Thursday, October 22, 2009

Political Digest October 22 ,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.

Here’s my plan. Sell Fox News to al Qaeda. Then President Wobbly will have the backbone to go after them. BO has no trouble to committing more troops to the war on Fox.

Americans split on Afghanistan
Excerpt: As President Obama and his war cabinet deliberate a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, Americans are evenly and deeply divided over whether he should send 40,000 more troops there, and public approval of the president's handling of the situation has tumbled, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has recommended the substantial increase in troop strength, and 47 percent of those polled favor the buildup, while 49 percent oppose it. Most on both sides hold their views "strongly." The survey also found that a large majority of Americans say the administration lacks a clear plan for dealing with the problems in Afghanistan. The troop decision is one of the most complex and fateful strategic security choices of Obama's presidency. It also carries great political risk, whichever way he goes. Ordering more U.S. forces to Afghanistan could open a rift with Obama's fellow Democrats, most of whom call the battle "not worth fighting" and adamantly oppose the idea. But the Republicans polled take diametrically opposed views on the war, and a decision not to accept the commander's recommendation probably would heighten their opposition to the president. (President Wobbly frets about what he called a “war of necessity” as recently as August. Notice the Leftstream media is worried about the political risks to BO, not the risks to our troops or to America.)

Mass. man planned terror attacks on malls
Excerpt: A Massachusetts man has been arrested on charges of conspiring to support terrorists in a long-running investigation into Americans seeking military-style training overseas, federal authorities announced Wednesday morning. Tarek Mehanna, 27, of Sudbury, a small town west of Boston, allegedly conspired from 2001 to May 2008 with Ahmad Abousamra and others to support and carry out attacks abroad, including on U.S. and allied soldiers in Iraq, the Justice Department announced. (I just hope they didn’t listen in on his phone calls to terrorists in other countries. Better thousands of Americans should die than that!)

All not kosher in halal slaughterhouse in Illinois: FBI raids with 100 agents, cops, 50 govt vehicles, helicopter, more
Excerpt: Federal agents conducted a raid Sunday afternoon at a goat meat processing plant near Morris, Illinois. The secretive operation was led by the Chicago FBI office, the Feds are being very tight-lipped on what they found and why they were even there…The trouble is the FBI isn't saying much about what happened at this rural Grundy County plant. A spokesman confirms that the plant, which has a Muslim prayer room, was raided as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. (Probably saw the goats and thought it was a brothel)

Oprah to interview Sarah Palin
Palin goes on Oprah, sure to be a hostile reception, but Obama doesn’t have the balls to go on Fox. Tells you something.

The State of Joblessness
Excerpt: State lawmakers will soon face large budget deficits again, perhaps as much as $100 billion across the U.S. Here's some free budget-balancing advice: Steer clear of the Michigan model. The Wolverine state is once again set to run out of money, and it is once again poised to raise taxes even as jobs and businesses disappear. In 2007 Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the biggest tax increase in Michigan history, with most of the $1.4 billion coming from business. The personal income tax—which hits nonincorporated small businesses—was raised to 4.2% from 3.95%, and the Michigan business tax levied a surcharge of 22%. The tax money was dedicated to the likes of education, public works, job retraining and corporate subsidies. Ms. Granholm and her union allies called these "investments," and the exercise was widely applauded as a prototype of "progressive" budgeting. Some prototype. Every state has seen a big jump in joblessness since 2007, but with a 15.2% unemployment rate Michigan's jobs picture is by far the worst. Some 750,000 private-sector payroll jobs have vanished since the start of the decade. For every family that has moved into Michigan since 2007, two have sold their homes and left. (I read recently that the median home price in Detroit is $7,100. No, I didn’t leave out a zero. But then you'd live in…Detroit.)

If it's so urgent, why would two elections pass before health reform takes effect?
Excerpt: The debate over health-care reform has sparked all sorts of controversy over costs, regulations and choices. But one 'feature' seems to have escaped notice: the built-in lack of accountability of our elected leaders for what health care will be like after the plan is implemented. Proponents claim we need reform now to solve an immediate health care "crisis." "If we don't act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day," President Obama claimed on July 22. Yet the bills he urges us to support will not actually provide any health care until 2013 -- by which time, if the president's claim is correct, an additional 17 million Americans will have lost their insurance. Why the delay? The best way the people have to hold their elected leaders accountable for results is by threatening to withhold their votes. But this bill seems expressly designed to eliminate that source of accountability. By the time Americans experience the effects of this health care bill (except for the tax increases), not only will President Obama have run for re-election, but so will two-thirds of the senators -- and every House member will have been up for re-election twice.

A Better Way to Health Reform
Excerpt: Here's a better alternative. Let's scrap the $220 billion annual health insurance tax subsidy, which is often used to buy the wrong kind of insurance, and use those budget dollars to provide insurance that protects American families from health costs that exceed 15 percent of their income. Specifically, the government would give each individual or family a voucher that would permit taxpayers to buy a policy from a private insurer that would pay all allowable health costs in excess of 15 percent of the family's income. A typical American family with income of $50,000 would be eligible for a voucher worth about $3,500, the actuarial cost of a policy that would pay all of that family's health bills in excess of $7,500 a year. The family could give this $3,500 voucher to any insurance company or health maintenance organization, including the provider of the individual's current employer-based insurance plan. Some families would choose the simple option of paying out of pocket for the care up to that 15 percent threshold. Others would want to reduce the maximum potential out-of-pocket cost to less than 15 percent of income and would pay a premium to the insurance company to expand their coverage. Some families might want to use the voucher to pay for membership in a health maintenance organization. Each option would provide a discipline on demand that would help to limit the rise in health-care costs.

The Democrats' fickle-and-dime health strategy
Excerpt: "Iwill not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future -- period," President Obama told Congress in a health-care address last month. (I don’t think even Democrats believe it won’t add to the deficit. I think they know it’s a lie and don’t care.)

Economics in the Red Zone
Excerpt: The U.S. debt is now higher relative to our national income than it was for the typical middle-income country that defaulted on its debt in the 31 years of the sample. The U.S. total external debt has reached 94 percent, while public external debt is 24 percent, of GNP this year. This puts the United States in the company of Latin American countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador (other countries outside of Latin America include Jordan and Egypt); these are all countries that defaulted on their debt during the period under consideration. The United States is now in worse shape than was the typical Latin American country that defaulted.

Obama-Mao tee shirts for sale in DC
Small surprise. Why not Trotsky too?

Voting Present is Not an Option
Excerpt: While our Narcissus-in-Chief is frozen gazing at his perfect image in his private pool, choices have to be made in Afghanistan. Consider the following: (a) We have a Democratically controlled Congress that by and large has supported, since 2004, the Kerry-Obama-Hillary Clinton narrative of a "good" war in Afghanistan, supposedly shamefully neglected by George Bush's neo-con adventure in Iraq, but absolutely vital to the security of the United States, and one entirely winnable — if only we allot sufficient resources….. Given the above, and given that George Bush made a far more difficult choice that saved Iraq, it is hard to figure out why Obama can not make a simple decision to send troops requested by commanders on the ground. (Yeah, but the left no longer believes it’s a “good war”—that was just to bash Bush.)

Degrees in Dishonesty – by Walter Williams
Excerpt: College education is a costly proposition with tuition, room and board at some colleges topping $50,000 a year. Is it worth it? Increasing evidence suggests that it’s not. Since the 1960s, academic achievement scores have plummeted, but student college grade point averages (GPA) have skyrocketed. In October 2001, the Boston Globe published an article entitled “Harvard’s Quiet Secret: Rampant Grade Inflation.” The article reported that a record 91 percent of Harvard University students were awarded honors during the spring graduation. The newspaper called Harvard’s grading practices “the laughing stock of the Ivy League.” Harvard is by no means unique. For example, 80 percent of the grades given at the University of Illinois are A’s and B’s. Fifty percent of students at Columbia University are on the Dean’s list. At Stanford University, where F grades used to be banned, only 6 percent of student grades were as low as a C. In the 1930s, the average GPA at American colleges and universities was 2.35, about a C plus; today the national average GPA is 3.2, more than a B. Today’s college students are generally dumber than their predecessors. An article in the Wall Street Journal (1/30/97) reported that a “bachelor of Arts degree in 1997 may not be the equal of a graduation certificate from an academic high school in 1947.” The American Council on Education found that only 15 percent of universities require tests for general knowledge; only 17 percent for critical thinking; and only 19 percent for minimum competency. According a recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the percentage of college graduates proficient in prose literacy has declined from 40 percent to 31 percent within the past decade. Employers report that many college graduates lack the basic skills of critical thinking, writing and problem-solving and some employers find they must hire English and math teachers to teach them how to write memos and perform simple computations.

Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement
Interesting piece from the past, from a founder of Greenpeace. Excerpt: More than twenty years ago I was one of a dozen or so activists who founded Greenpeace in the basement of the Unitarian Church in Vancouver. The Vietnam war was raging and nuclear holocaust seemed closer every day. We linked peace, ecology, and a talent for media communications and went on to build the world's largest environmental activist organization. By 1986 Greenpeace was established in 26 countries and had an income of over $100 million per year…. Two profound events triggered the split between those advocating a pragmatic or "liberal" approach to ecology and the new "zero-tolerance" attitude of the extremists. The first event, mentioned previously, was the widespread adoption of the environmental agenda by the mainstream of business and government. This left environmentalists with the choice of either being drawn into collaboration with their former "enemies" or of taking ever more extreme positions. Many environmentalists chose the latter route. They rejected the concept of "sustainable development" and took a strong "anti-development" stance. Surprisingly enough the second event that caused the environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were discredited. Many of their members moved into the environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments. These factors have contributed to a new variant of the environmental movement that is so extreme that many people, including myself, believe its agenda is a greater threat to the global environment than that posed by mainstream society. Some of the features of eco-extremism are:

I'm busy, Nancy's busy with our mops cleaning up somebody else's mess. We don't want somebody sitting back saying, 'You're not holding the mop the right way.' Why don't you grab a mop? Why don't you help clean up? 'You're not mopping fast enough. That's a socialist mop.' Grab a mop. Let's get to work." --Barack Obama (Nancy grabbed the mop in January of 2007. Things looked pretty good with the economy then, I thought.)

All promise outruns performance.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

No comments:

Post a Comment