Pages Navigation Menu

Missile Defense Contradiction

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Congress, Contradiction, Israel, Missile Defense, President Bush, President Obama | 0 comments

I just want to be certain of the U.S. Congress and President’s position on missile defense.  They seem to believe that such a defense system is unworkable, destabilizing and too expensive.  Thus,we were more than willing to give up George W’s hard won defense system in exchange for a mutual reduction in nuclear arms with Russia.

On the other hand, missile defense is entirely workable and cost effective for Israel.  So we are willing to give them $205 million to develop a shield for them.  How is such logic reconciled?

Israel, as well as the U.S., is entitled to develop whatever defense system is necessary to prevent or deter hostile action in a dangerous world.  Why are we in the U.S. depriving ourselves from a workable technology that can save lives?  Because of cost?  That has never stopped Congress before.  Because of some idealistic and academic notion of collective security trumping any need for self reliance?  Maybe.  Or is it also because of some complex problem solving response influenced by a latent socialistic ideal or communist romanticism taught by educators at elite universities when our world leaders were more susceptible to academic persuasion?

Read More

The Eyes of the World

Posted by on Sep 24, 2009 in Foreing Policy, Israel, President Obama | 0 comments

It seems it has been a rough week for President Obama.  Although he is battling mightily for health care reform, he still has a long way to go to build consensus.  On the foreign policy front, he is having even more difficulty.  His inability to create consensus of any sort in the Israeli – Palestinian issue is most troubling.  For he willingly entered as a moderator of sorts in the peace process, but was soundly rebuffed by Netanyahu.

Obama’s call for a jewish settlement freeze went nowhere.  This creates issues not only for the ultimate prospects of peace in the region, but signals the world that the U.S. President is incapable of reversing any decision of “No.”  I found the following article in the Jerusalem Post that more specifically describes the problem.

Debating issues with students and faculty as a law professor does not really help one develop the negotiation skills essential to a world leader. Let’s hope somehow President Obama learns to negotiate the tough issues with better success.

Read More

Judging the Judge

Posted by on Jul 13, 2009 in Federal Judges, President Obama, Senate Confirmation, Sotomayor, Souter | 0 comments

Should Judge Sotomayor be confirmed to replace Justice Souter? That is the question being publicly debated in the Senate Halls of Washington, D. C. It is always ironic to hear the majority party argue in favor of a candidate nominated by a President of the same party. They, of course, do not want the minority party’s Senators to ask the tough questions that touch on the nominee’s judicial philosophy. The argument is that such questioning unnecessarily politicizes the judicial confirmation process, and will dissuade young lawyers who want to be Federal judges from working on controversial matters.

The arguments against tough questioning are ridiculous and undermine the whole point to the Senate confirmation process. The confirmation hearings are meaningless if they do not involve asking the questions that may be uncomfortable for a nominee. If there are questions that create tension, one must ask why such tension exists. Is it merely caused by the sometimes adversarial process of legislating in a two-party dominated Congress? In Judge Sotomayor’s case, I believe there is more to the story.
We have seen the videotape of the Judge aptly describing her belief that Appeals Courts are where policy is made. We have also just witnessed the current U.S. Supreme Court reverse her decision involving claims of reverse discrimination made by New Haven Firefighters.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices could provide testimony during the confirmation hearings? Maybe they would have some insight on Judge Sotomayor’s judicial temperament and reasoning process.
Finally, the argument that President Obama won the election and should have his nominees confirmed without substantive inquiry must fail. The Senate was elected by the same folks that elected President Obama, and some who did not. If the Senate fails to fully and fairly question and challenge (where needed) the philosophy espoused by Judge Sotomayor, then they are abandoning the people who put them in power. Former Senator Obama essentially said the same thing in his speech opposing Justice Alito:

“As we all know, there’s been a lot of discussion in the country about how the Senate should approach this confirmation process. There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.” Senator Obama, January 26, 2006

Let us hope our current Senate has the same courage of their conviction.
Read More

Obama / Bush?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2009 in Ahmadinejad, Democracy, Foreing Policy, Iran, President Bush, President Obama | 0 comments

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is now comparing President Obama to President Bush. Apparently, Ahmadinejad takes issue with our U.S. President recognizing incivility and tyranny when he sees it. For those who support President Obama, this should be an encouraging development.

Recall Hillary Clinton’s warnings during the 2008 campaign that the Presidency is no place to learn on the job? (With regard to foreign policy experience.) Well it seems that while President Obama undeniably required on-the-job training in foreign policy, he appears to be a quick study.
President Obama rightly considered the calculus with recognizing the turmoil in Iran. If he said nothing in response to the images of Iranian citizens being beaten and otherwise oppressed, he would have tacitly validated such actions. This would not only be morally wrong, but antithetical to everything the United States stands for, and was founded upon.
The theoretical “downside” to President Obama (rightly) condemning the Iranian electoral irregularities and suppression of all opposition, involves damage to U.S./Iranian relations. However, the question becomes: “What is the extent of those relations, and how, if at all, can they be any worse?” President Ahmadinejad cares little for the U.S., and cares even less what the world community has said about the Iranian Nuclear Program. Thus, the U.S. and the world community have more to gain if the protesters somehow obtain redress, than we would gain by avoiding the aspersions of the current Iranian government.
Although supporters of President Obama surely cringe at comparisons made between he and President Bush, they should take solace in the statement as a compliment. President Bush may have made foreign policy mistakes, but he always spoke out in favor of taking action to support and secure democracies in a very troubled area of the world. I was not sure if President Obama would follow the same course. He has proven me wrong in this instance, and I gladly accept my error.
Read More

The “Green” Velvet Revolution?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2009 in Ahmadinejad, Iran, Mousavi, President Obama, U.S. | 0 comments

Where is the western response to the election results protesters in Iran? President Obama indicated that the policies of Mousavi, the opponent to current President Ahmadinejad, may not be much different from the status quo. Is the intended inference that America, as the beacon of hope and democracy for the world, should not support protesters seeking democracy, if their candidate has similar policies to the current leader?

The next purported rationale for a response of deafening silence is that we (the U.S.) should not volunteer to be the scapegoat for Pres. Ahmadinejad. Meaning that if the U.S. makes a bold statement calling for an election recount or other acknowledgement of the protesters, Pres. Ahmadinejad will draw nationalistic support from his constituency, and possibly from some of the protesters themselves.
The latter rationale does have some merit, while the first rationale is devoid of America’s true role in the world. Waiting a few days to avoid becoming a scapegoat for the unrest makes sense. But the time has come to proclaim that America supports democracy and freedom in all forms and by all peoples. If France had taken a similar stance to President Obama during the American Revolution, history may have been different. Of course, I do not suggest providing the protesters with arms, but I do support making it known that we in the U.S. stand with the protesters in Iran that seek to be heard.
If we remain silent now and the Iranian government decides to end the protests by force, we become not only a witness, but an accomplice to tyranny. If we shout to the world that we stand with those who seek and support democracy, we become a patron to that ideal.
The words and images of the tens of thousands of protesters in Iran from the past few days are nothing short of inspiring, dramatic and invigorating. I hope the world response is of equal effect.
Read More

Supreme Decision

Posted by on Jun 1, 2009 in Confirmation, Conservatism, President Obama, Sotomayor, Supreme Court, White House | 0 comments

Is Judge Sotomayor the right pick for the U.S. Supreme Court?  I haven’t decided yet, since there are so many of her viewpoints, prior decisions and policy stances to consider.  Is she a conservative, probably not.  Did she really save baseball?  Maybe so.  But with all of these things to consider, let’s hope the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee does not cave to pressure from the White House to quickly confirm the judge.  

There are almost four months standing between this point in time and the start of the Supreme Court’s next session in October, 2009.  That provides plenty of time to allow the Senate, and America, to really look at Judge Sotomayor’s background and experience.  If the judge can explain some of her positions that are problematic to conservatives, let’s allow time for an explanation and full consideration of her views prior to a confirmation vote.  
For example, I am very interested in hearing her explanation as to why a white male judge is not qualified to objectively decide a discrimination matter.  I am also interested in hearing the judge’s explanation for her videotaped statement where she implied her endorsement to judge made law and social policy.  
Are the Democrats entitled to appoint a probable left leaning judge based on the 2008 election results?  Absolutely.  Are they entitled to quick Senate confirmation, devoid of considered study of a judge’s prior decisions, policy preferences and overall judicial philosophy?  Absolutely not.
Read More