Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Political Digest for October 13, 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.

Don’t you hate it when Friday the Thirteenth comes on Wednesday?

Seven Rules for Progressives
If you missed on the blog.

Important Essay: The Once and Future Republic
Wonderful essay, hits all the right themes, builds to a crescendo, and exits with a valid question: can America and Americans remain free? We get to make the answer in three weeks. Ron P Excerpt: Of course, the stakes are immeasurably higher in the U.S., a country struggling for its very soul and teetering on the edge of economic and political meltdown. The “culture wars” between left and right, traditionalists and post-modernists, individualists and statists, are common to every Western nation, but in America the outcome of these wars will determine the fate not only of the country but of the entire Western world. Like it or not, how it goes with America is how it goes with the rest of us. Europe, as many believe, is almost, if not already, lost. Following the self-inflicted devastation of two world wars in which it depleted its generational stock and sacrificed its brightest minds, Europe has gradually become a geopolitical memory. It could no more resist the Islamic onslaught that is demographically absorbing the continent than it could prevent itself from returning to its authoritarian past in the form of an unelected transnational bureaucracy operating out of the Berlaymont Building, meddling in the public life of member states along the entire range of intrusiveness from imposing quantitative restrictions on imports to passing advisory laws governing swimming pools. Britain is the hollow shell of a once great imperial hegemon, studded with mosques and vulnerable to shariah creep, reduced to a condition of plebeian boorishness (as a recent police report affirms and as Theodore Dalrymple mourns in The New Vichy Syndrome), minus the slightest vestige of national pride and vigor — in short, a country whose prime minister takes paternity leave. As for the Commonwealth outliers like Canada and Australia, nothing much of consuming significance happens there or can impact the larger political theater in any pivotal way. The fact is that the remnant Lilliputian West has long depended on the Brobdingnagian stature and power of the United States to ensure its solvency, security, and ultimate survival. Absent the United States, what we like to call Western civilization would long ago have become a diorama in the vast Museum of History to pique the interest, perhaps, of Chinese high school excursions. And this is why, naturally, everybody loves to hate Americans, those “ignorant cowboys” and “loud vulgarians” whom Europeans affected to look down upon, those “rude mechanicals” that a vanishing breed of Brit, remembering Shakespeare, might have thought, those presumably aggressive conquistadors that so many Canadians, especially under the tutelage of former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, smugly enjoyed dismissing as irredeemable barbarians and moral inferiors. Envy and resentment of this sprawling and robust — and necessary — giant among the nations were the motivating factors. For without the brawny presence of the United States in the Hobbesian jungle of world politics, neither Europe, Britain, nor the former Commonwealth dominions, as I have argued, could have defended their Enlightenment heritage or relied upon their own feeble military resources to guarantee their longevity. Gratitude, however, does not come easily. (...) To believe that it can’t happen here, as Sinclair Lewis lessoned us back in 1935, albeit from a different perspective, is the height of naivety. Not only can it happen here, it is already happening even as we speak. It seems as if the country’s governing and intellectual elite has abandoned its responsibility for the preservation of America’s social and political integrity, surrendering by daily increments to the forces of dissolution both within and without its borders. America’s enemies couldn’t have planned it any better. This is the reason that the November 2 elections are absolutely critical to stopping and reversing the downward trend which Obama and the Democrats have accelerated. The momentum of calamity must be turned back and the ground prepared for a colossal changing of the guard in the presidential election of 2012. Failing this, it really will be game over, for the United States as we have come to know it will not survive a second round of Barack Obama — and neither, for that matter, will the rest of the West. (...) We can only hope that many, perhaps most, Americans have understood that the republic is now up for grabs and that the so-called “culture wars” are no less decisive — indeed, more decisive — in determining the nature and direction of America’s historical itinerary than the shooting wars currently being fought abroad.

Feingold Versus Johnson by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: One of a surprising number of old, well-established politicians being challenged in this year's election by some unknown newcomer is Senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. In a recent debate between Senator Feingold and his new challenger, businessman Ron Johnson, the difference between the old pol and new guy on the block stood out. Feingold was clearly smoother and more glib-- and his arguments may have sounded more plausible to those unfamiliar with the facts. But what Ron Johnson said would have resonated better with those who did know the facts. How many people are in which category may determine the outcome of this election. Senator Feingold wants Social Security kept pretty much the way it is. That would mean that there is not enough money to pay what is owed to the baby boomers who retire. Ron Johnson wants to keep Social Security as is for those who have already retired and for those approaching retirement years, but would not make it mandatory for younger people to join, if they don't want to. Russ Feingold was on it in an instant, accusing his opponent of denying the benefits of Social Security to young workers and forcing them into the risky stock market for their retirement. Although Senator Feingold cast himself in the role of a defender of Social Security, Ron Johnson pointed out that members of Congress like Senator Feingold had in fact undermined Social Security financially, by spending its money on other things. This is in fact the dirty little secret about Social Security. In all the years when the money coming into Social Security exceeded the money being paid out in pensions, Congress simply spent the difference on everything from junkets to earmarks. The fiction of a Social Security "trust fund" was maintained by giving government bonds in exchange for the money taken. But these bonds changed nothing, since they were just claims on future taxpayers. If these bonds had never been printed, future taxpayers would have been on the hook for future shortfalls. Neither the government nor anyone else can spend and save the same money…. The question in Wisconsin, as elsewhere, is whether the voters want more political cleverness of the kind that has gotten this economy into its present predicament.

In Wisconsin, the 2010 campaign story distilled
Excerpt: Until last fall, Ron Johnson was just an intensely private guy with a good business and a nice house on Lake Winnebago. He kept a stack of Wall Street Journals next to his bed, folded just right so he wouldn't forget to read columnist Dan Henninger on this or Paul Gigot on that. A trim, silver-haired businessman, he was rich but unknown, even in this, his hometown, despite big donations to Lourdes High School and his thriving plastics company here. Running for office never crossed his mind. Barack Obama changed all that. Until last fall, Wisconsin seemed destined to again send a Democrat to the Senate, just like it had for 18 years, since Sen. Russ Feingold leveraged a clever, no-skeletons-in-my-closet campaign to oust Republican Robert Kasten. Feingold, plenty liberal but with a cantankerous streak that fit the times, seemed a sure bet to go back to Washington. Obama might be about to change that too.

Johnson ad: Senate needs more accountants
Saw it in Madison last week. Great ad. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republican candidate Ron Johnson has released a new TV ad saying the U.S. Senate hasn't done a good job of managing the economy because it has 57 lawyers, zero manufacturers and only one accountant. The Senate challenger from Oshkosh himself is a manufacturer and has a degree in accounting. He says he knows how to balance budgets and create jobs.

The Wilders Trial and freedom of speech
Excerpt: The bizarre trial of Dutch political leader Geert Wilders, for having allegedly insulted Islam and incited hatred against Muslims, may have major long term repercussions on Europe. Voted politician of the year in Holland in 2007, the highly charismatic Wilders has had a meteoric public career. The Freedom Party which he leads gained 24 seats in the recent elections, making it the third largest parliamentary party. With the new government now dependent on its votes to retain office, he has considerable influence in the formulation of policy. Wilders represents the antithesis of political correctness. He courageously condemns the prevailing craven appeasement of Europeans to the intransigence and threats of violence emanating from Islamic fundamentalists. He considers the widespread migration of Muslims to European countries as an Islamic fundamentalist Trojan horse, and predicts that if the jihadists are not resisted, "Eurabia will be just a matter of time."

The President's Nun: Obamacare Scranton Scandal Explodes
Hummm. We’ll see. A lot of “exploding bombshells” on the net are wishful thinking and never make it on the public’s radar. ~Bob. Excerpt: Can you say "October Surprise"? A mushrooming political battle over ObamaCare involving the White House, two incumbent Pennsylvania congressmen, three Catholic hospitals and a nun has just exploded in, of all places, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Charges from the Scranton medical community of intimidation by the Obama White House and its allies are filling the air. All of this just as Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Scranton today to raise money for one of the participants. There are two issues at the core of the controversy. 1. ObamaCare and the sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals. 2. The re-election prospects of the two House members, Democrats Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney, both of whom cast key votes to pass ObamaCare.

After mortgage meltdown, Barney Frank gets another chance to remake housing finance
Excerpt: Rep. Barney Frank, the disheveled, fast-talking Democrat from Massachusetts, had long been known more for his acerbic tongue than for the cause that has captivated him since he was a young aide in the Boston mayor's office. Frank had championed housing for America's poor for four decades, but he gained the chance to leave his biggest mark in 2007 when he became chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He dreamed of tapping into the riches of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - at the time, both fabulously successful mortgage finance companies - to help pay for the construction of thousands of affordable apartments. It was too good to be true. Fannie and Freddie would soon melt down, requiring a federal bailout so far costing more than $160 billion. Frank's critics have alleged that his aspirations blinded him to the danger. Now Frank is poised to play a pivotal role on Capitol Hill as the Obama administration prepares to tackle the future of Fannie and Freddie and to overhaul how millions of Americans are housed. In taking on their next major economic challenge, senior Obama officials are scheduled to release a proposal in January that would replace the two mortgage giants and rethink federal programs that help make housing affordable. The coming debate could be the culmination of a career that Frank, 70, has spent trying to ensure that government can provide lower- and middle-class people with access to decent housing.

Report warns of coming wave of municipal pension shortfalls
The Democrat city machines bought union votes with money they didn’t have. This will be one of many factors in the coming financial and political collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: The nation's largest municipal pension plans are carrying a total unfunded liability of $574 billion, which comes on top of as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension promises made by the states, according to a report released Tuesday. The report calls the unfunded pension obligations "off-the-balance-sheet debt" that threatens to starve services such as police protection, recreation centers, parks and libraries. "The ability of local governments, particularly cities, to provide the levels of service they do now is threatened by this liability," said Joshua Rauh, a Northwestern University business professor who co-authored the report with Robert Novy-Marx, a University of Rochester professor.

S&P warns on cost of aging population
It’s going to get ugly. ~Bob. Excerpt: Government debts will surge in coming decades if action isn't taken quickly to cut the cost of paying pensions and providing health care to aging populations, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said in a report published Friday. If governments don't cut age-related spending, S&P said, the size of the state relative to the economy will jump and credit ratings will fall, with developed economies suffering the largest downgrades. S&P said people aged 65 and over will account for 16.2% of the world's population by 2050, up from 7.6% now. If current pension and other programs aren't scaled down, S&P estimates that costs related to aging populations will push government debt up to 260% of gross domestic product by 2050 from 50% of GDP in 2020 and 36.1% of GDP now. However, many European nations that have generous state pension systems and will have older populations would be in a much worse position. S&P estimates that in the U.K., government debt would rise to over 430% of GDP by 2050, while German government debt would rise to more than 400%, French government debt to more than 403% of GDP, Italian government debt to over 245% of GDP, and Spanish government debt to over 544% of GDP. In the U.S., government debt would rise to 415% of GDP, while Japan's debt would rise to 753.1% of GDP, by far the highest figure for the 49 economies covered. "The projected deterioration in public finances over the period 2010-2050 is particularly significant in advanced economies and emerging market economies in Europe," S&P said. "The relevant characteristics of this group of countries...are a relatively high level of existing social security coverage and a rapid worsening in demographic profile." The ratings agency said it is "inconceivable" that governments will allow such a huge increase in their debts, even in the unlikely event that bond investors were willing to finance widening budget deficits.

Manchin shoots hole through climate bill in TV ad
But if elected. he’ll vote Democrat to organize, putting cap & trade supporters in charge of the senate and the committees. ~Bob. Excerpt: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is looking to literally blow a hole through efforts to enact cap-and-trade legislation if he becomes the state’s next U.S. senator. In a new 30-second TV ad running statewide Monday, the Democratic nominee to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) actually fires a bullet through a piece of paper meant to symbolize last year’s House-passed cap-and-trade bill. “I sued EPA, and I’ll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill,” Manchin says in a voiceover while he takes aim with a rifle and shoots a mock version of the bill. “Because it’s bad for West Virginia.” Manchin is trying to illustrate his independence from Washington lawmakers and the Obama administration as he finds himself trailing or — at best — in a dead heat, with Republican John Raese for Byrd's seat.

Healthcare takes center stage in Michigan
Excerpt: Michigan Democratic Rep. Gary Peters is being criticized from both the right and the left this week over his support for healthcare reform. In a debate Sunday with his Republican, independent and Green Party challengers, the freshman Democrat was forced to defend his vote against three candidates who all want to see the law repealed, the Detroit Free Press reported. "Peters defended his vote, saying he still feels it's critical to provide affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, noting that it does a variety of important things, like prohibit insurance companies from rescinding coverage for people who get sick and allow children to stay on their parents' insurance benefits until age 26," the Free Press wrote. Republican Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski disagreed. "It was a power grab by our government," he said. "I pledge to repeal it." Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Douglas Campbell says the new law is too conservative. He wants to scrap it in favor of a universal coverage system backed by the federal government, the Free Press noted. The latest analysis from the Cook Political Report indicates the race is tight but that the district "leans Democratic."

McDonald’s Offers Taste of Obama Sausage-Making
Excerpt: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, March 9, 2010. She wasn’t kidding. The public got to peek under the hood last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald’s Corp. wanted out: out of a requirement in the new health-care law that compels employers to spend 80 to 85 percent of premiums on medical benefits. Who knew? For McDonald’s mini-med health-care plan, a low-cost, limited plan covering about 30,000 hourly fast-food workers, the minimum medical loss ratio was economically unfeasible. The company asked for a waiver, according to memos provided to the Journal. It turns out lots of other companies are seeking waivers for limited benefit plans -- along with some states, like Maine, with a small number of insurers, according to Joseph Antos, a health-care scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Another group is lining up to apply for exclusions from the minimum annual cap on benefits that is part of the law. No wonder the Department of Health and Human Services had to put out a memo on waiver guidance.

The Unraveling Of ObamaCare
Excerpt: Thirty companies and organizations get waivers from the new health care overhaul because otherwise they'd have to raise rates or drop coverage. The president said neither would happen. Hey, where's our waiver? When McDonald's told federal regulators in a recent memo that it would be "economically prohibitive" for its insurance carrier to continue to cover its 30,000 hourly workers unless it received a waiver from the ObamaCare requirement that 80% of premiums for such minimed plans be spent on medical care, alarm bells went off in the White House. Suddenly the "affordable health care for Americans" that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of when she passed a bill no one had read was revealed to be an unaffordable fraud that threatened to throw untold numbers of young workers into the ranks of the uninsured in an already precarious election year. So now McDonald's has its waiver, for 115,000 workers, not just 30,000. Jack in the Box also has a waiver, as do 28 other companies and organizations. The largest waiver, for 351,000 people, is for, appropriately enough, a union — specifically the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund, a New York brotherhood that covers teachers.

What a Democratic win on Nov. 2 would look like
Excerpt: The party has struggled for the better part of the last year with voters -- particularly independents -- who have grown increasingly unhappy with the direction of the country. Every expectation from every political analyst of every political stripe is that Democrats are headed for major losses at every level this fall. Losses are assured but defeat -- symbolically and politically -- may not be. "It is very important for Obama to have some data points out there that suggest this is not a pro-Republican electorate but an anti-incumbent electorate," said one Democratic strategist intimately involved in the 2010 campaign. Here's our chamber by chamber breakdown of how Democrats can declare victory -- with a straight face -- on Nov. 3.

Households face £769-a-year rise in power bills to 'rewire the nation' for green energy
Excerpt: A £200billion plan to switch to green energy could cost households an average of £769 a year, it was claimed today. Industry regulator, Ofgem, said a massive construction plan is needed to build new wind farms, power stations, including nuclear, and a modern national grid. The first stage, a £32billion plan to build new pipelines and pylon networks, has been given the go-ahead. Ofgem said this element will cost households a relatively modest sum of an average of £6 a year. However, industry analysts said the full £200billion cost would put up the average annual bill of £1,194 by £769 a year - or 68 per cent - to £2,000.

The Almighty, Liberals and Liberty
Excerpt: In a recent column, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote: "It's sometimes easy to lose sight of just how anomalous our (America's) religiosity is in the world. A Gallup report issued on Tuesday underscored just how out of line we are." Given Blow's leftwing politics and his point was that all rich countries except for the United States are secular and that all poor countries are religious, he was obviously not making this point in order to celebrate America's "anomalous" religiosity. He should have. America's anomalous religiosity is very much worth celebrating — not because it leads to affluence, but because it is indispensable to liberty. Had Blow made a liberty chart rather than an affluence chart, he might have noted that the freest country in the world — for 234 years — the United States of America, has also been the most G0d-centered. Yes, I know that the Islamic world has also been G0d-based and that it has not been free. But that is because Allah is not regarded as the source of liberty, as the America's Judeo-Christian G0d has been, but as the object of submission ("Islam" means "submission").

Tony Blair on Israel and Islamism: Home Truths and One Illusion
Excerpt: Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced out of office early because, weakened by his backing for the war in Iraq, he refused to condemn Israel for the Lebanon war of 2006. The treatment he received bore ample testimony to the derangement over Israel that has taken hold of Britain, and its corresponding and suicidal failure to grasp the true nature and extent of the threat the west is facing from the Islamic jihad. Now Blair has returned to the fray. In a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, he has delivered some desperately needed home truths about the way in which the west is all but handing victory to the Islamists: The former prime minister said that there had been a failure to challenge the ‘narrative’ that Islam was oppressed by the West which was fuelling extremism around the world. He said too many people accepted the extremists’ analysis that the military actions taken by the West following the 9/11 attacks were directed at countries because they were Muslim and that it supported Israel because Israelis were Jews while Palestinians were Muslims. ‘We should wake up to the absurdity of our surprise at the prevalence of this extremism,’ Mr Blair said. ‘Look at the funds it receives. Examine the education systems that succour it. And then measure, over the years, the paucity of our counter-attack in the name of peaceful co-existence. We have been outspent, outmanoeuvred and out-strategised.’

The 2010 Spending Record: In two years, a 21.4% increase.
Excerpt: Perhaps you missed it, but then so did the Washington press corps. Late last week the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary budget tallies for fiscal year 2010, and the news is that the U.S. government had another fabulous year—in spending your money. We didn't expect President Obama to hold a press conference, but why are Republicans so quiet? Spending rolled in for the year that ended September 30 at $3.45 trillion, second only to 2009's $3.52 trillion in the record books. But don't think this means Washington was relatively less spendthrift. CBO reports that the modest overall spending decline results from three one-time events. The costs of TARP declined by $262 billion from 2009 as banks repaid their bailout cash, payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $51 billion lower (though still a $40 billion net loser for the taxpayer), and deposit insurance payments fell by $55 billion year over year. "Excluding those three programs, spending rose by about 9 percent in 2010, somewhat faster than in recent years," CBO says. Somewhat faster. You've got to laugh, or cry, when a 9% annual increase qualifies as only "somewhat faster" than normal. What did Washington spend more money on? Well, despite two wars, defense spending rose by 4.7% to $667 billion, down from an annual average increase of 8% from 2005 to 2009.

How the Obama Tax Hikes Affect You
Excerpt: Yesterday, Time Magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin wrote: “With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters.” As if to prove Halperin’s point, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of Democratic donors in Seattle Friday: “The Recovery Act didn’t do enough because we couldn’t spend enough.” At least Biden’s statement shows that the White House is coming to grips with the fact that their $862 billion economic stimulus plan failed. Last Friday’s jobs report established that fact yet again, showing a net loss of 95,000 jobs in September, a half million jobs lost since the Obama recovery began, and an unemployment rate of 9.6%. In President Obama’s two years in office, federal spending is up more than 21% and the national debt has risen by $2.9 trillion. And Biden wants the American people to believe that this administration has not spent enough? Clueless indeed. Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow J.D. Foster explains why the Obama stimulus failed: The theory underlying Obama’s stimulus was that the economy was weak because total demand was too low. The suggested solution is then to increase demand by increasing government spending, exploding the deficit in the process. This theory of demand manipulation through deficit spending ignores the simplest of realities: Government spending must be financed. So to finance deficit spending, government must borrow from private markets, thereby reducing private demand by the same amount as deficit spending increases public demand. In effect, the theory says that if I take a dollar from my right pocket to my left, then I’m a dollar richer. No wonder it always fails.

U.S. Marines When It Counts

For Female Marines, Tea Comes With Bullets
Excerpt: But the three female Marines and their patrol were shot at late on a recent day, when a burst of Kalashnikov rifle fire came from a nearby compound. The group hit the ground, crawled into a ditch and aimed its guns across the fields of cotton and corn. In their sights they could see the source of the blast: an Afghan man who had shot aimlessly from behind a mud wall, shielded by a half-dozen children. The women held their fire with the rest of the patrol so as not to hit a child, waited for the all-clear, then headed back to the base, survivors of yet another encounter with the enemy….. Here in Marja — which, seven months after a major offensive against the Taliban, is improving but remains one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan — the female Marines have daily skirted the Pentagon rules restricting women in combat. They have shot back in firefights and ambushes, been hit by homemade bombs and lived on bases hit by mortar attacks.

Search for Marine lieutenant's killer meets Afghan obstacles
Excerpt: Jason Armas, a U.S. Marine Corps captain, scrolled through the photographs of four bearded Afghan men believed to be responsible for the assassination of Marine 1st Lt. Scott J. Fleming. A few days earlier, on the eve of Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, Taliban insurgents shot the 24 year-old Marietta, Ga., man through the neck, killing him instantly. Fleming's comrades from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment were intent on capturing the Taliban who had killed the young platoon leader. "The goal is to pin the enemy up against the [Helmand] river and fix and finish them," said Armas, before heading out on a combined patrol with Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers to hunt the killers. "These guys are responsible for Lt. Fleming's death and we want them." But Armas knew the mission was likely to end in frustration. And he knew that even if suspected Taliban killers were captured, it was all too probable that they would swiftly be released. Troops here have nicknamed the local court system "Taliban catch and release." They say it has emboldened the Taliban. It certainly has angered NATO troops who make enormous sacrifices tracking enemy fighters only to watch them walk out of detainment.

Afghans find tons of explosive devices transferred from Iran
So, Barack, how’s that soft power and resetting relations with Iran thing going? ~Bob. Excerpt: Authorities in southwestern Afghanistan have seized 19 tons of explosive devices that had been transferred across the border from Iran, police said. Nimruz Police Chief Abdul Jabar Purdel said a suspect was detained. Nimruz province, in Afghanistan's southwestern corner, borders Iran and Pakistan The devices had been placed in 337 boxes inside a 40-foot shipping container transferred from Iran over a bridge linking Afghanistan and Iran, he said. Earlier this year, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said that new U.S. military intelligence suggests Iran planned to smuggle new shipments of weapons into Afghanistan as part of an increased effort to interfere with coalition operations.

1 arrested, 3 sought in beheading in Chandler
Probably doing a job Americans won’t do. ~Bob. Excerpt: Chandler police are investigating the bizarre case of a man who was stabbed, decapitated and left in a pool of blood in a central-city apartment. One man has been arrested and police are seeking three more suspects in what appears to be the city's first beheading. "We don't go to many cases where the victim has been decapitated," said Chandler police Detective Frank Mendoza. The man police arrested in the case, Crisantos Moroyoqui, 36, is an undocumented immigrant who lived across the way from the murder scene. He rented a bed for $100 a month in a small apartment shared by five other day laborers. He had lived there three months, his roommates said Monday. Moroyoqui spent early Sunday morning drinking in an apartment across the walkway with the victim and three other men, neighbors told police. The other four had just arrived last weekend, neighbors said. No one knew them well. But two other men who went to sleep about 4:30 a.m. said they saw the five men still drinking. "Before going to bed, they saw the victim alive and well with Moroyoqui and three other Hispanic males in the living room," police said.

Obama hitting the road hard ahead of midterms
Excerpt: President Obama will spend most of next week on the road in a furious effort to boost Democrats with just three weeks before the midterm elections. Obama will be barnstorming through eight states and from coast to coast to raise funds for embattled Democratic candidates for the House and Senate and in gubernatorial races. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday laid out much of Obama's campaign schedule, including a West Coast swing that will keep Obama out of Washington for a few days.

Democrats fear wipeout for women
Excerpt: While conservatives are already celebrating the “Year of the Republican Woman,” thanks to a record number of GOP female candidates for Congress, Democrats fear the opposite trend: the year of the women’s wipeout. Three Democratic women first elected to Congress in 1992 — the original “Year of the Woman” — are at risk. Nearly a quarter of the 56 female Democrats in the House are considered vulnerable, including once rising stars like Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Betsy Markey of Colorado and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio. Even if female GOP hopefuls like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Carly Fiorina in California and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire make it to the Senate, the elections will still quite likely bring a net loss of women in Congress.

NATO's Lack of a Strategic Concept
Excerpt: Twenty-eight heads of state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will meet in Lisbon on Nov. 20 to approve a new “Strategic Concept,” the alliance’s mission statement for the next decade. This will be NATO’s third Strategic Concept since the Cold War ended. The last two came in 1991 — as the Soviet Union was collapsing — and 1999 — as NATO intervened in Yugoslavia, undertaking its first serious military engagement. During the Cold War, the presence of 50 Soviet and Warsaw Pact armored divisions and nearly 2 million troops west of the Urals spoke far louder than mission statements. While Strategic Concepts were put out in 1949, 1952, 1957 and 1968, they merely served to reinforce NATO’s mission, namely, to keep the Soviets at bay. Today, the debate surrounding NATO’s Strategic Concept itself highlights the alliance’s existential crisis.

Ohio GOP candidate defends Nazi re-enactments
The gist of this is that Mr Iott has taken part in historical re-enactments for over 30 years, for several different wars, and sometimes appearing on one side and at other times on the other. This means he has worn both the Union and the Confederate uniforms at various times, but so far that hasn't started an accusation that he is a racist and fan of slavery or the dissolution of the Union. BUT.... they don't have pictures of him in a WW2 US uniform and they do have pictures of him in a WW2 German uniform so it's off to the racist races now for sure. He MUST be a secret Nazi, probably a Holocaust denier, and a fan of racial purity. This is so damn stupid it makes me want to scream long and loud. Here's a bulletin- you can't have re-enactments of battles without people appearing in the uniforms of both sides! (Otherwise it's actually just a parade of sorts and there's little to be learned of the historical event.) He is taking flak right and left on this, even a GOP official (who is Jewish) repudiated Iott after a Democrat politician (Debbie Wasserman) cited him on a TV program as an example of an extremist politician. There is no evidence whatsoever of Iott having a history of admiring the Nazis, but hey, who needs evidence? Just whip out that tarbrush and slap a thick coat on your opponent and then just sit back and let him try to prove a negative. Just look at how the new article is titled.... "candidate defends Nazi re-enactments". That is not objective journalism by a country mile. If there were to be any article at all, it should be something like "involvement in educational war re-enactments precipitates attacks on a candidate". This is another attempt to establish a new low in political chicanery, and it reflects far more on the people doing it than on some guy who has spent years appearing in a variety of historical re-enactments. –Del) Excerpt: A Republican congressional candidate from Ohio, countering criticism from a House GOP leader, said Monday that he did nothing wrong by wearing a Nazi uniform while participating in World War II re-enactments. Rich Iott told The Associated Press in an interview that he took part in the historical re-enactments to educate the public, and does not agree with the Nazis' views or their actions against Jews. Asked whether it was wrong to wear a Nazi uniform, Iott said: "I don't see anything wrong about educating the public about events that happened. And that's the whole purpose of historical re-enacting."

For Democrats, Even 'Safe' Seats Are Shaky
Excerpt: Republicans are expanding the battle for the House into districts that Democrats had once considered relatively safe, while Democrats began a strategy of triage on Monday to fortify candidates who they believe stand the best chance of survival. As Republicans made new investments in at least 10 races across the country, including two Democratic seats here in eastern Ohio, Democratic leaders took steps to pull out of some races entirely or significantly cut their financial commitment in several districts that the party won in the last two election cycles. Representatives Steve Driehaus of Ohio, Suzanne M. Kosmas of Florida and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania were among the Democrats who learned that they would no longer receive the same infusion of television advertising that party leaders had promised. Party strategists conceded that these races and several others were slipping out of reach. With three weeks remaining to save its majority, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has increased its spending on two New York races, along with at-risk seats in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts, setting up a map of competitive districts that is starkly different from when the campaign began. The strategic decisions unfolded at a feverish pace on Monday over an unusually wide playing field of nearly 75 Congressional districts, including here in Ohio, a main battleground in the fight for the House and the Senate. The developments resembled pieces being moved on a giant chess board, with Republicans trying to keep Democrats on the defensive in as many places as possible, while outside groups provided substantial reinforcements for Republicans. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s election arm in the House, can afford to make the new investments because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a host of newly formed political organizations have come to the aid of Republican candidates who have far less money than the Democratic incumbents.

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