Thursday, November 19, 2009

Political Digest November 19, 2009

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Dirty Bomb Attack Thursday November 19 5P (assume EST?)
Coming soon to a city near you. Excerpt: By concentrating on these key story lines and weaving back and forth between them Dirty Bomb Attack paints an accurate and often gripping picture of the aftermath of a radiological attack and gives viewers useful information in the event that we ever find ourselves faced with this kind of disaster in the future.

Looking forward to this movie.

Millions may have to repay part of stimulus tax credit Workers who don't withhold enough could owe Uncle Sam
From your efficient government that wants to run health care, 1/6th of the economy.

Report: Bill would reduce senior care Medicare cuts approved by House may affect access to providers
Scaremongering by the CMS? Excerpt: A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending -- one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's health-care system -- would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday. The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether. Congress could intervene to avoid such an outcome, but "so doing would likely result in significantly smaller actual savings" than is currently projected, according to the analysis by the chief actuary for the agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid. That would wipe out a big chunk of the financing for the health-care reform package, which is projected to cost $1.05 trillion over the next decade. More generally, the report questions whether the country's network of doctors and hospitals would be able to cope with the effects of a reform package expected to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, the public health program for the poor. In the face of greatly increased demand for services, providers are likely to charge higher fees or take patients with better-paying private insurance over Medicaid recipients, "exacerbating existing access problems" in that program, according to the report from Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

House health bill includes Medicaid relief for states
Expansion of coverage would come with $23.5 billion in aid
Excerpt: Wedged in the House health-care bill is $23.5 billion that looks a lot more like new federal stimulus spending than anything to do with national health-care reform. The barely debated pot of money would allow Congress to continue pumping billions in new short-term aid to states to cover Medicaid costs that have increased with rising unemployment in the past year. The potential impact of the new spending became clear last week when giddy state budget officials in capitals from Annapolis to Sacramento penciled in the revenue, hoping that if health-care legislation survives in the Senate, the states' bonus might squeak through. Medicaid relief for states comprised one of the biggest pieces of February's $787 billion federal stimulus package, but that funding will run out next year, halfway through states' next round of spending plans.

The Looming Total Joint Replacement Surgeon Shortage
Healthcare Reform = Canadian Waiting Lists. You could be in pain for two years. Excerpt: The difference between a good total joint and a great total joint replacement is initially small, but over time the difference can be significant. A good total joint might last 10 years, but a great total joint could last 30 years. Being a total joint surgeon is a profession with little or no room for error with every single hand movement. The procedures are demanding and the patient population is complex. Now, imagine this: The number of total joint replacement surgeons in the United States is cut by over 40 percent. The patient’s option for a surgeon is limited due to demographic or insurance restrictions. This becomes a significant problem if the joint replacement fails because the subsequent surgery is much more complicated; therefore, fewer surgeons are willing to manage the revision.

Groups Seek Probe of Lobbying by SEIU’s Stern
Excerpt: When union leader Andy Stern turned up as the most frequent visitor to the White House during the first nine months of this year, critics raised questions about whether his activities constitute lobbying. Today, Americans for Tax Reform and the Alliance for Worker Freedom took action, sending a letter to acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Channing D. Phillips, requesting an investigation into “the potentially illegal lobbying activities” of Stern, who heads the Service Employees International Union. The letter from Grover Norquist, president of ATR, which advocates for lower taxes, and Brian Johnson, executive director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom, which opposes collective bargaining, cited White House visitor logs through September, that showed Stern met with officials or attended events at the executive mansion 22 times. It also cited Stern’s own tweets about his meetings with senators and other officials, including one from May 18: “At Springsteen concert. Lots of fundraisers in box. Good free choice meetings with key Senators today.”

China questions costs of U.S. healthcare reform
Excerpt: Guess what? It turns out the Chinese are kind of curious about how President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plans would impact America’s huge fiscal deficit. Government officials are using his Asian trip as an opportunity to ask the White House questions. Detailed questions. Boilerplate assurances that America won’t default on its debt or inflate the shortfall away are apparently not cutting it. Nor should they, when one owns nearly $2 trillion in assets denominated in the currency of a country about to double its national debt over the next decade. Nothing happening in Washington today should give Beijing any comfort or confidence about what may happen tomorrow. Healthcare reform was originally promoted as a way to “bend the curve” on escalating entitlement costs, the major part of which is financing Medicare and Medicaid. That is looking more and more like an overpromised deliverable. For instance, a new study from the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that the healthcare reform bill recently passed in the House of Representatives would increase healthcare spending to 21.3 percent of GDP by 2019 compared with 20.8 percent under current law. That’s bending the curve the wrong way. The study also questions the “long-term viability” of the $500 billion in Medicare cuts meant to help pay for expanded insurance coverage.

Iran Creates Special Unit to Go After Opposition on Internet
Excerpt: TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has formed a special unit to monitor Web sites and fight Internet crimes, in a clear attack on an opposition that relies almost exclusively on online means to broadcast its message, local newspapers reported Saturday. Police Col. Mehrdad Omidi, who heads the Internet crime unit, said the committee will fight “insults and the spreading of lies,” terms widely used by the judiciary to describe opposition activities. “Given the spread of Internet use, police must confront crimes taking place in the Web atmosphere,” he said. “A special committee has been set up to monitor the Internet and deal with crimes … such as fraud, … insults and the spreading of lies.” (If BO hears about this, my blog is toast!)

A Jacksonian Republican sweep?
Excerpt: Sometimes a poll result slaps you in the face. That was the case for me when I saw Public Policy Polling’s results in the 2nd congressional district of Arkansas. PPP has the incumbent, Democrat Vic Snyder, leading three unknown Republicans (two-thirds to three-quarters of respondents could not describe their feelings toward them) by margins of 44%-43%, 44%-42% and 45%-42%. No, it doesn’t matter which Republican got the best score. The news here is that a seven-term Democratic incumbent, an intelligent man (he has earned an M.D.) with no disqualifying personal characteristics or accusations of scandal (so far as I know) is running significantly below 50% and is essentially tied with three unknown Republicans.

Experts say ‘green’ economy won’t save New England
Excerpt: BOSTON — Green technology may help drive an economic recovery in New England but the fledgling industry will not be a major engine of growth for the region in the foreseeable future, economists said at a recent conference. The sobering assessment came during the New England Economic Partnership’s fall conference, which was held last week in Boston and focused on so-called “green-collar jobs” and whether their creation will help pull Rhode Island and its neighbors out of recession. President Obama has pushed renewable power, energy efficiency and the like as potential growth industries for the country. His administration has steered billions of dollars in stimulus funds to the creation of jobs in green businesses. Likewise, in Rhode Island, Governor Carcieri has thrown support behind two offshore wind farms, touting their potential to bring high-paying jobs to the state in the manufacturing, assembly and installation of wind turbines. Speakers at the conference last Tuesday, however, said that although the sector will generate jobs, it could take years before it has a large impact on the economy as a whole.

BO: Al Qaeda Terrorists Are “Prisoners of War”
Excerpt: [W]hen this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who’ve received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States. Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture — like other prisoners of war — must be prevented from attacking us again. (Why are we trying POWs in civilian courts? Did we try the tens of thousands of Nazis we captured in WWII? Of course, he also said Afghanistan was a war of necessity. That was then, this is now.)

In Obama's China trip, a stark contrast with the past
The U.S. tone toward Beijing is now much more conciliatory
BO never met a socialist dictator he didn’t love. You down play human rights, give them anything they want, get squat in return—except the news they are building a fifth generation fighter plane you cancelled-- and bow deeply (figuratively), and relations are high. Surprise. Excerpt: BEIJING -- President Obama has emerged from his first trip to China with no big breakthroughs on important issues, such as Iran's nuclear program or China's currency. Yet after two days of talks with the United States' biggest creditor, the administration asserted that relations between the two countries are at "at an all-time high." … If there was any significant change during this trip, in fact, it was in the United States' newly conciliatory and sometimes laudatory tone.

Why has the Bush administration stopped fighting Beijing's human rights abuses?
The Left felt differently if they thought Bush wasn’t strong enough with China!

Bush to denounce China's human rights' violations
Even though Bush was a much stronger defender of Human Rights than Obama.

Reid 'optimistic' about getting 60 votes on health bill
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid scrambled Tuesday to lock down votes behind a health-care bill that he may present as early as Wednesday. The Nevada Democrat would not confirm that he had received commitments from all 60 members of his caucus to overcome GOP procedural objections and bring the bill to the Senate floor, saying only, "I feel cautiously optimistic that we can do that. I think we're together as a caucus." The leader was more outspoken in describing his measure, boasting to reporters: "Of all the bills we've seen, it'll be the best: saves more money, is more protective of Medicare, is a bill that's good for the American people."

Changes sought after 2nd trade show leaves McCormick Place,0,4031278.story
Union rules and wages drive business out of Blagobamaville. Union workers sit home, boiling “Proud to be Union” bumper stickers to make soup.

Obama admits Guantanamo won't close by Jan. deadline
Another BO campaign promise meets reality. But the public votes for the candidate who makes the most impossible-to-keep promises. Disaster follows.

Questionable government payments on rise, administration says
Excerpt: The federal government made $98 billion in questionable payments to contractors and individuals last year, the Obama administration said Tuesday, a sharp increase from the previous year when the government improperly paid out an estimated $72 billion. (Who, other than the crooks, would not wish BO well in fighting this. Why is government more susceptible to fraud? Personally, I think quick trials and firing squads would go a long way towards reducing the problem.)

Morning Fix: The sticky wicket of Afghanistan
The Fix always has good short political news. But in this case, must we always discuss Afghanistan in terms of the best political answer? What about the best moral answer? What happens to Afghani women when we pull out? Excerpt: What these numbers make clear is that there is no right answer from a political perspective for Obama when it comes to Afghanistan -- just a series of choices that range from bad to worse. No matter what Obama chooses then -- and a decision on troop levels is expected as soon as next week -- he will have to sell it to the American people, a high-stakes political game as the calendar turns from 2009 to 2010.

Also from The Fix (item #4)
Why liberals control the agenda in Congress, and are likely to continue to do so. Excerpt: Buried deep in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey are eye-opening numbers about the commitment to ideological purity within the two parties. Asked whether they would rather see a Democrat nominated who disagreed with them on many issues but had a good chance of winning or a candidate who agreed with them on most issues but had a poor chance of winning, 58 percent of Democrats chose the former option while 38 percent took the latter. Forty three percent of Republicans said they would prefer a candidate who could win while 53 percent said they would rather a candidate who they agreed with ideologically no matter his or her electoral chances.

The most important number in politics today
Excerpt: 1 That's the number of issue areas where a majority of political independents approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News national survey. Only on international affairs does Obama get majority support with 57 percent of independents offering approval for the job he is doing. The rest of Obama's approval scores among independents on the seven issues tested in the poll range from fair to borderline poor. Forty six percent approve of his handling of "the threat of terrorism" while 45 percent said he has done a good job on the economy. Obama's job approval ratings are weaker among independents when it comes to health care (41 percent), Afghanistan (39 percent) and the budget deficit (37 percent).

Mr. President, Do Not Let Obama's Dream Die in Your Hands.
Too late. President Wobbly caved.

A Minority View: Excused Horrors
Excerpt: Alan Kors, University of Pennsylvania history professor, gave the evening's keynote address. What he revealed about the dereliction and character weakness of academics, intellectuals, media elites and politicians is by no means complimentary, but worse than that, dangerous. Professor Kors said that over the years, he has frequently asked students how many deaths were caused by Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung and their successors. Routinely, they gave numbers in the thousands. Kors says that's equivalent to saying the Nazis are responsible for the deaths of just a few hundred Jews. But here's the record: Nazis were responsible for the deaths of 20 million of their own people and those in nations they conquered. Between 1917 and 1983, Stalin and his successors murdered, or were otherwise responsible for the deaths of, 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, Mao Tsetung and his successors were responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese.

Health 'Reform' Gets a Failing Grade
Excerpt: As the dean of Harvard Medical School I am frequently asked to comment on the health-reform debate. I'd give it a failing grade. Instead of forthrightly dealing with the fundamental problems, discussion is dominated by rival factions struggling to enact or defeat President Barack Obama's agenda. The rhetoric on both sides is exaggerated and often deceptive. Those of us for whom the central issue is health—not politics—have been left in the lurch. And as controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial. Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

Where Are the Doctors to Implement ObamaCare?
A University of California chancellor warns that America could soon look like Massachusetts.
Excerpt: Health care reform will fail to achieve its promise of affordable access to medical care unless the nation's physician workforce is substantially expanded to meet the demand that newly insured patients will place on an already over-burdened system. A comprehensive strategy for growing the physician workforce – as well as other allied health professionals such as nurses and physicians' assistants – should be developed and supported with a federal investment at the same time health insurance is expanded to cover millions of additional people. Without this, gaining access to prompt medical care for all patients will become even more difficult. There will be longer wait times for appointments, less face time with a physician and, in all likelihood, delayed diagnoses leading to more expensive treatment and increased risk of complications. One need only look at the experience of Massachusetts, where the adoption of universal health coverage has intensified the physician shortage.

The Fake Jobs of Obama’s Failed Stimulus
Not that they lie, but that they are so clumsy about it! Excerpt: Forget everything bad you’ve ever heard about President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus. Combing through the data on the $18 million website, you’ll find tons of Obama stimulus success stories from across the country. In Minnesota’s 57th Congressional District, 35 jobs have been saved or created using $404,340 in stimulus funds. In New Mexico’s 22nd Congressional District, 25 jobs have been saved or created using $61,000 in stimulus cash. And in Arizona’s fighting 15th Congressional District, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. The it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren’t-our-tax-dollars-at-stake punch line here is that none of the above Congressional Districts actually exist. Yet those jobs “created or saved” claims still sit on the Obama administration’s official “transparency and accountability” website.

Federal Term Limits: DeMint Is Not Deterred
Excerpt: Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) is resurrecting the debate about federal term limits with a new push to limit service by Members of the House and Senate to a maximum of twelve years. The main reason he is renewing efforts on this front is to curb the growth of government. Religion of Peace Track the daily violence.

Editorial: Lawsuits take toll on cities, counties
Lawsuits continue to destroy the country.

Sex infections still growing in U.S., says CDC
Excerpt: Overall, CDC estimates that 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, almost half among 15- to 24-year-olds. (To combat this, I’ve stopped dating 15-to 24-year-olds. Just doing my part.)

Clinton in Afghanistan,0,4315489.story
Wonder if she was under fire again?

China applies muzzle to Obama
Who knew Fox News was in China?

Survey finds only 43 percent would re-elect Obama now
Excerpt: Only 43 percent of voters surveyed by the Zogby/O'Leary Poll would vote for President Obama less than a year after he was elected, or about the same level of support President Clinton won in 1992 in a three-way race with the first President Bush and former EDS executive and national political gadfly Ross Perot. Perhaps even more worrisome for the president is that only 37 percent of independents queried in the survey said they would support Obama. That figure appears to be consistent with exit polling following the Virginia and New Jersey governorship races which indicated a seismic shift among independents away from Obama and to Republican candidates Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie. And on the question of trust, Obama also fell far short of his performance during the 2008 presidential race. A year later, Zogby/O'Leary find that 42 percent of voters say they do not trust the Obama White House “at all” to gain passage in Congress of legislation that will create new jobs in 2010, and another 11 percent say they don't have much trust that the president can succeed on that score

Lieberman may subpoena officials over shooting spree at Fort Hood
My favorite liberal Democrat keeps the heat on.

All Journalists Volunteering to Be Beheaded for Obama, Raise Your Hands!
Excerpt: On February 1, 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11, cried “allahu akbar,” seized a young American journalist by the hair, and slit his throat. The writer’s name was Daniel “Danny” Pearl, the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal. This brilliant reporter and fiercely loved husband, soon to be a father for the first time, was beheaded, cut into ten pieces and flung into a shallow grave because he was an American journalist, just like you. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s religious and political convictions are identical to those publically professed by Terrorist Nidal Hasan. Both believed themselves justified by their radical Islamic faith. Many of you spent the past ten days weaving a veil of deception to conceal the true face of Hasan. Instead of exposing a brother-in-arms of Danny’s butcher, you fabricated a PTSD victim in need of Prozac and Oprah. This is perhaps a good time for you to quietly watch the video of Danny’s beheading. It is time to consider if you want to use your talents to legitimize those who think that severing the heads of journalists is a duty of faith. (The silver lining is the President Wobbly’s policies are likely to result in fewer prisoners and more terrorist corpses after an engagement.)

Barack Obama: Afghanistan leaks firing offense
They know how to deal with this in Chicago.

Obama’s Friends
Interesting NZ site.

For your Christmas Card List
ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004

Quotes from The Patriot Post (
"The malice of the wicked is reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous" --British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

"We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst." --Irish novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

"If you are afraid to speak against tyranny, then you are already a slave." --author John "Birdman" Bryant (1943-2009)

"While in China, President Obama gave a speech. He said that 'being open to criticism makes democracy stronger and makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions I don't want to hear.' Then he went back to trashing Fox News." --comedian Jay Leno.

But does he welcome criticism?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting info. Thanks for sharing this. I found the post about Blagobamaville really interesting. I think that unions can be good but it is sad that like you said "Union workers sit home, boiling “Proud to be Union” bumper stickers to make soup." That means that unions aren't really doing what they should be!