National Debt Clock

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Obscene Profits?

What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They're all more profitable than the health insurance industry. In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making "immoral" and "obscene" returns while "the bodies pile up."

Ledgers tell a different reality. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That's anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.

But were the Bush years golden ones for health insurers?

Not judging by profit margins, profit growth or returns to shareholders. The industry's overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

The latest annual profit margins of a selection of products, services and industries: Tupperware Brands, 7.5 percent; Yahoo, 5.9 percent; Hershey, 6.1 percent; Clorox, 8.7 percent; Molson Coors Brewing, 8.1 percent; construction and farm machinery, 5 percent; Yum Brands (think KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), 8.5 percent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama on Redistribution of Wealth

"If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that"

Fed to Propose Bank-Pay Guidelines

The news triggered debate about the government’s reach into private industry, whether pay reductions would spread to other companies and if a talent drain from U.S. firms would ensue.

Give it time...

Bank Failures Top 100

The cascade of bank failures this year surpassed 100 on Friday, the most in nearly two decades. And the trouble in the banking system from bad loans and the recession goes even deeper than the number suggests.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively - partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find.
Going slow buys time. An economic recovery could save some banks that would otherwise go under. But if the recovery is slow and smaller banks' finances get even worse, it could wind up costing even more.

The bank failures, 105 in all, are the most in any year since 181 collapsed in 1992, at the end of the savings-and-loan crisis.

When a bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. swoops in, usually on a Friday afternoon. It tries to sell off the bank's assets to buyers and cover its liabilities, primarily customer deposits. It taps the insurance fund to cover the rest.

Bank failures have cost the FDIC's fund that insures deposits an estimated $25 billion this year and are expected to cost $100 billion through 2013. To replenish the fund, the agency wants banks to pay in advance $45 billion in premiums that would have been due over the next three years.

The FDIC won't say how deep a hole its deposit insurance fund is in. It can tap a credit line from the Treasury of up to a half-trillion dollars to cover the gap.

This seems like it continues to be a big deal, yet we don't hear about it often in the news.

Obama's Foxnews Change of Heart

"I think it's fair to say that I don't always get my most favorable coverage on Fox, but I think that's apart of how democracy is suppose to work...we're not all suppose to all be in lock step here."

"We are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating basically as a talk radio format then that's one thing, and if it's operating as a news outlet than that's another."

Apparently, it's only good for democracy when they aren't critizing you...

Chamber of Commerce President Fights Back Against the Whitehouse

The Obama administration's response has been to treat the Chamber like it has Fox News Channel: with brass knuckles. It has launched a campaign to undermine the organization by making CEOs think twice about associating with it. President Obama has openly criticized the Chamber, while adviser Valerie Jarrett has dismissed it as "old school" and acknowledged that the White House is bypassing it to work individually with CEOs.

Mr. Donohue, who spent 13 years at the head of the American Trucking Association, also points out that the Chamber has done plenty to help the current administration. It supported last year's bailout funds ("we had to stabilize the banks"); the stimulus ("we could have gone into a real depression if there wasn't some confidence, some belief we could get over the next hump"); the auto bailouts ("this was a bellwether of the American company"), and even cash for clunkers.

Going after the Chamber is nonetheless a risk. The lobby works with a lot of Congressional Democrats from swing districts. Those pols face tough races next year, and Chamber support can help them raise money and protect against GOP attacks. The White House campaign gives GOP candidates an opening to point out how much Democrats dislike business.

"We want to encourage and promote and educate and get a bunch of enthusiasm behind . . . the free enterprise system with free capital markets and free trade and the ability to fail and fall right on your ass and get up and do it again!" he says.

SEIU President Andy Stern: We Have a Friend in the Whitehouse

"People at the Chamber of Commerce have ruined the country."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

50 Examples of Government Waste
  1. The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.[1]
  2. Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.[2]
  3. Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.[3]
  4. Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them--costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually--fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.[4]
  5. The Congressional Budget Office published a "Budget Options" series identifying more than $100 billion in potential spending cuts.[5]
  6. Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs.[6]
  7. Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.[7]
  8. A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, including "over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold." The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.[8]
  9. Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.[9]
  10. The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.[10]
  11. The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.[11]
  12. Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.[12]
  13. Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.[13]
  14. A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.[14]
  15. The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.[15]
  16. Washington will spend $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.[16]
  17. Federal investigators have launched more than 20 criminal fraud investigations related to the TARP financial bailout.[17]
  18. Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year's 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.[18]
  19. The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes.[19]
  20. The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland.[20]
  21. Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines--plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.[21]
  22. More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.[22]
  23. Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, "Girls Gone Wild" videos, and at least one sex change operation.[23]
  24. Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.[24]
  25. Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.[25]
  26. The Transportation Department will subsidize up to $2,000 per flight for direct flights between Washington, D.C., and the small hometown of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY)--but only on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, when lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists usually fly. Rogers is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which writes the Transportation Department's budget.[26]
  27. Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches--even as this new sand washes back into the ocean.[27]
  28. A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in "stimulus" funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.[28]
  29. The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.[29]
  30. Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.[30]
  31. Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.[31]
  32. Members of Congress are set to pay themselves $90 million to increase their franked mailings for the 2010 election year.[32]
  33. Congress has ignored efficiency recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that would save $9 billion annually.[33]
  34. Taxpayers are funding paintings of high-ranking government officials at a cost of up to $50,000 apiece.[34]
  35. The state of Washington sent $1 food stamp checks to 250,000 households in order to raise state caseload figures and trigger $43 million in additional federal funds.[35]
  36. Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their backyards--subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want.[36]
  37. Congress appropriated $20 million for "commemoration of success" celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan.[37]
  38. Homeland Security employee purchases include 63-inch plasma TVs, iPods, and $230 for a beer brewing kit.[38]
  39. Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act resulted in a $2 billion taxpayer cost.[39]
  40. North Ridgeville, Ohio, received $800,000 in "stimulus" funds for a project that its mayor described as "a long way from the top priority."[40]
  41. The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use.[41]
  42. Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.[42]
  43. Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers--the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.[43]
  44. Medicare officials recently mailed $50 million in erroneous refunds to 230,000 Medicare recipients.[44]
  45. Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.[45]
  46. Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia.[46]
  47. The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses; 40 percent of this funding goes to Fortune 500 companies.[47]
  48. Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education.[48]
  49. The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land.[49]
  50. The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing Americans' personal data.[50]

Russians Violating Treaty, Developing Missile

Russia for years has been violating the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is set to expire Dec. 5.

Mr. Verma stated that the administration has "committed ourselves fully" to finishing a new treaty by Dec. 5. "If a follow-on treaty cannot be concluded by December, the United States and Russia will need to find a mutually acceptable means to continue essential verification and transparency measures until a new treaty enters into force," he said, noting that a five-year extension of the old treaty is not likely.

"In this case, it appears the Russians have cheated - if not in the letter of the START agreement, at least in its spirit - by converting one of their existing missiles, the Topol-M, to this new multiple-warhead variant," he said.

A Senate Republican aide said the Russians have been developing the new missile in secret for years. "Essentially what's happening is they've got a missile ready to field as soon as START expires," said the aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

This is why you never disarm...evil exists in this world and will always cheat. If you disarm, you will be left at a disadvantage when violence breaks out.

Modern Man a Wimp Says Anthropologist

Not political in nature, but extremely interesting.

Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.

Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.

Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.

Government Regulators Helped Cause Subprime-Lending Crisis
By: Thomas Sowell

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, two Russian economists who had never lived in a country with a free-market economy understood something about market economies that many others who have lived in such economies all their lives have never understood. Nikolai Shmelev and Vladimir Popov said: "Everything is interconnected in the world of prices, so that the smallest change in one element is passed along the chain to millions of others."

What does that mean? It means that a huge increase in the demand for ice cream can mean higher prices for catchers' mitts, among other things.

When more cows are needed to produce more milk to make ice cream, then fewer cows will be slaughtered, and that means less cowhide available to make baseball gloves. Supply and demand mean that catchers' mitts are going to cost more.

While this may be easy enough to understand, its implications are completely lost on many people in politics and in the media. If everything is connected to everything else in a market economy, then it makes no sense to have laws and policies that declare some given goal to be a "good thing," without regard to the repercussions, which spread out in all directions, like waves that spread across a pond when you drop a rock in the water.

Our current economic meltdown results from the federal government, under both Democrats and Republicans, declaring home ownership to be a "good thing" and treating the percentage of families who own their own home as if it was some sort of magic number that had to be kept growing -- without regard to the repercussions on other things.

We are now living with those repercussions, which include the worst unemployment in decades. That is the price we are paying for increasing home ownership from 64 percent to 69 percent.
How did we get from home ownership to 15 million unemployed Americans? By ignoring the fact that there was a reason why only 64 percent of families owned their own home. More people would have liked to be home owners but did not qualify under mortgage lending standards that had been in place for decades.

Politicians to the rescue: Federal regulatory agencies leaned on banks to lend to people they were not lending to before -- or else. The "or else" included not having their business decisions approved by the regulators, which could cost them more money than making risky loans.
Mortgage lending standards were lowered, in order to raise the magic number of home ownership. But, with lower lending standards, there were -- surprise! -- more mortgage-payment delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures.

This was a problem not only for banks and other lenders but also for those in the business of buying mortgages from the original lenders. These included semi-government enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as Wall Street firms that bought mortgages, bundled them together and issued securities based on the anticipated income from those mortgages.
In other words, all these economic transactions were "interconnected," as the Russian economists would say. And when the people who owed money on their mortgages stopped paying, the whole house of cards began to fall.

Politicians may not know much -- or care much -- about economics, but they know politics, and they care a lot about keeping their jobs. So a great distracting hue and cry has gone up that all this was due to the market not being regulated enough by the government. In reality, it was precisely the government regulators who forced the banks to lower their lending standards.
The other big lie is that this was a failure of economists and others to foresee that the housing boom would turn to bust and set off financial repercussions across the economy.

In reality, everybody and his brother saw it coming and said so - - including yours truly in the Wall Street Journal of May 26, 2005. As far away as London, The Economist magazine warned about the danger. So did many American publications and individuals. The problem was that politicians refused to listen. They were fixated on the magic number of home ownership and oblivious to the economic interconnections that Russian economists saw long ago and from far away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fairness Doctrine of the Internet: Net Neutrality

Not much was said when $7.2 billion was included in the stimulus bill "to accelerate broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits." The administration has big plans for the Internet — like controlling it.

They noted that after only a decade, "roughly two-thirds of Americans connect through high-speed communications that are available to 95% of households."

"Unfortunately, the powerful cable and telecom industry doesn't value the Internet for its public interest benefits," Lloyd wrote. "Instead, these companies too often believe that to safeguard their profits, they must control what content you see and how you get it." Lloyd feels government should be the voice controlling what you see and hear.

The irony here is that it has been the Internet, talk radio and cable news that have provided access to unheard and suppressed voices. News and commentary no longer have to get past the gatekeepers at CBS, ABC, NBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times. And judging from ratings and circulation, they do not deserve to be called mainstream anymore. It is they who are the fringe media.

Bloggers and talk show callers now have a voice. Conservatives have competed in the marketplace of ideas and won. It's not their fault no one wanted to listen to Air America or that Web sites such as and constantly pull back the curtain on the wizards of this administration.

Net neutrality is not designed to liberate, but to suppress. It's the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet that, like diversity in talk radio and the war on Fox News, is designed to marginalize and silence those who disagree with those in power.

Big Government Healthcare Example: Massachusetts

Three years ago, Massachusetts enacted perhaps the boldest state health care experiment in American history, bringing near-universal coverage to the commonwealth with Paul Revere speed.
Alan Sager, a professor of health policy at Boston University, has calculated that health spending per person in Massachusetts increased faster than the national average in seven of the last eight years. Furthermore, he said, the gap has grown exponentially, with Massachusetts now spending about a third more per person, up from 23 percent in 1980.

The state expects to spend $595 million more on its health insurance programs this year than in 2006, a 42 percent increase.

Those who do not enroll but are deemed able to afford insurance can be fined up to $1,068 in the 2009 tax year.

U.S. Said to Order Deep Pay Cuts at Bailed-Out Companies

Under the plan, which will be announced in the next few days by the Treasury Department, the seven companies that received the most assistance will have to cut the annual salaries of their 25 best-paid executives by an average of about 90 percent from last year. Their total compensation — including bonuses and retirement contributions — will drop, on average, by about 50 percent. The companies are Citigroup, Bank of America, American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers.

Let the mass exodus of talent begin.

7 Months After Stimulus 49 of 50 States Have Lost Jobs
According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus. While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs.

They were only off by 6.2 million jobs...bahhh, what's 6.2 million jobs? I'm just glad the government finally used my hard earned tax dollars to do something successful...oh wait...

And we trust our government to provide healthcare for all Americans!?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama Mulls Newspaper Bailout

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Toledo Blade Friday, President Obama said he hopes newspapers can find a way out of their financial crisis.

Several bills have been introduced in Congress to boost the newspaper sector, including a Senate proposal that would allow newspaper companies to reformulate themselves as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

Once the government has given you money, they control you. Just look at the bailout businesses already...the government is now setting pay. The scary thing in this case is, the government would have the power to say, "you can't print that story or we'll take your bailout money away." Just wait.

A Message from Military Moms to the President

Mark Lloyd on Net Neutrality

Unfortunately, the powerful cable and telecom industry doesn't value the Internet for its public interest benefits. Instead, these companies too often believe that to safeguard their profits, they must control what content you see and how you get it. Their plans could have dire consequences for those whose voices are often marginalized by our nation's media system.

So does this mean the government will then control what content you have access to?

Obama Plans Internet Grab: FCC to Embrace 'Net Neutrality'

Conservatives see Net Neutrality as a power grab that will benefit big Internet players such as Amazon and Google while stifling smaller competitors.

The libertarian CATO Institute, in a 2004 policy analysis concluded: "The regulatory regime envisioned by Net Neutrality mandates would also open the door to a great deal of potential 'gaming' of the regulatory system and allow firms to use the regulatory system to hobble competitors. Worse yet, it would encourage more FCC regulation of the Internet and broadband markets in general."

ASPIRE Act of 2009 - Free Money for Newborns!

"After an account has been created, the Secretary of the Treasury shall automatically transfer to the Fund a contribution of $500. All contribution amounts will be indexed for inflation."

Our tax dollars, again, given away for free. Another attempt to get the masses hooked on government.

Anita Dunn, Rahm Emanuel, & David Axelrod on Foxnews

Saul Alinsky's Rule for Radicals - Rule 12: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Fox News 2008 Election Coverage Least Bias?

Among the findings:

  • MSNBC stood out for having less negative coverage of Obama than the press generally (14% of stories vs. 29% in the press overall) and for having more negative stories about McCain (73% of its coverage vs. 57% in the press overall).

  • On Fox News, in contrast, coverage of Obama was more negative than the norm (40% of stories vs. 29% overall) and less positive (25% of stories vs. 36% generally). For McCain, the news channel was somewhat more positive (22% vs. 14% in the press overall) and substantially less negative (40% vs. 57% in the press overall). Yet even here, his negative stories outweighed positive ones by almost 2 to 1.
  • CNN fell distinctly in the middle of the three cable channels when it came to tone. In general, the tone of its coverage was closer than any other cable news channel to the press overall, though also somewhat more negative than the media overall.

  • The distinct tone of MSNBC—more positive toward Democrats and more negative toward Republicans—was not reflected in the coverage of its broadcast sibling, NBC News. Even though it has correspondents appear on their cable shows and even anchor some programs on there, the broadcast channel showed no such ideological tilt. Indeed, NBC’s coverage of Palin was the most positive of any TV organization studied, including Fox News.

  • At night, the newscasts of the three traditional broadcast networks stood out for being more neutral—and also less negative—than most other news outlets. The morning shows of the networks, by contrast, more closely resembled the media generally in tone. That might surprise some who imagined those morning programs were somehow easier on political figures. Overall, 44% of the morning show stories were clearly negative, compared with 34% on the nightly news and 42% in the press overall.

Obama's Manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom

"We know that the free market is a joke."
"We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun."

WH Communication Director Anita Dunn on Mao

"[T]wo of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Tse-Tung and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other, but the two people that I turn to most ..."

35,000 in Detroit Line up for Obama's Money

"I don't know where he got it found, but he giving it to us."

You got it from me you ignorant fool! Someone who has a job and pride enough to earn a living off of my own blood, sweat, and tears rather than someone elses! Where is your pride? Where is your dignity? What has happened to our country? !

Saturday, October 17, 2009

H.R.2520: Patients' Choice Act - Free Market Solutions to Healthcare

Our bill changes how health care is taxed, but it is revenue neutral and not a tax increase. By bringing long overdue reforms to our discriminatory tax code, millions of families will end with more money in their pockets and better health care.

State-based exchanges facilitate the purchase of private health insurance based on price and quality. A large variety of plans, including a plan you can tailor to fit your individual or family circumstances, will be available.

The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009 would restore fairness in the tax code and give every American, regardless of employment status, the ability to purchase health insurance by providing an advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,300 per individual or $5,700 per family.

For a vibrant health care market to function properly, patients must know what services cost and who provides the best service. Uniform and reliable measures of reporting quality and price information should be designed by the stakeholders in health care rather than the heavy‐hand of government.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama Cuts Pro-Democracy Funds for Iran

The Obama administration has cut funding for pro-democracy and human rights programs in Iran, reversing years of efforts during the Bush administration to help develop a civil society.

The move is apparently intended to please Iran’s rulers after they criticized President Obama and the State Department for allegedly seeking to fund a “velvet revolution” during the June presidential elections in Iran.

“It sounds like the Iranians complained in Geneva and we acceded to their demands.”

Our enemies are using our own institutions against us...and succeeding.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Democrats Launch Attack on Insurer Exemption

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called for an amendment to the health care reform bill that would remove the long-standing antitrust exemption for insurers, echoing a push by other Democrats to crack down on the industry.

“The health insurance’s antitrust exemption is one of the worst accidents of American history," Schumer said. "It deserves a lot of the blame for the huge rise in premiums that has made health insurance so unaffordable. It is time to end this special status and bring true competition to the health insurance industry."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill last month to remove the anti-trust exemption and convened a hearing Wednesday, where Schumer called for eliminating the exemption as part of the health bill working its way through Congress.
Schumer's push comes on the heels of a controversial industry-sponsored report released over the weekend that makes the case that insurance premiums will go up by as much as $4,000 per family by 2019 if the Senate Finance Committee legislation is signed into law. The release of that report by the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans sparked angry blowback from Democrats in both chambers.

Obama Travels Far More Often to Blue States, Records Show

For President Obama, it's almost as if the election campaign never ended. Just look at his travel schedule.

The same states that Obama targeted to win the White House are seeing an awful lot of the president, Vice President Joe Biden and top Cabinet officials. Only this year, the taxpayers are footing the multimillion-dollar tab for the trips, and Obama officials are delivering wheelbarrows of economic stimulus money -- also compliments of taxpayers.

So much for an end to bipartisan politics...

Treasury 'Didn't Understand' AIG's Bonus Plans

In a report released Tuesday, Barofsky wrote that the Treasury Department did not understand AIG's byzantine pay structures when it gave the firm billions in aid last fall. The government has committed a total of more than $180 billion to wind down the New York-based insurance and financial services conglomerate, and now owns about 80 percent of the company.

Why the Hell would you give taxpayer money to a company without knowing how it would potentially be used?

Retail Sales Drop 1.5 Percent in September in Biggest Decline This Year

U.S. retail sales declined in September by the largest amount this year as car sales plummeted following the end of the government's popular Cash for Clunkers incentives program. But outside of autos, sales were better than expected.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales dropped 1.5 percent last month. That's smaller than the 2.1 percent fall economists had expected, but still the biggest setback since sales dropped 3.2 percent in December.

Car sales plunged 10.4 percent, but excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.5 percent. That's better than the 0.2 percent increase analysts expected.

Consumer demand, which accounts for 70 percent of total economic activity, is being watched closely by economists who worry that any recovery from the recession could stall due to rising unemployment and tight credit conditions.

We ain't out of the woods yet folks.

Tentative Inspection Program Would Allow Russia to Visit U.S. Nuclear Sites

Russia and the United States have tentatively agreed to a weapons inspection program that would allow Russians to visit nuclear sites in America to count missiles and warheads.

The plan, which Fox News has learned was agreed to in principle during negotiations, would constitute the most intrusive weapons inspection program the U.S. has ever accepted.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said publicly Tuesday that the two nations have made "considerable" progress toward reaching agreement on a new strategic arms treaty.

Mr. Peaceprize I ask you, how does this make us more safe?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apartment Residents Told to Take Down U.S. Flags

But to Oaks Apartment management, Clausen said, the American flag symbolizes problems.

He was told to remove the red, white and blue from both of his rides, or face eviction.

Resident we talked to who had been approached to take down their flags all told us the same thing: that management told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

If you are offended by the American flag, get the Hell out of our country!

Rasmussen: 50% Oppose Healthcare Changes
Half of U.S. voters nationwide oppose the healthcare reform plan proposed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, a new Rasmussen Reports poll reveals.
Only 44 percent of respondents now favor the plan, down from 46 percent last week, when 50 percent opposed it.

In the current poll, 23 percent of voters said they "strongly favor" the healthcare reform plan, while 39 percent are "strongly opposed."

Dollar Loses Reserve Status to Yen & Euro;jsessionid=65E301CF47ED50D15170F8D6530791C5

Ben Bernanke's dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency.

Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen -- not the greenbacks -- a nearly complete reversal of the dollar's onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar's share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent -- compared with two-thirds a decade ago.

Currently, dollars account for about 62 percent of the currency reserve at central banks -- the lowest on record, said the International Monetary Fund.

White House Escalates War of Words With Fox News

Calling Fox News "a wing of the Republican Party," the Obama administration on Sunday escalated its war of words against the channel, even as observers questioned the wisdom of a White House war on a news organization.

"What I think is fair to say about Fox -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party," said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. "They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Health Insurance Lobby Attacks Reforms
The report estimates that premiums for the average household would rise to $17,200 a year by 2013 under the proposals compared with $15,500 without the reforms. Today’s average annual premium is $12,300.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scientist: Carbon Dioxide Doesn't Cause Global Warming

A noted geologist who coauthored the New York Times bestseller Sugar Busters has turned his attention to convincing Congress that carbon dioxide emissions are good for the Earth and don't cause global warming. Leighton Steward is on Capitol Hill this week armed with studies and his book Fire, Ice and Paradise in a bid to show senators working on the energy bill that the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme could actually hurt the environment by reducing CO2 levels.

Trying to debunk theories that higher CO2 levels cause warming, he cites studies that show CO2 levels following temperature spikes, prompting him to back other scientists who say that global warming is caused by solar activity.

In taking on lawmakers pushing for a cap-and-trade plan to deal with emissions, Steward tells Whispers that he's worried that the legislation will result in huge and unneeded taxes. Worse, if CO2 levels are cut, he warns, food production will slow because plants grown at higher CO2 levels make larger fruit and vegetables and also use less water. He also said that higher CO2 levels are not harmful to humans. As an example, he said that Earth's atmosphere currently has about 338 parts per million of CO2 and that in Navy subs, the danger level for carbon dioxide isn't reached until the air has 8,000 parts per million of CO2.

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize to Mixed Reviews

U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for giving the world "hope for a better future" and striving for nuclear disarmament, in a surprise award that drew criticism as well as praise.

The decision to bestow one of the world's top accolades on a president less than nine months into his first term, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, provoked gasps of surprise from journalists at the announcement in Oslo.

Wow, just wow. So, now you actually don't have to do anything to be rewarded, just give people hope and you get an award. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran?

The comptroller said the Pentagon planned to spend $19.1 million to procure four of the bombs, $28.3 million to accelerate the bomb's "development and testing", and $21 million to accelerate the integration of the bomb onto B-2 stealth bombers.

"The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON." It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).

The request was quietly approved. On Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide "Massive Penetrator Ordnance Integration" on B-2 aircraft.

This is not the kind of weapon that would be particularly useful in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Obama's Labcoat Photo Op

A sea of 150 white-coated doctors, all enthusiastically supportive of the president and representing all 50 states, looked as if they were at a costume party as they posed in the Rose Garden before hearing Obama's pitch for the Democratic overhaul bills moving through Congress.

The physicians, all invited guests, were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image.

But some docs apparently forgot, failing to meet the White House dress code by showing up in business suits or dresses.

So the White House rustled up white coats for them and handed them to the suited physicians who had taken seats in the sun-splashed lawn area.

President Obama must think we are ignorant. Why does he seem to think that it is a communication problem, and not a substance problem. Why does he think that by parading around doctors in lab coats, somehow Americans will now agree with his healthcare reform. Why not address the concerns regarding the substance of the reform? But no, instead President Obama seeks to dupe the American people and pull the wool over their eyes. He chooses not to discuss specifics because if he does, the American people will realize exactly what he is trying to do...more government interference and control of our lives.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Obama Moves to Muzzle Top Military Commanders

Sources tell Newsmax the Obama administration is muzzling its top military leaders, and keeping them from publicly airing their views on how to fight the war in Afghanistan.

The administration's primary target: top Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose speech in London last week apparently caught administration officials off guard.

In fact, The Daily Telegraph reported that Obama's advisers were "shocked and angered" by McChrystal's speech.

At the time, Gates ordered McChrystal to provide "fresh thinking" and "fresh eyes" on Afghanistan. But apparently it was McChrystal's fresh tongue that got him in trouble.

The Demise of the Dollar

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Democrats Stifle Republican Health Care Plans

"We knew the president would at some point say something like, 'and the other side has no ideas,' " Price says. So Price and his Republican colleagues brought with them copies of the more than 30 health care reform bills they have proposed in the House this year.

H.R. 77; H.R. 109; H.R. 198; H.R. 270; H.R. 321; H.R. 464; H.R. 502; H.R. 544; H.R. 917; H.R. 1086; H.R. 1118; H.R. 1441; H.R. 1458; H.R. 1468; H.R. 1658; H.R. 1891; H.R. 2520; H.R. 2607; H.R. 2692; H.R. 2784; H.R. 2785; H.R. 2786; H.R. 2787; H.R. 3141; H.R. 3217; H.R. 3218; H.R. 3356; H.R. 3372; H.R. 3400; H.R. 3438; H.R. 3454; and H.R. 3478.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

U.S. September Auto Sales Plunge; GM, Chrysler Hit Hard

U.S. auto sales tumbled by 23 percent in September as showrooms emptied after the government-funded boom from the "cash for clunkers" program, with General Motors Co and Chrysler hardest-hit.

Sales for General Motors Co and Chrysler -- the two U.S. automakers struggling to regain momentum after emerging from bankruptcy -- dropped by 45 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

Ford -- the only U.S. automaker to have avoided bankruptcy -- managed to hold its sales decline to 5 percent from a year earlier despite low inventories and reduced incentives for car shoppers.

When you artificially inflate demand, the market corrects in following periods to a point lower than the original demand. Economics 101 people.

Finance Committee Democrat Won’t Read Text of Health Bill, Says Anyone Who Claims They’ll Understand It ‘Is Trying to Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes’

Sen. Thomas Carper (D.-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told that he does not “expect” to read the actual legislative language of the committee’s health care bill because it is “confusing” and that anyone who claims they are going to read it and understand it is fooling people.

“I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life,” Carper told

Carper described the type of language the actual text of the bill would finally be drafted in as "arcane," "confusing," "hard stuff to understand," and "incomprehensible." He likened it to the "gibberish" used in credit card disclosure forms.

Of course this is the case, because then no one can actually pin down what will actually occur. Obama can then say whatever he wants and then if it passes, the councils and/or courts will just decide what the bill really means.

U.S. Sept Non-Farm Payrolls Plunge 263,000, Unemployment at 9.8%

U.S. employers cut a deeper-than-expected 263,000 jobs in September, lifting the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, according to a government report on Friday that fueled fears the weak labor market could undermine economic recovery.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was the highest since June 1983 and payrolls had now dropped for 21 consecutive months.

Apparently, the stimulus isn't qutie stimulating.

Obama's Olympian Gamble Collapses

U.S. President Barack Obama's politically risky Olympics gamble failed to bring home the gold on Friday, with the Olympics committee's refusal to grant the 2016 Summer Games to his hometown Chicago.

The president, whose even-tempered personality has earned him the nickname "No Drama Obama," broke from that mold to make an overnight dash from Washington to Copenhagen to personally lobby for Chicago.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, had taken their star power to the Danish capital to make Chicago's case, ignoring the carping from Republican opponents who charged it was a bad time to go with foreign policy challenges in Iran and Afghanistan and the U.S. Congress bogged down in a domestic healthcare debate.

"I'm asking you to choose Chicago. I'm asking you to choose America," Michelle Obama told committee members.

Her husband said, "If you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud."

All that was for naught as Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting, a decision that brought gasps from the Chicago contingent at the Copenhagen meeting.