Recent reports suggest that Libya is poised to become the third Islamic state established in the last decade with the help of the United States. On August 26 The New American reported that a draft constitution released by the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), the rebel group that has taken charge since the ouster of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, declares: “Islam is the religion of the state and the principal source of legislation is Islamic jurisprudence (sharia).” This wording is very similar to the post-U.S. invasion constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan. There are, apparently, those in Libya not convinced that the TNC is serious about its commitment to Islam. The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz writes: U.S. officials said spy agencies are stepping up surveillance of Islamist-oriented elements among Libyan rebels. A government report circulated Tuesday said extremists were observed “strategizing” on Internet forums about how to set up an Islamist state in Libya after the regime of Col. Gadhafi is defeated.
Officials in Scotland have decided it is fit and proper to take obese children away from their parents. In particular, parents of four obese children had received warnings from officials regarding the weight of their children. As those warnings were not heeded, those officials proceeded to remove the children from their parent’s home.
Last week’s jobs report could spur further anxiety for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, as the President’s core constituencies continue to struggle with high unemployment. The Labor Department reported dismal jobs numbers for August, with unemployment continuing to hover around 9 percent — a grave concern for Obama’s approval ratings. Young workers, aged 18 to 24, are now burdened with 16.4 percent unemployment, while many more are underemployed. Such affliction for America’s youth could prove fatal for Obama’s 2012 presidential aspirations, as he garnered nearly 70 percent of 18 to 29 aged voters in 2008.
Ideological clashes over particular laws, policies and programs often go far deeper. Those with opposing views of what is desirable for the future also tend to differ equally sharply as to what the reality of the present is. In other words, they envision two very different worlds. A small but revealing example was a recent New York Times criticism of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs for not contributing to charity as much as the New York Times writer thought he should. The media in general are full of praise for business people and their companies for giving away substantial amounts of their wealth. Indeed, that is one of the few things for which many in the media praise businesses and the wealthy.
Where has all of America’s labor gone? Following the announcement that the economy added no new jobs in the month of August, President Obama’s Labor Day politicking with GM workers in Detroit was an opportunity for the President to display his grasp of basic economics. And as usual, he failed miserably, blaming America’s economic stagnation on congressional Republican obstructionism. But the President has a plan, which he coyly referenced without unveiling the particulars (to be revealed later this week, supposedly). Government, he told his audience, must do more to create jobs: We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party. We’ll give them a plan, and then we’ll say, do you want to create jobs? Then put our construction workers back to work rebuilding America. We’ve heard all this before: Spend government money on public works projects like roads and bridges, and the economy will grow. It was FDR’s strategy, and President Obama recycled it in his mammoth stimulus package. And in both instances, it failed miserably, as Americans are now discovering in the case of President Obama’s beloved TARP.
Post Offices through the country may be closed early next year unless Congress either makes an emergency appropriation or changes the laws governing the debt-ridden U.S. Postal Service, the New York Times reported Monday. "Our situation is extremely serious," Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe, told the Times. "If Congress doesn't act, we will default." Members of Congress, returning from their August recess are facing the second default crisis in as many months, having averted a threatened default of the federal government with bitterly fought over legislation authorizing an increase in the nation's debt ceiling on August 1. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the agency's predicament on Tuesday. It may consider some of the proposals Donhoe has made in recent weeks for eliminating the $9.2 billion deficit for the current fiscal year, ending September 30.
The Palmetto Freedom Forum by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) seemed designed for Tea Party candidates such as Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. But in the Labor Day forum, it was Bachmann who tripped up at the end of questioning. Bachmann was asked by panelist and Princeton Professor Robert George why she believes a government mandate to buy healthcare insurance is unconstitutional. She simply said it's "inherent" in the Constitution, but couldn't cite any particular provision of the Constitution. In point of fact, the federal government is a government of few and defined powers, and the specified powers do not include the power to force Americans to buy healthcare insurance. Bachmann's ignorance of the Constitution was highlighted by subsequent candidate interviews, especially those of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, who were able to hold detailed discussions of the 14th amendment with Professor George. The American Principles Project that Professor George founded formally sponsored "Palmetto Freedom Forum," but Tea Party favorite Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) brought the star-power as a panelist, along with fellow panelist U.S. Congressman Steven King (R-Iowa).
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a South Dakota pro-life statute requiring abortionists to inform a woman 24 hours before an abortion that she has “an existing relationship” with her unborn baby, and that the procedure will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” In the same decision, however, reported Reuters News Service, the “8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a provision in the 2005 law that would require the doctor to tell the woman about an increased risk of suicide after an abortion — with the court saying the link was unproven and may not exist.” One dissenting judge, Raymond Gruender, argued that the “risk of suicide” provision should have been upheld, writing that “even the evidence relied upon by Planned Parenthood acknowledges a significant, known statistical correlation between abortion and suicide.” Noting that Planned Parenthood had not challenged the suicide findings, Gruender wrote that the “well-documented statistical correlation is sufficient to support the required disclosure that abortion presents an ‘increased risk’ of suicide, as that term is used in the relevant medical literature.”
“Gulags, concentration camps, torture centers — indeed, wars of aggression and domination — are not simply the creation of a few leaders at the top,” observes Chris Floyd. “They require the willing participation of multitudes of people, at every level.” The easiest way to secure such “willing participation,” of course, is to make it pay — something the Central Intelligence Agency, with the unwilling participation of American taxpayers, did to great effect in its program of prisoner renditions. Detainees picked up anywhere in the world were, for the modest price of $4,900 an hour, flown to countries ruled by brutal regimes to be tortured until they confessed to crimes or provided evidence against others. Those who have tried to challenge their treatment in court have been denied justice because the government always invokes “state secrets.” The Washington Post estimates that the CIA “paid tens of millions of dollars to use private planes in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks to transport detainees and its own personnel.” Now, however, an obscure billing dispute between aircraft companies has revealed the details, including the $4,900-an-hour price tag, of the rendition flights; and the picture it paints is not at all flattering to anyone involved.
The Central Intelligence Agency continues to rapidly expand its global extrajudicial assassination program under the Obama administration, secretly murdering people with drones from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Somalia and Yemen. Even American citizens are fair game, according to the President. The dramatic evolution of the agency’s priorities and operations has become so extreme that a former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post the CIA had been turned into “one hell of a killing machine.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the paramilitary transformation was “nothing short of a wonderment.” But the dramatic metamorphosis, detailed in a recent exposé by the Post, entitled “CIA shifts focus to killing targets,” is hardly without critics. Some experts have even warned Congress that the illegal killings may constitute war crimes.