Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Political Digest April 20, 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.

We’ll start with the “feel good” story of the day:
2 al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed, prime minister says
Excerpt: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Monday that the two leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have been killed. In a televised news conference, Maliki said Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, were killed in a recent raid.

Condolence Page for two Dutch Marines KIA in Afghanistan

Southern Poverty Law Center Tries To ‘Alinsky’ The Tea Party Movement
Excerpt: Using tactics straight out Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has released a scathing report attempting to isolate and ridicule the Tea Party movement. Filled with leftist talking points and blanket statements, the SPLC report, “Rage On The Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism,” asserts Tea Party alignment to “Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph,” “hate groups,” “furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups,” and ”so-called ‘Patriot’ groups.”

Here they list “Hate Groups” they are concerned about
It is certainly true that every week, dozens of decent black and Hispanic folks, many of them children, are murdered by members of hate groups. These groups have names like the Bloods, the Crips, the Latin Kings, and MS-13. Unfortunately, the SPLC doesn’t seem to list these “hate groups” who are committing most of the murders of minority people. I wonder why? Could it be because the really violent hate groups murdering minority people are made up of…minorities?

Difference between good and bad leaders
True in my experience. Excerpt: In my life, I have been fortunate to know and learn from exceptional leaders. With the exceptionally good leaders, unfortunately, were also the exceptionally bad. There is an attribute of character, which the good had in abundance, but the bad always lacked. Humility. Inevitably, the bad leaders replaced humility with arrogance.

They called me everything but my name!

Crashing the Crashers: Tea Party Infiltrators Outmaneuvered in S.F.
Interesting report and Photos.

North Carolina Democrats' votes against health care push labor to form party
Turmoil on the left, as the “give-us-more” Democrats fall out with the “give us even more” Democrats. The DINO hunt is on—it’s not just Republicans who would rather be right than rule. Excerpt: A political rebellion is brewing inside an old funeral home near the state Capitol here. Frustrated liberals and labor organizers are taking aim at the Democratic Party, rushing to gather enough signatures to start a third party that they Less than two years ago, this same funeral home was a command post for the grass-roots army that propelled Barack Obama to victory in this conservative swing state. Here is where supporters distributed signs and stickers, sorted lists of registered voters and rallied with a Johnny Cash cover band. Now, some of Obama's supporters are mounting a defiant strike against the president's party. The nascent third party, North Carolina First, could endanger the Democratic congressional majority by siphoning votes from incumbent Democrats in November's midterm election, potentially enabling Republican challengers to pick up the seats.

The ever-expanding House playing field
Excerpt: Unlike the tiny House playing fields of years past -- we remember back in 1998 and 2000 when there were only two dozen or so truly competitive contests -- the number of real races this November continues to grow. Political handicapper Charlie Cook carries 77 races in his most competitive categories while fellow handicapper Stu Rothenberg rates 53 contests as genuinely close. The broadening of the playing field is rightly understood as working in Republicans favor for two reasons. First, Democrats control far more seats at the moment so the growing number of targets are disproportionately in seats the majority party currently holds. Second, the more Democratic seats are in play, the higher Republicans' margin for error as they seek to take advantage of a national wind at their back to maximize gains.

Today Is the Best Tax Day of Your Life
Excerpt: Looking back, we may all remember April 15, 2010, as the day we got off cheaply. Why a growing deficit and increased spending on health care and Social Security nearly guarantee higher tax bills in our future.

Seattle Lost More Than 23,000 Private Sector Jobs Between March 2008 and March 2009
A typical statist-run city. As the state grows, the private sector, where wealth is produced, shrinks. Eventually, everyone works for the soviet—and things collapse. Excerpt: From March 2008 to March 2009, the number of private sector jobs in the city of Seattle fell by 23,173 (5.6%), from 415,165 to 391,992. Of the lost jobs, 3,729 were in construction. For a discussion of the PSRC data and Seattle’s job growth from 2000 to 2008 see our policy brief Seattle’s Lost Decade.

Patients Managing Their own Health Care Budgets
Sounds good, but personal responsibility won’t work with Democrats. They need The State to care for all their wants and needs.

Militia movement will be packing heat at gun rally on the Potomac
Scary news, huh. But they’d have to kill seven people to tie last week’s one-day record for Chicago gang-bangers, who excite little concern. Excerpt: Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to "muster outside D.C." on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is deliberately being held just a few miles from the Capitol and the White House.

To Hell on a Fast Horse:
Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West
Excerpt: Some things never change. The New York Times, for instance, can always show sympathy for a cop killer with an excuse. In 1926, a Times book reviewer criticized The Saga of Billy the Kid, one of the first books on the Kid and Pat Garrett that relied on actual reporting, for presenting Garrett as a hero. The critic, who apparently had watched a few too many Tom Mix movies, thought the lawman with eight kids to feed should have given Billy “a chance to fight for his life.” I didn’t know liberals were so into dueling. The statement is doubly ironic since the Kid’s most famous killing was the straight-up bushwacking ambush of the (admittedly corrupt) sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico. Nearly a century later, the Times can still find fault with nearly every police shooting, while it romanticizes cold-blooded cop killers for “standing up to the Man”—especially if their politics are radical.

Is the Obama Administration Behind An Astroturf Anti-Tea Party Website?
Excerpt: Astroturf is the act of professional interest groups designing campaigns that appear to be grassroots efforts, but are not. It is what the left has accused the tea parties of being. Only more and more it looks like the anti-tea party movement is truly astroturfing. Writing on January 15, 2010, Glenn Greenwald at Salon noted Barack Obama’s new head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, had championed creating fake websites and using outside 501(c)(3) interest groups to act as alleged independent champions of government policy and to “cognitively infiltrate” opposition websites, etc. In other words, Cass Sunstein has favored the government using outside parties as government propaganda agents to paint their opposition as fringe and undermine their credibility. Kind of like what has been happening with the tea party movement – lots of SEIU members pretending to be tea party activists causing violence in front of TV cameras

Plan B: Privatize ObamaCare
Excerpt: The harsh truth is that straight-out repeal of Obama's MediGrab is not going to work. I'm sorry. I know that good conservatives will hate that. But just think about the people who put him in power in the first place, and remember that they will never, ever change. They are the Takers and the Suckers. The media will twist every single one of Obama's failures into a fake narrative of success. Telling the truth is not their job. If it were, they would have jumped from the top of the New York Times building a long time ago. But suppose a miracle happens in November, and the GOP gets a majority in both Houses. Even then it would take a solid two-thirds of both Houses to repeal ObamaCare as long as any Democrat is president. That means we have to wait until 2012 at the best, and then hope that a Reaganite president and an unprecedented Republican majority in Congress will get elected. That's happened only once in the last fifty years. Don't bet the farm on it.

New York Offers Costly Lessons on Insurance
Excerpt: New York’s insurance system has been a working laboratory for the core provision of the new federal health care law — insurance even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills — and an expensive lesson in unplanned consequences. Premiums for individual and small group policies have risen so high that state officials and patients’ advocates say that New York’s extensive insurance safety net for people like Ms. Welles is falling apart. The problem stems in part from the state’s high medical costs and in part from its stringent requirements for insurance companies in the individual and small group market. In 1993, motivated by stories of suffering AIDS patients, the state became one of the first to require insurers to extend individual or small group coverage to anyone with pre-existing illnesses. New York also became one of the few states that require insurers within each region of the state to charge the same rates for the same benefits, regardless of whether people are old or young, male or female, smokers or nonsmokers, high risk or low risk.

Be proud to be a Catholic by Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman
Excerpt: Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Your graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it's free. The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. With an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today. But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country.

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1 http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/
Ready for those violent Tea Parties. Excerpt: The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys. Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home. Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks. They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Poll Finds a 'Perfect Storm' of Voter Distrust in Government
Excerpt: Pew's analysis concluded that "rather than an activist government to deal with the nation's top problems, the public now wants government reformed and growing numbers want its power curtailed...." The poll said 22 percent trust the government to do the right thing just about always or most of the time compared to 76 percent who say it will do the right thing only some of the time or not at all. Only 3 percent of those surveyed were in the "just about always" category. The majority (65 percent) believe government will do the right thing only some of the time while 11 percent trusted it none of the time.

How to End America's Addiction to Oil
Excerpt: At the end of March, oil posted its fifth consecutive quarterly price increase: It's now solidly above $80 per barrel. If it reaches $125 a barrel again, as it did in 2008, then approximately half the wealth in the world—above and below ground—will be controlled by OPEC nations. Oil dominates transportation: About 95% of transportation fuel in the U.S. is derived from petroleum. And over three-quarters of the world's reserves of conventional oil are in OPEC nations. But OPEC is pumping less than it did in the 1970s, despite a doubling in global demand, because it's a cartel maximizing its income. OPEC sets oil's price at a level that exploits our addiction but is generally not high enough for long enough that we go cold turkey. Oil profits enhance the ability of dictators and autocrats to dominate their people. This is one reason that eight of the top nine oil exporters (Norway is the exception) are dictatorships or autocratic kingdoms, as are virtually all of the 22 states that depend on oil and gas for at least two-thirds of their exports.

Gore takes cash for water campaign from chemical firm
Cash is cash, business is business. Excerpt: Al Gore, the self-styled squeakiest-clean and deepest-green politician in American history, has some explaining to do this weekend. His environmental organisation has taken money to raise awareness about the need for clean water from a controversial chemicals company involved in the aftermath of one of the world’s worst pollution disasters. Dow Chemical, the US firm which now owns the leaking pesticides factory responsible for thousands of deaths in Bhopal, India, is sponsoring Life Earth events in 150 cities today. The event aims to raise money for clean water programmes. Research by environmental organisations has found dangerous levels of highly toxic chemicals in rivers, lakes and other water supplies close to several other factories owned by Dow and its subsidiaries in countries including the United States, Brazil and South Africa.

Why cleaner air could speed global warming
Excerpt: You're likely to hear a chorus of dire warnings as we approach Earth Day, but there's a serious shortage few pundits are talking about: air pollution. That's right, the world is running short on air pollution, and if we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industrial smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound.

A shadow warrior falls: Political player loses when his gamble costs lives
Excerpt: The CIA quietly announced the "resignation" of its deputy director on Wednesday, accompanied by all the accolades normally reserved for a top government official forced to resign in disgrace. There were many reasons why Stephen R. Kappes needed to resign at age 60, five years before the agency's mandatory retirement age. Even the CIA's Greek chorus at The Washington Post and the New York Times have acknowledged that this mandarin had no clothes. The immediate cause appears to have been the catastrophic operation on Dec. 30 in Khost, Afghanistan, that cost the lives of seven people and maimed several others when an al Qaeda double agent, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, was trustingly brought onto a U.S. forward operating base without undergoing a body search. Mr. Kappes was so enthusiastic about the prospect of having a source who had infiltrated the highest levels of al Qaeda that he reportedly briefed President Obama in person before the disaster.

On Pakistani-Afghan border, some join Taliban to settle scores with relatives
Excerpt: Yar Dad Khan sleeps with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in his bed, primed for the day his cousin returns. His cousin is a local Taliban commander in northwestern Pakistan. Khan is a pro-government tribal leader. The two men do not get along. In the rough borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the global war against the Taliban often boils down to a family feud, pitting tribe against tribe, son against father, brother against brother. While the Taliban leadership professes devotion to a 7th-century interpretation of Islam, many insurgents have far more parochial interests. They want revenge for an old grievance against their neighbors, or to settle a score with relatives.

Excerpt: The UK Department of Health recently announced that it would loosen hygiene rules for Muslim and Sikh doctors and nurses. From now on, Muslim female staff will not need to wash their hands before procedures as it compromises their modesty. Instead, they will have the admittedly less sanitary option of wearing disposable plastic over-sleeves. Acknowledging the danger of microbes and death, a Department of Health spokesman said, “The guidance is intended to . . . balance infection control measures with cultural beliefs.” But, believe it or not, from a culturist perspective, the death of some patients is not the main cause for concern that this policy elicits. The most dangerous problem is that this policy encodes multiculturalism not culturism. Whereas culturism acknowledges that England has a majority culture to protect and promote, this multiculturalist policy implicitly says that England has no core culture. It says that the nation can be whatever pressure groups decide it is. It, therefore, officially ends the dominance of English culture in England.

YEMEN: Islamic lawmaker decries child marriage ban as part of 'Western agenda'
How long until an “empathetic” Supreme Court finds a right to child rape in our constitution, as it works to protect multiculturalism? Excerpt: The recent death of 13-year old Yemeni child bride Elham Assi, who reportedly bled to death last week after being tied down and forced to have sex with her 23-year-old husband, has sparked outrage among rights activists in Yemen…..Sheik Mohammed Hamzi, an official of the Islamist Yemeni opposition party Islaah and the imam of the Al-Rahman mosque in the Yemeni capital of Sana, is one of those who staunchly opposes a legal ban on child marriage. Although he emphasizes that a woman should not get married before she is physically and mentally ready and that she herself needs to accept the marriage, he believes a law that prohibits child marriage constitutes a rights violation. “I am against the child marriage law because it restrains the freedom of others. When a certain age [for marriage] is set, it violates the rights of others. For example, imagine a young man of 13 or 14 years of age who wants to have sex. … This is a violation of his rights,” Sheik Hamzi told The Times in an interview at his Sana home last week.

"Through my studies, I became aware that this is the time for jihad and fighting the infidels, and I saw that a jihad was going on in Afghanistan...I was happy to be in a place where I could kill unbelievers"
Excerpt: How is it that Abdul Baseer could memorize the Qur'an and miss all of its teachings of peace, and get the idea that jihad had something to do with killing unbelievers? How did this obviously pious and serious Muslim become a Misunderstander of Islam? You'd think that accounts like this would create some cognitive dissonance among those who believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace™. But they don't.

Extramarital sex fuels earthquakes, warns Iran cleric
Haiti was Tiger’s Fault! Excerpt: "Many women who dress inappropriately ... cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes," Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi told worshippers at overnight prayers in Tehran. "Calamities are the result of people's deeds," he was quoted as saying by reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper. "We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers." The Islamic dress code is mandatory in Iran, which has been under clerical rule for more than three decades. Every post-pubescent woman regardless of her religion or nationality must cover her hair and bodily contours in public. Offenders face punishment and fine.

Chicago: Muslim who murdered family on orders from "Allah" now the victim, "suffering greatly" in jail
Excerpt: Koehler said Larry was crying, his head bowed, when prosecutors detailed how he allegedly killed his pregnant wife, Twanda Thompson, 19; son, Jihad, 7 months, pregnant niece Keyshai Fields, 16, and 3-year-old Keleasha Larry, another niece. "He is suffering greatly," Koehler said, after Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Larry held without bond.

Jealous ex-boyfriend murdered nurse by stabbing her 130 times after she began new relationship
Didn’t get the memo, but will be due special treatment in prison due to his religion. Excerpt: A nurse was stabbed and mutilated to death in a frenzied knife attack after arguing with her jealous ex-boyfriend. Katie Cullen, 35, a senior hospital sister, was knifed repeatedly in the face and neck by asylum seeker Iman Ghaefelipour, 28. Iranian-born Ghaefelipour was furious when Miss Cullen dumped him for stealing more than £3,000 from her bank account. But when his plan to win back his former lover failed he fell into a violent rage and stabbed her more than 130 times. Ghaelfelipour gouged out her right eyeball and attempted to sever her right hand with the knife.

US Textbooks: Muslims Discovered America
Who knew?

Jordan's King Warns Mideast War 'Imminent'
Don’t think so. They could be slaughtering Jewish children in Israel’s streets and President Wobbly would send a strongly worded note. Excerpt: This is rather frighting information. The Jordanian Royal Family is always well up-to-date on the intelligence of what is happening and about to happen in their "neighborhood". A war against Hezbollah and Lebanon is one of the main scenarios for trigging a war with Iran/General Middle East War/World War III. There are somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 or so rockets and guided missiles in Lebanon, placed there by Iran and Syria. These are normally under the 'command' of Hezbollah, but in reality are effectively controlled by Iranian and Syrian commanders. These rockets and guided missiles constitute a large percentage of the MAD (mutually assured destruction) strategic counter-force 'throw weight' from the Iranian/Syrian/Hezbollah alliance. Of course, the really 'big guns' are the Iranian Advanced Biological arsenal of genetically engineered viruses and these do not require rockets/missiles for delivery and in fact are a global strategic WMD (weapon of mass destruction) comparable in potential kill levels to global strategic thermonuclear warfare weapons. The large number of 'Hezbollah' rockets/missiles are a grave danger that is specific to Israel. In the Second Lebanon War (which Israel lost), the 'Hezbollah' forces were simply demonstrating their ability to 'deliver ordinance-on-target' over northern Israel using mostly relatively short range unguided rockets and 'dumb' warheads (simple high explosive warheads). Like Saddam Hussein did in the first Gulf War with his Scuds (actually al-Hussein missiles; a modified version of the Scud), the Iranians and Syrians using their Hezbollah proxies, were delivering a warning by firing repeatedly into their enemy. They were demonstrating their ability to hit their enemy but were only, by choice, using low impact 'dumb' high explosive warheads. Saddam held back a force (19 or more) of missiles armed with WMD, which is why we did not 'finish' the war the first time. (It was only after he had denuded himself of his WMD and delivery capabilities that we began the Iraqi War - Second Gulf War). The Iranians and Syrians and their Hezbollah allies/proxies have a considerable selection of WMD available for these 40,000 to 60,000 rockets/missiles (in addition to their Syrian and Iranian based longer range missiles). The WMD can range from FAE (fuel air explosive) warheads (which if fired in a coordinated pattern can lay down a FAE 'brew' over a wide area, such as over a heavily populated urban area) and achieve PSI (pounds per square inch) levels higher than standard NATO tactical nuclear warheads.

Surprise Homecomings

Media is just a word that has come to mean bad journalism. – Graham Greene

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