ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, January 06, 2006

Punishment Just Doesn't Work

Or "Judge Cashman - A Friend of Pedophiles and Drunk Drivers"

H/T to OpinionJournal's BOTW

Burlington, Vermont -- January 4, 2005

There was outrage Wednesday when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl many,many times over a four-year span starting when she was seven.

The judge said he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation.

Prosecutors argued that confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett, 34, of Williston deserved at least eight years behind bars for repeatedly raping a littler girl countless times starting when she was seven.

But Judge Edward Cashman disagreed explaining that he no longer believes that punishment works.

"The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn't solve anything. It just corrodes your soul," said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the on-lookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced.

The sex abuse started when the girl was seven and ended when she was ten. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of eight to twenty years in prison, in part, as punishment.

"Punishment is a valid purpose," Chittenden Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Andreson argued to Judge Edward Cashman.

"The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that method of sentencing but the state does. The state thinks that it is a very important factor for the court to consider," Andreson added.

But Judge Cashman explained that he is more concerned that Hulett receive sex offender treatment as rehabilitation. But under Department of Corrections classification, Hulett is considered a low-risk for re-offense so he does not qualify for in-prison treatment.So the judge sentenced him to just 60 days in prison and then Hulett must complete sex treatment when he gets out or face a possible life sentence.

Judge Cashman also also revealed that he once handed down stiff sentences when he first got on the bench 25 years ago, but he no longer believes in punishment.

"I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value;it doesn't make anything better;it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger,"Cashman explained to the people in the court.

The sentence outraged the victim's family who asked not to be identified.

"I don't like it," the victim's mother,in tears, told Channel 3. "He should pay for what he did to my baby and stop it here. She's not even home with me and he can be home for all this time, and do what he did in my house," she added.

Hulett -- who had been out on bail-- was taken away to start his sentence immediately.

Now, I know that Bill O'Reilly has been busy talking up his appearance on the Letterman show, but I think he should consider identify Vermont as a state that's heading in the wrong direction regarding Jessica's Law. For those that aren't aware, Jessica's law would impose a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison for first-time child sex offenders. I don't know Cashman's political affiliation, but the muddled thinking that he displayed in this case is consistent with the logic and positions of NAMBLA, the ACLU, and others on the "Progressive" Left to focus on "rehabilitation" instead of actual punishment.

I did a quick google search on Judge Edward Cashman and did find that he has imposed strict punishments in the past, including this sentence which went beyond the statutory term - prompting a review by a higher court on appeal. But he also let this drunk driver at the University of Vermont in Burlington go on a technicality, arguing that the UVM police didn't have proper authority.

So, I guess you could say that if you're going to go before Cashman, make sure it's for drunk driving or for raping a child. He's got a soft spot for those offenders.

(In light of his public announcement that he no longer believes in "punishment," would it be safe to say that he's no longer fit to serve as a judge?)

Also see Myopic Zeal, the Anchoress, California Conservative, and The Truth Laid Bear, and Michelle Malkin

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sharon's Stroke Could Be God's Punishment According to Pat Robertson

It just could be time for Pat to go off to the home and do leathercraft and play bingo:

The Reverend Pat Robertson says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke could be God's punishment for giving up Israeli territory.

The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network told viewers of "The 700 Club" that Sharon was "dividing God's land," even though the Bible says doing so invites "God's enmity."

Robertson added, "I would say woe to any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course."

He noted that former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

Robertson said God's message is, "This land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone."

H/T to Drudge

Could it be that Robertson has the same thoughts RE Sharon as these folks? More proof that he's nuts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Pelosi KNEW IN 2001!!!

Turns out that Pelosi and the Dems on the Intelligence Committee were briefed back in 2001 about the expanded view of the NSA:

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press WriterTue Jan 3, 7:11 PM ET

Congressional intelligence committees had at least a hint in October 2001 that the National Security Agency was expanding its surveillance activities after the 9/11 attacks, according to a letter released Tuesday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The California Democrat had raised questions to Gen. Michael Hayden, then the NSA director, about the legal authority to conduct the eavesdropping work.

In the October 2001 letter, Pelosi said she was told in a briefing that month that the agency "had been operating since the Sept. 11 attacks with an expansive view" of its authorities "to the conduct of electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related statutes, orders, regulations and guidelines."

"I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting," Pelosi, then the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, wrote Hayden.

President Bush has acknowledged he authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and e-mails of Americans and others inside the United States with suspected ties to al-Qaida or its affiliates.

"I can say that if somebody from al-Qaida is calling you, we'd like to know why," Bush said this week. "This program is conscious of people's civil liberties, as am I."

Bush and other senior officials have said he personally renewed the program more than three dozen times since October 2001, and a small group of Congress members was briefed on the highly classified effort.

So, her big beef back in 2001 was not whether the expansion was warranted or legal, but whether Bush had officially authorized it.
"I can say that if somebody from al-Qaida is calling you, we'd like to know why," Bush said this week. "This program is conscious of people's civil liberties, as am I."

Bush and other senior officials have said he personally renewed the program more than three dozen times since October 2001, and a small group of Congress members was briefed on the highly classified effort.

But it appears that Hayden may have at least alluded broadly to the new surveillance work with a wider audience of House and Senate intelligence committee members during the classified October briefing. According to Pelosi's letter, Hayden spoke about the agency's new posture to expand its operations.

Hayden, who is now the nation's No. 2 intelligence official, told Pelosi he wanted to clarify ambiguities. "In my briefing, I was attempting to emphasize that I used my authorities to adjust NSA's collection and reporting," he wrote on Oct. 18, 2001.

The subsequent crucial sentences of the letter, released Tuesday, were blocked out for security reasons.

Key parts of Pelosi's letter were also withheld. For instance, one sentence indicates that the NSA was forwarding intercepts and other undisclosed information to the FBI without first getting a request.

A series of independent commissions have encouraged national security agencies to improve cooperation. But it is far from clear in the letter how this work may be happening.

Said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists: "It does seem that the NSA is doing something different and in a different way than what it has done before."

Interesting that the NSA jumped over the Gorelick wall (that didn't allow the NSA and military intelligence to hand off intelligence to the FBI). And this was even before the 9/11 Commission Report that identified the wall as being an issue that the administration should overcome.

I can't wait for the Dems to start arguing that we shouldn't allow such sharing of intelligence. After all, we wouldn't want the President to connect the dots and respond to the increased chatter.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

PA Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) requests new pair of underwear, Part II

Ace of Spades points to this story from the AP.

Lynn Swann Says He'll Run for Pa. Governor
By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press WriterWed Jan 4, 6:48 PM ET

Former Steelers star Lynn Swann declared his candidacy for Pennsylvania governor Wednesday in the city where he made his name in professional football.

Swann, a Hall of Fame receiver and longtime TV football commentator, faces three other candidates in seeking the Republican nomination for governor — his first run for political office. The winner of the May 16 primary would likely face Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who is expected to seek a second four-year term.

If successful in his first bid for political office, Swann would become Pennsylvania's first black governor. His announcement was no surprise: His political committee has been raising money for his campaign for nearly a year.

Swann, 53, planned to kick off his campaign with a Wednesday night rally in Pittsburgh, followed by appearances in five other cities Thursday and Friday.

The Steelers won four Super Bowls during Swann's nine-year pro career with the team. He has worked for ABC Sports since his retirement from football in 1983.
Swann has so far revealed little about his political philosophy or the initiatives he would pursue as governor. He has advocated reducing certain business taxes and said he opposes abortion rights.

In independent polling, former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III and Swann are running ahead of the other two GOP candidates, but behind Rendell.

Swann said Wednesday that he hopes to convince blacks that he is a better candidate than Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor. The Democratic Party has "taken the African American vote for granted," Swann said.

G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, said Swann needs to convince voters that he has ideas and the leadership ability necessary to turn them into policy. He could benefit from disenchantment with the state and national governments, Madonna said.

"Voters are looking for fresh faces," Madonna said. Swann "has a personal story to tell that's compelling."

The eventual GOP nominee could get a big boost Feb. 11, when the Republican State Committee meets to consider endorsing a candidate. On Wednesday, Scranton wrote Swann to ask him to participate in several debates before the meeting. Swann said he would be happy to participate in debates.

We speculated back in February (shortly after starting this blog) that a Swann candidacy would mean the end of Ed Rendell as governor. There's no chance that a standard pol like Rendell could beat a Hall Of Fame football player. It changes the playing field as voters never predisposed to voting suddenly enter the polls to vote for a guy they know and love...

Imagine a debate between Rendell and Swann - I think I know who would win on style and connecting with the voters.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Running Out of Troops? No

Well... I was wrong!

I put the question to Jim Dunnigan over at StrategyPage and here is my e-mail and what he had to say:

In a message dated 1/4/2006 7:03:39 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, john wilson writes:

Hi Jim, greetings from the Left Coast...Here's my question: given the present force levels in Iraq, given the number of permissable/possible deployments of any given brigade sized unit and given the present size of the army, when do you think we will run out of brigade sized units to send to Iraq?John Wilson of the old "Simulations Poker Club."

From: Jfdunnigan
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 02:32:27 EST


Man of few words is Jim!

Dunnigan is the final word in these matters for me.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Chickenhawks etc

I was going to post this as a comment to the string started below about Murtha, the size of the Army, etc, but decided to do so as a fresh post when it ran long (besides, I can).

My, got a bit testy over here while I wasn't looking.

Do the words "for the duration" ring any bells? Well, that's what the troops went through in WWII. There was no illusion that they would return from war before the war was won.

At least our people are not facing that situation in Iraq.

Having said that, it appears to me that we are running out of troops given the current rules. Those rules need to be changed to "for the duration" or something like it, or we need a bigger army. Something has to give. I have not crunched the numbers, but I would not be surprised if the April 2007 date is right for running out of deployable brigades.

We learned something from Vietnam where unit integrity broke down as men were rotated out of country in 12 months. There were always green troops in the line and the experienced ones were always leaving. We have tried to keep units together this time around.

Truth: we need more divisions if we are going to keep Iraq service down to a tour or two or three or going all the way to "for the duration."

We either win this thing in the next year or so or we are in BIG trouble.

I have no reason to think there are not good plans to get us all but out in the next eighteen to twenty-four months. I sure hope they work. Why? Because NO ONE is pushing for a bigger Army in a serious way.

None of this makes Murtha right. His defeatist attitude stinks. Throwing in the towel is not the answer here.

Growing political cajones quickly is the answer, and someone better do it pretty soon.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Musings on Political Strategery

Found an interesting post over at Skymusings:

President Bush has a unique opportunity to be a president who serves goals larger than self, and he must not let this moment pass. With 3 simple acts, he can:

1.) Resolve all issues the Republicans are having with determining a 2008 nominee;
2.) Guarantee Republican control of the White House through 2016;
3.) Continue the trend of taking seats in the House and Senate;
4.) Continue to prosecute the War on Terror consistent with the Bush Doctrine;
5.) Give the 2008/2012 president the opportunity to choose the anticipated 3-4 Court appointees;
6.) End the democratic lock on the black vote forever;
7.) End the perception of "Republicans are bigots" forever;
8.) Be hailed as the Lincoln of our time;
9.) Be hailed as the Washington/Cincinnatus of our time;
10.) Reduce the democratic party to the point that they will be forced to re-form into a viable opposition;
11.) Prove to be the Uniter he has promised for so long;
12.) Restore faith in the minds of the voters regarding political figures and service to the country.

The acts are very simple, albeit unusual and unprecedented. They require considerable personal and political will, especially the final one; if done correctly his name will be chiseled on pedestals from the Right and the Left as a great president and civil-rights champion.

Following the 2006 elections, there will be a 2-year period of relative lame-duckness in his administration. Iraq is becoming more stable by the day and can reasonably be predicted to be close to self-sufficiency by mid-2007. This point in time would be ideal for Vice-President Cheney to retire gracefully, having served his country proudly in a variety of positions spanning decades. His health concerns and desire to spend time with his family would begin to override the need to advise the president, and with Iraq stabilized he could rest secure in the knowledge that his services are no longer as necessary as they once were. Heartfelt congratulations abound, the "Cheney lightning rod" exits, and a grateful nation wishes the Vice-President well.

This would leave an opening for Vice-President.

That was Step One.

Step Two is probably obvious to most at this point: nominate Condoleezza Rice for Vice-President. There would be a small tussle for confirmation, but eventually she would be confirmed by the Republican majority and the dems who don't dare vote down a supremely qualified black woman for the Number Two spot. She was confirmed for State 85-13, so it is reasonable to assume she would also get the nod for promotion.
But wait; There's More....

This part is the true test of character. In late 2007 Condi is confirmed and has been the VP for several months and has been brought up to speed. Of course, she has had a huge head start by being the president's national security advisor and secretary of state. There's probably very little she does not know already.

Step Three: George Bush steps down as president, declaring that the country is in good hands.
Read the whole post, as it goes into greater detail regarding Skymuse's justification for the 3 step process (some of which I've left out here).

I agree with the possibility of Cheney stepping aside and Condi taking over the Number 2 spot. As I've said many times on this blog, I'm pushing for Condi in '08. Sadly, she has rebuffed any inquiries into the possibility. For some reason, I have a feeling that she seriously does not want the top job after seeing the way that Bush has been treated.

Anyway, I'm with Skymuse right up until Step 3 - the Bush steps down part... while I agree that it strengthens Condi's position (since she'd be essentially an incumbent in '08), I can hear the howls and cackles from the Left and their propaganda arm in the MSM about Bush establishing a monarchy. No doubt Rove would be portrayed as the puppetmaster behind Condi, continuing to run the government for the "Aunt Jemima" that the Left perceives Condi to be.

I think there's no better way for the GOP to accomplish items 1 through 12 (well, 2 through 12) outlined by Skymuse above than by having Condi successfully win the nomination and beat the tar out of the Democratic nominee. And regardless of what happens, I seriously doubt that the Left or the MSM will ever hail Bush or give him appropriate credit for any achievement.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bush Implicated in Miners' Deaths

At least, according to our friends over at DU - and the World Socialist Web Site. (Question - I wonder how much disagreements there are on policy positions between DUers and the writers/members/comrades at the WSWS?)

Maybe I'm not listening closely enough, but if this is true, it certainly doesn't seem to have been given much attention by the endless media reports.
Twelve of 13 miners found dead after false rescue report
By Jerry Isaacs
4 January 2006

For its part, the Bush administration has gutted safety and health conditions in the mines. As it has in other regulatory agencies, the White House has stacked the Mine Safety and Health Administration with representatives of corporate interests, reduced funds and manpower to enforce regulations, and scrapped critical safety and health regulations.

Bush named former Massey Energy official Stanley Suboleski to the MSHA review commission that decides all legal matters under the federal Mine Act. The current MSHA chief is Richard Sickler, a former manager of Beth Energy mines.

It's interesting that the WSWS is viewed as a reliable news source... I guess since it's not part of the "corporate" media, it should be trusted.

Yet another confirmation of ARC's 1st Law - while Rove isn't named, we all know who his puppetmaster is...

Meanwhile, this guy notices the suspicious timing of the mining accident... no doubt, the corporate media is more willing to cover this mining accident than the really important news - Jack Abramoff.
2. With this, we have all the less time to cover Abramoff.

They would prefer there was none, but it would be too conspicuous by its absence. So, we have this, instead.

What a perfect illustration of how the corporate-owned media operates. It's too fascinating to turn off, altogether. :eyes:

This commenter was initially happy that the miners were reported to be safe, but was turned off by all that religious hoopla on TV:
I was happy that the miners were allegedly alive but could not watch

either Anderson Cooper or Rita Cosby (of course) and their "journalistic" teams interviewing everyone in sight, some having no connection to the families. My husband wanted to see some of it, though, so I had little choice for about 30 minutes, until the re-run of Jon Stewart. And the storyline was always the same -- "How do you feel?... did you lose hope?... do you believe in miracles now?" The latter "storyline' turned my stomach in particular -- all about them praying, and then the church bells, and people streaming out with "Praise the Lord" -- all this was very touching and understandable as the families' reaction to the false but happy rumor at the time but as the angle for the breathless reports utterly shameless, exploitative and stupid. And they were hyperventilating like that for hours -- with no confirmed reports. This morning, when I woke up to the grim news, I felt utterly enraged by the coverage. It was bad enough when we thought it was based on accurate information -- now it borders on criminal sensationalism and callousness.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Prejudice Against (Conservative) Blacks

Tip of the hat to Jeff @ Protein Wisdom

Read the whole thing at

Black Republicans should be able to live without fear.

Monday, January 2, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
I am the founder and director of a unique, progressive homeless facility in downtown Los Angeles, known as the Dome Village. Yet the 35 men, women and children and their pets who call the Dome Village home are being "evicted" from privately owned property after 12 1/2 years--apparently on account of my political beliefs and activities. You see, though I am a leading homeless activist, I am also a conservative Republican and a strong supporter of President Bush.

Here's how the situation played out. Recently, I was invited to address a local Republican Women's Club; my landlord read an article in the local paper reporting on the event. Soon after, I received a notice raising the Dome Village rent from $2,500 a month to $18,330. Shocked, I inquired as to the seriousness of the change, and the property owner blurted out that the cause of our "eviction" was "because you are Republican." He said that as a Democrat, he was tired of helping me and the Dome Village. In other words, let the homeless be damned.

And people think the Democrats are the party of compassion and tolerance.
It is time for American blacks to have a conversation about the phenomenon of Democrats persecuting black Republicans. Why is this happening? What is it that the Democrats don't want black folks to understand about Republicans? What is it that the Democrats don't want black folks to know about Democrats? And how is it that we have come to this point--after having endured so much--where we have ourselves curtailed the freedom of political expression through the threat of retaliatory consequences?

What a great point... why endure such a struggle to be able to express oneself politically, only to be told by the black leadership ("hustlers, bigots, and crooks" in the eyes of Oliver Willis) that you must sign up to their policy positions or you're not black? Is that the liberty and freedom that Americans sought in the 1960s?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Someone deserving of the term "Chickenhawk"

It looks like Murtha has once again put his foot in his mouth. His call for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq dealt a political blow to the Dems, who still had a few gallons of gasoline in the tank on attacking Bush on the lack of WMDs and the "ineffectiveness" of US strategy in Iraq. Murtha's call for withdrawal changed the subject and insured that sympathetic independents would switch their support to Bush on the issue. These independents, while not getting an accurate picture of the successes in Iraq, recognize that we have to see the mission through. This opened the door for Bush to proclaim the successes thus far and point to the democratic elections in Iraq as an indication of the importance of our mission.

Well, now Murtha exacerbates the problem with this statement:

Murtha says he wouldn't join military now
Tue Jan 3, 2006 9:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha, a key Democratic voice who favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq, said in remarks airing on Monday that he would not join the U.S. military today.

A decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Murtha told ABC News' "Nightline" program that Iraq "absolutely" was a wrong war for President George W. Bush to have launched.

"Would you join (the military) today?," he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.

"No," replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.

"And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve'," the interviewer continued.

"Exactly right," said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.

At the time, White House spokesman Scott McClellan equated Murtha's position with surrendering to terrorists.

The Democrats aren't exactly seen as being big supporters of the military. And when one of their pols that they routinely use to prove that they have a fighting spirit admits that he's less confident of our military prowess than he was when we were in Vietnam, this does not bode well for the Dems. Perhaps it does in midtown Manhattan, but not on Main Street.

And since Murtha actually supported the resolution which authorized military action in Iraq, I suppose I now can accurately call Murtha a Chickenhawk - willing to send others to fight and die while admitting that he'd be unwilling to do the same.

See GatewayPundit as well --> Gateway Pundit: Rep. Murtha Urges Recruits "Not" to Join Military

Hmmm, for some reason, Steve Gilliard at The News Blog doesn't see things the same way.

*** UPDATE 1 ***
In response to one of the commenters, I will concede that I do agree with Murtha on one point. It IS time to end the occupation and move our forces home (or over the horizon). But, let's make sure we're not withdrawing them or redeploying them from some place that they're absolutetly needed. I posted several weeks ago on an email I received from one of the soldiers deployed in a foreign land. It's time to end the occupation.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Abramoff Pleads Guilty in Florida

Abramoff pleaded guilty to the charges involving the gambling ships in Florida

Things are about to get very interesting, very interesting indeed.

The charges in Florida are not the only charges he faces, but I suspect the charges involving Indian tribes and casinos will go the same way as the Florida mess.

I wonder how many congressmen are having trouble digesting their Wheaties this morning.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn


In keeping with the Democratic Party line, i.e. that whatever President Bush does is wrong, this looks like a good potential headline from the DNC's propaganda arm, the MSM, assuming it is a slow news day. Of course there is always the rain here in California and the grass fires in Texas and Oklahoma to blame on the president. Sure signs of global warming and the need for Kyoto and all that. Then there is the deep freeze in Europe, which of course is Bush's fault. It's his way of getting even for their not supporting the war in Iraq.

Whatever, I'm sure they will find something that is the president's fault or that he did wrong to get the year off to a "good" start.

Goebels would have been so proud of them.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Monday, January 02, 2006

Andrew Sullivan hysteria alert

I think Mark Levin called it correctly in the Corner last night:

I think Andrew Sullivan can now be dismissed as just another shrill voice. Fresh from regurgitating the leftist spin about American forces torturing detainees (and misusing report after report which he clearly had not read), he's now doing the same with NSA intercepts of al-Qaeda communications. Has he read the Constitution? Has he read any of the relevant cases? Has he examined U.S. war-time history and the conduct of past presidents? Does it matter? I guess not.

Posted at 05:36 PM
The title of Andrew's column in the Times, "Nixon's Revenge: the return of the wiretappers," should alert any reader that Andrew is certainly flirting with the leftist fringe. He starts out with the usual leftist talking points. Bush said that all wiretaps require warrants in April of 2004, so he lied, since he knew the NSA was secretly tapping foreign agents calls too without warrants. Bush should have gone to Congress to revise the FISA law. Or use the retroactive ability of the FISA court. What is Andrew's answer for why Bush didn't utilize these supposed solutions?
The answer has to do with the Vietnam syndrome. No, I don’t mean the idea that the Vietnam war traumatised America so deeply that it deterred the use of military force for a generation. I mean the other Vietnam syndrome: the one held by conservative supporters of the Vietnam war, men and women who were outraged by the way in which Congress challenged the president in that previous war and are determined to restore presidential power to its pre-Vietnam condition.
A new "it's Vietnam all over again" argument! Sort of a reverse Vietnam though.

Ignoring the 1978 law, bypassing Congress, and wiretapping American citizens’ phones by presidential prerogative were deliberate policy shifts by Bush. Practically speaking, they may have been unnecessary, even pointless. But in the mind and psyches of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, it was payback time.

Call it Nixon’s revenge. The combination of Watergate and Vietnam created an environment in which executive power was deemed too dangerous to be trusted. President Ford, for whom Rumsfeld also worked, inherited a crippled presidency. Carter brandished his constitutional crutches as a matter of pride. But many conservatives seethed and waited a long time for a chance to reverse what they saw as a dangerous concession to the legislative branch.

So its all a plot by those evil neocon's Rumsfeld and Cheney. They didn't like having Congress (even though Cheney was in Congress) beat up on the powers of the President during the Nixon era.

It’s clear now that 9/11 was seen by Cheney and Rumsfeld not simply as a catastrophe but as an opportunity. Just as Karl Rove shrewdly exploited the war to divide and defeat the Democrats, so Cheney and Rummy saw a chance to reverse decades of post-Vietnam executive branch erosion.

First of all Karl didn't exploit the war to divide the Democrats. They divided themselves from the American public just fine on their own. I don't see a divided Democractic party. I see an anti-war Democratic party (with the exception of Joe Lieberman). Where is the division in the Democratic party on this issue? Who's pro-war other than Joe? There are Democrats who are trying to play both sides, but Kerry showed how that doesn't help get someone elected.

Second this is bordering on LIHOP mode. Did it ever occur to Andrew that perhaps Rummy and Cheney, and you know, Bush (he is the President), could not care less about Presidential powers going forward, but rather need to use his Presidential power under Article II to execute the war on terror? We are at war remember Andrew?
The great paradox of the Bush presidency is why a wartime commander-in-chief decided, in an hour of national emergency, not to ensure maximum consensus behind the war but in fact to push the very limits of ideological and partisan combat. The wiretaps are, to my mind, unobjectionable. In a war where intelligence is vital, where the US has terrible human intelligence but superb technological capacities, it makes a lot of sense to expand phone surveillance.
Huh? He's always tried to ensure maximum consensus. The partisans in the MSM and the Democratic party undermine him at every turn. If they aren't talking about quagmire, they are talking about how he should have caught the 9/11 hijackers the way Clinton caught the Millenium bombers, or they are talking about setting up withdrawal timetables from units in active combat.

Andrew, did it ever occur to you that perhaps the Administration couldn't reveal the plan to the public is that it was a secret and the whole nature of the operation required that our enemies thought they were impervious to wiretapping? That the fact that the program is now public means that our intelligence take from that program has now been seriously damaged? It's good to see that Andrew is on board with strengthening and passing the Patriot Act. Perhaps he can convince Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic party.

But when you could have done all of that in line with precedent and under existing law, why take this moment to push the constitutional envelope? Why undermine public trust and bipartisan consensus when you gain nothing but making an old point in an ancient, bitter argument?

Sorry Andrew, Chimpy McBushHitler is not playing constitutional law seminar with the war on terror. He's also not playing politics with the war, the Democrats are doing plenty of that for both parties.
He's conducting a war for gosh sakes.
The added irony is that Bush’s unilateral expansion of presidential power has backfired. His insistence on the right to torture detainees deeply wounded American moral standing, outraged allies, set back democratisation in Iraq, and yielded useless intelligence.
Yep all that "useless intelligence." I've got news for you Andrew, American moral standing is deeply wounded and our allies are outraged (OUTRAGED!), any time a "cowboy" Republican is in charge. And last I saw, the democratisation of Iraq was proceeding along quite nicely.

On the bright side, of course, Rummy and Cheney get to stick their fingers in a few judges’ and senators’ and liberals’ eyes.

They’ve waited three decades to get their revenge on all those Vietnam peacenik hippies; and they’ll be damned if they give an inch now. Who says old men don’t bear grudges? And who says they don’t eventually get to carry them out?

Yep that's it. Cheney and Rummy were sitting around the ol' conference table and decided that they really wanted to wiretap to piss off judges, senators, and liberals. They didn't, like, actually need it or anything. They are just old men who hold grudges.

Andrew, let me get you to read something from a blogger who wrote some very poignant things right after September 11th. He realized that America must fight a long and strange war. He thought that Rummy and Cheney and Bush were the right men for the job.

I would be a fool to predict what happens next. But it is clear that Bush will not do a Clinton. This will not be a surgical strike. It will not be a gesture. It may not even begin in earnest soon. But it will be deadly serious. It is clear that there is no way that the United States can achieve its goals without the cooperation of many other states - an alliance as deep and as broad as that which won the Gulf War. It is also clear that this cannot be done by airpower alone. As in 1941, the neglect of the military under Bill Clinton and the parsimony of its financing even under Bush must now not merely be ended but reversed. We may see the biggest defense build-up since the early 1980s - and not just in weaponry but in manpower. It is also quite clear that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East must be ramped up exponentially, its intelligence overhauled, its vigilance heightened exponentially. In some ways, Bush has already assembled the ideal team for such a task: Powell for the diplomatic dance, Rumsfeld for the deep reforms he will now have the opportunity to enact, Cheney as his most trusted aide in what has become to all intents and purposes a war cabinet.

He saw how the terrorists might feel that America might not have the stomach for the long haul in the war that was to come. But he felt that the american public would put aside partisan differences to prosecute the war to its necessary conclusion.

The terrorists have done the rest. The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column. But by striking at the heart of New York City, the terrorists ensured that at least one deep segment of the country ill-disposed toward a new president is now the most passionate in his defense. Anyone who has ever tried to get one over on a New Yorker knows what I mean. The demons who started this have no idea about the kind of people they have taken on.

But what the terrorists are also counting on is that Americans will not have the stomach for the long haul. They clearly know that the coming retaliation will not be the end but the beginning. And when the terrorists strike back again, they have let us know that the results could make the assault on the World Trade Center look puny. They are banking that Americans will then cave. They have seen a great country quarrel to the edge of constitutional crisis over a razor-close presidential election. They have seen it respond to real threats in the last few years with squeamish restraint or surgical strikes. They have seen that, as Israel has been pounded by the same murderous thugs, the United States has responded with equanimity. They have seen a great nation at the height of its power obsess for a whole summer over a missing intern and a randy Congressman. They have good reason to believe that this country is soft, that it has no appetite for the war that has now begun. They have gambled that in response to unprecedented terror, the Americans will abandon Israel to the barbarians who would annihilate every Jew on the planet, and trade away their freedom for a respite from terror in their own land.

He understood that America is not an imperial power, that it doesn't prosecute a war to enact a political change in the separation of powers, but rather for higher ideals, namely freedom.

We cannot forsee the future. But we know the past. And that past tells us that these people who destroyed the heart of New York City have made a terrible mistake. This country is at its heart a peaceful one. It has done more to help the world than any other actor in world history. It saved the world from the two greatest evils of the last century in Nazism and Soviet Communism. It responded to its victories in the last war by pouring aid into Europe and Japan. In the Middle East, America alone has ensured that the last hope of the Jewish people is not extinguished and has given more aid to Egypt than to any other country. It risked its own people to save the Middle East from the pseudo-Hitler in Baghdad. America need not have done any of this. Its world hegemony has been less violent and less imperial than any other comparable power in history. In the depths of its soul, it wants its dream to itself, to be left alone, to prosper among others, and to welcome them to the freedom America has helped secure.

But whenever Americans have been challenged, they have risen to the task. In some awful way, these evil thugs may have done us a favor. America may have woken up for ever. The rage that will follow from this grief and shock may be deeper and greater than anyone now can imagine. Think of what the United States ultimately did to the enemy that bombed Pearl Harbor. Now recall that American power in the world is all but unchallenged by any other state. Recall that America has never been wealthier, and is at the end of one of the biggest booms in its history. And now consider the extent of this wound - the greatest civilian casualties since the Civil War, an assault not just on Americans but on the meaning of America itself. When you take a step back, it is hard not to believe that we are now in the quiet moment before the whirlwind. Americans will recover their dead, and they will mourn them, and then they will get down to business. Their sadness will be mingled with an anger that will make the hatred of these evil fanatics seem mild.

I am reminded of a great American poem written by Herman Melville after the death of Abraham Lincoln, the second founder of the country:

"There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand;
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand."

Who was that writer Andrew? I'm sure you might recognize it. It was you writing in the Times of London on September 16th. Are you part of that fifth column now Andrew?

Corner comment on Andrew Sullivan. Heh. Somebody want to throw Andrew a knife to break him out of his liberal bubble?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian