Monday, October 31, 2011

The Truth About Raising Taxes On The Super Rich

Much of the gridlock in Congress is due to Republican opposition to any proposal that would increase revenue by way of a tax increase--any tax increase.

That stance includes opposition to a Democratic proposal to place a .05 percent tax increase on income over $1 million dollars.

The oft-stated reason for the Republican position is the GOP belief that any tax increase--especially one that would target millionaires and billionaires--would discourage investment, and would adversely affect hiring by job creators.

Now come fresh facts and figures that shoot GOP logic all to hell. There is new evidence that eliminating tax breaks and closing tax loopholes currently enjoyed by the super rich--and even raising the tax rate on the very wealthy--would neither discourage investment, nor influence hiring.

The evidence is provided by a survey conducted by The Spectrem Group, a national consulting firm, which specializes in providing information for, and about the affluent.

The results of the survey show agreement with other national polls, which have indicated that the majority of American millionaires and billionaires--due to America's need--favor an increase in taxes on the wealthiest of our citizens.

The Spectrem Group reports that a whopping 68 percent of the super rich they surveyed are willing to pay more. That 68 percent is made up entirely of Americans who currently have investments of $1 million or more.

The survey also shows that mega-billionaire Warren Buffett--who has spoken out in favor of the very wealthy paying higher taxes--has more supporters than detractors among the super rich.

The most important revelation in the Spectrem survey is that the 68 percent who favor having their taxes raised are agreeable because they are facing reality--the plain, unadulterated truth that it must be done.

The 68 percent are not agreeable to paying more just because they are patriotic or magnanimous--although they well may be both. They say that their paying more will stimulate the economy; and be beneficial to them personally, as well as the nation.

With the majority of Americans favoring a tax increase on the wealthy, and with our wealthiest citizens favoring higher taxes on themselves, surely those obstinate Republican leaders in Congress will finally agree to the compromise that is so badly needed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where There's Smoke There's Fire

At this writing, Herman Cain remains high in the polls, and he is arguably the most personally popular candidate in the field of Republican Presidential contenders.

His front runner status has survived a number of gaffes and contradictory statements, but small misspeaks and missteps are adding up, and they portend tougher times ahead.

The latest incident to raise eyebrows borders on the bizarre. A campaign commercial shows a top member of Cain's staff speaking on behalf of the Cain candidacy--while smoking a cigarette.

The big tobacco companies must be howling with laughter and jumping for joy. They can not, by law, advertise their products on TV, but here they have a free cigarette commercial, courtesy of Presidential candidate Cain--who must admit that "I approved this message".

That smoking cigarette could be the proverbial smoking gun--that could ignite a firestorm that sends Cain's Presidential hopes down in flames.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Presidential Insurance

Good insurance is something that most Americans give a lot of thought to, and want to provide for their families.

Good insurance is something that most Presidents give a lot of thought to, and want to provide for the nation.

One of a President's most important decisions is about insurance. It comes well before he takes office--in fact it is a decision that is made before his election. It is a choice that is made as soon as the nomination is won.

It is the choice of the person who will run for Vice-President; who will be next in line; who will take over should the President be unable to complete a full term.

Most Presidents have provided good insurance. They have assured that the one who is a heartbest away from the Presidency is competent, experienced, and fit for office.

Presidents Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Carter and Ford all chose well; for Vice-Presidents Biden, Gore, George H.W. Bush, Mondale, and Rockefeller were competent, expereienced, and fit for office.

When choosing their running mates--who are potential Vice-Presidents--some Presidential nominees seem to have taken the matter more seriously than others. Some appear to have wanted to provide the best possible insurance, while others seem not to have cared.

In the last election, John McCain delighted a lot of voters, but disappointed at least as many, when he chose Sarah Palin as his possible successor.

The idea of an older nominee, with a poor health history, selecting someone who lacked competence and experience, and was far from being fit to take over the Presidency, defies logic.

There have been a number of other questionable choices throughout the years, but one that stands out is Spiro Agnew. Chosen by Richard Nixon in 1968, "Spiro who?" had his term in office cut short by a prison sentence.

It's only a matter of months now, before another Presidential nominee will be selecting a running mate. Here's hoping that the nominee provides some good insurance.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Libya Needs To Show Its Gratitude--In Dollars

The United States is in the process of releasing to the new leaders in Libya the frozen assets of the late Moammar Ghadafi. The total is said to be somewhere around $37 billion.

There seems to be nearly unanimous agreement in this country that Libya should, and probably will, repay America the billion plus that it cost us to go to the aid of the Libyans in their hour of need.

Libya's oil industry, which survived the fighting almost intact, and its vast oil reserves, assure that Libya, if it can stay politically stable, will be a very wealthy nation. Repayment to all who helped the Libyans oust Ghadafi should be no problem.

I've been wondering, though, if it might be fitting and proper--and wise--to ask the Libyans to go a bit further. How about showing gratitude by helping others? How about contributing to the cause in Afghanistan?

The member nations of NATO, most notably the United States, are spending money in Afghanistan that they don't have. They are spending borrowed money in Afghanistan that is desperately needed at home.

Libyans are free today because they have friends, like the U.S., France, and Great Britain, who have powerful military forces. Those friends would be willing to be there again should Libya be threatened in future.

It's in Libya's best interest to help assure that their friends can afford to retain the military strength that is required to be able to go to the the aid of others.

If Libya doesn't think of it first, perhaps the United States should suggest sending a reasonable percentage of that $37 billion to NATO.

Libya needs to show its gratitude in more than words. Deeds, in the form of dollars, would be nice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Watching How Our Representatives Vote

Last Thursday evening, a bill called The Putting Teachers And First Responders Back To Work Act, failed to pass in the United States Senate. Fifty Senators voted to kill the bill.

I do not understand the logic of their vote, and I am not alone. The majority of American voters favor the provisions of the bill.

It would have put back to work 300,000 teachers and education workers, and 100,000 first responders. It would have been paid for by a .05 percent tax on personal income over a million dollars.

The reason most often given for a no vote was the position that there should be absolutely no tax increase of any kind--period. This, in spite of the fact that Americans overwhelmingly support a tax increase on the super rich.

Thursday afternoon, before the vote, Joe Biden made an impassioned appeal to the Senate for support of the bill. It was one of the Vice-President's finest hours.

He emphasized the importance of this particular vote, and he gave his reasons for a yes vote in plain, understandable, everyday language. He pointed out that the bill provided monies across the country to put back to work desperately needed teachers, firemen, and police officers.

The nation's lagging education systems, and its children, would benefit, and our nation's communities would be safer. Some 400,000 Americans would go from being unemployed to having jobs--and paying taxes.

As for the tax increase on the very wealthy, Vice-President Biden emphasized that folks earning one million dollars or less would pay nothing more in taxes.

Those who earn more than a million dollars would see no increase whatsoever on the first million. The .05 percent increase would be on income over a million.

The Vice-President further explained by way of example. Someone earning a total of three million dollars would pay an additional $500. in federal income tax--
certainly manageable for someone taking in three million, and surely not a burden that would discourage investing, or affect hiring.

Joe closed by reminding his audience that many of America's millionaires and billionaires have expressed a patriotic willingness to pay their fair share.

I have been wondering how many voters might have caught the Vice-President's words on TV, or are otherwise aware of the details of the failed bill.

More important, I am wondering how many constituents, of the 50 Senators voting no, are aware of how their Senators voted, or what and who their Senators voted for.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Has Other Fish To Fry

The Occupy Wall Street movement needs to move beyond targeting greedy executives in the financial world.

The protesters have realized their goal of putting the spotlight on Wall Street and the big banks, and they deserve a lot of credit for directing America's attention to inequities; to unfair practices.

But there are other fish to fry; there is another target, which, at this point in time, is even more important--the United States House of Representatives.

I touched on this in yesterday's blog, but it is important enough to be worth repeating. It is something that can neither be overstated nor stressed too much.

There is not much beyond creating awareness and understanding that can be accomplished by continuing to focus on Wall Street and the big banks.

The pursuit of prosecution would be an exercise in futility, for though most of the wrongs were, indeed, immoral and/or unethical, they were not illegal when committed.

And financial reform--federal legislation in the form of the Dodd-Frank Act--has since been put in place to prevent the recurrence of the sins of the past.

But the Republican leadership in the House wants to repeal Dodd-Frank. They want to go back to the way it was--when there was litle, and mostly self, regulation. It is those Republican Representatives who should now be the target of public outrage.

Occupy Wall Street should be heading south, to Washington--where there are other fish to fry.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't Blame The Billionaires

"All men and women need a roof over their heads, and need to be fed, and have proper health care."

Those words sound like something you would expect to hear from a demonstrator during the current Occupy Wall Street protests. They are words that speak of what is happening because of the increasing disparity of wealth in America--because of the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

But, surprising as it is, those words were uttered by the father of Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Tt strikes me as surprising because the Republican Presidential debates have sadly put on display a lack of GOP concern for the plight of those less fortunate.

The older Huntsman is a billionaire industrialist, who--according to The New York Times--"has no patience for the Scrooges of the world". He sympathizes with the Wall Street protesters.

Jon Huntsman, Sr. isn't one of those who simply talks the talk--he is one who also walks the walk. According to Forbes Magazine, he is one of 19 of the world's estimated 1,200 billionaires who has given one billion dollars or more to charity.

As "Occupy" protests spread across the United States and beyond its borders, such stories as the one in The New York Times about Jon Huntsman, Sr. serve to clarify who should be targeted.

There remains an abundance of greedy people in high places on Wall Street, and there are still a lot of obscene salaries and bonuses being doled out to the executives of the big banks. And they deserve to be targeted.

But lumping together all billionaires as a greedy group to be despised is wrong. There are just too many compassionate, generous billionaires like Huntsman to target them as a group.

Dozens of billionaires have joined something called "The Billionaires Club"--the creation of mega-billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Those who sign on pledge to give, or leave, at least half of their fortunes to charity.

Perhaps even more meaningful is the publicly-stated belief by many billionaires that they should be paying more--a fairer share--in taxes; and that Congress should find ways to halt the widening gap between the haves and have nots.

Hopefully, the Occupy Wall Street protesters will hear and heed what many billionaires are saying, and will turn those thoughts into demands that Congress make the super rich pay their fair share.

And hopefully, the protesters will begin to target those members of Congress who want to repeal Dodd-Frank, the recently-passed legislation designed to regulate Wall Street and the big banks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Hope For Congressional Civility

Last Sunday in Champagne, Illinois, Rep. Timothy Johnson held a town hall meeting, where he surprised his constituents with a special guest. Johnson, a Republican, shared the podium with Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, from Connecticut.

The two Congressmen are appearing at town hall meetings in each other's district as a way of providing voters with unvarnished information, and as a way to show how Congressional civility can benefit lawmakers and voters alike.

They remember well those chaotic town hall meetings during the summer of 2009, when debate over health care turned the meetings into shouting matches.

Since then, voters across America have been calling for civility--pleading for members of Congress to get along and get something done. Polls show that the electorate wants compromise.

Johnson and Murphy disagree, as might be expected, on a number of issues; but they believe that constructive conversation accomplishes much more than angry arguments and petty partisanship.

They are also working to breathe new life into a little known Congressional organization called the Center Aisle Caucus, which was formed seven years ago to foster cooperation through camaraderie.

The group's 40-some members were instrumental in the display of bipartisanship at the State of the Union joint meeting of Congress earlier this year.

The Center Aisle Caucus broke the tradition of Democrats sitting with Democrats and Republicans sitting with Republicans, by crossing over the aisle to mix it up.

Here's hoping that the ideas, attitudes, and efforts of Congressmen Johnson and Murphy become contagious.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

World Population And The Pope

In about two weeks--October 31--the number of people who occupy our planet will reach seven billion. It is expected that by 2025, the total will be eight billion.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, more than one billion of those people will remain undernourished for the foreseeable future.

Sadly, the areas of the world with the highest birthrates are also the areas of the world with the deepest poverty. And there are dire predictions of increasing shortages of food, and water, and jobs in those areas.

It seems logical that the need is urgent in these areas for family planning; for birth control. Yet the Catholic Church in general, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, continue to prohibit birth control.

Last November, the Pope did finally acknowledge that there could be special exceptions made to the long-held papal ban on contraceptives. But this was an unenthusiastic response to critics who sought help in combating the spread of AIDS.

Even then, the Pope said that the use of condoms was not "a real or moral solution" to the spread of AIDS, and the Vatican has emphasized that the general ban on birth control remains in effect.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the area of the world with the greatest problem--very high birthrates, and very deep poverty. Sub-Saharan Africa is also where 15 percent of the world's billion plus Catholics live.

While I am not a practicing member of the Catholic Church, there are many things that I love about the Catholic Church. The policy on birth control is not one of them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Working While Growing Up

A conversation that I had yesterday was the first time in years that I have thought back to my working while growing up.

A neighbor of mine was bemoaning the fact that her grandchildren were spending--in her opinion--much too much time on the computer.

She blamed this juvenile addiction on modern technology, but also on today's economic conditions, which have virtualy wiped out after school and weekend part-time job opportunities for teenagers.

I am thankful for that little talk with my neighbor, for it got me to thinking about my own early years, and how lucky I was to have had some part-time work while growing up. I made a little money--and a lot of memories.

My very first earnig opportunity came while I was still in "junior high". Today, we call it middle school. I hoed corn for 25 cents an hour; two dollars a day--and I loved it. I worked in fresh air and sunshine while picking up some spending money. Because of my age, it was cash--off the books.

How long ago was that? Well, the man I worked for, the man who owned the farm, was Hal Brues--the man who introduced electricity to my home town, and who was the owner of The Wheeling (West Virginia) Electric Company.

My next teenage earning opportunity turned out to be the first--and last time I was fired. I went to work for a restaurant called Isaly's in downtown Wheeling, West Virginia. The specialty of the house was a uniquely-shaped ice cream cone.

The first day on the job I tried unsuccessfully to master the technique of shaping the ice cream, and I was already trying the patience of the manager when I accidentally dropped a cleaning cloth into a tub of ice cream.

Invited to leave, I exited Isaly's embarrassed but undaunted. And by next day, as they say, one door had closed but another had opened.

Early, on that school day, an announcement was made that there was an opportunity for a student to pick up some after school work helping a resident in the area. I rushed to the office where Dean Cochran gave me the job.

For a few weeks I worked for a dear sweet lady whose name the years have taken from memory. She was kind and patient--showing me household secrets such as the art of cleaning windows--things that came in handy later in life.

Then came what was almost a full-time job--the usher at the Mayfair Theatre, which was halfway between home and high school. I didn't make much by today's standards, but what I did take home was a big help at the time.

My job kept me from attending football and basketball games, which was somewhat painful at the time; but through the years I have come to appreciate more and more that job opportunity and the learning experience it provided.

As I think now about working while growing up, I feel so sorry for my neighbor's grandkids, who give so much of their time to video games.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mitt Romney's Achilles' Heel

The phrase "Achilles' heel", which has a mythological origin, is often used today in describing something, or someone with overall strength--but with a small, yet actually crucial, weakness.

While other Republican Presidential candidates have bounced up and down in the polls, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has shown consistent, if not spectacular, strength--remaining all the while a front runner for the GOP nomination.

But now comes the revelation that Romney has an Achilles' heel--a condition which is not new, but one that only now is beginning to threaten his political life.

Governor Romney's Achilles' heel is a former advisor named Jonathan Gruber, who spells double trouble. He presents an immediate problem for Romney in the race for the Republican nomination; and he could make life miserable if Romney winds up winning the right to face President Obama in the general election.

Many Republican voters, especially ultra Conservatives, oppose Romney because they see him as a flip-flopper, and as too much the moderate.

They are wary of his self-espoused conservatism, because, among other flip-flops, he did a 180 on abortion. Where once he was pro-choice, he now professes to be pro-life. They wonder if it was a matter of conviction--or political expediency.

It is his history with health care, however, that is most objectionable to the far right. The Massachusetts Health Reform Law, which Romney pushed into passage while Governor, is, for conservatives, a real turn off.

It is much the same as The Affordable Care Act, which a Democratic Congress passed, and which President Obama signed into law in 2009. Republican Congressional leaders and most Republican Presidential candidates have vowed to repeal The Affordable Care Act.

Until now, Governor Romney has been able to defuse the health care issue by claiming that the federal law is not the same as the Massachusetts law, and not nearly as effective.

Someone in the know, however--Jonathan Gruber--claims the opposite--that the federal law is a duplicate of the Massachusetts law--with one exception. And that exception is something that makes the federal version more effective.

Jonathan Gruber knows of what he speaks, because, as it turns out, he is the architect of both the Massachusetts Health Reform Law, and The Affordable Care Act.

Jonathan Gruber is an M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) professor and economist, who did the heavy lifting in putting together the Massachusetts plan. He is acknowledged as the Romney advisor most responsible for the health care law enacted in 2006.

What is breaking news, however, is the knowledge that Gruber was a handsomely-paid advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services--who became the architect of the Affordable Care Act.

NBC News broke the ground for this story as a result of combing the White House visitor logs, and finding that Gruber met with White House officials on at least five occasions, and one of those meetings was presided over by President Obama in the Oval Office.

In an appearance on the Lawrence O'Donnell show Wednesday evening, Gruber confirmed those White House meetings, and his work on The Affordable Care Act. He further acknowledged that The Affordable Care Act was, indeed, patterned after the Massachusetts law.

Gruber paid a compliment to Governor Romney that is the last thing Mitt Romney wanted to hear--and something that is certain to incur the wrath of the far right. Gruber called Romney "the father of health care reform", and added that Romney is"the person most responsible for the health care reform in the United States".

Mitt Romney--the man most responsible for the controversial Affordable Care Act?

Wow! Romney's opponents wil have a field day with that one at next Tuesday's GOP Presidential debate. Jonathan Gruber has just assured that it will be a miserable evening for Governor Romney.

And if Governor Romney should go on to win his party's nomination, something else which Jonathan Gruber said will take away any hope Mitt Romney had to use health care as an issue against President Obama.

Quoting Jonathan Gruber: "The truth is that The Affordable Health Care Act is essentially based on what we accomplished in Massachusetts. It is the same basic structure applied nationally".

The one difference in plans is an improvement, The federal law has cost containment provisions. And contrary to Republican complaints about cost, The Affordable Care Act will actually reduce the deficit--so says the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"The Devil Is In The Details"

Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has made some outrageous remarks since entering the Presidential sweepstakes--so many that she has provided, for some, more comedy relief than substance.

But last night, at the Bloomberg News/Washington Post Republican Presidential debate, in New Hampshire, the Tea Party darling uttered words of wisdom that hit the nail right on the head.

Referring to another candidate, businessman Herman Cain, she said of his economic plan that "the devil is in the details"--and she is right on.

Cain is touting a "9-9-9" tax proposal which would eliminate all current federal taxes; and replace them with a nine percent individual income tax rate, and a nine percent corporate income tax rate, and a nine percent national sales tax.

Most respected economists are questioning Cain's numbers--saying that they don't think his plan would produce as much revenue as the government takes in at present.

But where the devil is hiding is in the little known fact that Cain's plan would include sales tax on currently sacred, tax free items, such as food and medicine.

Such a move would put an additional burden on the already struggling middle class, and it would be a cruel blow to those who are hovering just above and below the poverty line.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Transparency -- Or The Lack Thereof

The Congressional Joint Select Committee On Deficit Reduction has begun its work midst debate over whether its meetings should be open to the public.

The reasonable argument that the people's business should be conducted in the open has been countered by committee member claims that more can be accomplished in a private setting.

CNN's Kate Baldwin questioned the latter point of view during a recent interview with Super Committee Co-chair, Senator Patty Murray. The Senator offered a vague promise that after initial meetings, the proceedings would become more transparent. She failed to provide a rational explanation as to the need for privacy at the outset.

I happened to catch that interview, and it was troubling, because it reminded me of another situation with a similar lack of transparency.

In the early months of the previous administration, Vice-President Cheney set out to establish an energy policy by conducting a series of meetings with undisclosed participants. The secrecy surrounding those meetings was controversial, to say the least.

Yesterday's USA Today front page article about the Super Committee gives cause for concern, and it strengthens the case for complete begining to end transparency.

The investigative report offers a possible reason for Committee members not wanting the press or the public to observe all that is happening. It provides a possible answer to the question of what is there to hide.

According to the USA Today, 66 former aides to Super Committee members are now lobbyists representing the defense and health care industries--both of which are potentially facing huge losses from cuts in government spending. In other words, special interests may well be privy to, or part of private proceedings.

With the Committee needing to trim a staggering $1.2 trillion from the deficit, those 66 former aides will be begging on behalf of the people they lobby for: "Not me!"

There is nothing about the Super Committee's work that involves national security. There is no information, no material, that can be considered classified.

There is no good reason why committee members should want privacy. Or is there?

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" Should Be Occupy Congress

The protesters who are demonstrating in lower Manhattan and other cities around the country are focused on the wrong target.

Their anger, which is being directed at Wall Street and big banks, is understandable and justified. The money men are indeed a greedy lot, and there is a growing divide in America between the rich and the not so rich.

But at this point in time, the target should be those Republican members of Congress who are vowing to repeal "Dodd-Frank", the recently enacted legislation designed to regulate Wall Street and the big banks, and prevent in future the egregious behavior of the past.

Efforts to initiate prosecution of those whose actions brought about our economic mess are a waste of time. Most of the "sins" committed--while immoral, and perhaps unethical--were not at the time illegal.

The energy of protesters who now "Occupy Wall Street" should be given to preventing Republicans--Congressional leaders as well as Presidential candidates--from ever repealing Dodd-Frank.

It's time for the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters to head south, and reassemble outside the Congressional office buildings in Washington.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Harry's Words Of Warning Are Worth Remembering

It was a warm autumn day in Wheeling, West Virginia, and the President of the United States had come to town.

"Give 'em hell" Harry Truman arrived by train to speak on behalf of the man he hoped would succeed him--Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee in the Presidential election of 1952. Whistle stop railroad tours were a popular way of campaigning back then.

President Truman emerged from inside the train and stood, smiling, on the platform of the rear car--waving to an enthusiastic crowd. It was a weekday, a school day; but I was there, along with a lot of other students. We had been given the afternoon off so that we could see the President.

I don't remember much of what Harry Truman said that afternoon, but I do remember his words of warning: "If the Republicans get in, you better watch out, neighbor".

Well, the Republicans did get in, but contrary to Harry Truman's dire prediction, President Dwight Eisenhower presided over two relatively successful terms--eight years that are often referred to as "happy days", or "the fabulous fifties".

But still, nearly 60 years later, President Truman's words of warning are worth remembering, especially now as we move closer to the Presidential election of 2012.

In 1952, moderate politicians were still a respected breed--respected by other politicians who were more liberal or more conservative, and respected by the vast majority of the American electorate. But not now.

And in 1952, the willingness to compromise was still considered an admirable trait. But not now.

There are currently candidates seeking the highest office in the land who bring Harry Truman's words to mind, because if they get in, you better watch out, neighbor.

Like a broken record, I say again, know what you are voting for as well as who you are voting for.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki -- Justifiable Homicide

There are those, including the American Civil Liberties Union, who argue that it was wrong for our government to target, and kill Anwar al-Awlaki.

The basis for their position is the fact that al Awlaki was an American citizen who, until ten years ago, resided in the United States.

That fact, however, is not nearly as important as the reality that al Awlaki was a sworn enemy of the United States, who was actually a man without a country.

He could never return to the United States, nor could he live openly in Yemen, where he was in hiding at the time of his death.

Anwar al-Awlaki was a senior member of al-Qaeda, who was involved in the 9/11 attacks--a spiritual advisor to three of the hijackers.

He was involved in the slaughter at Fort Hood--giving encouragement to the lone wolf shooter. He was involved in the Christmas Day plot that almost brought down a commercial airliner bound for Detroit.

His life work was to promote jihad against the United States. He hated America, and he was as much an enemy combatant as any enemy soldier in uniform.

The drone that killed Anwar al Awlaki may have saved unknown numbers of American lives from future attacks. And that is what makes his death justifiable homicide.