Obama’s approval rating stands at just 48 percent, with 42 percent disapproval. His approval has been on a steady drop since this summer in the survey. It stood at 59 percent in may, 57 percent in July, and 50 percent in October.
At the same time, the percentage of those who disapprove of his handling of the economy has spiked, going from a virtual even split in October to 52 to 43 percent disapproval today.
And as Obama has weighed his strategy options in Afghanistan, public approval has also dropped. Voters disapprove of his handling of the war there 49 to 38, down from near even 42 to 40 approval last month.
Support for the war is also down, with people saying it is the right thing to do by a margin of 48 to 41, down from 52 to 37 in October.
A plurality want Obama to send 40,000 more troops, 47 to 42 percent, but support is mostly from Republicans, 68 percent of whom want more troops, compared to just 27 percent of Democrats.
"Increasingly, the president finds himself with two different coalitions, one that backs him on domestic matters and a completely different one that backs him on Afghanistan," said Peter Brown, who conducted the poll.
A growing concern to the White House is softening support for the president among independents. The group split on approval of Obama in the survey, with 43 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval.
His healthcare plan is defintiely not helping him thoughthe Democrats will force it through and hurt him even more.
The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree and think 25 to life would be appropriate.
America needs Obama care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.
At a recent Obama speech there was a guy in the back of the hall screaming anti-American slogans and making hateful racist remarks. They turned the house lights up and it was Reverend Wright.
For a moment Obama thought he was back in church and yelled, "Can I get an amen"?
Have you heard about McDonalds new Obama Value Meal? Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.
Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.
Q: What do Vanilla Ice, Eminem and Barack Obama have in common?
A: They all made careers pretending to be black men.
Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.
Obama has ordered GM to come out with a new model called the Pelosi. It's a convertible, but no one wants to see it with the top down.
On Halloween you put on a false face and trick people. This year Barack Obama is going as – Barack Obama.
If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved? .... America !
Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.
JOE LEGAL vs. JOSE ILLEGAL
You have two families: "Joe Legal" and "Jose Illegal". Both families
have two parents, two children, and live in California ..
Joe Legal works in construction, has a Social Security Number and makes
$25.00 per hour with taxes deducted.
Jose Illegal also works in construction, has NO Social Security Number,
and gets paid $15.00 cash "under the table".
Ready? Now pay attention...
Joe Legal: $25.00 per hour x 40 hours =
$1000.00 per week, or $52,000.00
per year. Now take 30% away for state and federal tax; Joe Legal now has
Jose Illegal: $15.00 per hour x 40 hours = $600.00 per week, or
$31,200.00 per year. Jose Illegal pays no taxes. Jose Illegal now has
Joe Legal pays medical and dental insurance with limited coverage for
his family at $600.00 per month, or $7,200.00 per year. Joe Legal now
Jose Illegal has full medical and dental coverage through the state and
local clinics at a cost of $0.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has
Joe Legal makes too much money and is not eligible
for food stamps or welfare. Joe Legal pays $500.00 per month for food, or $6,000.00 per
Joe Legal now has $18,031.00.
Jose Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for food stamps
and welfare. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.
Joe Legal pays rent of $1,200.00 per month, or $14,400.00 per year. Joe
Legal now has $9,631.00.
Jose Illegal receives a $500.00 per month federal rent subsidy. Jose
Illegal pays $500.00 per month, or $6,000.00 per year. Jose Illegal
still has $ 31,200.00.
Joe Legal pays $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 for insurance. Joe Legal
now has $7,231.00.
Jose Illegal says, "We don't need no stinkin' insurance!" and still has
Joe Legal has to make his $7,231.00 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, etc.
Jose Illegal has to make his $31,200.00 stretch to pay utilities,
gasoline, and what he sends out of the country every month.
Joe Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after
Jose Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.
Joe Legal's and Jose Illegal's children both attend the same school. Joe
Legal pays for his children's lunches while Jose Illegal's children get
a government sponsored lunch. Jose Illegal's children have an after
school ESL program. Joe Legal's children go home.
Joe Legal and Jose Illegal both enjoy the samepolice and fire services,
but Joe paid for them and Jose did not pay.
Do you get it, now?
If you vote for or support any politician that supports illegal aliens...
You are part of the problem!
It's way PAST time to take a stand for America and Americans!
November 18, 2009
by Frank Gaffney
On November 17, 2009, a prominent Senator and five leading Members of Congress sent a letter to the IRS asking for an investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) concerning their possible violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act which limits the expenditures a non-profit can spend on lobbying If CAIR has exceeded the limits of that law, they risk losing their non-profit status. Other penalties may be more severe: if the Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the House of Representatives determines that CAIR should have registered and find 'a knowing violation by a preponderance of the evidence,' CAIR could be 'subject to a civil fine of not more than $200,000, depending on the extent and gravity of the violation,' and if CAIR 'knowingly and corruptly failed to comply,' they could be subject to imprisonment up to 5 years. Our separate analysis of CAIR tax returns, compared to audio evidence recorded in 2006, reveals another potential issue for IRS investigators – more on that follows below…
The November 17 letter to the IRS was signed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ranking Member on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The members of Congress signing the letter also have extensive experience in intelligence, counter-terrorism and investigations:
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), Deputy Whip, founder of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, who also serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Armed Services Committee
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who serves on the United States House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment
Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), who serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who serves on the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Our own investigation revealed another problem CAIR may have with the IRS.
Their most recent publicly available tax return, from 2006, reports gross receipts for their annual fundraiser that are significantly less than they announced at the event itself. On that 2006 990 form, they reported that they had raised $89,775, but left blank (or zeroed) several key fields:
But our investigative team attended that 2006 annual CAIR event and recorded the fundraiser Master of Ceremonies, Rodwan Saleh of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, announcing that they raised much more than $89,775 – at least $250,000, and possibly as much as $600,000 due to a matching grant. Below is a partial transcript and the audio:
RODWAN SALEH: We are now at $250,000. Takbir.
AUDIENCE: Allahu Akbar.
AUDIENCE: Allahu Akbar.
SALEH: Now, listen carefully [unclear] requirements. There is a family, there is a family that says if we all now can put this amount of money from 250 to 300, they will match the 300. You understand what I’m saying? Now, so we need now to make sure that we get $50,000 in no time because if we can make 300 this family will put another 300 [unclear]. Did you hear me?
So here are two more questions for IRS investigators: Did CAIR raise only $89,775 at the fundraiser and if so, what happened to the rest of the $250,000 (or $300,000 0r $600,000)? Or did CAIR raise the larger amount, and if so, why did they report less to the IRS?
On November 3, 2009, we called CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad for comment on this apparent discrepancy. Mr. Awad said he would look into the matter and get back to us, but so far he has failed to do so.
CAIR’s supporters include foreign businesses and members of various Middle Eastern royal families, and at the 2006 annual fundraiser in question, tables were assigned to the embassies of Malaysia, Pakistan, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Interests Section of Iran. The Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial documents, along with numerous Arab and English news articles, show CAIR receiving foreign contributions and pledges ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. During 2005 and 2006, CAIR had additional capital to purchase properties valued at over $10 million, as detailed in the investigative best-seller book Muslim Mafia.
Yet in 2006 their membership dues from actual Muslim Americans were only $41,383 - one percent of their total reported revenues of over $2.7 million.
One percent from Muslim Americans’ dues. And just $89,775 gross receipts from the annual fundraiser, partially reported to the IRS.
And 99% from…somewhere else.
Incidentally, we were able to obtain copies of the 2007 990 tax forms for fifteen CAIR chapters, and the 2008 990 tax forms for five CAIR chapters, but the CAIR national office has still not made public their 2007 and 2008 tax returns.
A key question for both the IRS and the Department of Justice: Is CAIR really an organization representing Muslim Americans, or is it representing the interests of foreign principals?
The White House's forthcoming state dinner with the Prime Minister of India is expected to be larger than those of President Barack Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush. But another upcoming White House event will be smaller than in years past: The White House's annual Hanukkah party.
The guest list is expected to be shrunk by more than half, according to the Jerusalem Post. "Though several Jewish leaders expressed understanding for the economic and other reasons behind the cut, they acknowledged that it would likely help feed feelings in some quarters of the American Jewish community that the White House is giving them the cold shoulder."
The move comes on the heels of Obama's cancellation of an appearance before the General Assembly of North American Jewish Federations last week.
The White House's decision is likely a response to tough economic times and a desire to keep the holiday festivities reasonable.
A White House official told the Post that Obama "looks forward to celebrating Hanukkah at the White House and having many members of the Jewish American community at that event."
If you were troubled by President Obama's "Wow Bow" in Japan, you won't be any happier with the "kowtow" during his just-concluded trip to the People's Republic of China.
In the latest chapter of Team Obama's at-best-mediocre, teetering-on-the-disastrous foreign policy, the president and a slew of Cabinet secretaries roared into Asia like lions, promising a new era in US diplomacy in the region. But they're leaving like pussycats -- accomplishing, well, a whole lot of nothing so far.
So much for our "first Pacific president," as Obama anointed himself at the start of the eight-day, four-country swing through Asia last week.
The lack of good news was starkest in China, where the United States faces a raft of critical issues that need addressing at the presidential level.
Sure, the joint statement that concluded the visit had a long list of possible areas of Sino-US cooperation such as Chinese aircraft safety, public health, climate change and bumping up the number of Americans studying in the PRC. And the president, to his credit, did raise the issues of human rights and freedom of expression for the more than a billion Chinese.
But a presidential visit should've delivered more than that.
Obama failed to make progress on the most important issue to the United States right now -- economics and trade. We're experiencing a $200-plus billion-a-year trade deficit with China, but no measure came out of the visit to ease that pain.
We could've seen an agreement to help level the playing field for US firms doing business in China by reducing the various subsidies local firms receive from the central government, undermining foreign competitiveness in the PRC.
Or how about the undervalued Chinese currency, the Renminbi? Beijing fixes ("pegs") the RMB's conversion rate against such other currencies as the dollar, instead of allowing it to float with the market. This makes Chinese goods cheaper here and American goods more expensive there.
This inequity adds to the trade deficit, allowing China to become the largest holder of US debt -- and adding to a series of imbalances that could be harmful to both countries in the long-run.
On security, there was also a worrisome lack of movement. China is involved in an unprecedented military buildup -- and US planners are often in the dark about the intent of Beijing's modernization but are especially troubled when it comes to "power projection" capabilities, such as the PRC's missile, naval and air forces.
Obama also flubbed a question on Taiwan, failing to immediately note our obligation under US law to sell arms to the island (which China considers a renegade province) -- and the most likely place America and China might cross swords. He later corrected himself, but the damage was done -- possibly adding doubt in Beijing's mind about the US commitment to a peaceful resolution of Taipei's future.
While there's been a thaw in cross-Taiwan Strait ties lately, better relations have historically been fostered by strong US support for Taiwan.
Then there are the matters experts wish the president hadn't touched upon -- offering up Sino-American cooperation in space, where China is taking steps to challenge the United States for military supremacy.
There was also no noticeable traction on efforts to roll back North Korea's nuclear program -- or, arguably more urgent, getting Beijing to take tougher measures on preventing Iran from joining the Mushroom Cloud Club.
Responding to criticism of the visit, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that the administration hadn't expected "the waters would part and everything would change over the course of 2½ days in China."
Fair enough -- except that the American people were seemingly promised just that during last year's presidential campaign: a new approach, leading to a more effective foreign policy that would burnish America's image and improve Lady Liberty's security.
That just hasn't happened. Instead, the administration keeps floundering on foreign policy. And there's nothing in sight to suggest reality will suddenly start measuring up to Obama's campaign rhetoric.
Obama's Doubletalk on Political Dissent
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
President Obama traveled all the way to China to praise the free flow of information. It's the only safe place he could do so without getting heckled. With a straight face, Obama lauded political dissent and told Chinese students he welcomed unfettered criticism in America. Fierce opposition, he said, made him "a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear." How do you say "You lie!" in Mandarin?
While the kowtower-in-chief's press shop feeds paeans to free speech into Obama's globetrotting teleprompter, the White House is still waging war on vocal foes at home. Obama has lectured his critics in Washington to stop talking and "get out of the way." He has stacked his carefully staged town halls with partisan stooges and campaign plants throughout the year. The president recently derided limited-government activists in the Tea Party movement with a vulgar sexual term used by left-wing cable host Anderson Cooper on CNN and the MSNBC smear merchants (just Google "teabagging" and you'll see what they mean).
There are now more muzzled watchdogs in the Obama administration than on the sidelines of the Westminster Kennel Club show.
Most recently, two EPA lawyers critical of the "fatally flawed" cap-and-trade system -- peddled by their agency, the White House and the Democratic majority -- were told by their superiors to yank a video they posted to YouTube explaining their views. Despite including a caveat that the opinions expressed were their own and not the agency's, the couple faces possible disciplinary action by the feds. While demanding the video be yanked, the EPA disingenuously claims it tolerates all dissenting views of its employees.
The clampdown follows on the heels of the Obama EPA's stifling of veteran researcher Alan Carlin's dissent. He dared to challenge the agency's reliance on outdated data to support its greenhouse gas "public endangerment" finding. Carlin's report was squelched; his office is now on the chopping block.
In China, O proclaimed himself "a big supporter of non-censorship." But his FCC "diversity" czar, Mark Lloyd, is bent on re-engineering public airwaves by redistributing free speech rights from conservative haves who earned their success to minority have-nots who demand talk radio entitlements in the name of "media justice."
And among Obama's closest advisers is a husband-and-wife duo who specializes in marginalizing and stifling the Democratic Party's most effective enemies. Just days after White House interim communications director Anita Dunn -- the administration's resident Mao cheerleader and Fox News-basher -- stepped down to take a planned role as a "consultant" behind the scenes, her husband, Robert Bauer, stepped up and shoved aside White House counsel Greg Craig.
The problem? Former Clinton lawyer Craig wasn't tough enough for Chicago-on-the-Potomac. Obama needed an intimate ally who will put hardball politics ahead of policy and the law. Bauer fits the bill.
A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins & Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America. He has served as Obama's personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pay-for-play scandals in Illinois. He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign.
That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer's watch.
During the 2008 campaign, Bauer pooh-poohed GOP complaints about voter fraud. While decrying the Republicans' "fear message," it was Bauer who was on a fear-inducing crusade -- pulling out all legal stops to silence conservative critics of Obama's ties to the radical left.
As I've noted previously, and in light of Obama's self-serving praise for political dissent abroad, I note again: It was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully last fall to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
It was Bauer and his legal goon squad who attempted to sic the DOJ on GOP donor Harold Simmons and sought his prosecution for funding the ad. In a parallel effort launched the same week as Bauer's legal efforts, a nonprofit called "Accountable America," spearheaded by a former operative of the Obama-endorsing MoveOn outfit, began trolling campaign finance databases and targeting conservative donors with "warning letters" in a thuggish attempt to depress Republican fundraising.
It was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country into pulling the spot. Team Obama then summoned their troops to bombard stations, many of them owned by conservative-leaning Sinclair Communications, with 93,000 e-mails to squelch the commercial.
With Bob "The Silencer" Bauer now working from the inside and Anita "News Commissar" Dunn working from the outside, Obama has a state media police apparatus the Chinese regime itself could love.
Unlawful health reform?
By George Will
PHOENIX — In 2006, long before there was an Obama administration determined to impose a command-and-control federal health-care system, a young orthopedic surgeon walked into the Goldwater Institute here with an idea. The institute, America's most potent advocate of limited government, embraced Eric Novack's idea for protecting Arizonans from health-care coercion. In 2008, Arizonans voted on Novack's proposed amendment to the state's Constitution:
"No law shall be passed that restricts a person's freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type. No law shall interfere with a person's or entity's right to pay directly for lawful medical services, nor shall any law impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage or for participation in any particular health care system or plan."
Proponents were outspent five to one by opponents who argued, meretriciously, that it would destroy Arizona's Medicaid program, with which many insurance companies have lucrative contracts. Nevertheless, the proposition lost by only 8,687 votes out of 2.1 million cast, and Arizonans will vote on essentially the same language next November.
But does not federal law trump state laws? Not necessarily. Clint Bolick, a Goldwater Institute attorney, says, "It is a bedrock principle of constitutional law that the federal Constitution established a floor for the protection of individual liberties; state constitutions may provide additional protections."
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court held that under the Constitution's system of "dual sovereignty," states' "retained sovereignty" empowers them to "remain independent and autonomous within their proper sphere of authority." The court has been critical of the "federalism costs" of intrusive federal policies and recently has twice vindicated state sovereignty in ways pertinent to Novack's plan.
In 2006, the court overturned an interpretation of federal law that would have nullified Oregon's "right to die" statute. The court said states have considerable latitude in regulating medical standards, which historically have been primarily state responsibilities.
In 2000, Arizona voters endorsed an English immersion policy for students for whom English is a second language. Federal courts had issued an injunction against such policies because they conflicted with federal requirements of bilingual education. This year, however, the Supreme Court mandated reconsideration of the injunctions because they affect "areas of core state responsibility."
The court says the constitutional privacy right protects personal "autonomy" regarding "the most intimate and personal choices." The right was enunciated largely at the behest of liberals eager to establish abortion rights. Liberals may think, but the court has never held, that the privacy right protects only doctor-patient transactions pertaining to abortion. David Rivkin and Lee Casey, Justice Department officials under the Reagan and first Bush administrations, ask: If government cannot proscribe or even "unduly burden" — the court's formulation — access to abortion, how can government limit other important medical choices?
Democrats' health bills depend on forcing individuals to buy insurance or face severe fines or imprisonment. In 1994, the Congressional Budget Office said forcing individuals to buy insurance would be "an unprecedented form of federal action," adding: "The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States."
This year, the Congressional Research Service delicately said "it is a novel issue whether Congress may use the [commerce] Clause to require an individual to purchase a good or service." Congress has the constitutional power to "regulate commerce . . . among the several states." But a Federalist Society study by Peter Urbanowicz and Dennis Smith judges it perverse to exercise coercion under the commerce clause "on an individual who chooses not to undertake a commercial transaction." As Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says, there is "a fundamental difference between regulating activities in which individuals choose to engage" — e.g., drivers can be required to buy auto insurance — "and requiring such activities" just because an individual exists.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says Congress can tax — i.e., punish — people who do not buy insurance because the Constitution empowers Congress to tax for "the general welfare." So, could Congress tax persons who do not exercise or eat their spinach?
When asked whether any compulsory insurance purchases are constitutional, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was genuinely astonished: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" In 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, "The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the Constitution is written." He was serious.
Nov. 19, 2009 / 2 Kislev 5770
At the end of the day, diversity has jumped the shark, horrifically
By Ann Coulter
It cannot be said often enough that the chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, responded to a massacre of 13 Americans in which the suspect is a Muslim by saying: "Our diversity … is a strength."
As long as the general has brought it up: Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations.
Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare — I mean the beautiful mosaics — in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central, L.A.
"Diversity" is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: "Cancer is a strength!" "Pollution is our greatest asset!"
By contrast, the canard "diversity is a strength" has now replaced "at the end of the day," "skin in the game," "blood and treasure," "jumped the shark," "boots on the ground," "horrific" (whatever happened to the perfectly good word "horrible"?), "not so much," "I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here," and "that went well," as America's most irritating cliche.
We should start making up other nonsense mantras along the lines of "diversity is a strength" and mindlessly repeating them until they catch on, too.
Next time you're at a cocktail party, just start saying, "Chocolate pudding is dramatic irony" from time to time. Eventually other people will start saying it, without anyone bothering to consider whether it makes sense. Then we'll do another one: "Nicolas Cage is a two-cycle engine."
Before you know it, liberals will react to news of a mass murder by muttering, "Well, you know what they say: Nicolas Cage is a two-cycle engine," while everyone nods in agreement.
Except mere nonsense makes more sense than "diversity is a strength."
If Gen. Casey's wildly inappropriate use of this lunatic cliche in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre doesn't kill it, nothing will.
Among the worst aspects of America's "diversity" is that liberals' reaction to a heterogeneous population is to create a pecking order based on alleged victimhood — as described in electrifying detail in my book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America."
In modern America, the guilty are sanctified, while the innocent never stop paying — including with their lives, as they did at Fort Hood last week. Points are awarded to aspiring victims for angry self-righteousness, acts of violence and general unpleasantness.
But liberals celebrate diversity only in the case of superficial characteristics like race, gender, sexual preference and country of origin. They reject diversity when we need it, such as in "diversity" of legal forums.
After conferring with everyone at Zabar's, Obama decided that if a standard civilian trial is good enough for Martha Stewart, then it's good enough for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. So Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is coming to New York!
Mohammed's military tribunal was already under way when Obama came into office, stopped the proceedings and, eight months later, announced that Mohammed would be tried in a federal court in New York.
In a liberal's reckoning, diversity is good when we have both Muslim jihadists and patriotic Americans serving in the U.S. military. But diversity is bad when Martha Stewart and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are subjected to different legal tribunals to adjudicate their transgressions.
Terrorists tried in civilian courts will be entitled to the whole panoply of legal protections accorded Stewart or any American charged with a crime, such as the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the right to exclude evidence obtained in violation of Miranda rights, the right to a speedy trial, the right to confront one's accusers, the right to a change of venue, the right to examine the evidence against you, and the right to subpoena witnesses and evidence in one's defense.
Members of Congress have it in their power to put an end to this lunacy right now. If they don't, they are as complicit in Mohammed's civilian trial as the president. Article I, Section 8, and Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution give Congress the power to establish the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and to create exceptions to that jurisdiction.
Congress could pass a statute limiting federal court jurisdiction to individuals not subject to trial before a military tribunal. Any legislator who votes "nay" on a such a bill will be voting to give foreign terrorists the same legal rights as U.S. citizens — and more legal rights than members of the U.S. military are entitled to.
In the case of legal proceedings, diversity actually is a strength.
Nov. 19, 2009 2 Kislev 5770
Circling Sharks Smell American Blood
By Victor Davis Hanson
On his recent trip to Asia, President Obama found China, Japan and South Korea — like many nations these days — in no mood to hear more American lectures.
Beijing is worried about owning so much American debt. Tokyo is tiring of an American military base in Okinawa, and wants to redefine its relationship with us. Seoul is starting to doubt American commitment to keep it safe from North Korea.
Why all the sudden pushback to our charismatic president?
Our dollar is crashing, while the price of gold is soaring. The budget deficit has never been worse — and the president wants to float even more debt for health-care and energy initiatives.
By the end of this presidential term, we may add another $9 trillion to our already astronomical $11 trillion debt. Unemployment has already topped 10 percent. This quarter's trade deficit reached a near-historic high. Our debtors and oil exporters talk of scrapping the dollar as the common international currency.
American hesitation abroad reflects the shaky economic news. In Afghanistan, we can't decide whether to seek victory or admit defeat — or simply vote present by keeping the status quo. President Obama reached out to enemies like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But so far they remain unimpressed, despite his apologizing for an assortment of supposed past American sins.
The Chinese don't listen all that much anymore to our sermons on their human-rights, coal-burning and free-trade abuses — not when they hold $1.5 trillion in U.S. assets. The president took a lot of flak for bowing to Saudi royals and the Japanese emperor. But why wouldn't he show deference — given America's huge dependence on foreign oil and Japanese imports?
France, of all nations, is now warning us to get a backbone with the Iranians. So far the theocracy has snubbed our new outreach efforts aimed at stopping its nuclear proliferation. Iran's Russian patrons now talk more nicely to us — but mostly because we caved on land-based missile defense in Eastern Europe, and got nothing really in return.
The Norwegians gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize after less than a year in office and without any real accomplishments. They must suspect that such global recognition will flatter Obama to push a now-unexceptional America toward a more multilateral perspective in tune with the thinking at the United Nations.
The Obama administration announced a kinder, gentler approach to the war on terror. It serially promised to the world to shut down Guantanamo and loudly derided much of the Bush-era anti-terrorism protocols. We may put on trial former CIA interrogators, while we give civil trials and full American legal protection to the terrorist detainees who planned the 9/11 attacks.
Obama himself has praised the history and culture of the Islamic world, and even fudged the historical record to magnify its achievements.
Yet so far this year authorities broke up three radical Islamic terrorist plots inside the United States. And we lost 12 soldiers and one civilian (with others wounded) at Fort Hood; the accused, a member of our own military, has shown himself to be a Muslim extremist. Al-Qaida promises more attacks, and the Taliban feel that American commitment to a free Afghanistan is weakening.
Add it all up and there is a growing sense that America is in fact hemorrhaging — as both friends and enemies abroad smell blood in the water. The president through conciliation and concession — not to mention constant talk — is trying to superficially restore the influence we once earned by virtue of our economic power and self-confidence in our exceptional past and singular values.
But being both loud and vulnerable is not a winning combination, since political influence and military power are ultimately predicated on economic strength.
The United States needs to re-establish itself as financially credible and responsible so that when we lecture — about everything from global warming to Iranian nukes — we do so from a position of strength. That means, we need to stop borrowing other nations' money.
America also can't afford to keep importing high-priced oil that we CAN but won't produce at home. And we should stop promising ever more government entitlements to ever more voters that we can't even begin to pay for.
For as we continue in our self-indulgence, a more defiant world seems to be saying that the old rules of the game have changed. In response, America should keep quieter abroad — and try finding a bigger stick.