June 27, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 06/27/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Headlines from the Washington Post:

Federal Police Official Killed in Mexico City

Pakistan Denies Role in Attack

U.N. Finds Afghan Opium Trade Rising

U.S. to Delist North Korea As Sponsor Of Terrorism

Obama, Clinton Join Together in Show of Unity

Senate Passes Broad War Funding Measure

Justices Reject D.C. Ban On Handgun Ownership

This Recession, It's Just Beginning

Headlines from the Washington Times:

N. Korea destroys reactor tower

Protest gives preview of abortion debate

Officials upset by court decision

Congress passes Iraq war spending plan

U.S. helps ransom Reyes' kin

Justice Kennedy casts decisive vote

Clinton introduces Obama to her donors

Headlines from the WSJ:

Silver Bullet

The Emperor of Interest Rates

Leap of Nuclear Faith

The Price of Justice

Tokyo Credit Crunch

Mbeki and Mugabe

Europe's Bloodsport

On the Web:
Peggy Noonan: Let McCain Be McCain - The big political headline this week, of course, involves John McCain's endless and humiliating attempts to placate Mitt Romney by bowing to demands he hire his operatives and pay his campaign debt. So far all he's got is a grudging one-sentence endorsement from that rampaging rage-aholic Ann Romney. Oh wait, got confused, that's Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The way it used to be is you ran and lost and either disappeared or pitched in. Mrs. Clinton continues making Mr. Obama look the dauphin to her embittered and domineering queen. What a hothouse of egos and drama the Democratic Party has become. Mr. McCain just can't get as much coverage as Mr. Obama, or the coverage is dutiful and therefore deadly. "McCain Unveils Proposal." "McCain Responds." At Google News there are 97,000 stories on Mr. McCain as I write this column, 138,000 on Mr. Obama. (READ MORE)

Kimberly A. Strassel: House Republicans Need Leadership - Of all the thorny questions facing House Minority Leader John Boehner, the one he might want to consider is this: Newt Gingrich or Bob Michel? Outwardly, the House GOP is gearing up to take on Democrats this fall. Inwardly, it's in disarray, engaged in a fight over the soul of the party. The reformers demand the leadership aggressively define itself on health care, earmarks and spending; the fat and happy push back, insisting their pork and their farm bills are necessary for re-election. In the middle is the minority leader, who has so far walked a tightrope. Yet this is a fight that must be resolved, and definitively, if the GOP wants out of the wilderness. Mr. Boehner's choice: To join with the reformers, Gingrich-like, and rally the troops around a bold agenda, or to find himself, Michel-like, a footnote in minority history. (READ MORE)

Randy E. Barnett: News Flash: The Constitution Means What It Says - Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in yesterday's Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller is historic in its implications and exemplary in its reasoning. A federal ban on an entire class of guns in ordinary use for self-defense – such as the handgun ban adopted by the District of Columbia – is now off the table. Every gun controller's fondest desire has become a constitutional pipe dream. Two important practical issues remain. First, will this ruling also apply to states and municipalities? That will depend on whether the Supreme Court decides to "incorporate" the right to keep and bear arms into the 14th Amendment. But in the middle of his opinion Justice Scalia acknowledges that the 39th Congress that enacted the 14th Amendment did so, in part, to protect the individual right to arms of freedmen and Southern Republicans so they might defend themselves from violence. (READ MORE)

John Fund: No, McCain Isn't 'Doomed' - Some pundits claim John McCain has no chance of beating Barack Obama. "The current bundle of economic troubles should doom any Republican hoping to succeed George Bush," says NBC's Chris Matthews. "It's almost impossible to believe that another Republican could get elected," insists Katty Kay, the BBC's Washington-based correspondent. They need to better understand the rhythms of presidential campaigns and show more humility in a year that's been chock full of political surprises. Some Democrats claim new polls by Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times showing Sen. McCain trailing by 15 points in each seal the deal on an Obama presidency. But both polls appear to be outliers. Other polls show the race to be close. Both surveys polled registered, not likely, voters. Normally, only two-thirds of those end up casting ballots, and nonvoters lean Democratic. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Evolving Standards of Indecency - The Supreme Court's barring of the death penalty for child rapists in Kennedy v. Louisiana underscores the hazards in the court's abandonment of moral absolutes in favor of "evolving standards of decency" and the court's unbridled arrogance in substituting its subjective judgment for the legislatively enacted will of the people. In Kennedy, the court reversed the decision of the Louisiana Supreme Court to uphold the capital punishment of a convicted child rapist, holding that the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause prohibits executing such offenders "where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death." A United States Supreme Court with a majority of Constitution-respecting justices would have evaluated the Louisiana statute in light of the originally understood meaning of the cruel and unusual punishment clause. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: Obama's Long March - "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." -- Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007 WASHINGTON -- That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-9/11 eavesdropping. Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take "the hammer" to Canada and Mexico, and threaten unilateral abrogation. Today, the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric "overheated" and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing. (READ MORE)

George Will: Shining a Supreme Light on the Candidates - WASHINGTON -- Two of Thursday's Supreme Court rulings -- both decided 5-4, and with the same alignment of justices -- concerned the Constitution's first two amendments. One ruling benefits Barack Obama by not reviving the dormant debate about gun control. The other embarrasses John McCain by underscoring discordance between his deeds and his promises. The District of Columbia's gun control law essentially banned ownership of guns not kept at businesses and not disassembled or disabled by trigger locks, even guns for personal protection in the home. The issue in the case was: Does the Second Amendment "right of the people to keep and bear arms" guarantee an individual right? Or does the amendment's prefatory clause -- "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" -- mean that the amendment guarantees only the right of a collectivity ("the people," embodied in militias) to "bear" arms in military contexts? (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb - Timing, as they say, is everything, and not just for baseball players trying to hit a 95-mph fastball. For example, if Hitler had come along 70 years later than he did, I have no doubt that he would have succeeded in conquering all of Europe. One only has to look at how close he came, and that was in spite of all those nations and the U.S. aligned against him. Today, much of Europe has no backbone, and I doubt that, in the wake of Iraq, Americans would have the collective will required to oppose Nazism. It bears remembering that when we went to war against the Axis powers, FDR was never asked if he had an exit strategy. While it’s true that our presidents must deal with a great number of issues other than war, war and national defense are at the top of the list. Can anybody actually picture Barack Obama, a man born to be a left-wing social worker, as commander-in-chief? Keeping America safe is simply not on Obama’s to-do list. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: You Can't Fuel All of the People All of the Time - Liberals dismiss studies that show a link between abortion and breast cancer, claiming they are biased because the people promoting the studies are "anti-choice." For the same reason, no one should believe the Democrats' "energy" policies. Democrats couldn't care less about high gas prices. The consistent policy of the Democratic Party, going back at least to Jimmy Carter, has been to jack up gas prices so we can all start pedaling around on tricycles. Environmentalists are constantly clamoring for higher gas taxes as the cure-all to their insane global warming theory. Clinton proposed a 26-cent tax on gas. John Kerry said it should be 50 cents. Gore endorsed the Malthusian proposal of Paul and Anne Ehrlich in "The Population Explosion" that gas taxes be raised gradually to match prices in Europe and Japan. The result is consumers now pay about 46 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Why Liberals Lie About What They Believe - Once you've watched liberals long enough to understand how they think -- scratch that, how they feel -- they become extraordinarily predictable. To begin with, the liberal agenda is, in many respects, the same as it was in the thirties. Whether you call it communism, fascism, socialism, liberalism, or progressivism, the only real difference is how much they believe they can get away with, the way they sell it to people, and the latest trendy name for what they believe. So, once the liberals pick a policy from their stale program to push, the next step is to get it implemented. This is where liberals have problems because whether a policy makes sense, is practical, or actually improves people's lives is of secondary importance to them. What is important to liberals is whether supporting or opposing that policy makes them feel good about themselves. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Success Equals Silence - AUSTIN, Texas -- Our Fox News' "War Stories" team came here to the capital of the Lone Star State to work on a documentary about America's 36th president to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his birth Aug. 27. Full disclosure here, Lyndon Baines Johnson was the commander in chief who sent one of my brothers and me to war in Vietnam. Because of the way he handled the war in Vietnam, LBJ never has been at the top of my list of favorite presidents. Apparently, I'm not alone. Despite his sweeping civil rights reforms and far-reaching Great Society domestic programs, his name has not been mentioned at a Democratic National Convention for three decades. But this week, President Johnson moved up a notch on my empathy scale. While we were shooting video at the LBJ Ranch and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, it was announced that this weekend, the U.S. military is transferring control of security in Anbar (Iraq's largest province) to Iraqi forces. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: Could We Talk Honestly About This? - We all knew Barack Obama was quite the rhetorician, and once again he's demonstrated his way with words - and not just words but thought. It happened when he was called on to deliver a Father's Day sermon at a largely black church on Chicago's South Side. It could have been just another ceremonial occasion at the Apostolic Church of God, and just another appearance on a presidential candidate's crowded speaking schedule. Instead, the senator used the occasion to issue a moral challenge. Because this guest speaker had come not to praise the American father but to ask where he'd gone. Barack Obama, U.S. senator and family man, could have delivered another routine paean to what the pollsters and political consultants have labeled Family Values, thereby reducing them to a standard political shtick. Instead, Barack Obama recalled his own fatherless childhood, and how his grandparents stepped in to provide support, guidance, love - in short, family. (READ MORE)

Richard H. Collins: Don't Fear the Smear - In responding to criticisms Obama has developed a pattern: his policies spring from only the purist of motives and are, despite abundant appearances to the contrary, completely consistent with his previous statements. In contrast, his opponents are motivated by deception and greed or worse. Obama has gone so far as to claim that the campaign ahead is sure to be based on fear and smear tactics rather than a debate about the issues. At a fundraiser in Florida he claimed: We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’ Notice how he quickly connects a legitimate concern, youth and inexperience, with nefarious accusations and racism. In Obama world, any criticism is prohibited, any characterization suspect, and any attack based on fear. (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Dick Morris on the Fleecing of America - In their new book, FLEECED, political pundit Dick Morris and attorney-coauthor Eileen McGann (yes, Morris and McGann are married), expose companies – both foreign and domestic – U.S. media powerhouses, an ineffective Congress, highly-vocal party hacks, and, yes, Sen. Barack Obama, all of whom are slickering Americans for their own ends, and seriously compromising our national security (among other things) in the process. FLEECED was released on Tuesday and almost immediately soared to the #1 spot at Amazon.com. On Wednesday morning, Morris and I spent a few minutes on the phone chatting about the book and how it serves as an important primer in both an election year and in a strategically evolutionary period in the war on terror. Jumping right into a handful of primarily defense-related questions, I ask Morris about the danger posed to our national security and the potential degradation of defense under a, God-help-us, president Obama. (READ MORE)

Matt Purple: Republicans Assail Democrats on High Oil Prices - The GOP had harsh words for Democrats on Capitol Hill this morning, accusing them of misunderstanding the economics of oil and stalling needed drilling initiatives. “We ought to take a square look in the mirror,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R.-Tex.). “We need more American-made energy and Congress has resisted it. We need more supply.” “Democratic leaders have offered no solutions, only gimmicks, from suing OPEC to windfall profit taxes,” he added. His comments were made during a Joint Economic Committee hearing to discuss how increasing oil prices could affect the economy. The Joint Economic Committee is a Congressional Committee comprised of both House and Senate members that researches and holds hearings on economics issues While Democrats mostly refrained from partisan criticisms, several of the Republicans opened fire on their ideological opponents, charging them with trying to regulate oil demand rather than increase supply. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: Warfare, Lawfare, and Jawfare - It turns out that war in the 21st century is not just about killing bad guys. In Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus has demonstrated that to win modern battles soldiers must do more than attack enemies – they also must make friends. It is our local allies who have been able to distinguish, in a way no computer, drone or satellite can, between loyal Iraqis on the one hand, and al-Qaeda terrorists and Iranian agents on the other. In addition to warfare, there is lawfare: the rules and regulations that govern the fighting. Last week, after much controversy and delay, the House finally passed a bill to restore to our spy agencies the authority they need if they are to have any chance of keeping tabs on terrorists abroad. The bad news: Last week, the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, granted to unlawful combatants at Guantanamo the right to challenge their detention in federal court. Honorable POWs have never enjoyed such constitutional protections. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: How Kosovo Created its Own Liberal Islam - On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some are concerned about what NATO, the United Nations, and the European Union have nurtured there since the military and humanitarian intervention in 1999. James Jatras, a U.S.-based advocate for the Serbian Orthodox Community, put it bluntly last year when he said Kosovo was a “a beachhead into the rest of Europe” for “radical Muslims” and “terrorist elements.” It’s an assertion without evidence. “We’ve been here for so long,” said United States Army Sergeant Zachary Gore in Eastern Kosovo, “and not seen any evidence of it, that we’ve reached the assumption that it is not a viable threat.” Nine in 10 of Kosovo’s citizens are ethnic Albanians, and more than 90 per cent of them are at least nominal Muslims. Most are so thoroughly modern and secularised that moderate doesn’t quite say it. (READ MORE)

Little Green Footballs: (Video) Al Jazeera on Islamic Saudi Academy - Al Jazeera aired this report a few days ago on the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax, Virginia (whose textbooks were revealed to be teaching hatred of non-Muslims). It’s over the top grievance theater at its worst, as the reporter blames the controversy on certain “Congressmen” (nudge, wink) who are “hostile to Arabs and Muslims.” (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.) Excerpt - Reporter: “We are at the Islamic Saudi Academy in the state of Virginia – the largest institution teaching the Arabic language and Islamic education on the East Coast of the U.S. However, this institution faces mounting pressure, and this is a nightmare for the families of the students enrolled in the academy. This pressure is exerted by several Congressmen, known for their great hostility towards Arabs and Muslims.” (READ MORE)

Leather Penguin: Well, at least He ADMITS His ‘Opponents’ Getting Marked For Death is not a “Bad Thing” - This hearing had nothing to do with National Security; nothing to do with anything in the nation’s interest: it’s all about getting partisan points and scoring scalps… even if the tactic could leave someone wearing a bullseye: Delahunt To Addington: Maybe Al Qaeda Will See You On C-SPAN “Addington told Delahunt he couldn’t discuss specific techniques being used, or even discussed for use, by CIA agents because terrorists may be watching his appearance and would gain insight into what U.S. intelligence agents are up to. ‘You kind of communicate with Al Qaeda if you do. I can’t talk to you because Al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN,’ Addington said. Delahunt responded: ‘I’m sure they are watching. I’m glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington, given your penchant for being unobtrusive.’” (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: End to Korean War Imminent; N. Korea to be Taken off U.S. List of State Sponsors of Terrorism - Incredible news! With Secretary of State Condi Rice’s trip to Asia next week is expected a major breakthrough formally ending the Korean War and resulting in North Korea’s destruction of its nuclear program. “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heads to Asia next week amid signs of an imminent breakthrough in efforts to get North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons and bring a formal end to the Korean War. After months of delay, the communist North appears set to hand over an accounting of its atomic activities by the end of the month, fulfilling a key step in the denuclearization process that will trigger an announcement by the Bush administration that it intends to lift sanctions against Pyongyang, U.S. officials said Friday.” (READ MORE)

Jihad Watch: While jihadists accuse Israel of violating truce, Israel debates whether to fight back at all - Irony. They're being accused of violating the truce and they can't even decide to fight back at all. War Is Deceit Update: "Terrorists: Israel Violated Truce; Livni Wants IDF To Act," by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu for Israel National News, June 27 (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist): “(IsraelNN.com) Islamic Jihad terrorist leaders have accused Israel of violating the temporary Gaza ceasefire 15 times since it went into effect eight days ago. The alleged violations include IDF surveillance drones over Gaza skies and the shooting of Arab fishermen and farmers by soldiers. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared Thursday that Israel should respond with military force every time terrorists attack Israel with rockets and mortar shells. She told visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, ‘It doesn't interest me who fired it, we need to respond militarily and immediately to every infraction.’” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: In case no one’s noticed, we’re winning - Gerard Baker wonders in his Times of London column why the West wears such long faces regarding the war on terror. On every front, we have prevailed far past the hopes we had after 9/11. The radical Islamists have managed to marginalize themselves among even conservative Muslims, and both Iraq and Afghanistan continue to advance towards stability and moderation. The al-Qaeda network has not been able to stage a major terrorist attack in over three years. By any measure of war, the West has not just taken the initiative but has delivered a series of major defeats, especially in stripping AQ of its easy shelter in Afghanistan, from which it launched a series of attacks in the decade before 9/11. So why does the West despair? I believe that a couple of impulses are at play in the doom and gloom coming from Western media. First, it’s a lot easier to report on bombings than on bomb disposals, and on attacks rather than prevented attacks. (READ MORE)

GayPatriot: Firsthand Account of Bush Derangement Syndrome - Given the fact that we had some news to report yesterday, I wanted to welcome any new readers that might be visiting GayPatriot. You are welcome as long as you please wipe your feet at the door, and treat others as you wish to be treated. I would also like to apologize for my near-AWOL status lately. The ‘real job’ has consumed my work and spare time over the past few months. Work travel (always a pain) is at a high mark, and I’m also in kind of a “pre-Convention blues”. (Translation: I mostly don’t give a rat’s ass about the election at any given moment). However, on a very recent business trip I experienced something that I wanted to share. It was a full-blown case of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” played out during a business dinner. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: FBI Data-Mining Slashed After G-Men Dis Congress - There was a time, early in the war on terror, when agencies like the FBI could have told Congressional investigators to go to hell, without paying much of a price. Not any more. Earlier today, a House appropriators voted to pull $11 million to expand a controversial FBI data-mining project, after the Bureau repeatedly stiff-armed Congressmen and their gumshoes in the Government Accountability Office. “By refusing to answer even the most basic questions about this program, the Department of Justice has given us little choice. In fact, we’re only doing what they told us to do,” said Congressman Brad Miller in a statement. “The Department of Justice... said that if Congress didn’t like what they were doing, we could pull their funding. Well, that’s what we’ve done... (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Sad Byrd - He’s unhappy that the Surge worked. Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd was one of the 6 votes against funding the war. He used the occasion to relieve himself of a gallon or so of Bush Derangement Syndrome, where everything is the fault of the 43rd president. His floor remarks began: “One year ago, Congress sent the President a war funding supplemental that included clear direction to bring our troops home by December of 2007. The President chose to veto that bill. If he had signed that bill, most of our troops would be home today. Instead of bringing our troops home, the President decided to increase our commitment of U.S. troops and treasure to a war that has now entered its sixth year. Over 4,100 U.S. service members have died. Over 30,000 U.S. service members have been wounded. This year, the President asked Congress to approve another $178 billion for this endless war. With enactment of this supplemental, Congress will have approved over $656 billion for the war in Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Keith Olbermann Gets Trashed - It isn’t exactly giving away a state secret to say that Keith Olbermann is a creepy, ambition-crazed, ego maniacal hypocrite whose shtick used to garner himself fame and fortune - assuming the role of a Moonbat Howard Beale - is as pathetic as the stories his ex-girlfriends tell about his amorous “abilities”. Rare is the conservative blog that at one time or another that doesn’t find itself drawn to some Olbermann outrage and then picking him apart, piece by gooey piece. Despite some degree of apparent squeamishness about him, to the inhabitants of the political nether lands who inhabit such places as the Democratic Underground, the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post, of course he is the answer to Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity and Coulter all contained in one bug-eyed package. But it looks like Olbermann’s inability to stick to anything even remotely resembling a principle has finally run afoul of some on the Left. (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Keep Your Guns - The opinions on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in the Heller case are all over the map. Politicians are freaking out, especially on the local level in places like Chicago, where Mayor Daley went on a rant about the ruling. Mostly because it will probably lead to a challenge, and dismissal of Chicago's own handgun ban. Liberal columnist Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post hates the idea that he believes the court got it right. His convoluted logic on the law that was struck down is laughable though; "...Given all the handgun killings in the city, was the ban really having any beneficial impact? But come on, it's not as if the law was making gun violence in the city any worse -- and it's not as if striking down the law, and perhaps adding hundreds or thousands of weapons to the city, will make things any better. The law was flawed, but it was a lot better than nothing." (READ MORE)

Andrew Cochran: Islamic Saudi Academy Latest Example of Saudis' Distribution of Propaganda - The controversy surrounding the Islamic Saudi Academy of Virginia continues to grow. Rep. Frank Wolf, the ranking Republican of the appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the State Department, wrote Secretary of State Rice (Acrobat file of the letter) to express his serious concern. "It is well known that Saudi Arabia promotes the radical Wahhabi interpretation of Islam within its own borders and has financed radical clerics abroad. Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Looming Tower, points out that "Saudi Arabia, which constitutes only 1 percentofthe world's Muslim population...supports 90 percent ofthe expenses of the entire faith," including "thousands of religious schools around the globe, staffed with Wahhabi imams and teachers." The ISA is funded through the Saudi government, which also funds radical madrassas along the turbulent Pakistani borders." (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: We Must Still be Losing - Tell the Democrats we're running out of people to which we can surrender. Abu Khalaf (a pseudonym) was the top al Qaeda leader in Mosul, al Qaeda's last reputed stronghold in Iraq, until American soldiers shot him full of holes. Further south, al Sadr's Madhi Army may be falling apart, with perhaps as few as 150 military members. So, will someone please bring me up to speed on Barack Obama's position this hour? Is he still insisting that it is 2006 in Iraq, that the situation is untenable, and that the best thing we can do is withdraw all our forces in an expensive, resource-abandoning retreat that many experts suspect could trigger a regional war that makes today's gas prices look like a bargain and trigger a worldwide depression? I ask, because it's rather difficult to keep up with his positions these days as he continues to throw his principles, campaign promises, friends, mentors, and supporters under the proverbial bus to bow at the alter of political expediency. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: The 2nd Amendment DOES NOT "Confer an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms" - But on the other hand, I must rise to dispute not only Erwin Chemerinsky (on the Hugh Hewitt Dean Barnett radio show today) and Barack H. Obama, but also John S. McCain, who issued a statement today that ends: “But today, the Supreme Court ended forever the specious argument that the Second Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms.” I disagree; it's not specious (though the way the argument is used certainly is): It's actually perfectly true that "the Second Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms." Look at the wording of the Amendment (corrected to modernize punctuation): A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. (READ MORE)

Kate Norley @ Blackfive: Women to the front - Iraq? I was there-no shit. Was going there something I had dreamt of as a young girl? No it was not. But real things happen in real life. The reality of my life as a young, free, American woman came into focus the moment my country was attacked by terrorists on September 11,2001. It was at that moment I understood what people meant when describing finding one's own purpose in life. I felt it. A new willingness to commit myself to a cause I believed in, led me to make the best decision of my life-joining the United States Army. Some who knew me questioned my decision and doubted my ability to survive in the armed services. One thing I've learned is it's too common, for people to make assumptions and form opinions about issues they know nothing about. Well I was in Iraq and I know what I saw. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Follow the leader - Glenn Greenwald at Salon is aghast at how Keith Olbermann could turn on a dime on the subject of FISA wiretaps and telecomm company amnesties in connection with counterterror wiretaps simply because Barack Obama changed his position. How could he? The logical error in Greenwald’s thinking is to assume that Olbermann had a position. Greenwald laments: “What’s much more notable is Olbermann’s full-scale reversal on how he talks about these measures now that Obama — rather than George Bush — supports them. On an almost nightly basis, Olbermann mocks Congressional Democrats as being weak and complicit for failing to stand up to Bush lawbreaking; now that Obama does it, it’s proof that Obama won’t ‘cower.’” Obama’s candidacy is partly founded on a cult of personality. He is the Face, the One we’ve been waiting for. A voter who simply wanted to endorse a set of policies could have voted for John Edwards or Hillary Clinton as well as Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

Bear Creek Ledger: Barack Hussein Obama in the back pocket of BIG AGRICULTURE - Now I understand why “the Obama” is continues to tout and support corn ethanol. ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) is based in Illinois but since lobbyists have no control over Obama I’m sure that he wouldn’t have received any campaign funds from the evil energy giant called ADM. Oh, he has? Like riding on ADM’s jet? “IBD - Obama’s Corn Fake - Energy: If Obama wants energy independence through alternative fuels, why doesn’t he back imported sugar-based ethanol? This old-style politician knows it isn’t grown in the Midwest and Brazil has no electoral votes. ADM is based in Illinois, the second-largest corn-producing state. Not long after arriving in the U.S. Senate, Obama flew twice on corporate jets owned by the nation’s largest ethanol producer. Imagine if McCain flew on the corporate jets of Exxon Mobil.” (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: The Real Obama - Running in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama staked his campaign on the proposition that he was the Ivory Soap candidate on the issue of Iraq. His opposition to the war was purer than the rest of the Democratic field's. Having been an Illinois state legislator at the time the roll was called in the United States Senate, he had not cast a vote to authorize it. Free of the encumbrance of responsibility at the time of the Senate vote, he was able to present himself to Democrats as the candidate who was a visionary opponent of a misguided war. Believing that she had something like a lock on the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton pivoted to the general election before the Iowa caucus. She refused to apologize for her vote on the war. Moveover, only last fall she took a responsible position on the Kyl-Lieberman resolution urging the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. When she did so, Obama hammered her for it. (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: The Farce Continues - The farce, that is, of Democratic control of Congress. I suspect that most Americans don't know that the Democrats have been in control of that institution for the last year and a half; otherwise, their enthusiasm for electing more Democrats would be considerably muted. Today the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held yet another hearing on the subject of terrorist interrogations. It is not clear to me why the Democrats are obsessed with this subject. The ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Trent Franks of Arizona, noted that "detainee treatment has been the subject of over 60 hearings, markups and briefings during the last Congress in the House Armed Services Committee alone, of which I am a member." And that is only a drop in the bucket, since any number of Democrat-controlled committees and subcommittees are eager to declare their solidarity with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed... (READ MORE)

Dale Franks: Heller Wrap-Up - Looking over the Heller opinion and dissents, several things occur to me, in no particular order. First, it was a 5-4 majority. We are one robed lawyer away from being told that the right to keep and bear arms is not a right at all. And there will certainly be more chances for that to happen in the not-too-distant future, because this is going to spawn a number of legal cases in gun-banning cities like Chicago and San Francisco. That we have reached a state where an enumerated right’s existence depends on how Justice Kennedy feels on the particular day he looks at the issue is a travesty. This is definitely not over yet, and a change in the court’s direction by a single vote could void Heller. Essentially we have no rights, other than those the Supreme Court extends to us. I don’t think that was the way the whole "rights" thing was supposed to work. (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: District of Columbia v. Heller - A Victory for Civil Rights - That's right, a victory for civil rights. I know that most liberals don't see gun rights as having anything to do with civil rights. They mostly see guns as "scary" things, and the idea that individuals should have them is a relic of a bygone age. In most discussions about the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is either ignored, or interpreted in weird and bizarre ways. The most bizarre of these is the notion that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to grant the states the right to establish their own armies, which is today the National Guard. The right to bear arms is a "corporate" right, not one held by individuals. This despite that no one doubts that the rest of the Bill or Rights applies to individuals. Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller changed all that. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: Gazans fire mortars, AP calls it “test” of truce again - Mortars fired from Gaza are yet another “test” of the ceasefire, according to AP, while somehow, the closing of the border crossings—which were contingent on the ceasefire working—are labeled as the cause of the mortar fire by the AP. Note the headline: It’s a cause-and-effect summation. “Israel closes Gaza, Palestinians fire mortars” You see? As a result of closing the border crossings, the Palestinians fired mortars at Israel. Not as a matter of habit, this being the third day in a row that the Palestinians have violated the truce by firing rockets and mortars. But that’s not the worst of it. The AP is outright blaming Israel for the rocket fire. Look at the lead: (READ MORE)

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