Letterman re-addresses Palin: ‘I had no idea [Willow] was there’

Letterman re-addresses Palin: ‘I had no idea [Willow] was there’

88267-Palin_Letterman_341x182 David Letterman re-addressed the controversy surrounding his jokes about Sarah Palin’s family   during the taping of CBS’ “Late Show” on Monday.

Letterman said he had no idea Palin was at the Yankees game with her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, when he joked about her getting “knocked up” by player Alex Rodriguez last week.

“I had, honestly, no idea that the 14-year-old girl, I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the governor, and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani,” Letterman said. “It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault. … So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke.”

The comedian’s jokes about Palin’s family have caused an uproar, with Palin doing several interviews last week criticizing the talk show host. One CBS advertiser reportedly pulled its ads in response to the protests, some of which have demanded that CBS fire Letterman. The network is on the verge of giving Letterman a two-year contract extension that will keep him on the air through 2012. 

“I understand, of course, why people are upset; I would be upset myself,” Letterman said. “I’m sorry about it and I’ll try to do better in the future.”

Below is the full text of Letterman’s latest comments which will be telecast on “The Late Show” tonight.

“All right, here – I’ve been thinking about this situation with Governor Palin and her family now for about a week – it was a week ago tonight, and maybe you know about it, maybe you don’t know about it.  But there was a joke that I told, and I thought I was telling it about the older daughter being at Yankee Stadium. And it was kind of a coarse joke. There’s no getting around it, but I never thought it was anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure in fact that she is of legal age, 18. Yeah. But the joke really, in and of itself, can’t be defended. The next day, people are outraged. They’re angry at me because they said, ‘How could you make a lousy joke like that about the 14-year-old girl who was at the ball game?’  And I had, honestly, no idea that the 14-year-old girl, I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the governor and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani … and I really should have made the joke about Rudy …” (audience applauds) “But I didn’t, and now people are getting angry and they’re saying, ‘Well, how can you say something like that about a 14-year-old girl, and does that make you feel good to make those horrible jokes about a kid who’s completely innocent, minding her own business,’ and, turns out, she was at the ball game. I had no idea she was there. So she’s now at the ball game, and people think that I made the joke about her. And, but still, I’m wondering, ‘Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?’ I’ve never made jokes like this as long as we’ve been on the air, 30 long years, and you can’t really be doing jokes like that. And I understand, of course, why people are upset. I would be upset myself.
 
“And then I was watching the Jim Lehrer ‘Newshour’ – this commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, ‘Oh, boy, now I’m beginning to understand what the problem is here. It’s the perception rather than the intent.’ It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it’s not a very good joke.  And I’m certainly – ” (audience applause) “– thank you. Well, my responsibility – I take full blame for that. I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault. That it was misunderstood.” (audience applauds) “Thank you. So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I’m sorry about it and I’ll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much.” (audience applause).

ANALYSIS – No-win situation for Obama team on Iran

ANALYSIS – No-win situation for Obama team on Iran

Demonstrators head towards Azadi (freedom) square during a rally in support of defeated presidential candidate... Sue PlemingTue, Jun 16 01:28 AM

The Obama administration faces a dilemma over how to respond to Iran’s disputed election. Strong criticism could backfire but a muted response leaves an impression of weakness.

So far senior U.S. officials have given a guarded response to the disputed vote, which sparked violent protests after hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s was declared the easy victor over ex-prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi.

Several analysts said on Monday the White House was in a no-win situation but the best option was to stand back rather than inject U.S. views into the Iranian political debate.

“The U.S. ability to do harm in Iranian politics is much greater than doing good,” said Middle East expert Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Alterman said the U.S. message delivered by Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday was the right one: Washington wants more information about the election before casting judgment and the path of engagement is still open.

Domestically, President Barack Obama is under pressure from conservatives who want a more forceful response like that of the European Union which has demanded immediate clarification of the official outcome.

Republican Senator John McCain, Obama’s opponent in last year’s U.S. presidential election, called the reelection of Ahmadinejad “corrupt” and urged the United States to “speak out strongly.”

Representative Mike Pence, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, criticized Obama for not speaking more forcefully.

“It is appropriate for the leader of the free world at this time to speak a word of encouragement to those dissidents in the street,” Pence said.

But Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution said publicly siding with pro-democracy protesters could undermine them and work against U.S. interests.

 

 

STILL WANT TALKS

“The only option is to sit back and let them play it out,” she said. “I think that concern being expressed is perfectly appropriate but you don’t want Washington on its high horse.”

At the State Department on Monday, spokesman Ian Kelly said the United States was troubled by “reports” of violence and voting irregularities but was still assessing the situation.

The United States still wanted to look for opportunities to speak to Iran, particularly about the nuclear program the West believes is aimed at building a bomb and Tehran says is for peaceful purposes, he said.

But Iran’s election turmoil complicates Obama’s engagement plans, which reversed decades of trying to isolate Tehran.

“An Iran in which the government is seen to be illegitimate will be more difficult to engage with,” said former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel.

The disputed election and subsequent violence has firmed the resolve of opponents of Obama’s outreach policy.

Danielle Pletka, an analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said the United States needed to be even more circumspect over how it dealt with Iran, particularly when the legitimacy of its government was being questioned.

“We will need even more proof of their bona fides. Surely a government willing to cheat its own people is more willing to cheat the United States,” she said.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Biden said regardless of the outcome, the Obama administration still wanted to talk.

“Talks with Iran are not a reward for good behavior,” Biden said.

Former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams said that for now the United States should support the Iranian people rather than trying to reach out to its government.

“In the longer run, I think we take a lesson from Ronald Reagan who both engaged with the Soviets and said publicly that they would end up on the ash-heap of history,” said Abrams, referring to former U.S. President Reagan.


The Democrats’ Troubled Assets

The Democrats’ Troubled Assets

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Ethics: Sen. Dick Durbin cashes out of the market and invests with a key Democratic contributor after a Treasury briefing warning of collapse. Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Dodd’s Irish cottage appraises at triple the value he’s disclosed.


Read More: General Politics


 

Those investors who rode the stock market down to the bitter end and saw their 401(k) accounts evaporate in the morning sun could have used the information Senate Majority Whip Durbin had at his fingertips on Sept. 19, 2008, when he sold $42,696 worth of mutual fund shares. By the end of September, Durbin had sold investments totaling $116,000.

That same day, Durbin bought $43,562 worth of Class B stock in Democratic contributor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. By Oct. 2, records show, Durbin had turned around and invested $98,046 in Buffet’s firm. Did he know something others didn’t?

The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index plunged 4.7% last Sept. 15 after Lehman Bros.’ bankruptcy and Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Some hoped it would recover, but by the end of October, the index was down 22.6%.

Compared with other stocks, Berkshire is relatively insensitive to general-market moves (current beta: 0.65), and Durbin’s quick moves cut his losses quite a bit.

Some would ascribe this to just Durbin’s good sense and judgment. “Durbin was doing what a lot of other people were doing, taking a look at their savings” and seeing them “start to tank and trying to preserve some level of wealth by getting out of the market,” says Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker.

A lot of other people weren’t briefed on Sept. 18 in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. That’s the day before Durbin sold a chunk of stock.

As Bloomberg reported Saturday, Durbin and other congressional leaders were present at this kickoff of the campaign for the Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Not many details of that meeting were immediately revealed, says Bloomberg, but “Pelosi has repeatedly said since that meeting that Paulson and Bernanke warned that if Congress didn’t act quickly enough the U.S. economy would collapse.”

This would seem to us to be more than coincidence or savvy trading. It would seem to fit the classic definition of insider trading, where someone who is privy to financial information not generally known to the public and in a position to influence events, acts on that information for personal benefit.

Also having no trouble safeguarding his assets in a collapsed housing market is Sen. Chris Dodd, who was the No. 1 recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, co-conspirators in the housing market collapse.

Dodd, head of the Senate Banking Committee that oversaw Countrywide Financial, got a sweetheart deal from Countrywide as a “friend” of founder and CEO Angelo Mozilo. He was able to take out two mortgages with no closing costs attached, at fixed rates of 4.25% and 4.5%, something unavailable to most homeowners.

On Friday, the Hartford Courant reported that a new appraisal ordered by Dodd of the cottage placed its value at $658,000. That is roughly three times what Dodd had been listing on his financial disclosure forms. The penalty for filing false financial disclosure forms is $50,000 and up to one year in prison.

Dodd, who already owned a one-third interest of the cottage in Galway, according to Judicial Watch, obtained the remaining two-thirds interest at a reduced, below-market sales price from an associate of Edward Downe, Jr., one William Kessinger.

A Judicial Watch complaint alleges Dodd helped Downe in 1993 obtain a reduced sentence for violations involving tax and securities laws. Dodd also helped Downe get a full pardon on President Clinton’s last day in office.

Instead of involving two key Democrats, suppose these events had involved a Republican senator like, say, Ted Stevens of Alaska. The outrage would be deafening. So is the silence concerning Dodd and Durbin.

 

The Coming Tax Tsunami

The Coming Tax Tsunami
By: Tait Trussell
Monday, June 15, 2009

 


Medicare, Medicaid, national health care, and Obama’s budget could lead to the average family paying two-thirds of its income in taxes.
Jeffrey Keller, a brilliant, 44-year-old gastroenterologist in central Florida, quit practicing medicine a few years ago because the reimbursements for treating Medicare patients (plus the high cost of malpractice insurance) weren’t worth the effort. Since then, countless more physicians have decided to opt out of Medicare, if not quit their profession.

Not only internists, but also specialists, either have opted out of Medicare entirely or they are not accepting patients with Medicare coverage. Reimbursement rates are too low and the bureaucratic paperwork is too burdensome, they say.

Because costs of dealing with chronic diseases of the aging make up the largest wedge of America’s health-care pie, physicians’ widespread disgust with Medicare reimbursements and increasing frustration with Medicare red tape present a crucial obstacle to the Obama administration’s drive for universal health care in America.   

About 40 million people have Medicare insurance, not only those 65 and older but also younger disabled people.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist and associate professor of Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, wrote that with more doctors dropping out of one insurance plan or another, “there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a physician no matter what coverage you have.

“Of course, we’re promised by the Obama administration that universal health care insurance will avoid all these problems. But how is that possible when you consider that the medical turnstiles will be the same as they are now, only they will be clogged with more and more patients? The doctors…will be even more overwhelmed.”

In 2008, doctors were to take a big hit – a 10.6 percent cut in their Medicare reimbursement. But Congress moved to postpone such a cut for 18 months. To cover the cost of keeping the reimbursement steady for doctors, it was to be taken from the money supporting Medicare Advantage Plans.

Medicare Advantage Plans are health plan options that are part of Medicare, enacted as part of the prescription drug plan of 2003.

Medicare Advantage Plans include: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Private Fee-for Service Plans, and Medicare Special Needs Plans. When someone joins a Medicare Advantage Plan, generally there are added benefits and lower co-payments than in the standard Medicare plan. But they may have to see only doctors who belong to the plan or go to assigned hospitals to get services. In a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may have to pay a monthly premium for the extra benefits they offer.

As for the Obama administration’s top priority – universal health care – some estimates say it could cost up to $2 trillion over 10 years.

But we are totally unprepared fiscally even for existing programs. Neither Social Security nor Medicare is ready for the onslaught of the 78 million Americans who will stop paying into retirement programs, and who instead will begin to draw on benefits government has promised them.

The first line of baby boomers began signing up for early retirement under Social Security last year. Soon the 78 million-person tsunami of seniors will expect to be covered by Medicare.

But, shockingly, no funds are stored away to keep the government’s promises in future years.

Trust Funds exist for both. But the payroll taxes supplying these Trust Funds are already inadequate.

Over the next decade, under President Obama’s budget, federal spending will increase 25 percent faster than revenue, says the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

But, incredibly, this is almost modest dollar-wise compared to the current unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare. It totals $101.7 trillion in today’s dollars. This is more than seven times the 2008 gross domestic product (GDP) our total economy, according to calculations by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

These enormous figures to fund Social Security and Medicare seem too huge to even want to be acknowledged by some policy-makers.

But in just three years from now, Social Security and Medicare will need one out of ten tax dollars, John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis points out. And just 11 years in the future—by 2020—Uncle Sam will need one out of every four income tax dollars to fund these programs for seniors.

If we continue with all other government programs in operation today and raise the taxes to pay for Medicare, plus Medicaid—the health program for low-income folks—the Congressional Budget Office estimates a middle-income family by the middle of this century will have to pay two-thirds of its total income in federal taxes.

The goal of future medical policy, NCPA’s Goodman said, “should be to generate a market in which doctors and hospitals compete” to improve quality and cut costs.” He said we will have to pre-fund the system. “This means everyone will have to start saving now for post-retirement health care,” putting money into private accounts invested in the marketplace.

Private medical savings accounts, he said could “eventually replace taxpayer burdens.” 

“In summary,” he proposed, “if health-care consumers are allowed to save and spend their own money, and if doctors are allowed to act like entrepreneurs—if we allow the market to work—there is every reason to believe that health care costs can be prevented from rising faster than our incomes.”

Otherwise, prepare for the tax tsnumani.


George Will Tells Dirty Little Secrets of Universal Healthcare

George Will Tells Dirty Little Secrets of Universal Healthcare

By Noel Sheppard
Created 2009-06-14 16:57

As President Obama tours the country advancing his universal healthcare initiative, there are some dirty little secrets that he and his minions in the media don’t want Americans to know.

On Sunday, George Will during the panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week,” exposed some inconvenient truths about this controverial subject that would likely change much of the public’s view if they were regularly made aware of them.

After host George Stephanopoulos opened the roundtable segment, Will marvelously cut to the chase (video available here [1]): 

GEORGE WILL, ABC NEWS ANALYST: [T] this is now a single issue argument about whether or not we’re on a slippery slope to a single-payer system. That is, it’s about the so-called public option. And the president has said, “If you are starting from scratch” — he said this very recently — he would go to a single payer. That is, government as the single provider of health care.

Now, there are four arguments for the public option. One is, in the president’s words, it will keep them honest. To try to preserve the government as a lagoon of honesty, you can argue, refuted by anybody who reads any budget of any administration.

Bullseye, for all one need do is look at the totally absurd economic assumptions in Obama’s 2010 budget, and one would have to agree with Will. But I digress:

WILL: Second, he says, it will play by the same rules as the private insurers, and therefore, won’t drive them out of business. If you play by the same rules, as you said to the secretary, what’s the point?

Exactly. If the rules of the private insurers are sound enough to be adopted by government, why change things?

WILL: Third, it’s necessary to give what Secretary Sebelius said a choice to the consumers. There are 1,300 entities offering healthcare plans in this country. Another one isn’t going to change that.

Precisely. Taking this a step further, many of these 1,300 entities will likely cease to exist if government gets involved. As such, Americans will have far fewer options.

WILL: Finally, there’s the argument that the American people are not smart enough to handle something as complicated as healthcare and have a competitive market. They’ve done rather well in computers.

Yes, but a common liberal meme is that people aren’t smart enough to figure things out, and that’s why government needs do it for them.

Fortunately, Will wasn’t done, for he later dispelled another media myth about this issue:

 

WILL: Donna [Brazile], you talk about the 46, 47 million uninsured. Fourteen million of them are already eligible for other government programs and haven’t signed up. Ten million are in households with household incomes of $75,000 a year and could afford it if they wanted to.

Furthermore, an enormous number in that 47 million are not American citizens. Sixty percent of the uninsured in San Francisco are not citizens.

 

 

Bingo. So, this 47 million uninsured number the media always throw around is totally disingenuous and largely irrelevant.

That said, it was awfully nice hearing somebody say it this morning.

 


Links:
[1] http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7835871

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

By Lou Pritchett

 

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don’t understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and ‘class’, always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the ‘blame America’ crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer ‘wind mills’ to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use ‘extortion’ tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O’Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

Note: Lou Pritchett is a former vice president of Procter & Gamble whose career at that company spanned 36 years before his retirement in 1989, and he is the author of the 1995 business book, Stop Paddling & Start Rocking the Boat.

Mr. Pritchett confirmed that he was indeed the author of the much-circulated “open letter.” “I did write the ‘you scare me’ letter. I sent it to the NY Times but they never acknowledged or published it. However, it hit the internet and according to the ‘experts’ has had over 500,000 hits.

 



.American Family Association – Tupelo, MS 38803

http://www.afa.net

Obama Using the Same Ploy Other Socialists Have Used

Obama Using the Same Ploy Other Socialists Have Used
Monday, June 15, 2009 at 11:21AM
Mark “Snooper” Harvey in Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, Generational Theft Act Unconstitutional, Live Free Or Die, Nationalized Health Care is Unconstitutional, Obama Unconstitutional, Take Our Country Back

I am watching the Liar In Chief at this moment lying to the American People trying to take on more powers unto himself and the federal government as a whole.  Fox News is carrying the drivel and I cannot help but recalling our history.  As in FDR and Truman, not one single enumerated power is being quoted and cited for the justification of our health care system in this Nation.  What I also do ot hear is that the reason our health care costs quite a bit in this Nation is the meddling the federal government has already imposed upon the American People.  Ever hear of HMOs, PPOs and other such unconstitutional meddling?

He, Obama, is such a damned liar.

Back when gold was confiscated from the American People, it was said that it was required for the Better Good and would be repaid.  FDR and company lied.  As soon as the gold was collected, Congress immediately moved to making payments in gold was illegal.  Millions of Americans were robbed on a very large scale and continue to be robbed.

Senator Borah (D-Idaho) once said this: “…there is no limitation upon the power of Congress.  It is not circumscribed in any respect whatever.  It is given full and plenary power to deal with that subject; and therefore it is the same as if there were no Constitution whatever.”  The subject at hand was the gold confiscation and FDR and one other (Henry Morhenthau) was setting the value of the American dollar on a daily basis which led directly to the Great Depression lagging on and on.  Times were tough and in the name of Executive Power, FDR and his cronies made it worst for everyone.  They declared a contrived emergency and set upon bypassing the United States Constitution.  Sound familiar?

We have heard that it is our “patriotic duty” to pay taxes and to go along to get along.  Like it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun”.  The people of America were told that it was their patriotic duty to relinquish their ownership of whatever gold they owned used for monetary value over to the federal government.  Now we are being told that it is our patriotic duty to allow the federal government dictate how much money we make, what foods to eat, what kind of vehicles we drive, how much fuel we burn and how warm we should be or how cool we should be.  My answer to all of that?  Which enumerated power in the United States Constitution so dictates?  I am all ears, America.  Please explain it to me.

As FDR was robbing Americans and lining his pockets, irony of all ironies struck, looking back to those times and comparing those days to modern times.  Get this: Senator Thomas P Gore (D-OK) asked FDR, “Why, that’s just plain strealing, isn’t it Mr President?”  Oh how times have changed.

Remember the Emergency Banking Act of 1933?  No?  That’s your bad and not mine.  FDRs Raw Deal amended the Enemy Act of 1917…look it up.  If one were to oppose FDRs “plan”, they were considered to be enemies of America.  Sound familiar?  If we demand to know the constitutionality of everything the federal government aspires to do, we are considered as domestic terrorists now.  Sound familiar?  It should.  Since when is the United States Constitution adherence constitute any degree of terrorism?  I will await an answer but more than likely crickets will be all that is heard.  As in regards to the FDR “financial emergency” (sound familiar?) and all that he wanted to do and did, Rep Thomas McFadden (R-PA), another familiar name, said as such:

Mr Speaker, I regret that the membership of the House has had no opportunity to consider or even read this bill.  The first opportunity I had to know what this legislation is was when it was read from the Clerk’s desk.  It is an important banking bill.  It is a dictatorship over finance in the United States.  It is complete control over the banking system in the United States.”  (Emphasis mine)

History repeats itself, people.  No one read the Generation Theft and Rape of America Act just a few months ago, either.  We are still learning what it contains and it is every wet dream FDR and Truman had but never fully realized.  And it is up to those of us that are paying attention day to day, minute by minute to remind the masses of that which is to come.  There is nothing new under the sun.  There are those that would enslave the very people they are sworn to protect and Obama is falling in line as his mentors so dictated those many years ago.

As I write this article, Obama is still lying his way into trying to talk everyone into a nationalized and unconstitutional health care system but, he doesn’t mention the constitution.  Why?  Because it is in his way.  That’s why.  As far as I am concerned, everything Obama has declared and managed to get done are impeachable offenses.  He swore to defend and protect the United States Constitution and to this day, he has done neither.

Article originally appeared on Snooper’s Take Our Country Back (http://www.snooperreport.com/).

Votes seen lacking for Obama healthcare program

Votes seen lacking for Obama healthcare program

Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:13pm EDT

* Key senator says votes lacking for public insurance plan

* Biden says taxing benefits ‘wrong way’ to pay for reform

* Co-ops touted as possible compromise solution

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s health secretary on Sunday pushed for a new government-run healthcare program, an idea facing skepticism even in his own party, and a senior Senate Democrat flatly said votes are lacking in Congress for the proposal.

In addition, Vice President Joe Biden opposed proposals being discussed by some lawmakers to tax health insurance benefits provided to people by employers as a way to pay for an overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry.

Obama, aiming to get healthcare costs under control and ensure that the 46 million Americans who are uninsured can get health coverage, wants a new public program to compete with private insurers.

“The president feels that having a ‘public option’ side by side — same playing field, same rules — will give Americans choice and will help lower costs for everybody. And that’s a good thing,” Sebelius told CNN.

“The president does not want to dismantle privately owned plans. He doesn’t want the 180 million people who have employer coverage to lose that coverage. He wants to strengthen the marketplace,” Sebelius added.

Healthcare costs undermine the competitiveness of U.S. companies, drive many families into bankruptcy and eat up a growing portion of state and federal spending.

Versions of healthcare legislation unveiled by senior Democrats in the House and Senate include a new government insurance program. But Republicans are adamantly opposed to the idea, saying it could harm private insurers, and some of Obama’s fellow Democrats are against it, too.

‘VERY GOOD ARGUMENTS’

Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said there is not enough support in Congress for the “public option” even though proponents offer “very good arguments” for it.

“You’ve got to attract some Republicans as well as holding virtually all of the Democrats together. And that, I don’t believe, is possible with the pure ‘public option.’ I don’t think the votes are there,” Conrad said on CNN.

There already are large public health insurance programs like the Medicare program for those over 65 and the disabled and the Medicaid for the poor. Obama envisions a program for those not already covered by existing public plans.

Conrad has proposed an alternative to a new public program — a system of federally chartered insurance cooperatives that could be a nonprofit alternative to the insurance industry.

Susan Collins, one of the few moderate Senate Republicans, said on CNN this was an intriguing idea that could serve as a compromise between those for and against a new public plan.

Obama on Monday is set to address the American Medical Association, which represents the nation’s doctors and has voiced skepticism about a broad new public plan but willingness to consider other proposals including the cooperatives.

Sebelius did not embrace the proposal but also did not dismiss it, saying, “There is no one-size-fits-all idea.”

Biden, on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” also signaled Obama’s flexibility on the nature of a new public plan.

Most Americans with health insurance get it through an employer. During last year’s presidential election, Obama derided the idea of taxing employer-provided health benefits.

But some lawmakers have revived the idea as a way to paying for the healthcare overhaul. “We’ve made it clear we do not think that is the way to go. We think that is the wrong way to finance this legislation,” Biden said. (Additional reporting by David Alexander and David Morgan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Bad medicine: Obamacare poster art

Michelle Malkin 

Bad medicine: Obamacare poster art, Round 3

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 15, 2009 08:29 AM

The Obamacare government takeover plan has provided a welcome stimulus of creativity and fighting spirit on the Right. Last week, we featured Rounds One and Two of the Obamacare photoshop poster contest. They just keep getting better. Print, save, and fax your favorites to your congressional reps. Bring one to an Obamacare protest near you — like the ones in Seattle and Green Bay. Give one to your favorite doctor, nurse, or other health care professional as Obama urges them to swallow their socialized medicine. (Details on Obama’s upcoming speech to the AMA in Chicago today here.)

Make your views seen and your voices heard. It’s making a difference: “Votes seen lacking for Obama healthcare program.”

From the People’s Cube:

From reader John:

From reader Tootywink and her sister:

From reader Kevin:

From blogger Doug Ross:

From reader Pocono Joe:

From reader Dave:

From reader Rob:

Fired for doing his job: Walpin speaks

Fired for doing his job: Walpin speaks

Rick Moran
Gerald Walpin, a former Inspector General with the Corporation for National and Community Service which oversees AmeriCorps said in an interview with Byron York of The Examiner that his firing was politically motivated.

Yes, we knew that. We knew that Walpin’s investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps funds by Sacramento Mayor Dennis Johnson was the proximate cause of his firing. What we didn’t know, as York points out, was how blatant it was:

The White House’s decision to fire AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin came amid politically-charged tensions inside the Corporation for National and Community Service, the organization that runs AmeriCorps.  Top executives at the Corporation, Walpin explained in an hour-long interview Saturday, were unhappy with his investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps funds by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California and a prominent supporter of President Obama. Walpin’s investigation also sparked conflict with the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento amid fears that the probe — which could have resulted in Johnson being barred from ever winning another federal grant — might stand in the way of the city receiving its part of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.  After weeks of standoff, Walpin, whose position as inspector general is supposed to be protected from influence by political appointees and the White House, was fired.

Walpin learned his fate Wednesday night.  He was driving to an event in upstate New York when he received a call from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform.  “He said, ‘Mr. Walpin, the president wants me to tell you that he really appreciates your service, but it’s time to move on,’” Walpin recalls.  “Eisen said, ‘You can either resign, or I’ll tell you that we’ll have to terminate you.’”

Walpin had also just finished a report on the misuse of stim funds by the City University of New York. The two reports taken together would have placed Obama cronies in the sights of a criminal investigation. Hence, we can certainly agree that the timing of his firing was “very interesting” as Walpin put it.

Johnson was suspended from receiving any more Americorps dollars last year and the fact that millions more in stim money would be barred from coming his way as a result of Walpin’s investigation didn’t sit well with the White House.

If they had used Chicago rules, Walpin would have been fortunate he didn’t have a couple of thugs pay a visit to his house, urging him to resign. As it is, they let some White House flunkie deliver the bad news. Walprin had little choice.

Where does this go from here? No, seriously, will some MSM outlet pick up on this and flog it like they would have flogged it if it were a Republican?

It’s a juicy story. And we’ve only scratched the tip of it.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/06/fired_for_doing_his_job_walpin.html at June 15, 2009 – 12:32:34 PM EDT

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