Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Political Digest for October 26, 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.

Unbelievable short video: ‘Teachers Unions Gone Wild’
Excerpt:” Teachers Unions Gone Wild,” a video released Monday by James O’Keefe, a self-described investigative journalist and filmmaker, and his team at Veritas Visuals, contains footage that is described by the organization as: “NJEA Union Teachers call black students n*****, talk about slandering Christie, say they want to “f*** with kids,” and brag about rigged elections and voter fraud.”

Call me Senator
Very funny hit on Boxer.

Most Democrats avoid healthcare on campaign trail
You’d think Democrats would be thanking Obama…. ~Bob. Excerpt: If House Democrats sustain major losses on Nov. 2, the health care law passed earlier this year is likely to be a big reason. The proof is in the pudding: while Republicans have been hammering away at Democratic incumbents who voted for the bill and even open seat candidates who expressed support for the legislation, Democrats have run almost no ads playing up the bill. After the bill was signed, Democratic leaders stressed that some of the finer points of the bill -- coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance longer, and removing lifetime limits on coverage -- polled well. They made the case that these were proposals that their party could run and win on even if the broader bill was unpopular. But few vulnerable Democrats have followed that strategic course. So far we've seen ads from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.) going on the offensive over the issue. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) mentions the pre-existing conditions aspect of the law briefly in one of her ads, while Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) have defended themselves from attacks. Beyond them, it's basically been radio -- and television -- silence. Even as Republicans have attacked Democrats on the bill, Democrats haven't seen fit to fight back -- preferring to change the subject.

Debt Has Increased $5 Trillion Since Speaker Pelosi Vowed, ‘No New Deficit Spending’
Excerpt: When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave her inaugural address as speaker of the House in 2007, she vowed there would be “no new deficit spending.” Since that day, the national debt has increased by $5 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. "After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go, no new deficit spending,” Pelosi said in her speech from the speaker’s podium. “Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt." Pelosi has served as speaker in the 110th and 111th Congresses. At the close of business on Jan. 4, 2007, Pelosi’s first day as speaker, the national debt was $8,670,596,242,973.04 (8.67 trillion), according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. At the close of business on Oct. 22, it stood at $13,667,983,325,978.31 (13.67 trillion), an increase of 4,997,387,083,005.27 (or approximately $5 trillion). Pelosi, the 60th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has added more to the national debt than the first 57 House speakers combined.

Democratic Rep. Taylor says he voted for McCain, not Obama
Please don’t throw me out. I’m really on your side, I’m not a SIR. (Socialist in Reality.) But will he vote Republican to organize? As I keep saying, the vote to organize is the most important vote every two years. A RINO who votes to put conservative Republicans in charge of the committees is far better than a Blue Dog Democrat who votes to put liberals in charge of the committees and the flow of business. As I fear we are going to find out in the senate in January. ~Bob. Excerpt: Conservative Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) said he voted for GOP Sen. John McCain for president in 2008, not Barack Obama. The revelation by Taylor, an 11-term incumbent facing a tough reelection battle, is one of the most extreme examples yet of a Democrat distancing himself from his party’s unpopular leaders. Taylor, who has been taking step after to step to highlight his independence from Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told a reporter for The Sun Herald of South Mississippi about his secret ballot two years ago. “I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Sen. McCain,” Taylor told reporter Maria Recio, she said in an interview with The Hill. “Better the devil you know.” Taylor’s Republican opponent has tied Taylor to Obama and Pelosi in an effort to take advantage of the political tailwinds favoring the GOP. Mississippi state Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) has frequently said that Taylor votes with Pelosi 82 percent of the time, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has run ads against Taylor pegging him as a Pelosi Democrat.

RI Dem: Obama can 'shove it' for not endorsing him
Excerpt: The Democratic candidate for Rhode Island governor, widely seen as more conservative than the independent seeking to lead the heavily Democratic state, said Monday that President Barack Obama can "shove it" after learning Obama would not endorse him. Frank Caprio's campaign last week said he would welcome the president's endorsement. But on Monday, the same day Obama was set to make his first visit to Rhode Island as president and a day after the White House said Obama would not endorse anyone, Caprio angrily told WPRO-AM that Obama can "take his endorsement and really shove it." It was a surprising about-face for Caprio, whose campaign said as late as Sunday night that he was looking forward to Obama's visit, and that he would accompany the president to two public appearances. It appears to be a calculated move by a candidate who is facing a tight race against independent former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a onetime Republican who gave a high-profile endorsement to Obama ahead of the Democratic primary in 2008, and Republican John Robitaille, who has never held elected office. There have been no reliable polls in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Don Carcieri.

Campaign Countdown
Had a report that a reader couldn’t open Steyn without logging in. This opens for me from the link I was sent. Hope it works for you. ~Bob. Excerpt: All this week at SteynOnline, we're looking at what I regard as the key issues in this year's big vote. I'd love to hear your thoughts, so drop us a line at Mark's Mailbox. We're starting today with the most basic issue of all: We're broke. I’ve spent much of this election season overseas, a long way from internal polls for this or that House district, so I’m not too focused on the fortunes of particular Republican candidates or particular Democrat incumbents. But nor is a big chunk of the electorate: A Republican victory is not the end but merely the means. The Tea Party and other members of America’s beleaguered productive class decided that this time round it suited them to work within the diseased husk of the GOP. This is really the last chance for the unloved Republicans. If the party establishment is sufficiently dimwitted to see November 2nd as the restoration of the 2004-2006 GOP, they will be setting up the conditions (as Rush has already argued) for a serious third-force challenge in 2012. That would be less convulsive than a remoter though still possible scenario: If the Democrats manage to hold onto power by openly funding spoiler candidates, they would be discrediting the entire electoral process, and setting up pre-revolutionary conditions. In other words, it would be very easy for both parties to confirm the suspicion of a very disenchanted electorate – that the system no longer allows for serious course correction.

Medicaid Expansion Will Bankrupt the States
No sweat. This will not hit until after Obama is re-elected and serves his term. Not his problem. Your grandkid’s problem. ~Bob. Excerpt: According to various estimates, there are 10 million to 13 million uninsured people who are already eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled. When the individual mandate to obtain health coverage takes effect in 2014, many of the uninsured will be swept up in outreach efforts. Although the cost of enrolling newly eligible individuals will be paid by the federal government, the cost of covering those previously eligible for Medicaid must be paid for under the current federal matching formula. Many states will find the cost of their Medicaid programs higher as a result, says Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. For example, a decade after the law's implementation, Texas Medicaid rolls are predicted to rise by 2.4 million people. Of these, only 1.5 million enrollees will be newly eligible. About 824,000 individuals will be those previously eligible but not enrolled; the federal government will contribute a much smaller share of the cost of these previously eligible enrollees compared to newly eligible enrollees.

The Overseas Profits Elephant in the Room
Want a stimulus? Lower corporate taxes. ~Bob. Excerpt: One trillion dollars is roughly the amount of earnings that American companies have in their foreign operations—and that they could repatriate to the United States. That money, in turn, could be invested in U.S. jobs, capital assets, research and development, and more. But for U.S companies such repatriation of earnings carries a significant penalty: a federal tax of up to 35%. This means that U.S. companies can, without significant consequence, use their foreign earnings to invest in any country in the world—except here. The U.S. government's treatment of repatriated foreign earnings stands in marked contrast to the tax practices of almost every major developed economy, including Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Australia and Canada, to name a few. Companies headquartered in any of these countries can repatriate foreign earnings to their home countries at a tax rate of 0%-2%. That's because those countries realize that choking off foreign capital from their economies is decidedly against their national interests. Many commentators have pointed to the large cash balances sitting on U.S. corporate books as evidence that the economy is still stalled because companies aren't spending. That analysis misses the point. Large cash balances remain on U.S. corporate books because U.S. companies can't spend their foreign-held cash in the U.S. without incurring a prohibitive tax liability. Especially with corporate bond rates falling below 4%, it's hard to imagine any responsible corporation repatriating foreign earnings at a combined federal and state tax rate approaching 40%. By permitting companies to repatriate foreign earnings at a low tax rate—say, 5%—Congress and the president could create a privately funded stimulus of up to a trillion dollars. They could also raise up to $50 billion in federal tax revenue. That's money the economy would not otherwise receive.

Massive voter fraud in Arizona and Colorado
Certainly not hard to believe. ~Bob. Excerpt: There has been an accusation that 65% of 5000 voter registration forms, submitted by Mi Familia Vota and One Vote Arizona, in Yuma County on the last day of filling are invalid due to the registrant not being a citizen, wrong/invalid address, false signature, etc. I also understand that these 2 groups have signed up 20,000 states wide and they have requested that 45,000 be put on the permanent early ballot. If 65% of these last minute registration forms in Yuma are invalid, which may be more as they are still checking the rest, then what is the percentages of invalid in Maricopa, Pima and other counties. This is a very serious accusation that needs to be investigated to the fullest extent of the law. If this accusation is true then the perpetrators of this hideous crime against America citizens should be prosecuted to full extent of the law by Arizona Courts and not the federal courts as they do nothing on voter fraud and voter intimidation. All participants should be locked up and the key thrown away. This is an attack against sovereignty of this state and our freedoms for a socialist agenda.

Why the US has turned against Obama
Excerpt: Why have American voters gone so sour on Barack Obama's Democratic party? It's a question that must puzzle many in Britain who – Conservative as well as Labour and Lib Dem – welcomed Obama's election two years ago and saw him leading America and the world into broad, sunlit uplands. But now it appears that Obama's party is about to take what George W Bush called a "thumping" in the mid-term elections on November 2. It looks to be quite a fall. Obama won the popular vote in 2008 by a 53 to 46 per cent margin. That's not quite a landslide, but he won a higher percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate in history except for Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. More than John Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Grover Cleveland; more even than Bill Clinton. And Democrats won the popular vote for the House of Representatives – a key index of public support – by a 54 to 43 per cent margin. That was their best showing since 1986. Polls now suggest that those percentages could turn upside down. Republicans lead on the generic ballot question – which party's candidates will you support for the House of Representatives – by an average of 49 to 42 per cent. In no previous election cycle since the Gallup organisation started asking the question in 1942 have Republicans led by more than 4 per cent. Now in Gallup's "low turnout" likely voter model they lead by 17. Republicans seem very likely to win more – perhaps many more – than the 39 seats they need for a majority in the House and might, if they get lucky, win the 10 seats they need for a majority in the Senate.

Yes on Pot and Other Tales of Voting Early by Mail
Excerpt: I haven’t smoked more than a toke of grass in the last fifteen years. Reason? Back in the days I sucked down a joint a night, I noticed there was nothing left in the refrigerator the next morning and my waist went from a 32″ to a 37″ in no time flat. I’m back to 33″ now and keep far away from reefer. Also, at my age, I can do without endless discussions about the intensity of the green in a grasshopper’s antenna, assuming it has one. But that didn’t stop me from voting “yes” on Prop 19 to legalize marijuana in California, when I sent in my (first ever) mail-in ballot today. It wasn’t just for old time’s sake. Or because I think libertarians are now the cool guys (they are) and I want to run with them. The war on drugs has been a fiasco. And given the way things are shaping up in Mexico these days, it’s way past time for a different approach. Besides, with unemployment in this state hitting the teens, I hate to put out of business the only new small enterprises employing anybody in my neighborhood — the marijuana shops. On top of that, maybe I’m actually going to need some mary jane. As I noted in an earlier post (“Is California Insane?“), the citizens of this state seem the last, and perhaps only, people in the country unable to face up to the reality of their situation.

Is this terrorism case a joke?
Excerpt: The U.S. Justice Department made a breakthrough of sorts when it launched a terrorism court case in Sacramento three years ago. Until then, terrorism had been a scary business. Now, we're looking at farce. The court case, known as USA v. Harrison U. Jack et. al., accuses a military veteran named Harrison Jack and U.S. citizens of Hmong tribal descent of planning to overthrow the government of the Hmong's original home country, Laos, in Southeast Asia. When the indictments were first announced in 2007, they sounded credible: an alleged conspiracy to acquire lethal military hardware. A plan to hire mercenaries for a bloody, violent coup. If convicted on all charges and sentenced to the max, we were told, the main defendants would serve two consecutive lifetimes plus another 38 years in prison. Yeah, you say – so what's the joke? The joke is that the more information that has emerged about this case, the more it looks as though the government should be on trial instead of the defendants. The naive defendants, who are staunchly pro-American, never shot off anything more dangerous than their mouths. According to wiretap transcripts, they talked and talked – initially, about bringing democracy and free elections to one of the last communist regimes in the world. They got in trouble when a government undercover agent entered the picture, lied to them about non-existent CIA connections, and tried to talk them into buying Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, mines, anti-tank weapons and more. He also offered them mercenaries who had been trained in the U.S. special operations forces. Forget free elections! With his help, he said, the defendants could take over Laos, a country the size of California. To "prove" his sincerity, the undercover man rented an RV, stocked it with real and phony weapons and took the defendants through it one by one – filmed by hidden video cameras. (Overambitious prosecutors strike again.... reminds me of other times the feds did really stupid things (Ruby Ridge) trying to set someone up for a fall, to gain publicity and make a name for themselves. But the level of waste in this one is just way too impressive to let it go by. There should be a national movement to get all this dropped, like immediately! --Del)

Obama Underappreciation Syndrome
Excerpt: In an increasingly desperate attempt to develop a narrative for the coming Democratic collapse, the Democrats have indulged themselves in what for half a century they've habitually attributed to the American right -- the paranoid style in American politics. The talk is of dark conspiracies -- secret money, foreign influence, big corporations, with Karl Rove and, yes, Ed Gillespie lurking ominously behind the scenes. The only thing missing is the Halliburton-Cheney angle. But after trotting out some of these with a noticeable lack of success, President Obama has come up with something new, something less common, something more befitting his stature and intellect. He's now offering a scientific, indeed neurological, explanation for his current political troubles. The electorate apparently is deranged by its anxieties and fears to the point where it can't think straight. Part of the reason "facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time," he explained to a Massachusetts audience, "is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared." Opening a whole new branch of cognitive science -- liberal psychology -- Obama has discovered a new principle: The fearful brain is hard-wired to act befuddled, i.e., vote Republican. But of course. Here Obama has spent two years bestowing upon the peasantry the "New Foundation" of a more regulated, socially engineered and therefore more humane society, and they repay him with recalcitrance and outright opposition. Here he gave them Obamacare, the stimulus, financial regulation and a shot at cap-and-trade -- and the electorate remains not just unmoved but ungrateful. Faced with this truly puzzling conundrum, Dr. Obama diagnoses a heretofore undiscovered psychological derangement: anxiety-induced Obama Underappreciation Syndrome, wherein an entire population is so addled by its economic anxieties as to be neurologically incapable of appreciating the "facts and science" undergirding Obamacare and the other blessings their president has bestowed upon them from on high.

A Blue State's Red-Hot Prospect
Excerpt: Northern Iowans are Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings fans. This fact could be portentous 16 months from now when the Iowa caucuses occur and Minnesota's two-term governor, Tim Pawlenty, probably will be seeking the Republican presidential nomination. The son of a South St. Paul truck driver, Pawlenty was 16 when his mother died. A short while later, his father lost his job. Nevertheless, Pawlenty became his family's first college graduate. His political message -- he calls himself a Sam's Club rather than a country club Republican -- should resonate in a social climate conditioned by voters' recoil against spending and the political class that does it. "All the stuff the country is now favoring, I've done," he says. Settled by many Scandinavians and Germans who arrived with European, especially Bismarckian, notions of social democracy, Minnesota has furnished leaders of American liberalism -- Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone. In the four decades before Pawlenty was elected governor in 2002, the average two-year increase in state spending was 21 percent. During his tenure, the average annual increase has been 2 percent. He says the current two-year budget cycle will be the first in 150 years in which spending will be cut in real, constant dollars. It took, he said, "World War III" with the teachers unions to make Minnesota the first state to offer performance pay for teachers statewide. The state is second in the nation in health savings accounts: Approximately 10 percent of privately insured Minnesotans have these tax-preferred savings accounts that enable them to shop for routine health needs not covered by high-deductible insurance plans. Pawlenty has benefited from an affliction -- Minnesota's Legislature. Currently Republicans are outnumbered 47-87 in the House and 21-46 in the Senate. As a result, he has had, and has seized, ample opportunities to veto things, including increases in taxes on incomes, gasoline, beer and wine. He holds the Minnesota record for most vetoes cast in a single legislative session. The Cato Institute murmurs, "Be still my heart!" A libertarian think tank ardent for government both limited and frugal, Cato gives A grades to only four governors -- Mark Sanford, R-S.C., Bobby Jindal, R-La., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pawlenty, the only one governing a blue state.

Four More Years of War
Excerpt: The secret date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has been hiding in plain sight for months. It's certainly not the much ballyhooed July 2011 date, which will only begin withdrawals. It's not even July 2012 to smooth President Obama's reelection campaign. It's the end of 2014. The plan, NATO diplomats say, is for NATO leaders to formally announce this date at their Lisbon summit on November 19-20. Their thinking is to do this soon to reassure worried, friendly Afghans, to signal resolution to the Taliban, and to use their allied unity for political cushioning at home. NATO emissaries are still bargaining over exactly how many troops will remain after departure day and for what purposes. Details aside, the devastating truth is that U.S. forces will be fighting in Afghanistan for at least four more years. Most of the players on America's side of the Afghan war are content with this date, but the Taliban and most Democrats won't be. Savor the explanations for these preferences. (I don't think this will sit well with the American public either. We've never been keen on legionnaire-type wars. Ron P.)

Poll: Independents siding with GOP
Excerpt: Republicans are on the verge of broad wins next week for one big reason: independent voters are ready to boot Democrats from office, according to a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll. Expressing deep dissatisfaction with President Obama’s policies and performance, independents have increasingly sided with conservatives in the belief that government grew too large, too fast under Obama—and that it can no longer be trusted. In the final pre-election Battleground Poll, Republicans hold a 14-point edge among independents and lead overall, 47 percent to 42 percent, in the generic ballot match up. The swing among independents rivals the emergence of the spirited Tea Party movement as one of the most important changes in American politics over the past 20 months. Many other polls have confirmed this trend over that period, even though it has been vastly overshadowed by coverage of more provocative characters and themes on the right.

Pielke Sr. defends Judith Curry in SA “heretic” characterization
Excerpt: I was very disappointed to read erroneous information, in an otherwise very informative article, in the Scientific American by Michael D. Lemonick titled Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues which seeks to isolate Judy Curry as being an outlier from her climate science colleagues [the article, of course, is useful in that it does expose the attempt by some to marginalize anyone who differs from the IPCC viewpoint, and Michael Lemonick is commended for doing that]. The text in his article, however, includes the header of one of its sections which implies she is gone “Over to the Dark Side“. (...) Judy Curry is hardly a “climate heretic” but rather, as an internationally well-respected climate scientist, is providing a much needed healthy, independent examination of the IPCC assessment and finding it has significant shortcomings. Judy’s scientific credentials are outstanding; e.g. see her Google scholar citations http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=40000&q=judy+curry. I agree with her in this conclusion and have documented evidence for this....( In yesterday's TOJ, the Scientific American article about Dr. Curry is referenced. When she started her new blog, Climate, Etc a couple of months ago, we expressed confidence she would soon be a source of light to help find "the truth." As is common these days, although widely known and almost universally respected, by openly talking to skeptics she has taken some politically dangerous steps. The first price to be paid for her "impurity" is snide shots like calling her a heretic. She isn't a heretic; she's a warmist. She just happens to be an honest one who isn't afraid to look for facts wherever they might be found, including in the mouths of skeptics. This is a long article filled with great technical stuff; geeks, dig in and enjoy! Ron P.)

1 comment:

  1. RE:"Is This Terrorism Case a Joke?"

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers. As a Vietnam Veteran I am disgusted by this case and the Administration for not stopping this from happening early on. William Colby, former CIA Director called General Vang Pao the "Greatest American Hero of the Vietnam War" for fighting against the spread of communism during the Vietnam war. He and another defendant have been dropped from the case for three reasons (1) Lack of Evidence (2) to get rid of the Biggest and most powerful law firms of the Defense team and (3) in exchange for him dropping a motion of "Prosecutorial Misconduct" or lying in front of the Grand Jury!!

    Remember these names...they are the ones that have been wasting our taxpayer dollars on trying to prosecute this "Bogus Coup" as Roger Warner explains in his article: Benjamin B. Wagner, US Attorney/Sacto; S. Robert Tice-Raskin and Ellen V. Endrizzi and Jill M Thomas all Assist US Attorneys/Sacto, Robert M Twiss, US Attorney's Office/Sacto; Robert Wallace and Heather Schidt Trial Attorneys National Security Div of DOJ/Wash DC; Scott W. McGregor, former US Attorney/Sacto; - Call and complain (916) 554-2700 or write letters US Attorney Benjamin B Wagner, 501 I Street (10th floor), Sacto, CA 95814...do it now! The Hmong deserve our support.