Sunday, May 31, 2009

Luzerne Judge Races

Now that the primary of 17 is complete, we have the following lineup:
Democrats:
Bill Amesbury
Tina Gartley

Republicans:
Bill Amesbury
Dick Hughes

Amesbury was a pretty popular guy before considering a run. Now that he is on both sides of the ballot and afforded the benefit of his votes being accumulated on both sides…he might as well start getting fitted for his black robe.

The remaining seat is going to be tougher to call. Gartley is a registered Democrat, Hughes a registered Republican. For all intents and purposes, Gartley should be favored to win. She is a Democrat in a Democratic county…but that might not be the best thing for her candidacy right now.

In reference to the trouble that Luzerne County government has had with all of its recent scandals, they have thus far has been perpetuated by Democrats that were put in power by the electorate or by political appointment. Luzerne County is controlled entirely by Democrats (with the exception of the sometime-alliance between Patrilla and Urban.) Every bit of these scandals happened under Democrat control and or a Democrat’s watch. You would think this could easily develop into a “throw the bums out” mentality where the majority would see the past infractions of the Democrats, identify with the Republicans who haven’t had their hands in the cookie jar and try something new. In order to do that, the Republican Party would really need to make the Democrats own these scandals. So far, they have not.

This race will probably be the highest profile election in Luzerne County. It will certainly be the one where the most money is spent. While Hughes and Gartley are fighting it out for the remaining judicial seat, the real results of the race will be a determination of success or failure on the part of the new leadership in the Republican Party of Luzerne County.

Ted Rall on BHO

The State Journal-Register has an op-ed from Ted Rall with his take on Barack Hussein Obama's run of it so far. Not a very kind article. It basically calls for his resignation. Surprising, coming from a guy like Ted Rall.

New Polling on Bailouts

According to a very recent Rasmussen Poll, 67% of Americans oppose the bailout of GM, only 21% support it. The bailout formulated by the Obama Administration is basically a structured bankruptcy with the US Government becoming the major shareholders in a new GM entity.

When pushed with the failure option, 56% would still prefer to allow GM to go out of business than bail them out. 32% support bailing them out in this instance.

As one would expect, only 18% believe that the US Government would do a good job of running GM. To make future marketing even harder, only 12% would prefer a car from a bailout (Chrysler or GM) company.

The Tea Parties, brought on by Barack’s bailouts, were regarded favorably by 51% of those polled.

Obama Employs Rendition...or is it Rendition-Lite?

According to the New York Times, Barack Obama has ok’d the continued use of foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate, and detain all but the most highest profile captures from Iraq and Afghanistan. When a soverign uses a foreign government’s intelligence services to capture, interrogation, and detain hostiles, it is known as rendition.

Rendition is a technique that was employed by the Bush Administration and was condemned by groups like Human Rights Watch. The problem, they say, is that even though a government might get assurances of protection of the detainees human rights from the intelligence service performing the rendition, it is only an assurance. They frequently use examples of hostiles that died in the hands of the intelligence agency performing the rendition.

The only significant difference between what the Bush Administration did under rendition and what the Obama Administration is now doing is the method of capture. Under Bush, armed forces seized the hostile and turned them over to a foreign intelligence service to perform the deed. Under the Obama Administration, they simply guide a foreign intelligence agency on where they can find them, and then have them extracted and questioned. I guess this is rendition-lite.

Despite his promises to the contrary, Obama has issued executive orders to virtually chart the same course as the Bush Administration. Hypocritically, Obama through stones at the Bush Administration for “losing it’s way” on these types of matters. Apparently Obama’s way really isn’t that different than Bush. The only significant difference seems to be the rhetoric.

For more on the subject, a must read would be the New Republic’s story refuting Vice-President Cheney’s criticism of Obama making America “less safe.” The author actually points out 11 points in which the Obama Administration is in fact continuing the Bush Administration’s lead on counter-terrorism.

North Korea Runs Amuck

In 1994, under the Clinton Administration, North Korea developed a plutonium producing reactor. The international community was obviously alarmed and the US entered into an agreement with North Korea whereby the US would buy them off with food, energy, and money to stop them from continuing production at this facility and to dismantle the technology. It was later revealed that a Pakistani metallurgist was selling uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in 1991 and then again from 1997-2000. Obviously sufficient checks were not put in place to monitor North Korea and ensure that they were upholding the agreement.

In 2002, it was discovered that Kim Jong-Il was once again seeking a nuclear program, violating the previous accord struck in 1994. North Korea began to make statements that they either currently had or had the right to have the technology that would allow them to create nuclear weapons while nearly simultaneously beginning the process of ejecting international weapons inspectors which signaled the need for another round of negotiations. In order to cease production, North Korea again demanded more money, food, and energy from the US but also wanted the US to enter into a non-aggression treaty that would basically prevent the US from taking aggressive action should North Korea violate yet another treaty.

The US and the Bush Administration refused to buy off Kim a second time and refused to sign a treaty that would prevent them from aggressive action should Kim begin developing nuclear weapons again. Bush played a waiting game with North Korea and it appeared to pay off…North Korea returned to six-party talking in 2006 where they again pledged to cease production.

In April, North Korea tested a launch of what they tried to sell to the international community as a satellite test. More likely, this was a long range missile test. The

John Bolton, former Ambassador to the UN under the Bush Administration, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week warning America that Kim Jong-Il, the despotic wackjob that currently rules North Korea, was likely going to test another missile.

Bolton, unfortunately was correct.

North Korea tested a nuclear device with approximately the same yield as the US dropped on Japan in WW II. This caused an earthquake that registered a 4.7. On the same day, North Korea also conducted three short range surface-to-air missile tests. On the next day, North Korea conducted two more short range missile tests and one ground-to-ship missile test. This was the same day the UN began to work on a resolution to punish North Korea. On the following day, North Korea again five more missile tests were conducted. North Korea has also notified shipping vessels that they cannot guarantee their safety while they are testing missiles. These efforts seem to be to discourage surveillance.

In October of 2008, just prior to the Election, Vice-President Biden warned that should he and Obama be elected to the White House, within six months our enemies would test us. He went on to say that we would need to stand with Obama because it would appear as though he was not making the right decision. Hopefully, Scrappy Joe from Scranton’s prognostications will not prove as accurate as John Bolton’s.

Voter Intimidation in PA Update

Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable behavior to stand in front of a polling place in a military-type uniform and brandish a weapon…that is if you belong to the “New Black Panther Party” and perform these actions in Philadelphia.

According to the Washington Times, the Justice Department under the Bush administration had sought to press charges against the three men involved in the incident. Now, a politically appointed bureaucrat under the new administration has successfully sought a reversal on the investigation and to clear the accused of nearly all wrongdoing.

According to the story, the Justice Department had even received a sworn affidavit from a 1960s Civil Rights leader who had witnessed the behavior of those involved. The Civil Rights leader characterized the incident as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation.”

This incident boils down to politically appointed bureaucrats overruling career lawyers/prosecutors in the Justice Department. Particularly galling is Attorney General Eric Holder’s clear flip-flop on his own testimony during his confirmation hearings. Holder called the career lawyers in the Justice Department his “teachers” and described them as the “backbone” of the department. When asked about their roll during his confirmation hearing, Holder stated that if he was confirmed as AG, he would “listen to them, respect them, and make them proud of the vital goals we will pursue together.”

I doubt many at Justice are proud of this action (or lack there of) and would hardly feel respected by pulling the plug on an investigation that they had worked on since the General Election in 2008. Especially considering the motivation for stopping the proceedings is likely political in nature with nothing at all to do with justice.

Have we really slid so far backwards that we will now allow voter intimidation and the brandishing of weapons at polling places across Pennsylvania? This is a disastrous decision that disrespects the sacrifices made so that all Americans could be treated equally.