Despite protests that the legislation will negate centuries old rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Senate Thursday passed a bill authorizing the arrest and imprisonment without charge or trial of terrorism suspects, including American citizens, anywhere in the world. The bill, called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also authorizes $662 billion in military spending. It has been sent to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it, perhaps as early as today (Friday). Obama had threatened to veto earlier versions of bill, but on Wednesday the White House announced the President was satisfied by amendments made by a House-Senate conference committee granting the President greater discretion in determining what terror suspects to hold in military confinement. "By withdrawing his threat to veto the NDAA, President Obama has abandoned yet another principled position with little or nothing to show for it," said Tom Parker, policy director for Amnesty International USA said. "Amnesty International is appalled -— but regrettably not surprised." Ironically, the Senate passed the law on December 15, the date of the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Only 13 Senators voted against the bill, while 86 voted for it, including some who argued that the constitutional guarantees would not be vitiated.
Last November, the British coalition government introduced a new requirement into immigration rules: The immigrant must be know the English language. The rule was challenged by Rashida Chapti and Vali Chapti, two Indians in their 50s. Rashida speaks English but Vali, her husband of 37 years, does not. Currently the couple lives separately because of that obstacle. In their lawsuit, the couple claimed that the language requirement violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to family life and the right to marry. Judge Jack Beatson in his opinion stated, The new rule impacts on the Article 8 rights of the claimants [the right to a family life], but its aims, to promote integration and to protect public services, are legitimate aims. Taking into account all the material before the court, including the exceptions to the new rule, it is not a disproportionate interference with family life and is justified.
The Cato Institute’s newspaper ad reminding citizens that December 15th was Bill of Rights Day summarized the desperate shape those first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States is in, thanks to an overweening government and an uninformed citizenry. Reviewing each of the amendments, Cato pointed to specific infringements of each of them, concluding that “It’s a disturbing picture, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” [to totalitarian government].
Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) unveiled legislation Wednesday to enforce civil and criminal penalties for those who publish or in some way communicate false or misleading election material with the intent to dissuade or prevent certain people from voting. Entitled the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2011, the law would make it a federal crime to disclose misleading information regarding voting eligibility and information on the times and locations of elections — whether through print, electronic, or telephonic mediums — within 90 days before a federal election. The move comes days after Paul Schurick, former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich Jr.’s (R) 2010 campaign manager, was convicted by a Baltimore jury of four counts of election law violations stemming from a robocall used in the state’s 2010 gubernatorial race that prosecutors claim was staged to suppress the black vote. The automated call allegedly told voters in Baltimore and in Prince George’s County to "relax" because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had been successful in winning the election. Cardin referred to the Schurick case because the Maryland State Prosecutor could only take action thanks to a 2006 state law, while he stressed that a similar law must be enacted on the national level to prevent similar instances from occurring in other states.
MSNBC tried connecting GOP contender Mitt Romney to the KKK early this week, but wound up with egg on its face and was forced to apologize. Such was the embarrassment that talker Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball, called the smear “appalling.” More interesting, however, is where the network dug up the egregious but unspoken calumny. It originated in the febrile work of a homosexual leftist. He had learned that the Ku Klux Klan once used a three-word slogan that Romney repeated last week. The offensive words? “Keep America American.”
Weeks ago, The New American reported on Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow’s passionate faith and the flak he has taken for it. Unfortunately, Tebow remains a target and was most recently the subject of an offensive comedic skit on Saturday Night Live. After the Denver Broncos emerged from another significant win against the Chicago Bears last week, a number of media outlets began to ponder whether Tebow’s faith and constant prayer played a role in his success as a starting quarterback for the Broncos. On Saturday, December 17, Saturday Night Live made fun of the notion that Tebow’s spirituality has anything to do with his victories. The SNL skit featured Jason Sudeikis as Jesus Christ, who appears to Tim Tebow in the locker room after a Broncos’ win. As Tebow, played by Taran Killam, prayed and thanked “the most important person in my life, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” as Tebow often says during press conferences, Jesus appears.
Christopher Hitchens, the outspoken atheist columnist and author who took delight in ridiculing the Christian faith and its adherents, but who also shared a handful of the convictions many of them embraced, died December 15 of cancer at the age of 62. His death was announced by Vanity Fair, the magazine for which he had written since 1992. English-born and Oxford-educated, Hitchens was, said the New York Times in its glowing obituary, “a British Trotskyite who had lost faith in the Socialist movement, spent much of his life wandering the globe and reporting on the world’s trouble spots for The Nation magazine, the British newsmagazine The New Statesman and other publications.”
The U.S. government lost a spy drone over Iran. Is it part of an ongoing covert war? Either Iranian forces shot it down or it fell out of the sky. We may never know which, but now the Obama administration wants it back. Iran says no. It is apparently studying the craft’s advanced stealth and other technology — and perhaps attempting to reverse engineer it. This is not analogous to playful kids who accidentally throw a baseball into a neighbor’s yard and ask for it back. The U.S. government has been making war sounds in Iran’s direction for years, and these belligerent noises have grown louder in recent months. While there are grounds for believing the U.S. military does not want to attack Iran, which is far larger and more populous than Iraq and would require a long, bloody involvement throughout the region, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insist that “all options are on the table.”
Have OWS protesters infested your city yet? They haven’t infested mine, but I kind of wish they would. Earlier this week, they shut down all shipping through the port of Oakland, Calif. If they knew who their real enemies are, they’d be kicking down the door to Harry Reid’s office in Washington. Clearly, someone behind these clueless, jobless, soapless demonstrators is very familiar with a guy named Saul Alinsky. This left-wing agitator has been honored, if that’s the right word, as this country’s first community organizer. You can see where that’s led. Alinsky, a veteran of Chicago’s dirtiest politics, wrote a book years ago called Rules for Radicals. One of his most important lessons was that “the real action is in the reaction.” That is, so-called peaceful demonstrators will get everything they seek if they can cause the establishment to react forcibly against them. (Think of fire hoses and police dogs during the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s.) Do that and your battle is won. Martin Luther King Jr. was a master implementer of the Alinsky stratagems.
The most listened-to talk radio show host in the country, Rush Limbaugh, is often (though not often enough) critical of what he refers to as the Republican Party establishment. His friends and colleagues, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, are no different in this respect: Each portrays himself as a voice for the rank and file of the Republican Party against the establishment with which it finds itself increasingly at odds. Although the aforementioned figures rarely mention names, it would appear that if Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, and Levin’s are the faces of “the conservative movement,” then those of the establishment belong to the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, and Karl Rove. It is during presidential primary contests moreso than at any other time that this rivalry between “conservative” Republicans and establishment Republicans comes into focus, for it is always conflict over the selection of a candidate that seems to shove it most forcefully to the forefront. On the one hand, the voice of the establishment insists upon favoring only the most “moderate” (read: liberal) of candidates. On the other hand, the voice of “the base” — as channeled through such colorful radio and television personalities as the Limbaughs and Hannitys of our world — expresses resentment toward the establishment for its continual betrayal of “conservative principles”: The objective, according to “conservatives” and Tea Partiers the country over, is to always support the most conservative of candidates.