Washington Post — In China, Obama presses for rights
President Obama told a hand-picked group of Chinese Communist Party members that on the question of the Beijing government’s control of the Internet viewing of it’s citizens: “I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. I recognize that different countries have different traditions.”
And that was as peppery as Obama got in his best chance to speak out on his China trip.
Not exactly Bill Clinton denouncing the Tiananmen Square crackdown or George W. Bush worshiping with Chinese Christians.
As I argue in my column today, Obama, who seeks to efface ideas of American superiority anyway, finds himself in a poor position for making demands of the Chinese, who are currently financing much of our deficit spending.
Kudos to writers Anne Kornblut and Andrew Higgins for outlining the artificial atmosphere and contrasting Obama’s patter with what’s going on for Chinese people who speak out against the government:
“Beijing police arrested Zhao Lianhai, an activist who had become a spokesman for parents protesting over contaminated baby formula, his wife said. It was an example of the sort of human rights restrictions that advocates say occur all too often.
Zhao’s wife, Li Xuemei, said police from Beijing’s public security bureau arrived at the house about 11 p.m. Friday and arrested her husband, also confiscating two computers, a digital camera, T-shirts and some fliers. She said she was later told that he had been ‘officially detained.’”
Wall Street Journal — Suspect Is Key to Pace in 9/11 Case
Attorney General Eric Holder is hoping that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reprises his defense in an abortive military tribunal at Guantanamo when he gets to U.S. District Court in Manhattan – admit guilt and gloat about slaughtering infidels.
After taking a bipartisan pounding over engendering the security and legal risks of bringing the 9/11 architect to the domestic civilian court system, Holder needs things to run smoothly.
But as writer Jess Bravin points out, the civilian system offers KSM a bigger stage and more options if he chooses to try to embarrass the U.S. government.
Even if KSM wants to get his martyrdom on as soon as possible, will his lawyers be able to resist taking evidence on U.S. detainment and interrogation practices?
“‘Typically, it takes a year from indictment to trial’ in the Manhattan federal courts, said David Kelley, the Manhattan U.S. attorney during the George W. Bush administration. ‘This case is a lot more complex. There’s going to be a lot of pretrial litigation, and that timeline may double.’
Mr. Kelley, who was a leader of the Justice Department’s 9/11 investigation and now is a partner with Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, said “first and foremost” among the issues Mr. Mohammed could raise is the conduct of the government.
According to government documents, Mr. Mohammed faced waterboarding, or simulated drowning, 183 times while in government detention.”
The Hill — Senators push plan to subsidize lost hours
Writer Walter Alarkon looks at one of the proposals likely to make its way into the jobs package hurriedly dropped into the already-jammed Senate calendar.
By adding in the jobs package, which would be the third stimulus plan since the recession began, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to take some heat off of moderate members accused of dickering over health care pie in the sky while unemployment continues to grow.
The idea being championed by liberal Democrats is to augment the salaries of workers whose hours have been cut back – that’s like saving a third of a job.
As with all of the stimulus spending, the opportunities for scamming would be many as would the unintended consequences: Employees working the same hours but getting a bump from taxpayers, workers hanging on in a doomed job rather than looking for something new.
But spending even a farthing on stimulus now would be a tricky play in the Senate, an aviary for deficit hawks. The debate might shove health care off schedule.
“Reid hasn’t tipped his hand on what the coming legislation will include. Labor unions have called for more aid to states to help prevent cutbacks of public employees, loans for small businesses and more investment in infrastructure projects.
Republicans have attacked the Democratic approach to restarting the economy, noting that the centerpiece has been the $787 billion stimulus. Though independent economists said the stimulus has created about 1 million jobs, Republicans have used the persistent high unemployment rate and the record $1.4 trillion 2009 deficit to attack Democrats’ economic policy.”
Washington Post — Where two contentious issues intersect
We could have done without most of writer David Montgomery’s maudlin prose about the plight of illegal immigrants in America’s health care system.
But buried in his jeremiad against those who would deny benefits to those here illegally is the essential truth that the House health plan would include illegal immigrants (Rep. Joe Wilson, please call your office), allowing them to participate in subsidized insurance exchanges. The Senate plan likely will be more restrictive.
“Locally and nationwide, roughly two-thirds of working-age immigrants who are legal residents are insured, and more than one-third of illegal immigrants also have insurance, according to a new study by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. The group estimates that as many as 2.8 million uninsured legal residents of working age could benefit from reform, by qualifying for expanded Medicaid or proposed subsidies to purchase insurance. Nearly 1 million uninsured legal immigrants also work at firms that could be required to provide insurance. And 1.8 million uninsured illegal immigrants work for firms that may be required to provide insurance, according to the institute.”
Robert Samuelson — Obamacare: Buy now, pay later
Samuleson takes the time to knock down the idea that spending $1.2 trillion on health care reduces federal spending. A most useful piece that takes the time to knock down one of the greatest fictions of the current debate.
“Equally misleading, Obama’s top economic advisers assert that the present proposals would slow the growth of overall national health spending. Outside studies disagree. Three studies (two by the consulting firm the Lewin Group for the Peterson Foundation and one by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency) conclude that various congressional plans would increase national health spending compared with the effect of no legislation. The studies variously estimate that the extra spending, over the next decade, would be $750 billion, $525 billion and $114 billion. The reasoning: Greater use of the health-care system by the newly insured would overwhelm cost-saving measures (bundled payments, comparative effectiveness research, tort reform), which are either weak or experimental.”
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