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About Those Drones

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Marc Thiessen’s Washington Post column on the president’s legal authority to use the drones shouldn’t be missed. Key graphs:

The Obama administration has put the Predator operators at greater risk by dramatically narrowing the legal underpinnings for their actions. State Department legal adviser Harold Koh — a harsh critic of the Bush administration — explained in a March 25 speech that the Obama administration was no longer invoking the president’s Article II authority as commander in chief to justify many of its policies in the war on terrorism. But Koh said that drone attacks were lawful because “Congress authorized the use of all necessary and appropriate force through the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).”

The problem — as Koh’s predecessor, John Bellinger, told The Post last week — is that Congress authorized the use of force against those who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And many of those currently targeted — particularly outside Afghanistan — had nothing to do with those attacks.

The American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi was not involved in Sept. 11 — yet he has reportedly been put on the targeting list. The Pakistani Taliban leaders who sent a terrorist to set off a car bomb in Times Square were also not involved in the Sept. 11 attacks — but they are being targeted with Predators. The president has the authority to strike these individuals under his Article II powers, but Obama refuses to invoke them — a decision he may come to regret. The administration is expanding its use of drones while shrinking the legal ground on which the attacks are based.

Read the whole thing. Most Americans applaud the vigorous use of the drones, but they don’t know that the Obama Administration is increasingly divided against itself on the legal authority for using the weapons.


“The Battle” by Arthur C. Brooks (Bumped)

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My program today will feature a two-hour conversation with Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, about his new book, The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future.

Brooks’ website is here.

My Washington Examiner column this week is an introduction to the book’s central theme –that the U.S. is a 70/30 nation, with 70% on the side of free enterprise and 30% on the side of statism.

The book is a perfect Father’s Day present and a great gift for any college grad or newly minted JD, MBA or MD who needs to understand the country’s situation today.

Buy yourself a copy of The Battle, but get a couple of copies for the lefties in your life who may not understand what it is they are watching unfold.

The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future


On John Wooden

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An email from Salem senior producer Lee Habib to his friend Tony:

Tony –
What a great moment in church today to hear Pastor talk about Coach Wooden. What a man. What a life. What an example for us all. What a God we have! As Pastor Gary was talking about Coach Wooden, and about the real meaning of success – the secular and the sacred kind – I was holding back some of those tears we guys can sometimes shed when God’s full glory reveals itself.
Throughout my life, I admired Coach Wooden without knowing about his commitment to God. Ah, how the Lord loves us! And oh how he manages our lives, despite us ever fully understanding how He works.
When you have a chance, watch the videos I sent below. They are terrific, and show us all the power of The Lord – and how He moves in the lives of so many of the people we admire. Somehow, the media always manages to leave out that small point out!
I just watched a full hour of ESPN coverage and The Lord wasn’t mentioned once, nor was He mentioned in a CBS or ABC piece the other evening. It was just the facts about Coach Wooden’s character, his nature, his honor, his love of his kids, and his love of his wife. But not a word about his love of God, which trumped all, and was the absolute anchor in his life, as it is in a majority of American lives.
How do they manage this, the media? How do the manage to strip away the animating source of all – ALL – of that love?
On the other hand, when people decide to simply You Tube John Wooden, the Truth of his love of God can NOT be suppressed!
I just learned yesterday, for instance, that Wooden always carried a small cross his in his hands during his games, a cross that his minister had given him back in 1942. When you listen to the poem he recites in the last video, it will make any grown man weep.
What was so wonderful about Wooden was that – like so many of us who take our faith seriously – he didn’t impose his faith on anyone. He didn’t try to convert his players. He LIVED The Word, and he preached through the power of his example. His players were the beneficiaries of that faith, no matter their color, creed or race.
That is a a true American – and a true Christian – story!
That he never accepted more than $35,000 per year as a coach despite the fact that he could have commanded ten times that, further reveals his true character.
What a story to share with America this weekend!
And yet not a mention of his commitment to God in any of the media reports I watched. How I found the great stories of Wooden’s faith (a research team of ONE), but no one on Katie Couric’s crew, or Anderson Cooper’s, or NBC’s, or ABC’s – tells you much about our storytellers and journalists. And why their ratings just continue to plummet.
They are disconnected with their own subjects. Worse, they are even more disconnected with their own audience. And their own country.
That cross story is in the 3rd video, below. Wooden’s almost total recall of scripture is on display in some of the other videos, and made me feel quite the dilettante.
Have a Blessed day and week, and enjoy the videos, and please – please – pass this email and the links to friends and foes alike!

“Potential Casualty of Gulf Oil Rig Crisis: Our Most Critical Global Relationship”

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The Monday morning column from Clark Judge:

Potential Casualty of Gulf Oil Rig Crisis: Our Most Critical Global Relationship
By Clark S. Judge, managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc. ( <> ) and chairman, Pacific Research Institute ( <> )

The biggest long-term casualty of the administration’s mishandling of the Gulf oil rig crisis may turn out to be our most critical global security relationship.

As Hugh has been on top of from the first hour, the administration has fumbled every aspect of the environmental disaster. The president took days to even seem to notice what had happened. Then he delayed and delayed on the one clearly constructive step he could take to stem the damage to shores and wetlands: a quick yes to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s request for permission to build barrier dunes.

To compensate for their own ineptness, Mr. Obama and his colleagues have taken to bashing BP. There has been talk of prosecuting the company. Administration spokespeople have huffed and puffed with such pronouncements as, “We will keep our boot to their neck.” The president has vowed that he will make them pay every penny of the costs long after the company pledged to pay every penny of the costs.[# More #]

In this fuming and fusing the mainstream media has been egging him on. As one network reporter asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last week (there are times you have to pity anyone who holds Gibbs’ job) if he had “really seen rage from the president.” Could he “describe it”?

In the years leading up to the disaster, the British Petroleum clearly made major mistakes, most damagingly, perhaps, allowing a fragmentation of the chain of command for operations such as Deepwater Horizon’s. No one was clearly in charge. Still, since the rig exploded and sank, it is hard to think what the oil giant could have done that it hasn’t done as quickly as it has done it. It has been days and weeks ahead of Team Obama at every turn.

But here is the problem. BP is not just any oil company. As reported in Sunday’s New York Post (, “BP is Britain’s largest company and the biggest holding in most British pension funds.” It pays out one-seventh of the dividends paid in the FTSE 100, the UK’s equivalent of the Down Jones average. So large parts of the British population feel it personally when the administration listens to its left wing and major media friends and talks as if the company were a criminal conspirator.

Of the mood in London, The Post reports, that even The Independent, “a left-wing environmental newspaper,” has run nearly hysterical columns defending BP and worrying if it will survive. And at the conservative London Telegraph, another columnist has summed up that, “This crisis has injected an animus into transatlantic relations unseen since the days of George III.”

It has been clear for a long time that one thing Mr. Obama and those around him do not get is the centrality of the UK relationship to our nation’s effectiveness on the world stage. As British historian Andrew Roberts has written of the U.S. and U.K. in his magisterial A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, it was not until that 1940s that:

“the realization finally dawned on both that they would be infinitely stronger together than the sum of their constituent parts…. [T]heir reverses – Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, Suez, and Vietnam among them – have come when they were divided form one another. By contrast, their many victories -the 1918 summer offensive, North Africa 1942, Italy, the liberation of Europe 1944-5, the Berlin airlift, the Korean War, the Falklands, the collapse of Soviet communism, the Gulf War, the liberation of Kosovo and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein – all came when they were united.”

As it happens, at the moment we have major, joint global security operation going: Afghanistan. And at just this moment – as a new government is taking office in London – the British are wondering if that operation is worth its price.

This past week European Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow and journalist Daniel Korski wrote in the British journal The Spectator:

Having returned from Washington DC, where I spoke to a range of senior policy-makers about Afghanistan and Pakistan, I am struck by how much confusion there is about what President Obama meant when he said that he wanted US combat troops to return home in 2011.

“What is Plan B”? Korski asked.

Vice President Joe Biden has said famously and wrongly that Iraq may prove one of the Obama Administration’s great achievements. But he would have been right to say it about Afghanistan — achievements or failures. For the UK to abandon us in that effort would be, to use Andrew Roberts understated term, a “reverse”.

Less finger pointing, more diplomacy, greater competence – all of this from the White House would go a long way, both to dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis and to keeping relations with our most critical ally from deteriorating further.


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