Monday, August 31, 2009

"Hillary: The Movie" and unintended consequences

"The Supreme Court will cut short its summer break in early September to hear a new argument in a momentous case that could transform the way political campaigns are conducted. The case, which arose from a minor political documentary called “Hillary: The Movie,’’ seemed an oddity when it was first argued in March. Just six months later, it has turned into a juggernaut with the potential to shatter a century-long understanding about the government’s ability to bar corporations from spending money to support political candidates."

Right wing Republicans did their best to destroy Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy. We can assume Clinton's candidacy would have result in Bill Clinton-style government - - balanced budgets, compromise and incrementalism.

Right wing Republicans did such a good job stopping Hillary Clinton (including voting for Obama in open caucus and primary states) that we now have Obama-style record deficits, runaway spending and hyper partisanship.

Talk about unintended consequences.

Obama, Crist and Le Mieux

"Broward County native George LeMieux will be the newest United States senator, Gov. Charlie Crist announced today. In naming Lemieux, 40, for the rare Senate appointment, Crist chose his closest and most loyal adviser and political guru. Lemieux ran Crist's 2006 campaign for governor -- earning the nickname "maestro" from the governor -- and later served as his chief of staff. Before that, LeMieux was Florida's deputy attorney general under Crist from 2003-2007.",0,7928711.story

Florida Gov. Crist is a "pragmatist". His only core belief is getting elected. An ultra conservative candidate for U.S. Senate in the 90's, Crist drifted to the center to run for governor. Earlier this year, Crist appeared with Obama to endorse Obama's stimulus plan, back when Obama's approval was at 70%.

Le Mieux is equally "pragmatic". Now a self described "social conservative", Le Mieux once ran for state legislative office as a gay rights advocate. Le Mieux will clearly be Crist's puppet.

Crist is running for the senate seat, and appointed Le Mieux to hold it for him until the next election.

If Le Mieux "pragmatically" supports Obama on "health insurance reform" (as Crist did on the stimulus bill), Le Mieux will get a high national profile (and the possibility of a post Senate high level appointment). As further part of any exchange, would Obama be willing to pay for a Republican vote by betraying the likely Democratic nominee against Crist, diehard Hillary Clinton supporter Rep. Kendrick Meek? Smells like a possible deal to me.

Pakistan: Another American friend

"A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the government to lift any remaining restrictions on a scientist alleged to have spread nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya . . . The interim instruction came in response to a petition filed by scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan . . . Khan's lawyer, Ali Zafar, said the Lahore High Court observed that "nobody can restrict the movement of A.Q. Khan given a court ruling earlier this year that declared him a 'free citizen.'" . . . Khan was detained in December 2003 and admitted on television in early 2004 sole responsibility for operating a network that spread nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. . . . He was pardoned by then President Pervez Musharraf, but immediately placed under de facto house arrest."

Why are our troops getting killed in Afghanistan, to protect Pakistan, so that Pakistan can share nuclear technology with our enemies? It makes no sense.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The New York Times: You're stupid or racist if you oppose Obamacare

"Liberals are flummoxed by the fact that obviously false and widely discredited claims about health care reform have not only taken root, but appear to be growing in acceptance. . . . Is it partly the utter gullibility of some people? Sure. Is it partly deep-seated resentment of the black man in the White House? No doubt. But it’s also about something more fundamental: fluctuations of basic trust in the federal government."

Get it? According to this New York Times editorial writer, if you oppose Obamacare, you're (1) stupid, or (2) racist, or (3) distrustful of government. Valid intellectual, ideological or economic grounds for opposition? No such thing. They're not factors in the discussion. The author of the column won't even consider the possibility that a professional or technological or union worker with good health care benefits might be satisfied with his health insurance, and not want the government to mess around with his coverage.

And they wonder why they're losing the argument.

Saudi Arabia: Now they're concerned about terrorism?

"Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, Saudi Arabia’s Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, survived an assassination attempt carried out by Al Qaeda on Thursday night when a suicide bomber visited the prince’s home claiming that he wanted to turn himself in. . . . The incident occurred days after Saudi authorities discovered and broke up a 44-member terrorist cell suspected of supporting and funding most of the terrorist operations that have taken place in Saudi Arabia since mid 2003."

Funny, but Saudi Arabia didn't seem all that concerned when all those Saudi citizens (including Osama bin Laden) attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/01.

Colombia: Read these stories together

"Colombian President Alvaro Uribe defended his U.S. military alliance against tough criticism from other South American presidents on Friday, saying the United States was alone in answering Colombia's call for help against drug traffickers and terrorists. . . . Uribe provided few details about the 10-year base deal . . ."

"President Álvaro Uribe, whose government has forged a close alliance with the United States to fight Marxist guerrillas and drug traffickers, stepped closer to extending his presidency with Colombian Senate approval of a bill permitting him to run for a third term."

Get it? In exchange for allowing U.S. military bases on Colombian soil, the U.S. is ignoring Columbia's efforts to establish an old school strongman-style permanent executive government in South America's second-most-populous country and its oldest democracy.

Imagine the media and "progressive" response to this news if this was being done under President Clinton or President McCain. At what point in time will they stop excusing President Obama's foreign policy incompetence?

Afghanistan, again

"With the death of four U.S. soldiers Tuesday, the U.S-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan now has lost more troops this year than in all of 2008, and August is on track to be the deadliest month for American troops there since the war began more than eight years ago. . . Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is considering asking for more U.S. troops even as opinion polls show that a majority of Americans think the war is not worth the cost. . . In July, 45 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan, the highest monthly toll this year. So far in August, 40 Americans have died . . ."

Imagine the media and "progressive" response to this news if this was President Clinton's or President McCain's fiasco. At what point in time will they stop excusing President Obama's military policy incompetence?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Question - How much is an endorsement worth?

Answer - From Bill Richardson, quite alot.;_ylt=Ato9PZz99NTn3d1ITmOjScGs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTM1NXY4MzJpBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwODI3L3VzX3JpY2hhcmRzb25fcHJvYmUEY3BvcwM2BHBvcwMzBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5faGVhZGxpbmVfbGlzdARzbGsDbm1nb3ZyaWNoYXJk

If and when Bush's Attorney General dropped investigations of crucial supporters, wouldn't and didn't people scream for special prosecutors?

Obama approval rating slips again

"President Barack Obama, who won the White House with an Electoral College landslide and enjoyed soaring public approval for the job he was doing in the weeks following his inauguration, has fallen to 50 percent job-approval in the newest daily tracking of the Gallup Poll. The new low for Obama in the Gallup Poll, which measured the president's public job approval at a peak of 69 percent after his inauguration in January, tracks other national polls which recently have gauged his approval ratings at 51 percent."

When an incumbent falls below 50%, his reelection is in doubt.

Maybe now he'll start listening to his critics?

Kennedy's cancer treatment

". . . when Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, he became one of the millions whose fate was not much changed by the cancer war. Despite billions that have been spent, the death rate from most cancers barely budged. Kennedy's cancer, a glioblastoma, kills almost everyone who gets it, usually in about a year. Although he got the most aggressive treatment, Kennedy lived just 15 months after his diagnosis -- about the median survival for patients with his type of tumor who get the radiation and chemotherapy regimen that has become the standard of care. . . The cost is high. Estimates from experts vary from $100,000 to $500,000. "If you have the insurance to come to Duke, no problem," said Dr. Henry Friedman, co-director of the university's brain tumor center. But if patients are uninsured or underinsured, the situation is different. Then, he said, "we will work with their home physician to give them our expertise."

Kennedy had the best available private insurance as a senator, had Medicare, and was a millionaire. Money was no issue.

Of course, under Obamacare, the commitment to cost saving by curtailing wasteful unnecessary procedures in hopeless cases would preclude this course of treatment for someone of Kennedy's age with Kennedy's disease but without Kennedy's money.

Afghanistan is Obama's war

"As public support for the war in Afghanistan erodes, President Barack Obama might soon face two equally unattractive choices: increase U.S. troop levels or stick with the 68,000 already committed and risk the political fallout if that's not enough."

While everyone focuses on domestic issues and the latest celebrity death, the issue that could destroy Obama's presidency is heating up. It reminds me of the domestic-focused Johnson and Vietnam.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where are all the anti war protesters?

"With the death of four U.S. soldiers Tuesday, the U.S-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan now has lost more troops this year than in all of 2008, and August is on track to be the deadliest month for American troops there since the war began more than eight years ago."

Where are all the anti war protesters?

Unfortunately, it appears they were against Bush's wars, not pointless wars.

Cuba, toilet paper and newspapers . .

"There's good news and bad news in Cuba. The bad news: There's a shortage of toilet paper, and officials in Havana say it will not ease until the end of the year. The good news: Day-old copies of the Communist party's newspaper Granma, a traditional substitute, are available for less than a U.S. penny. And that's six to eight full, if rough, pages per day."

The Cuban government can't provide its people with toilet paper.

But, the U.S. administration would prefer to prop up the Castro regime.


Ted Kennedy, RIP

How do you discuss the life and career of Ted Kennedy without mentioning the alcohol, the women and the scandals? After all, that's why he never became president.

Back from vacation . . .

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Illegals and Obamacare

"President Obama is challenging his critics on a national health care overhaul, accusing them of making "phony claims" about the legislation. . . . Obama said illegal immigrants would not be part of the health care overhaul . . ."

Great. Then add a provision stating that, add another provision requiring proof of citizenship or legal residency, add a third provision establishing penalties for registering or providing services to illegals, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, those and similar proposed provisions of the health care reform bill were rejected in Congressional committee. And, that's a fact, not a "phony claim".

Another racist against Obamacare

The new meme is that the only people opposed to Obamacare are racist anti change Klan types.


From Bob Herbert, the New York Times' black liberal columnist:

"Insurance companies are delighted with the way “reform” is unfolding. Think of it: The government is planning to require most uninsured Americans to buy health coverage. Millions of young and healthy individuals will be herded into the industry’s welcoming arms. This is the population the insurers drool over. This additional business — a gold mine — will more than offset the cost of important new regulations that, among other things, will prevent insurers from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions or imposing lifetime limits on benefits. Poor people will either be funneled into Medicaid, which will have its eligibility ceiling raised, or will receive a government subsidy to help with the purchase of private insurance. If the oldest and sickest are on Medicare, and the poorest are on Medicaid, and the young and the healthy are required to purchase private insurance without the option of a competing government-run plan — well, that’s reform the insurance companies can believe in. . . . If the drug companies and the insurance industry are smiling, it can only mean that the public interest is being left behind."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two democrats afraid of democracy

"This was not the rowdy town hall meeting on healthcare that Americans have come to expect this summer. A lone heckler left after a sheriff's deputy told him to cut it out. The audience listened quietly to a PowerPoint presentation on ``single-payer'' healthcare. And the two South Florida congressmen on stage received standing ovations. The key to an orderly town hall meeting, it seems, is a closed door. The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans turned its annual healthcare forum into a ticketed event mostly for its members, ensuring a friendly audience for Democratic U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings of Miramar and Robert Wexler of Boca Raton."

It's not a "town hall" meeting if the town isn't invited.

And, if they're afraid to invite the public, maybe they're doing something wrong.

Faint phrase

"The Obama administration will bring to an end the popular $3 billion ``cash for clunkers'' program Monday, giving car shoppers a few more days to take advantage of big government incentives. The Transportation Department said Thursday that the government will wind down the program on Monday at 8 p.m. Car buyers can receive rebates of $3,500 or $4,500 for trading in older vehicles for new, more fuel-efficient models. ``The program has been a huge success,'' said Marc Cannon, senior vice president of communications for AutoNation. ``Nobody is surprised. It's actually the first part of the stimulus that's worked or shown any results.''

"The first part of the stimulus that's worked or shown any results"?

Rather than brag about it, you would think the administration would be embarrassed by that "compliment".

One rule for friends and allies

We can't oppose leftist thugs and strongmen in south America . . .

if we let our friends get away with the same nonsense.

"Colombia's Senate voted late Wednesday to pass a bill calling for a referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third term."

We must oppose Uribe's efforts to stay in office forever, even if he is an ally.

Obama going down

"Floridians like the town-hall protests over President Barack Obama's healthcare plan and disapprove of the plan and the president himself, according to a new poll. By big margins, Floridians say the protests are not ``un-American'' and they're far more worried about rising taxes and deficits than with the need for a healthcare plan, a new Quinnipiac University poll of 1,136 registered voters shows. Since he began pushing the health plan, Obama's job-approval ratings have flat-lined. For the first time in Florida, slightly more people disapprove of Obama's job performance than support it. The split: 48 percent to 47 percent."

The stories are the same in Colorado and other swing states.

The only things that can save Obama now are weak, divisive Republican candidates in 2010 and 2012.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"50 million Americans who lack health care"?

"President Barack Obama is still talking compromise on a comprehensive health care bill to extend coverage to nearly 50 million Americans who lack it and contain rising costs. Privately, Democrats are preparing a one-party push, which they feel is all but inevitable."

The alleged "50 million Americans who lack health care" includes illegal aliens. Guess what? Illegal aliens are not "Americans". Frankly, it's not the government's job to provide free health care to illegal aliens.

The alleged "50 million Americans who lack health care" includes young people who don't buy available health insurance because they feel it's cheaper in the long term to pay as they go out of their own pockets. Usually, if you're younger and healthy and your only expenses are well baby care and ob/gyn, that's correct (as long as no one gets sick!) This doesn't mean they have no health care. It means they have no health insurance.

The alleged "50 million Americans who lack health care" includes Americans who work overseas. Obviously, they don't have American health insurance.

Any health insurance reform which is not fact based, but based on lies and misrepresentations (on both sides of the debate), is doomed to failure.

Just get out

"The bombings Wednesday in Baghdad that killed nearly 100 people and devastated two key government ministries raise questions about whether U.S. and Iraqi officials have moved too quickly to dismantle many of the security steps that in the past two years brought about a dramatic drop in bloodshed in the Iraqi capital."

We wanted to get rid of Saddam, we got rid of Saddam, now let's just get out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our friend, Afghan President Karzai

"President Hamid Karzai's reelection, powered by despised warlords linked to war crimes and drugs, could drive more Afghans to join the Taliban or other militant groups and stoke ethnic tensions, Western and Afghan experts say. A victory by his main rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, could bring a similar result, they say."

Our ally and the likely winner of the Afghan election is "linked to war crimes and drugs".

Why are we sending Americans soldiers to Afghanistan to die in support of these characters?

Remember the original health care funding plan?

Remember the original plan?

Withdraw from Iraq, and use the money being wasted in Iraq to fund health care reform and other domestic spending here at home?

That was the big campaign applause line.

If Obama had followed that plan, withdrew from Iraq, and dedicated the savings to his domestic agenda, his health care reform plan would be in better shape today.

Iraq: The only hope for early withdrawal?

Americans voted in 2006 and 2008 to end American involvement in Iraq.

In response, America (under the leadership of its new "anti-war" president, who decided to honor the agreement of its last "pro-war" president) is unconditionally committed to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011.

Our only hope of early withdrawal?

"Iraqi voters could get a chance in January to hasten the withdrawal of American forces from their country by as much as a year, sending all remaining U.S. soldiers home by the end of 2010 instead of 2011. Iraq's government announced Monday that it's submitting a bill to parliament to fund a national referendum Jan. 16, giving voters a say on the security agreement that defines the pace of the drawdown. That vote would take place on the same date that Iraqis choose their next parliament, their first national vote since 2005."

Get that? American elections have no impact on the conduct of the war or the pace of withdrawal by American forces. Only Iraqi elections could possibly influence America's Iraq war policy.

Remind me again which country is the democracy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What happened to the pro marriage candidate?

"Feds defend gay-marriage ban reluctantly . . . The Obama administration Monday branded the federal Defense of Marriage Act "discriminatory" and called for its repeal — in the course of defending it against a lawsuit . . . As long as the law denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages is on the books . . . the Obama administration defends the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, same-sex marriage barrier with reluctance."

Defend DOMA "with reluctance"? This is the Bush / Cheney marriage policy.

What happened to the pro marriage candidate?

When were we told he would adhere to the Bush / Cheney marriage policy?

What happened to the anti war candidate?

"On Iraq, Obama repeated his pledge that the U.S. will begin pulling out combat brigades later this year. All U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, he said."

Out "by the end of 2011"? This is the Bush / Cheney withdrawal plan, originally negotiated by the prior administration with the current Iraqi government.

What happened to the anti war candidate?

When were we told he would adhere to the Bush / Cheney strategy in Iraq?

Monday, August 17, 2009

How do you say "thank you" in Honduras?

President Zelaya of Honduras was ousted from office in a constitutional dispute, and sent packing overseas.

Since then, "The administration of President Barack Obama has cut off millions of dollars in military and development aid to Honduras in an effort to pressure for Zelaya's reinstatement."

Further, against all reason and sense, Obama has allied himself with Chavez, Castro and the communist left in support of Zelaya.

What do we get in return?

"During a visit to Brazil last week, Zelaya spoke of the stop at Soto Cano, also known as Palmerola, and voiced suspicions of U.S. complicity in the coup . . . Zelaya said. "Now, there are some elements of the CIA that could have been involved. When they took me by plane to Costa Rica, it was a short flight but the plane made a stop at the Palmerola air base to refuel," he added. "Palmerola is a base administered by Honduran and U.S. troops. If it was a short flight, some 40 minutes, why did they have to refuel at Palmerola base?" Patricia Valle, who served as Zelaya's deputy foreign minister, reiterated those suspicions Saturday . . . "Zelaya was taken to Palmerola," Valle told the AP. "The United States was involved in the coup against Zelaya."

Zelaya isn't our friend, even while we're helping him.

Why help him?

No more public option

"Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new healthcare system. Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers."

In other words, the town hall protesters win (again).

And, Obama has no bottom line health care reform principle, other than signing a piece of paper and declaring victory.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Losing hearts and minds

"Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Saturday downplayed being questioned at a U.S. airport, saying it was part of a necessary but unfortunate procedure. Khan, one of the Indian film industry's biggest stars, is in the U.S. to promote his new film, "My Name is Khan," which is about racial profiling. He . . . was detained because his name came up on a computer alert list at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. . . . "I told them I am a movie star," Press Trust quoted Khan as saying. The reported detention made top news on TV stations in India."

India is a fully functioning western style democracy with a Hindu majority.

The Indian people are our allies in the fight against radical fundamentalist terrorists.

Need proof of Mr. Khan's support for America?

"Kahn told reporters in suburban Chicago on Saturday that he did not want an apology from the U.S. government. Asked about what happened, he simply said: "I think it's a procedure that needs to be followed, but an unfortunate procedure." Kahn made his comments after appearing at an Indian festival in Rosemont and did not mention the incident in his remarks to the crowd."

Someone needs to educate the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection about how you treat our friends, and how you tell friends from enemies. Evidently, certain employees think anyone with black hair and brown skin is an enemy. They're wrong.

Eastern European missiles?

"The cost of building and operating the controversial U.S. anti-ballistic missile sites in Europe could substantially exceed the original estimate of more than $4 billion, the Government Accountability Office has told Congress. The Defense Department's original estimate of $837 million for constructing the sites in Poland and the Czech Republic "did not fully account for the cost of power and utilities at the sites, among other things," . . . In May 2009, according to the report, an Army Corps of Engineers official said after reviewing design data that the construction estimate should be raised "to almost $1.2 billion . . ."

Put aside the question of why we're ignoring all the changes in the world, and still spending billions on missile sites in a region now at peace.

Instead, focus on what these 50% to 100% projected cost overruns on missile site development say about the validity of any estimates of the cost of health care "reform". The same people are doing the "estimating".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hamas vs. al-Qaeda in Gaza

"Hamas security forces battled with Islamic radicals from an al-Qaeda-inspired group in the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others, according to media reports from the Palestinian territory. The leader of the group known as Jund Ansar Allah triggered the gun battles by defying Gaza's Hamas rulers earlier in the day. He declared an "Islamic emirate" in the territory in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, near the Egyptian border.
The fighting began when Hamas forces surrounded a mosque in Rafah, where about 100 members of Jund Ansar Allah, or the Soldiers of the Companions of God, were holed up, according to residents. The leader of Jund Ansar Allah, Abdel-Latif Moussa, warned Hamas forces against trying to enter the mosque compound. "If Hamas does that, it will be their end," he said."

Do we really expect Israel to negotiate with these "neighbors"?

Balance the budget first

"With polls showing rising concern over the government's grim financial situation, key Republicans and a growing number of Democrats say it will be hard to push an ambitious health reform bill through Congress unless it reduces projected federal spending on medical care and begins to bring the national debt under control."

This is obvious.

Why is it news to those in Washington?

Honesty, please

According to the news sources, "end-of-life dialogue is vital but stifled in healthcare reform debate".

This is a problem, because "making end-of-life decisions early and thoughtfully can lead to a comfortable death in a setting you want, experts say - - and save American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars."

Maybe if the proponents of Obamacare had been honest, and admitted that cost savings was an important motivating factor, they wouldn't have lost control of the debate. Instead, they lied.

Friday, August 14, 2009

John Edwards sinks lower

When he admitted the affair, but denied the paternity, I thought John Edwards had at least come clean, and put it all behind him.

Unfortunately, he was still holding back the truth.

"Sources have told WRAL News that they expect former U.S. Sen. John Edwards to admit that he is the father of his former mistress' 18-month-old daughter. Edwards, a two-time Democratic presidential candidate, confessed last August to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, who served as a videographer on Edwards' 2008 campaign. He has denied fathering her daughter, saying his relationship with Hunter ended before the child was conceived."

There's only one way this could get any more sordid - - with a criminal prosecution.

"A federal grand jury is investigating whether Edwards' campaign funds were illegally paid to Hunter to keep quiet about the affair. Hunter spent nine hours last Thursday at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, where the grand jury was meeting. She brought her daughter, Frances, with her. Young was at the federal courthouse in July when the grand jury was meeting. Sources said Edwards' public admission could come before the end of the criminal investigation."

"End of life" care dropped

"Key senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from health overhaul legislation after language in a House bill caused a furor. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly. A health care bill passed by three House committees allows Medicare to reimburse doctors for voluntary counseling sessions about end-of-life decisions. But critics have claimed the provision could lead to death panels and euthanasia for seniors."

Why was this in there in the first place? Whatever you think about the issue, you have to acknowledge that it was guaranteed to cause a controversy.

And, let's be honest - - the insurance industry wants to encourage living wills in order to save money. Hospice is much cheaper than intensive care.

The real health care battle

"The 20th century community organizer who used 21st century tools for his people-powered White House campaign now finds himself besieged by citizens airing their grievances at 19th century-inspired town hall style meetings. Barack Obama's top legislative goal hangs in the balance and his popularity is suffering as critics co-opt his tech-savvy organizing methods, tag him as a boogyman and disrupt local gatherings on his proposed health care overhaul."

The real health care battle is being fought between lobbyists, pressure groups and organizers.

It's amusing to hear those who support the White House's "Organizing for America" whine and complain because they're being out-organized by the opposition.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More mistakes in Afghanistan

"The U.S. military commander in Afghanistan is considering pulling American troops out of some remote outposts on the country's mountainous eastern border with Pakistan, where local guerrillas are allied with the Taliban and al Qaeda . . . Abandoning U.S. forward outposts, and possibly turning them over to Afghan forces, would be a tacit admission that the presence of American troops has fueled insecurity by embroiling them in local feuds and driving some local tribes to align with the Taliban."

The Greeks, Romans, Mongols, British, Russians, etc. all tried to pacify Afghanistan.

All failed.

Why do we think we will succeed?

By the way - - we're supposedly in Afghanistan to prevent Pakistani nuclear weapons from falling into Taliban and Al Qaeda hands. How does abandoning the Pakistani border to those groups help us achieve that goal? Our mission makes no sense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More war dead in Afghanistan

"NATO says three American troops have been killed in three separate clashes in southern Afghanistan. The military alliance says the three died in separate "hostile fire incidents." It did not disclose the exact location of the attacks. The NATO statement said the first died of wounds suffered in an incident that occurred on Saturday, another died on Sunday and the third died Monday."

Maybe if Obama kept his word regarding our involvement in Middle East wars, more people would trust his word regarding health care.

Obama warns against scare tactics?

"This is not the August that President Obama had planned. Obama, who initially demanded that the House and Senate pass health care overhauls by now, was playing defense at a town-hall-style meeting here Tuesday, his signature initiative under increasingly fierce fire. The session at Portsmouth High School lacked the chanting and catcalls that has disrupted hometown meetings some members of Congress have held, but the president found himself having to deny his proposals would lead to rationing, socialized medicine or government "death panels" to oversee end-of-life care. "I've seen some of those signs," Obama said, ridiculing accusations from opponents that he wants to create "death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that it's too expensive to let her live."

In front of a hand selected, friendly crowd, Obama questioned his opponents' motives and "ridiculed" citizens' concerns.

What is he thinking?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Obama economy

"Jobless rolls have hit record levels this recession. The economy has been shrinking. But U.S. companies are doing better than you might think. That reality will likely be underscored Tuesday when the Labor Department is expected to report a 5.5% jump in productivity in the second quarter from the first, according to consensus estimates. That would be the biggest jump since the third quarter of 2007. In other words, companies have taken advantage of their slimmed-down workforces by wringing more out of each employee. That's bad news for the jobless but should better position employers to hire again when demand returns, economists say."

The Obama economy - - less workers employed, each working harder.

Is anyone surprised?

"Stagnant unemployment, shrinking tax revenue and a struggling economy threaten to quadruple the size of last year's federal budget deficit, raising more questions about the timing of costly proposals to overhaul health care."

Anyone in government who is honestly surprised by this news should be fired for incompetence.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our new concern is unemployment . . . in Afghanistan

"The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan says many Taliban insurgents, particularly in the violence-plagued south, could be persuaded to stop fighting if they could find jobs in a stabilized country. In an interview with USA TODAY, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said his No. 1 unmet need is to have functioning local governments in Afghanistan and officials who can provide basic services. Many of the Taliban fight because they are paid to do so, McChrystal said, and they are the ones who might be persuaded to stop. "What we see are indications that mid- and low-level commanders and fighters have a tremendous interest in trying to reintegrate into Afghan society, working with the government of Afghanistan so that they can go back to normal lives," McChrystal said in a phone interview from Kabul."

This is insane. Deal with America's unemployed and record deficits, then worry about Afghanistan's social problems.

Health care: What do Americans want?

"As supporters and opponents of overhauling the health care system try to shape public opinion at congressional town-hall-style meetings, both sides face a big complication: Public opinion on the issue is complex in ways that defy an easy Republican-Democratic divide. Analysis of a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds views on what priority to emphasize, how fast to act and what's important to protect vary and sometimes conflict depending on a person's age and region of the country, whether he or she has insurance, and is healthy or ailing."

In other words, it's easy (and true) to say, "Americans want health care reform".

It's harder (and impossible) to say, "This is what Americans want", because we don't all want the same things.

Don't believe anyone who says they know which health care reforms "all Americans want".

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gov. Sanford's wife

"The wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford moved out of the official governor's residence with their four sons Friday, a little more than a month after he admitted to a yearlong affair with an Argentine woman he called his "soul mate." First lady Jenny Sanford and several other women moved bags of clothes, a suitcase and armloads of suits and dresses on hangers from the governor's mansion in Columbia before departing in a caravan of sport utility vehicles. Three of the four boys were present, carrying tote and duffel bags. Before departing, she hugged several of the women who helped her carry belongings out. In a statement, Jenny Sanford said she was heading to the family residence on Sullivans Island, some 120 miles southeast, for the upcoming school year."

Other politicians' wives in similar circumstances make excuses. She made other plans.

Obviously, marrying her was the best decision Gov. Sanford ever made.

And, he blew it.

Only 9.4% unemployment?

"In another hopeful sign that the worst recession in generations is finally easing, the government estimated Friday that fewer jobs were lost in July than in any month in nearly a year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, unexpectedly fell to 9.4% as nearly a half a million people dropped out of the labor market, the Labor Department reported."

The jobless rate dropped to "only" a "mere" 9.4% because 500,000 people were so frustrated that they stopped looking for work. They didn't get jobs, they just stopped looking.

Only in Washington, D.C. is this "good news".

Martinez v. Palin

"Sen. Mel Martinez's decision Friday to cut his term short by 17 months caps a historic though unfulfilled career for the first Cuban-American senator, while handing Gov. Charlie Crist a unique opportunity to choose a temporary successor as he runs for the job himself."

The female politician is a quitter, a loser, a ditz, a mess, a psycho, etc., etc.

The male politician understandably wants to spend more time in the state he loves, with his family.

Get it?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our Afghan strategy

"An incoming adviser to the top U.S. general in Afghanistan predicted Thursday that the United States will see about two more years of heavy fighting and then either hand off to a much improved Afghan fighting force or "lose and go home." David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who will assume a role as a senior adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has been highly critical of the war's management to date. He outlined a "best-case scenario" for a decade of further U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan during an appearance at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Under that timeline, the allied forces would turn the corner in those two years, followed by about three years of transition to a newly capable Afghan force and about five years of "overwatch." "We'll fight for two years and then a successful transition, or we'll fight for two years and we'll lose and go home," Kilcullen said."

Our "new, improved" Afghan strategy - - "best-case scenario" is a "decade of further U.S. involvement" in Afghanistan"? We "fight for two years" and then "success", or "we'll lose and go home"?

That's the strategy? If we "succeed", a "decade of further involvement" in Afghanistan?

This was the McCain strategy that Democrats opposed.

More U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq

"Four U.S. Marines were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their convoy in western Afghanistan on Thursday. Another Marine was killed in a roadside bombing Wednesday, the U.S. military said.The deaths bring to 11 the number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan in August, on the heels of what was the worst month for Western and U.S. troop fatalities since the conflict began in 2001. Forty-three American service members died in July."

"Five American soldiers and two members of the Iraqi security forces were killed Friday in a brazen suicide truck bombing at one of the entrances to the main military base in the northern city of Mosul, [Iraq] a United States military spokesman said."

Didn't Obama promise to end ill conceived foreign adventures?

Friday, August 7, 2009

No more "get-tough" approach to illegal immigration?

"The Obama administration announced plans Thursday to overhaul the nation's much-criticized immigration detention system by strengthening federal oversight and centralizing a 32,000-bed system now scattered throughout 350 local jails, state prisons and contract facilities, officials said. . . . The moves mark a repudiation of the immigration policies of President George W. Bush. Beginning after the 2001 terrorist attacks and accelerating as Washington took a "get-tough" approach to illegal immigration, ICE's detention system exploded in a multibillion-dollar build-up, more than tripling in size over the past decade as the federal government geared up deportations."

We had a "get-tough" approach to illegal immigration? That's news to me.

What ever happened to "Buy American"?

"The Senate voted 60-37 on Thursday to approve another $2 billion for the ``cash for clunkers'' program, giving new life and money to the federal government's most popular economic stimulus program. . . . A last-minute controversy was quickly doused Wednesday. As Reid was flatly predicting the extra money would be approved, some senators wondered why the administration hadn't listed the best-selling cars under the program, suspecting most were models from foreign-owned firms. Within hours, that list was made available, and it showed four of the five best-selling models were Hondas or Toyotas."

Why does this program not require the recipients to buy American?

In their back yards?

"Kansas' two U.S. senators are blocking 10 of President Barack Obama's nominees for senior administration posts at the Pentagon and Justice Department in protest over a proposal to house Guantanamo detainees at the Fort Leavenworth prison [in Kansas]."

I'll say it again - - transfer the Guantanamo inmates to the states and districts of the Congress members who support Guantanamo's closure. That shouldn't be a problem for anyone, unless the terrorists in Guantanamo really aren't docile and safe, and unless the administration is using the reassignments to punish political opponents.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The health care fight as of today

There is no Obama plan - - it's all concepts and parameters, "so Congress can fill in the details".

Obama never articulated a health care plan before the election, only broad outlines and pie in the sky contradictory promises (chief among them was "save everyone $2500" and "no mandates").

Without discipline in Congress, rogue members are slipping into the debate various provisions such as "end of life counseling" and abortion rights (both of which I personally support, but both of which are wedges to pry away broader support) and genuinely bad ideas such as taxing employer paid benefits and cutting Medicare and Medicaid (which are as bad when threatened by Democrats as when threatened by Republicans).

This is nibbling away support, a few percent at a time, from the overall concept of health care reform (and all we've ever heard from Obama is an overall concept).

Now, Democrats are reduced to whining over mean people yelling at meetings, and complaining about corporate money being funnelled into community organizing in opposition to any health care bill (an ironic complaint from community organizer Obama and corporate astro-turfer Axelrod).

It becomes clearer each day that Obama just wants Congress to pass any piece of paper entitled "health care reform", so he can sign it and declare victory.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Remember - - Michele Obama is a hospital administrator

I realize that prophets and messiahs are subject to different rules than the rest of us, so I never expect media scrutiny of The One and The Fashion Icon.

But, now that we're discussing health care reform, isn't it relevant that Michele Obama earned well over $1,000,000 in approximately 5 years as a private non profit hospital administrator (at a hospital largely dependent upon funding from the legislative bodies in which her husband then served)?

"In 2002, she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs. . . . She continued to hold the University of Chicago Hospitals position during the primary campaign, but cut back to part time in order to spend time with her daughters as well as work for her husband's election; she subsequently took a leave of absence from her job. According to the couple's 2006 income tax return, Michelle's salary was $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, while her husband had a salary of $157,082 from the United States Senate. "

I know I risk being reported to the White House for saying something "fishy".

(See post below)

But, this connection does seem to have foreshadowed Obama's attitude towards the public option and non profit coops.

It really is stunning that the man's wife is a hospital administrator, we're talking about health care reform, and no one mentions it.

Where's the ACLU when you need it?

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"

That's from the official White House web site, asking people to rat out their friends and relatives and neighbors who might be saying anything "fishy" about the administration's health care proposals.

It sounds more appropriately like something from Stalin's Kremlin than Obama's White House. It's not the job of the White House communications office to ask Americans to report to the executive anyone spreading "fishy" stories. Fishy or not, we have first amendment free speech, and it's improper for the White House to keep track of who says what.

Where are all the self appointed protectors of our civil liberties from intrusive government?

Wrong about the Clintons . . . again

"Former President Bill Clinton and two American journalists flew back to the United States on Wednesday for what was expected to be an emotional reunion with family and friends after the reporters spent the last four months detained in North Korea. Euna Lee and Laura Ling were granted a pardon by North Korea following rare talks between Clinton and the reclusive leader Kim Jong Il. They had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally."

Remember the predictions, in the media and among the elite, when Hillary was named secretary of state? It was unanimously predicted that Bill would be a constant source of embarrassment and irritation and that Hillary wouldn't be a "team player".

Wrong about them again.

Swine flu update?

"Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that pandemic flu probably will flare up soon after schools open in the fall, before vaccine is available. Napolitano also acknowledged that there would not be enough pandemic flu vaccine for everyone, at least in the early stages of the flu season. "There will be prioritization of vaccinations," she told members of the USA TODAY editorial board. . . . William Schaffner, a flu expert at Vanderbilt University, cautions that "flu is fickle" and there's no way to predict precisely how the coming flu season will unfold. One difference between swine flu and the 1957 version is that the new virus strikes a higher proportion of children and young people than the elderly. "If that holds, the group most vulnerable to the complications of influenza will continue to be spared," Schaffner says. "But H1N1 has a tremendous capacity to make children and young adults very sick."

In simple English - - if you were alive in 1957, you probably have some degree of protection or immunity due to exposure to the 1957 form of the virus. If you're younger than that, get the vaccine or have some Tamiflu in your medicine cabinet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aren't you glad the anti war candidates won?

The 2006 congressional candidates (who pledged to cut off war funding) won.

The 2008 presidential candidate (who promised to withdraw) won.

But, from the numbers, you'd think Bush, Cheney, Hastert and Frist were still in charge.

"As of Monday, 4,319 U.S. servicemembers and 13 Defense Department civilians had been identified as having died in the Iraq war: 3,464 from hostile action and 868 from non-combat-related incidents.
Latest death identified:
•Army Staff Sgt. Johnny R. Polk, 39, Gulfport, Miss., died July 25 of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade July 23 in Kirkuk; 1st Cavalry Division.
In and around Afghanistan, 686 U.S. servicemembers and one Defense Department civilian had been reported killed: 515 from hostile action and 172 in non-combat-related incidents.
Latest deaths identified:
•Army Spc. Alexander J. Miller, 21, Clermont, Fla., died Friday in Nuristan province of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his units with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire; 10th Mountain Division.
Three soldiers from the Army's 4th Infantry Division died Saturday in Mushan Village of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their patrol with improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades:
•Pvt. Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, 19, Knoxville, Tenn.
•Pfc. Richard K. Jones, 21, Person, N.C.
•Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls, 27, West Lawn, Pa."

Iran is medieval

"Iran's supreme leader formally endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term as president Monday, but he withheld a powerful symbolic gesture — the kisses and close embrace that portrayed their bond four years ago. The awkward moment came when Ahmadinejad leaned forward, apparently to kiss the hand of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The supreme leader raised his left hand and gently diverted Ahmadinejad to kiss his robe."

Iran is living in medieval times.

Power and favor are demonstrated by whether you get to kiss "the supreme leader" on the cheek, the hand or the robe. After the ceremony, all the men go home to their wives and concubines to celebrate. It's a scene out of Ali Baba or Aladdin.

Do we really think we can deal with the people currently running Iran?

Monday, August 3, 2009

I thought community organizers were good

The Obama supporting blogs and bloggers are scandalized.

They're shocked that opponents of Obama's health care reform plan are organizing in opposition.

And, they think they've found a "smoking gun" - - a memo being distributed by various conservative national organizations to local affiliates and members which contains suggested protest tactics and guidelines for (nonviolent) disruptive behavior.

This behavior simply appalls the pro Obama bloggers.

Of course, these pro Obama folks spent the entire presidential campaign telling us that being a community organizer was a fine and noble thing, that organizing protests and pressure groups was a higher calling, and that "community organizer" was sufficient qualification for the presidency.

Whatever your position on the proposed health care bill, you have to admit that it's pretty hypocritical for Obama supporters to now oppose community organizing as somehow illicit.

Arrests in Iran

"Iranian state TV on Saturday confirmed the arrests of three Americans who crossed into Iran from northern Iraq. Several news reports described the three Americans as tourists who mistakenly ended up in Iran while hiking in a mountainous area near the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Their identities haven't been released. The scenic area, near the town of Ahmed Awaa, is popular as a hiking and tourism destination."

"More than 100 leading opposition activists stood trial in Iran on Saturday, the first since the government's crackdown in the violent aftermath of June's disputed presidential election, according to Iranian state media. The charges against the defendants -- among them former senior members of government and veteran lawmakers -- include participating in riots, acting against national security, disturbing public order, attacking government and public property, and associating with armed opposition groups, according to Iran's semi-official news services."

Remember when Obama touted the benefits of engagement with Iran without preconditions?

I thought it wasn't going to cost $1 trillion

"The House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday night approved a sweeping package of health-care measures, clearing a critical hurdle that sets the stage for a five-week battle for both Democrats and Republicans to define the legislation in voters' minds before the full House votes next month. . . . The legislation, which is likely to cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years, would be financed by cuts in the Medicare and Medicaid system and by taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses."

Remember when those who said this would cost $1 trillion were called liars, because health care reform would be "revenue neutral"?

When will they set priorities?

"The Obama administration will suspend the "cash for clunkers" program unless the Senate provides $2 billion more for the popular car incentive plan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday. He said he expected the current $1 billion pool to be exhausted before Monday. The House approved an additional $2 billion on Friday and the administration is pressing the Senate to go along before its summer vacation begins at week's end. "If we don't get the $2 billion from the Senate . . . we would have to suspend the program next week" . . . He added, "Any deal that is made (Monday) or the next day and that is in the pipeline, ... the dealer will be reimbursed and the car buyer will be reimbursed." At least one GOP senator questioned the need to speed the money. "This is crazy to try to rush this thing through again while they're trying to rush through health care, and they want to get on to cap and trade electricity tax," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. "We've got to slow this thing down."

The rush to spend, on anything and everything, with borrowed money, and without any long term plan or priorities, is unprecedented.

Remember when these people criticized the Bush administration's borrow and spend policies as unsustainable?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Closing Guantanamo by January, 2010?

"A total of 13 detainees have left Guantánamo since Obama took office. Six were resettled in Bermuda, Britain and France, not their native countries; five went to their homelands of Chad, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; and a Yemeni went home dead, an apparent suicide victim. The 13th went to New York for trial as an al Qaeda co-conspirator. About 230 remain."

That leaves Obama with 6 months in which to get rid of the other 230 Guantanamo detainees.

Will Obama do it right (and not keep to his self imposed promised deadline) or do it fast (and possibly release dangerous terrorists)?

Christians killed in Pakistan

"An angry mob of Muslims on Saturday killed six Christians and wounded dozens after burning 40 houses and a church over the alleged desecration of the Koran in a remote Pakistani town, officials said. . . . "Six Christians including a child were killed and more than a dozen were injured in this sad incident," Shahbaz Bhatti, federal minister of minorities told AFP by telephone, saying they were attacked by "a group of people. "Some people blamed the Christians for the desecration of the holy Koran," he said adding that the accusations were "baseless"."

We're taking sides in wars in which there are no good sides.

Afghanistan: Nine NATO troops killed so far in August

Today is August 2.

"Militants in eastern Afghanistan attacked U.S. forces with gunfire Sunday after a roadside bomb hit their convoy. Three American troops died in the attack, officials said. . . . The three U.S. deaths Sunday bring to nine the number of NATO troops killed already this month, after six NATO troops died on Saturday. Six of the nine were American. Last month, 74 foreign troops were killed, including 43 Americans."

More deaths in Afghanistan

"Militants in eastern Afghanistan attacked U.S. forces with gunfire Sunday after a roadside bomb hit their convoy. Three American troops died in the attack, officials said. July was the deadliest month for international troops since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, but August has gotten off to a lethal start."

What happened to all the anti war protesters? Are misguided wars led by Obama too cool to protest?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The lesson of cash for clunkers?

"The federal government suspended its "cash for clunkers" program at midnight Thursday after less than four days in business, telling Congress that the plan would burn through its $950 million budget for new-car purchases."

The most effective and successful immediate stimulus so far was not part of the stimulus bill, and did not set up a new government bureaucracy. Rather, "cash for clunkers" simply returns big chunks of money to taxpayers on the condition that they spend it immediately. Will anyone in Washington learn this lesson?

Another lesson of history ignored

"Village leaders in a former Taliban stronghold are rebuilding their own militia to protect the area from militants holding out in nearby hills after fleeing the Pakistani army's offensive last spring. The military operation in the Swat Valley and surrounding areas is winding down, but sporadic fighting persists — a sign that the Taliban have not given up. Locals say Taliban fighters are hiding in the hills outside Sultanwas, a village pulverized by air strikes and tanks during Pakistan's offensive. So villagers are leaving nothing to chance: They have reorganized their own militia and say they are talking to nearby villages to join forces.",1,4869638.story

When we withdraw from the region, the lives of these villagers will be endangered due to their service in pro-American militias.

As at the end of every other third world conflict into which we've stuck our nose, we will be morally obligated to take these villagers home with us.

Say hello to your new neighbors.

What's our goal in Afghanistan?

"The Taliban in Afghanistan warned on Thursday they would attempt to derail next month’s presidential election, calling on Afghans to boycott the poll and urging them to “join the trenches of jihad”. Afghan and foreign troops are battling a growing Taliban-led insurgency across Afghanistan, with attacks escalating after thousands of US and British troops launched major operations in southern Helmand province this month. The increased violence coincides with campaigning for the August 20 poll, the second direct vote for president since the fall of the Taliban in 2001."

We invaded Afghanistan to capture and punish the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11/01.

Now, almost 8 years later, we're still there, increasing our presence, and serving as armed election monitors (of an election that will be won by racist, sexist, theocratic anti-democratic religious fundamentalists).

Why do we have any interest in any of that?