Galling

Retailers are preparing for a triple whammy as the restoration of the payroll tax, surging gas prices, and stagnant employment and wages take a bite out of consumers’ disposable income, leaving them with less cash to spend on clothing, groceries, and eating out.

But the world is going to end if their is a 3% cut in the increase in spending! OMG! The Sky is Falling! 🙂

As a result, more than three years after the recession officially ended, American consumers might be preparing to downshift again, if only slightly, with low-income consumers hit the hardest. Sensing consumer trepidation, retailers are scrambling to adjust.

Retailers, restaurants, and consumer goods companies like Wal-Mart are lowering sales forecasts and adjusting marketing campaigns ahead of expectations that consumers will slash spending, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But Government wants to Spend Even More!

In a survey released Thursday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said some 46 percent of consumers plan to spend less as a result of the payroll tax increase. One-third said they will reduce dining out and one-quarter will spend less on “little luxuries,” like manicures and trips to coffee shops.

“A smaller paycheck due to the fiscal cliff deal early last month, higher gas prices, low consumer confidence and ongoing uncertainty about our nation’s fiscal health is negatively impacting consumers and businesses across the country,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, said in a statement.

And that’s all the Republican’s Fault! (or Bush’s)… 🙂

Originally enacted in December 2010 to help taxpayers weather the recession and to spur economic activity, the payroll tax cut expired Jan. 1 of this year. The restoration of the tax effectively raised the rate from 4.2 percent in 2012 to 6.2 percent in 2013, shaving 2 percent from consumers’ take-home pay.

Can you say Bait and Switch to bribe the stupid to vote for the Democrats…

That means Americans making $50,000 a year will pay $83 more in taxes each month, almost $1,000 more each year. Those making $75,000 will pay $125 more each month, or $1,500 more each year. As retailers see it, that’s $1,500 less a consumer has to spend on groceries, household goods, and dining out.

Multiply that by 153.6 million people in the labor force and retailers start to panic. According to an estimate by Citigroup, the expiration of the payroll tax cut will move $110 billion out of consumers’ pockets.

So Democrats can spend it on paying off their Apparatchiks, looking like they “care” and blaming it all on “rich” people and Republicans.

And the Republicans don’t do anything about it! Which is also very galling.

For high-end consumers, the payroll tax may not change a thing, and for many middle-income consumers, it will likely result in only a subtle shift. But the impact is most likely to be felt among low-income consumers and the businesses they tend to frequent, like Wal-Mart.

“It’s a big deal,” says Morgan Housley, a macroeconomic analyst with Motley Fool, an online financial education website. “The biggest impact is on lower-income households since the payroll tax is regressive, only applying to the first $113,000 of income. Wealthier households don’t feel the same pinch because the tax doesn’t hit all of their income. Lower-income households also spend a larger share of their income than wealthier consumers.… Low-income families are in one of the toughest spots they’ve been in since 2009.” (CSMonitor)

But remember, ask a liberal about it and they’ll give you the political answer of, “well it’s that same as it was 3 years ago” before the cut so it’s not an increase.

Tell that to their pocketbooks. They play games with you but you can’t hold them accountable for it. Your the Mouse and they are the Cat. So, you’re just a Cat toy…

Oh, and it’s the Republican’s/Bush Fault!! Can’t for get that one.

And Republican just want to throw grandma out on the street to eat trash and dog food!

The dishonesty of it all is so galling.

Speaking of Galling…

Who says intransigence doesn’t pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, union bakers have been rewarded by the White House with Trade Adjustment Assistance. It’s all the foreigners’ fault.

Politics: Who says intransigence doesn’t pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, the White House has decided to reward the union bakers with Trade Adjustment Assistence, blaming foreigners. What a sweet deal.

Last November, Hostess Brands went into liquidation, throwing 18,500 employees out of their jobs. The baking giant had been through two restructurings, but the company remained unprofitable.

All the same, most workers at the bread and pastry maker, famous for its Twinkies and Ho Hos snack cakes, were willing to tighten their belts until good times returned.

They included hard-line unions, such as the Teamsters, not known for making concessions.

But there was one exception: the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International (BCTGM).

It refused to deal, taking the entire company, including fellow workers, down with it.

Turns out the union knew exactly what it was doing.

This week, the Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade Adjustment Assistance, a multibillion-dollar pork barrel program that was beefed up as a bone to Democrats, who were blocking passage of three free-trade treaties in Congress in 2012.

Politically Correct “obstructionism” and being a Party Apparatchik pays! $$$$

TAA is a lavish program doled out by the Labor Department for laid-off workers who’ve lost their jobs due to “global trade.”

Aka, Apparatchik pay offs.

It provides worker retraining due to the supposed evils of free trade — plus moving expenses, baby-sitting expenses and as much as two years of unemployment pay. If a worker ends up making less than his union salary afterward, Uncle Sam spots the worker for 50% of the supposed lost wages in a “free” subsidy.

What’s more, “virtually anybody can qualify,” said TAA certifying officer Elliott Kushner in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

As long as you’re an Apparatchik.

Kushner was the one who signed off on shoveling the pork to Hostess. (IBD)

So Liberal “obstructionism” that brings down a whole Business is rewarded.

It pays to be a Union “obstructionist” and make everyone lose their job.

Just because they are Apparatchiks of the Party!

So be of The Body, or be screwed.

Do what we say when we say it or else!

In Hostess’ case, labor costs were almost certainly a factor. The Labor Department says the average wage for bakers nationally is $11 an hour.

The unionized Hostess bakers were pulling in as much as twice that amount, which, together with pensions, was what made the company uncompetitive.

Imports weren’t the problem.

But it’s so much easier to blame foreigners, even if no significant foreign goods can be found.

This shows how something like the TAA can turn into a perverse incentive, encouraging all workers to make no concessions in tough times, even if it means saving their company.

The BCTGM union’s intransigence was directly responsible for the liquidation of Hostess Brands.

Yet the same union is being rewarded with premium unemployment packages that encourage its members to go on the dole — and to blame foreigners for it.

Undoubtedly, more examples of this perverse incentive will take down more companies, an unintended consequence of a boondoggle that sounds good on paper.

It’s not good. It’s a reward for those who refuse to negotiate, and a sop to the manipulative unions that are most adept at gaming the system.

This doesn’t create value. It’s corruption. (IBD)

But since it’s Liberal Union Corruption, that’s ok. 🙂
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

 Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 

Let The Cronies March In…

More Crony Favoritism By Obama:

Another Millionaire (1%er) and “evil” profit-monger has gotten a contract to produce something that is not needed, except by his companies profits and Obama Campaign War Chest.

If you’re going to kick back to Obama, you’re always an approved business. Ain’t that right, comrade? 🙂

$443 Million dollars this time.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor. (he was 52nd in the world in 2010 according to Forbes)

More like the .01%!! 🙂

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a “sole-source” procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government’s specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.

If there were an attack, the government could draw on $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine it already owns to inoculate the entire U.S. population and quickly treat people exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which costs the government $3 per dose, can reliably prevent death when given within four days of exposure.

Siga’s drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.

The government’s pursuit of Siga’s product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?

No. But party politics, cronyism, and Obama’s Re-Coronation War Chest are more important than any force on Earth anyhow, aren’t they?

As much as Obama can funnel to his “friends” and they can funnel back to him. The “rich” and Corporate CEO’s are only evil and worth demogogueing if they aren’t in the Obama Inner Circle.

You have to look after your “rich” apparatchiks while demonizing the “rich” overall for your class warfare strategy. Making two sides so you can play both of them.

“We’ve got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use — how much more do we need?” said Dr. Donald A. “D.A.” Henderson, the epidemiologist who led the global eradication of smallpox for the World Health Organization and later helped organize U.S. biodefense efforts under President George W. Bush. “The bottom line is, we’ve got a limited amount of money.”

SINCE WHEN HAS THAT EVER STOPPED OUR DEAR LEADER?  NEVER!

Dr. Thomas M. Mack, an epidemiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus. He called the plan to stockpile Siga’s drug “a waste of time and a waste of money.”

But smallpox isn’t the purpose. Kickbacks to donors and kickbacks to his campaign coffers is. Besides, it’s taxpayer money, it’s free and it easy!

Besides, we can always blame it on someone else!! 🙂

The Obama administration official who has overseen the buying of Siga’s drug says she is trying to strengthen the nation’s preparedness. Dr. Nicole Lurie, a presidential appointee who heads biodefense planning at Health and Human Services, cited a 2004 finding by the Bush administration that there was a “material threat” smallpox could be used as a biological weapon.
See, when it fails or makes them look bad, IT WAS BUSH’s IDEA! So it’s his Fault!! 🙂

A Liberal just can’t go wrong on anything, no matter what it is, when they can blame Bush for it! 🙂
Smallpox is one of 12 pathogens for which such determinations have been made.

“I don’t put probabilities around anything in terms of imminent or not,” said Lurie, a physician whose experience in public health includes government service and work with the Rand Corp. “Because what I can tell you is, in the two-plus years I’ve been in this job, it’s the unexpected that always happens.”

Negotiations over the price of the drug and Siga’s profit margin were contentious.

I thought profit was evil and unfair. Don’t let the Occupiers know… 🙂

In an internal memo in March, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, chief medical officer for HHS’ biodefense preparedness unit, said Siga’s projected profit at that point was 180%, which he called “outrageous.”

In an email earlier the same day, a department colleague told Hatchett that no government contracting officer “would sign a 3 digit profit percentage.”

In April, after Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, complained in writing about the department’s “approach to profit,” Lurie assured him that the “most senior procurement official” would be taking over the negotiations.

“I trust this will be satisfactory to you,” Lurie wrote Rose in a letter.

Profit is good when it benefits Socialist Politicians. Profit is bad when it benefits Socialist Politicians.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.

And is there anyone better at it than Obama and his apparatchiks? 🙂

National Debt today: 14.986 Trillion. 🙂

Insanity Awaits Inexperienced Drivers

The Definition of Insanity it is said is to be doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The <California> State Board of Equalization has estimated there are 25,000  affiliates in California about 10,000 of them making money through  Amazon.

Not anymore, though. The State passed an “internet sales tax” where e-tailers must collect money for the state.
Amazon and Overstock had canceled 10’s of thousand of business affiliates.
And others may follow.
So those small business men now have even LESS business and even LESS revenue. So less sales. Less sales taxes from them.
So they’ll undoubtedly have LESS jobs.

Good job, Democrats!

Just days after the president’s class warfare shot at corporate jet manufacturers (the same ones they praised last March and in the stimulus bill) comes this fact:

Aircraft manufacturers, fuel suppliers, repair services and other segments of the industry employ 1.2 million people and generate $150 billion in economic activity, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Damn, that’s a lot of “rich” people. 🙂

So people buy less planes. There is less manufacturing and servicing, so people will be laid off…

“While such talk may appear to some as good politics, the reality is that it hurts one of the leading manufacturing and exporting industries in the United States,” Peter Bunce, president of the aviation manufacturers association, and Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a letter to Obama.

Obama is trying to demonize the private plane industry and engage in class warfare, Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said.

“The reality is that good people lose jobs when we play politics with an entire industry,” he said. 

20,000 Jobs have been lost in recent years due to cutbacks in orders. This won’t help.

But at least we stuck it to those damn “rich” people!

“You go talk to your constituents and ask them, ‘Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?'”– Obama

The workers on the assembly lines, suppliers, maintenance and sales people, need not apply. 🙂

And he whipped up his “base” and fed the little raptors some  empty-calorie meat to devour.

And, of course, there is the chorus of  “but it’s fair!” 🙂

And we wouldn’t want to be unfair now would we….

The day before Obama’s remarks, the president praised Alcoa workers for making the wings of Air Force One during a trip to Iowa.

“Alcoa is showing us the future we can build here in eastern Iowa and across the country,” he proclaimed.

“The very next day he says he wants to kill any tax incentive to buy the business jets that have Alcoa products in them,” Aerospace Industries Association president Marion Blakey complained Thursday. “It’s baffling and disturbing.” She called Air Force One “the biggest corporate jet in America.”

Yeah, but that was yesterday. What can you do for him TODAY. That’s what matters.

The upshot: Obama says that Alcoa must lose business among American customers to repeal a tax break Obama and the Democrats supported because Republicans want to balance the budget.

Damn those evil Republicans! If only we could get rid of them, Utopia would reign on Earth and we could spend as much as we want, when we want, because we want, and where we want and everything would be fine!

But at least  all his hungry little apparatchiks will be fed by the no-calorie class warfare meat.

He has to throw them some meat, or they’ll devour him too!  (Greece anyone?)

Dems are faced with cutting back on the very programs that brought  them into power (gasp).  They have been buying votes with gimmee  programs for years and it’s caused a whole lot of unsustainable  addiction.  Now that the state is broke they have to cut loose the  addicts and those voters will be furious, as you might expect any addict  would be! 

So the monster they created to get where they are threatens to eat them too if they don’t supply their addicts. Problem is, the drugs will kill us all eventually.

So, the solution–Raise Taxes!!

The #1 Democrat solution for everything.

The only alternative to responsible cost cutting is, RAISE TAXES, and do it fast…because this is a political emergency!    Careers are at risk – their careers!  Control over State is at risk –  their control!  It doesn’t get any worse.  So they do what dems do best  – they tax! 

This time their plan is going severely damage the core working class  by beating up on businesses (employers) just struggling to survive in an  already business-unfriendly climate.  One more burden on them could  prove fatal and that would only add to the political disaster dems were  hoping to avoid.

For starters, Obama’s most recent budget calls for adding $9.5 trillion in new debt over the next decade. If you got rid of the “accelerated depreciation” of corporate jets, Reuters economics columnist James Pethokoukis calculates, it would save a whopping .03 percent of that total.

Sadly, the room was full of journalists who do not consider themselves novices but who nonetheless let Obama get away with this demagogic dishonesty. No one asked the president why he suddenly cares so much about getting rid of a tax break he himself was for before he was against it. Indeed, no one asked why, if it is such an affront to the liberal conscience, it was part of Obama’s stimulus bill, which was passed without any Republican votes in the House and only three in the Senate (which means Nancy Pelosi voted for special tax breaks for corporate jets and the GOP didn’t).

More broadly, no one threw a flag on his claim that “every single observer who’s not an elected official, who’s not a politician,” agrees with him on the burning need to raise taxes as part of any budget deal. This is a good example of Obama’s most grating tic, his need to claim that all reasonable and serious people agree with him and anyone who disagrees must be doing so for base or ideological motives.

But at least you stuck to “rich” people! 🙂

And your base is happy for another day. Until the monster awakens again and wants to be fed it’s largess drugs.

FEED ME!  FEED ME!  FEED ME!

Insanity awaits! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 

Left Wanting

Democrat Fear Hyperbole Update: DNC Chief Wasserman-Schultz: Ryan Budget Plan “Throws Young People to The Wolves”…

Newly-elected DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) said Sunday that the recen tDemocratic victory in a special election in a conservative upstate New York district was evidence that voters across the country disapproved of the Republican proposal for Medicare which, she argued, would end the program “as we know it.”

In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Wasserman-Schultz said that the GOP plan, outlined in Wis. Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed 2012 budget, would unfairly target young Americans. (this from a party that hasn’t passed or proposed a budget since April 2009! and now refuses to pass one!)

“[Republicans] would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them, ‘You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the health care insurance market. We’re going to throw you to the wolves, and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions,’ ” Wasserman-Schultz told CBS’ Harry Smith. ” ‘We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.’

Expect it to get much, much worse! Much, much worse.

By next year the Republican will be kicking old people down the stairs and burying them in mass graves!

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is a master at dodging the questions of network news types (and she’s pretty cute, too)!  In this video, she just simply ignores the question outright and immediately launches into a diatribe of demagoguery, exposing the Democrats’ lack of a budget and desire to keep the focus on the GOP’s plan, which they perceive to be vastly unpopular  (To them! and their apparatchiks in the media).  Watch and learn from a master . . .

Thomas Sowell: One of the painfully revealing episodes in Barack Obama’s book “Dreams From My Father” describes his early experience listening to a sermon by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Among the things said in that sermon was that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need.” Obama was literally moved to tears by that sermon.

This sermon may have been like a revelation to Barack Obama but its explanation of economic and other differences was among the oldest– and most factually discredited– explanations of such difference among all sorts of peoples in all sorts of places. Yet it is an explanation that has long been politically seductive, in countries around the world.

What could be more emotionally satisfying than seeing others who have done better in the world as the villains responsible for your not having done as well? It is the ideal political explanation, from the standpoint of mass appeal, whether or not it makes any sense otherwise.

That has been the politically preferred explanation for economic differences between the Malay majority and the more prosperous Chinese minority in Malaysia, or between the Gentile majority and the Jewish minority in various countries in Europe between the two World Wars.

At various other times and places, it has been the preferred explanation for the economic differences between the Sinhalese and the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, the Africans and the Lebanese in Sierra Leone, the Czechs and the Germans in Bohemia and numerous other groups in countries around the world.

The idea that the rich have gotten rich by making the poor poor has been an ideological theme that has played well in Third World countries, to explain why they lag so far behind the West.

None of this was original with Jeremiah Wright. All he added was his own colorful gutter style of expressing it, which so captivated the man who is now President of the United States.

There is obviously something there with very deep emotional appeal. Moreover, because nothing is easier to find than sins among human beings, there will never be a lack of evil deeds to make that explanation seem plausible.

Because the Western culture has been ascendant in the world in recent centuries, the image of rich white people and poor non-white people has made a deep impression, whether in theories of racial superiority– which were big among “progressives” in the early 20th century– or in theories of exploitation among “progressives” later on.

In a wider view of history, however, it becomes clear that, for centuries before the European ascendancy, Europe lagged far behind China in many achievements. Since neither of them changed much genetically between those times and the later rise of Europe, it is hard to reconcile this role reversal with racial theories.

More important, the Chinese were not to blame for Europe’s problems– which would not be solved until the Europeans themselves finally got their own act together, instead of blaming others. If they had listened to people like Jeremiah Wright, Europe might still be in the Dark Ages.

It is hard to reconcile “exploitation” theories with the facts. While there have been conquered peoples made poorer by their conquerors, especially by Spanish conquerors in the Western Hemisphere, in general most poor countries were poor for reasons that existed before the conquerors arrived. Some Third World countries are poorer today than they were when they were ruled by Western countries, generations ago.

False theories are not just an intellectual problem to be discussed around a seminar table in some ivy-covered building. When millions of people believe those theories, including people in high places, with the fate of nations in their hands, that is a serious and potentially disastrous fact of life.

Despite a carefully choreographed image of affability and cool, Barack Obama’s decisions and appointments as President betray an alienation from the values and the people of this country that are too disturbing to be answered by showing his birth certificate.

Too many of his appointees exhibit a similar alienation, including Attorney General Eric Holder, under whom the Dept. of Justice could more accurately be described as the Dept. of Payback.

Can I have an Order of Fear & Freeloaders, Please…

A Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery game continues to collect food stamps 11 months after striking it rich.

And there’s nothing the state can do about it, at least for now.

Leroy Fick, 59, of Auburn won $2 million in the state lottery TV show “Make Me Rich!” last June. But the state’s Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps, Fick’s attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Tuesday.

Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don’t count as income. As long as Fick’s gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.

Food stamps are paid for through tax dollars and are meant to help support low-income families.

“If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it,” Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday.

After all, he’s “entitled”. As I have said before and will say again, Liberals are the greediest, most self-centered because they feel the most entitled to other people’s money.

Oh, and if you disagree with Liberals on this Grandma is going to be thrown off a cliff (that’s coming later on in this blog).

Then there are the frauds. Like AARP.

“I think I’m scheduled to get my AARP card in a couple of years?” President Barack Obama asked today.

“Anytime you want one,” the organization told him. “Platinum.”

Obama at AARP.jpg

The stage was set at AARP, the powerful Washington-based lobby for senior Americans, for Obama to host another “town hall” forum on healthcare reform, where the president allowed that both he and his wife Michelle have “living wills” drafted but hope they don’t have to use them anytime soon.

“If you have insurance that you like, you will be able to keep that insurance,” Obama said of the healthcare reforms that he is pursuing on Capitol Hill. “Nobody is trying to change what works.” (Obama 2009)

They were a massive supporter of ObamaCare.

Now they get a waiver for their MediGap insurance. Their main rival, Medical Advantage gets savaged by ObamaCare.

Effectively, AARP is no longer a senior advocacy group, but just another “evil” “greedy” insurance company. But since they are in bed with Obama and the Liberals, that’s ok.

Their moral outrage is selective.

The Daily Caller has learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rate review rules, which it finalized on Thursday, exempt “Medigap” policy providers, like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), from oversight when such providers increase payment rates for their supplemental insurance plans.

Insurance providers who aren’t exempt from Obamacare’s rate review rules are required to publicly release and explain some health care payment rate increases.

The AARP is the nation’s biggest seller of Medigap policies, or supplemental healthcare plans that add onto what Medicare won’t cover for seniors. The senior citizens interest group advocated for Obamacare to include an attack on Medigap policies’ biggest competitor, Medicare Advantage.

Though the White House and HHS dismiss allegations of political favoritism when it comes to who’s getting exceptions from the new health care regulations – such as in the recent uproar over the disproportionate number of Obamacare waivers that went to companies in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district — Obamacare critics say the mere appearance of the administration helping friends is disturbing.

The appearance of favoritism exists with the new AARP exemptions, too. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sens. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last October asking her not to do what HHS just finalized today – that is exempt Medigap policies from rate increase oversight.underwriter

“While Medicare Advantage premiums are declining, we are hearing disturbing stories from beneficiaries across the country about excessive premium increases for Medigap supplemental insurance policies,” Reid, Baucus and Kerry wrote to Sebelius on Oct. 6.

“For example, some beneficiaries enrolled in the United of Omaha Life Insurance Company will see their Medigap premiums increase by approximately 40 percent between 2010 and 2011,” the letter read. “An increase of this magnitude raises serious concerns about premium-setting practices and rate review procedures in place for Medigap policies.”

Instead of listening to three top Senate Democrats, the Obama administration decided to go ahead anyway with the Medigap exceptions from rate increase reviews.

The AARP was a driving force behind getting Obamacare through Congress, contributing a large sum to the $121 million advertising campaign pushing it, and spending millions more lobbying for it on Capitol Hill.

The senior citizen advocacy organization stands to make huge profits from Medicare Advantage cuts and from the exemptions it will benefit from when it comes to the Medigap plans sold under what AARP CEO A. Barry Rand calls the AARP’s “for-profit side.”

The AARP’s support of Obamacare during the debate over the legislation raised lots of eyebrows nationwide, as President Obama called for $313 billion in cuts to Medicare to push the plan through. Seniors weren’t happy about it, and many ripped AARP representatives at town hall meetings nationwide.

Now, though, it’s clear that the AARP is set to make millions, if not billions, of extra dollars in Medigap plan sales moving forward because they’ve effectively knocked out their biggest competitor, Medicare Advantage, through Obamacare. (DC)

AARP aided and abetted Democrats’ efforts to inflict a disastrous bill on an unwilling public.  They now stand to profit from the resulting law — while simultaneously receiving convenient exemptions from provisions that may hurt their bottom line.  Ed Morrissey pens the appropriate response to this outrageous report:  “If the AARP and the labor unions that backed ObamaCare need waivers from its consequences, then we all do.”  Amen.  I’ll leave you with this delightful AARP/Obama walk down memory lane.  This clip still makes my blood boil:
Update from AARP: “To be clear, AARP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a membership. While there are insurance products that carry the AARP name, they are underwritten by insurers such as Delta Dental, UnitedHealth Group, and Aetna and others—not AARP.  We work to ensure those products meet our standards and provide value to our members.

And, NATO is the US so the US didn’t attack Libya…right….. 😦
Oh and if you disagree with them, Grandma is going off a cliff…
Democrats continue to try to scare seniors with a new anti-GOP Medicare ad that shows “Grandma” getting thrown off a cliff and then asks, “Is America beautiful without Medicare?”

Welcome to the land of the freeloaders and the home of the depraved. No image captures America’s regressive ethos better than that of 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr., self-proclaimed “Adult Baby.” Profiled on a recent National Geographic reality television show, Thornton claims to suffer from a bizarre infantilism that leads him to wear diapers, lounge around in an oversized crib and seek constant coddling.

The nappies may be extreme, but let’s face it: Thornton Jr. — let’s just call him Junior — is a symptom of our Nanny State run amok, not an anomaly.

Junior came to Washington’s attention this week when Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn challenged the Social Security Administration to probe into how the baby bottle-guzzling 350-pound man qualified for federal disability benefits. A former security guard, Junior is handy enough to have crafted his own wooden high chair and playpen.

Junior can drive a car and has sense enough not to go out in public in his XXL footie pajamas. Yet, welfare administrators treat him as an incurable dependent. Also collecting taxpayer-subsidized paychecks: Thornton’s adult roommate, a former nurse, who has indulged Thornton’s baby role-playing for the past decade.

Junior, naturally, threw a tantrum when his government teat-sucking was called into question. He wiped his nose and un-balled his fists long enough to type out an e-mail to The Washington Times: “You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care,” Junior threatened. “I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

Not from nowhere has this stubborn, self-destructive sense of entitlement sprung. As I reported last month, a record-breaking 12 million Americans have been added to the federal food stamp rolls over the past two years, and the bloated $6 billion AmeriCorps social justice army has been converted into a publicist corps for the welfare machine.

Just this week, a Michigan man boasted that he’s still collecting food stamps after winning a $2 million government-sponsored lottery prize. “If you’re going to … try to make me feel bad, you aren’t going to do it,” he told a local TV reporter. Embedded in his rebuke is the eternal refrain of the self-esteem-puffed teenager: “You can’t judge me!”

Diana West, author of “The Death of the Grown-Up,” traced the modern abdication of adulthood to the Baby Boomer generation. “The common compass of the past — the urge to grow up and into long pants; to be old enough to dance at the ball (amazingly enough, to the music adults danced to); to assume one’s rights and responsibilities — completely disappeared” after World War II. A culture of behavioral restraint gave way to “anything goes” and morphed into the current generation’s “whatever” attitude.

Look around: Junior’s infantilism is of a piece with the refusal of celebrity mothers Dina Lohan and Tish Cyrus to act like parents — and instead serve as best friends and tattoo parlor pals for their wayward daughters Lindsay and Miley. They’re the kind of women who shop at Forever 21, buy beer for their daughters’ prom parties and give them Botox certificates for high school graduation.

Junior’s penchant for pajamas is of a piece with perpetually stunted Hugh Hefner’s fetish for velvet robes 24/7 and self-indulgent decadence. Junior’s giant playpen is a cringe-inducing symbol of the Farmville-tethered, “funemployed” class of self-gratifiers who continue to live for today and spend like there’s no tomorrow.

Adult Baby Syndrome isn’t an isolated pathology. It’s the new American Way. Or, I should say, the new American Wahhhhh. (Michelle Malkin)

On issue after issue, Republicans are putting forward serious, sober and often politically risky solutions (if sometimes a bit weak kneed) to the nation’s most pressing problems, while Democrats play class-warfare games and stoke the public’s fear.

Oh, and today was supposed to be the end of the world… 🙂

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Rats Abandoning Ship

You have Republicans openly criticizing the Ryan Budget because they are too scared politically to have the courage.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is called into question by Gingrich and other critics as “too big a jump”.

And Pelosi and the Democrats continue the parade of apparatchiks and favors in the Obama Waiver game.

The ship is sinking and the rats are working deals to save themselves. Screw everyone else. Save themselves and their apparatchiks!

The Tin Men (no heart) vs. The Coward Lion (elephants)!

Then there’s Mit Romney, the media’s choice for a Republican (just like John McCain). The father of RomneyCare. The precursor of ObamaCare.

How is this guy even taken seriously?

Because the politicians in Washington want to give us The Father of Romney Care vs ObamaCare.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea of debt, despair and agony on us.

Can you tell I’ve lost hope that there is any hope 😦

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on “Meet the Press,” where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan’s Medicare proposal as “radical change.”

“Newt apologized,” said Rick Tyler, his press secretary and longtime aide. “The call went very well.”

Ryan had said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show on Monday, “With allies like that, who needs the left?”

On the Sunday show, Gingrich had referred to the GOP Medicare proposal as “right-wing social engineering.” When moderator David Gregory pressed specifically on Ryan’s plan, Gingrich added: “I think that that is too big a jump. … I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change. And I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.” (Politico)

So what is legislation, but imposition?  The people honestly don’t have an actual voice. We have “representatives” that are supposed to be our voice. But in the end they are there for their own voice.

Then there’s good old Nancy Pelosi. More grooving in Waiver Town.

It’s now 1,372 in 15 months. At this rate, more than 3,000 more to come before the 2014 implementation death knell to come.

All apparatchiks of someone, probably a Liberal like Nancy Pelosi.

Hear that? It’s the escalating cry of American employers and workers trying to hold on to their health care benefits in the age of stifling Obama health insurance mandates: Gangway! Gangway! Save me! Waive me!

Obamacare refugees first began beating down the exit doors in October 2010. As I’ve documented since last fall, waiver-mania started with McDonald’s and Jack in the Box; spread to Dish Networks, hair salon chain Regis Corp and resort giant Universal Orlando; took hold among every major Big Labor organization from the AFL-CIO to the CWA to the SEIU; roped in the nationalized health care promoters at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (whose board of trustees includes health care czar Nancy Ann DeParle); and is now gripping entire states (Maine, New Hampshire and Nevada all recently got in on the act).

The latest to catch the waive? West Coast liberals.

Yes, smack dab in the middle of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district, a cluster of San Francisco small businesses is among the latest recipients of get-out-of-Obamacare passes. As Jamie Dupree of Cox Media Group and Matthew Boyle of The Daily Caller pointed out this week, there are at least two dozen Bay Area companies — including bars, restaurants, hotels, tourist shops, real estate and auto firms — that have secured temporary, one-year reprieves from the federal law. It’s the San Francisco Treat that voters didn’t foresee until after the bill was rammed down their throats.

Another noteworthy waiver winner: Seattle-based REI. The trendy Pacific Northwest outdoor equipment retailer’s progressive CEO and Democratic campaign donor, Sally Jewell, appeared with President Obama in 2009 to tout White House health care reform initiatives. Two years later, REI snagged a waiver to protect the health benefits of a whopping 1,180 workers from the very tentacles of the big government bureaucrats Jewell embraced at Obama’s roundtable.

To date, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has granted federal health care law exemptions to more than three million American workers covered by more than 1,300 unions, companies and insurers who had voluntarily offered low-cost health plans with annual benefits limits. Meddling Obamacare architects outlawed those private plans — nicknamed “mini med” plans — in the name of “patients’ rights.” But without special waivers, the escapees would have been forced to hike premiums or drop insurance coverage altogether for mostly low-wage, seasonal and part-time workers.

Among the most recent union affiliates to secure pardons from the one-size-fits-all health policy that their bosses spent hundreds of millions of dollars of worker dues lobbying for:

— Teamsters Local 485 Health and Welfare Fund in Brooklyn, N.Y.

-_- Detroit and Vicinity Trowel Trades Health and Welfare Fund_

— Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1182 Security Benefits Fund_

— CWA Local 1183 Health and Welfare Fund

-_- Bakers Union and Food Employees Labor Relations Association Health and Welfare Fund

_– Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Home Care and Child Care Fund_

— United Food and Commercial Workers San Diego Employers Health and Welfare Trust_

— Welfare Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 15, 15A, 15C, 15D AFL-CIO

-_- United Steelworkers Local 1-0318 Health and Welfare Trust Fund_

— United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices Local 198 AFL-CIO Health and Welfare Trust

_– Teamsters Local 617 Welfare Fund in Ridgefield, N.J.

— Teamsters Local 734 Welfare Fund in Chicago

— Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60 Health and Welfare Fund

— New York State Nurses Welfare Plan for New York City Employed Registered Professional Nurses

The ultimate goal, it bears repeating, is to force a massive, revolutionary and irreversible shift from private to public insurance designed by government-knows-best bureaucrats.

Pelosi and the Golden Ticket Administrators in Washington deny preferential treatment for waiver beneficiaries. But the stench of waivers-for-favors won’t be dispelled until and unless the Obama administration releases a full list not only of those who won exemptions, but also of those who applied and were denied.

With San Francisco businesses caught with their hands in the waiver jar, Pelosi’s office could do nothing else but pout: “It is pathetic,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, “that there are those who would be cheering for Americans to lose their minimum health coverage or see their premiums increase for political purposes.”

It is far more pathetic to have cheered, as Pelosi did on the one-year anniversary of Obamacare, the law’s onerous benefits limits from which thousands of her own constituents have now been exempted.

Once again, the rest of America wants to know: Dude, where’s my waiver? (Michelle Malkin)

Sorry, you aren’t apparatchik enough to deserve one and that waiver would be getting rid of the government control of your life and death and that just ain’t going to happen.

But they do have a PLAN:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that a new federal alert system will let the government text you when there’s an emergency. Flanked by local and federal officials, the nation’s leading Nanny Statist announced gleefully that the feds will have the ability, through a special chip installed by wireless companies, to send alerts about natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and missing or abducted children to the nation’s cell phones.

The chip will come installed in every phone by 2012, and will implement the government’s hyper-literally named Personal Localized Alert Network—PLAN. Cell-phone users can opt out of all messages but those from the presidential level.

We shudder to think of the mission creep.

After all, they can track you everywhere you go… 🙂

Will some politician come along and actually work for the people?

Yeah, but the rest of the gang will be working for themselves so just forget it.

Turn out the lights, it’s over.

Political Cartoons by Dana Summers

The Devil You May Not Know

(ARLINGTON, Va.) – A draft executive order that would force government contractors to disclose all political contributions would make it too easy for political appointees to punish contractors for their political views or to coerce contributions from firms, officials with the Associated General Contractors of America warned today in testimony submitted to Congress.

“The process outlined in the draft executive order would make it much easier for government officials to use the political activities of government contractors as a factor when awarding contracts,” Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer noted in testimony submitted today to a hearing held jointly between the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Small Business. “This order actually introduces, instead of excludes, politics from government contracting.”

So you have if you give your political contributions to the wrong source (aka Republican or Tea Party) then you might not get that big fat government contract.

Be a toadie and and an apparatchik or else. Even if you hate me (a Liberal Democrat), give me money or else!!

Now that’s good for business…

“This rule makes it look like the Administration is more interested in punishing political opponents and propping up political allies than protecting public taxpayers.”–Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO Associated General Contractors of America.

It does indeed. Now ask them if they (the liberal progressives) care? 😦

My bet, Not even a little bit.

Oh, and the journalists covering the stories, well, they just might not be very impartial either.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (2010): I’m sad to report today a death of a good friend to all of us…..Journalism, the once esteemed 4th estate of our nation and the protector of our freedoms and a watchdog of our rights has passed away after a long struggle with a crippling and debilitating disease of acute dishonesty aggravated by advanced laziness and the loss of brain function.

When liberal investor George Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio , it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR’s federal funding. But that gift only hints at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros, who spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush in 2004 (and millions getting Obama elected), has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets – including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press (see later story), NBC and ABC.

Prominent journalists like ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical code stating: “avoid all conflicts real or perceived.”

The investigative reporting start-up ProPublica is a prime example. ProPublica, which recently won its second Pulitzer Prize, initially was given millions of dollars from the Sandler Foundation to “strengthen the progressive infrastructure” – “progressive” being the code word for very liberal. In 2010, it also received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from the Open Society Foundations. In case you wonder where that money comes from, the OSF website is http://www.soros.org. It is a network of more than 30 international foundations, mostly funded by Soros, who has contributed more than $8 billion to those efforts.

The ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation. But the topics are almost laughably left-wing. The site’s proud list of  “Our Investigations” includes attacks on oil companies, gas companies, the health care industry, for-profit schools and more. More than 100 stories on the latest lefty cause: opposition to drilling for natural gas by hydraulic fracking. Another 100 on the evils of the foreclosure industry.

Throw in a couple investigations making the military look bad and another about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and you have almost the perfect journalism fantasy – a huge budget, lots of major media partners and a liberal agenda unconstrained by advertising.

One more thing: a 14-person Journalism Advisory Board, stacked with CNN’s David Gergen and representatives from top newspapers, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal and the editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster. Several are working journalists, including:

• Jill Abramson, a managing editor of The New York Times;

• Kerry Smith, the senior vice president for editorial quality of ABC News;

• Cynthia A. Tucker, the editor of the editorial page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ProPublica is far from the only Soros-funded organization that is stacked with members of the supposedly neutral press. 

The Center for Public Integrity is another great example. Its board of directors is filled with working journalists like Amanpour from ABC, right along side blatant liberal media types like Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post and now AOL.

Like ProPublica, the CPI board is a veritable Who’s Who of journalism and top media organizations, including:

• Christiane Amanpour – Anchor of ABC’s Sunday morning political affairs program, “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.” A reliable lefty, she has called tax cuts “giveaways,” the Tea Party “extreme,” and Obama “very Reaganesque.” 

• Paula Madison – Executive vice president and chief diversity officer for NBC Universal, who leads NBC Universal’s corporate diversity initiatives, spanning all broadcast television, cable, digital, and film properties.

• Matt Thompson – Editorial product manager at National Public Radio and an adjunct faculty member at the prominent Poynter Institute.

The group’s advisory board features: 

• Ben Sherwood, ABC News president and former “Good Morning America” executive producer

Once again, like ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity’s investigations are mostly liberal – attacks on the coal industry, payday loans and conservatives like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The Center for Public Integrity is also more open about its politics, including a detailed investigation into conservative funders David and Charles Koch and their “web of influence.”According to the center’s own 990 tax forms, the Open Society Institute gave it $651,650 in 2009 alone.

The well-known Center for Investigative Reporting follows the same template – important journalists on the board and a liberal editorial agenda. Both the board of directors and the advisory board contain journalists from major news outlets. The board features:

• Phil Bronstein (President), San Francisco Chronicle;

• David Boardman, The Seattle Times;

• Len Downie, former Executive Editor of the Washington Post, now VP;

• George Osterkamp, CBS News producer.

Readers of the site are greeted with numerous stories on climate change, illegal immigration and the evils of big companies. It counts among its media partners The Washington Post, Salon, CNN and ABC News. CIR received close to $1 million from Open Society from 2003 to 2008.

Why does it all matter? Journalists, we are constantly told, are neutral in their reporting. In almost the same breath, many bemoan the influence of money in politics. It is a maxim of both the left and many in the media that conservatives are bought and paid for by business interests. Yet where are the concerns about where their money comes from?

Fred Brown, who recently revised the book “Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media,” argues journalists need to be “transparent” about their connections and “be up front about your relationship” with those who fund you.

Unfortunately, that rarely happens. While the nonprofits list who sits on their boards, the news outlets they work for make little or no effort to connect those dots. Amanpour’s biography page, for instance, talks about her lengthy career, her time at CNN and her many awards. It makes no mention of her affiliation with the Center for Public Integrity.

If journalists were more up front, they would have to admit numerous uncomfortable connections with groups that push a liberal agenda, many of them funded by the stridently liberal George Soros. So don’t expect that transparency any time soon.

Oh and that polling data showing how Obama is now Mohammad Ali and is staging a miraculous comeback and people love him after he gave the order to Kill bin Laden like something out of a Video Game…

Well… IT JUST MIGHT BE RIGGED!!

Wow! The AP poll has Obama’s approval rating hitting 60 percent! And 53 percent say he deserves to be reelected!

And on the economy, 52 percent approve of the way Obama’s handling it, and only 47 percent disapprove! He’s up 54–46 on approval of how he’s handling health care! On unemployment, 52 percent approval, 47 percent disapproval! 57 percent approval on handling Libya! Even on the deficit, he’s at 47 percent approval, 52 percent disapproval!

It is a poll of adults, which isn’t surprising; as I mentioned yesterday, you don’t have to be a registered or likely voter to have an opinion on the president.

But then you get to the party ID: 46 percent identify as Democrat or leaning Democrat, 29 percent identify as Republican or leaning Republican, 4 percent identify as purely independent leaning towards neither party, and 20 percent answered, “I don’t know.”

With a poll sample that has a 17-percentage-point margin in favor of the Democrats, is anyone surprised that these results look like a David Axelrod dream?

(Interestingly, George W. Bush is at 50 percent approval, 49 percent disapproval, even in this sample wildly weighted in favor of the Democrats.)

AP response: Some conservatives criticized the AP-GfK poll as heavy with responses from Democrats that skewed the results. AP-GfK polls use a consistent methodology that draws a random sample of the population independent of party identification.

But the question isn’t really whether the sample changed too much from their poll in April; the question is whether the sample accurately reflects the American public at large, and whether we indeed have 1.63 Democrats in this country for every 1 Republican. If their sample had an unrealistic proportion of Democrats one month, it’s entirely possible they can get a similar unrealistic proportion the following month. (NRO)

Ya Think? 🙂

Naw, Liberals would never do that…

Lying, cheating, and stealing…Naw, never happen.

Dishonesty, disingenuous and pure self-interest…never happens… 🙂

So Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware!

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel