Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Political Digest for December 21, 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.

The Congress Diet
Since my doc wants me to lose weight to reduce my O2 needs, I’ve developed this radical new diet. You can eat anything you like, and as much as you like, as long as you promise to not eat something equally bad several years in the future. I got the idea from Congress, who pays for spending now by promising not to spend down the road. If only my credit card was as agreeable, life would be sweet!

Important: America must wake up to threat of Sharia
Excerpt: Should we hold that people are no longer free to govern themselves, to make their own law irrespective of any religious code? Should we abandon the republican democracy our Constitution guarantees in favor of a theocracy? Should we no longer guarantee freedom of conscience and of speech, personal privacy, economic liberty, and protections against cruel and unusual punishments? Should we turn our backs on the bedrock principle of equality and skew our law to favor men over women and the members of one religious creed over all other believers and nonbelievers? Islamists, the proponents of Sharia, Islam's authoritarian legal and political system, insist not merely that we should but that we must. And we are not merely talking about terrorists, not by a long shot. Members of the world's most consequential Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, speak bluntly of conducting a "grand jihad" to "eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within."

Judge Hudson Takes a Step for Freedom
Excerpt: If people like Filburn were allowed to grow and consume their own wheat on their own land, Congress might be stifled in its effort to artificially inflate the price of the commodity. Now, one reason the Founding Fathers decided to break with England was their dismay with England's mercantilist system, which generally required colonists to purchase manufactured goods from, or through, England rather than produce them in the colonies. Hatred for this system inspired a Virginia farmer named George Washington to try to convert his colonial farm into a self-sufficient unit -- where, like Filburn on a much grander scale, he could produce and consume what he wanted without trading with others, especially those in England. The Framers, who had not forgotten English mercantilism, wrote the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to create a free-trade zone among the American states. Their aim was to facilitate freedom, not restrict it. Wickard v. Filburn was a step back toward the sort of government control of our lives the Founding Fathers wanted to deny to the new federal government they created. President Barack Obama's health care law goes a dramatic step beyond FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. (Under the left’s interpretation, consider this. Guns are sold across state line, thus are interstate commerce. So if a conservative president and Congress want to require every adult citizen who is not as felon to purchase and carry a loaded firearm, to reduce crime, under the ObamaCare doctrine, they would have the power. ~Bob.)

Changing America
Not sure if I posted this excellent column before—I’ve been overwhelmed. But well worth reading if you haven’t seen it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Fighting government intrusion into our lives is becoming increasingly difficult for at least two reasons. The first reason is that educators at the primary, secondary and university levels have been successful in teaching our youngsters to despise the values of our Constitution and the founders of our nation -- "those dead, old, racist white men." Their success in that arena might explain why educators have been unable to get our youngsters to read, write and compute on a level comparable with other developed nations; they are too busy proselytizing students. The second reason is we've become a nation of thieves, accustomed to living at the expense of one another and to accommodate that we're obliged to support tyrannical and overreaching government. Adolf Hitler had it right when he said, "How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."

No North Korean response to South Korean drills
If the South has drills, it’s an extreme provocation. If the North sinks a SK ship or shells an island, killing dozens, it’s no big deal. And the media treats it all as equal. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Pushing hostilities toward a tipping point but no further, South Korea on Monday conducted a 94-minute artillery drill on Yeonpyeong Island, and North Korea vowed not to retaliate despite earlier threats. Pyongyang had said days earlier than drills conducted on the front-line island, just seven miles from the North Korean coastline, would prompt "brutal consequences beyond imagination." But Monday evening, North Korea, through its state-run news agency, said that South Korean drills were "not worth" a military response.

The World from The Hill: Iran 'No. 1' on agenda for Foreign Affairs panel leader
Excerpt: A senior House Republican is putting Iran and its nuclear program at the top of her aggressive agenda in the next Congress. Taking the helm of the House Foreign Affairs Committee next month, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Iran is “No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3” on the panel's to-do list. (Her husband, a former State Senator, fought at the Bay of Pigs, was a guest of the commies afterwards. ~Bob.)

Today’s ‘Progressives’: Repeating the Mistakes of Yesterday’s Communists
Excerpt: In Wolfe’s time, Robert Minor, editor of the Communist newspaper the Daily Worker, publicly declared: “Honesty is a bourgeois virtue.” Today, hundreds of mainstream media journalists and editors implicitly accept that they should report only what supports their political views and use their positions to attack those holding different ones. How little has changed in essentials, how little has been learned from that past. It is vital today to understand the story of Communism: its big promises based on humanitarianism and its very different performance; the power it exercised in intellectual circles in the West despite being deeply wrong both morally and in terms of its prescriptions; the fellow travelers and well-meaning fools who slandered opponents and silenced critics; the culture of lying on behalf of a “good cause.” Yet where in our schools and universities, in our public debate, are the lessons of Communism taught?

The Anatomy of an AK-47
Excerpt: It is perhaps the most potent question to echo from the Cold War: Who lost Vietnam? Well, there were certainly many factors, but an important new book, The Gun by C. J. Chivers (exclusively excerpted in Esquire's new November issue, and soon on this website), forces us to consider this: For the first time in human history, a poorly trained peasant army humbled a great power with the gun its fighters carried in their hands — the AK-47. [Whoa, baby- this part is pure drama. The NVA were not exactly a poorly trained peasant army, and they most certainly did not "humble a great power; despite the problems with the M-16, we took them on and beat them down in every major engagement and a zillion minor ones. Our war was won by '71, the ARVN war went fine in '72 when they had our support, but their war went to hell once our support was largely taken away. –Del.] Chivers's story is about that gun, its history, and its relationship to the catastrophic failures of the M16 during the 1960s. Above, you can watch the gun in action, and below, we take a moment to ask Chivers some questions about the gun and his work. You can also read more about the book on Chivers's website.

The Fantasyland of No Labels
Excerpt: No Labels purports to represent a supposedly disaffected middle of the ideological spectrum. Some No Labels enthusiasts speak of eliminating "political retribution," presumably meaning voters defeating candidates with whose positions they disagree. No Labels promises to police the political speech of the intemperate. That would not include the scrupulously measured ruling of Henry E. Hudson, a federal judge in Virginia. He says: The Constitution's Commerce Clause empowers Congress "to regulate commerce ... among the several states." If this clause permits Congress to punish the inactivity of not engaging in commerce -- refusing to purchase health insurance -- then Congress can regulate anything, making a mockery of the American project of limited government.

Eurabia: The Planned Islamization Of Europe
Excerpt: “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will overtake you; thanks to your religious laws, we will rule over you. — Imam from Izmir1 The Islamization of Europe is in full swing. The majority of Europeans are helpless against this development. They are informed neither about the true essence of Islam, nor about the background of Islamic politics on European soil. The Muslims have not come to integrate into European societies. Their goal is the transformation of Europe into an Islamic realm where Shari’a alone, the law of Islam, will rule. This series of documents brings important information to light with regard to this issue with the hope that the expansionist desires of the Muslims and their supporters in the Western Elite will be met with much-needed resistance...The plain and short: with regard to Europe, the left-wing/green power complex has been behaving for quite some time in certain essential political core areas (i.e. migration, EU expansion, citizenship) in a way that resembles an external occupation force. Since those who have been responsible for this mass immigration have been unable to win over their home-grown European voters to this political work, they have set out to cause the occupation of their own lands by millions of people with a foreign language, culture, and religion. Their intention, in the meantime, is to “thin out” the European portion of the population, and eventually to disempower them altogether. This is nothing short of a new form of “ethnic cleansing.” Moreover, there are certain perverse warning signs: No controlling external occupying force, but rather a small and determined minority from within the indigenous population; this ruling minority will meanwhile and eventually in the long term exchange the current population for those who promise a stronger support of their policies.

WikiLeaks, Honduras and the U.S.
Excerpt: "The last year and a half of the [President Manuel] Zelaya Administration will be, in my view, extraordinarily difficult for our bilateral relationship. His pursuit of immunity from the numerous activities of organized crime carried out in his administration will cause him to threaten the rule of law and institutional stability." —Charles Ford, U.S. ambassador to Honduras, May 15, 2008Lots of hypotheses have been floated to explain why the Obama administration went to such extremes last year to try to force Honduras to reinstate deposed president Manuel Zelaya. Now the release of two WikiLeaked cables from the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa strengthens one of those theories: that the U.S. knew Mr. Zelaya was a threat to democratic Honduras but had decided the country should tolerate his constitutional violations in the interest of realpolitik. Practically speaking, Hugo Chávez was the man to please. After a decade in power, the president of Venezuela's influence around the region was notable. George W. Bush had clashed with him. Barack Obama was out to prove that they could get along, as evidenced by the warm handshake at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain in April 2009. Honduras offered a bonding opportunity. Mr. Zelaya was a protégé of Mr. Chávez. Standing up for him as democratically elected was a way to score points with Latin America's hard left.

Harry Potter actress was 'beaten and branded a prostitute by her family after dating man who was not a Muslim'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340222/Harry-Potter-actress-beaten-branded-prostitute-family-dating-man-Muslim.html
Excerpt: A Harry Potter actress was beaten, called a 'slag' and threatened with death by members of her family after she met a young man who was not a Muslim, a court heard today. Victim Afshan Azad, 22, played Padma Patil, a classmate of the teenage wizard, in the blockbuster Hollywood films based on the children's books by JK Rowling. She was assaulted and branded a 'prostitute' after meeting a young Hindu man, a relationship which brought anger from her father, Abul Azad, 53, and brother, Ashraf, 28, Manchester Crown Court heard. The frightened star, who has featured in four of the popular films, later fled through her bedroom window after threats were made to kill her.

Excerpt: You’ve been hearing for quite a while now that public-sector unions are a threat to the economic survival of the United States. With an estimated unfunded liability of up to $3 trillion (and perhaps much more), public-sector pensions are a noose around the neck of America’s taxpayers and it is threatening to strangle the nation. More specifically, you’ve been hearing that the expensive wage and benefits packages that union-bought Democrats have given to their union benefactors could collapse our economy. The question is, can we stop it before it is too late, or at a minimum, contain the damage? Well, little by little, signs are showing that, in some cases, the public-sector house of cards is already starting to fall.

We have tried to make it clear that the United States is not just an old cow that gives more milk the more it is kicked in the flanks. –Dean Rusk

UK: Anti-terror cops arrest 12, uh, "people" for planning to set off bombs in "multiple locations"
Excerpt: "This is a large scale, pre-planned and intelligence led operation involving several forces." Against whom? "People." "Men." "Five from Cardiff, four from Stoke and three from London." "Aged between 17 and 28." Are we getting any warmer? "Plotters." "Suspects." We apparently don't know much of anything about them. They could be Wesleyan fanatics. Amish separatists. Animal rights activists. But one thing we don't know about them is specified in the article: "It is not thought the men have any connection with Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, the Stockholm suicide bomber who lived in Luton for many years." So that would seem to assume what the article has up to that point studiously avoided telling us: that they were Islamic jihadists, which everyone already knew anyway. But imagine the press in December 1941 talking about "men" who bombed Pearl Harbor, and the article telling us that it was not thought that they had any connection to the Emperor Hirohito. Well, what kind of connection makes a connection? What if they believed the same things and were working toward the same goals? Why not mention Japan? What would have been gained?

Obamacare's unbridled bullying power must end
Excerpt: Under Judge Hudson's opinion, Congress may not compel Americans to purchase a product. Understanding what follows from the police powers increases appreciation for the ruling. Authority to enforce the law is inherent in police powers. Enforcement means investigations into violations of law. Given Obamacare's "unbridled" police powers, it would be a historic, massive expansion of government authority to investigate or audit businesses and households. The power to investigate is the power to bully and deprive people of rights, which is why government investigations are subject to the Fourth Amendment. Protections under the Fourth Amendment, however, have eroded as Congress expanded use of its powers to regulate interstate commerce.

Michele Bachmann for Senate?
Excerpt: Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't ruling out a run for Senate, and the state Republican Party chairman is building her up as a potential candidate. Bachmann's office, in a statement released to The Hill, said Bachmann has no designs on a challenge to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), but that she's not ruling anything out either. Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben said Bachmann is focused on her current job but that "nothing's off the table for the future." Most of the Bachmann-for-Senate talk has emanated from her extremely strong fundraising during her 2010 House campaign. She was the top fundraiser among House candidates last cycle, bringing in more than $13 million -- a sum that was more than Klobuchar raised in her 2006 Senate campaign.

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