Saturday, December 11, 2010

The conservative case for Wikileaks

No one questions that governments must maintain a certain level of secrecy, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who told Time that “Secrecy is important for many things … [but it] shouldn’t be used to cover up abuses.” The entire premise of Assange’s whistleblower organization is this: To what degree is government secrecy justified? And when particular secrets could be damaging to the other partner in the United States government’s relationship — the American people — should these secrets be revealed in the name of protecting the public?

How often does our government use “national security” simply as an excuse to cover up questionable dealings? Reports Time: “in the past few years, governments have designated so much information secret that you wonder whether they intend the time of day to be classified. The number of new secrets designated as such by the U.S. government has risen 75% … . At the same time, the number of documents and other communications created using those secrets has skyrocketed nearly 10 times…”

To say that government must keep secrets is not to say that all government secrets must be kept.

As admitted even by Pentagon officials and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, none of WikiLeaks’ revelations do anything to compromise national security or endanger American lives — but they have wreaked havoc on political life in Washington, D.C. Americans are not supposed to know, for example, that their government bullied and threatened individuals and other governments that might have undermined the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

The federal government attempting to squelch anyone who might undermine global-warming dogma? Do WikiLeaks’ conservative critics believe revealing this is a “national security” risk?

Americans are not supposed to know, apparently, that behind the scenes Saudi Arabia has been encouraging the U.S. to take military action against Iran. But if we end up going to war with Iran shouldn’t it be in America’s national interest, and not simply as a subcontractor for another country? Asks Fox News’ Judith Miller: “Why should Americans not know that Arab states, often at the top level, have been urging Washington to take military or other drastic action against Iran, while they publicly oppose such action?”

And when did conservatives become so protective of Hillary Clinton? What happened to the days of the “Stop Hillary Express,” when right-wing talk radio portrayed the former first lady as Satan and theorized about all the devious ways in which, if in power, she might conspire to bring down the country? When WikiLeaks revealed that Secretary of State Clinton tried to obtain DNA, fingerprints, credit-card numbers, and other private information belonging to United Nations officials, we learned that Clinton’s style was every bit as mafia-esque as her conservative critics once warned. Yet conservatives now attack WikiLeaks for revealing what they once feared.

It should also be remembered that the same conservatives now calling for Assange’s head either ignored or were sympathetic to Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame allegedly at the Bush administration’s behest — a revelation arguably far riskier to our national security than anything ever released by WikiLeaks.

But the worst hypocrisy throughout this controversy has been in conservatives reflexively defending the government and attacking WikiLeaks. Since when have conservatives believed that Washington should be able to shroud any action it likes in secrecy and that revealing government’s nefarious deeds is tantamount to treason? Isn’t it government officials who might secretly work for corporate, ideological or transnational interests — and against the national interest — who are betraying their country?

Interestingly, Wikileaks’ founder espouses the traditionally conservative, Jeffersonian view that America’s constitutional structure limits and lessens government corruption. Reported Time: “Assange appears to believe that the U.S. has not become ‘a much-worse-behaved superpower’ because its federalism, ‘this strength of the states,’ has been a drag on the combination of the burgeoning power of the central government and a presidency that can expand its influence only by way of foreign affairs.”

Decentralizing government power, limiting it, and challenging it was the Founders’ intent and these have always been core conservative principles. Conservatives should prefer an explosion of whistleblower groups like WikiLeaks to a federal government powerful enough to take them down.

Government officials who now attack WikLleaks don’t fear national endangerment, they fear personal embarrassment. And while scores of conservatives have long promised to undermine or challenge the current monstrosity in Washington, D.C., it is now an organization not recognizably conservative that best undermines the political establishment and challenges its very foundations.



MSNBC ignoramus fails to realize that C.S. Lewis is a noted Christian author

First they mock her for not telling them what she reads. Now they mock her for telling them exactly what she reads.

But the fact that C.S. Lewis’ works have not-so-subtle Christian undertones is apparently lost on MSNBC commentator Richard Wolffe who mocks former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for claiming his books were a source of “divine inspiration.”

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, Wolffe expressed incredulity, noting that Lewis wrote “a series of kids’ books.”

Matthews interrupted Wolffe: “I wouldn’t put down C.S. Lewis.”

“I’m not putting him down,” Wollfe responded. “But you know divine inspiration? There are things she could’ve said to divine inspiration. Choosing C.S. Lewis is an interesting one.”

Note to Richard Wolffe: Lewis wrote much more than “a series of kids’ books.” I suggest you read some of them sometime.

SOURCE. (See the original for links & video)


The Republican Senate

Republicans gnashed their teeth in frustration as the national tide of GOP resurgence washed up against the massive Democratic fortresses in Nevada, Washington state, Colorado and California. When they neither toppled nor faltered, most conservatives resigned themselves to a divided Congress with the Republican House and the Democratic Senate forever at war.

Not so. The vote on the extension of the Bush tax cuts reveals that the Republican Party has, in fact, gained effective control of the U.S. Senate. We are facing the same situation Ronald Reagan confronted in 1980 when his revolution brought him control of the Senate, but left the House under the nominal reign of Tip O'Neill and the Democrats. But, in fact, as the new president soon discovered, the House Democratic majority was subservient to the tide that had swept the Senate. Terrified by the Republican sweep, the Democrats were unable to muster a coherent opposition in the chamber they controlled. So it will be in 2011.

The Democrats will keep the corner offices in the Russell, Dirksen and Hart Senate office buildings and retain their committee chairmanships, but their ability to summon a majority to sustain their president on crucial votes is gone. The defection of Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut indicates that the 53-47 Democratic tilt of the Senate is more apparent than real.

Webb, Nelson, Manchin and Lieberman are all up for re-election in 2012. Each is very good at reading the handwriting on the wall left by Sens. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Evan Bayh, D-Ind., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Arlen Specter, D-Pa., Bob _Bennett, R-Utah, and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., on their way out the door. It reads, "The conservatives are coming!"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could well afford to lose four votes while he controlled the Senate 58-42, but he can ill afford four defections when his margin is only three. And Sens. Nelson, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. -- all from red states and all facing close re-election battles -- cannot be far behind these four in considering periodic abandonment of the ship on key votes. Only the likelihood of retirement saves Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., from a similar fate. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., also vulnerable in 2012, probably think they can ride out the tide in their more Democratic states. (And in any event, Brown, Stabenow and Menendez are too liberal to notice what has just happened.)

So, on key votes, the endangered Democratic senators are likely to dodge the bullets coming from the House and defect from Reid's majority. Why should they take the rap for blocking conservative legislation when they have a presidential veto backing them up at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue? "Let the president take the rap; why should I have to?" they will ask as they lend their assent to House-passed bills. The inability of President Obama to re-elect those who supported him hardly encourages others to risk their careers doing so.

Indeed, Reid can only regain his functioning majority if more Democrats choose to retire rather than face the music in 2012. If Kohl, Bingaman, Webb and Ben Nelson decide to retire after this term, the Democrats could have enough lame ducks to keep control of the Senate floor for one more cycle -- hardly a pleasing prospect for their party.

The result of the functional _Republican control of the Senate is that the forum for decision-making in a divided Washington will not be the conference committee, but rather White House negotiations between the two political parties.

It remains to be seen whether the endangered Democrats can save their Senate seats from the likely GOP tide of 2012 by switching in time to pretend to be moderates. What is clear is that they are not going to block the Republican bills coming over from the House. The Democrats will still control the committees in the Senate, but the Republicans will own the floor.



Is ObamaCare Unconstitutional? Virginia Will Put It To The Test

Sometime before the end of December the Eastern District Court in Virginia will rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare's individual mandate. Judge Henry Hudson's ruling could have huge implications for the future of not only ObamaCare, but also the relationship of the federal government to its citizens.

The mandate requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. In May, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed suit against the mandate. "This is a further extension of federal power than ever before," said James Blumstein, a law professor at Vanderbilt University.

The Obama administration argues that the federal government has the power to compel people to buy insurance since it has the authority to regulate insurance under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.

While the government has used the commerce clause to regulate or even prevent the purchase of a product or service, this is the first time the commerce clause has been used to require individuals to purchase a product.

Virginia counters that failing to purchase insurance does not count as economic activity and thus does not fall under the purview of the commerce clause.

The case likely to loom large in Hudson's ruling is Gonzales v. Raich. The Supreme Court held that the federal government could use the commerce clause to ban the possession of marijuana that had never crossed state lines or been sold anywhere. The majority on the court reasoned that the drug could easily become part of interstate commerce, so Congress had the power to regulate it.

Thus far district courts in Michigan and Western Virginia have dismissed challenges to the individual mandate. Those courts "read Gonzales vs. Raich to mean that Congress can regulate intrastate activity if there is a rational basis to suggest that it might affect interstate commerce," said Tom Christina, an attorney at the firm Ogletree Deakins.

The question is whether failing to purchase insurance constitutes "economic activity." Christina said: "In those judges' view it's not right to characterize failing to have insurance as mere inactivity. Instead those courts have accepted the government's argument that everyone is going to eventually get sick and need medical care. According to the government, people who are uninsured are engaged in the activity of financing their future health care in one fashion vs. another."

Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, counters that Raich will not apply because it defines "economic activity as the production, consumption or distribution of a commodity. If you choose not to have health insurance, you're not producing, consuming or distributing it."

Nor does Somin agree that since everyone eventually uses health care the government can make people buy insurance. "That kind of reasoning can be used to justify anything," he said. "The government could justify a mandate to purchase cars because eventually everyone uses transportation."




The cure is the disease: "Prohibition of alcohol in the United States lasted from 1920 to 1933, during that time it proved an utter failure. The Schaffer Library of Drug Policy reports that consumption increased, especially among women and children and that arrests for public drunkenness and similar alcohol related offenses surpassed pre-prohibition levels. In addition to not preventing use and abuse the Nobel Experiment enriched and empowered criminals, further corrupted politicians, and cost the tax payers millions. Today America faces similar problems caused by the War on Drugs."

Iran’s chief obstacle to nukes: Its own bad technology: "Long before the mysterious Stuxnet computer virus struck an apparent blow at Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran’s nuclear effort was being delayed by a far more mundane problem: bad technology. … The most fundamental problem with Iran’s enrichment program appears to be its own centrifuge design. Called the P-1 after a Pakistani mock-up of a Dutch design pilfered in the 1970s, the centrifuge that Iran has been attempting to operate is known to be temperamental and fault-prone.”

DADT repeal fails to make it to US Senate floor : "Despite Democratic efforts, Republicans on Thursday prevented a vote on the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, putting the repeal of a ban on gays serving openly in the military in doubt. … Republicans have vowed to block any votes until after resolving the unrelated issue of expiring tax cuts.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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