Saturday, May 1, 2010

Political Digest May 1, 2010

My travel plans have been disrupted, so not sure when I’ll be posting.

Utah Conservatives sing chorus of 'Bye bye Bennett' with glee
Excerpt: Delivering the opening prayer of the Beaver County Republican Convention recently, cattle rancher Gilbert Yardley prayed for Utah to elect "honest" people to Congress -- anybody to replace "the bunch we have in there now." Sen. Robert F. Bennett was in the room, hoping to persuade state delegates to nominate him at the May 8 GOP convention. A friend seated next to Bennett leaned in to whisper the obvious: "I don't think he's one of yours." It's no surprise that anger at Washington and Congress is coursing through Republican circles. What took party leaders by surprise is that the anger here is directed not at President Obama, but squarely at Bennett. And with a flurry of state primaries scheduled in the coming weeks, a Bennett defeat could become a rallying point for anti-incumbent fervor elsewhere.

Organized labor begins $1 million ad campaign against Blanche Lincoln
Above and here—the left and right attacking not each other, but towards the center. Excerpt: The Service Employees International Union will launch a series of television and radio ads taking Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) to task for her record on trade, the leading edge of a seven-figure expenditure from the union in advance of her May 18 primary showdown against Lt. Gov Bill Halter. The SEIU television ad is a testimonial from Greg Knowles, an employee at Cooper Tires in Texarkana, who says that Lincoln has "a lot of nerve" for claiming in a television ad that she saved 1,700 jobs at the company. "We saved our own jobs and we had to take big pay cuts to do it," said Knowles. We would not have to have done that if Miss Lincoln had not voted for all those unfair trade deals."

Charlie Crist to run for Senate as an independent
Florida voters will now choose between two Republicans and one Democrat for the senate, putting the Dem back in the race. May hurt GOP chances to take control of the senate. On the other hand, if it develops into a two-way between Crist and Rubico, Democrats and centrist independents might support Crist. Excerpt: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced this afternoon he will run for the Senate as an independent, breaking with the Republican party and setting up a three-way battle in the fall fraught with national political implications. "Our political system is broken," said Crist at a rally in St. Petersburg. "I believe in democracy and the right to choose." Crist, who will remain a registered Republican, repeatedly cast his decision as in the best interests of Floridians, saying at one point that the easiest course for him would be to run for re-election as governor but that people across the state had urged him to pursue an independent Senate bid. "I was never one who sought to hold elective office to demagogue or point fingers," said Crist. "For me, for me, public service has always been about putting the needs of our state and our people first; and every single day, as your servant, I have tried to do exactly that." In reality, however, Crist's hand had been forced by a national conservative groundswell that had lit upon the Florida Senate primary as a chance to send a message to Republican leaders that the status quo was no longer acceptable. In the immediate aftermath of Crist's announcement, his entire campaign team -- manager Eric Eikenberg, media consultants Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, pollster Public Opinion Strategies, communications director Andrea Saul and press secretary Amanda Hennenberg all resigned. "It has been an honor to work for Governor Crist, and I wish him all of the best," said Saul…..A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Crist leading a three-way race with 32 percent followed by Rubio at 30 percent and Meek at 24 percent.

Response to “I’m Tired” posted on this blog:
Excerpt: Maybe if we spent more time thoughtfully reading newspapers and magazines, or quietly immersed in books, and less time receiving our opinions from TV and radio, maybe we'd actually be able to grasp what is happening to our country, and ourselves as a people. We are changing, we are evolving -- and you can either get with the fish whose feet are carrying them onto land where there is a better chance of survival. Or you can hang in the water with the Robert A. Hall's, Rush Limbaugh's, Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins -- or anyone you want to mention from the left, right or center. Evolution knows no ideologies, no human fears nor dreams. It just is. And it is all that there is. (I just hope Rush, Glenn and Sarah note I was given pride of place!)

Must Read: Why Arizona Drew a Line
Excerpt: Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it “misguided” and said the Justice Department would take a look. Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually: It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers ... you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements. “Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally. The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status.

How Arizona became center of immigration debate
Excerpt: The frustration had been building for years in Arizona with every drug-related kidnapping, every home invasion, every "safe house" discovered crammed with illegal immigrants from Mexico. The tensions finally spilled over this month with passage of the nation's toughest law against illegal immigration, a measure that has put Arizona at the center of the heated debate over how to deal with the millions of people who sneak into the U.S. every year. A number of factors combined to produce the law: a heavily conservative Legislature, the ascent of a Republican governor, anger over the federal government's failure to secure the border, and growing anxiety over crime that reached a fever pitch last month with the slaying of an Arizona rancher, apparently by an illegal immigrant….Arizona is the biggest gateway into the U.S. for illegal immigrants. The state is home to an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants — a population larger than that of entire cities such as Cleveland, St. Louis and New Orleans.

Is Obama Inciting Racial Violence in Arizona?
Hope this is over-reaching. But there is no question that Democrats will benefit if there is any tea party, or anti-illegal immigration violence. The media will gloss over pro-illegal-immigration violence. Excerpt: Is it possible President Obama is inciting violence in Arizona? Could he, some in his party and in liberal media be using racial bating to do it? I think you could make that case. So why aren’t the mainstream media and level-headed Democrats in Congress criticizing the President, others in their party, and some in the media for stirring up possible aggression in Arizona? Arizona’s recent law cracking down on illegal immigration has had an immediate backlash from those on the Left. The state is being flooded by angry protesters, many of whom are not only holding angry signs, but have even been filmed throwing water bottles at police and others. One organizer reportedly did not excuse the violence but did defend the reasoning behind it. Sadly, he put it all in racial terms.

Mexico's Drug War Leaves 22,000 Dead as Violence Spreads to U.S.
Excerpt: 22,000 dead. Beheadings. Hangings. Mass-murders. Bodies sliced into pieces. Killings of cops, government officials, judges, and innocents -- with the violence spreading daily into the U.S. and beyond. Remember. Remember this as the open-border Democrats pander to illegal aliens while they throw the legal residents of Arizona -- of all races, creeds and colors -- to the wolves.

Brown, Cameron hit 'amnesty' for illegals
Not just Arizona! Excerpt: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Conservative Party challenger, David Cameron, on Thursday opposed giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, saying that would send the wrong message to people looking to sneak into Britain. A question on immigration turned into a flashpoint in the third and final televised debate among Mr. Brown, Mr. Cameron and Liberal Democratic candidate Nick Clegg in Birmingham. Mr. Brown's Labor Party slipped in the polls this week after the prime minister was caught on an open microphone describing a longtime party supporter as "bigoted" after she expressed concern about the influx of Eastern European immigrants.

Economic Freedom Matters
Excerpt: There is a link between economic freedom and employment growth, according to a new study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, called "Economic Freedom and Employment Growth in the U.S. States." Other studies have come to the same conclusion; however, one of the things that makes this study different is its findings on labor markets, says Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. The authors write: "In addition, we find that less restrictive state and national government labor market policies have the greatest impact on employment growth in U.S. states." That conclusion doesn't bode well for Michigan, says LaFaive, which is known for having a relatively hostile labor climate and which over the last 10 years has seen its overall national economic freedom ranking tumble according to the periodic "Economic Freedom of North America" report, published by the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the "U.S. Economic Freedom Index" published by the Pacific Research Institute in California:

Dealing with the TeaParty (Video & photos)
Excerpt: On Wednesday Team Obama called in the riot squad to deal with the Quincy Tea Party patriots outside the Oakley-Lindsey/Quincy Community Center.

Response from a retired (conservative) cop to yesterday’s post on this
Did you watch the videos? The text you forwarded is a complete mischaracterization of what the police did. The writer says, “Illinois sent in the riot squad to stop the couple hundred peaceful protesters from … doing what it isn’t exactly clear”. But the “riot police” didn’t have any contact with the protestors. The officers in question didn’t even speak to the protestors. What you saw was a completely reasonable police response to the presence of the President in Quincy. There were hundreds of tea party protestors, and the police have to be ready if some of them get out of hand (it happens). The guys in riot gear marched in and stood across the street from the demonstrators. They never came near the demonstrators. And when they weren’t needed any more, they left. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in those videos.

House in Georgia, heart in Vietnam
Excerpt: The Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon 35 years ago this week, but Hong Nguyen will never surrender. Nguyen's story is just one among millions from Vietnam's tragic war era, but it's also one that ultimately resolves in triumph. Nguyen was a Republic of Vietnam army major stationed in Da Nang when the port city was bombarded by the enemy North Vietnamese army in late March 1975. Commanders in Saigon, 380 miles to the south, offered no guidance or information, he said.

Fancy Nancy
Excerpt: However, now that I think about it, this picture is more than a vanity portrait. It is a tool intended to send a message to a specific audience. Capitol File magazine's primary circulation area is Washington, D.C. The audience is very select. This cover photo is so outlandish in its visual flattery that it can be seen only as a warning directed to the lobbyists and vendors and supplicants who travel to our nation's capital. It communicates to them that Nancy Pelosi can command how others should see her -- as Our Glorious Speaker, and you'd better not laugh or you'll be on the next plane back to Palookaville. Gone are the wild eyes. Gone are the grasping facial expressions. Gone is any hint that she habitually accuses Tea Partiers or others who challenge her of being "violent" and "Nazis". For the next two months, Capitol File magazine will sit on coffee tables in reception areas throughout Washington. All the people who are not insiders, who have to wait, who are not whisked past the desk directly through to meetings, will sit in lobbies and see Nancy Pelosi's picture smiling at them from the coffee table as if there's nothing wrong.

Oh, Mann: Cuccinelli targets UVA papers in Climategate salvo
Excerpt: In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005. If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

World Rethinks Climate Legislation
Excerpt: It was always going to be an uphill battle for the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation in an election year. But with Senator Lindsey Graham's likely decision to withdraw his support from the landmark bill, the prospects are now virtually zero. That is not just because Mr. Graham had been the only Republican senator to endorse a broad approach to tackling global warming. It's because the climate, politically speaking, has changed....
Obama's fatal flinch on immigration reform
Excerpt: Air Force One was about seven miles over Appalachia this week when President Obama dropped a bomb on his party. Senate Democrats had that very day circulated an immigration reform proposal, and the Associated Press, receiving a leaked copy, reported on the "draft legislation." But as Obama returned to Washington from Illinois Wednesday night, he walked back to the press cabin on the presidential aircraft and, in an impromptu Q&A, essentially declared immigration reform dead. He said "there may not be an appetite" for it. Obama's retreat -- after encouraging senators only weeks ago to take up immigration reform -- clotheslined Senate Democrats. Since their proposal had already leaked, they had no choice but to go ahead with the rollout of the plan Obama had just doomed. "I don't know in what context the statement was made last night," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters at Thursday night's rollout. Well, Mr. Leader, the context is fear.

Strikingly Unpresidential
Excerpt: How the president presents himself does matter for all the obvious reasons, but I believe Obama's behavior and the public's perception of it are relevant for other equally important reasons. He came into office with a reputation for being sophisticated, gentlemanly, above the political fray and open-minded. But it was a facade, facilitated by good looks, a seemingly pleasant demeanor and an extraordinarily fawning — and forgiving — media. He has been getting a pass on his unseemly conduct for way too long, which partially explains the disconnect between his personal likability and the unpopularity of his socialist agenda. I believe that if the public were fully attuned to how unpresidentially he has consistently behaved, it wouldn't be as approving of him personally, and in turn, politicians wouldn't be so afraid to call him out on his Machiavellian and brutish behavior, the exposure of which would have an electoral impact. If more people understood what I believe to be this man's actual character, they wouldn't — in the face of his consistently highhanded tactics in pushing each and every one of his destructive agenda items — reflexively assume he's such a nice guy who means well. Then, they might be more vigilant, and heaven knows we need megadoses of vigilance these days. I have theories about why Obama is consistently getting a pass, beyond the media's corrupt liberalism and the allies he's created through his racial and class warfare, but that's another column. The point for now is that he is getting a pass, and his behavior is increasingly indefensible.

Creators of carbon credit scheme cashing in on it
Shocked, I am. Excerpt: With little media monitoring, both Strong and Gore are cashing in on the lucrative cottage industry known as man-made global warming. Strong is on the board of directors of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Wikipedia-described as "the world's first and North America's only legally binding greenhouse gas emission registry reduction system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil." Gore buys his carbon off-sets from himself--the Generation Investment Management LLP, "an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 with offices in London and Washington, D.C." of which he is both chairman and founding partner.

The $10 Trillion Climate Fraud
Excerpt: So lucrative does this market appear, it attracted the attention of London-based Generation Investment Management, which purchased a stake in CCX and is now the fifth-largest shareholder. As we noted last year, Gore is co-founder of Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offsets of dubious value that let rich polluters continue to pollute with a clear conscience. Other founders include former Goldman Sachs partner David Blood, as well as Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris, also of Goldman Sachs. In 2006, CCX received a big boost when another investor bought a 10% stake on the prospect of making a great deal of money for itself. That investor was Goldman Sachs, now under the gun for selling financial instruments it knew were doomed to fail. The actual mechanism for trading on the exchange was purchased and patented by none other than Franklin Raines, who was CEO of Fannie Mae at the time.

Barack Obama, America’s Selective Salary Policeman
Excerpt: Fundamental lesson of Capitalism 101: Governments and bureaucrats don’t make what people want and need. They only get in the way. It is individuals, cooperating peacefully and voluntarily, working together without mandate or central design, who produce the world’s goods and services. They make what people desire and demand for themselves, not what Obama and his imperial overlords ordain that the masses should have.

Space Wars: Circa 1959 to 2010
Excerpt: I noted with interest President Obama's April 16 visit to Cape Kennedy to rally the "workers". Certain reports have it that there were few in any "workers" invited to hear the speech. There did seem to be a lot of applause from people who were about to lose their jobs. Then on April 22 I noted the launch of an Atlas/X-37 "space plane" combination on a "secret" mission. Had I seen this before? The Atlas/X-37 stirred my memory. In June of 1959 the Eisenhower administration awarded a contract to Boeing for a project called Dyna-Soar. This also was an Atlas/Space Plane combination very closely resembling the current configuration. The intended offensive purpose of the 1959 system sounds remarkably similar to the theories put forth for the X37. Also remarkable is the involvement of the same contractor and booster. But is there a more over-riding theme in both of these events?

Retaking the Offensive in the Illegals Fight
Excerpt: Short-term, Mr. Obama and his handlers are trying to leverage the new Arizona law to gin up Hispanic votes this November. In states with larger concentrations of Hispanic voters, Mr. Obama and his handlers wish to more than offset an expected surge in voters disgruntled with Mr. Obama's big-government raw deal. Perhaps Mr. Obama's ploy will work, but it's guaranteed to work if conservatives and Republicans fail to contest Mr. Obama in Hispanic communities. Despite the left's propaganda, there is an abundance of Hispanic Americans who are offended by and worried about the violations of law that illegals present. Hispanics see and fear the disruptions that illegals -- especially the criminal element -- are bringing to their neighborhoods.

DOJ Subpoenas NYT's Risen re CIA Leaks
Excerpt: Risen was originally subpoenaed about this matter by the Bush administration, fought the subpoena and now it has expired. The Obama Administration has apparently revived it. While Risen had revealed in the paper a NSA program respecting transmissions into and out of the U.S., this matter involved something different--- a very embarrassing incident for the CIA. In 2000, under Clinton, the agency had given to the Iranians, through a Russian scientist working for it, plans for a nuclear bomb. The blueprint to be handed over had a deliberate error in it. The scientist, thinking the error was so obvious it would diminish his credibility, told the Iranians about it and, therefore, made the entire cockamamie plan falter in its purpose.

U.S. Subpoenas Times Reporter Over Book on C.I.A.
Excerpt: The second chapter in Mr. Risen’s book provides a detailed description of the program. But Mr. Kurtzberg said the Justice Department was seeking information only about Mr. Risen’s sources for the ninth chapter, which centers on the C.I.A.’s effort to disrupt Iranian nuclear research. That material did not appear in The Times. The book describes how the agency sent a Russian nuclear scientist — who had defected to the United States and was secretly working for the C.I.A. — to Vienna in February 2000 to give plans for a nuclear bomb triggering device to an Iranian official under the pretext that he would provide further assistance in exchange for money. The C.I.A. had hidden a technical flaw in the designs. The scientist immediately spotted the flaw, Mr. Risen reported. Nevertheless, the agency proceeded with the operation, so the scientist decided on his own to alert the Iranians that there was a problem in the designs, thinking they would not take him seriously otherwise.

When Will They Take Us Seriously?
Excerpt: When it comes to the economy, a recent CNN poll shows, as usual, that the economy remains the most important factor in how respondents will vote this year. The pollster then concludes that "[i]f conditions stay bad or get worse, that benefits Republicans. Improving conditions may help the Democrats hold onto more seats." Let me sum this up. Charles Krauthammer believes that if congressional Republicans don't come up with their own version of financial reform, then they'll take a hit in November. The left-wing media thinks that it doesn't matter that the Democrats used reconciliation to pass a monstrous health care bill as long as they won. Dana Perino characterizes what Arizonans are feeling concerning illegal immigration as "frustration." And as far as the economy is concerned, if the numbers start going up, voters will return home to the Democrats. What do they think of us in Washington, D.C.? Not much.

Bill would require banks to track, report to Feds on all personal checking acc'ts
If Bush…oh, never mind. Excerpt: Subtitle G of the Dodd discussion draft bill requires that records be maintained and reported “for each branch, automated teller machine at which deposits are accepted, and other deposit taking service facility with respect to any financial institution, the financial institution shall maintain a record of the number and dollar amounts of deposit accounts of customers.” What’s worse, banks will be required to submit these records to the new super regulatory agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (page 1041). The CFPA will be allowed to use this information for any purpose “as permitted by law” under CFPA rules—rules set by CFPA themselves. So, lets get this straight—the law requires banks to snoop on its customers MOST PERSONAL INFORMATION and submit it to another government agency so it can be used anyway the CFPA see’s fit.

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