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Well-known member
Feb 14, 2005
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10 June 2005
Federalist Patriot No. 05-23
Friday Digest

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"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." --The Declaration of Independence



Top of the fold -- Campaign Finance Reform: The law of unintended consequences

As a little refresher (not for our readers, but for politicians), the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Of course, you say. Everyone knows (or should) that the First Amendment guarantees the freedoms of religion and of speech, and prohibits Congress from regulating either one. Everyone also knows that judicial activists have all but completely ignored the limitation of this amendment's prohibitions on Congress, and applied them to all public forums -- federal, state and local.

Not to be outdone by the courts, however, Congress is now, in the name of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, attempting to put its own limitations on political speech -- the kind of speech our Founders most wanted to protect.

Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator Russ Feingold, aided and abetted by both parties of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court, ostensibly passed this legislation "to get the big money out of politics." However, like the campaign-reform movement brought on by the Watergate scandal in 1974 -- the "reform" that brought us political-action committees -- McCain-Feingold has introduced more influence-grabbing "big money" into politics than ever. Indeed, led by America-hating billionaire George Soros's funding of many 527s, the PACs have taken control away from candidates and parties, made elections less competitive, created longer and more bitter campaigns through severe restrictions on advertising, and further distanced regular citizens from the political process. Such is the nature of "reform movements" in our nation's capital.

All the same, regulating campaign contributions was only the purported purpose of the '02 reform movement. In reality, McCain-Feingold has always been about the regulation of political speech, and, as such, it constitutes a violent offense against First Amendment rights.

When they voted for it, many members of Congress knew McCain-Feingold was unconstitutional. When he signed it into law, President Bush knew it was unconstitutional -- and said so. "Certain provisions present serious constitutional concerns," said he. Nevertheless, the bill had momentum, and under political pressure the President and many members of Congress voted for a bill they believed was wrong, all in the belief that the more blatantly unconstitutional portions of McCain-Feingold would be overturned by the Supreme Court. "I expect," said President Bush, "that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law."

Of course, we know the outcome of that strategy: The Supremes upheld McCain-Feingold, in its entirety.

(Nota bene to the other two branches of government: By what logic do you reason that the Supreme Court will overturn legislation simply because it's unconstitutional? Please, stop kidding yourselves.)

Now, three years later, the full effects of McCain-Feingold are just about to hit. As it reads, the 2002 law regulates political advertising in coordination with a candidate's campaign appearing on "any broadcast, cable or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general-public political advertising." At the law's inception, the FEC wisely reasoned that the wording of this particular statute did not apply to the Internet -- references to the Internet and the World Wide Web were included elsewhere in the law, so Congress must have intentionally omitted it here.

Then the reformers struck again. The boondoggling duo of McCain and Feingold sued the FEC, insisting that regulations on political speech did in fact apply to the Internet and to e-mail. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed: "The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated-communications regulation severely undermines" the purpose of the campaign-finance law. The Commission's three Republicans couldn't convince any of the three Democrats to appeal the ruling, with the net result being that Big Brother is on his way to policing the cybersphere.

Under the law, which the FEC will have to enforce if Congress does not intervene, even a link to a candidate's website will be considered a political contribution. While the value of such a "contribution" remains uncertain, Bradley Smith, one of the FEC's three Republican commissioners, warns that FEC regulatory precedents don't bode well for the blogosphere. "Corporations aren't allowed to donate to campaigns," notes Smith. "Suppose a corporation devotes 20 minutes of a secretary's time and $30 in postage to sending out letters for an executive. As a result, the campaign raises $35,000. Do we value the violation on the amount of corporate resources actually spent, maybe $40, or the $35,000 actually raised? The commission has usually taken the view that we value it by the amount raised. It's still going to be difficult to value the link, but the value of the link will go up very quickly."

Sound bad? That's not all, warns Smith. "The judge's decision is in no way limited to ads. She says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum. The problem with coordinated activity over the Internet is that it will strike, as a minimum, Internet reporting services."

Under current law, however, "press exemption" is limited to a "broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication." This would bring the status of Internet-based publications -- such as The Federalist Patriot -- into serious question. So warns Commissioner Smith: "[Internet reporting services are] exempt from regulation only because of the press exemption. But people have been arguing that the Internet doesn't fit under the press exemption. It becomes a really complex issue that would strike deep into the heart of the Internet and the bloggers who are writing out there today."

The Internet is the ultimate frontier of truly free speech. Its ubiquity has made it a powerful tool for the spread of ideas and democracy around the globe. While the unparalleled access to information offered by the Internet certainly has its moral and legal pitfalls, its benefits far outweigh all negatives. If, however, "reform" is allowed to have its way and Congress fails to ensure the Internet's continued independence by repealing those parts of McCain-Feingold that impinge upon free speech, the future of this column, and others like it, is anything but certain.

One note of hope: None other than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is on record in support of an Internet exemption from McCain-Feingold -- and if Reid is on the right side of the issue, Congress has no excuse but to amend the law to ensure freedom on the Web.

As for the previous paragraph, only time will tell whether it constitutes a "contribution" to Senator Reid.

Quote of the week...

"I believe individual freedom to participate in elections should be expanded, not diminished; and when individual freedoms are restricted, questions arise under the First Amendment. ... I hope that in the future the Congress and I can work together to remedy this defect of the current financing structure." --President Bush in March of 2002, after he signed McCain-Feingold into law

To date, these "defects" have yet to be addressed by Congress or the Executive Branch.

Open query...

"This is an incredible thicket. If someone else doesn't take action, for instance in Congress, we're running a real possibility of serious Internet regulation. It's going to be bizarre. ...logging could also get us into issues about online journals and non-online journals. Why should CNET get an exemption but not an informal blog? Why should Salon or Slate get an exemption? Should Nytimes.com and Opinionjournal.com get an exemption but not online sites, just because the newspapers have a print edition as well?" --FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith

This week's "Alpha Jackass" award:

"Some will argue that the First Amendment of the Constitution renders unlawful any restrictions on the right of anyone to raise unlimited amounts of money for political campaigns. Mr. President, which drafter of the Constitution believed or anticipated that the First Amendment would be exercised in political campaigns by the relatively few at the expense of the many?" --John McCain, March 2001

The BIG lie...

"To permit an entire class of political communications to be completely unregulated irrespective of the level of coordination between the communication's publisher and a political party or federal candidate, would permit an evasion of campaign finance laws." --U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruling on the regulation of the Internet, ordering the FEC to revise its rules

From the Left...

The liberal intellectuals who have spent hard time and soft money to corrupt our college campuses are formulating plans with the national media to pull off what may be the boldest, and certainly the most insulting, ideological swindle of our time. What is more, they're looking to do it at the very site of the most violent foreign attack ever perpetrated on American soil.

The plans for the creation of the World Trade Center Memorial, an integral part of the controversial redevelopment of downtown New York City, have been handed to an organization called the International Freedom Center. This group will be in charge of designing the World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex, a place intended to teach people the history of freedom with a multimedia display that will go far beyond the stated objective of honoring the victims and heroes of September 11th. Instead, this agenda-driven exhibit, slated to open in 2010, will look not only at the shining moments of our times, but take visitors on a guided tour of some of humanity's darkest hours -- including slavery, persecution of the American Indians, and the genocide of World War II.

What's more, this revisionism will surely come if the cast of characters behind the International Freedom Center have their way. Among this lefty crew are Tom Bernstein and Michael Posner, influential members of Human Rights First, a group that filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've also initiated an anti-torture campaign directed solely at the United States. In addition, the ACLU wants to get into the act with an exhibit that will detail the erosion of liberty in America thanks to the Patriot Act. (Anybody out there know of any law-abiding citizens who've had their liberty eroded by the Patriot Act?) Not surprisingly, everyone's favorite America-hating megalomaniac, George Soros, is a major source of funding for this project. (And we thought Dianne Feinstein could find NO abuses of the Patriot Act to date.)

In other regrettable news resulting from the Left's politicization of Ground Zero, a heated battle raged in Congress this week over $175 million of the $20 billion committed to New York City following 9/11 -- a sum designated for injured Ground Zero workers. Only $50 million of the allotment has been spent, and the administration asked for the remaining $120 million back. That's when things got interesting. The New York delegation cried foul, and senators Schumer and Clinton asked that the difference be placed in a fund for any future Ground Zero "lung ailments" -- opening the door for erroneous claims from public workers who are already well-insured. When Demo Rep. Carolyn Maloney ordered the GAO to investigate the $50 million in expenditures -- hoping to find grounds for requesting more federal funds -- the results were staggering. Of the $175 million allotted and $50 million spent, only $6 million was spent in accord with the law; the remaining $44 million in expenditures was for purposes never authorized by Congress; that is to say, they were illegal.

This week's "Braying Jackass" award:

"Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. ... They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party." --DNC Demo-gogue Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, which, as you may recall, is 96.8 percent white.

Asked to "clarify" his outrageous remarks, Dean stuck to his dismissive mischaracterization, and reiterated his critical analysis of Republicans, saying, "...unfortunately, by and large it is [accurate]. And they have the agenda of the conservative Christians. ... This is a diversion from the issues that really matter: Social Security, and adequate job opportunity, strong public schools, a strong defense." But can the "Mad Doc" doing politics really be claiming with a straight face that Republicans (including conservative Christians) don't have on their to-do lists "Social Security, and adequate job opportunity, strong public schools, a strong defense"? Come on!

House Speaker Dennis Hastert quipped back, "Last week's scandal was Deep Throat. This week's scandal was Dean's throat, and apparently Dean likes the taste of his own foot."

News from the Swamp...

On the Hill, Democrats have adopted a strategy for taking back the House in 2006. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with elevating the level of political acumen among their ranks, or even a concerted effort to establish and drive a solid legislative agenda. In brief, rather than lift themselves up, they're looking to bring Republicans down. Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been in the crosshairs of a prolonged Demo attack both in his home state of Texas and in DC. The Demos seek to link him with a series of ethics violations involving corporate donors and privately funded trips. Democrats have fired off a series of allegations against DeLay in the media but have not allowed the House Ethics Committee to meet so that DeLay can have a legal forum in which to defend himself. Solid proof of any misdeeds has yet to be established, but that hasn't stopped the smear machine from kicking into high gear.

The broader Demo strategy calls for linking the whole of the Republican congressional caucus to DeLay by using flawed logic that runs basically like this: Tom DeLay is a Republican. He is also corrupt. Therefore all Republicans are corrupt. There are two serious problems with this tactic. One, as mentioned, is that it has not been proven that DeLay is corrupt. The second point is that the Democrats are setting themselves up to look like complete hypocrites should a thorough ethics investigation be conducted. To this we say, Democrites, heal thyselves!

The recent furor over Congressional junkets, which has stemmed directly from the DeLay controversy is another area where Democrats have been pointing a finger across the aisle. The truth, however, is that the Demos have a few issues to answer for themselves. Representative Harold Ford, Jr., has been by far the most prolific traveler in Congress since 2000. Ford, whose uncle, a former state senator, was recently indicted for bribery, has taken 61 privately funded trips in the period from 1998 to 2003. Tom DeLay, by contrast, has taken 14 such trips and ranks 30th in total dollar value of the trips he's taken. Which leads us to wonder: Is the Demos' obsession with Tom Delay merely a desperate response to the Majority Leader's knack for growing his party's majority by clobbering the Demos at every electoral turn?

In the Senate, former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor has been confirmed to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals by a vote of 53-45. Unanimously confirmed by the Senate were Michigan Appeals Court Judge Richard Griffin and Federal District Judge David McKeague, both to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The ability -- finally -- to confirm long-stalled constructionist judges like Pryor has now emboldened the White House to push for a fresh list of judicial nominees to fill federal district and appeals-court vacancies. Over the coming weeks and months, anywhere from 20 to 30 names will be brought forward and the Demo promise not to filibuster nominees except in extreme circumstances will be put to the test. The sticky part for Democrats, of course, is how they'll choose to define "extreme circumstances" -- and whether Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will accept their definition. Recalling the rhetoric that was spewed over Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, and Priscilla Owen, the Demos wanted us to believe that their appointments would signal the apocalypse of the American judiciary. Now that these well-qualified judges are finally being allowed to perform their work, how will the Demos sell the same accusations for a whole new set of nominees?

In the House, Peter Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, pulled a plan from the 2006 intelligence authorization bill that would have limited the authority of the Director of National Intelligence to transfer CIA, Pentagon, FBI and other intel specialists from agency to agency. This plan, which DNI John Negroponte strongly opposed, would have effectively hamstrung his office and his ability to corral the disparate elements of the intelligence community. Luckily Hoekstra came to his senses and decided to forego an attempt to keep that control within his own committee.

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On the National Security front...

This morning, President Bush named Vice Admiral John Scott Redd (ret.) as director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center -- the office formed amid the post-9/11 intelligence reforms to coordinate intelligence-gathering among different departments and agencies. Among his qualifications following retirement from the Navy in 1998, Redd served as deputy administrator and chief operating officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

The NCTC reports to the President on plans and the conduct of operations. The NCTC also reports to the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, on its budget and activities. The DNI, in turn, reports to the President. But bureaucracies with "who's your Daddy" issues rarely move at all. While the overall impact of post-9/11 intelligence restructuring is yet to be seen, we are optimistic concerning the President's appointment, and hopeful that the NCTC will truly serve as a coordinator and filter of intelligence, not merely another layer of bureaucracy through which vital information must pass. The stakes with Jihadistan are much too high for bureaucratic business as usual (FUBAR).

In other National Security news, a classified intelligence report submitted to the new DNI, John Negroponte, notes that the U.S. intelligence community failed to detect several major Red Chinese military developments in the last decade, including the debut of a new long-range cruise missile, a new warship with (stolen) technology from our Aegis battle management system (thanks to the Bills -- Clinton and Richardson), and a new attack submarine (discovered after photos of same appeared on the Internet). The report (we are not making this up) concluded that these developments were missed because of "extreme secrecy" by the Reds.

From the warfront with Jihadistan...

After three years of seeking and severing as many heads as possible from the al-Qa'ida medusa, the Pentagon is considering a fundamental shift in our war-fighting strategy. There appears to be a growing recognition among the country's command authority that the current strategy isn't the right one to finish the job, and, reportedly, Sec. Donald Rumsfeld is putting pressure on the Pentagon for new ideas and techniques. Whereas the current strategy has been to concentrate on taking down al-Qa'ida's leadership targets, thus leaving the lower levels with no direction, consideration is now being given to concentrating on these lower-echelon figures, perhaps even the active targeting of individual terrorist "foot soldiers." The thinking here is that by removing the lower levels of operational support from what remains of its leadership, al-Qa'ida's operations will be even more disrupted than they are now.

This new approach would appear to have some potential. First off, any dead or captured al-Qa'ida operative, regardless of position, is one less who can murder innocents. Second, this new strategy would appear to match our enemy better. The diehard fanatic Islamists who make up al-Qa'ida will never surrender. They may have their operations disrupted, but none will give up willingly, no matter where they fit into the hierarchy. Thus, the only way to defeat them is to capture or kill them. Last, any young fanatics who may be thinking of joining al-Qa'ida may have second thoughts if they see that they're as likely to be targeted as their leaders. Whatever strategy the Pentagon settles on, we know our troops will execute it well; we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

From the "Department of Military Correctness"...

Last Friday, the Pentagon released its own findings on alleged abuse of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. The Washington Post ran a sub-headline that reads "Detainees' Holy Books Were Kicked, Got Wet." Of note, we gave them the Korans upon arrival. Furthermore, the Pentagon's released records of 28,000 interrogations at Gitmo list ten Koran-abuse allegations that were found to have any merit -- and five of those were committed by prisoners, not guards.

We might also note that none of the American noncombatants kidnapped by these prisoners' fellow al-Qa'ida cutthroats were afforded the opportunity to consult their holy book before being beheaded, nor were any of the almost 3,000 of our countrymen, murdered on 9/11, afforded similar opportunity.

Judicial Benchmarks...

The nation's "highest" court -- what have they been smoking up there? -- declared in a 6-3 verdict that the central government may override a state's laws explicitly permitting citizens to use marijuana for medical reasons. Illustrating why the federal judiciary needs more constitutional-constructionist judges and fewer activists, the Gonzales v. Raich decision predictably extended the reach of federal regulatory power at the expense of state sovereignty. The Court held the 1970 ban on marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act prohibits states from authorizing its use for medicinal purposes, because the Constitution's "necessary and proper" and "commerce" clauses under Article I, section 8 support such a ban.

The seductive result of the majority's decision is the idea behind banning a particular drug for law-enforcement purposes. It is disturbing, however, that the Court distorted a long line of decisions requiring a substantial effect on interstate commerce in commerce-clause issues by removing any limits on what is meant by "substantial." The Court did this by stating, "We need not determine whether respondents' activities, taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce in fact, but only whether a 'rational basis' exists for so concluding." In other words, even if the purported justification for the remotest potential affect on interstate commerce is fake but accurate in the Court's eyes, then the federal government may usurp a state's right to regulate purely local activities.

If Congress wants to regulate federally all activity, whether economic or non-economic, it should go through the amendment process to gain that power legitimately rather than permitting activist judges to expand federal power continually. For this reason, when Supreme Court vacancies open up in the near future, Senate conservatives must be resolute in their efforts to seat strict constitutional constructionists.

On cross-examination...

"Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything -- and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers." --Justice Clarence Thomas

Regarding the redistribution of your income...

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, Defense Department waste of taxpayer dollars still leaves something to be desired. Particularly disturbing is the report's comment on "excess property" -- oftentimes new or unused equipment sold for pennies on the dollar: "Of $18.6 billion in excess-commodity disposals in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, $2.5 billion were reported to be in new, unused and excellent condition," the report notes. "DOD units reutilized only $295 million (12 percent) of these items. The remaining $2.2 billion (88 percent) includes significant waste and inefficiency because new, unused and excellent-condition items were transferred and donated outside of DOD, sold for pennies on the dollar, or destroyed. GAO identified at least $400 million of commodity purchases when identical, new, unused, and excellent condition items were available for reutilization." In addition, GAO identified hundreds of millions of dollars in lost or stolen property, including sensitive technologies. Inventory problems are largely to blame, concludes the GAO, along with insufficient management and non-compatible computer-based inventory systems.

From the "Non Compos Mentis" Files...

"I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. ... It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth." --Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham

Even Democrats were laughing at Hillary's outrageous rhetoric, aimed at the Bush administration, but clearly more applicable to her husband. Staffers for several Democrat senators have been forwarding the message around with the jab, "If anyone should know, it's the wife of Bill Clinton."

From the "Village Academic Curriculum" File...

The headline reads "School Cutting in to Teens' Sleep," and CBS Chicago details a study by Northwestern University and Evanston Township High School suggesting that school times and teenagers' sleep cycles are out of sync. Students involved in the research bemoan the fact that classes start at 8 am -- meaning that they have to get up before 7:00! Researchers claim teens lose up to ten hours of sleep a week when school starts in September. Late sleeping on weekends and in the summer is normal, not laziness, they explain. The "solution" would be to start school later, or at least administer important standardized tests later in the day. We in our humble editorial shop would suggest that teaching personal responsibility to foster a good work ethic might help just a little, too.

Around the nation...

From the states, Representative Katherine Harris, whose determination to certify President Bush's 2000 Florida victory rendered her a hero to Republicans and a villainess to Democrats nationwide, has announced her candidacy for the United States Senate. She is seeking the seat of Demo incumbent Bill Nelson, who is considered vulnerable.

Harris is the first, and possibly the last, Republican candidate to enter the race. With popular Governor Jeb Bush planning to retire rather than seek a seat in the Senate (possibly to plan a presidential run), other candidates will likely be deterred by Harris's popularity within the Florida GOP. Two other possible contenders, Attorney General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, have already declared their intent to succeed Bush as governor. Moreover, Harris has shown an ability to stand firm in her convictions, a skill many more "moderate" Senate Republicans lack. All that is certain is that Harris's candidacy ensures that the race will attract more national attention (and money) than it would without her.

In the Lone Star state, Texas Gov. Rick Perry this week signed a parental-notification law for minors requesting abortions, while also putting his signature to a ceremonial copy of the marriage protection amendment that will appear on the state's ballot this November. Ah, but the audacity of signing those (modest) pro-family measures was not enough! He actually put his pen to them in the gymnasium of a Christian school, inciting the usual Leftist suspects to scream and moan about the venue. Apparently, for a state governor to set foot on the grounds of a Christian endeavor while exercising his executive powers is, to them, a "violation of the separation of church and state"? Huh?

Finally, more problems for Tennessee Democrats!

In the past month, a sexual-harassment charge has rocked the governor's office, the chairman of the Davidson County Democrat Party resigned over allegations of child pornography, the chairman of the Shelby County Democrat Party resigned after being indicted for public corruption, six Democrat elected officials and insiders were indicted on public corruption and bribery charges, and now the state Democrat chairman, Randy Button, is resigning -- and, we might add, not a minute too soon.

State Senator John Ford, of note for his multiple wives, mistresses and children, has pleaded "not guilty" in response to last month's FBI sting operation, codenamed "Tennessee Waltz," which led to the good senator's indictment (along with several others) on charges of racketeering, and mentions bribery, "bag men" and death threats to undercover FBI agents. Like so much from the Left, Ford's hearing plea proved better than fiction, with the august statesman proclaiming, "These are accusations that have been brought on by people in government who are corrupt -- people in government who have lied about everything. They're the ones who spent taxpayers' money doing all this stuff."

John Ford's problems cast a long shadow over the prospects of his nephew, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, who plans to run for Bill Frist's Senate seat in '06.

In business/economic news...

On 1 June, Paul Wolfowitz assumed the presidency of the World Bank. An advocate of democracy and free markets, Wolfowitz brings his considerable intellect and experience to an organization whose work has been hampered by the increasing pressure of NGOs, by the inertia of its entrenched, and mostly liberal, bureaucrats, and by its dependence on first-world donor nations for funding. Wolfowitz will face critics from both sides of the ideological spectrum. On one side, he'll confront liberals who claim that the Bank's development projects hurt the environment and that the need to repay the Bank's loans siphons off money that should be used for domestic and social programs. From the other flank, he'll face conservatives who claim that the Bank's loans to financially stable countries unfairly compete with commercial lending. Wolfowitz says that development in Africa will be among his top priorities.

Family and faith matters...

New and politically correct Bible translations are all the rage these days. Following on the heels of Today's NIV, and other "gender-inclusive" paraphrases, the LBI Institute, based in DC, has published an edition of the Gospels that portrays God as female and Jesus Christ as a woman. It is titled, "Judith Christ Of Nazareth, The Gospels of the Bible, Corrected to Reflect that Christ Was a Woman, Extracted from the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." Billie Shakespeare (no joke!), VP of LBI Institute, says, "This long-awaited revised text of the Gospels makes the moral message of Christ more accessible to many, and more illuminating to all. It is empowering. We published this new Bible to acknowledge the rise of women in society." "Empowering"? Try blasphemous.

On the frontiers of science...

President Bush announced recently that NASA would reorient toward manned space flight with the goal of a permanent manned presence on the moon by 2020 as a stepping stone to Mars. However, manned presence requires an Earth-like environment with oxygen and water. The key to supplying both, according to Craig Steidle, NASA's associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, is use of in situ lunar resources. Apollo mission samples indicate that oxygen is available in the lunar regolith, but technologies needed to produce sufficient quantities to maintain a viable moon base are not currently available. Therefore, NASA director Dr. Michael Griffin announced the MoonROx challenge, $250,000 to the first team that extracts five kilograms of oxygen from a volcanic ash sample (JSC-1). The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to be launched in 2008 will search for perpetually dark areas in lunar craters where ice (an estimated 20 billion tons) may exist.

Around the world...

In a curious move on the international front, the White House has put the U.S. in a position of appearing to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. In spite of strong U.S. objections, the ICC was formed three years ago to investigate and prosecute war crimes or crimes against humanity. In a world of America-hating leftists, fascists, atheists, religious fanatics, and UN IGOs, American officials were concerned that the ICC would be used to prosecute American warriors or government officials for any loosely defined "war crime." In 2003, Congress expressly prohibited any type of assistance from any official U.S. entity to the ICC. But this past week, the ICC agreed to pursue war-crime investigations in Darfur in western Sudan, where "Religion of Peace" Arab Muslim janjaweed forces have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of black Africans and displaced millions more. With a growing worldwide acknowledgment that something must be done to help the Darfur innocent, the U.S. government indicated it may be willing to look the other way and allow information, perhaps even U.S. intelligence, to flow to the ICC as it investigates what President Bush has called a genocide.

While The Patriot agrees that the world can and must do much more to alleviate the situation in Darfur (memo to Religion of Peace imams: how about preaching some peace?), we hope that the U.S. government treads very carefully with the ICC. Should the U.S. become deeply engaged with the ICC, even for a cause as worthy as Darfur, we may find it difficult to extract ourselves, and our troops, from an organization that most definitely does not have American freedom and interests foremost in its mind.

And last...

Finally! John Kerry's military records (at least in part) have come out this week. Of course, he submitted Form 180 to the Navy and not the National Archive, which means changes to his records will not all be reflected (e.g., a dishonorable discharge would not appear because the most up-to-date record is an honorable discharge). However, the supposedly superior intellectual who lost the 2004 election by more than three million votes turns out to be something of an idiot -- at least if one subscribes to the Democrats' definition of "idiot."

As it turns out, President George W. Bush got better grades at Yale than John Kerry. Yes, Kerry's transcript was part of his Navy records and probably at least one reason that these records weren't released last year. In Kerry's freshman year, he received a 61 in geology, 63 and 68 in history classes, and 69 in political science. True to form, one of Kerry's best scores was a 77 in -- you guessed it -- French. Thank goodness he applied himself in the courses that matter most! "I always told my Dad that D stood for distinction," Kerry once joked. Au contraire, Jean Francois -- the "D" stands for Defeat!

Lex et Libertas -- Semper Vigilo, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for the editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.)

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