A hodgepodge of some of the events of the week with comments from Steve Fair
The overwhelming majority of Americans support substantial changes to the country's health care system, including a government-run health insurance option, a new opinion poll found. The survey by The New York Times and CBS News also indicated most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance.
MONDAY JUNE 22, 2009:
Human rights and open government advocates were heartened by President Barack Obama's pledge during his first week in office to create "an unprecedented level of openness in government" and "establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration". But now, well into Obama's second 100 days in office, many are expressing outrage and disappointment that many of the president's decisions have followed the path of his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
The Obama administration has invoked the "state secrets" privilege several times to prevent lawsuits dealing with "extraordinary renditions" and warrantless wiretapping from ever being heard in court. Justice Department lawyers have argued that detainees at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan have no right to challenge their detention.
The government has also caved to Democrats and Republicans in Congress to keep any of the Guantanamo Bay detainees from ever entering the U.S., even though the Defense Department has cleared these men for release and declared that they present no threat to U.S. national security.
Reliable reports suggest that Obama is considering "indefinite detention" for GITMO detainees who cannot be tried in U.S. courts because the evidence against them was obtained through torture. From Commondreams.org
The inconsistency this President has manifest is amazing, yet the media still sings his praises. At some point, it may end, but if a Republican would have been in the White House, the honeymoon would have long since been over.
TUESDAY JUNE 23, 2009:
The Pentagon will adopt a new strategy that for the first time orders the military to anticipate that future conflicts will include a complex mix of conventional, set-piece battles and campaigns against shadowy insurgents and terrorists, according to senior officials. The shift is intended to assure that the military is prepared to deal with a spectrum of possible threats, including computer network attacks, attempts to blind satellite positioning systems, strikes by precision missiles and roadside bombs, and propaganda campaigns waged on television and the Internet. The new strategy has broad implications for training, troop deployment, weapons procurement and other aspects of military planning. New York Times
The American military is stretched thin and with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, the next few years could be challenging years for funding. Americans should be insist that defense funding be at the top of the list in the budget. The new strategy is great, but only if it results in protecting our borders- something most politicians are unwilling to deal with.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 24, 2009:
Frustrated Americans have long complained that their insurance companies valued the all-mighty buck over their health care. Today, a retired insurance executive confirmed their suspicions, arguing that the industry that once employed him regularly rips off its policyholders. "[T]hey confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors," former Cigna senior executive Wendell Potter said in remarks prepared for a hearing on health insurance today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Potter, who has more than 20 years of experience working in public relations for insurance companies Cigna and Humana, said companies routinely drop seriously ill policyholders so they can meet "Wall Street's relentless profit expectations."
"They look carefully to see if a sick policyholder may have omitted a minor illness, a pre-existing condition, when applying for coverage, and then they use that as justification to cancel the policy, even if the enrollee has never missed a premium payment," Potter said. "&(D)umping a small number of enrollees can have a big effect on the bottom line." ABC News
First, insurance companies are in business to make money and some of those in that industry are unethical, but pre-existing conditions cost them profit and they are not going to willingly insure someone that is going to long-term be unprofitable. ABC is broadcasting an informerical for socialized medicine from inside the White House, so their reporting on this subject should be taken with a grain of salt.
In Oklahoma City, a woman pleaded no contest last week to prostitution charges, accused of agreeing to be paid for services with a box of chips by a man who said he was a Frito Lay employee. Newsok.com
This type of story certainly doesn’t enhance Oklahoma’s image. The question is- Did she get to keep the chips? It’s still in dispute as to whether the “john” was saying he worked for Frito lay or was using Fritos to get a lay.
THURSDAY JUNE 25, 2009:
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican held a news conference to address his “prolonged” absence from the Capital. His staff had told reporters that he was hiking, when he was in fact bedded down with some woman in Argentina. The news conference included the following statement. You are read the entire transcript at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062402099.html
But I am -- I am here because if you were to look at God's laws, there are in every instance designed to protect people from themselves. I think that that is the bottom line with God's law -- that it's not a moral, rigid list of dos and don'ts just for the heck of dos and don'ts. It is indeed to protect us from ourselves. And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self. That sin is in fact grounded in this notion of what is it that I want, as opposed to somebody else.
And in this regard, let me throw one more apology out there, and that is to people of faith across South Carolina, or for that matter, across the nation, because I think that one of the big disappointments when, believe it or not, I've been a person of faith all my life, if somebody falls within the -- the fellowship of believers or the walk of faith, I think it makes it that much harder for believers to say, "Well, where was that person coming from?" Or folks that weren't believers to say, "Where, indeed, was that person coming from?" So one more apology in there.
But I -- I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that there are moral absolutes, and that God's law indeed is there to protect you from yourself. And there are consequences if you breach that. This press conference is a consequence.
And so the bottom line is this, I -- I've been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with a -- which started out as a dear, dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently, as I suspect many of these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth, in advice on one's life there and advice here.
But here recently over this last year it developed into something much more than that. And as a consequence, I hurt her. I hurt you all. I hurt my wife. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends like Tom Davis. I hurt a lot of different folks. And all I can say is that I apologize. I -- I -- I would ask for your -- I guess I'm not deserving of indulgence, but indulgence not for me, but for Jenny and the boys. You know, there are a team of cameras and crews and all those sorts of things camped out down at Sullivan's Island. And I would just ask for a zone of privacy, if not for me, for her and the boys.
The “other woman" is a 43 year old food ingredient salesperson. Evidently Sanford has been having an affair with her since 2008. This comes on the heels of another Republican up and comer Senator John Ensign’s admission of an affair with a staffer. That was just last week! Sanford was supposed to be a “contender” for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.
Sanford is no theologian. Galatians 3:24 tell us the reason for God’s law: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
God's law isn’t about “protecting us from ourselves.” It serves as a mirror that reveals who we are- Sanford should be looking into his soul through the mirror of God’s law.
Charles Spurgeon preached an excellent message on this text entitled The Stern Pedagogue. It can be read in its entirety at: http://www.recoverthegospel.com/Old%20Recover%20the%20Gospel%20Site/Spurgeon/Spurgeon%201001-2000/1196.pdf
FRIDAY JUNE 19, 2009:
House Democrats narrowly won a key test vote Friday on sweeping legislation to combat global warming and usher in a new era of cleaner energy. Republicans said the bill included "the largest tax increase in American history."
The vote was 217-205 to advance the White House-backed legislation to the floor, and 30 Democrats defected, a reflection of the controversy the bill sparked. The legislation would impose limits for the first time on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, factories and refineries. It also would force a shift from coal and other fossil fuels to renewable and more efficient forms of energy. Supporters and opponents agreed the result would be higher energy costs, but disagreed widely on the impact on consumers.
President Barack Obama has made the measure a top priority of his first year in office. The president, along with White House aides and House Democratic leaders, scrambled for the votes to assure passage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has pledged to get the legislation passed before lawmakers leave on their July 4 vacation.
The Senate has yet to act on the measure, and a major struggle is expected.
In the House, the bill's fate depended on the decisions of a few dozen fence-sitting Democrats, mainly conservatives and moderates from contested districts who feared the political ramifications of siding with the White House and their leadership on the measure.
This bill would hurt Oklahoma and every other energy producing state AND IT WILL COST CONSUMERS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS!