Friday, December 04, 2009

Coakley Appears to Lead Field of Democrats for Senate Seat - The Question Remains: Will Massachusetts Elect a Woman to the Senate? Analysis

Martha Coakely - Will Feminism Play a Role in the MA Senate Race? image

The Assocatied Press, in reporting on the special election to fill Massachusetts vacant senate seat, headlined: “Insider, centerfold lead in race for Kennedy seat”. The “Insider” they refer to is State Attorney General, Martha Coakley, who, according to the last polls, maintains a 15 point lead (Rasmussen), over her male counterparts going into next Tuesdays primary. As to the “Centerfold”, Republican Scott Brown, had posed for Cosmopolitan Magazine over thirty years ago, in order to pay his way through law school . A match-up between the left-of-center Coakley (pro-abortion, pro-universal health care, and most likely to vote along party lines) and Republican Scott Brown (a moderate, who, is one of the few Republican State Senators in the Commonwealth) is considered a safe bet for Coakley. Or is it?

Enter the debate on Women and Feminism

Nancy Hopkins, a Biology Professor at MIT, wrote an article on Huffington Postwhich asked: “Will Women Vote for a Women”? That is the pivotal question Ms. Hopkins is asking, as she outlines the pros of a vote for Coakley: She’s pro-abortion.

That said, the feminist theory that a woman should vote for a woman based on gender alone, is ridiculous. Women should vote for the most qualified candidate, and it would be hoped that said candidate would be – a woman. That is not always the case. Hillary Clinton is an example, she was the most qualified candidate in the 2008 Democrat primary, and she, therefore, won the Massachusetts popular vote, so, in that respect women do vote for qualified candidates for public office.
Martha Coakley was also elected to office, the office of Attorney General. That said one has to take a harder look at Massachusetts in general, the bluest state, with the fewest women holding top jobs via the electorate. To date: not one woman, Republican or Democrat, has held the Governor’s Seat or a State Senate Seat by popular election. There is something hypocritical about this very liberal state: the make-up appears sexist.

Additionally, Ms. Hopkins is not factoring in political ideology and the makeup of the State’s electorate. Although most of the voting bloc in Massachusetts that is affiliated with a political party, are Democrats, that accounts for approximately thirty percent of the vote, Republican’s fare less well in this state, with approximately 11% of the electorate – the balance: unenrolleds or those choosing to belong to either party.

Should Coakley succeed on Tuesday in besting the three male contenders she faces; regardless of her valiant fund-raising efforts, she must, as a Democrat and a woman, in favor of abortion, cap and trade and health care reform (all three issues not as popular in Massachusetts as one would think)run against the fiscally conservative Scott Brown, whose opponent in the State Primary, Jack E. Robinson, has been running ads all over the Commonwealth accusing Scott Brown of being a Republican in Name Only. This message will resonate well with those unenrolled voters who are enthralled by moderates. (Note to Brown, don’t forget to send Robinson that “Thank You” card.)

Coakely will Face Republican Scott Brown in MA Senate Race - image:

Therefore, the outcome will be based on several factors, should Coakley sail through the primary, she will face sexism on the State Level, she is running as a Democrat at a time when the brand is somewhat damaged due to the economy. She will also face a charismatic, experienced and qualified Senator, and moderate Scott Brown, who has been identified by his opponent as being too moderate. Although one cannot pretend to have a crystal ball, one would hazard to guess that at this point, should this scenario play out, Coakley may end up being yet another woman who has been done wrong by the Massachusetts electorate.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New York’s First Guantanamo Trial – Defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Seeks Dismissal of Charges on Constitutional Grounds

Ghailani Invokes Constitution once on U.S. Soil - image Time Online

Ahmed Kalfan Ghailani, the first defendant from Guantanamo to be tried in New York is seeking a dismissal of all charges based on the U.S. Constitution. Ghailani, held in Guantanamo for his help in plotting attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, which resulted 224 deaths, believes all 308 charges against him should be dismissed because his Constitutional rights were violated. Indicted in 1998, Ghaliani’s lawyers argue: ( Source AFP)

“Our government made the conscious and deliberate decision to sequester him in solitary confinement in secret prisons for over two years, subjecting him to what are euphemistically referred to as 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' even though he had a pending indictment," the filing said.
His lawyers add that the US government sought to turn Ghailani "into an intelligence asset which our government could rely upon in the defense of our nation."
The government's decision to risk violating Ghailani's right to speedy trial in order to gain intelligence from him must have "consequences," the lawyers added.
"Those consequences must be severe when the means and methods used by the government to reach their goal included the systematic physical and psychological abuse of the defendant, abuse so abhorrent that the government must rely upon a claim of national security as a justification for the interrogation techniques that were employed," the lawsuit said.


A non-U.S. citizen, a terrorists, who successfully plotted to murder U.S. citizens, caught and imprisoned outside of the United States, is now claiming rights under the U.S. Constitution, based solely on his transfer to U.S. soil. In 2007 Ghailani faced a military tribunal in which he acknowledged his guilt The military tribunals which took place on Guantanamo should have been sufficient; the fact that his defense team is citing the U.S. government’s attempts to turn Mr. Ghailani into an “intelligence asset” in order to prevent further attacks on U.S. Citizens as a “violation” of his “rights” is, in a word, insane.

Let the Insanity Begin

The decision by the Obama Administration to try these confirmed and admitted terrorists on U.S. soil, as Ghailani’s legal team so smartly quipped, will have consequences. This particular trial is under scrutiny as the transfer and subsequent trial of the five September 11th conspirators, including Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed, who admitted guilt before the tribunals, will, in all likelihood, use the same defense.

Although the administration remains confident that a conviction is likely, there are no guarantees. The defense is using the 6th and 14th Amendments as a basis for their filings:

The 6th Amendment (Cornell)
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

and the 14th Amendment, (FindLaw)

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Constitution, in general, clearly refers to those born or naturalized within the United States - not enemy combatants. Therefore, due process, applies only to those born or naturalized within the boundaries of the United States. (Applied as a strict constructionist)

Will it matter when these transferred terrorists face a jury of their “peers”?


The Constitution, is a document that is often seen by those more liberal in thought as a fluid document, open to interpretation (see current administration), to use, or to toss to the wayside, as it best suits any given situation. However, those who view the document as the very foundation upon which our nation was founded, and guidelines included therein, are timeless, and as appropriate today as they were when first penned.

These detainees were given due process through the use of Military Tribunals and their cases all pertained to war and acts of war. It is therefore, not guaranteed that those cases moved to New York City, will have a “favorable” outcome for those the United States and specifically for those who were victimized directly (both in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, as well as embassies around the world).

Note: Only one source has reported on this particular piece since the AFP broke the story last evening – see

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Obama’s Afghanistan Commitment – AP: Comparisons to Bush, Increased Troop Levels with No Promise of Victory, Fact Checks: Analysis

Comparison between Bush and Obama after Obama's Speech Abound - image: the truth for the fight blog

The Associated Pressin critiquing the President’s address to the nation regarding his Afghanistan Strategy compared him to former President Bush, and noted that the difference lay in the fact that Obama gave no promise of Victory. The AP’s “Fact Check” goes further in outlining variations in realities between the President’s speech and the realities of Afghanistan, Al Queda and Pakistan.

The President, during his address, appeared saddened and defensive – saddened as he made the initial announcement - as his predecessor, President George W. Bush, noted, the burden of placing troops in harm’s way fell to the President, and the decisions to deploy were not made lightly. Obama’s defensive posture came near the end of the speech, when he gave three distinct rebuttals: one to those who make comparisons to Viet Nam, one to those who would do nothing, and the third, to those opposing his insistence on time limits for troop withdrawal.

One has to be willing to give the devil his due so to speak. First, the President has limited executive experience, and no military experience what-so-ever. His political ideology does not allow him to be a “war monger”, for lack of a better phrase, so with that in mind, this decision was perhaps made more difficult. Additionally, he must rely on what knowledge of war he can glean from texts and “experts”; hoping that advisors, both military and civilian, are competent. Obama is also privy, as President, to all intelligence reports, therefore, he knows the stakes – and that was very apparent as he addressed the fact that the U.S. is a target, and that something must be done. That puts the President in a very uncomfortable position of going against his own ideology, with the knowledge that if he does nothing, he puts his nation at greater risk.

Did he honestly sound like Bush, yes: in the text of the speech, he used words like disrupt, dismantle and defeat, however, he also peppered the speech with references to partisanship – as if he were on the campaign stump. He did not portray a strong sense of urgency, nor did he promise a victory; it was within his scoop of speech. The difference between the two men, Bush and Obama, in speaking to the military, is stunning; Bush appeared to connect, in a rousing manner, to bolster both the troops and those watching from home. Obama on the other hand, was more reserved, measured, and, as noted, somewhat defensive.

Speaking from a point of view that is both pro-military, yet anti-war, the Afghanistan Theater is one of the most difficult both historically and logistically; the main problem being the mountainous region that straddles the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The concept of deploying more troops to stabilize the existing government, worked in Iraq, it may well work within certain regions of the country. That said, without eliminating the threat of the Taliban (and Al Queda, which was not mentioned except in reference (a jab at) Bush), who operate freely in that mountainous region (despite claims that the Pakistani military are stepping up to protect both countries interests (debunked by the AP), it would have behooved the President to borrow a phrase from his predecessor: “Shock and Awe”. Common sense dictates that the threat lies in those mountains, therefore, use the available hardware in order to defeat and destroy both the Taliban and Al Queda – in other words, flatten the range, bomb it back into the proverbial Stone Age, while our troops are out of harm’s way.

It is as if, we are prepared to run a “kinder, gentler, war”, one without the threat of torture, imprisonment, and one which includes the help of 43 nations, most of whom are UN approved. Although, well intentioned, one may be sure, that, coupled with a perception of weakness and indecision, will give not only aid and comfort to the “enemy” but perhaps embolden them further.

It is that the President is caught between the sure knowledge that to do nothing is dangerous, and yet, his conscious will not allow him to run a war, without putting safeguard into place for enemy combatants. It is with this in mind, that those who value our nation’s wealth (our children and the military), that we pray for the President to be able to make the decisions necessary to keep our military and our nation safe. One would hope that the President would find enough evidence in those briefings to also take the necessary steps to not only beef up border security, but nail the borders down, both north and south, including both coasts. The speech did outline threats within our own borders, one can imagine that new threats have been planned while the President was delivery his address.

Now Obama will face criticism, from the left, from Congress, from the right, from pundits, and this is where the truest test of a comparison between two presidents will emerge. Will he ignore and persevere doing what he feels is in the best interest of the country – or will he fall to the pressure of those who share his core ideology? One would hope he chooses the safety of the troops and several 6,000 pound smart bombs, and an exit strategy that involves a super highway connecting the two countries, over what would become known as the final resting place of the Taliban and Al Queda.

Full Text of President Obama's Address on Afghanistan

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama 3 Month Review Ends – Address Tonight to Sell Afganistan Troop Increase – Europe and Asia offer Carter Comparison

The Associated Press is reporting that up to 30,000 new forces will be committed to the Afghanistan theatre. The Marines will be expected to leave almost immediately after the President’s address this evening. It has taken the President, 92 days to deliberate the fate of U.S. troops both in theatre and those now being readied to deploy.
The decision to “drag his heels” on additional troop commitment, has given the foreign press the impression that he has “lost some stature” (Spiegel) and he is “A Lot Like Carter”> From Asia the comparison continues in a two-part review of the Presidency of Carter and the early stages of Obama’s term.

Additionally, Foreign policy strategist firm Stratfor, has suggested that Afghanistan is now Obama’s war (see video below). The Times, UK: headlines: “Obama’s West Point speech must explain why Afghanistan is not his Vietnam”, a must in order to sway the almost exclusively anti-war Congressional Democrats in Congress.

Too Many Irons in the Fire

Obama has, since taking office, pushed an agenda that is overly aggressive for a chief executive with no managerial experience. From health care reform, which is about to debate in the Senate, to Cap and Trade, now under scrutiny with the “bust” of global warming theorists, to the government purchase of most U.S. Auto makers, a “stimulus” designed to boost employment, which resulted in increased unemployment and yet another Carteresque “Job Stimulus Program”, is it no wonder that recent polling suggests 71% of U.S. citizens are angry at the Federal Government (Rasmussen)? The addition of an “owned” war by Obama, in a country that has, over the millennium, refused to be conquered, may add to his steadily declining job approval.

With that in mind, bets are on for the : 2012 presidential race.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Retail Down on Black Friday – No Surprise with 26 Year High Unemployment Rate Expected to Hold

The initial results from Black Friday show overall spending up by one half a percent, and consumers spending 8 percent less than last year. The effect on Black Friday retail sales should come as no surprise with the unemployment rate at at a 26 year high, and economists projecting this figure to hold: (Bloomberg)

“The economy is recovering, but at a distinctly subpar pace,” Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, said in a note to clients. “Growth looks too sluggish to lower the 10 percent-plus unemployment rate to a meaningful degree anytime soon.”

Fear is another factor in the decrease in consumerism with the threat of job losses, an ever weakening dollar and rising costs of living, there is an aura of an element of risk involved in shopping this season.

A recent television ad by Stop and Shop Supermarkets speaks to the general feeling that pervades the season: the concept - a mother and son adjusting to these “hard economic times” and enjoying a simpler life; less entertainment (such a movies), and learning to shop effectively. This message is resounding with American’s who have seen their paychecks reduced with rising costs and, depending upon the State, increased taxes. Consumers cut back, look for bargains, and two deep discount retailers, in particular, Wal-Mart and Target, seem to be staying above the norm as a result.

With families strapped for cash, and tightening credit or skyrocketing interest rates on credit cards are also adding to the decline. The new unemployment figure will be out on Friday of this week, depending upon the results, the balance of the retail “season”, may continue to look lackluster.

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