Sunday, August 16, 2009
John David Lewis
August 6, 2009
What does the bill, HR 3200, short-titled ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” actually say about major health care issues? I here pose a few questions in no particular order, citing relevant passages and offering a brief evaluation after each set of passages.
This bill is 1017 pages long. It is knee-deep in legalese and references to other federal regulations and laws. I have only touched pieces of the bill here. For instance, I have not considered the establishment of (1) “Health Choices Commissio0ner” (Section 141); (2) a “Health Insurance Exchange,” (Section 201), basically a government run insurance scheme to coordinate all insurance activity; (3) a Public Health Insurance Option (Section 221); and similar provisions.
This is the evaluation of someone who is neither a physician nor a legal professional. I am citizen, concerned about this bill’s effects on my freedom as an American. I would rather have used my time in other ways—but this is too important to ignore.
We may answer one question up front: How will the government will pay for all this? Higher taxes, more borrowing, printing money, cutting payments, or rationing services—there are no other options. We will all pay for this, enrolled in the government “option” or not.
(All bold type within the text of the bill is added for emphasis.)
1. 1. WILL THE PLAN RATION MEDICAL CARE?
This is what the bill says, pages 284-288, SEC. 1151. REDUCING POTENTIALLY PREVENTABLE HOSPITAL READMISSIONS:
‘(ii) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN READMISSIONS.—For purposes of clause (i), with respect to a hospital, excess readmissions shall not include readmissions for an applicable condition for which there are fewer than a minimum number (as determined by the Secretary) of discharges for such applicable condition for the applicable period and such hospital.
and, under “Definitions”:
‘‘(A) APPLICABLE CONDITION.—The term ‘applicable condition’ means, subject to subparagraph (B), a condition or procedure selected by the Secretary . . .
‘‘(E) READMISSION.—The term ‘readmission’ means, in the case of an individual who is discharged from an applicable hospital, the admission of the individual to the same or another applicable hospital within a time period specified by the Secretary from the date of such discharge.
‘‘(6) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of— . . .
‘‘(C) the measures of readmissions . . .
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
1. This section amends the Social Security Act
2. The government has the power to determine what constitutes an “applicable [medical] condition.”
3. The government has the power to determine who is allowed readmission into a hospital.
4. This determination will be made by statistics: when enough people have been discharged for the same condition, an individual may be readmitted.
5. This is government rationing, pure, simple, and straight up.
6. There can be no judicial review of decisions made here. The Secretary is above the courts.
7. The plan also allows the government to prohibit hospitals from expanding without federal permission: page 317-318.
2. Will the plan punish Americans who try to opt out?
What the bill says, pages 167-168, section 401, TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE:
‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—
(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. . . .”
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:
1. This section amends the Internal Revenue Code.
2. Anyone caught without acceptable coverage and not in the government plan will pay a special tax.
3. The IRS will be a major enforcement mechanism for the plan.
3. what constitutes “acceptable” coverage?
Here is what the bill says, pages 26-30, SEC. 122, ESSENTIAL BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED:
(a) IN GENERAL.—In this division, the term ‘‘essential benefits package’’ means health benefits coverage, consistent with standards adopted under section 124 to ensure the provision of quality health care and financial security . . .
(b) MINIMUM SERVICES TO BE COVERED.—The items and services described in this subsection are the following:
(2) Outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic services . . .
(3) Professional services of physicians and other health professionals.
(4) Such services, equipment, and supplies incident to the services of a physician’s or a health professional’s delivery of care . . .
(5) Prescription drugs.
(6) Rehabilitative and habilitative services.
(7) Mental health and substance use disorder services.
(8) Preventive services . . .
(9) Maternity care.
(10) Well baby and well child care . . .
(c) REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO COST-SHARING AND MINIMUM ACTUARIAL VALUE . . .
(3) MINIMUM ACTUARIAL VALUE.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The cost-sharing under the essential benefits package shall be designed to provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 70 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in subparagraph (B).
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
1. The bill defines “acceptable coverage” and leaves no room for choice in this regard.
2. By setting a minimum 70% actuarial value of benefits, the bill makes health plans in which individuals pay for routine services, but carry insurance only for catastrophic events, (such as Health Savings Accounts) illegal.
4. Will the PLAN destroy private health insurance?
Here is what it requires, for businesses with payrolls greater than $400,000 per year. (The bill uses “contribution” to refer to mandatory payments to the government plan.) Pages 149-150, SEC. 313, EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS IN LIEU OF COVERAGE
(a) IN GENERAL.—A contribution is made in accordance with this section with respect to an employee if such contribution is equal to an amount equal to 8 percent of the average wages paid by the employer during the period of enrollment (determined by taking into account all employees of the employer and in such manner as the Commissioner provides, including rules providing for the appropriate aggregation of related employers). Any such contribution—
(1) shall be paid to the Health Choices Commissioner for deposit into the Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund, and
(2) shall not be applied against the premium of the employee under the Exchange-participating health benefits plan in which the employee is enrolled.
(The bill then includes a sliding scale of payments for business with less than $400,000 in annual payroll.)
The Bill also reserves, for the government, the power to determine an acceptable benefits plan: page 24, SEC. 115. ENSURING ADEQUACY OF PROVIDER NETWORKS.
5 (a) IN GENERAL.—A qualified health benefits plan that uses a provider network for items and services shall meet such standards respecting provider networks as the Commissioner may establish to assure the adequacy of such networks in ensuring enrollee access to such items and services and transparency in the cost-sharing differentials between in-network coverage and out-of-network coverage.
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
1. The bill does not prohibit a person from buying private insurance.
2. Small businesses—with say 8-10 employees—will either have to provide insurance to federal standards, or pay an 8% payroll tax. Business costs for health care are higher than this, especially considering administrative costs. Any competitive business that tries to stay with a private plan will face a payroll disadvantage against competitors who go with the government “option.”
3. The pressure for business owners to terminate the private plans will be enormous.
4. With employers ending plans, millions of Americans will lose their private coverage, and fewer companies will offer it.
5. The Commissioner (meaning, always, the bureaucrats) will determine whether a particular network of physicians, hospitals and insurance is acceptable.
6. With private insurance starved, many people enrolled in the government “option” will have no place else to go.
5. Does the plan TAX successful Americans more THAN OTHERS?
Here is what the bill says, pages 197-198, SEC. 441. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS
‘‘SEC. 59C. SURCHARGE ON HIGH INCOME INDIVIDUALS.
‘‘(a) GENERAL RULE.—In the case of a taxpayer other than a corporation, there is hereby imposed (in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle) a tax equal to—
‘‘(1) 1 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $350,000 but does not exceed $500,000,
‘‘(2) 1.5 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $500,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, and
‘‘(3) 5.4 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $1,000,000.
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:
1. This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code.
2. Tax surcharges are levied on those with the highest incomes.
3. The plan manipulates the tax code to redistribute their wealth.
4. Successful business owners will bear the highest cost of this plan.
6. Does THE PLAN ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO set FEES FOR SERVICES?
What it says, page 124, Sec. 223, PAYMENT RATES FOR ITEMS AND SERVICES:
(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority to correct for payments that are excessive or deficient, taking into account the provisions of section 221(a) and the amounts paid for similar health care providers and services under other Exchange-participating health benefits plans.
(e) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subtitle shall be construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary to establish payment rates, including payments to provide for the more efficient delivery of services, such as the initiatives provided for under section 224.
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
The government’s authority to set payments is basically unlimited.
The official will decide what constitutes “excessive,” “deficient,” and “efficient” payments and services.
7. Will THE PLAN increase the power of government officials to SCRUTINIZE our private affairs?
What it says, pages 195-196, SEC. 431. DISCLOSURES TO CARRY OUT HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE SUBSIDIES.
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, upon written request from the Health Choices Commissioner or the head of a State-based health insurance exchange approved for operation under section 208 of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, shall disclose to officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or such State-based health insurance exchange, as the case may be, return information of any taxpayer whose income is relevant in determining any affordability credit described in subtitle C of title II of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Such return information shall be limited to—
‘‘(i) taxpayer identity information with respect to such taxpayer,
‘‘(ii) the filing status of such taxpayer,
‘‘(iii) the modified adjusted gross income of such taxpayer (as defined in section 59B(e)(5)),
‘‘(iv) the number of dependents of the taxpayer,
‘‘(v) such other information as is prescribed by the Secretary by regulation as might indicate whether the taxpayer is eligible for such affordability credits (and the amount thereof), and
‘‘(vi) the taxable year with respect to which the preceding information relates or, if applicable, the fact that such information is not available.
And, page 145, section 312, EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS EMPLOYEE AND DEPENDENT COVERAGE:
(3) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.—The employer provides the Health Choices Commissioner, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of the Treasury, as applicable, with such information as the Commissioner may require to ascertain compliance with the requirements of this section.
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:
1. This section amends the Internal Revenue Code
2. The bill opens up income tax return information to federal officials.
3. Any stated “limits” to such information are circumvented by item (v), which allows federal officials to decide what information is needed.
4. Employers are required to report whatever information the government says it needs to enforce the plan.
8. 8. Does the plan automatically enroll Americans in the GOVERNMENT plan?
What it says, page 102, Section 205, Outreach and enrollment of Exchange-eligible individuals and employers in Exchange-participating health benefits plan:
(3) AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT OF MEDICAID ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS INTO MEDICAID.—The Commissioner shall provide for a process under which an individual who is described in section 202(d)(3) and has not elected to enroll in an Exchange-participating health benefits plan is automatically enrolled under Medicaid.
And, page 145, section 312:
(4) AUTOENROLLMENT OF EMPLOYEES.—The employer provides for autoenrollment of the employee in accordance with subsection (c).
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
1. Do nothing and you are in.
2. Employers are responsible for automatically enrolling people who still work.
9. 9. Does THE PLAN exempt federal OFFICIALS from COURT REVIEW?
What it says, page 124, Section 223, PAYMENT RATES FOR ITEMS AND SERVICES:
(f) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.
And, page 256, SEC. 1123. PAYMENTS FOR EFFICIENT AREAS.
‘‘(C) LIMITATION ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, 1878, or otherwise, respecting—
‘‘(i) the identification of a county or other area under subparagraph (A); or
‘‘(ii) the assignment of a postal ZIP Code to a county or other area under subparagraph (B).
EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:
1. Sec. 1123 amends the Social Security Act, to allow the Secretary to identify areas of the country that underutilize the government’s plan “based on per capita spending.”
2. Parts of the plan are set above the review of the courts.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sec. Clinton visits India, urges help vs. terror
By ROBERT BURNS (AP) – 16 hours ago
MUMBAI, India — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton opened a three-day visit to India on Saturday by urging India not to repeat American mistakes in contributing to global pollution, and she passionately defended U.S. demands for help in fighting terrorism.
"We acknowledge now with President Obama that we have made mistakes in the United States, and we along with other developed countries have contributed most significantly to the problem that we face with climate change," she said. "We are hoping a great country like India will not make the same mistakes."
She was referring to Obama's statement in Italy earlier this month that the U.S. had "sometimes fallen short" of its responsibilities in controlling its carbon emissions.
Speaking at a news conference on the pool side patio of the Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel, which was strewn with bodies after terrorists attacked this coastal city last November, she cast India and the United States as allies in the fight against terrorism.
"Yesterday's bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, provide a painful reminder that the threat of such violent extremism is still very real. It is global. It is ruthless. It is nihilistic and it must be stopped," she said.
"We have a great sense of solidarity and sympathy, having gone through what we did on 9/11," she added.
Her voice rising, Clinton insisted that the U.S. demand for international action against terrorist should not be taken lightly.
"We know how important (it is). We are fighting wars to end the threat of terrorism against us, our friends and allies around the world." She said India can choose its own way of contributing but must be part of a broader effort to defeat the threat.
"We expect everyone" who shares the U.S. goal of a more stable world "to take strong action to prevent terrorism from taking root on their soil and making sure that terrorists are not trained and deployed" from their territory to carry out attacks elsewhere, she added.
Earlier, Clinton attended a ceremony commemorating the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 and raised tensions between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. At the event were five staffers from the Oberoi Hotel and 10 from the Taj, including general manager Karambir Kang, who lost his wife and two children during the three-day siege.
The event was closed to reporters.
In a memorial book she wrote: "Americans share a solidarity with this city and nation. Both our people have experienced the senseless and searing effects of violent extremism. And both can be grateful and proud of the heroism of brave men and women whose courage saved lives and prevented greater harm on 26/11 and 9/11. Now it is up to all nations and people who seek peace and progress to work together. Let us rid the world of hatred and extremism that produces such nihilistic violence."
She also met with 11 Indian business leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, the largest privately held company in India.
Echoing remarks made by Ambani at the meeting, Clinton said that India should leapfrog the developed world to come up with its own innovative way to encourage environmentally friendly growth.
"Just as India went from a few years ago having very few mobile phones to now having more than 500 million mostly cell phones by leapfrogging over the infrastructure we built for telephone service, we believe India is innovative and entrepreneurial enough to figure out how to deal with climate change while continuing to lift people out of poverty and develop at a rapid rate," she said.
Seeking to assuage Indian concerns that the U.S. pressured India into making concessions to Pakistan despite that nation's failure to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack, Clinton emphasized that the U.S. respects India's sovereign right to make its own decisions.
"Discussion between India and Pakistan is between India and Pakistan," she said.
The visit marked a return to the world stage for Clinton, who has been slowed since mid-June by an arm injury that forced her to cancel plans to attend international meetings in Italy and Greece last month and to accompany President Barack Obama on his visit to Russia earlier this month.
Clinton is scheduled to hold talks Sunday and Monday in New Delhi with Indian government officials on a wide range of issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, strengthening trade ties and combatting climate change. She is to attend talks in Thailand later in the week with representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Associated Press writer Erika Kinetz in Mumbai contributed to this report
John C. Beale, age 39, husband, father, and member of the Georgia National Guard was killed in Afghanistan on June 4th, 2009. He was a Staff Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He is survived by his wife and by a 12-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.
His friends and neighbors in Georgia turned out to honor him when he returned. His coffin arrived at the airport in Peachtree City, Georgia on Thursday, June 11 and was taken by motorcade to a funeral home in his hometown of McDonough. Word had traveled rapidly through the Georgia communities and they turned out in large numbers to line the route of the motorcade to honor a fallen soldier.
Traveling in the motorcade was state Rep. Steve Davis, who put together this video of the crowds that lined the route. There is something very significant in seeing the outpouring of support and respect here.
You can join in honoring this serviceman’s sacrifice by watching the video. It runs 12 and a half minutes.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Still many people remember him fondly and I do to an extent. But I think it should be noted that "Uncle Walter" was not the objective reporter he appeared to be. All one has to do is go back and really look at his work.
Friday, July 17, 2009
ISN'T IT A SHAME THAT A TRUE HERO IS ALL BUT FORGOTTEN BY OUR MEDIA, BECAUSE THEY ARE totally obsessed with the death of Michael Jackson, who never did anything heroic in his life.!!
You're an 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the Medi-Vac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is half way around the world-12,000 miles away-and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi- Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He's coming anyway. And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.
And, he kept coming back.13 more times.and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at the age of 80, in Boise, ID. May God rest his soul....and so did Michael Jackson.......
Medal of Honor Winner
Since the media didn't give him the coverage he deserves, send this to every red-blooded American you know.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, unless it is my face carved on Mt. Rushmore. SOURCE
III. Thou shalt not utter my middle name in vain. Only I can say Barack Hussein Obama. SOURCE
IV. Remember tax day, April 15th, to keep it holy. SOURCE
V. Honour thy father and thy mother until they are too old and sick to care for. They will cost our public-funded health-care system too much money. SOURCE
VI. Thou shalt not kill, unless you have an unwanted, unborn baby. For it would be an abomination to punish your daughter with a baby. SOURCE
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery if you are a conservative or Republican. liberals and Democrats are hereby forgiven for all of their infidelity and immorality, but the careers of conservatives will be forever destroyed. SOURCE
VIII. Thou shalt not steal, unless you've been elected to public office. Only then is it acceptable to take money from hard-working, successful citizens and give it to those who do not work, illegal immigrants, or those do not have the motivation to better their own lives. SOURCE
IX. Thou shalt not discriminate against any group unless they are conservative, Caucasian, or Christian. SOURCE
X. Thou shalt not covet because it is simply unnecessary. I will place such a heavy tax burden on those that have achieved the American Dream that, by the end of my term as President, nobody will have any wealth or material goods left for you to covet. SOURCE
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
To see the PDF, which is better quality, see here
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published on DickMorris.com on July 10, 2009
President Obama has crossed the red line in his dropping approval rating.
The percentage of Americans who strongly or somewhat approve of how he is doing his job has fallen to 51 percent in the latest Rasmussen polling -- the lowest ever. Because Obama got 52 percent of the vote in the presidential race, defeating McCain by 52-47, the fact that his approval has dropped below his vote share indicates that he is actually shedding real support for the first time.
Until this drop, all Obama was doing was losing McCain voters. Now he is losing his own. It didn't really matter whether people who voted for McCain approved of the job Obama was doing. They were never part of his base. But now voters who pulled the lever for Obama have started to tell pollsters that they disapprove of his job performance. As he wades deeper into the healthcare reform battle, raises taxes to pay for it and pushes cap-and-trade legislation, the drop is likely to be even sharper and much, much steeper.
In our new book, Catastrophe, we highlight the reasons why Obama's popularity will drop and why he will lose the congressional elections of 2010.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
New Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Flavor
In honor of the 44th President of the United States, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: "Barocky Road."
Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate,and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.
The cost is $100.00 per scoop.
When purchased it will be presented to you in a
large beautiful cone, but then the ice cream is
taken away and given to the person in line behind
You are left with an empty wallet and no change,
holding an empty cone with no hope of getting
any ice cream.
Are you stimulated?
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
By Rush Limbaugh:
I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11.
Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million. ?If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.
Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers. (Actually, soldiers are put in harms way by politicians and commanding officers.)We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma Citybombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.
You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise.
Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise.
Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system.. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting. "When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can. To how many people CAN YOU send this ?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Letter from the Boss,
As the CEO of this business that employs 140 people, I have accepted the fact that Barack Obama is our new President, and that our taxes and government fees will now increase in a BIG way.
To compensate for this additional overhead, I figure that the clients will have to see an increase in our fees of about 8% but since we cannot raise those prices right now due to the dismal state of our economy, we will have to lay off several of our employees instead. This unfortunate economic reality has really been eating at me for a while, as we believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who will have to go.
After giving it considerable thought, this is what I did: I strolled thru our parking lot and found 11 Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. They wanted change; I gave it to them.
If you have a better idea, let me know.
Click on the pic to see it better.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Now amidst the AIG "scandal", it's finally revealed (and I already knew this) that none other than Chris Dodd had written a loophole in the legislation. Yet these are the people who are just beside themselves because of the "bonuses" that AIG is supposed to pay out. Watch this clip and just see how dishonest and a liar Chris Dodd is and has no business in government. These are the kind of people that we should not allow to be the dogcatcher!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Neighbors say Bob Dylan's Malibu home is a stinker
Wow. What's that horrible smell?
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.
Neighbors contend that there’s definitely something bad blowing in the wind near Bob Dylan’s Malibu mansion.
Residents contend that the evening breeze wafts a terrible stench from an employees' portable toilet on Dylan's Point Dume property.
Right into their homes. And their nostrils.
Some neighbors say they are even getting sick. Dylan, 67, has ignored their complaints for six months.
Hmm... Sounds like the '60s folk singer just isn't interested in other peoples' civil rights anymore.
David Emminger, whose home is directly behind the toilet, told the L.A. Times that the latrine is used by Dylan’s security staff.
Emminger and his wife have installed five industrial-sized fans in their yard to blast the smell back at Dylan.
But mere fans can't compete with the powerful evening ocean breezes.
Dylan, who has lived in a compound next to Bluewater Road for more than two decades, did not respond to inquiries about the toilet.
Neither did his New York lawyer.
Malibu officials said they are investigating the complaints and, as a result, they cannot discuss the issue.
But you can discuss this issue, so let's hear some thoughts.
Are you surprised — or not surprised — at how downright unneighborly Dylan is being about this smelly matter?
Does it make you rethink the man and his music?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President's Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
Mon Mar 16, 5:49 pm ET
Contact: Craig Roberts of The American Legion, +1-202-263-2982 Office, +1-202-406-0887 Cell
WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.
"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."
The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"
Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The group's early afternoon conversation at The White House was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of ten colleague organizations, read, in part, " There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran's personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable."
Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran's condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered.
Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits.
"I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted," said Commander Rehbein, "is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the President's financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near future.
"I only hope the administration will really listen to us then. This matter has far more serious ramifications than the President is imagining," concluded the Commander.
SOURCE The American Legion
Obama mulls making vets foot bill for service injuries
By David Goldstein
WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is considering making veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries. The plan would be an about-face on what veterans believe is a long-standing pledge to pay for health care costs that result from their military service.
But in a White House meeting Monday, veterans groups apparently failed to persuade President Obama to take the plan off the table.
“Veterans of all generations agree that this proposal is bad for the country and bad for veterans,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “If the president and the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] want to cut costs, they can start at AIG, not the VA.”
Under current policy, veterans are responsible for health care costs that are unrelated to their military service. Exceptions in some cases can be made for veterans who do not have private insurance or are 100 percent disabled.
The president spoke Monday at the Department of Veterans Affairs to commemorate its 20th anniversary and said he hopes to increase funding by $25 billion over the next five years. But he said nothing about the plan to bill private insurers for service-related medical care.
Few details about the plan have been available, and a VA spokesman did not provide additional information. But the reaction on Capitol Hill to the idea has been swift and harsh.
“Dead on arrival” is how Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington described the idea.
“ . . . when our troops are injured while serving our country, we should take care of those injuries completely,” Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, told a hearing last week.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said at the same hearing that the plan was “a consideration.” He also acknowledged that the VA’s proposed budget for next year included it as a way to increase revenue. But he told the committee that “a final decision hasn’t been made yet.”
For veterans, that was little comfort.
Veterans claim that the costs of treating expensive war injuries could raise their insurance costs, as well as those for their employers. Some worried that it also could make it more difficult for disabled veterans to find work.
The leaders of several veterans groups had written Obama last month complaining about the new plan. “There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran’s personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide,” they wrote.
Many veterans had high expectations for Obama after years of battling the Bush administration over benefit cuts and medical concerns such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
But the VA’s decision to float a potential change in its policy of paying for service-related injuries could signal a quick end to the honeymoon.
“It’s a betrayal,” said Joe Violante, legislative director of Disabled American Veterans, which signed the letter to Obama. “My insurance company didn’t send me to Vietnam, my government did. The same holds true for men and women now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s the government’s responsibility.”
Meanwhile, a new poll by the independent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has found Obama’s approval rating falling to 59 percent from 64 percent in February. It also found the ranks of Americans who disapprove of his job performance rising, to 26 percent from 17 percent.
Pew found that 44 percent think that the president listens more to liberals than to moderates in his party, while 30 percent think he listens more to moderates. In January, 44 percent thought he listened more to moderates and 34 percent more to liberals.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
My good friend Shari, over at Keep in touch with Mama Kin sent me this email from a Polish immigrant. What you read is a good indication of how far left the commucrat party has gone. I probably err when I claim liberals have taken over the commucrat party, I probably mean more the leftist/socialists have done so. I think a true liberal would not try and silence any voice of the opposition from the conservative right, as we have that freedom in this country, for now at least. I think more the left would love to silence those of us who vehemently disagree with Comrade Obam-uh and his ilk who are trying to hijack our American life. Read this email from Jurek and see how we as Americans are viewed through the eyes of someone who has lived under a tyranical regime.
"As I watch his first 50 days in office i Cannot pass this though i have in my head.. What he does, the way he says is and how much afford he puts in his image when talking publicly or walking in front of camera reminds me what I have seen in Poland. All was about image. All communist chiefs of party in power during 40-years of a "golden socialism era" based their rule on fakes. They always look good, talk great and promise Eden in future.
Always same words ' we need to sacrifice , work hard, donate time for free for a better goodness of nation to achieve prosperity in future. ... always was in future, which never become a present time.
In my view, he is 100% Socialistic breed and he does everything according to idea of perfect glass houses for chosen ones from a nation. rest is to be served them. I always got this idea that Marks and Engels "create" socialism from jealousy toward kings and their power.
Under populist bumper sticker sentences like: "we give you great job, house, food and easy going life" their tried to create slaves from their own nation to rule them in absolute power. for them there is no GOD because their are gods.
I'm very sad that so many in this great nation USA is willing to be slaves for empty promises. If we get to many of them re institution of state back to free market will not be peaceful. We have to fight this now when is just a small baby without predators teeth and claws to rip a part any freedom loving people...
Sorry for this morning "talk" I'm really upset after yesterdays explanation of our Messiah when signing earmarkulus package.."