Friday, February 12, 2010

Political Digest for February 12, 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 Budget Rigs Healthcare Numbers
Excerpt: For the first time by any administration in memory, the Obama budget forecast rejects the Medicare Trustees’ projections for long-run healthcare cost growth. Why would the White House do this? The Obama administration’s fiscal year 2011 budget continues a pattern of ignoring independent analysis and rigging economic assumptions to meet political goals. For the first time by any administration in memory, the Obama budget forecast rejects the Medicare Trustees’ projections for long-run healthcare cost growth. The reason: the Trustees’ projections undercut the administration’s narrative that increased federal control over private sector healthcare could painlessly reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs. The Obama budget instead assumes long-term health cost growth at twice the rate projected by the Trustees. The White House’s assumptions are factually implausible. Worse, they threaten to politicize the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, whose process for estimating entitlement costs has until now stood out for its lack of political influence.

Washington region blasted by winds, record-breaking snow
OK, I agree you can’t use one event to disprove global warming the way Algore tried to use Hurricane Katarina to prove it, claiming it was only the first of many bad storms that would ravish us in the future, forgetting those that did such damage in the past. Still pretty funny. Not nice to mess with Mother Nature, Al. Excerpt: The fiercest storm yet in the worst winter in local history howled across the region Wednesday, locking virtually everything in a shroud of new snow that will take days to escape. And there might be more on the way.

Reid hopes for bipartisanship on jobs proposal at Thursday meeting
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must bridge divisions among Democratic senators when they gather Thursday to discuss jobs legislation. Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democratic leaders are on the cusp of striking a deal with Republicans, but the agreement has come with a political price.
To entice GOP votes, Reid and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have built the package around a core of tax cuts: a credit for employers who hire new workers; and a bundle of business-targeted tax relief provisions, such as the research and development tax credit. The wooing of Republicans has drawn criticism from liberal senators, as well as union officials and left-leaning advocacy groups. The effort is similar to when Democrats last year included tax cuts in the $787 billion stimulus and drew support from only three GOP senators — one of whom is now a Democrat — and no Republican House members.

The Fix: House Republicans make case for majority
Excerpt: House Republican leaders made their case for why -- and how -- their party can win back the majority this fall in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "The electorate does see very clearly that one party control in Washington is not in their best interest," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas), pointing to a series of national polls suggesting that Republicans are making up ground on their Democratic opponents thanks to a desire for divided government in Washington. (In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll 57 percent said it was a good thing that Republicans now have the ability -- with Sen. Scott Brown's victory last month -- to block legislation proposed by President Obama and Senate Democrats.) Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the up and coming Californian charged with recruiting candidates, insisted that the math was in place to deliver Republicans the majority; McCarthy argued that if Republicans can beat between 10 percent and 15 percent of all Democratic incumbents and takeover all of the competitive Democratic open seats (10, by our count) then a 40-seat pickup is in sight. The biggest hurdle to all of those grand plans remains money as the NRCC ended the year with roughly one-eighth as much cash on hand as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. To that end, Sessions announced that January had been a record-setting month for the committee as it raked in $4.5 million and banked $4.1 million -- its best month since March 2009. (The DCCC has not yet announced its January fundraising totals.) Sessions, in the understatement of the year, said fundraising was the "key component for us being very effective" in the fall, adding that Republican members had donated $500,000 from their own campaign coffers at the recent party retreat in Baltimore.

Generic ballot moves toward Republicans
Excerpt: Several national surveys released over the past few days show Republicans pulling even or surging past Democrats on the so-called "generic ballot" question, an early warning sign for the party in power as the midterm election approaches.
In the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey, 46 percent of those polled said they would be inclined to vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district if the election were held today while another 46 percent said they would back the Republican candidate. Those numbers represent a significant erosion of Democratic support on the question from even a few months ago. In a mid-October 2009 Post poll, Democrats held a 51 percent to 39 percent lead on the generic ballot question and back in June 2008 the party enjoyed a massive 15-point margin. More troubling for Democrats is that when the Post/ABC sample was slimmed down to include not all adults but rather registered voters, Republicans carried a 48 percent to 45 percent generic ballot edge -- one of only six times that the GOP has held such an advantage since the Post/ABC poll began in 1981.

Democrats in worst shape in the last 50 years
Excerpt: In my Examiner column today I try to answer the question: how could a team that produced such a successful presidential campaign have produced such an unsuccessful policy agenda? The metrics are pretty clear: Barack Obama got the highest percentage of the vote for a Democratic candidate for president since 1964 and now he has plunged his party into its weakest position in the polls since that time.

The next Scott Brown?
Excerpt: Republican Scott Brown’s victory last month in the race for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat has every two-bit GOP hopeful in the Northeast claiming the mantle of the pick-up truck populist. But the argument has a special ring to it in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, where little-known State Representative John J. Loughlin II is waging a suddenly high-profile campaign to oust Ted’s son, Representative Patrick J. Kennedy.

Elaborate scheme channels money from Unions to Dems to target Tea Parties
Excerpt: A new Web site targeting the tea parties is a part of a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democratic activists

Pelosi Aide: Health Care Summit a Trick, Strategy on Pro-Abortion Bill Decided
Washington, DC ( — President Barack Obama has proposed a bipartisan health care summit for later this month that Republican detractors bill as a publicity stunt designed to generate more support for the flailing pro-abortion health care bill. Now, an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi essentially admitted that’s the case. In comments reported by Congress Daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate’s pro-abortion, government-run health care bill. Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.

Ten Small-Scale Reforms for Pre-Existing Conditions
Excerpt: Most proposals for dealing with the problems of pre-existing health conditions would completely divorce health insurance premiums from expected health care costs, requiring health plans to enroll individuals regardless of their health status. Yet a policy of trying to force health plans to take enrollees they do not want risks jeopardizing the quality of care they receive, says John C. Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Instead of suppressing the price system, following are 10 ways of dealing with this problem that make greater use of it. In a reformed health care system, the chronically ill -- along with their doctors, employers and insurers -- should find lower-cost, higher-quality, more-accessible care in their economic self-interest, says Goodman:

Milwaukee's Voucher Graduates
Excerpt: President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget calls for a 9 percent increase in federal education spending, and he has famously said that the money should go to "what works" in education. So he ought to take another look at Milwaukee, where the nation's oldest and largest publicly funded school voucher program is showing academic gains, says the Wall Street Journal. A report released last week by School Choice Wisconsin, an advocacy group, finds that between 2003 and 2008, students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program had a significantly higher graduation rate than students in Milwaukee Public Schools: In 2008, the graduation rate for voucher students was 77 percent, versus 65 percent for the non-voucher students. This is despite the fact that non-voucher students receives $14,000 per pupil in taxpayer support, or more than double the $6,400 per pupil that voucher students receive in public funding. The Milwaukee voucher program serves more than 21,000 children in 111 private schools, so nearly 20 percent more graduates mean a lot fewer kids destined for failure without the credential of a high school diploma. The finding is all the more significant because students who receive vouchers must, by law, come from low-income families, while their counterparts in public schools come from a broader range of economic backgrounds, says the Journal.

Madison Metro driver highest paid city employee
Excerpt from the People's Republic: Madison's highest paid city government employee last year wasn't the mayor. It wasn't the police chief. It wasn't even the head of Metro Transit. It was bus driver John E. Nelson. Nelson earned $159,258 in 2009, including $109,892 in overtime and other pay. He and his colleague, driver Greg Tatman, who earned $125,598, were among the city's top 20 earners for 2009, city records show. They're among the seven bus drivers who made more than $100,000 last year thanks to a union contract that lets the most senior drivers who have the highest base salaries get first crack at overtime.

The cruelty of compassion
And so, the collectivist train wreck bears down on them. As they try to kick the can a bit further down the road. Excerpt: SOCIAL cohesion is one of those values all decent Europeans can sign up to: less social conflict and less of the inequality that America and Britain (see article) put up with. Some countries, notably Germany, really do manage to marry social harmony and economic reform. In the past decade Germany has—thanks to good management and obliging unions—kept its public sector in check, partly freed its labour market, held down unemployment, and regained competitiveness. Elsewhere, though, the need to preserve social cohesion, parroted by European politicians from left and right, has become a self-defeating excuse to avoid reform. In Greece, for instance, the hard-pressed Socialist government of George Papandreou talks up social cohesion as a reason to avoid unduly large public-sector pay cuts in its urgent fiscal retrenchment. Spain’s Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, touts it to justify the retention of labour-market laws that make it ruinously expensive to sack permanent employees. Italy’s right-wing government, under Silvio Berlusconi, is similarly loth to lift burdensome regulations on small businesses and services for fear of protests and strikes. Sweden’s centre-right leader, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is reluctant to be seen attacking his country’s generous social model by trimming benefits, pay and pensions. Even France’s conservative president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is unwilling to damage social cohesion (and risk trouble in the streets) by pushing hard for labour-market, pension and welfare reforms.

Errors in reports prompt calls for reform
Scientists insist on drastic changes in U.N.'s method
Excerpt: A steady drip of unsettling errors is exposing what scientists are calling "the weaker link" in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning series of international reports on global warming. The flaws - and the erosion they've caused in public confidence - have some scientists calling for drastic changes in how future United Nations climate reports are done. A push for reform being published in Thursday's issue of a prestigious scientific journal comes on top of a growing clamor for the resignation of the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The work of the climate change panel, or IPCC, is often portrayed as one massive tome. But it really is four separate reports on different aspects of global warming written months apart by distinct groups of scientists.

Global Warming – Is There Anything It Can’t Do?
Excerpt: Tomorrow, NBC (which is owned by General Electric) will begin broadcasting the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada. Only two events are scheduled for the opening day (alpine skiing and ski jumping), but even those events will be difficult to pull off. Why? There is no snow in Vancouver. And International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge knows exactly what is to blame: global warming. Rogge tells AFP: “Global warming of course is a worry, it is a worry for the entire world.” Considering that NBC/GE has already received billions in TARP bailout cash from the Obama administration and is actively lobbying for a global warming energy tax bill so that it can receive billions more in government green-energy subsidies on top of the millions it already receives, we are sure to hear lots from NBC announcers about how the lack of snow in Vancouver is just another reason Washington needs to act now to stop global warming. But back in Washington, the global warming scare-monger crowd is singing a slightly different tune. Facing record snowfalls, Time is reporting: “Snowstorm: East Coast Blizzard Tied to Climate Change.” But do not confuse this headline with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s column from two years ago claiming that global warming was causing “anemic winters” in the Washington region. No snow, too much snow. It does not matter to the enviroleft crowd. For them, global warming always is to blame.

Croat scientist warns ice age could start in five years
Scroll down. Excerpt: A leading scientist has revealed that Europe could be just five years away from the start of a new Ice Age. While climate change campaigners say global warming is the planet's biggest danger, renowned physicist Vladimir Paar says most of central Europe will soon be covered in ice. The freeze will be so complete that people will be able to walk from England to Ireland or across the North Sea from Scotland to northern Europe.

Democrats rush to curb corporate election spending before Nov. vote
Democrats are hoping to fast-track a set of sweeping new campaign finance regulations to prevent the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision from affecting the November midterm elections. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Thursday unveiled the majority party's legislative response to the Citizens United case, which they and other Democrats — including President Barack Obama — have sharply criticized as one that will "open the floodgates" to corporate financing of federal elections.

Excerpt: I speak 3 languages, went to Dartmouth, and hold a doctorate, and I was a fan of Gov. Palin's for at least a year before John McCain ever heard of her. I have to snicker at the ill-informed lefties who seem to think that Gov. Palin's support is limited to redneck idiots. For me, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: Sarah Palin was the best governor Alaska ever had, better than any of the ten men before her. Before McCain chose her, she was the most popular politician in America and governed in a smooth, effective, bipartisan manner. She is easily the least disingenuous and most wholesome person to be involved in national politics in my lifetime. Her so-called "scandals" are risible molehills. Her instincts and principles are first-rate. Her courage and persistence are obvious even to her worst enemies. America loves a contender who can take a punch and bounce back up. And what a string of punches she has taken, to such trifling effect! Even if she never runs for anything again, Republican candidates are going to have to kiss her ring for the next thirty years. She personifies everything I love about America, not least the way she turns leftists into spittle-flecked screaming half-wits."

Getting Sarah Palin’s Paradigm
Excerpt: "If the primaries were this year, I suspect she'd be nominated," a senior adviser to one of Sarah Palin's potential rivals confides. It's easy to see why: no one who's thinking of running beats the enthusiasm she generates among Republican activists. But there is more to the case for Palin than just the confluence of her personality and a vacuum within the Republican Party: there is a method to her management of her public image. It strongly hints that she has pretty much decided to run for president in 2012, unless something knocks her out of the race; it is more organized and structured that it appears; and it is something that Republican insiders, in particular, will ignore at their peril. Next week, Palin will be a VIP guest of honor at the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. She'll walk among the campers and RVs set up infield. This summer, she's agreed to speak at an international bowling expo. In April, in Las Vegas, Palin will keynote the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Convention at Caesar's Palace. She will make choices in Republican primaries -- she campaigned Sunday with Rick Perry, bearing a "Hi mom!" on her palm -- more on that in a bit Excerpt: "If the primaries were this year, I suspect she'd be nominated," a senior adviser to one of Sarah Palin's potential rivals confides. It's easy to see why: no one who's thinking of running beats the enthusiasm she generates among Republican activists. But there is more to the case for Palin than just the confluence of her personality and a vacuum within the Republican Party: there is a method to her management of her public image. It strongly hints that she has pretty much decided to run for president in 2012, unless something knocks her out of the race; it is more organized and structured that it appears; and it is something that Republican insiders, in particular, will ignore at their peril. Next week, Palin will be a VIP guest of honor at the Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. She'll walk among the campers and RVs set up infield. This summer, she's agreed to speak at an international bowling expo. In April, in Las Vegas, Palin will keynote the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Convention at Caesar's Palace. She will make choices in Republican primaries -- she campaigned Sunday with Rick Perry, bearing a "Hi mom!" on her palm -- more on that in a bit….

The Sarah Palin Surge (and why it's overblown)
Excerpt: In the wake of her keynote address at the national tea party convention in Nashville, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's presidential prospects have seemingly soared. Time's Joe Klein, in a piece entitled "It's Her Party: The Brilliance of Sarah Palin", wrote that the 2008 vice presidential nominee "hits the same mystic chords as [former President Bill] Clinton" and declared her the favorite to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. "Take Sarah Palin seriously," wrote the Post's own David Broder in his column today, adding that Palin's tea party speech "drew a self-portrait that fit not just the wishes of the immediate audience but the mood of a significant slice of the broader electorate." And, numbers guru Nate Silver of got into the act with a detailed analysis -- does he do any other kind? -- of how Palin could win the Republican nomination in 2012. (He argued -- as we have -- that Palin's early strength would be in the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary with New Hampshire being her obvious weak point.) While there's little question that Palin is a prime mover in the 2012 race if she decides to run, it's a far dicier proposition to describe her as the emerging favorite in the race for three major reasons.

Security guards do nothing as 15-year-old girl is beaten
Intervene and be called racist, or Islamophobic or something else that’s not PC? Excerpt: The 15-year-old girl thought the three security guards in the Seattle bus tunnel would protect her from attack. She was wrong. As the footage below shows, the guards watched and did nothing as the girl was punched, thrown to the ground, kicked repeatedly in the face and then robbed. The girl told a detective that the group followed her from a nearby department store into the bus tunnel. The guards didn't intervene because they have standing orders to "observe and report," but not to try to stop fights or criminal activity. That protocol is now under review.

Promises made to help war widows not kept
Gee, promises to unions and trial lawyers are kept—wonder what the difference is? Excerpt: For a decade, war widows in matching yellow suit jackets and hats quietly and persistently have knocked on Capitol Hill doors seeking an end to the "widows' tax," a government policy that deprives them of benefits from their husbands' military service. They are always warmly received, but that's where the hospitality ends. Despite pledges of help from scores of federal officials - including President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - their long quest remains unfulfilled.

Former Dem Guv to Obama: Fire Kaine, White House Advisors
Criticizing Obama? Carter would say Wilder must be a racist! Excerpt: Former Governor of Virginia Doug Wilder Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to remove Tim Kaine–a fellow member of the Virginia Governors club who once earned Wilder’s endorsement–from his post atop the Democratic National Committee. “[A] spate of recent losses in races that Democrats should have won underscores what has been obvious to me for a long time,” Wilder wrote in a column for Politico. “The Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is the wrong job for him.” Wilder, who became the nation’s first black governor in 1990, also had tough words for the President, writing that Obama’s seemingly permanent campaign may be hindering legislative successes.

The Fallacy of "Fairness": Part III by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Most of us want to be fair, in the sense of treating everyone equally. We want laws to be applied the same to everyone. We want educational, economic or other criteria for rewards to be the same as well. But this concept of fairness is not only different from prevailing ideas of fairness among many of the intelligentsia, it contradicts their idea of fairness. People like philosopher John Rawls call treating everyone alike merely "formal" fairness. Professor Rawls advocated "a conception of justice that nullifies the accidents of natural endowment and the contingencies of social circumstances." He called for a society which "arranges" end-results, rather than simply treating everyone the same and letting the chips fall where they may. This more hands-on concept of fairness gives third parties a much bigger role to play. But whether any human being has ever had the omniscience to determine and undo the many differences among people born into different families and cultures-- with different priorities, attitudes and behavior-- is a very big question. And to concentrate the vast amount of power needed to carry out that sweeping agenda is a dangerous gamble, whose actual consequences have too often been written on the pages of history in blood. (I’m thinking of suing the NBA, because their hiring process has a “disparate impact” on old, short, fat white guys with breathing problems. It ain’t fair!)

The Trouble With Elitist Theories
Excerpt: What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration? In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites. We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel. The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings. But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm.

Hundreds forced into labor, sex in Ohio
Excerpt: About 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year and about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs, a new report on human trafficking in the state said Wednesday. Ohio's weak laws on human trafficking, its growing demand for cheap labor and its proximity to the Canadian border are key contributors to the illegal activity, according to a report by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission. "Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it's also a recruitment place," said Celia Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who led the research…. From 1990 to 2000, Ohio's foreign-born population increased 30 percent, and the state has a growing pool of legal and illegal immigrants who draw victims or hide victims, Williamson said. These networks are highly organized, with brothels fronting as legitimate businesses.

The 'Mega-Eights': Urban Leviathans and International Instability
A scary must-read. They want the benefits of western civilization without the economic and political freedom that created them—which our elites are trying to kill off! Excerpt: By 2015, there will be 58 cities on the planet with a population of five million or more and by 2025, according to National Intelligence Council, 27 cities with a population exceeding ten million. The United Nations Population Division classifies populations in excess of 10 million as megacities and many of these urban behemoths will be located in the so-called 10/40 window-the area in Africa and Asia between north latitude 10 and 40 degrees. This emerging growth will have serious, if as yet largely underappreciated, consequences for international stability, human security and environmental degradation. The "10/40 window" demarks regions of the world where socioeconomic challenges are the most daunting; where two- thirds of the world's population and four-fifths of the world's poor live. This "window" is a veritable stew of competing religious identities and ethnic groups. This part of the world has been resistant to western political and social culture in general-yet mass media make the people there keenly aware of the advantages of the materialism associated with western modernity.

US, Allies Tell Taliban about Offensive
Can’t figure out why we didn’t do this in WWII—maybe we wanted to win? Excerpt: Thousands of U.S., British and Afghan troops are poised to launch the biggest offensive of the war in Afghanistan in a test of the Obama administration's new counterinsurgency strategy. Military operations usually are intended to catch the enemy off guard, but for weeks U.S. and allied officials have been telling reporters about their forthcoming assault on Marjah, a Taliban-held town of 80,000 and drug-trafficking hub in southern poppy-growing Helmand province. Senior NATO commanders and top Afghan officials have openly discussed the approximate time of Operation Moshtarak - the Dari language word for "together" - the size of the force and their objectives in news conferences, interviews and news releases that have been disseminated around the world and posted on government Web sites. Leaflets have been airdropped on the town….. Other experts think the insurgents will filter out of Marjah or ditch their weapons and return to being the farmers they are in civilian life, content to wait for the departure of U.S. troops, set by President Barack Obama to begin in July 2011. The Taliban "will take an awful lot of casualties" if they fight, said a former senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan who requested anonymity to speak candidly. "But I would lean towards them backing away from the punch. Their long-term strategy is to run out the clock."

Taliban, Marines exchange fire in Afghanistan as battle looms
Excerpt: NEAR MARJAH, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Marines and Taliban insurgents exchanged gunfire Thursday on the outskirts of Marjah, a southern militant stronghold where American and Afghan forces are expected to launch a major attack in the coming days.

Another Showdown at the Mullahs’ Corral
Excerpt: I believe that the Iranian regime has assembled the largest armed force in history to protect it from the Iranian people’s righteous indignation on Thursday the 11th. There will be hundreds of thousands of police, revolutionary guards, Basij, and people bused in from the countryside to Tehran. Additionally, the regime is shutting down communications, especially in Tehran. Iranian Tweeters say internet is largely gone, and cell phones are not working. None of this is new, and in the past the dissidents have managed to beat the censors; it will be interesting to see if the mullahs’ trusted advisers (mostly Chinese) are more effective this time. They certainly have failed in China, and the Iranian authorities have demonstrated an almost supernatural ability to screw up their own plans. A case in point: the political center of the city is Azadi Square, and workers have been stringing loudspeakers (and probably cameras) all over the square and the approach routes, in order to drown out the chants of the demonstrators. So today they tested the system by broadcasting the national anthem. Except it was the shah’s anthem, not the Islamic Republic’s.

Teen Kills U.S. Soldiers For Allah, Earns Sympathy of Washington Post
Excerpt: A major American newspaper is eliciting sympathy and understanding for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, a Jihad-waging soldier of Allah captured at age fifteen in Afghanistan, after he lobbed two fragmentation grenades at American GIs, killing one and blinding the other. Omar Khadr has been assigned to a military tribunal to be tried and adjudicated. He is a Canadian citizen. U.N. officials, human rights advocates and of course, defense lawyers, say Khadr should be rehabilitated because of his childhood indoctrination into the ways of jihad. He’s a victim.

Soldier's murder was latest in new trend of terror by PA security
That would be the PA we send aid to. Guess they didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Sgt 1st Class Ihab Khatib, 28, of the Arab-Druze village of Kfar Maghar, was knifed to death at the Tapuach junction in the West Bank by a senior Palestinian police officer. Ihab Khatib was killed while in his vehicle at a traffic light in the Tapuah junction, south of Nablus. He was sitting with his window open when the Palestinian police officer pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest. The NCO drove a short distance before losing consciousness and the vehicle spun out of control. Khatib received initial medical treatment at the scene of the incident and later died of his wounds en route to the hospital. The attacker, Mahmoud Yusef Nimer Hattib, was apprehended

Ethiopian Airline crash off Beirut was an act of Al-Qaeda terror
I rate this unconfirmed. Excerpt: Evidence has reached debkafile’s counter-terror sources that the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 which crashed after takeoff from Beirut on January 25, killing all 92 aboard, was blown up in mid-air. This was an al-Qaeda operation timed for one month to the day after its failed attempt to destroy an American Northwest airliner bound for Detroit . It is becoming clear that either a bomb was planted on the Ethiopian flight with a timer or a passenger acted as suicide bomber. Western security agencies in the Middle East involved in combating al Qaeda believe that its planners picked on the Ethiopian flight for more than one reason apart from the date: They had been tipped off that a group of French undercover agents, including Maria Sanchez Pietton, wife of the French ambassador to Beirut, and top Hizballah operatives, including secretary general Hassan Nasrallah, would be aboard. Mme Pietton lost her life in the crash, while the Hizballah travelers were saved by switching to another flight at the last minute. The first bodies recovered from the Me diterranean off the Lebanese town of Naama showed all the hallmarks of explosion victims: They were found strapped to their seats with their heads, hands and feet blown off and scattered, typical effects of an explosive blast.

Obama's Three Hundred Imaginary Terrorists
Excerpt: In justifying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's civilian trial, the Obama administration is fond of citing a seemingly slam-dunk factoid: 300 other terrorists are currently sitting in federal prisons after being tried in civilian court. One problem: that number seems to have come out of nowhere. “The Obama administration has repeatedly failed to substantiate this figure even though they are using it to justify their decision to treat the world’s worst terrorists like ordinary criminals," said Stephen Miller, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Despite numerous requests, information about how this number was calculated has still not been provided to Senator Sessions or his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee."

Spain: Restraining Order On Imam For Threats To Muslim Woman
Didn’t get the “Islam respect women” memo. Excerpt: A judge in the court of the province of Tarragona has banned a radical imam in the Catalonian town of Cunit from coming within a certain distance of a moderate Muslim woman who accused the man of repeatedly threatening her for her 'Western' behaviour, reports El Pais today.

Islamic scholar: Access to guns, not jihad, to blame for Fort Hood
He wasn’t shouting “Allah Akbar,” but “Smith and Wesson”! Excerpt: Imam Zaid Shakir came to speak at my school, Claremont McKenna, on December 9th to respond to the “tragedy of Ft. Hood.” Rather than respond to the massacre of American servicemen, Shakir spent the evening indicting the United States – saying “we were born in genocide.” The reason for the Ft. Hood Massacre, according to Shakir? Not jihad or Islamic fundamentalism, but the “pervasiveness of violence in our society” and because of Americans’ “easy access to guns.”

Netherlands: Newspaper withdraws story after threat
Excerpt: Welcome to the Brave New World of Eurabian journalism. The Muhammad cartoon dhimmitude displayed by the former lions of free speech in the mainstream media on both sides of the Atlantic was just the beginning. "Newspaper Withdraws Interview following Threat," from NIS News, February 10: NIJMEGEN, 10/02/10 - Regional newspaper De Gelderlander has decided not to publish an interview with a Moroccan woman after the newspaper was threatened by her son. Nonetheless, the editors deny they gave in to intimidation.

Somali rebels 'pour into Mogadishu'
Excerpt: Hundreds of Somali insurgents loyal to Islamist group al-Shabab have poured into Mogadishu with artillery and trucks, witnesses say. Residents have been fleeing the capital for days amid a widespread belief that the rebels and government forces are on the cusp of a serious showdown.

Indonesian Said "God Is Great" as Hotels Attacked
Skip to next paragraphDidn’t get the memo. Excerpt: An Indonesian suspect went on trial on Wednesday charged in connection with bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta and a plan to assassinate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

A criminal in uniform: Teflon Commander Ali Dizaei used race card to dodge jail for years. Now he's got four-year term for framing an innocent man
Must be PC and support multiculturalism, regardless of the cost to the innocent. Excerpt: He swaggered around Scotland Yard believing he was above the law. Commander Ali Dizaei bullied, intimidated and threatened anyone who crossed his path. If that didn't work, the Iranian-born officer accused them of being racist. But yesterday his reign of corruption came to a dramatic end when he was condemned as a 'criminal in uniform' and given four years in jail for trying to frame an innocent man. Following a bust-up in a restaurant, Dizaei, 47, told colleagues that an Iraqi website designer had assaulted him.

The Jihadist CBRN Threat
Look who’s worried about WMDs! Excerpt: In an interview aired Feb. 7 on CNN, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she considers weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of an international terrorist group to be the largest threat faced by the United States today, even bigger than the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. “The biggest nightmare that many of us have is that one of these terrorist member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction,” Clinton said. In referring to the al Qaeda network, Clinton noted that it is “unfortunately a very committed, clever, diabolical group of terrorists who are always looking for weaknesses and openings.” Clinton’s comments came on the heels of a presentation by U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In his Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community on Feb. 2, Blair noted that, although counterterrorism actions have dealt a significant blow to al Qaeda’s near-term efforts to develop a sophisticated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attack capability, the U.S. intelligence community judges that the group is still intent on acquiring the capability. Blair also stated the obvious when he said that if al Qaeda were able to develop CBRN weapons and had the operatives to use them it would do so.

A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui
Last week, as Republicans ratcheted up their critism of the administration's counterterrorism framework, a jury in the Southern District of New York quietly convicted a woman named Aafia Siddiqui on charges related to the attempted murder of U.S. soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan. She faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. What makes Siddiqui's conviction relevant for the current debate is that she was captured, on a recognized battlefield -- Afghanistan -- and tried to kill FBI agents and American soldiers who had come to question her. Siddiqui, 40, could easily have been designated as an enemy combatant. But the Bush administration determined instead that she be tried in federal court. She was read her Miranda rights, and given access to a lawyer. Siddiqui is not a run of the mill jihadi. She's an MIT-educated neurobiologist, and was once married to the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the mastemrind of the 9/11 terrorist plots whose status as a federal prisoner is drawing so much debate. In July of 2008, Siddiqi was detained by Afghanistan police as she loitered nearby a sensitive facility on Ghanzi, Afghanistan.

Ambassador calls for divorce after veil-wearing Muslim bride reveals a beard and crossed eyes
Excerpt: Nice personality: A Muslim woman wearing the veil (file picture). The would-be bride kept her face hidden behind a niqab throughout the courtship An Arab ambassador called for an instant divorce after discovering his veil-wearing fiancée had a beard and was cross-eyed, it emerged today. The would-be bride had hidden her face behind a Muslim niqab throughout their short courtship, meaning the diplomat had no idea what she looked like. But as soon as the marriage was contract was signed in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, he tried to kiss her, before coming face-to-face with her hairy face and strange squint.

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