ObamaCare and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice Barack Obama is unleashing forces he only dimly understands, hopelessly out of his depth

ObamaCare and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Timothy Birdnow
Barack Obama is unleashing forces he only dimly understands, hopelessly out of his depth.

Barack Obama has stated, and quite publicly, that the debate over climate change is over, and that the Earth`s climate is shifting as a result of human emissions of carbon dioxide. We simply must act, and one of his signiature issues is Cap-and-Trade (I hear Quaker is adding that to their breakfast cereal line).  Obama, the man whose entire presidential campaign could be summed up in a one-word slogan “change” is firmly in favor of maintaining the climatological status quo.

But when it comes to his scheme to nationalize health care, Obama has stated vociferously “the status quo is not an option”. Obama wants change, any change, in the way America does health care.


While these may seem to be a case of apples and oranges, they are not in a fundamental way; both are about very complex systems, systems that in many ways we do not fully understand and cannot predict. We do not understand the interplay of the innumerable variables, and the models we have made to aid us are very limited and inflexible in a number of important ways. Climate is changing – and has always been changing since the Earth coalesced from the leftovers of the sun. Climate isn`t stable because it has never been stable. Obama and his friends think that we can predict what will happen as a result of rising CO2, and can act by reducing our carbon emissions to stop those changes, essentially keeping the environment in stasis.


The health care industry in the United States is approximately 1/7 of the U.S. economy, and it is not a straightforward proposition, since health care is about more than selling standardized parts. How many diseases can the human body develop? How many injuries? How long does it take for a doctor, or a team of doctors, to recognize and diagnose a problem properly? How does the individual respond to the treatment proscribed? How is technology influencing diagnosis and treatment?


Essentially, both systems are too complex to understand and standardize. It is impossible to make strong predictions about either, yet Obama is confident that he and his anointed brain-trust can easily grasp the outcome of both, and can impose legal mechanisms to act as controls. It should come as no surprise that an arrogant man and his arrogant advisors believe they can move both the heavens and the Earth.


But Obama wants to stop climate change and at the same time advance any change possible in health care. If there is danger in the climate changing, isn`t it equally dangerous to tinker with a health care system that is nearly as complex? Oh, and Cap-N-Trade will profoundly effect the nation’s economy as a whole, something that is beyond the understanding of even the most learned of men. Obama is a child playing with matches.


Remember the Sorcerer’s Apprentice; he could make the brooms move, but didn’t have the foggiest idea of how to control them.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/obamacare_and_the_sorcerers_ap.html at August 21, 2009 – 10:09:22 AM EDT


The Incredibly Shrinking War on Terror

The Incredibly Shrinking War on Terror
By: FrontPage Magazine
Friday, August 21, 2009


Barack Obama and James Zogby agree: we need not concern ourselves with most of the world’s America-hating jihadists.

It is fitting that any president, especially the first (real) black president, celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the Obama Justice Department did last month. The selection of an Arab as a prime speaker seems curious for many reasons, not least because Arabs are classified as “white.”  Eric Holder’s choice of James Zogby, a longtime apologist for Palestinian terrorism and dedicated foe of effective homeland security measures, to address the gathering seems to signal a deeper reality at the core of the Obama administration: its ever-shrinking conception of the War on Terror.


Jim Zogby, the brother of pollster John Zogby, co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and founder of the  Arab American Institute (AAI),  is the most visible spokesman of the Arab-American community. Zogby is “white,” not black; Christian, not Muslim; Lebanese, not Palestinian; and, like all who get invited to address such gatherings, elite, not dispossessed. Yet he spoke as though the suffering of 200 years of slavery had been bred into his DNA. He talked of Arab-Americans marching and staging sit-ins for civil rights, being denied a separate ethnic identity in white America, and balkanizing after viewing “the TV series ‘Roots,’” which “crystallized this broader cultural change.”


Big Brother and the Holder Company


He soon got to the heart of his speech: casting himself and his ethnicity as victims of a repressive, right-wing intelligence establishment. Beginning in the 1970s, “law enforcement agencies not only did not help; they were a problem…From FOIA discoveries, we have learned the extent of harassment—from Operation Boulder in the Nixon era, and the broad surveillance of Palestinian student organizations in the 70’s and 80’s.”


Operation Boulder imposed the grand burden of a five-day waiting period for Arab immigrants seeking to obtain a visa while the FBI and other federal agencies ran a background check – the same waiting period President Clinton instituted for law-abiding American citizens before purchasing a handgun. As one anti-Nixon coordinator recorded, “In the two months following the Palestinian assault against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games in September 1972, 78 Arabs were deported from the United States. Hundreds, perhaps thousands more, were interrogated, photographed, and finger-printed by FBI and INS agents.” Although the FBI surveilled some Arab organizations during this time, particularly those with close ties to foreign activists, this was not a part of Operation Boulder, which ended with a whimper in 1975.


Yet stories of persecution need a narrative of redemption. Zogby extended that hosanna to the Democratic Party, and to Eric Holder, in particular. “I say Jesse Jackson helped us knock on the door, Ron Brown opened it, and Bill Clinton welcomed us in and sat us at the table,” he said. “When, in the 1990’s, we experienced problems with widespread subjective airport profiling…it was Al Gore, Janet Reno, Eric Holder and Bill Lan Lee who brought us in for a series of meetings that helped us work through and resolve many of these critical issues.” He added, “If it had not been for the advances we made during the 1990’s…I do not think we would have been able to withstand the challenges we faced in the aftermath of 9/11.”


Mr. Zogby is being modest; without the access he gained to Eric Holder and others in the Clinton administration, it is conceivable there may have been no 9/11. In the mid-90s, Vice President Al Gore drew up a series of recommendations for airline safety, which, though too modest to prevent the hijackings, were never implemented. The 9/11 Commission explained Clinton and Gore no longer required airlines to screen passengers’ carry-on luggage, as they had before 1997, “[p]rimarily because of concern regarding potential discrimination.” Zogby, the AADC, and CAIR stoked those fears during the Clinton administration and, with others, made Governor Bush concerned over “secret evidence” in 2000. Post-9/11, Zogby became a founding member of the FBI’s Arab American Advisory Committee. Presumably, this continues to be part of his repartee with Holder and co.


…As candidate Obama promised it would be nearly two years ago. In December 2007, the then-freshman senator told AAI he opposed “racial profiling,” adding, “when I’m president, the rights of every American will be fully respected and protected.” September 10th, here we come.


Mr. Zogby and his organizations continue to clamor against “spying” on Muslim groups, despite the large number of Muslim Student Association members implicated in terrorism. But then both he and his representatives have a long history of whitewashing terrorists. He stated that Abdurrahman Alamoudi – who attended a conference with al-Qaeda, professed his support of Hamas and Hezbollah, and was convicted of illegally accepting Libyan funds – was a victim of “McCarthyism.” Similarly, then-ADC President Hussein Ibish dismissed the charges against Sami al-Arian (who also was eventually found guilty) as a “very, very ugly post-9/11 McCarthyism.” Perhaps the most astounding obfuscation came from of Zogby’s AADC co-founder, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, D-SD, who told Al-Manar TV, “the Arabs who were involved in 9/11 cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation.”


Neither Abourezk nor Zogby have any trouble with Americans who seek to cooperate with Palestinian terrorists. Zogby has written against “criminalizing attempts to send money to Hezbollah or support it.” Defending Hezbollah and Hamas is an ongoing effort of AADC. As DiscoverTheNetworks notes:


In 1994, then-ADC President Hamzi Moghrabi said, “I will not call [Hamas] a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable…I don’t believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization.” Two years later, his successor, Hala Maksoud, defended Hamas’ partner in Mideastern terrorism, Hezbollah. “I find it shocking,” Maksoud said, “that [one] would include Hezbollah in…[an] inventory of Middle East ‘terrorist’ groups.” In 2000, new ADC President Hussein Ibish characterized Hezbollah as “a disciplined and responsible liberation force.”


The Incredibly Shrinking War on Terror


Zogby’s invitation seems emblematic of Obama’s narrowing focus in the War on Terror: it seems to include only those elements of the jihadist movement that will not pretend to negotiate with him. The president’s real zeal is expressed in zinging Israel. Obama also foreshadowed this in his 2007 AAI speech, where he stated, “we also have to do more to bring a measure of stability in the broader Middle East. Our neglect of the Middle East peace process has fueled despair and extremism.”


Thus, the president has strong-armed Benjamin Netanyahu into accepting, in principle, a Palestinian state, although Bibi has voiced concerns about increasing violence, and a more prominent role for Fatah (the “peaceful” Palestinians) in it. Obama State Department appointee Rosa Brooks has likewise excused Hamas, writing in the L.A. Times this January that the terrorist army “is weak, and its weapons – terrorism, homemade rockets – are the weapons of the weak.” These weapons “have killed only a handful of Israelis.” She contrasted this with Palestinian casualties, adding, “Arab and Islamic anger over Palestine continues to fuel anti-Western and anti-U.S. terrorism around the globe.” But Brooks came up with a solution: “Only the U.S. – Israel’s primary supporter and main financial sponsor – can push it to make the hard choices necessary for its own long-term security, as well as the region’s.” Brooks is right that the future of the United States and Israel are intertwined, but for the wrong reason. David Horowitz has rightly stated, “Israel is the canary in the mine. What happens to this small, vulnerable nation will eventually happen to America itself.” But for the Obama administration, Israel is the aggressor, not the victim.


As we know, Obama’s War on Terror does not encompass the war in Iraq, which he assures the nation we will exit Iraq in August 2011, come hajj or high water. Tehran, too, gets a pass for attacking our troops across the border. Obama offered muted criticism as Iranian secret police brutalized and arrested 2,500 democratic protesters of the nation’s rigged election and has had nothing to say about their show trials late last month. In fact, he still wants to meet with Iran’s leaders, and hand them a “civilian” nuclear reactor. He has intensified negotiations with Syria’s Basher al-Assad, though he extended sanctions for one more year. Damascus all but escorted foreign jihadists to the Iraqi battlefield. Syria is a consumer of North Korean technology, believed to have received weapons technology and aid in constructing the now-decimated al-Kibar nuclear reactor from the DPRK. (There are also the small matters of its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and its continual undermining of the Cedar Revolution.)


The Obama administration’s battle horizon does not even include all elements of the Taliban, whose foot soldiers are currently killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The president has expressed interest in negotiating with the “moderate” Taliban – an entreaty Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf logically dismissed as “illogical.”


Even al-Qaeda agents caught on-the-ground in certain nations may be in a legal gray area. Obama personally told the New York Times in March, “There could be situation…where, let’s say that we have a well-known al-Qaeda operative that doesn’t surface very often, appears in a third country with whom we don’t have an extradition relationship or would not be willing to prosecute, but we think is a very dangerous person.” Obama’s rock hard decision? “I think we still have to think about how do we deal with that kind of scenario.” In the War on Terror, he’s still voting “present.”


A Kinder, Gentler John Kerry


In the NYT interview, Obama even voiced concerns about the hypothetical al-Qaeda operative’s “habeas corpus” rights – although officials later rushed to clarify he intended to extend these only to Guantanamo Bay detainees. Americans voted last November for a candidate who would track down al-Qaeda operatives into the farthest reaches of “Pawk-ee-stawn” and bomb their bases with or without Islamabad’s permission. They got a warmed over version of John Kerry, who viewed the war as “primarily a law enforcement and intelligence operation.” By contrast, Obama eschews law enforcement and coercion. He has faith his boundless personal warmth and innate goodness can charm and pacify the heads of terrorist states. If he could find any.

There’s a real question at stake now. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country

Inside the Beltway


A Hollywood conservative has headed East. It’s “Freedom Concert” time for Jon Voight. The Academy Award winner will join Sean Hannity in Cincinnati and Atlanta this weekend to honor fallen soldiers and present college scholarships to surviving children. Mr. Voight — a warrior himself in many ways — has been cogitating about the state of America, meanwhile.

“There’s a real question at stake now. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?” Mr. Voight tells Inside the Beltway.

“We are witnessing a slow, steady takeover of our true freedoms. We are becoming a socialist nation, and whoever can’t see this is probably hoping it isn’t true. If we permit Mr. Obama to take over all our industries, if we permit him to raise our taxes to support unconstitutional causes, then we will be in default. This great America will become a paralyzed nation.”

Be outraged, Mr. Voight advises.

“Do not let the Obama administration fool you with all their cunning Alinsky methods. And if you don’t know what that method is, I implore you to get the book ‘Rules for Radicals,’ by Saul Alinsky . Mr. Obama is very well trained in these methods,” he continues, citing a television campaign critical of the Republican Party and contentious town-hall meetings about health care reform.

“The real truth is that the Obama administration is professional at bullying, as we have witnessed with ACORN at work during the presidential campaign. It seems to me they are sending down their bullies to create fist fights among average American citizens who don’t want a government-run health care plan forced upon them,” Mr. Voight says. “So I ask again. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?”


She’s blonde. She’s the bomb. And she’s got important relatives. Meghan McCain, the woman who brought va-va-voom to the Republican discourse in recent months, will rock ABC’s “The View” Sept. 9 as the first guest co-host for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, now on maternity leave.

Ah, Meghan. She was the one (as ABC reminds everybody) who told Karl Rove, “You had your eight years. Now go away.”

Commentary is running amok online: You go, girl, they say. You’re just a dumb blonde. Take on Joy Behar. Oh, and say “hi” to your dad. Which is, of course, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, onetime presidential hopeful, war hero.

And what does he say?

“He’s very, very proud of his daughter,” a McCain spokeswoman tells Beltway.


With cool fanfare, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday that a whopper, 3.3-inch hailstone fell July 16 in Vermont — deemed an official state record and adding, perhaps, another wrinkle to the global warming argument.

The hailstone conveniently fell in the backyard of one Chuck McGill, a NOAA meteorologist, who whisked it to the office for measurement and photographs. But now what? The hailstone sat for weeks in the NOAA freezer. Is it a has-been?

Not to worry. NOAA’s got it covered.

“Chuck’s taken it home again and put it in his own freezer,” chief meteorologist Andy Nash tells Beltway. “These things can just sublimate to nothing. You know, evaporate. Chuck’s determined to keep that hailstone alive.”


The Second Amendment Foundation has accused MSNBC of “demonizing” gunowners, says Alan Gottlieb, the Bellevue, Wash.-based group’s founder. The segment shows a figure toting an AR-15 rifle outside the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, where President Obama spoke earlier this week.

“There are Second Amendment rights, for sure, but also there are questions about whether this has a racial overtone. I mean, here you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waist,” anchor Contessa Brewer says in the report.

“What MSNBC purposely did not reveal with the deliberately doctored video is that the man carrying that sport-utility rifle was an African-American,” says Mr. Gottlieb. “Yet all they showed in a brief film clip was a close-up of the rifle against the man’s neatly-pressed dress shirt. It was impossible to tell the man’s race. This is a detestable attempt to manipulate public sentiment.”


• 30 percent of Americans overall say health care reform will create “death panels.”

• 47 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Fox News viewers agree.

• 20 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of MSNBC viewers agree.

• 28 percent of Americans overall say the press is not critical enough of President Obama.

• 52 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism survey of 1,003 adults conducted Aug. 14-17.

Whispers, noise, hailstones to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin

Obama Snares Palin, Media in Wide Blame-Game

Obama Snares Palin, Media in Wide Blame-Game Net: Caroline Baum


Commentary by Caroline Baum

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) — When the political winds shift — when a party is voted out of power or a policy is panned by the public — Washington turns to its favorite pastime: the blame game.

And so it is with President Barack Obama, who tripped on his sprint to the health-care-reform finish line. Voters, it seems, want to understand a little more about what ObamaCare will mean for them, what it will do to the doctor-patient relationship, and what it will cost future generations in higher taxes and, yes, rationed supply.

Rather than examine the public’s concerns, the plans’ inconsistencies or the sheer irresponsibility of trying to ram something this big and complicated through Congress without a small-scale trial, the Obama administration is pointing fingers. Lots of them. Most of the targets are just plain silly.

1. Conservative groups

When liberal activists, including trade unions, Acorn and MoveOn.org, protested against anything and everything President George W. Bush said or did, it was called grassroots democracy.

When conservative groups encourage supporters to attend town hall meetings and make their sentiments known to their congressmen, it’s un-American, disruptive and the work of right- wing extremists.

Madame Hypocrite

Where was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, when President George W. Bush was being compared to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? She was a “fan of disrupters” in those days, as she told anti-war protesters at a January 2006 town hall meeting in San Francisco. Pelosi only developed a thin skin (too much plastic surgery?) when the Democrats took control of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The effort to blame right-wing groups is transparent. If my feedback on a recent column is indicative of the political persuasion and demographic distribution of the protesters, these are ordinary Americans energized by the debate, frustrated at not having a voice and motivated to exercise their right of free speech. Attempts to smear opponents and shut down debate are, well, un-American.

2. Insurance Companies

Garnering support for health-insurance reform by demonizing insurance companies is a cheap shot, albeit one that resonates with the public. After all, these are the faceless bureaucrats who deny or pay claims in a seemingly arbitrary manner and refuse or cancel coverage if you cost them too much money.

Stubborn Facts

Facts are stubborn things, this White House is quick to remind us. And in this case, the facts don’t support the vilification.

If insurance companies were gouging the public, the evidence would show up in one of two places, according to Graef Crystal, a compensation expert in Santa Rosa, California, and occasional Bloomberg News columnist: excessive executive pay or excessive returns to shareholders.

His analysis of five major health insurers shows just the opposite: below-market pay and below-market shareholder returns.

“There’s no case here for undue enrichment of shareholders” or over-compensating CEOs, Crystal finds.

Health care needs a major overhaul, but that’s no reason to make scapegoats out of insurance companies.

3. The Media

I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Obama point the finger at the media at his town hall meeting last week in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Fishing Expedition

The president, defending the White House’s fishing expedition for “fishy” e-mails on health-insurance reform (suspended this week by popular demand), blamed the media for “distorting what’s taken place.”

Is this the same media that was in the pocket for candidate Obama and waltzed us through the honeymoon? If Bush had been as reliant on his teleprompter as Obama, or said “Cinco de Cuatro” when he meant “Cuatro de Mayo,” the press would have been all over him for being inept.

Sorry, Mr. President, you have no idea what it means for the media to distort what’s taken place. The long-gone Bush administration is getting more negative press than you are.

4. Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, the recently retired governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and Democrat’s favorite whipping boy (or girl), created a stir with a reference to death panels on Facebook. Palin said she didn’t want her parents or Down-Syndrome baby to “have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide” what kind of medical care should be allocated to these less productive members of society.

Blame the Democrats

This is the same Sarah Palin whose foreign policy experience was summed up during the campaign by her ability “to see Russia from land here in Alaska.” This is the same Sarah Palin credited with changing the terms of the debate? C’mon. That’s too laughable to address.

Besides, there’s a kernel of truth in what she said. Like all goods and services, medical care is a scarce resource that must be rationed. The only question is how: by the market (price) or by government mandate.

If government is doing the rationing, what exactly will bureaucrats use to determine who gets what care and who doesn’t?

Opposition to fast-track health-insurance reform is coming from Obama’s own party. Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and one of six Finance Committee members involved in bipartisan negotiations, said on Fox News Sunday that the goal is to “get this right,” not meet some “specific timetable.”

He said the Senate lacks enough votes to pass a bill with a public option. “To continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”

There’s always room for one more — the Democrats — on Obama’s blame-game list.

(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Caroline Baum in New York at cabaum@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: August 18, 2009 21:00 EDT