Friday, May 14, 2010

Feds Want to Take Over All American Waterways as Well as Fat Kids; Nominee Kagan's Beliefs; You Cut Initiative; We Pay for Others' Mortgages?; CBO Raises Cost of Healthcare Bill

By Amy Easley and KTVZ.COM news sources
WASHINGTON - Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and the Congressional Western Caucus have joined in opposition to legislation introduced by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) that seeks to provide the federal government with jurisdictional authority over all water across the entire United States.
Walden says the legislation, titled "America's Commitment to Clean Water Act," seeks to expand the federal government's control of U.S. water under the Clean Water Act by removing the existing requirement that regulated waterways be "navigable," Walden's office said in a news release that under the proposed legislation, all inland waters, on both public and private lands, would be controlled and regulated by the federal government.
A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.  [At what point will they be knocking on our doors, checking our pantries, and fining us for our overweight children?  When will enough be enough?]

States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis. 

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan said the high court should be focused on ferreting out improper governmental motives when deciding First Amendment cases, arguing that the government’s reasons for restricting free speech were what mattered most and not necessarily the effect of those restrictions on speech.
Kagan constructed a complex framework that can be used by the Court to determine whether or not Congress has restricted First Amendment freedoms with improper intent.
She has lamented that, "In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States.
"Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope." 
From CNN:  House Republicans launched a new effort Wednesday designed to show their party is responding to voter backlash about excessive government spending. Dubbed "You Cut," the initiative invites the public to vote online, or text on their cell phone, which government programs they want to put on the chopping block. The House GOP will list five federal programs each week on a new website and ask people to vote for which one they think deserves to be cut. Republican leaders pledged that they will fight for a full vote each week on the House floor 
CNN:  New York - Unemployed? Owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth? Your state might one day pay your mortgage. Giving people free money to cover their home loans is just one of the radical ways that four states -- Florida, Michigan, California and Arizona -- plan to use $1.4 billion the Obama administration is sending their way to help the unemployed and underwater avoid foreclosure. (Snip) But other housing experts warn that paying off loans creates a moral hazard and could actually dissuade people from looking for work. 
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday released a new estimate attributing $115 billion in additional spending to the new national health care law, driving the full cost over the first decade to over $1 trillion. But the CBO cautioned that it didn't have enough information to project all of the additional costs. But the CBO cautioned that it didn't have enough information to project all of the additional costs.   However, the way in which the law was drafted left the actual amount to be appropriated up in the air, merely writing "such sums as may be necessary," which prevented the CBO from performing a full cost analysis.  [Garbage in - garbage out.  And could it be illegal [or at least short of Obama's professed "transparency"] for Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, who had this information one week prior to the vote, to have withheld this information from Congress because she didn't want to "affect the process"?]
Federal Deficit More than 4x Larger in just one year:  Reuters reports: The United States posted an $82.69 billion deficit in April, nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009 and the largest on record for that month, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday. 

It was more than twice the $40-billion deficit that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast and was striking since April marks the filing deadline for individual income taxes that are the main source of government revenue. 
The Washington Times reports:  Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who has been critical of Arizona's new immigration law, said Thursday he hasn't yet read the law and is going by what he's read in newspapers or seen on television.  [For me, this again questions this administration's "fit to lead" deficits.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cass Sunstein's Ideas for Obama; Barack Obama on Arizona; Assaults on America

Complaining that the new media gives us so much information that it is confusing, often untrue, and counter-productive, President Obama said: "With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work [now, we all know he uses a Blackberry himself -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.  [What?!!] [highly liberal] reports: Cass Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs."  In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government.  This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging.[Big Brother is alive and well...]
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," President Obama said at [graduation at] Hampton University, Virginia.
"What Jefferson recognized... that in the long run, their improbable experiment -- called America -- wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn't have the best interests of all the people at heart.
"It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship."  [Mr. President, I couldn't agree more.]

Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily opines:

In a lengthy academic paper, President Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban "conspiracy theorizing."
Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.
Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate "extremists who supply conspiracy theories" to disrupt the efforts of the "extremists" to propagate their theories.
We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories."
In the 30-page paper – obtained and reviewed by WND – Sunstein argues the best government response to "conspiracy theories" is "cognitive infiltration of extremist groups."
Sunstein said government agents "might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."
Sunstein defined a conspiracy theory as "an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."
[I'll be sure to be on the lookout for infiltration.]

[Once again our President is pitting Americans against each other by making this supposedly cute joke]:"And we all know what happens in AZ when you don't have ID [Ha,Ha,Ha]  Adios, Amigos."
Please watch this political ad from AZ!    [I do believe he has no idea what being "Presidential" means.]

Related, via Instapundit: A new poll finds 61 percent of voters nationally think Arizona was right to take action instead of waiting for the federal government to do something on immigration. That’s more than twice as many as the 27 percent who think securing the border is a federal responsibility and Arizona should have waited for Washington to act.

After Arizona, why are 10 states considering immigration bills?  [This is a Christian Science Monitor headline.....]

Fox News reports: The battle over the American flag has reached a middle school art class in California’s Santa Rita School District where a student was told not to draw Old Glory because it was “offensive,” while another student was praised for drawing a picture of President Obama.  [The Principal of the school has since yesterday disapproved this action, but the student has not yet received an apology.  I'm sure they would not refuse to have the class sing a song praising Obama and pledging to help his causes.  Also in CA was the school which sent students home for wearing a shirt which depicted the American Flag.  A UTube video displays a CA teacher who is fomenting a revolution by La Raza and Hispanics to take back America.  Isn't it a wonderful country?]
From the Huffington Post (and many other places):  NEW YORK  [A 13-story mosque is to be opened] in a building damaged by debris from the Sept. 11 airliners that brought down the World Trade Center.  Some see the bridging of a cultural divide and an opportunity to serve a burgeoning, peaceful religious population. Others see a painful reminder of the religious extremism that killed their loved ones.
Two Muslim organizations have partnered to open the mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan, saying the $100 million project will create a venue for mainstream Islam and a counterbalance to radicalism. It earned a key endorsement this week from influential community leaders.
Ralph Peters writes about our government's classification of terrorists:  But the administration's biggest policy reversal to date came from [Eric Holder], the longtime advocate of terrorist "rights," who offered one of the most belated acknowledgments in history when he told a TV network, "We're now dealing with international terrorism."
Holder, of all people, now wants Congress to change the rules for Miranda rights, giving the government more time under a "public-safety exception" to permit extended questioning of terrorist suspects before arming them with lawyers.
And there wasn't a single mention of "man-caused disasters" this time around. Every administration point person talked "terrorism." Next thing you know, somebody in the White House will use the term "Islamist terrorist."
So what does this startling policy shift mean for you?
First, the administration has plainly realized that the terror danger is much higher than it believed one week ago.
Second, it means that Shahzad really has been talking -- almost certainly tipping us that there are more America-bound terror trainees out there (or already here) and letting us fit together important pieces of the intelligence puzzle.
Third, the White House obviously fears more terror attacks sooner rather than later.
CNBC reports: But one rule-of-thumb formula puts potential US exposure [to bailing out Greece] at $54 billion should the entire IMF loan fund be tapped.
And that doesn't count the added exposure created by the Federal Reserve's decision over the weekend to participate in currency swaps to provide liquidity to jittery European banks. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Health Insurance Consequences; No-Fly Lists; and Our 401(k)s

The Examiner writes:  In a stunning revelation Wednesday, several top U.S. corporations are seriously considering dropping employee health insurance coverage in light of what they see as the inevitable consequence of ObamaCare--skyrocketing costs. The companies state that after their legal experts poured over the thousands of pages in the new law, it will cost them less to pay the fines for not providing healthcare coverage for employees than continuing to provide employer-paid health insurance benefits. As a side-note to the announcement, the companies maintain that ObamaCare will result in a dramatic increase in expenses for providing employee coverage, with added costs skyrocketing to multi-billions of dollars. According to Business Record: Additionally, the penalties to businesses for not offering coverage are less expensive than the cost of providing insurance, she said. "But for those that aren't providing coverage now, this is a huge burden to them. And for employers that have a lot of employees working 30 hours (the threshold to be considered full- time), you may have a lot of businesses cutting them back to 29 hours." 

National Review reports: "Of course, as Fortune’s Shawn Tully points out, that will mean far higher costs to the public than those projected by the Congressional Budget Office and far more disruption and instability than voters were promised: Remember “if you like your plan you can keep it”? Well, not if your employer is given a strong incentive to end it. It turns out the many critics who argued that exactly this would happen weren’t just pumping out fog after all. And in an extra bit of irony, the corporate memos outlining all this became public because Henry Waxman ordered the companies to turn over their internal health-care memos in preparation for a hearing at which he was going to berate them for reporting the added costs that Obamacare would impose on them. Once his staff actually saw the memos, the hearing was cancelled.

Second, it turns out that the massive bill contained a hidden change in the tax law that will require companies to submit IRS 1099 forms not only for contract workers (as is the case now) but also for any individual or company from which they purchase more than $600 in goods or services in a year. That’s millions of new forms to file and send to vendors and the IRS, and lots of work and expense gathering names and taxpayer ID numbers from every vendor and store a business deals with.
As the fog clears, the case for repeal gets stronger and stronger.
Because it is so important, here again, from Human Events, is the news regarding our governments wishes to take from us our 401(k)s:  In February, the White House released its “Annual Report on the Middle Class” containing new regulations favored by Big Labor including a bailout of critically underfunded union pension plans through “retirement security” options.
The radical solution most favored by Big Labor is the seizure of private 401(k) plans for government disbursement -- which lets them off the hook for their collapsing retirement scheme.  And, of course, the Obama administration is eager to accommodate their buddies.
Vice President Joe Biden floated the idea, called “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs), in the February “Middle Class” report. 
In conjunction with the report’s release, the Obama administration jointly issued through the Departments of Labor and Treasury a “Request for Information” regarding the “annuitization” of 401(k) plans through “Lifetime Income Options” in the form of a notice to the public of proposed issuance of rules and regulations. (pdf)House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and a group of House Republicans are mounting an effort to fight back. [Think it can't happen?  It should worry us that they are even thinking about it!]

And I leave you with this quote from Al Sharpton:  "We Won’t Have True Social Justice Until Everything Is ‘Equal in Everybody’s House."