Thursday, December 16, 2010

Political Digest for December 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.

United States Should Shoot Down U.N. Small Arms Treaty
Excerpt: The Obama administration recently appointed a negotiator to work with the United Nations on a treaty to regulate international trade in small arms. The ostensible goal is to staunch the flow of illegal weapons to drug cartels, terrorists and guerillas, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. This is a reversal of Bush administration policy, which opposed U.S. participation in such a treaty as a matter of principle and policy. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton cited the rising drug-fueled violence in Mexico as a motivation for the change in policy. The administration echoed the claims of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon that more than 90 percent of the guns used in crime in Mexico come from the United States. This is a misleading interpretation of the facts, however. Consider: From 2007 to 2008, more than 29,000 firearms (and more than 2,000 grenades) were picked up at crime scenes in Mexico. Approximately 38 percent of guns seized (11,000), were submitted to the United States for tracing. Of those, approximately 6,000 were successfully traced, and 5,114 (less than 18 percent) were found to come from the United States. A later report from the Department of Homeland Security indicated that only 3,480 guns could be traced to the United States. If the United Nations is put in charge of U.S. gun policy, American sovereignty will be reduced with no corresponding decrease in international violence. The biggest killers of people have been governments and their surrogate militias, not individual citizens. Indeed, before every attempted or successful genocide, those in power disarm the group targeted for extinction, aided by laws requiring firearm licensing and registration, says Burnett.

Senators load spending bill with earmarks
Expect this to be hammer on incumbents in 2012, when things will be worse. ~Bob. Excerpt: Weeks after swearing off earmarks, many senators stand to gain tens of millions of dollars for pet projects in a massive spending bill that could be their last chance at the money before a more conservative Congress begins next month. The $1.2 trillion bill, released on Tuesday, includes more than 6,000 earmarks totaling $8 billion, an amount that many lawmakers decried as an irresponsible binge following a midterm election in which many voters demanded that the government cut spending. "The American people said just 42 days ago, 'Enough!' . . . Are we tone deaf? Are we stricken with amnesia?" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading earmark critic, said on the Senate floor, flipping through the 1,924-page bill as he pounded his desk.

Liberals giving up tax fight
Excerpt: A House liberal who has led the effort to stop President Obama’s tax compromise with the GOP says efforts to change the package are futile. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who just a week ago circulated a letter signed by 54 Democrats urging opposition to the deal, now says the “die is cast.”

Senate passes tax package 81-19, sending Obama deal to the House
Excerpt: The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass an $858 billion tax relief and benefits package, giving the bipartisan deal political momentum as it heads to the House. The Senate voted 81 to 19 in favor of the deal struck by President Obama and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Report Finds Baby Boomers to Gain Most From Health Care Reform
Excerpt: But Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, is worried that these forthcoming changes could skew the system for the worse. "The age cohort with the highest medical costs -- and, incidentally, more money -- are the ones that stand to get subsidies," he said. "The other half they're getting the subsidies from are those paying taxes or 22-year-olds. My fear is that those who are young and healthy will [decide to] pay the penalty because they can always sign up when they're sick. If no one signs up except those that are sick, the cost could go up."

Reject All Energy Mandates: It’s Just Another Subsidy
Excerpt: With cap and trade out of the realm of possibilities, Members of Congress have turned their attention to mandating so-called clean energy. Some Members hoped for a lame duck vote on a renewable electricity standard (RES), which would require that a certain percentage of our nation’s electricity production come from wind, solar, biomass, and other government-picked renewable energies. With that looking less likely, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu mentioned a clean energy standard that includes other carbon-free sources of energy as a possible compromise between Democrats and Republicans next year.

Kicking the Medicare can -- again
Excerpt: The repeated postponements meant that the gap between the SGR and actual reimbursements grew ever larger -- until this year bringing reimbursements in line with the SGR would have required slashing payments to doctors and hospitals by 23 percent.
And the Obama administration and congressional Democrats made matters worse by including the "savings" from that 23 percent cut in the cost estimates for the ObamaCare law. This allowed them to pretend that the reform cost less than $1 trillion over its first 10 years -- although no one believed that the cuts would actually take place. Now, faced with having the cuts kick in on Jan. 1, Congress, unsurprisingly, has once again voted to postpone them for a year, at a cost of $15 billion. But wait. Congress found a way to pay for it: It voted to reduce subsidies under the president's health reforms -- in 2014. That's right. Congress will spend the money next year, but you needn't worry because it will reduce subsidies four years from now. Well, it's not really going to reduce the subsidies. What members actually voted for was a requirement that people who get the subsidy incorrectly because their incomes changed during the year (making them ineligible) will have to repay a larger portion of the subsidies that they shouldn't have received in the first place. Under the ObamaCare law, any individual receiving a greater tax subsidy than he was really eligible for only had to repay $250 of that overpayment; families would have to repay up to $450. Now the repayments top out at $600 to $3,500, depending on income.

Christmas Island community tells of shock in the wake of asylum-seeker boat tragedy
Excerpt: Several people are feared dead after a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed into cliffs at Christmas Island. Several people are feared dead after a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed into cliffs at Christmas Island. Twenty-seven people have been confirmed dead, but recovery efforts are continuing after the vessel loaded with men, women and children smashed against the cliff face in huge swells. Authorities say 42 people have survived….“The people on board, the asylum seekers, they are the victims. It’s the people smugglers to blame. Putting people in boats in those conditions is just evil. ”Hours after the crash, Mr Prince echoed the same sentiments, describing the decision of people smugglers to send a boat out in near cyclonic weather as "beyond criminal". He is angry that this happened on his doorstep. "It's just money for lives."

Florence 13: The Other Transnational Gang
Excerpt: The Florence gang was spawned in the Florence District of South Central Los Angeles in the late 1940s and took its name from
Florence Boulevard
, which runs through central L.A. to the city of Downey and the 605 Freeway. In this predominantly black community the original Latino minority rooted in small postwar low-income housing competed with the African-American gangs to exist. The Florence gang, Florencia in Spanish, grew up tough and grew up mean. Florence adopted the 1950s doo-wop song "Florence" by the Paragons as its theme song and warred with all the surrounding Latino and black gangs. Even though they often fought African-American gangs, they also did business with them. And F-13 established itself early in the drug trade, dealing with Mexican sources and surrounding gangs.

Red Cross Neglects Arrested Afghan Employee for Converting to Christianity
Excerpt: International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Red Cross in Afghanistan (ICRC) has not intervened on behalf of a long-term employee who was arrested and imprisoned because he is Christian. This, despite that the Red Cross mandate includes "visiting prisoners" and "helping victims of conflict and internal violence, whoever they are." Sayed Mossa worked 15 years in ICRC's orthopedic department in Kabul assisting amputees. In late May, footage of Muslim converts to Christianity being baptized was aired in Afghanistan. The broadcast triggered nationwide protests and a government-led crackdown against Christians. On May 31, being a Muslim convert to Christianity, Mossa was arrested by security officers working with the Ministry of Interior.

Indonesia: Prosecutors want to jail American accused of blasphemy, no arrests of "youths" who attacked him
Excerpt: The inconsistency, of course, is perfectly normal from the standpoint of Islamic supremacism. He deserved to be attacked, and there is no penalty for attacking him, because he is guilty of blasphemy. Sharia Alert from modern, moderate Indonesia.

Muslim shuttle driver charged in series of hit-and-run attacks near Dulles airport
Excerpt: There have been several other hit-and-run incidents involving Muslim drivers over the last few years. Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar explicitly grounded his action in the teachings of the Koran. If he had not done this, however, I'm sure the mainstream media would have constructed a non-Islamic explanation for what he did. Munir Muthana came close, telling the police who arrested him that "the Muslims will fix this country." Still, no mainstream media source made any connection between his hit-and-run and jihad. Omeed Aziz Popal, we were told, was suffering from stress from an arranged marriage. And Ismail Yassin Mohamed, we were informed, was mentally ill, suffered from depression, and hadn't being taking his medication. And now we have Muhammad Teshale, and while Corinne Geller here says that "there is no indication of motive," the story below also says that "law enforcement officials" in Rochester are saying that Teshale said he "did it to be famous." Maybe that is all there is to it, and maybe all the other explanations for Muslim hit-and-run drivers offered above are accurate, but it is a mounting series of curious coincidences that these Muslims seem to have become unhinged in exactly the same way and expressed their madness, or desire for fame, in exactly the same way.

Muslim extremists attacked Feltham jail warder
Excerpt: Four young British Muslim extremists chanted religious slogans as they battered a prison officer. The gang chanted "death to the Kuffar" (non-believer) and "Allah Akbar" (God is Great) as they laid into the warder - who is in his 40s - after prayers.

Justice Department Sues School for Refusing to OK Teacher's Pilgrimage to Mecca
Excerpt: The federal government sued a suburban Chicago school district Monday for denying a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca that is a central part of her religion. In a civil rights case, the department said the school district in Berkeley, Ill., denied the request of Safoorah Khan on grounds that her requested leave was unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract between the school district and the teachers union. In doing so the school district violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices, the government said.

Hospital let war hero die of thirst
Government-run healthcare. ~Bob. Excerpt: David Game, 87, suffered kidney failure after medics failed to give him enough water after hip replacement surgery. Nurses did not even alert doctors when his blood was clogged with the waste chemical urea - a major symptom of dehydration. And an inquest ruled that the failure of senior doctors to check on the great-grandfather "contributed heavily to his death".

Good article: Why I Want More People to Be Rich
Excerpt: I don’t know how much money you make. But whatever it is, I wish you and everyone else would work twice as many hours and earn twice as much income. Why? With one exception (discussed below) your earning more money can’t possibly harm me. In three very important ways it will benefit me. Your higher level of spending on goods and services will almost certainly increase the market for whatever I produce. Your increased saving and investment will lead to more capital and more inventions and almost certainly allow me to produce more within an hour’s worth of work. And (not to be overlooked) with more income you are more likely to buy your own health insurance and pay for other necessities instead of expecting me to pay for them. And do I need to add? I’m much better off when rich people are spending their money than if the government seizes it and spends it.

Stuxnet virus set back Iran’s nuclear program by 2 years
Excerpt: Top German computer consultant tells ‘Post’ virus was as effective as military strike, a huge success; expert speculates IDF creator of virus. The Stuxnet virus, which has attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities and which Israel is suspected of creating, has set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by two years, a top German computer consultant who was one of the first experts to analyze the program’s code told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “It will take two years for Iran to get back on track,” Langer said in a telephone interview from his office in Hamburg, Germany. “This was nearly as effective as a military strike, but even better since there are no fatalities and no full-blown war. From a military perspective, this was a huge success.”

Obama fatigue? Press room half empty for president
Excerpt: The White House Briefing Room was half empty when President Barack Obama delivered a statement Monday afternoon on a Senate vote related to the tax cuts legislation he's pushing. Reporters filled the first three rows for the president's appearance -- though a few were taking vacant seats. And almost every seat in the back four rows was empty. That kind of sparse attendance for a president's personal appearance is unusual, particularly for a president in his first term and one engaged in a high stales tax debate with Congress. Perhaps it was the short notice and late hour. The wire services and networks keep people at the White House all the time, but many newspapers and websites come only when there's a briefing scheduled. And maybe it was Obama fatigue.

Border Patrol agent shot, killed near Rio Rico Four suspects in custody
The war in Mexico is coming to us. ~Bob. Excerpt: A Nogales-based Border Patrol agent was shot and killed near Rio Rico last night. Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed after encountering a group of suspects at an unspecified location, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release. At least four of the suspects are in custody and another is still being pursued.

Terror: The UK's New Christmas Export
Excerpt: For those who have warned for years about the radicalization of Britain's young Muslims, this is becoming repetitive and depressing. In 2007, my think tank, the Center for Social Cohesion, commissioned an investigation into Muslim students' activities and opinions. We monitored a range of British universities and found a scene notable for its Islamist hate-preachers, highly divisive literature, and discussion groups in which religious worship is hijacked by radical politicking. Our poll found that almost one-third of British Muslim students believed that killing in the name of their religion could be justified. At the time the government's minister for higher education dismissed the findings, as did the National Union of Students. This year we published a comprehensive list of the extremist speakers who appear, unchallenged, every week at British universities. These speakers have advocated suicide bombings, the murder of soldiers and innocent civilians, and the persecution of religious and sexual minorities in Britain.

Fail to the Chief
Excerpt: The image that Obama broadcast on Friday was one of serious, and perhaps incurable, weakness. The moment looked like what happens in a corporate setting, when an experienced hand steps in to temporarily take over for a inexperienced executive who has botched a big job and needs time to get his mind right. What happens next in the corporate world is that the junior exec gets some training, or gets sidelined, or gets fired. But we’re not talking about a junior exec. There’s no training available, no sideline to run to, and his contract lasts a couple more years. Obama has taken the presidency to a moment of such weakness that we have to reach back to Watergate for a comparison, but Obama’s moment wasn’t brought on by scandal. It’s the result of his personality and his lack of preparation for the job, “first class temperament” notwithstanding. And it’s also the result of how he views the job, as a symbol of authority rather than the fact and exercise of authority. Kim Jong-Il and his successor son are watching, as are Vlad Putin, the Chinese Communists, al Qaeda, the mullahcracy in Iran and every other potential threat or challenger on the planet.

An Enormous Victory For Liberty
Excerpt: Monday’s ruling by federal judge Henry Hudson that a key provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional is an enormous victory for all Americans who care about liberty. Judge Hudson declared in his 42-page opinion that the law’s requirement for most Americans to obtain health insurance was unconstitutional: “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.” Hudson also wrote that allowing Congress to exercise such authority “would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers.” Full repeal is going to be a very long, difficult fight, but Monday’s ruling is a huge victory that should not be overlooked. The individual mandate was the lynchpin upon which the entire health care law stood. A significant portion of the funding was to come through the fines that were to be collected from those who fail to purchase insurance. Furthermore, the logic behind requiring insurance companies to accept those with pre-existing conditions was predicated upon a requirement that all people are required to be insured, otherwise people will simply sign up for insurance once they get sick.

South Korea Stages Massive Air Raid Drill
Excerpt: Schoolchildren donned face masks, office workers evacuated skyscrapers and South Korea came to a standstill for about 15 minutes today as the country mounted its largest-ever air raid drill in preparation for possible war with the North. A dozen fighter jets streaked overhead, simulating a North Korean attack, and pedestrians were ordered to take cover wherever they could. Police halted traffic and set off smoke canisters in Seoul's streets. Civil defense workers in yellow protective suits stalked down eerily quiet thoroughfares. (If they are taking this so seriously, why aren't we? Ron P.)

Financial Crisis – An Irishman tells it like it is
Strong Language

“Sustainability” continues to run amok in my town
Excerpt: The Chico City Council just made it more expensive for residents who want to sell older homes. The council voted 6-1 on Tuesday — with Larry Wahl voting no — to mandate up to $800 in energy efficiency improvements paid by sellers for any house built before 1991. The mandate is the work of the city’s sustainability task force, which falsely promised no government regulations aimed at private individuals. It’s just another case of the council’s penchant for wanting to dictate how people should live their lives and passing some regulation to do so." (So many beans, so little time.... Ron P.)

1 comment:

  1. All are the political affair. All is useful for all over the people. I will share with my friends.