Saturday, August 29, 2009

U.S. Causalities Continue to Mount in Afghanistan, Who will Speak for those Caught in Obama’s War?

U.S. Soldiers in Afganistan - source:

The month of Augustsaw an increase in U.S. casualties; the highest since 2001, yet, despite an increase in ground troops, no exist strategy, and a historically impossible nation to conquer (let alone change hearts and minds), there is little to no opposition to this particular “undeclared war”, with very few exceptions. CNN(Word Edition) is reporting, as is the British Press and a bit here and there from Reuters. From the Sun’sreport on the incompetence of the handling of the war, Reuters, India, reporting on U.S. Casualties, , ReutersAsia reporting on Admiral Mulllins statement that the Afghan conflict is serious and “deteriorating” Lastly, CBS Correspondent, Cami McCormick (as reported by CBS World) was gravely injured while covering the “conflict” for CBS News (Radio).

UK Soldiers in Afganistan - Image Daily Mail

There was no need to go this heavily into Afghanistan; the previous administration had kept minimal levels of troops in that country, while continuing to stabilize Iraq. Once campaign promises were made to move the troops out of Iraq immediately and go after “Osama Bin Ladin” by Obama (using the hatred of the left (his base) for George W. Bush and the War in Iraq, while criticizing Bush for not going after the right target – great on the campaign trail – not in real life). Now, a bad situation that was being corrected (slowly and not fast enough for those “timetable” Democrats) in Iraq, has deteriorated, and an unwinnable Viet Nam is in the making in Afghanistan. That said the media has yet to jump on the anti-war bandwagon, with a situation that is beginning to make Iraq pale by comparison. All news reporting on Afghanistan and causalities has been confined to overseas press (includes CNN World). Had Obama wanted to target Bin Ladin, we have the capabilities to do so, using technology. It would not hurt to develop intelligence in these areas, but, as it is becoming more apparent with domestic policy, that may be impossible for this administration.

There is a lone voice crying in the Wilderness – and that is the voice that Obama praised so heartily when Bush was the Target – Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan, turns out to be an honest anti-war activist, a woman who lost a son in Iraq, and perhaps, to the outside observer, went a bit “round the bend’, in her hatred of Bush and his War – she was seen as a partisan, or used by the Democrat Party, in order to bolster Obama’s presidency. She is now targeting Obama, and protesting the Conflict in Afghanistan. ABC and CBS both reported on Ms. Sheehan’s visit to Martha’s Vineyard, but in a condescending manner – very unlike the press she received in 2007 and 2008.
As it is the Woodstock Anniversary – one tune in particular comes to mind – the strongest anti-war song ever written (humble opinion) by one Country Joe McDonald - Video below – just change Viet Nam to Afghanistan and perhaps, one will understand Ms. Sheehan’s angst a bit better.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harry Reid Pushes Deval Patrick to Fill Kennedy’s Seat – Huffington Post Makes a Game Show Out of Kennedy’s Demise

Harry Reid, Calls on Patrick to Push for Kennedy Successor - So Much for States Rights - image: MSNBC

Massachusetts’s Governor, Deval Patrickhas requested the Commonwealth’s Legislature put a bill on his desk reversing a bill changed in 2004, which would allow Patrick to appoint Kennedy’s successor – this at the urging of Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. With Kennedy barely cold, the Democratic machine is rushing to change Massachusetts law, in order to consolidate power in Washington. (Patrick is most likely to be replaced by constituents in 2010; in the latest polling, Republican Christi Mihos is besting Patrick, a populist, Mihos has both the money and grassroots support to succeed Patrick in 2010.) The Massachusetts House Speaker (often more powerful than the Governor) has has remained silent on the subject, so it is possible, not probable, that Patrick and Reid will not get a quick bill through the Mass. Legislature.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife over who might fill Kennedy’s seat (This blog has been guilty of the same, prompted by Kennedy's letter to Patrick a week prior to his passing). Over at the Huffington Post, the Presidents favored news source, a tacky poll is running on who’s most likely to take the seat - out of a 10 possible choices – the top five “contestants” are Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Martha Coakley, Edward Kennedy Jr., Michael Dukakis and Ed Markey – not in the contestant line-up 4th District Rep., Barney Frank. One might speculate that the news organization which takes its clues from the White House may already have insight into the choice of the administration. That said the circus-like stunt is stunningly disrespectful of the Kennedy’s; given the fact that the family has not yet buried Edward M. Kennedy. It is one thing to speculate, it is another to turn it into theatre.

The Post may have problems with several of their picks, according to the Associated Press, there is noKennedy available to fill Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, according to the AP. Therefore, it is anyone’s best guess. One would think the administration would want someone who is not only competent but charismatic, and a party leader - someone who would be able to whip those who are not willing to go heel to toe with every bill the Administration desires. Michael Dukakis?

What is most infuriating to a citizen of the Commonwealth is difficult to pinpoint, one the one hand, the Governor taking direction from the Senate Majority Leader regarding Massachusetts State Law is – is not only arrogant but a possible violation of the 10th amendment – governing the rights of states - add insult to injury with that, crass carnival over a the Huffington Post (which is most associated with the administration besides MSNBC and NBC),. Although one might not have agreed with Ted Kennedy’s political ideology – his service to the Commonwealth and his constituents was legendary. He took care to answer each letter or concern, and took care of those who required assistance, regardless of their party affiliation. It is the total lack of respect shown by the members of his own Party, that is, in a word, despicable.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Massachusetts Races to Replace Kennedy - Deval Patrick Wants Law Governing Senate Appointment Reversal Change On Desk ASAP

Governor Deval Patrickis calling for the Massachusetts Legislature to reverse the law calling for a general election in the event of a U.S. Senate vacancy, to one allowing Patrick to appoint a successor to Ted Kennedy. This move has been anticipated for several weeks. Kennedy himself, who lobbied for the law to be changed in 2004 when it did not favor the Democrat Party, asked just last week to reverse it, once again. The Massachusetts Legislature, made of almost exclusively of Democrats, will, in all likelihood, bow to the Governor's request.

Who's on the short list? Barney Frank, U.S. Congress, 4th District (MA-D) (according to Mass. Political insiders). Frank, who said he was not interested in running for the Senate Seat, may change his tune "for the good of the country" if asked by close associate, Barack Obama. It is highly unlikely that the Governor would attempt to continue the Kennedy political dynasty, but, that said, with Massachusetts, anything is possible. What is needed, however, for the Obama administration, is a tough salesman, one who is not in the least bit shy about pushing health care reform, and shares the ideology of the administration - Frank fits that criteria.

Health Care Debate Continues to Rage Across the Nation – As Desperate Democrats Attempt to Link Health Care Reform to Kennedy Legacy

In an unbelievable display ofpartisan “bad taste”, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, used Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing in an attempt to “sell” the Obama Administrations Health Care Reform to the nation: (From ABC News:)

"Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.

Pelosi was joined by former Vice President Al Gore and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care, Ralph G. Neas, who, according to ABC News, said the following: “You've heard of 'win one for the Gipper'? There is going to be an atmosphere of 'win one for Teddy.'”
Kennedy, who has yet to be interred, is now being used by the Democrat Party he loved to the end; a tactic they hope will rally the nation around the increasingly unpopular Health Care Reform Bill. The Plan’s popularity has decreased significantly over the summer – as of the 19th of August, 34% of those polled support the bill, with a stunning 57% rejecting the proposal, including Democrats.
Other efforts made by the administration to manufacture support for the plan, include staged pro-health care rallies which were organized by Obama’s Still Active Political Campaign, Organizing for America, otherwise known as “My Barack”. These pro-health care protests against health care protests will take place in 500 cities nationwide in an attempt to prove “majority support” for the plan.

Meanwhile, if one should be inclined to Google, “Health Care Protests”, using “Google News”, one finds that the Protests against the proposed bill continue unabated at town hall meetings nationwide. In fact, the opposition has become so strong, and the Democrat Party so desperate, that a recent event in Colorado where two Democrat’s vandalized a Democratic Party headquarters office in Denver with anti-health care reform signs, was blamed on “Republican Activists (or anti-reform protestors). (One would think a “Republican Activist” would not take a check from the DNC and/or be arrested for over the top protests at the RNC convention in (Video here)2008.)

Locations of remaining Town Hall Events can be found here in PDF format, with Republican Legislators Town Hall Meetings here. In addition to meetings planned by the legislators themselves, groups such as the 912 Project which is a bi-partisan coalition, have rally’s planned in continued opposition to the Obama administrations plan. These 912 Groups have been formed by independents, democrats, libertarians and Republicans in answer to the continued decline in America, including the failed Stimulus Program, high unemployment rates, the erosion of individual rights and health care reform. In other words, these are citizen coalitions formed by regular people, not paid party activist.

Therefore, once the people rejected the Obama Health Care Program (and continue to do so), the administration planned transparent pro-health reform protests, and then, as erosion for the bill has hit the senate and the house, (they do not have enough votes to pass in either house of Congress), they use an American Icon, not yet buried, in a crass attempt to get the bill through both chambers. Other options, (seeing that they do not have a majority in the Senate, even had Kennedy been alive and well), were to use the budget reconciliation option in order to sneak the bill past the U.S. populace by using a “simple majority” vote One can assume, since chatter on that has ceased, they do not have the 50 votes necessary to push this through – therefore, roll out the dead man. Would Ted Kennedy have approved, more than likely; that said, his constituents, even in the die-hard blue state of Massachusetts, are against this plan – the game plan remains in the minds of the majority – should a member of the House or Senate, regardless of Party (see Olympia Snow (R-ME) most likely Republican to pull an Specter), vote for this bill against the wishes of the majority of their constituents, they will add an additional burden to the 16% real unemployment rate the nation is currently enjoying. Additionally, one would think that these members also have access to news, let alone angry constituents who have made it clear that they must choose between party ideology or their job, which may be causing more than one Democrat to rethink their position, despite, Ms. Pelosi’s use of a recently deceased icon.

Note: Although Barney Frank (MA-D) U.S. House Member, has told NRP that he would not seek the Senate Seat, which politician, when offered (should the Mass. Laws change again), an appointment by the Governor (sic. Obama, via Axelrod, via Patrick) would decline? Additionally, the argument that should Frank move to the Senate power and positions would be lost is moot – the Democrat Party, in control of both the House and the Senate, can name Frank to any position that they choose, and fill the Committees and Chairs that Frank currently enjoys with anyone they choose. Patrick Kennedy’s name has also been bandied about as has Joe Kennedy’s, but they lack the experience and the political savvy of Barney Frank, and would not be as effective a tool for the administration and the Party.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward M. “Teddy” Kennedy – Deceased - The End of An American Political Dynasty

Ted Kennedy with Barack Obama - image NY Magazine

Edward M. Kennedythe senior Senator from Massachusetts, died yesterday evening at the family estate in Hyannis at the age of 77 after a battle with brain cancer. Known as the “Lion of the Senate”, Kennedy was a staunch liberal and standard bearer for the Democrat Party. Kennedy’s passing heralds the end of an era for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as the country. He will be remembered for his soaring rhetoric and defense of his Democrat Party. He was pivotal in the nomination of Barack Obama in 2008, being one of the first to endorse Obama, and using his political clout within the Party to ensure enough Super Delegates would choose the Illinois Senator. Even in the last weeks of his life, Kennedy put his Political Party first – just last week he attempted to use his influence with the Massachusetts legislature to reverse the process of selection of a U.S. Senator should a seat become vacant. Currently, under Massachusetts law, should a seat become vacant, a general election is held, previously, the law stated that the Governor would appoint a Senator. The original law was changed at Kennedy’s behest, due to the anticipated vacancy of John Kerry’s seat in the 2004 presidential election. At the time, Mitt Romney, a Republican, was Governor of the Commonwealth, and Kennedy feared he would appoint a Republican to the U.S. Senate. Kennedy, mindful that the rules would might not favor (or allow Deval Patrick to appoint a successor), the Democrat Party, wanted to reverse the Commonwealth laws.

The Kennedy family ruled Massachusetts and the nation, not always under the rule of the law – the family fortune was amassed by Joe Kennedy, a “bootlegger” (producer and distributor of illegal alcohol during the U.S. Prohibition), and womanizer, who fathered 9 children. His sons, John F. Kennedy, President of the U.S. and Robert Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General, were assassinated in the 1960’s, leaving Ted Kennedy as the eldest to carry on the political torch. He ran for President in 1980, and lost to Jimmy Carter, due to his checkered past, specifically, an incident at Chappaquiddick where Kennedy drove his car over a bridge, left the scene of the accident and his passenger, a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, to drown. His actions, for good or for ill, made Ted Kennedy one of the most interesting political figures of our time. There simply are no other Democrat Party Statesmen of his stature and ability left in the Party he loved to the very end of his life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Democrats Plan Pro-Health Care Reform Road Trip - Mission Impossible – Proving a Majority Supports Obama’s Health Care Reform Plan.

Although the proposed Health Care Reform Bill has been rejected by an increasing number of American’s, so much so that articles such as US News & World Report’s, “Polls Show Its Time for Democrats to Drop Health Care Reform”, have begun to appear in newspapers and opeds nationwide. The left wing of the White House has decided that a tour of pro-Health Care Reform Rallies is just the ticket needed to change the hearts and minds of the public. Organizing for American (see Obama Campaign) and Health Care for America Now are bringing the “message” of Health Care Reform to 500 cities across the country. These rallies are designed to prove that the American Public overwhelming supports the bill. In other words, a propaganda campaign based on the hope that most American’s don’t read or watch the news, so that minds can be changed by simply staging events designed to show support for the program.

The events will feature a Health Care Reform Bus rolling into the first of 11 cities :Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, Des Moines, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Charlotte, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. One would think these rallies are open to the public.

The planning of these events has been ongoing – The President’s campaign site: Organizing for America (or My Barack has been holding a series of organizational meetings – one of which took place in Utica NY today. The Organization’s website reports that over 280,000 “activities” spoke with the President and received this message:

“Remember one thing. Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. That’s how we won this election. You know this and that’s why since OFA launched its Health Care Reform campaign in June, you’ve hosted 11,000 events in more than 2,500 towns in every single state and every single congressional district…I am absolutely confident that we can get this done, but I want everyone to remember, this has never been easy..We are not going to give up now. We are going to get this done.”

What does the President of the United States do when his poll numbers are plummeting and his programs are unpopular with the majority of Americans? – He works through his campaign arm (when does he stop campaigning?) to illustrate to the public (via the media) with loud voices (those participating members of his campaign aided by other likeminded community organizations) that this plan is exactly what the public wants, regardless of any facts. Additionally, one can anticipate that these “well-attended” rallies will be heralded as real American’s expressing their First Amendment Rights, rather than “mobs of Anti-American, Insurance Company plants” which attended, and continue to attend Health Care forums and debates nationwide.” The tactics of those who scream the longest and loudest, are outlined here at a virtual primer for Conservatives, Independents, Republicans and Moderate Democrats on getting one’s point across, no specifically discussed (although not related to) are the tactics being used by the Obama campaign arms. It is a must read in order to understand the Progressive mindset.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Senate Plans to Sneak Public Option Through Budget Reconciliation Maneuver – Removes Need for Majority Vote – Obama poll 27% Strongly Approve New Low

The New York Timesarticle, buried under the heading of “Health” then further: “Money and Policy”, reported that Senate Democrats are planning on using budget reconciliation to get a health care bill passed with a “simple majority”. The Democrats have been busy consulting their lawyers to see if they could find a way to push the Public Option through without a full Senate Vote – they believe they have succeeded. The solution is rather simple – Senators only need to prove that the public option would save the government money – and anyone with any common sense and/or a sense of history understands that plans that the government designs to save money (outside of tax cuts) generally ends up costing a fortune; despite figures pulled out of a proverbial hat in order to prove otherwise.

The best part of this whole shenanigans is the fact that Senate Democrats (let alone House Democrats) are blaming Republicans – It’s the Republican’s fault that the Democrats cannot get the “Single Payer (Government controlled Health plan) through because the Democrats don’t control the necessary 60 votes - which, is patently untrue. The Democrats now enjoy what is known as a Super Majority – it is a filibuster prove, rule that allows them to ramrod anything they want past the American people without a peep of opposition (except for cable, Internet, radio, national news and print where the debate can continue). They have the necessary bodies, they apparently do not have enough Democrats in favor of losing their jobs (see angry constituents) – therefore, in order to continue to bamboozle the public (which is now accurately aware that this particular bunch is more than capable of doing just that), the apparent game plan is to blame the Republicans and then attach some questionable math to an even more questionable bill in order to get it passed with less than the normal 60 votes. Apparently, this may also protect those who do vote from being “outed” to the public – otherwise known as constituents who have clearly expressed, under no certain terms, that those who vote in favor of a public option will be seeking employment elsewhere come 2010 or 2012.

This is where John Q. Public can take heart – nothing that has been done, cannot be undone. Simply, laws can be changed an amended. All one needs is a good housecleaning – from the executive to the legislative branch – and the people most certainly are capable of doing so – time and time again. It is the beauty of this form of government. It won’t take long to “fix” the health care system again, with another more reasonable act.

In the meantime, the public option would do the following: offer lower cost insurance to those who currently do not have insurance – or free insurance to those who cannot afford insurance at all – the tab would be picked up by the taxpayer. Further, those employers who cannot afford health benefits, can simply opt out of them, pushing their employees into the public option plan – the fewer American’s who are participating in private plans will cause the Private Insurance Carriers to reduce their workforce – causing a greater burden on the public option and also on the unemployment rolls. The icing on the cake: Congress and certain unions can keep their private health insurance – not opting for the government run program. This could mean a long two years, however, the programs need to be implemented first – which, considering the current efficiency of said government – may make the aforementioned a moot point. (There are a host of other ailments associated with this bill, but for the sake of brevity - and the fact that, to date, no one is addressing the realities of a reduced Private Insurance Force.)

One other little ditty in the New York Times article: The end of life counseling public health option or Death Panels (phrase coined by Sarah Palin - read excellent report here at Hillbuzz) is reported upon in rather graphic terms: via a booklet currently being used on American Troops by the V.A.: New York Times:

Senator Arlen Specter, Democrat of Pennsylvania, called for hearings to investigate a guide used by the government to counsel veterans with critical or terminal illnesses.
On “Fox News Sunday,” H. James Towey, the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush, said the guide seemed to encourage people to “hurry up and die.”
The booklet, “Your Life, Your Choices,” asks people to consider whether life would be worth living if, for example, they were in severe pain, relied on a feeding tube or a breathing machine, lived in a nursing home or imposed “a severe financial burden” on family members.
In addition, the booklet asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” It then explains that people have different ideas of what it means to be a vegetable or to “pull the plug.”
In a bulletin last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs recommended the booklet as a tool to help veterans with “advance care planning.”
Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary of veterans affairs, said it was being revised.
But Mr. Towey said, “The document is so fundamentally flawed that the V.A. ought to throw it out.”

One word: despicable.

Although the Times doesn’t specifically tie the End of Life Counseling to the current Public Option plan, one knows it is contained in the language of the house bill – Spector, who will definitely be out of a job, has called for an investigation, by those who are currently planning on passing unwanted legislation through the Senate by dubious means (and by dubious, although the option has the Senates layers blessings, it leaves little open to debate – thereby, Democrats must believe, reducing the public backlash).

President Obama’s approval, has, in less than one year, fallen to 48%, with only 27% of those polled “strongly approving” of the job he’s doing. This is a change downward from 29% last week, a continual decline which began in March of this year (see Stimulus). Congress enjoys less popularity than the President – one can see the handwriting on the wall, and the media and the general public has yet to take the boondoggle in Afghanistan into consideration yet – a huge tactical error on the part of this administration. Add the increase in troop levels in Afghanistan, to the increasing fatalities (which given the history of the country will continue), increasing cost of that front versus Iraq, and an unpopular change in the nation’s health care system, and one can well imagine what political suicide via either arrogance, ideology or stupidly can do to an entire political party.

A Final Thought: One party control (or two for that matter), regardless of party is not what was intended by the founding fathers, and with good cause, the fact that Republican’s enjoyed a majority for six of eight years, and wasted the opportunity through a lack of fiscal restraint, thereby losing the majority to the Democrats, who, apparently, have no restraint whatsoever – is dangerous. The problem now presents itself in that a total reversal is more than probable; with the end result of yet another one-party rule of the nation in the very near future.

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