Except for dissent from Representative Ron Paul of Texas and (to a lesser extent) former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the Republican presidential candidates blazed their way in a November 12 debate toward foreign policies where the United States would engage in two new Middle Eastern wars against Syria and Iran, re-institute the Bush Administration torture policy, abolish trials for terror suspects, and allow unlimited presidential assassinations.
New Wars Against Iran and Syria
Mitt Romney came out for war against Iran at the beginning of the debate. "If all else fails," Romney told debate moderator and CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley in the South Carolina debate at Wofford College, "then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Likewise, Romney sought war against Syria, suggesting "Of course it's time for the Assad dictatorship to end. And we should use covert activity."
Herman Cain told CBS moderator Scott Pelley that he wouldn't invade Syria, but would wage war against the country by funding a bloody insurgency instead: "I would not entertain military opposition. I'm talking about to help the opposition movement within the country."
In the Republican debate on Wednesday, moderator Maria Bartiromo raised the issue of the sexual-harassment allegations that have plagued Herman Cain. “Why should the American people hire a president if they feel there are character issues?” she asked the GOP hopeful. It’s a question we should pose more often.
That’s not to say I lend credence to the charges leveled against Cain. It’s not uncommon today for well-heeled entities to pay five-figure settlements to put nuisance lawsuits to bed — as Cain’s former employer, the National Restaurant Association, has — and a couple of the candidate’s accusers have questionable backgrounds. It’s also odd that, as Ann Coulter pointed out, the allegations leveled against Cain have a David Axelrod connection. Axelrod has been called Barack Obama’s “hired muscle” by the New York Times, and he has a history of smearing Obama opponents with accusations of sexual misconduct. And what is this Axelrod connection? Among other things, Cain’s latest accuser, Sharon Bialek, once lived in Axelrod’s building, and she admits having met the political hit man. But you can read Coulter’s piece for the rest of that story, because my focus here will be different. After all, character does matter and all prospective leaders deserve scrutiny.
And this brings me to my point. If I’d been a candidate at the debate, I would have loved to have chimed in when my turn came and made this statement:
Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."
As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.
He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of the analogy of what made America great in the first place, computer-based “killer applications” such as competition, the scientific revolution, the rule of law and representative government, modern medicine, the consumer society, and the work ethic.
CNBC reportedly pulled an online poll half an hour after the GOP debate ended on Wednesday night, indicating that “one candidate” was leading by a large margin. That candidate was Ron Paul. Video reveals that the longtime Texas Congressman was significantly ahead of the others just prior to the poll being removed from CNBC’s website and replaced with an article entitled, “Who won the debate — Attendees weigh in.”
“High-profile detainee” and alleged al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was arraigned Wednesday before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba. The U.S. government has charged al-Nashiri with war crimes related to his alleged role in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 sailors. The defendant is additionally charged with the bombing of a French merchant vessel in 2002, and a planned attack on the American naval warship the USS The Sullivans, also in 2000.
Guarded by an escort of American servicemen, al-Nashiri entered the courtroom dressed in his white prison jumpsuit. He was clean-shaven and wearing his hair very short.
Sitting at a table flanked by his cohort of defense attorneys, al-Nashiri appeared confident, smiling occasionally and at one point waving to the media and other observers sitting behind a glass barrier.
The arraignment of al-Nashiri is historic in that it is the first of such tribunals to be held since the system was created during the George W. Bush administration in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The proceeding is especially noteworthy in that not only is it the first military tribunal of a Guantanamo prisoner, but, if convicted, al-Nashiri faces the death penalty.
Rose Marie Belforti, a part-time town clerk for the small town of Ledyard, a rural farming community in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, won her reelection on Tuesday, November 8; however, her struggle is just beginning. The soft-spoken Belforti finds herself on the frontline in the battle between the aggressive same-sex-marriage promoters and those who uphold traditional values.
As a resident of tiny Smithville, Texas (between Austin and Houston), this past Labor Day I was able to observe firsthand the largest and most horrific wildfire in Texas history (which ravaged the area) and also its aftermath. The event — labeled the Bastrop County Complex fire — once again gave rise to the stories that restore one’s faith in people: Neighbors as well as citizens from states around the nation responded immediately to the plight of victims. Yet at the same time, the intrusion of the U.S. government agency FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), with its bureaucratic regulations, provided a clear lesson on why federal aid is not the answer in such situations.
A lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, has received the support of a legal brief filed by scores of major corporations. According to LifeSite News, nearly 70 companies signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief filed in Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The companies include Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox. Also adding their influence to the brief, reported Keen News Service, a website focusing on homosexual issues, were nearly a dozen national law firms, seven trade and professional organizations, and the cities of New York and Boston.
LifeSite News reported that the brief “charges that DOMA causes ‘unnecessary cost and administrative complexity’ for employers located in states where same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized by law. Since same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized as legal in some states but not recognized by the federal government, employers must contend with a complex tax situation for ‘married’ homosexual couples, the brief says.”
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the individual mandate of ObamaCare is constitutional. Writing for the majority, Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, affirmed that by enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, specifically the provision mandating that everyone purchase qualifying health insurance, Congress did not exceed the authority ceded to it by the states in the Constitution.
Despite an utter lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul continues to hold his own in the race for the GOP primary. In fact, Paul may be doing even better than some are aware. According to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul is the only other GOP presidential contender besides frontrunner Mitt Romney to have a chance at defeating President Obama in a 2012 presidential race.