Thursday, November 25, 2010

Political Digest for November 25, 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.

Happy Thanksgiving
Those of us born in the United States, or in any of the countries where political freedom and property rights, those inseparable twins of human progress and modern civilization, are protected, have won the lottery—and we have a lot to be thankful for. It is an open question if future generations will receive this heritage and be thankful to us.

I thank you for reading and forwarding my blog efforts to disseminate knowledge about current political events. ~Bob.

National ID Cards?
The “Don’t Touch My Junk” controversy that has engulfed the TSA and tarnished what was left of the Obama Administration’s competence reputation, has renewed calls for a national ID card. Liberals and conservatives are split among themselves on this idea, not sure if the government or terrorists are to be feared more. So how about a voluntary government ID? Here’s my thought. You file a request with the feds. Picture, thumbprint, fee, history. Must be a citizen with no felony arrests or convictions, no links to real terrorist organizations. CAIR members no, Tea Party members okay. No mental illness, drugs or alcohol abuse history. Vets with honorable service to the head of the line. They do a search on the internet for any anti-American statements, like, say, those made by Major Allah-Akbar-Death-to-America of Fort Hood infamy. Any suspicion disqualifies you for a card. With a card, with all the best built-in anti-forgery controls. They have a machine to compare your thumb print with your thumb, and you get to skip enhanced screening, but go through the metal weapons detector and baggage screen. Profile the other way.

Of course, I'd start letting vets and cops with weapons training and no criminal, terrorist or impairment history carry concealed on board. That would make us safer, though liberals will never accept that.

Alternative to TSA pat-downs: More background checks
Excerpt: If Americans don’t want the government touching their “junk” to improve air security, the alternative may well be greater scrutiny of passengers’ travel histories and personal backgrounds, security experts say. The public backlash against the aggressive pat-downs the federal government rolled out this month could put more pressure on the government to introduce security measures previously rejected on privacy grounds, including in-depth interrogations of travelers at airports, government scrutiny of passengers’ airline information, and even creation of a secure, standardized national ID card.

U.S. to stage exercises with South Korea; few good options for dealing with North
Excerpt: North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island Tuesday, coupled with its choreographed rollout of a new nuclear program, has presented the United States with a massive strategic challenge in one of the most dangerous corners of the world.

Excerpt: If the United States cannot find an effective way to deter the aggressive behavior of North Korea, countries in Asia which have relied on the “international system” since the war must ask themselves two questions. First, is nonproliferation truly dead? Second, is America unwilling to defend its allies? If the answer to both questions is yes, then Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore will eventually take steps to acquire nuclear weapons. It would be a moment similar to the realization that the British Empire’s “Singapore” strategy was a fiction and a sham and now every nation had to look to itself. The collapse of the American security guarantee would mean the only way to guarantee security would be to rely on one’s own deterrent capability rather than rely on the world of Barack Hussein Obama. (Short, but contains an important, though unpleasant, idea. Ron P. Well, we guaranteed South Vietnam aid if the North violated the treaty, and that worked out okay. Why wouldn’t they trust us? ~Bob.)

North Korea Crisis: Obama’s Crisis Team Isn’t Exactly the Dream Team
Excerpt: It’s the Hillary 3 am ad — there’s a crisis somewhere in the world, the phone rings in the White House, and we need someone there who knows what to do, knows all the world’s leaders, etc. The irony at the time of that ad’s release was that a) it came from Hillary Clinton, whose chief claim to competence was having been married to a president whose own foreign policy was weak and often driven by domestic, rather than strategic, concerns, and b) that it was nevertheless right about Obama and raised a very valid point about his experience, or lack thereof. Here we are a couple years later, and President Obama is awakened at 4 am by a call regarding one of the world’s most dangerous flash points: Korea. A messy succession plus the usual Pyongyang chain-yanking results in an artillery barrage, killing two South Koreans and wounding 14 more. East Asia’s a rough neighborhood, and Obama’s relations with our strongest allies there, Japan and South Korea, are weakened thanks to his consistent disdaining of strong U.S. allies in general, and in particular his bungling of a trade deal with South Korea during his last Asian swing. So Obama gets the call. One of the first things he did was to convene his national security team. Jake Tapper lists them over on The Note. Having read it over, I have one reaction: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Allen West, one of two black Republicans just elected to House, goes against grain
If there’s anything Democrats hate, it’s an inner-city black kid who becomes a success in life without handouts and doesn’t fit in on their plantation. ~Bob. Excerpt: Allen West, a 22-year Army veteran, is preparing for Washington a bit like he would for a battlefield. His "high and tight" hairstyle will be one of the only buzz cuts in Congress. He plans to carry a camouflage bag, not a briefcase. And on a recent morning, while others in the Republican Party's large incoming freshman class jockeyed for office space, he declared himself largely indifferent. "I've lived in tents," said West, who in January will become the first black Republican to represent Florida since 1876….. West responded by saying he is "even more focused that this liberal, progressive, socialist agenda, this left-wing, vile, vicious, despicable machine that's out there is soundly brought to its knees." West, 49, sees himself stepping to the front lines of an ideological war in which he is fighting liberals who want "a country that creates victims where we enslave the American spirit," he said.

Dan Maffei concedes; Ann Marie Buerkle wins 25th Congressional seat
Makes the GOP gain 63 seats. ~Bob. Excerpt: It's been three weeks since election day and Dan Maffei has conceded the race for the 25th Congressional District to Ann Marie Buerkle, a Republican newcomer. Buerkle will be the new representative for the district, which covers all of Onondaga and Wayne Counties, parts of Cayuga County and Webster, parts of Irondequoit and Penfield in Monroe County.

Rockefeller Censorship
Excerpt: Get a load of this, folks. A sitting United States senator is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pull the plug on cable networks such as MSNBC and Fox. You heard right, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) lamented recently that programming by Fox and other cable daysides apparently gets in the way of politicians and their ability to obfuscate and deceive the public. While holding a hearing on the FCC, Rockefeller was reported saying, “It would be a big favor to political discourse; to our ability to do our work here in Congress; and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future.” Since when did having more scrutiny of politicians and their activities by news organizations lead to the travesty of justice Rockefeller is claiming? Apparently, Sen. Rockefeller and his colleagues don’t like to be bothered by a meddling media, investigating their moves and challenging them on questionable actions.

Reforming Medical Malpractice Liability through Contract
Excerpt: There is near-universal agreement that the current medical malpractice system does not achieve its aims. In theory, that system is supposed to encourage providers to deliver high-quality care by transferring to negligent providers a large portion of the costs that their negligence imposes on patients. In practice, however, the medical malpractice system achieves that goal rather imperfectly, says Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute…..Contract liability offers a means to drive the imperfections out of the medical malpractice liability system through a process that selects liability rules based on their ability to deliver improvements in both cost and quality, says Cannon.

Drugs, Corruption, and Justice in Vietnam and Afghanistan: A Cautionary Tale
Excerpt: On October 27, 2009, The New York Times published a dramatic article about Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. The article alleged that the president’s brother is a major Afghan drug trafficker as well as being a paid asset of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The byline to the article listed three names, including that of James Risen, the well-known author of State of War, a recent and controversial book about US intelligence operations under the Bush Administration. And like the sensational allegations Risen made in State of War, the Times article was based almost entirely on anonymous sources.

Washington Post Hires Neo-Conservative Jennifer Rubin
excerpt: The Washington Post, a bit bruised from its adventures in the liberal blogosphere, has hired Commentary's prolific Jennifer Rubin, one of the hardest-line conservative hawks around on national security issues in general and Israel in particular ... Rubin is a staunch advocate of American military action against Iran and harsh Obama critic. She's also a frequent target of the left, branded the "La Pasionara of the neocons" by Joe Klein.

Don’t touch my junk!
Funny video and song.

Skilled labor falls by the wayside: America's bailout culture leads away from practical employment
Another lawsuit-fueled disaster. ~Bob. Excerpt: Meanwhile, employers are starving for skilled workers in all sectors, from health care to infrastructure construction and repair to high-tech manufacturing. These employers, however, face an ever-increasing mountain of regulations that sap resources from recruiting and hiring into bureaucratic compliance that often has little to do with public health, safety and welfare. Skyrocketing liability insurance premiums and litigation costs drain further dollars away from training - not to mention research-and-development innovations that would create millions of new jobs. That would be too costly, too risky.

Tort reform boosts growth
Politicians have spent billions on so-called stimulus and bailouts, yet today’s unemployment rate is about two times greater than in January 2008. If state legislators want an effective solution — one that will actually create jobs — they should enact tort reforms, an area where many states need help. In 2009, the 10 states with the worst tort climates had an average unemployment rate 33 percent greater than the 10 best tort states. The differences between these groups are striking. The worst tort climate is in New Jersey, followed by New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Michigan, Connecticut and California. And the best tort climate is in Alaska, followed by Hawaii, North Carolina, South Dakota, North Dakota, Maine, Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Somalis in Twin Cities Shaken by Charges of Sex-Trafficking
Excerpt: When the girl now identified as Jane Doe 2 came under their control in 2006, at age 12, the Somali Outlaws and the Somali Mafia gangs set a firm rule: Their members could have sex with her for nothing; others had to pay with money or drugs. Repeatedly over the next three years, in apartments, motel rooms and shopping center bathrooms in Minnesota and Tennessee, the girl performed sexual acts for gang members and paying customers in succession, according to a federal indictment that charged 29 Somalis and Somali-Americans with drawing young girls into prostitution over the last decade, using abuse and threats to keep them in line, and other crimes. The suspects, now aged 19 to 38, sported nicknames like Hollywood, Cash Money and Forehead, prosecutors said…. The indictment was the latest in a series of jolting revelations starting around 2007, when a spate of deadly shootings in the Twin Cities made it impossible to ignore the emergence of Somali gangs. Then came the discovery that more than 20 men had returned to Somalia to fight for Islamic extremists, bringing what many Somalis feel has been harsh and unfair scrutiny from law enforcement and the news media.

Pilots' Secret Security Doubts
Excerpt: With millions of Americans taking to the skies ahead of Thanksgiving and facing strict new Transportation Security Administration pat-downs and body scanners, travelers are hearing horror stories daily. Some passengers are rising up to share tales of pat-downs run amok, while government officials are attempting to defend “nude-o-scope” body scanners and intimate hand searches. Yet one group remains, for the most part, unheard: the rank-and-file pilots who pass through the checkpoints each day on the way to the “office,” and who rely, along with passengers, on that security to keep them safe. When pilots do talk, the comments tend to be circumspect—with the notable exception of Michael Roberts, the ExpressJet pilot who refused to go through a full-body scanner in Memphis. There is, however, a place to get an unfiltered view from the cockpit. That’s at the online discussion boards where pilots hang out and air their views, safely anonymous behind electronic nicknames. At sites like and, heated discussions about the screenings rage on. Of course, the anonymity that makes the discussions so freewheeling also means that eavesdroppers can’t always tell the difference between active-duty pilots and retirees or just wannabe aviation buffs. And the views of any given pilot may differ hugely from those posted by chat-board addicts. But after spending time following the discussions, it’s hard not to notice the recurring themes. So here, for a different kind of insight into the Transportation Security Administration, are 10 things pilots won’t tell passengers—but are talking about with other aviators.

Stop Treating Everyone As An Equal Threat
The administration has to treat elderly grandmothers as equally threatening as a 20-year-old “student” fresh off a plane from Yemen. Other wise CAIR will take time out from supporting Hamas to say something nasty, and the White house staff will collectively wet themselves. ~Bob. Excerpt: Americans have every right to be upset about this double standard. But the solution is not ending the exemption for government officials, pilots, and flight attendants. The solution is ending the blanket body scanner requirement altogether. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the TSA is taking a “risk-based, layered security approach.” But the TSA’s continued policy of pat-downs or body scans for all suggests otherwise. Our nation does still face a real threat from terrorists intent on attacking passenger air travel. But that threat simply does not justify the indiscriminate use of body scanners for primary screening. The TSA should not be targeting all passengers equally. Instead, the TSA should be practicing “focused security” that directs the most resources against the greatest risks.

Joe Lieberman left with limited 2012 options
Excerpt: Joe Lieberman essentially has two options for 2012: Retire or become a Republican. The Connecticut senator and Democratic exile hasn't made up his mind whether to seek a fifth term, Lieberman and those close to him say. But if he does, the GOP ticket appears to offer his best shot at reelection. "That's his only hope," said John Olsen, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and a former state Democratic chairman.

Now here's an easy way to tell if someone has Islamic ties
Excerpt: It's a Religion of Peace, of course, but the "Islamic tie" is nonetheless shaped like...a sword.

Darul fatwa says donating blood un-Islamic
Excerpt: In a potentially controversial decree, Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has said that donation of blood and body parts was against the tenets of Islam, but observed that giving blood to save the life of a near and dear one was acceptable. However, the opinion of the prominent Islamic seminary has not gone down well with several Muslim intellectuals who have asserted that religious bodies have already stated that there was no (no) problem with blood donation. (Out of cultural sensitivity, hospitals should stop giving blood or body parts to Muslims until this is sorted out. ~Bob.)

Homeland Security unit notified of Ritz busts
Party like it’s 9/10. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Saturday busts of four college students at a rowdy Ritz-Carlton booze bash spurred cops to flag a regional homeland security unit, police said yesterday. The Boston Regional Intelligence Center’s Homeland Security Unit was notified of the arrests of three young Saudi Arabia nationals and a native of Greece “as a matter of routine procedure,” police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. BRIC is a local, state and federal law enforcement collaborative that combats crime and terrorism. Police were called to the $3.4 million condo in the Ritz’s South Tower early Friday morning to shut down a loud party and returned Saturday shortly after 3 a.m. at the behest of frustrated Ritz security, cops said.

Voter anger fuels support for “Repeal Amendment”
excerpt: Rapidly growing support for the “Repeal Amendment” – a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a vote by two-thirds of the states to repeal an act of Congress — symbolizes the intense level of anger Americans have with Washington, according to observers. In September, Virginia stood alone as the only state where leaders in the state legislature had shown an interest in passing the amendment, but that number has now grown to nine states. State legislators in South Carolina, Florida, Utah, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Georgia have since expressed interest in the amendment. (This is one I’d support. Another I’d like would require Congress to specify what laws are rather than “delegate” that to a regulatory agency; the beancounters already have too much power. Ron P.)

GOP weighs changes in how the House runs
Excerpt: While Republican leaders spent the last three weeks preparing an agenda for their Jan. 5 takeover of the House, a separate group of about two dozen GOP lawmakers have been scrutinizing the day-to-day operation of the House and are planning potentially significant changes aimed at cutting costs and improving efficiency, including a longer work week. (Much needed. I suggest a book, “The Broken Branch.” Published before the Dems took over Congress in 2006, thus more critical of Republicans, but the Dems have made it even worse. ~Bob.)

How Germany got it right on the economy
Germany elected a conservative government, the US elected progressives. What did anyone expect? ~Bob. Excerpt: Germany's economy is the strongest in the world. Its trade balance - the value of its exports over its imports - is second only to China's, which is all the more remarkable since Germany is home to just 82 million people. Its 7.5 percent unemployment rate - two percentage points below ours - is lower than at any time since right after reunification. Growth is robust, and real wages are rising. It's quite a turnabout for an economy that American and British bankers and economists derided for years as the sick man of Europe. German banks, they insisted, were too cautious and locally focused, while the German economy needed to slim down its manufacturing sector and beef up finance. Wisely, the Germans declined the advice. Manufacturing still accounts for nearly a quarter of the German economy; it is just 11 percent of the British and U.S. economies (one reason the United States and Britain are struggling to boost their exports). Nor have German firms been slashing wages and off-shoring - the American way of keeping competitive - to maintain profits.

1 comment:

  1. Robert:
    A blessed Thanksgiving Day to you and yours.

    Semper Fi.

    Stay strong.
    Stay safe.