Former Carter pollster and strategist Pat Caddell on asking taxpayers to sacrifice so government employees can keep their salaries, pensions and benefits:
“How are you going to tell a person who makes $40,000 that they must pay money to make sure that people keep jobs who make $80,000, roughly, and who have defined pensions that they will never see?” Caddell said. “You cannot ask ordinary Americans who have no jobs, whose pensions have been ransacked, and whose pay has been stagnant, to keep rewarding people who don’t face the same kind of conditions and risk.”
“The people who pay for it are suffering,” he said. “The taxpayers are going to explode. This is the big coming issue of our time.”
Caddell also has harsh words for the Obama White House, Andy Stern and the SEIU. I don’t think it’s accurate to say Caddell is a representative Democrat — he strays too much from the Party line — but I think he’s right that taxpayers won’t accept a government employee privileged class.
Amid reports that American military forces in Afghanistan are hampered by the rules of engagement, the AP reports the Taliban is using Afghan women and children as human shields:
“This is the biggest offensive since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, and a test of President Barack Obama’s strategy for reversing the rise of the Taliban while protecting civilians.
As Marines and Afghan soldiers press their offensive, they have been forced to hold their fire because insurgents are shooting from inside or next to mud-walled compounds where civilians are present — and restraint slows their advance.
Brig. Gen. Mohiudin Ghori, the brigade commander of Afghan troops in Marjah, said in some cases women and children may have been ordered to stand on a roof or in a window of buildings where Taliban fighters are shooting.
Ghori said troops have to decide between firing on insurgents among civilians, or advance much more slowly to keep women and children out of the crossfire.
“They are trying to get us to fire on them and kill the civilians,” Ghori said.
Journalists embedded with the Marines have seen such cases: a neighborhood is alive with children, then the next minute the streets are empty and gunshots ring out. As the troops advance, children reappear, peering and grinning through half-closed doors.
Rocket-propelled grenades have been fired from behind groups of civilians, who scamper away as the Marines point their weapons toward the source of fire. Marines have come under fire in poppy fields as they are being tended by farmers.
“I myself saw lots of people that were shot, and they were ordinary people,” said Afghan soldier Esmatullah, who did not give his rank and like many Afghans goes by one name. Taliban “were firing at us from people’s homes. So in returning fire, people got shot,” he said.
NATO has confirmed 15 civilian deaths in the operation. Afghan rights groups say at least 19 have died.”
It’s interesting that the AP has finally decided to point out how hard it is to fight unconventional wars by conventional rules. What happened to the AP’s insight when Americans were fighting in Iraq?
Hamas founder and member Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was assassinated in his Dubai hotel room last month, and Hamas believes it was a Mossad operation:
“Mabhouh was a senior member of Hamas and one of its founders. He was thought to be heavily involved in the 1989 kidnapping and murder of two Israeli Soldiers, Avi Saparotas and Ilan Saadon. Mabhouh held the position of chief weapons importer to Hamas. Mabhouh has negotiated weapons deal with the Iranians to supply Hamas with long-range missiles, the deadliest weapons in Hamas’s arsenal.
The last moments of Mabhouh’s life were tracked by UAE authorities. 17 members are believed to comprise Mahbouh’s hit team. The hit team arrived in Dubai Airport 19 hours before the killing. They arrived separately from different destinations, checked in to different hotel rooms, paid for their purchases in cash, used disposable cell phones, never had telephone contact with each other but called a suspicious number in Austria. As soon as Mabhouh landed at UAE he was shadowed by members of the team. Other members of the team dressed as Tennis Players followed him to his hotel and then inside the elevator to his floor. One member checked in to a room opposite that of Mabhouh. Mabhouh took a walk around the city and came back to his hotel room around 8:30 pm. It is believed that 4 members of the team were laying in wait for him at his hotel room and ambushed him. There were conflicting reports as to whether Mabhouh as suffocated or electrocuted. After the killing, the team was able to fly out of Dubai. Since the murder, Hamas has pointed an accusatory finger at Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency. Hamas believes that the Israelis assassinated Mabhouh along with perhaps some other unnamed intelligence services.”
Others aren’t convinced:
“An agency of the caliber of Mossad must know of the closed circuit cameras through out Dubai and yet the alleged Mossad agents allowed the cameras to obtain full views of their faces. Mabhouh was trailed so closely that he even bumped one of the assassins on the way from the airport. The passports were real names of real Israeli citizens, forging a direct link to Israel. spy agencies usually like to conduct assassinations without traces, especially to their own country. Unless the Mossad has become completely incompetent of late; it seems almost too easy to accuse it.”
There’s more in-depth analysis as well as discussion of a Fatah motive at the link. Read it and see what you think.
Dan Mitchell at BigGovernment wonders whether President Obama’s America will soon look like Corzine’s New Jersey, where high tax rates “helped cause wealthy people to leave the state, leading to a net wealth reduction of $70 billion between 2004 and 2008.” The reduction is reportedly a significant factor in New Jersey’s inability to balance its budget.
“This study makes it crystal clear that New Jersey’s tax policies are resulting in a significant decline in the state’s wealth,” said Dennis Bone, chairman of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and president of Verizon New Jersey. … In New Jersey, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay more than 40 percent of the state’s income tax, he said. “That’s probably why we have these massive income shortfalls in the state budget, especially this year,” he said. Until the tax structure is improved, he said, “we’ll probably see a continuation of the trend, until there are no more high-wealth individuals left.”
To progressives, isn’t this a feature rather than a bug? That is, isn’t equalization of everyone else’s wealth one of the goals?
Wealthy people left New Jersey because of high taxes but progressives may believe Americans won’t be willing or able to leave the U.S. to escape big spending and high taxes. They also think we’re sheep and that we’ll give in. I think they’re wrong.
Two well-dressed PETA protesters interrupted the final night of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with silent protests:
“Shortly before judge Elliott Weiss picked Sadie [the Scottish terrier as Best in Show], a pair of well-dressed women walked into the big ring at Madison Square Garden and held signs over their heads that said “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances,” the latter a slogan popularized by PETA.
The crowd of 15,000 gasped at the sudden protest, booed the women and then cheered as a half-dozen security guards ushered them away without incident.
PETA members Dana Sylvester and Hope Round [photos at the first link and here] were charged with criminal trespass, police said. They acted on their own, the organization said, but it supported them.”
Sadie became the first triple crown winner in one year with wins at Westminster, Philadelphia’s National Dog Show and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in California. Congrats, Sadie.
Pure-breds are great but don’t forget the shelter pets. They need people, too.
It’s the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the Stimulus, and the New York Times is busy reinforcing President Obama’s message that the Stimulus saved 1.6 to 2.4 million jobs.
Twitter was abuzz with speculation yesterday after Allahpundit dropped a hint that Hot Air had a big announcement pending. Was Ed Morrissey growing a mullet? Was Allahpundit filling in as a last-minute substitute on the U.S. Women’s Curling team?
Mediaite has learned that leading center-right web site Hot Air has been acquired by Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.
So what will this mean for Hot Air readers? Hopefully, nothing:
Hot Air is managed on a day-to-day basis by editors Ed Morrissey and the mysterious AllahPundit, who are reported to be part of the deal in the sale of to Salem, and absolutely essential to the core value of Hot Air. We are told that, from a user’s perspective, Hot Air will remain the same despite the change in ownership.
This appears to be confirmed by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who has a post up that says:
What I can tell you now is that Hot Air’s current mission and direction will not change, and that both AP and I will continue being part of Hot Air for the foreseeable future.
The Mediaite story says that the official announcement will not come until tomorrow at CPAC. Ed says that he and Allah are not commenting until then.
I hope nothing changes — but even if it doesn’t, it still seems sad. Hot Air was formed by Michelle, Bryan Preston, and Allahpundit. And then there was one.
Although I like the mix of commenters here better, I still think Hot Air is the best blog on the Intertubes. Here’s to even greater success with Salem.
This blog began on February 17, 2003, and is seven years old today.
Also, we hit 20 million page views five days ago, on February 12.
As always, thanks for reading.
UPDATE: This is a good time to remind everyone that this blog would not be what it is without the help of several people. DRJ is not only a highly valued contributor but also an incredible help behind the scenes, as is Stashiu, who spends countless hours keeping the site running and the comments section monitored. Their importance to the success of the site simply cannot be overstated.
Thanks also to Karl and Jack Dunphy for their high-quality contributions. and to the Jury members for their posts. A number of people have contributed to keep the site going, and while I still intend to write everyone individually, let me say here that each contribution has been very much appreciated
Finally, again, the readers and commenters make the site. Thanks again for reading.
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