On Troop Deployment to Afghanistan
Last February, President Obama had talked about diplomacy versus troop increase. On CNN, he said:
“I am absolutely convinced that you cannot solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the spread of extremism in that region solely through military means,” Obama told journalist Peter Mansbridge as part of a wide-ranging interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’re going to have to use diplomacy. We’re going to have to use development.” (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/18/obama.afghanistan.canada/)
Now, as he has rejected four options under consideration because each lacks a clear real exit strategy. It is laughable that Republicans persist that Obama is dithering. That he will not commit troops until he feels reasonably certain that the Afghan government will live up to their end of the deal (clean up corruption, fight drug-trafficking, etc) is admirable and correct policy-making. Clearly they are unable to learn even from recent history as our troops were sent to war without clarity, purpose, or honesty. Nine months later, Obama’s statement to troops based in Alaska remains consistent: “I want you guys to understand that I will never hesitate to protect our vital interests. But I also make you this promise: I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America’s vital interests.”
Here’s my take: The president will send a very small number of troops to Afghanistan early in 2010—lower than the smallest level under consideration—and begin withdrawal in twelve to eighteen months. Hold me to it.—Marvin
Jon Cooper asks, ‘What do you consider to be the most appropriate U.S. military strategy for the Afghanistan war?’ Participate in his poll: http://cooperfornewyork.com/Homepage.html
Other thoughts: I am really going to miss surly, bloated Dobbs’ weekday evenings (click below) . . . Palin laments that McCain’s staff kept her ‘bottled up” from reporters. Just shows that we, as McCain did, can learn from our mistakes–once we are willing to admit them (even if only to ourselves) . . . Regarding our new more interactive Update, there is, for now, one glitch regarding the posting of your comments. Responses to Update items that appear on our website have a home page lifespan of one issue. If you want to reply to an item from an earlier Update item, click on Recent Posts or the monthly Archive on YWC!LI’s home page . . . A bit of a surprise– no replies have been made to my boastful celebration of the Yankees 27th World Series victory. Does this suggest that all YWC!LI members are staunch Yankee fans? Hope so.
Good riddance (Lou Dobbs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr5wUEe8m_E
Joe Lieberman Filibusters Health Care While Americans Suffer
One of many classic episodes of Seinfeld was “The Opposite” — the finale of season five. While George decides to ignore his instincts and behave in the exact opposite way he normally would, the B-story involves Elaine’s boyfriend, Jake Jarmel, being hit by a cab. And instead of rushing to the hospital, Elaine stops at a movie theater concession stand and buys a box of Jujyfruits — completely unfazed by the gravity of the situation.
When it comes to health care reform, Joe Lieberman is Elaine times a thousand.
So are Ben Nelson, Tom Carper, Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh. But let’s focus on Lieberman since his emergence in this situation was dropped like a ton of bricks — rubbery, fruity bricks — seemingly out of nowhere, whereas the rest of these conservative Democrats have more or less been enemies of real reform since the process began.
Republican National Committee’s Insurance Plan Covered Abortion
Every now and then there comes a piece of news so shrouded in the stench of hypocrisy that it renders satire unnecessary, news that exemplifies the twisted logic of the political calculation. With that in mind, I offer you this nugget, masterfully uncovered by the skilled headline-grabbers over at Politico:
The Republican National Committee’s health insurance plan covers elective abortion–a procedure the party’s own platform calls “a fundamental assault on innocent human life.” Federal Election Commission Records show the RNC purchases its insurance from Cigna. Two sales agents for the company said that the RNC’s policy covers elective abortion.
It barely warrants commentary. Suffice to say, the party, which agitated so strongly to prevent predominantly low-income women from having elective abortions covered by their government-subsidized health insurance, allows their own staff members to have the same procedure covered by their employer-based insurance. Is anyone surprised that Congress has such low approval ratings?
Update: The Republican National Committee will no longer offer employees an insurance plan that covers abortion after POLITICO reported Thursday that the anti-abortion RNC’s policy has covered the procedure since 1991.
Noto bene: According to published reports, CIGNA has responded: “Our products are designed to meet the requirements of our individual employer clients. Employer clients are informed of the services covered and it is their choice to decide which benefits meet their needs.” Given a menu of overage options, the RNC did not choose to opt out of abortion coverage. Speaking for Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards countered, “It’s no surprise the RNC is offering abortion coverage to its members. It’s an employer who wants to provide standard health benefits for its employees. That’s why the Stupak amendment goes too far in taking away benefits that women have today.”–Marvin
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According to FiveThirtyEight.com, 20 of the 64 Democrats who joined Republicans to pass the measure are nominally pro-choice. We need to tell these 20 Democrats to reconsider their vote and urge Congressional leadership to do everything they can to ensure the health care bill that comes out of committee does not take us back to an era of coat hangers and back alley abortions.
I just signed a petition to the 20 formerly pro-choice Democrats — all of them men — who voted to take away women’s rights. For every person that signs the petition a coat hanger will be sent to remind these politicians what happens when women can’t get access to reproductive health care including abortion.
Please have a look and take action: http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/send_a_coathanger/
Reid Mulls Medicare Tax Increase for High Earners
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is considering a proposal to increase the Medicare payroll tax on high-income workers to help offset the costs of providing health insurance to millions of Americans, Senate aides said Thursday. The proposal is part of a legislative package that Mr. Reid has put together in secrecy and submitted to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis. Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada, has said the Senate could begin debate on the legislation as soon as next week, although members of his own party do not yet know details of the bill he has assembled from pieces approved by two Senate committees.
What’s happening with healthcare reform? Salon explains
With the House having approved its version of a healthcare reform bill on Saturday, Democrats in Congress are now closer to passing major reform than they’ve been in decades. That doesn’t mean they’re truly close, though — there are still a lot of issues to be ironed out, and a fair number of potential obstacles that could arise to derail the whole process.
The public option remains a major stumbling block, for one thing, and the issue of coverage for abortion, which has been simmering under the radar for some time now, finally exploded with the addition of the Stupak amendment to the House’s legislation.
All this can get pretty confusing, even for people paying close attention. So Salon has put together the list below, addressing some of the most common questions out there, from what kinds of restrictions the Stupak amendment places on abortion coverage and whether it will be in the final bill, to the public option’s chances and the current timetable for getting a bill signed.
Goldman Saches Tells Insurers, No Health Care Reform Is Best For Profits
A Goldman Sachs analysis of health care legislation has concluded that, as far as the bottom line for insurance companies is concerned, the best thing to do is nothing. A close second would be passing a watered-down version of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill.
A study put together by Goldman in mid-October looks at the estimated stock performance of the private insurance industry under four variations of reform legislation. The study focused on the five biggest insurers whose shares are traded on Wall Street: Aetna, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, CIGNA and Humana.