Thursday, December 31, 2009

Political Digest December 31, 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.

I wish you a New Year of struggle for Freedom
We are at Year’s End. Let us renew our dedication to our ideals, and work to see a rebirth in belief in freedom, limited government, individualism, economic freedom, freedom of speech and religion and all those values that were called “liberal” in the 1700s and 1800s, before “liberal” came to mean belief in statism, collectivism and central planning, with everyone forced into the proper planned role in the economy. Yes, nothing lasts forever, not you or I or the American Republic. But it has lasted 230+ years through the efforts of people of courage. We must do all we can to extend its blessings further, to our children.

Unhealthy arrogance by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In short, this is not about improving the health of the American people. It is about passing something-- anything-- to keep the Obama administration from ending up with egg on its face by being unable to pass a bill, after so much hype and hoopla. Politically, looking impotent is a formula for disaster at election time. Far better to pass even bad legislation that will not actually go into effect until after the 2012 presidential election, so that the public will not know whether it makes medical care better or worse until it is too late for the voters to hold the administration accountable…. In a sense, this administration is only the end result of a long social process that includes raising successive generations with dumbed-down education in schools and colleges that have become indoctrination centers for the visions of the left. Our education system has turned out many people who have never heard any other vision and who can only learn what is wrong with the prevailing vision from bitter experience. That bitter experience now awaits them, at home and abroad.

Insurers Brace for Sweeping Changes to Industry Landscape
Excerpt: Major health insurers, which decided early to support key aspects of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, are now picking through the Senate's version of the legislation and finding cause for concern. Big insurers are still hoping to influence some language in the legislation before Congress sends it to the president. But one thing is clear: The initiative is poised to change their industry more than any other sector of the U.S. health-care system, with huge potential to disrupt profitability. Cuts in government spending for Medicare Advantage, the privately run health plans for the elderly, are a major source of funding for the overhaul. And an excise tax on most insurers is set to cost the industry $70 billion over 10 years. "We will be taking a fundamental look at our business, our business model and how we invest our capital," Ron Williams, Aetna Inc.'s chief executive, said this week. (Kill the industry and you have to have a “Public Option,” where all decisions are political decisions.)

Obama's Image: What a Difference a Year Makes
Excerpt: Almost a year has passed since January 20, 2009 -- when the waters of the ocean no longer rose and America began to heal from the depredations of Republicans. Barack Obama has been our president for that long, and the people have started to wise up. The light that shines on Barack Obama as president has reflected back an image that bears very little similarity to the iconic visage that floated above us all in 2008. Why has Barack Obama betrayed so many allies, broken so many promises, thrown so many pledges and people under the bus? One simple aphorism (paraphrasing Winston Churchill) can explain it all. Barack Obama is no longer a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Much about his past remains murky, but faced with the need to govern, he has given the American people plenty of evidence of his nature...if only they will look. Obama is a cynic wrapped in a hypocrite inside a bully. This comes as a shock to many, who are dismayed to find that he is "just a politician," as Reverend Wright, Jr. (who knows him so well) called him back in 2008. But Wright was being all too kind and generous to his future former parishioner (Wright followed a long and ever-growing line of people trampled by Barack Obama's rise.) But Barack Obama is far more than just a politician. We all swallow a lot from politicians; we know that many pander and narrowcast, changing their message to suit their audience. But Obama expressly campaigned as a man who would not do this. He was the candidate of hope and change -- he would bring a big broom to sweep clean the Augean Stables known as Washington, D.C. He called forth the better angels of our nature (hat tip: Honest Abe Lincoln, one of the truly honest politicians from Illinois) and tapped into a deep yearning for the rarest of the real things: an honest leader.

Obama and Our Post-Modern Race Problem
Excerpt: America's primary race problem today is our new "sophistication" around racial matters. Political correctness is a compendium of sophistications in which we join ourselves to obvious falsehoods ("diversity") and refuse to see obvious realities (the irrelevance of diversity to minority development). I would argue further that Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States was essentially an American sophistication, a national exercise in seeing what was not there and a refusal to see what was there—all to escape the stigma not of stupidity but of racism. Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. If "hope and change" was an empty political slogan, it was also beautiful clothing that people could passionately describe without ever having seen. Mr. Obama won the presidency by achieving a symbiotic bond with the American people: He would labor not to show himself, and Americans would labor not to see him. As providence would have it, this was a very effective symbiosis politically. And yet, without self-disclosure on the one hand or cross-examination on the other, Mr. Obama became arguably the least known man ever to step into the American presidency. Our new race problem—the sophistication of seeing what isn't there rather than what is—has surprised us with a president who hides his lack of economic understanding behind a drama of scale. Hundreds of billions moving into trillions. Dramatic, history-making numbers. But where is the economic logic behind a stimulus package that doesn't fully click in for a number of years? How is every stimulus dollar spent actually going to stimulate? Why bailouts to institutions that only hoard the money? How is vast government spending simultaneously a kind of prudence that will not "add to the deficit?" How can such spending not trigger smothering levels of taxation?

Handling problems the Obama way
Excerpt: There is a sense of déjà vu in the Obama administration’s response to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. A by-now familiar pattern has been established for dealing with unexpected problems. First, White House aides downplay the notion that something may have gone wrong on their part. While staying out of the spotlight, the president conveys his efforts to address the situation and his feelings about it through administration officials. After a few days, the White House concedes on the issue, and perhaps Barack Obama even steps out to address it.

Rasmussen: Ben Nelson Down 30 Points After Health Care Vote
Excerpt: The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn’t have to face Nebraska voters until 2012. If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows that Heineman would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. The health care vote is clearly dragging Nelson’s numbers down. Just 17% of Nebrasaka voters approve of the deal their Senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. Fifty-six percent (56%) believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care and 62% believe it will raise costs. If Nelson votes to block final passage of the health care plan, he would still trail Heineman but be in a much more competitive situation.

What the Terrorists are Truly Afraid of
Excerpt: The passengers on American Airlines 63 and Northwest Airlines Flight 253 survived not because of the gargantuan infrastructures of airline security or law enforcement, but because ordinary passengers and staff became suspicious and acted, and because the latter two plots relied on tricky detonations that were unsuccessful. But their failures mean little in the bigger picture. Reid and Abdulmutallab are only two of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim men drawn from around the world to participate in one of its many Jihads against America, England, Russia, Israel or India. To devout Muslims the entire world is a battlefield, a map dotted in red and green. And for every Abdulmutallab who fails, there is a Nidal Malik Hasan who succeeds in killing his targets. Because as long as we keep fighting a holding action against the tide of Jihadis swarming from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the terrorists only need to be lucky once, we need to be lucky every time. And we know that we won’t be. That not every flight will land safely on the airfield. Not every group of passengers will disembark shaking with relief. The terrorists only need to be lucky once…. If the security apparatus can’t even stop a terrorist traveling under his own name, whose own father turns him in, it can’t stop anyone. And indeed it can’t. A national security apparatus built to take on foreign intelligence agencies is ill matched against an international terrorist network based out of religious schools and universities, and funded by the oil Sheikh “best friends” of their own bosses. And airport security which can’t stop its own employees from stealing passenger’s luggage, has no real hope of stopping an actual terrorist. The very decentralization and creative planning of terrorist attacks means that the best hope of stopping them lies not in the bureaucracy, but in the ordinary citizen sitting next to the terrorist…. The terrorists are not afraid of the United States government. They were never afraid of the United States government. And why should they, when the Saudi Lobby insures that Islamist groups have free run of the country, and the little man in the White House bows before the Saudi king. When Rules of Engagement favor the Taliban, and captured Al Queda terrorists are released into the wild, where they plot and carry out more terrorist attacks. Why in the world should they be afraid of a US government that bends over backward to reassure the Muslim world of its love for Islam?

Obama vows to repair intelligence gaps behind Detroit airplane incident
I miss Bill Clinton, who used to vow to get the bad guys. That’s a better empty promise than vowing to fix the intel community so we can hopefully stop some of the future attacks. The search is on for a scapegoat—bet it won’t be an Obama appointee. And imagine FDR saying after Pearl Harbor that the administration believed there was “some linkage” between Imperial Japan and National Socialist Germany! Excerpt: The president and his top advisers now believe there is "some linkage" with al-Qaeda, and the administration is "increasingly confident" that the terrorist group worked with suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to secure the deadly chemical mixture that he took aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

Full Body Scans
Now the cry is to install full body scanners. I have no privacy objections. Anyone, male, female or animal who gets pleasure from looking at my old, fat body is welcome to. But if they are not in every airport, the terrorists, excuse me, the “undocumented explosive technicians,” need only board a connecting flight in a city without them, which puts them inside security at the targeted airport, unless they make us go through them when getting off a connecting flight, which will add hours of delay to the system. And I doubt we are going to buy them for every city where flights into the US originate, or that every country will go along with installing them. Defense doesn’t work in war. The only way to stop terrorists is to find them and kill them, and destroy anyone who supports or aids them. We don’t have the nerve for that. So Americans—including small children—will just have to die. On the plus side, when children are murdered by Jihadists, their carbon footprints and healthcare costs go away, a bonus for the administration.

In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide
Excerpt: "I have no one to speak too [sic]," read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school. "No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems." (Gee, maybe if I murder a bunch of children in Allah’s name, he’ll fix me up with 72 virgins in paradise and I won’t be lonely and depressed.)

Al-Qaeda ‘groomed Abdulmutallab in London’
Isolated incident! Nothing to do with Islam! Move along! Excerpt: He is the fourth president of a London student Islamic society to face terrorist charges in three years. One is facing a retrial on charges that he was involved in the 2006 liquid bomb plot to blow up airliners. Two others have been convicted of terrorist offences since 2007.

Assessing the politics of the Detroit attack
Excerpt: The attempted bombing of an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Eve has stoked a fierce political debate, forced President Obama to recalibrate his vacation plans and served as a reminder of the potency of national security issues for the two parties. Republicans have seized on the failed terror attack to paint the Obama Administration as out of touch on critical national security issues -- seeking to connect the dots between the President's decision to close Gitmo, the Fort Hood shooting and even the withdrawal of troops from Iraq as indicative of a wrong-headed approach. "They just don't get it," wrote Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee in a fundraising e-mail to supporters. "These are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan!" (Hoekstra is currently embroiled in a crowded primary fight for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Michigan.)

Who Will Be Responsible for the American Dead?
Excerpt: Two Guantanamo terrorists released in November were behind the Christmas Day attack in Detroit. Our security agencies ignored their own security measures and their own intelligence — including warnings from the terrorist’s father that his son was involved with terrorists. The chief of our Department of Homeland Security is preoccupied with covering her ass, and conferring citizenship rights on enemy combatants. Instead of throwing the enemy in the darkest possible dungeon and extracting information on the next terrorist attack, both she and her president are referring to him as an “alleged” bomber and helping him to lawyer up because after all he’s only a criminal who deserves the presumption of innocence and every other right accorded to citizens of this country who might be interested in protecting it. The answer to the question posed above is that liberals will be responsible when the next bomber actually succeeds in killing Americans. Liberals have fought the very idea that we are at war (and should use security measures appropriate in wartime) although our enemies have declared war on us.

Muslim Guerilla Training in New York
Repeat after me: Islam is a religion of peace, it has nothing to do with terrorism.. Excerpt: The first shows female Muslim recruits receiving paramilitary training at a 70-acre isolated compound in New York called “Islamberg.” The second shows members of the Muslims of the Americas organization declaring the U.S. a Muslim state and avowing that they will fight the enemies targeting American-Muslims and pledging allegiance to their Pakistan-based leader. To watch a highlight of the footage, click here.

Intel Report: Iran Looking To Smuggle Raw Uranium,2933,581423,00.html
Excerpt: Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran's nuclear activities. (I’m surprised London bookies aren’t taking bets on what city, New York, Washington or Tel Aviv, will be the first to go.)

Ethics Committee Launches Investigation of Pete Stark
Excerpt: If you work in Washington long enough, there are some things you get used to. One of them is the tradition of burying news by releasing it on a Friday afternoon. Or even better: on Christmas Eve. That's when the House Ethics Committee quietly announced the launch of an ethics probe into California Congressman Fortney 'Pete' Stark: The Chair and Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the Committee) have jointly decided to extend a matter regarding Representative Pete Stark, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, for a 45-day period... The Committee will announced its course of action in this matter on or before February 10, 2010.

Shameless Islamist Doublespeak Rages On
Excerpt: Unfortunately for al-Qaeda, its very own words — the Arabic ones directed at fellow Muslims which Westerners rarely see or read — unequivocally contradict its repeated attempts to portray itself as an organization out to spread Robin Hood-style justice and equanimity vis-à-vis a tyrannical U.S. For in these Arabic treatises, al-Qaeda makes it perfectly clear that, short of submitting to Islamic hegemony, the non-Muslim world is the enemy, ipso facto.

Afghan soldier kills American soldier, wounds two Italians
Excerpt: Two Italian soldiers were slightly injured in Afghanistan Tuesday when an Afghan soldier taking part in an allied operation opened fire, killing one American soldier, the defense ministry reported here.

Capitalism, Somali-style
We need to put a MAU ashore and shoot every male over 16 we can find. Or BO can just promise that the perpetrators “will be brought to justice,” the Clinton strategy (see below). Excerpt: In Somalia, which is without a central government to speak of and where very little functions beyond an Islamic resistance and individual warlords' fiefdoms, a robust "stock market" has emerged in the city of Haradheere for "investors" in the seagoing pirate "industry," to raise money and supplies for kidnappers in exchange for a share of the bounty once a ransom is paid. According to a December Reuters dispatch, 72 "companies" are listed on the exchange, enabling "venture capital" to fund greater piracy traffic and more sophisticated looting. There even seems to be a financial "bubble" at work, in that since the "exchange" opened, pirates' ransoms have doubled to about $4 million per ship.

Clinton vows to bring pirates to justice
Clinton vows to find and bring to justice embassy bombers
Clinton Vows U.S. Will Pursue Justice In Pan Am Bombing
Clinton Vows to Hunt Down Attackers of Cole
Clinton Vows Crackdown on Gangs
Clinton vows to support Afghan leadership
Bush Vows 'American Justice' For Bombers in Saudi Arabia
Yes, Bush made the same promises, but tried a tad harder, I think.

Feinstein: Halt transfers to Yemen
We already have released Gitmo terrorists attacking us, thanks to the political pressure brought to bear on the Bush administration. Time the Democrats caught on.

Obama's apparent low-key approach to Kashmir disappoints some in disputed region
Excerpt: But Kashmiris have been caught in the diplomatic dilemma facing the Obama administration as it tries to persuade Pakistan to take on a stronger role fighting Islamist extremists and simultaneously seeks to improve relations with India, Pakistan's arch foe. Many Kashmiris celebrated when President Obama took office nearly a year ago, because he seemed to favor a more robust approach to bring stability to Kashmir, where human rights groups estimate that as many as 100,000 people have died in violence and dozens of Pakistan-backed militant groups have sprung up. At one point, the Obama administration contemplated appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the region. But now residents say they are disappointed, complaining that Obama has not engaged on Kashmir other that to say recently that the region's fate is in the hands of India and Pakistan alone.

The Goldstone Illusion
Excerpt: Let us begin with a sense of the moral stakes. Since the early 1990s, the nature of the military conflict facing Israel has been dramatically shifting. What was mainly a clash between states and armies has turned into a clash between a state and paramilitary terror organizations, Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. This new form of struggle is now called “asymmetrical war.” It is defined by an attempt on the part of those groups to erase two basic features of war: the front and the uniform. Hamas militants fight without military uniforms, in ordinary and undistinguishing civilian garb, taking shelter among their own civilian population; and they attack Israeli civilians wherever they are, intentionally and indiscriminately. During the Gaza operation, for example, some Hamas militants embedded in the civilian population did not carry weapons while moving from one position to another. Arms and ammunition had been pre-positioned for them and stored in different houses.

ABC News Reporter to Marry Obama's Top Budget Aide
See, the media is in bed with the Obama administration! A Vietnam buddy writes: Just when you thought journalists could not possibly get any cozier with the Obama administration, it was revealed that ABC News economics and business reporter Bianna Golodryga, a regular contributor to Good Morning America, will marry Obama budget chief Peter Orszag next fall. These kinds of conflicts of interest are probably not worrisome to ABC, which already sports a Cuomo and a Clinton bimbo-crusher in prominent positions. –Larry

From Grandpa to Granddaughter: The well has run dry
This is going around the Net. Not sure if it’s a real letter, but I know how the guy feels, since we support an Obama-voting daughter and granddaughter. Worth a read.

Radanovich to retire
Excerpt: Radanovich would become the first Republican this cycle to retire without seeking another office. Four Democrats have done so in recent weeks, leaving seats vulnerable to takeover. Radanovich's district could also be competitive. Like many California districts, it swung strongly toward the Democratic side in the 2008 presidential election. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) still won 52-46, but the district appears much more accessible to Democrats now than it was earlier this decade.

Violence Ebbs as Criminal Alliances Emerge in New Test for Authorities
Can’t we all just get along? Bloods and Crips working together in criminal activity.

Bomb Class Cartoon

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Political Digest december 30, 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.

Justice transfers Panthers pursuer out of D.C. office
Have to protect the black thugs who intimidated white voters who might not be for Obama. Anyone who thinks the Obama administration is going to protect freedom needs to read this. Freedom to vote the wrong way isn’t a freedom they will protect. This one story tells you all you need to know about Barack Obama. Excerpt: The veteran Justice Department voting rights section chief who recommended going forward on a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party after they disrupted a Pennsylvania polling place in last year's elections has been removed from his post and transferred to the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina. Justice Department officials confirmed Monday that Christopher Coates, who signed off on the complaint's filing in federal court in Philadelphia in January accusing the party and three of its members of civil rights violations, would begin his new assignment next month. The complaint, which accused party members of intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place while wearing black berets, black combat boots, black dress shirts and black jackets with military-style markings, and wielding a nightstick, was later dismissed by Obama administration political appointees at the Justice Department. The incident gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube. The dismissal resulted in outrage by some Republican members of Congress and in a formal investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which subpoenaed Mr. Coates and J. Christian Adams, the lead attorney in the case, to testify on why the complaint was dismissed. The commission also is seeking documents to explain why the charges were dropped just as a federal judge was about to approve sanctions.

How Obama hides bad news
The Friday news Dump. The Truth

About Spain's Green Economy and What It's Done to Their Country
Excerpt: Today on Beck, Spanish Professor Gabriel Calzada-Alvarez was on to discuss the truth about the economic perils of a "green strategy" for a country. Barack Obama has been praising Spain on this very subject recently, but you don't hear the full truth. Professor Calzada did a green-study and presented some eye-opening statistics. Some statistics which the United States would be wise to make note of.

Obama Promises Skyrocketing Energy Costs
Great. This promise he’ll keep.

Obama vs. Obama on the Stimulus

Gibbs Passes On One Last Chance to Make Health Care Negotiations Transparent
Excerpt: On This Week this morning, I noted to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs that there was some deal-making that went on as the health care reform legislation hit the House and especially the Senate -- the kind of deal-making that was one of the reasons that President Obama, then Senator Obama, pledged on the campaign trail that "we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so the people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." PolitiFact labeled that a broken promise but in the spirit of the Christmas season, I was more generous, noting that there remains one more step in the negotiation process, and in fact last week President Obama told PBS about this final reconciliation between the House bill and the Senate bill, "We hope to have a whole bunch of folks over here in the West Wing, and I'll be rolling up my sleeves and spending some time before the full Congress even gets into session, because the American people need this now." So, with that in mind, I asked Gibbs, will the president open up the doors for this final negotiation? He's in charge of it. It's going to be taking place at the West Wing. The President will have Democratic leaders from the House and Senate negotiating this House and Senate bill. Will he commit to opening up that process to C-SPAN cameras so we can see how this happens? (Short answer: don’t be stupid—that was to get votes from the rubes.)

Obama’s broken promises
The reliably left St. Pete Times lists nine broken Obama promises, 50 stalled, 76 kept and 20 compromised. Doesn’t list the “not a penny more in taxes for people making under $250k” promise, though the $1 a pack cigarette tax hits the poor hardest.

David Asper: Learn a lesson from Israel on airport security
Excerpt: If someone is alone, paid for their ticket with cash, comes from a place known for its extremism and looks nervous, I'm good with an extraction to the extent that they've made it to the departure gate. If after further examination its discovered that this prototypical terrorist doesn't have a bomb or other weapon then I'll be happy to see him enjoy the in flight movie. The Israelis have got airport security down to a science because necessity forced it. Maybe North America and Europe need to go back to the drawing board and take a few lessons in this regard.

Leftist Blogs Take Glee in Pope Attack
These leftists may be pacifist towards Iran and North Korea, but they can be tough on old, frail, unarmed religious leaders. Never turn your back on a left-wing pacifist—he’ll run up the Jolly Roger and have at you! Excerpt: The Daily Kos’s “Late Afternoon/Early Evening Open Thread,” for example, featured this posting at 8:10 PM Eastern Time: “Having just about enough of this male dominance bull---t, one bold Italian woman ran up and knocked down the Pope and a Cardinal!” The woman, Susanna Maiolo, 25, was actually Swiss-Italian, and while the Pontiff himself came out of the episode unhurt and able to complete his celebration of Midnight Mass, 87-year-old French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray was left with broken bones requiring hip replacement surgery. The comments that soon appeared on blogs known to be critical of the social teachings of the Catholic Church were so harsh that even fellow bloggers of similar ideological bent were outraged. In a Dec. 26 a Daily Kos article entitled “Anti-Catholicism,” a “former Republican” Catholic woman and “forester/biologist” from the Deep South wrote, “I logged onto and read about the Pope getting knocked over by a mentally disturbed woman.” While several people pointed out the Pope’s age and how this could have easily resulted in a broken hip, many more rejoiced in the event.” One blogger’s “attack on Catholicism and Catholics was met with near universal approval within the HuffingtonPost community.”

States in play: An early look at 2011 redistricting
Why state legislative and governor races control Washington. Excerpt: The gainers are, not surprisingly, primarily in the South and Southwest, the regions that have been growing fastest for much of the past two decades. Among the eight states -- Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington -- Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature in five. Control in Nevada is split, while Arizona and Washington use independent commissions to draw their lines, taking their legislatures and governors out of play. The losers -- again, not surprisingly -- come from the Northeast and the industrial Midwest (a.k.a. the Rust Belt). In five of the 10 states -- Ohio, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania -- the parties split control of the governorships and legislatures, while in Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, Democrats control the state government. Iowa and New Jersey use independent redistricting commissions. Governor's races next year in six states are absolutely critical to both parties' hopes for redistricting. These states are large in population and, depending on the party affiliation of the governor, could see major shifts to one side or the other in the line-drawing process. Republicans' major opportunities lie in the heart of the Rust Belt, in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, Republicans are heavily favored to win the open-seat governor's race and already control the state Senate. The large Democratic majority in the state House, however (66 Democrats, 43 Republicans) virtually ensures that the GOP won't have sole control over the line-drawing.

Under the new electoral map, Bush could have won in 2004 without Ohio
Excerpt: But considering that many Obama states remain winnable for Republicans (for example, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada), it's worth looking back to 2004, a much closer and more ideologically charged election contest. For that year, the swing is five electoral votes -- added to George W. Bush's 286, and subracted to John Kerry's 252 (not counting his faithless elector). On the new map, the 2004 election ends with 291 for Bush, 247 for Kerry. The bottom line: On this new map, if John Kerry had won everything he got in real life, plus Ohio's newly reduced number of electors (18) he still would have lost the election with 265 electoral votes. The projected map barely changes anything in terms of net electoral votes, but it crosses a critical threshold for Democratic presidential candidates in the next three elections.

Settlement reached in Nevada governor's divorce
(During my five terms in the Massachusetts senate, I never had an affair with a Playboy model, though a couple of former girlfriends—who read this blog—could certainly have qualified. There were, however, a couple of enraged ferrets.) Excerpt: The 65-year-old governor filed for divorce in May 2008. He cited incompatibility with his wife of 23 years, and in one court document compared her to an "enraged ferret." Dawn Gibbons, 55, accused her husband of infidelity and of using her to foster his political ambitions. She accused her husband of having affairs with a Playboy model and the estranged wife of a Reno doctor.

Suicide bomber kills at least 30 amid Shiite observances in Karachi, Pakistan
Islam being a “Religion of Peace”—just ask BO—this outrage must have been done by, say, out-of-control Methodists. Seriously, it isn’t western “Islamophobes” who destroy the reputation of Islam; it is the endless daily stories reporting endless murders in the name of God by Muslims—more often than not of fellow Muslims who believe a tad differently. For those who have not read much about Islam, Shi'a Muslims believe that Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, was the rightful successor to Muhammad. Sunnis believe that Abu Bakr was Muhammad’s rightful successor. They have been killing each other over this since the 7th century. Yes, Catholics and Protestants have had a go at each other many times, but they seem to have gotten over it, even in Northern Ireland. When millions of Muslims of all sects stand up and assert that murder in the name of God is blasphemy and renounce the claim by the Jihadists, based on the Qur’an and the Hadiths that Islam should rule the world by force if necessary, then Islam will be accepted as a true “Religion of Peace.” It is Murdering Muslims that drag Islam in the mud, not those speaking against murder, the subjugation of women, child marriage and the tyranny of Shari’a law.

Over Detroit Skies
An account from a passenger. These are the innocent strangers, including children, who Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to murder in the name of God. Worth reading.

CAIR: Fort Hood Co-Conspirator
Excerpt: With the FBI cutting off ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations and now subpoenaing some 12,000 internal CAIR documents under temporary restraining order as part of the bureau’s ongoing criminal investigation of CAIR, the terrorist front group is suddenly cooperating with the FBI — or at least making a show of it. Suddenly CAIR, an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, is acting like a good citizen. Suddenly it’s concerned about young Muslim-American men going on jihad. Suddenly it’s concerned about “certain” passages of the Quran inspiring jihadists. It’s all too little, too late. Thanks to CAIR, 42 brave American soldiers were gunned down by an Islamic nut in Texas. That’s right, thanks to CAIR. How so? For starters, it was the intimidating and ruthless CAIR that almost single-handedly created a climate of fear of reporting any suspicious anti-American behavior on the part of Muslim soldiers like Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, accused of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Lying to Ourselves
Excerpt: On Christmas Day, an Islamist fanatic tried to blow up an airplane whose passengers were mostly Christians. And we helped. Our government gets no thanks for preventing a tragedy. Only the bomber's ineptitude preserved the lives of nearly 300 innocents. How did we help Umar Abdulmutallab, a wealthy Muslim university graduate who decided that Allah wanted him to slaughter Christians on their most joyous holiday? By continuing to lie to ourselves. Although willing -- at last -- to briefly use the word "terror," yesterday President Obama still refused to make a connection between the action, the date and Islam. Was it just a ticketing accident that led to a bombing attempt on Christmas? Was it all about blackout dates and frequent-flyer miles? It wasn't. You know it. And I know it. But our government refuses to know it. Despite vast databases crammed with evidence, our leaders -- of both parties -- still refuse to connect Islamist terrorism with Islam. Our insistence that "Islam's a religion of peace" would have been cold comfort to the family members of those passengers had the bomb detonated as planned. Abdulmutallab's own father warned our diplomats that his son had been infected by Islamist extremism. Our diplomats did nothing. Why? Because (despite a series of embassy bombings) the State Department dreads linking terrorism to Islam. Contrast our political correctness with Abdulmutallab's choice of Christmas for his intended massacre. Our troops stand down on Muslim holidays. A captive terrorist merely has to claim that a soldier dog-eared a Koran, and it's courts-martial all around. We proclaim that the terrorists "don't represent Islam." OK, whom do they represent? The Franciscans? We don't get to decide what's Islam and what isn't. Muslims do. And far too many of them approve of violent jihad.

Two al Qaeda leaders behind terror plot were released from Gitmo
(They were released by the Bush administration, bowing to leftwing/international pressure. It will only get worse. It’s like we released all the SS Nazi prisoners from POW camps in 1943, because they didn’t get lawyers. Excerpt: Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans. American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials. Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Obama ignores Flight 253 jihadist's ties to Al-Qaeda and Fort Hood imam, calls him "isolated extremist"
Gee, if all these “isolated extremists” ever get together and, say, develop an ideology, it could get scary!

The lesson some people get from this is….
….that we must step up our efforts against racism and profiling! Better 300 people, including young children, die than someone be offended. I’d be okay with this if only adult PC types died because of PC. But the PC folks who banned DDT weren’t among the millions of children who died from Malaria. Which is too bad, but the innocent always pay.

This is What the Muslim World Does to Its Children
The beauty of diversity—bloody children.

Iran’s Resurgent Revolution
Excerpt: On December 19, one of the Iranian government’s most prominent critics, Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, passed away. His demise may yet portend the beginning of the end for Iran’s oppressive regime. The regime may have been relieved that this independent source of religious authority and popularity among the people would no longer be around, but the Shiite holiday of Ashura fell on the seventh day following his death. The rallies mourning Montazeri combined with the Ashura celebration, creating a storm of anti-regime activity that only brutal suppression can contain. Ayatollah Montazeri was a ferocious critic of the regime and advocate of ending clerical rule in government. Clerics, Montazeri believed, should serve as advisors to elected rulers. He wanted freedom of speech and assembly, and became particularly incensed in recent months over the fraudulent re-election of Ahmadinejad and widespread human rights abuses. His ardent opposition to the regime made him a hero among the people, despite his original role in bringing Ayatollah Khomeini to power and founding the Islamic Republic.

They still don't love us
Excerpt: If you thought America would quickly regain the world's love, admiration and -- most important -- it's willingness to follow the U.S. lead once Barack Obama came to power, the news is disappointing. A useful guide to what has transpired comes from Venezuela's president and his most peculiar sulfurometer. Hugo Chávez, it seems, can smell the Devil, especially when the Prince of Darkness takes up residence in the body of an American president. Watching Chávez's devil-spotting shows that efforts to turn America's foes into friends will, in many cases, prove utterly useless. There is an important lesson there for everyone, including the resident of the White House….. How is this possible? Wasn't Obama supposed to make the world love America again? Wasn't Bush the source of all of Washington's woes? The opinion of one man, especially the president of Venezuela, is not terribly important, but it helps illustrate the folly of believing that ``tone'' determines international behavior. Clearly, Chávez's problem is not one man. It never was. Chávez's anti-Americanism was not the result of his dislike for Bush. Some will say what matters is not the man but his policies. But even that does not tell the whole story. Some countries and politicians have goals and interests that conflict sharply with the United States. Regardless of how the man in the Oval Office speaks, regardless of how charming he is. And some nations and leaders will define themselves by their anti-Americanism. Still, the conciliatory tone from President Obama does serve a useful purpose. When Bush was president, it was easy to believe that people like Chávez or regimes such as Iran's acted the way they did because America spoke in tones they found offensive or overly confrontational. Now we know there was more.

Israel Calls ALL Ambassadors Home For Special Meeting in Jerusalem
Hummmm. Wonder if Israel decided they can’t wait any longer. Excerpt: This is the first time a conference for all of Israel’s Heads of Missions has been held. The idea is to facilitate direct dialogue with the country’s leaders, mutual updates on major diplomatic issues, and a discussion of action plans to deal with the challenges awaiting the State of Israel in the international arena in the coming year, including the Iranian threat.

Seven Things Wrong With The Anti-Terrorism Policies of the TSA
Excerpt: There are several fundamental problems with the way the United States Transportation Safety Administration combats terrorism. These have their roots in fighting the war for the freedom of mankind as a public relations problem. Too often we take a security theater approach, apparently in an effort to reassure the public that everything is fine and the system is working.

Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency
Now that our attention is focused on airlinesecurity measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it's worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way. Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants -- a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically "for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems." The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd's ill-fated presidential bid

Preventing the Next Terrorist Attack
I’ve long referred to the airport screenings as “the illusion of security.” I once forgot to take my pocket knife out before I flew (actually, I’ve lost 3 or 4 this way). I loaded it unknowingly with my pocket stuff into my back pack and it went through without a question. I believe I could get a bomb or gun on an airplane, with only a little technical help. Excerpt: Additional security measures reported in the aftermath of the Christmas bomber’s failed attempt to down a U.S. airline will amount to naught because they don’t address the central security failure. Keeping international passengers in their seats for the last hour of a flight will do nothing but create wet seat cushions, as those who need “to go,” including children, are prohibited access to the toilet. Any terrorist who sneaks an explosive on a plane will simply detonate it mid-flight or after takeoff. Limiting passengers to a single carry-on bag will have no effect. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had only one carry-on, and apparently strapped the explosive device to his leg. Will additional pat-downs work? Not if a terrorist hides the explosive in his underwear… Unfortunately, this president doesn’t seem interested in taking the war to the terrorists. He seems dedicated to the proposition that this is not a war at all, but a diplomatic problem first, a criminal justice problem second. That approach will work just as well as it did before 9/11.

Senate climate change fight looks as tough as healthcare reform
Excerpt: Senate Democrats will face a problem when they return in January every bit as tough as crafting the healthcare bill: Assembling a climate and energy package that can be shoehorned into the election-year calendar. Imposing limits on greenhouse gases is a White House and Democratic priority, but it’s stuck in line behind health care, Wall Street reform and jobs legislation. It’s also become increasingly apparent since the Copenhagen climate summit that the Senate will go forward in a dramatically different direction than the House, which approved its own climate bill last summer. Environmentalists familiar with Democratic plans say party leaders remain committed to bringing up a bill next year. They are looking to Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) effort to craft a compromise plan with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). (Another step towards complete government control of the economy and the “efficiency” of central planning, which always, always leads to the curtailment of individual rights in the name of the common good. See USSR, China, National Socialism.)

A Briton Is Executed in China, Britain Says
There was a time when this would have brought British gunboats and British Marines, but there would have been few Brits named Akmal then. Now they have too few of either to challenge a great power like China. Not that I have any sympathy for drug smugglers, if indeed he was one. Excerpt: The man, Akmal Shaikh, 53, was executed in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where he had been convicted in 2008 of entering the country carrying a suitcase stuffed with heroin. It was not clear how the execution was carried out…. Mr. Shaikh was born in Pakistan and moved to Britain at age 11. Family members say he has a long history of mental problems and he had been duped into carrying the suitcase. He left for China in 2007, they said, hoping to start a career as a pop singer.

Feel the Need to Express Your Political Views? In China, that Will Get You Serious Jail Time.
The centrally-planned state cannot tolerate dissent. Excerpt: A Chinese court has sentenced a leading Chinese dissident to eleven years in prison. Liu Xiaobo was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power.” The human rights activist and academic was arrested after he co-authored a petition called Charter 08 that called for freedom of assembly, expression and religion in China. Human Rights Watch condemned Liu’s conviction, calling it a “travesty of justice.” Liu previously spent twenty-one months in prison for taking part in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Meanwhile, a top Chinese police official has ordered preemptive strikes against perceived threats to social order. In a speech published earlier today, Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said Chinese officials must step up efforts to curb the enemy by “predicting, preempting and discovering them.” He also urged Chinese police forces to “strike at hostile forces at home and abroad.”

Gee, my cat, too!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

political Digest December 29, 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.

2010: The year that was
The American Thinker used my “predictions” piece. Cool.

How Many People Have Been Killed by Islamofascists in the Past 2 Months?
Excerpt: Long and sickening list. But nothing to do with Islam, of course. Could as likely have been Anglicans killing people over the Gay Bishops schism as Muslims murdering for God. Our leaders cannot stop being PC, so people, many of them Muslims, will just have to die.

What the Near-Tragedy in Detroit Revealed
The near-success of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, to set off an explosive on Christmas Day should open the American public’s eyes to the sad state of counterterrorism eight years after 9/11. The incident involved a Nigerian in Seat 19A – ideally placed over the fuel tanks, atop the wing, and next to the exterior of the aircraft – of Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. As summarized by the Wall Street Journal, it happened as the Airbus 330-300 carrying 289 people was approaching Detroit. Mr. Abdulmutallab went to the plane’s restroom for about 20 minutes, and upon returning to his seat he stated that his stomach was upset, and he pulled a blanket over himself, according to the Justice Department complaint. As the flight was heading for a landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport before noon, the complaint alleges, Mr. Abdulmutallab set off the device. Passengers heard popping noises similar to firecrackers, smelled an odor, and some observed Mr. Abdulmutallab’s pants leg and the wall of the airplane on fire. Subsequent investigations learned that the plot was organized and launched by Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen, who arranged for 80 grams of PETN (pentaerythritol) to be sewed into Abdulmutallab’s underwear. Investigators concluded that only a chance malfunction prevented the explosives from bringing down the Northwest plane.

It looks like Sarah Palin is right again, this time on the issue of profiling.
Excerpt: Is Sarah Palin qualified to become President? One of the crucial qualifiers for a person to be a leader of a city, state or even a country is the person's ability to have a key sense of "sound judgment". Back in November, Sarah drove the appeasers up the wall in an interview conducted by Matt Continetti. Her comments came a few days after the Fort Hood terrorist attack in which the radical Muslim Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 soldiers while wounding 30. These are the comments Sarah Palin made in her interview with Matt Continetti. Sarah Palin "There were such clear, obvious, massive warning signs that were missed. This terrorist, even having business cards" that identified him as an "SoA" or "soldier of Allah." Palin blamed a culture of political correctness and other decisions that "prevented -- I'm going to say it -- profiling" of someone with Hasan's extremist ideology. "I say, profile away". "Such political correctness" could be our downfall." If the upcoming investigations into the attack reveal bad decision-making on the part of senior officials, Palin continued, those officials ought to be fired".

Wake up black America
In case you want to follow his website.

Obama’s Shame: Revolution Continues in Iran, Sound of Silence from White House
BO’s too busy dealing with the threat from Honduras to worry about Iran or North Korea.

Iranian Military Moves to Support the ‘People’s Revolution’
Excerpt: In 24 hours, what has been labeled “street protesting” for new presidential elections has morphed into an earnest and violent revolution to overthrow the Muslim mullahs who rule Iran. It is difficult to verify, but factions in the Iranian military may be breaking rank to join the people’s cause. A group calling itself the National Iranian Armed Resistance Forces (NIRU) posted a news release on an Iranian protest website at the end of the day’s violence. (Could get interesting, especially if BO grows a pair.)

President Obama's year of failure
Excerpt: President Obama's year of blunders is ending with the worst failure yet by the president and his team: An Islamist terrorist penetrated the United States and came very close to perpetrating the greatest mass-casualty attack within the U.S. since 9/11. The president's first year in office has been marked by a string of pratfalls.

Texas shows its swagger in new population estimates
Excerpt: No. 3 in percentage population growth in 2008-09 was giant Texas, the nation's second-most-populous state. Its population grew by almost half a million and accounted for 18 percent of the nation's total population growth. Texas had above-average immigrant growth, but domestic in-migration was nearly twice as high. There may be lessons for public policy here. Texas over the decades has had low taxes (and no state income tax), low public spending and regulations that encourage job growth. It didn't have much of a housing bubble or a housing price bust. Under Govs. George W. Bush and Rick Perry, it has placed tight limits on tort lawsuits and has seen an influx of both corporate headquarters and medical doctors. (The people going to the Democrat-run, high-entitlement states like CA and the northeast are those likely to need public assistance, hastening the budget collapse. The people fleeing them are likely to be productive people following jobs and opportunity to the low-tax states. Duh.)

The massive accounting blunder that should sink health care reform
Excerpt: Yesterday, David discussed the CBO's miscalculation regarding the Senate health care bill. Democrats had been insisting that bill somehow cut the deficit and strengthened Medicare, but as it turns out the CBO had to clarify that the savings of the bill were being double counted. The "savings" the bill produces either have to be applied toward the Medicare trust fund or they have to be put toward the cost of the legislation to make it reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the next ten years. (That's assuming you buy into the shady accounting tricks used to score the bill.) Megan McArdle has a typically astute blog post up discussing the implications all of this. Megan even observes that as recently as Saturday, President Obama was trumpeting the bill's twin achievements of deficit reduction and strengthening Medicare. However, Megan didn't quote Obama in full -- fortunately The American Spectator's Phil Klein did. The entirety of Obama's remarks in the immediate aftermath of Senate Democrats securing finally securing 60 votes to pass their health care bill are worth pondering: "This bill with strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program. Because it’s paid for and gets rid of waste and inefficiency in our health care system this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade. In fact, we just learned from the Congressional Budget Office that this bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade of the program, and more than one trillion dollars in the decade after that." Well, we now know that whether it was an innocent mistake or fiscal prestidigitation, one of these claims is simply not true.

Oops, Democrats Admitting Abortion Will Be Taxpayer Funded
Calling Sen. Ben Nelson. Ben, are you there? Excerpt: Pelosi forgot to censor herself when she said that the Senate bill that passed has, “abortion language that is completely different from the House — thank God.” Obviously Pelosi wants to make sure the hard-earned money of the American people is going to pay for abortions.

Democratic Senator slams Obama over earmarks
Excerpt: Remember when President Obama promised to go through legislation "line by line" eliminating earmarks? Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., hasn't forgotten: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said Obama made earmark reform "a very big part of [his] campaign" but still signed this month two massive spending measures that both included approximately $4 billion in earmarks. Feingold, who broke with his party to oppose both the $447 billion 2010 omnibus spending bill and the $636 billion 2010 Pentagon spending bill, said the president could have used his veto pen to reject the measures and force lawmakers to cut earmark funding. "We've got to have a fresh start next year, and I've signaled that if they want my vote, they've got to stop just signing onto huge numbers of earmarks," Feingold said

Now I'm Really Getting Pissed Off
The view from the far left. Excerpt: Hey did you hear about the iconic African-American guy who plays golf, and whose relationship with the public is in a free-fall lately? No, as a matter of fact I'm not talking about Tiger Woods. You know, I've really been trying not to write an article every other week about all the things I don't like about Barack Obama. But the little prick is making it very hard. Like any good progressive, I've gone from admiration to hope to disappointment to anger when it comes to this president. Now I'm fast getting to rage. How much rage? I find myself thinking that the thing I want most from the 2010 elections is for his party to get absolutely clobbered, even if that means a repeat of 1994. And that what I most want from 2012 is for him to be utterly humiliated, even if that means President Palin at the helm. That much rage. (Works for me.)

Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively
Green-tech killing the third world. So who cares if it gets Democrats votes here? Excerpt: GUYUN VILLAGE, China — Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths. The world’s dependence on these substances is rising fast. Just one problem: These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs.

Police protect girls forced to convert to Islam
Love Jihad comes to Britain. Excerpt: The Hindu Forum of Britain claims hundreds of mostly Sikh and Hindu girls have been intimidated by Muslim men who take them out on dates before terrorising them until they convert. Sir Ian spoke about the problem at a conference organised by the forum.

Memphis Man Arrested: Accused of Making Bomb Threats and Threatening to Start “Holy War”
Didn’t get the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace memo, but the judge did, so he’s free on bail. Excerpt: Tonight, Mohamed Ibrahim is out after posting $100 bond. Earlier in the day, he was arrested after police say he walked into several Memphis businesses and threatened to blow them up. Court records show Ibrahim was also telling people he was Muslim, and wanted to start a jihad, or holy war, in Memphis. Police say when they arrested him, he had a butcher knife hidden in one of his jacket sleeves.

Bomb Plotter: More like me
Planning to fly soon? Mustn’t profile, though. Your life is less important than not offending Muslims. Excerpt: The 23-year-old Nigerian has told security chiefs of a sinister network in Yemen who are ready and waiting to strike. The reports come after The Sun revealed that cops fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners. The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.

Dangerous Myths
Excerpt: For many people, especially those on the left side of the aisle, there is nothing more disturbing than a reality which reveals the fraudulence of one's ideology. The latest terrorist wannabe, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is yet another proverbial poke in the eye with a sharp stick for the dewy-eyed among us. To wit: Airport security is effective. Time-consuming, annoying, muddle-headed and oh-so politically correct? Absolutely. Effective? Abdulmutallab was one faulty fuse away from blowing a jetliner filled with three hundred passengers out of the sky. His "bomb?" A condom filled with an explosive compound sewn into his pants. Question: what airport security system is ready to start patting down peoples' genital areas? Answer: none. Al Qaeda one, airport security, zero. Terrorist "watch lists" prevent possible suspects from boarding airplanes. Abdulmutallab's own father, the former economic minister of Nigeria, is reported to have warned the FBI about his son's extreme views—six months ago. According to Fox News Abdulmutallab was "on U.S. officials' radar for years," but was never considered a "sufficient threat to keep him from flying."

Obama Quietly Changes U.S. Immigration Policy
Excerpt: The administration has also largely halted workplace raids that resulted in jailing, deportation and even criminal charges for many unauthorized workers, and is focused instead on in-depth audits of companies suspected of hiring those workers. And DHS has curbed the authority of state and local police forces to demand immigration documents from anyone stopped for minor offenses like traffic violations, saying that such checks should be done only for those jailed on criminal charges, particularly for serious criminal offenses. To drive home the point, DHS in October stripped the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona of federal authority to make immigration-related arrests. The administration is walking a narrow line. The White House believes it must hold tough on enforcement if there is any hope of assembling a political coalition in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform next year.

Much Ado About…What?
Excerpt: Question for the day: What is causing the huge emotional reaction both on the right and the left? To the health bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve, that is. Strangely, the bill would not solve any of the problems that its proponents talked about. But it would do two very important things almost no one has talked about. First, the talked-about goals. Would this bill lower health care costs? No. Would it improve the quality of care? No. Would it improve average access to care? Probably not. Would it make health insurance portable? No. What about insuring half the uninsured? Yes, but a large chunk of those were already eligible for Medicaid and S-CHIP and most of the rest would have obtained insurance anyway in a short period of time. Since there is no mechanism for dealing with short-term uninsurance and since there will be strong incentives for the healthy to drop out, the actual number may fall way short of the projection. What about eliminating pre-existing condition requirements? Yes, but in a way that harms more people than it helps. Following the Massachusetts experience of going bare—getting sick—getting insured—getting bills paid—and then dropping coverage again is nothing to cheer about. Is the bill even “progressive?” Surprisingly, the answer is probably not.

Senators can’t understand the bill, sponsor says

Laps in Security
Excerpt: Well, the authorities have reacted to the Pantybomber in the usual way: Passengers getting off both U.S. domestic flights and those arriving from overseas reported being told that they couldn’t get out of their seat for the last hour of their flight. Air Canada also said that during the last hour passengers won’t be allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps. That's great news, isn't it? This was a failed terror plot. But with failures like this who needs victories? If that Air Canada rule becomes generally applicable, that last hour will be a big time-waster for some of us. But no doubt some enterprising jihadist will attempt to self-detonate in mid-flight or shortly after take-off, and pretty soon we'll have to sit in isolation for the full seven or eight hours. Another couple of attempted takedowns and they might as well ship us freight.

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." --Milton Freidman

Monday, December 28, 2009

Political Digest December 28, 2009

I post articles because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

Freedom Fails
A slave is forced to work full time for the benefit of others, against his will. Americans who work are taxed. Some of that is by consent, for the common good, such as defense, police, fire, schools and roads (though even much of that is siphoned off into the pockets of the politically-connected). But much also goes to benefit individuals or causes we abhor. In that, American workers under our democratic system are, at best, part time slaves. Soon you will not be free to choose to protect your family by buying a large car, and a certain but unknown number of our children will die on the highways, because their families had to buy smaller, fuel-efficient but less safe in crashes cars, against their wills, rather than drill for oil and develop nuke plants. You are not now free to buy a health insurance policy that doesn’t cover things you don’t want, that the government has mandated must be covered, in response to lobbying groups. Non can you buy a policy from another state. Soon you will not be free to refuse to buy health insurance. Thus is freedom eroded in response to politics, all for the “common good,” as defined by someone other than the individual. The Founding Fathers would look at the number of laws and regulations that bind our lives and conclude we were not free at all, as they understood freedom, but slaves to bureaucracy and government. Not for nothing did I run this quote from Mussolini in yesterday’s blog: “We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must be.” Step by step our politicians and bureaucrats have asserted the same thing, and we have acquiesced. Our grandchildren will live in a society as restrictive of freedom as Germany and Russia in the 1930s, but it will seem normal to them to have the government control their lives in behalf of the “general welfare.”

Senator Max Baucus Drunk on Senate Floor
Media would only be interested if he was a Republican Excerpt: During the general debate on the health care legislation that recently passed the Senate, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat from Montana, took to the floor of the Senate and engaged in a drunken tirade. Oblivious to the fact that he was slurring his words and mangling his sentences, Senator Baucus shouted down opponents as he let loose a rambling, and at times incoherent, tirade against those dastardly Republicans who refused to be bipartisan Max

Baucus gave girlfriend $14K raise
Older, but maybe she drove him to drink. Hope he thanked her. Excerpt: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty.

Gandhi vs Limbaugh: Spot the Real Racist
Excerpt: Rush Limbaugh sleeps with naked teenaged girls, is obsessed with enemas, and once stated that blacks “pass their lives in indolence and nakedness.” Wait. Did I say Rush Limbaugh? I meant Gandhi. Reading “The Gandhi Nobody Knows” was a major milestone on my journey out of the Left.

The Gandhi Nobody Knows
Long 1983 piece, but very interesting! SgtMaj Gandhi, who won the Military Medal keeping blacks down in South Africa! I was stunned to read some of his history.

An Internet Course On American Constitutional Law

Engineers, Scientific and Social
Excerpt: On January 14, 1953, the chairman of Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. spoke at the annual meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in Detroit. He was Admiral Ben Moreell, and in 1953, most people in the audience would have known him as a founder and leader of the Seabees -- the U.S. Navy component that built the docks, the airports, and just about everything else our military forces needed to fight and win World War II, often working under fire. The speech Moreell gave that day is quite simply stunning. It is among the most remarkable talks about human nature, and the nature of government, ever delivered by anyone, anywhere. It rises above politics, as all serious discussions on human life ought to (but lately do not). Although written more than fifty years ago, it is relevant today -- maybe even more so. You be the judge. While he never mentions politics, this is a must-read for every Conservative and a challenge to the foundations of every Liberal.

Oh, No! Kevin’s Back!
Excerpt: As my brother Kevin headed off to Christmas Eve Mass in the Maryland suburbs, I asked him how he thought the first year of Barack Obama had gone. He didn’t have to pray long over that one. “Fine,” he replied, “if you like unmitigated disasters like the Hindenburg and the Redskins season.” … But by forcing through a government takeover of health care, the auto industry and the banks, the president and his Congressional henchmen have brought us in a time machine to Russia 1917. These massive changes have been done in secret and along bullying, straight party-line votes. It is stunning to watch rich lawmakers driving their own expensive cars off the cliff and signing on to such a socialist agenda. In dismissing the tea parties and pushing through plans the American people obviously don’t want, they have made the fatal disconnect between the representatives and the represented. President Obama continues life in the H.O.V. lane, fawned over by the press and the crowned heads of Europe. In between apologies, the president should have reminded those pompous blowhards that without our interference, they would all be speaking German. My dad was a D.C. policeman, and I would like to apologize (not “recalibrate”) to the Cambridge police for the president’s assumption that they “acted stupidly.” You would think that Mr. Obama would have afforded the police the same consideration he gave to the mass-murdering Muslim Army major when he said: “I would caution against jumping to conclusions.”

Obama's lost face (Important reading)
Excerpt: Why did Chinese premier Wen Jiabao choose to publicly humiliate Barack Obama at Copenhagen? In their eyes, and those of much of the world, he has lost face, and with it, power and influence. While getting widespread play overseas, this story has been kept very quiet by our disinterested, nonpartisan media (I haven't seen it mentioned in any major U.S. outlet). After promising to meet the Messiah at 7:00 p.m., Premier Wen stiffed him in favor of a meeting with the leaders of India, South Africa, and Brazil. Rather than wait, a no-doubt infuriated Obama stalked into the room in question and demanded, "Are you ready to see me, Premier Wen?" No word on Wen's reaction, though he did submit to a discussion on the spot that evidently sealed the release of the immortal and glorious Copenhagen Quasi-Agreement on Climate Change. So with Barack Obama, we've reached the point where the leader of record of the most powerful state in history has become a man you can casually stand up. But the question remains, why? There are a number of reasons why the Chinese might take a cavalier attitude toward an American leader. China is the chief foreign holder of American debt, which may well have created an impression of the U.S. as a beggar nation on the level of a failed African republic. (I strongly suspect that words were exchanged on this topic during Obama's recent visit to China, though we're unlikely ever to learn about them in detail.)… But there's one event in particular that very likely played a part -- the fact that, only a few weeks before, Obama publicly and notoriously bowed to the emperor of Japan. Japan and China have a lengthy history, very little of which can be termed benign. They have always been rivals, often acting at cross purposes and usually at sword's point. But the past century of Sino-Japanese relations has been little short of horrendous.

Civilian, military planners have different views on new approach to Afghanistan
Excerpt: Two days before announcing the deployment of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, President Obama informed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal that he was not granting McChrystal's request to double the size of the Afghan army and police. Cost was a factor, as were questions about whether the capacity exists to train 400,000 personnel. The president told McChrystal, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to focus for now on fielding a little more than half that number by next October. Ten days after Obama's speech, the U.S. command responsible for training the Afghans circulated a chart detailing the combined personnel targets for the army and police. McChrystal's goal of 400,000 remained unchanged. "It's an open issue," a senior Pentagon official said last week.

Obama falls short on pledge to curtail earmarks, fiscal hawks say
Excerpt: Fiscal hawks in Congress say President Barack Obama hasn't followed through on a pledge to lower federal spending on local projects. Earmarks are expected to total nearly $12 billion in fiscal 2010, according to fiscal watchdog groups. While that number is less than the $15 billion total in 2009, lawmakers from both parties said Obama hasn’t kept up the kind of pressure he showed during his first weeks in office or that he promised as a candidate. (Seriously, who with a brain thought he would? Just another promise to fool the rubes into voting for him.)

America’s Lowest Moment
Excerpt: “There’s a hundred Senators here. And I don’t know if there’s a Senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that was important to them. And if they don’t have something in it important to them, then it doesn’t speak well of them. That’s what this legislation is all about.” (Harry Reid, 12/21/09, Democratic press conference after cloture vote on health care bill.) Apparently, Senator Reid sees the legislative process as an activity through which individual Senators vie for tax-payer dollars to obtain results that are beneficial to them. If individual Senators don’t get something out of specific legislation, then it “doesn’t speak well of them.” As the supreme benefit broker, behind closed doors, Senator Reid dished out abundant benefits to selected members of the Senate as a reward for their vote on the health care bill.

Cross the River, Burn the Bridge
Excerpt: Last week, during a bit of banter on Fox News, my colleague Jonah Goldberg reminded me of something I’d all but forgotten. Last September, during his address to Congress on health care, Barack Obama declared: “I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” Dream on. The monstrous mountain of toxic pustules sprouting from greasy boils metastasizing from malign carbuncles that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve is not the last word in “health” “care,” but the first. It ensures that this is all we’ll be talking about, now and forever. Government can’t just annex “one-sixth of the U.S. economy” (i.e., the equivalent of annexing the entire British or French economy, or annexing the entire Indian economy twice over) and then just say: “Okay, what’s next? On to cap-and-trade . . . ” Nations that governmentalize health care soon find themselves talking about little else.

Congressional hearings next month in Christmas bombing attempt
Since the alleged terrorist with the alleged burns on his alleged legs, etc. from the alleged bomb is alleged to be the son of a banker, might they look into the liberal canard that Islamic Jihad violence grows out of poverty, not religion? No, the fact that bin Laden is rich hasn’t spiked the myth, why should this? One thing we know, they won’t recommend anything that would really make us safer, if not PC. Before they would add extra scrutiny to people from Muslim countries, they would strip search your grandmother.

Greenspan Calls For Lower Wages For America's Skilled Workers
Excerpt: This article is of great importance for a number of extremely important reasons beginning with national security, although the article never even mentions the issue of national security. As you read the article, please note that the visa fraud discussed in the news report has been allegedly ongoing for a decade. I would remind you that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred more than 8 years ago. I would also remind you that among the findings of the 9/11 Commission, to which I provided testimony, was the fact that the terrorists who savagely attacked our nation engaged in visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud. Indeed, it has been reported that of some 94 terrorists who had been identified as operating in our country in the decade leading up to the attacks of 9/11, some 59 of those individuals had used immigration fraud and/or visa fraud as a means of entering our country and/or embedding themselves within our country, enabling them to hide in plain sight. As I have noted in previous commentaries, our nation had suffered two terrorist attacks in 1993: at the entrance to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia when a lone gunman stood outside the entrance to the CIA gates in January of that year and then one month later, on February 26, 1993 the World Trade center was nearly brought down by an explosives-laden truck parked in the underground garage at the World Trade Center complex. That explosion took 6 innocent lives, injured hundreds of other people and inflicted an estimated one half billion dollars to the complex of buildings including the twin towers that had been among the most breathtaking edifices of the New York City skyline. Those vicious attacks had both been carried out by aliens from the Middle East whose entry and presence in our country was facilitated by visa fraud and immigration fraud.

Only a failed detonator saved NW flight
Officials now say tragedy was only averted on Northwest flight 253 because a makeshift detonator failed to work properly. Bomb experts say there was more than enough explosive to bring down the Northwest jet, which had nearly 300 people aboard, had the detonator not failed, and the nation's outdated airport screening machines may need to be upgraded. "We've known for a long time that this is possible," said Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar and ABC News consultant, "and that we really have to replace our scanning devices with more modern systems." Clarke said full body scans were needed, "but they're expensive and they're intrusive. They invade people's privacy." (No, what’s need is profiling anyone coming from a country with a jihadist threat. But that wouldn’t be PC, while you and your family dying is. And see the next paragraph.) Investigators believe Abdulmutallab was connected to al Qaeda by the same radical imam, American-born Anwar Awlaki, who is linked to the American Army major accused of opening fire at Fort Hood in November. According to investigators, the bomb used yesterday was built in Yemen by a top al Qaeda bomb maker. (But remember, Ft. Hood had nothing to do with Islam and terror—just a random nut who happened to be Muslim. Could have been a Baptist just as likely, right? Let’s not jump to conclusions as BO said.)

Christian workers on the Arabian Peninsula "are often exploited and sometimes treated as human beings of second class"
Excerpt: That is, like dhimmis. Imagine the global outrage if the shoe were on the other foot, and Muslims were so restricted. "Vatican's top cleric in Arabia walks a thin line," by Barbara Surk for the Associated Press, December 25: ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The Vatican's top cleric in the heart of Muslim Arabia tends to a flock of 2 million Christians spread around six desert nations. But he has to do it quietly: Most of them must still pray in secret and are forbidden to display crosses and other symbols of their faith. From his base in the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, Archbishop Paul Hinder travels the Arabian Peninsula, even slipping in and out of Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of Islam, where restrictions on Christians are the toughest. (The Saudis called for a boycott of the Swiss over the banning of minarets, but not mosques as churches are banned in our ally Saudi Arabia!)

Islamists claim killing of Russian priest
Didn’t get the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace memo. Excerpt: An Islamist militant group based in Russia's North Caucases has claimed the killing last month of an Orthodox priest who was an outspoken critic of Islam. "One of our brothers who has never been to the Caucases took up the oath of (former independent Chechen president Doku Umarov) and expressed his desire to execute the damned Sysoyev," said a statement on the website. Daniil Sysoyev, 35, was killed on November 20 when masked gunman walked into Saint Thomas's church in southern Moscow and shot him four times.

Yemeni Muslim cleric: Jews are apes and pigs, we are human beings
Imagine if a Christian or Jewish religious leader said this about Muslims? The firestorm would never end.

Iranian student protester Neda Soltan is Times Person of the Year
I figured BO was a lock. Excerpt: Neda Soltan was not political. She did not vote in the Iranian presidential election on June 12. The young student was appalled, however, by the way that the regime shamelessly rigged the result and reinstalled Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ignoring the pleas of her family, she went with her music teacher eight days later to join a huge opposition demonstration in Tehran. “Even if a bullet goes through my heart it’s not important,” she told Caspian Makan, her fiancé. “What we’re fighting for is more important. When it comes to taking our stolen rights back we should not hesitate. Everyone is responsible. Each person leaves a footprint in this world.” Ms Soltan, 26, had no idea just how big a footprint she would leave. Hours after leaving home, she was indeed shot, by a government militiaman, as she and other demonstrators chanted: “Death to the dictator.”

A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all. - Publius Corneliu Tacitus (Rome had its Harry Reids.)

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. - Ralph Waldo Emerson