Leaders at all levels of government should be profiling those individuals who make bombs, smuggle weapons on planes or support those who do. Wire tapping, profiling and undercover operations are less intrusive and cheaper than patting down every traveler’s body. The ACLU’s mission is not to keep Americans safe but to ensure that an individual’s private behavior stays private. Unfortunately, the government is going to have to find and stop some private behavior before it becomes a public terrorist attack.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board can’t get its story straight on the reasons the Senate should pass the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Or maybe it just doesn’t understand the complicated issue and what is at stake. Thursday’s editorial insists that there is bipartisan support for the treaty and that only a few radicals want to kill it and then attacks Senator Jon Kyl from Arizona for not supporting it and “acting not in the interest of the nation but of his party”. Either the treaty has bipartisan support or it doesn’t. Either it’s not a partisan treaty or it is. The editorial board is doing what they claim Senator Kyl is doing – playing politics at the expense of national security. No debate, just name calling. The truth is – the new START Treaty and the timing of pushing it through a lame-duck session of Congress is typical Obama partisanship with the same excuse for failure – “it’s the Republicans fault”. The uber-liberal LA Times editorial board and consistent Obama apologist, however, would rather demonize anyone who doesn’t support the treaty than debate its merit. So much for a rational discussion of national security issues.
In typical form, today’s editorial maligns conservatives John Bolton, John Yoo and Senator Kyl for their concerns over the treaty. But is anyone surprised? The LA Times editorials of late could be written by the Democratic National Committee strategists that consistently applaud the partisan writings. Gone are the days when the editorials inform or bring to light real policy discussions. The editorials are so usual that they are no longer relevant, especially on foreign policy issues. In fact, whoever wrote today’s START Treaty editorial sounds as if they don’t understand the real issues involved in limiting nuclear arms or the research and development that is needed to create defense programs. The writing reads as if someone did a google search and tried to write an editorial from it. There is no discussion of:
- the actual concerns experts have in limiting our nuclear capability at such a dangerous time;
- the restrictions countries face in controlling their borders or stopping the actions of non-state actors;
- the wisdom of striking a deal with a significantly weakened Russia;
- the reasons we would allow the Russians to inspect and learn the latest American technology when they haven’t had the money to develop their own.
The editorial also conveniently leaves out the objections of other Senators that have studied the issue and are compelled to change it or stop it. Surely no one could argue that Ohio Senator George Voinovich and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown are just partisan hacks too? The LA Times editorial just calls names, omits facts and plays politics.
The editorial’s title even claims that all Republicans are just looking to defeat any and all legislation coming from the Obama White House. This cynicism is the problem with politics, not the solution. Residents of Los Angeles deserve better and should demand more from an editorial board that claims to be a serious news outlet. There are very real objections to the new START Treaty – but you won’t read about those concerns on the editorial page of the LA Times.
President Barack Obama arrived in India this week with a large gift in hand. After just a few short hours, Obama announced to the world that America would support India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The support from Obama was a huge coup for the Indians but took diplomats at the UN by surprise. India, after all, was being rewarded despite the fact that it has done very little to help reform the UN. Ironically, it has been India that has stood in the way of the very sweeping reforms that will now be needed to ensure its ascension to a permanent Security Council seat. India has refused to support UN budget reforms that would remove outdated mandates and programs, refused to support tough new standards for the human rights council and has consistently worked to keep intact the outdated way dues are assessed on member nations. India, too, has paid just $11.2 million in regular 2010 UN dues but receives millions more in UN assistance due to its status as a developing nation. Rewarding India without first demanding support for basic U.S. reform efforts at the UN seems naïve at best. And agitating Pakistan while at the same time dissing Japan, which is also in the running for a permanent Security Council seat, seems to increase American security concerns in Afghanistan and North Korea.
Obama’s announcement was another blow to the real UN reform he has never sought. The Indians, after all, have led the resistance to it and Obama has validated their behavior. The Bush Administration worked hard to reform the UN and its budget process but received only scant support from other countries. While India worked hard with other developing nations to thwart most reforms proposed by the Bush Administration, Japan worked hard to implement many of the reforms the U.S. was pushing. Obama just rewarded the country working against us and dismissed the country working with us. President Bush ended up announcing the U.S.’ support for Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council only after it supported UN reform and other good governance policies. Bush’s support for Japan was a reward for good work. Obama’s support for India’s bid signals his desire to keep the UN as is. Japan pays 12.5% of the UN’s regular budget while India pays 0.5% (only a few years ago Japan was paying 19.5% signaling their growing frustration with the world body). That means India pays $11.2 million in regular UN dues compared to Japan’s $264.9 million. Further, India is a net beneficiary of the UN and its programs in that it receives more than $200 million a year from just peacekeeping payments and the UN’s World Food Program to help feed its people. A full tally of UNDP, UNHCR, UNEP and other UN programs will surely show that India’s participation in the UN is a financial boon.
Supporting India for a permanent seat on the Security Council comes at an even greater cost to the war on terror by unnecessarily upsetting Pakistan at a time when controlling the borders and mountainous regions of Pakistan is key to rooting out al-Qaida. Almost instantly after Obama’s announcement on India, government spokesmen in Pakistan issued statements pointing out that India has not lived up to its responsibility in the disputed territory of Kashmir and that it wasn’t qualified to be a global leader sitting on the UN’s most prestigious body. Pakistan’s political class has roundly criticized Obama for his decision to support India at a time when the U.S. needs Pakistan’s stalwart support. And Japan, the second most generous funder of the UN behind only the United States and one of our closest allies at the UN, was left wondering if it would get the same endorsement from Obama when the president visits Tokyo.
The Obama team’s short-sightedness in dealing with difficult international issues in exchange for quick bursts of popularity while traveling abroad has made it more difficult to make progress on U.S. priorities at the UN. Obama has shown that he is all too willing to sacrifice American security for his personal popularity as was the case with Obama’s announcement that the U.S. would no longer seek to put a missile shield in Eastern Europe while negotiating with the Russians and his flip-flop on promising to remove troops from Iraq as a candidate and telling military leaders to continue the course as President.
When President Obama arrives in Japan he should tell the Japanese taxpayers that they deserve to have a permanent seat at the UN table. President Obama should also be unambiguous that reforming the UN is the first condition for U.S. support for any nation seeking a permanent Security Council seat – even though it won’t be a popular position. He should also make clear that India hasn’t earned its seat yet.
United States Senator Barbara Boxer — she insists on being called by the full title — not only doesn’t work with Republicans in Washington, she doesn’t work very well with members of her own Democratic Party. Unlike our other U.S. Senator, Diane Feinstein, Boxer consistently advocates for radical views and fringe issues. Boxer is antagonistic towards California’s business community, votes exactly the way the unions instruct her, rarely meets with people and groups she disagrees with and is known for her grand ego and mean-spirited temper. Boxer has spent 28 years in Washington and is considered by many to be the consummate self-serving politician insulated from everyday people. If you think Washington, DC, is broken, Barbara Boxer’s radical tenure is one of the main reasons.
Boxer has for years blocked oil drilling on land and in shallow waters. It was Boxer who helped lead the effort to push oil drilling into deep waters — so far out that it was next to impossible to stop wells from leaking or do necessary repairs in the ocean. But for Boxer, as long as her radical environmentalist friends couldn’t actually see the drills then she was ok with drilling. Boxer’s policy wasn’t based on philosophical beliefs or actual concerns for the environment; she just wanted it out of sight. Sadly, we saw the repercussions of Boxer’s radical drilling views during the BP Gulf Coast oil disaster when even the government couldn’t make the necessary repairs to the oil rig because of the depth of the ocean waters it was in.
Boxer has also not just been pro-choice but has worked to make abortions federally funded. Boxer has advocated the use of tax dollars to support women who want their abortions paid for by others. Boxer hasn’t just wanted healthcare reform to better serve those that get sick and can’t pay for healthcare, she has advocated and worked hard for a public option to replace our current system. Boxer has pushed for a federally run healthcare system similar to how the federal government runs the post office — federal control with local service centers. Boxer also continues to believe in an economic plan that is based around more federal spending and higher taxes to pay for the spending. Boxer is advocating for even more stimulus money than the $900 billion already spent by the Obama Administration.
Californians who expect politicians to work with others to find solutions to our problems must not support Boxer for re-election. And moderate and independent voters who believe we must stop the bickering in Washington and end partisan roadblocks must recognize that Boxer is abig part of the problem. The San Francisco Chronicle, the most liberal newspaper in the state and Boxer’s hometown newspaper, said it best when it decided NOT to endorse Boxer for re-election. The editorial read:
“The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. … Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. … (Californians) deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts. … Boxer’s campaign, playing to resentment over (Carly) Fiorina’s wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.”
It is time to change Washington and that means making sure the bitter and partisan Barbara Boxer is not there representing the largest of the United States. Each state gets only two people to represent it in Congress. Boxer has done nothing to suggest she’ll serve the people of California any better in the next six years than she has in the last 18, which is not at all. Californians should step out and be the first to send the message that Washington politicians must stop being bitter partisans and start working together. Defeating Boxer will send that message.