I think I am becoming less reactionary over time. When I see something on the news, I don’t instantly jump to a conclusion. Instead, I have realized that if I exercise a bit of patience, I will probably get closer to the truth. When news giants like the New York Times run a story about 30 men being found beheaded in Iraq, the instant response by liberals is to scream, “Aah! Quagmire! Horrors! Illegitimate war!” It fits their worldview, and the story is just too good to vet. But if you wait a bit, you’ll find out that no one can find any evidence that the events of this story ever happened. “Pay no attention to the naked news reporter behind the curtain. Iraq is a quagmire, and we are losing!”
I’m discovering that, more and more, it just takes a bit of patience.
After we spanked the living daylights out of Saddam’s elite military, photos started to circulate which showed American servicemen raping Iraqi women. At last! Photographic evidence of the pig military! Liberals were overcome with glee until people realized that the photos were just recycled porn. “The American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures,” said Boston city councilor Chuck Turner, as he distributed the photographs of the “rapes” at a press conference. So when was the last time your city councilor said you had both the right and responsibility to look at porn?
Someone found a human finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili! Quick! Put down that Big Bacon Classic, and alert the media! Swear off Frosties and Chicken Nuggets forever. Sure, Wendy’s spokesmen might claim that the company is not to blame, but that’s what you’d expect from these corporate satanic boogerheads anyway. Oh, wait, I guess Anna Ayala placed it there herself. Never mind.
Remember all the brouhaha about the Administration spying on Americans? I’m not talking about Project Echelon, I’m referring to the scandal du jour being drummed up by the media: President Bush authorized warrantless surveillance of al-Qaeda telephone communication crossing our borders. To judge by the immediate reaction from the Left, the President was listening in on everyone’s phone conversations. Why, he could be listening to your grandmother! Shock! Horror! SCANDAL!
In some chat circles, the conversation has been all FISA, all the time. But give it a bit of time to let the facts come out, and we start to get some very interesting information. The following was posted by Andy McCarthy at NationalReview.org:
SHALL WE CENSURE CONGRESS? [Andy McCarthy]
Who said the following? “[N]othing” in federal statutory law
shall limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities. Nor shall anything … be deemed to limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the United States against the overthrow of the Government by force or other unlawful means, or against any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government.
Was it “King George” Bush (ludicrously referred to as a “monarch” by Sen. Russ Feingold today)? Vice President Cheney? Or maybe Karl Rove? Fox News? Rush Limbaugh? National Review?
Well, no. It was none of those. Instead, the foregoing forceful assertion of robust executive power to do whatever in the President’s judgment was necessary to protect the Nation against foreign threats, including to conduct electronic surveillance inside the United States, was made by … the United States Congress.
It is from Section 2511(3) of Title 18, United States Code — a provision enacted in 1968 in conjunction with the first federal wiretapping law. Its purpose was to make plain what had been universally understood since constitutional governance began in 1789: it would be unconstitutional for Congress to enact a law that purported to seize control of, or reduce, the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence in order to protect the American people from hostile foreigners.
The Congress, with the complicity of President Jimmy Carter, blatantly violated its own statute when it enacted FISA in 1978 and undertook to seize what a decade before it said could not be seized.
So embarrassingly obvious was the transgression that Congress felt compelled to bleach it out by repealing Section 2511(3) and pretending the whole thing never happened. (Unlike the President, when Congress violates the law, it can make that law disappear.)
It was an imperious maneuver by the 1978 Congress, ignoring checks and balances and declaring that Congress, not the Constitution, was our ultimate ruler. It was downright oligarchical.
So should we censure Congress?
Maybe Sen. Feingold, staunch libertarian that he purports to be, should read the Federalist Papers. He might start with No. 72, in which Hamilton warned, for the sake of liberty, that Americans remain on guard against “[t]he propensity of the legislative department to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers, of the other departments[.]“
So the next time you hear something shocking on the news, just give it a bit of time. You will either see more corroborating evidence emerge, or you will hear facts about why it’s not really the scandal you might have thought it was.
Don’t believe me? When was the last time you heard a Democrat in Congress vow to keep the Enron scandal in the public eye? Once they realized that Democrats as well as Republicans would be burned by full publicity, Democratic Congresscritters started to hem and haw, and then went off barking after the next big scandal.