Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Political Digest for November 16, 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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Rangel threatens to walk out of his ethics trial, demands lawyer
See, expecting black Congressmen to obey the tax laws is racist. ~Bob. Excerpt: The ethics subcommittee trying embattled Rep. Charles Rangel recessed after 30 minutes Monday after the Harlem lawmaker threatened to walk out of the proceedings. In a lengthy and contentious informal opening statement, Rangel (D-N.Y.) complained that the panel putting him on trial for allegedly violating 13 House ethics rules trampled on his due process rights since it began the hearing without him having legal representation. Rangel repeatedly asked for a postponement of the trial.

Rangel's ethics trial proceeds without him after he walks out
Any Democrat who votes with Rangel can expect it to be an issue in 2012. Even in a safe Dem seat, a primary challenger can use it. ~Bob. Excerpt: A House ethics panel is continuing with the public trial of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) despite Rangel's decision to walk out of the hearing. The adjudicatory subcommittee charged with weighing the case for 13 counts of ethics violations announced its decision after considering a request by Rangel to delay the trial because he lacked counsel. Rangel said he could not afford to hire attorneys right away after incurring nearly $2 million in legal fees over the past two years. (Politics Daily is certainly no "right-wing conspiracy group." The majority of committee members are Democrats. Just think how bad Rangel's situation must be before they'd take action like this. Ron P.)

Excerpt: Yes, “steal.” Rep. Charles Rangel was not allowed to use money from his leadership PAC to pay his legal bills, it beggars belief that he did not know that he was not allowed to use money from his leadership PAC to pay his legal bills, and yet he did it anyway. If we can’t call the deliberate diversion of money that was raised and allocated for other people’s use ‘theft’ then we might as well give up the entire civilization thing now and go back to living in caves.

How to Shut Down Fannie and Freddie
Excerpt: Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played a central role in causing the recent economic crisis, they are absent from the reform plans of Congress and the Obama administration. So these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) remain mired in conservatorship, as extensions of the federal government. Bureaucrats now steer the primary provider of secondary market liquidity for our $10 trillion housing finance market. The administration has offered many explanations for the delay: Housing finance is complex, says Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, so he's consulting Congress and has assembled "academic experts, consumer and community organizations, industry participants and other stake holders" to review the matter. But the Treasury doesn't need Congress or an academic assessment in order to tackle the most important reform goal: eliminating the GSEs and moving their activities to the private sector. Mr. Geithner himself can immediately reshape the mortgage markets—by withholding his approval of new debt issuances by the GSEs. That's the best way to begin curtailing the GSEs, and it can be done unilaterally.

Pelosi: Dems Will Repeal Law of Gravity to Mitigate Plane Crashes
Funny Blog. ~Bob. Excerpt: Nancy Pelosi exercised her authority while she still has some this morning, creating new House positions in her soon-to-be-minority Democrat party. Pelosi appeared on the SPN Headlines program Beltway Balderdash, and said she hopes the new roles will clear up the leadership quagmire that has gripped the party since the November 2nd election. Nicknamed "Nutball Nancy" by her colleagues, Pelosi said she will assume the title of Grand Poobah, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, or Top Banana, pending the results of a poll being conducted on her MySpace page. She also said she will not tolerate insubordination, and named former football star Rep. Heath Shuler the new Congressional Waterboy, after he threatened to challenge her. Majority leader Steny Hoyer was set to become minority whip, but Pelosi said she doesn't like the way that sounds, and he will instead run the Congressional concession stand, and be called Orange Whip. She also decided that Congressman Jim Clyburn will take over as Cool Whip, which sounds much more "hip" and in line with what "young, groovy people today are thinking about," she said.

Sea Life Flourishes in the Gulf
Does Al Gore know about these critters carbon footprints? ~Bob. Excerpt: Its passing would be tragic; some of these coral colonies may be hundreds of years old, and there’s no telling how long it would take for them to regenerate. What most outlets didn’t report, however, was that 16 other surveyed sites, including one ten miles away from the well head, are doing just fine, along with the fish, crustaceans, and other creatures that live there, according to Charles Fisher, the marine biologist from Penn State who headed the expedition. Researchers from the Center for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington who hitched a ride with the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in October also failed to find any coral damage. Interestingly enough, the researchers tracked down coral sites by looking for old hydrocarbon seeps, a common feature of the Gulf that exude millions of gallons of oil and methane annually. Over millennia, Fisher says, “the seep conditions promote rock growth and corals like rock.” That’s yet another indication, like the vast clouds of oil-eating bacteria that live in those seeps and that disposed of the spill, of how deeply hydrocarbons are entwined in the Gulf’s ecosystem.

Worth reading: The Politics of Budget-Cutting
way the collapse is coming. ~Bob. Excerpt: The voters just spoke. They think they want no more gargantuan deficits, massive public spending, and exponential growth in government — or the specter of higher taxes to pay for all of it. No wonder: We are on pace to soon owe 100 percent of our annual gross domestic product in national debt, while compiling the largest annual peacetime deficits in our history. So cutting the borrowing and spending is inevitable if America is to avoid a Greece-like implosion. But as the blood sport begins, we should remember the strange politics that govern the process. First, no one ever reduces government in good times, when we would be far better able to limit spending, and the public needs less assistance. Cutting happens only after the economy falters and the money runs out.

Stanford study: American math achievement trails most industrialized nations
Quick, give the teachers unions more money. It’s worked great so far. ~Bob. Excerpt: In the first-ever international comparison of advanced math skills, a team of Stanford and Munich researchers found that American students rank 31st in the world, falling behind those in most industrialized nations. Only 6 percent of U.S. eighth-graders perform at the advanced level in math, compared with 28 percent of Taiwanese students and more than 20 percent of students in Hong Kong, Finland and South Korea. The scores of American students match those of students from Lithuania, Spain and Italy.

Instant Reform: Measure The Hidden Tax Of Regulation: Congress needs a new motto: Liberate to stimulate.
Fat chance. ~Bob. Excerpt: If Congress doesn't grapple with the regulatory state, this economy can't regain footing. You don't have to tell the grass to grow; you simply have to take the rocks off of it. Taxes are high, but at least we can open the federal budget and see exactly what the outlays and the deficit are. Regulations escape even that basic visibility. This Congress must quickly assess the scope of federal agency regulations that cripple manufacturing, the financial sector, telecommunications, energy, high technology, the environment, small business and so forth--and get busy with a "liberate to stimulate" program.

Free the Fight Against Malaria: Stop putting the sensibilities of anti-insecticide activists ahead of human lives.
There were four great mass murders of the twentieth century. First was Mao, which was doubtless why Obama honored him with his photo on the White House Christmas tree. Second was Stalin. Third was Hitler. Fourth, but gaining, was Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring led to the banning of DDT and the deaths of tens of millions of poor black, brown and yellow folks, many of them children, from Malaria. Thus she is Al Gore’s hero. ~Bob. Excerpt: Namibia is a party to the Stockholm Convention, which laudably seeks to remove harmful pollutants from the environment. As DDT is essential for malaria control, it is the only chemical classified as a "persistent organic pollutant" that can still be used. Yet my country and others working to eradicate malaria still face ongoing pressure from anti-insecticide activists, and in recent years the manufacturers of DDT have dwindled to only one, a state-owned factory in India. Regrettably the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention envisages halting all production of DDT in just seven years. Yet there is no true replacement for DDT, and malaria-inflicted countries will continue to need it for the foreseeable future. Malaria is a disease that we should not have to live with, and happily most developed nations eradicated it in the 1950s, mostly thanks to the targeted use of DDT.

Rough road ahead for Obama, unions as compromises loom
Unions for Free Trade? If Free Trade is good with Korea, why not Columbia, where Obama has blocked a treaty? Why not NAFTA? ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama and labor unions are entering a new and difficult stretch in their relationship as the White House looks to find common ground with Republicans on issues like trade and the deficit. Unions praised Obama this week for insisting that talks continue on a free trade agreement with South Korea after negotiators failed to win concessions from that country on automobiles.

Democrats' campaign fortunes rise and fall with Obama's popularity
Excerpt: Whether Democrats retake the House majority in 2012 will depend in no small part on the popularity of President Obama. Republicans won control of at least 60 seats on Election Day but more than half of those are in districts the president carried in 2008. The performance of a party’s presidential candidate is usually a good indicator of its chances in a district’s House race. With that in mind, the incoming class of Republican freshmen will be particularly conscious of Obama’s approval numbers for the next two years, as will Democratic strategists.

Dem: I'll challenge Pelosi for top leadership slot
Not running to win. Running to convince his NC voters of how moderate, anti-Pelosi he is. Smart if cynical. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) said he would challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the top minority leadership position if Pelosi does not step aside by Wednesday. Shuler acknowledged that he does not have the votes to win the minority leader position, but said Pelosi should allow House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to lead the House Democrats. "I really think it's very important for us to be a very moderate caucus," Shuler said. Clyburn said he is happy with the deal reached Saturday that will allow him to keep the No. 3 minority position and avert a challenge to Hoyer for the No. 2 job.

Excerpt: There is a whole lot of soul searching in Democratic circles these days. Given the shellacking at the polls, it’s only natural to ask: Was the health reform bill worth it? What did the Affordable Care Act (ACA) achieve that is worth $1 trillion of taxpayer money and benefit cuts for the elderly and the disabled, to say nothing of the Democratic losses on election day? Other than some insurance reforms that have been overhyped, members of Congress who voted for the ACA don’t seem to have a coherent answer. What about Kathleen Sebelius? No luck there. How about Rahm Emmanuel or David Axelrod? They don’t seem to know either. So I turned to the blog sites of some academic health economists. If anybody can tell me why the ACA was worth it, surely they can.

Worth Reading: Operation Fetal Position
Excerpt: Nine years after 9/11, this is what things have come to. While we are constantly being schooled in how insensitive we are to Muslims and how we should be bowing to the idea of a Ground Zero mega-mosque, or are being admonished for not embracing the Sharia, the state of wartime siege continues unabated. The Muslim world is under no such mandate to reach out or reciprocate. They only have to demand, and the West apologizes. The war that no one will talk about for fear of reprisals blazes on. And when the brave actually do talk about it, they are relegated to the pile of racist-islamophobic-antimuslim-bigots. This schema defies reason…..There are daily brutal, bloody attacks by Muslim supremacists across the world, and the major concern is not to discuss or insult Islam. The only accepted dialogue is dawah, Islamic supremacist-dictated terms of dialogue (in mosques, no less). The general silence from the mainstream media and our governing officials on last weekend's wholesale slaughter of Christians praying in a Church is indicative of how decayed, empty, and morally inverted our leaders and media have become. The slaughter of the churchgoers in Baghdad was a crime against humanity. And there are thousands of stories of Islamic slaughter, but the lambs remain silent. Have we become so inured to Islamic jihad that human life is cheap to us as well?

Why Obama Is Right About India
Excerpt: Much grousing about the expense of President Obama's India trip. This is silly and vindictive. The one thing this country owes its leader is to spare no expense in protecting him. Especially when his first stop is Mumbai, scene of one of the most savage and sustained terror attacks in modern times…. And of all these countries, India, which has fought a border war with China, is the most natural anchor for such a U.S. partnership. It's not just our inherent affinities -- democratic, English-speaking, free-market, dedicated to the rule of law. It is also the coincidence of our strategic imperatives: We both face the common threat of radical Islam and the more long-term challenge of a rising China. Which is why Obama's dramatic call for India to be elevated to permanent member of the Security Council was so important. However useless and obsolete the U.N., a Security Council seat carries totemic significance. It elevates India, while helping bind it to us as our most strategic and organic Third World ally.

ICE hold renders illegal alien with felony drug charge non-bondable
One of so many. ~Bob. Excerpt: Modesto Sanchez was arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on a felony count of dangerous drug possession/use on Nov. 13, a non-bondable offense due to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold. He was arrested on several outstanding warrants for failure to appear, failure to pay and probation violations on a host of civil traffic and misdemeanor criminal charges dating back to 2004. Modesto, 46, an illegal alien, pled guilty in June 2004 in
Arrowhead Justice Court
to having no valid driver license, no proof of financial responsibility and no current vehicle registration.

Excerpt: "I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying," said 31-year-old John Tyner to a pair of Transportation Security Administration officials insisting on giving him a "groin check" before boarding his plane. (Personally, if it would keep my airplane from being blown out of the sky, I’ll walk naked through the airport and let anyone pat me down. But I have no false modesty and almost no real modesty. My problem is not with the privacy, but that I think airport security is an illusion, always defending against the last threat. As an old Marine, I think I could organize a team that could get armed men on an airplane, despite the efforts of the low-paid, unarmed TSA employees, who often seem to enjoy having authority for the first time in their lives. We are a target-rich environment and everything is a target. Defense just shifts them to the next target. The only defense is to go where they are and kill them. Credit Obama for keeping the drones flying, though I don’t get why a drone bombing an al Qaeda hideout, including civilians and goats, is more moral than a hit man with a gun or knife taking out a terrorist leader, in a currently-banned “assassination. ~Bob.)

De Facto Shariah Law in America
Excerpt: Is the United States today a de facto shariah state? A close look at recent events points to some alarming conclusions about the tenets of shariah law taking hold in our once-proud constitutional republic and the unwitting, unequal application of existing U.S. laws. The result is that when it comes to religious expression, Muslims now enjoy more freedom of religion and speech under our Bill of Rights than non-Muslims. Equal protection under the laws of our country holds for Muslims far better than for non-Muslims. Several recent examples illustrate this point.

A Failing Agenda Fails
Excerpt: President Barack Obama returned from Asia yesterday, and the headlines greeting him home are not kind. “Obama’s economic view is rejected on world stage,” reads The New York Times; “Obama, weakened after midterms, reveals limited leverage in failed S. Korea deal,” says The Washington Post; and ABC News declares, “President Obama Falls Short on G-20 Goals: Failure to Deliver on Key Trade Goals Reveals Limits of American Influence.” These headlines are only half-right: Yes, President Obama did fail to deliver on his agenda in Asia, but the culprit is not declining American influence. The problem is a losing agenda set by the President himself.

Soros, Beck, and the Holocaust
Another view on this. ~Bob. Excerpt: The uproar revolves around Beck's portrayal of Soros' role in the Holocaust. Beck repeats the widely known story concerning Soros' involvement in handing deportation orders to Jewish families on behalf of the Nazis. He emphasizes that Soros was only fourteen at the time and does not condemn the activity, asserting that the matter remains "between Soros and God." I happen to have researched the episode in depth for my upcoming book, Death by Liberalism, and I can state here that Beck's narrative is completely accurate. His treatment of it is commendable, in particular his statement that no one has a right to judge the efforts of Jews to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe. All the same, the segment has triggered a firestorm among the usual suspects, who appear to view Soros as sharing in Obama's divine status.

Soros uses his billions to undermine democracy
Excerpt: Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is sometimes caricatured by his opponents as a left-wing Bond villain, but cut through the hyperbole and there are good reasons why Soros truly is far more threatening than just another wealthy liberal. Soros isn't merely content with spending money to work within the system to elect Democrats, promote liberal policies, and otherwise shape the public debate. He has spent millions of dollars to change the very machinery of our democracy. In a center-right country, it's very hard to elect liberal leaders and enact left-wing policies. So Soros wants less democracy and in some cases wants to do away with elections altogether. According to an American Justice Partnership report, Soros' Open Society Institute has "funneled at least $45.4 million into a highly coordinated campaign to reshape the judiciary and fundamentally change the way judges are chosen in many American states."

Ireland's Woes Will Continue Until It Leaves The Euro - Daniel Hannan
Excerpt: Faced with the worst financial crisis since the foundation of the state, Brian Lenihan imposed brave and necessary cuts. But his voters, looking at the opposite end of the EU, wondered whether, if they rioted instead, they might qualify for a Greek-style bailout. Worse, they learned that, as members of the euro, they would be obliged to join the rescue consortium, borrowing even more money in order to send it to Greece. Ireland now seems to be inching towards a bailout of its own. Ministers deny it, of course, but the markets remember the way in which such denials preceded the Greek deal. Still, bailout or no bailout, the underlying problem won’t go away. Ireland is not suited to euro membership. Its economy diverges cyclically and structurally from the continent. It is an English-speaking country with a strong service sector; its main markets are the US and the UK. Until Ireland is able to suit its monetary policy to its own conditions, its woes will continue.

Excerpt: Today, most American students don’t even understand what a central bank is, much less that the battle over central banks is one of the most important themes in U.S. history. The truth is that our nation was birthed in the midst of a conflict over taxation and the control of our money. Central banking has played a key role in nearly all of the wars that America has fought. Presidents that resisted the central bankers were shot, while others shamefully caved in to their demands. Our current central bank is called the Federal Reserve and it is about as “federal” as Federal Express is. The truth is that it is a privately-owned financial institution that is designed to ensnare the U.S. government in an endlessly expanding spiral of debt from which there is no escape. The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression and the Federal Reserve is at the core of our current economic crisis. None of these things is taught to students in America’s schools today.

Why Do Blacks Still Buy The Government Plantation Lie?
Excerpt: Almost two years ago, a new Democrat administration and congress took control of Washington. They immediately sent out invitations to the American people. “You are cordially invited onto the government plantation. P.S. We’re in charge but you pick up the tab. RSVP by November 2, 2010.” The RSVP’s have poured in and the majority of Americans have replied “Sorry, we’ve got other plans.” But it was mostly white voters who turned down this invitation.

Very Interesting Read: It’s impossible to accidentally launch a missile!
Excerpt: I am a retired U.S. Navy FireControl Technician, who is platform certified in the gun and missile systems on board Adams class guided missile destroyers, I have also worked with the Navy's Harpoon, Tomahawk and ASROC missile systems. (FireControl Techs operate, maintain and repair the computer, radar and peripheral systems used to launch and guide the various naval weapon systems, we are the guys who "PUSH THE BUTTON") Anyway, what I saw in the recent video concerning the object 30 miles off the coast of CA. Is blatantly a foreign made, Large Cruise or ICBM missile, being launched by a sub-surface aquatic platform. First I know it’s a large missile because it did not exhibit the typical "corkscrewing" trajectory of a beam riding missile as it tries to acquire the targeting beam. This tells me its a Big Boy with a complete guidance system installed in it, what is nicknamed a "fire and forget" missile, as once its launched its internal guidance system takes over and there is no real need for external guidance. Secondly, I'm fairly confident its not one of ours, as the vapor trail appears "dirty" it looks brownish. I have personally been involved in (5) SM2 missile launches, and (2) ASROC missile launches, and have been on safety observation for at least 15 more launches of Harpoons, Tomahawks and other missiles. We put a lot of sweat and money into our "birds" and part of that is the fuel cells, they burn very clean, a whitish-blue in fact, not a dirty blackish brown. That missile had rather crude fuel cells, which tells me it’s not one of ours. (Bob, not only does this square with everything I've been able to find out, it makes sense. First additional thought: simple geometry tells us this can't be a contrail. If this is truly a contrail stretching to the horizon--25+ miles from the supposed altitude of 1500 feet--that cloud must therefore be several miles across by the time it reaches the horizon. Being water vapor, a contrail would have to thin out to the point of invisibility long before any such width would be possible. But, smoke might well be visible, even in such a wide dispersion. Second additional thought: there wouldn't necessarily be any re-entry vehicle to track. It could have been destroyed either by those who launched it as it reached a high enough altitude. With purposely placed charges, the explosion might be difficult or impossible to see and the pieces would be small enough to be very difficult too track, even for someone looking in the right place at the right time. Or, ideally, we could've reacted effectively and quickly and blown it up (I admit this is probably wishful thinking). Either way, little or nothing is left to be found, and that little is scattered over a vast area, hundreds of square miles or more. So, a missile fired by a surface ship, likely from a container-type launcher. Which still leaves the questions who and why. No one is dumb enough to risk nuclear war to "influence" trade. I agree Iranians, NKs, or some terrorist group. --Ron P.)

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