Saturday, July 3, 2010

Political Digest July 3, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

I’m taking time to celebrate the Glorious Fourth with the Granddaughter, even if the Declaration was signed on the second. Not sure how regular posts will be. If you miss anything, I’ll extend your subscription at no charge.

Book Recommendation
My bride and I are almost through a CD version of Children of Jihad by Jared Cohen. Cohen was a gutsy Jewish grad student and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He traveled to Iran, Lebanon, Syria and other Muslim countries. There he befriends young Muslims. He reports on those meetings and their views. This is not a one-dimensional portrait or anti-Muslim book. The hope many of them have for a freer society and economic opportunity, and their at least passive resistance to the theocrats who rule them comes through. But so too does the fanaticism many have imbibed since children. Easy read, about $10 on Amazon, not hard to read.

The Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card
Making under $250k? Get your exemption card today!

Six Months to go until the Largest Tax Hikes in History
The complete list of what is going to hit you. This will be a double whammy, as it will also wham the economy.

The 10 most common strategic blunders?
Excerpt: There is a whole book of military history to be written just finding good illustrations of each of those mistakes. I think the United States was guilty of No. 2 and No. 10 in Iraq from 2003 through 2006. I'd say the British tripped on No. 3 during the American Revolution. I think Hitler committed No. 4 when he tackled Russia. No. 10 is probably the most common error.

Administrator of $20 Billion Compensation Fund for Gulf Oil Spill Will Not Make Payments to Illegal Aliens
What, follow the law about illegals? Unheard of! Excerpt: The man who will administer the claims process for individuals and businesses seeking compensation from the $20 billion fund established by BP in the wake of its oil rig explosion and ongoing spillage said he will follow federal immigration and tax laws when deciding the eligibility of claimants, meaning he will not make payments to people who are not legally authorized to work in the United States. When asked if the claims process would include requiring proof of U.S. citizenship, Kenneth Feinberg said it would. “Of course,” Feinberg said. “Required by law. I can’t violate federal law." “Federal law says I’ve got to follow the law governing immigration,” Feinberg said. “I’ve got to follow the law governing the Internal Revenue Service – people who get a check for wage loss – 1099." “That’s the law of the land,” Feinberg said.

EPA rejects air permits of 122 Texas plants
Energy costs are going up. Economy going down. Excerpt: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday invalidated the air quality permits of 122 plants across Texas, throwing out one of the state's key environmental permitting processes. The action sparked complaints from representatives of the petrochemical industry who called the move a "backdoor" attempt to bring the facilities under federal greenhouse gas regulation. EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz invalidated all 122 flexible air quality permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since the 1990s, leaving the facilities to apply for new permits. Most were issued to oil and chemical refineries. "We're going to transition these facilities from these flexible permits to standard permits and, by doing so, lower emissions and improve public health," he said. Gov. Rick Perry blasted the move. "The EPA's irresponsible and heavy-handed action not only undermines Texas' successful clean air programs, but threatens thousands of Texas jobs, families, businesses and communities throughout our state," Perry said in a statement. "It will also likely curtail energy supplies and increase gasoline prices nationwide."

Obama Botches Lady Liberty Speech?
Like saying his parents met because of Selma (when he was four!), he makes things up that sound good, secure that the Leftstream media won’t call him out. Excerpt: President Obama’s first major speech on immigration contained several factual errors. He concluded his remarks at American University with the moving story of Emma Lazarus, the woman who wrote the sonnet, “The New Colossus,” for the Statue of Liberty, in 1883. President Obama said Lazarus was “inspired by what she saw and heard, she wrote down her thoughts and donated a piece of work to help pay for the construction of a new statue – the Statue of Liberty which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America.” There’s just one problem — the story is incorrect.

House Democrats pass 'budget enforcement resolution' by 215-210
Washing their hands of it. The Pontius Pilate School of governing. Excerpt: House Democrats passed a budget document Thursday that sets discretionary spending at levels below those proposed by President Barack Obama but doesn’t address how Congress should cut deficits. The “budget enforcement resolution” Democrats are substituting for a traditional budget resolution sets discretionary spending for 2011 at $1.12 trillion, about $7 billion less than Obama’s proposal and $3 billion less than a Senate Democratic plan. It also sets a goal of cutting deficits to the point where revenues equal all spending except for interest payments on the debt. But unlike traditional budget resolutions, this year’s version doesn’t detail how Congress should reach that goal, leaving those tough decisions to Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission.

House approves funding for war in Afghanistan
Excerpt: The House late Thursday approved additional funding for the war in Afghanistan, beating back a series of Democratic amendments aimed at forcing the Obama administration to withdraw troops. The supplemental appropriations bill, containing billions of dollars in additional domestic spending sought by Democrats in the House, passed 239-182, with 15 Democrats and 167 of 177 Republicans voting against the measure. But President Barack Obama will not be able to sign the war funding bill — which the Pentagon had wanted to see signed into law by July 4 — until later this month because the House amended the Senate's already approved version of the legislation. And further changes seem likely. Just as the House was preparing to vote on the rule for the supplemental, the Obama administration released a statement strongly supporting the underlying war funding but threatening a presidential veto of any bill that includes "provisions that would undermine [the president’s] ability as commander in chief to conduct military operations in Afghanistan."

Military members hit Kagan on recruiter ban
Excerpt: A trio of military veterans on Thursday laid into Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's record on military recruiters while she was dean of Harvard's law school. The veterans, testifying as witnesses for the minority at Kagan's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Kagan's decision to bar recruiters from the law school's career services center spoke to a flaw in her character. "How did we reach the point in this country where we're nominating someone who unapologetically impeded the military in this country?" asked Army National Guard Capt. Pete Hegseth, executive director of the veterans group Vets for Freedom. Hegseth said he didn't begrudge Kagan her personal views, but called her "intellectually dishonest" for labeling "don't ask, don't tell" a military policy, when it was instituted by Congress. Hegseth also fought back against a chief argument in defense of Kagan's military recruiter policy -- that the armed forces actually increased the number of recruits from Harvard Law School during her tenure. "It increased in spite of Ms. Kagan; not because of her," said Hegseth, who is also a graduate student at Harvard.

9 in 10 docs blame lawsuit fears for overtesting
Be sure to write to and thank the Democrat-Trial Lawyer Party for higher healthcare costs.

Hatch to vote against Kagan's nomination
A candidate can lie and duck, knowing that once confirmed, it’s for life. A SC justice thus has more power than a US Senator, unchecked by the electorate. In my view, in every presidential election, the names of all nine SC Justices should be on the ballot. If more than 50% of the votes vote to remove a justice, he/she is out. This would be a high standard, as black votes would count for the justice, removal needing a solid majority of everyone who shows up. Groups on either side could work to remove justices they considered egregious. We could call it “democracy.” And I have a better shot at winning the lottery than this happening.

Health overhaul may mean longer ER waits, crowding
Excerpt: Emergency rooms, the only choice for patients who can't find care elsewhere, may grow even more crowded with longer wait times under the nation's new health law. That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding. It would seem these patients would be able to get routine health care by visiting a doctor's office, as most of the insured do. But it's not that simple. Consider: There's already a shortage of front-line family physicians in some places and experts think that will get worse. People without insurance aren't the ones filling up the nation's emergency rooms. Far from it. The uninsured are no more likely to use ERs than people with private insurance, perhaps because they're wary of huge bills. The biggest users of emergency rooms by far are Medicaid recipients. And the new health insurance law will increase their ranks by about 16 million. Medicaid is the state and federal program for low-income families and the disabled. And many family doctors limit the number of Medicaid patients they take because of low government reimbursements.

Want to know secrets of hookers? You already pay for them ...
They'll probably “discover” that HIV was caused by Agent Orange, and we owe them. Excerpt: Americans struggling to find jobs and pay income taxes take heart: More than a million dollars in U.S. federal funds will be used to examine homosexual male prostitutes in Vietnam. The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, has awarded $1.44 million for a "study of drug and sexual risk among young male sex workers Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam." "There are an estimated 8.3 million individuals with HIV infections in Asia, one-fifth the disease burden worldwide," the project abstract states. "Initially thought to be confined to circumspect populations of male IDUs [injection drug users] and female sex workers, it is now clear that men who have sex with men are also at high risk."

Phoenix police union wants to fight for Ariz. Law
Excerpt: A union representing 2,400 Phoenix police officers wants to become a defendant in a lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration enforcement law in order to defend it. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association on Thursday asked a federal judge for permission to intervene in the case. The union says police will be helped by the law by having the ability to identify and remove illegal immigrants. On the other hand, the union says blocking implementation would mean officers face "a heightened risk of death or serious injury caused by illegal aliens."

Mexico nabs gang leader in US consulate killings
Coming soon, across an undefended border near you. Excerpt: A top drug gang enforcer says he ordered the killing of a U.S. consulate worker because she helped provide visas to a rival gang in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, federal police said Friday. Jesus Ernesto Chavez, whose arrest was announced on Friday, leads a band of hit men for a street gang tied to the Juarez cartel, said Ramon Pequeno, the head of anti-narcotics for the Federal Police.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele says Afghan War Unwinnable prompting calls for him to resign
Okay, I’ve withheld judgment on Steele. But this is too much. Excerpt: In a speech caught on tape at a Connecticut fundraiser Thursday, National Republican Committee Chairman Michael Steele blamed the war in Afghanistan on President Obama and suggested it could not be won, leading to calls for his resignation.

Making the World More Dangerous
Excerpt: The timing could hardly have been worse: Just days after President Obama shared a chummy hamburger with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev -- the better to dramatize our newly "reset" relations -- the FBI announced the arrest of 11 "deep cover" spies who have been paid and plied by Moscow Center for decades. The Obama administration seemed more embarrassed about it than the Russians, rushing to reassure the world that this will not affect our new relationship with Russia one bit. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon explained that "We would like to get to the point where there is just so much trust and cooperation between the United States and Russia that nobody would think of turning to intelligence means to find out things that they couldn't find out in other channels." It's not easy to divert the Obama administration from its pursuit of "engagement." Not even repeated slaps in the face will do the trick.

U.K.: Muslims withdrawing children from music classes because they're "un-Islamic"
Excerpt: "Some Muslims believe that playing musical instruments and singing is forbidden according to Islam." And where would they have gotten that idea? What kind of repressed killjoy would spread that sort of thinking around? Why, Muhammad: "The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance" (Hadith Qudsi 19:5). As the hadith indicates, the ban on music, as distasteful as it is by itself, is part of a much broader agenda, and thus a symptom of a much broader problem regarding the widespread unwillingness of Muslim immigrants in Europe to assimilate as equals in society, rather than as a privileged class whose every whim and hangup must be accommodated -- or else. And as is the case with the general issue of Islamic supremacism (as well as jihad doctrine), few will want to acknowledge that this display of hostility toward music education has anything to do with Islam.

Deadly blasts hit Sufi shrine in Lahore
Just as the most frequent victims of black and Hispanic thugs in our cities are black or Hispanic, the most frequent victims of Islamist violence in the name of Allah are other Muslims. Excerpt: Two suicide bombers have carried out a deadly attack on a Sufi shrine in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. At least 42 people died in the blasts at the popular Data Darbar shrine late on Thursday evening, officials say. At least 175 other people were hurt in the attack, believed to be the first to target a shrine in Lahore. Thousands of people were visiting the shrine at the time, officials say. It holds the remains of a Persian Sufi saint, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery.

Pakistan and Iran 'backing Afghan attacks on British troops'
That would be the Pakistan we are giving millions of tax dollars to, and the Iran BO promised to meet with to reset our relations? Nice job. Excerpt: Bomb attacks that are killing British troops in Afghanistan are being funded and supplied from Iran and Pakistan, a senior officer has said.

Dad charged over threat to kill Harry Potter star
Attempted honour killing. Apparently, even going to Hogwarts is forbidden for Muslim girls. Excerpt: The father and brother of an actress who starred in the Harry Potter films have been charged with threatening to kill her. Afshan Azad, 22, has appeared in four of the movies as Padma Patil, a classmate of the young wizard. She was allegedly attacked at her home in Longsight, Manchester, on May 21 this year. Now her father Abdul Azad, 54, and brother, Ashraf Azad, 28, both of Beresford Road, Longsight, have appeared in court. Abdul is accused of threatening to kill his daughter and Ashraf of threatening to kill and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his sister.

Bangladesh: Islamic leaders accused of blasphemy, accuse accusers of "conspiracy against Islam and Muslims"
When I was in the Massachusetts senate, the crime of blasphemy, including taking the Lord’s name in vain or cursing “God’s government (presumably us) was still technically a crime, though not enforced. I voted to repeal, but we lost. “Thank God we beat that goddamned bill” one of the repeal opponents joked. I guess these folks in Bangladesh will just have to kill each other, let Allah sort it out. Excerpt: Vying with one another to out-Muhammad Muhammad. Note that because the leaders were accused of blasphemy, party members were arrested. But the main point is that in a Sharia environment, blasphemy laws are a live weapon in the hands of those in power. With the OIC trying its best to bring such laws Westward, free people should take careful note of stories like this one.

Schwarzenegger orders min wage for state workers
Excerpt: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday ordered about 200,000 state workers to be paid the federal minimum wage this month because the state Legislature has not passed a budget, but the state controller is refusing to comply. Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley sent the order in a letter to the state controller, who refused a similar order two years ago. The matter is tied up in the appellate courts, leading the controller to say he will abide by whatever final ruling emerges, which could be years down the road. He said he can't follow the order now due to technical and legal issues. Most state employees will be paid the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for the July pay period. Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the change should be reflected in state employees' next paycheck. Workers will be paid in full retroactively once a budget is passed. "It's a sad day when the boss wants to make his employees collateral damage in a budget dispute," said Patty Velez, an environmental scientist and president of the California Association of Professional Scientists, a union that would be affected by the cuts. (The scientists are unionized? Dear God, no wonder we are going to hell.)

Defendant 'Lazaro' Allegedly Confesses in Spy Case
Excerpt: A defendant known as "Juan Lazaro" has admitted that he worked for Russia's intelligence service and declared that his loyalty to "the Service" was greater even than his love for his son, federal prosecutors said today. The alleged confession was detailed in a court document released as nine of the 10 alleged spies arrested last week were due to appear for bail hearings. Several of the hearings were postponed and just one of the suspects -- Lazaro's wife -- was granted bail. Lazaro made a "lengthy post-arrest statement" on June 27 after waiving his Miranda rights, according to a bail letter provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Federal agents said the suspect told them he was not born in Uruguay, as had been claimed, and that "Juan Lazaro" is not his real name. He also said that his house in Yonkers, outside New York City, had been "paid for by the 'Service' and although he loved his son, he would not violate his loyalty to the 'Service' even for his son," according to the document.

The Petraeus challenge
The man Obama’s supporters called “General Betray-Us” steps forward to try to save America’s position—and Obama’s Presidency. Excerpt: We're failing in Afghanistan. Confirmed yesterday as our new commander there, Gen. David Petraeus has the unenviable task of producing something President Obama can call a success. If Petraeus can salvage the situation so that our minimum needs are met, he'll confirm his reputation as the greatest American soldier of our time. Should he falter, he'll go down as the general who sold the Pentagon a disastrous doctrine. Petraeus did not want this job. But our president didn't know to whom else to turn in the wake of last week's debacle with Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Petraeus did his duty, saluted and said, "Yes, sir." Politically, Obama couldn't have made a shrewder choice. Petraeus enjoys cult status on both the right and the moderate left. The question is whether he's the right man militarily. Petraeus is a man of integrity. Now we'll see if he's also a man of character. Will he have the wherewithal to accept that our current approach -- based on the counterinsurgency doctrine he authored -- doesn't work in Afghanistan? Or will he continue trying to win unwinnable hearts and minds? His counterinsurgency doctrine assumes that doing good unto others will lead to us doing well. But we're lashed to a hated Kabul government, the enemy's strength is growing, our allies are bailing, our showpiece Kandahar operation's on hold, corruption runs into the billions, druglords prosper, the population's increasingly wary of us -- and our casualty rates are rising, as our troops are prevented from pre-empting or even pursuing the enemy. Other than that, things are fine.

Dems Include Union Bailout in War Funding Bill
Excerpt: There is no other aspect of Washington D.C. that upsets voters more than government spending surreptitiously added on to spending bills and this week Congress indulged its inner drunken sailor once again by adding a $10 billion bailout for teachers unions in the bill that is supposed to fund the war effort. The teacher union bailout ups the $60 billion expenditure to a $70 billion tab and is causing even some Democrats to balk. Republicans have demanded that the war funding bill be clean of any tacked on spending and have threatened to withhold support of the bill if the teachers union bailouts and other unrelated spending additions are kept. Retiring Wisconsin Representative David Obey is insisting on the bailouts and pork spending but claims that he's fighting the administration over finding budget cuts to offset the spending spree. Who ever believes that Congress intends to actually find such offsets is seriously deluded. I have some Enron stock to sell them if they are that out of touch with reality. The bill includes $18 billion in energy loan guarantees, $500 million to hire new border patrol agents, along with the teacher union bailouts. Curiously, with all the wild-eyed spending, the Democrats stripped out the $200 million that was supposed to go to fund further building of the fence on our southern border. So, it's nothing for the fence but tall cash as a sop to unions. We can see where the Democrat's priorities are, can't we?

Welcome to Maywood, "Mexico"
Excerpt: Boasting a population that is 97% Hispanic, more than half foreign born, and 40% illegal, the Los Angeles County, Calif., incorporated city of Maywood has achieved the Reconquista goal. It is now as lawless and chaotic as any place in Mexico. Maywood is a warning to every city and town in America. The Maywood City Council announced this week that after years of radical policies, corruption and scandal, the city was broke and all city employees would be laid off and essential city services contracted out to neighboring cities or to L.A. County government. How did this happen? Until recently, Maywood was the model for "brown power" politics. Maywood was the first California city with an elected Hispanic City Council, one of the first "sanctuary" cities for illegal aliens, the first city to pass a resolution calling for a boycott of Arizona after that state passed a law to enforce federal immigration laws, the first California city to order its police department not to enforce state laws requiring drivers to have licenses to drive, the first American city to call on Congress to grant amnesty to all illegals. Council meetings were conducted in Spanish. Maywood was the leader in the peaceful, democratic achievement of the La Raza goal to take power in the U.S.

Terror -- and candor in describing the Islamist ideology behind it
Excerpt: The Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas Day bomber, the Times Square attacker. On May 13, the following exchange occurred at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.): Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam? Attorney General Eric Holder: There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. . . . Smith: Okay, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons? Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people -- Smith: But was radical Islam one of them? Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them are potentially religious-based. Potentially, mind you. This went on until the questioner gave up in exasperation.

The Supreme Court Turns... Left!
Excerpt: Listening to Democratic senators in the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings, you’d think the Supreme Court shifted dramatically to the right this past term. But while the court’s conservatives scored several major victories—most notably the Citizens United case that loosened the restrictions on corporate spending in elections, earning the justices a rare State of the Union rebuke from the president—the liberals on the court won more than their fair share of cases this year. Ever since the 1960s, conservatives have decried the left’s embrace of broad protections for criminal defendants’ rights. In recent years, the court has drastically scaled back the ability of federal courts to second-guess state court convictions. This term, however, the court reversed course. In a case out of Florida, the court, in an opinion by Justice Breyer, expanded the time period for a criminal defendant to petition for federal court review of his state court trial in which his attorney was negligent. In another case, the justices ordered further federal court review of a state court judgment where the defendant claimed his lawyer had failed to investigate potentially mitigating evidence. In still another case, the court, over the dissent of Justices Thomas and Scalia, broadly endorsed the principle that all aspects of a criminal trial must be open to the public—again requiring the federal courts to second-guess state court decisions to close trials.

Steve Bridges as Obama
I think this will be funny to everyone. Two parts, scroll down.

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