Thursday, June 25, 2009
President Obama's town hall meeting on health care delivered a sickly rating Wednesday evening.
The one-hour ABC News special "Primetime: Questions for the President: Prescription for America" (4.7 million viewers, 1.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) had the fewest viewers in the 10 p.m. hour (against NBC's "The Philanthropist" debut and a repeat of "CSI: NY" on CBS). The special tied some 8 p.m. comedy repeats as the lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.
The special was shot at the White House and featured the president answering questions about his health care plan. The president's primary message was that those who like their current insurance will be able to keep it and that taking no action will result in higher health care costs.
The special drew fire from Republican leadership after refusing to allow an official opposition response, or even a paid ad. ABC also interviewed Obama on "Good Morning America" to help promote the special.
The Live Feed
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The regime in Iran slaughtered dozens of innocent democracy protesters in the streets of Tehran today.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that 150 Iranians were murdered by the evil regime during protests this afternoon including young girls shot dead by the basij.
Barack Obama finally spoke out against the actions by the regime and asked them to stop the "unjust actions."
Then he went out for ice cream...
Obama stands with daughters Malia Obama, 10, left, and Sasha Obama, 8, and orders frozen custard at The Dairy Godmother in the Del Ray area of Alexandria, Va., Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Richard Romano adds: Just file this under "What if Bush had done this..."
Friday, June 19, 2009
I blogged about Michelle Obama’s role in creating a patient-dumping scheme for the University of Chicago Medical Center back in March. With her husband and the Democrats unleashing health care horror story anecdotes to gin up public fear and build support for the beleaguered Obamacare plan, my syndicated column today revisits the kind of “reform” the Obamas and their Chicago cronies champion — and who benefits.
The Obamacare horror story you won’t hear
by Michelle Malkin
The White House, Democrats, and MoveOn liberals are spreading health care sob stories to sell a government takeover. But there’s one health care policy nightmare you won’t hear the Obamas hyping. It’s a tale of poor, minority patient-dumping in Chicago — with First Lady Michelle Obama’s fingerprints all over it.
Both Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago have raised red flags about the outsourcing program, run by the University of Chicago Medical Center. The hospital has non-profit status and receives lucrative tax breaks in exchange for providing charity care. Yet, it spent a measly $10 million on charity care for the poor in fiscal 2007 when Mrs. Obama was employed there—1.3 percent of its total hospital expenses, according to an analysis performed for The Washington Post by the non-partisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. The figure is below the 2.1 percent average for nonprofit hospitals in surrounding Cook County.
Rep. Rush called for a House investigation last week in response to months of patient-dumping complaints, noting: “Congress has a duty to expend its power to mitigate and prevent this despicable practice from continuing in centers that receive federal funds.”
Don’t expect the president to support a probe. While a top executive at the hospital, Mrs. Obama helped engineer the plan to offload low-income patients with non-urgent health needs. Under the Orwellian banner of an “Urban Health Initiative,” Mrs. Obama sold the scheme to outsource low-income care to other facilities as a way to “dramatically improve health care for thousands of South Side residents.” The program guaranteed “free” shuttle rides to and from the outside clinics.
In truth, it was old-fashioned cost-cutting and favor-trading repackaged as minority aid. Clearing out the poor freed up room for insured (i.e., more lucrative) patients. If a Republican had proposed the very same program and recruited black civic leaders to front it, Michelle Obama and her grievance-mongering friends would be screaming “RAAAAAAAAACISM!” at the top of their lungs.
Joe Stephens of the Washington Post wrote: “To ensure community support, Michelle Obama and others in late 2006 recommended that the hospital hire the firm of David Axelrod, who a few months later became the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Axelrod’s firm recommended an aggressive promotional effort modeled on a political campaign—appoint a campaign manager, conduct focus groups, target messages to specific constituencies, then recruit religious leaders and other third-party ‘validators.’ They, in turn, would write and submit opinion pieces to Chicago publications.”
Some health care experts saw through Mrs. Obama and her public relations man, David Axelrod—yes, the same David Axelrod who is now Mr. Obama’s senior adviser at the White House. The University of Chicago Medical Center hired Axelrod’s public relations firm, ASK Public Strategies, to promote Mrs. Obama’s Urban Health Initiative. Axelrod had the blessing of Chicago political guru Valerie Jarrett – now White House senior adviser.
Axelrod’s great contribution: Re-branding! His firm recommended re-naming the initiative after “[i]nternal and external respondents expressed the opinion that the word ‘urban’ is code for ‘black’ or ‘black and poor’….Based on the research, consideration should be given to re-branding the initiative.” Axelrod and the Obama campaign refused to disclose how much his firm received for its genius re-branding services.
In February 2009, outrage in the Obamas’ community exploded after a young boy covered by Medicaid was turned away from the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dontae Adams’ mother, Angela, had sought emergency treatment for him after a pit bull tore off his upper lip. Mrs. Obama’s hospital gave the boy a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and Tylenol and shoved him out the door. The mother and son took an hour-long bus ride to another hospital for surgery.
I’ll guarantee you this: You’ll never see the Adams family featured at an Obama policy summit or seated next to the First Lady at a joint session of Congress to illustrate the failures of the health care system.
Following the Adams incident, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) blasted Mrs. Obama and Mr. Axelrod’s grand plan. The group released a statement expressing “grave concerns that the University of Chicago’s policy toward emergency patients is dangerously close to ‘patient dumping,’ a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA)” – signed by President Reagan, by the way – “and reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”
Rewarding political cronies at the expense of the poor while posing as guardians of the downtrodden? Welcome to Obamacare.michellemalkin.com
Barack Obama plans to make sure his administration finds everyone who’s not paying their taxes — and apparently hire them to work in government. The latest appointment to make an emergency call to H&R Block is Capricia Marshall, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns until now. And while tax evader Tim Geithner’s appointment to run Treasury and the IRS still wins the irony competition, Marshall may come a close second:
President Obama’s choice as chief of protocol for the State Department, a position that carries the status of an ambassadorship, did not file tax returns for 2005 and 2006, errors she corrected last November.
The nominee, Capricia Penavic Marshall, has placed blame for the problem on the Postal Service and on miscommunication between her husband and their accountant.
No — please tell me she didn’t just blame the Post Office for losing her returns two years in a row. Yes, she did:
In her written answers and in accounts she gave to government officials, Ms. Marshall has said the errors were unintentional. She has said that her husband failed to recognize that the couple’s accountant had included the tax returns for 2005 in a binder he provided with copies of the returns, and that the actual paperwork was never mailed.
The couple learned something was awry, Ms. Marshall has said, when the Internal Revenue Service notified them last fall that their 2006 return had never arrived. She wrote that an agent “advised us that there were a large number of tax returns misplaced by the D.C. post office for the 2006 tax year.”
That call led the couple to the discovery that the authorities had no record of their returns for 2005 and 2006. No late fees or penalties were assessed when they later submitted the returns.
Does the dog eat her homework, too?
It seems awfully convenient that the one post office that lost “a large number of tax returns” was the one that would handle returns for most federal officeholders and their staffs, too. Isn’t it a little remarkable that the IRS didn’t penalize the Marshalls for late returns? Those of us who don’t work on Hillary Clinton’s staff would not get treated so kindly. Besides, If the DC post office lost “a large number of tax returns” in 2006, why did that let them off the hook for 2005?
Unless the Marshalls somehow managed to pull off the remarkable feat of getting exactly the right amount of tax withheld two years in a row, they would either have had to write a check to the IRS or get one back as a refund. Does Marshall mean to tell us that these two successful people and their accountant never noticed that the check didn’t clear or that they didn’t get the refund? How have they balanced their checkbook since 2005? Of course, given the way this administration spends money, a balanced checkbook might be a disqualifier.
And what will Marshall do once she takes her job?
The protocol chief customarily helps plan events for visiting leaders and helps oversee protocol matters for the president and vice president abroad.
Well, she’s certainly proven adept at planning and process, hasn’t she?
No one doubts that the president who gave Region 1 DVDs to the British Prime Minister as an official gift and an iPod to the Queen with his own speeches preloaded needs a Chief of Protocol — and needs one very badly. However, can this administration pick someone — anyone — who has paid their taxes properly?by Ed Morrissey
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Fired inspector general Gerald Walpin slammed Barack Obama today for the "most incredible smear."
Last week, Obama fired inspector general Gerald Walpin after he identified millions of dollars in AmeriCorps funds that were wasted or misspent. The man in charge of Americorps is a top Obama supporter and friend. Mayor Kevin Johnson used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car.
Today Team Obama said Walpin was "confused" at a meeting and had to be fired!!
Today on The Glenn Beck Show Walpin fired back:
ABC is refusing to air paid ads during its White House health care presentation, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, including a paid-for alternative viewpoint!
The development comes a day after the network denied a request by the Republican National Committee to feature a representative of the party's views during the Obama special.
Conservatives for Patients Rights requested the rates to buy a 60-second spot immediately preceding 'Prescription for America'.
Statement from Rick Scott, chairman of Conservatives for Patients Rights:
"It is unfortunate - and unusual - that ABC is refusing to accept paid advertising that would present an alternative viewpoint for the White House health care event. Health care is an issue that touches every American and all potential pieces of legislation have carried a pricetag in excess of $1 trillion of taxpayers' money. The American people deserve a healthy, robust debate on this issue and ABC's decision - as of now - to exclude even paid advertisements that present an alternative view does a disservice to the public. Our organization is more than willing to purchase ad time on ABC to present an alternative viewpoint and our hope is that ABC will reconsider having such viewpoints be part of this crucial debate for the American people. We were surprised to hear that paid advertisements would not be accepted when we inquired and we would certainly be open to purchasing time if ABC would reconsider."
The common, everyday act of swatting a bug is something that happens countless times a day at picnics and ball games across the country, especially during the summer, but when Barack Obama was caught on tape by CNBC's cameras doing it, the fawning liberal press couldn't contain their excitement. All three broadcast network morning shows, on Wednesday, praised the presidential kill as they were impressed by the "ninja" Obama's "precision," and "cat-like quickness."[audio available here]
On NBC's "Today" show substitute-host David Gregory opened the show declaring: "You just have to appreciate the, the concentration and the precision! Just a few things going on in the world but it's as if everything was stopped and at a standstill for the President to lower the boom." On CBS' "The Early Show," Chris Wragge marveled: "We've also just confirmed the President is a Ninja." And on ABC's "Good Morning America," they even brought out the Telestrator to break down the video as Chris Cuomo offered play-by-play: "You see? He stares at the fly. How many times have each of us tried to do this? Look at the hand coming up. The poise. The cupping. And the quick slap...Just knocked it away, very rare."
By Geoffrey Dickens - newsbusters.org
It's only money, we like to say, when we know we shouldn't be pulling out our wallets, but.
The 'but' is a big one when it comes to health care reform: huge, immense, Himalayan. So big we're not going to do it, I'll bet you money. Not this year we're not, because we've barely started to think this thing through. We're not ready as a country, as a people, to have President Obama and his congressional minions shove down our throats a new, costly, coercive plan for reordering the way we care of ourselves, or for that matter don't care.
The Democratic-controlled Congressional Budget Office -- no aerie of Reaganite stool pigeons -- says health care reform a la Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd (the Affordable Health Choices Act) would leave more than twice as many Americans uninsured as it would protect, sort of -- 36 million to 16 million, respectively. The CBO says, further, the bill would increase federal budget deficits by $1 trillion between 2010 and 2019.
The so-called "public option" that is central to the Kennedy-Dodd design is supposed to keep the private insurance companies honest. The taxpayers would subsidize the public option, making it seem -- like any subsidized government program -- the way for many to go.
The CBO calculates that 15 million Americans would exit their private plans if Kennedy-Dodd were imposed. Coverage from other sources would fall by 8 million, the CBO says.
This is progress? Large numbers of Americans may be forgiven, perhaps, if they differ on that trivial point.
On Monday, the President assured the American Medical Association that "If we fail to act, premiums will climb higher, benefits will erode further, the rolls of the uninsured will swell to involve millions more Americans ."
The President's admirers, especially in the media, consider him some speechmaker. He is reasonably good, by post-Reagan standards. If only his speeches had content as well as cadence!
The content-less speech, which you can't remember when it's over except that it sure sounded good, is the Barack Obama specialty. Audiences eat it up with spoons. He promises change, promises unity, promises transformation. It sounds so good you want to march.
March where? That's the eternal question with Obama. You won't find him, I venture, trying to shoot down in public the Congressional Budget Office's arithmetic -- first, because he knows we know it's no GOP hatchet job; second, because meeting telling objection with telling reply isn't his stock in trade. He inspires. He rouses. He sends you airborne -- without telling you what it's going to cost when you come down.
That's the detail stuff -- cost. Obama seems to have decided we don't care about details; we trust him to do the backstage work that makes everything come out right.
The beauty of the Obama phenomenon -- and indeed there's a kind of beauty and unintentional charm to it, as well as vitality -- is this: Americans last year were ready for a spot of inspiration -- a jolt of moral Tabasco. Obama likes to talk about the problems he inherited from "his predecessor," George W. Bush. What he never mentions is the automatic clearance he received from Bush, after a long, mostly flat presidency -- to soar over the earth like a bird. Soar he did.
Birds, alas, however graceful in flight, have to come down to earth, where a fact is a fact is a fact; where the Congressional Budget Office tells us -- without actually telling us -- that there's no such thing as a smooth path to Happy Healthcare Land.
Good ideas -- with higher respect for the private sector than the Washington Democrats display -- can be found in abundance: none smooth, none easy, none foolproof. The challenge is to start talking and sorting out rather than dictating: wham, wham, do it my way. The Democratic way!
Brain surgery is the most methodical, no-nonsense enterprise anyone ever saw. What's the matter with politicians who propose to slice up, without X-rays or MRI, the best health care system in the world? No brains? Or too many for their own good?
By William Murchison
Fired Inspector General Walpin Speaks Out--
Last week, Obama fired inspector general Gerald Walpin after he identified millions of dollars in AmeriCorps funds that were wasted or misspent. The man in charge of Americorps is a top Obama supporter and friend. Mayor Kevin Johnson used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car.
Obama fired Walpin after this discovery and replaced him with Michelle Obama's friend.
Last night Obama said he fired Walpin because he was crazy.
Today, Walpin spoke out.
FOX News reported:
The government watchdog President Obama canned for allegedly being "confused" and "disoriented" fired back sharply Wednesday, saying the White House explanation for removing him was "insufficient," "baseless" and "absolutely wild."More... House Republicans raise questions about Walpin firing.
Gerald Walpin, who until last week was the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, told FOXNews.com that part of Obama's explanation was a "total lie" and that he feels he's got a target on his back for political reasons.
"I am now the target of the most powerful man in this country, with an army of aides whose major responsibility today seems to be to attack me and get rid of me," Walpin said.
Facing bi-partisan criticism for the firing, Obama sought to allay congressional concerns with a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday evening explaining his decision. In the letter, White House Special Counsel Norman Eisen wrote that Walpin was "confused" and "disoriented" at a recent board meeting, was "unduly disruptive," and exhibited a "lack of candor" in providing information to decision makers.
"That's a total lie," Walpin said of the latter charge. And he said the accusation that he was dazed and confused at one meeting out of many was astonishing as rationale for his ouster.
Michelle Malkin has more on the cronies scandal.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Postal Services created a stamp with a picture of President Obama.
The stamp was not sticking to envelopes.
This enraged the President, who demanded a full investigation.
After a month of testing and $1.73 million in congressional spending, a special Presidential commission presented the following findings:
1)The stamp is in perfect order.
2)There is nothing wrong with the adhesive.
3)People are spitting on the wrong side.
CNN reports that, "Obama is so busy these days dealing with pressing foreign policy issues like Iran and North Korea, that he can't seem to tell his right from his left."
Huh? He hasn't done anything.
He hasn't even condemned the killer regime in Tehran!
What do they mean busy?
ABC TURNS PROGRAMMING OVER TO OBAMA
ABC News should be required to register as a federal lobbyist.
On June 24, Drudge reports, the network will broadcast from inside the White House to air a propaganda special for Obamacare.
Opposing voices will reportedly be excluded. ABC News says “thoughtful” and “diverse” points of view will be allowed. In other words: Shills of all colors!
ABC: The All Barack Channel.
Rush calls ‘em our state-run media.
I call it government-controlled stenography.
Sharpen your pencils, boys and girls, and look spiffy when Dear Leader comes to greet you.michellemalkin.com
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is what Obama said this weekend about cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in his internet address:
Obama has proposed trimming more than $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid by 2019 -- including more than $300 billion in cuts unveiled in his Saturday radio and Internet address.And, here he is attacking John McCain during the campaign for cutting Medicare and Medicaid:
Friday, June 12, 2009
President Obama is hoping you won’t notice his abrupt change of inspectors general over at Americorps, the government-run, taxpayer-subsidized “community service” boondoggle (which Republicans helped expand as part of the $6 billion GIVE/SERVE Act in March despite its wasteful track record. Thanks, Republicans).
With intervention from Michelle Obama, the Americorps inspector general was given the boot and replaced — for doing his job too well, it seems, and uncovering squandering of funds by favored contributors, educational institutions, and left-wing groups.
This Associated Press article only scratches the surface:
President Barack Obama plans to fire the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs amid a controversy between the IG and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.
The IG, Gerald Walpin, was criticized by the U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and his nonprofit group, St. HOPE Academy, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.
On Thursday, Obama said in a letter to Congress that he had lost confidence in Walpin. Neither the president nor deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest would give details. The president must give Congress 30 days’ notice before removing Walpin, who is being suspended with pay for the 30 days. Earnest said, “The president will appoint a replacement in whom he has full confidence as the corporation carries out its important mission.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter to Obama, pointed to a law requiring that Congress be given the reasons an IG is fired. He cited a Senate report saying the requirement is designed to ensure that inspectors general are not removed for political reasons. Grassley said Walpin had identified millions of dollars in AmeriCorps funds that were wasted or misspent and “it appears he has been doing a good job.”
In fact, there’s much more.
This little-noticed story in Youth Today yesterday points to another example of Walpin blowing the whistle on fraud:
The inspector general (IG) of the Corporation for National and Community Service is being removed by President Barack Obama, a week after the IG questioned the eligibility of the largest and most expensive AmeriCorps program, and while the IG was contesting the “propriety” of a settlement made with a mayor for alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds.
…Funding for the largest AmeriCorps program - the Teaching Fellows Program, run by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York - is in abeyance pending resolution of widespread problems identified in a recent audit. Although Walpin recommended that funding be curtailed and that previous funds (perhaps as much as $75 million) be repaid to the corporation, the corporation has said it will take no action on that matter.
Walpin concluded that nothing was being gained by the grants to CUNY and that the money was simply being used to subsidize an existing and funded program.
I highly recommend that you head over to the Americorps’ inspector general’s report site here. You can find the entire CUNY report here. Let me repeat what the IG found: Waste, duplication, ineffective spending, criminal background check lapses, and repeated violations of the grant rules. And they’re not doing anything about it. Just a snippet from the executive summary:
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation), contracted with Cotton & Company LLP to perform agreed-upon procedures to assist the OIG in grant cost and compliance testing of Corporation-funded Federal assistance provided to The Research Foundation of the City University of New York (RFCUNY). The Corporation awarded two Education Award Program grants to RFCUNY that were categorized as Professional Model grants.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
As a result of applying our procedures, we questioned education awards of $16,152,414 and draw downs of $773,254. In general, we questioned the education awards for members whose eligibility was not established in accordance with grant requirements for criminal background checks. Draw downs were questioned mostly for fixed fees related to members whose eligibility we questioned and also for drawing down in excess of fees earned. In addition, our compliance findings when taken as a whole indicate pervasive problems of eligibility, timekeeping, and documentation. A questioned cost is an alleged violation of a provision of law, regulation, contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement or document governing the expenditure of funds or a finding that, at the time of testing,
includes costs not supported by adequate documentation.
…Participants who successfully complete terms of service under AmeriCorps grants are eligible for education awards and, in some cases, accrued interest awards funded by the Corporation’s National Service Trust. These award amounts are not funded by Corporation grants and thus are not included in claimed grant costs. But at the time that a grant is awarded, and due to the grant award, these amounts become immediate obligations of the National Service Trust. Therefore, as part of our agreed-upon procedures, and using the same criteria used for the grantee’s claimed costs, we determined the effect of our findings on AmeriCorps members’ entitlement to education and accrued interest awards.
The following is a summary of grant compliance testing results…
1. RFCUNY drew down more funds than it was due.
2. RFCUNY did not follow certain AmeriCorps Provisions.
3. The supervisory signature on members’ timesheets was not the members’ supervisor, or that of someone with direct knowledge of hours served by the members.
4. Members did not always record actual service hours on their timesheets.
5. Some members’ timesheet hours were not accurately recorded in the Corporation’s Web-Based Reporting System.
6. RFCUNY did not require its members to timely submit their member contracts, forms, and timesheets.
7. RFCUNY used preprinted member documentation and did not ensure that all member documentation was completed, signed, and dated.
8. RFCUNY did not maintain documentation to demonstrate that each member’s evaluation complied with AmeriCorps Regulations and the Member Agreement.
9. RFCUNY did not maintain documentation to demonstrate that members received criminal background checks and that any background checks conducted complied with AmeriCorps Provisions.
10. RFCUNY entered incorrect member start dates in Corporation systems and in member contracts.
11. Some members worked beyond their contract-end date.
Another recent IG report on Americorps waste by open-borders lobbying group, La Raza (”The Race”) spotlighted its failure to complete background checks and institute secure financial controls. And on and on and on.
And guess who’s meddling in these affairs? Yep, First Lady Michelle Obama:
Some decisions about CNCS are being made by First Lady Michelle Obama, according to service advocates (who asked not to be named). Last week, Mrs. Obama announced that her chief of staff, Jackie Norris, would move to CNCS as a senior adviser. Officials said yesterday that Norris is scheduled to arrive on June 22.
Who’s looking out for you now? Cronies, that’s who.
More on the First Lady’s role in installing Norris and intervening to help pick the next Americorps CEO:
First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Jackie Norris, is being sent to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in what is both a White House shake-up and an indication of the first lady’s sway over the corporation that oversees AmeriCorps, Serve and Learn and the Senior Corps.
Observers believe Norris, whom Obama came to know early in the Iowa caucus campaign, was forced out of the White House so that long-time Obama friend Susan Sher could take over. But those same observers see her appointment as senior adviser to the corporation as an overall win for CNCS, believing that Norris still will have a straight line to the White House.
CNCS remains without a CEO after the withdrawal last month of Nike vice president Maria Eitel, even before her nomination went to the Senate. Although the corporation’s CEO must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, Michelle Obama reportedly has taken the lead in selecting the nominee.
This stinks. Shades of Travelgate, anyone?
The more things Change…
Ed Morrissey: “Will Congress stand up to the executive branch and protect the Inspectors General? Or will they roll over and allow Obama to accrue even more power to protect his buddies and to allow corruption to run rampant?”
Flashback on the Americorps/ACORN fraud history, circa 2004:
Although ACORN’s projects run a wide gamut, the group claims as its purpose helping low- and middle-income Americans — through initiatives ranging from improving urban public schools, to providing counseling on how to avoid “predatory lending,” to increasing the availability of “affordable housing.” Most of these programs are conducted locally, by state-level ACORN organizations — which are often set up as 501(c)3 nonprofit entities distinct from the national ACORN umbrella, a 501(c)4 lobbying organization. Sounds benign enough — except that, according to Bob Huberty, executive vice president of the Capital Research Center, these tax-exempt 501(c)3s “have no reason for existence other than to get grants from the government and foundations.” They are, essentially, an ACORN front for asking Uncle Sam to subsidize political activity.
Ask ACORN does — and it definitely receives. Take, for example, the most recent tax information from one of ACORN’s subsidiary nonprofits: the ACORN Housing Corporation, Inc., based out of the organization’s national headquarters in New Orleans. For the tax year beginning July 1, 2002, and ending June 30, 2003, ACORN Housing Corp.’s 990 Form shows a total of $1,710,203 received in government grants (the year before, the total was $1,977,306).
The nominal purpose of those millions is to “provide low rent housing & loan counseling services to low income individuals.” But if the government is funding the actual, legitimate work of ACORN at the local 501(c)3 level, it means that the national lobbying organization can dedicate more of its unrestricted resources to electioneering. Furthermore, explains Craig Garthwaite, director of research at the Employment Policies Institute, “The funding is not only fungible in that if they receive money for X, they can spend more on Y.” He cites one particular example of money-rerouting malfeasance: the crooked dealings surrounding an AmeriCorps grant in 1996. According to an EPI study, when the ACORN Housing Corp. applied for the grant, they denied any connections to the main ACORN lobbying group (the grant is not for political advocacy). But the AmeriCorps inspector general discovered that “not only was AHC created by ACORN, engaged in numerous transactions with one another, and sharing staff and office space — but it utilized the AmeriCorps grant to increase ACORN membership, a violation of federal guidelines.” (ACORN charges membership dues, much as labor unions do; thus, by exploiting AmeriCorps funding to inflate its membership rolls, ACORN used government resources to bring in even more money — money with no restrictions on its political use.)
And another relevant flashback on Michelle Obama’s interest in government-directed “service,” via IBD last fall:
Barack Obama was a founding member of the board of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife became executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies in 1993. Obama plans to use the nonprofit group, which he features on his campaign Web site, as the model for a national service corps. He calls his Orwellian program, “Universal Voluntary Public Service.”
Big Brother had nothing on the Obamas. They plan to herd American youth into government-funded reeducation camps where they’ll be brainwashed into thinking America is a racist, oppressive place in need of “social change.”
The pitch Public Allies makes on its Web site doesn’t seem all that radical. It promises to place young adults (18-30) in paid one-year “community leadership” positions with nonprofit or government agencies. They’ll also be required to attend weekly training workshops and three retreats.
In exchange, they’ll get a monthly stipend of up to $1,800, plus paid health and child care. They also get a post-service education award of $4,725 that can be used to pay off past student loans or fund future education.
But its real mission is to radicalize American youth and use them to bring about “social change” through threats, pressure, tension and confrontation — the tactics used by the father of community organizing, Saul “The Red” Alinsky…
This didn't make many headlines yesterday.
Hundreds showed up to protest Barack Obama in Green Bay where he held a rally to promote his government takeover of health care.
One thousand protesters showed up to rally against Obama and nationalized health care.
As the president's motorcade passed by many people booed and offered a thumbs down.
FOX 11 WLUK reported on the protest:
Organizers said about 1,000 people lined the east side of Packerland Drive Thursday morning to protest President Obama's stop in Green Bay. Stretching four blocks long, the protest parked itself along the motorcade route between Austin Straubel Airport and Green Bay Southwest High School.Free Republic had this photo from the protest:
Most of the protestors were part of a grassroots movement that calls itself "The Party of Know." Jerry Bader, a conservative talk show host on WTAG 1360, helped organize the rally. Most protestors said their purpose Thursday was to let President Obama know just exactly how they feel about a government backed health care system.
"It doesn't work," Dawn Papapetru said. Papapetru said she feels an obligation to speak out. She now lives in Green Bay but was born and raised in Canada, a country that provides universal health care for its citizens.
"I know what the free health system is all about. It's wrong. Taxes will go up, gas will go up and the lines get longer in hospitals," Papapetru said.
President Obama has said he wants to model American health care reform after the Canadian system. The plan is designed to extend health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans by offering a government backed health insurance option.
"The government has no need to get involved in my health decisions. I don't want a government board telling me when and how and if I'm going to get health care," Peter Soransen, of De Pere, said. Soransen was one of the hundreds of people who showed up hoping to have his voice heard.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
If they're not bowing to Obama or dreaming about sleeping with him, the media is now talking about Dear Leader being some "sort of god."
NewsBusters recorded this interview of Newsweek editor Evan Thomas on MSNBC:
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."Thomas elaborated on Obama as God, patronizingly explaining: "He's going to bring all different sides together...Obama is trying to sort of tamper everything down. He doesn't even use the word terror. He uses extremism. He's all about let us reason together...He's the teacher. He is going to say, ‘now, children, stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he – he can – he can do that."
By Kyle Drennen
Virtually every time oil and gasoline prices rose when George W. Bush was in the White House, his policies and/or his connections to folks in the oil industry were blamed by newsrooms from coast to coast.
Yet, even though oil has doubled in price since Inauguration Day, with retail gas prices up $0.75 a gallon, you'd be hard-pressed to find reports blaming these spikes on President Obama or anything he's done since taking office.
Before you answer, take a look at the following crude oil chart:On January 19, crude was $34.78. On Friday, it closed at $68.44, a virtual doubling in only four and a half months.
Although oil prices certainly rose during the Bush years, there was never such a fast doubling as what we've seen since Inauguration Day.
As for prices at the pump, the national average was $1.85/gallon on January 19. Today's average is $2.60.
But that doesn't tell the entire story, for the wholesale gas price was about $1.10 before Inauguration Day. With its $1.95 close on Friday, Americans could be seeing $3 at the pump soon; we in California already are.
With this in mind, given the constant lambasting Bush used to get concerning rising energy prices, will Obama and his policies be similarly blamed?
Or will this be another thing the Obama-loving press gives him a pass for?
It is important to note that "if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world".
So says President Barack Obama. Or I should say: Barack Hussein Obama.
That's right: Barack Hussein Obama. Say it proud. Say it out loud. The middle moniker that dared not speak its name during the election campaign is now front and centre of the US president's attempt to woo the Muslim world, the theme of his visits to Riyadh on Wednesday and Cairo on Thursday.
Petrified of the potential political fallout of being branded a Muslim, Candidate Obama - a practicing Christian - never used the name "Hussein" and its use was frowned upon as a forbidden code for the nutty accusation that he was some kind of Islamic Manchurian candidate.
No more. To say Barack Hussein Obama - BHO for short - now appears to be the height of political correctness.
As I argue in this analysis for the Telegraph dead tree edition, Obama is seeking to return to a Middle East policy based on realism - buttressed by the bona fides of his own multi-cultural (including Muslim) background.
As ABC's Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller astutely outline here, the Obama administration is embracing the new president's inner Muslim, as it were. Deputy national security adviser stated that Obama had "experienced Islam on three continents...growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans [are] a key part of Illinois and Chicago".
So that's once, twice, three times a Muslim?
Just in case the Arab world hasn't yet got this message of inbuilt tolerance, Mr Obama himself has gone a step further. In an interview with France's Canal Plus released on Tuesday evening, he suggested that the United States might be a Muslim country.
Obama said he wanted to "create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what's happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians".
So far, so blah - President George W. Bush often expressed much the same sentiments.
But then, as is his habit , Obama turned the concept around. "Now, the flip side is I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.
"And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. And so there's got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples."
Obama said in Turkey that Americans "do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation". John McCain was criticised in 2007 for saying the US was "a Christian nation", later amending this to "a Judeo-Christian valued nation".
Of course, the concept of separation of church and state, which derived from the First Amendment to the Constitution, means that the US is not officially a Christian nation or a nation of any other particular religion. Which means, I suppose, that the US is as much a Muslim nation as a Christian one.
It's a bold - some might say audacious - turnaround by the president.
It's also a classically Obamaesque move.
During the 2008 campaign, he skillfully made himself, through his life story, the personification of change.
Now, implicitly contrasting himself with the born-again, evangelical Bush who pursued a post-9/11 "crusade" against terrorism, Obama is presenting himself to the Islamic world as the personification of a new, tolerant - and, yes, partly Muslim - America.
UPDATE: The excellent Don Surber crunches the numbers and points out that Obama's claim is highly dubious. According to Surber, the US has an estimated three to eight million Muslims, less than one per cent of the world's total and less than at least 23 other countries.
The average claim for the US Muslim population is about six million. The precise figure is difficult to get because it's not included in US census data and many put the figure at much, much less.
But even if we assume there are six million Muslims in the US, that makes it only the 34th biggest Muslim country in the world - behind Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, China, Ethiopia, Algeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Tanzania, Syria, Malaysia, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Tunisia, Somalia, Guinea, Kenya, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso and Tajikistan.
UPDATE 2: Debbie Schlussel cites a reputable survey by Pew that puts the number of Muslims in the US at 1.8 million. This would make it the 48th biggest Muslim country, after the above list plus France, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, Eritrea, Lebanon and Serbia and Montenegro - and just above Britain, which would be the 50th.telegraph.co.uk
Monday, June 1, 2009
Easily Amazed? Brian Williams Finds It 'Unbelievable' to Watch Obama Eat M&Ms Inside the White House
NBC anchor Brian Williams has never been shy about how amazed he is by Barack Obama. But it is really "unbelievable" to be in the White House hallway while Obama walks by munching on M&Ms? In a brief Monday Washington Post article by Howard Kurtz promoting NBC’s latest Inside the White House special with the candy-munching president, Williams couldn’t keep the gush in check:
"There's stuff we've never seen of how the White House operates," he says. "We were pretty stunned at how much we were able to record and how natural events seemed to be."
He recalls "walking through the West Wing and Secretary Clinton drops by to see the president. To be in the hallway when the president walks by with a handful of M&Ms, popping them in his mouth as he goes to visit his chief of staff -- it was unbelievable. I don't think the expression 'took up residence' is hyperbolic." He also spent time with Michelle Obama and went out for burgers with the president.
Such specials are part of a 40-year NBC tradition, but Williams had to make the sale, a lobbying effort that began before the election. Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel allowed the network to record some senior staff meetings but, says Williams, "Rahm closed the door in front of our crew eight times."
While such behind-the-scenes programs tend to be positive, Williams hopes to highlight the sacrifice involved in the demanding jobs so viewers "will see White House aides as people. There's emotion in it, pathos, personality."
NBC’s previous hour-long specials inside the White House have been generally greeted with more skepticism, that NBC is selling out its independence a bit to gain access. See how much more skeptical both Kurtz and Tom Brokaw seem in the Post of January 21, 2002, when George W. Bush granted access:
Tom Brokaw knew George W. Bush was putting on a show.
Brokaw spent last Thursday hanging with Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the gang for an NBC special that was supposed to have been taped Sept. 18. Events intervened, and the anchor got to see the White House on a war footing -- which, as it turns out, helps explain why the president chose this moment to let the NBC crews in.
George Bush may be no Martin Sheen, but he knows how to play to the cameras. "Inside the Real West Wing," which airs Wednesday night before the fictional version, will show Bush "in a pretty commanding fashion," Brokaw says.
What happens in these ventures might be best described as mutual manipulation. NBC needs access to assemble an hour-long narrative that can be sold to advertisers; the White House team gets to reach millions by staging day-long events while pretending that the camera operators and sound technicians aren't there.
Kurtz noticed that Bush was pressed on the notion that the press had gone easy on him:
Bush laughed at the notion that the press has gone easy on him during the war, arguing that he got roughed up over civilian casualties in Afghanistan and the initial lack of military progress, Brokaw recalls.
At the time, Brokaw praised the White House for being "very well run," which isn’t quite as positive as finding M&M munching an "unbelievable" sight.—Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.
That's for three private jets, two helicopter rides, extra planes for security and closing roads for motorcadeIt seems like it was just yesterday that Barack Obama was telling us that everyone was going to have to sacrifice for the greater good.
It was a campaign pledge that Barack Obama didn't dare break - a promise to take his wife out for dinner and a show once the election was over.
So on the weekend he booked a babysitter, asked Michelle to put on a little black dress and swept her off for a date...
The romantic jaunt is estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £45,000 in transport and security costs - because the date was in New York.
The President used three planes, one to carry the couple and two to ferry aides and reporters all the way from Washington.
The cost of each flight was thought to be nearly £15,000.
The bill was pushed even higher with the use of two helicopters, one to take the Obamas to catch their plane in Washington and another to zip the party into Manhattan from JFK airport.
Well... Some of us have to sacrifice anyway.
You'd think the commander-in-chief would know about such things. If this was Bush, the lefties, Leno and Letterman would be howling about how clueless the president was but they'll ignore it since it's Obama:
Obama: What do you do Walter?by Michele McGinty
Walter: I work at, uh, NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Obama: Outstanding, how long you been doing that?
Walter: About six years
Obama: You like it?
Walter: I do, keeps me...
Obama: So explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial...uh...
Walter: Uh, we work with, uh, satellite imagery..
Walter: [unintelligible] ...support systems, so...
Obama: Sounds like good work.
Walter: Enjoy the weekend.
Obama: Appreciate it.