Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Political Digest January 12, 2010

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.

New Nevada tee-shirt
Re-elect Harry Reid—he’s “light skinned” and doesn’t have a “negro dialect.”

Notice that if a Democrat says something racist, Obama can forgive him immediately. But if a terrorist tries to blow up an airplane, it takes Obama three days to respond.

The Fix: Harry Reid survives -- for now
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) appears to have weathered the initial media storm caused by his admission that he had referred to President Obama as "light skinned" and lacking a "Negro dialect" in a conversation with reporters. Calls for Reid's resignation came solely from Republicans on Sunday including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, himself in considerable hot water over impolitic comments, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas). Democrats -- from the White House down -- rushed to Reid's defense, arguing that he had chosen his words poorly but that his record over a lifetime in public office made clear his commitment to civil rights. The story can now advance in only one of two ways: either there are more revelations of past controversial statements on race by Reid, which seems unlikely, or some high profile Democrat(s) breaks ranks to call for him to step aside. Reid spent the weekend working the phones to ensure that no member of his own party makes such a statement and undoubtedly will continue to do so in the next 48 hours or so. While Republicans spent the weekend comparing Reid to Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican forced to step aside as majority leader in the wake of controversial comments on race in 2002, Lott was hung out to dry by his own party the White House and several of his colleagues who had ambitions of their own. Reid has avoided that fate to date and neither Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) nor Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) -- the two men likely to fight for the majority leader slot if and when Reid leaves -- seem at all interested in pushing the Nevada Democrat into a premature retirement.

Harry Reid Must Resign!
Excerpt: Wielding a sharp racial sword, Democrats ruthlessly destroy the careers of Republicans on racial matters, accepting no apologies. Yet, using a glaring double standard, those same Democrats quickly give a pass to any Democrat, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who again displayed egregious racism.

Comments by Democrats about Trent lott when he said something they thought racist, complimenting a 100 year old senator.
My, how the tune changes! Excerpt: ‘I can tell you if a Democratic leader said such a thing, they would not be allowed to keep their position,’ - Mary Landrieu

Is Harry Reid the next Chris Dodd?
Excerpt: Lost amid the controversy caused this weekend by the revelations about racially-tinged comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) about President Barack Obama is the fact that a new independent poll shows the Nevada Democrat in the direst of straights in his re-election fight. Reid trailed all three Republicans against whom he was tested by the Las Vegas Review- Journal; former state party chairwoman Sue Lowden led Reid 50 percent to 40 percent, businessman Danny Tarkanian held a 49 percent to 41 percent edge and former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle held a 45 percent to 40 percent margin. Just one in three voters said they held a favorable opinion of Reid while 52 percent said they saw him in an unfavorable light. Less than one percent of voters said they didn't know enough about Reid to offer an opinion while 42 percent said the same about Angle, 20 percent said it of Lowden and 18 percent didn't know enough about Tarkanian to offer an opinion.

Brown seen as gaining on Coakley in race for Kennedy Senate seat
Excerpt: Massachusetts isn't the likeliest backdrop for Republicans to begin their long climb back to a Senate majority. Democrats control both of the state's U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, all 10 House seats and wide majorities in the state legislature. And yet, the buzz in political circles over the past week is that state Sen. Scott Brown is rapidly making up ground on state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the Jan. 19 special election to succeed the late Edward M. Kennedy -- movement that has Democrats scrambling to ensure they keep what should be a sure thing in their column.

What if they don’t seat Brown right away?
Reports are that if Brown wins, the Democrats (ironic name, that, with this and the vote fraud of recent years) will find a way to delay seating him so he can’t vote against healthcare. But I thought the Senate rule was you needed 60% of the votes to break a filibuster. And if you have 59 Democrats out of 99 Senators, you only have 59.6%. I suppose Reid will bang the gavel and say, “Close enough.”

Even if Brown loses
But is close, in Dark Blue Massachusetts, with only 11% registered Republicans, it should make Democrats in swing states nervous about voting for ObamaCare against the popular will.

Buying the Mass Special Election
Excerpt: Massachusetts voters and Americans at large. The national democratic party is now in full panic mode. The democrat candidate is about to be defeated in the polls on the 19th of January. Because Republican Scott Brown has vowed to use his vote to strike down the Pelosi/Reid/Obama Healthcare obscenity the democrats are pulling out all of the stops. They are having $10,000.00 a plate fundraiser for democrat Martha Coakely in Washington tomorrow night…..if you look through the list of the sponsors, you will note one name that is very troubling. Jamie Gorelick. Ring a bell? Ms. Gorelick was one of the individuals primarily responsible for the success of the terrorist attack of 9/11. She was a Clinton White House HACK who ordered the CIA and the FBO to cease and desist from ever sharing information of suspects of terrorism. This explains why the 9/11 hijackers were in USA and the CIA knew it, but they could not advise the FBO.

The New Year Brings Tax Chaos
“If I (Barack Obama) am elected President, people making less than $250,000 a year won’t pay a dime more in taxes. Excerpt: Happy New Year. Your tax bill just went way up. When the clock hit midnight on Jan. 1, some 70 new taxes on the middle class and small businesses went into effect, thanks to Congress's failure to prevent the expiration of popular and economically vital tax breaks on time. So some 25 million middle class Americans are now slated to get hit with the alternative minimum tax (AMT) this year. Remember: This is the tax that was originally supposed to only hit the richest 100 Americans. This year, the alternative minimum tax will gather $63 billion from American families with an income of as little as $75,000, according to the Senate Finance Committee. The AMT may now hit tax filers who are school teachers, construction workers and bus drivers. Call them the new rich. The middle class will get soaked other ways, too. The new homebuyer tax credit goes away. That will hit working families with a $10.8 billion tab. The tax deduction for state and local taxes also disappears, so shoppers of all incomes will cough up $1.85 billion more. Got a kid in college? The federal tax deduction for college tuition and fees has disappeared. That's another $1.5 billion tax hike on the no-rich.

AFL-CIO leader: Democrats inviting repeat of 1994 over economy woes
Excerpt: The Democratic Party could see a repeat of their epic electoral defeat in 1994 when Republicans won the House unless they institute dramatic changes in economic policy, the leader of the AFL-CIO said Monday. In prepared remarks at the National Press Club, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the majority party needs to end its coziness with the financial sector and step up and take action for workers to avoid losing control of the House.

Lawmakers visiting Detroit auto show drive Tea Party protesters
Excerpt: Detroit will become a political battleground on Monday as lawmakers and activists descend on the city for its international auto show. A delegation of Democratic lawmakers, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), will travel to Motown on Monday for the opening day of closed-door previews for the media, industry officials and other VIPs. They will be met, though, by conservative "Tea Party" activists, who plan to rally against the show. The scene will represent one of the highest-profile demonstrations of the political battle over the bailouts for Chrysler and General Motors, nearly a year after the U.S. government provided tens of billions of dollars to prop up the companies.

Dingells and GM illustrate limits of congressional conflict-of-interest rules
Excerpt: They met in the first-class cabin on a bumpy flight between Detroit and Washington, a gruff lion of a lawmaker from Michigan and a young lobbyist for General Motors, granddaughter of one of the company's pioneer executives. Rep. John D. Dingell Jr. (D), then 55 and one of the most powerful men in the country, usually did not talk to seatmates. He made an exception for Debbie Insley because she was a white-knuckle flier nervous about the turbulence. Despite their 27-year age difference, they hit it off, and in 1981 she became his second wife. Their union brought together very divergent interests: the lawmaker's obligation to craft legislation that serves the public and his wife's financial dependency on an industry whose fortunes were directly affected by Congress. The Dingells have always been open about their relationship, and the evidence is that they have always complied with the rules. But the mere existence of such a conflict resonates at a time of close ethical scrutiny on Wall Street, in government and elsewhere.

Palin signs on with Fox News
Excerpt: Sarah Palin, who regularly rips the media, is becoming a television pundit at a place where she's likely to feel at home. A Fox News executive says the network will shortly announce that the former vice-presidential nominee is signing on as a contributor. Palin, who resigned as governor of Alaska last summer, will appear as a commentator on various Fox shows. She will also host an occasional program that will examine inspirational tales involving ordinary Americans.

Jimmy Carter’s Misery Index
Excerpt: But there is another number Democrats should fear because it was used by them and then against them three decades ago. This number is the misery index and was used by Jimmy Carter to help him defeat Gerald Ford and then was used by Reagan against Carter a few years later. The Misery Index is the sum of a nation’s unemployment, interest rates, and inflation figures. Given the Fed’s printing presses are running red hot and the Democrats show a propensity to profligacy, inflation looks to rise in the year ahead. Commodity prices are heading steadily higher, fueled by too much cash, and too much deficit spending. The Democrats have put policies in place that crimp the development of our vast mineral and energy reserves,. These trends are like the pig in the python - eventually the rise in these input prices will be reflected in higher prices for all consumers. A further source of anxiety should be the ever-weakening dollar that makes import prices higher in dollar terms. The misery index now stands at 12.8%, the highest since 1991 and 3 points above its average since then.

Obama, labor leaders to square off over tax on high-cost health plans
Excerpt: The presidents of about a dozen labor unions will meet with President Barack Obama on Monday to push him to limit the scope of a proposed tax on high-cost insurance plans. Labor sources acknowledge they will not succeed in completely eliminating the tax, but they hope to raise its threshold so that fewer labor households feel the impact. At the end of the day there’s going to be a compromise,” said a labor official. Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), told The Hill on Friday that the final bill would likely include some form of the excise tax.

Where U.S. Health Care Ranks Number One
Excerpt: Data assembled by Dr. Ronald Wenger and published recently in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons indicates that cardiac deaths in the U.S. have fallen by two-thirds over the past 50 years. Polio has been virtually eradicated. Childhood leukemia has a high cure rate. Eight of the top 10 medical advances in the past 20 years were developed or had roots in the U.S. The Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology have been awarded to more Americans than to researchers in all other countries combined. Eight of the 10 top-selling drugs in the world were developed by U.S. companies. The U.S. has some of the highest breast, colon and prostate cancer survival rates in the world. And our country ranks first or second in the world in kidney transplants, liver transplants, heart transplants, total knee replacements, coronary artery bypass, and percutaneous coronary interventions. We have the shortest waiting time for nonemergency surgery in the world; England has one of the longest. In Canada, a country of 35 million citizens, 1 million patients now wait for surgery and another million wait to see specialists.

Why can’t we agree on health care reform?
Excerpt: Because we’re not talking about the same subject. What? That’s right. It’s very hard for two people to agree on something if each is talking about a different topic. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen this happen over and over in health care — going back for a period of 30 years. People with totally different concepts of health care not only do not convince each other of anything; they don’t even understand each other. In fact, thinking back over three decades of thousands of conversations, conferences, meetings, briefings, etc., I can’t recall a single instance when someone with one view of health care was persuaded to change his public policy views by someone with a completely different view of health care.

What Health Care Reform Means for the States
Excerpt: As the battle enters its final stage in Washington, a rebellion is taking shape in the states, which are alarmed about the new financial burdens they will face in a revamped system. Governors of both parties are complaining that reform will drive their budgets into even deeper holes, with some feeling the effects far more than others. But just how much will be riding on the states? Here's a look at four changes that lie ahead.

Media Content Regulation in the 21st Century
Excerpt: Civil libertarians feared that a change of administrations would herald a revived Fairness Doctrine, a policy that previously permitted the government to oversee broadcast news coverage for “balanced views.” A return to the Fairness Doctrine, however, now seems unlikely. It is very likely, however, that politicians from both the left and the right will try to extend government control over the media beyond current policies. New rules adopted or proposed by the Federal Communications Commission suggest that the agency may be poised to enforce the most intensive government oversight of broadcast programming in decades—perhaps even in the history of the agency. The FCC voted last year to require each broadcast licensee to file quarterly “enhanced disclosure” reports—highly detailed information regarding its programming and editorial choices. This information will be used by organized groups to file complaints to pressure broadcasters to air programming that the complainants prefer. The FCC is also formulating programming guidelines based on the enhanced disclosure reports purporting to ensure that broadcasters meet local needs. This “broadcast localism” effort may also require broadcasters to appoint local boards to oversee their performance and their editorial decisions. As the FCC seeks to expand regulation of broadcast media, the traditional justification for its authority—spectrum scarcity—has lost credibility, and the agency’s new efforts are likely to run afoul of the First Amendment.

New Ozone Standard More About Politics Than Science
Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is once again proposing to lower the ozone standard to between 60 and 70 parts per billion from the current standard of 75 parts per billion it established during the George W. Bush administration. This would be the third time the ozone standard has been lowered since the Clinton administration lowered it to 84 parts per billion in 1997. This is more of a political decision than a scientific one. One part per billion is equivalent to one second in 33 years. There is not a bright line standard for ozone - a threshold number where there is a health threat above that level and no health threat below that number. Sensitive people, such as those with asthma, are more sensitive to higher levels of ozone than are the general population. Setting the standard becomes more of an issue of risk toleration than hard science.

30 Years of Global Cooling Are Coming, Leading Scientist Says
How come the great computer models they talk about didn’t predict this? Excerpt: From Miami to Maine, Savannah to Seattle, America is caught in an icy grip that one of the U.N.'s top global warming proponents says could mark the beginning of a mini ice age. Oranges are freezing and millions of tropical fish are dying in Florida, and it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze, says Professor Mojib Latif, one of the world's leading climate modelers. Latif thinks the cold snap Americans have been suffering through is only the beginning. He says we're in for 30 years of cooler temperatures -- a mini ice age, he calls it, basing his theory on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the world's oceans. Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and an author of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, believes the lengthy cold weather is merely a pause -- a 30-years-long blip -- in the larger cycle of global warming, which postulates that temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years.

Obama’s Mentors - The Weatherman Who Helped Author Obama's Legislation
Excerpt: Despite being profiled early on in Glenn Beck's czar series, Jeff Jones — who helped author the ObamaCare bill — has received far less scrutiny than Van Jones and some others. By now, though the barrage of radicalism may have inoculated you to the fact that a member of Obama's team is best-known for his mug shots, Jeff Jones does indeed warrant the country's attention. Some people, not enough, are aware that Jeff Jones co-founded the Weathermen, led the Days of Rage in Chicago in 1969, and then went underground for the next eleven years with fellow revolutionary and current wife Eleanor Stein (who teaches "climate change" at Albany Law School). But, how many know that as late as 2007 Jones organized a re-branding of the SDS? Jeff Jones tried to reconstitute the SDS just two years ago.

NarcoIslam: Hezbollah Traffics Drugs to Finance Terrorism
Excerpt: U. S. counterterrorism officials have been keeping a close eye on links between Hezbollah and the drug cartels, worried that al-Qaeda could also make use of the drug trafficking routes between the U.S. and Mexico to send its operatives across the border to carry out terror attacks on American soil. If this weren’t enough cause for concern, a weekend report in the German magazine Der Spiegelhas established a clear link between Hezbollah, the European drug trade and the illegal transfer of funds from Germany directly to that terror group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

The Khost Attack and the Intelligence War Challenge
Scary. Excerpt: As Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi exited the vehicle that brought him onto Forward Operating Base (FOB) Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, on Dec. 30, 2009, security guards noticed he was behaving strangely. They moved toward al-Balawi and screamed demands that he take his hand out of his pocket, but instead of complying with the officers’ commands, al-Balawi detonated the suicide device he was wearing. The explosion killed al-Balawi, three security contractors, four CIA officers and the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) officer who was al-Balawi’s handler. The vehicle shielded several other CIA officers at the scene from the blast. The CIA officers killed included the chief of the base at Khost and an analyst from headquarters who reportedly was the agency’s foremost expert on al Qaeda. The agency’s second-ranking officer in Afghanistan was allegedly among the officers who survived. Al-Balawi was a Jordanian doctor from Zarqa (the hometown of deceased al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi). Under the alias Abu Dujanah al-Khurasani, he served as an administrator for Al-Hesbah, a popular Internet discussion forum for jihadists. Jordanian officers arrested him in 2007 because of his involvement with radical online forums, which is illegal in Jordan. The GID subsequently approached al-Balawi while he was in a Jordanian prison and recruited him to work as an intelligence asset…. In discussing the core weakness in the Afghan strategy U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen, we identified the basic problem as the intelligence war. We argued that establishing an effective Afghan army would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, because the Americans and their NATO allies lacked knowledge and sophistication in distinguishing friend from foe among those being recruited into the army. This problem is compounded by the fact that there are very few written documents in a country like Afghanistan that could corroborate identities. The Taliban would seed the Afghan army with its own operatives and supporters, potentially exposing the army’s operations to al Qaeda. (In Vietnam, we now know, some high-ranking members of the South Vietnamese government feeding information to American “journalists” were really Communist plants manipulating the American public through the press. The journalists who were used against America are all old and honored now.)

Yemeni president vows crackdown on al-Qaeda branch
Excerpt: -- Yemen's president vowed over the weekend to track down al-Qaeda militants who refuse to renounce terrorism, as President Obama affirmed in a magazine interview that he has no plans at the moment to send troops to Yemen in response to concerns that the terrorist network's presence has become more dangerous in that country. The comments by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a longtime ruler who has been accused of vacillating about his country's Islamic extremists, underscored a growing sense in Yemen that his government could be imperiled if stronger actions are not taken. But Saleh also told Abu Dhabi TV that "we are ready to talk with any person who gives up violence and terrorism," extending an olive branch to extremists in keeping with political resentment in the country over close ties to Washington. "Dialogue is the best way" even with al-Qaeda, Saleh said. But if al-Qaeda continues "sabotage and terrorist acts," he said, his government is "determined to stand up to the challenges." (Good luck with “dialog.”)
TSA nominee in 2008: Alliances with Israel, France make us subject to terror attack
Excerpt: Erroll Southers, President Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Safety Administration, said in a 2008 web interview on terrorism that America is subject to terror attacks because of its alliances with countries like Israel and France. Asked how high the "War on Terror" ranks in America's priorities, Southers opined: "Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France -- countries that are seen by groups, by al Qaeda, as infidels or anti-Islamic -- by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we subject to be attacked as well."

Nice review of my book Chaos for Breakfast

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