Sunday, 15 March 2009

BIN LADEN: STILL AROUND EVEN WITH AN OBAMA PRESIDENCY?

Ken Berwitz

Personally, I would not at all be surprised if osama bin laden has been dead for years.  Audio tapes that sound like him don't prove a thing to me.

But, assuming he is still alive, and assuming his gofer zawahiri and the other people around him are still alive, maybe someone in the Obama administration can tell me why.  Why is it that after two months in office they haven't found him?  It sounded like such an easy thing to do during the campaign.

Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com is a lot more sarcastic about this than I am.  Here is what he has to say:

Bin Laden Attacks Moderates, Wants Jihad

March 14th, 2009

From a relieved Reuters:

Bin Laden accuses Arab leaders, urges jihad

Sat Mar 14, 2009

By Firouz Sedarat

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden accused conservative Arab leaders of plotting with the West against Muslims and urged his followers to prepare for jihad (holy war), in a recording posted on Islamist websites.

"The hearts of our rulers are like those of the enemies. Whether in Najd (Saudi Arabia) or in Egypt, they never soften, Pharaohs who have returned to humiliate Arabs," he said, reciting a poem honouring Gaza resistance to Israels offensive.

He also called for the creation of a body of devout clerics to draw up a list warning Muslims about "enemies, hypocrites, their media such as newspapers radio stations and satellite channels, of which the most dangerous are the latter two."

The list, he said, should include the British Broadcasting Corporation, U.S.-funded Arabic-language television al-Hurra in Iraq, and the Saudi-funded Al Arabiya channel in Dubai.

Bin Laden described Israels offensive in Gaza and its attacks on the Palestinian territory as a "holocaust" and said militants wanting to help Gazans should support Iraqis fighting U.S.-led forces and Baghdads government.

"It is clear that some Arab leaders have plotted with the Zionist-crusader coalition against our (Muslim) people, these (Arab countries) the United States calls the moderate states," bin Laden said.

"We must seriously work and prepare for jihad to enforce the right and abolish the wrong," bin Laden said in the 33-minute audio recording dated March 2009, that was posted on Saturday

"The valuable and rare opportunity for those who sincerely want to free (Jerusalem) is to support the mujahideen in Iraq with everything they need to free the country," he said, adding that Jordan would be the next country to be liberated, giving militants access to the West Bank.

The recording entitled "Practical steps to liberate Palestine", in which the speakers voice sounded like earlier bin Laden messages, was produced by al Qaeda media arm As-Sahab. It was accompanied by an English translation of its text.

"Gazas holocaust after the long siege is a historic event and tragedy that underlines the need for a separation between Muslims and hypocrites," bin Laden said

Whats this?

Mr. Obama has not killed Mr. Bin Laden yet?

Is he now one of those moderate terrorists that the administration wants to reach out to?

He is part of the 95% who arent incorrigible?

Those last two lines are, of course, references to Mr. Obama saying that he wants "reconciliation" with the "moderate elements" of the taliban and Biden's comment that only 5% of taliban are incorrigible.  Gilbert is applying the idiocy of these comments to bin laden as well.

At this point you may be saying "hey, Obama has had very little time to do something about this" and "in any case, HE'S not the guy out there trying to catch bin laden, the military is, so it is completely unfair to blame him for what the military has tried to do and failed at all these years".

Er, Mr. Obama has almost 8 years of military experience in the field that Mr. Bush a) did not have but b) created for him.  And Bush wasn't in Afghanistan looking for bin laden any more than Obama is.

As you can see, it will be fun listening to the excuses about President Obama not catching bin laden.  Let's see how many come from people who mercilessly attacked President Bush for not catching him, but now explain away Mr. Obama's failure using reasons that would have been just as relevant for Mr. Bush.


POLITICS OVER IMMIGRATION LAW

Ken Berwitz

Days ago, I blogged about the inquisition of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.  Mr. Arpaio's crime is that, unlike our federal government, he is taking immigration laws seriously. 

He is not making the laws up as he goes along, he is simply enforcing the laws that are on the books and - supposedly - mean something.  But to some people, enforcing immigration laws is  the real crime.

Investor's Business Daily has an excellent editorial on this subject, which I am posting below.  Please pay special attention to the paragraphs I've put in bold print:

Harassing A Lawman

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, March 13, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Immigration: At a time when our border is becoming a war zone, something's a bit suspect about the Justice Department suddenly harassing a border-state sheriff who zealously enforces the law.

Last Tuesday, the Justice Department notified Joe Arpaio, the top lawman in Maricopa County, Ariz., including Phoenix, that his department is under investigation for "patterns" of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures. The letter offered zero specifics.

But we'd guess those specifics closely match the radical agenda of community organizers like La Raza, ACORN and other government-funded immigration lobbyists, all of whom launched a coordinated campaign "message" at about the same time.

Arpaio: Least of our worries?

Congress, meanwhile, has a witch hunt of its own going against Arpaio that popped up about the same time. This too is strange, because Arpaio has been at it since 1993 and hasn't changed a bit.

Sure, like Rush Limbaugh, Arpaio's an easy target. He's bombastic and carries out his duties with gusto. That's why he's popular with Arizona voters and a target of open-border activists.

We trust that Sheriff Arpaio is more than able to defend himself against these vague allegations. But to go after him at a time like this also strikes us as being an egregiously misplaced priority.

As everyone knows, there's a war coming up from Mexico that is fast spilling over into the United States. Arpaio's Phoenix now has the second-highest kidnapping rate in the world. It's a war all right, linked to the very smuggling crimes that Arpaio is fighting.

Going after him now sends a disturbing message about U.S. priorities to Mexico's organized criminals. They'll profit from an enfeebled law enforcement effort in that state, which is what this Justice bid would do.

Arpaio's department is the largest participant in the 287(g) federal program that lets local police departments help enforce federal immigration laws. His deputies cooperate with federal agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), that break up smuggling rings. Since 2006, Arpaio has handed over 22,616 illegal immigrants to Immigration for deportation.

Maricopa deputies have also cracked down on those who ship illegal immigrants to sweatshops and other slave settings scooping up 1,250 of them. The deputies enforce federal law as well by turning in illegal immigrants who commit other crimes about 1,582 in all.

While Arpaio annoys the illegal immigration lobby, he frightens Mexico's smugglers and cuts into their business. The reality is that by going after him with lawsuits, smugglers get a very big obstacle to their U.S. operations removed.

Make no mistake: The violent criminal enterprises Mexico is fighting are the same ones smuggling meth, cocaine and illegal immigrants.

At best, whoever wants Joe in jail over civil rights violations doesn't think the laws Arpaio struggles to enforce are as important as satisfying special interest groups.

It amounts to politics at the expense of national security. And wittingly or not, it does the cartels' bidding. Using the fig leaf of "human rights violations" to defang the cops is something Medellin cartel cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar pioneered at the height of his power in the early 1990s. It ought to be seen for the ruse that it is.

How dare Joe Arpaio enforce the law.  How dare he do what he is legally supposed to do.  How dare he embarrass the law enforcement - federal, state and local - that has found countless excuses and alibis not to do what he is doing.  Joe Arpaio has to be destroyed. 

And calling Mr. Arpaio discriminatory is no problem at all.  Since his county is on the Mexican border, therefore virtually all of the illegals trying to cross are Mexicans, obviously the ones his people catch and deal with are going to be Mexican too. 

But I think his critics are after the wrong people.

I think they should demand that there be diversity among the illegals trying to cross into the United States.  I think they should demand an appropriate percentage of third world illegals. 

I recommend that they take it up with the smugglers, and the government officials who hand out those pamphlets advising illegals of their rights if they're caught (yes - astonishingly there is such a pamphlet and the government does make it available).

I'm sure they'll get the attention they deserve.


THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE STEALFROMUS PACKAGE

Ken Berwitz

Is the stealfromu...er, stimulus package constitutional?

Scott Johnson, at www.powerlineblog.com, has put up a very interesting blog in which a constitutional lawyer feels it is not.

Here's his case.  Make of it what you will:

Is the stimulus bill unconstitutional?

Professor Ronald Rotunda is the prominent constitutional law expert now at Chapman Law School. In the column "Some strings attached" for today's Chicago Tribune, Professor Rotunda looks under the hood of the so-called stimulus bill. In part the stimulus bill is calculated to expand welfare and unemployment programs. These provisions have prompted a few governors to reject the related funds.

Professor Rotunda points out that Congress anticipated these governors. Seeking to bypass such uncooperative governors, Congress added a unique provision to the bill (in subsection 1607(b)): "If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State."

Professor Rotunda asks: If state law does not give the state legislature the right to bypass the governor, how can Congress just change that law? Where does Congress get the power to change a state constitution? Professor Rotunda observes: "It might appear quaint to note that the U.S. Constitution does not create a central government of unlimited powers. Congress only has those powers that the Constitution gives it either expressly or by implication. That's a lot of power, to be sure, but it's not unlimited."

Subsection (b) appears to cross the line. Quoting Justice Black, Professor Rotunda writes:

"The proceedings of the original Constitutional Convention show beyond all doubt that" the framers denied Congress "the power to veto or negat[e] state laws," but that is exactly what subsection (b) does. To give Congress such power "distorts our constitutional structure of government." But that is what subsection (b) does.

Professor Rotunda finds it unlikely that subsection (b) will survive constitutional challenge. He asks whether the unconstitutional provision can be severed from the rest of the bill, or whether the whole bill must fall. This question he leaves open. Even if subsection (b) elicits the challenge and meets the fate it deserves, the rest of the bill will surely survive. Professor Rotunda's column nevertheless adds to the evidence that the bill is a monstrosity.

That the bill is a monstrosity is, to me, undeniable.  It certainly is undeniable that Wall Street thought so, since the already-depressed stock market lost 18% of its entire value in the couple of weeks after it was passed.

Can we now add that it is unconstitutional?  Well, you just read the blog.  Draw your own conclusions.


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