John McCain Anxious for NDAA Renewal for 2013

originally published at The New American Magazine

During the overnight Senate session that resulted in the passage of a “de facto declaration of war” on Iran and a stopgap bill that funded the federal government through March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to push through a vote on next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as well.

An article published online by Government Executive magazine reports that at about 1:40 a.m. Saturday, September 22, Reid worked the floor trying to get support for the latest renewal of the controversial defense funding measure before his colleagues abandoned the Capitol for their home states.

“I’ve been asked on a number of occasions by Senator [Carl] Levin, Senator [John] McCain what we’re going to do on … the Defense Authorization bill. I ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by me, after consultation with the Republican leader, the Senate proceed to … the Defense authorization bill,” Reid said, according to the Government Executive story.

Foreign Policy blog The Cable reports that upon learning of Reid’s pre-dawn parliamentary plans, “Senate Minority Jon Kyl (R-AZ) objected … because Reid wanted unanimous consent to structure the debate with limited amendments and because Kyl couldn’t check with his caucus, as almost all senators had left the chamber.”

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), eager to get approval of the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA on the books before heading back to the Grand Canyon State, accused Reid of purposely waiting until the chamber was nearly empty to start debate on the bill.

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An appearance of impropriety

Last Sunday morning, the NFL pulled a replacement ref scheduled to work that afternoon’s New Orleans – Carolina game.

It seems our budding official presented a little conflict of interest.

According to ESPN.com, side-judge Brian Stropolo is a big Saints fan.  Stropolo hails from New Orleans, and he apparently had photos of himself wearing Saints gear posted on his Facebook page.  When Stropolo announced that he was scheduled to work the Saints game, a friend posted, “Hey, be nice with those yellow flags for our Saints!”

Stropolo took his Facebook page down.

A league executive said that, “an appearance of impropriety” warranted Sunday’s action.

Apparently, the NFL didn’t trust that the striped shirt would adequately cover up the Saints jersey underneath. Can’t say that I blame them.

This raises an interesting question. Why do we trust that a black robe will cover up the U.S.A. jersey federal judges wear?

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Arab Spring is now a Western Winter?

by Judge Andrew Napolitano

Is the Arab Middle East ready for democracy? We know how the past two American presidents have answered this.

The revised stated purpose behind President George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was to build a new world order by forcing democracy on populations to whom it was truly alien. The original stated purpose for invading Afghanistan was to destroy the folks who provided shelter to the 9/11 attackers, and the original stated purpose for invading Iraq was to rid it of a government that possessed and might use weapons of mass destruction.

But when we learned that the real support for the 9/11 attacks came from folks protected by our so-called friends in Saudi Arabia, and when we learned that the only weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq were the ones the U.S. sold to Saddam Hussein in the mid-1980s, which he no longer possessed, the Bush administration changed the rhetoric but not the violence or its cost.

Since the termination of those wars came about after the installation of puppet regimes in both countries, and since those regimes now claim legitimacy because they were elected by the people permitted to vote there, we have been reminded that democracy is more than the result of a majority vote. It is respect for the rule of law and recognition of the inalienable rights of the individual. It is not torture, extra-judicial killings, or government-sanctioned rape and legal suppression of women and girls; it is not racial and religious and ethnic hatred and persecution; and it is not the rule of mobs in the streets.

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Subsidies for Electronic Medical Records Leads to Higher Medicare Bills

Government subsidies often produce unintended consequences. The latest example comes from the New York Times, which reports that federal subsidizes to encourage doctors and hospitals to use electronic billing and recording records are leading to larger Medicare bills. That means that taxpayers are taking a double hit even though policymakers claimed that electronic record-keeping would make health care delivery more efficient, and thus less costly.

From the article:

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Report Reveals Details of Obama’s Drone Program

originally posted at the New American Magazine

The headline in the Long War Journal reports: “2 al Qaeda leaders reported killed in Mir Ali drone strike.” The story fills in the details — those that can be ascertained without any official recognition of the strike or the deaths — saying:

Two al Qaeda commanders are reported to have been killed in Monday’s drone strike in the Mir Ali area of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. The report of the al Qaeda commanders’ deaths has not been confirmed.

Abu Kasha al Iraqi, an al Qaeda leader who serves as a key link to the Taliban and supports al Qaeda’s external operations network, and Fateh al Turki, a previously unidentified leader, are said to have been killed in the Sept. 24 airstrike in the Mir Ali area, Pakistani intelligence officials, Taliban commanders, and local tribesmen told Dawn. Between five and six people were reportedly killed in the drone strike on a compound.

As Pakistan continues to be bombarded by missiles fired from U.S. drones, information revealed in a recent report compiled jointly by the law schools of New York University and Stanford demonstrates that such attacks “cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”

The report entitled Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan contains tragic details of the myriad ways that President Obama’s death-by-drone program is devastating the lives of ordinary Pakistanis who have no connection to terror other than the fact that they are being constantly terrorized by the government of the United States.

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Propaganda against the state

A Vietnamese court sentenced three bloggers to jail sentences between four and 12 years on Monday.

Their crime? Spreading “propaganda against the state.”

Americans tend to recoil at such violations of the basic right to speak and write freely.  The official U.S. response called the sentences “troubling.”

“These convictions are the latest in a series of moves by Vietnamese authorities to restrict freedom of expression. The Vietnamese government should release these three bloggers, all prisoners of conscience, and adhere to its international obligations immediately,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

But as I thought about the charges, I had to wonder just how different we really are here in the United States.  Just a month ago, federal authorities questioned former Marine Brandon Raub about posts on his Facebook page, and police had him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for “evaluation” in Virginia.

Granted, Raub’s case was exceptional. Police don’t typically break down Americans’ doors when they criticize the government. But an underlying current, not unlike the one that led to the jailing of those Vietnamese bloggers, runs just below the surface in the United States. Criticizing “the state” just doesn’t sit well with most Americans. Oh, it’s cool to run down the president if he’s a member of the “other party.” And nobody gets too bent out of shape if you slam the IRS or the TSA. Congress? Yeah, its fair game too.  Criticizing the government won’t get you in too much trouble in the U.S.A. Except maybe with some paranoid law enforcement types, or with the folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Why Should Oregon Nullify Obamacare? (When Kitzcare is Still in Effect)

Everywhere I go, I try to build momentum for nullifying Obamacare. People have been surprisingly luke-warm to the idea, however, many say that it’s impossible as long as Kitz is in office. To this I say, Kitz is not a dictator! His veto(s) can be overridden (and even if they couldn’t, that would just mean that we need to go a different route). A ballot initiative, or a referendum can go around the Governor.

Many wonder why we should expend the amount of energy required to try and nullify ‘Obamacare,’ when we’ll still be in the same boat with ‘Kitzcare’ anyway!? This is a good question, and I hope that this article will convince anyone who has any doubt, that this is energy will be well-spent.

First, lets begin with the ethical reasons, that is, the reasons why we should do it regardless of what we actually get out of it:

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New Jersey Action Alert S2135/A3186

As mentioned in Thursday’s post, the New Jersey Legislature is once again pushing for the implementation of the state health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.  The Senate version, S2135, has been introduced, and will be considered by the Commerce Committee October 1.  The Assembly’s bill, A3168, Was also introduced to the Health and Senior Services Committee.  Currently, We have no information concerning a date if and when it will be considered.

Contact Senator Gill, Chair of the Commerce Committee and primary sponsor, at (973) 509-0388 to urge her to withdraw the bill.  Additionally, contact the other committee members (three Democrats and two Republicans) to kill this bill in committee, especially if your Senator happens to be a committee member.  Also contact your own Senators and tell them to oppose this bill if it comes up for another vote in the full Senate.

The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee must also hear from us.  Contact the committee members and your own representatives in the Assembly.

In addition, Governor Christie needs to hear us loud and clear.  We still don’t want ObamaCare in our state!  Should both bills reach the Governor’s desk again, it must be met with the same actions as last time – a veto.

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