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.
Happy Election day. Vote.
Why Doesn't Everyone Know Jan Schakowsky's Husband Wrote ObamaCare in Jail?
Just one of the reasons why I’ve been supporting Joel Pollak. Tough in this D+20 district, but he’ll be a great Congressman if he wins. ~Bob. Excerpt: I know who's got my vote for the cutest couple since Bonnie and Clyde. It's the larcenous lovebirds from Chicago: Jan Schakowsky, the most far-left member of Congress, and her bank robber husband, Robert Creamer, who wrote Obamacare in jail. What a romance! She waited as he served time for sixteen counts of bank fraud, selflessly devoting herself to trying to impeach Dick Cheney and to showering federal funds on her biggest, most ethically challenged contributors. And he persevered inside the graybar hotel, aflame with the inspiration that became Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win, a 628-page manual for how "to reshape the structure of one-sixth of the American economy" -- namely, health care.
Excellent Guide: Washington Examiner 2010 election guide
Excerpt: For political junkies planning to keep score on Tuesday night, here’s a guide to races of particular interest, in order of poll closing times. There are roughly 500 federal and governors' elections, so I've tried to leave out as many non-competitive races as possible, unless they represent pickups for one party or the other.
The Republican candidate signs in front of my home were repeatedly vandalized today 30 and 31 October 2010. I picked up the signs on three occasions and repaired them as best I could and placed them back in the ground and within an hour or so they again were torn up. I am not the only victim. I am told that Pembroke had many of its Republican signs vandalized the previous evening. Speaks volumes doesn’t it. My mother was often heard to remark, “Never expect anything more than a grunt out of a pig.” How apt. It will be a cold day in hell before I would ever entertain voting for anyone from that ilk. Remember that Tuesday! Tom Constantine, US Marine Corps (Ret.) (Yes, they talk about the First Amendment, but don’t mean it. In 2004, our car with a Bush sticker was keyed in Madison, WI. The local paper reported that Bush signs were stolen from lawns and swastikas burned in the grass with weed killer. A van rented in Milwaukee by the local GOP to take voters to the polls had its tired slashed. The son of a Democrat Congresscritter was among those arrested. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1272858/posts
The High Cost of Green Energy Programs in Massachusetts
Here’s what those tearing down Republican Signs are fighting for in Massachusetts. ~Bob. Excerpt: A new analysis shows that the state's green energy policies will cost Massachusetts ratepayers more than $9.8 billion over the next decade. These costs will be in addition to the market prices for energy, already among the highest in the nation, says the Beacon Hill Institute. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts imposes 25 unique green energy mandates and programs upon consumers and businesses. Focusing on only the impacts to ratepayers, not taxpayers, Beacon Hill examined the costs of 11 of those 25 mandates and programs:
Bill Maher is a Juan-abee
Joke going around the net, from my friend Kate: Juan-abee: Left-wing television hack who, aware of shifting sands and changing climate, and at the eleventh hour, makes mild statement about Islam in hopes of multi-million dollar deal before he is yesterday's man and in the dole queue with the rest of us.
A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP: Voters don't want to be governed from the left, right or center. They want Washington to recognize that Americans want to govern themselves.
Excerpt: In the first week of January 2010, Rasmussen Reports showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic congressional ballot. Scott Brown delivered a stunning upset in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election a couple of weeks later. In the last week of October 2010, Rasmussen Reports again showed Republicans with a nine-point lead on the generic ballot. And tomorrow Republicans will send more Republicans to Congress than at any time in the past 80 years. This isn't a wave, it's a tidal shift—and we've seen it coming for a long time. Remarkably, there have been plenty of warning signs over the past two years, but Democratic leaders ignored them. At least the captain of the Titanic tried to miss the iceberg. Congressional Democrats aimed right for it. While most voters now believe that cutting government spending is good for the economy, congressional Democrats have convinced them that they want to increase government spending. After the president proposed a $50 billion infrastructure plan in September, for example, Rasmussen Reports polling found that 61% of voters believed cutting spending would create more jobs than the president's plan. Central to the Democrats' electoral woes was the debate on health-care reform. From the moment in May 2009 when the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's plan would cost a trillion dollars, most voters opposed it. Today 53% want to repeal it. Opposition was always more intense than support, and opposition was especially high among senior citizens, who vote in high numbers in midterm elections.
An Open Letter to the Freshman Republican Victors
Excerpt: If you are working on one of those challenger campaigns and will come into the House of Representatives and Senate after November 2nd, please read this and get your future Congressman or Senator to read it. In the next 72 hours, you will be elected to the United States Congress. Suddenly you will find that you have friends you never knew you had. Remember that most of them are not actually your friends. Many members of Congress will begin whispering sweet nothings in your ear wooing you to vote for them and their rules for the House and Senate. Remember that these same men are the exact same people that the voters rejected in 2006 and again in 2008. Remember that every poll showing a Republican landslide on Tuesday also shows that the public hates these men. Introduce yourself to Jeb Hensarling, Jeff Flake, and Jim Jordan. Talk with your fellow freshmen like Tim Huelskamp, Justin Amash, and Jeff Duncan. Those are the people who will become your closest friends who you’ll share a foxhole with when leadership fails you but a battle must be waged. Remember that some of the people who will come to Congress with you, whether it is Charlie Bass or Steve Stivers or Kevin Yoder or Robert Hurt, etc. are unrepentant tax hixers and some will want to transcend partisanship to work across the aisle. You got elected by being the Party of No. Don’t let the sweet nothings of the Beltway suddenly convince you otherwise. No is a very powerful word in Washington and it is not used often enough.
Gallup poll points to GOP rout
Excerpt: In a compelling sign that the Republican tide on Tuesday will produce a historic sweep in the House, the final pre-election poll by the Gallup Organization gave the GOP a 55 percent to 40 percent lead over Democrats among likely voters in its generic congressional ballot test. The commanding 15-point advantage makes a Republican takeover “highly probable,” and could produce GOP gains “anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible,” according to the Gallup analysis released late Sunday. Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters, which was conducted with USA Today, documented an increase in the “enthusiasm gap” between the two parties. The survey found that 75 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican are "absolutely certain" they will vote in the 2010 midterms, compared with 68 percent of Democrats.
Grim Dems await huge House losses
I keep remembering that crude but accurate sign I saw on the web, at a group, perhaps a Tea Party rally, protesting the healthcare bill. It said, “Jam it down our throats now, we’ll stick it up you’re ass in November.” Obama, Pelosi and Reid didn’t listen. Now it’s November. ~Bob. Excerpt: Now, for Democratic consultants and campaign officials who have plotted and strategized for months to preserve the embattled House majority, there’s nothing left to do but sit and wait for the expected horrors of Election Day to unfold. There is nearly uniform consensus among Democratic campaign professionals that the House is gone — the only question, it seems, is how many seats they will lose. While few will say so on the record for fear of alienating party officials or depressing turnout, every one of nearly a dozen Democratic House consultants and political strategists surveyed expect a GOP majority to be elected Tuesday — the consensus was that Democrats would lose somewhere between 50 and 60 seats. A senior party consultant who was on the low end with his predictions said the party would lose between 40 and 50 seats. On the high end, one Democratic consultant said losses could number around 70 seats. All spoke to the grimness of the mood. “It sucks,” said Dave Beattie, a Florida-based Democratic pollster who is working on a slate of competitive House races and who acknowledges that the lower congressional chamber is lost. “I’m resigned to the fact that it sucks.” While there was optimistic talk within party circles early this month that the electoral environment was improving for the party, the operatives said those conversations don’t take place anymore. “If some Democratic consultant told you they are feeling better, they must have dropped some heavy drugs,” said a senior pollster who is working for candidates in competitive races. “It’s hard.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week launched something of a last-ditch offensive to save some of its incumbents, purchasing airtime to defend endangered members like Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, Illinois Rep. Bill Foster and New Jersey Rep. John Adler — all of whom are highly vulnerable but whom party officials believe could ultimately prevail. The committee also sought to shore up incumbents who until recently were not thought to be in electoral peril: Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley and North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre. Still, among those in the Democratic consulting class, there’s a gloomy acknowledgment that many of the incumbents the DCCC has spent millions of dollars to protect won’t be coming back to Congress. “Everybody that is tied will lose, and everyone that is ahead by a few points will lose because of the GOP wave,” said one party media consultant who is involved in a wide array of House races. “There are going to be some surprises.”
Top 10 Obama officials who will be watching the election results
Excerpt: Many Democrats are nervous about Election Day, but some are especially nervous. Some administration officials have worked well with Republicans in Congress, but others have infuriated GOP lawmakers during the first two years of the Obama presidency. Republicans on Capitol Hill crave the oversight power that would come with winning a House majority. It would arm the GOP with something they have not had in four years: subpoena power. The Obama administration will be held accountable “like they’ve never been held accountable,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who would be chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee should the GOP win the House, said recently. Here are the top 10 administration officials (outside of the White House) who have the most on the line: Attorney General Eric Holder.* Republicans have been highly critical of Holder on issues ranging from the Black Panther voting case to Guantanamo Bay to Miranda rights for terrorism suspects. Rep. Frank Wolf (Va.), the top Republican appropriator with jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, has expressed exasperation with Holder for refusing to respond to his letters seeking “basic information.” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson*. With climate change legislation on life support, Republicans will likely act to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not seek to curb carbon emissions through a rulemaking. Jackson has aggressively led EPA by pursuing a broad agenda. But that has drawn salvos from many Republicans and even a few Democrats, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.). HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius*. Republican oversight of the Clinton administration on healthcare in the 1990s was intense. But if Republicans win the House, it will even be more so in the 112th Congress. Sebelius’s department, and her implementation of the new healthcare law, will be under heavy scrutiny. So will one of her deputies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick. Bypassing the Senate, President Obama recess-appointed Berwick in July. The move sparked outrage from Republicans who wanted to reopen the healthcare debate and press Berwick on controversial statements he made on rationing medical care. Republicans in both chambers asked their Democratic counterparts to invite Berwick to testify before Congress. Next year, Republicans may not have to ask. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.* The conservative-leaning Drudge Report has given Napolitano the nickname “Big Sis,” which she recently said amuses her. The spotlight on Napolitano is bright because she handles many hot-button issues, including border security, immigration and the use of body scanners in airports. She has also been a critic of Arizona’s immigration law, which the administration is legally challenging. USTR Ron Kirk.* The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hasn’t had a lot to do for two years, but that could change with a House Republican majority. Three pending trade deals that stalled under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could move next year and provide a rare bit of cooperation between Republicans and the White House. Kirk is expected to be more visible in the next Congress, though some GOP freshmen in 2011 won’t be anxious to move trade pacts.
Liberals at War With Liberty
Excerpt: Why were liberals were so insanely paranoid about the alleged nefarious activities of President George W. Bush? Projection, anyone? They were mortified at Bush's alleged encroachment on our individual liberties, but now that they're in control, we see where liberty ranks on their list of priorities. We've always known that the term "liberal," in modern parlance, is an oxymoron. Today's liberals are the exact opposite of the classical liberals of yesteryear, who actually believed in limited government and free markets. Liberals have been seducing Americans out of their liberties for decades with false promises of security. Prior to Obama, we were on a slow march toward statism, but now we are on a rapid gallop. That's mostly what next week's congressional elections will be about. Ordinary Americans are horrified and outraged that Obama and his enablers in Congress are fundamentally transforming America from a beacon of liberty to a bankrupt socialist state. They are outraged that this elite bunch of officious intermeddlers are waging all-out war against our social compact. Americans want America back. This nation was founded as a constitutional republic, with the people electing representatives to serve on their behalf and tend to the proper functions of government but ultimately retaining sovereignty. Most Americans are sophisticated enough to understand that we don't have a pure democracy and that we can't conduct government by daily polls or plebiscites. But they also don't expect that their wishes will be ridiculed, summarily rejected and spat upon by a sneering, disdainful autocracy.
Even CBO Is Skeptical of Obamacare
Excerpt: Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf recently spoke at the University of Southern California about the economic impact of Obamacare. He predicts that Obamacare will further depress the nation’s employment picture. CBO’s analysis of Obamacare predicts that it will reduce the amount of labor being used in the economy by roughly half a percent. Elmendorf states that this impact will be small, but in reality the impact is small only in relative terms. For instance, a half-percent loss in jobs in the American economy today would translate into about 750,000 additional Americans losing work. The reason for the job loss is twofold. First, Obamacare raises costs on businesses with additional mandates and taxes, which will negatively impact hiring. Second, Obamacare increases the social safety net with a massive Medicaid expansion and generous subsidies to purchase insurance. This increases implicit marginal tax rates and discourages work.
Race to the Bottom
Excerpt: Suppose the Republicans win back the House of Representatives in tomorrow’s election. What will they do about health care? One idea, in the House Republican “Pledge to America,” calls for opening up the health insurance marketplace by allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines. Families USA director Ron Pollack objects that this would cause a “race to the bottom,” with consumers buying insurance in states with the fewest consumer protections (read: regulations) and, therefore, the lowest premiums. Matt Yglesias says much the same thing. President Obama and many Democrats have echoed these worries. As I explained at the Health Affairs Blog the other day, this raises three obvious questions: Since most products are sold across state lines, why isn’t there a “race to the bottom” in every market? Since consumers often buy warranties — paying extra for reduced risk, why would they be indifferent to consumer protections in health insurance? What states actually are near the bottom? Let’s take the last question first. The state with the fewest regulations for which we have data on premiums.... is... drumroll ..Idaho! Perhaps you didn’t realize that Idahoans are so unprotected? I bet Pollack didn’t either. Or Yglesias. Or any of the others using the “race to the bottom” rhetoric. Chalk this up to an uninquisitive health media — which has repeated the charge many times without ever asking which state the speaker had in mind. According to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (which represents companies selling individual insurance), Idaho has only 13 benefits that must be included in insurance sold within the state. This compares to an average of 42 mandated benefits for all states, and 70 mandates in the state of Rhode Island. Another low-mandate state (with 26) is Chuck Grassley’s home state of Iowa. Like Idaho, Iowa has a below-average uninsurance rate and health insurance premiums that are well below the national average. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a health insurance company trade group, the average premium in Iowa for 2008/2009 was $2,606 for individuals and $5,609 for families — less than half the premium charged in such states as Massachusetts and New York.
For Nevada voters, economic woes reign supreme
Excerpt: And as she surveys her options to vote here in Tuesday's marquee election between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and tea party darling Sharron Angle, Baker doesn't like what she sees. "Oh, heck no," said Baker, 43, a medical assistant. "Reid has too much power, has been there too long and hasn't done nothing for the state. And Angle is just way too extreme for me." "But it is what it is," Baker continued. "Now you're down to one or the other. What do you do? Well, I want the one in there out of there."
Close, bitter Senate races could have significant down-ballot effects
Excerpt: The close and bitter Senate races around the country may be capturing the headlines, but buried in the fine print are some significant down-ballot effects on Tuesday in several states. The Senate battle in Delaware is likely to hurt turnout by Republican voters, given the relative unpopularity of GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell — just a year before state lawmakers tackle redistricting after down-ballot state House races. The nastiness of the Illinois race between Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Alexi Giannoulias (D) could persuade voters to stay home in an election where several state offices are up for grabs, including attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state. And in Nevada, the lackluster appeal of both Sen. Harry Reid (D) and Sharron Angle (R) to some voters may also depress turnout in a year where the governor’s office is up for grabs. Like most analysts, Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report, sees a Republican wave down the ballot in most states regardless of circumstances. She’s done the math: Based on historical averages, Duffy says the average gubernatorial loss in midterm elections for the party with the presidency is 5.5. This year, though, it will likely be between 6 and 8. And while the average loss of state legislative seats is 217.5, Duffy says she has heard the Democrats' losses could be about 500, more or less. “We all know the party in power loses seats in a midterm election, right? That goes down the ballot,” she said. “Voters don’t discriminate. They look at the party affiliation and vote them out of office. And Republicans are just so fired up that I don’t think they’ll be turned off by the negative races.”
Excerpt: When is deficit reduction, not deficit reduction? When it is the just-finished fiscal year 2010 federal budget. Yes, the fiscal year 2010 deficit fell by $125 billion from the previous year's record total. The problem is that is only due to the elimination of one-time emergency spending. Beneath the emergency, the federal government went right on growing. This not only leaves us with another trillion dollar deficit, but also lays the groundwork for future deficits. The government has just closed the books on another budget bloodbath. Red ink that is. The federal deficit reached $1.291 trillion in 2010, the fiscal year just ended. Only the second trillion-plus deficit in U.S. history—it would be the record, if not for last year's $1.416 trillion deficit. Putting those eye-popping totals into perspective: total federal government spending did not reach last year's deficit level until 1991. Now we are over-spending by the same amount we used to entirely spend just 19 years ago!
Ready For Pay Cut?
Excerpt: It's one thing when the wonks tell you to get ready for a tax hike that may or may not come. It's another when your employer tells you he's getting ready to cut your take-home pay and give it to the tax man. That's what's happening right now, and those who still have jobs should take notice. If Congress fails to extend the Bush-era tax cuts due to expire Dec. 31, Americans at just about every income level will see their taxes rise — in some cases dramatically. A story by Bloomberg News notes that it takes weeks for the IRS to prepare new withholding schedules. Normally, the tables are issued in mid-November to give employers time to prepare. But this year Congress left open the possibility it would do something about the expiring cuts, and employers have been left wondering what to do. "I've been doing payroll for probably close to 30 years now, and never have we seen something like this where it gets that down to the wire," Dennis Danilewicz, the payroll manager at New York University's Langone Medical Center, told Bloomberg.
Happy Halloween! $1 billion in taxpayer money goes to the UNDEAD!
Well, the dead vote Democrat, so they earn their payoff like the rest. ~Bob. Excerpt: Perhaps government is more like a zombie than a parasite. Especially given that about $1 billion in taxpayer money goes to 250,000 deceased individuals (according to a review of reports by the Government Accountability Office, inspectors general, and Congress itself). How, might you ask? According to Sen. Tom Coburn’s, R-Okla, office: Never has the government spent, or over-spent, so much. In each of the last two years, the federal government has spent roughly a quarter of all the goods and services America produces. And it has over-spent by an amount roughly equivalent to one-tenth of everything America produces. Yet in all this budgetary bleakness we are supposed to take comfort that the deficit fell from the year before.
Decision making under climate uncertainty: Part I
Excerpt: The question needs to be asked as to whether the early articulation of a preferred policy option by the UNFCCC has stimulated a positive feedback loop between politics, science, and science funding that has accelerated the science (and its assessment by the IPCC) towards the policy option (CO2 stabilization) that was codified by the UNFCCC. This feedback loop marginalizes research on natural climate variability (forced and unforced) on regional and global scales, focuses research on model development rather than observations (particularly paleoclimate), and values model agreement over a full exploration of model uncertainty (including model structure). The net result of such a feedback loop is an overconfident assessment of the importance of greenhouse gases in future climate change. Which has brought us to our current position between a rock and a hard place, where we lack the kinds of information that we need to understand climate change more broadly and develop and evaluate a broad range of policy options. My particular interest in this situation is to understand the dynamics of uncertainty at the climate science-policy interface. I am questioning whether these dynamics are operating in a manner that is healthy for the science and for the policy making process. The IPCC’s efforts to consider uncertainty focus on communicating uncertainty (apparently motivated by building the political will to act), rather than on characterizing uncertainty in a way that would be useful for risk managers and resource managers, not to mention the scientists and the institutions that fund science. (...) Classical decision making theory involves reducing the uncertainties before acting. In the face of irreducible uncertainties and substantial ignorance, reducing the uncertainty isn’t viable, but not acting could be associated with catastrophic impacts. While a higher level of confidence can make decision makers more willing to act, overestimating the confidence can result in discounting the value of information in the decision making process if the confidence later proves to be unwarranted. Under conditions of deep uncertainty, optimal decisions based upon a consensus can carry a considerable risk. Obersteiner et al. describes the uncertainty surrounding the climate change science is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways: what is considered to be a serious problem could turn out to be less of a threat, whereas unanticipated and unforeseen surprises could be catastrophic. Obersteiner et al. argues that the strategy of assuming that climate models can predict the future of climate change accurately enough to choose a clear strategic direction might be at best marginally helpful and at worst downright dangerous: underestimating uncertainty can lead to strategies that do not defend the world against unexpected and sometimes even catastrophic threats. (...) Resilient and adaptive decision making strategies are used in the face of high uncertainty. Resilient strategies seek to identify approaches that will work reasonably well across the range of circumstances that might arise. Adaptive strategies can be modified to achieve better performance as more information becomes available. Adaptive strategies work best in situations where large nonlinearities are not present and in which the decision time scale is well matched to the actual changes. (This is the first part of a three part series on decision making in the face of uncertainty of unknown degree. Not only is it likely to be useful/applicable to many other fields, it should be interesting, especially the reader comments. Ron P.)
Campaign Ads 2010: The Good, the Bad and the Funny
Progressive Determination to Undermine American Elections
Excerpt: The progressive assault on America continues, and their favorite whipping boy remains Arizona. A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned that state's requirement that people show proof of citizenship to register to vote, calling it "inconsistent" with the National Voter Registration Act. In other words, a United States court considers that proving one is an American citizen in order to vote in an American election an "undue burden." How in the world did we come to this? The National Voter Registration Act, or as it's more familiarly known, the Motor Voter Bill, was passed by a Democratically-controlled Congress in 1993 and signed into law by president Bill Clinton. It was called the Motor Voter Bill because it allowed people to register to vote when they applied for driver's licenses or social services. Such registration can be done either in person or by mail. The Act was established for four primary reasons: to establish procedures increasing the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in Federal elections; to enhance the participation of eligible citizens as voters in elections for Federal office; to protect the integrity of the electoral process; and to ensure that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained. Here's the kicker: the federal law requires applicants to "attest to their citizenship under penalty of perjury," but, according to this court's ruling, such registration does not require providing documentary proof of such citizenship. What does this mean? It means registering to vote is based on nothing more than an honor system. How's that honor system working out? In the 2008 election, just one community activist group, the radical leftist, and now-disgraced ACORN, submitted 1.3 million voter registration applications. 400,000 of them were rejected. Why would ACORN and other groups submit bogus registration forms knowing that would more than likely be disqualified? John Samples, Director of the Center for Representative Government at The Cato Institute testified before the Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate, on May 14th, 2001: "The Act made it harder to verify the identity of voters seeking to register. It also considerably complicated the states' task of keeping the registration rolls clean. For example, to remove a voter who has moved from the rolls of a voting district, the local jurisdiction has two choices. First, they could get written confirmation of the move from the citizen. Lacking that, the jurisdiction had to send a notice to the voter. If the notice card was not returned and the person did not vote in two general elections for Federal office after the notice was sent, then the jurisdiction could remove their name from the rolls." "The cost of these mailings is significant. In Indiana, for example, such a mailing would have a price tag of about $2 million or about twice the Election Division's entire annual budget (emphasis mine). Given this price tag and the limited resources of most local election boards, we should not be surprised that the registration rolls throughout the nation are enormously inaccurate. In some counties, election administrators report, the voting roll numbers are bigger than the voting-age population." In short, the objective is to overwhelm the system, and the only entity with the ability to put a stop to these and other attempts to commit voter fraud is the Voting Rights Section of United States Department of Justice.
The Failed Obama Iran Policy: Now What?
Excerpt: Different relationship with the world, indeed! If the State Department had paid attention to Ross’s speech, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by chanting false mantras. That sort of nonsense only encourages the regime to redouble its attacks on Americans, and reminds the embattled opposition that they’re not going to get any help from Washington. And yet, the regime is getting weaker by the day. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei just finished a very public trip to Qom, the locus of the Shi’ite establishment. He went there because he and his dwindling band of followers know that his authority is very weak, and they hoped to organize big crowds to welcome him to the holy city, and then arrange for the most important ayatollahs to pay homage to him. It didn’t happen; despite a considerable cash flow for participants in the “spontaneous” rallies, he didn’t get big crowds, and while some senior ayatollahs were hauled into his presence, many stayed away. I would not be surprised to see a crackdown on some of the recalcitrant ayatollahs, but for the moment, the regime is actually backing away from confrontation with the political opposition. The two leaders of the Green Movement have just met, despite warnings and scores of armed thugs around their homes — Mir Hossein Mousavi got in his car, defied the security officers, and drove to Mehdi Karroubi’s house to collect his colleague and Karroubi’s sons — and Karroubi’s offices are apparently reopening, which is a real sign of regime weakness. There are other such signs: in the past, the regime executed its (real and imagined) opponents in public, on the assumption that others would be intimidated, but that policy has failed. Recent executions — lots of them — have been in secret, but the Greens have publicized them. Mousavi knows that such accounts bring more people to the Green banner.
Medical device industry protests Puerto Rico offshore tax
Democrat-run Puerto Rico joins in killing the Goose that lays the paychecks. ~Bob. Excerpt: And the Biotechnology Industry Organization said the tax endangers Puerto Rico's record of being "a center of excellence in attracting foreign investment and venture capital from innovative bioscience companies and investors." "This new tax increase will profoundly affect the decision-making of foreign corporations as they consider whether to continue to do business and deploy their capital in Puerto Rico," according to the BIO statement. "The bioscience industry has remained a bright spot through one of the worst economic recessions on record. This is particularly true in Puerto Rico, where the bioscience industry accounts for over five percent of the employment base, providing stable, high-paying jobs. Without a doubt, the bioscience industry is crucial to the economic health of Puerto Rico." The measure, set to take effect Jan. 1, levies a 4 percent tax in 2011. The rate falls to 3.75 percent in 2012, 2.75 percent in 2013, 2.5 percent in 2014, 2.25 in 2015 and 1 percent in 2016, after which it will lapse, according to Reuters.
'Obama unlikely to last his first term'
Wishful thinking. There would be riots in the cities, hundreds dead, billions in damages. God forbid anything should happen to him, either. The riots would happen if it was a Muslim who killed him, or if he died of clearly natural causes. And we’d have Bumbling Joe Biden as President. ~Bob.
Our divisive president, redux
Of course, the authors may not realize the Democratic party has "evolved" from the one they knew in 1970. (I added emphasis.) Ron P. Excerpt: President Obama's post-partisan America has disappeared, replaced by the politics of polarization, resentment and division. In a Univision interview on Monday, the president, who campaigned in 2008 by referring not to a "Red America" or a "Blue America" but a United States of America, urged Hispanic listeners to vote in this spirit: "We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us." Recently, Obama suggested that if Republicans gain control of the House and/or Senate as forecast, he expects not reconciliation and unity but "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill. What a change two years can bring. We can think of only one other recent president who would display such indifference to the majesty of his office: Richard Nixon. We write in sadness as traditional liberal Democrats who believe in inclusion. Like many Americans, we had hoped that Obama would maintain the spirit in which he campaigned. Instead, since taking office, he has pitted group against group for short-term political gain that is exacerbating the divisions in our country and weakening our national identity. The culture of attack politics and demonization risks compromising our ability to address our most important issues - and the stature of our nation's highest office. Indeed, Obama is conducting himself in a way alarmingly reminiscent of Nixon's role in the disastrous 1970 midterm campaign. No president has been so persistently personal in his attacks as Obama throughout the fall. He has regularly attacked his predecessor, the House minority leader and - directly from the stump - candidates running for offices below his own. He has criticized the American people suggesting that they are "reacting just to fear" and faulted his own base for "sitting on their hands complaining."
Physicians face painful decision on Medicare
Excerpt: While most people are focused on the midterm elections Tuesday, the American Medical Association is gearing up for the lame-duck congressional session scheduled to start Nov. 15. Unless Congress intervenes, payments to doctors for treating Medicare patients will be cut by 23 percent on Dec. 1 and another 6.5 percent on Jan. 1. Cecil B. Wilson, an internist from Winter Park, Fla., who became AMA president in June, is pressing for a 13-month patch that would prevent the Medicare physician cuts. In April, the Congressional Budget Office said that blocking the cuts until January 2012 would cost about $15 billion. A long-term formula fix, through 2020, would cost about $276 billion, it said. The AMA argues that a 13-month reprieve from the reductions would give it time to work with Congress to overhaul the Medicare payment formula. In recent years, the payment formula has called for cuts, but each time lawmakers have stepped in to block them before they took effect or shortly afterward. The AMA could use a win on the issue. The organization was sharply criticized by some physicians for endorsing the new health-care law without getting the formula straightened out in return. If Congress doesn't block the looming payment cuts, "this will be a catastrophe," Wilson said, with more and more doctors leaving the program and seniors having a harder time getting in to see doctors. Whatever happens in the lame-duck session, the new Congress is likely to have more doctors. There are 16 physicians in Congress, but dozens more are running for the House or Senate this year. That might provide more sympathy for the AMA on the issue, but the cost of fixing the formula may still be viewed as prohibitive.
Pelosi's national popularity plummets as elections loom
Excerpt: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) heads into the midterm elections less popular among U.S. voters than at any other time in her historic tenure, while the man who wants to take control of her gavel remains a blank slate to nearly half the nation. After being targeted in a withering set of commercials by Republicans across the country, the first female speaker is now viewed unfavorably by American voters by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll. Just 29 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of Pelosi in late October, while 58 percent had an unfavorable view. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who withstood his own assault from President Obama and the Democratic National Committee this fall, would also enter the speakership as an unpopular figure. But, apparently because of his much lower national profile, he is far less disliked than Pelosi: 21 percent of registered voters view him favorably while 35 percent view him unfavorably.
What We Saw At The “Restoring Sanity” Rally
From the Gay Patriot website. ~Bob.
Islamic Jew-Hatred and the Yemen UPS Bomb Plot
Excerpt: It was yet another jihad plot against targets in the United States: the bombs, sent from Yemen via UPS, were powerful enough to bring down a cargo airplane. They were addressed to a synagogue in Chicago. Yemeni authorities arrested a twenty-two-year-old female computer engineering student, Hanan al-Samawi, whose telephone number appeared on one of the UPS forms, and then released her without charge after other students protested her arrest. Further investigations centered on language schools in Yemen, but as of Sunday evening there were no further arrests. That’s essentially all we know so far, but the plot in itself reveals a great deal about the nature of the jihad we’re facing. First, the target: Rabbi Michael R. Zedek of Emanuel Congregation in Chicago said that he had been told that four bombs had been sent to synagogues in Chicago. Zedek had the impression that his Emanuel Congregation was not the jihadists’ specific target, but rather that they had meant to bomb Congregation Or Chadash, a gay-and-lesbian oriented synagogue sharing an address with Emanuel. Rabbi Larry Edwards of Congregation Or Chadash was mystified as to how his synagogue ended up being targeted by Islamic jihadists in Yemen and, apparently, Egypt: someone there recently visited Emanuel Congregation’s website 83 times in a single day. “We’re rather puzzled,” Edwards said, “at how a little congregation like ours would get on the radar as a target for somebody. I’m hoping for more information.” Noting the numerous and suspicious website visits from Egypt, Zedek said: “I think we’re interesting, but not that interesting.”
Six Good Reasons to Vote Republican
I have to agree with all six. ~Bob. Excerpt: Election Day is a scant 24 hours away – which means that it’s almost all over but the shouting. Most Americans long ago decided whom they will support. For those who might be wavering, here are a few reasons why Election 2010 is so important. Tomorrow, I will be voting a straight Republican ticket because: 1. I want to live in an America where economic success is celebrated – not penalized. From President Obama and his Treasury secretary – who actually argued that extending low tax rates for successful small businesses, investors and earners would threaten the economic recovery – to the rest of the Democrats, an anti-business climate has run rampant in Washington over the last two years. A slew of burdensome new regulations, health care and financial “reform,” the GM bailout putting unions’ interests ahead of bond holders’, and the usurpation of the student loan business by the federal government signals a clear animus among Obama/Pelosi Democrats to a robust American economy based on free enterprise. That needs to stop. Businesses that are constantly threatened by new taxes, regulations and other government mandates will not hire new employees – hence our unemployment rate of 9.6% (according to CBS News, the national unemployment and underemployment figures come out to a whopping 17.1%). 2. I want ObamaCare repealed.
Stewart-Colbert "sanity" rally features Yusuf Islam, who called for the murder of Salman Rushdie
Well, he offended Islam. The left doesn’t think that is covered by freedom of Speech, like taxpayer-funded “Piss Christ” is. For leftists, murder of politically-incorrect authors is “sanity.” ~bob. Excerpt: This is an example of the Leftist/Jihadist Alliance, or perhaps of the cluelessness of the Left, or perhaps of its indifference to the freedom of speech that Islamic supremacists wish so ardently to extinguish.