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5/17/2010
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS MISS USA NOT UP TO SNUFF FOR SOME ON THE RIGHT

The hour is late. Jack Bauer will be on in less than an hour. I haven’t eaten dinner. The cats need feeding too, and their litterbox needs cleaning.

But in this, a break from my usual practice of not using profanity, I am wondering what the fuck is wrong with so many on the right who have exploded in anger and cries of “dhimmitude” because a Muslim woman was named Miss USA.

Are you people nuts? What is Michelle Malkin’s excuse?

She nearly tripped over her gown.

She called birth control a “controlled substance.”

She argued that contraceptives should be covered by health insurers because they are “expensive” — and then said you could get them for “free” from your OB/GYN’s office.

Omigod. A beauty pageant contestant is nervous and makes a couple of misstatements. It’s a plot! It’s a conspiracy to deny a good old fashioned white American girl the honor of being Miss USA.

How do we know? The runner up got a question on the Arizona immigration law in which she echoed the de facto conservative position:

Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was named first runner-up after handling a question about Arizona’s new immigration law. Woolard said she supports the law, which requires police enforcing another law to verify a person’s immigration status if there’s “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally.

She said she’s against illegal immigration but is also against racial profiling.

“I’m a huge believer in states’ rights. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about America. So I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law.

Malkin’s response:

Looks like the Miss USA pageant didn’t want to risk the wrath of the open-borders mob.

Or of that ranting, conservative woman-bashing nutball and former Miss USA judge, Perez Hilton.

Yes, Perez Hilton is a dickless philistine. But why bring him into the picture? As Malkin admits, he’s a former judge of the pageant. But positing a conspiracy against Miss Oklahoma because she supports cracking down on illegal immigration? What proof is there? Malkin, not surprisingly doesn’t present any because, let’s face it, there is none. All Malkin has is conspiracy by result - an extraordinarily weak minded construct that I’d expect from some mouth breathing birther, not Malkin. At least Michelle usually has coherent arguments based on some facts. But this is so far over the line, it fell off the cliff before it started.

I suppose I shouldn’t but quoting the hysterical Debbie Schlussel is good at least for low brow entertainment. She doesn’t try to hide her bigotry. She proudly wears it on her sleeve, totally oblivious to how her hate filled, out of control screeds look to the rest of sane world. Like the pretty little storm trooper she is, Schlussel judges people by their race and religion first, and then fills in the blanks:

Don’t let her lack of a headscarf and her donning a bikini in public fool you. Miss Michigan USA, Rimah Fakih is a Muslim activist and propagandist extraordinaire. She recently participated, using the Miss Michigan USA name to promote Islamic subjugation of women, in a Henry Ford Community College’s tax-funded forum promoting Islam, featuring many Shi’ite extremists. One of the prominent participants on-stage with Fakih was Najah Bazzy, the Islamic Nurse Ratched who was apparently involved in Medicaid fraud at Oakwood Hospital, helping thousands of pregnant Muslim alien women use fake social security numbers to pay for the delivery of their babies, and enabling instant anchorbabyhood.

Topics at the forum in which Miss Michigan USA participated included these:

• Why do some Arab women cover themselves while others don’t;
• Are Muslim women allowed to marry non-Muslim men?
• Under Muslim law, are women allowed to divorce their husbands?

Yes - we shouldn’t be fooled because the girl doesn’t wear a headscarf. All Muslim women wear headscarves - unless they are trying to fool us into thinking they are trying to adapt to western customs. That’s the whole point of Miss Fakih’s participation; to fool us into thinking that somehow, Moooslims are just like us.

Reading Schlussel, one would think other topics discussed at that forum would be “Bomb making in the home” and “How to clean up after your jihadist husband after he lops off the heads of infidels.”

And if she supports the subjugation of women, she has a very odd way of showing it by appearing in a very skimpy bikini in front of millions of people.

A little sanity from Melissa Couthier:

Did the new Miss USA from “Dearbornistan” win because of politics? I don’t really care. Have you seen the pictures?

If you haven’t. Check her out. She’s gorgeous. And she’s not wearing a burqa.

She’s in a bikini. And she’s not wearing a burqa.

Did I mention that she has a gorgeous body? And she’s not wearing a burqa.

She’s in America. She’s doing what beautiful American girls do. She’s acting Western.

I would have voted for her in a heartbeat. And yes, it is wonderful that she is an American citizen, acclimating herself to the fashions and mores of this country.

Ah, but our Ms. Schlussel says that this is a Mooooslim Roooose! In their constant efforts to bring death to the infidels, the clever Moooslims allow for this kind of trickery in the greater cause of taking over the world. The Mooslims allowed Miss Fakih to appear nearly naked on stage in order to advance their nefarious schemes. She actually runs around in a burqa at home where no one can see her.

Clever indeed, these Moooslims.

My anger at this display of ignorance and stupidity is based on three things:

1. It’s a fucking beauty pageant you morons!

2. The idea that Donald Trump is some kind of weak willed “dhimmi” who caved to PC notions of diversity by engineering the victory for Miss Fakih comes to us with no evidence, not a glimmer of proof. But hey! It sounds good so lets throw it out there.

3. Did I mention all of this energy is being expended over a fucking beauty pageant?

The absolute disgust I feel at this moment at these so-called conservatives who have gone off the deep end of conspiracy and anger over such a minuscule event cannot easily be put into words. The reaction is so over the top, so far beyond reason, rationality, and sanity that my own response has been reduced to sputtering incoherence. Terrorism is too serious an issue to be left to these nitwits and bigots who never met a Muslim they didn’t hate nor miss an opportunity to reveal their ignorance of Islam and Arab cultures in general.

By: Rick Moran at 6:59 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

5/16/2010
A SHORT SABBATICAL
CATEGORY: Blogging

Readers of this site know from time to time I take a few days off to recharge the batteries, and catch up on some reading. I had a long list of articles and blog posts that I bookmarked for later reading, and I figured it was about time for another mini-vacation anyway.

The last 5 days have been blessedly free of pressure in producing anything (except a couple of posts at AT), and I almost feel like a new man. When you write 4-5,000 words a day (often more), day in and day out (plus email responses and the occasional comment left on a blog site) there eventually comes a morning when you dread the thought of writing anything and end up staring blankly at the monitor for an hour before you realize you have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say.

I can always tell when I need a break when even good subject matter elicits nothing in the way of ideas of how to write about it. Or you realize that the ideas that come to you would require extensive research. Or you are seized with a feeling of ennui so profound that you wish you had never gotten out of bed.

So for those of you hoping that the negative response to my piece on Senator Bennett might have driven me forever from the battleground, I am sorry to disappoint you. No such luck. Tomorrow, I will be back at it, trying my best to upset you with my singular ability to get under the skin of both liberals and conservatives as I continue to explore the intellectual and cultural conceits from both ideologies that drive me up a wall.

There’s that to look forward to. And then there’s my coverage of the Blackhawks and White Sox - one team on the way up, the other going down for the count. I want to write about both teams because sports writing is really my first love. It’s the one thing I regret about the last 35 years - that I didn’t try to follow that dream as a young man.

Back to our regularly scheduled postings tomorrow.

By: Rick Moran at 10:20 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

5/11/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: THE KAGAN NOMINATION

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Cynthia Yockey of The Conservative Lesbian, and Clarice Feldman and Rich Baehr of The American Thinker to discuss the politics of the nomination of Elena Kagan for Supreme Court Justice.

The show will air from 7:00 - 9:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:33 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

BENNETT’S MISTAKE: TOO RATIONAL FOR THE GOP

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

How can you claim that a senator who has a lifetime score of 85 from the American Conservative Union to be “not conservative enough” for any state?

You can if you are a member of the modern Republican party. You can if the senator in question - Bob Bennett of Utah - made the horrible mistake of taking his responsibilities as a senator seriously. Senator Bennett was unaware that the modern Republican party demands that he seek to constantly score political points against his opponents by exaggerated and outrageous name calling rather than thoughtfully approach issues that concern his constituents and look to address their problems.

For this, he has been tossed aside by Utah Republicans and will not appear on the ballot this November.

Bennett, along with his Democratic colleague from Oregon Ron Wyden, made a serious attempt to address the health insurance problem in America with a flawed, but earnest effort at comprehensive reform. Called “The Healthy Americans Act,” the bill incorporated some standard liberal thinking like an individual mandate, but was also innovative in the way costs would be shared and how the program would be administered at the state level. It would also have done away with Medicaid - a plus in any conservative’s book. In short, it was a good old fashioned senate compromise on a thorny issue that, in another less mindlessly partisan time, would have served as a starting point for the two parties to work out their differences.

It wasn’t just his dalliance with the “enemy” that angered right wingers in Utah. Bennett courageously voted against the Constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning back in 2006 - one of only three GOP senators to do so. He also supported comprehensive immigration reform. While there was a lot wrong with that bill, the guest worker provision had broad bi-partisan support and Bennett worked tirelessly to improve it. As for the rest of it, the best that could be said of the measure was that it was attempting to address a problem for which there are probably no good answers. That Bennett felt responsible enough as a legislator to lend his name and support to the bill reveals much about how seriously he views his office.

Alas, Bennett’s base of conservatives in Utah didn’t see it that way. Egged on by a massive infusion of cash by the Washington, D.C. based Club For Growth, Utah conservatives plotted to ambush Bennett at the state convention where he needed at least 40% of the delegates to vote for his candidacy in order for him to take part in a closed primary with the other leading candidate. (If he had received 60%, he would have won the nomination outright.)

In the end, Bennett received 26% at the convention and his 18 year senate career of exemplary public service will come to an end. Chris Chocola, President of Club for Growth, who poured $200,000 into the effort to defeat Bennett, said, “Utah Republicans made the right decision today for their state and sent a clear message that change is finally coming to Washington.” The CFG is angry at Bennett for supporting TARP in the fall of 2008 – a bill desired by a Republican president and pushed by a Republican Treasury Secretary.

How “conservative” is making a change simply for the sake of change? Not very conservative at all. And despite the fact that polls showed a plurality of Utah Republicans supported Bennett’s candidacy, he was defeated largely because he is identified with a GOP leadership that is perceived as insufficiently rabid in their opposition to President Obama and the Democrats. The Tea Party forces don’t want cooperation with the opposition to address the pressing needs of the people; they want war. And any Republican incumbent viewed as less than ideologically committed to total victory will be in trouble this year.

Senator Bob Bennett may not be as far to the right as many Republicans in Utah would wish. But their loss is more than they can imagine. A senator with Bennett’s seniority shouldn’t be sidelined so precipitously, and it very well may be that right wingers in Utah will rue the day they so gleefully shelved a fine public servant.

By: Rick Moran at 9:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

5/10/2010
OUR TEA PARTY PATRIOTS AT WORK

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

What do you get when tea party activists team up with Ron Paulbots?

A nightmare:

The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories.

The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of “collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth,” suggests the adoption of “Austrian Economics,” declares that “‘Freedom of Religion’ does not mean ‘freedom from religion’” (which I guess makes atheism illegal), insists that “healthcare is not a right,” calls for the abrogation of the “UN Treaty on Rights of the Child” and the “Law Of The Sea Treaty” and declares that we must resist “efforts to create a one world government.”

It also contains favorable mentions of both the Tea Party and Ron Paul. You can read the whole thing here.

Dan Billings, who has served as an attorney for the Maine GOP, called the new platform “wack job pablum” and “nutcase stuff.”

I would say that Mr. Billings sums it up nicely, although most of the really objectionable stuff is straight out of the Ron Paul playbook. Ridding ourselves of the Fed is the first step on the road back to a gold standard, a dubious idea that Milton Friedman pointed out would increase government regulation of the economy:

With no Fed, inexpert Congress will bear the onus of alleviating economic suffering. With deeper, longer recessions, Congressmen will inevitably succumb to pressure for more spending and regulation of the economy–as they did during the Great Depression.

How about eliminating the Department of Education? When first proposed by Ronald Reagan, the Department was in its infancy, only sucking up $6 billion dollars of taxpayer monies and serving as a repository for federal education programs that previously had existed in the various departments.

No more today. The Department is now a $60 billion behemoth with almost every school district in the country dependent on its largess. Cutting it down to size while gradually getting the feds out of the education business might be more to the point. But for our tea party patriots, no half measures and nothing “gradual” allowed.

But it is the conspiracy mongering that should give us the most pause. Putting paranoid loons in charge of the GOP in Maine who believe in a global warming “conspiracy” involving industry and government and that there is any possibility on planet earth that we would be yoked under some kind of “one world government” is madness.

Are all tea party patriots inclined to believe this “whack job pablum?” Certainly not all, although if you spend much time listening to them, similar sentiments are expressed by many. As a free standing group of activists dedicated to fiscal sanity and constitutional principles, the tea party movement has a vital role to play in any American revival. But as purely political animals, they are a washout. There are a sizable number of birthers among them, and a significant number who believe Obama is a Muslim, or favors Muslims, or is working for their interests. I hate to bring up the “R” word but yes, there is a small but significant number who are racists as well.

In short, while the majority of tea partiers are average, normal Americans with pretty standard views, there is a sizable segment of the movement that makes them a political liability. Another case in point was the tea party revolt in Utah that ousted Senator Bob Bennett. For someone who has a lifetime rating of 85 from the ACU, it is amazing to think that Bennett wouldn’t be “conservative enough” for any state in the union. But Utah Republicans had a few beefs with the senator and not even a last minute plea from Mitt Romney - popular in the state for his stewardship of the Salt Lake City Olympics - could save his political hide.

Other factors besides Bennett’s obvious conservatism were in play. Bennett, along with his Democratic colleague from Oregon Ron Wyden, made a serious attempt to address the health insurance problem in America with a flawed, but earnest effort at comprehensive reform. Called “The Healthy Americans Act,” the bill incorporated some standard liberal thinking like an individual mandate, but was also innovative in the way costs would be shared and how the program would be administered at the state level. It would also have done away with Medicaid - a plus in any conservative’s book. In short, it was a good old fashioned senate compromise on a thorny issue that, in another less mindlessly partisan time, would have served as a starting point for the two parties to work out their differences.

It wasn’t just his dalliance with the “enemy” that angered right wingers in Utah. Bennett courageously voted against the Constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning back in 2006 - one of only three GOP senators to do so. He also supported comprehensive immigration reform. While there was a lot wrong with that bill, the guest worker provision had broad bi-partisan support and Bennett worked tirelessly to improve it. As for the rest of it, the best that could be said of the measure was that it was attempting to address a problem for which there are probably no good answers. That Bennett felt responsible enough as a legislator to lend his name and support to the bill reveals much about how he views his responsibilities.

To get rid of a senator of Bennett’s seniority and experience is the most unconservative thing the tea party movement has done to date. To effect change simply to realize change is the antithesis of conservative thinking and the excessive partisanship demonstrated by activists in Utah who hated Bennett for working with “the enemy” does not serve the interests of their state.

Maine and Utah are the first stirrings of tea party activists flexing their muscles in the political arena. They may see success where failure is the real outcome.

By: Rick Moran at 9:43 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

5/9/2010
THE GREEK DEBT CRISIS FOR ECONOMIC MORANS
CATEGORY: PJ Media

My latest at PJ Media is up and it purports to make the Greek debt crisis easy to understand if you’re a dummy.

Since my name has become internet shorthand for stupid, who better to tackle such an assignment?

If you work in the financial services industry, or teach economics, or even if your familiarity with the “dismal science” is limited to a course you took in college 35 years ago, this article is not for you. I suggest you click on by and read Roger Simon. Just be sure to let him know I sent you.

When PJM’s managing editor called and asked me to do a piece on the Greek debt crisis that even dummies could understand, I was mystified.

“Why me?” I asked. “I don’t know the first thing about the Greek debt crisis.”

“You’re perfect for this assignment,” he said. “It’s precisely because you don’t know anything about the Greek debt crisis that I want you to do it. Besides, you’re something of a dummy yourself. People will relate to you.”

He had me there. So that’s the story of how I, a true Moran when it comes to matters pertaining to numbers and such, got roped into doing a story about how Europe is on the brink of a string of sovereign defaults whose impact on the world’s economy might be catastrophic. Or it might not. Or it might be a little catastrophic but not as bad as some people think. Or it might not be catastrophic at all and some analysts are scaremongering.

By: Rick Moran at 6:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

5/5/2010
THE “WAR” ON TERROR VS. A POLICE ACTION

This blurb by Dave Neiwert at Crooks and Liars is fascinating. It is so blithely ignorant of its own irony that it could easily be construed as a child sticking its tongue out at a playmate and sneering, “So there, nyeah.”

The next time you hear some right-winger (most notably Dick Cheney) sneer at the Obama administration’s “law enforcement approach to terrorism,” remember this.

Remember what? How incredibly lucky we are because twice now since Christmas we failed to interdict a terrorist attack because the essence of the “law enforcement approach” is to wait until the terrorists have killed a lot of Americans before acting? The “law enforcement approach” did not stop Shahzad from trying to incinerate New Yorkers in Times Square, nor did it stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from trying to bring down an airplane filled with people on Christmas day.

If Mr. Shahdaz was sitting in jail right after a successful attack, how sneeringly juvenile would Neiwert be about that? If Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been able to bring down the plane on Christmas day, how much crowing would Neiwert be doing about the “law enforcement approach” to terrorism?

The police have an important role to play in the War on Terror. No one disputes this except people like Neiwert trying to set up strawman arguments to shadow box with his political opponents. International cooperation to break up terror cells already in place is a vital component to keep us safe. Cheney should know. He headed a Bush administration effort that, for all its faults, worked closely with our allies, and even those nations who don’t like us very much (Pakistan) in a proactive attempt to foil terrorist plots before they occurred.

Those of us who believe that we are at war with Islamic extremists (they certainly believe they are at war with us) want to go beyond this common sense approach and, using special forces, drones, and even assassins, attack terrorists where they are hiding to prevent them from planning attacks on us in the first place. Also, if necessary, attack nations that harbor and succor terrorists who have successfully attacked America.

Don’t look now, but President Obama is doing all of that (I have no doubt he would respond with military force if it could be shown a major attack on America originated in a country that allowed terrorists safe haven). He’s just not calling it a “War on Terror” and has liberals like Neiwert bamboozled into thinking he has altered President Bush’s policies much at all. He hasn’t. He has stepped up the use of drones on our enemies while special forces are assisting Yemenis, Pakistanis, and probably other nations in going after and killing terrorists. His emphasis on law enforcement is cosmetic. In order not to offend the sensibilities of moderate Muslims (and to fool his own domestic political base), the president is downplaying the military aspect of the War on Terror in his public pronouncements. What goes on behind the scenes is a different story.

Cheney is upset that Obama isn’t acting like a cowboy and broadcasting our efforts to fight a war against the terrorists where they live and plot their attacks. And liberals like Neiwert are deluding themselves if they think that because the atmospherics have changed, the policy has been altered. Nothing could be further from the truth.

CIA paramilitaries, SEALS, Green Berets, and special forces units from every branch of the service are engaged in a “hot” war with those who would do us harm. They are working with the military and intelligence services of other nations to track, expose, and kill terrorists. By any definition you want to use, this is war. And Neiwert’s arrogant posturing notwithstanding, it is a vitally important adjunct to efforts by police around the world to carry out their own anti-terrorism functions that not only look to capture terrorists before they can harm us, but also take away their sources of finance, cut off their communications with their overseas masters, and relentlessly pursue them, never giving them a moment’s rest.

Our military constantly feeds intelligence gleaned from their efforts to our allies in the War on Terror who pass the information along to local and national police authorities. It is a symbiotic relationship that has proven very successful - for the most part. But as former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge pointed out years ago, we have to be successful in interdicting the terrorist’s plans 100% of the time where they only have to be successful once in order to kill a lot of Americans.

The recent attacks in Detroit on Christmas day and in Times Square over the weekend highlight that truism. It is worrisome in both instances that our own government dropped the ball; a failure in airport security measures that failed to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from attempting his murder, and several red flags that should have made Faisal Shahzad a person of interest to domestic law enforcement. This calls into question the basic competence of this administration and whether President Obama is protecting the homeland adequately.

Only by the grace of God and the incompetence of the attackers has a major domestic terrorist incident been avoided over the last few months. I hardly think that calls for the kind of childishness offered up by Dave Neiwert or any other lefty who is stupidly celebrating their “victory” over their political foes.

A few more victories like that and we’re going to have a lot of dead Americans to mourn.

By: Rick Moran at 7:39 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

5/4/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: IT’S THE JIHAD, STUPID

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Monica Showalter of IDB, Charlie Martin of PJ Media, Rusty Shackleford of the Jawa Report, and Jeff Dunetz of Yid with a Lid for a discussion about the Times Square terrorist attack and the BP oil spill.

The show will air from 7:00 - 9:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:22 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

THE MIRANDA CONUNDRUM

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice.

John McCain is saying we shouldn’t mirandize an American citizen who has been arrested for his participation in the Times Square bomb plot:

It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.

“Obviously that would be a serious mistake…at least until we find out as much information we have,” McCain said during an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.

“Don’t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it’s all about,” McCain added.

First of all, it is never a “mistake” to follow the law. Mr Shahzad is an American citizen, and even if he had murdered thousands, he would still be entitled to the protections guaranteed under our Constitution.

And yet, this is one instance where the “ticking bomb” scenario might very well be a reality. Newsweek reports there may be a connection between Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud:

A prominent expert on Jihadist media says there is an apparent link between the new video message in which Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, once thought to have been killed, proclaims he is still alive, and a message posted overnight Saturday in which the Pakistani Taliban appears to claim credit for the failed Times Square car bomb attack.

Rita Katz, founder of the Site Intelligence Group, a private organization that monitors and translates extremist Web postings, late on Monday outlined a timeline her organization put together that suggests that the Hakimullah video and the U.S. attack claim were both posted, at least on some sites, by the same person or persons.

Terrorists are notoriously full of bombast but just for the record, Meshud made some bloodthirsty threats toward America in his latest video:

In the videos, Hakimullah Mehsud vows attacks on U.S. cities, which he says his suicide bombers have penetrated. The videos provide the first solid evidence that he survived the missile strike, and they come after the Pakistani Taliban’s widely dismissed claim of responsibility for the failed attack in New York’s Times Square. In that case, authorities were zeroing in on a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan. A suspect was arrested late Monday, though reports of his ties to extremist groups in Pakistan could not be substantiated.

Might there be other terrorists in other major American cities waiting to strike as I write this? And would that be a good enough excuse for the government to arbitrarily waive Mr. Shahzad’s Constitutional rights, designate him an “enemy combatant,” and interrogate him using all legal means at our disposal (I take it as a given that President Obama has rejected “enhanced interrogation” as an option)?

For some on both sides of the argument, this is an easy question to answer in the affirmative or negative. However, knee jerk ideological reactions from civil liberties absolutists or bloodthirsty right wingers are just not good enough in this situation.

The threat is real and immediate. Hundreds - perhaps thousands - of American lives may be at stake. Wouldn’t it be easier just to forget the Constitution in this one instance and treat this terrorist as the enemy he himself claims to be?

It would be easier. But would it be the right thing to do? I daresay if there is another terrorist attack - this one successful - and we followed the law to the letter by allowing the suspect to remain silent despite the fact that it is later revealed he could have given us information that would have stopped the attack, the political ramifications would be severe. And the fact that our police obeyed the Constitution would give cold comfort to the families of those who lost a loved on in a preventable attack.

It’s an easy choice - unless you lose someone because of that choice. Then it becomes a little more complicated, yes? Or, on the other side of the coin, if Mr. Shahzad knows nothing of any other attacks and precious little about his overseas connections, violating his constitutional rights would be seen as dramatic overkill. The law would have been violated for, what in retrospect, would be seen as no good reason.

You might argue that postulating outcomes is a fool’s game and that holding fast to Constitutional principles or making the exception in Shahzad’s case is a decision for the moment and no thought should be given to relative consequences. I disagree. This decision would be all about “relevant consequences.” If we violate the suspect’s Constitutional rights and the information we are able to wean out of him prevents an attack, is that justification for tossing the Constitution aside? Or if he has no information relevant to accomplices or other plots, must we automatically assume that what was done was a travesty?

Herein lies the conundrum over Mirandizing Shahzad. Whether we do or don’t, our actions will have profound consequences.  Even if no other terrorist attacks are being planned, finding that out is almost as important as discovering another plot to kill Americans. And as with any other decisions made by policymakers, the potential harm must be weighed against any positive outcome to their actions.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be confronted with choices like this. But in the real world where lives may be at stake and the responsibility weighs heavily on our national leaders, the simplified view of the ideologues is a luxury not vouchsafed those who are charged with protecting American citizens.

UPDATE

As is his wont - and the wont of other excessively ideological dimwits on both sides - John Cole exaggerates, takes out of context, and generally makes a hash of my writing.

As far as torture, Cole knows full well I oppose it as strenuously as he does. As for the “ticking bomb scenario,” I have written extensively about how the professionals do not believe it could ever happen.

The point of this post was to theorize that there may arise a situation in the future where - ticking bomb or not - American lives would be placed at risk by mirandizing a terrorist. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize such a scenario. My purpose was to outline the arguments for and against such action. I tried to present both sides fairly. Cole, being the partisan, ideological hack that he is, only saw one side.

James Joyner is also dubious about my reasoning here and corrects me about any American citizen able to be designated an “enemy combatant.” I don’t believe I came down on either side in Shahzad’s case in the article but just for the record, I support mirandizing him.

By: Rick Moran at 10:27 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)

THE ROAD TO BIG GOVERNMENT

I have an article up at David Horowitz’s FrontPage.com this morning in which I lay out the case against “comprehensive reform” of just about anything.

A sample:

It doesn’t matter what putative tasks that government wants to assign for itself, anytime that Congress comprehensively tries to address a supposed injustice, or take on a big problem, it is a given that government will carve out a role greater than it had previous to the reform. It is a sure means of growing the size of the federal behemoth. Unintended consequences notwithstanding, you can take that to your federally run bank and cash it.

[...]

Prudence as a civic virtue has disappeared from public life. It’s just not the style in these days of massive, nation-changing legislation and a president with one eye on the polls and the other on the history books. One of Cicero’s Four Cardinal Virtues, prudence, he wrote, “is the knowledge of what is good, what is bad, and what is neutral.” Russell Kirk believed that prudence was one of the ten most important conservative principles, saying, “[a]ny public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity.” It would seem that both classical and contemporary philosophers had a better handle on what the liberals are doing than Republicans in Congress.

In an age where anything is justified in the cause of “social justice,” or advancing “positive rights,” the Left’s massive attempts at “comprehensive” reform are unsettling society, discarding America’s first principles, and uncoupling citizens from the traditions that have been lovingly and courageously handed down by our ancestors at great cost in blood and treasure. It is being done without so much as a sniff in the direction of continuity in government, as Democrats seek to shatter convention and substitute an alien philosophy that alters society in ways that most of those who voted for “change” in 2008 could never have dreamed. What is really needed in America today is not comprehensive reform but a comprehensive cleaning of our House – and the Senate.

When was our last truly “prudent” president? A case could be made that George Bush #41 was mostly a prudent leader, although some conservatives would argue that his policies provoked exactly the kind of “unintended consequences” that would brand his presidency as imprudent.

Ronald Reagan’s massive tax cuts were a boon to the economy but also unhinged the budget for a generation - a consequence we are still dealing with today. An argument could be made that it is the fault of Congress for not cutting the budget sufficiently, but there were plenty of conservatives who warned Reagan - Howard Baker among them - that Congress would never be able to cut the budget enough to balance outlays.

The flurry of government activity initiated by the Nixon-Ford-Carter triumvirate, with an alphabet soup of government agencies created or expanded would leave all three of those presidents off the list of “prudent” leaders.

I think we have to go all the way back to Eisenhower to find the last truly prudent American president. Both in foreign and domestic affairs, Eisenhower’s stewardship reflected his basic outlook as both a military commander - where prudence is a necessity - and his governing philosophy, where he believed doing the least was doing the best.

Barack Obama is giving LBJ a run for his money as far as being the most imprudent, reckless president of the 20th century. But he still has a way to go in that regard. Both men’s imprudence flowed from a serene, almost frightening confidence in their own abilities to manage the federal behemoth. They both have been blinded by their own arrogance to the point that they thought they could ignore any consequences flowing from their transformative policies, believing in the basic moral rightness of their cause.

Such hubris is always rewarded with the most damaging of unintended consequences. In Johnson’s case, the destruction of the inner cities, the black family structure, and the creation of a dependent underclass all flowed from his Great Society.

In Obama’s case, we can only dimly see how his massive intrusions in the private sector and threats to individual liberty will play out. Until then, we will have to award the title of “Least Prudent President of the 20th Century” to LBJ.

By: Rick Moran at 8:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)