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MONDAY,  DECEMBER 14,  2009

OUTRAGEOUS - AT 10:47 P.M. ET:  We praised President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech, and the fact that some Europeans are upset with it makes us more enthusiastic.  But in his "60 Minutes" interview with Steve Kroft Sunday night, the president couldn't control his lesser instincts, and once again went after his predecessor, George W. Bush.  The New York Daily News reports:

"One of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war," he said. "There was a tendency to say, 'We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.' When, in fact, this is a tough business."

COMMENT:   That's awful.  Do you recall anyone in any high position who said anything of the kind?  This is a cheap shot.  The president should be embarrassed.

But he's not.

December 14, 2009   Permalink

 

UNDER THE RADAR SCREEN - AT 8:01 P.M. ET:  This hasn't gotten anywhere near the attention it deserves, except from Michael Barone.  The fact is that Democrats are bailing out of the 2010 midterms, realizing the reality.  From The Politico:

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) announced he’s not running for re-election this morning, becoming the fourth House Democrat from a politically-competitive district to announce retirement plans in the last month...

...Gordon becomes the tenth House Democrat to retire this election cycle, with over half of them in districts Republicans plan to aggressively contest. His announcement follows the post-Thanksgiving retirements of Reps. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Brian Baird (D-Wash.) – all of whom represent politically-competitive districts.

And...

...internal Republican polls showed Gordon in serious danger of losing his seat next year, running for re-election in a Republican-leaning seat. Gordon didn't help his re-election prospects supporting the Democratic cap-and-trade energy bill and by initially supporting health care reform legislation in committee — even though he changed his mind and voted against the bill on the House floor last month.

COMMENT:  With the Dems about to go over the cliff on health care, and with the probable decision (see story below) to  try more terror suspects as if they were shoplifters, don't be shocked if more Democrats suddenly announce that "I want to spend more time with my family."  Lots of lonely Congressional families out there.

A good sign for Republicans, but overconfidence can kill it all.

December 14, 2009   Permalink

 

OH DEAR LAWD, NOT AGAIN - AT 7:34 P.M. ET:  Do these people ever learn?  Does Barack Obama's Justice Department - Eric Holder, proprietor - ever understand anything?  You won't believe this.  From The New York Times:

Justice Department officials in Washington are close to deciding whether to prosecute several accused Al Qaeda operatives currently being held in the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in federal court in Brooklyn, according to people briefed on the matter.

A decision to try the cases in Brooklyn would mean that major terrorism trials would take place not only in Lower Manhattan, where the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks is to be prosecuted blocks from where hijackers destroyed the World Trade Center, but also in New York City’s other busy federal courthouse. Officials have said they are also likely to try detainees from Guantánamo in federal courts in Alexandria, Va., and Washington, D.C.

I love it, I love it, I love it.  Are these "officials" living in the real world?

Do you know what Brooklyn is like?  Brooklyn is a place where, not many years ago, a minority kid was on trial for murder, was caught with the bloody knife in his pocket, was identified by his victim before the victim died, and was acquitted.  And after the acquittal, the jury had dinner with the "innocent" man - who later publicly admitted that he was guilty all the while.

This is not the Brooklyn of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This is liberal, multicultural Brooklyn. 

And don't you love the other possible venues for terror trials?  Alexandria, Virginia - the leftist suburb of Washington.  And Washington itself.

Nothing like stacking the jury deck. 

Any trials set for the American heartland?  Nah.

Oh, and get this:

Police officials have compared the planned security deployment for the Manhattan trials to that for the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, but one that will be sustained over many months, at a price tag Mr. Kelly has estimated at well over $75 million in overtime and other costs.

Mr. Holder has suggested that the cost should not be borne by the city alone.

Thanks, Eric.  Start writing the checks.  And if some of our Middle Eastern friends decide to protest the trials by blowing up a school bus, start writing the excuses.

Geez.

December 14, 2009   Permalink

 

WAIT, WAIT, YOU MEAN THERE WAS GLOBAL WARMING BEFORE? - AT 7:13 P.M. ET:  Yes, Virginia, there was global warming earlier.  And it's one of the reasons why the "global warming community" owes us a far more respectful, detailed examination of the issue today, rather than the "we know best" attitude that has antagonized so many Americans.  From AFP:

A surge in sunshine more than 60 years ago helped Swiss mountain glaciers melt faster than today, even though warmer average temperatures are being recorded now, Swiss researchers said Monday.

Their study into the impact of solar radiation on Alpine glaciers made the "surprising discovery" that in the 1940s, and especially summer 1947, the ice floes lost the most ice since measurements begin 95 years ago, according to Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ).

Yet, average temperatures have been rising in the past two decades and scientists have said glacier melt is accelerating at unprecedented levels under the impact of climate change.

"The surprising thing is that this paradox can be explained relatively easily with radiation," said one the ETHZ researchers, Matthias Huss, in the university's online review.

And...

A phase of less sunshine -- global dimming -- from the 1950s to 1980s also corresponded with the advance in the snout of glaciers.

COMMENT:  Look, there is climate change.  There's always been climate change.  Yes, there's been some warming, and human actions may play a role.  But many thoughtful people, including leading scientists, are far from convinced that human factors are the main cause, or that changes in human behavior can have that much effect.  These are the issues that must be sorted out by good science, not political science.

The global warming crowd has pretty much blown it with arrogance and sanctimony.  The majority of Americans have turned into skeptics.  They're being asked to pay a huge price for what many see as a set of unproved theories.

The global warming advocates should be challenged, not pampered.  It can begin with some tough challenges from the mainstream media.

December 14,  2009   Permalink

 

PRESIDENT'S POLL POSITION - AT 5:45 P.M. ET:  West Point speech, Nobel Peace Prize, health care - nothing seems to improve President Obama's position in the polls.

Real Clear Politics has the latest summary of Mr. Obama's poll numbers, and they won't add to the president's Christmas joy.  In only one poll taken this month - Bloomberg - has Obama's approval been over 50%.  The most recent polls have him lower:  Rasmussen has 44% approving, 55% disapproving.  Gallup has 48% approving, 42% disapproving.  We should note that the Rasmussen poll was taken among likely voters, whereas Gallup polled all adults.

In the generic Congressional ballot, Gallup, which has the latest numbers, has Dems ahead, 48% to 45%.  But this poll was taken among registered voters.  Polls among likely voters generally show Republicans higher.  Rasmussen's latest, taken at the beginning of the month, among likelies, shows the GOP leading, 43% to 39%.

Apparently, America doesn't see change it can believe in.

December 14,  2009   Permalink


WE KNEW IT ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME - AT 11:07 A.M. ET:  Reader Sam Indorante refers us to a new study that confirms what we've always known about liberals - that they, uh, see things: 

A new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals some startling differences between Republicans and Democrats on issues of spirituality and supernatural phenomenon.

Read on, read on.  This gets good.

"Conservatives and Republicans report fewer experiences than liberals or Democrats communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and consulting fortunetellers or psychics," the Pew study says. For example, 21 percent of Republicans report that they have been in touch with someone who is dead, while 36 percent of Democrats say they have done so.

Well, of course.  That's the Democratic voter base.  This survey must have been done in Chicago.

Eleven percent of Republicans say they have seen a ghost, while 21 percent of Democrats say so.

Of course, the Democrats are including Jimmy Carter.

Seventeen percent of Republicans say they believe in reincarnation, while 30 percent of Democrats do. Fourteen percent of Republicans say they believe in astrology, while 31 percent of Democrats do.

Now tell me, which is the intellectual party?

December 14, 2009   Permalink


THIS SHOULD KILL THE WHOLE CONFERENCE - AT 9:22 A.M. ET:  Mr. Cold Air has arrived in Copenhagen to bless the multitudes.  From The Politico:

COPENHAGEN — As international climate talks appeared in danger of disintegrating, Al Gore arrived to a rock star’s welcome in Copenhagen today.

I just love that sentence.  Things are falling apart, so Al arrives.  I don't know.  Do those two elements go together?

If Copenhagen is the enviros' Woodstock, then Gore is The Who, the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival as a one-man band. The former vice president drew such a big crowd that security had to shut down access, with hundreds of unhappy activists left outside.

And the scare stories:

Inside the mobbed room, Gore watched as Danish and Norwegian officials presented a new scientific report that the sea levels are rising much faster than previous estimates.

Who reviewed this "report"?  How accurate is it?  Who reviewed the previous estimates?  We Americans, in particular, are now demanding far more details when these "studies" are presented. 

And now the finale:

The former vice president has scrapped a $1,200-a-head fundraiser for 3,000 guests scheduled for later in the week, to the dismay of Danish organizers.

You mean, no money?  How can he do this?  Isn't he the money machine? 

As the first line of the story says, the talks are in great danger of collapsing.  Some "developing" nations, which never seem to develop much, are making outlandish demands on the advanced nations - oh, excuse me, the capitalist, exploitive, war-mongering, greedy, polluting, barbarian countries - and the latter aren't buying the package.  Sometimes the Copenhagen conference seems less about warming than about conning, a different scientific concept.

December 14, 2009   Permalink


OUTSTANDING - AT 9:01 A.M. ET: 
More on Iran.  The Times of London publishes the best editorial on Iran that I've read in months.  It sets the scene perfectly for President Obama and what the president faces.  A must read:

Winston Churchill described the actions of Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The nuclear diplomacy of Iran is constructed more simply: it is one lie after another. Western diplomacy has proved susceptible to the tactic. A US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in December 2007 concluded that Iran was “less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005”. Documents obtained by The Times reveal that this assessment was worthless.

Nice to have clarity of thought, isn't it? 

...Iran has sought a nuclear capability. Its efforts have been accelerated in the past decade. The prospect of an Iranian bomb is alarming.

First, a nuclear-armed Iran will feel little constraint in supporting its terrorist proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with money and materiel.

They're not very constrained now.  Becoming a nuclear power will give them a sense of invincibility.

Second, a nuclear stand-off in the Gulf is unlikely to replicate the stable deterrence of the Cold War. In the adversarial relationship of the old superpowers, the threat of massive retaliation deterred the Soviet Union from military expansionism. Communism was brutal, but the Soviet gerontocracy after Stalin was risk-averse. Iran’s leadership is not like that.

An absolutely critical point, ignored by the armies of "multiculturalism" in America.  The Russians wanted to live.  The Iranian regime is part of the "we love death more than you love life" fringe of militant Islam.  We have a very childish tendency to laugh off that ideology, but we learned on 9-11 that it's very real.

Third, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks the annihilation of Israel, a sovereign member of the United Nations. The notion that his noisome anti-Semitic rhetoric is somehow explained by a faulty translation from the Farsi is one of the more bleakly fatuous suggestions of recent diplomatic debate. Israel was founded by a people that had doggedly clung to survival through persecution, pogrom and genocide. Israel’s leaders have not only the right but the historic obligation to take at face value the threats of a religious millenarian who looks forward to a second Holocaust while denying that the first one ever happened.

Finally, someone says that clearly, without a nod to the fashionable leftist antagonism toward Israel. 

Fourth, Iran invariably seeks to aggravate regional disputes. It was not the aggressor in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, but its retaliation included mining international waters and attacking Kuwaiti oil tankers.

We have to assume our Navy is preparing to counter new moves like that.

Finally...

Anticipating the end of America’s brief post-war nuclear monopoly, Churchill also declared: “We ought not to go jogging along improvident, incompetent, waiting for something to turn up, by which I mean waiting for something bad for us to turn up.” Sixty years later, that is precisely what Western diplomacy is doing.

COMMENT:  All right, Mr. Obama, just what are you going to do about it? 

December 14,  2009   Permalink


ANOTHER IRANIAN POKE IN THE EYE - AT 8:48 A.M. ET:  Part of President Obama's education in office has been the behavior of Iran, which has responded to every act of presidential "outreach" with a poke in the American eye.  Now, the latest poke, as the Washington Post reports:

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran said Monday it would try three Americans jailed since crossing the border from Iraq in July, a step certain to aggravate the U.S. at a time when Tehran is locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki did not say when proceedings would begin or specify the charge other than to say the Americans had "suspicious aims." In November, however, authorities accused the Americans of spying.

It's trumped up.  The three may be witless and immature, drifting across a dangerous border, but I really don't think they're "spies." Americans, as anyone with intelligence experience knows, don't normally become spies in foreign countries.  We recruit "native assets" for that.  An American stands out like a sore thumb. 

There are concerns in the U.S. that Iran could use them as bargaining chips in talks over its nuclear program or in seeking the return of Iranians they say are missing.

Yes, of course.  The Iranians love to hold hostages.  They could even house them at Iran's main nuclear facility at Natanz, and publicize the fact, making an American strike on Natanz that much more complicated.

December 14, 2009   Permalink

 

THE NEW DAY COMING - AT 7:59 A.M. ET:  We are about two weeks away from the start of 2010, which is shaping up, politically, as the most momentous non-presidential-election year in memory.  Never have the stakes been so high.  Americans will have a clear choice between a runaway Democratic Party, increasingly contemptuous of public opinion, and a resurgent Republican Party, hardly imaginative in its prescriptions, but responsible enough to try to halt a ten-wheeler that is driving off a cliff.

And yet, the political landscape ahead raises an intriguing question:  Will 2010 be the year in which the Democrats lose, and Barack Obama wins? 

I know, I know, it sounds like a nutty question, so let me explain.  We wrote last week that there has been, in recent decades, a major role reversal in American politics.  Republicans, once the party of isolation, have become the party of national defense.  Democrats, once the party of NATO, of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, have become the party of neo-isolationism.  Republicans, once the snooty, often sleepy party of "business," have increasingly embraced the values of the common American.  Democrats, once the party of those common Americans, increasingly find their inspiration in the trendy salons of Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and Aspen. 

And so on, and so on. 

But if Barack Obama knows how to do one thing, it's survive, and win.  We know that, every Wednesday, at the White House, his political team goes over polls.  The news for them recently has been nothing short of devastating.  The honeymoon is over, the marriage is weakening, a 2012 divorce may be in prospect.

And why?  These White House political guys know why - because Mr. Obama has 1) allowed himself to be dragged down by the breathtakingly unpopular Democratic leadership in Congress; 2) has, after trying to portray himself as a moderate in 2008, governed from the solid left; 3) projected an image of indecisiveness and weakness in foreign affairs; and 4) given the impression that he doesn't much like his own country.

They know that must change.  So does their boss, who enjoys the house and the perks.  In recent days we may have seen the start of that change.  (I stress may.)  As Bill Kristol asks in The Weekly Standard, was Obama's speech in Oslo last week a Nobel War Speech?  Was the president laying the groundwork for a revised, more muscular, more American foreign policy?  Was, Kristol asks, Obama preparing the world for a possible American strike on Iran?

These things are all questions, but the Barack Obama of Oslo was not the Barack Obama we came to know and dislike, which is why his speech drew so much conservative praise, if restrained praise. 

Further, the president's stiff-arming of pleas for action on behalf of African Americans by the Congressional Black Caucus may (again may) have been a kind of declaration of independence for this nation's first African-American president.

Questions:  Has the decision been made by the White House to distance itself from the left wing of the Democratic Party?  Is Obama pulling a Harry? 

In 1948, Harry S. Truman not only distanced himself from Southern segregationists, moving the Democratic Party into the age of civil rights, he also slammed the door on the party's left, sending poor Henry A. Wallace, a former vice president, to run for president on the Progressive ticket. 

Some of Obama's recent moves suggest that he may be trying to win next year's coveted Harry from the Academy of Practical Politics and Survival.

He may also be trying for the Ronnie.  Conservatives idolize Ronald Reagan, conveniently forgetting that Reagan never once addressed a pro-life rally in person, but only by telephone.  Reagan knew that, to survive and to govern effectively, he had to have the broad American middle, and he never got all that cozy with his party's hard right or social conservatives.

So we may have another role reversal coming.  It's too early to tell.  Obama must back his recent symbolism with action, and Iran may be his first test.  He is, instinctively, on the left, whereas Harry Truman came from a far less ideological base.  But if Obama cuts loose from his party's left, he may well prosper politically while his party sinks.  And he might squeeze by in 2012, as Harry did in 1948, even though his party becomes splintered and directionless.

Interesting times ahead.

December 14,  2009    Permalink

 

 

SUNDAY,  DECEMBER 13,  2009

GOP LOOKS TO GOVERNORS - AT 9:09 P.M. ET:  Superb political reporter Dan Balz, of the Washington Post, puts the spotlight on Republican governors as the presidential future of the party.  Republicans have had success in electing governors to the White House - Reagan and Bush 43 come to mind.  The last time a Republican was elected president directly from Congress was Warren Harding, in 1920.  That should be a hint:

The ranks of the Republican governors and former governors include savvy older pros, some celebrities, the biggest crop of prospective 2012 presidential candidates, bright young leaders on the rise and the possibility of enhancements to their ranks after the 2010 midterm elections that will draw even more attention to their work in the states.

And...

Haley Barbour is the one thread of continuity between the Republicans' restoration of 1994 and their comeback hopes in 2010. Then he was chairman of the Republican National Committee; today he is in his second term as governor of Mississippi and is chairman of the Republican Governors Association...

...The other older pro is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. He is the northern wing of the axis of experience the Republicans have within the gubernatorial ranks. Like Barbour, he is a former White House political director. Like Barbour, he is well-grounded in policy, having served as budget director in President George W. Bush's White House.

And the young ones coming up:

If Barbour and Daniels form the ranks of old pros, there are young pros rising within the ranks. The youngest is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been on a fast track all his adult life....

...Farther north is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is finishing his second term as governor while still in his late 40s. He is a conservative from a blue-collar family and narrowly won two tough elections in a state partial to Democrats. He has his eyes on a run for president in 2012.

There is the lady in red:

Former Republican governors retain national followings. One needs to look no further than the New York Times best-seller list to be reminded of that. Sarah Palin tops the list with her book, "Going Rogue," and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is on the list with his book, "A Simple Christmas." In March, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will test his book-selling skills with "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness."

There are newcomers, and one could occupy the bottom half of a 2012 ticket:

By this time next year, Republicans may have new governors in some of the nation's biggest states. GOP leaders are bullish about the prospects of state attorney general Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, where Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell is term-limited. They see John Kasich, the former chairman of the House Budget Committee, as a threat to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio. In California, Republicans have a three-way primary underway with the winner likely to face Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, the former governor and current attorney general, in November. Former eBay chairman Meg Whitman is the best known among the GOP contenders and a potential national figure if she gets elected.

All of these are reasons Republicans will be looking to the states as they continue rebuilding.

COMMENT:  The Republican Party has the talent.  But it's 20 political lifetimes between now and the 2012 race.  It's even too early for wild speculation.  The key point, as Karl Rove has pointed out, is to work on 2010.  Victory in 2010 will be the platform on which the 2012 campaign will be built.  If the GOP blows 2010, who will come to the altar in 2012?

December 13, 2009   Permalink

THE LADY HAS STYLE - AT 8:20 P.M. ET:  Sarah Palin's book tour is over.  She ends it in high style:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sarah Palin has returned to Alaska to end her national "Going Rogue" book tour in her home state.

The former Alaska governor, who gained instant fame with her run last year as the Republican vice presidential candidate, is holding the final book signings at two Air Force bases on Sunday. The events are closed to the public.

Palin was to sign copies of her best-selling memoir at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, then at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks.

COMMENT:  Great style, ending the tour at military bases.  As we've said, Sarah must now study the issues carefully.  But she will be a major news story in 2010, as she campaigns for other candidates.  Her self-confidence is improving, she's endeared herself to growing numbers of people. 

What Sarah should do is give a series of policy speeches, each one packed with substance.  Then, she must answer press questions about the speeches.  One step like that can put her on the larger political map.

She should learn from the career of Ronald Reagan, called an "amiable dunce" or a "warmed over movie actor."  Reagan overcame the ridicule first by building a coalition and a political base, then by performance alone.  One thing he didn't do was let the pseudo-intellectuals and skeptical TV anchors get to him.  Neither should Sarah.

And she should always remember that the purchase of Alaska in 1867 was called "Seward's Folly,"  for Secretary of State William H. Seward.  Some folly.  The visionaries are often the ones who get laughed at most.   

December 13, 2009   Permalink 

YEAH, RIGHT - AT 7:53 P.M. ET:  Another example of the old adage, "He who pays the bills, makes the rules."  Our friend, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, guiding light of the great Planet Iran website, refers us to a "survey" about Muslim attitudes in Europe and Britain, as reported by the Times of London.  And who financed the survey?  Why, you'll never guess:

Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe — but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study.

The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London.

Yes, all men are brothers.  And we're sure that the America-hating Mr. Soros commissioned a perfectly neutral and thorough survey.

This compares with 49% of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23% who feel German.

The findings, based on more than 2,000 detailed interviews, suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of the European Union.

The report will reopen the debate about the merits of multiculturalism, a policy that has actively promoted cultural and religious differences among minorities in Britain but has been criticised as a barrier to integration by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

COMMENT:  The issue, of course, is not how many Muslims "feel" British, or anything else, but what a small number of fanatics are willing to do, say, to the railroad system, airliners, schools - targets like that.  We don't expect Mr. Soros to notice, or care.

December 13, 2009    Permalink


THE GUN IS SMOKING - AT 6:42 P.M. ET:  Once again a British paper has scooped the Americans.  The Times of London claims to have a document about Iran's nuclear program that surely is a smoking gun:

Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.

The notes, from Iran’s most sensitive military nuclear project, describe a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator, the component of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion. Foreign intelligence agencies date them to early 2007, four years after Iran was thought to have suspended its weapons programme.

An Asian intelligence source last week confirmed to The Times that his country also believed that weapons work was being carried out as recently as 2007 — specifically, work on a neutron initiator.

The technical document describes the use of a neutron source, uranium deuteride, which independent experts confirm has no possible civilian or military use other than in a nuclear weapon. Uranium deuteride is the material used in Pakistan’s bomb, from where Iran obtained its blueprint.

Be careful of those who deride reports like this, smugly citing our failure "to find WMDs in Iraq."  What many of these people won't admit is that while, yes, we didn't find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, we did find the WMD programs, ready to be restarted once UN sanctions on Iraq were lifted.  The failure to point this out is one of the great scandals of the mainstream media, and a classic example of media bias.

The fallout could be explosive, especially in Washington, where it is likely to invite questions about President Obama’s groundbreaking outreach to Iran. The papers provide the first evidence which suggests that Iran has pursued weapons studies after 2003 and may actively be doing so today — if the four-year plan continued as envisaged.

A 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate concluded that weapons work was suspended in 2003 and officials said with “moderate confidence” that it had not resumed by mid-2007. Britain, Germany and France, however, believe that weapons work had already resumed by then.

The individuals who wrote that 2007 NIE should be hauled, not invited, before a Congressional committee to explain their "work," which seemed to be political science, rather than real science.  It won't be done.  Too many vested interests.

December 13, 2009    Permalink


TO OUR QUESTIONABLE HEALTH - AT 12:16 P.M. ET:  The Senate plods ahead, or sideways, on the health "reform" bill.  The idea of the Senate leaders is to pass something, anything, just to show that they can.  Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the independent voices holding out for a sane bill, comments on the status of the legislation.  From The Politico:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday the Senate can pass a health-reform bill this week with more than 60 votes if the majority agreed to take “a few things out of the bill as it is today.”

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Lieberman said Democrats should drop the public option, Medicare buy-in provisions and the CLASS Act.

“It doesn’t take much more than that,” Lieberman said.

He's asking the liberal Democrats to reject their religion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, said huge cuts to Medicare would prevent his party from supporting the legislation even if those three provisions were cut.

The Connecticut independent also said the only way the Senate will pass health-care reform by Christmas is to bring “open-minded” Republicans into the fold, such as Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), sitting alongside Lieberman and public-option honcho Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), said “every landmark legislation has had bi-partisan support" and adding that that's what's missing in this bill."

COMMENT:  The liberals would prefer to do it without bipartisan support, to keep their purity. 

Isn't it remarkable that it's the Republicans who are defending Medicare, once a Democratic program?

There are no certainties here, as Harry Reid doesn't have the numbers to pass the bill.  The country would be better off if the whole thing failed, forcing a new Congress, after the next election, to take another, hard look at health care, while taking into account the feelings of the American people.

December 13, 2009   Permalink 

UNBELIEVABLE - AT 11:06 A.M. ET:  More on the terror theme.  A story like this seems unbelievable.  You wonder how anyone can be this dumb.  And yet, before you condemn the British, think of Major Hasan at Fort Hood, a commissioned officer in the United States Army.  From The Times of London:

Ten members of a suspected Islamist terror cell, said by MI5 to be plotting to blow up a shopping centre and a nightclub in Manchester, had been granted permission by the Home Office to work as security guards in Britain.

The Pakistani students — who were never charged for lack of evidence — were arrested over an alleged plot to bomb Britain last Easter. Police believed they had conducted “hostile reconnaissance” of the Arndale and Trafford shopping centres and the Birdcage nightclub.

It has now emerged that in the months before the alleged plot, the men were given licences to work as security guards by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Home Office body that regulates the private security industry.

They all passed a vetting programme designed to bar criminals and undesirables from taking up sensitive security posts protecting airports, ports and Whitehall buildings from terrorist attack. When arrested, two of the students were working for a cargo firm which had access to secure areas at Manchester airport.

COMMENT:  Now, we all know that some "civil libertarians" would say that, since the men were never convicted, there is no issue here.  But there is.  There is no "right" to any of these jobs, especially jobs in sensitive areas.  Every precaution should be taken to exclude those about whom there is even a minimal suspicion. 

But political correctness apparently prevailed.  The result could have been a disaster.  Some day, that's exactly what will occur.

December 13, 2009   Permalink

AND NOW CANADA - AT 10:33 A.M. ET:  As readers know, we've been following the inordinate number of recent terror-related incidents in the United States, or involving American citizens abroad.  Now Canada is in the news.  It's a pattern we've seen here.  Five Somali men from Toronto have disappeared.  From the Toronto Star:

Their passports are missing and they haven't called home. The overwhelming fear is that – like at least 20 young Somali-American men in Minneapolis who have disappeared in the past two years, and others from Australia, Sweden and Britain – the young men are en route to Somalia to fight alongside al Shabaab, an Islamist youth militia aligned with Al Qaeda.

The Shabaab, which is fighting the government, is often called Somalia's Taliban. Its increasingly savvy online presence is being blamed as a possible reason for the disappearance of the five Canadians. And Somali community leaders fear other young people will be targeted as long as they feel alienated in this country, and embraced by another.

"These people can speak in their language and lure them from right under our nose," said Ahmed Hussen, the Ottawa-based president of the Canadian Somali Congress, adding people in the community have told him chat rooms were also used to lure the missing men. "We won't even know what's going on."

Yeah, we saw nothing.  We saw absolutely nothing.  There were just trains going by, heading east.  How many times have we heard this line?

And yet, I saw a CNN documentry on homegrown terrorism that reported that, in Canada, those convicted of planning terror incidents get comparatively light sentences.  And in the United States, we plan to try the mastermind of 9-11 in an ordinary civilian courtroom in New York, with all the uncertainties of a jury trial. 

It's time to get serious, both above and below the Canadian-American border.  There are too many warnings flying our way.

December 13,  2009   Permalink


CATASTROPHIC - AT 9:48 A.M. ET:  For the second day in a row, Mr. Obama's standing in Rasmussen's presdiential approval index has hit a new low.  This is getting serious:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19.

Today is the second straight day that Obama’s Approval Index rating has fallen to a new low. Prior to the past two days, the Approval Index had never fallen below -15 during Obama’s time in office.

And yet, in overall approval, the numbers have hardly budged:

Overall, 46% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove.

Rasmussen's report indictates that domestic issues are dominating public concern - anger over the Democratic health-care plan, which is profoundly unpopular, and opposition to extreme environmental legislation.  The president appears to be getting the blame for the out-of-control branch of his party, which plunges ahead despite public opposition.

American politics is normally played between the 40-yard lines.  If you stray, the American people push you back.  Some people have an image of Ronald Reagan as an ideological president, but, in fact, he knew how to maneuver politically, and governed center-right. 

I wouldn't be shocked to see the president move toward the center - we've made this point before - sacrificing his party's fringe in exchange for the much larger bloc of votes in the center.

December 13, 2009   Permalink

 

 

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THE ANGEL'S CORNER

Part I of this week's Angel's Corner was was sent late Wednesday night.

Part II was sent late Friday night.

 

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