasn't sure what the political value of the visit would be.
"I'm not uncomfortable having him here," Coble told the newspaper. "I don't know that it helps. But it doesn't hurt and it might help. There are a lot of his supporters who are simply not happy with Iraq. I'm not happy about it. But that doesn't mean I dislike my president."
Bush greeted lunchtime diners at Stamey's, chatting into a cell phone that one man thrust into his hand. Then he ate a classic North Carolina lunch of barbecue pork and chicken, cole slaw, hush puppies, sweet tea and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
At Waldo C. Falkener Elementary School, Bush drew excited gasps from fifth grader Ta'kyria Woodard when he entered her classroom, and he leaned over and whispered in her ear to calm her. Then he went to the third grade computer lab and threw a presidential glare to silence some rambunctious boys. Turning to the cameras, Bush's face softened into a smile and he said, "Reminds me of my days in the class."
His speech in the school's multipurpose room was the third event in as many weeks focusing on the classroom. Those speeches come as a series of school shootings in recent weeks has unnerved parents across the nation.
Bush's signature education bill, No Child Left Behind, is up for reauthorization next year. Congressional Democrats helped hand him a bipartisan victory with that law five years ago. But the politics have changed and a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill could make it tougher for Bush to get the law reapproved without increased funding and other work.
Bush said the school is an example of why No Child Left Behind should be renewed. He said the percentage of third graders reading at grade level increased from 46 percent to 76 percent in four years.
"I think it would be a huge mistake for the United States Congress not to reauthorize this important piece of legislation," Bush said. "And the reason I say that is because it's working. We have achieved concrete results."
Later, Bush visited Victory Junction Gang Camp for critically ill children. The camp was created by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, in memory of their son Adam. Adam Petty was killed six years ago in a racetrack crash at 19.
The kids aren't at the camp during the week in the fall, but four children came in for photo opportunities with the president - fishing and repairing a mock-up NASCAR. Bush also posed for pictures with the NASCAR drivers who came in - Kyle and Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson.
An Elon University poll last month showed slightly more disapprove than approve of the president in the state, 49 percent to 45 percent.
While Bush has expressed complete confidence that Republicans will keep control Congress, Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that the GOP will hold the Senate and has "a good shot at holding the House."
White House spokesman Tony Snow said any suggestion that Cheney's confidence has diminished was "over-parsing."
Associated Press writer Tim Whitmire contributed to this report.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/19/2006 12:33:00 PM
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 19, 2006
A plan is in place to censure and impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Orchestrated and organized by the radical Left and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., this plan is ready to go should the Democratic Party take control of the House of Representatives in November.
The plan is the ultimate manifestation of left-wing hatred for George W. Bush rooted in the contentious election of 2000. Since failing to defeat Bush in 2004, the Left has focused its efforts on destroying his presidency by assembling a list of charges aimed at impeaching him.
Impeachment plans began seriously coalescing in 2005, after the NY Times published classified aspects of the NSA surveillance program. In mid- December of that year, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, asked a group of presidential scholars whether President George W. Bush had committed an impeachable offense when he authorized the NSA foreign surveillance program. John Dean, the long-time Bush critic of Watergate fame provided Boxer with the answer she and most other Democrats were looking for: "Bush is the first president to admit an impeachable offense," he said.
Around the same time, Senator John Kerry, D-MA, told a gathering of 100 Democrats that, should they capture the House in 2006, there would be a "solid case" for impeachment based on President Bush's "misleading" the American public over prewar intelligence. Kerry was picking up where another prominent Democrat had, on November 1, 2005, left off. On that day, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called a rare closed Senate session with other Democrats to look into the "misinformation and disinformation" used by the Bush administration to justify Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Boxer and Kerry weren't the only prominent Democrats discussing the possibility of impeachment during 2005. Such matters were also being discussed by Diane Feinstein, Carl Levin and Ron Wyden, who, along with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and left-leaning Republicans Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, called for both Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committee investigations into the NSA wiretaps. And on December 20, 2005, Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, underscored those calls, saying:
I look forward to further inquiry in the House and Senate on these matters. The American people deserve the truth. We must gather the facts and determine once and for all whether the law was violated. There is no question that the U.S. Congress has impeached presidents for lesser offenses.
More recently, Rep. Brad Miller, D-GA, said, “The Democrats on the House Science Committee are collecting stories of the intimidation or censoring of scientists. We’re building a case for hearings by the Committee, which may be unrealistic to expect under the current majority, or to be ready for hearings next year if Democrats gain the majority in November.” [Emphasis added.] Miller was making that threat in relation to accusations by leftists and Democrats that Bush was silencing those concerned about global warming.
And then there are the constant calls by congressional Democrats, led by Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, to investigate the treatment of terrorist prisoners held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay and other locations. But most telling of all was Senator Harry Reid's November 2005 attempt to begin the "Phase II" investigation into the Bush administration's use of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War. Reid said Congress must subpoena administration officials and documents in order to determine how Bush built his case for war.
To some observers, the Democrats' endless calls for investigations might appear to be simply a dead-end continuation of the 2000 election – heavy on anti-Bush vitriol and posturing, light on concrete action. And such observers might have been right, if not for the fact that a bill, H.R.635, aimed at investigating articles of impeachment, was submitted to Congress on Dec.18, 2005. The submission of that bill by John Conyers Jr. was, first and foremost, a legislative victory for the radical Left and its sugar daddy, Shadow Party leader George Soros, who for all practical purposes guides the anti-U.S., terrorist-sympathizing agendas of the Democratic Party by funding groups that push far-Left candidates and threaten the careers of existing Democratic Party members who do not tow the radical Left line.
Conyers's H.R. 635 involves creating "a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."
Justifying the submittal of that bill, Conyers said, "There has been massive support for House Resolution 635 from a very vigorous network of grassroots activists and people committed to holding the Bush Administration accountable for its widespread abuses of power." And he was right, for since the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, radical left-wing groups had been calling for Bush's impeachment– and organizing petition drives to pressure legislators to that end.
The committed activists Conyers spoke of include:
* International ANSWER;
* its founder, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark (who has advised Conyers on impeachment issues);
* Center for Constitutional Rights lawyer Barbara Olshansky, who advises Conyers on impeachment related issues and wrote a book on impeaching Bush that has served as a template for H.R.635;
* the National Lawyers Guild;
* Veterans for Peace;
* Workers World Party; and
* most of the 911 'truth' movement.
But the most committed and influential of those pro-impeachment groups, and the ones that gathered most of the signatures that Conyers uses as his justification for H.R.635, are AfterDowningStreet and ImpeachPAC. Both are directed by a rising star of the radical Left, David Swanson.
David Swanson was failed presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich's press secretary. He is also one of the principal organizers of the AfterDowningStreet- CensureBush coalition and the director of MeetWithCindy and KatrinaMarch. A Progressive Democrats of America board member, Swanson also directs Democrats.com and has beaten the pro-impeachment drum for the Huffington Post. His ImpeachPAC website is a high-traffic clearinghouse for the impeach-Bush movement. Its stated purpose is "electing a Congress to Impeach Bush and Cheney."
ImpeachPAC has so far gathered well over 500,000 pro-impeachment signatures. Rep. Conyers cites those signatures, and others, as a major reason for filing H.R. 635 and its related bills: H.R. 636, which calls for censuring President Bush and H.R. 637, a bill calling for the censure of Vice President Cheney. During the time of leftist hysteria over the discredited Downing Street Memo, on June 16, 2005, Conyers delivered those and other impeachment related petitions to the White House gate. He had just finished conducting farcical impeachment "hearings" in the basement of the Capitol. One of the star "witnesses" giving "testimony" at those "hearings" was Cindy Sheehan. As he was delivering the petitions, Conyers was surrounded by a sympathetic crowd screaming anti-white, racial slurs.
Initially, H.R. 635 had 19 cosponsors, but due to an intense lobbying effort by David Swanson, MoveOn and a host of other radical Left “netroots” groups, that number has swollen to 37. Cosponsors now include prominent legislators Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA; Rep. Jim McDermott, D-WA; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY; and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-IL.
The bill's most recent cosponsor is Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-CA, who signed on to the measure on May 3, 2006. But then, less than two weeks later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in an effort to deny the Republicans a potent election issue, announced, should Democrats win the House in 2006, impeachment was "off the table." Her statement was a warning to fellow Democrats against further cosponsorship of Conyer's bills. Since that warning, cosponsorship of H.R.635 has died out.
Although Pelosi said impeachment was "off the table," she also said that a Democratic-controlled House would ":launch investigations of the administration on energy policy and other matters." [Emphasis added.] When asked if those "other matters" would be related to impeachment she said, "You never know where it [investigation] leads to."
Should Democrats gain control of Congress in November, Pelosi's politically expedient, ban on cosponsoring Conyer's bills will be lifted, and Democrats will rush to endorse them. Those bills (concerning “other matters”), will advance through Congress, since 72 congressmen, overwhelmingly Democrats, officially supported two recent lawsuits brought by the Legal Left against Bush: ACLU vs. NSA and CCR vs. Bush. Both suits allege that the Bush Administration broke the law when it ordered warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists and terrorist operatives. Those suits are central to the Left's drive to impeach George W. Bush, since their outcomes will officially determine whether he did in fact break the law in the NSA matter. Currently, both of them are winding their way through the courts.
Some might be tempted to dismiss the impeachment machinations of John Conyers and the radical Left as little more than fruitless protest by a frustrated, impotent minority against an individual and Administration it hates. After all, legislators often file impractical, non-viable legislation in order to dramatize an issue. But in light of five years' worth of endless calls by influential Democratic Party politicians and a few left-leaning Republicans to investigate the Bush Administration's approach to the War on Islamist Terror, H.R. 635-637 must be considered as legislation with a future.
Then there is a detailed impeachment blueprint designed by the Legal Left, and prepared at the direction of John Conyers Jr. called "The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance."
The Constitution in Crisis (CIC) is a 354-page text detailing charge after charge against the Bush Administration. Those charges are divided into two general categories: crimes committed during the planning of the Iraq War and during its prosecution, and crimes involving the Bush administration's use of anti-terror surveillance programs since it began. In summary, the CIC claims that the entire Iraq War undertaking has been a criminal enterprise based on Bush's desire to avenge Saddam Hussein's assassination attempt on his father and to fulfill the desires of "neocons." In other words, Bush and a predominately Jewish cabal committed crimes by misleading Congress and the American people into war. And during that war they illegally spied on and tortured people.
The Constitution in Crisis states that Bush broke numerous U.S. laws. John Conyers and the Center for Constitutional Rights have drawn up a list of laws allegedly violated by the Bush administration that are contained within the Constitution in Crisis's pages. They include:
* Committing a Fraud Against the United States (18 U.S.C. 371)
* Making False Statements to Congress (18 U.S.C. 1001)
* War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148)
* Misuse of Government Funds (31 U.S.C. 1301)
* Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)
* National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. chapter 15)
* Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 222)
* Stored Communications Act of 1986 (18 U.S.C. 2702)
* Pen Registers or Trap and Trace Devices (18 U.S.C. 3121)
* Obstructing Congress (18 U.S.C. 1505)
* Whistleblower Protection (5 U.S.C. 2302)
* The Lloyd-LaFollette Act (5 U.S.C. 7211)
* Retaliating against Witnesses (18 U.S.C. 1513)
* Anti-Torture Statute (18 U.S.C. 2340-40A)
* The War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441)
* Material Witness (18 U.S.C. 3144)
All of these are serious charges. Unfounded they may be, but John Conyers would become head of the House Judiciary Committee if the Democrats win in November. And then, not only would he be in position to order investigations of the charges, he would be obligated by his Congressional oath to do just that.
What would the financial cost of such investigations be? In the 1990s, President Clinton was accused of perjury. That charge and the others surrounding it were far less complex than those currently leveled by the Left at Bush and his administration. The investigations of Clinton disrupted the business of Congress, became the focus of the country, and cost American taxpayers at least $80 million. Investigating all of the complex charges leveled by Conyers and the Democrats would grind Congress to a halt – in the middle of a war – and would cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
An intriguing question arises: If Democrats won control of Congress in November, why would they expend enormous political and financial capital on pursuing articles of impeachment against a lame duck President?
Some have speculated that such actions would be political payback for the Clinton impeachment. Others speculate that the Left's extreme hatred of Bush is reason enough for it to pursue his destruction through impeachment or censure. Though both rationales are plausible, either separately or in conjunction with each other, there is a more important, and therefore more likely, reason for the Democratic Party (should it win Congress) to initiate endless investigations of Bush – its obsession to abandon Iraq and end the War on Islamist Terror.
Facing the serious possibility of a pro-war Republican winning the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic Party has a narrowing window of opportunity to end the Iraq War and realize its Vietnam Dream. The best way to make that dream come true would be to level and investigate charge after charge against the Bush Administration, destroying its legitimacy to have initiated the Iraq War and to have conducted it.
Naturally, an avalanche of anti-Bush, antiwar press would accompany such investigations. Opposition to a war perceived as having been unjustly waged, would skyrocket. The public's call for an end to the war would justify its de-funding in the eyes of Congress.
The ploy of leveling serious, unfounded charges against one's political opponents has served the Democratic Party well in the past. It is the ideal one to effect a quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-NY, who will head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee upon a Democratic Party victory in November, has hinted that de-funding the Iraq war will be both his and the Democratic Party's priority. To Rangel, de-funding the war is a moral imperative. "[The Iraq war] is the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country…This is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed," he has said.
To carry out an impeachment of President Bush, the Democrats need to capture both the House and the Senate. But to cause serious disruptions of the body politic during our nation's time of war, they only need to win the House. With John Conyers, Jr. heading the House Judiciary Committee, Charles B. Rangel heading the House Ways and Means Committee, Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and other far-Left Congressmen in control of important House committee chairs, endless investigations of the Bush administration in order to end the Iraq War will almost certainly commence.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/19/2006 09:27:00 AM
18 Oct 2006
So what would the Democrats actually do in power? Voters are starting to ask, as polls suggest that Democratic control of the U.S. House is more and more possible.
For starters, take Nancy Pelosi, who would be Speaker of the House if the Democrats win. She has cut through a San Francisco fog of obscurity about the Democrats' intentions and spoken clearly: Last week she said that President Bush's tax cuts would have to be rolled back for those above "a certain level," with details to be worked out later. To parse this statement, recall that the Democrats' definition of "rich" is pretty broad; in 2001, before the Bush tax cuts were enacted, the 36% income tax rate kicked in at $166,500 for married couples filing jointly. Not content to stop at the usual "soak the rich" Democratic rhetoric, Pelosi also noted that middle-class tax relief would have to take a backseat (and maybe the caboose) to not increasing the deficit. So if the Democrats win, you will have no idea what your taxes will be next year.
Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York would be in charge of writing the nation's tax legislation. He would determine what rates you and your business will pay. Singing the same tune as Pelosi, Rangel recently said that if the Democrats win, "Everything is on the table." In fact, when he was asked if he would consider across-the-board income tax increases on everyone, including the middle class, he said "No question about it."
If top Democrats talk this way now before they're elected, what can we expect them to do afterwards?
Next, let's look at spending. One has to admit that the Republicans have given into the spending temptation, too, in the last few years. But the answer is structural reform to fight Congressional earmarks, not a change in party control. Rep. Pelosi suggests that most new spending would be "pay as you go." At first, this sounds good, with its hint of not adding new government programs until we can afford them. But "pay as you go" really means "pay before passing go"—and certainly don't collect any $300 tax refund checks as with the Bush tax cuts in 2001. Rep. Pelosi would be much more convincing on spending if her party had not already proposed $90 billion in new government spending, even before it takes control of the House. The only way to "pay as you go" and fund these programs is for "you" (the taxpayer) to "pay" more. That's why Rep. Rangel has to say that middle class tax increases have to be considered, too—just raising taxes on the rich won't pay for everything.
With $90 billion in spending proposals, and 12 years out of power, can we really believe that Democrats will turn on a dime to become the party of spending restraint? Instead, let's hope that this year's near-death experience for the Republicans will help keep them focused on cutting government spending and keeping taxes low.
Rep. Pelosi says she believes in the marketplace. But who knows what Rep. John Dingell of Michigan will want to regulate when he gets back to being Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee? When Dingell was chairman of the committee in the 1980s, the inside-the-Beltway political magazine National Journal described his jurisdiction as "anything that strikes Dingell's fancy."
Oh, and Rep. Pelosi says she'll pass five major bills (dealing with lobbying reform, homeland security, the minimum wage, the student loan program, and changing Medicare drug pricing rules) in the first 100 hours of the House's year. So much for debate on these important issues. Members of the House won't have time to read the bills, much less engage in open debate. Not a promising start.
The scent of impending power is evidently a truth serum for Democrats like Reps. Pelosi and Rangel. With their comments, the verdict is in: the economy simply can't afford a Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Rangel, or Chairman Dingell.
Mr. Factor is Chairman of the Free Enterprise Fund.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/19/2006 09:00:00 AM
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Posted: October 2, 2006
Hillary Rodham Clinton took to the Senate floor last week to voice her opposition to what is being called the "detainee treatment bill." The junior senator from New York used that occasion to explain today's military should take a lesson from the father of our country when he served as our commander-in-chief during the Revolutionary War.
I will say right at the top, this faux scholarly speech was as defamatory toward our military as anything ever said by Senators Kerry, Durbin or Kennedy. But, unlike her Senate colleagues, Hillary took pains to disguise her slanders. Her purpose was to pretend to take the high ground in the debate about this bill, and as far as I can tell, that fraud has gone largely unnoticed.
Hillary, reaching back into American history, spoke of the Battle of Trenton. She proceeded to lecture about the lessons we might learn from Gen. Washington, His Excellency. How did he treat his prisoners of war, she queried? To put this all into context, Hillary Rodham Clinton helpfully used David Hackett Fischer's Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Washington's Crossing." She reads on the floor of the Senate:
"This fine book reminds us that there were thousands of American prisoners of war "treated with extreme cruelty by British captors." There are accounts of injured soldiers who surrendered and were murdered instead of quartered. Countless Americans lay dying in prison hulks in New York harbor. Starvation and other acts of inhumanity perpetrated against Americans confined to churches in New York City."
What was Hillary's purpose in mentioning this sordid bit of history? Well, to put this back into the context of today, Democrats have been accusing the Bush administration and our military of torturing terrorists captured on the battlefield.They have equated interrogation with torture – hey, they called the detainee treatment bill the "torture bill." So, Hillary has cleverly equated what our military has been falsely accused of doing today to the British atrocities of yesteryear. I say "cleverly," but what I really mean is this is a sickening smear of professional soldiers, interrogators and our commander-in-chief, (just wanted to clear that up). Anyone who has been to Guantanamo Bay (as I have on three different occasions) knows our treatment of suspected terrorists is spectacular. They are fed inordinately well (4,800 calories daily, as well as Pepsi, Klondike bars and Ben and Jerry's for those who are compliant), their religious customs are respected, (a guard isn't allowed to touch a Quran and in every area where a detainee is, an arrow pointing to Mecca can be found) and they play more volleyball and soccer than any "Soccer Mom" could bear.
Back to Professor Clinton:
"You can imagine the light of our ideals shone dimly in those early dark days, years from an end to the conflict, years before our improbable triumph and the birth of our democracy. General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners: 'Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.'"
Imagine that. George Washington, who would probably be a conservative Republican today, decided not to shoot his prisoners. Yes, we must learn from this. In this poorly disguised verbal "hit job" (to borrow a phrase from her finger-jabbing husband), Hillary implies President Bush should learn something from Washington's goodwill towards captured prisoners. Bush should stop his torture and his probable killing of prisoners and act more like George Washington, who, if he were alive today, would have nothing to do with this manipulative and deceptive, carpet-bagging, power-hungry, smear artist.
More from the smartest woman on the planet as Hillary continues:
"George Washington understood that how you treat enemy combatants could reverberate around the world. We must convict and punish the guilty in a way that reinforces their guilt before the world and does not undermine our values."
The fact we are doing exactly that is maddening. Mrs. Clinton has taken lying to an Ivory Tower level. So wise, so learned, so steeped in history … and a slander of the worst kind. Our military does not deserve these high-minded distortions and fabrications. They don't deserve this perfume-infused garbage. This slick condescension is meant to go right over our heads. My guess is she wouldn't give this speech to the men and women serving overseas. And she sure wouldn't deliver this speech to those serving in Guantanamo Bay. She's too smart to accuse heroes of war crimes to their faces. Well, we're on to you Mrs. Clinton. We know who you are and what you are trying to do.
Let's continue with Hillary's history class and present day condemnation of our military:
"There is another element to this, I can't go back in history and read General Washington's mind of course but, one purpose of the rule of law is to organize a societies response to violence, allowing corrosive treatment and torturous actions towards prisoners not only violates the fundamental rule of law and the institutionalization of justice but it helps to radicalize those who are tortured."
Prove the "torturous actions towards prisoners," Mrs. Clinton! Prove it! And how dare you accuse our military of "radicalizing those who are tortured" and offer no proof! You're a lawyer, make your case. You have a lot to explain. You have a heavy burden. You have positioned yourself to be the next commander-in-chief of the American military – the military you say tortures its prisoners. But you had more to say about our troops:
"Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, the architect of many of the attacks on our country and throughout Europe and the world, has said, over and over, that torture of innocence is central to the cause of extremism – being tortured is at the root of jihad."
So, America has caused the jihad due to our on-going, constant and consistent torturing of captured terrorists? Why mention Zawahhiri if you are not convinced our military tortures prisoners? And then to add this alleged behavior is the root cause of what we fight today. That is perhaps the most destructive thing I can imagine being uttered by a United States senator during a time of war. My fervent hope is you have forever disqualified yourself from being anything other than a disgraced senator from a very liberal northeastern state.
But, using your logic, Mrs. Clinton, are we to assume you or your husband authorized the torture of Osama bin Laden sometime back in the' 90s and that's why he attacked us on 9/11? Is that why the World Trade Center was first attacked? And the USS Cole?
This is the worst kind of propaganda. Everything Mrs. Clinton has said on the floor of the Senate will be forever remembered and used by Islamo-fascists who look for every reason available to bolster their sick case for killing Americans. Mrs. Clinton has provided them yet more fuel for their bloodthirsty rage. This next statement she makes is a most uncomfortable irony:
"This broken process and the blatant politics behind it will cost our nation dearly. I fear also it will cost our men and women in uniform."
Unfortunately, truer words were never spoken. This manipulative and lying senator from New York may very well have forever endangered our men and women in uniform. She has accused them of torture and worse, she has informed our enemies our military tortures as a matter of standard practice, and has accused our heroes of causing all the terrorism they face today because of said torture. I hope every man and woman in uniform reads this. I hope everyone in America reads this and demands Hillary Clinton explain why she would make these damaging assertions.
In a time of war.
No one could ever serve as our commander-in-chief who says this about those she seeks to lead:
"When our soldiers face an enemy, when our soldiers are in danger will that enemy surrender if he thinks he will be tortured? Will he continue to fight, and how will our men and women be treated?"
Let's bring Hillary's lecture to a close with a Dick Durbin-like accusation that our military is no different from Soviet Gulags:
"I end with a quote from Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities had this to say: 'If Vice President Cheney is right, that some ‘cruel, inhumane, or degrading' treatment of captives is a necessary tool for winning the war on terrorism, then the war is lost already.'"
Case closed. Hillary Clinton has made her reckless, unsubstantiated charges against the military on the floor of the Senate. According to Mrs. Clinton, our interrogators don't just interrogate, they torture. We are no better than the British in their worst moments during the Revolutionary War, and we're no better than the terrorists we fight today. What the American military has done, with the permission and approval of their commander-in-chief, has caused otherwise peaceful Muslims to become Islamo-fascists.
But if I may be so bold, I would like to suggest Professor Clinton add an interesting tidbit to her sage advice that our president and his criminal accomplices in the military act upon the Washingtonian model of conduct during a time of war. It wasn't all peaches and cream, back then. War is hell and our presidents, commanders and generals have used whatever means they thought necessary to lead the troops and win the war. A little something from David McCullough's outstanding biography of John Adams:
"On September 20, 1776, a set of Articles of War was agreed upon. The severity of punishments was increased, as [George] Washington wished. Washington thought the maximum number of lashes allowed hitherto was hardly sufficient. For such crimes as drunkenness or sleeping on duty, Congress increased the punishment from thirty-nine to a hundred lashes, and increased as well the number of crimes for which the penalty was death."
That was a good start, but apparently, Washington did not believe that was enough to whip the troops into shape. Out of his own frustration he tried to persuade the Congressmen to raise it to 500 strokes in 1781, but they declined.
What say ye about this, Mrs. Clinton?
Another punishment Washington favored was "running the gauntlet." The offender was forced to run between two rows of men who struck him with ropes, clubs, switches, or bundles of switches. A subaltern or a sergeant would walk backwards in front of the prisoner with a sword – or an espontoon – pressed against the man's belly to keep him from running, while forcing him forward with a rope tied to the man's wrists. Death was the punishment for a person found guilty of grievous crimes such as: revealing the password, misbehaving during a battle, dealing with the enemy, desertion, striking a superior, sedition, treason, mutiny, surrendering one's post, disobeying a direct order, rape and adultery.
Hmmmm …The death penalty for sedition. Hillary is right, George Washington was one wise man.
MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 -- (Senate - September 28, 2006)
Mrs. CLINTON: Mr. President,
the Senate is currently debating a bill on how we treat detainees in our custody, and, more broadly, on how we treat the principles on which our Nation was founded.
The implications are far reaching for our national security interests abroad; the rights of Americans at home, our reputation in the world; and the safety of our troops.
The threat posed by the evil and nihilistic movement that has spawned terrorist networks is real and gravely serious. We must do all we can to defeat the enemy with all the tools in our arsenal and every resource at our disposal. All of us are dedicated to defeating this enemy.
The challenge before us on this bill, in the final days of session before the November election, is to rise above partisanship and find a solution that serves our national security interests. I fear that there are those who place a strategy for winning elections ahead of a smart strategy for winning the war on terrorism.
Democrats and Republicans alike believe that terrorists must be caught, captured, and sentenced. I believe that there can be no mercy for those who perpetrated 9/11 and other crimes against humanity. But in the process of accomplishing that I believe we must hold on to our values and set an example we can point to with pride, not shame. Those captured are going nowhere--they are in jail now--so we should follow the duty given us by the Supreme Court and carefully craft the right piece of legislation to try them. The President acted without authority and it is our duty now to be careful in handing this President just the right amount of authority to get the job done and no more.
During the Revolutionary War, between the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which set our founding ideals to paper, and the writing of our Constitution, which fortified those ideals under the rule of law, our values--our beliefs as Americans--were already being tested.
We were at war and victory was hardly assured, in fact the situation was closer to the opposite. New York City and Long Island had been captured. General George Washington and the Continental Army retreated across New Jersey to Pennsylvania, suffering tremendous casualties and a body blow to the cause of American independence.
It was at this time, among these soldiers at this moment of defeat and despair, that Thomas Paine would write, "These are the times that try men's souls." Soon afterward, Washington lead his soldiers across the Delaware River and onto victory in the Battle of Trenton. There he captured nearly 1,000 foreign mercenaries and he faced a crucial choice.
How would General Washington treat these men? The British had already committed atrocities against Americans, including torture. As David Hackett Fischer describes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Washington's Crossing," thousands of American prisoners of war were "treated with extreme cruelty by British captors." There are accounts of injured soldiers who surrendered being murdered instead of quartered, countless Americans dying in prison hulks in New York harbor, starvation and other acts of inhumanity perpetrated against Americans confined to churches in New York City.
Can you imagine.
The light of our ideals shone dimly in those early dark days, years from an end to the conflict, years before our improbable triumph and the birth of our democracy.
General Washington wasn't that far from where the Continental Congress had met and signed the Declaration of Independence. But it is easy to imagine how far that must have seemed. General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners: "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren."
Therefore, George Washington, our commander-in-chief before he was our President, laid down the indelible marker of our Nation's values even as we were struggling as a Nation--and his courageous act reminds us that America was born out of faith in certain basic principles. In fact, it is these principles that made and still make our country exceptional and allow us to serve as an example. We are not bound together as a nation by bloodlines. We are not bound by ancient history; our Nation is a new nation. Above all, we are bound by our values.
George Washington understood that how you treat enemy combatants can reverberate around the world. We must convict and punish the guilty in a way that reinforces their guilt before the world and does not undermine our constitutional values.
There is another element to this. I can't go back in history and read General Washington's mind, of course, but one purpose of the rule of law is to organize a society's response to violence. Allowing coercion, coercive treatment, and torturous actions toward prisoners not only violates the fundamental rule of law and the institutionalization of justice, but it helps to radicalize those who are tortured.
Zawahiri, bin Laden's second in command, the architect of many of the attacks on our country, throughout Europe and the world, has said repeatedly that it is his experience that torture of innocents is central to radicalization. Zawahiri has said over and over again that being tortured is at the root of jihad; the experience of being tortured has a long history of serving radicalized populations; abusing prisoners is a prime cause of radicalization.
For the safety of our soldiers and the reputation of our Nation, it is far more important to take the time to do this job right than to do it quickly and badly. There is no reason we need to rush to judgment. This broken process and the blatant politics behind it will cost our Nation dearly. I fear also that it will cost our men and women in uniform. The Supreme Court laid out what it expected from us.
I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD letters and statements from former military leaders, from 9/11 families, from the religious community, retired judges, legal scholars, and law professors. All of them have registered their concerns with this bill and the possible impact on our effort to win the war against terrorism.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
September 12, 2006.
Hon. JOHN WARNER, Chairman,
Hon. Carl Levin, Ranking Member,
Senate Armed Services Committee,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN WARNER AND SENATOR LEVIN: As retired military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces and former officials of the Department of Defense, we write to express our profound concern about a key provision of S. 3861, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, introduced last week at the behest of the President. We believe that the language that would redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions as equivalent to the standards contained in the Detainee Treatment Act violates the core principles of the Geneva Conventions and poses a grave threat to American service-members, now and in future wars.
We supported your efforts last year to clarify that all detainees in U.S. custody must be treated humanely. That was particularly important, because the Administration determined that it was not bound by the basic humane treatment standards contained in Geneva Common Article 3. Now that the Supreme Court has made clear that treatment of al Qaeda prisoners is governed by the Geneva Convention standards, the Administration is seeking to redefine Common Article 3, so as to downgrade those standards. We urge you to reject this effort.
Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions provides the minimum standards for humane treatment and fair justice that apply to anyone captured in armed conflict. These standards were specifically designed to ensure that those who fall outside the other, more extensive, protections of the Conventions are treated in accordance with the values of civilized nations. The framers of the Conventions, including the American representatives, in particular wanted to ensure that Common Article 3 would apply in situations where a state party to the treaty, like the United States, fights an adversary that is not a party, including irregular forces like al Qaeda. The United States military has abided by the basic requirements of Common Article 3 in every conflict since the Conventions were adopted. In each case, we applied the Geneva Conventions--including, at a minimum, Common Article 3--even to enemies that systematically violated the Conventions themselves.
We have abided by this standard in our own conduct for a simple reason: the same standard serves to protect American servicemen and women when they engage in conflicts covered by Common Article 3. Preserving the integrity of this standard has become increasingly important in recent years when our adversaries often are not nation-states. Congress acted in 1997 to further this goal by criminalizing violations of Common Article 3 in the War Crimes Act, enabling us to hold accountable those who abuse our captured personnel, no matter the nature of the armed conflict.
If any agency of the U.S. government is excused from compliance with these standards, or if we seek to redefine what Common Article 3 requires, we should not imagine that our enemies will take notice of the technical distinctions when they hold U.S. prisoners captive. If degradation, humiliation, physical and mental brutalization of prisoners is decriminalized or considered permissible under a restrictive interpretation of Common Article 3, we will forfeit all credible objections should such barbaric practices be inflicted upon American prisoners.
This is not just a theoretical concern. We have people deployed right now in theaters where Common Article 3 is the only source of legal protection should they be captured. If we allow that standard to be eroded, we put their safety at greater risk.
Last week, the Department of Defense issued a Directive reaffirming that the military will uphold the requirements of Common Article 3 with respect to all prisoners in its custody. We welcome this new policy. Our servicemen and women have operated for too long with unclear and unlawful guidance on detainee treatment, and some have been left to take the blame when things went wrong. The guidance is now clear.
But that clarity will be short-lived if the approach taken by Administration's bill prevails. In contrast to the Pentagon's new rules on detainee treatment, the bill would limit our definition of Common Article 3's terms by introducing a flexible, sliding scale that might allow certain coercive interrogation techniques under some circumstances, while forbidding them under others. This would replace an absolute standard--Common Article 3--with a relative one. To do so will only create further confusion.
Moreover, were we to take this step, we would be viewed by the rest of the world as having formally renounced the clear strictures of the Geneva Conventions. Our enemies would be encouraged to interpret the Conventions in their own way as well, placing our troops in jeopardy in future conflicts. And American moral authority in the war would be further damaged.
All of this is unnecessary. As the senior serving Judge Advocates General recently testified, our armed forces have trained to Common Article 3 and can live within its requirements while waging the war on terror effectively.
As the United States has greater exposure militarily than any other nation, we have long emphasized the reciprocal nature of the Geneva Conventions. That is why we believe--and the United States has always asserted--that a broad interpretation of Common Article 3 is vital to the safety of U.S. personnel. But the Administration's bill would put us on the opposite side of that argument. We urge you to consider the impact that redefining Common Article 3 would have on Americans who put their lives at risk in defense of our Nation. We believe their interests, and their safety and protection should they become prisoners, should be your highest priority as you address this issue.
General John Shalikashvili, USA (Ret.); General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.); Admiral Gregory G. Johnson, USN (Ret.); Admiral Jay L. Johnson, USN (Ret.); General Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.); General Merrill A. McPeak, USAF (Ret.); Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.); General William G.T. Tuttle, Jr., USA (Ret.); Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman, USA (Ret.); Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk, USA (Ret.); Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard Jr., USA (Ret.); Lieutenant General Jay M. Garner, USA (Ret.); Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.); Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, USAF (Ret.); Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.).
Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick, USA (Ret.); Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.); Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.); Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (Ret.); Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.); Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, USMC (Ret.); Major General John Batiste, USA (Ret.); Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.); Major General John L. Fugh, USA (Ret.); Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.); Major General Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.); Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.); Major General Melvyn Montano, ANG (Ret.); Major General Gerald T. Sajer, USA (Ret.); Major General Michael J. Scotti, Jr., USA (Ret.).
Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret.); Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General Richard O'Meara, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General John K. Schmitt, USA (Ret.); Brigadier General Anthony Verrengia, USAF (Ret.); Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.); Ambassador Pete Peterson, USAF (Ret.); Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, USA (Ret.); Honorable Richard Danzig; Honorable William H. Taft IV; Frank Kendall III, Esq.
THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE,
New York, NY, September 27, 2006.
DEAR SENATOR: We write on behalf of the American Jewish Committee, a national human relations organization with over 150,000 members and supporters represented by 32 regional chapters, to urge you to oppose the compromise Military Commissions Act of 2006, S. 3930, and to vote against attaching the bill to H.R. 6061, absent correcting amendments.
To be sure, the compromise that produced the current bill resulted in the welcome addition of provisions making clear that the humane treatment standards of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions provide a floor for the treatment of detainees as well as specifying that serious violations are war crimes. Nevertheless, S. 3930 is unacceptable in its present form for the following reasons:
The bill arguably opens the door to the use of interrogation techniques prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
It opens the door to the admission of evidence in military commissions obtained by coercive techniques in contravention of constitutional standards and international treaty.
It permits the prosecution to introduce evidence that has not been provided to a defendant in a form sufficient to allow him or her to participate in the preparation of his or her defense.
It unduly restricts defendants' access to exculpatory evidence available to the government.
It unduly restricts access to the courts by habeas corpus and appeal.
It interprets the definition of Common Article 3 violations to exclude sexual assaults such as those that occurred at Abu Ghraib.
There is no doubt that the authorities entrusted with our defense must be afforded the resources and tools necessary to protect us from the serious threat that terrorists continue to pose to all Americans, and, indeed, the civilized world. But the homeland can be secured in a fashion consistent with the values of due process and fair treatment for which Americans have fought and for which they continue to fight. We urge you to revisit and revise this legislation so that it accords with our highest principles.
E. Robert Goodkind,
Richard T. Poltin,
Legislative Director and Counsel.
THE ASSOCIATION OF THE BAR
OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK,
New York, NY, September 27, 2006.
Re Military Commission Act of 2006.
Hon. BILL FRIST,
U.S. Senate Majority Leader,
DEAR MAJORITY LEADER FRIST: I am writing on behalf of the New York City Bar Association to urge you to oppose the Administration's proposed Military Commissions Act of 2006 (the "Act"). The Association is an independent non-governmental organization of more than 22,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and government officials. Founded in 1870, the Association has a long history of dedication to human rights and the rule of law, and a particularly deep historical engagement with the law of armed conflict and military justice.
The Association has now reviewed the amended version of this legislation introduced on September 22, 2006, following the compromise agreement between Senators WARNER, MCCAIN and GRAHAM, on one side, and the Administration on the other. The compromise addresses two distinct aspects of the Administration's proposal: first, the operation of the military commissions which have been envisioned, and second, aspects of United States enforcement of its treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions. We will address our concerns in this order, keeping in mind particularly the position of our members who may be called upon to serve as defense counsel, prosecutors and judges in the commissions process, and the interests of our members who presently or may in the future serve their nation in the uniformed services or in the intelligence services.
The compromise clarifies many of the most important failings of the prior draft by bringing the military commissions process far closer to the standards established by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Manual on Courts-Martial. The Association shares the view presented by the service judge advocates general that the existing court-martial system, which in many respects is exemplary, provides an appropriate process for trial of traditional battlefield detainees as well as the command and control structures of terrorist organizations engaged in combat with the United States, and that the commissions should closely follow that model. The changes produced here in that regard are therefore welcome.
However, the bill gives the military judge discretion to admit coerced testimony if, as will presumably be the case, the coercion occurred before the enactment of the Detainee Treatment Act on December 31, 2005. Hearsay can also be admitted into evidence unless the accused carries a burden (traditionally accorded to the party offering the evidence, i.e., the prosecution) to show that the hearsay is not probative or reliable. This shift of burden is inconsistent with historical practice and would probably taint the proceedings themselves, particularly if the accused is not given access to the facts underlying the evidence. Admission of evidence in this circumstance would discredit the proceedings, undermine the appearance of fairness, and might, if it was critical to a conviction, constitute a grave breach of Common Article 3. These provisions do not serve the interests of the United States in demonstrating the heinous nature of terrorist acts, if such can be established in the military commissions.
The enforcement provisions raise far more troubling issues. In particular, we are concerned by the definition of "cruel treatment" which does not correspond to the existing law interpreting and enforcing Common Article 3's notion of "cruel treatment." The definition incorporates a category of "serious physical pain or suffering," but defines that category in a way that does not encompass many types of serious physical suffering that can be and are commonly the result of "cruel treatment" prohibited by Common Article 3. The Common Article 3 offense of "cruel treatment" will remain prohibited, even if not specifically criminalized by this provision. There is really no basis to doubt that Common Article 3 prohibits techniques such as waterboarding, long-time standing, and hypothermia or cold cell if indeed they are not precluded as outright torture. However, the language of the current draft would create a crime defined in terms different from the accepted Geneva meanings, thereby introducing ambiguity where none previously existed.
This ambiguity produces risks for United States personnel since it suggests that those who employ techniques such as waterboarding, long-time standing and hypothermia on Americans cannot be charged for war crimes. Moreover, Common Article 3 contains important protections for United States personnel who do not qualify for prisoner of war treatment under the Third Geneva Convention. This may include reconnaissance personnel, special forces operatives, private military contractors and intelligence service paramilitary professionals. Erosion of Common Article 3 standards thus directly imperils the safety of United States personnel in future conflicts. We strongly share the perspective of five former chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their appeal to Congress to avoid any erosion of these protections.
The draft also seeks to strike the ability of hundreds of detainees held as "enemy combatants" to seek review of their cases through petitions of habeas corpus. The Great Writ has long been viewed as one of the most fundamental rights under our legal system. It is an essential guarantor of justice in difficult cases, particularly in a conflict which the Administration suggests is of indefinite duration, possibly for generations. Holding individuals without according them any right to seek review of their status or conditions of detention raises fundamental questions of justice. This concern is compounded by the draft's provision that the Geneva Convention is unenforceable, thus leaving detainees with no recourse should they receive cruel and inhuman treatment.
On July 19, 2006, Michael Mernin, the chair of our Committee on Military Affairs and Justice, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee concerning this legislative initiative. He appealed at that time for caution and proper deliberation in the legislative process and urged that a commission of military law experts be convened to advise Congress on the weighty issues presented. The current legislative project continues to show severe flaws which are likely to prove embarrassing to the United States if it is enacted. We therefore strongly urge that the matter receive further careful consideration before it is acted upon and that the advice of prominent military justice and international humanitarian law experts be secured and followed in the bill's finalization.
Very truly yours,
-- September 14, 2006.
DEAR SENATOR: As members of families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, we are writing to express our deep concern over the provisions of the Administration's proposed Military Commissions Act of 2006.
There are those who would like to portray the legislation as a choice between supporting the rights of terrorists and keeping the United States safe. We reject this argument. We believe that adopting policies against terrorism which honor our values and our international commitments makes us safer and is the smarter strategy.
We do not believe that the United States should decriminalize cruel and inhuman interrogations. The Geneva Convention rules against brutal interrogations have long had the strong support of the U.S. because they protect our citizens. We should not be sending a message to the world that we now believe that torture and cruel treatment is sometimes acceptable. Moreover, the Administration's own representatives at the Pentagon have strongly affirmed in just the last few days that torture and abuse do not produce reliable information. No legislation should have your support if it is at all ambiguous on this issue.
Nor do we believe that it is in the interest of the United States to create a system of military courts that violate basic notions of due process and lack truly independent judicial oversight. Not only does this violate our most cherished values and send the wrong message to the world, it also runs the risk that the system will again be struck down resulting in even more delay.
We believe that we must have policies that reflect what is best in the United States rather than compromising our values out of fear. As John McCain has said, "This is not-about who the terrorists are, this is about who we are." We urge you to reject the Administration's ill-conceived proposals which will make us both less safe and less proud as a nation.
Marilynn Rosenthal, Nicholas H. Ruth, Adele Welty, Nissa Youngren, Terry Greene, John LeBlanc, Andrea LeBlanc, Ryan Amundson, Barry Amundson, Colleen Kelly, Terry Kay Rockefeller, John William Harris.
David Potorti, Donna Marsh O'Connor, Kjell Youngren, Blake Allison, Tia Kminek, Jennifer Glick, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, Anthony Aversano, Paula Shapiro, Valerie Lucznikowska, Lloyd Glick.
James and Patricia Perry, Anne M. Mulderry, Marion Kminek, Alissa Rosenberg-Torres, Kelly Campbell, Bruce Wallace, John M. Leinung, Kristen Breitweiser, Patricia Casazza, Michael A. Casazza, Loretta J. Filipov, Joan Glick.
-- September 20, 2006.
Re Evangelical religious leaders speak out on cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment.
DEAR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: The Congress faces a defining question of morality in the coming hours: whether it is ever right for Americans to inflict cruel and degrading treatment on suspected terrorist detainees. We are writing to express our strong support for the approach taken on this issue by Senators McCain, Warner and Graham and a strong, bipartisan majority of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
We read credible reports--some from FBI agents--that prisoners have been stripped naked, sexually humiliated, chained to the floor, and left to defecate on themselves. These and other practices like ``waterboarding'' (in which a detainee is made to feel as if he is being drowned) may or may not meet the technical definition of torture, but no one denies that these practices are cruel, inhuman, and degrading.
Today, the question before the Congress is whether it will support Sen. McCain's efforts to make it clear to the world that the U.S. has outlawed such abuse or support an Administration proposal which creates grave ambiguity about whether prisoners can legally be abused in secret prisons without Red Cross access.
Evangelicals have often supported the Administration on public policy questions because they believe that no practical expediency, however compelling, should determine fundamental moral issues of marriage, abortion, or bioethics. Instead, these questions should be resolved with principles of revealed moral absolutes, granted by a righteous and loving Creator.
As applied to issues of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the practical application of this moral outlook is clear: even if it is expedient to inflict cruelty and degradation on a prisoner during interrogation (and experts seem very much divided on this question), the moral teachings of Christ, the Torah and the Prophets do not permit it for those who bear the Imago Dei.
It will not do to say that the President's policy on the treatment of detainees already rules out torture because serious ambiguities still remain--ambiguities that carry heavy moral implications and that are intended to preserve options that some would rather not publicly defend.
The terrorist attacks of September 11 were one of the most heinous acts ever visited upon this nation. The Commander in Chief must provide U.S. authorities with the practical tools and policies to fight a committed, well-resourced, and immoral terrorist threat. At the same time, the President must also defend the deepest and best values of our moral tradition.
As Christians from the evangelical tradition, we support Senator McCain and his colleagues in their effort to defend the perennial moral values of this nation which are embodied in international law and our domestic statutes. The United States Congress must send an unequivocal message that cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment has no place in our society and violates our most cherished moral convictions.
Rev. Dr. David Gushee, Union University, Jackson, TN.
Gary Haugen, president, International Justice Mission.
Rev. Dr. Roberta Hestenes, teaching pastor, Community Presbyterian Church, Danville, CA.
Frederica Mathewes-Green, author and commentator.
Dr. Brian D. McLaren, founder, Cedar Ridge Community Church, Spencerville, MD.
Rev. Dr. Richard Mouw, president, Fuller Theological Seminary.
Dr. Glen Stassen, professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary.
Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University.
Mrs. CLINTON: Now these values--George Washington's values, the values of our founding--are at stake. We are debating far-reaching legislation that would fundamentally alter our Nation's conduct in the world and the rights of Americans here at home. And we are debating it too hastily in a debate too steeped in electoral politics.
The Senate, under the authority of the Republican majority and with the blessing and encouragement of the Bush-Cheney administration, is doing a great disservice to our history, our principles, our citizens, and our soldiers.
The deliberative process is being broken under the pressure of partisanship and the policy that results is a travesty.
Fellow Senators, the process for drafting this legislation to correct the administration's missteps has not befitted the "world's greatest deliberative body." Legitimate, serious concerns raised by our senior military and intelligence community have been marginalized, difficult issues glossed over, and debates we should have had have been shut off in order to pass a misconceived bill before Senators return home to campaign for reelection.
For the safety of our soldiers and the reputation of our Nation, it is far more important to take the time to do the job right than to do it quickly and badly. There is no reason other than partisanship for not continuing deliberation to find a solution that works to achieve a true consensus based on American values.
In the last several days, the bill has undergone countless changes--all for the worse--and differs significantly from the compromise brokered between the Bush administration and a few Senate Republicans last week.
We cannot have a serious debate over a bill that has been hastily written with little opportunity for serious review. To vote on a proposal that evolved by the hour, on an issue that is so important, is an insult to the American people, to the Senate, to our troops, and to our Nation.
Fellow Senators, we all know we are holding this hugely important debate in the backdrop of November's elections. There are some in this body more focused on holding on to their jobs than doing their jobs right. Some in this chamber plan to use our honest and serious concerns for protecting our country and our troops as a political wedge issue to divide us for electoral gain.
How can we in the Senate find a proper answer and reach a consensus when any matter that does not serve the majority's partisan advantage is mocked as weakness, and any true concern for our troops and values dismissed demagogically as coddling the enemy?
This broken process and its blatant politics will cost our Nation dearly. It allows a discredited policy ruled by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional to largely continue and to be made worse. This spectacle ill-serves our national security interests.
The rule of law cannot be compromised. We must stand for the rule of law before the world, especially when we are under stress and under threat. We must show that we uphold our most profound values.
We need a set of rules that will stand up to judicial scrutiny. We in this Chamber know that a hastily written bill driven by partisanship will not withstand the scrutiny of judicial oversight.
We need a set of rules that will protect our values, protect our security, and protect our troops. We need a set of rules that recognizes how serious and dangerous the threat is, and enhances, not undermines, our chances to deter and defeat our enemies.
Our Supreme Court in its Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision ruled that the Bush administration's previous military
commission system had failed to follow the Constitution and the law in its treatment of detainees.
As the Supreme Court noted, the Bush administration has been operating under a system that undermines our Nation's commitment to the rule of law.
The question before us is whether this Congress will follow the decision of the Supreme Court and create a better system that withstands judicial examination--or attempt to confound that decision, a strategy destined to fail again.
The bill before us allows the admission into evidence of statements derived through cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation. That sets a dangerous precedent that will endanger our own men and women in uniform overseas. Will our enemies be less likely to surrender? Will informants be less likely to come forward? Will our soldiers be more likely to face torture if captured? Will the information we obtain be less reliable? These are the questions we should be asking. And based on what we know about warfare from listening to those who have fought for our country, the answers do not support this bill. As Lieutenant John F. Kimmons, the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence said, "No good intelligence is going to come from abusive interrogation practices."
The bill also makes significant changes to the War Crimes Act. As it is now written, the War Crimes Act makes it a federal crime for any soldier or national of the U.S. to violate, among other things, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in an armed conflict not of an international character. The administration has voiced concern that Common Article--which prohibits "cruel treatment or torture," "outrages against human dignity," and "humiliating and degrading treatment"--sets out an intolerably vague standard on which to base criminal
liability, and may expose CIA agents to jail sentences for rough interrogation tactics used in questioning detainees.
But the current bill's changes to the War Crimes Act haven't done much to clarify the rules for our interrogators. What we are doing with this bill is passing on an opportunity to clearly state what it is we stand for and what we will not permit.
This bill undermines the Geneva Conventions by allowing the President to issue Executive orders to redefine what permissible interrogation techniques happen to be. Have we fallen so low as to debate how much torture we are willing to stomach? By allowing this administration to further stretch the definition of what is and is not torture, we lower our moral standards to those whom we despise, undermine the values of our flag wherever it flies, put our troops in danger, and jeopardize our moral strength in a conflict that cannot be won simply with military might.
Once again, there are those who are willing to stay a course that is not working, giving the Bush-Cheney administration a blank check--a blank check to torture, to create secret courts using secret evidence, to detain people, including Americans, to be free of judicial oversight and accountability, to put our troops in greater danger.
The bill has several other flaws as well.
This bill would not only deny detainees habeas corpus rights--a process that would allow them to challenge the very validity of their confinement--it would also deny these rights to lawful immigrants living in the United States. If enacted, this law would give license to this Administration to pick people up off the streets of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charges and without legal recourse.
Americans believe strongly that defendants, no matter who they are, should be able to hear the evidence against them. The bill we are considering does away with this right, instead providing the accused with only the right to respond to the evidence admitted against him. How can someone respond to evidence they have not seen?
At the very least, this is worth a debate on the merits, not on the politics. This is worth putting aside our differences--it is too important.
Our values are central. Our national security interests in the world are vital. And nothing should be of greater concern to those of us in this chamber than the young men and women who are, right now, wearing our Nation's uniform, serving in dangerous territory.
After all, our standing, our morality, our beliefs are tested in this Chamber and their impact and their consequences are tested under fire, they are tested when American lives are on the line, they are tested when our strength and ideals are questioned by our friends and by our enemies.
When our soldiers face an enemy, when our soldiers are in danger, that is when our decisions in this Chamber will be felt. Will that enemy surrender? Or will he continue to fight, with fear for how he might be treated and with hate directed not at us, but at the patriot wearing our uniform whose life is on the line?
When our Nation seeks to lead the world in service to our interests and our values, will we still be able to lead by example?
Our values, our history, our interests, and our military and intelligence experts all point to one answer. Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities had this to say. "If Vice President Cheney is right, that some `cruel, inhumane, or degrading' treatment of captives is a necessary tool for winning the war on terrorism, then the war is lost already."
Let's pass a bill that's been honestly and openly debated, not hastily cobbled together.
Let's pass a bill that unites us, not divides us.
Let's pass a bill that strengthens our moral standing in the world, that declares clearly that we will not retreat from our values before the terrorists. We will not give up who we are. We will not be shaken by fear and intimidation. We will not give one inch to the evil and nihilistic extremists who have set their sights on our way of life.
I say with confidence and without fear that we are the United States of America, and that we stand now and forever for our enduring values to people around the world, to our friends, to our enemies, to anyone and everyone.
Before George Washington crossed the Delaware, before he could achieve that long-needed victory, before the tide would turn, before he ordered that prisoners be treated humanely, he ordered that his soldiers read Thomas Paine's writing. He ordered that they read about the ideals for which they would fight, the principles at stake, the importance of this American project.
Now we find ourselves at a moment when we feel threatened, when the world seems to have grown more dangerous, when our Nation needs to ready itself for a long and difficult struggle against a new and dangerous enemy that means us great harm.
Just as Washington faced a hard choice, so do we. It's up to us to decide how we wage this struggle and not up to the fear fostered by terrorists. We decide.
This is a moment where we need to remind ourselves of the confidence, fearlessness, and bravery of George Washington--then we will know that we cannot, we must not, subvert our ideals--we can and must use them to win.
Finally, we have a choice before us. I hope we make the right choice. I fear that we will not; that we will be once again back in the Supreme Court, and we will be once again held up to the world as failing our own high standards.
When our soldiers face an enemy, when our soldiers are in danger, will that enemy surrender if he thinks he will be tortured? Will he continue to fight? How will our men and women be treated?
I hope we both pass the right kind of legislation and understand that it may very well determine whether we win this war against terror and protect or troops who are valiantly fighting for us.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/17/2006 09:45:00 AM
Monday, October 16, 2006
Winning the Future for October 16, 2006
by Newt Gingrich
In a Free Society, Campaigns Matter: The GOP Must Give Voters a Clear Choice
The elite media are giddy with anti-Republican euphoria. Their coverage has not been this biased against Republicans in three decades.
The Democrats are excited and convinced they will win a big victory.
Republicans are worried, demoralized and confused. I have been in eight states recently and the mood is similar everywhere.
Yet, an election is a choice between two futures. By simply comparing the positions of each party based upon historic facts, the choice of the desired future will become clear to the majority of the American people. And that choice is neither one in which Democrats celebrate nor Republicans concede.
Here is the choice for 2006.
A Vital Moment for America: Who Is Historically Right, and Who Is Historically Wrong?
Republicans should enter these closing weeks of the election with clarity, conviction and confidence. The GOP owes it to the American people to give them an inspiring choice. When you are right, you have confidence.
The theme is simple: We can't go back to the failed policies of the past.
Republicans are right on defeating terrorism, and the left is wrong in wanting to run and hide from danger and take up the disastrous policies of appeasement and weakness that defined the Carter Administration. Americans should never again face a 444-day hostage crisis in Iran or an energy policy which leads to gasoline rationing. If every American understood the consequences of losing to the terrorists, the Democrats would lose seats this November.
Republicans are right on cutting taxes and growing a better economy, and the left is wrong in their desire to raise taxes, enlarge command-and-control bureaucracies and return to their failed economic policies, which during the Carter Administration pushed America into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. It was a Democrat Congress and a Democrat administration that presided over interest rates of 22 percent and inflation at 13 percent, and it was a Democrat President who gave a speech in which he lectured the American people to expect less and to lower their standards. If every American knew that Congressman Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), the Democrat choice to head the Ways and Means Committee, had promised to raise their taxes, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.
Republicans are right to favor traditional American conservative social values, and the left is completely wrong to put San Francisco left-wing values third in line to be President by electing Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to speaker of the House. If every American knew the Pelosi voting record, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.
Republicans can turn this around, but they must make the case.
That is what campaigns are for.
In an Election, Three Weeks Is a Long Time
I learned this lesson in 1978 in my third campaign for Congress. In mid-September, my Democrat opponent was ahead 51 to 37. Like most liberals, in the district she pretended she was a conservative, but two key votes in Congress gave her away. One on welfare reform and the other on taxes, in each case she voted her values as a liberal.
We believed we could win the campaign based on one big truth -- she was a liberal -- versus one big lie -- her pretending she was a conservative.
Every element of our campaign kept coming back to this simple theme: "She knows her record, she hopes you don't." This was our consistent way of saying: "She knows she is a liberal, and she is afraid to tell the truth about it, because she knows you will vote against her if you learn the truth."
We won 54 to 46. That meant that in five weeks of campaigning we had moved from a 14-point deficit to an eight-point majority. I gained 17 percentage points and my liberal opponent, once exposed, lost 5 percentage points.
The Democrat, Left-Wing Activist, News Media, Big Lie Campaign
When Republicans tell the truth, Republicans win. When Republicans allow the left to hide their record, fudge their values and distort the facts, Republicans lose. When Republicans passively accept smearing, Republicans lose. When Republicans can't explain or define the choice, Republicans lose.
This year's campaign has been one-sidedly defined by the best-financed left-wing activist system in history. From George Soros on, the amount of money spent attacking Republicans dwarfs anything ever tried before.
The Democrats have spent their time in a disciplined assault on Republicans while hiding everything they stand for.
The elite media now sense a chance to beat Republicans and are shamelessly one-sided in their effort to defame and defeat the GOP.
If they are allowed to get away with this one-sided campaign, they will win.
If that happens, Republicans will deserve the left-wing Congress that will then try to impose its post-election liberal values.
The Big Truth as a Disciplined Answer to the Big Lie
When you are a conservative, you have to assume the news media will be against you. That is a given. The question is how you design a campaign to win despite that fact.
The answer is straightforward.
You have to find facts that are so powerful they cut through the media clutter and your opponent's distortions and ring true with the American people.
These facts have to matter personally, historically and politically.
They have to be "big truths" that clear away the 'big smear" and defeat the "big lie."
Slowing Down the Campaign
When you are behind and you face a combined onslaught of Democrats, left-wing activists and elite news media, every instinct is to speed up, do something harsh and try to answer every attack.
This reactionary instinct is exactly wrong.
The key to winning the kind of campaign Republicans are in is to slow down, focus on a few very big truths and then insist on bringing everything in the campaign back to these core truths and the choice between the Republican future and the Democrat future.
In 1978, if I had not stayed very tightly focused on two issues -- welfare reform and taxes -- which proved my opponent was a liberal -- I would have lost the election.
In 1980, if President Reagan had not focused on defining the Carter failures and drawing an accurate picture of his own beliefs, he too would have lost.
In 1994, if Republicans had not focused on the positive message of the Contract with America, Republicans would have gained seats but would not have won the majority.
If Republicans are to win, they need to take a deep breath, slow down and focus on winning the handful of arguments which matter personally, historically and politically to the American people.
Republicans Have Three Big Truths for the Closing Weeks of the 2006 Campaign
I believe there are three big truths on which the Republicans could win the 2006 campaign, despite every effort of the news media and the left.
I believe these three truths resonate with people in their personal lives and fit into their sense of America's historic context and within their political views.
I believe that by driving each of these three truths home, Republicans can win the argument if they insist on slowing down and focusing in order to build a resonating echo effect across the country.
Three Big Thematic Truths
1. Promoting a proven economic prosperity agenda of lower taxes and pro-growth policies vs. the failed policies of higher taxes, more regulation and bloated bureaucratic structures of the past.
2. Left-wing San Francisco radical ideas vs. the values held by the rest of America
3. Defeating terrorism and the dictatorships who threaten America vs. appeasing and being defeated by them
If Republicans calmly and clearly communicate these choice and their consequences and, in particular, are able to win the argument on the three big truths, Republicans will have a much better election day than people expect.
Let me explain each one.
The First Big Truth: America Can't Go Back to Tax Increases, Big Bureaucracy, Slow Economy, Rising Unemployment and Liberal Policies
It should be easy for Republicans to make the case that your wallet, your job and your country's economy are at stake in this election.
If you think you have too much money in your family budget, then you have a party to vote for, because Democrats will gladly raise your taxes shifting your money from your family to Washington bureaucrats.
On the other hand, if you think you can spend your own money better than a Washington bureaucrat, then you, too, have a party to vote for, because Republicans will stop Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel from raising your taxes.
The future with a Speaker Pelosi based upon the historic record...
The Democrats' record is clear.
Nancy Pelosi voted against every Republican tax cut. She voted for the largest tax increase in history.
Nancy Pelosi voted 19 times against eliminating the death tax.
Nancy Pelosi voted five times for raising gasoline taxes.
Nancy Pelosi is so pro-high taxes she was one of only 27 members to vote against tax relief for poor neighborhoods in the inner city (presumably including her constituents in San Francisco).
The Future with Charlie Rangel as chairman of Ways and Means based upon the historic record...
Charlie Rangel is the perfect Ways and Means chairman for a Nancy-Pelosi-San-Francisco-values majority. Rangel recently said he "cannot think of one" of President George W. Bush's first-term tax cuts that deserve to be continued.
As the Washington Times noted: "Mr. Rangel, of course, voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, he voted against the 2006 measure that extended the 2003 cuts from the end of 2008 to the end of 2010, and he has vociferously opposed making the 2001 and 2003 cuts permanent."
Failure to sustain the tax cuts would have real impact on people's lives. As the Heritage Foundation reported, the Rangel position would have the following results:
- Tax rates will rise substantially in each tax bracket, some by 450 basis points;
- Low-income taxpayers will see the 10-percent tax bracket disappear, and they will have to pay taxes at the 15-percent rate;
- Married taxpayers will see the marriage penalty return;
- Taxpayers with children will lose 50 percent of their child tax credits;
- Taxes on dividends will increase beginning on Jan. 1, 2009;
- Taxes on capital gains will increase, also beginning on Jan. 1, 2009; and
- Federal death taxes will come back to life in 2011, after fading down to nothing in 2010.
Heritage estimated that these tax increases would lead to the loss of "more than one million lost jobs each year between 2011 and 2014; more than $100 billion less in economic output per year; slower wage and salary growth; and slower savings growth."
So Which Future Will It Be?
The choice presented by the first big truth is very clear and very simple:
If you want to go back to high taxes, high interest rates, high inflation, slower economic growth, more unemployment, fewer savings, shorter vacations and more bureaucracy, then you have a party in the Democrats -- because the Democrat record proves that Democratic policies will produce these results.
On the other hand if you want more take-home pay, more jobs, more economic growth, more time with your family and more savings with lower taxes and smaller bureaucracy, then you have a party in the Republicans.
It really is that simple and direct. Republicans just have to focus on, make the case for, and then win the argument with the historic record.
The Second Big Truth: San Francisco, Left-wing Values are Rejected by Most Americans and Should Not be Third in Line to be President
Any conservative who is considering staying home this fall has to consider the consequence of their not voting.
The Democrats are set to put as third in line to be President the most liberal leader they have ever had.
These positions are so unpopular that virtually any Republican candidate, even in a very moderate district, ought to be able to sharply draw the contrast.
If you go back to my newsletter of September 5 on the American Eleven, you will see the kind of solutions that are supported by the vast majority of the American people.
Contrast that newsletter with Nancy Pelosi's voting record.
Nancy Pelosi legitimately represents the values of her liberal San Francisco district.
They are simply not values most Americans can support or feel comfortable with in the powerful position her party is willing to give her.
America vs. the Pelosi Record at Home
Consider the following votes (all opposed by the vast majority of Americans):
- On July 31, 1996, Pelosi voted against the historic Welfare Reform Bill and later voted against its reauthorization;
- On July 19, 2006, Pelosi voted against protecting the right to say "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance;
- On Sept. 20, 2006, Pelosi voted against requiring that voters be identified so we could ensure only legal citizens are voting;
- On July 13, 2006, Pelosi voted against requiring English on ballots;
- On June 30, 2005, Pelosi refused to side with homeowners against the Kelo decision that allows cities to seize private property for profitable ventures, even though 365 members voted to stop cities from taking private property.
- Pelosi has voted at least 12 times against the death penalty;
- Pelosi was one of only 67 House members to vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA);
- Pelosi has voted at least eight times against banning partial-birth abortion, at least three times against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci's law), and scored a perfect 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America;
- Pelosi voted against a bill that would "[b]ar the transportation of a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent, guardian or judge;"
- Pelosi voted at least 31 times for using local or federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortions; and
- Pelosi received an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.
The Third Big Truth: Terrorists and Dictators are a Real Threat to Our Lives, Our Country and Our Children, and We Need a Strategy for Securing and Winning. We Cannot Go Back to a Strategy for Appeasing the Losing.
The North Korean nuclear test was a powerful warning about how dangerous the world is becoming.
The United Nations' speeches of Iran's Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Chavez are reminders of how much they hate us and how much they are determined to defeat us.
The continuing brutality and violence in Iraq is more evidence that we have real enemies who want to kill us.
The London bombing plot to destroy 10 airliners included a husband and wife who the London Telegraph reports "allegedly planned to take their six-month-old baby on a mid-air suicide mission." Imagine an enemy willing to kill their own six-month-old baby if that would help them kill us (the opposite of the story of King Solomon and the two mothers who argued over the baby and the real mother proved her love by being willing to give up the baby to save its life).
In the face of these dangers and this hatred, the Democrats would make the person third in line to be Commander-in-Chief an authentic representative of the policies of weakness and appeasement, which Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick described in 1984 as "the San Francisco Democrats." Ironically, this new potential Commander-in-Chief really is a San Francisco Democrat.
America vs. the Pelosi Record Abroad
Consider the following national security votes by a would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
- On Sept. 14, 2006, Pelosi voted against building a fence on the border to protect America from terrorists;
- Before 9/11, Pelosi repeatedly voted to cut intelligence (in 1993 by $500 million) and after 9/11 she has still voted to cut intelligence (in 2004 she voted to withhold 25 percent of intelligence funds);
- When you ask why we were not more prepared for 9/11, remember that six months before Sept. 11, 2001, Pelosi voted to decrease proposed defense spending by $65 billion;
- The next time you think about North Korean nuclear tests and North Korean efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile to reach the United States, remember that in 2002, Pelosi voted for an amendment to the FY 2003 Defense authorization that would block FY 2003 funding for space-based missile defense programs;
- Pelosi led a faction of 124 House Democrats who voted against final passage of the Patriot Act's reauthorization;
- Pelosi voted against the $87-billion Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental that included extra money for body armor for our soldiers;
- Pelosi voted against creation of Homeland Security Department;
- Pelosi was one of only 33 members to vote against prohibiting U.S. citizens and companies from conducting any financial transaction with countries that have been identified by the State Department as active sponsors of terrorism; and
- In 2004, Pelosi voted against House passage of the intelligence overhaul bill, which reorganized 15 intelligence agencies under one Director of National Intelligence.
Pelosi also supports immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying that "[I] myself support the course of action that Mr. Murtha has put forth." And let's be clear about exactly what Mr. Murtha is for: withdrawing from Iraq and leaving it to the terrorists.
The future with Alcee L. Hastings as chairman of the Intelligence Committee based upon the historic record...
If all of this were not extraordinary enough, Nancy Pelosi has made clear her intention, if the Democrats gain the majority, to force ranking Democrat Jane Harman (Calif.) to step down and replace her with Alcee L. Hastings of Florida as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings is a former federal judge who was indicted in 1981 for influence peddling, then impeached by a vote of 413-3 in the House and removed from his judgeship by subsequent conviction in the Senate on eight articles of impeachment. Hastings' conviction was only the sixth time that the Senate has removed a judge from office in an impeachment trial. It is not clear why Pelosi would place her trust in an impeached former judge to lead the oversight of our nation's intelligence agencies.
Never in American history has a person with such consistent an anti-defense, anti-intelligence and anti-security record been allowed to be third in line to be Commander-in-Chief. Every Democrat running for Congress should be required to defend their decision to vote for a person who believes in such weakness, appeasement and withdrawal policies to run the House.
The Election's Not Over Until It's Over
The 2006 elections are a long way from over. Republicans can still make a compelling case for victory.
The San Francisco left is unacceptable to the American people. Their policies are too expensive for our wallets and our family budgets, and too weak to trust in a world of terrorists and dictators who want to kill us.
Republicans owe it to the country to make the next three weeks count. Republicans can win if they have the confidence to know what's right and to say what's right. Republicans owe it to the country to make the choice clear.
P.S. - The heart of the next two weeks for Republicans should be focusing on and making the case for the big three truths outlined above. Nonetheless, there will be two topics on which every conservative candidate will have to have an adequate answer. They are the Foley mess and the energy situation. Republicans have two clear answers.
The Foley Mess
Mark Foley resigned from Congress within two hours of a reporter's showing him his sexually explicit instant messages to a former page.
He had no choice except to resign, because the Republican leadership would have expelled him.
What has amazed me is the one-sided anti-Republican news media smear and lynch mob which then ensued.
After a few days of the one-sided anti-Republican coverage, I began to speak out because I was witness to the last two Democratic efforts to deal with sex scandals in the House -- the page scandal of 1983 and the Barney Frank male prostitute/parking ticket fixing scandal of 1990.
In both cases the Democrat Party wanted the mildest possible punishment.
In both cases the Republicans insisted on tougher penalties. The 1983 page case involved one Democrat and one Republican, so it was a bipartisan problem.
At that time, I insisted that the sanction on those congressmen be raised from reprimand (which had no impact on their careers) to censure (which blocked them from a committee or subcommittee chairmanship). I threatened to move expulsion if the penalty was not increased.
Against substantial Democratic opposition, the penalty was increased from reprimand to censure. The Republican was contrite and ashamed. The Democrat was militant and unapologetic.
Even though Gerry Studds (Mass.), the Democrat, was convicted by the Ethics Committee of having sex with one page over a long period of time (beginning when the page was 16) and making advances to two other pages, he received three rounds of applause from the Democratic side of the aisle when he adamantly defended his actions.
After his censure, Nancy Pelosi voted three times to make Gerry Studds chairman of a committee, even though he was convicted of sex with an under-age page. It makes her current promises to be tougher than Republicans dishonest and hypocritical.
The Barney Frank case involved fixing 33 parking tickets for a male prostitute who was running a prostitution ring out of Frank's apartment (without the congressman's knowledge, according to his testimony, even though he had fixed 33 tickets for him). The Democrats voted 252-2 against a motion to censure Frank for abusing his office by fixing the tickets for his prostitute roommate.
I offered that motion to censure, and Nancy Pelosi voted against it.
Republicans should be firm about setting a higher standard on protecting pages than the Democrats did. Republicans should be firm about insisting on a higher standard of enforcing the rules than the Democrats did.
Republicans should not passively allow themselves to be lectured by hypocritical Democrats or the news media about their record compared to the Democrats when they were in charge.
An Energy Strategy for National Security, the Economy and the Environment
The American people want a better strategy for energy security.
They understand instinctively that the current reliance on imported oil is bad for our national security, for our environment and for our economy.
Even though gasoline and natural gas prices have gone down dramatically, Americans have a deep sense that something needs to be fixed, and they want more long-term leadership on this issue than they are getting.
Republicans should advocate an energy strategy to include renewable fuels, bio-fuels, new approaches to clean coal, and safe nuclear energy consistent with scientifically sound conservation principles.
All of these approaches are doable in a time of dramatic scientific change. Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle's IOWA Act (Independence from Oil With Agriculture) would dramatically expand the use of renewable fuels. The American people would rather support America's farmers than pay dictators in Iran or Venezuela for their fuel.
By contrast, with a Republican desire to pass legislation to improve energy production, energy efficiency, and the use of renewable fuels, Nancy Pelosi voted against the Energy Act of 2005, which moved America in the right direction on these issues.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/16/2006 11:54:00 PM