Thursday, May 28, 2009

What About Those "Green Jobs?"

Remember when President Obama, then Candidate Obama, said he would produce millions of "green jobs?" The pundits swooned and the glitterati ate it up like cream. But here's the deal, green energy-which is largely the source of green jobs-is costly. So costly in fact that many economists speculate that it could result in multiple jobs LOSSES for every job created. Since we look to Europe for all ideas these days, one of the key creators of green jobs is Spain. And the result has been higher energy costs and, you guessed, industry and job LOSSES. So while the chortling continues, don't get so comfy in your new green job, because it may not last all that long and there may not be any other jobs open to replace it once its gone...

Full story here

"...I mention this in the context of the Obama administration's assertion that by subsidizing alternative energy sources, it will create 5 million green jobs. To that end, Congress passed in the stimulus bill $110 billion to subsidize and otherwise support such green efforts. And in conceptual support of that argument, the administration has referred to "what's happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan, where they're making real investments in renewable energy."

Well, in March, one of Spain's leading universities, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, published an authoritative study "of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources." The report pointed out: "This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style 'green jobs' agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created."

The central finding of the study is that -- treating the data optimistically -- for every renewable-energy job that the government finances, "Spain's experience reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created."

Despite expensive and extensive green-job policies, a surprisingly low number of jobs were created. And about two-thirds of those "green" jobs were just to set up the energy source, in construction, fabrication, installation, marketing and administration. Only 10 percent of the green jobs created were permanent jobs actually operating and maintaining the renewable sources of energy.

Each wind industry job created in Spain required a subsidy of about $1.4 million. Overall, the average subsidy cost for each green job was about $800,000 (571,138 euros). And to create about 50,000 green jobs, Spain lost 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, principally in metallurgy, nonmetallic mining and food processing and in the beverage and tobacco industries.

Each green megawatt brought on line destroyed 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy (8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy and 5.05 by mini-hydropower). The total higher energy cost -- the higher cost of renewable energy over the market price of carbon-based energy -- between 2000 and 2008 was about $10 billion. Moreover, the report concluded, "These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain's approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources."

The high cost of green energy predictably drove energy-intensive Spanish companies and industries out of Spain to countries with cheaper carbon-based energy, while the cost to Spanish taxpayers of renewable-energy subsidies was "enormous--4.35 percent of all (value-added taxes) collected, 3.45 percent of the household income tax, or 5.6 percent of the corporate income tax..."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

At What Price Healthcare?

It's been said that any government that is big enough to give you everything is also big enough to take away everything.

Take a moment and think about that.

We currently have a population that has not really had to suffer much in terms of poverty or need. Sure, there are those who have done without. As Jesus said-the poor will always be with us. But by and large, Americans have had the freedom to make of themselves what they choose. Historically, our founders sought to give citizens access to the education denied common folks in their European, African and Asian homelands. They hoped this would result in a population that embraced their freedoms with wisdom and acceptance of the responsibilities attached. Sadly, as with most things that become common, Americans take education for granted. The assumption is that children are empty vessels to be filled rather than flaccid muscles to be worked. The value of actual work has been lowered to where even novices assume that they are entitled to the perq's their parents waited decades to achieve.

So let's go back to the first statement. If we are given the so-called boon of "universal healthcare" who will be the gatekeeper. When workers paid their own insurance, they made the decisions as to how much coverage to have and how to exercise the benefits. But if government writes the checks, at some point there will be a situation where limits will have to be enforced. This will occur at either end of the life spectrum. Already we are seeing the movement in government to accept not just early abortions, but late term abortions as an acceptable alternative. China has had a one child policy for decades. With the cost of childcare, and the distant clamoring for public education to become America's Babysitter, how long will it be before similar policies take place here? Or let's consider those children born prematurely or with disabilities? Already we are seeing couples who screen for disabilities before pregnancy and one can only wonder what happens down the road if a disabled child is born to full term legal limits of viability. And what about preemies? I know kids who are happy normal teens now who were two months premature. But such NICU care is costly. More costly than the Obama Administration wants to admit. So do we tax everyone higher to pay these bills? Or will these children be left to die or survive on their own? And what of end of life issues? We have two states that have allowed assisted suicide to some extent. Will the cost of staying alive in senior years change into the "duty to die" for our national debt? I am not talking about sustaining life at all costs through intervention, I am talking of things such as dialysis or other measures which allow people to live longer. If these costly care measures are eliminated to insure the economic viability of Universal Healthcare, will we be able to accept the moral consequences down the line? Add to that the current measures to tax those of us who get health insurance through our employers. My insurance covers my whole family. Yet I will be taxed for not being irresponsible. Explain to me how this makes sense.

While I think things can be done to offer cost effective insurance to many people, I am also aware that many people would rather spend their money in other ways than in buying insurance. Right now, that is their option. I could point out some well fixed families who live in high income areas who choose not to buy insurance and instead spend their money on vacations or new cars or any of a number of things that I would love to do, but I choose to take responsibility instead. What is galling to me is to see people who spend their money on so many other things, but who cry about the high cost of health care and insurance. At some point, we have totally missed the whole "wants vs. needs" conversation. And I am truly disturbed by the trends I am seeing to simply throw away freedom for a cheap program.

Remember back at the start-I told you any government big enough to give you everything can also take it away. If single payer or Universal healthcare is such an efficient system, why do both the UK and Canada have private health insurance programs? Remember, these nations are and were ruled by royalty. They have a cultural acceptance of varying tiers of population influence. American isn't supposed to be like that. We are supposed to be the hale and hardy pioneers who earn by the work or their own sweat and muscles. If we trade our freedom for a program that could ultimately tell us how to live, what to do and can deny access if we don't obey, then we are reentering the very type of tyranny that we fought to escape. And for all you liberals out there, please remember, this is a two-edged sword. While you may like the idea of such a program, living under its restrictions may be far more galling than you realize. Big programs have Big price tags. And Big Programs also have Big Bureaucracy that wastes money, time and effort through serving the preservation of the program over preservation of the health of the individual.

The worse sentence in history-we are from the government and we are here to help. Remember that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Here's the Problem: A Rant

I teach in a public school.
I teach in the United States.
We no longer really hold our children of any age accountable for their actions, or their inaction.
The result is that the wheels fall off, things don't get done and in the end people fail, or don't get to participate or don't get things they way they want.
I've written before about how our "Bumper Bowling" mentality is destroying our mental edge.
If everyone succeeds, then what's the use of trying?
And then I get emails from parents whining because their child is failing.
I don't fail kids, kids fail themselves.

I am in my classroom from 7:45 until 4:30 or later every day.
I am willing to come in earlier or stay later. I have worked with kids using every possible alternative teaching style, tool or fashion if it gets the point across.
Yet I can't get students to come in to retake tests, even when they would probably significantly raise their grades. They simply cannot be bothered to go out of their way to exercise any effort to change things. And their parents seem to agree with this, because they don't bother to enforce any sort of order, rules or suggestions to their kids no matter what their age.

As for parents, good luck finding them. Oh sure, there will always be the helicopter parents and PTSA moms who show up for Open House, but try finding a valid phone number for your average failing kid. I have sometimes had to call as many as five numbers. One time I was told the kid had NEVER lived at the house. Another time we got a number for the YMCA in a town 120 miles away. I don't know if the parents lie on the forms, or if it's the kids. But for some kids if their arm gets broken, they are going to lie around in pain because we can't locate any adult.

And this in part explains why our nation is in the situation it finds itself.
Everyone, according to Oprah, the DNC and The View, is entitled to a job, a house, reproductive freedom, free healthcare, free education and on and on and on.
But it has long been my observation that when you give people something with no strings attached, they aren't invested in it. They don't see it as valuable. So they waste it, ignore it or take it for granted.

We don't give drivers' licenses for free. So people are especially careful to renew them, pay for insurance and have their social security cards so that they will be valid to drive.
We don't charge to vote, so very few people bother. When you compare our voting records with those of other nations, it's really pretty sad.

Likewise, when we give all the kids trophies, then nobody has to try hard. And when nobody tries hard, nobody excels. I teach in a district where some teachers are APPALLED that we would have juried art shows for our high school students. I don't understand the reasoning. We have students who are about to embark into one of the most competitive fields in the market and we want to cushion them from the possibility that maybe they aren't good enough? Should we really be encouraging kids to pursue professions where they simply do not have the stuff to succeed? How many marginal college students are hanging on by tenths of points in majors they hate, when they would be excellent electricians? Are we encouraging kids to go to college just because it looks good on the schools' records rather than considering that some kids might be better off pursuing a career?

Please excuse this rant. I have had a long week. And I have literally DAYS of curriculum writing in front of me along with the folderol and froufrou of the end of the year and graduation. Today, six weeks after the deadline, two seniors showed up at my door with money for honor cords. I was not there because I was at the Ad Building in a curriculum writing session. I takes six weeks to get the cords. I announced, posted signs and warned them. But I am sure I will get terse, angry emails from parents because THEIR KIDS DROPPED THE BALL. That was the trigger for this rant, but the sources have been simmering for awhile now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Follow The Money

Let's try a game. Would you like to play a game? It's called "Follow the Money".

For example: President Obama>>George Soros.

Now I wonder what Soros could possibly want from the President of the United States...Soros can't be president, because he's Hungarian. But he has a lot of stock that he's bought on the cheap lately, and he has a way of funding his internet nutjobs to make certain issues or particular bills he supports to appear "important." Soros has stated that he wants America a socialist nation. He also has some wealthy friends who no doubt are sitting on money pulled out of the market to help weaken it when necessary. since President Obama needs the good will, or perceived good will, of the crowd, he can't risk making old George angry.

Let's try another one: NBC>MSNBC>GE>Tom Daschel> President Obama.

Let's never forget the network that brought us news that made CNN appear middle of the road. They pay Keith Olberman's paycheck. They support the constant stream of snide remarks and innuendos for anyone or anything conservative, while glossing over any problems, no matter how serious, the current administration is creating. Journalism? Forget it. Impartiality? Not Hardly. I am surprised there is even room for Michelle considering how many groups are in bed with this administration.

Let's see what other follow the money relationships we can find:

Federal Student Funding>Notre Dame University>controversial pro-choice speaker at graduation

Constructions companies>President Obama>Illegal Immigrants

See, isn't this fun. Try it at home. Laugh if you can. Or cry....

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Losing the Cowboy

Remember what TV used to be? Remember Bonaza and Rifle Man and Sugarfoot and High Chaparral? People saw the cowboy as the epitome of the true freedom of America. He was a free spirit. He could go where he wanted, make his own fortune and didn't expect or rely on others to make things happen for him. Where are the cowboys today? Today the term "cowboy" is often used a a derogatory term, intending to label someone that goes off without warning. But cowboys weren't really like that. They were the ultimate pragmatists, doing whatever worked. And they were the ideal example of democracy in action, refusing to endure laziness or sloppiness on the job because they knew it would put them in danger down the line. So being a cowboy is not the negative that northern liberals like to assume. They don't even know the cowboy as a real person, but see him as some sort of comic book parallel set up by Hollywood. Those guys weren't cowboys, but I am sure they wanted to be.

I lament the loss of the cowboy. He has been forced aside by programs that actively seek to remove masculinity from the modern vernacular. A man can only be strong if he is also sensitive. That's the modern credo. But there have been times and situations where we needed men to be MEN. We needed men to build this nation. And despite the modern view of the "Cowboys vs. Indians" scenario, it was never the Cowboys that the Indians needed to fear-it was the bureaucrats that were so insulated and far away from where things actually happen. That is the last thing we need in a culture. And it's the last thing we need in a President.

There are people who blame GWB for moving when they would have rather wallowed in international sympathy. That was never the cowboys' way. The Cowboy believes in the theory of "lead, follow or get the hell out of the way." A cowboy above all fixes things, it's part of his nature. Teddy Roosevelt probably understood the mindset of the cowboy best with his admonishment to "walk softly, but carry a big stick." Now we have people who boldly blast their ideas regardless of the efficacy of these programs down the line. They couch their prose in what sounds best on a soundbite or what appeals to today's favored demography. We are run by people who mince words, hide intentions and consider their own needs before the needs of the country. Down that narrow path lies chaos.

GWB was a man who was needed in the place he was during 9/11 and after. If anything, his failure to stand up to Congress and say no was more damaging than any of the imaginary shortcomings promoted by Soros, and Garafalo. He allowed them to fill the vacuum with the cacophony of their rhetoric to his own demise and the ultimate turnover of the reins of power to people who are simply not willing to accept what their own senses tell them. They would rather argue hyperbole than dig dirt. We need someone willing to clean out the stalls in Washington, and I just don't see that happening with any of the folks up there right now.

Now we have a president who is not only not a cowboy, he's willing to deal with people who actively seek to harm Americans. And they mean to harm ANY AMERICAN regardless of sex, race, religion or background simply because we are Americans. He seems to have no personal honor although he does demonstrate a great deal of egotism. Even the lowest cowboy has some loyalty to his boss or his outfit. But in this case, it appears that the current resident of the White House is more than willing to sacrifice the safety of the nation on the altar of international public opinion.

President Obama seems to have his fingers in many pies. A cowboy knows that if you lose focus on one calf, you end up losing the herd. President Obama in trying to be all things to all people. He is simply throwing up ideas like pancakes on the ceiling waiting to see if he throws them hard enough that maybe they will stick. It is as if he intends to place his brand on every program, every bill and every move made by Congress. He seeks to remake this nation into a shadow state where every step is cushioned by the well meaning but costly limitations of government intervention.

If this course is followed, we will spend and waste money on an exponential scale, because the moral of the story is that if you protect everyone from every possible danger, then those people stop taking care of themselves. Example: If the much vaunted Obamacare system comes into fruition and covers EVERYONE NO MATTER WHAT, then why should anyone stop smoking, stop drinking, stop using drugs, stop overeating? There will be no penalty for bad behavior and the end result of covering everyone will be that bad behavior will be sustained and rewarded AND taxpayers will pay spiraling higher rates to keep these idiots alive. At some point, the realization will come that this cannot continue, and then we will see rationing. So maybe Grandpa will be put on the waiting list for that bypass in favor of younger recipients. How far is that from the scenario of the bad Sci-Fi movie "Logan's Run" wherein 30 year olds were launched into death with a celebration.

Would a cowboy think of just the age of the person when offering aid? Would you want a doctor that wasn't a cowboy willing to risk any attempt to save you? Aren't some things in life just worth taking a risk? And in the end, if we don't have someone in power who cares enough to risk their own popularity for the sake of keeping America and Americans safe and strong, what will be our fate? Somewhere down the road, we will be looking once again for a cowboy and lamenting the years that he's been gone. I just hope we aren't too late.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bail Out Newspapers?!!!

"America's newspapers are struggling to survive, and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Mr. Kerry said.

And now in the "You've Gotta Be Kidding" file, we have this. Newspapers are failing. And they are failing big time. It could be that in a bad economy, the average American-who by the way doesn't really read ANYTHING anymore-finds his or her news through the likes of Yahoo or MSN or any of the various units that serve us with internet access. It's all right there, served up in short sentences with interactive pictures-right next to the news on what Paris Hilton is doing and what your dog should wear this summer.

Don't get me wrong, for a long time the idea of an ideal Sunday morning is a fresh cinnamon twist, hot tea and the Sunday paper. Some of my earliest reading memories were of cartoons and Dear Abby columns. But in the past few years the paper has become a pale ghost of its exuberant past. Instead of insightful reporting based not on the AP or MacLatchkey view of the world, but on the local views and implications of a local reporter, we get the same hash of psuedo-news that is served up by its big brothers in the world of TV.

While many laud the narrowing of the journalistic vision, our nation was not one created out of the bland consensus of the population, it was painfully birthed through dialogue, debate and division. To dismiss or simply ignore opposing views is to allow them to fester in silence. And by and large, that seems to be what the Obama Administration is attempting to do.

Consider this-if you hire someone and pay them to write, do you really think they will dare to criticize you? On a larger scale, if the federal government sets up selected papers as the "officially sanctioned" outlets for news, doesn't that create a very unlevel playing field for those newspapers that don't get such considerations? And if you only have one official version of the news, isn't that what we used to call "propaganda?" But the dangers are larger than this, if we do not have those gadflies that question Congress, expose greed and let the public know what is going on while they were sleeping, then we risk seeing these freedoms ripped away without even knowing they are dissolving before our eyes.

We can and must have a free press. And that means that government has no business in paying their way. They must adapt as did other industries or fade away to allow the growth of newer and better outlets. We no longer support the makers of buggy whips or poke bonnets because the need for them in the market is gone. Senator Kerry would have people believe that this is an attempt to preserve and protect free speech as personified in the newspaper industry. But make no mistake, the false bravado given by Senator Kerry and his ilk are not meant to preserve freedom of the press, they are meant to CONTROL it.

Just like the Fairness Act, just like the whispering campaigns of and just like the countless murmured misdirections given out with nodding assurances in order to shape political policy. In the bad old days of the USSR, those acts used to be called "The Big Lie". In our own country, they were called "Yellow Journalism." But whatever you call it, using our own press to hide the truth, whether for personal profit or political gain, is a crime against America and an assault on it's freedoms.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Panic Pays

I heard a term today on the radio. The discussion was about the current malady of the month-"Swine Flu". The gist of the conversation was that on one hand, we should be prudent, pay attention to good hygiene practices and stay home when we are sick. Those are givens. But the disconnect is that the CDC is saying schools that have cases of this flu should stay closed for two weeks. If this is a serious disease, then why hasn't the Government ordered the borders closed? If it's not serious, why the continued media flourish over cases and numbers? Or is this just more smoke and mirrors?

Think back a few years to the first Swine Flu epidemic. There was a much hyped vaccination program. The side effects were actually worse in some cases than the virus. And the head of the CDC was unceremoniously ousted for the campaign. But at whose behest did this man work?

Then when I was in high school, the discussion was about the Population Bomb and ZPG-Zero Population Growth. The news touted the coming of the Next Ice Age and the end of the World as we know it. There were countless books about these topics. People believed them because they sounded viable. They made sense to them on an emotional level rather than a rational level. People also read "Chariots of the Gods" and believed in aliens, but then if you have people who will beleive anything if you have a good enough yarn to go with it.

Think back to the first discussion of crack babies. They were supposed to be borderline burdens on society for years to come. But despite this, parental poverty and lack of education is still a more telling factor in the academic achievements of children.

Think back to the early discussions of AIDS. At one point we were told that it impacts everybody. Really? It impacts my Mom who was married to my Dad for nearly 50 years? It affects my then toddler child? Isn't the absolutism of "everybody" just a little over the top?

Think back to SARS-to Legionaires-to countless other scientific sounding menaces including Global Warming, and now this Nu-Flu.

What do these hold in common?

First, whoever the spokesperson for the related cause can garner fame, money, attention and the illusion of authoritative presence. Al Gore was on his way to political oblivion before Global Warming. But he managed to get the right format of panic and defeat to capture the imagination of those who seek out this kind of doomsday scenario. By presenting something that appears scientific on the surface, most people being ignorant of the scientific process believe the big words and the shiny images. Hint to the masses, any time you hear people saying "everybody believes this" or "all scientists agree" be very wary of what comes next, because the next reach that is made is for your wallet. Secondly, these "panics" cloud the areas of real concern. Notice how the media's attention has drifted away from the bailouts, away from the spending and into this Neverneverland of impending doom in the form of Nu-Flu? What is being hidden? And more, who is hiding it from us and why?

The media goes along with this because bad news sell ads. In a way, it's ironic that some of the most liberal papers are currently going out of business because they have hyped the liberal view so much that they cannot very well justify saying anything is bad or wrong. But next time such an event comes along, read the other headlines, seek out the secondary stories because more often than not, those are the real issues that should keep us awake at night.

Never forget: Panic Pays

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Letter to Holder

I found this very interesting. I think many others will as well. It addresses from a knowledgable perspective, the problems with making sweeping kneejerk decisions without considering the ultimate out come. It's interesting when lawyers call out one of their own and give them the b*tchslap they deserve.

"Andrew C. McCarthy

May 1, 2009

By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President's Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants--or what the Department now calls "individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations." I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear--most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany--that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president's first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers--like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy--may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America's "commitment to the rule of law." Indeed, you elaborated, "Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration's] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.... President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]" (Emphasis added.)

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.

For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism--a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.

There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.

The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that's what it takes to close Gitmo by January.

Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities--like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of "Dirty Bomber" Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs' impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration's propensity to deride its predecessor's purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.

Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General's Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno--as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the "blind sheikh" would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I've always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I've made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who've thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.

Very truly yours,


Andrew C. McCarthy

cc: Sylvia T. Kaser and John DePue
National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section"