NSW Elections - Conservative vs Progressive

Here's a list I've just made up from the NSW Government Website. I'm comparing the percentage of people voting Conservative to those who vote for Progressive parties in the NSW Senate:


Total of Conservative Political parties: 40.66%

LABOR 36.24%

Total of Progressive Political parties: 48.67%

Some caveats:
1) There are some parties/individuals I didn't include because I didn't know where they stood politically (eg "Save Our Suburbs" and Dawn Fraser).
2) I have included the Australian Democrats as a "Progressive" party even though they are fairly centrist.
3) This doesn't mean I like the ALP. I put them 2nd last on my ballot paper.

Separated at Birth?

Jodi fights back

The seat of Newcastle has swung back into Jodi McKay's (ALP) favour. She's 800 votes ahead with 78.7% counted. This is an interesting battle in my own state seat.


Was the invasion of Iraq unconstitutional? No. 2

I wrote the other day a piece that essentially argues that the invasion, defeat, occupation and control of Iraq by America in 2003 was essentially a war. And if it was a war, then surely Congress needed to make a formal declaration. This is according to the Constitution, which states:

The Congress shall have power:
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water

I argued that the power to declare war is in the hands of congress, while the waging of war is directly up to the president (who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces). I also argued that the reason this is so was probably because the framers of the US constitution did not want a king who would declare war on a whim, but rather have war declared in a sober and realistic manner.

It seems as though the Federalist Paper Mo. 69 supports my view. In this paper, written in 1788 by Alexander Hamilton, compares the US President with European Monarchs thus:

The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for FOUR years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and HEREDITARY prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a QUALIFIED negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an ABSOLUTE negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of DECLARING war, and of RAISING and REGULATING fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the SOLE POSSESSOR of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments.

So, according to Alexander Hamilton, the executive cannot declare war. The president does not have the authority to either declare war or wage war without congressional approval. George W. Bush did have congressional approval to use force in 2003, but not to wage war and completely defeat Iraq, nor remove Saddam Hussein from office, nor dissolve the Iraqi government, nor to order his troops to occupy and control the nation.

Therefore - Bush has failed to comply with the constitution, a document he swore to uphold, and has committed a high crime. He should be impeached.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2007 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Evangelical liar?

Monica Goodling is an Evangelical Christian (apparently).

She is high up in the United States Department of Justice and is heavily involved in "Attorneygate".

She has been subpoenaed to testify about her involvement in the scandal, but has decided to "take the fifth" to prevent her from incriminating herself.

So an Evangelical is now resorting to covering up the truth?


Moron the Election

Regarding the seat of Newcastle, it seems I spoke too soon. Jodi McKay is now running second... not to Bryce Gaudry but to John Tate! The ABC is now predicting that Tate will win, with a 22% swing against the ALP in one of its traditional heartlands. It now seems that the Hunter Valley generally is moving towards more independent politics.

And how about a break up a conservative vs progressive primary voting trends?

Conservative parties - 39.2% of the vote
Progressive parties - 48.2% of the vote

Conservative = Liberal Party + National Party + Christian Democrats
Progressive = Labor Party + Greens

(Although I still have a very hard time believing that the Labor Party can be defined as "progressive")


The Threat of the Right

It's been my opinion for some time now that the "Wingnuts" - the group of Right Wing bloggers, politicians and grassroots conservatives - are frightened. They are so motivated by fear that they are willing to jump to all sorts of ridiculous conclusions about what threatens them.

I've just read a report in The New York Times about the efforts of the New York Police Department (NYPD) to spy upon potential protesters who were planning on disrupting the 2004 Republican National Convention meeting in New York. The lengths to which the police went to to investigate any threats was commendable... but ultimately a complete waste of time and money.

Of course, the NYPD managed to neutralise and prevent certain unlawful actions from taking place... but the entire process smacks of overkill. It was not the threat of terrorism that motivated this investigation, it was the threat to President Bush and the Republican party by left-wing protesters.

Violent left-wing opposition died back in the 1970s when The Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) gave up their activities. Since then no left wing group in America has resorted to violence, and many former members of these groups have since regretted their actions.

The reason is, essentially, that the Left Wing in most Western countries is essentially pacifist. Although the Weather Underground and SLA used violence, the death and injury toll wreaked by The Red Army Faction in Europe and The Japanese Red Army were far more damaging to leftist credibility. The only leftist guerilla organisation left in the Western World still using violence is ETA, whose actions in Spain are mainly nationalist rather than Marxist in intent.

In many ways, the "peace movement" of the 1960s, which was taken up quickly by the left, represented the mainstream of leftist thought at the time, rather than the isolated instances of leftist terrorist organisations. The continuing pacifism of the American left is one of its most obvious features. No leftist in America is spouting Marx and demanding revolution. No leftist is publically calling upon people to use violence against their oppressor, or against the Right wing.

Yet many on the right still think that the left is synonynmous with revolutionary communism and international terrorism. For many on the right, the left is a convenient representation of "the enemy". Thus the left, and the Democrats along with them, are oftentimes described as being worse than the terrorists and truly seek to destroy America.

This is not just a couple of right wing weirdoes who say this - it is the mainstream. Orson Scott Card, a right-wing science fiction author, has recently released a book called Empire which is a work of speculative fiction about what may happen in the future. What does Card think will happen? He writes about a radical leftist army taking control of America after a civil war, which is then overthrown by the forces of good - ie conservatives. Of course, Card is not exactly being creative at this point... his work is reminiscent of The Turner Diaries, a racist work of fiction dating back to 1978, about the future of America after a UN-sponsored left-wing coup and the survivalist right-wingers who take part in milita action against them.

Yet, when it comes down to it, who is more likely to take direct military action against citizens of the United States? Is it the Left or the Right?

Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier and right winger, took his hatred of the US government and the left to the only reasonable extreme - he blew up a bomb in Oklahoma city and killed 168 people. McVeigh was a fan of The Turner Diaries.

After the horrific 9/11 attacks, one could only imagine what some right-wing militia survivalists would be thinking. Since they had all read the Turner Diaries, they would probably have identified this as the moment of action, when the UN (or whoever) was acting to strike against the United States, overthrow its government and enslave its people. So what did they do? They attacked first... with Anthrax.

The 2001 Anthrax attacks are interesting because they reveal what lengths domestic terrorists are willing to go to in order to further their ends. This was no attack by the SLA or Weathermen - they were amateurs compared to those who were responsible for the anthrax attack. For starters, in order to gain the Anthrax, these Domestic terrorists would have had some way of getting it from American biological warfare stocks. Obviously someone with high security clearance was able to run off with a sample of anthrax and give it to his friends who were planning to strike first.

But it was who these domestic terrorists aimed at that was improtant. Anthrax was sent to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, The New York Post, The National Enquirer, and two US Senators - Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, both leading Democrats. In short, the Anthrax was aimed at the Mainstream Media (MSM) and the Democratic Party - both targets of Right wing hatred and derision.

Many in the right wing are fearful of some mythical left wing coup, sponsored by the UN and involving dark conspiratorial forces. But the fact is that the Left, by being pacifist, will do no such thing. On the other hand, history has shown us that, at least in the last 15-20 years, that Right wingers are far more likely to engage in domestic terrorism.

Now think back to the NYPD's role in left-wing surveillance. What do we learn from their experience in this area?

It was obvious that many left wing groups were willing to break the law and engage in public mischief during the 2004 Republican National Convention, but the report by the NYPD does not have one shred of evidence of an organised left-wing conspiracy behind it all. They were merely disparate groups, some willing to advocate public mischief like throwing "faux feces", but none willing, or even able, to involve themselves in anything worse than that.

On the other hand, Right Wing groups are more likely to be gun owners and have members who belong to survivalist militias. These are people who have taken onboard the racist rantings of The Turner Diaries and believe with all their hearts in wild conspiracies about the UN invading America and destroying all that America holds dear. These are people who will write off even the most basic and easily provable facts reported in the news because the "MSM" is trying to destroy America, while all the time believing Fox news and their propaganda. These are people who will put up pictures of Hillary Clinton to aim at on firing ranges. These are people who think with their trigger fingers, whose fear of armed confrontation inevitably results in armed confrontation by these same people.

I'll leave you with some lyrics from a recent Nine Inch Nails song:

I got my propaganda
I got revisionism
I got my violence
In hi-def ultra-realism
All a part of this great nation
I got my fist
I got my plan
I got survivalism

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2007 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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The NSW State Election

These are my thoughts about the State Election (all stats are from election evening and will obviously change once the final results are known)

The Biggest Winner: The NSW Labor Party

You have to hand it to the NSW ALP. They managed to win an election and continue ruling for a fourth term. By the time the next election comes around, the Labor Party will have been in power for 16 years. And they have managed to do this despite all the corruption, child abusing and girlfriend abusing politicians and straight out stupid decisions. A party that can win despite these problems will be a happy party indeed.

The Winningest Loser: Peter Debnam

Peter Debnam has no reason to stand down as opposition leader. He has overseen a +2.1% swing towards the Liberal Party (as of this evening) and has fought hard against the ALP political machine. If I were him, I would be proud of his effort, despite losing.

The Losingest Winner: Jodi McKay

Jodi McKay has won the seat of Newcastle for the ALP in a titanic three-way tussle between her, ousted sitting member Bryce Gaudrey and Newcastle Mayor John Tate. Yet she has managed to do this while securing just 31.2% of the primary vote. That means that over two-thirds of Novacastrians, a Labor "heartland", decided not to vote for the primary ALP candidate. All over the Hunter there has been a 10-12% swing against the ALP in ALP seats.

The Spanner in the Works: The Greens

As I predicted, the Greens have managed to secure over 8% of the primary vote. They have only increased their margin by 0.5% over the last four years (which should worry them), but if you look at seats around the state, the Greens have sometimes polled higher than the ALP in Liberal seats, and polled higher than the Liberal Party in ALP seats. The Greens polled very well in Marrickville (32.5%) and Balmain (29.5%) to run second to the ALP. It is obvious that the Greens are causing real problems, particularly in ALP and Liberal seats. They need work in Tamworth though, where the Greens candidate polled just 1% of the vote - the lowest Green result in the state.

The Most Worried Party: The NSW Labor Party

Labor won this election with 39.5% of the Primary vote. They won in 2003 with 43.6% of the Primary vote, in 1999 with 42.2% of the Primary vote and 1995 with 41.3% of the Primary vote. There's no doubt that, despite their victory, Labor party leaders should be shocked that they have lost 4.1% of the NSW voting public. (BTW - In 1988, the ALP took 38.5% of the primary vote, 1% less than they did today... and lost badly!)

The Shrinking Minority: The NSW Liberal Party

Although Peter Debnam should be happy, the Liberal Party's share of the primary vote is a pathetic 26.8%. In other words, three out of every four people in NSW did not vote for the Liberal Party. The Liberal party's problem began when the lost the election in 1995 and gained 32.8% of the Primary vote. In 1999 only 24.8% voted Liberal, and in 2003 it was 25.2%. While the Liberal party has been clawing back its votes, it really dropped down the cliff in 1999. Back in the 1980s, Liberal party votes were consistently around 32-35% of the Primary vote. Since we have a Liberal Prime Minister, and have decades of history of the Liberal Party being a major force in Australian Politics, I really think that this election sounds a major warning to the Liberal party - much more so than the ALP. You can't expect to run the country over the long term when your primary vote drops from one-third to one quarter over a 12 year period.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2007 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Modern Refomers?

As CraigS has reminded me, over at Monergism.com there is a bunch of caricatures of modern Evangelical and Reformed leaders.

Of the list of 15, only 2 are not American (Iain Murray and Don Carson - although the latter is Canadian so can probably be described as American!). I've been trying to think of a list of modern Reformed leaders in my head that are not American and not on the list. Here are some of my picks:

Graeme Goldsworthy
The Brothers Jensen.
Maybe John Stott?
Maybe Jim Packer?

And that's all I can come up with. There has to be more. Please select some for me.


Grammar and Gun Ownership

An expert in grammar shoots down popular interpretations of Gun ownership and the US Constitution.

The second amendment says:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The argument is whether the original framers meant this to refer to the existence of militias (which are regulated by government), or whether ordinary citizens can be included in it as well.

The idea is - what do the commas mean? And what did they mean in the 18th century?

This is how Global Warming skeptics work...

Courtesy of Salon.com:

GORE: Well, first of all, Senator, thank you so much for your question. ... You know, one of the other recommendations that I would have is that you also set standards for green energy produced by utilities. And one reason I say that in response to what you're saying here is that that's what we purchase. And we pay more for it because it's still relatively uncommon.

INHOFE: Senator Gore...

GORE: If I could just...

INHOFE: Well, you can't.

BOXER: If you could allow -- you've asked the senator an important question. He's answering it. Give him the...

INHOFE: All right, could we stop the clock during this time then?

BOXER: No, I'm not going to stop the clock. He has a minute to answer. How can you ask a question and not give the man a minute to answer? Please.

GORE: We purchase wind energy and other green energy that does not produce carbon dioxide, and that does cost a little more now, and that is one of the reasons why it costs a little more. We're also in the process of renovating an old home...

INHOFE: OK. Senator Gore...


GORE: Could I make one other point? Because a lot of communities actually have laws preventing the installation of solar photable tags...

INHOFE: So I assume the answer is no. Let's go to the next question.

GORE: And if I could continue. I don't believe that there should be a federal provision that overrides any local restrictions on...

INHOFE: All right. Senator Gore, I'm very sorry. I don't want to be rude, but from now I'm going to ask you to respond for the record in writing, since you're not going to respond -- if you change your mind.

GORE: If I choose to respond to you verbally here, I hope that will be OK, too.

INHOFE: If it's a very brief response. All right. I'm sure you read the New York Times article that quoted the scientists. I mentioned this in my opening statement about their criticizing you for some of your being too alarmist and hurting your own cause. Now I'll ask you to respond in writing for that one, because that would be a very long response, I'm afraid.

It seems that everybody on global warming in the media...


BOXER: Senator Inhofe, we'll freeze...

INHOFE: I'm asking...

BOXER: We'll freeze the time for a minute. I'm just trying to make...

INHOFE: Oh, yes. Take your time. We're freezing the time.

BOXER: We're freezing the time just for a minute. I want to talk to you a minute, please. Would you agree to let the vice president answer your questions? And then if you want an extra few minutes at the end, I'm happy to give it to you. But we're not going to get anywhere.

INHOFE: Why don't we do this? Why don't we do this? At the end you can have as much time as you want to answer all of the questions.

BOXER: No, that isn't the rule. You're not making the rules. You used to when you did this. You don't do this anymore.


Elections have consequences, so I make the rules. But here's the thing. I want you to get your questions answered. I promise you to give you an additional three minutes of time, but if you will allow the chair -- if I believe the vice president is wandering into another area, I will just say that quietly, and he will, I know, move on. He knows the rules here. ...

INHOFE: All right. Now, it seems that everything is blamed on global warming. You talked about the fires in Oklahoma. Last summer we had a heat wave, and everyone said, "Oh, that's proof. It's global warming." And then we had a mild December. "Oh, that's proof that it's global warming that's taking place." Now I wonder how come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold? If you put up chart number two, there.

This is for your benefit, Senator Clinton. This is Buffalo, New York.

I have in my hand here the document from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They set records all over America in January: 183 cold records -- 183 of them -- this is a new record -- all over America. That was all in one month. And I would just have to say that in our state in Oklahoma we had three days that were the coldest days in history. Where is global warming when you really need it? ...

[W]e've got thousands of meteorologists, geologists, physicists, astrophysicists, climatologists, scientists who disagree with you. Are they all wrong, and you're right?


GORE: The National Academy of Sciences here in this country and in the 16 largest or most developed countries in the world -- the ones that have respected large national academies of science -- all of them unanimously have expressed agreement with the consensus that I stated to you. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has had its fourth unanimous report in 15 years agrees with the consensus that I stated to you.

INHOFE: Sir, my time is almost expired completely. Are you aware of that?

GORE: If I could complete my answer...

INHOFE: Well, if you do, my time is expired. Are you aware of that? Do you care?

GORE: Well, I can't help that because you went on for a long time, but I would like to...

INHOFE: No, I had 15 minutes. You, sir, had 30 minutes. I had 15. You've got to let me have my 15 minutes, Senator Gore.

GORE: If I could just...

INHOFE: I could respond to what you said...

GORE: ... complete my response...

INHOFE: Well, you've already done it. The National Academy of Sciences...


BOXER: Senator, Senator, I will stop the clock and allow Senator Gore to complete, please. And then we'll go back to you.

INHOFE: Thank you.

BOXER: OK. Go ahead.

GORE: I'll just give you one other example. The University of California did a very well respected, well picked over, peer-reviewed study. The team was led by Professor Naomi Oreskes. They reviewed every single peer-reviewed scientific journal article for the previous 10 years on this topic. They took a very large sample of almost 10 percent of them -- 928. About 25 percent of the articles didn't deal with the central point of the consensus -- some arcane matter -- but of those that dealt with the main consensus, the number that disagreed with the consensus was zero. This is a very well established and very strong scientific consensus, and it's not me saying it. It's what the scientific community is saying.

INHOFE: OK. My response to that is that first of all, every scientist that I named up here is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. They disagree with you. They disagree with that statement. But the National Academy of Sciences back in 1975 had a very interesting observation. They said, however, asserting "a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the earth within the next 100 years" -- exactly what they're saying now, except at that time it was not.

GORE: Could I comment on that?

INHOFE: No. With all respect, Senator Gore, we can't do that.

This is how I'll probably vote on Saturday

I may change my mind, but...

[8] - McKay, Jodi

[1] - Osborne, Michael
The Greens

[2] - Holt, Noel
Socialist Equality

[7] - Gaudry, Bryce

[6] - Tate, John

[4] - Babakhan, Martin

[3] - Lee, John
Christian Democratic Party

[5] - Armstrong, Hilda

[9] - Hutabarat, Simon


My 15 minutes of fame...

Omar Waraich at the Guardian says this:

On the blogs, suspicions that Woolmer may have been murdered by a betting syndicate were first advanced by One Salient Oversight. "I think Bob Woolmer was murdered by someone in the illegal betting community, who lost out big when Pakistan lost," he surmised.

Surprised? Certainly. The only thing I'm worried about is how he was able to find this out. Does he visit my blog? Did any of you readers tell someone?

Jodi and Me

Well apparently there's an election in NSW. For some reason all the politicians in Newcastle have left their advertising off until the last minute. I got Bryce Gaudrey's flyer yesterday, John Tate's on Monday, and a whole slew of Jodi McKay from the Labor Party today.

About 3 weeks ago I got a phone call from Jodi McKay. I don't know how she got my number but I think it was probably because my name is on the JP list. We talked about environmental issues mainly and I actually found her a good listener. She's pretty much a party woman because she didn't really say much more than ALP policy and then told me she'd send some info on it to me. I finally got a package today from her.

It's nice to experience the personal "touch" of a politician. Jodi's been advertising on the local TV and there's this gorgeously inept photocopy from Margaret McNaughton AM which looks like it was written by a 10 year old girl that also appeared in my mailbox today entitled "Give Jodi a Fair Go" which sort of makes poor Jodi out to be a victim (when it's perfectly obvious that Bryce Gaudrey was essentially forced out by the ALP and is now running as an independent).

Yet despite the personal experience of Newcastle's next member (she'll get in easy, but with a low primary vote) there's no way I can bring myself to vote for the party of Iemma, corruption and paedophile politicians. It's not Jodi I have problems with, it's the whole party system.

And it would be good if these candidates actually had web pages, including the independents which no one knows anything about.

A better system for picking US Attorneys

If "Attorneygate" has taught us anything, it is that politics corrupts. Yet, even in the midst of this realisation, there is something else that we should learn - that the system of appointing and maintaining US Attorneys is wide open to corruption. While we may rightly criticise Republican partisans for their law-breaking arrogance on this issue, we must also make steps to ensure that no party - including the Democrats - may take advantage of the broken system currently in place.

When it comes to matters of law and justice, all of us - right and left wing, partisans and swingers, politically astute and politically ignorant - want all judges, attorneys and other judicial officials to be completely and utterly fair, objective, unbiased and professional in their approach. The system currently in place does not allow for this.

As I searched through the "DOJ document dump", looking for clues about the dismissal of the eight attorneys, I realised that the entire political system had so corrupted the appointment of USAs that, to be honest, it was only a matter of time before such mass firings would have occurred.

To ensure that this does not occur again, the entire process of hiring, firing and maintaining US Attorneys needs to be apoliticised. In order for this to occur, 28. USC needs to be overhauled.

The first thing to happen is to ensure that the President has no say whatsoever in the selection of these attorneys. The current system makes it clear that the President appoints US Attorneys - that should be changed. Rather than the President appointing them, US attorneys should be selected by a bipartisan senate committee that exists for this sole purpose. Once a US attorney is approved by this committee, they will need to be confirmed by a supermajority in the senate (two thirds) without any input from the president at all.

US Attorneys will serve out a four-year term, and may be reappointed for any subsequent terms by the senate.

In addition to the appointment of US Attorneys, the Senate will also appoint two assistant attorneys to work with and assist each of these Attorneys. If the US Attorney should die, or be removed from office for any reason, then he or she will be replaced by one of the assistants, who have been nominated in terms of succession. The replacement US attorney will then serve out the remainder of the term of office.

When it comes to the removal of any Attorney, the following rules should apply.

A US attorney may be instantly dismissed by the Department of Justice if found guilty of any criminal behaviour, or actions which bring the DOJ or the US Attorney's office into disrepute. A US attorney may be removed for any reason with the approval of a senate supermajority. The president will have no say in the removal of US Attorneys.

Of course, all of this is controversial. After all, the Department of Justice is part of the executive branch of government which seems to indicate that the president should appoint them. Not so fast. Just because the president runs the DOJ doesn't mean that it is insulated from the rest of government. Moreover, I am not suggesting that the President be stripped of his power to appoint the Attorney General or other top people within the DOJ.

The issue is, of course, that the President should obviously have the power to appoint his own cabinet. But USAs are not sitting in with the President every few days or so. They are working in their sector of America to ensure that federal law is followed. They are on the ground in the cities and towns of America. Given that this is the case, there really should be no reason why the President should have anything to do with hiring them.

Having USAs appointed or removed by a senate supermajority is essentially the equivalent of the upper house's power to override a presidential veto, or to impeach and remove the president. So, in a sense, the president's choice is being made by two thirds of the senate. The two are equivalent in power.

Moreover, having a supermajority means that the USAs appointed need to be acceptable to the centre political position. They can be neither too Democrat or too Republican, and any "paper trails" they have left behind can be examined to make sure they are acceptable to a 2-1 majority. Partisanship and even a hint of corruption may rule out a potential candidate. Therefore the people put up for selection need to have exemplary backgrounds in order to qualify.

It also means that US Attorneys can be selected and appointed over a longer period of time. Instead of the Senate rushing to confirm 93 people they have little information about within a few months of each other, it allows for overlapping terms between each USA appointment. For example, in January, the Senate may confirm and appoint six US Attorneys who start their term the following quarter, in April. Then in April, the Senate may confirm another six US Attorneys who start their term in July. This goes on every quarter for four years and then goes around again, ensuring that 93 USAs are appointed over a four year period.

What will this mean in practical terms?

1. US Attorneys will be picked in a bipartisan manner according to their skills and abilities.
2. The President's role in managing the Department of Justice will be diminished, but the ability of the DOJ to do its job properly will be enhanced.
3. In order for any entrenched corruption to succeed in appointing political US Attorneys or firing any without due cause, two-thirds of the senate must be in cahoots, which is a very unlikely scenario.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2007 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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An interesting mathematical formula




The first person to solve this mathematical formula will receive €100,000,000.00

A "Hypothetical"

I was thinking through this "hypothetical" this morning while taking Aiden to school.

Let's say there's a Christian teacher who starts his teaching career at a Christian school.

Then let's say that someone high up in the Christian school took a dislike to him for some reason, and then organised things so that the Christian teacher would be overworked.

Let's also "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher has just had their first child, and has also moved cities in order to start work at this Christian school.

And let's also "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher was working between 60-70 hours per week, but was unable to do the work required.

And let's "assume" also that when he confronts his boss, that his boss loses control and begins screaming at him in her office ("assume" the boss was a woman).

And let's "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher is taken before the School principal and harangued for not performing up to the impossible workload they demanded him.

And let's "assume" that, behind his back, certain high up people begin to spread the rumour amongst other staff that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher had been caught downloading pornography on school computers.

And let's "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher had no knowledge of this rumour going around.

And let's "assume" that the stress this "hypothetical" Christian teacher was under caused him to become violently ill every day.

And let's "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher took time off work because of his illness.

And let's "assume" that the principal called him up one day and informed him that "teachers who can continue to work at the school while being ill with stress are looked on more favourably"

And let's "assume" that the "hypothetical" Christian teacher hands in his resignation, effective from the end of term (6 weeks).

And let's "assume" that, despite his resignation, certain high up people continued to pile pressure on him, and demand meetings with him and scream at him and threaten to dismiss him before his resignation date.

And let's "assume" that the "hypothetical" Christian teacher then sees a doctor, who says that he should go on two weeks leave because of the stress he's under.

And let's "assume" that, after two weeks, the "hypothetical" Christian teacher decides he cannot return.

And let's "assume" that, due to his illness, he decides to claim for Worker's Compensation.

And let's "assume" that, while all this is going on, rumours continually spread about the "hypothetical" Christian teacher's downloading of porn on school computers.

And let's "assume" that the downloading of porn on work computers is an offence that can result in a person's instant dismissal from their employment, regardless of whether their workplace is Christian or not.

And let's "assume" that the Christian school in question never confronts the "hypothetical" Christian teacher over his "supposed" downloading of porn.

And let's "assume" that, when the "hypothetical" Christian teacher makes an official statement to an insurance investigator, no mention is ever made, or any question raised by the investigator, about any apparent downloading of porn by the teacher.

And let's "assume" that the line of questioning taken by the insurance investigator is designed to show beyond doubt that the "hypothetical" Christian teacher does not deserve Worker's comp, and that his illness is his own fault, and his performance at the "hypothetical" Christian school was a result of his own incompetence.

And let's "assume", yet again, that during the aggressive questioning by the insurance investigator, no mention is made at all of any downloading of porn.

And let's "assume" that it would be far easier for the "hypothetical" Christian school to reveal to the insurance investigator the "hypothetical" Christian teacher's downloading of porn if it were, in fact, true... in order to ensure a good result for the school and the insurance company.

And let's "assume" that the reason certain people in leadership positions at this "hypothetical" Christian school did not reveal this information (downloading porn) to the insurance investigator is because they knew it was not true.

And let's "assume" that it is now common knowledge amongst many teachers at this "hypothetical" Christian school that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher left because he was caught downloading porn.

And let's "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher did not know about these rumours until a few years after he left the "hypothetical" Christian school.

And let's "assume" that whenever the "hypothetical" Christian teacher applies for jobs at other "hypothetical" Christian schools in the area, they choose not to even bother interviewing him because they have contacted this particular "hypothetical" Christian school and have had bad reports about him.

And let's "assume" that this "hypothetical" Christian teacher has, in his possession, an official transcript of the insurance investigator, proving that the "hypothetical" Christian school did not inform the investigator about any alleged downloading of porn.

And let's "assume" that the stress of this event causes the "hypothetical" Christian teacher to have a major depressive episode that eventually requires him to undergo therapy and medication.

And let's "assume" that, at the same time as he goes through this episode, another teacher at the school goes through a breakdown as well, but is looked after and given a weekly wage because they are favoured by people at the top.

And let's "assume" that the "hypothetical" teacher's boss - the one who screamed and yelled at him - has an acute anxiety problem as a result of this episode that forces her to take the following term off.

And let's "assume" that the "hypothetical" teacher's boss had undergone a divorce and a remarriage a number of years before this episode, and has subsequently divorced her second husband.

What would you do?


I laughed and cried at the same time

Then it was time for him to give me the injection of drugs so he pulled out the bottle and put on the white coat and then he rubbed a cotton ball with alcohol on my arm and said "There's no candy if you sit through this shot! The Devil!" and I said the "the devil" too cuz I was being a rebel against Jesus Christ's will and the biker high-fived me and my hand caught on fire.

Read the rest of the article here (Language Warning! Content Warning! Satire Warning!)

How will the Greens go?

The Australian Greens are now the third largest political party in Australia. In the 2004 Federal election, we find the following results (primary votes for House of Representatives):

Liberal Party of Australia: 40.81% of the vote
Australian Labor Party: 37.64%
Australian Greens: 7.19%
National Party of Australia: 5.89%
Family First: 2.01%

A more recent election was the 2006 Victorian State election. Again we find the following results:

Australian Labor Party: 43.06% of the vote
Liberal Party of Australia: 34.44%
Australian Greens: 10.04%
National Party of Australia: 5.17%
Family First: 4.29%

If you go back and look at the electoral history since the Greens were first founded in 1992, you'll notice that their popularity has increased markedly over that time. At one point in history, the Australian Democrats were considered Australia's third party, but their popularity has decreased markedly since their leadership problems in the least 5-10 years. In fact there is a direct correlation between the rise of the Greens and the demise of the Democrats.

The difference between the two parties (apart from ideology - the Greens are from the left side of the spectrum while the Democrats are from the centre) is that the Democrats have never reached such heights of voter support. As you can see from the 2006 Victorian state election, the Greens have 10% of the vote these days.

There's no way in the world that the Greens will win a lower house seat in the upcoming NSW State election. Polls have the Greens at 6% of the primary vote but I suspect the number will be higher. I predict the Greens to crack at least 8% of the vote in NSW. Why? Al Gore.

Woolmer Murdered?

The time is 7.33am Monday 19th March 2007. I think Bob Woolmer was murdered by someone in the illegal betting community, who lost out big when Pakistan lost.

Not unlike that Soccer player being gunned down so many years ago when he scored an own goal at the Football World Cup.

I don't think it was suicide either.

8.08am After thinking further I think it was probably a very rich mafia-type person who bet against Ireland winning - you know, one of these 30-1 on offers, a safe bet in other words. He/They probably thought they could get an easy few hundred thousand by making a large bet on a sure result. Who were they? Probably an organised crime group in Jamaica.

The idea is that his food, brought up by room service, was poisoned. Woolmer was found unconcious and there was evidence of vomiting. He could have overdosed on something I suppose but if so it was accidental - to commit suicide in such a yucky fashion is hard for suicidal people to do, especially on their first attempt. If it was suicide he would probably have also waited a longer time.


Under the radar

And doing well:

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Christian Reformed Churches of Australia

51 and 52

New Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Ireland to play tests?

Ireland's cricket team has again shown its calibre. After tying with Zimbabwe they have gone one better by defeating Pakistan and knocking them out of the competition.

Ireland now have the chance of gaining Test status - something that the ICC should consider seriously. There's no doubt that Ireland still has a way to go to produce consistently good cricketers, but there's also no doubt that the potential is there.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe has gone backwards ever since the player exodus and political problems destroyed any chance that the team has of playing competitive cricket. They should be banned from playing any form of Test cricket until there is evidence that things are improving.

The best thing that the ICC can do to develop the game in both Ireland and Zimbabwe is to pressure the ECB to relax some of its rules in choosing players. Money should be reallocated to give English counties incentive to hire cricketers from Zimbabwe and/or Ireland, and the rules about overseas cricketers from these nations should be relaxed.

A team representing Ireland should also be added to the County Cricket competition, in addition to developing grassroots competition in Ireland.


More links to interest you... or someone

To start off with, the world of the godless liberal blogs that I read:

* One of the liberal blogs I have linked to for some time is called "Talking Points Memo". If you look to the left of the screen you'll see the name "Joshua Micah Marshall". Marshall and his Cohorts were instrumental in bringing the Gonzales/US Attorney scandal to the fore. Here's a great article on them in the LA Times.
* John McCain was my choice of Republican presidential candidate back in 2000. Now he's become quite pathetic. He's just been stumped by a question about whether condoms help stop the prevention of H.I.V..
* Plame was covert. The exposure of her status must therefore be a crime.
* The leak of Plame's status was never investigated by the White House, even when it was obvious that the source of the leak was there.
* Juan Cole, Middle East expert, argues that the Plame affair gave aid and comfort to the enemy, and those responsible (Rove/Cheney/Bush) should be impeached.
* The walking hairpiece thinks that "Bush is the worst president in the history of the United States". He's probably wondering why the American people don't just rise up and say "you're fired!"

And now, the world of Christian blogs:

* Paul Whiting's article on Philippians and 1 John Commentaries still manages to exist. I still haven't read it...
* Jason Robertson, a former Dispensationalist, has exposed some interesting problems with his fomer theology.
* TheTeak is having problems with doomsayers, specifically two sacred cows of mine, Peak Oil and Climate Change.
* Wade Burlson, a Baptist pastor in Oklahoma, is emerging as a powerful voice of reform in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He is the leader of a group of "Baptist Bloggers" who are trying to make the SBC more biblical. Visit his site here.

And now, newspapers:

* The New York Times reports that three police officers in New York who fired 50 bullets at an innocent 23-year old man (and killed him) have been charged with manslaughter.
* Colbert King, a commentator at The Washington Post, points to two recent incidents in public schools that he finds disgraceful. His concluding statement is wonderful: "Unruly parents + an unresponsive bureaucracy + fiscally irresponsible public officials = a troubled school system."

And other bits of the internet:

* Herscelle Gibbs hits six sixes in an over against The Netherlands in the World Cup.
* The S&P500 fell 0.38% yesterday.
* Massive cave entrances have been spotted on Mars. Some are warm enough to maintain life.
* Ancient Impact crater discovered near San Francisco.
* Happy birthday to serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Tony Award winning actor Kurt Russell, and smashed pumpkin Billy Corgan.
* Happy deathday to Ronnie Kray. Hot enough for ya?
* Burst of Joy was taken on this day in 1973.
* Hearthrob Richard Ramirez begins his night job on this day in 1985.
* The Rubber Band was first patented on this day in 1845.


American soldier shot by sniper in Iraq

Update: 20 September 2008. Welcome Ogrish Visitors! I have put the photos here for you to enjoy rather than having to click on them!

Update 2: The Marine who was shot was Lance CPL Juan Valdez-Castillo and he survived. There are more pictures of the same incident here. You may also want to click here, here and here.

I saw these images a few weeks ago - they were taken by Joao Silva in October 2006 while on patrol with a US unit in Iraq. He managed to photograph a series showing a soldier being shot by a sniper and then recovered by other members of his unit. The series of shots won an honourable mention in the World Press Photo awards. See them in order:

1. Bang. The soldier is down, and his colleague looks over at him.

2. As the wounded soldier cries in pain, his colleague looks around for the threat.

3. With his weapon in one hand and ready, he lifts the wounded soldier up by the shirt.

4. The wounded soldier is dragged through a ditch filled with water.

5. Still in pain, the wounded soldier is dragged through mud.

6. Now bleeding profusely, the wounded soldier is laid down in the mud while other soldiers come to his aid.

7. The wounded soldier is now being stripped of his equipment and helped by a medic.

8. The wounded soldier is placed in a recovery position on his front - he has been shot in the back.

9. Another soldier keeps pressure on his wound to prevent too much bleeding.

10. The wounded soldier groans in pain while being assured that help is coming.

11. The wounded soldier is lifted up onto his feet to get him to safety.

12. He is finally placed into a nearby Humvee.

I have no idea if the soldier survived or not - but the photos do capture an intense moment in time.

Other bits for the day

* Kuiper Belt Collision? Two planetoids collided apparently
* Yellowstone Supervolcano update. The ground rose several inches.
* Don't Google "How to commit Murder" before you kill someone. Google helps a murder trial.
* US Producer prices up. Maybe a portent of increased interest rates?
* Another reason why Zimbabwe should be stripped of Test cricket status. They ties with Ireland.
* Roger Daltrey has Bronchitis. All hope lies with him and none with me.
* Hillary Clinton tries to woo voters by rescinding her decision to run for president. Good news!
* On this day in 1877 a group of people got together in Melbourne for some reason.
* Happy birthday to Jimmy Swaggert, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alan Bean, the 4th man on the moon, and Jennifer 8 Lee.

Christian Blog Roundup

* Paul Whiting has some really important points about commentaries on 1 John and Philippians. It's so important he hasn't posted anything else since January 20.
* Tom Hinkle, the Rejected Disciple, gives a list of "Annoying Christian Sayings".
* My best friend Al Mohler talks about the importance of Dads. I could swear that the image he used last night was of a topless, muscle-bound man holding a child but has now been replaced by something less tempting.
* Emily, the Frazzled Sister, went to the zoo. Nebraska looks very dry at the moment.
* John, the Confessing Evangelical, hates the "you wouldn't steal a car" anti-piracy ads that are on DVDs. Obviously they get them in the U.K. as well.
* Michael Spencer wonders aloud whether John Macarthur is actually Reformed.

Lefty blog roundup

I've been picking up these points from various lefty blogs.

* Hillary and Obama both state that "Homosexuality is not immoral"
* Iraq veteran Brian Van Reet, now at college, is peeved at the attitude of his fellow students.
* Karl Rove seems to be responsible for the firing of those US Attorneys.
* McJoan at DailyKos believes Gonzales may be impeached.
* Jean Schmidt, young Republican congresswoman extraordinaire, slipped on some vomit in the ladies toilet and got all upset about it. I would too. I suppose it means that Republicans are human!
* Democrats fail to pass a resolution calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. The resolution fell well short, apparently.


"An incompetent boob"

What would "An inconvenient truth" be like if it was created and narrated by George W. Bush?

Tom the Dancing Bug has the answer.

Ba donk!

The S&P 500 falls again. Check the graph out:

This is a 12 month graph that gives you some more info about the drop in this important share index. Unfortunately, the graph (which is created at the BBC news Market Data page) is a day behind, but the last trading session was flat, so where you see that "cliff" at the end, you can add a little horizontal line.

Whenever sharemarkets drop, there's always some form of bounceback, and we can see that happening in the early part of March, with a rally erasing about 40% of the drop from the original "cliff" we see a couple of weeks ago. Yet the recent fall has all but wiped out those gains, leaving the index at around the same point as it was 2 weeks ago after the big fall.

But is it the start of something big? Still too early to say. Look at the index in May 2006 and you'll see a steady decline throughout June, which then rallies in early July and sweeps upwards for months afterwards. The two "cliffs" the index has fallen over in the past two weeks are more precipitous than the one in May, though. In short there doesn't seem to be any evidence against a bear market forming.


I was having lunch with my 2 year old daughter, Lillian, today. I was drinking some juice in a Simpson's glass, with Homer's face on two sides of it. As she ate, she became interested in Homer's face and began to point at it. "Homer", I said, and she tried to repeat it. I did it a few more times for her so she could then understand who he was.

Then I tried a different tack. I pointed to Homer's face and asked "Who's that?"

"Daddy" came the reply...


Fundies say the Darndest things

The webpage Fundies say the darndest things! is quickly becoming one of those sites where I weep with laughter and sadness at the same time. As far as I can tell, the quotes they come up with are genuine and have been sourced from Christian internet forums and discussion groups.

Here are some examples:

"No, everyone is born Christian. Only later in life do people choose to stray from Jesus and worship satan instead. Atheists have the greatest "cover" of all, they insist they believe in no god yet most polls done and the latest research indicates that they are actually a different sect of Muslims."
"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"
"Gravity: Doesn't exist. If items of mass had any impact of others, then mountains should have people orbiting them. Or the space shuttle in space should have the astronauts orbiting it. Of course, that's just the tip of the gravity myth. Think about it. Scientists want us to believe that the sun has a gravitation pull strong enough to keep a planet like neptune or pluto in orbit, but then it's not strong enough to keep the moon in orbit? Why is that? What I believe is going on here is this: These objects in space have yet to receive mans touch, and thus have no sin to weigh them down. This isn't the case for earth, where we see the impact of transfered sin to material objects. The more sin, the heavier something is. "
"I can sum it all up in three words: Evolution is a lie"
"I often debate with evolutionists because I believe that they are narrow mindedly and dogmatically accepting evolution without questioning it. I don't really care how God did what He did. I know He did it."
"I appreciate your recommendation, and it is intriguing, but as a pro-lifer, I cannot support an organization that is opposed to the death penalty."
"All Aboard! Everyone hop on the Darwinist holocaust train!
Well the everyone grab your ticket! The dark side is going to make it that every man, woman and child has free health care. It's not exactly the same, but for me it brings back images of the jews being led towards the death showers in Germany."

(Irony award goes to this one:)
Alton Verm filed a "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" Thursday with the district regarding "Fahrenheit 451," written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.

"It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read "Fahrenheit 451." "The words don't need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class."

"I don't even want to know how much you hate yourself and your life because you're an atheist. Life must be so pointless to you. I bet you amke your family miserible. That's another thing. I read your rant diary thing and I'll tell you what: that premature baby you got? I want you to know you did it. You almost killed your own baby because you reject the One True God! The sins of the father will fall unto his flower I tell you that much! How does that make you feel to know that because you hate God that you caused this tragedy in your family? If you still have a little spark of Jesus you should feel bad right now. If not it might be too late for you becaue the Devil has eaten your heart to peaces."
"Marijuana is the Gateway Drug.

And Darwin is the Gateway Science.

First it's evolution. Then comes plate tectonics and the Big-Bang. Then comes Athiesm. Then comes self-loathing and misanthropy, which leads to elitism and superiority complexes. The resulting social ostracization leads to homoeroticism and other perversions. The insatiable demand for money to fund extravagances coupled with the sloth that accompanies the welfare check creates a visceral hatred of capitalism. Finally, the abuser is no longer able to feel for his country and multiculturalism takes over. The transformation is complete.

I've seen it happen again and again."

"I didn't come to Jesus by my intelligence and neither will you my friend."
"Have you ever seen an airplane or a bird? They defy the theory of gravity. Dont' say stupid stuff..... theorys can be broken, that's why they're not laws....."
"[Re: AIDS] It's transfered through blood and there for, seeing as it started in the homosexually community, a sign from god that we cannot suffer homosexuals to live. It's common sense.

god is basically saying that if we don't kill all homo's that we will all be judged now and die."


Waratah, New South Wales

I've just improved the Wikipedia article by inserting 53 pictures I took yesterday. Check out the photos of the suburb I live in in the photo gallery here.

It'll be useful one day when future historians go scuba diving in the area to find out information about what the world was like before we almost destroyed it.


Fred, Fred, Fred...

Now the guy wants Muslim Immigration stopped.

Look, as an Evangelical Christian I understand and believe that Muslims have a false belief and worship a false God. Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously has no alternative but to hold to an exclusionist belief system.

And I also understand that, since 2001, Muslims have been quite active around the world in terrorist activities. I won't go into the issue of who to blame for that (since 2003 the levels of terrorist violence perpetrated by Muslims increased markedly. Hmmm, I wonder what happened in 2003 that got Muslims upset?), but I will point out the following:

* There is a difference between Muslims who are culturally Muslim, and those who adhere to a Fundamentalist approach to it.
* The vast majority of Muslims around the world are culturally Muslim and want nothing more than peace and harmony and the ability to just get on with their lives.
* There is a small amount of Muslims who have decided to take the Koran literally and apply it to the world of unbelievers and use violence to achieve that end.

I have no problem if Muslims want to come to Australia who are not fundamentalist but simply cultural in their beliefs. These people will not cause us problems. I have taught classrooms where Muslims are present and they can be just as good or bad as any non-Muslim. I even got Christmas cards from two Turkish girls who came to school each day without headscarves and who didn't really know much about Islam.

Christians today seem to forget that Muslims do not all follow the one belief system. We see Osama declaring Jihad against the West and sending planes into buildings and we are rightly shocked. But these people who come to Australia are not like this. They have come here not to start up a breeding program and conquer the country through the eventual enforcement of Islamic law, but to escape poverty and live in peace.

And remember, Christians, that every unbeliever who comes to us from these countries may have the chance to hear the Gospel of Christ - something that they may not have heard in their home countries.


Scott Adams: Iran is a Democracy

And he has some very compelling arguments.

Was the invasion of Iraq unconstitutional?

Let us put aside, for a moment, any opinions we have regarding the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The question I want to ask is, was the Invasion of Iraq unconstitutional? And, if it was, what should have happened, and who is to blame?

According to the US Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war. In article one, section eight, it states that Congress shall have power:

to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

There is no doubt that the framers of the constitution sought to limit the power of the executive (the president) to prevent him from declaring war on a whim, in much the same manner as a sovereign would. Since the constitution was framed, America has declared war only five times (literally 8 but WWI and II required multiple declarations).

Nevertheless, America has been involved in a number of "wars" in which no declaration was given. These would include Vietnam, Korea, the Gulf (1991) and Iraq (2003). Moreover, military actions against other nations, such as Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986 resulted in attacks upon another nation without any formal declaration.

The question I am posing, however, is whether the 2003 invasion of Iraq was unconstitutional. In other words, was the military action sufficiently different enough from "undeclared wars" like Vietnam and more like the "declared wars" against Britain, Mexico, Spain, Germany and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries?

The 2003 invasion of Iraq involved US military personnel (mainly) crossing the border into a sovereign nation, without their permission, with the express purpose of making war. Moreover, the clear plan and result was to completely defeat this nation's military forces, overthrow its president, dissolve its government, create a new government, and station troops inside this nation in order to maintain order and carry out the will of both the US government and the government it had created.

Considering the result of this military action, did it need a formal declaration of war? If you look at the Constitution, I think the answer is a clear "yes".

At what point does generic "military action" differ from a formal declaration of war? This is an issue that has vexed US constitutional experts. There is obviously some "grey line" somewhere between the two that may have been crossed a number of times in the 20th century.

But the invasion of Iraq was not, I believe, one of these "grey areas" that the constitution cannot define properly. The fact is that, if we take history into account, only the Second World War matches the Iraq invasion in its outcomes (defeat nation's military, dissolve government, create new government, station troops inside nation). Both Japan and Germany had this outcome.

America's declaration of war in 1917 led to US troops being involved in the First World War, which resulted in an outcome for its enemies that allowed some level of autonomy.

America's wars in the 19th century did not involve any overthrow of recognised government, nor did America completely destroy their enemies' armed forces (as they did in WW2 and in 2003).

What I'm pointing out is that the invasion of Iraq and its subsequent outcomes must clearly be seen as war - and a war requires a declaration from congress.

I don't believe that the framers of the constitution intended this formal declaration of war as merely a symbolic or ceremonial act. It was clear that they were limiting the power of the executive in order to prevent him from misusing America's military. While the constitution affirms that the president is the head of the armed forces, it does not give the executive total power to determine how to use it.

So. Let's go back to 2002 and work out what happened.

On October 10, 2002, Congress authorised the use of military force against Iraq. H.J. Res 114 gave the president the power to act against Iraq (consult the Wikipedia article for more on this).

In order to attack Iraq, the President needed to gain congressional approval. This was a direct result of the War Powers Resolution which was passed in 1973 and severely restricted the president's powers in war making, requiring congressional support before any major military action.

But what did resolution 114 allow the President to do?

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to -
1. defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and
2. enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

It also says that the President should determine that

acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or people who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

If you look at the resolution closely, there is nothing specific there which authorises the President to wage war against Iraq. It authorises the use of military action in order to nullify the threat of terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction (implied via the UN resolution stuff), but it says nothing about invading, completely defeating, controlling and occupying Iraq.

While it is obvious that there is that "grey" area between a declaration of war and approving military action, there is no doubt that if congress had made a declaration of war against Iraq, Iraq would be in the exact same position as it is now - defeated, controlled and occupied.

It stands to reason therefore, that if a declaration of war would have added nothing to the current situation, then the current situation demanded a formal declaration of war back in 2003.

Had George W. Bush merely sent in the bombers and blew away suspected terrorist bases and WMD factories (which, of course, did not exist but that's another argument), and then left it at that, then he would have fulfilled the task given to him by Congress in resolution 114.

Somewhere between Resolution 114 and the cessation of hostilities, Bush went beyond the both the words and spirit of the text of the resolution, and the words and intention of the US Constitution. He acted to completely subjugate a sovereign nation - a responsibility and power that was not granted to him by the Constitution.

As I have stated above, this article is not about the merits or morals of the 2003 invasion. It is, instead, an examination of whether the President went beyond the bounds of the US Constitution in his command of the military. Under the constitution, only Congress has the power to mobilise the military under a formal declaration of war. Had this occurred in 2002, then there would be no constitutional problem.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2007 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

FAQ about the author

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.


Homosexuality, Anglicanism and Nigeria

Being theologically conservative, I think that it is a good thing that homosexuality within the Anglican church is being tackled by Bible-believing Christians.

But this is not what I had in mind.


Calls for Impeachment

Thirty-Five towns in Vermont want Bush out.

It's interesting, but realistically you have to remember that Vermont is the most liberal state in the US. It's even got socialised health care!


We've probably peaked

There is increasing evidence that oil production has peaked, probably around 12 months ago. About 6 months ago I checked out the Saudi oil production figures and was surprised to see either a flat or declining graph. Courtesy of the Oil Drum, I've just viewed the last 12 month's production figures and they look like this:

Of course, since I'm in a graphics mood today, let's look at Saudi production figures since 2000:

Since the writing is small, I need to let you know that the production figure is actually the green line at the top. The big, thick blue line is the amount of oil rigs in the country (I assume "rigs" means land-based oil terminals that have stored oil from multiple wells). As you can see, there has been a marked decline in Saudi oil production along with a marked increase in oil rigs. Despite the increase in rigs, production has not increased.

And, I offer for your perusal, the Hubbert Curve, the cornerstone graph of Peak Oil:

See the Peak there in that graph? Now look back at the previous graph and you will see that the Peak of Saudi oil production occurred some 2 years ago.

Saudi Arabia is, of course, the largest producer of oil in the world. If Saudi has peaked, then oil will become more scarce. Interesting times lie ahead.

Big bear or little bear?

If you look at Wall Street you'll begin to remember that line from Play School: "There's a bear in there." But just how big is the bear? Is it small, in which case things will turn around within the next few months, or is it big?

Have a look at the following two graphs from BBC Market Data. Here's the first:


This is a graph of the three month performance of the S&P 500. I've chosen this index over the Dow Jones Industrial Average because I understand it to be a more accurate indicator of the US stock market as a whole. The Dow Jones can fluctuate quite wildly and its growth or decline is not necessarily an accurate picture of the whole. The S&P 500 isn't either, but it's more accurate.

As you can see from this 3 monthly graph, the recent stock market drop has been impressive. It has wiped out any gain that it has had over the last three months. Importantly, the drop is precipitous, like a cliff, which indicates panic.

However, look at this graph, which should put things in perspective:


This is the performance of the S&P 500 over the past twelve months. You can see the "cliff" on the right hand side, but notice that the index has been performing consistently well for some time, and that the current drop puts the index back to late November. It's worth realising that the highest the S&P has ever got was 1500.64, which was achieved on 22 March 2000, so it has been nearly 7 years since it has been up around the heights it has been recently (which looks to be 1460).

However, the drop is still precipitous - it is still a cliff, and nothing in the last 12 months comes close to such a drop off. It's too early to determine whether the bear is big or small, but it seems that, so far, a big bear can't be ruled out.

In order for a "Bear Market" to be officially declared means that this index must fall at least 20% from its high over the next two months. If we assume that the S&P hit 1460 as a high, then if it is 1168 or lower by early May, then the bear is there.