Thursday, January 14, 2010

Political Digest January 14, 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.

In Massachusetts, Republican Brown steps up campaign for Kennedy's Senate seat
Excerpt: Fueled by the energy of conservative activists, a solid debate performance and a 24-hour, $1.3 million Internet fundraising haul, Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown (R) has thrown a major scare into the Democratic establishment in his bid to win next Tuesday's special Senate election over once heavily favored Attorney General Martha Coakley. The intensified activity around the campaign to fill the seat of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D) highlights the degree to which the race has taken on national significance. A victory, or even a narrow loss, by Brown in the competition for the symbolically important seat would be interpreted as another sign that voters have turned away from the Democrats at the start of the midterm election year. More urgently, a Brown win would give Republicans 41 seats in the Senate and the ability to block President Obama's health-care initiative and much of the Democrats' 2010 congressional agenda. Strategists on both sides concede that a Brown victory would drastically reshape the calculus of the health-care debate, which is now in its final stages.

Fat Cats for Coakley
You notice that the drug makers, HMOs, big hospitals and insurance companies are all pouring money into Coakley. They are not doing it because they want to help the little guy. They are doing it because they want to keep helping themselves. If she wins, she’ll be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the health lobbyists whop are pushing the so called reform behind closed doors. I just sent my third contribution to Brown.

Kerry Launches Late Money Push for Coakley in Race for Kennedy's Senate Seat
Excerpt: Sen. John Kerry is rushing to the aid of Democrat Martha Coakley in the race for the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy, making a last-minute fundraising and get-out-the-vote push as her Republican challenger closes in.

Dems, labor pour cash into Kennedy seat
Excerpt: Democrats and their union allies are pumping resources into Massachusetts in an attempt to save their 60-seat Senate majority. The seat in question, which belonged to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), has been one of the most reliable liberal votes in the Senate, but an influx of Democratic money and staff suggests the party is worried about holding it. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) dropped more than a half-million dollars on a TV ad buy Tuesday, according to sources. The DSCC and Democratic National Committee (DNC) have also sent high-level field and press staffers rushing up I-95 to bolster Attorney General Martha Coakley’s (D) campaign operation. (Gee, if the seat “belonged” to Kennedy, why didn’t he leave it to someone in his will?)

The Fix: Ad spending tops $6 million in Mass. Senate special election
Excerpt: Ad spending by the candidates, party committees and outside organizations in the final week of the Massachusetts Senate special election will go over $6 million, according to a detailed look at expenditures provided to the Fix. The two candidates are the biggest spenders with state Sen. Scott Brown (R) dropping just short of $2 million in the final week while state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) is spending $1.5 million. While Brown is outspending Coakley, Democratic-affiliated outside groups are making up the difference, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in for $831,000 and the Service Employees International Union spending $685,000 on ads. More groups are buying television time on the Republican side -- four in total -- with the Chamber of Commerce ($400,000) and the American Future Fund ($375,000) leading the way. (In an odd twist, New Hampshire Senate candidate Bill Binnie is spending $200,000 -- through a group called Americans for Responsible Health Care -- on ads in support of Brown.) The massive spending in the race's final week is further evidence that both sides believe it is up for grabs and are doing everything they can to try and tilt what now looks like a very close contest.

Martha Coakley, K Street's choice for senator
Excerpt: If Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Democrat, hangs on to win the special election next week for Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat, she will have to thank the cadre of elite K Street lobbyists who hosted a high-powered, high-dollar fundraiser for her Tuesday night on Capitol Hill. And if Coakley, as promised, delivers vote No. 60 for President Obama's package of health care regulations, taxes, subsidies, and mandates, these hired guns -- who have spent this year doing the bidding of drug makers, hospitals, and insurers -- will be fitting saviors of a health care "reform" that will enrich the special interests at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and small businesses.

Coakley Thug Roughs Up Reporter
Excerpt: McCormack has also tentatively identified his assailant as a Blue Line Strategic Communications principal consulting with the DSCC on media for Coakley by the name of Michael Meehan.

What's Going on in Massachusetts?
Excerpt: Even if Brown Doesn’t Win, the Election is a Negative Referendum on Democratic Rule in Washington First and foremost, we know that a combination of persistent unemployment, taxes, liberal health care reform and national security fears have made this race to fill the seat of the late liberal lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy -- in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by three to one -- closer than anyone would have dreamed three years ago. The very fact that this race is even close is a sign of how unhappy Americans are with Democratic rule in Washington.

What Massachusetts can tell us about the midterms
Excerpt: The Massachusetts special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is five days away from its -- surprisingly suspenseful -- conclusion but, even before the votes are cast, the race has provided political junkies a window into the message strategies for the two national parties. With independent groups flooding the state's airwaves and the two candidates -- state Sen. Scott Brown (R) and state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) -- raising money as fast as their campaigns can count it, there are numerous examples of how each side plans to both position itself and attack the other. Brown, in his ads, is the independent outsider who isn't part of the problem in Washington but wants to be part of the solution. From his now famous "pickup" ad -- expect LOTS of Republicans to copy that one in a few months time -- to his new radio ad featuring his daughters defending him against Democratic attacks, the clear play from Brown is that "business as usual" is no longer acceptable and that it's time for a change. (Sound familiar? It should. It's the message Barack Obama used to win the presidency.) Coakley's ads, on the other hand, are heavy on populist outrage over the Wall Street bailouts and light on any mention of either her party affiliation or President Barack Obama -- an amazing development given the overwhelming Democratic advantage in the Bay State. "In the Senate, I'll be accountable to you," she says in one commercial.

Rangel: Health Care Talks Stalled, Facing ‘Serious Problem’
Excerpt: Health care negotiators are facing “a serious problem” in resolving their differences and are not likely to have a final bill until February, according to key House Democrats involved in ongoing talks.

Sen. Nelson may not vote for health care reform?
Excerpt: After a torrent of constituent outrage and with a potential lawsuit from 13 state attorney generals brewing over the sale of his vote on health care reform, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson is waffling again: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said he's not yet "100 percent certain" he can vote for health reform legislation. (Probably just upping his price.)

Treating a Nation of Anxious Wimps
Excerpt: Until we start educating patients about what really affects their health and what a doctor is capable of fixing, we will continue to waste a large portion of our healthcare dollar on treatments which just don’t make any difference. Emergency departments are distilleries boiling complex blends of trauma, stress and emotion down to the essence of immediacy: what needs to be done, right now, to fix the problem. Working the past twenty years in such environments has shown me with great clarity what is wrong (and right) with our nation’s medical system. It’s obvious to me that despite all the furor and rancor, what is being debated in Washington currently is not healthcare reform. It’s only healthcare insurance reform. It addresses the undeniably important issues of who is going to pay and how, but completely misses the point of why. Healthcare costs too much in our country because we deliver too much healthcare. We deliver too much because we demand too much. And we demand it for all the wrong reasons. We’re turning into a nation of anxious wimps.

Pelosi, Hoyer, panel chairmen will represent House on health reform
Excerpt: House Democrats have opted to send five of their biggest guns to the healthcare negotiating table to iron out a deal with the Senate, according to a House leadership aide.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) will be in the room when major decisions are made in the weeks ahead. (Five Lawyers. No C-Span, no Republicans, as Obama promised.)

House, Senate remain divided over key issues in health bill
Excerpt: House and Senate leaders will meet with President Obama on Wednesday to try to reconcile differences over the shape of health care legislation. But the two houses of Congress remain at odds over fundamental issues, including the cost of the package and subsidies for the uninsured, aides said.

The House Health Care Bill: Sticking it to Small Business
Excerpt: While the nation’s unemployment rate continues to linger around 10%, Congress will soon return to Washington to devise a way to get a health care bill passed by both the House and Senate. As the negotiations loom, a recent paper by Heritage’s John Ligon explores the devastating effects that the employer mandate in the House health care bill would have for small business. In order to pressure more businesses into providing health care for their employees, the House bill includes an incremental payroll tax on employers that fail to do so. This tax starts at 2% for employers with total annual payroll of $500,000 and increases to 8% on total annual payroll of $750,000 or more. This tax would affect all employers, even those with 25 employees or fewer, since it is based on total payroll, not number of employees.

Dodd: Health Bill "Hanging By a Thread"
Hope springs eternal. Excerpt: Health care reform is "hanging on by a thread," and one or two votes could determine the outcome of the heavily-debated bill, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd told CNBC Monday.

Must Read: How Media Misuse Income Data to Match Their Preconceptions
By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Many of the same kinds of data used to claim a widening income gap between "the rich" and "the poor" — names usually given to people with different incomes, rather than different wealth, as the terms rich and poor might seem to imply — have led many in the media to likewise claim a growing income gap between the "super-rich" and the "merely rich." Under the headline "Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind," a front-page New York Times article dubbed the "top 0.1% of income earners — the top one-thousandth" as the "hyper-rich" and declared that they "have even left behind people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year." Once again, the confusion is between what is happening to statistical categories over time and what is happening to flesh-and-blood individuals over time, as they move from one statistical category to another…. Just over half of all Americans earning at or near the minimum wage are from 16 to 24 years of age — and of course these individuals cannot remain from 16 to 24 years of age indefinitely, though that age category can of course continue indefinitely, providing many intellectuals with data to fit their preconceptions. Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a "problem" for which a "solution" is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of "classes" with "disparities" and "inequities" in income, caused by "barriers" created by "society." But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the "barriers" assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.

The Tel Aviv Cluster
Excerpt: Jews are a famously accomplished group. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates and 31 percent of the medicine laureates. Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction. (Based on Liberal Logic, this proves that Jews are discriminating against the rest of us, and we need a massive government program to insure equal outcomes and spread the wealth around.)

U.S. Chamber opens up 2010 with sweeping attack of Obama policies
Excerpt: U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue blasted a range of White House policies Tuesday as the business lobby’s fight with President Barack Obama bounced back into the spotlight. Donohue’s remarks come two months after the White House and the Chamber were thought to be repairing their relationship. In early November, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met with the group’s board of directors for an off-the-record discussion.

Obama's Approval Rating Dips to New Low
46%. Wait until people find out what is in the healthcare bill.

Climate change: the true price of the warmists' folly is becoming clear
Excerpt: Impeccable was the timing of that announcement that directors of the Met
Office were last year given pay rises of up to 33 per cent, putting its £200,000-a-year chief executive into a higher pay bracket than the Prime Minister. As Britain shivered through Arctic cold and its heaviest snowfalls for decades, our global-warming-obsessed Government machine was caught out in all directions. For a start, we saw Met Office spokesmen trying to explain why it had got its seasonal forecasts hopelessly wrong for three cold winters and three cool summers in a row. The current cold snap, we were told with the aid of the BBC - itself facing an inquiry into its relentless obsession with "global warming" - was just a "regional" phenomenon, due to "natural" factors. No attempt was made to explain why the same freezing weather is affecting much of the northern hemisphere (with 1,200 places in the US alone last week reporting record snow and low temperatures). And this is the body on which, through its Hadley Centre for Climate Change and the discredited Climatic Research Unit, the world's politicians rely for weather forecasting 100 years ahead. Then, as councils across Britain ran out of salt for frozen roads, we had the Transport Minister, Lord Adonis, admitting that we entered this cold spell with only six days' supply of grit. No mention of the fact that the Highways Agency and councils had been advised that there was no need for them to stockpile any more - let alone that many councils now have more "climate change officials" than gritters.

ClimateGate continues: ‘Follow the money, not the temperature’
Excerpt: What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC’s policy recommendations. These outfits include banks, oil and energy companies and investment funds heavily involved in ‘carbon trading’ and ‘sustainable technologies’, which together make up the fastest-growing commodity market in the world, estimated soon to be worth trillions of dollars a year.

Hide the Decline
Warming Humor.

Freedom in the World 2010: Global Erosion of Freedom
Wonder how the statists will “hide the decline.”

Armed and Vulnerable?
Excerpt: According to Reason magazine, however, the one explanation the researchers do not mention is that people who anticipate violent confrontations -- such as drug dealers, frequently robbed bodega owners, and women with angry ex-boyfriends -- might be especially likely to possess guns, just as people likely who jump out of airplanes are especially likely to possess parachutes. The authors acknowledge that they did not account for the potential of reverse causation between gun possession and gun assault -- that is, the possibility that a high risk of being shot causes gun ownership, as opposed to the other way around.

Speaker Pelosi’s Job-Killing Agenda
Excerpt: After a three-week holiday break, the House of Representatives returned to session yesterday, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) marked the occasion with an op-ed detailing her “record of achievement” and outlining her agenda for the rest of the 111th Congress. Pelosi writes: “At the halfway mark in this Congress, our priorities are clear: strengthening the security of the American people and building a new economy that offers our families lasting prosperity.” But the 111th Congress is not the first Congress Speaker Pelosi has presided over. When Pelosi was first handed the gavel in January 2007, the U.S. economy employed 137.3 million people and our nation’s unemployment rate stood at 4.6%. According to the Labor Department’s most recent report, the U.S. economy has shed 6.3 million jobs since then, and 10% of our workforce is now unemployed.

Committees failed to share info for weeks
Excerpt: Lawmakers experienced their own intelligence-sharing breakdown while criticizing the intelligence community for poor communication that failed to stop a Christmas Day bombing attempt. During the holiday recess, at least two congressional committees waited nearly two weeks to share classified State Department notifications to individual member offices about two more Guantánamo Bay detainees the administration was planning to transfer overseas.

Sentencing May End DOJ Earmark Probe
But Murtha skates. Excerpt: A defense contractor accused of diverting money from an earmark provided by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has been scheduled for sentencing at the end of February, suggesting that his cooperation with federal agents investigating earmarks is coming to a close.

Menacing turn in Black Panther case
Excerpt: The Justice Department told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to drop dead yesterday. The growing controversy is over a voter-intimidation case involving the radical New Black Panther Party and why Justice is carrying water for the villains. The department's intransigence should frighten Congress because Justice is asserting broad privileges that undermine congressional authority to oversee government's executive branch. That's why the timing is propitious today for the House Judiciary Committee to consider, and approve, a resolution of inquiry introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf, Virginia Republican. The Wolf resolution would direct Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to "transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of adoption of this resolution, copies of any document, memo or correspondence of the Department of Justice with regard to United States v. New Black Panther Party." Democrats tempted to kill this resolution today on a party-line vote should understand that they would be setting a precedent with ramifications far beyond this case. The constitutional balance of powers would be fundamentally shifted away from Congress to an unaccountable executive, and future corruption easily could go unchecked.

The Trouble with Harry
Excerpt: In any event, this is hardly Mr. Reid's worst rhetorical offense. That prize goes to his all too public comments in April 2007 that "the war is lost" in Iraq, even as the surge was finally making victory possible. That was a betrayal of American soldiers risking their lives in Iraq, and to the extent it emboldened the enemy, it may have cost American lives. If Mr. Reid has apologized for that defeatism, we don't recall it. That's reason enough to resign.

Drugging the West
Excerpt: On January 9, Hugo Chavez announced that two Venezuelan F-16s had been dispatched to intercept a U.S. P3 maritime patrol aircraft in his country’s airspace, presenting it as another example of American aggression. In reality, Chavez is trying to push back against U.S. anti-narcotics efforts because he knows that it will expose him as a drug king pin whose business is helping terrorists and poisoning Western societies. As widely reported, Venezuela supports the Marxist narco-terrorist group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly referred to as FARC. This group has been found to be working with Al-Qaeda drug traffickers in West Africa, three of which were extradited to the U.S. in December. Faced with increased interceptions of cocaine from Latin America directly to the U.S., the Venezuelans and their Colombian allies are instead transiting via West Africa.

Iran and the Bomb
Excerpt: Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, an important Iranian nuclear scientist, was killed yesterday by a bomb planted outside his home. Iran has accused Israel and the United States of assassinating Mr. Ali-Mohammadi in an attempt to disrupt Tehran's nuclear program. If true, such short-of-war methods could be seen as a means of preventing a larger conflict or paving the way for more deadly operations. The Obama administration's diplomatic outreach effort is dead, too. The mullahs met President Obama's outstretched hand with an extended middle finger. Iran announced in November that it planned to construct 10 new uranium enrichment facilities, a development former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Hans Blix called "puzzling" because "even big countries don't have ten enrichment plants." Last month, top-secret technical notes from Iran's nuclear program were leaked that detailed research on a neutron initiator, the triggering mechanism for an atomic bomb.

Muslim rally organizer claims death threats
Why we don’t hear from moderate Muslims. The thugs hove the power. Excerpt: The Muslim organizer of a rally last week in Detroit against terrorism said he received a death threat over the phone from a man with an Arabic accent who was upset that he spoke out against other Muslims.
Saudi Arabian posing as pilot held at Manila airport
Probably Islamophobia. The rest of us wear pilot’s uniforms all the time, right? Excerpt: A 19-year-old Saudi Arabian man dressed as a pilot was arrested Tuesday after he illegally entered a restricted area in the main airport in the Philippines, an airport official said. "He was able to elude our security by misrepresenting himself as a pilot of Saudia," said airport general manager Alfonso Cusi, referring to the Saudi Arabian flag carrier.

Afghan officials: 6 killed in Quran protest
KABUL – Protesters claiming that international troops destroyed copies of the Quran clashed with Afghan and foreign security forces on Tuesday, leaving six people dead, Afghan officials said. Also in the south, 13 insurgents were killed by a missile that international forces fired from an unmanned drone, NATO said.

Terrible Thought
Listening to Hillary Clinton talk on TV about Haiti, I found myself wishing she had been elected president instead of Barack Obama. It was unnerving to realize how things have gone for the country, to make me think that.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti, after this devastating earthquake. The media hasn’t informed us yet if this terrible tragedy was caused by Global Warming or George Bush.

"If you tell ethnic jokes in the back room, it's that much easier to say ethnic things publicly. I've always practiced how I play." --Harry Reid in 2002 after Trent Lott's resignation from leadership after similar racially insensitive remarks

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't vote for Coakley, if she was the last person standing.
    Besides her love of corruption, she purposedly kept a man in prison for 4 years, knowing full well he was innocent the whole time. The crime didn't even happen. Just to enhance her career.
    May she rot in hell for that.