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3501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 26, 2009, 03:29:31 PM
***I think 'unchecked private sector without regulation' is an unintentional straw man argument.  I don't know anyone who favors free markets and free enterprise but opposes a proper role for government to govern.***

But here is where we get back into the eternal debate:

What is proper role of government?

The left might say we need to get more money to the overseers (government) and add more people so they "can" have the resources to perform their oversight and enforcement duties.  The right might say that government is too inefficient or inept to do this job.

It is like our nation keeps debating in circles.  Like our planet goes around and around so does our divided country.

3502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 26, 2009, 10:38:50 AM
***CCP regarding Rush, Hannity, Coulter: "[I am] a moderate Republican...I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy."  - I agree, and I'm not a moderate Republican.  But these people are not R. strategists.  They are entertainers and pundits.  They are selling viewership and listenership, not hope, change or electoral success.***

Hi Doug. Yes but the msm always points to them as spokespeople for Republicans.  They are out there everyday reaching out to Republicans in a way no one else in the party can.  Yes occasionally we see Rove, Newt  or a few others on FOX but otherwise the party has no one. 
So while a I do agree some of what they say I am not sure if it is more hurtful or helpful.  They are the most heard spokepeople for the party right now.  We see a few senators (Boehner) and what not, but otherwise that's it.  With so few MSM voices.....

I really do think BO is conning the right and everyone else.  I think he is a giant far lefty in heart, theory, and practice and he is playing the middle and right for fools.   I've seen enough to think this guy is playing the part, "make you think you are one of them and you will be able to change them" (right out of the Saul Alinsky writings).

My impression he will subtly slide in all the big government programs he can get away with.
And the George Wills of the world will idly sit and smile like Timothy Leary.
3503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: January 24, 2009, 11:43:14 AM
***President Barack Obama, seeking to sell his stimulus package to the public, promoted plans to build up clean-energy industries, expand health-insurance coverage and boost security at U.S. ports as part of the broader effort to jump-start the sputtering U.S. economy.

“If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse,” Obama said today in his first weekly radio and video address as president.

The administration released a report today outlining some of Obama’s priorities for the two-year recovery package. They include loan guarantees and other support to open up credit for renewable-energy investors, providing health insurance coverage to almost 8.5 million people who’ve lost jobs and enhancing security at 90 ports.***

I don't get the logic.  How is providing health insurance going to jump start the economy?
How is beefing security at ports goint to jump start the economy?
How is renewable energy going to jump start the economy?
How are loan gaurantees going to jump start the economy?
And how is putting on hold US offshore drilling going to stimulate the economy? 

The rhetoric just doesn't wash with logic.  I feel it is just the usual political crap to puch their agenda - big socialized government down the American people.

I am getting more and more concered BO is dead serious about his past socialist ties.  The "conciliation" thing, the "post partisan" thing is all one gigantic *con*.  We are going to get screwed from here to China.


3504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 24, 2009, 10:37:25 AM
***George W. Bush has certainly taught us that government really can't be trusted to be very effective, or open, or smart. He has also taught us that government can always get bigger on every level and every way. It's a sad lesson that we'll be learning for many years to come.***

Very true.  But an unchecked private sector without regulation certainly can't be trusted either. So this never ending platitudes about big government is the problem is stupid wrong headed and not going to win over anyone new. It ain't that simple.  The answer is something in between.  And that is where the fight/debate never ends.

For example, If the SEC simply enforced laws already on the books, if we simply enforced our immigration laws and include those of us who hire them for example, we would not have the mess we are in.
3505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO vs Rush on: January 24, 2009, 09:42:28 AM
As a moderate Republican I have been critical of some of the rhetoric from the likes of Rush, Hannity, Inghram, Coulter.  I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy.  I don't feel that just talking about freedom, less government, less taxes, more capitalism alone as the end all answer to all our problems is correct.  It is too simplified and certainly not going to appeal to wider audiences.  There must be a better way of redefining this in a way that also sends a message to the majority of people out there that they are included in this view. Most people just see the rich getting richer, they see thier health premiiums rising, they see the their bills, their debts piling up and the above rhetoric, as a truly great American and human being, Colin Powell said, ain't going to win them over.  And that *IS ALL* that the Repbulcian pundits are offering.  That is why we lost and lost big.

That said about the conservative pundits BO is not winning me over with this kind of talk.  That does not mean I am all for his agenda of huge big government and an expanded welfare state and soaking form some to pay for the failures of other.  BO ain't going to win me over with this kind of talk.  There is no honeymoon for me.  I now agree with the likes of Mark Levin that Republicans need to come out swinging and keep swinging.  They must not get steamrolled.  BO's policies will fail.  We are pouring good money after bad.  We will have weak kiss ass foreign policy built on celebritism, pomp, and bullshit.  That is not to let W and the previous group of Republicans off the hook.  Thye helped get us into this mess and BO inherited it. 

With all that I said about my reservations of some of the simpleton rhetoric from Rush et al, the following  from BO pisses me off and ain't goin to make me a fan of him (not that I ever was).  Rush et al are certianly correct that BO is big time socialist and is right to hope he fail in some ways with his huge country destroying socialist programs (although not that we otherwise would want him to fail):

(PS the conservative George Will to me look like fools to have met with BO.  He is used them hook line and sinker.  I thought they were smarter than that.  I guess they fall for fanfare and celebritism like most everyone else.) 


***January 23, 2009

WASHINGTON -- President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.

"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."

That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans today.

In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: "I won," according to aides briefed on the meeting.

"I will trump you on that."

Not that Obama was gloating. He was just explaining that he aims to get his way on stimulus package and all other legislation, sources said, noting his unrivaled one-party control of both congressional chambers.

"We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis that has to be dealt with and dealt with rapidly," Obama said during the meeting.

Republicans say the $825 billion price tag is too big a burden for a nation crippled by debt and that it doesn't do enough to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes.

"You know, I'm concerned about the size of the package. And I'm concerned about some of the spending that's in there, [about] ... how you can spend hundreds of millions on contraceptives," House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) later said.

"How does that stimulate the economy?"

But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs countered: "There was a lot of agreement in that room about the notion that we're facing an economic crisis unlike we've seen in quite some time ... that we must act quickly to stimulate the economy, create jobs, put money back in people's pockets."

Gibbs disagreed with those who called the meeting window dressing.

"The president is certainly going to listen to any ideas," he said.

"He will also go to Capitol Hill the beginning of next week to talk to Republican caucuses and solicit their input and their ideas."

With Post Wires***

3506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 21, 2009, 10:13:33 AM
Last night Rachel Maddow the flaming liberal whose mo is to bash republicans was beaming ear to ear while quoting Pat Buchanan passionately claiming a passage from BOs speech was glorious and great.

She fails to note that the passage was clearly the reiteration of conservative values, honesty, hard work, self reliance, etc.

The question is still out whether BO is serious about this stuff or is this stealing conservative philosophy for his rhetoric while at the same time he builds up the huge nanny entitlement state?

Time will tell.

Rachal Maddow would have been disgusted and critical if a republican said the exact same thing.  But as long as its their guy the democrat leftist most liberal guy in the Senate saying it....

Now that she doesn't have W to kick around anymore watch her now go into protect and promote "down all our throats" BO and the crat agenda.  Though I admit she criticized him for his picking Warren because that was against her personal gay agenda which spills out and drenches all her so called reporting/journalism or whatever one wants to call it.

3507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 20, 2009, 01:52:44 PM
***As he rises to this challenge, our new president will learn that when you make a mistake, the keepers of the Beltway's received orthodoxies will make you pay dearly.***  I have feeling BO will be the new teflon guy.
3508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 20, 2009, 01:37:55 PM
From Bushanan post under the future (or lack thereof of the Republican party)
I can't post a reply it keeps coming up "notify".
So I'll post here:


***Philosophically, too, the country is turning away from the GOP creed of small government and low taxes. Why?

Nearly 90 percent of immigrants, legal and illegal, are Third World poor or working-class and believe in and rely on government for help with health and housing, education and welfare. Second, tax cuts have dropped nearly 40 percent of wage earners from the tax rolls.

If one pays no federal income tax but reaps a cornucopia of benefits, it makes no sense to vote for the party of less government.***

Yes, like I pointed out the immigrants of today are not the immigrants of our forefathers.  Today they expect and we are stupid enough to give to them benefits or like they like to say, "entitlements".
And as long as 40 % don't pay taxes the cans have that 40% who will never vote for them from day one.

W tried to pull some of these to the can party with the compassionate conservatism.

IT might have worked if not for Iraq, incredible Can spending from the houses, and the housing mess thanks to both parties.

3509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO-Daschle control over health care on: January 19, 2009, 10:04:58 AM
For those of us who want to see what's in store for US health care we should probably read Daschle's book.  We are going down the road of gigantic federal control, expansion, redistribution, and subtle (politically covered) rationing.  There will be a board which will oversee and control one seventh of our economy:

Visions for Change in U.S. Health Care — The Players and the Possibilities

John K. Iglehart
 
 Under the incoming presidential administration, U.S. Democratic leaders are determined to achieve a long-elusive goal: securing "affordable, accessible health care for every single American," as President-elect Barack Obama put it recently. Recognizing the blunders that doomed the reform effort of President Bill Clinton 16 years ago, the new administration is working closely with Congress to craft a bill that will attract sufficient support to ensure enactment.

Although some critics argue that we can ill afford the costs of expanded coverage and other reforms with the economy in recession and an ever-growing federal deficit, Obama counters that these are pocketbook issues, integral to recovery efforts. At a December news conference, when he introduced Tom Daschle as his choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, Obama said a major health care initiative "has to be intimately woven into our overall economic recovery plan. It's not something that we can put off because we are in an emergency. This is part of the emergency."

The new administration's proposal for health care reform will not be part of the large stimulus package that Democratic legislators plan to enact in early January. Though the proposal is a work in progress, its central tenets are well known and, in some key respects, resemble the plan enacted in Massachusetts — which, in 2 years, has reduced the state's uninsured to 2.4% of its population (the lowest in the country), according to a 2008 report by the Urban Institute.

Obama's proposal would enable people with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage to retain it, if they prefer, and would require large employers either to offer their workers "meaningful coverage" or to contribute a certain percentage of their payroll to support a new public plan. The proposal would also create an insurance exchange through which people without employer coverage could select private coverage or the public plan at rates similar to those offered through large employers. Obama has pledged to "lower costs by taking on anticompetitive actions in the drug and insurance companies," to support disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and to invest $50 billion over the next 5 years to accelerate adoption of health information technology.1

A number of health-related items are being considered as elements of the early stimulus package, largely to prevent people who lose their jobs from losing their coverage and to begin investing in the infrastructure for a more efficient delivery system. These items include increased federal support to states to maintain or expand their Medicaid enrollment, reauthorization of and increased funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, grants to states to speed adoption of health information technology, and expansion of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) to give certain laid-off workers the right to temporarily continue insurance coverage at group rates.

Democrats' fortunes improved dramatically in November when Obama swept to a historic victory over Republican Senator John McCain. Thanks to the unpopularity of President George W. Bush and Obama's coattails, Democrats also increased their majorities in both houses of Congress — to margins of 257 to 178 in the House and 58 to 42 in the Senate (if Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota wins the seat), including two independents who caucus with the Democrats. (The retirement of Obama and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar from the Senate leaves open seats in Illinois, New York, and Colorado, and the race in Minnesota is undecided.) Republicans — if their caucus can maintain tight discipline — will still wield considerable influence in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Determined to avoid the mistakes that brought down the Clinton reform plan, Obama demonstrated in his early appointments the importance he attaches to maintaining close ties between Congress and the White House. He selected Rahm Emanuel, a powerful congressman from Illinois, as chief of staff, and former Senate Majority Leader Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services and director of a new White House Office of Health Reform. Daschle has set out his own ideas for reform in a recent book, calling for all Americans to purchase coverage and for the creation of a federal health board (modeled after the Federal Reserve Board) that would have sweeping powers to mandate policies for all federal health programs.2 Peter Orszag was named Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, a powerful agency that prepares the government's annual budget. Since 2007, Orszag has been the director of the Congressional Budget Office, where he has placed a heavy emphasis on health-related issues.

Democratic congressional leaders will also play influential roles in promoting the administration's health reform agenda and urging Republican legislators to join as cosponsors. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is a dominant figure who ranks health care reform among her highest priorities. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may have more difficulty maintaining discipline within his ranks because in the Senate there is disagreement on the shape reform should take. For example, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have persuaded 15 other senators to cosponsor a bill that the authors assert reflects an "ideological truce" between the parties: "Democrats are correct in saying that universal coverage is necessary to fix health care," they write. "Republicans are correct in saying that market forces play an important role in health care by promoting competition and innovation. The Healthy Americans Act strikes a balance between these ideals."3

Five congressional committees will be instrumental in refining any reform plan. Three of Pelosi's California colleagues, all liberal Democrats, hold leadership positions on the three key House panels: Henry Waxman is the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, George Miller chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, and Pete Stark chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. The relevant Senate committees are the Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus (D-MT), and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

The House Ways and Means Committee is generally considered the most influential panel in Congress because of a constitutional requirement stipulating that all tax legislation must originate there. It also oversees Medicare Part A (which covers hospitals), public welfare, Social Security, trade, and unemployment compensation. Although Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) chairs the committee, he often defers to Stark on health issues, and his standing has been weakened by ethics problems currently under investigation. Stark recently told reporters that once reform legislation is introduced, consideration of it would probably consume most of 2009, with enactment possible in early 2010. Stark has long supported "Medicare for all" as his preferred approach to expanding coverage; he opposes privatizing the program. He was a lead sponsor of the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP), a measure the House approved in August 2007 on a vote of 225 to 204 that would have replaced the formula on which Medicare's physician fees are set. The bill, which died in the Senate, would also have placed greater emphasis on primary care and preventive services covered by Medicare by allowing physician payments in these areas to grow at a rate 2.5% faster than that of the gross domestic product (GDP), whereas payments for all other physician services would be limited to the GDP's growth rate.

Waxman established a reputation as an adroit legislator during the 15 years he chaired the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (1979 to 1994). His most significant legislative accomplishment during a period that included the presidency of the conservative Ronald Reagan was pressing Congress to vastly expand Medicaid.4 In recent weeks, Waxman demonstrated his political acumen by securing enough votes in the House Democratic caucus to wrest the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee from John Dingell (D-MI), who in February will become the longest-serving House member in history, with 53 years of service. The practical Waxman recently noted that the "best approach to reform is what we can pass . . . that secures the goal of universal coverage, sensible controls on cost, and assurance of quality care." But he also said he would work to bring generic versions of biologic products to the market and to restore the effectiveness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

Baucus's Senate Finance Committee oversees Medicare, Medicaid, public welfare, Social Security, taxes, trade, and unemployment insurance. Baucus is a moderate who occasionally upsets his liberal colleagues by casting votes more reflective of Montana conservatism than his party's activism. In mid-2008, however, he came out strongly in favor of ambitious health care reform and has since released an 89-page "call to action" that embraces a commitment to strengthening the employer-based insurance system, bolstering the role of primary care, and reexamining Medicare's graduate medical education policies.5 Baucus also outlined an approach to reforming Medicare's physician payment system that resembles the model in CHAMP.

Senator Kennedy, for his part, is determined to top his many health policy accomplishments by winning enactment of universal coverage. In September, Kennedy, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, directed his staff to organize roundtable discussions among representatives of disparate interests (large and small businesses, community health organizations, consumers, health plans, hospitals, labor, physicians, and others) to identify issues on which there is broad agreement or conflicting opinion and strive to build support for reform. One purpose of these ongoing discussions is to neutralize opposition to the ambitious reform designs that Democrats hope to enact. One participant, Karen Ignagni, chief executive officer of America's Health Insurance Plans (the new incarnation of an organization that helped to bring down Clinton's reform plan with its devastating "Harry and Louise" ads), said of the roundtable: "You see a range of diverse stakeholders trying to work together to achieve health care reform."

Congressional Republicans have been slow to engage Democrats on health care issues. They have developed no alternative proposals, and no armies of grassroots supporters or well-financed private organizations seem poised to do battle against reform. This situation could change rapidly once proposals are introduced, hearings commence, and winners and losers are clearly identified. Republicans' greatest concerns seem to be the creation of a new public plan, which many fear is a backdoor approach to a single-payer system; the possible creation of a federal health board with sweeping new powers over benefit packages, which might stifle innovation; and the long-term financial implications of providing near-universal coverage.

President-elect Obama faces a daunting set of challenges as his grand vision for change comes into closer contact with the realities of U.S. politics. Obama has acknowledged that hundreds of billions of dollars will be added to the federal deficit as he pursues economic recovery, but he has also vowed to scour the budget in search of wasteful spending to offset these new costs. This exercise, in which Congress will undoubtedly participate, will provoke many a pitched battle and is certain to affect Americans' reaction to the new president's definition of "change."****

Source Information

Mr. Iglehart is a national correspondent for the Journal.

An interactive graphic on key players in health care reform is available at NEJM.org.

References

Obama B, Biden J. Barack Obama and Joe Biden's plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all. (Accessed December 22, 2008, at http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare.)
Daschle T, Greenberger SS, Lambrew JM. Critical: what we can do about the health-care crisis. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2008.
Wyden R, Bennett B. Finally, fixing health care: what's different now? Health Aff (Millwood) 2008;27:689-692. [Free Full Text]
Iglehart JK. Medicaid revisited -- skirmishes over a vast public enterprise. N Engl J Med 2007;356:734-740. [Free Full Text]
Baucus M. Call to action: health reform 2009. Washington, DC: Committee on Finance, 2008. (Accessed December 22, 2008, at http://www.finance.senate.gov.)
HOME  |  SUBSCRIBE  |  SEARCH  |  CURRENT ISSUE  |  PAST ISSUES  |  COLLECTIONS  |  PRIVACY  |  HELP  |  beta.nejm.org

Comments and questions? Please contact us.

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.
 
3510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrat tsunami on: January 19, 2009, 09:57:45 AM
drudgereport is reporting its Carolin Kennedy.

The country has turned into a total democrat love fest.

All the parade of characters are back.

All the liberal celebs and the BO parties.

We will see but it surely is the most depressing time for Republicans in my lifetime.

Amazing how the party was in power just 8 years ago and threw it all away.

W tried to expand the base and it worked in 2004 but it all just vanished with the wind.

I don't want huge nanny state government.  But government without some regulation of the private sector is no good either.







3511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 13, 2009, 11:10:28 AM
**The silence over this is itself remarkable**

Maybe but not surprising.

"oh but they all do it...."

The right has never been able to beat the Clintons with this stuff and never will.  They are a cancer that doesn't respond to chemotherapy.

"it is all a right wing plot"

Here we go again with Begala Carvel Davis and the rest on the airwaves bothering us with there BS.

This stuff is all so tiring.
3512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 12, 2009, 03:13:18 PM
***He’ll end up where Bush is — with the choice of using force or acquiescing to the idea of a nuclear Iran.***

Well, does Kristol think BO would use force against Iran?
There is zero indication of that.  He already said that any use of nucs by Iran against Israel would be met with a disprotionate nuclear response.  This tells us right there he is not going to use force to stop Iran from acquiring nukes and is using the deterrant of assured destruction. 

Anything else is "diplomacy".  Iran knows this.  That is why they will get what the nukes they want.  Unless they fold from within first.
3513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: January 12, 2009, 11:09:43 AM
Many thanks to the perpetrators.

This just makes Jewish resolve even stronger. cool

3514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: January 10, 2009, 09:36:06 AM
Patient walks into doctors office and complains of constipation.  "I can't go to the bathroom and my stools are hard as rocks."  "Doctor what do you think?"
Doctor:   "tough shit".
3515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 09, 2009, 01:54:18 PM
Not mentioned, Daschle was the ringleader of the blocking of appointments to the judiciary by the minority in the senate, so he went from winning re-election by 30 points to losing in his own state.

He was voted out so BO who is just another party hack turns around and rewards him with this.

And the pols in DC are all getting rich anyway with their lobbying and such.

Even the supposedly honorable Dole is on the dole - and from Daschle no less.  Gives a new meaning to bipartisanship doesn't it.

I guess his viagra plug makes him an expert in health care. angry sad
3516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 09, 2009, 11:54:57 AM
"It seems that most of the West's news reporters and pundits agree with Islamists everywhere that an Israeli victory in Gaza is impossible"

My response is let Hamas and Islamics everywhere know that they cannot succeed in driving Jews out of Israel.  Until the media gets that message out we will see them playing the media game.
3517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Full government take over of health care is here on: January 09, 2009, 10:45:42 AM
Interesting he is introduced by Bob Dole.

This statement is humorous:

***I want to take politics out of it as much as possible and allow scientists to do their job."***

You can't take politics out of health care.  How will scientists do their job with the government regulating every inch of our system?


***Daschle Makes Case for Appointment to HHS Post
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: January 08, 2009
   
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 -- Tom Daschle, picked by President-elect Barack Obama to be Health and Human Services secretary, said medical trainees should have school loans forgiven and receive other incentives to choose careers in primary care.
Daschle told senators at his confirmation hearing today he wants to send a message to medical students: "If you take this route, we're going to find ways to ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to become that front-line provider that we need."

Daschle testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Senate approval is expected for the well-liked ex-senator from South Dakota. Republicans on the committee gave him a friendly reception at the hearing, and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced he would support Daschle's nomination.

Daschle told the committee he has been laying the groundwork for a healthcare reform plan, which he said cannot be dictated from the White House and Congress.

He advocated a more grassroots approach and said he's taken ideas from Obama's transition Web site, which has received tens of thousands of comments, and from local community health forums in the last several months.

Daschle said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should save money by moving to a medical-home care model and steering its focus toward prevention and wellness rather than paying for disease treatment.

The CDC should better utilize community-based prevention efforts, like smoking cessation and weight loss programs, Daschle said. He said he would "revitalize" CDC's ability to detect and investigate health threats and focus on better coordination between public and private entities.

Daschle promised to restore trust in the FDA, citing a survey that found nearly two-thirds of Americans don't believe that the agency can ensure drug safety and effectiveness.

"Ensuring the food we eat and the medications we take are safe is a core protection that American people deserve and a core responsibility of government," Daschle said.

Daschle said all the agencies he would oversee need to operate with fewer political motivations.

"I want to reinstate a science-driven environment," he said. "I want to take politics out of it as much as possible and allow scientists to do their job."

Daschle said the National Institutes of Health budget is so limited that only 10% of grant applications are funded.

"I will work to strengthen NIH, with leadership that focuses on the dual objectives of addressing the healthcare challenges of our people and maintaining America's economic edge through innovation," he said.

Although the HELP committee traditionally holds confirmation hearings for the HHS post, the Finance Committee will hold its own hearing and have final say on whether to advance Daschle's nomination to the Senate floor. That hearing has not been scheduled yet.

The HELP committee's senior Republican Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) said the last two HHS secretaries were confirmed within two weeks of their appearances before the HELP committee.

Daschle served three terms in the Senate and was minority leader from 2001 to 2004, when he lost a re-election bid. He joined the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, as a senior fellow and has advised the lobbying firm Alston & Bird.

He published a book on health care in 2008, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care System. Enzi said he had recommended it to all his staff.

Today's hearing was also notable for the appearances of Kennedy, who appeared healthy and fit despite his recent bout with malignant glioma, and Robert Dole, the former GOP senator from Kansas.

Dole introduced Daschle, saying Congress and the public appear ready to address healthcare reform.

Dole, as leader of Senate Republicans in the early 1990s, had engineered the defeat of the Clinton administration's reform proposal.

He now works with Daschle at Alston & Bird.***
 
3518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 08, 2009, 04:24:24 PM
"Remember when Dick Cheney was pilloried for reportedly saying, earlier this decade, that "deficits don't matter"? "

Yes.  I am still confused about this.   This is just against all common sense.
It reminds me of Gilder preaching that debt is good.
I just don't get it.  How can one argue we are not pushing our bills down the road onto future gnereations?
3519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 06, 2009, 09:55:50 AM
"When we will grow up, we will bomb them back," a CNN translator quoted the boy saying on Hamas TV"
That is exactly why the Israeli response is disproportionately too low.
This is a fight for survival, for existence.
It is weakness not strength that leaves Israel at higher risk.
Right now the PC police leave them weak.
And of course the age old its "the jews" fault for wanting to have a tiny spot on the Earth.  How dare them!
3520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: January 05, 2009, 02:04:28 PM
I wondered why Panetta, another Clinton retread is chosen by BO as director of the CIA. The first part of this piece he wrote explains part of the reason.  He certainly fits into the pc version of where our intelligence philosophy.  Our country is becoming just so adorable.

***Americans reject fear tactics
Monterey County Herald, March 9, 2008
By Leon E. Panetta
 
In the depths of the Depression in 1933, with more than a third of the nation "ill-housed, ill-clad and ill-nourished," Franklin Roosevelt made clear to a desperate people that the greatest threat was from fear itself.

Seventy-five years later, in the midst of unprecedented foreign and domestic crises, will America surrender to fear or will the candidates for president appeal to the better angels of our nature?

Unfortunately, fear remains an appealing weapon in the modern political arsenal. In a tight battle, the temptation is to scare the hell out of the public in order to win an issue or beat an opponent. Consultants design campaigns to get voters to vote their guts and not their brains. This appeal to the lowest common denominator afflicts both the way this nation elects its leaders and ultimately the way these leaders govern.

Fear exacts a terrible toll on our democracy. Five years ago, America went to war in Iraq over the false fear that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Even though we now know that there were intelligence officials who questioned the assertion, few leaders were willing to challenge this argument for war because they knew it might undermine public support for the president's decision to invade Iraq.

More recently, President Bush vetoed a law that would require the CIA and all the intelligence services to abide by the same rules on torture as contained in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

The president says the rules are too restrictive, implying that the use of some forms of torture just could help avoid another Sept. 11.

But all forms of torture have long been prohibited by American law and international treaties respected by Republican and Democratic presidents alike.

Our forefathers prohibited "cruel and unusual punishment" because that was how tyrants and despots ruled in the 1700s. They wanted an America that was better than that. Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive. And yet, the president is using fear to trump the law.

The same rationale is used to justify eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a warrant. The president has made clear that the failure of the Congress to pass this authority could jeopardize our security. Instead of trying to negotiate a compromise with Congress that would meet both our intelligence and privacy concerns, it is easier to threaten with fear.

Campaigns are primers for scaring the public. Just within the few days leading to the Ohio and Texas primaries, a Clinton ad appeared that showed a ringing red phone in the Oval Office and scenes of a sleeping child.

The voice-over made clear that the child could be jeopardized if the person answering the phone did not have the foreign policy experience to do the right thing. Barack Obama responded with an ad that used the same ringing red phone and child but argued that it was judgment, not experience, that would save the child.

If Obama becomes the Democratic candidate, will Republican John McCain allow his consultants to use race, Obama's middle name of Hussein and a tourist snapshot in Somali dress to smear his opponent's patriotism?

Some of McCain's supporters have already made this attack. The fear argument is to make Obama into some kind of Manchurian candidate, a closet anti-Semitic jihadist trained in a madrasa. After all, it did not take much to attack the patriotism of Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

If race, innuendo and fear become the principal weapons of this campaign, it could become one of the ugliest political races in modern history.

The good news is that the American people appear to have rejected the tactics of fear. They really do want change and a nation unified by a can-do spirit that will confront problems and give our children a better life. They do not want patriotism defined simply by fear of terrorism, the prospect of perpetual war and the historic prejudices against race and gender.

But if the candidates are to appeal to our hopes and not our fears, it begins with their campaigns. For too long, presidential races have been marked by the Karl Rove tactics of divide and conquer. Constituencies are neatly divided and force-fed wedge issues that drive them to the polls.

A few debates are scheduled, but their format is so limited that they fail to give the candidates opportunity to fully discuss their positions. Instead of a national campaign, the races focus on raising special-interest money and the nine or ten targeted states that could make the difference in the electoral vote. The rest of the nation is taken for granted.

Let me suggest that if the candidates are really in touch with the pulse of America, they will agree to give America a different kind of presidential race.

First, they should get together and agree to public financing and the spending limits established by that law. The candidates should be focused on the issues and not the obligations of constant fundraising that consume the candidates and their campaigns.

Second, the candidates should agree to a set of Lincoln-Douglas style debates in each region of the country. These debates would not involve the press but just the candidates. Instead of the same old media questions, they would have to focus on the substantive issues facing the nation: Iraq, the war on terror, health care, global warming and energy, the economy and the deficit, immigration reform, education and foreign policy. Each forum would focus on one issue and give the candidates the opportunity to present fully their positions and to question each other. For once in a political race, the public is entitled to more than just sound bites.

Thirdly, each candidate should be required to tell the nation the names of the people he or she would have in the cabinet. The public should know the team that the next president will have in Washington. Competence and bipartisanship have been missing for too long in Washington.

And lastly, each candidate should tell the nation how he or she will restore trust in this badly divided nation's capital and how they will rise above partisanship in order to govern. In 30 years of political life, I have never seen Washington as partisan as it is today.

It will take more than a speech. How a new president responds to this challenge could spell the difference between a successful or failed presidency.

It is likely that a new president will be tested early. The fact is we will never know what a president is really like until he or she has to confront the crises and pressures of the modern presidency. But one thing we should know before a candidate becomes president is whether he or she will govern by fear or by hope. America does not have to be afraid of its future.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LEON PANETTA is a former congressman and White House chief of staff who now heads the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSU-Monterey Bay. He was a member of the Iraq Study Group. His column runs every other month in Commentary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 2006 Monterey County Herald and wire service sources.
All Rights Reserved. http://www.montereyherald.com***
 
3521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al) and more on: January 05, 2009, 12:55:00 PM
It's too bad they won't have another election with the two front runners and without the third party candidate to decide a contested election like this.
3522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2009, 10:12:24 AM
Is not Hamas committed to the total destruction of Israel?
That said I argue that the appropriate response is the total destruction of them first.
Anything less is disproportionately *low*.

I don't recall the whole argument about proportionality in warfare being discussed until we discusss the methods of the Israelis anyway.  Isn't this new politically correct stuff we are hearing or did this concept get brought up in the MSM media before?
3523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al) and more on: January 05, 2009, 09:54:39 AM
This is exactly the outcome that was predicted.  Franken et al will keep demanding recounts after recounts until they can come up with a total that puts him ahead and then suddenly the process is over and the Democratic machine will declare him the winner.

Lets hear the MSM speaking of "voter disenfranchisement" now.
3524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: January 02, 2009, 07:13:52 PM
World's oldest woman dies in Portugal aged 115
 
I keep telling my elderly we are going for the record of 122 and take back the title for world's oldest person (a woman) from the French (oldest man was Japanese).   But...

None of my patients want to live that long.   


***LISBON, Portugal (AP) - A woman who lived to see five of her great-great grandchildren born and was believed to have been the world's oldest person living, has died in northwest Portugal at the age of 115, officials said Friday.
Maria de Jesus, who was born September 10, 1893 and was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records and the Gerontology Research Group as the world's oldest person, died in an ambulance near the town of Tomar.

De Jesus, who outlived three of her six children, had 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, had eaten breakfast normally but was being taken to hospital because of a swelling, her daughter Maria Madalena told state news agency Lusa.

Corvelo Sousa, president of the town council of Tomar, 66 kilometers (40 miles) north of the port city of Porto, confirmed the death.

"I regret the death of this lady, she really was the sweetest person," said Tomar town councilor Ivo Santos.

De Jesus was left a widow when she was 57 and lived to reach 115 years and 114 days.***

 
3525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / To CaptainCCS on: January 02, 2009, 12:08:48 PM
*In my part of the world it would not seem strange at all. While we don't usually have hyphenated citizens (Afro-Venezuelan), we don't have a problem recognizing people's ancestry and origin. Until Chavez none of it was cause for comment or discrimination. My business partner was a black man and everyone refers to him as "The Black Gamboa" to which he proudly announces that he is the descendant of African kings and Amerind princesses. My dad used to call him "My black son." This is true integration, where you are no longer afraid of the differences. Instead, you celebrate them. As the French like to say: "Vive la difference."*

Interesting note.  Why do you think assimilation smoother there among different groups?

America has always been a country of immigrants.  Yet those that are hear don't ever like the newer ones.
OF course remnants of slavery plays a role.  But why are Muslims better accepted in Venezuela as you have witnessed?

Just wondering.
3526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Princess Caroline de Camelot on: January 02, 2009, 11:51:21 AM
Why not Sean Penn or Barbra Streisand?

Some can rightly question would W have ever been President if it wasn't for his father but he was a governor first and he did run and win an election.  This is certainly not the same as being handed a seat because of your name and strings being pulled for ya.

***HEY CAROLINE - YOU’RE NOT ENTITLED
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 12.23.2008 Caroline Kennedy apparently thinks that she is entitled to be appointed as the next junior Senator from New York.

She shouldn’t be. Think about it.

Her qualifications? Her name is Kennedy and she can raise a lot of fat-cat money for herself and for New York democrats who support her.

Her strategy? Ignore the voters and the press and meet with the political bosses behind closed doors to convince them to pressure Governor David Patterson to appoint her to Hillary Clinton’s seat.

Is there a more cynical message in the Age of Obama?

Who’s supporting her? Among her chief backers is New York City’s billionaire Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg who recently decided to ignore a legitimate and binding citywide referendum that prohibited him from seeking a third term. In one of the most appalling examples of an arrogant “the public be damned” attitude, Bloomberg convinced the City Council to overrule the will of the people so he could stay in City Hall. He’s a big contributor to many of the folks who supported this brazen move. Legendary Tammany Hall boss Carmine De Sapio would love both Bloomberg and Caroline for bringing back the old “power to the bosses” style of politics.

Her position on issues that will face the next Senator? She won’t tell you. She’s adamantly refused to speak about any issues. In her first foray outside Manhattan, she declined all questions from the press. She wouldn’t even say whether she had ever been to Syracuse before. Does that suggest what the answer would have been? Her handlers finally provided written answers to some of the questions posed by The New York Times. She picked out the questions she wanted to answer and ignored some of the tough issues - like whether she supports increased taxes for rich people. She’s not saying. Now, SHE WON’T DISCLOSE HER PERSONAL FINANCES OR PROVIDE A LIST OF COMPANIES THAT SHE HAS A STAKE IN!

Sound like the good old days? Is this woman kidding?

Her involvement in politics? Not much. She campaigned for Obama and worked on his committee that recommended the Vice-Presidential candidate. She’s never been active in New York politics and she hasn’t even voted in about half the contested elections in New York since 1988. Over the past fifteen years, she’s contributed to her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, her cousin Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, and Connecticut wanna-be Ned Lamont, and former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford (1991) Not much interest in New York’s candidates or issues!

Her experience?

• She is a long time patron of the American Ballet Theatre

• She is active in her father’s presidential library

• She was a part-time volunteer fund raiser for the NYC schools for less than two years

• She’s co-authored two books on civil liberties

• She’s written five books. She is her most derivative in her published works. Of four New York Times bestsellers; three of them were compilations of other peoples’ work. One was The Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. The only thing these songs, poems, stories, and speeches had in common was that she didn’t write any of them. Then followed, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In this book she not only didn’t write the poetry, she didn’t even choose it. Her third best seller was A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, again a compilation of works that were not her own. Then there’s A Family Christmas, another anthology of her favorite short stories, poems, etc about Christmas (all written by other people). In another book, Profiles in Courage For Our Time, she swiped only the title from her late father but wrote the copy herself.

• She hasn’t had a job since before she went to law school in the 1980’s.

So, why should Caroline be appointed Senator?

Does anyone seriously believe that her audacious grab for the New York Senate seat is based on anything more than a misplaced and somewhat grandiose sense of entitlement coupled with a cynical claim of access to big money for the next election?

If her name wasn’t Kennedy, would anyone give any consideration at all to someone without any experience to prepare her for the job or to even inform the voters about what she stands for?

ANSWER: NO

Is there a single person in the United States who doesn’t wish Caroline Kennedy well and hope that she’s spared from further tragedy?

Probably not.

But affection, sympathy, and nostalgia shouldn’t be the basis for appointing this woefully inexperienced woman to a key Senate seat in these troubles times.

Her father’s and uncle’s names are the only thing that makes her a contender.

Doesn’t anyone in New York politics use their own names anymore? Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the former president, wants to take the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. But some people are pushing for Andrew Cuomo, the son of the former governor. Are we stuck in political dynasties? And who will make the decision? New York’s David Patterson, the son of Basil Patterson, the former New York State Senator, Secretary of State, and Deputy Mayor of New York City.

Don’t we have any talented people who don’t feel entitled to inherit a seat? Can’t we stop the political dynasties?

At least Cuomo has his own accomplishments. He was the Secretary of HUD in the Clinton Administration, and as the elected New York State Attorney General, he’s done an outstanding job. Caroline Kennedy has done absolutely nothing to deserve elevation to the United States Senate. A review of hundreds of newspaper articles mentioning her name over the past twenty years shows rare substantive issues: her books and book tours, awarding the Profiles in Courage Award to Lowell Weicker for instituting an income tax in Connecticut, very part-time fund raising for the city schools. Even in that regard, her influence is questioned and others are given as much or more credit. The majority of the articles are about her wedding, her mother, her brother, her socialite activities, and her lucrative auction of her mother’s old blankets, picnic baskets, and other household effects.

No, Caroline has not been heard from on any of the important issues facing New Yorkers.

Patterson is a talented politician. He will probably appoint Cuomo anyway for one simple reason: To get him out of the way. Acutely aware that he was not elected governor but only got the job when Eliot Spitzer self-destructed, Governor Patterson would probably face an uphill primary fight against Cuomo in 2010 if he doesn’t shunt him off into the Senate. Other than the Attorney General, there is nobody with the stature to offer Patterson serious opposition in the Democratic Party.

Patterson should not succumb to the lobbying of the bosses and the fat cats for Caroline. She’s not entitled.***

3527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 02, 2009, 09:53:50 AM
From the ultra liberal Economist mag (rag) with no authors ever attributed by name to their articles.
The part that irritates me is this:

"In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit"

Oh really?  And what God of ethics decided this?  The new political correctness?   What horse shit!  Therefore the Jews have a right to kill 6 million Germans.  The Ukraines 5 or 6 million Russians, The Russians 20 million Germans.  The Jews have a right to kill Iranians (former Persians), Iraqis (former Babylon), Egyptians, Syrains (fromer Assyria), Italians (formerly the Romans), Mongolians (formerly Genghis Khan), and the descendents of past civilizations such as Philistines, Hittites and at least a dozen others.

With regards to the objective so far Israel's attack is diproportionately soft.  The objective is to stop Hamas from killing Jews.  That will only be accomplished when they are all killed.  So there you G'D'M leftist politiocally A'h'l's!

Israel's war in Gaza

Gaza: the rights and wrongs
Dec 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Israel was provoked, but as in Lebanon in 2006 it may find this war a hard one to end, or to justify

APTHE scale and ferocity of the onslaught on Gaza have been shocking, and the television images of civilian suffering wrench the heart. But however deplorable, Israel’s resort to military means to silence the rockets of Hamas should have been no surprise. This war has been a long time in the making.

Since Israel evacuated its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago, Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired thousands of rudimentary rockets and mortar bombs across the border, killing very few people but disrupting normal life in a swathe of southern Israel. They fired almost 300 between December 19th, when Hamas ignored Egypt’s entreaties and decided not to renew a six-month truce, and December 27th, when Israel started its bombing campaign (see article). To that extent, Israel is right to say it was provoked.

Of provocation and proportion
It is easy to point out from afar that barely a dozen Israelis had been killed by Palestinian rockets since the Gaza withdrawal. But few governments facing an election, as Israel’s is, would let their towns be peppered every day with rockets, no matter how ineffective. As Barack Obama said on a visit to one Israeli town in July, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” In recent months, moreover, Hamas has smuggled far more lethal rockets into its Gaza enclave, some of which are now landing in Israeli cities that were previously out of range. On its border with Lebanon, Israel already faces one radical non-state actor, Hizbullah, that is formally dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has a powerful arsenal of Iranian-supplied missiles at its disposal. The Israelis are understandably reluctant to let a similar danger grow in Gaza.

And yet Israel should not be surprised by the torrent of indignation it has aroused from around the world. This is not just because people seldom back the side with the F-16s. In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit.

It is true that Israel has put up with the rockets from Gaza for a long time. But it may have been able to stop the rockets another way. For it is not quite true that Israel’s only demand in respect of Gaza has been for quiet along the border. Israel has also been trying to undermine Hamas by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza, while boosting the economy of the West Bank, where the Palestinians’ more pliant secular movement, Fatah, holds sway. Even during the now-lapsed truce, Israel prevented all but a trickle of humanitarian aid from entering the strip. So although Israel was provoked, Hamas can claim that it was provoked too. If Israel had ended the blockade, Hamas may have renewed the truce. Indeed, on one reading of its motives, Hamas resumed fire to force Israel into a new truce on terms that would include opening the border.

On proportionality, the numbers speak for themselves—up to a point. After the first three days, some 350 Palestinians had been killed and only four Israelis. Neither common sense nor the laws of war require Israel to deviate from the usual rule, which is to kill as many enemies as you can and avoid casualties on your own side. Hamas was foolish to pick this uneven fight. But of the Palestinian dead, several score were civilians, and many others were policemen rather than combatants. Although both Western armies and their foes have killed far more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel’s interest should be to minimise the killing. The Palestinians it is bombing today will be its neighbours for ever.

This last point speaks to the test of effectiveness. Israel said at first that, much as it would like to topple Hamas, its present operation has the more limited aim of “changing reality” so that Hamas stops firing across the border. But as Israel learnt in Lebanon in 2006, this is far from easy. As with Hizbullah, Hamas’s “resistance” to Israel has made it popular and delivered it to power. It is most unlikely to bend the knee. Like Hizbullah, it will probably prefer to keep on firing no matter how hard it is hit, daring Israel to send its ground forces into a messy street fight in Gaza’s congested cities and refugee camps.

Now cease fire
Can Israel have forgotten the lesson of Lebanon so soon? Hardly. If anything, its campaign against Hamas now is intended to compensate for its relative failure against Hizbullah then. With Iran’s nuclear threat on the horizon, and Iranian influence growing in both Lebanon and Gaza, Israel is keen to remind its enemies that the Jewish state can still fight and still win. Precisely for that reason, despite its talk of a long campaign, it may be more receptive than it is letting on to an immediate ceasefire. Its aircraft have already pummelled almost every target in Gaza. Further military gains will be harder. A truce now, if Hamas really did stop its fire, could be presented to voters as the successful rehabilitation of Israeli deterrence.

But a ceasefire needs a mediator. Mr Obama is not yet president, and George Bush has so far hung back, just as he did in 2006 while waiting for an Israeli knockout blow that did not come. This time, he and everyone else with influence should pile in at once. To bring Hamas on board, a ceasefire would need to include an end to Israel’s blockade, but that would be a good thing in itself, relieving the suffering in Gaza and removing one of the reasons Hamas gives for fighting.

After that, Mr Obama will have to gather up what is left of diplomacy in the Middle East. It is not all hopeless. Until this week, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was talking to Israel about how to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But Mr Abbas presides over the West Bank only, and little progress is possible so long as half of Palestine’s people support an organisation that can still not bring itself to renounce armed struggle or recognise Israel’s right to exist. Since Hamas is not going to disappear, some way must be found to change its mind. Bombs alone will never do that.


3528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 09:17:33 AM
***I was living in married student housing at the University of Wisconsin when the first Scud hit Israel; the Palestinian family across the hall proceeded to whoop it up as though the Packers had just won the Super Bowl. Couldn't believe people were celebrating the fact that a weapon with a very poor targeting system, possibly topped with chemical munitions, got lobbed at a population center***

I have a long time Muslim Egyptian patient and her husband.  She is going for elective surgery and I asked her which hospital and she couldn't think of the name off the top of her head.  I named a few places and she said not those.  Then suddenly she said it is a hospital where "all the Jews live".  I said oh Short Hills - St Barnabas.  She said yes that's it.
It is true that area has a huge Jewish population and I realized right away where she meant when she offered this clue.  But don't you think it odd that is what she thought of to try to help me understand which hospital?  I am sure she has no idea I am a Jew.  I made nothing of it.

Otherwise they are wonderful people and I feel a bond with them, but I don't think I would explain where a hospital is by the local population for example JFK hospital is "where a lot of Indians live". 

What would you make of this?  I am not sure what to make of it.
3529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2008, 12:39:46 PM
"I am baffled why you would post such twaddle"

I did a search as to possible reasons why Israel is attacking Gaza now, and this came up so I thought I would post it.

Actually I wondered if actions were now because of impending change in *American* political power not because of Israeli politics.

Are they doing it before BO gets in as part of a calculation?

BO clearly has ties to the anti semitic Black camp.  Though he does have/had a lot of Jews working for his interests and hopefully they will keep him from selling out Israel - but we will see.


 
3530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2008, 10:39:09 AM
Home News World News Middle East IsraelAnalysis: Israeli politics lies behind Gaza attacks
The people of Sderot, a small town in southern Israel a few miles from the Gaza Strip, have 15 seconds to take cover whenever the wail of sirens gives warning of another rocket attack.
 
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 12:40AM GMT 29 Dec 2008

Israeli Maya Iber inspects damage at her destroyed house after a rocket attack on Sderot by Palestinian militants on Dec 21 Photo: GETTY IMAGES
For almost five years, this has been their daily ordeal and Sderot's bus stops have been specially reinforced to serve as armoured shelters from the regular salvoes fired out of Gaza.

With a general election due on Feb 10, no Israeli government could afford to appear indifferent to this threat, especially as Palestinian fighters are deploying rockets with longer ranges and heavier warheads, with some weapons capable of hitting the port of Ashdod 20 miles from Gaza. In all, some 500,000 Israelis live within range of Gaza's rockets.

The political imperative to act undoubtedly lay behind Israel's decision to launch the attack. It will have weighed most heavily on the minds of Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister and leader of the Labour party.

Both will be fighting the election against Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister from the right-wing Likud party. As they enter this contest, neither can afford to appear anything but hawkish.

Yet the scale of the response exposes Israel to international criticism. Almost 300 Palestinians have been killed in the last two days alone. By contrast, rockets fired from Gaza have killed 17 Israeli civilians in the last seven years.

Since Israel completed its withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005, about 150 Palestinians have been killed by its security forces in the territory for every dead Israeli civilian. Faced with this astonishing ratio, Israel's government will find it extremely hard to argue that its response has been proportionate.

Moreover, the subtext to the operation in Gaza is a failure of policy on both sides. Since Hamas seized control of the territory in June 2007, its only tactic has been to fire rockets at southern Israel, thereby provoking a draconian – and predictable – response.

Meanwhile, Israel has blockaded Gaza of all but essential humanitarian supplies and launched regular military raids. On the rare occasions when the territory's border posts have been open, Palestinian fighters have occasionally attacked them, forcing their closure and maximising Gaza's isolation and the ordeal of its people.

Its 1.5 million inhabitants are effectively prisoners. This cycle of attack, retaliation and more attack has achieved nothing save inflict suffering on both sides.

Last year, a truce arranged by neighbouring Egypt brought a measure of calm. That has now collapsed amid recriminations over who was to blame.

Israeli forces killed three Palestinian fighters and destroyed a tunnel linking Gaza with Egypt during an operation in November. A barrage of rockets fired at Israeli towns was the response, with 70 being launched last Wednesday alone.

The only hope lies in restoring the ceasefire. But any political progress will have to await the outcome of Israel's election. In the meantime, the military campaign goes on.
 
3531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 27, 2008, 09:07:11 AM
I admit I was a bit surprised at the level of intensity of anger leveled at BO particularly on MSNBC,
Yet I question what the choice of Rick Warren means since it is purely and solely a symbolic gesture and PR move rather than anything of substance.  I am suspect that this is a superficial ploy to lull the right into complacency while the choices that matter with regard to real policy change will be as left as BO can get away with.

Others have posed this thought as well.
I don't yet believe BO is forming any kind of coalition between right and left for the "long haul".  We shall see.
Why is it gays think they have to scream their arguments at us even louder as though that will be effective?  It is simply annoying me more as probably with many other people.
3532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 23, 2008, 09:14:09 AM
Here we go again.  The Clintons grabbing for the spotlight and self serving spin.  Every move she makes she will have her spin team out there telling what a great job she is doing fixing the world for us.  Oh well.  Does State really need to get in on economic issues?  She is already trying to ustage BO.  I thought BO was for change.  We still are going to hear endless grifter propaganda.

***Hillary Clinton plans a more powerful State Dept: NY Times
      Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to build a more muscular US State Department, with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys dispatched to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with the global economic crisis, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times cited an unnamed Hillary Clinton adviser as saying her push for a more vigorous economic team stems from her belief that the State Department needs to play a part in the recovery from the global financial crisis, while economic issues also are at the heart of key diplomatic relationships, notably with China.

The former first lady also is reportedly likely to name several high-powered envoys to world hotspots.

The daily reported that Clinton and Obama have not yet settled on specific envoys or missions, although the name of veteran diplomat Dennis Ross has come up as a possible Middle East envoy, along with diplomatic trouble-shooter Richard Holbrooke and Martin Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel.

The Times wrote that the New York senator -- President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of State -- is recruiting Jacob Lew, the budget director under her husband former president Bill Clinton -- to be one of her two deputies. Lew would be tasked with handling economic matters, the report said.

Another Bill Clinton aide, former deputy national security adviser James Steinberg is to be Hillary Clinton's other chief lieutenant, subject to Senate confirmation.***

3533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 20, 2008, 08:59:00 AM
It is one thing to use non citizen interpretors but the idea of filling our military ranks with people who are not citizens is a bad idea.
The Revolutionary War situation makes no sense to today.  And the immigrant situation during the draft of the Civil War when people could pay their way out of the draft does not apply today either.

Bad idea.
3534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bobby Jindal on: December 18, 2008, 03:16:35 PM
From recent Newsweek mag.  I only get NsWk because I got it for free from frequent flier miles.  It is left wing propaganda de jour a la MSNBC so I don't care for their incredibly biased articles. 
This article about Jindal who is hard core in his right wing beliefs but also a more centrist pragmatist in reality is of note.  Is this the kind of rough roadmap answer for the Cans to make a comeback some day?  I don't know, but anyway here it is:
 
 
 ****POLITICS
Their Own Obama
Bobby Jindal is in no way running for president. Or so he told Iowa.

 
Published Dec 13, 2008
From the magazine issue dated Dec 22, 2008
Bobby Jindal is in a hurry. It was only an hour ago that the Louisiana governor, 37, landed near the town of Longville (population: 2,462) and descended from his helicopter, Pelican One, into an SUV bound for the local Baptist church. And it'll be only a little while before Jindal reboards the chopper and resumes a tour that will, by bedtime tomorrow, take him to Breaux Bridge, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Arcadia and, finally, New Orleans—a typical, 1,000-mile, midweek excursion for the boyish politician who rarely bothers to eat or urinate when traveling, which is almost always.

But in the meantime, Jindal must answer The Question. Ever since arriving at the Longville church for today's event, the governor has been sprinting through his "New Louisiana" stump speech, a self-promotional recap of his 10 months in office, at the relentless pace expected of a guy who graduated from Brown at 21, completed his Rhodes scholarship at 23, ran Louisiana's Health and Hospitals department at 25, presided over the University of Louisiana system at 28 and served in Washington as an assistant secretary of health and human services and two-term U.S. congressman before becoming the country's first Indian-American governor at the advanced age of 36. Swimming in his blue blazer, the 5-foot-11, 135-pound Jindal looks more like a bashful science-fair contestant than the latest successor to flamboyant Louisiana Gov. Huey Long, and if it weren't for Jindal's lavish Southern drawl, he'd risk sounding more like one, too; this morning's remarks, like nearly everything he says, have consisted largely of the phrase "a couple of things" followed by a flurry of details, statistics and multipart plans.

Now Clyde Dennis wants to know how hurried Jindal really is. "Tell me about your national aspirations," says the burly 65-year-old justice of the peace, rising from his chair. "Keep hearing your name on TV and all that kind of stuff. We want to keep you in state here. Don't want you to go to D.C." Having fielded The Question before—after all, Jindal frequently appears on cable to explain how the GOP should "right its ship"—the governor is ready with The Answer. "I've got the job that I want," he says. "I told y'all a year ago that we've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our state. I want to be a part of that. And if you let me, I'm going to run for re-election. I'm not running for president. I think the American people are tired of politics, they're tired of elections, they're tired of campaigns. Anybody out there running for president four years from now, eight years from now, they're not helping themselves—and they're sure not helping their country."

 Three days later, Jindal, a Roman Catholic convert raised in a Hindu household, will repeat these lines, unprompted, at a gathering of nearly 1,000 adoring Christian activists. Which would be unremarkable, except that the event will take place not in Louisiana but in Iowa—the site, it just so happens, of the nation's first presidential caucuses.

There are plenty of rising stars in the GOP. But in the wake of Barack Obama's victory on Nov. 4, none has attracted as much speculation, curiosity and unapologetic hype as Jindal. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently called him "the most transformative young governor in America." Radio host Rush Limbaugh refers to him as "the next Ronald Reagan." John McCain eyed Jindal as a running mate, and Steve Schmidt, McCain's chief strategist, told The Washington Post in November that "the question is not whether he'll be president, but when he'll be president—because he will be elected someday." For his part, Jindal says he's uninterested in 2012—and given how his plan to run for re-election in November 2011 will make it near-impossible to prepare for the following January's nominating contests, he's probably telling the truth. But a veep slot—or 2016—is possible. "First of all, he's brilliant," antitax crusader Grover Norquist tells NEWSWEEK. "Two, he's from an immigrant community, so that speaks to immigrant experience, period. Three, he's a Catholic who lives his values instead of shouting at you about them. Four, he's a principled Reagan Republican. Five, he's from the South but doesn't look like a Southern sheriff. And he's got more successes as a governor, already, one year in, than George W. Bush or Obama had when they ran for president. He's exactly what we need."

This, of course, is the same sort of swooning that propelled a certain Illinois state senator to the presidency. So it's no surprise that "many prominent members of the GOP," as the Post noted, already consider Jindal their "own version of Obama"—the charismatic, nonwhite, Ivy League change agent destined to revitalize his party. Critics carp that Jindalmaniacs are simply jumping on the Benetton bandwagon, and Norquist admits that having at least one young, brown-skinned prospect is "helpful" in the age of Obama. But Jindal is no token. As his rise reveals, the governor shares with the president-elect something deeper—and, for Democrats, more dangerous—than age or color: the ability to walk between worlds. Immigrant and native, Brown and Baton Rouge, right and center, principle and pragmatism. The question now is whether Jindal can balance the dueling demands of Louisiana and Washington while preserving his fragile image as the future of the GOP. Louisiana Democratic Party spokesman Brian Welsh, for one, isn't betting against him. "Jindal's a force of nature," Welsh tells NEWSWEEK after following the governor to Iowa. "That's why I'm here, man. He's for real."

For Jindal, navigating difficult crosscurrents is nothing new. Born Piyush Jindal on June 10, 1971, to one of the few Indian families in Baton Rouge, he suddenly announced at the age of 4 that he would answer only to "Bobby," in honor of his favorite "Brady Bunch" character. Asked by NEWSWEEK why he chose an American name, Jindal insists that "there wasn't a whole lot of great thought gone into it." But Jan Daly, Jindal's English teacher, recalls that her top student "wanted to be Westernized." As a teen, Jindal rejected his parents' loose Democratic ties to become a staunch Reagan Republican—in part, he has said, because the Gipper was "very popular" and "easy to identify with." By the time Jindal arrived at Brown in 1988, he was a regular Alex P. Keaton. Arshad Ahsanuddin, a close friend, e-mails that Jindal sported "penny loafers with actual pennies in them" on campus, claiming, when confronted, that "it was the traditional way to wear that type of shoe." Since narrowly losing his first gubernatorial bid in 2003, Jindal has rarely appeared in public without cowboy boots.

Some might see Jindal as a political opportunist. But the governor's history of self-invention, yet another echo of Obama, seems less a product of ambition than of assimilation. Early on, everyone expected Jindal to fulfill the wishes of his demanding immigrant father by entering medicine—including Jindal himself. So the idea that he spent puberty polishing his political persona is a tough sell. "I never thought Bobby would run for office," says Mary Beth Guillot, his high-school principal. "He just wasn't the backslapping, glad-handing type." Instead, he has always been the consummate Organization Kid, striving to meet or exceed institutional expectations. As a college intern, he impressed Shreveport Rep. Jim McCrery with a massive manuscript on Medicare reform; five years later, he asked McCrery to recommend him for Louisiana health secretary. "How about deputy?" McCrery inquired. "No," Jindal, 24, replied. He got the interview—and the job.****
3535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 18, 2008, 02:58:10 PM
BAMA: means business when he states he aims to change the world:

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Barack Obama has garnered praise from center to right — and has highly irritated the left — with the centrism of his major appointments. Because Obama's own beliefs remain largely opaque, his appointments have led to the conclusion that he intends to govern from the center.

Obama the centrist? I'm not so sure. Take the foreign policy team: Hillary Clinton, James Jones and Bush holdover Robert Gates. As centrist as you can get. But the choice was far less ideological than practical. Obama has no intention of being a foreign policy president. Unlike, say, Nixon or Reagan, he does not have aspirations abroad. He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about — his domestic agenda.

Similarly his senior economic team, the brilliant trio of Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Paul Volcker: centrist, experienced and mainstream. But their principal task is to stabilize the financial system, a highly pragmatic task in which Obama has no particular ideological stake.

A functioning financial system is a necessary condition for a successful Obama presidency. As in foreign policy, Obama wants experts and veterans to manage and pacify universes in which he has little experience and less personal commitment. Their job is to keep credit flowing and the world at bay so that Obama can address his real ambition: to effect a domestic transformation as grand and ambitious as Franklin Roosevelt's.

As Obama revealingly said just last week, "This painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people." Transformation is his mission. Crisis provides the opportunity. The election provides him the power.

The deepening recession creates the opportunity for federal intervention and government experimentation on a scale unseen since the New Deal. A Republican administration has already done the ideological groundwork with its unprecedented intervention, culminating in the forced partial nationalization of nine of the largest banks, the kind of stuff that happens in Peronist Argentina with a gun on the table. Additionally, Henry Paulson's invention of the number $700 billion forever altered our perception of imaginable government expenditure. Twenty billion more for Citigroup? Lunch money.

Moreover, no one in Congress even pretends that spending should be pay as you go (i.e., new expenditures balanced by higher taxes or lower spending), as the Democrats disingenuously promised when they took over Congress last year. Even some conservative economists are urging stimulus (although structured far differently from Democratic proposals). And public opinion, demanding action, will buy any stimulus package of any size. The result: undreamed-of amounts of money at Obama's disposal.

To meet the opportunity, Obama has the political power that comes from a smashing electoral victory. It not only gave him a personal mandate. It increased Democratic majorities in both houses, thereby demonstrating coattails and giving him clout. And by running on nothing much more than change and (often contradictory) hopes, he has given himself enormous freedom of action.

Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public — and, at his disposal, the greatest pot of money in galactic history. (I include here the extrasolar planets.)

It begins with a near $1 trillion stimulus package. This is where Obama will show himself ideologically. It is his one great opportunity to plant the seeds for everything he cares about: a new green economy, universal health care, a labor resurgence, government as benevolent private-sector "partner." The first hint came yesterday, when Obama claimed, "If we want to overcome our economic challenges, we must also finally address our health care challenge" — the perfect non sequitur that gives carte blanche to whatever health-care reform and spending the Obama team dreams up. It is the community organizer's ultimate dream.

Ironically, when the economy tanked in mid-September, it was assumed that both presidential candidates could simply forget about their domestic agendas because with $700 billion drained by financial system rescues, not a penny would be left to spend on anything else.

On the contrary. With the country clamoring for action and with all psychological barriers to government intervention obliterated (by the conservative party, no less), the stage is set for a young, ambitious, supremely confident president — who sees himself as a world-historical figure before even having been sworn in — to begin a restructuring of the American economy and the forging of a new relationship between government and people.

Don't be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn't get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it.

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3536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 16, 2008, 08:52:20 AM
You know it doesn't matter.  The unions have won.
W who has sorely disappointed me here is caving because he doesn't want to be known as the President who allowed Detroit to fail.  It is now all about his legacy.
The left mocks him no matter what he does.  Here is our leader literally being assaulted by that punk throwing shoes at him and I am outraged and agree he needs to do hard time.  Could you imagine if he did that here in the US.  Yet the left *laughs* and sides with the Iraqi punk.  They already joke he will get a stint in Hollywood.

This newsman must have been in Saddams party and pissed his little group of thugs can't go around looting, raping, and shoving everyone else around.  The Iraqis should be thanking us from saving them from that butcher.  Some probably do but we never hear them.  As always the MSM goes for those that complain about America because that is what they think - that America is to blame.

3537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Crimes and Criminal Behavior on: December 15, 2008, 10:00:32 AM
I like the opinion of one analyst over the weekend who when asked how he could explain how such sophisticated people could be so duped his answer was they must have thought they were "in on something".  They must have thought that Madoff had some sort of inside scheme and they were able to get in on it too.  This guy was a chaiman of the Nasdaq?  Reminds me of Martha Stewart who sat on the board of the NY stock exchange while doing her inside trade.  What a joke on the state of human nature and the world.  Are there any honest people out there?   BO could never be ABe.  He already has proven his capacity to lie with the best of them.  Not blink and eye with no guilt, remorse or any of it.

***Alleged Madoff fraud has worldwide exposure
      Buzz Up Send
 AP – In this Oct. 28, 2008 file photo, customers wait at a Tokyo branch of Nomura Securities Co. Some of the … NEW YORK – The list of investors who say they were duped in one of Wall Street's biggest Ponzi schemes is growing, snaring some of the world's biggest banking institutions and hedge funds, the super rich and the famous, pensioners and charities.

The alleged victims who sunk cash into veteran Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff's investment pool include real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman, the foundation of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and a charity of movie director Steven Spielberg, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the world's biggest banking institutions, Britain's HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Man Group PLC, Spain's Grupo Santander SA, France's BNP Paribas and Japan's Nomura Holdings all reported that they had fallen victim to Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The 70-year-old Madoff (MAY-doff), well respected in the investment community after serving as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested Thursday in what prosecutors say was a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors. Some investors claim they've been wiped out, while others are still likely to come forward.

"There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you've had somebody decide to be unscrupulous," said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a regulator in charge of monitoring investment funds like the one Madoff operated.

The extent of the potential damage prompted a leading fund manager in London to lash out at U.S. regulators for failing to detect the fraud earlier.

"I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job," Nicola Horlick, the manager of Bramdean Alternatives, which has 9 percent of its funds invested in Madoff's scheme, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

"All through the credit crunch this has been apparent," Horlick added. "This is the biggest financial scandal, probably, in the history of the markets."

Among U.S. investors, the Boston-based Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, a charity that financed trips for Jewish youth to Israel, sacked its staff after revealing that the money for its operations was invested with Madoff.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, entrusted his family's charitable foundation to Madoff. Lautenberg's attorney, Michael Griffinger, said they weren't yet sure the extent of the foundation's losses, but that the bulk of its investments had been handled by Madoff.

Lautenberg's foundation handed out more than $765,000 to at least 100 recipients in 2006, according to the most recent listing on Guidestar, which tracks charitable organization filings.

The foundation helps support a variety of religious, educational, civic and arts organizations in New Jersey and elsewhere, and its contributions range from a gift of than $300,000 to the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey to a $2,000 donation to a children's program at the Hackensack Medical Center.

Reports from Florida to Minnesota included profiles of ordinary investors who gave Madoff their money. Some had been friends with him for decades, others were able to invest because they were a friend of a friend. They told stories of losing everything from $40,000 to an entire nest egg worth well over $1 million.

They join a list of more powerful investors that have come forward, all worried about the extent of their losses. The roster of names include former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and J. Ezra Merkin, the chairman of GMAC Financial Services, among others.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Mortimer Zuckerman, the chairman of real estate firm Boston Properties and owner of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, had significant exposure through a fund that invested substantially all of its assets with Mr. Madoff.

The Journal also said the Steven Spielberg charity, the Wunderkinder Foundation, in the past appears to have invested a significant portion of its assets with Mr. Madoff. It said the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, founded by the famed Holocaust survivor and writer, was hard hit by losses, citing two people familiar with the organization's investments.

Messages were left with the Zuckerman fund and Wunderkinder foundation. The Wiesel foundation said it was looking into the matter.

The Journal also reported potential investors and firms exposed to the alleged fraud included: Carl Shapiro, founder and former chairman of women's apparel company Kay Windsor Inc.; Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. co-founder Leonard Feinstein; Yeshiva University; EIM Group; UBS AG; Fairfield Greenwich Advisors; Tremont Capital Management; Maxam Capital Management and Ascot Partners.

Among those overseas confirming exposure on Monday, Banco Santander, the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization, said its clients have 2.33 billion euros ($3.07 billion) in exposure with Madoff, mostly through a fund called Optimal Strategic US Equity.

HSBC, Britain's largest bank, said a "small number" of its insitutional clients had exposure totaling some $1 billion in Madoff funds.

It added that it has custody clients who have invested with Madoff, but it did not believe those "custodial arrangements should be a source of exposure to the group."

Royal Bank of Scotland — Britain's second-largest bank, which is now 58 percent owned by the British government — said it could lose around 400 million euros pounds through exposure in trading and collateralized lending to funds of hedge funds invested with Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Man Group, the world's largest publicly traded fund manager that reported exposure of around $360 million on Monday, said "it appears that a systematic and comprehensive fraud may have been committed, evading a range of structural controls."

Japan's Nomura Holdings said it has 27.5 billion yen ($306 million) in exposure, but added that any losses were likely to be limited compared to its capital base.

French banks foresee nearly 1 billion euros in potential losses as indirect victims of the alleged fraud.

Natixis, France's fourth largest bank, set its maximum indirect exposure at about 450 million euros. A statement by the investment bank said it made no direct investments in hedge funds managed by Madoff. However, it said that some of its clients' money was invested in funds managed by "first class custodians," which in turn entrusted those securities to Madoff's investment securities company.

Both Societe Generale and Credit Agricole said they had "negligible" exposure of below 10 million euros each. However, the euro zone's largest bank, BNP Paribas, has estimated its risk exposure to hedge funds managed by Madoff at up to 350 million euros.

In a statement Sunday, BNP Paribas said it has no investment of its own in Madoff's hedge funds, but "does have risk exposure to these funds through its trading business and collateralized lending to funds of hedge funds."

Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privee indicated it had hundreds of millions of dollars in client assets invested under the management of Madoff. The Geneva bank, one of Switzerland's largest, did not disclose a total amount invested, but did say the exposure of its clients "represents less than 1 percent of the total assets under management of the bank."

UBP's announcement Monday followed weekend disclosures by Swiss banks Reichmuth & Co of Lucerne, Benedict Hentsch of Geneva and Neue Privat Bank of Zurich that they had millions of dollars worth of client assets at risk in the case.

In Germany, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank both declined to comment on the matter.

On Friday, representatives from major U.S. banks — Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. — declined to comment on if they had exposure to Madoff's company. Both BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said they had no exposure.

Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo & Co., Comerica Inc. and U.S. Bancorp did not return calls seeking comment.****
3538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexican immigration going down on: December 15, 2008, 09:50:03 AM
This is good.  Now how about illegals from other countries and continents flooding the US, including from Europe?
Does anyone else notice how when the politically correct MSM speak of anti-semites, racists, etc they now include "anti-immigrant" in there too as though there is equivalence? 

If one is anti-immigrant one is a racist, a bigot, a hater, a war monger etc.

****Some Mexicans leaving US, planning never to return
  Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno, Associated Press Writer – Mon Dec 15, 5:16 am ET AP – Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez, 40, holds 10-month-old grandson Duvan Rodriguez, at her home in Severance, Colo., … DENVER – After going months without a full-time job, Daniel Ramirez has decided it's time to return to family in Mexico.

Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez says she can't afford to live in Colorado any more because her husband was deported.

Roberto Espinoza is going back, too. After 18 years as a mechanic for a General Motors dealership in Denver, his work permit wasn't renewed and he didn't want to remain in the country illegally.

All are leaving Colorado in time for Christmas — joining a traditional holiday migration that will number almost 1 million people, says Mexico's interior ministry. But they have no intention of returning to Colorado, a place that promised prosperity.

Layoffs, dwindling job opportunities, anti-immigrant sentiment and the crackdown on illegal immigrants are forcing hard choices on many Mexican nationals in Colorado. Though not an exodus, some are returning to a nation they haven't seen in years.

"You despair. You think, 'I used to earn $600 a week and now I'm getting half of that a week?'" said Ramirez, 38, who lost his Denver construction job in August. He left last week, driving to San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

Mexico's consul general in Denver, Eduardo Arnal, said more people like Ramirez are going home for good.

He cites a rise in applications for import tax exemptions by Mexican nationals bringing home their belongings. The consulate hasn't compiled statistics for 2008 but says it receives about three applications a day, compared to one per week in 2007.

"We've seen an increase in this service, which implies that there's a tendency among a larger number of Mexicans who are returning home definitively," Arnal said in an interview in Spanish.

Nationally, 1,809 Mexican immigrants filed for the exemption between January and August, compared to 1,447 the same period last year — a 25 percent increase, according to Mexico's foreign affairs ministry.

That's hardly an indicator of reverse migration, noted Carlos Rico, Mexico's undersecretary for North American affairs. Rico said what is known is that Mexicans are moving to other U.S. states — often places that historically have not seen a large population of Mexicans. They include North Carolina, Georgia, Idaho and Alaska, Rico said.

Whether for economic or anti-immigrant reasons, Rico said, "People are looking for alternatives within the United States."

An estimated 243,253 Mexicans lived in Colorado in 2007, down from 254,844 in 2006, according to the U.S. Census. The state's construction industry, a traditional source of employment for Mexicans, is contracting, and University of Colorado economists expect the state to lose 11,200 construction jobs next year.

Nationally, remittances to Mexico are down, as is Mexican emigration to the U.S.

August remittances totaled $1.9 billion, down 12 percent from August 2007, Mexico's Central Bank says. It's the first drop since the bank began tracking remittances in 1996.

Mexico's National Statistics and Geography Institute estimates that 814,000 Mexicans emigrated to the U.S. in 2006, compared to 1.2 million in 2007.

Arnal noted that Mexico's economy is growing, albeit modestly. Mexico's Treasury Department reported a 1.7 percent growth rate for the third quarter and forecasts 2 percent growth for the year.

But hard times, not tepid growth back home, are prompting some Colorado Mexicans to leave.

Espinoza said the recession's onset took him by surprise. He'll be seeing his country for the first time in nearly two decades.

"I miss my country," said Espinoza, 34, who is returning to Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez lives in Severance, about 60 miles north of Denver. She's leaving for the Mexican state of Sinaloa after 15 years because her husband, who worked at a ranch dairy, was deported for being here illegally.

"He told me to pack up everything," Rodriguez, 40, said in Spanish. "We're not young anymore."

Her 21-year-old son, also in the country illegally, plans on staying.

Jesus Luna, 30, is returning to Puebla with his wife and two children after nearly four years in Colorado Springs. His reasons aren't entirely economic. His parents are ailing. Packing things he said have been so easily accumulated here — bikes, toys, a washer and other appliances — he will be driving nearly 40 hours to arrive in time for Christmas parties.

"You know how it is — eating and more eating," he said, smiling.

Still others return on their own terms, having accrued the wealth to let them live their dreams in Mexico.

"I can't complain. I have a job and I am able to come back if I want," said Gustavo Camacho, 43, who works for a firm digging trenches for electrical cables in Denver.

Camacho, who is from Jalisco, has been here twice, from 1999-2003 and again since 2005. The first time, he saved enough money for a house in Jalisco. This time, he has enough to start a business — either a car repair shop or selling food on the street.

He wants his six children to grow up in Mexico, where he thinks family values are stronger.

"I'll miss it," Camacho said about his time in Colorado. "But you always miss something, whether you're here or in Mexico.

"I might even miss the weather."****
3539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / soda tax on: December 15, 2008, 09:36:14 AM
The soda tax does not make much sense.  There is ZERO evidence that people who stop drinking soda alone will lose weight.  There is even some evidence (in animals) that the calorie free sodas with the artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain.

Leave it to a crat to lay awake at night to dream up ways to rip us off.  As for the health care cuts it wouldn't hurt if we get rid of the illegals who contribute to putting hospitals out of business by usuing ER services.  No mention of that of course.
How about taxes on political contributions?  How about windfall profits taxes on the incomes of any politician above whatever it was before they took office?

How about a tax on all white men?  That would be fair.  How about taxes from government employees unions?

How about a luxury tax on all cosmetic procdures?



New taxes, cuts in budget plan
Paterson sees $404M tax on non-diet soda; higher levies on health care 
 
By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Sunday, December 14, 2008
 
New taxes, deep cuts to education and health care, and a restructuring of the state's economic development programs will be hallmarks of Gov. David Paterson's first budget plan to be released in two days, according to interviews of people briefed on components.
The plan will come with a host of revenue raisers — increased taxes on hospitals and insurance policies, for instance — and at least one new assessment, a so-called obesity tax on non-diet soda to raise $404 million. The governor also is contemplating requiring new license plates to raise cash, reviving sales tax on clothing purchases, removing the tax cap on gasoline and threatening to require Indian retailers to collect taxes on sales to non-Indians by signing into law a bill passed earlier this year by the Legislature.

Paterson will unveil the spending plan, aimed at closing a $12.5 billion deficit for next year, on Tuesday. The total size of the Paterson budget is unknown.

There is no word on Paterson's plans for the state work force, although he has said he will adhere to a strict hiring freeze while looking to consolidate some components of government.

The cuts will be across the board and will build upon a deficit reduction plan Paterson proposed in November as he attempted to close the $1.5 billion shortfall in the $120 billion budget negotiated for this year. The plan was inherited from the executive budget introduced last January by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

The health industry will be particularly upset, although Paterson's cuts will raise blood pressure throughout. He will call for about $3.53 billion in health care cuts, not including federal share of matching Medicaid dollars, which could be another $2 billion in cuts.

The biggest hits will be to insurance companies, which will be asked to come up with about $855 million in extra assessments. Those amount to more taxes on health insurance plans, increased sales tax on hospital discharges and more shifting of general fund costs to the Insurance Department so that insurance companies pay for programs such as Timothy's Law, the mandated coverage of mental health treatments.

Further, the governor also will propose a new tax on some physician services to raise $50 million.

The bottom line will be a net increase in costs that ultimately get paid by subscribers, thereby increasing the cost of coverage at a time that most upstate insurers are struggling.

Hospital cost saving initiatives will amount to $700 million next year and $50 million this year. Some of that will come from a 0.7 percent tax on gross receipts and Medicaid rate reductions. Graduate medical education funds will be redirected to save $141 million and another $23 million will be cut through reforming reimbursement.

Nursing homes will be cut by $4.2 million this year and $420 million next year. Home care will be cut $190 million next year.

A number of other public health programs will come with savings by, for instance, taxing non-diet sodas under an "obesity tax" that will raise $404 million. Prescription drug costs, a hit on pharmacies and drug makers, will cut by $111 million.

Among the reductions in education spending, public colleges will be directed to raise tuitions. But despite the cuts, Paterson will try to make it easier for SUNY schools to partner with private developers who want to build on campus property. The public/private initiative is seen as a way to stimulate construction of private housing for campus residents.

The Empire Zone program will be cut by at least 50 percent, saving the state tens of millions by not extending benefits as liberally.

The budget will come a day after Senate Republicans vote on a bill to stimulate the economy by phasing out the Empire Zone program through 2011 and using the savings as tax breaks for companies.

The governor has contemplated instituting a different pension system for new employees, but the so-called Tier 5 program may not make it to the budget. He is also expected to reiterate a call for greater health care payments from retirees and the closure of some juvenile detention facilities.

James M. Odato can be reached at 454-5083 or by e-mail at jodato@timesunion.com.
 
3540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 14, 2008, 12:01:36 PM
GM,
It sounds like Clintonism all over again. 
BO said he or his office never had contact.
He didn't specify Emanuel.  But we all know Emanuel was talking with both BO and the gov. and BO knew.
So even though it is a lie it is not technically a lie.  It is the "Clintoneasque" play with words to make a lie look like it is not.
Politics as usual.
Of course the MSM is giving him a complete pass for the deceptive language.
3541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: December 13, 2008, 10:30:56 AM
Well here is a Malkin piece that is a real eye opener.

Where is the MSM outrage over a government agency's destruction of its records?

How is this legal?  This is a government coverup?  I don't get it.  This broad should be in jail.  Not up for energy "Czar" which is just code for leftist eco-nazi thug.

The Clintons and their legalize slime balls are at it again.

He was one of the *worst* presidents because he brought ethics, honor, integrity, and politics itself down into the gutter.
But of course the MSM adores him and his cronies and their ability to combat the "vast right wing conspiracy" which completely makes up these scandals.

Yes, as Michelle states, all this Clinton regression "we can't afford".  Yet the clinton slime balls conned their way back to the limelight again.  The crats I thought finally had someone else yet the cancer keeps creeping back.

I still feel BO made a huge mistake picking Hillary and her gang.  Anytime we can keep the Clintons out of any power situation we must do so.  They are sick.


***Lead StoryCrooked Carol Browner: Obama’s ethically-challenged energy czar
By Michelle Malkin  •  December 12, 2008 09:10 AM My syndicated column today puts the screws on Clintonite Carol Browner, rumored to be Obama’s choice for energy czar. She’s not so fresh and so clean. And conservatives should raise their voices for, you know, real change.

Same old, same old.

The trouble with Obama’s energy czar
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Yet another Clintonite has been wheeled out of the political morgue to serve in the Obama administration. Carol Browner, a neon green radical who headed the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993-2000, is widely rumored to be the president-elect’s choice for “energy czar.” But an ethical cloud still hangs over Browner’s EPA legacy. It doesn’t take a team of Ivy League-degreed lawyers to figure out that this is one more headache the Hope and Change crew doesn’t need.

In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, let me dust off the cobwebs and help out all the smarty-pants vetters on the Obama team with a little background on Browner’s stained past:

On her last day in office, nearly eight years ago, Browner oversaw the destruction of agency computer files in brazen violation of a federal judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. This from a public official who bragged about her tenure: “One of the things I’m the proudest of at EPA is the work we’ve done to expand the public’s right to know.”

Asked to explain her track-covering actions, the savvy career lawyer Browner played dumb. Figuratively batting her eyelashes, she claimed she had no clue about a court injunction signed by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on the same day she commanded an underling to wipe her hard drives clean. Golly gee willikers, how could that have slipped by her?

According to testimony in a freedom of information lawsuit filed against EPA by the Landmark Legal Foundation, a Virginia-based conservative legal watchdog group, Browner commanded a computer technician on Jan. 19, 2001: “‘I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files.” Not coincidentally, the Landmark Legal Foundation had been pressing Browner to fully and publicly disclose the names of any special interest groups that may have influenced her wave of last-minute regulatory actions. Two days before she told her technician to purge all her records, EPA had gone to court to file a motion opposing the federal court injunction protecting those government documents.

Plausible deniability? Not bloody likely.

Incredibly, Browner asserted that there was no work-related material on her work computer. She explained she was merely cleaning the hard drive of computer games she had downloaded for her son, and that she wanted to expunge the hard drive as a “courtesy” to the incoming Bush administration. How thoughtful. Later, her agency admitted that three other top EPA officials had their computers erased despite the federal court order and ongoing FOIA case (the record is silent on whether Browner’s son was playing games on their desktops, too). A further belated admission revealed that the agency had failed to search Browner’s office for public documents as required by Landmark’s public disclosure lawsuit.

Not only were all the top officials’ hard drives cleared and reformatted, but e-mail backup tapes were erased and reused in violation of records preservation practices.

After a two-year legal battle, Judge Lamberth finally held the EPA in contempt of court for the systemic file destruction – actions Lambert lambasted as “contumacious conduct” (obstinate resistance to authority). As is typical in Washington, Browner weaseled out of any serious repercussions. Lamberth inexplicably decided that slapping the agency as a whole with contempt – rather than any individual – would deter future cover-ups.

Is this a gamble the Obama administration wants to take? Browner has crossed the line and violated public trust before in her capacity as eco-chief. Early in her first term as EPA head, Browner got caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to over 100 grassroots environmental lobbying organizations. Browner exploited her office to orchestrate a political campaign by left-wing groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform. These are the very same groups – anti-business, anti-sound science, pro-eco-hysteria – that Browner would be working arm in arm with as Obama’s “energy czar.”

This is regression we can’t afford.***

3542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crats have lock on intelligence on: December 13, 2008, 09:52:22 AM
Republicans are simpletons and Democrats are geniuses.  So says the MSM.  Unfortunately having a Republican President for 8 years who was not adept at expressing himself contributed to this image though the MSM was in adoration with the appearance of sophistication before that, but W certainly served to give them fodder on this point.

***Liberalism = Genius?

by L. Brent Bozell III
November 26, 2008   

If there is a dreadfully overused word in the giddy countdown to the Obama inauguration, it is “smart.” Not just “smart,” but also its stronger cousins like “Brilliant” and “Genius.” These words have been offered shamelessly for nearly every person assigned a role by President-Elect Obama. They are assembling an “all-star cabinet.” This was not an honor for those having attended all the right schools, but a tribute to people who have all the “right” ideas. Liberals are smart because they’re liberals. Conservative beliefs are honed from having been dropped on your head as an infant.

Last week, Newsweek almost comedically compared Obama to Lincoln, hailing the strength of his “humility.” How could anyone stay humble with all these hyper-flattering cover stories about whether you’re Lincoln or you’re Franklin Roosevelt? Nobody asked: But what if he turns out to be another ineffective Jimmy Carter? Then again, not to worry. Just as Time turned Obama into FDR on its cover, they comically projected Carter as Gary Cooper in “High Noon” in the hostage-crisis spring of 1980.

Back in June of 2001, Newsweek headlined an article on an upcoming Bush foreign policy trip with these words: “See George. See George Learn Foreign Policy.” He was painted like a president who couldn’t prove he was smarter than a fifth-grader on TV. Newsweek did attempt a historical comparison. European pols heard Bush advocating missile defense, and one participant joked, “He was like Reagan....without the charisma.” Newsweek concluded school wasn’t working yet for Bush: “Still a student in a most demanding and unforgiving school, he needs all the teachers he can get.”

That dismissive attitude toward Republican politicians will long outlive the Bush presidency, just as it outlasted Reagan’s. Nine days after the election, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham denounced Sarah Palin in the snobbiest of tones on NBC’s “Today” as someone who should “be going into a kind of policy Berlitz course, which one would think would be a relatively sound thing to do.” Plugging Meacham’s biography of Andrew Jackson, NBC’s Matt Lauer added the colorful tale that Jackson threatened to kill his own vice president, so Meacham caustically added, “I don’t know if Senator McCain has thought that along the way.”

Meanwhile, Newsweek’s writers are exploring the inspiring depths of humility of their blessed Barack: “Obama has unusual detachment for a politician. He observes himself as a kind of figure out of literature.” Does that sound humble? Or does it sound astoundingly arrogant? Reagan living in his own movies put him in Fantasy Land, but Obama seeing himself as the Embodiment of Hope on the library shelf is somehow grounded. The Obama-crazed media are hallucinating.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” co-host Robin Roberts couldn’t stop gushing about the Obama cabinet picks: “Some would say it’s a team of rivals, a la President Lincoln, or is a better comparison a team of geniuses as FDR did?” George Stephanopoulos unsurprisingly agreed: “We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes.”

Smelling salts all around, please.

If this proposed incoming Obama administration wasn’t so stuffed with Clintonites, starting with Hillary, that line might have sounded insulting to Bill Clinton. Sixteen years ago, all these same tributes were being offered to Bill Clinton’s superior intelligence, Bill Clinton’s grace under pressure, and a superior incoming Clinton staff. Even Stephanopoulos was ogled back then over the charisma of his “power whisper.”

But looking back, how well did Bill Clinton display a foreign policy genius that made the world a less violent place? Are the mass murders in Rwanda or the massacre in Srebrenica something that every Clinton fan in the media has wiped clean from their brains? Have they all forgotten the Americans killed at the Khobar Towers, or aboard the U.S.S. Cole, our lost diplomats at the embassies of Kenya and Tanzania? Did the overflowing international compassion of Clinton melt the hearts of al-Qaeda into retirement? Why, then, does every media liberal assume that History will open her arms and beckon Obama forward as an early entry into the Pantheon of Presidential Greatness?

Conservatives and Republicans have a very important role to play now in holding this alleged Team of Geniuses accountable. This disgraceful “news” media won’t, period. They will line up to serve Obama only slightly less explicitly than Chris Matthews, who typically blurted out that his new job as a television host was to insure President Obama’s success. We say “blurted out” because Matthews tends to...blurt. But give him credit for one thing: the courage to admit the attitude of servitude that his colleagues so piously deny.***

This is one image the Cans have to dispell.  "Dogma" as Colin Powell puts it is not going to do it.  We need thoughtful, intellectual responses that will appeal to the growing bed of minorities in the US.

3543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 08:41:03 AM
***I am less happy that my state is in the competition for most corrupt state in the US***

FWIW I believe this is really the tip of the iceberg.  Who in their right mind thinks backroom deals aren't done all the time - everywhere?

I wouldn't know how common it is for a Senate seat to be offered for the highest offer of cash (first of all, most Senators are not appointed anyway) but I would be shocked to find that they aren't offered for some form of reciprical pay back routinely.

As for nepotism...  Well probably almost all of local goernments are that.  Who doesn't know someone locally who isn't an in-law, cousin, nephew, spouse of someone in office with a cushy government job?

As for the state and federal levels I wouldn't be able to know but a guess is it is likely quite common.
3544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 09, 2008, 05:37:46 PM
Great read.
What a chess match in the middle east. undecided
Do not fear however, all we need are a couple of genius arguments.  Bo will fix it. wink
Sorry SB, I couldn't resist.
3545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 09, 2008, 10:44:54 AM
Probably no accident the revelations about the Illinois governer coming out now before W leaves office.
You know once BO is in office this will all get swept under the rug.  I wonder if this has something to do with the Eric Holder pick?

3546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2008, 01:31:43 PM
I predict that we will look back on W as having achieved the greatest success in the advancment of the Middle East towards peace in decades:

Milestone in Baghdad

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 5, 2008; Page A25

The barbarism in Mumbai and the economic crisis at home have largely overshadowed an otherwise singular event: the ratification of military and strategic cooperation agreements between Iraq and the United States.

A Framework for Success in Iraq
They must not pass unnoted. They were certainly noted by Iran, which fought fiercely to undermine the agreements. Tehran understood how a formal U.S.-Iraqi alliance endorsed by a broad Iraqi consensus expressed in a freely elected parliament changes the strategic balance in the region.

For the United States, this represents the single most important geopolitical advance in the region since Henry Kissinger turned Egypt from a Soviet client into an American ally. If we don't blow it with too hasty a withdrawal from Iraq, we will have turned a chronically destabilizing enemy state at the epicenter of the Arab Middle East into an ally.

Also largely overlooked at home was the sheer wonder of the procedure that produced Iraq's consent: classic legislative maneuvering with no more than a tussle or two -- tame by international standards (see YouTube: "Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights of All Time!") -- over the most fundamental issues of national identity and direction.

The only significant opposition bloc was the Sadrists, a mere 30 seats out of 275. The ostensibly pro-Iranian religious Shiite parties resisted Tehran's pressure and championed the agreement. As did the Kurds. The Sunnis put up the greatest fight. But their concern was that America would be withdrawing too soon, leaving them subject to overbearing and perhaps even vengeful Shiite dominance.

The Sunnis, who only a few years ago had boycotted provincial elections, bargained with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, trying to exploit his personal stake in agreements he himself had negotiated. They did not achieve their maximum objectives. But they did get formal legislative commitments for future consideration of their grievances, from amnesty to further relaxation of the de-Baathification laws.

That any of this democratic give-and-take should be happening in a peaceful parliament just two years after Iraq's descent into sectarian hell is in itself astonishing. Nor is the setting of a withdrawal date terribly troubling. The deadline is almost entirely symbolic. U.S. troops must be out by Dec. 31, 2011 -- the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, which, because God is merciful, will arrive again only in the very fullness of time. Moreover, that date is not just distant but flexible. By treaty, it can be amended. If conditions on the ground warrant, it will be.

True, the war is not over. As Gen. David Petraeus repeatedly insists, our (belated) successes in Iraq are still fragile. There has already been an uptick in terror bombings, which will undoubtedly continue as what's left of al-Qaeda, the Sadrist militias and the Iranian-controlled "special groups" try to disrupt January's provincial elections.

The more long-term danger is that Iraq's reborn central government becomes too strong and, by military or parliamentary coup, the current democratic arrangements are dismantled by a renewed dictatorship that abrogates the alliance with the United States.

Such disasters are possible. But if our drawdown is conducted with the same acumen as was the surge, not probable. A self-sustaining, democratic and pro-American Iraq is within our reach. It would have two hugely important effects in the region.

First, it would constitute a major defeat for Tehran, the putative winner of the Iraq war, according to the smart set. Iran's client, Moqtada al-Sadr, still hiding in Iran, was visibly marginalized in parliament -- after being militarily humiliated in Basra and Baghdad by the new Iraqi security forces. Moreover, the major religious Shiite parties were the ones that negotiated, promoted and assured passage of the strategic alliance with the United States, against the most determined Iranian opposition.

Second is the regional effect of the new political entity on display in Baghdad -- a flawed yet functioning democratic polity with unprecedented free speech, free elections and freely competing parliamentary factions. For this to happen in the most important Arab country besides Egypt can, over time (over generational time, the time scale of the war on terror), alter the evolution of Arab society. It constitutes our best hope for the kind of fundamental political-cultural change in the Arab sphere that alone will bring about the defeat of Islamic extremism. After all, newly sovereign Iraq is today more engaged in the fight against Arab radicalism than any country on earth, save the United States -- with which, mirabile dictu, it has now thrown in its lot.

3547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 on: December 06, 2008, 10:14:11 AM
related gibberish:
I recommend the USS Arizona memorial in Hawaii for those who have not seen it.
I think only three US WW1 vets are still alive.
I guess the depression was slowing at the end of the 30's and early 40's as countries went into WW2.  The US emerged as the only superpower in 1945.

I hope history doesn't repeat itself.
3548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 05, 2008, 09:05:00 AM
Crafty,

I do not say you are wrong.  You may be right.

But how about proving it to me?

Simply saying the Dems are wrong is what bothers me and the majority of Americans.  We have other countries that are now moving up to our economic level and competing with us.  We have issues and problems the free markets may not be able to address.

And actually one idea to always be on the table is DO NOTHING.
This should be on the table.  But it is Cans *responsibility* to explain in a thoughtful way why this is best.  I am convinced we shouldn't have big government.  I am also convinced we can't have total dregulation and allow greed to go unchecked.  There has to be a balance.  Both are needed.  You have the left that wants a nanny governmnet that soves everything and you have the right saying government is for military, law and order and that's about it.  Both are wrong.  The answer is in the middle.  And that is where the majority of Americans lie.  Why can't any cans address this?Huh

3549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 04, 2008, 07:57:11 PM
I think Dick makes good points but I still think the he/cans don't quite get it.  I am really attracted to BO's analytic approach.  I personally like the idea of dealing with our country's problems by getting all the ideas on the table and finding the best course of action. BO learns all points of view and then tries to find something that connects the dots.  The cans do not have many intellectuals pols who seem to look at all points of view and make a logical rational analytic argument as to why their way is best.
They just yell the usual slogans, freedom, less government, less taxes yada yada yada.  Explain to me how our country is going to deal with the problems we face today with just these slogans.  Where are any intellectuals from the right telling us why the left is wrong - if they are.  Sarah Palin cannot do this (at least not yet).  And that is why she will not win one independent of left person over.

<<<< OBAMA-HILLARY COALITIONGEORGIA RESULTS POINT OUT STRATEGY FOR FUTURE
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 12.4.2008 We have written before that the message of the November election results for us is simple: Conservatism and the free enterprise system are too important to leave their protection to the morons who run the Republican Party! So when even the ability to filibuster seemed on the verge of being taken from the forces of conservative government, we decided to act directly by helping to raise funds for independent expenditure groups who willing to run the kind of ads and do the sort of cyber-roots campaigning that it seemed to us was essential to stop the slide in conservative fortunes and to guarantee that the Democrats would not get the elusive but crucial 60th vote in the Senate. The challenge presented itself on Election Day when Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to win the 50% of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff. In the runoff, won by Chambliss this past Tuesday, the Democrats had their final shot at getting the 60 votes they will need in the Senate to cut off debate and jam through any legislation they wish.

Over the past four weeks, we have reached out to you and to the Fox News audience for donations to independent expenditure groups to finance their independent expenditure in the Georgia Senate race. We didn’t ask anyone’s permission or co-ordinate with any of the powers-that-be. These organizations grasped the essential point that the way to appeal to Georgia voters was to explain the Senate rules and to underscore that Obama might be able to pass his most radical agenda — unchecked — if the Democrats won in the Georgia Senate runoff which pitted Chambliss against Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

The geniuses who run the Republican Party, as always, had it wrong. The conventional wisdom was that Chambliss should stress his record and Martin’s liberalism as if the national balance in the Senate were not on the line. But we insisted that the essential point that it was the fact that Chambliss was the potential 60th seat that would impel Georgians to flock to the polls. Independent expenditure groups ran almost a million dollars of ads in Georgia (a huge amount for a medium sized state) emphasizing the need to stop Obama from getting a super majority in the Senate.

And it worked. Where most polls had projected a narrow Chambliss victor of two to four points, he won with a resounding fourteen point margin. Rather than being trampled by a rush of Democratic voters, the Republican candidate was propelled to a big victory by a huge conservative turnout, no doubt impelled and catalyzed by the efforts of media and internet campaigning financed by independent expenditure groups!

Now, even if the Democrats cheat Minnesota out of the services of Senator Norm Coleman and put Al Franken in his place, the filibuster will be safe, a weapon to defend our freedom.

This is the second time that this strategy of using independent expenditure groups to get out the right message has worked. When McCain disdained any media which attacked Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, independent expenditure groups jumped in and aired ads exposing the relationship. The result was that instead of Obama cruising to the predicted ten to twelve point victory forecast in most polls, the undecided vote all broke against him and he won by only six points – not enough to win the supermajority he coveted in the Senate. And this week, his efforts were frustrated again by the Chambliss win in Georgia.

So this sets the pattern for resistance to Obama’s socialist agenda over the next four years. When a crucial test is underway, we will appeal for your donations to independent expenditure groups to wage the battle with no holds barred. And, together, maybe we can do a lot to save the country!>>>>





3550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Crimes and Criminal Behavior on: December 03, 2008, 11:22:22 AM
****Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement
       Texas – Tyler Perry went to court to face allegations that he stole material from someone else for his blockbuster film "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

Donna West is suing the actor-screenwriter for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court and wants a jury to award her family all profits made from the film.

"I can't put my play on because the stories are basically the same and nobody wants to see that again," she said.

West testified Tuesday that she developed a script titled "Fantasy of a Black Woman" based primarily on her own experiences. With her in the starring role, the play was performed in July 1991 at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Dallas Convention Center.

"The play was opened to the public. Anyone could have attended," West said.

Perry's movie, which earned some $50 million, came out in 2005. Jurors on Tuesday watched the film and listened to a reading of the script from West's play.

In her opening remarks to the jury, Perry's attorney, Veronica Lewis, said her client is an "immensely talented" individual "who has no need whatsoever" to use the materials of others.

Lewis noted that Perry had experienced considerable success before and after the film, "so why would he need to copy Ms. West's script?"

Testimony was expected to resume Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis told jurors he anticipates the case will be completed by next Tuesday.****

this is always one of the defense tactics:

"Perry's attorney, Veronica Lewis, said her client is an "immensely talented" individual "who has no need whatsoever" to use the materials of others.

Lewis noted that Perry had experienced considerable success before and after the film, "so why would he need to copy Ms. West's script?"

The truth is most likely that this guy never wrote any of his stuff and it was always lifted from somewhere else ot he couldn't come up with anything else so he found this and true to form in the entertainment industry tried to get away with doing himself.  As one in the music business told us "if you change it just enough...".

Even the biggest stars are at least in the music industry almost always there with someone elses material.  None of the ones of at least today can write their own material.  The whole thing is based on material stolen or swiped from somewhere else.

Like in the book the Hitmen it states how John Cougar Mellencamp would "kill his mother for a hit song".

Why, if he is such a genius at writing as he falsely claims why would he need to do this?  Just write a goodam hit.  He claims as does Dolly Parton, as does John Rich, as does others they have hundreds of songs.  So where are they?

Does anyone really believe Talyor Swift writes her stuff?  That little twit.


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