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Monthly Archives: September 2009

A nation dominated by lies, anger & trivial pursuit

Listen to any political debate, not only on television and forums but also between our elected representatives and leaders and you quickly realize we have become a society where hyperbole replaces fact and derision supplants discussion. It's no longer enough to simply disagree. We must attack the other side with misinformation, distorted facts and outright lies. President Barack Obama hypes health care horror stories with half-truths. Republicans attack Obama with lies about "death panels." Words like "Nazi" and "Hitler" and "Socialist" and "traitor" become part of everyday discussion. We are a nation driven by distrust, distortion and disinformation. Hate, fear and anger replace reason. We cannot debate without losing our tempers and calling people names.

Afghanistan: Forgetting the lessons of Vietnam

Anyone who has paid much attention to 20th-century warfare should be getting nervous about Afghanistan. The war there is developing the ominous characteristics of other modern unconventional conflicts. These wars have little in common with traditional ones, the kind where the proper objects of military action are straightforward targets like beachheads and bunkers.

Agencies use tricks to conceal information

President Barack Obama's new standards of openness in the federal government have not trickled down to some of its agencies, where officials have used special statutes inserted into bills to skirt the Freedom of Information Act, open government advocates said Wednesday. Efforts to strengthen the 42-year-old law "have been hampered by the increasing use of legislative exemptions that are often sneaked into legislation without debate or public scrutiny," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said in remarks prepared for a hearing on the issue. News organizations and media groups said new legislation was needed to limit the information agencies may keep secret and for how long.

Senate committee rejects public option

A Senate panel on Tuesday rejected a government-run "public" insurance option as part of a broad healthcare overhaul, handing insurers an early victory and setting the stage for a long fight over one of the bill's most contentious issues. The two votes in the Senate Finance Committee were the first of several battles expected in Congress over a public insurance option, a flashpoint in the raging debate over President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. The panel's Democratic chairman, Max Baucus, opposed both amendments and said Democrats could not muster the 60 Senate votes needed to clear Republican procedural hurdles and pass a healthcare reform bill if it includes the public option.

Long, nasty fight looms for health care reform

A sweeping health overhaul bill has survived a major challenge from the left, but onslaughts loom from the right on thorny issues including abortion and insurance coverage for illegal immigrants. Liberal Democrats failed in two efforts Tuesday to include a government-run insurance option in the legislation before the Senate Finance Committee. Finance is the last of five congressional panels completing work on President Barack Obama's No. 1 domestic priority, a top-to-bottom reshaping of the U.S. health care system to hold down costs and extend coverage to the uninsured.

Who are they?

Reports today indicate that a private security firm has taken control of police duties in Hardin, Montana. The town has disbanded its own police force, the local prison is up for grabs and an offer was made - and rejected - to house Gitmo prisoners there. Not much else is clear. Who is APF and why are they there? http://rawstory.com/blog/2009/09/mysterious-unregistered-security-firm-policing-montana-town/ http://www.americanpolicegroup.com/ http://www.billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_4079a856-a017-11de-994f-001cc4c002e0.html

Obama’s anecdotes long on hype, short on fact

One of President Barack Obama's health care "horror stories" is about a woman who, he says, lost her health insurance on the verge of breast cancer surgery because she didn't disclose a case of acne to the insurer. That's not what happened. Robin Lynn Beaton, 59, of Waxahachie, Texas, indeed had her insurance suspended and then terminated when she needed it the most. Hers is a cautionary tale about how an insurance company can act in a seemingly arbitrary manner to revoke coverage for lifesaving treatment. But not for the reasons Obama cites. She "was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne," he said in one telling.

Memo to Obama: Start acting like a President

Increasingly, it is becoming clear that Barack Obama hasn't yet realized he is no longer a candidate for President and he will come to the stunning conclusion that he is, in fact, the President. Maybe then he will start acting like a President and not a wannabe. As Obama's stumbles and bumbles become business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the mainstream media that once fawned over his every move is now frowning at his many missteps. Richard Cohen of The Washington Post is the latest to face the reality of Obama's failings.

Flake or not, Palin is still popular in GOP ranks

For reasons that defy logic, political reality and common sense, Republicans still back former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the soap opera that surrounds her. Even with widespread criticism and antics that doom most political careers, Palin remains a contender in GOP circles for the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Yet Politico, in interviews with Republicans around the country, found widespread support within the party of the elephant. Most reasoned political observers consider Palin a flake but flake or not she still plays well with the Republican base. Which raises a troublesome question: Why?

The Iran threat: Real or just another excuse?

Call it Deja Vu all over again. An American warning that another middle eastern country is a threat because of a secret nuclear program. This time, it's Iran. Only the program wasn't all that secret and the threat may not be all that great. Sound familiar? We heard the same thing in George W. Bush's buildup to the Iraq war. And while America and its allies appeared to stand in unanimous agreement about the purported threat from Iran, they disagree behind the scenes about the validity and depth of the threat. And, as usual, there is a wild card called Israel.