Sunday, February 28, 2010

Patriot Act

You should follow this site--always great stuff.

Political Digest for February 28, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

I posted this comment on Iran from a retired Marine General

It drew this response with some interesting commentary:
Unfortunately, the General is correct. Many citizens are now realizing that our civilian leadership has seriously misled us. Globalist economic policy has opened the door for this threat and is allowing it to grow into monstrous proportions.

The China / Russia / Iran connections are discussed in this article-

The true nature of the threat is explained in this essay-

Note that the following news link dated 20 Feb 2010 indicates that Russia “has every intention of delivering the advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to the Islamic Republic”.§ionid=351020104

Your thoughts and attention to this most serious topic are greatly appreciated.

The General’s new blog
Looks to be another good source for information.

What’s the difference?
Case A: unmanned drone fires a rocket, kills a terrorist leader, several other Taliban and several women and children in the house. Cheers and praise from the media and the left. Case B: Agents poison a terrorist leader, with no collateral damage to innocents in the vicinity. Jeers and vilification from the Media and the Left. Simple difference: Case A is ordered by The One, Barack Obama, who sends tingles up the extremities of leftist commentators. Case B is ordered by those vile Jews in Israel who think they have some right not to be murdered by Hamas, the shinning ideal of leftists everywhere.

Assassination works; keep it up
Excerpt: Israel is facing uncomfortable questions regarding senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was found dead in a Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20. Dubai police say al-Mabhouh was assassinated, but in his chosen profession, his fate really was the result of workplace-related injuries. Dubai has named 26 suspects in the case, and has evidence including credit card records, flight itineraries and closed-circuit television footage supposedly showing the accused assassins stalking their quarry. Much of the furor over the case has arisen over the apparent fraudulent use of British, Irish, French, German, Australian and other passports. The British government said it will mount a full investigation. To date, none of the suspects has been apprehended and there is no firm evidence linking any of them to Israel. There certainly is no reason to mourn al-Mabhouh, a longtime terrorist with a track record including arms smuggling, kidnapping and murder. Most recently, he was suspected of being a primary link between Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, both of which the United States identifies as terrorist organizations. Al-Mabhouh had survived several assassination attempts, but this time his luck ran out. Fortunes of war. There is an old-fashioned view that assassination is always morally wrong, but time and international custom have frayed that consensus. Assassination was famously "outlawed" in 1976 by President Ford, a policy reiterated in 1981 by President Reagan under Executive Order 12333. This was in response to events such as CIA complicity in the coup leading to the death of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973. Nevertheless, there always was some question whether and how this ban applied to violent non-state actors like terrorists, and President Clinton began to relax the standard in 1998. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, targeting terrorist leaders became an integral part of American strategy. Had al-Mabhouh been a high-ranking member of al Qaeda, the White House probably would have issued a self-congratulatory press release. The open season on terrorists is not limited to Israel. Russia has ruthlessly and effectively hunted Chechen terrorist leaders at home and abroad, such as killing rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Doha, Qatar, in February 2004. In 2008, Colombia sent a team into neighboring Ecuador that took out Raul Reyes, deputy commander of the anti-government FARC guerrillas. The United States is the global leader in what is euphemistically called "targeted killing." Manned and unmanned aircraft have rained death on terrorists in (at least) Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. In his Valentine's Day interview on "Meet the Press," Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. bragged that the Obama administration is pursuing terrorists "with a vigor like it's never been seen before. We've eliminated 12 of their top 20 people. We have taken out 100 of their associates. . . We've sent them underground. They are, in fact, not able to do anything remotely like they were in the past. They are on the run." The most significant difference between what the assassins did in Dubai and U.S. targeted killings is that in the Dubai hit, only al-Mabhouh went down. When Hellfire missiles are launched, frequently some civilians are taken out along with the intended target. The numbers of noncombatants who have been killed in these strikes are difficult to estimate, but most studies place them in the hundreds.

Israelis rush to join Mossad after Mahmoud al-Mabhouh killing
Excerpt: Would you be prepared to cross-dress? And kill a guest in an adjacent hotel room? If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes”, and you can also act, enjoy luxury international travel with a twist and can carry off a convincing Irish or Australian accent, then the job could be yours. The Israeli spy agency Mossad may be the target of international reproach since it allegedly killed the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel this month, but at home emerging details of the operation have generated Mossad mania. It has never been more popular in Israel, with stores selling out of Mossad memorabilia and its official website reporting a soaring number of visitors interested in applying to become agents. “Mossad has been restored to its glory days,” said Ilan Mizrahi, a former deputy director of the agency, which is located in the affluent beach town of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

Missile Defense Agency
Does the logo look familiar? Seems to combine Islam’s crescent moon with…

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah meets Ahmadinejad in Syria
Probably discussing peaceful outreach to non-Muslims.

Unnamed Christians Accused after Muslim Attack in Pakistan
You’ve heard of blaming the victims? How about arresting the victims? Excerpt: Armed Islamic assault following fruit stand scuffle leads to police round-up of Christians. KARACHI, Pakistan, February 26 (CDN) — In the wake of an attack this week by 150 armed Muslims on a Christian colony in this city in Sindh Province, police have filed a false First Information Report (FIR) against 40 unnamed Christians and arrested five, Christian leaders said. They said the 40 unnamed Christians in the FIR are accused without basis with beating Muslim men, abusing Muslim women and girls, ransacking Muslim homes and looting expensive items from Muslim homes. The false FIR is designed only to harass the Christian community, they said, adding that the five arrested Christians were visitors to the area – the only ones on the street available for police to summarily round up, as they were unaware of the FIR.

Liberia: Muslim mob burns down two churches, a clinic, shops, and the mayor's house
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo.

Nigeria: Muslim mob burns down 8 churches
Didn’t get the memo.

"Even a moderate Muslim who reads the Koran must read that the Jews are the sons of apes and that the infidels must be killed"
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a West Bank Hamas leader. Mosab Hassan Yousef is a convert to Christianity. In this interview he speaks about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as not being one over land, but over Islamic doctrine, which is intransigent and can never allow for the existence of an Infidel polity, much less a Jewish State, on what Muslims consider to be Islamic land. He speaks about the problem being rooted in the Qur'an.

TALIBAN killers have blown themselves up laying booby-trap bombs, we can reveal.
Excerpt: Up to 20 are thought to have died planting Improvised Explosive Devices.
They were racing to plant the IEDs before the Allied offensive Operation Moshtarak. The triggers on the IEDs have become so sensitive the terrorists are accidentally detonating them as they hide them. Last night a highly-placed source said: "The Taliban know only too well how effective the IED has proved to be. "It is designed to take out our lads at even the slightest touch but this has backfired on Taliban blown up by the sophistication of their bombs. "We have evidence a significant number of Taliban have been killed in this way.

Must read: Institute of Physics on Climategate
Cannot be dismissed as some rightwing kooks. Excerpt: The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

Senators to propose abandoning cap-and-trade
But the replacement is still based on the junk science of AGW. Excerpt: Three key senators are engaged in a radical behind-the-scenes overhaul of climate legislation, preparing to jettison the broad "cap-and-trade" approach that has defined the legislative debate for close to a decade. The sharp change of direction demonstrates the extent to which the cap-and-trade strategy -- allowing facilities to buy and sell pollution credits in order to meet a national limit on greenhouse gas emissions -- has become political poison. In a private meeting with several environmental leaders on Wednesday, according to participants, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), declared, "Cap-and-trade is dead."

Obama Makes Picks for Debt Commission
Excerpt: Mr. Stern's appointment to the panel triggered quick criticism from a conservative group. Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute, said in a statement that putting Stern on the panel "doesn't pass the laugh test."
"It appears we have moved from the state of the surreal to the land of outright insanity if our leaders are now taking advice from Big Labor bosses who have run their own programs into the ground," Ms. Packer said.

The Decline of New York -- It's enough to make Groucho Marx cry.
Move over, New Jersey, you're getting a run for your tax money as the nation's most dysfunctional state from the once great mecca of commerce and finance known as New York. Politics in the Empire State has become a carnival of spendthrifts, sexual miscreants and the all-purpose ethically challenged. In the latest sign that the Apocalypse is upon Albany, New York Governor David Paterson announced yesterday that he won't seek election to a full term in November only two weeks after he had announced that he would. Mr. Paterson, a Democrat who became governor in March 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in a prostitution scandal, has spent the past two years lurching from one fiasco to the next. He's currently being investigated for awarding a lucrative casino contract to a political backer. And this week he was accused of contacting a woman who was seeking a protective order against one of his aides. State police are reported to have pressured the woman to drop her complaint.

Our own Greek tragedy
Excerpt: While President Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care "summit," thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split screen - because they're part of the same story. It's just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They're at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18. What's happening in the developed world today isn't so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they've reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1, or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids - i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 "lowest-low" fertility - the point from which no society has ever recovered. And compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe. So you can't borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around? By the way, you don't have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian "public service" of California has been metaphorically face-down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book "America Alone," I put the Social Security debate in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent. In other words, head for the hills, Armageddon, outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And really the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn't going to have a 2040 - not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.

Senate Banking panel to unveil regulatory plan to take over failing firms
Somewhere, Stalin is laughing. In five years, they’ll be shooting the Kulaks (that would be anyone wanting to hang on to private property). Excerpt: Senate Banking Committee lawmakers are planning to unveil legislation that creates a regulatory system with high hurdles for the government to take over a failing financial firm, sources familiar with the plan said on Friday. Lawmakers on the panel are trying to create a system to wind down large firms that are failing and threaten the broader financial system so that future administrations do not need to turn to taxpayers for bailout funds.

Obama May Prohibit Home-Loan Foreclosures Without HAMP Review
Another step towards Central Planning and complete control of the economy by the State. The peasants love it, step by step until they find out too late it impoverishes everybody except the elite leaders. Excerpt: The Obama administration may expand efforts to ease the housing crisis by banning all foreclosures on home loans unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program. The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan. “It is one of the many ideas under consideration in the administration’s ongoing housing stabilization efforts,” Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said in an e-mail. “This proposal has not been approved and there are no immediate planned announcements on the issue.”

Stopping Obamacare in the House
Excerpt: It seems very likely that if Obamacare is going to be stopped, it will have to happen in the House. And that means turning some of supporters the deeply unpopular bill into opponents with at least enough spine to tell Nancy Pelosi and the president "No." Thus the two lists below. The first list is of all the so-called "Blue Dogs," the alleged "moderate Democrats" in the House. Many refused to vote for Obamacare the first time around, and they need to be bucked up and made to understand that their hopes of re-election depend upon continuing to stand against the government takeover of American health care and the massive cuts to Medicare on which the takeover is premised. The second list are the Democrats who voted for the bill in the fall but who hail from swing districts. These are the House members identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee's effort. The last thing they want are phone calls and e-mails from voters pledging to throw time and money at their opponents if Obamacare passes. The Congressional switchboard works for them all --202-225-3121, but direct calls to their offices and especially their district offices are even more effective. E-mails work as well, but many of their number won't accept e-mails unless a district zip code is used, which means a little work for the dedicated anti-Obamacare activist. (Just use the zip code of their district office address if you want to communicate despite their filter.)

Paul Ryan: Hiding Spending Doesn't Reduce Spending
Putting the fiscal facts on the record.

What Should Be A Career Ending Health Care Lie For Harry Reid

Ethics report: Trip planners coordinated with Rangel's office
Excerpt: When questioned by the ethics panel’s investigative subcommittee about the matter, Rangel said he was unaware of the corporate sponsorship of the Caribbean conferences and stated that he “did not know what HSBC was,” according to a report issued by the ethics committee’s investigative subcommittee that reviewed the matter. The ethics committee on Thursday admonished Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, for improperly accepting reimbursement for two trips to the Caribbean and ordered him to repay the costs. In doing so, however, the panel found that two of his staffers, including his former chief of staff who was later fired – knew that corporate sponsors were underwriting the trip in violation of new House rules put in place after Democrats won the majority in 2006.

Charlie Rangel ruling puts Nancy Pelosi in a jam
Excerpt: The House ethics committee's decision to admonish New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel over improper corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean leaves Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the ethics committee itself facing difficult questions. When then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was admonished by the ethics committee in October 2004, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders went on the offensive against him. “Mr. DeLay has proven himself to be ethically unfit to lead the party,” Pelosi said at a news conference the following day. “The burden falls upon his fellow House Republicans. Republicans must answer: Do they want an ethically unfit person to be their majority leader or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — now the House majority leader — said DeLay "certainly ought to step aside as leader at this point in time because I think his credibility has been undermined by these findings." Six years later, the shoe is on the other foot: Republicans have previously called for Rangel to lose his chairmanship over his ethical troubles, and some of them — including Indiana Rep. Mike Pence — renewed that call Thursday night. How will Pelosi and Hoyer respond? (No big deal. When Nancy said she was going to “Drain the Swamp,” she meant of corrupt white Republicans, not corrupt black Democrats with the power of the Black Caucus behind them, who can scream racism. The Democrats always cave if a black leader might play the race card—witness corrupt Sen. Roland Burris, D-Blagojevich, whom they vowed not to seat. The race card is increasingly a get-out-of-jail-free card for corrupt black politicians. The media is as cowardly.)

Vietnam's hill tribe children 'stolen' for adoption,vietnams-hill-tribe-children-stolen-for-adoption--feature.html
Thanks due to the Jane Fonda/John Kerry crowd and the Democrat Congress of 1975 for this slice of paradise.

Fluck and Flok flunk forgery fling
Excerpt: Richard A. Fluck, who is the son of borough Mayor Richard T. Fluck, and Bryan Flok were arrested Sunday after a Hellertown police investigation into the June 2009 theft.
Fluck, 47, of 830 Detweiler Ave. took the check from the post office and Flok, 47, of 1052 Detweiler Ave. co-signed it and cashed it, police said. The post office reported the incident Aug. 24. Fluck and Flok were arraigned Sunday by District Judge Adrianne Masut of Wind Gap -- Fluck on charges of theft, forgery, tampering with records and identity theft, and Flok on charges of receiving stolen property, tampering with records and identity theft.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Political Digest February 27, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Blocking Healthcare Reconciliation
Hopefully the Tea Party movement will arrange huge, Tea Party protests outside the district offices of every vulnerable Democrat Congress Critter. Doesn’t matter if there are there, only if local TV and their staff members are.

Obama to deliver health care The Chicago Way,0,3431927.column
The Chicago Trib’s great political columnist and long-time Obama watcher, John Kass, called it in advance. Excerpt: President Barack Obama will star in his very own televised entertainment spectacular on Thursday — let's call it Federal Health Care Kabuki Theater. The Republicans wanted to dance. Now they'll have to step lightly. They were foolish to get trapped in his so-called summit on national health care. Or did they actually think they could outperform the skinny fellow from Chicago? The president is taking this one last chance to push his health care agenda, which by his own estimate will cost about $1 trillion over 10 years. That's money America doesn't have, but he could probably just print some more. Obama will be in his element, talking and lecturing, the law professor framing the debate. He'll spend hours being seen as reasonable. The Republicans will balk and the president will shrug. He'll sigh and say he tried to reason with them but they refused. Then once the cameras are turned off, he'll take out the baseball bat and explain how things get done The Chicago Way. It's all about muscle. As an acolyte of the Chicago Democratic machine, he's seen muscle at work in Daleyland. Now he's in the White House, and he's going to use muscle too.

Scaling the Summit
Excerpt: You didn’t watch the President’s Health Care Summit? Hey, I get paid to do these things so the rest of you can engage in more productive uses of your time. Here’s what I learned: The people who are proposing to reform our health care system actually know very little about how our health care system works. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have any idea whatsoever about how to control the rate of growth of health care costs. Neither party has any idea how to fundamentally improve the quality of care. And although both parties would increase the number of people nominally insured, neither party truly understands the problem of access to care and neither has any realistic idea of how to achieve it. Here is the lesson you can draw from all this: Under no circumstances do you want to give any of these guys power over your health care.

Must Read: White House Health Care Plan Contains Back Door to a Public Option
The NCPA is a great source of information on healthcare, the economy and other issues. Hopefully they won’t mind my promotion them by using a tad more than an excerpt: President Barack Obama's new health care proposal - more of an outline than an actual plan - builds largely on the Senate bill passed in December, and like that plan contains no "public option."1 But there is built into the President's proposal a mechanism by which the public option may one day make a triumphant return.
The key is in one of the few new proposals to show up in the President's plan, the creation of a "Health Insurance Rate Authority," a new federal agency charged with monitoring health insurers to make sure that any proposed premium increases are not "unreasonable" or "unjustified."2 This federal agency will have the power to compel private insurers to lower premiums, offer rebates, or "take other actions to make premiums affordable."3
This is price control of the most egregious kind, and any industry subject to such draconian government oversight can scarcely be considered "free." But it does accomplish several important political goals for the President. For starters, it has been widely interpreted as showing that Obama knows his plan will raise the cost of insurance premiums, and this is his way of diffusing the issue – he just promises to make premium hikes illegal!
Unless, of course, such a hike is "reasonable" or "justified." Who decides what is reasonable and justified? The government, of course, which will also under the President's plan dictate that insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions4 and saddle them with billion in new taxes and fees. Now some insurers might argue, reasonably, that such strictures will all but force them to raise rates in order to stay in business. Any guess what Uncle Sam will say to such arguments? Sorry, tough cookie.
And the health insurance industry, far from being the over-fed fat cat that Obama and his allies have successfully painted it to be, is in fact already one of the least profitable industries in America. In terms of profit margin, it ranks a dismal 87th out of 215 industries; its overall profit margin was a timid 3.4 percent from 2008 to 2009.5
What do you think will happen when an already low profit margin industry is suddenly compelled to swell its rolls and simultaneously told when and how much, if at all, it can raise its prices? They'd be a fool to stay in that business. Maybe there are some fools running the health insurance companies, but not enough, I'd wager, to keep the whole industry afloat in the long run.
The Wall Street Journal predicts a "cascade" of insurer bankruptcies in the wake of such disastrous law, 6 and its right. One by one the insurance companies will go belly up, fold their tents, and hang a permanent "gone fishing" sign on their doors. They will have concluded, quite rightly, that they are no longer wanted by the American government, even though they are desperately needed by the American people. And so the well of choice for the individual health insurance consumer will steadily and remorselessly dry up. So much for keeping the plan you like.
Eventually, and you may count on this, some senator or president, it may be Obama, it may not, will look around and say, "Hey! There are no more insurance companies! We've got to create a government one so people can get the insurance that we're forcing them to have." Hello public option. Hello single payer. Goodbye choice, and goodbye greatest health care system the world has ever known.
The President's strategy is clear: First turn the insurance companies into government utilities. Then run them out of business. Then fill the void.
Matt Patterson is a policy analyst for the National Center For Public Policy Research. His email is

Obama embraces Nixonomics chaos,0,7361712.column
As I said about this subject, price controls don’t work—look at the cost of housing in rent-controlled cities. Excerpt: Barack Obama has often modeled his policies on Franklin Roosevelt. Lately, though, he's been coming across more as Richard Nixon Lite. In 1971, fed up with the steady rise of wages and prices, Nixon had a big idea: Attack inflation by imposing strict controls on wages and prices. A federal board was created to establish guidelines and enforce compliance on the assumption that government officials were wise enough to decide the correct price for millions of products and the right wage for millions of workers. The main result was to prove the folly of such intervention. Nixon's own chief economist, Herbert Stein, admitted that the administration eventually had to give up because the program was "a total disaster." Among the unwanted side effects: "Cattle were being withheld from market, chickens were drowned and the food store shelves were being emptied." Motorists had to wait in line for hours to buy gasoline. At one point, Americans faced a nationwide shortage of toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper. Oh, and the inflation rate didn't fall. It rose. So how does Obama intend to make health insurance affordable? He wants the federal government to regulate premiums from coast to coast. He unveiled the proposal shortly after a California company owned by WellPoint Inc. raised charges on some individual policies by as much as 39 percent. Obama will not stand for it. Under his plan, says the White House, "if a rate increase is unreasonable and unjustified, health insurers must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable." I have a better idea. If a rate increase is unreasonable and unjustified, customers can head for greener pastures. Among the several dozen competing insurers in California, some presumably will leap at the chance to grab their business. If other companies decline to offer lower rates, however, it's a surefire sign that the increase is both reasonable and justified.

Winners and losers from the health care summit
Interesting look at the politics.

Spinning the health care summit
Excerpt: With the health care summit now in the books, the political spin show has begun as each side tries to define what it meant -- and who won. Dan Pfeiffer, communications director at the White House, tried to stay above the fray, saying only that the summit "was a good discussion and even though people periodically lapsed into talking points, it was honest, substantive and thoughtful." (He wrote something similar on the White House blog.) Other senior Capitol Hill aides of both parties were more willing to declare victory for their side. "Democrats stressed similarities while Republicans stressed the differences and trotted out some tired and false talking points about a 'government takeover,'" said a senior Democratic aide. A Republican aide countered that "we fought this to tie and that is a loss for the president and congressional Democrats who needed to make something happen to pull this unpopular bill from the brink." What's clear is that the summit was not the clear win for the White House that President Obama's recent appearance at the House Republican retreat was seen as -- a fact not all that surprising given that Republicans knew they had been rocked back on their heels and were determined not to let that happen again. The next fight -- the only fight that matters -- is over reconciliation (the process by which pieces of the legislation can be passed by a simple majority vote. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said at the outset of the summit that unless Democrats "renounced" the idea of reconciliation, any future discussion about the bill was pointless; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) not only rejected the call to renounce reconciliation but shot back that Alexander needed to check his facts. Assuming Democrats move forward, and President Obama's wrap-up comments at the summit seemed to suggest they will, the party will face a skeptical public. A majority (52 percent) in a new Gallup poll said they opposed the use of reconciliation to pass the health care bill while 39 percent support the idea.

Obama eyes Dems-only endgame at summit
Excerpt: President Barack Obama closed Wednesday’s healthcare summit by stating his willingness to use controversial rules to pass healthcare with a simple majority vote.
Obama insisted at the highly-anticipated healthcare summit aimed at bringing the parties together that he hoped to win Republican support. But in the end, he made it clear that he intends to move forward with or without the GOP.

Bob’s take: Not exactly a surprise, as everyone with two brain cells to rub together knew the “summit” was just a PR gimmick by BO. He isn't willing to accept one substantive idea from the Republican side. The two positions are incompatible. The Conservative position is to lower healthcare costs through tort reform and competition. Obama’s calls for “compromise” and “bi-partisanship” mean, do it my way or get out of the way. Liberals want to shift healthcare costs to the taxpayers, protect their trial-lawyer masters and build bigger government and Democrat-unionized government workers. Hard to compromise between lower costs and bigger government.

Conrad: Health Care 'Dead' Unless House Passes Senate Bill First
Excerpt: The Senate Democrats' top budget guy told reporters today that the Senate can't pass a reconciliation package tweaking a comprehensive health care bill unless the House passes the Senate bill first. And if the House won't do that, he says health care reform is "dead." "The only way this works is for the House to pass the Senate bill and then, depending on what the package is, the reconciliation provision that moves first through the House and then comes here," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) outside the upper chamber this morning. "That's the only way that works." I pointed out that House leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has repeatedly insisted they won't take a flier on a reconciliation package--that they will only pass the Senate bill after the smaller side-car reconciliation bill has been all wrapped up. "Fine, then it's dead," Conrad said.

Ducking and Dodging
Excerpt: “We have some strong disagreements on the numbers,” President Obama said after Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) concluded his devastating critique of the Democrats’ budget claims, “but I don’t want to get too bogged down.” In the ensuing debate, what became clear is that the Democrats just don’t have an answer to Ryan’s arguments. They ducked, dodged, and changed the subject repeatedly, because Ryan’s numbers themselves are unimpeachable. The Democrats are touting an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that their health-care bill would reduce the deficit by around $130 billion over the next ten years. What Ryan pointed out — and what no Democrat even attempted to counter — is that this is because the legislation front-loads tax hikes and Medicare cuts and defers costs, forcing the CBO to score ten years of offsets with only six years of spending. Looked at on a level playing field, the true ten-year cost of the bill is $2.3 trillion rather than $950 billion, Ryan said. Then he brought up another gimmick: The bill is full of double-counting. “Savings” are counted as offsets for new health-care spending and at the same time set aside to pay for future entitlements. For instance, the Democrats claim $52 billion in offsets as a result of increasing Social Security payroll-tax revenues. But these dollars are already claimed for future Social Security beneficiaries. They can’t pay for both. The Democrats take another $72 billion in premiums intended to fund a new long-term-care program and count them as offsets for other spending. Ryan pointed out that Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad has called this “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of.”

Cuba's Doctor Abuse
Michael Moore’s slaveholder friends. Excerpt: Health Care: Remember Cuba's vaunted medical missionaries — those who treated the poor abroad for nothing, supposedly out of selfless motives? A lawsuit shows they were nothing but a communist slave racket. It ought to bear a few lessons for our own country as the role of doctors in the health care debate drags on. Back in 1963, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro launched a much-praised initiative to share Cuba's medical doctors with the poor around the world. The idea, of course, was to appear to be acting on higher motives than the profit-driven doctors in free societies. It was small scale and propaganda-oriented. But in 2003, Castro went big, and shipped 20,000 doctors and nurses to Venezuela's jungles and slums to treat the poor, doing the work "selfish" private-sector doctors wouldn't. Hugo Chavez touted this line and the mainstream media followed. Now the ugly facts are getting out about what that really meant: indentured servitude to pay off the debts of a bankrupt regime. This week, seven escaped doctors and a nurse filed a 139-page complaint in Miami under the RICO and Alien Tort acts describing just how Cuba's oil-for-doctors deal came to mean slavery.

Coming To A Hospital Near You?
Reform: American health care is not British health care, at least not yet. But if Democrats get their way, this country will rush to adopt a system much like the one that is killing people in Great Britain. Democrats will say that what they have planned for U.S. health care is not a copy of the British system, though it's been held up by the left as the model for years. But a nationalized health care system, no matter how it's tailored, will collapse like other socialist programs. Government-run health care may at times look like it works, but it is unsustainable — and deadly. Consider the British hospital that was the focus of a recently completed independent inquiry. According to U.K. media reports, the review found that at least 400 and as many as 1,200 patients died from 2005 to 2008 because of poor care at Mid-Stratfordshire National Health Service Trust.

Great Moments in Socialized Medicine
From The Patriot Post
Excerpt: "This was my heart, my choice and my health," said Danny Williams this week. Williams isn't just any heart patient, however. He's the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and he had heart surgery, not at the local hospital under CanadaCare, but in Miami. If Canada's health care is so great, why did Williams travel 2,500 miles for surgery? Because "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics." In other words, socialized medicine leaves something to be desired. Namely, "the best possible care." Doctors in Canada advised him that the only way to repair a heart valve problem was through a full or partial sternotomy, which would require breaking bones. However, when he was referred to Miami's Mount Sinai Medical Center by a fellow Canadian practicing cardiology in New Jersey, he found that he could be treated with only an incision under his arm. This procedure "was not offered to me in Canada," he said. Notwithstanding the superior care he received under a system that is at least somewhat based on the free market, Williams still declared his support of Canadian medicine, saying, "I have the utmost confidence in our own health care system." Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Williams. Furthermore, if ObamaCare passes, where will other wealthy Canadians go for health care?

Truths from the Oval Office,0,434558.story
Excerpt: "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." Who said it: (a) Ronald Reagan, (b) George W. Bush or (c) John F. Kennedy? Also, which hawkish president said this during his inaugural speech: "Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas." And finally, which president invoked the Almighty and said: "… rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God." Times up. These "conservative" quotes come not from the far right wing of the Republican Party, but instead from the Democratic Party's poster child: John F. Kennedy.

Rep. Rangel's trips broke congressional gift rules, panel says
How’s that “swamp draining” going, Nancy? I suspect that if Rangal was white or republican, or, God forfend both, he’s have been gone long ago. But they tiptoe around his many ethics violations for fear of charges of “racism” and retaliation by the lobbyist-money-rich Black Caucus.

Pelosi sticks with Rangel, notes ethics panel ‘did not take action’
Gee, and she campaigned against the “Culture of Corruption” in Congress, so this is a shock. LOL. Excerpt: Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s once again sticking by embattled Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) — at least for now. Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a Thursday press conference that she had not yet read the full report from the ethics committee, which admonished Rangel, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, for improperly accepting reimbursement for two trips to the Caribbean. “All I saw was the press release where they said he did not violate the rules of the House,” Pelosi said. “And I think that’s an important statement that they made.”

Black Caucus throws roadblock in front of 'tax-cut' $15 billion job-creation bill
Gonna have to buy them off. No word yet from the Congressional White Caucus. Excerpt: Congressional Black Caucus members are dismissing a $15 billion jobs bill as inadequate, forcing House leaders to rethink their plan to vote on the measure Friday. Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) told Democratic leaders Thursday that they didn't support a measure they saw more as a "tax bill" than a bill that will create jobs.

From an attorney friend on the Census
“I have done a fair amount of work with the Constitutional right of privacy. The 4th Amendment restricts governmental intrusions without a valid warrant. Reportedly the census process is allegedly ignoring certain Constitutional rights. Here is a brief youtube statement about the issue:

January home sales fell 7.2%
And companies are not yet hiring. Gee, you think everyone could be holding beck because they are scared by the vast deficits and the government takeover of banks, car companies and healthcare? Nah, print more money—the rubes are stupid—they’ll come around to BO’s way of thinking.

IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri to face independent inquiry
Excerpt: Environment and Climate ministers meeting in closed session in Bali last night insisted that an independent review should be carried out following the publicising of mistakes in its last report, and a row surrounding Dr Pachauri's robust response to his critics.

British Tea Party Movement to launch on Saturday
I didn’t know the Brits even got Fox….

NYT Whitewashes Union Details in Story About School Reform
Excerpt: Teachers at a failing Rhode Island high school refused to work another 25 minutes a day in order to turnaround the school’s 48% graduation rate. So the school board fired them all. The teachers at Central Falls High School already earn over $70,000 a year, compared to a median home income of $22,000 a year for area residents, but their union balked at offers of $30 an hour for extra work, demanding $90 an hour. You would think that this information might be relevant for an article about the situation, but instead of reporting the facts behind the union’s negotiations, the New York Times whitewashed key details and selectively quoted people sympathetic to the union.

Give Scott Brown a Break, OK?,_ok
Nah, let’s drive him out of the party and help keep liberals in charge of the Senate in 2011! Excerpt: After Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., voted in favor of a jobs bill endorsed by President Obama and the majority of Senate Democrats, I immediately heard from a number of Republican friends in and around Washington, D.C. who knew I am a conservative from Massachusetts. The questions were rapid fire and the anger was surprising. “How dare he side with Obama?” “Is he just a Kennedy Republican?,” and “Where do I go to get my donation back?” My response to all was, “You have got to be kidding me. This guy has not been in office a month, he’s only taken three votes, and you’re willing and anxious to label him a traitor to the GOP because he voted in the best interests of his constituents?” The anger, name-calling, and profanity now being directed at Brown from a minority on the right is a perfect example of why I left the Republican party a few years ago. In columns and on the air, I now refer to myself as an “independent conservative.” In the increasingly worrisome and dangerous Post-9/11 world we all inhabit, it’s more important than ever that we have adult and independent leadership in Washington. (For my only-going small financial support of Scott Brown, I only hope he’ll vote right once. I hope he’ll vote so he gets re-elected in 2012 and votes Republican to organize the senate in 2013, putting conservatives instead of liberals in charge.)

The other war
Excerpt: It's a war the so-called mainstream media apparently have decided to ignore. Though its death toll is higher than Iraq's and Afghanistan's combined, it evidently isn't worth covering; and unless you're reading this in the Southwest, you probably haven't even heard about it. The conflict, a full-blown narco-insurgency, has claimed the lives of more than 17,000 combatants and innocents, threatens to undo several democratically elected governments and poses a real and present danger to the United States. It's not the one being fought in Afghanistan. It's the war being waged from the Andean basin all the way north to the Rio Grande. Last week, while our Fox News team was in Texas and New Mexico on a completely unrelated matter, "the war next door" was the principal topic of conversation among the locals we encountered. Just days before we arrived, 16 teenagers celebrating a birthday party were machine-gunned in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, less than a mile from the U.S. border. In the past 12 months, nearly 2,700 people have been murdered in this border city -- about 1,000 more than the previous year -- making it the deadliest place to live on the planet.

The taint in the Toyota probe
Excerpt: Regardless whether one loves or hates Toyota, a herd of huge elephants in the living room of this controversy have thus far been completely ignored in news reports and analysis. These include, first, a pair of related conflicts of interest underlying the government's role, and, second, the disreputable records of several key "expert" witnesses in the mounting crusade against the besieged automaker. The conflicts of interest begin with the fact the federal government is itself the controlling owner of General Motors, having invested billions of U.S. tax dollars in one of Toyota's two main American competitors. There is no creditable way to separate federal policy decisions from their commercial effect on both Toyota and GM as long as the government is simultaneously prosecutor, judge and jury. At the very least, the government must divest its GM shares as soon as possible. The other conflict of interest is with the government's major partner in GM ownership, the United Auto Workers union. Aside from the fact Toyota has for decades successfully resisted UAW attempts to organize the Japanese automaker's U.S. work force, the UAW is among the most powerful special interests doling out campaign contributions to congressmen sitting in judgment of the stricken car company on two key House panels. Nineteen of 36 Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee cashed sizable UAW campaign contribution checks to their 2010 re-election campaigns, including the present and immediate past chairmen, Henry Waxman and John Dingell. Similarly, 12 of 25 Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee got such checks. Are Democrats who have long claimed that money corrupts politics now so brazen as to claim they are exempt from such special interests influences?

Hamid Karzai, D-Chicago
Excerpt: I am beginning to think of Afghan President Hamid Karzai as Hamid Karzai, D-Afghanistan. The way he inveighs against troops who are fighting to secure his government in that inhospitable realm sounds very much like Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., inveighing against our troops during the Bush administration. Not only that, but now Karzai has arrogated for himself a formerly independent Afghan commission whose duty it was to monitor elections for fraud and other irregularities. Last week, he signed a decree that henceforth will allow him rather than the United Nations to appoint officials to the Electoral Complaints Commission, which the United Nations had set up in the aftermath of Karzai's rigged re-election. So maybe it would be more appropriate for me to think of him as Hamid Karzai, D-Chicago.

Taliban defectors accept U.S. approach but wait for promises to be kept
Hey, Obama’s from Chicago—he should know you don’t stiff the muscle! Excerpt: As the Taliban commander in the Pusht-e-Zargon district of western Afghanistan, Abdul Wahab considered himself the law. A stolen sheep? He would choose the thief's punishment: often a gunshot to the forearm or calf muscle. He was careful to avoid the bone. When salaries arrived from the Taliban leadership in Pakistan -- $100 a month per man -- he doled them out. Thirty fighters moved at his command. "If I asked them to jump in a river and drown, they would," he said. Power and respect, this is what the Taliban meant for Wahab. A government job and protection from U.S. raids are what he thought he was getting when he agreed to lay down his weapons in November. The United States, along with its NATO and Afghan allies, is trying to "reintegrate" militants like Wahab, offering them jobs on the assumption that they would rather earn a salary than spend their days fighting. The effort is a central pillar of the Obama administration's Afghan war strategy. Taliban leaders scoff at that notion, saying their loyalists are waging a determined holy war against the infidel armies of the West and can't be bought off. Interviews with Wahab and other fighters who recently left the Taliban as part of an Afghan government effort to lure them from the battlefield suggest that in many cases, U.S. policymakers may be on to something. Several ex-fighters said they joined the Taliban not out of religious zealotry but for far more mundane reasons: anger at the government in Kabul, revenge for losing a government job, pressure from family or tribe members -- or simply because they were broke. "Nobody goes to the other side for fun," Wahab said. "There must be a pain in your heart."

Intel bill pulled over controversial added interrogation provision
excerpt: A controversial bill that would have levied criminal punishments on intelligence officers for harsh interrogations was pulled Thursday evening. House Republicans charged Democrats with trying to sneak a provision into the intelligence authorization bill that would establish criminal punishment for CIA agents and other intelligence officials who engage in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” during interrogations.

Muslims Furious Over Israeli Decision to Highlight Ancient Link
Excerpt: A decision by the Israeli government to include a location with an almost 4,000 year-old link to the origins of Judaism in a list of 150 national heritage sites has sparked an uproar among Muslims – and drawn the disapproval of the Obama administration. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted Thursday that the decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on the list would not in any way change the status quo at the site, which has long been shared by Jews and Muslims. He called accusations being made by Palestinians and others “an artificial attempt to distort reality and sow discord. (I haven’t heard President Wobbly disapproving of Muslim child marriages, of raped teen girls stoned to death for “adultery” of women whipped for being immodest, or the daily toll of Muslims murders. But let the Jews name something….)

Qaddafi calls for jihad against Switzerland because of minaret ban
Excerpt: Who would have thought that the legendary Libyan "strongman" would turn out to be a Misunderstander of Islam? Why is it that those who understand Islam correctly as a Religion of Peace seem to inhabit only Western university posts, not leadership positions in the governments of Muslim countries? … Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi called on Thursday for jihad (holy war) against Switzerland over the ban adopted last year on the construction of minarets in the country. "It is against unbelieving and apostate Switzerland that jihad ought to be proclaimed by all means," Kadhafi said during a speech in the Mediterranean coastal city of Bengazi to mark the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Egyptian Muslim cleric: "Brothers, we pray to Allah that we be terrorists, if terror means Jihad for the sake of Allah"
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo.

Time magazine runs story on human rights in Egypt with no mention of Copts' or women's rights
Excerpt: No, this story is all about the Muslim Brotherhood -- presented as an innocent party with no nefarious agenda. Just pious, disenfranchised, moderate folks. The focus of the story is the general silence on the part of the U.S. regarding the behavior of its "friend and ally" in this regard. A story about the shadiness of the Mubarak regime would be far more meaningful -- not to mention fair -- if it took up the issue of religious minorities (Copts, Baha'i, and others), and/or the persistence of female genital mutilation and other women's rights issues in Egyptian society. But, alas, all we get is a story devoid of depth and context on a group the author has clearly not investigated with any degree of diligence.

New Obama Interrogation Unit not Deployed to Question Captured Taliban Chief guess is the lawyer who was to read him his rights was on vacation. Excerpt: Last summer, the Obama administration announced that, as a replacement for the Bush administration's secret CIA terrorist detention and interrogation program, it would create a SWAT-style team of interrogation experts to travel the world squeezing terrorist suspects for vital information. Administration officials say that the interrogation unit, known as the HIG (for High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group) is now operational. But for reasons that are unclear, the administration has not deployed HIG personnel to question Afghan Taliban military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arguably the most important terrorist suspect captured since the detention of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh

Friday, February 26, 2010

Marine General's take on a Nuclear Iran

I was copied this through my blog e-mail network, and the General kindly allowed this old Staff Sergeant to post it. ~Bob

A Nuclear Iran

Below is my response to two articles sent to me by the Republican National Committee. Check out the articles forwarded to me below.

The below articles are very interesting. I think the Reuters article is on target and the James Traub article is more intellectual and requires more thought to put it all in perspective. My thought is the Obama Administration keeps kicking the can down the road concerning a nuclear Iran while Russia, China and Iran plays the US like a fiddle. I don't agree that we have achieved any significant gains from Russia.

Here is my take on the seriousness of the current nuclear issue with Iran:

Neither China nor Russia will approve sanctions that will have any impact on Iran's nuclear program...sanctions will not work. Both China and Russia like to see the US tied down in the Middle East militarily and economically, while they develop their own high tech deployable military and further develop their economies. Considering our national debt and need for China to buy our treasury bonds, this Administration will not put much pressure on them. China is really in the drivers seat and will dictate their foreign policy objectives to the US, and sanctions are not in their interest.

I have a different perspective about Russia. Russia does not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but they very well may want Israel or perhaps the US to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. If this happens, the price of oil will sky rocket (maybe $400 a barrel) and Russia will benefit as an oil producing Nation. Iran has been trying to get Russia to provide their new surface to air missile technology, but they have resisted so far...there is a limit to their support. As indicated in the Reuters article, over a year ago Israel attacked facilities in Syria (potential nuclear facility being developed by North Korea) and was able to get in and out of Syria undetected. Iran has the same missile defense system and they know they are vulnerable.

I agree with the Reuters article that the reported additional nuclear facilities in Iran probably will not happen anytime soon, but you should never underestimate clandestine support and their ability to construct them.

Ahmadinejad often talks about the 13th Mahdi, and the Mahdi will return to earth when there is absolute chaos. When this occurs, infidels will be killed and Muslims will rule the world. A logical thinking person would find this to be an absurd concept, but we are dealing with a sociopath and religious cult who believes this can happen. I believe he thinks the only way to create total chaos is from nuclear weapons. This is why a nuclear Iran is so dangerous not only to Israel, but to the world. There are many ways they could employ nuclear weapons: man packed carried across borders; surface detonation via missiles, and electronic magnetic pulse (EMP) from atmospheric nuclear detonation. Iran recently launched a satellite into orbit with a missile so we now know they have the capability to strike the US, but I don't think this would be their option, as it would be detected. A man packed nuclear weapon is the easiest way to deploy nuclear weapons and it would be very difficult to determine if Iran provided such weapons to terrorists. The most devastating would be through EMP. This can be done with just a simple SCUD missile fired from a cargo ship off the coast of the US or any Nation. The ship would then be destroyed and it would be hard to determine who was responsible. Nuclear weapons exploded in the atmosphere would destroy all electronics...nothing would work. Electronic grids, cars, trucks, phones, hospital equipment would no longer work. Food could not be delivered, and those on medications and life saving equipment would perish very quickly. Perhaps only a small percentage of the population would survive. You don't hear much about EMP in the news, but it is for real and many other countries have this capability. Iran is the real threat though.

The issue is what is the Obama Administration doing about this potential devastating threat? Essentially, they are pursuing diplomatic efforts to obtain sanctions. They are playing nice with rogue countries and hoping this will all go away. I think Obama, Clinton and his extremist Czars are both naïve and stupid about foreign affairs and overall implications of having a nuclear Iran. Should Iran finally develop nuclear weapons, this will impact the balance of power in the Middle East and will likely result in nuclear proliferation by other Middle Eastern countries.

This Administration is trying to appease Israel by establishing deadlines for Iran to stop their nuclear program, but Iran just keeps marching on. Israel probably feels they have no choice but to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. This will be a very difficult task for them if they use conventional weapons and the Iranian nuclear facilities are deep underground. It would take a specific type of MOPP bomb to penetrate these sites, and it is unknown if the US ever gave them any. If so, it was done during the Bush Presidency. Israel just announced their new very large drone aircraft, which could provide many operational advantages. If Israel decides to bomb these facilities, then the US must give flight rights over Iraq, so we will have knowledge and will be blamed along with the Israelis. Since this is the case, the US should take out the surface to air missile sites and boats that will likely mine the Straits of Hormuz (this would impact the flow of oil out of the Middle East). I doubt we will provide such assistance as Obama's left wing base will raise hell. Should Israel attack Iran, there will be a global economic impact, but I believe that is preferable to a nuclear Iran. A conventional attack would probably only set the program back a few years, but that may allow enough time for a potential coup to occur as the Iranian people might overthrowing the existing government...that is a big if! Israel should also bomb their refineries as Iran is the 3rd largest importer in the world of gasoline. You can probably count on the Russians providing them gasoline, but it would not be sufficient to meet all needs. Such an attack could bring Iran to their knees.

The other and more devastating attack would be for Israel to conduct an EMP attack on Iran, but this is not likely as the world would demonize them. It would; however, send a strong message to the Nations sponsoring terrorism.

This is just a quick take on my perspective about the Iranian nuclear program and the Obama Administration's failed diplomatic approach. When it comes to foreign policy, I can't think of one thing they have accomplished. They are causing the US to lose National prestige.

Geoffrey B Higginbotham
Major General, USMC (Ret.)

Political Digest February 26, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Why Bi-partisanship will never work on Healthcare
The basis party philosophies are too opposed. The Democrats stand for bigger government, the Republicans for smaller government. For Democrats, the bills are not about reducing costs, but about building Democrat support by enlarging government and shifting costs from democrat supporters to government, thus to taxpayers. More government means more government workers paying union dues to support Democrats and voting Democrat to keep the tax dollars flowing their way. The things that would really bring down the cost of healthcare are tort reform and competition. Tort reform is blocked because not only are all the Democrat leaders lawyers, but the lawsuit industry—one of our largest industries—pours millions into Democrat campaigns. They cannot cut off that money and win, so they are wholly owned by the trial lawyers. Nor can they allow real competition on insurance, as that would anger many provider groups protected by state mandates.

Lastly, Republicans are about individual responsibility, while Democrats are about the nanny state, because that builds government, thus Democrat voters and contributors. Individual responsibility is a hard argument to win—a growing number of people think government should take care of them, solving all their problems, providing for their needs from jobs to education to healthcare. This includes a lot of supposedly conservative business folks who want trade protection, bailouts or government regulation to disadvantage their competitors. The percentage of self-reliant adults in our society is shrinking, and the percentage of children-over-thirty is growing.

A compromise to “medium” government builds government, as next year there is another “compromise” to a larger government. Not even Reagan was able to reduce government. And once a government program is passed, it develops a constituency of government workers employed by it and clients served by it who fight furiously to keep it, much harder than small government types can fight to reduce or eliminate it. This leads to an every-growing government and concomitant reduction in personal liberty, until the Roman Republic becomes the Roman Dictatorship. And, of course, eventually it grows too big, bureaucratic and expensive to continue and collapses (see Soviet Union). But the painfully costs of the Nanny state are all around us (see Detroit).

Heading into healthcare summit, Republicans fear Obama trap
If it was about Republican ideas and bi-partisanship, Republican ideas have been on the table for a year. The democrats and Media have conspired to pretend they were not there, that Republicans were only the “Party of no.” The only question for Republicans was the PR worse if they didn’t go than if they did. We shall see. Excerpt: The White House’s unwillingness to discuss what steps will follow Thursday’s bipartisan healthcare summit is intensifying GOP worries that the party is walking into a public-relations trap. Congressional Republicans have been wary from the beginning about how the summit might be portrayed, and their criticism has only increased since the release of President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan on Monday. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday repeatedly refused to discuss any of Obama’s post-summit plans if the meeting fails to bring Democrats and Republicans together, even though all evidence indicates there will be no melding of the minds at Blair House. Gibbs this week has repeatedly declined to “prejudge” the meeting’s outcome. The day before the summit, in an unusual move, Gibbs did not brief reporters at all.

How the White House lost its message
Could it be that the plan was bad and the public didn’t want it? No, had to be the message. Excerpt: The White House fumbled the message on healthcare reform and left President Barack Obama’s administration hanging in the balance, according to Democratic lawmakers and senior aides. In his first year, Obama failed to use the bully pulpit effectively and rally the public around one proposal early in the debate, despite polls showing strong support for core elements of the Democratic plan, the lawmakers and aides told The Hill.

Liberal Dem not happy about White House health summit lineup
Mao or Lenin wasn’t available? Excerpt: A leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) voiced concern on Wednesday that the House Democrats' contingent to the White House healthcare summit is not liberal enough.

A Better Way to Reform Health Care
The critical problem is rising costs. The solution is more competition and greater individual control over health spending. Here's how.
Excerpt: To bring down costs, we need to change the incentives that govern spending. Right now, $5 out of every $6 of health-care spending is paid for by someone other than the person receiving care—insurance companies, employers, or the government. Individuals are insulated from the reality of what their decisions cost. This breeds overutilization of low-value health care and runaway spending. To reduce the growth of costs, individuals must take greater responsibility for their health care, and health insurers and health-care providers must face the competitive forces of the market. Three policy changes will go a long way to achieving these objectives: (1) eliminate the tax code's bias that favors health insurance over out-of-pocket spending; (2) remove state-government barriers to purchasing and providing health services; and (3) reform medical malpractice laws. We estimate these three changes will reduce health-care costs by over $100 billion per year and permanently reduce the number of uninsured by up to 13 million.

Obama's Health Plan -- Taxes, Taxes Everywhere
Excerpt: The White House recently released President Obama’s health care reform proposal. The plan incorporates a mixture of the many tax increases passed by the House and Senate, hiking taxes by almost $750 billion over ten years. This is on top of $1.3 trillion in other tax increases the President recently proposed in his 2011 budget. Not that there is ever a good time to raise taxes, but doing so as the economy is still emerging from a deep recession is particularly ill-advised and will likely prolong full recovery. Moreover, the President’s proposal deviates from his stated goal to address the soaring spending and debt problem the nation faces by piling on massive new spending and taxes.

Democrats looking beyond health-care summit to final talks within party
We want to hear your ideas—which we already plan to ignore. Excerpt: Congressional Democrats are already looking beyond the White House health-care summit, reckoning that Thursday's session will amount to little more than political theater and focusing instead on a final round of intraparty negotiations that are likely to determine the fate of President Obama's top domestic priority.

A conservative agenda for cities
Excerpt: As conservatives set out to forge a positive governing agenda, an area to which they should turn their attention is that of the future of American cities. An "urban agenda" has, to be sure, been synonymous with liberalism--at least since Lyndon Johnson established the Department of Housing and Urban Development--but, in reality, it is conservatism which has brought greater benefits to cities in recent years and offers new if not widely-known policy ideas which hold more promise than yet another generation of subsidized housing and jobs programs which dominate the liberal menu. The liberal approach to cities has had a long series of incarnations since the Johnson era: HUD, Model Cities, Community Development Bloc grants, Empowerment Zones, community development corporations and housing vouchers. They promised they could both rebuild declining neighborhoods--and provide a hand up for the urban underclass. In reality, they did little of either--instead, renovating scattered buildings at great expense and providing non-profit social service jobs, rather than sparking economic dynamism. If the Democratic urban agenda had worked, then Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit would all be booming, rather than being the dangerous ghost towns they’ve become. Conservatives don’t talk much about cities but actually have an urban policy of which to boast. Most notably, the triumph of New York-style crime prevention-oriented policing has led to a public safety revolution, one that allows poorer neighborhoods and their residents to thrive by actually reducing crime. "Compstat" policing has served as a rebuke to liberals who insisted that only some ill-defined social justice utopia would ever cut crime; instead, it turns out that cutting crime allows cities to rebound. In New York, where property values in Brooklyn and Harlem have skyrocketed, the numbers are simply stunning--a drop in murder from 2200 in 1990 to just 471 last year--a drop that benefits at-risk minority group members the most by literally saving their lives. So, too, has welfare reform--passed by a Republican Congress in 1996--helped cut into the culture of underclass dependency which had come to dominate too many urban neighborhoods. Its work requirement and time limit has been an astounding policy success, with the emergence of an urban working class its embodiment. Again using New York as the example, the welfare rolls have dropped over 20 years from 1. 1 million to just 320,000.

Climate Change: Developing Countries Control the Thermostat
Excerpt: It has long been recognized that no policies undertaken solely by Western countries can reduce future global warming, regardless of the developed world's past and current contributions to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Rather, fast-growing developing countries control the climate change thermostat, says H. Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Climate scientists hope independent reviews will reverse public’s loss of trust
Excerpt: The two most influential advisory bodies on climate change are planning independent reviews of their research in an attempt to regain public trust after revelations about errors and the suppression of data. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to appoint an independent team to examine its procedures after admitting having made errors that exaggerated the severity of the impact of global warming. The Met Office, which supplies the global temperature trends used by the IPCC, has proposed that an international group of scientists re-examine 160 years of temperature data. The Met Office proposal is a tacit admission that its previous reports on such trends have been marred by their reliance on analysis by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

Manmade Global Warming: How a Lie Died
Excerpt: Private industry and governments around the world have spent trillions of dollars in the name of saving our planet from manmade global warming. Academic institutions, think tanks and schools have altered their curricula and agenda to accommodate what was seen as the global warming “consensus.” Mounting evidence suggests that claims of manmade global warming might turn out to be the greatest hoax in mankind’s history.

A Pending American Temperaturegate
Excerpt: Our study of data-massaging by the U.S. government agency charged with collecting temperature information raises uncomfortable questions.We have been repeatedly told (perhaps "lectured" is a better word) the past twenty years that global warming is occurring. With Climategate and subsequent confessions and bailouts by scientists at the CRU, Penn State, Arizona State, IPCC, et al., we are learning that little to none of the factual content in their "peer reviewed" articles is true. The Medieval Warming Period did occur, and it was warmer than currently; the oceans are not going to flood the plains; and the Arctic Ocean may not be turning into a summer water park. Of course, the mainstream media, especially in the United States, has reported little of this news, and President Obama appears not to be well-informed. But now the global warming story grows more interesting because here in America, we may have our own little "gate." I will call it ATG, for "American Temperaturegate." NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) informs us, based on their "Adjusted Data" for the period from the last decade of the 19th century to 2006, that the temperature for the contiguous U.S. has increased at a rate of 0.69oC/century. Click here. NCDC arrives at this conclusion by massaging raw data from a set of meteorological stations located in the contiguous U.S. which they selected on the basis of a 2.5-degree latitude- and 3.5-degree-longitude grid. For more on this, click here and here. The most-asked question, most recently by D'Aleo and Watts, is whether the NCDC's reported increase is correct. Perhaps the value is due to a dominant use (over-selection) of stations in urban locations or because of other issues, such as leaving out stations at higher altitudes for the more recent history and retaining them for the more distant past.

Democrats exiting (or not entering) the sinking ship?--Part 24
Excerpt: On National Review Online Jim Geraghty informs us that according to Tennessee Public Radio, Tennessee Democrats are having a hard time finding a serious candidate to run in the seat being vacated after 26 years by House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon. Democratic State Chairman Chip Forrester is quoted as saying, “We need to make sure we find the right candidate – a moderate, business-oriented Democrat for the 6th congressional district – and we’re working very hard on that now.” The fact that Democrats are having difficulty fielding a serious candidate in a seat formerly held by Democratic luminaries including Andrew Jackson, Cordell Hull and Albert Gore Sr. and Jr. tells you something interesting about their plight this year.

Georgia to sue Obama admin. over voter citizenship check
Citizens? Where Obama comes from, voters don’t even have to be alive! Excerpt: Election officials in Georgia are accusing the Obama administration of "playing politics" with proposed changes to its voting procedures. The state had asked for permission to use Social Security numbers and driver's license data to verify whether voters are U.S. citizens. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Wednesday he plans to sue the Department of Justice to get them to approve the changes. "The Justice Department is denying Georgia's legal requirement to verify the information provided by new voter registration applicants," Kemp said in a statement.

For liberals, the filibuster is now the enemy
Excerpt: Today's health policy "summit" comes at a moment when, as happens with metronomic regularity, Washington is reverberating with lamentations about government being "broken." Such talk occurs only when the left's agenda is stalled. Do you remember mournful editorials and somber seminars about "dysfunctional" government when liberals defeated George W. Bush's Social Security reforms? The summit's predictable failure will be a pretext for trying to ram health legislation through the Senate by misusing "reconciliation," which prevents filibusters. If the Senate parliamentarian rules, as he should, that most of the legislation is ineligible for enactment under reconciliation, the vice president, as Senate president, can overrule the parliamentarian. This has not happened since 1975, but liberals say desperate times require desperate measures. Today's desperation? Democracy's majoritarian ethic is, liberals say, being violated by the filibuster that prevents their enacting health legislation opposed by an American majority. Some liberals argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional. Their reasoning is a non sequitur: The Constitution empowers each chamber to "determine the rules of its proceedings." It requires five supermajorities (for ratifying treaties, endorsing constitutional amendments, overriding vetoes, expelling members and impeachment convictions). Therefore it does not permit requiring a sixth, to end filibusters.

Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws
Excerpt: When President Obama took office, gun rights advocates sounded the alarm, warning that he intended to strip them of their arms and ammunition. And yet the opposite is happening. Mr. Obama has been largely silent on the issue while states are engaged in a new and largely successful push for expanded gun rights, even passing measures that have been rejected in the past.

Letter from Canadian parents
Excerpt: Today we were sent your story of February 14, 2010. The “unknown” Canadian is our son Danny. He is a 23-year-old soldier from Vancouver, Canada. Your photographs were extraordinary and have impacted so many people here in Canada. There has been an outpouring of affection for the Americans who helped Danny in his moment of need. For that, we thank you for recording these acts of kindness into history. Danny's injuries were the result of an explosion on February 12, 2010. Four Canadian soldiers were injured and tragically one Canadian soldier was killed. Within 20 minutes of the explosion, Danny was airlifted by helicopter to Kandahar. Upon arrival he received emergency surgery that saved his life and prepared him for the flight to Bagram that you were on.

New Charges Are Expected for Others in Terror Plot
Excerpt: In his guilty plea to conspiracy charges, Najibullah Zazi often referred to other unnamed people in their plan to set off explosives on the New York subway system. Yet thus far, federal authorities have revealed virtually nothing about who, exactly, Mr. Zazi was conspiring with.

Saudi cleric backs gender segregation with fatwa
Note to leftwing feminists who support the Multiculturalists’ efforts to bring Shari’a Law here—have you thought it through? Excerpt: A prominent Saudi cleric has issued an edict calling for opponents of the kingdom's strict segregation of men and women to be put to death if they refuse to abandon their ideas. Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak said in a fatwa the mixing of genders at the workplace or in education "as advocated by modernisers" is prohibited because it allows "sight of what is forbidden, and forbidden talk between men and women".

London has become center of Hamas activity
Londinistan. Excerpt: A report by Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) labels London as the new international hub of Hamas political, legal and propaganda efforts. ITIC, a non-governmental organization dedicated to uncovering the activities of Israel's enemies, wrote that Hamas today directs the bulk of its non-violent efforts against Israel via operatives and activists in the British capital. That was evidenced recently in a string of attempted indictments against Israeli leaders in British courts. According to ITIC, Hamas was behind those legal actions. Hamas has found London a perfect center for its operations due to the easily manipulated British free speech laws, an overly tolerant British legal system and the large Arab and Muslim population in the city.

Five Taliban killed while planting bombs in Kurram\02\24\story_24-2-2010_pg7_9
Excerpt: Some feel-good news. Excerpt: Five Taliban were killed and four others were injured on Tuesday when the explosives that they were planting around their hideout detonated accidentally in Ali Sherzai Dar village, Kurram Agency, officials said. According to eyewitnesses, the Taliban wanted to blow up the house –vacated by local anti-Taliban leader Ghazi Marjan – due to the security forces’ operation in the area when the explosive material accidentally went-off, killing five of them and injuring four others. Two of the injured reported to be in critical condition. However, AFP put the death toll at four and reported six Taliban wounded in the explosion. The Taliban had been using the deserted house as a dumping ground for people kidnapped for ransom.

The Marriage of Terrorism and Nuclear Capability
Excerpt: When you think of a nuclear Iran, you probably think of atomic bombs or nuclear-tipped missiles. But few people think about the implications of an Iranian nuclear umbrella providing a cover for terrorism and subversion. At Israel's recent Jerusalem Conference, Dr. Dore Gold, former ambassador from Israel to the United Nations, predicted a possible 2012-2014 scenario in which the United States might face an attack from Shiite or Sunni terror groups. Could America respond to such an attack, as it did after 9/11, if it occurs under the threat of a nuclear Iran? According to Gold, prevention of a nuclear Iran isn't just about the security of Israel, nor does it concern only the free flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Prevention of a nuclear Iran has implications in the overall war against radical Islamist terrorism. And, because Iran has shown that it has the ability to provide support and sanctuary for both Shiite and Sunni groups, the effects of a nuclear Iran are huge. He explained that at the time of 9/11, the U.S. security establishment stated that they would go after terrorist regimes, and they did. It was an important demonstration that made it clear that if a country supported terrorism, there would be a price to pay.