Friday, October 20, 2006

Scares the Be-Jesus out of me

From National Review Online:

Concentrates the Mind [Mona Charen]

This is from Majority Whip Roy Blunt’s office. It’s a Who Would Be Who in a Democratic majority Congress. It's intended to scare Republican voters into showing up at the polls on November 7. It sure scares me.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.)
Elected 1969, 18th term
Rep. Obey voted with the AFL-CIO 100% of the time. Obey voted against the Deficit Reduction Act, against Defense Funding (FY06), against the Legislative Line Item Veto, and against funding the Global War on Terror (FY04).

“Mr. Obey was one of those Democrats who ripped Mr. Clinton for endorsing a balanced budget in 1995. Rather than cut spending, his goal would be to spend less on defense and more on domestic programs and entitlements.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Elected 1970, 18th term
Rep. Rangel voted with the ACLU 94% of the time. Rangel consistently voted against free trade agreements, against the Bush tax cuts, against Pension Reform, and against Welfare Reform.

Rep. Rangel “opposed the Bush tax cuts and recently voted against free trade with tiny Oman. His committee's crucial health care subcommittee would be run by California's Pete Stark (1972), who in 1993 criticized Hillary Clinton's health care proposal because the government wasn't dominant enough.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

“No question about it.” -Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), when asked whether tax increases across the spectrum would be considered should Democrats take control of Congress. (CongressDaily, 09/26/06)

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)
Elected 1964, 21st term
Rep. Conyers voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 100% of the time. Conyers consistently voted against any liability reform, against the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, against REAL ID, against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification bill, and against Border Protection and Immigration Reform.

“He recently made his plans clear in a 370-page report… the report accuses the Administration of violating no fewer than 26 laws and regulations, and is a road map of Mr. Conyers's explicit intention to investigate grounds for impeaching President Bush.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.)
Elected 1955, 25th term
Rep. Dingell voted with the AFL-CIO 100% of the time. Dingell voted against exploring for American-made energy in ANWR and OCS, against reforming the Endangered Species Act, and against the Telecom Reauthorization bill.

“The Michigan Congressman would do his best to provide taxpayer help to GM and Ford. But telecom companies would probably get more regulation in the form of Net neutrality rules, and a windfall profits tax on oil would be a real possibility.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.)
Elected 1974, 16th term
Rep. Miller voted with the ACLU 95% of the time. Miller voted against Higher Education Reauthorization, against Head Start Reauthorization, and against Pension Reform.

Rep. Miller is “the chief sponsor of the ‘Employee Free Choice Act,’ which would make it much easier for unions to organize by largely banning secret elections… The Californian also wants to raise the minimum wage and fulfill the National Education Association wish to spend more federal dollars on local school construction.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Elected 1980, 13th term
Rep. Frank voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 95% of the time. Frank voted against the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act, against Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement, and against Credit Rating Reform.

“…the ascension of Barney Frank (1980) would mean a reprieve for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite $16 billion in accounting scandals. His main reform priority has been to carve out a new affordable housing fund from the two companies' profits. And forget about any major review of Sarbanes-Oxley.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
Elected 1974, 16th term
Rep. Waxman voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 95% of the time. Waxman voted against the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, against the formation of the Bipartisan Katrina Committee, and against 527 Reform.

Rep. Waxman “would compete with Mr. Conyers to see who could issue the most subpoenas to the Bush Administration.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Intelligence Committee Chairman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Elected 1992, 7th term
Rep. Hastings voted with the AFL-CIO 92% of the time. Hastings voted against declaring that the U.S. will prevail in the Global War on Terror, against the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, against Supporting Terrorist Finance Tracking, against the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, and against Border Protection and Immigration Reform.

Rep. Hastings “who, should Ms. Pelosi succeed in pushing aside current ranking Member Jane Harman, would take over the House Intelligence Committee. Before he won his Florida seat in 1992, Mr. Hastings had been a federal judge who was impeached and convicted by a Democratic Congress for lying to beat a bribery rap. He would handle America's most vital national secrets.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

*Group ratings are from 2004. Key votes are from the 108th and 109th Congress. Wall Street Journal quotes are extracted from “Back to the Congressional Future” editorial, August 31, 2006.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Part II: How NOT to treat a soldier

Comments on the previous post from a friend of mine...

Having lived in the UK and used the NHS I can attest that it is every conservative’s poster child for what can go wrong with a public health care system. In addition there is a huge south asian population in the UK, many of whom do not feel part of British Society. The war in Iraq in particular, but Afghanistan as well, is tremendously unpopular, so much so, that Blair is being forced out by his own party (ya gotta love parliamentary democracies). So it’s not surprising that the squatties (English for grunt) are being harassed while they languish in a squalid hospital. Still it’s appalling and will no doubt result in yet another backlash against British Muslims, further alienating the young and disaffected creating more opportunities for them to become radicalized.

Here in Canada we have followed a similar path. The Defence Medical Centres were closed over a decade ago. The rational was to save money by eliminating “duplicate” publicly funded health care systems (Canada, famously has a nation wide publicly funded health care system). At the time the rational made sense, spend millions on dedicated medical centres or on bullets and boots. We had beaten the godless commies and the probability of an all out war with anyone seemed highly unlikely. Now that we are in a real shooting war again we are getting a lot of seriously injured soldiers being returned to public hospitals. Since the brigade currently deployed in Afghanistan is based not far from Ottawa (where I live) most of the injured are being returned to a local hospital. By all accounts they are receiving excellent care. Though there has been controversies about how reservists (which make up about 30% of our combat arms formations) are treated if they receive disabling wounds. (i.e. they are screwed). The casualty rates would have overwhelmed our paltry military health care system anyways. Furthermore they would have lacked the expertise especially in specialty areas like Neurology.

Only the US has the resources to warrant such an excellent dedicated and parallel system.

As an aside my Regiment (The Royal Canadian Regiment) has just returned from a 3 week standup fight with the Taliban. They report that they now have wire guided AT missiles, mortars, crew service weapons and are not afraid to fight in the open and during the day. It’s getting ugly out there.

How NOT to treat a soldier

From National Review Online

Looking After the Troops [Andrew Stuttaford]
A paratrooper wounded in Afghanistan was threatened by a Muslim visitor to the British hospital where he is recovering.Seriously wounded soldiers have complained that they are worried about their safety after being left on wards that are open to the public at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. On one occasion a member of the Parachute Regiment, still dressed in his combat uniform after being evacuated from Afghanistan, was accosted by a Muslim over the British involvement in the country. "You have been killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan," the man said during a tirade. Because the soldier was badly injured and could not defend himself, he was very worried for his safety, sources told The Daily Telegraph... Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, called the treatment of wounded troops "an absolute disgrace". "They should be in completely separate wings even if this means shutting down entire NHS wards. It is a betrayal of our troops having them treated in mixed and open wards. Those who have been injured on operations must be with those who understand their predicament in a secure environment. "The Defence Secretary should be having urgent talks with the Health Secretary to do this otherwise this Government's commitment to our Armed Forces is nothing but talk." There is also resentment among serving troops unhappy about being treated in a NHS hospital that they believe is unsuitable for military patients. Soldiers on operations say they would rather receive a more serious injury and go to the top American military hospital in Ramstein, Germany, than end up in a NHS hospital. They now half jokingly refer to getting "a Boche rather than a Blighty" in reference to the wounds that would send them home. Ramstein has an outstanding unit for brain surgery, and neurological intensive care beds in Britain are in short supply. "The blokes see it that if you are unlucky you get wounded and go to the UK at the mercy of the NHS, but if you get a head wound you get sent to Ramstein in Germany where the US has an outstanding medical facility," said an officer serving in Afghanistan. "It also does not do morale much good knowing that within 18 hours of being wounded you could wake up in a NHS hospital with a mental health patient on one side and an incontinent geriatric on the other." ...In the past decade the seven military hospitals in Britain, Germany and Cyprus have been closed. The remaining military hospital at Haslar, Portsmouth, is expected to be sold to developers next year.