October 23, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 10/23/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Job Losses Accelerate, Signaling Deeper Distress - Employers are moving to aggressively cut jobs and reduce costs in the face of the nation's economic crisis, preparing for what many fear will be a long and painful recession. (READ MORE)

Pakistan Will Give Arms to Tribal Militias - Pakistan plans to arm tens of thousands of anti-Taliban tribal fighters in its western border region in hopes -- shared by the U.S. military -- that the nascent militias can replicate the tribal "Awakening" movement that proved decisive in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq. (READ MORE)

In Sadr City, a Repressed but Growing Rage - BAGHDAD -- Outside the tan, high-walled house, Shiite militiamen stood guard. Inside, men sat on a red carpet, their backs against a wall adorned with images of Shiite saints, their anger rising with each sentence. Hashim Naseer, a tribal leader, remembered how Iraqi soldiers arrested his brother early this month at a nearby park along with other Shiite fighters of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. (READ MORE)

Credit-Rating Firms Grilled Over Conflicts - Executives at the country's leading credit-rating companies, whose optimistic assessments of risky investments helped fuel the financial meltdown, have privately acknowledged for more than a year that conflicts of interest contributed to the industry's failures, according to internal company documents released yesterday. (READ MORE)

Government to Take Over Airline Passenger Vetting - The Department of Homeland Security will take over responsibility for checking airline passenger names against government watch lists beginning in January, and will require travelers for the first time to provide their full name, birth date and gender as a condition for boarding commercial flights, U.S. officials said Wednesday. (READ MORE)

Greenspan expected to face House panel - WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawmakers have called key players from the past and present to congressional hearings in an effort to find out what caused the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s and determine how the government plans to get the nation out of the mess. (READ MORE)

Obama, McCain eye better use of spies - The next president will take office with plans to continue reforming the U.S. intelligence community and to put more emphasis on improving human intelligence. Republican John McCain promises to create a more agile human spying service if elected, while Democrat Barack Obama has called for more and better spies and an international security program targeting terrorists. (READ MORE)

Bush summit likely to see many agendas - The Bush administration responded Wednesday to calls from Europe by announcing a summit of world leaders in Washington to address the financial crisis, but the Nov. 16 meeting promises to be a clash of competing agendas. (READ MORE)

Obama: McCain's tax plan favors rich - RICHMOND Sen. Barack Obama beat back criticism Wednesday that his tax plan is socialism and bad for aspiring small-business owners such "Joe the Plumber" by accusing Sen. John McCain of lavishing tax cuts on the rich. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Donald Lambro: A shearing, not a sharing - Barack Obama, who became rich with his best-selling books, seems to have a problem with wealth creation. It isn't in his lexicon, it isn't on his agenda, and it isn't in his campaign message. He never talks about creating wealth, which should be at the heart of all economic growth incentives. Indeed, he wants to punish it by raising taxes on higher-income Americans to 40 percent and send that money to lower-middle income people in a refundable tax credit that will include sending checks in 2009 to 49 million tax-filers who pay no income taxes. He doesn't talk about risk capital formation, the lifeblood of a dynamic and growing economy, because he says he'll tax that, too, with a higher capital gains and dividend tax on investors and savers and many retirees. He even ridiculed Joe Wurzelbacher after the Ohio plumber asked the freshman senator if he would be hit by higher tax rates under his economic plan. (READ MORE)

Daniel R. Coats & Charles S. Robb: Stopping A Nuclear Tehran - It is likely that the first and most pressing national security issue the next president will face is the growing prospect of a nuclear-weapons-capable Iran. After co-chairing a recently concluded, high-level task force on Iranian nuclear development, we have come to believe that five principles must serve as the foundation of any reasonable, bipartisan and comprehensive Iranian policy. First, an Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability would be strategically untenable. It would threaten U.S. national security, regional peace and stability, energy security, the efficacy of multilateralism, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. While a nuclear attack is the worst-case scenario, Iran would not need to employ a nuclear arsenal to threaten U.S. interests. Simply obtaining the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear weapon would effectively give Iran a nuclear deterrent and drastically multiply its influence in Iraq... (READ MORE)

George F. Will: Willie Sutton Goes to Harvard - Washington is having a Willie Sutton Moment. Such moments occur when government, finding its revenue insufficient for its agenda, glimpses some money it does not control but would like to. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) recently convened a discussion of how colleges and universities should be spending their endowments. Grassley, who says more than 135 institutions each have endowments of more than $500 million, says perhaps they should be required to spend 5 percent of those endowments each year. Welch has introduced legislation to require that percentage to be spent to reduce tuition and other student expenses. This government reach for control of private resources comes even though last year colleges and universities spent, on average, 4.6 percent of their endowments. Furthermore, most endowments are too small to be a significant source of captured money. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Ayers: Radical Loon When Obama Was Only 47 - The media are acting as if they completely and fully vetted Obama during the Democratic primaries and that's why they are entitled to send teams of researchers into Alaska to analyze Sarah Palin's every expense report. In fact, the mainstream media did no vetting. They seem to have all agreed, "OK, none of us will get into this business with Jeremiah Wright, 'Tony' Rezko, Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers and everyone's impression of an angry Michelle Obama on 'The Jerry Springer Show.'" During one of the Democratic primary debates, Hillary Clinton was hissed for mentioning Syrian national Rezko, and during another, ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos nearly lost his career for asking Obama one question about William Ayers. In the past week, TV anchors have taken to claiming that Obama "refuted" John McCain's statement that Obama launched his political career at the home of former Weather Underground leader Ayers. (READ MORE)

Michael Reagan: Not the Time for On-the-Job Training - The media's almost universal opinion that Sen. Joe Biden simply made just another one of his gaffes -- when he warned that the election of the untested Barack Obama would inevitably result in a global crisis where our enemies take measure of the man by confronting him and America with a challenge -- was dead wrong. It was no gaffe; it was a clear warning that Obama will not only be tested, but also that he will not be up to the challenge and will need help in dealing with something he cannot deal with on his own. I cannot remember a more frightening scenario, especially since it came from Obama's own running mate and not John McCain or the Republican Party. I have no doubt Biden was sincere in alerting the nation to a very real threat to our national security -- the prospect of a totally inexperienced and naive Barack Obama being confronted by an enemy he would rather talk with. (READ MORE)

Matt Towery: GOP Seems Poised for Complete Housecleaning - I've seen this happen once or twice: a complete meltdown of the Republican Party. It starts as an uphill year looking tougher by the day. It ends like a load of bricks falling on the GOP's head. There's one word that describes the reason for the rubble that likely will be on the Republicans' heads come Nov. 4 -- arrogance. The fish rots from the head. And I'm not talking about the well-intentioned John McCain, this year's winner of the "Bob Dole Sacrificial Lamb" award. (Dole was allowed by his major party mates to go quietly into that good night in the 1996 presidential election against Bill Clinton.) Instead I mean George W. Bush, and more importantly, those who served his administration by cajoling, misleading and betraying him. They transformed him into what came to look like a cocky buffoon. They encouraged a good man to self-destruct. Now Bush has been abandoned by these hacks. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: Joe Biden's Gift - Just like that, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden has given voters the single reason why they should not elect Barack Obama president of the United States. In rambling remarks (does he ever make any other kind?) in Seattle, Biden guaranteed, like Babe Ruth calling his home run shot, that if Obama is elected president there will be an international incident to "test him" less than six months after his inauguration. Biden made no such assertion about a testing of John McCain should he be elected. Perhaps that is because McCain has already been tested ... and he passed. Behind the public's swoon over Obama is the gnawing doubt that we are about to elect the wrong man, an inexperienced man who is more fluff than substance, more personality than resume, more idealist than realist. Obama, himself, said he lacked experience and was not ready to run on a national ticket shortly after his election to the United States Senate just four years ago. (READ MORE)

Jammie Wearing Fool: Obama In No Rush to Visit Grandma - It's been almost 72 hours since Barack Obama announced he was leaving the campaign trail to be with his ailing white grandmother and from all accounts he's yet to leave for Hawaii. Hate to be harsh here, but for a guy who's lamenting not being there with his mother when she was ill, he appears to be taking his time getting to Hawaii to visit grandma. He discloses to CBS News he's wistful he wasn't able to get to Hawaii in time before his mother died. So if that's the case, why isn't he already in Hawaii? So, if according to reports your grandmother is gravely ill, why haven't you arrived yet to see her? Smith apparently doesn't ask that question. I can't be the only one suspicious about this whole thing. It just sets up too nicely that Obama gets a nice four-day weekend in Hawaii, sadly his grandma passes, then he gets a week of national mourning time and before you know it, poof, it's election day... (READ MORE)

The Right State: Was Stalin a Democrat, Or Is Obama a Socialist? - As some of you know I am a voracious reader, particularly history and politics. So it is with some interest I ran across a sentence in a book written by Donald Rayfield called Stalin and His Hangmen. Donald Rayfield is a professor of Russian and Georgian history and has written a number of books on the subject. I was happy to read my book until I found this sentence as he was discussing a young Ioseb Junghashvili (Joseph Stalin): “Marxists declare man to be naturally good; all evil stems from social injustice.” When I read the sentence, it suddenly occurred to me, ‘Stalin would have made a great Democrat.’ Wikipedia has this sentence concerning socialism: Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, and creates an unequal society. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Magna cum laundry - Undercover agent Larry Grathwohl discusses the Weather Underground’s post-revolution governing plans for the United States on a YouTube video. The video is taken from the 1982 documentary “No Place to Hide”. The Weathermen’s plans included putting parts of United States under the administration of Cuba, North Vietnam, China and Russia and re-educating the uncooperative in camps in located in the Southwest. Since there would be holdouts, plans were made for liquidating the estimated 25 million unreconstructable die-hards. The most interesting moment of the video comes when Grathwohl asks the viewer to imagine what it’s like to be in a room with 25 people, all of whom have master’s degrees or higher from elite institutions of higher learning like Columbia, listening to them discuss the logistics of killing 25 million Americans. Actually, it’s easy. What’s hard to imagine is sitting in a room full of plumbers discussing the same thing. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Robin Hayes Accidentally Tells The Truth About Liberals - Robin Hayes said this comment came out "completely the wrong way," but he's running for reelection. I'm not, so I am going to tell you that I agreed with what he said: “‘Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.’ -- Robin Hayes” This is what passes for a gaffe in DC: when a politician accidentally makes people mad by telling the truth. Most liberals despise Christians. Why do you think they support anti-Christian groups like the ACLU, get whiny about people mentioning Christmas, and are generally hostile to those who take their religious beliefs seriously? Liberals also hate successful people who want the government to stay the hell out of their way, as opposed to the losers who whinge about how the government "doesn't care about them." See, liberals can make themselves feel superior by taking other people's money (not their own money, of course) and giving it to the 2nd group, while the 1st group threatens their power by providing an excellent example for others to emulate. (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: NATO Lacks Rules of Engagement to Fight Pirates - Well, credit Reuters for asking the question that we've been discussing since the early rumors naval forces would move to Somalia. With all the firepower you would ever need to send some pirates to Davy Jones's Locker, we still lack the political leadership to make RoE decisions about behavior like piracy. “The commander of a NATO task force on its way to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia has said he still does not know what the rules are for taking on the high-seas bandits. U.S. Admiral Mark Fitzgerald said while he was aware of where the pirates were operating, there was little he could do militarily to stop them and that guidelines on how to take them on -- including whether to shoot -- were still in the works. ‘You know, I don't think we've gotten the rules of engagement yet from NATO,’ Fitzgerald told reporters on Monday during a briefing on U.S. naval operations in Europe and Africa.” (READ MORE)

Myrna Blyth: Sarah, Pro and Con - My piece “Sarah Style,” pointing out that the former Miss Wasilla had remarkable self-confidence about the clothes she wore, appealed to some but also got me some nasty comments. The critics seemed to feel that it was too frivolous and somehow demeaning to write about the way a female candidate dresses. And that Palin, because she seems to care about how she looks, is not serious enough. As one critic snipped, “What are you going to do next? Give us her mooseburger recipe?” No, but don’t you wish you knew it? In this television age, how one looks is vitally important. Yes, I know the RNC has been paying some bills for her flattering outfits. That’s the current Palin newsflash. And hasn’t it been alleged that Joe Biden had hair transplants and a bit of Botox to spruce him up? Can you imagine the enormous clatter if some liberal blogger had discovered Palin had some work done? (She hasn’t.) But good looks count. (READ MORE)

GI Kate: The Embed Process - After meeting and interviewing female service members stateside, I suggested half jokingly our next stop should be Iraq. That would only make sense, right? We interviewed a wide range of women who have served in Iraq but people should be able to actually see what Iraq is like for us. Our day-to-day lives, our jobs, where we sleep, what we eat, how we pass the time, the bonds we make, and everything else in between. I suppose we could ship over a view video cameras and do a half ass job of portraying what it is like over there...but that takes the fun out of it. So, here is where we stand...my big mouth and an amazing Navy LT from the Pentagon we interviewed got us in touch with a CPT from the Multi-National Force Iraq, who helps with the embed process...we've submitted our paperwork and are waiting for a response. This is why I need body armor. We need to supply our own and it's hard to get a hold of. I still find this really bizarre. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: Mainstream Morons - So intense have the Republicans’ suspicions of their Democratic rivals become in the last weeks of this presidential race that they are now accusing the delightful Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden, of withholding the results of his brain scans from his recently released medical records. Their charge is false. The results of those brain scans are spread across several pages of the senator’s records for all to see. Admittedly those pages appear to be blank, but what did the Republicans expect? Have they not been listening to the great man’s solemnities on the campaign trail? In an interview with his fellow airhead, CBS’s Katie Couric, late in September, the senior senator from Delaware expressed his firm belief that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of the United States in 1929 and that in that illusory year FDR had at his command a large and apparently receptive television audience. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: What will it take? - I’m sure you’ve all read the great post at HotAir from Mary Katherine Hamm, Ed Morrissey and Glen Benson entitled the “Comprehensive Argument Againt Barack Obama” which is very long and very convincing argument against barack Obama as the Presidential choice of any party. Yesterday, Michelle Malkin posted her syndicated column on her blog entitled “The increasingly erratic, super-gaffetastic Joe Biden“. In both of those pieces, the underlying premise is that if these two were Republicans, the media would have shamed them into withdrawing months ago. Well, Ramesh Ponnuru tries to make the same point this morning in the Washington Post - inevitably falling on deaf ears. “I don’t think that the double standard in the coverage is purely a function of liberal-media or inside-Washington bias. But whatever the reasons for it, the double standard exists–and the press ought to be tougher on Senator Biden. P.S. Biden also proposed sending $200 million, ‘no strings attached,’ to Iran after September 11. Ever hear about that? Didn’t think so.” The comments to Ponnuru’s piece run from the totally insane to the merely ludicrous. (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: America: A Nation of Sergeants - Marine Corps Sgt. Jack Eubanks told Byron York, "I Just Gave John McCain My Purple Heart." He, like we, want the sacrifice to mean something. "I just gave John McCain my Purple Heart," Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks told me a few minutes after McCain finished a speech at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday. "I said, 'I want to give this to you, sir, as a reminder that we want you to keep your promise to bring us home in victory and honor, so it will mean something.'" Unlike The Message(TM) fed to us at every turn, we are not a nation of community organizers, bitter malcontents or hyper-intellectuals or even 'education reformers' rubbing ideological elbows with Hugo Chavez. We are a nation of quiet doers, not just loud mouthed gripers. We, America, remain as we always have been - a Nation of Sergeants; a people who fight with grit, think with clarity, enter each day with determined work ethic, and love with intensity. (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: Obamedia Update - Howard Kurtz: "Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says." Really? Ya think? That sure is a shocking revelation. Was a study really necessary? If the media had been investigating names like Jeremiah Wright, Michael Klonsky, William Ayers, the New Party, Jim Johnson and lksajroiuehokpijrkan, then a study might be in order, but seriously, even those on the left know the media is deep in the tank for Barack Obama. They are in the tank to the point that they are committing gross journalist malpractice. (Don't know who lksajroiuehokpijrkan is referring to? I guess you missed that big report on Obama's small money donors.) If you really need to see the study, here is a link to a story about the Pew report. When people talk about the media, they generally are referring to the news media: (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Barack and Biden and Carville! Oh My! The Fine Line Between Bullies and Champions - If I have this correct, I am labeled a racist if I don't vote for Barack Obama because I don't agree with his view on government and politics, even though I would never in a million years vote for a white man who shares his views. Furthermore, if I don't vote for Barack Obama, and millions of other people in America don't vote for him either, then we are all racists, who mindlessly vote based on skin color rather than our view of government and politics. And, to top it all off, if John McCain gets elected, all black people in America are going to rise up, start shooting white people and burning down the country. Once again, don't take my word for it. James Carville the Democrat spokesman and operative said earlier this month that if Obama loses it will be either "dramatic" or "traumatic" depending on which news outlet provides your information. (READ MORE)

The Torch: Someone you should know - ...who helped you know not only him, but all his mates as well: Charley Fox: “In the fall of 1945, a train carrying wartime troops from the campaign to liberate Europe delivered a 25-year-old air force veteran to the platform in Guelph, Ont. Flush with victory over the Luftwaffe, Charley Fox came home with one of the most distinguished air combat records of the Second World War -- 222 operational missions and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, as well as credit for taking Germany's most celebrated officer out of the war. He returned to his wife and son and the department store job his employers had held for him. There, he received an unexpected visit from the mother of one of his childhood chums, Andy Howden, killed in the air war overseas. The distraught woman grabbed Fox by the shoulders and shook him. ‘Why my Andy?’ she cried, ‘and not you!’ ‘Mrs. Howden, I don't know why not me,’ he replied trying to console the woman. So deep was the effect of this encounter that Fox committed himself to recounting the stories of fellow Canadian veterans.” (READ MORE)

McQ: It begins - In anticipation of an Obama presidency and full dominance by Democrats in Congress, your 401(K) is now in jeopardy: “Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.” I don’t ever want to hear another word about "greedy Wall Street". Democrats in Congress have been trying to find a way to get at the huge pool of money for decades. (READ MORE)

Zombie: William Ayers' forgotten communist manifesto: Prairie Fire - William Ayers is a communist. But don't take my word for it. He said so himself: “We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years...” And not some nicey-nice peace-and-love kind of communist. Through his group the Weather Underground, Ayers was planning to "seize power" in a violent communist takeover of the United States: “We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give confidence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society.” The quotes above were scanned directly from a now long-forgotten book entitled Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, which was written and published in 1974 by William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and other members of the Weather Underground. (READ MORE)

Yankeemom: It’s Getting Harder and Harder - to watch The O speak but he’s in Virginia again so I’m watching him on CSPAN. I notice he only sticks with the northeastern part of the state - liberal land here. He doesn’t seem to visit those areas to the western part of the state filled with good ol’ typical white folks clinging to their guns and religion. Them’s just rednecks anyways. (I know Murtha called his PA constituents rednecks but there’s not much difference among the elites of the Democratic party.) He’s suddenly talking like a southerner. Wasn’t he brought up in Hawaii and now lives in Chicago? I don’t think they have a southern drawl there in the islands or Chi-town. Now he’s whining about all the outrageous attacks on his character. They divide us, doncha know. Apparently, to The O facts are now outrageous attacks. (Unless you are a Republican woman running for VP or just a normal guy playing football with his kid in his own yard and having The O come up to him and his asking a question of The O. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: MSM More Interested in Palin Gossip than her Record - Commenting on a conversation with an Alaska couple who, like most in the Last Frontier, love their Governor, Jay Nordlinger observes, “the campaign of hate and vilification against her has been one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed in American public life.“ Various news outlets send teams to Alaska, but to dig up dirt, not report on the governor’s record. It’s almost as they see themselves as tabloid gossip columnists rather than serious journalists. They rush to report about the RNC paying for her wardrobe or the state reimbursing her children’s travel, but they ignore her reform record. I decided to do a little googling to see how much they covered various stories. All the following are searching via Google News and were performed without quotation marks: (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Campbell Brown: The sexist double-standard on Palin’s wardrobe - Campbell Brown sounds off on the RNC’s shopping spree, but she does so to defend the RNC, not to bury Sarah Palin. The criticism of Palin’s clothes obviously touched a nerve with Brown, who makes the point that people scrutinize the appearance of women far more than men. Would you like Campbell Brown without makeup and in sweats? Personally, I think Campbell would look just fine in scrubs, and it wouldn’t change the actual news at all — which is another point to be made in this kerfuffle. Why do we scrutinize the appearance of women so much more than men, especially in the public sphere? To extend Brown’s analogy, I suspect no one would notice if Wolf Blitzer owned five suits and three ties and wore them in a distinct weekly pattern, but heaven forbid a woman tried getting away on the cheap like that on TV or almost anywhere else. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Debunking the debunker - Salon shatters campaign myths — that it made up. The post sounds good: “The punditocracy’s Seven Biggest Blunders of the 2008 election.” Unfortunately, some of the myths are really straw men. And the real mistakes of the pundits go unreported. The others are either not that big or still to be played out. The top myth: “The Cult of Sarah Palin.” The citation is a Bill Kristol column. Not cited the hundreds of “Sarah who?” columns or any of the vicious attacks on her. Considering how many conservative columnists have dumped on her, Salon’s writers are not very intelligent in their manufactured myths. Next: “Steve Schmidt Is a Genius.” Steve who? It is pretty much a given that McCain runs his campaign and often ignores the advice of the staff. One column or two do not a Punditocracy make. Next: “The Price at the Pump Will Fuel the Mood of the Voters.” That was a conventional wisdom. The precipitous fall in gasoline prices has been surpassed by the precipitous drop in the Dow. (READ MORE)

Walid Phares: Al Qaeda's Propaganda Aims to Affect US Election and future Strategies - A recent Associated Press report and a Washington Post article reported that al Qaeda's web sites have expressed a strategic preference of their organization for the next President of the United States. The Washington Post analysis, observing that multiple sites and commentaries close to the Bin Laden group expressed a similar point of view, concluded that this indeed is al Qaeda's agenda: that a John McCain Presidency would benefit the Jihadi goals. A first quick reading of the site's claim may appear to be an endorsement of the Senator from Arizona. A thorough reading of the posted material in original Arabic, however, and an analysis of the global strategies of the Jihadist movement along with the psychological war efforts by al Qaeda and their allies around the world, tell us a different story and it is the antipode of the Washington Post conclusion. Here is my reading of the Jihadi postings: (READ MORE)

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