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]