Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Can Any Sane Person Tolerate This?

1. Sanctuary Cities. This writer has argued for years that city council members and mayors enacting sanctuary city laws should be prosecuted for interference with, and disobeying, federal immigration laws. Never happened. Instead, as we know, the Feds are prosecuting Arizona for attempting to actually enforce the law. How can any sane person tolerate this?

2. The mosque at Ground Zero. It appears that the City of New York will not prevent the mosque from being built. This type of insensitive behavior is nothing new for the muslims. Most readers have probably either been to Jerusalem or seen pictures there of the golden Dome of the Rock. It is adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque; both of which were built on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. It is the place where the two great Temples stood before they were destroyed. And what did the muslims do - they built on top of that destruction, where the Western Wall of the Second Temple still stands. They built on top of the destruction, just like they want to do at Ground Zero. How can any sane person tolerate this?

3. Financial Regulatory Reform. The main backers of the so-called reform bill of our financial institutions are none other than Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. These two guys were prominent backers of the lax practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and encouraged them to purchase sub-prime mortgages on the secondary mortgage market. Those two quasi-governmental agencies were significantly responsible for the mortgage crisis, and the subsequent economic meltdown. And what did Dodd and Frank put in the new legislation about Fannie and Freddie? Nothing. How can any sane person tolerate this?

4. Liberty or veggies? In the July/August edition of Commentary is an interesting piece on behavioral science, and how the Obama administration wishes to use it to help people make "better" decisions for themselves. Really, wouldn't you rather eat veggies and be thin than have that piece of cake? Wouldn't you rather not smoke and not get lung cancer? Wouldn't you rather invest that money in a retirement account for your future than get that big screen TV? Who could even argue against veggies, not smoking, and an IRA? If we just thought it through we would come to the right decision. The Obama team wants to help us make the right decisions for ourselves; but just in case we don't, they gave us Obamacare, the stimulus, and now financial reform, along with all the new bureaucracies and regulations to go with these new laws. They will gently nudge us into making the "wise" choice; but if we don't, there is always the coercive power of government to make sure that we do.

And therein lies the rub. No matter what efforts business makes to get us to buy their products, we have the power and the RIGHT to say "no." But when the government uses its' power to coerce - there is no saying "no." Instead, we should be grateful for what they have done to "better" our lives, even if we have given up a little liberty along the way. Americans generally do not like to be told what to do. We will need that "rugged individualism" to save us from the tyranny of government. But so far Obama and his transformationist team are winning - Obamacare, the stimulus and now financial "reform." So I ask: How can any sane person tolerate this?

5. How Obama learned to love the (Iranian) bomb. In the above-referenced issue of Commentary is another interesting article on what to do about Iranian nukes: acceptance and containment or attack? Notwithstanding lots of tough talk by both Presidents Bush and Obama about Iranian nukes being "unacceptable," it appears that their actual policy was one of acceptance and containment. For all his tough talk, Bush denied Israel's request to fly over Iraq in order to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Obama has demonstrated that he believes that diplomacy and sanctions can work, notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary. So that leaves containment for Obama. Can we contain Iran, as we did with Russia and China?

Can we rely upon the sensibility of a regime which martyred (murdered really) its own young children during their war with Iraq, by sending them to clear Iraqi minefields for Iranian soldiers?

But Iran will fear the fear the power of the US. Really? Why would they? They have successfully snubbed their noses at us on countless occassions, with no repercussions other than some harsh words. They took over our embassy. They supported Hezbollah when it bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut. They are fighting against us in Iraq through their proxies and by supporting our enemies with materiel. And the consequences? Harsh words.

Well, maybe they will fear the Europeans. (Okay, you got me. That was put in for comic relief.)

The CIA was caught off guard when India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons. Bush was not able to reverse the tide of nuclear proliferation, as North Korea joined the club, and Iran was well on its way. Will our allies in the region sit idly by, on the assumption that the US will protect them? Not likely. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will want their own nukes. The United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the US says the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf cannot live with a nuclear Iran. The ambassador supports a military strike on Iran. But if the US will not act, he says that the Arab states in the region will have to end their alliance with the US in order to appease Iran. (Now there's a concept that Obama can get his head around - appeasement. Information about the UAE ambassador from the 7/13/10 Caroline Glick article on JPost online.)

We are in this mess partly because Bush went along with the politically correct mainstream media, who were horrified at the thought of a war with a third Islamic country. Of course, the consequences of doing nothing were ignored. And Obama clearly has an infatuation with the muslim world that seems likely to deter him from taking military action against Iran - which means (sans an attack by Israel) the Ayatollahs will have nukes. How can any sane person tolerate this?

6. The Tea Parties. The Tea Parties have attracted large numbers of supporters. Their message of smaller government, and government living within its' means, resonates with many people during these recessionary times. But the NAACP does not see things that way. Instead, they see racism. (Of course, in all fairness to the NAACP, they have to justify their continued existence after the country demonstrated its LACK of racism by electing a black president.) You see, when tea party people speak of smaller or "limited" government, it's really a code word for racism. (Can someone please send me the secret code book?) Yes, I know that the KKK and other racists justified their opposition to civil rights laws by arguing for a limited role of the federal government and for states' rights. But does the NAACP not think anything has changed in the last fifty years? Do they not feel the pain of millions and millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and have had to tighten their belts (if they did not lose everything) while the federal government has gone on a giant spending spree? And where is their outrage over the comments by Mr. Shabazz of the New Black Panthers: "You're gonna have to kill some crackers! You're gonna have to kill some of their babies!" But the problem is with the extraordinarily peaceful Tea Party movement. How can any sane person tolerate this?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More on Obamacare; and the PA and NY Times vs. Israel.

1. Obama announces recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as the head of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This is no minor appointment as 47 million people are enrolled in Medicare and 58 million in Medicaid (as reported by the 7/7/10 LA Times). The Times also reports that the White House claims that the Republicans planned on stalling the nomination, "solely to score political points," according to White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer. But the Times reports that Berwick has praised the British system; and even said: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly." So maybe asking a few questions of this nominee would be in order.

The NY Times reported that this recess appointment was "somewhat unusual because the Senate is in recess for less than two weeks and senators were still waiting for Dr. Berwick to submit responses to some of their requests for information." (July 7, 2010 edition.) With this, Obama bypasses the "advice and consent" of the Senate. Of course, other Presidents have also used the recess appointment. According to the Times, Dr. Berwick also supports efforts to "reduce the total supply of high-technology medical and surgical care."

As reported by the Investor's Business Daily, and as previously reported here, Berwick's support for the British system is misplaced. The IBD reports a breast cancer mortality rate in the US at 25%; in Britain 46%! Prostate cancer has a 19% mortality rate in the US; in Britain it is 57%! The British system that is much admired by Dr. Berwick announced that they plan to cut steroid injections to the back from 60,000 per year to 3000. The IBD then quotes another doctor who indicates that less steroid injections means more opiate use, more addiction, and more surgeries. Or maybe not - maybe the government will just say "drop dead." And for those who think that argument is over the top, go back and look at the mortality rates for breast and prostate cancers again. And undoubtedly, Obama must love this quote from Dr. Berwick: "Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well." (Quotes and data from the 7/9/10 IBD.)

This writer does agree with Dr. Berwick on one thing: "Excellent health care is by definition redistributional," when the MARKET is doing the distributing and not the GOVERNMENT. Our free market system has encouraged significant technological advances that help keep millions of people alive, and millions more to have an increase in functioning and improvement in quality of life. And we do redistibute wealth through our tax system. As I have asked of others who share our President's disdain for the capitalist system, just name one country that has created more wealth for more people in the history of the world than the USA. The same can be said for our medical system - more health for more people. After all, if the above mortality rates are correct, then a lot of poor people, statistically speaking, must undoubtedly benefit from the USA's higher survival rates. There are not enough wealthy people to create those numbers.

2. The palestinians and NY Times versus Israel. According to Caroline Glick, as reported in the 7/9/10 Jerusalem Post online, a London based newspaper (Al-Hayat) says that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave Obama's mideast mediator, George Mitchell, a letter specifying what the PA would accept, including "permanent Israeli soverignty over the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City and over the Western Wall." Sounds rather surprising, given that the Old City is in east Jerusalem, which the palestinians are claiming as their new capital city. Less surprising, therefore, when Abbas' chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, denied the story.

Not surprising either Abbas' recent eulogy of one Muhammad Daoud Oudeh, whom Abbas described as "a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn, relentless fighter." Or, as noted by Ms. Glick: "the mastermind of the PLO's massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics." And she describes Abbas as the paymaster for that operation. Abbas was and is a terrorist.

According to Ms. Glick, the NY Times decided to print a front page article about certain tax deductible charitable contributions made by certain Americans. The article apparently took weeks of research by 5 Times to reporters to uncover the fact that mostly conservative Christians and Jews donate money to organizations that support Jewish communities in the West Bank. The Times has no great love for Evangelical Christians or religious/Orthodox Jews, as they tend to be conservative politically. The Times has no great love for Israel either, as this one-sided "story" just happened to appear on the day Prime Minister Netanyahu was meeting with President Obama. What an amazing coincidence!

Of course, the above referenced donations violate no laws. The Times just does not like the idea of supporting Jewish communities in the West Bank. But the Times would like such donations to be illegal, or at least get no charitable tax deduction. After all, the Times does not believe Jews should be allowed to reside in any communities in the West Bank once the palestinians take over. See, the palestinians can reside in Israel (over a million do) OR the newly formed palestinian state, but the Jews should only be allowed to reside in Israel. Clearly, the type of "ethnic cleansing" that does not offend the sensibilities of the people at the NY Times.

Buried deep in the article is a little tidbit that points out that "Islamic judicial panels have threatened death to palestinians who sell property in the occupied territories to Jews." But, as Ms. Glick points out, the second law passed by the PA after its founding in 1994, "criminalized ALL (emphasis added) Arab land sales to Jews as a capital crime." Now that PA law would have made for quite a story. So would the murder of those Arabs, in Israel or the territories, accused of selling land to Jews. That's a real story; not the perfectly legal charitable donations by groups the Times despises. But writing that story would require some actual journalistic integrity, something in very short supply in the mainstream media.