Republican New School Flexes Clout Ahead of November

July 31: House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor presents U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio during Rubio's campaign event in Fort Lauderdale.

Democrats aren’t the only incumbents in trouble this November. With a crop of feisty, fresh-faced conservatives making noise in the House and a wave of Tea Party-backed newcomers determined to join them, senior Republicans could have a mutiny on their hands.

The gap between the old and new schools of the GOP has become apparent as Election Day nears and polls show Republicans increasingly likely to pick up seats — lots of seats.

Election guru Larry Sabato, at the University of Virginia, released new projections showing a possible 47-seat GOP pickup in the House. Gallup’s latest generic poll showed Republicans with a 10-point lead over Democrats in the fall, the largest gap in 68 years.

The opportunity for a shakeup is ripe, but so is the opportunity for a makeover of the Republican Party itself.

“The Republican caucuses in the Senate and the House will change,” Democratic strategist Kiki McLean said. “A dangerous place for Republicans to be is establishment leadership.”

Establishment leadership likely were not thrilled to read about the contents this past week of the upcoming book being published by self-proclaimed “Young Guns” Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy — three ambitious young members of Congress who’ve been heading up recruitment of other like-minded wunderkinds for the party.

Their book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” is due out Sept. 14 — a blueprint for America in the same vein as the policy book then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign released in 2008, only with the opposite prescriptions.

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‘Alive’ Survivors Talk to Chilean Miners, Relatives, Urge Them to Be Strong

Former rugby players from Uruguay who survived more than two months of isolation in the snow-covered Andes met on Saturday with some of the relatives of 33 trapped miners and urged them to stay strong.

“They will be out soon,” said Jose Inciarte, one of the four plane crash survivors visiting the San Jose copper and gold mine in northern Chile. “The whole world is with them.”

The men communicated with miners by video, urging to appreciate the relative good fortune that nobody died in the partial tunnel collapse at the mine Aug. 5. They also said that they were moved by the miners’ fortitude.

“There is little similar between our story and theirs,” Inciarte said. “Theirs is more beautiful because they are all alive.”

Fellow survivor Gustavo Zerbino, who waved an Uruguayan flag, said to the extent possible the miners should “enjoy themselves.”

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Top Iran cleric rejects Holocaust as ‘superstition’

A senior Iranian cleric, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, dismissed the Nazi Holocaust of Jews during World War II as a new “superstition” for the West, media reported on Saturday.

“The Holocaust is nothing but superstition, but Zionists say that people of the world should be forced to accept this,” he was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

“Americans and Westerners are affected by newly appeared superstitions such as the Holocaust,” he said according to ISNA news agency.

“The truth about the Holocaust is not clear, and when the researchers want to examine whether it is true or the Jews have created it to pose as victims, they jail the researchers,” said Makarem Shirazi, who is a “marja,” or among the highest authorities in Shiite Islam.

Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly branded the Holocaust a “myth” in his frequent anti-Israel diatribes drawing international condemnation, but Iran’s prominent clergy have rarely echoed such comments.

Several opposition figures have also rebuked Ahmadinejad over questioning the Holocaust while backing the Palestinian cause.

The comments came after Ahmadinejad dismissed on Friday revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as “doomed” to fail and said the people of the Middle East are “capable of removing the Zionist regime” from the world scene.

Iran does not recognise Israel — the sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state in the Middle East — which accuses the Islamic republic of seeking nuclear weapons and has never ruled out a military strike to curb its atomic drive.

Campaigning as usual bad for one businessman

Onetime TEA Party organizer and Wicomico County Council hopeful Chris Lewis is also a business owner. And while he’s not a complete stranger to the political process, recent events surrounding his downtown Salisbury deli have left a sour taste in his mouth.

It started last week when a representative of Andy Harris’s campaign contacted Lewis about stopping by his deli as part of a business tour through Salisbury’s downtown area. Last Monday the stop was called off, only to be re-added to the schedule the next day on one stipulation – Lewis, who supports Andy’s GOP opponent Rob Fisher, would have to take Fisher’s signage down.

“I had no problem with that,” said Chris. But just hours before the scheduled appearance to discuss economic issues with the businessman, Andy’s campaign backed off.

Oddly enough, incumbent Congressman Frank Kratovil had campaigned in downtown Salisbury days before with Mayor Jim Ireton. But Lewis’s deli was skipped as Kratovil was “picking and choosing” which businesses to enter.

That was an attitude Chris didn’t care for too much. “If they win, they’re still supposed to represent you,” he said. “If I want someone to act like a Democrat, I’ll vote for the Democrat.”

Needless to say, the snub by Harris didn’t sit well. There’s “no way I can support (Harris),” said Lewis. His staff “made a bad call” by canceling the appearance and playing politics.

Lewis, who reluctantly registered as a Republican after years of being independent – including a 1998 County Council run as an unaffiliated candidate – in order to facilitate ballot access, is running for one of the two at-large seats on the Wicomico County Council. He’ll need to survive the September 14 primary against two other opponents to advance.

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Obama spending Labor Day with real thugs

To mark Labor Day 2010, President Obama will join hands with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in Milwaukee and pose as champions of the working class. Bad move. Trumka’s organizing record is a shameful reminder of the union movement’s violent and corrupt foundations.

The new Obama/AFL-CIO power alliance — underwritten with $40 million in hard-earned worker dues — is a midterm shotgun marriage of Beltway brass knuckles and Big Labor brawn. Trumka warmed up his rhetorical muscles this past week with full-frontal attacks on former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. He indignantly accused her of “getting close to calling for violence” and suggested that her criticism of Tea Party-bashing labor bosses amounted to “terrorizing” workers.

Trumka and Obama will cast Big Labor as an unassailable force for good in American history. But when it comes to terrorizing workers, Trumka knows whereof he speaks.

Meet Eddie York. He was a workingman whose story will never scroll across Obama’s teleprompter. A nonunion contractor who operated heavy equipment, York was shot to death during a strike called by the United Mine Workers 17 years ago.

Workmates who tried to come to his rescue were beaten in an ensuing melee. The head of the UMW spearheading the wave of strikes at that time? Richard Trumka.

Responding to concerns about violence, he shrugged to the Virginian-Pilot in September 1993: “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.” Incendiary rhetoric, anyone?

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Venezuela introduces Cuba-like food card

Presented by President Hugo Chávez as an instrument to make shopping for groceries easier, the “Good Life Card” is making various segments of the population wary because they see it as a furtive attempt to introduce a rationing card similar to the one in Cuba.

The measure could easily become a mechanism to control the population, according to civil society groups.

“We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba,” Roberto León Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. “It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases.”

Chávez said Tuesday that the card could be used to buy groceries at the government chain of markets and supplies.

“I have called it a Good Life Card so far,” Chávez said in a brief statement made on the government television channel. “It’s a card for you to purchase what you are going to take and they keep deducting. It’s to buy what you need, not to promote communism, but to buy what just what you need.”

Former director of Venezuela’s Central Bank, Domingo Maza Zavala, said this could become a rationing card that would limit your purchases in light of the country’s recurring problems with supplies.

“If the intention is to beat inflation, they should find a good source of supply for the entire market and not only for centers that are part of social chains,” he said. “To do that, you need to encourage local production with the help of the private sector, since they cannot do it by themselves. The government cannot become the ultimate food distributor.”

Humberto Ortega Díaz, minister for public banking and president of the Venezuelan Bank, minimized such criticism and said that all this measure is trying to do is to improve service at the government supply chains.

“Why can’t our Bicentennial chain use a card to make it easier for customers to buy their groceries?” the minister said in an interview broadcast on a government channel. He said that this type of initiative has been used by private commercial entities.

Yet, critics pointed out that the measure could turn out not as innocent as the minister makes it to be, and they insist that the government control over the supply chain is too broad and depends greatly on imports the government authorizes through its currency exchange system.

In theory, the government could begin to favor the import of products to be sold through the government chains and have more control over the type of products purchased and the people buying them.

Read more here.

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