Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hamdan - interfering With National Security?

Here is the opinion (pdf). I haven't had a chance to read it yet (stupid having to work...), but from what I can tell so far, it seems like the wrong call. The news coverage is all over the map, and I can't get a good sense about what the actual implications are.

If it's merely a separation of powers issue, then OK - have Congress give the president the authorization he needs to give these people a fair hearing to determine their status. And do it today. They clearly have plenty of time and patriotic fervor to toss around, if they can be bothered with such inanity as a flag burning amendment.

But if indeed Justice Stevens has extended Geneva Convention rights to these people, then the Court will have gotten it profoundly, deeply, and (literally) fatally wrong. The Convention protects those who also agree to respect its provisions. When you don't wear a uniform or represent a nation state, and then target civilians besides, you don't get to enjoy the niceties of a world civilization you're trying to bring down. That's the only incentive we have to get people to follow such conventions in the first place!

More when I've actually read it. I'm not going to rely on news reports on this one.

Hitler Cats

This has nothing to do with Federalism, politics, or anything else, but it was too damn funny not to share. And hey - it's summertime!

It's cats. That look like Hitler. Seriously. I don't know why it's so funny, but it just is.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Updated Links

I've updated the links to the right of the blog. I've separated out general links of interest and conservative and libertarian blogs. I've also added a humor section - there's some freakin' hilarious stuff on there. And finally, there's a list of other FedSoc chapters. Some of the sites are blogs like ours, and some of them are just informational sites. A lot of them are pretty out of date, so if any of you folks reading this are from those schools, please let us know.

If you have any good conservative/libertarian blogs or links you think should be on our list, please let me know.

Interesting New Blog

The Pacific Legal Foundation just launched a new and interesting blog about eminent domain that might be of interest to some of our readers:

It seems to be providing some good information concerning the movement against the usage of eminent domain, especially in cases similar to Kelo. If I remember correctly, one of PLF's lawyers came to the career session we had during winter quarter.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment Thankfully Fails

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
So reads the flag burning amendment the Senate rejected today by one vote today, deservedly killing the measure.

I hate flag burners. I hate the dirty, snot-nosed hippies who so hate our country, but can afford to be professional protesters leaching off of society and accomplishing nothing at all because of what our country is. I hate the childishness of it, and the utter inanity of the gesture. Who are they trying to impress or emulate - Jihadists? Nazis? (They liked to burn all kinds of things.) North Koreans? Iranian theocracy-sponsored demonstrators? Short of Jimmy Carter, has there ever been any American in power who would be moved by such an act?

But despite my strong feeling towards those who do it, there is simply no other reason in the world to burn a flag other than as a political statement. None. And political speech was what the Founders had in mind most when they limited the government from abridging free speech. There is no good reason to restrict such expression - no safety concerns, no national security issues, nothing. The only reason people want to make this particular form of expression illegal is because the content offends them. And that's not a good enough reason to suppress free expression, even in a small way, in a free society. After all, we are conservatives - we understand that we don't have a right not to be offended! Don't we?

And what is a "flag," anyway? A design on a shirt? A drawing? A painting? A cap? A mural? A bumper sticker? And what does it mean to "desecrate" the flag? Carelessly letting it trail in the mud? Sewing a peace sign over the star field? Getting into a fender-bender with someone with a flag bumper sticker?

I am deeply, deeply offended by flag burning, but I am not harmed by it. The physical flag is only a piece of cloth - it is precisely because you can burn it without being thrown in jail by the government that makes it so special and so unique. Because of that, this amendment would have diminished our flag that I hold so dear, and in doing so, would have been the ultimate desecration of Old Glory.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Some Things Never Change

I've been busy learning my new Rule 9 jobs at work, but even though I've been out of the bloggosphering loop for a little bit, it's nice to know I haven't really missed anything. Since I've been gone:
Andrew McCarthy breaks it down:
The effort, which the government calls the "Terrorist Finance Tracking Program"” (TFTP), is entirely legal. There are no conceivable constitutional violations involved. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Miller (1976) that there is no right to privacy in financial-transaction information maintained by third parties. Here, moreover, the focus is narrowed to suspected international terrorists, not Americans, and the financial transactions implicated are international, not domestic. This is not data mining, and it does not involve fishing expeditions into the financial affairs of American citizens. Indeed, few Americans even have information that is captured by the program — though there would be nothing legally offensive even if they did.

The New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller said that he made the decision to run the story because it was in the "public interest." Well, gosh, Bill - you know what else is in the public interest? KILLING TERRORISTS! Except that if Bush is the world's biggest terrorist, then I guess it makes sense... Sigh.

Other papers reported on the story of course, but it was NYT reporters who did the investigation and had apparently had the inside sources. Without them, the program would not have come to light.

There's just no excuse for this. None. Bill Keller, the leakers inside the intel agencies, and the reporters involved are American citizens, and they have responsibilities as such. Why is it too much that they root for the good guys? It's one thing to not think President Bush is prosecuting the war on terror correctly, and to say so publicly. It's another thing entirely to actively work for his failure in keeping Americans safe. But hey - don't you dare question their patriotism.

If the terror cell this program would have caught next year succeeds in a bio attack on the NYC subway, the Times and its far left readership will without any question scream bloody murder about "incompetence," "not connecting the dots," etc. What world do these people live in? Can they not see the consequences of their actions?

We cannot live in safety without SOME clandestine operations, SOME ability to gether data and follow the money to the terror financiers, and SOME state secrets. It doesn't equal police state to have these types of programs in place. It equals survival.

To be fair, though, some good press about the war on terror HAS been leaking through. What, really, did we expect?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

No More Knock & Announce

The Supreme Court ruled today in the case of Hudson v. Michigan that if police officers have a warrant, they no longer have to knock and announce themselves as police before entering a home. This is a shift made possible by the retirement of Justice O'Connor.

I don't really understand why this is controversial. The sanctity of the home must be protected, but that's why there's a warrant process. But in case I had any doubt, Justice Breyer reminded us why we need more Alitos and Robertses on the court:

It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection.

The Constitution has a "knock-and-announce protection?" That must be in the Eleventeenth Amendment.

The only "practical value" I can see in the old rule is the value to the criminal who has extra time to hide or destroy evidence, or even escape. Once the warrant is issued, due process has been upheld. The ONLY benefit to requiring an announcement is to the criminal flushing drugs down the toilet.


UPDATE: Here's the opinion itself (PDF). And I was wrong initially, as I should have suspected I would be when relying on the Seattle Times for legal analysis. The knock-and-announce rule is still in effect, but the exclusionary rule is not applicable to it under these circumstances.

Check out the facts behind the arrest in particular. The door was unlocked, not broken down. There were large quantities of drugs and firearms, including a loaded gun hidden in the cushions of the chair in which the suspect was sitting. I just can't see how this is unreasonable.

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Leftist Reaction to Zarqawi - No Surprises

But they are almost as funny as they were predictable.

Blogging and Professional Responsibility

One of the "guest diarists" at the Daily Kos quit in a huff yesterday after he claimed to have had his secret identity "outed" by National Review in a typical Right Wing Conspiracy plot. Of course, his identity wasn't that secret, and his real reason for quitting might have more to do with the Kossack Crowd being unimpressed with his ties to something that rhymes with "Bal*Mart":

Apparently, [Daily]Kos diarist Armando Lloréns-Sar isn't comfortable with too many people knowing about his day job as an attorney at McConnell Valdés (it's clearly the same guy):
...Lloréns-Sar might be uncomfortable with too many people knowing about his professional activities (he threatened to ban one commenter for getting too close to his "personal circumstances"):

During his time filling in for Kos as the "front page diarist" he wrote a number of pro-corporate articles, of course without disclosing that he is a corporate attorney promoting these same issues for his clients. For example, in this post he takes the pro-corporate position that modern anti-trust law is based on activist judges' rulings and not as the law as written. He fails to mention that he recently represented Wal-Mart in an anti-trust capacity in Puerto Rico.

H/T WuzzaDem, whose emphases those are.

As much fun as it is to gloat at the silliness of the Kos types, the story really made me think in broader terms of what's acceptable for an attorney who, say, might want to blog about legal issues. What obligations do you have to your clients? To your firm? What duties of disclosure do you have towards your blogging audience? What does the crusty old judge at the ethics board of inquiry who's never heard of a blog think? Does it matter that you do it on your own time? Or anonymously?

I did some research earlier this year on "Doocing," the firing of an employee for un-careful blogging. It's amazing how easy it is for someone to find your real identity, either by doing a little digging, or by simply getting a subpoena for the ISP. A corporate client who happens to run across something unflattering on a hugely popular website (or unpopular, but still public) would seem to me to be a danger, and something to think about.

But what if it's just a more general legal issue, one that you were inspired to muse about because a case you were working on dealt with that issue? Is that allowed? Should it be? How general does the issue have to be? Does it impact your ability to represent your client? Can a client trust a blogging attorney not to tell their story on line with a, "for example, I had a client once..."? How much detail can you go into about your work day on a blog without violating the PR rules? Does a pseudonym protect you?

This is actually one of the reasons I post here under my real name - I don't want to lull myself into a false sense of anonymity. And it makes clear that what I write I have to answer for, which (usually and hopefully) makes me a little more cautious about what and how I write. That's not to say a nomme de plume doesn't have a time or place - the Federalist Papers weren't written by 1800 year old Romans, after all.

The Kossack writer was a fool, though. He was indiscreet, apparently bitterly acerbic and rude (even to his fellow travelers), used his real first name, and littered the internet with personal details that made him easy to find, including his E-mail address when he tried to edit some Wikipedia entries about the Daily Kos. I don't know the answers to all of this, but one things for certain - Armando is a great example of what a lawyer should NOT do on line.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Just a Stunt

Some Democrats, breaking ranks from their leadership, today said the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq was a stunt to divert attention from an unpopular and hopeless war. "This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer" for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers, said Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat.

How eloquent. I of course have to ask - what SHOULD President Bush have done, in Rep. Stark's world? NOT killed Zarqawi? I only wish the Washington Times would have ran his full quote, just so there would be no doubt he was talking about the U.S. Military's widespread atrocities. (Hey - they have a lot to cover their [asses] for, too. The conspiracy widens...) But I forgot - we don't elect these guys because they can't "get their message out." Otherwise, everyone would be on board, we'd have a Department of Peace, and life would be gum drop kisses on lollipop lane. If you were going to write a parody ridiculing far left Democrats, you couldn't do any better than that.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if President Bush single handedly killed cancer, the far lefties like Congressmen Stark and Kucinich would decry the fact that he put all those doctors and researchers out of work. If Bush flung himself on a broken railroad track so the runaway train full of orphans could safely pass over, they would call it a cheap political ploy. When the water goes cold in their shower, they probably mutter with angry sarcasm, "Thanks, Bush!"

What the color of the sky must be in their world...

(Thanks go to Publius for the shower joke.)

Meet Up at Fado This Friday

The SU Chapter has invited us to a meetup this Friday at Fado Irish Pub down town at 7.

It's one of my favorite bars in Seattle, and should be a great time! See you there.

Drug War Update: Can we define "enemy", please?

The war on drugs has plenty of "enemy combatants", such as drug-dealers, gang members, meth-addicts smashing car-windows. So why do we keep hitting the civilians so hard?

Even if I were in favor of drug criminalization, I'd be pretty angry about that sort of thing. Actually I'd be more angry, because it makes the war effort look bad.

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead! - Some Thoughts on the Death of Zarqawi

He's dead.

Awesome. This is a fantastic day. Everyone who wants to see America and Iraq succeed together is rejoicing. Some thoughts:

Our Warriors: This will be a huge moral booster for our troops, who must surely be frustrated by the constant second guessing and harping from the news media back home about the job they're doing and how they do it. This is a great victory for them.

Iraq's Heroes: I think the happiest people on the planet today are the Iraqi police who have been dancing in the street. They've risked more than anyone else for the freedom of Iraq, and for their courage, were poorly paid and were THE target of choice for the fascists. God bless them. They are heroes of a kind I can barely imagine. Their courage is beyond description.

The Bad Guys: This will be a huge morale killer for the insurgency. And not just because their leader was killed (although that matters, too), but because he was betrayed by people he associated with. The fascists will begin a self-destructive purge and the accusations of who is helping the infidels will help further tear them apart.

The Iraqi Street: Iraqis are growing more and more bold about ratting out insurgents, and this is a huge sign. It means they're betting their lives that we will succeed. The least we can do is have a little patience and NOT betray that faith by declaring defeat and leaving. This is a victory for Joe Iraqi who just wants to build his country and truly give democracy and freedom a chance.

Bush's Polls: It cannot go without saying that this is a victory for President Bush politically. The post-Zarqawi polls are being commissioned now, and I predict in a couple days we'll see a major boost in Bush's approval ratings.

Iraqi Democracy: One can scarcely imagine a better day for the Iraqi government. They have completed their unity government, and a Sunni is the Defense Minister, which the nay-sayers said was an impossibility. They also took part in this attack, and will gain a tremendous amount of credibility as an organ capable of securing the country - especially now that their Defense and Interior Ministries now have heads.

The Media: The MSM reaction has been interesting. It reminds me of the reaction after the first Iraqi election, when all the liberal papers were asking, "What if Bush was right?" Jon Stewart famously said he thought his head might explode at the success of Bush's Iraq policies. They of course then did their level best to ignore the next two elections, and to run stories right before they happened they hoped would eclipse the good news of the purple fingers. But once again, they have been caught off guard. Good. It's harder to shape the news to fit your political notions when you don't have time to think about how to filter and spin it.

Speaking of, three news channels this morning provided interesting contrast. Fox News was unapologetically gleeful. They reported the news, talked about what it meant and didn't mean, noted the grains of salt with which it should be taken, but you could see they were Americans first, knew who the good guys were, and weren't afraid to enjoy the moment. I love Fox News because to them, American soldiers are "our troops." Their bias is pro-American, and I'm perfectly OK with it. CNN's anchors looked like they were happy, but embarrassed about it, and so tried to hide it. But a woman on MSNBC looked downright sour, as if she was reporting on the second Bush inauguration. I wonder if Katie Couric will wear black tonight on CBS News?

Help from Middle Eastern Allies: Jordan provided invaluable information to help us kill this thug. So much for "alienating moderate Muslims." This kind of high profile cooperation is further proof of how wrong the left is when they talk about our "unilateralism."

Haditha and The Responsibility of Command: This has knocked Haditha from the headlines, and that's a good thing. It also puts it in perspective, reminding us that the people we fight commit dozens of Haditha's every day, and do it as a matter of policy. It makes me wonder, too: The left holds Bush responsible for Haditha and Abu Ghraib, and think the troops involved in those things are mere victims. This is in spite of the fact that AB and Haditha were NOT official policy, and there is no evidence that any high level sanction was given to those activities. But still, it's Bush's fault. So by the same logic, will they give Bush credit for Zarqawi's death, and dismiss the troops' participation in it? Or will following Bush's official policy be seen as "troops doing their best despite Bush?" Wesley Clark made that insinuation this morning, right after he lied about "never supporting the invasion of Iraq."

Predictions about the leftist reaction: They will say that his death will only recruit more terrorists. They will say that showing his dead face on TV violates the Geneva conventions, ignoring that Zarqawi renounced those protections when he started targeting civilians and not wearing a uniform. They will say he was only a bit player in al Qaeda, and that the bomb that killed him should have been spent on bin Laden. They will say that he will be easily replaced. They will say that this was an internal coup which used the US as unwilling dupes to knock off an unpopular leader, thus consolidating their strength. They will lie about Bush's reaction, and every bad thing that every happens in the GWOT will be proof positive that Zarqawi's death was without impact. Their commentary will be filled with countless "but"s. Nick Berg's dad is already running around talking about how Zarqawi only sawed his son's head off because he was forced to do it by Bush, and that he grieves for the fact that Zarqawi is dead. They will say this would have happened sooner had Kerry been in charge. They will say that this does not excuse the widespread atrocities our troops routinely commit, of which Haditha is only symbolic. They will say that killing him will only continue the cycle of violence, and that there will be counter attacks (which there surely will, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a blow to the fascist enemy). They will say that it is wrong to celebrate any death, even the death of one such as Zarqawi. They will demand that we leave Iraq immediately, instead of pressing our advantage.

Our Intel: This was a badly needed boost for our intelligence services. They have a long way to go to fix themselves, but they deserve praise for this.

Ahmadinejad on Notice: Today the Iranian president announced he's ready to talk. Reminds me of how Qadaffi gave up his WMD programs after we pulled Saddam out of his hole. I don't know what news happened first, but it seems unlikely that it would be coincidental. What we do in Iraq impacts evil men world wide, and makes the world safer. This isn't to say that all is sunny in Persia, or that we should take him up on his offer until he's willing to stop enriching uranium, but it we need to understand that these people respect our aggressiveness, not appeasement.

Israel Kills Hamas Terror Mastermind: I don't know if it's in any way related, but this day has seen a lot of dead and evil men. And that just makes me happy.

The USS Cole: The Cole got underway today for their first Middle Eastern deployment since al Qaeda tried to sink them in Yemen. Delicious. What a perfect way to start a deployment. What a way to kick the enemy when they're down. What a way to say, "You can't keep us out, fascists." What an inspiring feeling to get underway with. Leaving for deployment is tough, as you leave your friends and family for dangers unknown. It helps to know you're headed to support a winning fight.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Press Haditha Feeding Frenzy Continues

Shameful. Just shameful. But don't question their patriotism. And their slander proves they support the troops!

Is it too much to ask that the American press at least pretend to hope we succeed in Iraq?

Internet Datamining Prevents Terror Attacks

There it is. Not hypothetical. Not Bush tricking us into a police state. Hell - not even Bush.

I take back some of the things I've said about Canada.

Whatever the conflicting concerns about the NSA datamining programs, it must be part of the calculus that these programs are, in fact, making us safer and preventing terror attacks. If the decision is that a governmental "hands off" policy (beyond even the constraints of the Constitution) is worth the dead Americans (and Canadians), then OK. But I, for one, am pretty OK with the balance we're striking, considering the cost-benefits we seem to be enjoying.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Iraq: A War to Be Proud Of

I wish I had seen this piece by Victor David Hanson earlier, and posted it on Memorial Day. But it's no less true or meaningful now.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Haditha, Due Process, and the Disgusting Smugness of the Anti-War Press

Daniel Shorr has always been one of the more insidious voices in the press rooting for American defeat, at least since I've been aware of him, and he embodies the argument for why NPR shouldn't receive a dime of tax money. The last time I heard him on the radio, he was calling Hamas a humanitarian organization and lamenting that those big mean neo-con Bushies designated them as terrorists and wouldn't give them any money just because they wouldn't march lock step with the villainous land thieves in Israel. But his latest slander piece on the Haditha investigation really got my blood boiling. First, Mr. Shorr, who I know is not privy to the as-yet-to-be-completed investigation report, and who CERTAINLY wasn't there, somehow knows with clarity what happened:

It seems clear now that in Haditha, northeast of Baghdad, a Marine lance corporal was killed by a roadside bomb. And his enraged buddies swept through three nearby houses shooting point-blank at residents, men, women, children, old, young. It didn't seem to matter.

Wow. Really? I seems clear? A squad of Marines is a town teeming with terrorists, terrorists who think nothing of hiding in and among innocents, terrorists who aren't exclusively male or adult, terrorists who wear no uniforms and are perfectly willing to sacrifice innocent Iraqi lives for their fascist cause. A bomb had gone off just minutes before, killing one of them. They are trying to catch who set the explosive, because there may be more. They must act quickly, before the trigger man who set off the IED can escape. Clarity, it seems, is not something that we can count on in such a situation, even from the men who were there. Shorr, an Army intelligence officer in WWII, ought to know better about the fog of war.

How about a little benefit of the doubt here, for people who deserve it the most and are in a situation we can understand the least? No one has even been charged yet. We don't know what happened. To do otherwise, especially when it's a government official (equally sans investigation report) recklessly throwing out the accusations of "murder in cold blood," represents a deep and unforgivable betrayal. The only thing worse is when that official had also once been a Marine, and knows better. (He's now that rarest of animals, an Ex-Marine.) Semper fi, indeed.

But as bad as all of this is, Mr. Shorr takes it to the next, unpardonable level:

Although on a much smaller scale, Haditha brings back My Lai, 1968, the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese villagers, which came to symbolize American disregard for innocent human life.

(Emphasis mine.) "American disregard for innocent human life." Wow.
He doesn't qualify this statement. He simply states it as a given. And just in case you think he meant only that it left people with the incorrect symbolism, he ends his piece with a backhanded assertion that we've been the bad guy all along:

And, undoubtedly, Haditha will add to the pressures for withdrawal from Iraq among Americans, many of whom are already dubious about the assertion that the American mission is liberation.

The only people who are dubious that our mission is liberation are the unhinged lefties who can only see the worst in America and her defenders. He doesn't remind people that the vast majority of soldiers, however fatigued, would never think of doing such a thing. He doesn't note that My Lai was a gross anomaly (despite what John Kerry said), still remembered today because what it represents is so rare and shameful to Americans. He doesn't mention how hard OIF Marines and soldiers work to prevent civilian casualties at great risk to themselves, despite the fact the enemy hides behind them. And he ignores that it is our enemies who target innocent civilians as a matter of policy, sawing off heads in the name of Allah. If our soldiers commit an atrocity, they are court martialed. When theirs do it, they're promised virgins in heaven and lauded as martyrs. And that includes Shorr's "humanitarians," Hamas.

In other words, this knee jerk reaction is a revealing look at how the far left REALLY views our folks in uniform. A quick perusal through the left side of the blogosphere contains barely contained glee at the revelations.

If we lose this war and run home with our tail between our legs because we were not at all times perfect, the innocents Shorr and his fellow travelers have such empathy for will find themselves subject to a fascist failed state, where terror is official policy, political dissent is answered with wood chippers, and purple fingers are cut off. And that's before the innocent Americans start dying here at home because the terrorists have regained a training ground. Spare us your moral cluck-clucking, Mr. Shorr.

Let me be clear. No one will hate these Marines more than me if the investigation reveals "cold blooded murder." Such an act, like that at Abu Ghraib, is not only deeply immoral for its own sake, but it's a sin against history and humanity as it stalls the progress of freedom and security, and helps the fascists in their evil cause. But in our zeal to stay on the high road, sometimes innocent warriors are accused of war crimes, only to be acquited at trial. So until the court martial, how about we let the system work, ignore the Dan Shorrs of the world who root for our defeat and wantonly slime our troops for the sake of "I told you so," and not hope for or see the worst in the best of our citizens.

"It was kind of almost like the enemy was using me for propaganda."

Sergeant Peter Damon is suing Michael Moore for using pieces of an NBC television interview without permission in "Fahrenheit 9/11," saying it twisted what he was saying into anti-war and anti-Bush propaganda. Shockingly, the twist of the words was given the assist by our very own Saddam-supporting Representative Jim McDermott. Sgt. Damon was discussing his injuries, when Congressman McDermott was spliced in to talk about all the people we've "left behind." Nothing could have been further from the truth (not that the truth has ever bothered Mr. Moore).

I hope he wins. I hope he doesn't settle. What Michael Moore did by using this guy's words out of context is disgusting and exploitive. This is how the hard core anti-war left supports the troops. And I imagine Sgt. Damon has some time on his new artificial hands now days, and plenty of lawyers willing to gamble some of their time to take down this piece of garbage.

But I do have to wonder. I'm surprised it took this long for someone to sue over this "documentary." I hope there isn't a statute of limitations that has run, or that the wait will hurt Sgt. Damon's showing of actual damages.

And because the clips were from and interview with NBC, I hope that Sgt. Damon didn't sign some kind of full release and license to them, so they could use and distribute the clip however they want. On the other hand, even if that is the case, I don't know if NBC would really want the kind of publicity that places them on the same level of journalistic integrity as Moore.

I'm assuming that these questions were already asked and answered by the attorneys bringing suit. Hopefully it's not a settlement bluff.

Good luck, Sgt. It's an interesting legal question, too - I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out.