Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Political Digest for January 18, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Excerpt: Tomorrow (Tuesday) night the House of Representatives will debate the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), what many call “ObamaCare.” Some critics complain that this is a futile exercise because there is little chance of short-term success. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. At the time of its passage, most members of Congress had no idea what was in the ACA. Nancy Pelosi was more correct than she realized when she said, “We have to pass it to see what’s in it.” Even now, we don’t know half of “what’s in it,” but we know enough to have an intelligent debate. Ideally, tomorrow night’s proceedings will be educational — in a way that the debate last spring was not. In anticipation of the event, representatives from the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the American Action Forum will conduct a briefing on Capitol Hill tomorrow at noon. Our goal: to discuss ten structural flaws in the Affordable Care Act. We believe each of these is so potentially damaging, Congress will have to resort to major corrective action even if the critics of the ACA are not involved. Further, each must be addressed in any new attempt to create workable health care reform.

The End of the “Individual Mandate” Is Not the End of Obamacare
Excerpt: U.S. District judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that the interstate commerce clause has no power to compel individuals to buy policies from private health insurers. Unfortunately judge Hudson also found that this clause was severable from the legislation, leaving the rest of Obamacare intact. Despite this outcome, many believe that the elimination of the individual mandate must lead to the downfall of Obamacare. According to this line of thinking, if the government outlaws actuarially accurate premiums, by forbidding insurers from taking account of pre-existing conditions, people will just wait until they get sick to apply for health insurance. This is precisely what happened in a number of states, such as New York, when they imposed these limits on the market for individual health insurance. Premiums skyrocketed and only older and sicker people bought coverage. Such a “market” cannot survive. Unfortunately, this will not be the case with Obamacare. Once the political class expresses a sentiment for “universal coverage” it will assert control of people’s access to medical care irrespective of an individual mandate. The actual mechanism is a “death spiral” of taxation and subsidy. The individual mandate is really just a marketing gimmick to sell the erroneous notion that “universal” coverage has something to do with individual responsibility. As the argument goes: “If you get hurt and go to the hospital, why should taxpayers be forced to shoulder your bills?”

Can We Stop Calling Them 'Consumer Protections' Now?
Excerpt: Supporters of the health law are lamenting how the nickname "ObamaCare" has achieved wider purchase than the law's official title. More egregious, though, is how supporters have successfully misbranded ObamaCare’s health insurance regulations as "consumer protections." In anticipation of the (now-postponed) House vote to repeal ObamaCare, for example, three Obama cabinet officials last week warned House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, about the consequences of eliminating the law's "consumer protections." Major media outlets routinely play along. The New York Times reports, "Many of the law's consumer protections take effect [January 1]. Health plans generally must allow adult children up to age 26 to stay on their parents' policies and cannot charge co-payments for preventive services or impose a lifetime limit on benefits. Other "consumer protections" already in place limit the percentage of revenues insurers can spend on administrative expenses and prohibit them from turning away children with pre-existing conditions. Who could object to such rules? As it happens, an awful lot of people.

Are politicians serious about spending cuts?
Excerpt: The debt picture is dismal, too. We are heading into Greece's territory. Are we doomed? Not necessarily. Economist David R. Henderson points out that our neighbors to the north faced a similar crisis. In 1994, the debt that Canada owed to investors was 67 percent of GDP. Today, it's less than 30 percent. What did Canada do? It cut spending from 17.5 percent of GDP to 11.3 percent. This wasn't merely a cut in the growth of spending, a favorite trick of congressional committees. These were actual reductions in absolute spending. "If a cabinet minister wanted a smaller cut in one program, he had to come up with a bigger cut in another program," writes Henderson in "Canada's Budget Triumph," published by the Mercatus Center. All but one of Canada's 22 federal departments experienced real cuts in spending. While Canada raised taxes slightly, spending was cut six to seven times more. These supposedly painful cuts didn't cause terrible pain. In fact, there was much more gain than pain. Unemployment dropped, the economy boomed, and the Canadian dollar -- then worth about 71 cents U.S. -- today is about equal to the American dollar.

The Economy in 2011: Liftoff or Cold Shower?
Excerpt: The extra fiscal stimulus from the tax cuts late in 2010 could produce a 4 percent growth rate for the first half of 2011--a sharp turnaround from December's gloomy news on US employment. However, China's overheating and Europe's sovereign-debt crisis continue to threaten the global recovery. In addition, four risks could make liftoff difficult for the US economy: hostility in the new Congress to additional fiscal stimulus; higher energy costs, which could offset the boost from the payroll tax cut; a housing sector under heavy stress; and fiscal drag from state and local governments as the federal stimulus wears off. We have already fired the economic and monetary stimulus guns for the second time. If these measures fail to provide liftoff, we could face a cold shower in 2012.

Lawmakers fear Hezbollah upper hand in Lebanon
Excerpt: Lawmakers are sounding alarms about the potential takeover of Lebanon by Hezbollah, and are urging the White House to take steps to try to prevent such a scenario from becoming a reality. One Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), said he is "very frightened" about the possibility of war breaking out in the Middle East as allies of Iran circle Israel in this latest development.

The Shadow of the Sixties
Excerpt: Precisely the same sort of breakdown occurred in the Sixties, and although the causes were very different, the consequences as measured by public divisiveness and anxieties were as great or greater. "The country was more divided than at any time since 1861, just before the Civil War," says historian Allen Matusow of Rice University, author of the acclaimed Sixties' history "The Unraveling of America." About two-thirds of Americans, born in 1960 or later, are too young to have a first-hand memory of the Sixties' convulsions. Even for many who lived it, the Sixties have become a historical cartoon -- hippies, drugs and anti-war protests. What's forgotten is the era's deep public and private acrimony. Conflict isn't always bad. The civil rights protests early in the decade produced the most significant legislation of the post-World War II era: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination in employment and public accommodations. But beginning with President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963 and ending with Richard Nixon's resignation in August 1974 -- the real bookends for the historical Sixties -- Americans were increasingly traumatized by events that, at the time, were unthinkable.

The Times Loses It
Excerpt: It was a weekend of great sorrow. On Saturday, January 8, an insane young man tried to kill Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, injuring her horribly. The man then fired his gun into a small political gathering, murdering a nine-year-old girl, a federal judge, a congressional staffer, and three of Giffords’s constituents. Thirteen other people were wounded. In the midst of life we are in death. There is, in this world, no making sense of such events. Among the worldly, however, there is a temptation to make nonsense. Thus it was that on Sunday, January 9, the New York Times provided a further grief, much less important than the death and mutilation of innocents but shameful nonetheless.

Excerpt: Is America really going to allow Hu Jintao (and those like him) to run the world? Every day, it seems, China (and communist / fascist dictatorships in general) grows wealthier while America grows weaker. With respect to America's foreign policy, it's hard to understand why so many people seem to lose sight of one simple fact -- Real wealth is based on real assets. Real wealth is not based on the quantity of "official paper" amassed. Real assets equal land, natural resources, industrial resources, distribution chain, technology resources, capable human resources, intelligence, available market and market control. 

Lies, Damned Lies and BBC 'Climate Change' reporting
Excerpt from COMMENT by Hostile Logic: When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, an ambitious young reporter, none other than Dan Rather, was behind a report that children in a Dallas school cheered a PA announcement that Kennedy had been shot. In fact, these children cheered the PA announcement because the only thing that was announced was that they were being sent home early. At that point, these children knew absolutely nothing about Kennedy’s assassination by a crazed Progressive. But that malicious lie is still being circulated today by Progressives. You can read a detailed account of this and how it has been given fresh coverage by a top Progressive Talk Show host (Ed Schultz) at http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jack-coleman/2011/01/16/liberal-radio-hostlawyer-perpetuates-slander-dallas-schoolchildren-che This is just one example of the depravity we face. Keeping everything in perspective is vitally important. We can do this by remembering that Progressivism was responsible for the murders of about 135 million people in the former Soviet Union and China alone in the 20th century.

China Calls U.S. Currency 'Product of the Past'
Excerpt: Chinese President Hu Jintao emphasized the need for cooperation with the U.S. in areas from new energy to space ahead of his visit to Washington this week, but he called the present U.S. dollar-dominated currency system a "product of the past" and highlighted moves to turn the yuan into a global currency.

The Great ‘Climate Change’ Taxpayer Rip-Off of 2011
Excerpt: It helps to understand how obscene this is if you pause to consider (1) there is not one thing anyone can do about climate change, (2) climate change has been researched and studied since the late 1980s, producing enough reports to fill an entire wing of the Library of Congress, and (3) the only climate change Americans really need to know about is what the weather will be tomorrow. (...) The magic number is $2,481,000, and it represents specific amounts devoted to "climate change" research or other programs requested for the 2011 budgets by an alphabet soup of federal agencies that include the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Department of Energy (DOE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The figures cited all come from chapter 15 of the AAAS report and you can access it via Climatequotes.com.

A Predictable Tragedy in Arizona
I recall attending meetings of the local Mental Health Association in the 1970s. The president, a psychiatrist, was almost drooling over the funding they would have for their local outpatient programs—his programs—once they got Gardner State (Mental) Hospital closed. I warned that the funding wouldn’t automatically come to them, but was brushed aside—what did I know? I was only the local State Senator. In a few years I was attending meetings of angry constituents about former GSH patients wandering the streets, untreated, posing a danger to citizens. ~Bob. Excerpt: The killing of six people in Tucson is one more sad episode in an ongoing series of tragedies that should not be happening. The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is reported to have had symptoms associated with schizophrenia—incoherent thought processes, delusional ideas, erratic behavior—and almost certainly was seriously mentally ill and untreated. The fact that he was barred from his college until he was evaluated by a psychiatrist would appear to confirm the nature of the problem. The truth is that these tragedies are happening every day throughout the United States. The only reason this episode has received widespread publicity is because there were multiple victims and one victim was a member of Congress. Such senseless killings have become increasingly common over the past 30 years, starting in about 1980, when Allard Lowenstein, coincidentally a former congressman, was killed by Dennis Sweeney. Sweeney was a young man with untreated schizophrenia who had been Lowenstein's protégé in the civil rights movement. Congress was also prominently involved in 1998, when Russell Weston, who also had untreated schizophrenia, killed two policemen while trying to shoot his way into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. These tragedies are the inevitable outcome of five decades of failed mental-health policies. During the 1960s, we began to empty the state mental hospitals but failed to put in place programs to ensure that the released patients received treatment after they left. By the 1980s, the results were evident—increasing numbers of seriously mentally ill persons among the homeless population and in the nation's jails and prisons. Over the past three decades, things have only gotten worse. A 2007 study by the U.S. Justice Department found that 56% of state prisoners, 45% of federal prisoners, and 64% of local jail inmates suffer from mental illnesses.

Al-Qaeda, Wikileaks, and the War on Terror
Excerpt: For all intelligence collectors, however, the Holy Grail is to recruit a source that can provide complete copies of official classified documents. I spent a career recruiting foreign spies who I pushed to provide me with this exact type of documentary intelligence, and this is precisely the kind of intelligence that PFC Bradley Manning provided to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. To put the volume of intelligence displayed on Wikileaks in perspective, in the war on terror, every time we capture an al-Qaeda lap top computer that contains a couple hundred tactical documents, our officials declare that we’ve uncovered a “treasure trove” of intelligence that will severely impact al-Qaeda and be a boon to our understanding of how the organization operates. Now compare this to the 260,000 official State Department cables revealing both tactical and strategic policies by documenting specific conversations between foreign leaders and senior American officials such as the president’s national security advisors and military leaders like General David Petraeus, and you get a perspective on this truly massive hemorrhage.

The Name of Their Game is Chaos
Excerpt: In the Alinsky model, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution”… The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted…. Toward that end, [the people] will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal “changes” are needed….For several years Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method. It should be more than a little disturbing that Alinsky dedicated his famous manual, Rules for Radicals, to none other than… Satan! Here it is, word for word: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” Lucifer, so admired by Alinsky (who, in turn, is admired by Obama) is, as Jews and Christians know, the bringer of chaos, confusion, lies, destruction and murder — all the things that humanity descends into when it rejects the living God.

Many Russians here aligning with Republicans
Excerpt: Many Russian immigrants to the "red borough" of Staten Island are flocking to the Republican Party, saying that the national Democrats' "socialistic" policies remind them too much of the top-down oligarchy they fled in their native land. With many of the borough's Russian arrivees already owning businesses and active in civic organizations, their muscle could help the Island GOP solidify electoral gains made this year, when the party took back congressional and Assembly seats.

Next on The GOP Agenda--Dealing With Bankrupt Cities and States
Excerpt: Municipal bond defaults and state and local government bankruptcies go hand-in-hand. This danger was identified months ago, by Meredith Whitney, in a report "Tragedy of the Commons: Launching Ratings on the Top 15 States". The report's premise is that some state governments will soon have difficulty funding transfers to local governments, and, given current out-of-control spending, approximately 100 municipalities will likely default. On a scale of one to ten, we should count this threat as a level 10 problem and start ringing the alarms. Municipalities rely heavily on property and sales taxes to operate. But, with the currently high unemployment, with the housing market under water and the number of foreclosures continuing to grow, the sources municipal revenue are shrinking while spending continues to grow…. Instead, it is a safe bet that at the 11th hour, when the threat of municipal and state bond defaults is imminent, California will come to the federal government and seek a bailout of almost $1 trillion. After all, this ploy worked before, as much of the Obama stimulus money went to support those states that have been most fiscally irresponsible.

U.S. combat vet feels used in Laos coup sting
Excerpt: Lt. Col. Harrison Jack won two Bronze Stars leading teams of U.S. Army Rangers into fierce combat in Vietnam. Last week he erupted in tears after surviving the toughest battle of his life. The U.S. government, whose uniform Jack wore proudly for 30 years, had branded him a terrorist, charging him and 11 other defendants with plotting the violent overthrow of communist Laos. If convicted, the West Point graduate from Woodland would have spent the rest of his life in prison. In an exclusive interview at the office of his lawyer, Federal Public Defender Dan Broderick, Jack, 64, explained how what began as an effort to liberate Hmong trapped in communist Laos became an international terrorism case. The charges that had hung over Jack for 1,315 days were dropped against all defendants last week "in the interests of justice," said Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. (Lt. Col. Harrison Jack may be a hero, but must be very naive for trying to buy AK-47s here in the US and now wants to blame someone else for his stupidity. –Mike. Which is not to say that destroying the murdering Communist regime there—or anywhere—isn’t a worthy goal. ~Bob.)

Inspire Issue 4: An Open Front Jihad
Gee, I thought poverty caused Jihad? ~Bob. Excerpt: Two westerners who gave up seemingly comfortable lives to wage terrorist attacks are singled out for praise in the latest issue of Inspire, al-Qaida's English-language magazine. Though he killed only himself, Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdaly, responsible for the first suicide bombing in Sweden, is hailed as a hero. "Living a comfortable life, and married with children, didn't stop Taimour Abdulwahhab al-Abdaly from responding to the call of Jihad," an item in the magazine's "News Flash" section says. "The iron fist of jihad is more apparent than ever in the midst of the disbelievers [kuffar]. Similarly, Roshanara Chaudry is hailed for her stabbing attack on a British MP last year because he supported the Iraq war. She was sentenced to life in prison in November, but "did not throw away her life for nothing as the enemies of Allah have suggested," another article says. "A woman has shown to the ummah's men the path of jihad! A woman my brothers! Shame on all the men for sitting on their hands while one of our women has taken up the individual jihad! She felt the need to do it simply because our men gave all too many excuses to refrain from it."

Did Hillary Clinton help bring down Tunisia's Ben Ali?
Excerpt: Over the last two years the Obama administration has rightly been excoriated for ignoring human rights issues throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East. The White House gave a free pass to allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that the Bush team had pressed for reforms. The adversaries that the previous administration sought to isolate like Syria, which locked up its own dissidents while murdering Lebanese activists, Obama wanted to engage. But Thursday afternoon in Doha Secretary Clinton fired a shot across the bow of the Arab political order.

Off-shore drilling bans, delays cost government revenue
It’s only money. Paper and ink are cheap—they can print more. ~Bob. Excerpt: Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue that could help close the federal deficit is being lost as a result of President Obama’s anti-drilling agenda. Production in the Gulf of Mexico – which normally accounts for about 30 percent of all U.S. production - is expected to drop this year by 220,000 barrels per day, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With oil currently at $90 a barrel and the royalty rate at 18.75 percent, that equals $3.7 million in lost revenue each day. If the agency projections hold over the course of the year, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion from Gulf royalty payments this year.

Tick, tick, tick: The cost of Obamacare is a time bomb
Excerpt: In fighting against Obamacare repeal this week, Democrats portray their health care law as a money saver, claiming Republicans would add to the deficit by abolishing the legislation. But in their franker moments, the bill's authors admit that "reform" could be something of a time bomb that will cause exploding health care costs down the line. One top Senate aide plainly stated last summer, "This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill." The time-bomb nature of Obamacare was presaged by Mitt Romney's health care bill in Massachusetts, which also expanded health insurance coverage by mandating that all individuals buy insurance, prohibiting insurers from dropping customers, and subsidizing the insurance of those with difficulty affording it.
Obama's EPA devotes another $7 million to 'environmental justice' campaign
Excerpt: Not even sure what the "Environmental Justice" noted in the headline above might be about? It's likely that neither are most other Americans but that doesn't prevent President Obama's EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, from sending $7 million of the taxpayers' money to dozens of groups mounting academic and propaganda campaigns organized around that theme. Judicial Watch reports that Jackson's agency announced late last week that the $7 million will be awarded "to study how pollution, combined with stress and other social factors, affects people in 'poor and under-served communities.' The agency refers to it as cumulative human health risk assessment research and the goal is to rid under-served communities of extensive pollution-based problems." 9Just another name for tax dollars to pay off supporters. ~Bob.)


  1. TM...thanks for the email. I think I came across a comment today that pretty much encapsulates our banker owned government and provides the solution. Brought to you commercial free here...