Wednesday, March 31, 2010
We hope the public council interview will show more substance on the part of the questioners and interviewees.
On the other hand, the bottom line is that a Democrat will be appointed to fill Chuck Sigerson's seat and we still assert it will be Gary Kudym who was not only the most unimpressive presenter yesterday but also appears to be the most malleable to a bunch of incompetent Democrats whose majority will prevail. Given Kudym's response we'd suggest that they look to Kraft or Regan if they want a Democrat. However, they'd probably be frightened to have a lawyer on the council and they already have one female who thankfully challenges them more than they would like so another would be anathema.
At least we were there yesterday and here how we rated the candidates:
Some will say we are partial to the top two who happen to be Republicans. The truth of the matter is they were the most prepared and answered the questions better than the others.
Gary Kudym: Kudym had difficulty just introducing himself. He virtually had to read his introduction and seemed ill at ease doing so. He noted his similarity to Chuck Sigerson since he is a small business owner and State Farm agent.
Stephen Kraft: Did a reasonable job introducing himself. He talked about his 24 years as a Douglas County Prosecutor and said he was familiar with violence and had worked on establishing the first drug courts.
Scott Yahnke: Was will prepared. Showed good bi-partisan orientation by disclaiming robo call efforts by Nebraska State Republican Party to encourage Republicans to contact the council members by phone or e-mail on behalf of himself or Mulligan. Talked about his background of teaching in OPS for 33 years and being a licensed real estate agent for 10 years. Said as a council member he would be collegial collaborative in working with all citizens.
Thomas Mulligan: Made some fun in his introduction noting that his son had suggested a campaign slogan of 'a chicken in every pothole.' The funny fell short of getting any laughs. Mulligan noted prior political experience in serving as a board member of SID 236. He noted that he was former Mayor Leahy's paperboy and had watched his antics and that if elected he, Mulligan, would try to bring a sense of humor to the job. We found his presentation flat but he has a solid record of 35 years of service in management with the Union Pacific
Jeri Regan: An Omaha Marian High graduate who left the city but came back 25 years ago to work with her family in their insurance business. Didn't need to read notes to discuss who she was and her love for Omaha and desire to see it continue to grow. Was very complimentary about what has happened in Omaha over last 15 years.
As we noted, there were three questions. While we didn't take them down directly, we'll give you the general gist of the question and responses.
The Police Union Contract and amendments: Where do you stand on it and how do you finance it?
- Kudym: Basically said he needed to read the contract and amendments. Said the city needed to work with the unions. A lousy answer but one that will make Suttle lackeys Jerram, Gernandt, Gray and Festersen happy.
- Kraft: Said that the council needed to look at both sides. This would also appeal to the mayor and his gang of four (see previous answer of Kudym). Again, for having the question in advance, he failed to give a satisfactory answer.
- Yahnke: Said the negotiations were going in the right direction. He talked about several specific issues regarding the pension program and noted room for improvement. Compared his OPS retirement benefits after 33 years with those of someone who was retiring from OPD after 20, noting huge disparities.
- Mulligan: Provided a milquetoast response. No real answer considering he had question in advance.
- Regan: Again, considering she had the question in advance, really didn't begin to answer the question.
The city's financial challenges: How do you balance the citizens' desire for services with tax increases and meeting the city's obligations, i.e. sewer separation contract?
- Mulligan: Suggested the city needed to work smarter, asking "how do we improve efficiency?" Suggested city needs to ascertain whether additional services can be contracted out.
- Yahnke: Asked how much do we want government to do for us? He would use that thought process in trying to balance services with taxes
- Kraft: Said we need to look at efficiency. He said he was resistant to raising taxes but would rule it out. Said one way to bring more income to the city was to make it a destination city.
- Kudym: In another pretty unsubstantive response said that the city needs to look at ways to increase revenue without raising taxes. He gave no examples and we're not sure what he meant.
- Regan: Her answer was pretty non substantive. She suggested that the city needed to work with non profits and others as much as possible.
How do you define economic development and what part does city council have in partnering with Chamber of Commerce?
- Yahnke: One of the best answers of the afternoon. Provided several thoughtful examples
- Mulligan: Said that economic development equals jobs. He said that the city must maintain a favorable environment with a favorable tax base.
- Regan: Talked a lot about the arts. Said the city needed good schools and art venues to attract jobs.
- Kraft: In one of his more responsive answers said that the city needs to develop private-public partnerships. The city needs to use T.I.F. (Tax Increment financing). Sounding like Mayor Suttle said the city needed to work to create green jobs. Also said that the city needed light rail although he didn't begin to say how to pay for it.
- Kudym: Long on rhetoric, short once again on substance
- None of these calls will change the fix which is definitely going to result in a Democrat being appointed to fill Sigerson's seat, and most probably Gary Kudym.
- There is obviously a tremendous apathy when it comes to Sigerson's replacement and even the NEGOP's effort hasn't succeeded in changing it.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Moveon.org is the Democrat version of the conservative (you note we didn't say Republican) Club for Growth. In the case of the latter, they do occasionally knock off a liberal Republican, but seldom win the general election. In the case of Moveon and Lincoln, we hope Lincoln prevails as she will be a much easier target for a conservative.
Here's their missive:
Dear MoveOn member,
Tomorrow is a huge fundraising deadline for the most important Democratic primary fight this year.
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is one of the very worst Democrats in Congress—just last week, she was one of only three to vote against the final piece of health care reform. (Even Joe Lieberman voted yes.)
And now she's got a real fight on her hands in this year's Democratic primary. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who is far more progressive, has received tens of thousands of small donations in just a few weeks, and this week a new poll released shows him gaining on Lincoln with a quarter of Democratic primary voters still undecided.
But Lincoln is already spending her $5 million war chest flooding the airwaves with attack ads. Halter urgently needs more resources to get his message out—and a strong showing before tomorrow's deadline will send a powerful message to the pundits and politicians in Washington that people are fed up with corporate Democrats like Blanche Lincoln.
We're already halfway towards our goal of raising $300,000 for Halter by the deadline. To reach it, it'll take 7 more donations from folks in Omaha. Can you chip in $5?
The Arkansas Senate primary could have huge implications for the future of the Democratic Party nationwide.
That's because if we can show that voters will abandon Sen. Lincoln given her awful record of siding with corporate interests, every conservative Democrat in Washington will be forced to take notice.
On the other hand, if conservative Democrats see her get away with killing the public option and repeatedly trying to undermine President Obama's agenda, we can be sure that things are only going to get worse.
So we've got to make sure that Bill Halter has the resources he needs to wage an effective campaign. Can you chip in $5?
Monday, March 29, 2010
With that said, we just received an e-mail from none other than Nebraska's own Judas Ben Nelson telling us of his valliant efforts to stop a public option and letting us know how good his Judas Nelson/Reid/Pelosi/Obama healthcare takeover is for us.
Somehow, in all the lies and misrepresentations he forgot to tell us that he voted against the bill in reconciliation.
Somehow, in all the lies and misrepresentations he forgot to tell us where he will be holding all of his townhall meetings this week.
Dear Objective Conservative:
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this critical issue.
On December 24, 2009, I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), P.L. 111‑148, which passed the Senate by a vote of 60‑39. The House of Representatives passed this bill on March 21, 2010, by a vote of 219-212, and it was signed into law by the President on March 23.
I did everything in my power to significantly improve this health care reform bill. My actions prevented any government-run insurance program from being established, ensuring that the new coverage offered is built upon the private system we have today, and maintained the federal Hyde Amendment, prohibiting taxpayer dollars from paying for elective abortions.
The PPACA will provide Americans with reliable and secure insurance coverage at all stages of their lives. The bill takes a market-based approach, offering tax credits for middle-class Americans to help make private health insurance more affordable. It also improves the delivery of health care for all of us and works to reduce the federal deficit.
Links to the legislation and related resources can be found on my website at:
Thank you again for contacting me. I am truly grateful that so many Nebraskans such as yourself have shared their views with me on this crucial matter.
In your March 28th More Commentary piece defending your position against the Wall Street Journal’s editorial, you ended with, “The bottom line is throughout the health care debate, I fought for what I thought was in the best interests of Nebraskans; that I will never disavow.”
“The best interests of Nebraskans”, you say? Based on whose standards? It has to be yours because it’s certainly not ours. Nebraskans are/were two to one against the proposed bill, yet you intentionally and purposefully ignored our wishes and desires and voted for the bill because it is in “our best interests”? I think not.
And it will not be without its consequences. We Nebraskans will not forget that 60th vote. Your future votes, regardless of what they might be will not wipe out that infamous 60th. You are an embarrassment to our state and to our country, and for what? Those of us who once supported you and voted you into office will never know about that “what”, will we? But in the end it doesn’t make any difference; you still threw us and our country under the bus.
Senator, there are those in Nebraska who will listen to us and who will represent us in Washington. They are willing to work “for the people” instead of working “for the party”. One of those will replace you in 2012.
I can hardly wait.
"Today President Obama signed a government takeover of health care into law. Below is a list of new boards and commissions created in the bill:
- Grant program for consumer assistance offices (Section 1002, p. 37)
- Grant program for states to monitor premium increases (Section 1003, p.42)
- Committee to review administrative simplification standards (Section1104, p. 71)
- Demonstration program for state wellness programs (Section 1201, p. 93)
- Grant program to establish state Exchanges (Section 1311(a), p. 130)
- State American Health Benefit Exchanges (Section 1311(b), p. 131)
- Exchange grants to establish consumer navigator programs (Section1311(i), p. 150)
- Grant program for state cooperatives (Section 1322, p. 169)
- Advisory board for state cooperatives (Section 1322(b)(3), p. 173)
- Private purchasing council for state cooperatives (Section 1322(d), p.177)
- State basic health plan programs (Section 1331, p. 201)
- State-based reinsurance program (Section 1341, p. 226)
- Program of risk corridors for individual and small group markets(Section 1342, p. 233)
- Program to determine eligibility for Exchange participation (Section1411, p. 267)
- Program for advance determination of tax credit eligibility (Section1412, p. 288)
- Grant program to implement health IT enrollment standards (Section1561, p. 370)
- Federal Coordinated Health Care Office for dual eligible beneficiaries(Section 2602, p. 512)
- Medicaid quality measurement program (Section 2701, p. 518)
- Medicaid health home program for people with chronic conditions, andgrants for planning same (Section 2703, p. 524)
- Medicaid demonstration project to evaluate bundled payments (Section2704, p. 532)
- Medicaid demonstration project for global payment system (Section2705, p. 536)
- Medicaid demonstration project for accountable care organizations(Section 2706, p. 538)
- Medicaid demonstration project for emergency psychiatric care (Section2707, p. 540)
- Grant program for delivery of services to individuals with postpartumdepression (Section 2952(b), p. 591)
- State allotments for grants to promote personal responsibilityeducation programs (Section 2953, p. 596)
- Medicare value-based purchasing program (Section 3001(a), p. 613)
- Medicare value-based purchasing demonstration program for criticalaccess hospitals (Section 3001(b), p. 637)
- Medicare value-based purchasing program for skilled nursing facilities(Section 3006(a), p. 666)
- Medicare value-based purchasing program for home health agencies(Section 3006(b), p. 668)
- Interagency Working Group on Health Care Quality (Section 3012, p. 688)
- Grant program to develop health care quality measures (Section 3013,p. 693)
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Section 3021, p. 712)
- Medicare shared savings program (Section 3022, p. 728)
- Medicare pilot program on payment bundling (Section 3023, p. 739)
- Independence at home medical practice demonstration program (Section3024, p. 752)
- Program for use of patient safety organizations to reduce hospitalreadmission rates (Section 3025(b), p. 775)
- Community-based care transitions program (Section 3026, p. 776)
- Demonstration project for payment of complex diagnostic laboratorytests (Section 3113, p. 800)
- Medicare hospice concurrent care demonstration project (Section 3140,p. 850)
- Independent Payment Advisory Board (Section 3403, p. 982)
- Consumer Advisory Council for Independent Payment Advisory Board(Section 3403, p. 1027)
- Grant program for technical assistance to providers implementinghealth quality practices (Section 3501, p. 1043)
- Grant program to establish interdisciplinary health teams (Section3502, p. 1048)
- Grant program to implement medication therapy management (Section3503, p. 1055)
- Grant program to support emergency care pilot programs (Section 3504,p. 1061)
- Grant program to promote universal access to trauma services (Section3505(b), p. 1081)
- Grant program to develop and promote shared decision-making aids(Section 3506, p. 1088)
- Grant program to support implementation of shared decision-making(Section 3506, p. 1091)
- Grant program to integrate quality improvement in clinical education(Section 3508, p. 1095)
- Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women fs Health(Section 3509(a), p. 1098)
- Centers for Disease Control Office of Women fs Health (Section3509(b), p. 1102)
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Women fs Health(Section 3509(e), p. 1105)
- Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Women fs Health(Section 3509(f), p. 1106)
- Food and Drug Administration Office of Women fs Health (Section3509(g), p. 1109)
- National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council(Section 4001, p. 1114)
- Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative andPublic Health (Section 4001(f), p. 1117)
- Prevention and Public Health Fund (Section 4002, p. 1121)
- Community Preventive Services Task Force (Section 4003(b), p. 1126)
- Grant program to support school-based health centers (Section 4101, p.1135)
- Grant program to promote research-based dental caries diseasemanagement (Section 4102, p. 1147)
- Grant program for States to prevent chronic disease in Medicaidbeneficiaries (Section 4108, p. 1174)
- Community transformation grants (Section 4201, p. 1182)
- Grant program to provide public health interventions (Section 4202, p.1188)
- Demonstration program of grants to improve child immunization rates(Section 4204(b), p. 1200)
- Pilot program for risk-factor assessments provided through communityhealth centers (Section 4206, p. 1215)
- Grant program to increase epidemiology and laboratory capacity(Section 4304, p. 1233)
- Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (Section 4305, p.1238)
- National Health Care Workforce Commission (Section 5101, p. 1256)
- Grant program to plan health care workforce development activities(Section 5102(c), p. 1275)
- Grant program to implement health care workforce developmentactivities (Section 5102(d), p. 1279)
- Pediatric specialty loan repayment program (Section 5203, p. 1295)
- Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program (Section 5204, p. 1300)
- Allied Health Loan Forgiveness Program (Section 5205, p. 1305)
- Grant program to provide mid-career training for health professionals(Section 5206, p. 1307
- Grant program to fund nurse-managed health clinics (Section 5208, p.1310)
- Grant program to support primary care training programs (Section 5301,p. 1315)
- Grant program to fund training for direct care workers (Section 5302,p. 1322)
- Grant program to develop dental training programs (Section 5303, p.1325)
- Demonstration program to increase access to dental health care inunderserved communities (Section 5304, p. 1331)
- Grant program to promote geriatric education centers (Section 5305, p.1334)
- Grant program to promote health professionals entering geriatrics(Section 5305, p. 1339)
- Grant program to promote training in mental and behavioral health(Section 5306, p. 1344)
- Grant program to promote nurse retention programs (Section 5309, p.1354)
- Student loan forgiveness for nursing school faculty (Section 5311(b),p. 1360)
- Grant program to promote positive health behaviors and outcomes(Section 5313, p. 1364)
- Public Health Sciences Track for medical students (Section 5315, p.1372)
- Primary Care Extension Program to educate providers (Section 5405, p.1404)
- Grant program for demonstration projects to address health workforceshortage needs (Section 5507, p. 1442)
- Grant program for demonstration projects to develop training programsfor home health aides (Section 5507, p. 1447)
- Grant program to establish new primary care residency programs(Section 5508(a), p. 1458)
- Program of payments to teaching health centers that sponsor medicalresidency training (Section 5508(c), p. 1462)
- Graduate nurse education demonstration program (Section 5509, p. 1472)
- Grant program to establish demonstration projects for community-basedmental health settings (Section 5604, p. 1486)
- Commission on Key National Indicators (Section 5605, p. 1489)
- Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skillednursing facilities (Section 6102, p. 1554)
- Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section6103(a)(3), p. 1561)
- Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section6103(b)(3), p. 1568)
- National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursingfacilities and nursing facilities (Section 6112, p. 1589)
- Demonstration projects for nursing facilities involved in the culturechange movement (Section 6114, p. 1597)
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1619)
- Standing methodology committee for Patient-Centered Outcomes ResearchInstitute (Section 6301, p. 1629)
- Board of Governors for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute(Section 6301, p. 1638)
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (Section 6301(e), p.1656)
- Elder Justice Coordinating Council (Section 6703, p. 1773)
- Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (Section6703, p. 1776)
- Grant program to create elder abuse forensic centers (Section 6703,p. 1783)
- Grant program to promote continuing education for long-term carestaffers (Section 6703, p. 1787)
- Grant program to improve management practices and training (Section6703, p. 1788)
- Grant program to subsidize costs of electronic health records(Section 6703, p. 1791)
- Grant program to promote adult protective services (Section 6703, p.1796)
- Grant program to conduct elder abuse detection and prevention(Section 6703, p. 1798)
- Grant program to support long-term care ombudsmen (Section 6703, p.1800)
- National Training Institute for long-term care surveyors (Section6703, p. 1806)
- Grant program to fund State surveys of long-term care residences(Section 6703, p. 1809)
- CLASS Independence Fund (Section 8002, p. 1926)
- CLASS Independence Fund Board of Trustees (Section 8002, p. 1927)
- CLASS Independence Advisory Council (Section 8002, p. 1931)
- Personal Care Attendants Workforce Advisory Panel (Section 8002(c),p. 1938)
- Multi-state health plans offered by Office of Personnel Management(Section 10104(p), p. 2086)
- Advisory board for multi-state health plans (Section 10104(p), p.2094)
- Pregnancy Assistance Fund (Section 10212, p. 2164)
- Value-based purchasing program for ambulatory surgical centers(Section 10301, p. 2176)
- Demonstration project for payment adjustments to home health services(Section 10315, p. 2200)
- Pilot program for care of individuals in environmental emergencydeclaration areas (Section 10323, p. 2223)
- Grant program to screen at-risk individuals for environmental healthconditions (Section 10323(b), p. 2231)
- Pilot programs to implement value-based purchasing (Section 10326, p.2242)
- Grant program to support community-based collaborative care networks(Section 10333, p. 2265)
- Centers for Disease Control Office of Minority Health (Section 10334,p. 2272)
- Health Resources and Services Administration Office of MinorityHealth (Section 10334, p. 2272)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office ofMinority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Minority Health(Section 10334, p. 2272)
- Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health (Section10334, p. 2272)
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health(Section 10334, p. 2272)
- Grant program to promote small business wellness programs (Section10408, p. 2285)
- Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2289)
- Cures Acceleration Network Review Board (Section 10409, p. 2291)
- Grant program for Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2297)
- Grant program to promote centers of excellence for depression(Section 10410, p. 2304)
- Advisory committee for young women fs breast health awarenesseducation campaign (Section 10413, p. 2322)
- Grant program to provide assistance to provide information to youngwomen with breast cancer (Section 10413, p. 2326)
- Interagency Access to Health Care in Alaska Task Force (Section10501, p. 2329)
- Grant program to train nurse practitioners as primary care providers(Section 10501(e), p. 2332)
- Grant program for community-based diabetes prevention (Section10501(g), p. 2337)
- Grant program for providers who treat a high percentage of medicallyunderserved populations (Section 10501(k), p. 2343)
- Grant program to recruit students to practice in underservedcommunities (Section 10501(l), p. 2344)
- Community Health Center Fund (Section 10503, p. 2355)
- Demonstration project to provide access to health care for theuninsured at reduced fees (Section 10504, p. 2357)
- Demonstration program to explore alternatives to tort litigation(Section 10607, p. 2369)
- Indian Health demonstration program for chronic shortages of healthprofessionals (S. 1790, Section 112, p. 24)*
- Office of Indian Men fs Health (S. 1790, Section 136, p. 71)*
- Indian Country modular component facilities demonstration program (S.1790, Section 146, p. 108)*
- Indian mobile health stations demonstration program (S. 1790, Section147, p. 111)
- Office of Direct Service Tribes (S. 1790, Section 172, p. 151)*
- Indian Health Service mental health technician training program (S.1790, Section 181, p. 173)*
- Indian Health Service program for treatment of child sexual abusevictims (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 192)*
- Indian Health Service program for treatment of domestic violence andsexual abuse (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 194)*
- Indian youth telemental health demonstration project (S. 1790,Section 181, p. 204)*
- Indian youth life skills demonstration project (S. 1790, Section 181,p. 220)*
- Indian Health Service Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment(S. 1790, Section 199B, p. 258)**
Obama-Reid-Pelosi-Care is now the law of the land. Most people hate it. Clearly Americans are frightened and angry about this socialist nightmare Congress and the president have forced upon the nation in the name of “health care reform.” All Congressional Republicans voted against it. Unlike any other entitlement ever passed by the United States Congress, it is entirely partisan. Barack Obama and the Democrats own it.
You say you’re not yet frightened or angry? Then perhaps you don’t understand that the bill will provide health care for illegal aliens, or that yours will be rationed. Those of you who believe that the federal government will now be paying for your health care should know that, in fact, health insurance will necessarily be more expensive, and that you will face fines if you don’t buy it.
Maybe you are unaware that the federal government will have direct access to your bank accounts for elective funds transfer, and access to your medical records for whatever purpose they see fit.
It might surprise you to learn that under this legislation no company can sue the government for price fixing, and that there will be no judicial review against a government monopoly. It may not bother you that government will now be able to dictate the salary of physicians. Did you know that the feds will set the value of a doctor’s time, or that all physicians, regardless of specialty, will be paid the same?
Did you realize that government will restrict the treatment of “special needs people”? Or that some bureaucrat will now mandate a program for orders on “end-of-life”? Or that an “advanced care consultation” may include an order for end-of-life plans? Or that government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order? Can you say “death panels”?
These are just a few of the outrageous provisions in the “historic” legislation of which Democrats are so proud. But if you needed further proof that the inmates are now running the asylum, the U.S. Senate provided it in spades last week. It seems that in the rush to pass something — anything — that Obama could label “health care reform,” no one thought to consider the unintended consequences of government funded prescription drugs for the “poor.” Thus, the bill forces taxpayers to pay for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for — are you sitting down? — sex offenders!
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, a conservative physician from Oklahoma, offered an amendment to the reconciliation bill to remove this provision. Coburn’s full amendment reads as follows: “This amendment would enact recommendations from the Government Accountability Office to stop fraudulent payments for prescription drugs prescribed by dead providers or, to dead patients. This amendment also prohibits coverage of Viagra and other ED medications to convicted child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders, and prohibits coverage of abortion drugs.”
Montana Democrat Sen. Max Baucus, one of the original architects of this monstrosity, called Coburn’s amendment “a crass political stunt.” By a vote of 57-42, Democrats rejected the amendment.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Other than taxpayer funded abortion (which is also in the bill), there could be no clearer example of Jefferson’s lament than this one. You will go to work tomorrow and earn your pay. Your employer will withhold an obscene amount of federal taxes from your check, leaving you to struggle to support your family and try to make ends meet on what is left. The feds will then take a portion of your hard-earned tax money and spend it to help criminal sexual deviants perform better while they are raping little boys and girls! How do these people sleep at night?
The Congress stands for election in seven months. Do not forget this one.
© 2010 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton is a former speechwriter and public policy advisor who now works as a freelance writer. His weekly columns appear in newspapers across the country and on various Internet websites, including Human Events Online and GOPUSA.com, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers can e-mail him at http:///.
Friday, March 26, 2010
We've told you before that there will be a Democrat appointed who will become Mayor Suttle's fourth lackey on the council, joining lackeys Gernandt, Gray and Jerram. That appointment will also allow Councilman Festersen to continue his no tax increase sham as he positions himself to run for mayor.
We'd encourage folks to attend the upcoming council candidate forum at Champions Run on March 30th at 3:30 p.m., and suggest they submit their questions in an appropriate way asking all of the five where they stand on increased property taxes and new taxes such as the entertainment tax.
"I need your help to stop one of the worst sources of wasted taxpayer dollars and special-interest corruption in Washington.
Before you do anything else today, I urge you to call on your U.S. Representative and Senators to sign CCAGW’s No Pork Pledge!
Let me explain.
You may have read the recent headlines about Democrats in the House of Representatives banning congressional earmarks for for-profit companies and House Republicans declaring a “complete” earmark moratorium.
But don’t believe for one minute that the scourge of corrupt, self-serving, pork-barrel earmarks is over!
What the self-congratulatory propaganda from both sides of the political aisle isn’t telling you is: These earmark reform measures are full of loopholes and workarounds.
First of all, neither measure is permanent. They both apply just to the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills.
What’s more, the ban on earmarks to for-profit companies touted by the Democratic House leadership will leave as much as 90 PERCENT of earmarks untouched. That’s because most earmarks go to state or local agencies or to nonprofit organizations, which then channel the funds to private companies.
As just one example, according to the Washington Post, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), the author of the for-profit ban, has helped secure $3.2 million in earmarks in recent years for a home-state university, but much of that money actually went to a for-profit Chicago firm that often partners with universities to reap part of their earmark benefits.
In addition, both the Democrats’ for-profit ban and the Republicans’ moratorium exclude projects already authorized and competitively awarded. That loophole applies to many big-ticket defense programs that lawmakers keep alive or “plus-up” over the wishes of the Defense Department. For example, in 2010, Congress added 10 C-17 transport planes to the Defense Budget, at a cost to taxpayers of $2.5 billion; tacked on $825 million for all-terrain vehicles that the Pentagon did not request; and funded 14 other unrequested planes, costing $732 million.
This unnecessary, special-interest spending is “hollowing out” our Defense Budget!
Last but not least, the Senate has not agreed to any earmark restrictions, so Washington’s high-priced lobbyists will just switch their focus from one congressional chamber to the other, and the total number and cost of pork-barrel earmarks will likely drop little, if at all.
Since 1991, we have documented more than 100,000 pork-barrel projects, costing taxpayers $290 billion. Not coincidentally, the proliferation of pork-barrel earmarks over the past 20 years has corresponded with the debasement of the federal budgetary process and Americans’ growing disdain for their elected representatives. As lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) have illustrated, lawmakers and lobbyists trade in earmarks as their “currency of corruption,” undermining public confidence in our democratic system of government.
That’s why we must get more and more members of Congress to sign CCAGW’s No Pork Pledge.
By getting your Senators and Representative to commit in writing to stop requesting pork-barrel earmarks, we -- and you -- will be able to hold them accountable if they continue to waste taxpayers’ money on frivolous, self-serving, pet projects."
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Reconciling Mr. Nelson: The 60th vote for ObamaCare tries to cover his tracks.
"The Senate began work Tuesday on the House's "reconciliation" bill that will add even more taxes and spending to ObamaCare. Guess who's already declared himself firmly, forthrightly, unabashedly in opposition?
None other than Ben Nelson, who on Christmas Eve became the most famous Nebraskan not named Buffett when he cast the 60th and decisive vote for the Senate health-care bill. The House ratified that legislation on Sunday, and after President Obama signed it on Tuesday it is now the law of the land. Had Mr. Nelson voted no or even delayed the debate past the special Massachusetts Senate election, the bill would have died. So it's not too much to say that Mr. Nelson personally made ObamaCare happen.
Yet that bill has turned out to be wildly unpopular, not least in his home state. You'll recall that Mr. Nelson had insisted on the Cornhusker Kickback to secure his vote—$100 million to cover the state's new Medicaid costs—but Nebraska state voters hated the overt bribery.
Mr. Nelson then disavowed his own kickback, and the White House tried to ease his pain by applying that same lagniappe to . . . every other state! That is adding $30 billion more to the ObamaCare tab via the reconciliation fix, so Democrats looked around for more revenue and added a new 3.8% tax on investment income of taxpayers making more than $200,000. Thanks again, Ben.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning was among 13 AGs who within minutes of President Obama's signature yesterday had sued to derail the law. The third-term Democrat is nothing if not resilient, however, and on Monday (after the decisive House vote) he became among the first in his party to come out against reconciliation. Mr. Nelson declared that he's especially troubled about the payroll tax he helped to facilitate, not to mention the various "add-ons" that have pushed "the total cost of health reform up billions of dollars." Heaven forbid the cost would be more than the $871 billion he supported in December.
As a political matter in the Senate, Mr. Nelson's new opposition is irrelevant. Majority Leader Harry Reid needs only 50 votes (plus Joe Biden) to overcome Republican challenges to the bill, so he can let Mr. Nelson take a walk whenever he wants. In fact, this is a major political goal of reconciliation: Let vulnerable Democrats take a pass on the toughest votes, such as new taxes and Medicare cuts. Then they can tell their constituents that they voted against ObamaCare after they voted for it.
By the way, the reconciliation bill will also nationalize the private student loan industry, which employs thousands of Nebraskans. By voting against reconciliation, Mr. Nelson will claim he has defended his home-state workers, even though the White House and Nancy Pelosi deliberately added the student-loan takeover to help the Christmas Eve Senate bill get through the House. Perhaps the newly jobless can go into health care.
Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln has also come out against reconciliation, and expect more Democrats to follow, even if every one of them enabled it on Christmas Eve. But hold a special place in your memory for Mr. Nelson, without whom none of this would be possible."
So Nelson moved to his new location at 118th & Miracle Hills where he thought he'd be out of the spotlight traffic-wise. He moved there because of the limited parking which inconveniences constituents who are threatened with having their cars towed away should they have the effrontery and audacity to think they ought to be able to park in parking lot of a U.S. Senator's office set up to serve constituents.
Well guess what? The demonstrations have and will continue at that location between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. one day a week. Despite Nelson's efforts to drive them away, they simply are being shuttled to his location and are finding there is a great deal of traffic at that location over the noon hour. We're told demonstrations will continue there weekly although days may now be varied. You'll be able to check out those dates on our 'events calendar' below in the right hand column.
And guess what else? Judas Nelson's run and hide mentality may have backfired. The folks involved in this effort are now going to hold a regular Tuesday demonstration between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. at the busiest intersection in Omaha, 90th & Dodge!
Our staff stopped by the 90th & Dodge location yesterday and were surprised to see nearly 50 folks there. From the horn-honking and thumbs-up gestures we saw those late-afternoon commuters seemed to be in sync with the demonstrators.
All of this seems to show that Judas Nelson can run but he can't hide from those Nebraska constituents he has disenfranchised by his vote on healthcare.
By the way, Senator Mike Johanns is having much publicized town hall meetings next week. We still haven't heard where and when Nelson's are. We're guessing that should he have the guts to return home he'll spend his time in well controlled 'private constituent' meetings and at his Turkey farm which is located on the bluffs overlooking the Platte River near Schram Park at 21251 South 204th Street, Gretna, 68028.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Here's what McCain had to say:
Yesterday, President Obama signed his massive government takeover of our health care system into law. This bill is terribly wrong for America and I call on you to join with me to challenge this bill in every way we can.
The fact remains that by a two-to-one margin, Americans do not want this bill to become law. On Saturday, I held town hall meetings in Arizona and we could not find one person who liked this bill. It's shameful that the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have chosen to ignore the citizens of America.
I believe the will of the people will be reflected sooner or later. The Democrats will learn in November, that when you go against the wishes of the American people, you pay a steep and heavy price. Americans will not be silenced on this matter and I will continue to lead this fight each and every day.
I assure you I am not quitting our fight. I believe we must repeal this bill immediately.
I am currently working in every way possible on your behalf to accomplish this. However, I am facing a tough reelection campaign. If I am not reelected this year, I cannot fight for our shared values in the Senate. That's why your immediate donation of any amount is so critical. Your urgent support will enable me to continue our fight against this terrible bill.
Through tax increases and expensive burdens on small businesses, this bill will bankrupt our great nation. And while the inside-the-beltway Democrats are celebrating with champagne at the White House, anger is building outside the beltway.
I need your immediate help to send a message to these Washington Democrats. I ask that you take a moment today to make a generous contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more to ensure I may continue fighting on your behalf.
I assure you that I will continue to challenge this bill in every way I can and will work to repeal it as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued support.
P.S. For the first time in American history, a major piece of legislation has been signed into law without bipartisan support. The fact remains, the American public does not want this massive government-run health care takeover. I am working to repeal the bill but I need your support to continue my service in the U.S. Senate. I am facing a tough reelection campaign and your immediate donation of $25 or more will enable me to continue fighting. Please follow this link to make your urgent donation. Thank you.
- Elimination of lifetime maximums and restrictions on annual maximums
- First-dollar coverage for preventive care
- Extension of coverage for dependent children until age 26."
Maybe these sound nice, but they don't come without cost. AND THESE CHANGES WILL RESULT IN INCREASED PREMIUMS, NOT LOWER ONES! Even for this small group!
With that said, in our 'we get mail' category, we are bemused at an e-mail we received a few moments ago from a guy we generally like, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who is using the 'repeal appeal' to raise money for his re-election. We are the Objective Conservative and disingenuous pleas, be they from Republicans or Democrats, deserve appropriate recognition for what they are.
Here's Senator DeMint's e-mail:
There’s no fixing the government health care takeover Democrats forced through on Sunday. It must be repealed. And it can be repealed.
The American people told Washington leaders over and over again that they didn’t want this bill. They told us at town halls, at tea parties, in letters, on the phone, and by email. They said “No!” to the government mandates, the higher taxes and the astronomical spending!
But the Democrats in control of our government – blinded by power – refused to listen. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid ignored the voice of the American people. They refused to include commonsense ideas to make health insurance more affordable. Instead, they insisted on pushing their decades-old big government scheme to control our health care.
Thankfully, the American people still have a way to make their voices heard: at the ballot box in November.
We can elect leaders that will repeal this bill and pass reforms that expand freedom, create more choices, and lower costs.
I pledge to be one of those leaders and hope you’ll stand with me in the fight. By contributing to my re-election campaign, you can help me send a message to Washington Democrats that enough is enough…and real change is coming.
Obama, Reid, and Pelosi may have twisted enough arms to win the vote last night, but we can win in November and save our country from this awful legislation.
Please help me in the fight!
PS – Please show your support by donating $5, $25 or $50 to my re-election campaign today. The Washington Democrats don’t take kindly to opposition and will do everything they can to silence me. But with your help, we can win!"
Blogger and political commentator put it pretty well in his latest iteration of 'Mullings', 'Forget About Repeal.' This is what he said and he is right on, like it or not:
- "The only way to repeal a law is to enact a new law cancelling the first one.
- The only way to enact a new law (as we all re-learned last week) is for the House and the Senate to pass identical bills which are then combined, signed by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Temp of the Senate, sent to the White House, and signed by the President.
- Even if Republicans were to win control of both the House and the Senate in November the House might pass a repeal bill, but such a bill would need 60 votes in the Senate, which would not happen.
- Even if the repeal got 60 votes in the Senate it would still need the signature of President Barack Obama, which would not happen.
- President Obama would veto such a bill and it would require 2/3 votes in each the House and the Senate to override the veto. Which … Would … Not … Happen. "
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend out sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
— Ronald Reagan
The Founders knew it. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and many others — familiar names who towered above the mundane figures of their day — pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in order to pass on to the next generation a new nation, conceived in liberty and bathed in the blessings of God.
Abraham Lincoln knew it when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. His entire presidency was consumed by war, yet we remember him as a gentle man who won the peace.
Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, two of America’s most underappreciated presidents, knew it when they allowed the free market to reign over the clamor for more progressive control of the nation’s economy.
Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur knew it when, on opposite sides of the globe, they triumphed over tyranny and rained down hell upon the enemies of freedom in order to bring peace to a torn and bloody world.
And Ronald Reagan knew it, too. It was burned into his being. He never had to take a poll to know what he believed. He was a leader, and his passion for liberty made him the greatest president of the 20th Century.
Providence has a way of raising up great leaders in the right place at the right time. When liberty is challenged, God finds a way, and he works through men and women who follow truth and fight for freedom. Today is no exception.
The United States of America now faces the greatest assault on our national institutions in the days of FDR. Barack Obama and his Chicago gangsters, with the help of the useful idiots in Congress, have just violated the U.S. Constitution in ways the American people won’t fully understand for years. Like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor two generations ago, the president’s so-called health care bill, passed Sunday exclusively with the votes of Democrats, has awakened a sleeping giant. The American people are wide awake. The only question is, who will lead us?
Several Republican names from the House of Representatives come to mind. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa were passionate voices in defense of the Constitution. Mike Pence of Indiana has shown courage during the fight over this bill. So have Eric Cantor of Virginia and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. These representatives have been among the most inspiring members in a very uninspiring body.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, also deserves praise for his work against this government takeover of America’s health care.
GOP leadership, however, is likely to come, as it usually does, not from Congress but rather from one or more of the nation’s current governors. With the feds placing more and more burden on the states through legislation like the health care bill, battles are already shaping up. Most state attorneys general are preparing challenges to this unprecedented power grab, and Republican governors will be in the spotlight.
Some Republican governors to watch (in no particular order): Mitch Daniels of Indiana; Haley Barbour of Mississippi; Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; Rick Perry of Texas; Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota; and Bob McDonnell of Virginia. Add to that list some former governors (Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee), and you have a strong field of potential leaders.
Will any of them live up to the great leaders of the past? Time will tell.
© 2010 by Doug Patton ______________________________________________________________________________
Doug Patton is a former speechwriter and public policy advisor who now works as a freelance writer. His weekly columns appear in newspapers across the country and on various Internet websites, including Human Events Online and GOPUSA.com, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers can e-mail him at email@example.com.