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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Israel On Peace Accord: 'U.S. Stance Will Stall Process'

Barack Obama really needs to stop bowing to Muslims, figuratively and literally.

Tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are growing after the U.S. administration's demand that Israel completely freeze construction in all West Bank settlements. Israeli political officials expressed disappointment after Tuesday's round of meetings in London with George Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama's envoy to the Middle East.

"We're disappointed," said one senior official. "All of the understandings reached during the [George W.] Bush administration are worth nothing." Another official said the U.S. administration is refusing every Israeli attempt to reach new agreements on settlement construction. "The United States is taking a line of granting concessions to the Palestinians that is not fair toward Israel, he said. The Israeli officials attributed the unyielding U.S. stance to the speech Obama will make in Cairo this Thursday, in which he is expected to deliver a message of reconciliation to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The article concludes with:

The Israeli envoys said the demand for a total settlement freeze was not only unworkable, but would not receive High Court sanction. Tensions reportedly reached a peak when, speaking of the Gaza disengagement, the Israelis told their interlocutors, "We evacuated 8,000 settlers on our own initiative," to which Mitchell responded simply, "We've noted that here."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will travel to Washington today in an attempt to put further pressure on the Obama administration.

"We want to reach an agreement with the United States on ways to advance the peace process," said a senior Jerusalem official. The U.S. stance, he said, "will stall the process and bring about tension and stagnation, which will hurt both Israel and the United States."

In the meantime, Obama keeps on bowing down as he prepares to offer a "personal commitment" to Muslims around the world.

President Barack Obama will offer a "personal commitment" to bridge US differences with Muslims in his long-awaited speech to the Islamic world next week in Egypt, aides said.

Obama needs to get up off his knees and stand the hell up.

Dude, you are the President of the United States of America, start acting like it and quit kissing ass.


Obama Doesn't Think Gitmo Is So Bad

Despite the words you hear coming from Barack Obama's mouth about Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) being a horrible place, a stigma on America's reputation and signing orders to have it closed... actions quite often speak mych louder than words.

Re: 17 Chinese Muslims currently being held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

From Jake Tapper, ABC's Political Punch:

But not to worry -- the Obama administration says the Uighurs' detention isn't so bad, considering.

"In contrast to individuals currently detained as enemies under the laws of war, petitioners are being housed under relatively unrestrictive conditions, given the status of Guantanamo Bay as a United States military base," Kagan writes, saying they are "in special communal housing with access to all areas of their camp, including an outdoor recreation space and picnic area." They "sleep in an air-conditioned bunk house and have the use of an activity room equipped with various recreational items, including a television with VCR and DVD players, a stereo system, and sports equipment."

On October 7, 2008, the D.C. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered that all 17 Uighurs be released into the United States by Friday, October 10.

The Bush administration appealed the case to the DC Circuit Court which on February 18, 2009, reversed the lower court's decision.

On April 3, 2009, the Uighurs asked the US Supreme Court to hear their case.

The Obama administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to not hear the case of the Uighurs, and to uphold the appellate court ruling.

You can read the filing in the case Kiyemba v Obama HERE.

Even the far left seems to notice the hypocrisy of Obama.

Furthermore, the petition cites the Senate’s recent vote to block Guantanamo detainees from entering the U.S. as further reason to deny their release — despite the fact the vote was in defiance of a White House request. The petition comes just a week after President Obama, in a speech defending his plan to close Guantanamo, declared that “the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo.”

Oh, that isn't the only news this weekend that shows Obama agreeing with Bush terror policies to which Obama complained so loudly about, before he was elected.

The Obama administration has informed a federal judge it will continue to invoke the "state secrets" privilege in a legal battle with an Islamic charity suspected of funding terrorism.

The United States has designated the Oregon-based al-Haramain Islamic Foundation as a terrorist organization. The group, which has sued the government over alleged warrantless wiretapping, is demanding classified information about the program.

U.S. officials have refused to tell the charity's lawyers whether the group was subjected to presidentially authorized, warrantless, foreign intelligence surveillance in 2004 and, if so, what information was obtained.

In a court document filed overnight in San Francisco and released early Saturday in Washington, the Justice Department said its case-by-case review of the government's use of the state secrets defense has not changed its position in the al-Haramain case.

As PowerLine headlines "Bush Administration Right After All. Again."

It was easy for Obama to criticize Bush's methods when he was on the outside looking in and trying to get elected, but now that he is in the hot seat, he seems to be making the same decisions that Bush did.

Too bad he doesn't actually have the courage to acknowledge that certain of those decisions Bush made, were correct, which is why Obama is making those same decisions.

Then again, as I said above, actions speak far louder than empty words.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

And There Goes The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Mark Tappscott's eagle eye caught something very interesting on the White House blog, posted by Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform:

I am writing with an update on the President’s March 20, 2009 Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds. Section 3 of the Memorandum required all oral communications between federally registered lobbyists and government officials concerning Recovery Act policy to be disclosed on the Internet; barred registered lobbyists from having oral communications with government officials about specific Recovery Act projects or applications and instead required those communications to be in writing; and also required those written communications to be posted on the Internet. That Memorandum instructed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review the initial 60 days of implementation of the stimulus lobbying restrictions, to evaluate the data, and to recommend modifications.

Following OMB’s review, the Administration has decided to make a number of changes to the rules that we think make them even tougher on special interests and more focused on merits-based decision making.

First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

Tappscott concludes:

This is the Camel's nose under the tent, being poked because of special circumstances. Let government restrict political expression - i.e. lobbying of government officials regarding policy - in one small, supposedly specialized area and not long after the specialized area starts expanding. Eventually, all political expression regarding all policy will become subject to government regulation.

The purpose, or so it will be spun, is to limit people with influence (lobbyists) from using outside sources to assert that influence, but reading the language on the White House blog, it is clear that this opens the door to restrict just about any criticism or communication with relevant officials, on any topic by claiming it falls under the header of "unique circumstances."


Sit Down, Shut Up And Deal With 'Your' Choice of Obama

(Cartoon by Glenn McCoy, via Townhall)

While writing yesterdays piece about the "buyers remorse" certain Obama supporters were starting to feel, was thinking to myself that those that did not vote for "King Obama" has every right to speak up, point out his faults, his bad decisions and his broken campaign promises, but those that hung on Obama's every campaign promise and fought to get him in office, should sleep in the bed of nails they made and quit whining about feeling lied to.

Politicians lie during campaigns. FACT

Today, another Democratic supporter is whining and howling and this one is actually trying to call for Obama's resignation.... yeah, good luck with that.

Ted Rall's first paragraph is jaw dropping.

MIAMI — We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

He states that supporters expected the campaign promises to be broken... they expected it, yet throw a fit when it happens? They knew Obama was lying through his teeth on the campaign trail and supported and voted for him anyway and they expect anyone to feel even a twinge of sympathy for them?

Talk about brass balls.

Rall goes through his litany of complaints, then states:

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now — before he drags us further into the abyss.

Rall went off the deep end, evidently, when news hit the public about Obama's plan for "preventive detentions", but Rall as well as yesterday's piece showing buyers remorse from Obama supporters brings up the topic of how some of the far far left is now rebelling against King Obama.

I found some examples and in looking for them, I see I am not the only one noticing the rumblings from the left against Obama.

Warner Todd Huston at Stop the ACLU did a little research of his own:

A quick Google search finds many disappointed voices out there among the left. From lone voices, to some common folks at a Yahoo Answers page, to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, and half-baked lefty economist Paul Krugman the rumblings of Obama being a failure seems to be building. After initial praise, some gays aren’t happy with Obama and even the whack-jobs at the DemocraticUnderground are busy deleting comments that attack Obama as a failure. If one looks carefully, some rumblings can be found at The Huffington Post and the DailyKos, as well.

Another prime example, which Huston didn't mention, is Salon's Glenn Greenwald, who is about as far to the left as you can get and who has consistently been ripping Obama a new one. I have been writing about the left's dissatisfaction with their lil tin god for a while now, here, here and here just to show a few examples.

This "battle" with the liberal wing of the Democratic party isn't only being noticed by right wing bloggers though as evidenced by a piece in Yahoo News, titled "Obama's Battle With the Liberal Wing of the Democratic Party."

Four decades ago, the liberal, antiwar wing of the Democratic Party helped to force President Lyndon B. Johnson from office. Specifically, Johnson decided not to run for re-election in 1968 in large part because of rising primary challenges and increasingly vitriolic demonstrations against him. One chant that was heard often at anti-Vietnam War rallies was "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

The level of anger now is nowhere close to that level, but there are warning signs that President Obama is starting to generate serious opposition on the fiery left. There is increasing unease about his sending 21,000 more troops into Afghanistan, which some compare to the early escalations in Vietnam. [Read about Obama's 12 most important decisions]

That article points out other areas where the liberal wing of the Democratic party are unhappy, starting with the broken promise to release photos of suspected terrorist interrogations, military tribunals, not banning assault weapons, not fighting hard enough for abortion, and they list more.

Among the groups that have been ratcheting up their criticism of Obama are the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Public Citizen, and members of the 77-member congressional Progressive Caucus. [Read about Obama's journey from charismatic to polarizing]

Of course the piece points out that the White House strategists are confident they can keep these people "in line" and the majority are willing to give Obama a pass or the benefit of the doubt, while asking how long that will be true.

White House advisers add that Obama will be pushed only so far to the left, and with good reason. Only 19 percent of Americans, after all, identify themselves as liberal, compared with 36 percent who say they are moderate and 41 percent who say they are conservative, according to the latest poll by Democracy Corps, a Democratic think tank.

Still, the next few months will be a time of testing. How many compromises will Obama accept on healthcare and on legislation designed to limit global warming and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil? How far will he go in courting conservatives on issues ranging from national security to abortion? Is he sliding ever deeper into a morass in Afghanistan, as LBJ did in Vietnam early in his presidency? [Read about Obama's challenges in Afghanistan]

The looming fight over Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court should ingratiate him to some critics for the time being, since she has strong support among liberals. But the overall uneasiness on the left is real and will remain a serious long-term problem for the new president.

So the message to Rall and others that feel betrayed by Obama... you were warned, you ignored the warnings, you ignored the fact that some of those campaign promises were impossible to keep and you voted for him anyway.

So, sit down and shut up, you people have done enough damage to this country.

Leave the clean up to the mess "you" created, to those that didn't buy Obama's bull hook, line and sinker.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Bush Shows Class: 'I am not going to criticize my successor'

Although he did not specifically allude to the high-profile debate over President Obama's decision to halt the use harsh interrogation techniques, and without referencing Cheney by name, Bush spoke in broad strokes about how he proceeded after the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in March 2003.

"The first thing you do is ask, what's legal?" he said. "What do the lawyers say is possible? I made the decision, within the law, to get information so I can say to myself, 'I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people.' I can tell you that the information we got saved lives."

But Bush avoided the sharp tone favored by his former vice president in recent weeks, and went out of his way to stress that he does not want to disparage the new president.

"Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize my successor," Bush said. "There are plenty of people who have weighed in. Trust me, having seen it firsthand. I didn't like it when a former president criticized me, so therefore I am not going to criticize my successor. I wish him all the best."

The former president was speaking to nearly 2,500 members the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. The format of the speech was changed at the last minute when Bush decided to answer questions directly from the audience members, instead of responding to pre-submitted questions provided to a moderator.

Bush repeated his disclaimer about not passing judgment Obama later in the speech when asked about North Korea's test of a nuclear weapon. Before answering, the 43rd president said that he is "in no way trying to shape my successor's decisions or criticize them."

"I know there are news people here, and they love conflict," he said.

Read the whole thing.

Sister Toldjah misses him, I do too.

Macsmind thanks him.


Sotomayor's Words And Temperament Have People Urging WH To Respond

By now everyone who keeps up with politics should know that Barack Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court and many of her own words have come back to bite the White House on the proverbial ass.

One major speech she gave has been the focus, but now folks are going through other public records and finding more issues, now regarding her temperament on the bench.

Starting with the quote from Sotomayor from a speech published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal in 2002, which has been used of late to point out to her penchant for judicial activism rather than simply justice.

"Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am . . . not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, . . . there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Her supporters have often said her quote has been taken out of context, so it is only fair to bring her full speech to the front, which can be found at NYT.

It is a long speech, so I will add the paragraph before and some from after to show the "context" of her comments:

In our private conversations, Judge Cedarbaum has pointed out to me that seminal decisions in race and sex discrimination cases have come from Supreme Courts composed exclusively of white males. I agree that this is significant but I also choose to emphasize that the people who argued those cases before the Supreme Court which changed the legal landscape ultimately were largely people of color and women. I recall that Justice Thurgood Marshall, Judge Connie Baker Motley, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench, and others of the NAACP argued Brown v. Board of Education. Similarly, Justice Ginsburg, with other women attorneys, was instrumental in advocating and convincing the Court that equality of work required equality in terms and conditions of employment.

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Emphasis mine.

First, the quote is as it has been publicized to be and second, the last part I put in bold.... judging court cases should be done by law, not by "gender" or "Latina heritage," to do otherwise is exactly what therm judicial activism means.

That specific quote has some Democrats and political analysts trying to urge the White House to respond.

That comment also has others, such as former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, calling Sotomayor a racist and insisting she withdraw from the nomination.

On Wednesday, Gingrich tweeted: "Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism."

I would have to agree, there should be no double standards and I would encourage any white male or female that made such a comment in reverse, withdraw, so I have to be consistent and say she should as well.

Moments later, he followed up with the message: "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."

Some Democrats and political analysts are urging the White House to shift course and concede that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor made an error when she suggested in 2001 that Hispanic women would make better judges than white men.

“She misspoke,” said Lanny Davis, a White House lawyer and spokesman for President Bill Clinton. “Every day that goes by that they don’t say she misspoke and she used the wrong words ... they just feed it and give it life and give Rush [Limbaugh] and [Sean] Hannity more airtime unnecessarily.”

Said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane: “In this day and age, six or seven or eight weeks is a long time to go without addressing an issue that can potentially take on a life of its own and evolve and grow.”

You decide for yourself if she misspoke or not, you can read her entire lecture at the NYT link above for yourself.

That comment aside, now research is being done from public records of other cases Sotomayor has heard, which now have some accusing her of being "temperamental."

Other lawyers, though, are not so enamored. In the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, which conducts anonymous interviews with lawyers to assess judges, she has gone from generally rave reviews to more tepid endorsements. Among the comments from lawyers was that she is a “terror on the bench” who “behaves in an out-of-control manner” and attacks lawyers “for making an argument she doesn’t like.”

“I felt she could be very judgmental in the sense that she doesn’t let you finish your argument before she jumps in and starts asking questions,” said Sheema Chaudhry, who appeared before Judge Sotomayor in an asylum case last year. “She’s brilliant and she’s qualified, but I just feel that she can be very, how do you say, temperamental.”

This story isn't going away and the longer the White House ignores it, the bigger it will get.

See for yourself the amount of ink this is still generating.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Buyer's Remorse Hits Those Conned By 'King' Obama

This sure didn't take long.

Admittedly, I was one of the moderate conservatives who was wooed by Obama during his PR campaign to become the country's next president. Sadly, even though I was still unsure of my vote until the week before the election, I know better now. I truly had no idea he would turn out to be the radical tax and spend liberal he's revealed. Since the beginning of his presidency, Obama seems more interested in making policies and decisions that grab headlines than those in the best interests of the country. The announcement of his whopping $3 trillion budget, trailing the $800 billion bank bailout, was shocking and yet the media seemed to rally around him. The president wants to do everything at one time, national healthcare, economy, taxes (wealth redistribution), clean energy, infrastructure, education and more. He acts very king-like, expecting Congress to endorse everything he floats their way, but his high octane PR strategy--loaded with smiles and good oratory may be fading.

Mr. Obama spends money like its coming out of his own piggy bank and expects Congress to rubber stamp his agenda at every turn, which they have been doing except when it came to the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison. This is when the pie in the sky headline grabbing Obama style of governing met reality. Mr. Obama asked Congress for $80 million to build a new prison (it's just more money to pile on the ginormous debt) but they paused, scratched their heads and couldn't just go along with this brazen request without more details from King Obama. Even more hilarious was when the administration said it would just relocate these terrorists to state prisons but governors stopped that bad idea --- "not in my back yard." Even FBI Director Mueller nixed the idea as highly risky because terrorists could easily plot attacks on the US from within prison, recruiting other terrorists, organizing, fundraising etc.

Read the rest... not everyone closes their eyes and refuses to see what is in front of their face.


Raising Alert Levels Against North Korea For A Non-Imminent Threat?

The New York Times tells us that South Korea and the U.S. have raised their alert levels based on threats issued from North Korea, yet Obama's national security adviser James Jones says that North Korea and their recent nuclear tests and their threats against North Korea, who has 25,000 American soldiers there, is not an imminent threat.

President Obama’s national security adviser on Wednesday said that North Korea’s recent nuclear detonation and subsequent missile tests are not “an imminent threat” to the safety and security of the United States.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, in his first speech on the administration’s approach to national security, said that the “imminent threat” posed by North Korea is that of the proliferation of nuclear technologies to other countries and terrorist organizations.

Are actions stronger than words?

Why downplay a threat to the American people while contradicting those words by raising the threat level?

Makes it look like the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing.


Car Dealership Closings, Political Or Coincidence

It started with a conservative blogger doing a little digging and what he came up with could be a huge coincidence or could be the beginning of a huge scandal which the blogger, Doug Ross aka Director Blue, named "Dealergate."

Now the major media is starting to dig as well and the information is leading to some pretty strange findings.

Dealers on the closing list donated millions to Republicans, $200 for Obama
The initial pass at the list of shuttered dealers showed they had donated, in the aggregate, millions to Republican candidates and PACs and a total of $200 to Barack Obama.
(Note) That was just the "initial pass" as Ross explained, but World Net Daily did a more extensive review and although the percentage is different, the basis of Ross's conclusions is still spot on.

But WND reviewed the list of 789 closing franchises and databases of political donors and found that of dealership majority owners making contributions in the November 2008 election, less than 10 percent gifted to Democrats while 90 percent gave substantial sums to Republican candidates.

The listed franchise owners contributed at least $450,000 to Republican presidential candidates and the GOP, while only $7,970 was donated to Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign and $2,200 was given to Sen. John Edwards' campaign.

Obama received a combined total of only $450 in donations – $250 from dealer Jane Baldock in Wenatchee, Wash., and $200 from Waco, Texas, dealer Jeffrey Hunter.

Ross gives kudos to those that followed up on his original piece, which many started digging as well after reading his research and the actual statistics, showing that some of the dealerships to which the White House is forcing Chrysler to close are actually making a profit despite the hard economic times.

This work builds upon the research done by numerous parties, most notably Joey Smith. It is a follow-up to my original post, entitled "Did anti-Obama campaign contributions dictate which Chrysler dealers were shuttered?" The odds that these closings occurred without partisan bias are roughly equivalent to the odds that Jean Claude Van-Damme will grab a Best Supporting Actor Oscar next year for a remake of Terms of Endearment.

So, let me try to put the information that has come out already in some order for readers, starting with the two lists showing which Chrysler Franchise dealers are keeping their franchises and which ones are losing them, so that folks have a reference to go back to and look for themselves as the information is provided.

List of Chrysler dealerships losing their franchise (PDF)

List of Chrysler dealerships keeping their franchise (PDF)

Establishing who made the call on which Chrysler dealerships closed, Reuters reports:

Lawyer Leonard Bellavia, of Bellavia Gentile & Associates,
who represents some of the terminated dealers, said he deposed
Chrysler President Jim Press on Tuesday and came away with the
impression that Press did not support the plan.

"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom
of terminating 25 percent of its dealers," Bellavia said. "It
really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous
pressure from the President's automotive task force."

Read the rest of Ross's followup, go to the bottom specifically to the "What are the Odds?"

The odds portions leads right in to two pieces by Gateway Pundit, who sees this as a political move and not coincidence as well.

One piece, Gateway Pundit, titled "Shock! Big Dem Donor Group Allowed to Keep Their 6 Chrysler Dealerships Open ...Update: Their Local Competitors Eliminated!!"

Now there's this...
RLJ-McLarty-Landers is owned by three men.
One was the former Chief of Staff for President Clinton.
One is the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a huge Obama supporter.
All 6 of their Chrysler dealerships will remain open.
And, get this... Their local competitors have been eliminated!

Another piece, Gateway Pundit, titled "Hope & Change-- Car Czar Behind Chrysler Closings Married to Former Dem Party Leader."

The bloggers have provided the initial research, which is where the MSM usually come in and either whitewash, excuse, explain or take credit for discovering something "hinky", so obviously, I started looking for links to stories.

Mainstream Media articles

One I found on Fox, doesn't quite deal with the political nature of the so-called coincidence, but did bring information that even democrats seem to be worried about Obama's Auto industry task force.

Thirty-six members of Congress from both sides of the aisle told the White House last week they are troubled by the work of the Auto Task Force. The lawmakers' concerns range from exploiting auto workers to laying off dealership employees.

"Decisions being made by the Auto Task Force and in the bankruptcy proceedings in New York are more than troubling," the group, which includes Kucinich and Gohmert, wrote in a letter to Obama.

The lawmakers -- wary of shuttered car dealerships, job losses and the big unknown of a GM bankruptcy -- implored the Obama administration to slow down the restructuring process.

"Basically the task force is moving too quickly and there's kind of a double standard," a senior congressional aide told "We'll do anything to bail out the banks, but we're saying to the automobile industry you can fail. ... The people who are on (the task force) are financial guys. These aren't car guys."

The Wall Street Journal does venture in to the statistics and asks "Is the Obama administration turning Chrysler into a patronage machine?"

It must be emphasized that Ross's evidence is suggestive, not conclusive. It does not appear that anyone has yet conducted a complete analysis of Chrysler dealers' political contributions. Ross's post, published Monday, contains nine updates with supporting material from news sources and blog posts, but the whole thing ends up being rather disjoined and hard to digest.

This situation certainly bears watching. If Ross's suspicion is unwarranted, we're sure Obama's many online defenders will be along soon with data to debunk it. If he's right, though, it could complicate the bankruptcy proceedings by giving the jilted dealers a basis on which to challenge their termination. It would also demonstrate that political intervention in private business is an invitation for the most brazen sort of corruption.

Washington Examiner has also touched on the subject:

Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?

One owner of a dealership is a Republican Congressman who spoke to :

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., a businessman who has owned car dealerships since 1992, learned Thursday that his Venice, Fla., Dodge dealership was among those scheduled to be terminated.

"It's an outrage. It's not about me. I'm going to be fine," said Buchanan, the dealership's majority owner. "You're talking over 100,000 jobs. We're supposed to be in the business of creating jobs, not killing jobs."

At the bottom of that piece though is something just as interesting:

While many dealers learned the news through United Parcel Service letters, Buchanan found out from a House colleague.

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., ran into Buchanan and told him, "I heard you're going to lose your Dodge franchise."

"I said, 'Oh, really?'" Buchanan recounted.

Shelby Curtsinger, the Dodge dealership's operating partner, said he was stunned by the decision because the dealership had been profitable since it opened in 1999 and typically sells about 700 vehicles a year, more than twice the sales of an average Chrysler dealership.

If sales and profits are not criteria being used to decide who stays open and who closes... what exactly is?

Note from management: It is something to be watched, but nothing to be jumping to conclusions over, we are not conspiracy theorists but it would be negligent to ignore the building evidence which suggests there could be a problem here.

As more research is done, I am sure we will find that many of the dealerships left open are also Republican contributors... that also must be factored in.


Nevada Bound

The Tygrrrr Express is Nevada Bound with speeches to Republican Jewish audiences aplenty.

I will be doing book signings.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ideological Bigotry Part XX--Nancy Pelosi Implodes

The Pelosiraptor had to escape to China, but upon her return she will continue imploding. This is because she places ideological bigotry above anything remotely resembling principles.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Replacing The King Of Pork, John Murtha

Two Republican challengers and now one Democratic challenger gives voters a choice in replacing John Murtha, aka king of pork.

Short and sweet.... kick the bum out.


Schwarzenegger's New Budget Plan, Eliminate Welfare And Close state Parks

Mercury News:

Faced with a ballooning deficit and a clear signal that voters won't pay more to fix it, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a budget plan Tuesday that would eliminate welfare, drop 1 million poor children from health insurance, cut off new grants for college students and shut down 80 percent of state parks.

In a state that long has prided itself on its social safety net, it could well go down in history as the most drastic reduction in social programs ever. And billions in further cuts will be unveiled later this week.

The governor's proposal to whack an additional $5.5 billion from state programs stunned even longtime Capitol-watchers with its blunt force. Ending cash assistance for 1.3 million impoverished state residents, for example, would make California the only state with no welfare program.



North Korea Threatens South Korea


May 27 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ordered his government to take “calm” measures on the threats, his office said in a statement today. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Takeo Kawamura, echoed those remarks and called on North Korea to “refrain from taking actions that would elevate tensions in Asia.”

The threats are the strongest since North Korea tested a nuclear weapon on May 25, drawing international condemnation and the prospect of increased sanctions against the communist nation. South Korea dispatched a warship to its maritime border and is prepared to deploy aircraft, Yonhap News reported, citing military officials it didn’t identify.

“This rapid-fire provocation indicates a more aggressive shift in the Kim Jong Il regime,” said Ryoo Kihl Jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “Kim is obviously using a strategy of maximum force.”

The do also point out the little thug Kim Jong II is constantly issuing threats.

The New York Post calls this latest action from North Korea a kick in the teeth to Obama, stating "on the political front, North Korea's Kim Jong Il has challenged President Obama more in four months than he did President George W. Bush in eight years."

Obama spends his time apologizing all across the globe for America, making us seem weak because we have a weak leader and countries are not just "testing" us, as Joe Biden assured everyone before the elections that they would, but they are outright thumbing their noses at Obama, understanding that the actions taken by an Obama administration will not match the rhetoric and empty words he spews.

Biden's exact words:

"Mark my words, It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate. And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

Even Biden knew what would happen if Barack Obama was elected. He said, and I quote "Gird your loins."

Then adding insult to injury, YonHapNews reports that North Korea launched yet another short-range missile from its east coast Tuesday night.

"The North appears to have launched a ground-to-ship missile into the East Sea shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday," the official said, asking not to be identified. Pyongyang had launched two short-range missiles from its east coast earlier Tuesday, following its supposed nuclear test the day before.

Officials here believe the missile launches are partly aimed at preventing South Korean and U.S. reconnaissance planes from nearing the communist state to verify its claimed nuclear test.

Earlier reports said there were also signs of imminent missile launches on the North's west coast. The official at the presidential office said the North has yet to launch any missile from the west.

The quote of the day goes to Right Wing News who states it perfectly:

That being said, George Bush had something Barack Obama doesn't have at the moment: credibility. Like him or not, our enemies around the world knew that George Bush was a dangerous man -- and who was willing to deal with threats to his country. Obama, on the other hand, is like a baby lamb. Nobody is scared of him because they all believe he won't do anything but talk. To Obama and the Left, that's a huge feature -- but, I'd call it a major bug.

That's because that lack of fear is really what is making the situation in North Korea -- and for that matter, Iran and Pakistan -- considerably more dangerous. It's no coincidence that Iran, the Taliban in Pakistan, and North Korea have gotten bolder since Obama got into office. Every two bit dictator on the planet is thinking, "If I'm going to do something, now is as good a time as any because Barack Obama will keep America from interfering."

Any wagers on when Iran decides now is a great time to test Obama?

Gird your loins, indeed.


Linkfest On Sonia Sotomayor

Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee has the blogosphere in an uproar. Her name is Sonia Sotomayor and she is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

You can find out more about her career at Wiki and reactions and headlines will be listed and linked below.

Mike Huckabee came out swinging immediately with a statement:

The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bi-partisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

According to a piece published on May 4, 2009, by The New Republic, colleagues of Sotomayor question "her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative."

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue." (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, "Will you please stop talking and let them talk?") Second Circuit judge Jose Cabranes, who would later become her colleague, put this point more charitably in a 1995 interview with The New York Times: "She is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the eminence or power or prestige of any party, or indeed of the media."

Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It's customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn't distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions--fixing typos and the like--rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

Some former clerks and prosecutors expressed concerns about her command of technical legal details: In 2001, for example, a conservative colleague, Ralph Winter, included an unusual footnote in a case suggesting that an earlier opinion by Sotomayor might have inadvertently misstated the law in a way that misled litigants. The most controversial case in which Sotomayor participated is Ricci v. DeStefano, the explosive case involving affirmative action in the New Haven fire department, which is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court. A panel including Sotomayor ruled against the firefighters in a perfunctory unpublished opinion. This provoked Judge Cabranes, a fellow Clinton appointee, to object to the panel's opinion that contained "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case." (The extent of Sotomayor's involvement in the opinion itself is not publicly known.)

Recent headlines and comments vary, h/t Memeorandum and some are listed below.

John Yoo titles his piece "Empathy Triumphs Over Excellence."

George Will at Wapo:

Perhaps Sotomayor subscribes to the Thurgood Marshall doctrine: "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up" (quoted in the Stanford Law Review, summer 1992). Does she think the figure of Justice should lift her blindfold, an emblem of impartiality, and be partial to certain categories of persons? A better jurisprudential doctrine was expressed by a certain Illinois state legislator in a 2001 radio interview: "The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. . . . It says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf."

He also brings up the case mentioned earlier, pointing out that the Supreme Court probably will overturn the "ruling she supported on the 2nd Circuit -- the propriety of New Haven, Conn., canceling fire department promotions because there were no African Americans (although there was a Hispanic) among the 18 firemen the selection test made eligible for promotion."

A three-judge panel of 2nd Circuit judges, including Sotomayor, affirmed a district court's dismissal of the firemen's complaint, doing so in a perfunctory and unpublished order that acknowledged none of the large constitutional questions involved.

The Wall Street Journal calls Sotomayor "The 'Empathy' Nominee " as they extensively quote Sotomayor from a speech published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal in 2002, where she said "Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am . . . not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, . . . there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

We quote at such length because, even more than her opinions, these words are a guide to Ms. Sotomayor's likely behavior on the High Court. She is a judge steeped in the legal school of identity politics. This is not the same as taking justifiable pride in being the first Puerto Rican-American nominated to the Court, as both she and the President did yesterday. Her personal and family stories are admirable. Italian-Americans also swelled at the achievement of Justice Antonin Scalia, as Jewish-Americans did at the nomination of Benjamin Cardozo.

But these men saw themselves as judges first and ethnic representatives second. Judge Sotomayor's belief is that a "Latina woman" is by definition a superior judge to a "white male" because she has had more "richness" in her struggle. The danger inherent in this judicial view is that the law isn't what the Constitution says but whatever the judge in the "richness" of her experience comes to believe it should be.

Hot Air brings her full quote, to make sure it wasn't taken out of context:

The reply, naturally, is that her assertion about a “wise Latina woman” being the empathetic superior of a white man was yanked out of context. Was it? Quote:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

You decide if the full quote is better or worse than what was quote previously.

Rick Lowry from National Review calls it a "bad day for impartiality."

Head on over to Memeorandum and go through the full spectrum of reactions.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CA Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8


Today’s opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George for a 6-to-1 majority, said that same-sex couples still have the right to civil unions, which gives them the ability to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage.” But the justices said that the voters had clearly expressed their will to limit the formality of marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Justice George wrote that Proposition 8 did not “entirely repeal or abrogate” the right to such a protected relationship, but argued that it “carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term ‘marriage’ for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law.”

Needless to say, reactions are coming out fast and furiously about this decision.

Keep up with the reactions at Memeorandum.


Vice President Cheney Educates Young President Obama

Finally, the 4th of 4 posts deals with Vice President Cheney the adult educating young Barack Hannah Montana Obama about the real world.

For those in Nevada, I will speaking to the Reno chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Thursday, May 28th, and the Las Vegas RJC chapter on Sunday, May 31st. On Wednesday, June 10th, I am speaking to the RJC chapter in Chicago.

I will be signing copies of my book at all of these locations.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Hold the line

The third of 4 posts today is my Memorial Day tribute.

We must all hold the line.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Marc Rudov--Alpha Male and American Hero

This is the second of 4 posts, dedicated to Alpha male and American hero Marc Rudov.

The damage done by Phil Donahue and beta males is finally being reversed.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Arlen Specter the murderer and other news

I hope you all had a peaceful Memorial Day weekend. I am too disgusted to deal with the President's token pick for the Supreme Court. Those who support Hispanics should have backed Miguel Estrada. Also, those crying over the gay marriage decision in California are the exact reason we need strict constructionists.

I made a vow to support the rule of law no matter what. The losing side in this case might wish to do that.

Now onto 4 articles of less significance today. The first one is my analysis of Arlen Specter, and why he is actually guilty of murder. Yes, there is a twist.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

Obama Up To The Task Or Weak Like Carter?

After the news hit the papers that North Korea has tested another nuclear weapon, it has finally come to the attention of some media types that perhaps Obama is being tested and comes up with a failing grade.

Forbes, "Is Obama Another Jimmy Carter?"

The defiant action of North Korea in testing a long-range missile with military applications last month, and its latest act of defiance in reportedly carrying out an underground nuclear test on May 25, can be attributed--at least partly, if not fully--to its conviction that it will have nothing to fear from the Obama administration for its acts of defiance. It is true that even when George Bush was the president, North Korea had carried out its first underground nuclear test in October 2006. The supposedly strong policy of the Bush administration did not deter it from carrying out its first test.

After Obama assumed office in January, whatever hesitation that existed in North Korea's policy-making circles regarding the likely response of U.S. administration has disappeared, and its leadership now feels it can defy the U.S. and the international community with impunity.

A series of actions taken by the Obama administration have created an impression in Iran, the "Af-Pak" region, China and North Korea that Obama does not have the political will to retaliate decisively to acts that are detrimental to U.S. interests, and to international peace and security.

The concluding paragraph says it all:

Jimmy Carter took a little over three years to create the image of the U.S. as a confused and soft power. Obama is bidding fair to create that image even in his first year in office. The North Korean defiance is the first result of this perceived soft image. There will be more surprises for the U.S. and the international community to follow if Obama and his aides do not embark on corrective actions before it is too late.

I keep hearing people, Obama supporters and the far left to be specific, say that people should wait a year before judging Obama...well, that might sound good, but other countries will not, especially hostile ones.

They understand what Obama supporters do not want to acknowledge.

Obama is weak and it shows.

Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion has another question for the left... are they prepared to apologize to John Bolton now?

Don't hold your breath.


Monday, May 25, 2009

North Korea Tests Nuclear Weapon

Here we go again.

North Korea tests another nuclear weapon that is said to rival the power of "the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima," and the typical outrage has followed with Obama giving his typical outraged speech, yet nothing ever gets done.

Officials in South Korea said they had detected a tremor consistent with those caused by an underground nuclear explosion. The country's Yonhap news agency reported that the north had test-fired three short-range missiles from a base on the east coast immediately after the nuclear test.

The underground atomic explosion, at 9.54am local time (0154 BST), created an earthquake measuring magnitude 4.5 in Kilju county in the country's north-east, reports said.

Here is Obama's statement:

Today, North Korea said that it has conducted a nuclear test in violation of international law. It appears to also have attempted a short range missile launch. These actions, while not a surprise given its statements and actions to date, are a matter of grave concern to all nations. North Korea's attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security.

By acting in blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community. North Korea's behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea's isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the Six-Party Talks as well as other members of the U.N. Security Council in the days ahead.

Yeah bet they are shaking in their boots.

From the New York Times and the reason why North Korea waves off the outrage....because they know nothing will be done.

A month ago, North Korea threatened to conduct nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, citing a statement by the United Nations Security Council on April 13 that called for tightening sanctions after the North launched a rocket. That launch was in violation of a previous United Nations resolution barring North Korea from ballistic missile tests.

North Korea, deeply impoverished and isolated, has long relied on its nuclear program and missile tests as bargaining chips. The country been grappling with succession concerns since its leader, Kim Jong-il, suffered a stroke last August. Its public statements have grown increasingly bellicose, suggesting to analysts that North Korea was signaling that the country was in no way vulnerable. The test comes at a time of heightening tensions between North Korea and the United States.

Around the world, news of the test drew condemnation and criticism, and some governments threatened to press for tighter sanctions at a special meeting of the Security Council on Monday. But many of the provisions of the 2006 resolution were never enforced, putting into question the effectiveness of another Security Council statement would be, no matter how harsh.

Expect a lot of hyperbole from people with nothing , not even a slap on North Korea's wrist.


Club Gitmo or Hotel California?

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave . . .” from Hotel California by The Eagles.


Today E. J. Dionne, of The Washington Post, made a joke on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Dionne suggested that since California is about to go bankrupt, it would be a great place to relocate the terrorist prisoners from Gitmo.

I had to laugh. Just earlier this morning I came to the same conclusion, but not jokingly. If Gitmo must close, why not build a new Terrorist Only prison in California? After all, if California is looking to the federal government (that’s you and me) for a bailout, wouldn’t they want to sweeten the pot?

California is a perfect place for terrorist relocation.

· Warm sunny climate

· Residents eager to accept illegal invasions of any kind

· Voters who feel the need to provide a luxurious and nurturing environment for hardened terrorists

· Desperate hedonistic state that now needs our money

According to a Wikipedia interpretation of Hotel California it’s the perfect place and the perfect name for a new Terrorist Only prison:

The song's lyrics describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." On the surface, the song tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appeared inviting and tempting. The song is generally understood to be an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it "our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles[5] and later reiterated "[i]t's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about."[6]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video- Democrats Galore

The RNC video that is causing an uproar around the blogosphere, shown below.

Darleen, over at Protein Wisdom, calls it the weekend giggle.

Le-gal In-sure-rec-tion explains it all to the ones that are a tad slow.

But the opening camera-aperture shot and theme music are not from Goldfinger, but from the movie Dr. No. Politico also states that the video "puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess" (Pussy Galore). Don't blink or you will miss the "side-by-side" screen shot, which lasts maybe a second, and doesn't clearly indicate who is the other woman next to Pelosi. And the closing tag line refers to: "Lack of Leadership. Democrats Galore."

So there is precious little in the actual video to suggest that the RNC intended to "equat[e] the first woman speaker of the House with a character whose first name also happens to be among the most vulgar terms for a part of the female anatomy." I agree, as stated at the beginning, that the RNC should not have produced the video, but the Politico has erred both in its facts and in asserting that the video "implies that Pelosi has used her feminine wiles to dodge the truth."

The Politico article is mostly about the inner-workings of Andie Coller's mind and the need to generate news on a holiday weekend, not about any true outrage.

You can see all the hyperventilating over at Memeorandum.

Weekend entertainment... better than the usual no-news Sundays.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Waterboarding, Torture and Pelosi

Is waterboarding torture? One shock jock says yes, after he had himself waterboarded.

Then again, as I have said before, to me, withholding my caffiene in the morning would be considered cruel torture in my eyes, so should that really be the question, in and of itself?

Shouldn't the narrative and debate focus more on if waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics should be used when lives are at stake?

You can ask whether torture works, all day long, you can debate the issue, but considering that the use of waterboarding and other tactics resulted in stopping a second wave attack against Los Angeles after 9/11...... debating that is useless.

So, we come down to the question of whether saving lives is worth it?

Recent polls show that Americans see waterboarding as torture, but 50 percent agreed with Bush's use of such techniques when American lives were at stake.

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Next: The Nancy Pelosi to do about what she knew and when she knew it, is still raging publicly.


Republicans Use HuffPo And Others To Get Points Across

The Politico has a two page piece showing how some Republicans are writing over at Huffington Post and other places and while HuffPo is known for it's liberal leaning articles and far far left commenters, it is actually a good idea.

When Tom Coburn wanted to pitch his criticism of the Democrats’ health care plan last month, the senator’s office considered sympathetic media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and the conservative blog RedState.

Instead, the Oklahoma Republican went with The Huffington Post.

Despite its liberal leanings, Republican member and aides have begun heading to The Huffington Post to talk up their views.

Arianna Huffington, who co-founded the eponymous site four years ago this month, said that increased Republican engagement “is a reflection of our traffic, our brand, and the fact that we are increasingly seen ... as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news.”

That's not exactly how the Republicans see it. While GOP aides say they're treated fairly by Huffington Post reporters, they know that their views are likely to take a beating from the site’s bloggers, commenters and headline writers.

But the opportunity for impact is irresistible.

Just as Democrats learned to love — or at least understand — the Drudge Report, Republicans flock to The Huffington Post largely because of the site’s broad reach. In April, The Huffington Post brought in a record 8.8 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen — a number that includes quite a few mainstream media journalists and cable news producers.

“With The Huffington Post, particularly, we see a lot of value in engaging with people who wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to agree with our point of view,” said Coburn press secretary John Hart, who added that it's one of a handful of sites that can have an instant impact on the national debate.

“HuffPo and [Talking Points Memo] really are the assignment editors for many in the Washington press corps — particularly the cables,” said Brian Rogers, who was a spokesman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. “That’s not just a Republican hack saying it — that’s speaking as a press guy fielding calls and e-mails daily from the MSM that start with, ‘Did you see this thing on Huffington Post?’ They were effective and they wasted a lot of our time.”

There is another way to think about it as well.

Face it, liberals flock to liberal blogs while conservatives flock to conservative blogs to find information or links to information they may not have seen for themselves.

Preaching to the choir, so to speak.

For Huffington Post and others it works because they are seeing those conservative writers cause conflict, which ups their numbers even more, with their liberal commenters, writers and editors continuously going back to respond in the comment section of each piece.

What do those Republican writers get out of it? Exposure.

They get their message out and not only to conservatives, but to those on the opposing side of any given issue.

Does it work?

From the Politico article we see it does, indeed.

With that kind of cooperation from the right, it’s not surprising that Republican points of view have shown up on the site recently.

After House Republicans met with President Obama last month, GOP aides took shots via The Huffington Post, with one source describing Obama as “thin-skinned” in the meeting. While there were blistering critiques of Republicans among the 4,420 comments that followed, the perception of Obama as “thin-skinned” still seeped out into political conversation.

Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim, a former POLITICO staffer, said that after the House leadership released a video earlier this month questioning the White House on national security, a senior House Republican aide reached out to make sure he’d received it — that’s despite knowing how the site would probably play the story (and how commenters would react).

The piece that resulted — “House GOP Obama Ad Aims to Terrify” — likely appealed to liberal Huffington Post readers, while also drawing attention to the Republican clip, which is what the party wanted all along.

It is no different than when Democrats go on a show on Fox News... they know the general viewership won't agree with their point of view, but they are getting it out there anyway to people that usually wouldn't bother even reading or listening to anything they had to say.

Read the whole Politico piece.

The downside here?

Huffington Post does, on occasion, run with something that turns out to be completely untrue and while they do offer corrections (link is to an update after they ran with a doctored video, then realized they had been had), usually it is after the initial piece has been passed around to other liberal blogs.

UPDATE: The Huffington Post has learned that the below video has been doctored. We regret the error and apologize to Mr. Gibson. John Gibson never compared Eric Holder to a monkey with a bright blue scrotum.

Rather, as seen in the unedited video below, Gibson played audio of Holder saying "nation of cowards" -- so his full, unedited remarks were:

"We were talking about Eric Holder today on the radio and his comment that this is a nation of cowards."

The video was doctored to include Trace Gallagher's voice saying, "bright blue scrotum" where Gibson played Holder's "nation of cowards" remark. The Huffington Post does not know the source of the video's doctoring — it was picked up off TVNewser.

See the unedited video below:

That aside, there is no other downside for Republicans in using one of the left's most popular blogs to get their message seen by million that probably wouldn't see it otherwise.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Rabbinical history has been made

The Jewish community has had 6000 years of beautiful traditions and milestones. On June 6th, Judaism will take another giant leap forward.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

RNC Video: Guantanamo - To close it? To close it not?

The Republican National Committee has launched a new ad showing Barack Obama saying the answer to whether to close Guantanamo Bay was easy, close it down. Then the video goes on to show high profile Democratic politicians, such as Harry Reid and Jim Webb making comments about how suspected terrorists should not be brought to the United States.

Video from RNC found at YouTube here and shown below. Text of ad will be below that.

Text of ad:

Girl: “To close it? To close it not?”

President Obama: “Guantanamo? That's easy. ... Close down Guantanamo.”

Girl: “To close it? To close it not?”

Sen. Jim Webb: “I don’t believe they should come to the United States.”

Chyron: “I don’t believe they should come to the United States.”

Sen. Harry Reid: “We will never allow terrorists released into the United States.”

Girl: “To close it? To close it not?”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “We have made some hasty decisions that are now going to take some time to unwind. And closing Guantanamo Bay obviously is one of those decisions.”

President Lyndon Johnson: “These are the stakes...”

Barack Obama: “Guantanamo? That's easy. ... Close down Guantanamo.”

Chyron: Really?

The ad could have been better, it could have been worse. If this is all they plan on hitting Obama and Democrats with, it will fail. Steele's determination to be "aggressive" needs to extend to every issue and not just Gitmo.

Congress denying Obama the funds he requested for the closing of Guantanamo Bay, with Democrats like Obey stating clearly it is because there was no "concrete" plan behind the request, would have probably been a harder hitting message which would have reached into the minds of people that usually don't soak up political news each and every day.

The bill does not include $80 million Obama requested to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and review the status of some 230 detainees held as terrorism suspects because "there is yet no concrete program for that," Obey told reporters.

The RNC's ad follows up the speech that Dick Cheney gave, hitting Obama on national security issues, to which the Telegraph notes was scheduled before Barack Obama decided to schedule his and they call it a "sign of weakness," on Obama's part.

The title their piece "The 10 punches Dick Cheney landed on Barack Obama's jaw."

An idea for Steele, let the Cheney's write the next ad for the RNC, seems between Dick and Liz, the public at large is finally getting a good look at Obama's inexperience in a very public manner.

Ace of Spades brings video of Liz Cheney, speaking a little softer than Dick, yet hitting just as hard.

Quote of the day though goes to Weasel Zippers:

And just to add insult to injury, Liz Cheney kicked Obama in the face one last time on MSNBC. The Obama's are the Cheney's bitches.....


New Blogger Internet Explorer Glitch

Cross-posted from

Faultline USA


If you use Internet Explorer, there’s a good chance that 15-30 seconds after opening my blog you will get an “Operation Aborted” box pop up. Just close the box and hit the back button to read the blog.

I wasted most of yesterday trying to figure out what had happened to my blog. I deleted the last two posts, a sidebar poll, and turned off a third party add on that I thought might have caused the problem. But the problem persisted.

Later in the day it became evident that several, but not all, bloggers were encountering the same problem. See Blogger Help Group.

According to Known Issues for Blogger:

Some users are seeing an 'Operation Aborted' error message when trying to load their blogs from Internet Explorer. We're looking into this and will update this message when we have a fix.

We apologize for the inconvenience. — latest update on Thursday, May 21, 2009

Text :Obama and Cheney

The dueling speeches as it has been referred to, read and decide for yourself who made the better points. (Opening sentence changed)

Cheney as prepared for delivery, via Weekly Standard:

Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.

I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.

Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.

The responsibilities we carried belong to others now. And though I’m not here to speak for George W. Bush, I am certain that no one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do. We understand the complexities of national security decisions. We understand the pressures that confront a president and his advisers. Above all, we know what is at stake. And though administrations and policies have changed, the stakes for America have not changed.

Right now there is considerable debate in this city about the measures our administration took to defend the American people. Today I want to set forth the strategic thinking behind our policies. I do so as one who was there every day of the Bush Administration –who supported the policies when they were made, and without hesitation would do so again in the same circumstances.

When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.

Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after September 11th, 2001 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America … and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.

That attack itself was, of course, the most devastating strike in a series of terrorist plots carried out against Americans at home and abroad. In 1993, they bombed the World Trade Center, hoping to bring down the towers with a blast from below. The attacks continued in 1995, with the bombing of U.S. facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the killing of servicemen at Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in East Africa in 1998; the murder of American sailors on the USS Cole in 2000; and then the hijackings of 9/11, and all the grief and loss we suffered on that day.

Nine-eleven caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for a while, and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated. Throughout the 90s, America had responded to these attacks, if at all, on an ad hoc basis. The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact – crime scene, arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.

That’s how it seemed from a law enforcement perspective, at least – but for the terrorists the case was not closed. For them, it was another offensive strike in their ongoing war against the United States. And it turned their minds to even harder strikes with higher casualties. Nine-eleven made necessary a shift of policy, aimed at a clear strategic threat – what the Congress called “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” From that moment forward, instead of merely preparing to round up the suspects and count up the victims after the next attack, we were determined to prevent attacks in the first place.

We could count on almost universal support back then, because everyone understood the environment we were in. We’d just been hit by a foreign enemy – leaving 3,000 Americans dead, more than we lost at Pearl Harbor. In Manhattan, we were staring at 16 acres of ashes. The Pentagon took a direct hit, and the Capitol or the White House were spared only by the Americans on Flight 93, who died bravely and defiantly.

Everyone expected a follow-on attack, and our job was to stop it. We didn’t know what was coming next, but everything we did know in that autumn of 2001 looked bad. This was the world in which al-Qaeda was seeking nuclear technology, and A. Q. Khan was selling nuclear technology on the black market. We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.

These are just a few of the problems we had on our hands. And foremost on our minds was the prospect of the very worst coming to pass – a 9/11 with nuclear weapons.

For me, one of the defining experiences was the morning of 9/11 itself. As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.

There in the bunker came the reports and images that so many Americans remember from that day – word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive. In the years since, I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

To make certain our nation country never again faced such a day of horror, we developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeland security to make the United States a harder target. But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks. We decided, as well, to confront the regimes that sponsored terrorists, and to go after those who provide sanctuary, funding, and weapons to enemies of the United States. We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.

We did all of these things, and with bipartisan support put all these policies in place. It has resulted in serious blows against enemy operations … the take-down of the A.Q. Khan network … and the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear program. It’s required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden. Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.

So we’re left to draw one of two conclusions – and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event – coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come.

The key to any strategy is accurate intelligence, and skilled professionals to get that information in time to use it. In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our Administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information. We didn’t invent that authority. It is drawn from Article Two of the Constitution. And it was given specificity by the Congress after 9/11, in a Joint Resolution authorizing “all necessary and appropriate force” to protect the American people.

Our government prevented attacks and saved lives through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which let us intercept calls and track contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and persons inside the United States. The program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.

In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.

In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.

Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters.

By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.

Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Over on the left wing of the president’s party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they’re after would be heard before a so-called “Truth Commission.” Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.

Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security, and what it requires. I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at interrogations is utterly misplaced. And staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.

One person who by all accounts objected to the release of the interrogation memos was the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta. He was joined in that view by at least four of his predecessors. I assume they felt this way because they understand the importance of protecting intelligence sources, methods, and personnel. But now that this once top-secret information is out for all to see – including the enemy – let me draw your attention to some points that are routinely overlooked.

It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You’ve heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. One of them was Khalid Sheikh Muhammed – the mastermind of 9/11, who has also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.

We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country. We didn’t know about al-Qaeda’s plans, but Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and a few others did know. And with many thousands of innocent lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.

Maybe you’ve heard that when we captured KSM, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand. American personnel were not there to commence an elaborate legal proceeding, but to extract information from him before al-Qaeda could strike again and kill more of our people.

In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America’s cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.

Those personnel were carefully chosen from within the CIA, and were specially prepared to apply techniques within the boundaries of their training and the limits of the law. Torture was never permitted, and the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it.

Even before the interrogation program began, and throughout its operation, it was closely reviewed to ensure that every method used was in full compliance with the Constitution, statutes, and treaty obligations. On numerous occasions, leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods.

Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.

I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about “values.” Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.

Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.

The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned … one lead that goes unpursued … can bring on catastrophe – it’s no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.

Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and the terrorist enemy. Apparently using the term “war” where terrorists are concerned is starting to feel a bit dated. So henceforth we’re advised by the administration to think of the fight against terrorists as, quote, “Overseas contingency operations.” In the event of another terrorist attack on America, the Homeland Security Department assures us it will be ready for this, quote, “man-made disaster” – never mind that the whole Department was created for the purpose of protecting Americans from terrorist attack.

And when you hear that there are no more, quote, “enemy combatants,” as there were back in the days of that scary war on terror, at first that sounds like progress. The only problem is that the phrase is gone, but the same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers are still there. And finding some less judgmental or more pleasant-sounding name for terrorists doesn’t change what they are – or what they would do if we let them loose.

On his second day in office, President Obama announced that he was closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. This step came with little deliberation and no plan. Their idea now, as stated by Attorney General Holder and others, is apparently to bring some of these hardened terrorists into the United States. On this one, I find myself in complete agreement with many in the President’s own party. Unsure how to explain to their constituents why terrorists might soon be relocating into their states, these Democrats chose instead to strip funding for such a move out of the most recent war supplemental.

The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo. But it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America’s national security. Keep in mind that these are hardened terrorists picked up overseas since 9/11. The ones that were considered low-risk were released a long time ago. And among these, it turns out that many were treated too leniently, because they cut a straight path back to their prior line of work and have conducted murderous attacks in the Middle East. I think the President will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.

In the category of euphemism, the prizewinning entry would be a recent editorial in a familiar newspaper that referred to terrorists we’ve captured as, quote, “abducted.” Here we have ruthless enemies of this country, stopped in their tracks by brave operatives in the service of America, and a major editorial page makes them sound like they were kidnap victims, picked up at random on their way to the movies.

It’s one thing to adopt the euphemisms that suggest we’re no longer engaged in a war. These are just words, and in the end it’s the policies that matter most. You don’t want to call them enemy combatants? Fine. Call them what you want – just don’t bring them into the United States. Tired of calling it a war? Use any term you prefer. Just remember it is a serious step to begin unraveling some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11.

Another term out there that slipped into the discussion is the notion that American interrogation practices were a “recruitment tool” for the enemy. On this theory, by the tough questioning of killers, we have supposedly fallen short of our own values. This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It’s another version of that same old refrain from the Left, “We brought it on ourselves.”

It is much closer to the truth that terrorists hate this country precisely because of the values we profess and seek to live by, not by some alleged failure to do so. Nor are terrorists or those who see them as victims exactly the best judges of America’s moral standards, one way or the other.

Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values. But no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.

As a practical matter, too, terrorists may lack much, but they have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel … our cultural and political influence in the world – these are the true sources of resentment, all mixed in with the lies and conspiracy theories of the radical clerics. These recruitment tools were in vigorous use throughout the 1990s, and they were sufficient to motivate the 19 recruits who boarded those planes on September 11th, 2001.

The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world – for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences – and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for – our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

What is equally certain is this: The broad-based strategy set in motion by President Bush obviously had nothing to do with causing the events of 9/11. But the serious way we dealt with terrorists from then on, and all the intelligence we gathered in that time, had everything to do with preventing another 9/11 on our watch. The enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and the terrorist surveillance program have without question made our country safer. Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place.

This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11. It’s almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future.

Releasing the interrogation memos was flatly contrary to the national security interest of the United States. The harm done only begins with top secret information now in the hands of the terrorists, who have just received a lengthy insert for their training manual. Across the world, governments that have helped us capture terrorists will fear that sensitive joint operations will be compromised. And at the CIA, operatives are left to wonder if they can depend on the White House or Congress to back them up when the going gets tough. Why should any agency employee take on a difficult assignment when, even though they act lawfully and in good faith, years down the road the press and Congress will treat everything they do with suspicion, outright hostility, and second-guessing? Some members of Congress are notorious for demanding they be briefed into the most sensitive intelligence programs. They support them in private, and then head for the hills at the first sign of controversy.

As far as the interrogations are concerned, all that remains an official secret is the information we gained as a result. Some of his defenders say the unseen memos are inconclusive, which only raises the question why they won’t let the American people decide that for themselves. I saw that information as vice president, and I reviewed some of it again at the National Archives last month. I’ve formally asked that it be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained, the things we learned, and the consequences for national security. And as you may have heard, last week that request was formally rejected. It’s worth recalling that ultimate power of declassification belongs to the President himself. President Obama has used his declassification power to reveal what happened in the interrogation of terrorists. Now let him use that same power to show Americans what did not happen, thanks to the good work of our intelligence officials.

I believe this information will confirm the value of interrogations – and I am not alone. President Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Blair, has put it this way: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.” End quote. Admiral Blair put that conclusion in writing, only to see it mysteriously deleted in a later version released by the administration – the missing 26 words that tell an inconvenient truth. But they couldn’t change the words of George Tenet, the CIA Director under Presidents Clinton and Bush, who bluntly said: “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.” End of quote.

If Americans do get the chance to learn what our country was spared, it’ll do more than clarify the urgency and the rightness of enhanced interrogations in the years after 9/11. It may help us to stay focused on dangers that have not gone away. Instead of idly debating which political opponents to prosecute and punish, our attention will return to where it belongs – on the continuing threat of terrorist violence, and on stopping the men who are planning it.

For all the partisan anger that still lingers, our administration will stand up well in history – not despite our actions after 9/11, but because of them. And when I think about all that was to come during our administration and afterward – the recriminations, the second-guessing, the charges of “hubris” – my mind always goes back to that moment.

To put things in perspective, suppose that on the evening of 9/11, President Bush and I had promised that for as long as we held office – which was to be another 2,689 days – there would never be another terrorist attack inside this country. Talk about hubris – it would have seemed a rash and irresponsible thing to say. People would have doubted that we even understood the enormity of what had just happened. Everyone had a very bad feeling about all of this, and felt certain that the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville were only the beginning of the violence.

Of course, we made no such promise. Instead, we promised an all-out effort to protect this country. We said we would marshal all elements of our nation’s power to fight this war and to win it. We said we would never forget what had happened on 9/11, even if the day came when many others did forget. We spoke of a war that would “include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.” We followed through on all of this, and we stayed true to our word.

To the very end of our administration, we kept al-Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems. We focused on getting their secrets, instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, seven and a half years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized. It is a record to be continued until the danger has passed.

Along the way there were some hard calls. No decision of national security was ever made lightly, and certainly never made in haste. As in all warfare, there have been costs – none higher than the sacrifices of those killed and wounded in our country’s service. And even the most decisive victories can never take away the sorrow of losing so many of our own – all those innocent victims of 9/11, and the heroic souls who died trying to save them.

For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings. And when the moral reckoning turns to the men known as high-value terrorists, I can assure you they were neither innocent nor victims. As for those who asked them questions and got answers: they did the right thing, they made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.

Like so many others who serve America, they are not the kind to insist on a thank-you. But I will always be grateful to each one of them, and proud to have served with them for a time in the same cause. They, and so many others, have given honorable service to our country through all the difficulties and all the dangers. I will always admire them and wish them well. And I am confident that this nation will never take their work, their dedication, or their achievements, for granted.

Thank you very much.

Obama, as released by the White House, via New York Times: (Fair warning, Obama's speech is 9 pages long)

Good morning, everybody. Please be seated. Thank you all for being here. Let me just acknowledge the presence of some of my outstanding Cabinet members and advisors. We've got our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. We have our CIA Director Leon Panetta. We have our Secretary of Defense William Gates (sic); Secretary Napolitano of Department of Homeland Security; Attorney General Eric Holder; my National Security Advisor Jim Jones. And I want to especially thank our Acting Archivist of the United States, Adrienne Thomas.

I also want to acknowledge several members of the House who have great interest in intelligence matters. I want to thank Congressman Reyes, Congressman Hoekstra, Congressman King, as well as Congressman Thompson, for being here today. Thank you so much.

These are extraordinary times for our country. We're confronting a historic economic crisis. We're fighting two wars. We face a range of challenges that will define the way that Americans will live in the 21st century. So there's no shortage of work to be done, or responsibilities to bear.

And we've begun to make progress. Just this week, we've taken steps to protect American consumers and homeowners, and to reform our system of government contracting so that we better protect our people while spending our money more wisely. (Applause.) The -- it's a good bill. (Laughter.) The engines of our economy are slowly beginning to turn, and we're working towards historic reform on health care and on energy. I want to say to the members of Congress, I welcome all the extraordinary work that has been done over these last four months on these and other issues.

In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. It's the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It's the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.

And this responsibility is only magnified in an era when an extremist ideology threatens our people, and technology gives a handful of terrorists the potential to do us great harm. We are less than eight years removed from the deadliest attack on American soil in our history. We know that al Qaeda is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it.

Already, we've taken several steps to achieve that goal. For the first time since 2002, we're providing the necessary resources and strategic direction to take the fight to the extremists who attacked us on 9/11 in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We're investing in the 21st century military and intelligence capabilities that will allow us to stay one step ahead of a nimble enemy. We have re-energized a global non-proliferation regime to deny the world's most dangerous people access to the world's deadliest weapons. And we've launched an effort to secure all loose nuclear materials within four years. We're better protecting our border, and increasing our preparedness for any future attack or natural disaster. We're building new partnerships around the world to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates. And we have renewed American diplomacy so that we once again have the strength and standing to truly lead the world.

These steps are all critical to keeping America secure. But I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values. The documents that we hold in this very hall -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights -- these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.

I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents. My father came to these shores in search of the promise that they offered. My mother made me rise before dawn to learn their truths when I lived as a child in a foreign land. My own American journey was paved by generations of citizens who gave meaning to those simple words -- "to form a more perfect union." I've studied the Constitution as a student, I've taught it as a teacher, I've been bound by it as a lawyer and a legislator. I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief, and as a citizen, I know that we must never, ever, turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake.

I make this claim not simply as a matter of idealism. We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and it keeps us safe. Time and again, our values have been our best national security asset -- in war and peace; in times of ease and in eras of upheaval.

Fidelity to our values is the reason why the United States of America grew from a small string of colonies under the writ of an empire to the strongest nation in the world.

It's the reason why enemy soldiers have surrendered to us in battle, knowing they'd receive better treatment from America's Armed Forces than from their own government.

It's the reason why America has benefitted from strong alliances that amplified our power, and drawn a sharp, moral contrast with our adversaries.

It's the reason why we've been able to overpower the iron fist of fascism and outlast the iron curtain of communism, and enlist free nations and free peoples everywhere in the common cause and common effort of liberty.

From Europe to the Pacific, we've been the nation that has shut down torture chambers and replaced tyranny with the rule of law. That is who we are. And where terrorists offer only the injustice of disorder and destruction, America must demonstrate that our values and our institutions are more resilient than a hateful ideology.

After 9/11, we knew that we had entered a new era -- that enemies who did not abide by any law of war would present new challenges to our application of the law; that our government would need new tools to protect the American people, and that these tools would have to allow us to prevent attacks instead of simply prosecuting those who try to carry them out.

Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us -- Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens -- fell silent.

In other words, we went off course. And this is not my assessment alone. It was an assessment that was shared by the American people who nominated candidates for President from both major parties who, despite our many differences, called for a new approach -- one that rejected torture and one that recognized the imperative of closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Now let me be clear: We are indeed at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates. We do need to update our institutions to deal with this threat. But we must do so with an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process; in checks and balances and accountability. For reasons that I will explain, the decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable -- a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass. And that's why I took several steps upon taking office to better protect the American people.

First, I banned the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the United States of America. (Applause.)

I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. (Applause.) What's more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts -- they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all. (Applause.)

Now, I should add, the arguments against these techniques did not originate from my administration. As Senator McCain once said, torture "serves as a great propaganda tool for those who recruit people to fight against us." And even under President Bush, there was recognition among members of his own administration -- including a Secretary of State, other senior officials, and many in the military and intelligence community -- that those who argued for these tactics were on the wrong side of the debate, and the wrong side of history. That's why we must leave these methods where they belong -- in the past. They are not who we are, and they are not America.

The second decision that I made was to order the closing of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. (Applause.)

For over seven years, we have detained hundreds of people at Guantanamo. During that time, the system of military commissions that were in place at Guantanamo succeeded in convicting a grand total of three suspected terrorists. Let me repeat that: three convictions in over seven years. Instead of bringing terrorists to justice, efforts at prosecution met setback after setback, cases lingered on, and in 2006 the Supreme Court invalidated the entire system. Meanwhile, over 525 detainees were released from Guantanamo under not my administration, under the previous administration. Let me repeat that: Two-thirds of the detainees were released before I took office and ordered the closure of Guantanamo.

There is also no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is America's strongest currency in the world. Instead of building a durable framework for the struggle against al Qaeda that drew upon our deeply held values and traditions, our government was defending positions that undermined the rule of law. In fact, part of the rationale for establishing Guantanamo in the first place was the misplaced notion that a prison there would be beyond the law -- a proposition that the Supreme Court soundly rejected. Meanwhile, instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.

So the record is clear: Rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. That's why I argued that it should be closed throughout my campaign, and that is why I ordered it closed within one year.

The third decision that I made was to order a review of all pending cases at Guantanamo. I knew when I ordered Guantanamo closed that it would be difficult and complex. There are 240 people there who have now spent years in legal limbo. In dealing with this situation, we don't have the luxury of starting from scratch. We're cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess -- a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my administration is forced to deal with on a constant, almost daily basis, and it consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country.

Indeed, the legal challenges that have sparked so much debate in recent weeks here in Washington would be taking place whether or not I decided to close Guantanamo. For example, the court order to release 17 Uighurs -- 17 Uighur detainees took place last fall, when George Bush was President. The Supreme Court that invalidated the system of prosecution at Guantanamo in 2006 was overwhelmingly appointed by Republican Presidents -- not wild-eyed liberals. In other words, the problem of what to do with Guantanamo detainees was not caused by my decision to close the facility; the problem exists because of the decision to open Guantanamo in the first place. (Applause.)

Now let me be blunt. There are no neat or easy answers here. I wish there were. But I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo. As President, I refuse to allow this problem to fester. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to delay. Our courts won't allow it. And neither should our conscience.

Now, over the last several weeks, we've seen a return of the politicization of these issues that have characterized the last several years. I'm an elected official; I understand these problems arouse passions and concerns. They should. We're confronting some of the most complicated questions that a democracy can face. But I have no interest in spending all of our time relitigating the policies of the last eight years. I'll leave that to others. I want to solve these problems, and I want to solve them together as Americans.

And we will be ill-served by some of the fear-mongering that emerges whenever we discuss this issue. Listening to the recent debate, I've heard words that, frankly, are calculated to scare people rather than educate them; words that have more to do with politics than protecting our country. So I want to take this opportunity to lay out what we are doing, and how we intend to resolve these outstanding issues. I will explain how each action that we are taking will help build a framework that protects both the American people and the values that we hold most dear. And I'll focus on two broad areas: first, issues relating to Guantanamo and our detention policy; but, second, I also want to discuss issues relating to security and transparency.

Now, let me begin by disposing of one argument as plainly as I can: We are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people. Where demanded by justice and national security, we will seek to transfer some detainees to the same type of facilities in which we hold all manner of dangerous and violent criminals within our borders -- namely, highly secure prisons that ensure the public safety.

As we make these decisions, bear in mind the following face: Nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal, supermax prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists. As Republican Lindsey Graham said, the idea that we cannot find a place to securely house 250-plus detainees within the United States is not rational.

We are currently in the process of reviewing each of the detainee cases at Guantanamo to determine the appropriate policy for dealing with them. And as we do so, we are acutely aware that under the last administration, detainees were released and, in some cases, returned to the battlefield. That's why we are doing away with the poorly planned, haphazard approach that let those detainees go in the past. Instead we are treating these cases with the care and attention that the law requires and that our security demands.

Now, going forward, these cases will fall into five distinct categories.

First, whenever feasible, we will try those who have violated American criminal laws in federal courts -- courts provided for by the United States Constitution. Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists. The record makes that clear. Ramzi Yousef tried to blow up the World Trade Center. He was convicted in our courts and is serving a life sentence in U.S. prisons. Zacarias Moussaoui has been identified as the 20th 9/11 hijacker. He was convicted in our courts, and he too is serving a life sentence in prison. If we can try those terrorists in our courts and hold them in our prisons, then we can do the same with detainees from Guantanamo.

Recently, we prosecuted and received a guilty plea from a detainee, al-Marri, in federal court after years of legal confusion. We're preparing to transfer another detainee to the Southern District Court of New York, where he will face trial on charges related to the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania -- bombings that killed over 200 people. Preventing this detainee from coming to our shores would prevent his trial and conviction. And after over a decade, it is time to finally see that justice is served, and that is what we intend to do. (Applause.)

The second category of cases involves detainees who violate the laws of war and are therefore best tried through military commissions. Military commissions have a history in the United States dating back to George Washington and the Revolutionary War. They are an appropriate venue for trying detainees for violations of the laws of war. They allow for the protection of sensitive sources and methods of intelligence-gathering; they allow for the safety and security of participants; and for the presentation of evidence gathered from the battlefield that cannot always be effectively presented in federal courts.

Now, some have suggested that this represents a reversal on my part. They should look at the record. In 2006, I did strongly oppose legislation proposed by the Bush administration and passed by the Congress because it failed to establish a legitimate legal framework, with the kind of meaningful due process rights for the accused that could stand up on appeal.

I said at that time, however, that I supported the use of military commissions to try detainees, provided there were several reforms, and in fact there were some bipartisan efforts to achieve those reforms. Those are the reforms that we are now making. Instead of using the flawed commissions of the last seven years, my administration is bringing our commissions in line with the rule of law. We will no longer permit the use of evidence -- as evidence statements that have been obtained using cruel, inhuman, or degrading interrogation methods. We will no longer place the burden to prove that hearsay is unreliable on the opponent of the hearsay. And we will give detainees greater latitude in selecting their own counsel, and more protections if they refuse to testify. These reforms, among others, will make our military commissions a more credible and effective means of administering justice, and I will work with Congress and members of both parties, as well as legal authorities across the political spectrum, on legislation to ensure that these commissions are fair, legitimate, and effective.

The third category of detainees includes those who have been ordered released by the courts. Now, let me repeat what I said earlier: This has nothing to do with my decision to close Guantanamo. It has to do with the rule of law. The courts have spoken. They have found that there's no legitimate reason to hold 21 of the people currently held at Guantanamo. Nineteen of these findings took place before I was sworn into office. I cannot ignore these rulings because as President, I too am bound by the law. The United States is a nation of laws and so we must abide by these rulings.

The fourth category of cases involves detainees who we have determined can be transferred safely to another country. So far, our review team has approved 50 detainees for transfer. And my administration is in ongoing discussions with a number of other countries about the transfer of detainees to their soil for detention and rehabilitation.

Now, finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people. And I have to be honest here -- this is the toughest single issue that we will face. We're going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who've received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture -- like other prisoners of war -- must be prevented from attacking us again. Having said that, we must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can't be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone. That's why my administration has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure that they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category. We must have fair procedures so that we don't make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified.

I know that creating such a system poses unique challenges. And other countries have grappled with this question; now, so must we. But I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for the remaining Guantanamo detainees that cannot be transferred. Our goal is not to avoid a legitimate legal framework. In our constitutional system, prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man. If and when we determine that the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war, we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight. And so, going forward, my administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.

Now, as our efforts to close Guantanamo move forward, I know that the politics in Congress will be difficult. These are issues that are fodder for 30-second commercials. You can almost picture the direct mail pieces that emerge from any vote on this issue -- designed to frighten the population. I get it. But if we continue to make decisions within a climate of fear, we will make more mistakes. And if we refuse to deal with these issues today, then I guarantee you that they will be an albatross around our efforts to combat terrorism in the future.

I have confidence that the American people are more interested in doing what is right to protect this country than in political posturing. I am not the only person in this city who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution -- so did each and every member of Congress. And together we have a responsibility to enlist our values in the effort to secure our people, and to leave behind the legacy that makes it easier for future Presidents to keep this country safe.

Now, let me touch on a second set of issues that relate to security and transparency.

National security requires a delicate balance. One the one hand, our democracy depends on transparency. On the other hand, some information must be protected from public disclosure for the sake of our security -- for instance, the movement of our troops, our intelligence-gathering, or the information we have about a terrorist organization and its affiliates. In these and other cases, lives are at stake.

Now, several weeks ago, as part of an ongoing court case, I released memos issued by the previous administration's Office of Legal Counsel. I did not do this because I disagreed with the enhanced interrogation techniques that those memos authorized, and I didn't release the documents because I rejected their legal rationales -- although I do on both counts. I released the memos because the existence of that approach to interrogation was already widely known, the Bush administration had acknowledged its existence, and I had already banned those methods. The argument that somehow by releasing those memos we are providing terrorists with information about how they will be interrogated makes no sense. We will not be interrogating terrorists using that approach. That approach is now prohibited.

In short, I released these memos because there was no overriding reason to protect them. And the ensuing debate has helped the American people better understand how these interrogation methods came to be authorized and used.

On the other hand, I recently opposed the release of certain photographs that were taken of detainees by U.S. personnel between 2002 and 2004. Individuals who violated standards of behavior in these photos have been investigated and they have been held accountable. There was and is no debate as to whether what is reflected in those photos is wrong. Nothing has been concealed to absolve perpetrators of crimes. However, it was my judgment -- informed by my national security team -- that releasing these photos would inflame anti-American opinion and allow our enemies to paint U.S. troops with a broad, damning, and inaccurate brush, thereby endangering them in theaters of war.

In short, there is a clear and compelling reason to not release these particular photos. There are nearly 200,000 Americans who are serving in harm's way, and I have a solemn responsibility for their safety as Commander-in-Chief. Nothing would be gained by the release of these photos that matters more than the lives of our young men and women serving in harm's way.

Now, in the press's mind and in some of the public's mind, these two cases are contradictory. They are not to me. In each of these cases, I had to strike the right balance between transparency and national security. And this balance brings with it a precious responsibility. There's no doubt that the American people have seen this balance tested over the last several years. In the images from Abu Ghraib and the brutal interrogation techniques made public long before I was President, the American people learned of actions taken in their name that bear no resemblance to the ideals that generations of Americans have fought for. And whether it was the run-up to the Iraq war or the revelation of secret programs, Americans often felt like part of the story had been unnecessarily withheld from them. And that caused suspicion to build up. And that leads to a thirst for accountability.

I understand that. I ran for President promising transparency, and I meant what I said. And that's why, whenever possible, my administration will make all information available to the American people so that they can make informed judgments and hold us accountable. But I have never argued -- and I never will -- that our most sensitive national security matters should simply be an open book. I will never abandon -- and will vigorously defend -- the necessity of classification to defend our troops at war, to protect sources and methods, and to safeguard confidential actions that keep the American people safe. Here's the difference though: Whenever we cannot release certain information to the public for valid national security reasons, I will insist that there is oversight of my actions -- by Congress or by the courts.

We're currently launching a review of current policies by all those agencies responsible for the classification of documents to determine where reforms are possible, and to assure that the other branches of government will be in a position to review executive branch decisions on these matters. Because in our system of checks and balances, someone must always watch over the watchers -- especially when it comes to sensitive administration -- information.

Now, along these same lines, my administration is also confronting challenges to what is known as the "state secrets" privilege. This is a doctrine that allows the government to challenge legal cases involving secret programs. It's been used by many past Presidents -- Republican and Democrat -- for many decades. And while this principle is absolutely necessary in some circumstances to protect national security, I am concerned that it has been over-used. It is also currently the subject of a wide range of lawsuits. So let me lay out some principles here. We must not protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrassment to the government. And that's why my administration is nearing completion of a thorough review of this practice.

And we plan to embrace several principles for reform. We will apply a stricter legal test to material that can be protected under the state secrets privilege. We will not assert the privilege in court without first following our own formal process, including review by a Justice Department committee and the personal approval of the Attorney General. And each year we will voluntarily report to Congress when we have invoked the privilege and why because, as I said before, there must be proper oversight over our actions.

On all these matters related to the disclosure of sensitive information, I wish I could say that there was some simple formula out there to be had. There is not. These often involve tough calls, involve competing concerns, and they require a surgical approach. But the common thread that runs through all of my decisions is simple: We will safeguard what we must to protect the American people, but we will also ensure the accountability and oversight that is the hallmark of our constitutional system. I will never hide the truth because it's uncomfortable. I will deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. I will tell the American people what I know and don't know, and when I release something publicly or keep something secret, I will tell you why. (Applause.)

Now, in all the areas that I've discussed today, the policies that I've proposed represent a new direction from the last eight years. To protect the American people and our values, we've banned enhanced interrogation techniques. We are closing the prison at Guantanamo. We are reforming military commissions, and we will pursue a new legal regime to detain terrorists. We are declassifying more information and embracing more oversight of our actions, and we're narrowing our use of the state secrets privilege. These are dramatic changes that will put our approach to national security on a surer, safer, and more sustainable footing. Their implementation will take time, but they will get done.

There's a core principle that we will apply to all of our actions. Even as we clean up the mess at Guantanamo, we will constantly reevaluate our approach, subject our decisions to review from other branches of government, as well as the public. We seek the strongest and most sustainable legal framework for addressing these issues in the long term -- not to serve immediate politics, but to do what's right over the long term. By doing that we can leave behind a legacy that outlasts my administration, my presidency, that endures for the next President and the President after that -- a legacy that protects the American people and enjoys a broad legitimacy at home and abroad.

Now, this is what I mean when I say that we need to focus on the future. I recognize that many still have a strong desire to focus on the past. When it comes to actions of the last eight years, passions are high. Some Americans are angry; others want to re-fight debates that have been settled, in some cases debates that they have lost. I know that these debates lead directly, in some cases, to a call for a fuller accounting, perhaps through an independent commission.

I've opposed the creation of such a commission because I believe that our existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability. The Congress can review abuses of our values, and there are ongoing inquiries by the Congress into matters like enhanced interrogation techniques. The Department of Justice and our courts can work through and punish any violations of our laws or miscarriages of justice.

It's no secret there is a tendency in Washington to spend our time pointing fingers at one another. And it's no secret that our media culture feeds the impulse that lead to a good fight and good copy. But nothing will contribute more than that than a extended relitigation of the last eight years. Already, we've seen how that kind of effort only leads those in Washington to different sides to laying blame. It can distract us from focusing our time, our efforts, and our politics on the challenges of the future.

We see that, above all, in the recent debate -- how the recent debate has obscured the truth and sends people into opposite and absolutist ends. On the one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and would almost never put national security over transparency. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: "Anything goes." Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants -- provided it is a President with whom they agree.

Both sides may be sincere in their views, but neither side is right. The American people are not absolutist, and they don't elect us to impose a rigid ideology on our problems. They know that we need not sacrifice our security for our values, nor sacrifice our values for our security, so long as we approach difficult questions with honesty and care and a dose of common sense. That, after all, is the unique genius of America. That's the challenge laid down by our Constitution. That has been the source of our strength through the ages. That's what makes the United States of America different as a nation.

I can stand here today, as President of the United States, and say without exception or equivocation that we do not torture, and that we will vigorously protect our people while forging a strong and durable framework that allows us to fight terrorism while abiding by the rule of law. Make no mistake: If we fail to turn the page on the approach that was taken over the past several years, then I will not be able to say that as President. And if we cannot stand for our core values, then we are not keeping faith with the documents that are enshrined in this hall. (Applause.)

The Framers who drafted the Constitution could not have foreseen the challenges that have unfolded over the last 222 years. But our Constitution has endured through secession and civil rights, through World War and Cold War, because it provides a foundation of principles that can be applied pragmatically; it provides a compass that can help us find our way. It hasn't always been easy. We are an imperfect people. Every now and then, there are those who think that America's safety and success requires us to walk away from the sacred principles enshrined in this building. And we hear such voices today. But over the long haul the American people have resisted that temptation. And though we've made our share of mistakes, required some course corrections, ultimately we have held fast to the principles that have been the source of our strength and a beacon to the world.

Now this generation faces a great test in the specter of terrorism. And unlike the Civil War or World War II, we can't count on a surrender ceremony to bring this journey to an end. Right now, in distant training camps and in crowded cities, there are people plotting to take American lives. That will be the case a year from now, five years from now, and -- in all probability -- 10 years from now. Neither I nor anyone can stand here today and say that there will not be another terrorist attack that takes American lives. But I can say with certainty that my administration -- along with our extraordinary troops and the patriotic men and women who defend our national security -- will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe. And I do know with certainty that we can defeat al Qaeda. Because the terrorists can only succeed if they swell their ranks and alienate America from our allies, and they will never be able to do that if we stay true to who we are, if we forge tough and durable approaches to fighting terrorism that are anchored in our timeless ideals. This must be our common purpose.

I ran for President because I believe that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. We will not be safe if we see national security as a wedge that divides America -- it can and must be a cause that unites us as one people and as one nation. We've done so before in times that were more perilous than ours. We will do so once again.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Is it any wonder the favorable opinion rating of Dick Cheney is on the rise?

Part one, two three and four of Cheney's speech at the links provided.