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3751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Slavery exists on: July 15, 2009, 11:11:53 AM
Here is another one from the NEJM.  This one makes more sense and I agree with it in part that the answer is very complicated.
I agree we need to do something as costs will continue escalate.  Adding "47" million (if that is the number or all BS, I don't know) new people to the rolls (including nearly 10 million illegals - if the number is accurate - I suspect it may be even more) will only intensify costs, drive the economy into the gutter, result in rationed care, and make the rest of us pay for it all.
I am not sure by any means if a "value based system" is the answer but I do agree that many of the supposed answers being thrown around like electronic medical records, single payer system, government run health care, more preventative care, following guidelines (rationing) often sold as better value care, and all the other buzz phrases are just that.

I think this guy is right that it would take revolutionary new steps toward different delivery systems to even begin to control costs.

In the meantime, guaranteeing care as a right to everyone in the US, citizen or not, is also guaranteeing a collapse in quality care for the rest of us.  Specialists will be forced to accept even less payments, hospitals will be rationing services, and primary doctors will be replaced by nurses.  I don't see it any other way.

Somehow I feel like the majority are being made to be the slave labor for the minority who get entitlements.  The concept of a "safety net" has morphed into permanent slave-entitlement classes.  Bama is accelerating this and making it permanent.

****A Strategy for Health Care Reform — Toward a Value-Based System

Michael E. Porter, Ph.D.

Despite many waves of debate and piecemeal reforms, the U.S. health care system remains largely the same as it was decades ago. We have seen no convincing approach to changing the unsustainable trajectory of the system, much less to offsetting the rising costs of an aging population and new medical advances.

Today there is a new openness to changing a system that all agree is broken. What we need now is a clear national strategy that sets forth a comprehensive vision for the kind of health care system we want to achieve and a path for getting there. The central focus must be on increasing value for patients — the health outcomes achieved per dollar spent.1 Good outcomes that are achieved efficiently are the goal, not the false "savings" from cost shifting and restricted services. Indeed, the only way to truly contain costs in health care is to improve outcomes: in a value-based system, achieving and maintaining good health is inherently less costly than dealing with poor health.

True reform will require both moving toward universal insurance coverage and restructuring the care delivery system. These two components are profoundly interrelated, and both are essential. Achieving universal coverage is crucial not only for fairness but also to enable a high-value delivery system. When many people lack access to primary and preventive care and cross-subsidies among patients create major inefficiencies, high-value care is difficult to achieve. This is a principal reason why countries with universal insurance have lower health care spending than the United States. However, expanded access without improved value is unsustainable and sure to fail. Even countries with universal coverage are facing rapidly rising costs and serious quality problems; they, too, have a pressing need to restructure delivery.2,3,4

How can we achieve universal coverage in a way that will support, rather than impede, a fundamental reorientation of the delivery system around value for patients? There are several critical steps.

First, we must change the nature of health insurance competition. Insurers, whether private or public, should prosper only if they improve their subscribers' health. Today, health plans compete by selecting healthier subscribers, denying services, negotiating deeper discounts, and shifting more costs to subscribers. This zero-sum approach has given competition — and health insurers — a bad name. Instead, health plans must compete on value. We must introduce regulations to end coverage and price discrimination based on health risks or existing health problems. In addition, health plans should be required to measure and report their subscribers' health outcomes, starting with a group of important medical conditions. Such reporting will help consumers choose health plans on the basis of value and discourage insurers from skimping on high-value services, such as preventive care. Health insurers that compete this way will drive value in the system far more effectively than government monopolies can.

Second, we must keep employers in the insurance system. Employers have a vested interest in their employees' health. Daily interactions with their workforce enable employers to create value by developing a culture of wellness, enabling effective prevention and screening, and directing employees to high-value providers. Employers can also foster competition and drive broader system improvement in ways that are difficult for government entities to replicate. To motivate employers to stay in the system, we must reduce the extra amount they now pay through higher insurance costs to cover the uninsured and subsidize government programs. We must also create a level playing field for employers that offer coverage by penalizing employers that are free riders.

Third, we need to address the unfair burden on people who have no access to employer-based coverage, who therefore face higher premiums and greater difficulty securing coverage. This means first equalizing the tax deductibility of insurance purchased by individuals and through employers.

Fourth, to make individual insurance affordable, we need large statewide or multistate insurance pools, like the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector, to spread risk and enable contracting for coverage and premiums equivalent to or better than those of the largest employer-based plans. Regional pools, instead of a national pool, will result in greater accountability to subscribers and closer interaction with regional provider networks, fostering value-based competition. We also need a reinsurance system that equitably spreads the cost of insuring Americans with very expensive health problems across both regional pools and employers.

Fifth, income-based subsidies will be needed to help lower-income people buy insurance. These subsidies can be partially offset through payments from employers that do not provide coverage but whose employees require public assistance.

Finally, once a value-based insurance market has been established, everyone must be required to purchase health insurance so that younger and healthier people cannot opt out. This will bring substantial new revenues into the system, lowering premiums for everyone and reducing the need for subsidies.

Although most U.S. health care reform efforts have focused on coverage, the far bigger long-term driver of success will come from restructuring the delivery system. That is where most of the value is created and most of the costs are incurred.

The current delivery system is not organized around value for patients, which is why incremental reforms have not lived up to expectations. Our system rewards those who shift costs, bargain away or capture someone else's revenues, and bill for more services, not those who deliver the most value. The focus is on minimizing the cost of each intervention and limiting services rather than on maximizing value over the entire care cycle. Moreover, without comprehensive outcome measurement, it is hard to know what improves value and what does not.

To achieve a value-based delivery system, we need to follow a series of mutually reinforcing steps. First, measurement and dissemination of health outcomes should become mandatory for every provider and every medical condition. Results data not only will drive providers and health plans to improve outcomes and efficiency but also will help patients and health plans choose the best provider teams for their medical circumstances.

Outcomes must be measured over the full cycle of care for a medical condition, not separately for each intervention. Outcomes of care are inherently multidimensional, including not only survival but also the degree of health or recovery achieved, the time needed for recovery, the discomfort of care, and the sustainability of recovery.5 Outcomes must be adjusted for patients' initial conditions to eliminate bias against patients with complex cases.

We need to measure true health outcomes rather than relying solely on process measures, such as compliance with practice guidelines, which are incomplete and slow to change. We must also stop using one or a few measures as a proxy for a provider's overall quality of care. Performance on a measure such as mortality within 30 days after acute myocardial infarction, for example, says little about a provider's care for patients with cancer. Active involvement of the federal government will be needed to ensure universal, consistent, and fair measurement throughout the country, like that already achieved in areas such as organ transplantation.

Since implementing outcome measurement will take time, an interim step should be to require every provider team to report its experience or the volume of patients treated for each medical condition, along with the procedure or treatment approach used. Experience reporting by providers will help patients and their doctors find the providers with the expertise that meets their needs.

Second, we need to radically reexamine how to organize the delivery of prevention, wellness, screening, and routine health maintenance services. The problem is not only that the system underinvests in these services relative to the value they can create but also that primary care providers are asked to deliver disparate services with limited staff to excessively broad patient populations. As a result, delivery of such care is fragmented and often ineffective and inefficient. We need structures for the delivery of specified prevention and wellness service bundles to defined patient populations with unified reimbursement. Employers with on-site health clinics are achieving extraordinary success in providing such services, highlighting the need for new delivery channels beyond conventional settings.

Third, we need to reorganize care delivery around medical conditions. Our system of uncoordinated, sequential visits to multiple providers, physicians, departments, and specialties works against value. Instead, we need to move to integrated practice units that encompass all the skills and services required over the full cycle of care for each medical condition, including common coexisting conditions and complications. Such units should include outpatient and inpatient care, testing, education and coaching, and rehabilitation within the same actual or virtual organization. This structure, organized around the patient's needs, will result in care with much higher value and a far better experience for patients. Government policies creating artificial obstacles to integrated, multidisciplinary care (e.g., the Stark laws) should be modified or eliminated. In a value-based system, the abuses that gave rise to such legislation will decline substantially.

Fourth, we need a reimbursement system that aligns everyone's interests around improving value for patients. Reimbursement must move to single bundled payments covering the entire cycle of care for a medical condition, including all providers and services. Bundled payments will shift the focus to restoring and maintaining health, providing a mix of services that optimizes outcomes, and reorganizing care into integrated practice structures. For chronic conditions, bundled payments should cover extended periods of care and include responsibility for evaluating and addressing complications.

Fifth, we must expect and require providers to compete for patients, based on value at the medical-condition level, both within and across state borders. This will allow excellent providers to grow and serve more patients while reducing hyperfragmentation and duplication of services. In order to achieve high value, providers need a sufficient volume of cases of a given medical condition to allow for the development of deep expertise, integrated teams, and tailored facilities. We may need to institute minimum-volume thresholds for complex medical conditions in order to jump-start consolidation and spur geographic expansion of qualified providers. At the same time, strict antitrust scrutiny must be applied to avoid excessive concentration among a small number of providers or health plans in a region.

Sixth, electronic medical records will enable value improvement, but only if they support integrated care and outcome measurement. Simply automating current delivery practices will be a hugely expensive exercise in futility. Among our highest near-term priorities is to finalize and then continuously update health information technology (HIT) standards that include precise data definitions (for diagnoses and treatments, for example), an architecture for aggregating data for each patient over time and across providers, and protocols for seamless communication among systems.

Finally, consumers must become much more involved in their health and health care. Unless patients comply with care and take responsibility for their health, even the best doctor or team will fail. Simply forcing consumers to pay more for their care is not the answer. New integrated care delivery structures, together with bundled reimbursement for full care cycles, will enable vast improvements in patient engagement, as will the availability of good outcome data.

Comprehensive reform will require simultaneous progress in all these areas because they are mutually reinforcing. For example, outcome measurement not only will improve insurance-market competition but also will drive the restructuring of care delivery. Delivery restructuring will be accelerated by bundled reimbursement. Electronic medical records will facilitate both delivery restructuring and outcome measurement.

Moving ahead now on all these fronts is also important in order to align every stakeholder's interest with value, or reform will once again fail. However, a health care strategy, like any good strategy, involves a sequence of steps over time rather than an attempt to change everything at once. Road maps will be needed for rolling out changes in each area while giving the actors time to adjust.

Some new organizations (or combinations of existing ones) will be needed: a new independent body to oversee outcome measurement and reporting, a single entity to review and set HIT standards, and possibly a third body to establish rules for bundled reimbursement. Medicare may be able to take the lead in some areas; for example, Medicare could require experience reporting by providers or combine Parts A and B into one payment.

The big question is whether we can move beyond a reactive and piecemeal approach to a true national health care strategy centered on value. This undertaking is complex, but the only real solution is to align everyone in the system around a common goal: doing what's right for patients.

Dr. Porter reports receiving lecture fees from the American Surgical Association, the American Medical Group Association, the World Health Care Congress, Hoag Hospital, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, receiving director's fees from Thermo Fisher Scientific, and having an equity interest in Thermo Fisher Scientific, Genzyme, Zoll Medical, Merck, and Pfizer. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.****

3752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: July 15, 2009, 10:45:25 AM
I keep trying to post here the news of the revokation of the deployment of the soldier who refused to go to overseas because Bama was not born here and it will not post.

I don't know why it won't post (curiously) but I think it quite obvious why this issue keeps getting swept under the rug.

Why can't the public have all the evidence about this guy's birth place?

Any rational person could only come up with one conclusion here.  This guy was not born in the US.

Why cannot Judicial Watch or somebody else investigate this issue and get to the truth? 

3753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 14, 2009, 11:47:49 AM
Don't think for a second that because it is in the New england Journal of Massechussetts liberal propaganda that it is not politically biased.
Folks Health care policy self proclaimed experts like this are at the forefront of the liberal think tanks that advise Democrats.
Notice the guy is a phD who has never taken care of a patient in his life.  I don't get how taxing employer provision of health care is a good idea.  I just don't see it.   I agree with Milton Friedman who thinks the whole concept of empolyer buying health care IS the problem.  But then, what do I know compared to another self proclaimed great one from the halls of IVy league gospel.
His written piece is written like OBama speaks.  Because he says it, it must be so:

*****HEALTH CARE 2009

Previous Volume 361:4-5  July 2, 2009  Number 1
A Win–Win Approach to Financing Health Care Reform

Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D.

No hurdle facing health care reform in the United States today is more daunting than the problem of financing universal coverage. There is an inescapable logic of reform that lies behind the search for financing sources. First, moving to universal coverage is now widely acknowledged to require a mandate that individuals carry insurance coverage. Second, such a requirement is unacceptable without subsidies to make health insurance affordable for lower-income people. Third, these subsidies will require new financing on the order of $1 trillion or more over the next decade. How can the government finance such a sizeable new expenditure?

There are a number of possible sources. One is reductions in existing government spending on health care through cost controls. President Barack Obama proposed more than $300 billion of such cost controls in his budget, but it is not clear that either politicians or providers have the appetite to go further. Another is increased taxation of "sin goods" — cigarettes, alcohol, and high-sugar or high-fat foods that cause obesity — whose use raises the cost of health care for all Americans. These taxes make sense, yet it is difficult to raise sufficient revenues from them. The government can also look outside the health care system to increased revenues from taxes on carbon emissions or on other goods and services. But this approach would involve expanding the fight over health care into other realms, compounding the difficulty of passing any legislation.

There is one final potential source: the elimination or limiting of the income-tax exclusion for expenditures on employer-sponsored insurance. Ending the massive tax subsidy for such insurance would result in both the most natural source of financing for health care reform and one of the few that is clearly large enough to finance the necessary subsidies.

The $250 billion per year in foregone revenues attributable to the tax exclusion of employers' health insurance expenditures represents the federal government's second-largest health insurance expenditure (after Medicare). When my employer pays me in cash wages, I am taxed on those wages. But the roughly $10,000 per year that my employer spends on my health insurance is not taxed, and it translates into a tax break for me of about $4,000. To be clear, this exclusion represents a tax break for individuals, not for firms; firms are largely indifferent about whether they pay employees in wages or in health insurance. But employees are not indifferent: they pay taxes on the former but not on the latter.

This tax exclusion has three flaws. First, the forgone tax revenue is an enormous sum of money that could be more effectively deployed elsewhere, especially through new approaches to increasing insurance coverage. Just taxing health benefits through the income tax as we do wages would raise $2.3 trillion in federal revenues over the next decade. Second, the exclusion is a regressive entitlement, since higher-income families with higher tax rates get a bigger tax break; about three quarters of these dollars go to Americans in the top half of the income distribution. Third, this tax subsidy makes health insurance, which is bought with tax-sheltered dollars, artificially cheap relative to goods bought with taxed dollars — a phenomenon that leads to overinsurance for most Americans and overspending on medical care.

Given these limitations, no health care expert today would ever set up a health care system with such an enormous tax subsidy for a particular form of insurance coverage. So why don't we just remove it? There are four counterarguments to using limits on the exclusion to create a financing source, but each can be effectively addressed.

First, some argue that it would be administratively infeasible to reduce this tax subsidy. But the process of including spending on employer-sponsored insurance in individual income taxation is actually quite straightforward. Employers would simply report the amount they paid for each employee's insurance coverage on the employee's W-2 form. If the employer is self-insured, it would simply use the premium amount it is already required to calculate in providing continuation coverage (or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act [COBRA] coverage) to displaced workers.

The second argument is that since the current predominance of employer-sponsored insurance is predicated on this tax exclusion, policymakers must be wary about removing it: many employers offer health insurance only because of this "tax bribe," and sicker and older persons are treated much more fairly in employer groups than they will be in today's nongroup insurance market. As the provision of employer-sponsored insurance declines, we could end up with a large new uninsured population that either cannot afford nongroup insurance or cannot obtain it at any price. This possibility would certainly be cause for concern if we were reducing the tax exclusion in a vacuum — but not when the policy would be financing a universal coverage plan in which all individuals would get group rates and would be subsidized as necessary. Thus, any displacement from employer-sponsored insurance will lead not to uninsurance but merely to a shift to a new insurance exchange.

The third concern is that removing the exclusion would mean an across-the-board tax increase. I prefer to view this as a progressive tax increase, with 62% of the revenues raised from families with annual incomes of more than $100,000. Yet there would still be a sizeable increase in taxation for middle-income families, with 10% of revenues coming from families with annual incomes below $50,000 and 28% from those with annual incomes of $50,000 to $100,000. For this reason, and because not all the revenues to be gained by removing the exclusion would be needed to finance reform, we should reduce, rather than remove, the exclusion.

The exclusion can be reduced, for example, by capping the amount of employer-sponsored premiums that is excluded from taxation, so that individuals are not taxed on premiums below some level (say, the average value of premiums for employer-sponsored insurance) and pay tax only on premiums in excess of that level. This approach has the advantage of addressing the bias toward excessively generous insurance without raising the taxes of people who have basic insurance. Moreover, it would be more progressive than an across-the-board removal of the exclusion, since higher-income people tend to have more expensive insurance than lower-income people. Alternatively, we could scale back the exclusion only for those in higher income groups; such a strategy could be designed to protect middle-income taxpayers from any tax increase.

Either way, the dollars involved are substantial. For example, suppose the government capped the exclusion at the level of the typical employer-sponsored–insurance premium (currently $4,700 for an individual and $12,800 for a family), starting in 2012, and indexed that cap at the rate of growth of the consumer price index (so that the cap rose, but more slowly than the premiums). Such a policy would raise $500 billion by 2019. Considerable revenues would be raised even with a higher cap. A cap set at the 75th percentile of the premium distribution, so that only insurance plans in the top quarter of the price range were subject to taxation, would raise $330 billion between 2012 and 2019. Or, more progressively, capping the tax exclusion at the level of the typical premium but only for families with annual incomes above $125,000 would raise $340 billion between 2012 and 2019.

A final criticism of reducing the tax exclusion is that it would be unfair to high-cost groups — for example, people living in states where insurance is particularly expensive or those working for employers with an older workforce. But this problem can be readily addressed by adjusting the cap to account for differences among firms in underlying cost factors. Employers, for example, could easily compute an adjustment factor, based on their firm's location or their workers' ages, that could be used to set the cap.

Despite the resistance to changing the status quo, I believe that the most sensible source of financing for universal coverage would come from reducing the expensive, regressive, and inefficient subsidization of employer-sponsored insurance. Scaling back the exclusion would be highly progressive and would have the added benefit of reducing the incentives for overinsurance and excessive health care spending. This win–win solution would ameliorate a fundamental flaw in our current system while raising the revenues required to cover the uninsured.

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Source Information

From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. *****
3754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 10, 2009, 01:04:09 PM
this is all well and good but I don't believe for one second Pelosi did not know about the waterboarding and did not lie and cover up her knowedge so crats could gain political advantage.

****Lawmaker says CIA director ended secret program
PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer Pamela Hess, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 32 mins ago
WASHINGTON – CIA Director Leon Panetta has terminated a "very serious" covert program the spy agency kept secret from Congress for eight years, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a House Intelligence subcommittee chairwoman, said Friday.

Schakowsky is pressing for an immediate committee investigation of the classified program, which has not been described publicly. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said he is considering an investigation.

"The program is a very, very serious program and certainly deserved a serious debate at the time and through the years," Schakowsky told The Associated Press in an interview. "But now it's over."

Democrats revealed late Tuesday that CIA Director Leon Panetta had informed members of the House Intelligence Committee on June 24 that the spy agency had been withholding important information about a secret intelligence program begun after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Schakowsky described Panetta as "stunned" that he had not been informed of the program until nearly five months into his tenure as director.

Panetta had learned of the program only the day before informing the lawmakers, according to a U.S. intelligence official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to discuss the program publicly.

Panetta has launched an internal probe at the CIA to determine why Congress was not told about the program. Exactly what the classified program entailed is still unclear.

The intelligence official said the program was "on-again/off-again" and that it was never fully operational, but he would not provide details.

Schakowsky, D-Ill., said Friday that the CIA and Bush administration consciously decided not to tell Congress.

"It's not as if this was an oversight and over the years it just got buried. There was a decision under several directors of the CIA and administration not to tell the Congress," she said.

Schakowsky, who chairs the Intelligence subcommittee on oversight and investigations, said in a Thursday letter to Reyes that the CIA's lying was systematic and inexcusable. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

She said Reyes indicated to her the committee would conduct a probe into whether the CIA violated the National Security Act, which requires, with rare exceptions, that Congress be informed of covert activities. She told AP she hopes to conduct at least part of the investigation for the committee.

She said this is the fourth time that she knows of that the CIA has misled Congress or not informed it in a timely manner since she began serving on the Intelligence Committee two and half years ago.

In 2008, the CIA inspector general revealed that the CIA had lied to Congress about the accidental shoot down of American missionaries over Peru in 2001. In 2007, news reports disclosed that the CIA had secretly destroyed videotapes of interrogations of a terrorist suspect.

She would not describe the other incident.

Schakowsky said she thinks Panetta is changing the CIA for the better, adding that the failure to inform Congress was indicative of "contempt" the Bush administration and intelligence agencies under him held for Congress.

"Many times I felt it was an annoyance to them to have to come to us and answer our questions," she said. "There was an impatience and a contempt for the Congress."

The House is expected to take up the 2010 intelligence authorization bill next week. It includes a provision that would require the White House to inform the entire committee about upcoming covert operations rather than just the "Gang of Eight"_ the senior members from both parties on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses.

The White House this week threatened to veto the final version of the bill if it includes that provision.

Democratic aides said the language may be softened in negotiations with the Senate to address the White House's concern.

But Schakowsky said the wider briefings are the best remedy to avoiding future notification abuses.

Republicans charge that Democratic outrage about the Panetta revelation is just an attempt to provide political cover to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who in May accused the CIA of lying to her in 2002 about its use of waterboarding.

What Pelosi knew about the CIA's interrogation program and when she knew it — and why she did not object to it sooner — is expected to be emphasized by Republicans during debate over the intelligence bill.****

3755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 10, 2009, 10:38:26 AM
Interesting take.  I don't know if he is correct or not but I haven't thought of it from this angle.
As for the AARP, now I am over 50 I get solicitations from them every two days.
I joined for one year but I don't see any great benefits from it.
I wonder how much the people who run it get.

Anyway Dick Morris article:

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 07.9.2009 Obama’s health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.

It is so ironic that the elderly - who were so vigilant when Bush proposed to change Social Security - are so relaxed about the Obama health care proposals. Bush’s Social Security plan, which did not cut their benefits at all, aroused the strongest opposition among the elderly. But Obama’s plan, which will totally gut Medicare and replace it with government-managed care and rationing, has elicited little more than a yawn from most senior citizens.

It’s time for the elderly to wake up before it is too late!

In our new book, Catastrophe, we explain - in detail and in depth - the consequences the elderly of Canada are feeling from just this kind of program. Limited colonoscopies have led to a 25% higher rate of colon cancer and a ban on the use of the two best chemotherapies are part of the reason why 42% of Canadians with colon cancer die while 31% of Americans, who have access to these two medications, survive the disease.

Overall, the death rate from cancer in Canada is 16% higher than in the United States and the heart disease mortality rate is 6% above ours’.

Under Obama’s program, there will be a government health insurance company that gets huge subsidies of tax money. It will compete with private insurance plans. But the subsidies will let it undercut the private plans and drive them out of business, leaving only the government plan - a single payer - in effect.

Today, 800,000 doctors struggle to treat adequately the 250 million Americans who have insurance. Obama will add 50 million more to their caseload with no expansion in the number of doctors or nurses. Indeed, his plan will likely reduce their number by lowering reimbursement rates and imposing bureaucrats above them who will force medical decisions down their throats. Fewer doctors will have to treat more patients. The inevitable result will be rationing.

And it is the elderly who rationing will most effect. Who should get a knee replacement a 40 year old or a 70 year old? Who should get a new hip, a young person or an old person? Who should have priority in the operating room a seventy year old diabetic who needs bypass surgery or a younger person? Obviously, it is the elderly who will get short shrift under his proposal.

But the interest groups that usually speak up for the elderly, particularly AARP, are in Obama’s pocket, hoping to profit from his program by becoming one of its vendors. Just as they backed Bush’s prescription drug plan because they anticipating profiting from it, so they are now helping Obama gut the medical care of their constituents.

It is high time that the elderly of America realized what the stakes are in this vital fight to preserve Medicare as we know it and keep medical care open, accessible, and free to those over 65. It is truly a battle for their very lives.

3756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: July 09, 2009, 03:24:12 PM
"It sure seems like Obama has an ideological problem with democracy"

as does the msm and academia.
3757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / eavesdropping in the media on: July 09, 2009, 03:18:49 PM
I would be shocked if this does not go on all the time.
Many things Katherine and I have said, ryhmes, comments and ideas has shown up in all places media,  Commercials, cartoons, sitcoms, CNBC, talk shows and anywhere the media can make a buck.
Katherine who used to buff cars for some extra dollars many years ago said to her psychopathic mother that they ought to come up with a shammy for the kitchen and she responded "wow" what a grat idea.  Next comes out the shamwow!
Also snuggies after Katherine told her the idea of a blanket that places for ones arms came out.  they get people on CNBC to read phrases obviously from telepromters that are made in our house.   These people even appear to be smirking as though they hav no idea why they are supposed to be reading what they are reading - which I am sure they don't.
commercials, cartoons, sitcoms, anything that supposedly can be used to sell.
Some of these times are undoubtedly coincindents which do occur, but of these are not.
Eavesdropping is assuredly rampant.  No law enforcement agency investigates this so unless one has a fortune to pay private investigators and lawyers so well that they cannot be bribed to help cover it up - that's it.

If one doubts what I am saying - and it would be understandebly so - remember - where are all the songs from the musical geniouses who claim they have vast libraries of music?

If they can't steal it at some point in the next few years - maybe sooner - remember it here - something will happen to Katherine and or me.  They will not wait forever.  Not with what could be hundreds of millions at stake.

In any case this is no surprise to me and is certainly only the tip of the iceberg.  And as eavesdropping devices get smaller, cheaper and more ubiquitis this will only get worse.  And governement - they don't give a shit.  Theft is not a real crime in this country unless one is high profile like Berie Madoff and/or one rips off the well connected.

*****Guardian exclusive: News of the World phone-hackingMurdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims• News of the World bugging led to £700,000 payout to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
• Sun editor Rebekah Wade and Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson – both ex-NoW editors – involved
• News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case
Rupert Murdoch's News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public ­figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence, which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them. The evidence also poses difficult questions for:

• Conservative leader David Cameron's director of communications, Andy Coulson, who was deputy editor and then editor of the News of the World when, the suppressed evidence shows, journalists for whom he was responsible were engaging in hundreds of apparently illegal acts.

• Murdoch executives who, albeit in good faith, misled a parliamentary select committee, the Press Complaints Commission and the public.

• The Metropolitan police, which did not alert all those whose phones were targeted, and the Crown Prosecution Service, which did not pursue all possible charges against News Group personnel.

• The Press Complaints Commission, which claimed to have conducted an investigation, but failed to uncover any evidence of illegal activity.

The suppressed legal cases are linked to the jailing in January 2007 of a News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff, an offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. At the time, News International said it knew of no other journalist who was involved in hacking phones and that Goodman had acted without their knowledge.

But one senior source at the Met told the Guardian that during the Goodman inquiry, officers found evidence of News Group staff using private investigators who hacked into "thousands" of mobile phones. Another source with direct knowledge of the police findings put the figure at "two or three thousand" mobiles. They suggest that MPs from all three parties and cabinet ministers, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, were among the targets.

Last night, Prescott said: "I think Mr Cameron should be thinking of getting rid of Coulson."

However, a spokeswoman for Cameron said the Tory leader was "very relaxed about the story".

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, one of many victims of mobile phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, comments on the huge out-of-court settlements Link to this video News International has always maintained it had no knowledge of phone hacking by anybody acting on its behalf.

Murdoch told Bloomberg news last night that he knew nothing about the payments. "If that had happened I would know about it," he said.

A private investigator who had worked for News Group, Glenn Mulcaire, was also jailed in January 2007. He admitted hacking into the phones of five other targets, including the chief ­executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor. Among the phones he hacked were those of the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, celebrity PR Max Clifford, model Elle MacPherson and football agent Sky Andrew. News Group denied all knowledge of the hacking, but Taylor last year sued them on the basis that they must have known about it.

In documents initially submitted to the high court, News Group executives said the company had not been involved in any way in Mulcaire's hacking of Taylor's phone. They denied keeping any recording or notes of intercepted messages. But, at the request of Taylor's lawyers, the court ordered the production of detailed evidence from Scotland Yard's inquiry in the Goodman case, and from an inquiry by the Information Commissioner's office into journalists who dishonestly obtain confidential personal records.

The Scotland Yard files included paperwork which revealed that, contrary to News Group's denial, Mulcaire had provided a recording of the messages on Taylor's phone to a News of the World journalist who had transcribed them and emailed them to a senior reporter, and that a News of the World executive had offered Mulcaire a substantial bonus for a story specifically related to the intercepted messages.

Several famous figures in football are among those whose messages were intercepted. Coulson was editing the paper at this time. He said last night: "This story relates to an alleged payment made after I left the News of the World two and half years ago. I have no knowledge whatsoever of any settlement with Gordon Taylor.

"The Mulcaire case was investigated thoroughly by the police and by the Press Complaints Commission. I took full responsibility at the time for what happened on my watch but without my knowledge and resigned."

The paperwork from the Information Commission revealed the names of 31 journalists working for the News of the World and the Sun, together with the details of government agencies, banks, phone companies and others who were conned into handing over confidential information. This is an offence under the Data Protection Act unless it is justified by public interest.

Senior editors are among those implicated. This activity occurred before the mobile phone hacking, at a time when Coulson was deputy and the editor was Rebekah Wade, now due to become chief executive of News International. The extent of their personal knowledge, if any, is not clear: the News of the World has always insisted that it would not break the law and would use subterfuge only if essential in the public interest.

Faced with this evidence, News International changed their position, started offering huge cash payments to settle the case out of court, and finally paid out £700,000 in legal costs and damages on the condition that Taylor signed a gagging clause to prevent him speaking about the case. The payment is believed to have included more than £400,000 in damages. News Group then persuaded the court to seal the file on Taylor's case to prevent all public access, even though it contained prima facie evidence of criminal activity.

The Scotland Yard paperwork also provided evidence that the News of the World had been involved with Mulcaire in his hacking of the mobile phones of at least two other football figures. They filed complaints, which were settled this year when News International paid more than £300,000 in damages and costs on condition that they signed gagging clauses.

Taylor declined to make any comment. Goodman, now out of jail, said: "My comment is not even 'no comment'." A spokesman for News International said: "News International feels it is inappropriate to comment at this time."

Last night, John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP who chairs the culture, media and sport select committee, said the revelation "raises a number of questions that we would want to put to News International".

He added: "The fact that other people beyond the royal family had their calls intercepted was well known. But we were absolutely assured by News International that none of their journalists were aware of that, that Goodman was acting alone and that Mulcaire was a rogue agent".

Asked if the committee would reopen the issue, he said: "The committee will want to discuss it very urgently. I think we will do so tomorrow morning, and if we decide that there are further questions to ask, then certainly we would summon back witnesses and ask those questions."

Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil described the story last night as "one of the most significant media stories of modern times". "It suggests that rather than being a one-off journalist or rogue private investigator, it was systemic throughout the News of the World, and to a lesser extent the Sun," he said. "Particularly in the News of the World, this was a newsroom out of control.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email or phone 020 3353 3857.*****
3758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plain and simple though not politically correct. on: July 07, 2009, 09:33:31 AM
I really don't want to pay for medical care for 40 million.
Frankly my dear, I don't care.
Why others can't or just won't say this I dont' know.  Lets stop beating about the Bush.  Anyone think the people who are going to get covered are going to be grateful to those of us who pay for it?
Not a chance.

I have enough trouble paying for my own.
I already work 5 months a year for money that is confiscated.
I said enough.
3759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 06, 2009, 09:41:29 AM
"A competing Democrat operative once said of the Clintons that they lie with such ease.  Now it is the Obamas"

Clinton proved that the truth doesn't matter when one is pushing agendas that are popular in the polls.
BO is just taking the ball and running with it.

It is really frustrating that he is so personally popular in the polls.

I just don't get it that lying/honesty is not important with most people.

Especially with our leaders who seem more like scam artists.  When BO was *reading* his scripted 4th of July speech I really felt he was just reading lines he doesn't believe and certainly has no heart in.
He doesn't believe all those good things he says about America.  He is just reading it because as Alinsky wrote, "pretend you are one of them and then you can change them".

Honesty meant something in my family when I was growing up. 
At least to strive to be honest/straight and fair.
Now it is mocked for all to see.

And the Dems don't even pretend the facade of honesty.
The repubs perhaps are not much better and put on the facade.

3760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 03, 2009, 11:48:43 AM
"supposed to maintain at least a public facade of neutrality"
That's out the window.
The glee with which the msm goes after Sanford.
Remember they ingored the John Edwards thing as long as they could get away with it until, one of the tabloids broke the story.
(nat Inq?)

Notice the difference in motivations btw investigating crat vs. the can?
Clear as a bell to me.
3761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: July 03, 2009, 09:38:18 AM
Ironic that the Obama led military is now pointing out how we should be able to shoot down any ICBM from N. Korea that threatens US soil.

Remember how the left did and still does lambast Reagan's antiballistic defence strategy and mocks it as starwars?

Why if BO was President this strategy would never have been undertaken, we would have no defense against this threat and now this guy is acting tough by taking advantage of Reagan's wisdom.

All the while he and his socialist cohorts consider Reagan a destroyer of worlds.

I hope Dick Morris is right before this coutnry gets sold out and BO crashes and burns in the poll ratings.

We got to get him kicked out of office before its too late.
3762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 02, 2009, 07:21:00 PM
Well, I guess it was long feared the next use of nuclear weapons would be the middle east.
How sad the world has sat back and let Israel be in the position of having to do this.
I can think it through countless ways but the conclusion is always the same - not to do it risks annihilation for Jews in Israel.
It always comes down to this.

3763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 30, 2009, 08:40:53 AM
One question.
We keep hearing from the talking heads that we all agree that *everyone* should have health care.
To do so means rationing from the 90% that do.

Arguments from the Bama would state that the 10% can be covered with cost savings and more efficient care.
Electronic records, more preventative care, "keeping people well", paying providers for keeping people well not for each service provided.

There is one truth.  That of all these so called fixes -
No one knows if they would work.
Odds are very good they would reduce escalation of costs for a short period of time before the costs than star to go back up.
Just like the managed care of the 1990's.  It only works so much before people start yelping that they are not getting what they want.  Remember the Jack Nicholson movie with the criticism of HMOs?
HMO's did keep costs down, but only for a couple of years.
And their reputations plummeted.  There was this constant battle between patients wanting more tests, coverage and the insurers denying them.
The insurers even put doctors in the middle by giving them bonuses to limit and deny care.  Thus they were always off the hook blaming the docotr if something would go wrong.

Yet HMOs continued because they were the most affordable.  Especially with extra coverage for Medicare patients.

In any case we are looking at rationed care from 90% to pay for the 10%, apparantly a quarter of whom don't even belong in the US.

3764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 28, 2009, 02:24:25 PM
I never heard the theory that Ayers may have written the
Bama books.
Certainly there is No doubt they think alike.
Certainly there is No doubt that BO governs from the premise that he has to get even for his perceived injustices done on the world by the white man.
He does this not only with regard to domestic policy but his foriegn policy also reflects this.
It is really obvious and thus

I don't understand how so many people feint surprise by his lefist leanings.

Indeed he would take us much farther left immediately if he could keep power.

Thus he cons us while he makes the changes.
Unfortunately media is on his side.  That coupled with a lack of reasonable alternative keeps his plans alive. (I guess)

What BO is better at is not only pushing his arguments but discussing both sides of the arguments (including the right's) and then dispelling his opponent's position with ridicule, lies, distortions, "we can dispense with that" [it is wrong], "that it is obivous the rights policies of the last eight years do not work" [we need change] and even saying he agrees with the opposition, while he does the opposite.  For example stating ouright lie, like "big government is over" etc [while he expands it at a faster and greater rate then anyone in history].

What I still don't hear from the rights' politicians is this laying out of the arguments from BOTH sides and convincing the listeners that their's is the best way vs simply throwing out "less government", "lower taxes" etc.

The only one forceful is Gingrich.  But the MSM has done a good job of blunting him since he went after Sottomyer for her racist comments.  Her repeated comments were racist as he said of course but our politically correct media apparantly were successful in making him look bad for saying so.

Hannity and Limbaugh still don't quite get it.
Marc Levin is closer IMO but not quite there either.

Anyway Crafty is right, we are all screwed unless as Dick Morris points out BO's policies can be held at bay till he falls in the polls coming August or the fall on his calculations.  I agree.  It is only a matter of time before the independents finally see how much they are going to suffer from this guys policies.  He is giving it all away to his favorite constuents which include the rest of the non European world. 
3765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / another library of songs - here we go again. on: June 27, 2009, 08:57:58 AM
Well John Rich has "400" songs according to Gretchen Wilson, Dolly Parton claims three thousand, other claim hundreds, shania Twain was coming out with an album until her divorce supposedly put a stop to it.  Now Jackson had a "secret" stash of 100 songs.

Yet if anyone listened to the Coutnry Music Awards recently they would have noticed there were almost no songs that have not been out for well over a year.  Yet supposedly all these people are sitting there with songs on the books.  Jackson's people are now claiming that this guy, who was hundreds of millions in debt, was saving songs for his children.  Folks, as a victim witness in the sewer hole the music industry is, I can tell you this is bullcrap.  That would be like someone sitting on a winning lottery ticket, being in huge debt, and saying, "well I'll save it for my kids".  The reality is, no one in the music business could possilby have 100 songs that are "secret" and no one would sit on them for years and especially so if, they owed hundreds of millions of dollars.

Even if they wanted to, the scum bag leeches around them wouldn't let them.

Unless, of course these 100 songs were so crappy they thought they wouldn't sell or be good enough to put together an album.

The new music has finally dried up since Katherine finally realized it was her own mother who was the last one still close enough to rip her off.  She has not been allowed back into our house for close to one and a half to two years now.

We still have evidence.  So even though the thieves (including several neighbors who moved in to stalk us and sit and wait to get into the house) put the "stars" on hold saying to them you can't do these songs yet. 

They have copies of everything Katherine wrote.  They just can't do it till they steal all the evidence.  They are that patient, that careful, that planning, and cunning, and scheming.

Since there last inside connection (my mother in law - who is pure evil - ruined her own daughters life for some cash) and Katherine has not left the house for *two years* they cannot get all the evidence.  They still hack into our computers, have listening devices in the house and monitor us (try finding them - I wouldn't even know what to look for) (Try hiring someone who does - everyone and I mean everyone can be bribed or threatened).

So this lastest news, MJ has one hundred "secret" songs which may or may not get released sounds to me like the latest scam.
If they can get the evidence from us - or perhaps someone else they are robbing - then the go ahead to release these songs will be given.  That is my take.  Or else he really did have 100 songs that were throw aways that they are trying to push as being good enough to release.

*******secret library of over a hundred songs recorded by Michael Jackson could be released following his death.

One of the singer's biographers, Ian Halperin, claimed that the unheard songs had been made for his children.

Mr Halperin, author of Unmasked, The Michael Jackson Story, said before his death: “He wants to leave them for his kids, a very personal legacy to them. I was told he will not let them come out now.”

Jackson leaves three children: Prince, 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II aged seven.

Times Archive, 1972: The Jackson Five live at Wembley
Michael Jackson's twinkling feet scarcely seemed to touch the stage

Related Links
Web struggles to cope as Jackson news spreads
Michael Jackson: in his own words
The dysfunctional Jackson family
IN PICTURES: the passing of a legend
PICTURES: decline and fall
PICTURES: highlights of Michael Jackson's career
It is rumoured, given the parlous financial situation of his estate, that any such recordings will not be kept private for long. It is understood that Jackson may have gone to the grave under debts of about $400 million (£240 million) – though some believe the true figure may be much higher.

Sales of Michael Jackson’s music and memorabilia have already begun to soar. In America, the Thriller album is number one on iTunes, while his Number Ones album has now reached the top spot on the UK iTunes chart.

Online retailers Amazon say that Jackson’s albums had taken 14 of the top 20 places on the sales chart. The Amazon chart was topped by his first solo album, Off The Wall, which features tracks such as "Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough" and "She’s Out Of My Life".

Already, Jackson’s death is beginning to producing a new industry. Outside the Los Angeles hospital where he was pronounced dead, a group of men appeared selling $10 T-shirts with a silhouette of Jackson and reading: “In loving memory of Michael Jackson.” Memorial T-shirts were also being sold at the Glastonbury music festival.

On eBay, bidding grew on a number of Jackson memorabilia items. Limited edition records, musical instruments used by the star and even a movie contract with his signature were being sold for thousands of pounds.

The Neverland ranch and Jackson’s final resting place, if made accessible to the public, could also become lucrative tourist attractions.

Graceland, the mansion owned by Elvis Presley and where he was buried, has become a much-visited landmark. Opening its doors to the paying members of the public is thought to have made the trust that operates Graceland in the region of $100 million.*****

3766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 26, 2009, 05:19:56 PM
Well the idea of doctors being able to go on strike is always a topic that brings out screams and hollers.
The idea of public employees being able to unionize though for some reason does not seem to bother anyone except me and you.
I have questioned this before in my posts.  There is some irony in the goernment hiring people, taxing all of us to pay for it, then allowing them to unionize to hit the taxpayers for more.
It appears it is from my googling that it is a state and local issue for most.

This is a bit out dated but I assume it applies to today:

Who Gets To Unionize?
Matt Alsdorf
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1999, at 7:14 PM ET
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that medical interns and residents at private hospitals were employees--not students--and could therefore form unions. What other types of employees can unionize?

The large majority of them. In 1935, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act, which gives virtually every private sector employee the right to unionize and bargain collectively. (This is why last week's decision of the NLRB, which administers the act, affects only private hospitals.) Since 1935, most government employees--whether federal, state, or local--have gained the same rights through other national or state laws. So, only those workers specifically exempted from the NLRA are not guaranteed the ability to unionize. (However, this does not mean that they are prohibited from unionizing--rather, that they cannot seek federal protection if their employer refuses to recognize a union.) They include:

Small business employees: The definition of "small business" has not changed since the 1950s. As a result, there are very few companies that still qualify. (For example, a wholesale store would have to have annual sales below $50,000; a retail store, below $500,000; and a law firm, below $200,000.)
Managers and supervisors: This group includes anyone with hiring, firing, disciplinary, or compensatory authority over other workers. They are viewed as employers, not employees.
Independent contractors: These are people who are hired on an individual, project-by-project basis. They are a growing segment of the workforce, particularly in computer-related fields.
Agricultural workers: Because they are seasonal laborers and have a high turnover rate, they were excluded from the law. Only California has granted them unionization privileges.
Domestic employees: This group includes maids, butlers, and other live-in household help.
Although most American workers can join unions, a decreasing percentage are doing so. In 1998, only 13.9 percent of the workforce was unionized--down from 20.1 percent in 1983 (the first year comparable statistics were collected). And when government employees are excluded, the percentages are even lower: While 37.5 percent of public workers are unionized, only 9.5 percent of the private sector is.

3767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / W and history on: June 26, 2009, 02:09:56 PM
Thomas Friedman said this?
The Friedman who usually ridicules W?

NYTs too?   Wow.....
I would assume this was on page 500.

I was wondering too if these events in Iran would be happening if Saddam was still there oppressing his people.
*History may yet judge W. (and the neocons) as being correct all along.*

Although as Morris, or was it Bernie Goldberg (I think) said to Hannity on this exact point,
The problem is all the historians are liberal so they will NEVER give credit to W.
Hannity's response, "checkmate!".

3768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran from an Israeli point of view on: June 24, 2009, 06:47:49 PM
This could have been under the Iran thread but this is probably the best spot.

****Unrest in Iran Poses Dilemma For Israel
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 24, 2009, issue of July 03, 2009.
Print Email Share Author Archive News
Washington — Iran’s descent into instability has confronted Israel and its American supporters with a dilemma in choosing between two competing approaches: one based on human rights, and the other on realpolitik.

Israeli officials might personally be rooting for the fall of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom they view as a tyrant. But at the same time, some fear that his defeat would set back their fight against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

As a result, Israelis in official positions have avoided, for the most part, publicly taking sides between presidential candidates as the disorder in Iran has intensified over Ahmadinejad’s disputed June 12 election victory. Still, some public and private remarks have slipped through the cracks, shedding light on the debate in Jerusalem.

“Israel would have had a more serious problem” had Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, emerged victorious in the recent election, said Meir Dagan, chief of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.

In testimony before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on June 16, Dagan said that a Mousavi victory would have required Israel to “explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived in the international arena as a moderate element.”

Dagan went on to argue that on the nuclear issue, there is no difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, the latter of whom has voiced doubt about the historical existence of the Holocaust and expressed his wish to see Israel liquidated.

Last May, speaking at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby, Ilan Berman, a hawkish Iran scholar at the American Foreign Policy Council, called Ahmadinejad “the gift that keeps on giving,” since his harsh rhetoric compels the world to take him seriously.

In the long term, Iran’s rapidly changing profile could mean a difficult challenge for Israel. If Iran is indeed in the process of change, as most analysts agree, Israel could end up the lone voice advocating a tough stance toward it, while Washington and the world seek ways to reach out and embrace the change.

“Already, in Washington policy circles, the Israelis’ mantra, let’s bomb them, has gone off the table,” said Marshall Breger, a former Reagan and Bush senior White House aide and Orthodox Jew who has been engaged in interfaith dialogue with senior Iranian clerics. “It’s not considered serious.”

For now, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, have tried to maintain an approach similar to that of the Obama administration as events unfold, condemning the brutal suppression of demonstrators without publicly supporting the reformists’ claims of electoral fraud.

But Dagan’s harsh and more candid analysis did draw detractors in what is clearly an ongoing internal debate. Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, termed it “simplistic” to say there is no difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad on the nuclear issue. “No one can predict what Mousavi would do” if he emerges as the winner of this standoff, Halevy said in a June 21 speech in Jerusalem. Halevy believes there will be “a new ballgame in Iran” if that happens.

For Israel and pro-Israel activists, the crucial question that remains is how events in Iran will affect Tehran’s foreign policy. The Israelis’ goal is to stop Iran from enriching uranium it claims it needs to develop civilian nuclear power but that could potentially be used for nuclear weapons.

No one knows how Mousavi would approach this issue if he gained influence in the end — an eventuality most analysts still consider unlikely.

The only clue thus far comes from an interview that Mousavi gave the Al-Jazeera news network a day before the June 12 elections. He said the West should not expect Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear technology, but he stressed, “What we can talk about, in the international level, is whether we deviate toward the development of nuclear arms.”

This may hint at possibilities for an approach long advocated by Ray Takeyh, a prominent Iran analyst recently appointed to a senior State Department Iran policy post.

Takeyh and others advocate a U.S. “détente” with Iran that would include a negotiated agreement to enforce much stricter control and monitoring of Iran’s enriched uranium. Takeyh argues that this could prevent its diversion to any military use and yet allow Iran to enrich it, as permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Breger agreed that this was likely the direction developments will take if there is eventual progress with any government in Tehran.

“All Iranians believe they have a right to nuclear technology,” he said. “But many moderates are more interested in economic development than in exercising that right.

“As one told me, ‘We want nuclear technology for Iran, we don’t want to sacrifice Iran for nuclear technology.’”

Breger, who served as Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community, added: “This is a problem for Israel, since as long as there is an Islamic republic, Israel doesn’t want strict inspections, they want regime change.”

The real problem for Israel, he explained, was not the prospect of Iran dropping a nuclear bomb on it — a prospect he viewed as unlikely because of Israel’s own nuclear deterrent — but that “an Iran with nuclear capability, even with no weapons, will constrain Israel’s freedom of action. Israel’s first military principle has always been, they must have total regional military hegemony, or as has been more politely stated, a qualitative military edge.”

“Solutions [to the nuclear issue] that can satisfy the U.S. security needs might not satisfy Israel’s sense of security,” Breger said.

Contact Nathan Guttman at****
3769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / the great conciliator LOL on: June 23, 2009, 09:01:18 AM
Gee, the great one who was going bring us all together and change poiitcs as we know it.  So what's his plan?  steal and conficscate everything he and hsi party can get away with from the producers to buy votes from those that are not producing and rely on the former group.  Expand entitlements, government ownership, control, ranks, taxes (as soon as thye think they can get away with it), demoralize the nation domesticaly at home and abroad to the delight of his minority supporters and our enemies and competitors and then claim he is going to bring us together.  He will crash and burn sooner or later in the polls.  His core 40% of die hards will defend him to the death.  As will the new 9.7 million illegals he will grant amnesty to leading to another 10 mill Democrat voters.
The inceasingly smaller group of producers that for now, still make up a majority will catch on and he will plummet in the polls.
Hopefully it will be before it is too late.  And it will not happen easily if we have not viable alternative from the Republicans.


***Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Email to a Friend ShareThisAdvertisementThe Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 33% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-three percent (33%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0 (see trends).

Seven percent (7%) rate the economy as good or excellent while 59% say it’s poor. A Rasmussen video report notes that 55% believe business leaders will do more than government officials to get the economy moving again.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) say that volunteer activity is more important that political action. But, people are evenly divided as to whether or not volunteerism or government policies are the best way to bring about the change that America needs.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates also available on Twitter.

Overall, 55% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance so far. Forty-four percent (44%) disapprove. For more Presidential barometers, see Obama By the Numbers and recent demographic highlights.

Most oppose the “Cash for Clunkers” plan that’s been approved by Congress and 50% believe that hate is on the rise in America.

(More Below)


Most voters still place the blame for our nation’s economic woes on the Bush Administration, but a growing number say it’s Obama’s economy now. The number blaming Bush has fallen to 54%. That’s down eight points from a month ago.

Americans remain evenly divided as to whether or not health care reform should wait until the economy is better.

Check out our weekly review of key polls from last week to see “What They Told Us.” You might also try our Daily Prediction Challenge to predict the results of upcoming polls.

When comparing Job Approval data from different firms, it’s important to keep in mind that polls of likely voters and polls of all adults will typically and consistently yield different results. In the case of President Obama, polls by all firms measuring all adults typically show significantly higher approval ratings than polls of likely voters. Polls of registered voters typically fall in the middle. Other factors are also important to consider when comparing Job Approval ratings from different polling firms.

If you’d like Scott Rasmussen to speak at your meeting, retreat, or conference, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau. You can also learn about Scott’s favorite place on earth or his time working with hockey legend Gordie Howe.

A Fordham University professor has rated the national pollsters on their record in Election 2008. We also have provided a summary of our results for your review.

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error—for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters--is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Premium Members.

Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large (see methodology). Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process. While partisan affiliation is generally quite stable over time, there are a fair number of people who waver between allegiance to a particular party or independent status. Over the past four years, the number of Democrats in the country has increased while the number of Republicans has decreased.

Our baseline targets are established based upon separate survey interviews with a sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding three months (a total of 45,000 interviews) and targets are updated monthly. Currently, the baseline targets for the adult population are 40.1% Democrats, 33.1% Republicans, and 26.7% unaffiliated. Likely voter samples typically show a slightly smaller advantage for the Democrats.

A review of last week’s key polls is posted each Saturday morning. Other stats on Obama are updated daily on the Rasmussen Reports Obama By the Numbers page. We also invite you to review other recent demographic highlights from the tracking polls.***

3770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: June 16, 2009, 08:56:32 AM
Krauthammer was right in noting that Fox news is a fantastic outlet that is the only major source of news that is not corrupted with the MSM bias.  A few city newspapers, and talk radio and that is it.
That God (or Murdoch) for Fox.  I don't know how I could stand watching all the propaganda from the other outlets.  CNN is at least reeanable but the rest are all NYT style propaganda.
3771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 16, 2009, 08:33:27 AM
If you haven't seen drudge yet today check this ou
We essentially are seeing government controlled media:

Folks, I don't know if health care costs can be controlled withoug some form of controls on delivery.  But make no mistake about it.  Those of us who are now paying for it will have are care rationed to pay for those who are not.  End of story.
The Republicans need make this clear.  We want all Americans to understand that they can decide if they want to spurge for universal care but theirw WILL be rationed.  Don't let BO deny this.  The cost controls they are talking about are only the beginning.
But this as far as I know is a seminal event in our history is it not?   Unless we had something like this during wartime (WW2) before I was born:

Tue Jun 16 2009 08:45:10 ET

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.


Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:

Dear Mr. Westin:

As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

Ken McKay
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff


3772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 15, 2009, 12:49:41 PM
June 15, 2009
Naive, Hypocritical and Dishonest
By Robert Samuelson

WASHINGTON -- It's hard to know whether President Obama's health care "reform" is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably all three. The president keeps saying it's imperative to control runaway health spending. He's right. The trouble is that what's being promoted as health care "reform" almost certainly won't suppress spending and, quite probably, will do the opposite.

A new report from Obama's own Council of Economic Advisers shows why controlling health costs is so important. Since 1975, annual health spending per person, adjusted for inflation, has grown 2.1 percentage points faster than overall economic growth per person. Should this trend continue, the CEA projects that:

-- Health spending, which was 5 percent of the economy (gross domestic product, GDP) in 1960 and is reckoned at almost 18 percent today, would grow to 34 percent of GDP by 2040 -- a third of the economy.

-- Medicare and Medicaid, the government insurance programs for the elderly and poor, would increase from 6 percent of GDP now to 15 percent in 2040 -- roughly equal to three-quarters of present federal spending.

-- Employer-paid insurance premiums for family coverage, which grew 85 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from 1996 to $11,941 in 2006, would increase to $25,200 by 2025 and $45,000 in 2040 (all figures in "constant 2008 dollars"). The huge costs would force employers to reduce take-home pay.

The message in these dismal figures is that uncontrolled health spending is almost single-handedly determining national priorities. It's reducing discretionary income, raising taxes, widening budget deficits and squeezing other government programs. Worse, much medical spending is wasted, the CEA report says. It doesn't improve Americans' health; some care is unneeded or ineffective.

The Obama administration's response is to talk endlessly about restraining health spending -- "bending the curve'' is the buzz -- as if talk would suffice. The president summoned the heads of major health care trade groups representing doctors, hospitals, drug companies and medical device firms to the White House. All pledged to bend the curve. This is mostly public relations. Does anyone believe that the American Medical Association can control the nation's 800,000 doctors or that the American Hospital Association can command the 5,700 hospitals?

The central cause of runaway health spending is clear. Hospitals and doctors are paid mostly on a fee-for-service basis and reimbursed by insurance, either private or governmental. The open-ended payment system encourages doctors and hospitals to provide more services -- and patients to expect them. It also favors new medical technologies, which are made profitable by heavy use. Unfortunately, what pleases providers and patients individually hurts the nation as a whole.

That's the crux of the health care dilemma, and Obama hasn't confronted it. His emphasis on controlling costs is cosmetic. The main aim of health care "reform" now being fashioned in Congress is to provide insurance to most of the 46 million uncovered Americans. This is popular and seems the moral thing to do. After all, hardly anyone wants to be without insurance. But the extra coverage might actually worsen the spending problem.

How much healthier today's uninsured would be with that coverage is unclear. They already receive health care -- $116 billion worth in 2008, estimates Families USA, an advocacy group. Some is paid by the uninsured themselves (37 percent), some by government and charities (26 percent). The remaining "uncompensated care" is either absorbed by doctors and hospitals or shifted to higher private insurance premiums. Some uninsured would benefit from coverage, but others wouldn't. Either they're healthy (40 percent are between ages 18 and 34) or would receive ineffective care.

The one certain consequence of expanding insurance coverage is that it would raise spending. When people have insurance, they use more health services. That's one reason why Obama's campaign proposal was estimated to cost $1.2 trillion over a decade (the other reason is that the federal government would pick up some costs now paid by others). Indeed, the higher demand for health care might raise costs across the board, increasing both government spending and private premiums.

No doubt the health program that Congress fashions will counter this reality by including some provisions intended to cut costs ("bundled payments" to hospitals, "evidence-based guidelines," electronic record keeping). In the past, scattershot measures have barely affected health spending. What's needed is a fundamental remaking of the health care sector -- a sweeping "restructuring"-- that would overhaul fee-for-service payment and reduce the fragmentation of care.

The place to start would be costly Medicare, the nation's largest insurance program serving 45 million elderly and disabled. Of course, this would be unpopular, because it would disrupt delivery patterns and reimbursement practices. It's easier to pretend to be curbing health spending while expanding coverage and spending. Presidents have done that for decades, and it's why most health industries see "reform" as a good deal.

Copyright 2009, Washington Post Writers Group
3773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 13, 2009, 12:06:53 PM
*The cost-shift dynamic plays a prominent role in the health care sector. A study by the actuarial firm Milliman calculated that public programs currently shift $88.8 billion in costs onto private payers per year, increasing the typical American family's annual private health insurance premium by $1,512, or 10.6 percent.[15] Moreover, Lewin speculates that a new public plan could increase the annual cost-shift per privately insured by as much as $526, which will only serve to further perpetuate the crowd-out of private insurance.[16]*

Milliman again (see my previous post).

This makes sense.  Someone has to pay for all the medicaid that doesn't cover a providers costs.  I doubt doctors lose money on medicare.  I am not sure about whether or not hospitals do.

One can only imagine the cost shifts to the rest of the country when we start subsidizing another 40 million.

How many of those are illegals I wonder?
I wonder how many of these are people with pre existing conditions who want insurance but cannot get?
I assume the rest simply can't afford it.

3774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prediction:When the eventual fall comes BO will blame his fellow Dems on: June 13, 2009, 11:55:24 AM
Dick Morris predictions, I think, have been fairly acurrate.  Dick thinks the outcome of the gigantic spending of BO, and his associate Dems will be one or a combination of:

1)  massive inflation
2)  the policies will fail and the economy will continue tanking
3)  or taxes will sky rocket.

All the outcomes in his opinion will cause the ruin of BO - it is only a matter of time.

My guess he is right about the first three predictions.   But I have a prediction that he may be wrong about the ruin of BO:

BO (despite another one of his deceptions stating he doesn't look much at polls) is of course studying them with a fine tooth comb.

When he sees his poll numbers start to drop because more and more people will start worrying about the gigantic spending BO is not going to just sit there.

I predict he will start throwing his democrat colleagues in both houses to the wolves, with an all out triangulation attack blaming THEM for the massive spending. 

We will start seeing more and more subtle calls and claims from him and his subordinates that HE is working diligently to hold DOWN spending.  If it doesn't come down (and it won't because Democrats are clueless without being able to steal money and buy votes), and things go wrong as Morris predicts they MUST then watch for BO start publically  blaming his own party mates for the malfeasance.  He won't accept the responsibility.

Right now he continues and is getting away with blaming the "previous administration".  But when that no longer works he will blame his fellow Dems. 

Would he succeed in getting away with this?  I am not sure.  The adoring MSM will do their best to help him.
We shall see.
3775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: June 13, 2009, 11:40:33 AM
"So much for President Obama’s Jan. 21 committment to unprecedented openness in government"


My guess as to the reasons he gets away with this con:

1) He has conned a majority of Americans that they will get something for nothing. Although poll data that suggest that a majority now feel Republicans can handle the economy better suggest they are starting to see past his BS.

2) An adoring media.  Though it is interesting your article appears to be from the NYT though probably page 2,567 in small print.  If it was W it would have been page 1.

3) Who yet is the alternative to BO?

4) People are still rightly frightened by the economy and the sense of calm the gigantic spending bills have restored have lulled them into a sense of complacency.

3776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Savings in health plan from BO equals HMO medicine for all. on: June 13, 2009, 11:20:03 AM
Notice that other than prescription savings he doesn't tell us the truth about where the savings are coming from.
It is going to come from limiting access to specialists, tests, and other services the "experts" will deem are "inappropriate".  It will be based on population based studies and essentially be like HMO medicine.  Care will be monitored (medicare already is anyway), and restricted in ways akin to Millman and Robinson flow charts that private risk managers use to determine what they will and what they won't pay for.

My understanding of this (though I am by no means an expert)  is that outcomes data is used to determine if doing things more cheaply or restricting care increases hospitalization, rehospitalization, death or morbidity rates.  I am not clear that the data is proof the care is as safe or as good.  It depends what one is measuring when determining the "outcomes".  On the other hand I am not clear there is any data that suggests health care is worse though it is certainly less convenient. For harder to measure outcomes itmay be worse.

As for the prescription savings I do agree that many patients are on more expensive non generic drugs that are no better of more effective than cheaper generic older drugs.

This is what the EMR is for.  To collect all the data and then come out with dictates that will instruct providers on how we must deliver care.  It will be mandated.  Whether private insurers can survive I am not sure.  I don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that some from the right are trying to scare us all into believing that "there is absolutely no way private health insurance will be doomed but that could very well be the case.  Certainly BO despite whatever he says he is certainly working with the goal in mind of a national health care system.  There is really no other rational conclusion.   BO's people have been looking at these things for years.  It ain't new.  It ain't BOs ideas though he obviously embraces them wholeheartedly.

In any case, there is no question BO isn't leveling with us about his real intentions:

Obama calls for new health care spending cuts AP  Reuters – President Barack Obama speaks about reforming America's health care system at a Wisconsin Town Hall … Josh Gerstein Josh Gerstein – Sat Jun 13, 7:06 am ET
President Barack Obama says he's now found savings that will pay almost all the costs of a massive overhaul of America's health care system.

Obama on Saturday is announcing an additional $313 billion in new proposed savings that he says would bring the total funding available for his top-priority health insurance reform to nearly $950 billion over 10 years.

White House officials insisted the new savings were rock-solid, but also acknowledged they had yet to settle on a specific mechanism to achieve lower prescription drug costs that make up nearly one-quarter of the new savings.

“Any honest accounting must prepare for the fact that health care reform will require additional costs in the short term in order to reduce spending in the long term,” Obama says in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Today, I am announcing an additional $313 billion in savings that will rein in unnecessary spending, and increase efficiency and the quality of care.”

The new proposals from Obama came as the drive for health care reform reaches a pivotal juncture in Congress. On Monday, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to receive Congressional Budget Office estimates on a slew of health-care options. On Wednesday, the committee is expected to unveil proposed legislation.

In advance of those milestones, the White House was moving aggressively to counter public criticism that funding plans for the health reform effort are unrealistic, particularly in the face of an expected 10-year pricetag of $1 trillion or more. Some analysts have faulted the White House for being overly optimistic about savings and tone-deaf to which tax-raising proposals are likely to fly in Congress.

In his address Saturday, Obama refers to a 10-year total of more than $600 billion in “savings” for health care. However, he does not explain in his latest comments that, under his revised budget released last month, $326 billion of that amount would come from tax hikes on Americans making over $250,000 a year, “loophole closers,” and higher fees for some government services.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said the latest announcement signaled that the White House had met its obligation to identify funding sources for a broad-based effort to make health insurance more affordable and more widely available.

“We are making good on this promise to fully finance health care reform over the next decade,” Orszag declared.

The bulk of the new $313 billion in savings would come from cutting or reducing the growth of payments to hospitals, medical equipment manufacturers and laboratories — though the major cuts don't target doctors, Orszag said.

Over the next decade, $110 billion is slated to come from reducing reimbursements to take account of what Orszag described as the ability of providers to improve their efficiency. “Health care services should be able to achieve and do achieve productivity improvements over time,” he said. According to a fact sheet released by the White House, future increases in such Medicare payments would be reduced based on an assumption that health care providers achieve half the productivity increases seen elsewhere in the economy. The budget official said the reductions would take place even if providers failed to garner the projected efficiencies.

Another $106 billion would come from cuts in so-called disproportionate share payments the federal government makes to hospitals with large numbers of uninsured patients. “As the ranks of uninsured decline under health reform, those payments become less necessary,” Orszag said.


About $75 billion is slated to come from lower payments for prescription drugs. However, Orszag said the White House was “in discussions with stakeholders over the best way of achieving that $75 billion.”

Notwithstanding that ambiguity, Orszag asserted that the White House had put forward $950 billion in budgetary offsets that could be use to fund health reform. He called the proposals "hard" and "scoreable," meaning that they were sufficiently certain and specific to pass muster with CBO officials who formally tally the cost of budget items.

Asked about the discrepancy, Orszag said, “There’s been continuous skepticism that we will come forward with detail….The detail on the $75 billion for prescription drugs will be forthcoming in the very near future and I will rest my reputation as a former CBO director on the fact that there are multiple ways in which those savings can be achieved and we are committed to achieving that level of savings in this package.”

There were signs that the announcement of the additional $313 billion of savings may have been rushed. In addition to the vagueness about the $75 billion in lower drug costs, the White House’s health care reform coordinator, Nancy-Ann DeParle, did not join a conference call with reporters to announce the new proposals. Her presence had been advertised in advance, but a spokesman said she was in another meeting and could not participate.

The cuts and savings are likely to engender warnings from providers that de-facto rationing will occur as patients in some areas find themselves unable to find providers willing to perform lab tests, X-rays and the like, due to the lower reimbursement rates.

Hospitals are also likely to protest that the disproportionate share payments, which are targeted for cuts of 75 percent, are vital to maintaining hospitals in costly urban centers, and to keeping teaching hospitals viable.

“It is unlikely to be an exact match on a hospital-by-hospital basis but what we believe will occur is that the remaining DSH payments that will still exist can be better targeted to the hospitals most in need,” Orszag said.


3777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: June 12, 2009, 05:52:17 PM
I suspect the Beatles may have actually been one of the few groups that actually did write their songs as they claim:

"Turner said his research, including interviews with Vodden and Julian Lennon, confirm that she is the Lucy in the song. He said it was common for John Lennon to "snatch songs out of thin air" based on a simple phrase he heard on TV or an item he read in the newspapers"

That is how Katherine writes her songs.  Except not from the newspaper which she doesn't read.  She gets them from TV, thngs she hears, during conversation or spontaneous thoughts.

The songs then just come into her head.

Of course a lot of dirtball liars in the music "industry", if that is what you call a criminal organization from top to bottom, claim this now.  After stealing hundreds of her lyrics the phrase "singer-songwriter" became ubiquitis as the assholes are all running around taking credit for coming up with lyrics - that they didn't write.

****Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' gravely ill
AP, Jun 12, 2009 9:23 am PDT
They were childhood chums. Then they drifted apart, lost touch completely, and only renewed their friendship decades later, when illness struck.Not so unusual, really.
Except she is Lucy Vodden — the girl who was the inspiration for the Beatles' 1967 psychedelic classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" — and he is Julian Lennon, the musician son of John Lennon.
They are linked together by something that happened more than 40 years ago when Julian brought home a drawing from school and told his father, "That's Lucy in the sky with diamonds."
Just the sort of cute phrase lots of 3- or 4-year-olds produce — but not many have a father like John Lennon, who used it as a springboard for a legendary song that became a centerpiece on the landmark album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
"Julian got in touch with me out of the blue, when he heard how ill I was, and he said he wanted to do something for me," said the 46-year-old Vodden, who has lupus, a chronic disease where the immune system attacks the body's own tissue.
Lennon, who lives in France, sent his old friend flowers and vouchers she could use to buy plants at a local gardening center, since working in her garden is one of the few activities she is still occasionally well enough to enjoy. More importantly, he has offered her friendship and a connection to more carefree days. They communicate mostly by text message.
"I wasn't sure at first how to approach her. I wanted at least to get a note to her," Julian Lennon told The Associated Press. "Then I heard she had a great love of gardening, and I thought I'd help with something she's passionate about, and I love gardening too. I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face."
Vodden admits she enjoys her association with the song, but doesn't particularly care for it. Perhaps that's not surprising. It was thought by many at the time, including BBC executives who banned the song, that the classic was a paean to LSD because of the initials in the title. Plus, she and Julian were 4 years old in 1967, the "Summer of Love" when "Sgt. Pepper" was released to worldwide acclaim. She missed the psychedelic era to which the song is indelibly linked.
"I don't relate to the song, to that type of song," said Vodden, described as "the girl with kaleidoscope eyes" in the lyrics. "As a teenager, I made the mistake of telling a couple of friends at school that I was the Lucy in the song and they said, 'No, it's not you, my parents said it's about drugs.' And I didn't know what LSD was at the time, so I just kept it quiet, to myself."
There's no doubt the fanciful lyrics and swirling musical effects draw heavily on the LSD experiences that were shaping Lennon's artistic output at the time — although many of the musical flourishes were provided by producer George Martin, who was not a drug user.
"The imagery in the song is partly a reflection of John's drug experiences, and partly his love of `Alice in Wonderland,'" said Steve Turner, author of "A Hard Day's Write," a book that details the origins of every Beatles song. "At the time it came out, it seemed overtly psychedelic, it sounded like some kind of trip. It was completely new at the time. To me it is very evocative of the period."
Turner said his research, including interviews with Vodden and Julian Lennon, confirm that she is the Lucy in the song. He said it was common for John Lennon to "snatch songs out of thin air" based on a simple phrase he heard on TV or an item he read in the newspapers. In this case, Turner said, it was the phrase from Julian that triggered John's imagination.
Veteran music critic Fred Schruers said Julian Lennon's reaching out to help Vodden as she fights the disease is particularly moving because of the childlike nature of the song.
"It's enormously evocative but with a tinge of poignancy," he said. "It's the lost childhood Julian had with that little Lucy and the lost innocence we had with the psychedelic era, an innocence we really cherished until it was snatched away."
Vodden was diagnosed with lupus about five years ago after suffering other serious health problems. She has been struggling extreme fatigue, joint pain, and other ailments.
"She's not given up, she's a fighter, and she has her family backing her, that's a good thing," said Angie Davidson, campaign director for St. Thomas' Lupus Trust, which funds research. "We need more people like her, more Lucys."
Davidson, who also has the disease, said it affects each person differently, typically causing exhaustion and depression. When the disease kills, she said, it does so by attacking the body's internal organs.
It has become difficult for Vodden to go out — most of her trips are to the hospital — but recently she and her husband went to a bookstore and heard the song playing over the store's music system. When they went to another shop, the song was on there as well.
"That made me giggle," she said.****
3778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: June 12, 2009, 02:32:26 PM
Hi Doug,

Fascinating point about Aristotle here.  Let's apply the philosophy, or let me try:

BO has the ethos and pathos but not the best logos.

So he and the other Dems provide logos with falsehoods, lies and other deceptive manipulations that people will fall for in their wanting to believe that he is some sort of savior.

And he bribes large numbers with his class warfare rhetoric and to confiscate wealth and give it away to his favorite constituents and supporters.

They wrongly beleive he is helping them.  In the process he is selling America down the river.
This is where Dick Morris comes in.  He points out that BO's positions are not supported by a majority of Americans though her remains favorable.  When more and more Americans begin to feel the pain he is inflicting on this country then his personal numbers will fall.

3779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: June 12, 2009, 11:22:11 AM
Reagan and Lincoln vs BO

Reagan said what he meant and meant and did what he said.


Does not say the true extent of what he means and does and means a lot more than what he is saying.
What would the founding fathers think about such deception?

3780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: June 11, 2009, 03:31:52 PM
And as Krauthammer first suggested BO's greatest gift is his temperment.

It is hard if not impossible for me to believe BO sat in Wright's church for decades listening to this kind of stuff and didn't on at least some level, if not completely, agree.

He certainly did not protest much did he?

IMO this is an example of what Krauthammer, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, was one of the first to notice - that BO can hide his feelings and play everyone for his own benefit.

3781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dick Morris on: June 11, 2009, 03:25:05 PM
He has been pointing out that bo's policies are not all that popular which is not in sync with the fact that he is popular.
He predicts his poularity will fall as the public starts to equate him as part of the problem and not the solution.
That will occur when the visciousness of his changes start to be felt.

Will see if this plays out as he predicts.

"By Dick Morris 06.10.2009 Published on on June 9, 2009

At last, there is convincing evidence that Obama’s poll numbers may be descending to earth. While his approval remains high — and his personal favorability is even higher — the underlying numbers suggest that a decline may be in the offing. Even as he stands on his pedestal, the numbers under his feet are crumbling.

According to a Rasmussen poll, more voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle the economy, by a margin of 45-39. Scott Rasmussen notes that “this is the first time in over two years of polling that the GOP has held the advantage on this issue.” Last month, he had the Democrats holding a one-point lead, but they lost it in June’s polling.

And the Democratic leads over Republicans on their core issues are also dropping. Particularly interesting is the Democratic decline over healthcare, from an 18-point lead in May to only 10 points now.

A Gallup poll also confirms that the president’s personal ratings are high, but the underlying data less so. While 67 percent of voters give Obama personal favorable ratings and 61 percent approve of his job performance (Rasmussen has his job approval lower, at 55 percent), they give him much lower ratings on specific issues.

Gallup shows Obama getting only 55 percent approval on his handling of the economy (down from 59 percent in February) and finds that only 45 percent approve of his handling of federal spending while 46 percent approve of his treatment of the budget deficit.

As it becomes clearer that the deficit caused by spending has landed us in a new economic crisis, entirely of Obama’s own making, his popularity and job performance are likely to drop as well.

The old recession — that the public says was caused by Bush — shows signs of winding down. But the new recession and/or inflation — triggered by Obama’s massive deficits — is just now coming upon us.

If Obama refuses to cut back on his spending/stimulus plans (despite convincing evidence that Americans are not spending the money), he has three options:

a) He can raise taxes, which will trigger a deeper recession;

b) He can print money, which will trigger huge inflation;

c) He can pay more interest to borrow money, which will send the economy diving down again.

The blame for these outcomes will fall squarely on Obama’s deficit and spending policies. The fact that Americans are aware of these issues, and already disapprove of Obama’s performance on them, indicates that they will be increasingly receptive to blaming him for the “new” recession.

Interestingly, Obama’s polling is now the exact opposite of President Clinton’s in the days after Monica Lewinsky. Back then, the president’s approval for handling specific issues was his forte, while his job approval remained high but his personal favorability lagged 20 points behind. Ultimately, it is a politician’s performance on specific issues that determines his electability. Personal favorability withers in the face of issue differences. Obama is about to find out that you cannot rely on image to bolster your presidency when the underlying issues are crumbling.

All this data suggests that Obama might run out of steam just as he gets to his healthcare agenda. As unemployment mounts, month after month, and Obama’s claims of job creation (or savings) ring hollow, it is possible that he will not have the heft to pass his radical restructuring of the healthcare system. The automaton Democratic majority may pass it anyway, but it will be a one-way ticket to oblivion if they do."

3782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / good article on: June 11, 2009, 02:45:15 PM
3783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: June 09, 2009, 08:26:47 AM
thanks for your thoughtful response.

I must think our founders are turning in their graves at the reality that Democrats are taxing certain groups of citizens in uneven ways and then doling out those founds to buy votes from their supporters, and THAT is precisely how they keep power.

And to boot they are expanding those on the dole to maintain this power - with conmfiscation of other people's wealth.

3784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: June 08, 2009, 03:49:15 PM
My understanding is the Constitution allows for government to set tax policy.

What I don't quite get is why is it ok for certain Americans to be targeted and discriminated against and their wealth confiscated and handed over to those less succesful.

Isn't there some sort of constitutional case against discrimination of one group of Americans?

First will be the lets get the rich.  Included in the "rich" category will be those who are higher level middle class.  Of course business will be thrashed.
Then will be more subtle and slow evolution of taxes on lower groups of middle class.

How can there not be some sort of constitutional case that protects some groups of Americans like this from this kind of discrimination?

Legal minds have any thoughts?

3785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Food testing? on: June 07, 2009, 11:51:26 AM
Is this some sort of joke?
Is this routine for presidents to have someone test the food for poison?

Do we have a king or a President?
"President Obama's French food tested by 'taster' 
Jun 7 10:12 AM US/Eastern
A US "taster" tested the food being dished up to President Barack Obama at a dinner in a French restaurant, a waiter said on Sunday.
"They have someone who tastes the dishes," said waiter Gabriel de Carvalho from the "La Fontaine de Mars" restaurant where Obama and his family turned up for dinner on Saturday night.

"It wasn't very pleasant for the cooks at first, but the person was very nice and was relaxed, so it all went well," he said on the Itele news channel.

Asked by AFP to comment, the restaurant confirmed the report.

Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium"
3786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 06, 2009, 11:02:21 AM
"Under the proposal, families would qualify for tax credits of $5,700 a year and individuals $2,300 to buy insurance and invest in health savings accounts. Up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The bill would allow lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid trap"

How much do people on medicaid pay in taxes that this deduction is even going to apply to them?

3787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 04, 2009, 03:18:56 PM
I meant that today he gloriously notes his middle name.

And even though

I don't know if W is laughing or crying but I know our enemies are laughing.

Of course they love BO.

He has put our country on full scale retreat.

He is not Pres of the USA.  He is president of the united world of Obama.

Yet, there is no alternative on the horizon in most people's eyes.
3788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Well that's it folks - the "genius argument" on: June 04, 2009, 02:56:56 PM
I guess that was the "genious argument" that will begin the healing process so we can all sing the pepsi generation song together.
I don't know if W is laughing or crying.

We "must do this", "we must do that" blah blah blah.
Thank God we finally have someone with all the answers.  How come no one had the brains and sense to figure this all out before?

Heavy on the sarcasm.

Not only are we screwed but so are the Israelis.

His middle name is todays gloriusly noted as Hussain.

Like I said all along, it ain't Joshua.
3789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I wondered if anyone would come up with this. on: June 04, 2009, 02:45:36 PM
Thanks for your opinion.

The answer is staring us straight in the face.

The biggest donors to the Democratic party is

Every American tax payer.

Without us they have nothing.

Without them we would have taxes, but nothing like what we do have.

The thought of wrking for several months out of the year so they can take my money to redistribute......
3790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / anyone care to guess on: June 03, 2009, 06:26:33 PM
Who is/are the biggest donors to the democratic party?

Anyone care to guess?
3791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: June 02, 2009, 02:12:41 PM
In his speech about Iran's rigth to nuclear technology he has to add this at the end.   He simply cannot resist beratin the US:

Obama added that there is a danger "when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture."

Do other people notice the incredible hypocrisy of this guy downing the US for imposing values while at the same time he has imposed more values, more of his agenda than any President in history on his electorate?

You know what the problem with him similar to Clinton - is the *deceit*, the deception, the down right lies.

The Democrats have made this into a an art form in US politics over the last two decades.

I can only imigane the speech he will give in Egypt this week.

3792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: June 01, 2009, 01:09:14 PM
I don't agree with all Noonan says but this I do:

"A conservative activist told the New York Times, "We need to brand her." Another told me a fight is needed to excite the base.

Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?"

To me this is the problem with GOP in a nutshell.  Limbaugh et all can rant and rave all they wants.  The only ones who will agree with them are already believers.  He is not, and apparantly, can not win over any *new* converts.  And that is the problem.

Marc Levin who like a lot and mostly agree with states we need new blood, and new guard of Republicans in politics.  It is time to get rid of the old guard.  This is clearly obvious.
But we also need a new guard of spokespeople. And that includes Limbaugh.
3793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 31, 2009, 01:03:03 PM
It's simple.  The technology to provide us with a satisfactory alternative to fossil fuel (other than nuclear) hasn't been invented yet.
3794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 31, 2009, 12:58:16 PM
Where I am patients are triaged.  Waits for the true emergencies are low but when the ED is busy some could wait for hours.
I don't see any other way.
All our lives are going to be nothing more than following mandates.
For doctors it already is that way, but it will get worse.

You should only use so much electricity, water, sugar, gas, oil, than the government hopes you do use more because then they can tax you/us.

Flush more than once per day per person per household then more can be confiscated.
Pelosi wants to inventory "everything".

I assume there will be a tax for too much TV, sitting, blogging, message boards.  Hey if your not walking your fat.  We tax for cigarettes alcohol why not for each pound you are over a certain BMI?

A National sales tax is coming. 

On and on.  Crafty you are so right.  We are totally screwed.
3795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 31, 2009, 12:49:17 PM
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in October 2008 proposed a brilliant formulation. He said: "The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism. It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism."

Sarkozy said this?

Interesting a European is looking to the right.  And the President we are stuck with is and always has been looking the other way.
3796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 29, 2009, 10:20:13 AM
I was wrong. I thought the Clintons would control BO especially with many of his staff having been for them in the past.

By Dick Morris 05.28.2009 Published on on May 26,2009

Asked why he was naming some of his rivals to top administration jobs, President Lyndon B. Johnson said it best: “I’d rather have them inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” President Obama seems to echo Johnson’s management style in his handling of Bill and Hillary Clinton. By bringing them into his inner circle, he has marginalized them both and sharply reduced their freedom of action.

It may appear odd to describe a secretary of State as marginalized, but Obama has surrounded Hillary with his people and carved up her jurisdiction geographically. Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) is in charge of Arab-Israeli relations. Dennis Ross has Iran. Former U.N. Ambassador Dick Holbrooke has Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Hillary has to share her foreign policy role on the National Security Council (NSC) with Vice President Biden, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA chief Leon Panetta, and NSC staffer Samantha Powers (who once called Hillary a “monster”).

With peers who are competitors and subordinates who can deal directly with the president, Hillary is reduced to announcing foreign aid packages for Pakistan while Holbrooke does the heavy lifting.

Part of Hillary’s problem is the institutional shrinking of the State Department. During the Bush years, while war raged, the Defense Department became more relevant to the conduct of foreign policy. And, under Obama, the financial crisis has propelled the Treasury into the forefront. State, with its emphasis on traditional diplomacy, has been forced to take a back seat. Even though Obama appointed Hillary, he clearly has not been willing to make her a co-president and confines her to the diminished role of her department.

For his part, Bill Clinton has been asked to be a special envoy to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. Obama’s predecessor asked the former president to orchestrate the response to the Asian tsunami and then to Hurricane Katrina. Obama gives him Haiti.

Meanwhile, both Clintons are effectively muzzled and cannot criticize Obama even as he reverses President Clinton’s free market proclivities and budget balancing discipline. Hillary, the supposed friend of Israel, must sit by quietly and watch Iran get the bomb while trying all the while to stop Israel from preventing it.

Bill can’t even make money. Denied the ability to accept speeches from foreign governments or their organs and fenced out of continuing his profitable relationship with the Emir of Dubai, he and his wife must accept the loss of the $13 million they spent on her campaign and sit by passively, unable to earn the money to replace it.

Just as Lincoln buried his rivals Seward, Chase and Stanton in the Cabinet and then on the Supreme Court, and Wilson buried Bryan at the State Department, so Obama has hidden his predecessor and his rival in plain sight at the upper reaches of the government.

How long will Hillary subject herself to this discipline? Likely as long as Obama is popular. Should his ratings fade, she might move away from the president and could even consider a primary contest against him in 2012. But while he is on top of his game, she’ll stay loyal.

But she is shrinking by the day. Once Obama’s equal — and before that his superior — she now looks tiny compared to the president. She doesn’t look like a president in waiting; she’s more like a senior staff member hoping to rise in the bureaucracy. No longer at the head of a movement or the symbol of rising women all over the world, she has faded into the State Department woodwork. She is much less visible than her predecessors Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright or Condi Rice. She is even less in the public eye than was Al Haig during his one-year tenure. One has to go back to the likes of Warren Christopher or William Rogers to find a secretary of State as far down the totem poll. This diminished status has got to grate on her and on him. But they are trapped in Obama’s web and cannot easily escape.****
3797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 29, 2009, 10:06:36 AM
And the dems said Bush was cocky?Huh

He's no Ronald Reagan.  Remember how Reagan got a lot done with *opposition* parties in both houses.

This guy is cruising through with essentially super majorities from the same party and an adoring news media who are of the same party persuasion:

Obama in L.A.: 'You ain't seen nothing yet' 
By Sam Youngman 
Posted: 05/27/09 11:51 PM [ET] 
LOS ANGELES — Even as he conceded there is still much hard work to do, President Obama was in a boastful mood Wednesday night, telling a star-studded crowd at a fundraising dinner that he "would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR."

The president, speaking to a dinner that included Hollywood A-listers like Kiefer Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg, lauded the legislation he has signed since taking office but added that he is "not satisfied."

 "I'm confident in the future, but I'm not yet content," Obama said.

The celebrity dinner, which cost couples $30,400 to attend, was followed by a larger, lower-dollar concert that all told raised between $3 million and $4 million for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Joining the celebrities feting Obama were Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), "the newest member of our caucus."

Obama was introduced by Dreamworks CEO and longtime Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg. The president thanked Katzenberg, saying: "If it weren't for you, we would not be in the White House."

The trip here came on the heels of a fundraising jaunt to Las Vegas to raise about $2 million for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), according to aides.

The president, while seeking to bolster his record as president so far, warned both audiences that significant challenges lie ahead.

 At the concert, headlined by Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind and Fire, Obama responded to an audience member yelling, "Yes we can" by saying, "Yes we have. But we've got more work to do. We can't rest on our laurels.

"We didn't ask for the challenges that we face, but we don't shrink from them either," he said. "It won't be easy. There will be setbacks. It will take time."

The president conceded that his administration "had our fits and starts."

"I've made some mistakes, and I guarantee you I'll make some more," he said.

But Obama said in promising to continue to work hard, "Los Angeles, you ain't seen nothing yet."

Obama also lauded Judge Sonia Sotomayor, his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, repeating his line that she has more experience than anyone currently sitting on the bench when they were nominated.

He joked at the second fundraiser that she graduated summa cum laude, "not just magna or laude laude, but summa cum laude."

Obama is scheduled to leave for Washington early Thursday morning.
3798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 28, 2009, 03:02:41 PM
"Why is obama marginalizing Israel?? he is going to force them to hit iran."

I was asking one of my patients who is Israeli about his thoughts on the Middle East:

"very bad, very very bad".

When I asked him about Iran,

"We have no choice but to hit Iran".

He added,

"I didn't vote for him but Bush was behind Israel 100%".

I guess he voted for Obama because I asked him why then are so many Jews for BO.  He just looked away.

He said Israel will wipe out all of Irans nucs but it will "take a million lives" with it.

I said how ironic the victoms of thousands of years of oppression (egyptians, hittites, babylonians, philistines, assyrians, persians, romans, most european countries, turks, and probably a dozen more) and the holocaust will now be put in the position of having to do this.

He said with a nod, "thank you" on that thought.

If and after they do this -

We know the world will of course blame the Jews, once again, or rather, as they always have.

BOs popularity will probably go up.  And that is what he is all about - staying high in the polls so he can rearrange the wealth of this country and in so doing make us weaker not stronger.

And the duped liberal Jews will of course make all sorts of excuses for him.

3799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / or on: May 26, 2009, 12:05:14 PM
water boarding grin
3800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 26, 2009, 09:50:35 AM
I believe BO is resgined to a nuclear Iran.
His comment about giving talks another year is a joke.

It is probably already too late.
Bush was hamstrung by politics.  If Rumsfeld and Cheney did not lose their political power this might very well have been dealt with before the Iranians had years to dig in.

BO is selling Israel down the river.  No surprise there. 
Ironic so many liberal Jews are helping him do it.

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