Thursday, October 1, 2009

Political Digest October 1, 2009

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Doesn't even mean I understand them!
(I know, I'm feeding the trolls!)

If Obama gets 2016 Games, Daley will be king, not mayor,0,456539.column
John Kass, Chicago Tribune: If Chicago gets the games, the contracts and the grease and immense leverage to reshape a city will be used as originally intended. To rebuild the boss, to give a mayor facing deficits and taxpayer revolts and headaches a much-needed shoring up of his political infrastructure…..Obama knows what this is about. It is about paying political debts. It is about waltzing with the one that brought him to the dance, not so much Michelle, as dancing with the little guy with the short shanks on the 5th floor of City Hall. So he will fly halfway around the world when he doesn't have the time, with so many other items on his agenda, because he has to. He's Chicago's president. And he got the call from the boss. (Kass at his best. Read it all.)

AP: Obama plays into people’s fears
Excerpt: Wrote Woodward: “Hers is a cautionary tale about how an insurance company can act in a seemingly arbitrary manner to revoke coverage for lifesaving treatment. But not for the reasons Obama cites… Beaton did not lose her insurance because she failed to own up to a skin problem in her past. She lost it because, when enrolling in the plan, she had not reported a previous heart condition and did not list her weight accurately.” Hmm. That seems a little less heartless. And believe it or not, the system actually worked. AP’s Wooward wrote: (Obama lies—read it all.)

A close look at Obama's supposed pragmatism,0,3770310.column
Excerpt: "When John McCain said we could just 'muddle through' in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights," Barack Obama thundered as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Denver last year. "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell. But he won't even go to the cave where he lives." It was a shabby bit of rhetoric, even for a campaign. Insinuating that McCain, of all people, didn't have the intestinal fortitude to take the fight to bin Laden was not only absurd on its face, it smacked of overcompensation coming from the former community organizer. But the line did what it needed to do: communicate that Obama had the sort of true grit required to fight the good, i.e. popular, war in Afghanistan. That war may or may not be good anymore, but it is most certainly not popular. And so what was for Obama a "war of necessity" has become a de facto war of choice. At least that's the sense one gets as the president is suddenly searching for a politically palatable strategy other than the one he announced months ago.

Former Gitmo detainee killed in shootout
Excerpt: A former Guantanamo detainee has reportedly been killed in a shootout between the Yemeni Army and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. The former detainee, Fahd Saleh Suleiman al Jutayli, was captured in Pakistan after fleeing the Tora Bora Mountains in 2001. He was repatriated to his native Saudi Arabia in May 2006. According to the Yemen Post, two other former Gitmo detainees - Yusuf al Shehri and Othman al Ghamdi – called their families to tell them Jutayli had been killed in the fighting and asked them to inform Jutayli’s family. Earlier this year, the Saudi government included all three of these former Guantanamo detainees – Jutayli, Shehri, and Ghamdi - on a list of the Kingdom’s 85 most wanted terrorists. After being released from Guantanamo, the three graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program and joined eight other former Gitmo detainees in fleeing south to Yemen. All eleven joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (But will BO send flowers?)

Blatant Racism in Chicago,0,1345626.story
250 White Ministers meet to endorse a white candidate for President of the Cook County Board, to keep the seat in white hands. Disgusting racism. Wait, my bad! It was black ministers trying to select a black candidate. Sorry. Move alone, nothing to see here. Just business as usual in Obama’s post-racial America.

Is Disagreement with Obama Racism?
Excerpt: Race is no longer the problem that it once was. That doesn't mean there are not white and black bigots and that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated. What little racial discrimination remains is nowhere near the insurmountable barrier it once was. For the most part, white bigots are no longer respected among whites and I look forward to the day when black bigots are no longer respected among blacks. When one says that race is no longer the problem it once was, it is not the same as saying that there are not major problems that confront a large segment of the black population. Grossly fraudulent education is a major problem but it has nothing to do with racial discrimination as evidenced by the fact that the worse education received is in the very cities where blacks dominate the political structure. Crime is a major problem but it has nothing to do with racial discrimination, particularly in light of the fact that blacks commit most of the violent crime in America and well over 90 percent of their victims are black. The fact of a 70 percent illegitimacy rate and only 35 percent of black children raised in two-parent homes is a major problem but it has nothing to do with racial discrimination. Americans should disavow and not fall prey to the racial rope-a-dope being played on us by the nation's race hustlers.

Obama’s political affairs director tied to ACORN
Excerpt: That’s right. Barack Obama is a busy, important man with many weighty matters on his mind. Thus it was the height of unfairness last night for Fox News’ Sean Hannity to call into question the President’s selection of Patrick Gaspard, a longtime high-level ACORN official, as his political affairs director … and as an advisory board member for his White House transition team before that … and as the political director of his 2008 presidential campaign before that.
After all, how could Obama possibly have known that Gaspard was the former New York political director for ACORN? And how could our busy, important President have realized that Gaspard also worked for an ACORN appendage known as the Working Families Party, an outgrowth of the socialist New Party that had endorsed Obama for the Illinois state senate in 1996?

Liberals Regroup After Public Option Defeat
Excerpt: An outcome that had been expected for weeks still generated a good deal of drama and post-game analysis, as Tuesday's defeat of efforts to add the public insurance option to the Senate Finance Committee's health-care bill pushed the reform debate into a new stage. The Finance panel rejected successive amendments from Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer to create a public option, "dealing a crippling blow to the hopes of liberals seeking to expand the federal role in health coverage as a cornerstone of reform," the Washington Post writes. Max Baucus said he wants "a bill that can become law" and did not see enough support for the public option to get it through the Senate. Schumer agreed, for now: "We don't have the 60 votes on the floor for the public option. I will be the first to admit that." The Los Angeles Times reports: "It was the biggest setback to date for liberal Democrats, but did not kill the possibility of a public option being included in final legislation," Public option supporters will get several more bites at the apple: They can offer more amendments on the Senate floor (assuming, as most observers do, that Harry Reid will not include this element in the chamber's combined bill). Or they can fight for it during conference negotiations, since the House is still expected to include some form of public plan in its bill.

Senators Ready a Bill on Greenhouse Gases
Economy recovering? Let’s stomp it flat!

Reasonable Responses to Climate Change
Excerpt: To combat increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Obama Administration supports a cap-and-trade system similar to the one implemented by the Kyoto agreement which commits developed countries to limit and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to the economic costs of limits on greenhouse gas emissions there are responses to climate change that would have substantial economic benefits, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Carbon Rationing Will Hurt the Poor Worse, Argues Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg
Excerpt: Bjorn Lomborg, who heads up the Danish think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, argues that imposing steep immediate cuts on carbon dioxide emissions in an attempt to slow man-made global warming will cause far more harm than it will do good. Why? First, the costs of carbon rationing would far outweigh the benefits. And second, such cuts could provoke a damaging "green" trade war. To get a sense of what would be involved in trying to achieve even moderate carbon dioxide reductions, Lomborg looks at the case of Japan.

Success Against al-Qaeda Cited
Excerpt: U.S. and international intelligence officials say that improved recruitment of spies inside the al-Qaeda network, along with increased use of targeted airstrikes and enhanced assistance from cooperative governments, has significantly reduced the terrorist organization's effectiveness. A U.S. counterterrorism official said that the combined advances have led to the deaths of more than a dozen senior figures in al-Qaeda and allied groups in Pakistan and elsewhere over the past year, most of them in 2009. Officials described Osama bin Laden and his main lieutenants as isolated and unable to coordinate high-profile attacks.

The Central Planning Failure of the Sears Centre
Excerpt: Central planning failed in the Soviet Union, is still failing in Cuba, and is being phased out in China, but it apparently remains alive—though not well—in Hoffman Estates. The village board has announced foreclosure proceedings against the 11,000-seat Sears Centre arena, less than three years after it opened. The board had backed a $55 million loan for a private firm to build the arena. Now that firm cannot make the debt payments and could close the arena any time. Hoffman Estates has a long, sorry history with business “incentives.” Over the past 20 years village officials have given hundreds of millions of dollars of handouts to the Sears Centre and other select businesses, distorting business decisions and imposing their will like Soviet commissars. Hoffman Estates jumped into the tax subsidies quagmire in 1989 when it helped Sears move 5,000 jobs out of Chicago to its current headquarters, largely through tax increment financing. Sears has received more than $200 million in TIF subsidies taken from schools and other local governments. To cover the lost tax money, local governments force others to pay more.

Afghanistan is hard all the time, but it’s doable
David Petraeus: As in Iraq in 2007, attacks are frequent and challenges significant. But success is vital for the security of all nations.

"When you treat the Afghans with kid gloves, they will bite off your hand"
Excerpt: There have been some phony arguments put forth for another “surge” in Afghanistan. We need not a surge of troops, we merely need to let our forces there do what needs to be done – kill the enemy. There is this misconception of Afghanistan in particular (and Islam in general) that somehow we can bring Central Asia (and the rest of the Islamic world) kicking and screaming into the 21st Century through good will. This is simply not the case. There is no amount of money to spend, infrastructure to build, schools to provide, hospitals to heal, or good will that Americans can display toward the Afghan people that will produce a lasting effect. I was once told by an accomplished Afghan intelligence analyst that, “you can rent an Afghan, but you can’t buy him.”

Afghans Protest New Rules of Engagement
Excerpt: The U.S. is increasingly encountering angry Afghan civilians, who demand that the Americans act more decisively in pursuing and killing Taliban gunman. Even if it puts Afghan civilians at risk. This is an unexpected side effect of a change, three months ago, of the U.S. rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan. This was in response to popular (or at least media) anger at civilians killed by American smart bombs. As a result of the new ROE, it became much more difficult to get permission drop a smart bomb when there might be civilians nearby. Now American commanders have to decide who they shall respond too; Afghan civilians asking for relief from Taliban oppression, or Taliban influenced media condemning the U.S. for any Afghan civilians killed, or thought to be killed, by American firepower. What to do?

Iraq Needs a Real Air Force
By OMAR FADHIL AL-NIDAWI AND AUSTIN BAY: The U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement says American combat units will depart Iraq by December 2011. At that point, Iraq's armed forces must provide for defense against internal and external threats. While Iraqi forces have improved remarkably, progress has not been even across all services. This imbalance is particularly acute in the case of the Iraqi Air Force. It's clear that Iraqi air defense forces will not be ready to handle the mission by 2011. Currently, the Iraqi Air Force is a creature of turbo-prop planes and helicopters. A squadron of high performance aircraft flown by Iraqi crack pilots is an expensive goal that might sortie over Baghdad by 2016 at best, though the Iraqi Ministry of Defense quietly estimates that 2018, or 2020, is more probable.

Venezuela's Iran ties raise eyebrows
Excerpt: Here's an issue that is drawing growing attention in Washington, but is going almost unnoticed in Latin America -- allegations that Venezuela is helping Iran develop nuclear weapons, and that Iran's fundamentalist regime is setting up a foothold in Latin America from where to threaten the United States. While there has been speculation about Venezuela's ties to Iran's nuclear program in the past, it has risen to a new level since a Sept. 8 speech by New York district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau at the Brookings Institute in Washington.

Has the liberal moment come and gone?
Excerpt: Gallup's question was simple: "Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?" In the new poll, taken in the first days of September, 53 percent of respondents say they want the government to promote traditional values, while 42 percent say they do not want the government to favor any particular set of values. Five percent do not have an opinion

Ten for ten
Winning Washington.

IDF releases video of strike on terrorists,7340,L-3782195,00.html
The news isn’t all bad: Video filmed by aircraft shows Islamic Jihad terrorists carrying rockets before being hit. (Surprise!)

Axe vs AK-47s in Kashmir
Taking on Islamic Militants!

Farmer's daughter disarms terrorist and shoots him dead with AK47
Excerpt: His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead. She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.

It really is about Obama’s color. Too green for the job, too yellow on defense and too red for the economy. (From a cartoon.)

"There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come." --Peter Muhlenberg, from a Lutheran sermon read at Woodstock, Virginia, 1776

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