October 5, 2009

Lucid Links (100509, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:45 am

As Team Obama dithersour position in Afghanistan withers. While Chicago Olympic bidders cried, more U.S. troops died.

Monthly coalition deaths in Afghanistan in the past 3-plus months have averaged 78 (243 total since July 1, including 20 already in October at the time of this post, divided by 3.13 months). That annualizes to 932, which is a higher number than in any year in Iraq except 2007. The Afghanistan deaths are on a troop level of about 85,000, while total coalition troop strength in Iraq in 2007 was about 170,000.

Soldiers in Afghanistan are dying at roughly twice 1-1/2 to two times the per capita rate compared to the worst periods in Iraq. Yet the U.S. press is mostly quiet, and our president is coming off as indifferent.

(Update: The numbers are different, but the math is similar. According to this UK Telegraph article, there are “68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces.” Since American soldiers are doing the vast majority of the dirty work, their per-capita death rate is still 1-1/2 to two times that of their counterparts in Iraq.)

President Obama had better learn that being allergic to the word “victory” has serious consequences — and quickly.

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Joseph Curl at the Washington Times recites some of the “distractions” that are apparently keeping Obama from paying proper attention to Afghanistan and carrying out his primary role as Commander in Chief:

In the past month, the president has found the time to play golf – four times. He’s had links legend Arnold Palmer and other top golfers over to the White House. He’s shot some hoops with friends and yukked it up with hockey’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

He’s celebrated Ramadan at the White House, eulogized newsman Walter Cronkite in New York City, attended several fundraisers (including Thursday afternoon’s luncheon), appeared on David Letterman’s late-night show (one of eight interviews), delivered two speeches to AFL-CIO rallies and dropped by the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial for a visit with his wife and daughters.

And the brief jaunt to Copenhagen to buttonhole members of the International Olympic Committee on behalf of Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid was Mr. Obama’s seventh trip out of town since Sept. 1.

Yet still no decision on strategy for the war in Afghanistan.

The rest of the establishment press constantly bellyached about George W. Bush’s “vacations” in Crawford. No such general noise is present now.

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Continuing the immaturity and incivility exemplified by Rep. Alan Grayson’sRepublicans Want You To Die Quickly” riff (no, all of this didn’t begin with Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels,” because unlike Grayson, who is wrong, Palin was and is right; just ask Newsweek’s Even Thomas, or more to the point, Zeke the Bleak Emanuel), Zachary Roth at Talking Points Memo wants us to think that House Republican Leader John Boehner “may” have been responsible for the death of an Oxford, Ohio woman who “appeared” to have the H1N1 virus because “people who knew her are saying she resisted treatment that could have saved her life — because she didn’t have health insurance.”

It is terrible that this woman died. I hope her friends pointed out early on that there are two treatment options listed here, neither of which include the word “hospital,” and neither of which are particularly expensive. If they didn’t, maybe it’s their fault that she died. Of course I don’t believe what I just crossed out, which is why it is crossed out, but you see where thinly-disguised innuendo-laced rants like Roth’s could take us.

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The real “Sicko” part of the previous item is that many of the same people who will cheer Zach Roth on also try to claim that Cuba’s state-run system is a wonderful thing to emulate. Uh, no — courtesy of the Miami Herald’s Myriam Marquez, who has facts about real treatment refusal instead of speculation on her side:

Maria Teresa Marcos had died, as so many Cubans do, because the communist island’s much-lauded healthcare system is an evil hoax.

For years she had been complaining to doctors about her digestive problems. For years they told her to try to get antacids from family or friends abroad. No scans were done. No blood tests were taken — until her liver was so dysfunctional it became her death sentence.

A transplant? For Fidel, sure. Maybe for a hard-core member of the Communist Party. But for my cousin, a typical Cuban who lived in a ramshackle building, where the top floor had crumbled and the water likely had amoebas, nada. At least she was able to bring new bed sheets to the hospital — the ones I had bought her and my cousins.

Teresita became another statistic, collateral damage in a revolution that promised elections and prosperity and delivered dictatorship and desperation.

The real domestic “hoax” is that the people who praise Cuba’s system want to bring its “wonders” to us.

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Anyone who watches this president and this administration knows not to take anything for granted. Accordingly, this should surprise no one:

Health care reform: Privately, Barack Obama strongly backs public option
White House discreetly labors to weave coalition on health care

Despite months of seeming ambivalence about creating a government health insurance plan, the Obama White House has launched an intensifying behind-the-scenes campaign to get divided Senate Democrats to take up some version of the idea in the weeks just ahead.

President Barack Obama has long advocated a so-called public option, while at the same time repeatedly expressing openness to other ways to offer consumers a potentially more affordable alternative to health plans sold by private insurers.

But now, senior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.

It’s still a moral clunker, and must be stopped.

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1 Comment

  1. An interesting chart on industrial capacity, the level we are at is significantly lower than the pre-recession capacities. While the manufacturing index may show the trend it doesn’t show where in relation to capacity that trend is starting.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=CPTICHNG%3AIND

    Here is the detailed chart where you can pick time lines.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/cbuilder?ticker1=CPTICHNG%3AIND

    The last month of data is August showing a two month upswing in capacity for July and August. It will be interesting to see the results for September.

    Comment by dscott — October 5, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

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