Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is the Obama Presidency Unraveling?


Earlier this month, when the news broke that the Washington Post was putting Newsweek up for sale, Erick Erickson (the boss at RedState.com) wrote the following:
 Jon Meacham, the overly pretentious editor of Newsweek, has finally succeeded. He has driven Newsweek into the ground.
Meacham and the rest of the Newsweek gang decided to turn Newsweek into leftwing political pornography in order to get access to Barack Obama. Increasingly, their audience has shrunk to a few blocks on the Upper West Side, various newsrooms, Democrat offices in Washington, and some college libraries.
The rest of the world jumped to Time, which still at least pretends to be unbiased, or got off the weekly circuit altogether.
Now comes word that Christopher Ruddy, the proprietor of Newsmax.com, is apparently one of the bidders for the failed magazine. Even if you're right of center, NewsMax content may not be your cup of tea.

Against the backdrop of the BP disaster, Ruddy just penned a column that reminds us how Joe Biden predicted the inexperienced president would be tested by an international crisis within the first six months of his term (this was after Biden said that Obama was unqualified to be president):
Biden was wrong on the timing, but prophetic on the point.
Our president has been tested by al-Qaida, which apparently has tried to pull off two major terror attacks in the past year alone, first with the Detroit plane incident and recently in Times Square.
 Obama also was tested after the Fort Hood incident, again treating this case as a criminal matter. His chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, won’t even say that these terrorist incidents could be linked to “radical Islam.”
Since Obama has taken office, he has been tested consistently by the Iranian regime, which flouted free elections to keep its radical president in power. Once again, Obama was timid and delayed in his response to this outrage.
And his administration has looked silly as Iran has refused continually to comply with international demands that it stop its nuclear weapons program.
Obama has failed another test, this time from Iran’s rogue ally North Korea.
Since North Korea’s brazen act of war with its torpedo attack on a South Korean vessel, President Obama has appeared feeble.
This is no time for such weakness coming from the leader of the free world.
My God, Joe Biden was right. We elected a 47-year-old senator who has no real-world experience, and he is being tested by our enemies. They are seeing his true mettle.
Ruddy also asserts that "What we are witnessing is harsh reality bumping up against President Obama’s fa├žade and shattering the glass — a glass image created by oratory, image and an adoring press."

Ruddy's Newsmax colleague, John LeBoutillier, doesn't hold back either:
The Obama presidency is finally being exposed for what it is: an empty vessel piloted by a guy who can’t speak without a teleprompter and who just follows the Western European anti-American, anti-free enterprise, liberal socialistic model.
And some months ago, William Katz of Urgent Agenda, wrote the following:
And so we still ask: Who is the president? We will get an inkling in the coming months as he deals with Iran, perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenge of 2010. Our answer to the question will decide Barack Obama's future, both as president and as potential (but not definite) candidate in 2012. This is political theater, and very good theater at that. And it requires acting. Ronald Reagan was a real actor, and a distinguished statesman. Barack Obama is a fake actor, with statesmanship yet to be assessed.
If the Obama administration is coming apart at the seams, should we be surprised?

To Preempt Terror, Intelligence Policy Must Change

Fitting for Memorial Day weekend, the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes recommends these steps for keeping America safer through a reform the administration's intelligence policy:
  • End the investigation of CIA interrogators by the Justice Department
  • Aggressively investigate the alleged exposure of CIA officials by lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees.
  • Move the day-to-day direction of intelligence policy out of the West Wing. 
  • Rethink interrogation policy
  • Provide the intelligence community with a clear mission.  
Click here for the full article.

Bagram Detainees Staying Put--and Maybe Gitmo Detainees Too

Overruling a lower court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on May 21 that three detainees at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base can be held indefinitely. In so doing, the panel declined to apply the U.S. Supreme Court precedent in the 2008 Boumediene v. Bush case beyond Guantanamo Bay Naval Base:
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that three men who had been detained by the United States military for years without trial in Afghanistan had no recourse to American courts...The detainees, two Yemenis and a Tunisian who say they were captured outside Afghanistan, contend that they are not terrorists and are being mistakenly imprisoned at the American military prison at Bagram Air Base. But a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that the three had no right to habeas corpus, in which judges would review evidence against them and could order their release...The ruling dealt a severe blow to wider efforts by lawyers to extend a landmark 2008 Supreme Court ruling granting habeas corpus rights to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The appellate panel In Maqaleh v. Gatess explained that habeas corpus relief doesn't apply to an active theater of war in a territory outside of U.S. sovereignty.

David Rifkin, who filed a supporting brief on behalf of the government, said the decision "has restored a considerable degree of sanity to what threatened to be a crazy legal regime that would have deprived the United States, for the first time in history, of the opportunity to capture and detain — outside of the United States, in theaters of war — high-value combatants. That has been solved, and it will apply to many other situations in the future."

In the meantime, the proposed shutdown of the Gitmo prison facility seems less and less likely:
The Senate Armed Services Committee dealt a big setback to President Obama's plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay when lawmakers stripped funding for a new prison in Illinois to hold the detainees. Committee Chairman Carl Levin on Friday [May 28] told reporters the committee, in a voice vote, stripped $245 million that would have gone to buy and retrofit the Thomson prison in Illinois. [Washington Times]

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BP Oil Spill: Will the Media Continue to "Gush" Over Their Hero?


Nearly 40 million gallons of oil "have gushed into the ocean from a broken wellhead 5,000 feet below the surface, creating a spill that has surpassed the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in terms of volume," the Washington Post reports.

Luckily we finished our workout on the stationary bike yesterday before Obama's meaningless, taxpayer-funded Louisiana Gulf Coast photo-op appeared on one of the flat screen TVs in the healthclub's cardio area. (No matter what, Obama typically gets a free ride from his vast array of media apologists. Bush was blasted immediately for his handling or mishandling of Katrina, even though the-then Democrat Louisiana governor and the Democrat New Orleans mayor shared in the culpability. With that in mind, you imagine the outcry if Bush had waited so long to visit this particular disaster area--let alone failing to mobilize all of the instrumentalities of government to "plug the hole"?)

And Yahoo News is reporting that the photo-op was ever more bogus than even commonsense would indicate. Hundreds of $12-and-hour temp workers apparently spruced up the area for the presidential visit:
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP bused in "hundreds" of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said...News of 11th-hour spruce-up brigade spread rapidly Friday afternoon and infuriated locals. One popular radio host...suggested that the Coast Guard and the White House may have been involved in setting up the "perfect photo op."
Turning to more substantive issues, Charles Krauthammer answers a question that a lot of us have been wondering about: why did British Petroleum decide to drill for oil in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?
Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production...And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we've had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So we go deep, ultra deep -- to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
It's amazing how this president can play golf, attend political fundraisers, and give interviews on ESPN during various national emergencies, and up until recently, the fawning media hasn't said a word.

Are things changing? Perhaps. Here, NBC's Chris Matthews temporarily jumps off the Obama bandwagon:

Border National Guard Deployment is Not Comprehensive


Deploying "up to" 1200 National Guard troops (that's 300 per shift, assuming this temporary measure is actually implemented) to the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexican border is obviously just a superficial, going-through-the motions move. The administration is not serious about really securing the border. For example, Obama's minions on Capitol Hill defeated a measure that would have sent 6,000 troops to the southwestern border. Similarly, Senate Democrats also blocked an amendment that would have required completion of the 700-mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico within a year.

And you have any doubts that the temporary National Guard deployment isn't just a public relations stunt, consider this:
US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday.The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants. [AFP]
And ABC News reported the following:
The troops, expected to be spread along the southern border of all four southwestern states, would largely assist border patrol agents and local law enforcement by providing intelligence and intelligence analysis, surveillance and reconnaissance support, and the ability to train additional Customs and Border Protection agents,
In fact, ABC aired this surprising fair report on the president's decision:



In the meantime, the security threats at the southern border don't merely involve drug and human smugglers:
The Department of Homeland Security is alerting Texas authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico, a security expert who has seen the memo tells FOXNews.com...Security experts tell FOXNews.com that the influx of hundreds of Somalis over the U.S. border who allegedly have ties to suspected terror cells is evidence of a porous and unsecured border being exploited by groups intent on wrecking deadly havoc on American soil.
What is is about securing the border first that this administration (and the previous one) doesn't understand? If, for example, U.S. troops can secure the border between North and South Korea and elsewhere around the world, why can't we protect our own border?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mexico's Tough Immigration Laws

Mexican President Calderon is good on some issues, especially in his fight against the drug cartels. He is, however, way off base in his criticism of Arizona's new immigration law, given his own country's draconian immigration statutes. Mexico also has troops protecting its southern border.
Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals. The law also says Mexico can deport foreigners who are deemed detrimental to "economic or national interests," violate Mexican law, are not "physically or mentally healthy" or lack the "necessary funds for their sustenance" and for their dependents.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer for once escaped the liberal cocoon and politely calls out President Calderon on his hypocrisy--starting at the 4-minute mark:



Another usually reliable liberal voice, CNN's Jack Cafferty, blasts the administration's failure to enforce immigration law:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Napolitano Didn't Read Arizona Law Either

Why is it that government officials, past or present, seem to be so helpless? For example, the glib and personable former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, got fired on The Celebrity Apprentice because he couldn't type on a laptop or figure out how to send e-mail. Now, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has joined with her colleague Eric Holder in bashing Arizona's immigration law, admits that she--like Holder--didn't read the law either. Moreover, as Arizona governor, Napolitano only gave lip service to border security so it comes as no surprise that it's "not the kind of law" that she would have signed. Click here for the link to the video of her Senate testimony.

And here is a link to the full text of the law as well as the governor's related executive order.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cameron Brings Change to the UK; Let's Hope So


In ending the Labor Party's 13-year rule, congratulations are in order to Conservative Party leader David Cameron on becoming the UK's new prime minister. Of course, "Conservative" is a far more watered down concept in Britain than here. And because the Conservatives (a/k/a the Tories) fell 20 seats short of a parliamentary majority in the 650-member House of Commons, they were compelled to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats to get them over the top--which included the ascension of shifty LibDem leader Nick Clegg to deputy prime minister.

The LibDems were also negotiating with Labor (in what was called a "coalition of losers"), but in the end, the two left-wing parties were unable to strike an agreement that would have kept Labor in control of 10 Downing Street, although without the hapless Gordon Brown continuing as prime minister.

In the final results, the Conservatives won 306 seats in parliament, 258 seats went to Labor candidates, and Liberal Democrats captured 57 seats (one constituency is in a recount, and the remaining members of parliament were elected by minor parties).

Under a parliamentary democracy, the executive and the legislative branches in general are one and the same. And in forging the coalition government, Cameron had to negotiate away a number of the Tories' public policy positions, which created heartburn for many members of his own party. In fact, Conservatives and LibDems alike are unhappy with certain aspects of the deal in view of the stark ideological differences between the two parties.

Cameron ran on a platform of "change," but given the huge problems facing Britain, an incremental, two-party approach may be best. As a practical matter, it may also be helpful to have the LibDems' fingerprints on some very difficult deficit reduction decisions that Cameron will have to make soon--although who knows how long this coalition will hold together.

London Telegraph columnist Janet Daley writes that the May 6 election signaled the end of Labor's welfare-state policies. Let's hope so.
Can we not finally agree – roughly 20 years after the collapse of Communism – that state-driven, command-economy solutions that attempt to control a country’s economic and social outcomes are dead?
The idea is finished, kaput, discredited even in its less totalitarian forms, and those who cling to it are the true reactionaries. To go on arguing about this ideology is a pernicious distraction: to continue to label those who defend it as “progressive” is absurd. Today’s real progressives are those who are trying to find ways of dismantling the monolithic structures left behind by the theology of state power.
Let's also hope that the UK general election is a precursor to the results of our elections in November 2010.

Arizona Law Not On Holder's Reading List

You probably thought that Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano was the most incompetent official in the administration. Here's the video of Attorney General Holder admitting that he hasn't even read the Arizona law about which he has been so critical.


Blogger Neo-Neocon sums it up perfectly:
[The law] is neither especially long nor complex, as statutes go. The fact that Holder has not read it yet is unconscionable, bizarre, negligent, outrageous—especially since he has long been voicing an opinion on it in his official capacity as Attorney General. He seems to also be unaware that there would be anything odd or wrong about this time lag.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Steve Nash and The Suns: Please Stick to Sports

Led by two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, the up-tempo Phoenix Suns are perhaps the only team in the NBA worth watching, especially in the increasing meaningless regular season. The Suns were literally seconds away from winning the championship in 2007 if it wasn't for that crazy, unfair suspension of Amare Stoudemire under the league's arcane disciplinary rules. You may recall that the Spurs' Robert Horry ("Cheap Shot Bob," formerly "Big Shot Bob") knocked Nash down at the end of the Game 4 of the semi-finals; because Stoudamire wandered a few feet from the bench area following the collision, he was suspended. Absent the suspension, the Suns would have defeated the Spurs and cruised through the championship round. In the world of sports, this was a grave injustice.

Nash's playmaking, ball-handling skills, and shooting epitomize team play in the otherwise me-first NBA. However, Nash and the Suns unfortunately just made it very hard to root for them against the Lakers by publicly opposing Arizona's new immigration law. Even Phil Jackson, who is a big liberal, said that sports and politics don't mix. And as Dennis Miller aptly points on FNC (starting at around the five-minute mark), the Suns and other of the law's opponents have conveniently forgotten about the innocent Arizona rancher (among others) who was murdered by a criminal alien:


Update: Phil Mushnick's New York Post column makes an excellent point about the hypocrisy of the Suns:
What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into Suns' games without paying? What if the owners had a good idea as to who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected.
Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?
...If charity in Arizona begins at home, why not at home games?

American's Governor, Chris Christie

If you're privy to the inner-working of any organization, you can see disarray even in the most well-run enterprises. It's amazing, isn't it, that so-called reporters who cover the hugely inefficient and incompetent public sector on a daily basis still believe in an intrusive government bureaucracy. Chris Christie, the new Republican governor of New Jersey, is serious about thwarting the out-of-control tax and spend agenda of the Democrats in his state, and among other things is at loggerheads with the greedy bosses of the state teacher's union. Here he "schools" a clueless reporter about the definition of "confrontational":
Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

Monday, May 10, 2010

Obama Nominates Moderate to Supreme Court--Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Bridge?

WEEI talk hosts Dennis & Callahan this morning reported that "Chaz Bono" was nominated to the Supreme Court. It turned out, however, that it was her possible doppelganger, Elana Kagan, currently U.S. Solicitor General and formerly Harvard Law School dean (where she famously barred military recruiters from the campus). The media as expected is falling over itself to describe her as a moderate, but any reasonable person knows that assertion is totally bogus. Moreover, as many have or will be noting, she has no experience as a judge or in private law practice.

In general, wouldn't it--for once--be worth considering a qualified legal practitioner for the High Court who has real-world rather, than Ivy-world, experience?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Terror Plots Less Isolated, More Connected

New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin is properly calling attention to the administration's strange and ultimately self-defeating tendency to call every terrorist attack an isolated incident. It's kind of like those ordinary criminal defense lawyers hanging around the courthouse arguing that their client is a good kid who merely got involved in bad crowd. If every kid is good, where does the bad crowd come from?
One of the most troubling tics of Team Obama is the frantic rush to declare that every terror attack on American soil is carried out by an isolated individual with no connection to al Qaeda or other groups. It was the gist of their rapid response to the failed airline bombing on Christmas Day, to the Fort Hood shooter and, most recently, to the plot by Faisal Shahzad to set off a car bomb in Times Square...
It's a reasonable theory, but it has a problem. The claims have been dead wrong in all three cases. Each "lone wolf" was quickly shown to have had contacts with or received training from a terror group abroad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

British Labor Party Accused of Ballot Stuffing

The Conservatives (a/k/a Tories) led by David Cameron are vying with the Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats for control of the British parliament in Thursday's election. The Conservatives are expected to capture the most seats in the House of Commons, but may fall short of a majority needed to elect Cameron as prime minister. Particularly in a close election of this nature, ballot security is most important.

However, in addition to a socialist agenda, the Labor Party in England and the Democrats in the U.S. share another trait: an affinity for vote fraud. The DailyMail has the story:
Voter fraud could determine the outcome of the general election as evidence emerges of massive postal vote rigging. Police have launched 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid widespread cases of electoral rolls being packed with ‘bogus’ voters. Officials report a flood of postal vote applications in marginal seats. With the outcome of the closest election in a generation hanging in the balance, a few thousand ‘stolen’ votes there could determine who wins the keys to Downing Street...Labour supporters stand accused of packing the electoral roll at the last minute with relatives living overseas or simply inventing phantom voters.
Update: The London Times says that the a mere 16,000 votes prevented the Conservatives from winning an outright majority in parliament. As a result, they find themselves in difficult negotiations with the third-place-finishing Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government.

Arizona Enforces Immigration Law Because Obama and Napolitano Won't


Virtually every country in the world, including Mexico, controls its own border. If you don't have secure borders, you really no longer have a country. Out of control immigration is one of the major issues in Thursday's parliamentary elections in the UK, where the Conservatives are projected to capture about 300 seats. Here, the federal government--under President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano--has failed in its responsibility, so the state of Arizona enacted a statute to give the police additional authority. Predictably, the usual open-borders advocates went completely bonkers. One of the bill's authors responds in the New York Times:
On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law — SB 1070 — that prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes. It also requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government...
In sum, the Arizona law hardly creates a police state. It takes a measured, reasonable step to give Arizona police officers another tool when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law enforcement duties.
President Obama and the Beltway crowd feel these problems can be taken care of with “comprehensive immigration reform” — meaning amnesty and a few other new laws. But we already have plenty of federal immigration laws on the books, and the typical illegal alien is guilty of breaking many of them. What we need is for the executive branch to enforce the laws that we already have.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has scaled back work-site enforcement and otherwise shown it does not consider immigration laws to be a high priority. Is it any wonder the Arizona Legislature, at the front line of the immigration issue, sees things differently?

Suspected Times Square Car Bomber Arrested

[Again, as a result of other professional writing projects, we've been a bit behind on regular postings. Thanks for staying with us!]

Customs officers at JFK airport have arrested a naturalized American citizen originally from Pakistan for suspected involvement in the Times Square car bomb plot. The man apparently was trying to catch a flight to Dubai.

And sorry Mayor Bloomberg (and all the liberals in the media echo chamber), it is very unlikely that the suspect is a member of the Tea Party. According to the New York Post...
Federal charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction were pending. [The suspect] is believed to be only one of several people involved in the plot, and authorities are trying to determine if he has ties to foreign groups -- possibly including al Qaeda.
As it happens, we were in NYC on business for several days last week, not too far from the Times Square area. It is sobering that ordinary Americans just going out their daily lives are at risk for acts of terror.