30 October 2001
Moving. . .
The site will be taking a brief hiatus as it moves to its own server, a tangerine iBook running OS X 10.1 and the Apache web server. (Thanks, Jim!)
My beloved and I are also taking off for Hawai'i (yes, again) later this week, so any updates will be few and far between. Just wanted to let the one or two of you who actually read the site know.
29 October 2001
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." —Proverbs 29:25
Terrorists 1, U.S. Constitution 0
In case you missed it, Congress overwhelmingly approved the further deterioration of your civil liberties last week with the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. While members of the Senate and House trumpet the fact that act's four-year expiration date, that expiration does not apply to all provisions of the bill.
"...police will have the permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order in some circumstances, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury information with the CIA. . . Also exempt from the expiration date are investigations underway by Dec. 2005, and any future investigations of crimes that took place before that date."
Could Daniel Webster have more accurately predicted something like this when he said, roughly 200 years ago: "Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety."
Not to mention how this bill was ramrodded through the normal legislative process, which Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) described thus: "This bill, ironically, which has been given all of these high-flying acronym — it is the Patriot bill, it is the USA bill, it is the stand-up-and-sing-the-Star-Spangled-Banner bill — has been debated in the most undemocratic way possible, and it is not worthy of this institution."
"The last thing most Americans want to do now is to restore the original constitutional republic, with severely limited powers, and with neither a huge welfare state at home nor a military colossus abroad. Does this mean 'blaming America first'? I don't blame the U.S. Constitution, which, if adhered to, would have kept us out of the Middle East cauldron that has now scalded us.
"I don't blame ordinary Americans, who hardly know what their government is and does. I don't even blame our present government for the crimes of bin Laden and his allies; the blood of thousands is on their heads.
"But I certainly do blame our arrogant, short-sighted elites for putting this country on a collision course with simple-minded fanatics who don't distinguish between the innocent and the guilty. It was foreseeable and avoidable, on our own founding principles — principles to which our elites have no more attachment than bin Laden does.
"The question now is whether the war on Afghanistan will solve the problem or make it even worse. It may destroy bin Laden and weaken his network, without (if we're lucky) creating a wider war and making us more enemies in the future; but even if it succeeds in its immediate aims, it certainly won't take this country back toward constitutional government. It's already doing just the opposite." —Joseph Sobran
23 October 2001
"A man to be a sound politician and in any degree useful to his country must be governed by higher and steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private greed." —Martin Van Buren
"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means." —John Adams, to Abigail Adams, on the passing of the Declaration of Independence
Let us honor those who have given with their lives by maintaining the Declaration, and the Constitution.
22 October 2001
Mothers Against Box Cutters
Ann Coulter has done it again, with a brilliant piece on several issues affecting the country in the aftermath of last month's terrorist attacks.
National ID card madness
According to this article, there is growing support for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's national ID card proposal, including some quarters you may not expect. General Norman Schwarzkopf has expressed his support, stating, "I've had a military ID card since I was a cadet at West Point and I haven't lost any freedom." General Schwarzkopf seems to have forgotten that old adage regarding the military: it ain't a democracy.
The United States of America is. It is a constitutional republic, rooted in the democratic tradition. National ID cards are not an answer to preventing future terrorist attacks. Alan Dershowitz claims people will feel safer about those four guys in the airport reading the Koran if they have to show an ID card to board the plane. Sure, people will feel safe. Up to the moment when those four guys take over the plane when its airborne, thanks to their fake ID cards. If kids across this country can use their desktop computers to make fake ID cards to get into a bar, what do you think will happen with a terrorist group that has the kind of backing that al-Qaeda does?
No Encryption Backdoors
There is some common sense showing on Capitol Hill these days. New Hampshire Senator Jud Gregg has changed his mind on requiring backdoors in encryption products. Gregg had proposed reactionary legislation in the wake of the 11 September attacks, but in light of recent news that the terrorists communicated in code out in the open, not using any encryption in their electronic communiques, he has backed off. Time will tell if he backs down permanently.
Sleeping with the Enemy
As the traitorous leeches at CNN work to secure an interview with terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, Andrea Payser has compiled her own list of more relevant questions for Mr. bin Laden. In the name of journalistic integrity, CNN continues to pander to bin Laden and al-Qaeda by airing the group's broadcasts, possibly passing on instructions from bin Laden to agents still in the United States and elsewhere.
3 October 2001
More on Liberty
Yesterday marked the three-week anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. As debates continue on Capitol Hill and in the press, please keep in mind:
"Liberty and order will never be completely safe until a trespass on the Constitutional provisions for either, shall be felt with the same keenness that resents and invasion of the dearest rights." —James Madison
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
"A treaty cannot be made which alters the Constitution of the country, or which infringes and express exceptions to the power of the Constitution." —Alexander Hamilton
And perhaps most telling of 90% of the laws already on the books today:
"[An] act of the Congress of the United States... which assumes powers... not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force." —Thomas Jefferson
We'll go on
In case you missed the essay by Leonard Pitts, Jr. in the Miami Herald of 12 September, it still rings true. Let this nation not lose its resolve, which will be needed, as Leonard points out in another column.
2 October 2001
Privacy & Liberty II
For those who would limit our freedoms and liberties for supposed security, including the issuing of National ID Cards, I offer these recent statements:
"Some commentators and so-called experts have been quick to suggest that we will have to give up rights and freedoms in order to achieve greater security against the terrorist threat. They are wrong. The liberties of America's citizens do not facilitate terrorism—rather it is the liberties we have wrongly allowed to non-citizens. Because so many of us are the heirs of America's immigrant tradition, we have been tempted to lose sight of the common-sense truth that we have the right to maintain and enforce the distinction between those who are citizens and those who are not. We have the right to scrutinize more carefully the access and activities of non-citizens, and to bar from our ports of entry or expel any non-citizens who we believe are involved with or abet the terrorist threat. With fairness, but without apology, we must implement a regime that secures the borders and gateways of the nation." —Alan Keyes
"Times of tragedy and war naturally bring out strong emotions in all of us. Yet we must be careful to preserve personal liberty and privacy rights in the months ahead. Sometimes the people are only too anxious to sacrifice their constitutional liberties during a crisis, hoping to gain some measure of security. Yet nothing would please the terrorists more than if we willingly gave up some of our cherished liberties because of their actions." —Rep. Ron Paul
"After this horrendous series of attacks our new FBI Director has suggested that we may have to limit some of our freedoms in order to deal with terrorists. The truth is that if we further emasculate our Constitution the terrorists will have achieved the greatest victory imaginable. Their triumph won't just be the thousands of people they killed, the triumph will be if they see our democratic institutions crumble." —Paul Weyrich
"Terrorism, the warfare of the new century, is engaged in for the
specific purpose of destabilizing free societies. The terrorists
succeed if free people cower in fear and begin to restrict their
treasured freedom and liberties. We should never succumb to
terrorist-inspired fear. We can never allow such people to win.
Instead, we must renew our commitment to the most fundamental
liberties and to the rule of law." --Charles Colson
"In his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism, (former Israeli prime minister Binyamin) Netanyahu forecast that Islamic fundamentalists would be the 'delivery systems' of increasingly lethal terrorism. Tuesday [September 11] they delivered to Manhattan two 198-ton bombs—fully fueled aircraft. When they get nuclear weapons, Netanyahu says, they will use them. So U.S. policy must respond to a closing window of opportunity for pre-emption. That, says Netanyahu, means not going after needles in haystacks, but against the haystacks -- the states that sustain terrorists. U.S. forces at Midway, he says, did not just destroy Japanese planes, they sank their carriers. Certain supportive states are the terrorists' carriers." —George Will