Archive for September, 2009

If Obama is a dictator, how must he be stopped?

Thomas Sowell says even many conservatives believe that Barack Obama is smart, but he goes on to make the clearly relevant point that, hey, Adolph Hitler was smart too.

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Adolph Hitler

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Juan Peron

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Barack Obama

“His underlying beliefs may have been half-baked and his hatreds overwhelming, but he was a political genius when it came to carrying out his plans based on those beliefs and hatreds,” writes Sowell.

Juan Peron, the Argentine dictator, was also smart, says Sowell, before going on to make the implicit explicit:

“Someone recently pointed out how much Barack Obama’s style and strategies resemble those of Latin American charismatic despots — the takeover of industries by demagogues who never ran a business, the rousing rhetoric of resentment addressed to the masses, and the personal cult of the leader promoted by the media. Do we want to become the world’s largest banana republic?”

Neocon hero Michael Ledeen, one of the players in both Iran-Contra and the fabrication of …

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A bird’s-eye view of the Iranian nuclear problem

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The satellite photo above left was taken in February, 2000. The photo above right, of the same site about 20 miles north northeast of the Iranian city of Qom, was taken four days ago, Sept. 26, 2009. It is believed to be the site of the newly revealed Iranian nuclear facility. The satellite photo to the right offers a more detailed look at the above-ground portion of the facility, most of which is underground and difficult to reach by aerial attack.

So what do we do?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said repeatedly that a military effort to take out Iran’s nuclear complex would set back their effort by one to three years, and that is consistent with every other estimate I’ve seen. I’ve seen no authoritative estimate that it would stop the effort. In fact, I think that over the long term it would harden Iran’s resolve to get the bomb and guarantee its eventual success. The Iranians would sensibly reason that with the bomb in their possession, no one would treat their …

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Ga.’s sex-offender laws an injustice themselves

You know, it takes a lot to generate sympathy for a sex offender. But Georgia’s draconian laws about where sex offenders can live are doing the trick. It’s downright ridiculous.

“A group of homeless sex offenders who had been living in tents in the woods behind an office park near Marietta were told they had to leave the land by Tuesday.

“We don’t want to allow anyone to live on our property for liability issues,” said Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, which owns the wooded land where the sex offenders had taken residence.

Several men said their probation officers had told them about the encampment as a kind of last resort for homeless sex offenders trying to meet the strict residency requirements of their probation.

Georgia’s law prohibits the state’s 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, child care facilities and other areas where children gather. It limits the …

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How would the ‘public option’ outcompete private enterprise?

Members of the Senate Finance Committee have just voted 15-8 against adding the so-called public option to the Senate health-insurance reform bill;a vote on a second, similar amendment is forthcoming. (UPDATE: The second effort was rejected 13-10.)

Committee Democrats who voted against the measure generally did so on grounds that a bill including the public option would not pass on the Senate floor. Republicans generally argued that including the public option would eliminate private insurance, producing a single-payer, government-run system.

So let me repeat an earlier and pretty simple request: Walk me through the process by which the public option would supposedly eliminate private competition.

I have seen the charge asserted repeatedly, but nobody has yet explained how that chain of events would play out. The best attempts I’ve seen involve claims that in LATER legislation Congress might CHANGE the law to produce such an outcome, but opposing a bill today based on what …

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Cal Thomas, a purveyor of hate in religious disguise

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, writing in the Washington Times, today offers an ugly, despicable attack on all Muslim Americans, whom he accuses of “the undermining of this nation from within … through deception, putting on a peaceful face while subtly plotting ways to bring America down.”

As his sole piece of evidence, Thomas cites statements at a public prayer rally of Muslim Americans in Washington, at which a Brooklyn imam lauded American freedom, telling the crowd that “What we’ve done today, you couldn’t do in any Muslim country. If you prayed on the palace lawn there, they’d lock you up.”

But on Facebook, Thomas points out, that same imam has written that “Democracy is not revelation, and democracy does not equal freedom, for in democracy you have apartheid, you have slavery, you have homosexuality, you have lesbianism, you have gambling, you have all of the vices that are against the spirit of truth; so no we don’t want to democratize Islam, we want to Islamize …

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Is the right also torn about escalating in Afghanistan?

Congressional Democrats, like the Democrat in the White House, seem a bit uncertain about what course to take in Afghanistan, while on the surface at least Washington Republicans voice almost unanimous support for committing more troops.

Looking at the poll numbers, public support for escalation seems weak. In a Fox News poll conducted Sept. 15-16, 41 percent supported escalation while 50 percent opposed. In other polls, the numbers have been even more lopsided. A CBS poll at the end of August reported that only 25 percent support an increase in US troop levels, while 41 percent support a decrease.

An Ipsos/McClatchy poll in that same time frame — notably, before the massive fraud in the Afghan elections had become news — reported that 56 percent oppose escalation, while only 35 percent supported it.

But what has struck me in the debate is intensity, or the lack of it. Maybe I’m misreading it, and if so please correct me, but it seems to me that even on this blog, those who …

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It’s a cold truth: War means putting our troops’ lives at risk

In his interview with “60 Minutes” last night, Gen. Stanley McChrystal laid out a change of strategy in Afghanistan that at first sounds counter-intuitive. Use less firepower against the enemy, even when that decision increases the danger to American troops. In his mind and that of Gen. David Petraeus, protecting the Afghan people from danger — whether that danger comes from the Taliban or ourselves — is more important than killing Taliban:

“This is something that takes a tremendous amount of understanding. What I’m really telling people is the greatest risk we can accept is to lose the support of the people here,” McChrystal explained. “If the people are against us, we cannot be successful. If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can’t be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically….

“I knew this was an important issue, but since I’ve been here the last two and a half months, this civilian casualty issue is much more important than I even realized. It …

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Huckabee: Let’s run the UN out of the country

Conservative activists gathered in St. Louis over the weekend for the “How to Take Back America” conference, a phrase that always raises a question: “Take it back from whom?”

The conference was hosted by luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly and Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, featuring speakers such as Joe The Plumber, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and Georgia’s own contribution to the cause, U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell.

Among the workshops offered to conference participants were “”How to Recognize Living Under Nazis and Communists,” led by 83-year-old Kitty Werthmann, who grew up in Austria and believes that Obama is following the path carved out by Hitler.

“First they nationalized the banks. Then they nationalized education. As time went along, they nationalized health care,” Werthmann told an opening press conference.

The highlight of the convention Saturday night was a speech by former Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who targeted the United …

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Feds can’t provide health care … except they do

Under bills being considered in the House and Senate, federal intervention into health care would be much less intrusive than conservative critics prefer to pretend. The much-maligned public insurance option, for example, would be required by law to operate on the insurance premiums it generates from the marketplace and could not rely on taxpayers’ money. Likewise, there is no mechanism by which the government could dictate medical practices.

However, more direct examples of federal involvement in health care do exist already, as the Wall Street Journal points out:

LEESBURG, Va. — Federally funded health centers, originally created to serve the poor, are seeing a surge of patients as more Americans struggle financially.

The centers are on track to handle more than 20 million patients this year, up by more than two million from last year and twice the figure of a decade ago, according to surveys by the National Association of Community Health Centers.

“They’re seeing lines out …

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Good thing we don’t ration health care in the USA

From the Dayton Daily News:

OXFORD — Friends say the Miami University graduate who died this week after reportedly suffering from swine flu delayed getting medical treatment because she did not have health insurance.

Kimberly Young

Kimberly Young

News of Kimberly Young’s death Wednesday, Sept. 23, came as a shock to those who knew the vibrant 22-year-old who was working at least two jobs in Oxford after graduating with a double major in December 2008.

Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost, according to Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate.

Later stories suggest Young died of viral pneumonia, rather than swine flu.

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