Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama: ‘My Upcoming Birthday … Could Be The Last One I Celebrate as President’ ^ | July 26, 2012 | Katrina Trinko

The latest fundraising e-mail from Team Obama:

My upcoming birthday next week could be the last one I celebrate as President of the United States, but that’s not up to me — it’s up to you.

This July deadline is our most urgent yet, coming after two consecutive months of being significantly outraised by Romney and the Republicans.
And if you pitch in $3 or whatever you can before midnight tonight, you and a guest will be automatically entered to join me at my birthday get-together next month:
Thanks. Hope I’ll see you soon.
- Barack
If you are on the Obama fundraising e-mail list, you may have gotten a vague hunch by now that Obama’s birthday is coming up. By my count, I have received eight e-mails in the last two weeks centered on Obama’s birthday, the first from Michelle Obama on June 16, telling me, “Barack turns 51 next month, and there will be a little celebration at our house in Chicago.” On June 17, Obama campaign finance director Rufus Gifford e-mailed, “Have you ever gotten to do something so cool you’re almost jealous of yourself? Pretty sure this would count: On August 12th, just three weeks before the Democratic National Convention and 12 weeks before Election Day, President Obama will have a few friends over to mark his 51st birthday — in the backyard of his Chicago home.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

America’s ‘Iron Lady’Michele Bachmann is fearless in challenging Islamist influence ^ | 23JUL12 | Frank Gaffney Jr

Movie theaters across America have recently showed a film depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a woman whose visionary leadership and fortitude — particularly in the fight against Soviet communism — earned her the sobriquet “the Iron Lady.”

Lady Thatcher’s partner in dispatching that toxic ideology to the “ash heap of history,” Ronald Reagan, famously declared in 1961 — at a time when the USSR was still very much a going concern — that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Today, it is threatened by another totalitarian ideology that some have aptly described as “communism with a god”: the supremacist Islamic doctrine known as Shariah.

Fortunately, it turns out that as we confront our time’s most imminent threat to freedom, we have found America’s Iron Lady: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Her Thatcheresque qualities are evident in the fearless and visionary leadership she is providing in opposing Shariah’s most formidable champions, the Muslim Brotherhood.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Stop claiming Obama said what he said, just because he said it!

Daily Caller ^ | 7-25-2012 | Jim Treacher

You might think that just because President Barack Obama stepped up to a podium and said certain words in a certain order — “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” — and it was caught on tape, that means he really said it in real life. Nice try, wingnut! You’re a big fat liar.
Here, shut up for a minute and let him explain:
The context of “You didn’t build that” is: “You didn’t build that because of your hard work and intelligence. You depend on the government, not the other way around.” I can see why he’d want to remind us that he thinks this way.
The Republicans keep being mean to Obama by reminding him of what he said, out loud, into a live microphone, in front of television cameras:
Quoting the President of the United States is racist.
This has now gone beyond Obama’s collectivist, big-government beliefs. Most people have figured those out by now, assuming they haven’t been in a coma for the last four years. This is just the latest example of Obama looking you in the eye and telling you 2 + 2 = 5. This is about the Obama campaign depending on voters being too ignorant to know they’re being told the most blatant, ridiculous lies. This is about Obama thinking Americans are stupid.
And he may have a point. After all, we did elect him.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Marxist Obama doubling and tripling attacks against small business builders Renew America ^ | July 26, 2012 | Sher Zieve Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:56:21 PM by detective So that I won't be too heavily chastised — I will be anyway but, one always holds out some hope even for the Obots — by my leftist readers, I am going to provide the following (complete and not taken out of context) direct-quote-from-the-mouth-of-the-beast (so to speak) and direct attack against small business owners and builders from one of their favorite leftist and pro-Obama journals...the Washington Post: Barack Hussein Obama: "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." (Excerpt) Read more at ...

Renew America ^ | July 26, 2012 | Sher Zieve

So that I won't be too heavily chastised — I will be anyway but, one always holds out some hope even for the Obots — by my leftist readers, I am going to provide the following (complete and not taken out of context) direct-quote-from-the-mouth-of-the-beast (so to speak) and direct attack against small business owners and builders from one of their favorite leftist and pro-Obama journals...the Washington Post:\

Barack Hussein Obama: "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

REVEALED: Corzine's MF Global Was Client of Eric Holder's Law Firm

Breitbart ^ | July 26, 2012 | Wynton Hall

Those wondering why the Department of Justice has refused to go after Jon Corzine for the vaporization of $1.6 billion in MF Global client funds need look no further than the documents uncovered by the Government Accountability Institute that reveal that the now-defunct MF Global was a client of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s former law firm, Covington & Burling. There’s more.

Records also reveal that MF Global’s trustee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy retained as its general bankruptcy counsel Morrison & Foerester--the very law firm from which Associate Attorney General Tony West came to DOJ.

And more.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Business Owners Disapprove of Obama By Wide Margin ^ | July 26, 2012 | Guy Benson

See the category everyone's buzzing about, second from the bottom:

To put this number in context, bear in mind that Obama's "you didn't build that"moment came in mid-July. Gallup's survey data was gathered during the second quarter of this year -- April, May and June. So President Obama was already 24 points underwater with this group before be started belittling their hard work and ramping up his push for small business tax hikes. This is why Team Romney isn't going to back off. They've released a new "These Hands" video, this time in Nevada. It features a small business owner who argues that Obama's comments in Virginia simply reflect the attitude he's demonstrated throughout his presidency:

These Hands: Nevada

"Your words were bad enough, but your actions over the last four years speak even louder."

The Romney campaign is soliciting similar stories from entrepreneurs nationwide, as they kick off a 24-event "we did build this" tour across 12 battleground states:

Staying on offense is the right move. Will they start folding in "it worked," as well?

Top Immigration Officials Describe Border Chaos Resulting From Admin's Amnesty Policy

YouTube ^ | 7/26/2012

Sen. Sessions hosted a press conference today with top officials from two unions that represent U.S. immigration law enforcement agencies.
ICE agent Chris Crane is President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, the union representing America's more than 7,000 ICE agents and personnel. Border Patrol agent George McCubbin, III is President of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing America's more than 17,000 border agents and personnel.
From Sen. Sessions' remarks (forthcoming in a video tomorrow): "The Administration claims it has diligently enforced immigration law and that the border is 'more secure than ever.' But those on the front lines know this to be untrue. They see the violence, chaos and lawlessness. They have lost confidence in the leadership of their agencies...
As you will hear today, this administration has engaged in a sustained, relentless effort to undermine America's immigration laws. They have handcuffed and muffled those charged with protecting the public safety and the integrity of our borders. Such action has not only weakened our security but our democracy...
All Americans, immigrant and native born, will have a better future if our nation remains unique in the world for the special reverence it places in the rule of law and fairness in our immigration system."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Where's the beef (and beer)? Grocery store gives guys a 'man aisle'

MSN ^ | 07/26/2012 | By Jessica Chou

Sometime last year, Procter & Gamble Co. was throwing around some crazy ideas of creating a grocery aisle specifically for men, apparently a brand new breed of consumers walking around grocery stores.

The idea was to give the lonely male lost in a supermarket a fun shopping experience, putting everything a man's man would need in one place. And New York City's Westside Market has gone and done just that.

"People rarely cater to men in the supermarket," COO Ian Joskowitz told us over the phone. "So I thought let’s do something fun, get people talking, something guys would like. So we started discussion, and it’s funny because most of us came up with a very similar list."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

End the Ethanol Madness

American Thinker ^ | July 24, 2012 | Jeffrey Folks

Economists are warning that the current drought in the Corn Belt is going to result in higher food prices...

But there is one thing the president can do to alleviate the effects of the drought: suspend the nation's ill-conceived ethanol program.

That program now burns up 40% of the U.S. corn crop...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Mitt Romney to Brian Williams: "I wanted a boring white guy for VP, but you are not available" ^ | July 26, 2012 | Alex Alvarez

NBC’s Brian Williams sat down with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, conducting a wide-ranging interview that touched upon gun control, his tax returns, and Romney’s Mormon faith.
Romney explained that his previous legislation regarding limits on assault weapons had been a compromise, reiterating that, as he sees it, more laws won’t solve the issue of gun violence. He also echoed his previous statements regarding American voters’ general disinterest when it comes to his tax returns, prompting Williams to say that people are curious about things “expensive horses” he may have purchased.

When Williams brought up the argument that Romney “cannot” discuss his past and family history because of its roots in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is, as such, a “hidden man,” Romney began speaking about his dad’s experience and struggles, adding that he’s very proud of his heritage and of his religion.

“I know how much you love quoting unnamed Romney advisers,” Williams joked, quoting a source close to the campaign who said Romney is looking for a “boring white guy” as his VP running mate. Romney laughed in response, “You weren’t available,” he told Williams in a genuinely funny moment) adding that a decision has yet to be made.
Link to Video

When a Leftist Calls You a Racist There Is Only One Way to Respond – “Thank You”

Flopping Aces ^ | 07-26-12 | Brother Bob

For too many years the left has used the charge of racism to put opponents on the defensive and deflect from serious debate on the issues. This practice also gets used across the spectrum of demagoguery. Are you against laws that lead to grammar school children being taught about gay marriage or religious adoption agencies being forced to close because they won't place children with gay couples? You're homophobic. Are you against laws that support federally funded abortions for 13 year old girls without parental notification? Sexist. Suggest that a presidential candidate who happens to be black with no meaningful life experience or any demonstration of leadership ability might be right for the job because he's inexperienced and unqualified? Racist. You get the idea.
The left also extends these lazy straw man arguments to other various movements in our history. Establishing the 40 hour work week makes the unions infallible, while the civil rights movement makes any racial grandstanding (or anything remotely close to it) also beyond question. To some degree the right has been guilty of this as well with the "Besides slavery, fascism and communism war never solved anything" argument to justify military actions. I remember when a past job had me listening to Sean Hannity on my ride home he seemed to lead this charge with this straw man. And no, I am not arguing that the statement about what war solved is incorrect nor am I making light of the sacrifices everyone made to achieve victory, but there are times when talking or at least the threat of war is enough. A good example would be with what Dubya accomplished in getting cooperation from Pakistan and Libya in the early days of the War on Terror.
But back to the point at hand, why do people on the left rely on such heavy demagoguery, whether as simple as labeling any dissenting opinion as extremist up to the outright intellectual dishonesty that was just outlined? And why the bizarre title for this blog post? The answer is simple. When a debate with any leftist causes them to say "Racist!" what they are really trying to say is "I have very strong views on this subject, and when you present me with facts that contradict my beliefs it hurts my feelings." This was why throughout the 2008 presidential campaign rather than question the paper thin resume, questionable friendships, lack of legislative record or overall lack of any substantive reason to vote for their teenage puppy love crush it was easier for leftists to simply throw out charges of racism and force the adults in the room to the defensive rather than debate the substance of their chosen messiah.
The perfect example of this came with the passage of Obamacare and the stunt pulled by the Congressional Black Caucus. To quickly recap, after the passage of the bill the Democrats needed something to divert the country from the legislative date-rape that had just occurred. If that analogy seems over the top how many times and ways did the American people scream "No!" and "Stop!" while the Democrats bent us over and shoved this law up into us. And then afterward Obama had the nerve and gall to crow, "They should be thanking me!" coming off like he was asking, "was it good for you?" But I digress. The Democrats couldn't have the focus be on how they used every disgusting legislative trick in the book to run roughshod over the minority party and the wishes of the American people, whether it was the Louisiana Purchase or the Cornhusker Kickback. So they needed a diversion to dominate the headlines and the Congressional Black Caucus provided the means to do it.
(Excerpt)

Why Obama wants to be re-elected

He needs 4 more years to finish the plan. He hasn't got us all goose stepping yet.

Obama: ‘We Tried Our Plan, And It Worked.’ (WTF?)

Jim Geraghty

As stressful as “You didn’t build that” appears for the Obama camp, I think this presidential assertion is going to be more damaging:


Forty-one straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, 8.2 million people working part-time who want full-time work, a record 88 million Americans not in the labor force, 1.9 percent GDP growth in the past quarter, more bad GDP numbers expected tomorrow, a stagnant housing market, $5 trillion in new debt, the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, 38 percent of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, 45 million Americans on food stamps, food prices continuing to increase dramatically, the poverty level likely to rise to the highest level in nearly fifty years
… and this means the plan “worked”?!?
Between “the private sector is doing fine,” “you didn’t build that” and “we tried our plan, and it worked,” the president sounds unhinged.

U. S. Combat Vet Attacked By Anti-Family Judge!

National Coalition For Men ^ | Eric Ross, PhD, | Eric Ross, PhD,

In 2011 Sgt. Casey Gray was called to Active Duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Unfortunately, he was already in the midst of a “battle” − his child custody case in Oakland County, Pontiac, Michigan. In February 2011, the Hon. Elizabeth Pezzetti, presiding over his case, said in court that she would never give custody to the father because he was a soldier in the US Army.

While deployed, Sergeant Gray was severly injured and evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, 6 skull fractures, fractured numerous, bilateral bony hamstring avulsions and many other injuries. Mrs. Zehel, the mother of his two daughters, was flown to BAMC with the children, so the kids could visit with their father. While in the Army Medical Center, Mrs Zehel assaulted the severely injured soldier; she was asked to leave the facility and was transported back to Michigan.

Subsequently, Judge Elizabeth Pezzetti was presented with evidence of the assault, a suicide attempt by Mrs. Zehel, and her use of anti-depressant medication. Sergeant Gray begged the court, for his children’s sake to have custody of them, to provide medical and psychological assistance to Mrs. Zehel.
Judge PezzettiSergeant Gray is a combat veteran who has fought to protect the US since 1999. Not only did Family Court Judge Pezzetti violated his due process rights, she is punishing a good father for fighting to be with his daughters. Judge Pezetti rejected the expert testimony by the Army’s psychologists – through abuse of discretion and in violation of the Constitutional rights of children and parents, the loving father is not even afforded the right to visit his daughters.
Furthermore, Judge Pezzetti’s Child Support order virtually condemns Sgt. Gray to slow death by starvation: She ordered nearly $1600 a month in Child support for his two daughters, in addition to him already paying $800 a month for his six year old son. Coming out of his meager $2800 paycheck, this leaves him $400/month to support himself, while paying $2400. “Honorable” Pezzetti also authorized a debt judgment against him of over $9,000 in back child support.
This father served our country. Show Your Support for the Soldier. Sign his Petition:
NCFM supports H. R. 4201 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide for the protection of child custody arrangements for parents who are members of the Armed Forces NCFM supports the Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, which will allow parents to direct the upbringing of their children, protected from federal interference and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Parental Rights Amendment was first proposed during the 110th Congress as House Joint Resolution 97 in July 2008, but no action was taken. In the current 112th Congress (2011-2012) the Parental Rights Amendment was proposed by Rep. John Flemming (R-LA) on January 3, 2011, as H.J. Res. 3. In late may 2012 it had 17 cosponsors. It was assigned to the Constitution subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Trent Franks, chairman of the subcommittee, was a proponent of this Amendment in the last Congress.
Casey’s Father set up a Legal Defense fund Via PAYPAL, Please help Casey fight the Michigan Court System so his daughters can see their Dad.
All donations over and above Legal defense will be Donated to the Wounded Warriors Program!!
Make Donations to PAYPAL:

America's Two Economies

WSJ ^ | 7/25/2012 | Daniel Henninger

For a long time, the United States had one economy. Now we have two economies that compete for America's wealth: A private economy and a public economy. The 2012 election will decide which will be subordinate to the other. One economy will lead. The other will follow.

How the U.S. arrived at the need to choose between two competing economies reveals a lot about the political polarization in the country. Any history of the Democratic Party in the 20th century will recognize its roots in the American labor movement. The party was defined by the names of those unions. The United Mine Workers. The United Auto Workers. The Brotherhoods of Teamsters and Railroad Workers. Consider what those names represented: Both Democrats and Republicans were rooted in the private economy. Unionized workers knew then that this private economy was where they made their living. The arguments were over dividing the productive fruits of that economy. That was your father's Democratic Party.
From the 1960s onward, the professional Democratic Party began to lose its relationship with the private economy. Democratic politicians drew closer to a rising public-sector union movement and its campaign financing, while the private unions declined. This meant the party itself was slowly disconnecting from the machinery of the private economy and becoming part of a rising parallel economy, the public economy of government.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

NYT: Journalism Is Dead — For Now

PJ Media ^ | 7-26-012 | Tom Blumer

The lack of reaction to a New York Times report filed by Jeremy Peters on July 15 and found on the front page of the its July 16 print edition has, at least to me, been nothing short of stunning.
What Peters told readers, in essence, is that White House officials, the Obama administration in general, the Obama for America campaign, the campaign of presidential challenger Mitt Romney (though the evidence Peters provided is thin and seems to relate largely to the candidate’s family), and powerful Washington politicians on Capitol Hill are dictating what the press will print concerning their nonpublic statements and remarks — and that the press is, for the most part, acquiescing with little if any objection.
Consider the following excerpts from Peters’ production:
• “[T]he (Obama campaign’s) press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.”
• “Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House.”
• “From Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department, interviews granted only with quote approval have become the default position.”
• “It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly.” Ratner believes that the Associated Press and McClatchy are exceptions; I’m less than convinced.
• “Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them.”
The irony may not have escaped them, but integrity apparently has.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Public Pensions Fail Simple Math ^ | July 26, 2012 | John Ransom

There is a dirty secret about state entitlements that liberals don’t want you to know. The collection of a state pension increases the chances that a pensioner will live in poverty. That’s because money put aside for state-guaranteed benefits can not be safely invested at rates that provide for more than a modest retirement unless the state subsidizes retirement benefits through taxes or if retirement savings are invested in riskier, higher yielding investments. Since governments are loath to raise taxes to subsidize a riskless retirement, benefits are eventually reduced. It works that way in London and Moscow as well as Madison and Sacramento.
In Moscow, public pensions and social programs helped bankrupt the Soviet Union in the 1980s while “transfer to pension status greatly increase[d] the likelihood of poverty,” according to Mervyn Matthews’ Poverty in the Soviet Union (Cambridge Press, 1986). In London, the former Labour Minister John Hutton’s Independent Public Services Pension Commission has recommended changes that would calculate pension benefits on lifetime earnings rather than current salary, in line with recommendations for pension reform from the Office for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Trade unions in U.K. say that such changes will lead to “increased pensioner poverty.” In Madison, WI public retirement applications have risen 73 percent according to the Wall Street Journal as workers try to lock in higher retirement benefits that will likely shrink for those public employees retiring in the future.
Increasingly state governments in the US are facing budget shortfalls over entitlements paid to public servants and those on the public dole. And like the Social Security program, the shortfalls have been wholly predictable as government makes bigger and bigger promises to a select number of citizens who then take up a bigger share of the public pie.
Behind the rhetoric and the rants about state entitlement programs is one simple question: Who wants to pay for expanded public retirement and health care entitlements?
It’s a question that union organizers, doctors, teachers, state legislators and governors across the country grapple with as inflation takes a bigger bite of fixed incomes, market returns fizzle and the federal government cuts back on Medicaid payments after expanding welfare rolls through the stimulus and Obamacare. And while liberals try to make the case that entitlements play little part in the current state budget battles, simple math says otherwise. Medicaid makes up the second largest part of many state budgets, if not the largest. In fact, if governments used the same math that private pensions are mandated under the law to use to figure their liabilities, experts say the entitlement shortfalls in states’ pension systems is two-to-three times larger than has been widely reported.
Federally mandated Medicaid spending that is busting this year’s budgets in every state is the biggest story today. But fuzzy pension math is potentially the gravest budget killer. The Heritage Foundation points out that while it cost less than $1 trillion to shore up the financial system in the bank crisis of 2008, “The IMF expects that, on net present value basis – that is, the deflated total of all future costs,” the entitlement gap “will amount to about 34% of the US’s GDP.” That’s equal to $5 trillion of today’s GDP.
How did we fall into such a hole?
Take the average teacher who enters the work force at of 25 years old and who retires at the age of 65. The teacher’s savings, accumulated at ten percent of their salary for 40 years, must enjoy rates of return near 6 percent to ensure a retirement income equal to 70 percent of the salary they first enjoyed when they entered the workforce. From 1925-2004 the safest investments, US Treasuries, have returned only 3.7 percent. Corporate bonds have averaged 5.4 percent. The riskiest investments average near 10 percent but are not suitable for a state managed pension program. Nor are they reliable. Dizzying rates of return in the 1990s, in part, have led to assumptions about market returns that are unsustainable. As a result, politicians have been able to use fuzzy math to hand out bigger benefits to public employees.
It would be nice if everyone could afford to open up a bed and breakfast with their retirement savings, as was depicted in retirement planning commercials of the late 1990s. However, historic rates of return in markets don’t allow for expansive retirement dreams, no matter what Dennis Hopper told us when pitching the brokerage firm Ameriprise. In a way Hopper never imagined, he was right though when he promised us that Baby Boomers were going to “turn retirement on its head.”
In Florida for example, the state currently assumes that its pension system will return 7.75 percent annually, according a report by Milliman, an actuarial consultancy located in Vienna, Virginia that tracks pension obligations. But private pension plans can only assume at 5-6 percent rate of return currently- approximately the same rate of return that corporate bonds get historically- according to Asset International, a publication for chief investment officers. Safe rates of return are substantially smaller than those projected by the state. Consequently, the pension shortfalls will be that much greater, because states don’t realize those high rates of return. “’It's widely reported to be a $1 trillion problem, but if you dig into the numbers, it’s a $2 to $3 trillion problem,’” says David Kelly, an actuary at Mercer Investment Consulting’s Financial Strategy Group, reports Asset International about unfunded pension liabilities. “’The reported liabilities are understated by using an optimistically high … rate [of return].’”
Equally, this year’s Medicaid spending crisis has been predicated on math that is unsustainable. States, already facing budget woes, were suckered by the federal government into taking stimulus dollars that had expensive strings attached. The stimulus program sponsored by Obama and the Democrats further exacerbated the state budget problems in the future, even if it postponed them for a short while, an outrage that did not go unnoticed by conservatives.
NPR reported at the time: “Because most states must by law balance their budgets each year, a number of them have no choice except to cut their Medicaid programs, which for many states represents the largest or second-largest budget item.” T
Then Obama got out the fuzzy math calculator and proposed a cure worse than the disease: In return for the money to bailout their current Medicaid deficit and forgo the painful cuts states needed to balance their budgets back then, Obama and the Democrats proposed a bailout of Medicaid that shipped extra dollars to the state for a limited time. The bailout required states to agree not to trim Medicaid enrollees or cut benefits later on, even though the federal largesse would end in 2011. Essentially, the Democrats played the game both parties have been playing for a decade with entitlements: make more promises, add more entitlements and borrow more money to pay for today. Rather than make the system more solvent, the bailout made it more difficult for states to balance their budget this year by expanding Medicaid.
For two years the federal government shipped “enhanced” Medicaid reimbursements to states as high $2.68 for every dollar the state paid for the healthcare entitlement program designed to help the poor. But, as was laid out in the bailout plan, “enhanced” reimbursements will end in July of this year leaving state budgets worse off then before. Stimulus dollars consequently have expanded Medicaid and the states’ financial commitment to it.
It wasn’t like no one saw this coming, either.
“Budget gaps in fiscal 2012 will likely rival the critical shortfalls that states faced before enactment of the new stimulus package,” said Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in 2009. “Cuts or reductions in growth of spending on education, health care, and other programs, and/or major tax and other revenue increases, will almost certainly be on the table once again.”
They are on the table for 2011. As a consequence, states have been forced to take the only recourse they have, which is to cut payments to medical providers in order to balance their budgets. “South Carolina is hoping to trim provider rates by 3% starting April 4 to help it close a $25 million deficit in its Medicaid department this fiscal year,” says CNN. “Managed care organizations would also see a 12.5% cut in their administrative fees. The move should save $7.5 million.” Even the New York Times admits that the program has hurt patients and has helped drive healthcare providers out of the Medicaid market.
The Times says that Dr. Saed Sahouri of Flint Michigan quit the Medicaid practice when Michigan reduced payments to physicians thereby making Medicaid uneconomical for him professionally. “My office manager was telling me to do this for a long time, and I resisted,” Dr. Sahouri told the Times. “But after a while you realize that we’re really losing money on seeing those patients, not even breaking even. We were starting to lose more and more money, month after month.”
One of the complicating factors of the entitlement crisis is a willful blindness that has government conveniently over-estimating tax revenues during recessions, in addition to over-estimating rates of return at all other times. “During the 1990-92 revenue crisis, 25 percent of all state forecasts fell short by 5 percent or more,” finds the Rockeller Institute report States’ Revenue Estimating: Cracks in the Crystal Ball. “During the 2001-03 downturn, 45 percent of all state forecasts were off by 5 percent or more. In 2009, 70 percent of all forecasts overestimated revenues by 5 percent or more.” If Bernie Madoff had used such sloppy account methods as state governments do in estimating pension liabilities and revenues, no doubt his house of cards would have collapsed more quickly. If anything, government accounting methods are hurting those people that liberals claim to care so much about, low-income workers, by creating huge entitlement deficits that require cuts in benefits which will hurt those who will have the hardest time retiring.
Recommendations by the OECD on public pension reform include a private “pillar” for public pensions which could help increase rates of returns, while guaranteeing that the safety net still exists for those who will have the most difficulty making ends meet in retirement. Also recommended are later retirement ages to take into account longer life spans. But as the OECD notes, the length of the average retirement is growing while the working age population is shrinking. That aging population, which peaks in 2050, helps explain rising healthcare costs as well.
One only needs to look at what government math has done to pension liabilities to understand the difficulties the country faces if it does not repeal Obamacare soon. The longer we leave it, the greater temptation politicians from both parties will have to start using it like a checkbook, as they have other entitlement programs.
Tinkering around the edges of our demographics won’t help that much if politicians aren’t willing to come clean as to the size of the problem that faces us in the future. Neither party has shown a real willingness to tackle entitlement reform yet, although some on the GOP side of the aisle have shown flashed that they have understand the scope of the problem and the potential difficulties.
“Is this a political weapon we are handing our adversaries? Of course it is,” GOP budget chair Rep. Paul Ryan said in March of last year. “I think everybody knows that we are walking into I guess what you would call a political trap that arguably we are setting for ourselves ... but we can’t wait. This needs leadership."
That passes the verbal portion of the test. Now it they could just pass the math portion

Obama Built The Trouble He's In!

Investor's Business Daily ^ | 07/25/2012 | IBD Staff

Election 2012: For a campaign that claims not to be worried about the fallout from President Obama's "you didn't build that" bomb, they sure are spending a lot of time and money hopelessly trying to do damage control on it.

On Wednesday, Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, dismissed the entire episode. "I've concluded that it's not all that impactful," he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Oh really? [snip] Here's a quick review of what the campaign has done to tamp down this "unimportant" story:

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

White House tailors minority health care pitch (brags about all the 'free stuff')

politico ^ | 7/26/12 | REID J. EPSTEIN

 Barack Obama tends to skim lightly over the details of his health care law in speeches.
But his administration has a far more specific pitch to black and Hispanic audiences.

The message: Blacks and Hispanics, among whom uninsured rates are significantly higher than among whites, stand to benefit disproportionately under the health law, gaining access to free preventive care and other services that will help reduce existing health care disparities. The sustained outreach from the White House aims to make voters eligible for new benefits aware of them and how to get them.
Obama’s staff has invited groups of black journalists and publishers to the White House for health care briefings with senior officials and conducted traveling policy road shows in black and Hispanic neighborhoods across the country. On the day the Supreme Court upheld Obama’s health law, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett held an on-background conference call for black reporters.
Obama rarely emphasized specific benefits for blacks and Hispanics as he pushed his law through Congress, focusing instead on its benefits for the general populace. And the law itself includes only a smattering of programs designed to address racial disparities in health care — even though 22 percent of African Americans and 32 percent of Hispanics are uninsured, compared to 14 percent of whites, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.
As his campaign leans heavily on repeating 2008’s historic margins and turnout from black voters, months of White House outreach on the Affordable Care Act could help rally African Americans in November. While the president polls far better among blacks and Hispanics than GOP challenger Mitt Romney, every vote matters in such a tight race.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the appeals are key to boosting black turnout in swing states such as Florida and Ohio, and he’d like to see even more of them.
“It is a rallying call and it would help excite the African-American vote because this is something that African Americans truly care about,” Cummings said. “If there is one piece of legislation that I have voted for that I hear mentioned most is the Affordable Care Act. It is just amazing to me, you know, I think about my constituents, if they didn’t watch the news, would be shocked that there’s so much opposition to it.”
To general audiences and in televised speeches, Obama frames his signature policy achievement as a protection for the middle class against insurance companies that would otherwise bleed them dry. At the National Urban League in New Orleans Wednesday, he highlighted popular provisions in the controversial law — children staying on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 26, an end to insurers’ discrimination against sick people, lower prescription drug prices for senior citizens and “30 million Americans without health insurance” who “will finally know the security of affordable care.”
To black audiences, his aides also offer a more comprehensive focus on the law’s details and how they will reduce inequalities in care.
Jarrett ticked through Obama’s Affordable Care Act talking points during a regional African American Policy Forum at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
“Given the health disparities, it will disproportionately benefit the African-American community,” Jarrett said at the July 13 event, at which she was the featured speaker.
“So many folks in our community, and you know people who do this, use the emergency room as their primary care. That is not good. You need a primary care physician who you go to see on a regular basis who provides you with preventive care. So under the Affordable Care Act, the cost of that preventive care is free,” she said, according to a recording of the meeting.
“So no more excuses for not going in for those checkups, whether it’s a mammogram, or prostate testing, or, we know that, for example, asthma is so prevalent in the black community among our children. You need to take your children in for those regular checkups and know that it’s going to be covered and you’re not out of pocket,” she added during the discussion, which was moderated by satellite radio host Joe Madison, known to his listeners as “The Black Eagle.”
Jarrett also cited the reluctance of Southern GOP governors to support the health law.
“If you don’t have insurance currently, we’re going to subsidize it through exchanges around the states. You may have been hearing recently that some of the Republican governors, particularly the Southern Republican governors, are talking about not expanding Medicare, which the Affordable Care Act provides for them to do,” she said, apparently referring to Medicaid. “We think that they should, but we’re also going to set up a federal exchange that allows people who don’t have health insurance to have it and have it in an affordable way.”
The White House declined to make Jarrett available for an interview.
“The health care law will help every American by reducing costs, ending the worst insurance company abuses and extending coverage to millions of Americans who have gone without insurance,” White House spokesman Nick Papas said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that administration officials discuss provisions of the law that will benefit the audiences they are addressing.”
But Florida GOP strategist Rick Wilson said Jarrett’s words show the health law is geared more toward eliminating racial disparities than helping the middle class.
“They sold the Affordable Care Act largely as, ‘We’re going to keep middle-class families from having catastrophic non-covered expenses and we’re going to help average, everyday Americans.’ She has a very specific race-based message, she’s playing to her audience at Morgan State,” Wilson said. “It plays to the race-driven mindset of a lot of these people in the Obama administration who look at the entitlement state as a way to address racial disparities.”
Chip Saltsman, who ran Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign, said the right will seize on Jarrett’s words as evidence that Obama’s health care reforms are not directed toward the middle class.
“Am I shocked that a senior adviser to the president would go to Baltimore and pander to a town hall to try and get votes for the president? No,” Saltsman said. “Neither will I be shocked that after hearing her remarks, a lot of conservatives are going to say, ‘I told you so.’”
Romney frequently attacks the health care law with a warning that some voters will be attracted to “free stuff” he says Obama has offered them.
“Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this,” Romney told donors this month in Montana. “If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy, more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.”
Obama portrays his law as a matter of fairness.
“As Americans, we don’t expect handouts,” Obama said last week in Jacksonville, Fla. “But we expect hard work to pay off.”
In March, the administration invited the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents the black press, to separate White House briefings.
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin spoke and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took questions from the black journalists group, which was in Washington for its annual conference to address inequities in the U.S. health care system.
“They knew that we were addressing specifics in our conference of inequity, so they tailored their speeches to why African Americans stood to benefit more disproportionately or more profoundly than the general population,” said Cindy George, a Houston Chronicle reporter who chaired the NABJ’s D.C. health conference.
Tailoring a message to a particular audience is hardly unusual. And the administration is fine-tuning its health care message for other groups as well: Obama told a crowd of senior citizens in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week that his law would allow people who “had been unlucky and ended up getting laid off at the age of 55 or 57” to stay covered.
To reach Hispanic audiences, the White House in 2011 held “White House Hispanic Community Action Summits” in 21 cities. Officials discussed several initiatives, including how people newly eligible for health insurance can get it now and once more benefits become available in 2014. The campaign also has produced Spanish-language ads about the law.
A White House spokesman said the outreach to Hispanic constituents is more granular, targeting audiences that can benefit from the changes.
“We go through, here are the benefits, here’s how it works, here’s how you can get more information,” said Luis Miranda, the White House director of Hispanic media. “It’s about public health, we’re trying to inform people. We’re trying to do what good government does, which is to be accessible and responsive to constituents.”
Part of the motivation for the White House to be so explicit in its health care message to African Americans and Hispanics is that other efforts to relay the specific benefits of the law to a broader audience have failed, said Gordon Whitman, the policy director at the Pico National Network, an alliance of faith-based organizations.
Whitman said mainstream press coverage has emphasized the political battle more than what’s actually in the law, forcing the administration to offer more detail to groups that officials think will be receptive to its benefits.
“This is an area where it’s not what’s said, but what’s heard,” Whitman said. “I think the president and the White House have talked pretty consistently about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for people and probably more so since the Supreme Court decision. … But there have been a lot of filters that have made it difficult for people to hear it.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, who in June hosted one of four White House African American policy forums in his Mississippi district, said Obama hasn’t done enough to explain his health care reforms.
But he counseled the president to avoid delving into the Affordable Care Act’s details with audiences that aren’t pre-sold on the changes. Crowds that oppose the health care reform, Thompson said, will only be more turned off to Obama by hearing more about it.
“If the president decides to use it in those venues where he feels it’s advantageous, he’ll use it,” Thompson said. “But I wouldn’t seek reelection in an area that was against it. I would talk about whatever interest that that area had that we agreed to.”

Obama creating NEGRO education office!

Ap ^ | Jul 25, 4:38 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is creating a new office to bolster education of NEGRO students.

The White House says the office will coordinate the work of communities and federal agencies to ensure that NEGRO youngsters are better prepared for high school, college and career.

Aides say his executive order, to be signed Thursday, will set a goal of producing "a more effective continuum" of programs for NEGRO students. (sure, more BS)

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A Rose by Another Name (ObamaCare)! ^ | July 26, 2012 | Scott Rohter

The Penalty in the Affordable Care Act is Still a Penalty, No Matter What they Call It -Words Have Meanings Mr. Roberts!

It is my belief that we should continue to call the punishment in the new Health Care Law for not carrying insurance what it really is. It is a penalty for not purchasing health insurance! Let’s not give in to the pressure from the media to start calling it a tax now, just because John Roberts called it a tax. Let’s face it. The punishment in the Affordable Care Act is a penalty no matter what the Chief Justice calls it. It is still a penalty no matter what the media says! It is a government ordered fine for not carrying the mandated health insurance. A fine is not a tax! Well at least it isn’t in my world anyway. It is a punishment that is attached to a specific undesirable action or behavior which is regulated by law. Americans have never had a law before that required us to buy health insurance! That is at least we didn’t until the Democratic controlled Congress passed such a law in 2010, which ordered all Americans to either purchase health insurance or pay a fine. It is called the Affordable Care Act. Actually the full name of the law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It requires all Americans to carry health insurance, but it doesn’t guarantee that any American will ever receive the necessary medical treatment that they need, or the health care they seek. It doesn’t protect Americans in any way. The name of the Bill is a misnomer, like so many other things in our world today. However it does provide big health insurance companies with a captive market!
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Gateway Pundut ^ | 07-26-2012

Obama staged a fake “unscheduled stop” with 3 veterans who just happened to be at an Oregon diner he decided to stop at by chance.

It was later discovered that the whole damn thing was staged and that all 3 Vets have connections to the Obama campaign.

The Obama campaign also conveniently had and passed out pre-printed bio’s on each vet with a nice blurb about why they support Obama (hint – cause he gives them stuff)

All three met with an Obama staffer and were driven to the restaurant and arrived shortly before Obama.

The Gateway Pundit site is down because everyone is trying to access the story. But here's a link to another story:

Where the Jobs Are (Go North Young Man)

New York Times ^ | 07/26/2012 | Gail Collins

Right now you are probably asking yourself: “What would it be like to live in a place with an unemployment rate of 1 percent?”

Me, too! So I went to Williston, N.D., to find out. There are certain things that journalists do as a public service because you, the noble reader, are probably not going to do them for yourself — like attending charter revision meetings or reading the autobiography of Tim Pawlenty. Going to Williston is sort of in this category. The people are lovely, but you’re talking about a two-hour drive from Minot.
If you did come, however, you would feel really, really wanted. Radio ads urged me to embark on a new career as a bank teller, laborer, railroad conductor or cake decorator. The local Walmart has a big sign up, begging passers-by to consider starting their lives anew in retail sales. The Bakken Region Recruiter lists openings in truck driving, winch operating and canal maintenance work, along with ads for a floral designer, bartender, public defender, loan officer, addiction counselor and sports reporter. All in an area where the big city has a population of around 16,000.
There’s an oil boom. The Bakken formation, which runs under the western part of North Dakota and into Montana, contains a huge amount of oil, which the industry figured out how to extract about five years ago. Williston’s median income, which was under $30,000 when the serious drilling started, has jumped to well over $50,000 a year. Job-seekers flooded in. The schools are now so crowded that teachers are holding classes in modular units, some dating back to the ’80s, and one that was constructed by a high school shop class.
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Gallup Poll: Biz owners down on Obama

Politico ^ | July 26, 2012 | Tim Mak

Business owners resoundingly oppose President Barack Obama’s policies, with nearly 60 percent disapproving of his job performance, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday.

Fifty-nine percent of business owners said they disapprove of Obama’s job performance, compared with 35 percent who said they approve.

Their approval of the president has fallen from 41 percent in the first quarter to 35 percent in the second quarter of 2012, a drop of 6 points.

This puts business owners with the second-lowest approval in terms of occupational groups measured by Gallup.

The group with the lowest approval was farming, fishing or forestry workers, who disapproved of the president, 57 percent to 34 percent.

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