Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The One Year Report Card and the Massachusetts Senate Election

On Jan. 20, 2009, 2.2 million people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for President Barack Obama’s inauguration. They heard him say, “On this day, I come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

On Jan. 20, 2010, 2.2 million people went to the polls in Massachusetts. And 52 percent of them decided they Aren’t quite through with recrimination: Republican Scott Brown won a remarkable victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in a race to serve the final two years of the late Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy’s term in the U.S. Senate.

Brown himself said he didn’t view his victory as a referendum on Obama’s first year in office, but he was one of the few Republicans taking that view on Wednesday. He clearly tapped into voter anxiety about government spending — particularly the cost of health care reform — terrorism and the slow economic recovery.

Curiously, Massachusetts already has its own version of universal health care that includes most of the provisions of the proposed national plans. And as a state senator in 2006, Brown voted for it.

In this election, Brown’s argument was that Massachusetts citizens shouldn’t be taxed to provide benefits to other states, such as Missouri, that don’t provide the same kind of support to their citizens. In effect, the enlightened voters of Massachusetts told the rest of the country to build its own lifeboat.

That is a point that will be lost in the rush to lay Coakley’s defeat at Obama’s feet. Rightly or wrongly, the president and his party are the locus of voter anger in off-year elections, particularly those held during recessions. Republicans lost 27 House seats in the 1982 election cycle, the first after President Ronald Reagan won 44 states in 1980. Reagan won 49 states two years later.

Still, Massachusetts is not just any state. Obama won 62 percent of the vote there just 15 months ago. “There are messages here. I hear those messages,” David Axelrod, Obama’s top political operative, told MSNBC on Wednesday.

Obama should be asking why Axelrod and other Democratic political leaders didn’t react until it was too late, after Brown began gaining ground over Coakley in huge gulps. The president is the party’s leader, and his political staff let the party down.

To some extent, poor staff work was a theme of Obama’s first year in office; the competence and enthusiasm of his campaign hasn’t always been seen in his government. From Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s allegiance to the banking industry to the knucklehead who approved a low-level photo op over New York City by Air Force One, from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s “the system worked” statement after the Christmas Day bombing attempt to the clown who let gate crashers into a state dinner, Obama’s staff has not been a Ill-oiled machine.

But though loose change has spilled, the buck stops at the president’s desk. The long view, I suspect, will judge Obama’s first year as one of general success, particularly given the overwhelming mess that he inherited.

Yes, unemployment still is at 10 percent, above the 8 percent he had predicted. But recovery has begun, and had Obama not injected $787 billion of economic stimulus into the economy, that surely would not be the case. It is worth remembering, particularly among frothing Republicans, that the stimulus bill included $288 billion worth of the tax cuts they hold so dear.

Moreover, as president-elect, he forced congressional Democrats to go along with spending the second $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program signed into law by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

He forced General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy, giving the U.S. auto industry the jolt it needed if it is to salvage itself. He appointed and saw confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. A woman who has already proven to be more moderate than originally believed (see Wood v. Allen).

However, his greatest achievements have been overseas, where he has restored America’s place on the moral high ground of world leadership.

He began the orderly process of disengaging the United States military from Iraq and carefully ramped up its involvement in Afghanistan. He clearly saw the need to involve Pakistan in any consideration of U.S. policy in Central Asia.

He walked a fine line on the sins of the previous administration by authorizing the release of CIA torture memos, but deciding against punishing the agents who enforced it. He announced — but has not yet fully implemented — the closing of the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay. He affirmed the nation’s faith in its justice system by insisting that terrorist suspects would be tried in criminal courts.

I have disagreed with Obama at numerous points in the last year. I believe he ceded too much authority to pork-happy Democratic leaders on the stimulus bill. I think doubling down on Afghanistan is a lost cause. I think he has not been forceful enough with the plutocrats who collapsed the economy and has not provided the leadership necessary to enact true banking reform to prevent further crashes. I believe the President lacked leadership during the health care debate, which allowed Republicans to frame the debate on their terms. I think that while he has changed America’s cowboy approach to foreign policy, he has used that exact strategy domestically.

Can Obama overcome this to make the final three of years of his presidency a great success and actually bring the change to DC he promised?

One year ago, I believed he would.

Today, I hope so.

Coming next week: An analysis of Citizens United v FEC. Conservative Activism and the Corporate Right to Vote.


  1. It is the beauty of this nation that two individuals can observe the exact same events and come to such diametrically different conclusions. Alas, such is the nature of political screens and prior prejudices.

    Let me begin with Brown.

    I know he said he didn't believe the election in Massachusetts to be a referendum on Obama per se, but it most certainly was a referendum on his policies. Brown's key talking point was he wanted to be the 41st vote against Obama's healthcare takeover.

    He also ran flat out "against the machine". He ran against the backroom dealmaking, against the payoffs to Big Labor, against the promised increases in taxes, against the out of control spending. He ran as a Regular Guy, an outsider, who wants to restore the power to the people (Hence the "People's Seat" comment that helped solidify support behind him).

    Brown tapped into the incredible unrest of the American people against Obama and his policies.

    While it is true that traditionally the party in power loses seats in the midterms, this election is the 3rd shoe to drop...Democrats lost Virginia and New Jersey governors a few months ago. It would be unwise to discount the real anger out the on the part of many Americans (i'm talking much more than half).

  2. Now then, onto Obama's report card.

    I loved how he gave himself a solid B+ when asked this question recently. Funny, pundits on all sides of the aisle are calling him a failure these days...

    You discount some things that really have much more impact than you credit them with.

    Unemployment at 10%, with no promise of receding (indeed, the Federal Reserve has worriedly forecast that we'll see double digit unemployment for another couple of years recently), is a HUGE negative for Obama. In fact, it may be the biggest problem. "Its the economy, Stupid" is James' Carville's famous line and Obama screwed the pooch bigtime with the economy.

    First, aside from a 2.2% 3rd quarter growth that was entirely due to Cash for Clunkers and other various government expenditures, there is no economic growth going on. The stock market is rebounding, but there is no where else to invest one's capital, no real economy going on.

    I hate the common liberal argument that the economy was saved by this $1trillion+ "Stimulus" bill (it cost over $200B worth of pork, bribes, and other earmarks to get Congress to pass the smelly piece of slushfund politics). Where's your proof?

    We have 0 jobs being created or "saved". (Well, 0 actual jobs, there are lots of jobs in congressional districts that don't exist). I suppose you could (and should) caveat that with government jobs have been created...indeed the government unemployment rate is something around 3%. Much of the beloved stimulus has not been spent, like over 60%. It is a 2010 re-election campaign slush fund for Democrats.

    $228B in tax cuts? Ha! Don't insult my intelligence. Name one tax rate that was cut. $13 per paycheck for a year is NOT going to get anything going. Besides, those "tax cuts" are actually "credits" and must be reported as taxable income on this year's return! So to call that a tax cut is laughable and is just an attempt to claim that tax cuts don't work.

    I agree with Obama's bankrupting of GM and Chrysler, but lets see where they are one year later. Hmmm, still only FORD is making a profit, the one that remained pure of government influence.

    I'll have more later but have to get back to work.

  3. Regarding our image in the world and our moral standing...You claim Obama has restored it. I claim we never lost it. Obama has certainly spent much of his first year on a whirlwind "bow to foreign leaders and apologize for America's evil past" tour, that much is obvious. The question remains to be answered though regarding whether our status as the world super power has been helped or hurt.

    The dollar is being subverted by Russia, the Saudis, and China as the world's reserve currency. This is bad news for our economy. Obama's spending (and his failure to curtail the reckless spending over the last year of the Bush presidency as well) have led us to a point where we are facing very real, substantial doubt regarding the future strength of our currency. This makes the rest of the world uneasy with so many of them holding our debt.

    Obama's trip to try to win the Olympics for Chicago was an utter bust and laughable failure. No, I'm not glad we lost the bid, but it did make me smile a bit when "The One" was smacked down a few notches by the Olympic committee.

    You claim we lost our morality when we used waterboarding and opened club Gitmo in Cuba. We've been waterboarding enemy combatants for information for years and I've never heard it become an issue until Bush was in charge of it. We've been down that road though, you think its torture, I do not.

    More on Gitmo though, Obama declared that it would be closed within the year. Its not. But even so, he is looking to move the enemy combatants to Illinois where they will sit in a cell and not be dealt with in any meaningful way same as in effect, in order to fulfill a campaign promise to his hardcore lefties, he is relocating Gitmo to within the US. Wow, how breathtakingly moral of him. I'm sure those terrorists will really rethink their evil ways now.

    You remarked in such a positive way about "affirming the nation’s faith in its justice system by insisting that terrorist suspects would be tried in criminal courts." This is probably the biggest, most critical foreign policy and homeland security mistake he could possibly have made, shy of just handing over the keys to the little red Nuke button to Al Qaida! All of our CIA intelligence is going to be ON TRIAL for the world to see. Its ignorant and moronic and VERY dangerous. Besides, even Obama isn't against using military tribunals, whats the problem with those for unlawful enemy combatants? We've used them for decades, lets keep using them.

    Obama seems to be selling us out, not restoring anybody's faith in our system.

  4. Again, the great thing about this. Two people two different views. Scott, logically your sound, but I will stick by my analysis in the entry.

  5. So if I'm logically sound...does that mean you agree that bringing terrorists into our civilian courts is extremely dangerous or not..? Because either it is or it isnt'...its not really up for opinion. Its sort of like saying I'm logically sound in arguing for the use of seatbelts, but then deciding to not wear one anyways...

  6. By logically sound, I mean for your take on the issues. You start with unproven premises to develop your argument. I do as well. We see our unproven premises as logically sound and build our argument from them.

    I stick with original analysis as the trying of accused terrorists in criminal civilian court as a good move in remaining the light on the hill for the rest of the world. We are better than our enemies. We need to act that way.

    You see the move as a bad move that weakens us. I say it strengthens us. These premises are both unproven, but it is where we base our analysis from. Logically sound. Scientifically unproven. Yet we make our decisions on the future this way.

    This is why we can both look at the same set of facts and develop different conclusion on how to proceed.

    My analysis is my world view. Your analysis is your worldview. I think this is why the blog works.

  7. Unproven premis?

    Omar Abdel Rahman tried in civilian courts in 1995.

    The government was required to disclose all co-conspirators regardless of whether or not they're charged as defendants. One of those co-conspirators was a rather obscure and little known guy by the name of Osama Bin Laden. Thanks to that civilian trial he was then aware that we were aware of him and also a list of others who we were aware of.

    But yeah, as long as the world thinks highly of us...

  8. Oh cool, we get to play you give a name then I give a counter.

    Jose Padilla. Tried in US civilian court. Turns out, the proceedings led to exactly 0 attacks on the US.

    Okay, Padilla was an American citizen. How about British citizen Richard Reid. Again, tried in civilian US courts. Turns out, the proceedings led to exactly 0 attacks on the US,

    Your turn.

    Again, the premise of your side, as well as mine, is based from a point of conjecture. We use the past to try to predict the future, but in cases such as these, we have too many conflicting pieces of evidence to reach a known conclusion, which means we then default to our word views.

    By the way, I don't care if the world thinks highly of us...However, this great experiment of rule by equal application of the law that began in the 1770s should be our guiding principles for today as well. By doing so, we gain respect and the moral high ground.

  9. "We use the past to try to predict the future, but in cases such as these, we have too many conflicting pieces of evidence to reach a known conclusion, which means we then default to our word views."

    Well, if any piece of evidence points to any possibility of endangering American lives I don't care how morally high up on any hill we are. I'll default to my world view of keeping Americans safe regardless of how the world views us.

  10. "However, this great experiment of rule by equal application of the law that began in the 1770s should be our guiding principles for today as well."

    Yeah, for AMERICAN citizens! Not TERRORISTS!

  11. "Turns out, the proceedings led to exactly 0 attacks on the US."

    And how do you know that there wasn't an attack stopped before it was able to happen? How do you know it wasn't going to lead to an attack?

  12. "The dollar is being subverted by Russia, the Saudis, and China as the world's reserve currency. This is bad news for our economy. Obama's spending (and his failure to curtail the reckless spending over the last year of the Bush presidency as well) have led us to a point where we are facing very real, substantial doubt regarding the future strength of our currency. This makes the rest of the world uneasy with so many of them holding our debt.

    Obama's trip to try to win the Olympics for Chicago was an utter bust and laughable failure."

    What premise did I start with here? These are just recollections of events that have taken place over the past year. I stated them, then offered my analysis that they are bad for the US. I guess its possible you may think these things are good for the US...

    As far as trying terrorists in US civilian court, a couple of points:

    Our laws do not apply to terrorists. Even the Geneva convention does not apply to unlawful enemy combatants. There is a difference between a US civilian criminal and a prisoner of war, and there is another level of difference between the latter and an unlawful enemy combatant who was literally caught on the battlefield planning to/attempting to kill our troops and/or citizens.

    You and other liberals keep wanting to extend the US Constitution to the World. You seem to want to grant amnesty to all of Mexico, yet it is damn near impossible for a very valuable, good potential American to become one.

    I know you always get mad when I say this, but if you think it is in the best interest of our security to try KSM and the Panty Bomber in US Civilian court as opposed to military tribunals,...I have to say it...naive.

    As Wardo first stated, I don't put any value of our "moral standing" in the world stage over the safety of ONE American citizen. The sooner you and others like you wake up and realize that Islamic terrorists at in a war to the death with us, and stop treating them like we can just give them some nice treatment and they'll like us, the sooner real security will be achieved.

  13. I am glad to hear you don't believe in moral behavior. Whatever the United States does, in your eyes, is moral by default. I really wish I would a conservative, any conservative, admit that sometimes America is wrong in its actions.

    I guarantee that if it had been Obama that would've started Gitmo, tortured terrorists, all in the name of public safety, you'd call it an example of a liberal power grab.

    But since it was a good-ole, God-fearing, blind patriot Republican doing it, it must be the work of God himself.

    Just once. Instead, debating a conservative on these issues is like debating a wall. You claim the moral high ground, but then okay the use of immoral behavior.

    Oh wait, I forgot, God speaks to conservatives. That's why they are always right and can't even begin to understand there might be another way of doing things. Only God is above human fallacy. Unless, according to Scott and Wardo, the human is a conservative.

    I'm not even going to comment on the ridiculousness of blaming Obama for the Olympic thing. For once, I wish conservatives would stop just listening to Fox News, Rush, Hannity and Beck and actually learn something for real. Look up the conflict between the USOC and IOC over television rights and then make an intelligent comment on the issue.

    Your comments have made me even more proud to be a liberal. I could never align myself with such moral grandstanding about the supremacy of being born in America.

  14. By the way, before you claim I hate America, which is what conservatives tend to do towards liberals on the issue, I am very proud to live and be a citizen of this great nation that was the first to eliminate the nobility and create a government based on the priciples of Enlightened Equality.

    I don't believe it is wrong to ask that my country do the right thing. The moral thing. In fact, I think that is the highest form of patriotism.

  15. "I am glad to hear you don't believe in moral behavior. Whatever the United States does, in your eyes, is moral by default."

    Now hang on just a minute here. I did not say I do not believe in moral behavior, nor did I condone any action done by the United States.

    What we were talking about was trying enemy combatants, that is, terrorists, in US civilian court. I fail to make that logical leap from me claiming that it is foolish and dangerous to apply our criminal laws to terrorists to you saying that I don't believe in moral behavior. And you blame conservatives for hyperbole.

    And you keep making believe that Bush was THE ONLY president to waterboard terrorists. Clinton did it too...we did not hear the same moral outrage from liberals during his 8 years. BUT, true to my word, I did not make any stands against waterboarding then either (largely because I didn't know, however, I would not have done what you claim.)

    I have been consistent. I do not believe waterboarding terrorists is torture. Lots of others agree with me, infact, the main distinction of torture was said to be the intent.

    You believe it is. That always seems to be the crux of the argument over morality and the "moral high ground".

    But back to using civilian court instead of military seem to be avoiding that distinction. Why was it okay during Clinton, Bush, and even Obama, for certain terror suspects to be subject to military tribunals, but not for others? How does putting terrorists in our civilian courts, where they are accorded full us Citizen rights, make us morally superior?

    I believe there are two sides (at least) to your morality argument. You think putting terrorists in our civilian courts restores our image and whatever...but what about the American who dies as a result of the neutering of our CIA? What about the impact on our national safety from terror? What about that side of the argument?

    That is what Wardo and I are talking about here. If the terrorists who have sworn to destroy The Great Satan get access to our intelligence documents and practices as a result of this upcoming show trial, any American blood that is spilled as a result is on Obama's and Holder's hands.

    Military tribunals would keep all that stuff secret to the public and the world.

  16. On a side note, I get the Olympic thing. My point in bringing that up is that it was dumb for Obama to make such a big deal of it all, fly out to that meeting, without having the deal finalized. For someone worried about the image of the US, and especially himself, Obama displayed absolutely no world stage acumen with his actions. That was my point there. I'm not blaming him for the loss, just saying it was pointless and foolish to go.

    Just was rereading your first response there, I see we touched a nerve, but I don't know whether you read what we wrote or superimposed your interpretation on top before understanding it.

    Let me ask..does our Constitution apply to all peoples in the world?

  17. I would say there are two general outcomes from debate. Either a person, any person, is persuaded two see one way or the other, or the outcome is that a greater truth is discovered by a person, any person.

    You may be talking to a wall and as such would fail to persuade that person, but the debate is still productive if you come to a better truth because of it. If you find value in your oppositions arguement or you come to a better informed viewpoint on your own arguement as a result of debate than it isn't a waste of time.

    IF EVERYONE WOULD EXCEPT THAT THEY DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER, and treat this forum as a search to find the truth, and focus on one issue at a time and with greater vigor then we may find the truth. But the fact is if liberal or conservative was the right answer and there was no value in the other then it would be accepted as a universal truth.

    With that said.... Just as, Scott J.'s comment that Jose Padilla tried in civilian court (CAUSE) led to zero attacks (EFFECT) clearly can not be proven with the same respect does Osama Bin Laden knowing that we are aware of him(CAUSE) have any relevant affect on his ability to be responsible for threats against are national security (EFFECT) can also not be proven. I think that was scott's point.

  18. Scott L., with regards to your view on the value of our nation's international perception and our national security I think the two are dependent on one another. If you do not feel that our international reputation was hurt by the Bush administration, and do not feel that approaching other heads of state with a sense of humility would help our international perception would help better the situation then I would consider you to be niave.

    But here is my premise, the only logical way that we could eliminate threats to our national security is to eliminate the hostility against us. We can't just kill everyone house thinks America is evil so they can't raise children to feel the same, I'm pretty sure thats considered a crime against humanity. And we can't prevent all terrorist acts as long as there is one free person out there yet to try.

    The only way we could possibly stop the creation of people who hate america, is to take the inargueably higher moral ground, thus making the arguement that america is evil as difficult as possible. To be able to say we in America do not do onto others anything that could be considered inhumane. To say that we do not imprison people indefinently without proper evidence and that we are willing to provide that proof to our people and the international community.

    The only other possible way we could have complete and indefinite national security is with an insane amount of funding and massive invasions of privacy of U.S. citizens as well as all other countries that could concievable have a citizen that may have something against america.

  19. Touched a little nerve - yes. I really struggle when people don't want to admit there is more to a story than just a simple answer, especially on the tribunal thing.

    I understand your concern about the national security issues, I just see military tribunals as unconstitutional since no war was declared. Tribunals are for prisoners of war. Bush made up the term enemy combatant tribunals because none have existed in Western Democracy. There are used by dictators throughout the world, but I digress.

    Do I believe the Constitution applies to everyone in the world. If they are in America, yes. If America is doing the actions, then it must abide by its Constitutional principles. My premise is simple...

    I agree with Reagan when he called America a shining light on a hill for the world to see its goodness. Its goodness, according to Reagan, is that America stands for freedom, equality, rule of law, etc. Reagan truly wanted everyone to follow America's example.

    The problem is that when America fails to live up to its Englightened Founding Principles, it ceases to be the light on the hill.

    We must be better than our enemy. Not like him.

    We must do things the right way. Not be like our enemy,

    We must lead by example. Not be the enemy.

    When America acts morally in all of its actions and its treatment of all of the people it deals with, then it is great.

    When America fails to act morally, it ceases to be great.

    Padilla and Reid were tried in civilian courts and none of the national security issues you raise were a problem. This doesn't mean they never will, but I will quote Patrick Henry...

    "When our actions inhibit the rights of one person by one inch, we sacrifice the liberty of all people."

    We don't like our enemy. I want bin Laden dead yesterday. However, we must do it the right way. The way of free people bounded by the ideals of the Enlightenment. When we act that way, we are better than bin Laden. When we fail to do it the right way, we are bin Laden.

  20. asemu84 - thanks for putting my thoughts into clear words. You described exactly what I meant. Only when the premise is of absolute, undisputable fact, can we make sure conclusions. Anything else, becomes a best guess about the future.

  21. "If you do not feel that our international reputation was hurt by the Bush administration, and do not feel that approaching other heads of state with a sense of humility would help our international perception would help better the situation then I would consider you to be niave."

    I believe the American news media tried their damndest to make all of us believe that Bush hurt our image abroad. However, I do not accept the premise that he unilaterally destroyed our image in the world. Iraq is a blossoming seat of freedom in the Arab world. Europe (although the frenchy ones may have sniffed their noses at this) was much more stable with a strong America and a solid leader at her helm. We didn't have Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China conspiring to throw away the USD as the world's reserve currency.

    I know there are some in the world who disliked his War on Terror, the fact that he called everyone out and tried to actually DO something about all the crazy islamofascists blowing people up, but anytime you try to upset the applecart, even if what you're doing is ultimately going to make the world a safer place, if it requires people to man up and do the right thing, it is often met with resistance. That being said, Bush was and is not as hated worldwide as the leftists in our media and academia would have you believe. Just some food for thought.

  22. Personally, and here is just another way of looking at it...I think that by abandoning the people of Iran, who were trying to stage a legitimate protest against their totally fraudulent elections last summer, Obama communicated to the people of the world who desire freedom that America no longer stands for it.

    When Obama sided with Manuel Zelaya, the thug dictator of Honduras, instead of the duly appointed supreme court and senate there in Honduras regarding the election process, again, he sent a message that he is more willing to befriend tyrants than freemen. When he shakes the hand of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, smiling and yucking it up for the cameras, he telegraphs his comfortability with those of Chavez' ilk...tyrannical dictators.

    And when Obama, in front of the nation and anybody else in the world watching, directly challenges and condemns a decision of another co-equal branch of government when they can do nothing to respond, and then is cheered by members of his own party for doing so, he communicates to not only foreigners, but also to Americans, that he does not hold dear our institutions of government. He finds the separation of powers unpalatable. THAT to me, is far more harmful of our image abroad because THAT represents the undoing of America.

  23. Finally, SJ, I suppose I understand what you mean about war never being formally declared by Congress. But they certainly authorized military action. And Bush most certainly declared a war on terror.

    Lets just think about this, I will not presume that I know all the answers. A war on terror is unlike a conventional war because you have no nation state against whom you can declare war. Those who are captured on the battlefield do not count as prisoners of war because they are not wearing the uniform of their country.

    And even beyond that, terror is unlike traditional war because terror seeks to destroy for no other purpose. When Abdulmutallab strapped up some explosives to his willy and tried to kill 300 people or worse in an airplane, he was not fighting in defense of anything. He was waging holy jihad against infidels, otherwise known as crimes against humanity.

    This is another idea, just for some banging around the old noggin'. In our civilian courts, it must be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accused is guilty. There is a presumption of innocence.

    Terror is different. There can be NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that Abdulmutallab intended to kill all 300+ passengers. Same thing with Malik Hassan down in Fort Hood. He screamed Allahu Ackbar and started gunning people down. These are crimes so egregrious and so openly witnessed that to put them in US court, at least in my humble opinion, only serves to validate their ideals.

    Anyways, I still don't understand why we cannot, in your opinion, out of sheer prudence and in acting in our own best interest, use military tribunals as a means to effectively state the acts of terror and hand down a sentence. Our rights to due process and speedy trial by jury only extend to citizens of the US (which you so aptly pointed out includes only those people who are born here or become naturalized). We can still serve the Ideals of Enlightenment by offering scum like Hassan a hearing in a private tribunal, but I do not see the necessity of putting it in the US CIVILIAN court system.

    Especially regarding KSM and his band of loonies, that would be the show trial of the century and represent such an incredible terror target that NYC mayor Bloomberg requested over $200M per year to pay for security. Like I've asked before, it its the wrong thing to do, why not challenge Obama to be consistent with his handling of the situation instead of just constantly going after the Bush Administration?

  24. "A war on terror is unlike a conventional war because you have no nation state against whom you can declare war."

    According to whom? Congress can declare war on whatever they wish, including terrorists.

    FDR, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan also directly criticized the Supreme Court in State of the Union addresses, which also received partisan cheers and applause.

    The dollar's recovery under Bush was due to the global recession. As the global economy recovers, the dollar will fall. When the dollar was trading at historic lows in 2003, conservatives defended the actions of the President. Change parties in the White House and the defenders and attackers change only in who is doing the defending and the attacking.

    Stop blaming the media when what is true doesn't fit your world view.