Sunday, January 24, 2010

Political Digest January 24, 2010

I post articles because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

Tell your politicians what you think of ObamaCare

Obama’s numbers getting worse

Once-endangered Republican leader boosted by Brown's triumph
Excerpt: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is walking with a spring in his step these days and even smiling a bit. The Democrats no longer hold a filibuster-proof majority in the chamber and their sweeping healthcare overhaul, which seemed destined for President Barack Obama’s signature a few weeks ago, is now in dire straits. McConnell’s colleagues credit his leadership for keeping Republicans united against the plan and stalling it long enough to prevent final action ahead of the Massachusetts special election. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the GOP presidential candidate in 2008, is among those calling him the party leader. Conservative activist Grover Norquist say McConnell deserves to be named the party’s Most Valuable Player.

CBO: Troop surge in Afghanistan to cost $36 billion over the next three years
Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office on Friday estimated that President Barack Obama’s plan to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan likely will cost about $36 billion between 2010 and 2013. CBO estimated the costs of increasing the number of troops in and around Afghanistan from about 70,000 at the end of fiscal year 2009 to about 100,000 by July 2010, averaging 85,000 personnel for fiscal year 2010, according to CBO director Douglas Elemendorf.

Obama calls on Congress to create its own fiscal commission before he does
Excerpt: President Barack Obama on Saturday called on Congress to pass a bill creating a fiscal commission amid reports that he will likely create an executive commission if Congress does not act. Obama issued a statement calling for Republicans and Democrats to join the effort, even though Republicans have already voiced their opposition to the plan.
I strongly support legislation currently under consideration to create a bipartisan, fiscal commission to come up with a set of solutions to tackle our nation’s fiscal challenges – and call on Senators from both parties to vote for the creation of a statutory, bipartisan fiscal commission," the president said. (In other news, farmers call on foxes to appoint a commission to reduce henhouse losses.)

Obama concedes health overhaul hit 'buzz saw'
Excerpt: President Barack Obama, two days after signaling retreat on a massive health care overhaul, discounted the small-bore approach Friday and pledged to press for ambitious changes despite running into a "bit of a buzz saw" of opposition.
Even as the president sought to bring the public and nervous Democrats back on board, a leading member of his party suggested Congress slow it down on health care, a sign of eroding political will in the wake of Tuesday's Republican election upset in Massachusetts.

SEIU Chief: If Dems Pass Scaled-Down Health Bill, Labor Will Have Trouble Staying “Focused On National Politics”
The thugs warn their minions. Excerpt: SEIU chief Andy Stern took a hard shot at Dem leaders just now for considering a scaled-down health care bill, strongly hinting that labor might not work as hard for Dem candidates in 2010 if they failed to deliver real and comprehensive reform. “It’s gonna be incredibly difficult to stay focused on national politics if by the end of 2010 we have minimal health care and minimal changes on what’s important to our members,” he said in an interview, ridiculing the emerging Dem approach as “fear masquerading as a strategy.”
Stern unloaded on Dem leaders in resonse to reports today that they’re mulling either a scaled down bill to win GOPers or a broken up bill passed in pieces. His anger suggests Dems risk paying a big price with labor if they fail to figure out how to pass the Senate bill and fix it later, as labor wants. Stern hinted that if House and Senate members don’t move forward with the Senate bill and some kind of fix, they could see union members spending more time on races for governor, perhaps at the expense of their reelection campaigns. “If something significant doesn’t happen in Congress, I hope the legislators appreciate that there are 37 governors races important to our members,” Stern said suggestively.

Why is California Broke
Look at the tax rates? But when you start giving goodies to favored groups, demand will always outrun supply.

The Far Left Down for the Count
Excerpt: More than anything else, it was the foolishness of the far left that harpooned Martha Coakley in Massachusetts. Independents broke big for Scott Brown, and his own internal polling showed that national security issues like civilian trials for al-Qaida thugs and the president's seemingly soft approach on terrorism in general helped Brown to a smashing victory. President Obama, of course, is a big loser along with Coakley. His trip to Massachusetts last Sunday was gutsy, but foolish in hindsight. Voters in a very liberal state simply rejected his request to elect another liberal. The president lost face and power and has to know it. Now, Obamacare is in great jeopardy, cap and trade is dead, tax increases will not happen and liberal policies across the board are on the run. All of this is the fault of the far left, a group led by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a number of radical journalists. Brown should send these people fruit baskets.

Vietnam: Repression Intensifies Prior to Party Congress
Rights Defenders, Democracy Activists Targeted
Remember Vietnam, and it’s Communists who were such darlings of the left that the Democrats in Congress cut off all aid to our allies in the South? They don’t talk much about it now—they have new enemies of freedom to praise and support. Excerpt: This week's convictions and heavy sentences for four Vietnamese democracy activists, including the prominent human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh, highlighted the climate of increasingly harsh political repression in Vietnam, Human Rights Watch said today after the release of its World Report 2010. The 612-page World Report 2010, the organization's 20th annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide. In Vietnam, the report says, the government arrested and imprisoned dozens of democracy activists linked to opposition parties, independent bloggers, land rights protesters, and members of unsanctioned religious organizations during 2009. "With its treatment of peaceful critics, the Vietnamese government seems determined to stand out as one of the most repressive countries in Asia," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "We'd be thrilled if the Vietnamese government proved us wrong, but there are no signs that it will reverse its increasingly harsh crackdown on dissent."

Alert: Female Suicide Bombers May Be Heading Here From Yemen
Excerpt: American law enforcement officials have been told to be on the lookout for female suicide bombers who may attempt to enter the United States, law enforcement authorities tell ABC News.

NY man accused of beheading claims he was battered
Excerpt: The founder of an Islam-oriented television station who is accused of beheading his wife was abused by her for years, according to his lawyer, who said Friday he will pursue a defense combining that justification as well as psychiatric claims. Defense attorneys' claims that Muzzammil Hassan was victimized by his wife drew a blunt response from District Attorney Frank Sedita after a hearing Friday. "He chopped her head off," Sedita said. "He chopped her head off. That's all I have to say about Mr. Hassan's apparent defense that he was a battered spouse." Hassan, 45, is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the Feb. 12 death of 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan at the offices of Bridges TV, the station the Pakistan-born couple established in 2004 to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims. During Friday's hearing, Hassan fired the attorney who has been representing him for nearly a year and replaced him with a lawyer who promised "a revolutionary defense" at the March trial. "The spouse was the dominant figure in this relationship," attorney Frank Bogulski said outside the courtroom. "He was the victim. She was verbally abusive. She had humiliated him." (In our great legal system, every monster is entitled to be represented by an attorney with a cockamamie defense!)

Saudi Arabia: Rape victim now faces 100 lashes for the crime of being raped
Excerpt: Recently someone forwarded me a pseudo-scholarly piece by a smooth Islamic apologist purporting to prove that I was wrong, wrong, wrong (and therefore evil as well, of course) about Islamic rules of evidence for crimes of zina (adultery, fornication, and other sexual offenses), and claiming that rape victims in the Islamic world are never punished for being raped. The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 100 lashes instead of "Camille" for his obfuscation and enabling of this kind of torture of women. (Guess she’s lucky to be in SA. Not long ago a teenage rape victim was stoned to death in Somalia.)

Man Claims Terror Ties in Little Rock Shooting
Let’s not jump to conclusions, as BO would say. Probably just an isolated incident. Excerpt: A Tennessee man accused of killing a soldier outside a Little Rock, Ark., military recruiting station last year has asked a judge to change his plea to guilty, claiming for the first time that he is affiliated with a Yemen-based affiliate of Al Qaeda. In a letter to the judge presiding over his case, the accused killer, Abdulhakim Muhammad, calls himself a soldier in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and calls the shooting “a Jihadi Attack” in retribution for the killing of Muslims by American troops. “I wasn’t insane or post traumatic nor was I forced to do this Act,” Mr. Muhammad said in a two-page, hand-printed note in pencil. The attack, which he said did not go as planned, was “justified according to Islamic Laws and the Islamic Religion. Jihad — to fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims.”

France Vows to Prevent Israeli Strike on Lebanon's Infrastructure
Excerpt: Beirut and Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat - Well-informed Lebanese sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that French President Nicolas Sarkozy informed Lebanese officials that France has vowed to try to prevent Israel from bombarding Lebanon’s basic infrastructure “but no more than that.” Sarkozy stressed to Lebanese officials that it was imperative to “control the internal situation in Lebanon and prevent any provocations.” A parliament member from the Future bloc, which is headed by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al Hariri, revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that al Hariri, through his international and Arab ties, was trying to form a safety net to prevent an Israeli attack. The Lebanese MP highlighted that Hezbollah should not provide Israel with any pretexts for launching an assault on Lebanon. He also referred to the efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia and other countries towards the US administration to pressure Israel not to attack Lebanon.

In Westwood, a hometown turns out for fallen Marine
Excerpt: With the mournful hum of dozens of bagpipes, the gentle flapping of hundreds of flags and the indelible silence of thousands of residents lining its streets, Westwood welcomed home a local boy Thursday who gave his life in a faraway war. Marine Sgt. Christopher Hrbek, 25, was killed a week ago in the hills of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province after stepping on a booby-trapped bomb. His wake is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Zion Lutheran Church, and his funeral will be held on Saturday at the church. But in the fading afternoon sunlight on Thursday, Westwood honored Hrbek with a solemn procession. Funerals are not just moments of sadness. For some towns, they are moments of proud unity, too. In Westwood on Thursday, that mix of unmitigated sadness and unity were on full display. Hrbek deployed with his Marine unit to Afghanistan in November. Before that, he served three combat tours with the Marines in Iraq. And only weeks earlier in Afghanistan, he dashed through enemy gunfire to save the life of another Marine who had stepped on a similar bomb – an act for which the Marines had nominated Hrbek for a Bronze Star medal for valor. But on Thursday, the Central Bergen County town that Hrbek called home before enlisting in the Marines came to a standstill. (Since 1775, standing between your family and the barbarians. The Marines.)

From The Halls Of Montezuma To The Streets Of Port-au-Prince

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."--George Washington

"We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."--Aesop, c. 550 B.C.

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