Just a Thought
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Losing the Middle East
By: Bill Tatro
/ Townhall Daily
The so-called excuse was that German diplomat Ernst vom Rath had been assassinated in Paris, France on November 7th, 1938 by Herschel Grynszpan, a German-born Polish Jew.
Shortly thereafter, on November 9th and 10th, a series of brutal and coordinated Nazi attacks were carried out on Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues.
The decimation in Germany and Austria left the streets covered with broken glass, thus it became known as “Kristallnacht” or Night of Broken Glass.
In total, 1,000 synagogues were burned, 7,000 businesses were damaged or destroyed, 30,000 people were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and 91 Jews were killed.
It also marked the beginning of the Final Solution.
As authorities looked the other way or gave token resistance, the biggest quandary for the U.S. media was how to respond.
Even though they were enamored by the professed glamour of Nazism and its embracement by such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, it became impossible to overlook the dreadful acts of violence that took place over the course of those two horrific nights.
It’s very much like today, as the mainstream media finds itself in a similar situation.
The Arab Spring, which was such a wildly applauded Obama foreign policy centerpiece has now become much more than just a fly in the ointment.
The justification for anti-Americanism is a film that ostensibly offends the Muslims, yet such wannabe celebrities like Rachel Maddow of MSNBC are quick to point out that the U.S. has failed to teach our concept of freedom of speech.
Is she actually saying that we got what we deserved?
Once again, while authorities look the other way or give some degree of token resistance, it is becoming quite apparent that the attacks were not random, but rather very carefully planned. Much like the 1930s, the general population has shown no outrage and no disgust regarding the actions of an alleged select few radical terrorists.
In fact, the similarity to the 1930s in banking, finance, employment, and now violence, is strikingly alarming.
To blame a population for the actions of its government or a few radicals is not right and it shouldn’t be tolerated whatsoever.
However, when the same populace embraces those actions, not to speak out against them is just as despicable.
The President, once again, treats world affairs as just a minor inconvenience. However, politicians and academic professors should now be studying the manner in which Hitler used “Kristallnacht” as a launching pad because, more than likely, the Muslim Brotherhood has studied their history and intend to repeat the past.
P.S. - During the Arab Spring of early 2011, I reported that when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was thrown under the bus by Obama, it could also be noted as the date when the Middle East was lost.
Recent actions have done nothing to make me change my mind, but perhaps have persuaded others to see reality for what it is.
Obamanomics Has Failed Dismall
By: Larry Kudlow
/ Townhall.com / Finance
And it worked. Gold plunged, King Dollar soared, and the drop-off in bank reserves and money extinguished high inflation -- and actually launched a multi-decade period of very low inflation.
This week, current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke embarked on an absolute reversal of Volcker's policy. He is launching a monumental effort to buy bonds and inject new money into the economy in order to reignite economic growth and job creation. It's like history is repeating itself, but in reverse. Gold is soaring, the dollar is falling. Something's wrong with this picture.
Bernanke's QE3 is an unlimited Fed effort to buy mortgage bonds with new cash. The plan -- which starts immediately -- envisions $40 billion of bond purchases and money-creation per month, coming to $480 billion over the next year. And there are no limits to these purchases. These operations are open-ended. This could last for years -- maybe in perpetuity -- until job creation shoots way up and unemployment comes way down.
Nothing like this has ever been used by our nation's central bank. The Fed's balance sheet, which has ballooned from around $800 billion to $2.5 trillion under Bernanke, will go to $3 trillion, or $4 trillion, or who knows how high.
But here's the rub: More money doesn't necessarily mean more growth. More Fed money won't increase after-tax rewards for risk, entrepreneurship, business hiring and hard work. Keeping more of what you earn after-tax is the true spark of economic growth. Not the Fed.
In the supply-side model, the combination of lower marginal tax rates, lighter regulation and a downsized government in relation to the economy is the growth-igniter. Money, on the other hand, determines the value of the dollar exchange rate and subsequently the overall inflation rate. A falling dollar (1970s) generates higher inflation; a rising dollar (1980s and beyond) generates lower inflation.
This is the supply-side model as advanced by Nobelist Robert Mundell and his colleague Arthur Laffer. In summary, easier taxes and tighter money are the optimal growth solution. But what we have now are higher taxes and easier money. A bad combination.
The Fed has created all this money in the last couple of years. But it hasn't worked: $1.6 trillion of excess bank reserves are still sitting idle at the Fed. No use. No risk. Virtually no loans. And the Fed is enabling massive deficit spending by the White House and Treasury.
Now, one key political point is that Bernanke's desperate money-pumping plan to rescue the economy is a very blunt admission that Obamanomics has completely failed. The president is asking voters to give him more time, which is a very weak argument. But his Fed chairman is essentially saying we are running out of time and have to embark on this massive monetary action. Mitt Romney should use the Bernanke argument, but not the Fed solution.
Some argue that Bernanke so desperately wants a victorious Obama to reappoint him that he's printing money and driving up stock prices on the eve of the election. I prefer not to believe this cynical interpretation. As an old ex-Fed staffer, I would argue that it's not a political agency. Although I have to admit, on the eve of the election, the question is going to be asked.
More to the point, the Achilles' heel of the Bernanke plan is the collapse of King Dollar, the result of printing so many new ones for so long. That, in turn, will drive up commodity prices, especially energy and food, and will do great damage to the middle class, which is already suffering from income declines and rising living standards.
This is what happened in 2011, when QE2 did more harm than good to the economy. Middle-class savers and retirees will also get their heads handed to them because of rock-bottom interest rates. And bank lenders may withhold credit since the difference between short and longer rates is so narrow there's no incentive to make loans.
So at the end of the day, Obama's economic program of tax, spend and regulate has been a dismal failure. And now his Fed chairman is acting dramatically to bail him out. Guess what? It won't work.
Obama: Detention OK for 1st Amendment 'activities'
Order preventing enforcement appealed by Department of Justice
by Bob Unruh
A federal judge this week made permanent an injunction against enforcement of Section 1021 of the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, which was declared unconstitutional.
In her order, Forrest wrote, “The government put forth the qualified position that plaintiffs’ particular activities, as described at the hearing, if described accurately, if they were independent, and without more, would not subject plaintiffs to military detention under Section 1021.”
But she continued, “The government did not – and does not – generally agree or anywhere argue that activities protected by the First Amendment could not subject an individual to indefinite military detention under Section 1021.”
The case was brought last January by a number of writers and reporters, led by New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The journalists contend the controversial section allows for detention of citizens and residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to anyone engaged in hostilities against the U.S.
The lawsuit alleges the law is vague and could be read to authorize the arrest and detention of people whose speech or associations are protected by the First Amendment. They wonder whether interviewing a member of al-Qaida would be considered “substantial support.”
“Here, the stakes get no higher: indefinite military detention – potential detention during a war on terrorism that is not expected to end in the foreseeable future, if ever. The Constitution requires specificity – and that specificity is absent from Section 1021,” the judge wrote.
Dan Johnson, a spokesman with People Against the NDAA, told WND it took only hours for the government to file an appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
“It most definitely tells us something about their intent,” he told WND.
He cited Obama’s signing statement, when the bill was made law, that he would not use the provision allowing detention of American citizens without probable cause in military facilities.
“Just because someone says something doesn’t mean they’re not lying,” he said.
Bloomberg reports the Obama administration also is asking Forrest for a stay of the ruling that found the law violates the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments.
The judge expressed dissatisfaction with what one observer described as the arrogance of the Department of Justice in the case.
Forrest asked the government to define the legal term, noting the importance of how they apply to reporting and other duties.
“The court repeatedly asked the government whether those particular past activities could subject plaintiffs to indefinite military detention; the government refused to answer,” she wrote.
“The Constitution places affirmative limits on the power of the executive to act, and these limits apply in times of peace as well as times of war,” she wrote.
She said the law “impermissibly impinges on guaranteed First Amendment rights and lacks sufficient definitional structure and protection to meet the requirements of due process.”
“This court rejects the government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention, and have as their sole remedy a habeas petition adjudicated by a single decision-maker (a judge versus a jury), by a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard,” she wrote.
“That scenario dispenses with a number of guaranteed rights,” she said.
The Obama administration already has described those who hold a pro-life position or support third-party presidential candidates or the Second Amendment fit the profile of a domestic terrorist.
Obama stated when he put his signature to the legislative plan that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”
Virginia already has passed a law that states it would not cooperate with such detentions, and several local jurisdictions have done the same. Arizona, Rhode Island, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington also have considered similar legislation.
The case was brought on behalf of Christopher Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O’Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the group U.S. Day of Rage. Many of the plaintiffs are authors or reporters who stated that the threat of indefinite detention by the U.S. military already had altered their activities.
Constitutional expert Herb Titus filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the sponsor of the Virginia law, Delegate Bob Marshall and others.
Titus, an attorney with William J. Olson, P.C., told WND the judge’s first decision to grant a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of paragraph 1021 “affirms the constitutional position taken by Delegate Marshall is correct.”
The impact is that “the statute does not have sufficient constitutional guidelines to govern the discretion of the president in making a decision whether to hold someone in indefinite military detention,” Titus said.
The judge had noted that the law doesn’t have a requirement that there be any knowledge that an act is prohibited before a detention. The judge also said the law is vague, and she appeared to be disturbed that the administration lawyers refused to answer her questions.
Titus said the judge’s conclusions underscore “the arrogance of the current regime, in that they will not answer questions that they ought to answer to a judge because they don’t think they have to.”
The brief was filed on behalf of Marshall and other individuals and organizations, including the United States Justice Foundation, Downsize DC Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Gun Owners of America, Western Center for Journalism, the Tenth Amendment Center and Pastor Chuck Baldwin.
Marshall’s HB1160 passed the Virginia House of Delegates by a vote of 87-7 and the Virginia Senate 36-1. Since the vote was on changes recommended by Gov. Bob McDonnell, it was scheduled to take effect without further vote.
Marshall then wrote leaders in state legislatures around the country suggesting similar votes in their states.
Marshall’s letter noted Virginia was the first state in the nation to refuse cooperation “with federal authorities who, acting under the authority of section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), could arrest and detain American citizens suspected of aiding terrorists without probable cause, without the right to know the charges against them, and without the procedural rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.”
He told lawmakers, “While we would hope that the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives would be vigilant to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens, even when addressing the problem of international terrorism, those efforts in Congress failed at the end of last year, and President Obama signed NDAA into law on December 31, 2011.”
Endorsing Marshall’s plan was the Japanese American Citizens League, which cited the detention of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II on no authorization other than the president’s signature.
The Obama administration continues to argue the law allows for detention without legal due process only those who “substantially supported” terror groups such as al-Qaida or “associated forces.” But the plaintiffs note that the law does not define those terms.
Instead, they point to the law’s provision that such individuals may be detained “without trial until the end of the hostilities.”
Obama attorneys said the new law simply affirms what already was precedent under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was adopted in the dust of the 9/11 terror attacks.
But plaintiffs wrote, “Nowhere does the AUMF convey to the executive the power to detain any person – citizen or otherwise – who ‘substantially supported’ al-Qaida or the Taliban or their associate forces, as section 1021 of the NDAA now provides.”
“No case has ever recognized the government’s contention that the AUMF authorized the detention of noncombatants. … Neither case law nor the actual text of the AUMF supports the government’s contention that such detention power already existed.”