Friday, February 19, 2010

The Duh Factor Is High

Oh boy. This stuff would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

IAEA shocked -- SHOCKED -- to learn that Iran is building nuclear weapons...!

A draft report from the International Atomic Energy Agency warns that Iran may currently be working on secret nuclear warhead. This is the strongest language the IAEA has yet used to describe Iran's nuclear weapons program:

"The information available to the agency is extensive, ... broadly consistent and credible in terms of the technical detail, the time frame in which the activities were conducted and the people and organizations involved," the report said.

"Altogether this raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."

[IAEA chief Yukiya] Amano is seen as more inclined to confront Iran than his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, who retired on December 1.

"Now we see from (available intelligence) that certain activities may have continued after 2004," said a senior official close to the IAEA. "We want to find out from Iran what they've had to do with these nuclear explosive related activities."

Seriously? The rest of the world has known this for years, but good for them for finally getting a clue. Where have they been? Oh yeah, behind the scenes with their lips planted firmly on Iran's backside. Unfortunately, at the same time this is happening, we're also seeing reports of U.S. weaknesses, like this one:

A recent war game simulating the National Security Council’s response to a cyber attack highlighted the United States’ serious vulnerability to such an attack in an era where it is increasingly important to prepare for the potential consequences of cyber warfare.

The war game, in which several former government officials tried to manage the commercial and economic crash resulting from the collapse of the internet and cell phone service, indicates that the U.S. needs to do more to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Not only is this news cheery all by itself, but it's just awesome how this weakness has been broadcast to the entire world. Good job.

Just how bad will it be?

The way things are shaping up, the Dems are going to get slaughtered in November's election. The real question is: how bad will it be? Non-partisan political analyst Charlie Cook has some numbers:

The respected political publication now rates 54 Democratic-held seats in the most highly competitive category — with 26 of them either pure tossups or favoring the Republican candidate. The publication rates 95 Democratic seats in total as potentially vulnerable — over one-third of the entire caucus.

Republicans need to pick up a net of 40 seats to win back control of the House. According to the Cook ratings, the GOP has only six seats that are at risk of flipping.

The most recent political climate like we see today was in 1994. There are a lot of similarities, but a few differences, too:

"In theory, at least," writes the Times's Adam Nagourney, a GOP Senate is "possible." In short, Republicans would have to hold all of their open seats, run the table in Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and South Dakota, pick up at least one seat in California, Connecticut, New York, or Wisconsin, and convince Joe Lieberman to switch to the GOP. That would get the GOP to 51 and a bare majority in the Senate. Everything would have to go right for such a victory to occur -- but it's no longer unthinkable.

What struck me about these articles, however, is how they are appearing early in the cycle. This was not the case in 1994. Then, establishment opinion dismissed the possibility of a GOP Congress until only months before Election Day. I spent a few minutes on the Lexis-Nexis database to see how often the terms "Republican" and "Congress" and "takeover" or "win" appeared in the Times in January and February 1994. I got 138 matches, but no stories about a potential GOP sweep in that year's midterms. Such a result wasn't even on the radar.


Yesterday, I noted that the media are quickly catching on to the fact that there's a chance, however small, that Congress may change hands in November. This wasn't the case in 1994 -- back then, folks didn't feel the first tremors of the coming political earthquake until the summertime, and those who did tended to be conservatives. Tod Lindberg raised the possibility in Policy Review in June 1994. (I'm told John Fund in the Wall Street Journal did, as well.) Michael Barone called it that July.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg writes today that he penned a memo to Democrats in May 1994 warning that “The administration, the Democrats in Congress and the party face a disaster in November unless we move urgently to change the mood of the country.” But he goes on to say that, "even then, I couldn’t imagine that Democrats would exacerbate the disaster, ending their decades of hegemony in the House."

The bottom line is that, as long as Dems insist on acting out their radical Leftist nature, they will continue tanking the country. And, as long as Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are in office, there's no other agenda they're going to push.

Dems violate spending pledge after just days

Just last week Congress revived PAYGO legislation which is supposed to force legislators to offset any new spending with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. While this won’t come as a shock to most Foundry readers, The Hill reports that “the ink is barely dry on the pay-as-you-go law, and Democrats are seeking to bypass it to enact parts of their job-creation agenda.”

The problem with PAYGO is not its intent–serious efforts to reduce the deficit should be met with genuine interest by all conservatives–the problem is its inevitable implementation. PAYGO has unfortunately always been a gimmick.

This is perhaps the worst feature of PAYGO: it gives cover to politicians who can claim to be addressing our government’s addiction to spending, while exempting seemingly every new spending bill from these requirements. As Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, has put it, it’s like “quitting drinking, but making an exception for beer and hard liquor.” After so much reckless spending, only real efforts at fiscal discipline—which has to include tackling our growing deficits and entitlement programs—will signal to the American public that our representatives are serious about this issue.

Really? The Dems use a gimmick to spend more than they should? Say it ain't so! And they broke their word while doing it? Noooo...!

Obama ditches Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama and U.S president Barack Obama met for the first time at the White House today, defying furious protests from China

The two Nobel Peace Prize winners seemed intent on keeping the meeting low-key, in order avoid worsening tensions between the two countries

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who was also denied a meeting in the Oval office, left via a side entrance where rubbish bags were piled up and The White House didn’t release photos of the meeting until several hours afterwards.

It's kind of hard to imagine what might be more rude than this.

Drop the inheritance schtick, already!

One of the most annoying aspects of contemporary politics is Barack Obama's incessant complaint that he inherited a big deficit. The obvious question is, was that a good thing or a bad thing? Obama's whining implies that it was bad, but then: a) why did Obama, as a Senator, vote for it, and b) why did Obama, as President, vastly increase it? Like many Democrats, Obama aims his arguments more or less exclusively at the uninformed.
This is one dead horse that is thoroughly beaten, but apparently they figure that this easily disprovable assertion is better than the alternative of taking responsibility for what they've done. They're probably right, but the duh factor is still off the charts.

There's my two cents.

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