Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Political Digest December 1, 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.

Afghanistan troop surge could test alliance between Obama, Pelosi http://thehill.com/homenews/house/69631-afghanistan-action-could-test-alliance-between-obama-pelosi
Excerpt: If President Barack Obama announces next week he's sending more than 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, as he's expected to do, most members of Congress will have plenty to say about it. Most of it will be critical. But they won't be able to do much about it. Obama's change in military strategy doesn't require a vote of Congress. And many of the critics will have little appetite to use the one powerful tool that lawmakers have: cutting off funding. Still, the conflicting views could test the strong alliance between Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

It’s hard to know the correct course, given how often these “colors” do run when the going gets tough. But I keep thinking of teenage girls who are raped, who are then stoned to death for committing adultery, because they don’t have four male witnesses that it was rape. Of girls as young as nine forced to marry old men, because that’s the marriage age under Shari’a law, based on the perfect example of the Prophet, who married his youngest wife at six, and consummated the marriage at nine, according to the Hadith, the holy traditions of the Prophet which support the Qur’an. I think of young girls with their faces burned off by acid for the crime of going to school, or women for dressing less than “modestly.”. You can see what that looks like here, if you have the stomach.

Under the veil: faces disfigured by acid
And my gut tells me we must fight the murdering Jihadist scum wherever we can. If the President does support finishing what he called “a war of necessity,” then we must support him against his party.

President Obama gives go-ahead to implement Afghanistan strategy http://thehill.com//homenews/administration/69759-obama-gives-go-order-on-afghanistan
Excerpt: President Barack Obama has already ordered his military commanders to implement his Afghanistan strategy, which will be unveiled to the nation in a primetime address from West Point on Tuesday. Obama is expected to order another 34,000 troops to Afghanistan during the address from the United States Military Academy, though a White House spokesman refused to confirm that figure Monday morning.

Obama and the Marines

Senators split on exit strategy and funding to continue war in Afghanistan http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/69643-senators-split-on-exit-strategy-afghanistan-war-funding
Excerpt: The second ranking Republican in the Senate urged President Barack Obama not to speak of an exit strategy when he announces his Afghanistan decision Tuesday, fearing it would send a message to allies and enemies that the U.S. isn't committed to staying in the country."I really hope we can stay away from all this talk of an exit strategy," Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) told "Fox News Sunday." "It tells the Taliban just to lay low until we leave," he said. Kyl also said a public exit strategy would reinforce fears of the Pakistanis that the U.S. won't stick around when the situation deteriorates.

War tax proponent Obey calls expected troop surge a 'fool's errand' http://thehill.com/homenews/house/69653-war-tax-proponent-obey-calls-troop-surge-a-fools-errand
Knowing Republicans are anti-tax. Didn’t need one for the political stimulus bill, cash for clunkers, etc. Excerpt: The chief architect of a bill to increase taxes to pay for the Afghanistan war said he didn't believe adding troops would yield much benefit. "The problem is you can have the best policy in the world but if you don't have the tools to implement it it isn't worth a bean bag," Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman, told CNN on Sunday.

America vs. The Narrative—A Must Read by Thomas Friedman http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/opinion/29friedman.html
Excerpt: Here’s my take: Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam,” and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America — the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.” What is scary is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him. The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down. Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny — in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving. Although most of the Muslims being killed today are being killed by jihadist suicide bombers in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia, you’d never know it from listening to their world. The dominant narrative there is that 9/11 was a kind of fraud: America’s unprovoked onslaught on Islam is the real story, and the Muslims are the real victims — of U.S. perfidy.

Nelson, Specter must wrestle with anti-tax pledge in health debate http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/69603-nelson-specter-must-wrestle-with-anti-tax-pledge-during-healthcare-debate
Excerpt: The Senate healthcare bill presents a tricky political challenge to Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Arlen Specter (Pa.), the only two Democrats in the Senate to have signed anti-tax pledges. Americans for Tax Reform, the group which persuaded Nelson and Specter to sign the pledge, will press both lawmakers on the issue during next month’s Senate healthcare debate, putting them in an awkward position.

Seven issues to watch as the Senate begins amending the healthcare bill http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/69673-seven-issues-to-watch-as-senate-begins-amending-healthcare-bill
Excerpt: Senators will be asked to cast their votes on numerous amendments as they begin a debate to reshape the country’s healthcare system. Some amendments will be designed to improve the bill, some to satisfy a special interest or pet peeve. Still others will be presented as poison pills. Here are seven issues likely to arise during the amendment process.

Iran vows to expand its nuclear program 10 uranium-enrichment sites announced after international rebuke
How’s that talking to them without preconditions thing working out Barack?

A party both united and divided
Excerpt: The Republican rank and file is largely in sync with GOP lawmakers in their staunch opposition to efforts by President Obama and Democrats to enact major health-care legislation, but a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party's leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party's plans for reclaiming power.

Don't copy reform in Washington State http://www.app.com/article/20091130/OPINION04/911300304/1028/OPINION
From a blog—not verified as true. Excerpt: If you want to learn how a government-sponsored health plan would operate, you can look at the government plan now in use in Washington state, where their Health Technology Assessment Commission operates. They have 11 bureaucrats, including a "naturopath," who decide on the clinical effectiveness and cost of medical procedures. If they decide they aren't worth the money, they will not cover them They have banned knee arthroscopy, discography for chronic back pain and implanted infusion pumps for pain, if not from cancer. They are also considering banning coverage for such frivolous luxuries as knee replacement, specialized autism therapy, ultrasounds for pregnancy and MRIs of the abdomen, pelvis or breast for cancer, because they are so expensive. They require the use of the less-effective metal stents because they are cheaper.

Reid faces more pressure from unions on healthcare reform
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will face more pressure from the left on his healthcare reform bill as unions still have a number of grievances with the legislation. Reid has struggled to keep the more centrist members of the Democratic caucus in line during the healthcare debate. But the Senate leader will also have to improve the reform package in order to meet the specifications of the labor movement, a key Democratic constituency. According to union officials, the bill’s employer mandate needs to be expanded to include all employers. Further, they are lobbying for the elimination of an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, known as “Cadillac” plans. Finally, labor’s support of a robust government-run insurance plan, the “public option,” puts the Senate leader in tough spot considering centrist senators either want to jettison the plan or find a weaker compromise before voting for the bill. Reid also faces a tough reelection campaign next year and Las Vegas is home to many union workers.

The Senate Health Bill: Budget Gimmicks Galore
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled his 2,074 page health care bill with claims that the massive measure falls under the $900 billion cost threshold promised by the President.To put it charitably, the truth is more complicated. The bill depends on budget gimmicks and unrealistic assumptions and projected savings to reach this goal over the 10 year budget window. Consider the four most outrageous “Budget Tricks”.

The Politics of the Senate Health Reform Bill: Obama’s Two Mistakes
Excerpt: This bill is bad — much worse than it ever needed to be — because of two Barack Obama decisions: 1. The decision not to take a principled approach to health care reform. 2. The decision not to try for a bipartisan bill… So whatever bill you start with has to be modified — again and again and again — until you line all these folks up. Since almost all those special interests benefit from wasteful spending, the end product will have no possibility of controlling costs. Since all those interests are threatened by fundamental quality improvements, the end product is not going to improve quality either. Since opening up the market to improve access (with walk-in clinics, surgi-centers, doc-in-the-box, etc.) would also threaten a lot of interests you have to keep onboard, very little can be done to increase supply and improve access to care as well.

Court sides with government in detainee photo case
A defeat for the Trash-America crowd.

Police: Suspect in deaths of officers not in house
Mike Huckabee meet Willie Horton. This ends any chance for him to run for president, I believe. Excerpt: Clemmons, who has a long criminal history—including a long prison sentence commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly a decade ago—became the prime target Sunday in the search for the killer of Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.

Remembering My friend, Alan Scherr, Murdered in Mumbai, and the Maharishi Effect He Advocated
Excerpt: A year ago, on November 26, my friend, Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, were murdered in the restaurant of the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai by one of the 10 Islamic terrorists conducting attacks at several carefully selected locations. Over 200 persons were murdered and more than 308 wounded in the attacks, which lasted from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29. Two television documentaries recently commemorated the attacks: HBO’s “Terror in Mumbai,” narrated by Fareed Zakaria; and PBS’s “Mumbai Massacre,” which is an episode of the series, “Secrets of the Dead.” I have to admit, I could not bear to watch them.

Egypt's "moderate" mufti says Swiss minaret ban insults Muslims http://www.jihadwatch.org/2009/11/egypts-moderate-mufti-says-swiss-minaret-ban-insults-muslims.html
Excerpt: Ali Gomaa is the statue-hatin', wife-beatin', Hizballah-supportin', Muhammad's-urine-drinkin' Mufti of Egypt, who some time ago denied reports that he had rejected the traditional Islamic death sentence for apostates. The delirious Dinesh D'Souza has praised him as a "traditional Muslim" with whom American conservatives should cultivate an alliance. And now Ali Gomaa's poor little feelings are hurt. "This proposal...is not considered just an attack on freedom of beliefs, but also an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland."

Pak Sikh thrashed for not converting
Moderate, tolerant Islam.

Hidden threat from al-Qaeda sleeper cells Al-Qaeda terrorists are exploiting loose visa and immigration rules to enter Britain, the security services fear
Can’t ask them questions. That would be “Islamophobic.”

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