Posted: August 25, 2009
you can reach out to neighbors, show your support, and make certain your members
of Congress know that you're counting on them to act.
But these canvasses, town halls, and gatherings only make a difference if you turn up
to knock on doors, share your views, and show your support.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said in July that OFA has
"information to drop off about how the health care crisis affects your state (with the option of adding your personal story)" and "a step-by-step guide" for pushing health "reform" at district offices.
UK HEALTH SYSTEM: Babies born in hospital corridors: Bed shortage forces 4,000 mothers to give birth in lifts, offices and hospital toilets...
Man collapses with ruptured appendix... three weeks after NHS doctors 'took it out'..
GOP congressman blasts Holder probe: 'It's disgraceful... you wonder which side they're on'...
Obama Predicts Unemployment, Deficits Far Worse Than Previously Stated...
FT: Deficit fears put Obama's reforms in jeopardy...
WSJ: Dollar Steadily Losing Influence...
GALLUP: OBAMA HITS NEW LOW...
Obama wants to appoint his own 'whistleblowers'
Democrats push to give prez power over Federal Reserve
Obama wants to appoint his own 'whistleblowers'
Democrats push to give prez power over Federal Reserve
Posted: August 25, 2009
9:13 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
A bill sponsored by Democrats in Congress would make several
The inspectors general, or IGs, are independent investigators charged with rooting out government waste and fraud in their respective federal agencies. Roughly half of the watchdogs are already appointed by the president upon Senate confirmation, while the other half are appointed by agency chiefs.
An editorial published in the Washington Times over the weekend blasted the plan to convert five more IGs to presidential picks:
"Such a move would undermine independent oversight of large parts of the federal bureaucracy," the editorial stated. "These changes would only serve to further politicize these positions."
The editorial added, "Now is not a wise time to remove independent review of the government leviathan."
H.R. 885, known as the Improved Financial and Oversight and Accountability Act, would make five inspectors general – those overseeing the Federal Reserve, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Credit Union , the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation – presidential appointees.
Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., sponsored H.R. 885 earlier this year and was joined by 37 other representatives, most of whom are also Democrats. The bill has passed the and now awaits its companion legislation, S. 1354, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., to be passed through the Senate Committee on Homeland and Governmental Affairs.
The five people currently serving as the inspectors general in question fired off a letter last month
The Times reports Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who also sits on the Senate committee and is a long-time ardent supporter of the role of the independent investigators, is backing the concerned IGs and has placed a hold on the legislation.
Obama's controversial connection to IGs
Supporters of H.R. 885 have argued that IGs appointed by the president, rather than the agency heads, will enable the IGs to be more independent and capable of investigating the agencies. Furthermore, they've argued, there's no need to fear that presidential appointment will lead to undue politicization, since the watchdogs won't be investigating the White House.
The Times editorial, however, argues too many people in powerful positions beholden to the president undermines the independent spirit of the IG role:
"As appointees, IGs serve at the will of the president and investigate operations directed by other presidential appointees," the Times states. "Surely, at a time when the president and Congress are planning massive expansions in government power, some political leverage would be gained by further politicizing these ."
And as WND has reported, President Obama has already come under fire for allegedly canning an IG who crossed him politically.
Former Inspector General Gerald Walpin filed two reports exposing gross misappropriation of federal AmeriCorps funds by former basketball star Kevin Johnson, a prominent Barack Obama supporter, and was shortly thereafter fired by the White House, circumstances Walpin told WND are likely linked and others have called an outright illegal action by the administration.
"I will tell you that [my firing] came only after we had issued those two reports to Congress, and I don't think that's a coincidence," Walpin said. "I am convinced that I and my office are not guilty of any impropriety. In essence, I was fired for doing my ."
The Times editorial also picked up on the controversial firing of Walpin and its connection to granting the president even more power over the inspectors general:
"Mr. Obama's June firing of for National and Community Service Inspector General Gerald Walpin alone calls the plan into question," the Times said. "Full investigations of any problems related to ongoing efforts to increase financial-sector regulation and the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up the industry must be assured. Keeping the positions away from the assuredly political confirmation process can help ensure that this remains the case."
WEAPONS OF CHOICE
State prepares to challenge U.S. gun laws
'This is an issue where the federal government has no business'
Top Democrat fund-raiser for Obama, Hillary arrested
'Bundler' for candidates including John Kerry charged with bank fraud
FOR THE RECORD
our economic recovery
Steve Forbes: Obama-ites think prosperity is suspect, want to keep business in check
One would have
to go back to the 1930s or perhaps the 1970s to find an Administration as
hostile to economic innovation and growth as this one is. Franklin Roosevelt
clearly thought that the age of great industrial advancement was over and that
Even though most venture capital outfits are relatively small and rarely, if ever, use debt, the Treasury wants to apply a bewildering array of rules similar to those for investment advisors and banks. Thus, instead of focusing on funding the next potential Apple ( AAPL - news - people ), Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ) or Oracle, VCs will have to devote considerable time and resources to filling out disclosure and compliance forms. Treasury Chief Timothy Geithner's lame excuse is that since reform should cover the entire financial industry, leaving out venture capitalists would be a form of discrimination. Alas, there's more at work here than pigheaded logic.
Administration truly believes that the private sector is a destructive,
unguided missile that needs the constant and close supervision of
Thus, the capital gains tax will be increased next year by at least one-third, and the personal tax on dividends will probably be doubled. The Administration will do nothing to mitigate the toxicity of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was created in haste in 2002 to prevent corporate fraud and excesses. One harmful side effect of Sarbox is that it disproportionately hurts small businesses by burdening them with relatively huge accounting compliance costs and is therefore a barrier to smallish companies going public.
The Obama Administration's weak-dollar policy, inherited from
the Bush Administration, also inhibits productive, robust risk-taking. It's no
coincidence that when Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker
ended the Great Inflation of 1968--82 venture capital exploded, and Silicon
Valley took off like a rocket. The
But the Obama-ites think the prosperity of 1982--2007 is suspect
and that they must keep business entrepreneurial impulses firmly in check. Thus
the howls from VCs and entrepreneurs are music to
Not a pretty picture, is it?
The Obama Administration has successfully killed the fabulous
F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft. What a blunder. At a time when
The problem is--assuming the F-35 sees the light of day in a timely manner--that this aircraft simply doesn't do the job in air-to-air combat that the F-22 does, nor does it have the F22's ability to penetrate sophisticated defenses. The F-22 is stealthier and faster and has greater range and considerably more firepower than the F-35. No potential enemy will be able to match the F-22.
Moreover, the F-22 is already in production. We will have manufactured 187 before the assembly lines shut down. The original plan was to build 750 of these planes. Killing the F-22 is false economy. While we face no Soviet-style threat today, who's to say what enemy may emerge a decade or so from now? The F-35 can be used for other functions, such as close air support for ground troops. In short, we should produce both types of aircraft. After all, the F-35 won't be in full production for at least another seven years. Doesn't prudence dictate that we continue with what we already have, thereby achieving at least something resembling economies of scale?
And isn't it
officials and others take our superiority in the air for granted and thereby
conclude we don't need to make big investments on future weapons systems to
maintain that superiority. This is a classic mistake. There's a reason that
And going ahead with the F-22 shouldn't in any way block development and funding of unmanned vehicles, which are becoming more sophisticated and deadly. The world in which we live requires that we have strong military capabilities in all areas--conventional and unconventional.
New Deal or Raw
Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged
documents how FDR's major economic initiatives, such as the National Recovery
Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Act, severely retarded recovery.
He convincingly indicts FDR for morally corrupting the office of the President.
He shamelessly egged on the Justice Department to prosecute his political
opponents. Take Andrew Mellon: To
The IRS was
habitually used for the same purposes.
President Obama should take note: Roosevelt-like stimulus packages
and government intervention in the economy are counterproductive.
Magician-like, Franklin Roosevelt could win elections despite his miserable
economic performance, something Folsom examines in depth. But
August 25, 2009
New Budget Estimates Show Unsustainable Spending and Debt
The Office of Management and Budget
has released its annual mid-session review that updates the budget
projections from this past May. They show that this year,
Driven by this spending,
Bigger Government and Higher Taxes
· Since World War II, federal spending has generally remained between 18 and 22 percent of GDP. During the Bush Administration, spending increased from 18 to 21 percent of GDP. This year, President Obama will spend a peacetime-record 26 percent of GDP. Even by 2019, spending would still be 23 percent of GDP--not even counting the President's proposed health plan.
· The 22 percent spending increase projected for 2009 represents the largest government expansion since the 1952 height of the Korean War (adjusted for inflation). Federal spending is up 57 percent since 2001.
· While the costs of the financial bailouts and economic stimulus bills are staggering, they are only a fraction of the coming costs from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that each year Medicaid will expand by 7 percent, Medicare by 6 percent, and Social Security by 5 percent. These programs face a 75-year shortfall of $43 trillion--60 times greater than the gross cost of the $700 billion TARP financial bailout.
claims that "we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the
next decade." This is not true. The President first creates a fantasy
baseline that assumes the
· The President's budget figures exclude his health care plan, which could add another trillion dollars in taxes and spending.
· Tax revenues have historically remained between 17 and 19 percent of GDP. This year, the recession has reduced them to 14.7 percent of GDP. The CBO has estimated that once the recession ends, maintaining current tax policies would keep revenues at around 17.6 percent of GDP (slightly below the 18.3 historical average). President Obama's proposed tax increases would push revenues up to 19.2 percent of GDP by 2019 (not counting his proposed tax increases to finance health care reform).
Federal spending per household (adjusted
for inflation) remained constant at $21,000 throughout the 1980s and 1990s,
before President Bush hiked it to $25,000. In 2009,
· As the budget deficit increases over the next decade, so will net interest spending, from $173 billion (1.2 percent of GDP) in 2009 to a record-level of $774 billion (3.4 percent of GDP) by 2019. In fact, net interest costs will account for 84 percent of the 2019 budget deficit.
· President Obama's budget includes $1.4 trillion in tax increases, all of which would go toward new spending rather than deficit reduction.
The 2009 Budget Deficit
· Since World War II, the largest budget deficit recorded was 6.0 percent of GDP in 1983. The Bush Administration oversaw budget deficits averaging 2.0 percent of GDP. The projected 2009 budget deficit of 11.2 percent of GDP would nearly double the post-war record. The White House budget proposal would keep the budget deficit above 3.7 percent of GDP indefinitely. It has not reached that level since 1993.
· The mid-session review projects a $1,580 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2009. While this is $261 billion less than the White House projected in May, the entire reduction stems from Congress not following the President's call for another round of TARP (which would have cost $250 billion in outlays), and $101 billion in savings from lower-than-expected deposit insurance costs. Excluding those two variables, the projected budget deficit actually increased.
The 2009 budget deficit will be
larger than all budget deficits from 2002 through 2007 combined. More than 43
cents of every dollar
· While President Obama claims to have inherited the 2009 budget deficit, it is important to note that the estimated 2009 budget deficit has increased by $400 billion since his inauguration, and the whole point of the "stimulus" was to increase deficit spending to nearly $2 trillion based on the unproven notion that would it alleviate the recession. This suggests that even if the President had not inherited a big deficit, he would have created one as a matter of anti-recessionary policy.
Future Budget Deficits
· One would expect the post-recession deficit to revert back to the $150 billion to $350 billion budget deficits that were typical before the recession. Instead, by 2019, the President forecasts a $917 billion budget deficit, a public debt of 77 percent of GDP, and annual net interest spending of $774 billion.
· The White House projects $10.6 trillion in new deficits between 2009 and 2019--nearly $80,000 per household in new borrowing.
· Since World War II, the public debt has ranged from 23 percent of GDP to 49 percent. Large deficits are estimated to drive the debt ratio to 41 percent in 2008 and 77 percent by 2019--a peacetime record.
The public national debt--$5.8
trillion as of 2008--is projected to double by 2012 and nearly triple by
The White House brags that it will
cut the deficit in half by 2013. The President does not mention that the
deficit has nearly quadrupled this year. Merely cutting it half from
that bloated level would still leave budget deficits twice as high as under
President Bush. Furthermore, three upcoming developments--the end of the
recession, the troop pullout in
· The coming tsunami of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs are projected to push the federal public debt to 320 percent of GDP by 2050 and over 750 percent by 2083.
· The White House underestimates future budget deficits by trillions of dollars by (1) assuming that discretionary spending will be frozen to inflation for the next decade, (2) assuming that cap-and-trade revenues will be available to finance a Make Work Pay credit (the House-passed bill allocates those revenues elsewhere), (3) assuming health care reform will be deficit-neutral, and (4) assuming certain tax increases that are unlikely to be enacted.
· The White House also likely overestimates long-term economic growth. Its forecast for real GDP growth in 2010 and 2011 is reasonable but exceedingly optimistic after the economic recovery. The Administration forecast exceeds that of the CBO every year by as much as 0.9 percentage points as late as 2015 and by a cumulative 3.9 percentage points over the 2012-2019 period. In effect, the Administration is assuming a full year's additional growth over those eight years. The effect is to boost revenues significantly in each year and by as much as $160 billion in the 10th year and a cumulative amount of almost $680 billion.
Time to Stop Digging
The new budget spending estimates are
alarming and absolutely unsustainable--and are the true cause of these
appalling levels of deficit and debt. President Obama
has proposed massive tax increases that still cannot keep up with the
historic spending increases he has proposed. The result will be highest level
of spending--and debt--in American history. Within a decade,
In this budget context, the President's and Congress's brazen proposals to create a $1 trillion health care entitlement are reckless and unaffordable. Lawmakers should focus on capping federal spending, restraining entitlements, and eliminating wasteful and lower-priority programs.
Brian M. Riedl is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
The Congressional Budget Office has also released its annual update, showing 2009 estimates similar to the White House estimates.
Figures adjusted for inflation.
For more, see Brian M. Riedl, "The Obama Budget: Spending,
Taxes, and Doubling the National Debt," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder
No. 2249, March 16, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2249.cfm;
Brian M. Riedl, "A Guide to Fixing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2114, March 11, 2008, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2114.cfm.
noted, all 2009 budget data comes from Office of Management and Budget,
"Mid-Session Review: Budget of the U.S. Government: 2010," August
25, 2009, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/
Congressional Budget Office "The Long-Term Budget Outlook," June 2009, p. 6, at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10297/06-25-LTBO.pdf (August 25, 2009). This represents the alternative fiscal scenario.
Defending mounting job losses despite his administration’s $787 billion stimulus package, Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News George Stephanopoulos last month: “The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there.” This is just not true. Yesterday the White House released their Mid-Session Review admitting that President Barack Obama’s policies would force our nation to borrow more than $9 trillion over the next ten years.
Commenting on the gap between the new $9 trillion number and the $7 trillion number the Office of Management and Budget used to sell President Obama’s budget to Congress, the Washington Post reports:
The extra $1.9 trillion in red ink mainly reflects the Office of Management and Budget’s adoption of more realistic — that is, more pessimistic — estimates of economic growth and unemployment. White House officials protest that their original, rosier numbers made sense at the time; actually, plenty of forecasters, including those at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, made more accurate calls. This situation was foreseeable and should have been acknowledged earlier.
While it is good that the Obama administration is finally admitting that the fundamental assumptions driving their economic policy were wrong, the reality of our current budget deficit, and what President Obama’s policies threaten to do to our national debt over the next decade, are truly sobering. Heritage senior policy analyst Brian Riedl details the carnage:
And now for the real kicker: none of these numbers include the costs of Obamacare which would create another $1.5 trillion health care entitlement on top of our existing unsustainable entitlement obligations. The OMB’s Mid-Session Review should serve as a wake up call to the American people. President Obama’s policies are leading us down a path of unsustainable spending and borrowing.
There is another choice. Not all future
spending is inevitable. In the 1980s and 1990s,
In June of 2008, while campaigning for the election of President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder promised the leftist American Constitutional Society: “We owe the American people a reckoning.” Yesterday, Holder escalated his “reckoning” campaign by appointing a prosecutor to re-investigate nearly a dozen CIA interrogators and contractors alleged to have abused detainees in 2002 and 2003. This is nothing more than an all out war on the CIA by the left at a time when the President desperately needs to shore up trust with his base in the face of his declining poll numbers.
Already the White House is at pains to create the perception of distance
between Holder’s announcement and President Obama’s
wishes. Deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters from
No New Information: Depending on where you get your news you may hear today that Holder’s decision is based on “new details” about the CIA interrogation program. This is false. While the release of the 2004 CIA inspector general report has exposed some new information to the public, Holder read the report months ago. Both the Department of Justice and the leadership of the Congressional intelligence committees have had the full report since 2004, and the full committees have had the report since 2006. The only thing that has changed since both DOJ and Congress received the full report is the 2008 presidential election.
Career Justice Lawyers Already Investigated: Not only has the Department of Justice been in possession of CIA IG report since 2004, but the DOJ’s career, not political, prosecutors have already examined that document and other incidents from Iraq and Afghanistan for legal accountability. CIA Director, and former President Clinton Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta assured CIA employees yesterday that the DOJ’s career prosecutors “worked carefully and thoroughly, sometimes taking years to decide if prosecution was warranted or not. In one case, the Department obtained a criminal conviction of a CIA contractor. In other instances, after Justice chose not to pursue action in court, the Agency took disciplinary steps of its own.”
Program Worked: From the 2004 CIA IG report: “The detention of terrorists has prevented them from engaging in further terrorist activity, and their interrogation has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists, warned of terrorists plots planned for the United States and around the world, and supported articles frequently used in the finished intelligence publications for senior policymakers and war fighters. In this regard, there is no doubt that the Program has been effective.”
A Politically Motivated Re-Investigation Can Only Harm National
Security: In yesterday’s Washington
Post, CIA General Counsel under the Clinton administration Jeffrey Smith
explains how Holder’s reopened investigation harms our national security:
“Prosecutions would set the dangerous precedent that criminal law can be used
to settle policy differences at the expense of career officers. … Prosecuting
CIA officers risks chilling current intelligence operations. … their colleagues will become reluctant to take risks. What
confidence will they have when their senior officers say not to worry, “this
has been authorized by the president and approved by Justice”? … Prosecutions
could deter cooperation with other nations. It is critical that we have the
close cooperation of intelligence services around the world. … The key to this
cooperation is the ability of the
New Interrogation Guidelines Inadequate To Protect Nation: Yesterday the Obama administration also announced that their own new program for future interrogations would be controlled by the Army Field Manual. A senior administration official tells Politico, “The practices and techniques within the Army Field Manual are currently used by law enforcement and provide adequate and effective means of conducting such interrogations.” This is just not true. Across the country law enforcement official are allowed to lie to witnesses all the time in order to extract a confession. Under the Obama administration’s new guidelines we could only tell al Qaeda the truth.
It is no accident that the
A CIA Special Prosecutor: A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing
Given President Obama's stated desire to look forward, not backward, with respect to interrogation policy and practice, news reports that Attorney General Holder is seriously considering appointing a special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against some CIA interrogators raise a host of questions and concerns. But the answer to the most important question--whether Holder should appoint a special prosecutor--is not even debatable: Holder most definitely should not appoint a special prosecutor, even assuming a criminal investigation is warranted.
Special Prosecutor: The Wrong Choice
Assuming there are grounds to investigate whether individual CIA interrogators exceeded the scope of their instructions and legal guidance, there are several reasons why the appointment of a "special prosecutor" with power to bring criminal charges is the wrong means to investigate, prosecute, or bring about policy changes.
First, the activities of a special prosecutor are likely to be duplicative of congressional and potential criminal investigations already in progress--and this is particularly true if the goal is investigation and fact-finding. For example, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an investigation into the destruction of videotapes of CIA interrogations of a handful of high value detainees, an investigation that is still being undertaken by veteran federal prosecutor John Durham. Additionally, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into all aspects of the CIA's interrogation and detention program.
There is every reason to expect that a non-criminal, congressional investigation (that granted immunity from prosecution) would uncover more information--even if it were a classified investigation. If the purpose of such an investigation were to really uncover facts on which to base future policy, this would be the obvious choice. Of course, there is always the danger that such an inquiry, conducted by politicians, would itself devolve into a political quagmire. But judging from publicly available information, the investigation currently being conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which set out to study the CIA's detention and interrogation program, suggests that such an inquiry can be conducted in a fair manner, all the while protecting sensitive national security matters. The only "disadvantage" to the Senate Committee, or any other congressional committee, providing adequate safeguards to protect means, methods, and other classified materials is that the bloodthirsty partisans most likely would not have scalps to dangle before the mob.
The duplication of efforts raises issues beyond the non-trivial expenditure of money and prosecutorial time. Both of the pending investigations require the CIA to cooperate with the inquiries and have necessarily caused disruptions to the ability of the intelligence community to carry out its lawful mission. Any additional investigation must take into account the costs--both to the public fisc and to scarce intelligence resources--in conducting a sweeping investigation. Prosecutors answerable directly to the Attorney General are usually more restrained in their activities than independent prosecutors, who operate with built-in incentives to extend investigations with less concern as to legitimate government interests in, for example, privilege and to spend whatever resources necessary to bring about some prosecution and thereby justify their positions. By contrast, the Attorney General, who coordinates with the intelligence agencies about current intelligence gathering operations, is in a better position to assess claims and make decisions regarding the negative impact of an investigation on current and future operations and has to balance the resource allocation associated with this one prosecution against other departmental priorities. The Attorney General's supervision is therefore a requisite check to assure that the government's interests--not just in terms of the investigation and resource allocation but in continued intelligence operations--are vindicated.
"This Wolf Comes as a Wolf"
Second, there is no good reason why the Holder Justice Department could not conduct the investigation at Main Justice with senior prosecutors who report to him through the normal chain of command. The ordinary justifications for utilizing a special prosecutor--that an investigation would be or would have the appearance of being compromised by virtue of the targets of the investigation holding critical offices in the Administration or that there is a substantial conflict of interest--simply do not apply to the current investigation of acts committed in a prior Administration. Although Holder might try to argue that an investigation of prior Administration practices would raise issues of bias, such a theory is undermined by the fact that reports of the potential investigation suggest that it would evaluate individual, front-line CIA interrogators as to whether they exceeded the official policy of the prior Administration. Any conflict claims therefore seem tenuous at best.
The opposite concern is far greater as Justice Antonin Scalia prophetically warned in his dissent in Morrison v. Olson (1988). In questioning the constitutionality of the former (now expired) independent counsel law, he wryly observed that some questionable practices "come before the Court clad, so to speak, in sheep's clothing." The practice of appointing independent counsels was not such an instance: "This wolf comes as a wolf."
Although the "independent counsels" under the expired statute were admittedly worse than special counsels in constitutional dimensions, Scalia's dissent is worth careful review because the dangers of insulating prosecutors from the Attorney General's control are strikingly similar. His dissent is a chilling reminder of how such an Ahab-like prosecutor has none of the institutional constraints or perspective of a normal prosecutor and all the wrong incentives to become the instruments of tyranny. That some independent counsel exercised proper control is much more a testament of their restraint and is the exception that proves the rule.
Highly Sensitive Information at Stake
Third, before commencing any criminal investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) must give due consideration to any and all inevitable defenses that are likely to be asserted by individuals involved in the CIA interrogation and detention program. CIA interrogators are likely to raise certain defenses or seek the introduction of certain evidence that may require the government to consider invoking the States Secret doctrine or executive privilege. For example, it is difficult to demonstrate that an action transgressed applicable policies and orders without knowing what those very specific policies and orders are. In addition to the instructions and legal standards that the government will assert existed, the defendant may seek wide-ranging discovery to prove that other orders, instructions, or legal standards existed that somehow re-defined or countermanded those that the government asserts were controlling.
The collection and introduction of this evidence raises serious questions about whether and how the government should reveal this highly sensitive information. The questions of how to safeguard classified intelligence information is one that the Attorney General will have to make, and therefore it is better that any investigation, if warranted, be carried out by those more directly accountable to him. This also has the virtue of assuring that decisions made have an element of political accountability--the President and the Attorney General should not be able to pass the buck on these sensitive questions, claiming that the scope and course of the investigation are somehow governed by a non-politically accountable special prosecutor.
A Partisan Pandora's Box
Fourth, there are prudential concerns that arise if the investigation turns into or is perceived in the intelligence services as constituting a "witch hunt." This would have corrosive effects on the morale and willingness of front-line interrogators and other intelligence officers to serve in the future--effects that President Obama tried to avoid when he spoke at CIA headquarters last spring, when he seemed to indicate that he would protect those who conducted the interrogations from post-hoc investigations. These are serious issues that would extend to agencies beyond the CIA and should be considered again in more detail.
It is also important to briefly note the legitimate concerns by both liberals and conservatives that the criminalization of policy differences that such investigation heralds will further inflame partisan battle lines and prevent progress on a host of issues, including the conduct of the current wars and the detention and trials of unprivileged belligerents. President Obama's senior advisers, who themselves will one day be former Administration officials, have reason to share this concern even if the hard-core, anti-war left agitates continuously to see former military and CIA officials in prison jumpsuits.
Yet some partisans in DOJ may cynically see the "special prosecutor" or a similar appointment as a means of having it both ways: in short, a way to please the anti-war base while sparing the Administration the consequences of doing so. The opposite is more likely. Such an appointment would have the negative consequences reasonable people fear, and the blame would also fall on the Administration for inflaming partisan infighting and damage to current and future Obama Administration officers and employees. The only difference would be that it would be much harder for the Obama Justice Department to contain the damage once a special prosecutor process is set in motion.
A Narrow and Focused Investigation
Any criminal investigation of individuals
associated with the CIA detention and interrogation program must be conducted
in a politically accountable, transparent fashion. The Attorney General must
be the one who personally authorizes any criminal investigation and
subsequent trial. He, with the President, must also bear the responsibility
for any direct or collateral results of such an investigation. Additionally,
the Attorney General should be directly responsible for any negative impact
such an investigation and trial will have on the intelligence community and
the willingness of that community to carry out all lawful acts in support of
If the Attorney General decides, in the exercise of sound prosecutorial discretion and with due concern for legitimate, national security concerns, that a criminal investigation is warranted, he should reject the appointment of a "special prosecutor." History has shown that special prosecutors are unaccountable and often widen the scope of their initial charge well past that contemplated by anyone. Rather, the Attorney General should appoint an experienced career prosecutor currently working for the DOJ who will report directly to the Attorney General at all critical stages of the investigation and whose scope of investigation is narrow and carefully focused.
The Swine Flu Hoax
Exposed. Article by Andrew Bosworth.
Here we come, says Martin Nemko.
by Marty Nemko
Obama administration admitted today that the federal debt will, over the next decade, grow wildly larger than it had previously said – so much for a recovery. Now the estimate is $9 trillion!
And that doesn't count the $1.0 to $1.6 trillion Congress is contemplating spending on ObamaCare.
Nor does it count the massive additional new spending Obama has promised; for example, legalizing the 13–20 million illegals, who will thereby become eligible for ObamaCare, increasing the debt further.
And Obama is considering "Stimulus" 2. For our trillion dollars, "Stimulus" 1 has resulted in increasing unemployment and increasing debt, yet he contemplates Son of Stimulus.
And federal spending is accelerating?! Will we, not to mention, our children, and grandchildren, suffer profoundly from our profligacy?
Government programs (yes, Republican-initiated programs, for example, the Bush bailouts and the Iraq War, are equally at fault) are usually terribly inefficient. Think Amtrak, the Postal "Service," the public schools, the nearly bankrupt Social Security and Medicare, the Bailouts, $75 hammers, the Bridge to Nowhere.
Many government programs are actually negative in effect. Consider, for example, Cash for Clunkers: dangling taxpayer dollars in front of people poor enough to own bad-gas-mileage clunkers so they can go deeply in debt to buy a new car (80% of which have been foreign, by the way). And of course, dumping all those cars and their toxic components and fluids into landfills is an environmental disaster. Plus, car dealers are screaming that they have laid out the $4,500 per car to customers and often have not yet been paid by the government, thereby killing their cash flow, a business's lifeblood. The government can't even write a promised check in a timely manner and they want to run a "public option" health care system?
An individual and especially a nation in debt is at-risk. A nation that has assumed unprecedentedly, incomprehensibly mammoth debt is doomed. Even Keynes did not imagine this magnitude of government spending. To pay for its metastasizing number and scope of programs and interest on its soon-to-be $9 trillion debt, the government will, unchecked, continue to raise taxes and print ever more money, thereby decreasing the value of our life's savings and purchasing power.
As a result, American workers will likely end up joining most of the world's workers in earning a net $1 an hour. According to the Center for Fiscal Responsibility, we already work into August just to meet all the costs imposed by government. Does anyone really think we get fair value for the government's taking over half our money from us each year?
Our only hope is for us to demand that the government return most of our tax dollars to us and for government to live within its then more modest means: scale down so it can balance its budget and pay down its debt. Anything else leads us to economic Armageddon.