Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Political Digest January 5, 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.

History Is Knocking for Obama http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/history_is_knocking_for_obama.html
Excerpt: Gimme a "health care" bill...any health care bill! Even if it kills the old and the sick by compulsory rationing. See, if somebody has only a statistical ten years to live, then his or her life is worth only one-seventh of an infant who has seventy years to go. There's only so much pork sausage in the national pie.

Congress horribilis
Excerpt: Mostly, however, last year's Congress will be remembered for two efforts that will damage the economy for years to come: government health care "reform" and the $787 billion stimulus plan. The federal deficit ballooned to $1.4 trillion and national debt increased to over $12 trillion in 2009. The binge of deficit spending is all but guaranteed to be the excuse for coming tax hikes that will have to hit a far wider swath of Americans than those fabled rich Mr. Obama promised to target. Indeed, the Democrats' health care plan already includes numerous and onerous tax increases.

America Rising: An Open Letter to Democrat Politicians
Unfortunately, when 67% of the voters didn’t know on election day 2008 which party controlled Congress, and so many vote on perceived narrow self-interest, or on things like race, gender, ethnicity or party, this video only speaks for the engaged and enraged minority.

The Fix: A critical month for House Democrats
Excerpt: December was a cruel month for House Democrats. On the first day of the month, Rep. John Tanner decided to call it quits, opening up a conservative-leaning seat in Tennessee. Eight days later Washington Rep. Brian Baird, also in a competitive district, followed suit and then on Dec. 14 Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon announced he would step aside in a district that Arizona Sen. John McCain won with 62 percent in 2008. The month was capped off for Democrats with the news just days before Christmas that Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith (D) was switching parties. The cumulative effect of that series of political blows was that many Democratic members left for the holiday recess with a bit of a bad taste in their mouths -- despite the best efforts of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) to convince them it's not all that bad. Given all that has happened over the past month, January is a critical period for House Democrats. Do a series of members -- fresh from conversations with their families and nervous about the political environment -- decide that discretion is the better part of valor and step aside this month? (Keep an eye on people like Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell and Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder.) And, if so, do they set off a wave of retirements that turns what looked like a traditional midterm cycle for Democrats -- with losses in the 20-25 seat range -- into one in which control of the House is up for grabs? Expect Republicans to push VERY hard on wavering Democratic members over the next month so that they know what they are in for if they decide to run for re-election. By the end of January, we should have a pretty good sense of whether December was just an isolated bad month for Democrats or a sign of a bad year to come.

Number of Democrats Falls to New Low, Down Six Points Since Election 2008 http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=8760
Excerpt: In December, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats fell to the lowest level recorded in more than seven years of monthly tracking by Rasmussen Reports. Currently, 35.5% of American adults view themselves as Democrats. That’s down from 36.0 a month ago and from 37.8% in October. Prior to December, the lowest total ever recorded for Democrats was 35.9%, a figure that was reached twice in 2005. See the History of Party Trends from January 2004 to the present. The number of Republicans inched up by a point in December to 34.0%. That’s the highest total for Republicans since December 2007, just before the 2008 presidential campaign season began.

Obama is moving America Right
Excerpt: A year ago, political, cultural, economic and media pundits were united in singing President-elect Obama's praises. They assured us that by working with enlightened congressional leaders like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Obama would give us a post-racial, post-partisan, post-Bush Valhalla. There, no citizen would ever again be left wanting for decent health care, a rewarding job, a home warmed in winter and cooled in summer with green energy, a comfortable pension, or a college education. It would be an America in which our liberal leaders would finally deliver "change we can believe in" instead of merely promising it. Best of all, they would do it by "cutting taxes for 95 percent of working Americans" and instituting a "net spending cut" on the federal budget. Verily, it seemed, there truly was a free lunch after all. What a difference one year makes. Liberals may be forgiven for looking at the latest public opinion surveys and wondering if they somehow stumbled into the Valley of Death instead of Obama's promised paradise. The president remains somewhat popular personally, but, as Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard wrote recently, "Obama's domestic program is exceedingly unpopular. The public disapproves of the president's bailouts, stimulus, health care reform, and cap and trade policies, not to mention his decision to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay." That Continetti was perhaps too kind is seen in this stunning fact: When George W. Bush returned, bloodied and bruised, to his Texas home after eight years in the White House, 43 percent of Americans surveyed by Scott Rasmussen "strongly disapproved" of the job he had done. Today, after less than a year in office, 46 percent express the same intense level of opposition to Obama.

Ten campaign themes to watch
Excerpt: Important themes are emerging as party leaders move into full “campaign mode” 10 months ahead of the 2010 midterms.

A Warning To All Americans
Excerpt: We lived in California during the winters of 2007 and 2008. We became addicted to Fox News and watched O'Reilly and Hannity and Colmes every night. When we got back home, we upgraded our cable to get Fox. I watched the Presidential campaign very closely. Initially, because I thought the Democrats would nominate Hillary Clinton and then, in astonishment, when they chose an even more hard-left candidate. All of last year, I told everyone I could that Obama was not a Democrat; he was a Marxist. He is far to the left of any European leader and even our far left party, the NDP. I read Saul Alinsky when I was in University. I studied him and his writing carefully. When Bill Ayers and his idiot wife were bombing and killing people at random in the Weather Underground, Weather Underground and the Black Panthers were closely allied. I read David Horowitz's account of changing from a Marxist to a conservative after seeing that the government was afraid to prosecute members of the Panthers for murdering his personal assistant. He suddenly understood the evil that Marxism really was. After the student radicals failed in creating a Marxist revolution in the United States by violent means, they embraced Alinsky. You would be wise to read "Rules for Radicals," because it outlines how Hillary and Obama planned to get into power, and what they intended to do when they got it. Socialism is not the correct descriptor for what Obama and the Democrats are doing. They are going to be much more far-reaching than anything Sweden has ever been able to do. Obama is following Alinsky's plans, those set out in "Rules for Radicals" and his other writing. The Democrats are attempting to create one-party rule in the U.S., and, in achieving that, will create crisis after crisis by their own actions and use those crises to nationalize the means of production in the U.S. You are in the middle of a communist revolution, and few in the U.S. can actually see it for what it truly is…. The incredible increase in the money supply is going to create Zimbabwe- and Venezuela-style inflation, and with it, controls on the currency and the amount of money that can be taken out of the country.

Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/03/16/you-ask-i-provide-november-2nd-1922-arctic-ocean-getting-warm-seals-vanish-and-icebergs-melt/
Global warming is getting scary. Excerpt: The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. --November 2nd, 1922.

Jordan emerges as key CIA counterterrorism ally
Excerpt: Hours after last week's deadly attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan, a revision was made in official accounts of the number of intelligence operatives killed in the suicide bombing. Instead of eight deaths, as initially reported, the CIA acknowledged only seven. The eighth victim resurfaced over the weekend when his flag-draped coffin arrived in his native country, Jordan. The man, a captain in the Jordanian intelligence service, was given full military honors at a ceremony that referred only to his "humanitarian work" in war-torn Afghanistan. In fact, the man's death offered a rare window into a partnership that U.S. officials describe as crucial to their counterterrorism strategy. Although its participation is rarely acknowledged publicly, Jordan is playing an increasingly vital role in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, sometimes in countries far beyond the Middle East, according to current and former government officials from both countries. Traditionally close ties between the CIA and the Jordanian spy agency -- known as the General Intelligence Department -- strengthened after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, occasionally prompting allegations by human rights groups that Jordan was serving as a surrogate jailer and interrogator for the U.S. intelligence agency. In the past two years, in the face of new threats in Afghanistan and Yemen, the United States has again called on its ally for help, current and former officials from both countries said.

Iran denies entry to Sen. Kerry
So much for soft diplomacy and changing our image in the Muslim world.

Pantybomber exposes naked bureaucracy
Excerpt: On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh? But the Pantybomber wasn't the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the TSA swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions. Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses. Um, the Pantybomber didn't have a purse. He brought the bomb on board under his private parts, and his private parts weren't part of his carry-on (although, if reports of injuries sustained in his failed mission are correct, they may well have been part of his carry-off). But no matter. If in doubt, blame the victim. The TSA announced that for the last hour of the flight no passenger can use the toilets or have anything on his lap – not a laptop, not a blanket, not a stewardess, not even a paperback book. I can't wait for the first lawsuit after an infidel flight attendant confiscates a litigious imam's Koran as they're coming into LAX…. But by then the president of the United States had also taken to the airwaves. For three days, he had remained silent – which I believed is a world record for the 44th president. Since Jan. 20, 2009, it's been difficult to switch on the TV and not find him yakking – accepting an award in Oslo for not being George W Bush, doing Special Olympics gags with Jay Leno, apologizing for America to some dictator or other... but across the electric wires an eerie still had descended. And when the president finally spoke, even making allowances for his usual detached cool, he sounded less like a commander-in-chief addressing the nation after an attempted attack than an assistant DA at a Cook County press conference announcing a drugs bust: "Here's what we know so far... As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device... The suspect was immediately subdued... The suspect is now in custody and has been charged..."… And, just as the thug states understand they now have the run of the planet, so do the terror cells. A thwarted terror attack at Christmas is bad enough. Spending the following week making yourself a global joke is worse. Every A-list despot and dime store jihadist got that message loud and clear – and so did American allies already feeling semi-abandoned by this most parochial of presidents. Expect a bumpy 12 months ahead.

Happy New Year. Yes, Virginia, the System Didn’t Work and May Never Work http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/opinion/sam-blumenfeld/2686-yes-virginia-the-system-didnt-work-and-may-never-work
Excerpt: But our protectors apparently had no reason to prevent this young man from boarding an international flight with almost 300 other human beings aboard. In other words, all of that security rigmarole at our airports is one big charade to give the impression that your government is actually protecting you. All it has done is make al-Qaida think of more ingenious ways of getting bombs on planes. But it is obvious that al-Qaida doesn’t recruit American grandmothers and bored American housewives to carry out their plans. They get young Moslems, imbued with extremist views who easily stand out in crowds of middle-class travelers on transcontinental flights. What does it take to spot a young extremist Moslem bomb carrier? If you’re wearing multicultural blinders you will never spot him. Indeed, you will not want to spot him, for that would be tantamount to practicing ethnic profiling, which, as we all know, is absolutely forbidden by our government. And so, flying on planes all over the world for the foreseeable future will remain something akin to Russian roullette. The vast majority of flights will be perfectly safe, not because of airport security, but because there are not enough al-Qaida suicide bombers to get on the thousands of flights that take place every day. All they need is one flight to blow up in order to succeed in their efforts to disrupt the civilized world and claim victory. But there is a much simpler and less costly way of providing airport security. Simply have a psychologist look over the passengers about to board an aircraft, and ask, who among them might want to have sex with 73 virgins in Allah’s paradise? Asking that one question would eliminate much of the idiotic practices that now come under the heading of airport security. Of course, no system is fail-safe. But that one question would get us as close as possible to such a system with the least inconvenience to everyone.

Why the coming year could be tough for U.S. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Why-the-coming-year-could-be-tough-for-U_S_-8714358-80541162.html
Excerpt: Last year may have been the worst ever in America's battle against bin Laden. That is troubling news. Since 2001, there have been 28 failed terrorist attacks against the United States. That averages out to about three foiled attempts per year. In 2009, there were six failed attempts -- the most in one year. The fact that the numbers were up is not of itself a telling statistics. The numbers are still small. But, there are other facts to worry about.

Iran Expands Its Target List http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704152804574628334107697564.html?mod=djemITP
Excerpt: The nagging question of the nuclear age has been what if a madman gets hold of an atomic bomb? That question is about to be answered as Iran's defiance puts it on a collision course with the West. On Nov. 4, 2009, Israeli commandos intercepted an Antiguan-flagged ship 100 miles off the Israeli coast. It was carrying hundreds of tons of weapons from Iran and bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war, Iran has rearmed Hezbollah with 40,000 rockets and missiles that will likely rain on Israeli cities—and even European cities and U.S. military bases in the Middle East—if Iran is attacked. Our 200,000 troops in 33 bases are vulnerable. Shortly before this weapons seizure, Hamas test-fired a missile capable of striking Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv. Iran is capable of disrupting Persian Gulf shipping lanes, which could cause the price of oil to surge above $300 a barrel. Iran could also create mayhem in oil markets by attacking Saudi oil refineries. Moreover, Iran possesses Soviet made SS-N-22 "Sunburn" supersonic antiship missiles that it could use to contest a naval blockade

Yemen kills rebels it says behind threat to U.S. embassy
Excerpt: Yemeni forces fought al Qaeda militants on Monday, killing at least two they said were behind security threats which forced the U.S. embassy and other foreign missions to close. "These (militant) elements are believed to be behind the threats directed to the U.S. embassy," a Yemeni security official told Reuters. "Clashes are still continuing." The United States embassy in the capital, Sanaa, said it was staying shut for a second day in response to al Qaeda threats. Britain's embassy has been closed since Sunday and Japan suspended its consular services on Monday due to security concerns.

White House: No matter what, we’re sending Gitmo prisoners back to Yemen http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=8775
Aiding the Jihad. Excerpt: As Susan [Ferrechio] notes below, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the Obama White House not to go forward with plans to send a number of Yemeni terrorists now being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility back to their home country. But the Obama White House insists it will continue to send those Gitmo inmates to Yemen — a country now recognized as a hotbed of terrorism so dangerous that the U.S. has decided to close its embassy there. On Fox News Sunday, top White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration “absolutely” intends to keep sending Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen. The administration has sent seven detainees to the country, Brennan said, with six of those sent in December. “Several of those detainees were put into Yemeni custody right away,” Brennan said. He did not elaborate on how many is “several” or where the other Guantanamo inmates sent to Yemen might be today. But he said the U.S. has faith in Yemen to handle the situation. “We’ve had close dialogue with the Yemeni government about the expectations that we have as far as what they’re supposed to do when these detainees go back,” Brennan said.

US maintains extra airport checks for countries on watch list http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/04/us-airport-security-enhanced-screening
A small step in the right direction. Get ready for howls from those who believe that a Muslim’s right not to be offended is more important by far than your right not to have your family murdered. Excerpt: Foreign passengers flying into the United States from 14 mostly Muslim countries deemed to have links with terrorism face continuing heightened airport security checks amid increased nervousness in the US after the failed attempt to blow up a passenger jet on Christmas Day. The US transportation security administration announced that everyone flying into the US from or through certain countries would go through "enhanced screening" at airports.

Pakistan: Islamic cleric arrested for parceling out nine-year-old and three-year-old for marriage http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/01/pakistan-islamic-cleric-arrested-for-parceling-out-nine-year-old-and-three-year-old-for-marriage.html
Remember, all cultures are equally valid. Probably the 3 year old that got him in trouble, nine being the marriage age under Shari’a law. Excerpt: Mohammad Ayub, father of the vani, Nazi Bibi, was arrested late Saturday and nine jirga members and a cleric Shamsur Rehman were arrested two days back. The jirga members were arrested for declaring two minor girls vani to resolve a marriage dispute. A jirga at Sathan Galli area had declared two girls, Nazi Bibi, 9 and Noreen Bibi, 3, vani last month.

Brennan: Deal 'on the table' for terror suspect http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0110/Brenan_deal_on_the_table_for_terror_suspect.html#
Let Harry Reid at him—he can bribe info out of anyone. Excerpt: The U.S. Government is offering the suspect charged with attempting to bomb an aircraft on Christmas Day, Omar Abdulmutallab, some kind of incentives to share what he knows about Al Qaeda, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Sunday. Asked why Abdulmutallab should cooperate given his right, as criminal defendant, to remain silent, Brennan replied: "He doesn't have to but he knows there are certain things that are on the table... if he wants to engage with us in a productive manner, there are ways he can do that." Asked if Abdulmutallab's willingness to talk changed once he had an attorney, Brennan declined to answer. "I'm not going to address what he did before or after he talked with a lawyer," the adviser said.

Muslim who tried to kill Motoonist involved in earlier jihad plot to murder Hillary Clinton http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/01/muslim-who-tried-to-kill-motoonist-involved-in-earlier-jihad-plot-to-murder-hillary-clinton.html
Excerpt: Atlas Shrugs has a Google translation of this Danish article, which says that the axe-wielding Muslim who tried to kill Muhammad cartoonist Kurt Westergaard "was suspected of participating in a foiled terrorist plot against U.S. Secretary of Hillary Clinton." Pamela asks: "There was an Islamic plot to kill the US Secretary of State five months ago? I didn't hear about it. Did you? Why not? Who are they protecting? Why were we not told that there was an Islamic plot to assassinate the Secretary of State?" (Probably it was just another “isolated incident” about which we shouldn’t “jump to conclusions.”)

Secret Service probes Obama effigy found hanging from building in Jimmy Carter's Ga. hometown
Stupid. Not only wrong, but helps Obama play the victim card. PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service says it is investigating an effigy of President Barack Obama found hanging from a building in the hometown of former President Jimmy Carter. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The Associated Press that the large black doll was found Saturday morning along Main Street in the small town of Plains. Footage from WALB-TV shows the doll was hanging by a noose in front of a red, white and blue sign that says "Plains, Georgia. Home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th President." A witness told the station that the doll had a sign with Obama's name on it.

More Guns, Less Crime in '09 http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/more_guns_less_crime_in_09.html
Excerpt: Americans went on binges buying guns and ammunition in early 2009, worried that a radical leftist president and Democrat-dominated Congress would violate their Second-Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. The effects? Less murder, robbery, rape, and property crime, according to an FBI report released Monday. This gives the young president and Democrat Congress at least one proud but unintended accomplishment for which they'll never claim credit. Indeed, gun buyers were out in droves in late 2008 and early 2009. While it's easy to infer that increased gun ownership figures align precisely with the drop in crime in the same calendar period, you won't see that headline in the New York Times, despite their penchant for such inferences about increases in crime coinciding with increasing "guns on the street."

Capitalism Fingered as Fiend of the Past Decade
Excerpt: On the last day of 2009, that awful year, I was listening to a report on National Public Radio (yes, I'm a listener). Reporter Tamara Keith presented a by-now-familiar recap of the worst financial and corporate scandals of the decade, from Enron and Martha Stewart to Tyco and Bernie Madoff. It was a depressing slog of greed, venality and theft. When the report was over, "Morning Edition" host Steve Inskeep summarized the report with a tart: "The decade in capitalism." I don't want to single out Inskeep, since he was doing what pretty much the entire media establishment has done, particularly of late: reducing "capitalism" to its alleged sins. And that's the point. There are few areas of life where a thing responsible for so much good gets so little credit for it. Imagine if I were to collect the most infamous deeds of African-Americans over the last decade -- say, Michael Vick's dog-fighting scandal and O.J. Simpson's most recent criminal exploit -- and then put a bow on it with the phrase "the decade in black America." What if I did the same thing with Jews? Bernie Madoff, the face of Jewish America! Do the scandals of Rod Blagojevich, Charlie Rangel and John Edwards define the Democratic Party from 2000 to 2010? Do Abu Ghraib and the balloon boy sum up America? Consider NPR. As a brand, it claims to be standing athwart capitalism because it's "public." What that means exactly is a bit unclear, since it still allows corporations to fund its programming in exchange for audio endorsements none dare call commercials and relies on the kindness of listeners to keep it afloat -- listeners who, one way or another, make their money from you-know-what.

Public employees living larger than ever as economy struggles
Excerpt: The economy is struggling, the unemployment rate is high, and many Americans are struggling to pay the bills. But one class of Americans is doing quite well: government workers. Their pay levels are soaring, they enjoy unmatched benefits, and they remain largely immune from layoffs, except for some overly publicized cutbacks around the margins.

Nuclear Power and the U.S. Energy Future
And it reduces our carbon footprint, though maybe not to 1880 levels as BO proposes. Excerpt: Nuclear power is a safe and reliable source of energy. The technology exists today for nuclear power to safely provide America's energy needs. Policymakers should remove barriers that prevent nuclear energy from being fully utilized, say Sterling Burnett, a Senior Fellow, and James Franko, a Legislative Assistant, both with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Democrats Officially Kill Successful DC Voucher Program http://biggovernment.com/2009/12/31/democrats-officially-kill-successful-dc-voucher-program/
Because poor black kids don’t deserve the same chance as Obama’s kids. Excerpt: This is big government at its finest hour. The Democrats have officially killed a successful private school voucher program banishing more than 3,300 low-income children back to the DC schools they so desperately wanted to escape.

Nopenhagen: The Truth is Missing From the Climate Debate
Trying to sort out the truth from the clamor.

Good budget info site

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