Friday, March 25, 2011

Libya vs. Iraq

$5B Hollywood Handout Bankrupting Obamacare

$5B Hollywood Handout Bankrupting Obamacare - Newsmax
A $5 billion handout to states, big corporations, and Hollywood unions to subsidize health insurance for early retirees is threatening to bankrupt a major part of the year-old healthcare reform law, according to staffers of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A small percentage of the organizations signed up for the plan has already drained more than $500 million from the program’s coffers.

Like many provisions in Obamacare, the “Early Retiree Reinsurance Program” has largely escaped public scrutiny and congressional oversight. The program provides subsidies to employers and unions to cover between $15,000 and $90,000 of the healthcare costs for early retirees....

Nearly 5,500 organizations have been approved to participate in the program. Among the 253 participants that received more than $535 million in ERRP funding last year were Hollywood unions such as the Screen Actors’ Guild, and large corporations like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Sara Lee.

The lion’s share of ERRP reimbursements went to state governments, followed by non-profits, corporations, unions, and religious organizations, the report says.

Over one-third of the of the money spent in 2010, some $182 million, went to just five government entities: California Public Employees’
Retirement System — $57.8 million; State of New Jersey Treasury Department, Pension Accounting Services — $38.6 million; Georgia Department of Community Health, State Health Benefit Plan — $35 million; Commonwealth of Kentucky — $29.7 million; and Employees Retirement System of Texas — $20,982,299.

The retiree reinsurance money was supposed to last until 2014. The program received $5 billion — the same amount provided for high-risk coverage pools for people with pre-existing conditions. But with 10 percent of the allocated funds already spent on less than 5 percent of program participants in just a few months, the fund will likely run dry by early next year...

Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war

Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
Byron York/Washington Examiner
The Speech Obama Hasn't Given - What are we doing in Libya? Americans deserve an explanation. - Peggy Noonan/Wall Street Journal
Obama makes 'kinetic military action' against the English language
Gene Healy/Washington Examiner

Obama and Libya: The professor’s war

Obama and Libya: The professor’s war - Charles Krauthammer/Washington Post
President Obama is proud of how he put together the Libyan operation. A model of international cooperation. All the necessary paperwork. Arab League backing. A Security Council resolution. (Everything but a resolution from the Congress of the United States, a minor inconvenience for a citizen of the world.) It’s war as designed by an Ivy League professor.

True, it took three weeks to put this together, during which time Moammar Gaddafi went from besieged, delusional (remember those youthful protesters on “hallucinogenic pills”) thug losing support by the hour — to resurgent tyrant who marshaled his forces, marched them to the gates of Benghazi and had the U.S. director of national intelligence predicting that “the regime will prevail.”

Krauthammer: Obama’s “Working On Language That Will Disguise A Failure” - Flopping Aces

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The First 2012 Debate Approaches.

The First 2012 Debate Approaches. Or Does it?
The 2012 presidential campaign is finally getting underway, in fits and starts.

But the election season really arrives on May 2, when the Republican candidates gather in Simi Valley, Calif., for a televised debate at the library of their collective hero, Ronald Reagan.

Or, maybe they won’t.

In the political world, the first presidential debate is a signal that the game has begun. But the fate of this year’s first debate, co-sponsored by Politico and NBC, appears to be a bit uncertain....

Conversations with Republican operatives this week suggest that there is deep skepticism in the camps of several potential candidates about jumping into a televised debate so soon after getting into the race. And several Republicans said they were nervous about committing to a debate hosted by NBC if the moderator ends up being a television host with an acknowledged liberal bias, like Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews.

Michele Bachmann moves closer to presidential bid

Bachmann Tells ABC News, "I'm In!" - abcnews
Michele Bachmann moves closer to presidential bid - latimes

White House officials are referring to the war in Libya not as a war but as a "kinetic military action."

Headlines on Drudge:
Libya Op: Lowest Approval of Any GALLUP-Polled Military Action... - gallup
Mission 'clouded by confusion'... - AP
Dems Not Buying... - politico
White House: Days, not weeks... -
France: Weeks, not days... -
Dem Rep: Obama told me US would be 'in and out' of Libya... - realclearpolitics
"Everything that the President has indicated to me is that we expect to be 'in and out' very quickly. The reason why we started is because we have the technology that the other countries don't have but after the first week or so we're expecting the British, the French and the other NATO countries to really take over for us," Rep. Engel Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) told ABC News' "Top Line" program.
Engel said that President Obama needs to address the nation on Libya. Engel says Obama also needs to talk to Congress if the operation in Libya "lasted a few weeks."
Pentagon: US likely to continue combat in Libya... - AP
Obama: No U.S. Forces on the Ground in Libya… Except For Those Guys. - nationalreview
Libya: Nearly 100 civilians died in air strikes...

Solving Your Aching Back

Solving Your Aching Back By Peter Hannaford on 3.7.11 at The American Spectator

After the common cold, back pain is the most frequent ailment of Americans seeking medical advice. It has been conservatively estimated that 10 to 30 percent of the U.S. population suffers from back pain at any given moment. That would be about 30 million people at a minimum. Several thousand of them are experiencing it for the first time.

What is done about it? Too often surgery, contends Paul Altrocchi, MD, MPH, in an eye-opening , well-argued book, Stop Harmful Surgery: Back Pain, a New Approach at Last, published by Xlibris Corporation.

The damning contradictions of Obama's attack on Libya

The damning contradictions of Obama's attack on Libya
- Michael Barone/Washington Examiner
Let's imagine that all goes well in Libya. The rebels, protected by airstrikes, recapture lost territory and sweep into Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi and his sons one way or the other disappear.
Leaders propose a democratic and secular constitution that voters overwhelmingly approve. The first act of the duly elected government is to issue a proclamation of thanks and friendship to the United States, Britain, France and others who prevented Gadhafi's mass slaughter.

Well, we can all dream, can't we?

But in the cold light of day none of these happy eventualities seems very likely. As one who hopes for success in this enterprise, I am dismayed by the contradictions in the course we are following.
Obama silent on vision for post-Gadhafi Libya
- Hayley Peterson/Washington Examiner
Libya: A no-fly zone in a country with virtually no air force
- Byron York/Washington Examiner

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

“A lot of people who got waivers were … people who are our friends.”

One of the most outspoken Democratic supporters of Obamacare, ◼ Anthony Weiner: Waiver might work for New York

Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health law waiver might work for New York City.

Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the city’s special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of the health care law’s biggest supporters; during the debate leading up to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public option.

Refresher course:
Corruption: SEIU's Chicago Chapter Gets Obamacare Waiver - nation.foxnews
Where's My ObamaCare Waiver? -
Investigating Obamacare Waiver-mania - Michelle Malkin
Obamacare Waiver Mania, Part XXXVII: Entire State Gets Exemption - Michelle Malkin
America sure did lose its appetite fast. First unions and various corporations received Obamacare waivers by the hundreds, and now whole states are getting them...When it comes to Obamacare, the only effective, not to mention fair, waiver is total repeal.

Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart

Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart - DailyMail
'Gadhafi Is Facing a Coalition of the Unwilling' - Spiegel
Al Qaida commander backs Libyan rebels in message - Jerusalem Post

ObamaCare One Year Later

Boehner Vows to Euthanize Obamacare; Dem and White House Life Support Unplugged - NewsMax
Republicans in the House will hold hearings and more votes "to take this law apart, step by step," Boehner said. "A fundamental promise was broken when this government takeover of health care was pushed through. That day, that week, the people said one thing, and their government did another.”

Meanwhile, the Health Information Campaign, which Democrats began in June with high hopes, is dissolving, Politico reports. The group, meant to support Obamacare, was created by Wal-Mart Watch founder Andrew Grossman. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Ted Kennedy's widow, Vicki, were supposed to lead the charge. And Grossman sought $125 million in funding over five years.

But nine months later, the group it pretty much toast. Its website hasn't been updated since Dec. 31. Its executive director and communications director have flown the coop. It is bereft of funds, and neither Daschle nor Dunn returned Politico’s calls to discuss it. Grossman wouldn’t speak about the campaign on the record.

In addition, the White House Office of Health Reform shut down this month. The office was intended to coordinate communication between pro-Obamacare groups.
Obamcare: they don't like the dog food - Michael Barone/Washington Examiner
What a difference a year has made for Obamacare - Examiner Editorial
For one thing, solid majorities of the public favor repeal of Obamacare, which helps explain why Pelosi -- who famously said Congress had to pass Obamacare so the American people could find out what it contained -- no longer commands a Democratic House majority. Running with repeal of Obamacare among their most visible promises, Republicans in 2010 enjoyed their biggest congressional victory since 1938, picking up 63 House seats and replacing Pelosi with John Boehner as speaker. On the legal front, 26 states have joined in two separate suits seeking to have Obamacare declared unconstitutional. Two federal judges have agreed with them, with one of the jurists challenging the Justice Department to request an expedited appeal that is certain to reach the Supreme Court in the near future. Two other federal judges upheld the law, but neither sought to expedite appeals of their rulings.

Perhaps the most revealing change in the year past, however, is the reaction of the employers who face mandates under Obamacare that impose massive new costs and mountains of red tape. As a result, more than a thousand employers, including Fortune 500 corporations, nonprofits, labor unions and small businesses, have requested and received one-year waivers to buy them some time to figure out how to cope with Obamacare's demands. Those demands are so severe that even previously enthusiastic Obamacare advocates in the business community, like Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, are stepping back. "I think as the bill is currently written and if it was going to land in 2014 under the current guidelines, the pressure on small businesses, because of the mandate, is too great," Schultz recently told the Seattle Times.



President Barack Obama apparently decided that photos of himself touring historic remnants of a collapsed society might not be the best image for a commander in chief fending off charges even from Democrats that his Libya policy is in shambles. …

Obama playing defense over Libya - CNN
Obama ending Americas tour, cuts Mayan visit - AP
Libya: Obama’s War - RedState

Biden: We should impeach presidents who launch attacks without Congressional approval

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Libya Crisis Reveals the Folly of Defense Cuts

The Libya Crisis Reveals the Folly of Defense Cuts - Alvin S. Felzenberg/National Review, The Corner
Even as the American military is executing the United Nations–mandated no-fly zone over Libya, politicians and commentators still fail to appreciate the lessons of the world’s sudden fondness for the strength of American arms. While fatigue with decade-long ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has produced a political climate amenable to drastic defense cuts, the lessons of Libya reveal again the dangerous fallacy of treating the Pentagon budget as a cash-cow in difficult fiscal times. As the recent clamor for American air and naval power to enforce the Libyan no-fly zone demonstrates, cuts to the major weapons systems most needed to project American power are particularly dangerous in a world which, bestselling books aside, remains anything but “post-American.”

The Libyan crisis has shown that America is still the “indispensable” nation. If it is to remain so, it will continue to need major weapons systems, of the kind so many self-described “progressives” deride as overpriced, unnecessary, and indicative of a “Cold War mentality....”
read the rest...

No-Fly Zone

U.S. pilots face tight restraints in Libyan war - Byron York/Washington Examiner
At first, the mission seemed relatively simple, although not exactly easy: Use American air power to establish a no-fly zone to prevent Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi from using his planes to crush opposition forces and kill civilians. But the United Nations coalition decided to go beyond creating and maintaining a no-fly zone to actually attacking Gadhafi's ground forces.
Allied strikes pummel Libya’s air force but do little to stop attacks on civilians
Since the bombing began Saturday, U.S. and allied forces have launched 162 Tomahawk missiles and conducted more than 100 attacks with precision-guided satellite bombs, said U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of the allied task force charged with enforcing the U.N. resolution that authorized action in Libya.

But he conceded that the airstrikes have been unable to halt attacks by Libyan government forces against civilians...

“This no-fly zone doesn’t mean anything to us because Gaddafi only had a few planes and they were doing nothing,” said the doctor, who spoke by telephone on the condition of anonymity because he fears Libyan forces may soon retake the city. “We need a no-drive zone because it is tanks and snipers that are killing us.”
America's goals in Libya confusing, contradictory, experts say - Sara A. Carter/Washington Examiner
Obama's aloofness/aloftness isn't working. - Althouse
Who are the Libyan rebels? - neoneocon

US Approaching Insolvency

Fix To Be 'Painful': Fisher - cnbc
The United States is on a fiscal path towards insolvency and policymakers are at a "tipping point," a Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday.

"If we continue down on the path on which the fiscal authorities put us, we will become insolvent, the question is when," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said in a question and answer session after delivering a speech at the University of Frankfurt. "The short-term negotiations are very important, I look at this as a tipping point."

But he added he was confident in the Americans' ability to take the right decisions and said the country would avoid insolvency.

"I think we are at the beginning of the process and it's going to be very painful," he added.


White House: Helping install 'a democratic system' is goal in Libya - The Hill
The White House suggested Tuesday the mission in Libya is one of regime change, despite emphatic statements from President Obama and military brass that the goal is not to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power...

At a press conference Monday in Chile, Obama said it is "very easy to square our military actions and our stated policies."

But the president faces an increasingly hostile backlash from Capitol Hill about the specific definition of the mission.
Cost of military campaign in Libya could wipe out GOP's spending cuts - The Hill
Obama faces bipartisan pushback on force; US has no 'king's army' - The Hill
Republican says action in Libya is an 'affront' to the US Constitution - The Hill

The First Casualty of War

The First Casualty of War - Robert Stacy McCain/American Spectator
Shortly after the first U.S. cruise missiles hit their targets Saturday, the collateral damage became apparent -- not in Libya, but on the home front, where liberal credibility was shattered by President Obama's sudden resort to military action against Moammar Gaddafi's regime. Those who had hailed Obama's ascent as the dawn of a new age of peace, an end to the alleged "cowboy" belligerence of the Bush years, exploded with a mixture of outrage, confusion and chagrin as their hero flung the country into war in North Africa.

None was more indignant than Michael Moore....
‘Too Good a Pleasure to Forego’ - The Other McCain
Obama Goes to War - W. James Antle, III/American Spectator
..."Beam me up, Scotty."...Obama allowed that Saddam Hussein was a "brutal man," a "ruthless man," a "man who butchers his own people to secure his own power," a "bad guy" even. But that did not make Saddam's ramshackle military capability a threat to the United States, Obama argued, and thus did not offer sufficient grounds for war on a country that had not attacked us.

How then can these Nobel Peace prize-winning words be squared with the president's decision to bomb Libya? The case for military intervention was based entirely on Muammar Gaddafi being a ruthless man, a bad guy, a man who threatened to butcher his own people to secure his own power.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for US President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked following his decision to attack Libya. - skynews

Monday, March 21, 2011

Local: Know Your Zone -- how to find out if you are at risk of a tsunami

Know Your Zone -- how to find out if you are at risk of a tsunami - Lori Dengler/For the Times-Standard
...The California Geological Survey has taken the lead for mapping tsunami hazards in California.... The state maps are posted online at ◼

We've gone one step further and have taken the inundation maps to produce a set of evacuation maps to be used to plan the best way to get to safe areas.

You can download fliers that include Humboldt and Del Norte County maps at ◼ (select the download Tsunami Maps and Flyers on the right).

You can also find out if you are in a tsunami zone at ◼ Just enter your address, and you can learn not only about tsunamis but earthquake and flood hazards as well.
read the rest

Pawlenty to announce exploratory committee

Report: Pawlenty to announce presidential exploratory committee - HotAir
Tim Pawlenty’s Facebook site asks people to drop by at 3 ET for “a special message exclusive to Facebook supporters.” CNN reports that the former Minnesota governor will announce his first official step into the 2012 presidential race and become the third Republican to launch an exploratory committee...
Tim Pawlenty to form presidential exploratory committee - Chris Cillizza/Washington Post
Pawlenty exploring 2012 run for president - Susan Ferrechio/Washington Examiner

Nationally and in Wisconsin, there is a very sizable majority in favor of Governor Walker

E-mailers Strongly Support Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
...Of all e-mails, the split was 62-32 in support. While JSOnline correctly characterized the support of Wisconsin e-mailers as "closer," the support still was quite strongly in favor of the Governor:
"When the Center looked only at emails from Wisconsin, the margin was much slimmer, with 55 percent favoring his bill and 42 percent opposed."
So whether you look nationally or only in Wisconsin, there is a very sizable majority in favor of the Governor....

With no debate and no objective, Obama enters a war

With no debate and no objective, Obama enters a war
- Timothy P. Carney at The Washington Examiner 3/20/11
At once presumptuous and flippant, President Obama used a Saturday audio recording from Brazil to inform Americans he had authorized a third war -- a war in which America's role is unclear and the stated objectives are muddled.

Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama's entry into Libya's civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama's announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama's record of deception.

"Today, I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya," the president said. For him it was self-evident he had such authority. He gave no hint he would seek even ex post facto congressional approval. In fact, he never once mentioned Congress.... the president's actions belie his words on the campaign trail. In late 2007, candidate Obama told the Boston Globe, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

There is no claim that Moammar Gadhafi poses a threat to the United States. But asking President Obama to explain his change of heart would be a fruitless exercise. This is a president who has repeatedly shredded the clear meaning of words in order to deny breaking promises he has clearly broken
A Must Read
Obama: Oh, by the way, we’re going to war in Libya - HotAir
Obama Attacks Libya, and Where's Congress? - americanthinker
EDITORIAL: Obama’s illegal war - Congress, not the U.N., should authorize force against Libya - Washington Times
Lawmakers concerned about U.S. role in Libya - Washington Times
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., joined the protesters, saying he was angry that Congress was not consulted before the military strikes. - stltoday
Liberal Democrats in uproar over Libya action - politico
Libya and the Left's Sickening Hypocrisy on the Use of Military Force - americanthinker
'Unique capabilities' mean virtually all-American war in Libya - Byron York/Washington Examiner
A flippant beginning to another war - Timothy P. Carney - Washington Examiner
Okay. We’re Bombing Libya. - Red State
AP Caught Revising a Story on Obama Playing Soccer as We Go to War Without Issuing a Correction - Patterico
Why Congress Played No Role in the Libya Intervention - The Volokh Conspiracy

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Allen West forms 'Guardian Leadership PAC'

Allen West forms 'Guardian Leadership PAC' - cubachi
Florida US Representative Allen West announced that he formed the federal “Guardian Leadership PAC.”

...According to West’s spokesman, the Guardian Leadership PAC is to support other conservative candidates across the country.
Rep. Allen West forms federal ‘leadership PAC’ - thestatecolumn
Allen West, Other GOP Freshmen Form New PACs
His House GOP colleagues in PAC formation include freshman Reps. Steve Womack of Florida (Razor PAC), Kristi Noem of South Dakota (Kristi PAC), and Jeff Denham of California (Jeff PAC). Their counterparts in the Senate are Republican newcomers Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire (Kelly PAC) and John Hoeven of North Dakota (Dakota PAC).

State: Republicans try to find common ground at convention

Republicans try to find common ground at convention with podcast
SACRAMENTO - Millions of registered Republicans in Inland Southern California and around the state someday could receive mail ballots to choose who the party nominates for the Legislature and other partisan posts.

The proposal emerged Saturday at the state GOP's three-day spring convention here as a potential solution to a rift about how the party should endorse candidates when Prop. 14, the state's top-two primary law, goes into effect next year.

"One thing everyone agrees on is that Prop. 14 is a disaster." said Chris Mann, the former treasurer of the Riverside County GOP. "We can't do nothing, but how best do we respond?
State Republican convention opens with discord over "top-two" primary - LA Times
Competing proposals to address Proposition 14 have quickly become one of the hottest topics at this weekend's gathering in Sacramento. At stake is the party’s ability to maintain its influence within the new system, which replaces the traditional party primaries with one contest in which candidates of all party affiliations compete against one another. (The top two winners compete in a runoff, regardless of their affiliation.)

U.S. is the unilateral power in a multilateral world

U.S. is the unilateral power in a multilateral world - Michael Barone at The Washington Examiner 3/19/11
One thing on which there seems to have been agreement during the month-long debate about how the United States should respond to the uprisings in the Middle East, and in particular to the anti-Gaddafi rebels in Libya, is that we must not act unilaterally.
It is a terrible thing, Barack Obama and his leaders have implied, for the United States to do anything by itself. We must have allies and the approval and imprimatur of some multi-nation institution--it doesn't seem to matter much which one--before we take anything in the nature of military action.

This is not an argument but an impulse that can be defended as prudent. There is often some advantage in international affairs in acting with others.

But there's sometimes a downside as well. Multilateral forces can, in strict military terms, be more trouble than they're worth.
Read the rest...


“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
--Benjamin Franklin, 1773