When New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg announced on Thursday, February 14, 2013, that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate, reporters were undoubtedly and immediately interested in the news. With only 100 people serving in the U.S. Senate, it is understandably an important and breaking development. While the news of a retiring senator typically prompts an examination of their political record while serving in office, it also starts the speculation as to who might be running for the seat next. Continue reading
State sponsored media is so last year. And the news that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has been forced out of her job is a good first step in stopping federal funds from going to support a news organization. In the U.S., there is no need for government sponsored media – there are plenty of independent and private news outlets to choose from. Having multiple news sources is the only way to get the real story anyway. Anyone listening or reading to one news source is being spun. Every news organization, albeit every reporter, carries bias into news reporting. Left leaning news organizations, as well as right leaning ones, can give a great perspective if multiple news outlets are used to fully inform. It’s scary when an American believes their preferred news source is the only unbiased coverage.
Schiller and the other left leaning reporters and producers at NPR and its affiliate stations around the country should be allowed to spin the news to the left – but the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for it with our tax dollars. Federal sponsorship of NPR to the tune of tens of millions of dollars doesn’t make sense. The Democrats, of course, have been happy to keep the tax dollars flowing to NPR because of the support they receive from its news coverage. Imagine the outrage if Fox News received federal funds. The new Republican Congress is right to cut the state sponsorship for NPR. If listeners want the news it produces then they will need to pay for it. It’s a basic principle of supply and demand. If NPR is as crucial to understanding the news as the liberals say then it will be supported by those who need it. Make no mistake about it: Schiller created this blow-back by accepting tax dollars and making the editorial choices she did. It was only a matter of time before someone said, “Why am I paying for this ideological coverage?” NPR’s editorial decisions over the years to support left leaning politicians, ideas and an expansion of government programs are certainly supported by some Americans – but this partisan coverage should not receive tax dollars to do it.
NPR will survive. Its’ federal funding won’t. It may not look like its current propped up form this time next year, but NPR will continue to advocate for liberal policies and report the news as it sees it. And I bet we see Schiller working for another liberal organization soon enough; she has demonstrated that she is an advocate for the left.
When you get a $173 billion dollar bailout from American taxpayers you don’t have to worry about making good financial decisions – especially when Congress and the Obama Administration aren’t paying attention to what you’re doing. Ever since AIG got their enormous taxpayer bailout, they have been dragging their feet on paying back the money. In Taiwan, AIG has flailed repeated in what should have been an easy sale of its local insurance unit, called Nan Shan. Most recently, AIG inexplicably chose the low bidder in a deal that Taiwanese regulators may have to reject for the second time. This is no way to run a company, unless you aren’t worried about the bottom line because you are owned and backed by the U.S. government. The American taxpayer owns 92% of AIG but has no say in its decision-making process.
Last year, AIG CEO Robert Benmoche said, “I’m confident you’re going to get your money back plus a profit.” But today, AIG remains one of the largest debtors under the TARP bailout program. The Taiwan example may be the perfect illustration for why they haven’t been able to pay the U.S. taxpayer back. As part of AIG’s original agreement with the U.S. government, it is required to sell off their assets. U.S. regulators assumed that meant they would sell them to the highest bidder. Since AIG is using our money, they have a responsibility to the American taxpayer to take the best price they can get, right? Well, not really. The financial wizards at AIG took the 4th highest price for their Taiwanese unit and left $800 million on the table.
AIG’s incompetence is on prominent display in Asia — and the Obama administration and Congress seem not to care. In its first go-round, which began in May of 2009, AIG tried to sell Nan Shan to a consortium consisting of a battery manufacturer with operations in mainland China and a Hong Kong-based venture capital group. Included in the consortium were people with official positions bestowed by the Chinese Communist Party. Astonishingly, it didn’t occur to AIG that this might be a sensitive issue for Taiwanese regulators. The deal was announced in September of 2009 and rejected the following summer by overseers. But few people outside of AIG’s executive suite were surprised.
Round two does not appear to be going any better for the bailed out company. Just last month, AIG chose a supermarket operator named Ruentex from 4 different bidders who wanted to buy their Taiwan business. You’d think AIG would prefer a finance company be owned by a company with finance experience, right? More stunningly, AIG reportedly left almost $1 billion sitting on the table—money that rightly belongs to U.S. taxpayers – in the deal. They reportedly passed over three would-be buyers, offering up to $3 billion for Nan Shan, in order to take a $2.2 billion offer from a company that sells more wontons than insurance policies. It’s no wonder AIG needed a bailout.
The outcome, which surprised not only onlookers in Taiwan, but Wall Street analysts in New York, continues to defy serious explanation. AIG claims the Ruentex offer was the most credible and best overall. But the deal seems suspect. Obama’s Treasury Department and Congress should be asking some serious questions. But the Obama team hasn’t even instructed our de-facto embassy in Taipei to talk to the Taiwanese government about the U.S. interest the deal. This means, nobody is watching what AIG is doing. But since AIG is gambling with our money, someone in Washington should start asking some tough questions.
Today’s Washington Post calls out Jane Harman for missing 43 votes this year alone. While Jane gives no excuse for why she isn’t showing up, she continues to collect her government salary and pension anyway. Jane announced she is leaving Congress after 33 days of her 2 year commitment but said she would serve until March 1st. Now word comes she isn’t even serving during this transition period.
Jane’s friend Kitty Felde, from the local NPR affiliate KPCC, has poked fun at people who are trying to get Millionaire Harman to pay for the special election she has created. Harman, afterall, is worth millions of dollars and her husband owns Newsweek. Kitty lives in Washington, DC and so we’re not surprised she doesn’t get the outrage we are feeling in the South Bay over being taken advantage of by a millionaire who resigned after telling us she would serve 2 years. Kitty and the rest of the LA media should find out if Jane is spending time at her new job while collecting taxpayer dollars. In fact, the Woodrow Wilson Center should come clean and tell us when they started negotiating with Jane for their top job. Additionally, the Woodrow Wilson Center should let us know if Jane has been showing up in their offices over the last few weeeks while collecting her Congressional salary.
When the Washington Post notices your absence, shouldn’t the LA media?
Former Representative Jane Harman was the second-wealthiest member of the United States Congress, with a fortune estimated at nearly $300 million. And yet she served only 33 days of a 730 day commitment after winning re-election in November 2010.
Now, California voters will be forced to foot the bill for a special election – at a price tag in the millions of dollars. She hasn’t been upfront about when she started looking for a new job and it seems unlikely she didn’t know she’d be leaving Congress before the election.
Why should Californians pay for her cavalier attitude towards public service?
The idea that Jane Harman is quitting Congress because she is a frustrated moderate is absurd. Harman is worth an estimated $300 million and so she thinks she can dine and dash at taxpayers’ expense. She has been missing in action from our 36th district for years. She didn’t hold a single public forum before the government healthcare vote despite her constituents’ pleadings and protests. She has consistently ignored the people of the South Bay and is only seen when there is an election at hand. Harman has been aloof and disconnected for years.
She quit Congress because the Democrats were no longer in control and millionaires don’t like to toil away in the minority. Why would she run for a new term if she really had no intention of finishing it? What changed so abruptly? Lee Hamilton announced May 3, 2010 that he would be leaving the Woodrow Wilson Center job that Harman is now taking. Harman and the Woodrow Wilson Center should come clean on exactly when their conversation started. If it is found that Harman was already making inquiries to take the Center’s top job before her November election then she owes the voters an apology. Harman resigning a few weeks in to a two year term is offensive to the voters. In fact, Harman served all of 33 days of her 730 day commitment before announcing her departure – that’s a cost to taxpayers of $126,575.34 of wasted time when you figure her annual office budget is $1.4 million.
Sadly, we are not surprised by her lack of respect for us – it’s been a pattern. Millionaire politicians think they can do what they want without facing the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, Los Angeles taxpayers also have to foot the million dollar special election bill to pay for Harman’s selfishness. Harman should pay for the election to fill her vacancy with her personal fortune and reimburse the taxpayers for her ego-centric decision. After all, Harman can afford it; Los Angeles taxpayers already have a huge budget deficit.
The person who replaces Harman should be someone with real world experience, not some re-cycled politician with tired ideas seeking higher office and creating more special elections. Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen are career politicians that have been so unimpressive that it would be a mistake for voters to send them to Washington. Hahn helped create the financial mess that Los Angeles finds itself in and Bowen hasn’t produced the changes at the DMV she promised. Why send uninspiring bureaucrats to do the same thing in Congress? We’ve seen what they deliver and we should say, “No thanks.”
Isn’t there someone in the South Bay that knows how to balance a budget and make the necessary tough decisions that we expect of our representatives? Is there someone in the 36th District that could bring new ideas to Washington without maneuvering for their next gig? How about we find someone that will also come back home to the South Bay after serving and live under the same laws that they helped create? Thomas Jefferson is asking for someone to stand up – and the voters are asking the same ‘ole politicians to sit down.
There are some issues that are too important to overlook on Election Day. Defending our national security is one of them. Voting to implement the new START treaty in its current form is not only dangerous for Americans’ security but will send a strong signal to President Obama that he can continue to dilute U.S. defense capabilities. Make no mistake about it, Senators voting for the new START treaty give their support and acquiescence to President Obama’s weak national security policies. Obama has shown a willingness to dismantle missile defense programs, weaken American consequences for rogue nations’ non compliances with international demands, decrease naval readiness and neglect developing international threats. Republican Senators who vote to approve of President Obama’s weak negotiation strategies deserve to be challenged in a primary election and defend their inattentive national security votes. Democratic Senators, too, should think long and hard about supporting a new START Treaty with Russia that is riddled with red-flags:
- With Iran and North Korea testing and building offensive capabilities, should the U.S. be limiting ours’?
- The U.S. and Russia already disagree about what the Treaty says about U.S. missile defense development.
- The Treaty’s pre-amble guarantees Russia a strong missile defense program.
- Russia seldom abides by its international commitments, see Iran sanctions, and so solid verification systems are crucial.
- Internal State Department memos highlight Obama’s proclivity for ending strong missile defense shields altogether.
- Russia’s Georgia example.
- No Treaty has ever been ratified in a lame duck session.
- Russia is financially broke; it can’t afford to build up its capabilities like it once could.
- Putin is already threatening the U.S. if the treaty is not ratified – is this a “partner” we should deal with on nuclear issues?
- Obama failed to negotiate real verification methods to understand and ensure Russia’s compliance with the Treaty.
It is ironic that the same week that the Obama Administration has launched a public education program to instruct Americans to get indoors in the event of a nuclear weapons attack; they are also trying to push through a major reduction in American military capabilities. Is the Obama Administration’s new emphasis on surviving a weapons attack a natural extension of his naïve and trusting nature? Senators voting to “rush and not verify” U.S. national security issues in a lame duck session of Congress during the week of Christmas should face harsh judgment from voters. Democratic Senators will be defined by their Republican challengers as weak on national security and Republican Senators should be prepared to face a primary challenge from a more responsible and thoughtful candidate.
United States Senator Barbara Boxer — she insists on being called by the full title — not only doesn’t work with Republicans in Washington, she doesn’t work very well with members of her own Democratic Party. Unlike our other U.S. Senator, Diane Feinstein, Boxer consistently advocates for radical views and fringe issues. Boxer is antagonistic towards California’s business community, votes exactly the way the unions instruct her, rarely meets with people and groups she disagrees with and is known for her grand ego and mean-spirited temper. Boxer has spent 28 years in Washington and is considered by many to be the consummate self-serving politician insulated from everyday people. If you think Washington, DC, is broken, Barbara Boxer’s radical tenure is one of the main reasons.
Boxer has for years blocked oil drilling on land and in shallow waters. It was Boxer who helped lead the effort to push oil drilling into deep waters — so far out that it was next to impossible to stop wells from leaking or do necessary repairs in the ocean. But for Boxer, as long as her radical environmentalist friends couldn’t actually see the drills then she was ok with drilling. Boxer’s policy wasn’t based on philosophical beliefs or actual concerns for the environment; she just wanted it out of sight. Sadly, we saw the repercussions of Boxer’s radical drilling views during the BP Gulf Coast oil disaster when even the government couldn’t make the necessary repairs to the oil rig because of the depth of the ocean waters it was in.
Boxer has also not just been pro-choice but has worked to make abortions federally funded. Boxer has advocated the use of tax dollars to support women who want their abortions paid for by others. Boxer hasn’t just wanted healthcare reform to better serve those that get sick and can’t pay for healthcare, she has advocated and worked hard for a public option to replace our current system. Boxer has pushed for a federally run healthcare system similar to how the federal government runs the post office — federal control with local service centers. Boxer also continues to believe in an economic plan that is based around more federal spending and higher taxes to pay for the spending. Boxer is advocating for even more stimulus money than the $900 billion already spent by the Obama Administration.
Californians who expect politicians to work with others to find solutions to our problems must not support Boxer for re-election. And moderate and independent voters who believe we must stop the bickering in Washington and end partisan roadblocks must recognize that Boxer is abig part of the problem. The San Francisco Chronicle, the most liberal newspaper in the state and Boxer’s hometown newspaper, said it best when it decided NOT to endorse Boxer for re-election. The editorial read:
“The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. … Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. … (Californians) deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts. … Boxer’s campaign, playing to resentment over (Carly) Fiorina’s wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.”
It is time to change Washington and that means making sure the bitter and partisan Barbara Boxer is not there representing the largest of the United States. Each state gets only two people to represent it in Congress. Boxer has done nothing to suggest she’ll serve the people of California any better in the next six years than she has in the last 18, which is not at all. Californians should step out and be the first to send the message that Washington politicians must stop being bitter partisans and start working together. Defeating Boxer will send that message.
Juan Williams’ firing sends a wake-up call just in time for the mid-term elections. Voters should demand to know if candidates will continue funding NPR. It’s time to stop putting government funding into programs that compete with the private sector. Tax dollars, after all, should be used to fund initiatives that take care of the needy or provide services that the private sector can’t or isn’t willing to provide. Information radio in the United States is hardly something that our government should think is a top priority, especially when we have budget deficits, sky-rocketing unemployment, falling government revenue and critical public programs being cut. There is also a healthy and vibrant private sector news radio industry and, therefore, no need to prop up one funded with tax dollars. Government money given to NPR means government sponsored radio competing with the private sector – a uniquely un-American idea. If private sector citizens want to fund NPR then they should step up and do it with more commitment. Coercing the rest of us to pay for NPR’s elite radio programming through our taxes is clearly a subsidy for the wealthy.
NPR and its executives are to blame for the reaction to this alarm bell going off. NPR’s intolerance of conservative opinions is well-known. There are very few voices allowed on NPR programs that represent opinions outside the traditional liberal and elite viewpoints. When NPR does allow a conservative voice air-time, it is limited and usually preceded by a condescending question or commentary. Juan Williams firing by NPR was only a matter of time because the liberal executives running the shows at NPR never liked the fact that Williams was on Fox News. It’s clear that NPR would rather play consistently to the left than reach a balanced audience. And for that, they deserve to be pushed away from the public trough.
As all conservatives already know, NPR consistently frames stories in a slanted way to aid and comfort its overwhelming left listenership. For instance, the current rising unemployment rate is not portrayed as an Obama Administration problem. It is usually reported by NPR without an Obama angle and more times than not, as a total spin job. Conversely, every month the unemployment rate went up during the Bush Administration it was portrayed as an announcement from the Bush White House or Bush Team followed by an evaluation of Bush’s economic policies. The NPR diatribe was clear: unemployment is rising and Bush’s policies are not working.
This past Labor Day, the traditional start of election season, NPR reported the rising 9.6 unemployment rate as a recovery in the making. And I’m not joking. Shockingly, commentators and story selections were spinning that a recovery was happening, just slowly. NPR even highlighted a story suggesting that more people were traveling for Labor Day and feeling good about the economy. But in fact, a recovery wasn’t happening and the unemployment rate has risen.
Conservatives have seethed for years as NPR hosts mock conservative ideas, poke fun at conservative candidates’ mistakes and run stories over several days when there is a negative story to tell about a Republican. Every conservative scandal receives multiple days of commentary and a thorough analysis, while Democrats caught in mishaps either get little coverage, no mentions at all or one hit.
My local NPR station in Los Angeles just yesterday ran a LIVE extended interview with one of the most liberal members of the County Board of Supervisors (15 days before the mid-term elections) where he lauded Senator Barbara Boxer’s leadership on public transportation issues. He praised Boxer for something she hasn’t even taken credit for. He went on to give additional credit to only Democrats for bringing a new rail line to the people of LA. The host of the interview never pushed back or asked a question of the Supervisor’s claim that Boxer brought the rail line to LA – it was just assumed that Boxer delivered to the people. Boxer’s new rail line, by the way, doesn’t even extend to the airport – which happens to be the number one transportation concern for residents – so if she did bring this project to LA it’s a colossal waste of tax dollars. Sadly, it was an expected and typical interview from NPR.
But thanks to Juan Williams being fired, the rest of us might be able to keep a little more money in our paychecks. Voters everywhere should ask their congressional candidates to commit to stop publicly funding NPR before they cast their ballots on November 2. My mom used to take the ball away from us when someone cheated. She would say, “If you can’t play fair then you can’t play at all”. It’s time voters took the ball away from NPR.
Obama’s White House is still in campaign mode. And the political appointees they hired to lead federal agencies are in campaign mode. This team isn’t governing America thoughtfully. They make quick and short term decisions based on political calculation and media coverage designed to quickly move public opinion. The Shirley Sherrod incident only highlights the partisan calculation this White House and its allies do on a daily basis.
For example, Robert Gibbs’ has been biting and condescending toward Republicans and all non-Democrats from the moment he stepped on the podium. Rahm Emanuel has been caught pounding the White House’s political opponents in Congress rather than seeking common ground on policy decisions, budget decisions have been designed to maximize the impact to political groups rather than creating jobs or building the economy and multiple weekly parties and celebrations for supporters have supplanted the hard work expected by the American people. This White House is quick to react and quick to throw a party but slow to leave the presidential campaigning behind.
Voters across the country are holding out-of-touch politicians accountable for their years of egocentric decisions and callous indifference to constituents. Southern California Democrat Jane Harman exemplifies the politician that voters are tired of. Harman’s career in Congress may very well end in California’s primary election on June 8th.
What is clear to district voters is that Harman’s silly and childish public fight with Speaker Nancy Pelosi has neutered her ability to be effective in introducing or passing legislation. Its clear Harman won’t work with Republicans and can’t work with her own party’s leadership. She has single-handedly alienated most everyone she needs to be an effective voice for the people in her coastline Los Angeles district. Harman’s self-proclaimed expertise on national security issues has also become a thorny issue for the conservatives who think she isn’t tough enough and the liberals who think she is too tough. Harman is proof that if you are everything to everyone then you’re a soul-less politician without a base. Harman’s television commercials comically mention no issues but instead show pictures of the district with upbeat music playing while her name is splashed on the screen – a constant reminder to voters that we don’t know who she is or what she stands for after 8 terms in Congress. But voters have tired of being ignored by the multi-millionaire Congresswoman who failed to hold any legitimate town hall meetings on Obama’s healthcare plan even though voters in the district were calling for them. Harman, the richest Democrat in Congress, just ignored the requests and petitions from voters and kept a low profile during the debate. Harman likes to pay attention to the voters closer to her elections.
But California’s unique election process offers voters the chance to classify themselves as “Declined to state” instead of choosing between Republican or Democrat. Harman’s district, which runs from San Pedro to Venice, has one of the highest concentrations of voters classified as “declined to state” in all of California. The independent and unaffiliated voters of the district will decide who represents Los Angeles’ coastal communities in Washington, DC for the next Congress. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect for Harman to lose her seat in the primary election of June 8th. Email chains and community buzz have Democrats and Republicans joining together to dump Harman in the primary by voting for Marcy Winograd. For Democrats, Winograd is a grassroots liberal more connected to the traditional base and willing to listen to the activists of the party. For Republicans, Winograd presents an obvious and stark contrast to their conservative principles of lower taxes and personal responsibility.
Winograd’s tough grassroots campaign has forced Harman to ignore the healthcare debate and call for higher taxes and defense spending cuts despite the fact that her district is home to some of the Nation’s most respected defense contractors. Winograd has effectively outed Harman’s liberal policies at a time when voters are concerned with the traditional tax and spend tactics of this Congress.
Waiting for Winograd or Harman after June 8th, is Mattie Fein. Fein is the best hope for Republicans to take back the district and a rising star in Republican politics. Fein is smart, humble, funny and wildly experienced. She is a mother who speaks comfortably about job creation in the casual beach community of Venice as well as national security policy in the halls of Congress.
Fein will blunt Harman’s self-proclaimed expertise on intelligence and national security issues by challenging Harman’s quixotic ideas of dealing with terrorists. And Fein’s approachability and personality are more in tune with the beach culture of the district than Harman’s limousine liberal attitude.
Without even trying Harman has actually succeeded in uniting the parties together – they are now united to defeat her.
Charles Blow graduated from Grambling State University but now works for the New York Times as “Visual Op/Ed Columnist”. I am not sure what a visual op/ed columnist does but today’s column by Blow is neither visual nor worthy of the New York Times. Blow’s writing is choppy and vapid. His filing today is a 474 word piece of partisan whining for his favorite political party titled “Liberals in Limbo”. While conservatives won’t be shocked that Blow is on staff and writing for the Grey Lady, intellectuals everyway should demand she do better than Blow. One has to wonder, what does Charles Blow offer the New York Times reader?
In a laughable and self-described attempt to be “intellectual”, Blow’s piece today quotes 4 public opinion polls showing how the American electorate is getting more conservative. Blow calls it an “unconscionable conservative tilt in the electorate” and goes on to blow more partisan wind with his knee-jerk homage to Arizona’s new law, Elena Kagan, the oil spill in Louisiana and pro-lifers. Blow adds no analysis or irony to any of his liberal themes, leaving Times readers feeling fleeced. Blow offers no examination of the polls, the changing dynamics of the American electorate or historical context of Congress changing hands. Blow’s writings are simple shout-outs to his facebook friends that already know his opinion on everything. For those of us who don’t know Blow we aren’t compelled to read the Saturday column that he finally got in the New York Times after so many years of trying. Most of us want a Saturday column that’s just well-written and makes us think.
After reading Blow, you are left to wonder why the New York Times gives a weekly column to someone so partisan and void of new thought.
I think today’s over-Blow is supposed to be an encouragement to his fellow partisans that although America is tilting right for this year’s elections, they should just sit tight and wait it out because we all know that liberals are more intellectual and conservatives don’t go to schools like Harvard so they couldn’t possibly be smart – so be proud that you are part of the intellectual crowd and not that simple crowd. He’s more elitist than the New York Times, actually. Which is probably why we’re offered the chance to read him on Saturdays. I’m no longer wasting 5 minutes on the weekend.
Ed Schultz Wants Congress to Regulate Talk Radio
This week, Ed Schultz from MSNBC’s The Ed Show invoked the idea that Congress should use the Fairness Doctrine to regulate talk radio.
In a laughable attempt to control ratings through government manipulation of the radio airwaves, Schultz says that conservatives are “low information voters” and therefore, the government has a responsibility to break up the free market supply and demand system used by radio station owners. Schultz claims that because the 5 largest commercial talk radio station owners run a majority of conservative shows on their stations, the government should step in to balance the numbers out – a kind of liberal affirmative action program for talk radio.
But this was no April fool’s joke – it was March 31. Schultz was serious.
Let’s start by setting aside Schultz’s pathetic hypocrisy that talk radio should be regulated by the government but the main stream media’s 50 years of liberal bias goes without a mention. And let’s also set aside his ridiculous elitism that assumes conservatives blindly follow radio hosts by being easily manipulated and hood-winked with “low information”. And let’s also set aside the fact that Schultz is actually attacking America’s free-market system when he suggests that private companies should offer talk radio programs even though there are few listeners and advertisers to support it. If we set all that aside, the fact remains that liberal chatter doesn’t sell in America. It’s just not popular. It’s like Schultz didn’t know that Air America, the highly marketed liberal talk radio network, failed. Newsflash, Ed: Air America went bankrupt. Either the liberal owners of Air America were bad at business or there wasn’t a demand for their experiment. Schultz would like people to believe that conservative talk radio stations have little listenership, make no money but stay on the air anyway.
Schultz thinks the traditional supply and demand model for talk radio should be replaced with government intervention programs that “even out the playing field”. I guess taking over 1/6 of the Nation’s economy wasn’t enough for Schultz. With healthcare hijacked he’s moving on to talk radio.
The Ed Show asked viewers this week to respond to the question, “Should congress take action to balance talk radio?” And to “debate” the issue of imbalance on the airwaves, Schultz invited two liberals but no conservatives. The irony was brilliant! There they were; Holland Cooke and Bill Press, the pseudo-journalist, discussing fairness with Ed Schultz. Talk about low information…
Media Matters Jumps to Defend Unsolicited White House Emails to Federal Employees
Media Matters, the defender of liberal media, today jumped into the developing controversy and debate over White House Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle’s unsolicited White House emails to federal employees. Media Matters scolds and makes fun of CBS News and Fox News for highlighting the issue, calling the claims “pure speculation”. Ironically, Media Matters doesn’t deny that the unsolicited emails have been sent but rather they defend the emails by saying, “it appears they are sent out to everyone on the whitehouse.gov mailing list.” Well, duh. That’s the problem. Why are federal employees on the whitehouse.gov email list? And why are federal employees being hounded to do the White House’s political bidding for a trillion dollar entitlement program?
Building support for President Barack Obama’s health reform package by sending consecutive emails to federal employees’ official government email inboxes and instructing them to forward the emails to their “friends, family and online networks” is not only unethical but possibly illegal.
Media Matters also complains that the story has no anonymous quotes from frustrated federal employees in order to prove the story. Which is a fair point. I’ll give them that. So here are two anonymous quotes from State Department employees that didn’t sign up for the White House emails but are still receiving political musings from Nancy-Ann DeParle and the White House:
Anonymous Quote #1:
“ I didn’t sign up for this. Why do I have to bother with political fights from work. This is inappropriate and distracting to REAL issues.”
Anonymous Quote #2:
“I have been receiving these emails at my state.gov address, unsolicited e-mails such as the one below on a near weekly basis. Kinda threatening dontcha think? Budget problems if it doesn’t pass?”
Department of State employees receive hundreds of official government emails every day on pressing issues like the Israeli-Palestinian issue or the Iranian nuclear weapons issue. Should they have to worry about partisan political emails threatening budget complications if Obama’s bill isn’t passed?
DeParle’s language in one email flatly states that there will be budget problems for federal agencies if the Obama bill isn’t passed. DeParle uses scare tactics that are clearly meant as threats:
“No ifs, ands or buts about it — if we do nothing to reform our broken health care system, costs will continue to skyrocket and break the budgets of American families, small businesses and the Federal Government,” read the March 12th email from DeParle.
Since Media Matters is trying to dismiss the issue as “pure speculation”, here are 2 examples of the emails. Decide for yourself:
From: Nancy-Ann DeParle, The White House [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:10 PM
To: (Name Withheld)
625 — that’s the number of people who lost their health insurance every hour in 2009.1
A statistic like that tells a frightening story — losing insurance can happen to anyone. How many more Americans have to lose their health insurance and how many more businesses have to drop coverage before we fix our broken health care system?
We’ve been debating what to do about our broken health care system for decades — not just this past year. Every idea has been put on the table. Every argument has been made. Everything there is to say about health reform has been said. It’s time to decide how to reform our health care system to give American families and businesses the security and stability they deserve.
As the President has said, “In the United States of America, no one should have to worry that they’ll go without insurance — not for one year, not for one month, not for one day.”
The millions of Americans who lost their insurance last year can’t wait any longer. The time is now for health insurance reform.
625 is the latest digit in ‘Health Reform by the Numbers,’ an online campaign to spread the word about the need for health insurance reform. You can help raise awareness by sharing this email with your friends, family and online networks.
Let’s get it done.
Director, White House Office of Health Reform
1The Wonk Room, ThinkProgress.org, UPDATE: 15,000 People Lost Health Insurance Per Day In 2009
This email was sent to (name withheld)@state.gov
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111
To: (Name Withheld)
Subject: “There but for the grace of God go any one of us”
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 16:05:48 -0400
If you’re an American under the age of 65, there’s roughly a 50/50 chance that you will find yourself without coverage at some point in the next decade.1
Simply put, losing insurance can happen to anyone.
At yesterday’s health reform event, President Obama told the story of Natoma, a self-employed woman in Ohio who found herself in the position of losing her health insurance after yet another rate hike from her insurance company:
“She realized that if she paid those health insurance premiums that had been jacked up by 40 percent … she couldn’t make ends meet. So January was her last month of being insured. Like so many responsible Americans — folks who work hard every day, who try to do the right thing — she was forced to hang her fortunes on chance… And on Saturday, Natoma was diagnosed with leukemia…
“Part of what makes this issue difficult is most of us do have health insurance, we still do…. But what we have to understand is that what’s happened to Natoma, there but for the grace of God go any one of us.”
For Natoma and the millions of other Americans forced to face the burden of medical bills they can’t pay while at their most vulnerable — the time is now for health insurance reform. Watch the video of Natoma’s story and learn what more you can do to help spread the word about the need for reform.
50/50 is the latest number in ‘Health Reform by the Numbers,’ our online campaign to raise awareness about why we just can’t wait any longer for health insurance reform. Help spread the word by sharing this message with your family, friends and online networks.
Let’s get it done.
Director, White House Office of Health Reform
1 Department of the Treasury, The Risk of Losing Health Insurance Over a Decade
This email was sent to (name withheld)@state.gov
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111
If President Barack Obama gets his trillion dollar healthcare bill passed this week by the Democrats in Congress, parents will be required to pay for their unmarried kids’ healthcare coverage until the age of 26. And Generation Y will be enticed to continue slacking, without a job, well past college graduation. While ski bums everywhere are cheering the news that the federal government will be forcing parents to pay for their health insurance through age 26, parents are questioning why the federal government is enticing a whole generation to stay unemployed.
America has always been a place where hard work is rewarded regardless of one’s age, family status or educational background. If you have an idea you are committed to and make sacrifices to further the idea, you can be wildly successful in our capitalistic system. In America, you can launch a multi-billion dollar computer company from your garage, you can grow up homeless and make it Harvard and you can create a world-wide social networking movement while still in college. But you can also be a slacker if you have the means to slack. Spending a year skiing, hanging out on the beach and surfing or traveling the world are options for the few lucky ones who have parents wealthy enough to pay for such endeavors.
But should the U.S. government encourage college kids to become slackers? Does Generation Y need any more encouragement to feel entitled? And should society guarantee a 5 year hiatus from responsibility after college graduation for millions of college kids? While it is true that many college graduates today will be self-motivated to find a career, make their own money and contribute to society, Generation Y has been the most entitled generation in history. Should the American taxpayer tempt these kids further into believing that the American dream is easy to fulfill?
Obama’s healthcare bill is being celebrated on the slopes of Colorado and the surf shacks of California but is a dangerous precedent for future generations. Here is the exact wording:
SEC. 2714. EXTENSION OF DEPENDENT COVERAGE.
`(a) In General- A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that provides dependent coverage of children shall continue to make such coverage available for an adult child (who is not married) until the child turns 26 years of age.
One could understand extending another entitlement program through age 26 in countries where the average work week is 30 hours per week and vacation time is guaranteed at 8-10 weeks per year. But is this new proposal anti-American? We aren’t supposed to reward people who don’t work hard and make sacrifices to get ahead. And we aren’t supposed to guarantee anything in America but a fair shot. America is a place where you prove your commitment to your family and your community through hard work and sacrifice. It is this ethic that we call American values.
But the American free-market system is under intense assault from President Obama and his partners in the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. Obama has proposed massive new programs to give money, guaranteed jobs and entitlements to millions of Americans. In 2008, 36% of Americans paid no taxes. Think about the fact that more than 1/3 of our neighbors paid zero taxes. Did you pay any taxes last year? If you were part of the working group that paid for the slackers, do you really think they need another entitlement program that you will have to pay for?
Obama’s Popularity Isn’t Translating Into Progress
The White House staff should never allow Barack Obama to go to Copenhagen again. The last time Obama went to Copenhagen the United States got thrown out of the 2016 Olympic bidding process in the first round. This last week, Obama went to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference and he lost an international agreement on one of his priority issues. If Obama can’t convince the international community to go along with one of his signature issues then the President’s clout isn’t what some Americans claim it is. Other than healthcare reform, President Obama has talked about global warming and climate change issues more than almost any other issue during the campaign and since taking office. The Copenhagen disaster is a real sign of Obama’s shallow influence internationally.
The biggest news coming out of Copenhagen, but not covered by the American media, is that Obama hasn’t been able to convince other Countries to act even though he is the most popular Head of State. One year into Obama’s Presidency and the international community has yet to take action on any U.S. priority. You have to wonder why world leaders claim to love him but won’t follow him.
Obama’s popularity and charisma failed to convince the world to bring the Olympics to the U.S., to sign the Copenhagen agreement, to produce new additional NATO troops for Afghanistan or Iraq, to produce any additional action on confronting Iran’s continued uranium enrichment and even to convince his own Democratic party to support some of his priority issues.
Candidate Obama received the media’s overt support throughout the primary and general elections and became an international super star. Today, Barack or Michelle Obama continue to appear on large and medium sized magazine covers from health and fitness publications to news periodicals to cooking and sports magazines and in nearly every language.
But Copenhagen has shown that we shouldn’t confuse Obama’s popularity with progress. He is clearly popular in other countries but it is because he isn’t asking them to act. Or if he is, he isn’t strong enough to convince them. They love the easy ride.
Iran’s illegal enrichment of uranium is a perfect example of Obama’s weakness. During the Bush Administration, President Bush and his team were able to isolate Iran and organize the international community to produce Security Council sanctions and a total of 3 UN resolutions. Although forcing the Security Council to negotiate and ultimately vote on tough resolutions is never easy and always unpopular, it is an important leadership test. China, Russia and others weren’t happy to be forced to confront Iran – but ultimately Iran sanctions were passed with unanimous support.
The Obama team has chosen to take the easy and popular path. There has been no increase in sanctions or additional UN resolutions on Iran since the Bush Administration ended. In fact, multiple deadlines have passed without repercussions for the Government of Iran. Enrichment continues at multiple sites in Iran even though the UN Security Council has demanded the Government suspend enrichment with verification.
Obama’s popularity may produce large crowds and warm compliments, but one thing I learned while serving 8 years at the United Nations is to be suspicious when you are the most popular guy in a room full of international negotiators.
So What Will Pelosi Do About DC Gay Marriage?
By Richard Grenell
Nancy Pelosi represents the gayest congressional district in the United States. She also happens to be the most powerful person, woman or man, in the House of Representatives. With one simple directive she can force 435 Members of Congress from across the United States to vote on any piece of legislation she wants. Healthcare legislation, immigration reform, tax increases or gay marriage are all issues that Speaker Nancy Pelosi can choose to have voted on by Congress. She could schedule a vote at 3 a.m. and members would be expected to appear. She alone gets to decide what the House of Representatives votes on and when it votes. But will Pelosi pass the DC gay marriage bill — one of her district’s most important issues — before the end of the year? What is she waiting for? She has the power to do it immediately and DC needs Congressional approval to move forward with equal rights for all citizens.
Nancy Pelosi also has a Democratic partner over in the Senate in Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid has the same power in the Senate with the 100 members that Nancy Pelosi has in the House of Representatives. Together, Pelosi and Reid have a Democratic President in Barack Obama. It isn’t an overstatement to say that these three Democrats – Pelosi, Reid and Obama – can force any issue to a vote and make that issue a law. All Pelosi, Reid and Obama have to do is get their own party to go along with their ideas – no Republicans are needed to go along with the Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda. Not one Republican is needed to enact new laws. None. Zero.
So why aren’t these three Democrats passing new laws and making changes? Where is the gay marriage law they promised when they were put in charge and the Republicans were run out of office?
The answer, of course, is and has always been that America is not ready for gay marriage. Nearly every public poll taken has shown that the electorate, albeit the public at large, is not ready. Pelosi, Reid and Obama are only reading public opinion surveys when they delay votes on gay issues. Even California, the most liberal state in the nation, wasn’t able to get the electorate to see the value of equal rights for all. But the Nation’s Capital has and now needs Pelosi’s support.
What is needed to pass gay marriage is not a Democratic majority – this past year has proven that to be true – but politicians and judges comfortable enough to ignore what the majority of the voters want and do what is uncomfortable, unpopular – and morally right. Equal rights should not be debatable and certainly should not be put to a vote of the people. Would we ask the electorate to vote on whether or not Catholics and Protestants should marry? Of course we would not. The Catholic Church or the local evangelical church should not be forced to bless the new union of a divorced woman if they don’t want to. But civil governments don’t make the same distinctions. While religious institutions should be able to pick and choose which unions they bless, civil governments should issue marriage licenses to all couples.
But the more that the gay leaders raise money for and give unconditional support to Democratic politicians, the more Democratic leaders are encouraged to take gay marriage voters for granted. Anyone who is still holding out for the Democrats to be the gayest political party is now part of the problem. The more gay marriage is made a political issue the longer gays will be treated as less than and unequal. Equal rights should not be a partisan political issue so why are all gay leaders in one political party?
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have to pay attention to gays because there is no price to pay for ignoring them.
Home Healthcare On The Chopping Block
In confronting healthcare reform, President Obama and his team have intellectualized a change that may seem to make sense on paper but doesn’t conform with the reality of our current system. President Obama continues to focus on cutting waste and fraud from Medicare while insisting that his budget cuts will not cut services to the millions of older Americans that rely on Medicare for their healthcare. “Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits,” Obama recently said.
But the simple fact is that the President and The White House have no control over how Medicare service providers prioritize their spending or service delivery. The President can insist that he doesn’t want Medicare services to be cut but when he greatly reduces the amount of money the federal government will pay for Medicare; service providers alone get to decide how to deal with that revenue loss. It is the private sector service providers, not the President, that decide what to cut and how to cut. For example, Medicare providers will decide if they continue to pay their workers the same amount of money but cut services – or – if they cut the number of workers delivering the services – or – if they just take less profit. Obama has envisioned a free-market system that will just take less profit. The President is either intellectually naïve because of his lack of experience outside the classroom or strategically trying to manipulate our way of life.
But this is America and we have a free-market system that is more about supply and demand than it is about altruism. As much as the President has intellectualized a healthcare change that will act collectively, his plan is impractical in a capitalistic society. Obama’s healthcare reform efforts are, in fact, a dangerous assault on America’s current system. My Harvard Economics Professor taught me that whenever government mandates a price or manipulates the market the entire model gets flipped upside down. Professor Obama should know that any kind of government intervention in the free-market system causes the system to act irrationally, not collectively.
Home healthcare is the perfect example of Obama’s academic thinking. Over the last 10 years, home healthcare services have dramatically increased in an effort to decrease expensive hospitalization costs. Home healthcare has become a relatively inexpensive way to care for patients who do not need round the clock care from a hospital or nursing home. If we are trying to save money within the healthcare system we should be advocating for more homecare not less. However, the Congressional Budget Office says that the Democratic plan currently being debated drastically cuts homecare spending. Home healthcare services would absorb more than 13 percent of the proposed Medicare cuts to the tune of $43 billion.
If Obama and company want to keep healthcare costs down then home healthcare should be expanded not cut. If older Americans or active people want to recover in the comfort of their home rather than in a hospital or nursing home then we should encourage their decision.
But yesterday, the Democratically-controlled Senate followed President Obama’s plan and put home care on the chopping block. President Obama, however, continues to insist that Medicare services and patient options will not be diminished even though providers will have a $43 billion hole to fill.