This will probably be my last regular roundup and commentary on news events for the foreseeable future, as other commitments are taking a considerable amount of my time.
I haven't blogged about the devastating floods that have wiped out large portions of Iowa, and that threaten Illinois, Missouri, and other Mississippi River states. But other bloggers have asked some rather pointed questions:
Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods?
Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasn't solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are?
Why isn't the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago?
When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?
Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?
Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets?
When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a "vanilla" Iowa, because that's the way God wants it?
Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism?
Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?
How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again?
Actually there have already been charges of mismanagement by federal officials with regard to the classification of flood plains and the administration of flood insurance programs, yet the Democrats have remained silent on the issue. I guess Barack Obama just doesn't care about those bitter, gun-clinging, Bible-toting white Midwesterners ...
The opposition to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has suspended its attempt at a runoff election. Mugabe's forces have terrorized the nation during the past month in an attempt to crush opposition forces. It looks as though they have temporarily been successful.
And why not? Intimidation pays. Just ask Rev. Al Sharpton.
The Gallup organization reports that the percentage of Americans expressing confidence in the US Congress is a paltry 12%, the lowest number ever measured for any institution. Yet the current favorite for President of the United States has already proposed the most massive increases in government since the War on Poverty. As a people, Americans are indeed a curious bunch.
You can't make up better stuff than this next quote:
Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.
Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”
-- which is actually reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's infamous admission that he asked his then-12-year-old daughter Amy for advice on foreign policy issues. The Obama-Carter parallels continue ...
Proving why only 12% of Americans have confidence in Congress, House Democrats actually proposed a government take-over of America's oil refineries. I guess they believe that eeeeeeevil oil companies are deliberately under-producing refined oil products in an attempt to artificially create supply shortages and keep retail prices high. Whatever.
Have you been following the story of the "Countrywide Six" -- the six government officials who received special mortgage deals from Countrywide? Apparently Countrywide's CEO Angelo Mozilo made a special list of FOA's (Friends of Angelo) who received special treatment. The most brazen of the FOA's was Democratic Senator Kent Conrad from North Dakota, who called Mozilo personally to ask for a loan, then claimed that he wasn't expecting special treatment. I mean, it's normal to call the CEO of a company when you require its services, right? I needed a new computer last fall and immediately I began thumbing through my Rolodex, wondering who I should call to help me -- Michael Dell? Bill Gates? Steve Jobs? Isn't that what everyone does?
In related news, ACORN, the national poverty advocacy group that has previously been embroiled in voter fraud scandals, is being investigated again for improper use of lobbying funds in relation to the current mortgage lending mess. Apparently ACORN -- which is now fighting mortgage lending companies on the grounds that they mislead poor and uninformed borrowers -- had been lobbying the same institutions for years to relax income requirements and offer lower interest rates precisely so more low income families could qualify for mortgage loans.
In light of the recent Boumediene v. Bush decision handed down by the SCOTUS, which gives detained enemy combatants access to habeas corpus hearings in federal courts, former senator and attorney Fred Thompson provides a list of the rights already given to Guantanamo Bay prisoners before the Boumediene decision:
- The right to hear the bases of the charges against them including a summary of any classified evidence.
- The ability to challenge the bases of their detention before military tribunals modeled after Geneva Convention procedures. As Robert’s pointed out, some 38 detainees have been released as result of this process.
- The right, before the tribunal, to testify, introduce evidence, including exculpatory evidence, call witnesses, cross examine the government witnesses and secure release if and when appropriate.
- The right to the aid of a personal representative in arranging and presenting their cases before the tribunal.
- The right to have the government search for and disclose to the detainee any evidence reasonably available to it tending to show that the detainee is not an enemy combatant.
- The right to appeal an adverse decision from the tribunal to the Federal DC Circuit Court along with the right to employ counsel and secure release if entitled to it.
- The right to petition the DC Circuit to remand a detainee’s case for new tribunal consideration if the petitioner comes up with newly discovered evidence
- The right to require the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a yearly review of the status of each prisoner including the right to have the Secretary of Defense review any new evidence that may become available relating to the enemy combatant status of a detainee.
- As a part of that yearly review, the opportunity for the detainee to explain why he is no longer a threat to the United States, which could lead to his release.
- The DC Circuit can order release of the prisoner, and the head of the DOD Administrative Review Boards can, at the recommendation of those panels, order release upon an appropriate showing.
This should should (but obviously won't) put an end to the continual whining about Guantanamo prisoners being locked away with no access to courts and attorneys and no hope of ever being freed.
In fact, there are over 500 lawyers currently associated with Guantanamo detainee work. And despite the fact that most of them magnanimously claim to be working pro bono, in actuality, foreign governments, family members, and other special interest groups have funneled millions of dollars into lobbying efforts that would directly benefit some of the biggest Guantanamo attorneys.
Considering the significance that most of the Guantanamo detainees have within the world of radical Islamist terror, it seems inconceivable to me that many, if any, would be freed by federal court orders. What we will have in abundance, though, is yet another huge flood of lawsuits impinging upon our already overworked courts, and another eager group of attorneys ready to grow rich off of them.
True to his earlier promise, Army Reserve sergeant Matthis Chiroux failed to report for deployment to Iraq. He now faces a possible court martial for disobeying his mobilization order.
Curiously, this news report describes Chiroux's father as a "rocket scientist" who lives near Huntsville, Alabama, which is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. This is interesting, since previous reports sought to portray Chiroux as a perfect fit for the stereotype of a poor white southern boy who barely finished high school -- "fillet mignon" for military recruiters.
The current leader of the SCLC, Charles Steele Jr. told a Savannah, GA crowd:
“Why are they attacking Michelle Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and not really attacking, to that degree, her husband? Because he has no slave blood in him. He does not have any slave blood in him, but Michelle does." (emphasis added)
Wow. Is this a preview of the storm of "not black enough" race-based hatred that could be directed at Obama if he does not satisfy every whim of the SCLC and other factions of the contemporary racial grievance movement?
Barack Obama's former church, Trinity United Church of Christ, which in my opinion chose to emphasize grievance mongering over reconciliation, is now reeling from all the bad publicity it has received during the last four months:
"It's so frustrating to feel like all that gets talked about is these few bad things. We have so many great programs happening here, and they're ignored. It's like there are two different Trinitys: the one we know and love, and the one everybody hates and makes fun of on TV."
It is truly unfortunate that the theatrics of a celebrity-seeking minister have damaged so many good people. But it is also a poignant reminder of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:
You have heard that it was said to those of old , 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.