I will be filling in for my colleague Gil Gross on KKSF 910 AM on Memorial Day, Monday May 27th from 3:00 to 7:00 PM. Please join me as we talk about the issues of the day. The number to call is 1-800- 345-5639. It will be great to be back on the air with you on Monday.
- President Obama gave a major talk on terror, Guantanamo and drones at the National Defense University. He signed new guidelines that will serve to guide our future actions. He made clear that “this war, like all wars must end.” The truth is that this war will not end until the terrorists stop their war on us. He explained that while drones will continue to be used, he wants to achieve a “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” Bluntly, that is virtually impossible to achieve. No matter what we do, war is not clean and innocents do die. He further described his personal feelings that the death of innocents haunt him and will continue to haunt him in the years ahead. He is correct, but that should always be our feeling in the midst of war. He reaffirmed his determination to close Guantanamo. That will be tough to do without Republican support and a clear determination about the future of those we hold in detention. Reaction to his words fell along predictably partisan political lines. The bottom line is that our efforts to thwart terror and terror plots will continue long into the foreseeable future. The Obama Administration will ultimately be judged not by guidelines or rhetoric, but by whether we are able to live with some degree of safety as we face the unique challenges of the continuing threat of terrorism. The rising tide of radical Islam continues to gain strength and that is the real challenge that we face.
- What needs to be understood is that terror is with us every day. That reality was demonstrated tragically by what happened on a London street yesterday. The name of the British soldier hacked to death by Islamic extremists in broad daylight has been announced. His name was Lee Higby and he had served in Afghanistan. It is reported that British intelligence knew the names of the two men who committed the atrocity, but did not consider them to be a threat. The attackers are alive and in a London hospital. Their trial will provide a fascinating look into the motivations behind an act of madness. Britain is nervous about the potential threat of future attacks. The country is now on high alert. That is the true triumph of terror.
- The ongoing federal budget deadlock and the impact of sequestration have brought about another furlough day. Four federal agencies will take a day off today. The I.R.S., E.P.A., H.U.D and O.M.B are the agencies impacted. . This move affects 115,000 workers who will not be paid today. That computes to 5% of federal workers. Until the Congress acts to resolve the deadlock over the budget, we will continue to feel the effects of Congressional inaction.
- I.R.S. official Lois Lerner has been placed on administrative leave with pay following her decision to claim her 5th Amendment rights relative to testimony before Congress. The real question is about what “higher ups” knew and when they knew it must be determined. The “buck” does not stop with Lerner. She will be called before Congress again and more questions will be forthcoming. Let’s hope we get answers!
- Michael Isicoff of NBC News has reported that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the investigation of FOX News reporter James Rosen. The accuracy of that report needs to be confirmed or denied. If it is true, Holder will have to provide clear justification for an action that has been almost universally questioned. Freedom of the press and the defense of the 1st Amendment is the issue. Attorney General Holder has a credibility problem that continues to grow every day. No matter how close he is to President Obama, it is clear that his ability to continue to serve is on the line.
- As Obama Care is implemented, more and more questions are being raised about the program. Union support was critical in getting the Affordable Care Act passed. Some union officials are raising questions about whether the program is affordable and if it will provide more effective healthcare for workers. The Republicans plan to make this a central issue in the mid-term elections. This is a serious problem for the Democrats who need to hold and expand their base if they are to take control of the House of Representatives.
- The social divide in America was clearly exposed yesterday as the Boy Scouts of America voted to approve the acceptance of gay scouts. The vote by the National Council was 61% for and 39% opposed. Boys between the ages of 11 and 18 who are gay will be allowed to join the scouts. While gay scout masters will not be permitted, this is a major change for the 103 year old movement. This action has aroused tremendous opposition. Many troops are sponsored by churches. The ripple effect of this decision will be felt in the days ahead. Passions are running high and those opposed to this action will most certainly be heard from as the debate continues.
On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember those who gave their lives that we might be free. We owe those brave men and women a debt beyond words. May their memories be an inspiration and a blessing to all Americans.