Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Political Digest for October 5, 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.

Interest-group spending for midterm up fivefold from 2006; many sources secret
Excerpt: Interest groups are spending five times as much on the 2010 congressional elections as they did on the last midterms, and they are more secretive than ever about where that money is coming from. The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money - more than 90 percent - was disclosed along with donors' identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

As Emanuel returns home to run for mayor, some in Chicago say he has a lot to learn
The law requires you to be a resident for at least a year to run for Mayor, and since he rented out his house and recently renewed the lease, he has had no residence here. But the boys will fix it so he can run. This is Chicago, where the law is for the little guy and the fix for the big guy. ~Bob. Excerpt: IN CHICAGO On Thursday afternoon, Rob Halpin came to the door of the blue-shingled house he rents from Rahm Emanuel in the leafy North Side of Chicago and politely explained that he couldn't say anything about the outgoing White House chief of staff and incoming mayoral candidate. A term of the lease he renewed just days before Mayor Richard M. Daley announced his retirement prevented him from talking to the media, whether it be about Emanuel's unsuccessful efforts to move back in or anything else concerning the house. But as he closed the door, he noted that Emanuel would return to Chicago over the weekend. "He's here to learn what the city is all about," said Halpin.

DeMint targets Senate colleagues
Excerpt: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is planning to wage a television campaign against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and other Democratic colleagues. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that DeMint helms, has produced an anti-Reid television ad and will raise money to launch it in Nevada. The Senate Conservatives Fund’s first target, however, is Sen. Michael Bennet, the freshman Democrat from Colorado who is running against Ken Buck, a favorite of Tea Party voters. DeMint’s committee plans to begin airing a hard-hitting ad against Bennet in Colorado on Tuesday. His group will buy at least $150,000 worth of airtime in what has emerged as one of the hottest Senate battlegrounds. The Senate Conservatives Fund is also planning to launch an ad in Wisconsin against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). Feingold is trailing in the polls to businessman Ron Johnson (R). DeMint’s bold foray is certain to shock some of his colleagues because senators almost never wage direct political attacks against each other. (When I was in the Massachusetts Senate, the unwritten rule was you didn’t speak badly of another Senator to his constituents. You may not agree with that, but doing so left you isolated and unable to move or influence legislations. I put a lot of legislation on the books, by working with Democrat co-sponsors. Different times. ~Bob.)

Pakistan shuts key route as Congress OKs security aid
Excerpt: Pakistan cut a key supply line for NATO operations in Afghanistan on Thursday, just hours after Congress approved $700 million for Pakistan's counterinsurgency operations. Islamabad accused U.S. helicopters of conducting a cross-border attack from Afghanistan -- the fourth of the week -- that killed three Pakistani soldiers and shut the critical Torkham border post into the Khyber Pass in protest. Eighty percent of the coalition's non-lethal supplies come through Pakistan.

Lawmakers face daunting tax agenda when they return for lame-duck session
Defeated Democrats will no longer care what voters think, only what those who can get them jobs in the Obama Administration or Democrat lobbying firms think. Watch for defeated “Blue Dog” Democrats to turn yellow. You read it here first. ~Bob. Excerpt: When Congress returns in mid-November, lawmakers will face a daunting tax agenda that, left unresolved, would cost taxpayers trillions of dollars beginning next year. Shortly after they adjourned this week, Democratic leaders vowed that extending middle-class tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush would be their top priority upon returning after the elections. But that promise barely scratches the surface of the unfinished tax business that awaits them. If Congress does nothing on taxes by the end of the year: - The estate tax will return to pre-2001 levels, socking estates worth more than $1 million with a 55 percent tax. - The capital gains tax on most assets will jump from 15 percent to 20 percent.- Dividends currently taxed at 15 percent will skyrocket to individual tax rates that go as high as 39.6 percent. - The Making Work Pay tax break will cease to exist. - The Alternative Minimum Tax will hit the middle class for 2010 tax returns. - A slew of tax breaks that expired last year, including credits for research and development expenses and relief for college tuition, will not be available for 2010 tax returns. - The Child Tax Credit will revert from $1,000 to $500.

The Lap Dog Coalition
Excerpt: In the House of Representatives, the 54 members of the Blue Dog Coalition are the self-described fiscal conservatives in the Democratic caucus. Unfortunately, the description doesn't fit. Organizing into a coalition after the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, the Blue Dogs branded themselves loyal but conservative Democrats. They were, in the words of Rep. Pete Geren of Texas, yellow dogs who had been "choked blue" by the strident economic liberalism of their party leaders. In their first Congress, the Blue Dogs mostly lived up to the hype (albeit in an economically conservative environment). In 1995, the average Blue Dog's score on the National Taxpayers Union's congressional score card—which measures how well members vote on matters of taxes, spending and debt—was 52%, while the average Democratic score was 28%. Afterward, though, the Blue Dogs' performance fell precipitously. Democrats retook the House in 2006, partly because of victories by Blue Dogs such as Brad Ellsworth in Indiana and Heath Shuler in North Carolina. Blue Dogs' average NTU scores since then, during Nancy Pelosi's first three years as House speaker, were 10%, 15% and 18%—hardly distinguishable from the average Democratic scores of 6%, 11% and 8%. Every year since 2007, the Democratic advantage in the House has been fewer than the number of seats held by Blue Dogs: If they had wanted to, the Blue Dogs could have made themselves masters of the House. They could have held an effective veto over any bill they pleased, insisting that Mrs. Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid and even President Obama himself heed their call for fiscal responsibility.

The Politics of Health Reform
Excerpt: There will be two national elections before the new health overhaul is substantially implemented (in 2014) and a third election the year it is supposed to be implemented. Question: Will the voters reward office holders who supported ObamaCare, or will they vote for their opponents? In thinking about this question, forget all the public opinion polls. Can you predict the outcome based on what you know about political science alone? My prediction: Supporters of the new law are going to get creamed. There are four reasons: The law violates two bedrock principles of coalition politics that have been successful for the past 80 years; it abandons core Democratic constituencies; and it ignores the fundamentals of the politics of the health care sector.

Win or lose, Republicans to target new health-care law after November elections
Excerpt: "Repeal and Replace." That's what Republicans are saying about the new health-care law as they look toward the Nov. 2 midterm elections. If they win the House, and possibly the Senate, they say, among their top priorities will be to undo President Obama's signature legislative achievement. "I am committed to doing everything that I can do . . . to prevent 'Obamacare' from being implemented," vowed House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) at a recent news conference, adding, "Now, when I say everything, I mean everything." But even in the unlikely event that an outright repeal bill could withstand a filibuster in the Senate, there is little doubt that Obama would veto it. The odds that Republicans will win a veto-proof majority in November are generally considered slim to nil. With a few exceptions, Republican fallback plans to target discrete provisions of the law for piecemeal elimination seem similarly doomed.

Senate GOP predicts six-seat gain as Republicans offer caution
Excerpt: Senate Republicans expressed confidence they’d pick up at least six seats this fall, but were more careful in predicting results for seven other races that will determine the Senate majority. In a memo from the National Republican Senate Committee, NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer predicted outright victories for Gov. John Hoeven in North Dakota, former Sen. Dan Coats in Indiana and Rep. John Boozman in Arkansas.

In Tax Cut Plan, Debate Over the Definition of Rich
Everyone has the same definition. Someone who makes a lot more money than me. ~Bob. Excerpt: As the political battle drags on, however, it has also veered into a more basic matter of fairness, whether a person who earns more than $200,000 a year should be taxed at rates similar to those who make $5 million.

How to Grow Out of the Deficit
Excerpt: Limiting spending increases to inflation minus 1% would balance the budget in less than a decade. Presently, the federal deficit retards economic growth. Knowing high taxes also slows down economic growth, many politicians seek higher taxes arguing the deficit must be reduced. Edward Lazear, Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-2009, presents a plan to reduce the deficit without raising taxes. Lazear writes in the Wall Street Journal. To reduce spending and reignite growth, this Congress or its successor should take two actions. First, immediately cut the level of spending that has been increased so dramatically since 2008. Second, institute an "inflation-minus-one" rule to constrain future spending increases.... Spending, not the deficit, is the most important measure of fiscal restraint. A fiscally irresponsible president could balance an out-of-control budget by taxing too much. That approach would hardly be conducive to economic growth. To return to the healthier spending ratios of the past two decades, Congress should begin by enacting a budget that brings spending for fiscal year 2012 at least half way back to where it was in 2008. ….

Linda McMahon bets on Vietnam attack in CT-Senate race
Excerpt: From the moment the New York Times reported back in May that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had misstated -- at best -- his record of service in Vietnam, everyone in the political world had been waiting to see when (and how) former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon (R) would use it in the context of the state's Senate race. That day has come. McMahon's newest ad -- entitled "What Else?" -- goes right at Blumenthal on his past statements on Vietnam and tries to use them as evidence that he will say or do just about anything on the campaign trail. "Would you lie about serving in a war?" the ad's narrator asks before a clip of Blumenthal from March 2008 is shown in which the Democrat says: "We have learned something very important since the days when I served in Vietnam." (He never actually served in the country.) (A fair hit, thinks this vet. And the Democrat in IL is hitting Mark Kirk for stretching the truth in his statements about his service. But I’m not sure how it will play. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) used to brag about his heroics as a pilot over North Vietnam until Barry Goldwater called him out. “Stolen Valor” never hurt Harkin. And for the record, I earned my National Defense Medal. [In joke for vets.] ~Bob.)

Big Green Updates Below
First, my apologies for being out of the game for a few days on family business. I should have seen and sent this in sooner, but have been away from computers. Below are two related articles on 10:10, a newly released video that appears to advocate immediate, perhaps non-judicial, capital punishment for "enviro-crimes." The first is a well-reasoned observation by Thomas Fuller [WUWT] of the current state of communications by the scaremongers. The second by Ed Driscoll [PJMedia] is similar, but also contains a compilation of previous "environmentally friendly" ads and videos made over the past few years. As to the seeming crescendo of these videos last November, recall that the Copenhagen climate conference was held in December, just a few days later. The Climategate email scandal broke on November 19th, right in the midst of all this manufactured angst. --Ron P.

Delivering Messages Is Not Communicating
Excerpt: It should be clear to all who are following climate issues that the establishment is flailing a bit in regards to how they should be dealing with a pesky public. Ever since Climategate, Copenhagen, and a cold winter in western media capitals, their old techniques have been increasingly ineffective. Whereas before it was enough to combine a ‘sexy’ symbol, such as a polar bear or a Himalayan glacier, with a press release of a new paper showing how models predict doom for whatever symbol they used, now people seem to want things like data, whatever that is. But there really isn’t enough data to make a definitive case for the type of climate change the establishment needs to command immediate and decisive action. (And it is my personal opinion that that is precisely the way it works–deciding the appropriate action and then searching for supporting information, of whatever quality they can drum up.)

‘No Pressure’: Fascistic New Video Red-Lines the Eco-Insanity Meter
Excerpt: In a recent edition of City Journal, Fred Siegel explored how the radical environmentalism of the early 1970s created a new breed of “Progressives Against Progress,” as he put it: In 1972, Sir John Maddox, editor of the British journal Nature, noted that though it had once been usual to see maniacs wearing sandwich boards that proclaimed the imminent end of the Earth, they had been replaced by a growing number of frenzied activists and politicized scientists making precisely the same claim. In the years since then, liberalism has seen recurring waves of such end-of-days hysteria. These waves have shared not only a common pattern but often the same cast of characters. Strangely, the promised despoliations are most likely to be presented as imminent when Republicans are in the White House. In each case, liberals have argued that the threat of catastrophe can be averted only through drastic actions in which the ordinary political mechanisms of democracy are suspended and power is turned over to a body of experts and supermen. Paradoxically, today’s environmental fascists can use the power of the free market against itself, taking advantage of the freedom brought by powerful advances in computer video and computer illustration over the last decade to produce messages preaching the very opposite of freedom and individuality.

The Pelosi-Reid Deficits
Excerpt: A strong case can be made that the people most responsible for the gigantic deficits we face today are neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama. The real culprits are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Congress controls the purse strings. When Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid rose to their present jobs in January 2007, the deficit was $161 billion. It had been on a downward trajectory from $413 billion in 2004. Three years later, the Pelosi-Reid Congress had added $1.2 trillion to the deficit. Of course, Mr. Bush sponsored or signed into law many of these deficit-raising bills, such as the bank bailouts and effective tax rebates of 2008. But the Democratic Congress passed them. Long forgotten is the promise Mrs. Pelosi made on the day she became speaker: "Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt." I think future generations would like a do-over. Today, Mr. Obama and Democrats in Congress love to talk about how Mr. Bush turned a $200 billion Clinton surplus into a $1 trillion deficit. Indeed he did, though they ignore the 9/11 terrorist attacks that happened less than a year after Mr. Bush became president. Those attacks were fiscal game-changers, jolting the economy to a temporary standstill and requiring unplanned spending for homeland security and antiterrorism efforts. For the sake of comparison, let's look at the Pelosi-Reid fiscal record over 10 years. In January 2007, the CBO projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade. Now, after four years under Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, and two years of Mr. Obama in the White House, the 2007-2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion.

Quote from The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/
"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can re-establish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty." --President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

An October Surprise? Tell it to the Marines
Excerpt: Further south, another Marine is taking aim at the number two man in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer. Hoyer has been in Congress for nearly 30 years, and a staple in Maryland politics since 1966. His opponent, Charles Lollar, was not yet born. Lollar is a Marine who served in combat in Kosovo and is also currently a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves. He burst onto the scene as a charismatic speaker at Tea Party rallies in Maryland and across the nation. The 39-year old businessman decided to take on Hoyer because of his leadership role in advancing a radical liberal agenda under President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Lollar believes Rep. Hoyer has betrayed the values of a significant portion of Maryland's 5th Congressional District, and no longer views himself as accountable to them. Hoyer's strength is in the most populous county in the district, which is predominantly black. But Lollar, a black conservative with an engaging personality, has appealed directly and personally to people who Republicans have not typically approached, asking them for their vote – and they are responding. National political pundit Dick Morris last week declared the race "winnable" for Lollar, and his campaign has seen a surge of national attention since then, including the endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Anjem Choudary: Flag of Islam Will Fly Over White House
Buy a burka for your granddaughter. ~Bob.

The Obama Experts vs. the Rule of Law
Excerpt: Look again at Warren’s title. She is not the director of the CFPB nor does she even work for it. For her to actually head the agency, President Obama would have to submit her name to the Senate to meet the Constitution’s “advice and consent” requirement. But President Obama did not want that transparency. Instead he decided to subvert the Constitution by making her his “special advisor” that would lead a team of “about 30 or 40 people at the Department of Treasury” to set up the CFPB. Yale Constitutional law professor Bruce Ackerman described Obama’s Warren chicanery as “another milestone down the path toward an imperial presidency.” But Warren’s appointment is just the beginning of her assault on the Constitution. Her rejection of rules-based governing, cited above, is also a rejection of our nation’s First Principles.

Is Quebec the future of the United States?
Excerpt: As the province sinks deeper into debt, it has sought to defray its expenses and ballooning interest payments by mortgaging the future, when the debt freight will only have increased and the means to service it correspondingly decreased. Quebec is Charlie Chaplin’s waiter, scampering ever forward to keep the glasses from falling off his tray. Moreover, the fact that approximately half the population does not pay taxes and is effectively grubstaked by the other, productive half only exacerbates the situation….. In Quebec, we seem content to let our politicians, from whichever party happens to be in power, trample over the electorate. They raise taxes with unabashed brio all across the board and pass legislation to our collective detriment, and we respond by heaving a deep sigh and lemming it toward the voting stations. The question is: will Americans be disposed to behave in the same passive and complaisant way or will they arise, with the Tea Party Express, to prevent the predatory run on their solvency and the expropriation of their constitutional rights?

Will Nancy Pelosi strike back at disloyal Democrats?
Excerpt: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become a punching bag for struggling Democratic House colleagues this fall, but some mouthy members have hit below the belt, raising questions about whether they’ll face a Pelosi punishment after the elections. Pelosi has blown off the public slights from the likes of Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, who recently said he would not commit to backing Pelosi for another term as speaker, and Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, who recently predicted Pelosi could “get sick and die” before the next Congress. Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina even suggested that he might run for the position of speaker himself.

Muslim Prayer Rugs and Jewish Orphans
Excerpt: When infidels are murdered by Muslims, no one calls for an emergency summit. But when a Muslim prayer rug is pissed upon, everyone had better jump into the Dhimmimobile and denounce that rising wave of hate. Meanwhile in support of the rugs themselves, J-Street collaborator, Rachel Barenblat of Velveteen Rabbi seized on the chance to promote herself by "passing the hat" and raised over a thousand dollars to replace the urine soaked rugs. At the same time as Rachel was passing the hat for the rugs, five people were murdered in Israel by Muslim terrorists. They left behind six orphans. Rachel Barenblat did not volunteer to "pass the hat" for them, because how can a few Jewish orphans compared to the sacred rugs of the Al-Imam Mosque? She didn't even appear to acknowledge their murders. Unlike the rugs, they were non-people. And so we are witness to the spectacle of an enlightened post-modern era, in which Jewish liberal clergy have decided that soiled rugs have more personhood than Jewish orphans.
-- MasterGuns

The Tea Party is now more powerful than President Obama
From the UK. ~Bob. Excerpt: Who would have predicted this a year ago? Certainly not the complacent army of White House spin doctors who have failed to grasp, let alone acknowledge, the momentous political transformation that is sweeping America. CNN’s latest poll confirms that the Tea Party movement has more political clout than the President of the United States in influencing voters during this November’s mid-terms. While just 37 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate if backed by Barack Obama, a far larger 50 percent will vote for a Tea-Party endorsed candidate.

O’Donnell ad

Environmentalists stay mostly quiet about violent climate change advertisement
Excerpt: Although the British organization which created an advertisement depicting the gruesome murder of its conservative opponents has since apologized and removed the ad from its website, American environmentalists have stayed largely quiet about the affair. The Daily Caller asked six key environmentalist groups about the ad. Only one group, Greenpeace, responded, with a tepid denunciation the advertisement. The advertisement depicts a series of authority figures asking crowds to participate in voluntary efforts to cut energy use. The few in the crowd who do not volunteer – including two schoolchildren — are graphically blown to pieces, with their blood and guts covering the others in the room. “Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended,” said 10:10, the British group who created the ad. (Suppose a Tea Party ad showed children who disagreed being blown up. Think the left would ignore it? ~Bob.)

ABC Sanitizes Left Wing Rally, Excludes Communist and Socialist Signs
Excerpt: Good Morning America on Sunday recapped the liberal One Nation rally held on the nation's capital, Saturday, but skipped any mention of the socialist and Communist themed signs seen during the march. These are some of the signs that were featured during reporter Tahman Bradley's segment: ""Peace, justice, equality, hope, change," "Fair trade, not free trade," "Educate every child," "Full and fair employment" and "Silence GOP lies." However, signs with the Communist Party USA logo, posters reading "Capitalism is failing, socialism is the alternative" and "Build a socialist alternative" were not.

1 comment:

  1. I like your interest in politics. Many people have the same interest too. Many are dreaming that their long wait for political change would last.