- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

PAC man
"Sen. John F. Kerry's decision to create his own political action committee after boasting for years about not accepting PAC donations highlights anew his tendency to take seemingly contradictory positions that he maintains are nonetheless compatible," Boston Globe reporter Glen Johnson writes in a news analysis.
"In his 1996 re-election campaign, the Massachusetts Democrat also pressed the limits of reason, heralding a campaign-finance agreement with his opponent even in the face of evidence Kerry broke one of its provisions," the reporter said.
"So far, Massachusetts voters have shown a willingness to listen to his assertions. But Kerry may find things different if, as expected, he plays to a national audience in the 2004 presidential race."

No right to lawyer
The White House yesterday defended the treatment of captive American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, saying as a military detainee he does not have a constitutional right to a lawyer.
Walker, 20, who goes by his mother's last name, was captured earlier this month after a prison uprising outside the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Walker has told U.S. authorities he was a member of al Qaeda, the militant network led by Osama bin Laden that President Bush blames for the September 11 attacks, Pentagon officials said.
"Right now, Mr. Walker is being treated in a manner consistent with the Geneva Convention's protection for enemy belligerents who are captured as prisoners of war," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
"So long as he is in military custody and is not being questioned for law enforcement purposes, he does not have the constitutional right to a lawyer," Mr. McClellan said.
"Under the Geneva Convention, military authorities may question prisoners for information that is of military value in the conduct of the war without the presence of a lawyer," he added.

A unique penalty
Former President George Bush suggested yesterday an American captured while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan committed treason and recommended how he should be punished.
"I thought of a unique penalty: Make him leave his hair the way it is and his face as dirty as it is and let him go wandering around this country and see what kind of sympathy he would get," Mr. Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Mr. Bush said his son, President Bush, was not displaying sympathy when he referred to the American, John Walker, as "this poor fellow."
The president's mother, Barbara Bush, added: "I think the president meant that he's obviously demented. He did something terrible."
"He meant just sad," said the former president.
Mrs. Bush: "It is sad when someone is so sick that he would cooperate with "
Mr. Bush: "The enemy."
Mrs. Bush: "That's right. The enemy."
Mr. Bush: "He's done. There's no arguing that. There's nobody can get away from the fact that's what he was doing. Unless somebody thought he was held captive against his own will. I guess in fairness we ought to say, 'Well, let's wait to see what comes out of it.' But I don't think the president was being sympathetic at all when he used that expression."

Liberal name-calling
"When Julian Bond of the NAACP accused President Bush of appointing Cabinet officials from 'the Taliban wing of American politics,' no one much noticed this petty and inaccurate slur. After all, this sort of cheap shot is the stuff Bond is known for," writes Kevin Cherry, deputy director of policy for Empower America.
"But one of the things that the terrorist attacks by disciples of radical Islam on September 11 was supposed to have changed since, after all, 'everything has changed after 9/11' is that Bond and his compatriots would need to come up with new ad hominem swipes at their opponents. Insults that liken American conservatives to the Taliban were suddenly deemed, at a minimum, in poor taste," Mr. Cherry said at www.techcentralstation.com.
"But someone apparently forgot to tell the folks at the prestigious American Lawyer which bills itself as 'the nation's leading legal monthly.' The December issue features an interview with UCLA Law Professor Khaled Abou el Fadl on the assorted fatwas of Osama bin Laden. Much of the article is quite informative as it dissects the theological underpinnings or lack thereof of bin Laden's teachings.
"But while discussing Osama's limited training in law, el Fadl states that bin Laden 'was instructed only in positive law' and that he missed 'the courses that deal with the purposes or objects of law, all the courses about equity in law.' The end result, according to el Fadl, is that 'Anything not in the text is illegitimate. Of course, in a literalist paradigm all you end up doing is projecting your own prejudice on to the text.'
"That statement prompted Douglas McCollam, who conducted the interview for American Lawyer, to remark excitedly, 'Kind of like when you read [Supreme Court Justice] Scalia'! And el Fadl, laughing, agreed: 'Exactly! In fact, if you look at Scalia, his jurisprudence is remarkably myopic. It's very much like the jurisprudence that comes out of this literalist Islamic school.'
"So there you have it. According to the nation's 'leading legal monthly,' Justice Scalia is to the U.S. Constitution what Osama bin Laden is to the Koran."

Trouble adjusting
"The Democrats and their media chums haven't quite adjusted yet" to the post-September 11 world, Mark Steyn writes.
"Their line is that domestically, there's a new faith in 'big government' that naturally favors the Dems, and that internationally Bush has signed up to the entire Clinton/Gore agenda multilateralism, a big role for the U.N., etc. This is, in fact, precisely the opposite of what's happened," Mr. Steyn said in a column at www.nationalpost.com.
"On the domestic front, the first victim among Democratic policies has been 'gun control.' In some parts of the U.S., firearm sales are up by as much as 22 percent, especially sales to women. But even this trend shouldn't have surprised anyone: A few months before 9/11, the head office of the 'Million Mom March,' the fluffiest, most media-friendly 'gun control' group, laid off 30 of its 35 staff. Gun control is a dead issue in American politics: Politicians can't tell the citizenry they have to be on full alert and then turn around and announce new restrictions on the ability to defend yourself. And any Democrat who thinks otherwise is welcome to try running in a competitive election on an anti-gun platform.
"Likewise, all the multilateral stuff Bush was getting hassled over six months ago is deader than it's ever been. Kyoto anyone? The ABM Treaty? The International Criminal Court? Include us out, permanently. As we've seen in recent weeks, Mr. Bush's supposed 'multilateralism' barely extends to Downing Street. The only difference between Bush now and Bush then is that his unilateralism has been triumphantly vindicated."

Shrunken legislation
"Now that Congress has finally passed an education bill, expect an overdose of hoopla at President Bush's signing," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Expect a well-attended Rose Garden ceremony laden with bipartisan bonhomie, and expect lots of self-congratulatory superlatives from those present. Just don't expect all that much real education reform to come out of the $26.4 billion No Child Left Behind Act," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"We'd be happy to celebrate genuine reform, which is why we supported the proposals outlined by Mr. Bush during his first week in office. His original plan contained three big ideas: testing, block grants to states and school choice.
"Of Mr. Bush's three big ideas, the testing provisions alone survive in the education bill's final form and they are severely pared down."

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