Democrats & Liberals Archives

Switching Off Free Speech

The most important ideal of America is free speech. Free speech is promised us in the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. All Americans, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, members of any other political party, or completely independent of any party, are in favor of free speech. Free speech is part of America’s DNA. And yet, here comes Newt Gingrich telling us that sometimes we need to switch off free speech!

Newt Gingrich sometimes comes up with some wild ideas. But his wildest statement is his recent calling for a reexamination of free speech. Unbelievably, he said that a “different set of rules to prevent terrorism” is necessary. Where do you suppose he said it? At a First Amendment Award Dinner in New Hampshire! Chutzpah, first class!

Newt's charming words:

My view is that either before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that we use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us, to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

According to Gingrich, free speech belongs to the good guys and not to the bad guys. And here I have been thinking that free speech belongs to all of us. This is what I learned in school. This is what all the heroes of America have said. This is what was ingrained in me as the outstanding ideal of America. But genius Gingrich says "it ain't so."

Under these new rules of the Constitution, who determines who is a good guy and who is a bad guy so we know whom to allow to speak and whom to silence? True blue (or is it red) Republicans like Gingrich, of course. You would not allow a defeatist Democrat to make such important decisions, would you?

I can go on blasting Newt Gingrich on this outlandishly vile and un-American statement, but Keith Olbermann does a much better job than I can. You MUST see and hear Olbermann at UTube. He's great!

While Newt wants to subtract free speech for some, he wants add free speech for others. Specifically, he does not like McCain-Feingold and wants to eliminate all restrictions on campaign contributions. He considers money the same as free speech. Newt's brilliant words:

Just as tax lawyers always succeed in out-thinking the (Internal Revenue Service) because they stay after five and the IRS goes home, the private-sector lawyers will always out-think the (Federal Election Commission) because they stay after five and the FEC goes home.

So you may as well give up and allow everybody to contribute money - "free speech." What about those who have no money? Just as the old Chinese laundryman used to say "Sorry, no ticki, no washee," Newty politicians say, "Sorry, no money, no free speech."

Newt Gingrich is playing around with the most sacred ideal of America: Free speech. He wants to switch free speech on and off, depending on how he feels. He is doing it in order to advance himself so that he may receive the Republican nomination for president. This is a dastardly deed, on par with King George circumventing our rules to spy on Americans without a warrant. Should Gingrich succeed in becoming president, he would be more radical than Bush. He must be stopped.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 1, 2006 6:44 PM
Comments
Comment #197342

A few comments.

European enlightened Liberalism and political correctness has failed. England announced through it’s spy chief and verified by their leader Tony Blair that they are tracking some 30 terrorist plots in England and some 1600 individuals involved in trying to promote some sort of terrorism. Who are they? Home grown muslim terrorists.

Muslims that listened to the radical, anti west, pro-violence, and intolerance preached by the radical Muslims that the left allowed to inflitrate England and allowed them to build a radical terror supporting population right under their tolerant noses.

Tolerance of the intolerant has put Europe in severe danger. Mobs are taking to the streets burning cars and doing battle with police, individuals are murdering and bombing. Some who have spoken out have been killed. A rabid, pro terrorist rights agenda by the politically correct is suicidal. And now, a back-lash is growing in Germany and France and other European nations as the Christian Europeans see they are losing their nations and their culture and freedom to intolerant Muslims and “enlightened intellectuals who tolerate and support the radial Muslims and illegal aliens.

In WWII this nation sacrificed many “rights’ in order to win the war. Freedom of press, “free speech” etc etc. And they did so for the most part without complaint. Our parents and grand parnets REALIZED that the nations survival depended on it. They realized they were in a war they needed to win.

Newt believes we are in a war we need to win. A clash of civilizations. The rise of a radical Islamic movement aimed at global conquest. A war the left for the most part claims is not real but just a figment of “neocons” imagination and their plot to take over the US.

These outrageous claims are in themselves just more left wing propaganda aimed at denying the reality of the danger we face. Because to acknowledge the threat is to admit the lefts tolerance of the intolerant is a recipe for disaster. He believes that Radical Islam is at war with the west and wants to control the middle east, then Europe and to wage war with the US. he believes this based no only on what we have seen terrorist and radical Islam doing…but also one what it is saying. When they tell you they are at war with you and you deny it….who is the fool? Of what value is political correctness when it says surrender to an enemy that wants to destroy you.

Newt is not as ignorant, outrageous, or careless of our rights as you would make him out to be, and I think you know that. What will it take to get the left to acknowledge we are in a clash of civilizations, modern vs barbaric and we need to work together to win it instead of losing it for politically correct reasons?

Posted by: Stephen at December 1, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #197345

It is only free speech if it agrees with bush and co.

Posted by: KT at December 1, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #197351


Carl Rove is looking for a new neocon steed to drive into the next election. Perhaps he can hitch the Newt to the swiftboat and do McCain again.

Posted by: jlw at December 1, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #197352

Free Speech? Do we even have free speech when Quaker groups are infiltrated by the FBI due to their anti-Iraq War protest literature? How can we have free speech in American when the radical left and radical right, as in Black Panthers, Aryan Nation, Weather Underground, KKK, SDS, etc. are subject to Counter Intelligence Programs designed to falsely accuse their leadership, plant evidence to bring down their leaders, and wiretap and search their organizations without court order?

America gave up freedom of speech back in the 1950’s with the Red Scare. Granted, some curtailment of the most egregious violations of the Bill of Rights occurred in the late 1970’s, but, with the Patriot and Anti-Terrorist Acts, we seem to be turning the clock back toward the 1950’s.

Freedom of speech in America is conditional upon how safe and secure politicians and their constituents happen to feel. Which makes America unprincipled at the very least, and prone to disable the Bill of Rights at the drop of a terrorist incident or scare. It is hard to imagine that our founding fathers would be very proud of the American people today and the way they have bastardized the Bill of Rights so far.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 1, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #197361

Come on Paul, Newt is talking about wiping out terrorist proliferation. Are you actually promoting the rights of terrorists to spread terror? Some speech is already controlled, enacted primarily by the Democrats. Have you ever heard of hate speech? Newt understands that terrorists need to be eliminated, not heard! With free speech, in San Francisco, and elsewhere, comes freedom of expression which involves certain public acts. What comes next in your world; the freedom for terrorists to express themselves by flying jetliners into buildings? How in this world can one think that Newt Gingrich’s wish to squelch that kind of extreme hatred of the United States is a bad thing. Do you really think we should not try to stop terrorist activity in the United States, whether it be the Islamic terrorists or some other radical group? It is one thing to protest, but when protest calls for suicide bombers, let’s be a little bit more realistic. It is obvious he was talking about surveillance programs and monitoring internet usage and other resources for terrorists to recruit. What do you propose; inviting terrorist recruits into our high schools and colleges? Geez!!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 1, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #197369

Stephen-
You assume that the European powers are uniquely politically correct in comparison to us. Not really. Read the recent history and you’ll find politically correct is not an accurate description of the Europeans. They accept racism and cultural divides we wouldn’t tolerate for a minute. The reason they’ve got these distinct enclaves has less to do with the Arab’s and Turk’s wish to remain isolated, than with the historic wish of the European to remain pure of cultures they’ve historically looked down upon.

You don’t see that much of the problems we see now are a result of what the Europeans did in the last century; what you mark as political correctness, is a counterreaction to years of oppressive policies and exploitation.

As for the sacrifice of rights? First, don’t put them in quotes. Our rights are genuine and built into the law. Second, we don’t have a declared war here, and that makes a lot of difference. Third, like many touting the clash of civilizations, you both over general and overestimate the threat, at the expense of relations with the very people who we need on our side to put their foot down on these radicals.

It’s not about political correctness. It’s about recognizing the cold hard truth that we don’t control everybody and everyone and that in some places, we are better off asking people for their help than trying to tell people that they have to give it to us when we don’t have any means of compelling them. Our enemy wants to destroy us, surely, but they have their enemies within these countries who want to destroy them. Should we not take advantage of this? How do we take advantage of it under the broad auspices of your apocalyptic vision?

Newts got his head up his ass as to what Americans are willing to tolerate. To put it plainly, it would not serve to faze enemies who first plied their trade in the authoritarian regimes of the Middle East, nor would it do us much good. We survive as a nation because we do not give in so easily to the foolish believe that you can actually gain peace by trying to shut people up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2006 1:46 AM
Comment #197370

Good article Paul. Newt is a Neocon Totalitarian, and in my view, all of these people say outrageous and scary things all the time. Olbermann’s piece was terrific — as usual.
David, sadly, I have to agree 100% with your post, also. Somehow, we have to find a way to stop them, change the direction the country has been heading in for too long, and rescue the Constitution and Bill of Rights from complete destruction. Trouble is, there isn’t a chance we can do that when so many people actually support a president that breaks the law at will, and says things like: “There ought to be limits to freedom.”

Posted by: Adrienne at December 2, 2006 1:50 AM
Comment #197376

JD, what gain is it in the war against evil to be victorious through the abdication of virtue?

Every instance in our history of compromising our Bill of Rights proved to be inconsequential in our victory over adversaries. The only real consequence was the slippery slope of yielding our freedoms to fear the more easily the next time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2006 2:48 AM
Comment #197383

David R. Remer,

“What gain is there in the war against evil to be victorious through the abdication of virtue?”

the answer is virtue itself for virtue can only exist with victory over evil. it is only when we lose to evil that virtue is truthfully abdicated.

Posted by: The Griper at December 2, 2006 6:34 AM
Comment #197404

the Griper, thank you for demonstrating that wisdom is still a very rare commodity even when hand delivered to all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #197415

I’ve noticed that when you go to refute my arguements, the first thing you tend to do is errect straw-man “assumptions” that I supposedly believe, then knock down the sraw-man assumptions that you yourself created.

For instance you said: “you assume that the European powers are uniquely politically correct in comparison to us.” This apparntly allows you to deny that their is a political correct component to what’s happening in Europe?

They have merely traveled further down the same road the left is on in this nation, they are where many on the left feel we should be today. The left in this nation believe what the left in Europe believes, but haven’t been able to strictly inforce it as it is in Europe. In may ways we are indeed very close to them.

When the muslims extremists were on the streets of France burning cars and businesses…the press in France by and large would not publish the fact that they were muslims, Islamic, or radical. That became a huge news item in this country, the French refusal to acknowledge to the public that it was a muslim revolt they were putting down.

Why refuse to acknowledge that muslims were on the streets? Because any mention of race or religion is “racist” to the politically correct in France. And thus they had trouble targeting monies to go just to these mulims to buy them off, because targeting money to a specific race would be considered racist. It’s a big problem for many europeans. Denying it is not very honest my friend, this has been well covered in the press.

It is this type of politically correct thinking that has lead Europe to the positon they are in. They have masses of citizens who do not speak their language or share their cultural values. Who if fact intend to take over their legal system and replace it with Sharia law. The French and other nations over there have additional masses of illegal radical mulims who also are not blending into this great PC religion of “multiculturalism”.

I do not “Assume” they are uniguely politically correct in Europe. They have merely IN FACT taken it further than it has yet progressed in the states. They have take it thehe distance that many who publish here clearly want to go.

I heard some America muslims the other day come out in the press demanding that when terrorsts are mentioned they should never be mentioned in conjunction with the words Muslim, Islam, or Radical. They are promoting the politically correct idea that we dare not point out that radical islamic terorrists are doing these things. They are trying to push the same brand of political correctness that has helped Europe to start to secumb to Islam.

NPR ran a three day special on the growing reaction in Europe against political correctness when it comes to allowing the Muslim takeover. Perhaps you shold have listened and some of your ASSumptions would be cleared up? The political correct problem is was not treated as an “assumption” but as a reality…and Europeans are strating to rise up against it as it relates to their Intolerant Muslim population.

I found it intersting that NPR (one of many moutpieces for the far left) admitted that there is a huge muslim problem, or that political correctness was a part of the problem…usually radical left wing news sources filter out anything that doesn’t support their PC views.

Posted by: stephen L at December 2, 2006 1:33 PM
Comment #197419

Thank you, David.

We can’t win any war - assuming there is one - by giving up our ideals. Take away free speech and what are we fighting for?

We are not fighting “evil.” We say we are “good” and they are “evil.” They say they are “good” and we are “evil.”

We are fighting only those who attack us - al Qaeda. And one big way to fight them is to deprive them of troops. We do this by maintaining our principles - which definitely are GOOD.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 2, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #197427

Right Paul. We must give the people of the world a clear choice: al-Queda who will kill women, children, and old people indiscriminately to achieve their ends, and US, who refuse, even in the face of fear, to allow our ends to justify our, and their, means and tactics.

We must take all necessary measures to insure that while we fight al-Queda, we don’t lose our justification for claiming to be on the side of the people, the side of freedom, on the side of liberty, on the side of respect for human life which harms no other.

It is not our people which makes our nation great for our people are like most others, capable of human frailty and foibles. Instead, it has been our people’s willingness to revere and adhere to the principles of our Constitution and Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence EVEN in the face of terrible fear and adversity. That strength is what wins over the respect and admiration of other people’s and nations in the world to leadership and standards established by the United States of America and the wisdom of our nation’s founding.

To the extent that we as a people fail to revere and adhere to those principles and documents, we as a people fall toward the level of our adversaries and lose the ability to command respect and leadership of, and for, other peoples in the world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #197429

Stephen L-
You need to read and study more broadly than just that one NPR report. In one fell swoop, you neglect the history of colonialism, the use of Arabs and other Muslims as cheap labor and little else, the racism and cultural protectionism that has been built up over the years in Europe. It’s taken two to tango in those countries, and the Muslims have had willing adversaries in a population that doesn’t allow our easy-going kind of assimilation. It’s not so simple as PC run amok. In fact, its the ironic lack of true tolerance that make the PC excesses of their media such a waste of time.

You would use examples of Political Correctness gone wild in these countries essentially to advocate that we do precisely the things that caused these people the troubles they have now: the isolation, cultural denigration, and economic starvation of immigrants, rather than their relaxed assimilation into their society. You want us to get more touchy about protecting our culture, keeping out these folks you claim as undesirables, but fail to consider that such prejudice is a large factor in the radicalization of muslims in Europe.

I think I’ve got the better approach: the one where we make friends rather than enemies of those who come into our country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #197433

Paul,

As usual, an excellent article. It’s obvious that the speech Newt and his ilk would limit is that of Muslims or, uh, is it? Perhaps the speech of all those who dissent from their philosophy? That may be closer but then just what philosophy? Would they limit the freedoms of everyone who disagrees with foreign policy, or the freedoms of all who disagree with any policy?

There are certain common sense limitations on freedom of speech as the law stands today. Just try screaming FIRE in a crowded theater, or publicly rallying support for an armed coup against our federal government or even your own state or local government. There are many limits in place that make perfect sense to anyone except those with a radical agenda.

I can, for instance, express to the best of my ability that our President is a complete boob. I can even attempt to make a case for his impeachment, but I certainly can not (nor would I) suggest some sort of armed or otherwise violent overthrow. Just how many American Muslims have you seen or heard calling for the overthrow of America?

Of course maybe Newt would prefer that we begin monitoring all activities within Muslim Mosques. Hmmmm, maybe not a bad idea, I’ve long feared that some large Evangelical Christian Churches are exerting influence to bring about a Dominionist Theocracy in the USA. Maybe we could begin monitoring all activity within all places of worship.

Wow, why stop there. Maybe we could create a “glass house” society! Just think, if the government could watch everyone 24/7 we could almost eliminate all crime. We could certainly catch every theif, perv, and political dissentor. By jove, I’m onto something now!

We have the technology. We could all be rated based on previous behavior and we could have cyber cops watching our every move. We could even form some new alliances. North Korea is well known for watching it’s citizens every move. Just imagine, with their know-how and our technology the possiblities are endless, and we could even turn a longtime foe into a new allie.

I’m so smart. I’ll bet I could be a Neo-Con if I could choke back that nasty stuff I feel rising in my throat.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 2, 2006 4:06 PM
Comment #197436

“Newts got his head up his ass”

Stephen D,

I think those are the coarsest words I’ve ever read from you. You rated a “super-chuckle” here.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 2, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #197438

Stephen,

Your protests of my ignornace don’t ring true. Is this intellectual debate…smear your opponent.

I’m well aware of the issues in Europe, I’ve read extensively and have developed something of a library on the issue. I give you an example and build another straw man to knock down. Now I have “only one example” and don’t know enough to discusss the issue.

I do admit, you do a good job of dancing around the facts and pushing your left wing religion no matter what the reality.

So all of Europe is now not liberal enough hey Steve? It’s Europes ture lack of tolerance to the radicalized intolorant muslism that causes these mulims to strap on bombs and go kill people. My my, how “liberal” of you.

Stepen, denial of the reality on the ground in Europe does not make you appear wise. Muslims are running around with T-Shirts on declaring what year they will take over the political process over there. Whether you can stand to acknowledge it or not, radical Islam is expanding, it’s on the move, it’s waging Jihad. And Europeans are getting fed up with their politically correct governments weak complicity in the face of an intollerant agressor who is invading their nations using their immigration laws, loose boarder control, and political correctness against them.

It’s so obvious Steve, that even NPR knows it!

Posted by: stephen L at December 2, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #197441

I also find it intersting, Steve, that you would use “colonialism” of the past as some sort of justification for remaining quiet while radical islam is working hard at taking over Europe.

What does that mean Steve….that the Europeans deserve it and shouldn’t complaign? They should walk around with self loathing and when their care is burnt in the streets say: “I deserved that, I’m a bad person”? And that if I only understood colonialism I shouldn’t mention it Europe is in a struggle with radical Islam for it’s existance as a free and democratic society? that I would not dare speak about how Europeans are now rising up against the political correctness that says they must accept this intolerant and violent islamic movement?

Steve, you may be the perfect example of the “enlightend liberal philosophy” that Europeans are starting to speak out against. Self loathing and refusal to defend one’s nation or culture, or relition against a takeover by some other intollerant culture. Always better to lay down and surrender than use force ehh Steve?

I feel that tollerance of a culture of intollerance, tollerance that causes you to lose your nation, your culture, your freedom is not true tollerance…it’s foolishness at best and cowardice at worst. At some point there must be things that will not be tolerated!

Do you tollerate racisim? Homophobia? Child Porn? Descrimination? But you preach tollerance to the intollerant whoes goals are nothing less than conquest and violence.

There is a war on Steve, radical Islam has declared war on the west and you are still in denial. In your mind it is an enlightened, intellectual superior denial. You set yourself up as one who better understands the complications and of history. An intellectual god up agaisnt an ignorant red-neck. Because resisting with force the forces of radical Islam runs contrary to your political religion. Any arguement to support your religion.

Posted by: stephen L at December 2, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #197442

stephen L,

“In WWII this nation sacrificed many “rights’ in order to win the war. Freedom of press, “free speech” etc etc. And they did so for the most part without complaint. Our parents and grand parnets REALIZED that the nations survival depended on it. They realized they were in a war they needed to win.”

First of all this isn’t WW2, or it would be over already.
During WW2 we had real leaders that did what was necessary to win. They had a plan to start with, and if the plan didn’t work they got another plan, and another plan until one worked.
They thought well on their feet and were adaptable to changing circumstances.

Secondly, Newt isn’t even a leader in his own party.
Oh and BTW Newt seems scared sh**less, and seeks to use that fear to fuel his own Jihad.

Third, this ain’t Europe, and it never will be.

Fourth, you seem to think it’s ok to be prejudiced against an entire religious belief, just because some bad guys want to associate themselves with it.
It isn’t.
Sorry your not going to be able to eliminate a billion people just because you disagree with their choice of religion.

Patrick Henry didn’t say “Give me liberty, or give death, except when…..”

A true patriot doesn’t cower in the corner at the first sign of adversity.
A true patriot is willing to die before he gives up his and his family’s freedoms out of fear.

Newt Gingrich knows little about serving his country, and Newt Gingrich is no patriot.

Posted by: Rocky at December 2, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #197443

As I said at the top, this isn’t so much about free speech vs those who oppose free speech. No one in this debate really opposes free speech. Free speech rights is in reality a bogus cover smear the left uses for to push their bottom line political agenda. So lets have it out in the open like adults.

The left says the US must not fight global terrorism with force. That terrorists are misunderstood, downtrodden poor striking back at those who have wrongfully offended them. Taking down any part of that war against terror, is seen by the left as good! And this is where I believe the political goals of the radical left and of radical Islam blend and join together.

This “free speech” debate is about one party that believes we are in a war with radical Islam (which has declared war on us) and another party that denies that war in order to support thier dream of more socialist, weak, agnostic america.

If both parties were in agreement that radical Islam is at war with the west and that we should fight back with real force…then we wouldn’t be having discussions about protecting Al Qaeda’s right to private phone conversations with US citizens. There would be no question as to whether or not our government has the right to massively scan millions of phone-call patterns to locate terrorists as they wage their war against us.

Terrorists are sophisticated enough to use the phones and internet to organize and we are too “enlightened” to use scan the phones and internet to catch them? PLEASE. Candada caught that local mulslim terrorist group plotting an attack by spying on their internet activity. Don’t hand me the line that terrorists are too smart to get caught this way. They have to use such tools to organize stikes against the west.

But as long as the radical left can control the Democratic Party, they will never acknowledge that we should wage war with radical Islam. There will always be some self-loathing, so called enlightened intellectual reasons why we should tolerate the intollerable. Tolerate a religion of hate and conqest as it gobbles up the globe, one hell-hole at a time until it can take down the major western powers from within. As we see happening in France and Germany and other European countries today. And their people see it and are starting to resist it and the libs who want them to surrender to Islam rather than fight it.

Amazing how the left always portrays themselves as having a superior understanding of history. Thank you for demonstrating that, Stephen.

Posted by: stephen L at December 2, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #197452

Stevie L,
Lay off whatever it is you’ve been smoking. Your last post borders on the surreal. What democrat policy or ideal is against fighting terror with force? are you kidding? We might be against invading counties that had nothing to do with attacking us… but REALLY… what ARE you talking about?

I know of not one single American that doesn’t want to visit those who are responsible with attacking us with a withering force. Where the fuck do you come off trying to tell me that this isn’t so? I think that this says more about YOU than it does about the left.

News flash, dude. America is great because everyone has the right to free speech. everyone. If you want to stop terrorist recruiting, give people a nation of freedom for everyone, opportunity for everyone, the rule of law, everyone gets a day in court if accused, no warrantless searches, midnight “disappearances” without legal recourse.

Both parties need to be in agreement tnat laws can not be abandoned because the rulers find them inconvenient. There IS no question that the government has the right to scan millions of phone call patterns. They do not. No question. In America, that shit does not fly.

Ultimately, we will never have a complete victory over evil. It is an ongoing battle. A battle which will never be won trying to justify using evil to fight evil.

Posted by: Steve Miller at December 2, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #197454

Steve M.,

Does our government have the right to scan / monitor the speech of citizens of other countries? If not, should we completely disband our CIA? Should we bring to a halt any and all espionage against countries that may be, let’s say, developing a nuclear weapon to use against us? Should we be aggressively monitoring the activities of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela?
If those countries are speaking with individuals within our country, should our monitoring stop at the border? Your thinking makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! If there are those that are in bed with the enemy, they are the enemy. The idea that living within our borders prevents someone from being the enemy is ludicrous. When calls are made from other countries into the United States, are Homeland Security agents, CIA operatives, or Pentagon spies supposed to recognize the voices as to whether those on our end are foreign born or American citizens. Are these agents simply supposed to assume that they are American citizens because they are living within our borders? In this incredibly diverse country of ours, how in the world are our agents supposed to distinguish between citizens and terrorists talking to known terrorists on the overseas end? That is just ridiculous!!
Those who associate with terrorists, and aid and support terrorists are as bad as terrorists themselves in my book. Go get them George!!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 2, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #197456

Stephen L, You said: “The left says the US must not fight global terrorism with force.”

Care to back that BS up with some quotes? Bet you can’t! ! And if you can’t, your comments aren’t worth reading anymore as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #197459

Isn’t that what the CIA is for? Foreign surveillance and counterterrorism? Do you really not believe that I wish death to those who attack us? I only ask that we play by the rules. That we act as if WE are really the good guys. My thinking is backed up by laws spanning centuries that tell me we need to get a warrant to spy in the U.S. You don’t like these laws? Change ‘em. But until they are changed, we gotta follow them. Sorry.

You think my thinking is flawed because I want to follow the laws? I think your thinking is flawed because you refuse to recognize that we have laws covering all this stuff. It seems a little dumb to me that someone would suggest that I want to give up monitoring bad guys because I believe in the rule of law. There is abundant room to deal death to terrorists AND stay within the confines of what is right, and legal.

I say again, give folks a land of economic opportunity AND political freedom. Terrorists will never gain much of a foothold where these exist.

Posted by: Steve Miller at December 2, 2006 8:08 PM
Comment #197461

JD,

“In this incredibly diverse country of ours, how in the world are our agents supposed to distinguish between citizens and terrorists talking to known terrorists on the overseas end?”

Get a warrant and you can do anything within the law you want.

Posted by: Rocky at December 2, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #197462

stephen L, We are currently involved in a “war” in Iraq that we were told by the current right wing administration was necessary because Iraq had WMD’s and were going to give them to the terrorist to use against us(or some line of crap like that). We invaded Iraq and have been there over 3 years trying to establish democracy, and find justification for invading in the first place, oh yeah and fighting terrorist over there so we would not have to fight them here. The right wing Administration has “stayed the course” determined to dictate the form of government this non radical Arab state should operate under.While fighting this “police action” in Iraq we have been told that to fight the terorist here we must remove Congressional oversight of activities by the Administration, bypass the court system set up to legitimize wire taps etc., and generally live in fear of another terrorist strike.

Now here you come with “we are in a war with radical Islam”. Can you see how those of us of a more moderate and liberal bent could look at you and say ” here we go again”? To this day the right wing of this Country has not even been able to identify the enemy we are in a war with.Just 2 months ago it was the Islamofascist. Sure you say its radical Islamist they are our enemy, yet we are fighting Iraqi’s and a few terrorist in Iraq. We are fighting the Taliban (sort of), that helped the terrorist, in Afganistan. Who exactly are we to expend more lives and money fighting and how are we to successfuly implement this war of cultures? Are we to continue to live in fear or are we to continue to pursue life liberty and happiness?
Newt’s call to fear does not set well with me when in the next breath he is calling for unlimited campaign “free speech” funds. This seems to be more of a call to the right wing politcal power gods for his run for the presidency than a call to the culture wars. Perhaps if he (or this administration) could at least address port security we could believe there is a little more to the “culture wars” the right claims we are in.
At least identify the enemy for us as its hard to believe that we must fight all people of Arab descent and/or all Muslims. Im also a little nervous, due to this Presidents religious view of the world that we could be trying to get involved in a religious war similar to the Crusades for the wrong reasons.
Certainly after all the lies this past 6 years you can understand why I am not rushing to believe this current “culture war” line from the right wing as an excuse to limit any rights in this Country.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 2, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #197467

Stephen L-
1)I’m not smearing you, just giving you the other side of the story, the balance to the political correctness side you insist upon, and the story you never mention.

People consider me a well-read, sophisticated debater mostly because I’m not stingy about applying knowledge. I research when I feel I don’t have a solid enough argument. I know off the top of my head which countries were once under English, French, German, even Dutch possession. Do I take the side of the terrorists?

Well, I recall writing an entry when Osama made his October Surprise appearance in 2004 essentially telling him he could go fuck himself. I have no desire to see al-Qaeda anything but destroyed- it’s agents stopped, its supporters renouncing it, it’s attackers in jail or in their graves, short of their desired martyrdom. That’s my attitude.

But I recognize that al-Qaeda feeds on certain issues. They are devils who whisper in the ears of the vulnerable. If we can talk face to face with these people, satisfy some of their greivances, and take a lot of Bin Laden’s recruits away, then we’ve scored a victory. When Carl Von Clausewitz talks about destroying forces, one means of doing so is cutting off recruits. Unfortunately, your attitude, however well intentioned, is only going to read as arrogant and demanding, especially from a culture where your friends ask favors by gentle suggestion rather than brusque demands.

We have nothing to lose by adapting our tactics to match the culture we have to engage. The more we can reduce friction on our efforts, the longer they will go towards keeping our nation secure.

I don’t advocated political correctness, by the way. That was an assumption on your part. I especially don’t advocate it to the degree to which its been employed here.

I advocate being polite, not giving unnecessary offense to people. It sounds like the same thing, but the difference is, PC is done by arbitrary, often ignorantly applied principles, while my approach is simple realism in the face of a world that is multicultural whether we fricking like it or not.

It’s naive to think that the whole world is going to get on its knees and respond to us on our terms, by our customs, in exactly the way we want them to. In the end, we’re trying to get a result here. Now being absolute PC is obviously not getting the job done. But taking your approach is bound to work against us. We have to start our efforts at persuasion from their position and work back towards ours by logic, culturally attractive arguments,and by the general sympathy gained by the simple act of cultural respect.

You don’t tolerate somebody bashing Americans for a moment. If somebody tries to persuade you with an argument that calls America literally evil, they’ve lost the argument with you. So how the heck do you imagine a Muslim in one of those European ghettos is going to respond? Maybe you’ll feel like some powerful truthteller, like Republicans are apt to feel when they’re pushing the talking points, but the other person isn’t going to give you the time of day, and that’s a poor way of getting results.

Liberal for me means, I don’t have to be burdened by the ideology of the past in engaging the rest of the world. I can be humble and respectful in deal with people outside my culture, because I don’t feel the need to prove how ballsy I am in asserting my own culture.

Only a few Muslims are engaged in the whole Jihadist thing in any real way, and though there are supporters, it’s important to note how many people cheer from the sidelines rather than putting on a Uniform.

These people can be persuaded. When we descended on Muslim Banda Aceh with aid and supplies, our approval rating was raised to a plurality level. We help people, and they’ll see with their own eyes who’s worth supporting.

The problem is, however many facts at your disposal, you’re not looking for the mysteries and the gaps in your understanding. You obviously believe you know what the situation is, and you effectively say that there is no hope but force and confrontation.

Then you go on to cariacture our positions, even get them flat wrong. For example, the Democratic party has absolutely no objection to the warranted surveillance of terror suspects. You make the claim, though, that we wouldn’t allow any surveillance. That’s false, and it’s checkably false, according to public statements made by our politicians and positions offered in these very columns. What is the standard Democratic response? Warrants on any surveillance that covers American citizens. Given the ease with which these warrants are granted, there is no excuse to take extra-legal steps.

I can’t help it if you or others like you conflate any particular inhibition or partial prohibition on the surveillance of terrorists with complete prohibtion. But you can. But you don’t. And that’s your problem.

As for the terrorists being too smart to be caught this way, I’m sorry to say that they are using fewer digital gadgets to communicate. But that’s human beings for you. Sooner or later, they do get it, when so many who communicate by e-mail or making financial transactions by wire get caught or killed. People are good at seeing the patterns in front of them.

As for scanning and seaching technology? Well, I think my informal education on information theory can help here: fact is, for such systems to be useful, you need to know what meaningful information is. Computers are terrible at judging context, and next to incapable of understanding subtext. So what happened with your vaunted program? It caught hardly anybody at all worth catching. It’s a boondoggle.

Human agents are the right direction. A human being can check information out, give you the kinds of clues that can give real power to amped up searching and surveillance software. There’s no substitute for good old fashioned detective work, and no need for puffed-up pompous confrontation with people who we could use to help us, if we don’t alienate them first.

If you want to beat up on us some more so you feel good about your positions go ahead. I for one am going to approach this issue as if we should maintain our values as Americans, for the most part. I don’t expect complete purity out of us, or for our government to observe the niceties of civil liberties when we have an emergency on our hands. But what Newt suggest is that we bastardize and compromise our essential American values. You and him are too quick to assume that we can’t get the job done by legitimate means. One should be pushing the envelope before one asks to put even one little tear in it. The findings of the 9/11 commission have indicated that we haven’t scratched the surface of what a fully capable government can do under the law. It would be cowardly to resort to extra-legal means, having not preserved America’s integrity with lawful means first. Remaining truly American is a necessary step in defeating our enemy. Any enemy who can force us to act out of character, has already half won already.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2006 8:41 PM
Comment #197468

OK, let’s continue to pretend that terrorists in the United States do not exist!

Newt’s idea that freedom of speech and freedom to support the political candidate of your choice is one and the same. Again, he is using the same ideology that liberals use in their nearly nude marches by gays and lesbians, and other movements that state actions are the same as vocal expression. This is the same argument that pornographers on the left have used when they say that photos are freedom of expression. Why is it so far out there to assume that financial support is freedom of expression when other much more controversial non-speech forms of expression are considered protected by the First Amendment? Hmm?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 2, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #197471

JD,

“Why is it so far out there to assume that financial support is freedom of expression when other much more controversial non-speech forms of expression are considered protected by the First Amendment? Hmm?

If you assume that money = speech then we will also assume that money talks.
Well then, lots of money SCREAMS.

Being elected to political office should never be about who can raise the most money.

Why should someone with a lot of money be able to talk over someone with very little?

Hmm?

Posted by: Rocky at December 2, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #197473

Sheesh, the Neo-Cons are testy right now.

Just for shits and giggles read this part of Newt’s speech again,

“And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.”

Well, Newt’s just stupid. We have very little control over “stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us”. The lions share of that recruiting is done in other countrie where we have little or no control over speech or anything else.

Just as a matter of comparison, what was the second worst terrorist attack on US soil? Would anything have helped prevent that beyond a “glass house” society?

Posted by: KansasDem at December 2, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #197476

Steven L doesn’t know jack about Europe. The riots in France were not about Muslim v French. It was about dark skinned immigrants, probably mainly from Muslim nations, being excluded from mainstream society. As for political correctness? Frances’ core political tenet is Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, therefore by law all French citizens are French citizens, and cannot therefore be classed as anything else. The world and his wife knew that the rioters were predominantly Muslim. They also know that the rioting by driven by exclusion and alienation.

I have, as a European, and something of a Francophile, a considerable knowledge of European affairs. I travel to France regularly and have constant business dealings with French people. I have a number of close contacts with Germany. And Britain in my back yard. The history of Muslim imnigration into Europe is complex and diverse and the state policies on such immigration are equally so. Mostly they were not driven by a desire for assimliation and integration. Britains was and is probably the most openly multi-cultural, although that ideal is undergoing something of a rethink even there. The problem in France is a social problem, not a religious one. In fact, many of the North African Muslim immigrant community in France are pretty much as secular as their ethnic French fellow countrymen and women. There is of course an element who have become more devout and radicalised. I have no doubt that there is a similar element in the US. The policies we follow into the future will determine whether we drive others into the hands of the radicals, or overcome them. This struggle with a handful of radicals can be simply won. But not with irrational and fear ridden slogans. We need to think before we act.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 2, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #197490

Paul in euroland

” The policies we follow into the future will determine whether we drive others into the hands of the radicals, or overcome them. This struggle with a handful of radicals can be simply won. But not with irrational and fear ridden slogans. We need to think before we act.”

Thank you Paul for bringing a touch of sensibility to this debate. I was literally getting a headache trying to make sense of the arguments in favor of Newts ideas on the restrictions of free speech.

We enjoy great freedoms here in the US. I think we all at sometime or other have taken them for granted. The fact that we take them for granted indicates to me that these freedoms have evolved over the last couple of centuries as a sort of ingrained ideology of who we are and what we stand for. We are a free thinking people with understood and accepted basic freedoms. In terms of political correctness freedom is our main identifier. I can think of no better way to fuel revolt than to start tearing down the very freedoms we indentify with.

You are so very right.

Posted by: ILdem at December 3, 2006 12:30 AM
Comment #197498

Paul
…must stop him. Hell,I hope the Reps nominate him. My goat could beat him,that is if the votes are counted fairly.

Posted by: BillS at December 3, 2006 1:58 AM
Comment #197499

Some people prefer security over freedom. Others choose freedom over security. Yet our nation is capable of more. Our nation is capable of better. Without freedom, security becomes confining. Let’s try to find a way to have both, freedom and security- even during times of war.

Posted by: TrueBlue at December 3, 2006 2:43 AM
Comment #197501

JD-
Who’s pretending that? What Democrat on this site is actually saying there aren’t terrorists in the US?

I’ve never said that. In fact I’ve said the exact opposite quite often, when confronted with folks pushing that “We’re fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here.” canard.

The truth about money as free speech is that the essential element of it, the support, could be done with five bucks no differently than if it were a hundred. Besides, the point of an election is to give equal voice to all interested parties- the Americans interested enough to vote.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2006 8:09 AM
Comment #197524

Rocky,

Why should someone with a lot of money talk over someone with very little?

I don’t know! Maybe we should ask Michael J. Fox and other left wing celebrities who have amassed fortunes in the Entertainment World and then go out there adopting left wing agendas, as if they really know anything at all! Money has talked for a very long time, especially in Hollywood, and primarily for the liberal extreme left! O.J. Simpson is another prime example.

Posted by: JD at December 3, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #197528


The terrorists are out to destroy us and the only way we can defend ourselves is to throw the Constitution in the trash can. This doesn’t sound like a defense strategy to me. It sounds more like a victory for the terrorists.

What should we call this trash the first amendment so we can get the terrorist and their sympathetic supporters strategy? Gingrichism?

Posted by: jlw at December 3, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #197540

I found it rather odd that this showed up only in the “tech” pages of the paper:

U.S. reports unconfirmed cyber threat
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061201/ap_on_hi_te/cyber_warning

I really wonder just what liberties we could sacrifice to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen:

“…..officials saw a posting on a “Jihadist Web site” calling for an attack on U.S. Internet-based stock market and banking sites in December, said
Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke.”

I guess if Newt had his way that Web site wouldn’t have existed, and if it didn’t exist the terrorists wouldn’t find some other way to communicate. Or maybe we could eliminate stupid people from positions where they might choose to ignore threats like “Bin Laden determined to attack the US”.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 3, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #197544

JD,

“Maybe we should ask Michael J. Fox and other left wing celebrities who have amassed fortunes in the Entertainment World and then go out there adopting left wing agendas, as if they really know anything at all!”

Members of the Entertainment industry don’t live in a vacuum.
They are still citizens of this country, and they are entitled to their opinion just as the rest of us are. Just because they have a highly visible job doesn’t make them any better or worse than anyone else, and both Liberals and Conservativesin that industry support causes they believe in.

My favorite quote was from Charlie Daniels when he was critical of entertainers that were speaking out against the war in Iraq, because they were “just” entertainers.
Well gee Charlie, ya think, what does that make you?

Michael J Fox has also supported Conservative candidates that speak for his cause as well, and of the folks that speak for his cause, Fox probably better than anyone, knows what he is talking about.

O J Simpson?

Please, I hope that is just a throw away statement, as I have never heard him speak for any cause other than O J Simpson.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #197551

The idea that republicans or “evil neocons” want to toss the constitution in the trash can is utter nonsense. And you folks call yourselves “enlighted”?

IS RADICAL ISLAM AT WAR WITH THE US? This is the core of the arguement. IF radical Islam is at war with the US, then waging war with it, and using wartime methods to oppose it are valid. If radical Islam is not at war with the US, then those measures are not required.

I contend that those of you on the left believe that Islam is not at war with the US. But you find it to embrassing to say so. You dare not fly in the face of reality. Embassies blowing up, poeple being killed, the twin towers being attacked, our battleship attacked…ALL BEFORE BUSH WAS IN OFFICE! Blowing up bildings, battleships, killing people IS WAR. And yet who among you on the left will acknowlede we that a brand of radical Islam is spreading globaly and is at war with the US and at war with the west.

Why deny they are at war? Because that’s the way to maintain your anti-war pacifist political agenda.

Give me an answer, is radical islam at war with the US?

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #197552

And I will answer my own question.

YES! Radical Islam is at war with the west and at war with the US.

And the US should wage war against radical Islam and that methods such as scanning masses of calls to locate terrorist attacks being prepared by our nations enemies should be done.

We can get into all sorts of nuances of how to figh the war, what it will take to win the war, etc etc. But of course, if you start with a radicalized, left wing, pacifist, appeasement agenda then you probably can’t even acknowldege that radical Islam is at war with the US…no matter how many of us they kill.

One question folks, is radical Islam at war with the US?

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #197559

Stephen
Yes. I also noticed that most of the liberal posters support electronic surveillance, within the boundaries of law. If you think we can break the law cause we’re at war with radical Islam, go bomb a mosque in New York or something.

if you start with a radicalized, left wing, pacifist, appeasement agenda then you…

I have yet to see anyone with this sort of agenda. Left wing, maybe, but pacifist and appeasement? Please. I seem to note most of them openly calling for the deaths of the terrorists.

Posted by: Silima at December 3, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #197560

stephen L,

“Embassies blowing up, poeple being killed, the twin towers being attacked, our battleship attacked…ALL BEFORE BUSH WAS IN OFFICE! Blowing up bildings, battleships, killing people IS WAR.”

For a guy that asks so many questions, you never seem to answer any.

“One question folks, is radical Islam at war with the US?”

From Merriam Webster;

“1 a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations.
2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism b : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end

Number one is the generally accepted definition of “war”, however, I suppose you would want to go for the second definition, though I’m not giving up my rights for a “state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism”. This is more like a “Police Action” than a war

Do you define “radical Islam” as al Qaeda and it’s subsets or is this much bigger than that?


Oh, BTW, for somebody who claims to be up on all this you don’t know squat about the American Navy.
America hasn’t built a Battleship since the Iowa Class during WW2.
A Montana Class of Battlteship was in the works at the end of that war but was scrapped.

The USS Cole is a Destroyer, nowhere near the size of a Battleship.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 4:56 PM
Comment #197562

Rocky,

You have done exactly what I expect a politically correct left wing liberal to do…refused to answer the question as to if Radical Islam is at war with us. And you have refused to answer for the reasons I mentions…it’s embarassing for the left to support a pacifist, appeasement agenda in the face of such violence aimed at the US.

Radical Islam I would define as that armed faction of Islam. Those who are taking the religion and turning it into a weapon, calling for Jihad against the US and against the west. Those who are in armed conflict with us. Those who take their religion and control it by fear and intimidation and use it as a weapon. It’s foolish to claim that all of Islam is radical and it’s foolish to claim that only Al Qaeada is radical. We see the radicals spreading, teaching terrorism. We now that the british are ploting at least 30 plots linked to 1,600 home grown terrorists. Those are radicals my friend, be they Al Qaeda or not.

Come Rocky…answer the question…..is Radical Islam at war with the US? This is the heart and soul of the question. Why argue over if it’s right to screen calls for terrorists in the middle of a war? Of course it is. The left is using the first amendment as a slight of hand cover, their real agenda is that they REJECT a war with radical Islam…and thus they do as you do….refuse to answer if Radical Islam is at war with the US. To say yes…places an obligation upon them to then acknowledge we need to conduct a war as well.

Is Radical Islam at war with the US? With the West? Are we right in waging a war to defend ourselves and to defeat radical islam.

It’s a VOTE LOSING QUESTION my friend. To deny that this enemy has openly acknowledged that they are are at war with the US is to risk loss of political power. So instead of even discussing the Islamic war against the US and the West you must focus on “those mean old “neocons” must be trying to subvert the constitution”.

No, the “neocons” beleive we are in a war with Radical Islam….do you?

Posted by: stephen L at December 3, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #197564

Let me make this as simple as I can because some tend to try to “complicate” their way out of answering it.

IS RADICAL ISLAM AT WAR WITH THE US?

In my opinon this is a question the left does everything it can to AVOID answering it.

Can you answer this question?

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #197565

stephen L

No.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #197566

And I’m not a politically correct left wing liberal.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #197568

To deny that a group of people who claim they are at war with us, who have attacked us around the globe and killed thousands of us in our own nation, to deny they are in fact doing as they say and waging a war against us…that is beyond comprehension. Which is why so many on the left run away from that issue.

But I suppose that is what adherence to the lefts philosophy demands. Absolute adherence to political correctness means the truth must be disavowed when it conflicts with the goals of the cultural war the left is waging in this nation.

Radical Islam is clearly at war with the US and many such as yourself that I see on the left, such are in denial in order to promote a political agenda that says the US must be weak international and is wrong to use force.

And that I say is the core of this freedom of speech “debate”. Those who deny we are in war avoid dealing with the war issue because it’s a ludicrous position in light of the reality of our enemy. So instead the left claims those who fight the war for the US are really out to subvert the constitution or any other outgraous claim of the day. It’s easier to defeat the war against radical islam on legal grounds than to say such outragous things as Radical Islam is not waging a war against us.

Thank you for honestly answering the question, for openly stating that you believe Radical Islam is not at war with the US. Many in the Islamic world who lead the raidcals have declared war on the US…You apparently think they are lying. And that their attacks were somehow justified or at least not acts of war by Radical Islam.

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #197570

Stephen

“One question folks, is radical Islam at war with the US?”

I guess the anserw depends on whose view one takes. If I take Georges view then yes we are at war with the extremists. But then the president is desperate for justification of our conflict in Iraq. He is using terms to suit his needs. If I take the Islamic extremists view then yes they have procalaimed jihad on us. So I guess that yes that means as far as they are concerned they are at war with us.

However the last I knew we had not officially proclaimed war on the Islamic extremists. Actually I don’t think it can be said that we are currently at war with anybody at this current date in time. We are presently in a supportive position where the conflict in Iraq is concerned. They are at war among themselves. The islamic extremists are attacking us because we are positioned in their backyard. Never before has it been so easy and convenient to attack americans in the name of their cause.

I think it can be safely said that we are in a state of hieghtened readiness and preparedness where the extremists are concerned. But hell the whole rest of the world is.

This is not a conventional battle that can be won on the battlefield. It only takes a bit of common sense to realize that the threat of terrorism will never be fully eliminated. However extremist actions should be able to be contained and minimized with realative ease. There always has been and always will be extremists trying to do their thing somewhere in this world.

I do realize the world changed with 9/11. It was a wakeup call to the entire world. I think collectively the world has become much more aware of and capable of containing extremist threats.

Your so called war on extremists has nothing to do with Iraq. Iraq is a gigantic huge blunder of a mess created by our commander in chief. Yes their are extremist factions currently in Iraq. But as I mentioned earlier, only because of our presence in the area. Terrorism was not a problem in Iraq before our arrival.

Our best defense against extremists here at home would be to put the necesary money and efforts into securing our borders and ports. The extremists will be able to peck away here and there, with minor personal victories, but to think that they will be able to overthrow the major governments of the world in this time of awareness is simply absurd.

Posted by: ILdem at December 3, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #197571

stephen L,

I type this real slow so that you can understand it.

We are not in a declared war. Only Congress can declare war. Not the President, Congress. Now Congress has given authorization to fight terrorism, this isn’t the same thing as declaring war, regardless of the fact that some radical factions that, by chance, follow some of Islams most radical beliefs, have declared “war” on us.

This is where you and I differ. I do not quiver in fear at the very mention of al Qaeda, or “radical Islam”. I choose to live my life, just as I lived it before Sept, 11th, not because I am blind to the fact we are engaged with some bad guys, but because changing my life is what the bad guys want.
Mr Bush has acquiesced to those that we fight. He chooses to use the “fear” card at every opportunity. He refuses to work, as President, within the framework that was set up by the framers of the Constitution.

We, America, are not at the present time at war with “radical” Islam.

Until we are, there are plenty of legal ways for the President to conduct his “war” on terror. If he chooses not to, and decides to act criminally, I hope the full brunt of the judicial system comes down on his head.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #197572

So what if they are at War with us Stephen, why does that mean we should give up any rights to fight this war.There is a system in place to do what is needed the problem is the administration deems it necessary to do it without proper judicial oversight. Dont start with the BS line about rights for terrorist because if the Govt. knows which phone calls, websites, emails etc to monitor then why dont they take it to the next step and solve the problem? The monitoring would be on any American not just terrorist. You seen what happened the last time this president ran amok and was allowed to go unchecked.
What makes you so sure this is nothing but a ruse by your boy Newt to get an amendment allowing his corporate buddies money to buy elections. If the repubs were so interested in protecting this Country they would not have allowed foreign control of our ports and they would secure the ports of this Country. The bottom line is this time we have to be smarter, prove a real need to circumvent the constitution to fight the terrorist, the fear of the Radicals arguement has ran its course.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #197573

Please read this even slower, and I will type even slower because your understanding is so much less than mine. Does that make you feel good? Are personal attacks what you desire? Are smears the resort of the left when they lose a debate? It seems so!

ARe you now taking back your statement, have you changed your mind in the last few minutes? Do you now believe Radical Islam is at war with the US?

The question was and is….DO YOU BELIEVE RADICAL ISLAM IS AT WAR WITH THE US? Because if you do accept the fact that Radical Islam is at war with us, there is very little reason to NOT also return the favor and wage that war that war to the best of our nations ability to do so.

The rest of your arguement is nothing but dancing on the head of a pin. Because the US Congress has abandoned it’s war making power for the last 50 years by “authorizing force” and refusing to vote for WAR adds very litle to the debate. Korea was not a war? It certainly was. Viet Name is not a war? It certainly was. The war against these Radical Islamic terrorists is not a war? Open your eyes man.

My opinion is congress should be forced to vote on war against Radical Islam. They should be forced to vote on it, possibly before the next election. Then let the voters show the politicans if THEY believe Radical Islam is at war with us when they go to the voting booth!

The debate over the constitution is largely (but not completely) a red-herring put out by folks who oppose the war against Radical Islam. They are using it as a legal and propaganda tool to try and undermine the war while refusing to address the issue of if Radical Islam is at war with us and if we should thus also wage war to protect our nation.

Lets stop with the personal attacks and face up to the facts!

Posted by: stephen L at December 3, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #197578

“Lets stop with the personal attacks”

You’re the only one I see employing that tactic.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 3, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #197579

stephen L,

“ARe you now taking back your statement, have you changed your mind in the last few minutes? Do you now believe Radical Islam is at war with the US?”

Didn’t say it.

Please hone your reading comprehension skills and reread what I wrote.

“Now Congress has given authorization to fight terrorism, this isn’t the same thing as declaring war, regardless of the fact that some radical factions that, by chance, follow some of Islams most radical beliefs, have declared “war” on us.”

Declaring war and being at war are two entirely different things.

The Theo-con right in this country will not rest until the world goes up in flames, fanned by the fear of “radical” Islam.

The President, BTW, isn’t fighting “radical” Islam. The President has America stuck in a sectarian civil war.
Saddam wasn’t a “radical” Muslim, he also was hated by Bin Laden because Saddam was a secularist. Bin Laden was pissed because he didn’t get to fight against Saddam.

Posted by: Rocky at December 3, 2006 7:04 PM
Comment #197581

Stephen

“To deny that a group of people who claim they are at war with us, who have attacked us around the globe and killed thousands of us in our own nation, to deny they are in fact doing as they say and waging a war against us…that is beyond comprehension. Which is why so many on the left run away from that issue.

You are mincing words and tailoring the intent to suit your needs Stephen. Do you honestly believe that anyone in this country is in denial as to the desires of extremists. The difference is that not all of us liberals share your extremist view of the immeadiate severity of the situation. We are not hiding from it or denying it. We are merely seeking more sensible and well thought out solutions to deal with the issues of terrorism for decades to come. Lets face the realities here. Our current direction has only served to inflame the passions of those who wish us and others harm. Since this threat can not be contained via conventional battle perhaps we should explore other avenues of attack.

“So instead the left claims those who fight the war for the US are really out to subvert the constitution or any other outgraous claim of the day. It’s easier to defeat the war against radical islam on legal grounds than to say such outragous things as Radical Islam is not waging a war against us.”

I assume what you are saying here is that it is somehow unamerican when we liberals question the validity and worthiness of Newts rather dimwitted views on free speech issues. To be honest, myself and no other freedom loving american should ever so easily accept, as you have, that any legislator should have the desire and means to restrict free speech. The right to express views in the open at anytime thru any media is in my opinion a cherished and valuable tool of freedom not to be tinkered with, period.

Our current state of affairs in this world has been manipulated and solely created by your legislative party which was recently given a mandate to give up its leadership by the american people. I do not think that the opinions of Newt or many others in your party, at this time hold a lot of credence with much of the american public. As such I think it best to question and inspect any and all Newtisms closely, now and in the future. It is one of my duties as a citizen to do just that.

Posted by: ILdem at December 3, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #197600

Stephen L-
Usually I don’t have to tell people at what speed to read my work. That’s an insult to the person’s intelligence, and given that I’m usually trying to appeal to that, I don’t deal in them.

You claim we’ve lost the debate. I don’t see that. You’re simply throwing that “Do you believe we’re at war with Radical Islam” stuff our way, like some kind of catechism. For the sake of argument I will answer: We are at war with al-Qaeda, and anybody so stupid as to attack us. This has the virtue of giving us focus, rather than attempting to change a bunch of unsympathetic minds with force.

We need to be like Martin Blank in Grosse Pointe Blank John Cusack plays a hitman who comes back to his class reunion, and talking about the people who he kills, he says “If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.”

That, to me, sounds like a perfectly good strategy. If somebody goes around killing Americans, we will show up at their doorstep. Is that we all we can do? No.

If we aren’t fighting with them, we should be trying to recruit them, trying to pry them away from their radicals, trying to soften and blunt their grievances to the extent we can. We need potential terrorists working jobs during the day and sitting at night on the couch laughing at sitcoms. We don’t need them pissed off, unemployed, single, with people they hope to avenge and no other purpose in life.

Your talk about forcing a vote on war against radical Islam seems to ignore a fundamental issue about that: formally declaring war on a religion. Maybe you swell up with a smile at the thought, but the trouble is such an act would be boneheaded. We’re not at war with a religion, were at war with the dipshits foolish enough to attack us and our allies on account of it. A radical is just a person with beliefs outside the mainstream The difference, though inconvenient for people looking for an enemy, is important.

It’s not our job to tell people what the right religion is, it’s not even a power the founding fathers were willing to grant our government here at home. For all the rhetoric that can be spilled over notions of a war against radical Islam, it’s not going to happen, and it shouldn’t happen. If you want to be religious nut, that’s your business. If you want to be a religious nut and fly planes at our buildings, then we have the moral right to defend ourselves, and we will exercise it.

The debate over constitutional rights is not a sham, as you would like to believe. You claimed somewhere that you had an extensive knowledge of history. Why did Julius Caesar get assassinated? Because he was given emergency Powers which like many tyrants he refused to lay down when the emergency was over. Tyrant was once a word to describe a unitary leader who took over in a time of crisis. What gave the word such an ugly connotation was that many leaders would refuse to step down from power, or to end the emergency and relinquish power.

Maybe you see all of Bush’s extralegal methods as necessary. In the view of history, though, his behavior is hair-raising. The power’s he’s tried to claim, the attitudes he’s taken are unprecedented in recent history. This isn’t about undermining any war, it’s about keeping integrity in our nation’s democracy. We don’t need a president who thinks he can relegislate by himself what congress has passed, or pass judicial review on a law as if he were a Supreme Court justice. And no, there is nothing about the authority as Commander in Chief that entitles a president to do warrantles surveillance on American citizens.

Ultimately, your argument substitutes dreams of power over enemies and over America, for good sound policy that is acceptable to a nation that wants to remain the land of the free.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2006 10:19 PM
Comment #197611

Rocky
So when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor we were’nt at war with them? What were we? How would you define our violent relationship with Radical Islam?

We are at war with radical Islam. Unfortunately, there is no such country. It is an idea and a way of thinking. This makes dealing with the problem rather tricky, as conventional methods of waging war are no longer as useful as they once were. (bombing the stuffing out of the bad guys.) Thus we need to mix targeted military force with intelligence and security force. Iraq was irrelevant to the War. It no longer is. And our great, brilliant, glorious, ever-victorious, head generalissimo Georgius Bushius has made a fine mess of it. Go Hillary/Obama 08’!!!

Posted by: Silima at December 4, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #197624

Silima,

Now you I can agree with. I’m not happy though with a corrupt Hillary, and I could publish reams on the stuff she’s been caught doing, But if you choose to promote a corrupt person for the White House I’m not going to argue with you about it.

I think you are dead on about what this conflict is and how it should be dealt with.

This war is like no other war we have fought. And I agree it must be fought on many levels.

The Bush administration had been able to thwart numerous attacks but has not set us up well to wage this battle on an on-going basis. They have succeeded in defending the homeland and LOSING the battle for public support to continue the fight. The anti-war, pacifist, appeasement arguement has been slowing winning the day and undermining the anti-terrorist efforts.

This administration was too much of a WWII mindset on this war. They needed to understand that long term changes were needed in our security that are NOT secret. And they cannot be secret because they are LONG TERM changes and must therefor be dealt with by compromise and through congress.

Had the programs to locate call patterns by looking at millions of calls on a macro basis (not actually listening it) been sent to congress and been subject to congressional oversight….the US could have had their terrorist call pattern search program without this huge public effort to defeat it on “constitutional” grounds. Had Bush gone to congress about his needs to listen in on overseas calls, congress clearly could have and would have created some additional, compromise ways that Bush could do what was needed to protect the US and stay on top of terrorism.

Not only that, had Bush gone to congress with a WAR bill to fight terrorism….congress most likely would have voted FOR war and prepared the public to realize we are in a war we need to fight (as opposed to subverting). Then we wouldn’t have fools running around declaring we aren’t in a war…that we are clearly in. Iraq is a war…and congress declared no war. Congress should be ashamed of itself for avoiding it’s responsibilities. Both parties have been doing that for decades.

Will the democrats now start closing down anti-terrorists programs? Or will they revise them and allow them to continue? I hope the radical left has enough control to shut down good anti terrorist efforts. Then the voters can run them out of office in 08 for undermining what the majority of the public feels is a needed offense and defense against the radical Islamic’s who are waging war against us.

In my opinion, congress is so focused on which way those moderate, middle of the road voters who feel we are at war with terror will vote…that they will abandon many of the goals of the left to take these programs down so they can maintain the support of moderate voters. Too bad.

Posted by: Stephen at December 4, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #197625

Silma,

“So when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor we were’nt at war with them?”

No, Congress didn’t pass the resolution to declare war on Japan until Dec. 8th 1941, and the resolution to declare war on Germany until Dec. 11th 1941.

Wars are fought between countries.
Terms like the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty” or the “war on terror” are nebulous metaphors that call for the eradication of something.

In the Korean “war”, we were there as part of a multi-country force under the auspices of the UN.

In Vietnam, we were there originally as support for South Vietnam in a civil war between the South and the North.

“Radical Islam” cannot make “war” on America except as criminal acts such as Sept 11th.

Why hasn’t Mr Bush asked Congress to declare war on any country?

And exactly what country would Congress going to declare war on?

Posted by: Rocky at December 4, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #197628

Silima-
The problem with saying this is a war against Radical Islam, is that it starts you down the road to mission creep and alienating interference in other people’s affairs. We need the Muslims themselves to take care of Radical Islam, not us. We take care of it, then the Radical Islamists have grist for their mill. They take care of it, then Radical Islam has nowhere to go, nobody else to blame than the very people they need as recruits- people who won’t take criticism of their motives well.

The real enemy which we should be facing is al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda style terrorists groups. We keep our focus on them, we’ll have more energy to do what we have to do. We let that focus blur to Radical Islam as a whole, then our efforts will be more diffused.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 4, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #197664

Stephen: If we are at war with radical Islam, you should be one of the President’s greatest critics. Because no president could have done more to complicate that war. Instead of pursuing the terrorists into every hole they might be hiding in or every rock they might be under, Bush abandoned the war on the terrorists in favor of his war against the people of Iraq. In doing so, he has caused the death of 100 innocent Iraqis for every innocent American that died on 9/11 and he has created 100 new terrorists for every one we have killed. He has also said that he isn’t concerned about Osama Bin Laden who happens to be the one most responsible for the attacks on 9/11 and who if nothing else is the figure head leader of all the terrorists organizations. How can he be so concerned about radical Islam and terrorists but not be concerned about the one terrorist, more than any other, that needs to be brought to justice.

It seems to me that the President is doing two things to fight the terrorists. He is making sure that the fear message is broadcast by every right wing self called pundit on earth and he is creating a police state type surveillance system capable of monitoring all the citizens of the U.S. If he is doing anything else, please feel free to enlighten me. While you are at it, please tell me how creating even more radical Islamists is a good thing for us to be doing?


Silma: I think that if it is Hillary/Obama in 08 we will lose. If it is Hillary/ General Clark in 08 we win.

Posted by: jlw at December 4, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #197676

Stephen Daugherty uttered some of the most profound and wise words I have ever heard on this war against terrorism when he said:

We need the Muslims themselves to take care of Radical Islam, not us. We take care of it, then the Radical Islamists have grist for their mill. They take care of it, then Radical Islam has nowhere to go, nobody else to blame than the very people they need as recruits- people who won’t take criticism of their motives well.

Thank you for this very educational construct, Stephen.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #197694

The real problem is not the radical Islamist the real problem is within his Country. The radical Islamist scare tactic is a diversion to keep the American people in a state of confusion, so as to allow the neocons to continue to dismantle the federal government and sell off the resources of this Country. Thats why we are still in Iraq to stir up the radicals so the neocons can have anothe war to borrow money from future generations.
Newt’s part of the problem he’s not the answer. Although he pipes up with “ideas” they do not seem to be ideas that help this Country. To let someone like him get a chance at the first amendment is scary.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 4, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #198103

Newt and the Republican Party are not the only ones tied to corporations as you liberals have been so brainwashed into believing. Actually, G.W. Bush collected more donations in the under $1000 range than any of the Democrats in history. It is the Dems in the last several elections that have received the majority of large donations primarily from the Hollywood, Environmental, and Media elites, who by the way, top just about every list of richest persons in America. I believe Oprah is one of the top ten wealthiest women in the world, and her show, broadcast every day, might as well be considered the left wing nut case news to millions of women out there! And you guys talk about the wealthy Rush Limbaugh? Money speaks, and speaks loudly, whether in a campaign format or not. Nearly every multi-million dollar news agency out there right now is slanted left with the exception of Fox News. You guys bickering about being left behind on the money wagon is just bunk!! It’s more of the same old class warfare. The silliness is that the writer dishes out more of the old Democratic “class warfare” on campaign finance within a commentary on the “real war” on terror. Then he tries to hash up an old favorite Republican target during the Clinton Administration, Newt Gingrich, as if he was still the Speaker of the House. What’s the matter Libs? Running out of targets in the Bush Administration?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 7, 2006 12:13 AM
Comment #237238

well ya i hear what all of you are saying and i am all the way with you. when#198103 said i mean G.W. Bush collected more donations in the under $1000 range than any of the Democrats in history. look at that i would love to see that happen again that would be grate.

Posted by: kim at October 30, 2007 4:59 PM
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