Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Political Digest February 4, 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's Iraq policy must be focused on more than withdrawal
Excerpt: In a 71-minute State of the Union address, President Obama managed no more than 101 perfunctory words about Iraq. Throughout its term, the administration has recoiled from discussing Iraq's geostrategic significance and especially America's relation to it. Yet while Iraq is being exorcised from our debate, its reality is bound to obtrude on our consciousness. The U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq will not alter the geostrategic importance of the country even as it alters that context. Mesopotamia has been the strategic focal point of the region for millennia. Its resources affect countries far away. The dividing line between the Shiite and the Sunni worlds runs through its center -- indeed, through its capital. Iraq's Kurdish provinces rest uneasily between Turkey and Iran and indigenous adversaries within Iraq. It cannot be in the American interest to leave the region as a vacuum. Nor is it possible to separate Iraq from the conflict with revolutionary jihad. The outcome in Iraq will influence the psychological balance in the war against radical Islam, specifically whether the ongoing withdrawal from Iraq comes to be perceived as a retreat from the region or a more effective way to sustain it.

Can there be scaled down health care reform?
Yes and no. Ten possibilities from the NCPA.

Obama urges Dem senators to finish the job on healthcare
The voters need to finish the job in November. Excerpt: During a visit with the conference on Wednesday, President Barack Obama pushed Senate Democrats to "finish the job" on healthcare. Obama urged the Senate Democratic Conference to push forward on healthcare and financial regulatory reform despite concerns about taking tough votes in an election year.

Old and New Environmental Myths
Excerpt: It's fascinating to observe the path of many contentious environmental problems. They attract national attention, the future is seen as foreboding, and then, years later, they have been solved, ameliorated, or forgotten. Acid rain and fluorocarbons exemplify this path. Regulations may solve the projected problems, and we sometimes find that the alleged problem is less consequential than initially supposed. Here's an example. Twenty years ago the National Center for Policy Analysis commissioned Lynn Scarlett of the Reason Foundation to write a policy report, "A Consumer's Guide to Environmental Myths and Realities." It began with the observation that Americans are besieged with admonitions and advice on being good environmentalists. The focus was on what to buy and how to act. The study demonstrated that much of this counsel was flawed and driven by special interest. Yet, even today, this well researched and crafted 40-page study is worth reading for several reasons. First, it demonstrates pervasive and substantial progress; nine of the ten concerns that preoccupied Greens two decades ago have eroded if not fully evaporated. When did you last hear "America is running out of landfill space" listed as an environmental problem? Twenty years ago it was myth #1.

Largest-ever federal payroll to hit 2.15 million
And they mostly belong to government unions, pay union dues that support Democrats and vote for Democrats to expand government and spending to protect their jobs. Excerpt: The era of big government has returned with a vengeance, in the form of the largest federal work force in modern history. The Obama administration says the government will grow to 2.15 million employees this year, topping 2 million for the first time since President Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over" and joined forces with a Republican-led Congress in the 1990s to pare back the federal work force. Most of the increases are on the civilian side, which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010. (Eventually, of course, the beast of growing government cannot be fed, and the painful collapse comes. When my granddaughter is an old woman, we will be under the Jamestown rule: If you don’t work, you don’t eat.)

Former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Evan Bayh in Indiana
Excerpt: Senate Republicans scored a major coup in their attempt to broaden the playing field this November by luring former senator Dan Coats (R) into the race against Sen. Evan Bayh (D) in Indiana. Coats is expected to announce his candidacy today, according to informed Republican sources. After serving four terms in the House, Coats was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by Dan Quayle's election as vice president in 1988. He was subsequently elected in 1990 to the remainder of Quayle's term and in 1992 won the seat outright. He retired in 1998, making way for Bayh, who had been a two-term governor, to cruise to an open-seat victory over then Ft. Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke. National Republicans are convinced that Bayh is vulnerable due to his vote in favor of President Obama's health care plan and economic stimulus package.

China refuses concessions over Tibet in Dalai Lama talks
Excerpt: The Chinese government has refused to make concessions over Tibetan sovereignty after talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoys in Beijing. The delegation flew back to India, where the Tibetan leader lives in exile, on Monday after the first such meeting in over a year ended in stalemate.

Sen.-elect Brown demands to be seated
Excerpt: Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown on Wednesday demanded to be seated immediately, saying that while he is set to be sworn in Feb. 11, "there are a number of votes scheduled prior to that date." In a letter from his lawyers to Gov. Deval Patrick and Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, Mr. Brown argues that the results of the special election in Massachusetts on Jan. 19 are not in doubt and he should be able to take the seat right away. "We represent Senator-elect Scott Brown. We understand that the election returns from Massachusetts cities and towns were transmitted this morning to the State Secretary's Office and by the State Secretary to the Governor's Office. While Senator-elect Brown had tentatively planned to be sworn into office February 11, he has been advised that there are a number of votes scheduled prior to that date, For that reason, he wants certification to occur immediately. As he is the duly elected United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he is entitled to be seated now. "Accordingly, on behalf of Senator-elect Brown, we request that the results of the special election January 19, 2010, be certified without delay and that a duplicate be provided me in hand no later than 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2010, so we may deliver the original by hand to the Secretary of the United States Senate in time to allow Senator-elect Brown to be administered the oath of office by the Vice President tomorrow afternoon," wrote lawyer Daniel B. Winslow. (When Kennedy won JFK’s seat in a special, the Democrats (sic) swore him in the next day.)

The government wants your retirement
Excerpt: This, to me, is one of the most dangerous schemes currently slithering through the crevices and dark spots of the Imperial Federal Government in Washington. What am I talking about? What I believe to be plans by the Obama administration to, in effect, seize your retirement funds and use them to finance their deficit spending. Remember ... there are more than $3 trillion dollars sitting out there in individual retirement, IRA and 401K plans. Politicians just cant stand the idea of this much money sitting out there in private investments ... out of the grasp of politicians. So .... Something needs to be done. And sure enough, something is going to be done. The Treasury Department and the Department of Labor were going to start taking comments on ways to promote the idea converting 401(k) savings and IRAs into annuities or other steady payment streams.

Poll Spells Trouble for Sen. Lincoln
Excerpt: If the election were held today, Sen. Blanche Lincoln would lose in a landslide, according to the latest polling from Public Policy. The poll shows 33% of voters would pick the Arkansas Democrat, while 56% would vote for Republican Rep. John Boozman. The 23-point edge for Boozman, who has yet to officially announce his campaign, underscores that Lincoln is one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2010 cycle. Among independents, Boozman fares even better, 66%-20%.

20 reasons Global Debt Time Bomb explodes soon
Commentary: Which trigger will ignite the Great Depression II?
Excerpt: 20 economic weapons of mass destruction triggering ticking Global Debt Time Bomb:

An Alcatraz solution for Obama
Excerpt: Mr. Ahmadinejad and America's considerable enemies in Arabia can read the newspapers as well as the diplomatic cables, and they see how reluctant Mr. Obama is to recognize what's at stake in the Middle East. He boasts that terrorists can expect a warm welcome once captured, with no harsh questioning and with the full menu of defendant rights and trial privileges. When the president directed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other al Qaeda plotters of Sept. 11 be tried in a civilian court in Manhattan, those considerable enemies knew they had the president's number for once and all. Now, with even stalwarts in his own party denouncing a civilian trial in Manhattan as the nut-ball idea of the year, he's looking for a smart solution, a way to look tough in retreat. He should take the trial to San Francisco, where the flame that warms the cult burns brightest, and where surely no one would object. The defendants could answer in a specially prepared docket on Alcatraz, federal property not currently in use. When, as Attorney General Eric Holder assures us will be the case, KSM is convicted and sentenced to die, he can be hanged at once. The president and his teleprompter could preside over the gallows.

Obama's Strike Three: The Iranian Bomb
Excerpt: Three strikes and you're out. Obama has blown two so far, and he's got one chance left when it comes to national security. What will happen if in the next twelve months or so the suicide-preaching fanatics of Tehran explode a nuclear bomb, as they obviously are dead-set on doing? What will happen if Israel tries a preemptive strike? What if the Saudis, Egyptians, and Gulf States then imported a Sunni bomb from Pakistan? All those countries are unstable and have sizable radical martyrdom groups trying to overthrow their regimes. If a nuclear Iran led a Shiite Axis with Syria, Lebanon, Hamas, and Hezbollah, a tectonic shift would bring radicals to power from Tehran to Lebanon, the worst alignment of America's enemies since Stalin. That is a colossal challenge even to the most competent U.S. foreign policy team. Obama has shown no capacity to deal with national security crises so far. This may therefore be the most dangerous moment since Kennedy's Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. If this White House can't handle huge instability at the wellspring of the world's oil supplies, then every other great power will try to muscle in, including Russia and China. That will be Strike Three.

Obama administration is tone-deaf to concerns about terrorism
Excerpt: There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer. Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America's critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. When, oh when, will this administration wake up? Bit by bit, circumstances are forcing President Obama and his aides to come to grips with reality. The original plan to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the so-called Sept. 11 mastermind, in New York City has apparently been aborted. It finally occurred to the Justice Department that cordoning off much of Lower Manhattan and placing a security perimeter around the financial district not only would cost something like $200 million a year but also would destroy the economy of the area. A trial there would give KSM, as he is called, a second shot at devastating downtown New York.

MI5 hunting breast implants of death
Another reason to loath implants—Bimbo Boob bombers! Excerpt: Agents for Britain's MI5 intelligence service have discovered that Muslim doctors trained at some of Britain's leading teaching hospitals have returned to their own countries to fit surgical implants filled with explosives, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. Women suicide bombers recruited by al-Qaida are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery. The lethal explosives – usually PETN (pentaerythritol Tetrabitrate) – are inserted during the operation inside the plastic shapes. The breast is then sewn up. Similar surgery has been performed on male suicide bombers. In their cases, the explosives are inserted in the appendix area or in a buttock. Both are parts of the body that diabetics use to inject themselves with their prescribed drugs.

Emanuel apologizes for 'retarded' remark
Excerpt: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has apologized for referring to liberals as "retarded" during a strategy session last summer. A White House official said Emanuel called Tim Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics, last week after his comments were reported in a Wall Street Journal article and prompted Shriver to write him to express "dismay" over Emanuel's word choice.

Taxes, Taxes, and More Taxes
Excerpt: Yesterday Chicago news carried reports that 29th Ward Alderman, Isaac “Ike” Carothers, an influential Democrat and chairman of the City’s Police & Fire Committee, plead guilty to Federal corruption charges involving his accepting sports tickets and $40,000 worth of home remodeling in exchange for greasing the skids on behalf a developer who had a $3 million project in the works. Yes, another one bites the dust, and it was my intention to yock it up at the Alderman’s expense. There’s pathetic humor inherent in the situation – A powerful Chicago politician, after all he’s gotten away with, is caught picking up a “tip” in the amount of 1.03% of the project’s total price tag. While not much money was involved, it is an indication of how things work. If a City official can string together enough such deals to get a cash-flow going it can add up to a nice chunk of change. And there are no taxes. A child could do it.

'Iran will deliver telling blow to global powers on Feb. 11'§ionid=351020101
War is deceit, the Prophet said. My guess is if they really have something planned, they will let the 11th pass quietly, then hit us as we sigh in relief. But it could, I suppose, be an A-bomb test. Excerpt: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the nation will deliver a harsh blow to the "global arrogance" on this year's anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment