Monday, August 31, 2009

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. Issues Legal Challenge to FDA

/PRNewswire/ -- Commonwealth Brands, Inc. has today joined with a number of other companies including the R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Company, Lorillard, Inc. and Conwood Company in filing an action in Federal Court against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the recently enacted Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This action is designed to protect the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to free speech.

Commonwealth Brands believes that the legislation, as passed on 22 June 2009, imposes unprecedented and impermissible restrictions on its commercial free speech rights as guaranteed by the U S Constitution. If allowed, the Act will virtually eliminate the few remaining avenues that the Company has to communicate with its adult consumers.

Commonwealth Brands also believes that the Act directly violates its Constitutional rights by suppressing its lawful ability to participate in the scientific and political debate surrounding its products and unduly restricts its right to engage in commercial speech.

Jonathan Cox, CEO and President of Commonwealth Brands, Inc. said:

"Commonwealth Brands supports the Act's aim of preventing youth access to tobacco products and actively participates in youth access prevention initiatives.

"However, the Act fails to respect the legitimacy of our commercial freedoms and our right to communicate with our adult smokers. We believe that many of the provisions within the Act violate our constitutional rights and are not reasonably related to the goal of reducing youth access to tobacco products.

"This action seeks to protect our legitimate business interests and ensure that we can continue to participate in dialogue about our products and contribute to the development of reasonable and proportionate regulation."

Beyond these key Constitutional infringements, Commonwealth Brands, Inc. looks forward to partnering with the FDA to develop an effective regulatory framework for tobacco products.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reversal on Senate Succession Stirs Political Storm

A Democratic push to appoint a successor to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy is sparking a political tempest in Massachusetts, infuriating Republicans and dividing Democrats who only five years ago passed a law requiring that voters decide on Senate vacancies.

On a day when members of both parties paid their respects to Mr. Kennedy, a Democratic icon who died this week of brain cancer, Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy. In 2004, the state's Democrat-controlled legislature changed the law to prevent the governor from appointing an interim successor after a U.S. Senate seat becomes vacant. Instead, the new law requires that a special election be held between 145 and 165 days after the position becomes vacant.

Friday, August 28, 2009

WhoWhatWhy: Behind Clinton Backer's Arrest: A Bipartisan, International Affair

/PRNewswire/ -- reports exclusively today on the background of Hassan Nemazee, the top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who was arrested this week and charged with forging loan documents in order to borrow $74 million from Citibank. He could face up to 30 years in prison.

Early media accounts cast the event as an embarrassment for Ms. Clinton and the Democratic Party involving the financial misdoings of one prominent backer. Actually it is much more.

As WhoWhatWhy reports:

Behind the Nemazee arrest lies a sprawling cautionary tale of presidents, would-be presidents, and the shadow world of wealthy operators who cozy up to them for their own gain. It reaches into the Bush operation as well as that of the Clintons, and is a microcosm of an influence bazaar that has gone global along with the economy.

Hassan Nemazee, who served as a finance director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, began raising sizable sums for the Democratic National Committee in the mid-nineties. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton's legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends.

Through their Carret Asset Management, Nemazee and his business partner Alan Quasha gave a job to Clinton confidant and former Democratic Party chairman Terry MacAuliffe, providing him with a lucrative temporary perch until the Hillary Clinton campaign formally launched with McAuliffe as its chairman.

But Nemazee has historically donated money to both political parties. Meanwhile, Quasha's Harken Energy company helped engineer George W. Bush's rescue from financial disaster and propelled Bush on the path to elective office. Harken Energy drew intense scrutiny from investigators and the media in the early 90's and again during Bush's first term because of its dubious financial practices and board members connected to the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Nemazee's family is tied to the Shah of Iran, and others in their circle have connections to the Saudi royal family and the former Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pelosi Statement on Women's Equality Day

/PRNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on Women's Equality Day:

"Women's Equality Day offers us the opportunity to honor the brave American suffragettes who reached for the ballot, demanded their civil rights, and altered the course of history. These pioneers challenged the status quo so women today can pull the lever for progress, and they forced open the doors of equality and justice so all could walk through them.

"This year, America's women have made great strides on the path to true equality. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - now the law of the land - will ensure that women and all workers subject to pay discrimination have the right to seek justice in our courts. The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as our first Latina Supreme Court justice adds the voice of a passionate, principled jurist to our nation's highest court.

"Women hold positions of leadership in the President's cabinet and on Congressional committees. In our last election, women voted in record numbers, paving the road to change and leading the way to a brighter future. And today, the voices of mothers and grandmothers everywhere are driving our push for quality, affordable, accessible health care for all Americans.

"Though there is much to celebrate in the fight for women's rights, our struggle is far from over. Women still earn 78 cents for every dollar men make, violating the fundamental value of equal pay for equal work. Women hold just 17 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate and under 17 percent in the House of Representatives - a sign that our goal of equality in representation requires our continued focus and energy. Around the world, women are denied the right to vote, mothers are not allowed to work, and young girls are shut out of the classroom.

"Gaining the right to vote was only the first step in the battle for equality. We must continue to speak out and act on behalf of women across the country and around the world, working until the dream of true equality and civil rights becomes a reality for all women."

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Detailed Analysis: House Democrats’ Government-Run Health Care Plan Breaks President Obama’s Promises

President Obama has repeatedly made promises throughout the health care debate that are broken by the House Democrats’ government takeover of health care bill. Despite what the President says, the bill put together by Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic leaders would force millions of Americans out of their current coverage, undermine Medicare for seniors, and raise taxes on families and small businesses. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded today:

“The President has made a lot of promises to the American people about their health care, but the House Democrats’ bill breaks many of those pledges. It would force millions out of their current coverage, slash Medicare by billions, and increase taxes on the families and small businesses who can least afford it during this recession. Republicans have offered a better solution that makes health care more affordable and accessible for every American without raising taxes. It’s time for Democrats to shelve their government takeover of health care and work with us on a plan that delivers the reforms Americans expect.”

A detailed analysis of the Democrats’ government-run plan makes clear it breaks a number of President Obama’s promises. Here are just a few examples:

• Pages 116-128; Sections 221-225 – The House Democrats’ bill establishes a new government-run health plan that, according to nonpartisan actuaries at the Lewin Group, would cause as many as 114 million Americans to lose their existing coverage. Moving these Americans from their current plan into a government-run plan violates the President’s oft-stated promise that “if you like your current coverage, you can keep it.” Both the Associated Press and ABC News have already debunked this pledge, noting that White House officials have acknowledged the President’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken “literally.”

• Pages 331-333; Section 1161 – President Obama has said repeatedly that nobody is talking about cutting Medicare when it comes to health care reform. But the fact is that nearly 11 million seniors who choose Medicare Advantage plans, will lose that coverage as a result of the $160 billion in cuts in the House Democrats’ bill. Moreover, an independent analysis of the House Democrats’ bill shows the legislation makes a total of $361.9 billion in Medicare cuts. That means fewer choices and lower health care quality for our nation’s seniors.

• Pages 167-179; Section 401 – President Obama repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on those who make less than $200,000 (singles) or $250,000 (married couples). The tax on Americans without government-approved health insurance in the House Democrats’ bill directly violates that promise.

• Pages 167-179; Section 401 – At least four of the President’s specific tax pledges would be broken by the House Democrats’ government takeover of health care. Specifically, the President pledged that (1) “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase,” and that families making more than $250,000 will (2) “pay either the same or lower tax rates than they paid in the 1990s,” (3) be subject to a “new [higher] top capital gains rate of 20 percent” and (4) have a dividends tax rate “set at 20 percent.” Yet, the Democrats’ bill imposes an individual mandate that would raise taxes on some American families earning less than $250,000, imposes a national small business tax (in conjunction with the President’s expiration of lower marginal rates) that will take the top federal tax rate well above where it was in the 1990s, and applies the national small business tax to capital gains and dividends sending those tax rates to 25.4 percent and 45 percent respectively.

• Pages 823-835; Section 1802 – The House Democrats’ bill would establish a new tax on every health insurance policy to fund a government board. This new tax will increase the cost of health insurance for every American not on Medicare or Medicaid, regardless of income.

Democrats appear poised to go it alone and pass a government takeover of health care that breaks many of the promises made by the President. Americans don’t want a government takeover of their health care; they want common sense reforms to lower health care costs and increase access for those who don’t currently have health care coverage. Shouldn’t Democrats work with Republicans on common sense solutions to deliver on the reforms the American people expect and deserve?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Opinion: Playing the Race Card

/Standard Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr.:

As an American who happens to be black, I say to those who are playing the race card in the healthcare debate: Stop it! The very people who do all the hand ringing about racism are the first to use it to divide us, and we are tired of it. The racial denigration of those who show up at town meetings as "angry white folks" is disgusting. If anything is "un-American," as Nancy Pelosi has alleged, it is her describing citizens as Nazis because they do not agree with President Obama. Americans are angrily rejecting the democrat effort to jam government health care down their
throats, and it has nothing to do with race.

Liberals have a propensity toward intellectual arrogance. As such they view the American people as too stupid or disengaged to understand the complexities of health care reform. Because most of us are busy earning a living, we sometimes allow government to go awry for a while, but when it goes too far, the people awaken with a fury. That point has been reached. It may not be pretty or pleasant, but it is real and politicians dismiss it at their political peril.

The more Democrats attempt to marginalize the opposition, the more it grows and the angrier people get. The polls show that as the debate proceeds, notwithstanding some yelling, more people agree with the citizens expressing opposition to Obama-care. They are listening and deciding that something is very wrong. Its makes us angrier when the very people we pay with our hard earned tax dollars have the hubris to call us names because we do not agree with them.

To add insult to injury, the President who promised to unite us asks people to email the White House if they hear anything "fishy" about the health care plan. The President and the Democrats who control both Houses of Congress had better take a deep breath and stop overreaching. There are some things the American people are not going to take, and some lines that politicians dare not cross. Every time they accuse people of being racists and nazis they cross that line. If they force on the American people a health care program which they vehemently oppose, they will have crossed the point of no return.

King George imposed taxes on the American colonists for the benefit of England. Those who
opposed him were called traitors, and it sparked a revolution. If an imperious President and Democrat party attack those who oppose the new healthcare plan instead of listening and heeding them, there may well be a second -- albeit peaceful -- revolution. The effort to divide us along racial lines is a despicable tactic which will only bring a harsher backlash.

We have had enough of balkanizing us into enclaves of hyphenated Americans. This is what happens when we are led by those who believe in one nation under government, instead of one nation under God. The unity of our country lies in rejecting race as our primary identifier. We are Americans, and right now, we are angry. Our elected officials need to deal with it instead of trying to demonize those who dare question them. When they start categorizing citizens by skin color, they do so to de-legitimize those who disagree with them.

For fifty years now we have been told that we need an honest dialogue on race. The Attorney General condescendingly informed us that we are "cowards" when it comes to matters of race. When Jeremiah Wright's racist demagoguery was exposed, Candidate Obama lectured us about "typical white people" like his grandmother being inherently racist. Recently the President advised us that we had a "teachable moment" when in so many words he accused the Cambridge police of racism in the treatment of Professor Henry Gates. Of course, he did the teaching when he should have been apologizing and taking responsibility for his own gaffe.

The American people are tired of being called racist. We have had it with ivory tower liberals telling us we need to have a "dialogue" about race. We don't need any more sensitivity training. Here is my racial dialogue with the American people. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Dialogue over. Let's drop the race bating and get on with debating the matter of keeping our country prosperous and free.

Political News You Can Use

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Group Says Bill Ayers Got His Job the 'Chicago Way'

/PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of a state investigation into how hundreds of students were improperly granted admission to the University of Illinois because of high-level political and financial connections, the public policy group America's Survival, Inc. (ASI) will hold a news conference on Thursday in Washington, D.C. to examine how Barack Obama associate Bill Ayers became a "Distinguished Professor" at the same university.

Ayers had been a leader of the Weather Underground organization and worked with Obama on educational issues.

"The evidence so far points to his rich father, Thomas Ayers, who sat on the board of the Tribune Company, which publishes the Chicago Tribune, as providing the 'clout' to get his son ensconced at the University of Illinois," said ASI President Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist who serves as editor of Accuracy in Media. "There is no other reasonable explanation for how Ayers got this job. Thomas Ayers may also have played a role in getting Ayers' wife Bernardine Dohrn a teaching job at Northwestern University in the Chicago area. Thomas Ayers had been the chairman of the board of trustees at Northwestern."

In a report to be released at the "Communism in the Classroom" conference, Professor Mary Grabar explains that "Bill Ayers' rehabilitation from fugitive to 'Distinguished Professor' of Education earning a $126,000 salary at a public Chicago university remains something of a mystery." However, considering his lack of credentials for the post and his flaunting of academic standards, she asks, "Was Ayers' appointment part of the 'Chicago Way?'"

Another speaker, noted author and Professor Paul Kengor, will speak on "Anti-Anti-Communism in the Academy."

Copies of syllabi from Ayers' courses, obtained under the state Freedom of Information Act, will be released for the first time, and several reports on the activities of Ayers' and his comrades in academia will be provided as well. One report will examine a controversial trip made by Ayers and Dohrn to Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

The event will be held on August 20 at 12:30 p.m. in the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club (13th floor, 529 14th St., NW) in Washington, D.C.

The conference is free of charge and open to the press and the public. But reservations are requested at 443-964-8208 or

Political News You Can Use

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins Asks: Is This What President Obama Means by 'Robust' Conscience Protections?

/PRNewswire/ -- Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that Belmont Abbey College, a Roman-Catholic institution, must provide insurance coverage for abortion and contraceptives.

The ruling goes against the college's Catholic doctrine and also violates North Carolina state law which provides for exemption to for religious entities. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had this to say:

"The EEOC has succeeded in threatening every college, university and church that provides medical services with litigation in the event that those institutions refuse to buckle-under to Washington's abrasive intrusions. This outrageous attack on the historic and clearly articulated convictions of a religious college demonstrate a growing effort on the part of the radical left to impose their anti-faith agenda on people who hold convictions contrary to those of the secular elite.

"Belmont Abbey's president has said the school would close before offering abortion services or referrals or dispensing contraceptives. He is a profile in courage, and FRC commends him for his brave and principled stance.

"President Barack Obama claimed that he would ensure 'robust' protection to the conscience rights of America's health care works and religious institutions. He claimed this as he was in the process of overturning Bush-era Health and Human Services protections. The EEOC, following his lead, is moving aggressively against the very religious liberty many of our forebears came to these shores to find. It is my hope he will publicly call on the EEOC to retract its ruling and stand for religious and personal freedom for all Americans," Perkins concluded.

Political News You Can Use

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pork-barrel spending increases in 2009

The Hill
Pork-barrel spending increases in 2009
By Walter Alarkon
Posted: 08/13/09 05:31 PM [ET]
The cost of earmarks increased this year despite lawmakers' claims they're working to reduce pork-barrel spending.
Earmarks, which are inserted in appropriations bills by members in order to fund specific projects, added up to $19.9 billion in 2009, according to an analysis by the Taxpayers for Common Sense and Center for Responsive Politics. Earmarks in 2008 spending bills were worth $18.3 billion.
Click to continue reading:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Massive campaign for Obama hits air

A new coalition on Thursday is launching $12 million in television ads to support President Barack Obama’s health-reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars this fall.

The new group, funded largely by the pharmaceutical industry, is called Americans for Stable Quality Care. It includes some odd bedfellows: the American Medical Association, FamiliesUSA, the Federation of American Hospitals, PhRMA and SEIU, the service employees’ union.

The ads start airing at about 11 a.m. ET Thursday.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Non-Obama Youth Vote 2010 Wild Card: Bob Weiner & Zoe Pagonis Des Moines Register Op-Ed Asks, 'With Obama Off Ticket, Will Youth Vote Deliver In 2010?

/PRNewswire/ -- "The 2008 elections proved that teens and twenties can make a difference," say former Democratic National Youth Voter Registration Director, Robert Weiner and Policy Analyst Zoe Pagonis. "But whether this is a one-time phenomenon is an open question; the reality is that the non-Obama factor in the 2010 off-year elections is a wild card."

In an op-ed column in today's Des Moines Register, "Non-Obama Factor a Wild Card in 2010," Weiner, the Democratic Party's first youth voter registration director in 1971-72 after the 26th Amendment, and Pagonis contend, "In the 2008 election, many Democrats rode on Barack Obama's coattails to win the youth vote. A record 23 million young Americans swarmed polls, constituting the second highest percentage (52%) of eligible 17-29 year olds voting."

They add, "2010, like every other off-year election, will inevitably draw a smaller turnout, enabling youth to have an even bigger proportional impact. The 3% increase in the number of youths voting during the 2006 off-year compared to 2002 was significant in the Democrats' gain of 31 seats."

"Obama built his base around 17-29 year olds, meeting with high school student government leaders, speaking at colleges and choosing a hip-hop event sponsored by Usher over one by AARP."

"His personality and youthful habits (playing basketball) charmed young Americans Yet what won him the most was concentrating on issues important to young people. A poll conducted by the Center for Information on Civic Learning found that among young Obama voters, the top issues were the Iraq war, economy and health care."

Weiner and Pagonis say, "Thirty-nine election seats for Governor will be open in 2010 in addition to the 435 House seats and 36 Senate seats. Candidates can win the youth vote by concentrating on areas of interest to young people and by modeling their issues as well as campaign strategies after Obama."

Weiner and Pagonis conclude, "Pretending "I'm Obama," will only take a politician so far; it is going to have to be more, "I'm like Barack," and mean it."

Political News You Can Use Collects 20,000+ Earmarks, Drives Reform: OMB to Track Earmarks Next Year

/PRNewswire/ users have brought permanent change to earmarking practices in Washington, D.C.

Federal Computer Week reports that beginning next year the White House's Office of Management and Budget will begin collecting and reporting earmark requests, as the site has been doing this summer.

"With our example, we've shown that earmark requests should be on the public record and in useful formats," said Jim Harper, Webmaster of "The public wants to see what their members of Congress and senators are doing."

The Office of Management and Budget deserves praise for recognizing and responding to public interest in this issue. Americans want access to earmark data -- including earmark requests -- at a high level of detail.

The real credit, though, goes to the earmark hunters around the country who continue to enter earmarks into the database.

Through an earmark hunting contest, is working to collect and map the earmark requests of every member of Congress and senator. The current focus is on House and Senate appropriators.

The project was partially funded by the Sunlight Foundation, and the contest continues until all earmarks are collected or the beginning of the fiscal year, whichever comes first. uses government predictions about the costs or savings from proposed laws to calculate the significance to average Americans -- in dollars and cents -- of proposed changes to the nation's policies. More information about these calculations is available on the "about" page of the Web site.

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AARP Reacts to President’s Health Care Townhall

AARP Chief Operating Officer Tom Nelson issued this statement following remarks by the President at a townhall event in New Hampshire on health care reform.

“AARP has been working with Democrats and Republicans to fix our broken health care system.

“While the President was correct that AARP will not endorse a health care reform bill that would reduce Medicare benefits, indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.

“AARP supports specific measures that would help older Americans and their families – including bipartisan proposals to create a new follow-up care benefit in Medicare that would help prevent hospital re-admissions, as well as to address the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the ‘doughnut hole.’ We also support the need for lawmakers and the Administration to act this year to fix what doesn’t work in the health care system.

“We share the President’s commitment to act this year, and our members appreciate his insistence that any final reform package will not reduce Medicare benefits for the millions of people that literally depend on that program as a lifeline.

“We look forward to working with leaders of both parties, including the President, to build a final package we could endorse that addresses the concerns of the 50-plus population and brings quality, affordable health care choices to every American.”

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Guess who’s funding ObamaCare advocates?

Facebook finding:

Greg Sargent notes that a familiar face will start showering cash on organizations trying to build support for ObamaCare. George Soros, who once pledged his entire fortune in an unsuccessful effort to unseat George Bush, has pledged another $5 million to overcome popular opposition to the government takeover of the health-care industry. Sargent rightly notes that this will become a flashpoint for both sides of the divide:

In another sign of the urgency gripping the pro-health care reform camp, billionaire George Soros has pledged to sink $5 million into the fight, the group getting the money confirmed.

Soros — whose operation carefully guards the privacy of such donations — made the pledge to Health Care For America Now, the leading coalition of pro-reform groups, unions and providers, HCAN chief Richard Kirsch confirmed in an email that was forwarded to me. …

The Soros pledge is noteworthy, because both sides will seize on it. The right will say it shows the real astroturfing is coming from the pro-reform side — billionaire bogeyman Soros is bankrolling this fight!

The left will cite the donation to demand that HCAN show real results. Some on the left, such as blogger Jane Hamsher, have been asking why heavily-bankrolled HCAN hasn’t been able to secure more commitments from Dem members of Congress to stand firm behind a public option.
However, that group may run afoul of Rahm Emanuel and the White House. Emanuel has demanded that HCAN and other advocacy groups focus their sights on Republicans and stop attacking vulnerable Democrats — which, in this case, would be those who have shown great reluctance to get on board with ObamaCare. If HCAN takes Emanuel’s advice, it’s hard to see what they’ll use the money to do, other than buy advertising that strictly focuses on the issue. That issue hasn’t played well thus far, and $5 million of advertising won’t make a dent in the opposition.

That’s where the pharmaceutical industry’s cash will come in handy:

The drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting President Obama’s health care overhaul, beginning over the August Congressional recess, people briefed on the plans said Saturday.

The unusually large scale of the industry’s commitment to the cause helps explain some of a contentious back-and-forth playing out in recent days between the odd-couple allies over a deal that the White House struck with the industry in June to secure its support. The terms of the deal were not fully disclosed. Both sides had announced that the drug industry would contribute $80 billion over 10 years to the cost of the health care overhaul without spelling out the details.

With House Democrats moving to extract more than that just as the drug makers finalized their advertising plans, the industry lobbyists pressed the Obama administration for public reassurances that it had agreed to cap the industry’s additional costs at $80 billion. The White House, meanwhile, has struggled to mollify its most pivotal health industry ally without alienating Congressional Democrats who want to demand far more of the drug makers. White House officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

To give this some perspective, it helps to recall that John McCain spent $126 million on advertising for the entire general election campaign in 2008. Why have the pharmaceuticals gone for ObamaCare in a big way? Obama promised not to use Medicare’s market advantage to drive down prices any more than the $80 billion already pledged by the industry. That’s basically price-fixing of a kind that the Federal Trade Commission would investigate if it involved a private-sector insurance giant.

Remind me again which side is Astroturfing and getting big, powerful firms funding their operation, and which one represents the actual sense of Americans on government-controlled health care.

via Facebook group: Expose Soros & Other Far-Left Financiers

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Poll Shows Two-Thirds of Americans Don't Think Government Health Care Will Cut Costs

/PRNewswire/ -- Despite President Obama's efforts to position government-funded health care as a "cost-cutter" for all taxpayers, two-thirds of Americans think there are more effective ways to reduce health care costs, according to a national survey question released today by message research firm M4 Strategies.

The majority of respondents believe national tort reform laws to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals will be the most effective way to lower health care costs.

In a poll of 1,001 U.S. residents conducted from July 24-27, when asked which would likely have a greater impact in reducing Americans' health care costs, 45 percent opined national tort reform would be most effective and 16 percent stated they did not know. Only 40 percent were willing to say free health insurance for the poor would have the most impact. The survey has a 3.1% margin of error.

When thinking about health care costs in the future, which do you think will have a greater impact in reducing health care costs for Americans?

Frequency Percent
--------- -------
National lawsuit reform that reduces
frivolous lawsuits against doctors
and hospitals. 446 44.6
------------------------------------ --- ----
A government program that provides
health insurance to those who cannot
afford it. 397 39.7
------------------------------------- --- ----
Not sure/Don't know 158 15.8
------------------------------------- --- ----

"It's clear that Americans aren't buying Obama's claim that his health care plan will reduce long term health care costs," said Chris St. Hilaire, President of M4 Strategies. "More people also believe that tort reform, which Obama opposes, is a better way to cut costs than what he's proposing."

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Obama's Defense of Gay Discharges Contradicted by Use of Signing Statements

/PRNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama's use of signing statements -- a presidential authorization to ignore portions of Congressional law -- is being criticized by scholars who study gay rights for directly contradicting his defense of ongoing gay troop discharges. The President has refused to intervene to stop the firing of gay troops, citing the rationale that the White House should not be "simply ignoring a Congressional law." Last month the President told Anderson Cooper of CNN that "it's not appropriate for the executive branch simply to say, 'we will not enforce a law.'"

But yesterday's New York Times reports that the President has used signing statements five times to challenge nineteen provisions of federal statute, including a law restricting the use of U.S. troops in United Nations commands. According to Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the President's use of signing statements to ignore provisions of standing law is a far more flagrant assertion of executive authority than would be an executive order halting gay discharges. "Contrary to what some have stated," said Belkin, "using executive power to suspend the gay ban is not questionable or even controversial among major legal scholars. It is a power explicitly granted to the President by Congress under the 'stop-loss' statute." By contrast, Belkin said, signing statements are a controversial use of executive authority that many, such as the American Bar Association, have called unconstitutional for usurping Congressional authority.

Diane Mazur, Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, agreed. "There's a total inconsistency to the logic here," said Mazur, who is an affiliated scholar at the Palm Center. "How can you exercise questionable executive authority with a signing statement while declaring that using a Congressionally-granted power to let gays serve is illegal?"

The idea of ending the gay ban by executive order first gained momentum after the release in May of a Palm Center study showing that the president has the authority to suspend "don't ask, don't tell" under a Congressional "stop-loss" statute (10 U.S.C. Section 12305). Since then, gay groups and politicos have debated the political merits of taking such action, but no one has shown the step would be illegal.

Political News You Can Use

Is White House Breaking the Law?

First, the White House wants you to snitch on your neighbor. Now, Linda Douglass says there are no lists being compiled. Oops.

By the way, it's against the law for the White House to delete communications. Guess someone should have given her some facts.

Political News You Can Use

Thursday, August 6, 2009

White House Launches 'Fishy' Expedition

/PRNewswire/ -- In a web video released today, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins denounced the White House's appeal for individuals to send the White House any email or health care messages deemed "fishy."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had this to say:

"I guess President Obama is unhinged by the prospect of something entrenched in the American political tradition: Dissent," said Perkins. "The right to free speech seems to be, for the President, a rather pesky annoyance that keeps him from having his way on health care. Well, welcome to representative democracy and the reality of opposing viewpoints, Mr. President. And for the next three and one-half years, with all due respect, get used to it."

In the video, Perkins says:

"The White House apparently subscribes to Vince Lombardi's idea that the best defense is a good offense. The wide spread opposition to the President's proposed takeover of health care has apparently blind sided the administration and is causing panic over the prospects the whole plan could be sacked by the American public.

"As a result, the White House is striking back. Macon Phillips on the White House blog wrote, 'Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet' ... he goes on to says that 'since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help.' Phillips goes on to ask individuals to send the White House any email or health care message on the web that seems 'fishy.'

"Fishy? If there is anything fishy it is the White House asking people to help them keep track of those who oppose the government takeover of health care. Is the White House simply wanting to keep a scrapbook of the emails that primarily quote the President and the legislation that he is pushing or is it possible they are simply looking to use this information to intimidate and if possible silence their opponents?"

Political News You Can Use

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Libertarians challenge SEIU: Why not give everyone unlimited posters?

America’s third largest party issued a challenge Tuesday to the Service Employees International Union, which is distributing free posters to activists supporting the proposed government takeover of health care. The posters come with one catch – access to the limited supply is rationed to “only ONE poster per person and address.”

Libertarians challenged the SEIU to live up to the promises behind government-run health care and offer everyone in America unlimited access to as many posters as they want without increasing their costs.

“Nothing more perfectly illustrates the unsustainability of government-controlled health care than the fact even its propaganda posters are being rationed,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “When something is offered at no cost, the increased demand forces you to ration access to it. Whether its government-run medicine or union-offered posters, the rosy promises of universal access lead to the grim reality of rationing.”

“If the advocates of government-run medicine can’t even offer Americans a free poster without rationing access and forcing you to submit your name and address, they have no business controlling Americans’ access to medical care,” said Ferguson.

“Come on, SEIU. Libertarians challenge you to be the first to prove the Obama health care model works by offering everyone in America all the free posters they want, and without increasing your costs,” said Ferguson.

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Issa to Emanuel: Back Off!

Following reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been orchestrating an effort to intimidate members of Congress and Governors who raise legitimate concerns regarding the effectiveness of the stimulus, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Emanuel saying “While this type of scare tactic may work In Chicago, it will not work to intimidate me or other Members of the United States Congress.”

“I and others have dared to bring these facts to the attention of President Obama, the Congress and the American people,” Issa wrote. “You’ve unfortunately reacted by once again resorting to the playbook of the Chicago political machine.”

Last month, Politico reported that Emanuel had “launched a coordinated effort to jam” Senator Kyl and other Administration critics… “[A]fter seeing Kyl and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) again paint the legislation as a failure on Sunday talk shows, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to [Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”

Issa noted, “The fact that the letters were coordinated by you to maximize the level of intimidation is supported by the timing, structure, and content of each letter. Not only were the four letters all sent the day following Senator Kyl’s remarks, but they were also remarkably similar in tone and sentence structure.”

Letter from Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation:
On Sunday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren’t presently underway. I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know [emphasis added].

Letter from Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior:
Some key Republican leaders in Congress have publicly questioned whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working and suggested cancelling all projects that are not currently in progress. I believe they are wrong. The stimulus funds provided through the Recovery Act are a very effective way to create job opportunities throughout the Country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to Arizona, please let me know [emphasis added].

“At what point do you believe your practice of Chicago-style politics violates a public official’s right to speak out in favor of alternative policies,” Issa asks. “The American people have a right to know what role you played in developing the threatening letters to Governor Brewer and whether you intend to continue to engage in these tactics in the future.”

In order to assist the Committee with its investigation of this issue, please provide the following information by close of business on Tuesday, August 11, 2009:

Your response to Politico’s report that “White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to [Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”
A full and complete explanation of the development of the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer, including but not limited to the role you or any other White House official played in writing the letters or encouraging the writing of the letters.
All records and communications between you and Secretary LaHood, Secretary Salazar, Secretary Donovan, and Secretary Vilsack referring or relating to the decision to send the July 13 letters to Governor Brewer.
A full and complete explanation of the role of the Democratic National Committee and the White House Office of Political Affairs in authoring, encouraging, facilitating, or directing the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer.

You can view a copy of the full letter to Emanuel by clicking here.

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Obama's Birthday Challenge: $10,000 Gift to Hospital

/PRNewswire/ -- In another bid to persuade Barack Obama to release his long-form birth certificate publicly, WND Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah today said he would donate $10,000 to the birth hospital listed on the document.

Obama has resisted pleas from a growing chorus of Americans who can't understand why he would spend more than $800,000 fighting lawsuits calling for the release of the document rather than let the American people see it.

"Obama has said he was born in Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu. He participated in a fundraiser for the medical center in January. WND will send a check to whatever birth hospital is listed on his long-form certificate. All Obama has to do to see that donation made is to release it publicly."

Farah said this offer does not replace a previous offer he put on the table to provide a minimum of $10,000 to anyone providing proof he or she was present at Obama's birth. Last week, Jason Hommel, an investment adviser, offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who can prove Obama is a natural born citizen and eligible to be president.

The controversy over Obama's birthplace has lingered since last year's presidential campaign, but has heated up in the last three months. The last two weeks have witnessed a barrage of coverage by the U.S. and international media.

"Barack Obama claims to have been born in Honolulu Aug. 4, 1961," explains Farah. "His entire constitutional claim to the presidency rests on this premise. Yet, he refuses to release a copy of his long-form birth certificate - the only document that could possibly corroborate his claim. Instead, he has released to select news organizations and posted on the Internet a document that could never serve as proof he was born in the United States - a so-called 'certification of live birth,' a digital document that could, can and has been obtained by people who were actually born outside the country. The American people can never be certain their president is legitimate constitutionally without proof."

To date, no hospital in Hawaii has come forward to claim this birth.

No doctor or nurse has come forward to say they were present for that birth.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: The Kenyan Birth Document: Is it real?

/PRNewswire/ -- The unauthenticated document purporting to be a Kenyan certificate of birth for Barack Obama has refocused the debate over his presidential eligibility.

Released publicly yesterday by California attorney Orly Taitz as evidence in her court case challenging Obama to prove his constitutional qualifications to hold office, the document raises new questions about the president's birthplace. is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity.

"We've had less than 24 hours to consider its authenticity or non-authenticity," explains Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of the first news agency to publish the document. "Our goal, as always, is to seek the truth. This is not our document. It is evidence that has presented in a high-profile court case. And, thus, I believe we had a journalistic responsibility to publish it - just as I think every other news organization does."

Farah says there are many questions still to be answered about the certification of live birth that Obama has disseminated - including the fact that the Public Health Department of the state of Hawaii has refused to confirm is it an official Hawaiian document issued by that office.

"This is why it is so important that Obama release his original, long-form birth certificate to end the speculation and the growing uneasiness Americans are increasingly feeling about his eligibility," explains Farah. "More and more, people are puzzled and mystified as to why he is refusing to release that document, as well as his school records, his college transcripts, his university papers and his travel records."

Farah says, which has led the way in investigating this story, will continue to do so relentlessly until it is resolved to the satisfaction of most Americans.

See article on Kenyan birth document:

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