- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2014

The Senate decision to release a report on CIA interrogation methods is more controversial than the actual contents of the report itself. So says a new Pew Research Center report that states, “Overall, the public expresses the most doubt not about the CIA methods and program itself, but about the Senate committee’s decision to release its report: as many call the decision to publicly release the findings the wrong decision (43 percent) as the right decision (42 percent).” Fifteen percent were undecided. Another 56 percent of Americans believe the CIA interrogation methods provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks while 51 percent say such methods are justified.

“While the report on the CIA’s interrogation methods captured much of Washington’s attention, it was not the public’s most closely followed story last week. Overall, 23 percent followed news about the release of the Senate report on CIA interrogations very closely; more (35 percent) paid very close attention to news about protests around the country in response to police-related violence,” the pollster says. See more numbers — including the big partisan divides — in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

IN PRAISE OF NORAD

School systems and elected officials may get skittish about including any references to Santa Claus in their public activities — but not NORAD. The North American Aerospace Defense Command embraces the Christmas elf with grace and good cheer, offering its annual radar tracking of Santa and his sleigh on Christmas Eve to kids in 200 nations and territories and in eight languages — just as they have done since 1955, when Santa was not framed as some sort of cultural interloper. NORAD, in fact, offers its top six commanders to the eager media for interviews — we’re talking five generals and an admiral here, folks. It all amounts to authentic, uncomplicated diplomacy. The defense agency also provides technical specs on the sleigh, science factoids, provides links to charities and answers all questions — including inquiries about Santa’s visits to war zones and non-Christian countries.

“Though his list gets longer, Santa still has to deliver all of the presents in the same amount of time. If one were to assume he works in the realm of standard time, he would need to limit his stay to about three ten-thousandths of a second per home, ” NORAD advises its young fans at NoradSanta.org — which drew over 19 million visitors on Christmas Eve alone last year.

“Santa Claus is more than 16 centuries old, yet he does not appear to age at all. This is our biggest clue that he does not work within time as we know it. His whole trip may appear to us as taking only 24 hours, but to Santa it may last days, weeks or even months in standard time so the only logical conclusion is that Santa functions within a different time-space continuum than the rest of us.”


SEE ALSO: Obama to Dick Cheney: You’re dead ‘wrong’ on enhanced interrogations


The defense agency adds, “Is he real? Based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, we believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.”

AMNESTY SNEAKS IN

There’s a similarity between Obamacare and President Obama’s complicated amnesty plan and: they can’t be understood until they’re implemented. A new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies explains that the Department of Homeland Security issued 10 memos as a general outline — “but the executive branch will be issuing further policies, guidelines, and plans which could make the executive action even broader and more vulnerable to fraud,” says Jon Feere, who authored the research “These memos are a reminder that one can’t think of Obama’s lawless amnesty scheme as settled law. Not only are these plans currently a work-in-progress, any provision can change on a whim or be expanded in the future with nothing more than Obama’s pen.”

For example, determining “extreme hardship” that could grant waivers for spouses or parents of U.S. citizens in the amnesty proposal will be up to an as-yet undefined program rather than a public “notice and comment process,” Mr. Feere says.

“The American public will not know how Obama’s new immigration scheme will operate or how many illegal immigrants it will include until it is already up and running,” he says. “Congress could take some control over this lawless policymaking by better defining the areas of law the administration claims are unclear and open to interpretation. Doing so might limit the Obama administration’s effort to further expand its authority over immigration policy.” See Mr. Feere’s research here: CIS.org

BATTLE OF THE CAMPAIGN SITES

The Internet entrepreneurs have already bought out the likely domain names of choice should Sen. Elizabeth Warren run for president. Among those no longer available: ElizabethWarren2016.com, ElizabethWarrenForPresident.com and just plain old ElizabethWarren.com are no long available for the taking, the rights snapped up by business concerns that resell such designations. They are now considered “premium” names by Register.com, the master online depository for new websites.

But the online universe is sprawling. Should the aforementioned Massachusetts Democrat decide to run, her campaign committee could purchase, say, ElizabethWarren2016.com from Huge Domains, which owns it, for $3,295. Then again, ElizabethWarren2016.org and ElizabethWarren2016.net can still be had. Go figure. And that is politics these days.

ONE FOR RICKOVER

History works in interesting ways. Take nuclear power, which ultimately became a fixture in the U.S. Navy and beyond. But it took some doing. “Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power” is a new docudrama now airing on PBS that examines the life and times of one Admiral Hyman G. Rickover — who wrested atomic energy into service aboard the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear sub. The vessel’s unprecedented journey under arctic ice in 1958 brought parades and accolades to the inventive, determined Navy man. But it was complicated.

“He was the greatest engineer who ever lived on earth, in my opinion,” recalls President Jimmy Carter in the film, which combines dramatic moments and archival footage. “My job was not to work within the system. My job was to get things done and make this country strong,” Rickover himself notes. “The bottom line is that Rickover was genius and a SOB,” observes Norman Polmar, a naval historian.

The two-hour independent project was produced and directed by Michael Pack, president of Manifold Productions, an independent film and TV group just outside the nation’s capital. Retired Admiral Bruce DeMars — former director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion — is among the advisers. It airs in multiple time slots depending on region and a DVD is available; consult PBS.org for a schedule.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of Americans say CIA interrogation methods provided intelligence that prevented terrorist attacks; 73 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

51 overall percent say the methods were “justified”; 76 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent overall say the methods are not justified; 12 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say the Senate decision to release their CIA report was the “wrong decision”; 64 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall say it was the “right decision”; 26 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent don’t know; 10 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,001 U.S., adults conducted Dec. 11-14.

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