Saturday, April 3, 2010

Political Digest April 3, 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.

I usually only go to the movies to please my bride. Even when watching TV, I usually am reading a book. So I don’t track actors much, or know who’s who.

But I want to compile a list of the many anti-American Hollywood jerks getting rich while trashing America. Nominations are now open. Please send to

Must read but scary: Tomorrow’s Wars
Excerpt: Have we not seen, then, in our lifetime the end of the Western way of war?” Two decades ago, I concluded The Western Way of War with that question. Since Western warfare had become so lethal and included the specter of nuclear escalation, I thought it doubtful that two Western states could any longer wage large head-to-head conventional battles. A decade earlier, John Keegan, in his classic The Face of Battle, had similarly suggested that it would be hard for modern European states to engage in infantry slugfests like the Battle of the Somme. “The suspicion grows,” Keegan argued of a new cohort of affluent and leisured European youth—rebellious in spirit and reluctant to give over the good life to mass conscription—“that battle has already abolished itself.” Events of the last half-century seem to have confirmed the notion that decisive battles between two large, highly trained, sophisticated Westernized armies, whether on land or on sea, have become increasingly rare. Pentagon war planners now talk more about counterinsurgency training, winning the hearts and minds of civilian populations, and “smart” interrogation techniques—and less about old-fashioned, “blow-’em-up” hardware (like, say, the F-22 Raptor) that proves so advantageous in fighting conventional set battles. But does this mean that the big battle is indeed on its way to extinction? Big battles sometimes changed entire conflicts in a matter of hours, altering politics and the fate of millions. It is with history’s big battles, not the more common “dirty war” or insurgency, that we associate radical changes of fortune as well as war poetry, commemoration, and, for good or ill, the martial notions of glory and honor. Had the Greeks lost their fleet at “Holy” Salamis in 480 bc, instead of beating back the Persian invaders, the history of the polis might well have come to an end, and with it a vulnerable Western civilization in its infancy. Had the Confederates broken the Union lines at Gettysburg and swept behind Washington, Abraham Lincoln would have faced enormous pressure to settle the Civil War according to the status quo ante bellum. If the “band of brothers” had been repulsed at Normandy Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944, it is difficult to imagine that they would have reattempted an enormous amphibious invasion soon after—but easy instead to envision a victorious Red Army eventually camped on the Atlantic Coast and occupying Western Europe.

The Number of Congressional Staff is the Real Problem
Excerpt: There’s been a bit of buzz about a recent story in Politico revealing a huge increase in the number of congressional staff receiving six-figure salaries. Some of the details are eye-openers, including a 39 percent increase in the past four years in the number of staffers earning at least $163,358: Nearly 2,000 House of Representatives staffers pulled down six-figure salaries in 2009, including 43 staffers who earned the maximum $172,500 — or more than three times the median U.S. household income. …But while these top earners are a small percentage of the overall congressional work force, their numbers are growing at a rapid rate under the Democratic Congress. The number of staffers earning within the upper 3 percent of House salaries — currently $163,358 or more — has increased by nearly 39 percent in the past four years, according to LegiStorm data. …“These are people who could be making a lot more money in the private sector, but they choose to work here,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly, who also makes $172,500. … There are approximately 10,000 House staffers, including district office workers, according to the chief administrative officer. Even though I’m a former Hill staffer, I’m certainly not going to defend these salaries (especially since I was nowhere near the top of the pay structure!). But excessive pay is actually a secondary problem. The real issue is the explosion in the number of staff. The image below, taken from a 1993 congressional report, shows the increase in the number of staff for each member of the House of Representatives. This doesn’t include, incidentally, the increase in committee staff and the growth in auxiliary institutions such as the Congressional Budget Office (the folks who just told us that a giant new entitlement program would reduce red ink).

If Global Warming Kills Us, Blame the Weatherman
Excerpt: Who do Americans trust more than any other type of media personality? The weatherman. Sometimes formally trained meteorologists, sometimes not, our news station weathercasters nevertheless command more attention than other journalists; for local news stations, the weather report is very often the most popular segment. And over the years, the reliability of meteorologists has improved significantly; next-day forecasts, at the very least, are pretty reliable. But a new study says that weathercasters are reaching much further into the future with their reporting. According to George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, some 87 percent of weathercasters also talk publicly about climate change.

Texas HHS Chief: ObamaCare will cost our state almost 20 times Waxman’s estimate
Excerpt: Waxman says it’ll cost $1.4 billion, Tom Suehs says it’s more like, oh, $27 billion. Luckily, cost projections for giant health-care entitlements rarely lowball the actual amount, so I’m thinking Hammering Hank has to be feeling pretty good about this one.

What if he’s not another Carter?
Excerpt: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev and Barack Obama. Both young, dynamic, smarter and smoother than their predecessors. Both had a Masters in Law. Both have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Gorbachev, after he destroyed his evil empire; Obama before he destroys our wonderful country. From the very beginning both promised change. As Barack Obama has done 23 years later, Gorbachev first concentrated on health care reform. In Gorbachev's case it was an anti-alcohol campaign. What could be more popular and more admirable than a campaign to stop the consumption of alcohol, which was destroying the livers, and productivity, of millions of Russian men, women and children? It's right up there with providing overnight health care benefits for 30 million uninsured Americans as the right thing to do.

Democrats map out midterm campaign strategy for Obama
They should keep him talking about healthcare. The 50+ speeches he’s giving so far are driving the numbers the right way! And he should come back to IL, tie himself to the Dem candidate for the senate, who just today had more revelations about his family bank’s loans to mobsters and crooks, including Tony Rezko, Obama’s Real Estate Fairy. But the candidate says that he was only the Chief Loan Officer, so knew nothing about the loans. Excerpt: Facing a tough midterm election in which they could potentially lose their majorities in Congress, Democrats are privately debating where and how President Obama can help -- or hurt. The president is unlikely to campaign in Arkansas and hasn't been to Illinois since last summer, even though both states have important Senate races. Although many states won't hold primaries until next month, Obama has appeared at only one campaign rally this year -- for Martha Coakley, who lost a special Senate election in Massachusetts. He has held no big events in any number of states -- including Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Ohio -- with competitive races.

Those angry about health-care generally concerned about the country's direction
Of course, many of the angry voters helped create this by voting for candidates that got them goodies from the government. Voters aren’t good at thinking beyond what Dr. Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” But they can start to sense in their guts when things are going bad. Unfortunately, I think healthcare is the tipping point, and the odds are the country will collapse. Excerpt: The health-care debate has generated intense levels of frustration among the bill's opponents, and those who say they are outright angry almost universally believe that the country is going in the wrong direction -- some say toward an America they no longer recognize. Of the 26 percent of people who described themselves as "angry" about the new law in a recent Washington Post poll, virtually all also said the country was on the wrong track. In follow-up interviews, many went beyond health care as they spoke of their deep misgivings about the country's leadership and the changes taking place around them. "I grew up in the '50s," said Hugh Pearson, 63, a retired builder from Bakersfield, Calif. "That was a wonderful time. Nobody was getting rich, nobody was doing everything big. But it was 'Ozzie and Harriet' days, 'Leave It to Beaver'-type stuff. Now we have all this MTV, expose-yourself stuff, and we have no morality left, not even by the legislators." Pearson and others described a rising concern about illegal immigrants who they say fill hospital emergency rooms and drain public resources. In the follow-up interviews, they expressed a distrust with a government they believe is taking from the many and giving to the few. Nearly nine in 10 of those who are angry about the health-care bill say it represents a major and negative change for the country, with some interviewed after the poll saying they believe the country is moving toward socialism.

EPA Chief Says New Pollution Rules for Cars Only the Beginning
The statist takeover of the economy continues. Can you say “Soviet Five Year Plan” comrade? Excerpt: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency’s inaugural regulations on greenhouse gas emissions on cars were only “the first” of such regulations, promising that her agency would move “deliberately” to institute regulations in other areas of the economy as well.

Top Dems Call Companies 'Irresponsible' for Taking Write-Downs on Retiree Drug Benefits -- Even Though Federal Rules Require It
Excerpt: Furchtgott-Roth, who served on President George H.W. Bush’s domestic policy council, said that the write-downs shouldn’t really be a surprise to Waxman, unless the powerful chairman failed to take into account the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment of the bill’s impact only focused on its impact on the federal government’s bottom line. “CBO is asked to score the cost of the bill,” she explained to “So what it does to a company’s earnings is not reflected in the CBO score and I’m very surprised that Mr. Waxman doesn’t know this.”

On Fox, Greta said she wasn’t concerned about the big companies, only the workers that might be laid off or not hired because of this. This is what Dr. Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” Those big companies are owned by the stockholders. Yes, some of those stockholders are rich, and this hit won’t hurt them much (but will hurt the people they would have spent that money with). But a good chunk of that stock is in pension funds, IRAs and 401Ks, so this hit is going to come out of the retirements of millions of average Americans—many of whom will never connect their reduced retirement income back to Obama and the Democrats, because they can’t think beyond stage one either.

States fear that five words in Obama health law will open door to lawsuits ObamaCare surprise! Excerpt: “Section 2304 changes the definition of Medical Assistance, and potentially, wipes clean years of court precedent that has kept states from losing very expensive lawsuits,” a GOP staffer said. “The states and the Medicaid directors are very worried about this provision.” A spokeswoman for House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, California Democrat, did not respond to a request for comment on the provision.

The American Form of Government
This video discusses the differences between Dictatorship, Oligarchy, Democracy, Republic and Anarchy, making the important point that a Republic is denoted by an adherence to the "Rule of Law", as opposed to a Democracy which is simply the unrestricted "Rule of the Majority". Pass this link along to anyone you think needs a little history lesson.

Democratic Drill Baby Drill is Actually Bait And Switch
Excerpt: Last night, readers on Drudge read that President Obama was willing to consider drilling on the OCS: Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska. When I read that, I was highly skeptical, mostly because I knew one of the things that Congress is thinking about debating next is Cap and Trade. This afternoon, FNC’s Jim Angle reported that he’d had conversations on background with Democratic staffers who admitted that this is all about capturing Republican votes for Cap and Trade. That information is verified later in the AP article: Obama made no secret of the fact that one factor in his decision was securing Republican support for a sweeping climate change bill that has languished in Congress. But Obama has long stated his support in favor of the tough decision to expand offshore drilling. Let’s remember that then-Candidate Obama told people that energy prices would necessarily skyrocket under his Cap and Trade proposal. Lets remember what he said days before Election Day: What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; its just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Obama White House drafts new guidelines to determine who is or isn’t government contractor who wins? Hint—labor is a big Obama contributor, right there with trial lawyers. Excerpt: The Obama administration has proposed to overhaul the concept of what constitutes “inherently governmental” activity – with an eye toward keeping jobs that are deemed a core function of the government in-house. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has released draft guidelines that propose to redefine the role contractors will play in every aspect of government. The debate boils down to which tasks belong in the realm of federal employees, because they are directly tied to the public interest, and which contractors can handle. Organized labor and private business are facing off.

Shipwreck Survivors Prevented from Telling Their Story
Excerpt: The military has kept preventing the survivors of the sunken Navy corvette Cheonan from communicating with the outside world since the incident Friday. All 52 survivors except for six officers including Captain Choi Won-il are hospitalized in the Armed Forces Capital Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. According to a report by the Defense Ministry Monday, 44 are injured, four of them seriously…..The Navy has apparently ordered Patrol Boat 501, which rescued 56 survivors soon after the incident, not to ask any questions to the survivors and isolate them until Navy officers reach the site. Captain Choi delivered the order to the survivors gathered together and he reportedly told them to keep their mouths shut. (From my source: Russian internet chatter implies a NK Silkworm missile battery did it, and it was obliterated by the sister SK ship's artillery (our media is saying they shot at "a flock of birds"). That crew is also incommunicado at this time. )

Obama set to reject ‘nuclear posture’ our new “wishing and good intentions will make it so” foreign policy. Excerpt: President Obama will rewrite America’s policy on nuclear weapons next week, heralding further reductions in the US stockpile and giving a pledge not to develop new systems. After a review of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal that has involved, among others, the Pentagon, the Department of Energy and the intelligence services, as well as the White House, Mr Obama is expected to reject the doctrine on nuclear weapons — the “nuclear posture” — adopted by George W. Bush, which included the possibility of the United States launching an attack on a non-nuclear state. The Obama Administration has come under pressure from arms control analysts to redefine the circumstances in which the US might consider using nuclear weapons, and to state beyond doubt that the justification for keeping them is purely as a deterrent.

Slapping Friends
Excerpt: What is it like to be a foreign ally of Barack Obama's America?
If you're a Brit, your head is spinning. It's not just the personal slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- the ridiculous 25-DVD gift, the five refusals before Brown was granted a one-on-one with The One. Nor is it just the symbolism of Obama returning the Churchill bust that was in the Oval Office. Query: If it absolutely had to be out of Obama's sight, could it not have been housed somewhere else on U.S. soil rather than ostentatiously repatriated? Perhaps it was the State Department official who last year denied there even was a special relationship between the U.S. and Britain, a relationship cultivated by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt. And then there was Hillary Clinton's astonishing, nearly unreported (in the U.S.) performance in Argentina last month. She called for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands.

Where Slavery is Not a Metaphor
The Holy Qur’an allows for slavery, including rape of slave girls (That which your right hand possessth), and the Holy Qur’an is perfect and unchangeable. Thus the beauty of “all cultures are equally valid.” Excerpt: For those used to seeing the faces of slaves in Civil War-era tintypes -- staring at the camera in posed, formal judgment -- it is a shock to see the face of slavery in a shy, adolescent boy. Majok Majok Dhal, 14 or 15 years old (many former slaves have no idea of their exact age), dimly remembers his capture in the village of Mareng at about age 5. "I ran a little and was taken. I was carried on horseback." He recalls seeing other captives shot and killed after refusing to march north with the raiders into Sudan proper. His master, Atheib, was "not a good person." He forced the boy to tend goats and live with them in a stable. Majok was beaten regularly with a bamboo stick, "if I was not quick and fast." He recalls once being feverish and unable to work. The master "stabbed my leg with a knife. He said, 'I will cut your throat.'" Majok shows me his poorly healed wound. He was forced to address Atheib as "father."

Pirate Season is Heating Up
Navy 2, Pirates zero. Excerpt: U.S. Navy ships have had two clashes with pirates in less than 24 hours. Most recently, the destroyer Farragut disarmed pirates and sank the mother skiff off the coast of Somalia after responding to an attack on a Sierra Leone-flagged tanker. That was after the USS Nicholas crew came under fire by a group of suspected Somali pirates just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Moscow subway bomber was 17, alleged rebel widow
Another child victim of the Religion of Death. Excerpt: A 17-year-old from Dagestan was one of two female suicide bombers who attacked Moscow's subway, Russian investigators said Friday. A leading newspaper called her the widow of a slain Islamist rebel. President Dmitry Medvedev also urged harsher measures Friday to crack down on terrorism and the death toll from Monday's subway bombings rose to 40 as a man died in the hospital. At least 90 others were injured in the twin subway attacks. Federal investigators identified one of the attackers as Dzhanet Abdurakhmanova, 17, of Dagestan and said they were still trying to identify the second bomber and track down the organizers of the attack. (Wonder what she said when she got to Paradise and saw her husband with his 72 black-eyes virgins?)

Shock claim: Obama encouraged Palestinian 'resistance'
Violence targeting Jews aimed at pressuring Israel into splitting capital
May not be true. But if they’d made this claim about Bush, banner headline in the NYT. Excerpt: The Obama administration has encouraged "resistance" by Palestinians to protest Israel's presence in eastern Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian Authority official claimed to WND. The senior PA official, speaking from Ramallah on condition of anonymity, said that in recent meetings with U.S. envoys to the region, the American diplomats supported and encouraged the concept of Palestinian protests to pressure Israel into evacuating eastern sections of Jerusalem. The PA official's claim follows a meeting in Jordan last week between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and George Mitchell, Obama’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a press conference immediately following the meeting, Abbas declared the Palestinian "right" to "resistance" against Israel.

Anti-Islam decals improperly banned at Camp Lejeune, judge rules
Excerpt; Camp Lejeune officials violated the rights of a military veteran who came to his job on base in a vehicle emblazoned with anti-Islamic decals after his son died in a terrorist bombing, a federal judge ruled. Jesse Nieto's stickers included one that said "ISLAM (equals) TERRORISM" and another with a threat to defecate on the Quran. He also had a decal to commemorate the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, in which 17 shipmates died including Nieto's youngest son. "His vehicle is a way to express his mourning and anger," said Nieto's attorney, Robert Muise. Nieto has been driving a different vehicle to his on-base job since the summer of 2008, but Muise said he plans to return with his decals next week. He has worked at Lejeune since 1994 and previously served 25 years in the Marine Corps, including two combat tours as an infantryman in Vietnam.

U.S.-Israel C-130J agreement now awaits 'political decision'
Taking a page from the Democrats cutting military aid to South Vietnam, ensuring conquest by the communists. Excerpt: The administration of President Barack Obama has refused to approve any of Israel's military requests since it entered office in January 2009. The Pentagon did not announce any weapons contracts to Israel over the last 14 months.

Saudis Will Behead Lebanese TV Host Convicted of "Witchcraft" on Friday...
Excerpt: A Lebanese man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia on charges of witchcraft is due to be beheaded this week, his lawyer said on Wednesday, urging officials and rights groups to intervene on his behalf. "Last night we got news through unofficial channels that Ali Sabat would be beheaded within 48 hours," May el-Khansa, Sabat's attorney in Beirut told AFP.

1 comment:

  1. Just read for the first time something you wrote in February '09 called, "I'm Tired" and I was very moved by your remarks and in agreement with them. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel and are not as well able to express.