In Just 100 Days
By: Nancy Salvato
January 20, 2009, Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States. Our most recently elected president has been presiding in what is commonly referred to as the â€œhoneymoon periodâ€, the beginning of a new president’s term in which the chief executive enjoys generally positive relations with the press and Congress. During this first hundred days, or â€œhoneymoonâ€ a new president uses good will to his advantage, trying to push through an executive agenda while generally being forgiven for what could be considered novice mistakes. April 30th marks the end of President Obama’s first 100 days in office. What has been accomplished in since his inauguration?
A 2008 report published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College states that, â€œNorth Korea has also established itself as the Third World’s greatest supplier of missiles, missile components, and related technologies.â€ North Korea is one of the principal providers of missiles to Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.
Faced with the prospect of North Korea launching a Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, missile technology capable of hitting Alaska and Hawaii which Kim Jong il claimed was a test of their civilian satellite program and which was in direct violation of United Nations Resolutions 1695 and 1718, President Obama reacted by stating, “Should North Korea decide to take this action, we will work with all interested parties in the international community to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that it can’t threaten the safety and security of other countries with impunity.”
Meanwhile, North Korea let it be known that any attempt to shoot down or interfere with its missile test would be construed as an act of war.
After the launch, our president stated, â€œWe will continue working for the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through the Six-Party Talks. The Six-Party Talks provide the forum for achieving denuclearization, reducing tensions, and for resolving other issues of concern between North Korea, its four neighbors, and the United States.â€
Governor Sarah Palin issued a press release in response to the launch affirming, â€œAlaska’s commitment to protecting America from rogue nation missile attacks. She stressed the importance of continued funding for the Missile Defense Agency in Alaska which U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ proposed to reduce by $1.4 billion. â€œIts strategic location in the Pacific allows for maximum security and development of the country’s only ground-based missile defense complex.â€
LTC Raymond Millen of the Strategic Studies Institute writes, â€œAny initiative that lowers the credibility of nuclear retaliation (e.g., ballistic missile defense, retaliation with precision guided conventional munitions, or inclusion of chemical and biological weapons in this category for retaliation) increases the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used. In short, if Iran or North Korea perceives the U.S. threat to retaliate with nuclear weapons is not credible, the greater the likelihood they will misjudge during a crisis.â€
The Obama administration believes that Iran’s nuclear threat can be reduced though diplomacy with Russia and our NATO allies. President Obama wrote Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, requesting Russia’s aid in resolving the threat from Iran. He offered to scrap plans to build the system in Poland and the Czech Republic saying that if the threat was eradicated the missile defense shield would become unnecessary.
By their actions, the Obama Administration has placed their faith in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making an assumption that Putin could put United States interests before his own. This is the man who â€œconsolidated Moscow’s grip on political speech, the economy, religion, and the pressâ€ and steered â€œa state takeover of major Russian oil companies (some suspect that the Kremlin engineered the sentencing of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodor-Kovsky to nine years in a Siberian jail).â€
The Middle East
In order to begin to understand the Israeli/Palestinian issue inherited by the Obama Administration, we need to seriously examine the terms of the “road map for peace” introduced by President Bush in 2003. It was designed to create a Palestinian state that exists in peace with Israel. According to the terms of the peace process, Israel was to immediately dismantle settlement “outposts,” built in the Palestinian territories and Palestinian leaders were to â€œimmediately curb terrorism and take steps toward a democratic, accountable government.â€ Needless to say, it’s hard to forget the images of Israeli Settlers being forced to leave their homes. No one can argue that, â€œthe Palestinians failed to rein in the suicide bombers and gunmen of Hamas and other extremist groups.â€ Each side can provide reasons why the other side has not met the benchmarks. However, Israel made a good faith effort, and they were dumped on. When they defend themselves or say they’re not playing the game anymore, they’re condemned.
News Daily recently reported, â€œPalestinians say building in what Israel calls E1, an area of occupied land between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, would deny them a viable state by cutting the West Bank in two and isolating Arab East Jerusalem, which they want as their capital… Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat urged U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene with Israel to prevent any construction from going forward, calling it the “last nail in the coffin for peacemaking…the Obama administration has lobbied Israel to remove restrictions on aid shipments to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and has criticized the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.â€
The actions of the current administration directly interfere with the sovereignty of one of our nation’s greatest allies, an ally that is likely to be the only thing that stands between our country and a nuclear Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the United States, â€œmust stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weaponsâ€”and quicklyâ€”or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.â€
President Obama addressed the Arab world on a partially Saudi-owned cable network, al Arabiya.
“You’ve been saying that you want to pursue actively and aggressively peacemaking between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Will you be proposing ideas, pitching proposals, parameters, as one of your predecessors did? Or just urging the parties to come up with their own resolutions, as your immediate predecessor did?”
Dr. Walid Phares, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad, points out that the question ignores â€œthe elephant in the roomâ€ which is that the peacemaking is really between Iranian-backed Hamas and Israel.
Dr. Phares writes, â€œSince we already know what is the position of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt and Saudi Arabia from the Oslo agreements; and since we know that Israelis and the Arab League have already consented to discuss the Saudi-sponsored Arab initiative, who should we listen to in the region? Who hasn’t spoken yet? Who can make the “deal” possible? I would suppose it is those who are blocking the Peace Process, ineluctably Iran and its acolytes.â€
President Obama’s answer is revealing.
“I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what’s happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan. These things are interrelated. And what I’ve said, and I think Hillary Clinton has expressed this in her confirmation, is that if we are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.”
Frank Salvato, Director of Terrorism Research at BasicsProject.org, describes in the New Media Journal how President Obama allocated 20.3 million to relocate members of Hamas, al Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other radical Islamist groups to the United States. Under Section 2(c)(1) of the Migration & Refugee Act of 1962, President Obama allocated $20.3 million to â€œunexpected and urgent refugee and migration needsâ€ as they relate to â€œhumanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.â€ This money derives from the United States Emergency Refugee & Migration Assistance Fund and was allocated to the Bureau of Population, Refugees, & Migration of the Department of State.
Salvato explains, â€œNowhere in the United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) prerequisites for designation as a â€œPalestinian refugeeâ€ does it exact disqualification for members of Hamas, al Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any other radical Islamist group. In fact, the only declared prerequisites for Palestinian refugee status are:
â–ª Any person whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948
â–ª That said person lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict
â–ª Or that said person be a descendant of a father fulfilling the definition
By the UNRWAs definition, members of Hamas living in Gaza â€“ in light of the fact that Hamas has unscrupulously transformed itself into a political organization even as it remains a terrorist entity â€“ would be eligible for UNRWA aid.â€
When speaking in Turkey, President Obama stated, â€œWe do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
Not only is our nation built on Judeo-Christian morality, ideals and values, Dr. Paul L. Williams reminds us that â€œThere were no Muslims among the passengers on the Mayflower or the settlers at Jamestown. Muslims were conspicuously absent from the ranks of George Washington’s Army of the Revolution and played no role in the creation of the American republic â€“ save for the fact that the new country’s first declaration of war was against the forces of Islam represented by the Barbary pirates.â€
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. During his campaign, Obama said, “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [former] President Musharraf won’t act, we will.â€
Michelle Levi (ABC) more recently reported, â€œWhen asked if he might order U.S. forces across the border into Pakistan to attack or capture insurgents hiding in safe havens there,â€ by Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer,â€ President Obama answered, “If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them. But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists.â€ He elaborated further, â€œOur plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government. We need to work with them and through them to deal with al Qaeda. But we have to hold them much more accountable.â€
The Obama administration has publicly warned the Pakistani government â€œthat failure to take action against the extremists could endanger its partnership with the United States.â€ At the same time, it has been reported that the Obama Administration has been, â€˜considering switching allegiances from President Zardari and his Pakistan People’s Party-dominated government to his rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.â€
President Obama wants Pakistan to believe they are our allies, our friends, yet, â€œthe popular perception in Pakistan is that, instead of the Taliban, the United States poses the principal threat to Pakistan’s territorial integrity and its nuclear program, surpassing even India,â€ writes Mohammed Yousuf, a lawyer based in Karachi. He believes, â€œIf any major military action against the Taliban, with its own brothers in faith and Nation, is ordered at the behest of the United States, the Pakistani troops will fight under great strain and stress. Such decision may be at the peril of even defections and desertions.â€
President Obama did not make it a priority to visit Pakistan during his European Tour, perhaps out of fear for his safety? In any event, the president of Pakistan is scheduled to come to the White House, despite fear that while he is away there could be a military coup or government overthrow.
Of particular interest, the Obama Administration requested Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to â€œsever all ties with extremist’s groups including al-Qaida, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which it called an “existential threat” to Pakistan itself.â€ The Obama Administration has finally admitted that all these groups are linked together, something American intelligence understood even when President Clinton was in office, though it was denied or played down by media and the political left the entire two terms of President Bush’s tenure.
According to Pakistan’s Shamshad Ahmad, a former foreign secretary of the UN, “After the Soviets were forced out of Afghanistan,” the US, â€œ left us in the lurch with all the problems stemming from the war: an influx of refugees, the drug and gun running, a Kalashnikov culture.” The United States has a record of being very opportunistic when utilizing the services of non nation state organizations and for President Obama to expect the ISI to do his bidding is the height of arrogance or naivetÃ©.
Robert Burns (AP) reports that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton believes that Pakistanis are “basically abdicating” to the extremists. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is â€œconcerned and frustrated at the progression of the danger,” after meeting with Pakistani officials in Islamabad. According to Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo, Pakistan has â€œenough fissile material for between 55 and 90 nuclear weapons.â€ Gen. David Petraeus, the Central Command chief whose area of responsibility includes both Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense ,”Pakistani state failure would give transnational terrorist groups and other extremist organizations an opportunity to acquire nuclear weapons and a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks.”
New Media Journal’s Frank Salvato writes, â€œAs the argument continues on whether or not then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage actually told then Pakistani President Musharraf that unless he sided with the United States his country would be “bombed back to the Stone Age,” one thing is abundantly clear, Pakistan was not an enthusiastic volunteer in forging the US-Pakistani anti-jihadist alliance. In fact, as is the status quo for most cooperative measures between two or more parties in Pakistan, Musharraf had to be financially enticed to join the United States and the Coalition of the Willing.â€
Salvato continues, â€œTroublingly, even as the United States apportioned over $10 billion to Pakistan, the bulk of which was to finance Pakistan’s engagement in the war against radical Islamist aggression, the existence of Taliban and al Qaeda flourished in the FATA while public sympathies for fundamentalist Islam advanced among the Pakistani people. Evidence to this affect is provided in the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh were both captured in Pakistan (Rawalpindi and Karachi, respectively) before their detainment at the Guantanamo Bay Military Detention Facility in Cuba. Further, credible intelligence from multiple sources indicate that both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri – al Qaeda’s number one and two – are currently hiding in the North-West Frontier Province of the FATA.â€
This being said, it should be of great concern that President Obama plans to give more money and arms to Pakistan given their record of non achievement in the war against radical Islamist aggression.
While on his European Tour, President Obama attended three summits– London at the G20 summit, followed by the NATO summit in Strasbourg and the EU-U.S. summit in Prague. The final stop, Turkey, was Obama’s first visit to a Muslim country. The President asked America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan. Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered extra soldiers to provide security during the August elections and Belgium and Spain offered military trainers. No other help was forthcoming.
On the Home Front
Let’s start with Obama’s recent nomination of, â€œHarold Koh, a former dean of Yale Law School… to be the State Department’s legal adviser.â€ Koh advocates a “transnational legal process” and â€œargues that the distinction between U.S. and international law should vanish.â€Indeed, Koh believes it to be, “appropriate for the Supreme Court to construe our Constitution in the light of foreign and international law”. There are so many things wrong with this type of thinking that it would take a whole separate article to address the issues. Jeremy Rabkin explains it best in an interview published in National Review. â€œThe Constitution makes federal law (and the federal Constitution) “supreme law of the land.” States don’t even have the last word on their own constitutions (or when they can adhere to their own constitutions). All of the Founders would have been appalled at the thought that the federal government, in turn, would be subordinate to some supranational or international entity, which could claim priority in this way over the American Constitution and American laws.
Nile Gardiner, blogging in the London Telegraph, establishes a connection between the President’s most recent appointment, â€œEx-Los Angeles Times columnist and Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks,â€ Harold Koh and George Soros. Although she has no qualifications, Brooks is now â€œadviser to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Fluornoy.â€ Brooks previously worked as, â€œSpecial Counsel for George Soros’s Open Society Institute in New York,â€ and, â€œas a former adviser to Harold Koh, the hugely controversial nominee for Legal Adviser to the State Department.â€
While most people associate Tim Geithner with the guy who was nominated for Treasury Secretary but failed to pay his taxes several years in a row, what people may not know is that his employer, the IMF, designated to their employees a special tax allowance with a form that employees had to sign agreeing to pay their taxes upon accepting the said money. Geithner’s failure to pay his taxes was not an oversight. With all the hullaballoo about his tax problems, people may have missed the conversation that took place when Rep. Michele Bachmann R-Minn asked him if he would renounce China and Russia’s suggestion that the United States move away from the dollar and move to a global currency in which he replied yes. This exchange resulted in Rep. Michele Bachmann introducing â€œH.J. Res. 41, proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the president from entering into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender a currency issued by any entity other than the United States.â€ It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary the day it was introduced. Most often when proposed legislation is referred to committee it ends up dying there.
Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security released a report on what was described as rightwing extremist activity in the United States that reads like satire. Cap and Trade reflects another genre, science fiction. By implementing a market-based cap, â€œthe government would mandate carbon dioxide emission permits â€“ which are essentially permits to use energy â€“ that companies would then be able to sell among themselvesâ€ The tax, which would be paid by â€œwe the peopleâ€ would raise $650 billion in revenue for the government. President Obama plans to move forward, creating a â€œcarbon cartel, restricting the supply and raising the price of fossil energy and thereby creating windfalls for the lucky holders of emission credits.â€
Former CIA chiefs Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet and John Deutch all warned the Obama administration that the release of the “torture memos” would compromise intelligence operations. This is because our enemies will now know exactly what we’ll do to extract information and exactly how long they have to hold out. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the ramifications for our security. What is it exactly, that constitutes torture by the United States? Water Boarding, Sleep Deprivation, Food Deprivation, Continuous Music, Lights on all the time, Confinement to small area / cell. This is not torture. Torture is what Islamic Extremist/Terrorists do to those who defy them. Should a person find themselves facing such a fate, they would be subjected to such methods as being stoned with small rocks slowly while buried up to the neck, having their hands and face cut off, having their face sliced with a razor, having their throats slit slowly, being gang raped or sodomized, being beat with hands, whips, sticks, wire, having their eyes gouged out with red hot rods, being hung by the neck, having their ears and face pounded with fists, having their bones broken with brass knuckles, being strangled and drowned, being burned alive, or being Beheaded. Detained terrorists should not be treated â€œas soldiers under international law, which specifically excludes them from such a designation since they are waging war illegally… treating them as quasi-American citizens for the purpose of applying constitutional-like due process standards in determining in their fate, flies in the face of legal and historical precedent.â€ (Liberty and Tyranny, Levin)
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus package which included increased federal spending, aid to states, and tax reductions. To understand just how much money this really is, if you can imagine spending $10,000 every second, it would take 2.5 years to spend it all. The bill passed through the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. Members of the House were not provided enough time to read the 407 page bill because it was argued that delaying its passage would be catastrophic for tens of thousands of Americans.
Mark Levin writes in Liberty and Tyranny why the stimulus plan will not work. â€œThe reason…is a fundamental reality of governance: The government does not add value to the economy by imposing taxes on one citizen and providing cash to another…It borrows money that would otherwise be used by investors and redistributes it elsewhere.â€
Senior Analyst in Tax Policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation Curtis Dubay writes, â€œIncreased government spending does not increase economic growth in the near term because Congress cannot create purchasing power out of thin air. Before it can spend, it must first take money out of the economy through taxes or borrowing. No new spending power is created; it is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.â€
Most outrageous of all, there is no Constitutional authority, â€œfor Congress to spend money on education, family planning, housing, unemployment, food stamps, infrastructure projects, scientific research, or any of the host of other programs in the stimulus package.â€
Rep Charles Rangel introduced tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program TARP recipients on March 18th, which was passed by the House and is awaiting action by the Senate. H.R. 1586 would impose a 90% tax on bonuses received by employees of certain companies that received funds from TARP. The tax would apply to any bonus given after December 31, 2008.
Congress, acting with haste, passed poorly written law without thinking through the consequences of their actions. In The Constitution of Liberty, F.A. Hayek writes that if individuals know the law, they can base their actions upon established rules and that true law provides the general rules. Legislative enactments which do not satisfy these criteria are objectionable. The law must be general, known and certain, and apply equally to all. A necessary condition for the law to be known and certain is a prohibition on ex post facto laws. The U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from passing an ex post facto law, i.e. a law passed after the occurrence of an event or action which retrospectively changes the legal consequences of the event or action.
Worse, this particular law singles out a specific group of people. A legislative act (Bill of Pains and Penalties) that singles out one or more persons and imposes punishment on them without benefit of trial was regarded as â€œodiousâ€ by the framers of the Constitution. It was the role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.
As President Obama ends his first 100 days in office, we are left with the images of his deep bow to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, his hearty handshake with Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan â€œstrongmanâ€ President and his silence upon Daniel Ortega, the former Sandinista Nicaraguan President’s diatribe about terroristic U.S. aggression , and the list goes on. The honeymoon is over. It is obvious that the man holding the highest office in the land is enacting a socialist agenda and will use any excuse to move his ideas forward. He has exhibited no real understanding or respect for the Constitution, the highest law of the land. Isn’t ironic that he deems himself a â€œConstitutional Scholarâ€?
Next up: Executive Orders
Nancy Salvato is the President and Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for BasicsProject.org, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country, specifically the threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column. She serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. She received her BA in history from Loyola University and her M.Ed.in Early Childhood Education from National-Louis University. She is certified to teach in grades K-9 and 6-12 and as a teacher has worked with students in preschool, 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th grades. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at the graduate school level. She continues to augment her education and areas of expertise by taking college courses and participating in a variety of workshops. She currently earns her living as the VP of Compliance and Program Expansion at a graduate school of education.