Thursday, December 31, 2009

Political Digest December 31, 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.

I wish you a New Year of struggle for Freedom
We are at Year’s End. Let us renew our dedication to our ideals, and work to see a rebirth in belief in freedom, limited government, individualism, economic freedom, freedom of speech and religion and all those values that were called “liberal” in the 1700s and 1800s, before “liberal” came to mean belief in statism, collectivism and central planning, with everyone forced into the proper planned role in the economy. Yes, nothing lasts forever, not you or I or the American Republic. But it has lasted 230+ years through the efforts of people of courage. We must do all we can to extend its blessings further, to our children.

Unhealthy arrogance by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In short, this is not about improving the health of the American people. It is about passing something-- anything-- to keep the Obama administration from ending up with egg on its face by being unable to pass a bill, after so much hype and hoopla. Politically, looking impotent is a formula for disaster at election time. Far better to pass even bad legislation that will not actually go into effect until after the 2012 presidential election, so that the public will not know whether it makes medical care better or worse until it is too late for the voters to hold the administration accountable…. In a sense, this administration is only the end result of a long social process that includes raising successive generations with dumbed-down education in schools and colleges that have become indoctrination centers for the visions of the left. Our education system has turned out many people who have never heard any other vision and who can only learn what is wrong with the prevailing vision from bitter experience. That bitter experience now awaits them, at home and abroad.

Insurers Brace for Sweeping Changes to Industry Landscape
Excerpt: Major health insurers, which decided early to support key aspects of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, are now picking through the Senate's version of the legislation and finding cause for concern. Big insurers are still hoping to influence some language in the legislation before Congress sends it to the president. But one thing is clear: The initiative is poised to change their industry more than any other sector of the U.S. health-care system, with huge potential to disrupt profitability. Cuts in government spending for Medicare Advantage, the privately run health plans for the elderly, are a major source of funding for the overhaul. And an excise tax on most insurers is set to cost the industry $70 billion over 10 years. "We will be taking a fundamental look at our business, our business model and how we invest our capital," Ron Williams, Aetna Inc.'s chief executive, said this week. (Kill the industry and you have to have a “Public Option,” where all decisions are political decisions.)

Obama's Image: What a Difference a Year Makes
Excerpt: Almost a year has passed since January 20, 2009 -- when the waters of the ocean no longer rose and America began to heal from the depredations of Republicans. Barack Obama has been our president for that long, and the people have started to wise up. The light that shines on Barack Obama as president has reflected back an image that bears very little similarity to the iconic visage that floated above us all in 2008. Why has Barack Obama betrayed so many allies, broken so many promises, thrown so many pledges and people under the bus? One simple aphorism (paraphrasing Winston Churchill) can explain it all. Barack Obama is no longer a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Much about his past remains murky, but faced with the need to govern, he has given the American people plenty of evidence of his nature...if only they will look. Obama is a cynic wrapped in a hypocrite inside a bully. This comes as a shock to many, who are dismayed to find that he is "just a politician," as Reverend Wright, Jr. (who knows him so well) called him back in 2008. But Wright was being all too kind and generous to his future former parishioner (Wright followed a long and ever-growing line of people trampled by Barack Obama's rise.) But Barack Obama is far more than just a politician. We all swallow a lot from politicians; we know that many pander and narrowcast, changing their message to suit their audience. But Obama expressly campaigned as a man who would not do this. He was the candidate of hope and change -- he would bring a big broom to sweep clean the Augean Stables known as Washington, D.C. He called forth the better angels of our nature (hat tip: Honest Abe Lincoln, one of the truly honest politicians from Illinois) and tapped into a deep yearning for the rarest of the real things: an honest leader.

Obama and Our Post-Modern Race Problem
Excerpt: America's primary race problem today is our new "sophistication" around racial matters. Political correctness is a compendium of sophistications in which we join ourselves to obvious falsehoods ("diversity") and refuse to see obvious realities (the irrelevance of diversity to minority development). I would argue further that Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States was essentially an American sophistication, a national exercise in seeing what was not there and a refusal to see what was there—all to escape the stigma not of stupidity but of racism. Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. If "hope and change" was an empty political slogan, it was also beautiful clothing that people could passionately describe without ever having seen. Mr. Obama won the presidency by achieving a symbiotic bond with the American people: He would labor not to show himself, and Americans would labor not to see him. As providence would have it, this was a very effective symbiosis politically. And yet, without self-disclosure on the one hand or cross-examination on the other, Mr. Obama became arguably the least known man ever to step into the American presidency. Our new race problem—the sophistication of seeing what isn't there rather than what is—has surprised us with a president who hides his lack of economic understanding behind a drama of scale. Hundreds of billions moving into trillions. Dramatic, history-making numbers. But where is the economic logic behind a stimulus package that doesn't fully click in for a number of years? How is every stimulus dollar spent actually going to stimulate? Why bailouts to institutions that only hoard the money? How is vast government spending simultaneously a kind of prudence that will not "add to the deficit?" How can such spending not trigger smothering levels of taxation?

Handling problems the Obama way
Excerpt: There is a sense of déjà vu in the Obama administration’s response to the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. A by-now familiar pattern has been established for dealing with unexpected problems. First, White House aides downplay the notion that something may have gone wrong on their part. While staying out of the spotlight, the president conveys his efforts to address the situation and his feelings about it through administration officials. After a few days, the White House concedes on the issue, and perhaps Barack Obama even steps out to address it.

Rasmussen: Ben Nelson Down 30 Points After Health Care Vote
Excerpt: The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn’t have to face Nebraska voters until 2012. If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows that Heineman would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. The health care vote is clearly dragging Nelson’s numbers down. Just 17% of Nebrasaka voters approve of the deal their Senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. Fifty-six percent (56%) believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care and 62% believe it will raise costs. If Nelson votes to block final passage of the health care plan, he would still trail Heineman but be in a much more competitive situation.

What the Terrorists are Truly Afraid of
Excerpt: The passengers on American Airlines 63 and Northwest Airlines Flight 253 survived not because of the gargantuan infrastructures of airline security or law enforcement, but because ordinary passengers and staff became suspicious and acted, and because the latter two plots relied on tricky detonations that were unsuccessful. But their failures mean little in the bigger picture. Reid and Abdulmutallab are only two of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim men drawn from around the world to participate in one of its many Jihads against America, England, Russia, Israel or India. To devout Muslims the entire world is a battlefield, a map dotted in red and green. And for every Abdulmutallab who fails, there is a Nidal Malik Hasan who succeeds in killing his targets. Because as long as we keep fighting a holding action against the tide of Jihadis swarming from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the terrorists only need to be lucky once, we need to be lucky every time. And we know that we won’t be. That not every flight will land safely on the airfield. Not every group of passengers will disembark shaking with relief. The terrorists only need to be lucky once…. If the security apparatus can’t even stop a terrorist traveling under his own name, whose own father turns him in, it can’t stop anyone. And indeed it can’t. A national security apparatus built to take on foreign intelligence agencies is ill matched against an international terrorist network based out of religious schools and universities, and funded by the oil Sheikh “best friends” of their own bosses. And airport security which can’t stop its own employees from stealing passenger’s luggage, has no real hope of stopping an actual terrorist. The very decentralization and creative planning of terrorist attacks means that the best hope of stopping them lies not in the bureaucracy, but in the ordinary citizen sitting next to the terrorist…. The terrorists are not afraid of the United States government. They were never afraid of the United States government. And why should they, when the Saudi Lobby insures that Islamist groups have free run of the country, and the little man in the White House bows before the Saudi king. When Rules of Engagement favor the Taliban, and captured Al Queda terrorists are released into the wild, where they plot and carry out more terrorist attacks. Why in the world should they be afraid of a US government that bends over backward to reassure the Muslim world of its love for Islam?

Obama vows to repair intelligence gaps behind Detroit airplane incident
I miss Bill Clinton, who used to vow to get the bad guys. That’s a better empty promise than vowing to fix the intel community so we can hopefully stop some of the future attacks. The search is on for a scapegoat—bet it won’t be an Obama appointee. And imagine FDR saying after Pearl Harbor that the administration believed there was “some linkage” between Imperial Japan and National Socialist Germany! Excerpt: The president and his top advisers now believe there is "some linkage" with al-Qaeda, and the administration is "increasingly confident" that the terrorist group worked with suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to secure the deadly chemical mixture that he took aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

Full Body Scans
Now the cry is to install full body scanners. I have no privacy objections. Anyone, male, female or animal who gets pleasure from looking at my old, fat body is welcome to. But if they are not in every airport, the terrorists, excuse me, the “undocumented explosive technicians,” need only board a connecting flight in a city without them, which puts them inside security at the targeted airport, unless they make us go through them when getting off a connecting flight, which will add hours of delay to the system. And I doubt we are going to buy them for every city where flights into the US originate, or that every country will go along with installing them. Defense doesn’t work in war. The only way to stop terrorists is to find them and kill them, and destroy anyone who supports or aids them. We don’t have the nerve for that. So Americans—including small children—will just have to die. On the plus side, when children are murdered by Jihadists, their carbon footprints and healthcare costs go away, a bonus for the administration.

In online posts apparently by Detroit suspect, religious ideals collide
Excerpt: "I have no one to speak too [sic]," read a posting from January 2005, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was attending boarding school. "No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems." (Gee, maybe if I murder a bunch of children in Allah’s name, he’ll fix me up with 72 virgins in paradise and I won’t be lonely and depressed.)

Al-Qaeda ‘groomed Abdulmutallab in London’
Isolated incident! Nothing to do with Islam! Move along! Excerpt: He is the fourth president of a London student Islamic society to face terrorist charges in three years. One is facing a retrial on charges that he was involved in the 2006 liquid bomb plot to blow up airliners. Two others have been convicted of terrorist offences since 2007.

Assessing the politics of the Detroit attack
Excerpt: The attempted bombing of an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Eve has stoked a fierce political debate, forced President Obama to recalibrate his vacation plans and served as a reminder of the potency of national security issues for the two parties. Republicans have seized on the failed terror attack to paint the Obama Administration as out of touch on critical national security issues -- seeking to connect the dots between the President's decision to close Gitmo, the Fort Hood shooting and even the withdrawal of troops from Iraq as indicative of a wrong-headed approach. "They just don't get it," wrote Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee in a fundraising e-mail to supporters. "These are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan!" (Hoekstra is currently embroiled in a crowded primary fight for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Michigan.)

Who Will Be Responsible for the American Dead?
Excerpt: Two Guantanamo terrorists released in November were behind the Christmas Day attack in Detroit. Our security agencies ignored their own security measures and their own intelligence — including warnings from the terrorist’s father that his son was involved with terrorists. The chief of our Department of Homeland Security is preoccupied with covering her ass, and conferring citizenship rights on enemy combatants. Instead of throwing the enemy in the darkest possible dungeon and extracting information on the next terrorist attack, both she and her president are referring to him as an “alleged” bomber and helping him to lawyer up because after all he’s only a criminal who deserves the presumption of innocence and every other right accorded to citizens of this country who might be interested in protecting it. The answer to the question posed above is that liberals will be responsible when the next bomber actually succeeds in killing Americans. Liberals have fought the very idea that we are at war (and should use security measures appropriate in wartime) although our enemies have declared war on us.

Muslim Guerilla Training in New York
Repeat after me: Islam is a religion of peace, it has nothing to do with terrorism.. Excerpt: The first shows female Muslim recruits receiving paramilitary training at a 70-acre isolated compound in New York called “Islamberg.” The second shows members of the Muslims of the Americas organization declaring the U.S. a Muslim state and avowing that they will fight the enemies targeting American-Muslims and pledging allegiance to their Pakistan-based leader. To watch a highlight of the footage, click here.

Intel Report: Iran Looking To Smuggle Raw Uranium,2933,581423,00.html
Excerpt: Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran's nuclear activities. (I’m surprised London bookies aren’t taking bets on what city, New York, Washington or Tel Aviv, will be the first to go.)

Ethics Committee Launches Investigation of Pete Stark
Excerpt: If you work in Washington long enough, there are some things you get used to. One of them is the tradition of burying news by releasing it on a Friday afternoon. Or even better: on Christmas Eve. That's when the House Ethics Committee quietly announced the launch of an ethics probe into California Congressman Fortney 'Pete' Stark: The Chair and Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the Committee) have jointly decided to extend a matter regarding Representative Pete Stark, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, for a 45-day period... The Committee will announced its course of action in this matter on or before February 10, 2010.

Shameless Islamist Doublespeak Rages On
Excerpt: Unfortunately for al-Qaeda, its very own words — the Arabic ones directed at fellow Muslims which Westerners rarely see or read — unequivocally contradict its repeated attempts to portray itself as an organization out to spread Robin Hood-style justice and equanimity vis-à-vis a tyrannical U.S. For in these Arabic treatises, al-Qaeda makes it perfectly clear that, short of submitting to Islamic hegemony, the non-Muslim world is the enemy, ipso facto.

Afghan soldier kills American soldier, wounds two Italians
Excerpt: Two Italian soldiers were slightly injured in Afghanistan Tuesday when an Afghan soldier taking part in an allied operation opened fire, killing one American soldier, the defense ministry reported here.

Capitalism, Somali-style
We need to put a MAU ashore and shoot every male over 16 we can find. Or BO can just promise that the perpetrators “will be brought to justice,” the Clinton strategy (see below). Excerpt: In Somalia, which is without a central government to speak of and where very little functions beyond an Islamic resistance and individual warlords' fiefdoms, a robust "stock market" has emerged in the city of Haradheere for "investors" in the seagoing pirate "industry," to raise money and supplies for kidnappers in exchange for a share of the bounty once a ransom is paid. According to a December Reuters dispatch, 72 "companies" are listed on the exchange, enabling "venture capital" to fund greater piracy traffic and more sophisticated looting. There even seems to be a financial "bubble" at work, in that since the "exchange" opened, pirates' ransoms have doubled to about $4 million per ship.

Clinton vows to bring pirates to justice
Clinton vows to find and bring to justice embassy bombers
Clinton Vows U.S. Will Pursue Justice In Pan Am Bombing
Clinton Vows to Hunt Down Attackers of Cole
Clinton Vows Crackdown on Gangs
Clinton vows to support Afghan leadership
Bush Vows 'American Justice' For Bombers in Saudi Arabia
Yes, Bush made the same promises, but tried a tad harder, I think.

Feinstein: Halt transfers to Yemen
We already have released Gitmo terrorists attacking us, thanks to the political pressure brought to bear on the Bush administration. Time the Democrats caught on.

Obama's apparent low-key approach to Kashmir disappoints some in disputed region
Excerpt: But Kashmiris have been caught in the diplomatic dilemma facing the Obama administration as it tries to persuade Pakistan to take on a stronger role fighting Islamist extremists and simultaneously seeks to improve relations with India, Pakistan's arch foe. Many Kashmiris celebrated when President Obama took office nearly a year ago, because he seemed to favor a more robust approach to bring stability to Kashmir, where human rights groups estimate that as many as 100,000 people have died in violence and dozens of Pakistan-backed militant groups have sprung up. At one point, the Obama administration contemplated appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the region. But now residents say they are disappointed, complaining that Obama has not engaged on Kashmir other that to say recently that the region's fate is in the hands of India and Pakistan alone.

The Goldstone Illusion
Excerpt: Let us begin with a sense of the moral stakes. Since the early 1990s, the nature of the military conflict facing Israel has been dramatically shifting. What was mainly a clash between states and armies has turned into a clash between a state and paramilitary terror organizations, Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. This new form of struggle is now called “asymmetrical war.” It is defined by an attempt on the part of those groups to erase two basic features of war: the front and the uniform. Hamas militants fight without military uniforms, in ordinary and undistinguishing civilian garb, taking shelter among their own civilian population; and they attack Israeli civilians wherever they are, intentionally and indiscriminately. During the Gaza operation, for example, some Hamas militants embedded in the civilian population did not carry weapons while moving from one position to another. Arms and ammunition had been pre-positioned for them and stored in different houses.

ABC News Reporter to Marry Obama's Top Budget Aide
See, the media is in bed with the Obama administration! A Vietnam buddy writes: Just when you thought journalists could not possibly get any cozier with the Obama administration, it was revealed that ABC News economics and business reporter Bianna Golodryga, a regular contributor to Good Morning America, will marry Obama budget chief Peter Orszag next fall. These kinds of conflicts of interest are probably not worrisome to ABC, which already sports a Cuomo and a Clinton bimbo-crusher in prominent positions. –Larry

From Grandpa to Granddaughter: The well has run dry
This is going around the Net. Not sure if it’s a real letter, but I know how the guy feels, since we support an Obama-voting daughter and granddaughter. Worth a read.

Radanovich to retire
Excerpt: Radanovich would become the first Republican this cycle to retire without seeking another office. Four Democrats have done so in recent weeks, leaving seats vulnerable to takeover. Radanovich's district could also be competitive. Like many California districts, it swung strongly toward the Democratic side in the 2008 presidential election. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) still won 52-46, but the district appears much more accessible to Democrats now than it was earlier this decade.

Violence Ebbs as Criminal Alliances Emerge in New Test for Authorities
Can’t we all just get along? Bloods and Crips working together in criminal activity.

Bomb Class Cartoon


  1. Happy New Year, sir. Let's pray that 2010 be a better year than 2009.

  2. Regarding I'm Tired...Your article evoked my deep Passion for man-kind...especially for those with handicapping and disableing situations. I am the parent of a handi-capped/disabled person. He is handicapped/disabled due to hospital error. He did not ask for, nor choose to have disabilities. For almost 36 years now, we, his parents, have had to make countless and unbelievable medical and constant and immediate/split-second,life/death decisions. In your military profesion, you, yourself have had to do the same. I'm certain you know many handicapped/disabled military veterans. I'm certain you know many who gave their life, or quality there of, for the Viet Nam effort and many other wars/conflicts/missions. We know many ourselves. We have lost military family members-as have many, if not most people have. Three of our children have served in the military with honor. Two now serve as police officers, to serve and protect, with honor. I'm sure you, yourself, have been affected by your own participation in the military. Do we consider the support of the Disabled American Veteran services to be an "Entitlement"? No, we do not. Do we consider the VA Hospitals and other military support groups "Entitlements"? No, we do not! So, why then, do you choose to think that it is a "Entitlement" for a person who is handicapped/disabled, who is just plain an American Citizen? We have never just "sat around enjoying any "Entitlement". And further-more, financial devastation occurs for people who take serious responsibility for their handicapped/disabled children. Yet, we would still make the same decisions today to protect and provide for our son. However, throughout this time, we have all learned and experienced the importance of living life to the fullest, no matter if abled or dis-abled. In the future, please distinguish matters of what you KNOW about from situations of which you have never, apparently, had to encounter. I hope no one in your family ever has any handicapping condition, and I mean that SINCERELY. But, if the need ever does occur, I hope you will then appreciate any "Entitlement" that is available. I actually thank you for creating this opportunity to open and better define the "Entitlement" program for the handicapped/disabled population in a more personal way. My hope is only to open your eye's to diverse and controversial topics. "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge". Keep writing, because "Freedom of Speech" promotes opportunity to look at life and its many aspects.