Friday, June 20, 2008

Cal Thomas - Gets ink in even The Anniston Star

Cal Thomas, a right wing nut job with a long record of foolishness, finds his way into my regional paper from back home with The next attack: Coming soon where he combines an attack on the Supremes, at least five of them, for their recent decision on the mess resulting from Bu$hCo's Overplaying Its Hand at Gitmo and beyond, with some other over the top writing.

The WaPo's Michael Ambramowitz files White House Dismissed Legal Advice On Detainees that further confirms how Bu$hCo ignored the advice of various lawyers and others within the gov't on indefinite detention that rationally explains how the Supremes came to the point where they once again had to step in and reel in the White House yet Cal and the fear mongers see a chance to push their radicalism. Cal Thomas should be ashamed. He writes:

Will the dead be wrapped in a copy of the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling granting foreign detainees, whose mission is to destroy our Constitution, our country and way of life, the right to appeal to U.S. civilian courts to challenge their detention, a right that should be reserved only for American citizens? Perhaps inside the caskets can go a statement by the State Department refusing to close Islamic schools underwritten by the government of Saudi Arabia, which teach visceral hatred of Jews, Christians and all things Western. ...

What is the purpose of the Saudi Islamic Academy and similar religious sites around the country if not to serve as cover for terrorists intent on endangering the public safety?

OMG! Let's ignore his over the top language and fear mongering and focus first on allegations related to the Islamic Saudi Academy. Google it and you'll get coverage ranging from World Nut Daily to Right Side News to Baptist Press to ... Please understand that I am in no way sympathetic to much of what the Kingdom of Saud represents and do indeed know that most of the 9-11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. The Saudis literally have us over a barrel. As an aside, the Bu$h family has a long relationship with the Saudis yet I consider that issue, like the ISA, a distraction from the larger issue that Cal is flailing.

One piece that caught my eye on the ISA was Cinnamon (no, I'm not making up that name) Stillwell's Islam in America's public schools: Education or indoctrination? in the San Francisco Chronicle, an allegedly liberal rag. Cinnamon is affiliated with Campus Watch and is perhaps paid to stir up a stink so I'm wondering why this paper gives her space. Campus Watch is the spawn of Daniel Pipes who was a part of the lies that Barack Obama is some sort of secret Muslim.

For a less hysterical look at the Islamic Saudi Academy I'll turn to the WaPo's Kirstin Downey for her Board Extends Saudi School's Lease: Supervisor Finds No Reason for Concern Over Textbooks, Teachings. She writes in part the following:

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, testified before the board in opposition to the extension of the lease, saying ... Saudi Arabian schools promote jihad, or religious war against nonbelievers.

She said she believes that county officials had made their decision out of "political correctness" and that it was a problem to have a school teaching violence so near ... Lafferty said Hyland was a "patsy" for the school.

This Traditional Values Coalition is an outfit that I'd ran across before yet failed to post on. I note their Who Are Barack And Michelle Obama? Their Homosexual Urban Legends is another. People for the American Way provides a solid summary of their efforts. Online Journal provides another. From back in 2004 Hanna Rosin of the WaPo also reports A Family Business: For the Rev. Lou Sheldon And His Daughter, Marriage Means Only One Thing.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's recent Saudi Arabia: USCIRF Confirms Material Inciting Violence, Intolerance Remains in Textbooks Used at Saudi Government's Islamic Saudi Academy indeed merits some concern yet they surely aren't claiming, as Cal is, that "We are allowing a training ground for future terrorists on American soil."

Cal also claims "the Supreme Court decision will cause collateral damage. Granting terrorists seized on the battlefield access to civilian courts also sends another message; America is not serious about winning the war." Looking like sissies with a system of law that at times works is obviously more dangerous than an Executive Branch running roughshod over our Consitution and traditions. My understanding is that people in the Middle East living under totalitarian regimes are watching with admiration how the Israelis are seemingly handling the corruption in their government. Might people in the world see the rule of law in a more favorable way than Cal suggests?

George Will, surely a conservative, even measured against Cal Thomas, filed Contempt Of Courts: McCain's Posturing On Guantanamo in the WaPo just recently where he writes in part the following:

The nine justices are of varying quality, but there are not five fools or knaves. The question of the detainees' -- and the government's -- rights is a matter about which intelligent people of good will can differ.

The purpose of a writ of habeas corpus is to cause a government to release a prisoner or show through due process why the prisoner should be held. Of Guantanamo's approximately 270 detainees, many certainly are dangerous "enemy combatants." Some probably are not. None will be released by the court's decision, which does not even guarantee a right to a hearing. Rather, it guarantees only a right to request a hearing. Courts retain considerable discretion regarding such requests.

As such, the Supreme Court's ruling only begins marking a boundary against government's otherwise boundless power to detain people indefinitely, treating Guantanamo as (in Barack Obama's characterization) "a legal black hole." And public habeas hearings might benefit the Bush administration by reminding Americans how bad its worst enemies are.

George Will's reasoning and writing on this case is certainly appreciated as opposed to Cal's rambling. And once again ... what is "the war"? You can't fight terror or extremism!

Cal also writes, " According to Justice Antonin Scalia, 30 former detainees have 'allegedly' returned to the battlefield to kill American troops and others. On whose hands should be their blood?" Tom Lasseter of McClatchy has a timely piece titled Studies differ on threat from Guantanamo detainees that throws a little water on Justice Scalia's thinking, plus the talking points that Cal and John McCain and ... will now recycle through the right wing echo chambers. Here's a great place to share McClatchy's Beyond the Law effort. Journalism is still being practiced by at least some outfits.

Cal then writes, "This is bound to demoralize our soldiers who will wonder why they should bother to seize terrorists at all if they are just going to be released. They might kill them all in the field, but then they would probably be court-martialed." Thanks for the confidence in my/our professionalism ... not that Cal understands that construct given his long record of spreading wingnuttery into the heartland. How and why this goober gets ink into so many places is truly a mystery to me. John Gunn

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