Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jim Webb Pulls a Clinton, Waco in Gaza, Town Hall Jihads

Jonah Goldberg
Steve Benen

"Well, let me dilate on my paranoid treachery for a moment." - Jonah Goldberg

"There's nothing partisan or ideological about this -- everyone is getting screwed by the status quo." - Steve Benen

Happy news this morning when I read the newspapers, that Senator Jim Webb has successfully secured the release of John Yettaw from a Burmese prison and will fly with him to Thailand on Sunday. Yeah, people like John Bolton and Dick Cheney must be spinning in their graves right now, we've had two major instances where diplomacy has worked to free Americans instead of threats and saber rattling. Now will come the whining from the impotent. One group of exiled Burmese activists had asked Mr Webb to also try for the release of some of their fellow freedom activists who are still in jail because they have no international clout, as reported in today's Washington Post: "Exiled opposition activists say they are happy to see anybody escape the brutalities of the Burmese prison system, but there is anger that the West's scant diplomatic capital might have been spent on releasing another foreigner rather than on bringing real pressure on the regime or securing the release of any of the 2,100 Burmese political prisoners.

Webb has said his desire for engagement with Burma is part of his belief that the previous administration's policy of trying to isolate the Burmese government has failed. It was a view that was reinforced by a visit he made to Burma in 2001." It was fairly clear that by ceasing our economic engagement in Burma we were allowing particularly the Chinese presence to solidify -- because they have a very amoral foreign policy -- and so I have been saying for several years that we need to have a different approach with Burma," Webb told The Washington Post in May."

Here's an ironic story, that Hamas in the Gaza town of Rafah, just finished battling an even more extremist Islamic group, ending with the leader's suicide by detonating a vest full of dynamite. Sorta like Waco, Muslim style, as reported by al Jazeera: "The leader of an Islamist group that declared an "Islamic emirate" in the occupied Palestinian territories was among at least 24 people killed in clashes with Hamas security forces.

Abdel-Latif Moussa, the leader of Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of the Companions of God), was killed during fighting at his house in the Gaza town of Rafah early on Saturday, the Hamas-run interior ministry said. Ihab Ghussein, a Hamas interior ministry spokesman, said that Moussa had detonated an explosives vest that he was wearing."
Is Hamas growing up and accepting responsibility for the citizen's of Gaza, or was this a turf battle between two thug groups? Depends upon your world view, I guess... I don't think there are any virgins left for all of these martyred fighters, they must have been recycled several times by now...

Closer to home, we have Barack Obama campaigning for the health care bill in Grand Junction, Colorado, wherever that is. I have to get out more and explore this state... As reported in the National Journal, the American Medical Association supports the House bill: "The AMA endorsed the House bill for its inclusion of near-universal coverage, a health insurance exchange, Medicare reform, and prevention and wellness initiatives.

In a July letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., the AMA also praised the bill for funding chronic disease management and care coordination, stopping denials of insurance based on preexisting conditions, mandating insurance coverage, improving the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative and addressing "growing physician workforce concerns."
I know there has been a lot of anger, which is the flip side of fear, expressed at the town hall meetings, but I think that a lot of it is due to old men not ever given an opportunity to vent over the frustration they feel about growing older and having society pass them by, ignoring them now when they used to be somebody when they had careers, or the frustration that their lives are not what they dreamed it would be.

Male rage can be a constant, my father was a.n angry male until he had a stroke, and then he had to come to terms with his behavior. Our world is changing much too fast and we want to hold onto what little we have, the health reform scares us that we may lose that, too. Then, there are those who just don't like the government. They were unhappy about it under Clinton, much of the same hysteria was drummed up, grumbly and grumpy under Bush but not drummed up by the GOP manipulators because he was our sonofabitch, and now switched back into high hysterical mode.

The value added factor is the fear of a Black man in charge and doing a better job that the last white guys in charge...There is still a large segment of our population that grew up when the country had segregation laws, and racism was ingrained in their attitudes while they were growing up. It's still being passed down to younger generations in the South and more rural Northern states. I guess it could be worse, that the angry geezers are also extreme Christian Jihadists wanting to live under strict evangelical law...

late night health care jokes:

"If conservatives get to call universal healthcare 'socialized medicine,' I get to call private, for-profit healthcare 'soulless, vampire bastards making money off human pain.'" --Bill Maher

"President Obama has been explaining his healthcare plan now to senior citizens. And yesterday, at a town hall meeting, he promised the crowd that he will not, quote, 'pull the plug on Grandma.' Then, there was an awkward moment when Grandpa stood up and booed." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama says he will not support a health-care plan where the government gets to decide whether to, quote, 'pull the plug on Grandma.' Apparently, Obama's plan calls for the much quicker pillow option." --Conan O'Brien

"It does seem to me a tad ironic that Sarah Palin is so against killing old people considering that she's the one who smothered the life out of the McCain campaign." --Bill Maher, on Palin's opposition to the so-called "death panels" she claims are part of the health care reform bill

"Over the past week, congressmen have been holding town hall meetings across the country. They've been disrupted by angry protesters who are against Obama's new healthcare plan. And things could have gotten violent, but nobody could afford to get hurt. So, it was very peaceful protesting." --Jimmy Fallon

"And now, there's actual fist-fights that are breaking out in the town hall meetings. And I have to say this, if you get injured while fighting against health care, you have to lie there and bleed. You just do. I'm sorry." -Bill Maher

"I saw a thing on YouTube, a town hall meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. And a woman from Brockside, Arkansas, stood up. She was weeping about the threat of socialism. You know what, lady, Brockside, Arkansas, doesn't have capitalism yet. Your idea of health care is leeches and moonshine and you're worried about socialism? Oh, Lord." -Bill Maher

"But Obama's birthday is a reminder of why healthcare is so important. As you probably know, due to a lack of healthcare coverage, Obama's mother was turned away from a number of hospitals and was ultimately forced to give birth in a manger." --Jimmy Kimmel

"President Obama said today that Congress probably won't vote on his health care bill until October. Yeah, what's the rush, Congress? Take your time. It's not like there's some crazy flu epidemic out there or anything like that." --Jimmy Fallon

"President Obama held a Q & A session about healthcare reform with senior citizens over the Internet. Unfortunately, the senior citizens spent the entire hour typing questions into their microwave ovens." --Conan O'Brien

"You know who really is opposed to the Obama healthcare plan? The Republicans. Apparently it does not cover breast implants for their mistresses so they think, 'We don't want it. We don't need it.''" --David Letterman

"The focus was on the national healthcare plan that is working through Congress. He needed to made a strong case tonight - 50% are in favor of the universal healthcare and the other 50% have coverage." --Jimmy Kimmel

"The Republicans had been running a surprisingly effective campaign against the proposal for national healthcare, but the President found a very clever way to get them on board. Behind the scenes, he offered a key provision that would provide free breast implants for their girlfriends." --Jimmy Kimmel

"We're learning more and more about Obama's healthcare plan, and if it passes, the healthcare plan, if that passes, President Obama will have the governor of South Carolina neutered. Did you realize that?" --David Letterman

"It looks like healthcare reform really is gaining momentum and is going to happen. Now of course Republicans say the plan is too confusing, too convoluted, but you know, these are the same people who say they can make sense out of a Sarah Palin speech." --Bill Maher

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