Saturday, February 07, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Iraqi Election Results Rolling In

As expected, al-Maliki’s party has won big, thanks to the perception that his government has been able to bring stability to the troubled nation. The Times writes:
A coalition headed by Mr al-Maliki had landslide wins in Baghdad and Basra, the country’s two most important provinces. His State of Law coalition also came out on top in seven other predominately Shia provinces in southern Iraq, beating the rival Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) in a triumph for secular politics over religious groups.

Preliminary results, issued yesterday, indicate a drastic shift in the political map nationwide, with Sunni Arabs securing a better representation after boycotting the last polls four years ago in protest at the US-led occupation
As to the earlier report, which claimed the parties associated with the Anbar Awakening alleged the Iraqi Islamist Party had tampered with election results, and that they would return to arms if the party was awarded a victory. CNN reports that the IIP has come in third behind the Awakening party and non-sectarian Saleh al-Mutlaq.
The list headed by Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlaq sneaked in with 17.6 percent of the vote. It edged out the Awakening movement, which received 17.1 percent , and the powerful Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party, which got 15.9 percent.”
Gordon at Harry’s Place adds:
The win is good news after some doubted his ability to crackdown on the militants. It is also a blow to Iran as well as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which is close to the Iranians, did not win a single province having previously controlled much of southern Iraq for the last four years.”
The end of the road it is not, but a very positive step forward for Iraq. Not because another election has now been added to the nation’s history books, but because the positive changes in the country, the moving away from theocrats and rank sectarians is now making its mark within the societies democratic outlook. Let’s hope it continues.

With Leaders like These...

Listen to this rambling tripe.

And then this.

Sounds about the same to me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Trouble in Anbar

Troubling news concerning the Iraqi elections.
“Tribal sheikhs who helped drive al Qaeda militants out of Western Iraq threatened on Monday to take up arms against the provincial government because of what they said was fraud in Saturday's provincial polls.

In one of the toughest-fought contests of the election, the tribes have challenged the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), a Sunni religious party which has run the province since 2005.

With the IIP claiming the results will keep it in power, Awakening leaders alleged fraud in the voting.”

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

Do Any Democrats Pay Taxes?

An unfair assertion for sure, but this is getting ludicrous. The Washington Post writes:
After a quarter-century in Congress, Thomas A. Daschle will return to Capitol Hill today in an unfamiliar role, summoned by former colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to defend his reputation and his nomination to be secretary of health and human services amid revelations that he did not pay more than $100,000 in back taxes.

Well known and generally well liked in Washington, Daschle was expected to be one of President Obama's first Cabinet secretaries to be confirmed. His preliminary hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was so upbeat that Republicans praised his selection.
Timothy Geithner, Obama’s economic wiz kid failed to see a reason to pay his taxes while pulling in rather opulent wages. Liberal firebrand Chuck Rangel also used some clever bookwork to avoid paying his share.

Now finding a politician that is a cheat is an effortless task, and it would likely be easy to find Republicans doing the very same thing as all of these Democrats. But when Democrats, especially the variety that continuously beat the populist drum concerning the rich not “paying their share,” it reeks of stank hypocrisy that an office holder could so unmistakably work around the progressive tax system that they themselves so ferociously advocate.

The problem is larger than a few corrupt politicians. While I am a supporter of the progressive income tax system, and believe that a higher burden should be placed on those that make more money, watching activists and young people (most of whom fall into a tax bracket that pays little to no income tax) argue that the rich should pay more taxes (as if higher taxation on the wealthy is the answer to all questions), is a laughable thing to behold. Stephen Moore, a man who knows more about taxes than I do, writes:
The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shoul¬dered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per¬cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent—those below the median income level—now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. These are proportions of the income tax alone and don’t include payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.”

Advocating for increased taxes when you won’t have to pay them seems like a cheap political and moral stance to take. One can make the argument that we, as a nation, must all pitch in more to make for a stronger and better union. Libertarians may disagree with that declaration, but at least it is asking all American’s to make a sacrifice for a better good. Just asking a select group to shoulder the burden of the state is just shameless buck passing.

So to Democrats great and small: pay your taxes, or shut your lips. You don’t have to become Objectivists, but at least match your rhetoric to actions.