“I cannot comprehend how my teenage grandson was killed by a Hellfire missile,” a grieving grandfather complained to Time magazine, “how nothing was left of him except small pieces of flesh. Why? Is America safer now that a boy was killed?”
President Obama had authorized the drone strike that killed the 16-year-old American boy in October. He had also authorized a different drone strike in Yemen that killed the boy’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, two weeks earlier. Anwar al-Awlaki had attached himself to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Like his son, he was a native-born American and U.S. citizen and had never been formally charged with a crime. But Obama stressed in a press conference after the drone killing of the elder Awlaki that the father had been killed because he had taken “the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) charged today that Congress did not fix the unconstitutional detainee policy in the final NDAA bill. See update by clicking on this article's headline.
Texas Representative Ron Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy has endeared him to many of those who love the advice of America's Founders. His message to "bring the troops home" from not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Korea, Germany, and Japan, echoes George Washington's words in his farewell address where the first President advised, "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
But the one part of Ron Paul's foreign policy that has been difficult to translate to much of the Republican base has been the idea of "blowback." Blowback is the concept that when some apparently innocent actions are undertaken by the U.S. government abroad, they produce a violent reaction. Rep. Paul's opponents in the 2008 presidential election used his explanation of blowback to imply that he believed that the United States was responsible for the September 11 attacks, just as his opponents imply today that he's "soft" on Iran because of a lack of willingness to engage in aggressive military attacks against Iran.
Ron Paul's explanation of blowback first attained national attention in a May 15, 2007 presidential debate in South Carolina. Asked by Fox News moderator Wendell Goler why he opposed foreign interventionism, the following exchange between Paul, Goler, and Rudy Giuliani ensued:
In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even charges being filed that would necessitate a trial.
The bill could come to a vote as early as today, according to a bulletin issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The legislation “goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans,” the ACLU statement said, describing the bill as having moved toward passage while most Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving and a long holiday weekend for millions of U.S. workers. “The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself,” the ACLU warned.
Labeled the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867 was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved in a closed-door committee meeting, according to the ACLU statement.
They call it Dearbornistan, Michigan, for more than one reason. Yet another surfaced last week week when The Detroit News and the Associated Press reported that a male nurse, fired for treating women Muslim patients at a taxpayer-subsidized health clinic, has filed a lawsuit against Dearborn.
That’s right. According to the lawsuit, John Benitez, Jr. was terminated for doing his job because “conservative” Muslims complained about him treating women wearing the hijab, although he did so under the orders of a doctor.
Some 30 percent of Dearborn residents are Arabs, although it is unclear what percentage of those are Muslims. One indication is that Dearborn boasts the largest mosque in North America. Another is the mounting evidence of bias against Christians in such places as Fordson High School, where the student body is 80 percent Arab.
No Male Nurses for Women Muslims
A nursing as well as Army veteran, Benitez, 63, began working at the clinic in September 2010, AP reported, citing the complaint filed by his lawyer, Deborah L. Gordon.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says his administration deleted all its emails near the end of his term specifically to frustrate political opponents. Though the move appears unorthodox, if not downright illegal, the Republican presidential candidate claims everything was above board and dismisses the recent flap about the emails as pure politics.
On November 17 the Boston Globe reported that at the end of 2006, just as Romney was leaving office and gearing up for his first presidential run, “11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s emails were all wiped from a server.” In addition, the remaining computers in the Governor’s office were replaced. “As a result,” explains the paper, “[Gov. Deval] Patrick’s office, which has been bombarded with inquires for records from the Romney era, has no electronic record of any Romney administration emails.”
Mark Nielsen, Romney’s chief legal counsel as Governor, told the Globe that the administration “fully complied with the law and complied with longstanding executive branch practice,” a refrain repeated by the Romney campaign. The campaign points out that in 1997 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Governor is not explicitly included in the state Public Records Law, which requires the preservation of electronic communications.
Here’s some news that could turn the entire election upside down. Leading Democrats are urging Barack Hussein Obama to withdraw as a candidate for re-election in 2012, as Lyndon Baines Johnson did almost 50 years ago.
The campaign to get Obama to quit the race kicked into high gear on November 21, when influential Democratic leaders Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen wrote a lengthy piece for the Wall Street Journal on why Obama should withdraw. Here’s part of what they said: “[Obama] should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments.”
Who would they have run instead? Get ready for their totally predictable pitch: “He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
Democrat lawmakers and a coalition of radical activist groups are pushing for constitutional amendments to reverse the Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” ruling, a decision that recognized that groups of people have a right to free speech even if they are acting together under the banner of a corporation, union, or non-profit organization.
One of the amendments, introduced in the U.S. Senate this month by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and other Democrats, would give Congress the authority to further regulate and limit spending in federal elections. State governments would also be allowed to intrude in state-level political campaigning.
"As we head into another election year, we are about to see unprecedented amounts of money spent on efforts to influence the outcome of our elections,” Udall said in a statement. “With the Supreme Court striking down the sensible regulations Congress has passed, the only way to address the root cause of this problem is to give Congress clear authority to regulate the campaign finance system."
While the amendment does not specify the regulations, it would allow Congress to pass laws limiting contributions to candidates. Independent political spending for or against any campaign — such as through advertisements highlighting a candidate’s voting record — could also be restricted or prohibited if the amendment were to pass.
One of the great virtues of the 11 debates the Republican candidates have undergone is that by now we know much more about them as human beings and as individuals potentially capable of leading the nation in the post-Obama era. The candidates have had so much television and video exposure, that by now they have become the refrigerator magnets of the mind. Also, the public has been able to learn a great deal about the crucial issues we face — and that, perhaps not surprisingly, the only candidate who gets down to constitutional fundamentals is Ron Paul.
During Tuesday's foreign policy debate in Washington, the Texas libertarian Congressman forcefully articulated his pro-freedom views without any hesitation or equivocation, thus presenting a philosophical alternative to the other contenders, who have adopted a neo-conservative Establishment consensus. For example, on the subject of aiding Israel, all of the candidates except Paul agreed that the U.S. government should continue to financially aid Israel. Paul argued that the Israelis were quite capable of taking care of themselves and that our so-called help was undermining their sovereignty. Why should an American President put pressure on the Israelis in the matter of borders, settlements, or constructing houses? To Paul, that’s the high price that Israel pays for America’s help, which in reality diminishes Israel’s ability to make decisions which are in its own best interests. He is against foreign aid to all countries as a matter of principle. We gave all of that aid to Egypt, and the country is now in complete turmoil.
The House of Representatives voted down the latest proposal for a balanced budget amendment on November 18.
Under the terms of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. The vote in the House was 261 in favor and 165 opposed. That is 23 votes short of the necessary two-thirds.
In a statement issued by his office after the vote was taken, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) scolded the party across the aisle: “It’s unfortunate that Democrats still don’t recognize the urgency of stopping Washington’s job-crushing spending binge."
Others were pleased with the outcome, however.
Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, rejoiced in the rejection, calling it “a win for working families.” He praised Democrats in the House for boldly withstanding the attempt by supporters to pass a bill and “the deep cuts it would have made to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”