Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Political Digest September 30, 2009

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

The Brainy Bunch by Dr. Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.
Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to over-estimate their own brilliance, more fundamentally they tend to over-estimate how important brilliance itself is when dealing with real world problems. Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so much admired by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government…. Even in a country which suffered none of the wartime destruction that others suffered in the 20th century, Argentina began that century as one of the 10 richest nations in the world-- ahead of France and Germany-- and ended it as such an economic disaster that no one would even compare it to France or Germany. Politically brilliant and charismatic leaders, promoting reckless government spending-- of whom Juan Peron was the most prominent, but by no means alone-- managed to create an economic disaster in a country with an abundance of natural resources and a country that was spared the stresses that wars inflicted on other nations in the 20th century.

U.S. Aims To Isolate Iran if Talks Fail
Excerpt: The Obama administration is laying plans to cut Iran's economic links to the rest of the world if talks this week over the country's nuclear ambitions founder, according to officials and outside experts familiar with the plans. While officials stress that they hope Iran will agree to open its nuclear program to inspection, they are prepared by year's end to make it increasingly difficult for Iranian companies to ship goods around the world. The administration is targeting, in particular, the insurance and reinsurance companies that underwrite the risk of such transactions. (Let us hope for spine, and praise it if shown.)

Defense Bill, Lauded by White House, Contains Billions in Earmarks
Naturally, they start with a Republican earmark. But if you don’t have clean hands on spending, you can’t criticize the Democrats effectively. I notice, however, that they don’t name the legislators who sponsored the bigger ticket items like the C-10s and the destroyer. Hummm. Could they be Democrats? Why doesn’t the Leftstream Media tell us?

Want to be a pundit? Here’s your chance.
Alas, my job doesn’t leave me time to compete.

Time to Act Like a President
Excerpt: Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief. Take last week's Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh. There, the candidate-in-full commandeered the television networks and the leaders of Britain and France to give the Iranians a dramatic warning. Yet another of their secret nuclear facilities had been revealed and Obama, as anyone could see, was determined to do something about it -- just don't ask what.

Saudis Will Let Israel Bomb Iran Nuclear Site
Apparently Jews are one thing, Shi’a with nukes entirely another. Praise Allah.

Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets
Excerpt: Remember the controversy over the Pentagon policy of not allowing the press to take pictures of the flag-draped caskets of American war dead as they arrived in the United States? Critics accused President Bush of trying to hide the terrible human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "These young men and women are heroes," Vice President Biden said in 2004, when he was senator from Delaware. "The idea that they are essentially snuck back into the country under the cover of night so no one can see that their casket has arrived, I just think is wrong." In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third. But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. "It's really fallen off," says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. "The flurry of interest has subsided." (Gee, you don’t think it was just about making Bush look bad, do you?)

Linda Chavez: Immigrants moving briskly to better U.S. lives
Excerpt: Most important, they are about as likely to grow up in two-parent households as whites – 73 percent, compared with 77 percent for whites. They graduate from high school at rates slightly less than non-Hispanic whites (80 percent, compared with 92 percent of whites), but almost half go on to attend college. And those who graduate from college actually earn slightly more than their native-born counterparts. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of Hispanics born in the U.S. to immigrant parents are able to speak English well, which is key to their successful integration into American society. Contrary to the impression that Hispanics remain poor no matter how long they've lived in the U.S., upward mobility is still the rule, not the exception. Twice as many third-generation Hispanics live in households with incomes of more than $75,000 a year (nearly one-third of all third-generation Hispanics do so) than live in households with incomes less than $25,000 a year. The one worrisome trend among American-born Hispanics is the same demographic trend that plagues African-Americans and growing numbers of poor whites: rising out-of-wedlock births and an increasing number of children who grow up in female-headed households.

Pounding the table: Healthcare and the race card
Excerpt: There's an old adage popular among lawyers: If your case is weak on the law, pound the facts. If it's weak on the facts, pound the law. If your case is weak on the facts and the law, pound the table. Democrats—frustrated by the public's resistance to their grand scheme to federalize health care and desperate to discredit legitimate opposition by changing the terms of the debate—are pounding the table, invoking allegations of racism as the motivation for the opposition.

New poll: ObamaCare less popular than ever
Excerpt: Rasmussen Reports has a poll out today showing opposition to President Obama's health plan at 56 percent, and support at 41 percent. That's the lowest level of support so far this year. (Note to Blue Dogs: Vote yes for early retirement.)

Senate Panel Votes Down Second 'Public Option' Amendment
Excerpt: The Senate Finance Committee voted twice Tuesday against the creation of a new government-run health insurance plan. The panel rejected a proposal from Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W. Va.) on a 15 to 8 vote, then voted down one sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on a 13 to 10 vote.

Bidding for the Olympics, Chicago-style
Excerpt: Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and the man tasked with finding a winning strategy for the war there, has talked with President Obama exactly once in more than two months. Federal officials have made one arrest in what they describe as the most dangerous terrorist plot in the U.S. since 9/11, and they have only started unraveling the conspiracy. Years before previously expected, Social Security is about to run out of money to cover the monthly checks that millions of senior and disabled Americans depend on to make ends meet. Unemployment is nearing 10 percent nationwide and has reached its highest mark since World War II among younger Americans, 52 percent. As many as 80,000 people in California's Central Valley are out of work in part because of federal environmental policies that make fish more important than people. These are only a few of the most important crises facing the nation today. And where is our president? He is in Copenhagen, Denmark, to deliver a sales pitch for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics.

U.S. Envoy's Outreach to Sudan Is Criticized as Naïve
Excerpt: "We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who was appointed in March. "Kids, countries -- they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement." (Cookies. The secret weapon for winning the war on terror.)

Germany takes a right turn
Excerpt: On Sunday, German voters elected their most business-friendly, pro-American government in decades. Angela Merkel -- the leading grown-up on the world stage -- returns as chancellor. Merkel's Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union (her party's Bavarian branch) actually lost a few seats, but the pro-business, Washington-friendly Free Democrats roared back to life and more than made up the difference. On the other hand, the Social Democrats -- Germany's establishment lefties -- took their worst beating in post-war history. The hard-left Greens fell, too. Only the nut-case Left Party gained a bit of ground, thanks to protest votes. Moscow's unhappy, but resigned. The Kremlin misses former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who did all he could to save Saddam, put Russia's interests above Germany's own -- and then went to work for a Russian energy company after leaving office. Turkey's angry. No-nonsense Merkel's no multicultural mama. She doesn't want the Middle East dragged inside the EU. President Obama may believe that Islam shaped America, but Merkel -- a Lutheran pastor's daughter who, as a teenager in East Germany, chose her faith over Communist Party privileges -- realizes that Germany's had enough trouble without dragging Mohammed into things. And her German supporters are sick of being told they have to indulge Muslim immigrants who behave barbarically.

Malaysia upholds woman's caning
Excerpt: An Islamic court in Malaysia has upheld a sentence of six strokes of the cane handed to a Muslim woman who was caught drinking beer in public. The court appeals panel in Pahang state ruled the sentence on 32-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was just….Shukarno, a mother of two, (and former model) was arrested for drinking beer in a beachfront hotel in December 2007. She previously asked that her punishment be carried out in public, triggering a debate over the use of Islamic laws in the moderate Muslim country. (Ah, those moderate, tolerant Muslims.)

Is This Any Way To Fight A War?
Excerpt: Muslim terrorist Zazi was planning to kill on the eighth anniversary of 9/11. He and his fellow jihadis bought chemicals in beauty-supply stores to make bombs like the ones that killed hundreds in London in 2005 and Madrid in 2004. Twenty-four others were allegedly involved in the plot. A New York imam -- one who worked as an informant for the FBI -- tipped off Zazi that police were asking about him. Got that? The imam demonstrated where his loyalty lied: shariah (Islamic law), not American rule of law. His allegiance was to jihad and the murder of infidels. The city went into serious lockdown mode. While Ray Kelly was advising nervous New Yorkers about a possible Islamic attack, Barack Obama was speechifying at the UN but not talking about that very real threat at all. While the bomb-sniffing dogs and frantic actions by New York Police showed what the real threat was, Obama had a very different mortal threat to the nation in mind. He wasn't talking about the "irreversible catastrophe" that would come to New York City and the entire nation if these Muslim terrorists succeeded in their attack plots. He had nothing at all to say about the prospect of thousands of people being murdered by Islamic jihadists at a baseball or football game. No, in the upside-down world of Barack Obama's America, Dear Leader was in New York City talking about what he thought was the greatest threat to Americans and to future generations. Not Islamic terror attack, not nuclear holocaust from Iran, but global warming. "We understand the gravity of the climate threat," Obama said. It was about the climate threat that he said, "we are determined to act" and that we would "meet our responsibility to future generations." Not jihad. Not the inevitable nuclear holocaust. Not about what brought New York City to lockdown. Not about what brought New York City to its present state of controlled chaos. Global warming.

Brown turns to crime as Labour falls to third place for first time in 27 years
A leftie turning to crime. Amazing. And Brits turn away from the left.

Roman Polanski, George Orwell and Salvador Dali
Good essay on artists being exempt from moral laws. And I’d think it extends to other celebrities as well, who seem to get a pass on behavior that would condemn the average person to a ruined life. Yes, I’m thinking of Ted kennedy. And dooes the media give a pass to black politicians on corruption, for fear of being accused of racism by the black community.

L.A. Is Not 'Chinatown'
Excerpt: It's ironic that Polanski's career took off with 1974's "Chinatown," a film about moneyed interests corrupting Los Angeles criminal justice system. Polanski's villain was an older man with moneybags and taste for a young thing. Now his fans advocate special treatment -- the evasion of punishment for the new-money maven who could afford to jet off to France to avoid punishment -- while the full weight of the law falls on those without his money.

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