Tarry for the Nonce

February 9, 2010

Obama’s Approach to Terrorism

Filed under: News, Politics — lmwalker @ 5:22 pm

I’ve read several articles in the same vein over the last month, and it’s so very true that Obama – for all his grandiose blustering about change in terrorist policy – has effectively maintained the status quo:

[T]he Administration has tried to break from its predecessors on several big antiterror issues, and it is on those that it is suffering the humiliation of having to walk back from its own righteous declarations . . .

Begin with Mr. Obama’s executive order, two days after his inauguration, to shut the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year . . . Mr. Obama’s deadline has come and gone, and Guantanamo remains open. In part this is the result of political opposition from Americans—including many Congressional Democrats—who understandably do not want terrorists in their backyards. Another problem is that European allies, while pressing for Guantanamo’s closure, have been reluctant to accept more than a handful of detainees who are deemed suitable for release. The upshot is that Congress may never appropriate the money to close Gitmo, and Mr. Obama never mentioned the prison in his State of the Union address.

Policy Failure One.

The Administration similarly has been backing away from its intention, announced in November, to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other enemy combatants in civilian court a few blocks from Ground Zero . . . Mr. Obama himself responded to criticism by suggesting that what he had in mind was a series of show trials, in which the verdict and punishment were foreordained. When NBC’s Chuck Todd asked him in November to respond to those who took offense at granting KSM the full constitutional protections due a civilian defendant, the President replied: “I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.” Mr. Obama later claimed he meant “if,” not “when,” but he undercut his own pretense of showcasing the fairness of American justice . . . In the event of an acquittal or an overturned conviction, it would be entirely legitimate under the laws of war to continue holding KSM and the others as enemy combatants. But this would defeat the moral rationale of a trial and require the Administration to explain why it was continuing to detain men whose guilt it had failed to establish in court.

Policy Failure Two.

A third policy under increasing criticism is the Administration’s approach to interrogation . . .Mr. Obama declared that responsibility for interrogating detainees would shift from the CIA to a new, FBI-led High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which would employ only tactics that are “noncoercive” or approved by the Army Field manual . . .Then came the attempted Christmas bombing . . . On [Attorney General Eric] Holder’s order, investigators immediately classified him as a criminal defendant. After interrogating him for just 50 minutes, they advised him of his right to remain silent, which he promptly exercised. Fifty minutes was plenty of time, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs assured “Fox News Sunday” viewers last month: “Abdulmutallab was interrogated, and valuable intelligence was gotten as a result of that interrogation.” Mr. Holder told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter last week that Abdulmutallab “more recently . . . has provided additional intelligence to the FBI”—which is encouraging if true, but makes Mr. Gibbs’s earlier assurance look empty.

I wouldn’t immediately classify this as a policy failure, but we don’t know what was done to elicit the additional intelligence. If his artificially imposed civil rights were still in place, then one may presume he gave up the information voluntarily, but he seemed a reluctant attacker in the first place. Can we rely on future attackers being so magnanimous?

Personally, I am glad that Obama has responded to public opinion and has opted not to exercise some of the more nonsensical points of his hearts-and-flowers policies, but I wonder where the liberal outcry is. Perhaps they are learning that it’s more difficult to quarterback outside the armchair.

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November 18, 2008

Proudly a Former Chicagoan

Filed under: News, Politics, Religion — lmwalker @ 8:57 pm

At least for a moment . . .

Cardinal Francis George (and the other Catholic bishops) have stated that if Obama passes FOCA, as he has threatened, then Catholic hospitals will be forced to shut down. If I’m reading the reports correctly, that means that approximately one-third of the hospitals in the United States would close their doors.

“This is not a matter of political compromise or a matter of finding some way of common ground,” said Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. “It’s a matter of absolutes.”

Good for them. I’m sorry for the people that would lose their jobs, but for abortion-opposed Catholics, they wouldn’t be able to work in the health care industry anyway after such an eventuality. For the rest – well – I’m sure there will be enough abortion-advocating institutions that will allow them to kill as many babies as they need in order to make themselves feel all women-empowered. (Er, warning: the linked video is pretty grotesque.)

And – as long as we’re on the subject – can someone explain to me how the EEOC justifies opposing protections for health care providers who won’t provide abortions on religious or moral grounds?

The EEOC says that “the proposal would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting job discrimination based on religion,” which is the most backwards bit of nonsense ever issued from their increasing irrelevance.

At least Obama is quite frank about the fact that he would force people opposed to abortion to both fund them and perform them. But I expect no better from him.

And suddenly I revert to shame at being a former Chicagoan . . .

Media Mediocracy

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 8:29 pm

How Obama Got Elected. Incredible.

In response to typical ill-informed backlash, Zogby had to issue a statement to explain what a “poll” is.

September 19, 2008

Someone Explain This Logic

Filed under: News, Politics — lmwalker @ 6:36 am

So both Senator Clinton and Governor Palin were invited to a bipartisan U.N. event protesting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Clinton withdrew after learning that Sarah Palin was invited, opining that inviting Sarah Palin now (apparently) made the event “partisan.”

Now, the National Voice of Jewish Democrats has called for Sarah Palin to be disinvited (de-invited? uninvited?) because “Monday’s protest against Ahmadinejad is too important to be tainted by partisanship.”

Am I missing something here? How does inviting both a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican make an event “partisan?” Did I miss something in the definition? Since the Democrat doesn’t want to come to the party, the Republican should be turned away at the door?

I am imagining that Marc R. Stanley has not thrown many successful parties with his odd parsing of a guest list. And as for Senator Clinton, she should perhaps consult a dictionary.

September 15, 2008

Obama’s Candor

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:09 pm

Opinion though it be, it appears that Obama on Iraq is not as clear-cut as he would lead us to believe:

While campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July . . .

Iraqi leaders are divided over the US election. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (whose party is a member of the Socialist International) sees Obama as “a man of the Left” – who, once elected, might change his opposition to Iraq’s liberation. Indeed, say Talabani’s advisers, a President Obama might be tempted to appropriate the victory that America has already won in Iraq by claiming that his intervention transformed failure into success.

[Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki’s advisers have persuaded him that Obama will win – but the prime minister worries about the senator’s “political debt to the anti-war lobby” – which is determined to transform Iraq into a disaster to prove that toppling Saddam Hussein was “the biggest strategic blunder in US history.”

Honestly, I don’t think Obama is politically sophisticated enough to deliberately cause failure in Iraq, but I think it’s likely that his incompetence could result in it

September 2, 2008

Beat Them Into Submission

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:31 am

Peace protestors visit the Republican National Convention.

Oh, and they also threw bleach in the face of some delegates. One 80-year-old was taken to the hospital.

June 18, 2008

What a Gas!

Filed under: News, Politics — lmwalker @ 4:48 pm

Watch for a bit of hanky-panky at the gas pumps.

Investigators said a gas station attendant at a Hess station located on John Young Parkway called police and said the driver of a white Ford pickup looked suspicious and lingered too long at the pump . . .

“He had an 800-gallon tank in the back of this thing and it was custom-welded,” Orange County sheriff’s Cmdr. Jeff Stonebreaker said. “There is some very unique equipment the way this thing is set up. It is obviously not for personal business use. It is set up for one use only, which is to steal fuel and redistribute it illegally.”

The man also had a key that disabled pump meters, detectives said . . .

Police said the man had such a sophisticated setup that it is doubtful he worked alone and may be part of a crime ring.

‘Tis one innovative thief. Maybe he could sell it to the police.

June 16, 2008

Woman’s Voting Rights Stripped

Filed under: News, Politics — lmwalker @ 2:19 pm

If you are a woman who doesn’t support Barack Obama, you are not permitted to represent the Democratic Party:

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has stripped a woman of her position as delegate to the Democratic National Convention . . .

Illinois Senator Barack Obama is in line to get the party’s nomination, but Bartoshevich supports Hillary Clinton . . .

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Joe Wineke says, “It actually strengthened what we were doing here, I mean the thunderous vote on that from the delegation showed me that virtually everybody here has one mission, and that is to elect Barack Obama president.”

For Democrats, women have the right to choose . . . unless it’s a choice with which they happen to disagree.

(Hat tip to Best of the Web.)

January 25, 2008

A Flaming Tragedy

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 1:56 pm

As a bomber, one might ask oneself the question: “Do I still get to be a shaheed if I die on the way?”

Of course, one must be alive to ask such a question.

A would-be suicide bomber fell down a flight of stairs and blew himself up as he headed out for an attack in Afghanistan, police say.

It was the second such incident in two days . . .

(Hat tip to Jon Raclaw.)

June 11, 2007

“It Was Quite a Ride”

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 4:59 pm

Universal Studios could use a new ride:

A 21-year-old man got the ride of a lifetime when his electric wheelchair became lodged in the grille of a semitrailer and was pushed down a highway for several miles at about 50 mph.

He got the ride of his life.

I love the polite 9-1-1 call:

In a perplexed and deliberate voice, one caller said: “A semi-truck just came by, and he does not know it, but he has a gentleman on the front of his truck that’s in a wheelchair, and he’s pushing him down the road.”

In case you were wondering, the wheelchair survived too.

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