Wednesday, September 30, 2009
How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”
Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. “He f***ed it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.” As for his wider vision: “Maybe he doesn’t have one, not to imply he is a fraud. He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ‘I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs — a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” Has he met Obama? “No,” he says quietly, “I’ve had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang.” He is referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated. “Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.
A moderate conservative also is criticizing Obama. Rollins considers Obama's criticism of the Bush administation in his UN speech as tasteless
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
West's company – Group & Pension Administrators Inc. of Dallas – is defying this trend. When a hospital submits a claim, GPA staffers ignore the charges. They check the data hospitals report to Medicare, where hospitals show their actual costs for each procedure. Then GPA pays those costs, plus 12 percent for the hospital's profit.
For a patient who stayed three days in an Austin hospital after knee surgery, that payment method reduced the bill from $69,000 to $15,000. For another patient, the bill fell from $11,000 to $1,000, West said.
Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief.
No one should believe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran seems intent on developing a nuclear weapons program and the missiles capable of delivering them. This -- not the public revelations of a known installation -- is the real crisis, possibly one that can only end in war. It is entirely possible that Israel, faced with that chilling cliche -- an existential threat -- will bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. What would happen next is anyone's guess -- retaliation by Hamas and Hezbollah, an unprecedented spike in oil prices and then, after a few years or less, a resumption of Iran's nuclear program. Only the United States has the capability to obliterate Tehran's underground facilities. Washington may have to act.
A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.
German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.
Will all the pundits who relied on the discredited 2007 NIE on Iran now admit that they were wrong? That they bought into and kept citing, without any serious questioning, the now clearly politically skewed analysis in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate of that year? You remember: the considered consensus wisdom of the entire U.S. intelligence community, which misled the world into believing there was nothing to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, that it had virtually ceased. When, in fact, out of the three components of a nuclear weapons program, at most one might have been suspended, if that.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Now I see some others noticing this attitude abroad. Reihan Salam, "Can He Wow the World Again." The weak US economy does play a role in this, but I don't think this is the complete picture.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The President's domestic critics who accuse him of being the sinister wielder of a socialist master-plan are wide of the mark. The man who has run nothing more demanding than the Harvard Law Review is beginning to look out of his depth in the world's top job. His credibility is seeping away, and it will require concrete achievements rather than more soaring oratory to recover it.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Obama’s tire tariff isn’t your everyday sort of protectionism. It could end up causing a serious ripple effect. Due to a loophole in the 2001 agreement that allowed China to join the WTO, if any one member decides to impose safeguards on Chinese imports, all others can follow suit. It doesn’t take a genius to see how bad it could get.
Obama has largely decided to become a domestic-policy president. His supporters, his base and the politicking of his underlings indicate things will only get worse. With the global economy in deep crisis, protectionism is a terrible way to build a recovery.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
If Obama didn't get a quid pro quo for this decision from Putin, it shows remarkably weak leadership in foreign affairs for the future. He is not sending a strong signal to East European countries. And he announced it on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland!
The US is to abandon its controversial plan to build a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Czech prime minister has announced.
One British foreign affairs analyst sees it as a surrender.
This is bad news for all who care about the US commitment to the transatlantic alliance and the defence of Europe as well as the United States. It represents the appalling appeasement of Russian aggression and a willingness to sacrifice American allies on the altar of political expediency. A deal with the Russians to cancel missile defence installations sends a clear message that even Washington can be intimidated by the Russian bear.
Senator Schumer may agree with me!!!! Where's the quid pro quo?
Other Democrat questions.
If this is how Obama is conducting foreign policy, the US is in for a difficult road ahead.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Norman Borlaug arguably the greatest American of the 20th century died late Saturday after 95 richly accomplished years. The very personification of human goodness, Borlaug saved more lives than anyone who has ever lived. He was America's Albert Schweitzer: a brilliant man who forsook privilege and riches in order to help the dispossessed of distant lands. That this great man and benefactor to humanity died little-known in his own country speaks volumes about the superficiality of modern American culture.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
If enacted as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2010, policy changes recommended by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) -- the government's insurer for the elderly and disabled -- will severely cut current Medicare reimbursements to cardiologists and oncologists for critical care services that are provided to patients in physicians' offices or other out-of-hospital setting, such as chemotherapy to treat cancer, and various cardiac procedures to monitor and treat heart disease, such as nuclear imaging and heart catheterization.
And this is interesting from Newsweek, "The Case for Killing Granny." Werent' we told Palin was all wrong about death panels?
Even Obama supporters question the feasibility of his plan.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
- America is losing its high-tech lead.
- If America can't keep industries, they are lost forever to other countries.
- America no longer has a "base of suppliers, factory managers, and skilled technicians."
- American industry faces one of the highest tax rates of all advanced countries (in spite of what you hear from liberal Democrat politicians). Other countries (and even places like Germany) have low tax policies and other financial incentives that encourage industry.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The findings support a hypothesis put forth in 2008 that tall people are more likely than shorter people to have reached their full cognitive potential, the researchers said. Poor nutrition and childhood diseases may stunt growth and limit mental development in some cases, they said.
And, "How to Use Math to Choose a Wife."
This is not a war of choice; it is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda could plot to kill more Americans."
To begin with, a policy that falls back on 9/11 must proceed from a correct reading of the wellsprings of Islamist radicalism. The impulse that took America from Kabul to Baghdad had been on the mark. Those were not Afghans who had struck American soil on 9/11. They were Arabs. Their terrorism came out of the pathologies of Arab political life. Their financiers were Arabs, and so were those crowds in Cairo and Nablus and Amman that had winked at the terror and had seen those attacks as America getting its comeuppance on that terrible day. Kabul had not sufficed as a return address in that twilight war; it was important to take the war into the Arab world itself, and the despot in Baghdad had drawn the short straw. He had been brazen and defiant at a time of genuine American concern, and a lesson was made of him.
Wars are great clarifiers. Barack Obama's trumpet is uncertain. His call to arms in Afghanistan does not stir. He fears failure in Afghanistan, and nothing more. Having disowned Iraq, kept its cause at a distance, he is forced to fight the war in Afghanistan. So he equivocates and plays for time.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Obama has said there are no options out there. I have seen a number of options mentioned, but I haven't seen any media analysis of whether other health care proposals are better or worse. Here is one of the options.
The AMA is supporting Obamacare so it must think that doctors will gain some advantage from it. Some think this is a bad sign. . .for patients. The AMA has created a doctor shortage which boosts the salaries of doctors.
And did Obama misrepresent a medical case in his speech of September 9? Also I am skeptical that any plan won't result in some kind of cut in medical practices, especially for the aged. If there is all this cost-saving in making cuts in medicare, why haven't these cuts been made?
The non-politically active people I have visited with would feel more comfortable if congress would give themselves the same health care plan it wants to give to the rest of America. Even the AP felt Obama's speech was filled with misrepresentations.
Tucker Carlson saw a grumpy old man whose demeanor has changed from the hope and change positivism of the campaign.
He did give credit to Bush once. He supports the same policy -- which his Democrat colleagues in the congress voted down when it was Bush. That's politics.
I discovered Republicans do have health care proposals in spite of what the president said.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I also discovered a Cato Institute article that supports Palin in her charges.
No one ever accused Palin of being a health policy expert, and many found her hyperbolic term “death panel” off-putting. But that should not distract voters from this reality: President Obama has proposed a new body that would enhance Medicare’s ability to deny care to the elderly and disabled based on government bureaucrats’ arbitrary valuations of those patients’ lives.
It is right there in the legislation now before Congress, and it is called the Independent Medicare Advisory Council.
Medicare already has the statutory authority to reduce the amount it will spend on elderly and disabled patients, but largely cannot exercise that authority. Federal law says that Medicare may deny coverage for services that are not “reasonable and necessary,” but gives no guidance on what “reasonable” and “necessary” mean. That effectively leaves the issue in the hands of the bureaucrats at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Our generation is like a despairing ship tossed upon an angry sea. Industry, politics, international relations, even religion unite to produce a panicky world. Our colleges are the storm centers, the citadels from which a conquering and prophetic leadership must come. take out of our brotherhood the men produced by our colleges and we would at once become a disappearing brotherhood.
You who have assembled here in this school of the prophets, you have chosen the task golden. It is to you that our oncoming generation must look for its prophetic leadership. Are you going to be prophets or parrots? It is going to be your task to look after the vastnesses, the immensities, the imponderables of our lives and keep us to our bigness. It is yours to tell us of the majesty we are and the majesty we shall be. To do this your soul must be kept in tune with the infinite. You must tarry upon the mountain like Moses until your soul is aflame with God. You must take up the harp of life, smite upon its chords with might, smite the chord of self and selfishness until they too pass in music out of sight.
Written in 1929--it almost sounds like 2009. I like his challenge to education--will we be prophets or parrots?
I had a professor who encouraged me to apply to Harvard and Yale [for law school], which was almost unheard of for students coming from the kind of public schools that I was coming from in the rural South. I was accepted to both places, and decided to go to Yale because Yale didn't have any grades and was smaller than Harvard. I figured, once I enroll I'm guaranteed to graduate, so I can just go and be a radical hell raiser student, and they can't do anything about it. Which is pretty much what happened.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
In a radical report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said the system of currencies and capital rules which binds the world economy is not working properly, and was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises.
Monday, September 07, 2009
His policies even have the potential to consign the US to a similar fate as Argentina, which suffered a painful and humiliating slide from first to Third World status last century, the paper says.
There are "troubling similarities" between the US President's actions since taking office and those which in the 1930s sent the US and much of the world spiralling into the worst economic collapse in recorded history, says the new pamphlet, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
I was going to start collecting all of Reid's mistatements and untactful comments, but never undertook the challenge. Obama has been poorly served by both Reid and Pelosi in the House.