In Pakistan, there is no right horse

In the last day, since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, there has been ample criticism of the Bush administration for backing the wrong horse in Pervez Musharraf. In fact, in Pakistan, there is no right horse. The recognized government is at best a caretaker government elected in a questionable election and at worst one installed by the military coup that ended a corrupt, democratically elected government. The two wings of the opposition represent 7th century barbarism on the one hand and a return to corruption on the other.

It’s not necessarily a criticism of Bhutto, but certainly an example of what’s wrong with Pakistani politics that she was “chairwoman for life” of the Pakistan People’s Party. It speaks little good of a country when its most lauded champion of democracy achieved, at least within her own party, a level of totalitarian unaccountability that even a tin horn Marxist like Hugo Chavez can only envy.

Many are blaming the Bush administration for the assassination. They blame the administration for encouraging Bhutto’s return or for failing to provide unasked for and impossible security. (Ask the Secret Service if they’d approve a Bush visit to Rawalpindi.) The US government does have some blame here, but it’s not for those reasons. The administration, eager to appease the jihadi’s domestic apologists, insisted that a “free and fair election” was impossible under the state of emergency imposed by Musharaff in the aftermath of an earlier assassination attempt. No one seemed to question whether a “free and fair election” was possible when one wing of the opposition is sending assassins to attack the other wing. In fact, Pakistan is in no position to hold a free and fair election by our standards at all.

Pakistan is nowhere near being a failed state, but an insistence by ill-informed Americans that its government conform to the liberal norms of our own will quickly make it one. For the foreseeable future there is no right horse to back in Pakistan. Our only real option is to recognize the reality of who holds power, watch who controls the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and be prepared, if necessary, to destroy that arsenal quickly and without the niceties of diplomacy if the control falls from a not-quite-right horse to an utterly wrong one.

[tags]Pakistan,Bhutto,Musharaff[/tags]

One wouldn't write a check, one wouldn't pick up his scalpel without it

Cigna Corp. is receiving great scorn, and perhaps rightly so, after one of its insured, 17-year old leukemia patient Natalie Sarkisyan, was first denied coverage for a liver transplant and then approved too late to save her, hours before her death. Cigna is a for-profit insurance company, bound by contract to cover certain procedures and not others. Cigna considers liver transplants “experimental” and thus not covered. Her doctors disagreed, but not so certainly that they were willing to do the procedure without the promise of an extra paycheck (bearing in mind that the hospital and doctors were certainly already collecting multiple thousands of dollars per day from Cigna).

Cigna is being roundly criticized for being overly aggressive in doing the one thing that corporate officers are bound to do – protecting the shareholders’ interests. If liver transplants aren’t experimental, if the liver transplant would have saved this life (and personally, I think those statements are true), the criticism is deserved. But in all the criticism of this company for refusing to write a check, why is no one criticizing the people who by donating less than a day’s work could have saved her life, but refused to do so until that check was (figuratively at least) in hand?

When did this insurance company swear to “come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief”? When did Cigna swear to keep patients free “from harm and injustice”? In fact, the insurance company did neither. Perhaps in this day of abortion and euthanasia her doctors did not swear that oath either, but if the lack of a paycheck for less than a day’s work prevented those who had the skill from saving her life then may it not be granted to them to enjoy life and art and may they not be honored with fame among all men for all time to come.

Teen dies hours after insurance company reverses denial of liver transplant payment

[tags]liver transplant,doctors,Cigna[/tags]

How do you define vote, Mitt?

I’ve decided to vote for Mitt Romney. I’m going to define a “vote” for Romney as “asking for a Republican ballot that has Mitt Romney’s name on it somewhere.” I might even take the time to see his name on the ballot, with my own eyes. Now Romney supporters may insist on the strict definition of filling in the box next to his name and dropping the ballot in the box, but that’s just being silly.

So what’s next? Trying to parse the meaning of the word “is”? Oh, never mind.

After the big “faith” speech, Kevin Whited asked this question at Ten Second News:

He wants to talk about religion, but not let anyone question his talk? In what alternate political universe does he think that will happen?

My comment at the time seems almost prophetic (pardon the pun) at this point:

What else to expect from the Bill Clinton of the Republican Party?

But, he still has great hair. So, join me and “vote” for Mitt Romney.

ROMNEY DEFENDS MLK MARCH REMARK

[tags]Romney,march,saw[/tags]

Speaking of Christmas – I knew it!

It’s commonly claimed and widely accepted that December 25 is merely the date we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and not the actual anniversary of his birth. A bit of often overlooked proof is this passage from Luke Chapter 2:

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

Clearly, since they were going to be taxed the birth had to be in mid-April. I assumed that once the taxing was done, on April 15, the ben Jacob family would head home to Nazareth, and so assigned April 15 as the appropriate date for celebrating the Nativity. It turns out that I was wrong. Apparently, despite the lack of comfortable accomodations in Bethlehem, the proud parents to be stayed a couple of extra days and Christ was born on April 17, 6 B.C. According to Michael R. Molnar of Rutgers University:

The second occultation on April 17 coincided precisely when Jupiter was “in the east,” a condition mentioned twice in the biblical account about the Star of Bethlehem. In August of that year Jupiter became stationary and then “went before” through Aries where it became stationary again on December 19, 6 BC. This is when the regal planet “stood over.” – a secondary royal portent also described in the Bible. In particular, there is confirmation from a Roman astrologer that the conditions of April 17, 6 BC were believed to herald the birth of a divine, immortal, and omnipotent person born under the sign of the Jews, which we now know was Aries the Ram.

I checked to see if perhaps the 15th fell on a Saturday in 6 B.C., which would have made taxes due on the 17th. It fell on a Thursday. It is, of course, possible that Joseph didn’t get all the 1099s from his contract jobs and had to file a Form 4868. As long as he paid the taxes on time, a two day extension on the filling would, of course, have been no problem. Automatic, in fact.

It’s also possible that IRS regulations may have changed between the time of Augustus and the (purported) passage of the 16th Amendment. I’m sure someone from the He Who Shall Not Be Named or Pat Paulsen II campaigns could tell us for sure. The real question, of course, is “Does this mean Mike Huckabee will have to pull his latest campaign ad until April?” Huckabee may also want to consider whether supporting the Fair Tax is worth his immortal soul – if going down to Bethlehem to be taxed in mid-April was good enough for Joseph and Mary, isn’t the whole Fair Tax thing a bit sacrilegious? <— Note the irony!!

(Proof of the date by way of a comment on Alan Colmes new blog LiberalLand)

[tags]Christmas,taxes,Huckabee,Ron Paul,Alan Keyes[/tags]