Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: April 8, 2010

Still trying to find that “reset” button for Israel

Well, it’s good to see the Obama administration is taking steps to warm up the relationship with Israel after the recent molehill they managed to turn into a mountain.  Joshua Pundit reports:

NRG/Maariv (Hebrew link only, sorry) reported today that the Israeli government was stunned when every nuclear technician at Israel’s Dimona reactor who had submitted visa requests to visit the United States for ongoing university education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering had their visa applications summarily rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor.

This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration. Up until now, it was routine for Israeli nuclear scientists and technicians to receive such visas and to study at US universities.

Israeli security officials have confirmed that these technicians are being denied visas solely because of their employment at the Dimona reactor.

Not only are employees at Dimonas taboo, but reportedly the US has an unofficial embargo on selling anything to be used at the site.

Professor Zeev Alfasi, the head of Nuclear Engineering at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev stated that “the United States doesn’t sell anything nuclear-related to the Dimona reactor, and that means absolutely nothing. Radiation detectors, for example have to be purchased now in France because the USA refuses to sell these to Israel.”

This is how you treat allies when relations are a bit rocky.  And apparently, this is how you “edge” the world closer to abandoning nuclear weapons.

I’m sure this will be studied in foreign policy schools for years to come as the way diplomacy among allies is conducted.  And I’m very sure that Israel will respond to this fine treatment with a renewed desire to settle the Palestinian problem once and for all.




Anyone else getting mixed signals?

I’m sorry if I misunderstood, but for whatever reason, I was under the impression that this present administration was the administration of law and order which placed the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike in the forefront of any considerations it made.  No more of this “supreme executive” touting the law and  infringing on the rights of good Americans. Why, the administration even made a point of demanding Miranda rights be given insurgents and terrorists snagged on the battlefield.  It made a big deal (from which it has since backed away) about trying terror suspects in civilian courts to show the world we could handle those misfits in our court system.

So how did this suddenly morph into an administration which throws due process down the toilet and orders the assassination of a US citizen – even odious ones with ties to terrorism?

Look, to use one of Obama’s favorite rhetorical flourishes,  let me be clear – bad guys are not people I normally defend.  And I’m no fan of US citizens who’re engaged in activities I’d deem hostile to the citizenry of this country at large.  But that doesn’t mean you can arbitrarily throw “due process” under the bus because it is expedient to do so.  That is unless you also have no problem having that process thrown under the bus if you are deemed some sort of a threat (to be defined as needed later).  I mean this is mafia territory.  You just call Vinny and put a hit out on the guy.  Due process?  The supreme executive don’t need no due process.  Hit him.

Glenn Greenwald, not someone I’m normally in agreement right, fulfills the law of stopped clocks – they’re right twice daily.  He’s absolutely correct in his outrage at the Obama administration:

George Bush’s decision merely to eavesdrop on American citizens without oversight, or to detain without due process Americans such as Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, provoked years of vehement, vocal and intense complaints from Democrats and progressives.  All of that was disparaged as Bush claiming the powers of a King, a vicious attack on the Constitution, a violation of Our Values, the trampling on the Rule of Law.  Yet here you have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping on or detaining Americans without oversight, but ordering them killed with no oversight and no due process of any kind.

We at this blog were quite clear about how we felt about Jose Padilla and his unconstitutional handling.  Yes, it’s harder than just being a nice nazi and ignoring the Constitutional provisions provided by our nation’s founding legal document.  But it’s harder for good reason – and this decision to assassinate a US citizen points to the very core of the reason.  Without due process as guaranteed by the Constitution, this is how those in power could act arbitrarily.  No longer the rule of law – it becomes the arbitrary rule of men.  And there’s nothing to say that US citizens such a regime couldn’t find “enemies” of the state to be marked for assassination  domestically as well.

Again, I have absolutely no love for this cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki.  Is he an enemy of the state?  That’s what due process is designed to determine.  What we do know is he’s a US citizen born in New Mexico.  Issue an arrest warrant.  Demand Yemen arrest and extradite him.  Drag his jihadist butt into court and try him on the charges.  Present evidence.  Let him face his accusers and try to refute the charges.  And if found guilty, punish him to the full extent of the law.  In this case, I absolutely agree that criminal court is the proper venue for this sort of trial.

But who the hell is Barack Obama to arbitrarily and unilaterally waive Constitutional due process (oh, that’s right, he’s a Constitutional law professor, isn’t he?) and order the assassination of a US citizen?  And as an aside – where are all the liberal voices who spent every waking hour worrying about George Bush’s eavesdropping and loudly denouncing it, forever and ever, amen?  Why are they, for the most part, silent on the subject of assassinating a US citizen?



Tax system is all about redistribution of income

Far be it from me to defend taxation, and I certainly am not one to tout government as the chosen tool to ensure fairness except in treatment by the law, but this is a bit ridiculous wouldn’t you say?

About 47 percent [of US housholds] will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

Liberals like to go on and on about a “progressive tax system” (so do Marxists, but that’s another story).  But my understanding of a progressive system is that everyone pays, just that those on the bottom end of the income scale pay less than those on the top.  But in reality, in this “progressive system” most of the bottom end of the income scale are paying nothing.

So that explains all the calls to insurance agents, doctors and human resources offices asking “where can I get me some of that free Obamacare?”  We’ve established a defacto welfare class through the “progressive tax system”:

The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.

“We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing,” said Curtis Dubay, senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Ironically, when it comes to health care, the “fairness” argument from the Democrats and “progressives” requires an individual mandate since they claim that without everyone paying into the system costs can’t come down (even though that won’t cut costs either, that’s their argument).

But this goes to a bigger problem – a mindset of entitlement.  And that is a mindset that favors the status quo (or its expansion) since it is to the advantage of those who benefit and, one would assume, they find no reason to challenge any program which may expand it.  ObamaCare is simply the latest.

Since they have no skin in the game, it costs them nothing to be complacent and they’re not likely to stir themselves to save that portion of Americans paying taxes from having to pay more to fund the redistribution of income from which they benefit via the “progressive” tax code.  Loot the rich is good where they’re sitting.

Taxes, at best, are a necessary evil with which we fund the necessities of government.  What taxation isn’t, or certainly what our founders never intended it to be, was a vast system of redistribution of income.  The tax system we have is an abomination –  it isn’t “fair”, it’s isn’t “progressive” and it violates the function of taxation as described by our founders.

But it is certainly a handy tool for big government progressives with which to grow their constituency and pad their vote counts.  It must surprise them somewhat that some of those on this plantation they’ve been building for years are, for some unknown reason, attending Tea Parties and protesting the direction of the country.  Even some of those who benefit from the redistributionist status quo understand that it’s just not right and certainly not a principle upon which this nation was founded.