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Archive for January, 2013

The Healthcare Death Cult

Friday, January 25th, 2013

This is a must read article.  Chilling and in our future.

American Thinker
January 25, 2013
The Logic of the Progressive Healthcare Death Cult
By Daren Jonescu

Let us not waste another breath responding to the mock outrage with which progressives react to accusations such as Sarah Palin’s “death panel” remark. Whether ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board should correctly be described as a “death panel” or a “cost-reduction system” is actually a stale semantics debate, given that when they are not acting outraged, leftists explain their real intentions quite clearly. Cutting to the chase, the proper question to ask is, “Why are progressives willing to condemn the old and infirm to death?”

A man drives up and down the highway looking for hitchhikers. Whenever he finds one, he stops to pick him up. He kindly warns the hitchhiker about the dangers of hitchhiking, and explains that he always stops for hitchhikers because he does not feel comfortable leaving them at the mercy of some strange driver. Then, once he has the hitchhiker securely in his car, he kills him.

Do we describe this driver as a Good, albeit confused, Samaritan trying to protect hitchhikers from the dangers of the highway?

Okay, that one is too easy. Let us suppose that instead of a single crazed killer, there is an entire club — The Friends of Hitchhikers Society — that has as its mission the total monopolization of the hitchhiker pick-up industry, in the name of protecting hitchhikers from the dangers of life on the highway. Up and down the roads they roam, thousands of them, trying to get to all the available hitchhikers before any non-Society member picks them up. And they do not kill all of them. Sometimes they faithfully drive the hitchhiker directly to his destination. Other times they drive him where he wants to go, though only after a circuitous, time-wasting trip.

When they are low on fuel, however, and fear they will not be able to reach the desired destination, they just kill the hitchhiker — after all, they would not want him back out on the highway, endangered by all those unreliable, selfish drivers.

This group could not simply be described as homicidal maniacs. They would have to be regarded as something far more complex, and in a way more sinister. Operating in accordance with a perverse logic of their own, and seeking to sustain their preferred “highway safety” conditions through a cryptic system of rules which they perceive as somehow “just,” “objective” and “fair,” they would have to be seen as a kind of death cult.

What does this nightmare scenario have to do with government-controlled healthcare? Consider the following remarks from Taro Aso, the deputy prime minister in Japan’s new socialist government, made during a government session on social security reform:

Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government…. The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.

A few years ago, when Aso was Japan’s prime minister, he spoke similarly:

I see people aged 67 or 68 at class reunions who dodder around and are constantly going to the doctor…. Why should I have to pay for people who just eat and drink and make no effort? I walk every day and do other things, but I’m paying more in taxes.

In the U.S., former labor secretary Robert Reich offered an audience of cheering young people the following example of what an “honest” presidential candidate would say about health care:

We’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive… so we’re going to let you die.

And of course the more prominent apostles of the death cult’s moral code are merely reflecting the white papers and scholarly assessments of the “experts,” as exemplified by Michael Lind’s eminently “moderate” critique of the issue of health care rationing at Salon, back in October 2012. The talk among some Obama administration officials, such as “car czar” Steven Rattner in a New York Times op-ed, about the need to ration care for the weak and old, is insufficient, argues Lind. (Both Rattner and Lind are members of the leftist New America Foundation.) Rather, Lind suggests that while rationing “may be defended in some cases” — Rattner’s op-ed begins, “We need death panels” — the most comprehensive solution is for government to set and control all prices for healthcare throughout the public and private spheres, as has been “tried and tested” in “all other advanced countries.”

Thus, rationing care is just one very sensible part of a multifaceted solution; the value of denying basic property rights and voluntarism, however, must not be neglected. See how reasonable all of this can be made to sound, if only one ignores the logical perversity at the center of it?

As that perversity is so pervasive in today’s public discourse on healthcare, perhaps it has become somewhat obscure. Let us state it clearly: the advocates of government-controlled healthcare wish to create a legal monopoly on the provision of treatment to the sick, and then to deny treatment to some on the grounds that “we” cannot afford to offer treatment to everyone.

When Robert Reich says “we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life,” he is beginning from the assumption that “we” — i.e., the government — are the only possible or legitimate source of “that technology and those drugs.”

When Taro Aso, trying to shame the elderly citizens of his highly honor-based society, says “I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he is beginning from the assumption that all treatment will and must be provided by the state.

If you or I had offered to help someone get medical treatment, and then found that some of the costs were beyond our means, we would say, “I’m sorry, I can’t afford this; you’ll have to find other means of providing for your needs. I dearly hope you succeed.”

When progressives believe that some medical treatment is beyond their (i.e., the state’s) means, they say, “Sorry, you have to die.”

Beginning from an inhuman premise — namely that no individual has a right to self-preservation, but rather is to be preserved entirely at the discretion of the state — they follow a train of reasoning that seems quite natural to them, and which leads to a conclusion that is entirely logical, if you accept their initial premise.

By creating an ever-thickening web of “social programs” designed to supplant self-reliance and familial responsibility in the minds and hearts of the people, the progressives gradually engender the habitual, almost instinctive acceptance of the ultimate implication of dependence, namely that the lord who giveth may also taketh away.

If the “we” in Robert Reich’s “honest” presidential speech referred to “we, your children” — as in “It’s too expensive; we’re going to let you die” — everyone would recognize the disgusting brutality of the sentiment and the speaker. And if Taro Aso were speaking to his own father, saying, “You should wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that your treatment is being paid for by your son,” we would regard him as a repulsive character of the first order.

The reason these men and others of their ilk think they can get away with passing such lunatic rants off as “hard truth” is that they believe their years of propaganda have inured the broad public to their unstated premise that in the case of healthcare, “we” can only mean the state. As soon as you deny their premise, their reasoning collapses — as does their mask of “objectivity.”

If a government healthcare “board” is unable or unwilling to provide life-preserving treatment to patients judged to be a drain on the socialized system, then these patients must, in the name of the right to life, be allowed to pursue treatment by other means. And this, in turn, means that such “other means” must not be outlawed or restricted in such a manner as to prevent patients from pursuing them freely. In short, the need for rationing (i.e., rationing the days remaining to human beings), cost-reducing “advisory boards,” or death panels arises only when government has effectively established a monopoly in the healthcare market.

This brings us back to my imaginary Friends of Hitchhikers Society. Like the progressive advocates of government-controlled healthcare, they are seeking to monopolize all access to a service, and then to use that monopoly as authority to decide which of their patrons will be allowed to live, and which forced to die. The difference, of course, is that the Friends of Hitchhikers cannot entirely prevent their potential victims from taking rides from other drivers, or prevent other drivers from picking up hitchhikers. In other words, they cannot establish a true monopoly.

Only the state can do that. And having done so, it becomes increasingly bold in taking liberties with its monopolistic control of medical treatment. Just look at the development of “end of life care” throughout the socialized medical world. (I have explained this here.)

Socialized medicine, the Mount Olympus of progressivism, does not merely run the risk of leading to “death panels.” Death panels are, in a sense, its raison d’être — specifically in the sense of being the perfect fulfillment of the perverse logic flowing from its initial, anti-human premise.

Progressivism is a death cult.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2013/01/the_logic_of_the_progressive_healthcare_death_cult.html at January 25, 2013 – 04:04:54 PM CST

Media Bias 2012

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Finally, for the second term, if you are a conservative, gird yourself for escalating and pervasive media bias. Here are the best examples for 2012 according to NEWSMAX:

‘Most Horrendous’ Media Bias of 2012

The “Damn Those Conservatives Award” goes to two Newsweek/Daily Beast staffers who discussed former Vice President Dick Cheney’s heart transplant in March. Senior writer Ramin Setoodeh said, “I would never give my heart to Dick Cheney. It would freeze over.” Assignment editor Allison Yarrow chimed in: “He may be one of the most evil people in the world.”

The “Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste Award” went to ABC’s Brian Ross and his coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre by accused shooter James Holmes in July. Ross proclaimed that James Holmes of Aurora had joined the tea party a year earlier, only to admit later that the tea party member was a different James Holmes.

News Busters gave its “Audacity of Dopes Award” to CNN’s Piers Morgan for fawning over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In September Morgan asked him, “How many times in your life have you been properly in love?” Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, responded, “I’m in love with all humanity. I love all human beings.” To which Morgan commented: “That might be the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question.”

But the “Quote of the Year” citation for 2012 went to MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and what she called her “footnote for the Fourth of July.” She stated: “The land on which [the Founders] formed the Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class.
“This is the imperfect fabric of our nation. . . It’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery.”

Are there no longer any sane journalists??!

Sandy Hook and Violence in America

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

The most horrendous event of 2012 was the mass murders of twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut area. I would like to present here a beautifully written essay on violence in America by Michael Harris:

Violence in America
By Michael Harris

The recent school shooting in Connecticut will result in a national debate on what, as a nation, we can do to prevent this from happening again. This incident, and the others like it, has three main components to consider. First, there are guns involved. Secondly, a sick or evil person committed the acts. Lastly, we need to consider what in our culture may contribute to this phenomenon.

Guns
As usual, the political sides will focus on guns. Should all guns be banned? Should there be stricter gun laws? How do we keep guns out of the hands of crazy/evil people? Should there be all kinds of devices that make it more difficult to reload a firearm? Should certain types of guns be banned? Should ammunition be controlled?
There are inherent practical problems when it comes to guns. First and foremost is the Second Amendment of the US Constitution that guarantees citizens’ the right to keep and bear arms. There would have to be a constitutional amendment ratified by 3/4 of the states to ban firearms on a national level. Additionally, there are more guns in the US than there are people. The ability of the government to seize all guns in the US is an impossible task without a complete tyrannical takeover by the government which would most likely result in a bloody civil war.
There are several logical reasons why Americans should have guns.

Self defense
One of our God-given rights is the ability to protect ourselves, our families and others from violent criminals. Law enforcement is generally a reactive force that arrives after a crime has been committed. If the government disarms the law abiding public, thousands of innocent people will die each year at the hands of violent criminals. Citizens use firearms to defend themselves and their loved ones hundreds of thousands of times each year (1). Many more women and children will die if non-criminals are disarmed.
Oppose domestic tyranny
The founders of America understood that governments tend to oppress the citizenry when the government does not have a healthy fear of the masses. Most Americans’ cannot fathom the possibility of our country degenerating to a totalitarian government; however, this has occurred many times over in many countries throughout history.  Firearms are the last line of defense from tyranny.
Oppose foreign aggressors
Aggressive foreign governments with the intent to attack another nation must consider the ability of the citizens to resist the aggression. Even a powerful aggressor must factor the guerilla warfare capability of the other nation. A well-armed citizenry causes an aggressor to contemplate an attack. The Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan and the United States’ military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are clear examples of the difficulty in subduing an armed populous.
Collectors
Many firearms are works of art and mechanic marvels. Some people have the desire and right to collect guns for intrinsic purposes just like collectors of other objects. Some people collect firearms for investment purposes.
Competitive shooters
There are many people who own firearms for the purpose of competitive shooting. This is a sport and even an Olympic event.
Hunting
There are millions of hunters in America. Some hunters engage in this activity for sporting purposes while others require the game for their basic subsistence. Hunting greatly helps to control over population of numerous species and provides food for families.
Responsible gun-ownership reduces crime
There are a number of studies that definitively prove that stricter gun laws do not reduce violent crimes. In fact, studies show the opposite. Gun ownership by law abiding citizens actually reduces violent crimes (2). Common sense also illustrates this point. Connecticut has the fifth most strict gun laws in the nation (3). Detroit makes it almost impossible for private citizens to own guns, yet the city has one of the highest firearm related homicide rates in the nation. When Washington DC first banned firearms, their homicide rate increased 200%! (2)
Do murders adhere to stricter gun laws?
Common sense must again come into play. It’s against the law to murder a person. Indeed, the most egregious crime one can commit is to unjustly take the life of another human being. An individual who would kill another person would not concern himself with proper licensing, background check, or other gun restrictions. The murderer would not say to himself, “I really want to murder my neighbor, but if I do, I could get another 10 years in prison for using an illegal weapon.”
Most states require background checks to prevent mentally ill or known criminals from purchasing firearms. The problem is that they can only identify people who are known to be mentally ill. This inevitably will miss many dangerous people. Additionally, many murderous individuals do not legally obtain weapons – they steal them.
If by some unknown means, the government was able to confiscate and destroy all weapons in the United States, and prevent people from obtaining them from other countries, insane/evil people would then use other methods such as homemade explosives.
The totality of the gun issues seem to indicate that attempting to eliminate acts of mass murder by way of gun control would prove ineffective at best and more dangerous for ordinary law abiding citizens.

Mentally Ill and Evil People
There have always been mentally disturbed people in the world. Psychology and psychiatry are an inexact science. We don’t know what causes many mental illnesses or how to effectively treat all of them. We don’t know why mentally ill people do what they do. Trying to rationalize why a seriously mental ill person would commit a heinous act is futile. All we can to is attempt to help them before they commit a violent act. We need to take precautions to prevent them from obtaining deadly weapons.
There is evil in the world. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and many others have murdered tens of millions of people throughout history. These men represented pure evil while they casually and brutally executed masses. The only difference between these men and the Connecticut killer, Adam Lanza, is that the former obtained positions of power.
Society must accept that evil exists and attempt to protect ourselves and others from evil people.

Culture
Are there things in our culture that contribute to acts of violence? There’s little doubt that society has been desensitized to violence. We see it in our movies, games, and on the news. It has permeated all segments of our culture.
I remember as a child I saw a movie by Alfred Hitchcock called The Birds. Seagulls randomly attacked people and killed them by pecking them to death. I was horrified for weeks and maintained a keen suspicion of birds in general and seagulls specifically for years. Today, people would laugh at this movie.
It is well known that entertainment is a factor in influencing culture. Today, there are movies and television shows that gratuitously glorify all forms of extreme violence. There is a constant flow of movies involving mass killing, human dismemberment, and all manner of depravity. Young children and adults spend endless hours on violent video games that involve killing.  A recent study titled, “The more you play, the more aggressive you become: A long-term experimental study of cumulative violent video game effects on hostile expectations and aggressive behavior”, showed that violent video games create aggressive behavior (4).
We hear about our ongoing wars and the success at killing the enemy. During the recent presidential campaign, the president even bragged that he personally approved the targets to be killed in our drone attacks.
Is there any wonder that our society views death and violence as a casual occurrence?
Traditional Values
Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. These principles are embedded in the Declaration of Independence, our laws, and our national traditions. For the past 50+ years there has been a concerted effort to eliminate these values from our culture with a high degree of success.
The 1st Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say there should be a separation of church and state. The establishment clause was intended to prevent the government from creating a national church such as the founders had experienced with the Church of England. The free exercise clause was there to insure citizens could exercise their religious beliefs free from government interference. Progressives have had tremendous success interfering with a citizen’s right to express their religious beliefs at work, school, and in the public square.
People are not free to discuss their religious beliefs in the workplace without fear of discipline or termination. The government prohibits students, teachers, or coaches from praying at school. The Ten Commandments, Christian emblems, logos, or symbols are being removed from public buildings or property.  Christmas is constantly being attacked.
Moral battles involving the sanctity of marriage, the rights of the unborn, personal responsibility, relativism, etc. are all but lost in the United States. Before long the state will have to recognize marriages between pets and their owners, polygamy, and any other union following the equal rights theory. Unborn children are killed on demand by the millions and viewed more as a birth control issue. People do not accept responsibility for their actions and feel entitled to what other people earn. There is no right and wrong as everything depends on how it is perceived or by what the circumstances may be. Political correctness has become so absurd it would be funny if it didn’t result in being sued.
Many Americans have rejected or turned their backs on God. Our government is steadily removing God from our public square. Our churches are held hostage and afraid to address the contemporary issues of society because of their tax exempt status or fear of offending and loosing members.
So what we have is a society permeated with a violent culture containing an unknown number of mentally ill and evil people where Judeo-Christian values of kindness, peace, gentleness, and love are rejected but the philosophy of entitlement, the lack of personal responsibility, and relativism are embraced.
I wonder why there seems to be more heinous acts of violence occurring? It must be the guns…
Or, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Sources
1-    http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdguse.html
2-    http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/lifestyles/philosophy/gun-control-laws-dont-reduce-crime/nNmpT/
3-    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_22193747/connecticut-gun-laws-shooting?source=pkg

http://www.sciencedirect.

Astonishing Events

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

In the days leading up to Barack Obama’s second term, there were two rather interesting and disturbing events. They are as follows:

1.Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, boosting its reach nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes. With a focus on U.S. news, it plans to rebrand the left-leaning news network that cofounder Al Gore couldn’t make relevant.

The former vice president confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”

It is interesting that Glenn Beck, conservative, American, attempted to acquire Current TV. However, he was turned down because his points of view were not concordant with those of Mr. Gore. And the points of view of Al-Jazeera are??!

2. Thirteen Tax Increases in 2013
New Year’s Day was tough for taxpayers. I bet not many citizens of this country knew that beginning in 2013 the following taxes would kick in:

The deal that Congress and President Obama struck that finally—but only partially—avoided the fiscal cliff resulted in seven tax increases.

Those hikes combined with six tax increases from Obamacare that also began on New Year’s Day.

13 Tax Increases That Started January 1, 2013

Tax increases in the fiscal cliff deal:

1. Payroll tax: increase in the Social Security portion of the payroll tax from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for workers. This hits all Americans earning a paycheck—not just the “wealthy.” For example, The Wall Street Journal calculated that the “typical U.S. family earning $50,000 a year” will lose “an annual income boost of $1,000.”

2. Top marginal tax rate: increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).

3. Phase out of personal exemptions for adjusted gross income (AGI) over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).

4. Phase down of itemized deductions for AGI over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).

5. Tax rates on investment: increase in the rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).

6. Death tax: increase in the rate (on estates larger than $5 million) from 35 percent to 40 percent.

7. Taxes on business investment: expiration of full expensing—the immediate deduction of capital purchases by businesses.

Obamacare tax increases that took effect:

8. Another investment tax increase: 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $250,000 ($200,000 for singles).

9. Another payroll tax hike: 0.9 percent increase in the Hospital Insurance portion of the payroll tax for incomes over $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers).

10. Medical device tax: 2.3 percent excise tax paid by medical device manufacturers and importers on all their sales.

11. Reducing the income tax deduction for individuals’ medical expenses.

12. Elimination of the corporate income tax deduction for expenses related to the Medicare Part D subsidy.

13. Limitation of the corporate income tax deduction for compensation that health insurance companies pay to their executives.

Each of these 13 tax increases will slow the economy, meaning that businesses will create fewer jobs. Fewer jobs will make it even more difficult to land a job than it already is for the more than 12 million Americans looking for work.

President Obama demanded these higher taxes. Obama’s tax increases, in Obamacare and through the fiscal cliff deal, will not curb deficits and debt, because growing spending is driving America’s budget crisis. Congress needs to immediately turn its attention to the actual cause of our deficit and debt problem: too much spending. The proper way to address this problem is through reforms to entitlement programs.

President Obama promised the American people a “balanced approach” of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce deficits and debt. He has achieved the tax increase portion of that approach. Now Congress needs to force him to follow through on the spending cuts portion.

We all need to prepare ourselves for the next four years. It’s gonna be a tough, tough slog.

Obama’s Second Term

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Today, January 20, 2013, is the official beginning of Barack Obama’s second term. In the days up to it, and his victory in the recent presidential election, his adversarial positions and vitriol have made the next four years likely to be “trench warfare” in Washington.
I would like to focus on his three most recent nominations to fill vacancies in his cabinet for this second term:
1. Sen. John Kerry for Secretary of State. Kerry served in Vietnam and when he returned to the United States he vilified our American troops as vicious and sadistic murderers and threw away the medals he received for his service. Since then he has promoted a reduction in the American footprint in foreign affairs across the globe. Gee, what a wonderful face to present to the world. Ugh!
2. John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan has enumerated that at least some of his worldview has been formulated by his experience as a young man in Indonesia where he learned about the beauty of and peaceful nature of Islam. Best for head of America’s top intelligence boss??
3. Perhaps the most controversial of these three nominations regard ex-senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel. The problems with this nomination is best articulated by an article by Prof. Alan Dershowitz on January 7:

President’s Nomination of Hagel May Encourage Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions
by Alan M. Dershowitz
January 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3528/hagel-nomination-iran

President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense risks increasing the likelihood that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. It poses that risk because Hagel is well known for his opposition both to sanctions against Iran and to employing the military option if necessary.

These views are inconsistent with the very different views expressed by President Obama. The President has emphasized on numerous occasions that he will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and will use military force if necessary to prevent that “game changer.”

The nomination of Hagel thus sends a mixed message to the mullahs in Tehran, who will likely interpret it as a change from a red light to a yellow or green one when it comes to their desire to develop nuclear weapons. Sending a mixed message at this point can increase the chances that Iran will miscalculate and act in a foolhardy manner thus requiring the actual use of the military option—an eventuality that nobody wants.

The goal of America’s policy toward Iran has always been to frighten the mullahs into believing President Obama’s threat to use military force if sanctions fail. “I don’t bluff”, President Obama has famously and publicly stated. It is imperative that the Iranian leadership believe this. If they do, they may well decide that the sanctions they are currently undergoing are too painful to endure, if the end result is that they will never be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. If they don’t believe President Obama’s threat, then the sanctions alone will not dissuade them from pursuing their nuclear goal. The nomination of Senator Hagel will strengthen the hand of those within the Iranian leadership who think that President Obama is bluffing.

It is also important that the Israeli leadership believes that President Obama really has Israel’s back when it comes to preventing Iran from endangering the Jewish state by obtaining nuclear weapons. Any loss of trust in this regard may result in an Israeli decision to take unilateral military action to protect its citizens against nuclear attacks.

This is the wrong time to send mixed messages by nominating a man who has, at best, a mixed record with regard to sanctions and the military option against Iran and with regard to having Israel’s back.

Senator Hagel will have an opportunity to clarify, and hopefully to change, his previous statements with regard to these issues. He should be asked probing questions about sanctions, about the military option and about Israel’s security. In his answers he must persuade the Iranian leadership that there is no distance between his current views and those of the President who has nominated him. The President must also persuade the Iranian leadership that his nomination of Hagel does not constitute any backing down from his commitment to use military force, if sanctions don’t work.

Independence may be a virtue for a senator, but it is a vice when it presents conflicting messages at a time when it is imperative that the Iranian leadership understand that the Obama Administration, indeed the United States as a whole, speaks with one voice when it says that Iran will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, even if that requires the use of military force if all other options fail.

Normally a president, especially a president reelected to a second term with a substantial majority, should be entitled to pick his own Secretary of Defense. But when the President’s decision risks sending a mixed message that could increase the chances of having to employ the military option against Iran, the Senate has an especially important role to play. The burden is now on Senator Hagel to persuade the Senate, the American people, and the leaders of Iran that he is fully supportive of the President’s commitment not to contain a nuclear armed Iran, but to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring, even if that requires the use of military force to achieve that commendable goal.

Nor is this a liberal-conservative or Democratic-Republican issue. Reportedly, the Hagel nomination has been very controversial within the White House itself, with some of President Obama’s closest advisers being critical of it. Many Democrats, both elected officials and rank and file voters, are deeply concerned about the wisdom of the President’s nomination of Senator Hagel. Neither is this an issue that concerns only Jewish or pro-Israel voters. There are serious policy issues at stake here. Those of us who voted for President Obama and who want to be certain that Iran is never allowed to develop nuclear weapons, as the President promised, have legitimate concerns about this nomination. We hope that these concerns can be allayed by the President and his nominee, but if they are not, it will be the highest of patriotic duties to oppose Senator Hagel’s nomination.

I guess we’ll have to see if the Senate will approve these nomination, and if so, these 3 will have on our foreign policies.


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