Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Political Digest November 18, 2009

PolI 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.

You win this time, MacArthur
But one day your President will bow to our Emperor!

When the Ta-Li-Ban Come Back
In David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog

Obamacare: Buy now, pay later
Excerpt: There is an air of absurdity to what is mistakenly called "health-care reform." Everyone knows that the United States faces massive governmental budget deficits as far as calculators can project, driven heavily by an aging population and uncontrolled health costs. As we recover slowly from a devastating recession, it's widely agreed that, though deficits should not be cut abruptly (lest the economy resume its slump), a prudent society would embark on long-term policies to control health costs, reduce government spending and curb massive future deficits. The administration estimates these at $9 trillion from 2010 to 2019. The president and all his top economic advisers proclaim the same cautionary message. So what do they do? Just the opposite. Their far-reaching overhaul of the health-care system -- which Congress is halfway toward enacting -- would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that threaten higher deficits and would do little to suppress surging health costs. The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he's doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both. The campaign to pass Obama's health-care plan has assumed a false, though understandable, cloak of moral superiority. It's understandable because almost everyone thinks that people in need of essential medical care should get it; ideally, everyone would have health insurance. The pursuit of these worthy goals can easily be projected as a high-minded exercise for the public good.

A Republican on every ballot
Excerpt: Little has changed at the headquarters for decades, which is precisely Riley's dilemma. The 37-year-old lawyer accepted the unpaid position of county party chairman in 2006 -- "maybe the worst job in the world," he says -- and this was the Republican Party he inherited: A volunteer database consisting of 11 people. An antiquated Web site. A monthly newsletter that was published only sporadically. A fading community of conservatives who refused to run for local office because they suspected, Riley says, "that they would just get their teeth kicked in." During a depressing 2008 election cycle for Republicans, Riley oversaw the party's darkest corner. His state, solidly Republican for 44 years, shifted more than any other and voted for Barack Obama. His county, which twice backed George W. Bush, also swung for Obama -- by a resounding 17 percent.

Anti-Castro fundraisers make dramatic shift to Democrats, new report says
Excerpt: Supporters of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba have made more than $10 million in campaign contributions since the 2004 election cycle. Pro-embargo donors are also continuing to funnel more and more funds to Democrats, according to a report released Monday by Public Campaign, a watchdog group that supports public financing of election campaigns. It has been clear that the groups have been targeting Democrats since 2006, when that party took control of the House and Senate, but the Public Campaign report illustrates the degree to which the donations have shifted.

For the Dems, What a Difference a Year Makes
Excerpt: The Democrats have more political power than they have had at any time since the presidency of LBJ. They control the presidency, have a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate (counting independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders, who caucus with them), and have an 81-seat margin in the House. The Democrats have the power to advance their agenda without a single Republican vote in Congress. But in a remarkably rapid political freefall, the Democrats, but one year after their great triumph in November 2008, are now facing an angry, pessimistic electorate. There is a strong anti-incumbent mood, and the list of endangered Democratic-held seats in the House and Senate grows each week.

Obama is so great, he saved jobs in districts that don’t exist!
From the folks who want to run healthcare. Excerpt: Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 9th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the website set up by the Obama Administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says. There's one problem, though: There is no 9th Congressional District in Arizona; the state has only eight Congressional Districts.

Obama will push additional tax hikes next year
Excerpt: Buried in this Friday story on Obama's future plans is a curious statement, attributed to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, which didn't get nearly enough attention: Orszag has said the spending blueprint, for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2010, would put the nation "back on a fiscally sustainable path" and suggested it would include a mix of spending cuts and new revenue-producing measures. "New revenue-producing measures." In other words, more tax increases -- increases beyond the dozen or so that are already planned in the health care reform package.

U.N. questions if Iran has other nuclear sites
The Prophet said, "War is deceit." Hadith 4:269. (Bukhari)

Culver in deep trouble in Iowa
Excerpt: In another sign of the dangerously strong anti-incumbent current in the country, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) appears to be in political free fall, trailing his strongest Republican opponent by more than 20 points in new independent polling in the Hawkeye State.

Paterson Rips White House For NYC 9/11 Trial
May just be political payback to Obama.

1994 vs. 2010 (Fourth item)
Excerpt: Democrats have not experienced near the number of retirements that the party did in the run-up to the 1994 election. That final point may well be the most crucial. History tells us that open seats are far more likely to switch parties but, so far, just seven House Democrats are retiring or running for higher office with just three of those seats -- Louisiana's 3rd district, New Hampshire's 2nd district and Pennsylvania's 7th district -- legitimate takeover opportunities for Republicans. Compare those numbers to 1994 when 40 of the 52 seats Democrats lost were in open seat races and you begin to see why the comparison between the two elections is somewhat ill-fitting. Watch to see how many more House Democrats decide to bail on a re-election race next November between now and January 2010; if that number stays below 15 or 20, Democrats have to feel good about holding the House in 2011.

From Copenhagen to Nopenhagen for Climate Treaty
Let’s recreate the Great Depression to lower the globe’s temp a degree or so a century from now if man is really responsible. Excerpt: In a major blow to the campaign against the presumed threat of global warming, world leaders acknowledge that a legally binding global treaty won't be approved at next month's 192-nation climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The concession Sunday significantly delays U.N. efforts to orchestrate a treaty to limit greenhouse gases to replace the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012. Nations like the United States and poorer nations share the blame for the missed deadline.

The Rationing Commission Meet the unelected body that will dictate future medical decisions.
Excerpt: As usual, the most dangerous parts of ObamaCare aren't receiving the scrutiny they deserve—and one of the least examined is a new commission to tell Congress how to control health spending. Democrats are quietly attempting to impose a "global budget" on Medicare, with radical implications for U.S. medicine. Like most of Europe, the various health bills stipulate that Congress will arbitrarily decide how much to spend on health care for seniors every year—and then invest an unelected board with extraordinary powers to dictate what is covered and how it will be paid for. White House budget director Peter Orszag calls this Medicare commission "critical to our fiscal future" and "one of the most potent reforms." On that last score, he's right. Prominent health economist Alain Enthoven has likened a global budget to "bombing from 35,000 feet, where you don't see the faces of the people you kill." As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commission—all 15 members appointed by the President—would have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.

Goodies for labor tucked away in health bill
Excerpt: Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of a health care reform bill, all eyes turn to the Senate. No matter where you stand in the debate over issues such as the public option, big labor bosses hope you do not notice some lower-profile provisions tucked into the pages of this massive proposal. If they become law, these provisions would give union leaders considerable influence over health care decisions affecting us all. It was no surprise that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Andy Stern, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), cheered the results of the House vote. After spending almost $80 million during the last election cycle, unions are on the brink of reaping a significant return on their investment. Despite representing only about 7.6% of private sector employees, unions are poised to gain significant privileges, authority and financial windfalls from health care reform. Coming at the expense of tax-paying patients and businesses, these specific benefits would do little or nothing to improve our health care system.

Higher health taxes in NY?
Health Care too expensive? Let’s tax it! That’ll help.

The poor need capitalism
Excerpt: The nearby chart draws on a landmark new study by economists Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin. The authors set out to study changes in the world distribution of income by gathering data from many different countries. As a byproduct of their work, they are able to count the number of individuals who live on $1 per day or less, a key measure of poverty. According to their calculations, the number of people living in poverty so defined has plummeted, from 967,574,000 in 1970 to 350,436,000 in 2006, a decrease of a whopping 64 percent. Whence the reduction? The biggest factor is the emergence of middle classes in previously poverty stricken China and India. And the spread of capitalism to other countries has similarly been followed by prosperity. The trend is even more impressive if one considers that the world population skyrocketed over that time, increasing by 3 billion. If the trend continues for just 40 more years, poverty will have been essentially eradicated from the globe. And capitalism will have done it. Socialism offers itself as an alternative to capitalism that is more just to the poor. To test that view, the authors reconstruct the distribution of income for the countries of the former Soviet Union. Back in the Communist days, poverty was much, much higher in the Soviet Union than it is today.

Why Obama Nixed the Ft. Hood Probe
Excerpt: As he flew to Asia on Saturday, President Obama told the media in Alaska that he opposes a congressional investigation into the Fort Hood massacre, saying that we must “resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into political theater.” Yet, even as he was posturing against political theatrics, he had just decided that the prosecution of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would proceed on the greatest of public stages — New York City. With the strict evidentiary rules in force in federal civilian courts, it is easy to see how the prosecution of Mohammed could morph into an indictment of the Bush administration’s interrogation techniques and waterboarding. As in rape trials, the magnitude of the underlying crime (masterminding the 9/11 attacks) might well be lost as the defense puts the victim (in this case, the government) on trial. It is not political theater itself to which Obama objects — but theater that highlights issues that liberals would rather forget. He is quite content to let the Mohammed trial become the theater of the left. Perhaps even eager. Obama and his handlers know that the key to building favorable ratings is to control the agenda. And the more the national discussion centers on national security and terrorism, the more Republicans gain. So the Fort Hood terror attack comes at an awful time for an administration trying to turn the nation’s attention away from the terrorist threat. As soon as the killing spree was over, Obama hastened to call it “an act of violence” — obscuring the obvious fact that it was the most serious terror attack on US soil since 9/11. And, as evidence mounts that the FBI was on to Major Nidal Malik Hasan for years, the president is doing his best to stop Congress from finding out why these warnings went unheeded.

Islam Bashers Repent
Excerpt: Claiming “Islam” means “peace” is fraudulent to begin with. Islam is an Arabic word. And the word for peace in Arabic is “solh,” and not Islam. Islam is derived from the root word “taslim,” which means submission or surrender. Hence, Islam’s true name, surrender, is in fact most descriptive of what it is: total, unconditional submission and surrender of the individual and the community to the will and dictates of Allah as revealed by his “rasool,” messenger, Muhammad. Further proof of the fraudulent nature of billing Islam as a religion of peace is the irrefutable fact that Muhammad himself led his followers during his lifetime in 78 battles, only one of which was defensive in nature. Perusing the religion of peace’s holy book, the Quran, taken by Muslims as the literal revelation of Allah, reads more like a manual of intolerance and war than a divinely-revealed prescription from a benevolent God for a life of brotherhood and peace. Quran 2:216 "Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, you knew not." Quran 8:65 "O Prophet exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you 20 steadfast, they will overcome 200 and if there be of you a 100, they shall overcome a 1000, because the disbelievers are a folk without intelligence"

Afghanistan Myths
Excerpt: America cannot win a war in Afghanistan, the "graveyard of empires." How can America succeed where Alexander the Great, the British, and the Soviet Union struggled? This refrain belongs, as they say now in the military, in the graveyard of analogies. The Soviets, in particular, teach us how not to win in Afghanistan. A heavily mechanized force, the Red Army was ill-suited for Afghanistan's treacherous terrain, and it was dependent on long, vulnerable supply lines. It also discouraged innovative junior leadership, which is critical against an insurgency. To compensate, the Soviets employed vicious, massively destructive tactics that inflamed the Afghan people and still scar the country with depopulated valleys and adult amputees maimed as children by toy-shaped mines. Our present way of war couldn't be more different. We deploy light and wheeled infantry to Afghanistan, making our tactics more flexible, our supply lines shorter, and our soldiers more engaged with the locals. We also radically decentralize decision-making authority to our junior soldiers and leaders, who increasingly can draw on years of combat experience. In short, America has a counter-insurgency strategy, whereas the Soviet Union had a genocide strategy. Afghans I spoke with always recognized the difference, reviled the Russians, and respected our troops.

Islamic militants boosting role in drug trade
Excerpt: The sea lanes of the South Atlantic have become a favored route for drug traffickers carrying narcotics from Latin America to West and North Africa, where al Qaeda-related groups are increasingly involved in transporting the drugs to Europe, intelligence officials and counternarcotics specialists say. A Middle Eastern intelligence official said his agency has picked up "very worrisome reports" of rapidly growing cooperation between Islamic militants operating in North and West Africa and drug lords in Latin America. With U.S. attention focused on the Caribbean and Africans lacking the means to police their shores, the vast sea lanes of the South Atlantic are wide open to illegal navigation, the official said. "The South Atlantic has become a no-man's sea," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity owing to the nature of his work.

Barack Obama’s First Military Decision Is Now Proven to be a Bad Decision
Excerpt: As awful as that sounds, new information is proving Barack Obama’s got his first major military decision disastrously wrong and the repercussions to our national security will be far reaching in light of China’s growing aggressiveness. Back up to January. Barack Obama had just been sworn in to office and the Pentagon then began reviewing whether the F-22 Raptor program should get more funding. Despite lots of talk about saving and creating jobs, the Obama administration nudged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to kill the F-22, an advanced stealth fighter for which no nation has put up a competing system. In April, Robert Gates said he intended to kill the program. In July, Senators tried to keep the funding alive citing threats from China. But, Barack Obama’s administration said those threats were overestimated and Obama threatened to veto the entire defense budget if F-22 funding were left in…. Unfortunately for the United States military, that turns out to be flat out wrong. According to Aviation Week, China not only is building a 5th generation fighter to compete with the F-22, but they’ll begin testing it this year. Beijing’s fighter announcement suggests a serious failing in U.S. intelligence assessments, mocking a July 16 statement of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that China would have no fifth-generation fighters by 2020. Note that China announced this while Obama was in China sucking up to them.

Obama’s Bow to “World Opinion” – by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In the string of amazing decisions made during the first year of the Obama administration, nothing seems more like sheer insanity than the decision to try foreign terrorists, who have committed acts of war against the United States, in federal court, as if they were American citizens accused of crimes. Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it. But over and above the utter inconsistency of what is being done is the utter recklessness it represents. The last time an attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a matter of domestic criminal justice was after a bomb was exploded there in 1993. Under the rules of American criminal law, the prosecution had to turn over all sorts of information to the defense— information that told the Al Qaeda international terrorist network what we knew about them and how we knew it. This was nothing more and nothing less than giving away military secrets to an enemy in wartime— something for which people have been executed, as they should have been. Secrecy in warfare is a matter of life and death. Lives were risked and lost during World War II to prevent Nazi Germany from discovering that Britain had broken its supposedly unbreakable Enigma code and could read their military plans that were being radioed in that code.

Blinded Prison Guard: Don't House Terror Suspects In NYC,2933,575133,00.html
Excerpt: Ten months before Al Qaeda in 2001 struck a deathblow in the heart lower Manhattan, one of the terrorist group's founding members plunged a sharpened comb through Pepe's left eye and into his brain, blinding the 42-year-old prison guard and causing severe brain injuries that plague him to this day. Pepe told he worries that sending Mohammed and four of his alleged fellow 9/11 conspirators to New York could compromise the safety of the guards at the MCC prison. Keeping the prisoners in one location, he said, was especially dangerous. Soldiers' mutiny raises concern in Israel Excerpt: JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced concern on Tuesday over a mutiny by pro-settler soldiers that raised fears of more rebellion in the ranks in any future land-for-peace moves with the Palestinians. "Our security and existence depend on the Israel Defense Forces," Netanyahu told reporters. "If you promote disobedience, you will bring about the downfall of the state. There is no place for disobedience."In an incident on Monday played down by the military as an aberration and described by some political commentators as a crossing of a red line, a handful of soldiers protested against the partial dismantling of a settler-outpost in the West Bank.

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