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A sobering story from the Mid-East.
JERUSALEM — He can be impulsive. She has a touch of bossiness. Next-door neighbors for nearly a year, they talk, watch television and explore the world together, wandering into each other’s homes without a second thought. She likes his mother’s eggplant dish. He likes her father’s rice and lamb.
Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies. …
In fairness to the administration, they can hardly be blamed for the fact the Christmas bomber boarded an airplane in Holland. What is really beyond comprehension though, is granting to him an American’s full constitutional rights. Victoria Toensing writes on this for WSJ.
On the third day after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, President Barack Obama finally interrupted his Hawaiian vacation to announce that our government “will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable.” But how are we going to do that now that the terrorist is lawyered up and is even challenging what should be a legal gimme: giving the government a DNA sample?
It was not wise to try enemy combatants such as Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker in the 9/11 attacks, in our regular criminal courts. And it is unwise that Mr. Obama has decided to try some Guantanamo detainees in New York City. Never in our country’s history prior to 2001 have we done so, for good reason.
The constitutional protections designed to ensure a person is not wrongfully convicted have no relevance to wartime military needs. The argument that our system is strong enough to try a terrorist is a non sequitur. It equates to the argument that if a person is in excellent health, she can withstand being set ablaze. …
Charles Krauthammer says, “Mega Dittos.”
… The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator — no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.
The president said that this incident highlights “the nature of those who threaten our homeland.” But the president is constantly denying the nature of those who threaten our homeland. On Tuesday, he referred five times to Abdulmutallab (and his terrorist ilk) as “extremist[s].”
A man who shoots abortion doctors is an extremist. An eco-fanatic who torches logging sites is an extremist. Abdulmutallab is not one of these. He is a jihadist. And unlike the guys who shoot abortion doctors, jihadists have cells all over the world; they blow up trains in London, nightclubs in Bali and airplanes over Detroit (if they can); and are openly pledged to war on America.
Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy — jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon — turns laxity into a governing philosophy.
More of the same from Mark Steyn.
On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh?
But the Pantybomber wasn’t the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the TSA swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions.
Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses.
Um, the Panty bomber didn’t have a purse. He brought the bomb on board under his private parts, and his private parts weren’t part of his carry-on (although, if reports of injuries sustained in his failed mission are correct, they may well not have been part of his carry-off). But no matter. If in doubt, blame the victim. The TSA announced that for the last hour of the flight no passenger can use the toilets or have anything on his lap – not a laptop, not a blanket, not a stewardess, not even a paperback book. I can’t wait for the first lawsuit after an infidel flight attendant confiscates a litigious imam’s Koran as they’re coming into LAX.
You’re still free to read a paperback if you’re flying from Paris to Sydney, or Stockholm to Beijing, or Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow. But not to LAX or JFK. The TSA were responding as bonehead bureaucracies do: Don’t just stand there, do something. And every time the TSA does something, you’ll have to stand there, longer and longer, suffering ever more pointless indignities. …
David Harsanyi says we’re losing our freedoms, one piece of clothing at a time.
… A passenger may not, for instance, carry “Box Cutters” on a plane. “Axes/Ice Picks”? No. “Meat Cleavers”? No. “Sabers”? No. “Bows and Arrows”? No. How about “Hatchets”? Nope. Thankfully, someone at the TSA took the time to let everyone know that “Realistic Replicas of Explosives” are not permissible carry-on items.
A real explosive, like pentaerythritol tetranitrate, though, is a different story — although, apparently, it is only permissible if you’ve traveled to Republic of Yemen a couple of times and your father has alerted U.S. authorities that you may be a jihadist.
Janet Napolitano, the homeland security director, now says that the bombing attempt by this — thankfully — incompetent terrorist was a failure of the nation’s entire aviation security system. The president has ordered a full review of the situation.
But if someone like Abdulmutallab can circumvent security, why are you being shaken down over a shampoo bottle?
As Bob Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, recently wrote, this failure reflects the flawed thinking of aviation security policy, namely a fixation “on keeping bad things — as opposed to bad people — off of airplanes.” …
David Warren thinks this century might have started in the 1970′s.
… Not that even today we know everything that needs to be known about the 1970s; nor ever will, in this life. There is no journalist, and no historian, who can write in possession of “all the facts.”
Let us consider Watergate as a good, 1970s example of this. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we now know who did what to whom in the finest detail; and the fallout from it was always there for everyone to see. That Richard Nixon was brought down as president is an incontrovertible fact of history.
But to begin to understand the 1970s, we must further explain how this happened; must understand how a president who had almost certainly done fewer and lesser crooked tricky things behind the scenes than, say, the media-sainted John F. Kennedy — and who had certainly not stolen an election — could have been brought down.
I remember a “Bulletin de l’étranger” from Le Monde in those days — a perfectly leftist, anti-American paper with an indisputable abhorrence for Nixon — expressing an almost unconsciously amazed puzzlement at his resignation. To their “progressive” yet knowing view, no French president could ever have dreamed of resigning for such piddling offences, nor any French legislature dreamed that they could impeach him. What on earth was going on in America?
And then we had Gerald Ford as president. That was silly enough; but then we had Jimmy Carter. And through almost all of that decade, a prime minister up here named Pierre Trudeau. Believe it or not, these men were taken seriously. We can only begin to see what a strange era that was, only begin to appreciate the flakiness into which public life had descended, at this distance. …
Michael Barone says things are looking up in your economy … if you work for government.
It looks like a happy new year for you — if you’re a public employee.
That’s the takeaway from a recent Rasmussen poll that shows that 46 percent of government employees say the economy is getting better while just 31 percent say it’s getting worse. In contrast, 32 percent of those with private-sector jobs say the economy is getting better, while 49 percent it is getting worse.
Nearly half, 44 percent, of government employees rate their personal finances as good or excellent. Only 33 percent of private-sector employees do.
It sounds like public- and private-sector employees are looking at different Americas. And they are.
Private-sector employment peaked at 115.8 million in December 2007, when the recession officially began. It was down to 108.5 million last November. That’s a 6 percent decline.
Public-sector employment peaked at 22.6 million in August 2008. It fell a bit in 2009, then has rebounded back to 22.5 million in November. That’s less than a 1 percent decline. …