Saturday, September 17, 2005

Pinkos Update

I thought everone might enjoy some new photo's of our Friday night face-offs with Code Pink, the left-wing outfit notorious for giving some $600,000 to the terrorists (er, "citizens") of Fallujah.

As I discussed a few posts ago, last spring Code Pink decided to hold Friday night anti-war protests outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Their signs included such beauties as "Maimed for a Lie". The probable reason they chose Friday evenings is because on that night the hospital sends a busload of the recovering troops to a restaurant in the city. The bus re-enters the hospital grounds at this very entrance between 9 and 9:30. The troops were unable to miss the Code Pink people on the corner right beside the entrance.

Word got out about this, and the people who manage, known as "Freepers", decided that this was intolerable. They organized their own "support the troops" demonstrations on the opposite streetcorners, and have done so every Friday night since. This way the troops on the bus would have have a pro-troops rally to bolster them instead of having to look at a bunch of neo-Marxists. The whole thing was under the media radar until an August 30 CNSnews story attracted national attention.

Yours truely has been there to help counter the Pinkos a total of three times now, with last night being the latest episode. I published my first account a few weeks ago, and below are photos of Sept 9 and Sept 16.

This is the corner where we maintained our largest presence, where the Freepers put our "MOAB", or Mother Of All Banners". All "pro-troops" signs and banners are on this corner too.

Here is our other corner, on which all anti-Pinko signs and banners are placed. As you can see, the massive banner here is only slightly smaller than the MOB. Both of our corners are across the street from the main entrance.

(I took both of the above photos from one of Code Pink's corners after they had left)

Here are the Pinkos, on the corner where they maintain their largest presence. Their permit gives them two corners (the ones right beside the entrance), and ours does the same for us. As you can see, their largest sign is, ahem, somewhat smaller than either of ours. All of which is somewhat amusing that they can't manage anthing better.

Here is their secondary corner.

Here I am, letting passing motorists know who the people across the street are. This sign, like many of the others, were made by the Freepers. They had an abundance of them for anyone on our side to hold.

The guy in the purple shirt is who I call the "angry bicyclist". He stopped by our corner Sept 9 and wanted to argue with everyone. He kept shouting that he'd done a lot of reading and knew the facts, and who here would debate him, all that. He wanted to get into Security Council resolution 1441 and everything. He was so irate the last thing any of us were going to do is engage him in any type of serious conversation. After a few minutes of back-and-forth we ignored him and he went over to the Pinko's corner.

Here is what it is all about, the troops, returning from the restaurant. In the past few weeks the Pinkos have packed up and gone home promptly at 9pm before the busload of troops arrives. It is my belief that they do this so as to maintain the falsehood that there's is a "vigil", in support of the troops. As I said at the earlier, when they stated this several months ago they had no problem in showing the busload of troops their protest signs.

You can find a lot more at the website.

In this post, the Freepers show a copy of a Code Pink flyer that they say was being handed out to neighborhood residents just last week. The flyer urges residents to call the police on "counter protesters who have been appearing to yell at us Friday nights."

The Pinkos claim is that far from being against the troops, they are fighting for the troops. They say that they are simply holding a "vigil" in support of the troops who are in the hospital. One of their signs says "quite zone", despite the fact that each night they play one or more guitars and sing leftie anti-war songs. Other signs say things like "Full Finding for VA Benefits". Essentially, they are running from who they really are. They are trying to present the image of a benign group that simply does not think our troops should be in Iraq. In reality, they are a dangerous bunch of anti-American fanatics who have given aid and comfort to the enemy.

Here are the FreeRepublic posts with many good pictures and even video and audio files from Sept 2 and Sept 9. Make sure you go to these posts, because in addition to the great photos, you'll want to read about the "drive by fruiting" of Sept 9!

Next Weekend

Next weekend is either "Support the Troops" or "Protest the War (and the IMF, the World Bank, and support Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea)" depending on whose side you're on. The lefties plan on being out in force, and the Freepers, Protest Warriors, and others on the right will be in D.C. also so that hopefully the left does not get all the media attention. I plan on being downtown that Saturday, and will do a post on the goings-on shortly thereafter. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Roberts Hearings

I haven't watched any of the hearings but have listened to them on the radio, and followed the various blogs over at National Review. My job allows me to listen to the radio much of the day, so I've got a fair idea as to what is going on. I could watch them on C-Span at night, but haven't the time or patience.

But for all of the time and energy that will be spent both in committee and on the floor of the Senate, the central issue is really quite simple. The Democrats, or liberals, I should say, are absolutely petrified that they are on the verge of loosing control of the Supreme Court.

Democrats have had the presidency for only 15 of the past 40 years. They control neither the House nor the Senate. They may well capture one or all three in coming years, but even this misses the point.

And that is so because for all the importance of controlling the presidency or congress, it is through the courts that liberals try to accomplish their goals. From gun control, to smoking, to quotas(er, "diversity"), to gay marriage, and now even to the Pledge of Allegiance, liberals have decided that getting judges to enact their agenda is better than trying to elect legislators.

And you can see why they would think so. Convincing the public that you are right is so time consuming and expensive. Legislators and governors who enact unpopular laws can be voted out. No, far better to circumvent representative government with a coterie of philosopher-kings. Socrates would have been proud.

Do I exagerate? I think not. Consider gun control. Liberals have just about given up on persuading legislatures, whether they be state or congress, from enacting serious gun control legislation. In fact, the trend across the country is in the other direction. State after state has been passing "right to carry" laws, which relieve the citizen of having to go before a temperamental judge who may or may not grant a license depending on personal whim. Congress let provisions of the Brady Bill die (which reminds me that I need to get a flash suppressor for my AR-15. They had been banned by that stupid law). Bill Clinton himself gave credit to the NRA for Democrat losses in the congress during his term in office.

Enraged, liberals changed tactics. The new game is to sue gun manufacturers, usually under "product liability" statutes. Fortunately, most attempts have been squashed either by the courts themselves, or by legislatures passing laws absolving manufactures of "abusive lawsuits".

We see a similar tactic with tobacco products. We see lawsuit after lawsuit for more and more money, all under the guise of "product liability" or some such similar claim.

In both cases, liberals pursue their agenda through the wrong forum. The correct thing to do would be to simply come out and say "we think smoking/guns/fill-in-the-blank ought to be legal/illegal, and we're introducing legislation to make it so. " But rarely is this the case.

So it was the unusual news story that told us that the California legislature had passed a bill to make "gay marriage" legal. Most Democrat politicians in the country are caught between a rock and a hard place with this issue. On the one hand, they've got their gay consituency telling them that gay marriage is their number 1 issue. On the other, they've got their much larger black and labor union constituency telling them "no way." The courts provide the perfect answer. They simply put liberal judges in place, and hope they pass gay marriage laws (excuse me, "reinterpret the constitution"). The politicians can then say to the blacks and union members "hey, don't look at me", while it's wink wink to the gays.

Back to the Senate

So for three days in a row John Roberts has been questioned by various senators. Interestingly enough, before about 1955 nominees to the Court didn't even apear before the Senate. In fact, they refused to go, considering it beneath their dignity to subject themselves to questioning to a bunch of political hacks. And from what I've seen (or rather, heard), they had a point.

For all their pontificating, and attempts by some (Shumer, Biden) to show us that they too know the law ("really, we do!"), it all comes down to one issue. There is only one thing they want to know, because it is at the heart of modern liberalism.

How will he vote on abortion?

I swear I think Roberts could say that he'd order puppies executed and old ladies thrown into the street from their nursing homes and the Democrats wouldn't care.

"Just please, oh please, don't touch Roe v Wade"

Roberts, of course, has adopted what has become known as "the Ginsburg standard". Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Clinton's 1993 nominee, told senators that
“I cannot say one word on that subject that would not violate what I said had to be my rule about no hints, no forecasts, no previews.”
How inconvenient her words are to some now. I listened today as Roberts refused to answer questions about how he might rule, with Democrat senators such as Shumer growing more and more frustrated.

Biden demanded that Roberts tell him his opinion on specific issues, saying that because senatorial candidates must tell the public their opinion on various issues, judicial candidates should do likewise. Roberts instructed Biden that judges aren't up for reelection, so no, the analogy does not work.

Kennedy said that he was - hold your breath - "somewhat disappointed" in Roberts.

Feinstein, displaying the worst in tribalist thinking, asked a series of "woman questions": Prefacing a few questions with "As a woman..." and "As a man, Judge Roberts, how do you feel..."

Shumer tried to trip him up on the "Ginsburg standard". Biden interupted him repeatedly, at several points causing Chairman Arlen Specter to intervene on Roberts' behalf. But they failed.

The Meaning of "Qualified"

John Roberts is a qualified, in the academic sense, as anyone ever has been. By all historical precident, he should be confirmed.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed in 1993 by a vote of 96-3. Scalia and Renquist were confirmed by overwhelming margins, Thomas famously less so.

Ginsberg specifically told everyone that she believed in a womans "right" to an abortion. Yet had Republicans voted against her they would have accused of all sorts of things, from setting a "litmus test" to being "anti-woman."

Roberts will be confirmed, although probably with only 10-20 Democrat votes in the full Senate. The committee vote will be straight party line, 10-8.

If this confirmation looks difficult, folks, get ready for the next one. It's going to be bloody. The Democrats are losing their last branch of government, and won't go down without a fight.

Thursday - A New Line of Attack

I'm not going to do daily updates, but today several Democrats revealed more clearly their judicial philosophy, which is that they don't care one whit what the constitution says, they just want judges to be another legislature. This ties into my thesis above so I'll comment a bit on it.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee that they're up against a legal mind far superior to any of theirs, so they've stopped trying to discuss anything serious.

The new tactic is to claim that Roberts doesn't have the "heart" or "compassion" to be a Supreme Court justice. Here's Schumer:
First, is the question of compassion and humanity. I said on the first days of these hearings it's important to determine not just the quality of your mind but the fullness of your heart, which to I think a good number of us at least on side of the aisle really mean the ability to truly empathize with those who are less fortunate and who often need the protections of the government and the assistance of the law to have any chance at all.
Adding to this line of attack, Kennedy asked him "whether he could ensure the rights of the nation's less fortunate".

This would be self-parody if the issues weren't so serious.

Let me make this real simple.

Judges should follow the constitution, and look to precident for guidance. Sometimes this will mean that the poor and downtrodden win, and sometimes it will not. Sometimes the rich and powerful will, and should, win. Judges should not care one whit about the circumstances of a petitioner's economic situation, and they certainly should not try and "empathize with the less fortunate".

But to liberals, if the constitution or law doesn't say what you want it to say, well, just invent a "penumbra".

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Memories of 9/11

Today, 4 years ago, terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers, hit the Pentagon, but, thanks to the heroism of the passengers of flight 93, failed to strike another target in Washington.

I spent five days in New York in May/June 2001, just a few months before the attacks. On 29 May, after I had visited Liberty and Ellis island, I walked along the beautiful esplanade from Battery Park to the World Trade Center. At first I couldn’t really find the Twin Towers as they were hidden behind the other big buildings of the World Trade Center. But then I came out on Liberty Street and suddenly I saw these huge towers in front of me. It was a colossal view. I lifted my head, but it seemed to me that I couldn’t see all the way up to the top even how hard I tried. I entered the South Tower and took the elevator which brought me in a few seconds to the Observation deck on the 107th floor. I looked through the small windows and the whole of Manhattan lay at my feet. I could see the North Tower with the antenna on its roof. The sky was dark and clouded as evening approached and as thunder and lightning rocked the air. It was an awesome view. You could see the cabs that, like yellow ants, swarmed through the streets. 411 meters above the ground, you couldn’t hear the noise that they were making. I was thinking: if man can build these Towers, there is nothing that he isn’t capable of. Little did I know that, 4 months later, 10 men in two planes would destroy what other men had built.

On 01/09/11 I was busy at work when I heard that something “had happened” in New York. I don’t remember if I heard exactly what had really happened. I don’t know whether that is because of my confusion or my disbelief. As soon as I could, I went home or better I rushed home. It was only when I saw the images of the plane hitting the South Tower and of the Two Towers cracking down, that it really sank in. I was enraged, furious.... This should not go unpunished. That day, or was it a few days later, I looked for the American Stars and Stripes that I had bought years ago and hung it against a wall in my room. I promised myself that I would return to New York.

I kept my promise. Two years after my first trip to New York, I went back making a stopover on my way home after a two-week tour along the Western Coast. On 9 June 2003, I came from the other side, from Church Street, upon the site where the Two Towers used to stand. All the time I was trying to imagine citizens, policemen, firemen running to help other people or to escape death. I started to walk round the big hole, I looked at the plates at the fence telling about the Towers, about what had happened, bearing the names of those who were killed. It felt so unreal: the Two Towers were no longer there. I made myself another promise: If they build another tower, I will come back, again.

Today I wanted to tell my personal story about 9/11 without all the politics. This is a day of remembrance. In this respect, I would like to recommend the following:
- a chronology of events according to the 9/11 Commission Report presented in 4-way split screen
- the book ‘102 Minutes’ by NYT-journalists Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn