Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at US airports because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the Government's "no-fly list".
It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while waiting to have babies' passports and other documents faxed.
Ingrid Sanden's year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving. "I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," Mrs Sanden said. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."
The Government's lists of people who are either barred from flying or require extra scrutiny before being allowed to board planes ballooned since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union say the Government doesn't provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can be caught up in the security sweep if they happen to have the same name as someone on the lists.
That can happen even if the person happens to be an infant such as Mrs Sanden's daughter. "It was bizarre," Mrs Sanden said. "I was hugely pregnant, and I was like, 'We look really threatening'."
Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the Government list.
They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took half an hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.
"I understand that security is important," Ms Zapolsky said. "But if … we have to give up our passport to prove that our 11-month-old is not a terrorist, it's a waste of their time."
No-fly lists beyond a joke for angry parents
Prime Minister John Howard says he is sorry Australia cannot do anything about the early release of convicted Bali bombing ringleader Abu Bakar Bashir.They only killed white people, after all.
Indonesian authorities have decided to cut Bashir's sentence by four and a half months as part of celebrations to mark 60 years of the country's independence, despite protests from Australia.
Australian ambassador David Ritchie has spoken to the Indonesian government but nothing can be done to reverse the decision, Mr Howard says.
"One of the (Indonesian) ministers has pointed out this is something that automatically happens under Indonesian law," Mr Howard told reporters.
"I'm sorry - and so, I think, is the minister - that because of the relative automaticity of the law no change can be made.
"If there are any further avenues that we can legitimately pursue we will do so, but it should be borne in mind that all countries have a certain independence when it comes to the penal and justice system."
Labor has called on the federal government to press Indonesia to intervene in the decision by which Bashir will be released from jail in just 10 months.
But Mr Howard said that just as his government did not control jail sentences in Australia, the Indonesian government could not influence its court system.
Bashir is serving a two and a half year jail sentence for his role in instigating the October 2002 bombings in which the 202 people were killed including 88 Australians.
Seventeen other men convicted over the bombings, and who were originally jailed for up to 16 years, reportedly received three month reductions.
RUSH: John in San Diego, you're next. Welcome to the program. Nice to have you with us.I call that an ass-handing-to. Watch it here. And thank you, Rush Limbaugh.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I believe that Cindy Sheehan is bringing up one important point, though.
RUSH: What's that?
CALLER: If this is a valiant and noble cause, why don't we have [sic] any senators sons or House of Representatives sons volunteering to go over there? Why isn't the president's daughters doing something for the war effort, if this is such a valiant effort? And that's the primary purpose that she has made this protest for, is the fact that the average person is being used as cannon fodder basically for this effort, and it's not a noble cause.
RUSH: John, you disappoint me, but you don't surprise me. No war is noble as far as you all are concerned. The US is guilty. This argument is tiresome, boring, and specious. Why didn't the president's daughters go? It's a volunteer force! The president didn't "send" Cindy Sheehan's son over there; he volunteered. If she is doing anything, she is sullying his memory. She is making his life worthless. She is making what he volunteered to do worthless, and you guys, you don't see this. There are sons, there are family members of elected officials in Washington who have been and are in Iraq. It's not a great number, but they are there. But it's not a draft, and the president can't choose who goes. It's a volunteer army and everything that you said is doing a disservice to those who have volunteered to represent this country and serve this country and their families, and if I were you, I would be ashamed and try to grow up and get a little maturity.
RUSH: My friends, there's another reason why the Sheehan thing is going to derail, why this train is going to derail, and that's because look at who her public relations outfit is. It's the mainstream press. They don't have universal respect anymore. They don't even have any concept of how they are harming her cause by championing it, but I want to talk about something larger here with you liberals. I know there are a lot of you here in the audience. We hear from you now and then, and it may be a waste of my time but I'm going to try it anyway. But I think you all need to look at things differently than you do. You need to take your focus off of government. You know how absurd it is for us to hear that a war is ignoble because the president's kids aren't there or because congressmen's kids aren't there? Do you know how irrelevant that is? Do you know who makes this country work? Can I ask you people on the left if you have the slightest idea who makes this country work? Because I'll tell you, it's not the president, I don't care who he is, and it's not Congress, and I don't care who they are. The people who make this country work are the people, and they're people you've never heard of. They are people unlike Cindy Sheehan, who are not seeking publicity, they are not seeking fame. They take life seriously. They try to mix their work and pleasure into a proper balance. They try to raise their kids the right way. They're doing everything they can to follow the straight-and-narrow. They sometimes slip off, but the people who make this country work, the fabled average American. That's who you liberals condemn, whether you know it or not. That's who you impugn. It's always been the case.
World War II was not won by Eisenhower. World War II was not won by FDR. World War II was not won by any particular leader. World War II was not won by Patton. Everybody played a role. But without the sons and daughters of the American people, this country wouldn't amount to anything. It is the people who make this country work, and the ease with which those of you on the left disparage the people in this country while you seek to focus all attention on government, is a sight to behold, and it is why you are losing elections; it is why you are losing favor; it is why you are becoming more fringe and extreme and kooky, because you've lost touch. You've lost contact. You've lost all ability to understand who it is that comprises the heart and soul of this country. You have no clue who the backbone of this country is; but I will tell you this: it's not Cindy Sheehan and it's not one member of her entourage in a ditch in Crawford, Texas. Those people are a bunch of squatters. Those people right now are contributing nothing to the greatness or future of this country. Neither are the members of the media who are down there trying to elevate all those people in the ditch to be superheroes. There's not one of them that comes anywhere near rating the title of hero. They are nothing but a bunch of squatters who are miserable and unhappy for who knows whatever reasons and deciding to take it out on people who they think have control over their lives. In this case, with a bunch of liberals, it's government. You want government to have control over your life, you want government to be able to do this and that for your friends and neighbors and help you, but the simple truth of this country is that it's the people who make this country work. It is the people who comprise the economy.
It is the people who comprise the morality. It is the people of this country who determine the ethics. It is the people of this country, and that's what you're upset about because you're in the minority. The people of this country, the people who make this country work differ from you in tremendous ways. They are religious. They are God-fearing. They respect values and morality. They know what's right and they know what's wrong, and they do their best to abide. You are offended by all that, claiming they don't have the right to make such decisions, while you sit around and make no decisions whatsoever because you're willing to totally put your life in the hands of some liberal politician and that will take you off the hook for having to make any decision about your life or anybody else's. Well, that's not how the country works. This country works on the basis of an educated and informed public seeking excellence in their own lives to whatever degree they wish it. People pursuing life the best they can, using freedom, God-given freedom -- and for you to call here and to come up with something as irrelevant as to say this war is not worth it because the president's kids aren't there or because nobody from Washington's kids are there doesn't say a thing about the war effort, doesn't say one thing about it, doesn't make it noble, doesn't make it ignoble, doesn't make it anything, because the war is taking place. Whether you agree with the fact that it's going on or not, we all have come to the decision that it's best that we win it. You haven't even joined us on that. You hope we lose it. You want to lose it because you want to embarrass the leaders of the country. What must your lives be like?
Are your lives so endless, baseless, and void of substance that the only pleasure you get from life is through watching the misery of others and trying to cause misery for others? Are you so incapable of enjoying the God-given gift of life that you've got, that you can only do so when other people are suffering, hopefully as a result of actions you've taken? What must it be like to be you people? What must it be like to get up every day and to have to go to your calendar and write "Destroy somebody today. Destroy something today. Destroy America today"? What must that be like? When you look out across the country and you see a burgeoning economy, you see the lone world superpower -- and it's not because of any president, and it's not because of any weapon, and it's not because of any military, it's because of the people of this country and our values and our Constitution. We're no different than any other people, other than we have freedom -- and you don't even like that! You only want freedom for yourselves, defined as you define it. So people can't say things that offend you, they can't do things that offend you, we can't have stupid names for sports teams. The absurdity of this whole political correctness movement. We can't have some team called the Redskins, we can't have some team called the Seminoles. Don't you understand these team names do it, it's an honor? Do you think a school calls itself the Seminoles to make fun of the Seminoles or are they trying to build themselves up? It's a matter of pride. But you people are so miserably unhappy that you have to find ways to constantly make everybody else around you unhappy, and so you go hang around with a woman who's crazed out of her mind in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, and then you have the audacity to call here and tell us that you are the great ones, that you're the ones that care, that you're the ones that have this country's best interests at heart.
If it were up to you people we wouldn't exist as a country today, you would have given in to the Soviets long ago, you would have appeased the Soviet communists. You would appease Iran right now, you probably wouldn't have cared about the war on terror or the bombing on 9/11. You would have sought out bin Laden and tried to make a deal with him, and this country exists today only because we have been able to prevent you from gaining power to do that kind of thing. We've had our run-ins with Neville Chamberlain types and you're the modern incarnation. To sit here, to actually have the gall to call this program and advance something you think as an intellectual argument that Cindy Sheehan's cause is noble, because the president's daughters aren't in Iraq, or congressmen's sons and daughters aren't in Iraq, have you no shame? Do you realize whose sons and daughters are? Do you understand it's voluntary? Do you understand these are people who are offering their lives in sacrifice for things they believe in? And what do you do? You come along and you try to disabuse them of their belief by telling them that they're wrong and that their country sucks. Well, to the extent that they think their country sucks it's because of you and your efforts to constantly undermine this country's best interests and our desires and efforts to protect the people of this country and to bring freedom to as many others in this world as possible. You people on the left used to be the ones that were all for civil rights around the world. You were all for human rights. Now all of a sudden you couldn't care less about the status of Iraqis. You couldn't care less. It's gotten so absurd, now that Howard Dean said on TV that if this new constitution is enacted as written, that the women of Iraq are going to be worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein.
Do you realize how patently absurd and bordering on insane that comment is? No, you don't. Because you think so little of your own country, you think so little of this president, you have such little faith in the ideals that have combined to make this a great country, that you assume it's worse here than anywhere else, and the places that it is bad is because of us, either through environmental pollution, or whatever cockamamie, asinine, stupid, ignoramus idea you can come up with. It's gotten to the point now where it is common to go on Democrat websites and read about the pleasure it would bring if the president were assassinated. It is now common to read letters to the editors in newspapers which say it would be fun if bin Laden actually came over here and slit Bush's throat, which is what a supporter of Sheehan wrote to a letter of the editor in one of the newspapers in this country. Yes, it would have been better if bin Laden would have just come here and slit Bush's throat. Do you have any idea how you people are perceived? Do you have the slightest idea how the decent people who make this country work perceive you? It is not with any respect. It is with contempt and it's with sorrow. But it's also with this realization: This country, if it is to survive, cannot be turned over to you people to lead and to run, because we will cease to exist as the United States the day that happens, and mark my word. It ain't going to happen.
RUSH: I have a story here from the San Diego Union Tribune on September 13th, 2004. "On a visit to Iraq in June, Rep. Duncan Hunter [R-CA] gave a short speech to Marines in a Fallujah mess hall and told them how important they were in the war on terrorism. One Marine in the audience found the congressman's talk so inspiring that he wrote about it in an e-mail to his mother. He said it lifted everyone's spirits and 'erased all doubts I had about being here.' 'I got chills and thought about how proud I am to be fighting for America in my capacity,' he wrote. The Marine who sent that note was 1st Lt. Duncan Duane Hunter, Hunter's oldest son and one of a handful of troops in Iraq whose father or mother is a member of Congress." He's got one son that's there on his second tour. But it's absurd, folks, on the face of it. It is absurd to say that this is somehow a definition of whether something noble or not, whether something's got any integrity or not. It ignores the role we all play as a people together in whatever national cause we undertake, and I wouldn't expect too many people on the left to understand that.
A very interesting memo from former US Attorney for Manhattan Mary Jo White apparently escaped being smuggled out of the National Archives in Sandy Burglar's pants. It turns out that White, who aggressively prosecuted terrorists responsible for the first WTC attack, told Jamie Gorelick that the infamous wall she built between intelligence and criminal justice would lead to disaster.I'm starting to get outraged. Actually, I'm turning red, and steam is coming out of my ears. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!"This is not an area where it is safe or prudent to build unnecessary walls or to compartmentalize our knowledge of any possible players, plans or activities," wrote White, herself a Clinton appointee.
"The single biggest mistake we can make in attempting to combat terrorism is to insulate the criminal side of the house from the intelligence side of the house, unless such insulation is absolutely necessary. Excessive conservatism . . . can have deadly results."
She added: "We must face the reality that the way we are proceeding now is inherently and in actuality very dangerous."
In fact, the memo made it to the 9-11 Commission, but nobody took much note of it. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have a person implicated in the memo sitting on the Commission. Conflict of interest is obvious here.
We are now into cover-up territory. And it is a huge story. The 9-11 Commission was charged with a responsibility of utmost seriousness. Instead of reporting honestly on the problems which led to the 9-11 plotters remaining unmolested by those charged with protecting us, the Commission ignored serious evidence of a major flaw.
Remember that we undertook a huge reorganization of government based on the recommendations of the Commission. Recommendations that were inherently flawed because of a cover-up of as yet unknown dimensions.
So, there you have it folks. The Commission had the White memos but chose not to share what they stated. And Gorelick recused herself from this portion from the report. Thank goodness. I was starting to get worried that there might be a conflict of interests or something about Gorelick participating.I'm just a dilettante following this from the sidelines, but lawhawk's been diligently following the twists and turns. You should read him-CNN and Philly.com do!
When is Congress going to take the Commission to task for this huge gaffe (or should I say cluster$@^#)?
Meanwhile, there are more signs that the Clinton Administration dropped the ball about al Qaeda in 1996. Apparently the State Department warned President Clinton of the grave and gathering threat of OBL moving to Afghanistan where he could export his brand of international terrorism without interference.
And, I have a few more questions, but let's start with this:
Lt. Col. Shaffer and Rep. Weldon have stories that snych up. Shaffer may be Weldon's source, or could be the independent confirmation that we've been waiting for. If he's the confirmation, then we've got a huge mess on our hands, and that appears to be the case. If he was the source, then all we have is another version of the same details without advancing the story except to include the origin of Weldon's claims. If that is the case, then we still need to get to the bottom of the story. In either case, much more investigation must be done.