Monday, September 28, 2009

President Obama - Commander-In Chief....

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....
Sometimes it's really difficult to decide.



Our Commander-In Chief; Leader of the Free World; Smartest President-Ever; the Post-Partisan, Post-Racial, Post-Politics-As-Usual President; and he simply can't separate the wheat from the chaff on his to-do list?

During the election, and it seems ever after, he dubbed Afghanistan the "right war", a "war of necessity".  The Iraq war was the "wrong war", a war of choice, a "diversion".

In March, he stated that a new strategy for Afghanistan had been put in place (but not detailed), he speeded up the troop buildup that Bush had ordered, and then swapped out the on the ground commander, appointing his own choice; Gen. McChrystal an experienced and superb Commander, well suited for the task.

The new Commander immediately got to work and advised us that there actually wasn't any new strategy, but that he was going to jump in, study the situation, and develop one.  By August, he had the analysis, a new plan, and a specific request for more troops, and sent it up to Washington.  It's been sitting in the Pentagon, because the Commander-In-Chief  doesn't want to be be disturbed with the facts while, he's trying to figure out the politics of his decision.  President Obama has spoken with his Commander, General McChrystal, only once in seventy days!  One pundit suggested that the President has probably spoken with Chicago Mayor Daley seventy times in the past few weeks about the Olympic bid.

My three years service in the US Army did not make me an expert on military strategy, life, however, has made me somewhat ‘expert’ in how to accomplish goals and objectives.  Absent being able to clearly and persuasively state the later two elements regarding Afghanistan, accomplishment of any meaningful achievement there will never be attained by President Obama, who appears more than feckless at this point; standing with his wet fingertip in the wind, contemplating the 2010 election and attempting to gauge from which direction, and at what strength, the political winds are blowing.  Meanwhile, American troop continue in harm’s way and are sacrificed.

President Obama is not proving himself a Commander that I would want to serve under, and my heart goes out to our brave troops in harms way who are dutifully watching this charade play out.

Mr. President, do not give us another Viet-Nam.  Bring the troops home if you don't have the will to do the task at hand.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama's War Now

Lives are at stake....you can't vote "Present" anymore!



Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rosh Hashanah


Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends!

I was fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood in the Bronx where there were many Jewish families.  That also meant many Jewish merchants, and doctors, and dentists, and teachers, and ....the list goes on.  They helped make the Bronx one of the most exciting and culturally rich environments to grow up in, and for that I'm eternally thankful.

One of my lifelong friends, Jon Windholtz, forwarded me the following article from the NY Times. It's a great story, and a typical NY City story.  Greatness is such a commonplace event in New York City, that it's treated as..."no big deal".  But, here's a story that need to be repeated, and repeated, over and over, especially because of today's Holocaust deniers, and especially now, on the eve of one of the most malignant Holocaust deniers arriving in New York City -  Ahmadinejad, who today said  "The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false ... It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim," he told worshippers at Tehran University at the end of an annual anti-Israel "Qods (Jerusalem) Day" rally.


But, in response to this abomination from Iran, here's a real story, about a real guy from New York City....Max Fuchs....
On Oct. 29, 1944, at the edge of a fierce fight for control of the city ofAachen, Germany, a correspondent for NBC radio introduced the modest Sabbath service like this:
“We bring you now a special broadcast of historic significance: The first Jewish religious service broadcast from Germany since the advent of Hitler.”
Mr. Fuchs, now 87 and living on the Upper West Side, was 22 that day at Aachen.
“I was just as much scared as anyone else,” he said in an interview in his Manhattan apartment. “But since I was the only one who could do it, I tried my best.”
Well-known in its time, the battlefield service became lost in obscurity, where it might have remained except for an archivist’s chance find and then, fast forward, unlikely fame on YouTube
Here's the video....



Our salute to you Max, and Happy New Year to you, your family, and all our Jewish friends.........L'Chaim!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama's New European Defense Strategy

Man Up! Nuthin' to worry about........



Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cap And Trade ? Not Really ....

More likely, TAX & TAX & TAX........

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed the House by a mere 7 vote this past June. It passed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strode to the chamber floor and claimed that "this legislation means jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs. Let's vote for jobs."


Cap and Trade

The Democrats said Waxman-Markey would cost "less than the price of a postage stamp per day," a small price to pay, they declared, for saving the Earth from global warming. They touted a Congressional Budget Office report that estimated the cost would be $175 per household a year.

Well, that was then....this is now......

A handful of Treasury documents related to cap-and-trade, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases were made public Tuesday, but only after the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Christopher Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to force its disclosure.

Little did we the public know then (although you would have had to had been born yesterday on a turnip farm to have believed the cost wouldn't be a whopper), that the Treasury Department had an an internal estimate that projected a cap-and-trade law would cost Americans up to $200 billion a year in additional new taxes, paid when power providers and other carbon dioxide producers buy CO2 emission allowances from the federal government and then pass the costs on to customers..

Overall, the costs would be "the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15%.....At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year," McCullagh reported on his "Taking Liberties" blog on CBS news.com.

Had it not been for the efforts of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the analysis would have likely remained a guarded secret.

A handful of Treasury documents related to cap-and-trade, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases were made public Tuesday, but only after the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Christopher Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to force its disclosure.

If that is the candor and transparency that Barack Obama promised the American people, and delivering on his Energy Policy, can you imagine how much worse it will be when it comes to Health Care?

And, like all good horror stories...that wasn't the end, just the beginning of the end.

It seems that Horner wasn't able to get all the information in the studies, a mjor amount of the detail was blacked out. One additional bit said that "Economic costs will likely be on the order of 1% of GDP, making them equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation." so our costs under Cap and Trade would double overnight. Horner has requested the additional detail information.....want to bet they release it on Halloween?

More to come....but probably not in the NY Times, or on ABC, CBS, or NBC

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rebuke?


Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy of Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe Wilson's Spartacus Moment.....Missed!

You Lie!


Like Spartacus' slave army brothers, Joe Wilson's Republican colleagues should have stood and thundered an echo of his outcry....



Harold Witkov envisions this fantastic scene in his article , The Protocols of Lyin' 
Remember the famous scene in Spartacus when the Romans, having defeated the slave army, wanted to make a spectacle of the slave general Spartacus, only to have their plans foiled when what was left of the slave army, each and every man, dragged himself off the ground, stood and declared, "I am Spartacus!" It might sound like wishful thinking on my part, but it would have been a great gesture of solidarity, and certainly great theatrics, if each of your fellow Republicans on the floor had stood, one at a time, looked the President in the eye and likewise declared, "You lie!"  It would have also been nice if some of your compatriots later came to your defense and said, "He may have been wrong to blurt it out, but he said exactly what I was thinking!"
Were Obama's statements naiveté, wishful thinking, or lies?  Clearly they weren't factual.  The Wall Street Journal's Scott Harrington fact-checked his statements:


To highlight abusive practices, Mr. Obama referred to an Illinois man who "lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found he hadn't reported gallstones that he didn't even know about." The president continued: "They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it."
Although the president has used this example previously, his conclusion is contradicted by the transcript of a June 16 hearing on industry practices before the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The deceased's sister testified that the insurer reinstated her brother's coverage following intervention by the Illinois Attorney General's Office. She testified that her brother received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the desired three- to four-week "window of opportunity" from "one of the most renowned doctors in the whole world on the specific routine," that the procedure "was extremely successful," and that "it extended his life nearly three and a half years."
The president's second example was a Texas woman "about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne." He said that "By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size."
The woman's testimony at the June 16 hearing confirms that her surgery was delayed several months. It also suggests that the dermatologist's chart may have described her skin condition as precancerous, that the insurer also took issue with an apparent failure to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat, and that she knowingly underreported her weight on the application.
These two cases are presumably among the most egregious identified by Congressional staffers' analysis of 116,000 pages of documents from three large health insurers, which identified a total of about 20,000 rescissions from millions of policies issued by the insurers over a five-year period. Company representatives testified that less than one half of one percent of policies were rescinded (less than 0.1% for one of the companies).
Later in his speech, the president used Alabama to buttress his call for a government insurer to enhance competition in health insurance. He asserted that 90% of the Alabama health-insurance market is controlled by one insurer, and that high market concentration "makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly—by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest; by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage; and by jacking up rates."
In fact, the Birmingham News reported immediately following the speech that the state's largest health insurer, the nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, has about a 75% market share. A representative of the company indicated that its "profit" averaged only 0.6% of premiums the past decade, and that its administrative expense ratio is 7% of premiums, the fourth lowest among 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans nationwide.
Similarly, a Dec. 31, 2007, report by the Alabama Department of Insurance indicates that the insurer's ratio of medical-claim costs to premiums for the year was 92%, with an administrative expense ratio (including claims settlement expenses) of 7.5%. Its net income, including investment income, was equivalent to 2% of premiums in that year.
In addition to these consumer friendly numbers, a survey in Consumer Reports this month reported that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama ranked second nationally in customer satisfaction among 41 preferred provider organization health plans. The insurer's apparent efficiency may explain its dominance, as opposed to a lack of competition—especially since there are no obvious barriers to entry or expansion in Alabama faced by large national health insurers such as United Healthcare and Aetna.

And as far as President Obama's statement that set Joe Wilson off, that illegal immigrants would not be allowed to participate in the plan, the White House and Democrats subsequent action backing a requirement to provide proof of citizenship in order to be allowed to enroll in the plan has proved Joe Wilson correct.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years - Never Forget

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama's View From The Podium

Madame President, Vice President Biden, Sheeple of Congress, and the American Sheeple!




The President, a practiced schoolyard basketball player, attempted to put his best game-face on, and trash-talk those he appears to view as the American Sheeple, into believing that he's sincere about crafting an optimum approach to reforming the structure of Health Insurance in the U.S., and that the tooth-fairy exists.


With a combination of his usual rhetorical tactics outright mis-statements (some call them lies), President Obama gratuitously stretched a fifteen minute content into a 45 minute harangue.  


Promising to remove hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, without reducing any services to seniors; covering 30 Million additional people without adding one dime in additional cost; changing the basic and fundamental economics of risk-insurance (which is what health insurance is) by requiring pre-existing illness coverage, eliminating caps on coverage, eliminating limits on out-of-pocket expense, and requiring inclusion of routine checkups, mammograms, colonoscopies without any increased costs, or insurance company withdrawal from the marketplace, requires (in Hillary Clinton's words) "a willful suspension of disbelief".


Of course, he'll also look into malpractice reform somehwere, in some States, and directed the Secretary of Health and Welfare to move forward with that - whatever that means. 


And, the plan will not cover illegal immigrants.... just because health care providers won't be allowed to verify citizenship, doesn't mean that they would take advantage of this plan.


And, not only will his plan solve all the problems, but "The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of one percent each year, it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term."  


Of course, none of this will happen until four years from now, so we can ensure that we get it right....and that's why we need to get it passed immediately....trust us, we'll work out the niggly details later


Baa, Baa.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whatever It Takes

One way to do it....



Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Obama, The Democrats, And Common Sense

America is was a common sense nation....




From our earliest Colonial days, we were a nation that prospered, grew, and prided ourselves on common sense and practical values.  The hardships of the frontier life distilled a frugality and practical wisdom that defined us as a nation, almost until this day.  Thomas Paine, the firebrand of our Independence, even named his pamphlet laying out the principles of the Revolution, Common Sense.  He is quoted as saying "I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense . . ."  And that American common sense built a nation that is the most charitable, yet also, most powerful nation on Earth and the envy of the world.

Yet today, we seem to have lost that characteristic trait of common sense, and are seemingly floundering on a puddle of political rhetoric and demagoguery spewed out by the Democrats and Edmund Burke's so-called "Fourth Estate", the press.

We have allowed a neophyte radical, one who has built his life on ideas and notions contrary to our founding fathers and our Constitution, to become the leader of our great country.  And now he and his fellow travelers are in the process of dismantlement the pillars of our society.   This is not common sense.....far from it.

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver a speech to a special joint session of Congress.  I have no idea what he will say, but I do know that it will focus primarily on the current legislative action on Health Care / Health Insurance, and it will be an attempt to sway both legislators and the public to his desire for a bill that will enable a sooner-or-later enabled version of Government provided Health Care.  This has all been initiated and orchestrated under the guise of 'reforming' Health Care in this country, by lowering costs and expanding health insurance to those that do not have coverage now.  Sixteen years ago, the Clinton's attempted to create a similar sense of impending doom to our nation and our people unless the sudden crisis of health care was addressed by a similar solution....Government controlled Health Care.  They didn't succeed in their attempt to establish what has been the Socialist's / Progressive's goal in this country since the beginning of the last century.  And hopefully, they won't today.  American ommon sense prevailed.

Interestingly enough, sixteen years later, everything's still working.  How about that!  Sure we pay more for health care in the United States, but you get what you pay for.  And no one, even those without health insurance is ever turned away from essential care; not even illegal immigrants.  We have the best medical establishment in the world - this is where the rest of the world that can afford it, comes to get cured.

We can all acknowledge that the health care environment, as good as it is, should be, and can always be improved.  Usually when you really want to fix, or improve something, you begin with identifying and prioritizing the issues that need to be addressed, and then focusing in on those specific elements or issues, developing appropriate and best solutions for each specific individual issue.  Let's list what many feel are the the major issues, and the possible common sense solutions:


  1. Medicare and Medicaid are almost bankrupt due to rising costs and projected significant growth in enrollee's due to baby boomers.  Most economists attribute the skyrocketing cost of these programs to a phenomenon know as perceived free, or almost free care by seniors, and the States' use of funds to pay for the health care of illegal immigrants.

    Common Sense Solution: Put the seniors back in control of paying their bills so they'll be more cost conscious, just as they are with their other expenses; eliminate the significant overhead cost that the government imposes on both taxpayers and providers; initiate a reasonable means threshold for those who truly do not need the services; and eliminate coverage of illegal immigrants.  Instead, the Democrats are proposing that we basically expand these failed systems, and somehow that will cut costs.  Reminds me of the story of the storekeeper who lost money on every item, but thought he could make up the difference by selling more.

  2. Health insurance costs are going out of control for both employer provided plans and individual purchased plans.  Most economists agree that this is caused by a couple of things:
    - The largest customers (Medicare & Medicaid, aka - the Government) refusing to pay the true full cost of services from providers, who then charge everyone else more.
    - Doctors and hospitals practicing CYA medicine; employing excessive testing and procedures in order to minimize liability and the potential for successful malpractice lawsuits and excessive personal injury awards.
    - Very high, and dramatically increasing costs for liability insurance (see above item).
    - State-limited insurance, and State-mandated coverage elements eliminate the dramatic cost cutting that inter-state health insurance competition would bring, and mandated coverage elements dramatically increases cost for everyone.
    - Introduction of more effective, but costly new procedures, treatments, and drugs.


    Common Sense Solutions: Do not allow Medicaid and Medicare to avoid paying the actual cost of provider's services.  This will allocate true costs to the actual customer, and provide the ability to focus on real fixable problems, plus see #1 above - put individuals in change of making realistic choices regarding their health care expenditures; Initiate true tort reform to eliminate frivolous law suits and end excessive personal injury awards so that providers can practice cost effective medicine; Open up the inter-state marketing of health insurance and eliminate State mandates so that people can buy the coverage that they need and want.  We've already got a success model for this in auto, home and life insurance - duh!  Speed up and streamline the FDA processes so that new product development costs can be slashed.

There are countless other ways that the cost of health care could be dramatically be reduced, and coverage expanded to all, and none of them would require more governmental involvement, in fact, just the opposite.  Which is why, when the Democrats and President Obama only seem to have one solution....the Government single payer plan, common sense tells me that they're really not trying to solve a health care or health insurance problem, they're just attempting to grow the government and their control over our citizenry.


That government is best which governs least. Thomas Payne

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Broke


Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Obama Meets "Joe Friday"

Jack Web and Harry Morgan take Barack Obama to school.....

See video here.....



Great splicing job done from an old segment of the TV series Dragnet.  The funny thing is, how really appropriate their words are today.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obama Debterent


Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy of Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Department of In-Justice


Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Courtesy of Michael Ramirez and IBDeditorials.com

Video Of The Week

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