It's not that I have anything against Laura Ling, or Euna Lee, or any of Al Gore's other acolytes for that matter. It's just that I hate to use up our few points of influence with Kim Jung-Il to avoid 12 year prison sentences for reporters who stupidly and illegally entered the territory of a frightening adversary. So, Bill Clinton has had his moment in the sun, KJI has had his photo-op with the American president coming to pay him homage, and - as the New York Times reports - the Obama administration is quietly moving from the Bush-era policy of using six-party talks and sanctions to make North Korea give up their nuclear program, to a more enlightened and realistic policy of "containment" in which the objective becomes to prevent North Korea from exporting the technology to countries such as Syria and Burma. We await the pronouncement from mouthpiece Robert Gibbs.
And it's not that I object to Obama deferring to his Attorney General who wants to override candidate Obama's pledge to not prosecute CIA operatives for aggressive interrogation techniques which helped to kill or capture senior al Queda leaders shortly after 9/11. (What will be interesting is whether the "show trials" make their way up the food chain to the Bush-era lawyers who tried to define the boundaries of allowable interrogation techniques.) After all, when we close Guantanamo, these prisoners will have to go somewhere, and they will be telling the world about how they were abused. Besides, the CIA is obviously filled with rogue officers (like that stupid cop in Cambridge) and they must be brought back in line. It wasn't the Attorney General's pledge anyway; the president is just deferring to the experts.
And it's not that I want to obsess over the real time figures at www.debtclock.org which track the national debt and underlying accounts - now at over $11 trillion and projected to be up over $1.8 trillion this fiscal year. I am hopeful that there are some principles of economics that I missed in my pre-Obama/Pelosi/Reid education, that a couple trillion dollars of debt to China won't really matter, and that this is a great time to add a few hundred billion dollars per year to our health care spending. Our grand kids will be able to handle this one.
The real problem - thanks for Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for pointing it out - is these "un-American" protesters on health care. Never mind that Obama's assurances are patently false - taxing employers WILL cause citizens to lose their coverage as their companies drop out; he HAS openly advocated for a single-payer system; government panels WILL determine allowable coverage; and he HASN'T READ the 1000 page House and Senate drafts of the bill which doesn't yet exist. It is obviously time for all of us to chill out, and appreciate that "elections have consequences".
The broader context for the Town Hall meeting disruptions is the hope that many Americans still believe in security built on fiscal responsibility, military strength, an effective intelligence service, and an informed electorate - even if the White House does want them to be reported so that their "misinformation" can be countered. Hope and Change indeed!!!!
This week's You Tube is an AARP meeting called to discuss health care with members who would have none of it. A few days later, Obama claimed that AARP had endorsed his plan - a claim that the organization promptly refuted.
Next week: Obama's Business Cycle
bill bowen - 8-14-09