Tuesday, September 29, 2009
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With growing pressure for decisions on life-or-death issues in Afghanistan and Iran, this morning the White House announced that President Obama will soon travel to…Copenhagen.
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CHICAGO--President Barack Obama's decision to personally lobby for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics was greeted with hope and skepticism on Monday, with some in his hometown wondering if he didn't have better things to do.
"The last time I looked we had double-digit unemployment in Illinois and I'd rather Obama dealt with that than jetting off to Copenhagen,"
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Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.
Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it "Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold."
Subject: txt 1st hcare - cali - In
In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers is pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.
Approval of the measures, the lawmakers suggest, would set off a legal battle over the rights of states versus the reach of federal power...
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Wall Street has showered nearly $11 million on the Senate since the beginning of the year, and more than 15 percent of it has gone to a single senator: Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York.
Schumer’s $1.65 million take from the financial services industry is nearly twice that of any other senator's — and more than five times what the industry gave to any single Republican senator.
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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed Sunday to jam a government-run insurance provision into the Senate bill he and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) are readying for a showdown tomorrow with Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
If health reform passes, it will require people to buy insurance, and fine them if they don't.
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Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.
Currently 75% of Democrats favor the plan. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans are opposed, as are 72% of the unaffiliated.
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Nothing mitigates director Roman Polanski’s unspeakable crime. Certainly Polanski has dealt with personal tragedy on a scale few of us can understand, but that’s not a license to drug, rape and sodomize a 13 year-old girl.
This may come as a surprise to some in Hollywood, but helming a few cinematic masterpieces doesn’t turn someone who anally raped a child into some kind of tragic hero… In all the revisionist history, the simple fact that Polanski plead guilty to “unlawful sex with an underage girl” is seldom mentioned at the top of the special brand of rationalizations extended to our celebrity class...
[Meanwhile, in the MSM...]
ABC Touts European Outrage Over Polanski Arrest
"There is a scary America that has just shown its face.’"
Senior Editor on Polanski Rape Case: ‘It’s Mind Boggling Why They’re Still Pursuing This’
Disturbingly, some are up in arms, claiming that - even though obvious after reading her grand jury testimony that the 13 year old was raped, - the incident should be forgotten...
WaPo's Applebaum Excuses Polanski, Fails to Note Her Conflict of Interest
Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum not only penned a post lamenting the recent arrest of child rapist, she failed to mention her conflict of interest.
Applebaum is married to Poland's foreign minister, who is lobbying for Polanski's release on bail...
LA Times's Goldstein Excuses Child Rapist
Apparently, Goldstein is of the opinion that Polanski has suffered enough for his crimes, and the Los Angeles prosecutors should not be spending precious taxpayer money - a phrase which, in reference to California, causes much mental angst...
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Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar...
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Iran tested its most advanced missiles Monday to cap two days of war games, raising more international concern and stronger pressure to quickly come clean on the newly revealed nuclear site Teheran was secretly constructing.
Both can carry warheads and reach up to 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers), putting Israel, US military bases in the Middle East, and parts of Europe within striking distance...
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A top official in the Obama Administration has at last admitted what intelligence agents and Israeli government officials have been warning about for years: Iran intends to build a nuclear arsenal.
In a separate interview with ABC News, he noted that Iran had engaged in "a pattern of deception and lies... from the very beginning," even as it claimed it was developing nuclear power for peaceful domestic energy purposes...
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Defense Secretary Robert Gates strongly hinted on Sunday that Iran may be concealing other nuclear facilities in the country, beyond the uranium enrichment facility disclosed Friday by President Barack Obama and other leaders at the G-20 Summit.
George Stephanopoulos asked Gates if the newly discovered site is ''the only secret site that we know of.'' After a pause, Gates said, ''I'm not going to get into that"...
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The Obama administration is scrambling to assemble a package of harsher economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program that could include a cutoff of investments to the country’s oil-and-gas industry and restrictions on many more Iranian banks than those currently blacklisted, senior administration officials said Sunday.
The administration also is seeking to build a broader coalition of partners...
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev may have joined the U.S. and other Western powers last week in threatening Iran with tough new sanctions, but he left plenty of room for the Kremlin to break ranks when it comes to making them stick.
Analysts and Western diplomats noted the Kremlin has shifted its rhetorical tone in the past, as well, only to slip back to its traditional opposition to any moves...
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Unless you are a connoisseur of small pictures of bearded, brooding fanatical clerics there is not much reason to collect Iranian currency. But I kept one bill on my desk at the State Department because of its watermark—an atom superimposed on the part of that country that harbors the Natanz nuclear site.
Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that there is at least one other covert site...
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Defense secretary Robert Gates has been given the assignment of placating the anxious with "severe" new sanctions on Iran. So we are told inferentially in an article by Brian Knowlton in Sunday's New York Times.
In any event, Gates, assures us that Tehran will now be faced with "several additional sanctions," although he certainly can't promise that either Russia or China will be in on the punitive regime.
Although we aren't taking "any options off the table" (by this he means military options), Gates thinks "there is still room left for diplomacy." Less and less room, given the news about the facility at Qom which--shall we say?--blew up in President Obama's face.
But Gates also has taken on the task of pooh-poohing any military option (which, of course, he hasn't taken off the table), blah, blah, blah. Here exactly is what he said: "There is no military option that does anything more than buy time." So there!
This is likely to be the administration's fail-safe excuse for not itself doing anything concrete against Tehran's bombs and missiles. And it will use this rationale also to persuade Israel from defending itself.
But, if it comes to that, Israel is not likely to listen. It has had its own experience with how long the time you buy will last.
On June 7, 1981, several Israel air force F-16s, accompanied by F-15 interceptors, took out an Iraqi uranium-powered nuclear reactor outside of Baghdad. Twenty-two years later--and not for wont of trying--the Iraqis still did not have a nuclear facility, as poor George Bush can tell you.
Yes, Iranian nuclear facilities are more dispersed and more intricate. But Israeli military might (to say nothing of American military might) is also more sophisticated, more intrusive and more capacious than in 1981.
I'd be happy with a 20 years delay in Iranian nuclear arms development, and even in a decades delay. With such a devastating defeat the regime would probably collapse. That's when the diplomatic option might really work.
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So the circus has come to town again. The unspeakable Gaddafi is given a reasonable 15 minutes to speak, and goes on for an hour and three quarters of clowning, tearing up the UN charter and talking complete nonsense about swine flu.
Well, you might say, that’s what Gaddafi does.
But why do they let him?
[A: Because the primary goal of the UN, like all bureaucratic organizations, is first-and-foremost its own expansion.
That's how its membership mushroomed from 52 nations at its inception to 193 now - many of which have no business being considered legitimate governments/nations, and nearly universally use it as a forum to spout anti-US 'imperialism' propaganda. ]
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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has written to the Secretary of State calling on her to cancel $2.5 million in State Department Economic Support Funds for Libya - of which $400,000 is earmarked for foundations run by the Gaddafi family...
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Moammar Gadhafi and Hugo Chavez are strengthening their relationship and finding common ground as two radical former military men who both want to challenge the ''imperialism'' of wealthy nations and aspire to speak for many poor nations. The Libyan and Venezuelan leaders were expected to meet one-on-one on Monday, although no public events were announced...
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The Group of 20 is set to become the premier coordinating body on global economic issues, reflecting a new world economic order in which emerging market countries like China are much more relevant, according to a draft communique.
Leaders of the G20 developed and developing nations also agreed to make the International Monetary Fund more representative by increasing the voting power of countries that have long been under-represented in the world financial body, said the draft G20 communique obtained by Reuters.
It called for a shift in IMF voting by at least 5 percent, although several G20 representatives said it was a 5 percentage point shift from developed to under-represented countries. Currently, the split in voting power is 57 percent for industrialized countries and 43 percent for developing countries.
The shift would make the split nearly 50-50...
[I.e., another UN-like farce to give bit players disproportionate influence. When will we learn that our participation in these theatrical plays isn't in our interest?]
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International summits are little more than colossal exercises in political vanity. Full of hot air and meaningless photo opportunities they are designed purely to feed the self-importance of the global oligarchy.
Politicians like to see themselves as heroic figures grappling with the world’s problems but in reality are incapable of achieving anything beyond the misuse of public money...
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The leaders of the world’s most powerful nations may have agreed late last week to work more closely together to control and protect the global economy, but Americans believe more than ever that the best solutions start at home.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of Americans believe that decisions made by world leaders to help the global economy will do more to help the U.S. economy than decisions made by domestic business leaders.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) say the American economy will be helped more by decisions made by U.S. business leaders to help their own businesses grow. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.
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The $787 billion economic recovery package also is stimulating growth in the federal government as agencies hire thousands of workers and spend millions of dollars to oversee and implement the package, according to government records and spokesmen. For example:
- That's helped fuel the continued growth of the federal government, which increased by more than 25,000 employees since December 2008, according to the latest quarterly report.
- During that time, the ranks of the nation's unemployed increased by nearly 4 million, Labor Department statistics show.
- There are now about 2 million federal workers, the data show.
Stimulus critics such as Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the House oversight committee, say the package has enlarged the federal bureaucracy without making a dent in the nation's unemployment rate, which was 9.7 percent in August.
"The only thing we have seen stimulated by this package has been the size of the federal government,"
[Virtually all voting Democrat for life. Now do we get it...]
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The goal was to build a reporting system that allows the public to follow the zigzagging paths of dollars awarded under the $787 billion federal stimulus package. A financial GPS of sorts.
But despite federal lawmakers' pledge of transparency, the final stages of most money trails, along with key information about job impacts, will remain invisible to users of the Recovery.org website when it debuts next month...
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With Mr. Obama is constantly on television; frequently on the road appearing at rallies and delivering prepared speeches; submitting to interviews (he has been on 60 Minutes three times in the past six months!); and generally continuing to campaign, it is appropriate for the American people to question who is actually governing our nation?
Could it be the Cabinet? There are 15 members of the president's cabinet, but we hear little if anything about what -- if anything -- they are doing. Could it be our country is run by the 37 (and counting) Czars Mr. Obama appointed who are accountable to only him? -- we do hear a great deal about their ideas for ‘re-making' America. Some notables in the new media have referred to this band of 37 as a shadow government that is free to operate without any scrutiny. The old media certainly is not asking about what the czars are actually doing... [snip]
In effect, the president is back to his old Illinois State Senate habit of voting "present" when it comes to issue after issue. He has dithered on Afghanistan and avoided a hard decision. On health care, he has outsourced political leadership to Senate and House pols. There is still no written health care plan from the White House. Sometimes it looks like nobody is in charge... [snip]
Seriously, he is leaving open the question that someone or some group is doing most of the governing. Unfortunately, delegation of this responsibility is not an available option for any president, and certainly not an option while our nation is fighting two wars and dealing with a serious economic crisis that is still gripping the entire world... [snip]
This question is a serious one and we need to start looking for answers. My fear is that no answer is a good one. A weak president out of touch with the substance of governing, in a world of conflict and danger, would be terrible for our nation. A president with a carefully orchestrated agenda that is rejected by the American people when it is revealed -- so he keeps it hidden behind his personality -- is even more dangerous.
This question needs to be asked until the truth is known and all of the American people can deal with it: who is governing our nation?
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How do you know when an extraordinarily liberal politician is failing badly?
When extraordinarily liberal journalists like Newsweek's Howard Fineman not only notice, but are willing to write about it AND get their critique's published.
Adding insult to injury, in Fineman's most recent column, he expressed concern that
"[u]nless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he's not going to be reelected."
Ouch. But there was much more in Fineman's, "The Limits of Charisma: Mr. President, Please Stay Off TV":
image toon - 1st fnn msm bias reps = Oby wins award for best TV actor
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The New York Times announced today that it would appoint an editor to monitor 'opinion media'. In an attempt to respond to criticism that it has been too slow to pick up on stories first reported by conservative blogs and talk show hosts, the Times acknowledged poor coverage, but denied a political agenda...
[That's the NYT labeling other sources as 'opinion media' - hyperventilating...]
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In "Tuning In Too Late," Hoyt criticized the Times for its lack of coverage of the juicy ACORN imbroglio, an omission that has prodded the paper into creating a new semi-position.
It's assigned an editor to monitor opinion media and catch stories like this earlier (apparently not a single television at Times headquarters is tuned to Fox News, where they could have 'caught' it quite easily.) [snip]
"The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes -- closely following its slow response to a controversy that forced the resignation of Van Jones, a White House adviser -- suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs."[snip]
This is quite misleading. The Times already monitors new media for story tips. It's just that they only monitor the left side of the blogosphere.
Lachlan Markay provided some stark examples on Sunday...