Obama to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Thu 10/15/2015 by


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“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” —George Washington, 1793


Obama to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers patrol the Khost province in 2009

Maybe you can teach an ideologue new tricks. Last year, Barack Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan was to bring the war “to a responsible end.” He wanted to pull most U.S. troops from the country until only 1,000 remained at the U.S. embassy. But with a wavering Afghan army and criticism by his generals, Obama has shifted course, saying he will keep the force shy of 10,000 troops in the country for now, but by the time he leaves office, Obama says he wants 5,500 troops there.

He has shifted from fulfilling his campaign promise to end the war to leaving the problem for the next administration. It’s the least he can do. If we want to see what would happen when a strong military presence is removed from Afghanistan, just look at what happened in the Afghan city of Kunduz, where the Taliban took the city, ferried out weapons, supplies and told the residents that they had nothing to fear. And with that buildup of Taliban and the Islamic State, what can a few thousand U.S. troops actually accomplish?

If Obama continues to lowball the number of troops needed, he will imperil U.S. interests in Afghanistan. Obama administration diplomat James Dobbins, who once represented our nation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said, “I can’t promise you that retaining a commitment at the current level will ultimately yield a completely peaceful settled and stable Afghanistan. … You like Syria? How would you like to have another one?” The more apt comparison is Iraq, where Obama’s bull-headed and politically motivated abandonment created a vacuum now filled by the Islamic State.

Profiles of Valor: USA Capt. Flo Groberg

On Nov. 12, Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg will become the tenth living Medal of Honor recipient for actions while serving in Afghanistan. Groberg, who became a naturalized citizen in 2001, was serving as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. On Aug. 8, 2012, Groberg spotted a suicide bomber headed for his patrol. According to the Army’s account of his actions:

Groberg rushed the suspect and shoved him away from the patrol. Groberg then immediately confirmed the individual was wearing a suicide vest, and with the help of Sgt. Andrew Mahoney, a fellow Soldier with the PSD, grabbed the suicide bomber, physically driving him away from the formation and down to the ground.

While on the ground, the bomber’s explosive vest detonated. The explosion caused a second suicide bomber, who remained hidden behind a small structure near the road, to detonate his vest prematurely. Most of the blast of the second bomber’s suicide vest went straight into a building, adjacent to the patrol.

Groberg’s actions disrupted both bombers from detonating as planned, saving the majority of lives he was charged with protecting.

“[I]t was the worst day of my life,” he said, “because even though we defeated the enemy, I lost four of my brothers.”

Four Americans were killed by the blasts, but the damage would have been much worse without Groberg’s selfless act. He suffered significant injuries and spent nearly three years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Still, he says, “The proudest thing I have ever done in my life is to wear this uniform and serve my country.”

‘God Bless the Military’? Outrageous!

Mikey Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation — the group that sought to remove “so help me God” from military academy cadet books — is at it again. This time, the fanatical anti-religious group’s target is a sign at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (set up just after 9/11) that reads, “God bless the military, their families, and the civilians who work with them.” Well, we can’t have that, now can we? MRFF alleges the sign sends the message that the base “gives preference to those who hold religious beliefs over those who do not, and those who prefer a monotheistic, intervening god over other deities or theologies.” Fortunately, base commanding officer Sea Killeen went to Alliance Defending Freedom for help, and won’t back down without a fight. “This sign will remain in its present location and not be altered in any way,” Col. Killeen wrote to MRFF. “Our legal team has conducted exhaustive research on this issue,” he added. “Several Supreme Court cases and other federal cases, to include the 9th Circuit, support the conclusion that the message on the sign does not violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. ‘God bless’ is commonly used in our culture in a number of contexts and there are numerous references to God in this nation’s symbols, songs, mottos, and oaths. This sign has the secular purpose of conveying a message of support, but does not advance or inhibit religion or any particular faith, nor does it foster excessive government entanglement with religion.”

So let Weinstein and company continue to throw tantrums or insist that to be fair we also well-wish troops with signs from the Church of Satan. We’ll still join millions of Americans in saying, “God bless the military, and God bless America.”

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ObamaCare’s Premium Results

By Michael Swartz

As we all know, with the creation of ObamaCare we were told if you liked your insurance policy and doctor you could keep them. Those broken promises were just the tip of the iceberg. As we detailed a few months back, next year consumers could see premium increases of as much as 51%. But the bad news isn’t limited to premium increases.

In several states, most recently Kentucky, the insurance co-ops set up to enhance the market — at the cost of billions of federal dollars in seed money — are going belly-up. “Things have [financially] come up short of where they need to be,” wrote Kentucky Health Cooperative CEO Glenn Jennings in a statement to participants. The co-op’s demise was blamed on lower-than-expected risk corridor payments. Other states where co-ops have failed include Louisiana, Nevada, Iowa and New York, which was the nation’s largest.

And those likely won’t be the last. Eleven other co-ops are on an “enhanced oversight” financial probation, meaning out of 23 co-ops chartered just two years ago, a sizeable majority are facing financial difficulties. Taxpayers will be left holding the bag.

The concept of risk corridors was envisioned as one of three legs of the stool supporting ObamaCare from the insurers’ standpoint. Risk corridors, in essence, were intended to “stabilize” (read: compensate for overregulating) the market. Insurers that made a profit of more than 3% would remit an increasing share of those excess profits into a fund designed to compensate those that lost money — the more money lost, the higher the subsidy. This works in tandem with a risk adjustment program that directly shifted funds from insurers that had more healthy risk pools to ones that had sicker customers. Finally, a reinsurance program provides direct subsidies to insurers who have people with high medical expenses.

So, in essence, a back-door single-payer system without calling it such.

Only the risk adjustment program was intended to be permanent, with the others expiring after 2016. More importantly, as part of the CRomnibus spending bill last year, Congress added a provision to the risk corridor program making it revenue-neutral. Losing that blank check made it impossible for some of the weaker co-ops to continue because the profitable insurers are far outnumbered by the money losers.

The demise of these co-ops, combined with an ever-shrinking number of insurers willing to risk their bottom line, leaves thousands in an insurance limbo as their carriers fail or leave the market. Some Americans, like columnist Michelle Malkin, are facing this situation for the second time since ObamaCare took full effect, as their insurance plans got canceled. Then again, if you’re running a company losing 12 cents on the dollar as calculated by researcher Brian Blase at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, that’s usually an indication the market is a failure.

Neither forcing people to search for new insurance during the busy open enrollment season nor forcing them to cut family budgets for the next double-digit premium increase rank high on the political popularity list. You may recall open enrollment for 2015 was pushed back to begin after the 2014 election; a move the Obama administration claimed would give consumers more time to evaluate plans while cynics made the case that it was to push the sticker shock safely past the midterms. With the provisions for insurers ending after 2016, Barack Obama’s successor will have to deal with the fallout. To minimize the damage to Democrats in the 2016 elections, they will probably dupe Republican “leaders” into a one-year extension on the risk corridors and reinsurance.

It’s now legacy time for Obama. We contend he will be remembered as the man who destroyed American health care by wiping out a system that worked reasonably well and satisfied the overwhelming majority of Americans for decades, all to make the bulk of new enrollees dependent on the government through Medicaid. That’s one to tell the grandkids.



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Cal Thomas: “Watching the Democratic candidates’ presidential debate Tuesday night one might think a Republican has been in the White House since 2009. These political Lilliputians could find little to say that was positive. The economy is bad, too many people aren’t working (whose fault is that?), we should spend trillions more we don’t have because everything we’re spending now isn’t producing results. Memo to Democrats: If your policies are failing, try something different. … [T]here was nothing about what people could, or should, do for themselves. It was all about government — big government, regulatory government, nanny government. The individual who shows initiative and succeeds is no longer the model; instead it’s the government is your keeper, you shall not want model. Even though government regularly proves its inability to achieve its advertised results, Democrats want us to believe that given more time — and especially more of our money — they can make it work. That has always been the cry of liberalism in its many incarnations. Most of the media will spin the Democratic debate as refreshing and new, but it was stale, old and uninspiring, like the candidates.”


Upright: “Las Vegas was a reminder that it is awfully hard to lose a nomination if no one truly plausible, let alone formidable, is running against you. The structure of the Democratic race from the beginning has been about propping up Hillary Clinton, and it still is. The party is putting on a master class in how to nominate someone under FBI investigation, and is willfully in denial about her vulnerabilities. Yes, Hillary had a good night. She was polished, knowledgeable, shrewd and hard-hitting — clearly, not someone to be trifled with. But the debate was a false indicator of her strength.” —Rich Lowry

Belly laugh of the week: “We’ve just come through two and a half hours of a Democratic debate that showed more substance and a more robust discussion about how to move America forward from our five candidates than nearly 10 hours of the first two Republican debates.” —Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Too much information: “I actually am aroused by [Bernie Sanders]. I’m serious. I find him to be eye candy, not ear candy, eye candy. I like an old Jewish guy who’s a socialist. That’s my type of guy. Everybody is talking about [Martin] O’Malley and how hot he was, but to me Bernie is hot.” —Joy Behar

Demo-gogues: “It’s not just mass shootings. It is the daily shootings that take place in cities across America. It is easier to buy a gun than buy a book.” —Barack Obama (“[T]hugs wielding firearms in mostly urban areas would find the book buying process extremely difficult. For one thing, they’d have to know how to read. The literacy rate in Chicago … is 53 percent. And you can bet that the literacy standard is hardly what you and I would consider adequate. Second, it would be extremely difficult for these wayward youths to choose suitable literature.” —Truth About Guns publisher Robert Farago)

Non Compos Mentis: “The families themselves of these [American] hostages [held in Iran] knew exactly what our strategy was and why it was important not to hold a nuclear agreement hostage to hostages. It was the right thing to do.” —John Kerry

And last… “This is not a healthy party. [Democrats] are relying on carbon-dated, pre-Obama candidates to hold onto his White House. There were more bathroom breaks at this debate than there were candidates of color and youth.” —Stephen Miller

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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