Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Calling the "bully" out

While I disagree with Dennis Kneale's opinion on the new Arizona law, his assessment of the president is spot-on. The president came to national notice from the ranks of community organizers. Like it or not, those people are thugs to the bone. They're the get-in-your-face sort that believe intimidation is the best tactic to get their way. That is hardly presidential, but Barry doesn't care because, well, he won, remember? (HT to Captain Ed)

Will someone please rein in our relentlessly hectoring President? Barrack Hussein Obama has taken his gift for inspirational oratory—one of the traits that got him elected—and turned it into something darker and more insidious.

Bam is a bully. Bad enough that he bashes Wall Street, but this President has gone farther than any in modern history in putting the wrong kind of “bully” back into what Teddy Roosevelt
Obama’s latest broadside came over the weekend, when he vehemently criticized the state of Arizona and its (Republican) governor for
passing a tough new law on illegal immigration.

The President called the measure “misguided” and all but labeled it un-American. He even ordered the Department of Justice, before the ink on this bill-signing has even dried, to examine the civil-rights “implications” of the new law. Seems like the courts and rights groups could handle that once any problem actually emerges.

Can you remember any other modern President, wagging a finger from on high, so directly and bitterly criticizing a new law passed by any state?

This is hubris at best and ignorance of the Constitution at worst. The U.S. was founded in part on the precept of states’ rights as an important counterweight to a rapacious federal government. Thus a President must step softly here, questioning gently but avoiding rancor and browbeating.

The new state law itself is disturbing, even detestable, and I don’t like it. It forces immigrants to carry with them proof of their legal status and lets cops demand to see the “papers” of anyone (read: any foreign-looking person) to make sure he didn’t sneak into the country. It smacks of Nazis in the Jewish ghetto in Poland.

But it is the law, and Arizona’s people duly elected the legislators who voted for it. They acted, moreover, on an issue the feds clearly have botched—immigration—and are trying to protect the state’s citizens from an influx of drug-cartel violence from Mexico.

Rather than trash an entire state, Bam could have privately lobbied Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and urged her to veto the bill. Or he could have said, simply, that he hoped to pass better solutions at the federal level.

That would have been statesmanlike, but this President gets pouty whenever anyone dares to disagree with him. He seems to view dissension not as healthy public debate but as a suspicious, pernicious challenge to his omnipotence and popularity.

Obama the Bully, at his State of the Union address, had the temerity to criticize the Supreme Court of the United States for its new ruling that companies have a right to free speech in political campaign advertising (a right that unions already enjoyed, by the way). He did this as the justices themselves sat before him in the audience, paying their respects to a leader who showed them none.

Perhaps President Obama had forgotten an American civics lesson: The Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land. It is unseemly and disrespectful for a President to so bluntly and blatantly question the justices’ judgment and intent—especially right in front of their faces.

I can’t remember of any other President in my memory having done this. Nixon maybe? An unfortunate comparison, indeed.

Similarly, President Obama maligns Wall Street for trying to have a say in financial reform and lobbying for its interests, though this input is a vital ingredient in any democratic process. Yet Obama doesn’t criticize giant unions like the AFL-CIO and the SEIU when they similarly lobby on fin-reg.

Why? Because the unions agree with him. Even though Wall Street has a far more legitimate claim to get involved in this debate than do the unions, which represent only 7% of the private work force and essentially should have no dog in this fight at all.

Hmm, now that I think about it, nor can I recall any other modern President who has spent so much effort lambasting his immediate predecessor. Reagan didn’t do it to Carter. Clinton didn’t do it to the first George Bush.

And the worst part is, we’re barely calling out Obama the Bully on this behavior at all. We are becoming entirely too accustomed to it, failing to see it for what it really is: a striking lack of civility, and an overflow of divisiveness, from a President who had promised to give us precisely the opposite.

You may disagree with Mr. Kneale's assessment, but it's true. This president is a bully. Before the election in 2008, I warned people that if they elected Barry, they wouldn't get a president focusing on a new era of uniting this nation, or "repairing" our foreign policy image across the globe. How could we elect such a person when Barry isn't that person at all.

No, in electing Barack Obama president, this nation elected the paranoia and political vindictiveness of Nixon, the incompetence and fecklessness of Carter, and the narcissism and cronyism of Clinton. That's exactly what we have in the White House right now, and it's an embarrassment. The man knows nothing about acting presidential, let alone knowing how the government works.

The federal government isn't supposed to have any stake in any car company, or bank, or mortgage institution, or in the student loan industry. The federal government sure as Hell isn't supposed to be involved in the health care/health insurance industry.

But that hasn't stopped Barry. Yes, he is acting a lot like a bully. But even worse, he's acting like a king, and the last time I checked this nation was founded on the idea that we, as Americans, don't answer to a king. Almost two hundred thirty-three years ago, this nation threw off the yolk of the tyrannical monarchy in Great Britain to be free. Barry must have skipped that lesson in American history class. He also seems to have skipped the lesson in kindergarten about manners and politeness; a lesson that obviously hasn't sunk into that thick skull of his throughout his entire life.

Publius II

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Byron York on Arizona's new immigration law

Unless you've been living in a Taliban cave you know that last week Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed what many consider the strictest immigration law in the United States. Naturally, pro-illegal alien/open borders activists have lost their collective minds. And it's not just here in Arizona where people have lost their common sense. San Francisco is calling for a boycott of Arizona. Mexican officials, including President Calderon, are condemning the law, and warning Mexicans to steer clear of Arizona.

Honestly, these people need to calm down, take a deep breath, and have some dip. Byron York breaks down what this law means and some people in Arizona would be wise to read what he has to say:

The chattering class is aghast at Arizona's new immigration law. "Harkens back to apartheid," says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker. "Shameful," says the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne. "Terrible…an invitation to abuse," says the New York Times' David Brooks.

For his part, President Obama calls the law "misguided" and says it "threaten[s] to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans." Obama has ordered the Justice Department to "closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation."

Has anyone actually read the law? Contrary to the talk, it is a reasonable, limited, carefully-crafted measure designed to help law enforcement deal with a serious problem in Arizona. Its authors anticipated criticism and went to great lengths to make sure it is constitutional and will hold up in court. It is the criticism of the law that is over the top, not the law itself.

The law requires police to check with federal authorities on a person's immigration status, if officers have stopped that person for some legitimate reason and come to suspect that he or she might be in the U.S. illegally. The heart of the law is this provision: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…"

Critics have focused on the term "reasonable suspicion" to suggest that the law would give police the power to pick anyone out of a crowd for any reason and force them to prove they are in the U.S. legally. Some foresee mass civil rights violations targeting Hispanics.

What fewer people have noticed is the phrase "lawful contact," which defines what must be going on before police even think about checking immigration status. "That means the officer is already engaged in some detention of an individual because he's violated some other law," says Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri Kansas City Law School professor who helped draft the measure. "The most likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop."

As far as "reasonable suspicion" is concerned, there is a great deal of case law dealing with the idea, but in immigration matters, it means a combination of circumstances that, taken together, cause the officer to suspect lawbreaking. It's not race -- Arizona's new law specifically says race and ethnicity cannot be the sole factors in determining a reasonable suspicion.

For example: "Arizona already has a state law on human smuggling," says Kobach. "An officer stops a group of people in a car that is speeding. The car is overloaded. Nobody had identification. The driver acts evasively. They are on a known smuggling corridor." That is a not uncommon occurrence in Arizona, and any officer would reasonably suspect that the people in the car were illegal. Under the new law, the officer would get in touch with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to check on their status.

But what if the driver of the car had shown the officer his driver's license? The law clearly says that if someone produces a valid Arizona driver's license, or other state-issued identification, they are presumed to be here legally. There's no reasonable suspicion.

Is having to produce a driver's license too burdensome? These days, natural-born U.S. citizens, and everybody else, too, are required to show a driver's license to get on an airplane, to check into a hotel, even to purchase some over-the-counter allergy medicines. If it's a burden, it's a burden on everyone.

Still, critics worry the law would force some people to carry their papers, just like in an old movie. The fact is, since the 1940s, federal law has required non-citizens in this country to carry, on their person, the documentation proving they are here legally -- green card, work visa, etc. That hasn't changed.

Kobach, a Republican who is now running for Kansas Secretary of State, was the chief adviser to Attorney General John Ashcroft on immigration issues from 2001 to 2003. He has successfully defended Arizona immigration laws in the past. "The bill was drafted in expectation that the open-borders crowd would almost certainly bring a lawsuit," he says. "It's drafted to withstand judicial scrutiny."

The bottom line is, it's a good law, sensibly written and rigorously focused -- no matter what the critics say.

I have quite a few friends in Arizona that run their own businesses, and they have grown to depend on the Hispanics who have come to Arizona looking for work, a better life, etc. They're afraid this law will drive away those people they have crafted their business to focus on. While that may be true for a minority -- a choice minority who are already evading the law in some way, shape, or form -- for the vast majority it won't be a big deal.

The police aren't going to be able to roust a group of people standing on a street corner looking for work, unless they're breaking the law. (Some cities in Arizona do have statutes forbidding day laborers within a certain area around a business; it is a trespassing offense.) No, this law is specifically crafted to verify a person's status, i.e., if they're here legally, but only when that suspicion is justified.

The police aren't going to be pulling over every Hispanic-looking individual to harass them. But if they do conduct a traffic stop, or they come upon someone they believe has violated the law in one way or another, then they have an opening to check on that person's status. But, as Mr. York points out, there has to be a reasonable belief that someone may not be here legally. In other words, it's up to the officer(s) to determine whether or not they'll check on the person's status. If they have a valid ID, then the officer(s) will likely simply issue a citation/ticket, and move on with no further inquiries.

This law was enacted because the federal government has dropped the ball on this issue. The governor and the state legislature acted where the feds have failed. This is a good law, a sound law, and one which should help us identify and deal with those here illegally. 90% of the people who claimed that they have read this bill haven't. In reality, they're running from talking points from the hyperventilating crowds. We have read the law, and we find nothing wrong with it. The error has come from those who are voicing an opinion in an ignorant fashion. And that goes double for the president sticking his nose in an issue that's none of his business.

I know I'm going to face a wave of criticism from those that I know here in Arizona because I find nothing wrong with this law. I know a lot of those friends are counting on this law to be struck down by the courts, but unless there's an activist judge out there, this will stand up to Constitutional scrutiny. Everyone needs to calm down. Hell, the law isn't even in effect yet. It doesn't take effect until August. And when it does take effect, I sincerely doubt we'll see jack-booted police officers rounding up illegal aliens in Arizona. Will the police catch a few? Most definitely. Will they be rounding all of them up? Not hardly. Will this have an economic impact on Arizona? Probably, but it won't be nearly as detrimental as the worker sanctions law, AKA the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) passed in 2007 was. That literally drove Hispanics, regardless of their immigration status, from the state which burdened the state's economy just as the recession across the country was ramping up.

Literally, people do need to calm down. Furthermore, those who are speaking about this bill as if they've read it and understand it need to actually read and understand this bill. Their rhetoric is over-the-top, and most of what they're saying isn't factual. Arizonans, in general, need to relax. If you have a valid ID, then carry it on your person at all time you leave your house/apartment. If you've got that, and you're fairly relaxed when approached by a police officer, you've got nothing to worry about. If you don't have an ID, get one. The bill lists the proper IDs police will accept. Those IDs include a driver's license, a state-issued ID card, a green card, a Consular card, a Mexico electoral card, a passport, a military ID, a tribal ID, or another valid form of ID approved of by the state. If you've got one of those, carry it with you, and you don't have much of a problem.

And Mr. York is correct in his statement that racial profiling is prohibited by this law. It is. Just because you look Hispanic, or may not be able to speak English, those aren't grounds to run an immigration status check. Will there be an occasional case where officers do that? Well, DUH! Police officers are only human, and if they do engage in racial profiling, they'll be reprimanded for that. And yes, we do believe that anyone who is caught, the first thing their activist attorney will do is scream racial profiling. But proving that might be more of a problem for that attorney than most believe.

Publius II

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't rush the process to ratify the new START treaty

Barry and Dimitri Dmitry got together earlier this month to hammer out a new nuclear treaty. Former UN Ambassador, John R. Bolton penned a piece for an upcoming issue of National Review on this treaty, and he urges two important things in his piece:

On April 8, in Prague, the United States and Russia signed what they call the “New START” bilateral arms-control agreement, important specifics of which, in hallmark Obama-administration fashion (see health care), were still being negotiated. Nonetheless, the president and his acolytes are calling for the treaty’s swift ratification.

The Senate would better protect our country’s future by actually deliberating before rushing over the precipice. A vital constitutional imperative, the Senate’s role in making binding treaty commitments, is at stake. While some consider it passé to insist that legislators read and understand what they vote upon, senators should insist on their constitutional prerogatives, drawing a line in the sand on this national-security issue.

In fact, there is no compelling reason for the Obama-Medvedev treaty, and there are many reasons to fear its impact. Since the still-incomplete text has just become public, continuing careful analysis will be necessary before we can come to definitive understandings and conclusions. Nonetheless, our very uncertainty lights the road ahead for arduous questioning, ranging from the assumptions of the negotiators to the consequences of implementing the treaty’s provisions.

But before turning to substantive issues, consider two significant process points: Senate timing, and the appropriate level of scrutiny for the Obama-Medvedev text; and the broader potential implications of rejecting it.

There is absolutely no need to rush the Senate-ratification process. Instead, given the strategic issues at stake, precisely the opposite is called for. Obscure phrases in treaty language, even in “technical” annexes, often mask extensive diplomatic bargaining records that must be understood, and the ramifications of seemingly innocuous phrases can be profound. Accordingly, senators must demand adequate time to examine the agreement’s full text, including its protocols and annexes, and hold sufficient hearings and informal briefings, in both open and classified sessions, rather than let themselves be frog-marched to a vote.

If the treaty is as beneficial as Obama claims, if the administration promptly provides the full text that the Senate is being asked to approve, if its language is clear, and if senators’ questions are answered fully and quickly, the question of how much time is required for adequate consideration will resolve itself. Only if it contains dangers and pitfalls that he wants to conceal should President Obama fear a comprehensive review of the agreement and its consequences. If significant questions or ambiguities require more information, then senators are entitled to as much time as necessary to understand the treaty’s implications before voting.

As to the consequences of rejecting the treaty, they are not even vaguely apocalyptic. Senators should understand that saying no to this agreement implies neither opposing all future arms-control agreements nor even opposing a subsequent, modified version of this treaty. Rejecting the text signed in Prague simply requires that negotiators return to the bargaining table, with instructions to Team Obama to do a better job. That is, after all, what the “advice” portion of the Senate’s “advice and consent” power actually means.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Ambassador Bolton is correct: If the president is serious about this treaty then he has to give the Senate the full text of the treaty, and give them plenty of time to read and understand it. The Senate's power to ratify treaties is an important function they retain under the Constitution. We don't ratify treaties for light or transient reasons. Even when President Clinton was confronted with the Kyoto Treaty, he wasted no time in sending it to the Senate (despite the fact that he knew it wouldn't be ratified), and giving the Senate plenty of time to pour over it.

If the agreement that has been publicized is true -- that we will work to scrap our nuclear deterrence and we won't develop any new nuclear weapons -- then this treaty can't be ratified. The Senate should reject it, completely. But Ambassador Bolton is correct: If rejected, it doesn't kill the treaty. The Senate would simply be telling the president and Medvedev that they need to go back to the drawing board.

This is hardly a subject to be rushed. This is also one thing the bloody Senate needs to read. And Barry needs to accommodate their needs. If he doesn't want to, then the Senate should flat-out reject it.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: Thanks to readers pointing out that I mispelled Dmitry Medvedev's first name in the opening of this post. It's fixed now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

AQ in Iraq having a bad week

I think we can now officially label AQI "on the ropes" on the heels of losing two of their top leaders to an American airstrike:

The two top leaders of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq were slain in a U.S. airstrike over the weekend, a decisive tactical victory for American and Iraqi forces and one that provides Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with additional political leverage at a crucial time.

Acting on a tip they received in recent days, Iraqi and U.S. Special Forces descended on a safe house shared by the leaders of the Sunni Muslim insurgent group in Tikrit, in northern Iraq, officials said Monday.

As the troops approached the house, an explosion occurred inside, likely the result of a suicide bombing, U.S. officials said. American forces then quickly dropped a bomb on the house, U.S. officials said.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian who was the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the group's umbrella organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, were among those killed in the operation early Sunday, Maliki and U.S. officials said.

"The deaths of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency," Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, said in a statement.

One American soldier was killed and three were injured during the operation in a helicopter crash, the U.S. military said. Officials emphasized that Iraqi troops had led the operation.

After being markedly weakened during the U.S. troop surge in 2007, al-Qaeda in Iraq reemerged as a serious threat last year with a series of spectacular attacks that struck at the heart of the Iraqi state, casting a pall over its Shiite-led government and the impending drawdown of American troops.

Today, the group no longer has a steady supply of foreign funding, grass-roots support, or scores of foreign fighters willing to travel to Iraq to carry out suicide bombings. The killing of Masri and Baghdadi will only weaken the group further.

Don't write them off, just yet. AQI is still a threat in Iraq to the stability of the fledgling government. The airstrike, however, does help al-Maliki as he continues to face opposition in the Iraqi parliament, and questions regarding the recent election.. So, he'll take that good news, and the intelligence coup that comes with it. Netted in the aftermath of the airstrike was correspondance these two had with bin Laden:

After Mr. Maliki’s press conference, the American military released a statement verifying that Mr. Baghdadi was killed in a joint raid between Iraqi and United States forces in the dark hours of Sunday morning near Tikrit, near Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

Also killed, according to Mr. Maliki and American officials, was Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, also known as Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group that includes some foreign leadership.

Both men were found in a hole in the ground.

“The security forces surrounded the hole, and when they got them out they were dead,” Mr. Maliki said at the news conference. Mr. Maliki said computers and letters were found that included communication between the men and Osama bin Laden.

I;m not buying the correspondence. I mean, yeah they were likely talking with AQ leaders in Pakistan/Afghanistan, but I still firmly believe that bin Laden is dead. Think about it .... back in July of 2007 bloggers outed a video that was released by al Qaeda that reused old footage of bin Laden. Additionally, they uncovered that the soundtrack to that video was severely edited to the point where what bin Laden was saying didn't match what his mouth was saying. Other videos since then that show him have similar, old footage, and the majority of statements from him have been audio recordings. (No offense, but with the right programs, I could make myself sound like bin Laden.)

The rest of the intelligence on those computers will be put to good use to continue dismantling AQI. The Iraqi forces are performing better than ever, and the American forces are taking more of a support/back-up roll in operations like this. (The Iraqis still need air support, so they turn to us for it.)

It's only a matter of time before either: A) AQI is finished off in Iraq, or B) They retreat from Iraq. I'm hedging bets on the latter, and when they run they'll be heading for one of three places: Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Northern Africa.

Publius II

Friday, April 16, 2010

NSA officer indicted for leaking classified material

From 2005 to 2007 more than one newspaper printed classified information about the efforts our intelligence agencies were going through to track down and stop terrorists from hitting the US again. Those stories started on 16 December 2005 when the New York Times revealed the NSA's terrorist surveillance program. Then, a few short months later, the Times blew the Swift bank sifting program which was very effective and completely legal. We seethed over the inability to find out who was leaking this information to the Times. Today, the WaPo takes note that at least one former NSA official has been indicted for supposedly passing classified information to media sources:

The indictment of a former U.S. intelligence official accused of leaking secrets to the media marks an attempt by the Obama administration to disrupt a type of transaction that has persisted for decades in Washington, routinely triggering criminal referrals but rarely ending up in court.

The case disclosed Thursday involves a former senior executive at the nation's most secretive spy service. He has been charged with 10 felony counts of mishandling classified information from the National Security Agency and trying to obstruct authorities' investigation of his alleged actions.

Thomas A. Drake, 52, has not been accused of sharing the most sensitive of the NSA's secrets: the means it uses to intercept e-mails and phone calls around the world, or the tools it employs to crack adversaries' codes. Instead, Drake appears to have provided a steady stream of documents and information to a Baltimore Sun reporter whose work exposed NSA system failures and mismanaged programs.

Drake's lawyer said Thursday that his client had cooperated with authorities but would now mount a vigorous defense against the charges.

Prosecutions -- let alone convictions -- of leaks cases have been rare. Many result in efforts to compel journalists to reveal their sources, but in this case the government appears to have identified an alleged leaker directly.

Federal prosecutors dropped charges last year against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israeli advocacy group accused of conspiring to obtain classified information on al-Qaeda and Iraq and provide it to news organizations, including The Washington Post. That effort, launched during the Bush administration, included allegations of espionage, a charge prosecutors have not made against Drake.

Drake isn't telling anyone why he did it, but it has been confirmed that he corresponded with several reporters, and even encouraged them to set up encrypted e-mail accounts to guarantee their security. Additionally, he also served as an editor for a few of the stories to make sure all of the information was correct. He was suspended in 2007 "in lieu of termination" which prompted him to resign. But, according to the WaPo story, after he left the NSA he contracted himself out to them to continue his work.

The indictment states that back in 2007 he began wiping hard drives, and deleting files to cover his tracks because he was concerned he was being watched. His behavior is akin to that of a spy, but instead of passing classified material to a foreign power, he was passing it off to media outlets that revealed the most intricate details of these operations.

The indictment doesn't list the media outlets, but we know that the Times was one of them. They are the ones who broke both the NSA's terrorist surveillance program and the Swift program. What will be interesting to watch is how the Times reacts to having James Risen, Eric Lichtblau, and Bill Keller subpoenaed to testify. Make no mistake, they will likely receive a subpoena, and I'd like to see how cocksure Keller is when he sits on the stand. Remember: It was Bill Keller who basically thumbed his nose at the White House under the misguided idea that the public has a right to know which, when it comes to classified material, is hogwash.

This will be an interesting case to watch, and even though it sticks in my craw, kudos to Barry's Justice department. They are the ones who finally caught this guy. They deserve much of the praise.

Publius II

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This is today's Democrat party

I hate to speak in general terms because not all Democrats that we know are unhinged, moronic lunatics. But a great deal of them are; most notably those under age 40, or so. It's especially true with the much younger, activist-minded Democrats that have been indoctrinated to be foot soldiers in a "cause" that makes no logical sense whatsoever.

It has become known over the last couple of days that several, left-wing activists are planning to infiltrate the Tax Day Tea Parties across the country and smear those protesters. From Jason Levin, one such idiot:

Jason Levin, creator of http://www.crashtheteaparty.org, said Monday the group has 65 leaders in major cities across the country who are trying to recruit members to infiltrate tea party events for April 15 — tax filing day, when tea party groups across the country are planning to gather and protest high taxes.

“Every time we have someone on camera saying that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, we want someone sitting next to him saying, ‘That’s right, he’s an alien from outer space!’” Levin said…

Levin says they want to exaggerate the group’s least appealing qualities, further distance the tea party from mainstream America and damage the public’s opinion of them.

“Do I think every member of the tea party is a homophobe, racist or a moron? No, absolutely not,” Levin said. “Do I think most of them are homophobes, racists or morons? Absolutely.”

For the record, Mr. Levin, the vast majority of Tea Party protesters aren't holding up retarded signs about the president's birth certificate. The vast majority aren't shouting racial slurs. The vast majority of Tea Party protesters are out there, utilizing their First Amendment right to gather and protest (right to assemble, petition for a redress of grievances), in opposition to the massive spending and impending higher taxes that will be levied on them.

See, the Left only gathers to let it's nuts run amuck. Remember all of those antiwar/anti-Bush rallies held from 2001 to 2006, or so? They weren't just antiwar/anti-Bush nuts that attended those protests. (Head on over to Zombie's site, and scroll down the left-hand column for photo essays of some of these liberal rallies.) Not only do these people trash the area that they protest (Tea Partiers clean up after themselves), but you get every nut in the liberal closet coming out, including proud, self-proclaimed Communists, Anti-Semites, out-and-0out racists, and the scrotum-enlargement nutbags. (Look folks, I'm not saying conservatives don't have their share of nuts in the tree, but whereas we might knock a couple loose if we shake that tree, you shake theirs and you might get crushed by the amount of nuts that come falling out of it.)

I'll be attending the Tea Party rally on Thursday at the state capital in Phoenix. And I can assure you that these saboteurs are idiots: Do they really think they'll be allowed into these protests if they plan on making @$$es of themselves, and then blaming it on the protesters? Seriously? I attended the Tax Day Tea Party in Phoenix last year, and we had a couple of rabble-rousers that tried to cause trouble. Both of those nuts were "escorted" to the nearest police officer who promptly took them into custody (drunk and disorderly was the charge for one of them; harassment was the charge for the other one).

So if you're planning on joining up with the Tea Partiers with the sole goal of making an @$$ of yourself, save your breath, and don't waste your time. The Tea Party people are aware of this potential to sabotage their protest. You won't be welcome. You'll likely be driven out of the protest. And you just might end up on the receiving end of a severe @$$ beating. That's how fed up we, the people, are right now with this radical, Alinsky-esque machine. While Alinsky might have been a "mentor" to many of those in Barry's administration, while he might have been a favorite author for many of these liberal activists, they're about to get a rude awakening.

The Tea Party people are right in line with the original radicals -- The Founders and Framers. And I'll cast my lot with them before I throw in with a bunch of nutters that haven't accomplished squat.

Publius II

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Focusing on a new message

This past weekend the GOP witnessed this year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) with a host of speakers -- all big guns in the GOP -- including Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor Haley Barbour, Governor Mitt Romney, Congressman JC Watts, and Senator Rick Santorum. While most of their addresses were short, sweet, and to the point, another speaker brought to the forefront a point the GOP absolutely needs to focus on. Newt Gingrich gave a superb address to the attendees, and he challenged the GOP to change its rhetoric. We shouldn't be the "Party of No." We should become the "Party of Yes:"

The first thing I want to ask you to do will sound a little academic, but it's really important in setting up the arguments for the next three years. I urge you to join me in talking about a secular socialist machine. It's important to be clear who these people are. They don't want to talk about it honestly and openly, but on every front, they're increasing government. On every front, they are trying to micromanage our lives. On every front, they want to raise taxes, spend more, have politicians become more powerful, and citizens become less powerful. And we need to make clear to the American people that this is not a normal series of elections. This is not two groups that share the same ideas and we're struggling over power. This is a fundamental fight over the core definition of America, and it is going to require us to talk, I think, in a very different language than normal politics.

I think it requires us to talk about the American culture, not American politics. Does the work ethic matter, or is redistribution the alternative? It's very central. Are we endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or does government define who we are? Just think about -- but I want you to think about the more we make this a choice about the nature of America, the weaker they are.

So, first, I'd like to ask you to think about this term. I spent several years trying to think through how to explain why is Sacramento such a mess, why is Albany such a mess, why is Washington following Sacramento and Albany, why has Detroit as a city been destroyed, what is it that's happened, and what's happened is that you've had a machine that has a set of values that are antithetical to creativity and productivity and the work ethic, and that machine exists for the purpose of taking away your money, controlling your life, and redistributing your goods to other people based on political whim. It's fundamentally wrong, and it's fundamentally the opposite of the American tradition.

The second thing I want you to think about is, frankly, even more unusual for American politics. I want to give you -- and I say this, having been Speaker of the House, having spent seven years working in the executive branch as a volunteer, having thought a long time about the nature of where we are. I think the most important governing slogan of the next 25 years is very simple and very different. It's "2+2=4."

Now, I got to this because two years ago, Callista and I made a movie called Ronald Reagan Rendezvous with Destiny, and in making the movie, we went to Gdansk, Poland, interviewed Lech Walesa who had been the leader of solidarity and the President of Poland, and then we went to Prague and the Czech Republic and interviewed Vaclav Haval, who had spent three years in a prison and then ended up as President of the new free Czechoslovakia.

Both men said to us the decisive moment in the emergence of freedom in Eastern Europe was a year before Reagan was elected. It was when Pope John Paul II took a nine-day pilgrimage and went to Poland, and in that nine days, over a third of the people of Poland came to see him physically. And so we decided to do a movie about it which is called Nine Days that Changes the World, which we are premiering tomorrow night at Mount Vernon, and it's about freedom through faith and how the two are totally related to each other.

And we have a Polish figure who was there in 1979 who said, "You know, we looked around at 3 million people in Warsaw, and we looked around and suddenly realized there are more of us than there are of the government. So why are we afraid of them?"

Now, solidarity went from 300, from 500 or 600 members to 10 million in a year. There was a constant tension, a constant struggle for 10 years, from June of 1979 when the Pope visited to June of 1989 when Poland had its first reelection, and within the two years, the Soviet Union disappeared. In that struggle, the Polish people came up with a slogan which they printed and they put in their windows. It was "2+2=4." Now, the Communist leadership knew that "2+2=4" was subversive.

But it was very tricky for them to go into a shop and say, "You really have to take that sign down," because it meant they were saying you couldn't say "2+2=4," which made them look just stupid. ...

Number three, this may be the biggest change, and we're going to need your help talking to every Republican candidate and every Republican incumbent and every Republican consultant. What the left wants to do -- I mean, they know they can't win a fight where they're honest about who they are, so they want to be dishonest about who we are. What the left wants to do is say, we're the Party of No, and, frankly, if you go through the legislative process and the setup and the fact that they only bring up their things and so the big votes are always on their things, so Republicans do vote no on their things because their things are really disastrous, you know, and then they say, "See, I told you they were the Party of No because look at all the no votes." ...

So here's what I want to ask you to encourage every candidate you know, every incumbent you know, every staff person you know, every consultant you know. I think we should decide we're going to be the Party of Yes, and we should say Republicans can say yes to a balanced budget through controlled spending. Republicans can say yes to more jobs through tax cuts. Republicans can say yes to balancing the Federal budget without a single penny of tax increase by reforming government. Republicans can say yes to stopping the crooks from taking money from Medicaid and Medicare.

Like or dislike the man, he's right. Instead of allowing the media or Democrats to dictate to us and the nation what conservatives stand for, WE need to be the ones to define ourselves. When "Tingles" Matthews or Keith Olberdouche sounds off on the GOP being against something, such as health care/health insurance reform, we need to fire back.

"No, we're not against it. We're against the ideas that Democrats have in taking over both industries. Here's what our ideas are to reduce the costs that the average American has to pay."

"We're not against taking care of the environment. We're for that, but we don't want the taxpayers getting hosed on a nutty scheme to keep us dependent on other nations, and not producing clean energy such as nuclear power."

"We're not against taxation because it's necessary for the federal government to run. However, the people don't need to deal with the tax burden they have, and government waste can be cut by cutting the size and scope of the federal government."

See, we're no longer the "Party of No. We're the "Party of Yes" and more importantly, we're the "Party of Ideas." During the entire time the health care debate was unfolding, Democrats continuously lied that we didn't have a plan of our own that was better. Yes we did, but thanks to their efforts to concoct a seizure scheme behind closed doors, with no input from Republicans, they controlled the debate. It also didn't help that the media was firmly entrenched on their side of the issue; continually mocking and slandering the GOP.

We do need to be the "Party of Yes," and if we adopt this idea -- confronting the machine in DC run by the Democrats with ideas, facts, and truth, which gives the American public a clear picture of the distinct differences between our parties -- we can finish off the Democrats. We can take the fight to them and defeat them.

This November, the voters are going to bounce the Democrats out of power in at least one House of Congress, and possibly both. But that doesn't end the fight. We need to take the fight to the president next, and make sure he is a one-term president. He appears to be a clone of Jimmy Carter, so it will fall to us to make sure history repeats itself, and we can't do that if we let that moron define us. We need to define him. We need to explain to the public just how dangerously radical his agenda is to this nation, and that we need to put an end to his tenure.

We can't do that by simply being opposed to what Democrats are hatching. We need to fight back against their machinations, present our ideas, and show America we are the party that stands for this nation, and all it entails and guarantees. Do I think the GOP has learned its lesson? I sure hope so because this nation cannot continue to survive with these monkeys at the helm of the ship hitting every iceberg in its path.

Publius II

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Still talking nuclear policy

To be sure the president has taken some lumps over this supposed policy change on our nuclear weapons posture. Yesterday, I took Barry to task over this transparent departure from over sixty years of US national security policy, and while many agreed with me that this was a serious mistake on the president's part some just yawned. Max Boot of Commentary Magazine was one of those that did yawn, but after reading his reasons for doing so, I can understand his position. (HT to Hugh Hewitt) Mr. Boot writes:

I find it hard to get excited about the Nuclear Posture Review released today by the Obama administration, in part because the relationship between “declaratory” nuclear policy and actual nuclear policy has always been tenuous at best. During the Cold War, the U.S. always reserved the right of first use of nuclear weapons, meaning that it if the Red Army rolled into Europe, we would supposedly nuke Moscow. What would have happened in an actual World War III is hard to know, but there is good reason to doubt that any U.S. president would have been the first to order nuclear escalation, whether the Russian hordes were crossing the Fulda Gap or not.

(I agree with Mr. Boot on that latter point. President Truman was the first and only president to ever order the use of nuclear weapons, and he did so to end our hostilities with Japan. That was anything but an easy choice to make. President Truman understood the gravity of using such a weapon, and insisted that we give the Japanese enough notice we were going to use the weapons; giving the Japanese a chance to surrender. But even he wasn't blind to the fact that, more than likely, they wouldn't concede. But as the only president to ever employ such weapons, he had keen insight into the mental throes that go with issuing such an order. No president wants to unleash such a weapon unless it is literally our last resort.)

Likewise, today, for all the speculation going on about whether the U.S. will extend its nuclear umbrella to Iran’s neighbors in case the Islamic Republic acquires nuclear weapons, there is good cause to doubt whether the U.S. (especially under the leadership of Nobel Laureate Barack Obama!) would really be prepared to incinerate Tehran in the event of Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia or even Israel.

(Another true statement from Mr. Boot. Given the rhetoric from this White House with regard to Iran, it's no secret that Barry wouldn't lift a finger even if Iran not only revealed they had nuclear weapons, but also used one on one of its neighbors. As I have repeatedly stated there is doubt that Iran would play a game of chicken with a handful of nukes. They'd likely use them to blackmail their neighbors, and areas of Europe within the reach of their missiles. It's not a nuclear strike we should be worried about, but rather how blackmailed nations would act with regard to America. Of course with the way Barry is acting towards our allies, Iran won't need to use nukes to blackmail them into leaving us in the cold. Barry's doing a "fine" job of that on his own.)

Thus, I don’t attach much significance to the Obama administration’s narrowing the categories under which the U.S. would supposedly use nuclear weapons. As the Washington Post account

Under the new policy, the administration will foreswear the use of the deadly weapons against nonnuclear countries, officials said, in contrast to previous administrations, which indicated they might use nuclear arms against nonnuclear states in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack.

But Obama included a major caveat: The countries must be in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations under international treaties. That loophole would mean Iran would remain on the potential target list.

I suppose the administration gets credit for resisting liberal pressure to foreswear any first use of nukes, but, to my mind, any such policy, whether it remains on the books or not, is not terribly credible. It’s fine to keep a small nugget of deterrence alive by not formally burying it, but it’s hard to imagine the U.S. ever using nukes unless it had first been attacked with WMD – meaning nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. The Obama review says that countries that employ only biological or chemical weapons won’t be nuked unless they’re out of compliance with nuclear nonproliferation treaties. Actually, the administration is leaving even more wiggle room than that.
According to the New York Times:

White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.

In short, the Obama policy isn’t that big of a change from the policy it inherited. It is, as the Washington Post has it, a “middle course.”

To my mind, the real test of our nonproliferation policy isn’t how we claim we will respond to hypothetical scenarios but rather what we do about actual current dangers. In regard to Iran – the world’s No. 1 proliferation threat – the auguries aren’t propitious, with the Financial Times reporting that a new round of sanctions won’t be on the UN Security Council agenda in April. Thus, Obama’s threats to hit Iran with tough sanctions if his entreaties to talk were rejected are increasingly being exposed as hollow. That kind of wishy-washiness is something that Iran and other rogue regimes understand. By comparison, the theoretical language contained in the Nuclear Posture Review seems more like, well, academic posturing.

It is, literally, posturing. Barry went out of his way to assuage fears the US might use its nuclear arsenal against any nation that might hit us with a WMD. But it doesn't help this nation to know that the nuclear option is now openly off the table. Before now nations would have to weigh a decision to attack us with a WMD out of fear of what our retaliation might be. (As we don't use chemical or biological weapons, we have only one, serious response at our disposal, and it's now officially off the table.)

Mr. Boot is correct: 99% of the time the president would opt out of using nuclear weapons. Recall 11 September 2001 when nineteen foreign-born jihadists hijacked four jetliners, and turned them into a WMD. Nearly 3000 Americans died that die in the worst attack in US history. Did President Bush order a nuclear strike on Afghanistan once the perpetrators were discovered and researched?

No, he didn't.

I'm sure there is a whole host of reasons why that option either wasn't entertained, or was taken off the table eventually. Among them, most likely, would have been the civilian casualties that would've been guaranteed had such a strike been ordered. And that is one reason why no president wants to make that call. But the point of the change is that the decision has always been in the hands of the president. Barry's decision is to remove that aspect of our arsenal off the table in 99% of the cases.

Like anything else that comes out of this administration, there are mealy-mouth caveats in this decision. The fact that whether or not a nation is in compliance with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty should be irrelevant. It really doesn't matter if they are or not if they've decided to strike the US. For over sixty years this nation sat upon a threat that if we were ever struck by a WMD, or our allies were, that we would respond with a nuclear strike. And that was regardless of their treaty compliance. We never left ourselves as naked and open as we are today.

I understand Max Boot's overall point which is this isn't necessarily a change in policy as much as it is posturing and preening on the world stage. Where I disagree with Mr. Boot is on this simple fact: Since the development of nuclear weapons, the Left has busied themselves with attempting to disarm us. The fight has been long, and up until this declaration they had failed. But Barry's in charge now, and his infamous boast back in July of 2008 that he wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons has emboldened his supporters to push us in this direction, deterrence be damned.

We live in a very dangerous world, and the only thing that kept the majority of our enemies at bay was the fact that we had a weapon they didn't have, and that weapon could literally annihilate them. Now that threat is off the table; empty and as dangerous as a toothless guard dog. While Barry pats himself on the back for this decision, our enemies are licking their lips, sharpening their knives, and preparing to hit us in more bold actions than what we've experienced since 11 September. Recall, if you will, the intelligence assessment handed to Congress back in February that stated al Qaeda was planning more stealthy and devastating attacks on the US, primarily focusing on our computer networks.

While some may think that such an attack couldn't ravage or wreak havoc across the nation, they're dead wrong on so many levels. The world runs on computers. Imagine a cyber-attack on a level that shuts down just one-quarter of the nation's power grid. Imagine the havoc created on our streets;
envision the chaos in hospitals;visualize the Hell that would be wreaked on businesses.

Traffic lights stop working. In the ensuing bedlam, On-Star units don't work. No way to get help after accidents. (Not all cars have On-Star, I know, but most new cars do have it. And if you think the cellphone is going to work, think again.) We have evidence that elements of al Qaeda have been researching and utilizing cyber-terrorism. (HT to Dr. Rusty Shackleford) And remember that Barry specifically included cyber-attacks in his declaration that we wouldn't use nukes no matter the overall it might do to the nation.

Regardless of how you might feel about the declaration from Barry -- for or against nuclear weapons -- you can't tell me that our posture for sixty-plus years hasn't served America well. That defense posture kept China, Russia, and even Cuba at bay. Even after the break-up of the Soviet Union, when fears ran high about rogue Russian warheads leading to an "outbreak" of nuclear proliferation, the US was safe because of this doctrine. And even if Mr. Boot is correct, and no president would actually follow through on a nuclear strike, the threat always remained, and caused our enemies to take a moment of pause before deciding whether or not it was worth it to provoke that level of reciprocity.

Publius II

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New American nuclear posture: Slumped over in appeasement and surrender

This seems to be the story of the day as Barry announces what the new nuclear posture of America is. From New York Times:

President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons.

But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.

Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.

Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.

Time out. "Carving out an exception for outliers like Iran and North Korea"? He hasn't done a bloody thing about either regime except send strongly worded, pen-pal letters asking Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-Il to stop their nuclear programs. He seems ready to accept Ahmadinejad's statement that their program is "peaceful" despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, and an IAEA report from February stating that Iran was working on nuclear warheads. (A quick look through McKittrick's archives on North Korea at Closing Velocity shows that not only is North Korea still conducting missile and nuclear tests, but they're fully engaged in nuclear proliferation. And no, we don't buy their "promise" that they'll end the practice.) Back to the Times:

It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.

Uh-huh. Right. The reason there was ambiguity in our nuclear posture was exactly WHY we never truly faced the threat of a nuclear war. NO NATION knew exactly what our posture was, and they didn't know ho we'd react. Russia tries to invade Western Europe? Not bloody likely so long as the Russians believed it could spark such a scenario. MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction was a far better strategy than detente was due to the fact that every nuclear nation out there knew that if they attacked us, or our allies, with a weapon of mass destruction, they faced the serious possibility of being nuked off the face of the planet by America. (Pardon me, but this is another stellar example of Barry simply being in over his head. He doesn't have a clue as to why we had a certain position on national security. We control issues and situations better when we control information; information that shouldn't be privy to our known or potential enemies around the world. National security is designed, specifically, to be ambiguous so our enemies are constantly on guard as to how we might react to any given national security situation.)

White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike. ...

So, let me get this straight. If, say, a nation like Venezuela develops a bio-weapon, and launches a bio attack on the US (not likely, but hear me out), if they don't have sufficient stockpiles or development of said weapon, we won't hit back with a nuke, possibly? You're kidding me ...

Mr. Obama argued for a slower course, saying, “We are going to want to make sure that we can continue to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons,” and, he added, to “make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.” ...

Can someone please inform the Rookie-In-Chief that the fact we had a nuclear stockpile was deterrent enough for nations NOT to strike us with a WMD? Hello? Russia never tried to strike us because they knew we'd respond in like kind. We could wipe them out with our arsenal, and the Russians weren't the only ones worried about that fact. Some people don't figure in the fact that the fallout from such an exchange would be disastrous to the human race. There was plenty of speculation that abounded from the MAD doctrine, including the amount of people who would die from the fallout in a subsequent time frame, the amounts of new cancer cases that would erupt from the fallout, the destruction of the food supply (irradiated and unusable) and the water tables across the globe. When you drop a nuke, folks, the spot in the nation that's hit isn't the only area that suffers the damage, and that damage is long term. THIS is what was so integral to the MAD doctrine.

John Hinderacker at PowerLine sums this up in a nice, tidy package:

Does anyone doubt that the administration would use nukes in a heartbeat if it considered such measures necessary? I don't. The problem is that when the time comes to actually use nuclear weapons, it is too late. The danger here is not that the Obama administration has really gone pacifist. On the contrary, the significance of today's announcement appears to be entirely symbolic--just one more chance to preen. The problem is that our enemies understand symbolism and maybe take it too seriously. To them, today's announcement is another sign that our government has gone soft, and one more inducement to undertake aggressive action against the United States.

I do disagree with John on his initial point. If this nation were hit by a WMD attack by a nation, or a "crippling cyberattack" was launched, I doubt the administration would even consider the possibility of launching a nuclear strike. Why? For exactly the reason he alludes to in the latter; this is a chance for Barry to preen like a peacock, and show the world that, indeed, change has come to America, and it's not change for the good. When it comes to national security and foreign policy, it's the change to appeasement and surrender.

Publius II