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Monday, September 30, 2013

Pat Buchanan: Beltway Lies About Obamacare

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies,” said Winston Churchill.

What is the truth behind the beltway lies about these crazy Republicans crashing our government?

Twice in the last week House Republicans have voted unanimously to fund the U.S. government.

If national polls are to be believed, those House Republicans are doing exactly what America wants. A majority of Americans oppose a government shutdown. And a majority oppose Obamacare.

Who, then, is preventing the government from being funded?

Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Neither will accept any continuing resolution that does not contain Obamacare. Both will shut down this city rather than accept any such CR.

It is Harry and Barry who are saying: If we don’t get full funding of Obamacare now, we shutdown Washington until the House delivers.

The battle, then, is over this question: Will the next great liberal entitlement program, Obamacare, with its manifest failings and flaws, be imposed upon the nation – against its will?

The House says no. The beltway says yes.

Few disagree that, in any national plebiscite, Obamacare would be buried in a landslide. Few disagree that if Obamacare were put to a vote of the Congress today, it would fail in both houses.

Why, then, is it radical for the House to use its power of the purse to defund a program America does not want?

Order Pat Buchanan’s brilliant and prescient books at WND’s Superstore.

Why is it statesmanship for Obama to say he will shut down the entire government if any resolution to keep it running contains even the slightest tweak to his cherished program?

What these questions suggest is that this is at root a political and ideological war, and the beltway has assembled its usual bodyguard of lies and liars to conceal that truth.

Consider this keening from the Washington Post yesterday about the terrible consequences of a government shutdown:

“[W]e would hope that Mr. Boehner would have compassion for thousands of moderately paid breadwinners who would find themselves in very difficult circumstances. We would hope he would be troubled by how a shutdown would disrupt research at the National Institute of Health and safety inspections at the Food and Drug Administration.”

About this lugubrious passage, several questions:

Since Reid and Obama have both said they will block any CR that does not contain Obamacare in its pristine form, why are they not charged with some responsibility for a shutdown?

Answer: The Post is not interested in conveying the truth about this conflict, because in this battle it is as much a political ally of Obama as is Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But it is a more effective ally, since some still presume it is being truthful and objective.

Assume that today John Boehner came out and said at a press conference: “I have taken note of the Post’s concerns about an interruption of service at NIH and the FDA. I share those concerns. Therefore, at my direction, the House will vote this afternoon to fully fund both agencies.”

Anyone think the Washington Post would celebrate Boehner’s compassion and statesmanship the next morning?

Of course not. All this weeping and gnashing of teeth about the terrible consequences of a government shutdown is designed to whip up political animosity, direct it at House Republicans and break John Boehner. Failing that, it is to foist upon the House Republicans full responsibility for a shutdown that the House has voted twice to avoid.

What this battle confirms is that, on major national issues that pit social and populist conservatives against Big Government liberals, the beltway press corps invariably acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee.

More problematic, there is a slice of the beltway right – the contributions bundlers and kennel-fed conservatives, the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, the George McClellans – that prefers prancing, parading and posturing to the actual fighting.

With them the excuses are always the same. We can’t win. We have been beaten on this terrain before. The press will kill us. The White House has a microphone we can’t match. We will only hurt ourselves in the polls and throw away our great opportunity in the coming election. Besides, our corporate contributors don’t want this fight.

Some “conservatives” even cynically suggest that the GOP let Obamacare take effect, as it will prove such a disaster there will be a backlash against it in 2014 – and from that we can benefit.

With Reid’s refusal to accept the House CR with the one-year suspension of Obamacare, a shutdown seems certain.

Every Republican should be out front, on TV, radio and in print this week with a simple message:

“We have twice voted to fund every agency and program of the U.S. government (save Obamacare) in a single CR. We will proceed now to pass CRs for each department and agency of the U.S. government, separately and individually.

“And if Harry Reid’s Senate refuses to pass a single one of those CRs, who then is shutting down NIH and the FDA?”

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House stands firm

House stands firm

House GOP leadership is discussing several options. | AP Photo

By JAKE SHERMAN & JOHN BRESNAHAN | 09/30/2013 10:03 AM EDT | Updated: 09/30/2013 09:12 PM EDT

The House sent the Senate another bill to keep the government open, and chip away at Obamacare on Monday night.

And, like clockwork, the Senate is expected to reject it, roughly three hours before the government is slated to shut down for the first time since 1996.

The House bill delayed Obamacare's individual mandate and canceled health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress, their staff and the White House.

(POLITICO's full government shutdown coverage)

The vote total was 228-201, with 12 Republicans voting against their party. Nine Democrats voted for the GOP proposal.

This is the third time the House has sent the Senate a bill to fund the government, and the Senate has already rejected the House bill two times. Republicans refuse to back off their demand that Democrats delay or choke of funding for the Affordable Care Act. The White House and Senate Democrats both say that they will not change the health care law as part of the government funding debate.

Even in shutdown, Feds get overtime, comp time, 'Sunday pay'

Even in shutdown, Feds get overtime, comp time, 'Sunday pay'

A federal government shutdown will temporarily cut off pay of thousands of Uncle Sam’s workers, but for those considered “excepted employees,” there could be a nice salary bump thanks to rules allowing overtime, compensatory time and other benefits provided to those the administration feels too important to furlough.

In advance of the potential shutdown, the Office of Personnel Management distributed a 30-page “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” that spells out who will get what, if anything, ifPresident Obama and House Republicans can't negotiate a break in the budget stalemate by Monday night, the end of the fiscal year.

Most workers won’t be considered excepted employees, but OPM emphasized that it’s not because their work isn’t valued. “Excepted employees include employees who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property or performing certain other types of excepted work,” said the guide.

As a result, they won’t receive pay during the shutdown, though in the past Congress has approved backpay.

But for those called in to work, the guide reveals they will be eligible for extra pay. “Excepted employees who meet the conditions for overtime pay, Sunday premium pay, night pay, availability pay and other premium payments will be entitled to payment in accordance with applicable rules, subject to any relevant payment limitations,” said the guide.

Comp time is also available, said the guide.

And while current federal workers might see their pay cut, retirees won’t. “Federal retirees,” said the guide, “will still receive their scheduled annuity payments on the first business day of the month.”

See the guide here.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted

Obama administration: Lawmakers, staff can get abortion coverage

Obama administration: Lawmakers, staff can get abortion coverage

Members of Congress and their staffs will be able to buy health plans that pay for abortions, even though the premiums are paid for largely by taxpayer money, the Office of Personnel Management ruled Monday.

Lawmakers and their aides are being required to ditch their government-sponsored plans and buy insurance on state-based health exchanges, though unlike most people on the exchanges, the staffers and members will still have most of the cost of their premiums paid for by their employer — in this case, taxpayers.

Federal law generally prevents taxpayer money being used to pay for abortions, but OPM said that the health care plans offered through the exchange were private. The agency also said it will make sure the money is segregated so that the portion that pays for abortions comes out of the employees’ own contribution, which amounts to about a quarter of the premiums.

“While plans with such coverage may be offered on an Exchange, OPM can and will take appropriate administrative steps to ensure that the cost of any such coverage purchased by a member of Congress or a congressional staffer from a designated [exchange] is accounted for and paid by the individual rather than from the government contribution, consistent with the general prohibition on federal funds being used for this purpose,” OPM said in its ruling.

Democrats applauded the ruling, saying it ensures equal access to abortions.

“This decision honors the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which is significantly improving health care for women,” Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Louise Slaughter of New York said in a joint statement. “All women, no matter where they work, deserve health care coverage that can meet their individual health care needs.”

© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Most Popular Question at How to Get Exemption From Lack-of-Coverage Penalty Fee?

Most Popular Question at How to Get Exemption From Lack-of-Coverage Penalty Fee?

One day away from the launch of the Obamacare marketplaces, the question most on the minds people visiting the website is not about coverage, but rather about??avoiding??the penalty, or tax, for not having health insurance. As of??Monday??morning, here is how the website listed its "Most Popular" items:

As the website explains, the fee (tax) in 2014 is 1 percent of annual income or $95 per person, whichever is higher. The fee increases each year. By 2016 it increases to 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.

DOJ to Sue North Carolina over Voter ID

DOJ to Sue North Carolina over Voter ID

on Mon, 30 Sep 2013

According to an unnamed source briefed by someone in the Justice Department,  ABC News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration are planning tosue the state of North Carolina for racial discrimination. The administration is attempting to circumvent the Supreme Court decision that amended part of the Civil Rights act because the state is implementing new laws regarding voter eligibility.  North Carolina is cutting back the period of early voting by one week and eliminating same-day voter registration in the early voting period.

Although there is no wording anywhere in the new North Carolina regulations that mentions minorities, the Obama Administration is accusing the new laws of being racist.

The decision to file the lawsuit will be announced by Holder, Joceyln Samuels, who is the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division, and three U.S. attorneys hailing from North Carolina, according to the unnamed source. The Justice department already sued Texas for its voter ID law on August 22.

In addition to the Justice Department’s challenge to the cutback in early voting, Holder and his allies plan to attack two other provisions in North Carolina’s laws: one eliminates some provisional ballots from voters who vote in their home counties but not in their correct precincts, and the other requires voters to government-issued identification at the polls to prove their eligibility.

Holder boasted to the Congressional Black Caucus on September 20 that his department would not allow states to use the Supreme Court's decision as an opening for "open season" in suppressing voting rights. His department plans to ask a federal judge to block North Carolina’s new laws by putting under federal scrutiny for a period of time yet to be determined, a process called “pre-clearance.”

Holder may have difficulty; in order to gain his “pre-clearance” goal, he has to prove that a state or local government has intentionally discriminated under the Constitution's 14th or 15th amendments, or the party targeted by Holder has to admit to discrimination. He can’t use the effects of the new laws to claim discrimination.

Help! Survival Tips for a Government Shutdown

Help! Survival Tips for a Government Shutdown

on Mon, 30 Sep 2013

With all the Democrat hand-wringing over a pending government shutdown--including Bill Clinton's warning that the GOP and "Tea Party people" want to take food from poor people--we thought a guide to surviving a horrendous event like a government shutdown is order.

For example: Where can one get food that can be stored? Is it better to hunt for food or are MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) the way to go? How can one survive the lawlessness and meaningless that's sure to follow a government closure? Where should one buy ammunition?

1. Where can one get food that can be stored? Two good sources for MREs are and the MREs section

2. Is it better to hunt for food or are MREs the way to go? We think this is not an "either/or" situation, but a "both/and." So it's not either hunt or get MREs, rather, it is buy MREs and be prepared to hunt if you live in a rural area. (Grey Squirrel for breakfast may make a comeback.)

3. How can one survive the lawlessness and meaningless that's sure to follow a government shutdown? A handgun in 9mm, .40, or .45 acp would be a good home defense weapon, an AR-15 or AK-47 would be a better home defense weapon, and a 12- or 20-gauge pump shotgun would be the best. 

4. Where to buy ammo? Two great sources for affordable ammo are Buy in bulk and store in a dry, cool place for the long haul.

As for surviving the meaningless one feels from a government shutdown--there is really no advice we can give on that. If you look to the government to such a degree that its closure makes your life meaningless, then you have way too much faith in your government and far too little faith in your fellow Americans.

What a Government Shut Down May Look Like

The clock is ticking on Capitol Hill for lawmakers to pass a budget to keep the government running. 

Much of the hope that lawmakers would be able to come to an agreement has faded as both sides continue to play a game of legislative ping-pong .

If lawmakers and the White House can’t reach a compromise, the government will close at midnight, and federal agencies would suspend many activities and furlough at least 800,000 of its more than two million workers. The government's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, and the Constitution mandates Congress pass bills that fund the government. 

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a spending bill early Sunday that included a provision that delays the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year. The House also voted to  repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices designed to help pay for the health-care reform. The Senate will take up the spending bill at 2:00 p.m., but isn't expected to pass it with the ACA provision. 

Last week, in a 54-44 vote, the Senate passed and sent the House a "clean" Continuing Resolution bill that stripped out the provision to defund the health law. 

The country’s history is littered with government shutdowns, with six occurring between 1977 and 1980. The last shutdown lasted 21 days during the Clinton Administration and also centered around a health-care disagreement: Medicare funding. 

"It’s not uncommon for an impasse to come up about potential cuts and spending, but what is unusual in this case, is that health reform is already law of the land so trying to defund is where the dysfunction comes in,” says Elaine Kamarck, director, Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution.

Many government agencies have been busy updating their contingency plans and informing their workers what happens if the government goes dark Monday night. According to the Congressional Research Service (CSR), “government shutdowns have necessitated furloughs of several hundred thousand federal employees, required cessation or reduction of many government programs, and affected numerous sectors of the economy.”

Here’s a look at what to expect if the government shuts down:

Who Still Gets Paid?

The Office of Management and Budget ordered federal agencies to start updating their plans for a potential shutdown earlier in mid-September, and workers in all three government branches are at risk of being furloughed. The Constitution prohibits federal employees and contractors from being paid if appropriations haven’t been passed.

The CSR reports the executive branch is the largest in personnel and budget size, but furloughs cannot be applied to the president, presidential appointees, Congress members and federal employees deemed “excepted.” 

For example, workers providing essential services in areas of national security, foreign affairs or public health and safety are exempt from the effects of a shutdown. Air traffic controllers would also stay in place along with border patrol agents.

The 1995 shutdown resulted in 800,000 federal workers initially furloughed. Kamarck, who worked in the White House during that shutdown, recalls a very empty White House.

“Non-essential workers are not allowed to work and you would be in violation of the law if you go to work. During the period of 1995-96 shutdown, there were 30 people in the White House complex as opposed to the couple hundred that are normally present.”

The Department of Education plans to furlough more than 90% of its total staff for the first week of a shutdown, and would phase in more employees if the  closure persists. 

However, just because workers aren’t going to work doesn’t meant they won’t get paid. Furloughed workers could receive pay retroactively.

“They don’t have to get their pay, there is nothing in the law that requires pay for furloughed government workers, but in every past instance where the government did shutdown, furloughed workers were given retroactive pay, that is a policy choice of members of Congress,” says Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Federal contractors will stop being paid, and during the last shutdown, more than 20% of federal contracts worth $400 billion were involved, CSR reports.

The court system would continue to operate, with judges, key staff members—including probation officers—not facing a furlough. However, during the last shutdown, work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases were reportedly suspended.

Entitlement Programs

Social Security and Medicare payments will still go out, but experts say a shutdown could bring delays.Both programs are considered mandatory funding, which means they were written to be funded indefinitely and there’s no annual appropriation. 

During the last shutdown, CSR reports, the Social Security Administration kept fewer than 50,000 workers to help provide existing benefits. “People who are fortunate enough to be turning 66 in the middle of a shutdown, might not be able to sign up for their benefits because there is no one to set them up,” says Kamarck.

The rollout of the health insurance exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act will still go live Oct.1, even if the government is closed. The money for running the exchanges don't rely on appropriations from Congress.

Your Life

Non-government workers might not even feel the effect of a closed government.

“The president will do what he can to make it seem like the public is going to be inconvenienced with a shutdown,” says von Spakovsky. “National parks will close and the places people like to visit in Washington, D.C., will be unavailable. But planes will still fly, Medicaid and Social Security checks will still go out…the average person might not even notice a shutdown.”

Veterans could face holdups with receiving services regarding health and welfare and finance. New passport applications could be delayed, and travelers could face longer lines at customs when re-entering the country.

Federal funding for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children which provides grants to states for food aid, health care referrals and nutrition education for some low-income women and children will stop if the government shuts down.

During the last shutdown, there were delays in processing alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and recruitment and testing of federal law enforcement officials were cancelled. 

Kamarck says shutdowns often show just how many agencies and state and local government rely on federal funding. “When the checks stop coming, people realize how much Washington supports, it’s stunning. During the 1996 shutdown, some Catholic charities had to shutdown without funding, and there are lots of non-profits and for-profits that are dependent on federal grants. When the money stops trickling down from the government, that has a ripple effect throughout communities.

The country’s 368 national parks will shutter, which could hurt tourism revenue since in 1996, an estimated two million visitors were missed during the shutdown.

The National Institution of Health will likely stop enrolling new patients as it did in 1996 into clinical trials and will have to close its hotlines.

Impact on Country’s Debt

Even if Congress comes to a compromise over the budget, another battle remains over the debt ceiling. However, even if a budget agreement isn’t reach, that doesn’t mean the government will default, that only happens if it can’t pay interest or principal on its bond obligations.

If anything, von Spakovsky says a shutdown could help with the country’s debt. “The government won’t be spending money on programs that are not considered emergency or essential and some of these are wasteful government programs, so that’s good news.”

While experts agree a shutdown creates unnecessary political drama, it can also be detrimental to lawmakers’ careers. “Clinton won his re-election probably in the six days of that shutdown,” says Kamarck. “It’s an extraordinarily high-risk gambit for the House of Representatives, Gingrich was finished with speaker after that battle.”

Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kathrynvasel

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Boehner mocks Senate Democrats for taking Sunday off (video) - The Hill's Video

Poll: More blame Republicans for government shutdown

Poll: More blame Republicans for government shutdown
By Jonathan Easley - 09-30-13 07:30 AM ET

Republicans will bear most of the blame for a government shutdown, according to CNN-ORC poll released Monday morning.

The survey found that 46 percent of respondents would blame Republicans for a shutdown, against 36 percent who said President Obama would be to blame. Still, that’s a closer divide than the same poll found earlier in the month, when 51 percent blamed Republicans and 33 percent blamed Obama.

House Republicans approved a spending bill early Sunday that delays ObamaCare by a year. Senate Democrats, who have repeatedly said they will not pass a resolution that attempts to dismantle the president’s signature healthcare law, will likely vote the bill down on Monday.

If a funding resolution is not passed on Monday, the government will shut down at midnight.

The CNN-ORC survey also asked if each player in the shutdown drama was acting like a responsible adult or like a spoiled child. Republicans faired the worst, with 69 percent saying they were behaving like spoiled children, followed by Congressional Democrats at 58 percent , and Obama at 47 percent. 

The looming shutdown is wildly unpopular with the public – 68 percent said it would be bad for the country, and 60 percent said it was more important to keep the government running than to make changes to ObamaCare.

The CNN-ORC poll of 803 adults was conducted between Friday and Sunday and has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

Obama is childish in his attempts to handle challenges By Michael Goodwin NY Post

Anybody wanting to lampoon the Obama presidency is out of luck — there is no way to top the real thing. From being outmaneuvered by Russia to erasing red lines in Syria and getting snubbed by Iran, September was the cruelest month.

That’s only half the bad news. For as small as the president looked abroad, he looked downright childish at home.

He is following his failure to negotiate successfully on the world stage with a refusal to negotiate at all at home. His message to Republicans on both the debt ceiling and ObamaCare is the same: nyet, nyet.

Call him confused about who the enemy is.

The dynamic is startling. The more the world pushes Barack Obama around, the more he pushes back at home. It reminds me of a Mort Sahl joke from the Cold War: Every time the Soviets lock up an American, we retaliate by locking up an American.

And so Vladimir Putin and his evil spawn in Syria and Iran can mess with Obama all day long, but House Speaker John Boehner can’t get the time of day from him.

Our president is Caesar here and Chamberlain there. That is the real Obama Doctrine.

It’s no way to run a superpower, but then that is the point. It is inconceivable that Obama is as incompetent as he looks.

It has to be intentional.

Seen that way, the method to his madness is frighteningly clear. His abdication of global leadership is a direct corollary to his continuing expansion of the domestic state apparatus. No matter the world crisis, it takes a back seat, if it’s even allowed on the bus.

The stirring rhetoric about Assad being the new Hitler after he used chemical weapons came and went as though it was just a misunderstanding. In a flash, we became his partner in pretending that he’s going to surrender those weapons. Maybe the Butcher of Damascus will put a puppy under every Christmas tree, too.

Iran’s mad mullahs must get a hoot out of toying with our president. They kill our soldiers, export terrorism and threaten to nuke Israel, and our response is to grovel for talks. Obama plays the Washington Generals to their Harlem Globetrotters.

Back at home, each day brings more debt, more regulations on industry and more crackdowns on American institutions and individuals that buck the administration. Last week alone, coal-fired plants and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon both learned that Obama is their boss, and don’t forget it.

The ObamaCare mess is especially telling. Most Americans still don’t want it and although there are obvious problems with key elements, Obama refuses to consider legislative changes.

He pushes executive power beyond the envelope to delay provisions and grant waivers, implementing the law at his leisure. But the bipartisan group of 75 senators who want to eliminate the medical-device tax because it’s a job and innovation killer can’t get a hearing.

Too slowly but surely, the public is growing wise. Polls show Obama underwater on every major issue, including the economy, the debt and foreign policy. Gallup finds his approval stands at 44 percent, against 49 percent disapproval.

Here’s a finding that must drive him nuts. A Reason-Rupe poll asked people to compare Obama’s handling of foreign policy to George W. Bush’s. The results: 32 percent preferred Obama, 32 percent preferred Bush and 32 percent said they were the same.

Those numbers say Dear Leader is on a path to early lame-duckhood, which explains his choice to finish the week. The “have TelePrompTer, will travel” president hit the road to be with his base — a college crowd.

The rainbow props of cheering adolescents laughed as he made fun of Republicans and nodded approval as he stretched truth past the breaking point. He accused the GOP of trying to “blackmail” him and basked in the students’ adoration.

Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Syria safely plot their next moves against America.

Old leftist de Blah, Blah, Blah

For a supposed fresh face, Bill de Blasio sure spins old yarn. After a week of news dominated by his affinity for dictators in Cuba, Africa and Nicaragua, the Democrat’s campaign is hiding behind partisan talking points.

“Tea Party extremists” are “planning to spend whatever it takes to stop this campaign for progressive change,” a de Blasio e-mail says. “The right-wing extremists have literally sued so they can take bigger checks from ultra-conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers to launch attack ads against our progressive values.”

Blah, blah, blah. The use of liberal buzz words is so promiscuous that they crash into each other — “extremists” (twice), “right-wing” . . . “ultra-conservative billionaires” . . . “the Koch brothers” . . . “progressive” (twice).

It is a focus-group-tested code designed to get hard-core libs to open their wallets and “show these Tea Partiers you mean it.”

Mean what? That you, like de Blasio, don’t want to talk about the crushing tax burden on New York’s middle class? That you, like de Blasio, are afraid to talk about the disproportionate involvement of nonwhites in violent crime?

His big poll lead obscures the fact that de Blasio got just 40 percent of the 20 percent of registered Democrats who voted. Thus, he pulled 8 percent of registered Dems.

He did it with a message that was clear as fog. His vow to fight “inequality” and “social injustice” is the local version of Hope & Change. And rather than put meat on the bones now, he is trying to run out the clock, with few public appearances.

He might get away with it — but only if New Yorkers let him.

Why TLC’s in need of a tune-up

When a crazed cabby crashed in Midtown and severed the foot of a British tourist in August, I asked why the cabby was behind the wheel when the nine points on his license should have meant automatic suspension.

Now we get the answer: a computer glitch. At least that’s the excuse from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which claims a snafu caused officials to miss suspending as many as 4,500 other cabbies with similar records, going back to 2010.

So the computers didn’t update for three years — and nobody at the TLC noticed? That’s a human glitch.

Of course, admitting that would require admitting the agency’s role in turning streets into a demolition derby. Better to just blame the computers.

Oppressed by the press

Cementing his reputation as the world’s crankiest billionaire, Mayor Bloomberg threatened to stop having press conferences because he doesn’t like reporters’ questions. He called them irrelevant, illegitimate and dumb.

As the owner of a media organization, Bloomberg should have known there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers.

As he proved.

When political $$ fools rush in

The news that Eliot Spitzer and John Catsimatidis spent $10 million each while losing their party primaries illustrates one of Mother’s warnings: “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

In this case, make it two fools.

Opinion: Failure all around, hurting US

Opinion: Failure all around, hurting US
By Judd Gregg - 09-30-13 06:00 AM ET

Bob Corker, the independent-minded and thoughtful Republican senator from Tennessee, recently said on CNBC that he “did not have a good feeling “ about where this debt ceiling issue was going.

This was a particularly interesting statement because Corker has been an accurate predictor over the course of several other debt ceiling standoffs.

He has called the fact that there would be an agreement and a default would be avoided. Not this time, he says. He does not seem to see the way forward to an agreement.

There are a number of reasons for this lack of clarity. At the top of the list are two fairly obvious ones.

First, President Obama has abandoned the field. The White House position, as stated over and over, is that they will not negotiate on the issue of raising the debt ceiling. They have even gone so far as to say that this is purely a congressional matter.

Maybe it has escaped their notice that they do not control the entire government. Unlike the first two years of the president’s time in office, the government is now divided. In order to govern, he and his allies must negotiate with the other side, the Republican House.

This is not a matter of choice for the White House. It is a simple fact, a reality of politics in a constitutional, checks and balances system. To not negotiate is to guarantee dysfunction and inevitably push the process toward a breakdown.

Now, it may be that what the White House really wants is a breakdown. They recognize that most of the political blame and public outrage at such an event would be aimed at Republicans.

But if this were the administration’s goal, it would be a brief and pointless victory. The disruption it would cause would haunt the next three years of this presidency in ways that are not fully predictable but can safely be presumed to be negative.

The second cause of Corker’s inability to predict the outcome of this go-round on the debt ceiling arises from his own party.

The view that the debt ceiling increase should be conditioned upon repealing ObamaCare is one of the most counterproductive and foolish tactical initiatives undertaken in recent years.

This is an approach that may deliver a great deal of theater but will yield no substantive action on reducing the debt or spending. In fact, it could have the exact opposite effect, by creating a distraction from action that would produce real spending restraint, such as changing the consumer price index.

But, just like the White House, the forces in the Republican Party who are pushing their agenda of ObamaCare repeal also do not seem to be overly concerned about a default.

Theirs is a cause of purity as defined by themselves, with the side benefit of raising a lot of money for their PACs and getting a great deal of personal press coverage.

The Corker question, therefore, is where does the clarity come from? How do we avoid the incredibly self-destructive action of pushing the envelope all the way to default?

First, there have to be negotiations. The sides must actually talk to each other about options.

Second, there are clearly some issues that are not negotiable —ObamaCare will not be killed, and there will not be any tax increases — so let’s move on to the vast array of other places where agreements might be reached.

Begin with the Speaker’s suggestion that for every dollar of increase in the debt ceiling, there be a dollar of spending restraint.

But nuance that position by making the spending restraint major entitlement reforms that do not kick in now, but rather in the out years when our most serious issues of debt growth present themselves.

To the extent revenues are used, make them arise from policy changes that eliminate indefensible tax deductions. For example, why not reorient our energy policy to be market-based rather then driven by industrial-policy tax breaks like solar or wind tax subsidies and depletion allowances?

And if they really want to make progress on the debt, replace the sequester while keeping its savings targets with Medicare, Medicaid and tax reform. Make it all subject to a trigger so that the sequester does not end until the new savings are in place.

All this is possible. We do not need to go through the debilitating disruption of a debt default or a near-default.

We need just two things: The president to engage, and the Republicans who actually want to govern to grab back the microphone from their more reckless colleagues.

Cruz: Dems Refuse to Compromise on Obamacare

Cruz: Dems Refuse to Compromise on Obamacare

on Sun, 29 Sep 2013

On Meet the Press on Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) emphasized that Democrats have not compromised on Obamacare, are essentially holding the military hostage, and would be responsible if the government shuts down because they refused to budge from their "absolutist" positions on funding Obamacare. 

Cruz, who spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours last week in support of defunding Obamacare and has been leading the defunding efforts along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), said the House "responded to millions of Americans hurting under Obamacare" when it voted on Saturday to delay Obamacare for a year as part of a short-term resolution to fund the government. 

He said the "Senate needs to act" and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "needs to call the Senate back in today." Cruz said there is "no reason" the "Senate should be home on vacation" and mentioned he is in Washington even though he would rather be home in Houston playing with his two daughters. 

"You and all the voices of Washington keep saying we need compromise," Cruz said. "Twice now, the Republicans have compromised. And twice, Harry Reid says we won't even have a compromise."

Cruz said Reid has essentially said he wants to "fund it all," "stick it on the American people," and ensure "American families don't get treated as well as giant corporations."

Cruz emphasized that his position was defunding Obmacare and not repealing it and mentioned that the vote to delay Obamacare for a  year is a "step removed from defunding." 

"On the other side, what have the Democrats compromised on?" Cruz asked. "Zero. Their position is no.”

He said Reid and Obama are also "essentially holding the military hostage" by "threatening" their paychecks by not compromising on Obamacare and emphasized Reid has to "move off of his absolutist positions" to prevent the government from shutting down.

Cruz pointed out that businesses like UPS and Sea World are not providing insurance to spouses and reducing hours for employees, respectively, and emphasized that Americans do not like Obamacare because of the devastating impact it is having on jobs. 

"The best way to get health insurance is to get job," Cruz said. "There is nothing that can give you better health insurance than having a vibrant economy where you can get a job."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

UN “scientists”: never mind the data, global warming is real

UN “scientists”: never mind the data, global warming is real

By John Haywardon Fri, 27 Sep 2013

What’s a fanatic to do when his own data proves the “problem” he’s been using to scam billions of dollars out of terrified people isn’t real?  Well, if you’re the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you hold somesweaty closed-door meetings – “transparency” is not a concern for these people – and doctor the report until it’s something you can spin politically.

Then you lunge for the cameras and spin away, giving us the astounding spectacle of so-called “scientists” acting like primitive tribal witch doctors.  The Angry Sky Gods have shown you mercy for fifteen years and counting, carbon sinners!  But soon the death-fire will rain from the sky, unless you pay tribute!  (Apologies to actual witch doctors, who have much smaller expense accounts than global warming con artists, and put on a much better show.)

Remember as you read this NBC Newsreport: there is no “global warming,” and these people proved it.  Their own data says the actual climate of the Earth has done absolutely none of the things they predicted.  There are no “rising temperatures around the world” – that’s right in the very UN report under discussion here.  They have no idea how that could be true, if their loopy but highly profitable theories were accurate… so they’re going to ignore reality and push the theory harder.

Top climate scientists say in a new report that industrial carbon emissions need to be kept below a cumulative total of 1 trillion tons to avoid dangerous climate change — and they note that humanity has already used up more than half that allotment.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in the report that it is “extremely likely” human beings are the main drivers for the rise in temperatures recorded around the world over the last 50 years — the strongest words the panel has used to describe the effect humans are having on the planet.

Oho, so now we’re down to “extremely likely” human fault, instead of “the science is settled” and “global-warming deniers are just like Holocaust deniers!”  Too bad nothing in the actual UN data backs up any of these claims.  On the contrary, a real scientist would note that rising carbon emissions from industry, coupled with a pronounced lack of global climate consequences, makes it extremely unlikely that human activity is the primary driver of climate change.  Those who still value rational thought and the scientific method over big-bucks political chicanery can only roll our eyes skyward and wonder what the “primary driver” of global climate might be… at which point we’ll be temporarily blinded from staring at the answer.

Even at that, NBC’s excerpt of the report is  incorrect.  This is what the IPCC documentactually says: “It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

Extremely likely that more than half… clearly somebody at NBC gulped, realized how lame and desperate that sounded, and decided to drop the “more than half” part, just as the U.N. panel doesn’t want to dwell on way all that “warming data” abruptly went flat in 1997.  Keeping the window of time pushed back to the Fonzie Era is the only way they can still pretend there’s much in the way of climate change to discuss, never mind how much of it might be due to human activity.  Actually, there might be a bit of global cooling to consider, which is obviously not useful to the carbon crusaders, since a) it’s the opposite of what they spent over 30 years predicting, b) it’s not the result of human activity, c) there might not be anything the human race could do about it, and d) it might not be a bad thing anyway.

“Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further global warming and changes in all components of the climate system,” the IPCC report said. “Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

More rain could pour down over tropical areas, and monsoon seasons could expand to include larger areas, striking earlier and lasting longer, according to the report. It is “virtually certain” that sea levels will continue to rise through the end of this century and beyond, and they said it is likely that the heat waves have become more frequent across swaths of Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Wow, that’s an awful lot of nasty business that “could” happen.  How does what actually did happen stack up against your models and predictions from 20 years ago, kids?

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia,” the researchers wrote in the report. “The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”

The concentrations of greenhouse gas have increased during the industrial era – which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the pre-industrial era – but the rest of these conclusions are highly tendentious, their connections to human activity are largely mystical, and the people pumping out this bilge know it.  The old benchmarks of climate change they used to swear by, like polar ice coverage, didn’t behave according to their predictions, so it all goes out the window, never to be discussed again.

There was absolutely zero chance the global-warming racket was ever going to emerge from a “scientific consensus” exercise and declare they’ve been wrong all along, nothing they predicted is actually happening, sorry about the billions you all spent, might as well start dismantling all those madcap environmental agencies and parasitic “carbon credit” markets.  There’s too much money and power tied up in “climate change” for it to ever go away.

Some analysts think the IPCC is taking a gamble, hoping they’ll be able to cudgel a bit of warming out of the data in a year or two so they can claim vindication… or else the “global warming pause” will ruin them forever by stretching into a second decade.  I wouldn’t bank on that.  There have already been efforts to explain the 16-year “pause” as human activity unexpectedly thwarting whatever the Earth and Sun really wanted to do.  Soon the witch doctors may begin muttering that evil industries and their demon carbon are holding the climate too flat for too long, and the real menace we need to spend fresh piles of money fighting is climate stasis.

Revealed: Detroit Gave $2 Billion in Undisclosed Union-Brokered Bonuses

Revealed: Detroit Gave $2 Billion in Undisclosed Union-Brokered Bonuses

on Sat, 28 Sep 2013

A stunning new actuary report on Detroit's pension implosion has revealed that Detroit trustees doled out nearly $2 billion in undisclosed holiday "bonuses" to Detroit workers and retirees negotiated by the city and its unions.

Internally, officials called the bonuses "13th checks."

"People were having a hard time, living hand-to-mouth, and we thought we would give them some extra," Detroit pension trustee spokesperson Tina Bassett said.

Almost everyone received a bonus. "Most of the trustees on Detroit's two pension boards represent organized labor, and for years they could outvote anyone who challenged the payments," reports the New York Times.

Financial journalist Megan McArdle, writing for Bloomberg, says the findings left her "speechless" and that "it's hard to overstate how bad this is."

The Times asked Detroit's independent auditor general from 1995 to 2005, Joseph Harris, what legal authority Detroit trustees used to issue the holiday bonuses. "My understanding was, it had to be approved by City Council, and the council was under the belief that the money was there--that the pension funds were earning the money--with the consideration that in bad times the city would be making up the difference."

Harris added: "I hate to say that. Ultimately the fund has to be funded by the taxpayers."

The union-brokered $2 billion bonus revelation comes as President Barack Obama sent a White House delegation led by Attorney General Eric Holder to Detroit on Friday to announce a $320 million aid package.

The timing of the unfolding bonus scandal creates a politically liability for Obama, as in 2012, Obama declared that his leadership kept Detroit from going bankrupt.

"We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. I bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way," said Obama. 

Detroit, which has $18.5 billion in long-term debt obligations, is the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.