Unilateral Disarmament

It bodes poorly for the Republic when you read that we actively avoid the use of information that can save our lives.

Intelligence Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Intelligence about terror threats rarely comes on such a silver platter: A Nigerian banker went to the U.S. Embassy in Lagos to warn that his son had fallen under “the influence of religious extremists based in Yemen” and was a security risk. This came after months of U.S. intelligence intercepts about al Qaeda plans for an attack using a Nigerian man. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab paid for his ticket with cash and didn’t check any luggage.

Yet a headline in the Washington Post summed up the current state of our intelligence: “Uninvestigated Terrorism Warning About Detroit Suspect Called Not Unusual.”

The Obama administration has leaned toward treating terrorism as a matter for domestic law enforcement, such as trying terrorists in civilian courts instead of in military tribunals. But this legalistic culture also undermined intelligence in the Fort Hood case in November. The FBI knew that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been exchanging emails with a Yemen-based imam with ties to the 9/11 hijackers. The agency, operating by the standards of domestic law enforcement instead of applying information to prevention, surmised that the “content was explainable by his research” and failed to warn the Army of its potential risk.

If there is any one thing Bush got right, more so than any of his competitors and detractors, it was understanding that this was a ‘war paradigm,’ not a ‘law enforcement paradigm.’ Obama seems eager to reverse that policy, and people are going die unnecessarily because of it. Indeed, using the Fort Hood shooting as an example, they already have died because of it.

Obama’s Lie

When Obama stated (on national television) that he is against “Single Payer” health care, he was lying. There are plenty of You Tube Videos to prove that.

He also campaigned on making sure “you won’t lose the insurance you have.” He lied about that too. There never was a way to achieve any of his goals without destroying the private health insurance market.

You Will Lose Your Private Health Insurance

So let’s get straight what the real essentials of the bill are-and how disastrous they are. Three provisions constitute the vicious heart of the Democrats’ health-care overhaul.

The first is “guaranteed issue” and “community rating.” This is the requirement that insurance companies have to offer coverage to people who are already sick, and that they be limited in their ability to charge higher rates for customer who pose a higher risk. The extra expense to the insurance companies of covering people with pre-existing conditions will get passed on to existing customers in the form of higher premiums. But why spend years paying these inflated premiums for insurance you’re not using, when you can get exactly the same benefits by waiting until you actually fall ill? The obvious result is that million of people, especially healthy young people, will quickly realize that there is no reason to buy health insurance until they get sick.

Following the usual pattern of government intervention, the health-care bill offers another intervention as the solution for the problem created by the first. The “individual mandate” requires everyone to buy health insurance and subjects us to a tax if we fail to do so. But this is an especially onerous new tax, the first tax not tied to any kind of income or activity. It’s not a tax on stock-market profits, say, or a tax on buying cigarettes. It’s just a tax for existing.

So fearing a public backlash, Congress didn’t have the guts to make this new tax very large-only $750. Yet actual insurance can cost more than $3,000 per year-and as we shall see, this legislation goes out of its way to drive up those rates by mandating more lavish coverage. So we end up getting the worst of both worlds. This provision won’t actually drive anyone to buy health insurance and prop up the risk pools for those who are insured. All it will accomplish is to create a brand new form of tax.

But the biggest power-grab in the bill is the government takeover of the entire market for health insurance. The bill requires all new policies to be sold on a government-controlled exchange run by a commissioner who is empowered to dictate what kinds of insurance policies can be offered, what they must cover, and what they can charge.

Right now, your best option for reducing the cost of your health insurance is to buy a policy with a high deductible, which leaves you to pay for routine checkups and minor injuries (preferably from savings held in a tax-free Health Savings Account) but which covers your needs in catastrophic circumstances-a bad car accident, say, or expensive treatment for cancer. This is the kind of coverage I have.

But the health-insurance exchange is intended to eliminate precisely this kind of low-cost catastrophic coverage. Its purpose is to force health-insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage that pays for all of your routine bills-which in turn comes at a higher price. So under the guise of making health insurance more affordable, this bill will restrict your menu of choices to include only the most expensive options.

So there we have the real essence of this bill. It restricts our choice of which insurance to buy and pushes us into more expensive plans. At the same time, it destroys the economic incentive to purchase insurance in the first place and replaces insurance with a free-floating tax on one’s very existence.

What these people are doing is evil. Not wrong, but evil.

If you are looking for a strategy to stop this bill, forget calling your senator, and focus instead on funding opponents of Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Dorgan, and Bayh (and/or any other so-called moderate). Once you’ve made a donation, call their office and tell them you will donate even more if they pass this bill.

It is my most fervent hope that someone in the Republican Party is working on a strategy to a) stop this, and b) base an entire campaign strategy not on its repeal, but its “improvement” under a new president and Congress in 2010 and then 2012. Running on “Repeal” will rally Republicans, but running on its “Improvement” will allow the party to make the case that they can get the issue right. We have to produce the proper alternative.

If the Democrats are stupid enough to pass such a destructive and evil bill, it is the responsibility of the Republican party to convince the electorate to punish them severely. This is a vile bill, and I hope you all work to stop it by virtually any means you can.

Maybe some Fact-Checking was in order BEFORE the election!!

You’d think a little scrutiny might have gone a long way back in October of 2008


FACT CHECK: Sleight of hand? Obama promotes deficit reduction and increased spending

WASHINGTON (AP) — In President Barack Obama’s hands, the $700 billion financial rescue fund offers a bit of bookkeeping magic: an opportunity to pay down the deficit while also spending more — thereby adding to it.

Under law, any paybacks to the bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program must be used to reduce the deficit. But in an economic speech on Tuesday, the president sought to have it both ways. Increased repayments from banks to the Treasury will reduce the deficit all right, but it will give Congress the budgetary room to spend more — and the president encouraged just that.

OBAMA: “We were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve,” he said, describing his administration’s infusions of money to banks and the auto industry.

Later, however, he conceded that the TARP program was “launched hastily under the last administration,” and argued the policy was flawed.

THE FACTS: Obama’s partisan swipe glosses over some of the circumstances before he took office. First, he and his fellow Democrats presided over some of the decision-making that led up to the crisis, because they controlled Congress for two years before Obama became president. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also had a hand, as chief of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under the Bush administration.

Moreover, the $700 bailout fund was initiated under the Bush administration by then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. It was endorsed at the time by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and by Geithner. As Illinois senator during the presidential campaign, Obama backed that package.

3/4 of the right policy, delivered flaccidly

The Left is crestfallen, the right is critical, but will support the President, and the world is beginning to see just how empty Obama really is. The man was elected to lead, and we are finding out he just isn’t that interested.

The Opposite of Rousing: The goals were narrow, and delivered without regard to America’s moral obligation to Afghanistan. Peter Beinart on Obama’s missed opportunity. (Peter Beinart, 12/02/09, Daily Beast)

[I]t left me cold. Militarily, we are plunging deeper into Afghanistan, but emotionally, we are getting out. There was virtually nothing in the speech about our moral obligation to the Afghan people, a people to whom America promised much and has delivered scandalously little.

__________

Borrowing From Bush’s Playbook

Obama’s speech contained eerie echoes of Bush’s wartime addresses. Or did it? Benjamin Sarlin compares the rhetoric.

One common reaction to President Barack Obama’s prime-time address outlining a new strategy for Afghanistan: He bore a striking similarity to the president he replaced.

“Much of this speech could be delivered by Bush, even if it would mean something different,” Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein wrote on Twitter during the speech.

____

Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama’s speech would be well-received.

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond “enthusiastically” to the speech. But it didn’t help: The soldiers’ reception was cool.

One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.

If there is any upside to America being led by a man of Obama’s lack of talent, it is the deflation of his aura among the Europeans.
_______

Critics From Across the Spectrum Rip Plan

WASHINGTON—A barrage of instant criticism blasting President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy from across the political spectrum signaled the challenges ahead in selling the plan to a skeptical public and Congress.

Some of Mr. Obama’s most loyal supporters among liberal grass-roots groups denounced the 30,000-troop escalation—despite a newly revealed plan for a quick drawdown that White House officials had hoped would mollify the left.

Many Republicans, while supporting the troop increase, were quick to charge that the timetable for withdrawal would embolden U.S. adversaries. Arizona Sen. John McCain warned that Mr. Obama risked telling the enemy “that you’re coming and you’re leaving.”

Mr. Obama’s nationally televised address Tuesday kicked off a full-blown campaign by the White House to rally support for a troop escalation that could bring rising U.S. casualties just as lawmakers are running for re-election next year.

Start telling these 7 stories to your friends

Make all of these stories part of your narrative when you talk politics to your friends. Follow the link, read the “story lines,” tell your friends, rinse and repeat.

7 stories Obama doesn’t want told

  • He thinks he’s playing with Monopoly money
  • That’s the Chicago Way
  • Too much Leonard Nimoy
  • He’s a pushover
  • He sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe
  • President Pelosi
  • He’s in love with the man in the mirror
  • Ridiculing the Ridiculous (Hat Tip IL Rev.)

    Our next “Worst President”

    Obama Blunders Through Asia
    Undoing Bush’s years of deft diplomacy.

    The White House stated as Obama left Asia for home last week: “Overall, American leadership was absent from this region for the last several years.” Nonsense. Bush left office with U.S. relations with Asia’s big four–China, India, Japan, and Indonesia–taken together, better than ever in history.

    Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh many times remarked that President Bush was popular in India, and so was the United States. U.S.-Japan relations were excellent under Bush, in partnership with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and two successors. Nor were U.S. relations with Australia ever as good as in the years when Bush presided in Washington and John Howard in Canberra. In Southeast Asia after 9/11 the U.S. position improved sharply with Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. And Bush drew Vietnam and, after 2007, South Korea, under its new president Lee Myung Bak, closer to the United States.

    As for China, in his second Inaugural Address and his oration at Kyoto en route to Beijing in 2005, Bush treated the Chinese with respect but also as laggards in world-historical terms. “Free nations are peaceful
    nations,” he said in Japan. “Free nations do not threaten their neighbors, and free nations offer their citizens a hopeful vision for the future.”

    Junk Science at the White House

    This is a good read. So much for the left’s silly “reality-based” rhetoric. Of course, Man-made Global Warming is the biggest example of “junk science” of all.

    Junk Science Returns to the White House

    Regardless of your tribal affiliations, were you cautiously optimistic when our new president promised to “restore science to its rightful place” in the formulation of public policy?

    You’re probably aware that the H1N1 swine flu vaccine supply has fallen dangerously short of the level required to protect the most vulnerable among us. In the spring Federal officials predicted that as many as 120 million doses would be available by now, as opposed to the 16 million doses that actually arrived.

    It switched our country’s emergency H1N1 vaccine order from multi-dose to single-dose vials, causing production chain backups as vendors scrambled to accommodate the last-minute switch. Why the change? Because single-dose vials contain a lower concentration of thimerosal. Some people denied shots because of this decision are going to die. Does this policy sound scientific or political?

    These are the same models that have been unable to explain why the hottest year on record was actually 11 years ago despite increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and that the world’s oceans appear to be cooling. This has not stopped the administration from proposing that 200,000 square miles of land, sea, and ice along the northern coast of Alaska be designated as “critical habitat for this iconic species.” Does reading this statement make you wonder whether polar bears are genuinely endangered or merely charismatic? Does this policy sound scientific or political?

    Have you looked at the background and track record of the chief scientist the president chose to advise him? In a book co-authored earlier in his career with Population Bomb alarmist Paul Erhlich, Presidential science advisor John Holdren discussed the merits of adding a sterilant to public drinking water supplies to reduce population growth. The book goes on to note that “compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution.” You see we, dear readers, are not citizens meant to be served by our government. We are pollutants. Does this policy sound scientific or insane?

    It is my most fervent hope that the Republicans can field a good set of candidates and take back the House. Let the Dems keep the Senate. The worst thing that could happen is that the Republicans resuscitate Obama the way they did Clinton, who was bearable.

    8 years of this political hack masquerading as a president would be a setback for this nation.

    Obama incompetence driving the nation Right

    On one hand, it’s easy to critique the Obama Administration. Few people expected them to mess up so many things so fast. You’d think that with the experience of Bill Clinton and 1994 so fresh, any campaign smart enough to run a cleverly crafted center-left campaign would be smart enough not to do a hard left once they took power.

    Apparently, the hard-bitten Chicago Machine hacks who provided the “intellectual” underpinnings of Obama’s manufactured aura thought they had converted the center-right USA into Mayor Daley’s Chicago overnight. DOH!

    Axelrod ain’t no Rove. (Arguing in the alternative, maybe Rove was just lucky that he was on the center-right side of the divide)

    I remain convinced that the Obama Administration, while completely incompetent at governing, are still dangerously competent at politicking, and may pull some rabbits out of the hat to forestall their well-deserved drubbing in 2010.

    That said, nothing moves a nation right faster than an incompetent ultra-liberal who campaigned as a centrist, and then took a hard left. The question remains whether incompetent GOP leadership has the brains to capitalize on the shift. Winning 2010 by default will be a hollow victory.

    Obama’s big change: He moves America to the Right

    When you look at public attitudes toward the budget, health care, the environment, and other top issues, you see a similar picture: Republicans and Democrats are on either end of the spectrum, but independents aren’t exactly in the middle. They’re leaning a little bit right. And even though Republicans remain unpopular, voters seem willing to take a new look at them, if only by default.

    On a related issue, the Gallup organization is finding a new trend toward conservatism. Gallup conducts thousands of interviews with Americans each year and always asks respondents to describe their political views. So far in 2009, 40 percent of those surveyed call themselves conservative. That’s up from 37 percent in 2007 and 2008, when the percentage of people who called themselves conservative fell to its lowest point in more than a decade.

    The change is entirely attributable to movement among independents. In Gallup’s 2008 interviews, 29 percent of independents described themselves as conservative. This year, 35 percent do.

    Gallup cites a lot of factors to explain the shift. An increasing number of people believe there’s too much government regulation of business; more people want the government to promote traditional values; more believe that labor unions are too influential in our politics; more oppose restrictive gun laws, and on and on.

    I don’t have the time to find the link, but one election night (2008) poll showed the the “less services/lower taxation” versus “more services/more taxation” divide was around 60/40 on the “less government side. This on the night Obama trounced McCain.

    Let that soak in.

    Assuming that the Obama administration isn’t incompetent leaves one with only one alternative. They know that they have a narrow window to work with, and it’s better to enact all sorts of nonsense quickly, take the drubbing, and hope that once enacted, even idiocy (Obama care, Cap and Trade) can’t be repealed.

    That window is closing, and they may already have blown it. For my part, I think anything they pass will be so bad that Congressional candidates across the nation can openly run on “repealing Obama’s first 2 years.”

    One can only hope.

    Our exceedingly naive (or worse) President

    Apparently, Obama understands next to nothing about negotiation. It’s either that, or he just doesn’t care about promoting US interests.

    Despite Obama’s Concessions, Russia Remains Unhelpful on Iran: U.S. efforts are producing few results on nuclear problem (Joshua Kucera, October 26, 2009, US News)

    [W]ashington’s hopes took a hit last week. First, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to walk back that shift, saying, “Threats, sanctions, and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive.” Visiting China the next day, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called talk of sanctions against Iran “premature.” The snub was sharper because Lavrov’s comments came shortly after he met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow, where she had traveled to discuss a host of issues, including Iran, with Russian leaders. Russian media reported that Michael McFaul, a National Security Council expert on Russia who accompanied Clinton, said the United States would back off of criticism of Moscow’s human rights record, another annoyance to Russia.

    As my favorite blogger points out, once one party to a negotiation has gotten what it wants it has no real reason to continue negotiating. (though the world community might play with Obama the way a cat plays with a mouse).

    “Thus, in the “negotiations” between Russia and the US, the former seeks our acquiescence on a range of security and human rights issues that directly effect Russia, whereas we seek their help on various matters extrinsic to Russia. To get them to the table, the UR agrees to their demands and then they’ll talk to us about what we want. Of course, having secured the stuff that matters to them, there’s no reason for them to help us out anymore.”

    I’m getting sick of the people who call Obama “smart.” He appears quite below average to me.