Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Political Digest October 14, 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.

Senate panel OKs middle-of-the-road health plan
Excerpt: The Finance Committee's top Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, gave voice to the GOP's concerns about the bill, saying it was "moving on a slippery slope to more and more government control of health care." "There's a lot in this bill that's just a consensus that needs to be done, but there are other provisions of this bill that raise a lot of questions," Grassley said, contending the legislation would mean higher costs for Americans.

Democrat Congressman Calls Disabled Marine "White Trash"
Excerpt: Welcome to the new age of Democrat civility. We have Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer comparing Republicans to the Taliban. We have Democrat Congressman Alan "Dick" Grayson comparing Republicans to Nazis. We have Democrat Congressman Brian Baird calling Tea-Party Patriots "brownshirts." We have the Democrat House Leadership calling critics of their Health Care Program "Un-American." Add to this hall of shame Democrat Congressman Dennis Moore, (D-KS), who referred to his Republic challenger --- a Marine Veteran who lost his leg to an IED in Iraq --- as "white trash."

Tort Reform Could Save $54 Billion, CBO Says
Wanna bet this is one area where BO and the League of Leftwing Lawyers who run congress aren’t interested in saving you money on health care? Excerpt: Congressional budget analysts said Friday that lawmakers could save as much as $54 billion over the next decade by imposing an array of new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits -- 10 times more than previously estimated. New research shows that legal reforms would not only lower malpractice insurance premiums for medical providers, but also would spur providers to save money by ordering fewer tests and procedures aimed primarily at defending their decisions in court, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). The CBO report lends credence to Republican arguments that substantive limits on malpractice lawsuits will reduce health-care costs. However, President Obama opposes one of the chief proposed changes the CBO studied, caps on jury awards, and analysts give the measures little chance of passage.

At Dole's Request, White House Tells DNC to Pull Health Care Reform Ad
Excerpt: The Democratic National Committee has agreed to pull a TV ad featuring former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., following objections Dole conveyed to the White House that the ad twists his support for a bipartisan compromise for health care reform legislation into something else entirely. The ad, which was set to launch Monday, features Dole and other Republican former officials advocating in general terms for health care reform. Dole is quoted saying, "I want this to pass. ... We've got to do something," and the ad attempts to contrast that attitude with that of current GOP congressional leaders, which the DNC describes as "siding with the insurance companies and just saying no to insurance reform." "I wish they hadn't done it," Dole said of the DNC ad in a phone interview with ABC News on Sunday afternoon, saying that the ad's depiction of current GOP leaders "is just not my view."

Magic Numbers in Politics by Dr. Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Our current economic meltdown results from the federal government, under both Democrats and Republicans, declaring home ownership to be a "good thing" and treating the percentage of families who own their own home as if it was some sort of magic number that had to be kept growing-- without regard to the repercussions on other things. We are now living with those repercussions, which include the worst unemployment in decades. That is the price we are paying for increasing home ownership from 64 percent to 69 percent. How did we get from home ownership to 15 million unemployed Americans? By ignoring the fact that there was a reason why only 64 percent of families owned their own home. More people would have liked to be home owners but did not qualify under mortgage lending standards that had been in place for decades. Politicians to the rescue: Federal regulatory agencies leaned on banks to lend to people they were not lending to before-- or else. The "or else" included not having their business decisions approved by the regulators, which could cost them more money than making risky loans. Mortgage lending standards were lowered, in order to raise the magic number of home ownership. But, with lower lending standards, there were-- surprise!-- more mortgage payment delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures…. The other big lie is that this was a failure of economists and others to foresee that the housing boom would turn to bust and set off financial repercussions across the economy. In reality, everybody and his brother saw it coming and said so-- including yours truly in the Wall Street Journal of May 26, 2005. As far away as London, The Economist magazine warned about the danger. So did many American publications and individuals. The problem was that politicians refused to listen. They were fixated on the magic number of home ownership and oblivious to the economic interconnections that Russian economists saw long ago and from far away.

The withering of free speech
Excerpt: Why is this relevant to Americans? Because the superficial fluffily benign language of multiculturalism that comes so naturally to our rulers provides a lot of cover for the shriveling of free speech: See, for instance, what the administration and its chums in Cairo (that bastion of liberty) have recently been up to at the disgusting U.N. Human Rights Council. The indefatigable Anne Bayefsky is one of the few journalists even following this story. But I was struck by something Dennis Miller said to me on the radio the other day: I think if Obama had the chance to put something like Canada's Human Rights Commissions down here, he'd do it tomorrow. As Canadians have discovered, liberty is lost very quietly and quickly. And trying to get it back is slow and painful — particularly at a time when artists, universities, publishers, and others who congratulate themselves incessantly on their truth-telling courage find increasingly pre-emptive self-censorship the better part of valor.

Support Troops Swelling U.S. Force in Afghanistan
Ah, the LBJ Piecemeal Strategy! Excerpt: President Obama announced in March that he would be sending 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But in an unannounced move, the White House has also authorized -- and the Pentagon is deploying -- at least 13,000 troops beyond that number, according to defense officials. The additional troops are primarily support forces, including engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police. Their deployment has received little mention by officials at the Pentagon and the White House, who have spoken more publicly about the combat troops who have been sent to Afghanistan. The deployment of the support troops to Afghanistan brings the total increase approved by Obama to 34,000. The buildup has raised the number of U.S. troops deployed to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan above the peak during the Iraq "surge" that President George W. Bush ordered, officials said. The deployment does not change the maximum number of service members expected to soon be in Afghanistan: 68,000, more than double the number there when Bush left office. Still, it suggests that a significant number of support troops, in addition to combat forces, would be needed to meet commanders' demands. It also underscores the growing strain on U.S. ground troops, raising practical questions about how the Army and Marine Corps would meet a request from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

As Panel Votes Today, Democrats Look Ahead
Say, if we cut open the goose, we can get ALL the golden eggs! Excerpt: The two chambers disagree on how to pay for the legislation, with the Senate preferring a tax on high-value insurance policies as the main revenue-producing measure, and the House a surcharge on millionaires.

An administration of radicals
Excerpt: We know that "safe schools czar" and "Queering Elementary Education" essayist Kevin Jennings failed to oppose homosexual man-boy relationships and that science czar John Holdren has written, without objection, that "laws requiring compulsory abortion could be sustained under the existing Constitution." We know that one-time Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle had to withdraw because of a failure to pay his taxes. But what has not been adequately tallied is how many of President Obama's nominees and appointees are radical or just plain embarrassing. When radicalism and ethical shortcomings reach such a critical mass, it's time to broadcast the dishonor roll. Therefore, in addition to Mr. Jennings, Mr. Holdren and Mr. Daschle, please consider the ramifications of an administration manned by the likes of the following. (Didn’t BO say we should judge him by the people he has around him?)

Taking the National Debt Seriously
Excerpt: If you think those town hall meetings over health care were fierce, wait until Americans come to understand the threat to our national financial survival posed by the interest on the government's credit card. When the government spends more than its revenue, there is a budget deficit. These deficits are paid for by Washington selling interest bearing Treasury securities. If the government were ever to default on its promise to pay periodic interest payments or to repay the debt at maturity, the United States economy would plunge into a level of chaos that would make the Lehman bankruptcy look like a nonevent. It is the interest on the national debt that makes our future unstable. The exploding size of that burden suggests that, short of devaluing the dollar and taking a large bite out of the middle class through inflation and taxation, there is no way to ever pay down that bill. As of Sept. 30, 2009, the national debt was almost $12 trillion and interest on that debt was $383 billion for the year, according to the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt. The Congressional Budget Office on Oct. 7 estimated the 2009 budget deficit to be almost $1.4 trillion (about 10% of GDP). In August, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated total government revenues at about $2 trillion. The revenue estimate included $904 billion from individual income taxes. This means the cost of interest on the debt represented more than 40 cents of every dollar that came in from individual income taxes.

What Happened to Global Warming?
Excerpt: "What happened to global warming?" read the headline -- on BBC News on Oct. 9, no less. Consider it a cataclysmic event: Mainstream news organizations have begun reporting on scientific research that suggests that global warming may not be caused by man and may not be as dire and eminent as alarmists suggest….At a London conference later this month, Hudson reported, solar scientist Piers Corbyn will present evidence that solar-charged particles have a big impact on global temperatures. Western Washington University geologist Don J. Easterbrook presented research last year that suggests that the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) caused warmer temperatures in the 1980s and 1990s. With Pacific sea surface temperatures cooling, Easterbrook expects 30 years of global cooling. EPA analyst Alan Carlin -- an MIT-trained economist with a degree in physics -- referred to "solar variability" and Easterbrook's work in a document that warned that politics had prompted the EPA and other countries to pay "too little attention to the science of global warming" as partisans ignored the lack of global warming over the last 10 years. At first, the EPA buried the paper, then it permitted Carlin to post it on his personal Web site.

Can Obama Rise to Harding's Level?
Interesting forgotten history. Excerpt: When Harding took office in 1921, the U.S. economy was in a far worse depression than President Obama inherited. A savage inflation had eroded buying power and unemployment stood at 20 percent. The U.S. had suffered more than 116,000 dead and 205,000 wounded in the war. Additionally, 650,000 mostly young and productive Americans had been killed by the Spanish flu. Between 1920 and 1921, GDP had declined 24 percent from $91.5 billion to $69.6 billion. Civil liberties had been trampled under the Wilson administration. Wilson had jailed socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, for example, for opposing the U.S. role in World War I. "With the exception of Lincoln," wrote The Nation magazine, "probably no president in our national history has taken office with as pressing a burden of unresolved questions." With advice from Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, President Harding set about reducing the government's role in the economy. He cut federal spending from the bloated Wilsonian level of $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921, and then to $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes were cut from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922. Unlike his Commerce Secretary, Herbert Hoover, an enthusiast of government intervention in the economy who pushed for a Conference on Unemployment, Harding believed that "we need vastly more freedom than we do regulation." Harding, a Republican, not only pardoned and freed the socialist Eugene Debs, who had been prosecuted by the Democrat Wilson; he invited Debs to the White House.

If Obama Had Told Us Before His Election
Excerpt: If Barack Obama had campaigned on what he has actually done in his first 300 days in office, would he have been elected? That's the question so many are asking today. If Obama had told us he would appoint 34 czars, reporting only to himself and not vetted or confirmed in the constitutional way, building a powerful unitary executive branch of government, would he have been elected? What if he had told us that his green jobs czar had been a Communist, that the science czar wrote in a college textbook that compulsory "green abortions" are an acceptable way to control population growth and that the diversity czar has spoken publicly of getting white media executives to "step down" in favor of minorities?

BO to destabilize Pakistan?
Excerpt: The ineptitude of this administration as it wages foreign policy knows no bounds. What makes it all the more disturbing is that the Obama administration is beginning to engage in an official effort to destabilize the government of Pakistan and potentially foment a civil war there. On egg shells ever since Musharraf’s resignation as President and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, USA Today has obtained a confidential State Department memo outlining how the administration intends to escalate Pakistan’s descent into chaos.

Commander says Camp Pendleton's force is prevailing over Taliban
Excerpt: The 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is now in its fifth month of operations in the Nawa district, an agricultural region of about 180,000 people along the Helmand River that was largely under Taliban control when the Marines arrived this spring. While U.S. officials paint a portrait of increasingly deteriorating conditions, Lt. Col. William McCollough draws a different picture of what's occurred in his "battle space" in the volatile southern Afghanistan province. "We are very far removed from the debate that is taking place," McCollough said Monday during an exclusive interview with the North County Times via satellite telephone. "All we can do is the mission that we have been given, and what I know very clearly is that we are winning here. The things we set out to do are being accomplished every day.” Among those accomplishments is making the district secure enough for its first council election in years to be conducted. (Washington weenies talk, Marines do and die.)

"You cannot kill a Muslim because he killed a Christian"
Shari’a Law—coming soon to a multicultural country near you. Excerpt: "The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim." -- 'Umdat al-Salik, o4.9 "Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution...Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non-Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non-Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash....Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim...then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain...Again, the penalties of a non-Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed....Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them." -- Sultanhussein Tabandeh, A Muslim Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Nobel Surprise
Interesting take in the liberal New Yorker.

Petition to execute a cop killer

Schwarzenegger signs ammunition sales bill
Big brother has a German accent.

Reid Unveils ‘Trojan Horse’ Bill to Contain Health Reform
Good, short satire.

Yesterday, October 11, was time to celebrate the 1,277th anniversary of the Battle of Tours in 732 AD, when Charles Martel (686-741), forever known as The Hammer, and his 30,000 Christian soldiers crushed an invading horde of 200,000 Moslem Jihadis in what is now central France. As Gibbon noted, had the Moslems won that day, all of Europe would have been Islamized and Western Civilization would have been extinguished. –Jack Wheeler. (Muslims, who attacked Christian lands repeatedly, including Spain, Egypt and what is now Turkey, complain endlessly about the response—the Crusades.)

No comments:

Post a Comment