Monday, October 12, 2009

Political Digest October 13, 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.

Another poem in Horowitz’s Blog

Steep Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions
Excerpt: The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees. (But see the next item.)

Dems Push to Expand CRA
Let’s see if we can’t create even a bigger economic meltdown! I’ve read that Bank of America took 29% losses in the $750B it was required to lend to poor people under the CRA. Excerpt: A number of experts believe that aggressive enforcement of the 1970s-era Community Reinvestment Act contributed to the mortgage meltdown, and thus to the greater financial crisis, by requiring financial institutions to lend to unqualified borrowers. Now, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is responding to that situation by proposing to expand the scope and power of the Community Reinvestment Act. This morning House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank held a hearing on H.R. 1479, the "Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009." The bill's purpose is "to close the wealth gap in the United States" by increasing "home ownership and small business ownership for low- and moderate-income borrowers and persons of color." It would extend CRA's strict lending requirements to non-bank institutions like credit unions, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders. It would also make CRA more explicitly race-based by requiring CRA standards to be applied to minorities, regardless of income, going beyond earlier requirements that applied solely to low- and moderate-income areas.

Now the 'Loyal Opposition,' McCain Keeps Pressure on Obama
Excerpt: "I said I don't think we should have a leisurely process," McCain recalled. The president did not respond immediately, but when he was wrapping up the meeting, he came back to what McCain had said. According to several people in the room, Obama said, "John, this won't be leisurely. No one feels more urgency about getting this right." (After all, BO needs some time to replace the bold, comprehensive new strategy he announced in March when he appointed Gen. McC.)

The Real Afghan Lessons From Vietnam
Excerpt: More than 30 years have passed since North Vietnam, in gross violation of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, conquered South Vietnam. That outcome was partly the result of greatly increased logistical support to the North from its communist backers. It was also the result of America's failure to keep its commitments to the South. Those commitments included promises to maintain a robust level of financial support, to replace combat materiel, and even the use of air power to support the South in case of aggression by the North. That failure was the doing of a U.S. Congress that had tired of the country's long involvement in a war in Southeast Asia and cared nothing for the sacrifices of its own armed forces or those of the South Vietnamese people. Since then, whenever America has entered into other military actions abroad or contemplated such commitments, the specter of Vietnam has been raised. It is entirely appropriate that earlier military experiences be examined for such "lessons learned" as they may yield. But it is equally essential that those prior campaigns be accurately understood before any valid comparisons are made. When it comes to the Vietnam War, much skewed or inaccurate commentary has impeded our understanding of that conflict and its outcome. (I’m reading Sorley’s book, A Better War, but it’s taking me a long time. I read a chapter, get angry and put it aside for a few weeks. The lesson for the world is, don’t bet your life on America’s promises to stand beside you, not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, not in Vietnam. Democrats may get control and abandon you to your fate.)

Taliban commander involved in Nuristan attack thought killed
Excerpt: A Taliban commander involved in last week's deadly assault on a joint US and Afghan Army outpost is thought to have been killed during an airstrike. Mullah Abdul Rahman Mostaghni and five of his fighters were killed on Oct. 9, according to the governor of Nuristan province and a senior Afghan Army general. The airstrike was carried out just two miles north of the town of Kamdish. Mostaghni was identified by the governor of Nuristan as the Taliban military commander in Kamdish and the neighboring Bargi Matal district, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. Mostaghni was reviled by local Nuristanis for preying on travelers and convoys transiting the Kunar-Nuristan highway. (Payback’s a Medevac, we used to say.)

How to Sell a War: First, Start to Win
NYT Excerpt: As President Obama recalculates how to fight in Afghanistan, he might bear this in mind: The public has held up an hourglass before every recent wartime president so he can measure its patience. There is only one sure way to stop the sand from running out: Deliver victory, or at least show clear progress toward it. “Public opinion has always been a concern in all of America’s wars, no matter how long or how short, or how noble or how ignoble they were perceived,” said Peter D. Feaver, a professor of political science at Duke University who served on President George W. Bush’s National Security Council. “It is always in play.” Sometimes public opinion can start wars and dictate their speed and course. At other times, wars are forced on a country. But once they are joined, the hunger for progress in battle has to be satisfied.

Weapons jamming
Hey, it does sound like Vietnam!

New Bill Would Raise Rates, Says Insurance Group
Not to worry. BO promised more people will get better care and, except for those pesky rich, we’ll all pay less.

Obama Urged to Intensify Push for Climate Measure
Notice “Global Warming” has morphed into “Climate Change”? Since the climate always changes, they will be right regardless of what happens. Yea! BO will probably get the Nobel Prize for Science next year.

Democrats Unsure, GOP United on Troop Levels
Standing up for America is about more than making speeches about how great you are to the Olympic Committee.

U.S. SENATE SEAT: Two could beat Reid, poll finds
This would be a message.

Short Term Insurance Problem
Excerpt: Now for an unwelcome surprise: None of the health reform bills before Congress actually deals with the problem of the short-term uninsured. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that no one is even seriously thinking about it. One of the amazing features of health policy discussions is how often they initially focus on the uninsured before quickly shifting focus to everybody else. By the time solutions are put on the table, the uninsured typically have been long forgotten.

A dangerous secret to the Baucus health bill
Excerpt: Hidden in the Senate's health-care bill are huge incentives for corporate America to stop covering their workers. If that happens, the deficit could skyrocket.

Cooked books office
Excerpt: Could you make your family budget look good in a ten-year analysis if you counted ten years of income but only seven of expenditures? That’s what the Congressional Budget Office did in their report on Senator Max Baucus’s health care bill.

Disenfranchising Citizens
Excerpt: And that's where the Obama administration's plans for the Census become truly worrisome. The White House has made very clear that their intention is to put extra effort in counting illegal immigrants in the next Census. They want to make sure that all 12 million illegal immigrants are counted, a task that's not easy given the desire of most people illegal in the United States to avoid detection. So the Census Bureau is teaming up with community organizations that can reach out to this population. The bureau had contracted with ACORN to be part of the Census count, until that organization came under heavy criticism after two conservative activists videotaped ACORN workers giving tax advice to what they thought were a pimp and a prostitute. So the bureau has dropped plans to use ACORN but will be using other groups, including Hispanic and immigrant advocacy organizations and the Service Employees International Union. The problem, of course, is that there is enormous potential for a census count that includes illegal immigrants to skew the political process. It will mean some congressional districts will include huge numbers of persons who aren't eligible to vote — and whose elected leaders therefore aren't really democratically accountable. It so happens that many of these districts will elect Democrats, since illegal immigrants often settle in poorer neighborhoods, whose legal residents and citizens tend to vote Democratic. So congressional Democrats and the White House are more than happy to see voting power shift to these new rotten boroughs.

Angry Hispanics mull boycotting 2010 census
Let us encourage these protests.

U.S. Blocks Oil Drilling at 60 Sites in Utah
Helping our friends in Saudi Arabia and Iran fund terror attacks on us.

Racial Profiling?
More Muslim victims.

Site supporting a return to academic freedom

Transsexual in court appeal for breast enlargement
When health care is a “right.” Doesn’t matter to me, anyway, I’m a leg man and hate breast implants in women, but want to bet in 15 years Obamacare will be paying for this with your tax dollars? Excerpt: The legally aided gender dysphoria sufferer, who has been living as a woman for over 10 years, says breast augmentation is essential to her female identity and emotional well-being and the refusal to give her the op amounts to sex discrimination. Her unique test case against the West Berkire Primary Care Trust (PCT), in which the the Equality and Human Rights Commission will also be playing a part, is now set for hearing at the High Court on October 20.

The Peace (Keepers) Prize
Fat chance he’d praise our military and enrage his base. Excerpt: All that said, I hope Mr. Obama will take this instinct a step further when he travels to Oslo on Dec. 10 for the peace prize ceremony. Here is the speech I hope he will give: “Let me begin by thanking the Nobel committee for awarding me this prize, the highest award to which any statesman can aspire. As I said on the day it was announced, ‘I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.’ Therefore, upon reflection, I cannot accept this award on my behalf at all. “But I will accept it on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

The view from Britain
The whole business of a bunch of Scandinavian worthies doling out the profits of a long-gone dynamite maker's fortune has always smacked of the worst sort of self-satisfied plutocratic worthiness. But this takes the biscuit. President Obama remains the barely man of world politics, barely a senator now barely a president, yet in the land of the Euro-weenies (copyright PJ O'Rourke) the great and the good remain in his thrall. To reward him for a blank results sheet, to inflate him when he has no achievements to his name, makes a mockery of what, let's face it, is an already fairly discredited process (remember Rigoberta Menchu in 1992? Ha!). That's not the point. What this does is accelerate the elevation of President Obama to a comedy confection, which he does not deserve, and gives his critics yet another bat to whack him with. Shame on the Norwegians. --London's Daily Telegraph chief political commentator Benedict Brogan. The Patriot Post (

Prize Fools
London Times excerpt: When Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, the satirist Tom Lehrer remarked that he saw no further need to perform as the award had made satire obsolete. By offering the world’s most prestigious political accolade to Barack Obama, a man who has held office for barely nine months, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is in danger of putting the entire comedy industry out of business. The committee has put hope above results, promise above achievement. The prize undermines the selfless triumphs of earlier winners. Indeed, the award’s obvious political intent looks partisan, a signal of European relief at the end of the Bush presidency.

London Times letters to the editor
Sir, After President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, I confidently expect to win next year's literature award for the books I intend one day to write. --The Rev.Dr. J.E.Roulston, Edinburgh

Sir, What is there left to give him when he actually manages to achieve something. --Geoff Watson, Bristol

Double Standard
A pattern has emerged. Liberal citizens and politicians during the Bush years were permitted to speak out against the Iraq war, root for an American defeat, and cheer with the news of each dead American, and they were labeled patriots. An American speaks out against Obama's socialist policies and he is labeled anti-American. A liberal is able to chant anti-Bush slogans and compare him to Hitler and he is exercising his right to free speech. An American questions Obama's judgment both domestically and on the international stage and he is called a racist. I have attempted to point out to liberal friends and family that if they simply took the vast majority of offensive statements, policies, or actions of Obama over the past nine months and imagined them emanating from Bush, they would see the hypocrisy in their stance -- to no avail. They are content to sit back and watch this administration gut the Constitution, usurp power wherever it can find it, ignore the intent of the founders of this country and the successes of the free market economy which helped lead us to the position of the only world's superpower. But they will wake up in a few years to find that their children are not safe from harm's way, their grandchildren will be working off the enormous debt incurred by this government and will never achieve the economic success of their grandparents, and when they need medical care, they will be waiting in line like the Europeans and Canadians who used to turn to the US in times of emergency. Yet they will have their civil rights, for as long as Bush is not the one authorizing the wiretapping of their cell phones, all is good. Another bottle of champagne anyone? --columnist Lauri Regan. The Patriot Post (

Philippines: Jihad against 78-year-old Irish priests
Excerpt: Mindanao Jihad Update. Under Sharia law, non-Muslims may not propagate their religions. Since the imposition of Islamic law is the aim of these jihadists, and of all jihadists, this elderly priest became a target for abduction. "Irish priest seized in Mindanao," from BBC News.

Turkey unilaterally excludes Israel from NATO-sponsored military exercise
Excerpt: ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Turkey excluded Israel from a planned NATO military exercise partly because of Turkey's criticism of Israel's Gaza offensive nearly a year ago, Turkey's foreign minister told CNN on Sunday. The Turkish government decided to change the list of participating countries and exclude Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces. As a result, the NATO exercise was effectively scrapped, although a U.S. embassy representative said it was only postponed.

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