Monday, October 25, 2010

Political Digest for October 25, 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. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Blog lies
A response to “I’m Tired” was posted here. It makes the most outrageous assumptions about me and states them as facts. Turns out I’m comfortably rich and collecting four retirements! (The checks must be going astray.) To the blog owner’s credit, he did post my response setting the record straight, below the libelous post. ~Bob

No more bailouts for Fannie or Freddie
Excerpt: Just as President Obama announced his plans to appoint a former Fannie Mae lobbyist as his head of the National Security Agency, the government announced disappointing but sadly unsurprising news about Fannie and its sibling, Freddie Mac. The two "Government Secured Entities" -- aka mortgage industry giants -- were taken into conservatorship by the federal government in late 2008 and now need another massive bailout from taxpayers. The only question is how big that bailout will be. Depending on which of three different economic scenarios materializes -- "early recovery," "current baseline" or "deeper second recession" -- the Federal Housing Finance Agency projects that Fannie and Freddie will need $73 billion to $215 billion, in addition to the $148 billion they have already received from the government. Under the worst scenario, the total bailout of Fannie and Freddie will exceed the cost of the Afghanistan War to date. Fannie and Freddie played a key role in creating the recent economic crisis. Massive inflation in home values during the last decade occurred because of loose lending standards, which had been explicitly approved by presidents and Congresses of both parties, who hoped to increase the homeownership rate regardless of the consequences. Millions of borrowers received ludicrously large home loans and lines of credit that they had no hope of repaying. The poor bought rich, the rich bought richer, and lenders underwrote their ill-advised loans with the encouragement and financial backing of Fannie and Freddie, thanks to poor decisions by policymakers. Then Fannie and Freddie bundled these bad mortgages into securities that spread through the financial system like a metastasizing cancer

Americans having trouble facing reality on Middle East
Excerpt: If, as polls show, war is "off the radar" for midterm voters, it's a nonissue for midterm candidates, too. Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, show up exactly one time apiece in the GOP Pledge to America (on page 41 out of 48), and merely to bolster the GOP case for sanctions against Iran. Iran "worked to harm our deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," the pledge notes. That's all there is about wars that have strained the military and drained the treasury for almost a decade and counting. Maybe for once, the political class and the people are in sync. According to a New York Times poll, only 3 percent of voters consider "Afghanistan or the war" the most important issue of the day. Given the beleaguered state of the economy, that isn't too surprising. "What is surprising," the paper points out, "is that hardly any Americans cite the war in Afghanistan at all." Why don't they? How did we grow callous to these open wounds of war? NBC's Tom Brokaw tried to answer the question in a New York Times column by citing the fact that an all-volunteer military, only a tiny fraction of the population (less than 1 percent), is "carrying 100 percent of the battle." As U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan drag into their seventh and ninth years respectively, military society and civilian society are more divided than ever. The relative number of troops deployed remains quite small, as does the resulting strain on the unaffected population at large. Thus, the competently managed if incompetently conceived flow of blood and treasure continues.

Top 10 reasons Obamacare is unravelling
Many embattled House Democrats who voted for ObamaCare just seven months ago no doubt wish they had listened to the American people rather than to their leadership and said "No!" to the massive health overhaul law. If a Democrat boasts about voting Yes, it is such a rarity that it makes news. In all but a very few races, support for the law is a huge liability on the campaign trail. Nervous Democrats are defensively asking voters to give them another chance so they can fix it and get it right this time. It would be something of an understatement to say that most voters are disinclined to do that. There will be huge political consequences for slamming such a massive change into law – one that will directly affect virtually every American and every corner of the health sector. Here are the top 10 reasons the health law is unraveling:

NPR: We're Not Racists!
Excerpt: Alicia Shepard has now spoken about the corporation's firing of Juan Williams. Here she is dealing with her chief concern about how this all looks: I fear some will look for racial motivations in NPR's decision to fire Williams, who is African-American and one of the few black male NPR voices. It's not about race. Self-parody at its best. (Black is the new white. –Kate.)

Fiorina's Fighting Chance
Excerpt: With eleven days left in the election, a new poll, commissioned by Carly Fiorina’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, shows that the Republican candidate for Senate from California has a fighting chance. The race, between Fiorina and Democratic incumbent senator Barbara Boxer has been called by Fred Barnes, “The Most Important Race of 2010.” The new poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group, has reassuring results for the Republican, though it makes clear that the race itself is “an actual dead heat.” “The race for the US Senate in California is an actual dead heat, with both Fiorina and Boxer standing right at forty-four percent (44%) of the vote,” Dave Sackett of the Tarrance Group writes. “Six percent (6%) of voters are voting for one of the other candidates, and 5% are undecided.”

“It’s your attitude, stupid”
Excerpt: A recent ABC News poll showed that 85% of Americans are angry about the economy. Eighty-five percent. Those are Bastille Day numbers. They reiterate Clinton’s line: “It’s the economy, stupid.” But the economy doesn’t embrace the whole picture — attitude is the larger part. The economy that became an engine of prosperity is fueled by our natural optimism. Yet there seems to be a sort of clinical depression infecting the highest perches of America: a misery that stretches from the political hierarchy to the mass media. It is making our journey out of the recession an unnecessarily slow crawl. A slog. A long road trip with a van full of whiners. Economies, like people, don’t dance when the band’s playing funeral marches. Versions of the “America falling” narrative has occupied the prime real estate of opinion pages nationwide, ad nauseam. That kind of talk has always been overplayed. It’s the kind of background noise that, more than a commentary on the state of America, betrays a bit too much glee on the part of the pundit when discussing her collapse.

Xenophobia: The Democrat's Closing Argument
Excerpt: One of the president’s closest advisors, David Axelrod, was asked to defend these baseless accusations on “Face the Nation.” Axelrod’s defense of the claims was met with disbelief by Bob Schieffer, who asked, “is that the best you can do?” Even liberal news institutions like the New York Times and Washington Post have responded by basically saying, “there’s no there there.” The Washington Post wrote in a recent editorial that, “The White House seems willing to stoke xenophobia without any evidence for its accusations.” It’s also interesting to point out the hypocritical nature of the president’s position on “foreign influence.” Labor unions like the AFL-CIO and SEIU have spent millions on electioneering in recent cycles and regularly receive dues from foreign members. Neither President Obama nor congressional Democrats have asked Big Labor to justify their accounting methods. It must be shocking for the international community to hear President Obama speak so negatively about them after all his promises to mend relationships.

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues - Scientific American
Excerpt: "Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate?" For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black­board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”

Warmists plot secretly to kill off the Medieval Warming Period. Again
Excerpt: Remember how one of the great ambitions of the Climategate “scientists” was to “contain” the “putative” Medieval Warming Period? Well – guess what – they’re STILL at it. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Jonathan Overpeck, Eugene Wahl, Malcolm Hughes – just about anyone who’s anyone from the Climategate emails, in fact – have all been on a clandestine boondoggle to sunny Portugal, there to conspire how best to obliterate that embarrassing and inconvenient period of bounteous warmth between around 900 AD and 1280 AD known as the MWP. Anthony Watts has the full story. The bit that interests me most is the size of their carbon footprint? And even more so, who actually grant-funded all these shysters to fly to Portugal for their weekend reality-denial fest? And even more, more so if it was us – which of course it was, via our governments, the UN and the EU – why we can’t have our money back NOW. Wattsy’s site was responsible for another classic this week which you must read if you haven’t already: Willis Eschenbach’s magisterial and hilarious essay Eight tenths of a degree? Think of the Grandchildren! I met Eschenbach at Heartland: terrifyingly loud shirts and an aura of tousled levity and almost childlike sweetness which might give you the impression that he’s just a barmy eccentric. Make no mistake, though, this man is a genius. I’ll reprint the opening paragraphs to give you a taste: James Hansen and others say that we owe it to our Grandchildren to get this climate question right. Hansen says “Grandchildren” with a capital G when he speaks of them so I will continue the practice. I mean, for PR purposes, Grandchildren with a capital letter outrank even Puppies with a capital letter, and I can roll with that.

Iran Develops New Missile System with Longer Range
Excerpt: The Iranian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that it has succeeded in improving the range of its mid-range missile defense system named as 'Mersad'. "The Mersad missile system is a highly important system and the range of its new generation will be more than the range of its current generation possessed by the Iranian Armed Forces," Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told FNA today. Elaborating on the features of the missile system which is capable of destroying advanced airplanes in low and mid altitudes, Vahidi reiterated, "The new generation of Mersad system covers higher altitudes and hits more targets simultaneously." Iran first announced in April that it had built its first home-made mid-range missile defense system named as 'Mersad'. "The Mersad air defense system that is ready for delivery to the Air Defense Base is a mid-range defense system capable of destroying advanced airplanes in low and mid altitudes," Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told reporters in April.

Funny Tee Shirts

Obama’s Classmate at Occidental College: “He Was Looking Forward to an Imminent… Revolution, Where the Working Class Would Overthrow the Ruling Class”…
Excerpt: Q: …John, you had told me before, and I’m reading from my book, that “Obama was already an ardent Marxist in the fall of 1980 when I met him. I know it’s incendiary to say this, but although he said in Dreams From My Father that he’d ‘hung out with Marxist professors’, he did not explain in that book or clarify is that he was 100% in total agreement with those professors. A: Yeah, you’ve got that exactly right. Obama believed, at the time I met him, this was probably around Christmas time in 1980. I’d flown out on Christmas break from Cornell, where I was in grad school. And Obama was looking forward to an imminent social revolution, literally a movement where the working classes would overthrow the ruling class and institute a kind of socialist Utopia in the United States. I mean, that’s how extreme his views were his sophomore year of college.…I was a comrade, but I was more… the Frankfort School of Marxism at the time. I was, I felt like I was doing him a favor by pointing out that the Marxist revolution that he and Caroline and Shandu were hoping for was really kind of a pipe-dream. And that there was nothing in European history, or the history of developed nations, that would make that sort of fantasy, that Frank Marshall Davis fantasy of revolution, come true.


  1. It appears that, although he posted your letter of clarification, the "masrizone" blogger still believes you are a white supremacy nutjob. *sigh* Furthermore, you appear to be the reason Obama has not solved all of America's woes!

    Keep up the good fight, Robert.

    Semper Fi

  2. I visited the blog written by the fellow who attacked your "I'm tired" post and found a sneering drivelling idiot, to arrogant to check his own facts and who is so tied up in his ideological web he would fail to recognise truth if it hit him between the eyes. His sneering and self defencive response to your challenge says it all - at no time did he set out why he believed you to be wrong or his own vision for you to consider. Just the usual lies, smeers and aspersions. This is what is wrong with the left, they are utterly incapable of defending their own principles precisely because they don't know what they are or what the impact of the policy behind the slogan might be. In fact, the vast majority I have been attacked by, know the slogans, but little more.