Sunday, May 31, 2009
Cheney Vs. Obama By Jonah Goldberg
It’s a lovely thing when the conventional wisdom proves to be so spectacularly wrong. The entire Democratic party, not to mention the media establishment, simply took as a given that suave, charming, effulgent, numinous president Barack Obama would mop the floor with grumpy, truculent, sardonic former vice-president Dick Cheney. And yet, on almost every issue he has championed since he left office, Cheney has won the debate or at least put the White House on the defensive. From the closing of Gitmo and the placement of terrorists in domestic prisons, to the release of the torture memos and the aborted release of prisoner-abuse photos, Cheney holds the higher ground politically or in the polls, or both.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Bill Ayers: Obama's First Teleprompter
Now, what was that idiotic bit of tripe posing as a cleverly quaint but sweeping validation?
Oh, yeah: "Just sayin."
So I'm just sayin'. There. Locked up for all time: the Great and Powerful Messiah Obama can't even write a phony autobiography without the substantial contribution of a spoiled anti-American sleaze-rat. So goes the entire administration, by the way.
The Teleprompter works in mysterious ways.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Durbin's "right of counsel" claim is a joke — and one you'd think Democrats would be too embarrassed to keep repeating given the number of Obama administration lawyers who, along with their former firms, spent the last eight years volunteering their services to America's enemies. Under the Bush commission system, the terrorists already had U.S. taxpayer-funded military lawyers and were, in addition, permitted to retain private counsel — and there was no shortage of American private lawyers (such as several at Attorney General Eric Holder's firm) who have taken up these cases. If there's anything these terrorists have gotten plenty of, it's top-flight legal representation.Item: Darleen at pr has a giggle over the left's disingenuous, uh, well, okay: fucking-dishonest-as-usual reaction to the RNC's latest video production, which goes something like this:
Click calls for the waaaaambulance:
First off, we can probably question why little Ms. Andie’s editorial is listed in the “news” section of Politico. Secondly, we can then wonder where Ms. Andie was when Her Lord and Savior Obama was (using her metric of OUTRAGE over teh sexism) much less subtle in calling Sarah Palin a pig and flipping the bird to Hillary Clinton.Also discussed: why some conservatives are such, ahem, pussies when it comes to accepting the distortions and lies of the left, designed as they are to dictate the rules of engagement. My policy on that issue has always been very simple: fuck 'em. And boy, do they ever whine about that.
Item: This news at Free Republic ought to get the monkeys screeching:
Following the same career path as President Obama, "O.B.A.M. Nude," which stands for "Occidental Births a Monster," is an independent film that tells the story of a freshman named O.B.A.M. at Occidental College in Los Angeles. O.B.A.M. snorts cocaine and smokes marijuana and makes a deal with the devil in exchange for getting into Columbia University. O.B.A.M. becomes a community organizer in Chicago and attends Harvard Law School and ultimately is elected President of the United States.
Del Vecchio says the movie is meant to make people think and stir emotion [just like that Pelosi Galore short, hardy har. ~ Ed.].
"We wanted to expose Obama as man who is looking to turn our country in a socialist direction. My greatest concern about our president is that he wants government to control people's lives."
That last point? That's just ridiculous. Obama doesn't want government to control people's lives. That's too big a job to leave to government; Obama wants to control people's lives Himself.
Item: Via Michelle Malkin: Obama Channels John Kerry (who fought in Vietnam)
I am against preventive detention (Bush’s), except when I am for it (mine).
I am for transparency (”torture/”interrogation memos), except when I am against it (”torture/”interrogation photos).
I am against the power to order enhanced interrogation techniques, except when I assume that power myself.
I am against “extended re-litigation of the last eight years,” except when I am doing it.
These are not contradictory, Obama tells us. They are judicious cases of striking a balance between civil liberties and national security.
Item: Salon's Jeff Greenwald loves Sparock Obama:
Anyone who followed the early "Star Trek" with regularity knows how charismatic Spock was. If there were two characters I wanted to be as a young man, they were Spock -- and James Bond. Both displayed total self-confidence, and amazing problem-solving skills. Both traveled to exotic destinations, and were irresistible to women. And both shared a quality that my generation lacked completely: composure.Substitute "I" for "my generation" and "lack" for "lacked" and I'd say Jeffrey has it bang on. Composure? Non. Hysteria? Oui.
Item: Power Line is taking on Obama on several fronts, the most recent being his supporters' knowing acceptance of his blatant dishonesty.
It has long been noticed that Obama's slipperiness had been accepted by the left during the Hope-and-Change campaign when He took positions, for example and notably, NAFTA and foreign trade generally, on both sides of an issue. They were willing to cut Him slack in most cases precisely because they just assumed that, of course!!...He was lying....to someone...about the issue. Since each side could reasonably assume this --- the unions that when He made free-trade noises when He assured Canada (and then lied about THAT!) that He wasn't protectionist, and the rational liberals when He pandered to the unions on NAFTA in Ohio, for example --- they could all support Him thinking He was lying....but to the other side!...."Don't worry....we can trust Him because He's lying" was, in effect, left-wing Hope.
Anyone who has listened to the Messiah for more than a minute knows he is lying to someone. Even his supporters know it; in fact, especially his supporters know it. The relevant question is just as Power Line states: to whom is Obama lying?
That's easy: everyone. And everyone knows it.
Item: Speaking of lying, Pajamas Media: How the Cheneys have exposed Obama's lying hypocrisy on all things Bush:
Dick Cheney, with help from his daughter Liz, has crystallized the insane nature of our national debate regarding detainee policy. He has called President Obama’s bluff on numerous issues related to terrorist detention and interrogation; Obama, to the chagrin of his supporters, has blinked.
Charles Krauthammer labels this “the Obama three-step,” whereby Barack will first “excoriate the Bush policy,” then “ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes,” only to finally “adopt the Bush policy.” President Obama likes to talk about the “false choice” between our values and our security, but the disparity between his words and actions is gargantuan.
Since his inauguration, Obama has either reversed or triangulated himself on nearly every Bush-created national security program that he once lambasted as a candidate. Whether it is the Patriot Act, FISA, surveillance programs, wiretappings, email intercepts, rendition of terrorist detainees, indefinite detention of terrorists, withholding the writ of habeas corpus to terrorists, or employing military tribunals for al-Qaeda prisoners, Obama no longer hyperbolizes these programs as fascistic and contrary to our ideals. You see, he’s in charge now — so they can’t possibly be lawless anymore. On all of these issues, Obama has adopted the very same Bush approach he once castigated as reckless and pointless to our security.
Atlas Shrugged has the continuing story:
The police told the family not to say a word. The Jewish community was not warned when prior attempts to kidnap Jewish men had failed. The Jewish community was not warned before the successful attempt.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Andrew C. McCarthy on Cheney vs. Obama
President Obama’s speech is the September 10th mindset trying to come to grips with September 11th reality. It is excruciating to watch as the brute facts of life under a jihadist threat, which the president is now accountable for confronting, compel him forever to climb out of holes dug by his high-minded campaign rhetoric — the reversals on military detention, commission trials, prisoner-abuse photos, and the like.
The need to castigate his predecessor, even as he substantially adopts the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policy, is especially unbecoming in a president who purports to transcend our ideological divisions.
This was perhaps best exemplified by the president’s attack on the very military commission system he has just revived. The dig that the system only succeeded in convicting three terrorists in seven years conveniently omits the fact that the delay was largely attributed to legal challenges advanced by lawyers who now work in his own administration.
Those challenges, despite consuming years of litigation, failed to derail the commission system, which Congress simply re-authorized, substantially unchanged, after a thin Supreme Court majority erroneously struck it down in the 2006 Hamdan case. The commissions, moreover, are now being delayed several more months simply so Mr. Obama can make some cosmetic tweaks that work no real change in the commission process but will enable him to claim that they are somehow a departure from Bush commissions.
It is also not true, no matter how many times Mr. Obama and his supporters repeat it, that Guantanamo Bay and enhanced interrogation (or “torture” as they call it) are primary drivers of terrorist recruitment. The principal exacerbating factor in recruitment is successful terrorist attacks. That is what convinces the undecided to join jihadist movements, and that is what the Bush administration’s approach prevented. And if the president truly insists on “transparency,” he should stop suppressing memoranda that detail the effectiveness of the CIA interrogation program. Given his decision to reveal CIA tactics, is it too much to ask that the American people be informed about what intelligence the program yielded?
Rather than serving to trigger some Spock-like leap into a vast new intellectual frontier of post-partisan illumination, Obama's speech today was a campaign-style rant filled with left-wing talking points smearing his predecessor while promising to retain most if not all of the Bush administration's methods for fighting terrorism, including indefinite detention without trial and enhanced interrogation. It reinforced what adults have known all along about him: he's an unserious left-wing ideologue and a lying hypocrite, completely unsuited to the task of defending American national security.
Bonus-Jim Geraghty on Obama's speechification:
Particularly in the beginning, Obama’s remarks were typically eloquent, soaring, poetic, flowery, blah blah blah. I kept waiting for a quote from Seneca or Obama's mother. It was another campaign speech. (Early on he mentioned his father coming to this country, seeking promise and freedom and such; I awaited the line, "after finding what he was looking for in America, he left, never to return.")
Frivolous Lawsuit Gassed Again; Wilson, Plame Still Traitorous Liars
From the Washington Times:
The Obama administration Wednesday took the side of top Bush administration officials - including most-vocal recent critic, former Vice President Dick Cheney - in the ongoing fight over the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.That last part may be False But Accurate™.
The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a lawsuit brought by Mrs. Plame and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, against several top Bush administration officials. The department's move continued the Bush administration's policy to fight the suit, which has already been dismissed by two lower courts.
"The decision of the court of appeals is correct and does not conflict with any decision of this Court or any other court of appeals," said the brief filed by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, and Justice Department attorneys Mark B. Stern and Charles W. Scarborough. "Further review is unwarranted, especially since Americans have long known that these two miscreants are huge liars, and it is deliciously just that they have finally been so badly boned by the huge liar they helped elect President."
Abu Wabu's flawless record for calling the Plame-Wilson idiocy.
Romney on Cheney vs Obama
Two speeches, two very different men. Former Vice President Cheney seeks no political future. He speaks from the vantage of one who witnessed the killing of our fellow citizens, who deliberated and defined the strategy that would successfully prevent further murders of our fellow Americans.
His address today was direct, well-reasoned, and convincing.
President Obama, on the other hand, continues to speak as a politician. Contrary to the advice I and others gave him, he has placed two of his top political consultants in the West Wing, looking to them to opine on matters of national security. Barack Obama is having a hard time going from politician to president. His speech and his policies have one foot in campaign mode and another in presidential mode. He struggles to explain how he is keeping faith with the liberal advocates who promoted his campaign but in doing so, he breaks faith with the interests of the American people. When it comes to protecting the nation, we have a conflicted president. And his address today was more tortured than the enhanced interrogation techniques he decries.
It is laughable to suggest that Guantanamo is a meaningful aid in terrorist recruiting. Before Guantanamo came the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the bombing at Riyadh, the attacks on Khobar, the bombing of our embassies, the Cole. There will always be rallying cries for recruitment whether it is the existence of Israel or the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. Appeasement has not ever, does not now, and will never satisfy a foe who looks to destroy freedom and rule the world.
Vice President Cheney has been the target of every media, from mainstream to comic. But he spoke today as before without regard to the politics but with abiding respect for the truth. Barack Obama is still hanging on to the campaign trail. He said that the last thing he thinks about when he goes to sleep at night is keeping America safe. That's a big difference with Vice President Cheney—when it came to protecting Americans, he never went to sleep.
Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.
I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
The responsibilities we carried belong to others now. And though I’m not here to speak for George W. Bush, I am certain that no one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do. We understand the complexities of national security decisions. We understand the pressures that confront a president and his advisers. Above all, we know what is at stake. And though administrations and policies have changed, the stakes for America have not changed.
Right now there is considerable debate in this city about the measures our administration took to defend the American people. Today I want to set forth the strategic thinking behind our policies. I do so as one who was there every day of the Bush Administration –who supported the policies when they were made, and without hesitation would do so again in the same circumstances.
When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.
Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after September 11th, 2001 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America … and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.
That attack itself was, of course, the most devastating strike in a series of terrorist plots carried out against Americans at home and abroad. In 1993, they bombed the World Trade Center, hoping to bring down the towers with a blast from below. The attacks continued in 1995, with the bombing of U.S. facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the killing of servicemen at Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in East Africa in 1998; the murder of American sailors on the USS Cole in 2000; and then the hijackings of 9/11, and all the grief and loss we suffered on that day.
Nine-eleven caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for a while, and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated. Throughout the 90s, America had responded to these attacks, if at all, on an ad hoc basis. The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact – crime scene, arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.
That’s how it seemed from a law enforcement perspective, at least – but for the terrorists the case was not closed. For them, it was another offensive strike in their ongoing war against the United States. And it turned their minds to even harder strikes with higher casualties. Nine-eleven made necessary a shift of policy, aimed at a clear strategic threat – what the Congress called “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” From that moment forward, instead of merely preparing to round up the suspects and count up the victims after the next attack, we were determined to prevent attacks in the first place.
We could count on almost universal support back then, because everyone understood the environment we were in. We’d just been hit by a foreign enemy – leaving 3,000 Americans dead, more than we lost at Pearl Harbor. In Manhattan, we were staring at 16 acres of ashes. The Pentagon took a direct hit, and the Capitol or the White House were spared only by the Americans on Flight 93, who died bravely and defiantly.
Everyone expected a follow-on attack, and our job was to stop it. We didn’t know what was coming next, but everything we did know in that autumn of 2001 looked bad. This was the world in which al-Qaeda was seeking nuclear technology, and A. Q. Khan was selling nuclear technology on the black market. We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.
These are just a few of the problems we had on our hands. And foremost on our minds was the prospect of the very worst coming to pass – a 9/11 with nuclear weapons.
For me, one of the defining experiences was the morning of 9/11 itself. As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.
There in the bunker came the reports and images that so many Americans remember from that day – word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive. In the years since, I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.
To make certain our nation country never again faced such a day of horror, we developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeland security to make the United States a harder target. But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks. We decided, as well, to confront the regimes that sponsored terrorists, and to go after those who provide sanctuary, funding, and weapons to enemies of the United States. We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.
We did all of these things, and with bipartisan support put all these policies in place. It has resulted in serious blows against enemy operations … the take-down of the A.Q. Khan network … and the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear program. It’s required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden. Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.
So we’re left to draw one of two conclusions – and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event – coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come.
The key to any strategy is accurate intelligence, and skilled professionals to get that information in time to use it. In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our Administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information. We didn’t invent that authority. It is drawn from Article Two of the Constitution. And it was given specificity by the Congress after 9/11, in a Joint Resolution authorizing “all necessary and appropriate force” to protect the American people.
Our government prevented attacks and saved lives through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which let us intercept calls and track contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and persons inside the United States. The program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.
In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.
In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.
Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters.
By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.
Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.
Over on the left wing of the president’s party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they’re after would be heard before a so-called “Truth Commission.” Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.
Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security, and what it requires. I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at interrogations is utterly misplaced. And staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.
One person who by all accounts objected to the release of the interrogation memos was the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta. He was joined in that view by at least four of his predecessors. I assume they felt this way because they understand the importance of protecting intelligence sources, methods, and personnel. But now that this once top-secret information is out for all to see – including the enemy – let me draw your attention to some points that are routinely overlooked.
It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You’ve heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. One of them was Khalid Sheikh Muhammed – the mastermind of 9/11, who has also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.
We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country. We didn’t know about al-Qaeda’s plans, but Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and a few others did know. And with many thousands of innocent lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.
Maybe you’ve heard that when we captured KSM, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand. American personnel were not there to commence an elaborate legal proceeding, but to extract information from him before al-Qaeda could strike again and kill more of our people.
In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America’s cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.
Those personnel were carefully chosen from within the CIA, and were specially prepared to apply techniques within the boundaries of their training and the limits of the law. Torture was never permitted, and the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it.
Even before the interrogation program began, and throughout its operation, it was closely reviewed to ensure that every method used was in full compliance with the Constitution, statutes, and treaty obligations. On numerous occasions, leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods.
Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.
I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about “values.” Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.
Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.
The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned … one lead that goes unpursued … can bring on catastrophe – it’s no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.
Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and the terrorist enemy. Apparently using the term “war” where terrorists are concerned is starting to feel a bit dated. So henceforth we’re advised by the administration to think of the fight against terrorists as, quote, “Overseas contingency operations.” In the event of another terrorist attack on America, the Homeland Security Department assures us it will be ready for this, quote, “man-made disaster” – never mind that the whole Department was created for the purpose of protecting Americans from terrorist attack.
And when you hear that there are no more, quote, “enemy combatants,” as there were back in the days of that scary war on terror, at first that sounds like progress. The only problem is that the phrase is gone, but the same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers are still there. And finding some less judgmental or more pleasant-sounding name for terrorists doesn’t change what they are – or what they would do if we let them loose.
On his second day in office, President Obama announced that he was closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. This step came with little deliberation and no plan. Their idea now, as stated by Attorney General Holder and others, is apparently to bring some of these hardened terrorists into the United States. On this one, I find myself in complete agreement with many in the President’s own party. Unsure how to explain to their constituents why terrorists might soon be relocating into their states, these Democrats chose instead to strip funding for such a move out of the most recent war supplemental.
The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo. But it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America’s national security. Keep in mind that these are hardened terrorists picked up overseas since 9/11. The ones that were considered low-risk were released a long time ago. And among these, it turns out that many were treated too leniently, because they cut a straight path back to their prior line of work and have conducted murderous attacks in the Middle East. I think the President will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.
In the category of euphemism, the prizewinning entry would be a recent editorial in a familiar newspaper that referred to terrorists we’ve captured as, quote, “abducted.” Here we have ruthless enemies of this country, stopped in their tracks by brave operatives in the service of America, and a major editorial page makes them sound like they were kidnap victims, picked up at random on their way to the movies.
It’s one thing to adopt the euphemisms that suggest we’re no longer engaged in a war. These are just words, and in the end it’s the policies that matter most. You don’t want to call them enemy combatants? Fine. Call them what you want – just don’t bring them into the United States. Tired of calling it a war? Use any term you prefer. Just remember it is a serious step to begin unraveling some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11.
Another term out there that slipped into the discussion is the notion that American interrogation practices were a “recruitment tool” for the enemy. On this theory, by the tough questioning of killers, we have supposedly fallen short of our own values. This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It’s another version of that same old refrain from the Left, “We brought it on ourselves.”
It is much closer to the truth that terrorists hate this country precisely because of the values we profess and seek to live by, not by some alleged failure to do so. Nor are terrorists or those who see them as victims exactly the best judges of America’s moral standards, one way or the other.
Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values. But no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.
As a practical matter, too, terrorists may lack much, but they have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel … our cultural and political influence in the world – these are the true sources of resentment, all mixed in with the lies and conspiracy theories of the radical clerics. These recruitment tools were in vigorous use throughout the 1990s, and they were sufficient to motivate the 19 recruits who boarded those planes on September 11th, 2001.
The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world – for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences – and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for – our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.
What is equally certain is this: The broad-based strategy set in motion by President Bush obviously had nothing to do with causing the events of 9/11. But the serious way we dealt with terrorists from then on, and all the intelligence we gathered in that time, had everything to do with preventing another 9/11 on our watch. The enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and the terrorist surveillance program have without question made our country safer. Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place.
This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11. It’s almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future.
Releasing the interrogation memos was flatly contrary to the national security interest of the United States. The harm done only begins with top secret information now in the hands of the terrorists, who have just received a lengthy insert for their training manual. Across the world, governments that have helped us capture terrorists will fear that sensitive joint operations will be compromised. And at the CIA, operatives are left to wonder if they can depend on the White House or Congress to back them up when the going gets tough. Why should any agency employee take on a difficult assignment when, even though they act lawfully and in good faith, years down the road the press and Congress will treat everything they do with suspicion, outright hostility, and second-guessing? Some members of Congress are notorious for demanding they be briefed into the most sensitive intelligence programs. They support them in private, and then head for the hills at the first sign of controversy.
As far as the interrogations are concerned, all that remains an official secret is the information we gained as a result. Some of his defenders say the unseen memos are inconclusive, which only raises the question why they won’t let the American people decide that for themselves. I saw that information as vice president, and I reviewed some of it again at the National Archives last month. I’ve formally asked that it be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained, the things we learned, and the consequences for national security. And as you may have heard, last week that request was formally rejected. It’s worth recalling that ultimate power of declassification belongs to the President himself. President Obama has used his declassification power to reveal what happened in the interrogation of terrorists. Now let him use that same power to show Americans what did not happen, thanks to the good work of our intelligence officials.
I believe this information will confirm the value of interrogations – and I am not alone. President Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Blair, has put it this way: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.” End quote. Admiral Blair put that conclusion in writing, only to see it mysteriously deleted in a later version released by the administration – the missing 26 words that tell an inconvenient truth. But they couldn’t change the words of George Tenet, the CIA Director under Presidents Clinton and Bush, who bluntly said: “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.” End of quote.
If Americans do get the chance to learn what our country was spared, it’ll do more than clarify the urgency and the rightness of enhanced interrogations in the years after 9/11. It may help us to stay focused on dangers that have not gone away. Instead of idly debating which political opponents to prosecute and punish, our attention will return to where it belongs – on the continuing threat of terrorist violence, and on stopping the men who are planning it.
For all the partisan anger that still lingers, our administration will stand up well in history – not despite our actions after 9/11, but because of them. And when I think about all that was to come during our administration and afterward – the recriminations, the second-guessing, the charges of “hubris” – my mind always goes back to that moment.
To put things in perspective, suppose that on the evening of 9/11, President Bush and I had promised that for as long as we held office – which was to be another 2,689 days – there would never be another terrorist attack inside this country. Talk about hubris – it would have seemed a rash and irresponsible thing to say. People would have doubted that we even understood the enormity of what had just happened. Everyone had a very bad feeling about all of this, and felt certain that the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville were only the beginning of the violence.
Of course, we made no such promise. Instead, we promised an all-out effort to protect this country. We said we would marshal all elements of our nation’s power to fight this war and to win it. We said we would never forget what had happened on 9/11, even if the day came when many others did forget. We spoke of a war that would “include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.” We followed through on all of this, and we stayed true to our word.
To the very end of our administration, we kept al-Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems. We focused on getting their secrets, instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, seven and a half years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized. It is a record to be continued until the danger has passed.
Along the way there were some hard calls. No decision of national security was ever made lightly, and certainly never made in haste. As in all warfare, there have been costs – none higher than the sacrifices of those killed and wounded in our country’s service. And even the most decisive victories can never take away the sorrow of losing so many of our own – all those innocent victims of 9/11, and the heroic souls who died trying to save them.
For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings. And when the moral reckoning turns to the men known as high-value terrorists, I can assure you they were neither innocent nor victims. As for those who asked them questions and got answers: they did the right thing, they made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.
Like so many others who serve America, they are not the kind to insist on a thank-you. But I will always be grateful to each one of them, and proud to have served with them for a time in the same cause. They, and so many others, have given honorable service to our country through all the difficulties and all the dangers. I will always admire them and wish them well. And I am confident that this nation will never take their work, their dedication, or their achievements, for granted.
Thank you very much.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Holder: Waterboarding Is Not Torture
Andrew C. McCarthy is here to explain:
Let’s put aside that it’s unlikely the Spanish Inquisition had a torture statute — after all, the United States managed to get along without one until 1994. Let’s even ignore the fact that the regimes Holder cited are not known to have rigorously limited their practitioners to no more than six applications of water (none longer than 40 seconds long) during any interrogation session (none longer than two hours long) on any day (during which there could be no more than two sessions) in any month (during which there could be no more than five days on which waterboarding occurred). Let’s just stick with intent. Holder’s exemplars involve the sadistic, programmatic infliction of severe, lasting, and often lethal pain — “water treatment” nowhere near as benign as the CIA’s, frequently coupled with atrocities like beating, rape, burning, and other unspeakable abuses. The practices of those regimes were designed exactly to torture, whether out of vengeance, the desire to intimidate a population, or the coercion of false confessions for show-trials — not to collect true, life-saving intelligence for the protection of civilian populations...
...Rep. Lungren skillfully steered Attorney General Holder into the truth: As a matter of law, CIA waterboarding — like the same waterboarding actions featured in Navy SEALs training — cannot be torture because there is no intention to inflict severe mental or physical pain; the exercise is done for a different purpose. When Rep. Gohmert’s questioning made it crystal clear that Holder’s simplistic “waterboarding is torture” pronouncement was wrong, the attorney general — rather than admitting error — tried to change the legal definition of torture in a manner that contradicted a position the Justice Department had just urged on the federal courts. It seems that, for this attorney general, there is one torture standard for Bush administration officials, and another one for everybody else.
Good to see Holder has ended all that unseemly politicizing of the Justice Department.
How Obamacare Sucks
You never get denied urgently needed medical care. You just never get approved to receive it.
HT Hugh Hewitt
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
OMB Memo: Obama White House Knows CO2 Neither A Pollutant Nor A Proven Contributor To Global Warming
The OMB released a memo to the Obama administration under lawyer/client priviledge stating that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and that there is in fact no proof that CO2 causes global warming, even though the EPA has been given authority by the Supreme Court to regulate it as a pollutant.
There is concern that the EPA is making a finding based on harm from substances that have no demonstrated, direct health effects such as respiratory or toxic effects. Making the decision to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act for the first time is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the economy, small business, small communities.Now, this is just the latest thing that further puts paid to the whole global warming fabrication, but more than that it renders Obama's cap-and-trade plans a bald-faced scam. Which is not to say he won't go ahead with it anyway, if the rate at which he is remorselessly fucking future generations of Americans is any indication.
Again, this confidential memo comes straight from the supposedly historically transparent Obama White House; someone inside the Messiah's administration leaked it or let it get out somehow. It ended up in the hands of Republican Senator John Barrasso, who had some questions for EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who is mentioned in every one of the memo's nine pages in the context of having ruled on CO2 purely for political gain rather than having anything to do with scientific integrity.
Wow. Liberals perpetuating a lie for political gain? Who would have guessed?
An EPA finding last month that greenhouse gasses are a danger to public health rests on dubious assumptions and could have negative economic impacts, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned.Even worse for the global warming crowd, the memo suggests that it if there was such a thing, it could be good for the planet, which I have long asserted myself. Proving that at least one U.S. government agency has someone working for it who could be almost as smart as I am.
The memo has no listed author but is marked “Deliberative–Attorney Client Privilege.” A spokesman for OMB told Dow Jones Newswires that the brief is a “conglomeration of counsel we’ve received from various agencies” about the EPA finding, the conclusions of which would trigger regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
The author(s) of the memo suggest the EPA did not thoroughly examine the relationship between greenhouse gases and human health.
“In the absence of a strong statement of the standards being applied in this decision, there is concern that EPA is making a finding based on…’harm’ from substances that have no demonstrated direct health effects,” the memo says, adding that the “scientific data that purports to conclusively establish” that link was from outside EPA.
Across the next two decades, annual job losses due to restrictions on CO2 emissions will exceed 800,000 in at least two years. Losses for most years will be more than 500,000.That's more than Ten Million Jobs Lost To Obama in twenty years' time to just one of his policies.
No word yet on the number of unicorns Obama will have saved in the same period to offset that toll.
Megan McArdle- The Risk Of Debt:
For a while now, I've been asking people at conferences, on and off the record, what America's sovereign debt risk is? That is, how long until people stop treating treasuries as the "risk free" securities, and start demanding a premium for the risk that we might default.
The answer from the right has been a nervous (perhaps hopeful) 2-3 years. The answer from the left, and professional Democratic wonks, is some unspecified time in the future. Probably, there will be a Republican in charge. Markets hate Republicans.
But last Thursday, the Treasury auction was . . . well, descriptions vary from "weak" to "horrible". This raises the unpleasant possibility that markets are, as my business school professors insisted, "forward looking". Voters may believe that getting a bunch of special interests to agree in principal that costs should be cut is the same thing as actually cutting costs. Bond markets don't.
Ace- Prophet of Doom: Social Security is Hemorrhaging Red, T-Bills Won't Sell, America's Bond Rating May Be Cut
I had thought that Obama's speech where he reluctantly and sadly tells the middle class he might have to kinda break his campaign pledge and raise their taxes -- which will surely be hailed as "The Greatest Speech on Increasing Income and Payroll Taxes Since Lincoln's Gettysburg Budget Reconciliation Speech" -- would be put off, coincidentally enough, to just after Obama's second inauguration. But now, with his ability to borrow until that point now threatened, he may have to make it sooner.Ed Morrissey- US speeding towards financial crash:
Which of course raises the Big Question which no one in the media will ask him. He will explain, sadly, that Bush's recession and "runaway deficits" were/are much worse than he thought, and therefore he cannot both honor his promises to spend like the wind and his promise not to increase taxes on the middle class. (Actually the middle and upper middle class and lower upper class too, as he promised that no one making under $250,000 per year would see an additional "dime" in taxes.) And therefore, with greatest reluctance, you understand, he'll have to raise taxes.
And he'll say he has a mandate for that, because that's what the people voted for.
But they didn't.
As the boss recalls this morning, George Bush tried in 2005 to warn about the
looming crisis in entitlements. What kind of response did that get? Democrats like Harry Reid accused Bush of fearmongering and panic, and assured Americans that “the so-called Social Security crisis exists in only one place — the minds of Republicans. In reality, the program is on solid ground for decades to come.”
Obviously not. Last month, I noted several more of those Democratic demurrals in 2005, along with the news that Social Security surpluses have already disappeared. As I wrote earlier, Treasury’s website shows that we lost money in February for the first time ever — and that will only get worse as the economy slows, unemployment rises, and more people start drawing Social Security.
A Country Of Men
Todd J. Zywicki describes in the Wall Street Journal the unprecedented damage Obama has done to the financial system and the rule of law by trampling on the rights of secured creditors and trashing the bedrock principals of the bankruptcy process in America(emphasis mine):
Scott Johnson's The Meaning Of Chrysler is also a valuable analysis.
The Obama administration's behavior in the Chrysler bankruptcy is a profound challenge to the rule of law. Secured creditors -- entitled to first priority payment under the "absolute priority rule" -- have been browbeaten by an American president into accepting only 30 cents on the dollar of their claims. Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers union, holding junior creditor claims, will get about 50 cents on the dollar.
The absolute priority rule is a linchpin of bankruptcy law. By preserving the substantive property and contract rights of creditors, it ensures that bankruptcy is used primarily as a procedural mechanism for the efficient resolution of financial distress. Chapter 11 promotes economic efficiency by reorganizing viable but financially distressed firms, i.e., firms that are worth more alive than dead.
Violating absolute priority undermines this commitment by introducing questions of redistribution into the process. It enables the rights of senior creditors to be plundered in order to benefit the rights of junior creditors.
The U.S. government also wants to rush through what amounts to a sham sale of all of Chrysler's assets to Fiat. While speedy bankruptcy sales are not unheard of, they are usually reserved for situations involving a wasting or perishable asset (think of a truck of oranges) where delay might be fatal to the asset's, or in this case the company's, value. That's hardly the case with Chrysler. But in a Chapter 11 reorganization, creditors have the right to vote to approve or reject the plan. The Obama administration's asset-sale plan implements a de facto reorganization but denies to creditors the opportunity to vote on it.
By stepping over the bright line between the rule of law and the arbitrary behavior of men, President Obama may have created a thousand new failing businesses. That is, businesses that might have received financing before but that now will not, since lenders face the potential of future government confiscation. In other words, Mr. Obama may have helped save the jobs of thousands of union workers whose dues, in part, engineered his election. But what about the untold number of job losses in the future caused by trampling the sanctity of contracts today?
The value of the rule of law is not merely a matter of economic efficiency. It also provides a bulwark against arbitrary governmental action taken at the behest of politically influential interests at the expense of the politically unpopular. The government's threats and bare-knuckle tactics set an ominous precedent for the treatment of those considered insufficiently responsive to its desires.
When the next president of the United States wins on a platform of returning America to the rule of law, Obama's legacy as a tyrant and a thug will have been chiselled in stone.
Pope Urges Canadians To Resist Seal Clubbing
Not a bad way to get the Israelis to tear down the wall whose existence he laments and which, by the way, wouldn't be there if Palestinians would stop murdering Israelis.
There's your cycle of violence right there.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Right Perspective
For my money, the objections to Wanda Sykes are overblown.I wonder how funny the same sentiments that had the president and all his children roaring with laughter at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner would have been had they been spoken about leftist personalities by right wing revelers. K-Lo has the same thought and goes on to express what every decent person must think of that whole lowly affair:
She's a pro. Like Leno and Letterman, she has the ability to take contemporary events everybody knows about and turn them into plausible fodder for jokes.
No surprise, then, that the line about Rush being a traitor had the audience slapping their knees Saturday night. After all, in just the last few weeks Rush has embraced a foreign leader who calls America "the Great Satan," accepted an anti-American book from someone who calls the U.S. "the most savage, murderous empire in the history of the world," apologized on foreign soil for America's innumerable transgressions, moved to scrap missile defense at the same time America's enemies are developing deliverable nukes, ordered the release of documents that will inflame our enemies, sat through an hour-long anti-American tirade without uttering a single objection, moved toward the release of suspected terrorists in American neighborhoods, and suggested individuals who tried to find lawful ways to protect Americans be prosecuted.
Sharp eye for detail there, Wanda. You even had the president laughing.
But Sykes wasn’t the core problem, as tasteless and awful as her jokes were. I keep going back to Sasha and Malia. The president used his daughters, two days after he let one of his staff take the fall for his administration’s use of everyone in Lower Manhattan and along the Hudson River on a clear morning as a prop in the Obama show. Nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered on a day not unlike that one, and his administration needlessly freaked out those who witnessed it. And he’s laughing.
Of course, that was his job Saturday night. To go to the Reagan Hilton and entertain the media and Hollywood audience. Presumably the crowd likes him (he joked about this too) and hates Rush. He knew what the crowd wanted and ran with it. It was unpresidential when Bush did that (remember looking for weapons of mass destruction at the Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner?) and it’s unpresidential when Obama does it. And it’s downright shameful when done with the meanspiritedness that was on display Saturday night.
Somehow Dick Cheney, who continues to stand athwart unseriousness yelling “Stop,” is the enemy. Somehow Rush Limbaugh, conservative stalwart, the embodiment of capitalist success, a man who has struggled with adversity with an inspiring humility, is someone we’re to disdain so much as to laugh at the prospect of his kidneys’ failing. Somehow we are supposed to be pining for one of the nastiest men on television to do something that everyone laughing at the joke presumably considers torture to Sean Hannity, who, agree with him or not, is the happiest of warriors compared with Keith Olbermann.
The reviews of the president Saturday night were good, I keep hearing. But what happened Saturday night was not right. The same liberal elite that has brought us hate-crimes laws and speech codes spewed real venom. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is below the president, whoever he is (I thought this when Bush was president and I think it even more today). But that dinner Saturday night —in the jokes the president of the United States of America was willing to make and to laugh at — was beneath America.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
CIA Burns Shameless Liar Nancy Pelosi
Captain Ed opines.
Ah, remember the good old days when this was the patriotic thing to do? Speak truth to power? Show Bush what fer?
Power Line's Scott Johnson has more documentation unraveling Pelosi's, and the Democrats', contemptible lies:
I think we can fairly draw at least one conclusion from this episode. The case of Nancy Pelosi provides the key to the "torture" controversy. It is a partisan charade. And it is a charade of a particularly disgusting kind. The Democrats' "torture" charade is a case of low politics masquerading as high principle.Hot Air is labelling the Pelosian One a Shameless Liar. That's about right.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Obama's Gangster Government
Think carefully about what’s happening here. The White House, presumably car czar Steven Rattner and deputy Ron Bloom, is seeking to transfer the property of one group of people to another group that is politically favored. In the process, it is setting aside basic property rights in favor of rewarding the United Auto Workers for the support the union has given the Democratic Party. The only possible limit on the White House’s power is the bankruptcy judge, who might not go along.I believe Obama announced in one of his long series of boring acceptance speeches, which one I don't remember, that his election would mark the day the waters ceased their rise. He certainly was prophetic. The problem is that it's the financial waters he is sending down the drain. Unless he is stopped, the economy will be on dry ground for a generation or more while the world's money takes refuge, as it always does, from gross leftist greed and stupidity.
Michigan politicians of both parties joined Obama in denouncing the holdout bondholders. They point to the sad plight of UAW retirees not getting full payment of the health care benefits the union negotiated with Chrysler. But the plight of the beneficiaries of the pension funds represented by the bondholders is sad too. Ordinarily you would expect these claims to be weighed and determined by the rule of law. But not apparently in this administration.
Obama’s attitude toward the rule of law is apparent in the words he used to describe what he is looking for in a nominee to replace Justice David Souter. He wants “someone who understands justice is not just about some abstract legal theory,” he said, but someone who has “empathy.” In other words, judges should decide cases so that the right people win, not according to the rule of law.
The Chrysler negotiations will not be the last occasion for this administration to engage in bailout favoritism and crony capitalism. There’s a May 31 deadline to come up with a settlement for General Motors. And there will be others. In the meantime, who is going to buy bonds from unionized companies if the government is going to take their money away and give it to the union? (Emphasis mine. And the answer is no-one.) We have just seen an episode of Gangster Government. It is likely to be part of a continuing series.
You think those Enron guys were thieves? Just wait 'til you get a load of Obama and his pals, because you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
More Buyer's Remorse
Via Power Line
Obama Covers His Ass: He'll fund successful voucher program until present students graduate, then Pffft! No more successful voucher program.
If it's getting kids out of bad inner-city schools and getting them great grades and a future, why? Because along with leftist idiots, Obamans rely on uneducated, entitlement-minded poor to populate their voter rolls. When schools work and the kids actually learn, they flee inner-city hellholes and move to productive communities. That's a fact. If everyone moves out of the inner cities, the Obamans will lose their constituencies.
So to that mother in the video who supported Obama along with her kids and now asks of him, why are you doing this, there's your answer: that's how he takes power. Your daughter's good education may not just be irrelevant; it may in fact stand in Obama's way.
Food For Stupidity
The problem with the video is that it has been very quickly taken down by MSLSD, whose management evidently watched it maybe twice before deciding that it was, well, sycophantically idiotic, even for "Andrea Mitchell reporting, MSLSD."
Meanwhile, Iran has just launched airstrikes on Iraq. Where is Andrea Mitchell reporting, MSLSD?
One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.In other words, "I'm the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks."
Well, that’s certainly reassuring. The man at the helm during one of the biggest economic crises in decades is a madman who will act in an unpredictable and irrational manner if he doesn’t get his way. It sounds like they paint Obama as either a lunatic or a petulant child.HT Hot Air
Skunk To Israel: Surrender To Obama's Agenda Or Face Iran's Nukes
Rahm Emmanuel's got nothing. Obama's got nothing. Bibi knows it, the Israelis know it, I know it, everyone knows it, because Obama has already telegraphed that he doesn't have the stomach for honest confrontation with a real enemy like ActMadInJihad, and the Iranian leader has punked Obama time and again. So the Israelis can ignore Emmanuel's empty threats. And by empty, I mean monumentally stupid and shallow.
When it comes to telling the Israelis how and when to negotiate with their existential enemies, Obama is a fucking dimestore punk. Look for Bibi to confirm that in the near future.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Yes, It Was A Stupid Thing To Say. So Is That Other Stupid Thing You Keep Saying.
Wow. What a monument to integrity this man Leibowitz-Stewart was for those fifteen seconds.
Perhaps having climbed the mountain of his own fine intellect (or having heard the voluminous waves of derision sent crashing his way by thoughtful adults) to conclude that "the atomic bomb was a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war", Leibowitz-Stewart went on to apply the very same logic to President Bush, who for seven years made very complicated decisions in another horrific worldwide war, including the decision to waterboard three vicious terrorists (one of whom was known to have planned 9/11 and was brazenly warning of more such attacks) in order to save thousands more Americans from the real torture of having to choose between death by incineration or death by jumping a hundred floors to the hard pavement below.
Alas, he did not.
So, back to stupid.
Intellectually dishonest, partisan hack, weapons-grade leftist idiot stupid.
Whereas Chris Dodd is insane.
Getchyer Sub Silentio Ratcheer
I hope someone is keeping track of Obama's many sub silentio ratifications of once-criticized Bush administration policies.No prOblama.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
White House Thuggery
One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under the threat that the full force of the White House Press Corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.So let's see now: first, show all the lawyers that working for the government can get you ruined and/or jailed years later; then show capital that it's time to fly away for a few years.
I have a gift, Harry.
“YOU REPORT, WE DENY.”
Just imagine the outrage if the Bush administration had threatened to sic Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on its political opponents. But the obedient steno clerks in the White House press corps just do as they’re told nowadays.And Richard Fernandez says the White House Press Room is designated a “Blog-Free Zone.”
Hot Air says Fox reporter Major Garrett wasn’t called during a White House press conference by Barack Obama in retribution for the networks refusal to carry his press conference live, so maybe you need the right kind of professional card to ply your trade.
Partisanship might actually be a good thing because it would bring the bias to the surface. That way the reader will have the choice of consciously reading the pro-Obama media or the anti-Obama media and anything they might care to identify in between. That could be better than picking up the “papers” and assuming the contents in it were truth instead of processed fact.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
BY Amy Diluna DAILY NEWS FASHION EDITOR
Friday, May 1st 2009, 3:22 PM
Laura Bush and Liz Cheney (center) at a Feeding America event. The First Lady could feed quite a few people with what she paid for the sneakers she's wearing.
The shoes, made by high-end French fashion label Lanvin, cost $540.
Take our Poll
Speaking of sneakers
What do you think of Laura Bush's $540 sneakers?
''They're in poor taste. That's way too much to spend on sneakers, especially in a recession."
The First Lady should look good, and she can afford it. If the sneakers make her happy, there's nothing wrong with it.
Laura Bush has taken casual to a haute new level.
While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.
That's right: These sneakers - suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps - are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion's hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.
They're out of stock at posh Meatpacking District boutique Jeffrey, and Barneys New York boasts a limited selection of the sneaks, which are a cult favorite among fashionistas. It's likely Michelle got hers through Ikram, the Chicago retailer that often outfits her.
"They're shoes," the First Lady's reps sniffed when curious reporters inquired about the fancy footwear.
Laura has stepped out in Lanvin before while getting down to business. A week ago, she shoveled dirt at a tree planting while wearing the line's chiffon tank.
Dresses and strappy pumps cost upward of $1,500, while tops go for $400 to $1,000.
Other celebrity fans of Lanvin's costly kicks include Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West, who has blogged about his faves.
As the family's primary dog walker, Laura clearly requires comfortable footwear.
"I got up at 5:15 in the morning to walk my puppy," she joked Thursday. "That's how my day starts. Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I'm still up at 5:15 a.m. taking my dog out."
She'll be trodding on New York's sidewalks Tuesday for the first time as First Lady. Laura will meet with staff at the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Later, she headlines Time magazine's "100 most influential people" gala.
Read more: "First Lady Laura Bush steps out in Lanvin sneakers and they're only $540"! - Let's Kill Her!
Friday, May 01, 2009
ANDREW McCARTHY EXPOSES OBAMA'S "DETENTION POLICY" INSANITY
"The sophistry required to believe that having people who want to kill us locked up is more perilous than loosing them on civilian populations is so absurd it nearly defies description."
May 1, 2009
By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.
The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.
Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.
Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay…. President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]” (Emphasis added.)
Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.
For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.
There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamodetainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.
The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.
Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from theUnited States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.
I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.
Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.
Very truly yours,
Andrew C. McCarthy
cc: Sylvia T. Kaser and John DePue
National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section
Saying No to Justice
Why I declined to meet with the President’s Detention Policy Task Force.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
I did something today that I’ve never done before. The Department of Justice, which I proudly served for a quarter century as an assistant U.S. attorney and a deputy U.S. marshal, asked me for help, and I declined. Actually, what I declined to do was attend a meeting. My hope is that the dissent I am registering — to the administration’s disastrous policies of releasing trained terrorists and threatening prosecution against government lawyers — will help the department and the Obama administration, even if they don’t want to hear it.
At the start of his term, President Obama directed Attorney General Eric Holder to head up the President’s Detention Policy Task Force to study detention, trial, and other issues relating to alien enemy combatants — though that venerable law-of-war term has been purged in favor of “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” The attorney general has assigned lawyers in the department’s Counterterrorism Division to organize the effort. Those lawyers invited me, among other former and current prosecutors experienced in terrorism and national-security matters, to attend a roundtable session next week, to sort through the vexing legal challenges of modern international terrorism.
I’ve declined the invitation. It pained me to do it. I’ve always believed enforcing our laws and defending our nation are duties of citizenship, not ideology. My conservative political views aside, I regularly make myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, if they think tapping my national-security or law-enforcement experience would be beneficial.
This time, though, I had to say no. As I explain to Attorney General Holder in a letter, which was posted this morning on the website of the National Review Institute, I declined for two reasons.
First, President Obama and Attorney General Holder have created an untenable situation for lawyers asked to advise the government on policy matters.
Former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo (now a law professor at Berkeley) and Jay Bybee (now a federal appeals-court judge in California), as well as other government attorneys, were asked during the emergency conditions that followed the 9/11 attacks to advise Bush administration policymakers on U.S. interrogation law. They did that in good faith and, despite the fact that it’s now de rigueur to castigate them, quite reasonably (as I’ve argued in an online Federalist Society debate, see here). For their service to our country, they are now being tormented by the Obama administration with both a criminal investigation and an ethics inquiry by Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility. (There have even been calls on the left for Judge Bybee’s impeachment, which — even if he had done something wrong years earlier as a Justice Department lawyer — would be absurd: The Constitution reserves judicial impeachment for misconduct committed during the judge’s tenure on the bench, and Bybee is an excellent judge.)
A little over a week ago, the Obama administration recklessly revealed publicly (i.e., to al-Qaeda) the details of enhanced interrogation tactics used by the CIA against top-tier terrorists. The decision to employ these tactics was not made by Yoo, Bybee, or other government lawyers. They did not look to press these practices on government agents. Rather, the CIA initiated the controversy by asking for clarification of its authority. President Bush and his top national-security officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, were responsible for making the policy. The attorneys merely gave their best legal advice — the policymakers didn’t have to follow it, and it was the CIA, not the lawyers, that conducted questioning and made judgments about how it was affecting the terrorists.
Yet President Obama’s antiwar base is in a froth — so much so that he has unleashed his Justice Department to criminalize political disputes after claiming for weeks that he did not want to do this. And the president is being a bully about it. He obviously doesn’t want to incur the wrath of leaking spooks, so he has said CIA agents won’t be investigated (the right result reached for self-interested reasons). He hasn’t worked up the nerve to go after his predecessor, who ordered the policy, and Tenet — a Democrat and one of Bush’s Clinton-holdovers — is another politically inconvenient target. That leaves the lawyers — relatively unknown and thus easily demonized — as the feast for the piranhas.
Any experienced prosecutor would know there is no criminal case here. And let’s assume you think the lawyers gave bad advice — as many say they do, particularly if they haven’t read the memos. Bad legal advice given in good faith is not an ethical violation. There’s not a lawyer in America who hasn’t given bad legal advice at some point — certainly not in the government. It is disgraceful to target these lawyers for this kind of persecution, to force them to retain counsel to defend their wartime service to the country, and to put them in fear of criminal, professional, and financial repercussions. It should be offensive to all people of good will, regardless of their politics or of where they come out on the explosive issue of coercive interrogation. We can arrive at a sound policy, or not, without demonizing our adversaries as crooks and cads.
But that’s not how the attorney general sees it. For all his confirmation-hearing talk about learning his lesson from the Marc Rich debacle and being strong enough to stand up to a president who tries to politicize the Justice Department, Holder took the buck that Obama decided stops at the Justice Department. The attorney general dutifully promised to “follow the evidence wherever it takes us.”
That puts every lawyer who is asked to advise the government on notice: If the Holder Justice Department decides your good-faith advice promoted what it considers illegal activity, you could face criminal prosecution or ruinous ethical charges. That turns out to be a problem for me.
The government has asked for my legal advice on detainees. And worse, I already know that Holder thinks the advice I would give counsels illegal activity. That is, I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained, until the conclusion of hostilities, at Guantanamo Bay (or someplace just like it). Yet, in a provocative speech in Germany on Wednesday, the attorney general framed that notion as a violation of “the rule of law.” Continuing the new administration’s unbecoming propensity to vilify its predecessor, Holder told his audience, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . . President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law.”
Was Holder just pandering, as he was when he called Americans “cowards” on the issue of race? Perhaps. From my perspective, though, I’m a lawyer who’s been asked to give advice to the government by an administration that says such advice could lead to criminal investigation and professional discipline. And although the advice I would give is firmly rooted in the laws of war, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi decision, this administration regards such detention as running afoul of the rule of law. Thus, as I wrote to the attorney general:
Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.The second reason for declining the Justice Department’s request is that the exercise known as the “President’s Detention Policy Task Force” is a farce. The administration has already settled on a detainee policy: It is simply going to release trained jihadists. Holder said as much in his Germany speech. In the irrational world he inhabits, the existence of Guantanamo Bay, where dangerous terrorists cannot harm anyone, is more of a security threat than jihadists roaming free, plotting to menace and murder us. That’s why the administration just released Binyam Mohammed, who conspired with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla to execute post-9/11 bombings in American cities. That’s why Holder will soon announce (perhaps as early as today) that the Chinese Uighur detainees — who’ve been affiliated with a designated terrorist organization and who’ve received paramilitary training at al-Qaeda camps — will not only be set free in the United States but will, according to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, subsist on the support of the American taxpayer.
For all their talk about “the rule of law,” President Obama and Attorney General Holder have to know this policy is illegal. In 2005, Congress provided in the REAL ID Act that aliens who’ve been affiliated with a terrorist organization or who’ve received paramilitary training (which has been a staple of virtually every jihadist plot against the United States) are excludable from the United States. Moreover, even if the administration were not riding roughshod over federal immigration law, it is endangering the American people. The sophistry required to believe that having people who want to kill us locked up is more perilous than loosing them on civilian populations is so absurd it nearly defies description.
To satisfy his antiwar base and to put paid to commitments offered by his top campaign advisers (like Eric Holder), President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay within a year, despite having no plan for what to do about the terrorists there, many of whom cannot be tried under the standards of the civilian justice system. Military proceedings are anathema to the administration — many of whose lawyers either represented the Gitmo detainees or come from firms that did. (Holder’s former firm, for example, brags on its website that it represents detainees in their wartime lawsuits against the American people.) And the administration is evidently not very interested in exploring novel systems of preventive detention, such as my proposal for a “national security court,” which would require extensive legislative work. Instead, the Obama policy is simply to release our enemies — knowing many are certain to return to the jihad — if that’s what it takes to comply with the president’s promise to close Gitmo by January.
Consequently, the President’s Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best counterterrorism policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been made — to be able to tell the American people that this suicidal approach was arrived at in consultation with experienced terrorism prosecutors and national-security officials.
As I told the attorney general in my letter, “I am powerless to stop the president, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.”
— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008).