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Area: WoT Operations    WoT Background    Non-WoT        Politix   
Morocco dismantles Salafiya Jihadiya cell
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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Economy
We Can't Afford a 'Public' Health Plan
Does anybody really believe that adding 50 million people to the public health-care rolls will not cost the government more money? About $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion more? At least.

So let's be serious when evaluating President Obama's goal of universal health care, and the idea that it's a cost-cutter. Can't happen. Won't happen. Costs are going to explode.

Think of it: Can anyone name a federal program that ever cut costs for anything? Let's not forget that the existing Medicare system is roughly $80 trillion in the hole.

And does anybody believe Obama's new "public" health-insurance plan isn't really a bridge to single-payer government-run health care? And does anyone think this plan won't produce a government gatekeeper that will allocate health services and control prices and therefore crowd-out the private-insurance doctor-hospital system?

Federal boards are going to decide what's good for you and me. And what's not good for you and me. These boards will drive a wedge between doctors and patients.

The president, in his New York Times Magazine interview with David Leonhardt, said his elderly mother should not (in theory) have had a hip-replacement operation. Yes, Obama would have fought for that operation for his mother's sake. But a federal board of so-called experts would have told the rest of us, "No way."

And then there's the charade of all those private health providers visiting the White House and promising $2 trillion in savings. Utter nonsense.

And even if you put aside the demerits of a government-run health system, Obama's health-care "funding" plans are completely falling apart. Not only will Obama's health program cost at least twice as much as his $650 billion estimate, but his original plan to fund the program by auctioning off carbon-emissions warrants (through the misbegotten cap-and-trade system) has fallen through. In an attempt to buy off hundreds of energy, industrial and other companies, the White House is now going to give away those carbon-cap-emissions trading warrants. So all those revenues are out the window. Fictitious.

Anyway, the cap-and-tax system won't pass Congress. The science is wrong. The economics are root-canal austerity -- Malthusian limits to growth. And there are too many oil and coal senators who will vote against it.

All of this is why the national-health-care debate is so outrageous. At some point we have to get serious about solving Medicare by limiting middle-class benefits and funding the program properly. There is no other way out. We can grow our way out of the Social Security deficit if we pursue pro-growth policies that maintain low tax and inflation rates. Prospects for that don't look any too good right now, though it could be done. But government health care is nothing but a massive, unfunded, middle-class entitlement problem. (The poor are already in Medicaid.)

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., proposes to solve health care by limiting employer tax breaks. He's on to something, but he's only got half the story. All the tax breaks for health care should go to individuals and small businesses. Let them shop around for the best health deal wherever they can find it with essentially pre-tax dollars.

Additionally, insurance companies should be permitted to sell their products across state lines. And popular health savings accounts -- which combine investor retirements with proper insurance by removing the smothering red tape -- should be promoted. This approach of consumer choice and market competition will strengthen our private health-care system.

So private enterprise can coexist with public health care and not be crowded out by the heavy-handed overreach of government. But the Obama Democrats are determined to force through a state-run system that will bankrupt the country.

I'm not somebody who obsesses about the national debt or deficit. But I have to admit, today's spending-and-borrowing is blowing my mind. As a share of gross domestic product, we're looking at double-digit deficits as far as the eye can see. Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office predicts federal debt in the hands of the public will absorb 80 percent of GDP. And that doesn't include the real cost of state-run health care. Other than the temporary financial conditions surrounding World War II, we've never seen anything like this.

The president's grandiose government-takeover-and-control strategies are going to make things worse and worse -- that is, unless members of that tiny band known as the Republican Party can stand on their hind legs and just say no. The Republicans must come up with some pro-competition, private-enterprise alternatives for health, energy, education, taxes and trade that will meet the yearning of voter-taxpayers for a return to private-enterprise American prosperity and opportunity.

Free-market competition will lower costs in health care just as it has every place else. It also will grow the economy. The GOP must return to this basic conservative principle and reject Obama's massive government assault.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/14/2009 11:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Seems to me that in the mid-80's I was paying something like $35 for a decent unhurried doctor's visit. There was one secretary handling the doctor's office. I would submit medical bills every few months to my insurance, and they would pay me back 100%. Done.

Then along came the HMOs as a misdirected overreaction to a bit of fraud here and there. Now everything is legislated up the @$$, there are two or three secretaries running around in every office, half of every doctor's time is taken up by misguided efforts designed to fend off fraud and frivolous lawsuits that is marked by unnecessary paperwork and micromanaging oversight that has turned out to be wildly successful in ballooning costs and shrinking quality and promptness of service.

Seems to me common sense responses to separating the frivolous lawsuits from the genuine and meaningful punishment for fraud has been completely sidelined here.

Gotta love the legal system that seems to be serving as a replacement for religion and common sense here in the good ol' U.S. of A.
Posted by: gorb || 05/14/2009 15:36 Comments || Top||

#2  All we need to get our healthcare system costs in line is TORT REFORM and reduc medical malpractice law suits and ambulance chasing.

Here in California getting rearended in bumper thumper is like winning the lottery.

If BO wants to reduce healthcare cost he could do so with a very simple piece of legislation concerning pain and suffering and mental anguish in medical malpractice.

Otherwise, this piece of crap reform will be another payoff/welfare program for lawyers.
Posted by: James Carville || 05/14/2009 15:40 Comments || Top||

#3  I have a relative who lives in southern CA who was second in line at a stop sign. The car ahead of him started to pull away and my relative moved forward to take his place in at the stop sign. Nobody else was at the intersection, but the car ahead of him slammed on the brakes. My relative avoided hitting the car ahead of him. Apparently that was just not acceptable to the car full of illegal immigrants from an unnamed country, so they put it in reverse, nailed my relatives car, and then drove away at high speed. He got a notice in the mail shortly thereafter that he was getting sued by all four occupants of the car that hit him because they all had weeplash.

They won.

First idea: In order to have a free market, the market has to be on a level playing field. Good laws would help.
Posted by: gorb || 05/14/2009 15:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Enough to make you want to get a dash-cam like the cops have Gorb.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 05/14/2009 16:15 Comments || Top||

#5  Good laws would help. But who is there to write them? Certainly not the current crop of legislators.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/14/2009 17:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Health care is already being rationed on an individual basis. I am in the category of people-who-might-really-benefit-from-colon-cancer-screening, but at this point I am not willing to pay for a colonoscopy. My insurance doesn't cover it. I'm not paying my money, and I'm taking my chances.
I estimate the US will default on its debt or drastically debase its currency before it launches a universal health care plan, so this discussion may be moot.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/14/2009 17:35 Comments || Top||


America's triple A rating is at risk
By David Walker

Long before the current financial crisis, nearly two years ago, a little-noticed cloud darkened the horizon for the US government. It was ignored. But now that shadow, in the form of a warning from a top credit rating agency that the nation risked losing its triple A rating if it did not start putting its finances in order, is coming back to haunt us.

That warning from Moody's focused on the exploding healthcare and Social Security costs that threaten to engulf the federal government in debt over coming decades. The facts show we're in even worse shape now, and there are signs that confidence in America's ability to control its finances is eroding.
Prices have risen on credit default insurance on US government bonds, meaning it costs investors more to protect their investment in Treasury bonds against default than before the crisis hit. It even, briefly, cost more to buy protection on US government debt than on debt issued by McDonald's. Another warning sign has come from across the Pacific, where the Chinese premier and the head of the People's Bank of China have expressed concern about America's longer-term credit worthiness and the value of the dollar.

The US, despite the downturn, has the resources, expertise and resilience to restore its economy and meet its obligations. Moreover, many of the trillions of dollars recently funnelled into the financial system will hopefully rescue it and stimulate our economy.

Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Steve White || 05/14/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10794 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Recent research conducted for the Peterson Foundation shows that 90 per cent of Americans want the federal government to put its own financial house in order.
That polled figure makes no sense. In the last election the usual 98% of incumbents won. If Americans want the federal financial house to be put in order, they wouldn't have voted all those idiots back in. And, they voted for Obama!
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/14/2009 0:09 Comments || Top||

#2  Lest we fergit, WORLD MIL FORUM [GOOGLE Chinglish transl.] > America's GDP may officially stand at approximately US$14.0Trilyuuhn [r.o.], but its GROSS/TOTE WORLD DEBT is approxi US$587.0Trilyuuhn [also r.o] as far as CHIN is concerned = calculated???

OTOH, TOPIX > RUSSIA WARNS OF WAR WITHIN A DECADE [2019-2020] OVER ARCTIC OIL AND GAS/WESTERN ALLIES DISPUTE [USA, Norway, Canucks] RUSSIA'S CLAIM TO LARGE SECTION OF ARCTIC CONTINENTAL SHELF [Russ sovereignty]. US, NATO EXPANSIONISM near Russ borders also deemed a threat to Russ national security.

ALso, CHINESE MIL FORUM > CHINA ASSERTS BORDER CLAIMS [UNCLOS - Continental Shelf]]. Essens, MAP > OKINAWA, PHILIPPINES, TAIWAN, and BULK OF SE ASIA = INDONES-MALAYSIA can now be ascribed as CHINA'S OFFSHORE "FLORIDA KEYS" = FUTURE CHIN "VACATION ISLANDS", aka CHIN's desired "FIRST ISLAND CHAIN" ["String of Pearls"].

** WORLD MIL FORUM > IIUC AS CHINA'S PLAN IMPROVES, US MIL BASES ON GUAM, HAWAII, AND US WEST COAST MAY SUDDENLY FIND AS JAPAN DID A PLAN SUBMARINE(S) HAD SUCCESSFULLY PENETRATED, SURFACED, AND DEPARTED DESPITE THE BEST US SECURITY SYSTEMS.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 05/14/2009 1:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Watch the yield on 10 or 20 year Treasuries for signs of the bond market rebelling against the massive expansion of debt. Last week there were signs of dissent as the yield jumped up a bit. The bond market is more powerful than Obama and is the only thing standing in his way.
Posted by: Cynicism Inc || 05/14/2009 7:39 Comments || Top||

#4  That's ok. Obama will simply order them to make it AAA again. No problem.

/sarc?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 05/14/2009 8:24 Comments || Top||

#5  To paraphrase The Donald:

"When you owe a guy $100,000 he has you by the balls but when you owe him $ 1 billion you have him by the balls." So, if we owe the world $587 Trillion - who and how are they going to collect and what do you think they'll get? Chicago, San Francisco and Boston? Hmmm, we may be able to work something out, know what I mean?
Posted by: Jack is Back! || 05/14/2009 9:19 Comments || Top||

#6  AH, there is an underlying assumption in your comment that I think may be wrong.

You say,
"If Americans want the federal financial house to be put in order, they wouldn't have voted all those idiots back in. And, they voted for Obama! "

That is true ONLY if the voters understood the connection between their votes and the problem.

I'm not sure that the understanding is there.
Posted by: AlanC || 05/14/2009 10:01 Comments || Top||

#7  But, but, but, "Obama will have to lead from the center." Yea right, the voters understood.
Posted by: Besoeker || 05/14/2009 10:34 Comments || Top||

#8  I'm not sure that the understanding is there.

Optimist
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 05/14/2009 10:40 Comments || Top||

#9  And, they voted for Obama Obama ran as a blank slate that people could fill in with their own hopes (remember he criticized the Bush administration deficits). Enough people voted for hope to get him elected with a 6% margin.

"When you owe a guy $100,000 he has you by the balls but when you owe him $ 1 billion you have him by the balls." There are two problems here. First, the guy who is owed a billion will probably not lend you another billion (also known as "throwing good money after bad"). China is taking steps to grow its economy without relying on massive exports to the U.S. Second, its not necessarily the billion dollar lender that the problem. We owe everyone money. If Brazil, Korea, or some petro state decides not to hold any more dollars then there will be a domino effect on other holders. At the moment central banks are willing to buy short term treasuries because it's cash and there really isn't any other option. Nobody will buy long bonds except the fed. The world is communicating its concerns through the marketplace, but the U.S. does not appear to be listening.
Posted by: DoDo || 05/14/2009 11:28 Comments || Top||

#10  The rubes bought the whole hope-a-dope thing because they thought only "the rich" would be taxed. With roughly half the country not paying any income tax and Oblahblah promising to relieve them of the "payroll tax" (Social Security contributions) we have an entitlement culture that intends to parasitically feed off the shrinking minority who believe in the quaint notions of self-reliance and personal responsibility.
Posted by: regular joe || 05/14/2009 12:26 Comments || Top||

#11  NS, I'm not at all optimistic.

Unfortunately our choices seem to be:
1) abject stupidity; and
2) an entitlement greed, OR;
3) a combination of the two.

This is fertile ground for the corrupt and power mad that the political parties are sown with.

Short of a revolution, is there a way out?
Posted by: AlanC || 05/14/2009 13:22 Comments || Top||

#12  Is there a way out, Ummm I'm not sure, has anybody pointed out that the "Inccome Tax" was to fund WW2 (Pay off WAR BONDS) and then end?

Surely they're lond paid for.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/14/2009 14:42 Comments || Top||

#13  FreeCreditReportDotCom tell your friends tell your dad tell your mom...
Posted by: Seafarious || 05/14/2009 15:39 Comments || Top||

#14  I'm not sure that the understanding is there. I left that without saying. Of course the national deficit in understanding is about equal to the national debt. The poll that was quoted was merely referring to what people "want". Human wants are endless and often have little bearing on reality. That's just common sense.
The only realistic way out is increasing the electorate's understanding so they will start voting differently. I might as well be wishing for a miracle. So many people who have recently lost big in their 401K's never even bothered to inform themselves about the nuts-and-bolts of 401K operations, and they had a real, $-and-sense interest in the outcome. Congress has abdicated. The MSM is pursuing crazy agendas, rather than trying to inform the public. I did some background reading in old NY Times news articles about the big bank crisis of 1933 a few months back. I was amazed at the level of knowledge implied by the articles published and by those who were quoted by the reporters. We have gotten stupider.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 05/14/2009 17:23 Comments || Top||

#15  DAMMIT Sea! Now I got that stupid earworm going!
Posted by: Frank G || 05/14/2009 19:41 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
A sea change in relations
By Admiral Timothy J. Keating

Imagine the United States and Indian militaries combating piracy together in the Gulf of Aden, conducting complex exercises in the Pacific with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, sharing information to counter violent extremism, dog-fighting jets in the skies over Nevada, or deploying aboard a hospital ship with half a dozen other nations to provide medical assistance to thousands in need. Such events were inconceivable twenty years ago. Yet, today, we do all this and more on a surprisingly frequent basis.

These engagements represent an exciting advance in our bi-lateral military relationship that began with the end of the Cold War. They contribute to the maturation of the broader US-India relationship toward a global and strategic partnership. This bodes well for both our nations, the Indian Ocean region, and the world.

Much of the dramatic change in the US-Indian military-to-military (mil-mil) relationship is due to direct interaction between US Pacific Command (USPACOM) forces and Indian Armed Forces. Many times a year members of our armed forces engage in a variety of venues to strengthen this increasingly important relationship. These events include senior-officer visits, bi- and multilateral military exercises, mid-grade officer subject matter expert exchanges, and policy and working group meetings. During our extensive interaction we will learn, share, teach, and train together. In doing so, we develop the personal and professional bonds upon which real trust and true friendship depend.

USPACOM, one of six US Geographic Combatant Commands, oversees all US forces assigned to an area stretching from the west coast of North America to the western border of India. We pursue a strategy of partnership, readiness and presence to enhance US relationships and the capability of our allies and partners to address shared challenges and leverage new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific.

Partnership, readiness, and presence opportunities abound for US and Indian armed forces — the second and third largest in the world, respectively. Together, we can be forces that preclude the necessity for combat operations, forces that enhance security and stability, and forces for good. Some common focus areas include enhancing maritime security, countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, defeating violent extremism and piracy, and deepening defence trade. Each of these presents an opportunity for the US and India to bond in cause and fortify our partnership.

Our current mil-mil relationship is a partnership not thought possible decades ago. This relatively recent and rapid development is rooted in a genuine convergence of national interests. And the time is right. Although two sovereign and independent nations, we are connected in many ways that make strengthening our partnership a wise course of action. Fundamentally, we are connected by our understanding that national strength is rooted in individual worth and the freedom to pursue opportunity. We are united by our commitment to basic democratic freedoms and institutions that we know offer the surest road to development and prosperity. And as countries that have experienced the tragedy of terrorist attacks, we appreciate the importance of working together to defend our precious freedoms and to protect the stability of our crucial region.

We are also bound firmly by economic interdependence. The United States is Indias largest trading partner. International transactions between the US and India last year averaged more than six billion dollars a month. And through our trade bonds we are inextricably linked by our dependence upon freedom of movement and secure access to international commerce routes.

Stronger US-India ties also make sense demographically. India and the US represent two of the most vibrant large countries in the world. Both are relatively young and growing sufficiently to support their own long-term prosperity. Within the next two decades, India will surpass China as the most populous nation while the US will maintain its position as the third most populous.

US-India relations are as strong as they have ever been. Our two nations have a truly remarkable relationship for a variety of diverse and significant reasons. When one considers the interests and causes we share, particularly as they relate to individual freedom and national strength, there is a remarkable convergence that can be the foundation of an even more robust partnership. Given our common traditions, national attributes, and potential as partners, such a partnership benefits all who value the development and prosperity that security and stability enable.

We at United States Pacific Command, on our second visit to this great nation in as many years, understand profoundly what the United States and India can and must accomplish together. We imagine what is possible by 2029, considering what we achieved in the past twenty years. Let us together make the concept a reality.

The writer is the Commander of US. Pacific Command, a US Geographic Combatant Command headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Posted by: john frum || 05/14/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Better late than never.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 05/14/2009 5:37 Comments || Top||

#2  The Bush administration deserves a lot of credit for this.
Posted by: DoDo || 05/14/2009 11:30 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Political Cartoon from 1934 - Nothings changed except fashions
Note: The wagon has a man by the name of Ickes shoveling money.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 05/14/2009 13:11 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That would be this guy...

Harold LeClair Ickes (March 15, 1874 – February 3, 1952) was a United States administrator and politician. He served as Secretary of the Interior for thirteen years, from 1933 to 1946, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office. Ickes was responsible for implementing much of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" and is the father of Harold M. Ickes, who was deputy Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton and was an adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Senator.
Posted by: tu3031 || 05/14/2009 13:18 Comments || Top||

#2  "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it."

— Mark Twain
Posted by: gorb || 05/14/2009 14:29 Comments || Top||

#3  I'll take Door #2, gorb Mark. :-(
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 05/14/2009 14:35 Comments || Top||

#4  My vote is Imbeciles just smart enough to appear educated, sorta like a veneer, you know there's plywood behind, but the surface gives the appearance of solid Oak.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 05/14/2009 14:36 Comments || Top||

#5  Yeah, but gotta wonder who the imbeciles really are if they stay in past their current term.
Posted by: gorb || 05/14/2009 15:14 Comments || Top||

#6  smart people like : Robert Lovett,John McCloy, Averell Harriman,Charles Bohlen,George Kennan, and Dean Acheson?
Posted by: Your History || 05/14/2009 15:19 Comments || Top||

#7  As far as politicians go, I prefer rogues to imbeciles because at least sometimes rogues give it a rest.
Posted by: regular joe || 05/14/2009 16:40 Comments || Top||



Who's in the News
31[untagged]
5Govt of Pakistan
5TTP
2Lashkar e-Jhangvi
2Taliban
2al-Qaeda in Pakistan
2al-Qaeda in North Africa
2al-Qaeda
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1TNSM
1Salafia Jihadiya
1Lashkar e-Taiba
1Jamaat-e-Islami
1Hezbollah
1al-Qaeda in Britain
1al-Qaeda in Europe
1al-Qaeda in Yemen

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In no particular order...
Steve White
Seafarious
tu3031
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sherry
ryuge
GolfBravoUSMC
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trailing wife
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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2009-05-14
  Morocco dismantles Salafiya Jihadiya cell
Wed 2009-05-13
   113 deaders, thousands flee Somalia festivities
Tue 2009-05-12
  Pak commandos dropped into Taliban stronghold
Mon 2009-05-11
  200 Taliban killed in Swat operation
Sun 2009-05-10
  Scores dead as drone hits S. Wazoo Mehsud stronghold
Sat 2009-05-09
  1.2 million people leave Buner, Swat other areas
Fri 2009-05-08
  Gilani orders all-out war on Pak Taliban
Thu 2009-05-07
  Sufi Mohammad's son killed in Lower Dir shelling
Wed 2009-05-06
  Mashaal: Hamas wants 10 year cease-fire
Tue 2009-05-05
  Pirates captured after attacking the wrong ship
Mon 2009-05-04
  Khaled Mashaal re-elected Hamas political leader
Sun 2009-05-03
  64 civilians killed in Lanka hospital attack
Sat 2009-05-02
  60 Taliban killed in Buner offensive
Fri 2009-05-01
  Taliban hold Buner town people hostage
Thu 2009-04-30
  U.S. missile strikes kill 10 in South Waziristan

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