By From Ross Gearllach, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University - 07/22/08 05:57 PM EDT
Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s recent request that Congress act to allow the government to hold prisoners without the ability to challenge their imprisonment betrays a disturbing level of carelessness on the part of the attorney general (article, “Mukasey urges Congress to act on Gitmo detainees,” July 21).
The systems of evidence and appeal that are used by the criminal justice system do not exist for any frivolous purpose. They exist because they have been shown time and time again to be the only way to prevent otherwise innocent individuals from being punished for crimes which they did not commit.
These protections are especially important in the case of Guantanamo Bay, where by the CIA’s own admission as many as a third of those detained had no ties to terrorism whatsoever. These people deserve the chance to see the evidence against them. Congress must not bow to pressure to act in a way that will fundamentally weaken the justice system and create new enemies in the war on terror.
Pandering on oil
From Steve Hudson (R), House candidate, Maryland-8
There were two main provisions to the DRILL Act: the “Use it or Lose it” provision, which required oil companies to drill in 68 million acres of leased lands, and the NPR-A provision, which would have unlocked the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. My election opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) — who had voted for H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which placed greater restrictions on drilling in NPR-A — voted for this bill.
Why the change of heart? On the one hand, he and the numerous other representatives who flip-flopped were pandering to the 67 percent of people who want to allow offshore drilling.
Though he is obdurately against offshore drilling, he could still look as if he supports an increase in domestic production. On the other hand, he could save face with the 18 percent of people against offshore drilling, since the bill neither increased the number of acres reserved for drilling nor opened up offshore drilling.
This bill really would have done nothing. Van Hollen (and other supporters of the DRILL Act) failed to mention that land leases can already be revoked by the federal government if no drilling occurs within five to 10 years. In fact, companies are actively exploring and drilling on these lands. This whole “Use It or Lose It” policy creates nothing new except a disincentive because companies that drill on federal lands would have to rush inefficient drilling procedures and guesswork under the threat of lease revocation. The DRILL Act, which fortunately did not pass last week, is a classic example of representatives trying to pander to all people simultaneously, and failing because of it.
We need principled representatives who are more interested in the people’s real needs, not their own voting blocs.
Silver Spring, Md.
Gore gone wild
From Zonia Pino, legislative specialist, The Heartland Institute
(Regarding article “Gore asks candidates to join energy call,” July 17.) For years, global warming alarmists such as Al Gore have been prophesying our doom due to warmer temperatures caused by carbon dioxide. During his Thursday “treatise,” soothsayer Gore unequivocally stated that “the future of human civilization is at stake” if the U.S. doesn’t take up solar panels and windmills (to be placed in a red state somewhere — and nowhere near Hyannis Port). And let’s not forget taxes.
With wasteful schemes such as cap-and-trade, Gore believes that “America as we know it” can be “saved” from the ravages of climate change. Mr. Gore, however, fails to state that many scientists believe that climate change’s cyclicality is natural and not anthropogenic. …
Gore and the disciples of global warming need to cease the fear-mongering and use their collective zest to promote a cost-efficient, comprehensive energy plan that includes nuclear, coal, oil and even windmills; an energy plan, though, that won’t unduly burden hardworking American taxpayers.