One New Englander Who Supports Global Warming

Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey is reporting that Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group, is predicting the coldest winter in a decade for the east coast of the United States.  Ed Morrissey reports:

“The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

“”Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It’s pretty good odds.””

This happens just as Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) will release global warming legislation Wednesday that they hope will be the vehicle for broader Senate negotiations and an eventual conference with the House. 

WattsUpWithThat is reporting that the ‘hockey stick’ theory of global warming has been disproved.  In fact the earth has not warmed for the past ten years.  Massachusetts did not really have a summer this year.  The last time that happened was in 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted and the ash cloud affected our summer.  The proposed global warming legislation (also called cap and trade or cap and tax) will affect only America.  Even if America cuts its carbon emissions in half, if China and India do nothing, there will not be a noticeable reduction in air pollution in the world.  America will have undercut its manufacturing base in order to achieve nothing. 

The Timing Of Healthcare Legislation

The Hill is reporting today that Harry Reid has cancelled the Senate’s Columbus Day recess so that healthcare legislation can be passed during the week of October 12th.  The Heritage Foundation Blog is reporting:

“Senate Majority Leader Reid has stated an intention to take the HELP Committee product and merge it with the Senate Finance Committee markup that is expected to be over by this Thursday or Friday. Their plan is to proceed to a House passed non-health care bill to provide a shell of legislation to give Obamacare a ride to the House and then straight to the President’s desk.”

The Hill reports:

“The pressure on Democrats to pass healthcare reform, however, has raised the stakes. Some Senate aides speculated that Reid did not want to give conservative activists a chance to stall progress by staging a second round of angry demonstrations during townhall-style meetings over the recess.”

Michael Moore has threatened any Democrats who do not support the healthcare reform with primary opponents and defeat in their next run for the Senate.

The current healthcare proposals are not popular.  They are particularly not popular among senior citizens.  Senior citizens vote in higher percentages than other voting blocs.  I suspect many Democrats are beginning to wonder if passing healthcare reform will cost them their Senate seats.

What Is Medical Fraud, Waste And Abuse?

Today’s Weekly Standard posted an article by Stanley Goldfarb, associate dean of clinical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a nephrologist.  Mr. Goldfarb points out that President Obama plans to pay for a large part of his healthcare proposal by getting rid of medical fraud, waste, and abuse.  The question then becomes, what is fraud, waste, and abuse.

There is general agreement that healthcare in America is expensive.  But the dissatisfaction with healthcare in America seems to be a general rather than a specific thing–the people who express dissatisfaction with our healthcare system generally are happy with their current health insurance.  So what is driving the movement to change it?

Mr. Goldfarb points out that our healthcare is expensive because it is easily accessible and because medical care is expensive in our country. 

The article points out:

“What has been called “waste and abuse”(two parts of the iconic but never repaired problem of “waste, fraud, and abuse”) is actually another term for the wide access to technology and advanced care that Americans have come to expect from their encounters with the health care system. Certainly “fraud” should be eliminated. Medicare does a very poor job of this as has been well documented. Its low administrative costs are partly the result of its meager efforts at detecting fraud. However, one person’s “waste and abuse” is another’s piece of mind because an MRI scan or a CT scan has definitively ruled out a tumor when it was an unlikely but possible diagnosis and could simply have been followed along for several months to observe the late outcome.”

There is a suggestion that we consider a person’s age when we examine our treatment options.  It is interesting that the cost of a cardiac bypass in Canada is nearly twice the cost of a bypass in America.  The average hospital stay in Canada is 20 percent longer than the average hospital stay in America.

The thing that is being overlooked in the healthcare debate is the role that free enterprise plays in scientific progress.  One of the reasons we have the medical breakthroughs in this country that we do is that scientific discovery in America is profitable.  Whether we like it or not, money is a motivator.  There is nothing wrong with people making profits in medical care or anywhere else.  That has been a part of our country since its founding.

One last thought, if the current healthcare proposals are so wonderful, why is Congress opting out of being part of any program that it enacts?

What Should Be Done With Roman Polanski?

Today’s Washington Post has an Op-Ed piece by Eugene Robinson today on the subject of what to do with Roman Polanski.  Without going into gory details, the question is what do you do with a 76-year old man who raped a thirteen year old when he was in his 50’s. 

Mr. Polanski fled the United States after his trial (where he pled guilty) and settled in France.  The extradition treaty we have with France evidently did not cover his particular crime.  So he has lived there peacefully for the past thirty years.  He was arrested Sunday in Switzerland where he had traveled to accept an award.  Evidently our extradition treaty with Switzerland covers child molestation.

I don’t like to see a 76-year old man go to prison, but I don’t like to see a person who raped a thirteen year old girl escape the consequences of his actions.  If his name was John Smith instead of Roman Polanski, what would his fate be?  Do we need to take another look at the concept of equal justice under the law regardless of money or status?

Common Sense And The Law

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article yesterday talking about the proposed penalties for not having healthcare under the Obama healthcare proposal.  Ordinary citizens are facing fines of up to $25,000 and a year in jail for not having healthcare or not paying the fine for not having healthcare.  It sounded very far-fetched until I read the rest of the article.

The article cites the following case:

“Consider the Indiana grandmother arrested in July, four months after buying two boxes of cold medicine in less than a week. She ran afoul of a state law that prohibits the purchase of more than three grams of pseudoephedrine by one person in a seven-day period.

“Reports say Sally Harpold was simply buying Zyrtec-D and Mucinex-D for her husband and daughter, not to make or help anyone else make methamphetamine, an activity policymakers were trying to shut down when they passed the law. Yet she was arrested, handcuffed and booked anyway.”

As someone with allergies married to someone with allergies and having children with allergies, I can totally relate to her plight.  One package of 20 Claritan D used up more than half my allowance of pseudoephedrine for the week.  If I go to the store today to get a package for my husband or one of my children, I risk being arrested.  There is such a thing as too much government interference and too little common sense.

Backing The Wrong Horse In Honduras

Yesterday Power Line posted an article on the ongoing situation in Honduras.  The Law Library of Congress has studied the events in Honduras and concluded that the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya was legal and in keeping with constitutional law in Honduras.  They did conclude, however, that removing him from the country was not constitutional.  If his removal from office was constitutional, why are our State Department and President asking for his reinstatement as President.  Why are we supporting a would-be dictator who is friends with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and could be assumed to be anti-American?

Options On Iran

Sunday’s Wall Street Journal posted an opinion piece by Eliot A. Cohen, a teacher at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former counselor of the State Department.  Mr. Cohen believes that the options on how to handle the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons are limited and time sensitive. 

Mr. Cohen points out:

“Understandably, the U.S. government has hoped for a middle course of sanctions, negotiations and bargaining that would remove the problem without the ugly consequences. This is self-delusion. Yes, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy stood side by side with President Barack Obama in Pittsburgh and talked sternly about lines in the sand; and yes, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev hinted that some kind of sanctions might, conceivably, be needed. They said the same things to, and with, President George W. Bush.”

Time is not on our side.  Eventually we are going to be faced with a choice of an American or Israeli strike against the nuclear installations or a nuclear Iran.  Unfortunately, the current administration does not understand that force is the language of power in the Middle East.  A lack of force is seen as weakness and as something to be exploited. 

Mr. Cohen concludes:

“It is, therefore, in the American interest to break with past policy and actively seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Not by invasion, which this administration would not contemplate and could not execute, but through every instrument of U.S. power, soft more than hard. And if, as is most likely, President Obama presides over the emergence of a nuclear Iran, he had best prepare for storms that will make the squawks of protest against his health-care plans look like the merest showers on a sunny day.”

It would be nice to think that events half a world away would not impact our everyday lives, but that is simply not true.  Israel may be willing to take the risk that we are not willing to take.  The conseqences would be dire for millions of people–radioactivity in the atmosphere because of atomic bombs going out of and into Israel, the death of millions of people, and a total disruption of all international trade.  Unfortunately, the consequences of Iran having nuclear weapons are also dire.  Even if Iran chooses not to use its nukes, the threat of that use would embolden Iran in ways that would be detrimental to the Middle East and eventually to the entire world.

The Need To Communicate With Your Chain Of Command

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air today comments on the statement General Stanley McChrystal made to CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.  The General stated that he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.  I know we live in an age of email and blackberries, but I do think this is extreme. 

General McChrystal was appointed by President Obama.  He is the President’s choice to command our troops in Afghanistan.  There is some real question now as to what the President’s plan is in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reports that General McChrystal in recent weeks has launched a “force optimization” study:

“The study has found “perhaps a couple of thousand” troops who could be replaced or whose missions could be refocused to better carry out the current strategy, according to one senior military officer involved in the effort. General McChrystal’s request for more troops is expected to include different troop levels for different goals, an administration official said. The figure of 40,000 would be what one official described as the “we’re in this to win” option, which would include ambitious goals for securing the cities, clearing out the countryside of Taliban insurgents and nation-building. More modest troop increases could achieve more limited goals, the official said, including redeploying existing troops to focus mainly on cities.”

There was a movie released in 2007 called THE KITE RUNNER.  It showed in graphic terms what happened when America left Afghanistan after the Russians were defeated (and what the Afghans thought of America because we left).  The question here is how reliable an ally are we.  We are not doing a very good job of being an ally right now–ask the Poles, the Czech Republic, and Honduras.

I have said before.  I am the wife of a Viet Nam era veteran and the mother in law of an active duty Marine who will be headed to Afghanistan shortly.  If we are going to put our soldiers in danger, it had better be to win.  Yes, I know it is not a football game–it is our national security.  If we do not follow through in Afghanistan, then we have given Iran a major victory in the war on terror.  We have told them that they can continue to do whatever they want with their nuclear program because we do not have the courage to stay the course. 

It is my hope that President Obama will listen to the General he appointed–the General is much more educated and experienced in the art of war.

Under The Radar In The Courts

Today’s Washington Times posted an editorial about the proposed Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 (S. 1653),  This is actually a fairly straightforward piece of legislation.  You can read the entire bill at  The bill would add 63 new federal judges – 51 in federal district courts and 12 in appeals courts.  The courts are busy, and it might seem like a good idea to increase the number of judges in federal district courts and appeals courts, but wait a minute. 

The article points out:

“Oh, sure, some circuits have a much larger current caseload per judicial panel than others. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, for instance, has 1,314 cases per panel, compared to just 607 cases per panel for the 7th Circuit. Then again, the 2nd Circuit already has four vacancies – available seats on its bench that the president and Senate just haven’t gotten around to filling yet. The Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 would add two new seats to that circuit before even filling the existing four vacancies. That makes no sense.”

What is really going on here is an attempt to stack the courts with liberal appointments and legislate through the courts.  Because the Supreme Court has been choosing fewer cases every year, the lower courts have been handling more controversial issues and ruling on them.  Appointments to lower courts are much lower profile than appointments to the Supreme Court.  The lower courts in many cases are making decisions that are the equivalent of legislation on controversial issues (without Congress having to vote on laws and in most cases without people realizing what is happening).

The Washington Times has an idea on how to make this bill work.  They suggest that first, all vacancies on these courts be filled.  In many cases these are the vacancies left because the Democrat Congress held up the nominees of George Bush.  Then pass the law with the condition that the additional judges will be appointed after the next election.  That way, neither Democrats or Republicans know who will be appointing these judges.

Let’s see what happens next.  

A New Twist In “Hold Messages”

According to Newsbusters today, when you call the Capital Hill switchboard, you get an interesting message while you are waiting to be put through to the operator.  If you follow the link to the article, you can hear the audio of the message, but here is the transcript:

“Thank you for calling your Representative and your Senators.

“Please urge them to vote yes on health insurance reform. Because the American people can no longer wait for more choices, lower costs, and coverage we can count on.”

This should be illegal.  Somehow I suspect it will be overlooked in the news today.

The Financial Benefits Of Promoting ‘Green’

Friday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about a small car company, California startup Fisker Automotive Inc., (coincidentally backed by Al Gore) that has received a $529 million government loan to build a hybrid car in Finland.  Finland?  With out tax money?  It’s even worse than that.  The car, the Karma, is a hybrid sports car that will sell for $89,000.

The article points out:

“Fisker’s top investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a veteran Silicon Valley venture-capital firm of which Gore is a partner. Employees of KPCB have donated more than $2.2 million to political campaigns, mostly for Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.”

Quite frankly, this infuriates me.  At a time when unemployment in America is approaching double digits, $529 million of our money gets spent to provide manufacturing jobs overseas to produce something that most of us will never be able to afford.

Meanwhile, back in America:

“Some companies that have been turned down for loans from DOE say they did not get much feedback from the department about their applications. O. John Coletti, president of EcoMotors International of Troy, Mich., said his company applied for a $20 million loan from the agency last December, and last month got a one-page rejection letter from the loan program’s director, Lachlan Seward. EcoMotors’ lead investor is Vinod Khosla, himself a former Kleiner Perkins partner and a longtime campaign contributor to Republicans and Democrats alike.”

I am willing to bet that there will never be any accountability as to how the funds designated to help car manufacturers meet new government fuel efficiency standards have been spent.  I strongly suggest we begin to cut off the money flow to Washington and keep more of our own money.  This is ridiculous.

A Moment In Time In The Healthcare Debate

We’ve all heard the quote from President Obama–if you like your present healthcare coverage, you will get to keep it.  Well, aside from the fact that the President and Congress will not be covered by any new healthcare legislation, there was an interesting vote in the Senate Finance Committee as they were marking up the Baucus version of the bill.

According to Power Line yesterday, Senator Orrin Hatch introduced an amendment:

“The purpose of this amendment is simple. If the secretary of Health and Human Services certifies that more than 1 million Americans would lose the current coverage of their choice because of this bill, then this bill would not go into effect.

“It seems like a very, very simple but perfect amendment for those of us who have integrity. This amendment is simply trying to safeguard President Obama’s pledge to the American people, you’ll get — that you will get to keep what you have.”

What do you think the vote on this amendment was?  The amendment failed.  You can read the roll call if you follow the link.  Not a single Democrat voted for it.  It is becoming very obvious that what we are being told about the healthcare bill currently proposed and what the bill actually is are not at all related.

The Crime Of Not Having Health Insurance

Yes, you read that right.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a part of the healthcare bill that has not gotten a lot of publicity.  It seems that if you choose not to participate in the government healthcare plan or pay the fine, you can be fined up to $25,000 and be sentenced to up to a year in prison. 

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) asked Thomas Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation what would happen if a taxpayer refused to buy health insurance and then refused to pay the fine.  Follow this link to to see the handwritten note he got back.  This is the equivalent of debtor’s prison.  If you don’t have the money to buy health insurance or pay the fine, you go to jail!

Just one further note of the idea of national health insurance.  I live in Massachusetts, which has a mandatory health insurance program.  Aside from the fact that it has cost much more than what was projected, it has a few wrinkles.  There was a letter to the editor in my local newspaper last week from a woman whose family has had private health insurance for a number of years.  They had an inexpensive policy that covers major illnesses and emergencies, but allows them to pay for routine doctor’s visits, etc.  The premiums are low, and they save a substantial amount of money by having that type of coverage.  They have just heard from the state that their policy does not qualify as health insurance under state guidelines and they will have to change to a more expensive policy to cover things they do not want covered.  This is the risk we all take when we allow the government to meddle in our private insurance coverage.

How To Save Money On Healthcare By Denying Care To Granny

Yesterday’s Washington Times had an editorial explaining how care would be denied to the elderly under the current healthcare proposal (without calling it “death panels”).  The idea that there would be death panels has been mocked by the proponents of this bill, and yet there is a mechanism that would definitely deny quality care to the elderly. 

According to the article:

“The offending provision is on Pages 80-81 of the unamended Baucus bill, hidden amid a lot of similar legislative mumbo-jumbo about Medicare payments to doctors. The key sentence: “Beginning in 2015, payment would be reduced by five percent if an aggregation of the physician’s resource use is at or above the 90th percentile of national utilization.” Translated into plain English, it means that in any year in which a particular doctor’s average per-patient Medicare costs are in the top 10 percent in the nation, the feds will cut the doctor’s payments by 5 percent.”

There is no provisions here for results, quality of care, or efficiency–just cost.  The irony of this provision is that it would only save $1 billion over six years (that is without adding in the expense of monitoring all doctors’ spending on the elderly and administering the program).  No doctor would be aware of what the spending limits were until the end of the year, forcing doctors to be overly cautious in the care given to the elderly.

I have said it before–let’s totally scrap this bill and make an honest attempt to draft a bi-partisan bill from scratch. 

Iranian Nukes

Just the headline is scary.  Yesterday’s The Corner at National Review had a short piece by Michael Ledeen on the news that Iran has a second nuclear plant in operation. 

Mr. Ledeen points out in the article (by leaders he is referring to Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown):

“Indeed, these leaders know things are even worse than they are saying today. There are still other facilities, including one at Parchin, about which some things are known, and yet another near the Afghan border, about which I am told we know much less. I doubt we know the full details of the Iranians’ secret nuclear-weapons program. Quite obviously, Obama, Brown, and Sarkozy think it’s a weapons program, not the civilian one the Iranians claim.”

America has known about the second nuclear facility since about two months before President Obama took office.  President Bush did not act on it because of the short time he would be in office, but there was another reason.  Since the election of President Bush, the Democrat party attacked his presidency.  They undermined the war in Iraq, saying Afghanistan was the only legitimate war (now that they have to actually fight that war, they are waffling and endangering our troops by doing so), and they attacked him personally in any way they could to undermine his role as President.  Had the Democrats encouraged support of President Bush as a wartime President, he might have been able to at least threaten Iran with force to the point where they stopped their nuclear program. 

Remember that Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program after we attacked Iraq because he did not want to be next.  Had the Democrats taken a different stand on the war on terror, we might have prevented the current situation with Iran.  We are now faced with a nuclear Iran whose leaders have no problem with the idea of committing nuclear suicide and an American President who believes that his charm will bring about world peace.  Thank God for Israel, it is the world’s only hope.  Meanwhile, this President sees fit to criticize only Israel and Honduras–two of our allies trying to protect their democracies.

Just a footnote on this article.  In an article posted yesterday, Power Line points out:

“The National Intelligence Estimate concluded that “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” The report defined “nuclear weapons program” to mean “Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.”

At the time, we and many others greeted the NIE with skepticism as an implausible, politically-motivated document. We now know that it was wrong. Beyond that, it is hard to understand how it could have been issued in good faith. Senior administration officials now say that our intelligence agencies have known about Iran’s covert facility in Qom for “several years.” That being the case, how could the intelligence community have believed, in November 2007, that Iran had “halted [its] covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work” in 2003?

The conclusion seems inescapable that the 2007 NIE on Iran was a deliberately false document that was designed solely to embarrass the Bush administration and undermine its policies toward Iran.”

Unfortunately, partisan politics prevented us from solving a serious problem.  There are some things that should not be political. 

Changing The Law To Suit The Political Need

Today’s Boston Herald has an article by Howie Carr on the recent appointment by the Governor or Massachusetts of Paul G. Kirk Jr. to fill Senator Kennedy’s Senate seat until an election can be held in January. 

According to the article:

“Here’s how it’s supposed to work. If the Legislature wants a bill to
become law immediately, they have to attach what’s called an “emergency
preamble.” It takes a two-thirds vote to pass such a preamble.
Otherwise, the bill becomes law in 90 days.”

If the law had been followed, we would have had  a Senator by the end of December instead of the beginning of January, but that would have been too late for the President’s healthcare reform. 

Mr. Carr points out:

“Teddy missed 97 percent of the roll calls in the Senate before his
death this year. None of the moonbats were braying about an emergency.
Apparently it was such a nonissue that Teddy himself never considered
resigning – even though once he knew he was dying, he could have sent
in a letter saying his resignation would be effective in five months.”

I am becoming very concerned about the people we have elected to office in this country.  I am not sure if term limits is the answer or if simply voting every incumbent out of office is the answer.  It just seems to me that we have a bunch of people in power with very little respect for either the US Constitution or the laws of their respective states.

Leadership At The United Nations

Most of what went on at the United Nations this week was sad.  An organization that was founded in the name of peace and the advancement of freedom gave voice to some of the nastiest dictators on the planet.  America joined in with a speech that essentially gave up any moral leadership we might have had in the past.  There was, however, one voice who spoke out for freedom and represented real leadership in a world that is lacking leaders.  That person was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yesterday, Power Line reported on the speech given by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations.  The Power Line article links to a series of videos of the speech.  Prime Minister Netanyahu came prepared.  He brought articles related to the Holocaust given to him recently by Germany.  He reminded the United Nations of how far they have come from their original purpose–keeping peace and promoting freedom.  The full text of the speech is at

Prime Minister Netanyahu has learned the lessons of history; unfortunately Barack Obama has not.  The Jewish people have learned from past experience that it is unwise to ignore a threat against them.  I believe that by not standing up against Iran’s nuclear program and by not affirming Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation, President Obama has made the world less safe.  President Obama made it very clear that American would not take Israel’s side against Iran’s nuclear program.  That leaves Israel no choice but to deal with that problem on its own. 

Israel may be a small country, but with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, I believe they have just taken over the position of leader of the free world and the source of hope to people aspiring to be free.

Remembering The Unbelievable

As the President of Iran takes the podium at the United Nations to deny the Holocaust, today’s Glens Falls, New York, Post reports on a three day reunion of a very unique group of people.  On April 13, 1945, First Lieutenant Frank Towers and a small tank battalion found a train the Nazis left behind near Magdeburg in central Germany.  The train was bound for one of the death camps and the Nazis had abandoned it as they fled the advancing allies. 

According to the article the train carried:

“…2,500 Jews locked inside old boxcars. Each boxcar carried 75 to 100 men, women and children who had been packed together for six days with little food, their sanitary facilities limited to a bucket.”

The American soldiers freed the Jews, provided care for them, and brought them to a safe location.  Hudson Falls High School got involved with this story when one of its history teachers interviewed one of the tank commanders and posted the information on the school website.  This led to a reunion of the soldiers and the train survivors hosted by the school in 2007. 

This year’s reunion began on Wednesday as soldiers and survivors again had a chance to meet and reflect on the events that brought them together.  These are the people we need to remember as we hear the lies that the Holocaust never happened.

Social Security In The Red

According to yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily, the Congressional Budget Office reports that Social Security will show deficits in 2010 ($10 billion) and 2011 ($9 billion).  Keep in mind that according to Congress, fiscal 2010 arrives next month.  The article points out:

“It’s widely known that Social Security is headed for deep financial problems. But mainly because projections didn’t have the program running deficits until almost 2020, there’s been little urgency to make changes in the system.

“Typical. Politicians are generally inclined to avoid making decisions on such difficult issues. When President Bush proposed a partial privatization plan four years ago, Congress deferred because most members figured they wouldn’t be in office when the crisis hit. Rather than risk their prospects in the next election, they left the mess to the next generation.”

Frankly, I wouldn’t trust the current Congress to make any positive changes in the Social Security program.  The program needs to be overhauled and privatized.  Congress also needs to stop using the money collected in Social Security taxes for other things.  It is noteworthy that Congress opted out of the Social Security retirement program about the same time it started stealing from it. 

The Need To Change The Rules In Afghanistan

Today’s New York Post has an opinion piece about the changes in the rules of engagement  that have occurred since President Obama took office.  Two of these rules are very troubling:

  • Unless our troops in combat are absolutely certain that no civilians are present, they’re denied artillery or air support.
  • If any civilians appear where we meet the Taliban, our troops are to “break contact” — to retreat.

I am not a military strategy expert, but this is dumb even to me.  We are fighting an enemy that is very good a waging a public relations war as well as an insurgent war.  It is a good idea to avoid civilian casualties if possible, but not in a way that gives our enemies a way to avoid being attacked.  I am sure that the Taliban figured out very quickly that all they have to do is have civilians with them at all times and they will not be attacked.  In an organization where suicide bombers are routinely trained, I am sure it is not difficult to find a few civilians to go into the battlefield with you.

I support the war in Afghanistan.  I believe it is a proxy war with Iran and that it is a necessary part of fighting terrorism.  However, if our soldiers are not being allowed to fight the war with everything they have, bring them home.  To do otherwise is the put them in jeopardy for no reason.  If you choose to tie our soldiers’ hands as they fight this war, remember that the price of Afghanistan falling back into chaos is that terrorists have a safe haven to plan their attacks on the rest of the world.

Massachusetts Governor Will Appoint A Temporary Fill-in For Ted Kennedy’s Seat

The Massachusetts legislature passed a law today allowing Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to appoint a Senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat until the special election is held in January.  The bill passed the Massachusetts Senate, but with less than a two-thirds majority.  This forces the Governor to declare the law an emergency in order to make the appointment

This is not about representing Massachusetts.  Massachusetts has been represented by one Senator since Senator Kennedy became ill.  If having two senators from Massachusetts had been a critical need, Senator Kennedy would have resigned and allowed a special election.  This is about the Democrats’ desire to pass some sort of healthcare reform before the end of the year.  The more people learn about the current healthcare proposals, the less support there is, so the Democrats want to pass healthcare quickly.  Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts represents the sixtieth vote–the one needed to break a filibuster.  

It is unfortunate that the Massachusetts legislature chooses to change the law on filling a vacant Senate seat according to which party controls the Massachusetts state house.  

Utopia Is A Great Idea, It Just Doesn’t Work

Paul Mirengoff at Power LIne has a very good analysis of President Obama’s speech at the United Nations today.  The President made many naive statements, but he also made so very foolish statements.  It is obvious from his statements that President Obama’s view of how the world should be does not have a moral compass.

This is a statement from the speech:

“In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.”

There is no allowance in this statement for the promotion of freedom.  There is no acknowledgment in this statement that generally speaking, free countries are more prosperous than dictatorships.  There is no acknowledgment in this statement that free countries generally don’t attack other countries–because they are generally successful, they have no reason to unless it is in self-defense.

The really sad part of this whole charade at the United Nations today is that it is such a slap in the face to the idealism with which the United Nations was founded.  The United Nations was established after World War II with the hope of protecting weaker countries from the kind of conquest that Germany, Japan and Italy engaged in.  Instead it has become a place where tyrants can claim respectibility.  Instead of protesting human rights violations in China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, and others, the United Nations gives the leaders of these countries a platform where they can address the world and pretend to judge the free countries around them. 

The United Nations has totally outlived its purpose and should quietly be put to rest.  New York City could then begin to collect fines for illegal parking in the area of the UN, and the building could be rented out to help New York City meet its budget deficit.  Maybe another country would be willing to host the organization and finance it, but America should not.

How The Current Healthcare Proposals Will Increase AARP Profits If Passed

One of the most reliable ways to understand any legislation and its supporters is to ‘follow the money.’  Power LIne did just that yesterday in an article about the proposed healthcare legislation.  Paul Mirengoff points out that the plan is to save money to pay for expanded healthcare by cutting the Medicare Advantage program in Medicare.  This program allows senior citizens to choose privately-administered coverage.  If this program is eliminated, these seniors will be forced into government-administered programs with less benefits.  At that point they will be forced to purchase private health insurance policies to supplement Medicare. 

According to a report issued by the House Republicans and cited in the Power Line article:

“In 2008, AARP generated $652.7 million in revenue by selling products like Medigap supplemental Medicare insurance, accounting for over 60 percent of the group’s revenue, according to an analysis of its financial statements cited in the report released by the House Republican Conference.”

The report further explains:

“If the House Democrats health care bill becomes law, the report argues, it would be a boon to AARP, because while Medicare Advantage plans will be required to pay out 85 percent of the money collected in premiums to claims made by policy holders, the requirement would only be 65 percent for the kind of Medigap policies sold by AARP.

“In other words, under the Democrat bill, seniors could pay as much as 20 cents more out of every premium dollar to fund ‘kickbacks’ to AARP-sponsored Medigap plans than Medicare Advantage plans,” the GOP report charges.”

This at least partially explains why the AARP is willing to ingore the interests of the senior citizens it is supposed to represent by supporting a healthcare reform bill that limits care to those senior citizens in order to save money. 

The Healthcare Vote

According to an article in The Hill today, Harry Reid has warned the Republicans that he will use the budget reconcilliation process to pass healthcare reform if the legislation is stalled in committee.  Senator Reid has also threatened to cancel the Columbus Day week-long recess if he is not satisfied with the progress of healthcare reform.

The Senate is willing to do almost anything in order to pass healthcare.  The Democrat leadership has put pressure on the Governor of Massachusetts to get a law passed in the state to allow him to appoint a Senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat until the special election in January.  The health of Robert Byrd has also become an issue in recent days.  Even the most liberal Republicans have not been willing to vote for the proposals currently being debated.  To pass healthcare by the budget reconcilliation process would be political suicide for many of the Democrat Congressmen.  It will be interesting to see if the Democrats are willing to commit political suicide in order to pass healthcare.   

Finding The Truth

Almost everyone who follows the news has seen or heard about the undercover videos released in the past few weeks showing ACORN employees helping people engage in illegal activities.  Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s chief organizer, was a guest on FOX News Sunday this week explaining what actions the organization is taking to discipline the people involved.  She stated that all the employees shown on the tapes supporting illegal activities have been terminated.  Well, not so fast.  The American Thinker did some research and found otherwise. 

According to an article in the New York Post:

“A spokesman for New York ACORN Housing Corp. told The Post that the employees, Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera, have been suspended without pay.

“”It will remain that way until the outcome of the [Brooklyn district attorney‘s] investigation is resolved,” said spokesman Jonathan Rosen.”

So what Ms. Lewis said is not true.  Further investigations shows that the people who were shown on the videos were experienced employees–they had been with ACORN a number of years and were in responsible positions.

Please read the American Thinker article to see the connection between ACORN and its other front organizations.