In June 2009, President Obama addressed the American Medical Association to promote his national healthcare bill, as he declared a seemingly forthright promise to the American people: "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what," he vowed.
But as the law develops and stipulations of its contents unfold, ObamaCare opponents are challenging the President’s June 2009 declaration. Indeed, certain provisions in the law will stoke the very fears individuals with employer-based health insurance hold: they will lose their existing health plan and be dumped into the federal exchanges — an insurance "marketplace" subsidized by the federal government.
As Rick Perry preaches his down home, “Don’t mess with Texas” version of the neo-con gospel (see his latest comment regarding “taking the fight to the enemy”), he is coming under increased scrutiny not just of his record (and there is plenty there to scrutinize), but of his gravitas.
Along those lines, Politico asked, “Is Rick Perry Dumb?”
There is something about Rick Perry and the manner in which he attempts to exude populism while embracing one after the other of the neo-con, Republican establishment articles of faith that make Politico’s question not nearly as daft as it may at first sound.
The article in Politico opens with a very quick survey of Governor Perry’s past problems with being regarded as a deep thinker:
Elements of Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups were known to be key players in the NATO-backed uprising in Libya from the beginning, but now it appears that prominent Jihadists and terrorists are practically leading the revolution with Western support.
One terror leader in particular, Abdelhakim Belhaj, made headlines around the world over the weekend after it emerged that he was appointed the chief of Tripoli’s rebel Military Council. Prior to leading rebel forces against Gaddafi’s regime, Belhaj was the founder and leader of the notorious Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
Eventually the terror “Emir,” as he has been called, was arrested and tortured as an American prisoner in the terror war. In 2004, according to reports, he was transferred to the Gaddafi regime — then a U.S. terror-war ally.
The persecution of Christians is the biggest untold story in the establishment media. Consider Iran, a nation that we fear because it may soon acquire nuclear weapons. This fear is so strong in the school of popular punditry that strategic military strikes, embargoes and a host of other fairly dramatic remedies are seriously discussed. But is not our true fear of Iran that it is a nation which is intolerant, warlike and barbaric?
We have lived for more than fifty years with Britain and France, which each has the power to destroy most major American cities on any given day. The Soviet Union and its offspring, the thuggish Russian nation, each have a vast nuclear arsenal, as does China, which bears us no goodwill. Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and probably a few other nations have nuclear capacity or could acquire it quickly. Our former Axis enemies — Germany, Japan and Italy — could all go nuclear fairly quickly, if they wished. What is it about Iran that makes us sweat?
President Obama’s constant refrain about the government’s unprecedented levels of red ink points to “millionaires and billionaires” as the problem, not the massive amounts of waste, fraud, and inefficiency in government operations. Remember when a million per mile seemed like a crazy price for a new road? Now it’s a billion per mile for a transportation project and the politicians are just fine with it, even if the project is totally unnecessary, even if we’re already broke.
To make it allegedly easier for people in San Francisco to get in and out of Chinatown in a hurry, a new 1.7 mile subway line is in the works.
The original projected cost was $647 million. Now it’s $1.6 billion, and growing.
Just a week ago this Monday, the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled that the tribe may revoke the citizenship rights of black members. The case stemmed from a 2007 vote in which the Nation amended its constitution to allow the expulsion of the descendants of Cherokee-held slaves; this inspired a lawsuit by the “Freedmen,” as the black Cherokee are known. A district court found in favor of the Freedmen, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling, arguing that the Cherokee alone have a right to determine who is and is not a fellow tribesman. The result is that these erstwhile Cherokees, approximately 3,000 strong, will now be denied benefits that inclusion in the tribe affords, such as free healthcare and education, and voting and housing rights.
The Freedman had enjoyed Cherokee citizenship status ever since it was granted through a treaty with the U.S. government after the War Between the States.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took sharp issue Sunday with what he called "cheap shots" at him and other officials in the Bush administration by Dick Cheney in the former Vice President's memoir, In My Time, scheduled to be released this week. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation.
Powell told host Bob Schieffer that if certain "White House operatives" and members of the Vice President's staff had been more forthcoming, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame would not have been necessary and the investigation would have been shortened by more than two years. Powell made that comment while responding to Cheney's statement in his book that Powell preferred to express his doubts and differences with administration policy to others, rather than directly to the President.
"It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney wrote about the former head of the State Department.
Though Hurricane Irene — later downgraded to a tropical storm — did not cause anywhere the level of devastation initially predicted, it still made a major impact on the East Coast. At least 24 are known dead, thousands are without power, and some areas along the east coast are still under water. Estimates of the damages are in the billions of dollars.
The state of Vermont has been declared a federal disaster area, with many small towns experiencing historic flooding. According to Fox News, “Hundreds of Vermonters were told to leave their homes after Irene dumped several inches of rain on the landlocked state.” Governor Peter Shumlin called it the worst flooding the state has ever seen. As well, he added, there is “extraordinary infrastructure damage” across the state. One video shows a small bridge over Williams River — which had stood since 1870 — swept away by rushing floodwaters.
Every road in the state of Vermont, with the exception of two major highways, was closed at some point over the weekend as a result of the storms.
The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.
In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”
A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director.
As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the meeting was convened by the “newly formed Fellowship of Presbyterians … to help churches opposed to the move find ways to work within or leave the Presbyterian Church USA.” The Rev. Jim Singleton, pastor of the nearly 4,000-member First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said of the conference: “With so many critical theological differences and a denomination that continues to decline, we have to ask ourselves, is there something else that God has for us?”