Wotka World Wide

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wall Street rains money on Chuck Schumer:

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.

While the industry has scaled back its political spending in the wake of last year’s economic collapse, data from the Center for Responsive Politics show that it’s still investing heavily in the Senate, where it’s likely to have its best shot at stopping — or at least shaping — the crackdown on Wall Street that President Barack Obama has proposed.

And it’s clearly looking to Democrats to do it.

Of the $10.6 million the industry has given to sitting senators this year, more than $7.7 million has gone to Democrats. Schumer got his $1.65 million; his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand took in $886,000; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada received $814,000; Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd of Connecticut scored $603,000; Colorado freshman Michael Bennet got $401,000; and Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas— who will have a big say on the derivatives portion of regulatory reform — got $336,000.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mark Bowden has some suggestions on war strategy for President Obama:

President Bush made a courageous decision in the summer of 2006 to reverse direction, but not the reversal sought by Congress (including then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden), the American public, the overwhelming majority of the press (including this newspaper), and even most of his own military advisers. Instead of cutting our losses and pulling out of Iraq, as we did in Vietnam, Bush doubled down. He invested more troops and, more important, embraced an entirely new strategy.

And Bush was right. What had happened beneath all of the politics was a small revolution in war-fighting philosophy, championed and implemented by an unlikely military leader, Gen. David Petraeus, a soldier/intellectual molded as much by the think tank as the battlefield. He calls the movement his "Counterinsurgency Nation," and it has rewritten the way America fights. It is not a completely new idea - there are few of those in the study of war - but its basic principles came into clearer and clearer focus as a new generation of military officers fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its guiding principle is simple: The prize in these countries is not territory, but people.

Now President Obama must decide whether to let this new generation of battle-tested soldiers apply what it has learned to Afghanistan. Those who argue that the methods employed in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan are right and wrong. They are right that the two conflicts are not identical. What worked in Iraq will not apply in all cases in Afghanistan. But they are wrong to assume the lessons of Iraq have no application in Afghanistan. The counterinsurgency consensus grew out of experience in both wars. America's new military leaders have been managing both conflicts simultaneously for most of this decade, and the hard-won lessons they have learned derive from both.

This counter insurgency idea is very strong, but even if Obama adopts this strategy, don't look for Bush to get any credit. I really don't care who gets the credit, as long as we do what is right for the people of Afghanistan.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Have a look at Obama's "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings:
President Obama's "safe schools czar" is a former schoolteacher who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, written about his past drug abuse, expressed his contempt for religion and detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men.
I'm curious how you spin this stuff. Especially the last part. Or do you just ignore it or pretend it is all lies? Of course, most of those things are job qualifications for the Administration. I guess they just put their head back in the sand while muttering about evil Bush...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Did you read Sarkozy's remarks about Obama at the U.N.? Too bad the US papers won't report this:
Obama: “We must never stop until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the earth.”
Sarkozy: “We live in the real world, not the virtual world. And the real world expects us to take decisions.”

“President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite.

“Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.

“I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he continued, referring to Israel.

The sharp-tongued French leader even implied that Mr Obama’s resolution 1887 had used up valuable diplomatic energy.

“If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce our own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons,” he said.

Mr Sarkozy has previously called the US president’s disarmament crusade “naive.”

Harry Reid providing cover for ACORN? Big surprise he doesn't want to investigate them...
Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine. Which is apparently still online...
Here is a link to a listing of state business climates, ranked according to five indices: corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax and property tax. Any surprise that California, New York and New Jersey rank 48,49,50? Nevada and Florida have the highest rankings of states normal people might live in at #4 and #5. My home state of Missouri comes in at #16, which seems about right. That basically leads the Midwest.
Considerations on net neutrality from David Nicklaus, or why net neutrality means anything but neutral. Another arena government should stay out of, perhaps?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keeping the pressure on ACORN:

Documents released by a Senate Republican on Thursday show that leaders of the ACORN community organizing network transferred several million dollars in charitable and government money meant for the poor to arms of the group that have political and sometimes profit-making missions.

ACORN's tax-exempt groups and allied organizations, long a target of conservative ire, used more than half their charitable and public money in 2006 to pay other ACORN affiliates, according to an analysis by the tax staff of Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

On Thursday, Grassley called the transactions a "big shell game" and said ACORN donors may be surprised by how the liberal group known for helping the poor obtain housing and health care was spending their money. He urged the Internal Revenue Service to take a closer look.

According to the Grassley report, charities "are being used to raise monies which are then funneled to other charities or to other organizations for purposes other than what the donor may have intended. . . . Dollars raised for charitable [purposes] appear to be used for impermissible lobbing and political activity."

A top Democratic fundraiser for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has been charged with perpetrating a $290 million fraud on several major banks. Some of his proceeds went as six figure donations to major Democrats in the last election. Hopefully this will draw more scrutiny to the massive fraud that occurred during the campaign with all the completely unchecked donations that occurred to Obama's campaign, with large percentages coming from overseas (note: this is illegal under US law). Don't hold your breath waiting to hear anything else about it though. In fact, I'm sure most media will only sweep this story under the rug.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama and protectionism, from George Will. Why do we need tariffs on low-end tires from China? Is it really necessary to hurt the poorer drivers that buy these tires to help one labor union? The myth of Democrats as party of the poor continues to evaporate...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More junk science to bolster the health care reform effort, this time with the claim that 45,000 die a year from lack of insurance. The bullshit alarm immediately went off when I heard that one, and here is the real story:

John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, agreed that the study was flawed. “The subjects were interviewed only once and the study tries to link their insurance status at that time to mortality a decade later. Yet over the period, the authors have no idea whether subjects were insured or uninsured, what kind of medical care they received, or even cause of death,” he said in a statement.

NPCA noted that a “more careful study” completed by the Congressional Budget Office found that low-income people without insurance had a 3 percent higher chance of death, but found no difference among higher income earners.

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. David Himmelstein, is a strong proponent of a single-payer system. In addition to working as associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, Dr. Himmelstein is also founder and spokesman for Physicians for a National Health Program.

He testified before Congress earlier this year in favor of a single-payer system, saying, "Our 16,000 physician members support nonprofit, single-payer national health insurance because of overwhelming evidence that lesser reforms will fail." His health care advocacy work was not disclosed in a press release for this study.
It is so easy to create a headline these days. But they usually never stand up under any scrutiny.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Senate is putting together a bill that will fundamentally change the Federal Reserve, eliminating their bank supervision power. I'm not sure how they plan on making this work, given that the Fed regulates the money supply for the banks. Apparently they want to eliminate the FDIC and the Fed as a regulator and create a super-agency to do the same thing. This sounds like a typical Democrat solution, ie add another layer of bureaucracy to an already tangled web. And the fact that Chris Dodd is coming up with these ideas really scares me. This guy caused more damage to our financial system single-handedly than anyone at the Fed did. And wasn't it interesting that Obama wanted the head of the NY Fed, ie the lead regulator of most of the "too big to fail banks" that basically had to get bailed out, to be his Treasury Secretary. Talk about mixed signals from our government. Maybe they should stop worrying about all this health care insurance reform and start focusing on some actual workable solutions to some real problems.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wolf Blitzer gets absolutely destroyed on Jeopardy - by Andy Richter and Dana Delaney. Too funny.
So what exactly are we getting from Russia in return for scrapping our missile defense plans? Nothing? Really?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comparing and contrasting the coverage given to conservative and liberal bestselling books. Guess who was favored and who was roundly ignored or ridiculed.
The hypocrisy of Democrats in Massachusetts knows no bounds:
The Democrat-controlled legislature in Massachusetts is poised to pass a bill in coming days giving Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick authority to appoint an interim senator to succeed the late Edward M. Kennedy, strengthening the party's U.S. Senate majority and bolstering prospects for passage of a health-care overhaul.

The interim-appointment issue is contentious in part because five years ago, the Democrat-dominated legislature voted to take appointment power away from Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, changing rules so a seat remains vacant until a special election. The shift came as Sen. John Kerry campaigned as the Democratic nominee for president, and a Kerry victory would have given the governor the chance to name a Republican senator.

Some Democrats have expressed discomfort over the about-face, and Republicans are irate. State Republican party Chairman Jennifer Nassour called the Democrats "gigantic hypocrites." Democratic Sen. Robert O'Leary said he understood why some lawmakers might be upset but that the emotions weren't reason to deny Massachusetts a second vote in the Senate.

Of course, no one is surprised by this. It is politics as usual. And they will get away with it. The abuse of power by our political class marches on unimpeded.

Medicare facing massive cardiac and oncology treatment cuts? Apparently the rationing has already started.
Remembering Norman Borlaug, from Gregg Easterbrook. It is no exaggeration to say that Borlaug was the greatest American of the last century. Don't know his name? You should.
Remember all those stories from 2003 about the Iraqi National Museum being completely looted right after the invasion? I sure do. Turns out they were completely exaggerated and false. Here is the real story, about how less than 3% of the museum's collection was lost, and most of it was an inside job. But don't expect an apology from the legions of mainstream media outlets that breathlessly reported their outrage at the losses (Robert Siegel, April 14, on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered: “As it turned out, American troops were but a few hundred yards away as the country’s heritage was stripped bare”).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ACORN has suspended operations (supposedly) in the wake of a series of guerrilla videos that show some of the advice being given out at district offices. I am enjoying every minute of this!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Was Russia's "hijacked" cargo ship Arctic Sea secretly carrying missiles to the Middle East? Consider this:
"The most likely explanation is that the Israelis intercepted this cargo, which had been meant for Syria or Iran," says Yulya Latynina, a prominent political commentator and radio host on Echo of Moscow, a station owned by state-controlled gas giant Gazprom. "They will now use the incident as a bargaining chip with Russia over weapons sales in the region, while allowing Russia to save face by taking its empty ship back home."
Things are never what they seem on the high seas, apparently. Read the whole thing for the details. I am pretty convinced after hearing all this that Israel caught Russia. Hopefully their tact in handling the situation will help prevent situations like this from happening again. Or, more likely, Russia will just smuggle the weapons over the Caucasus Mountains next time...
Well, is anyone surprised to find out that the Obama Administration supports extending key provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year? Don't wait for the rush of left-leaning groups to condemn this position, even though it essentially endorses one of the most criticized aspects of the Bush Administration's post-9/11 response. Apparently the ability to conduct roving wire taps and search library records have a legitimate use when a Democrat occupies the White House.
Politico has a great look at the great myth of bipartisanship in Washington:
In truth, Democratic offers to reach across the aisle — and Republican demands that they do so — are largely a charade, performed for the benefit of a huge bloc of practical-minded voters who hunger for the two parties to work together and are mystified that it never seems to happen.

The answer is hardly a mystery to Obama or his adversaries. They know that the political incentives driving them toward conflict are vastly stronger than any impulses they may personally harbor for conciliation and compromise.

This ritual — publicly trumpeting the virtues of bipartisanship while privately navigating a Washington status quo with a bias for partisan combat — is playing out across virtually every major issue the White House and Congress confront.

White House officials privately acknowledge they would be lucky to get 1 percent of Republican lawmakers to vote for a final health plan. Right now, they would be happy to get just one vote: that of Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The U.S. Senate has voted overwhelmingly (83-7) to deny government funds to ACORN. The push-back continues.

Monday, September 14, 2009

News media's credibility plunges to new low, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Funny that they interview a NY Times editor and he blames blogs and talk radio. Big surprise. Of course, the actual dollars spent tell a different story, as the NY Times' revenues and subscriptions have plunged as they have continued to push their partisan viewpoints as mainstream news. But the public is on to their shenanigans now, as the Van Jones takedown illustrates. Stories don't have to be covered on major TV news outlets or major print outlets, and they still blow up and cause controversy. Van Jones wouldn't have been pushed out if that wasn't the case, as all those major outlets did their best to ignore the story. The people are taking back the production and proliferation of the news from the corporate supported oligarchy. And news consumers are listening to multiple sides of a story from several sources and making the decision on whom to believe themselves, not letting a talking head tell them what to believe. Look for this trend to continue, with good results for America.
A good reminder about conservative support for the Civil Rights Act, from David Kopel. He contrasts it with a current lefty writer attempting to rewrite history on that score. Worth checking out. Via Instapundit.
A plan to tax medical devices being considered for the new health reform bill? Say it ain't so...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jack Webb and Joe Friday tell Obama how it is:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A couple of major policy backtracks from the White House this weekend. First off, following the guerilla reporting that nailed ACORN for highly unethical behavior, the Census Bureau announced that they are ending their affiliation with ACORN for the 2010 census. Glad to know common sense can prevail in some quarters!

And then, in the "It pays to call somebody a liar in front of the whole nation when they are lying" department, the White House has suddenly announced that a citizenship verification requirement for obtaining health care coverage might be a good idea after all. So I guess one man can make a difference. Good to know.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More ACORN fraud uncovered, this time in Miami.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One final bit of hypocrisy from Ted Kennedy. Funny that the article's author doesn't even make note of it.
Here is yet another reason why I pay no attention whatsoever to the utterings of Thomas Friedman:
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
So we are endorsing autocratic states as the best means of effecting societal change now, eh? And the Chinese rulers are "reasonably enlightened". Seriously? More on this at The Volokh Conspiracy.
A chilling look at the British airline bomb plotters and their recent convictions. Suddenly I'm glad liquids aren't allowed through security. Wish we had nailed the controllers in Pakistan as well though...
A look at rationing osteoporosis grugs in the U.K. Hope you Americans are paying attention!! This is the medical system we will soon have, complete with medical rationing boards with Orwellian acronyms (N.I.C.E. - National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).
When President Bush spoke to students in 1991, Democrats cried foul and launched Congressional investigations. Isn't turnabout fair play?
Progress in Russia? The Russian government is supposedly making Alexander Slozhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago" required reading in all high schools. The book was banned by the Soviets for revealing the abuses of Stalin's gulag system, so this is definitely progress.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Peggy Noonan on President Obama:
Mr. Obama has grown boring. And it's not Solid Boring, which is fine in a president and may be good. It's sort of Faux Eloquent Boring, especially on health care. The president likely doesn't know this, and his people won't have told him because they don't know it either, but Mr. Obama always has the same sound, approach, logic, tone, modulation. He always has the same stance. There's no humor or humility in it. News is surprise, and he never makes news.

The past 10 months, the president has lessened and not increased the trust of the big center. He did a number of things wrong, but one has not been noticed much, or noted. He moved too quickly, before he'd earned the right to change a big chunk of American life. You earn that right by establishing trust. Absent crisis, leaders have to show, over a certain amount of time and through a series of actions, that they're sober, sound, farsighted, looking out for the middle. In addition, of course, middle America is worried about two dramas, the economy and war, and he's showing he's worried about a third drama, health care, which they've put to the side. His concerns do not coincide with theirs. Which makes him, not them, look out of touch.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Why are the mainstream media outlets ignoring the Van Jones controversy? Oh right, because they don't care that he is a radical leftist who has pushed crazy conspiracy theories for most of his career. But then, so are most of those in working in the White House, so what is the big deal, really? What is left unsaid as well is how much of this stuff does Obama agree with? I'm guessing a lot of it, or he wouldn't bother to have this nut around. Of course, we aren't allowed to judge him on whom he chooses to associate with...

UPDATE: Van Jones resigned Saturday night at midnight, presumably to avoid media exposure going into next week. Looks like the White House was paying attention to the criticism, even is the media was doing their best to ignore it.

Interestingly, the New York Times announced the resignation today, mentioning "weeks of controversy over his past comments" even though they had never bothered to report on the "controversy" at all. They mention his derogatory comments about Republicans without saying what he said, or even noting that it was explicit.

Friday, September 04, 2009

In case you didn't notice, Hugo Chavez was over in Libya cavorting with Qaddafi and visiting Syria to discuss the imperialist Israel. This guy is a straight bigot. Wonder why the Obama Administration is rushing to support his crony from Honduras by withdrawing aid to the poor country after the wannabee dicatator's ouster. Whose side are we on anyways? Oh, right.
Washington Post: Charlie Rangel Must Step Down. Hear, hear! If the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee can't be bothered to follow the tax laws he helps write, he has absolutely no business being in that position.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Mark Steyn has a hilarious and poigant piece on the rise of sexual liberty at the expense of other liberties:
At some point we will come to see that the developed world’s massive expansion of personal sexual liberty has provided a useful cover for the shrivelling of almost every other kind. Free speech, property rights, economic liberty and the right to self-defence are under continuous assault by Big Government. But who cares when Big Government lets you shag anything that moves and every city in North America hosts a grand parade to celebrate your right to do so? It’s an oddly reductive notion of individual liberty. The noisier grow the novelties of our ever more banal individualism, the more the overall societal aesthetic seems drearily homogenized—like closing time in a karaoke bar with the last sad drunks bellowing off the prompter “I did it My Way!”
Read the whole thing, it is fascinating.