Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Mark Hemingway has a good piece over at National Review Online that takes a look at the discussion that is occurring amongst various JAG's officers, the leadership in the Pentagon, Blackwater security and the other security companies that serve in Iraq, on whether to continue to cover these companies under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or push these security companies further under the umbrella of the UCMJ. I have to say that Hemingway pretty much conveys the point that when members of Congress pass laws in an effort to make things better or make them legally and politically expedient, the parties that are involved generally discover such actions create greater problems than what they were trying to ameliorate. As with anything as complex and important as this, I'd recommend members of Congress and the leadership should think things over long and hard before the haphazardly slap restrictions on these security teams and place a greater burden on our military forces who have more pressing duties at hand.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'd say that Kevin Hassett pretty much knocks it out of the park with his most recent Bloomberg column in which he notes that Senator Clinton is slowly but surely sneaking nationalized health-care through the back door while she unveils his more moderate sounding HillaryCare 2.0. Now while she may think she can take her old health care jalopy off the blocks, apply some bondo and add some new paint, the former first lady will run into individuals like Hassett who dig into the plan and reveal that it's the same socialistic wreck of 1993. Just take a look at what she has in store for America:
The crux of Hillary's plan is an ``individual mandate,'' which requires that all Americans buy health insurance, but guarantees that the government will make insurance available to everyone at ``affordable'' prices.
To accomplish this, the plan will create a government- regulated national pool through which individuals can purchase insurance. Those who are already insured would get to choose whether to keep their current health coverage or purchase the new national plan.
Additionally, Clinton would force big businesses that don't offer health insurance to pay a tax.
In order to sell to the national pool, the government would demand that insurers cover all applicants (``guaranteed issue'') and that premium levels would have to be indiscriminate, regardless of people's health status when they apply (``community rating.'')
What's more, premiums wouldn't be allowed to exceed a predetermined fraction of total household income.
She estimates that her plan would cost $110 billion per year -- which is probably low, but who's counting?
Goodbye, Tax Cuts
To pay for it, Clinton hopes to exploit the significant savings from improved health-care technology, particularly from electronic medical records. She would also use some of the revenue from the repeal of President George W. Bush's tax cuts. Additionally, she advocated a cap on the tax deductibility of health insurance for wealthy Americans with expensive insurance coverage.
In other words, Hillary is telling every American that they must purchase a health-insurance product the government likes. This is inconsequential if you already have a plan the government will like, but a serious problem if government makes you purchase something you don't want.
Although Massachusetts is the only state to try out the individual mandate, there have been a variety of experiments with community rating and guaranteed issue by state governments. States with these regulations tended to experience higher premiums and lower rates of coverage, particularly among the healthy.
I just hope more Americans are paying attention to Hillary's stealth efforts and reject her health-care plan and seek out a more market friendly alternative that gives them a real choice.
*I prefer the ideas that are hashed out in Arnold Kling's Crisis of Abundance, David Gratzer's The Cure, Michael F. Cannon's Healthy Competition, Sally C. Pipes' Miracle Cure, think tanks like the Cato Institute, Manhattan Institute, and the Center for Health Transformation.
Monday, September 24, 2007
As a devoted reader and scholar of military history and history in general, I scratch my head when pontificates, protesters, members of Congress and various others comment on how the war in Iraq is costing too many lives, taking too long, or isn't working as they want it to(Some are only satisfied when their isn't war, unless maybe it's Darfur) . What these individuals need to do is pick up a good history book on the Revolutionary War, the Mexican-American War, The Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and realize that situations and events turn on a dime in these war zones and things don't go like you want to and requires you to change the way you fight as you go. The best fight is one in which a force changes its fighting techniques on the go and sticks with what works in a given situation or area. After reading this piece, it looks like such techniques are indeed being applied in our current counterinsurgency fight in Iraq and is resulting in slow but steady progress within the streets and neighborhoods in Baghdad and in the rest of Iraq. I guess our military commanders have read their history and are paying attention to what is going on in their region of operations. So carry on with your noble fight.
*To get an insight in the difficulties that our soldiers and leaders face against a determined and agile enemy, I recommend you check out Ken Burns' new PBS series The War.
Based on this article by Rowan Scarborough in The Examiner, it looks like Representative Murtha might have to eventually retract his statements on the 2005 incident in which four Marines were accused of murdering some 24 Iraqis. According to the article, three of the four have been cleared of the charges and the fourth is awaiting a hearing on whether or not some of these deaths were justified by self-defense during an house clearing operation. Now while the military still has to go through a pre-trial hearing to determine whether or not the case warrants a court-martial, it shows folks that when it comes to war folks in the media and especially combat veterans like Congressman Murtha shouldn't be so quick to accuse folks of war crimes before the facts are laid out. Thanks to Rowan Scarborough for reporting the facts on this story even if it isn't pasted on the front pages or reported by MSM radio and television.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Here's an interesting piece over at Strategy Page which points out that maybe the members of Al Qaeda are having a little mob-style fight within the family. Such would be welcomed news within the military and the intelligence community.
Mark Hemingway has a good piece over at National Review Online that takes a well balanced look at the recent shooting incident between Blackwater security and the Iraqis and provides us with some insights on the company, security contract arrangements, turf-wars within Iraq's Ministry of Interior, Iraqi politics, and problems with the American bureaucracy thus demonstrating that the situation is far more complicated than what the critics in the MSM and the left are carrying on about. Such an incident is indeed a tragedy and complicates our situation in Baghdad but I believe that maybe we should wait until the facts are out before we lay everything at the feet of Blackwater and the people who risk their lives to protect our State Department officials and the other civilians who serve in Iraq.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Mark Moyar has a good piece in the NY Sun should take note of history and our military chain of command before they start impinging the integrity of a devoted soldier or issuing which points out that politicians, various members of the MSM, and critics on the left(and to a lesser extent on the right) need to be wary in blaming or criticizing generals and members of the military as "carrying water" for the administration and realize that they're hired to fight wars and report what they know about the battlefield thus providing the civilian commanders facts to make policy. So maybe the folks criticizing General Petraeussnarky comments like "willing suspension of disbelief." Thank goodness we have historians like Mark Moyar to keep us on our toes.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I'd have to agree that the people who created the ad that portrayed Hillary as "Big Brother" from George Orwell's classic 1984 have her pegged, especially after the most recent roll-out of Hillary Care 2.0. (With her dabbling in socialized medicine, I prefer Laura Ingraham's portrayal of Hillary as being Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)
For more on Hillary Care 2.0 see here, here, here, and here.
Monday, September 17, 2007
According to Robert Novak's most recent column it looks like the Democrats in Congress, under the tutelage of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), are trying there best to push through a bill which will raise the capital gains and dividend taxes on the investor class(50% of Americans) and will soak the "rich folks" who make over $200,000 with a myriad of taxes as well as placing a surtax on top of the current 36% rate.(Novak said on Your World with Neil Cavuto that this will be 4%). Now while the Dems are right to be ready to eliminate the ever creeping AMT, I don't believe that you do so by slapping more taxes on the folks that are being hit by the AMT. The soaking the rich policy is a bad way to run an economy and will only result in turning our economy down the road of ruin.
*Amity Shlaes has a good solution at tempering the Democrats "soak the rich" policies which is Clinton's former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. I'm no friend of Rubin's policies but I feel much safer with his moderating tones and ideas than what the Democrats and Clinton, Obama and Edwards are offering.
As on of "Jerry's Kids," I have a vested interest in raising the awareness of the horrific disease of Muscular Dystrophy and noting how important it is to raise money to find a cure. Now as a conservative and a champion of the private sector, I've got to point you in the direction of Augie's Quest which raises funds for the fight against ALS. Thankfully Augie's Quest caught the eye of John Ondrasik(Lead singer of Five for Fighting) who has donated the use of his song "100 Years" on a video on the damage ALS poses to the body and the efforts scientist and Augie's Quest are doing to find a cure. Now if you go to this link, you'll find a video in which Glenn Tullman/Allscripts and Bert and Cyndie Silva will donate $1 a piece each and every time the four minute video is played. So for the sake of Augie's Quest, visit the site again and again and raise tons of money for the fight against ALS.
*I'd like to give my props to John Ondrasik for helping in the Augie's Quest.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
It looks like the Iranian government is getting a little antsy Iraq from Al about our forces pursuing and capturing their agents that they have decided to pull their Qods Forces out of Iraq. I'd say that General Petraeus, his staff, and the soldiers in his command are doing far better in Iraq than the Dems and the MSM are giving them credit for. So here's wishing General Petraeus, our soldiers, and their Iraqi comrades great luck and safety in their fight to secure Iraq from Al Qaeda and other nefarious forces.
If I were a citizen of London, then my vote for mayor would be for Boris Johnson. From the looks of this column in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson could be the Rudy Giuliani of London and return some sanity to this historic city. He surely beats the political correctness and multiculturalism of the current mayor "Red" Ken Livingston.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Here's a good piece by John R Thomson over at Townhall.com that points out how members of Congress are damaging our strategic, diplomatic, and economic benefits between this country and our friends in South America and Asia by refusing to push through Free Trade Agreements with Columbia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. I just find it amazing that the Democrats have been advocates for being more friendly with various nations in the world are so quick to reject policies that help raise the living standards of these foreign nations, creating viable markets for our goods and preventing future genocides and disasters so common in archaic and poor nations of the world. I for one prefer signing Free Trade deals that allow these nations to pull themselves up by their boot straps rather than sending in tons of aid or the eventual use of our military in various areas of this world. Here's hoping wiser minds prevail and such deals are pushed through.
Michael Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute, has a great op/ed piece over at the NY Post that points out how the American Cancer Society has gone outside its traditional role of educating the American people on cancer prevention and the various medical treatments and is advocating the implementation of a nationalized health-care. Now as a group that strives for preventing cancer and curing people from its evil menace, you'd think the American Cancer Society would be very cautious in push a health-care system which is more costly to the cancer patient than our current system. Though the ACS hasn't taken the time to research the consequences of nationalize health-care on the cancer patients, Tanner has a provided a good set a of statistics from other countries that have nationalized health-care and reveals that the American Cancer Society is advocating a dangerous path for current and future cancer patients. Here's a look:
In the United States, there are no such government-set limits, meaning that the most advanced treatment options are far more available. This translates directly into saved lives.
Take prostate cancer, for example. Even though American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than their counterparts in other countries, we are less likely to die from the disease. Fewer than 20 percent of American men with prostate cancer will die from it, against 57 percent of British men and nearly half of French and German men. Even in Canada, prostate cancer kills a quarter of men diagnosed with the disease.
A big part of the reason is that, in most countries with national health insurance, the preferred treatment for prostate cancer is . . . nothing.
Prostate cancer is a slow-moving disease. Most patients are older and will live for several years after diagnosis. Therefore it is not cost-effective in a world of socialized medicine to treat the disease too aggressively. The approach saves money - but at a high human cost.
Similar results can be found for other forms of cancer. For instance, only 30 percent of U.S. citizens diagnosed with colon cancer die from it, compared to fully 74 percent in Britain, 62 percent in New Zealand, 58 percent in France, 57 percent in Germany, 53 percent in Australia and 36 percent in Canada.
And less than 25 percent of U.S. women die from breast cancer. In Britain, it's 46 percent; France, 35 percent; Germany, 31 percent; Canada, 28 per- cent; Australia, 28 percent, and New Zealand, 46 percent.
Even when there is a desire to offer treatment, national health-care systems often lack the resources to provide it. In Britain, for example, roughly 40 percent of cancer patients never get to see an oncology specialist. Delays in receiving treatment under Britain's national health service are often so long that nearly 20 percent of colon cancer cases considered treatable when first diagnosed are incurable by the time treatment is finally offered.
In Canada, the Society of Surgical Oncology recommends that cancer surgery take place within two weeks of preoperative tests. Yet one study indicates that median waiting time for cancer surgery in Canada ranged from 29 days for colorectal cancer to more than two months for urinary cancers. Radiation treatment and new therapies, such as brachytherapy, are also far less available than they are in the United States. Consider this: seven out of 10 Canadian provinces report sending prostate-cancer patients to the United States for radiation treatment.
I just hope folks or family members of folks who have or had cancer to call on the American Cancer Society to return to their non-partisan/educational stance and move away from politics and issues like nationalized health-care. Such policies are best left for politicians, voters, and think tanks to discuss such matters rather groups like the American Cancer Society.
It looks like the Mugabe regime has knocked one more leg out from under the stool their of his opposition by forcing the resignation of Archbishop Pius Ncube. This goes to show what extremes that a regime will go to in order to shut down the voices that challenge his thuggish rule. I just hope someone has the ability to overcome such tactics and return some sanity back to the former "breadbasket" of southern Africa.
Here's a good piece by Max Schulz in the Washington Examiner which points out how important the mining of coal is to the US economy and the supply of our energy not to mention how with the use of new technology in this nation will be a key in making coal as a viable resource in our march towards energy independence. Now while I prefer nuclear energy due to the fact it doesn't emit greenhouse gases and creates more energy much longer, I've got to say that Schulz's piece makes some great points about the importance of coal and is a must for people interested in our energy future.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
It looks like the Brits are feeling the crunch of immigration and are pushing through legislation that will restrict massive and ensure that current and future will be assimilated by forcing them to know the English language and its culture. I just wish our politicians would follow the same and stop pushing their crazy immigration bill.