Monday, October 5, 2009

Senator Graham Shoots Down Glenn Beck


More Reasons to Like Lindsey Graham

Friday, October 2, 2009

Heath Care - At What Cost?

Health care reform is yet to substantively deal with 'gorilla in the room' - Cost. This is one of the fundamental reason why health care reform is needed. Yet no plan truly deals with this problem adequately. With the federal deficit shooting upwards and the country in the middle of a recession this only makes the need to deal with cost that much more pointed, but it does not seem to be a legislative priority.

Mort Kondracke of Roll Call explains in his article Will Reform Cut Health Care Costs? Don't Bet on It that the health care reform plans have no enforceable cost reducing measures. Cost cutting measures that are attempted rely on insurance companies, drug companies, and other health groups to keep their word and cut costs. This is at best a gamble, and not a very good one at that.
There's reason to fear that, even with reform, the nation's total outlays for health care - currently 17 percent of gross domestic product - will continue to soar, and so will federal health spending and insurance premiums.

The Obama White House promised reform would "bend the curve" of health spending - now growing 3 percent a year faster than the economy - but bills pending in Congress contain no guaranteed cost-containment measures such as a global budget, or national lid, on health spending.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, total U.S. health spending is scheduled to rise to 20 percent of the GDP by 2018, 25 percent by 2025 and 38 percent by 2050.

In May, health care stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies and device makers, promised President Barack Obama they'd institute measures shaving 1.5 percent per year from the current 7 percent growth rate of health spending, saving $2 trillion over 10 years.

But as the journal Health Affairs observed in an issue brief in August, "these agreements are not enforceable" and, indeed, House "reform" legislation would free doctors from any reductions in Medicare reimbursements.

It's no wonder the American Medical Association supports the House bill, H.R. 3200. The Senate Finance Committee bill gives doctors just a one-year break from scheduled fee reductions, but past patterns are that Congress annually saves doctors from any cut.

Another group promising cuts - and now supporting Obamacare - is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Its contribution to controlling health care costs? Just $80 billion over 10 years - out of total U.S. pharmaceutical outlays of $3.3 trillion.

And, as Fortune magazine pointed out, part of PhRMA's cuts are designed to get more Medicare recipients to use brand-name drugs when generics actually would be cheaper.

According to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, "bending the curve" of health cost growth depends upon "a lot of floating magic asterisks" in the Senate legislation, including the transformation of several pilot projects into actual policies that alter health spending patterns.


No Good News On Health Care Costs

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Health Care Reform Increasingly Unpopular

Rasmussen Reports polling shows, Health Care Reform - Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low. The most likely health reform plan at this time is the Baucus plan, yet what health care reform means is still largely unknown as numerous amendments to this bill are under review including whether a public option will be part of the bill. Many basic factors regarding cost and effectiveness have not been fully addressed, and a new CBO report states that Medicare benefits will likely be cut eventually even though supporters of the bill have stated the opposite. The Rasmussen poll and accompanying article is an interesting read as it shows how the American people are viewing health reform and its effects.
Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.




If the plan passes, 24% of voters say the quality of care will get better, and 55% say it will get worse. In August, the numbers were 23% better and 50% worse.

Fifty-four percent (54%) say passage of the plan will make the cost of health care go up while 23% say it will make costs go down. In August, 52% thought the plan would lead to higher costs, and just 17% thought it would achieve the stated goal of lowering costs.

While many credit or blame the town hall protests for building opposition to the plan, it appears they were simply a reflection of public opinion rather than a creator of it. This sense is confirmed by the fact that Obama’s approval ratings fell more in June and July before stabilizing in August.

One thing that did change during the month of August is that public perception of the protesters improved. Most voters came to believe that the purpose of the town hall meetings was for members of Congress to listen rather than speak. That’s partly because just 22% believe Congress has a good understanding of the legislation.

While some Democrats have charged that opposition to the president’s plan is based upon racism, just 12% of voters agree.

Voters overwhelmingly believe that every American should be able to buy the same health insurance plan that Congress has. Most favor limits on jury awards for medical malpractice claims and think that tort reform will significantly reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent (48%) want a prohibition on abortion in any government subsidized program while 13% want a mandate requiring abortion coverage.

Support For Obama Health Care Reform Continues to Drop
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

House Puts Rush on Health Care Bill

Health Care legislation is still on a fast-forward track, at least in the House. This creates a dilemma for Democrats as two very different bills are underway in the House and Senate. Neither have any support from Republicans, and the measures such as the public option and surtax that are likely to be included in the House bill probably will not be accepted in the Senate. The Democrats have full control of the both chambers of Congress, yet are deeply divided on core elements of health care reform creating an odd circumstance where there is a big rush on a bill that has yet to find any consensus.

From the Hill Pelosi wants House to pass healthcare bill ‘within weeks’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to make final decisions this week on the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor, but some centrists in the lower chamber want her to hold off until the Senate Finance Committee acts.

Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) push to decide issues like how to pay for the bill and the shape of the “public option” means that this week will be crucial for healthcare in both chambers.

It also makes it more likely that the House bill will include an income surtax on the wealthy and a public option more to the liking of liberals in her caucus.

“That’s where the caucus is,” said a Democratic leadership aide.

During an event in Philadelphia on Monday, Pelosi said the House will pass a healthcare reform bill “within weeks.”


The Speaker last week publicly reaffirmed her support for the surtax and the public option. In a leadership meeting last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) spoke up strongly in favor of the surtax, though he and Pelosi have disagreed on its parameters.


Pelosi Still Rushing Health Care Bill

Monday, September 21, 2009

ACORN and the Department of Justice

More trouble for ACORN as th Department of Justice looks into whether they have granted ACORN any money over the years as grant recipents are bound to uphold the law.

From Fox News Justice Department Inspector General Launches Internal ACORN Probe

The Justice Department's inspector general has agreed to investigate whether ACORN has applied for or received any DOJ grant money, in the wake of bipartisan criticism of the community activist group's operation.

And seven other inspectors general are being asked by two congressional members to take a look at their funding mechanisms.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Monday praising the Justice Department inspector general's decision to look into whether ACORN sought or received any grant money or whether the department conducted any reviews of ACORN's use of such money.

The inspector general agreed to probe the matter at Smith's request.

"As the primary federal law enforcement agency, the Justice Department has a responsibility to ensure that no organization receiving federal funds ignores our nation's laws," he said. "I am pleased that Inspector General (Glenn) Fine has agreed to investigate whether the Justice Department provided federal funds to ACORN through its grant program."

Monday, September 14, 2009

ACORN Corruption and Tax Cheat

The Baltimore office of ACORN gives tax advice to two people posing as a pimp and a prostitute who say they want to import underage teenagers from El Salvidor to work in the States as prostitutes. ACORN receives federal funding and has had numerous run-ins with the law usually regarding voter fraud. This however is a new low, at best these ACORN employees are condoning the human trafficking of underage girls, and in reality are likely breaking numerous laws.



Note: Except for when ACORN received government funding, I've posted very little about ACORN post-election. The public had their chance to learn about ACORN if they wished, they made their decision, voted, done deal, the race is over. However, this is insane. Democrats have to step to the plate, and renounce this. I in no way think that candidates aided by ACORN or any rationale human with any semblance of a moral compass thinks that human trafficking is acceptable. However, this is an example of an organization not just acting questionably, but this is evidence that ACORN has completely gone of the rails. Any politician to weak to stand up against ACORN will now be tying themselves to an organization that condoned prostitution and indirectly promoted human trafficking.

ACORN Condones Prostitution

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ridge and the Terror Level

If anyone is in doubt that politics is plays way to big a role in the running of the government another example comes out of the Bush White House.

Ridge: Bush officials sought to raise terror alert before ‘04 vote

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says he successfully countered an effort by senior Bush administration officials to raise the nation’s terror alert level in the days before the 2004 presidential vote.
Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.

Ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise the terror alert before the 2004 election.

“An election-eve drama was being played out at the highest levels of our government” after Osama bin Laden released a pre-election message critical of President George W. Bush, writes Ridge in his new book, “The Test of Our Times.”

Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld strongly advocated raising the security threat level to “orange” — even though Ridge believed a threatening message “should not be the sole reason to elevate the threat level.”

The former Pennsylvania governor also writes that he saw no reason for the move, which he now calls a bad idea, because additional security precautions had already been taken in advance of the election.


Ridge On the Politics of Security


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.

tienneman

ter copy

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.

tienneman

ter copy

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twitter and The Iranian Elections

The Iran presidential elections were held Friday, June 21th. This is how Wikipedia summarized the election events...
With two-thirds of the votes counted, the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official news agency, announced that incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election with 66% of the votes cast, and that Mir-Hossein Mousavi had received 33% of the votes cast. The European Union and several western countries expressed concern over alleged irregularities during the vote, and some analysts and journalists from United States and United Kingdom based media voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results.

Mousavi issued a statement saying, "I'm warning that I won't surrender to this charade," and he urged his backers to fight the decision as well as to avoid committing acts of violence. Protests, in favour of Mousavi and against the alleged fraud, broke out in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, labeling his victory as a "divine assessment". Mousavi lodged an official appeal against the result to the Guardian Council on 14 June. On 15 June, Khamenei announced there would be an investigation into vote-rigging claims, which would take seven to ten days.

Some of the reasons for questioning the veracity of the election results were, victory was declared very quickly making people wonder how the paper ballots could have been counted so rapidly. Polls prior to the election had shown the race as close, yet the 'results' indicated a landside. Mousavi's own home town even reported an overwhelmingly victory for Ahmadinejad. Clearly there was distrust amongst many of the Iranian people of the government as massive protests erupted and continue even now.

So what does Twitter have to do with this? Once protests started the Iranian government shut down public communications leaving citizens little means to communicate. Twitter, obviously not under the control of the Iranian government, is one of the few remaining tools for communication amongst the citizens of Iran. And it isn't just that Twitter is helping citizens communicate, it is a major player in getting the word out about what it is actually happening in Iran.

Network and cable news dropped the ball in their coverage of the elections, and over the weekend one of the hottest topics on Twitter was #cnnfail. However, the hottest topic was #IranElections. The Twitter feed was the first source for much of the news coming out of Iran. Here are examples of recent #IranElection tweets...
irantwit
The images being posted via Twitter have been remarkable, and the Flicker account of mousavi1388 is definitely worth looking at.

A "mousavi1388" image of the protests via Twitter.


This has taken on a life of its own on Twitter. Users have set up proxy servers for Iranians to use as the government shut down internet access within the country. People are turning their Twitter avatars green in a show of support. Twitter itself has rescheduled maintenance downtime at the urging of users so that it will be available to Iranians during their peak hours. People are also changing their time and location settings on their accounts to Tehran time and locale in order to confuse Iranian officials who are trying to find out who is tweeting inside Iran. Even at this moment the hashtag (or keywords) #IranElection is being changed as it appears the Iranian government may be blocking it in Iran.

The Iranian government post election has done everything possible to show itself as a totalitarian regime by cutting off communication and violently suppressing protests. They are taking actions that those in the U.S. whether conservative or liberal can clearly see as wrong. It makes this a fascinating moment in history where technology and communications may actually be aiding freedom and democracy, while providing a first person account of events that the media has yet to fully come up to speed on.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter A Lesson on Freedom and Technology

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Ideas From McCain Platform

As a staunch McCain supporter I'm over the defeat; that is except when the Obama administration attempts to use parts of the McCain platform that they previously criticized. When the Obama administration followed the McCain plan in their Iraq and Afghanistan I was relieved. They weren't as reckless as their campaign statements made them appear. Also, I have to give them a gamesmanship points (even if they lose honesty points) for completely sticking it to the far left without making them angry. Yet the annoyance started when Obama used the McCain rhetoric about the economy without including all that pesky fiscal discipline. The statements post stimulus about strong economic fundamentals were practically verbatim what Senator McCain said during the election. Now health care is on the table and so is taxing employer based health insurance. Remember Obama campaign ads revolved around the idea that this was a terrible plan for Senator McCain to propose. Now it apparently is not such a bad idea. What makes it worse is that in the McCain plan there was a $5000 tax credit that would have off-set the tax. There will be no tax credit with the Democrat's plan, so any tax assessed is coming right out of your pocket. I'll get over the annoyance, but if the Obama administration keeps adapting McCain ideas the least they could do is adopt his fiscal discipline (and math skills) too.


Obama Using McCain Ideas

Letterman Not Grasping the Rules of Decency



Greta Van Susteren is correct in her analysis that Letterman 'doesn't get it'. His defenders don't get it either. While there are numerous issues that these comments bring up. The basic fact remains there are boundaries (or should be), and the children of public figures should be left alone.

Other good articles regarding Letterman's joke and pathetic apology...

Did David Letterman Get a Free Pass

Dear David Letterman

Steele Suggests Boycott of David Letterman

From my perspective Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune in the article Palin is Right About Letterman has it right
For that matter, it's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

Letterman Doesn't Get It

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palin Letterman Feud Starting

While the Palin Letterman feud heats up, lets look at why David Letterman's bad joke appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.

2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.

3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.

4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.

So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"

"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"

Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."

As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics

Friday, June 5, 2009

Senator Brownback Address the Problems with Closing Guantanamo

Senator Brownback talked to bloggers today laying out the problems with closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The most pressing of these problems is what to do with the detainees. Senator Brownback explains that one commonly overlooked risk of bringing prisoners to U.S. prisons is that the surrounding prison communities may be subject to violent acts by groups making political statements about the prisoners' detention. He also explains that the Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war will not be held along with a general prison population. Senator Brownback lays out numerous reasons why closing Guantanamo is poorly thought out, and is decisively lacking a realistic and safe plan. The propsal also lacks support both in Congress and among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo and Moving Prisoners to U.S.

This call is worth listening to as one may be surprised at the number of solid reasons the Senator gives for opposing the Obama adminstration's call to close Guantanamo.
Blogger Call with Senator Brownback
Brownback Talks Guantanamo and Foreign Policy « Purple People Vote

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Patients' Free Choice Act

On a blogger call today Senator Coburn and Representatives Nunes and Ryan discussed their alternative health care plan entitled 'Patients' Choice Act.' Representative Nunes noted that the Obama administration has yet to release any of the details of the plan that it is already starting to promote. Summaries of the Patients' Choice Act as well as additional information are given on Representative Ryan's website.

“The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” transforms health care in America by strengthening the relationship between the patient and the doctor; using choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care for all Americans. “The Patients’ Choice Act” promotes innovative, State-based solutions, along with fundamental reforms in the tax code, to give every American, regardless of employment status, age, or health condition, the ability and the resources to purchase health insurance. The comprehensive legislation includes concrete prevention and transparency initiatives, long overdue reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, investments in wellness programs and health IT, and more.




Republican Health Care Alternative, Patients' Choice Act

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Where: http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/NO-WE-WONT
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Friday, April 17, 2009

You May Be A Radical

Tea Party protesters won a victory today as the mainstream media could not ignore their protests like they have in the past. As expected some of the media described the protesters as radicals (ever-classy and most-trusted Anderson Cooper of CNN used an obscene joke to describe the attendees) despite the pictures showing peaceful gatherings of people of all ages in attendance. Yet media logic dictates if you don't love Obama, you must be crazy.

Yet it's not just the media searching for crazy. A report was leaked by DHS on "Rightwing Extremism." To quote the report,
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

Dang it, I'm a radical. There were signs, once in high school I got a detention for a overdue library book; even back then I was bad. My internet chatter about obscene government spending has all been a clever ploy to manipulate my readers to take radical action like, 'vote the bums out,' or 'tell your representatives what you think.' I tell you I'm bad, and if I didn't have a job or a cold I would have been one of those crazy tea party animals too. You need further proof that I'm a radical? How about this...
Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

Well there you have it. I'm concerned that China owns us, and all our debt, I must be a radical. Granted, I'm a centrist on guns and immigration, and lean a bit left on the social issues discussed in the report, but imagine my surprise to find out that I've been cavorting with other radicals over the past 2 years by volunteering for the McCain campaign. Pro-life, pro-second amendment, high concentration of veterans, don't let the good humor, sarcastic wit, family values, and helpful manner fool you - we were all a big bunch of radicals, just ask MSNBC.

Now I know there is a serious side to this report. Every group in every country has its nutballs, and its the governments main job to protect its citizens from radicals of all sorts. Yet this seems like a veiled attempt to blur the line between staunch conservatives and radical Klan-like groups, when in reality that is a very clear and distict line. Veterans in particular are owed an apology for their less than flattering portrayal in this report. As for me, I'm going to keep chattering about the economy, and take pride in the fact that someone out there thinks I'm radical.

You May Be A Radical Too...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Campaigning with a Good Humored Veteran

Excerpt from An Independent Call the story a New Hampshire Independent McCain Supporter


Finally, on a more upbeat note, one trait that Senator McCain shares with a good number of his fellow veterans is a wicked sense of humor. While I’d like to say that my rationale for voting McCain was all high minded, I have to admit his sense of humor roped me in in the beginning. It’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed so many of the events with veterans; I’m sure there are veterans out there that lack a sense of humor, but overall I found them quite fun to be around.

During the general election I headed out to canvas a neighborhood with a veteran named Wes. He drove; I hopped out and knocked on the doors. We were canvassing Hampton Beach, a sort of unfortunate task in late Fall to early Winter, since not a lot of people stay at their beach house when the temperature drops. The sheets given to guide us to the appropriate address were accompanied by a brief survey asking whether the occupant was home and whom they were supporting for the different elected offices. The numbering of houses and condos on these sheets could be hard to follow, as locations were not necessarily listed in numerical order. Condo complexes could be particularly difficult to figure out. For instance, 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 16 could be a different page from 5 Ocean Boulevard unit 14, and unit 15 would simply not be on the list at all. The other problem was that you often had to be allowed or buzzed into many of these condo complexes. This basically meant looking for condos, routinely unoccupied due to the season that, even if occupied, could not be accessed. Consequently, we’d just drop a stack of literature on their doorstep, which will likely be picked up sometime this coming June.

So in the process of trying to locate a particular address on Ocean Boulevard, Wes backed his car up right into a pole. Looking down, arranging literature at the time, I was startled at the hit and said, ‘Ooo!’ and looked over at Wes. Thinking, this can’t be good we both hopped out of the car and took a look at his bumper. There was a new yellow stripe down the back side of his car and he said, “Ah, it’s just paint.” Relieved that it wasn’t too serious and that the damage didn’t trouble Wes, we hopped back into the car, and started trying to figure out where our next stop was. As we headed forward we spotted the house number of the next stop; Wes hit the brakes and his coffee flew off the dashboard, hitting me in the arm and soaking my left side. This time Wes looked stunned as I sat there looking at my sweater covered in coffee. “Well, it’s not hot,” I said. He handed me towels and clearly felt badly that I was wearing his drink. I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, so I hopped out of the car again, rung out the sweater and dried it off as best I could with some towels, put it back on, and hopped back into the car. While I smelled of coffee all day, the sweater was dark so it didn’t really matter.

We got through the rest of the doors without much incident, but had trouble finding one particular side street. Finally, we found the tiny narrow street in question; we headed down to the end where we eventually spotted the number of the home on a trashcan outside of a sliding glass door. I got out, knocked on the door, and a young guy, who apparently had just woken up, and was wearing a pair of old boxers and a t-shirt opened the door, saying nothing.

‘Hi, I’m a volunteer with the McCain campaign, and…’

‘No,’ he said and he shut the door and went back to bed.

I got back in the car and said, “Obama.”

As we started to head out of the narrow street I looked back, and Wes said, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit anything… …I saw you watching.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything.”

On the way back to the office he said, “You did a good job.”

“Thanks. You too…”

“Except for the pole.”

“Well that and the coffee, but other than that you did a good job.”



Veteran's Good Humor

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In The Beginning - Curiosity

Excerpt from An Independent Call the amusing story of a New Hampshire McCain supporter.

In the beginning I just thought I’d go see the different candidates at the campaign events in New Hampshire. Four years prior, not long after I moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts, my sister was volunteering for Senator Kerry’s campaign. She’s a loyal and active Democrat; our parents are Republicans. We talked on the phone after the Iowa caucuses when Howard Dean screamed during his concession speech. She hadn’t heard it called the ‘I have a Scream Speech’ yet, and I said that I felt for him. I figured if I were in politics that would be the sort of thing that would take me out. It wouldn’t be scandal or corruption; I’d simply do something so embarrassing that no one would take me seriously again.

My sister told of a news clip she had just seen of a woman who had met Senator Kerry, then fainted. The video looked like a shot from the Wizard of Oz with Senator Kerry standing over a pair of feet. I was starting to realize that I had missed quite a show by not attending Primary events, so I simply thought this time it would be interesting to see. I certainly had no plans of picking a candidate early, and no interest in joining a campaign. I thought it might give me something to write about on my website, but basically I was just curious.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Kudos Jake Tapper

Since much of today's media has such a blatant school-girl crush on President Obama, it is important to not only point out the shmoes who can't resist telling America that President Obama gives them a, 'thrill up their leg;' it is also important to point out those few journalists who are credible. National Review did this in their article Jake Tapper Isn't Letting Go. The article not only points out that ABC's Jake Tapper was virtually the only network journalist willing to write an article critical of then candidate Obama, but also that he is now pretty much the only one willing to ask Press Secretary Gibbs a tough question during White House briefings. For many Tapper was the first to show Robert Gibbs as a sub-par press secretary when Gibbs refused to take Tapper's questions about transparency seriously, as shown in the clip below. National Review did all of us who are fed up with the over-the-top media bias a service by not only highlighting Tapper as a solid competent member of the media, but also by reminding us that one can't just complain about those who do a poor job, and that it may be even more important that we applaud and encourage those who are competent than it is to gripe about those whose bias is so obsurd and obvious.


Recognizing a Professional Journalist - Katherine Morrison



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama Owns the Budget and the Economy

With an Obama stimulus package, and an Obama omnibus spending bill already passed, and now the a huge Obama budget working its way through the Congress, Politico notes that President Obama owns this budget, and hence the economy. Fierce fights may follow budget victory.
The House and Senate face a flurry of final budget votes Thursday, with Republicans pushed to the margins and having come forward only in the past 24 hours with a detailed alternative of their own.

But the victory for President Barack Obama could prove hollow, especially in the Senate, and Republicans are betting that the president’s very activism will work against him as he takes ownership of more and more difficult economic issues.

“This is a defining moment, and there is overwhelming empathy with folks who are scared to death about the direction this country is going,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told POLITICO. “All of a sudden, you have the president taking over General Motors, the president taking over the financial industry and now the health care industry? I think there will be even a larger outcry coming from our constituents at the ballot box next time.”

Some of this nervousness already seemed evident Wednesday night in a Senate fight over how to proceed on Obama’s climate change legislation. On two successive votes, one as large as 67-31, a solid bipartisan coalition blocked efforts by liberal environmental interests wanting to use expedited budget procedures to circumvent Senate filibuster rules on cap-and-trade revenue provisions.

The defeat raises the stakes further for health care reform as the big remaining prize for the White House in the budget debate. And to a remarkable degree, Obama has been willing to blur the lines between himself and fellow Democrats to help move the process forward with this goal in mind.


Obama Owning the Budget and the Economy

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama Budget Doubles Deficit in 5 Years Triples it in 10

Senator Lindsey Graham talked with bloggers today about President Obama’s budget plan. In short, spending is going way up in all areas except for military and defense spending, which will be cut. For President Obama’s budget to add up he has to take an extremely rosy view of the future. His administration is betting that unemployment will peak this year at a little over eight percent, and they are predicting a substantial economic recovery for next year. His view of the current world situation is also extremely optimistic, as he sees little need for spending on military and defense. Unfortunately, there are logistical problems in taking this perspective since, as Senator Graham put it, “We are flying the wings off our airplanes.” Finally, President Obama has included in his budget a plan for cap and trade that Senator Graham explained is far more costly than the McCain - Lieberman - Warner versions of cap and trade that have been introduced and debated in the past. Senator Graham stated that this is old fashion big government liberalism. He went on to say that in 2007 Senator Obama was ranked the most liberal Senator, and that his policies reflect that, that he simply took a year off from liberalism to run for President.

The problem with all this government spending is three fold. We can’t afford it. The likelihood of massive inflation is extremely high. We are burdening tax payers for generations to come with a huge debt that will almost certainly lead to higher taxes. (The fact China owns a huge amount of our debt is not comforting either.) This isn’t as much about partisanship, or liberalism as it is about bad math. Debts have to be paid, and the numbers are being manipulated to try to pretend that this plan adds up when it does not.

Obama Budget Doubles Deficit in 5 Years Triples it in 10

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coming - An Independent Call

Coming from Broad Side of the Barn - An Independent Call by Katherine Morrison

An Independent Call chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain convert and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pro-Growth is Most Fair Option

Unfortunately, many in America are losing track of the logistics of the economy and are getting caught up in emotion. People are angry about bailouts and white collar crooks running ponzi schemes and are becoming resentful towards big business and the wealthy. Yet we risk losing site of the real goal of turning the economy around when emotion and arguments about fairness start start trumping logic and math. The reason not to raise taxes on the rich, businesses, and capital gains is not because one loves, hates, or feels indifferently about wealthy people. The reason not to raise taxes on those of means is because they are the ones able to create jobs, and invest in the businesses that are so desperately needed right now. The argument that the rich should pay more because that is what is fair ignores the fact that, particularly in a struggling economy, increasing taxes slows growth. Consequently economic recovery slows, and that is fair to no one. In reality when the economy slumps those just getting by pay check to pay check suffer the most. The rich may not be as rich as before, but they're still rich. Those being laid off and struggling to pay their bills are hurt the most in a prolonged recession, and implementing policies that hinder growth is not fair to anyone.

Also, small business owners are being grouped into the 'rich' category in an unfair manner. If a small business owner makes $250,000 a year that becomes a rather average income if he or she has to pay two to three employees salaries with that income. Also if they are trying to grow their business, it is likely a chunk of that income is being put right back into their business. That isn't the life of the highly privileged wealthy class. We'd be well served by taking the emotion and morality judgments out of economic policy, and simply look for policies that are pro-growth.

Larry Kudlow and Donald Luskin voice their frustration about the current policies that are anti-growth. Certainly, not unemotional in their criticism, they point out why a pro-growth strategy is simply the most fair economic strategy for all Americans.




Pro Growth is What is Truly Fair

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Presidet Obama's Address

There’s no denying that President Obama is one of the most eloquent politicians to come along in a long time. That was on display last night in his address to the joint session of Congress. The President put forth ideas that certainly show a shift in direction from the previous administration. It was nice to see energy and the environment move up the ladder of national priorities. The president also did a nice job in using his popularity with young people to tell them that he expects that they not only graduate high school, but further their education beyond high school, and he framed it well in terms of being a responsibility of citizenship.

What didn’t add up about the President’s speech was the math. President Obama laid out a number of ambitious goals one of which was cutting the national deficit in half by the year 2013. However, instituting programs such as national health care, making college accessible to all citizens, and instituting a cap and trade initiative on carbon emission is beyond ambitious when also trying to cut the deficit. With a huge stimulus package that just passed, a large appropriations bill about to come up for debate, and the possibly of more money needed for bailout plans, it seems highly unlikely that the national debt will do anything other than balloon even further. This isn’t just an issue of a theoretical debt that will some day have to be paid by the tax payer. This is a basic math problem that could negatively impact the economy for years to come. Government services take on an added appeal if the price tag is ignored, and a better explanation needs to be given of the cost to taxpayers before these programs are rubber stamped.


President Obama’s Address



Friday, February 20, 2009

Punishing Good Behavior

With the recent unveiling of the Obama administration's housing plan there is a growing concern that the government is promoting policies that reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. The housing plan is the latest policy where the government gives money to those who are in over there head. This is a somewhat more palatable policy than preceding bailouts as it focusses on helping the individual with mortgage problems. However, it is following a string of policies that that basically says 'if you screw up, the government is here to give you money.' Businesses and individuals that pay their bills and taxes on time are subsidizing those who don't. The housing plan isn't completely without merit, but this trend of government bailouts big and small is wearing on many as can be seen in this CNBC clip of Rick Santelli becoming fed up with the government rewards for bad behavior on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange...




Punishing Good Behavior

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How much is $1 Trillion

With the Economic Stimulus approaching the $1 trillion mark, lets look at what $1,000,000,000,000.00 equates to…

$1,597,444 check for all of the 626,000 people that have filed unemployment claims this month.

$227,272 check for all 4.4 million people collecting unemployment benefits.

$333.33 check for every American man, woman, and child.

It would take a worker making $50,000 a year 20 million years to earn $1 trillion.

If ever ticket of every home Red Sox home game at Fenway Park for the 2009 season was sold for $308,642.00 each that would equal $1 trillion.

The GDP of Mexico is just over $1 trillion.

The GDP of India is also just over $1 trillion.

The combine GDP of the following countries is approximately $1 trillion…

Uruguay, Lebanon, Yemen, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Ivory Coast, Panama, El Salvador, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Iceland, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macau, Jordan, Bolivia, Ghana, Brunei, Paraguay, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, Honduras, Burma, Albania, Jamaica, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Mali, Malta, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Namibia, Haiti, Benin, The Bahamas, West Bank and Gaza, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Moldova, Niger, Laos, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Aruba, Zimbabwe, Montenegro, Guinea, Malawi, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Fiji, Barbados, Mauritania, New Caledonia, Kosovo, Togo, Suriname, Swaziland, Guam, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Lesotho, Eritrea, Belize, Bhutan, Maldives, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Djibouti, Liberia, Burundi, British Virgin Islands, The Gambia, Seychelles, Grenada, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Comoros, Samoa, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Dominica, American Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Marshall Islands, Anguilla, Kiribati, Tuvalu
 
If you'd like your political representatives to now what $1 trillion equates to, their contact info can be found at...
 
Senators - http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 
Representatives - https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
 

Stimulating Math

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stimulus Money for Beekeeper Insurance

Alternative Stimulus Plan

Republican Senators put together an alternative stimulus package that has a much lower price tag than the current version of the stimulus bill, as the AP reports that the current plan tops $900 billion. The Republican alternative allows home owners to refinance their home mortgages at a low interest rate that will help the home owner and help stabilize home prices in general. This plan also provides more money for infrastructure projects than the current bill and cuts the payroll tax and the corporate tax to encourage economic growth and job creation. Also, it requires spending cuts once the economy has rebounded helping to limit the amount of future government debt. CNN reports not only that their is a this second bill, but moderates are also working on the current bill trimming the excess pork...
Some Republicans want to take it a step farther than their party's leaders. Ten Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, want more funds -- almost $90 billion -- for infrastructure. They are shopping around a plan with a price tag of just under $500 billion.

"We can either fight the Democrat proposals, which would increase the deficit incredibly and mortgage our children's futures and not beneficially stimulate our economy, which we will do, in many respects. But we have to have a proposal of our own," said McCain, R-Arizona.

That version of the stimulus measure, put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, is broader than the one proposed by GOP leadership, but narrower than the Democratic bill.

The group of Republicans met Tuesday to discuss their plan because they don't believe their leadership's approach, focusing exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts, is enough to jump-start the economy.

Another alternative that's getting a lot of attention is a bipartisan plan from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Maine Republican Susan Collins. The two moderate senators are looking at the current economic stimulus package and trying to scrub it of all spending that they say will not stimulate the economy.

One attempt to trim pork from the current bill was successful. An amendment passed sponsored by Tom Coburn that eliminated a $246 million dollar tax break for Hollywood movie companies.

Senator McCain has sponsored a petition protesting the current version of the stimulus bill...

Sign Vote No On The Stimulus Package Petition
Republican Senators Put Together Alternative Stimulus Package

Friday, January 30, 2009

Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Rasmusen reports that support for the Emergency Stimulus plan is slipping. This is not surprising since the stimulus has been packed with pork, which by anyone's definition seriously stretches the meaning of emergency. Regular Americans know better than many politicians the basic fact that bills have to be paid, and this proposal leaves Americans holding the tab for a pile of pork. President Obama and House Republicans have shown some willingness to compromise, but the House bill that passed yesterday had not one Republican vote for it and 11 Democrats also oppose it for good reason. Just take a look at a few of the items in this bill that have been stuffed into this bill...

• $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers.”
• $400 million for STD prevention
• $25 million to rehabilitate off-roading (ATV) trails
• $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
• $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
• $150 million for honey bee insurance

Cited from Earmarks In House Bill
Americans Will Pay the Bill for Overloaded Stimulus Package

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Talks to Take Place Israel and Hamas

Excerpt from Israel, Hamas, Palestinian Authority to Meet for Talks
Egypt's United Nation's envoy says Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority will meet Thursday for talks.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was at U.N. headquarters for the council's emergency session on Gaza, said she had talked with both the Israelis and Arab envoys about the importance of moving forward a cease-fire proposed Tuesday by Egypt and France.

"We are very much applauding the efforts of a number of states, particularly the effort that President (Hosni) Mubarak has undertaken on behalf of Egypt," Rice said. "We're supporting that initiative."

Israel hammered Gaza City with gunfire and air strikes Wednesday minutes after a three-hour cease-fire ended, and its security cabinet voted to push ahead with the ground offensive against Hamas, the Times of London reported.

Israel agreed to principles of the Gaza cease-fire proposal, but has yet to iron out key details about how it would be implemented, senior Israeli officials told Reuters.

The proposal calls for an end to fighting as well as a drive to prevent Hamas militants from rearming, Israel's key condition, Reuters reported

"There is agreement on the principles but translating those principles into practical action is a challenge that is still ahead of us," a senior Israeli official said.