Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Praying To Obama

Recently, I posted a story entitled, "Children Singing In Praise Of The One," with a video of children literally singing Obama's praises, inserting HIS name where the name of JESUS had been. That was at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, NJ. The school claimed that their song of praise and glory was fo r"Black History Month." Uh huh.

Cain't wait to hear what the excuse is, then, for this Homage to President Obama at the Sands Hill Elementary School in Asheville, NC:

Are you ready for this? That performance was for the P.T.A. Yeppers, it sure enough was.

Unfortunately, that was not the only NC school that had a "Glory And Honor To The ONE" performance planned. Check out what a teacher had prepared the students to do at the Jamestown Elementary School in Jamestown, NC:

Dear Obama

(Solo – spoken)
This is a letter to Barack Obama…it’s our way of saying thank you.
(Solo – spoken)
Thank you for showing me that no doors are closed.
I have the power to control my own future.
(Solo – spoken)
Thank you for showing me that I can stand tall and be proud of who I am.
(Solo – spoken)
You have given us strength, courage and hope.
And for that we all say Thank You!
(Verse 1)
Dear Obama, Hear us sing
We’re ready for the change that you will bring.
Going to shine the light for the world to see, to spread peace hope and democracy.
The time is now bring our troops home. Iraq can stand strong on its own.
And fight for healthcare for the young so that coverage is available for everyone.
And it’s time to find renewable ways to fuel our needs, so we don’t depend on Chavez and the Middle East. We’ve got to stand up tall for the middle class and regulate the businesses that in the past got away with no oversight.
Doing things that were not right.
Giving loans and bad advice, expecting us to pay the price.
The change we need should begin today and Barack we stand behind you as you lead the way.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
You’ve broken down doors
No limits anymore
We all agree that Yes We Can
Dear Obama we must unite and pull together members of the left and the right
With terror threats bringing fear we hope our world you will soon hear
Diplomacy in Islaamabaad and please control Ahmidinejad. With Hillary Clinton as your Secretary of State, your team has the opportunity to make.
The world will see us with adoring eyes. And our popularity will rise. Please pay off all our debts to China, and strengthen our forces against Al-qaeda. You have the power to change education, giving our public schools some dedication.
Raising up teacher pay
Improving Schools in every state
So every child can truly make it, in the steps that you have created.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
You’ve broken down doors
No limits anymore
We all agree that Yes We Can
(Solo – spoken)
And today is a new day where we can all see a new hope for our country.
And we know that all along your journey, people say mean things to you and about you. But you never gave up and that gives us strength to never give up. You are more than a President. You are a role model, a father figure, and a man we can all look up to, and for that we say Thank You.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
Dear Obama – ba, ba, ba – Obama.
You’ve broken down doors
No limits anymore
We all agree that Yes We Can
(Solo – spoken)
Sincerely, every child, every family, everyone…
Barack Obama – We Thank You!

Oh. My. Goddess. Are you BELIEVING THIS?? Please, please explain to me how this is NOT indoctrination, because it sure as hell looks like it to me. It was only because concerned parents spoke out that there was intervention:
Concerned parents brought the song to the attention of Marcus Kindley, former Chairman of the Guilford Co., NC Republican Party and candidate for North Carolina Republican Party Chairman.

In a statement on Kindley wrote, "This information was brought to my attention by a parent of a child attending this school. Such indoctrination of our children is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes marching their children out in praise of the esteemed leader."

Kindley and parents of students attending Jamestown Elementary began an email campaign to voice their concerns over the song, which persuaded the principal of the school, and Paul Daniels, a member of the District 5 Board of Education in Guilford Co., NC, to order the teacher who planned the performance to cancel the song. It was not sung at the graduation ceremony.

I would not have thought this was a Republican v. Democrat kind of thing. It seems to me to be an AMERICAN thing.

You know, Hillary Clinton's presidency would have been even more historic, no matter how hard David Axelrove and Co. tried to play that down. We have NEVER Had a WOMAN of any color serve as president. Do you honestly think this would have been happening had she not had the nomination stolen from her? Honestly?? No. Nor would she have WANTED something like this.

This Obama worship is cultish - there is no other way to look at it. And there is no other way to look at it but worship. This is, frankly, some scary, scary shit...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"I Know It Wasn't Rape-Rape"

Proclaimed Whoopi Goldberg on "The View" in defense of Director, and convicted child rapist, Roman Polanski:

Um, yes, yes it WAS "rape-rape" - he admitted it, Whoopi. It wasn't just "child abuse," it was rape - pure and simple.

I cannot believe I used to have so much respect for this woman - hell, I read her book! I saw her on Broadway - TWICE, no small feat for a poor graduate student. I thought she was the cat's meow. But now? I think those rose-colored glasses she often wears have colored her perspective. And now this woman, once a brilliant political commentator, is defending a man who drugged, got drunk, and raped repeatedly, a CHILD.

And now Sherri Shepherd is the voice of reason on "The View?" Wow.

Kate Harding has an excellent article on this very issue in Salon, Reminder: Roman Polanski Raped A Child:
Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.). Let's keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she'd rather not see him prosecuted because she can't stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let's take a moment to recall that according to the victim's grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, "No," then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is? Because that would be great, and not nearly enough people seem to be doing it.

It cannot be any clearer than that. When women like Whoopi defend this man, it makes me ill. She is defending a convicted pedophile and rapist, claiming we don't have all the facts. Hell, yes, we do, too.

How can these people defend him? How can other countries have such outrage that this man, who has been on the lam for YEARS, has finally been arrested? Beats me:
The French press, for instance (at least according to the British press) is describing Polanski "as the victim of a money-grabbing American mother and a publicity-hungry Californian judge." Joan Z. Shore at the Huffington Post, who once met Polanski and "was utterly charmed by [his] sobriety and intelligence," also seems to believe that a child with an unpleasant stage mother could not possibly have been raped: "The 13-year old model 'seduced' by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies." Oh, well, then! If her mom put her into that situation, that makes it much better! Shore continues: "The girl was just a few weeks short of her 14th birthday, which was the age of consent in California. (It's probably 13 by now!) Polanski was demonized by the press, convicted, and managed to flee, fearing a heavy sentence."

Wow, OK, let's break that down. First, as blogger Jeff Fecke says, "Fun fact: the age of consent in 1977 in California was 16. It's now 18. But of course, the age of consent isn't like horseshoes or global thermonuclear war; close doesn't count. Even if the age of consent had been 14, the girl wasn't 14." Also, even if the girl had been old enough to consent, she testified that she did not consent. There's that. Though of course everyone makes a bigger deal of her age than her testimony that she did not consent, because if she'd been 18 and kept saying no while he kissed her, licked her, screwed her and sodomized her, this would almost certainly be a whole different story -- most likely one about her past sexual experiences and drug and alcohol use, about her desire to be famous, about what she was wearing, about how easy it would be for Roman Polanski to get consensual sex, so hey, why would he need to rape anyone? It would quite possibly be a story about a wealthy and famous director who pled not guilty to sexual assault, was acquitted on "she wanted it" grounds, and continued to live and work happily in the U.S. Which is to say that 30 years on, it would not be a story at all. So it's much safer to focus on the victim's age removing any legal question of consent than to get tied up in that thorny "he said, she said" stuff about her begging Polanski to stop and being terrified of him.

No matter what convoluted tacks one might take to try and blame this child for her repeated rape and being sodomized, the responsibility lies SOLELY with Roman Polanski:
Second, Polanski was "demonized by the press" because he raped a child, and was convicted because he pled guilty. He "feared heavy sentencing" because drugging and raping a child is generally frowned upon by the legal system. Shore really wants us to pity him because of these things? (And, I am not making this up, boycott the entire country of Switzerland for arresting him.)

As ludicrous as Shore's post is, I have to agree with Fecke that my favorite Polanski apologist is the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum, who finds it "bizarre" that anyone is still pursuing this case. And who also, by the by, failed to disclose the tiny, inconsequential detail that her husband, Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is actively pressuring U.S. authorities to drop the case.

There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

There is also evidence that Polanski raped a child. There is evidence that the victim did not consent, regardless of her age. There is evidence -- albeit purely anecdotal, in this case -- that only the most debased crapweasel thinks "I didn't know she was 13!" is a reasonable excuse for raping a child, much less continuing to rape her after she's said no repeatedly. There is evidence that the California justice system does not hold that "notoriety, lawyers' fees and professional stigma" are an appropriate sentence for child rape.

But hey, he wasn't allowed to pick up his Oscar in person! For the love of all that's holy, hasn't the man suffered enough?

That's snark there by Harding, just to be clear. Again, how in the world can these women DEFEND THIS MAN??? What is wrong with them? I think Harding wonders that, too:
Granted, Roman Polanski has indeed suffered a great deal in his life, which is where Applebaum takes her line of argument next:

He can be blamed, it is true, for his original, panicky decision to flee. But for this decision I see mitigating circumstances, not least an understandable fear of irrational punishment. Polanski's mother died in Auschwitz. His father survived Mauthausen. He himself survived the Krakow ghetto, and later emigrated from communist Poland.

Surviving the Holocaust certainly could lead to an "understandable fear of irrational punishment," but being sentenced for pleading guilty to child rape is basically the definition of rational punishment. Applebaum then points out that Polanski was a suspect in the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, a crime actually committed by the Manson family -- but again, that was the unfortunate consequence of a perfectly rational justice system. Most murdered pregnant women were killed by husbands or boyfriends, so that suspicion was neither personal nor unwarranted. This isn't Kafkaesque stuff.

But what of the now-45-year-old victim, who received a settlement from Polanski in a civil case, saying she'd like to see the charges dropped? Shouldn't we be honoring her wishes above all else?

In a word, no. At least, not entirely. I happen to believe we should honor her desire not to be the subject of a media circus, which is why I haven't named her here, even though she chose to make her identity public long ago. But as for dropping the charges, Fecke said it quite well: "I understand the victim's feelings on this. And I sympathize, I do. But for good or ill, the justice system doesn't work on behalf of victims; it works on behalf of justice."

It works on behalf of the people, in fact -- the people whose laws in every state make it clear that both child rape and fleeing prosecution are serious crimes. The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not -- and at least in theory, does not -- tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you've made.

Roman Polanski raped a child. No one, not even him, disputes that. Regardless of whatever legal misconduct might have gone on during his trial, the man admitted to unlawful sex with a minor. But the Polanski apologism we're seeing now has been heating up since "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," the 2008 documentary about Polanski's fight to get the conviction dismissed. Writing in Salon, Bill Wyman criticized the documentary's whitewashing of Polanksi's crimes last February, after Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that if the director wanted to challenge the conviction, he'd need to turn himself in to U.S. authorities and let the justice system sort it out. "Fugitives don't get to dictate the terms of their case ... Polanski deserves to have any potential legal folderol investigated, of course. But the fact that Espinoza had to state the obvious is testimony to the ways in which the documentary, and much of the media coverage the director has received in recent months, are bizarrely skewed."

The reporting on Polanski's arrest has been every bit as "bizarrely skewed," if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted. (Emphasis mine.)


Monday, September 28, 2009

A Speech I Want To Hear, And The Voice On The Other End Of The Phone Line

That would be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking out about violence against girls and women at the U.N. After the ad nauseum
speeches of President Obama, this is an incredibly refreshing change, even though the subject is intense, to say the least. Still, this one has substance, and isn't "just words." I can't help but think the audience knew the difference, too:

Remember that "3:00AM" ad? Who would we want answering the phone? This woman, that's who.

Instead we have President Obama, who has gotten his early morning call, particularly regarding Afghanistan. He's letting it go to voice-mail. Hey, he has more important things to do, like go to Copenhagen to push for Chicago to get the Olympic Games in 2016. Yep - it's true. He's making a "personal" appeal - presumably on OUR dime. Oh, he can't be bothered with what's going on with ACORN, mind you, but he can press for Chicago to get the Olympics. So, General McChrystal, and our troops, can just wait, dammit, until Obama can get to them. (By the way, General McChrystal is holding firm on wanting those troops, despite the pressure he is under to shut up.)

Oh, and a little side note on that, the whole Chicago Olympics bid. Turns out that Fox TV in Chicago has been warned - as only they can do in Chicago - to NOT air a program they did on people in Chicago OPPOSED to having the Olympics there again. Oh, I just love this Free Speech, don't you?

Every time I hear Secretary Clinton speak, and then President Obama, every time, I am reminded of who would have been the better choice to have at the other end of the phone line in difficult times. And it sure isn't Obama, no matter how much he loves to hear himself talk (though largely about himself, as THIS article highlights. Almost 1,200 times in just 41 speeches, NOT including all of the speechifying he did last week. Holy SMOKES - narcissistic much?). He's not the one I would trust to deal with the big issues. Seems like some other folks are figuring that out now, too. Too late, though, for dealing with some major issues, like Afghanistan.

If only it wasn't our soldiers who were going to bear the brunt of that call going to voice-mail...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For A Change...

I don't know about you, but I could use a day off from all of the rancor of politics - ACORN, Health Care Reform, Iran, all of that. It will still be there tomorrow (unfortunately). So, since I'm feeling pretty good - my beloved Yankees are one game away from clinching the AL East title, and it's Sunday, so time for a little break.

For something funny, I recommend The Onion's, "Cat Congress Mired In Sunbeam." Just to whet your appetite, here's what their Congress looks like in action:

C'mon, how cute is that? At least they were TRYING to get something done before the Sunbeam came along...

I have a funny story of my own to tell you - though it has nothing to do with cats. Way back in December, I had a post which included a video of my favorite opera singer, Kathleen Battle. Huh - I guess there is "Kat" in there, so yeah, I guess these are related after all. Anyway, the other day, I got a bulletin in the mail from the Charleston Concert Assoc. I was glancing through it, and lo and behold, Kathleen Battle is coming here in December.. I was ecstatic - couldn't believe my eyes!! I fired off an email to my partner licketty split, telling her of this exciting event, and the need for us to get tickets tout de suite. She wrote back, and I quote, "...I’ve known abt this since JUNE!! It’s a done deal." Meaning, she had already gotten us tickets for my holiday present. Turns out she had been sneaking out all of the bulletins coming in the mail so I wouldn't see this (she was out of town at the time this came). Poor thing - I ruined her surprise...But I'm still mighty excited. I saw this woman perform at the Metropolitan Opera while in graduate school, by herself, and once with Jessy Norman. Battle is a former school teacher from Ohio, now recognized as one of our greatest opera singers. Here's a reminder (with bonus very cool footage from the movie from which the song came):

If opera isn't your cup of tea, I have this, another song that soothes the soul from one of our greatest singer-songwriters:

And one more to round out the day:

Hope you've enjoyed the break!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Welcome To The Party, Rep. Conyers, And Maybe You Can Tell Obama What's Going On With ACORN

Well, it's about damn time - again. Yes, Rep. Conyers has finally been persuaded - again - to investigate ACORN. Oh, yes, all the recent brouhaha about ACORN, all of the exposure from the faux pimp and prostitute, have FINALLY gotten the House Judiciary Chairman to get off his duff, and investigate ACORN, as this article highlights (the US Census Bureau and the IRS have cut ties with ACORN), Conyers Seeks Answers On ACORN:
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers – a Detroit Democrat – is weighing into the controversy involving a much-maligned national community organization, asking congressional researchers whether any laws may have been broken by surreptitious recording of the group’s employees.

Just last week, the Democratic-led House followed up on a Senate vote that started cutting off federal funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, amid Republican-led calls for a widespread investigation into the group and its activities.

Even President Barack Obama has criticized the actions of ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere seen in sting videos. The employees appear to give tax advice to filmmakers pretending to be a hooker and her boyfriend. (Well, kinda - he said it wad "inappropriate. See video/transcript below.)

Conyers and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts asked the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service on Tuesday to provide an analysis on several aspects of ACORN. Among them:

# Any current or previous criminal investigations into the group.

# A breakdown of any funding received by the group and any violations of the terms of that funding.

# A report on alleged improprieties in collecting voter-registration forms and “the extent ... that resulted in people being improperly placed on voting roles and actually attempting to vote.”

# The group’s programs to provide housing opportunities.

It also asked for a report on private sting activities “in which individuals have reportedly visited ACORN offices, misrepresented their identities and proposed activities, surreptitiously videotaped resulting conversations with ACORN workers, and widely distributed them.”

The letter went onto say, “Conflicting allegations have been made about the propriety of these activities. Please research and report on the federal and state laws that could apply to such videotaping and distribution of conversations without the consent of all parties.”

I'm sure they'll get right on that.

Why the disdain dropping from my laptop? Because this isn't the FIRST time Rep. Conyers was going to investigate ACORN. Previously, he had been pretty disturbed by the actions of ACORN, or so he claimed (this is a good article to see more of the underhanded workings of ACORN). Remember that they have been under investigation in over 14 states for voter fraud and voter registration fraud for some time now. The recent expose is just the icing on the cake. But the disdain comes for the REASON Conyers dropped it: The "Powers That Be" put an end to it. Yes, you read that right: THE POWERS THAT BE told the House Judiciary Chairman to knock it off.

Hmm. Let's think. Just who is high enough to tell this powerful chairman to drop his investigation? It's a pretty short list, I can tell you that much,

But, hey - better late than never, right? Yeah. Sure.

And I just KNOW once Obama has a spare moment, you know, when he's not on The David Letterman Show, or something, maybe he will finally have a chance to follow what's going on with ACORN, since he claimed to be out of the loop despite the millions ACORN has gotten, or the billions it stands to get. Yes, this is what he said in his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the funding for ACORN?

OBAMA: You know, if -- frankly, it's not really something I've followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Both the Senate and the House have voted to cut it off.

OBAMA: You know, what I know is, is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not committing to -- to cut off the federal funding?

OBAMA: George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.

Or you can watch it here:

That Obama - he's just so busy doing the talk show circuit, he couldn't POSSIBLY know what is going on with ACORN. I mean, really, besides his having worked for them, and all of that, what possible connection could he have with them?

Oh, wait - he does. Right in the West Wing. Uh huh - his Rove, the Director of the Office of Political Affairs, is Patrick Gaspard. Mr. Gaspard, before moving into the West Wing, was the Executive Vice President of - Wait For It - SEIU. SEIU was founded by Dale Rathke, the brother who embezzled a million bucks from ACORN. Which they hid, by the way. Whatever. Just a million of your tax paying dollars, no biggie.

And Patrick has a brother, Michael, who works for the Advance Group. Which represents - like you need to wait for it - ACORN. Coincidentally (hahahahaha), the national spokesman for The Advance Group, and ACORN, is one in the same, Scott Levenson.

I gotta wonder, how long will it be before Conyers is called off of THIS investigation?

(Photo above bymusicFIRSTCoalition)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Children Sing In Praise Of The One - Updated

You are not going to believe this video below. I don't care what your political persuasion is, this should ring alarm bills, raise red flags, and generally cause major concern.

If this isn't indoctrination, I don't know what is:

Here are the words
, in case you can't understand them:
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand [?]
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama

Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all [do? doth??] say "hooray!"
Hooray Mr. President! You're number one!
The first Black American to lead this great na-TION!
Hooray, Mr. President something-something-some
A-something-something-something-some economy is number one again!
Hooray Mr. President, we're really proud of you!
And the same for all Americans [in?] the great Red White and Blue!
So something Mr. President we all just something-some,
So here's a hearty hip-hooray a-something-something-some!
Hip, hip hooray! (3x)

HOLY SHIT. Can you believe this? Just insert "George Walker Bush" in there instead of "Barack Hussein Obama" to get a full sense of how disturbing this is. Hell, insert any president's name, it doesn't matter. I imagine most parents would object to their children, their SMALL children especially, being taught to sing the praises of "Dear Leader" - WOW. That's not how Americans roll.

Or wasn't, until now.

Someone NOT singing the praises of Barack Hussein Obama is Michelle Paterson, wife of embattled New York Governor, David Paterson. She is mighty upset that Obama wants to push out the first African American governor in NY. So is her husband:
Paterson added, "I never heard of a president asking a governor not to run ... so I thought it was very unusual that this would be asked of David and I don't think it's right."

Obama aides have asked the embattled Democratic governor, who has done poorly in recent polls, not to run for governor in 2010.

Paterson said her husband was shocked at the request.

"I think he was stunned. Like I said this is very unusual," she said.

And Ms. Paterson revealed what Obama whispered into Gov. Paterson's ear when they met the other day. Are you ready? According to First Lady:
Ms. Paterson also said that Obama told the governor during a trip to upstate New York on Monday that he was "a little chagrined about how the White House handled the message."

He was not chagrined at the MESSAGE to the governor, mind you, not at the backstabbing of Gov. Paterson, but the way it was HANDLED. Oh, I am sure The One made it ALL better with that admission.

I wonder if THAT is going to make it into the elementary school song of praise to Obama? I'm guessing not...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

White House to Insurance Companies - Shut The F**K UP! UPDATED

By now, surely you have heard about the White House threatening a Gag Order on insurance companies, Humana in particular out of KY. Why? Because they dare to tell their members what will happen to Medicare Advantage if the current Health Care Bill goes through. Damn their eyes - what are they thinking, giving their members pertinent information on what can happen to their Medicare Advantage Plan? Sheesh! That takes some nerve, don't it(poor grammar intended)?

But wait, it gets worse. The White House, through Health and Human Services, isn't just telling them to STF up, they are THREATENING Humana and these insurance companies in general:
The government might take enforcement action against insurers that have tried to mobilize opposition to the legislation by sending their enrollees "misleading and confusing" messages, a senior official of the Department of Health and Human Services said in a memo Monday.

The mailings in question urge enrollees to contact their congressional representatives and protest the legislation, the memo said.

A spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's main lobbying group, issued a statement Tuesday criticizing what he described as the government's "gag order."

"Seniors have a right to know how the current reform proposals will affect the coverage they currently like and rely on," AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach said.

Now, all of us who said that Obama was simply going to take Chicago Politics national, raise your hand. Yep - we were all right. Honestly, though, I'd rather be wrong on this, but that ship has sailed. In essence, the White House is saying, "If we don't like what you're saying, we'll come after you." Nice. Really nice. And we thought Bush was bad. (Remember that? When we were so upset about his "propaganda" through the media? At least he wasn't threatening private companies who didn't agree with his proposed policies. Never thought I'd be defending Bush. See what Obama has done to me?!?!)

But I digress.

Remember when all of Obama's supporters kept touting his legal expertise particularly in terms of the Constitution during the campaign? And I kept saying, "the better to tear it to shreds." Sure seems to me that's exactly what he is trying to do with the First Amendment:
Proposed health reform legislation would sharply reduce funding for Medicare Advantage plans, and the insurance industry has been battling to prevent that from happening. The bill unveiled last week by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would directly cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans by an estimated $123 billion over 10 years, and it would indirectly reduce funding for those plans by another $15.6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The big insurer Humana triggered the HHS crackdown with a letter to Medicare enrollees claiming that health reform proposals could hurt "millions of seniors and disabled individuals" who "could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage plans so valuable." The letter was sent in envelopes marked "important information about your Medicare Advantage plan -- open today!"

HHS wrote to Humana last week instructing it to stop the mailings, and it wrote to all Medicare Advantage plans Monday, saying "such communications are potentially contrary to . . . federal law." The government regulates communications between the health plans and their members.

Baucus had urged HHS to crack down on the mailings. (Emphasis mine.)

"It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors," he said in a Monday news release. "The health care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits under the Medicare program -- and seniors need to know that," he said.

The AHIP spokesman countered that if the proposed cuts are enacted, "seniors will face premium increases, reduced benefits, and, in some parts of the country, will lose access to their Medicare Advantage plan altogether."

Humana spokesman Tom Noland said beneficiaries "deserve to know the impact that funding cuts of the magnitude being discussed would have on benefits and premiums."

Peter Johnson provided a VERY good overview of the issue in the video below:

Here's the question this just begs to be asked: If this plan is so great, why is it unable to withstand any real scrutiny without threats of retaliation for stating what is in it? That, to me, is a big, huge red flag that someone is lying here, and it does not seem to be Humana.

Oh, and since I'm on the topic of the Health Care Bill, here is a HUGE issue that may be facing us if this plan, as it is, goes through:

Holy toledo. So, a gag order to insurance companies for telling the truth, and another possible truth we're not hearing enough about - there likely will not be enough doctors to care for us under this new plan. Yep, no more First Amendment, and not enough doctors willing to provide care under this plan.

Well,that's just jake.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Pat On The Back Will Make It All Better?

You may have heard that this weekend, the White House strongly suggested that David Paterson, the current governor of New York, really shouldn't consider a run in 2010. You know, the way only Chicago politicians can: leak out a strong encouragement, deny that they did any such thing, and make it seem like they never really said anything in the first place. Except, apparently, now they're having to 'fess up after all.

So, you can just guess how this went over when Obama and Paterson met on Monday up in New York. Can you say, AWK-WARD? I think this photo says it all:

I'm just thinking out loud here, but wouldn't you think that the person whose job it was to get this, um, "hint" out there, that person, or someone else in the employ of the president, knew he was going to be SEEING that person like a day or two later?

Yes, "awkward" would be the word to describe it, as this article highlights,

Obama Arrives to an Awkward Hug From Paterson
. Seriously - you'd think someone knew about this:
So what did he say?

President Obama walked down from Air Force One after his plane landed shortly before 11 a.m. Monday. He and Gov. David A. Paterson exchanged a brief greeting. They shook hands. Mr. Obama gave Mr. Paterson a half-embrace, then whispered into his ear for a few seconds. It was impossible for anyone nearby to hear over the roar of the engines.

The meeting, on the tarmac at Albany International Airport, was the first time the two men crossed paths since the news broke that Mr. Obama had told Mr. Paterson that the White House had lost confidence in the governor’s ability to win election next year and that he should abandon his campaign for the good of the Democratic Party.

Also on Monday, for the first time, the White House publicly addressed the issue of the president’s involvement in New York politics and did not deny that Mr. Obama counseled Mr. Paterson to pull the plug on his election plans.

“Well, look, I think everybody understands the tough job that every elected official has right now in addressing many of the problems that we have,” Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think people are aware of the tough situation that the governor of New York is in. I wouldn’t add a lot to what you’ve read, except this is a decision that he’s going to make. The president understands the tough job that everyone has and the pressure that they are under.”

I am just so sure he does. And how nice of him to add to that pressure for Gov. Paterson. He's a giver, that Obama, he surely is. That probably explains this:
The awkwardness of the moment was perhaps reflected in Obama’s body movements on the tarmac. When he went in for the quick hug of Mr. Paterson, he turned his back to the television news cameras, almost as if to avoid the taking of images that would show the two men in a warm embrace. The news crews said that Mr. Obama did not appear to be smiling when he turned around.

Mr. Obama moved on to greet others, but stepped next to Mr. Paterson to say a few things to the group of five or six people assembled around him. There were a couple of more pats on the back — Mr. Paterson on Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama on Mr. Paterson — and then it was over. Mr. Obama got into one car. Mr. Paterson got into another car. Plenty of New York media were on hand to visually catch the exchange.

The president was in town to deliver an economic address at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Mr. Paterson arrived at an industrial lab at the college around 11:30 a.m., before the president, and walked to his seat in the front row, just to the left of the stage where Mr. Obama spoke.

Mr. Paterson received light applause from the audience members once they realized he had arrived. At one point he was left standing by himself for about 20 seconds, while others around him greeted each other, his hands clasped in front of him.

Again, you'd think someone in the White House Staff might have known this trip was upcoming, especially since Andrew Cuomo was going to be there. That's important to know:
A few minutes later, the state attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, and his entourage arrived. Mr. Cuomo is the Democrat many party leaders prefer as their gubernatorial candidate next year, believing he would stand a better chance of winning should Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, decide to make a run for the office.

Mr. Cuomo was accompanied at the college by Senator John L. Sampson, the Democratic leader. After spotting Mr. Paterson, Mr. Cuomo gave him a hug, and the two chatted briefly and smiled.

Mr. Cuomo took his seat and socialized with local, state and party officials — at one point laughing so loudly that his laugh could be heard through loudspeakers set in the lab. He even waved at one point to the throng of reporters who were gathered around a set of bleachers next to where Mr. Paterson and all the other officials were awaiting the president.

Mr. Paterson, seated a few seats away, looked far more subdued.

The president began his economic address a few minutes before noon, after an introduction by Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Paterson was seen playing with his mustache while the president spoke.

Mr. Obama had warm words for both Mr. Paterson and Mr. Cuomo.

“We have special guests here,” the president said. “I want to acknowledge, first of all, a wonderful man, the governor of the great state of New York, David Paterson. Next, your shy and retiring attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is in the house. Andy is doing great work that has to be done.”

Mr. Obama left the college at 12:35 p.m and had one final brief exchange with Mr. Paterson along the rope line before leaving for the Albany airport. Mr. Paterson gripped the president’s hand with both of his. After leaving Albany, Mr. Obama was bound for New York City. (Nicholas Confessore reported from Albany, and Helene Cooper and Jeremy W. Peters reported from Troy.)

Oh, yes - I am sooooo sure Obama kissing up to Paterson, after basically telling him to get out of the way, is really going to do the trick. Yep - Paterson is probably all aflutter now that The One kinda sorta gave him a half hug, back pat combo something.

Did I forget something? I apologize, I sure did - when the White House tried to push Paterson out, you know what he did? He said he was running anyway. All I can say to Gov. Paterson is, Holla! A little shout-out for standing up to the pressure to get out of the way. Personally, I'm hoping Hillary Clinton will run for that seat, and no longer have to answer to Obama, but I applaud your tenacity. Well done, sir! You're a brave man...

Monday, September 21, 2009

It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Tax" Is...

In the continuation of my "Was He Lying Then, Or Is He Lying Now?" series, I have yet another video of "Then" and "Now." I promise I'll let go of this at some point soon, but there are just SO many things that keep coming up, especially in the Health Care arena, that I could go on for, well, years. A big H/t to HARP for this video:

Um, aren't these EXACTLY the same things OBAMA is planning on doing? Let's see - he attacked Hillary Clinton during the Primaries by claiming she would fine people who didn't have insurance. She never said that, but now Obama is. Obama claimed in the campaign that McCain was going to cut money from Medicare and tax people on their insurance, and now Obama is planning on doing both! WTF???

Oh, wait - Obama was emphatic with George Stephanopoulos that it is NOT a tax on insurance. Heck, no, no way, could this exchange make anyone think this is a tax:
OBAMA: What -- what -- if I -- if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

You can watch the exchange here to get a fuller picture, and new definition:

No disrespect or anything, President Obama, but you make shit up all the time! Jeezum crow! And you're going to get all testy with George? I reckon you forgot that you are trying to WOO people over to your plan, not antagonize them. Oh, wait, I forgot - this is upside down world. A world in which people who have the audacity to actually question you are rude, but one in which you can flat out lie about people who disagree with you. I got it. New definition of rude - check!

Well, that was the whole tax issue. How about cutting Medicare? Uh huh:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's go to Medicare then...

OBAMA: Good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...because you also said that no one will lose what they have. And Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, says that the cuts you're looking at in Medi -- the Medicare Advantage program...

OBAMA: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...are going to force people to lose coverage they now have.

OBAMA: No. Here -- here's what's going to happen. These are essentially private HMOs who are getting, on average -- and this is not my estimate, this is Democrats and Republicans, experts have said -- they're getting, on average, about 14 percent more over payments, basically subsidies from taxpayers for a program that ordinary Medicare does just as good, if not better, at keeping people healthy.

Now, they package these things in ways that, in some cases, may make it more convenient for some consumers, but they're overcharging massively for it. There's no competitive bidding under the process.

And so what we've said is instead of spending $17 billion, $18 billion a year, $177 billion over 10 years on that, why wouldn’t we use that to close the donut hole so the people are actually getting better prescription drugs…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Senator Nelson says it’s going to…

OBAMA: …Why don't we make sure that we're using some of that money to actually make people healthier?

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he said it's going to cause beneficiaries right now to lose what they have.

OBAMA: Look, I understand that change is hard. If what you're saying is that people who are currently signed up for Medicare advantage are going to have Medicare and the same level of benefits, but they may not be having their insurer get a 14 percent premium, that's absolutely true and will the insurers squawk? You bet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They may drop the coverage.

OBAMA: No, these folks are going to be able to get Medicare that is just as good, provides the same benefits, but we're not subsidizing them for $18 billion a year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So Senator Nelson, he wants to pass an amendment that shields anyone currently on Medicare advantage from any cuts. Do you support that?

OBAMA: George, I'm not going to be negotiating a particular provision of the bill, sitting (ph) down with you here right now. What I am going to say is this: the basic principle that is indisputable is that we are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare that is not making people healthier. I want to make sure that we're using that money to actually make people healthier.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if people lose their Medicare advantage?

OBAMA: What I have said is we're not going to take a dollar out of the Medicare trust fund. We're going to make sure that benefits are just as strong if not stronger. We're not going to subsidize insurance companies in ways that end up creating a situation that Medicare is actually weaker and has a less financial foundation, because right now, we've got eight years from now potentially Medicare going into the red.

If you get a chance, go watch the video. It seems to me that Obama gets JUST a tad testy...

And here's a little bit of advice for President Obama, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's a safe bet that it's a duck. Or in your case, a tax. Or a cut in services. Or a lie. They seem to be interchangeable...Some of us are actually able to tell the difference. But thanks for playing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And Which One Is Lying Here?

A classic case of "She said, he said," is what we have here, that's for sure. This next video (courtesy of longtime reader, SFIndie) illustrates the conundrum:

Um, it seems to me that if you happen to be the President of the United States, maybe you could appoint a Fact Checking Czar to go with the other Thirty-One - make a nice even number of it. I'm just saying - when you are giving a speech before Congress, televised all over the nation, it seems the very least he could do is MAKE SURE HIS FACTS ARE CORRECT.

Hey - maybe THAT'S when Rep. Wilson called him a liar! He KNEW Obama was lying about the cancer-stricken patient he was using for political gain. Just a thought.

Not for nothing, but they are using their own daughter to further this debate? Interesting. Funny how they don't seem to make the connection that they are MILLIONAIRES, most people in this country are NOT, and the illness wasn't serious (according to Michelle, anyway). Or that they both had jobs at the time - really, really, good jobs. Or that those jobs provided excellent health coverage, the very kind that 87% of employers would work to reduce if this Health Care Reform goes in as defined now. I know, picky, picky, picky...

Anyway, you know, there are plenty of REAL examples from which Obama could choose, I am sure, but honestly - why lie? ABOUT HIS OWN DAUGHTER? Is it just that he hasn't met a truth he couldn't corrupt? What's the deal?

Oh, well. I am sure there will be plenty more examples to examine as his time in office goes on. But for now, I will leave you with this peppy little tune. I'm sure it will stick with you for the next 3 yrs and 4 months:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Was He Lying Then, Or Is He Lying Now?

Oh, this is an interesting video. Obama v. Obama on Health Care. Obama '07 against Obama '09. This is mighty interesting indeed. Take a look:

I told you it was interesting. You know, in that "liar, liar, pants on fire" sort of way, which I say knowing I am probably going to be called a racist. Ahem. Still, one cannot deny he is lying in one or the other.

And how about Obama on Insuring Illegal Aliens? The good news for me is that I don't even have to change the years on this one. Heck, I don't even have to change the month, or even the WEEK!! Yes, this is all in just one little ol' week, heck, it was in one little ol' SPEECH:

Um, you wanna tell us what you mean by that, Mr. Obama? Does that mean you support amnesty for those who are here illegally so they can get that health coverage? What's the deal?

Just to be clear, I am not a right wingnut who allegedly hates all immigrants. Even when I was a leftwing nut, I did not support all illegal immigrants being granted amnesty carte blanche, and that hasn't changed now that I'm an Leftie Independent wingnut. I do believe in granting asylum to people fleeing their countries who are in fear of their lives, absolutely. Come on in, I say. But if it is someone who comes here on a student visa, and overstays, or crosses the border for work, sending a majority of their wages back home (thus, not back into our economy), I say, do it the right way. File for citizenship. Heck, if you really want to be an American citizen and don't want to go through the time and expense for the usual process, join the military. After you have served the requisite time, you're an American. That's fine. Welcome! But to grant amnesty to 12,000,000 people who are here illegally, so they can get full health benefits, without having paid taxes back into it? Um, no.

That's not to say our immigration policy doesn't need tweaking - it surely does. Let's work on that. But that does not mean everyone here should get a clean slate and not have to do the work those who came here legally did. That would make a mockery of the entire system, wouldn't it? Not to mention being incredibly unfair to those who did do the paperwork, paid the money, and jumped through all the hoops as required. Not fair at all, I think. But I digress.

At this rate, I think President Obama may just give President Clinton a run for the moniker, "Slick." He's doing a mighty fine job of it these days. You never know what he's going to say from one day to the next, or even one sentence from the next. No doubt this issue of amnesty will be developing, so stay tuned, and stay vigilant.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Them's Fightin' Words...

By now, most everyone has heard that President Carter claimed people who don't support Obama do so because they are racists. Wow. Obviously, this is shocking on the face of it. If you have not heard this, the video is below. I also recommend two very good posts on this topic, one by pm317, and one by LisaB. To the Carter video:

But here's the problem for me. I had really liked President Carter. I had a lot of respect for him, in fact. I was young and naive when he was in office, but certainly the work he had done AFTER leaving the White House was commendable. For instance, the work he and his entire family did for Habitat for Humanity has helped numerous people, including in my home town. I have experienced firsthand seeing the joy and pride the new homeowner as she looked at her house, and talked about what it meant to her. And the group of university students with whom I was working, all female, becoming more empowered, more sure of themselves, because they were helping to build someone a HOUSE, and the sense of pride and accomplishment that gave them.

The work Carter has done in Africa, helping to eradicate a horrible disease of worms that infiltrate too many areas there, doing horrible damage to the people they infest. Or his work in monitoring elections. Heck, even his recent decision to leave his church of many years because they will not ordain women.

My partner and I have visited the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, GA, a beautiful place in a calming and serene environment. I walked through that buildung filled with a sense of awe, seeing what he gave up, and subsequently his wife, when he left his commission as a Naval officer behind to go back to Georgia and help out the family. As I saw photographs marking historic moments, actual papers from events I had read about, or seen on tv. I was in awe as I saw his actual Nobel Peace Prize. And with pride, we have supported the Carter Peace Center for years now with monthly contributions...

(Photo by rachydachy)

But, things have been changed now. It began with some of his statements about Israel. Then President Carter inserted himself into the Primary Campaign, making some unkind remarks about my hero, ">Hillary Clinton. And now this. Being called a racist because I oppose the way by which Obama became President, but even more, because I oppose his policies. When someone calls me a racist, I gotta say (as we do down here in the South, "Them's fightin' words." And so, I have written this letter to send to the Carter Center when my next payment is due:

Dear Carter Center,

On September 15, 2009, President Jimmy Carter claimed that those who oppose President Obama do so because of his race. I cannot begin to tell you how much I resent President Carter's remarks.

I used to have a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter. As you can see, I am a long time contributor to the Peace Center. I have been to his Presidential Library, and literally wept when I saw his Nobel Peace Prize. But this has gone too far.

It was bad enough when President Carter made disparaging remarks about then-Senator Hillary Clinton continuing the presidential race, the person who received more votes than anyone in a Primary EVER, who, had Obama not committed rampant, documented caucus fraud, would easily have had the delegates for the nomination, and as it was, was separated from Obama by just a few delegates - until the Democratic Party committed the worst atrocity in its history on May 31, 2008 - took lawfully cast votes from one candidate to give to another. They took votes certified by the Secretarys of State from one candidate and GIVEN to another. That is about as undemocratic as one can possibly get. Where was President Carter when the DNC did this, the champion of fair elections everywhere in the world but here?

I guess it never occurred to President Carter (or Rep. Hank Johnson of GA, with his comparisons to the KKK,for that matter) that I, and others like me, oppose Obama’s policies on their MERITS. For that matter, we pick our presidential choices on their MERITS, something sorely lacking with Obama. It has NOTHING to do with the color of his skin – it has to do with his lack of experience, his race-baiting, his misogyny, especially his treatments of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin; his aforementioned caucus fraud; his payment of $832,000 to ACORN for “voter registration”; his 20 yrs in Rev. Wright’s hate-mongering church; his associations with Rezko, Khalidi, Kilpatrick, Meeks, Ayers, and Kmiec, to name a few; his “present” votes; his lack of holding ONE meeting of the committee charged with overseeing Europe, NATO, and Afghanistan, then having the audacity to claim what a mess Afghanistan was; his thugs; his reneging on FISA, DOMA, DADT, and I could go on and on. Not one of those has to do with the color of the man’s skin – not ONE.

How DARE President Carter call me a racist because I don’t fall in lockstep that “Everything Obama Does Is GREAT!” I have the CONSTITUTIONAL right to disagree with, and CHALLENGE, my president, when I disagree with his policies – and that does NOT make me a racist, but an AMERICAN.

It has been Obama, and his representatives, from Jim Clyburn, my representative (who stabbed Bill and Hillary Clinton in the back repeatedly, completely misrepresenting what they said prior to the Primary in SC), to Jesse Jackson, Jr., and now to President Carter, who have thrown around the charge of racism, a serious, serious charge, whenever people have tried to hold Obama to the SAME STANDARDS as every other president, or presidential candidate.

To NOT hold Obama to the same standards, to NOT require of him all of the same transparency, paperwork, records, etc., is what is truly RACIST, as it treats him differently than every other candidate/president. Therein lies the irony. Those of us who expect accountability for promises made, and scrutinize policies, are not the racists - those who defend him no matter what he does and claim it is because of the color of his skin should take a long, hard look in the mirror before throwing out such a highly charged insult.

I cannot, in good conscience, continue to send my monthly contributions to the Peace Center. I almost ended my support when President Carter insulted Hillary Clinton, who got 18,000,000 votes - clearly, the PEOPLE'S choice. But I decided to let that go. But not this. It is clearly pointless to submit my professional work on anti-racism, much less the makeup of my extended family. The charge has already been made.

I have sent my last contribution. From now on, I am sending my money to the Clinton Foundation to support the work of President Clinton who has not called me a racist once.

The Rev. Amy

What a sad day, for me personally, but also for this nation, when a former president makes such a grievous, and unfounded, charge against over half of the population. Because we have the audacity to judge the president by his CHARACTER, rather than the color of his skin, as Martin Luther King, Jr., charged us to do, we are called a heinous name. How sad, and how infuriating.

President Carter, as respectfully as I can muster after being called a racist, I would suggest it is time for you to go into retirement, and leave off sharing your political opinions. You are not doing yourself or your legacy any good, to be sure. Even more, you are not doing this nation any good. Rather, you are fanning flames that divide us, not unite us, all to provide cover for a man who, had he been properly vetted in the first place, and had the DNC followed its own rules, would never have gotten this far. Speaking for me only, I am judging Obama on the merits, not the color of his skin. I suggest you do likewise.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BREAKING NEWS! House Votes To Defund ACORN!

This just in from the Boston Globe:

The US House today joined the Senate in voting to defund ACORN, the community advocacy group beset by allegations of voter registration fraud and videotapes apparently showing employees advising conservative activists posing as a prostitute and pimp how to break the law.

The measure, offered as part of a motion on a student loan bill, passed by a vote of 345-75, with all "no" votes coming from Democrats.

The Senate voted earlier this week to withdraw housing and urban development funding. Last week, the Census Bureau severed ties with ACORN, which on Wednesday said it is suspending accepting new clients and launching an investigation.

But congressional Republicans are calling for all federal funds to be cut off and for a Justice Department investigation.

“Today’s overwhelming bipartisan vote to stop all federal funding of ACORN is a victory for American taxpayers. Of course, it is only the beginning. We need to keep up the fight to end taxpayer funding for this troubled organization," Boehner said in a statement.

“House Republicans have worked tirelessly to sever ACORN’s ties to the federal government. Those efforts began to bear fruit late last week when the Census Bureau ended its relationship with ACORN under steady pressure from Republican lawmakers. Though today’s vote indicates that the writing’s on the wall for ACORN, President Obama must indicate whether he will join the Congress in taking decisive action to break all government ties with this corrupt organization."

“ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization. All federal ties should be severed with ACORN, and the FBI should investigate its activity," Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican said in a statement. "This united Republican effort to defund ACORN is a victory for the rule of law and taxpayers across the country.”

Holy Smokes! More as this develops!

H/t to for the roll call link.

How Will The Baucus Bill Affect Us?

My well meaning, but decidedly Obot, sister sent me an article from recently written by a lesbian mother detailing the additional financial difficulties we face when we are on our partner's health care coverage ("Unbelievable: As A Lesbian Mother, I Have To Pay More For Health Care"). Well, I can appreciate her alarm, but honestly, no freakin' duh. We haven't just been blowing smoke when we claim that there are over 1,000 federal benefits to which we are shut out since we can not be married legally in the U.S. And, big surprise, the article culminates in a call to support the Obama Health Care Plan so that we will be treated like everyone else.

Um, I'm not so sure that's going to be a help. But first, my response to my sister so things stay in context, and to explain why the ire on the writer's part:
Thanks, but I I am well aware. (My partner) and I pay taxes on my insurance through her company since we cannot be legally married. My insurance amount is treated as a benefit to (my partner), thus taxable income under the federal/state system.

Well, considering Obama claims the Baucus plan is the plan he wants (today - it could be different by tomorrow), it's not gonna be a whole lot more in savings according to this Washington Post story, "Alarm Bell On Health Reform":
The Democratic senator from Oregon has been the Energizer Bunny of health reform for the past five years. This week he lobbed a big rhetorical stink bomb. Wyden warned publicly that the package being crafted by the Senate Finance Committee would cost lower-income Americans too much and give many people too little choice of insurance plans.

Under the Finance Committee proposal, individuals would be required to obtain insurance. But to drive down the cost of the package, Montana Democrat Max Baucus's Gang of Six -- a gang that pointedly does not include Wyden -- trimmed the size of the subsidies available for those who could not afford insurance on their own. Now, a family earning three times the poverty level -- $66,150 for a family of four -- would have to pay up to 13 percent of their income for health insurance. And that's just the premiums -- not counting deductibles, co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses.

"I don't know very many working-class families who you can look in the eyes and say: 'Do you have that kind of money in your checking account?' -- because they don't," Wyden told me.

Those without coverage would face a fine of as much as $3,800, unless costs exceeded 10 percent of their income, in which case they would be given an "affordability exemption." In other words, they wouldn't have insurance, but at least they wouldn't be penalized for it.

Nobody ever told the folks carrying the public-option signs all over America that 85 percent wouldn't even get to choose it," Wyden said. "For hundreds of millions of people, they're going to have no more leverage after this bill passes than they do today. They work in some company, some person they don't know in the human resources department decides what's good for them. Nothing has changed."
Bear in mind, Wyden is actually an ally of Obama's. Yikes.

I concluded with some questions about how all of this would affect us personally, including getting in a little dig particularly about the Federal taxes which didn't look like they are going to change anytime soon given Obama's Justice Department's characterizing us as pedophiles or "incestuous relatives" in its support of DOMA. Ahem.

The Wall Street Journal had not yet come out with its editorial on the Baucus Plan at that time, "Public Option Lite," or else, I would have just sent that to her, and highlighted this Obama mailer they thoughtfully provided:

Remember this? Yeah, WHO'S plan is going to levee fines?? Sheesh.

I won't reprint the whole thing here - it is worth your time to take a look, but here are some of the pertinent paragraphs:
Everyone would be forced to buy these government-approved policies, whether or not they suit their needs or budget. Families would face tax penalties as high as $3,800 a year for not complying, singles $950. As one resident of Massachusetts where Mitt Romney imposed an individual mandate in 2006 put it in a Journal story yesterday, this is like taxing the homeless for not buying a mansion.

The political irony here is rich. If liberal health-care reform is going to make people better off, why does it require "a very harsh, stiff penalty" to make everyone buy it? That's what Senator Obama called it in his Presidential campaign when he opposed the individual mandate supported by Hillary Clinton. He correctly argued then that many people were uninsured not because they didn't want coverage but because it was too expensive. The nearby mailer to Ohio primary voters gives the flavor of Mr. Obama's attacks.

And the Baucus-Obama plan will only make insurance even more expensive. Employers will be required to offer "qualified coverage" to their workers (or pay another "free rider" penalty) and workers will be required to accept it, paying for it in lower wages. The vast majority of households already confront the same tradeoff today, except Congress will now declare that there's only one right answer.

Hold the phone for just a second here. Yes, Clinton's plan did call for mandated coverage, but OBAMA was the one who said she was going to have fines, not Clinton, a charge she consistently disputed. And if you want a reminder of the two plans, Clinton's and Obama's, here's a LINK to Paul Krugman's good article in which he highlights those differences.

Now, back to the Journal's Editorial:
The subsidies in the Baucus plan go to people without a job-based plan and who earn under three times the federal poverty level, or about $66,000 for a family of four. Yet according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis we've seen, the plan isn't much of an improvement over the current market.

Take a family of four making $42,000 in 2016. While government would subsidize 80% of their premium and pay $1,500 to offset cost-sharing, they'd still pay $6,000 a year or 14.3% of their total income. A family making $54,000 could still pay 18.1% of their income, while an individual earning $26,500 would be on the hook for 15.5%, and one earning $32,400 for 17.3%. So lower-income workers would still be forced to devote huge portions of their salaries to expensive policies that they may not want or be able to afford.

Cough, sputter, what??? We're going to be spending HOW MUCH? Oh, but wait, there's more:
Like the House bill, Mr. Baucus uses 10 years of taxes to fund about seven years of spending. Some $215 billion is scrounged up by imposing a 35% excise tax on insurance companies for plans valued at more than $21,000 for families and $8,000 for individuals. This levy would merely be added to the insurers' "administrative load" and passed down to all consumers in higher prices. Ditto for the $59 billion that Mr. Baucus would raise by taxing the likes of clinical laboratories and drug and device makers.

Mr. Baucus also wants to cut $409 billion from Medicare, according to CBO, though the only money that is certain to see the budget ax is $123 billion from the Medicare Advantage program. Liberal Democrats hate Advantage because it gives 10.2 million seniors private options. The other "savings" come from supposedly automatic cuts that a future Congress is unlikely to ever approve that is, until this entitlement spending swamps the federal budget. Then the government will have no choice but to raise taxes to European welfare-state levels or impose drastic restrictions on patient care. Or, most likely, both.


To sum up, the Baucus-Obama plan would increase the cost of insurance and then force people to buy it, requiring subsidies. Those subsidies would be paid for by taxes that make health care and thus insurance even more expensive, requiring even more subsidies and still higher taxes. It's a recipe to ruin health care and bankrupt the country, and that's even before liberal Democrats see Mr. Baucus and raise him, and then attempt to ram it all through the Senate. (Emphasis mine.)

Gee, they make this sound so good, where do I sign up?? Ahem. As Bronwyn's Harbor pointed out in TWO excellent posts this week, there will be incredible costs to all of us that are being masked, or simply unmentioned, by our esteemed elected officials. Looks like the WSJ has had enough of that subterfuge. Let's hope more sources will expose these plans, too.

I guess I'm getting an idea of just how this might affect us after all...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pulling "Back The Curtain On ACORN"

I came across an article the other day, and was really taken by it, especially as it came out in the midst of the undercover videos by James O'Keefe, four in total thus far, with more to come, which have gone far in exposing the underside of ACORN. O'Keefe's staggering videos can be found here and No Quarter. They are shocking indeed, as the workers at ACORN cavalierly discuss using children, girls, from El Salvador as prostitutes, with one going so far as saying the "prostitute," Hannah Giles, whose idea the whole venture was, should make sure she tells the girls not to say anything to ANYONE about what they do (for an excellent commentary on this aspect, I highly recommend Pat Racimora's, "ACORN, Little Girls, And The Red Light Business"). Or the ACORN worker who describes how she shot her husband dead.

Now is when I remind you that not only does Obama have very strong ties to ACORN (he worked on their behalf as a lawyer at one point), and its sister organization, SEIU, and let's not forget that Obama gave $832,000 to an ACORN affiliate to "get out the vote" during the Election Season. And ACORN, the alleged non-partisan organization, currently under investigation in at least 14 states for voter fraud, the organization that helped create the Fanne Mae/Freddis Mac fiasco, is receiving YOUR tax paying dollars, $53 million to date, and stands to receive $8.5 Billion in Stimulus money.

The aforementioned article? It is this: Former Leftist Activist, Turned FBI Informant, Pulls Back the Curtain On ACORN. Well, you know that caught my eye right away - this guy, Brandon Darby, was a leftie activist, like many of us were, but unlike most of us, worked with the FBI on terrorism. Here is Darby's story:
I first experienced ACORN in post-Katrina New Orleans. I was part of a relief organization, Common Ground Relief, which had been delivering much needed aid to the 9th Ward, an area that had been hit especially hard by the flood waters and by neglect. Rumors immediately began surfacing, questioning our motives and intentions. I was very confused by these rumors. Who was behind them? How could anyone question the vital work we were doing in the community? We lived and worked in the 9th Ward. We suspended our regular lives and, in many cases, left our families to travel to New Orleans to help those affected by Katrina and poverty. We slept on dirty plywood floors and shared everything we had with the residents. Most of us were white. Was our skin color the issue? I knew from personal experience that the majority of the Black 9th ward residents didn’t care what color our skin was. It took me awhile to get over the hurt I felt at such allegations and to find out where they were coming from.

In the following weeks, I was made aware of the fact that ACORN had reopened its New Orleans office (several months after the storm). Various groups from around the city informed me that Acorn was upset with us because we were in “their” community and had not sought approval from ACORN to operate there. I was told that ACORN said that we were “privileged white people who had come to a Black community as saviors and we refused to work with local Black leadership.”

The more I pondered the matter, the more I realized what was happening. As usual in marginalized and impoverished communities, a small group of radical self-proclaimed leaders was insisting that all local aid and relief came through them—even if they were AWOL for several months. Though the majority of residents either hadn’t heard of ACORN or simply disagreed with their politics- ACORN insisted that they were THE Black leaders. This was upsetting to me. Sure, the local pastor we worked most closely with was Black; but that didn’t matter to ACORN. It was as if Pastor Johnson didn’t count because he didn’t evoke the name of Elijah Mohammed or Malcolm X. It was as if Pastor Johnson didn’t count because he didn’t submit to ACORN’s mandate that ACORN was the sole leadership of Black New Orleanians.

Am I reading this correctly? Only black people can work with black people as far as ACORN is concerned? Dang, I bet all of those organizations and churches who sent so many people and aid to New Orleans didn't know the rules. I know I didn't when I sent money, and took my niece and nephew there post-Katrina to spend tourism dollars as requested. I think we all thought we were helping our fellow Americans. This is a bit of a shock, I have to say.

Back to the article:
As then director of Common Ground Relief’s 9th Ward project, I was warned by many that ACORN would ruin me politically if I didn’t submit to their leadership. I believed in what I was doing and how I was doing it. I refused to submit. The political fallout was almost unbearable. I just kept my eyes on meeting the needs of the community. When confronted by adherents to ACORN’s brand of race analysis, I pointed out that ACORN was not there immediately after the storm, so I could not have sought their leadership even if I had wanted to.

Over the following years, that particular style of political attack was prominent in New Orleans. Anytime that ACORN was displeased, the other party was deemed a racist. If the other party disagreed with the label or with ACORN’s agenda- they were met with “of course you feel that way. You are a racist.” Though it is clearly woefully inaccurate and unethical to use such an accusation as a political attack and as a means of shutting down philosophical debate and discourse, some at ACORN didn’t let that stop them. I refused to submit to it. I believed in listening to the majority of the community, who were desperate for our help, and not only to the self-proclaimed leaders. I paid a dear price for it.

This is disturbing on so many levels, not least of which is the people there NEEDED this help. They still do. People who WANT to help, who take time to do this, are then treated shabbily, and labeled racist to boot. Wow. I can only imagine how that felt to Darby after all his work there on behalf of that community.

And where does the FBI fit into all of this? Here's how:
I returned to Texas after a couple of years adminst the political quagmire of post-Katrina New Orleans. My experience there with various groups was educational and life-changing, though some of these groups concerned me. Eventually I began to see some of them as dangerous and deceitful about their missions. This, along with a growing appreciation of my country helped lead me to work with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

I was as proud of this new era in my life as I was of my time in New Orleans. I had the privilege of participating in efforts where lives were saved; both in the United States and in Israel. While working undercover with the FBI at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, I helped to uncover a bomb plot. Two men had made firebombs with a homemade napalm mixture of gasoline and oil. Their initial targets were Republican delegates. These bomb-makers (domestic terrorists) later decided to attack a staging area for the Secret Service and other law-enforcement agencies. Fortunately, they were stopped and arrested.

I was asked, and agreed, to testify against them. As was expected, the more radical elements of the media began to attack both me as an individual and the FBI as a whole. One of the men accused plead guilty; the other hired an expensive defense attorney and concocted a story about the FBI building these bombs to “set up left-wing activists” and stop dissent. But once the facts became clear, the defense changed their story and instead tried to blame the FBI for ”influencing” the terrorists. Thankfully, after one hung jury and many months of intense media attacks against me, the other bomb-maker (domestic terrorist) decided to come clean and admitted to the judge that he had invented the whole story.

What does any of this have to do with ACORN? I wondered the same thing on January 31st of 2009 when I was reading an ACORN blog that is run by Wade Rathke (the man who claims credit for founding ACORN). He devoted an entire page to my work with the FBI. How did he describe the FBI’s effort and success in preventing innocent Americans, local police and federal agents from being burned, maimed and/or possibly killed by firebombs? He wrote that it’s “one thing to disagree, but it’s a whole different thing to rat on folks.” That is what ACORN’s founder had to say about my role in stopping a bomb plot.

I was even more shocked as I continued reading the article. ACORN’s “founder” went on to mention that another self-proclaimed “radical” activist who had worked closely with him was also involved in my story. Her name is Lisa Fithian. I first encountered Ms. Fithian in New Orleans. She came to town after Common Ground Relief had started operations. She assumed a position of prominence and continuously challenged my work and leadership. During the RNC bombing trial, she cooperated with the defense of the bomb plotters and led media attacks on me and the FBI.

Ms. Fithian has been quoted in various mainstream news articles as saying, “Nonviolence is a strategy. Civil disobedience is a tactic,” and “Direct action is a strategy. Throwing rocks is a tactic.” She is also quoted as stating that “When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I say, ‘I create crisis’, because crisis is that edge where change is possible.”

ACORN receives tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers to promote their agenda. Free speech is sacred, of course. However, it is clear that ACORN has made a practice of blurring the lines between free speech and tax-payer-funded activism. Fortunately, our federal government is adept at investigating and identifying the misuse of federal funds. It will be interesting in the near future to see how Mr. Rathke and his ACORN associates stand up to the same scrutiny they have focused on our military, the FBI and other governmental groups and agencies.

After the revelations exposed in the O'Keefe/Giles videos, maybe the FBI will get the hint and take a look into ACORN. If they need a reminder, they can go back and look at the testimony of ACORN Whistleblower, Anita Moncrief, who had PLENTY to say about how ACORN operates, and acknowledged the connections between ACORN and Obama. It is a shocking reminder of what the MSM let go by in order to carry water for Obama.

So, maybe it's not too late? Maybe after all of these recent (and not so recent) revelations SOMEONE in law enforcement will do the right thing and go after ACORN? Make the connections, hold them accountable, and do it now? Heaven knows, there is enough information available, isn't there?

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! Anita Moncrief, the ACORN whistleblower, is going to be on Paulie Abeles, Sins of Omission NQ radio show SEPTEMBER 21st at 9:00 PM (EST)!! WOW!!!! I cannot wait. I'll be there - hope you will, too!