Thursday, December 10, 2009

Political Digest December 10, 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.

Hoyer Calls Out 'Party of No'
--Republicans are the “Party of No”? Let’s see: Republicans proposed tort reform to really lower health care costs by reducing the costs of medical liability insurance, defensive medicine and bringing new drugs to market, saving billions. Democrats, controlled by lawyers at every level, said “NO!”
--Republicans proposed lowering the cost of health insurance by letting insurance companies sell health insurance across state lines. Democrats, beholden to special interests, said “NO!” Republicans supported free trade which historically has always increased jobs and economic activity. Democrats, beholden to unions, said, “NO.”
--Republicans think workers are entitled to a secret ballot, free of union thug intimidation. Democrats, beholden to unions, said “NO!”
--Republicans think people who build a business should be able to pass it on to their children, rather than have the government confiscate a large part of it through death taxes. Democrats, eager to have more taxes to spend, said “NO!”
--Republicans want to keep the Bush tax cuts. Democrats said “NO, taxes are going up!” (And not just for the rich, pal.)
Who is the “Party of No” depends on who asks the questions!

The GOP Health Plan
Yes, Virginia, the party of “NO” has one. Excerpt: In fact, the GOP has offered several health-reform bills. And on Nov. 3, the party's leaders in the House unveiled a comprehensive reform plan, introduced as a substitute amendment by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- which Democrats defeated 258 to 176 on Nov 7.

McChrystal: U.S. can't defeat al Qaeda until bin Laden is captured
Excerpt: Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top military commander in Afghanistan, said that the United States can't defeat al Qaeda until Osama bin Laden is captured.

Apparently Nobody on the White House National Security Team Takes Meeting Minutes
Excerpt: On Oct. 9, after awaking to the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama listened to McChrystal’s presentation. The “mission” slide included the same words: “Defeat the Taliban.” But a red box had been added beside it saying that the mission was being redefined, Jones said. Another participant recalled that the word “degrade” had been proposed to replace “defeat.” Already briefed on the previous day’s discussion, the president “looked at it and said: ‘To be fair, this is what we told the commander to do. Now, the question is, have we directed him to do more than what is realistic? Should there be a sharpening . . . a refinement?’” one participant recalled. Said a senior White House adviser who took extensive notes of the meeting: “The big moment when the mission became a narrower one was when we realized we’re not going to kill every last member of the Taliban.” [Emphasis added.] Good Lord, where to begin? That the Administration gave the mission commander orders it either never really believed in or didn’t bother to think through carefully? That the man who signed the orders apparently did so with the expectation they wouldn’t be carried out “literally”? Or maybe the suggestion that “defeating” an enemy means killing “every last member” of it, anything short of which is failure? I’ll be that’s a new one among military historians.

Terror Suspect Failed a Test
Excerpt: Westerners have largely played supporting roles in terror activities, but David Headley's ability to travel freely on a U.S. passport, above, to Pakistan, India and Denmark gave him high value and allowed him to play a key role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a U.S. law enforcement official said.

Al-Qaeda 'holds French and Spanish hostages in Africa'
So, will Europe stop the aid? Nah. Excerpt: An offshoot of the al-Qaeda network has reportedly said its members kidnapped three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a Frenchman in Mali last month. A spokesman for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb made the claim in an audio recording to the al-Jazeera TV station. There has been no sighting of the four Europeans since the kidnappings, which took place within days of each other.

Symptoms of Corrupting Sickness
Excerpt: The lady in the picture is the mother of an American that was ambushed in Fallujah, Iraq. Her son was murdered. His body was dragged around in the streets of the city, then burned and hung from the upper trusses of a bridge. The murderers gathered to celebrate and have their photos taken with the trophy. The young sailor in the picture is one of the Navy SEALs that later captured the leader of the band of terrorist butchers and brought him to justice. If the story ended there, it would still be an acceptable feel-good, good-guys-win story. Unfortunately, that's not the case - this Navy SEAL is facing criminal charges.

Ohio Court Upholds Immigration Crackdown
Excerpt: In a much-needed victory for immigration enforcement, an Ohio judge has ruled that the state can proceed with its plan to cancel the registrations of tens of thousands of vehicles driven by illegal aliens.

Senate may drop public option
They’ll be back. Having taken over banking and automobile manufacturing, they won’t let healthcare get away from government ownership. Excerpt: Under the deal, the government plan preferred by liberals would be replaced with a program that would create several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees health policies for federal workers. If private firms were unable to deliver acceptable national policies, a government plan would be created. In addition, people as young as 55 would be permitted to buy into Medicare, the popular federal health program for retirees. (Until it goes broke n 2017.)

The Senate Health Bill
Excerpt: When Barack Obama campaigned for president, most people thought they heard him say three things: (a) the federal government should help the 47 million uninsured Americans get insurance, but (b) people who already have insurance have no reason to worry because “if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it,” and (c) in paying for this program there will be no tax increases or benefit cuts for the middle class. The bill the Senate is debating this week is night-and-day different.

TSA accidentally reveals airport security secrets
The government keeps losing or posting confidential stuff. Wait until they have all your health information! Excerpt: The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

U.S.-born kids of illegal immigrants twice as likely as others to face poverty
Obama will make them all legal and clear this up before we have to support them.

Mark Penn's two firms got $6 million from stimulus for PR campaign
Must be working—reading this stimulated me! I think with that kind of dough, I could have preserved four or five jobs. Excerpt: Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008. Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.

Santorum's resurrection
When I lived in PA, while I agreed with Santorum on many things (though not all), I found him to be arrogant. Not the best feature in a candidate. Excerpt: Is Rick Santorum running for president of the United States, or isn't he? I caught him by phone on a people mover at Dulles Airport and posed the question: He's not running, then again, he's not NOT running. En route to South Carolina on Tuesday to stump for gubernatorial candidate and Republican Rep. Gresham Barrett, Santorum wasn't being cagey, just practical. Whether the former Pennsylvania senator can raise the millions needed for a presidential bid remains to be seen…. While in the Senate, Santorum authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which called for $10 million to support groups opposed to the Tehran government. The bill passed but was never funded. Consequently, says Santorum, "When the revolution did come, we had done no spadework and had no way to support them other than to open up Twitter channels. We didn't do the work that could have made a huge difference."

Obama’s Landscape of Anti-Semitism
Excerpt: Geller: Obama had a disturbing track record from the beginning. The Obama landscape, the landscape of his personal and professional associations, is littered with anti-Semites and rife with Israel haters. Only three weeks after Barack Hussein Obama took office, Israeli pundit Caroline Glick noted that “since it came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel’s national security interests.” Obama in April 2009 asked Congress to revise American laws preventing financial aid to terrorist organizations so that the United States could keep funding the Palestinian Authority even with Hamas as part of the government. Then in May 2009 came the revelation that the United States and allied military, under the command of Lt. Keith Dayton, was training 1,500 Palestinian troops. Would American-trained Palestinian troops one day go into battle against the forces of American ally Israel? It was possible.

Lawmaker drops push to give Tiger Woods Congressional Gold Medal
Maybe the Bill Clinton Public Affairs Award? Excerpt: In a statement given to The Hill's ITK, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) said, “In light of the recent developments surrounding Tiger Woods and his family, I will not pursue legislation awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal this session."

We've Been Had
Excerpt: The e-mails involved communication among climate researchers and policy advocates around the world who brazenly discuss both the destruction and hiding of data that does not support their global-warming claims. They discuss criminally deleting data rather than comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. There's also discussion of faking data for journals such as Nature, conspiring to keep opposing science out of peer-reviewed journals (which they controlled the editorial boards), and using statistical "tricks" to hide the cooling period of the last 10 years. One e-mail said, "The fact is we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." Another said, "it would be nice to try to 'contain' the putative 'MWP,' even if we don't yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back." MWP refers to the Medieval Warm Period (800 A.D. to 1300 A.D.) when the Earth was much warmer than it is now. This bothers the global warmers because they can't blame the temperature increase a thousand years ago on SUVs, coal-burning power plants, incandescent bulbs and 60-inch TV screens.

Obama’s 47 Percent Approval Lowest of Any President at This Point
Excerpt: President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term. (See the others.)

Graph of BO’s approval/disapproval numbers
Getting interesting as the streams cross.

Poll finds surprisingly high support for Obama Nobel
Excerpt: A new Quinnipiac poll finds that "only 26 percent" of voters surveyed believe President Obama deserves his Nobel Prize. ("Only?") That number is bolstered by strong belief (73 percent) among black voters that he deserves it. Hispanic (29 percent) and white voters (18 percent) are more skeptical

Climategate Video

Funny Cartoon Site
If you aren’t already checking them.

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. – Noam Chomsky (remember this the next time you read about your favorite center of leftwing academia, Groupthink U, working to outlaw “hate speech.”

There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on 'Macbeth'. --columnist Burt Prelutsky

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