- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

Response awaited

The highest criminal court in Texas has asked prosecutors to respond to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s request that the charges against him be dismissed.

The all-Republican appeals court on Tuesday gave prosecutors a week to submit arguments regarding the request filed Friday by DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin. The court will decide whether to take the case after the prosecutors’ response is received.

DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden issued a statement Tuesday night saying the court had agreed to hear the case. A court official said yesterday that was incorrect. The court’s order had noted that Mr. DeLay has filed the request and “it is ordered that the state may respond to these pleadings no later than one week from the date of this order.”

In his motion, Mr. DeGuerin argues the indictments against his client are factually baseless.

Mr. DeLay was forced to step aside as majority leader after he was indicted on money-laundering and conspiracy charges in September.

He has been pressing for the court to address the charges quickly because he wants to regain his post before his colleagues call for new leadership elections next month. The case has been on hold while prosecutors appeal a judge’s dismissal of some of the charges.

Shy guys

New Hampshire’s all-Republican congressional delegation appears to be shying away from the national GOP as Democrats grow ever stronger in the state, the Boston Globe reports.

“Reps. Jeb Bradley and Charles Bass voted for expanded stem-cell research and opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Bradley declined to endorse Bush’s Social Security plan,” reporter Rick Klein writes.

Sen. John E. Sununu opposed Bush’s plan for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, joined a filibuster to insert civil liberties protections into the USA Patriot Act, and voted against his party leadership on several major spending bills.

“Even the state’s senior senator, Judd Gregg, who is a member of the GOP leadership and generally backs the party’s priorities, voted against the transportation bill and the massive energy bill that grew out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.

“The delegation members say they are acting in the tradition of the state’s libertarian brand of conservatism, even if the national GOP moves in a different direction. But Democrats and some independent observers, pointing to the fact that Sen. John F. Kerry beat President Bush in New Hampshire, and that Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, is the most popular official in the state, say the Republican senators and congressmen are trying to distance themselves from an increasingly unpopular national GOP.”

Dishonest reporting

“A poll by Rasmussen Reports [yesterday] illustrates the pervasive dishonesty of the American press in dealing with the New York Times story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) intercepts of international communications,” John Armor writes at www.NewsBusters.org.

“There are both minor dishonesties and major ones in this story as first reported by the Times and later a gaggle of reports throughout the media,” Mr. Armor writes.

“The major dishonesties are demonstrated by the two questions asked in the Rasmussen poll just reported. Here’s the first, and the responses:

“Should the National Security Agency be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States? Yes, 64 percent. No, 23 percent.

“The key fact is that these conversations cross international boundaries. Many parts of the MSM [mainstream media] persist in calling this ‘domestic’ spying. This is a lie. These calls are international, not domestic.

“Here’s the second question and the responses:

“Is President Bush the first president to authorize a program for intercepting telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States? Yes, 26 percent. No, 48 percent

“Answers to the second question are particularly telling. Even though most of the media and all of the Democrat leaders in Congress are suggesting that these intercepts are new and unjustified by President Bush, 48 percent of those polled do NOT believe that Bush is the first president to authorize such efforts.

“Next, the minor dishonesties: The press persist in calling these ‘wiretaps,’ whereas they are actually electronic intercepts made by satellites and other international methods I won’t mention here. Fox News contributed mightily to this misconception by using a graphic of someone attaching a clip and wire to a telephone junction box. That image repeated the lie that these are physical intercepts within the U.S.

“Other minor lies include the idea that this is new. The blogosphere has thoroughly reported the executive orders of both President Carter and President Clinton, approving such intelligence efforts, and the five court decisions approving such efforts, one by the Supreme Court and one by the FISA Court itself.

“Note the wide coverage of Judge [James] Robertson, who resigned from the FISA Court, but not from the federal bench, while failing to report his highly partisan history and the fact that the whole FISA Court disagrees with his opinion. Judge Robertson was appointed by President Clinton, and is known for dismissing without trial a number of charges against Clinton administration officials.”

Mindless relativism

“When you think about it, World War II was far from black and white,” Max Boot writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Sure, the German and Japanese militarists were evil, but Britain and the United States did terrible things, too. They killed hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians, and they allied themselves with the Soviet Union, which was every bit as awful as the Axis. The outcome was ambiguous because, although Germany and Japan were defeated, the Iron Curtain descended from Eastern Europe to North Korea,” Mr. Boot said.

“Yet for 60 years, Hollywood has had no problem making movies that depict World War II as a struggle of good versus evil. Rightly so. Because for all the Allies’ faults, they were the good guys.

“For some reason, Hollywood can’t take an equally clear-eyed view of the war on terrorism. The current conflict, pitting the forces of freedom against those of Islamo-fascism, is every bit as clear cut as World War II. Yet fashionable filmmakers insist on painting both sides in shades of gray, as if Israeli secret agents or American soldiers were comparable to al Qaeda killers. Two of the most serious holiday flicks — ‘Syriana’ and ‘Munich’ — are case studies in mindless moral relativism and pathetic pseudo-sophistication.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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