Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Gruber Or Curveball?

BAB's A List, Foreign Policy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Iraq, Republicans

By Myron Pauli

Ann Coulter, columnist and perpetual Republican apologist, recently wrote an article [1] contrasting “health care expert” Jonathan Gruber with the row over memos leading the US to War with Iraq. Much as I loathe appearing to be defending Obama against Republicans, Ann is very much wrong in exonerating Republican fabrications vs. Democratic ones.

Let me start with Gruber. However arrogant he is and however much his comic book [2] dumbs down health care complexities to sell this to the American voting booboisie—he embodies precisely what politics is about. Koch, Soros, Rockefeller, Adelson, and Bloomberg spend millions on largely retarded 30 second spots like “Smith is a corrupt pedophile who hates whites, blacks, men, women, gays, old folks, Hispanics, Asians and dogs … ” because they work. Politics is the art of dumbing down and dumb usually wins when repeated often enough.

I also have no intrinsic objection to a Ph.D. “expert” economist making money consulting on health care. In fact, if health insurance were deregulated, there would arguably be a market for consultants to help consumers decide between Missouri Aetna, Pennsylvania Kaiser, Idaho Blue Cross, etc. – with various deductible, co-pay, premiums, maximums, waiting periods, PPO’s, HMO’s, HSA’s, ad nauseum to choose from. If Congress cannot read a 2900 page bill, do you expect the average small business owner or truck driver to sort through all the fine print of competing insurance? In fact, there is a market for insurance agents, travel agents, stockbrokers, hedge fund operators, and career consultants who make money off their expertise on complex matters. My objection is only to Gruber seeking his living by using coercion of the taxpayers, rather than in the private sector. Because health care decisions are both complex and personal, they should be the responsibility of free citizens [3].

But if Gruber was peddling semi-socialized Romneycare and Obamacare to the quasi-ignorant masses, what does one say about an Iraqi Shiite conman named Curveball [4] – a failed engineering student, embezzler, and taxi driver who was put up by friends of neocon hero Chalabi to fabricate ludicrous tales of WMD threats to the $70 billion a year American “intelligence community.” This “intelligence community” passed on these fabrications to be amplified repeatedly with leaks confirming rumors confirming “intelligence” on “Iraqi WMD.”

The price of Curveball has so far been $2 trillion of a wasteful war, destabilization of the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and millions of people driven into exile. The Republicans and Democrats could (but most likely will not) permit free markets in health care (but will probably not do it) and thus Obamacare could be a temporary change in raising or lowering premiums, co-pays, deductibles and paperwork. The damage of a Gruber could be a temporary blip. On the other hand, how do you put the Middle East back together after a decade of destruction and destabilization?

The commonality between the Grubers and the Curveballs is that both involve national coercion – the former to get everyone behind coercive health care mandates and the latter used to commit the nation to an endless series of wars. Welfare State and Warfare State are both part of an ever expanding government and ever expanding debt.

As for Republicans vs. Democrats, you have two rival gangs vying for the levers of power without ever reducing either the welfare state or the warfare state. At best, they can both express hypocritical shock that the other side would “lie to the American people.” And the American people go along with the “good cop/bad cop” deception as if in the interrogation room of a Law and Order episode. To reduce critical thinking to arguments of the relative merits of Gruber’s vs. Curveball’s deception is merely to go along with the larger partisan deception.

Gruber and Curveball are just able to make a buck along the way from willing government customers. In physics, a thermodynamic quantity called entropy (related to disorder) always increases. Similarly, as Jefferson noted, “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

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[1] http://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2014/11/19/isnt-jonathan-gruber-worse-than-the-downing-street-memo-n1921260
[2] http://video.mit.edu/watch/mit-economist-gruber-clarifies-health-care-law-in-a-comic-book-11139/
[3] http://barelyablog.com/only-a-sicko-trusts-the-state-with-his-health/
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_%28informant%29

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Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


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UPDATED: Don’t Get ‘Grubered’ By W’s Groupies

Barack Obama, Bush, Conservatism, Constitution, Democrats, Foreign Policy, Media, Natural Law, Republicans

The current column, “Don’t Get ‘Grubered’ By W’s Groupies,” now on WND, is just in time for Barack Obama’s logically “broken” address on immigration is . An excerpt:

On Fox News’ “The Five,” one female host energetically involved in genuflecting to George Bush turned to another, a former prosecutor and lingerie model, to solicit her “constitutional take”—those are shudder quotes—on President Barack Obama’s impending executive amnesty. A better constitutional authority on presidential powers than Kimberly G-string is Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University. …

… Barack Obama’s cringe-factor has crescendoed—so much so that conservatives feel comfortable about dusting off an equally awful dictator, Bush 43, and presenting him and his dynasty to the public for another round. However, when James Madison spoke of “war as the true nurse of executive aggrandizement,” he was speaking not only of Obama.

“Speak softly but carry a big stick—the stick being executive power,” preached another Republican tyrant, Teddy Roosevelt. While Turley will be tackling the constitutional quagmire posed by Obamacare, immigration is the latest legislative stick with which Americans are being stuck.

Greg Gutfeld, the one and only neoconservative on that current-affairs show mentioned who entertains and occasionally edifies, is correct about the “broken” inchoate verbiage: “Our immigration system is broken” is a euphemism for the refusal to enforce immigration law (against certain ethno-racial groups). It is statist semantics; Orwellian Newspeaks; a linguistic trick to lead Americans to believe urgent action is required. …

Read the rest. The complete column is “Don’t Get ‘Grubered’ By W’s Groupies,” now on WND.

UPDATE: A reply to a critic, here:

The time to be a follower of Bush ditto-heads is over. Ask the Bush groupies why they ooze over and promote a mass murderer and his ugly art, on what is supposed to be a current-affairs program. This column was simply reporting what’s discussed on these multiplying panels of pig-ignorant loudmouths. (By the way, strong language is not vitriol.) Moreover, why confuse sexiness with smarts/ideas?! There is a reason Ann Coulter and Ms. Malkin don’t get a TV show: they are too clever for the cable master’s comfort. It is up to the consumer of this dross (“The Five,” “Outnumbered”) to know he is being entertained and not edified by most cable and nitwork shows. If he does—he should be OK.


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The War Party Is Coming

Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq

Judging from the move today to ramp up the US’s involvement in Iraq, Michael A. Cohen’s advice to Barack Obama to continue what Cohen deems a “relatively low-key effort” in that country is unlikely. The president, at the behest of the Republicans, has ordered 1,500 additional American soldiers to Iraq.

Writing at Foreign Policy magazine, Cohen urges Obama to make haste and to continuing the push for a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran, before the new Senate is sworn in and thwarts such an agreement:

Time, however, is of the essence. With a November 24 deadline fast approaching and the distinct possibility that a GOP-controlled Senate will push for new sanctions on Iran, reaching a deal sooner rather than later — even if it means concessions from the United States, for example, on the number of centrifuges that Iran can maintain — is essential.

MORE.


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The ‘Chickenshit’ Comment

Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel

Stephen M. Walt is no friend of Israel. He and John Mearsheimer have condemned the “Israel lobby’s” influence on U.S. foreign Policy in an eponymous book. In Foreign Policy, this week, Walt, however, condemned the White Houses’ “chickenshit” comment, vis-a-vis Bibi Netanyahu, for assorted reasons, one of which is that “Netanyahu’s decision not to attack Iran wasn’t a show of cowardice (or being a ‘chickenshit’); it was a sensible strategic choice”:

… the idea that Netanyahu is a coward who lacks the guts to pull the trigger against Iran assumes Israel had a genuine military option vis-à-vis Iran in the first place. In fact, Netanyahu’s saber rattling towards Iran has always been a bluff, because Israel lacked the military capacity to conduct a strategically significant strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Sure, the Israeli air force could do some damage to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but it doesn’t have enough aircraft or the bunker-busting capacity to destroy all of its enrichment capacity. This situation with Iran isn’t remotely like Israel’s 1981 Osirak raid against Iraq, or even its 2007 attack on a reactor site in Syria, which involved bombing a single vulnerable location. An Israeli attack might delay Iran’s far more advanced program by a few months or maybe a year, but it would also encourage Iran’s leaders to start an all-out sprint for an actual bomb. And that is why prominent members of Israel’s national security establishment went public with their own concerns about Netanyahu’s hollow threats. A few Israeli Strangeloves might have believed an attack would draw the United States in to finish the job, but the risks were enormous and both Bush and Obama made it clear this gambit wasn’t going to fly. …

MORE.


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NATO’s Worth Nothing

Europe, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Islam, Jihad, Middle East, States' Rights

Why doesn’t he provide a solution to the siege by the Islamic State (ISIS) of Kobani (or Ayn al-Araba in Arabic), a Kurdish city in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria? He is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, who has issued a dire warning to the West: “dropping bombs from the air will not provide a solution … the time [has] come to ‘cooperate for a ground invasion.’”

Turkey is a NATO ally with a sizable, modern army, quite capable of tackling ISIS. The problem Turkey, the US, the European Union and NATO face stems from these great centralizers’ opposition to the PKK. The PKK is a long-standing Kurdish, separatist movement, which the US, Turkey and the rest aim to eliminate or undermine, for obvious reasons. Statists struggle with secession, separation or States’ Rights.

National Post:

The Turkish leader is strongly mistrusted by the Kurds of Turkey and Syria. Many accuse his government — anxious about Turkey’s own Kurdish separatist movement — of conniving with ISIS and of failing to act to prevent it committing atrocities against the Kurds in Syria. Meanwhile, Washington is becoming increasingly frustrated with its NATO ally. There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,” an unnamed U.S. official told the New York Times. “After all the fulminating about Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe, they’re inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe. “This isn’t how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone’s throw from their border.”

If the US is so cut up about Turkey’s craven indifference to the Kurds, it could collude with NATO members to strip Turkey of its NATO membership, for what that’s worth.

Excoriated though he was, in his attempt to “absolve the US of any guilt in the matter,” to quote an RT expert, Vice President Joe Biden had a point. Via RT:

“our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” elaborating that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad,” that they started a “proxy Sunni-Shia war.” Biden went on saying that “they poured hundreds of millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

DER SPIEGEL on the quagmire:

The country has been strangely reserved when it comes to dealing with the Islamic State. It is the neighboring country that is perhaps most threatened by the jihadist fighters, but it has refrained thus far from joining US President Barack Obama’s anti-terror coalition, even if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly hinted over the weekend that it might do so soon. When it comes to combatting the Islamic State and putting an end to the Syrian civil war, Turkey has a key role to play.

The government in Ankara had justified its hesitancy by pointing to the dozens of Turkish diplomats taken hostage by the Islamic State in Mosul. Now that they have been released, however, all eyes are on Turkey to see what responsibilities it might take on. On the way back to Turkey from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Erdogan told reporters that his country is now prepared to join the coalition. At the World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul on Sunday he added, in reference to the fight against the Islamic State: “We cannot stay out of this.”


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Jim Webb, Salt-Of-The-Earth Democrat

Democrats, Elections, Foreign Policy, States' Rights

I think it’s fair to call Jim Webb the last of the Southern Democrats (propaganda from both parties, notwithstanding, Southern Democrats were salt of the earth, states’ rights advocates). Another who’d qualify as such is the late great Robert Byrd, an old Southern gentleman, and an admirable and “stern constitutional scholar.”

Webb, formerly a senator from Virginia, “is genuinely thinking about a White House bid in 2016″: “I’m seriously looking at the possibility of running for president,” he said in a speech last week.

I have a soft spot for Sen. Webb. [In 2007], he was a junior senator and a defecting Republican who had served in the Reagan administration as Secretary of the Navy. When I first began writing against [W’s] war for WorldNetDaily.com, he had e-mailed me in approval and sent along some of his own anti-war editorials. Sen. Webb’s motives for safeguarding [the military] were always beyond reproach: love of country and kin. The Senator comes from a military family; he himself is a Vietnam veteran, son of a World War II warrior, and father to a marine who fought in Iraq. According to “ThinkProgress,” Webb’s son had a brush with death in Iraq in 2006.

It’s a shame that dumb Democrats will not give Webb the time of day and will, instead, cleave to dynastic nominee Mrs. Clinton.

Read:

* Webb on “‘The Myth of White Privilege.”

* Wonkette against The Webb.

* How Webb Walloped ‘W.’


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