Friday, January 29, 2010

Political Digest January 29, 2010

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.

Obama will ask in State of Union for end to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Excerpt: President Obama will call for a repeal of the law that forbids openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military during Wednesday night's State of the Union address, according to a prepared text of the speech released by the White House. "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," Obama will say.

My take on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue
This will hurt Obama with those who believe folks wake up and decide, “Hey, I’m sick of dating members of the opposite sex, I think I’ll become Gay.” It will help Obama with gays and his liberal base. My take is that if the right pounds too hard on it, it will help Obama. Polls show that the younger folks are increasingly tolerant of Gays, and indifferent to issues of Gay marriage. This is exactly the group that is turning against Obama as he tries to force them to buy health insurance they don’t want and saddles them with un-payable burden of national debt, that will kill their economic future. We don’t need to pound on issues that drive them back to his camp. Attitudes have changed in the middle of the electorate since Bill Clinton pushed this issue. And it is independents in the middle who will decide if Obama, Pelosi and Reid control the agenda in 2013, or if conservatives do. Remember, Obama said the same thing in 2008, and it didn’t hurt him in that campaign.

But I have a strong libertarian streak in my conservatism. I don’t want the government telling people they can’t own guns, adult movies or marry who they please. That said, I’ve always believed that being homosexual is something that happens to some people, like having blue eyes, and is not a choice. I don’t know any true heterosexual who ever gave a second’s thought to switching sides, no matter how angry or upset they were with their significant other or women/men in general. Therefore, I’ve always opposed discrimination against Gays. It’s not a choice or mental disturbance, like being a sociopath, Nazi or liberal.

And if the right pounds on it, they will bring out people like the Marine in the story below, hurting our side with the independents we need to win in 2010 and 2012.

Wounded ex-Marine now fighting a two-front war
Excerpt: Eric Alva lived and breathed the Marine Corps for 13 years. Then he earned a dubious slice of American history by becoming the first GI injured in the Iraq invasion in 2003. He stepped on a mine three hours after rolling into Iraq, breaking both legs, suffering a badly mangled right arm and being filled with shrapnel from torso to his legs. The picture-perfect Marine, who later lost part of his right leg and still carries 27 pieces of shrapnel, has evolved from a war hero photographed with President George W. Bush to one of the nation's prominent gay activists after coming out on ABC's “Good Morning America” on Feb. 27, 2007.

Obama's first State of the Union: Jobs must be our No. 1 focus
Well, there are proven ways to create jobs. Reduce Capital gains taxes as JFK did, to give business more money to invest in job creation. Reduce taxes on small businesses, the number one creators of private sector jobs. Reduce the cost of healthcare insurance on business and individuals by passing comprehensive national tort reform, and allowing insurance companies to sell insurance nationwide without the costly state by state mandates. But when he says jobs are the first priority, he means first after protecting trial lawyers, public unions and other special interests who contribute to Democrats. The unemployed are first—after all those good folks. So he’ll try another big government, big deficit stimulus plan ,the first one having created so many jobs in places that don’t even exist, as reported on Democrat websites.

Barbour: GOP chances better than in '94, but don't get complacent
Excerpt: Republicans shouldn’t take their upset victory in Massachusetts for granted, a senior party strategist told the Senate GOP conference Wednesday. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the national party, warned the group it can’t afford complacency or overconfidence, even with the wind seemingly at its back. Nothing is automatic in politics. Things change. Everybody needs to just run hard, hard, and take nothing for granted,” Barbour told The Hill shortly after he spoke to the conference during its half-day-long meeting at the Library of Congress. “But the environment today is better for Republicans in January of 2010 than it was in January of 1994,” he added. “The important thing I told them was that while today the environment is better than it was in ’94, the elections aren’t for 10 months. Lots can change, and they need to be thinking that nothing is carved in stone.”

RNC chief Steele opposes purity test for Republican candidates
This news will make Reid and Pelosi unhappy. A purity test would help defeat moderate Republicans in Blue States, thus helping liberals control the Congress after 2012. Excerpt: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said Wednesday that he opposes a controversial "purity" resolution that would keep party money from candidates deemed to be too moderate, all but ensuring the defeat of a proposal that divided GOP leaders as they opened their four-day winter meeting here Wednesday. The proposal, introduced by some of the RNC's more conservative members, would require that candidates publicly state their agreement with at least eight of 10 listed conservative positions -- ranging from taxes and immigration to same-sex marriage and gun control -- or lose party funding and support. Although Steele has not seen the final text of the resolution, named after the late president Ronald Reagan, he is siding with some two dozen state party chairmen who voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose it.

After Obama rips lobbyists, K St. insiders get private briefings
The old game—you get votes from the people promising to protect them from the “special interests,” and campaign money from the special interests like tral lawyers helping them screw the people who voted for you. Except: A day after bashing lobbyists, President Barack Obama’s administration has invited K Street insiders to join private briefings on a range of topics addressed in Wednesday’s State of the Union. The Treasury Department on Thursday morning invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.” The invitation, which went to a variety of stakeholders, was sent by Fred Baldassaro, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Business Affairs and Public Liaison. The invitation stated, “The White House is encouraging you to participate in these calls and will have a question and answer session at the end of each call. As a reminder, these calls are not intended for press purposes.” The calls are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, with the first topic being job creation and economic growth. The last call, at 1 p.m., is on government reform and transparency. Republicans have criticized the Obama White House for not being more transparent in its discussions with Congress on healthcare reform. Obama recently acknowledged that the legislative process has not been as open as he promised on the campaign trail.

The Spending 'Freeze' That Isn't
But spending buys votes from favored groups. Excerpt: In last night's State of the Union address President Obama proposed a three-year "spending freeze" on what amounts to one-sixth of the federal budget. Our biggest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, would be excluded. These changes are optical rather than substantive. Given the spending agenda that is already in place, we can expect to see large increases in the proportion of GDP that is spent by our government for years to come. Since 2008, the ratio of federal spending-to-GDP has risen by about 14%. From 2008 to 2009 we saw the greatest annual increase in spending in the last 30 years. In the name of stimulating job growth, the share of federal spending is now 24% of the economy, up from 21% in the last year of the Bush administration. My analysis of data from 1950 to the present shows that periods with high tax-to-GDP ratios exhibit much slower economic growth than lower tax ratio periods. The GDP growth in high tax years (defined as years during which the ratio of tax-to-GDP was above 18%, the 60-year average) was about 1.5 percentage points lower than the growth rate in low-tax years. High taxes are clearly bad for the U.S. economy. For example, were we to tax above the 18% tax-to-GDP ratio over the next 25 years, GDP per capita in 2035 would be about 50% less than if we were to tax below the 18% ratio. A 50% per capita GDP differential is about as large as the difference between the U.S. and Greece today.

A Dose of Reality, a Bid to Restore Magic
Excerpt: By now, President Obama can hardly be under any illusions about the depth of the partisan divide as he seeks to reboot his presidency. Yet he still seemed surprised on Wednesday night when he could not get Republicans to applaud tax cuts.Skip to next paragraph
As he boasted in his first State of the Union address that his economic program had cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, Democrats jumped to their feet to cheer. Republicans sat quietly. Mr. Obama paused as he glanced over to their side of the House chamber. “I thought I’d get some applause on that one,” he said. If Mr. Obama thought he could take the rostrum in the House chamber and restore his image as the change agent who came to Washington to end the politics of division, he received another reminder just how hard that will be. Mr. Obama tried to recapture the magic of his yes-we-can campaign after a season of no-we-can’t governing, but conceded little if any ground to critics on either the right or the left. It was a confident performance, more defiant than contrite, more conversational than soaring. He appealed to and scolded both parties, threatened vetoes, blamed his predecessor and poked fun at lawmakers.

A Speech Only Washington Could Love The more things change, the more things stay the same. A little over a year ago, President Barack Obama came to office expecting to pass a “big bang” of policy changes all in the first year: health care, cap-and-trade, and banking regulation. With the big-bang strategy officially a failure, President Obama’s State of the Union address last night desperately tried to keep all of these legislative efforts alive while also acknowledging that the country has firmly rejected his policy agenda. The result was an incoherent mess of promised tax cuts for small businesses coupled with the threat of tax hikes from his health care and energy proposals; more federal money to encourage banks to lend to businesses, coupled with new taxes on banks and individuals; the continued waste of his $862 billion stimulus plan and $2 trillion in new health care spending, coupled with a delayed and temporary spending freeze.

State of the Union: Barack Obama gets an F for world leadership (Britian)
The view from Britain. Excerpt: As expected, Barack Obama’s 70 minute State of the Union address focused heavily on the economy and the domestic political agenda. This was hardly surprising in the aftermath of last week’s catastrophic defeat for his party in the Massachusetts special Senate election, where the Republicans scored an historic victory. American voters are turning strongly against the president’s health care reform package as well as his big government vision for the economy, which has contributed to spiraling public debt and mounting unemployment, now standing at over 10 percent. But the scant attention paid in the State of the Union speech to US leadership was pitiful and frankly rather pathetic. The war in Afghanistan, which will soon involve a hundred thousand American troops, merited barely a paragraph. There was no mention of victory over the enemy, just a reiteration of the president’s pledge to begin a withdrawal in July 2011. Needless to say there was nothing in the speech about the importance of international alliances, and no recognition whatsoever of the sacrifices made by Great Britain and other NATO allies alongside the United States on the battlefields of Afghanistan. For Barack Obama the Special Relationship means nothing, and tonight’s address further confirmed this.

I Told You So – Yes I Did (Canada)
Excerpt: When Obama won the Presidency with the help of the LEFTIST Media, Hollywood and Entertainment Liberals, Ethnic Socialists (ACORN), Stupid Non-Business Professionals and Bush Haters, I wrote: It won’t take 6 months until the people figure this guy out and realize how horrible a mistake they’ve made. And when they come to that realization, the damage to the United States of America will be so great, that it will take a generation or more to repair - IF EVER. The IDIOTS who not only voted for the Messiah, but also worked their sorry asses-off to promote his Lordship, are now left holding the bag. Here are two things they will NEVER do: 1 – They will NEVER admit to making a blunder out of all proportion by electing a snake-oil salesman with no positive social history or management experience of any kind. 2 – They will NEVER take responsibility for the curse they’ve imposed upon the immediate and long-term future of their country.

State of the Union Address: Justice Alito’s ‘You lie’ moment?
Excerpt: POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt, who’s in the House chamber, reports that Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words “not true” when President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision. “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said. “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.” The shot of the black-robed Supreme Court justices, stone-faced, was priceless.

AP Fact Checks Obama’s SOTU Speech
Excerpt: President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.

Cato responds to Obama’s SOTU

Commissioner Peraica accused of using racial slur for saying 'those folks',peraica-sims-those-folks-county-board-012610.article
“Those folks” is apparently a terrible new racist term the politically-correct must avoid. Excerpt: The controversy began Tuesday at a Cook County Board meeting when Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica delivered another of his windy speeches. Peraica, who is white and represents the western suburbs, was talking about how cutting the county's share of the sales tax could help the unemployed -- mentioning specifically how the African American community has been hit especially hard by joblessness and how "those folks" could benefit from slashing the tax.

Chris Matthews: I forgot Obama was black for an hour
“Those folks” can fool you that way.

CNN Poll: 3 of 4 Americans say much of stimulus money wasted
You rubes are so dumb, you just don’t deserve Barack Obama! You’re going to get another stimulus regardless of your wishes. Excerpt: Nearly three out of four Americans think that at least half of the money spent in the federal stimulus plan has been wasted, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday morning also indicates that 63 percent of the public thinks that projects in the plan were included for purely political reasons and will have no economic benefit, with 36 percent saying those projects will benefit the economy. Twenty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say nearly all the money in the stimulus has been wasted, with 24 percent feeling that most money has been wasted and an additional 29 percent saying that about half has been wasted. Twenty-one percent say only a little has been wasted and 4 percent think that no stimulus dollars have been wasted.

Disaster poll: Nearly 70 percent say dump Dems' health care bill
Just when it appeared that the numbers for the Democratic health care proposals passed by the House and Senate couldn't get any worse -- they have. A new poll by CNN and Opinion Research, taken from January 22 to January 24, shows that 69 percent of respondents say Congress should dump the current Democratic health care proposals and either write an entirely new health bill or stop working on the subject altogether.

Gov't Unions 2, Oregon Taxpayers 0
Excerpt: In voting to raise taxes to fund health benefits of public-sector union members, Oregonians have taken some of the shine off Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts and set a potentially dangerous precedent.

Obama, the God that Failed
Excerpt: President Obama said Monday that he would "rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." He will be lucky if he's not an abject failure.

Thrill is gone for Obamagirl
Excerpt: Remember Amber Lee Ettinger, the "Obamagirl" who had 15 minutes of fame during the 2008 presidential campaign with her video paen to Barack Obama?
The New York Post reports this morning that Obamagirl wishes her man had spent the past year doing something about the economy instead of obsessing about health care reform. "I know he's getting a lot of flak for things that he's not doing. In my opinion, I feel like he should be focusing a lot more on jobs and the economy," Ettinger told the Post.

Standing for more than ‘No’
Excerpt: Amid the celebrating over Scott Brown's Senate victory Tuesday, some Republicans were smartly looking ahead, arguing that the party can't rest on the laurels of one election, however momentous. Kevin Madden, press secretary for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "The party can prove to a disaffected public that we stand for more than just winning elections but instead are dedicated to reforming a broken system and governing a nation with public support." In other words, don't let the Brown win go your heads. It's a big deal -- huge, considering that Republicans and conservatives were thought extinct just a year ago. But don't think this is a Sally Field moment. Voters don't suddenly really, really like the GOP. Instead, consider the things they really, really dislike: (Good article. But we also need to point out that the Democrats are also the “Party of No.” No to tort reform. No to insurance company competition. No to capital gains tax cuts to create jobs. No to winning the War of terror. No to treating terrorists as the illegal enemy combatants they are under international law. No to developing energy at home through oil and nuclear power. No to fiscal restraint. No to cleaning up corrupt Democrats like Rangel and Murtha. And so on.)

Barack Obama LIED!
Excerpt: Tonight, Barack Obama said, “To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.
“That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.” Maybe this explains why his national security policies are so weak. He put William Lynn in the Pentagon as Deputy Defense Secretary. Mr. Lynn was a lobbyist for Defense Contractor Ratheon. I guess the Deputy Defense Secretary is not a policy-making job. But it is not just Lynn. Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed]. Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association. William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive. William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use. David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric. Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs. Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone. Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003. Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group. Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union. Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005. (From Red State Morning Briefings. You may want to subscribe.

Obama sends a message to Congressional Dems: Stand and fight
Excerpt: In a state of the Union speech notable for its conciliatory tone and generally centrist policy focus, President Barack Obama saved his harshest words for the members of his own party. "After last week, it is clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual," said Obama. "But we still need to govern. To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills." Those three sentences encapsulate the view of Obama and his White House about the best -- and perhaps only -- mindset that Democrats must adopt heading into the November midterm elections. Put simply: You can run, but you can't hide. Obama as well as his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, himself a former member of the House leadership, have argued for months that Democrats' fate is tied to the president whether they like it or not due to the near-certainty that 2010 will be a nationalized election.

Obama’s First State Of The Union Address – The Way It Sounded To Me
Pretty funny, but accurate tanslation. Excerpt: This isn’t a very good time for our country. I know this because angry poor people keep writing me letters every day. Plus my poll numbers are in the tank, which means that even the poor people who voted for me are PO’ed. But hey, it’s not my fault, and besides, things aren’t as bad today as they were during the Civil War and the Great Depression. Still, I signed up for this gig, so I’d better at least pretend to take some responsibility for the way things are going, even though Bush is really to blame. The American people are upset because Republicans and Democrats can’t get along, and while that too isn’t my fault, I did kinda promise to end all the bickering in Washington and actually hold the government accountable for its screw-ups. I also promised transparency, and although what I meant by that was exposing the flaws of everyone who disagrees with me and then publicly mocking them, some folks may have thought I was talking about making my own administration more open and responsive to the will of the electorate. So here’s what I intend to do… basically the same unpopular stuff I’ve been doing since day one. You know, things like bailing out the very people who caused all our economic problems in the first place with massive amounts of taxpayer dollars, and then demonizing them for taking the money. I also intend to keep preaching to the choir about how much better poor folks will feel once we start punishing the people they envy most with crippling taxes, even while declaring what a big tax cutter I am.

US Terror Blacklist Whitewashes Hamas, Enables Funding
Excerpt: The United States Treasury has taken all but one member of Hamas off the international list of terrorists, thus enabling funds from the European Union to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza. It is an open secret that large sums of money from the EU flow into Gaza in the guise of humanitarian aid and salaries for officials, but are actually funneled into the coffers of Hamas, which controls Gaza with an iron grip. This method of transferring funds into terrorists' hands could have been blocked by an international lawsuit, but according to journalist Avi Tarango, the United States Treasury has made this impossible by removing all but one Hamas man – Deputy Chairman of the Political Bureau, Musa Abu Marzouk – from the list of international terrorists.

57 Percent of Independent Voters Give Napolitano a ‘D’ or ‘F’ for Keeping America Safe
Excerpt: A new Zogby Poll finds that nearly half (46 percent) of American voters surveyed – and 57 percent of Independents -- give Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a below average or failing grade for keeping America secure. Also, when it comes to air travel, more Americans said they felt safer under President Bush than under President Obama.

God’s own lunatics
Tribute to Vietnam Chopper Crews

1 comment:

  1. I won't say I disagree with Bob Hall on the subject of gay soldiers; we've disagreed on very few issues over the years (like that damned bottle bill he sponsored in '76 or '77!). Think of this more as a concurring opinion based on a completely different line of reasoning.

    One of the most basic principles of any sort of conservatism is to keep the government's nose out of the people's private affairs. This is the second most private affair I can think of, first being the relationship between a person and his god.

    "Mind your own business" is a perfectly acceptable answer when asked who you're sleeping with. "Are you making an offer" might be another. Unless you are sleeping with someone, who else they are sleeping with is none of your business. If you are sleeping with them, then yes, I think you do have a legitimate interest, but it is a private matter between the two (or ten?) of you.

    "But we might be in close quarters." So what. Chances are good you didn't want to sleep with your siblings, but you shared confined spaces with them, didn't you? We already have laws, regulations, and orders forbidding sexual misconduct or harrassment. If those aren't useful, what value is there in having more of the same?

    "But I don't LIKE those people!" Tough luck. I don't like left-handed redheaded Republicans, but I voted for Bill Weld anyway. Twice.

    Ron Pittenger