Perhaps it’s not surprising that President Obama would think nothing of subjecting Manhattan to the spectacle of a civilian court trial against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. This is the administration that thought having an F-16 trail Air Force One around Ground Zero on a workday morning was a good idea.
On the other hand, perhaps we should view KSM as Obama’s consolation prize for failing to secure the 2016 Olympics on U.S. soil. (How much tourism revenue will KSM’s trial bring to lower Manhattan?)
To try KSM and his four co-conspirators in federal court, New York will have to create a de facto Guantanamo Bay—one that is smaller than but as secure as the real thing. The city will need to spend millions of dollars ensuring extra protection for the courthouse, the densely populated neighborhood—indeed all of downtown—including shipping in hundreds of U.S. marshals from other jurisdictions. They will have to make special efforts to protect the judge, prosecutors, jury, federal agents, and witnesses, all of whom will receive death threats and will need armed protection.
As Rudy Guiliani noted, trying those who planned 9/11 in a civilian court in lower Manhattan is like trying those who planned Pearl Harbor in a civilian court in Hawaii.
The trial will drag on for years and New York will face extra, unnecessary risk during every day of the circus. Manhattan will be placed in the international spotlight and become a prominent stage for jihadists to stage a suicide or car bombing. Would-be attackers won’t have to do it right in front of the courthouse—anyplace in Manhattan would capture headlines and give encouragement to the Islamist cause worldwide. read more »
The problem with hate crime legislation is that it creates special classes of minorities who receive greater protection from harassment via harsher penalties for their would-be assailants. One upshot of this approach is that groups perceived as chronically threatened because of their identity are given greater benefit of the doubt in bias-motivated crimes they commit against other groups.
If there were ever a group that U.S. law should consider shielding through hate crime legislation, it is: Americans. The U.S. should be uniquely interested in protecting its citizens against attacks for being residents of this country, in the same way it protects its citizens against foreign attacks and its soldiers against enemies on the battleground.
If there were ever a setting in which pro-American hate crime protections should be enforced, it is in the military. American soldiers, more than any other group, actively display dedication to pro-American ideals.
If there were ever a cultural group in modern times that has demonstrated persistent, widespread hostility toward and willingness to engage in violent attacks against Americans, especially Americans in the military, it is radical Islamists.
Naturally, army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, who adhered to extremist Islamist ideology, sought connections with Al Qaeda, and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he massacred 13 soldiers and wounded dozens at Fort Hood last week, is being portrayed by the mainstream media and the present administration as a guy who needs OSHA counseling.
Muslim apologists have been telling us to not jump to conclusions (except that the killings were caused by stress), that the murders weren’t related to Islam, that it’s “speculation” that the military ignored warning signs regarding Hasan. We get clueless gems like this from the New York Times on Monday: “It is unclear what might have motivated Major Hasan.” Wusses like Lindsey Graham don’t help by claiming that the murders were “not about his religion—the fact that this man was a Muslim.” (Wait—isn’t that a conclusion?) It takes a hawk like Joe Lieberman to initiate hearings into Hasan’s conduct and the military’s failure to eject him for anti-American actions in which he engaged for years. read more »
The surest sign that Obama’s presidency is going to turn out to like Bill Clinton’s is that he is already becoming a drag on the Democratic ticket, a state of affairs Clinton took a full six years to realize.
Obama followed around Democratic candidates Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Creigh Deeds of Virginia like a puppy for months during their gubernatorial campaigns. The President made two visits to Virginia to stump for Deeds and three to New Jersey to rally for Corzine, including stops in Newark and Camden two days before the election. On Sunday, Obama exhorted New Jersey crowds, “I want everybody in this auditorium to make a pledge that in these next 48 hours, you will work just as hard for Jon as you worked for me.”
In yesterday’s off-year elections, both candidates were soundly defeated.
In New Jersey, Obama beat McCain by a 16% margin in 2008; this year, the Republican beat the Democrat by 5%, for a 21-point reversal. This, despite the presence of a third-party candidate who took votes away from the Republican and a five-to-one Corzine-to-Christie spending ratio.
In Virginia, Obama beat McCain by 6% in 2008; this year, the Republican beat the Democrat by 18%, for a 24-point reversal. In both Virginia and New Jersey, independents—who voted heavily for Obama and other Democratic candidates in 2008—voted for the Republican candidate in 2009 by a 2-to-1 margin.
Meanwhile, Obama never showed his face in upstate New York’s 23rd congressional district, where Democratic candidate Bill Owens squeaked past Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman with a victory in Tuesday’s special election. Obama didn’t directly endorse liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava, but she received heavily publicized support from ACORN, Obama’s pet community organization, which helped solidify her lack of popularity and set in motion events that led to her withdrawal the weekend before the election. read more »
The problem with modern-day liberals’ penchant for implementing functions not allowed in the Constitution isn’t just that they’re sticking their noses where they shouldn’t; it’s that it’s distracting them from sticking their noses where they should.
Fresh out of the gate, President Obama decided to continue President Bush’s plan to take over the nation’s largest car companies and banks by tempting them with bailout funds, then tightening the noose and micromanaging them from Washington. Soon after, Obama decided to force taxpayers to guarantee virtually all U.S. mortgages, thus sticking a $5 trillion debt to people who had largely paid their mortgage bills on time. Recently, Obama decided to cap executive pay for banks that took bailout money, and has expressed an interest in monitoring the pay of even banks that didn’t take TARP money.
Congress is currently considering unconstitutional legislation—stalled only because it is trying to pass even bigger, more expensive unconstitutional legislation—to impose cap-and-trade regulations to restrict and tax the nation’s energy use.
This summer, Obama carried out an amusing little $3 billion scheme to pay car owners to destroy their used automobiles and buy new ones, a jaunt that resulted in no significant net energy conservation in the U.S., boosted the auto industries of Japan and South Korea, and hurt the American used car business.
Since July, Democrats’ pet project has been to take over the U.S. health care system. Not crazy enough to try to force through a single payer system, Senate Leader Harry Reid nonetheless went “rogue” on Monday, in defiance of Senate committee members and moderate Democrats, and announced that the Senate version of the health care reform bill would offer a public health insurance option, though such an option has zero chance of passing in the Senate. read more »
The Democrats’ health care legislation, as is or in very similar form, cannot be passed. Every choice point they encounter from this stage on leads to an internal contradiction or a dead end. To use a mathematical metaphor, their situation is overdetermined: there are too many conflicting restrictions; there is no solution to their dilemma. (To use a liberal metaphor: It’s a slam dunk!)
Democratic proponents of health care reform have the following major goals:
(1) Create a federal public health insurance option to “compete with” private insurers, or
(2) Set up state cooperatives to “compete with” private insurers on a state-by-state basis;
(3) Prevent discrimination by insurance companies based on preexisting condition—i.e., forbid insurance companies from “providing insurance”;
(4) Limit the ratio of high-to-low insurance premiums by age group.
Whether pursuing any of these goals is the government’s business—and it isn’t—Democrats need to enact some combination of these proposals in order to fulfill their aim of turning us into Canada; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this will cost about $1 trillion.
Democrats have proposed numerous bad ideas for paying for their legislation, all of which lead to intractable circumstances that they cannot tolerate politically with the general electorate, even if they were able to figure out a way to cobble together, rush through, or force the votes in Congress to pass them, including: read more »
Thanks to fierce lobbying by Congressional Democrats, the Senate Finance Committee’s version of the health care bill just passed on Tuesday with bipartisan support from (1) liberal senators, represented by Olympia Snowe from Maine, and (2) ultraliberal senators, represented by all 13 Democrats on the committee.
On Wednesday morning, GOP senator Susan Collins also announced that she was open to health care reform along the lines of the committee’s proposal.
Impressive as this Republican sweep is, you may recall how Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package received even broader bipartisan support last spring, inasmuch as it attracted the votes of no fewer than three Republican senators, including Snowe, Collins, and Arlen Specter, which means that the failure of the stimulus bill to do what it was supposed to lies equally with Democrats and Republicans. Of course, Specter became a Democrat five minutes later, but right up until that moment he was firmly on the other side of the aisle.
Snowe, like Collins, Specter, John McCain, and other liberal Senators, has a reputation for magnanimously cooperating with the opposition party (the ultraliberals) in passing legislation that might otherwise be seen as abridging our liberty and taking over our lives. Legislators such as Snowe (L-ME) serve the important function of watering down such legislation to make its impact marginally less onerous on average Americans.
For example, Snowe opposes a “public option” in the health care reform bill—that is, unless private insurance companies don’t live up to arbitrary standards issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services that will ensure such companies don’t get away with swindles like “earning a profit,” at which point the public option will kick in faster than you can say “single payer.” read more »
On matters such as whether to spend $800 billion on “stimulus” projects, $1 trillion on health care “reform,” or billions of dollars to build stadiums in the “city” of Chicago, President Obama is all about the now. When it comes to approving a months-old request from his beleaguered general in Afghanistan to increase troops in an eight-years-and-running war to support the dying soldiers already there, Obama engages in leisurely stargazing.
Never mind that only a wee percentage of funds are seeping out eight months after the stimulus bill was passed, health care legislation wouldn’t start until 2013, and the 2016 Summer Olympics don’t take place for seven years. Those items were all at the top of Obama’s to-do list.
The war in Afghanistan just entered its ninth year. Obama formulated his grand strategy for Afghanistan in March, and replaced his former commander there with General Stanley McChrystal in June. McChrystal, as requested, made his assessment of what was necessary to implement Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy, including adequate troop levels, and has been waiting since August for Obama to give him what he needs.
Now Obama tells us that before troops can be approved, we need to make sure we have a strategy. As George Will recently asked, didn’t Obama formulate his strategy in March? Has it changed since then? If not, then why the delay in sending troops to carry it out? read more »
For the consideration of the International Olympic Committee, here are 16 reasons to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro instead of Chicago:
(1) President Obama wants them in Chicago. Really badly. More important than his wanting them in Chicago is his decision to drop everything in the middle of a recession, a health care debate, and two wars to head to Copenhagen on separate jumbo jet junkets with his wife to make a special entreaty for his home city. Obama has taken a stronger stand on the Windy City than he has on, say, any particular health care provision or whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Even more important than Obama’s not having his priorities straight is his obvious, calculated presumption that because the world loves him so much, it would be the diplomatic equivalent of kicking us out of the UN not to award Chicago the Olympics after his in-person plea.
(2) Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of building contracts and infrastructure development would be required in a city known for construction payback schemes, money laundering, insider dealing, gang activity, an overloaded transit system, and general public corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, and interruption of service.
(3) Numerous Obama cronies own property near Washington Park, the proposed stadium site, and would profit from the games being held there.
(4) No one actually wants to be in Chicago in the summer—or any time of the year, for that matter, except for about three hours in late spring. Dozens of Chicago residents die heat-related deaths every summer, and they’re not even competing in decathlons. read more »
In the event that the imminent failure of Democrats’ socialized medicine bill leads them to some soul-searching—perhaps listening to what their constituents have been telling them all summer or taking GOP advice to start from scratch—it’s worth noting that Republicans in the House have introduced 32 health care reform bills since the spring, all stuck at the referral stage.
Many of these lonely bills deal with just one or several aspects of health care reform, rather than presenting grand, sweeping Ten-Year Plans that will change Health Care as we know it. Not all the bills are knockouts; a couple are downright stinkers. But virtually all contain some good ideas, and some of them contain nothing but good ideas—which means that no Democrat will ever for a moment consider any of them.
For those desiring ammunition to counterattack the liberal charge that conservatives criticize everything they hear from Democrats but have no ideas of their own, here’s a primer on the legislation prepared by our devoted GOP servants in the House:
• Several bills are flat-out winners: Clifford Stearns’ Health Care Tax Deduction Act, Michele Bachmann’s Health Care Freedom of Choice Act, and Rodney Alexander’s Sunset of Life Protection Act. These laws provide for income tax deductions of health insurance premiums and prescription drugs; medical expenses; and long-term care premiums, respectively. All three bills are so short they could fit onto a cocktail napkin together and still have room for a list of Obama’s failed Cabinet nominations. This is not surprising: bills covering what individuals are allowed to do require less verbiage than bills mandating what individuals are required to do for the government. read more »
Jonathan Martin of Politico notes that even though racism against the president is widespread, “it’s still a sensitive enough issue that the [Democratic] party doesn’t broach it directly.” By “sensitive,” of course, he means “far-fetched, ludicrous, and laughable.”
Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) claims that in Senator Joe Wilson’s outburst toward the president last week, Wilson “kind of winked at that element” of the U.S. that disrespects Obama because he is black. I’m not sure what criminal statutes are on the books for “kind of winking” at an “element,” but I do know that Democrats’ charges of racism until recently have been so timid and indirect because they know that if they make them openly, they might have to produce actual evidence of racism.
Recently some of the attempts to label opposition to socialized medicine and trillion-dollar deficits as racism have gotten more blatant.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright was just caught on video snarling, “I think the racists in the right wing are upset because poor people are about to be helped.” And it wasn’t even during one of his weekly sermons!
Jimmy Carter also weighed in over the weekend: “[A]n overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man… [and] a belief among many white people… that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.”
MSNBC bloggers recently wrote, “Whether it’s fair or not, there is a perception growing that race is driving some elements of the opposition to Obama.” read more »