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Friday, June 30, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
President GEORGE WASHINGTON, farewell address, September 19, 1796

With the coming of Fourth of July weekend, the newest summer blockbuster is upon us.

After five weary years of intergalactic flight, Superman . But in the new film about his ongoing adventures, a crucial change has been made. Former vampire Frank Langella, playing a now world weary Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, greets Superman upon his return in this way, “So – are you still fighting for Truth Justice, and...all that?

The immediate and cynical suspicion is that the words The American Way were removed in order to have better overseas box office sales. But in reading interviews with the creators of this version of uperman, the change was more deliberate than that.

Director Bryan Singer explains the change this way. “He represents what we as Americans, idealistic, want to be. In that way, I shy away from it, but I don't know how to. But, he's not just fighting for America. He's fighting for, you know, the world.” He also went on to call Superman ‘the ultimate illegal alien’.

The authors of the screenplay, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, put it this way. Harris said, “Let's be honest, the term of "The American Way" means something different than it did 50 years ago.” Dougherty agreed, “It's grayer”.

Let’s see. A President who many believed was actively attempting to lead us into war before he was even elected, and who authorized the use of torture and weapons of mass destruction upon innocent civilians. A President who tried to pack the Supreme Court with his nominees to carry out his unprecedented and arguably unconstitutional plans to overhaul the way government worked. A President who interned hundreds, for years, with no trial or due process, based solely upon racial profiling and illicit domestic spying.

That President’s name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Superman got his start during his administration in 1938 fighting the Nazis.

What else was the American Way like fifty years ago? The captured leaders of our opponents in the war were given a trial when they were caught instead of being summarily executed. America spent millions, billions in today’s dollars, on the reconstruction of the conquered Axis power, building electrical facilities, roads, schools, and a new infrastructure for the defeated nations through the Marshall Plan. We imposed democracies upon fascist dictatorships and decrepit monarchies, giving them constitutions and elected representatives, empowering our former enemies by helping them become productive citizens of the world again, even as soldiers hiding in jungles refused to surrender and staged insurgent raids. No, nothing like that is happening today.

So by all means, let’s bring our children to see another voice mocking the once noble ideal of Truth, Justice and ‘all that stuff’. Let us instill them at the earliest age possible with a sense of shame and stamp out any patriotism that they may feel. After all, that is the new American Way.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Ecology of Fear

O mediums! O to teach! to convey the invisible faith!
To promulge real things! to journey through all The States!
Walt Whitman (1819–1892), Apostrophe, Leaves of Grass.

The Ecology of Fear. Porcupine was taken by this term when he heard it used by a naturalist. It refers to the fact that animals, like antelope, will graze right up to the edge of a river causing loss of grasses and erosion when they have no predators to dread. But, introduce a couple of wolves into their area and their behavior changes markedly. Instinctively fearful of the wolves' howl, they retreat to the forest for protection, and do not graze upon the banks any longer, stemming silting and erosion. Hence, the Ecology of Fear.

We have our own wolf howling in the person of Albert Gore III, former Vice President of the United States. Porcupine attended a special screening of 'An Inconvenient Truth' at the Cape Cinema, and would recommend the movie to anyone. It is well done, thoughtful, and interesting.

Mr. Gore is a self admitted world-class wonk, who was first captivated by lobal warming theories while still an undergraduate. He is not new to this debate, having written a book on the subject while still a Senator, and he now refers to the problem by the more credible name of . His analysis of phenomena such as adjacent areas suffering from downpours and drought, and fiercer ocean storms is interesting, compelling and sensible. After the floods, hurricanes, record snows and heat waves of the past few years, it is only a matter of common sense to remove as much fossil fuel detritus from our atmosphere as possible.

Ironically, the only time Mr. Gore goes adrift is when he ventures (and this is a brief part of the film) into politics. His touted self deprecating humor doesn't sound candid or even funny - it sounds bitter and clearly displays the intellectual condescension which voters found so repellent. He wants to be a moral leader on an important issue, and just sounds self-righteous and prim. He does not seem to understand that it is better for others to refer to you as a moral leader instead of smugly claiming the title for yourself.

For instance, in the file he has a film clip bashing Reagan. Cut to film clip bashing George HW Bush. Then there is an EERIE eight year gap. Cut to a film clip bashing George Bush. Much talk about how Kyoto was not signed or ratified in - 1997! Gee, THAT was during the mysterious 8 year gap...

Does he think people won't NOTICE? If he had been gutsy enough to include a film clip of Clinton at a press conference saying Kyoto was not a balanced agreement, and that's why he wasn't signing it - Porcupine would regard him as serious Presidential material. As it is, Gore talks about how he left his lifetime quest for environmental equality - and it was quite genuine, not a policy issue - to hold the second highest office in the land and says NOTHING about the failures of the Administration in which he served. Perhaps he's just Tom Reilly writ large - another for whom politics isn't their forte. Perhaps he now realizes he can do more out of office than in it.

Gore may be destined to be the next Paul Erlich. In 1968, Erlich wrote a book called ‘The Population Bomb’ hich predicted that a Malthusian increase in human population would outstrip the ability of the planet to sustain life, and there would be worldwide famines and death. The book is sneered at somewhat now, as its dire predictions did not come true. But the reason they did not come true was that the panic the book generated caused humans and governments to change their patterns of behavior and consumption. Better alternatives were developed for maximizing agriculture. Indeed, China instituted its ‘One Child’ policy, and while that may have caused pain and heartbreak for millions of individual families, the truth is that it was an unparalleled effort to control runaway population which has made life better for future generations on the planet.

We heeded the warning when howled, and it is to be hoped that we will heed the yelps of Al Gore as well. Perhaps someday, if we are lucky and work together, people will look back on ‘ Inconvenient Truth’ and shake their heads, too.

Postscript - An unusual feature of this screening was a debate between Mark Rogers of Cape Wind and Charles Vinick of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, ineptly moderated by a Cape Cod Commission staffer. Porcupine taped the entire 1 hour and 5 minutes, uninterrupted. Both sides did an excellent job of framing their point of view. However, an assertion was made from the stage by the moderator that it was 'illegal to record voices without prior consent'. Tbis seems absurd in an auditorium of 300 people; there was little, if any, expectation of privacy at a meeting open to the general public. Porcupine has obtained permission to share the diologue from Mark Rogers and from Christy Mihos on behalf of the Alliance, but may not do so because, quite frankly, he has no idea who the moderator was. The Cape Cod Commission strikes another blow for obstruction of the free circulation of ideas!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why, It's The Least We Can Do!

It is not possible ever to insure prosperity merely by law
Theodore Roosevelt, 1904

Years ago, when there was a minimum wage hike, Porcupine was managing a payroll. An older lady, who worked part time, came in all excited over the hike. Porcupine was puzzled as she was already earning more than the new minimum. She asked, "Doesn't this mean that now I will get an automatic raise too?" Porcupine told her was not so, and in fact, having to pay more to other empoyees, mostly teenagers who were getting minimum wage, probaly precluded her getting any raise in the near future. Crestfallen, she replied that it wasn't fair. The AFL-CIO has at last heard her plea, and is working to make sure that the Elizabeths of this world will be disappointed no more.

Do not be deceived. The two minimum wage votes this week (well, one vote and one threat) are mere precursors to the main attraction.

At the Federal level, Sen. Ted Kennedy was in fine form, roaring that Congress had not raised the minimum wage in 9 years. The nationwide minimum wage is $5.25 but his bill to raise it to $7.25 was quashed again.

As it happens, the Senator was merely trying to drag the rest of the nation up closer to the level of his home state. Here is Massachusetts, the minimum wage is already $6.75, the highest in the nation. A vote was scheduled in the Massachusetts House to raise our minimum wage yet again to $7.75. But, the vote was cancelled when every member received a letter from the AFL-CIO threatening to withhold endorsements if the matter came to a vote. Aside from creating a bad impression that when unions say ‘Jump’, the Legislature asks ‘How High?’, the threat was silly upon its face. Hint - There were going to endorse all the Democrats again. It is a ritual which has become meaningless, but it’s nice to see a public demonstration of just how craven our 87% Democrat legislature is from time to time.

Why this demonstration of power? Ah, the version that the Unions REALLY want has already been passed by the Senate with a goal of $8.25, and stands an excellent chance of being slipped into the Final Budget as an outside section. Here is the relevant language:

(d) Effective September 1 of the same calendar year, the minimum wage shall be the minimum wage in effect on May 31 increased by the percentage change in the consumer price index calculated in subsection (c). In no instance shall the increase be less than zero.

There is a reason why this is tucked away in the Outside Sections of the Senate budget, and may well make it to the Conference Budget. You see, the final version of the budget is a straight up or down vote - no amendments allowed. It's the perfect way of doing something when you don't want to go on record. It's too bad the House didn't take its vote - then, in a reverse John Kerry moment, the Democrats could claim that they had voted AGAINST the increase before voting FOR it, and could point to the vote they wished to showcase when asked by constituents how they voted. Sometimes, they could have pointed to both in a single day in front of different audiences.

It would seem that the Legislature is intent on entirely depopulating Massachusetts. Not content with passing the Universal Health Care plan surcharge upon business, it is now opting for the highest minimum wage in the country as well, and by linking it to the Consumer Price Index they ensure that it will remain so, beginning with a floor of $8.25. In fact, another clause calls for the Mass. minimum wage to ALWAYS be at least 10 cents more than the Federal minimum no matter what that is. A link to all the budget langage is
HERE. Another juicy tidbit therein is language which calls for future minimm wage increases to be overseen by a council on which will sit...why...the AFL-CIO of Mass.!

What the Legislature cannot seem to understand is that this cycle of increases feeds upon itself like a firestorm. By requiring wages to be raised annually, profitability be damned, they are forcing businesses to raise prices to pay workers, who will then have to spend more in other establishments, which will drive up the cost of living and hence the Comsumer Price Index, which will require wages to be raised...you get the idea. Unlike Porcupine, it appears that the members of the Legislature have never had to cope with meeting a payroll.

So, Elizabeth, the AFL-CIO has heard your cries of unfair treatment at last. We cannot afford you at all any more, so you can pick up your pink slip on the way out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fluffy Thinking

It is their prodigious anxiety for the welfare of their posterity that produces the propensity of these sages to tie up the hands of this same posterity forever more—to act as guardians to its perpetual and incurable weakness, and take its conduct forever out of its own hands.
Sir Jeremy Bentham, Fallacies, 1824

Sen. Jarrett
Barrios is a very dedicated father. Last year, during the debate on gay marriage, he explained that he wasn't just fighting for himself as a gay man, but for his adopted son. He stated the reason he opposed allowing the electorate to vote on gay marriage is that he was concerned that his young son would be teased and bullied during a vigorous political battle, and would have his feelings hurt. So there.

Now, he is again acting on behalf of that same son again by putting an amendment into a bill which would ban marshmallow from being served in Massachusetts Public Schools.

The person Porcupine feels worst about in this whole sticky mess is Sen. Barrios' third grade son. Aside from the fact that the lunch ladies will now have a 'special' lunch prepared for him underneath the counter, possibly tofu and broccoli, imaging how your classmates would react. 'Why is your dad trying to get rid of the only lunch we like, huh?' Talk about teasing!

The Senator didn't do very much homework before acting, as is his wont. It turns out that Fluff has less sugar than honey, grapes, strawberries, and a host of other 'healthy' snacks. It has no fat, sodium or preservatives, and is so fresh that it does not even need refrigeration. Sen. Barrios may also have not realized that he is slamming a venerable New England institution. Made by the Durkee family since 1920, on Empire Street in Lynn, Fluff offers excellent wages, full health benefits and is a booming little concern in a depressed city. has a great web site, and can be viewed

Ironically, Durkee-Mower (Mr. Mower is long gone) most probably didn't benefit from purchase by the Dept. of Education. The school systems probably purchased generic knock-off goo. Yet, it is the Fluff name and reputation that Barrios has heedlessly put on the line in the name of childhood obesity.

There were many non-confrontational things the Senator could have done besides filing half-cocked legislation. He could have spoken to or written to his school’s principal. He could have sent a letter of inquiry to the Department of Education, asking them to outline their nutritional policies. He is, after all, a state senator and probably would have gotten an answer. Ah, but a polite inquiry made of the proper authorities wouldn’t have gotten him onto the news the way legislation would! So now, we need a law to tell us that marshmallow Fluff is made out of sugar.

The only thing more foolish than Sen. Barrios' original amendment is a bill filed by Rep. Kathi Anne Reinstein to defend it by making the Fluffernutter the Official Sandwich of the Commonwealth. At this time, she has found fifteen or so other Fluffy thinkers to cosponsor it with her.

The Legislature complains continually that it is too busy and preoccupied with important matters like education, affordable housing, elder services, Drunk driving, gang violence (just a few items plucked from the Senate calendar
HERE) but they are too pressed for time to act upon these measures – let alone the 6,000 or so that are behind them and haven’t even made it ON to the calendar yet. But, a trivial matter is proposed and the Legislature is entirely engrossed in its solution. It is not a coincidence that school lets out this week (rendering the matter of school lunches moot until next year). Perhaps the Legislature is looking for some time off, too.

It seems that the Legislature is obsessed with Fluff as the days of the Session wind to a close, but that may be water seeking its own level, sticky though that may be.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The 20% Solution

They're not making pols like they used to. They're making them dumber.
Howie Carr, Sunday, June 18th

The redoubtable Boston Herald columnist, Howie Carr, has written his annual Top Ten Dumbest Politicians column.

What is unuaual about this year's choices is that Two of the Ten represent...Cape Cod! Yes, the voters here managed to create a couple of real 'winners'.

First - our Governor's Councilor Carole Fiola:

Governor's Councilor Carole Fiola. As a longtime radio ad saleswoman, who is better qualfied to decide who becomes a $130,000-a-year judge? She makes the list this year simply because of a quote from 2004 after the SJC created "gay marriage." This is what she said: "A lot of people who are gay are asking to become JP's, because they believe they might be more sensitive." Huh? You mean, gays like John Wayne Gacy, Whitey Bulger and Hot Bottom?
And of course - the first on the list. Yes, Mr. Carr DID choose to list them alphabeticaly, but still, he could claim first place on ANY ranking of dumb politicians:

Rep. Demetrius Atsalis, D-Barnstable. Legislative golf tournaments just aren't what they used to be. Just ask Kujo - on his fateful day of infamy, he ingested his first bad ice cube at a golfing event. Rep. Christopher Asselin used to have one, before he was indicted. Speaker Finneran used to attend them all, before he was indicted. Last year, Senate President Bobby Trav and Speaker Sal were bagged by a TV crew at one in Marblehead, but that didn't stop Demetrius from holding his "charity" event at Hyannis Golf Club the very next day. Surely you recall what happened. Atsalis is lucky he wasn't charged with aiding and abetting a Kujawski.
For those who need a refresher on Rep. Atsalis' troubles, follow the link HERE.

Even though is a equal opportunity offender, disparaging the Lt. Governor as 'Muffy', Porcupine is proud to report that nary a Repubican made the Top Ten List for this year. The others were Worcester County D.A. Conte of the inappropriate phone calls; Sen. Susan Fargo drunk and divorced from reality in tony Lincoln; Rep. John Fresolo of Worcester who ONLY hits his wife in self defense; Cambridge Councilor Gallucio, a drunk driver with offenses spanning decades; Mayor Menino, who may soon be inducted to a Carr Hall of Fame for perennial qualifications; Rep. Gene O'Flaherty, who gutted the drunk driving bill and fled to Portugal; (Query from Porcupine - is a THEME emerging here?) and of course, Attorney General Tom Reilly, the hack who explains that 'politics isn't my forte'. The Entire Timilty Family was also named, as the 'K-Mart Kennedys'. In such a wide and varied competition, it is amazing that Cape Cod was able to snag two spots.

Although technically not a politician, Cape Cod Gabrielli Coordinator Kevin Turner is perhaps worthy of an honorable mention, as he was arrested for drunk driving, just like the Boston big shots. The fact that he is the Principal of Harwich High School should also add to his consideration.

And a posting on politics would not be complete without mentioning a trancendental experience Porcupine had just last night. In a room full of about 80 committed liberals and progressives (with a Republican or three scattered about for yeast in the mixture), the name of Sen. Ted was bood and hissed, at the annual meeting of Power Now - in Massachusetts! In Hyannis! To hear these lifelong Democrats verbally expressing feelings that Porcupine has harboured for so long brought a wee tear to his tiny eye, as finally his lockstep Democrat supporters are seeing the Ted that many of us have seen all along.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

No Special Treatament Here!

Egad, She'd Better!
Remark of Historian Thomas Carlyle, upon being informed that feminist philospher Margaret Fuller had announced in her writings that she 'Had Accepted the Universe'.

I accepted the consequences of my actions,” he said. “I look forward to moving onto the next chapter in my life… and getting back to work.”

With that, Congressman Patrick accepted the universe, as he walked away from the plea bargain which allowed him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of riving under the influence of prescription drugs. He was sentenced to court-ordered drug treatment - which he had already begun at the Mayo Clinic for the second time in six months - and a year of probation. Two additional charges of reckless driving and failure to exhibit a driving permit - felonies - were dismissed under the agreement reached with prosecutors. The Congressman, a hereditary millionaire, was also ordered to pay a $350 fine, which may or may not cover the costs of booking him and processing him in the court system. However, the money will go to charity. $250 will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington. The other $100 will go to a crime victims fund. If Kennedy violates his probation, he will have to serve 10 days in jail.

The Congressman still stoutly avows that he has not, and will not, ask for any special treatment.

Porcupine has written of Kennedy's problems before (HERE), and has averred that he most probably has not asked for special treatment. Allowing members of the Kennedy family to leave an accident scene and check themselves into rehab before a blood test can be ordered is probably a long-standing tradition in Washington by now. There is not now, nor has there been, any unkind inquiry into his sobriety of the Floor of the House, although legislating under the influence would explain a great deal.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, a window washer in downtown Boston, Christopher Guay, has been fired from his job and has been charged with a felony - animal cruelty - which carries a potential five years in jail. A link to the story is HERE. He smacked a seagull that was diving at him while he was up on the window scaffolding with a broom and killed the bird. Office workers inside the building called the police, and he was arrested by an officer of the MSPCA. Porcupine was not aware that the organization had a police force, but supposes he should be grateful in case any choose to attack him.

Mr. Guay, who is not a hereditary millionaire, had to spend the night in jail while his wife scrambled to make bail for killing a seagull with a broom. Congressman Kennedy has not, and most likely will not, see the inside of a jail unless he drives drunk again.

Once again, the Kennedy family has given us a chance to demonstrate that we in New England have our priorities well in hand. Like Margaret Fuller, we may as well accept the universe.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A New Citizen of Hell

There is delusion in the world--and woe, And fear, and pain--we know not whence we live...
'The Revolt of Islam', 9th Canto, George Gordon, Lord Byron

Since it would be wrong to celebrate the death of another human being, Porcupine instead chose to ‘commemorate’ the slaying of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Hibhib yesterday by going to see the film ‘.

Naturally, this will be downplayed as much as possible in Massachusetts. The only openly elated response came from a expert, Evan Kohnman, as he was interviewed on WBZ radio. “This isn’t secret any more, it’s open source, but there have already been 14 additional raids in Baghdad just today. They got everything – laptops, phones, credit cards – everything, when they went in.” By now, that figure has increased to 39 raids. However, it is worth noting that WBZ had located another terrorism expert almost immediately, a woman in Rome with experience writing about the Red Brigade, who patiently explained that the death of would make no difference, as these cells were independent of one another. ANYTHING to dampen down any sense of accomplishment!

Our representatives have been able to restrain themselves a little better. “Zarqawi was a vicious terrorist organizer and murderer, and our troops and the Iraqi security forces both deserve great credit for tracking him down. We all hope his death marks the beginning of the end of the strength of the foreign terrorist network in Iraq that has caused so much death and destruction” said Sen. Edward Kennedy. His perfunctory statement at least acknowledges a victory, unlike the Meehan statement of ‘it doesn’t matter’. Porcupine cannot help but wonder if Osama bin Laden were captured, would THAT not matter to the Massachusetts delegation, like the capture of Hussein didn’t?

This is an enormous victory against the insurgents in Iraq and against the terror movement worldwide. Zarqawi was a master of electronic, especially Internet, communication and he will not be easily replaced. Also, we were able to capture and kill him while he was in a meeting with his most trusted and able aides, also knocking out that second tier of operations. While U.S. officials say that it was his ‘spiritual advisor’ who ‘dimed’ him out, another version has emerged as well. A town near Hibhib is a centre for brewing beer in Iraq, and as a good Muslim, Zarqawi took offense at that. He ordered several town worthies beheaded (the source of the recent nine heads in a box) and a busload of children killed as punishment. The residents of the town informed the U.S. forces that Zarqawi was on his way to meet his new Number 2 in Hibhib, and U.S. forces were able to trail that person to the safe house, and then execute the strike. The two versions are not incompatible, as the spiritual advisor is not named. It would make sense that Zarqawi would be killed over his increasing and unrelenting slaughter of members of the Shiite majority in Iraq. He lived long enough to be put upon a stretcher, and to realize that he was in the hands of U.S. forces before he died.

Porcupine wanted to see ‘United 93’ because it was ruthless men like Zarqawi who actually planned the World Trade Center attacks. In the film, the terrorists were believable, not rabid dogs, and it fascinates Porcupine how they could stand on line quietly for their tickets, take their seats, and watch the old, young and in-between file onto the plane – knowing that they would murder them all. Power? Perhaps. Glory? For Allah. Cruelty? Not really. Just a sincere hatred of infidels, and a dedication to radical Islam and jihad.

Many real life figures, like the FAA’s Ben Sliney, played themselves in the film, and its immediacy and comprehension resembles a documentary. We hadn’t had a hijacking in decades in this country, let alone a fatal mission like this, and the scenes of air traffic controllers, military, and airline personnel all mentally dusting off long unused protocols is fair and accurate. The military was especially frustrated, and it is interesting that the movie credits note that President Bush had authorized military force at 10:18 a.m., but the order was not passed along, as there were concerns about accidental shootings. When Sliney asks at one point how many planes were in the air (and he ordered ALL U.S. air traffic grounded, a courageous and expensive act), the reply was, “About 4,500’. Think about that – at any time, there are over 4,000 aircraft crossing the skies over our heads – and it only took 4 to wreak the havoc of 9/11.

The movie had a prototypical European passenger who insisted that we mustn’t anger these men, and they would demand a ransom, and all would be well – the template for hijackings in Europe for decades. That wasn’t the case here, but it makes the European reaction to the terrorist violence easier to understand in a way. The last fifteen minutes of 'United 93' are as good as the much bally-hood first fifteen minutes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in portraying the chaos, heroism, and confusion that was on that plane, and the inevitable questions within yourself of, ‘what would I have done?’.

So Zarqawi is dead. Now, you can watch this excellent and painful film with the full knowledge that not only these minions, but the grand puppet master has paid the ultimate price for his actions, and died knowing that he was in the hands of his enemy, even as the passengers of United 93 struggled against theirs.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Looking in the Wrong Direction

Let the 5,000 mile border between Canada and the United States stand as a symbol for the future. Let it forever be not a point of division but a meeting place between great and true friends.
- Ronald Reagan, 1978 -

For twelve years, was controlled by an ultra-liberal government which not only did little to identify , but almost passively encouraged them. As long as their hate was directed southward towards the United States, not much was done to interfere with them. However, the Canadian terrorists finally crossed a line (a change of government didn’t hurt, either - Conservative Prime Minister Steve Harper was elected in January of 2006).

According to news reports, some of the 17 Muslim men accused of plotting terror bombings in Canada also planned to storm Parliament, take hostages and behead the prime minister and other leaders, according to accusations revealed Tuesday by the lawyer for one of the suspects. The 12 adult suspects all are charged with one count of participating in a terrorist group. Three of them - Fahim Ahmad, 21, Mohammed Dirie, 22, and Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24 - also are charged with importing weapons and ammunition for the purpose of terrorist activity. Nine face charges of receiving training from a terrorist group, while four are charged with providing training. Six are charged with intending to cause an explosion that could cause serious bodily harm or death.

This is not shocking. It was foreseeable.

In 2002, the Washington Post raised concerns that the radical Islamic group Hezbollah was not banned in Canada. The Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien refused to proscribe this murderous organization because it does social work among Lebanon's poor and has representatives in that country's legislative assembly. In March of 2003, the Ottawa Citizen wrote:

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien insisted Wednesday that his government is not anti-American even as some Liberal backbenchers called on him to censure or expel U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci for publicly denouncing Canada's refusal to participate in the war on Iraq.

Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis suggested Mr. Cellucci should have kept his comments to himself. "Mr. Cellucci does not get elected in our constituencies, he does not get elected in Canada. We're the ones that express our views for our constituents."

Upon his return to Massachusetts, Ambassador Cellucci was heard to remark that returning from Canada was not that different from returning from Iraq. An interesting article on ‘pervasive anti-americanism’ in Canada was published by a "caricature of a bluestocking blue-stater" (see article HERE) .

Canadian CSIS Deputy director Jack Hooper told a Canadian Senate defense and security committee on May 29, 2006 that a lack of resources has allowed about 90% of the 20,000 immigrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan to enter Canada in the last five years without proper screening.

So, arch-conservatives rant about illegal immigration from the Mexican border. They mail bricks to construct a wall the offices of their congressman. Porcupine approves of the sentiment and applauds the wit; really, perhaps they can be engraved with memorial names like you see in front of monuments built for charitable purposes. In the meantime, Canada and the United States of America share the longest common border among any two countries that is not militarized or actively patrolled. That 5,000 mile border with our ‘great and true friend’ remains utterly open, while a hostile jihadist culture is allowed to fester.

It is worth noting that so far, every successful terrorist has entered the United States from Canada. And we will just begin to require passports late this year.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Moon, June, Spoon, Honeymoon

President has announced that he will put his foot into his mouth again tomorrow.

The President will make a speech on Monday supporting the Constitutional amendment in front of the U.S. Senate to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This is not a new opinion for the President – the text of is 2004 White House briefing is

The crux of the President’s argument is this:

The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.

Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.

For all these reasons, the Defense of Marriage requires a constitional amendment.

In this, the President’s reasoning is simply incorrect. The fact that ay activists cry that homosexual arriage is a constitutional right does not make it so. The fact that notoriously activist Circuits and judges have claimed that it is a constitutional right does not make it o. President linton’s 1998 was the proper solution to the matter. It defined the rights of the states to regulate this matter and indeed that is the proper sphere for such regulation.

It might be helpful to look back to the last such ‘assault’ upon marriage at the beginning of the last century – divorce. To be divorced in New York, a court must be presented with concrete evidence of adultery, the only reason acceptable to break the marriage contract under their laws. As a reaction, the town of Reno in Nevada became a boom town as New Yorkers moved there to establish residence in order to obtain a divorce under Nevada’s more lenient law.

Historically, every state has had differing laws on marriage. The age of consent in Mississippi was 14 – not 21 like most states. Massachusetts required a blood test for Gonorrhea and a three day wait. Maryland, or ‘Marry-Land’, required no wait or residency at all. Now, the age of consent in Georgia is 17 – unless the bride was pregnant in which case, no consent was required at all. Most states allow younger people to marry with parental consent, but some have an absolute barrier to marriage at an early age, parental consent notwithstanding. Wisconsin has a 6 day wait, but requires no blood test, while Oklahoma has no wait but does require a blood test. Louisiana has created Covenant Marriages, which are much more difficult to dissolve. And on and on. Will the Federal government next be embroiled in the 'rights' of 12 year olds to marry? Where will this top-down regulation cease?

By advocating the creation of any Federal marriage amendment, the President is undermining the right of the various states to set their own parameters in this matter, another bit of creeping Federalism. It should be noted that 19 states have already passed laws and constitutional amendments which define marriage as between a man and a woman, indcating that the citizens of these states are able to act for themselves in this matter. While Massachusetts has created the gay marriage, adjoining states like Connecticut have already stated that they do not recognize these unions, as they have created a Civil Union alternative.

Porcupine is a great believer in the idea that even as all politics is local, so should all government be. While the President is entitled to state his support for such an amendment, in his June 2 radio address (link
HERE) he himself said, “45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage”.

If it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it. Let the states decide how they want to be governed, which is the best protection of all for conservative principles.

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