Ted Kennedy’s protege, John McCain displays liberal issue deflection techniques at the debate

 

Ted Kennedy’s protege, John McCain displays liberal issue deflection

techniques at the debate

June 6th, 2007 by Sam Pierce

I was curious when I turned on CNN this evening about a few things. One was what channel CNN is on DishNetwork. Another was if the debate questions would be as mind-numbingly ridiculous as those posed in the first debate on MSNBC. I was curious if my favorite candidate, Duncan Hunter would get a chance to make an impact.

The biggest target of my curiosity, however, was John McCain. I had no idea how he would deal with questions regarding the travesty of an immigration bill he is so vocally supporting. Would he simply tell Wolf Blitzer “F*** you, I know more about this bill than anyone?” Would he be able to answer criticism with facts about the bill that would defend his position. Would he attempt to deflect attention from the substance by painting a portrait of conservatives that hate Hispanic people?

Senator McCain chose option number 3 after an earlier statement in which he indicated that something had to be done (and apparently that means new legislation fashioned by a bi-partisan group of liberals instead of the more simple action of enforcement.)

The senator from Arizona mentioned how hispanic people had enriched his state. No one could argue that point but he didn’t say illegal alien hispanic people had enriched his state and that is kind of key here.

He pointed to the hispanic people fighting for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of whom have green cards but aren’t even citizens yet. Again, we all appreciate their service but they are not the people this issue deals with either. McCain has a liberal pattern developing at this point.

Senator McCain’s basic point is that if you oppose this bill you oppose hispanic people in our country. You do not appreciate them or their service.

This is not to say that Teddy’s prize pupil didn’t mention at least some portion of what is in the bill he is pushing. He pointed out that an illegal has to wait 8 to 13 years, which is more than those coming in through conventional channels. Of course in typical liberal fashion, he did not mention that this wait is for citizenship, not the permanent (or temporary-renewable for life) Z Visa that provides instant legal status and allows the recipient to stay and enjoy the benefits of our nation.

I guess McCain’s sales pitch for the plan, when analyzed, is that the illegals that come forward and get these visas will no longer be illegal and therefore we will have cut the number of illegals in our country by that number.

I wonder if Senator McCain had drinks with Teddy before the debate. Maybe everytime he said “my friends” he was talking about Senators Kennedy, Graham, and the others that are pushing this potentially devastating piece of legislative fecal matter.

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email stiknstein-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.

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Behold the Deafening Silence Amid the Roaring of Beasts

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Al-Qaeda enters cease-fire agreement Al-Qaeda is entering a cease-fire agreement with the Islamic Army in Iraq. What does this mean for the coalition forces? Nothing good.

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Long-term planning

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Terrorists Pledge to Get American Weapons

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Democrats Seek Formula To Blunt AMT One Plan Would Impose Surtax Of 4.3% on Richest Households

Democrats Seek Formula To Blunt AMT
One Plan Would Impose Surtax Of 4.3% on Richest Households
By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 8, 2007; D01

House Democrats looking to spare millions of middle-class families from the expensive bite of the alternative minimum tax are considering adding a surcharge of 4 percent or more to the tax bills of the nation’s wealthiest households.

Under one version of the proposal, about 1 million families would be hit with a 4.3 percent surtax on income over $500,000, which would raise enough money to permit Congress to abolish the alternative minimum tax for millions of households earning less than $250,000 a year, according to Democratic aides and others familiar with the plan.

Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House subcommittee with primary responsibility for the AMT, said that option would also lower AMT bills for families making $250,000 to $500,000. And it would pay for reductions under the regular income tax for married couples, children and the working poor.

All told, the proposal would lower taxes for as many as 90 million households, and Neal said it has broad support among House leaders and Democrats on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. “Everybody’s on board,” he said.

Neal has yet to release details of the plan, however, and others inside and outside the committee say major pieces of it are still in flux. Some Democrats say Neal’s plan stretches the definition of the middle class too far, providing AMT relief to too many wealthy households. They argue that the cutoff for families to be spared from the AMT should be lower, at $200,000, $150,000 or even $75,000.

“There is consensus to make sure that we have some responsible tax policy that will also treat taxpayers fairly. No one ever expected to be caught in the AMT making 75 grand,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), a Ways and Means Committee member whose Los Angeles district is populated by working poor. “We’re trying to come up with a fix that does right by the great majority of Americans who fall into the middle class.”

The debate has focused attention on a different surtax proposed by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. That plan would eliminate the AMT and replace it with a 4 percent surcharge on income over $200,000 for families and $100,000 for singles, cutting taxes for 22 million households and raising them for more than 3 million.

“Our plan is as simple as can be. And only 2 percent of the whole population would have to pay it,” said Leonard E. Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center. The plan has the added benefit of abolishing the complicated AMT at all income levels, Burman said, an approach some lawmakers find attractive.

On the other hand, fewer families’ taxes would be cut, diminishing the ability of Democrats to capitalize on the plan politically. Since they took control of Congress in January, Democrats have made repealing or scaling back the AMT a top priority in hope of establishing tax-cutting credentials and seizing the issue from Republicans for the 2008 campaign.

The alternative minimum tax is a parallel tax structure created in 1969 to nab 155 super-rich tax filers who had been able to wipe out their tax bills using loopholes and deductions. Under AMT rules, taxpayers must calculate their taxes twice — once using normal deductions and tax rates and once using special AMT deductions and rates — and pay the higher figure.

Because the AMT was not indexed for inflation, its reach has expanded annually, delivering a significant tax increase this spring to an estimated 4 million households. The AMT would have spread even more rapidly after President Bush‘s tax cuts reduced taxpayers’ normal bills, but Congress enacted yearly “patches” to restrain its growth. The most recent patch expired in December, and unless Congress acts, the tax is projected to strike more than 23 million households next spring, many of them earning as little as $50,000 a year.

House Democrats want legislation to spare those households while also lowering the bills of many current AMT payers. But they face numerous obstacles. In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) favors AMT repeal but considers it too ambitious for this year. Baucus has said another year-long patch is more likely.

In the House, some Democrats argue that more time is needed to explain the issue to the public. The vast majority of households have yet to pay the AMT and may not fully appreciate the value of eliminating the tax, while the wealthy are sure to feel the bite of a new surtax.

“I don’t think there’s enough of an understanding right now that you’ve got this tidal tax wave about to hit everybody,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a Ways and Means Committee member who is also chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “From a political perspective, we need to lay the groundwork.”

Before the Memorial Day break, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) said he hoped to announce an AMT proposal as soon as Congress returned to Washington. But his timetable has slipped to late June, Democratic aides said, with the issue set to go before the full House sometime in July.

Republicans generally oppose new taxes on the wealthy, saying they disproportionately affect small businesses, but are waiting to hear more before deciding whether to work with Democrats or offer their own plan to abolish the AMT.

“House Democrats are going to have to find their sea legs on this issue fast,” said Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), the senior Republican on the Ways and Means tax subcommittee. “Folks seem to be launching a lot of trial balloons, and it’s all very festive. But I don’t have enough really to react to yet.”

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West’s Islam Threat

West’s Islam Threat

Many Muslims claim Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It is slowly becoming a part of all our lives. Some may well ask, “Does it matter, for some in Islam are gentle people?” The truth is that while the sensitive Muslim is disturbed by some of the things done in the name of Islam, the expansionists uphold extremes:

‘One Muslim extremist of the Islamic Liberation party reminded his interlocutors just before the scheduled opening of the party’s international rally in London in August, 1994, that “there are 123 verses in the Quran about killing and fighting.” And he added, quite unnecessarily, “Ours is not a passive religion.”’ (Fregosi, P., 1998, p.18, Jihad).

We are told by some politicians, moderate Muslims and sections of the media that this brand of Is-lam is a perversion of the true Islam and that Islam means peace; but many others, who also call themselves Muslims, insist that this is the true Is-lam, classical Islam. (Extremists like Bin Laden quote many verses from the Quran and Islamic traditions in their speeches.) Two of the verses moderate Muslims often quote are Sura 5:32 and Sura 5:82. (A Sura is the equivalent of a chapter in the Quran.) Sura 5:32 says: ‘…if any one slew a person…it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people….’ Hence the killing of the innocent is wrong. Certain extremists, however, are very quick to point out that non-Muslims are not innocent  and some refer to the verse which immediately follows Sura 5:32 (5:33). Sura 5:83 also seems to change the meaning of Sura 5:82.

This is all very confusing. Obviously, a book can be made to sound better or worse than it actually is. Are some Muslims friendly because of the teachings of classical Islam or are they friendly despite it?

Is Islam fundamentally peace loving or have some in our governments lied to us in order to avoid a public reaction? (I don’t need to be convinced that Islam is peaceful; I’m not going to blow up a bus. Islamic extremists are the ones who need to be convinced that only peaceful methods should be used in the name of Islam.)
Would it matter if some of our states adopted Islamic law through the democratic process? And would the face of Islam change once power was obtained? Perhaps there are two faces of Islam?
TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWERS WE MUST BEGIN ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Whether one’s enemies should be treated differently from those who believe, is one of the most distinctive differences between the world’s most read religious books, in particular the Quran and the New Testament. The differences between the two are fundamental differences. (I encourage you to read the Quran for yourself.) When reading the Quran it is important to consider its tone (How does it read?). Does it encourage Muslims to trust and love pagans or treat them with suspicion and hostility? Are there more verses about love and forgiveness or about war and fighting? Do some verses replace others when there seems to be a contradiction? (See Sura 16:101. Suras 9 and 5 are two of the last Suras to be revealed to Mohammed.) Are all means permissible if they advance the cause of Islam? All such questions need to be asked and answered when reading the Quran.

WAR IN THE QURAN AND HADITH

Here are two of the 123 verses referred to above. The Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the University of Southern California put the Quran on-line from which these verses are taken. [Note: the numbering of these varies slightly between translations.

‘O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him)’ (Sura al-Tawba 9:123).

‘Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued’ (Sura al-Tawba 9:29).

Most Muslims would say that extremists are misunderstanding these verses. Misunderstood or not, the history of Islam shows that many Muslim clerics and leaders have used those verses to spread terror. (How are Muslims to stop such ‘misinterpretation’? Can Islam get out of this cursed situation, especially when there seems to be so much support for the extremist's position according to Islam's most respected texts? Samuel Huntington in A Clash of Civilizations believes that the problem for the West is not ‘fundamentalism’ but Islam itself, ‘a different civilisation whose people is convinced of the superiority of their culture and is obsessed with the inferiority of their power.’; see http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/politics/khalifa.html)

The following is an Islamic tradition regarding what Mohammed once said. It comes from Sahih Bukhari (‘Sahih’ is an Islamic word, which means ‘authentic’ or ‘genuine’). Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (part of the Hadith) are said to be so impor-tant that it is impossible to rightly interpret the Quran without them. The following is taken from the website run by the MSA at the University of Southern California.

Allah's Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah...'”(Sahih Bukhari, 1:8:387).

After ten years of fighting, Mohammed died in 632 A.D. The pattern had been established, "Invitation first (that is, call them first to embrace Islam). If they refuse, then war." (See Mohammed’s letter to the Omani people. www.answering-islam.org/Muhammad/oman.htm, www.answering-islam.org/Books/Zwemer/alms.htm & www.answering-islam.org/BehindVeil/btv2.html; See also Bukhari, 5:59 & Sura 9:81-89)

After Mohammed’s death Muslim armies spread in all directions, including Europe. ‘The story begins around 650 C.E. with the first, unsuccessful siege of Constantinople, and continues with the invasion and occupation, sometimes for hundreds of years, of many European countries. Italy, Sicily, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Rumania, Wallachia, Albania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, the Ukraine, and eastern and southern Russia were all battlefields where Islam conquered or was conquered in violent conflicts marked by cruelty, bloodlust, and a fearful loss of life, spread over considerably more than a thou-sand years.’

‘For over a century and a half the world had forgotten this fact, since most Muslim countries were politically impotent and ruled mainly as the colonies or protectorates of European powers.’

‘…European history has remained transfixed on the Christian Crusades of the eleventh to the thirteenth century, it has largely ignored these Muslim attacks and invasions...When accusing the West of imperialism, Muslims are obsessed with the Crusades, but have forgotten their own longer and more gruesome Jihad’ (Fregosi, P, 1998, Jihad). [See Timeline. Here is a list of European countries which were occupied by Muslims (either Arabs, Moors, or Ottoman Turks): Spain 800 years, Portugal 600 years, Greece 500 years, Sicily 300 years, Serbia 400 years, Bulgaria 500 years, Rumania 400 years, and Hungary 150 years.]

Why should all this interest us? Fregosi adds, ‘There’s an intention to censor what’s going on about Islam, more so than for any other religion’ (Jihad, Dig deep; the devil is in the detail. See “The Killing of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf” in The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq by A. Guillaume;

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SddesLgxzHM, The Myth of Islamic Tolerance by Robert Spencer (editor), www.danielpipes.org/article/2384 & www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2058502,00.html).
Truth must be valued more than our ideologies or beliefs. Unfortunately, many Muslim leaders think their beliefs are more important than truth. Taqiyya. (See www.answering-islam.org/Hoaxes/www.answering-islam.org/Index/L/lying.html and Debunking 9/11 Myths by Dunbar & Reagan )

Sadly, many uneducated western intellectuals are credulous toward Islamic leaders; making us vulner-able to the Islamist agenda. It’s time they opened their eyes (See “The Last Great Islamic Empire” in Efraim Karsh’s book Islamic Imperialism; The Question of Orientalism and Race and Slavery in the Middle East by Ber-nard Lewis; Jihad and the Professors by Daniel Pipes www.danielpipes.org/article/498; Bat Ye’or’s The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam and “The Security Debacle” in Londonistan by Melanie Phillips; see also Ref1 & Ref2). “The sword”, said Mohammed, “is the key of heaven and hell… whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven” (Schaff, P., See also Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4 Book 52 Number 46, 65, 72; Sahih Muslim book 19, book 20 chapters 32, 41, 42; Sura 4:95 and The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq by A. Guillaume).

It is as true today as it was then that Muslims wish to have their sins forgiven. Every Muslim lacks this certainty, and some are willing to do anything to gain it. Thus fighting for Allah (a form Jihad) is the way of many. Such self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah has not unified the Islamic world.

History has shown that Muslims often fight against other Muslims because they cannot accept their interpretation of the Quran or their particular application of the Law. Many Muslim countries regard other Muslim countries as not strict enough when it comes to applying the Sharia (Law based on the Quran & Hadith); and groups such as the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia claim others are not true Muslims. One can expect to see an increase in violence, between Islamic groups, until all are united under the long awaited Mahdi.

And what if a united Islam obtains the technology and military might to challenge western nations? If the world is forced to accept Islamic Law it will not be a more peaceful place.

The few countries that have adopted the Sharia are all disasters. After its adoption in Sudan (1983), many black Africans were enslaved and over 2 mil-lion non-Muslims were murdered in that country. They were regarded as enemies of Allah for the crime of seeking freedom of speech, freedom of religion and democracy. Such is the law of Islam. (For a closer look at extreme Islam see Holy Warriors by Orr-Ewing and Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok.)
 

LIVING UNDER SHARIA (ISLAMIC LAW)

We note also that while Islam is supposed to bring equality between Muslims, in practice this has never occurred. Many believe they are better than other Muslims because of race or birth. And the super rich are able to avoid many of the harsh punishments from which poor people cannot escape.

Sadly, many dream of a world under the Sharia because they believe it is the solution to the problems that plague humanity. “Foreign Correspondent” (Australian TV) has screened some of the atrocities committed publicly by Muslims against Muslims. Unfortunately, these acts were approved by the religious leaders of those communities. See www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s403270.htm

Thinking people may ask, “If there are so many problems in the Islamic world why do so many re-main true to Islam?” It is true that many Muslims feel safe within their communities. Also, Muslims are continually told by their peers that Islam is a wonderful religion. But there is one factor which is often ignored by the western media; it is not safe for most Muslims to turn their backs on Islam. To the fanatical Muslim, anyone who gives up Islam must have done it because of insanity. Though Sura 2:256 states there is ‘no compulsion in religion’, many have suffered the death penalty for apostasy.

‘I heard the Prophet saying, “In the last days (of the world) there will appear young people with foolish thoughts and ideas. They will give good talks, but they will go out of Islam as an arrow goes out of its game, their faith will not exceed their throats. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for there will be a reward for their killers on the Day of Resurrection”’ (Bukhari, 6:6:577). (Violence is not always having the desired effect. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTg9tvd1CRM and www.the-good-way.com/eng/book/b09 for the stories of two men. For more about the punishment of those who turn their back on (or oppose) Islam see www.answering-islam.org/BehindVeil/btv1.html)

On top of this, moderate Muslims in some countries have to be careful of whom they befriend (see Sura 5:51) and they must not oppose the Sharia as they risk being labeled enemies of Allah (See Sura 5:33).

But what about non-Muslims who live under Sharia law? What is it like for them? In a court of law the testimony of a non-Muslim is considered inferior to that of a Muslim and non-Muslims must pay more tax. These and other injustices are so the ‘infidel’ might convert. See www.answering-islam.org/NonMuslims/index.htm (The book, A People Betrayed, by Patrick Sookhdeo takes an in-depth look into how Pakistan went from being a country that promised equality to one that oppresses minorities.)

Those who fight to implement the Sharia, are not ‘freedom fighters’, but freedom destroyers. See www.answering-islam.org/Terrorism/by_the_sword.html

REASON FOR CONCERN?

Should Islam be taken as a serious threat to today’s non-Muslim communities? (See Dispatches- Undercover Mosque on www.youtube.com/watch?v=peFQWuk4nuo, the DVD Obsession www.youtube.com/watch?v=vypKSWHlnKA; http://pnews.org/ArT/FrE/HAR.shtml and the list on www.thereligionofpeace.com )

A Cambridge University panel discussion (23rd Jan 2003) was held on the topic “Is Islam a threat to the West?” Some of the so called moderate Muslims who took part in the discussion, refused to share the stage with some of the Islamic extremists who were invited. As the discussion wore on and questions were asked it became apparent that the moderates were not as moderate as they would have liked people to believe. (Appearances can be deceiving.) If they were ‘moderate’ it only seems to reinforce the view that while there are moderate Muslims Islam itself is not moderate. See www.answering-islam.org/Andy/cambridge012303.html, www.answering-islam.org/Silas/islam_test.htm

This raises a very important question. If we lose the war on terrorism, what will it mean for us? Would losing this war be like losing the war in Vietnam where we simply withdrew, licked our wounds but lived in peace? Or would it mean that our society has collapsed; we are no longer able to defend our-selves, have lost democracy and have begun to live under the Sharia? See www.dhimmiwatch.org/archives/009624.php &
www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760

Fortunately some Muslims are taking steps in the right direction.
See www.ijtihad.org/memo.htm, www.petitionspot.com/petitions/manifesto, http://secularislam.org/ and www.islam-watch.org/

The film Islam vs. Islamists

www.answering-islam.org/Terrorism/muslim_charter.htm, www.danielpipes.org/article/4426, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciOGS6r97oE, Islam and Science by Pervez A. Hoodbhoy,  Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammed by Ali Dashti

WHAT CAN YOU AND I DO TO HELP STOP ISLAMIC TERRORISM?

Islamic extremists claim they are following Mohammed’s example. What can we do?

First, we must find rebuttals that specifically address all the arguments which Islamic extremists use regarding terrorism. The ideal rebuttal would begin as a forceful in-depth argument for terrorism based on verses in the Quran, Hadith and early biographies about Mohammed (as fundamentalists regard these texts as sacred), but end by countering those arguments using those same respected texts. Only then will the arguments of Islamists lose their power amongst those who believe the Quran is the perfect Word of God. (Books written by respected Muslims would be most effective. Unfortunately, I have found no such books.) The world might have been a different place today if those involved in the September 11 attacks had read such rebuttals while they were still moderate Muslims. The lifeblood of Islamic terrorism is the type of propaganda that encourages Muslims to fight in order to spread the domain of Islam. Without recruits terrorist organizations will eventually collapse. (Books have been written which claim Islam is a peace loving religion, however, even the extremists use such books when they wish to win converts for Islam.)

Secondly, we can treat Muslims as equals and encourage Muslims to treat non-Muslims in Islamic countries as equals. Societies should be judged by how they treat minorities and those with dissenting views. (E.g. in Islamic countries, should Jews and Christians be allowed to “produce their proof”? See Sura 2:111.) We must not use a double standard when comparing the Islamic world to the rest of the world. Ignoring oppression to maintain religious harmony is heartless and cruel. See
www.jcpa.org/christian-persecution.htm
www.lewrockwell.com/spectator2/spec575.html 
www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/apostasy.htm
www.answering-islam.org/Terrorism/open_letter_to_muslims.htm

Thirdly, we must allow freedom of speech and speak the truth (See www.debunking911.com) in order to condemn that which should be condemned. And whether we like it or not, some morals are better than others. (If you say I’m wrong for making that state-ment it shows you think your moral standards are better than mine. See Relativism [CD] by Greg Koukl) We must not silence the moral voices within our society; history shows that to do so signals the collapse of a society (See Deliver Us From Evil by Ravi Zacharias, Legislating Morality by Norman Geisler, and www.jesus-wept.org/).

IMPORTANT: Don’t believe or disbelieve any-thing which has been written here without investigat-ing it first. This is a very emotional and important sub-ject. Without the truth we are all vulnerable to manipu-lation and strong emotions often mislead (For exam-ples see History on Trial by Deborah Lipstadt; Michael Moore is a big fat stupid white man by Hardy & Clarke; 6 Modern Myths by Philip J. Sampson and The Books the Church Suppressed by Dr Michael Green). We are all entitled to our own opinion; however, no one is enti-tled to misinformation. Go into the links (See the an-swering-islam site policy). Ask the tough questions. You can never dig too deep. Please photocopy this and pass it on. (By Brad and Brother Mark)

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Sociallized medicine’s toll in England

Sociallized medicine’s toll in England

Ethel C. Fenig
Richard Baehr recently vividly showed that socialized medicine in Scotland kills. England shares the British Isles with Scotland; it also shares a belief in socialized medicine.  And England also has its share of problems with this belief.   For instance, their  National Health Service (NHS) just proudly (!) announced,

Almost half of NHS inpatients are receiving treatment within 18 weeks of referral by their GP, according to latest figures.
The Government has set a key target that, by the end of 2008, nobody should wait more than 18 weeks from referral to the start of treatment.

Imagine that! “[F]rom referral to the start of treatment” is now only 18 weeks of often unnecessary painful suffering or over four months of unnecessary just plain waiting in fear. 
But even this good (?) news is tempered by

figures, published on Thursday, also show that about one in eight patients are still waiting longer than a year for treatment. [empahsis added]

The  NHS Health Minister added

there were eight hospitals that had seen a “small increase” in waiting times last year and admitted there were still challenges in areas like orthopaedics.

 Oh.
Baehr’s observation about Scotland’s socialized medicine’s death toll:

Maybe the Democratic candidates for President, all of them calling for a federal model of some sort for universal health care (one that would inevitably require both rationing and price controls, like the British and Scottish model) ,  can address these unnecessary deaths in one of the European health care utopias, and what makes them think they could do any better. 

is applicable for waiting times also.  Higher death tolls, increased waiting times do not make for good medicine but are to be expected in government-run programs.  The free market system of medicine, of anything, is by nature messy and  seemingly disorganized, but despite its admitted  flaws, is innovative with more successful outcomes compared with the neat bureaucratic model but inefficient and often dangerous execution of socialized anything. 

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Prosecute Plame?

Prosecute Plame?
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 8, 2007

[June 7, 2007] – U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton wants former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to go directly to jail, without passing go, and without collecting $200 dollars. And so far, the word from the White House is that President Bush has no intention of giving Libby a Get Out of Jail Free card.

“The prospect of a pardon has become so sensitive inside the West Wing that top aides have been kept out of the loop, and even Bush friends have been told not to bring it up with the president,” the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday.

 If true, that’s a pretty sorry comment on the state of the Bush White House, and the state of this presidency, especially given Bush’s obsession with demanding total loyalty from his staff. Bush’s loyalty is a one-way street. 

As I have argued in this space before, Scooter deserves a pardon, now, before he serves a single day in jail.

 

While Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald – a Clinton appointee, let’s not forget – did succeed in convincing a Washington, DC jury to convict Libby of lying to a grand jury, it’s also crystal clear that Libby was being questioned about a crime everyone now agrees he did not commit.

 

Even Judge Walton acknowledged this, noting on Tuesday during the sentencing hearing that “the trial did not prove Libby knew that [Valerie] Plame worked in an undercover capacity.”

 

But the trial did prove, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that Libby was not the government official who leaked her name. That honor falls to former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, who spilled the beans in an interview with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward weeks before Libby ever had the conservations Pat Fitzgerald’s taxpayer-funded Bush-hunt investigated for 2 1/2 years.

 

For Walton and Fitzgerald, it made no difference that there was no underlying crime. Libby deserved jail time because he “lied about nearly everything that mattered,” Fitzgerald said in his sentencing memorandum. Even worse: Fitzgerald claimed at the hearing that Libby’s lying “uniquely blocked” him from learning the full truth about what happened.

 

Much hot air has been expelled from various parts about the crime of perjury. Writing in the Washington Times the day after Libby was sentenced, Bush critic Bruce Fein said Libby not only deserved jail time, but “deserves a stiff prison term to deter his erstwhile Bush administration colleagues, for example, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and White House political guru Karl Rove, from equivocating with Congress and the courts.”

 

Fein, who reminds anyone who will listen that he was a deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration, also supported a Congressional motion of censure against President Bush last year. He believes that sending Libby to jail “is imperative also to honor the rule of law, the nation’s crown jewel.”

 

Well, if perjury is so important – and it is, when it concerns an underlying crime – then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should consider appointing a Special Counsel to investigate Valerie Plame.

 

Why? Because by all appearances, either Val has the memory of a mouse, or she flagrantly perjured herself while testifying under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 16, 2007.

 

Under questioning, Plame insisted that she was not the one who recommended that the CIA send her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to purchase significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

 

“No. I did not recommend him,” she said. “I did not suggest him. There was no nepotism involved. I didn’t have the authority.”

 

Besides the fact that no one has ever suggested, to my knowledge, that Valerie Plame actually made the decision to send her husband, her statement is pretty straight forward. She neither recommended her husband, or suggested his name.

 

Perhaps Ms. Plame never expected that anyone would challenge that statement. Perhaps she just assumed that the truth would remain cloaked in secrecy. Perhaps she trusted her friends in Congress to make sure that no evidence contradicting her assertions would ever be released to the public.

 

When the Senate Select committee on intelligence first investigated the Niger story in a report released in July 2004, it stated flat-out, “The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador’s wife, a CIA employee.”

 

That angered Mr. Wilson, who wrote to the committee shortly afterwards, claiming that this assertion was “not true.”

 

Since then, the Senate intelligence committee has gone back to the source, and reviewed yet again many of the intelligence documents that it relied upon for that initial report.

 

One of those documents was the email from Valerie Plame to her boss at CIA in which she recommended her husband for the Niger trip.

 

According to Wilson, that memo was “little more than a recitation of his contacts and bona fides.” But in additional views from intelligence committee vice-chairman Sen. Kit Bond, Sen. Hatch, and Sen. Burr, released on May 25, 2007, they state flat out, “This is not true.”

 

And then they drop the bomb. “The Committee did not release the full text of the document, thinking it was unnecessary in light of the other evidence provided in the [original] report, but considering the controversy surrounding this document, making the full text available now seems prudent.”

 

The Valerie Plame e-mail, now fully declassified, shows without any doubt that she recommended her husband for the mission in Niger.

 

After recounting an earlier fact-finding mission he had carried out in Niger for the Agency, as well as his good contacts “with both the [prime minister] and the former minister of mines,” she concluded by saying that her husband “may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on what, if anything to pursue here.”

 

Is there anything ambiguous about that statement? I don’t think so. Valerie Plame was recommending her husband for the Niger trip. [The document can be viewed here]

 

It ought to be sent to Attorney General Albert Gonzales by members of Mr. Waxman’s committee, along with a cover note requesting a Special counsel investigation to determine whether Ms. Plame committed perjury during her March 16, 2007 Congressional testimony.

 

And that’s not the only instance where Valerie Plame appears to have garbled the facts, intentionally or not.

 Asked by Rep. Westmoreland about the context for sending her husband to Niger, Plame showed that she had been paying very close attention to what was publicly known  about the case: 

“Congressman, I believe one of the pieces of evidence that was introduced in the Libby trial was an INR memo of that meeting, where it states — in fact, my husband was not particularly looking forward — he didn’t think it was necessary. There had been, I believe, at least two other reports — one by a three-star general and one by the ambassador there on the ground — who said there really wasn’t much to this allegation.

 

“And the INR folks that attended the meeting also said: Well, we’re not sure that this is really necessary.  But it was ultimately decided that he would go, use his contacts — which were extensive in the government — to see if there was anything more to this.  It was a serious question asked by the Office of the Vice President, and it deserved a serious answer.”

 

There’s only one problem with Valerie Plame’s statement. It doesn’t square with what she also should have known from the classified record.

 

The report “by the ambassador there on the ground” has also been partially declassified, and concluded– precisely to the contrary – that initial CIA reporting “provides sufficient details to warrant another hard look at Niger’s uranium sales,” according to the latest Senate intelligence committee report.

 

If anyone thought this story ended with Scooter Libby’s sentencing hearing, or even with him going to jail, think again.

 

There is much more to come. Stay tuned.

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Russia’s Missile Diplomacy

Russia’s Missile Diplomacy
By Ariel Cohen
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 8, 2007

“Vladimir – I call him Vladimir”, explained President George W. Bush, “you should not fear the missile defense system… Cold War is over. Why don’t you cooperate with us on the missile defense system? Why don’t you participate with us?”

The answer is: because Cold War is over for some, but not for others. And because Russia does not trust the United States and feels psychologically more comfortable in confrontation with it.

 It feels sometimes like Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin did not exist. In 1994, Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin have signed the de-targeting agreement, not to point ballistic missiles at each other. Later, other European powers signed such agreements with Russia. The Latest Flap. After the United States and Poland announced that it will locate the limited missile defense battery on Polish territory, with a radar in the Czech Republic, the Russian bear decided to show that it is not Winnie the Pooh. Putin said that Russia will take “adequate steps in return. New targets will appear in Europe. The systems that may be used to destroy these targets our military believe to be a potential threat to Russia – by ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or something else…” Then Putin said that Russia is not to blame, as it “has not started this arms race”.  This is a chilling statement, which clearly demonstrates that Russia views a possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear attack or a massive atomic strike against the United States as a realistic option – twenty years after Reagan and Gorbachev publicly buried the Cold War.  

In fact, the Cold War was exactly when Putin earned his spurs as a spy in Dresden, East Germany. It was a happy place where Russia (then still the Soviet Union) was back then, not just respected, but feared. The intelligence services and the military were at the top of the food chain and got the lion’s share of the budgetary pie. The dissidents were in the camps, not in parliaments, and no nouveaux-riche oligarchs could order “men of power” (siloviki) around.

 If Russia enters into a time warp and goes back, this will be Putin’s “Great Leap Backward.” In the rational world, responsible rulers just don’t do that. People’s mentality and institutional cultures have a funny quality – they are stronger than public declarations and signed documents. Chilling and Absurd. Russian statements that the new missile defense somehow threatens its massive retaliatory capabilities is not just factually wrong. It is absurd. 10 interceptors cannot threaten a massive Russian Strategic Missile Forces with their 7,000 + warheads. 10 interceptors cannot shoot down submarine launched ballistic missiles with individually targeted warheads called MIRVs in English. Nor can they touch long range supersonic cruise missiles on dozens of supersonic bombers, like TU-160 called the White Swans (almost a replica of American supersonic B-1 bomber from 30 years ago, whose design was stolen from Jimmy Carter’s USA by Russian agents). But these defenses can be a pretext for an all-out psychological attack aimed at checking US power in Europe and elsewhere. Outsider’s logic. The chilling statement is a result of Russia viewing itself as the country outside the Western trans-Atlantic community. Russian elites under Putin and his mentor, former spy chief and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov are increasingly viewing themselves as Eurasian. They are the guardians of Eurasia’s “heartland”, as the formerly quasi-Nazi theorist of Eurasianism Alexander Dugin would say. Many of them are also vehemently anti-“Atlanticist”, anti-American and anti-Catholic. Militant Eurasianism is a wholly artificial brand, the not-yet created, post-communist ideology. It is a a newly manufactured brand, with a pseudo-historic narrative to go with it. Like a Mickey Mouse character one finds in the McDonald’s hamburger package: plastic and ready to go. This is post-communist political brand management. Made in Russia. 

The Russian Military. The Russian military and security elite has a long list of complaints, the recent one being just the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Moscow bitterly complained about the enlargement of NATO to Central Europe and the bombing of Kosovo in 1999. It raised furor over further enlargement of NATO to the Baltic States and claimed that promises were made in the late 1980s that as the Soviet Union withdraws, NATO membership will not be extended to liberated countries; and NATO soldiers or military systems will not be positioned in Central Europe.

 

The litany also includes the December 2001 Bush Administration abandoning the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

 

Russian military also harbors feelings of humiliation in Afghanistan, after US- , Pakistan- and Saudi-backed moujahedeen defeated the Soviet war machine, and that Solidarity and other democracy activists pushed Soviet troops from Central and Eastern Europe – with US support.

 

According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a prominent Russian military analyst, in 1999 the Russian military conducted Zapad-99 maneuvers that simulated NATO’s blockade of Kaliningrad. Russian military simulated “preventive” nuclear attacks with cruise missiles launched by strategic bombers, with two targets in Western Europe and two in the U.S. hit. Moscow General Staff reported a victory in that simulated war, as if U.S. would refrain from massive retaliation.

 

In May 2003, a Russian naval task force in the Indian Ocean conducted a war game in which a US aircraft carrier task force was attacked and sunk, with a simultaneous nuclear attack on the US naval base at Diego Garcia island. This was to demonstrate that Russian can stop an attack on an ally in the region (presumably Iran). Such saber rattling, as well as missile diplomacy, raise serious questions about effectiveness of Russian political and security integration with the West.

Finally, Russian elites are unhappy with the U.S. military bases in Central Asia. Last year, they enticed Islam Karimov, the authoritarian Uzbek leader, to kick the American Air Force from an airfield in Uzbekistan. The reason Karimov wanted Americans out was because he was afraid of a U.S.-supported “colored revolution.”

 

The Vodka Revolution? Moscow deeply mistrusts Bush’s agenda of democracy promotion. The Kremlin was beyond itself when Washington supported Mikheil Saakashvili’s Rose Revolution and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Moscow views the Bush administration’s democratization policies, as directed against Russian interests. The bottom line is domestic insecurity: If the U.S. can bolster a Rose Revolution in Tbilisi, why not a vodka-and-caviar revolution in Moscow?

 

The specter of a velvet revolution is also about fat pocketbooks and Cyprus bank accounts. The elites fear that the oil bonanza will disappear overnight, together with their villas on the French Riviera and Swiss ski vacations.

 

What Next? At their G-8 summit, the two presidents should take this chance to define a common agenda and repair the deteriorating relations between the two countries.

 

After a 20-year hiatus, Russia is forcing its way back on the global scene as an adversarial actor. It is assembling a coalition of fruits and nuts from Caracas, Venezuela, to Teheran.

 

President Bush’s team must design better strategies for coping with this old/new Russian geopolitical challenge in Eurasia and beyond. If America is perceived as weak, Russia may continue bullying her neighbors and supporting rogues.

 

Russia respects power. It’s time for Mr. Bush to reassure his Russian counterpart the U.S. has plenty.

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