Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Political Digest March 17, 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.

Quote for March 17
Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart. --W. B. Yates.

Given the polls cited below, at over 2,300 pages, the Democrats’ Health Care Bill may turn out to be the longest suicide note in history.

The handwriting on the wall
Excerpt: With the release today of a survey of 1,200 likely voters conducted in the 35 most marginal Congressional districts last week, we have a clear answer to the question that our piece and Benenson’s piece both raise. This poll, conducted between Mar. 8-10, shows that the legislation is particularly unpopular in marginal districts -- 29 percent say that they would like the current legislation passed, and 69 percent oppose it. Moreover, when asked in the survey, conducted for the Independent Women’s Forum, if what they have heard since bipartisan health care summit has made them more or less supportive of the health care bill, 55 percent say what they have heard has made them less supportive, and 29 percent that it makes them more supportive. Unambiguously, in the swing districts the legislation is not popular. Further, it is probably even more unpopular in these districts than it is nationally. The Independent Women’s Forum research was equally clear on the political impact of the legislation. Forty-nine percent of voters say that they would be more likely to support their member of Congress if he flipped from supporting the legislation previously to opposing it now, while 40 percent say that they would be less supportive if their representative chose such a course.

ObamaCare Action Center
You can use this to call your US House Member. Do it now.

House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it
And they call themselves “Democrats.” Excerpt: After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.

Talking Points vs. Realty by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In a swindle that would make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur, Barack Obama has gotten a substantial segment of the population to believe that he can add millions of people to the government-insured rolls without increasing the already record-breaking federal deficit. Those who think in terms of talking points, instead of realities, can point to the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has concurred with budget numbers that the Obama administration has presented. Anyone who is so old-fashioned as to stop and think, instead of being swept along by rhetoric, can understand that a budget-- any budget-- is not a record of hard facts but a projection of future financial plans. A budget tells us what will happen if everything works out according to plan…. Fraud has been at the heart of this medical care takeover plan from day one. The succession of wholly arbitrary deadlines for rushing this massive legislation through, before anyone has time to read it all, serves no other purpose than to keep its specifics from being scrutinized-- or even recognized-- before it becomes a fait accompli and "the law of the land."

Biden raising money for undecided Democrats
Excerpt: With his boss just up the road, Vice President Biden raised money in Ohio Monday money for an endangered freshman Democratic congressman who has yet to declare his support for health-care reform legislation. White House officials have said President Obama, who on Monday rallied supporters around health-care reform in a suburb of Cleveland, would travel to competitive districts in return for "yes" votes on the bill. Presidential visits can mean a large haul for campaign treasuries. So can vice presidential visits, and Biden has been a money-raising machine for Democratic House members since taking office. On Monday, he spoke in Cincinnati at a fundraiser for Rep. Steve Driehaus, who remains on the fence about the final health-care bill -- and assured the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Biden visit would not influence his decision one way or the other.

The Fix: Five House Democrats to watch on health care
Excerpt: There is only one thing that matters this week in the political world: whether or not House Democrats can find the 216 votes they need to pass the health care bill before President Obama heads out of the country on Sunday. The original House bill passed by the narrowest of margins -- 220 votes -- meaning that every vote counts this time around.
We spoke to a handful of Republican and Democratic strategists and here are the five members likely to come under the most intense pressure from both sides in this final week of lobbying. 1) John Boccieri: The Ohio freshman, who voted "no" on the bill in November, has two competing (and large) constituencies to consider -- older voters who are wary about any changes to the health care bill and working class families who would likely feel the most positive impact from the bill. He also faces a serious reelection fight from businessman Jim Renacci (R). 2) Scott Murphy: Murphy, elected in a 2009 special election in the Albany-area 20th district, ran -- and won -- on a promise to work for the president's agenda in Washington. As a result, his initial "no" vote baffled many party strategists. 3) Jason Altmire: The sophomore Democrat from western Pennsylvania publicly hemmed and hawed for weeks before eventually deciding not to vote for the bill. That initial uncertainty has Democratic leaders convinced they can turn him around although Republicans have recruited a former U.S. attorney to challenge him in the fall. 4) Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.): Dahlkemper's personal circumstances could well affect her vote as she has lost both of her parents in the last two months and, as a result, end-of-life issues are very much on her mind, according to knowledgeable sources. But, Dahlkemper is pro-life and remains skeptical about voting for the abortion language in the Senate bill. 5) Tom Perriello (Va.): Perriello has gained a reputation as one of the White House's favorite new members thanks to his willingness to back not only cap and trade but also health care despite the swing nature of his 5th district. Given the reelection storm that appears to be building against Democrats, Perriello could well switch to "no" but in doing so he would need to find a way to explain to voters what would look like an open and shut case of political flip-floppery.

Dems move closer to passing Senate bill without actual vote
Excerpt: House Democrats are marching forward with plans to move the Senate healthcare bill through their chamber without actually voting on it. The House Rules Committee on Tuesday morning released a memo defending the so-called “deem and pass” procedure, which the memo said has a long precedent in the House and is used commonly. (For Democracy, vote out every Democrat. Period.)

Sleazy backroom deals on Obamacare
Excerpt: That old saw about "the more things change, the more they stay the same" keeps coming back as the revelations mount on what's going on behind closed doors as White House and congressional officials harvest votes for Obamacare. For example, remember President Obama's 2008 campaign promise that the lobbyists and special interests would be banned from the health care reform process? Now comes word via Politico that drug industry lobbyists spent a good part of the weekend with Democratic congressional staffers writing the bill: "The weekend included high drama for the drug industry as lobbyists huddled with Democratic staffers to work out a fee structure and donut-hole fix. ... Drug makers were asked to sign off on multiple solutions so that backup options were available should any of the fixes run into problems passing muster with the Senate parliamentarian." Things must have gone swimmingly between the drug lobbyists and their Democratic congressional staff buddies because Politico added that "there was 'real heartburn with the bill over the weekend and over the last week,' an industry source said. But insiders expressed confidence that their issues were on the road to resolution." Yessiree, spending Saturday and Sunday rewriting legislation cures that heartburn every time

Talking Babies on the Healthcare Disaster

Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Fail as Democrats
Excerpt: In an effort to be less than constructive, here are eight sure-fire ways for Democrats to further alienate and enrage the citizens they’re supposed to serve. Hit-or-miss approaches in 2009 haven’t gone far enough, but with these ten helpful strategies, the sky is the limit. Keep saying that you are concerned about the deficit and brag about your efforts to save millions while continuing to spend trillions. When anyone takes a stand for “pay-as-you-go,” chastise them for being heartless. You don’t get elected for cutting spending; you get elected for giving goodies to those who elected you. Even though the richest 5% already pay 60% of the income taxes, keep saying they don’t pay their “fair share.” By fueling voter envy, you’ll help Americans justify making the rich pay for everything they can’t afford themselves. By keeping them greedy and dependent, you’ll have their vote. Bribery is illegal for everyone else, but remind voters that special deals and costly earmarks are the only way to get things done in politics. Don’t let ethics get in the way. Treating certain states and constituencies differently and providing special exceptions is what politics is about. To the winners belong the spoils.

First Ever Recall Effort of a U.S. Senator Cleared by N.J. Court
Excerpt: It has apparently never been done before, but a Tea Party group in New Jersey has won the first round in its effort to recall a U.S. Senator -- Democrat Robert Menendez. "We are loathe to strike down a component of our State's charter [Constitution] that fortifies the democratic role of our citizens," an Appeals Court panel ruled Wednesday morning. Tea Partiers upset with rising taxes tried last year to get permission from New Jersey's Secretary of State to begin a petition recall campaign against Menendez. When that was denied, they went to court. And now they've won. At least the first round. There's no question the odds of success are slim: A successful recall vote requires a fourth of the state's registered voters to sign the petition in order to get the issue on the fall ballot (Menendez' term ends in January of 2013). That would mean roughly 1.3 million such signatures are needed.

Important read: Germany’s Place in Europe
Excerpt: European history has been the chronicle of other European powers struggling to constrain Germany, particularly since German unification in 1871. The problem has always been geopolitical. Germany lies on the North European Plain, with France to its west and Russia to its east. If both were to attack at the same time, Germany would collapse. German strategy in 1871, 1914 and 1939 called for pre-emptive strikes on France to prevent a two-front war. (The last two attempts failed disastrously, of course.) As much as Germany’s strategy engendered mistrust in Germany’s neighbors, they certainly understood Germany’s needs. And so European strategy after World War II involved reshaping the regional dynamic so that Germany would never face this problem again and so would never need to be a military power again. Germany’s military policy was subordinated to NATO and its economic policy to the European Economic Community (the forerunner of today’s European Union). NATO solved Germany’s short-run problem, while the European Union was seen as solving its long-run problem. For the Europeans — including the Germans — these structures represented the best of both worlds. They harnessed German capital and economic dynamism, submerged Germany into a larger economic entity, gave the Germans what they needed economically so they didn’t have to seek it militarily, and ensured that the Germans had no reason — or ability — to strike out on their own. This system worked particularly well after the Cold War ended. Defense threats and their associated costs were reduced. There were lingering sovereignty issues, of course, but these were not critical during the good times: Such problems easily can be dealt with or deferred while the money flows. The example of a European development that represented this money-over-sovereignty paradigm was the European Monetary Union, best represented by the European common currency, the euro. STRATFOR has always doubted the euro would last.

E-mails suggested Fort Hood suspect subpar for Army
He got the PC pass. Excerpt: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged in the Fort Hood shootings, was too fat and "chronically" unprofessional during his psychiatric training, according to internal e-mails exchanged by his superiors. The communications are the latest in a series of early signs that showed officers had reason to suspend Maj. Hasan's training, and perhaps re-evaluate his suitability as a military physician, but failed to do so. Yet, his bosses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington allowed him to complete his residency in 2007, enter an advanced fellowship program, win promotion to major and transfer to Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. It was there on Nov. 5, while shouting "God is great," Maj. Hasan fatally shot 13 Army colleagues, according to witnesses.

The Jihadi Feels Persecuted—His Aggression is Self-Defense
Now, now, mustn’t be judgmental from folks from other cultures. All cultures are equally valid, and if women have to be raped and beaten so we can enjoy the blessing of multiculturalism, it’s a small price to pay—or so liberals seem to think. Excerpt: The other day, a pediatric nurse in New York City refused to dance with Mbarek Lafrem, a Moroccan man, in a New York City bar. What did Lafrem do? He followed her into the women’s bathroom where he attempted to rape and savagely beat her. The woman was found unconscious and is now hospitalized. She required 50 stitches to close just one of her lacerations; she also suffered a broken eye socket, a broken nose, skull fractures, and a busted jaw. The media pointedly refrain from telling us that he is a Muslim, but with a name like “Mbarek” or ‘Mubarak,” what religion are we talking about? Lafrem now claims that she started it, that the nurse “berated him when he barged into the women’s restroom shortly after she’d rebuffed him on the dance floor.” To a certain kind of man, from a certain kind of culture, women are always supposed to say yes, and when they say no they are provokers and deserve a beating. More: If the woman is a naked-faced infidel and dances with strange men in a public setting—she is, by definition, a prostitute and is not entitled to say no. Saying no is a “provocation” and deserves a beating. Or worse. Now, let’s shuffle off to Buffalo, where Muzzammil ”Mo” Hassan—remember him?–is about to stand trial for beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan. Guess what this monster’s claiming? That he’s the victim, that he was a “battered husband.” Guess what this crafty self-promoter has been doing from his jail cell? Writing letters to the media in his mother’s name in which he paints himself as the “abused” spouse. Mo’s letters also refer to an “epidemic” of battered men. Thank God for journalist Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News who, today, reveals the extent of Mo’s depravity. According to a 21-page statement that Aasiya wrote to the court, she “painstakingly chronicled her years of torment.” In addition to numerous beatings and threats, Mo “made (Aasiya) sign memos authorizing him to punish her if she talked with the police and Child Protective Services and threatened her with the loss of her children whenever she tried to break free.” In truth, Mo used his size and weight against the much smaller Aasiya; on separate occasions he literally sat on her, imprisoned her, punched her repeatedly, drawing blood, dragged her down the driveway, tried to run her off the road in his car, and refused to allow her to seek medical treatment for her injuries…. And so: Danish cartoonists can’t draw cartoons that “offend” some Muslims—please understand, when they feel “offended,” such people feel as if they’ve been “attacked;” if they stage riots, kill people, even try to kill the cartoonist—well, the cartoonist started the fight. Salman Rushdie threw the first punch too when he published a novel which “offended” Khomeini and his followers. And, if two American journalists and bloggers want to cover a Muslim Day event in a public setting (in the State Capitol Building)—they deserve to be shoved, pushed, threatened, and thrown out. Likewise, if a naked-faced woman refuses to do whatever it is that a Muslim man from Morocco wants her to do—such a woman deserves to be beaten within an inch of her life. Her actions have provoked his deeply socialized, totally justified rage. And, if a Muslim woman refuses to be beaten and terrorized any longer by her Muslim husband and not only dares to leave but plans to keep the house and children too—then “beheading” her is his only option, isn’t it? Poor Mo. A violent man has had his cruelties towards his wife and children publicly exposed for all to see. He has been shamed. By definition, wasn’t Mo Hassan “abused” by the kind of wife who would dare to throw him out? He killed her in self-defense.

More on this topic here:
Excerpt: Not only do Islamic women exist for men, according to Islam their very ontological significance is derived from their relation to men. Apart from men, they have no final cause, no purpose. In the precise, mathematical sense of the term, Islamic women are functions of male lust. From the moment an Islamic girl is born, her social status is relative to male lust. Her upbringing inculcates in her the idea that she is not able to move freely in this world as an independent agent for her own destiny. At an early age, she will cover her head as a symbol of her abiding in the world as a temptation for male lust, a potential agent of impurity. The covering is a symbol that her behavior is to be modified to accommodate the propensity of men to covet women. Though it is the man who is unable to regulate his passions, she must be controlled. Though he is at fault for failing to exercise the virtues of custody of eyes and heart, she is impure, dishonored. At nine, Sharia Law declares that she is old enough to marry. Though she may still sleep with her dolls, her father may sell her to be the plaything of a wealthy man. In very “moderate” Muslim countries, fathers may wait till their daughters reach puberty or even sixteen to dispose of their lives. MEMRI TV provides ample examples of Saudi Clerics scoffing at the idea of allowing girls to wait till they are eighteen to start their role in life of servicing male lust.

The Jihadists Next Door
Excerpt: The arrests of three new homegrown terrorists, including two "Jihad Janes" and an al-Qaida suspect who infiltrated nuclear plants, confirm a rise in homegrown jihadist activity. Sharif Mobley is one of the latest jihadists next door. Before he was rounded up in a sweep of suspected al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen, Mobley worked at five nuclear plants in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. He shot two guards, killing one, before his capture. Mobley grew up in New Jersey before converting to Islam. His militancy shocked an old high school friend, who ran into him after returning from an Army tour in Iraq. Mobley told him: "Get the hell away from me, you Muslim killer!"

'Hamas used kids as human shields'
Ho, hum, who cares. Not like they drew offensive cartoons, is it? Excerpt: New research report highlights extensive use of civilians during Gaza op. Hamas gunmen used Palestinian children as human shields, and established command centers and Kassam launch pads in and near more than 100 mosques and hospitals during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, according to a new Israeli report being released on Monday that aims to counter criticism of the IDF. The detailed 500-page report, obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post, was written by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), a small research group led by Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, a former Military Intelligence officer who works closely with the army.

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