The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):
Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.
So, you can’t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you’ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!
While there is debate over the details, it is clear that medical malpractive lawsuits have some impact on driving health care costs higher. There are likely a number of procedures that are done simply as a defense against future possible litigation. Recall this from the Washington Post:
“Lawmakers could save as much as $54 billion over the next decade by imposing an array of new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, congressional budget analysts said today — a substantial sum that could help cover the cost of President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s health system. New research shows that legal reforms would not only lower malpractice insurance premiums for medical providers, but would also spur providers to save money by ordering fewer tests and procedures aimed primarily at defending their decisions in court, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).”
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
In his eagerness to please international opinion, President Obama has taken a small but significant step toward censoring free speech.
Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009
by Stuart Taylor Jr.
It was nice to hear Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton say on October 26, "I strongly disagree" with Islamic countries seeking to censor free speech worldwide by making defamation of religion a crime under international law.
But watch what the Obama administration does, not just what it says. I'm not talking about its attacks on Fox News. I'm talking about a little-publicized October 2 resolution in which Clinton's own State Department joined Islamic nations in adopting language all-too-friendly to censoring speech that some religions and races find offensive.
The ambiguously worded United Nations Human Rights Council resolution could plausibly be read as encouraging or even obliging the U.S. to make it a crime to engage in hate speech, or, perhaps, in mere "negative racial and religious stereotyping." This despite decades of First Amendment case law protecting such speech.Click Here to read the whole story.
How Far Will Things Go?I have been trying to determine the philosophical limit to which the Obama crowd is willing to push their utopian national socialist agenda.
Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent black Americans in history, and for some time, a slave, weighed in on the issue with profound insight:"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."
There you have it. How much will we endure?
Dr Joseph Goebbels offered his opinion on the requirement of the government to suppress dissent through control of the media:"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State."
As the Third Reich's propaganda minister, Dr. Goebbels was no stranger to the need for the government to lie. And one of the most effective ways to promote your lie is to declare that all who tell the truth are liars. There is a move for the White House to create (in effect) it's own news network to do this very thing. The attack on FOX NEWS (click here) seems to be the beginning of the muscling to shut them down.
Since truth is the mortal enemy of the State, how long will we believe the lies?
My definition of political correctness is: A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical socialist minority, rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream and other non-enquiring media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end. The whole notion of political correct language has spawned a generation of cowards who are mortally afraid of saying anything for fear that what they will say will offend someone in some way. The White House is currently running with this ball, suggesting that any language that anyone finds offensive smacks of "hate", therefore the speaker is committing a "hate crime". And the Constitutional right to free speech goes right out the window.
Will we accept limits to the Freedom of Speech?
Is the term "Patriot" a dirty word? In the lexicon of the present usage, it might become very similar to the term "Domestic Terrorist" as defined by Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. (Returning veterans, Tea Party Activists, pro-life advocates, those who oppose illegal immigration, etc.)
Are we Patriots? Or are we afraid to be known by that name/title?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
STIMULUS WATCH: Stimulus jobs overstated by 1,000s
(AP) - An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that officials promise will be corrected in future reports.
The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, or one in six, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.
The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.
—A company working with the reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.
—A community reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.
—A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees.
To read the whole dreary story, go here: STIMULUS WATCH: Stimulus jobs overstated by 1,000s
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
In the category of "Plus ca Change, Plus C'est la Meme Chose" comes this ultimately very unsurprising piece from the Washington Times on the ACCESS EXCHANGE set up by the DNC for presidential perks to BIG Bama donors. Change you can believe in indeed....
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
View accompanying interactive "Bowling for dollars at the White House:
One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.
Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.
Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some events at the presidential mansion.
Many guests at the White House not only had fundraising connections, but also have personal friendships with the president, Mr. Obama's aides said.
"Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting," said Dan Pfeiffer, deputy White House communications director.
"This administration has across the board set the toughest ethics standards in history. As a result, we have reduced special-interest influence over the policymaking process to promote merit-based decision-making," he added.
See White House response to story:
White House touts ethics in rewards for fundraisers
But veteran Washington observers say the Obama-era perks still carry shades of the so-called "donor maintenance" programs of past administrations, when Bill Clinton rewarded fundraisers with White House coffees and overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and George W. Bush invited "Pioneers" to Camp David or his Texas ranch.
And the donor access raises questions about the fervor of Mr. Obama's stated commitment to clean up what he once called the "muddy waters" of Washington, where political cash is exchanged for access, ethics experts said.
"Once you start trading money for access, you set up a situation where donors eventually say, 'Well, actually I have another favor to ask,'" said Scott Thomas, a former Democratic appointee to the Federal Election Commission.
"It starts setting up that relationship. If you help with the money, we'll do something nice for you. And that is a slippery slope."
Democratic Party officials told The Times that there is "absolutely no correlation" between fundraising and attendance at White House events.
"I don't think it's surprising that people that support the president do go to functions at the White House and have other access, but there are many, many more Americans who attend events and town halls and other things at the White House every single day," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.
Only select members of the public, however, were provided access to a series of invite-only briefings by senior administration officials organized by the DNC.
Over the summer, for instance, one of Mr. Obama's deputy chiefs of staff, Jim Messina, flew to Los Angeles and San Francisco to provide in-person briefings to a small collection of top donors to explain the administration's plan for tackling health care legislation and counter the rising tide of opposition at town-hall meetings. In another, a group was briefed by one of Mr. Obama's top economic advisers, Austan Goolsbee.
And festive events at the White House, such as parties thrown to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and July Fourth, were underwritten in part or in full by the DNC. Guests lists for those functions have not been made public.
Menu for access
The DNC has presented a menu of exclusive access opportunities to top givers, according to internal DNC documents provided to potential donors and obtained by The Times.
Top-tier donors gain membership to the DNC's National Finance Committee or to the ultra-exclusive National Advisory Board, both of which meet four times a year, including this week at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington.
"They have an opportunity to meet senior members of the Obama Administration and senior members of Congress, and to hear from political analysts and policy experts," according to the internal DNC documents.
Mark Gilbert, a Florida businessman who raised more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama, said he gets regular e-mails from the White House on topics that interest him -- in his case, economic policy -- and he occasionally joins special conference calls for Mr. Obama's political supporters. The calls are frequently timed to follow up on a major news development out of the White House.
"Any time something major takes place, they follow it up with a conference call with someone who was involved with the policy decision," Mr. Gilbert said. "Anything that has to do with the Treasury, I get an e-mail."
Mr. Gilbert said the same practice was routine during the presidential campaign, and it helped Mr. Obama's supporters feel like partners.
"I think they're doing a very good job keeping people up to date, trying to keep people well-informed," Mr. Gilbert said.
A senior party official involved in devising the DNC program, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said the party took pains to design it so access to senior officials would be tightly controlled. Supporters would have the chance to meet party leaders. But the DNC wanted to rule out requests to pair donors with officials on specific issues. The paramount objective, the official said, was to avoid putting party leaders in the position of being asked to deliver on a specific request.
Rewards for those who supported the president's 2008 campaign have been doled out in less formal ways. Two top bundlers, for instance, described invitations to bring their families to the private bowling alley at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. Both spoke on the condition they not be named because they did not want to damage their relationship with the White House.
The White House said such invitations could have come through any of scores of staff members, and could have occurred without any input from the president or his senior aides.
In interviews, top Obama donors described different methods for arranging such perks. Some said they contacted Reggie Love, the president's personal assistant, to request appointments or White House access. Others said they arranged meetings through regional finance directors at the DNC.
"Many people know Reggie because they met him on the trail over the two years he traveled with the president, which is why they reach out to him, but that is not exclusive to donors," a White House official said. The courtship of top donors is overseen by Rufus Gifford at the DNC in consultation with White House political director Patrick Gaspard, party officials confirmed. Their activities are not new to presidential politics. But they offer a contrast to the public face of the president's fundraising operation, which has always focused on its efforts to reach out to grass-roots supporters who send small-dollar donations through the Internet.
Presidents have run into trouble using the White House to entertain political donors in the past, most notably in 1997, when it was discovered that Mr. Clinton had used White House coffees, overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and rides aboard Air Force One to cultivate and reward political support. Mr. Clinton said the sleepovers were justified because the guests were not only donors, but also close friends.
"The Lincoln Bedroom was never sold," Mr. Clinton said at the time.
President George W. Bush rewarded his 246 "Pioneers," who raised at least $100,000, with perks that included overnight stays at the White House and Camp David, parties at the White House and Mr. Bush's Texas ranch, state dinners with world leaders and overseas travel with U.S. delegations to the Olympics and other events, according to a 2004 review by the Associated Press.
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama acknowledged he suffered "from the same original sin of all politicians, which is we've got to raise money," but said that he would fight against donor influence if sent to the White House.
"The argument is not that I'm pristine, because I'm swimming in the same muddy water," Mr. Obama said during a campaign appearance. "The argument is that I know it's muddy, and I want to clean it up."
Democratic officials said they think it is important to note that Mr. Obama's efforts to reward major donors are, in their view, on a far smaller scale than those of any other recent president.
"I would say that from our reckoning, our research, there are fewer donors getting fewer things, whatever you may call them, from this White House than from any White House in memory," Mr. Woodhouse said.
Since taking office, Mr. Obama has pledged that his administration will be "the most open and transparent administration in history" and has agreed to make public the names of those who sign into White House visitor logs, though a request from The Times for logs that show visits from his top 45 bundlers has so far gone unfilled.
Requests for guest lists to various White House events, such as a recent cocktail reception surrounding the celebration of the Pittsburgh Penguins' National Hockey League Stanley Cup victory or the Latin music concert last week, have also been denied repeatedly.
Doling out ambassadorships
The most traditional aspect of the Obama administration's continued outreach to donors has involved the time-honored practice of doling out ambassadorships to his most prolific financial benefactors. The task of matching up bundlers to foreign posts was overseen by Chicago lawyer David Jacobson, who served during the campaign as the deputy to finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker, several of Mr. Obama's ambassadors said in interviews.
Shortly after Mr. Obama's election, Mr. Jacobson was assigned the title of special assistant for presidential personnel. From that perch, he approached top bundlers and asked them to provide him with their top six choices for foreign postings.
Mr. Jacobson eventually returned to most of the bundlers with word of their postings. For young music executive Nicole Avant, that meant the Bahamas. For veteran political fundraiser Alan Solomont, it was Spain. A request for comment from Mr. Jacobson was routed to the White House.
For a number of supporters who began the 2008 race in the camp of a rival candidate, there have been other rewards.
When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepared to lead a delegation to El Salvador to attend the inauguration of President Mauricio Funes, she invited one ambassador, two diplomats, three congressmen, and McAllen, Texas, construction company executive Alonzo Cantu. Mr. Cantu also happened to be a major fundraiser for her primary campaign. He later contributed to Mr. Obama's general election bid.
Still others have been invited to sit on a wide array of presidential commissions and advisory panels. Several top bundlers, including Ms. Pritzker and Mr. Wolf, sit on the president's Economic Advisory Board, which has been helping him navigate the nation's financial crisis. This fall, top bundlers Andres Lopez and Abigail Pollak were tapped to join the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino.
With many of the president's top bundlers now serving in ambassadorships, and therefore unable to help with a 2012 re-election bid, the DNC has started the process of recruiting a new round of top givers. The DNC began cultivating these donors this summer, when Mr. Obama's health care legislation was facing strong opposition from vocal opponents at town-hall meetings. The president's top political advisers took commercial flights to California, paid for by the DNC, for meetings with key donors in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Top White House advisers told about 25 DNC donors in Los Angeles to remember that Mr. Obama "has been counted down or out and surprised people" before, said one bundler who attended a California meeting, but spoke on the condition he not be named. The most exclusive access to the president has been reserved for Mr. Obama's closest friends, many of whom also served as donors and bundlers during his campaign. When the president hosted a Ramadan banquet at the White House, he invited three top fundraisers, Hasan Chandoo, Wahid Hamid and Lutfi Hassan. Mr. Chandoo and Mr. Hamid, who both raised between $100,000 and $200,000 during the campaign, had been college roommates of Mr. Obama's.
Marty Nesbitt, who bundled between $50,000 and $100,000, and John Rogers, who bundled more than $500,000, have both spent time with Mr. Obama in the White House, including joining the president in the White House movie theater, which Mr. Obama's aides said is nothing surprising.
As with past administrations, Democratic officials have made plain that the president views the access provided to close friends as something different from any sort of orchestrated program to reward political donors.
"Many of the people mentioned in this story have been friends and associates of the Obamas for decades -- including college roommates and family friends whose relationships predate and are separate from the president's career in public service," Mr. Pfeiffer said.
Also as with previous administrations, however, it can often be difficult to distinguish between a president's friends and his financial backers.
Several of those interviewed said they only met Mr. Obama by virtue of their efforts to assist his Senate and presidential campaigns.
"No, they're not all friends," said Lanny Davis, a Washington Times columnist and a Democratic lawyer who helped the Clintons respond to allegations about Lincoln Bedroom guests back in the 1990s. "They are supporters of the Democratic Party who are generous with their financial support, and without them we would not be able to compete against our Republican opponents."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) its October Porker of the Month. The four-term senator from Texas is loading up her goodie bag just before Halloween as she prepares to leave the Senate to run for governor. While claiming to be a fiscal conservative, Sen. Hutchison requested 149 projects worth $1.6 billion for authorization and appropriations bills for fiscal year 2010.
In a March 6, 2009 Dallas Morning News article, Sen. Hutchison said, “I do think that earmarks are a legitimate role of Congress. I don’t think that we should be earmarking things that do not have a national interest…Can it be overdone? Yes. Should it be transparent? Yes. But that is the role of Congress, to determine how we spend money.” On September 28, 2009, she told the Austin American-Statesman that “I’m proud of being able to garner Texans’ fair share of their tax dollars.”
“Sen. Hutchison is repeating the same old insidious quackery about the earmarking process: that it can be made accountable and that it somehow levels the spending playing field,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “The only fair way to distribute the taxpayers’ money is to eliminate the practice altogether and instead work to ensure that every dime of taxpayer money is spent using the budget laws and rules that they themselves established. Earmarking is a secretive, wasteful process that breeds a culture of corruption in Washington and distrust among taxpayers.”
According to CAGW’s pork database, Sen. Hutchison secured 130 projects worth $189 million in fiscal year (FY) 2009, and 145 projects worth $259 million for FY 2008. So far, the senator has appeared in several of CAGW’s Pork Alerts for FY 2010. In the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, she joined several other senators in getting $50.5 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC). The Senate bill had already appropriated $132 million to the NDPC even before the earmark. In the Military Construction Appropriations Act, Sen. Hutchison took home five projects worth $25,045,000, equal to 8.2 percent of the total dollars in the bill. In the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, she grabbed earmarks for two light rail transportation (LRT) projects: $75,000,000 for the Houston North Corridor LRT and $75,000,000 for the Houston Southeast Corridor LRT.
For personifying the tiresome hypocrisy of some members of Congress who want to claim the badge of fiscal conservatism while continuing to abscond with billions of dollars in wasteful pork projects, CAGW names Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison its October Porker of the Month.
Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Lets see how long Emanuel and Axelrod remain West Wing Alpha dogs, 'cause their "War On Fox" just cost their master big in credibility and political capital.
Here's part of Sammy's great post:
For the rest, including a presidential scold by Charles Krauthhammer, go here
Thursday, October 22, 2009
SLAM!! The White House got a major league bitch slap today as it tried to escalate its censorship of Fox News but received no cooperation from the other networks. On today's special report host Bret Bair told the story of Obama's foolishness (see video below)."Today there was an announcement by the administration," Baier said. "They were putting out the pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, as we showed you earlier for the White House pool - that Feinberg would be doing a round-robin interviews with the five-network pool that covers the White House - basically shares the costs and the daily coverage duties of covering the president.The press pool is made up of the 5 major news organizations including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. FOX has been a member of the White House press pool since 1997.
Officials invited the entire press corps to the round robin interview process with the express exception of FOX News. The Washington Bureau Chiefs of all of the 5 major networks consulted. The group agreed that if FOX were not allowed to participate, that they would boycott the interview with Feinberg in protest.
Take THAT Mr President. You have damaged your personal credibility, but worse you have damaged the office which you hold.
Also discussing this story is Sister Toljah here
Oh yeah, that's plausible!
Police are investigating after a British nuclear energy expert involved in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme fell 40 metres to his death from a UN building in Vienna.
Officials announced today (Weds) that the man – named as Timothy Hampton – died on the spot yesterday after a fall from the 17th floor at Vienna International Centre (VIC), one of the United Nations’ (UN) main headquarters along with New York, Nairobi and Geneva.
Authorities said the 47-year-old man – a member of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – had joined the UN’s current talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Investigators refused to reveal any further information on the case but said they ordered an autopsy.
Speaking to the Austrian Times, Anne Thomas – a press spokesperson at the UN in Vienna – said: "All I can confirm is that a male staff member of the CTBTO was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell in the E Building at the Vienna International Centre at 8.30 on Tuesday morning.
"Vienna police are investigating the incident and there is nothing else we can say," she added.
UN staff told the Austrian Times that there had been a similar case recently in which an employee died when he fell from a comparable height.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
White House Cites Opinion Shows as Basis for Fox News Complaints - Political News - FOXNews.com
The quite pathetic image I come away with from all of this is the little kid who owns the only football in the neighborhood and who stomps off home with it when he's not chosen as quarterback for the after-school pick-up game. In effect what we are seeing in the President and his senior staff are severely emotionally arrested yuppies.
Wake Up America has an excellent post on Obama's "WAR ON FOX" and how its playing with other networks and media here
Sister Toljah whacks the W.H. hard here
Reaganite Republican chimes in exposing BOTUS' bunker mentality here
Left Coast Rebel also goes at it here
Ran at Si Vis Pacem puts up Jake Tapper's exchange with Bobbie Gibbs and congratulates Tapper on his refusal to surrender his stones here
Also on Point (H/T Pat Dollard):
See also, my post just below this one, or here for the permalink
Original Post: 10-18-2009
How dare Fox News journalists challenge the White House? HOW DARE THEY!!! The audacity of them! Fact checking an Obama Administration Official. OUTRAGEOUS!
Well, there we have it. The White House flacks have completely blown their cool by trying to demonize a news organization and destroyed what little credibility they were clinging to in the process. Are they really that childish and insecure? It certainly appears so.
Here's the story. Its a pretty compelling read.
White House Escalates War at Fox News - Political News - FOXNews.com
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Monday, October 19, 2009
Tell me mainstream reporters, are y'all starting to feel like SUCKAS? (Radical Def: Useful Idiots)
Tim at Left Coast Rebel also covers this story HERE
Monday, October 19, 2009announcement, the Justice Department has stated thatFederal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.
Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.
In states where medicial marijuana is legal, this change in federal policy amounts to full legalization.
Why? Because the set of conditions for which medical marijuana is alleged to be effective is huge, and the California experience shows that, once state law treats medical marijauna as legal, doctors prescribe freely. So, any user, medical or recreational, who wants marijuana in a state that has legalized medicial marijuana will have no legal difficulty obtaining it.
This is a huge victory for the marijuana legalization movement. The only question is how the Justice Department will enforce the new policy. They have stated:The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said.
My bet, however, is that enforcement will target only those distributors or users who blatantly fail to cover themselves in a "medical" veneer.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
FoxNews.com reports that 5 Senior Commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard were killed in a suicide bomb attack in South-Eastern Iran. Although I deplore political violence, its hard for me to muster up any sympathy for the commanders themselves. The Guard - or Pasdaran as they are colloquially known - are in reality merciless thugs committed to crushing any genuine reform in Iran and they exist principally to prop up the now widely despised corruptocracy of hypocritical "Clerics;" thanks Jimmy Carter, we owe it all to you.
5 Revolutionary Guard Commanders Killed in Iran BombA homicide bomber killed five senior commanders of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard and at least 26 others in an area of southeastern Iran that has been the focus of a growing Sunni insurgency.
The official IRNA news agency said the dead included the deputy commander of the Guard's ground force, Gen. Noor Ali Shooshtari, as well as a chief provincial Guard commander for the area, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh. The other dead were Guard members or local tribal leaders. More than two dozen others were wounded, state radio reported.
The headquarters of Iran's armed forces blamed the bombing on "terrorists" backed by "the Great Satan America and its ally Britain," Fars News Agency was quoted by Reuters.
"Not in the distant future we will take revenge," Iran's statement read, according to Reuters. Iran's forces claim the country "will clear this region from terrorists and criminals."
Click the link below for the whole story.
To be sure, the Guard immediately pointed their fingers at the United States and GB, (Iran's favorite two bogeymen after Israel). Dunno... I just get a feeling that this one is a new escalation in an ongoing internal power struggle between the Ahmadi-Nejad and Rafsanjani camps.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
From FoxNews.com comes this piece:
Democrats Pave Way for "Nuclear Option" in Health Care Reform Bill
The Ways and Means Committee has adjusted the health care overhaul package so that the Senate, down the road, could avoid a filibuster and pass health care reform with a smaller number of votes than normally required.
A key House committee on Thursday quietly altered its health care legislation in a way that could allow the Senate to mow over Republican opposition to Democratic reforms by exploiting a budgetary loophole.
The Ways and Means Committee adjusted its health care overhaul package so that the Senate, down the road, could avoid a filibuster and pass health care reform with a smaller number of votes than normally required.
The long-discussed process, nicknamed the "nuclear option," is known as reconciliation. It's coming into potential play after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday became the last of five committees to approve health care reform legislation, sending the overhaul proposals a big step closer to the president's desk. Before it gets there, though, the bill has to pass from the committees to the floors of the House and Senate.
House Panel Paves Way for 'Nuclear Option' in Health Care Reform Bill - Political News - FOXNews.com
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Shepard Fairey, who created the instantly recognizable and now soon to be infamous Obama poster has had his lawyers walk out on him. Lawyers cannot walk out on their clients easily, all the more so in the course of a litigation. But there are circumstances under which a lawyer
may must apply to the Court to relieve the lawyer from representing the client. One of them is to prevent the perpetration of a fraud on the Court by the lawyer's client. The reason for this is that lawyers are Officers of the Court and are ethically and legally bound to prevent fraud from being perpetrated on the court. It appears that Fairey, now by his own admission, was in fact far less than completely honest about which particular AP photo he used as inspiration for his graphic.
Image obtained from: MediaMemo at All Things Digital
Artist admits using other photo for 'Hope' poster
By HILLEL ITALIE (AP)
NEW YORK - The artist who designed the famous Barack Obama "HOPE" poster has admitted he didn't use the Associated Press photo he originally said his work was based on but instead used a picture the news organization has claimed was his source.
Shepard Fairey, a Los Angeles-based street artist with a long, often proud history of breaking rules, said in a statement Friday that he was wrong about which photo he used and that he tried to hide his error. It was not immediately clear whether he would drop his lawsuit against the AP over the use of the photo.
"In an attempt to conceal my mistake, I submitted false images and deleted other images," said Fairey, who has been involved in countersuits with the AP, which has alleged copyright infringement. "I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions, which were mine alone."
Friday, October 16, 2009
Don't despair folks, its a spoof!
Conservative arguments against President Obama are becoming increasingly silly. They oppose Obama rescuing businesses despite all the jobs on the line, they’re against government taking control of health care from soulless insurance companies, and they oppose increased taxes on energy consumption despite the sorry state of the environment. And why do they oppose these most sensible actions? Because of their irrational, brain-dead obsession with liberty.
Of course, everyone likes freedom — to a point — but there are a number of loud, stupid Americans who just take it to ridiculous extremes. They hoard their freedoms like greedy little dwarfs hoarding gold when they have little actual use for most of it. People need rules and order and guidance, but they hardly ever need liberty.
Liberty doesn’t feed your family. Liberty doesn’t heal you when you’re sick. Liberty doesn’t educate your children. A strong government can do all those things, but apparently that’s against liberty. Thus these freedom-obsessed conservatives ignorantly rail against it like Bible-thumpers do against science, when they should realize it’s not their enemy; it’s their superior.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This is unacceptable.
First we learn earlier this week that a detailed study by a military historian found that weapons failed our troops in Afghanistan during a critical moment in a firefight, leaving nine dead and 27 wounded:In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.
When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.
Then today, Mr. Drudge links us to a disgraceful story about our Congress' priorities (or utter lack thereof):Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.
It's just so wrong, I don't even know what else to say...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Note to Timmy Geithner: If you don't want to be remembered as the Treasury Secretary who killed the United States of America, then you'd do well to heed Kudlow's advice.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Just look at two ominous headlines in the news: First is the global shift out of the dollar and into commodities. Second is the dollar losing its reserve status to the yen and the euro.
In the second quarter ending in June, central banks around the world invested 63 percent of their new cash reserves into euro and yen, and put only 37 percent into dollars. Over the past six months, the dollar has lost 15 percent while gold has climbed nearly $150. If this continues, spiking inflation and interest rates will choke off the bull market in stocks and do serious damage to the economy. It could happen fast.
How to solve this problem? In supply-side terms, cut tax rates for new growth incentives. Meanwhile, the Fed must drain cash to remove dollars from the financial system and the Treasury must simultaneously buy dollars in the foreign-exchange markets.
And Washington must stop its explosive spending and borrowing. Some statutory — or even constitutional — limits should be set.
That the dollar is the world’s reserve currency is a tremendous asset for the United States. We must stop the fall of the dollar now. It’s a self-inflicted wound that will do great damage to American leadership and prestige globally, and to the economy here at home.
Report: Russia to allow pre-emptive nukes
MOSCOW (AP) - A top Russian security official says Moscow reserves the right to conduct pre-emptive nuclear strikes to safeguard the country against aggression on both a large and a local scale, according to a newspaper interview published Wednesday.
Presidential Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev also singled out the U.S. and NATO, saying Moscow's Cold War foes still pose potential threats to Russia despite what he called a global trend toward local conflicts.
The interview appeared in the daily Izvestia during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as U.S. and Russian negotiators try to hammer out a nuclear arms reduction treaty by December. It also came amid grumbling in Moscow over U.S. moves to modify plans for a missile shield near Russia's borders rather than ditch the idea outright.
Patrushev said a sweeping document on military policy including a passage on preventative nuclear force will be handed to President Dmitry Medvedev by the end of the year, according to Izvestia.
Officials are examining "a variety of possibilities for using nuclear force, depending on the situation and the intentions of the possible opponent," Patrushev was quoted as saying. "In situations critical to national security, options including a preventative nuclear strike on the aggressor are not excluded."Shared via AddThis
CT Senate Candidate Peter Schiff on the Bush/Obama Response to the Market and Credit Collapse of 2008
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Litigation Increases Medical Costs, but Lawyers Block Reform
In his nationally televised speech before both houses of Congress on September 9, President Obama made news by acknowledging that medical-malpractice litigation "may be contributing to unnecessary costs" in the U.S. health-care system. The president's comments were in keeping with popular opinion: 72 percent of Americans think that fear of lawsuits compromises doctor decisions, and fully 83 percent want any health-care reform to address medical-malpractice litigation.
Notwithstanding the president's remarks and popular opinion, Congress has been laboring to expand medical liability against nursing homes, medical-device makers, and military doctors—changes that would be expected to drive up, not down, health-care costs. The reason is simple: with massive campaign contributions and lobbying clout, the organized plaintiffs' bar—whom the Manhattan Institute has dubbed "Trial Lawyers, Inc."—has bought Congressional leaders' support. In the last election cycle, the trial lawyers' political action committee gave over $2.5 million to Congressional Democrats, making the plaintiffs' bar the second largest donor after the electrical workers' union (see graph). Overall, lawyers and law firms gave almost $234 million to federal campaigns in 2008, including almost $127 million to Congressional candidates—more than any other industry group and significantly more than all health-care-related contributions combined (see graph).
THE COST OF MALPRACTICE LITIGATION
In noting that malpractice lawsuits "may be contributing to unnecessary costs" [emphasis added] in the health care system, the president was needlessly cautious. Thoughtful analysts of varying political stripes understand that litigation matters in explaining America's high cost of health care. The respected left-leaning health economist Uwe Reinhardt, for instance, singles out "our uniquely American tort laws" as one of four "prominent" reasons for "excess" health spending.
Trial lawyer lobby groups—the American Association for Justice and its assorted allies like Public Citizen and the Center for Justice and Democracy—regularly argue that litigation is an insignificant contributor to health care cost escalation because it only accounts for a tiny fraction of health costs. In making this argument, such organizations play the "denominator game": the tiny fraction they point to takes the total $2.2 trillion in U.S. health expenditures as its denominator and an absurdly narrow definition of health-care litigation as its numerator.
To begin with, such groups typically use as a numerator medical-malpractice losses as reported by insurance companies—numbers that ignore legal defense costs as well as the fact that most major health systems in the U.S. cover at least a portion of their medical malpractice losses without insurance. More comprehensive estimates by the insurance consulting firm Tillinghast Towers-Perrin place the total direct cost of medical-malpractice litigation at $30.4 billion annually—an expense that has grown almost twice as fast as overall tort litigation and over four times as fast as health-care inflation since 1975 (see graph).
This direct cost represents only a portion of the cost imposed by medical-malpractice lawsuits. "Defensive medicine"—"the application of tests and procedures mainly as a defense against possible malpractice litigation, rather than as a clinical imperative"—is widespread. In a 2005 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 93 percent of doctors said they had practiced defensive medicine and 92 percent said they had made unnecessary referrals or ordered unnecessary tests or procedures. The cost of defensive medicine likely exceeds the total cost of malpractice liability itself because doctors themselves bear the cost of any potential litigation (even if their insurance companies cover their losses, doctors must endure the time, stress, and reputational effects of dealing with the lawsuit), while they bear little cost for imposing extra tests and procedures (since patients with low-deductible health insurance are not price-sensitive, in part because the expenses are borne by their insurance companies).
Putting an estimate on the cost of defensive medicine is difficult. Many studies have extrapolated from a 1996 study by Stanford economists Daniel Kessler and Mark McClellan which found that tort reforms lowered costs by 5 to 9 percent without worsening health outcomes. Based on this study, PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that 10 percent of all health care spending is consumed by medical-malpractice-liability-related defensive medicine and insurance costs-a total sum of $210 billion, or almost one-third the difference between the cost of U.S. health care and that in other developed nations.