Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Political Digest February 3, 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.

I will be traveling on business for a few days, not sure if I’ll be able to compile or post my daily digest.

Must Read: The Foreign Policy Section of the SOTU
Well, you put a clueless community organizer in as CIC who doesn’t even know that they speak different languages in Iraq and Afghanistan, you get President Wobbly. Excerpt: At what everyone but the U.S. media calls the "failed" climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, according to the Post: "China publicly reprimanded White House envoy Todd Stern, dispatched a Foreign Ministry functionary to an event for state leaders, and fought strenuously against fixed targets for emission cuts in the developed world." Ok, that one was before Obama "reset" his Presidency last Wednesday, so he gets a pass on folding up like a water-logged yard-sale card table in the face of Chinese objections to what we have been told over and over again is the single most important issue facing humans….Nevertheless, when President Obama went to China and acted like the new kid at school, the NY Times noted: "China effectively stage-managed President Obama's public appearances, got him to make statements endorsing Chinese positions of political importance to them and effectively squelched discussions of contentious issues such as human rights and China's currency policy," said a [U.S.] China specialist.

Paulson claims Russia tried to foment Fannie-Freddie crisis
Excerpt: Russia proposed to China that the two nations should sell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds in 2008 to force a US government bail-out of the mortgage finance companies, former US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson has claimed. 9President Wobbly’s response? His administration has given an unlimited taxpayer guarantee to Fannie and Freddie to cover future losses.)

John Murtha hospitalized, political future in doubt?
I’m one who thinks that, as a Marine, Murtha has not “kept his honor clean.” A retirement would be good for the country. Excerpt: The news that Rep. John Murtha is in intensive care following complications from gall bladder surgery last week is sure to stoke rumors that the longtime Pennsylvania Democrat may choose to retire rather than run for re-election to a 19th full term in November. Murtha's hospitalization, which was first reported by Politico's David Rogers, lands just days after his fourth quarter fundraising report -- just $100,000 raised in the final three months of 2009 with $388,000 in the bank -- had raised some eyebrows among national strategists about the possibility that Murtha, at 77 years old, might not be fully committed to running again. The simple fact -- as Republicans acknowledge privately -- is that as long as Murtha is on the ballot in the western Pennsylvania 12th district, he cannot be beaten. Murtha was first elected to the seat in a 1974(!) special election and since then has rarely faced a real challenge -- with the exception of a redistricting-forced primary fight in 2002 against then Rep. Frank Mascara (D) that Murtha easily won. Without Murtha seeking re-election, however, the district would be extremely competitive. In 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried it by less than 1,000 votes (out of more than 260,000 cast) while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won the 12th by a narrow 51 percent to 49 percent margin four years earlier. The trend line in the district is not moving in the right direction for Democrats, however, as the Vice President Al Gore carried Murtha's seat with 55 percent in 2000.

Obama budget: Bye Bye Yucca Mountain
The anti-nuke crowd who wants us to keep pouring treasure into the Middle East to support terrorism will celebrate. Excerpt: After 23 years of non-stop controversy, Yucca Mountain appears to be at the end of the road. The notoriously bitter battle over whether to store nation’s nuclear power plant and other radioactive waste under the mountain 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas ends with President Obama’s budget he’s submitting to Congress. It orders the project shut down. The budget not only eliminates the project but establishes a program to figure out better ways of handling the nation’s 77,000 tons of nuclear waste.

A True Roadmap to Fiscal Sustainability: The Numbers Don’t Lie
Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of Rep. Ryan’s legislation proves the plan would accomplish President Obama’s goals by reforming entitlements, reining in government spending, and setting the country on a long-term path to economic prosperity. CBO found that the Roadmap would reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending, slightly increase Social Security spending, and lower tax revenues. Overall, these changes would reduce federal budget deficits and the federal debt. Federal outlays would decrease from 26 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2009 to 19 percent in 2020 and eventually 14 percent in 2080. After 2030, federal revenues would be maintained at 19 percent of GDP. By 2080 the budget would experience a surplus of approximately 5 percent. (Problem is, those aren’t really Obama’s goals. His real goals are to reward trial lawyers and build big government and government unions to support leftwing Democrats.)

No Spin Zones
Excerpt: Minnesota spent $3.3 million on eleven wind turbines. $3.3 million may be a rounding error by Washington standards, but it is real money to most of us.
Ed Morrissey writes that what's notable is that none of the wind turbines work in cold weather. Minnesota has cold weather? Who knew? TV station KSTP cleverly calls the wind turbines "no-spin zones." The problem is that the hydraulic fluid, which lubricates the turbines, doesn't work. This fluid was designed for colder temperatures, but in that Minnesota cold, it doesn’t work, so neither do the windmills. But this is government, where throwing good money after bad is second nature. Rather than give up, there's now a plan to heat the hydraulic fluid. How will the heaters work? They’ll have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated. That will drastically reduce the net energy gain from each turbine, depending on how much heating the turbine fluid needs to stop congealing in the winter. Since cold weather here lasts anywhere from 4-6 months, that makes it mighty inefficient as an energy resource. (Another project of the “Watermelons.” You know—green on the outside, red on the inside.)

Illinois’s Daddy Problem
I’m putting this blog together as voting is underway here in Blagobamaville, but this is worth reading regardless of the outcomes. Took me a long time to vote. Not crowed—I was #18—but the Democrat poll worker—I assume a public employee on leave—took about 30 tries to get my number in to activate my voting card. Excerpt: Illinois voters go to the polls Tuesday to vote in a whole mess of important primaries. Barack Obama’s Senate seat on the line! Republican moderates vs. Tea Partyists! And once again, we are in the world of the angry voter. Really angry. Compared with Illinois, Massachusetts is Athens in the age of Pericles. Every single person running in the Illinois primaries seems to be an outsider. The state comptroller is an outsider. The former Republican party chairman is an outsider. If Rod Blagojevich were allowed to run for things anymore, he’d be in this as an outsider. As things stand, however, the former governor is a contender only in the upcoming season of “Celebrity Apprentice.” For those of us who don’t live in Illinois and therefore don’t have to worry about that $80 billion in unfinanced pension liabilities, the big story is Obama’s Senate seat. On the Democratic side, the front-runner for the nomination is Alexi Giannoulias. Definitely an outsider. The man is only 33 — how could he have had enough time to get inside? Giannoulias is also the state treasurer and a former bank executive. If you are wondering how he managed to climb so far so fast, let me mention that his family owns the bank. A bank that made loans to people with shady connections and is currently under federal oversight, but still, it was undoubtedly a great learning experience. Giannoulias’s other claim to fame is that he is an old basketball-playing buddy of Obama’s. The White House is so enthusiastic about his candidacy that the administration tried unsuccessfully to get Lisa Madigan, the attorney general, to run instead.

Durbin, Schumer prep for fight with donations to Senate colleagues
Measuring Harry’s office for new drapes. Excerpt: The second- and third-ranking Senate Democratic leaders are doling out huge sums of cash, laying the groundwork for a leadership race should Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lose reelection. Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, has been the biggest giver to Democratic Senate candidates, contributing $210,000 to colleagues and candidates. During the same span, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has given $110,000 to Senate candidates.

Virginia Senate bills say no to requiring health insurance
Excerpt: Virginia's Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party's efforts in Washington to reform health care. (Brings to mind Patrick Henry’s great speech in the Virginia House of Burgess, which I memorized in high school on a $2 bet. It ends: “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north (Massachusetts!) will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Doctors Cut Back Hours When Risk of Malpractice Suit Rises, Study Shows
another way lawyers—you know, the Democrats who control the White House, House and Senate several layers deep and are a huge financial contributor to Democrats—increase the cost of your healthcare.

Republicans have many well-funded candidates in crowded primaries
Excerpt: Republicans are on track to have more than 100 challengers running this cycle, but many of them will be in the same races. Well-funded candidates crowded GOP primaries across the country in the fourth quarter of 2009, after the dust settled on a summer that saw the rise of the Tea Party movement. Republicans now face primaries in about two-thirds of their top-targeted races, with most of them coming to fruition in the fourth quarter. Most of the new insurgent candidates come with the ability to self-fund, at least at the start of their campaigns.

President Obama’s budget seeks an end to tax break for the middle class
They must all make over $250k a year, because BO promisded those making less wouldn’t pay a dime more if he was elected. Excerpt: Grappling to contain record deficits, President Barack Obama is seeking to end a middle-class tax break he once said would be permanent. The $3.8 trillion budget request rolled out by the White House on Monday would renew the Making Work Pay tax credit for fiscal 2011, but then would have it sunset. That’s a switch from last year, when Obama’s budget called for making the tax credit permanent.

Chris Matthews Compares Conservatives to Murderous Khmer Rouge
Hey, Chris, the Khmer Rouge were leftists—you know Rouge = Red? Excerpt: Appearing on the January 29 "Rachel Maddow Show," fellow MSNBCer Chris Matthews compared Republican conservatives to the Khmer Rouge, the murderous Communist regime that racked up a body count of some two million during its reign of terror: “What's going on out there in the Republican Party is kind of a frightening, almost Cambodia re-education camp going on in that party, where they're going around to people, sort of switching their minds around saying, if you're not far right, you're not right enough.”

Obama Surrendering Internet to Foreign Powers
Excerpt: Without the ingenuity of America’s brightest minds and the investment of U.S. taxpayer dollars, there would be no Internet, as we now know it today. Now, the Obama administration has moved quietly to cede control of the Web from the United States to foreign powers.

Countdown With Ahmadinejad: Is Anyone Else Worried About Dying In Ten Days?
Have to scroll down for this. Excerpt: Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, once asked a Holocaust Survivor if he had any words of wisdom the Minister should remember. Looking gravely at the Statesman, the old man warned: “When someone tells you they are going to exterminate you, believe them.” Marking the begining of the Iranian celebration of Ayatollah Kohmeini’s 1979 return from exile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised the world that the Iranian people would: “…strike a blow to global powers on February 11th.” February 11th is “Islamic Revolutionary Victory Day.” Ah yes – the Glorious Revolution that brought such benefits to Iran and the world as the an Islamic Sharia state, Hezbollah, the American Hostage Crisis, and the vice-police enforcing the culture of Chador (obligatory female portable-cloister.)

The Death of Global Warming?
Facts are chiels that wi’na ding, as they say in Scotland. But there are still millions of dollars to be made from this scam by Al Gore and company. Excerpt: As Jacob Laksin noted, a surprising blog post appeared on Monday that proclaimed “The Death of Global Warming,” in which the author wrote: “After years in which global warming activists had lectured everyone about the overwhelming nature of the scientific evidence, it turned out that the most prestigious agencies in the global warming movement were breaking laws, hiding data, and making inflated, bogus claims resting on, in some cases, no scientific basis at all.” What makes that statement rather remarkable was not the fact that it was said, for we’ve heard many similar declarations over the last few months, it’s who said it. The author was not anyone from the Heartland Institute, or Junk Science, or Climate Audit, or any other of the long-time skeptics. The author was foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead, posting at The American Interest Online. Mead may be fairly described as a Jacksonian Democrat: a fellow of strong convictions, but those opinions are not so strongly held as to dismiss the collective wisdom of middle-America out of hand. As his post makes clear, he was previously on board with alarmist global-warming theories. Indeed he sits on the board of the Acra Foundation, an organization that funds eco-groups like the Tides Foundation, the Earth Island Institute and the National Resources Defense Council.

Stupak learns "The Chicago Way"
Excerpt: Bart Stupak is learning a valuable lesson in dealing with Barack Obama.
The visuals all around on this look bad — especially with the Winter Olympics coming up. Congress funds a $1 million scholarship fund at Northern Michigan University for aspiring Olympic athletes. Robert Costa notesthe scholarship was renamed in 1998 for Bart Stupak’s son who had committed suicide. Stupak, you will remember, insisted that Obamacare not fund abortion, even against the wishes of Barack Obama. On Monday morning, when Obama unveiled his budget he had killed the B. J. Stupak scholarship for aspiring Olympians. The Olympics begin in ten days. Classy.

Danny Williams going to U.S. for heart surgery
But, but, we are told how much better healthcare is in Canada! Where will they go if “reform” passes? Excerpt: Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States.

Politicians in Wonderland
Excerpt: There was a recent flap because three different members of the Obama administration, on three different Sunday television talk shows, gave three widely differing estimates of how many jobs the president has created. That should not have been surprising, except as a sign of political sloppiness in not getting their stories together beforehand. They were simply doing what Barack Obama himself does -- namely, just pulling numbers out of thin air. However, being more skilled at creating illusions, the president does it with more of an air of certainty, as if he has gone around and counted the new jobs himself. The big question that seldom-- if ever-- gets asked in the mainstream media is whether these are a net increase in jobs. Since the only resources that the government has are the resources it takes from the private sector, using those resources to create jobs means reducing the resources available to create jobs in the private sector.

Why the GOP still could lose in 2010
There is something disheartening about seeing a team pop the champagne corks and go on a victory orgy … at Half Time after going up by three. The GOP is spritzing the bubbly and counting its anticipated Congressional gains. They are as oblivious to the anvil hurtling downward directly towards their heads as any Looney Tunes character. Well, it’s still “the economy, stupid.” Commerce just reported 5.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of ’09. We’re not going to get a double dip recession. Employment gains, a lagging indicator, will soon become very visible. The Democrats have laid down a narrative, ill-founded but charmingly expressed, to claim credit for the job growth. And the GOP, in the true enough (but incomplete, missing the effect of monetary stimulus) fact that the stimulus bill is actually a retardant, will be caught like a deer in the headlights. We have no credible, much less plausible, counter-narrative, much less program. Pity, because there is a deeply appealing one. What we are seeing is the Bernanke Bubble.

Dem. senators spent weekend with bank, energy, tobacco lobbyists
Fighting for the little people, I suppose. Excerpt: Twelve Democratic Senators spent last weekend in Miami Beach raising money from top lobbyists for oil, drug, and other corporate interests that they often decry, according to a guest list for the event obtained by POLITICO. The guest list for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “winter retreat” at the Ritz Carlton South Beach Resort doesn’t include the price tag for attendance, but the maximum contribution to the committee, typical for such events, is $30,000. There, to participate in “informal conversations” and other meetings Saturday, were senators including DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez; Michigan’s Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; freshmen Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska; and even left-leaning Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?
But Obama denigrated the Special Olympics on Leno. Why would this bother him? Excerpt: The newly-released mind-boggling, record-smashing $3,400,000,000,000 federal budget invites plenty of opportunity to debate the merits of incurring more and more debt that will drown the next generation of Americans. Never has it been possible to spend your way out of debt. So... let the debate begin. Included in the debate process will be opportunities for our president to deliberate internally the wisdom of this debt explosion, along with other economic, military and social issues facing our country. Our president will discuss these important issues with Democrat leaders and those within his inner circle. I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm’s continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts. Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic. The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F---ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.

Muslim Leader Blasts Gay Lifestyle
Excerpt: PRESIDENT of the Islamic Council of Jamaica, Mustafa Muhammad, says he agrees with the Sharia law which prescribes death for people who openly flaunt homosexual behaviour. Muhammad did not mince words as he lashed out against what he described as an unclean, unnatural lifestyle. “It is illegal and in the Sharia law the punishment is death. If you follow Christianity it is a crime in the sight of God. He destroyed a whole city because of this thing. It is an ungodly practice and I apologise to no one for this,” Muhammad said. (I guess Gay Marriage isn’t an issue in Islamic countries.)

Muslim student adviser: Death penalty for ‘gays’
Gotta love diversity. Excerpt: Vanderbilt University is distancing itself from a Muslim chaplain after he told a gathering of students homosexuality is punishable by death under Islam. “I don’t have a choice as a Muslim to accept or reject teachings. I go with what Islam teaches,” said Awadh A. Binhazim, who is listed on the Vanderbilt website as “Adjunct Professor of Islam at the Divinity School” and an adviser to the Muslim Student Association. His comments came earlier this week at a diversity event for students. He was asked directly, “Under Islamic law is it punishable by death if you are a homosexual?” Binhazim said, “Yes. It is punishable by death.”

Somali Islamists al-Shabab 'join al-Qaeda fight'
Another branch of that “tiny minority of extremists” that didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of Peace” memo.

North Africa Qaeda offers to help Nigerian Muslims
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: An al Qaeda group in North Africa has offered to give Nigerian Muslims training and weapons to fight Christians in the West African country, where more than 460 people were killed in sectarian clashes last month.

Palestinian TV: "The Prophet says: 'You shall fight the Jews and kill them'"
Didn’t get the memo.

Police warn of Jihad training for children
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Some young children in Britain are being indoctrinated to hate non-Muslims and champion a holy war, according to a new documentary. ''No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training,'' states one document recovered by police from the North West's Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) during raids.

I am Israel

Obama bows again
To the mayor of Tampa!? Funny site.

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