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Susan Estrich - Not hypothetical anymore

"I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama Bin Laden — he's a very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him."
Did President Clinton say these words a mere 10 hours before 9/11?
It's an "alleged" tape. Kandahar actually has a population of some 400,000.
But, especially in light of the way the media has covered the civilian death toll in Gaza, it's at the very least a great hypothetical.
Would it be worth killing 300 innocent women and children to have killed Osama bin Laden in 1998?
In retrospect, knowing what was to happen three years later (this was, supposedly, a reference to 1998), would it have been worth it to stop 9/11? Is there any doubt? And does that make us no better than him? I think not.
Terrorists who hide among women and children, using them as a human shield, expect that the rest of the world will not "sink to their level." They expect that we will value the lives of their families more than they do. And if you had asked me, hypothetically, before 9/11, before terrorism literally hit home, I would almost certainly have agreed with what President Clinton might have said: We were better than them, because we would not sacrifice their wives and children to kill them, even as they would risk their own family's lives to try to save themselves in hopes of killing us another day.
But none of it is hypothetical anymore, not for us, and certainly not for Israel. Israel is known for its willingness to trade over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds serving life sentences, for the return of a single Israeli soldier. It is also known for giving warnings, where possible, before bombing homes where terrorists are barricaded with women and children. Some of the civilian deaths in Gaza have been the product of local rockets misfiring, or civilians caught in the crossfire; many have been the result of rockets aimed at terrorists who surround themselves with women and children. Women and children who may or may not be their own, may or may not be there willingly, and may or may not known of any warnings.
Is this Israel's fault? I don't think so. Is it their fault that terrorists would surround themselves with women and children, knowing they are targets, in an effort to live to kill another day? If those women and children die — and of course no one wants that to happen — it is the terrorists who are to blame, not the nation seeking to protect their innocent citizens from terror.
Of course, it should not be this way. We should never have to ask how many innocent lives are worth taking to rid the world of an evil person. It is utilitarianism run amok, commodification gone haywire. This is not how we deal with war criminals; they are brought to justice. But how do you bring people to justice in what is, essentially, a terrorist state? There is no justice; terrorists will be celebrated. In Israel, the killers of the Palestinian teenager are being held for murder. In Gaza, a crowd cheered as a dead man with a rifle in his hands was pulled from a bombed building, along with women and children.
And was that his wife? Were those his children? Or had he sent his own family away and was instead using women and children who were hiding as his shields? If this seems to matter, perhaps it is only because it makes even clearer the depth of evil that is at the core of terrorism. We are better than that. It is because of this that we even debate what to do when faced with such evil. And it is because, unlike the Israelis, we do not live under a storm of rockets or on top of a web of tunnels that reasonable people can disagree.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:26

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Pat Buchanan - Stop Obamnesty!

According to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Obama intends "to act broadly and generously" on behalf of the "millions and millions" of illegal immigrants in the United States today.

Gutierrez, who meets often with the president, is implying that Obama, before Labor Day and by executive order, will grant de facto amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. They will be granted work permits and permission to stay. With his pen and his phone, Obama will do what Congress has refused to do.

There is a precedent. Obama has already issued one executive order deferring the deportation of "dreamers," children brought into the United States illegally by their parents before 2007.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is on to what is afoot. "We must prevent the president's massive amnesty from going forward," he says, and urges legislation to block an executive amnesty. But this divided Congress is not going to pass any such law. Nor would Obama sign it.

Still, would Obama dare deliberately ignite a nationwide firestorm by declaring an executive amnesty for 5 million illegal immigrants? Why not? Consider the risks — and the potential rewards.

On the downside, an Obama amnesty would polarize the country, imperil red-state Democrats and cause even allies to conclude he had become a rogue president who adheres to the Constitution and rule of law only so far as they comport with his agenda.

And what is his agenda? As he has said: to transform America.

Obama wants history to rank him among the transformational presidents like Lincoln, FDR and Reagan. And what better way to transform America than to ensure her evolution from a Western and predominantly Christian country into that multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic, borderless land Teddy Roosevelt inveighed against as nothing but a "polyglot boarding house for the world"?

Obama did not like the America we grew up in. As he told that closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco in 2008, that America was too full of life's losers who "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiments."

What would be the political benefits to Obama of an amnesty?

It could weld Hispanics to the Democratic Party, would be wildly popular with the ideological and Christian left, and quietly welcomed by those Chamber-of-Commerce Republicans who have silently supported amnesty and secretly want immigration off the table in 2016.
An Obama amnesty would instantly become the blazing issue of 2014, replacing his foreign policy fecklessness, diffident leadership, and IRS, VA, Benghazi and Obamacare foul-ups and scandals.

Among Republicans, a roar would arise from the base to impeach Obama, no matter the consequences. But while impeachment would divide Republicans, a Democratic call to arms to save the first black president from impeachment would unite his party and bring the money rolling in.

Every Republican running for the Senate would face the question: How would you vote on convicting the president, if the GOP House votes to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors?

In the long run, an amnesty that puts 5 million illegal immigrants, most of them from Third World nations, along with their progeny, on a certain path to citizenship, would complete the process of turning America blue.

How would such a blanket amnesty affect our country's future?

After this second amnesty, word would go out to the world that if you can get into America, by whatever means necessary, and lay low for a while, there is a near certainty you will be able to stay.

The children pouring in from Central America, we are told, are fleeing repressive regimes. But billions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America live under repressive regimes.

If all are entitled to come, they will come. And they will remake the West and America in their own image, Obama's image, the image of that Tower of Babel, the United Nations General Assembly.

How many more tens of millions of poor and uneducated people can we absorb before we exceed the carrying capacity of the republic?

How much more diversity can we handle before there is no unity left?

As we boast of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, what still makes us one nation and one people? For it is not religion. Not culture. Not custom. Not history. Not tradition. Not language. Not ethnicity.

Is it only a Constitution and Bill of Rights — over the meaning of which we fight like cats and dogs.

What problems of America — from sinking test scores, to collapsing roads and bridges, to endless borrowing to save our social safety net, to income inequality, to culture wars — will be more easily solved with tens of millions more of the world's destitute arriving?

The only problem that will surely be solved by the next 50 million immigrants, who follow the 50 million legal and illegal immigrants who have come since 1965, will be the problem presented by the continued existence of the Republican Party.

Americans should let Obama know what they think of his amnesty now, before he imposes it upon us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:46

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Bob Meade - Restraint . . .

Prior To World War I, which began in 1914, the Ottoman Empire, headed up by Turkey, covered much of the Middle East and parts of Europe, including Spain and Portugal. When Germany joined with Austria, Italy, and a number of other countries in the "German Empire" to start World War I, the Ottoman Empire joined in with that group to fight against England, France, and Russia. As things progressed, fighting went on with neither side gaining the upper hand. It seemed like a never ending battle. The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 resulted in huge changes in Russia and Britain was fearful that the Russians might opt to switch sides and fight with Germany.

It was then that Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour, penned his note to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, stating that Britain would work towards achieving a homeland for the Jews. In exchange for that commitment, Lord Rothschild would work towards getting highly influential Jews, particularly in Russia, to convince their nation's leaders to continue the fight against Germany. That agreement essentially "held the fort" until the United States, which had just entered the war, could get their troops across the ocean and onto the battlefields.

When the war ended, the League of Nations divided the Ottoman Empire into "protectorates", with France responsible for Syria and Lebanon, and the United Kingdom for Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine. The Palestinian territory was later divided into Palestine and Transjordan, and, subsequent to that, in 1922, Transjordan became autonomous. (Transjordan was the territory east of the Jordan river. It was renamed Jordan in 1949.)

After World War II, the United Nations took up the partitioning of what had been the British Protectorate of Palestine. On November 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181 and, based on the size of the resident Jewish and Arab populations in that territory, divided the nation into what we now call Israel and Palestine. Jerusalem was to be part of neither state, but, under the conditions of the resolution, was to be an international city under the management and protection of the U. N. Israel immediately accepted and signed the resolution. The Palestinian's have never signed it.

After Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, other Arab forces joined the Palestinian Arabs in attacking the new state of Israel. On the eve of May 14, 1948, Aunder Egyptian command, Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt all fought against Israel. The fighting continued until July of 1949. Since that time, Israel has been attacked six times and has essentially been under siege from its inception.

As the war rages on the Gaza strip, we hear pundits and politicians call for Israel to show "restraint". However, we don't hear those same pundits or politicians calling for Palestinians and their supporters to do likewise. Literally thousands of rockets have been fired into Israeli territory, those rockets coming to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, from Iran. Dozens of military tunnels have crossed the border from Gaza into Israel. Hamas places their rocket sights in apartment buildings and, when Israel gives prior notice that they are going to bomb those sites, Hamas forces families with their children to remain. Outrageously, even United Nation run schools have been found to contain stores of rockets and other ammunitions.

Of course Israel's opponents want a call for them to be restrained. They would be happy to trade life for life with Israel. Why? Because . . . There are only sixteen million Jews in the world — there are one and a half billion Muslims. Israel has a total of 5.9 million Jews — Arab countries that share a border with Israel have a total population of 148 million, with four other Middle Eastern countries adding over 155 million more.

From a tactical standpoint, victors in war normally have an occupying force . . . essentially to restore and maintain order so that some semblance of normalcy can return. While the physical odds have been stacked against Israel in every war that has been visited upon them, they have either won those wars or have achieved a stalemate. However, it is virtually impossible for Israel to use their scarce resources, to oversee and keep the peace in the territories of their attackers. Added to that imbalance of physical resources is the fact that the Muslims have more population than any other religious or national entity. And, their birth rates are two and three times higher than virtually every group in the world.

One other issue that hovers over this Arab-Israeli war in Gaza, is that there appears to be a "Holy war" being waged between the Sunni (dominated by the Saudi's) and Shia (dominated by the Irani's). One could speculate that behind the attacks by Hamas from Gaza, is the Iran Shia faction . . . perhaps operating on the basis that by defeating Israel they could overtake the more populous Sunni for control in what they see as the coming Caliphate.

So, about that need to show "restraint" . . . what would you do if it was your neighbors who have sworn to destroy you and your family?

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 10:52

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Michelle Malkin - Want a real anti-poverty plan?

It is now all the fashionable rage in Washington, D.C., to proclaim solidarity with America's working poor in front of the cameras — while stabbing them in the back behind closed doors.

Privileged Illinois Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and others have taken to Twitter, posting photos of themselves eating tuna sandwiches and buying Ramen noodles to show how much they empathize with minimum-wage workers. On the other side of the aisle, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan has wrapped himself in a cloak of compassion, putting a cheesy Taylor Swift hand heart around conservatism by proposing government "life coaches" for those in poverty.

Message: They care! Reality: They fake. The cognitive dissonance on Capitol Hill is so thick you need a V8-powered chainsaw to slice it.

While cynical politicians prattle on about protecting the American Dream, they're working together to destroy it. If these elected officials care so much about reducing poverty, why are they working so hard to import more of it from around the world? Leaders in both political parties have thrown struggling Americans under the bus to feed the cheap illegal alien labor machine.

The working poor are the biggest losers in D.C.'s amnesty game. U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has been a lonely voice warning about the impact of mass illegal immigration and perpetual amnesty on low-income black Americans. "The country's economic woes have disproportionately harmed African-Americans, especially those with little education," he warned this spring. "The economy has a glut of low-skilled workers, not a shortage," which is driving wages down.

Stagnant wages and depressed economic growth affect working poor Americans of all colors, while illegal alien amnesty beneficiaries cash in. Steve Camarota and Karen Ziegler of the Center for Immigration Studies reported last month that "since 2000, all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).
This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population. Though there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level."
President Obama has already granted administrative amnesty to an estimated two million illegal aliens and renewed "temporary" work permits for 520,000. The administration is planning an expansion that would grant amnesties to at least six million more lawbreakers.

Where is the opposition? Appeasement Republicans refuse to support Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's on-target proposal to repeal Obama's "DREAM" magnet and Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions' clarion call to block any more executive amnesties as a precondition to border bill negotiations. According to my sources on the Hill, the staffs of Sens. McCain, Flake and Murkowski met privately and opposed any changes to Obama's DREAM passes for illegals — which makes them willing and suicidal accomplices in the perpetual Democratic voter recruitment drive. On the House side, GOP House Speaker John Boehner is also openly opposed to stopping the DREAM nightmare.

There are no longer two separate parties in Washington. There's just one big Amnesty Inc. conglomerate addicted to Big Business donations and Big Government grievance politics. The Obama White House needs to buy off Hispanic voters, keep immigration lawyers employed and secure a left-wing permanent ruling majority. Establishment Republicans need to pay off the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, pander to minority lobbyists and curry favor with open-borders CEOS led by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

The real crisis is not at the border. It's being fomented inside our nation's capital. The "border crisis" is a bipartisan D.C. catastrophe of craven politicians abandoning their constitutional duties to defend our sovereignty and put American workers first.

(Columnist Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies". She lives with her family in Colorado.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:21

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Susan Estrich - The American way of death (penalty)

I will readily admit that I have been all over the map when it comes to the death penalty.

As a young lawyer and law professor, I was opposed to it. Actually, it was easy to be against it. The evidence that it was being administered arbitrarily and unfairly was so overwhelming that the Supreme Court had effectively placed a moratorium on it. When it came back, in the late '70s, I was there, literally.

The first man to be executed after the moratorium was Gary Gilmore, who wanted to die. The second was a murderer named John Spenkelink, who didn't. His last appeal, the night before his death, was to the United States Supreme Court. He needed one justice to sign a stay before midnight to keep him alive. He needed four justices the next morning to agree that the case was worthy of the court's review and to keep the stay in force.

All the clerks were warned. It automatically went to the circuit justice, who was expected to deny it. Then they could go to one of the two justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, who were absolute opponents, but whose votes wouldn't get him past morning. Or they could go to one of the votes he would need in the morning, probably Potter Stewart. We all figured he'd go to Brennan or Marshall, and we could go home. He came to us — us being the court's junior member.

I drove an old yellow Maverick, and the overhead light was broken, so my co-clerk, who went on to become a leading death penalty defense lawyer and scholar, read out loud with the flashlight as we drove over to the justice's apartment. When we got there, we read it again with him, issue by issue: Was there any basis for concluding that a mistake was made?

We didn't come up with much, and then he called the other justice "in the middle" and went over it with him, and then we drove back with the unsigned papers and the windows down in case we threw up.

What if we had missed something? What if his lawyers had? We hadn't read a transcript; we just read the papers. Was he the white guy picked to go first and head off a parade of minorities? Why him?
We got back to the court at 11:45 p.m. and found Marshall, then in his later years, waiting with his pen out. The execution took place the next day.

By the time he retired, Justice John Paul Stevens was among the most outspoken critics of the way the death penalty is administered. We reminisced, decades later, about the care we had taken to review that application. It doesn't work that way anymore.

Even so, I came to view that, as a matter of principle, a society has every right to punish the worst of the worst. It was the murder of a pregnant woman at an ATM that did it for me — stabbed her in the stomach for some cash. It was a month after my son was born. Get the right guy, and you won't find me fighting to save him, I heard myself say. And it was true.

The "get the right guy" problem is not insignificant. Most of those on death row are brutal murderers. But no system is perfect, and ours doesn't aspire to be. So what percentage of error is tolerable when death is the penalty? And just how much are we willing to pay to achieve a tolerable error rate? The work of The Innocence Project, and other organizations, seems to show pretty clearly that it isn't enough.

Now there is the newest problem. Killing people isn't so easy. Or rather, as anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer could probably tell you, dying can be very hard. The drug companies don't want to be a part of the debate by way of making these drugs, states are afraid to disclose what they use, and the last execution took so long that the lawyers filed for a stay.

Did the dying man suffer? They're not sure. It's a public embarrassment, or so death penalty opponents are treating it. Is that an argument that we shouldn't be in the business of killing people? Maybe. I just can't help but think about how most people suffer in death, and none more than those who are viciously murdered.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 10:53

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