Friday, October 16, 2009

Political Digest October 16, 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.

'We're Going to Let You Die'
Who said it? Hint: It wasn't Sarah Palin.
The truth they won’t tell you. Excerpt: a speech that Robert Reich, who served as President Clinton's labor secretary, delivered on the subject in 2007: I will actually give you a speech made up entirely--almost at the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is, and a candidate will never say, but what candidates should say if we were in a kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship, and they were educated in terms of what the issues were, and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them: "Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I'm so glad to see you, and I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look, we have the only health-care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. [laughter] That's true, and what I'm going to do is I am going to try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people. But that means you--particularly you young people, particularly you young, healthy people--you're going to have to pay more. [applause] Thank you. "And by the way, we are going to have to--if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive, so we're going to let you die. [applause] "Also, I'm going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare, Medicaid--we already have a lot of bargaining leverage--to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. But that means less innovation, and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market, which means you are probably not going to live that much longer than your parents. [applause] Thank you." As noted in our transcription, Reich's Berkeley, Calif., audience applauded the idea of taxing the young, killing the old, and stifling lifesaving innovations

Use of Forests as Carbon Offsets Fails to Impress in First Big Trial
Paging Al Gore. Mr. Gore, please turn in your mansion and SUV. Excerpt: While the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project has succeeded in keeping a biologically rich preserve of more than 6,000 square miles free from logging, it has fallen far short of its goal of reducing emissions. The mix of pragmatism and idealism -- providing powerful financial incentives to encourage influential companies and poor countries to work together to slow global warming -- shows the complexity of a much-heralded approach that Democratic lawmakers and international negotiators are trying to write into law.

Riots Rattle Ancient French Town
Excerpt: In what police described as an organized attack, the band shattered store windows, damaged the facades of several banks and spray-painted anarchist slogans on government buildings. Aiming even at the historical heritage of this comfortable provincial town 200 miles southwest of Paris, they fractured a plaque commemorating Joan of Arc's interrogation here in 1429 and -- in Latin -- scrawled "Everything belongs to everybody" on a stone baptistery that is one of the oldest monuments in Christendom. The wanton destruction, which lasted for about 90 minutes early Saturday evening, was a dramatic reminder that France and other European nations, below their surface of stability and wealth, harbor tiny bands of ultra-leftist activists who still want to combat the market economies and parliamentary democracies on which the continent's well-being is founded. (“Everything belongs to everybody.” The philosophy of spreading the wealth around, which extends from President BO to the thug who mugs a woman for her pocketbook with the pay she worked 50 hours for to feed her kids. And the disarmed French population is at their mercy. Try that in Texas.)

The Reids and the Dangers of Dynastic Politics
Excerpt: Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid's (D) long-awaited announcement today that he would run for governor of Nevada in 2010 means that he and his father -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) -- will be on the same ballot next November. While both Reids downplay that rarest of occurrences, there is concern among some Democratic strategists that two Reids running statewide in 2010 is one too many for Nevada voters.

Political Fundraising
Excerpt: Joe Wilson: Who would have thought yelling "You lie!" at President Obama during a nationally televised address would be the key to a massive fundraising quarter for the South Carolina Republican? (Not us.) Wilson collected $2.7 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 and ended the month with $2.6 million in the bank -- more than enough to fend off Democrat Rob Miller next year.

What Olympia Snowe Got for Her Vote
Excerpt: The list of senators charged with merging the Finance and HELP bills into the legislation that will actually come to a vote on the Senate floor is vanishingly small, and every participant is there for a reason. Harry Reid will preside. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, will be one of the chief negotiators. Chris Dodd, who led the HELP Committee's health-care efforts, will be the other. And that's about it. Oh, except for one other person: Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said that Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the lone Republican on the Finance Committee to vote in favor of the bill, would be invited to future sessions. And Mr. Manley said the Democratic leader was prepared to go to substantial lengths to keep Ms. Snowe’s support. "He is prepared to do what he can to keep her on board while putting together a bill that can get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster," Mr. Manley said. Democrats really want this bill to be bipartisan -- to the point that they're giving the Republican a space in the negotiations equivalent to the chairmen of the two relevant committees. Indeed, I wouldn't be shocked if this perk had been negotiated in advance of Snowe's vote yesterday

Democratic Split on Afghanistan Deepens
Excerpt: The House and Senate Democratic leaders already appear to have their differences on the way forward in Afghanistan. Now the two men who control the purse strings for the federal government have also parted ways on the subject. In the span of just a few hours Tuesday, the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees -- both Democrats -- made markedly different public statements on what President Obama should do next and whether more troops should be sent to bolster the war effort, with Sen. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) voicing support for a new counterinsurgency strategy and Rep. David Obey (Wis.) reiterating his doubts about the entire venture. The split matters, since an increase in troops for Afghanistan would likely require the Obama administration to ask Congress for more money, and Inouye and Obey would need to agree. (Inouye is a WWII vet who holds the MOH, rather better than the Nobel Peace Prize.)

Solar Sticker Shock Hits Washington County
Excerpt: Kittitas County, Washington, is experiencing sticker shock for a proposed 75 megawatt solar power plant as the true cost of solar power is coming in at more than three times the promised price, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis…. Solar power currently costs three-and-a-half to four times the price of conventional power purchased on the spot market. When stripped of subsidies and preferential tax treatment, moreover, solar power is between 570 percent and 887 percent more expensive to produce than coal power, according to a recent study by Tufts University economics professor Gilbert Metcalf. (Coming soon to a wallet near you!)

Census Bureau Uninsured Numbers Raise Questions
“The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself!” –Attributed, probably falsely, to Churchill.

“I only saw Rod Blegojevich one time.”
They don’t source the BO quote, which I think doubtful, but nice pictures of the Chicago way.

Decline is a Choice
Excellent but long essay. Excerpt: The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon--and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever. Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

Real versus fake quotes
Excerpt: Don’t look at me that way. I told you they were really real. Did you think I was joking? Well I wasn’t. Every single one of those quotes is a real, legitimate, well-sourced quote. Totally real; not fake. Now ask yourself why the unsourced fake Limbaugh quotes get so much more play than these actual statements. Not so funny anymore, huh?

Why didn’t Media Matters catch Limbaugh’s “slavery” quote when he “said” it?
Excerpt: Over at The Corner this morning, Mark Steyn writes: “[Rush Limbaugh] does his show every day with an off-mike black sidekick yakking in his ear (Mr. Snerdley) and he has a black guest-host (the great Walter Williams). More to the point, when I began guest-hosting for Rush, I was amazed to discover that George Soros pays a team of stenographers, many of them called Zachary, to work their tippy-tappy fingers to the bone for three hours transcribing everything Rush or his fill-ins say in the hope that their efforts will one day be rewarded and he will deliver the big career-detonating soundbite.” So isn’t it a little odd that the obsessive compulsives at Media Matters aren’t trumpeting what should be their biggest “gotcha” ever?

Iranian man executed for homosexual act
Excerpt: But remember: the Christian "Religious Right" is the real problem. "Rahim Mohammadi Executed in Iran for A Homosexual Act - Lavat," from IRQR, October 14 (thanks to Banafsheh): On October 6, 2009, Rahim Mohammadi was executed in Tabriz, a city in northwest Iran, after being convicted of sexual abuse and rape during sexual relations between males (a homosexual act called Lavat). According to Rahim's lawyer (here), Mr. Mohammad Mostafayi, there was not enough evidence presented to the court to prove such accusations; the court nevertheless decided that once a person is convicted of Lavat, he must be executed. Mostafayi, who had not been informed of the court's decision once it was handed down - and was only contacted after his client Rahim had been executed - wrote a letter of further explanation to the authorities. (Notify the lawyer after execution. That could save a lot of court time.)

Indonesia: Islamic cleric dodges molestation charges for marrying 12-year-old
Excerpt: Prosecutors say they will appeal. Widianto, for his part, defended himself "by saying the marriage was allowed by his religion." Child protection advocates are quite correct that the ruling sets a bad precedent, but the precedent that contributes even more to the persistence of child marriage in Islamic countries is Muhammad's own example, having married Aisha at the age of six, and consummating the marriage when she was nine. (Maybe Whoopi Goldberg testified that “it wasn’t rape-rape.”)

1 comment:

  1. I have read your articles with interest and even though I am a retired Police Officer from Canada, I find myself agreeing with 99% of your thoughts. I did wish to mention your blog on "I'm Tired" in which You justly praise the efforts of the American and British fighting Man. I just wanted to remind You that Your Neighbours to the North, attached to Your Country wth the Longest Undefended Border in the World, have fought and died in both World Wars long before the American G.I. ever set foot on disputed soil.
    No, we did not go to Iraq with G.W. Bush, but we did patrol the Persian
    Gulf with Naval Frigates and still do to this day. We Have been fighting and Dyeing alongside our American Brothers in Afghanistan since 2002 and along with the Brit and Australian Forces, number our Dead at about 131 KIA to date with countless Injured Troops. So Please, Sir, do not forget to mention the Canadian Fighting Forces when next discussing Global Conflicts that require USA and Brit Forces to intercede, chances are Canadian Troops are already on the Ground.