Friday, September 24, 2010

Political Digest September 24, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Free Trade
Every morning as I dress, I watch the local news. Every morning I suffer through a powerful attack ad against Adam Kinzinger, who is a candidate for congress here in Illinois. Every day people, doubtless actors, speak with trembling lips about how “Politician Adam Kinzinger” supports free trade, and their jobs are going to Mexico. Powerful, and economically ignorant, because history proves over and over that free trade improves economic activity, trade barriers kill it. I don’t know the candidates, but I’d vote for Kinzinger if this was my district.

Thomas Sowell writes often about this. Here’s an older column by him that should be widely read by politicians.

Unhappy Birthday Hawley-Smoot by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Unfortunately, the same kind of thinking that led to the Hawley-Smoot tariffs is still alive and well -- and in full youthful vigor -- in the media and in politics today. At the heart of past and present arguments for restricting imports that compete with American-made products is the notion that these imports will cost Americans their jobs. That fear was even more understandable back in 1930, when the Great Depression was getting under way and unemployment was at 9 percent. The Hawley-Smoot bill raised American tariffs to record high levels, in an attempt to protect existing jobs and in hopes of helping the unemployed find work producing things that the United States had previously been importing from other countries. Many businesses were in favor of the new tariffs, hoping to retain or expand their markets, and farmers were especially big supporters of the Hawley-Smoot tariffs. Who was opposed? Most of the leading economists in the country were opposed. A front-page headline in the New York Times of May 5, 1930 read: "1,028 Economists Ask Hoover to Veto Pending Tariff Bill." Those signing this public appeal against the new tariffs included many of the top economists of the day -- 25 professors of economics at Harvard, 26 at the University of Chicago, and 28 at Columbia. But, to a politician, what do 1,028 votes matter in a country the size of the United States? Congressman Hawley and Senator Smoot both ignored them, as did President Herbert Hoover, who signed the legislation into law the next month. The economic reasons for not restricting international trade then were the same as they are today. The only difference is that what happened then gives us a free home demonstration of what can be expected to happen if we go that route again. The economists' appeal spelled it out: "The proponents of higher tariffs claim that the increase in rates will give work to the idle. This is not true. We cannot increase employment by restricting trade." If 9 percent unemployment was troublesome in 1930, when the Hawley-Smoot tariff was passed, it was nothing compared to the 16 percent unemployment the next year and the 25 percent unemployment two years after that. The annual rate of unemployment in the United States never got back down to the 9 percent level again during the entire decade of the 1930s. American industry as a whole operated at a loss for two consecutive years. Farmers, who had given strong support to the Hawley-Smoot tariffs, saw their own exports cut by two-thirds as countries around the world retaliated against American tariffs by restricting their imports of American industrial and agricultural products. The economists' appeal had warned of "retaliatory tariffs" that would set off a wave of international trade restrictions which would hurt all countries economically. After everything that these economists had warned about happened, tariffs began to be reduced but throughout the 1930s they remained above where they were before the Hawley-Smoot tariffs -- and so did unemployment.

Thomas Sowell’s Archived Columns

Read their hips: Want butter on that toast?,0,6577738.column
Excerpt: Just days ago, before his career was impaled by his relationship with a blonde nightclub hostess, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Bud Light, was busy patting himself on the back. This was before Tuesday, before African-American women talked of Jackson with stern faces, hands on hips, talking about that blonde, pronouncing him so much political burnt toast…Of course, the whole thing blew up in his face on Tuesday, with the picture of that blonde on the front page of the Sun-Times. The story was ostensibly about an Indian money guy talking to the feds and contradicting Jackson. But it's the front-page photo of the lovely nightclub hostess that drives this one now. This one has gone beyond the Indian businessmen and allegations of Chicago-style corruption. It is lower and deeper now. It is quite elemental. (If you don’t regularly read Kass, you may not get the “D-Bud Light” jibe. Kass has reported that in 1982, Jesse Jackson, Sr., held a press conference to launch a boycott of Budweiser for being racist, since only three distributorships were held by blacks. The media flocked to watch him pour a beer in the street, proclaiming, “This Bud’s a bud.” Budweiser got the message and gave beer distribution franchises to Jesse Jr. and his brother. Suddenly, Bud became the right drink for black folks. That kind of racial blackmail is common in America, but not much covered by the media, as it doesn’t fit their narrative. It is my view now that the worst racists in the country are black “leaders” like Jackson, Sharpton, and Holder, and that the chief victims of their racism are not whites, but poor black folks kept on the welfare plantation by the culture of victimization and race baiting. ~Bob.)

Hypocritical Mexico is now building their own wall on border with ignores
Excerpt: The Inter-Press Service (IPS) is reporting that the head administrator of the Mexican Superintendency of Tax Administration, Raul Diaz, has confirmed that his government is building a wall in the state of Chiapas, along the Mexican/Guatemalan border. The official reason is to stop contraband from coming into Mexico, but as Diaz admitted: “It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants.” According to Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights, 500,000 people from Central America cross into Mexico illegally every year. Just as Mexican authorities have opposed the construction of a fence by the U.S., along our border with their country, Mexico is now receiving a great deal of criticism from the Guatemalan government.

How Many Times Did Goldwater Run For President Again?
Excerpt: Washington elites' heads exploded when Christine O'Donnell won the Republican Senate primary in Delaware last week. Luckily they were all reading The New York Times' op-ed page at the time, so the mess their exploding heads created was minimal. The establishment's complaints are confusing. They say O'Donnell has a problem because she's never held a job in the private sector (like our president), didn't pay her taxes (like our treasury secretary), and had her house foreclosed on (like half of the electorate). They also accuse her of saying crazy things -- but she's running for Joe Biden's old seat, so this may be an advantage. This week, all we've heard about is how O'Donnell once said she went on a date with a guy in high school who claimed to be a witch. (So what? Bill Clinton married one!) Bill Clinton was credibly accused of at least one forcible rape. Those two seem about equal to you? I haven't seen hypocrisy like this since -- oh, that's right, since last week when CBS's Bob Schieffer attacked John Boehner for smoking, after two years of the media's ferociously avoiding the topic of Obama's cigarette habit. The Republican Party is being warned that tea party-endorsed candidates such as O'Donnell might lead to Barry Goldwater-style epic defeats. Of course, the tea party candidates range from libertarian Rand Paul in Kentucky to Yale Law/Iraq War veteran Joe Miller in Alaska to Christian activist O'Donnell. But any evidence of principle in a Republican is always treated by the elites as if it's an embarrassing eccentricity best kept under wraps. Referring to "fringe candidates" from the tea party, Morton Kondracke wrote in Roll Call that Republicans are "heading out of the mainstream" and cited Goldwater as a "disastrous" precedent.

Risk of small-scale attacks by al-Qaeda and its allies is rising, officials say
Excerpt: Al-Qaeda and its allies are likely to attempt small-scale, less sophisticated terrorist attacks in the United States, senior Obama administration officials said Wednesday, noting that it's extremely difficult to detect such threats in advance. "Unlike large-scale, coordinated, catastrophic attacks, executing smaller-scale attacks requires less planning and fewer pre-operational steps," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "Accordingly, there are fewer opportunities to detect such an attack before it occurs."

How Seniors Will Pay for ObamaCare
Excerpt: Today marks the six-month anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, widely known as ObamaCare. It is a day when the first significant round of benefits kicks in, and the Obama administration is taking every opportunity to tout them to the American public. Insurers, we are being told, will no longer be able to impose annual limits or lifetime caps on benefits, and they will face a higher standard before than can drop anyone's coverage. Children will be guaranteed access to insurance, regardless of health condition. And there is more to come in the future. Yet the administration is strangely silent about who will bear the cost of these benefits. Search the government's own health-reform website and you'll get the idea that the whole thing is one big free lunch. The reality is that the cost of ObamaCare will be quite high for some people. By 2017, thousands of people in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio will be paying more than $5,000 a year in lost health-care benefits to make ObamaCare possible, according to a study published this month by Robert Book at the Heritage Foundation and James Capretta at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. For some New York City dwellers, the figure will exceed $6,000 a year. Unfortunate residents of Ascension, La., will pay more than $9,000 in lost benefits. Who are these people? Are they the rich and the comfortable—the folks presidential candidate Barack Obama told us could afford to pay for health reform? Are they people who have excessively profited during a recession that's caused hardships for so many? Are they the ones who gained the most from the Bush tax cuts? None of the above. According to the Book/Capretta study, the people getting hit with these very expensive tabs live in predominately low-income households. They are disproportionately minorities. They have trouble paying their own medical bills.

Value of College Degree Is Growing, Study Says
Excerpt: Workers with a college degree earned much more and were much less likely to be unemployed than those with only a high school diploma, according to the report, “Education Pays: the Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.” According to the report, the median earnings of full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees were $55,700 in 2008 — $21,900 more than those of workers who finished only high school. And the pay premium for those with bachelor’s degrees has grown substantially in recent years. Among those ages 25 to 34, women with college degrees earned 79 percent more than those with high school diplomas, and men, 74 percent more. A decade ago, women with college degrees had a 60 percent pay premium and men 54 percent.

Insurers ending child-only policies
Excerpt: Several of the nation’s largest health insurance companies will stop issuing certain children’s insurance policies to avoid complying with a new mandate in the Democrats’ health care overhaul. The insurers will no longer write “child-only” policies — a small, niche market — over concern that the health reform law will make the market unstable and unprofitable. Beginning Thursday, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to turn down any child who applies for coverage, even if he or she has a pre-existing condition. It’s a benefit of health care reform that President Barack Obama and other Democrats tout frequently. But insurers are worried that children — or, more likely, their parents — might apply for coverage literally on the way to the hospital or doctor’s office and cancel it once treatment is complete. The lack of child-only coverage has the potential to keep healthy consumers out of the market, driving up costs. The scenario underscores the delicate relationship between the government mandates and the insurance marketplace that will be required for successful implementation of the health care reform law. It has also raised concerns about what will happen in 2014, when insurers won’t be able to turn down coverage for adults, either. (TANSTAAFL. ~Bob.)

Obamacare is even worse than critics thought
Excerpt: Six months ago, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed Obamacare down the throats of an unwilling American public. Half a year removed from the unprecedented legislative chicanery and backroom dealing that characterized the bill's passage, we know much more about the bill than we did then. A few of the revelations: (Not much new here, but another brief expose of the false promises behind the Bill. --Del)

Britain's energy policy is in crisis
Excerpt: Forget the latest proposal by Caroline Spelman, our Environment Secretary, that all hospitals should in future be built on hills, to stop them being submerged beneath the rising seas brought by global warming (even that serial panic-monger Al Gore predicts that sea levels will rise by only 20 feet). A more serious problem is the chaos inflicted on our energy policy by our willing compliance with an EU obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent within 10 years. Behind the fog of official spin, it becomes ever more obvious that the schemes devised to meet the EU target of generating nearly a third of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 – six times more than at present – are a massive self-delusion. Even though they will cost us hundreds of billions of pounds, paid largely through soaring electricity bills, the energy they produce will be derisory – certainly nowhere near enough to plug the looming 40 per cent shortfall in our supplies, as many of our older power stations are forced to close. Take the Government’s proposed Renewable Heat Incentive, the costs of which could, by 2030, outweigh its benefits by as much as £13 billion. The hope is that by 2020, Britain will have installed two million “heat pumps” to extract warmth from the air and soil. But a taxpayer-funded study by the Energy Saving Trust found that, of 83 air-sourced systems already installed at up to £20,000 each, only one was efficient enough to qualify as “renewable energy”. This was so embarrassing that many of the higher figures have been given as estimates to provide a more reassuring picture. Equally questionable is our enthusiasm for solar panels. Ignoring the costly disaster of similar schemes in Spain and Germany, we have now copied them by offering absurdly inflated subsidies (“feed-in tariffs”) that force us all to pay their owners between three and eight times the going rate for the tiny amount of power they produce. Last year, solar’s contribution to the grid averaged 2.3 megawatts – so minuscule that it was barely a 1,000th of the output of one large coal-fired power station. Then there is the generation of power and heat from burning biomass, such as wood and straw. Drax, the giant 3.9-gigawatt coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, has the largest facility in the world for co-firing one of its six boilers with biomass. But so rigged against biomass is the subsidy structure that Drax cannot afford to use much of it, because its cost is a third higher than that of coal, under a system not due to be reviewed until 2013. Drax’s plan to spend £2 billion on three dedicated biomass plants, generating more than 800 megawatts, has now been stalled for the same reason. (They keep pushing the same stupidities here. ~Bob)

House Republicans to make a conservative 'Pledge to America'
Excerpt: House Republicans will announce an expansive agenda on Thursday called a "A Pledge to America" that proposes to shrink the size of government and reform Congress, offering a conservative plan of action they will pursue if they win a majority in the midterm elections. Republicans would slash $100 billion in government spending on non-military agencies and replace President Obama's landmark health-care legislation with a scaled-back version. Small businesses would be able to deduct from taxes up to 20 percent of their annual income, and the Pentagon would receive increased funding to more quickly implement a ballistic missile defense system. The plan would also eliminate any unspent money from last year's $814 billion stimulus package and from legislation that authorized hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up failing Wall Street firms. 9this will slow, but not stop, the impending collapse. No politician could get elected on a platform that would fix it, because it would be very, very painful. ~Bob.)

GOP leaves Beltway for 'Pledge'
Excerpt: In a press conference held 30 miles from Capitol Hill at a hardware store in Sterling, Va., House Republican leaders promised they would cut spending, reduce taxes and repeal President Obama's healthcare law if they return to power. They also signaled they had learned lessons from when they lost power in 2006, after many of their supporters abandoned them amid growing deficits and ethical clouds. “We get it. And this is why, when we outline in here, our Pledge to America, I can tell you, we are very serious about implementing our pledge,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the unveiling of the agenda. The Republicans shed their coats and ties and wore button-downs and polo shirts for the press conference. The attire and location for the event were both part of an effort to create an outside-the-Beltway optic for the unveiling. Much of the Pledge, modeled after the 1994 Contract with America, was leaked on Wednesday. Cable news networks, having already pored over the document, opted to carry President Obama’s speech to the United Nations at 10 a.m., rather than the Republicans' event. Nonetheless, the lawmakers stressed the urgency of their "Pledge to America," calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow votes immediately on the proposals in the document.

Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan
Excerpt: The House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is out. A thrill will run up the leg of a few Chris Matthews’ types on the right. As Dan noted on Twitter, the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages. The Contract told you everything you needed to know about how a Republican Congress would be different from a Democrat Congress after 40 years of Democrat control. These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama. I have one message for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House GOP Leadership: If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, I would like to borrow it for a time. Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.

September 22, 2010 - Paladino Trails Cuomo By 6 Points In New York Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Small Tea Party Movement Backs Republican 4-1
If the NY Governor’s Mansion is in play, what isn’t? ~Bob.

Pelosi and Hoyer split on tax vote before November elections
Excerpt: A split has opened between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) over whether to hold a vote before the midterm elections on extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. In closed-door leadership meetings this week, Pelosi has pushed for the House to act on the middle-income tax cuts before lawmakers bolt Washington for the campaign trail, while Hoyer wants the House to wait for the Senate to act first, according to Democratic aides. The disagreement between the two party leaders reflects a broader divide in the Democratic Caucus. Centrist and vulnerable Democrats want to push a vote on the tax cuts until after the election, and many want a temporary extension on rates for the wealthy in addition to a permanent extension of the current rates for the middle class. Liberal Democrats want an immediate vote on extending the middle-class cuts, arguing that the move would give incumbents an act to tout on the campaign trail and would force Republicans into a political corner.

‘We can sustain another terrorist attack’
Excerpt: As a patriotic American, I hope the Washington Post über-journalist misquoted President Obama in his upcoming book discussing the president's thinking behind the war on terrorism. Reading advance excerpts earlier today, I came across the following quotation attributed to the president: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger." How dare the president opine that "we can absorb a terrorist attack”? This isn't a gravel spill or an overturned apple cart in which no one gets hurt. No, we're talking about an act of terror, an act of murder in which innocent people are killed simply because they woke up one day and decided to drive to work, take their children to school or otherwise go about their daily lives. (Well, I suppose. Chicago absorbed 303 shootings and 33 murder victims in July. Not sure it made the city stronger, though. There will be those who say that if the attack took out Washington, DC, it would help. ~Bob.)

White House Insider On Obama: The President Is Losing It
Interesting. I don’t find these anonymous sources very credible, but the leftwing media loves them, so why not conservatives. Could be an insider, could be the janitor, could be made up. ~Bob. Excerpt: When I asked this insider if the media gave candidate Obama an assist throughout his campaign, it elicits a sly smile. “Sure – we definitely had people in the media on our side. Absolutely. We went so far as to give them specific ideas for coverage. The ones who took that advice from the campaign were granted better access, and Obama was the biggest story in 2008, so yeah, that gave us a lot of leverage.” Could Obama have succeeded without the media’s help? “Yeah, I think so. As I said, on the campaign trail he is very-very good. The opposition didn’t have near the energy, or the celebrity attraction that Obama brings. Plus, the country was burned out after eight years of Bush. We knew that going in. We knew that if we won the Democrat nomination, we were likely going to cruise our way to the White House – and that is exactly what we did.” But after Obama was sworn in, things began to change? “Almost immediately. Obama loved to campaign. He clearly didn’t like the work of being President though, and that attitude was felt by the entire White House staff within weeks after the inauguration. Obama the tireless, hard working candidate became a very tepid personality to us. And the few news stories that did come out against him were the only things he seemed to care about. He absolutely obsesses over Fox News. For being so successful, Barack Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. He takes everything very personally.”

Obama's Fire Sale
Excerpt: Who would have thought that six weeks before a cliffhanger election, President Obama would have to reach down to the D list to fill a room to listen to him? Most of us low rollers arrived early to see President Obama up close and personal. Our tickets for the general reception at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York were only $100. Some thought the email invitation was a joke. Some bought tickets for $50 from their desperate Democratic committeeman. Some bought the same day. “It’s Filene’s,” enthused Sharon Douglas, reliving her heady days as a volunteer in Obama’s 2008 campaign. The doorman beckoned conspiratorially and ushered us out one door and in through another to stand at the back of the $500 line. Their crowd came from Wall Street in car services and killer heels. Our crowd came on subways in flats and scuffed teacher’s shoes. Only after I received four email invitations and two personal calls imploring me to come did I call Speaker Pelosi’s office to check the admission price. “You mean, to be in the room with the President of the United States is now on fire sale for $100?” ”Yup.” “How long do we get?” “Half hour.” “How many $100 givers have rsvp’d?” “Mmmm 250.” “Do we need to line up early to get in?” “That’s not necessary. Everybody will get in.” And everybody did—450 people in a room that holds 650. (...) This may be fallout from the way the Obama White House has treated their most generous donors since ’08, which is like rich uncles from the wrong side of the family. Some big givers say they get zip in return. No special events. Forget about a seat in the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center (which used to include champagne and canapés.). The Clintons are still gracious to their supporters from 1992. Bill often takes whole delegations on his overseas speaking trips, including some former supporters. When the Hillary and Obama presidential campaigns merged in July 2008, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee were anxious to know how the Clintons held most of their loyal contributors from ’92 to 2008. The Clinton people divulged the secret of long-term loyalty—feed their brains as well as their egos, continually. It now appears the Clintons’ formula has been steadily ignored by the Obama team. (Sadly, the life-blood of politics in America is money. No, not sadly; the only alternative I can think of is guns. I prefer money. As messy as money can be, it's better than naked force. I'm beginning to wonder if Obama will be able to win the Democratic primaries for re-election in 2012. Daily Beast is a center-left site. They have become increasingly more critical of Obama over the past six months. If this is an accurate picture of what the "true believers" think, Obama's in real trouble within his own party. --Ron P. First the fiscal collapse. Then the guns. ~Bob.)

Six Months Closer to Repeal
Excerpt: Before Obamacare was passed six months ago today, former President Bill Clinton promised a leftist horde at the Netroots Nation convention: “The minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up, because Americans are inherently optimistic.” Fast forward to last Sunday, when, after Meet the Press host David Gregory played a clip of Clinton’s promise, the former President responded: “I was wrong.” It is rare in Washington that a politician admits they were so very, very wrong about such a huge issue, but the evidence that the American people have completely rejected Obamacare is overwhelming. Rasmussen Reports, Gallup and CNN all put opposition to Obamacare somewhere between 56% and 61%. The law is so toxic that hardcore leftists locked in tough election fights like Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) ignore the law altogether in the health care section of their campaign websites. Anyone who has been following the news since Obamacare’s passage already knows why the law is so unpopular: billion dollar employer losses, exploding spending estimates, higher health care costs, fewer doctors, fewer choices, fewer jobs, etc. The following are just some of the specific groups that have been hit hardest by Obamacare:

Democrats guess wrong on health care
Excerpt: Rarely have so many political strategists been so wrong about something so big. But when it comes to the health care bill, everyone from former President Bill Clinton on down whiffed on some of the more significant predictions. Democrats would run aggressively on the legislation? Nope. Voters would forget about the sausage-making aspects of the legislative process? Doesn’t seem that way, as the process contributed to the sense that the bill was deeply flawed. And Clinton’s own promise to jittery Democrats that their poll numbers would skyrocket after the bill finally passed also didn’t pan out, as the party is fighting for its life in the midterms. At the six-month mark, the law remains a riddle for political analysts, lawmakers and the White House. Here’s a look at some of the predictions that have proved off the mark. “I’m telling you, I don’t care how low they drive support for this with misinformation. The minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up, because Americans are inherently optimistic.” — Bill Clinton at the Netroots Nation convention in August 2009.

Gay population much lower than believed, first official figures show
Excerpt: Just one and a half per cent of the UK population is gay or bisexual, far lower than previous estimates suggested, the first official survey on sexual identity has revealed. It is the equivalent of nearly three quarters of a million people and well short of earlier Government estimates that put the proportion as high as seven per cent. It also dispels as a myth the commonly held belief that one in ten men are homosexual, which stems from research in to sexual behaviour by Professor Alfred Kinsey in America during the 1940s and 50s.

Iran signals interest in talks on nuclear program, diplomats say
Excerpt: Iran increasingly appears willing to enter into negotiations in the near future over its nuclear program, diplomats close to the talks said Wednesday, a move that would restart a process that ended abruptly last fall. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week expressed public interest in renewing talks with the United States and other major powers. Iranian officials have privately echoed that sentiment in conversations with diplomats on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, leading officials to believe Tehran will soon formally agree to resume talks. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her counterparts from Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany met Wednesday to discuss the prospects for negotiations and to review the implementation of sanctions imposed on Iran in June by the U.N. Security Council. In a statement afterward, the officials stressed their interest in a reaching a deal with Tehran. (...) In the past year, amid signs of a slowdown in nuclear work, Iran has significantly bolstered its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and begun to enrich an even higher-grade stockpile for the research reactor - even though it lacks the technical capability to turn the material into usable fuel rods. (The diplomats will look funny approaching the talks with one hand guarding their wallets and the other covering their gonads. The Iranians have consistently played us like expert anglers trying to land a trophy fish. They talk when they need a delay, they break off talks when they're ready to dash ahead once more. Especially notice the last 15 words of the excerpt. --Ron P.)

Bombshell: Defying DOJ Instructions, Christopher Coates Will Testify Friday on New Black Panther Case
Is there hope that Holder and the other racists in the Obama administration will get their due? ~Bob. Excerpt: Told by the Department of Justice to ignore a subpoena from the Civil Rights Commission, former Voting Section Chief Coates has instead chosen to comply. His testimony Friday morning is likely to be incredibly damaging to DOJ leadership and the Obama administration. (Click here to read Coates' letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in PDF form, and click here to watch Hans Von Spakovsky's new interview on PJTV.)

The Pied Piper of America
Excerpt: The drama that is now being enacted in the U.S. is both portentous and fascinating, as one part of the country fights to regain its soul and retrieve its future and another seems resolved to extinguish them both. It is almost as if America has been “possessed” by the demonic spirit of political correctness, media subversion, and a seditious ruling class that wishes to remake the country into something it was never intended to be. The one remaining hope for the U.S. is that the forthcoming congressional elections can serve as a form of exorcism. Obama may be an ephebe, an utter novice at the post of command, but it must be admitted that he is a consummate sorcerer who was able to seduce and enchant multitudes, especially the horde of grown-up children so ready and eager to be piped to. Unlike the Pied Piper, however, he did not work alone but arrived on the scene surrounded by a retinue of plutocrats, political mandarins, and clever enablers, and of course by the usual train of cavillers, pettifoggers, sybarites, and janissaries, that is, journalists, feminists, intellectuals and academics. This only facilitated his task which he would not have been capable of accomplishing on his own.

AP Stringer Arrested for Working for .... the Taliban
No cognitive dissonance. Both enemies of freedom. ~Bob.

Democrats may back off tax vote
Excerpt: Going into a pivotal caucus Thursday, Senate Democrats show more and more signs of losing their nerve and backing away from earlier plans with the White House to force a vote on middle-class tax cuts prior to November’s election. A final decision has not been made by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but it’s a real political Rubicon with no safe choice in today’s political climate. Taxes have long been a third rail for Democrats, but to have no vote at all could also be seen as a sign of weakness. Indeed, together with President Barack Obama, the Senate Democratic caucus pushed hardest to raise the tax issue, and if the leadership now opts out, it makes it all but certain the House will go home without acting either. As recently as Tuesday evening, Reid had told POLITICO he was “working hard for a vote,” most likely next week. But the mood grew more negative Wednesday, with Reid being warned away from proceeding unless he was convinced of having the 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster.

The Tajikistan Attacks and Islamist Militancy in Central Asia
Anyone notice how often members of the “religion of peace” kill fellow Muslims? ~Bob. Excerpt: Militants in Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley ambushed a military convoy of 75 Tajik troops Sept. 19, killing 25 military personnel according to official reports and 40 according to the militants, who attacked from higher ground with small arms, automatic weapons and grenades. The Tajik troops were part of a nationwide deployment of security forces seeking to recapture 25 individuals linked to the United Tajik Opposition militant groups that had escaped from prison in Dushanbe on Aug. 24. The daring prison break was conducted by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and saw five security guards killed and the country put on red alert. According to the Tajik government, after the escape, most of the militants fled to the Rasht Valley, an area under the influence of Islamist militants that is hard to reach for Tajikistan’s security forces and thus rarely patrolled by troops. Sunday’s attack was one of the deadliest clashes between militants and the Tajik government since the Central Asian country’s civil war ended in 1997. The last comparable attack was in 1998, when militants ambushed a battalion of Interior Ministry troops just outside Dushanbe, killing 20 and kidnapping 110. Sunday’s incident was preceded by a Sept. 3 attack on a police station that involved a suicide operative and a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in the northwest Tajik city of Khujand that killed four police officers. Suicide attacks are rare in Tajikistan, and VBIEDs even more so. The Khujand attack also stands out as it occurred outside militant territory. Khujand, Tajikistan’s second-largest city after the capital, is located at the mouth of the Fergana Valley, the largest population center in Central Asia. This represents a noticeable increase in the number and professionalism of militant operations in Tajikistan. Regardless of whether the September attacks can be directly linked to the Aug. 24 jailbreak in Dushanbe, the sudden re-emergence of attacks in Tajikistan after a decade of quiet in Central Asia deserves our attention. In short, something is percolating in the valleys of Central Asia that has reawakened militant groups more or less dormant for a decade. This unrest will likely continue and possibly grow if Tajik security forces can’t get control of the situation…. Historically, the moderate form of Islam known as Sufism predominated in Central Asia, with Salafism (a far more conservative form of Islam also called Wahhabism) being very much in the minority. Islam was strongly suppressed during Russian, and later Soviet, rule, however. Soviet security forces frequently raided mosques and madrassas, and Muslim religious leaders were routinely arrested. Generations of religious repression saw Sufism’s role in the region decline as Central Asians became more secular. Salafism was able to capitalize on this vacuum as the Central Asian Soviet republics gained independence in 1991, aided materially and in manpower by their co-religionists beyond the Soviet sphere. Sufism, by contrast, was much more localized and could not draw on such resources. By 1991, when Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan all got independence, many Salafists in Central Asia (and elsewhere) had incorporated violence into their ideology, classifying them as jihadists. With growing influence, groups like the IRPT (although banned in 1993) allied with secular opposition groups to fight the government during Tajikistan’s five-year civil war. During this time, radical Islamists who turned to violence attacked Dushanbe from their bases in the Rasht and Tavildara valleys in northern Tajikistan as well as from Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, where they relied on the large population of Tajik-Afghans (some of whom had ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda) for support. After the civil war, many IRPT leaders joined the political process, leaving only a hardened remnant in the valleys to the north or in Afghanistan.

Academic Freedom: Obama Edition
Excerpt: Raise your hand if you believe government has too little involvement in our lives. Put down your hands, members of the Obama administration. During a previous political uprising in the 1980s, academic institutions managed to fend off conservative attacks on some of the subjects taught on their campuses -- from "peace studies" to kinky sexual practices, to bad history -- with cries of "academic freedom." Where are those cries now that the federal government is on the verge of regulating the content of subject matter on college campuses and changing the way these institutions are accredited? According to the Centennial Institute, a proposed new rule by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) "would place private colleges and universities under the ultimate control of state governments, rather than independent accrediting agencies. The notice of proposed rulemaking was posted in the Federal Register on June 18 for a public comment period ending Aug. 2. It could take effect as soon as November." Former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, now president of Colorado Christian University, wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan on July 30. In it, he warned of an "all-out politicization of American higher education, endangering academic freedom, due process and First Amendment rights."

Teenager responsible for chemical bomb near Islamic Society of Portland
Kids—they blow up so fast. ~Bob. Excerpt: Police say there were no injuries or damage caused by a chemical bomb that went off in a parking lot near the Islamic Society of Portland. The bomb went off in the lot between the Islamic Society and Back Bay Grill around 8:00 PM Tuesday night. Portland Police say Islamic elders came forward to tell them that a 13 year old from the Society was experimenting and was responsible for the bomb. Another bomb was also found undetinated.

Yemeni Chess Team Fired For Playing Israel
Checkmate. Excerpt: Yemeni Sports Minister Hamoud 'Abad has fired members of Yemen's Chess Association and chess team. The players were fired after they played Israel, in the Chess Olympiad currently underway in Russia.

Chanting “USA” offensive to Muslims?
Welcome to academia in America. Send your kids to learn to hate their country. The only consolation is that idiots like this will be the first ones shot after freedom falls. ~Bob. Excerpt: The vast majority of 9/11 observances in this country cannot be seen as politically neutral events. Implicit in their nature are the notions that lives lost at the World Trade Center are more valuable than lives lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere; that the motives of the 9/11 attackers had nothing to do with genuine grievances in the Islamic world regarding American imperialism; and that the U.S. has been justified in the subsequent killing of hundreds of thousands in so-called retaliation. The observance at Saturday’s football game was no different. A moment of silence was followed by a military airplane flyover; in between, Block-I students chanted “USA, USA.” This was neither patriotism nor remembrance in any justifiable sense, but politicization, militarism, propaganda and bellicosity. The University is a public institution that encompasses the political views of all, not just the most (falsely) “patriotic.” Athletic planners should cease such exploitation for political purposes. They might at least consider how most Muslim students, American or otherwise, would respond to this nativist display; or better, Muslims and others that live their lives under the threat of our planes, drones and soldiers. The overwhelmingly white, privileged, Block-I students should be ashamed of their obnoxious, fake-macho, chicken-hawk chant, while poverty-drafted members of their cohort fight and die in illegal and immoral wars for the control of oil. University administrators need to eliminate from all events such “patriotic” observances, which in this country cannot be separated from implicit justifications for state-sponsored killing.

America's Suicide Mission: in Case of Base Shooting, DOD Says Grab Three Ring Binder
Excerpt: Attached is the Official Tyndall AFB Plan called "How to Survive an Active Shooter." This is in response to the Fort Hood jihadi's wholesale slaughter of US soldiers, the largest attack on a US army base in American history. This report/response is a pathetic and embarrassing surrender to barbarians. Read it and weep. As you know, service members are not allowed to carry firearms on base. So what is the remedy? Our precious servicemen and women are instructed to dial 911 while playing dead (p. 18), and to attack the shooter with a three-ring binder or paper cutter (p. 19). Think I am kidding? Read the report -- Download Military When did American life become cheap? When did appeasing savages and a radically intolerant ideology trump protecting and defending American lives and the US Constitution?

Democrats fighting election battles ask environmentalists, 'Where are you guys?',0,4154116.story
Excerpt: Environmentalists who provided money, zeal and manpower to Democrats in 2008 are demoralized this campaign cycle, further fraying the coalition that sent Barack Obama to the White House and gave the party majorities in both houses of Congress. Meanwhile, energy and business interests have ramped up spending by tens of millions of dollars, hoping in part to halt climate change legislation promised by Obama but stalled in the Senate. Key donors, citing the fate of the global warming legislation, are not contributing as much money as they did in 2008. "One of them said, 'I thought our side won the last election, and it doesn't seem to make any difference,' " said Rodger Schlickeisen, president and chief executive of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. At the same time, some Democratic leaders accuse environmentalists of failing to back members in tough districts who took a risk voting for controversial legislation to cap carbon emissions. (I came across this at a climate science blog. Confusion and division to our enemies. Also, feeds into the troubles Dems are experiencing raising money. Ron P.)

The Uncertainty Monster
Excerpt: Notions of uncertainty range from everyday usage in common parlance to specific definitions appearing in the philosophical and scientific literature. Uncertainty can prevail in situations where a lot of information is available, and new information can either decrease or increase uncertainty. New knowledge of complex systems may reveal the presence of uncertainties that were previously unknown. A sustained and systematic enquiry of how to understand and reason about uncertainty in climate science has not been undertaken by either climate researchers or philosophers. Such enquiry is paramount because of the challenges to climate science associated with the science-policy interface and its socioeconomic importance. (...) My reflection on the topic of uncertainty has culminated in a manuscript entitled “Climate Science and the Uncertainty Monster” (in collaboration with Peter Webster), which is currently winding its way through the publication review process. Drawing on material from this paper, this post is the first in a series that explores ways to understand, characterize, and reason about uncertainty in climate science and assessments of climate science. This post introduces the “monster”, describes a systematic taxonomy of types and levels of uncertainty, and discusses monster coping strategies at the science-policy interface. The “uncertainty monster” is a concept introduced by van der Sluijs (2005) in an analysis of the different ways that the scientific community responds to uncertainties that are difficult to cope with. A monster is understood as a phenomenon that at the same moment fits into two categories that were considered to be mutually excluding. The “monster” is therefore the confusion and ambiguity associated with knowledge versus ignorance, objectivity versus subjectivity, facts versus values, prediction versus speculation, and science versus policy. The uncertainty monster gives rise to discomfort and fear, particularly with regard to our reactions to things or situations we cannot understand or control, including the presentiment of radical unknown dangers. (Science for non-scientists. Each of us has to deal with uncertainty on a daily basis, just in differing qualities and quantities. Be sure to read the paragraph headed "hiding monsters" and the ones immediately following to see how this applies to climate science. Ron P.)

Race-Baiting Dem Congresswoman Tells Latinos the Vietnamese Are Trying to Take Away Their Seat
Fearing the “Yellow Peril.” ~Bob.

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