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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lessons Not Learned From Korean Debacle. Will Obama Learn Them Now In Iran?

North Korea Offers Lessons for Iran Nuclear Talks

Unknown - Unknown,  November 29th, 2013

Korean Central News Agency via Korean News Service
Recent negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program failed to reach a comprehensive agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, however, remains determined to move forward despite congressional misgivings. These nuclear negotiations with Iran are reminiscent of North Korea and the Six-Party Talks.
It has been 10 years since the U.S., North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia first sat at the negotiation table over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. However, the Six-Party Talks never achieved their aim of denuclearizing North Korea, since Pyongyang never implemented its commitments. North Korea has proposed coming back to the negotiating table but as an acknowledged nuclear state. Under those circumstances, the U.S. has no chance of achieving great success.
Bruce Klingner, Heritage senior fellow for Northeast Asia, was interviewed inThe Wall Street Journal and made four points regarding the lessons the U.S. should learn from its North Korean experiences:
  1. The U.S. should maintain sanctions while engaging in conditional diplomacy. The punitive measures should continue as long as the behavior that triggered them remains.
  2. The U.S. needs precise language in any agreement to not let its opponents take advantage of loopholes.
  3. There should be a requirement for vigorous verification measures to ensure compliance. This needs to include not only technical samplings but also short-notice challenge inspections of non-declared facilities.
  4. The U.S. needs to establish deadlines and consequences for failure to meet them.
In addition to these four points, the U.S. needs to ensure sufficient military defenses against the full spectrum of North Korean military threats. North Korea’s provocations, such as its nuclear tests and missile launches, show continually improving military capabilities. However, it seems that the U.S. does not consider North Korea or Iran as serious threats. The U.S. should ensure sufficient deterrence and not allow North Korea or Iran to gain advantage through diplomacy.
When negotiating, the U.S. should figure out how to deal with states that lack table manners. Otherwise, the U.S. could face yet another nuclear threat somewhere else in the world.Th

Another Issue That Has Developed Since 1950

AP Poll: Americans Don't Trust Each Other

Saturday, 30 Nov 2013 09:08 AM

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You can take our word for it. Americans don't trust each other anymore.
We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy — trust in the other fellow — has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.
Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.
An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.
"I'm leery of everybody," said Bart Murawski, 27, of Albany, N.Y. "Caution is always a factor."
Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.
What's known as "social trust" brings good things.
A society where it's easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth.
Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption. At the least, it diverts energy to counting change, drawing up 100-page legal contracts and building gated communities.
Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry, said April K. Clark, a Purdue University political scientist and public opinion researcher.
"It's like the rules of the game," Clark said. "When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil."
There's no easy fix.
In fact, some studies suggest it's too late for most Americans alive today to become more trusting. That research says the basis for a person's lifetime trust levels is set by his or her mid-twenties and unlikely to change, other than in some unifying crucible such as a world war.
People do get a little more trusting as they age. But beginning with the baby boomers, each generation has started off adulthood less trusting than those who came before them.
The best hope for creating a more trusting nation may be figuring out how to inspire today's youth, perhaps united by their high-tech gadgets, to trust the way previous generations did in simpler times.
There are still trusters around to set an example.
Pennsylvania farmer Dennis Hess is one. He runs an unattended farm stand on the honor system.
Customers pick out their produce, tally their bills and drop the money into a slot, making change from an unlocked cashbox. Both regulars and tourists en route to nearby Lititz, Pa., stop for asparagus in spring, corn in summer and, as the weather turns cold, long-neck pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies.
"When people from New York or New Jersey come up," said Hess, 60, "they are amazed that this kind of thing is done anymore."
Hess has updated the old ways with technology. He added a video camera a few years back, to help catch people who drive off without paying or raid the cashbox. But he says there isn't enough theft to undermine his trust in human nature.
"I'll say 99 and a half percent of the people are honest," said Hess, who's operated the produce stand for two decades.
There's no single explanation for Americans' loss of trust.
The best-known analysis comes from "Bowling Alone" author Robert Putnam's nearly two decades of studying the United States' declining "social capital," including trust.
Putnam says Americans have abandoned their bowling leagues and Elks lodges to stay home and watch TV. Less socializing and fewer community meetings make people less trustful than the "long civic generation" that came of age during the Depression and World War II.
University of Maryland Professor Eric Uslaner, who studies politics and trust, puts the blame elsewhere: economic inequality.
Trust has declined as the gap between the nation's rich and poor gapes ever wider, Uslaner says, and more and more Americans feel shut out. They've lost their sense of a shared fate. Tellingly, trust rises with wealth.
"People who believe the world is a good place and it's going to get better and you can help make it better, they will be trusting," Uslaner said. "If you believe it's dark and driven by outside forces you can't control, you will be a mistruster."
African-Americans consistently have expressed far less faith in "most people" than the white majority does. Racism, discrimination and a high rate of poverty destroy trust.
Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans, in the 2012 survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with principal funding from the National Science Foundation, felt that "you can't be too careful." That figure has held remarkably steady across the 25 GSS surveys since 1972.
The decline in the nation's overall trust quotient was driven by changing attitudes among whites.
It's possible that people today are indeed less deserving of trust than Americans in the past, perhaps because of a decline in moral values.
"I think people are acting more on their greed," said Murawski, a computer specialist who says he has witnessed scams and rip-offs. "Everybody wants a comfortable lifestyle, but what are you going to do for it? Where do you draw the line?"
Ethical behavior such as lying and cheating are difficult to document over the decades. It's worth noting that the early, most trusting years of the GSS poll coincided with Watergate and the Vietnam War. Trust dropped off in the more stable 1980s.
Crime rates fell in the 1990s and 2000s, and still Americans grew less trusting. Many social scientists blame 24-hour news coverage of distant violence for skewing people's perceptions of crime.
Can anything bring trust back?
Uslaner and Clark don't see much hope anytime soon.
Thomas Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar launched by Putnam, believes the trust deficit is "eminently fixable" if Americans strive to rebuild community and civic life, perhaps by harnessing technology.
After all, the Internet can widen the circle of acquaintances who might help you find a job. Email makes it easier for clubs to plan face-to-face meetings. Googling someone turns up information that used to come via the community grapevine.

But hackers and viruses and hateful posts eat away at trust. And sitting home watching YouTube means less time out meeting others.
"A lot of it depends on whether we can find ways to get people using technology to connect and be more civically involved," Sander said.
"The fate of Americans' trust," he said, "is in our own hands."
Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The More ObamaCrapCare Is Analyzed, The Worse It Looks

ObamaCare's Plans Are Worse

How the Affordable Care Act raises prices and limits medical choices.

Nov. 29, 2013 7:05 p.m. ET

Even as President Obama reluctantly granted Americans thrown off their health plans quasi-permission to possibly keep them, he called them "the folks who, over time, I think, are going to find that the marketplaces are better." He means the ObamaCare exchanges that are replacing the private insurance market, adding that "it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to."
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with health insurance chief executives at the White House in Washington November. Reuters
Easy for him to say. The reason this furor will continue even if the website is fixed is that the public is learning that ObamaCare's insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.
Mr. Obama and his liberal allies call the old plans "substandard," but he doesn't mean from the perspective of the consumers who bought them. He means people were free to choose insurance that wasn't designed to serve his social equity and income redistribution goals. In his view, many people must pay first-class fares for coach seats so others can pay less and receive extra benefits.
Liberals justify these coercive cross-subsidies as necessary to finance coverage for the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions. But government usually helps the less fortunate honestly by raising taxes to fund programs. In summer 2009, Senate Democrats put out such a bill, and the $1.6 trillion sticker shock led them to hide the transfers by forcing people to buy overpriced products.
This political mugging is especially unfair to the people whose plans on the current individual market are being taken away. The majority of these consumers are self-employed or small-business owners. They're middle class, rarely affluent. They took responsibility for their care without government aid, and unlike people in the job-based system, they paid with after-tax dollars.
Now they're being punished for the crime of not subsidizing ObamaCare, even though the individual market was never as dysfunctional or high cost as liberals claim. In 2012, average U.S. individual premiums were $190, ranging from a low of $123 in North Dakota to a high of $385 in Massachusetts. Average premiums for family plans fell that year by 0.5% to $412.
Those numbers come from the 13,000 different policies from 180 insurers sold on, the online shopping brokerage that works. (Technological wonders never cease.) Individuals can make the trade-offs between costs and benefits for themselves. This wide variety is proof that humans don't all want or need the same thing. If they did, there would be no need for a market and government could satisfy everybody.
That is precisely what the Obama health planners believe they can do. Regulators mandated a very rich level of "essential" health benefits that all plans in the individual market must cover, regardless of cost. This year eHealth EHTH +0.29% reported that its data show individual premiums must be 47% higher than the old average to fund the new categories in the individual market.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare's plans are limited to essentially four. Yes, four. The law converts insurance products on the ObamaCare exchanges into interchangeable commodities that finance the same standard benefit at the same average expense over four tiers known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
So, for example, a bronze plan covers 60% of health-care expenses and the beneficiary pays a lower premium to pick up the remaining 40% out of pocket. Platinum carries a higher premium for a 90%-10% split. But there can be little deviation from the formulas—that is, there is little room for innovation or policy choice—to suit customer preferences.
In any case all four tiers are scrap-metal grade, because the rules ObamaCare imposes to create a supposedly superior insurance product are resulting in an objectively inferiormedical product. The new mandates and rules raise costs, so insurers must compensate by offering narrow and less costly networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers in their ObamaCare products. Insurers thus restrict care and patient choice of physicians in exchange for discounted reimbursement rates, much as Medicaid does.
Nearly half of the ObamaCare plans are tightly managed HMOs, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis. In states like California, Missouri and New Hampshire, many networks are 40% or 45% the size of those offered for normal commercial coverage. Patients face the prospect of waiting months and driving miles to clinics and county hospitals.
Narrow networks can be a useful cost-control tool, to the extent people choose to give up medical options in return for lower premiums. But that's rarely what people want when they're choosing with their own money. Some 82.5% of eHealth customers in 2012 purchased preferred provider organization plans (PPOs) that are structured so patients can visit virtually any physician.
The awful irony of this new ObamaCare health system is that all adults now enjoy mandated pediatric vision benefits, even if they don't have kids, but parents can't take their daughter to an expensive children's hospital if she gets really sick. Everybody gets "free" preventive checkups with no copays, but not treatment for a complex illness from specialists at an academic medical center.
If the old individual market was as bad as Mr. Obama said it was, then he shouldn't pretend it's a place worth going back to, even for a year's delay. His "fix" is necessary politically because ObamaCare's willful destruction of this alternative is the worst act of government mayhem since FDR's National Recovery Act. The Affordable Care Act's main achievement is turning out to be diminishing affordable care.

What Are Your Odds Of Dying At The Hands Of A Terrorist? A Doctor? A Prescription Overdose? Interesting Point Of View

Terrorists Among Us

November 25, 2013 by  
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Terrorists Among Us
The headline from ABC News was designed to startle: “Exclusive: FBI Video Shows Al Qaeda in Kentucky Handling Heavy Weapons.”
The story went on to relate that an al-Qaida-linked terrorist who had fought in Iraq and killed American troops had settled in Kentucky. He was one of possibly “dozens” of terrorists allowed in the country because of a flawed refugee vetting program.
The “terrorist,” Waad Ramadan Alwan, was recorded in 2010 by the FBI expertly “field stripping” a Russian-made weapon during a sting operation. There were also still photos of Alwan and another man handling missile launchers and grenade launchers. The weapons, we’re told, were supplied by the FBI after they were rendered “inoperable.”
The two terrorists were arrested in 2011 and later pleaded guilty to terror-related crimes. We are led to believe they are now safely ensconced in some Federal hoosegow at an undisclosed location, though the way some of the accused 9/11 hijackers, Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and other “terrorists” have been disappeared and reappeared over the dozen years since the War on Terror began in 2001 should leave everyone skeptical.
This is a non-story. It occurred three years ago. It was resolved two years ago. So what was its purpose?
As I said earlier, it was designed to startle. It was a propaganda piece for the state security apparatus, which must keep an ample amount of fear ginned up to keep the populace accepting of the growing police state. It goes along with the intermittent alerts we get from the state propaganda machine warning of imminent terror attacks that never occur, always based on “chatter” gleaned by the spying apparatus.
It turns out the FBI is the common denominator in all recent terror attacks and “attempted” terror attacks on U.S. soil. In fact, as Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians learned, the FBI is a terror organization all its own.
So either the FBI was the terrorist organization or FBI had created and armed the terrorists or the FBI knew the terrorists and allowed them — either through design or incompetence — to carry out their terror attacks (as in the case of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing).
Using these and other “terror” incidents, the psychopathic elected parasite class, their bureaucratic enablers and the Federal government security complex have created what they consider justification for liberty-stealing laws like the USA Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act, the Gestapo-like Department of Homeland Security and its evil stepchild, the Transportation Security Administration, and the National Security Agency spying apparatus. These and other programs have turned a once-free United States into an Orwellian nightmare of “stop and frisk” policies, roaming spy mobilesno-fly lists and Stasi-like “See something, say something” home spying programs. And for the most part, Americans have accepted it as a way of life with hardly a whimper of protest.
President Barack Obama said last week on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack are a lot less than dying in a car accident. It may be the only true statement uttered in the past five-plus years by the undocumented usurper and fraudulent occupier of the people’s house. Yet he continues advocate for more tyranny in the name of safety, citing the constant threat of terror as the reason for its necessity.
And while there may indeed be al-Qaida-linked terrorists and al-Qaida-wannabes in the United States, note that they’re here because the U.S. has allowed them in. But they are not the terrorists we need to fear, nor are any more regulations needed to make us safer from them.
The terrorists we need to fear come from within — particularly from our own government. Statistics show that Americans are far more likely to die at the hands of police than terrorists. At best count, 19 Americans have died on U.S. soil at the hands of terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001.
In New York alone last year, more Americans died by police gunfire than at the hands of terrorists around the world. Many of those shot were unarmed, including 10 innocent bystanders, nine of whom were hit during one incident. Another four were hit — one fatally — when an officer’s gun discharged accidentally. Across the country there many more of these instances.
As we’ve noted many times here, police are increasingly taking a “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude when dealing with the public.
Police are becoming increasingly militant and increasingly militarized. It’s a disturbing trend. Ostensibly as preparation for response to a terror attack and as crime-fighting vehicles, police departments across the country are obtaining — for the cost of shipping — military surplus armored vehicles. Small-town police departments are lapping them up.
In an effort to justify stricter gun laws — like a ban on so-called “assault weapons” — Attorney General Eric Holder conceived Operation Fast and Furious, a tactic of allowing weapons to be sold by gun dealers along the Mexico border to known drug traffickers. The result has been shooting deaths of innocents using those illegal guns on both sides of the border. Included in that list is Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The medical mafia — which includes the Food and Drug Administration and the medical-industrial complex — is responsible for thousands of deaths each year based on a big lie. The big lie fostered by orthodox medicine is the totally false notion that drugs heal. Drugs do not heal! They only mask symptoms. Orthodox medicine should properly be called symptomology.
Let’s think about the No. 1 killer disease in America: heart disease. It kills 600,000 people annually, despite medically and FDA-approved procedures and drugs.
Heart disease is in reality a deficit of whole foods that feed the human heart. The medical establishment will not tell you this. With drugs and open heart surgery we feed the medical establishment instead of our bodies.
This is one of many deceptions in America. Another huge one is the cancer disease. There are two truths that we should know that most doctors at every level do not know, hence the millions who have died a premature and miserable death.
First: Cancer is systemic. This simply means that in most situations if one has any cancer manifestation, he has it like Rover, he has it all over. This means that (in most cases) cutting a cancer out will change nothing but may in fact make the patient die quicker with more suffering. Systemic means all over! So the whole body must be treated instead of “cutting it out.”
There are clinics in the U.S. and Mexico treating the whole immune system with no surgery. Yet they are frowned upon and denigrated by the medical establishment.
Second: The “treatment” of cancer in the U.S. is not medical therapy. Cancer is an industry for profit. Cut, operate, poison with chemotherapy, burn with radiation are the only options allowed in the U.S. This system causes cancer!
A baby is far more likely to die at the hands of Planned Parenthood than at the hands of a terrorist. A person is far more likely to die from excessive alcohol abuse than at the hands of terrorists. A person is far more likely to die from a reaction to an FDA-approved prescription drug than at the hands of a terrorist. A person is far more likely to die even from a sexually transmitted disease than at the hands of a terrorist. The list goes on and on.
But the establishment will continue using fear tactics making laws and creating more bureaucracy in order to “keep us safe” from “terrorists” and feed the state security apparatus.

Obama Ignores The Constitution As Any Tin Pot Dictator Would


Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer hammered President Barack Obama on Friday, saying he has taken a “very cavalier attitude” towards the United States Constitution and rule of law.
“I’m talking about how the administration, particularly the president, seems to think that he has right to change duly passed statutes on his own, or to suspend whole parts of laws on his own,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. ”I mean, the constitution is pretty clear, the president executes the law and the Congress passes the laws.”
“…the constitution is pretty clear…”
“So, for example, a few months ago Obama decided that he wanted to suspend, to postpone the employer mandate of his own law of Obamacare,” he continued. “You’re not allowed to do that. You have got to change the law in Congress if you want to do it. And he did it without hesitation.”
Krauthammer then hit the president over the process he used to make some court appointments.
“A year ago, he did some recess appointments, you are allowed to do it if the Senate isn’t in session. The problem was the Senate was in session, and the courts have so ruled,” he said. “This is a very cavalier attitude.”
Krauthammer released a book late last month detailing his three decades in politics.

Obama Doesn't Care About His Approval Numbers--He Has Bigger Plans--What Might They Be?


President Barack Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters Friday night in an exclusive interview that he is confident his low approval numbers will rise shortly.
“The good thing about when you’re down is that usually, you’ve got nowhere to go but up,” the 44th president joked.
Obama’s comments come on the heels of new polling this month that indicates he is in a low point in his presidency, following the disastrous roll out of his signature health care law.
According to a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll, 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing. That same poll also found that if the election were held today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would have ousted Obama.
The Obama’s also responded to being booed at a recent college basketball game.
“It’s part of the job,” first lady Michelle Obama told Walters.