"The sad fact is that there can be no Kinder and Gentler government therefore it must be harsher and more punitive to exist. I am loathe to see the result of this new government."
Actually what you would see is the government as it was before we created a the "Bureaucrats of Life." It used to be that a new administration could and did replace the B'crats with its own people.
Then we created our Civil Service. In doing so, we created a fourth branch of government with all the drawbacks of the supreme court and none of the advantages. The civil service has become pretty much a lifetime job, like the SCOTUS. It is an independent organization like the SCOTUS, but without the appointment/confrimation process.
The idea was to depoliticize the bureaucracy, but that certainly didn't happen.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 8.04.2006 @ 17:25
"The history of Ms. Plameâ€™s employment, during which she was twice outedâ€”once by Ames and a second time by the agencyâ€”means that if she still was at work in 2003 doing undercover work (the only way revealing her identity might create harm) a lot of people at the agency were criminally negligent."
I will go further - no one working at Langley can seriously be called a covert operative. When you drive to Langley five days aweek, pass throught the front gate, and park yourself at a desk in the headquarters of the CIA, how "covert" can you claim to be? Please! Plame was no more covert than any other desk-bound analyst.
Even all the "spies" are not really "covert." Those with official covers work out of American embassies and consulates under diplomatic immunity. Evdry country has "Official Cover" agents and every country knows it and who they are. These are the "diplomats" we see being expelled from various countries for espionage from time to time. The official cover is nice because you have immunity when you get caught, but it also is pretty transparent and therefore limiting.
It is the Non-Offcial Cover agents that people think of when they hear the word spy. They are the covert operatives who are on their own, and if caught, often simply disappear. The first rule for these agents is to NEVER go near an embassy or consulate, or anything else connected with your country, including its diplomats. So the man that "outed" Valerie was Joe Wilson. The day he married her, any possible covert career came to an end. The CIA, in spite of any claims over the "leak," admitted as much - she had not been assigned outside the US since her marriage to Wilson.
Now just why do we think the prosecutor has not furnised any evidence regarding her "classified" status?
The exact nature of the projects she worked on might be classified, but her employment by the CIA was out there for anyone willing to look.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 7.04.2006 @ 23:32
A few random thoughts.
THe drop in deaths is just plain good news with no possible down side - even if it's temporary. The drop in the number of attacks is even better news.
This leads to questions about the sectarian violence, the "civil war," and the claimed revenge killings. More than one of the reports of large numbers of bodies found have turned out to be at best questionable. In all cases, there seems to have been an assumption that they are the result of Sunnis and Shia killing each other, and there have been hints of Interior Ministry/police "death squads." None of the news reports (or blog comments) i've seen on this consider the possibility that the Sunnis and Shia are both being killed by the foreign terror interests for the specific purpose of starting a sectarian war. If the reports of police involvement hava basis, that still does not means that it is the policy, official or unofficial, of any government agency. The police involved could well be working off the clock, or might not be part of the security forces at all, just wearing stolen uniforms (which seem to be common items in seized weapons caches).
This leads back to your comments on problems with the police. There are indeed problems of infiltration, which is why I have my suspicions about the police death squads. It isn't surprising that the local police have such problems. Some of the characteristics that make the local police valuable also make them vulnerable. Thier closness to the population in both origins and operations gives the local police an edge in getting information, developing leads, and knowing their areas. It also makes them most vulnerable to infiltration and corruption (why did Elliot Ness get sent to Chicago?).
The 100K figure for al Sadr's militia - I wonder how realistic that is in terms of the number of dedicated fighters he can actually turn out.
There is an upside to the political wrangeling, and that is that it is happening at all. Granted it can't go on forever without progress being made, but on the bright side, the Iraqis haven't given up on it yet, so maybe we shouldn't be quick to do so.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 6.04.2006 @ 13:59
There is a serious problem with the "nuclear umbrella:" credibility.
If Iran wanted to employ a nuke against us or another state in the region, passing it through terrorist hands would be the likely means, and that brings us to the problem.
A wave of ICBMs from the USSR would have been clear and unarguable. A bomb detonated by a terror group is not. Would we really massively retaliate against Iran under those circumstances? I don't count on it.
I think the Israelis are a more credible deterrent. If they tell you "when the terrorists explode a nuke in Isreal we know where it came from and we are coming after you," they have to be taken seriously.
If you could convince the mullahs that the first mushroom cloud to appear in the US or a friendly country would result in their ashes glowing in the dark for the rest of the century, it would work. The problem is that I doubt they would believe it. And for good reason. The lawyers at DoJ and DoD would want probable cause and a warrent for the strike, and the hand wringing in Congress would paralyze us. The only reason it didn't after 9-11 was the current occupant of the White House, and he won't be there forever.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 5.04.2006 @ 17:15
Regime change really seems to be the only good option, not perfect, but good. Unfortunately, the U.S. seems to put too little effort into it. That is perhaps not surprising though with our State Department - State and the CIA have been two of our biggest foreign policy problems for decades.
Trying to keep the Iranians from getting nukes has the same fatal flaws as every domestic gun control law: the bad guys always figure out how to get them anyway, and the problem isn't the weapon, it's the hand that holds it. Many nations have nukes. The problem with adding Iran to the list is that is is dominated by fanatics led by an apocalyptic lunatic.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 5.04.2006 @ 11:56
I largely agree with all this, but I think you wrote a great deal here to make a very simple and not original point. That we humans are flawed creations has been known for a long time and neither MSM reporters and editors, nor bloggers are an exception.
The difference between the MSM and the blogosphere that matters isn't that the people are better (obviously not), but the openness of blogs. Yes, that allows fools and cranks to have their say, but it also avoids the groupthink that pervades the MSM.
Nothing is free or without drawbacks. The blogosphere enables the whole village to have their say, not just the privileged few. The cost of that, the downside, is that the village idiot also gets a turn.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 3.04.2006 @ 14:27
"What Jill Carroll did is no different than what Jane Fonda did when she sat on the gun barrel in Vietnam."
That is rubbish, and I'm being very kind wiht that term.
Fonda willingly went to NV to propagandize and willingly participated in anti-American acts and statements; in other words, treason in the prevailing circumstances.
Thirty years later, she has yet to have, or even claim to have a genuine chang of heart of mind regarding her actions, and so far as I can tell, has NEVER issued any condemnation of North Vietnameses behavior.
I have had some discomfort with the Carroll situation from the beginning. I did have a suspicion that this was another Sgrena. It now appears that is not the case. My unease lingers, but it is possible the rat I keep thinking I smell is the fact that there was an inside job here, though perhaps not by Carroll.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 2.04.2006 @ 02:51
First: As to Ms. McKinney, she is flat wrong. Period. She needs to spend some jail time as the (violent)criminal she is.
I've sprnt lots of time dealing with check points on both sides of the gate, including doing the checking at federal office buildings, FAA facilities, and a US courthouse. I don't care how much of a hurry you are in, or how important you think your business is, when ordered to stop, you STOP! It is not optional.
"In defense of McKinney, she is one of only 14 black members of the House which should mean that this visual clue of skin color should make remembering her face that much easier."
That sir is racial profiling. Let's apply that to a slightly different scenario: Ms. M approaches without ID/pin and the officer passes her through. This is observed by bystanders/supervisor who question his action. The officer defends it based on recognition of the subject to which the questioned replies "how can you recognize one insignifcant Rep.?" Does the officer then respond "well she's black and there aren't that many . . ." Obviously he would be an idiot to admit it even if true, but that is beside the point.
"Is it asking too much that our guards be able to recognize the 535 faces of lawmakers?"
Yes, in fact it is. In addition to the limit on general ability you cited, the limit in practical terms will be lower. Depending on shift schedules and locations worked, many of the officers may rarely or never see most of the lawmakers, and their faces will quickly drop out of the collection of 300.
The guards don't need a course in memory retention. The arrogent asses in Congress need to show ID like everyone else. If they want to represent the people, then play the game by the same rules as the rest of us (fat chance there).
As to Ms. Carroll, I haven't gotten to follow your links yet, but I too think I note the faint aroma of rodent. I have since the beginning, and more so when she didn't turn up dead after multiple deadlines passed.
Something just doesn't add up here. I get bad vibes from Carroll.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 31.03.2006 @ 23:15
Any attempt to roll back the growth of Federal influence is guaranteed to be a long and difficult process for all the reasons you noted, Rick, and more.
Conservatives often speak out against the Federal government's "mission creep" over the last 30-50 years, some even go back to the New DEal to find the source. But even the New Deal didn't spring full grow from the brow of FDR.
The New Deal, and the political and social philosophies held by FDR and his cabinet and advisors from which the New Deal grew, are firmly rooted in the end of the 19th century, 50 years before FDR took office, in Progressivism.
I once saw a text that described the Progressive movement as a blend of socialiam and populism. That seems a good working description (unfortunately it could also be applied to fascism which parts of the New Deal resembled).
The momentum of this "Progressive" belief that governmant is the universal answer continued from the 1880s, without serious challange, until the rise of Reagan in the 1980s.
The roots of this weed go deep and will not be easy to pull up.
As to a line item veto, I really think most of the constitutional questions raised are a smoke screen for Congress.
A LIV does not undermine Congressional authority. A vetoed item goes back to the legislature for reconsideration just as any vetoed bill. The LIV is used in a number of state governments quite successfully.
As to your assertion that the Founder's would be concerned about undermining the legislative branch, I am not so certain. They did not consider the 3 branches (or departments in their terms) to be equal. There are frequent warnings not about the growth of an imperial president, but an imperial Congress. The Federalist papers discuss at length the tendancy of elected legislatures to accrue power to themselves at the expense of the other branches.
Throughout the Federalist Papers, just about every imaginable aspect of republican governmant was discussed, and I can't recall seeing a Line Item Veto mentioned at all. Publius neither suggests it, nor rejects it. I'm not sure anyone at the time thought of it.
The biggest problem is that shot of a constitutional convention, I', not optimistic about getting a LIV. To pass a law, or amend the constitution would require heavy support in Congress, and the piglets on the Hill will never agree to turn off the money tits.
A LIV certainly would be worth a try, though.Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 13.03.2006 @ 18:40
" . . . Cuban government who almost immediately had their minions in the streets of Havana demonstrating against not little Enrique but the United States government and President Bush who they believe concocted this â€œplotâ€ to discredit the Castro regime."
Of course, Enrique could not possibly have done this by himself. People don't protest on their own, it's all controlled by the governmet to send an approved message . . . Wait, that's Cuba.
Fidel wan't projecting a bit there, was he?Comment Posted By Hawkeye On 11.03.2006 @ 19:38