Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

The Real State of the Union: Beyond Bankrupt

28.01.2010 (9:25 pm) – Filed under: Finance,Politics,Transportation ::

All the twitter about President Obama’s sneak attack on the Supreme Court and Justice Alito’s silent rejection of it masked the real news of the day: Our nation is beyond bankrupt and Democrats are committed to making matters worse by increasing the debt ceiling another 15% to $14T.  For those who have trouble visualizing the scope of the disaster Presidents Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama have created for our children, that’s $14,300,000,000,000.

“Where did the money go?” would be a pertinent question to ask at this juncture, as would “When will these so-called leaders stop mortgaging the nation’s future?”.  Sadly, neither of these seem to be on the minds of Congressmen/women these days.

Republicans criticized Democrats for passing a massive increase, arguing that a smaller increase would have been more responsible.

Coming from the “conservative” party, this criticism is as weak as ice tea left out in the sun on a hot July afternoon.  What’s happened to the ideas of reducing the deficit and balancing the budget?  Fiscal responsibility isn’t sexy and so lacks appeal to those more interested in keeping their cushy positions than in righting a ship that’s taking on water. 

Still, at least one Republican has a sense of humor about the joke Democrats have played on us all by pretending the measure is one of economic soundness:

"It’s like the drunken sailor asking to have the bar open all night," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

President Obama didn’t take long to prove Gregg, who turned down a cabinet position last year, right by announcing an $8 billion dollar plan to create high-speed rail systems in several states, most of which are Democratic strongholds.  Texas, which has long eyed commuter rail links between its 4 major cities, was essentially ignored by the president’s plan, such as it is:

None of these cash amounts will actually be enough to build the lines, of course. And things get messier as you go further down the list. The Northeast Corridor, for instance — where the utility of trains is already well proven and a high-speed line from Washington to Boston would generate tremendous excitement — only gets $112 million, while the car-dominated state of Texas receives a mere $4 million.

How inspiring.  I’m old enough to remember the series of government handouts that kept Amtrak running long after economics dictated its failure.  There’s no reason to think that these projects, underfunded and doomed to cost billions more than the president dares ask for, will be any more successful.

Drunken sailor’s night out indeed.

Football as a Metaphor Starring the N.Y. Jets

21.01.2010 (8:29 pm) – Filed under: National Security,Sports ::

The irony of this week’s AFC championship game is not lost on any football fan: Had the Indianapolis Colts had the moral fiber to give a decent effort in week 15 of the NFL season, the New York Jets would be watching this week’s big game at home instead of playing in it against the Colts. Now Peyton Manning and Co. must play the most dangerous team in football. Goes to prove that you should always give 100% and play the game straight. Indy got cute and may well get screwed.

The Jets aren’t a particularly skilled team, but they are an effective one that makes the most out of what talent they have. They are also a brutal opponent that grinds down better teams while waiting for a mistake they can capitalize on. As the Bengals and Chargers discovered, they win through naked animal force, not finesse or skill.

Conversely, the Colts are everything we admire in a football team. They have a charismatic, popular quarterback who is one of the best of all-time and still at the peak of an excellent career. They score touchdowns in bunches, mostly through the air, and look like a well-oiled machine on offense, a machine that cuts through defenses like they weren’t there.

Consider that football, like ideological warfare, is a blood sport. The Colts are the United States in this analogy, their free-flowing, explosive offense akin to the competitive, complex engine of the American economy. They are, beyond a doubt, the best offensive football team to have played the game over a period of several years. Only one thing has ever been their undoing – their failure to remember that they have to defend themselves against less-skilled but equally determined opponents.

Their opposition, the green-shirted Jets, represent the forces of might-makes-right fascism. Lacking the ability to compete with their betters, the Jets will bully, beat down, and do their best to utterly brutalize the Colts in an attempt to steal what they could never win in a straight-up game.

A comparison to the problem America faced in the violent, repressive Soviet Union during the Cold War would not be amiss. No aspect of Soviet life was comparable to its equivalent in the U.S. America was socially, economically, and culturally superior in every way to Russia and her enslaved satellites. Only in the realm of military force could the Soviets compete with us and compete they did, pressing us hard for two decades before the effects of their inferior economy – the very aspect of Communist life that was supposed to set them free – made it impossible for the Russians to keep up. The death of the free world was rather narrowly averted, primarily thanks to the offensive firepower of our free market economy.

In 2010, a new sort of fascism threatens the free world in the form of Islamic terrorism. Like the Indianapolis Colts, the U.S. must defend itself vigorously against an unskilled, brutal enemy that could never defeat us in a fair fight, whether the arena is military, economic, or cultural in kind. Do we have the resolve to fight to preserve our way of life? Or will the thuggish killers who despoil their own religion wear us down in the long game of asymmetric warfare? Public opinion poll after poll suggests we lack the will to defeat such an enemy.

Scoff if you will, but demographics and determination, two very important factors in a long-term struggle, are on the side of the terrorists and those mainstream Muslims on whose tacit support they depend. Unlike the Soviets, the jihadists from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan actually believe in the vile doctrine they espouse publicly, a fact that makes them infinitely more dangerous, man for man, than the Russians ever were.

To claim victory for future generations of Americans we have to play both sides of the ball. This means fielding a strong defense in the form of a military able to match terrorists cut for cut. We also have to continue to play offense using our economy as an engine of wealth – and choice – generation. Realize that this cannot happen while taking on excessive amounts of debt by borrowing largely from our competitors and enemies. Nor can we afford expensive government programs like President Obama’s about-to-fail health care plan that sap the life from our economy. Personal freedom has always driven our success and now is no time to give in, whether to those who believe that we cannot be trusted to care for ourselves or to those who wish us harm simply because of our desire to be free of the oppression they so desperately prefer.

In football as in life the choice is clear. Go Colts!

Obama’s biggest failure in 1st…

21.01.2010 (9:41 am) – Filed under: My Tweets ::

Obama’s biggest failure in 1st year is his rejection of reality. Americans don’t want to be told how it’s gonna be. We do the telling here.

Words of Wisdom: Environmentalist Grandstanding

21.01.2010 (9:37 am) – Filed under: Environment ::

Jason Avark writes:

The current state of environmentalism seems a form of moral preening — a very self-promotional way for “green” adherents to publicly display their moral superiority and, more the to point, gain political and social power by doing so. By characterizing themselves as “self-less”, environmentalists gain for themselves a wide-ranging exemption from criticism and dissent and also gain for themselves a political advantage to demand policies that advance their political power and personal careers apace.

Indeed. Green is the new pink was the new black and so on. Embracing radical environmentalism is a cheap way to gain acceptance into the cool, new, edgy crowd that sadly is little more than the same old wanna-be’s.

Real environmentalism is not unlike true charity – unsung and unrewarded, but done simply because the doer values the act more than that which is given up.

The Key Difference in the U.S. Response in New Orleans and Haiti

18.01.2010 (10:53 am) – Filed under: General News ::

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was a disaster area. Despite the fact that the dangers of a large hurricane scenario were well-known to everyone from inhabitants to government officials, nothing seemed to go right in the response to the severe flooding that, as predicted, followed landfall. Now residents of Haiti are hurting after an even more destructive natural disaster, a 7.0 earthquake that leveled many of the island nation’s buildings and destroyed much of its infrastructure. President Obama immediately promised American aid. How will the U.S. response differ from that of New Orleans?

The primary difference between the two response scenarios is that President Obama’s immediate reaction to the earthquake in Haiti was to mobilize the U.S. military, the one branch of government that, if given the latitude to execute its responsibilities, can and will efficiently carry out a plan and see it through to a successful conclusion.

Pentagon officials say that more than 10,000 U.S. troops will be in or near Haiti by Monday, alongside hundreds of civilian officials from U.S. federal and local governments. Denis McDonough, the National Security Council’s chief of staff, told reporters that the military had helped fly in 106 medical personnel from the Department of Health and Human Services, with a second team en route.

Obviously disaster response is not the primary purpose of the U.S. armed forces. As a non-vet I have little insight into how much/little training the troops being sent have in terms of what they’ll see when they get there en masse. But I’m confident that their ability to respond will be greater and faster than that of any other group that could be sent.

Certainly both the state and federal governments’ actions in the New Orleans crisis were sadly inadequate. Frankly speaking, the Bush administration expected too much competency out of state officials, some of whom elected to lay down on the job and effectively go on strike for political reasons.

But the FEMA organization was also incompetent to deal with the situation on the ground. Government bureaucrats cannot be expected to deal with emergency situations because they are inherently geared toward least-cost, least-effort solutions like the one we ultimately saw take shape in New Orleans.

It’s difficult to understand why we were not more prepared for a disaster of epic proportions in that city given everything that was known about its dangerous situation. And the risk was known, and predicted, years in advance of Katrina. But non-military elements of governments do not prepare well for improbable possibilities and we saw the result in New Orleans. Unfortunately, this is what we can expect as the rule so long as rescue and recovery operations are left in civilian hands. But can you imagine the outrage that would have come from the left if President Bush had attempted to make New Orleans a military response?

Haiti, on the other hand, will be tended to by an elite organization with a command-and-control hierarchy that’s well-oiled and practiced in responding to stressful, unexpected situations with insufficient time to prepare and less-than-desired amounts of resources. The people of Haiti will be well-served by our men and women in uniform.

Even so, there is a great need for resources in Haiti that cannot – and should not – be met entirely by the U.S. government. There are many ways to donate to relief efforts taking place in Haiti. Please choose one and make a donation, even if it is a small one. For what it’s worth, being familiar with Joe White’s work, I chose to give to his Kanakuk Ministries instead of one of the major aid organizations.

Cass Sunstein, Obama Confidant, Supreme Court Possibility, Repressionist

16.01.2010 (9:33 am) – Filed under: Politics,Privacy ::

I frequently don’t see eye-to-eye with Glenn Greenwald, but his latest post about Cass Sunstein, a close confidant of President Obama and current head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is a must-read given the talk that Sunstein could become a Supreme Court nominee should another opening present itself to the president.

Glenn writes that, in 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein wrote a paper that:

advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups."  He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging

Because, says Sunstein, such powers are warranted only when wielded by truly well-intentioned government officials who want to spread The Truth and Do Good — i.e., when used by people like Cass Sunstein and Barack Obama

But it’s precisely because the Government is so often not "well-motivated" that such powers are so dangerous.  Advocating them on the ground that "we will use them well" is every authoritarian’s claim.  More than anything else, this is the toxic mentality that consumes our political culture:  when our side does X, X is Good, because we’re Good and are working for Good outcomes. That was what led hordes of Bush followers to endorse the same large-government surveillance programs they long claimed to oppose

I’ll stop with these snippets, but there’s a lot more in Greenwald’s article that deserves to be read in its entirety, so read it all.

Ask yourself, is planting propaganda-spouting stooges and administration spies into American media and discussion groups an appropriate role for the government? Clearly not.

As I discussed previously, American voters have a deep yearning to be led by people with principles, principles that must be derived from the powers invested in government by the Constitution, whatever the party of the representative. In too many cases we are not getting that now. Significantly, the trend line is not on the upswing despite the new president’s campaign trail rhetoric.

Based on his own writings and beliefs, Cass Sunstein cannot be allowed to be part of any government that even pretends to be operating above boards. He is, if anything, the archetype of a man who should not be allowed to hold power in any form, let alone occupy a position on the nation’s highest court.

Poll: Americans Want Politicians With Principles

14.01.2010 (11:54 pm) – Filed under: Liberalism,Politics ::

Matt Corley of the ultra-liberal Think Progress blog was kind enough to bring this Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll into the news today in which 51% of Americans say they want politicians to “Make a stronger effort to stand up for principle, even if that risks increasing conflict with members of the opposing political party.”

Clearly Matt’s implication is that voters’ wish for more principled government demands left-of-center solidarity in Congress, thereby forcing moderates to approve the health care boondoggle liberals threatened the nation with lo these many months. But is that what American voters are really saying?

I refuse to believe it. The flaw in Corley’s interpretation of the poll is that he, like so many leftists, fails to understand the basic conflict between the liberal value system and the core principle on which this country was based.

(Reader, if you consider yourself a liberal there’s a good chance you’re angry right now and on the verge of dismissing this article with a click of your mouse, if it’s not already too late. But in the interest of truth – which should be our most pressing interest at all times in life – please don’t go. Not yet.)

You see, the bare-bones belief that is the skeleton on which modern liberalism has grown plainly says that it is both acceptable and desirable for the government, when run by the right sort of people (that is, the left), to forcibly take that which belongs to one person and give it to another – if doing so suits liberal purposes. That is liberalism at its most basic level, a philosophy of life based on the ethics of Robin Hood.

That this credo has taken control of this nation is a travesty of justice and wholly against principle. The American middle class is no Sheriff of Nottingham and our well-to-do no treasonous Prince John in need of a thrashing.

The United States was founded on the principles of liberty, private property, and individual initiative and responsibility. Nothing less could have tamed this continent. Nothing less could have won two European wars. And nothing less could have stared down the despicable Soviet regime that ravaged Russia and Eastern Europe for decades, killing tens of millions inside its collectivist realm.

Moreover, these feats were not accomplished by the milquetoasts on the left but rather by the patriots who understood that the principles defined in the Constitution were worth shedding blood for. Foremost among those principles is that which is earned by and belongs to a man is his property, of which he is not to be deprived.

If Americans truly want to be governed by leaders who understand the basic principles of this land and who make laws accordingly, I say “Bring it on!”, because such an electoral result would truly bring the change that we’ve been waiting for. Not the change of Barack Obama, which is more of what’s wrong with the mob-rule leftist mentality, but the change of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, men who understood that government is by its nature the oppressor of its citizens unless continually constrained by respect for their rights.

Responding to Terrorism Requires a Tough Attitude, Long-Term Perspective

10.01.2010 (9:12 pm) – Filed under: National Security,Terrorism ::

In the aftermath of the failed Christmas-day attempt to bring a Northwest Airlines flight down, David Broder says that 9/11 was a call to duty to President Bush and 12/25 could trigger the same response in President Obama and help him change his approach to dealing with terrorism. For the sake of Americans everywhere, let’s hope so.

The Christmas plot appears to have shaken Obama like nothing else that happened in his first year.

When he allowed the White House to quote his warning to his Cabinet colleagues that another “screw-up” like that could not be tolerated, he seemed to signal his benign leadership style had reached its limits.

Many have been looking for a similar shift of tone in his dealings with the dictators in Iran and North Korea and even in his tolerance for the politics-as-usual maneuverings of many Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.

Hopefully the president will have the courage to admit that his softer approach to dealing with terrorists was doomed to fail from the beginning. That’s not easy to do in American politics, so if he does take that nearly unprecedented step I hope that Republicans will rise above the temptation to dwell on “I told you so” and get down to the business of punching terrorists in the teeth.

One cannot fault the president too much over the latest incident. Yes, it’s his ultimately responsibility, but putting politics aside, what would another president have done differently in the absence of specific information?

Adbulmutallab’s name was one in about 550,000 of an intelligence database of people with suspected terrorist ties. There was not enough information about Abdulmutallab’s nexus to terrorism to get him onto a subset of the list where he would have been flagged in initial screening. An even stricter “no-fly” list contains about 3,400 names.

Likely nothing, though the intelligence services with direct access to information obviously erred by not giving appropriate credence to Adbulmutallab’s father’s warning about his son’s radicalization. Rather than dwell on this failure, it’s more important to move ahead with needed changes in our approach to border security.

First, there’s no reason for any of the 550,000 known associates of terrorists to be allowed into the United States. Harsh? Perhaps. Discriminatory, I certainly hope so. The fact is that these people, taken as a group, have nothing to offer America. Why would we allow them to travel here, ever?

Taking the next logical step, in the absence of special skills or capabilities, it’s a dubious proposition to allow any immigration to take place from countries that harbor and sponsor terrorism. That’s particularly true of young males, who have been documented to be the culprits behind most home-grown terrorist plots. The same is certainly true of foreign-born terrorists as well, particularly given women’s subservient role in the cultures that tend to breed terrorism.

Our screening process, in other words, needs to reflect the actual dangers in play, even when the necessary responses impact selected groups of individuals disproportionately. As unfair as that may seem, our standards are our own to determine and our immigration policy likewise.

One thing that should be immediately stopped are the “diversity visas” that the State Department is giving out to people from “countries that typically see low levels of immigration to the U.S.” While this isn’t necessarily a disqualifying attribute, it’s quite droll to note that on the list are “all four countries the U.S considers state sponsors of terror — Iran, Sudan, Cuba, and Syria — and 13 of the 14 nations that are coming under special monitoring from the Transportation Security Administration as founts of terrorism.” Seems obvious that these are the last places we want to be recruiting immigrants from in the absence of a rigorous screening process that includes criteria for terrorist ties and the applicant’s true value to America.

Some may quiver over such deliberate discrimination on the part of our government, but making choices about who can come to this country is, after all, one of the responsibilities immigration authorities must shoulder. More importantly, it’s vitally important that we do so in order to insulate ourselves from needless dangers that exist overseas. Such decisions are not easy to make; however, they are entirely legal and within the purview of the Constitution.

In his letter to the Houston Chronicle on this subject, Jim Proctor had this to say:

The values stated in our Declaration of Independence are vitally important to us as a free country. However, how this country responds to challenges to our independence and the liberties we have through our Constitution, is who we are today. What keeps this nation strong is not the documents in the National Archives but the lengths we are willing to go to defend the promises in them.

Indeed. As a forty-something year-old man, I admit to having some interest in how the religious/cultural war that’s being waged against us unfolds. But it’s far more important to me in terms of how it will impact my children and grandchildren than for myself. Our succeeding generations deserve to receive the best version of America that we can given them and that means one whose Constitution is still observed and whose national security has not been compromised.

This may require some unpleasantness, just as America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union did. For example, see Charles Krauthammer’s explanation of why Guantanamo should stay in business:

This is a fanatical religious sect dedicated to establishing the most oppressive medieval theocracy and therefore committed to unending war with America not just because it is infidel but because it represents modernity with its individual liberty, social equality (especially for women) and profound tolerance (religious, sexual, philosophical). You going to change that by evacuating Guantanamo?

The prison for captured terrorists at Guantanamo Bay is one of the least significant aspects of the War on Terror. The amount of resources devoted to this issue completely dwarfs its importance in the grand scheme of things and should be redirected to other, more important issues.

Understand that there is a mistaken idea that many, many Americans – and American leaders – hold, namely that if we stop doing things they don’t like and retreat to our borders that the terrorists abroad will leave us alone. But that naive world-view completely overlooks – deliberately, IMO – the fact that Islamic terrorism is and will continue to be directed at the United States as long as it exists.

The 12/25 attack was not the last of its kind and it’s foolish to believe it will be. We must react accordingly if we’re to leave an America our children deserve to inherit behind.

Unlike Other Spending, President’s Teacher Program Too Small

09.01.2010 (9:30 am) – Filed under: Education ::

Since taking office just under a year ago, President Obama and the Democrats have tripled the already obscene budget deficit by spending $500 billion on their “stimulus” program, dollars that, in typical federal government fashion, were spent with remarkable inefficiency.

Now comes word of a new initiative sponsored by Mr. Obama that actually does serve a useful purpose – a math and science teacher training program intended to move underachieving “American students from the middle to the top of the pack in those subjects over the next decade”.

"The quality of math and science teachers is the most important single factor influencing whether students will succeed or fail in science, technology, engineering and math," Obama said in a statement. The money will help prepare 10,000 new teachers and train 100,000 more, the administration said.

I know it’s hard, but let’s have a little fun with math, shall we? A typical professional development course costs about $2500 on the open market. There are approximately 100,000 public schools in the United States, so let’s further assume that one lucky teacher from each school would be educated by the president’s program. The price tag for such an endeavor would be $250 billion or about 50% of the amount squandered during the Dems’ prodigious Pork-o-rama last year.

Yes, yes – perhaps the Department of Education, using the feds’ famous ability to make their programs efficient and cost-effective, could magically cut down on the cost-per-teacher. Sure. But remember my other assumption – 1 teacher per school being taught. The reality is that most U.S. schools are staffed by multiple math/science teachers who could benefit from additional training. If anything the number I gave above is low, perhaps by an order of magnitude.

So how serious is the president about the new math and science education initiative? Not very. He’s willing to kick in a mere $250 million for the cause. What a committed leader. That’s just 0.1% of my original number, an estimate that’s probably far lower than the actual cost of training.

Furthermore, I have to question the effectiveness of a week’s worth of training. Certainly every little bit helps. But the problems with match/science education in this country go deeper than a week’s worth of tips and techniques can address. If we’re serious about regaining our place at the top of the technical skills heap then we need to be prepared to spend a lot of money now, before it’s too late. 

(For reference, I highly recommend reading Thomas Freidman’s The World is Flat for background on the consequences of failure in this area.)

The president’s program, while well-intentioned, falls so far short of what’s needed that it would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Perhaps if he hadn’t wasted all that TARP money…

There is some good news. In another area the president has recognized a fundamental problem with the students are educated in math and science.

Through the "Educate to Innovate" campaign, the government will work with major companies and universities to recruit and train teachers. The White House has said a substantial vacancy exists in the so-called STEM field: science, technology, engineering and math. Up to 1 million new teachers will be need to be recruited over the next five years to fill the gap, the White House said.

Involving employers in the education process would be a positive step. Not only do corporations have the correct perspective on what needs to be taught – they are, after all, the consumers of the output the education system produces – but they also have the expertise to fill the gaps the White House speaks of.

It would be a new concept for American children, but why not have them be taught by the people who actually know about the subject material, having applied it in a production setting?

Furthermore, I can envision American companies being willing to do this for less than market rates in order to help ensure the quality of their future work force and thus negating my argument that teacher education will require trillions of dollars to achieve – if the government is willing to give up its monopoly on education.

Call me a dreamer, but inviting corporations into the education mix seems like the only way to make the massive math/science teacher infusion that’s needed happen in a cost-effective way.

Is America Addressing Terrorism Correctly?

05.01.2010 (10:09 pm) – Filed under: Islam,National Security,Terrorism ::

Barack Obama has admitted that the homeland security apparatus failed in the case of Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He had no choice, really – nearly 300 people are still alive only because passengers aboard the flight took matters into their own hands. He went on to say that he wasn’t going to tolerate any finger-pointing – another over-the-top assertion he cannot back up short of having feds arrest me and a few thousand other bloggers. Goes to show where the thought process is heading, I think.

Unfortunately, the Abdulmutallab case isn’t going to be the last of its kind. Not by a long shot. As Abdulmutallab himself said, Islamic terrorists will keep coming and coming and coming until they are given sufficient incentive to stay in their homelands.

As with any motivational question there are two ways to make that happen: make home a more attractive place to be and make America more dangerous for terrorists. Unfortunately religious zealotry is what motivates Abdulmutallab and his ilk rather than poverty or any misbegotten sense of entitlement. These causes liberal Democrats made their own long ago. But Islamic terror doesn’t fit the pattern Dems call their plays from and no amount of foreign aid or glad-handing – read “carrot” – will bring an end to the new Islamic jihad.

The other mechanism for discouraging terrorism – the stick – probably won’t work either for the same reason. What many Americans, including too many of our national leaders, fail to fully understand is that these young men truly want to die in the service of their so-called prophet. Certainly some of the weaker ones can be scared away, but not all and, in my opinion, not even most. They will keep coming until an end is made of the war they’ve declared on western society, one way or the other.

Understanding this is essential to formulating a response. It becomes clear, therefore, that the Democrats have not accepted this unpleasant bit of reality when one looks at their policies. Trying KSM, et al, in civilian court is a mistake because it legitimizes the actions of mass murderers and puts our national security community on the defensive while achieving precisely nothing in terms of a carrot/stick to terrorists. Neither KSM nor Abdulmutallab deserve to plead their case in a public courtroom. Their war crimes preclude this right reserved for civilian offenders.

The Obama administration got it partially right by slapping travel restrictions on Nigerians, albeit too late, though I have to wonder if it will do any good. Yes, Nigeria is one hotbed of Islamic terror, but radical Muslims there have largely confined themselves to murdering their own countrymen until now. It’s still more likely that terrorists will come from Saudi, Yemen, or Pakistan, this incident notwithstanding. Meanwhile, the traveling public feels safer because they are forbidden to pee during the last hour of their flights.

Alejandro J. Beutel, the government liaison with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, makes a good point when he says that Americans can’t allow themselves to lose trust in their Muslim countrymen. The U.S. has a sizable Muslim population, the vast majority of whom are willing to obey our laws and behave as responsible members of society. We must keep that fact firmly in the back of our collective mind.

Nevertheless, such generosity must be a two-way street. Muslim Americans must recognize that their sons, brothers, cousins, and uncles are disproportionately engaged in treasonous, anti-American acts when compared to the population at large. It therefore stands to reason that Muslim Americans must be subjected to scrutiny in proportion to the probability of terrorism emanating from their sliver of society.

Beutel doesn’t believe this. Instead he defends Muslim hostility toward recent police investigations of domestic terrorists, including Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the young man who attempted to blow up a skyscraper in Dallas last year, claiming that local community and religious leaders would have stopped Smadi if they hadn’t been “worried that they, too, would become subjects of an investigation”.

Perhaps, though it’s speculative to say the least to claim either that Smadi could have been turned from his purpose or that any local leader would have answered the call even in a perfect circumstance. In the final analysis, Smadi did commit the act of terrorism he is accused of and no one save the FBI did anything to stop him.

Sarah Palin today identified the elephant in the room that the White House and other Democrats have been tiptoeing around as if hoping it would go away. It won’t.

We are at war with radical Islamic extremists and treating this threat as a law enforcement issue is dangerous for our nation’s security. That’s what happened in the 1990s and we saw the result on September 11, 2001. This is a war on terror not an “overseas contingency operation.” Acts of terrorism are just that, not “man caused disasters.” The system did not work.

There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their “right” to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don’t tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.

Palin was been judged unworthy to be president in the last election cycle, but she’s reached the correct conclusion with regard to the right way to handle terrorism cases. We are in a war of attrition with a small but implacable enemy utterly unlike anything we’ve faced before and treating foreign enemies with respect they do not deserve only serves to lessen our security and long-term prospects for peace.

Moreover, it it long past time to move past political correctness and recognize that our national security depends on addressing foreign and domestic threats based on actual facts, without respect to whose feelings might be hurt. This means acknowledging the reality that most terrorist threats to this country originate from Islam and that our national counter-terrorism, immigration, and foreign relations policies must be shaped accordingly.