Saturday, July 30, 2005


Petition drive targets acreage owned by Justice Breyer

Justice Breyer has joined Justice Souter in having his property targeted by citizens seeking to convince local governments to exercise the "right" of eminent domain as laid down by the Supreme Court in the abominable Kelo decision, as reported here.

Libertarians upset about a Supreme Court ruling on land taking have proposed seizing a justice's vacation home and turning it into a park, echoing efforts aimed at another justice who lives in the state.

Organizers are trying to collect enough signatures to go before the town next spring to ask to use Justice Stephen G. Breyer's 167-acre Plainfield property for a "Constitution Park" with stone monuments to commemorate the U.S. and New Hampshire constitutions.
"In the spirit of the ruling, we're recreating the same use of eminent domain," said John Babiarz, the Libertarian Party's state chairman.

The plot mirrors the party's ongoing effort to get the town of Weare, about 45 miles to the southeast, to seize Justice David Souter's home. Souter's property is also the focus of a proposal by a California man who suggested the town turn the farmhouse into a "Lost Liberty Hotel."

The efforts are meant in protest of the high court's June ruling that let a Connecticut city take land by eminent domain and turn it over to a private developer. Breyer and Souter supported the decision.

Through a spokesman, Breyer declined to comment on the matter Friday. Souter has also declined comment.

Plainfield Town Administrator Steve Halleran said he didn't expect Plainfield voters to support the Breyer effort, but Logan Darrow Clements, of Los Angeles, said he's gotten support from thousands of people across the country for his Souter plan, and the town clerk in Weare said she had to return checks from people wishing to donate to a hotel construction fund.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 court ruling lets officials in New London, Conn., take older homes along the city's waterfront for a private developer who plans to build offices, a hotel and convention center.

Need I add any further comment?

(For a post on the Clements hotel plan for Souter's property, go here.)


Scraping Paint

Here's my theory on scraping paint before painting your house:

You will never, in your lifetime, actually "finish" this job. You will just reach the point where you are willing to decide that you are "done".

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Cleveland schools use owners of tax-abatement property in ad for tax levy

CLEVELAND -- Leaders of the campaign promoting a proposed levy that would raise $46 million annually for the city school district probably wish they had done more research on the tax status of a couple featured in one of their campaign ads.

The couple featured in ads for Tuesday's school vote said in the ad that they had to carefully look at issues such as taxes before buying their home. The problem is that they live in a home with a tax abatement.

Ilona and Mike Emmerth, who volunteered to pose before their Cleveland home for campaign literature, say they didn't know that most of their home's property taxes have been waived until 2011.

"For what it's worth, I thought tax abatement only applied to new houses," Mike Emmerth said Wednesday.

The Emmerths' home, purchased for $152,000 in 2002, has a tax abatement on $111,000 in renovations done before the purchase. That saves the couple $2,219 annually on a property tax bill that would otherwise be $3,031, leaving a payment of about $812, said Robin Thomas, chief deputy county treasurer.

Campaign manager Chris Carmody said organizers tried to find a couple who pay a full tax bill and they thought the Emmerths fit that description. He said, however, that the mistake doesn't detract from the message that young people are buying homes in the city.

"Organizers tried to find a couple who pay a full tax bill"... it would never have occurred to me that you would have to look for somebody who pays their property taxes, but apparently, they must be hard to find in Cleveland.

Here's a suggestion: don't give people a $2,219 annual tax break in exchange for buying a house. Then you won't have quite so much tax shortfall to make up.

The folks pushing the levy want to get the message out that "young people are buying homes in the city"... but they aren't paying property taxes, so how much good is it doing the city? How many more of these residential tax abatement properties are out there? What is the cost in lost revenue to the city? And how much additional burden does it place on those who ARE paying their property taxes? And finally, if the City of Cleveland thinks it can afford to hand out huge tax breaks like this on purely residential property (it's not like this is a business that is going to employ people), doesn't that suggest that maybe property taxes are already way too high?


German high court strikes down wiretap law

On July 19, in this post, I discussed the ruling by the German equivalent of our Supreme Court that struck down the use of the EU warrant in the extradition and prosecution of German citizens for crimes committed in other countries. Specifically, that case dealt wioth the court's ruling in a case that set free a suspected al Qaeda financier indicted by Spain.

Now comes more news from the German high court. The court has struck down a law enacted by the state of Lower Saxony, enacted after 9/11, which had expanded wiretap authority in terrorism investigations:

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - In a setback for anti-terror investigators, Germany's high court Wednesday ruled that a state law giving authorities sweeping powers to tap phones is unconstitutional.

The Federal Constitutional Court said the law violates the Germany constitution's guarantees of freedom from official eavesdropping.

At issue was a 2003 law in the state of Lower Saxony enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The attacks were plotted and carried out by Islamic terrorists based in Hamburg, adjacent to Lower Saxony.

The court, in rejecting the law, noted that the framers of Germany's post-war constitution specifically wanted to prevent a recurrence of Gestapo police-state surveillance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Why the terrorists kill

Over the past few weeks, I've written several posts arguing that, no matter what the "blame America" crowd thinks, the terrorist attacks are not the "result" of any action or policy of the United States, have nothing to do with the Palestinians, and will not subside if we give in and try to "live and let live." Daniel Pipes takes a look at the Islamic extremists and comes to the same conclusion I've reached: what they want is to force everyone to live in their 9th century view of an Islamic paradise... and they're ready to kill anyone and everyone who doesn't go along with them.

Most anti-Western terrorist attacks these days are perpetrated without demands being enunciated. Bombs go off, planes get hijacked and crashed into buildings, hotels collapse. The dead are counted. Detectives trace back the perpetrators' identities. Shadowy websites make post-hoc unauthenticated claims.

But the reasons for the violence go unexplained. Analysts, including myself, are left speculating about motives. These can relate to terrorists' personal grievances based in poverty, prejudice, or cultural alienation. Alternately, an intention to change international policy can be seen as a motive: pulling "a Madrid" and getting governments to withdraw their troops from Iraq; convincing Americans to leave Saudi Arabia; ending American support for Israel; pressuring New Delhi to cede control of all Kashmir.

Any of these motives could have contributed to the violence; as London's Daily Telegraph puts it, problems in Iraq and Afghanistan each added "a new pebble to the mountain of grievances that militant fanatics have erected." Yet neither is decisive to giving up one's life for the sake of killing others.

In nearly all cases, the jihadi terrorists have a patently self-evident ambition: to establish a world dominated by Muslims, Islam, and Islamic law, the Shari'a. Or, again to cite the Daily Telegraph, their "real project is the extension of the Islamic territory across the globe, and the establishment of a worldwide ‘caliphate' founded on Shari'a law."

Terrorists openly declare this goal. The Islamists who assassinated Anwar el-Sadat in 1981 decorated their holding cages with banners proclaiming the "caliphate or death." A biography of one of the most influential Islamist thinkers of recent times and an influence on Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam declares that his life "revolved around a single goal, namely the establishment of Allah's Rule on earth" and restoring the caliphate.

Bin Laden himself spoke of ensuring that "the pious caliphate will start from Afghanistan." His chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also dreamed of re-establishing the caliphate, for then, he wrote, "history would make a new turn, God willing, in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world's Jewish government." Another Al-Qaeda leader, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, publishes a magazine that has declared "Due to the blessings of jihad, America's countdown has begun. It will declare defeat soon," to be followed by the creation of a caliphate.

So how come so many don't get it?

Although terrorists state their jihadi motives loudly and clearly, Westerners and Muslims alike too often fail to hear them. Islamic organizations, Canadian author Irshad Manji observes, pretend that "Islam is an innocent bystander in today's terrorism."

What the terrorists want is abundantly clear. It requires monumental denial not to acknowledge it, but we Westerners have risen to the challenge.


Women pushing car cited for drunk driving

PORTAGE, Ind. -- Drunken driving can also be drunken pushing -- at least to police in Portage, Ind.

Kaylyn Kezy and Melissa Fredenburg both face DUI charges after the car they were pushing crashed into a parked car. Police said the women took turns pushing the non-running car while the other steered.

After the accident, officers said both women tested with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Prosecutor Adam Burroughs admitted the case might be a tough one to prove in court. But he noted that the women were in effect operating the vehicle -- even though the car wasn't running at the time.

This illustrates an interesting legal principle. The law is constantly expanding incrementally.

I don't know the specifics of Indiana's law on the subject, but in most states, "drunk driving" now has little or nothing to do with either "driving" or being "drunk". Most states have now imposed some rather arbitrary blood-alcohol level, normally .10 or less, as an illegal level. It has nothing to do with whether you are "drunk", and most of these statutes are written so that it has nothing to do with whether the alcohol effects your driving in any way. The state does not have to prove any sort of impairment or erratic driving, simply the blood-alcohol level is a separate offense in and of itself.

For most people in a normal weight weight range, two drinks over a one hour period puts you at risk of failing a "breathalyzer" test. And your blood alcohol level actually continues to climb for an average of two hours after you have your last drink. Have a drink before dinner, wine or beer with dinner, and one after dinner, and you are definitely at risk.

Most states now also do not require that you be "driving". Older laws prohibited driving a motor vehicle on a public highway, but no more. Here in Ohio, people have been convicted of what you would think of as "drunk driving" while riding a bike, plowing a field with a tractor, sleeping in the back seat in a private parking lot, and sitting in a car in their own driveway listening to the radio... without ever having left the driveway.

So these two women shouldn't be surprised if they are in fact convicted.


Deceptive Headline?

This AP story is running all over the place this morning, under a headline that proclaims "man charged for having sex with wife", and then variously includes a reference to the wife's age as either 13 or 14.

LINCOLN, Neb. -- A 22-year-old man faces criminal charges in Nebraska for having sex with an underage 13-year-old girl, although he legally married her in Kansas after she became pregnant.
The man's lawyer said the couple, with their families' support, "made a responsible decision to try to cope with the problem."

Matthew Koso, 22, was charged Monday with first-degree sexual assault, punishable by up to 50 years in prison. He was released on $7,500 bail pending an Aug. 17 preliminary hearing.
After the girl became pregnant, her mother gave permission in May for Koso to take the young woman to Kansas, which allows minors to get married with parental consent. The girl is now 14 and seven months pregnant.

"The idea ... is repugnant to me," said Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. "These people made the decision to send their ... 14-year-old daughter to Kansas to marry a pedophile."

He said the marriage is valid, thanks to the "ridiculous" Kansas law, "but it doesn't matter. I'm not going to stand by while a grown man ... has a relationship with a 13-year-old - now 14-year-old - girl."

Bruning, who has said he will seek a second term in 2006, has aggressively prosecuted sex crimes against children since he was elected in 2002.

So how is the headline deceptive? Well go read the whole article. It appears to me that, while the subsequent marriage will be recognized by Nebraska, the prosecution will be for the fact that the 22-year old man was having sex with the thirteen year old girl, and then married her after she became pregnant.

Now, in any state in the union, having sex with a 13 year old girl will get a 22 year old man prosecuted. In many states, the parents' actions here would get them prosecuted for child endangering. Instead of reporting the sexual relationship involving their 13 year old daughter to authorities, they married her off to her abuser.

The slant of the story, though, makes it sound like marrying her after the fact somehow excuses the original offense. And the headline makes it sound like the prosecution is for marital sex.

(The story also appears here, with a similar headline).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Clinton receives offer: 40 goats, 20 cows for daughter Chelsea

From SkyNews:

Former US president Bill Clinton has been offered 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter by a love-struck African government official.

Mr Clinton was offered the deal on a recent trip to Kenya.

He was offered the animals as a traditional African way of getting a father to give away his daughter's hand in marriage.The dowry is a very generous one by the country's own standards.

Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor wrote to Mr Clinton through Kenya's Foreign Minister.

The offer was apparently not accepted.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


A note on the Roberts nomination

I finally got around to getting over to his site to see what Beldar had to say about the Roberts nomination, and was surprised to find that worthy gentleman has had a(n apparently) mild heart attack. Of the many legal types blogging away out there, Beldar is a classy guy. Not arrogant, overbearing and all-knowing as are so many legal types, although clearly more qualified and entitled to be arrogant, overbearing and all-knowing than many of the Juris Dumbasses who daily fill the web with their expertise on all and any subjects about which they in fact appear to know very little.

I'm glad to hear that he is O.K.

Head over to his blog for some common sense commentary on the Roberts nomination.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Texas Legislature acts to counter the Kelo decision

From the Houston Chronicle online:

AUSTIN - Private property owners would be protected from state and local governments seizing their land for economic development purposes under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House Sunday night.

The bill, drafted in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing eminent domain seizures for economic development projects, gained final passage 136-0.


The House version of the eminent domain bill was amended to stop the city of Freeport from seizing waterfront land from a family-owned shrimping company to make way for a private marina project.

The Senate has passed similar legislation, but differences must be worked out in a conference committee before midnight Wednesday when the special session ends.

The House bill also requires local approval from county commissioners courts for state use of eminent domain to seize land for gas stations, convenience stores, hotels and other commercial enterprises in the median of the Trans-Texas Corridor, Gov. Rick Perry's ambitious toll road project.

The Texas House actually went further, specifying that the state must pay replacement cost in certain circumstances, and specifying that eminent domain would be limited to traditionally accepted “public use” purposes or the alleviation of blight. However, they appear to have pre-empted the Lakewood Ohio definition of “blight” as “not generating enough taxes” by specifying that there must be some element of harm to the public.

The House approved several other amendments,including one by Rep. Frank Corte, R-San Antonio, requiring governments to pay replacement value to property owners in certain land seizures.

Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, protested that the change would affect nearly every eminent domain seizure in Texas and undo 50 years of eminent domain law.

Corte, however, argued property owners have little say when governments seize their land, so it is only fair they get reimbursed for replacing it.

"Did those people ask to have their land taken away? No, they did not," he said.

The bill, which was passed in the Senate 25-4 before the House amended it, makes clear that eminent domain can be used for traditional purposes such as railroads, public roads, utility services, water and wastewater projects and drainage projects. It would allow economic development seizures if the land is blighted and harmful to the public.

Hopefully, all other states will follow suit and enact VERY restrictive eminent domain laws. Kelo is an horrendous abomination, and legislative action is the only remedy to the Supreme Court's decision that effectively allows tax-crazed local governments to confiscate private property by forced sale for the purpose of awarding it to other private owners who will pay more taxes.

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs notes a movement in Tennessee to enact legislation in response to Kelo.


A little background on John Roberts

Here's a little background information on Bush's Supreme Court Nominee for you. Note that ABC News stresses his involvement in legal cases dealing with abortion... surely a harbinger of what's to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


German high court strikes down EU warrant, blocks extradition of alleged al Qaeda financier

From a Reuters report:

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany's top court blocked the extradition of a suspected al Qaeda financier to Spain, ruling on Monday that a key instrument in the European Union's fight against terrorism breached the constitution.

The Federal Constitutional Court ordered the release of Mamoun Darkazanli, a German-Syrian fighting his handover under an EU arrest warrant, a new instrument the court said Germany had not implemented correctly.

In doing so, the court upheld an article of the post-war constitution preventing the state from extraditing its citizens, with only limited exceptions.

The ruling could undermine the warrant, one of the bloc's most significant security initiatives since the September 11 attacks in 2001 and introduced last year to speed up the handover of suspects and boost cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said the court's decision was a set-back for the battle against international terrorism.

While the focus of this particular case is terrorism, note that the ruling would appear to prohibit extradition of virtually all German nationals to other countries. In effect, Germany is, for the time being, a safe haven for terrorists as well as other criminals to operate around the world without fear of extradition to the country where the crimes or terrorist acts are committed. Like most European countries, Germany has lax immigration policies and easy asylum/citizenship requirements.

This situation demonstrates, once again, the frailty inherent in the EU, and perhaps, the problem the EU is having gaining acceptance among Europeans. The warrant requirement was adopted by the German government in accordance with EU procedures, but apparently is in conflict with German constitutional provisions. The “dual-sovreignty” concept of the EU is coming under increasing strain from a variety of quarters – economic, social, and now legal.

The problem now is that, until and unless the EU warrant is re-adopted by Germany in a form acceptable to German courts, criminals and terrorists wanted in other countries are simply free to go.

The European Commission urged Berlin to address the problems and try again to implement the EU arrest warrant in full.

Zypries said a new law could be ready within four to six weeks, although an expected German general election in September could stall the warrant's re-launch for months.

Konrad Freiberg, the head of the German police union, urged rival politicians not to let the issue become an electoral battleground.

Suspects wanted in other EU nations are meanwhile free.

Darkazanli has been accused by the United States of financing al Qaeda, has been investigated for connections to the “Hamburg Cell” that planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks, and was charged by Spanish officials in September 2003 with belonging to al Qaeda. The Spanish charges allege he is a financier for the terrorist organization, including the purchase of a cargo ship for Osama bin Laden in 1993.

Like the British authorities who refused extradition of Mohammad al Garbuzi to Morocco after his conviction for the Casablanca bombings, the German political structure is now serving as a shield behind which international terrorists can act with impunity. Garbuzi, harbored by the British, is wanted in connection with the Madrid bombings, and his name has surfaced in connection with the London bombings. Darkazanli apparently also has connections to a number of terrorist activities.

Those nations who do not want to be destroyed by Islamist terrorism had better wake up soon, and begin changing laws that the Islamists are surely well aware of, and using to their advantage and to the detriment of their “host” countries.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


First criminal charges filed against Saddam

From USA Today:

BAGHDAD (AP) — The first criminal case has been filed against Saddam Hussein, stemming from a 1982 massacre of dozens of Shiite villagers in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt against the former leader, the head of an Iraqi tribunal said Sunday.
The date for the trial of Saddam and three others will be determined in a few days. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Raid Juhi, chief judge of the Iraq Special Tribunal, said the preliminary investigation into the July 8, 1982, massacre in Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, has been completed, and the case was referred to the courts for trial.

"The date for the trial will be determined within the few coming days by the gentlemen in the criminal court," Juhi said.

The announcement roughly corresponds to an indictment in the U.S. legal system, legal officials said. However, Saddam and the others will be considered "charged" when they appear in court.
The court now has 45 days to announce a start date for the trial.

Saddam's co-defendants in the case are Barazan Ibrahim, intelligence chief at the time and Saddam's half brother; former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan; and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, at the time a Baath party official in Dujail.

Watch now for the UN, the EU, and all the “human rights” organizations to begin a massive campaign against this prosecution. Why? The death penalty. Since Iraq recognizes the death penalty, and Saddam and his fellow butchers could be sentenced to death, all the anti-death penalty groups will undoubtedly mount a campaign to convince the world that the death penalty is cruel and barbaric.

Oh, and it will surely be the fault of the evil and imperialistic U.S. that the new Iraqi state allows the death penalty.

Please also note that these groups are pretty darned quiet about the execution, often by hanging or stoning, of "adulterous" women in Iran and never make a peep when Palestinian kangaroo courts unleash death squads to “execute” “collaborators”.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Bush tax cuts deliver as advertised

Continued economic good news, still being largely ignored by the mainstream media, bears out what people who understand economics knew all along: the Bush tax cuts were good for the economy, as are tax cuts generally, and tax cuts ultimately result in an increase, not a decrease, in government revenues. Tax cuts do not cause deficits. Overspending causes deficits. However, when you couple the increased revenues from sizeable tax cuts with a reduction in spending growth, what you get is shrinking deficits and economic expansion.

Jun. 10, 2005 - The government ran a deficit of $35.3 billion in May, a little over half the imbalance of a year ago thanks to a continuing surge in tax revenues, the Treasury Department said Friday.

The government's monthly budget report showed that the May imbalance was down 43.5 percent from an imbalance of $62.5 billion in May 2004. This year's deficit was the smallest May imbalance since a deficit of $27.9 billion in May 2001, the last year the government ran a budget surplus.

Through the first eight months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $272.2 billion, an improvement of 21.4 percent from the $346.3 billion in red ink run up through the first eight months of the 2004 budget year.

The Congressional Budget Office now says it expects this year's deficit to decline to around $350 billion, a significant improvement from the all-time high in dollar terms of $412.8 billion set last year.

Don’t expect to find any of this prominently displayed, or explained, on the tv news. After all, it doesn’t fit in with their predetermined agenda of trying to portray the Bush tax cuts as benefiting only the rich and causing ruinous deficits. But the facts are otherwise:

The improvement in the country's balance sheet will help President Bush meet his campaign pledge to cut the deficit in half as a percentage of the total economy by 2009, the year he will leave office.

The budget improvement is coming from a gusher of tax revenues, reflecting the economy's improving fortunes with more people working and businesses reporting higher profits.

Through the first eight months of this budget year, revenues total $1.37 trillion, an increase of 15.5 percent from the same period a year ago. Government spending is up as well, but at a slower pace, rising by 7.1 percent to total $1.64 trillion.
For May, spending totaled $188 billion, up 5.7 percent from May a year ago, while revenues totaled $152.7 billion, a sizable 32.3 percent jump from May 2004.

And this is not an isolated incident. We noted the same facts for the month of April, also ignored by the mainstream media. The source linked in this article was not, predictably enough, one of ABC’c “lead stories”. It was buried in the financial news section. Gee, if the deficit were growing at this rate, do you think you’d have to work to find a report of that?

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Is Britain soft on terror while France fights the good fight?

Over the past week, I’ve posted a couple of items expressing surprise at the fact that one of the men whose name surfaced almost immediately after the London terrorist attacks – Mohammad al-Garbuzi – had essentially been harbored by the British, who refused extradition after he was convicted in Morocco in the Casablanca bombings. It subsequently turned out that this same man was wanted by the Spanish authorities in connection with the Madrid train bombings.

After living openly, having been granted asylum, in Britain for ten years, he walked away from his apartment several months ago and disappeared. In the wake of the London attacks (and possibly before the attacks), British authorities were asking police and intelligence agencies on the continent to locate Garbuzi.

Apparently, this news should not have come as a surprise. While aware that Britain had problems with a large and loudly militant Muslim population, I had not realized the extent of the problem, which Daniel Pipes
puts into perspective:

British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London's refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt's president
Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for "protecting killers." One American security group has called for Britain to be listed as a terrorism-sponsoring state.

Counterterrorism specialists disdain the British. Roger Cressey calls London "easily the most important jihadist hub in Western Europe." Steven Simon dismisses the British capital as "the Star Wars bar scene" of Islamic radicals. More brutally, an intelligence official said of last week's attacks: "The terrorists have come home. It is payback time for … an irresponsible policy."

This contrasts with the general public perception of Britain as a rock-solid partner in the War against terrorism. Even more surprisingly, Britain’s failure to come to terms with the realities of the militant Islamist threat contrasts sharply with the efforts of, of all nations, France:

While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts
a top-secret counterterrorism center, code-named Alliance Base, the existence of which was recently reported by the Washington Post. At Alliance Base, six major Western governments have since 2002 shared intelligence and run counterterrorism operations - the latter makes the operation unique.

More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts "as if they were your own service." The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie "one of the best in the world." The British may have a "special relationship" with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he "would least like to be held under" the French system.

Pipes attributes this remarkable difference in attitude to the role of national traditions and heritage:

What lies behind these contrary responses? The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former
embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their historic culture. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.

I’m not sure I can agree with Pipes’ conclusion. While France may hang on to vestiges of its cultural traditions and heritage, it continues to adhere to immigration policies bordering on the imbecilic. I have seen serious estimates that suggest that sometime this century the French will become a minority in France, as waves of unassimilated Muslim immigrants, largely from North Africa, overwhelm the country.

Yes, France banned the hijab, the muslim headscarf, in public schools while Tony Blair’s wife represented the plaintiff in a British case demanding – and winning – the right to wear the jilbab, which covers all but face and hands. But then too, France has either tolerated, or been unable to stem, a rising tide of Muslim violence directed against French Jews, and the banning of the hijab was really nothing more than an extension of France’s humanist absolutism, as the Christian cross and all other “religious” symbols and attire were banned by the same law.
Unless France changes its immigration policies, and soon, all the anti-terrorism activities in the world will not save her.

As for Britain, it is easy to forget, in view of Iraq and Afghanistan, that Tony Blair is a liberal, and British liberals have embraced “diversity” as a goal and a good in and of itself, much like the left in this country. But the democracies that have adopted “diversity” as a measure of their society are failing to realize that in enforcing diversity they are fostering the very forces which seek to destroy democracy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


"Heroic" Iraq "freedom fighters" target crowd of children

For those who still believe that the "Iraqi insurgency" is anything other than Islamofascist terorists, for those who still want to believe Michael Moore's ignorant assessment of these murderous thugs as nationalist resistance to occupation, or freedom fighters, the equivalent of our revolutionary war Minute Men:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children and detonated his explosives Wednesday, killing up to 27 other people, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. One U.S. soldier and about a dozen children were among the dead.

At least 21 others, including three U.S. soldiers, were wounded in the attack, the second major homicide bombing in Baghdad this week. A bomber killed 25 people Sunday at an Iraqi army recruiting center.

The fireball from Wednesday's blast also set a nearby house ablaze, the U.S. military said. The attack stunned the impoverished east Baghdad neighborhood of mostly Shiite Muslims and Christians.

At Kindi hospital, where many of the dead and injured were taken, one distraught woman swathed in black sat cross-legged outside the operating room. "May God curse the mujahedeen and their leader," she cried as she pounded her own head in grief.

Hospitals and police said between 11 and 13 children were killed. Authorities scrambled to compile a count of the dead and injured.

"The explosion was mainly on the children," resident Abbas Ali Jassim said.

Sorry Mikey, but it's a little tough to imagine Washington Jefferson, Adams and Franklin sitting around and deciding, "hey, let's try killing children... maybe then we'll get what we want."

The "insurgency" has nothing to do with nationalism or freedom. It's just the Islamofascist murderers doing what they do. Just like London. Just like 9/11. Like the first World Trade Center Attack, Khobar Towers, the USS Cole. Just like Casablanca, and a thousand attacks on Israel. They want to kill anyone who is not them. Christians, Jews, Muslims, men, women, children...anyone they can kill.

This is not the first time they have deliberately targeted a crowd of Iraqi children. It will probably not be the last.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Garbuzi, sought in London bombings, also sought in Madrid bombings

Yesterday I linked to a news article that quoted French sources as stating that Mohammad al-Garbuzi, sought by investigators in the London bombings, had been convicted in absentia in Morocco and sentenced to 20 years in the Casablanca bombings that killed 44 people. Today, the Sunday Times U.K. confirms these facts, and has further information. Apparently, Garbuzi is also wanted by Spanish authorities in connection with the Madrid bombings:

A BRITISH-BASED Islamic leader sought in connection with the Madrid bombings was last year convicted of a terrorist attack in which 44 people died.

Mohammed al-Garbuzi, from northwest London, was found guilty of being involved in the terrorist attacks in Casablanca last May. Al-Garbuzi is alleged to be the founder and leader of the Group of Islamic Combatants of Morocco (GICM), one of the groups suspected of plotting the Madrid attacks in which 202 people died.

A court in Morocco heard last year that al-Garbuzi had played a key role in the Casablanca attacks, raising funds for the operation and forging passports. He was sentenced to 20 years in his absence. Al-Garbuzi denies the charges or any involvement in GICM.

Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said last week there were suspected links between Britain and the Madrid attack. Intelligence officers are trying to establish whether British-based operatives gave logististic support and funds to the Madrid terrorists.

One of the Spanish bombers presently on trial made numerous phone calls to numbers in Britain, and it is apparently this link that has Spanish authorities looking for Garbuzi. The source I cited yesterday stated unequivocally that Garbuzi had been granted asylum by Britain ten years ago and had since lived in London, disappearing from his apartment some months ago. That account also quoted “French judicial officials” as saying that Morocco had requested Garbuzi’s extradition after his conviction, and had been rebuffed.

I have been unable, as yet, to locate a source to corroborate that information.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Italy cracks down on terrorism suspects

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in London, Italian authorities instituted stepped-up security measures at possible terrorist targets throughout the country, and then went on the offensive, rounding up and arresting terrorism suspects. Wasting no time, expulsion orders have already been issued for over one-third of those arrested.

Police said Saturday they had arrested 142 people in a two-day anti-terrorism security sweep around Milan prompted by the bombings two days earlier in London.

Some 2,000 carabinieri fanned out across the Lombardy region, stepping up patrols around train stations, subways, commercial centers and other sensitive sites, the regional commander of the paramilitary police, Gen. Antonio Girone, said in a phone interview.

Girone said the operation was focusing on Milan because it had been the major focus of Italian investigations into Islamic terrorism and because it "could be a major risk of possible attacks." He said the measures were designed to make people "feel calmer after the London attacks."

Of those arrested, 84 were immigrants and authorities issued 52 expulsion orders, he said. Most of those arrested were accused on drug, petty theft or immigration-related charges, he said.

Look ma, no fascism, no racism! These folks are not only suspected of terrorist involvement, they are criminals of one sort or another. Whatever it takes. I don’t believe a society has any obligation to look the other way while extremists involved with terrorist activities commit “little” crimes, waiting for them to kill 50 or 100 people.


Investigation of London bombings underway; Britain refused to extradite Garbuzi, now sought by investigators

At this stage of the investigation, it appears that the bombs used in the London terrorist attacks may have been small, homemade, relatively crude devices:

The bombs that destroyed three London Underground cars and a double-decker bus each weighed less than 10 pounds and could be carried in a backpack, police said Friday. Police said the bodies of 49 people had been recovered, but warned that the number of deaths would rise.

An explosives expert said they were likely crude homemade devices set off with a simple timer.

Experts say Thursday's attacks had all the hallmarks of an al-Qaida strike, and authorities were gathering evidence on the ground and investigating a purported claim of responsibility.
Sir Ian Blair, commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, said no arrests had been made but officials have "lots and lots" of leads.

According to an unnamed “law enforcement official”, one possible link to an al Qaida operation comes from a high-ranking al-Qaida figure grabbed up by the Pakistanis in May:

A U.S. law enforcement official said authorities had vague information from Abu Farraj al-Libbi, reputedly No. 3 in the al-Qaida terror network, that al-Qaida was seeking to mount an attack similar to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid.

Al-Libbi was arrested by Pakistani agents on May 2. The information contained no specifics about location or timing, the official said.

It is, of course, possible that the London bombings are not connected, and Al-Libbi's information pertains to another attack, possibly still being planned.

It appears that the bombs were made from cheap, low-grade plastic explosives readily available on the black market throughout the former Soviet bloc:

The bombs were probably made from simple, relatively easy-to-obtain plastic explosives, not the higher-grade military plastics like Semtex that would have killed far more people, said Andy Oppenheimer, a weapons expert who consults for Jane's Information Group.

"Any crook with ready cash could obtain this stuff if they knew where to look for it," said Alex Standish, the editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest.

Plastic explosives are readily available on the black market in the Czech Republic and other central and eastern European countries or through the Russian mafia, Standish said. Large amounts of plastic explosives untagged by the chemical markers that enable dogs to detect it are missing from Czech stocks, he added.

There are other indications this may have been a locally organized, somewhat less than thoroughly expert operation:

Oppenheimer said the bombers likely used a fairly basic timer that would have been set a half hour or less in advance. More sophisticated detonators like those the Irish Republican Army has used can give far longer lead times, up to several days.

"You wouldn't need very advanced knowledge to make one of these," Oppenheimer said.

Law enforcement officials declined to respond to questions about a U.S. official's statement that evidence indicating timers were used was found in the debris. London police also played down the possibility the devices were detonated by remote control using cell phones.

Some experts believe the bomber on the double-decker bus may have blundered, blowing up the wrong target and accidentally killing himself. Media reports have quoted an witness who got off the crowded bus just before it exploded as saying he saw an agitated man in his 20s fiddling anxiously with something in his bag.

"Everybody is standing face-to-face, and this guy kept dipping into this bag," Richard Jones, 61, of Berkshire, west of London, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Standish said the man may have intended to leave his bomb on the subway but was unable to board because his co-conspirators already had shut the system down. He may have gotten on a bus instead and detonated the package sooner than he meant to, killing himself.


He said the bombers' choice of targets reflected a lack of knowledge about the mechanics of explosions that suggests they were not highly trained or experienced.

Bombing a tightly enclosed space like an Underground train is likely to kill fewer people than targeting a more open space where debris can fly through the air and devastate a wider area, he said. In a crowded Tube train, the primary force of a blast is likely to be absorbed by a small number of people around the explosion and by the train itself, he said.

A massive investigation is now underway. Police are apparently pursuing a number of leads, as well as, no doubt, taking a look at the British population of known Islamic militants:

Britain is home to a number of known militants whom police will likely scrutinize as they seek clues to the perpetrators' identities.

Among them is Mohamed Guerbouzi, convicted in absentia in his native Morocco in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with the Casablanca bombings.

French officials consider Guerbouzi, who has British and Moroccan nationality, to be the founder and principal recruiter of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.

Morocco has sought his extradition but Britain has not complied, French judicial officials say.

IF it turns out that this Guerbouzi (also spelled Garbuzi in some reports) IS involved in, or responsible for these attacks, there will likely be some very hard questions being asked about why he was at large in Britain, and not in a Moroccan prison. The British government may have some explaining to do on their refusal to honor the Moroccan extradition request.

For further information, there is a good post on the status of the ongoing investigation at the Jawa Report, including the interesting detail that the British apparently lost track of Guerbouzi some months ago, and are asking continental law enforcement authorities for help and information as to his whereabouts.

One has to wonder why a known Islamic militant convicted of a terrorist bombing in Morocco was not extradited by the British, was allowed to roam free in Britain, and then allowed to disappear. The British government had better hope it doesn't turn out that this guy is behind the deaths of those innocent British citizens.

UPDATE: Spanish authorities are also looking for Garbuzi in connection with the Madrid bombings.

Friday, July 08, 2005


The "Blame America" crowd is just plain wrong

OK, so the terrorist bombings in London were “caused” by the Iraq invasion. Well, gee, since nobody had invaded Iraq, or even Afghanistan yet, what “caused” the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? What did President Clinton do that “caused” the bombings at the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies? The USS Cole? Dharan, Saudi Arabia?

Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s all our fault because of US support for Israel, and all this Islamic terrorism is caused by Al Qaeda’s deeply heartfelt desire to help the Palestinians.


There’s only one problem with this line of reasoning: it’s a complete load of crap.

I can find no reference to Bin Laden or any of his henchmen ever so much as uttering the word “Palestinian” before they came to the sudden realization, amid the falling bombs in Afghanistan, that they had gone too far. Only then, in an attempt to rally muslim support and change the nature of their jihad, did they suddenly discover their solidarity with the Palestinians. Why has the Al Qaeda jihad not targeted Israel? Why has Al Qaeda not built hospitals and schools for the Palestinians, the way they did for their hosts in the Sudan? Why doesn’t Al Qaeda operate in the Palestinian refugee camps?

The Islamist jihad hasn’t got a thing to do with the Palestinians. How much time did Khomeini and Iran devote to improving the lot of the Palestinians? How much support do the Palestinians (other than their terrorist fronts) get from the Saudis? Or any other Arab or muslim state?

The Islamic terrorists are bent on one thing, and one thing only, and that is turning the world into a fundamentalist Islamic state, where women can be openly murdered for the “honor” of the family, where religious fanatics run society according to some distorted eighth century world view, where shaving, dancing or listening to music are capital offenses.

They know perfectly well they can never achieve this muslim paradise by force of arms, and so their dreams of conquest take other forms: the mass murder of men women and children in terrorist bombings; immigration without assimilation, intended to swamp the societies they are legally invading.

And the mass murder is indiscriminate: once justified as jihad that called for the killing of the infidel, more and more it has become just the slaughter of anyone and everyone who is not them. Muslims who participate in the Iraqi rebuilding are targeted. Muslims who are not sufficiently muslim, who shave or give “un-islamic” haircuts, are targeted. Muslims who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time are slaughtered.

Can anyone really believe that the “insurgency” in Iraq has anything to do with the US occupation? It isn’t about driving out the US, although that may be seen as a condition precedent to the real aim. And that real aim is the same as all Islamic fundamentalist terrorists everywhere: to take over society and force it to live by their perverted views of what Islamic society should be.

More and more the “insurgency” consists of foreigners targeting Iraqis. The suicide bombers are coming from Syria, Morocco, Algiers…and they are slaughtering muslim Iraqis. This is no “Iraqi resistance movement” aimed at “foreign occupation”. This is Islamic terrorist jihadis trying to take over Iraq.

If they win there, it will not stop there. There is no “live and let live” with these people. Because they believe, plain and simple, that the only ones who are to be permitted to live are those who live by their rules, in their society. Everyone else they will eventually kill. After all, they have a fatwah or two that says it’s the will of Allah that they kill everyone who isn’t them. And they have every intention of carrying out Allah’s instructions.

Perhaps those leftists who are so worried about Midwesterners wanting to create “Jesusland” should give a little thought to the real religious fanatics, and the very real threat of Islamist fundamentalism.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer quits - or maybe gets fired

According to an Associated Press report appearing at the Fox News website, Saddam Husseain’s lead lawyer has quit, over what he claims are efforts by the American members of the team to take control and get him to tone down his anti-US rhetoric.

AMMAN, Jordan — Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer quit the Iraqi dictator's Jordan-based legal team, saying Thursday some of the team's American members were trying to control the defense and tone down his criticism of the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Ziad al-Khasawneh told The Associated Press he tendered his resignation in a telephone call Tuesday to Saddam's wife, Sajida, who is believed to be in Yemen.

"I told her I was resigning because some American lawyers in the defense team want to take control of it and isolate their Arab counterparts," said al-Khasawneh, an Arab nationalist who has often expressed support for Iraqi resistance. Among the Americans on the team are former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark.

Al-Khasawneh said Clark and Curtis Doebbler, another American lawyer helping defend Saddam, were "upset with my statements and have often asked me to refrain from criticizing the American occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government."

First, let’s realize that we’re talking about Ramsey Clark here, one of the charter members of the “America is Always Wrong” crowd. So if in fact Clark and his cohorts are trying to muzzle this guy, it’s not because they don’t want America criticized. It’s because they think there’s a more sophisticated, more productive way to go about it. Looking a little further into the story, it appears that maybe al-Khasawneh quit after he had already been fired:

Al-Khasawneh said Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghad, allegedly removed all files related to Saddam's defense from his office. "I was away in Libya when she did all that without my knowledge," he said.

Raghad favors the Americans and non-Arabs on the team "because she thinks they will win the case and free her father," he said.

As a general rule, when the client’s family removes the client’s files from your office, I think you should assume you’ve been fired. And it sounds like maybe at least some of Saddam’s relatives think this guy is more interested in using the case as a platform for his rhetoric than in trying to provide a defense for the former dictator. What I find most astonishing, though, are the number of people lining up to “help” this evil cretin, to the extent that we apparently now have competing groups working to guarantee Saddam a fair trial:

Saddam's legal team includes 1,500 volunteers and at least 22 lead lawyers who come from several countries, including the United States, France, Jordan, Iraq and Libya. No date has been set for the trial of Saddam, captured by U.S. troops in December 2003.
Al-Khasawneh said Raghad was allegedly seeking to exchange the Jordan-based legal team with an international Emergency Committee for Iraq, which was announced last month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The committee seeks to ensure a fair trial for Saddam and other officials of the former Iraqi government that was ousted by U.S. forces two years ago, said former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad, announcing the committee. Besides Mahathir, other co-chairs include Clark, former Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella and former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas.

I can’t help but think that humanity would be better served if most of these people would devote their volunteer legal services, fundraising, organizing, and public-awareness efforts to some deserving group in say the Congo, or Darfur, or Zimbabwe. Saddam deserves, of course, a defense, in accordance with Iraqi law – not the US Constitution, not the UN, not some international committee of showboats. It was the Iraqi people he abused, tortured, and murdered, and it is up to the Iraqi people to try and punish him.

And no, I don’t know if there is a presumption of innocence under Iraqi law, and quite frankly, even in the face of such a presumption, submitting the proof in proper evidentiary form is a mere technicality. Depending on the charges framed, there will be no real issue of guilt.

In a final ironic note, assuming that Al-Khasawneh has in fact been ousted because of his exploitation of the publicity brought by the case, guess how he got to be the lead lawyer? Yep, he replaced Mohammed al-Rashdan, a prominent Jordanian lawyer, who was fired by the ex-tyrant’s family for exploiting the case to seek personal fame.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


A comment on comments

I never could get the Blogger comment system to work correctly consistently on this site, so I installed Haloscan. I've now figured out that Haloscan is not exactly ultra-reliable lately, either, and I've gotten some e-mails from folks trying to leave comments and unable to open the comment window. If you are having trouble opening comments on this page, try right-clicking on the "comments" lnk and then click "open in new window." That seems to work consistently.


EU Governing Commision divided on pollution measures

According to an Agence France Presse report, the EU is divided over the implementation of environmental recommendations made in reports on air quality and marine protection by its own environment commission:

The European Commission has implicitly acknowledged that it is divided over how best to tackle pollution, by pushing back the publication of two new reports on the problem.

The head of the EU's executive, Jose Manuel Barroso, personally decided to delay the reports, compiled by environment commissioner Stavros Dimas and due for release on July 20, and opt instead for an "orientation debate" on them.

"The commission had not up until now discussed the environment," said spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail Monday. "It is a subject on which the president wants to find a consensus, that is to say that there be no divisions in the commission."

She said Barroso had not withdrawn the documents, on air quality and marine protection, but that he "thought it useful that there be an orientation debate among the whole commission and not just some of its commissioners."

It appears that the anticipated cost of the recommendations is causing some dissention among the EU’s leadership:

She said the problems with the reports were not a question of "objectives, but more the way they are implemented."

The decision means it is now unlikely that the reports will be published before the end of the European summer.

According to Monday's Financial Times newspaper, Barroso, industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen, and internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy are worried about the potential costs of the Dimas initiatives.

An impact assessment has put their direct cost at between 5.9 billion and 14.9 billion euros (seven and 17.7 billion dollars) a year from 2020, which will be paid by businesses and consumers, the daily said.

Predictably enough, environmental activist groups are not pleased, and have banded together. Acting through the “open letter” approach, the activist groups are campaigning to cast the delay as a result of the lobbying of “powerful business interests”:

In an open letter released on Friday, environmental groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund urged Barroso not to give in to "powerful business lobby interests".

"If there is even a hint of a suspicion that these issues are linked, the current European crisis of public confidence in the EU institutions can only deepen," the letter read.

"Our view is that any weakening of the commission's environmental ambitions at this time would be the wrong response," it went.

These environmental groups, the same folks who routinely block the construction of refineries and exploitation of energy resources in this country, of course see evil big business interests behind the apparent balking at spending the equivalent of almost $18 billion per year (which will obviously increase from year to year), and adopt the “open letter” approach to disguise what is in fact their own lobbying effort. The “open letter” is nothing but a PR ploy designed to avoid the appearance of advertising or a press release. Also, it is worth noting that the figure represents only the direct costs of implementation, not the economic consequences.

Realize, the EU acts as if it is not in any way responsible to the people of Europe. Rather than being responsible to the average European, the EU is a construct of the governments of Europe’s member nations. The fact the EU believes the referenda in which the French and Dutch citizens rejected the proposed constitution is irrelevant, while national leaders, who do answer to their citizens, have attached great importance to these votes, demonstrates the disconnect.

When the Founding Fathers wrote the US Constitution, they took exactly the opposite approach: rather than being a construct of the states, the Constitution derives its authority directly from the people of the United States, and the states have no power to alter the Constitution. In the EU structure, it is the people who have no authority over the governing commission, which answers, only indirectly, to its member states. And representation in the EU decision-making process is skewed in a way that the American people would never stand for. Earlier members, France for example, are more heavily represented than later members which are actually larger countries. There is no proportional representation. It is as if the Founding Fathers had drafted a constitution which allowed five Senators to the first few states to ratify, and three to all others. And had left out the directly proportional House of Representatives completely.

This report seems to reflect a division among the members of the EU governing commission itself. This is not good news for the EU, which is already seeing growing divisions among the member nations over economic and social issues. Clearly, as it moves toward a more complete integration of member states into a “single entity”, the EU is experiencing growing pains.

It is perhaps fair to start wondering at this point whether the EU can proceed further without some basic changes to its fundamental nature and structure.

Monday, July 04, 2005


The Declaration of Independence


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.#He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

--John Hancock

New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Space... the final frontier...

OK, OK, I know I shouldn't have used that title, but somehow I just couldn't resist.

If you are interested in the Deep Imapact mission, or astronomy and space exploration generally, check out Tom's Astronomy Blog.

This site has coverage of the Deep Impact mission, some truly stunning images, and a wide array of information and links to other related sites.

Personally, I'm fascinated by space exploration. I was a few months shy of ten years old when Neil Armstrong stepped off that ladder and muffed his prepared line. Under the circumstances, I guess a little stage fright was to be expected. But when it really counted, Armstrong had nerves of steel and ice water in his veins. To this day, few people realize that the landing computer (which was less powerful than the calculator I bought my son for his algebra class) basically crashed, and Armstrong essentially manually landed that tin-foil lunar lander. Armstrong was also the pilot on the first docking mission, when the unmanned module they were docking with spun out of control. There was a reason why, back then, astronauts had all been accomplished pilots before joining the space program.


Call in the scary Americans

I had a link for this, and now I can't find it. But I just can't bring myself to let this one slip by. The UN wants the US to provide troops to protect the UN peacekeeping troops on Haiti. Seems the UN troops are actually being shot at! A UN spokesman said "we need scarier troops."

I swear, I am NOT making this up.

UPDATE: In the original post I had said "Jamaica" instead of "Haiti". Duh! And the US has now turned down the request.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Sites to visit

Not going anywhere for the 4th? Need something to do between the cook-out and dark, when you can shoot off your illegal fireworks in open defiance of the government's efforts to micromanage your life? Here are a couple of blogs for you to check out:

The Balance of Power - This is a team blog that offers a variety of opinions on an issue. There's currently a detailed discussion on the proposition that the right wing is enforcing criminal laws for the purpose of making liberals and libertarians ineligible to vote. There's a very active comment community at this site, too.

Sovereign Commentary - This blog moves along at a good clip, with predominantly short posts on a wide variety of topics. The result is well-written and to-the-point commentary in almost a "news round-up" fashion. Top of the blog right now is a collection of comments on liberty, from folks whose names you'll (hopefully) recognize.

Both will be well worth your time to check out.

And as for fireworks, here in Ohio, it's illegal to have 'em, or shoot 'em off. But you can BUY them in Ohio, as long as you sign a form that says you're immediately taking 'em out of the state to set 'em off. There is no level too low for government to stoop to, when it smells a nickel in taxes to collect. Allow the sale of an illegal item so you can collect the sales tax.

How's that for something to think about on Independence Day?

UPDATE: Oops, forgot to tip my hat to HISTORIUM, where I found links to the above sites.


Poetic Justice

This is just too good to pass up:

Although it’s clearly a publicity stunt (and it’s working) someone has begun an inquiry into using eminent domain to seize the New Hampshire home of Associate Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who voted in the majority in the awful Kelo v. New London case authorizing eminent domain for tax base increases, for development as a hotel.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans."

This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Since Souter voted in the majority in Kelo, he’ll certainly realize that the tax benefit to the town from a hotel outweighs any interest he has in the ownership of his home, right? And he’ll voluntarily sign it over for whatever value the town chooses, right?

Yeah, sure.

Why did I characterize this as a publicity stunt? The applicant is not a developer, he has a tiny internet media outlet, which he used to publish a press release, which people like me are now linking to like crazy.

On the other hand, it's just possible that, given any group of five New Hampshire residents, three of them may not be too kindly disposed to the Kelo decision...

(I originally posted this piece at Chimps at Work)

Friday, July 01, 2005


Justice O'Connor announces retirement, Democrats begin filibuster

"What the heck" Senate minority leader Reid said, "why bother to wait and see who the nominee is? We already know he/she/it is a dangerous extremist."

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