Saturday, June 30, 2007

Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, "We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth." Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse.
Turns out, he should be giving that speech in front of a mirror!!!

Looks like he's been trying to "use" science for his own political gain (boy, he and John Kerry both had a huge pscychological hard on to be President--and that's exactly the type of person you do NOT want in that office because they feel they were born to it like the Kings of yore).

Health Care for All? A Taxing Burden

by Jon Coupal
Friday 29 June 2007

Guess those under the Capitol Dome love bad statistics, just to scare the rest of us into opening our checkbooks and allowing government to control our money and health care.

In reality, these health care plans are based on two principles:

1. Give illegal aliens totally free health care at the expense of the honest citizens.

2. Give government control over every aspect of health care—just like in Cuba.

Want to send the California economy into a death spiral? Pass this multi-billion tax increase and see how quickly jobs dry up in California.

Soon we will look like Cuba—the protected class and the poor.

Read more

Here's how it really works in Hawaii

Friday, June 29, 2007


Annie Lennox's home destroyed in MySpace party

What REALLY happened at the Myspace party from hell
No one in their right mind would want to turn our attention from issue of our national sovereignty and our rule of law into pathos-driven discussions about issues that are not relevant -- unless they have an agenda.


"Stop the Amnesty bill, stop the SPP, and stop the North American Union. They are one and the same!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How YOU can help stop illegal immigration

How to Reverse Illegal Immigration in America

Posted on Thursday, March 16 @ 17:53:03 CST
by William Gheen
President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC ALIPAC


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rosie is insane


A picture says a thousand posts...Rosie's little suicide-bomber-in-training:

Posted by ro on June 26th at 12:57pm in home


Monday, June 25, 2007

Iran bombers attack Our Boys

“It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran..."


Rosie sez: They're muddas and faddas

Boy: Taliban Recruited Me to Bomb Troops

In the name of peace

With the Bush administration's policies having failed to pacify Iraq, it is natural that the public has lost patience and that the opposition party is hurling brickbats. But the demands of congressional Democrats that we throw in the towel in Iraq, their attempts to constrain the president's freedom to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, the proposal of the Baker-Hamilton commission that we appeal to Iran to help extricate us from Iraq--all of these may be read by the radicals as signs of our imminent collapse. In the name of peace, they are hastening the advent of the next war.
Winds of War

"Peace" movements don't bring peace but war.
Pacifists versus Peace

Friday, June 22, 2007

Letter: Retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent

In April of last year I wrote an open letter to a prominent Senator who is no longer in office.

That letter is more relevant today than it was last year.

Soon the U.S. Senate will vote on a massive amnesty bill while trying to hoodwink the American public into thinking it is a "reform" bill. Illegal aliens come to this country primarily for two reasons:

1. To get employment. (They will work for half or less what a legal alien or a U.S. Citizen will accept).

2. Illegal aliens come to this country to get benefits such as free medical care, public schooling, low-income housing and other benefits of a free society that our ancestors bought and paid for with blood, lives and severe sacrifice.

Yet, those who sneaked across the border in the dead of night have marched on our streets demanding rights and privileges dearly bought by Americans since the Revolutionary War. They have paid nothing except, perhaps, a smuggling fee of $3000 or less.

Our Congress Critters of the liberal persuasion and those in the pockets of the cheap labor pimps want to roll out the benefit carpet to them.

Under this horrendous bill, a "Z" visa recipient will get everything he always dreamed of: A bonifide social security card, a job, (likely at a still much reduced rate), in-state tuition and free education for his anchor babies or foreign born offspring. He will receive all the benefits that a regular "Green Card" holder except he additionally gets a free pass for document fraud, social security fraud, having already been ordered deported, unpaid medical bills, a criminal history check that is so laughable and cursory and hurried as to be non-existent.

There are other crazy provisions as yet undisclosed. Perhaps even the co-authors of this bill, (NCLR, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others) besides Kennedy, Kyl and Bush don't even know the extent of the giveaway of American Birthright contained in this outrageous bill.

In other words, the "Z" visa holder gets everything he always wanted simply by having broken our laws. What many of the public don't realize is that the "Z" visa is just as good as jumping through the hoops and getting a "Green Card". Except that the Green Card holder has to submit to more extensive checks and balances.

The "Z" visa is good for life, renewable every 4 years. We know that the renewal process will consist of the elbow movements of a bureaucrat with a rubber approval stamp.

Additionally, all the requirements attached to upgrading from the initial "Z" visa will be waived. Just as in the '86 Amnesty Act, there is a "hardship" provision which means that fees don't have to be paid and any other requirement will be waived.

Below is the letter I mentioned above. Nothing has been changed except the addressee.

It is now addressed to Sen. Trent Lott. I don't expect him to even read it as he and the others have simply closed their minds while opening their pocketbooks to "special" interests.
Dear Senator Lott:

There is a huge amount of propaganda and myths circulating about illegal aliens, particularly illegal Mexican, Salvadorian, Guatemalan and Honduran aliens.

1. Illegal aliens generally do NOT want U.S. citizenship. Americans are very vain thinking that everybody in the world wants to be a U.S. citizen. Mexicans, and other nationalities want to remain citizens of their home countries while obtaining the benefits offered by the United States such as employment, medical care, in-state tuition, government subsidized housing and free education for their offspring. Their main attraction is employment and their loyalty usually remains at home. They want benefits earned and subsidized by middle class Americans. What illegal aliens want are benefits of American residence without paying the price.

2. There are no jobs that Americans won't do. Illegal aliens are doing jobs that Americans can't take and still support their families. Illegal aliens take low wage jobs, live dozens in a single residence home, share expenses and send money to their home country. There are no jobs that Americans won't do for a decent wage.

3. Every person who illegally entered this nation left a home. They are NOT homeless and they are NOT Americans. Some left jobs in their home countries. They come to send money to their real home as evidenced by the more than 20 billion dollars sent out of the country each year by illegal aliens. These illegal aliens knowingly and willfully entered this nation in violation of the law and therefore assumed the risk of detection and deportation. Those who brought their alien children assumed the responsibility and risk on behalf of their children.

4. Illegal aliens are NOT critical to the economy. Illegal aliens constitute less than 5% of the workforce. However, they reduce wages and benefits for lawful U.S. residents.

5. This is NOT an immigrant nation. There are 280 million native born Americans. While it is true that this nation was settled and founded by immigrants (legal immigrants), it is also true that there is not a nation on this planet that was not settled by immigrants at one time or another.

6. The United States is welcoming to legal immigrants. Illegal aliens are not immigrants by definition. The U.S. accepts more lawful immigrants every year than the rest of the world combined.

7. There is no such thing as the "Hispanic vote". Hispanics are white, brown, black and every shade in between. Hispanics are Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists, Communists, Marxists and Independents. The so-called "Hispanic vote" is a myth. Pandering to illegal aliens to get the Hispanic vote is a dead end.

8. Mexico is NOT a friend of the United States. Since 1848 Mexicans have resented the United States. During World War I Mexico allowed German Spies to operate freely in Mexico to spy on the U.S. During World War II Mexico allowed the Axis powers to spy on the U.S. from Mexico. During the Cold War Mexico allowed spies hostile to the U.S. to operate freely. The attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 was cheered and applauded all across Mexico. Today Mexican school children are taught that the U.S. stole California, Arizona, new Mexico and Texas. If you don't believe it, check out some Mexican textbooks written for their schoolchildren.

9. Although some illegal aliens enter this country for a better life, there are 6 billion people on this planet. At least 1 billion of those live on less than one dollar a day. If wanting a better life is a valid excuse to break the law and sneak into America, then let's allow those one billion to come to America and we'll turn the USA into a Third World nation overnight.

Besides, there are 280 million native born Americans who want a better life.

I'll bet Bill Gates and Donald Trump want a better life. When will the USA lifeboat be full? Since when is wanting a better life a good reason to trash another nation?

10. There is a labor shortage in this country. This is a lie. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American housewives, senior citizens, students, unemployed and underemployed who would gladly take jobs at a decent wage.

11. It is racist to want secure borders. What is racist about wanting secure borders and a secure America?

What is racist about not wanting people to sneak into America and steal benefits we have set aside for legal aliens, senior citizens, children and other legal residents?

What is it about race that entitles people to violate our laws, steal identities, and take the American Dream without paying the price?

For about four decades American politicians have refused to secure our borders and look after the welfare of middle class Americans. These politicians have been of both parties. A huge debt to American society has resulted. This debt will be satisfied and the interest will be high.

There has already been riots in the streets by illegal aliens and their supporters. There will be more. You, as a politician, have a choice to offend the illegal aliens who have stolen into this country and demanded the rights afforded to U.S. citizens or to offend those of us who are stakeholders in this country. The interest will be steep either way.

There will be civil unrest. There will be a reckoning. Do you have the courage to do what is right for America? Or, will you bow to the wants and needs of those who don't even have the right to remain here?

There will be a reckoning. It will come in November of this year, again in 2008 and yet again in 2010.

We will not allow America to be stolen by third world agitators and thieves.

David J. Stoddard

U.S. Border Patrol (RET)

Hereford, Arizona

Washington Week In Review

'Mile-wide UFO' spotted by British airline pilot

One of the largest UFOs ever seen has been observed by the crew and passengers of an airliner over the Channel Islands.

An official air-miss report on the incident several weeks ago appears in Pilot magazine.

Article and photo here

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The "end game."

Many anti-war activists and members of the American Fifth Column insist that the reason radical Islamist terrorists – insurgents or militants as they like to call them – have taken to jihad against the United States and the West is because of the encroachment of our culture into the 7th Century Middle Eastern culture in which they exist. They point to Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa against the US and the West citing the presence of Western military personnel and installations as the catalyst for al Qaeda’s Islamofascist aggression.

While these points may very well be the justification used by the cadre of terrorist organizations originating throughout the Middle East for attacks against the West, it doesn’t explain their propensity for Arab on Arab, Muslim on Muslim violence. It doesn’t explain the original catalyst for the conflict between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims and it certainly doesn’t address the Islamofascists’ goals.

The specifics surrounding the original cause for conflict between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims are disputed by both camps. But both factions concede that it stems from a disagreement over the direct succession to Mohammed, to the Caliph. This subject requires more space than can be afforded here. What can be addressed here is the “end-game.”

That Islamofascist aggression advanced through the use of terrorism is taking place around the world against members of every faith other than Islam is a testimony to the fact that radical fundamentalist Islamists are engaged in an intentional conflict of global conquest. Terrorist attacks in the name of Islam have taken place in Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Spain, Britain, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, South America and the United States – to cite a short list – against, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and even conformist and non-fundamentalist Islamists.

When one examines the facts and logistics of Islamofascist aggression – both in history and modern times – it is hard to argue that the basis for this aggression is Western influence on the Islamic culture. If this were the sole reason for Islamofascist aggression there would be no excuse for attacks in the name of Islam on the Hindus or Buddhists or in any nation that doesn’t embrace Western values such as Thailand, Somalia or most of Indonesia. Yet, the slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam does take place against these people and in these non-Westernized regions.

By acknowledging these facts – and they are indisputable – we can dismiss the argument that the US and the West have brought the wrath of Islamofascism upon ourselves, which is the basis for the argument used by the anti-war movement, the American Fifth Column and disingenuous and opportunistic politicians.

What, then, is the catalyst for Islamofascist aggression and what could be so powerful as to produce legions of suicide bombers and those willing to die, without reservation, for their cause?

While the many elements of this subject are complex, together they indicate an overall agenda that is not.

In almost every declaration and action of the Islamofascist, from Osama bin Laden to Hassan Nasrallah, Ayman al Zawahri to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the goal is the same: the successful establishment of a global Islamic state – or Caliphate – ruled under Sharia Law. This notion is not a supposition on my part. Rather, it is an accurate observation, based on understanding and acknowledging the actions taken and the words used by each of these fascist leaders (note the correct usage of the word fascist).

Read it the whole thing

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A HELL of a trip

These top four headlines in the center of The Drudge Report today just have to make you wonder why you should ever spend your hard-earned money on traveling (not to mention all the OTHER reports about stranded passengers and lost luggage). And hey: What about all the filthy sicko cruise ships out there where people either get sick, fall overboard, or DIE?

Sewage flows down aisles of trans-Atlantic flight

Computer Failure Stalls United Airlines Flights

SFO nightmare -- 400 stuck on plane 7 hours

Passengers Spend 5 Hours On Plane At LaGuardia

My first lesson was in an early episode of Saturday Night Live in the 1970's: Just because someone puts a white paper strip of approval around the toilet seat does not necessarily mean a damn thing folks!

My second lesson came when a boyfriend thought a trip to Tijuana would be a nice Valentine's Day gift -- NOT. He hadn't planned on spending any money on a hotel or motel (not him) but did take a look at one when he felt too tired for the long drive home. The pube on the sheet gave him enough energy for the drive.

Think of just how clean your house actually is after living in it for 20 years. That's how clean all those tiny little hotel rooms are. The cruise ships have to recycle your air and water somehow--yuck.

I'm stayin' home and saving my money for a trip to Wyoming.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


", based on what I know first hand about this war, I respectfully disagree with Joe and the crowd of people who share his view that this war cannot be won. On this one point, because I just happen to be a person who has seen this doctor operate on a part of this patient, and I was able to see first hand that the work he did in 2003/4 is still holding today, I think we don’t call the code unless and until Petraeus says so." -- Michael Yon



Monday, June 18, 2007

Free Scooter Libby

"The rush to prejudge the case and pack Libby off to prison seems near universal."

Christopher Hitchens has done it again! Unless you are such a partisan that you would rather send an innocent man to jail as long as he is a Republican, you need to know the REAL facts about this case.

The case gets weirder by the day

Monsters in our midst

Police rescued 31 children, some of them only a few months old.

The [pedophile] ring was traced to an Internet chat room called "Kids the Light of Our Lives" that featured images of children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse—including streaming live videos.

Police Smash Global Pedophile Ring

I really have to wonder what motivates people to berate Bill O'Reilly who's done so much to protect kids and to get tougher laws passed against child predators:

Bill's thoughts on Jessica's Law

Saturday, June 16, 2007

3 videos you must see!

What Every American Needs To Know About Jihad:

What Really Happened In The Middle East:

The Nazi Roots Of Jihad:

David Horowitz produced these films. They are short, educational, and will get you up-to-speed fast!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Is it still possible to win in Iraq?

What I Saw in Iraq
Iran remains a problem, but Anbar has joined the fight against terror.

Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Read the whole thing

And I conclude from my visit that victory is still possible in Iraq--thanks to the Iraqi majority that desperately wants a better life, and because of the courage, compassion and competence of the extraordinary soldiers and statesmen who are carrying the fight there, starting with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. The question now is, will we politicians in Washington rise to match their leadership, sacrifices and understanding of what is on the line for us in Iraq--or will we betray them, and along with them, America's future security?

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Here are some of the tax cuts set to expire...think of how they affect you personally:

  • All income tax rates will be going up. If you have a job, you’ll be paying more in taxes. The bottom rate will climb from 10% to 15%, and the top rate will shoot all the way back up to 39.6%!

  • Small businesses generally pay taxes using the individual rates. If you own a small business, your taxes will be going up.

  • Investors who own stocks will have to pay much higher capital gains and dividend taxes. If you invest your money in the stock market, your taxes will be going up. The capital gains tax rate will rise from 15% to 20%, and the dividends tax rate will rise from 15% to a whopping 39.6%!

  • If you have children, the child tax credit will be cut in half, from $1000 to $500.

  • If you are married, you can count on a full return of the marriage penalty. The standard deduction will no longer be double for married couples, and all couples of all income levels will face a marriage penalty in the brackets.

  • If you’re stupid enough to die, the death tax comes back at full force—the government can take 55% of what you leave from your small business or family farm.
It’s pretty clear that everyone’s taxes will be going up with the Democrat “stealth” tax increase.

Tell us how yours will!
ATR was contacted this week by the House Republican Leadership. They want to hear from our supporters—you—directly. Specifically, they want to hear your story on how letting the tax cuts expire will hurt you. We will pass along all your stories to the Republican leadership, where they will be put into the Congressional Record.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The end of the world as we know it

A world without oil

Scientists challenge major review of global reserves and warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time

By Daniel Howden
Published: 14 June 2007

Scientists have criticised a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.

BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, published yesterday, appears to show that the world still has enough "proven" reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates. The assessment, based on officially reported figures, has once again pushed back the estimate of when the world will run dry.

However, scientists led by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, say that global production of oil is set to peak in the next four years before entering a steepening decline which will have massive consequences for the world economy and the way that we live our lives.

According to "peak oil" theory our consumption of oil will catch, then outstrip our discovery of new reserves and we will begin to deplete known reserves.

Read the whole thing

The importance of black gold

* A reduction of as little as 10 to 15 per cent could cripple oil-dependent industrial economies. In the 1970s, a reduction of just 5 per cent caused a price increase of more than 400 per cent.

* Most farming equipment is either built in oil-powered plants or uses diesel as fuel. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilisers are made from oil.

* Most plastics, used in everything from computers and mobile phones to pipelines, clothing and carpets, are made from oil-based substances.

* Manufacturing requires huge amounts of fossil fuels. The construction of a single car in the US requires, on average, at least 20 barrels of oil.

* Most renewable energy equipment requires large amounts of oil to produce.

* Metal production - particularly aluminium - cosmetics, hair dye, ink and many common painkillers all rely on oil.

War of the Words

Duping the Public With Clever Words
by Walter E. Williams
Posted 06/12/2007 ET

Dr. Thomas Sowell, a distinguished economist and longtime friend and colleague, recently wrote a series of columns under the title “A War of Words.” He pointed out that liberals succeed in duping the public because they are so clever with words that they give the appearance of compassion. Liberals talk about the need for “affordable” housing and health care. They tarnish their enemies with terms such as “price-gouging” and “corporate greed.” Uninformed and unthinking Americans fall easy prey to this demagoguery.

Politicians exploit public demands that government ought to do something about this or that problem by taking measures giving them greater control over our lives. For the most part, whatever politicians do, whether it’s rent controls to produce “affordable” housing or price controls to eliminate “price-gouging,” the result is a calamity worse than the original problem. For example, two of the most costly housing markets are the rent-controlled cities of San Francisco and New York. If you’re over 40, you’ll remember the chaos produced by the gasoline price controls of the 1970s. Socialist agendas have considerable appeal, but they produce disaster, and the more Socialist they are, the greater the disaster.

Liberals often denounce free markets as immoral. The reality is exactly the opposite. Free markets, characterized by peaceable, voluntary exchange, with respect for property rights and the rule of law, are more moral than any other system of resource allocation. Let’s examine just one reason for the superior morality of free markets.

Say that I mow your lawn and you pay me $30, which we might think of as certificates of performance. Having mowed your lawn, I visit my grocer and demand that my fellow men serve me by giving me three pounds of steak and a six-pack of beer. In effect, the grocer asks, “Williams, you’re demanding that your fellow man, as ranchers and brewers, serve you. What did you do to serve your fellow man?” I say, “I mowed his lawn.” The grocer says, “Prove it!” That’s when I hand over my certificates of performance -- the $30.

Morality of Allocation

Look at the morality of a resource allocation method that requires that I serve my fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces and contrast it with government resource allocation. The government can say, “Williams, you don’t have to serve your fellow man. Through our tax code, we’ll take what he produces and give it to you.” Of course, if I were to privately take what my fellow man produced, we’d call it theft. The only difference is when the government does it, that theft is legal but nonetheless theft -- the taking of one person’s rightful property to give to another.

Liberals love to talk about this or that human right, such as a right to health care, food or housing. That’s a perverse usage of the term “right.” A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different. It does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American. I’d like to hear the moral argument for taking what belongs to one person to give to another person.

There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

Dr. Williams is a nationally syndicated columnist, former chairman of the economics department at George Mason University, and author of More Liberty Means Less Government

Monday, June 11, 2007

What really happened to the WMD

Monday, June 11, 2007 5:29 PM
This is one of the more shocking stories I have read so far about the WMD's that we know existed in Iraq before the war started. While it answers many question it leaves many unanswered. Like who knew what and when did they know. --Emery J Woodall III

U.S. agent says Iraqis led him to Saddam's WMD

By William Hargrave

This claim comes from Dave Gaubatz, who served for 12 years as an agent in the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. He says he was "hand-picked" to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Between March and July 2003, he identified several of Saddam Hussein’s WMD sites in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion.

Where were they? Huge caches were located within the city limits of the southern Iraqi city of Nasariyah, and were also discovered in another location 15 to 20 miles south of Nasariyah between two canals and near Um Qasr in the Basra region 284 miles south of Baghdad.

Some of this information has been published by The Spectator (London), The New York Sun, and other U.S. newspapers and Internet news sites. But the mainstream media have chosen not to inform readers and viewers of the credible reports of WMDs discovered in Iraq.

According to these reports, Saddam’s WMDs were apparently smuggled to Syria, Iran and other destinations under the nose of American forces. The political fallout that would occur from investigation and affirmation of this extremely serious American operational failure with its profound military and geo-strategic implications has apparently helped to keep a lid on this information—until now.

Gaubatz appealed to Congress to investigate his claims. But neither political party wishes to touch the issue for different reasons. The Democrats do not want the public to know that President Bush’s stated reason for invading Iraq might be justified. The Republicans do not want Americans to know that the administration's military command failed to stop what may have been the biggest WMD transfer of all time.

The issue is, as The Spectator put it, “an axis of embarrassment.”

At the start of the 2003 invasion, Gaubatz was sent to Nasariyah to locate possible WMD sites and ascertain threats to U.S. interests in the area. Fluent in Arabic, Gaubatz was able to meet numerous locals who told him he had struck gold: the WMDs were actually close by in farms and marshes. Some were buried in concrete bunkers 20-30 feet beneath the Euphrates River. These were vaults with 5-foot-thick concrete walls beneath the river bed.

“These were under 25 feet of water,” Gaubatz said in an interview with Insight. “Saddam didn’t care about poisoning the water of southern Iraq."

“They took us to the sites, we took photos and grid coordinates,” he said. “The missile imprints were still in the sand. Based on the detail they provided and what was confirmed by others, I felt 100 percent confident WMDs were at the locations identified. The Iraqis told us we must either excavate the sites and remove the WMDs or our enemies would.”

Along with Gaubatz, a group of U.S. Office of Special Investigations (OSI) agents visited the sites and got what his doctor later told him was radiation sickness from all the contaminants in the air and the water.

The U.S., however, did not investigate these locations. Other nations did.

The failure to find significant stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons has proved a massive public relations problem for the Americans and the British, whose intelligence indicating that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did possess WMD stockpiles was one of their primary justifications for the invasion of Iraq.

How credible is the source?

“Mr. Gaubatz is not some marginal figure,” said Melanie Phillips, a columnist for London’s Daily Mail newspaper, in a recent piece on Saddam’s secret WMD bunkers for The Spectator, a weekly British conservative magazine. “He’s pretty well as near to the horse’s mouth as you can get.”

Gaubatz is a sandy-haired man who’s been stationed as a federal agent at nuclear sites stateside and then as a U.S. Air Force special agent overseas. He is widely regarded as one of America’s most capable and experienced intelligence officials. According to Phillips, Gaubatz was decorated in 2001 for being the “lead agent in a classified investigation, arguably the most sensitive counter-intelligence investigation currently in the entire Department of Defense.” Because his “reports were such high quality, many were published in the Air Force’s daily threat product for senior USAF leaders or re-transmitted at the national level to all security agencies in the U.S. government.”

After 20 years on active duty service in counterintelligence work (12 of them as an OSI agent), he retired, and then obtained a position as a civilian Federal Agent with the Air Force (OSI). He was specifically chosen to go to Nasariyah in Iraq to locate Saddam’s WMD sites and discover threats to U.S. forces in the area. He saw mass Shi’ite graves of women holding their babies in their arms. He met Muslims who told him they were being recruited for terrorist cells. Every time he stumbled on a factoid, he sent a memo to the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), a group of more than 1,000 Americans, Brits and Australians whose job it was back in 2003 to locate the WMDs.

Between March and July 2003, Gaubatz says he was taken by local Iraqis to four suspected WMD sites — two within Nasariyah, one just south of the city, and another one near Basra. He says Iraqi sources told him the sites contained biological and chemical weapons, missiles and material for a nuclear program. Gaubatz said he was sure he found the WMD sites because the Iraqi government had obviously gone to considerable lengths to conceal the bunkers. Three of the bunkers were buried 20 to 30 feet under the Euphrates River.

Gaubatz was told by American environmental engineers that the parts of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers near the sites showed abnormally high radiation levels. Gaubatz and his team had also been exposed to radioactive substances and he still suffers unexplained headaches and nausea.

Gaubatz asked his superiors for heavy equipment to be brought in from Kuwait so the bunkers could be excavated. The response was that there weren’t enough soldiers available to secure them.

“People were putting their lives on the line showing us those sites,” he said, adding that some of his informants have since been kidnapped, tortured, and then killed. “But they [the superiors] told me they didn’t have the manpower or equipment to do so, plus it wasn’t safe. Well, war is never safe.”

Moreover, the conventional understanding was that the WMDs were further to the north. Gaubatz had already sent some 60 classified intelligence reports to Prince Sultan Air Base, an American base in Saudi Arabia. When he returned to the United States, he contacted two Republican congressmen: Reps. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. Interested, they tried to follow up on his information by accessing the 60 intelligence reports. But not only had all the reports Gaubatz had sent to Saudi Arabia mysteriously disappeared, their intended audience, the ISG, never saw them. The congressmen tried extracting information from the Defense Department and the CIA as to how this was allowed to happen, but were stonewalled.

Gaubatz has since learned the sites have been looted and an unknown amount of the weapons carried off. Now, he says, the U.S. has an even more difficult task: Figuring out exactly where the WMDs are and proving they were transported there from Iraq. He says the WMDs were there for the finding not so long ago, but the U.S military totally underestimated what it would take to locate them.

“There weren’t enough soldiers to secure the borders, much less exploit the sites,” he said.

“The Americans were not prepared. They were overwhelmed. It was a Katrina of war,” Gaubatz said, referring to the massive August 2005 hurricane that wiped out much of New Orleans.

"We witnessed thousands of Iranians pouring into southern Iraq," he said. "We were told by Iraqis the Iranians' intent was to initiate a civil war."

Gaubatz says his team "immediately" reported this important intelligence to the Pentagon and the CIA, but "it was never followed up on."

"The Iranians were taking over Shi'ite-dominated southern Iraq," he said.

Internet news sites cited reports in 2003 that U.S. intelligence believed Saddam’s WMDs were moved west to Lebanon’s heavily fortified Bekaa Valley, a beehive of Hezbollah forces, Iranians and Syrians. Also, prominent Washington journalist Bill Gertz has reported on the stream of tractor-trailer trucks the CIA spotted moving from Iraq to Lebanon via Syria in early 2003. Russian military advisors and special forces helped move the poison gas components, missile parts, nuclear-related equipment, tank and aircraft parts. Some of the WMDs could have also been trucked eastward into Iran. Why were the Russians so anxious to get the incriminating materials out before the Americans arrived? Perhaps because much of it was manufactured by them or Eastern European nations such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and Belarus.

Oddly, the United States has not publicized this huge arms transfer. Gertz reported that John Shaw, a deputy undersecretary of state who in October 2004 leaked information to the media of Russia’s involvement in the truck convoys, was forced to resign on Dec. 10 of that year. The reason: “exceeding his authority” in releasing the information, according to the Pentagon.

Gaubatz says that, while in Iraq, he was continuously mistaken by locals for being a Russian. This was because prior to the U.S. invasion, the locals said they saw numerous Russians coming in and out of the area.

The likelihood that WMDs were successfully spirited out of Iraq was also addressed in a 2006 book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” by former Iraqi fighter pilot and Gen. Georges Sada. He says not only were many of the WMDs driven out in large 18-wheeler trucks to Syria, but some WMDs were also flown out.

“I know the names of some of those who were involved in smuggling WMDs out of Iraq in 2002 and 2003,” Sada wrote. “I know the names of officers from the front company, SES, who received the weapons from Saddam. I know how and when they were transported and shipped out of Iraq. And I know how many aircraft were actually used and what types of planes they were.”

Gaubatz has learned through his Iraqi sources that some time after his 2003 visit, someone brought in heavy equipment and got the weapons out of the Euphrates bunkers and other nearby sites. With notebooks showing the site coordinates in hand, he meticulously makes his case.

“Take me back to those sites and let’s see what’s there now,” he says. “It won’t be a popular thing to say the enemy has taken these WMDs. You’d at least find the footprints: labs and storage.”

"I have been informed by Israeli intelligence and learned through British intelligence that the intelligence on WMDs our team provided in 2003 was accurate," he said.

Gaubatz almost got a chance to go back a year ago when then-Congressman Curt Weldon expressed interest in visiting the sites. About nine Iraqis who had helped Gaubatz locate the sites had been given asylum in the U.S. after word leaked out that they were helping the Americans. According to e-mails showing correspondence between him and Weldon’s chief of staff, Russ Caso, Weldon met with some of these Iraqis. His office then thought up a plan: Weldon and Hoekstra, who was then the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, would travel to Iraq on a junket, but detour to a WMD site. If they could get the military to produce some heavy equipment and security, Weldon would be present during the excavations. If nothing was found, the trip would remain secret. If WMDs were found, the congressmen would alert the media that they had happened upon the strategic sites.

Then Gaubatz got word that Weldon did not want to alert rival Democrats, the Pentagon or even intelligence officials about the trip. He backed out.

“It was going to be this big private trip,” Gaubatz said, “but they were offering no protection for the Iraqi witnesses.”

Weldon, who lost his election race in 2006, now heads up a company called Defense Solutions. He did not respond to e-mails and phone calls from Insight. Neither did former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who had previously spoken out about the presence of WMDs in Iraq. A spokesman for Hoekstra referred all calls to the House Intelligence Committee, whose spokesman, Jamal Ware, also declined to respond to questions.

Gaubatz is disturbed by what he sees as a government effort to bury the story. He reports being interviewed in March by talk show host Glenn Beck for a one-hour segment to appear on CNN's Headline News. Gaubatz was with an Iraqi contact for the show. The Iraqi, who was part of the federal witness protection program, got calls from the FBI telling him they should stop the interview from being broadcast. The interview was not shown. Gaubatz says the FBI used security concerns as a justification for leaning on Beck's people, but the Iraqi had spoken out on these issues before and there had been no problems.

The real problem was, Gaubatz says, that "with me and the Iraqi source going public about this, it would open a can of worms on the WMD issue. Weldon and Russ Caso [Weldon's chief of staff] keep on telling me not to anger the wrong people."

Gaubatz rues the fact that many people in Iraq — Americans and Iraqis alike — have risked their lives to reveal priceless intelligence information to U.S. policymakers. But in the sieve that is America’s intelligence apparatus, the most important information gets filtered out so that the president and members of Congress have critical gaps in understanding events on the ground. Weldon and Hoekstra, Gaubatz said, had no idea that WMDs were sitting in Iraq waiting to be found until he took the initiative to approach them.

“I was hand-picked to go to Iraq and locate WMD sites,” Gaubatz says. “The sites at a minimum should have been searched when I and my team identified them. I put my life on the line everyday to go out into Iraq. Many troops did lose their lives. If one of the primary reasons we went to war was because of Saddam having WMDs, we should have done our jobs and excavated the sites before our enemy did.”

One congressman who supports Gaubatz on the record is Rep. Virgil Goode, a Republican whose U.S. House seat represents a district in southern Virginia where Gaubatz grew up. In an interview, Goode says he remembered mentioning WMDs to the House Intelligence Committee, but his inquiries—like so many—went nowhere.

“I believe he saw something,” Goode said of Gaubatz. “I think a whole lot of members of Congress have bought the national news media line that there were no WMDs there.”

Four years into the war, Gaubatz says, “The Republicans want to forget this. They don’t want to know if there were WMDs because if there were, they blew it and the WMDs are not accounted for.”

“And the Democrats have Bush in a hot box. Why would they want to change that?”

- Katharine Harris contributed to this report.


-- "I found Saddam’s WMD bunkers," The Spectator, April 20, 2007

-- "I found Saddam's WMD bunkers," full article,

-- "Ex-Officer Spurned on WMD Claim," New York Sun, Feb. 8, 2006

-- United Nations Security Council Report, May 28, 2004

-- "UN inspectors: Saddam shipped out WMD before war and after,", June 11, 2004

-- "Report: U.S suspects Iraqi WMD in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley,", Aug. 26, 2003

-- "Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms," The Washington Times, Oct. 28, 2004

-- "Photos point to removal of weapons," The Washington Times, Oct. 29, 2004
-- "2 Russian generals given awards in Iraq on war eve," The Washington Times, Oct. 30, 2004

-- "Pentagon ousts official who tied Russia, Iraq arms," The Washington Times, Dec. 30, 2004

SOURCE: - June 4-11, 2007, Posted On: 6/4/2007

Independent Democratic Senator would attack Iran

Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday advocated the use of military action against Iran to halt what he said was that nation's training and support of terrorists against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Read more

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fred Thompson: Lights, Camera, Ass-Kicking Time

By Jabulani Leffall
Jun 8, 2007

There are any number of reasons why people love Fred Thompson and why he should win the 2008 Election should he run for President of the United States. But for right now, let’s start with why he is especially unique.

Fred Dalton Thompson is perhaps the best example of what it takes to belong to an exclusive fraternity of people who have been through the revolving door leading from politics to Hollywood and back. But unlike the late-great Jack Valenti, he wasn’t just a lobbyist in a nice suit and unlike Ben Stein, he’s not merely a speechwriter who went on to say “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller,” hock eyedrops and challenge you to win his money on television.

And although Thompson is being compared to the so-called “Great Communicator” Ronald Reagan, you don’t have to dig through old black and white movies or Cold War era revisionist history texts to find him. You can catch him on cable and network TV re-runs probably right up through the election. Lastly, unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, well let’s just say he’s unlike Arnold.

Fred Thomspson has a serious chance to win the hearts of the American people because for more than 30 years, he has lived out his act. He’s actually made a great living playing himself. He’s been a prosecutor in real life and a prosecutor on television’s Law & Order. He’s been a senator on the silver screen -- Born Yesterday – and an actual U.S. Senator from Tennessee. He’s also been a rear admiral, a director of the CIA, a high ranking FBI agent and a White House Chief of Staff but to his credit, anyone can do those jobs.

And to think, he could have just been another cranky attorney telling you to get off his lawn but now he may well be the most complete candidate out there even though he hasn’t “announced” that he’s running. But, really, he left Law & Order on May 30 and has been on the talk show circuit ever since so unless he’s prepping for a roll as a retired actor and senator who almost ran for president, he’s given the public every indication that he’ll hit the campaign trail this summer and autumn.

It all began in 1977 when the story of a Tennessee Parole Board scandal, which Thompson helped expose, later became the subject of a 1983 book, Marie, written by Peter Maas. Roger Donaldson, a director, copped the film rights to the book and in the course of doing research in Nashville, interviewed Thompson among others and was apparently so impressed he asked him to play himself. Since then all he had to do was show up and talk in that heavy southern drawl, a baritone molasses that brings to mind your grandpappy and just screams authority figure. He’s the real deal and also knows how to handle himself on and off camera. Let’s see how he stacks up against front runners from both parties:

Thompson and the Donkeys

Fred Thompson vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Thompson has also been a U.S. Senator so Hillary can’t pull the lack of experience card out on him. Given his voting record and the fact that he always stays in character, he edges Hillary out in the sense that he is not a carpetbagger or panderer who bristles up when challenged and backs his way out of previously established positions like Hillary did with the Iraq War. Scandals? Please, Thompson was as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of a little thing called Watergate. But Hillary will dig and she will go there after digging. But in the end the public will find that Thompson’s association with the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, which in part caused the Savings & Loan crisis in the late 80s is a far cry from what Whitewater eventually unearthed. Hello!

Fred Thompson vs. Barack Obama

A lot of people talk about how articulate and good looking Obama is. They talk about his youthful vigor, his audacity of hope, the courage that will keep him from lighting up a square (cigarette for those not familiar with ghetto talk) when his wife is not looking. He’s lauded as a Kennedy-esque vision in black. The truth of the matter is, that neither the staunch conservatives, nor the former Dixiecrats, nor the patronizing-ass northern white liberals who bought his dinner plates to hear him speak are going to vote for him. Let’s face it, he’s black. Mainstream America says it’s ready and people chant, chant, chant until they close the curtain and go down the list and pick somebody white. Let’s face it, Obama probably won’t be a hit south of Chicago, west of New York and east of California and that’s the area where people actually still vote. He might’ve had a chance with the condescending-ass Hollywood limousine liberals but chances are that guys like Kevin Costner, Alec Baldwin and Bruce Willis are going to say: “I worked with Fred, I like him, he can’t be all that bad considering the other choices. Let’s see Fred Thompson or black dude. Think I’ll go with Freddie boy!”

Fred Thompson vs. John Edwards

This probably presents the biggest challenge for Thompson as he will be going head-to-head with someone who is neither a woman nor a person of color. Edwards is a good ‘ol boy south of the Mason-Dixon line just like Thompson is. You also can’t count out the fact that Thompson’s wife, while not a stripper as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough intimated, is still hot enough to host E! News Daily and despite her credentials in the Republican party, is too cute to be taken seriously and can’t stand up against a woman who has fought cancer. Hate to put it in such shallow terms but you can’t beat a cancer survivor with a doped-horse, a full-house, three of a kind, first and goal or anything else -- it’s impossible. The only way Thompson pulls this out is to have his people focus on Edwards’ status as a loser. Not only did he lose in the primary to John Kerry, he lost as a vice presidential candidate in the general election and went on to lose cool points getting expensive haircuts and championing efficient energy while living in a energy vaccum of a mansion like the homie Al Gore. In the debates, Thompson can just bring it back to his status everytime Edwards makes an eloquent point. He can even get folksy with it: “C’mon ya’ll are you going to believe Fred ‘Big Daddy from down home’ Thompson or this loser.”

Thompson and the Elephants in the Room

Thompson vs. John McCain

For a longtime the former P.O.W. thing was really working for McCain. Who doesn’t support the troops? They dodge bullets and landmines while we sit on our asses, eat crispy chicken sandwiches and write about people we don’t know behind the sublime but anonymous glow of a computer screen in the middle of the night. Then he decided that supporting the troops also meant supporting the “troop surge” and it’s hard to say that you take no prisoners in the “war on terror” when someone actually took you as a prisoner in the war on “Reds.” Not a good look dawg. And consensus builder, consensus schmilder. The GOP is looking for a bullheaded polarizer with all the ol’ boy “heh, heh, heh” of Bush but just without the George W. part. A true conservative, Thompson fits that mold. McCain, meanwhile, as The State newspaper in South Carolina suggests, suffers from “guilt by association” with Ted Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein on immigration.” Being a white man sandwiched between the “Greatest Generation,” and “Baby Boomers,” Fred Thompson would likely be tough on all brown and black people as well as big on small government and bullish on tax cuts. Sounds like a winner to me. Sorry John, maybe vice president? Probably not.

Thompson vs. Rudolph Giuliani

This is a no-brainer. You can’t invoke 9-11 forever. It’s like Chris Rock once opined, why is this guy a superhero for doing his job, going on television calming people down, assessing the damage and getting out there so that his city could see he gave a flip. And even if you concede that what he did is commendable, it was seven years ago. Here’s another reason: the rule of the WASP illuminati shadow government establishment is one Catholic per bicentennial. We already had JFK. Plus, after he put away all of his brethren from the “old country,” support from the Gotti boys might be out. Besides, this cat can’t leave the Tri-State area and pick up votes. No one cares about him once you get out of the Holland Tunnel. But here’s the key: Old people vote but when they’re not voting, they’re watching procedural dramas. Fred Thompson in a landslide. Because, the old lady from Brooklyn who always pokes her head out the window while you’re trying to serve your crack to dope fiends in peace; the old lady that you wish would pass on or get put in a nursing home so you can take over her rent controlled flat; the old lady who would’ve voted for a fellow Brooklynite – Giuliani - when she went to the library in Crown Heights, is only going to remember the nice man from Law & Order. Because she can’t remember, Giuliani, Thompson, why her son isn’t calling and her drug prescription information.

Thompson vs. Mitt Romney

Okay, so what do we got here? There’s an Actor-Senator, a woman, a black man, a Catholic adulterer, a rich white pretty boy tort lawyer, a Vietnam-War-Hero-turned-Iraq-War-Zero and a Mormon. Chances are that there are many people who might put a woman and possibly but not probably an (clearing throat) African-American before a Mormon at the polls. But if you go in order from last to first on the list at the beginning of this paragraph, the choice is pretty clear for any mainstream American being honest with themselves who wants a candidate who they think or know can win.

Time will tell whether Academy Award Winner Al Gore jumps in to mix it up or if some red herring, planned terrorist threat or Osama Bin Laden mixtape hitting the streets will shake things up. However, given American culture’s obsession with actors and the propensity for those actors to make the smooth transition in politics, Mr. Thompson might have his hand on a Bible on the steps of some white building come January 2009 and it won’t be because he was so remarkable. It will be because Americans for all their hypocrisy political correctness and fickle consumer nature are the truest when they get in that booth and no one can hold them accountable for their natural fears and prejudices as well as affinities and preferences. Did you hear that? I think that was the Law & Order bell. And……scene… cut…print.

Why Are They Famous is a biweekly analysis of celebrities and other figures in the public eye.

Copyright © 1998-2006
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Senate Amnesty Could Strain Welfare System

Newest Data Shows Latin American Immigrants Make Heavy Use of Welfare

Contact: Steven Camarota

WASHINGTON (June 6, 2007) — As they debate legalization for illegal immigrants, Senators would do well to keep in mind the most recent data on welfare use by the people in question. According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 60% of illegal aliens are from Mexico and 80% of the total are from Latin America as a whole. A Center for Immigration Studies analysis of 2006 Census Bureau data, which includes legal and illegal immigrants, shows use of welfare by households headed by Mexican and Latin American immigrants is more than double that of native households. Among the findings:
  • 51% of all Mexican immigrant households use at least one major welfare program and 28% use more than one program.
    – 40% use food assistance, 35% use Medicaid, 6% use cash assistance.

  • 45% of all Latin American immigrant households use at least one welfare program and 24% use more than one program.
    – 32% use food assistance, 31% use Medicaid, 6% use cash assistance.

  • 20% of native households use at least one welfare program and 11% multiple programs.
    – 11% use food assistance, 15% use Medicaid, 5% use cash assistance.

  • Among Mexican and Latin American households, welfare use is somewhat higher for households headed by legal, as opposed to illegal, immigrants. Thus legalization will likely increase welfare costs still further.

  • 90% of Mexican and Latin American households have at least one worker. Their heavy welfare use reflects their low education levels and resulting low incomes – and not an unwillingness work.
    – 61% of all Mexican immigrants have not graduated high school.
    – 48% of all Latin American immigrants have not graduated high school.

  • There is a common but mistaken belief that welfare programs are only for those who don’t work. Actually, the welfare system is designed to provide low-wage workers, or more often their children, things like food assistance and health care.

  • It is the presence of their U.S.-born children coupled with their low education levels that explains why so many immigrant households use the welfare system.

  • Most recently arrived immigrants are barred from using welfare programs and this would likely apply to those legalized by the Senate bill – however this is not true in every state, nor does not apply to all programs. Most important, the bar does not apply to the U.S.-born children of immigrants, who are immediately eligible.

  • There are an estimated 1.4 million households headed by illegal aliens using at least one major welfare program. If even half these families returned to their home countries, the savings for taxpayers could be substantial.

  • If we do not wish to make a large share of illegals return to their home countries, then the United States has to accept the welfare costs. There is no other option.

  • Programs examined in the analysis are food stamps, WIC, school lunch, Medicaid, TANF, SSI, and public/rent-subsidized housing.

If Illegals Stay, So Will Welfare Costs:
The heavy use of welfare by immigrants from those parts of the world that send the most illegals is relevant to the question of whether to allow illegal immigrants to stay or, alternatively, to enforce the law and cause them to return home. The figures reported above are drawn directly from the best government data available, and show that allowing illegals to stay creates significant welfare costs. Many of the welfare costs described above are due to the presence of U.S.-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, the prohibition on new immigrants using some welfare programs makes little difference because their U.S.-citizen children will continue to be eligible. We estimate that nearly 400,000 children are born to illegal aliens each year.

Welfare Use by Working Immigrant Families: Most immigrants from Mexico and Latin America hold jobs. Their heavy use of the welfare system is due to the fact that a very large share have little education and as a result are able to earn only low incomes in the modern American economy, even though they work. The welfare system is geared toward helping low-income workers, especially those with children. Their education levels and the presence of U.S.-born children means welfare use will be extensive.

Tax Payments: Of course, immigrants, including illegal aliens, also pay taxes. However, because of the education level and resulting incomes levels of Mexican and Latin American immigrants, their tax payments are much less than natives on average. The same is true for illegal aliens. In a 2004 study, the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that illegal alien households used about $2,700 more services than they paid in taxes at the federal level only. We also found that households headed by a legal Mexican immigrant created a net fiscal drain at the federal level of roughly $15,000, and for those with only a high school degree the drain was a little over $3,700. However, those with more education were a fiscal benefit. A new Heritage Foundation study estimated the net fiscal drain at all levels of government created by households headed by high school dropout immigrants at about $20,000 a year. A 1997 National Research Council study found the same pattern – less-educated immigrants create a net fiscal drain and educated immigrants create a net fiscal benefit.

Data Source: The data for this analysis come from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau in March of 2006. It includes legal immigrants and most illegal immigrants. Like the Department of Homeland Security, we distinguish legal from illegal immigrants based on the socio-demographic characteristics of those who responded to the survey. By design our estimates of illegal immigration closely match those of DHS.

Results are also broken out for the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.

Scroll down for Table: "Use of Welfare Programs Based on Nativity of Household Head"

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The "Googling monkeys" bust McCain!

Amnesty” now is a political dirty word – the favorite slur of the bill’s opponents. But it was not always thus. The Googling monkeys discovered that McCain himself embraced the term during a news conference a few years ago in his office in Tucson, Ariz.
“McCain Pushes Amnesty, Guest-Worker Program,” reported the Tucson Citizen of May 29, 2003. The senator is quoted as saying: “Amnesty has to be an important part because there are people who have lived in this country for 20, 30 or 40 years, who have raised children here and pay taxes here and are not citizens. That has to be a component of it.” The newspaper also quoted McCain as saying: “I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people who are eligible and at the same time make sure that we have some control over people who come in and out of this country.”
So now you know what he REALLY thinks and what he's REALLY trying to pull on all of us while he continues to delude himself into thinking we might want him for President.


Think there's a government secret about 9/11 ???


Here it is

Excerpt: "DAVID'S HAMMER: The Case for an Activist Judiciary"

An excerpt from the new book


The Case for an Activist Judiciary

by Clint Bolick

Published by the Cato Institute

and reprinted here with permission

ISBN: 1933995025

List Price: $11.95

LFB Price Only $9.50

You Save 21%!

David's Hammer is the winner of the June 2007 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing
the Literature of Liberty. For more information about the Lysander
Spooner Awards, CLICK HERE.

To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.

The excerpt, below, is the first chapter of the book, David's Hammer. Enjoy!



The Case for an Activist Judiciary

by Clint Bolick



The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.

—Justice William O. Douglas

From the beginning of my legal education, law for me has been intertwined with wine. Fittingly, my first U.S. Supreme Court argument was about the beverage that is the sublime joint product of nature and human ingenuity.

The case of Juanita Swedenburg, a proud woman, a farmer and entrepreneur who asks nothing of her government but to be left alone to mind her own business, is emblematic of the debate over the role of the judiciary in a free society. For when all else failed in Mrs. Swedenburg's quest to pursue her livelihood free from arbitrary government interference, she did what many Americans do when their basic rights are violated: she turned to the courts for justice. Whether the courts should help ordinary Americans like Juanita Swedenburg or should leave them to the mercy of democratic politics, even when politics are dominated by powerful special interests, is at the heart of the debate over what is pejoratively called "judicial activism."

For better or worse, the task of resolving such important matters is largely in the hands of lawyers. Law, as William Shakespeare understood, is not always the noblest of professions. Many lawyers make their living off the misfortunes and disputes of others. It is, for most, a mercenary profession: lawyers take their clients as they find them; they are obliged to zealously represent them; and winning, rather than justice, is the goal of most litigation. Lawyers draft the laws that make society so complex that lawyers are needed even for the simplest transactions; then lawyers make the simplest transactions so complex that lawyers are needed to decipher and, in the end, litigate them. The American legal system, designed of course by lawyers, is rigged so that even the most frivolous claims entail little risk for the lawyers pursuing them; indeed, the cost of defending against litigation is so great that "voluntary" settlements, which invariably entail a payoff to the lawyer prosecuting the action, are routine. Those costs are then passed along to all of us in the form of higher prices and fewer choices. Law is often such a racket that sharks are said to never attack a lawyer because of professional courtesy.

Most Americans seem to share my disdain for the legal profession as a whole. Among American professions requiring a doctorate, lawyers alone are deemed not entitled to use the "doctor" honorific, substituting instead the quaint term "esquire" following the name. By contrast, when I visit Germany, I am greeted as "Herr Doktor Professor" Bolick—a double honorific!—suggesting that at least in some countries, lawyers are deemed worthy of special respect. I'm not sure that idea would go over very well in our country.

And yet, as cynical as the legal system and profession can be, American law also has a romantic aspect. For all its flaws, law in a free society is the most powerful tool to correct injustice. In no other system in the world can the law so readily bring the mighty to account. In our nation, the courtroom is the great equalizer. A creative lawyer can change the world in one fell swoop. That was what the Framers of our constitutional experiment intended, for they understood that courts were necessary to provide the ultimate check against tyrannical government. Whatever maladies courts might visit upon American society, they continue to play that liberty-enhancing role today. Our judiciary is at once both a legacy of and prerequisite for our enduring free society.

I experienced that revelation during college. I had prepared for a career in teaching and politics. As I neared graduation, however, I discovered that neither profession was suited to an idealist. Our public education system, even in the late 1970s, was in serious decline; it required systemic change, which was not achievable one student at a time. My experiences with politics, both local and national, suggested that principle was, to say the least, not the fore-most consideration. At best, compromise in a forward direction seemed possible, but not sweeping change.

As I was discovering all that, I was also taking an undergraduate course in constitutional law. As the son of a welder whose formal education never went beyond eighth grade, I'm not sure I had ever even met a lawyer, and like most Americans, I held the legal profession in disdain. I took the course hesitantly, mainly because of the reputation of its teacher, Robert G. Smith, the esteemed Drew University professor emeritus of political science. Reading about cases such as Brown v. Board of Education was an epiphany: law used as the Framers intended could work revolutionary change in our society, bringing down systems of oppression such as the separate-but-equal regimes. Unlike politicians, lawyers arguing in the courts can hold fast to underlying principles and achieve change without compromise. The appeal was alluring, and before I knew it my Volkswagen Dasher was packed with all of my belongings on a cross-country trek to law school at the University of California at Davis.

Davis proved to be a harsh environment. Diversity was encouraged in everything except philosophical viewpoints. Having experienced a true liberal arts environment at Drew, I was astounded at the ideological homogeneity and hostility that permeated Davis. So I took my New Jersey palate to the nearby Napa Valley and found frequent sweet refuge in the head-spinning assortment of wines. The free tastings were perfect for a poor student's budget. And when my classmates in their collective wisdom chose Ralph Nader as our commencement speaker (after all, Jane Fonda, who had spoken previously, was a tough act to follow), I celebrated my liberation instead with my family in the more congenial surroundings of the Napa vineyards.

Armed with a law degree and somehow having managed to convince the California legal cartel that I was fit to practice, I immediately began suing bureaucrats for a living. Nine years later, in 1991, I cofounded the Institute for Justice (IJ) in Washington, D.C., with Chip Mellor. Many of the cases my IJ colleagues and I litigated are discussed in the following pages. Until I left IJ in 2004 to work full-time for school choice, I often said that my colleagues and I had the greatest jobs in the legal profession: we got to choose our cases, choose our clients, and not charge anything for our representation. Best of all, the people we sued were bureaucrats.

Although my interest in wine persisted as I embarked upon my legal career, some time passed before that passion dovetailed with my work. My curiosity was sparked, however, during a visit in the early 1990s to a small winery in bucolic Middleburg, Virginia. The proprietor was a striking older woman, Juanita Swedenburg, who owned and operated the winery with her husband. She produced several good wines, including a chardonnay with the toastiest nose I can remember. We got to talking, and Mrs. Swedenburg asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that, among other things, I challenged regulatory barriers to entrepreneurship, she exclaimed, "Have I got a regulation for you!"

Most states, it turned out, prohibited direct interstate shipments of wine to consumers. Thus, if tourists from another state visited Mrs. Swedenburg's winery and asked how they could obtain her wines back home, she would have to reply, "You can't." The only way Mrs. Swedenburg could sell her wines in other states would be to obtain a distributor, and most distributors have little interest in handling a few cases from an obscure Virginia winery. Nor was Mrs. Swedenburg inclined to hand over 30 percent of the retail price to a distributor who added nothing of value. For all practical purposes, Mrs. Swedenburg's small business was shut out of the market outside her home state.

As a descendant of settlers who fought in the American Revolution, Mrs. Swedenburg was outraged that such a stupid law could exist in a nation with the greatest free-enterprise system in the world. I wondered too. Indeed, the problem seemed widespread: I knew obtaining wines from some of my favorite small wineries in California was difficult. Virginia, it turns out, allowed direct shipment to consumers of wine produced within the state but not from wineries outside its borders.

But it would be several years before I could turn my attention to challenging the laws. I was extremely busy with other cases, and I knew my colleagues at IJ would greet with skepticism any case I proposed involving wine. I would have to demonstrate that some bigger principle was at stake than my passion for wine. Most of the cases at IJ involved states' imposing oppressive restraints upon their own citizens, which we challenged under the Fourteenth Amendment; the wine issue, by contrast, presented a trade barrier erected by some states against entrepreneurs in other states. In the meantime, I had to avoid Mrs. Swedenburg's winery lest she ask me why I wasn't taking on her legal albatross.

When finally I had a chance to turn my attention to the issue of direct interstate shipment of wines, I found that indeed a bigger principle was involved: freedom of commerce among the states, whose protection was one of the principal motivations for creating the U.S. Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation, states were locked in debilitating trade wars. To protect their own industries, states would shut off imports from other states. If such actions persisted, the United States never would constitute a single economic union, which, in turn, would inhibit its prosperity. The Framers of the Constitution saw clearly that the states could not be trusted to resist protectionist temptations and that the remedy would be to confer authority upon Congress to regulate trade, thereby preventing states from enacting parochial trade barriers that impeded the national interest in free domestic trade. That understanding took the form of article I, section 8, of the Constitution, which delegated to Congress the exclusive authority to "regulate Commerce... among the several States."

Those few words, that seemingly simple command, have given rise to much of the debate over judicial activism during the past 75 years. The overarching question, one that I will touch upon later, is whether the Framers, in giving Congress the authority to regulate commerce, meant to limit that power to commerce or rather to allow Congress to regulate everything. Given that the latter construction not only ignores the plain meaning of the clause but also fundamentally transforms the Constitution from a charter of limited and defined powers into an open-ended grant of plenary national authority, the answer to the question seems obvious. But apparently it is not, as we shall see.

The question raised in the wine context was a different and also recurring one: what happens if the states enact trade barriers but Congress does not exercise its authority to regulate commerce in a given instance? In the face of congressional silence, may states create protectionist trade barriers? In other words, is affirmative congressional action necessary to effectuate the core purpose of the commerce clause, or is the clause self-executing so as to prohibit state-erected protectionist trade barriers of its own accord? The doctrine that the commerce clause by its own terms prohibits such trade barriers is referred to as the "dormant" or "negative" commerce clause.

This is the stuff of many a scholarly debate and so may make the eyes of mere mortals glaze over. Yet the answers to that question—like the answer to so many seemingly arcane questions of constitutional law—are of utmost importance to the likes of Juanita Sweden-burg. And not to her alone. More than two centuries after ratification of the Constitution, states still cannot resist the temptation to distort markets to benefit their own domestic industries to the detriment of out-of-state competitors. So that, as if to demonstrate the pre-science of the Framers, the constitutional guarantee of free trade in the Internet era is perhaps even more vital than it was in the founding era.

That is because of the Internet's revolutionary power of "disinter-mediation"—the ability of producers and consumers to meet and transact business in cyberspace, without the necessity, or added cost and inconvenience, of a middleman. In this way, the Internet is the greatest agent of consumer freedom in the history of mankind.

And yet, as Star Wars teaches, the Empire always strikes back. Some middlemen have adapted to and flourished in the Internet era. But others have resorted to the age-old tradition of seeking government protection against competition and innovation. Businesses selling products ranging from insurance to automobiles to contact lenses to caskets have flocked to their state legislatures to restrict or prohibit transactions over the Internet, thus preserving their economic hegemony and limiting consumer choices.

That was the situation with wine. Over the past few decades, the number of American wineries has grown to approximately 3,000 in all 50 states—the overwhelming majority of them small, family-run enterprises that produce only 2,000 or 3,000 cases each year. At the same time, the liquor-distributor industry experienced extreme consolidation, so that today a handful of behemoths dominate the multibillion-dollar industry. As a result, the distributors can distribute only a fraction of the tens of thousands of distinct wines produced each year in our nation alone. By contrast, the Internet offers the potential that middlemen cannot for matching consumers with their favorite wines, no matter how vast the choices.

Bans on direct shipment of wine are a relic of the post-Prohibition era, when states wanted to stifle organized crime by separating the production of alcohol from its distribution. They created mandatory "three-tier" systems of alcohol distribution: producer to distributor to retailer. In the unique context of wine, however, a number of states, eager to promote their own wine production, acted to allow direct shipping from in-state wineries. To protect in-state distributors, however, many states also acted to forbid shipping by out-of-state wineries directly to consumers. When IJ filed a lawsuit against New York in 1999 on behalf of Juanita Swedenburg, 31 states prohibited direct interstate wine shipments to consumers. Seven of them made such shipments a felony. The discriminatory trade barriers presented a textbook example of precisely the evil that the Framers intended to forbid when they placed the commerce clause in the Constitution.

The Federal Trade Commission studied the issue and found that "State bans on interstate direct shipping represent the single largest regulatory barrier to expanded e-commerce in wine." The states' professed regulatory concerns—protecting against underage access to alcohol and tax collection—all could be facilitated, the commission found, through regulatory actions short of discriminatory prohibitions against direct shipping.

The trade barriers raised the question of the scope of the "dormant" commerce clause, which in reality has never been dormant. Decades of cases have found that where a state regulates commerce not by one set of rules but by two—one regulatory regime that applies to out-of-state products and another, less-onerous regime for domestic products—the burden shifts to the state to demonstrate a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved through less-burdensome means. By that rule of law, many discriminatory trade barriers have been struck down over the years—effectuating the Framers' desire to ensure a free national market.

That doctrine likely would have resolved the matter in Juanita Swedenburg's favor if she were selling a product other than alcohol. But another constitutional provision—the Twenty-First Amendment, which repealed Prohibition—pertains directly to alcohol. That amendment prohibits the "transportation or importation into any State... for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof."

For some, those words began and ended the debate. Where prohibited by state law, direct shipping of wine unquestionably encompassed the "transportation or importation" of "intoxicating liquors" into a state "in violation of the laws thereof." Therefore, some would argue that regardless of a state's motivation, its alcohol laws are protected by the Twenty-First Amendment.

Nevertheless, no Constitution would have existed for the Twenty-First Amendment to amend were it not for the constitutional guarantee of national economic union. The Twenty-First Amendment did not repeal the commerce clause. When faced with seemingly competing constitutional provisions, the proper role of courts, my colleagues and I argued, was to harmonize the two provisions, not to aggrandize one while draining the other of meaning.

The surface conflict between the commerce clause and the Twenty-First Amendment also raised a more fundamental question lurking beneath much constitutional litigation: is the Constitution a grant of government power to which rights are the exception or a recognition of individual rights to which government power is the exception? When faced with a dispute between an asserted freedom and an asserted government power, should a court indulge a presumption in favor of government power or individual liberty? The answer to that threshold question of constitutional interpretation would affect not only Juanita Swedenburg but also scores of other people whose rights are restricted by government power.

For some, the questions raised by the direct-shipping issue were quite easy. The first appellate judge to rule on the issue was Frank Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a jurist who does not lack for self-assurance. Like many conservatives, Easterbrook doubts the doctrine that the commerce clause on its own accord prohibits protectionist trade barriers. For Easterbrook, the question presented was one of states' rights, which should triumph because Congress had not exercised its regulatory authority to prevent state regulation. In upholding Indiana's direct-shipment ban, the opening words of Judge Easterbrook's opinion clearly fore-cast the outcome: "This case pits the twenty-first amendment, which appears in the Constitution, against the 'dormant commerce clause,' which does not."

For others, the question was not so simple. The leading U.S. Supreme Court precedent was a 1984 case, Bacchus Imports v. Dias, in which the Court struck down a Hawaii law that exempted certain liquors produced in state from an otherwise applicable alcohol tax. The obvious purpose was to benefit domestic producers. (Ironically, the same Frank Easterbrook who later as a judge would disdain the dormant commerce clause argued the Bacchus case successfully for the challengers.) The Bacchus Court harmonized the commerce clause and the Twenty-First Amendment, noting that although the amendment's scope was broad: "One thing is certain: The central purpose of the [Twenty-First Amendment] was not to empower states to benefit local liquor industries by erecting barriers to economic competition. " For that reason, the Court held, "State laws that constitute mere economic protectionism are... not entitled to the same deference as laws enacted to combat the perceived evils of an unrestricted traffic in liquor." So if the courts applied Bacchus, the question in our case would be whether the state's ban addressed "the perceived evils of an unrestricted traffic in liquor" or whether in reality it constituted "mere economic protectionism."

The wine cases were characterized by remarkable cross-ideological alliances on both sides. On our side were prominent conservatives such as Kenneth Starr and Barbara Olson; on the other side, conservatives included Robert Bork, C. Boyden Gray, and Miguel Estrada. Our "free the grapes" legal team also included such liberal stalwarts as former Stanford Law School dean Kathleen Sullivan and University of Indiana lawyer Alex Tanford, who frequently litigated cases for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a debate opponent of mine on the school-choice issue. Conservative jurists, such as Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit and Richard Wesley of the Second Circuit, reached opposite conclusions from other conservatives, such as J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit and Danny Boggs of the Sixth Circuit; liberal judges such as Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit were at variance with other liberal judges, such as Martha Daughtrey of the Sixth Circuit. Never before had I litigated an issue that transcended ideological boundaries as dramatically as this one did. Yet sharp lines of rhetorical demarcation existed: judicial "activism" versus judicial "restraint," and "states' rights" versus the supremacy of the federal Constitution and national economic union.

Although several cases raising similar legal claims would be litigated by various advocates en route to the U.S. Supreme Court, my colleagues and I decided to challenge New York's law. We chose New York for two major reasons: after California, New York's wine market is the largest in the United States, and its direct-shipment laws discriminated in favor of New York wineries and against out-of- state wineries. Notably, almost all of the New York wineries supported our lawsuit: although they enjoyed sheltered markets in New York, they were shut out from direct shipping to other states in retaliation for New York's ban on direct out-of-state shipping.

In challenging the New York regime, we were taking on the big boys. No sooner did we file our lawsuit than seven powerful interests intervened to help defend the law: the state's four largest liquor distributors, whose combined revenues exceeded one billion dollars annually; the package stores, which enjoyed a monopoly over the retail sale of interstate wine; the truckers' union, which enjoyed a monopoly over wine delivery; and the Rev. Calvin Butts, who was concerned about underage access. Not all of the interests on the other side seemed entirely savory: the press reported that around the time of our lawsuit, 50 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided one of the liquor distributors seeking evidence of mob connections. The massive orchestrated special-interest intervention in our case suggested that New York was the chosen field of battle in which the liquor-distributor behemoth would take its stand.

The New York litigation made for unusual adversaries as well. The lead lawyer for the liquor distributors was Randy Mastro, a prominent New York lawyer who had served as deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani. On our side as an expert was John Dyson, a businessman who owned wineries in Italy, New York, and California, and who was another Giuliani deputy mayor. Adding to the ironies was that Mastro's late father had been a political science professor of mine at Drew University and frequently had urged that some day I needed to work with Randy. When I met Randy, who bears an uncanny physical resemblance to his dad, I told him I didn't think that this encounter was what his father had in mind. The high-priced, big-firm lawyers on the other side tended to be the types who judged other attorneys by their hourly rates. Given that my colleagues and I at IJ charged our clients nothing, I can only imagine the disdain in which our adversary lawyers held us.

The quality and temperament of a judge can make all the difference in a case. We were very fortunate that the judge assigned to us was Richard Berman, an appointee of President Bill Clinton who was bright, courteous, thoughtful, thorough, and judicious. During our first court hearing, my colleague from IJ and I were literally surrounded in a semi-circle by a phalanx of 18 lawyers representing the combined interests on the other side. Judge Berman smiled when I likened it to David versus Goliath. In subsequent hearings, most of our opposing lawyers sat discreetly in the gallery, but the image was indelibly established.

Throughout the trial-court litigation, the lawyer for the state barely made a peep, ceding the law's defense to the liquor distributors' lawyers. They in turn litigated the case with such bombast and hyperbole that it would have driven me crazy if I had not grown up among similar personalities in neighboring New Jersey. The spectacle of the liquor distributors' tail wagging the state's dog was enormously helpful to us in demonstrating that the purpose and effect of the laws were protectionism, not public health and safety.

That was the case we put on. We showed that the original three-tier system was adopted at the behest of the liquor distributors. When the legislature in the 1990s overwhelmingly passed direct-shipping legislation, the liquor distributors urged Governor George Pataki to veto it, and he did, citing concerns for domestic industry and tax revenues. As for underage consumption, we produced state records showing that the relevant numbers were 16,000 and zero—the first being the number of reported instances of minors' obtaining alcohol through the three-tier system over a five-year period; the second being the reported instances of minors' obtaining alcohol over the Internet during the same period. I told the judge that if my college-age son could navigate the system by ordering wine over the Internet using a credit card, satisfying the winery that he was over 21, arranging to accept delivery on campus of a box labeled "Alcohol: Adult Identification Required," and producing another acceptable identification upon delivery, I would celebrate his ingenuity with him over a glass of cabernet. Unfortunately, the existing system allows minors far too many ways to obtain alcohol for them to have to resort to the far more cumbersome process of ordering it over the Internet. Ultimately, our case rested on the logic that whatever rules applied to deliveries to consumers by in-state wineries ought to apply also to deliveries by out-of-state wineries; the fact that two sets of rules applied rather than one demonstrated that the purpose and effect of the laws were protectionist.

Our adversaries relied heavily on the underage access issue, offering evidence that states with permissive direct-shipping laws also reported higher rates of binge drinking on college campuses. (It was hard to imagine college students guzzling Mrs. Swedenburg's chardonnay at a keg party, but maybe kids have become more sophisticated since my college years.) Without a shred of irony, the liquor distributors joined forces with Christian conservatives and groups committed to alcohol abstinence. The distributors argued that state authority under the Twenty-First Amendment was plenary and that Congress had affirmatively given states the power to ban direct interstate shipping.

Judge Berman didn't buy it. "That the New York direct shipping ban on out-of-state wine burdens interstate commerce and is discriminatory (on its face) is clear," he ruled. Moreover, he found that "the direct shipping ban was designed to protect New York State businesses from out-of-state competition." Applying the Bacchus decision, he concluded that the Twenty-First Amendment provided no shelter because the "State has not established that its goals cannot be accomplished in a nondiscriminatory manner." As a result, he ordered that the state allow out-of-state direct shipment of wine on the same terms and conditions as in-state direct shipping.

The liquor-distributor empire quickly struck back, filing an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That court reached a starkly different result on states' rights grounds. Recognizing that a majority of the Second Circuit's sister courts had ruled in favor of challenges to discriminatory wine shipment bans, Judge Richard Wesley found that those decisions had "the effect of unnecessarily limiting the authority delegated to the states" under the Twenty-First Amendment. Moreover, the court found that no real discrimination took place, for "all wineries, whether in-state or out-of- state, are permitted to obtain a license as long as the winery establishes a physical presence in the state." The state's interest, in reality, was not protectionism but in ensuring "accountability," which could be accomplished by requiring a physical presence of all wineries.

The "physical presence" requirement sounded benign—who could object to a business establishing a physical presence in the state in order to ensure "accountability" to the state's legitimate regulatory regime? In practice, however, that jurisprudential innovation could have created the exception that would have swallowed the commerce clause. A small winemaker like Juanita Swedenburg would have found opening and fully staffing a warehouse just to gain the privilege of selling a few cases of wine in New York economically impossible. Multiply that burden by 50, if other states followed suit, and the rule would close markets to small wineries all across the United States. The decision boded chilling ramifications far beyond wine: if every state could require a physical presence upon the pretense of health or safety concerns, the vast promise of the Internet to expand consumer freedom would halt in its tracks. After all, the whole point of the commerce clause was that an enterprise in one state could do business in another state without having to move there. The state's legitimate regulatory interests with regard to alcohol could be achieved in less onerous fashion, such as requiring a license in order to do business. Indeed, federal law provides plenty of potent tools to enforce state alcohol laws against out-of-state companies.

Because the Second Circuit decision conflicted with decisions from other circuits, prospects for review by the U.S. Supreme Court looked promising. But once the high court took the case—along with a companion case from Michigan, in which the trial court had upheld the direct-shipment ban but the appeals court had struck it down—the prospects didn't seem especially encouraging. Although we had the leading precedent on our side, 20 years had passed since the Bacchus decision. In that time, all five of the justices in the majority were gone, while the three dissenters (Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor) were still on the Court. Moreover, Justice Thomas believes no such thing as the dormant commerce clause exists and the rights often protected under that doctrine in fact were intended to be protected under other constitutional provisions. We tried to attract Justice Thomas's vote by including a separate claim under the privileges and immunities clause of article IV, section 2, of the Constitution, whose scope largely mirrors the commerce clause, but the Court did not accept review on that issue.

So we assumed that we began our trek to the U.S. Supreme Court with four likely votes against us and no certain votes in favor. If our math was correct, we would need to cobble together the votes of Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer—an odd-couple lineup that apparently never had been previously aligned in a 5-4 decision.

The uncertain endurance of the Bacchus decision allowed our opponents to return to basics and argue that state power under the Twenty-First Amendment was plenary. A "plain language" and states' rights approach might appeal to Justice Scalia and tip the balance against us. We countered with a strong historical analysis showing that the Twenty-First Amendment had merely restored the status quo prior to Prohibition—and that discrimination and protectionism were not encompassed within the states' powers to regulate alcohol at that time. We also had the benefit of a strong record of protectionism in the New York case and of the Federal Trade Commission report that laid waste to the states' defenses relating to underage access and taxation.

While the case headed toward argument before the Supreme Court, both sides made their cases in the court of public opinion. State attorneys general launched high-profile sting operations ostensibly to demonstrate how easy it was for underage buyers to game the system. (Revealingly, the sting artists never ordered successfully from wineries, but from retailers, who were licensed by the three-tier system yet avoided its regulations.) On our side, the feisty and highly quotable Juanita Swedenburg was the poster-child small entrepreneur fighting for her right to earn an honest living. As the argument approached, Mrs. Swedenburg's husband and business partner, Wayne, passed away, depriving her of a major source of strength and support. But if her determination ever flagged, I never saw it.

In our side's oral argument, former Stanford Law School dean Kathleen Sullivan argued the Michigan case, and I represented the New York plaintiffs. To buttress their states' rights argument, New York and Michigan jettisoned the liquor distributors' lawyers, who had done the heavy lifting in the earlier rounds, in favor of the solicitors general from the two states. But the move didn't work, because the states' lawyers insisted that their powers under the Twenty-First Amendment were without limit, essentially asking the Court to overrule Bacchus. Even Justice O'Connor, who had dissented in Bacchus, seemed taken aback by the states' extreme position. For my part, I pointed out the heavy influence of protectionism in New York's regulatory scheme and assailed the "presence" requirement. Were the justices to visit Swedenburg Winery (which I cheerfully encouraged them to do), they could find Mrs. Swedenburg harvesting grapes, tending the tasting room, bottling wine, and filling orders. The thought that she could afford to open a New York operation in order to sell a few cases of wine there was ludicrous.

In the end, the Court divided 5-4 in striking down the discriminatory Michigan and New York laws. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority that included Justices Scalia, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, declared that the effect of the laws was "to allow in-state wineries to sell wine directly to consumers in that State but to prohibit out-of- state wineries from doing so, or, at the least, to make direct sales impractical from an economic standpoint." Such laws, the Court ruled, "deprive citizens of their right to have access to the markets of other States on equal terms." The Court flatly rejected the physical presence defense, remarking that "for most wineries, the expense of establishing a bricks-and-mortar distribution operation in 1 State, let alone all 50, is prohibitive." Nor did the Court credit the states' underage access or taxation arguments, finding that less-onerous alternatives were available to service legitimate state interests. The Court's legal holding was simple—"state regulation of alcohol is limited by the nondiscrimination principle of the Commerce Clause"—and the New York and Michigan laws violated that principle, with no convincing justification.

For Mrs. Swedenburg, the victory was sweet vindication. As fate would have it, although I spoke to her the day the decision came down, I didn't actually get to see her until months later, whereupon I received what must have been the biggest hug of my entire life. The case was a vindication of the American legal system as well. In few other nations could one small entrepreneur prevail over the powerful combination of massive commercial interests and government. Her triumph demonstrates that ours truly is a nation governed by the rule of law.

Indeed, that spectacle—the judicial redress of injustice visited upon an individual by the government—is a hallmark of a free society. By contrast, the New York Times recently profiled the failed attempts of Chinese citizens to challenge oppressive laws, years after the legal system in Communist China ostensibly was changed to allow such actions. That Americans can bring down tyrannical laws through peaceful judicial action, while people in many other countries cannot, is testimony that ours remains among the freest nations in the world.

Yet plainly, not everyone would agree that such judicial power is a positive phenomenon. The legal clash in the direct-shipping cases between the small wineries and the liquor distributors is a microcosm of the debate over the proper role of the courts in the American constitutional system. Those who assert that courts should defer to democratic processes would consign the likes of Juanita Swedenburg to defeat and despair, while rendering a nullity the constitutional promise of freedom of commerce. There is no way that Juanita Swedenburg could take on the powerful liquor distributors in the political arena. Indeed, she is not even a citizen of the state in which the laws that constrained her opportunities were enacted. New York wineries had succeeded in gaining exemptions from the onerous direct-shipment laws for themselves, but outsiders like Juanita Swedenburg—even banded together in a trade association and aligned with New York consumers who wanted to purchase their wines—were no match in the legislative arena against the powerful liquor-distributor oligopoly and its lobbyists and political contributions.

So the only recourse for Juanita Swedenburg was through the courts, wielding the commerce clause, which was made part of the Constitution precisely to protect the ability of people like her to engage in commerce throughout the nation. In the judicial arena, despite the resources arrayed against her, that proud Virginia farmer was able to prevail.

But many on both sides of the political spectrum—as reflected in the divergent judicial opinions on the direct-shipping issue in the lower courts and the Supreme Court—would argue that the courts should have deferred to the states and that the result constitutes raw judicial activism. Some conservatives would go even further and assert that courts have no business invalidating laws in the first place—that the entire enterprise of "judicial review" of laws is constitutionally illegitimate.

As I will discuss in the following pages, federal courts have over-stepped their constitutional bounds in many instances over the past two centuries. Judicial activism in many instances is inappropriate and presents a serious challenge to the rule of law.

But in our efforts to curb improper judicial activism, we should be very wary about throwing out the baby with the bath water. For better or worse, courts in a free society are the ultimate guardians of our most precious liberties. As Justice Ginsburg recently observed, courts provide a vital safeguard "against oppressive government and stirred-up majorities." Alone among the branches of government, the judiciary is charged with the vital responsibility of standing up for the rights of the individual against the government leviathan, no matter how broad the democratic mandate.

Were it otherwise, were we to indulge the recurrent impulse to curb the power of the judiciary to protect individual liberties, relying entirely instead on the willingness of elected and appointed government officials to restrain themselves in the exercise of their powers, the result for Juanita Swedenburg—indeed, for all of us—would be that the rights we hold dear under the Constitution would not be worth the paper on which they're written.

With a proper understanding of the limited yet essential role of the judiciary in a free society, we shall see that the judicial intervention reflected in cases such as Mrs. Swedenburg's is worthy of a hearty toast over a fine glass of wine.

[Footnotes have been omitted.]


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From David's Hammer by Clint Bolick. Copyright © 2007 by the Cato Institute. Reprinted here by permission of the author and the publisher.