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Monday, November 29, 2010

First Health Care, Next the Food Supply

November 17, 2010
By Michael Geer

Just because the duck is lame doesn't mean it can't still do terrible damage to American freedom. Our new Congress, especially the new House, isn't yet seated, and this current Congress can still wreak terrible havoc on our rights if not stopped.

Case in point: Senate Bill 510, believed to be coming to the floor Wednesday, November 17 (pending). This is the food safety version of ObamaCare. Reading the thing will make your head hurt for all its cognitive dissonance. Trying to winnow out its complexity and hidden empowerments is stultifying.

Introduced by Dick Durbin of Illinois, the bill has moved through the usual phases of amalgamation and deal-making. The monstrosity advancing to the floor on Wednesday is not so much "food safety" as it is the decadence of the rights of small farmers, hobbyist food producers, garden-variety farmers markets, and your average small producer of foodstuffs. Under the rubric of safety, this Senate proposes a bill that establishes such new and sweeping powers over how you and I produce and consume foodstuffs that even the Pew Charitable Trusts * are calling S510 a clear and present danger. National Health Freedom says,

It is a dangerously broad regulatory bill giving extensive discretionary power to the FDA over the entire food supply chain without proper checks and balances to avoid abuse of power;

It would impose one-size-fits-all-regulations on thousands of small and mid-sized farmers, small-scale local farms and food producers,  and would drastically burden, to extinction,  basic natural and organic food suppliers, thus endangering the lives of Americans who depend on local wholesome foods;

It does not reflect a well-thought-out solution, or address the real causes of food safety issues stemming from the industrialized food supply chain; and

 It attempts to limit the authority of our own domestic U.S. laws when it includes language ensuring that our US law will not disturb other international agreements that we have made.  It states: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the U.S. is a party."

Lee Bechtel of the National Health Federation, the nation's oldest health-freedom organization, says,

The concern for freedom and health freedom advocates with the legislation, and the NHF's concern, is not because it addresses existing conventional food safety system problems, tainted imported foods, peanut butter...  et.al. but because of these non-conventional food safety attempts to expand FDA authority and impose more controls over the marketplace and the access to nutritional foods and supplements.

For example, Page 26 Manager's Amendment:

(d) SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE POLICY GUIDE.- Not later than 180 days after the issuance of the regulations promulgated under subsection (m) of section 418 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by subsection (a)), the Secretary shall issue a small entity compliance policy guide setting forth in plain language the requirements of such section 418 and this section to assist small entities in complying with the hazard analysis and other activities required under such section 418 and this Section.

Neither specified nor even alluded to is the empowering language of what "assist" or "hazard analysis" or "small entities" may mean. In federal empowerment legislation, this means whatever they want it to. Lee Bechtel goes on to write,

There is no legislative language that gives any clarity or defines what a "small entity" is. Instead, leaving it up to the FDA to decide the application of the law. The Senate bill unlike the House version does not include specific exemption language for small farmers, small organic farms, etc. In fact, Senator Testor has an amendment to address this matter, if the Democratic Senate leadership allows it to be offered.
Further, how about this for a TSA-brand of intrusion into your affairs? Pg. 3 of the Manager's Amendments to S510 -

(2) USE OF OR EXPOSURE TO FOODS OF CONCERN.-If the Secretary believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to an article of food, and any article of a food, that the Secretary reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner, will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, each person (excluding farms and restaurants) who  manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports such article can be acted upon by the FDA.

That would be you and me, if we're hobby farmers at the local farmer's market.

Dr. Silva Chandra says,

If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public's right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes.  It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one's choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.

What are Republican thinking? Seven out of twelve co-sponsors are Republicans.

SB 510 - The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010

Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL]

Cosponsors:

Lamar Alexander [R-TN]

Jeff Bingaman [D-NM]

Richard Burr [R-NC]

Roland Burris [D-IL]

Saxby Chambliss [R-GA]

Christopher Dodd [D-CT]

Michael Enzi [R-WY]

Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]

Judd Gregg [R-NH]

Thomas Harkin [D-IA]

Orrin Hatch [R-UT]

John Isakson [R-GA]

You know by now that the real dangers of federal legislation are hidden in a root-cluster of treaties, acts, bills, agreements, resolutions, and other governmental legerdemain that disguises the facts. Like with a metastasizing cancer, you have to run down all the tentacles that get back-doored and de-facto empowered rather than focusing just on the prima facia. Or, as Dr. Daniel Geer, Sc.D. says, Complexity is the enemy of security.

S510 puts all U.S. food production under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. And the Department of Defense. We lose not only private-citizen control of our food supply, but sovereignty as well. The bill sets in motion standardization of the food animal supply chain, focusing on eliminating biodiversity in food animal genetic stocks. It further mandates that the federal government control and empower hormonal, genetic, and antibiotic additions to our food supply while postponing most definitions of what will constitute "food crimes" under the bill's sweeping and generalized powers.

Remember Nancy Pelosi's infamous "we'll know after we pass it"?

You may be disposed to embrace a genetically modified, enhanced, and altered food chain, but for those of us who eat our foods unadulterated, raised naturally, and without benefit of the federal government mandating what we can and can't eat, S510 is one more giant step toward consolidating total power over the lives of free citizens. It is standardization on a scale never seen. Remember Ireland and its potato famine. That's what standardization accomplishes. One bug killed an entire economy.

This bill constitutes some of the worst of the worst of corporatist policies favored by the political class controlling our federal government. Conservatives must rebel at any sign of government intrusion into our private affairs, and criminalizing private food production is as wrong as it gets. S510 does just that, if reading between the lines of its muddy language suggests where the lame duck Pelosi-Reid Congress is headed. If implemented, S510 can define as a crime to clean, store, and own seeds or seed stocks unless granted that right by the federal government. Think you'll be granted that "right" when arguing against Monsanto's lawyers?

There's plenty of inflammatory news, blog entries, and postings on the internet regarding S510, and you'll find most of it from sources you'll consider Birkenstock-wearing greenies. So what? Read the bill. Follow the trail of what this bill embraces through the WTO, ending the 1994 Uruguay Agreements. Follow the failed Clinton money through Burson Marsteller  (the giant public relations firm) and on through the empowerment of vague definitions within. And if you can read far enough on the faint trails of treaties, past legislations and acts, you'll realize that the federal government, under successive attempts by the corporatist Left, is grabbing not just your health care, but your food supply.

Its House companion Bill, HR 2749, empowers federal bureaucracies to totally prohibit the movement of any and all foods into or out of a given area (Section 133b, "Authority to Prohibit or Restrict the Movement of Food," sponsored by Congressman Dingell). Sure, sure, the idea may be to prevent the spread of dangerous foods, but once the camel's nose is under the tent, you know what can happen.

In other words, what are Republicans doing, signing on to legislation so grievous to the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect?
*Correction:
Erik Olsen of the Pew Health Group informs us that Pew strongly supports S.510. The linked blog post is a video of comments by Sandra Eskin, director of Pew's Food Safety Campaign, who speaks in support of the measure. The characterization of Pew's stance on S.510 is incorrect and American Thinker regrets the error.

The author invites email comments at geer.michael@gmail.com. He is a hobbyist farmer, rancher, and patriot.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/first_healthcare_next_the_food.html at November 29, 2010 - 10:12:28 AM CST

Federal Farming Power Grab Scheduled for Senate Vote Today

November 29, 2010
By Michael Geer

S.510, the Senate bill set to vastly expand federal power over agriculture, potentially choking off small local growers and hobby farmers, is set for a vote today.


Cloture, or a vote to end debate on S.150 took place on Wednesday November 17 with 74 votes for and 25 opposed. A final Manager's Amendment came into being after more than thirty hours of debate following Cloture.


A Manager's Amendment is, quoting C-SPAN Congressional Glossary, a package of numerous individual amendments agreed to by both sides in advance. The managers are the majority and the minority member who manage the debate on a bill for their side.


On Thursday November 18, Tom Coburn (R-OK) held up the Bill through design by asking for an Amendment meant to address the subject of Earmarks. A Motion to Proceed was voted on and passed.


Quoting Lee Bechtel, National Health Federation, "during the debate, Senator Harkin described some of the key points in the yet-to-be-voted-on Manager's Amendment.  Among other changes, the final Manager's Amendment included an exemption for dietary supplements from Codex [1] food guidelines, exemption language for dietary supplement manufacturers and retailers from the conventional food company and distributor registration fees, reporting and product traceability requirements. The final Manager's Amendment also included the Tester-Hagan [2] amendment exempting small farmers and retailers; organic farmers were already exempted from FDA registration fee, reporting, and product traceability requirements, for farms with less than $500,000 in gross receipts.  The compromise language was very close to the original Tester amendment, which is why Senators Tester and Hagan both voted in favor of moving the bill forward.


Friday, November 19th, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced agreement had been reached on the order of final amendments and votes on S.510, which are now scheduled for Monday, November 29, after the Thanksgiving recess.  There will be a second cloture vote on the motion to proceed, followed by debate and votes on two amendments to be offered by Senator Coburn.  These are to be followed by debate and a vote on the Manager's Amendment to the original S.510 bill. If successful, the vote on final bill passage follows.


As explained by Senator Harkin, he and Senators Reid and Durbin had worked out an agreement in advance of Senate passage with House Democratic leadership to accept the Senate-passed bill, hold it at the House desk, and then vote on passage of the Senate bill.  This procedural maneuvering eliminates the usual joint Senate-House conference committee to work out differences with the Waxman and House passed Food Safety bill, H.R. 2749.  If the House approves, the final version of the Senate Food Safety bill would then be sent to President Obama for signing into new law."


Here's the nut of it; S.510 as originally envisioned by Dick Durbin (D-IL) has been moderated but not eliminated in the sense of preventing more Big Government. While no one in his right mind would argue against food safety, valid arguments can and have been raised against more government layered on top of the Big Government we already have. Amendments have been offered and appear to be in the final Bill which seem to address the concerns of small businesses, small farmers, small ranchers, small food producers, farmers markets, hobbyists, home gardeners and seed enthusiasts and such.


The Bill, as it stands now, is going to be available to be voted on after reconciliation with the House version (HR 2749) with this proviso; no monies will be appropriated for this expanded authority in addition to the FDA's current $4 billion+ budget. The suggestion that new fees imposed by these changes by the FDA will not begin to cover expansive new bureaucracies that would be enacted into law are correct.  To carry out all of the new rules and FDA authorities, new spending will have to be approved, or current spending levels for other FDA programs or regulatory activities will have to be reduced.  The beast can be starved in the future even if not defeated outright the first time around.


Now, a multi-part discussion is necessary to even scratch the surface of our national food supply and the safeguarding of that food supply, including defining terms from the Bill, such as National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy. Imported foods, overseas processed food plants, all sorts of possible breakdowns in food safety have to be discussed.


Let's look at arguments for S.510 and its cccopanion HR 2749. The two sides of debate concerning these proposed sweeping laws can be roughly divided up into traditional and big business practices on one side and natural and small operations on the other.


From the Florida Organic Growers website, we learn they've urged passage of S.510 - Florida Organic Growers Policy if, and I repeat if the Tester-Hagan Amendment is included in the final Bill. Quoting from their Statement,


"The bill takes important steps to improve corporate food safety rules but it is not appropriate for small farms and processors that sell to restaurants, food coops, groceries, schools, wholesalers and at farm stands and farmers markets.


"NSAC thinks that these farms should have food safety plans appropriate to their size and processing practices. But it is critical that as we ramp up food safety protections we don't inadvertently do harm to family farm value- added processing and the growing investments in local and regional food systems by imposing expensive, one-size-fits- all rules."


That's a provisional Yes from a substantial natural-market interest group.


From  Growing Produce there's a valuable discussion titled Two Sides To Food Safety: "Despite the recent foodborne illness outbreak, legislators need to make sure food safety regulations take both large and small growers into consideration." Which is not in favor of S.510 but explains that there's two sides to the debate. The depth of market difficulties that have to be navigated by the men and women who just bring you leafy greens is hardly known to the average consumer, and it would be good if you read up on the Home - National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement for start. Farming and ranching are tough businesses.


The industry trade group Food Marketing Institute urges swift passage of Food Safety Modernization Act - FMI NEWS RELEASE  Marion Nestle of Food Politics urges passage of the Bill reasoning that whether you're large or small, if you produce food for sale, you need to be accountable to food safety laws, and accountable to your buyers. No argument there. Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma argues that the Bill should be passed though it is not perfect, because we don't live in a perfect world (I don't think that puts words in his mouth) Read his interview with Ezra Klein of the Washington Post here


GRIST presents a well rounded version of Pros and Cons in their Food Fight debate and is worth your time.


And, from Bill Marler, an attorney specializing in food safety and food borne illneses at the MarlerBlog we read


"I am heading to DC early next week to attend with clients the House Energy and Commerce hearing on the latest in food safety theatre – the Egg Hearings (my bet is DeCoster �"takes the 5th�"). I also hope to be able to move forward the non-O157:H7 ball a bit more. However, I am still stunned that S. 510 will not move this session, and, given the likely results of the upcoming mid-term elections, will never see the light of day in my, or Linda's lifetime. As you might well recall, Linda Rivera is a Nevada woman who contracted E. coli from cookie dough and has been battling for her life for the past sixteen months, had been promised the Senate will move on the pending food safety bill, S. 510--the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. A constituent of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Rivera and her family had also become key advocates for the bill that has languished in the Senate for months.


Obama Foodorama (yes, there actually is a website dedicated to Obama food initiatives) has an interesting take on the Bill by referring to Senators Tester and Coburn as throwing monkey wrenches into this legislation. Read it for yourself.


Here's the curious thing: I've spent weeks scouring the internet for published reasons to support S.510. I suggest you do the same for five minutes. You won't find much. And you'd think for such a massive bill there'd be arguments for supporting it, but internet search engines won't be any help. There's almost no voice out there in support. That makes my nose itch.


One of the sources supporting the Food Safety and Modernization Act (S.510) is the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and their article National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition » Archive » Senate Food Safety Bill Includes Improvements That Support Farmers


What was all the shouting about in my first article, Wednesday November 17? With quotes from respected sources that with passage of S.510 we would lose our ability to grow our own gardens, save and trade seeds, make farmers markets into FDA police riots and food police with their noses in everything. What was that all about? Because, demonstrably, there's not a single thing in the Bill that says anything like that. Let us turn to an advocate of big government:


Do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.
 - Lyndon Johnson


Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) authored a comprehensive  description of what's wrong with S.510. I see no reason to add to his exposition and have his permission to use it in full, with my highest possible recommendation. He published Tuesday November 23 in USA Today.


Detailed Concerns with S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010



Growing an Already Disjointed and Duplicative Federal Government


In 2008, GAO testified before a House subcommittee that "FDA is one of 15 agencies that collectively administer at least 30 laws related to food safety. This fragmentation is the key reason GAO added the federal oversight of food safety to its High-Risk Series in January 2007 and called for a government wide reexamination of the food safety system. We have reported on problems with this system-including inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources."


Specifically, GAO found that in 2003, FDA and USDA activities included overlapping and duplicative inspections of 1,451 domestic food-processing facilities that produce foods regulated by both agencies. This GAO testimony came on the heels of a 2005 GAO report that identified significant overlap in food safety activities conducted by USDA and the FDA, and to some extent the EPA and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), including "71 interagency agreements [to coordinate overlapping activities] that the agencies entered into... However, the agencies have weak mechanisms for tracking these agreements that...lead to ineffective implementation."


This overlap was evident in the egg salmonella scare. The Wall Street Journal reported (USDA Graders Saw Bugs and Trash at Egg Producer; Didn't Tell FDA) that U.S. Department of Agriculture experts knew about sanitary problems at one of the two Iowa farms at the center of a massive nationwide egg recall, but did not notify health authorities.) USDA inspects farms and gives eggs their "Grade A" label, while the FDA technically is tasked with the safety of the final egg product.


This discrepancy was the impetus behind an egg safety rule originally promulgated 10 years ago by the FDA. Unfortunately, three administrations sat on the proposed rule without finalizing and implementing it. FDA Commissioner Dr. Hamburg stated, "We believe that had these rules been in place at an earlier time, it would have very likely enabled us to identify the problems on this farm before this kind of outbreak occurred." A lack of regulatory bill isn't the problem.


Charging the Bill to our Children and Grandchildren


The legislation will cost $1.4 billion over 5 years. This cost does not include an additional $230 million in expenditures that are directly offset by fees collected for those activities (re-inspections, mandatory recalls, etc.). The total cost of the bill is over $1.6 billion over 5 years. Of these costs, $335 million are for non-FDA programs - the food allergy grant program, implementation grants to assist producers, assistance grants to states and Indian Tribes.


Many argue that this spending is just "discretionary." It is important to realize that the CBO score reflects the cost of the increase in FDA's scope. It is true that this bill only authorizes funding (though problematically, for the first time ever provides an authorization line for just food activities at FDA).


If future appropriations do not add up to the amount CBO is estimating, the likely result is that none of these provisions can be fully implemented, or worse, the FDA is forced to cut corners in other areas it regulates (drugs/devices/etc.) to fund this added regulatory burden on foods.


Without paying for this bill, at best we are just passing it for a press release, and at worst, we shackle the FDA with unfunded mandates.


New and Unnecessary Non-FDA Spending


CBO estimates that implementing other provisions of S. 510 would increase non-FDA discretionary spending by $335 million over the 2011-2015 period. The bill would authorize three grant programs outside the purview of the FDA:


School-based allergy and anaphylaxis management grants. Authorized at $30 million annually, CBO estimates that this program would cost $107 million over the 2011-2015 period. This program creates new federal standards for how local schools deal with food allergies and ties the "voluntary" standards to eligibility for federal grant funds. This is not a federal role, the standards are overly prescriptive, and it duplicates existing efforts. The CDC has already published extensive best practices for how local schools can implement sounder strategies for dealing with food allergens. The word "food" is the only relationship between legislation to dictate the food allergy policies of local schools and legislation to modernize how the FDA regulates the food industry.
Food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance grants. Enacting the bill would require the Secretary of HHS to enter into cooperative agreements with the Secretary of Agriculture to provide grants for food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance to owners and operators of farms, small food processors, and small fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Based on spending patterns of similar programs, CBO estimates that implementing this provision would cost $21 million over the next five years
Food safety participation grants for states and Indian tribes. S. 510 would authorize the appropriation of $19.5 million for fiscal year 2010 and such sums in subsequent years to award grants to states and Indian tribes to expand participation in food safety efforts. CBO estimates that implementing this provision would cost $83 million over the 2011-2015 period.
Along with the grant programs, S. 510 also would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to participate in food safety activities and would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance its participation in food safety activities. CBO estimates that EPA will incur costs of about $2 million annually. CDC is required to significantly increase its surveillance activities, which CBO estimates will cost $100 million over 5 years. CDC is also required to set up "Centers of Excellence" at selected state health departments to prepare for food outbreaks at a cost of $4 million annually.


Burdensome New Regulations


There are 225 pages of new regulations, many of which are problematic. While some regulations are potentially onerous, but perhaps reasonable - such as requiring every facility to have a scientifically-based, but very flexible, food safety plan-others give FDA sweeping authority with potentially significant consequences.


While it is hard to pull out just 1 or 2 regulations in the bill that make the entire thing unpalatable, on the whole this bill represents a weighty new regulatory structure on the food industry that will be particularly difficult for small producers and farms to comply with (with little evidence it will make food safer). The following regulations are perhaps the most troubling:


Performance standards. The bill gives the Secretary the authority to "issue contaminant-specific and science-based guidance documents, action levels, or regulations." The way the bill is written the authority is extremely broad and could be used by FDA to issue very specific and onerous regulations on food facilities, without even the normal rule-making and guidance process FDA food regulations normally go through.
Traceability. FDA is required to establish a "product tracing system within the FDA" based and develop additional record keeping requirements for foods determined to be "high risk." The House legislation includes "full pedigree" trace-back which puts FDA in charge of tracing the entire supply chain. The final bill requires the FDA to do this for high-risk foods, and while there are some limitations on FDA, anything further than the "one-up-one-back" requirement in the bioterrorism law will be very onerous on industry.
Standards for produce safety. For produce, this bill gives FDA the authority to create commodity-specific safety standards for produce. Instead of trusting industry and the free-market, this provision implies that complying with government standards is the best way to keep consumers safe. A lot of the produce industry lobbied for these standards to provide "consumer confidence" after the jalapeno and tomato scare, but federal regulations could particularly adversely impact small providers.
Other regulations in this bill are overly punitive and could set up an adverse relationship with industry. They include:


Administrative Detention of Food. The bill lowers the threshold for detaining articles of food to "adulterated or misbranded." The threshold is currently higher for a reason-administrative detention is an authority that should only be used when there is clear, imminent danger.
Suspension of Registration. Facility registration may be suspended if there is a reasonable probability that food from the responsible facility will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. "Reasonable probability" isn't a difficult enough burden for FDA to prove when the consequence is closing down a private business.
Fees. Allows FDA to assess fees for compliance failures (recalls and re-inspections). These fees give FDA incentive to find reasons to re-inspect a facility or order a mandatory recall-the only ways they can collect money for their efforts. Furthermore, assessing industry to pay for a new regulatory structure will increase food costs for consumers during a recession.
Mandatory Recall Authority. Provides FDA with the authority to force a recall (and collect fees to pay for it). It is unclear why this authority is necessary - even in the worst food safety outbreaks, there do not appear to be any instances in which tainted products were on the shelves or with distributors that the company at fault did not work with FDA to conduct a voluntary recall. Allowing FDA to collect fees for forcing a mandatory recall could also push FDA to pull the trigger early on a mandatory recall - putting them at odds with the company responsible.

Taking off from Lyndon Johnson's observation, quoted above, the ambiguity of language in S.510 provides a giant opportunity for empowered authorities to make up both the intent and meaning of these proposed regulations and interpret this law as they see fit when they should be  constrained by specifics. Legislators can be amazingly specific when they want to be. But Law that is couched in terms and phrases that are ambiguously open to interpretation are exactly what leads to cascading unintended consequences. And many believe that's exactly why ambiguous language is used. Along the lines of better to ask forgiveness than permission. Or, more bluntly, we'll do as we please, see you in Court and we'll let a Judge sort it out.


This is exactly why so much distress and anger permeates the internet over S.510; the possibility of slowly eroding the natural rights of home gardeners and their valued seed stocks in the face of the sweeping changes genetically patented seed lines represent. Attorneys for multinational corporations making these GMO seeds are ruthless in pursuing lawsuits to enforce what they claim is patent infringement. Even when it is Nature spreading these seeds into fields and farms and not by consent or intent of farmers who find GMO patented seeds suddenly among their crops. The what if scenarios of ambiguous language coupled to a corporatist-Statist administration is frightening and the people raising an alarm about home gardens and seed stocks are probably not Chicken Littles. If recent history is any indication.


It's sophomorically easy and disingenuous to arm chair quarterback. The safety of our food supply and the responsibility for overseeing what that requires is a gargantuan undertaking. Hats off to every one in the chain of that command who is doing the job right, efficiently and without bureaucratic malice. But, arming that chain of command with both vastly enlarged responsibilities that are riddled with ambiguous, at best, powers of enforcement and guidelines is to ensure law that harms rather than protects. Man is a fickle animal capable of glory and honor but just as capable of chicanery and greed. Ambiguity invites disaster.


Lastly, S.510 is an inverted pyramid of power. Growing federal mandates on top of an already top heavy bureaucratic leviathan is neither efficient nor safe. Going to the well again, let's say it over and over Complexity Is The Enemy Of Security.


As sweeping a Bill as has ever been introduced regarding food safety, S.510 reaches too far, too wide, embraces too much with a one size fits all world-view and instead of the hard work of focusing on specific issues and making those work within the structure of Laws and Regulations and Departments already empowered the authors of S.510 chose to use the biggest brush on the biggest canvas.


Resulting in embodying the truism - Complexity Is The Enemy Of Security.


Dump S.510, go back to the drawing board, leverage the brilliance of the free market and reinstitute simplicity for the sake of security.


Michael Geer invites comments at geer.michael@gmail.com


 [1] Codex Alimentarius Codex Alimentarius - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - make sure you read the Controversy section; then do further research on why the United States Congress considers any legislation which advances United Nations' goals regarding our self-determined and independent preferences of foods, supplements, vitamins and other nutritional choices.


[2] Senator John Tester (D-MT) is a Certified organic farmer. T-Bones farm is 1,400 acres and a diverse organic operation.


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/the_federal_farming_power_grab.html at November 29, 2010 - 10:08:36 AM CST

Hugo Chavez Loves Wikileaks

Posted by Peter Schweizer Nov 29th 2010 at 7:29 am

If there can be any doubt that our enemies are enjoying this fresh round of disclosures by Wikileaks,  look no further than this speech a couple of days ago by Hugo Chavez,  in which he talks about “bandits” and “fascists” in Washington.  He is full of praise for Wikileaks. Wonder what would happen to Wikileaks if it was based out of Caracus and exposed the inner workings of the Chavez regime. Excerpts from the speech,  which was published in Cuba’s Granma:

“’What will the U.S. Parliament have to say about these reports, about these documents that were secret and which have now been published on this Wikileaks page? What does Wikileaks mean? like Chávez Candanga.
“’On March 15, 2010, Wiki Candanga made public a Department of Defense report dealing with various leaks made by this website in relation to U.S. interests and proposed a number of ways to minimize it: a video of the murder of journalists.’ I have here some of the documents, they are public. It remains to be seen if some authority in the United States takes an initiative in the face of these crimes, or these alleged crimes, right? I’m no judge to determine that, alleged serious crimes committed by citizens of its country, civilian, military, by its government.
“I read: ‘On April 5, 2010, Wikileaks published a video in which U.S. soldiers can be seen murdering the Reuters reporter, Namir Noor-Eldeen, his assistant and nine other people. It can clearly be seen that none of those present were showing any signs of attacking the Apache helicopter from which they were being fired on. Although the Reuters agency has asked for the video on numerous occasions, that was denied to them until Wikileaks obtained this unpublished video which put the military apparatus of the United States in checkmate.’
“Well, put in checkmate is a saying, right? At least morally.”

And:
“Daily logs of the war in Afghanistan, July 25, 2010, were also published. Documentation of the war in Iraq. Listen to this sentence: On October 22, 2010 – just a few days ago – Wikileaks published on its web page a compendium entitled Iraq War Logs, containing 391,831 documents leaked from the Pentagon, about the war in Iraq and its occupation from January of 2004 to December 31, 2009, which reveals, among other issues, the systematic use of torture; the figure of 109,032 dead in Iraq, 61,081 of which were civilian, 63%; 23,984 ‘enemy’ labeled as insurgents, 15,196 ‘host country’ Iraqi government forces. What a way to visit a country! And 3,771 ‘friends’ dead, coalition forces. The documents reveal that, over the course of six years, on average, 31 civilians died everyday.
“Who is investigating this? Who is accountable for this? No, it’s the empire, the failed U.S. state. I read this phrase: ‘These documents which are organized chronologically and by categories describe lethal military actions involving the United States military. They include the number of persons internally stated to be killed, wounded, or detained during each action, together with the precise geographical location of each event, and the military units involved and major weapon systems used.’ Enough details for an investigation.
“What will the U.S. Congress say about this? There’s our ambassador to Washington. Are you still the ambassador there? Yes, you are the ambassador. As far as we know, they’ve said nothing, right?
“It says here, ‘most entries have been written by soldiers and intelligence officers listening to reports radioed in from front line deployments.
“’Civilian victims of the coalition forces. At the same time – it says here – ‘large numbers of attacks and deaths have come to light caused by troops firing on unarmed drivers, based on the fear that they might be suicide bombers.
“’A detailed report of how a child was murdered and another wounded when troops fired on the car in which they were traveling. As compensation for the attack, the family was paid 100,000 afganis, for a dead child, 1,600 euros.’ Capitalism pays, 20,000 afganis, 335 euros for the wounded child, 10,000 afganis, 167 euros for the vehicle. And, in the reports, all of these are called ‘small tragedies,’ ‘small tragedies.’ This is the great threat, the greatest threat facing the planet today.
“The yankee empire, no doubt, has entered a period of political and economic decline, and above all ethical decline, but who can deny its great military power, which, combined with other factors, turns this, the most powerful empire in the world’s history into a much greater threat to our peoples. What can we do? It has been said as well: unity, unity and more unity.

Pakistan Gov't Barred from Pardoning Christian on Death Row



Mon, Nov. 29, 2010 Posted: 07:13 AM EDT

The Pakistani government was barred on Monday by the country's high court from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.
A lawyer argued that a pardon would be illegal while the case was pending in the courts.
"Since the matter is in the high court, the government cannot now make any move to pardon Bibi," lawyer Allah Bakhsh Leghari told Agence France-Presse.
Asia Bibi was sentenced early this month to death by hanging for allegedly speaking ill of Prophet Muhammad. The Christian mother of five is the first woman to receive a death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan.
Bibi's attorney filed an appeal and signed a petition pleading for a presidential pardon.
Religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, and human rights groups have called for her release but conservative Muslims have threatened anarchy if President Asif Ali Zadari pardons the woman.
Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said he expects Bibi to be freed. He was charged with investigating the accusations against Bibi and said preliminary findings show that she is innocent.
Bibi was arrested in 2009 following a petty argument she had with fellow field workers. She was picking fruit in the field with fellow Muslim workers and went to get water for the group. Upon returning, the Muslim women in the field refused to drink the water because the container was touched by a Christian.
Bibi was offended and argued with the women, but then afterwards thought nothing of the incident. However, a few days later dozens of Muslims dragged her away. She was accused of blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, which she denies.
Human rights group Christian Freedom International warns that Bibi's case could set a precedent in the Muslim-majority nation where Christians are already harassed and persecuted regularly.
"If Asia is put to death, it could mean a rise in prosecutions of Christians – not just in Pakistan, but also in other nations where Islamic law is enforced," the group warned.
In the past, Pakistan’s courts have issued death sentences for blasphemy, but no executions have been carried out. All the death sentences were thrown out upon appeal.
Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Copyright © 2010 Christianpost.com. All rights reserved.

Pakistani Woman Appeals Death Sentence for 'Blasphemy'



Mon, Nov. 15, 2010 Posted: 02:48 PM EDT

LAHORE, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Attorneys for a Christian mother of five sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly speaking ill of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, have filed an appeal of the verdict, they said.
Bowing to pressure from Muslim extremists in Pakistan, according to the Christian woman’s husband and rights groups, a district court judge handed down the stunning sentence to Asia Noreen on Monday (Nov. 8). Additional District and Sessions Judge Naveed Ahmed Chaudhary of Nankana Sahib district delivered the verdict under Pakistan’s controversial “blasphemy” statute, the kind of law that a resolution before the United Nations condemning “defamation of religions” would make legitimate internationally.
Noreen is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s widely condemned law against defaming Islam.
Noreen’s lawyer, Chaudhry Tahir Shahzad, said that among other allegations, she was accused of denying that Muhammad was a prophet.
“How can we expect a Christian to affirm a Muslim belief?” Shahzad said. He added that he and lawyer Manzoor Qadir had filed an appeal against the district sessions court’s verdict in the Lahore High Court.
Asia (alternately spelled Aasya) Noreen has been languishing in isolation in jail since June of last year after she argued with fellow field workers in Ittanwali village who were trying to pressure her into renouncing Christianity. Her husband, Ashiq Masih, told Compass that the argument began after the wife of an Ittanwali elder sent her to fetch water in Nankana Sahib district, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Lahore in Punjab Province.
The Muslim women told Noreen that it was sacrilegious to drink water collected by a non-Muslim, he said.
“My wife only said, ‘Are we not all humans?’ when the Muslim women rebuked her for her faith,” Masih, a field laborer, told Compass by telephone. “This led to an altercation.”
The women told Muslim cleric Muhammad Salim about the June 14 incident, and he filed a case with police on June 19, 2009, according to police. On that day (June 19), Masih said, the Muslim women suddenly raised a commotion, accusing Noreen of defaming Muhammad.
“Several Muslim men working in the nearby fields reached the spot and forced their way into our house, where they tortured Asia and the children,” said Masih, who confirmed that his wife is 45 years old and that they have five children – four girls and a boy, the oldest daughter 20.
Police arrived and took his wife into custody, presumably for her own protection, he said.
“They saved Asia’s life, but then later a case was registered against her under Sections 295-B and C [blaspheming the Quran and Muhammad, respectively] at the Nankana police station on the complaint of Muhammad Salim, the local imam [prayer leader] of the village,” he said. “Asia has been convicted on false charges. We have never, ever insulted the prophet Muhammad or the Quran.”
Salim reportedly claimed that Noreen confessed to speaking derogatorily of Islam’s prophet and apologized. Under immense pressure from local Muslims, according to Masih and Sohail Johnson of Sharing Life Ministry, local judge Chaudhary ruled out the possibility that Noreen was falsely accused. In spite of repeated efforts by the Muslim women to pressure her into renouncing her faith, the judge also reportedly ruled “there were no mitigating circumstances.”
Chaudhary also fined her 100,000 rupees (US$1,150), according to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).
Ataul Saman of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) said that lower court verdicts in blasphemy cases are usually overturned by higher courts. He said lower court proceedings take place under intense pressure, with local Muslims gathering outside and chanting slogans to pressure judges. Saman added that NCJP research showed that up to 80 percent of blasphemy charges are filed against people to settle personal scores.
Rights groups have long criticized Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as too easily used to settle grudges or oppress religious minorities, such as the more than 4 million Christians that Operation World estimates out of Pakistan’s total population of 184.7 million. To date no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, as most are freed on appeal after suffering for years under appalling prison conditions. Vigilantes have killed at least 10 people accused of blasphemy, rights groups estimate.
Noreen was convicted under Section 295-C of the defamation statutes for alleged derogatory comments about Muhammad, which is punishable by death, though life imprisonment is also possible. Section 295-B makes willful desecration of the Quran or a use of its extract in a derogatory manner punishable with life imprisonment. Section 295-A of the defamation law prohibits injuring or defiling places of worship and “acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class of citizens.” It is punishable by life imprisonment, which in Pakistan is 25 years.
Between 1986 and August 2009, at least 974 people have been charged with defiling the Quran or insulting Muhammad, according to the NCJP. Those charged included 479 Muslims, 340 Ahmadis, 119 Christians, 14 Hindus and 10 from other religions.
Johnson of Sharing Life Ministry, which is active in prisons and has been following Noreen’s case from the onset, said he was impressed by her continued faith.
“A week before the verdict, I went to visit Asia in jail,” he said. “I asked her what she was expecting. She told me that Jesus would rescue her from this fake case.”
The verdict was shocking in that no one was expecting a death sentence for a woman, he said. Masih agreed.
“Asia was hoping that the judge would free her and she would come home to be with us, but this conviction has dashed our hopes for now,” Masih said.
He said that since the sentencing, authorities have not allowed him or other members of their family to visit his wife.
“We don’t know yet how she is, but we trust the Lord,” he said. “Asia is suffering for Jesus, and He will not forsake her.”
Compass Direct News

Copyright © 2010 Christianpost.com. All rights reserved.

Muslims Protest Possible Pardon for Pakistani Christian Woman



Wed, Nov. 24, 2010 Posted: 01:30 PM EDT

A group of hard-line Muslims, including many students from Islamic schools, protested Wednesday in the city of Lahore against a possible presidential pardon for a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.
About 250 people participated in the demonstration, organized by the Movement for Protection of the Prophet’s Honor, to oppose the pardon and the effort to change the country’s controversial blasphemy law, which has been widely condemned by the international community and human rights groups.
“We are ready to sacrifice our life for the Prophet Muhammad,” protesters chanted, according to The Associated Press.
Also on Wednesday, two well-known Pakistani Muslim leaders threatened to call for a nationwide protest if President Asif Ali Zadari goes through with the pardon.
“If the president pardons Asia Bibi, we will raise our voices across the country until he is forced to take his decision back,” said Mufti Muneer Ur Rehman, according to CNN.
Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was scheduled to submit his report investigating the accusation against Bibi – the first woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan – on Wednesday to President Zardari. But Bhatti today said he will submit the report on Thursday.
Bibi on Saturday had signed a petition pleading with Zardari for a presidential pardon. Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, one of the most vocal advocates for Bibi’s release, delivered the petition to Zardari.
In an interview with CNN International’s “Connect the World” program Tuesday, Taseer said President Zardari will pardon the Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging.
“What basically he’s made it clear is that she’s not going to be a victim of this law,” Taseer said. “I mean, he’s a liberal, modern-minded president and he’s not going to see a poor woman like this targeted and executed. … It’s just not going to happen.”
The Punjab governor also highlighted that Bibi appealed her case to the higher court, which could also overrule the lower court’s decision. Either through the higher court or a presidential pardon, BIbi will be set free, Taseer said.
In the past, Pakistan’s courts have issued death sentences for blasphemy, but no executions have been carried out. All the death sentences were thrown out upon appeal.
Bibi, a mother of five, has been imprisoned for one-and-a-half years without being allowed to give her statement in court. Her current imprisonment, she said, stems from a petty argument she had with fellow field workers in June 2009.
She was picking fruit in the field with fellow Muslim workers and went to get water for the group. Upon returning, the Muslim women in the field refused to drink the water because the container was touched by a Christian.
Bibi was offended and argued with the women, but then afterwards thought nothing of the incident. However, a few days later dozens of Muslims dragged her away. She was accused of blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, which she denies.
“I have small children,” pleaded Bibi to reporters Saturday from her prison in Punjab province. “For God’s sake, please set me free.”
Bhatti, a Christian and former chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, said earlier this week that his preliminary findings show that Bibi is innocent and he will recommend that the president pardons her. The minorities minister said he has received death threats for his work on behalf of the persecuted but he is not afraid.
“I am ready to sacrifice everything for the justice that I believe in,” Bhatti said, according to AP.
Pakistan’s Christian community makes up less than five percent of the country’s population of 175 million people.
Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter

Copyright © 2010 Christianpost.com. All rights reserved.

Top 10 Kid’s Movies With Hidden Conservative Messages

Posted By Stacy Webber On November 29, 2010 @ 8:00 am


Here we are at the beginning of the Holiday “season.” All parents know that these breaks bring with them pleas from children for some extra time in front of what my priest refers to as “the magic lantern” and my husband calls “the devil box.” There is truth in each of these labels, but most Moms call it ”an hour and a half of peace and quiet to get a few things done.”
Yes, I am speaking of the television. While it can be argued that watching TV is an inferior way to spend time, it does play a role in the lives of most — OK,  pretty much all — families. I would argue that not all TV viewing is the same. Movies, because of the absence of commercials, are far superior to anything that you can find channel surfing. Commercial free-PBS is not much better. While it does not show many product commercials, it is often worse than network or cable television due to the obnoxious amount of politically correct messages and indoctrination into the leftist agenda by puppets and cartoon characters. Movies, if they are any good, have the ability to hold a child’s uninterrupted attention and convey a message in tact.
So, what children watch does make a difference. For example, does anyone want their daughters learning teen morality from Hannah Montana or her evil twin Miley Cyrus? Since we will sit our kids in front of the TV at some point, I  have compiled a list of the top ten kid’s movies with hidden conservative messages.

"The Gods of the Copybook Headings" by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Bombs Don't Kill People; Terrorists Do

November 28, 2010

By Bruce Walker

The Left's obsession with focusing on dangerous things, rather than dangerous people, shows up in different ways. Bombs, for example, are designed to be safe. My father served at Fort Sill Army Base during part of his time in military service. That base is home to the United States Army Field Artillery School. In addition, every Marine trains in field artillery trains at Fort Sill, as do friendly military forces from other nations. The sheer amount of potential destructive power in the hands of these young men dwarfs everything that each terrorist group in the Middle East could ever muster. Yet Fort Sill is a very safe place to be. Extreme caution is taken to make sure that the vast munitions at this base are no threat to anyone. Why? The people with artillery are the good guys. Artillery shells don't kill people; bad guys do.


The whole dreary debate over gun control smacks of the same tone-deaf Leftist foolishness. Americans grew up with guns, and often guns much less safe than those made today. Young boys went out and hunted game. Many families grew up with rifles or shotguns on racks in the living room. When people owned guns and knew how to use the guns safely, the danger of violent crime was much lower than today. The violent crime rate in America has increased by 170% since 1960 despite the increased number of federal and state gun control laws. Guns did not cause these crimes; criminals did. Treating all Americans like criminals did not make us safer at all.


The leftist lunacy when it comes to potentially dangerous things and genuinely dangerous people was rampant during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons, silly people across the Free World told us, were a grave danger to the survival of mankind. Yet what sane person lost a wink of sleep because France had 482 nuclear warheads, or because Britain had 200 nuclear warheads? It was inconceivable that either nation, which had the power to kill perhaps 100 million people in an hour, would ever do so. Israel has a significant number of nuclear weapons, and so does India. Those nations would use their weapons only as a last resort.


The danger during the Cold War was the result of a totalitarian power possessing large numbers of nuclear weapons. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the danger of nuclear war diminished astronomically. As North Korea increases its puny nuclear arsenal and delivery systems, the world faces real and great danger -- not because of the things (the nuclear weapons), but rather because of the people involved (tormented slaves of an erratic Eastern potentate garbed in the risible "science" of Karl Marx). The danger of fission weapons (atomic bombs), fusion weapons (hydrogen bombs), biological weapons, and chemical weapons is the malice of those who possess it. Weapons of mass destruction do not kill people; mad tyrants do.


This is precisely the disconnect which the Left faces with airport security and passenger examinations. The danger is not that someone will bring a handgun, a knife, or even an explosive on an airliner. Properly stored and maintained, none of these will do the slightest harm to anyone. In fact, if every passenger on September 11, 2001 had been armed, the terrorists would almost certainly have been stopped. Disarming the innocent never stops violence. 


Moreover, the "things" which can be used to cause injury are as endless as human imagination, and in the hands of terrorists, almost anything can be used to murder large numbers of people. The variety of methods and tools of destruction are as broad as the bored minds of evil men. Anyone who has toured a prison can hear from guards about the remarkable ingenuity with which inmates can make real-looking "guns" or very real knives and other weapons. 


The only way remove enough of the "things" which threaten air travel would be to strip-search every passenger, issue official garb (like inmates in prison or in a mental institution), and haul these passengers in an environment as sterile and as stark as the suicide watch cell of a county jail. We know, of course, the sane, humane, and easy way to make us safe:  profile and research passengers. Before that happens, however, the Left must realize that life is full of "things" and that these are almost never the real problem. Neither the Holocaust nor the Gulag was a product of railroads and cattle cars. Those horrors were, as with the terrorists who would murder young children flying to Grandmother for Thanksgiving, the product of monsters. The way to end their evil is to defeat them. 


Bruce Walker is the author of a new book: Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/bombs_dont_kill_people_terrori.html at November 29, 2010 - 08:42:33 AM CST

U.S. Army Unveils 'Revolutionary' XM25 Rifle in Afghanistan

By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published November 28, 2010 | FoxNews.com

Since the dawn of modern warfare, the best way to stay alive in the face of incoming fire has been to take cover behind a wall. But thanks to a game-changing "revolutionary" rifle, the U.S. Army has made that tactic dead on arrival. Now the enemy can run, but he can't hide.
After years of development, the U.S. Army has unleashed a new weapon in Afghanistan -- the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, a high-tech rifle that can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition does not necessarily explode on impact. Instead, it can be set to detonate either in front of or behind a target, meaning it literally will go through a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy.
It also has a range of roughly 2,300 feet -- nearly the length of eight football fields -- making it possible to fire at targets well past the range of the rifles and carbines that most soldiers carry today.
Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the semi-automatic, shoulder-fired weapon system for the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office Soldier, said that the XM25's capability alone is such a "game-changer" that it'll lead to new ways of fighting on the battlefield, beginning this month in Afghanistan.
"With this weapon system, we take away cover from [enemy targets] forever," Lehner told FoxNews.com on Wednesday. "Tactics are going to have to be rewritten. The only thing we can see [enemies] being able to do is run away."
And that would make it much easier for U.S. troops to put them in their sights, either with that same XM25 or another direct-fire weapon.
With this new weapon in the Army's arsenal, Lehner said, "We're much more effective, by many magnitudes, than current weapons at the squad level. We're able to shoot farther and more accurately, and our soldiers can stay behind sandbags, walls or rocks, which provides them protection from fire."
Lehner said the first XM25s were distributed to combat units in Afghanistan this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which was designed by Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems, costs up to $35,000 per unit and, while highly sophisticated, is so easy to use that soldiers become proficient within minutes.
"That's how intuitively easy it is, even though it's high-tech," Lehner said. "All a soldier needs to know how to do is laze the target. It decimates anything within its lethal radius."
Once the trigger is pulled and the round leaves the barrel, a computer chip inside the projectile communicates exactly how far it has traveled, allowing for precise detonation behind or ahead of any target.
"We have found that this has really made our soldiers so much more accurate and being able to deliver this high-explosive round in about five seconds," said Lehner, taking into account the time it takes a soldier to laze, aim and fire the weapon. Once fired, Lehner said, the round will reach its target in a "second or two," meaning the entire process from aiming to direct hit lasts less than 10 seconds, compared to 10 minutes or longer for traditional mortar fire.
A potential battlefield scenario, according to Army officials, might go something like this:
-- A patrol encounters an enemy combatant in a walled Afghan village who fires an AK-47 intermittently from behind cover, exposing himself only for a brief second to fire.
-- The patrol's leader calls for the XM25 gunman, who uses the weapon's laser range finder to calculate the distance to the target.
-- He then uses an incremental button located near the trigger to add 1 meter to the round's distance, since the enemy is hiding behind a wall.
-- The round is fired, and it explodes with a blast comparable to a hand grenade past the wall and above the enemy.
"This is revolutionary for many reasons," Lehner said, citing increased efficiency, safety and lethality. "This is the first time we're putting smart technology in an individual weapon system for our soldiers. We feel it's very important to field this because it keeps us ahead of the technological curve of our potential enemies. We have a feeling other people will try to copy us -- this is the future."
Lehner said the Army plans to purchase at least 12,500 XM25 systems beginning next year -- enough for one system in each infantry squad and Special Forces team.
The military isn't overly concerned that the weapon might be captured by the enemy, because they would be unable to obtain its highly specialized ammunition, batteries and other components. Lehner said he expects other nations will try to copy its technology, but it will be very cost-prohibitive.
"This is a game-changer," Lehner said. "The enemy has learned to get cover, for hundreds if not thousands of years.
"Well, they can't do that anymore. We're taking that cover from them and there's only two outcomes: We're going to get you behind that cover or force you to flee. So no matter what, we gotcha."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

CAIR: Unindicted, But Still A Co-conspirator

Power Line Blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff
http://www.powerlineblog.com/

November 28, 2010 Posted by John at 10:04 AM
We have noted many times that the Department of Justice named the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a self-described civil rights group, as an unindicted co-conspirator in its prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation and others for providing support to the terrorist group Hamas. But we missed the fact (I did, anyway) that the federal courts have now affirmed DOJ's designation of CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Initially, CAIR protested its inclusion on the government's unindicted co-conspirator list. It moved before Federal Judge Jorge Solis, who tried the Holy Land Foundation case, to have its name, and those of the other unindicted parties, expunged from the government's list. It also asked the court to find that its Fifth Amendment rights had been violated by the government's public filing of the list.
Judge Solis issued an order in response to CAIR's motion (and that of two other parties) on July 1, 2009. That order was not made public until it was affirmed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month. Now, in response to the 5th Circuit's order, Judge Solis has unsealed his opinion; you can read it here.
Judge Solis found that the government should have filed the list of unindicted co-conspirators under seal, even though testimony in the trial itself that identified CAIR and the other parties was publicly available. However, Judge Solis denied CAIR's motion to be expunged from the list on the ground that that the government had presented sufficient evidence at trial to justify CAIR's designation as an undicted co-conspirator. Judge Solis's summary of the evidence against CAIR and the other parties that joined in its motion was as follows. I apologize for the length of the quote, but on this sort of issue, detail is everything:
While the Court recognizes that the evidence produced by the Government largely predates the HLF designation date, the evidence is nonetheless sufficient to show the association of these entities with HLF [the Holy Land Foundation], IAP [the Islamic Association for Palestine], and Hamas.See U.S. v. Ladd, 218 F.3d at 704-05 ("the Government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a conspiracy existed"). Thus, maintaining the names of the entities on the List is appropriate in light of the evidence proffered by the Government.
Government Exhibit 3-85 is titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," authored by Mohamed Akram of the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood and dated May 22, 1991. (Gov't Ex. 3-85 (Elbarasse 3) at 21.) The "Explanatory Memorandum" includes a section titled "Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America," which states that the work of the Ikhwan in the United States is "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." (Id.) Also contained in that document is a list of the Muslim Brotherhood's "organizations and the organizations of our friends," which includes ISNA [the Islamic Society of North America], NAIT [the North American Islamic Trust], the Occupied Land Fund ("OLF") (HLF's former name), and the United Association for Studies and Research ("UASR"). (Id. at 32.) Government Exhibit 3-64, titled "Preliminary vision for preparing future leadership" and dated December 18, 1988, further ties ISNA to the Muslim Brotherhood by listing it as an "apparatus" of the Brotherhood. (Gov't Ex. 3-64 (Elbarasse 4) at 5.)
During the early years of OLF/HLF's operation, OLF raised money and supported Hamas through a bank account that it held with ISNA and NAIT. (Gov't. Exhs. 5-1 through 5-14, 5-23 through 5-26, 5-42 (NAIT).) Indeed, OLF operated from within ISNA, in Plainfield, Indiana, where Defendant Baker was employed. (Gov't. Exh. 5-6 (NAIT) at 3; 1-16 (HLF Search 14) at 20.) ISNA checks deposited into the ISNA/NAIT account for OLF were often made payable to "the Palestinian Mujahadeen," the original name for the Hamasmilitary wing. (Gov't. Exh. 5-23 through 5-25 (NAIT); 1-174 (HLF Search 109).) From that ISNA/NAIT account, OLF sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, Nadia Elashi (Defendant Elashi's cousin and Marzook's wife), Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's Islamic Center of Gaza, the Islamic University, and a number of other individuals associated with Hamas. (Gov't. Exh. 20-55, 20-56 (OLF 1988-89 Disbursements).)
The Muslim Brotherhood supervised the creation ofthe "Palestine Committee," which was put in charge of other organizations, such as HLF, IAP, UASR, and ISNA. (See Gov't Ex. 3-15 (Elbarasse Search 5) at 14).The July 30, 1994 "Meeting Agenda for the Palestine Committee" lists IAP, HLF, UASR and CAIR as working organizations for the Palestine Committee. (Gov't Ex. 3-78 (Elbarasse 19) at 6.) Government Exhibit 3-15, titled "Islamic Action for Palestine - An internal memo - October - 1992," contains a section titled "Islamic Action for the Palestinian Cause in North America." (Id.) That section states that
[w]hen . . . the Intifada started and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was formed and the general apparatus for Palestine developed . . . a 'Palestine Committee' was formed under the supervision of the executive office [of the Muslim Brotherhood]. The Committee was then tasked with supervising all the organizations which serve the plan of the Movement domestically and internationally in addition to the Palestinian cause. Among these organizations were the 'Islamic Association' [the IAP], the 'Occupied Land Fund,' and the 'United Association' [the UASR]. Like other directors of the Movement's committees and sections, the director of Palestine Committee is to submit periodical reports and adheres to the directions and the guidance of the leadership of the Group.
The Palestine Committee was also known as the "Central Committee," or the Central Committee for Palestinian Activism in America. (See Gov't Ex. 3-5 (Elbarasse Search 13) at 7.) Government Exhibit 3-17 is a document titled "Re: A suggestion to amend the bylaws of the Central Committee," dated April 2, 1991. Articles 1 and 2 of the document state that the Palestine Committee will be called the Central Committee and it "originates from the Palestine Body formed by the Executive Office of the Muslim Brotherhood." (Gov't Ex. 3-17 (Elbarasse Search 7) at 8-9.) Article 4 states that the Central Committee is considered "the highest Shura and Executive authority in regards to work for the Palestinian cause on the American front . . ." (Id.) Article 4 goes on to state that the Committee is "focused on supervision and follow-up of all work and issues relating to the following fields: 1-Issues relating to the Islamic Association of Palestine . . . 2- Issues relating to the Occupied Land Fund . . . 3- Issues relating to the United Association for Studies & Research . . ." (Id.) In a later section, the International Shura Council and the Office of Guidance instruct to "collect[ ] donations for the Islamic Resistance Movement from the Ikhwan and others." (Id. at 12.) Additionally, in Government Exhibit 3-1, an organizational chart titled "Central Committee Org. Chart for the Year 1991" lists OLF and UASR under the Central Committee. (Gov't Ex. 3-1 (Elbarasse Search 10) at 1.))
Government Exhibit 3-5 is titled "Annual Report for the year 89-1990 Presented to the Organizational Conference." (Gov't Ex. 3-5 (Elbarasse Search 13) at 5.) It states that the Central Committee "is in charge of planning, directing and following up on all work related to and connected 3:04-CR-0240-P Order Page 18 of20 to the Group." (Id. at 7.) The Central Committee "includes several committees and organizations, some of which are: The Islamic Association for Palestine, The Occupied Land Fund, The United Association for Studies & Research . . ." (Id.) The "Achievements" listed by the Palestine Committee include:
Twenty-three Intifada festivals have been held this year . . . Al Sakhra band participated in over 25 festivals during activities of the Association and the Fund [HLF] . . . The sum of $728,059.04 has been raised through the Occupied Land Fund to support the steadfastness of the people in the Inside. Most of the money has been transferred . . . Five books have been issued by the United Association for Studies & Research. They are currently being marketed to benefit the Intifada . . . The Studies office [UASR] has published 5 issues of Al Aqsa bulletins and 6 issues of the Striking Arms leaflets.
In Government Exhibit 3-1, a chart titled "Chart Outline for Palestinian Action Aspects" lists Ahmad (founder of CAIR) under the UASR, and indicates that he is in charge of the Studies & Research Office. (Gov't Ex. 3-1 (Elbarasse 10) at 4-5.) The same "Chart Outline" also lists the IAP and the OLF, in addition to UASR. (Id. at 5.) Defendants Elmezain and Baker are listed in conjunction with HLF. (Id.)
Omar Ahmad also attended the 1993 Philadelphia conference, where leaders of the organizations under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella met to discuss the future of the Brotherhood in the United States. The Philadelphia conference was attended by several members of the Palestine Committee, which supported and collected money for Hamas. At the conference, attendees discussed how to proceed in light of the recently negotiated Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestinians. Hamas opposed the Accords because it called for the recognition of the state of Israel. The attendees also discussed how they would have to be careful in their opposition to the Oslo Accords because they did not want to be viewed as being against the peace process or as aligned with terrorist groups.
The attendees agreed not to mention the word Hamas but to refer to Hamas as "Samah" which is Hamas spelled backwards. The Philadephia conference essentially laid out the path that the Palestine Committee would take to accomplish its goal of supporting Hamas in the future. Wiretaps from the Philadelphia conference reflect that Ahmad participated, together with Defendants Baker and Elashi, in a number of meetings related to the goals, strategies, and American perception of the Muslim Brotherhood. (See Gov't Exs. 16-69 (Philly Meeting 7) at 4-5; 16-77 (Philly Meeting 2) at 6;16-67 (Philly Meeting 5) at 5.) Topics discussed included redefining the perception of the sub- organizations due to their work for the Palestinian cause, and the legal hurdles the Brotherhood faced when raising funds for Hamas and other Palestinian causes or when taking orders from overseas leaders. (Gov't Exs. 16-77 (Philly Meeting 2) at 6;16-69 (Philly Meeting 7) at 4.) Finally, ISNA was also discussed during the Philadelphia conference. During the conference, Palestine Committee members discussed using ISNA as official cover for their activities. (Gov't. Exhs. 16-59 (Philly Meeting13) at 10; 16-47 (Philly Meeting 1) at 10-11.)
CAIR holds itself out as America's foremost Islamic civil rights organization. Under Sharia, however, the Western concept of civil rights does not exist. The analogy to Communist front organizations of an earlier era is striking. While pretending to advocate for freedom and to oppose discrimination, CAIR's real purpose is to subvert the very society whose liberalism it cynically seeks to exploit.

2 Church Buildings Torn Down in Tanzania

Sat, Nov. 27, 2010 Posted: 03:40 PM EDT

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania (CDN) - Radical Islamists are suspected in the demolition of two church buildings on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar on Sunday (Nov. 21), as members of the congregations have since received death threats from Muslims.
The church buildings belonging to the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) and the Evangelical Assemblies of God Zanzibar (EAGZ) in Masingini village, five kilometers (nearly three miles) from the center of Zanzibar city, were torn down at about 8 p.m., said Bishop Fabian Obeid of EAGZ. Mwera police received reports on the attacks on Monday morning (Nov. 22).
The latest in a string of violent acts aimed at frightening away Christians in the Muslim-dominated region, the destruction on the island off the coast of East Africa has raised fears that Muslim extremists could go to any length to limit the spread of Christianity, church leaders said.
“One Muslim was heard saying, ‘We have cleansed our area by destroying the two churches, and now we are on our mission to kill individual members of these two churches – we shall not allow the church to be built again,’” said one church member who requested anonymity.
The TAGT brick building was under construction and nearing completion; members of the congregation had gone to worship in their new building for the first time on Sunday. The EAGT building where more than 30 members met was a mud structure.
EAGT Pastor Michael Maganga and TAG Pastor Dickson Kaganga said they were fearful about the future of the church in Masingini. Pastors in Zanzibar have scheduled a meeting on Saturday (Nov. 27) to discuss how to cope with the destruction of the two buildings, said the chairman of the Pastors Fellowship in Zanzibar, Bishop Leonard Masasa of EAGT church.
Muslim extremists in Zanzibar, in concert with local government officials, have long limited the ability of Christians to obtain land for erecting worship buildings. In some cases they have destroyed existing buildings and put up mosques in their place.
Frustrated at obtaining government help to apprehend criminals, church leaders said they have little hope that the perpetrators of Monday’s attacks will ever be caught. In most cases the government sides with the attackers, delaying investigation out of fear of upsetting the majority Muslim population that opposes the spread of Christianity.
In 2009, officials in Mwanyanya-Mtoni colluded with area Muslims to erect a mosque in place of a planned church building of the EAGZ, Pastor Paulo Kamole Masegi said.
Pastor Masegi had purchased land in April 2007 for a church building in Mwanyanya-Mtoni, and by November of that year he had built a house that served as a temporary worship center, he said. Soon area Muslim residents objected.
In August 2009, local Muslims began to build a mosque just three feet away from the church plot. In November 2009, Pastor Masegi began building a permanent church structure. Angry Muslims invaded the compound and destroyed the structure’s foundation, the pastor said.
Church leaders reported the destruction to police, who took no action – and also refused to release the crime report, so that the case could not go to court, Pastor Masegi said.
Meantime, construction of the mosque was completed in December 2009. The planned church building’s fate appeared to have been sealed earlier this year when Western District Commissioner Ali Mohammed Ali notified Pastor Masegi that he had no right to hold worship in a house.
Zanzibar is the informal designation for the island of Unguja in the Indian Ocean. The Zanzibar archipelago united with Tanganyika to form the present day Tanzania in 1964.
Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf had settled in the region early in the 10th century after monsoon winds propelled them through the Gulf of Aden. The 1964 merger left island Muslims uneasy about Christianity, seeing it as a means by which mainland Tanzania might dominate them, and tensions have persisted.
Compass Direct News

Cronkiting North Korea Won’t Work This Time; He’s dead, and we’re not buying it

Posted By Resa Kirkland On November 28, 2010 @ 11:00 am



After we won the Tet Offensive in 1968, the Hippy Press here in America sank to new depths.  Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” made a perverse choice.
He looked directly into the camera and lied through his “most trusted” teeth.
He told America that after what happened at Tet, surely the war was now lost.

US, SKorea launch war games in tense Yellow Sea

As tensions escalated across the region, with North Korea threatening another "merciless" attack, China belatedly jumped into the fray. Beijing's top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, called for an emergency meeting in early December among regional powers involved in nuclear disarmament talks, including North Korea.
Seoul responded cautiously to the proposal from North Korea's staunch ally, saying it should be "reviewed very carefully" in light of North Korea's recent revelation of a new uranium-enrichment facility, even as protesters begged President Lee Myung-bak to find a way to resolve the tension and restore peace.
The troubled relations between the two Koreas, which fought a three-year war in the 1950s, have steadily deteriorated since Lee's conservative government took power in 2008 with a tough new policy toward nuclear-armed North Korea.
Eight months ago, a South Korean warship went down in the western waters, killing 46 sailors in the worst attack on the South Korean military since the Korean War. Then, last Tuesday, North Korean troops showered artillery on Yeonpyeong, a South Korean-held island that houses military bases as well as a civilian population of 1,300 — an attack that marked a new level of hostility.
Two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed and 18 others wounded in the hailstorm of artillery that sent residents fleeing into bunkers and reduced homes on the island to charred rubble.
North Korea blamed the South for provoking the attack by holding artillery drills near the Koreas' maritime border, and has threatened to be "merciless" if the current war games — set to last until Dec. 1 — get too close to its territory.
As U.S. and South Korean ships, including the nuclear-powered USS George Washington, sailed into the waters off Korea's west coast Sunday, China began launching its diplomatic bid to calm tensions.
Washington and Seoul had been pressing China, North Korea's main ally and benefactor, to help defuse the situation amid fears of all-out war.
China, slow at first to react, has quickened its diplomatic intervention in recent days. Chinese state councilor Dai Bingguo made a last-minute visit to Seoul to confer with Lee.
Lee pressured China to contribute to peace in a "more objective, responsible" matter, and warned Sunday that Seoul would respond "strongly" to any further provocation, the presidential office said.
The strong words were Lee's first public comment in days. He was due to address the nation Monday morning amid calls from his people to take stronger action in dealing with the defiant North.
North Korea has walked a path of defiance since launching a rocket in April 2009 in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and abandoning the disarmament process in protest against the condemnation that followed.
However, in recent months Pyongyang has shown an eagerness to get back to the talks, and has appeared increasingly frustrated by U.S. and South Korean reluctance to restart the negotiations.
Seoul has said it wants an acknowledgment of regret for the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March as well as a concrete show of commitment to denuclearization.
North Korea, which cites the U.S. military presence in South Korea as a main reason behind its drive to build atomic weapons, routinely calls the joint exercises between the allies a rehearsal for war.
Washington, which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect the ally, insists the routine drills were planned before last Tuesday's attack.
The exercises will take place over four days, but no live-fire drills are planned, said Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for the 7th Fleet in Japan.
Along scenic Mallipo Beach on the west coast, about 50 South Korean soldiers were laying down an aluminum road to prepare for an amphibious landing drill Monday. Barbed wire and metal staves ran the length of the beach for about 2 miles (3 kilometers). Military ships hovered in the distance.
North Korea expressed renewed outrage over the Yellow Sea drills.
The war games are a "pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost," the National Peace Committee of Korea said in a statement carried Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Hours earlier, the rattle of new artillery fire from North Korea sent residents, journalists, police and troops scrambling for cover on Yeonpyeong Island. None of the rounds landed on the island, military officials said, but the incident showed how tense the situation remains.
Saying they could not guarantee the journalists' safety, South Korea's Defense Ministry sent a ship to ferry them off the island but bad weather forced them to cancel the evacuation. About 380 people, including 28 islanders and 190 journalists, remained on Yeonpyeong on Sunday, officials said.
A similar burst of artillery fire Friday occurred just as the U.S. military's top commander in the region, Gen. Walter Sharp, was touring Yeonpyeong Island. No shells landed anywhere in South Korean territory.
Calls for tougher action made way Sunday for pleas for peace among about 150 South Koreans who turned out for a vigil Sunday evening in a Seoul plaza, huddling with candles in paper cups and chanting, "Give us peace!"
"It was very shocking," said Kang Hong-koo, 22, a student. "I'm here to appease the souls of the people who were killed in the North Korean attack. I hope the current tense situation is alleviated quickly."
___
Jean H. Lee reported from Seoul. AP writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kelly Olsen in Seoul, photographer Wally Santana on Mallipo Beach, and Gillian Wong in Beijing, contributed to this report.

Northern Idaho sheriff denies advocating illegal shooting of wolves through raffle

By the Associated Press | Posted: Saturday, November 27, 2010 10:30 pm
GRANGEVILLE, Idaho - A northern Idaho sheriff says he is not advocating the illegal shooting of federally protected wolves by offering a hunting rifle and a shovel as the prize in a raffle called ".308 SSS Wolf Pack Raffle" in a region where SSS commonly stands for "shoot, shovel and shut up."
Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings says the SSS in the raffle stands for "safety, security and survival."
"We knew that this would stir up some interest," Giddings told the Lewiston Tribune.
The newspaper reports that the SSS in the wolf-shooting context often appears in the area on bumper stickers.
Raffle tickets went on sale Friday for $1 each, or 11 for $10. The prize is a Winchester .308-caliber Model 70 Featherweight rifle and a shovel. The drawing is planned for March 8.
Giddings said money from the raffle will go to a food bank, alcohol and drug awareness programs and local school equipment fundraisers.
"No, we're not advocating shooting wolves," Giddings said. "Safety, security and survival, that's kind of an Idaho County thing. That's who we are. It's to get people's attention. It means something to us up here."
Dave Cadwallader, Clearwater Region manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said the raffle is an indication of how frustrated people are over wolves and the loss of state management of the animals.
***
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in August ruled it was improper of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to retain federal wolf management in Wyoming while turning wolf management over to state governments in Idaho and Montana. In response, the agency took back authority over wolf management in Idaho and Montana, angering state officials and blocking wolf hunts that had been scheduled for this fall.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter pushed for an agreement with Fish and Wildlife to allow a wolf hunting season. When that failed, Otter in October ordered Idaho wildlife managers to relinquish their duty to arrest poachers or to even investigate when wolves are killed illegally.
Otter rejected the wolf management Idaho has conducted for years as the federal government's "designated agent" after wolves were returned to Endangered Species Act protections.
The move means Idaho Department of Fish and Game managers no longer perform statewide monitoring for wolves, conduct investigations into illegal killings, provide law enforcement when wolves are poached or participate in a program that responds to livestock depredations.
Giddings told the newspaper he strongly supports Otter's move.
Cadwallader said that evidence of wolf poaching in the region is turned over to federal authorities.
"We are a state of law abiding citizens," Cadwallader said. "We are frustrated, beyond frustrated, but we have to follow the rule of law."
More than 1,700 wolves now inhabit Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon.

Nidal Hasan; Hero of the 3rd Jihad: C’mon Man!

Posted by Col. John Reitzell Nov 27th 2010 at 3:01 pm

First and foremost as a former career Soldier, I have questions. How could this guy be passed on by multiple senior officers? How could anyone have ignored what he was saying and not rather have thrown his ass out of AMERICA’s Army? It is beyond my comprehension that a Major in the United States Army could “be passed on promoted even” by those for whom he worked. What is this trash? Don’t ask don’t tell? As they say on a great segment on ESPN, “C’mon Man!”

What? They didn’t see or hear his radicalism? They didn’t notice his name wasn’t John Smith and he had ties to his past, his birth and all his rowdy friends weren’t there on Monday Night? “C’mon Man!” This guy made it clear that he was a radical Muslim. Oh, I know, no profiling, Mr. Grunt. You Grunts always over react. Grunts for those of you who don’t know are the guys on the pointy end of the spear. Damn good overreacters if fighting for liberty is overreaction. Be nice to the Muslims and they’ll be nice back to you. Do unto Allah what you would like Allah to do unto you. Like behead you! One more time; “C’mon Man! STRENGTH in the face of extremism is no vice to paraphrase Sen. Goldwater. Appeasement and political correctness haven’t worked EVER on these knot heads, since their prophet died in 632AD. “C’mon Man” wake the hell up!

It sickens me that my Army could be so politically correct, even in the Medical Corps ranks where the Army is a nuisance and those silly rules of discipline don’t seem to matter much, that this guy could be allowed to exist. Add to that the Administration is withholding “classified” reports from his defense probably so that any verdict can be reversed on appeal. These guys don’t get it. The radical Islamic world has declared war on us. Hello! This guy was one of their soldiers and made very few bones about it until he started killing REAL Soldiers on Post at Ft. Hood and then all those senior Docs figured it out. Now I’m no Einstein, but “C’mon Man!”
All the boisterous al-Qaeda dudes, Anwar al-awlaki, al- zawahiri, al- Jazeera, Al Gore, Al Sharpton, no wait, maybe not Sharpton, are claiming their boy Hasan is a hero of and down with the struggle. He was carrying out his “duty” as a Muslim. Adam “the American” Gadahn calls him a role model. Role model for what? more Muslim soldiers killing Soldiers on Army Posts around the country? Hopefully my Army has figured that out now and Muslim extremists in the ranks are being asked and told!
On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation and the 3rd great Jihad began. The land known as Palestine was then occupied by Israel who offered part of it upon which to create a Palestinian Nation/Homeland. That offer was rejected and the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 was fought. The 3rd Jihad has been characterized by Arab Nationalism, created crises like the Suez crisis in 1956, terrorism and all out war. Muslim Extremists from around the region under the flag of Jihad have perpetrated heinous acts of terror, like the murder of Israeli athletes at the 72 Olympics, numerous hijacks, bombings like the USMC barracks in “83, Khobar Towers in 96, embassies in Beirut, Kenya and Tanzania, murders like Bobby Stedham and Leon Klinghofer, extortion, and vile rhetoric throughout history. Somehow we Americans missed all that. Somehow we missed the fact that Nations must deal with this kind of behavior with strength. Thanks to Jimmy Carter for creating the conditions for a new model of Muslim run State (Iran) that thrives on producing terror, harboring and training terrorists, and spewing destruction rhetoric. Somehow we Americans missed that and allowed the likes of this Thug to join and succeed in our most decent  Institution, our American Army. “C’mon Man!”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Strict Constructionist or Strict Constitutionalist?

November 27, 2010
By Christopher S. Brownwell

Liberals have made up a new insult for conservatives based on a shallow misunderstanding of constitutional principles.

An Associated Press opinion piece by Ben Evans insinuated that GOP members are hypocrites when it comes to support for the Constitution. If he had named John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, or other Progressive Republicans, Evans might have had a point. He named, however, U.S. Representatives Paul Broun, Michele Bachmann, and Pete Hoekstra. Evans' point is essentially that these Republicans who say they support the Constitution are hypocrites because they favor constitutional amendments to change the Constitution. I suspect his aim was to divide "Tea Party" support for conservative candidates and quell grassroots enthusiasm this election season.

A closer look at Evans' accusations exposes the vapidity of his arguments. First, he tries to prove that Democrats, "who typically take a more liberal view of the Constitution as an evolving document," are more "constitutionalist" than Republicans. To justify his position, Evans tries to use numbers. According to him, in the current Congress, Republicans have proposed at least 42 constitutional amendments compared to only 27 proposed by Democrats. These numbers, however, work against his point. Of course liberals would propose fewer Constitutional amendments in Congress since the preferred (and unconstitutional) way for liberals to amend the Constitution is through a judicial opinion, not through the document itself. Republicans who revere the Constitution are more likely to follow its procedures for amendments.

Evans' approach to what it means to be a "constitutionalist" demonstrates how he and the Democrats view the law. Without delving into an esoteric discussion, Evans betrays himself as a legal positivist. Legal positivism is a philosophy that believes all law is a human construct. Legal positivism is concerned with not the content of the law, but the process that enacts a law. To a legal positivist, the only immoral law is one improperly enacted. A properly enacted law is sacrosanct, no matter the content. The problem with liberal legal positivists is that they see judicial lawmaking as properly enacted.

(Most Progressives, however, do believe in a quasi-natural law. Just look at opinions like the recent same-sex marriage case in California. In that case, a properly enacted constitutional amendment defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Progressives couldn't handle the content of this law, so they appealed to a higher positive law, a misinformed judicial opinion on the U.S. Constitution. This one judge's opinion now is positive law to Progressives, and therefore sacrosanct. This quasi-natural law, however, has no connection with absolute, divine, self-evident Truth or our founding principles.)

Legal positivism is at odds with our founding principles, which recognize natural law. Our Founders believed that "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" grant political sovereignty to the people as a whole. Our Founders believed in the absolute, divine, self-evident Truth of the equality of all and in the unalienable rights granted by our Creator. Natural law is concerned with the content of law as well as the proper authority for its enactment. Evans fails in his article to distinguish between adherence to the Constitution on founding principles and adherence to a document and its amendments simply because it is positive law.

The second jejune argument Evans used is to chastise Republicans' "hot-and-cold take on the Constitution" for opposing provisions in the Amendments to the Constitution. He attacks Republicans' constitutional credentials simply because they have proposed amending the Constitution. In the mind of Evans, proposing an amendment to the Constitution is "trying to subvert the Constitution." If Evans had ever read the Constitution, he would have noticed that Article V provides a mechanism for amending the Constitution. It is consistent to be a "strict constructionist" and want to amend the Constitution constitutionally.

A closer examination of the types of amendments offered shows a divide between Republicans and Democrats. Republican amendments are grounded in founding principles, while Democrat amendments are mired in "social justice" dogma. Evans trots out as examples of Republican disdain for the Constitution their proposals to end birthright citizenship, federal income tax, and direct election of Senators. What Evans fails to see is that birthright citizenship, federal income taxes, and direct election of Senators were not in the original Constitution handed to us by the Framers. Birthright citizenship comes to us from the 14th Amendment. The Progressives gave us federal income taxes through the 16th Amendment and direct election of Senators through the 17th Amendment.

"Other widely supported Republican amendments would prohibit government ownership of private companies, bar same-sex marriage, [and] require a two-thirds vote in Congress to raise taxes. ... " Republicans support these amendments because government ownership of private companies violates the principles of enumerated powers and free enterprise. Barring same-sex marriage protects religious liberty and free speech since what couples who engage in homosexuality want is to coerce speech and have society to tell them they are married. A super-majority for raising tax revenue protects life, liberty, and property from an out-of-control Congress.

By contrast, the Democrat-proposed amendments would constitutionally guarantee everyone the right to quality housing and to education. The only way to meet these social justice goals is to take wealth from the rich and redistribute it to those who do not have quality houses or education. (And how do we quantify "quality" housing and education, anyway?) The Democrats want to enact Progressive collectivist redistributive change.

Natural law provides that people have the equal right to pursue life, liberty, property, and happiness. "Equal outcomes" violates natural law since it denies equal access to those who earn wealth to keep their own property. This rabid egalitarianism also violates equal protection under the law since it selects a group of people to punish for engaging in lawful activities while exempting a favored class.

The real aim of Evans' article may be to confuse the terms "strict constructionist" with "strict constitutionalist." Being a strict constructionist means you follow the plain meaning of the language, and you don't invent meanings of words they cannot bear simply to enact a policy choice. By "strict constitutionalist," Evans apparently means a strict adherence to a document regardless of its flaws. Therefore, anyone who proposes amendments to the document reveres it less than those who want to leave it alone.

I prefer our representatives be strict constructionists and not strict constitutionalists. Strict constructionists want to leave the Constitution alone if it embodies natural law and the wisdom of our founding fathers. But when Progressives change the Constitution or the document doesn't address issues our founders could not have foreseen -- such as judicial lawmaking, abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, or secular humanists establishing their religion and running all references to God out of public life -- strict constructionists, those who hold to founding, Natural Law principles, use the proper Constitutional process to amend it instead of resorting to unlawful judicial authority.

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