November 2010

Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman and author, has written in The Daily Beast (via Hot Air) that we should profile Muslims as part of airport screening for potential terrorists.

Nomani is a refreshingly rational voice in the debate on how to catch terrorists:

As an American Muslim, I’ve come to recognize, sadly, that there is one common denominator defining those who’ve got their eyes trained on U.S. targets: MANY of them are Muslim—like the Somali-born teenager arrested Friday night for a reported plot to detonate a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Nomani doesn’t advocate using race and religion as the only factors to consider, but they should be part of the overall strategy to catch terrorists:

I realize that in recent years, profiling has become a dirty word, synonymous with prejudice, racism, and bigotry. But while I believe our risk assessment should not end with religion, race and ethnicity, I believe that it should include these important elements, as part of a “triage” strategy that my debate partner, former CIA case officer Robert Baer, says airports and airliners already do.

Profiling doesn’t have to be about discrimination, persecution, or harassment. As my debating partner, conservative columnist Deroy Murdock put it: “We are not arguing that the TSA should send anyone named Mohammad to be waterboarded somewhere between the first-class lounge and the Pizza Hut.”

Nomani points out that in the 1970s other religious and ethnic groups would have been targets for profiling and today Colombians receive extra scrutiny because of Colombia’s FARC, a terrorist and drug-running organization. She concludes:

As attorney R. Spencer MacDonald put it in an article in the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law, we can have “rational profiling.”

I know this is an issue of great distress to many people. But I believe that we cannot bury our heads in the sand anymore. We have to choose pragmatism over political correctness, and allow U.S. airports and airlines to do religious and racial profiling.

Read Nomani’s complete column here.

Watch Nomani’s thoughtful approach on how to conduct terrorist threat assessments at airports in the following interview on CNN:

Nomani has previously been a rational Muslim voice in the debate about radical Islam. See Bizarre Double Standard: Condemning Book Burning without Condemning Murderous Islamic Reaction.

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The publication of classified documents by WikiLeaks has caused much embarrassment for leaders around the world who believed that they were talking to American diplomats in confidence. It will be more difficult for our government to have frank discussions with other countries about sensitive topics. The damage to American diplomacy is significant and the Americans who leaked these documents and Wikileaks editor Julian Assange should be prosecuted for the crimes they committed.

The documents also reveal what a dangerous world we live in and that foreign leaders often are much more supportive of American action against the world’s terrorists and rogue regimes than we are lead to believe by the media. For example, the king of Saudi Arabia urged the Obama administration to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities by force. He and other Middle East leaders are concerned about a nuclear Iran, not about a few Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Tonight, a new story has emerged that China is ready to abandon the mad regime of North Korea and accept a unified Korea led from Seoul, South Korea’s capital. That is good news although how to get to this goal remains a challenge and who knows how Kim Il-Jung and his generals will react in the midst of the current confrontation with South Korea.

Here is a discussion of the WikiLeaks revelations on Fox News:

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Here are two parodies of TSA ads on what to expect when traveling by airplane. Enjoy!

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In the coming weeks the lame duck Congress will try to pass legislation rejected by the American voters on Nov. 2. Congressmen and senators who lost their seats in the election have a few more weeks in which they will try to impose their will on the American people.

Why do we have lame duck sessions and can they be abolished? Betsy McCaughey recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal about how lame duck sessions where supposed to be abolished in 1933:

Lame duck sessions were unavoidable before jet planes. The framers of the U.S. Constitution provided 17 weeks for newly elected members to travel to the capital and take their seats on March 3. That was the 18th century.

In 1933, Americans ratified the 20th Amendment to eliminate lame duck sessions. It set Jan. 3 as the day newly elected members would take their seats. That still left seven weeks after the election, but no one imagined that the old Congress would return to the capital during that time.

For a half-century, the 20th amendment worked. Except during World War II and the Korean War, Congress did not reconvene after November elections. But for the last two decades, lawmakers have hurried back to the capital after Election Day to deal with spending bills and controversial legislation they deliberately had avoided before the election.

There are two urgent matters before the Congress: the federal government’s authority to spend will end at the end of this week. Although many of us hate to see the debt ceiling raised again, it is a reality we will have to live with until we are able to pass large spending cuts. With two wars, a dangerous situation in North Korea and other essential government functions at risk, the lame duck Congress needs to pass a limited extension of spending authority for a couple of months. The new Congress can then start attaching spending cuts to future increases in the debt ceiling.

We are also faced with a large tax increase January 1 when the Bush tax cuts expire. The lame duck Congress should extend the current tax rates indefinitely. If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid cannot bring themselves to allow a vote on this, Republicans should block any scheme that raises taxes on a weak economy and take up the matter in January when they can retroactively keep the current tax rates.

Beyond this, the lame duck Congress should do only one thing: adjourn.

Democrats want the lame duck Congress to vote on all kinds of legislation they failed to pass in the past two years. This includes the DREAM act, which gives in-state tuition to illegal aliens, abolition of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays and a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. President Obama even wants the Senate to ratify the START II disarmament treaty with Russia without giving the Senate time to do its usual due diligence when ratifying treaties with foreign powers. None of these issues are urgent and they should be debated and voted on by the new Congress.

Republican should block all of these last-minute efforts of Democrats to ignore the election results. They can quote President Obama who responded to Republicans wanting their ideas incorporated in Obama’s bills. He simply responded: “We won.” Yes, and now the opposition to Obama socialism has won and shouldn’t be willing to compromise and let a Congress with members that have been kicked out by the American people pass legislation rejected by the voters.

In January, the new Congress should pass a law that simply states that Congress will not reconvene after the November, 2012 election. Let’s make this lame duck session the last.