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Monday, August 31, 2009

Five Major Faults with the Health Care Bills

Five Major Faults with the Health Care Bills
WebMemo #2599

Current efforts by Congress to "reform" the health care system are centered on several flawed policy initiatives that will transfer more power and decisions to Washington and away from patients and families.

Rather than create a massive government-based health care system and dislocate people from their existing private coverage, policymakers should focus on putting the health care system on a path where individuals and families are in control of their health care dollars and decisions.

Shortfalls of the Health Care Bills

The following five provisions are the cornerstone of the House and Senate bills and unavoidably result in legislation taking health care reform in the wrong direction.

1. New Public Plan and Federal Exchange. Both the House and Senate bills would create a new government-run health care plan through the establishment of a federally run national health insurance exchange. The result: widespread erosion of private insurance and substantial consolidation of federal control over health care through the exchange.[1] As is evident in the details of the House bill (H.R. 3200), there is no level playing field for competition between the government plans and private health plans. Plus, the incentives in the legislation guarantee that millions of Americans will lose their existing employer-based coverage.

2. Federal Regulation of Health Insurance. Both the House and Senate bills would result in sweeping and complex federal regulation of health insurance. Moreover, it would take oversight away from states and concentrate it in Washington.[2]

3. Massive New Taxpayer-Funded Subsidies. Both the House and Senate would expand eligibility for Medicaid, but they would also extend new taxpayer-funded subsidies to the middle class. Such commitments would result in scores of Americans dependent on the government to finance their health care.[3] This is unfortunate because Congress could have reformed the tax treatment of health insurance to enable people to keep their existing private coverage and buy better private coverage if they wished to do so.

4. Employer Mandate. Both the House and Senate bills would impose an employer mandate for employers who do not offer coverage and for those whose benefits do not meet a new federal standard. An employer mandate would hurt low-income workers the most and would also stifle much-needed economic growth.[4] Employer mandates are passed on to workers in the form of reduced wages and compensation. This is exactly the wrong prescription for businesses, especially during a recession.

5. Individual Mandate. Both the House and Senate bills would require all people to buy health insurance. There is no doubt that such a mandate would result in a tax increase on individuals and families whose health insurance does not meet the new federally determined standards. This means that Congress will, for the first time, force Americans to buy federally designed packages of health benefits, even if they do not want or need those benefits.

It also means that health benefits will tend to become increasingly costly as powerful special interest groups and representatives of the health industry lobby intensively to expand the legally mandated health benefits, medical treatments and procedures, and drugs that all Americans must buy under penalty of law.

A Better Direction for Health Care Reform

Congress should stop and take a step back from these divisive House and Senate measures. Instead of trying to overhaul one-sixth of the American economy and seize an unprecedented amount of political control over health care decisions and dollars, policymakers should consider proceeding with smaller, incremental improvements. Policymakers need to proceed slowly and deliberately, making sure that the initial steps they take are not disruptive of what Americans have and want to keep, actually work, and do not result in costly and damaging and unintended consequences. There are three broad areas where Members can and should find consensus:

1. Promote State Innovation. Congress should preserve the states' autonomy over their health care systems and give them greater legal freedom to devise solutions that meet the unique characteristics of their citizens. In addition, individuals should also have the freedom to purchase coverage from trusted sources and not be restricted by where they happen to live. This means that Americans should be able to buy better coverage across state lines. Congress should respect and encourage personal freedom and diversity.

2. Establish Fairness in the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance. There is little disagreement that today's health care tax policy--which favors coverage obtained through the workplace--distorts the market and is inequitable. Instead of expanding government-run programs like Medicaid, policymakers should offer tax relief to those individuals who purchase private health insurance on their own, regardless of where they work.

At the same time, Congress should make sure that tax relief goes only to taxpayers. Congress should also devise a voucher program, giving low-income citizens the opportunity to get private coverage if they wish to do so. There is a broad bipartisan consensus that Congress should help low-income working families with direct assistance to enable them to get health insurance.

3. Get Serious About Entitlement Reform. Medicare and Medicaid, the giant health care entitlement programs, are not only increasingly costly, but they are also not delivering value to the taxpayers. The best way to secure value to patients (not government officials) is to compel health providers to compete directly for consumer dollars by allowing seniors and the poor to choose the coverage that is right for them using the money that is already available to them in these programs. This will "bend the cost curve" while at the same time allowing private-sector innovation to flourish.

Consumer-Driven Reform

Americans want to fix the problems in the health care system--but not at the expense of their own coverage. It is time policymakers recognize the lack of support for a major overhaul. But instead of continuing to protect the status quo, Congress should advance improvements that put the health care system on a path to reform.

Such improvements should be focused on increasing choice and competition not by turning control over to Washington but by empowering individuals and families to control their health care dollars and decisions.

Nina Owcharenko is Deputy Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Divorce agreement.

Divorce Agreement..
>
>
> PURPORTED TO BE WRITTEN BY A YOUNG LAW STUDENT.
>
>
> DIVORCE AGREEMENT
> THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE
> IT'S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! WHATEVER HE RUNS
> FOR, I'LL VOTE FOR HIM.
> OUTSTANDING.
>
> Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives,
> socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:
>
> We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the
> whole of this latest election process has made me realize
> that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other
> for many years for the sake of future generations, but
> sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two
> ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever
> agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly
> terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable
> differences and go our own way..
>
> Here is a model separation agreement:
> Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by
> landmass each taking a portion. That will be the
> difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a
> friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively
> easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly
> divide other assets since both sides have such distinct
> and disparate tastes.
>
> We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
> You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
> Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the
> cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah,
> Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however,
> responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough
> to move all three of them).
>
> We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations,
> pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You
> can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and
> illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms,
> greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and
> give you ABC, CBS, NBC and Hollywood ..
>
> You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll
> retain the right to invade and hammer places that
> threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war
> protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under
> assault, we'll help provide them security.
>
> We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome
> to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You
> can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying
> the bill.
>
> We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury
> cars.. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can
> find.
>
> You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any
> practicing doctors. We'll continue to believe healthcare
> is a luxury and not a right. We'll keep "The Battle Hymn
> of the Republic" and the "National Anthem". I'm sure
> you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to
> Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya" or "We Are the
> World".
>
> We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give
> trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so
> offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our
> flag.
>
> Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to
> other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and
> if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of
> friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR which one of us will
> need whose help in 15 years..
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
> John J. Wall
> Law Student and an American
>
>
>
>
> P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda
> with you...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Democrats start push to name Health Care Reform after Sen. Ted Kennedy

Well, we knew it would only be a matter of time.... the Democrats want to rename the Health Care Reform after Senator Ted Kennedy...
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), one of the few to have served in the Senate longer than the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, said in a statement today that health care legislation should be named in his honor.

Kennedy famously called health care reform "the cause of my life." He set the tone for the current health care debate in Congress and worked to pass a number of monumental health care-related bills while in the Senate.

"In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American," Byrd said in his statement. (CBS News)

Huh, I though the 'cause' of "Off the Bridge" Ted's life should have been making scuba gear mandatory for all automobiles.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How long will it be before the government tries to shut this blog down in the name of an emergency?

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet by Declan McCullagh at the following link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

"I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."

Update at 3:14 p.m. PDT: I just talked to Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, on the phone. She sent me e-mail with this statement:

The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States. The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. To be very clear, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill will not empower a "government shutdown or takeover of the Internet" and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false. The purpose of this language is to clarify how the president directs the public-private response to a crisis, secure our economy and safeguard our financial networks, protect the American people, their privacy and civil liberties, and coordinate the government's response.

Awesome Reagan Audio Remix

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sittin' on the Front Lawn of Zack Space... watching the Tide of National Health Care Roll Away

Now heres' a guy showing initiative!

From our Email Bag...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Coach Dave Daubenmire 740 507 3211
Zack Space 740 452 6338

Local football coach vows to continue round the clock vigil, granted permission to stay by Zanesville City Hall

Zanesville - With the summer sun beating down on Fourth Street, Coach Dave Daubenmire is still smiling his wry smile.

Sitting beneath Democrat Representative Zack Space's Congressional plaque outside the Congressman's office, "Coach" said he won't quit until Zack Space hosts a town hall. And twelve hours into his pledged round-the-clock vigil, the Fairfield Christian Academy football coach remains vigilant.

"I'm doing this for my kids and grandkids," says Coach Dave. "And I don't even have any grandkids yet."

"This is taxation without representation. My unborn grandkids are already being shackled with a debt inflicted by Congressmen like Zack Space who won't even meet with their constituents," insists Daubenmire."

Answering his cell phone from a collapsable chair, Daubenmire is only leaving his post when he breaks for practice between 2 and 6 PM.

The football coach has already garnered media attention from country station T-100, WHIZ TV, WCLT News and the Zanesville Times Recorder.

"I'm more interested in the people passing by," says Coach. "Almost everyone of them has been supportive."

Zanesville City Hall has also supported Daubenmire's right to protest.

"As long as he's peaceful and just sitting in a chair, he has a right to be there," said Robert Brandford, Zanesville Public Safety Director.

Brandford conferred with Chief of Police Eric Lambes on Daubenmire's protest and determined that Coach can stay. "Americans have the right to free speech, the right to protest and the right to assemble peacefully," said Brandford.

Initially concerned that he might be forced to move, Daubenmire can sleep comfortably (or at least legally) tonight on Fourth Street.


Good for Coach Dave. I know we have spoken with several aides for Zack Space and they have confirmed he will not having any public Town Halls and will NOT be meeting with constituents. We have left at least a minimum of 10 messages for Space's Chief of Staff to contact us -- none have been returned.

Gear up Patriots... when the congressional clowns go back in session -- Space must be a target and he can be influenced. If Space understands the make up of his district and wants to stay in office... he will vote no on nationalized Hellth Care.

College kids recruited to join Obama's 'army' Earn credit for pushing 'change,' working on president's 'agenda'

If you have a student who is going off to college this fall, either for the first time or a returning student, then please read this and pass it along to them. Also, contact your student's college/university and ask them if they are participating in this program to give college credit for student participation.

http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=107357

God Bless and Help America! We need it now more than ever!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Three Reasons Why Government Can't Run Health Care by Newt Gingrich 08/26/2009

We found this article and feel it's worthy of your time.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=33275

As they say on TV, we report, you decide.

God Bless America!

Tea Party Talk Show Interviews Ann Coulter

Hello Patriots

We found this in our email box today and wanted to share it. There is a Tea Party Talk Show being hosted tomorrow

Tea Party Talk Show .com interviews Ann Coulter -

FREE STREAMING SHOW for Tea Party listeners.

10:00PM Eastern - 9:00PM Thursday Central - 7:00PM Pacific

Listen to FREE STREAMING SHOW here: www.teapartytalkshow.com

MIKE and SPIKE, originally heard on the radio and internet in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma were the first talk show hosts to get FIRED from their station for asking "Where's Obama's Birth Certificate?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Health Care Reform-Will it cover abortions?

We received this email alert today from Rep. John Boehner and thought it was worthy of passing along.


DETAILED ANALYSIS: HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE PLAN ALLOWS TAXPAYER-FUNDED ABORTIONS

DESPITE DEMOCRATS’ CLAIMS, THE “CAPPS COMPROMISE” WAS JUST FOR POLITICAL COVER
August 25, 2009 | House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) | Permalink

Most Americans – about 70 percent, according to a recent Zogby poll – are opposed to allowing taxpayer funds to be used to pay for abortion. But the government takeover of health care proposed by Democratic leaders in Washington runs counter to the views most Americans have on the subject, and despite the claims of some prominent Democrats, the legislation would in fact allow abortions to be subsidized by taxpayer funds. House Democrats claim that an amendment offered by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) in the Energy & Commerce Committee will prevent taxpayer dollars from going to abortion, but a close reading of the legislation shows that is fiction.

In a letter to members of the House of Representatives, Cardinal Rigali, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, criticized this Capps “compromise” for delegating to the Health & Human Services Secretary “the power to make unlimited abortion a mandated benefit in the ‘public health insurance plan’ the government will manage nationwide.”

In addition, the Associated Press has reported that “Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions” and FactCheck.Org has stated that “House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans.” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) made the following comment on this troubling development:

“When most Americans talk about the need for health care reform, they’re talking about the need to address rising health care costs, not taxpayers subsidizing abortion. The fact that this bill will actually increase the deficit and raise costs for middle-class families and small businesses while allowing their hard-earned money to be used to pay for destroying human life is unconscionable. Health care reform that fails to respect the dignity of all human life is not reform at all.”

A detailed analysis of the Democrats’ government-run plan shows how it allows taxpayer-subsidized abortions:

* Page 24; Section 115 – The bill requires that plans that use a provider network for health services must meet the standards set forth by the “Health Choices Commissioner” to assure the adequacy of the network for plan enrollees to receive covered services. If abortion becomes an essential benefit, as Section 122 leaves open as a possibility, provider networks would be required to ensure – including by establishing abortion clinics – that abortion services are available.

* Page 26; Section 122 – The bill defines what would be deemed an “essential benefits package,” or in other words what the government sets as benefits or services that must be covered by an insurance plan. This section, however, contains no explicit exclusion or prohibition from abortion being deemed part of an essential benefits package. Without such an exclusion, the bill leaves open the possibility of federally mandated coverage of abortion as an essential benefit.

The bottom line? H.R. 3200 does not contain any limitation on federal funds authorized or appropriated in the bill from being used to pay for elective abortion or to subsidize the purchase of insurance coverage of elective abortion.

When Democrats return to Washington next month, will they be willing to work with Republicans to ensure that taxpayer money isn’t used to end human life? Or will they continue to go it alone, trying to force a partisan government takeover of health care down the throats of the American people?

REPUBLICAN LEADER PRESS OFFICE
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH)
H-204, THE CAPITOL
(202) 225-4000 | GOPLEADER.GOV

The Census is coming! The Census is coming!

In 2010, the Federal government will conduct a country-wide census. Here is the official US Census website:

http://2010.census.gov/2010census/

Many questions are being asked about this census, for example:

Who is overseeing the census—the Secretary of Commerce (as mandated by the Constitution) or the White House?

Who will the census actually count and who is legally allowed to be counted (as mandated by the Constitution)?

Who will conduct the census/door-to-door canvassing?

Is the census asking information that is too “personal”?

Does the information that is being asked have any bearing on the final outcome, which is used to determine how many Representatives will head to Congress from your district?

We’d like to know what you know/think about the upcoming census.

This is not meant to divert discussions from the health care debate, but we do believe that this is another very important issue that “We the People” need to be concerned about, especially with the 2010 mid-term elections just around the corner.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read/respond to our post. More importantly, keep on educating yourself about what our government is up to—“ Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives”—James Madison.

God Bless America!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breaking Down the ominous number of 47 Million Uninsured.

Let us break down the infamous '47 million uninsured.' According to the Census Bureau, of that 47 million, 38 percent of them (18 million) have personal incomes of more than $50,000 a year. This means that they can afford coverage, and choose not to purchase it. Is it just to tax other working people to subsidize health coverage for these 18 million who could afford it for themselves but choose not to purchase it for themselves? Anybody with half a brain towards liberty would have to answer no to the above question.

Now that leaves us with 29 million uninsured left to explain.

Of that 29 million uninsured, the biggest chunk of them aren't even citizens. Yes, you guessed it, those pesky illegal immigrants that drive up the cost of everything. It seems that our uninsured problem is directly related to the lack of border security! Of course they wouldn't be able to be covered by private health insurers because they do not possess citizenship! Their number is about 12.6 million, or 27 percent of the original '47 million uninsured' number. This could be a higher percentage, because many prominent think tanks place the number of illegal immigrants as high as 20 million, instead of the 12 or 13 million figure. However, for the sake of argument, let us go with the most conservative figure.

Subtract the 12.6 number from the remaining 29 million uninsured number, and we come to the next stage of our breakdown, 16.4 million uninsured.

Of that remaining 16.4 million uninsured, 8 million are under the age of 18. If the parents of these young ones cannot afford to cover them either on their own family plans or independently, there are public insurance options already available for them but their parents have just not signed them up.

So that leaves us with 8.4 million uninsured, a figure less than 3 percent of the American population, and many of these are 18-20 somethings who choose not to purchase health coverage because, well, they think that they won't get sick! Health experts actually refer to this age group as the 'invincibles!' The remainder of this 8.4 million uninsured are low income and could easily be covered by either federal Medicare or state run Medicaid or some charity insurance programs, and they for whatever reason have chosen not to go and get signed up.

Certainly the 3% of Americans that are uninsured something should be done. Just not H.R. 3200. It is a Fiscal nightmare, and we do not need to bankrupt our country.

Side note: We have had a lot of questions regarding where someone can find the bill so they can read what it is all about. Well we decided to post a link to it so you can see for yourself and make your own comparison. Enjoy it is long.

H.R. 3200

Saturday, August 22, 2009

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”—Henry Ford

And so, over the past months, Americans have come together, first to oppose the stimulus; as of late we have been “keeping together” in our concerns over health care reform; now we must continue to “work together in success” to keep our elected officials in check ! The Senate/Congress will reconvene in a little over a week and we can’t help but wonder, will they be passing legislation “We the People” want or will they be representing their campaign contributor’s interests instead? Woodrow Wilson said, “The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.”

With all the publicity for health care reform, we must not forget that the government is working on other legislation that “We the People” need to keep track of as well. Politicians (in our opinion) are sneaky! They try and distract us with one piece of legislation (I.E., health care reform) all the while hoping we aren’t paying attention to the other bills they want to pass!

"Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things." -- Russell Baker

The following is a sampling of the legislation being considered: (information/summaries are from http://www.opencongress.org/bill/hot)

H.R.1475 - Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009 “This legislation would allow for deductions in prison terms (other than life terms) to be granted to prisoners whose record demonstrates that they have observed all prison regulations, have not been punished, or have participated in industrial employment, meritorious service, or outstanding duties in institutional operations.”

H.R.3245 - Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009 “This bill seeks to eliminate increased and mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses involving substances containing cocaine base. The intent is to promote fairness in subsequent sentences by not making crack cocaine more punishable than powder, for example. This is one of many pieces of legislation proposed this congressional session attempting to amend the sentences of crimes related to crack cocaine. These other bills are H.R. 18, H.R.1459, H.R.2178.”

H.R.3404 - Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 “To amend the Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families Act and the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to provide for the temporary extension of certain unemployment benefits and the temporary availability of further additional emergency unemployment compensation, and for other purposes.”

H.R.2054 - No Child Left Inside Act of 2009 “This bill seeks to enhance the environmental literacy of American students, from kindergarten to 12th grade, to foster understanding, analysis, and solutions to the major environmental challenges facing the student’s state and the Nation as a whole. Appropriations would be provided to train teachers for such instruction, provide innovative technology, and to develop studies assessing the worth of these programs in elementary and secondary school curriculums. While mainly addressing environmentalism, this legislation also seeks to touch on healthy living programs encouraging outdoor recreation and sound nutrition.”

H.R.1751 - American Dream Act “This bill amends the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 by giving states the authority to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien’s eligibility for higher education benefits, which have been previously tied state-residency. It additionally allows for the adjustment from status of alien to conditional permanent resident and outlines the criteria for such an adjustment by the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

H.R.1586 - To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients “A direct response to the A.I.G. bonus scandal, this bill would levy a 90 percent tax on any bonuses from bailed-out firms (TARP recipients) paid out in 2009 to individuals with incomes over $250,000. The Senate will be taking up a similar bill (S. 651) soon that proposes a bailout bonus tax of 70 percent.”

H.R.2749 - Food Safety Enhancement Act “This bill proposes greater FDA regulatory powers over the national food supply and food providers, namely granting it the authority to regulate how crops are raised and harvested, to quarantine a geographic area, to make warrantless searches of business records, and to establish a national food tracing system. Concurrently, the bill would impose annual registration fees of $500 on all facilities holding, processing, or manufacturing food and require that such facilities also engaged in the transport or packing of food maintain pedigrees of the origin and previous distribution history of the food. The bill is an enhancement to H.R.759, and to a lesser extent, H.R. 857, previously proposed food safety bills in the 111th Congress. It is also co-sponsored by the same Representatives as the latter two bills, although new to the line of support is Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee.”

H.R.2454 - American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009 “This is the Waxman-Markley comprehensive energy bill, known for short as "ACES," that includes a cap-and-trade global warming reduction plan designed to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020. Other provisions include new renewable requirements for utilities, studies and incentives regarding new carbon capture and sequestration technologies, energy efficiency incentives for homes and buildings, and grants for green jobs, among other things.”

H.Res.554 “This resolution would require that the full text of House legislation and accompanying committee reports be continuously posted on the Internet. Moreover it seeks to establish a policy prohibiting the House from voting on legislation until 72 hours after its text is made available to Congress members and the general public. The bill’s stated purpose is to enhance public participation and improve the quality of proposed legislation by ensuring the opportunity for its review by actors ranging from State officials to members of the public.”

S.J.Res.7 “This resolution, along with H.J.Res.21in the House, proposes to alter the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, such that state-wide elections, rather than gubernatorial appointments, would be required for filling vacancies in the Senate. Introduced by Sen. John McCain [R, AZ], Sen. Richard Durban [D, IL], the resolutions comes after the controversy surrounding the appointment of Sen. Roland Burris [D, IL] by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, as well as the high number of Senators appointed early in the year (four, which actually pales in comparison to the over a dozen appointed Senators in the 79th Congress).”

S.1285 “This is a stand-alone version of the Lieberman-Graham amendment from Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental to block the public disclosed of any detainee torture photos, even if the Freedom of Information Act compelled their disclosure. The amendment was stripped from the supplemental by the House-Senate conference committee, but this stand-alone version passed the Senate without amendment by unanimous consent on June 17. The text of this bill is exactly the same as the version that was included in the supplemental”

S.752 “This bill would establish a public funding system for Senate elections and subsequently outlines eligibility and contribution requirements as well as prohibitions such those on joint fundraising committees. The same provisions are put forth in H.R.1826 with regard to House elections.”

H.R.17 - Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2009 “ In correlation with the restrictions outlined by the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, this bill protects and provides context for the possession and use of fire arms, namely in defense of the self or family (or, when relevant, the home) against a reasonably perceived threat of unlawful bodily injury or violent felony. It also holds relevance in light of the H.R.45, the Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009, which seeks to amend the afore mentioned Act of 1993.”

H.R.197 - National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009 “This bill would create a national standard allowing a person to carry a concealed weapon in a state in which they are not a resident, given that they have a valid permit and are in accordance with that state’s and this bill’s restrictions.”

S.179 - Health Information Technology Act of 2009 “This bill encourages the use of clinical health care informatics systems and services by offering monetary incentives to health care providers in order to offset the related costs of such technology. It would also seek to develop national standards regarding data and communication health information technology, working towards the goals of efficient data exchange and improved health care quality while protecting patient privacy and security.”

H.Res.615 “This Resolution urges Members of Congress, who vote in favor of a public option in health insurance, to forgo their participation in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under that public option.”

H.R.1106 - Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 “This bill, a major part of President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan, would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages on primary residences, provide legal protection to mortgage servicers who work out loan modifications, make several changes to the Hope for Homeowners program, reform the FDIC insurance fund, and more. A detailed summary can be found at the House Financial Services Committee's website.”

S.1261 - PASS ID Act “This bill seeks to set out minimum requirements for State driver’s licenses and ID cards regarding what data is included and what documentation must be presented when receiving such ID cards. In turn, it would shift a degree of authority from the State to the Federal level by prohibiting a Federal agency from accepting, for any official purposes, a State ID card unless that State it is materially compliant with this bill’s minimum requirements.”

H.R.264 - Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2009 “This legislation seeks to provide increased protection and eligibility for family-sponsored immigrants. Eligibility is extended by doubling the number of available visas from 480,000 to 960,000, by offering legalization to aliens who have been in the US for five years or are children, and by providing undocumented Haitians in the US with access to lawful permanent resident status. Additionally, the bill includes immigrant protections relating to the context of sex-related crimes as well as calling for the enhancement of Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security.”

H.R.801 - Fair Copyright in Research Works Act “This bill seeks to amend copyright code and create a new category of copyrighted works to the effect of reversing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy. This would prohibit the government from requiring scholarly journals to make federally funded studies accessible to the public. Proponents of the bill are largely limited to the American Association of Publishers and the bill’s sponsors, namely Rep. John Conyers, who introduced it for the second time after its exact replica, H.R. 6845, died in the 110th Congress.”

S.560 - Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 “This bill (aka "card check") would change the rules governing the formation of unions, the way first contracts between unions and employers are negotiated, and how employees' rights are enforced.Under the bill, workers would be able to decide whether to hold a secret ballot vote on union formation after a majority of employees have signed union authorization cards, or to have the union certified based on the cards alone. Under the current rules, employers have the power to make that decision. The bill also designates a time line for first contracts to be drawn up between unions and employees and stipulates that if no deal is reached within 120 days, an arbitration panel will render a decision that will be binding for two years. Finally, it would increase the fines employers must pay if found guilty of violating their employees' right to unionize.”

H.R.226 - Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 “ Although the Fairness Doctrine, requiring broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, was abolished in 1987, this bill would inhibit the Federal Communications Commission from reintroducing it in the future.”

H.R.25 - Fair Tax Act of 2009 “Resurfacing for the 6th consecutive congressional session, this bill strives to repeal the income tax, employment tax, and estate and gift tax, and to replace them with a national sales tax at a rate of 23%. It sets forth provisions for the states’ collection of sales tax revenues and the Treasury’s handling of the remittances of such revenues while setting up two new tax bureaus in the Department of Treasury in the place of the IRS.”

These are just a few examples of what Congress will be discussing this fall session and as you can see, they like to dabble in a little bit of every aspect of our lives. Please choose what’s important to you, learn as much as you can about what is being proposed; contact your elected representatives (White House/Senators/Congress) and voice your concerns, repeatedly if necessary. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives” --James Madison

Thank you for taking the time to read our post. We close with quotes from Barry Goldwater (first) and Henry Ford that are very predictive for the times we live in:

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have,” and, “A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once. That scatters effort and destroys direction. It makes for haste, and haste makes waste.”


GOD BLESS AMERICA!



“By Any Legislative Means Necessary”

The American people do not like President Barack Obama’s health care plan. According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll 42% of Americans “think his plan is a bad idea” compared to only 36% who think it is a good idea. 40% of Americans believe Obama’s health care plan “will result in the quality of your health care getting worse” compared to 24% who believe their care will get better. And 47% of Americans oppose “creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government” compared to only 43% who support it. Facing this cratering of public support, the left in Congress is now considering abandoning moderates and independents to pass their narrow partisan ideal of health reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spokesman Jim Manley promised yesterday that Democrats will pass Obamacare “by any legislative means necessary.”

What exactly does Senator Reid mean by ‘any legislative means necessary’? The Wall Street Journal explains: “Most legislation in the Senate requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but certain budget-related measures can pass with 51 votes through a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation.” The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 created reconciliation, but Congress didn’t really use it until the 1980s. In 1993, President Bill Clinton tried to use the rule to press his health care plan through the Senate, but Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) resisted, introducing the Byrd Rule which allows any Senator to strike specific provisions or amendments from legislation if a 60 vote Senate majority agrees that the item is “extraneous” to the budget. At the time Byrd specifically argued that health care was out of bounds for a process that was intended to only apply to budgets.

But Democrats in Congress are undeterred by history, precedent, and public opinion. They are now planning to split the bill into two parts: one bill with budget-related matters and another bill with policy changes such as the insurance market reforms. They even are prepared to argue that the core of the left’s health care vision: a government-run health care plan can be considered a budget related item. The WSJ reports: “Democratic leaders have concluded they can pack more of their health overhaul plans under this procedure, congressional aides said. They might even be able to include a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers, a key demand of the party’s liberal wing.”

The American people are already sick and tired of 1,000 page bills and strong arm legislative tactics. A new Gallup poll shows that 82% of Republicans and even 40% of Democrats disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Even more troubling for the “by any means necessary” crowd is that 70% of independents share a negative view of the House and Senate. Finally, a new Pew poll shows that for the first time since President Barack Obama took office the percentage of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party has slipped below 50%. How will independents feel about liberals in Congress if they pass a health plan that 40% of Americans believe “will result in the quality of your health care getting worse”?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Death Panels ??? How about a Death book?

The Death Book for Veterans

Ex-soldiers don't need to be told they're a burden to

Your Life, Your Choices.

If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.

Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family."

When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender.

I was not surprised to learn that the VA panel of experts that sought to update "Your Life, Your Choices" between 2007-2008 did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. And as you might guess, only one organization was listed in the new version as a resource on advance directives: the Hemlock Society (now euphemistically known as "Compassion and Choices").

This hurry-up-and-die message is clear and unconscionable. Worse, a July 2009 VA directive instructs its primary care physicians to raise advance care planning with all VA patients and to refer them to "Your Life, Your Choices." Not just those of advanced age and debilitated condition—all patients. America's 24 million veterans deserve better.

Many years ago I created an advance care planning document called "Five Wishes" that is today the most widely used living will in America, with 13 million copies in national circulation. Unlike the VA's document, this one does not contain the standard bias to withdraw or withhold medical care. It meets the legal requirements of at least 43 states, and it runs exactly 12 pages.

After a decade of observing end-of-life discussions, I can attest to the great fear that many patients have, particularly those with few family members and financial resources. I lived and worked in an AIDS home in the mid-1980s and saw first-hand how the dying wanted more than health care—they wanted someone to care.

If President Obama is sincere in stating that he is not trying to cut costs by pressuring the disabled to forgo critical care, one good way to show that commitment is to walk two blocks from the Oval Office and pull the plug on "Your Life, Your Choices." He should make sure in the future that VA decisions are guided by values that treat the lives of our veterans as gifts, not burdens.

Mr. Towey, president of Saint Vincent College, was director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives (2002-2006) and founder of the nonprofit Aging with Dignity.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dennis Kucinich was on Fox News this morning

. . .talking about supporting government run health care! When we find the video (link) from Fox, we will post it. He can't hold a town hall, but he can go on the radio (WTAM), go on local TV (Feagler) and now he's gone national (Fox News).


UPDATE: Sorry, we're not real technological, but here's the link to the video and a transcript from Fox News as to the conversation between Kucinich and Megyn Kelly this morning: http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/25948719/united-front.htm#q=kucinich

About This Video
United Front?

Title:
United Front?

Published: Tue, 18 Aug 2009

Description: Democrats at odds over government-run health care
-

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

" While the White House opening the door this week into the possibility of -- health care reform bill that does not include a government run option. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen -- as saying it's really not essential. And then the White House tried to dial that back after many people in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party complaint. Well now some Democrats say the government run option is not included. This bill is essentially dead on arrival democratic Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is it big supporter of a government run plan he's my guest now good morning congressman. -- fine thanks so tell -- about this because you Kathleen sibelius opened the door. And then we heard that and many who love them more liberal members of congress put some pressure on the White House saying what the congressional progressive caucus. The congressional black caucus specifically writing letters objecting saying don't don't say the public option -- government -- is that essential. It is. Your position --"

" Well first -- you know the public option that was. Offered in the bill wasn't much to begin with. The whole idea was it was going to encourage competition between insurance companies so if you don't have that that means there is no and competition between insurance companies. And that means it costs are gonna go up senate."

" Let me just clarify that -- should point meaning in order to get the conservative blue dogs -- they had the sort of -- down to the point where they were gonna make the public option plan. Compete with private insurers when it came. Two rates so that that meeting in that's why it's taken out on T."

" Right there's not going to be any competition so that means that the costs are gonna keep going up. Just like the -- the administration made with the drug companies where -- instead of reforming Medicare part. Medicare part. Cost of drugs and keep going up so -- about anyway except. You know the government subsidizing. Private enterprise and I don't think government should be interfering in the marketplace I don't -- to be picking winners and losers in the private sector but that's exactly what this bill does."

" So how do you mean how do you get a bill that's that's meaningful through at this point because you've got the Senate. At least according to Kent Conrad one of the senators whose do -- part of this bipartisan group of six and doing the negotiating and their bill says. There's not any public option in the Senate bill that does the government run -- health care is not come at a senate they get Nancy Pelosi -- saying. We're not have a bill coming out of the house that doesn't happen so how does that -- squared up."

" First of government -- is not government run when you talk about government run that they veterans. Medicare pays the bills but it's not government run system what -- is Medicare fraud that is everyone's covered because the insurance companies take one out of every three dollars and and basically right off the top. Take that money putting -- to -- what's covered. Now what's gonna happen right now what should happen actually they should go right back to square one go to the American people instead of trying to force down. The throats of the American people a bill that no one understands. A bill that hasn't been well defined. We should go back and listen to the American people and their concerns about health care and I think when we do that the people are going to. Create the momentum that's needed -- have at a -- it's gonna cover everyone what right now this thing has been bought bungled."

" What do you -- than that though that show that the -- majority of Americans don't don't lot. The government messing with their health care. Insurance right now that they didn't and 80% I think it is of Americans are pretty happy with the health care plans as they happen."

" I think it's a measure of how the -- been mishandled rather than the underlying fact of people suddenly being in love with their premiums they're -- days they're deductibles why. Why -- you know if you have government trying to help. Lower the -- by having -- Medicare for -- the next thing you'll have is a government run government might got. I mean we we really have to get some perspective on this people don't have health care because -- can't afford the premiums they're underinsured look at because the co pays and deductibles are driving them. Into the poor house so you know we've got to go back to the people start over they need if there ever was an issue they needed a hit the reset button. This is there."

" But let me just found on that because you're talking about what some might consider relatively small faction of Americans who don't have insurance or -- under insured. Because the research shows that the vast majority of Americans have insurance. And as I point out thought at that not only -- they haven't but they're happy with and that argue of people -- against your point is. Why should we be messing with the entire system why can't we just like in this down and away. That can help those of the you know that the number the administration uses -- 47 million uninsured and -- people say it's really not nearly that big it's more like fifteen million if you exclude the so called invincible for twenty somethings who don't want it conveyed. Yeah accurately -- that probably not gonna need it and you take out the illegals and sought an -- why can't we say -- it down just a cover the people who truly are mostly neat."

" we are we -- out one nation. The fact is that the insurance companies take one out of every three dollars and everyone could be covered for the money that's already in the system -- paying for universal standard of care we're not getting it. And so -- the fact is that all these polls have been taken our polls that are really based on a bad day that dynamic of the issue as it's been mishandled. When you have 47. Million Americans to use the administration figures without any care that's -- drain on the rest of the economy. When you consider the fact that you -- watching out there are paying for someone else's health care in an emergency room. Think of what happens when you start to emphasize primary care and every -- cover the cost goes down again. So we want to have a system that that is sustainable and that's what Medicare is and I of course support HR 676 on the clock that bill Medicare for -- That's the way to really control costs that's a way to help business. And industry in the United States finally give them an advantage that other countries have over businesses here by having heart health care costs driven down."

" And that -- does -- that would end in a word I do you plan on voting for a health care bill in the house that does not have a government broader public option."

" That -- as presently exist is really not sustainable and can't be supported all right I don't intend on voting for it unless something dramatically changes congressman Dennis Kucinich thank you so much for coming up. Thank you -- yeah that would make him one of the one."

WE FIND MR. KUCINICH'S COMMENTS IRONIC IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT HE HASN'T HAD ANY FACE TO FACE TOWN HALLS THAT HE WOULD SAY, "so you know we've got to go back to the people".

Watchdog Groups Release Database Detailing Earmarks and Campaign Contributions

From Open Secrets --
Two of Washington, D.C.'s most reliable and respected nonpartisan watchdogs joined forces today and released a comprehensive database linking campaign contributions with earmarked spending by lawmakers.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a national budget watchdog, provided data documenting more than 20,000 earmarked spending provisions worth over $35 billion. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money-in-politics on its website, OpenSecrets.org, provided data detailing $226.8 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.

"At a minimum, earmarks granted to lawmakers' friends and supporters merit scrutiny and indicate potential conflicts of interest," said Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics. "This information will help Americans decide for themselves whether their congressional representatives are beholden to the voters who elect them – or to elite interests bankrolling their campaigns."

Is this the future of our health care and what Americans have to look forward too?

In the UK, the story read, "Woman gives birth on pavement 'after being refused ambulance"


Here's the site:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1207151/Woman-gives-birth-pavement-refused-ambulance.html

Make sure to read the comments at the end of the article from other Brits!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Victory NH, A Citizen Activist Network

Another website to check out:

http://60secondupdates.com/test/

http://60secondupdates.com/test/about-us

Site being circulated at some colleges/universities.

As always, we report (on what we find that might be helpful in our crusade against big government) and you decide (if it's valuable info or not).

Thanks for your consideration--God Bless America!

Dem Congressman on Single Payer: I Will Vote Adamantly Against the Interests of My District

Public Option Is Not Dead Yet

The headlines are encouraging: The AP reports, “White House appears ready to drop ‘public option’.” Politico reads, “White House backs away from public health care option.” And the front page of USA Today says, “Obama may drop public option in health care.” These headers all stem from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ comment on CNN Sunday Morning that the public option “is not the essential element” of President Barack Obama’s health care plan. But by Sunday night the White House was already walking back Sebelius’ statement.

An anonymous administration official told The Atlantic that Sebelius “misspoke” and White House health reform communications director Linda Douglass released a statement explaining: “Nothing has changed. The president has always said that what is essential is that health-insurance reform must lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health-insurance market. He believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals.”

Obama’s allies on the left are equally emphatic about the non-death of the public option. Democracy for America head Howard Dean told the Washington Post, “I don’t think this bill is worth passing without a public option.” And Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told CNN, “It would be very, very difficult [to pass Obama's plan] without the public option.” But Democrats in the Senate are singing a slightly different story. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told Fox News Sunday that “there never have been” enough votes for a public option in the Senate, and that continuing to fight for it would be “just a wasted effort.”

But that does not mean that Americans fighting against government-run health care are out of the woods yet. Conrad insists that the Senate could pass health reform that includes health insurance co-operatives. Co-operatives do have a long and proud tradition in many sectors of the U.S. economy, but details matter. Conrad says these health co-ops will not be “government-run and government-controlled” but instead “membership-run and membership controlled.” But others in Conrad’s caucus have a starkly different co-op goal. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is pushing a vision of co-ops that are: 1) run by the government, preferably the federal government; 2) funded or subsidized by the government; or 3) includes plans chosen by the government.

If the language that comes out of the Senate looks anything like what Schumer is proposing, then there is no real difference between co-ops and the public plan. If, on the other hand, the Senate produces something that; 1) is not funded by the federal government 2) is not “government-run and government-controlled”; but instead 3) is “membership-run and membership controlled” then co-ops would be acceptable.

Of course, the public plan is just one of the more objectionable parts of Obama’s health care plan. The individual and employer mandates, the expansion and federalization of Medicaid, the creation of a new health czar, not to mention the trillion dollar cost of the new plan, are all still intact. If, as Sebelius insists, the White House wants health reform to increase “choice and competition” than there are a number of conservative alternatives in the House and Senate that do just that by pursuing health reform through a “patient-centered” approach. The White House’s rhetoric is rapidly moving away from an expert/government-centered approach to health care and towards a more market/consumer model. Let’s hope their actions start matching their words.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We’re Winning The Health Care Debate

When any White House knows they are a losing a public debate, they turn to sympathetic journalists to try and reframe the debate in a way that is more advantageous to their policy goals. So after consulting with his best White House sources, The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder wrote under the headline How Conservatives Are Blowing Their Chance, Sunday:


“Democrats are beginning to notice that opponents of health care reform have discredited themselves. … The media, being a collection of different megaphones, reported on the town hall meetings in one of two ways, both damaging to Republicans. Either they credulously reported the louder, angrier voices (inherently damaging to Republicans in this case) or they reported on the political architecture of the town hall meetings, which plays down the substance of the protests. … The White House’s goal was to prevent the Blue Dogs from panicking. The swing constituents in these congressional districts aren’t angry Republicans, and the Blue Dogs know this. They’re political independents for whom the sanctity of the process is important.”

So that is the official White House spin. But what is the reality? Two new polls came out yesterday from Gallup and Pew, and both of them show that in direct contradiction to Ambinder’s “analysis”, the townhall protests are, in fact, making political independents more sympathetic to opponents of Obamacare. Pew found that of those Americans following the townhalls, 61%, including 64% of independents, said they think the way people have been protesting is appropriate. And according to Gallup, 34% of independents say the townhalls have made them more sympathetic to opponents of Obamacare, compared to only 23% of independents who say the townhalls have made them less sympathetic. Equally important, Gallup found that more Americans believe the townhall protesters are motivated by their internal beliefs and not stirred up by “political activists” crating “organized opposition.”

In fact, it is the supporters of Obamacare who are resorting to multi-million dollar Astroturf campaigns. Earlier this week Billionaire speculator George Soros pledged $5 million for the cause and any perusal of online bulletin board Craigslist will find hundreds of ads promising $11-16 an hour for “grassroots” campaign jobs supporting Obamacare. And just yesterday Americans for Stable Quality Care (a group largely funded by the pharmaceutical industry but also including the AMA, Families USA, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the SEIU) launched a $12 million television ad campaign in support of the White House plan. This $12 million ad buy is just a small fraction of the $150 million that PhRMA has pledged for advertising and “grassroots activity” to help pass Obama’s plan.

Turning back to the White House spin, Ambinder wrote about the townhalls: “Lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, were being asked to respond to non-sequiturs (would you support a health care reform plan that grows the deficit? Health care grows the deficit right now, so it’s a nonsense question, one that is easy for politicians to answer).” This just shows how out of touch the White House is with the American people. As Gallup’s Frank Newport reported last week: “The push for healthcare reform is occurring in an environment characterized by high levels of concern about fiscal responsibility, government spending, and the growing federal deficit. … The economy outweighs health care as the most pressing problem facing the country and in Americans’ personal lives.”

At his Portsmouth, New Hampshire pep rally yesterday, President Obama pleaded: “Where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.” Well here is the reality of what has actually been passed by three separate House committees: Obamacare will be spending $245 billion a year by 2019, increases the budget deficit by $239 billion over that same time frame, and in the out years, according to CBO director Doug Elmendorf “the proposal would probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits during the decade beyond the current 10-year budget window.”

You may have seen yesterday’s video of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) speaking on her cell phone while a cancer survivor spoke to her about health care reform. Well now comes news that the pro-Obamacare voices in the crowd were not entirely legitimate. A primary care physician identified as Dr. Roxana Meyer stood up and praised the President’s health care plan for overhauling a broken system. Meyer said: “I don’t know what there is in the bill that creates such panic.” The Congresswoman asked the crowd to give her a round of applause for being a doctor, hugged her and then asked “How long have you been practicing?” to which “Dr.” Meyer answered “Four years,” which was followed by more applause and a gushing grin on the face of “Dr.” Meyer. The problem? Roxana Meyer is not a doctor, but rather an Obama campaign delegate.


Townhall Downfall: Astroturf Doctors?

In fact, Roxana Meyer was sitting in the audience with a friend who also worked for the Obama campaign and was famously photographed hanging a Che Guevara revolutionary flag above her official Obama campaign office desk. The Houston Chronicle, which reported on the townhall and highlighted the exchange, knew that Ms. Meyer was an Obama delegate but was unaware she was not a doctor. The Chronicle did not report her campaign background, but has since updated their website to reflect she is not a physician. In responding to inquiries, Roxana Meyer says she possessed “spontaneity” in her deception and she thought it would “help her credibility.” Yes, she gave all Obamacare supporters loads of credibility today. We hope that the President’s chorus will denounce her actions as loudly as they have protested regular parents, citizens, students who have driven themselves to their representative’s townhalls to ask serious questions about the “reform” of one sixth of the U.S. economy.

Does Obama's OFA support his Hellth Care


Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog offers this up on the supposed support of ObamaCare by his mindless minions...
I hope the establishment media is monitoring and interested in reporting the real results of the attempt by Organizing for Astroturfing, er, America, to lobby individual members of Congress to support ObamaCare. Sadly, I doubt they are.

If what I have learned this week holds elsewhere, it will turn out to have been a complete bust, and will demonstrate that, despite attempts to make it appear otherwise, there is no grass-roots groundswell for statist health care.

In Tom's escapade into Astroturfing, he learned some very interesting information. That while the administration attempts to incorrectly dismiss arguments of anyone against the hellth care proposals as lies -- it seems they have no problem putting out lies of there own....

As you’ll see, the Guide has a few amazing claims, with no sourcing, about “The Cost of Inaction in Ohio”:

  • 1,500,000 are uninsured today in Ohio, and 1,180 Ohioans will lose their health coverage every week because of rising costs.

  • The average family premium in Ohio costs $1,000 more because our system fails to cover everyone.

  • Our broken health insurance system will cost the Ohio economy as much as $7.1 billion this year in productivity losses due to lack of coverage.

I did my own sourcing, and determined that the claims are are either flat-out wrong or squishy deceptions. More...


Click here to read Tom's whole post and see how he dismantles the above lies and about his trip to visit 1st District Rep. Steve Driehaus & 2nd District Rep. Jean Schmidt.

Dancing with the Czars

Note: Being a Capitalist I purpose that we do one of two things with this list.

1: Create Czar trading cards.

2: Create a Card based fighting game for kids like Magic, pokemon, or yugioh.


Serious Note: Watch them like a hawk. These are the people that are operating outside the limits of Over site and Regulation. Know one really knows their true power, but I bet you it is substantial. Watching these people are like watching a Browns game. It is painful yes, but a necessary Evil.



Michelle Malkin



As of July 20, 2009:

• The Brainroom counts 32 czars in the Obama administration, based on media reports from reputable sources that have identified the official in question as a czar.
• In addition, President Obama has said that he will create the position of cyber czar, and there have been media reports that there could be a health insurance czar and a copyright czar. When and if those positions are filled, that would bring the total to 35.
• Since czar isn't an official job title, the number is somewhat in the eye of the beholder.

NOTE: positions that also existed under previous administrations are indicated with an *.

1. Afghanistan Czar - Richard Holbrooke

Title: Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Appointed: January 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: State

• Will work with CENTCOM head Gen. David Petraeus to integrate U.S. civilian and military efforts in the region.
• 45 years of experience have made him a fixture of the Democrats' foreign policy establishment.
• Was U.S. ambassador to U.N., 1999-2001
• Brokered the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia
• Also served as Assistant secretary of state, East Asia and the Pacific (1976 to 1980); worked in foreign service (1962 to 1976)
• From 1972 through 1976, was the editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

2. AIDS Czar * - Jeffrey Crowley

Title: Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy
Salary: $102,000
Reports to: President Obama (as part of the Executive Office of the President’s Domestic Policy Council)
Appointed: February 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Health and Human Services

• Coordinates HIV/AIDS policy domestically and internationally.
• Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute and a Senior Scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center.
• Was Deputy Executive Director for Programs at the National Association of People with AIDS
• Has Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health

3. Auto Recovery Czar - Ed Montgomery

Title: Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Larry Summers, the president's top economic adviser, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
Appointed: March 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Labor

• Will work to leverage government resources to support the workers, communities and regions that rely on the American auto industry.
• Was Deputy Secretary and Chief Economist at the Labor Department (1997 to 1998)
• Is Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland (2003 to present)
• Has PhD in economics from Harvard
• In 2008, made $1,200 in political donations, all of which went to Obama’s presidential campaign.
• Wife is the granddaughter of a General Motors worker from Portland, Mich.
• Drives a 2000 Lincoln

4. Border Czar * - Alan Bersin

Title: Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
Appointed: April 2009
Agencies that might have handled similar issues: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

• Will coordinate all of the department's border security and law-enforcement efforts.
• Essentially had the same job under President Clinton; served as Attorney General Janet Reno's special representative on border issues, a job that he held while retaining the position of U.S. attorney for San Diego.
• This time, boss will be Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will expect him to handle illegal immigration and drug violence issues along the Mexican-American border
• Previous experience: Chairman of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority (2006 to 2009); Secretary of Education for California (2005 to 2006); Superintendent of San Diego Public Schools (1998 to 2005); U.S. Attorney for San Diego (1993 to 1998)
• Graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School
• Talking about border security shortly before he was named Clinton border czar in 1995, said he wanted to focus on suspected smugglers of both drugs and people and was not interested in prosecuting “economic migrants.”
• Often tied to the 1994 border policy called “Operation Gatekeeper.” The policy shifted the U.S. focus from the arresting of immigrants who actually crossed the border to an increased border presence designed to stop border crossing in the first place. When Bersin left the position in 1998, border arrests were on pace for an 18-year low of just more than 200,000. Latino groups complained that Operation Gatekeeper was immoral, saying the program monitored the border near San Diego but simply forced illegal immigrants to other, more dangerous areas.
• Has given more than $50,000 to political campaigns since 1999, almost all of it to Democrats.

5. California Water Czar - David J. Hayes

Title: Deputy Interior Secretary
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Appointed: June 2009
Confirmed by Senate (as Deputy Interior Security): May 20, 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Interior

• Charged with coordinating federal agencies to ease California's water shortage
• Graduate of Stanford Law School; clerked for U.S. District Court for the D.C., has been a partner at two big D.C. law firms
• Was deputy interior secretary under Bruce Babbitt during Clinton administration
• From 1993 to 1995, was chairman of the board at the Environmental Law Institute, a non-profit research center.
• As a lobbyist, represented the Southern California Metropolitan Water District in 2001
• In August 2008, wrote a policy report while working at the Progressive Policy Institute accusing the Bush administration of leaving a “damaging legacy” in their natural resource management policies
• Donated $2,300 to Clinton during 2008 campaign; after she withdrew, donated $2,300 to Obama

6. Car Czar - Ron Bloom

NOTE: on July 13, 2009, Bloom took over as head of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, replacing Steven Rattner

Title: Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council head Larry Summers
Appointed: July 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Treasury

• A leader of the White House task force overseeing auto company bailouts; worked on restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler LLC.
• Was special assistant to president of the United Steelworkers union from 1996-Feb 2009
• Has negotiated restructuring deals for more than 50 companies, getting major concessions from unions and companies.
• Was raised in New York in a pro-union family, which included a schoolteacher mother and unionized relatives.
• After working for the Service Employees International Union, got an MBA from Harvard University because he thought unions lacked business smarts, he said in a 1996 interview in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• From 1985 to 1990, he worked as an investment banker with Lazard Freres & Co., which specializes in mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring, before co-founding the investment-banking firm Keilin and Bloom.

7. Central Region Czar - Dennis Ross

Title: Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region (encompasses the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia)
Salary: unknown
Reports to: National Security Adviser Gen. James L. Jones
Appointed: June 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: State

• Spent 12 years in the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations trying to create a permanent agreement between the governments of Israel and the Palestinian territories
• In 1981, was named to President Ronald Reagan’s national security staff as the director of Near East and South Asian Affairs.
• Was director of the State Department’s Policy Planning office during President George H. W. Bush’s term.
• 1993: appointed to the position of Middle East coordinator, making him the top negotiator for peace between Israel and Palestinian territories
• After he left government in 2000, headed up Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a hawkish think tank with a pro-Israeli bent

8. Climate Czar - Todd Stern

Title: Special Envoy for Climate Change
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Appointed: January 2009
Agency or department that might have handled similar issues: Environmental Protection Agency; State

• Responsible for developing international approaches to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
• Served in the Clinton White House from 1993 to 1999; Was Head of the Initiative on Global Climate Change (1997 to 1999) and Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury (1999 to 2001)
• As a top aide to President Clinton, helped negotiate the Kyoto and Buenos Aires climate pacts, both of which fell apart partially because of a lack of U.S. support during Bush administration.
• After Bush was elected to office, went to the Wilmer Hale law firm, where he is a partner in the regulatory and government affairs division.
• Was most recently a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focused on climate change and environmental issues.
• Has written extensively on climate change, and has called on the American government and the international community to take a series of steps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
• Supports a national cap-and-trade system that would limit carbon emissions and reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil
• Has law degree from Harvard

9. Domestic Violence Czar - Lynn Rosenthal

Title: White House adviser on Violence Against Women
Salary: unknown
Reports to: President Obama and Vice President Biden
Appointed: June 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Health and Human Services

• Will advise the President and Vice President on domestic violence and sexual assault issues.
• 2000-2006: served as the Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence
• Was an advocate for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2000 and 2005 and has assisted states and local communities with implementation of this federal legislation
• Was director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence

10. Drug Czar * - Gil Kerlikowske

Title: Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
Salary: unknown
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: March 2009
Confirmed by Senate: May 7, 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Justice

• Directs drug-control policy in the U.S.; is expected to shift drug policy to intervention, treatment and a reduction of problem drug use.
• Was police chief for the city of Seattle from 2000-2009
• Was Deputy Director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (1998 to 2000); Police Chief for the city of Buffalo (1994 to 1998); Police chief of Fort Pierce, Fla. (N/A to 1994)
• A strong gun-control advocate, urged both the Washington legislature and the U.S. Congress to pass an assault-weapons ban and has worked to close the loophole that doesn't require background checks at gun shows
• 2003: admitted that busting people for personal marijuana possession was not a top priority of the Seattle police department.
• As Seattle police chief, assigned an officer full-time to the drug court, which commuted sentences of drug users who complete medical treatment in lieu of going to jail.

11. Economic Czar * - Paul Volcker

Title: Chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Salary: Volcker reportedly isn't paid for his advice.
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: January 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Treasury

• Charged with offering independent, nonpartisan information, analysis, and advice to the President as he formulates and implements his plans for economic recovery.
• Some reports say he's been marginalized by Larry Summers.
• Former Federal Reserve chairman (1979-1987)
• Was Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs, Department of the Treasury (1969 to 1974); Deputy Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs, Department of the Treasury (1963 to 1965)
• Gave Obama campaign $2,300 in 2008.

12. Energy and Environment Czar - Carol Browner

Title: Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
Salary: $172,200
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: January 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: EPA

• Coordinates energy and climate policy, emphasizing regulation and conservation.
• Was Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Clinton administration (1993-2000)
• Was Florida Secretary of the Environment (1991 to 1993)
• Founded and continues to serve as a principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Also a principal of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that concentrates on emerging markets.
• Worked on the Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which argues that the global community must work collectively to address environmental policies
• Described Bush administration as the "worst environmental administration ever"
• While orchestrating private discussions between the White House and auto industry officials on vehicle fuel efficiency standards, kept the talks as quiet as possible. Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, said, "We put nothing in writing, ever."
• 2003: A federal judge held the Environmental Protection Agency in contempt for destroying computer files during the Clinton administration that had been sought by a conservative legal foundation. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered the EPA to pay the Landmark Legal Foundation's legal fees and costs because the agency disobeyed his order to preserve the electronic records of Browner, the former EPA chief.

13. Faith-Based Czar * - Joshua DuBois

Title: Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Salary: $98,000
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: February 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Health and Human Services

• Acts as a liaison between faith and secular community groups and the White House, often partnering with them to tackle social issues. Helps these groups apply for federal grants available to them.
• Is 26 years old
• Has master’s in public affairs from Princeton University; served as associate pastor
• Worked for Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) as an intern and then as a fellow for Rep. Charles B. Rangel (DN. Y.).
• Hired as a legislative correspondent in Obama’s Senate office in May 2005
• In 2008, at the age of 25, was appointed director of religious affairs for the Obama campaign.

14. Government Performance Czar - Jeffrey Zients

Title: Chief Performance Officer
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag
Appointed: April 2009
Confirmed by the Senate (as deputy director for management for the OMB): June 19, 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: OMB

• Charged with cutting costs and finding best practices throughout government.
• Has never worked in government before
• Was a chief executive and former management consultant
• Was founder of Portfolio Logic (2004 to present); Partner of the Washington Baseball Club (2004 to 2006); CEO of the Advisory Board (1998 to 2004)
• Has donated just over $90,000 to political campaigns since 1999, almost all of which went to Democratic candidates

15. Great Lakes Czar - Cameron Davis

Title: Special advisor to the U.S. EPA overseeing its Great Lakes restoration plan
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
Appointed: June 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: Environmental Protection Agency

• Oversees the administration's initiative to restore the Great Lakes' environment.
• President of the Chicago-based environmentalist group Alliance for the Great Lakes
• Was a litigating attorney and served as an adjunct clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School.
• Served with the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi, Kenya, where he worked on the Montreal Protocol to protect the Earth’s ozone layer, and U.S. EPA’s Office of Regional Counsel in Chicago.

16. Green Jobs Czar - Van Jones

Title: Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Head of Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley
Appointed: March 2009
Agency or department that might have handled similar issues: Environmental Protection Agency; Labor

• Will focus on environmentally-friendly employment within the administration and boost support for the idea nationwide
• Rose from near obscurity in the Oakland, Calif., grassroots organizing scene to the leader of a national movement to spur the green economy.
• Founded Green For All, an organization focused on creating green jobs in impoverished areas
• Also co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change, which includes Bay Area PoliceWatch, a group devoted to "protect[ing] the community from police misconduct"
• Published New York Times best-seller The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, in October 2008
• Started career as a prison-reform advocate in Oakland, Calif., lobbying for reform of the juvenile justice system and youth-violence prevention programs
• Has law degree from Yale
• 2007: worked on the Green Jobs Act with then-Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored the bill in the House
• 1993: was arrested at the Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of cops in the Rodney King beating. "I was arrested simply for being a police observer," says Jones, who had just graduated from Yale Law School and was working with the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco.
• 1999: was arrested in the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization
• Excerpt from a Nov. 2005 interview in the East Bay Express:
Jones had planned to move to Washington, DC, and had already landed a job and an apartment there. But in jail, he said, "I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.'" Although he already had a plane ticket, he decided to stay in San Francisco. "I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary." In the months that followed, he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. "I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th," he said. "By August, I was a communist." In 1994, the young activists formed a socialist collective, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, which held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia. They protested police brutality and got arrested for crashing through police barricades. In 1996, Jones decided to launch his own operation, which he named the Ella Baker Center after an unsung hero of the civil-rights movement.

17. Guantanamo Closure Czar - Daniel Fried

Title: Special envoy to oversee the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Appointed: March 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Justice; State

• Works to get help of foreign governments in moving toward closure of Guantanamo Bay, in fulfillment of Obama's promise to close the prison within a year of taking office.
• Was Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, State Department (2005 to 2009); Director for European and Eurasian Affairs, State Department (2001 to 2005); U.S. Ambassador to Poland (1997 to 2001)

18. Health Czar * - Nancy-Ann DeParle

Title: Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform
Salary: $158,500
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: March 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Health and Human Services (HHS)

• Coordinates the development of the Administration's healthcare policy agenda.
• Experience: Managing Director, CCMP Capital (since 2001); Adjunct professor (focusing on healthcare policy), Wharton School of Business (since 2001); Commissioner, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (since 2001); Fellow, Harvard Institue of Politics (2000 to 2001); Director, Healthcare Financing Administration (1997 to 2000)
• Has law degree from Harvard
• Served as the OMB’s representative on health-care reform during Bill Clinton’s first term
• As head of the HHS Health Care Financing Administration under Clinton, ran the largest health insurance provider in America, overseeing $600 billion in payments annually to 74 million recipients of Medicare and Medicaid
• 2001: left government to take a year-long fellowship at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, where she was part of Harvard’s Health Care Policy Forum and led a weekly study group on reforming Medicare.
• During Bush administration, sat on the boards of many health companies, from medical treatment producers to hospital systems
• In September 2008, donated $2,300 each to Clinton and Barack Obama.

19. Information Czar - Vivek Kundra

Title: Federal Chief Information Officer
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag
Appointed: March 2009
Agencies that might have handled similar issues: other federal agency CIOs

• Basically in charge of overseeing other federal agency CIOs and for setting technology policy across the government.
• Head of a federal technology budget that amounts to $71 billion annually
• Operation is housed in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and will likely have authority to question how money in departmental technology budgets is used
• Formerly head of the District of Columbia's technology operations
• Shortly after he joined the OMB, federal authorities raided his old District government office. They arrested two technology office managers and a subcontractor, charging them with a bribery scheme that allegedly defrauded the city out of at least $500,000. Kundra was not a suspect in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
• Has a masters from Maryland in information technology.
• Experience: Washington, D.C. Chief Technology Officer (2007 to 2009); State of Virginia's Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Trade (2006 to 2007); CEO of computer security firm Creostar

20. Intelligence Czar * - Dennis Blair

Title: Director of National Intelligence
Salary: $197,700
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: January 2009
Confirmed by Senate: January 28, 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: CIA

• Nation’s top intelligence official.
• Retired four-star admiral.
• Graduate of the United States Naval Academy, 1968; sixth-generation naval officer
• Lacks professional roots in the world of intelligence
• Held a number of prestigious Washington posts, including the Pentagon’s top liaison to the CIA and director of the Joint Staff.
• Ran the non-profit Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), which focuses primarily on issues related to national security, and does a lot of work for the Defense Department. Left IDA under a cloud of controversy in mid-2006.

21. Mideast Peace Czar - George Mitchell

Title: Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Appointed: January 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: State

• Works to maintain the shaky peace between Israel and Hamas after recent hostilities
• Senate majority leader from 1989 to 1994
• Was special envoy to Northern Ireland during the Clinton administration and lead investigator into steroid use in Major League Baseball.
• 2000: led a fact-finding committee to study violence in the Middle East; 2001's Mitchell Report formed the basis for the road map for Middle East peace

22. Pay Czar - Kenneth R. Feinberg

Title: Special Master on executive pay
Salary: reportedly receiving no compensation for his work.
Reports to: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
Appointed: June 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Treasury

• Named to examine compensation practices at companies that have been bailed out more than once by the federal government
• Oversaw the payouts to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
• Was the chief administrator to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which commemorates the students who died in the April 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech
• Founder and managing partner of Feinberg Rozen LLP (1992 to present), law firm specializing in mediation
• Was Chief of staff for Sen. Edward Kennedy (1978 to 1980)
• While working with the Feinberg Group, donated over $150,000, nearly all of which has gone to Democratic candidates and political action committees. In 2007, donated $2,300 to 2008 presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani (R).

23. Regulatory Czar - Cass R. Sunstein *

Title: Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag
Appointed: January 2009
Nomination was sent to Senate on April 20, 2009 - no action yet taken
Agency that might have handled similar issues: OMB

• Will be responsible for reviewing draft regulations and assessing their costs and benefits
• Is a Harvard Law School professor; prior to that, was a professor at the Univ. of Chicago Law School (1981-2008)
• Academic specialties: constitutional law, administrative law, and regulatory policy
• Obama: "Cass is not only a valued advisor, he is a dear friend"
• Known for advancing a field called "law and behavioral economics" that seeks to shape law and policy around the way research shows people actually behave; though embraced by conservatives, critics say it fails to account for the sometimes less-than-rational aspects of human behavior.
• In his 2002 book, Republic.com, discussed the drawbacks of limitless choices on the Internet that allow people to seek out only like-minded people and opinions that merely fortify their own views; he talked about the idea of the government requiring sites to link to opposing views. He later came to realize it was a "bad idea."
• In his 2004 book, Animal Rights, suggested that animals ought to be able to bring suit, with private citizens acting as their representatives, to ensure that animals are not treated in a way that violates current law.
• In a 2007 speech at Harvard he called for banning hunting in the U.S.
• The American Conservative Union started a website, Stop Sunstein, in an effort to keep him out of the White House.

24. Science Czar - John Holdren

Title: Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology
Salary: unknown
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: December 2008
Confirmed by Senate: March 19, 2009
Agency or department that might have handled similar issues: Energy

• Top adviser to Obama on science and technology, issues that are increasingly relevant to other issues such as homeland security, energy and environmentalism
• Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director, Program in Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (1996-2009); Harvard University Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy (1996-2009); University of California, Berkeley Professor of Energy and Resources Emeritus (1996 to present)
• Studied aerospace engineering and plasma physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where he earned his BS and MS — and Stanford University, where he received his doctorate in 1970
• Is an outspoken advocate of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and believes the United States should sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
• In a 2008 New York Times op-ed, Holdren called climate change skeptics “dangerous” members of a “denier fringe.”
• In 1971, co-authored a paper in Global Ecology suggesting "some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the century."
• Some conservative media outlets have called attention to a book Holdren co-authored in 1977 titled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, and Environment. The book reportedly includes this statement: "population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution." Holdren's office says he "does not now and never has been an advocate of compulsory abortions or other repressive measures to limit fertility."

25. Stimulus Accountability Czar - Earl Devaney

Title: Chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Vice President Biden
Appointed: February 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: OMB

• Leads oversight board that monitors money spent by the stimulus package
• Experience: Inspector General at the Interior Department (1999 to present); Director of criminal enforcement at the Environmental Protection Agency (1991 to 1999); Special Agent at the Secret Service (1970 to 1991)
• During his tenure at Interior, uncovered the shady dealings of disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, an investigation that eventually led to Abramoff's imprisonment and the resignation of Interior's no. 2, J. Steven Griles, for lying under oath about his own role in the scandal.
• On July 8, 2009, the U.S. General Services Administration issued a press release announcing an $18 million contract for a new recovery.gov web site, which quoted Devaney as saying, “We are pleased that another major milestone has been achieved."

26. Sudan Czar - J. Scott Gration

Title: Special Envoy to Sudan
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Appointed: March 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: State

• Will coordinate U.S. role in the aftermath of the genocide in Darfur
• Experience: Supreme Allied Command, NATO (2004 to 2005); Air Force assistant deputy undersecretary for international affairs (2003 to 2004)
• Commanded all air operations during the Iraq war in 2003
• 2006: left Air Force position to join Obama’s staff after traveling to Africa with the then-Senator from Illinois, even though he was a Republican
• Has won a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a Defense Superior Service Medal and 16 other awards
• Is a fluent Swahili speaker who grew up in the Congo
• Has called on the Obama administration to incentivize participation by the Sudanese government in peace talks by lifting sanctions, a position that is controversial. Also worked to position himself as the principal negotiator between the Sudanese government and its adversaries in Darfur, and is planning an international conference for September 2009
• Has M.A. in security studies from Georgetown

27. TARP Czar - Herb Allison

Title: Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
Appointed: June 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Treasury

• Leads the government's $700 billion financial rescue program in the office of financial stability
• Veteran Wall Street banker and interim head of the mortgage-finance company Fannie Mae
• Worked at Merrill Lynch for 28 years, reaching position of president and COO
• Was CEO of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund (2002 to 2008); CEO of the Alliance for Lifelong Learning (2000 to 2002)
• Has undergraduate degree from Yale and MBA from Stanford
• 2000: was John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign finance chairman
• In 2008, donated $2,300 to Obama's presidential campaign

28. Technology Czar - Aneesh Chopra

Title: Chief Technology Officer
Salary: unknown
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: April 2009
Confirmed by Senate: May 21, 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Commerce

• Will lead in the effort to eliminate wasteful government programs
• Will probably work to increase broadband access nationwide and computerize medical records
• Was Virginia’s secretary of technology (2005-2009)
• Has degree in public health from Johns Hopkins, Master's from Harvard in public policy
• Worked at Morgan Stanley as investment banker; also worked at Advisory Board, a health-care research and consultancy firm
• Has donated more than $24,000 since 1997 to various campaigns. With the exception of a $1,000 donation to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in 2004, all of Chopra’s contributions have gone to Democrats. From 2007 to 2008, Chopra donated $2,750 to Obama’s presidential campaign.

29. Terrorism Czar - John Brennan

Title: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Salary: $172,200
Reports to: National Security Adviser James L. Jones
Appointed: January 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Homeland Security

• Under Obama's plan the homeland security adviser’s office would be eliminated, and the National Security Council would take over those duties. Brennan would be responsible for guarding against natural disasters and terrorism.
• Has called for increased integration between the Departments of Commerce, State and Defense
• Graduated from Fordham University in 1977 after a year of intensive Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in Cairo. Earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin before joining the CIA as an intelligence director in 1980.
• Is a CIA veteran and fluent Arabic speaker
• Was CIA deputy executive director (2001 to 2003) and National Counter-Terrorism Center, Chair (2004 to 2005)
• Worked at Analysis Corp, (2005 to 2008);
• Staunch supporter of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Program; defended the use of extraordinary rendition, saying it is “an absolutely vital tool.”

30. Urban Affairs Czar - Adolfo Carrion Jr.

Title: White House Director of Urban Affairs
Salary: $158,500
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: February 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Housing and Urban Development

• Job entails coordinating transportation and housing initiatives, as well as serving as a conduit for federal aid to economically hard-hit cities.
• Has undergraduate degree in world religions from Kings College; became an associate pastor at a Bronx church; earned his master’s degree in urban planning from Hunter College
• Was Bronx Borough President (2001-2009); President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (since 2007); City Council member (1998 to 2000)
• Many reporters say he has higher ambitions and will probably run for New York City mayor in the next ten years.
• Was an active campaigner for Obama, travelling across the country to speak on his behalf. He focused particularly on states with large Hispanic populations.
• The NY Daily News reported numerous developers made tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to CarriĆ³n around the same time he was considering approving their projects in the Bronx.

31. Weapons Czar - Ashton Carter

Title: Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
Salary: unknown
Reports to: Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Appointed: April 2009
Confirmed by Senate: April 23, 2009
Department that might have handled similar issues: Defense

• Will coordinate the Pentagon's acquisitions, technology and logistics for weapons.
• Will oversee a weapons-buying system that Obama has placed at the top of his list of federal programs he wants to fix and will be asked to quickly weigh in on difficult decisions concerning at least 10 major defense programs, while also instantly dissecting the procurement system’s ailments so he can advise the administration on its Pentagon acquisition reform agenda
• Is a physicist and Harvard academic whose only previous Pentagon stint was in a mid-level policy post from 1993 until 1996 under the Clinton administration
• Graduated from Yale summa cum laude; studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar and earned a doctorate in theoretical physics.
• Chair of Harvard’s International Relations, Science & Security Area International Security Program within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (1993 to 1996); Director of the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School (early 1990s)
• Has donated primarily to Democratic politicians since 2000. He donated $6,900 to then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in 2007 and 2008. He gave the same amount to then Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during that same span.

32. WMD Policy Czar - Gary Samore

Title: White House Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Security and Arms Control
Salary: unknown
Reports to: National Security Advisor Gen. James L. Jones
Appointed: January 2009
Department or agency that might have handled similar issues: NSC; Defense; State

• Will coordinate issues related to weapons of mass destruction across the government. His portfolio includes proliferation, nuclear and conventional arms control, threat reduction, and terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.
• Position sits within the National Security Council.
• Is a veteran arms control negotiator.
• B.A. in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his PhD in government from Harvard University in 1984.
• After brief stints with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the RAND Corporation, joined the State Department during the Reagan administration in 1987. Held several positions there, including director of the Office of Regional Non-proliferation Affairs; special assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Energy Policy; and deputy to Ambassador-at-Large for Korean Affairs Robert Gallucci. Helped to negotiate the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Framework Treaty
• Joined the Clinton administration’s National Security Council in 1995 as an adviser on nonproliferation. Coordinated U.S. policy on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
• Was Director, Council on Foreign Relations (2006 to 2009); Vice President for Global Security and Sustainability, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (2005); Researcher, International Institute of Strategic Studies (2001 to 2005)