Thursday, September 26, 2013

Free Syrian Army units ally with al Qaeda, reject Syrian National Coalition, and call for sharia - The Long War Journal

Free Syrian Army units ally with al Qaeda, reject Syrian National Coalition, and call for sharia - The Long War Journal

Harry Reid Calls Obamacare Medical Device Tax 'Stupid'

Harry Reid Calls Obamacare Medical Device Tax 'Stupid'

The Dems know inside how stupid and destructive ACA is.

Democratic Senator Supports Compromise to Delay Obamacare's Individual Mandate

Democratic Senator Supports Compromise to Delay Obamacare's Individual Mandate

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Obama and Rohani: having that encounter?

I'm not certain having "an encounter" translated well into Farsi,
(POLITICO) -- President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will not meet at the United Nations on Tuesday, senior administration officials said.
The White House had offered to have "an encounter" between the two leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, but Iranian officials ultimately declined.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pete Spiliakos: Reagan’s Children

Some excellent thoughts on recovering Reagan's ability to win over voters via Pete Spiliakos in  First Things.
Reagan was able to speak to committed conservative audiences, but he had the much rarer talent to speak to people who did not know they agreed with him on some issues and who had cultural reasons to mistrust him. These were unionized FDR-loving Democrats for whom liberalism meant a secure retirement and for whom Republicans meant being left alone to face the terrors of the Depression. He was able to find a common language and a common agenda with those FDR Democrats who became Reagan Democrats. How can the so-called children of Reagan do the same?
Conservatives want to win Illinois, they better learn on to talk like the Gipper.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Khaled Saghieh's take on the global Left and Syria

Lebanon's Khaled Saghieh's  take on Syria and the Left.  Not my perspective but he writes an interesting question (and leaves it unanswered),
The danger of the global left's discourse in its many permutations is not only that it dons imperialist garb in making its supposedly anti-imperialist argument, but that its logic betrays its opposition to any sort of interference whatsoever—whether imperialist or otherwise, under UN auspices or not, in or out of line with international law. Those who have built this discourse oppose military intervention not because of the intervening power's identity, but because of the people on whose behalf that power would be intervening. They oppose intervention not because of the objectives of the former, but because of the lacking qualifications of the latter.
The issue here is not one of sorting the "good leftists" from the "bad leftists." I do not think that such a categorization is possible, anyway. However, I am haunted by a question: What makes a sincere leftist discourse slip into becoming a retouched version of the Islamophobic right? It seems that there is an elephant in the room. Is it the ghost of the Soviet Union? Eurocentrism? Priorities of geostrategy?


Al Qaeda and the threat in Syria - The Long War Journal

Al Qaeda and the threat in Syria - The Long War Journal

Excellant piece from LWJ on AQ in Syria including this sobering note,

Al Qaeda's affiliates are seeking possession of chemical and biological weapons in Syria. On May 30, the Turkish press reported that an al Nusrah Front cell had been arrested and was found to be in possession of about two kilos of sarin gas. The following day, June 1, Iraqi officials announced that they had broken up an al Qaeda cell that was seeking to launch sarin nerve gas attacks in Iraq, Europe and possibly North America. If the Iraqi government's claims are accurate, then we already have evidence that al Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq and Syria intend to use chemical weapons in an attack the West. I encourage the Homeland Security Committee to investigate these claims and ascertain for itself the extent of al Qaeda's efforts in this regard
Read more:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#IL17 Poll

Here's some nice news,
Early Poll Puts Schilling in Dead Heat in Comeback Bid
Jim Geraghty, National Review
September 17, 2013
Friends of Bobby Schilling, the one-term Illinois Republican who aims to win back his old seat in 2014, send along this unsurprising but pleasant bit of polling news:
A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found Cheri Bustos is just barely ahead of the man she defeated in 2012. The poll of 1,496 likely voters taken yesterday had Bustos ahead by a single point, 45-44. The poll's margin of error was +/- 2.68 percent, so this is anybody's game. 22 percent of the polling universe was made up of mobile phone users.
Bustos has a three-point, 45-42 lead over Schilling among women and trails Schilling 45-48 among men. Schilling is doing better among Republicans (83 percent) than Bustos is doing among Democrats (79 percent), so the incumbent could boost her lead by focusing a little more on her base. However, Schilling leads Bustos among independents 51-34. 
In 2010, Schilling beat incumbent Democratic representative Phil "I don't care about the Constitution" Hare. Schilling did beat him, rather handily, 52 percent to 42 percent.
Then Illinois's state legislators set out to redraw the lines of the state's 17th Congressional District, and Schilling saw his district shift dramatically: It added parts of Rockford and Peoria and lost Quincy, Decatur, and Springfield. Under the tougher lines, and with home-state President Obama at the top of the ticket, Schilling lost, 53 percent to 47 percent, to Democrat Bustos.

Joe Walsh event this past weekend

I only caught the tail end of this Saturday but Cal Skinner covered the whole Joe Walsh Town Hall here and here.
A good friend of mine's an elected official in community government in the NW 'burbs.  He's no fan of Tammy Duckworth and with some anger in his voice said Walsh could have beat her if he'd had just toned it down a bit.  That and knock off the robo calls (and I think Joe had little contro on that).


Friday, September 13, 2013

Bruce Rauner on increasing the House and shrinking the Senate

Via The Reeder Report,

RR: You'd increase the size of the House and shrink the size of the Senate. What's the thought behind that?

RAUNER: First it shrinks the size of the Legislature so we save on salaries, pensions and staff. But the real driver is to make it easier for a challenger to take on an incumbent. … Three House members would be elected from each Senate district. [Currently only two are elected from each Senate district.] The power of that is that each member of House doesn't have the built-in advantage of already representing half of the district, if they run for Senate.

I'd like to go back to casting three-ballots for one Rep too.  I think it was Quinn who was behind getting rid of that in the name of reform.


Some RTA history

Cal Skinner recalls some RTA  history.

The case for Dan Rutherford



In introducing Rutherford, Greg Witzleb, chairman of the Lee County Republican Central Committee, praised him as someone who reaches out to different communities.


"He believes that the Republican Party should include everyone. He has spoken to every ethnic group in Illinois," said Witzleb, a Lee County Board member. "You can be a real conservative, but be able to work with people who don't agree with you."


That was a Rutherford theme. He promised to work with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – not a GOP favorite – to reduce crime on the South Side, which, Rutherford argued, hurts the state's reputation.


He noted that he was a regular attendee of events in religious communities ranging from Hindu to Greek Orthodox.


In 2010, he got 22 percent of the vote in Chicago. A Republican needs 20 percent in Chicago to win a statewide race, he said.

Also, he noted that he had received 66,000 more votes than Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, did in his victorious campaign the same year.

I don't know if Rutherford's that much more Liberal than Dillard or Brady, but I know he seems to work harder at meeting Illinoisans than the others.  That shows in this piece from above.  The guy is a tireless campaigner.  He's numbers in the last election showed it.

The Dartmouth: Bruce Rauner ’78 seeks to win Illinois governorship

The Dartmouth: Bruce Rauner ’78 seeks to win Illinois governorship

Well, we know a heck of a lot more about Rauner's college years than we do Obama's.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Reports : On Syria: Has Iran Begun to Back Down? / AL JAZEERA – IRAN DOESN’T LIKE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

More from Al Jazeera Arabic...  Iran knows better than most country's the effects of Chemical Weapons. 
Reports : On Syria: Has Iran Begun to Back Down? / AL JAZEERA – IRAN DOESN'T LIKE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

We cannot assume that Rouhani's statement on Twitter (which is banned in Iran) suggests a new Iranian position. However, these tweets are not only Rouhani's personal opinion, but also reflect a possible change in Tehran's stance. Although Iran will obscure this change with an ethical pretext, the actual issue might be deeper; it is possible that it is related to Iran's inability to manoeuvre on the Syrian question. In contrast to previous discourse, the words 'extremist militant groups' are not found in Rouhani's tweets. This may be the beginning of the Iranian president's quest to follow a more moderate path in Iranian foreign policy on a number of issues, including Syria. Furthermore, Tehran does not want to overstep the Russian position, especially since the Russian government has already softened its position.
The content and tone within the discourse of political and military leaders in Iran clearly indicate a declining possibility of a military confrontation between Iran and the Western powers over Syria. The remarks by the Revolutionary Guards commanders, however, previously asserted that any military action against Syria was a direct strike against Iran. Recent statements have been warnings to the United States that crossing the red line in Syria would have disastrous repercussions (Deutsche Welle, 2013), that the subsequent situation in the region would not be in Israel's favour, and that Iran would be forced to defend itself against direct and indirect threats (Al Hayat, 2013).

Iran Today: The Division over Syria Continues

US Press too focused on our own discussions and not paying attention to the real foe (and the foe's own dissensions).
Via Mesopotamische Gesellschaft,


By Joanna Paraszczuk – EAworldview – 6.9.2013 – , – The Supreme Leader grabbed most of the headlines in international media about Iran on Thursday, declaring that the US "will suffer…just like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan" if it intervenes with force in Syria on the "pretext" of a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime. What was notable, however, was not Ayatollah Khamenei's rhetoric to the Assembly of Experts. Instead, it is the continuing — and even expanding — gap between that hard-line support of Damascus and the moderation from others in the Iranian regime.

While President Rouhani continues to avoid any blame of the Syrian insurgents for the August 21 chemical weapons attacks, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also pulled back from the allegation. Instead, Zarif's office used his new Twitter account on Thursday to put forth the case against US airstrikes without reference to evil "takfiris" or an American-Israeli-Saudi plot to take over Syria.
And Rouhani and Zarif also made a headline intervention on another front. The offices of both men offered best wishes to all Jews for Rosh Hashanah, a sharp contrast to the public declarations of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Zarif, asked by the daughter of the US Speaker of the House of Representatives about past denials of the Holocaust, replied, "Iran never denied it. The man who did [Ahmadinejad] is now gone. Happy New Year."

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Durbin votes Yes in Committee on Syrian Authorization to Use Military Force

Democrats voteing yes via WaPo

Who voted yes?:
Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) (by proxy — was absent due to the Jewish holiday), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Ranking member Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Massechustett's profile-in-courage Ed Markey voted "Present".


Is Iran's Rafsanjani sending Obama a message?

Via the Financial Times,

Comments by a former Iranian president and pillar of the country's political establishment have shone a light on possible disagreements within the country's elite over its support for President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.


In a hotly disputed statement posted on the internet, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's former president, accused Mr Assad's government of using chemical weapons against the Syrian people in what analysts saw as a warning to the government to rethink its support for its main Arab ally.
"God bless the people of Syria . . . they were subjected to chemical weapons by their own government and now they have to expect a foreign invasion," Mr Rafsanjani, who heads the powerful Expediency Council, said last week at an event in the northern province of Mazandaran.
The remarks, quoted by the semi-official ILNA news agency, sparked an uproar in Iran, where officials have accused Mr Assad's opponents of being behind the attack.
They were quickly scrubbed from the news website. Later, Marzieh Afkham, Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman, denied the comments, saying they were "distorted".

But an audio recording that appeared on Tuesday confirmed Mr Rafsanjani's accusation that the Assad regime had launched chemical attacks against the Syrian people, a view shared by the US, Britain and France.

Iran and Syria fought each other with First World War tactics and the butcher's bill was in the millions.  Maybe some in Teheran have had their fill of Assad too (or fear the US entering the fray) and Rafsanjan's slipped a signal here.


Not sure many paying attention to Iran though.  At least in the chatter on Congress's deliberations.  That's sad 'cause Iran's the big player and Assad's sponser.  If they've had enough, we ought to reach out.

Susan Thistlewaite's column on Syria

My comment on the most recent thoughts I can find from her

I found the video from last year of the young boy with his jaw shot off (still alive and screaming in as best a way as a child can with their lower part of their face gone) far more disturbing then gas victims. (See )

International Politics doesn't work when Russia and China can veto everything. Ms Thistlethwaite as a proponent of Right 2 Protect owes us a bit more than this. The questions before Congress. What would she have us do?