Warning: Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, and Balloon Boy are nowhere to be found in this list!
1. Iran Election Upheaval – Brave protestors took to the streets of Tehran and Twittered to the world shocking pictures and videos of civilian beatings and shootings by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, despite the inability of our Commander-in-Chief to raise an eyebrow over the carnage for a week. As “President” Ahmadinejad continues to mock the West’s demands that Iran halt its uranium enrichment, the outrage of the emboldened and mobilized protest movement has the potentially farthest-reaching consequences of any event in 2009.
2. Health Care Reform Debate – Simultaneously the most outrageous and boring story of 2009. On the one hand, we listened all year in disbelief as conservative think tanks unearthed fresh horrors in evolving versions of the bill; on the other hand, we listened to Democrats recite tired lies about “45 million uninsured” and “bending the cost curve” and “Nancy Pelosi approving a surtax on Botox.” As Obama supporter Camille Paglia admitted, “By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers.”
3. Climategate – In which more pages of e-mails and computer code than in all the healthcare reform bills combined were leaked to the press, revealing climate “scientists” fudging data, threatening to delete data, and doing everything but counting pregnant chads to make the results come out the way they wanted. Here’s a deal for Michael Mann, author of the discredited “hockey stick” graph of global temperature over the past few millennia: if “trick,” “hide,” and “decline” no longer mean what they once did, then neither do “dire,” “peer-reviewed,” or “consensus.” read more »
Tea Partiers are American Patriots
There's a bit of a flurry of interest in the Tea Party movement since the Wall St Journal released a poll yesterday saying that the movement is viewed more positively than either the Democrat or Republican parties. 41% of respondents have a positive view while only 24% have a negative one. What does it mean? For one thing, the leftist journalists who have sought to marginalize the movement are out of touch with reality. OK, we already knew that.
Is the Tea party movement on its way to becoming a third party? A majority party, even?
I think not. I wrote a month ago about the "Tea Party" registered in Florida. Although I consider it a bit tacky to quote one's self, here's what I said then:
...The strength of the Tea Party movement is in holding all parties accountable, especially for fiscal responsibility. We should seek out, encourage, support and endorse candidates who hold our values regardless of party.
In short, the Tea Party movement should not become a formal political party. Ned Ryun of American Majority seems to agree with me:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5uc1vPknow&hl=en_US&fs=1&] read more »
Lindsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, Dede Scozzafava… Whoops—that’s the Huffington Post’s Top 10 Conservatives of 2009!
10. Hannah Giles, Conservative Activist and “Performing Artist” – Twenty-year-old Giles helped bust ACORN with her brilliantly direct scheme of walking right into their offices and asking if they’d help her set up a prostitution ring with underage El Salvadoran girls, to which they responded by falling all over themselves to comply. It’s so horrifying it’s like those classic psychology experiments in which researchers had no idea their subjects would actually carry out their instructions, like Stanley Milgram’s electric shock experiment.
9. Sarah Palin, Democratic Congressional Reelection Death Panelist – This summer Palin helped put Democrats’ health care “reform” initiative on indefinite life support by identifying the logical conclusion of their plans to expand health care coverage while slashing Medicare and not increasing the deficit—i.e., health care rationing, or “death panels.” In addition to resigning in July and saving Alaskans millions by heading off costly and baseless ethics complaints against her, she released an autobiography that’s on track to become the best-selling political memoir ever.
8. Dick Cheney, Former Vice President and Current Presidential Superego – If there’s anything that can compensate for not having Dick Cheney as VP anymore, it’s getting to hear him expound on the pigheaded mistakes the new President is making again and again on foreign policy. Cheney hammered Obama for promising to close Guantanamo Bay, for releasing the “torture” memos, for “dithering” over his decision on General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan, and for bringing self-confessed 9/11 masterminds to Manhattan for civilian trials. read more »
One of the shortcomings I remember the most about the Christian elementary school I attended was how a number of the less-than dedicated educators would punish all of the students for the misbehavior of a single pupil. To this day, I remain convinced this had more to do with lazy teachers preferring not to mess around with recess than correcting actually delinquency.
As miniature societies, the dynamics of schools often reflect the processes that govern nations and countries. Unfortunately, the good students --- or rather citizens in the macrocosmic case --- are having something that is by every right their's taken away just because those in charge don't want to deal with those out to ruin things for everyone.
For nearly 15 years (or at least since I've been writing about the topic annually), Christians and allied conservatives have waged a noble effort against secularists claiming the First Amendment, through an expansionist interpretation of the Separation Clause, forbids the erection of Nativity scenes and even less conspicuously devout Christmas symbols on public property.
Since Christmas has become a pivotal component of our culture, most Americans instinctively recoil at efforts to banish the beloved winter festival even if they are not particularly religious. Thus to be successful, secularists realized they would need to pursue a different strategy.
One of the foundational dictums (feigning a posture of sophistication, those of this mindset eschew the notion of creeds) of radical ecumenicalism is that, if you can’t beat them, join them. However, the ecumenicalist does not seek union or compromise with the more thoroughgoing traditionalist for the purposes of common ground but rather to eventually wear down the traditionalist to the point where the traditionalist capitulates to the original demands of the ecumenicalist. read more »
I hate to have to point out the obvious to the rosy-cheeked, starry-eyed eco-warriors heading en masse to the international global warming summit this week (OK—I love to point it out), but the fact is that the Copenhagen Climate Conference is going to be, on every level, a monumental failure.
As has been reported for months, the nations of the world have not agreed, and will not agree, to legally binding reductions or limits on carbon dioxide emissions at the conference. The biggest “polluters” are least likely to volunteer to give up their 21st-century living standards (the U.S., Australia, Canada) or their efforts to achieve such (China, India, Brazil).
As George Will noted, the U.S. population in 2050 will have risen to 420 million, which means that if we honor Obama’s pledge to reduce our nation’s “carbon footprint” by then to 80% below 2005 levels, emissions per capita “will be about what they were in 1875. That. Will. Not. Happen.”
Even climate change alarmists admit that pledges hinted at by Obama for Copenhagen and outlined in the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed by the House this summer will have barely any effect on the earth’s climate.
And even if Obama decided to place some of his rapidly swelling political capital on the line and make a pledge for emissions reductions at Copenhagen, it wouldn’t be legally binding, because any treaty must be ratified by the U.S. Senate, which has already demonstrated its hostility to the less ambitious Waxman-Markey bill.
If all of this isn’t promising enough, Copenhagen delegates’ support from their constituencies for making firm commitments to reduce emissions will be diluted by several other factors. One is the laughable hypocrisy on display in conference attendees’ lavish, luxury-filled, CO2 emission-intensive accommodations and entertainments. The UK Telegraph documents that the summit, including jet and limousine travel, “will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of ‘carbon dioxide equivalent,’” about the same as the daily emissions of 30 smaller countries. This is even after Al Gore canceled his talk in Copenhagen and the extra fuel required to fly him there was subtracted from the total. read more »
More government means less liberty
I had a meeting recently with a government official about a project I was set to work on. He opened the meeting with "What makes you an expert?" I was to prove to him, right then and there, why I was qualified to do this project because, he said, he was paying my salary. As the discussion progressed, it became obvious that he had very little knowledge of my area of expertise--yet there he sat in judgment.
This little episode explains a lot about why Ronald Reagan said government is not the answer--government is the problem. If Congress passes its health care take-over bill, this little scene will be replayed all over America countless times.
The first problem is that this man had absolutely no experience outside of government. He really couldn't comprehend the value of the efficiencies I would bring to his organization from private enterprise and the free market. Cabinet appointees in the Obama administration have a shockingly low amount of experience outside of government:
Yet by virtue of his government position this man felt he had the ability and the right to judge whether I am an expert in my field or not. My field has certified me as an expert, but that wasn't good enough for him. Imagine now that bureaucrat judging whether you need a certain medical procedure or not. Doesn't matter whether your doctor--an acknowledged expert in his or her field--has said you need it. It's the government's opinion that matters. read more »
Read this book and understand the American ideal
I just finished reading Sarah Palin's autobiography. The whole book--not just Chapter 1 as Deborah J. Saunders, who wrote a dismissive review on Townhall last week, obviously did. Not just the juicy campaign parts that the media immediately pounced on. As Sarah herself might say, the whole kit and caboodle.
I'll give you my appraisal up front: it's a great book. I'd read her biography by Kaylene Johnson last year so I already had a good idea of who the real Sarah Palin is. Palin's book is about 400 pages and the first half mirrored in greater depth the events of Sarah's life before she burst on the national stage in August 2008.
The second half deals with the vice presidential campaign, the events up to her resignation from the governorship and the writing of the book itself. The campaign parts are fascinating to someone who's never been on the inside of a political campaign but who did watch the events of 2008 unfold. It is very honest, complimentary to many and not so much to others. She doesn't give herself a pass either. It's been written that she plays the victim. I didn't read it that way at all.
I can't help but contrast this biography with those of Barack Obama. She didn't have a ghost-writer and she sticks to the facts. That's a big difference between the conservative mindset with an emphasis on facts and rationality and the liberal one with an emphasis on feelings and where the truth is relative.
I would also say that this is an important book. Read it and reflect on it. If, when you finish reading this book, you still don't understand or agree with Sarah Palin, then you don't really understand or agree with the ideal of America. She's as American as apple pie: a strong faith and a belief in fiscal responsibility, limited government, and the unlimited potential of the American people.
Obama's Address Between the Lines
The MSM and the blogosphere are surfeited with comments on President Obama's Afghanistan policy described in his Tuesday night address at the U.S. Military academy. I have taken the liberty of including some marginal comments (in italics) to the full text below. Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Eisenhower Hall Theatre, United States Military Academy at West Point, West Point, New York
8:01 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. To the United States Corps of Cadets (Perhaps the United States Military Academy Corps of Cadets, but not to be noticed by those with no familiarity with it),to the men and women of our Armed Services (This is a speech about war, can't we remember to call these folks the Armed Forces?), and to my fellow Americans: I want to speak to you tonight about our effort inAfghanistan -- the nature of our commitment there, the scope of ourinterests, and the strategy that my administration will pursue to bringthis war to a successful conclusion. It's an extraordinary honor forme to do so here at West Point -- where so many men and women haveprepared to stand up for our security, and to represent what is finestabout our country.
To address these important issues, it's important to recall whyAmerica and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan inthe first place. We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001,19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. Theytook the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard totheir faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions ofpassengers onboard one of those flights, they could have also struck at (another)one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killedmany more. read more »
If, like most Americans, you doubt scientists will ever demonstrate a direct link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, try wrapping your mind around any of the following deeply implausible scenarios in the wake of the recent Climategate scandal:
(1) The Climate Research Unit at the UK’s University of East Anglia, origin of the thousands of pages of leaked e-mails and computer code two weeks ago, will honor requests to obtain the CRU data used to produce results showing steady global temperature increases over the past 150 years.
Phil Jones, head of CRU, who resigned yesterday in light of the fraud, once e-mailed U.S. colleague Michael Mann, “[D]on’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them… If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone… We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
(2) The CRU has its own data it has collected over the years and the programs to use this data to replicate its previously published results, or can figure out how to reproduce these programs.
Here are a few nuggets from the infamous “HARRY_READ_ME” text file containing three years’ worth of notes (2006-2009) documenting one CRU scientist’s attempt to reconstruct published temperature data using the center’s poorly documented datasets and computer code:
“I immediately found a mistake! Scanning forward to 1951 was done with a loop that, for completely unfathomable reasons, didn’t include months! So we read 50 grids instead of 600!!!” read more »
British Balls calls for mandatory sex education. The Secretary of Education there has announced that students over the age of 15 can no longer be exempt from compulsory instruction regarding human procreation and physical relationships. The parents of students failing to report to these classes could be fined or prosecuted.
Rosie O'Donnel denounced Glenn Beck as a carnival barker. If that's the case, then as a lesbian, wouldn't she be the bearded lady?
Cheryl Crowe is to be at National Christmas tree lighting. Wonder if this witch flew into town on a single sheet of toilet paper.
Are you morally obligated to obey a command from government that is not based upon any established law? That is the conundrum faced by a Perkaise, Pennsylvania woman who received a call from local authorities asking her not to dry her laundry on the clothesline and anonymous written threats from neighbors saying the practice made the COMMUNITY look like trailer trash. If these liberals are such prudes that they can’t stand the sight of someone’s unmentionables dangling in the breeze on private property, perhaps they should go back to the inner city slums they fled from even though they will continue to insist upon how much they embrace diversity.
The entire fiasco leading to the Kelo decision may have been for no other reason than to show that the power existed to do it. After demolishing the homes snatched from their owners, Pfizer has announced it has changed its mind and no longer wants to expand its complex on the disputed parcel.
With the government ready to seize control of a significant percentage of the U.S. economy in the form of pending healthcare reform legislation, it seems representatives of every form known of tyranny want their specific cut. And spiritual charlatans are no exception. Believing pain and sickness do not really exist, Christian Scientists want to be reimbursed for praying away something that is not even there to begin with. read more »
In their quest to pass health care reform legislation, Democrats have been cheating death, robbing Peter to pay Paul, taking candy from babies, lying through their teeth, moving the goalposts, and burning the candle at both ends. It is about to catch up with them.
If I were an editorial cartoonist, I’d depict Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as Tarzan and Jane, swinging through the forest, dangling a ragtag bundle of Congressional Democrats in a net trap, eking their way from one tree to the next as each vine snaps behind them, nearly sending them to their death in the jaws of lions below.
Here are a few of the nine lives Congressional Democrats have used up in recent months:
(1) The House version of the bill passed in a squeaker of a vote, 220-215, three weeks ago. Two Democrats voting the other way would have killed the bill (not 3, since Republican Representative Joseph Cao cast his vote for the bill only once he was sure it would pass without him).
(2) The Senate agreed to begin debate on its version of the bill in another squeaker of a vote this weekend, which was preceded by a $300,000,000 payoff to Senator Mary Landrieu for Louisiana (thanks for the revised figure, Mary!). As Dana Milbank noted, this sum is 20 times the price of the original Louisiana Purchase, which at least bought us 14 states. As The New York Post observed, based on Louisiana Representative William Jefferson’s recent 13-year sentence for accepting a $100,000 bribe, Landrieu should spend the next 39,000 years in jail. read more »
Harnessing the power of grassroots activism
In response to the formation of a Tea Party Party in Florida, I wrote last week that I didn't think it was a good idea for the Tea Party movement to become a political party.
The strength of the Tea Party movement is in holding all parties accountable, especially for fiscal responsibility. We should seek out, encourage, support and endorse candidates who hold our values regardless of party.
I think it's time to begin building a strategy for what the Tea Parties can and should do to bring this nation back to a path of fiscal responsibility and limited, constitutional government. Here's a list of activities for a start:
- Activist recruitment/training
- Education on issues
- Promoting Tea Party values
- Voter registration
- Communication with parties & candidates
- Promoting specific candidates
The first three are already being done throughout the country. There are something over 800 local Tea Party organizations. That is an unprecedented rise in grass-roots activism. We've organized rallies, marches and demonstrations. We've flooded our elected representatives with email, faxes and phone calls. We've caused many of them to cancel town hall meetings and turn off their answering machines--not a good thing to be sure, but a predictable response from those who weren't in office to represent us in the first place. read more »
Live Free or Die
In the wake of the senate vote Saturday night, it's a fair question to ask. The People are against the Democrats' health care bill be the widest margins ever: 38% to 56% according to a Rasmussen poll released today. There has never been a majority in favor of it and the more people find out about it the less we like it.
Yet the Democrats seem not to care in the slightest. Their idea, communicated back in January, is "We counted in November and we won." They imply they are free to do whatever they want. In a parliamentary democracy that may work: The voters typically endorse a party and it's platform which it then enacts. In this country, however, the Constitution limits what any party may do. We also have a tradition of compromise and bipartisanship often lacking in parliamentary systems like Italy and Israel where smaller, ideological parties struggle to form and maintain majorities.
It should be clear to the American people by now that the Democrats have changed the game and have an agenda that has nothing to do with creating jobs, fixing the economy, or fighting the war on terror. The things Americans thought they were voting for have taken a back seat to a so-called "Stimulus" bill, health care legislation, cap-and-trade and any number of initiatives designed primarily to ensure they never get voted out of office. read more »
There is no duty to support a tyrant
More ink is being spilled--mostly metaphorically--over the reference to Psalm 109:8. As I wrote in my last post, the left is horrified and points to the rest of the Psalm as evidence of evil intent. But I've heard even honest Christians decry the use of the scriptural reference--most prominently David R. Stokes on Townhall who calls it "a joke too far."
The battle for the soul of America is deadly serious business and I for one don't mind a little levity in it. What concerns me more is the justification Stokes and others use for not referring to the psalm:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Tim 2:1-2)
Using that reference as justification shows precious little understanding of our Constitutional republic. 1 Tim 2:1-3 was used for centuries in Christian countries as justification for the people to support the king. For his part, the king was answerable to God for his treatment of his subjects. This theory was "the divine right of kings."
That verse is wholly inappropriate in this country. In 1776 we declared that the king had broken his pact with God by over-taxing his American subjects and that therefore we had the right to rebel and to declare our independence. read more »
It just keeps getting weirder
There are some (I think) humorous emails and bumper stickers going around referencing Psalm 109:8:
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
Good for a chuckle--especially when considering the Constitutional line of succession--unless you're a committed leftist. The Huffington Post reports on this "latest...thinly-veiled..death threats." I wrote about this on September 18: only Republican presidents get shot. Curiously, the National Archives piece I looked up refers to Lincoln and McKinley being "shot"; only Kennedy was "assassinated." Be that as it may, they all died of their wounds.
In the late 1980s my wife was working in the county library system in Maryland. One day a young man offered the observation that President Reagan "deserved" to be shot because he was taking away "our welfare rights." You see, the left thinks in those terms. The idea that conservatives would do the same is another case of the myopic mirror-imaging that the left engages in.
When do conservatives commit physical, political violence? Discounting the Revolution itself one could start with the Whiskey Rebellion against taxes under Washington and include John Brown's Raid against Harper's Ferry in 1859. After that? Don't think so. Let me know if you can think of any. read more »
Perhaps it’s not surprising that President Obama would think nothing of subjecting Manhattan to the spectacle of a civilian court trial against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. This is the administration that thought having an F-16 trail Air Force One around Ground Zero on a workday morning was a good idea.
On the other hand, perhaps we should view KSM as Obama’s consolation prize for failing to secure the 2016 Olympics on U.S. soil. (How much tourism revenue will KSM’s trial bring to lower Manhattan?)
To try KSM and his four co-conspirators in federal court, New York will have to create a de facto Guantanamo Bay—one that is smaller than but as secure as the real thing. The city will need to spend millions of dollars ensuring extra protection for the courthouse, the densely populated neighborhood—indeed all of downtown—including shipping in hundreds of U.S. marshals from other jurisdictions. They will have to make special efforts to protect the judge, prosecutors, jury, federal agents, and witnesses, all of whom will receive death threats and will need armed protection.
As Rudy Guiliani noted, trying those who planned 9/11 in a civilian court in lower Manhattan is like trying those who planned Pearl Harbor in a civilian court in Hawaii.
The trial will drag on for years and New York will face extra, unnecessary risk during every day of the circus. Manhattan will be placed in the international spotlight and become a prominent stage for jihadists to stage a suicide or car bombing. Would-be attackers won’t have to do it right in front of the courthouse—anyplace in Manhattan would capture headlines and give encouragement to the Islamist cause worldwide. read more »
Early in American history, one was pretty much free to do as one saw fit on one's property so long as it was moral especially if one lived in a rural area where one's actions were not likely to encroach upon the sensibilities of one's neighbors. However, now it seems the landholdings of the United States in general and private property in specific are for everyone else to decide what to do with except the one to which it is titled.
As of September 1, 2009, the Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries has announced that it is illegal to artificially feed the deer through the first Saturday in January. This regulation is part of a program to keep the number of deer in check.
In other words, it is hoped that a number of them will starve to death during the winter months. If pristine, untouched nature is to be the standard by which our actions and decisions are to be judged, then shouldn't we speak plainly as to the policy's goals and intentions?
While the government has every right to set policy as to what it wants done on public lands and in state parks, private property holders should be able to do in regards to this issue on their own lots and in their own yards what they themselves believe best. Not everyone is going to feed the deer to begin with.
It should be noted that this bureaucratic mandate will go beyond regulating one single activity. According to a story posted at Harrisonburg Daily News Record titled "Deer Feeding Now Illegal", those with deer eating the seed spilled from birdfeeders will be ordered to temporarily take their feeders down.
Seems unwanted deer aren't the only extraneous animals authorities hope will die off and I am not talking about the birds. Obama's healthcare plan hopes that the aged demographic will simply throw in the towel with little resistance so that resources might be directed towards preferred groups such as illegal aliens. read more »
The Tea Party movement is not a political party--nor should it be.
It was inevitable. Politico reported last week that Florida lawyer Frederic O’Neal registered a party in Florida back in August. The report notes
The Tea Party will become one of 32 minor political parties certified by the state, including also the Real Food Party of the United States of America, the Prohibition Party, and the Florida Socialist Workers Party. Its website is not live.
No attempt to marginalize the new party there. CBS News picked up the story and wrote
Even though the conservative lost in that race, "tea partiers" and other conservatives "remain convinced they're on the right side of history," CBSNews.com's Charles Cooper wrote. "And in writing down their morning-after election analyses... they also delivered a hard-edged message to the Republican establishment: Get behind us or get out of the way."
"...that race" of course refers to NY-23, the only race conservatives lost that day. Tea Party activists campaigned for Doug Hoffman toward the end and may have been the force that took his candidacy from dead last to almost first. I wrote about that on Nov 5. read more »
New crisis, new mandate
This is really just too good to pass up. FoxNews quotes a Washington Post article yesterday:
In the wake of last summer's deadly Metro crash in Washington, D.C., the Obama administration reportedly plans to propose that subway and light-rail systems across the country fall under federal oversight.
What's this all about? Two Metro trains crashed on June 22nd, killing nine people. Here's an AP story on the crash. The current Washington Post story quotes Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as saying:
After the train crash, we were all sitting around here scratching our heads, saying, 'Hey, we've got to do something about this'," LaHood said. "And we discovered that there's not much we could do, because the law wouldn't allow us to do it.
What to do? Pity the poor Transportation Secretary, hamstrung by the law. Think, think, think. I know! Let's have federal oversight of all mass transit systems. That's the ticket! read more »
The bad choices and likely worse outcomes
The weekend news reports and talk show discussions are full of viewpoints regarding the announced terrorism trials to be held in New York City. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani remarked on the security threats trials in New York would pose as well as the publicity platform which such trials may provide to the defendants. Meanwhile, the AP reports Senator Patrick Leahy D-Vt, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed the opinion, "If someone murders Americans in this country, they should be tried in the U.S" Senator Leahy has apparently missed the Supreme Court interpretation that the prisoners held in Guantanamo are within the U.S. at least for the purposes of access to the federal courts.Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., also commented on holding the trials in New York. He mentioned that the terrorists to be tried want to be considered holy warriors or jihadists which could be corroborated by a military commission trial. Reed is quoted as saying: "if we try them before military officers, that image of a soldier will be portrayed by the Islamic community. That's not the image we want."The real muddle created by pursuing a criminal trial in federal court may be directly connected not to security, or sound bites, but to the legal details of trying the defendants. Senator Reed's comments suggest the desire to see the acts committed by those to be tried as criminal acts amenable to a criminal trial. If we accept that reasoning, we must also consider the due process requirements that a criminal trial requires.The defendants for the trials in New York are reported to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.According to the London based Telegraph Mohammed confessed to Yosri Fouda, an al-Jazeera reporter that he took part in the planning for the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001 (Attacks depicted in the accompanying Pulitzer prize winning photo by Steve Ludlum, New York Times staff photographer). He was captured in March 2003 at a house in Rawalpindi Pakistan. He made his al-Jazeera confession alongside Ramzi bin al-Sibh. Although he allegedly participated in the planning for 9/11, al-Sibh was unable to get a U.S. visa and was unable to directly participate in the attacks. Walid bin Attash is suspected of training some of the 9/11 hijackers while Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi is supsected of organizing the financing for the 9/11 attackers. Ali Abdal Aziz Ali is the maternal nephew of Mohammed and is also believed to have participated in the financing and logistics for the 9/11 attacks. 18 USC 2331 provides definitions for the following criminal articles relating to terrorism. It appears to be limited in application by the the apparent intent of the participants. The required elements of the definition are that overt acts are intended to coerce a civilian population, or influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping and with the overt acts occuring within United States territory.Terrorism penalties are prescribed in the following section 2332. The death penalty in this section is allowed only for murdering a U.S. national outside the United States but participation in a conspiracy resulting in murder is not a capital offense.It would seem that the conspiracy that each of the defendants are accused of participating in cannot result in a death penalty finding. The elements of the offense with regard to intent also would seem difficult to establish and prove. Indeed it is entirely possible that the intent of the attack was simply to cause death and destruction and not necessarily to coerce the population, influence government policy or affect the conduct of the government. It is possible however that the last element, affecting the conduct of the government to withdraw military forces from within the claimed Moslem caliphate may have been a motive.Before the elements can be proved however, the government will need to establish that the arrests of the defendants took place pursuant to a warrant properly sworn and issued and that the defendants were given the due process protections required under the fourth amendment such as advise of the charges, warnings against self incrimination, access to effective counsel, and opportunity for writ of habeas corpus. During the trial they will also need to be given access to call witnesses and confront all witnesses against them. These may be problematic.When we look outside the criminal process, we can consider the actions of the defendants in terms of acts of war. If they were acts of war they could be held as prisoners though out the duration of the conflict until properly exchanged. If they were acts of war, and they were combatants, the military forces of the United States would be obliged to kill them whenever or wherever found unless they surrendered or became incapable of defense. If they were acts of war the intent of each individual participant is not subject to review, as each combatant is equally subject to the use of deadly military force against them without regard to their individual circumstances, motives or intent. Violations of the law of war committed during the conduct of war are separately and individually punishable.Taking all of the above into consideration, it is substantially likely that the criminal prosecutions against these defendants may founder on the legal issues and the administration may come to regret wading into this legal quagmire, especially for the sake of denying jihadist status to the defendants.