Tag Archives: healthcare

Florida Elects Governor Engaging in Criminal Activity

Wake Up Florida. You elected a man to run your state that was previously convicted of fraud against the U.S Government and American Taxpayers by defrauding the Medicare System. This man now is in charge of a state that has one of the highest numbers of seniors as residents.

All around the country voters went against their best interests being led to the slaughter with lies, intimidation, fears of ‘spreading their wealth’, fox propoganda and anti-Obama rhetoric. The result is proving to be disastrous for Americans all across the country.

The ones who will end up most in need are the very ones that handed these criminals the reins. Just look at Florida.

Disgusting! FL Teabag Governor Uses Office to Rake in BILLIONS!

This is Part XVI of MY STUPID STATE where I document what happens when a state full of Democrats elect a veto-proof, right-wing legislature along with a teabag, CRIMINAL governor to lead us. (Once again, yes–an actual bona-fide criminal who literally stole from seniors, who subsequently elected him.) This is my documentation of my beloved but idiotic state of Florida’s slow decent into chaos.

How bad can it get? At least we are finally seeing the REAL reason he wanted to be governor. First, let me bring you up to speed with 5 things you need to know:

1. Rick Scott made millions as CEO of Columbia/HCA. Well, technically, he made it through Medicare fraud, but Columbia was the vehicle.

2. After he was kicked out, he used his stolen money to found an urgent-care chain called Solantic. Shocking…Solantic also engaged in multiple, multiple forms of fraud.

3. Scott absolutely hated the health care reform bill. In 2009, he founded a national front group to run ads to tell people just how bad it would be for them. He spend 5 million of his own money just to let us know this…with no ulterior motive whatsoever.

4. He had a COMPLETE lack of interest in anything about Florida–until he suddenly decided to run for office last year. He spent 70 million of his own funds to win it.

5. In case I forgot to mention it. HE. IS. A. F%^&ING. CRIMINAL.

So these facts we well known and available information for voters in Florida BEFORE they went to the polls. Did the ignore it? Not Research?

Yet look closer. From his budget proposal to policies he pushed just last week, we have one BIG reason he is now our governor.

In just four short years in office, Scottie is poised to make such a massive fortune that he could hire a Koch brother to plunge his toilet!

Wait. Isn’t he rich already? He listed his net worth at $219 million when submitting the election forms. That would be plenty for most, but for people like Scott, it is abject poverty when you look at multi-billionaires like the Koch brothers. And for people like that, it is never enough. Its the same reason they fight tooth and nail for extra tax cuts and don’t care if we have to cut every social service, kick every poor, disabled kid, and spit on every teacher to get it.

Right now, it is generous to say that Scott has a “questionable” relationship with Solantic. His co-founder at Solantic vehemenently denies that Scott is involved in day-to-day business. In fact, she said that he no longer takes business calls after he was elected. (I would really f%^#ing hope a governor of a major state wouldn’t also try to run a business, but she thought it was a big concession.)

But us libral critics, never satisfied, selfishly insisted he do more to sever the financial relationship with Solantic in order to avoid an obvious conflict of interest.

And in January, our ethical governor FINALLY did. He transfered every bit of his Solantic stock.

Case closed.

I should be happy. But for some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he is somehow still invested in Solantic.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that the person he transferred all of the stock to WAS HIS WIFE!

Now, Florida does have an Ethics Commmission. But this underfunded, toothless agency did nothing after three visits from Scott’s legal team. Want a transcript of the meetings under our Sunshine Laws? Too bad. There weren’t any! Whoops. They must have forgot… three times in a row.

Bottom line… Solantic makes money, Rick Scott’s wife makes money, and I’m sure somehow, someway, Rick Scott will get a piece of that.

But our governor wouldn’t be so blatant as to make any policy to funnel money to Solantic? My God, we would have to be some kind of stupid state to overlook something like that.

You be the judge:

1. Solantic primarily deals with people who have high premiums or no insurance. The main competitor for Solantic are publically-funded state clinics run by the FL Dept. of Health. Scott’s budget proposal cuts ALL funding to these clinics!

(Yes, more than one person has pointed out the irony of him wanting pill mills to stay open while completely eliminating clinics that help the poorest Floridians.)

With the elimination of its biggest competitor, SOLANTIC profits will explode.

2. Gov. Scott wants to require ALL RECIPIENTS OF MEDICAID TO JOIN PRIVATE HMOs.

By pure coincidence
, Rick Scott’s wife’s company doesn’t accept Medicaid, but SOLANTIC does accept private Medicaid HMO reimbursments! (ca-ching)

No conflict of interest there.

3. As you learned if you watched Jon Stewart’s hilarious take on Ric Scott last Thursday, the man signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of state employees at least once a quarter along with all applicants for state jobs. He is also pushing the right-wing legislature to use drug test harrassment for another group the GOP hates…welfare recipients.

We are talking hundreds of thousands of Floridians here going to clinics several times a year at least to get these tests. Hey, guess what clinic offers drug testing as a primary service?? Rhymes with MOLE-ANTIC!

4. Biggest one so far. The Palm Beach Post did a great article on this. Although Gov. Mr. Burns hates “Obamacare”, he is gladly lobbying like hell for a massive federal block grant from a state waiver that the Act allows. The article says this type of grant is worth BEEEEELL-IONS.

Slick Rick’s health policy adviser, Michael Cannon, said it would be in the form of health vouchers that consumers can use as cash for direct-pay medical care. This benefits particular clinics where patients like to pay cash.

Clinics like, (wait for it)….SOL….. (OK, I think you get the point now.)

Thankfully, our Florida Commission on Ethics has to decide whether that last one is a conflict of interest. Yes, that commission.

By the way, the commission has 9 members… 5 of which are picked by the governor. So… ya know. Just count on him to do the right thing.

It took me just a few minutes to look a little further on Rick Scott. Politicfacts account of the Columbia/HCA fraud
Was Scott running Columbia/HCA when it found itself at the center of a massive federal investigation? Yes.

Did the company pay a record $1.7 billion in government penalties and fines? Yes, Columbia/HCA paid.

And as we checked in this item, did his former company commit fraud? Yes, it pleaded guilty to fraud charges as part of a settlement.

Of course, the million-dollar question is how much of the blame ultimately falls on Scott? And that’s an answer we can’t provide.

Scott was in charge so he bears some responsibility and has said so. But there has yet to come to light any detail of how much he knew, and when he knew it.

Though that won’t keep us from looking.

McCollum’s campaign, in a statement, said Rick Scott’s former company Columbia/HCA committed fraud. We rate the statement True.

would have enough for me as a voter to have serious reservations about this man.

Did FL voters not know, not care? How did they make such a grave mistake?

Update: Founds this great article also on Governor Rick Scott and his dirty deeds.

14 Felonies Later, Gov Rick Scott Wants Taxpayers to Fund His Clinics

Big daddy is in the house, and he’s cleaning up government fraud and waste by those awful, horrible, lazy, entitled state workers and the welfare bums won’t get away with it anymore! In other words, keep your eye over here, on the state workers and the welfare recipients while Scott dips his hands into the wide-open cookie jar of your tax dollars and just takes what he wants. After Enron, our non-activisty supreme court ruled that enriching oneself at the taxpayers cost is not illegal. So technically, Scott’s theft of the taxpayers to enrich himself is not prosecutable this time around.

No wonder he ran for office.

Florida does, however, have an ethics code that supposedly prevents them using their office for private gain. Scott spokespeople led voters to believe that Scott would recuse himself regulatory decisions that might impact his single largest financial holding, Solantic, since he refused to put the stocks in a blind trust.

Speaking of money, those drug tests will cost 2-3 million a year for taxpayers, plus the costs of the inevitable litigation. But it’s worth it, Scott’s administration assures us, for the peace of mind that your tax dollars won’t be paying for some drug addict to have a job.

Again, no need to concern yourself with Scott’s fortunes, as he owns a stake in S&S Family Entertainment as well as having been tied to Fox News via WebMD and Fit TV. Color yourself shocked. You might also like to know that Solantic has been subjected to numerous employment discrimination suits, stemming from an alleged Scott policy of not hiring overweight or elderly people. Also, Scott was once business partners with George W Bush.

And we wonder why things aren’t going well in Florida….

It seems that nosing into private healthcare decisions and playing hall-monitor to state employees is what Republicans do best. Of course, they do this best when they’re using your tax dollars to enrich their cronies and themselves.

If Scott wanted to put his money where his mouth is, he’d issue random drug tests for his doctors and nurses at Solantic, as well as monthly independent audits of the books. We can’t be too careful, after all. We have a known fraudster at the helm in Florida and he’s turning taxpayer money over to his private company. Kinda seems like we better keep an eye on him.

And he’d better keep an eye on his wife.

Wow this is just amazing. Florida better get looking into way of getting rid of this crook. This could be catastrophic for those people. Get with the movement Florida and Recall Rick Scott.


Nevada GOP candidate Sharron Angle opposes the healthcare she and her husband rely on

From Tuesday’s Politico Morning Score:
Angle’s campaign acknowledged to Nevada journalist Jon Ralston Monday that both the candidate and her husband receive health care from the federal government. Spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said in a statement: “Mr. Ted Angle receives his pension through the (federal) Civil Service Retirement System. While it is not supplemented by the federal government, current civil servants pay into the program to pay the schedule of those already retired – much like how the Social Security Program works today. Mr. Angle does not qualify – nor does he receive Social Security benefits. His health insurance plan (the Federal Employee Health Program), which also covers Sharron, is a continuation of what he was receiving while he worked for the federal government.”

Angle’s prior aversion to government-run health care — at least for others — has been no secret. She openly touts her intent to “Repeal and replace Obamacare” on her website, and even claimed recently that such broad legislation was actually unnecessary because there was “nothing wrong with our health care system.”

“Our healthcare system is the best in the world,” said Angle of the American system, once rated 37th-best in the world, in August. “Our doctors are the best…The access is not what is being denied.”

Despite Angle’s contention that access to health care is not an issue, more than 18 percent of Nevada’s population is currently uninsured, nearly 3 percent higher than the national rate.

And in 2009, Angle railed against mandated health care coverage even for autism treatment and maternity leave.

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism,'” Angle said, using air quotes for the neurological disorder. “So, that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have anymore babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of.”


Historic Health Care Reform Signed by The President

Patrick Kennedy left a note for his father the late Ted Kennedy

So What does this mean for Americans? Well for starters we know this much.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes health insurance market reforms that will bring immediate benefits to millions of Americans, including those who currently have coverage. The following benefits will be available in the first year after enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Coverage under this program will continue until new Exchanges are operational.
Re-insurance for Retiree Health Benefit Plans. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will create immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees. This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.

Closing the Coverage Gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the size of the “donut hole” by raising the ceiling on the initial coverage period by $500 in 2010.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also guarantee 50 percent price discounts on brand-name drugs and biologics purchased by low and middle-income beneficiaries in the coverage gap.

Small Business Tax Credits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will offer tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable.
Tax credits of up to 50 percent of premiums will be available to firms that choose to offer coverage.

Extension of Dependent Coverage for Young Adults
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26.

Free Prevention Benefits
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require coverage of prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage.

No Arbitrary Limits on Coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits and will restrict the use of annual limits.

Protection from Rescissions of Existing Coverage
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stop insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

Prohibits Discrimination Based on Salary
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will prohibit group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees.

Ensuring Value for Premium Payments
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will establish standards for insurance overhead to ensure that premiums are spent on health benefits. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also require public disclosure of overhead and benefit spending and require premium rebates for insurers that exceed established standards for overhead expenses.

Public Access to Comparable Information on Insurance Options
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will enable creation of a new website to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options.
Health Insurance Consumer Information. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide assistance to States in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and, eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility.

Clear Summaries, Without the Fine Print
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require insurance companies to outline coverage options using a simple and standard format that enables consumers to make an apples-to-apples comparison when they are choosing their health insurance plan.

Appeals Process
Under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all health plans will implement an effective appeals process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims.

Administrative Simplification
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all health plans will adopt uniform descriptions of plan benefits and appeals procedures and will use uniform forms and claims processing processes to reduce costs.

To see more of what this bill does………….

The White House offers an interactive guide to the bill and how it will affect you ‘Putting Americans in Control of Their Health Care’.

The New York Times also has a great interactive guideline ‘How the Health Care Overhaul Could Affect You’


Is Sarah Palin still wearing the clothing paid for by RNC donors?

Over the weekend Sarah Palin made her way to Canada for another $100,000+ speech on behalf of Americans and of course Alaska. In fact this was just one more stop on the ‘Progressing Pocketbook Alaska Without The Need For A Title’ tour. Never mind it was pretty much the same old tired speech and talking points first written for her by the McCain team or that she’s done little to learn anything new.

While this was pretty much just another of the recycled canned campaign speeches, true to form Sarah needed to tell a little story about how she and the Canadians have a lot in common. In Ohio she and God had ‘writing notes on their hand’ in common, in Canada the commonality is that she too knows what socialist Canadian healthcare is like because her family took advantage of it when she was a child.

Palin remarked:

“My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not – this was in the ’60s – we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn’t that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada.”

While that statement alone is getting quite a bit of attention, it is also coming to light as it most often does shortly after a Palin speech that she told a different version of a previously told story. It seems to happen quite often with Palin. She no sooner uttered those words when…………………………

A few different older versions of that story quickly started to emerge.

First story:

In a 2007 report in the Skagway News, Palin said her family travelled south from the town by ferry to Juneau, Alaska, so that her brother could get treatment after burning his foot when jumping through a fire.

And from the Skagway News:

Her brother burned his foot badly jumping through a fire, and her mother had to take him down to Juneau on the ferry to the hospital. “All these years later, that’s still what people have to rely on here in some instances,” she said.

Enter Chuck Heath once again who is now trying to get his daughter out of hot water:

“There was no road out of there at that time,” said retired teacher Chuck Heath, reached by phone in Wasilla. “The ferry schedule was very erratic. We had no doctor in Skagway. The plane schedule was very erratic. The winds dictated whether the planes could come in or not.”

So Palin’ recollection of childhood events might not be so great. But one thing we can always count on Sarah Palin to provide us with is hypocrisy and stretching the truth. While railing against Healthcare for Americans as ‘socialist’ we discover that Sarah’s husband Todd and all of her children and grandchildren qualify for and take full advantage of free socialist healthcare since Mr. Todd Palin is 1/8th Yup’ik Eskimo.

Because Tripp’s grandfather Todd is descendant from the Yup’ik Eskimo, his children and grandchildren are registered with the Curyung Tribal Council, part of the Bristol Bay Native Association, and thus eligible for government-run health insurance through the Indian Health Service. All “lineal descendants” of Native enrollees are eligible for the program.

So, while everyone is focusing on her statement about her family traveling to Canada for medical treatment it appears the mainstream media and followers of all things Palin didn’t happen to notice what Mrs. Palin was wearing for her speech in Calgary.

If they had they might have recognized that the very outfit she was wearing is one that was bought and paid for by the RNC per the McCain campaign. She can be seen here in photos from a campaign stop in Lancaster, PA on Oct. 18, 2008. She is wearing the same outfit here that she wore for her speech just last week in Calgary.

But that can’t be because Sarah assured us during a campaign stop in Tampa in 2008 that she had no intention of even taking those clothes back to Alaska let alone keeping them or wearing them.

In 2008 Palin told the crowd in Tampa, FL after Elizabeth Hasselbeck defended Palin’s shopping spree while introducing her:

“This whole thing with the wardrobe, you know I have tried to just ignore it because it is so ridiculous, but I am glad now that Elisabeth brought it up, cause it gives me an opportunity without the filter of the media to get to tell you the whole clothes thing,” she said.

“Those clothes, they are not my property. Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I’m not taking them with me. I am back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska. You’d think – not that I would even have to address the issue because, as Elisabeth is suggesting, the double standard here it’s – gosh, we don’t even want to waste our time.”

When someone from the RNC remarked a few months after the campaign had ended that not all of the clothing had been accounted for or returned but they were working on it. So again, Sarah enlists Dad to remind people that his daughter is just too honest to ever consider keeping those clothes.

“She was just frantically…trying to sort stuff out,” Heath said. “That’s the problem, you know, the kids lose underwear, and everything has to be accounted for”.

Ok so let’s for fairness sake give Sarah a pass and allow for the fact that she might have overlooked this particular outfit when returning things to the RNC. I’d think she’d recognize something that was purchased for her during that time, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until digging for pictures from the campaign when I first recognized that outfit. I recognized it because I remembered seeing a photo of her showing off the jacket after the story came out that the RNC has purchased clothing for her and her whole brood.

Okay so I thought I’d give her a pass on one but while looking for photos of the jacket but then came across more pictures of her on the campaign trail with McCain in a sweater that seemed recently familiar to me. I was right. I’d seen Sarah in the same sweater when Sarah and her daughter Bristol went on the Oprah show in January via satellite from Mrs. Palin’s home. They discussed Bristol’s newly found celibacy and her vow to remain a born-again virgin until marriage, how hard it is to raise a child when your Mother is a millionaire and so on.

Many took note of Sarah’s hairstyle that day which was so different from her usual look that even Oprah had to remark on the style.

Maybe the hair was meant to keep us from noticing that she was wearing what appears to be another item purchased for her to wear while campaigning by the McCain campaign with funds from the Republican Committee. But no notice of her recycled outfit which photos show her wearing in Kansas City, Mo in a September 2008 campaign stop.

Most didn’t buy it when Palin said she’d returned the clothing at the end of the campaign as she originally stated, especially once her father tripped up and told the press that they were running around the house trying to find all the stuff. Sarah has yet to learn that her father should be banned from speaking with the press. Just say no comment Pops otherwise you leave Sarah looking like a liar. More damage control, then the spin from both Palin and the RNC that every single item had been returned and accounted for. To date the RNC has never publicly shared just what was purchased and what all was returned.

I knew when all the discussion of whether the clothing had been returned or not that this day would eventually come and after some time passed she’d feel safe trying to sneak them back into her own wardrobe. Sarah Palin’s is too easy to read and all too transparent in her behavior.

She’s proven to be a liar and someone very challenged by the truth of any kind. We also know the Palin’s have no problem taking full advantage of anything they can get their hands on and have no problem breaking the law or doing things ‘their way’ regardless of the consequences.

How many more re-emerging outfits paid for by hardworking donors to the RNC will we see Sarah parading around in? How many more canned speeches need to be debunked and fact checked before people stop paying this woman enormous amounts of money to tell lies and give speeches of absolutely no substance?

Unfortunately I think it will be quite some time since our media no longer seems to be about anything of substance and no longer employs real journalists?


The Hypocrisy of the GOP marches on!

Well it’s been another stellar week for the Grand Ol(d) Party. The one thing they’ve mastered………..lying, hypocrisy, manipulation and obstruction all in fine form over the last several days. When they aren’t running from studio to studio spreading lies over the television airways they’re behind closed doors organizing their strategy of NO.

So let’s see what did they grace us with this week……………………………………..

Republican Fundraising Strategy: Stoke ‘Fear’ of Obama and ‘Socialism’

The veil has been lifted off of the public veneer of Republican fundraising strategies, with Politico’s expose yesterday of a 72-page PowerPoint document which details plans to stoke “fear” of President Obama and pledges to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” The document also contains an offensive slide, entitled “The Evil Empire,” which contains a crude caricature depicting Obama as the Joker from Batman labeled Socialism; an image frequently seen at tea party protests. When news that the controversial document was published, reached the Republican National Committee, staffers moved quickly to try and distance Chairman Michael Steele from its contents, claiming he wasn’t aware of it. But this particular horse has already left the barn, as it were, and despite all of the backtracking in the world, it’s been obvious for quite some time that the Party of no ideas will sink to despicable levels of fear and hate-mongering to reclaim power.

According to the report in Politico, the document not only spells out in graphic terms, the Republican strategy of capitalizing on voter’s fears and prejudices, but also considers its donors to be idiots:

“The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.” The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said.”

A hard copy of the PowerPoint document was left at the Gasparilla Inn & Club hosting the $2,500-a-head retreat, and was retrieved by a Democrat and given to Politico.

Besides the offensive cartoonish depiction of President Obama as a Socialist Joker, “The Evil Empire” slide also depicts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), as Cruella de Vil and Scooby-Doo, respectively.

Another slide asks: “What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate…?” The answer: “Save the country from trending toward Socialism!”

The marketing section continues with a slide that divides potential donor groups into direct marketing and major donors, with the smaller direct marketing donors under the heading “Visceral Giving” and the major donors tagged with the heading, “Calculated Giving.”

The motivations of the smaller tea party dupes, include “Fear,” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing administration” and “Reactionary.”

And the motivations of the major donors, include “Networking Opportunities,” “Access,” “Wall of Fame” and “Ego-Driven.”

RNC Fallout: ‘Ashamed’ donor closes checkbook:

A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using “fear” to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.

Mark DeMoss, who heads a major Christian public relations firm in Atlanta and served as a liaison to the Evangelical community for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote Chairman Michael Steele yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the presentation, calling depictions of Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid “shameful, immature and uncivil, at best.” More at Politico

 RNC Finance director behind fundraising pitch

Then we have Mr. Jim Bunning (R-KY)who went out of his way to hold up any progress in Washington over the past week. Never mind that also meant holding up unemployment benefits for millions, held up state contracts, suspended the National Flood Insurance program and many other important stimuli needed but also felt that the unemployed need to get used to. I think his exact words were ‘tough shit’.

 This week in crazy: Jim Bunning.  He held unemployment benefits hostage in the chamber for days. But behind the scenes, things were even stranger.

WASHINGTON — There was one thing Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., did this week that only seemed crazy. Trying to flee reporters on Monday, Bunning ducked into an elevator in the Hart Senate Office Building and insisted they stay out. “Excuse me, this is a senator-only elevator,” Bunning growled repeatedly (before flipping off the reporters who were trying to talk to him).

That may have sounded nuts, but actually, the Capitol and its surrounding office buildings are filled with elevators that only elected members of Congress are allowed to use. By insisting on his right to ride up and down in peace, Bunning did a useful service and brought more widespread attention to one of the weirder perks lawmakers get.

As far as how he spent the rest of his time recently, though, Bunning easily qualified for “This Week in Crazy” honors. For five days, the former Major League Baseball pitcher held federal unemployment benefits hostage while he ranted about the need to find a way to pay for them. The bill that Bunning blocked also provided federal highway projects that employed 2,000 people, increased Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors, and allowed satellite TV operators to carry local channels in some rural areas.

And yes, it was expensive — about $10 billion. But blocking it over the price tag would be less crazy if Bunning hadn’t joined every Republican and voted against a measure to require federal spending to be paid for. (Democrats classified the bill Bunning blocked as emergency spending, because it was temporary, which meant it wasn’t subject to the new pay-as-you-go rules that Bunning had opposed.)

Behind the scenes, though, the situation was even stranger. Democratic aides tried for several days to persuade Bunning to drop his objection by agreeing to a vote on an amendment that would have paid for the extension. They say he refused until they could guarantee he’d win the vote. (In the end, he didn’t come close, getting the support of only 43 senators, mostly from the GOP.) Even Republicans were blindsided by Bunning’s stunt — he loathes his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and around Capitol Hill, a lot of people wondered whether Bunning’s real goal was just to make McConnell suffer. Bunning’s little game handed Democrats fresh ammo in their rhetorical war with Republicans over Senate rules; the sight of one angry old man bringing the chamber to a complete halt for the better part of a week probably didn’t convince many voters that things like the filibuster aren’t being abused.

And we have Mr. Roy Ashburn (R-CA) leading anti-gay rights opponent in his home state California out cruising the streets drunk with the man he met at a GAY BAR! Yes folks Mr. Anti-Gay seems to be a frequent visitor of his states many gay bars. Maybe he’s just doing research.

State Sen. Roy Ashburn was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of driving under the influence in Sacramento.

Sources told the CBS affiliate KOVR in Sacramento Ashburn was seen leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento.

Sgt. Rick Campbell of the CHP in Sacramento said he pulled over Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after Campbell noticed a black Chevy Tahoe weaving in his lane at 13th and L Streets.

He had bloodshot, watery eyes and smelled of alcohol and completed a field sobriety test at the scene, Campbell said. He said Ashburn was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and arrested on misdemeanor charges at about 2:10 a.m. “He was extremely cooperative throughout the entire process,” Campbell said.

When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, the driver identified himself as Senator Ashburn. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08 percent or higher.

A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained.

Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail, where he remained for eight hours before being released on a $1,400 bond. The vehicle Ashburn was driving has been impounded at the Capitol for 30 days.

Ashburn served six years as a state Assemblyman before being elected to the State Senate.

According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn’s voting record shows he has voted against every gay rights measure in the State Senate since taking office including Recognizing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages, Harvey Milk Day and Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws.

“We can’t expect our politicians to be saints, but we can expect them to follow the law,” said Steve Maviglio, a Sacramento-based Democrat strategist.

Ashburn represents the 18th Senate District, encompassing Kern, Tulare, Inyo, and San Bernardino Counties.

To see Ashburn’s charging documents, navigate to the following link: http://www.kvsun.com/pdf/ashburn.pdf

Ashburn taking leave amid questions over sexual orientation.

DA: Republican state senator had .14 blood alcohol.

Anti-Gay Lawmaker Reportedly at Gay Club Before DUI Arrest

Liz Cheney still out trying to make the world forget her father was a criminal and deserves to be behind bars. Of course she’s also trying to get people familiar with her face and name so she can swoop in and fill the void that will be left once Sarah Palin’s star finally burns out and fades away. Sarah seems to be on a faster track to burn out than maybe Liz expected so she’s amping up the ol GOP fear card (see above). Liz is amping up the same ol tired argument that we’ve only been safe in this country for 8 short years. Otherwise we’ve always been at risk and unsafe but not when her Daddy was there. Nope. Her Daddy was taking care of us and we should be really, really scared of the other guy in office as he probably has no desire to keep us safe. Hmmmmmmmmmm now if Liz could just get those guys that used to work for her Dear Ol’ Daddy to agree with her and all would be right in the world.

Liz Cheney: Taking flak from the right as well as the left

Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz has become a political lightning rod. Now she’s going after Justice Department lawyers who represented terrorist suspects. Not all conservatives are happy with that.

Like her father before her, Liz Cheney has become a political lightning rod. No surprise, perhaps, but now the sparks are coming from the right as well as the left.

On her “Keep America Safe” website and through conservative media, the former vice president’s daughter most recently has been hammering away at Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantánamo detainees.

The “Al Qaeda Seven,” she calls them, portrayed in silhouettes alongside a photo of Osama Bin Laden and with creepy background music. (More Monitor reporting on the Cheneys’ attacks on Obama here.)

Shades of ‘Tail-Gunner Joe’

This has brought pushback from the left, naturally, generally boiling down to charges of “McCarthyism.”

Writing at Salon, Glenn Greenwald calls the “Al Qaeda Seven” video by Cheney’s group “certainly one of the more repugnant political ads of the last decade, if not the most repugnant.”

“Joseph McCarthy himself couldn’t have done a better job of using fear and insinuations to smear his political enemies,” said People For the American Way president Michael Keegan. “Most Americans understand that McCarthyism was a shameful chapter in American history, but the Cheney wing of the Republican Party seems to have embraced Senator McCarthy’s utter lack of shame.”

But the ad is being criticized from the right as well, including those who have served in Republican administrations. (The Monitor’s Linda Feldmann explored whether Dick Cheney is helping or hurting the GOP. Click here.)

One of these is Peter D. Keisler, assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, who argued in court against lawsuits filed by Guantánamo detainees.

“There is a longstanding and very honorable tradition of lawyers representing unpopular or controversial clients,” Mr. Keisler told the New York Times. “The fact that someone has acted within that tradition, as many lawyers, civilian and military, have done with respect to people who are accused of terrorism – that should never be a basis for suggesting that they are unfit in any way to serve in the Department of Justice.”

Rachel Maddow’s excellent take on Liz Cheney’s “Al Qaeda Seven”:

Then we have Mr. John McCain, still hard at work earning his way back into the party after he let ‘That One’ beat him at the game. John’s sole and primary mission and function in the Republican Party is now nothing more than a daily reminder of how far he’s fallen.

He’s been forced to turn on every single belief or ideal he ever held sacred in order to stand in the way of his former opponent regardless of the damage to his reputation or those Americans he once wanted to do sooooooooooooooo much for.

Report Discredits Letter Waved About By McCain As Evidence Of Military Opposition To DADT Repeal

Although respected military figures such as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Colin Powell have spoken out in favor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), opponents are still insisting that most military commanders believe that gay men and women serving openly in the military would have disastrous consequences.

One of the reports these opponents hide behind is by “Flag and General Officers for the Military.” It’s a letter signed by 1,000 “distinguished retired military leaders” who all say they oppose DADT repeal: “Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal [of the law] on morale, discipline, unit cohesion, and overall military readiness.” On Feb. 2, for example, a “cranky” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “Well, I hope you’ll pay attention to the views of over a thousand retired and flag general officers” when considering whether to repeal DADT. Frank Gaffney, president of conservative Center for Security Policy, cited the letter in a Washington Times op-ed that same day.

However, a new Servicemembers United report obtained in advance by DC Agenda severely undermines the legitimacy of this letter. Some of the problems:

– The average age of the officers is 74. The “oldest living signer is 98, and several signers died in the time since the document was published.” Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson added that only “a small fraction of these officers have even served in the military during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ period, much less in the 21st century military,” so it’s hard to believe that they “know how accepting and tolerant 18- and 21-year-olds are today.”

– “At least one signer, Gen. Louis Menetrey, was deceased when the letter was published and didn’t sign the document himself. According to a footnote on the letter, his wife signed the document for him after his death using power of attorney — six years after Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of the ability to communicate.”

– One signatory said that they “no longer want to be a part of the letter, writing to the organization, ‘I do not wish to be on any list regarding this issue.‘”

– Multiple generals said they “never agreed” to sign the letter in the first place, writing “I never agreed. To represent either side of this issue” and “I do not remember being asked about this issue.”

– At least seven officers “were involved in scandals tarnishing their careers.” Gen. Carl Mundy, for instance, gained negative publicity when he told CBS’s 60 Minutes that “minority officers do not shoot as well as the non-minorities.”

In June 2009, a PBS’s Ray Suarez also did a report on the letter, reporting, “The NewsHour contacted a number of four-star officers requesting an interview for this story. However, none agreed to speak to us on camera. One general expressed surprise his name was even on the list, since he says he had never agreed to sign the letter, and at least three officers listed as signatories are dead.”

McCain Backs ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

McCain appears to shift on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell …

McCain’s DADT Support Letter Signed By A Bunch Of Dead Guys

And they’re still running the Never have we voted using reconciliation for something so important meme because they have nothing else. No good ideas, no compromises, no proposals, no cost cutting measures, nope……nothing…….nada.

So as all good Republicans do………………they just repeat the same old lies and talking points over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and hopefully one of them sticks.

Just watch this short video of each Republican that attended the recent Health Care Summit. You hear any new ideas, any individual thought, any concern for Americans, any facts, any points, any anything? All I hear is there must have been a Powerpoint presentation on the stupidity of Health Care with all these folks in attendance before the summit. Seems they’ve all memorized the same 2 to 4 sentences. I mean this is all seriousness……………….are you flipping kidding me? This is what you brought to the summit?

Media have repeatedly allowed GOP senators to attack use of reconciliation

Media have not challenged GOP criticisms of reconciliation process. Media Matters for America has documented a pattern of journalists uncritically quoting Republican senators criticizing the decision to use reconciliation, without noting that those same senators — including Alexander, McConnell and Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — voted to allow the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation during the Bush administration, including tax cuts.

Congress previously used reconciliation to pass major changes to health care law.
Reconciliation has repeatedly been used to reform health care. On February 24, NPR noted that many “major changes to health care laws” passed via reconciliation. Additionally, during a February 24 broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition, correspondent Julie Rovner quoted George Washington University health policy professor Sara Rosenbaum saying: “In fact, the way in which virtually all of health reform, with very, very limited exceptions, has happened over the past 30 years has been the reconciliation process.”

Congress used reconciliation to pass Medicare Advantage. As part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted through the reconciliation process, Congress — which was controlled by the Republicans at the time — created the “Medicare+Choice Program,” currently known as Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C. The program allows seniors to enroll in HMO-type plans rather than the traditional Medicare fee-for-service plan.

Congress used reconciliation to pass COBRA. As stated on the Department of Labor website, as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, Congress gave “workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances.”

Congress used reconciliation to pass Patient Self-Determination Act. As part of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990, Congress passed the Patient Self-Determination Act, which requires hospitals, nursing homes, HMOs, and other organizations that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to provide information about advance directives and patients’ decision-making rights.

Republicans repeatedly attempted to use reconciliation to pass increase in Medicare eligibility age. The version of the Balanced Budget Act of 1995 introduced by then-Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) using the reconciliation procedure contained a section providing for raising the Medicare eligibility age. As the CRS reported, the provision was stricken from the bill during floor consideration on the basis of a point of order that the provision was “extraneous” to matters appropriate to reconciliation.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 — also introduced through the reconciliation procedure — also included a provision to raise the eligibility age. Fifty Republicans voted in favor of waiving a point of order against the provision that it was extraneous, allowing the provision to remain in the bill. The final version of the bill signed by Clinton did not contain this provision.

GOP used reconciliation to pass Bush tax cuts, welfare reform

GOP used reconciliation to pass Bush’s tax cuts. Republicans used the reconciliation process to pass Bush’s 2001 tax cut, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001; Bush’s 2003 tax cuts, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003; and Bush’s 2005 tax cuts, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the 2001 tax cuts would “reduce projected total surpluses by approximately $1.35 trillion over the 2001-2011 period”; that the 2003 tax cuts would “reduce projected total surpluses by approximately $1.35 trillion over the 2001-2011 period”; and that the 2005 tax cuts would “reduce federal revenues … by $69.1 billion over the 2006-2015 period.”

Republicans repeatedly voted to use reconciliation to pass components of welfare reform. Congress employed the reconciliation process to pass welfare reform in 1996 as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Senate Republicans previously included welfare reform provisions in the Balanced Budget Act of 1995, which Clinton vetoed. As CRS reports, 46 provisions of the bill were deemed extraneous by the Senate’s presiding officer. Fifty-three Republicans voted in favor of a motion to waive the point of order, but the motion — which requires 60 votes — failed on a 53-46 vote.

Barbara Boxer Calls Out Republicans on their continued hypocrisy:

 GOP Goes ‘Nuclear’ w/ Health Reform Distortions

Republican Reconciliation Hypocrisy

 Friday Talking Points [113] — Republican Hypocrisy


First it was too long……..now too short

John Boehner is in full hypocrisy mode this week in preperation for what presumably will be another embarrasing broadcast of the upcoming GOP healthcare summit with the President on Feb 25.

It seems the previous bill was just too damn long in John’s opinion. I mean really, we can’t possiby expect the same jokers that ran for these jobs, were elected to these jobs and are reaping all the perks of the job, to actually DO THE DAMN JOB should we?

C’mon Boehner has Lobbyists to entertain and checks to cash. He can’t waste him time on us and some stupid healthcare bill. Geesh, we’re so selfish.

But wait……..it appears maybe some of Boehner’s time has been freed up now because he suddenly wants more to do. Seems now he has more time. His latest complaint, the latest bill offered up by The White House is now too short.

I guess if all I did was conspire against the other party, conspire against the President, conspire against other Americans and hold press conferences stating that I’m not cooperating with anyone from the other side, then I’d have lots of free time too.

I’m so glad John now has some free time because like it or not Boehner, AMERICANS NEED HEALTHCARE THAT DOESN’T BANKRUPT THEM! We’re paying four your healthcare John! How about you get your butt to work and find a way to do something for US?!


Sarah Palin continues to suffer effects of Palin Hypocrisy Syndrome. Good thing she has free healthcare!

Currently Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are in a custody battle over their son Tripp. Several documents have been filed. First Bristol wanted full custody claiming that Levi might try to capitalize on their son and use him for publicity. She also requested that the entire case be sealed and the custody case to proceed in private. The judge denied that ruling. All documents are open to scrutiny especially when TMZ seems to get possession of them before they are even officially filed. But anyway.

Shortly after the attorney representing Bristol Palin in the custody battle filed those documents, Bristol and her mother Sarah Palin posed for In Touch magazine with both of their sons and Bristol discussed her life with Trip and of course Sarah reminded people she had a choice and chose to have her son Trig too. It should also be mentioned that this same attorney representing Bristol in the custody battle is also Sarah Palin’s personal attorney and the attorney for SarahPAC. Just as you guessed, he made a nice amount of money from SarahPAC in the last quarter of 2009. But I digress, on with the show.

They also made an appearance via satellite from their home in Alaska on the Oprah Show where Bristol made the vow to stay celibate until marriage. It was later learned that Oprah’s production company Harpo footed the bill for Bristol and Sarah’s hair and makeup for the appearance.

In case you don’t see where I’m going with this it seems the Palin family from Mom and Dad right down to the kids have a hypocrisy problem. Bristol once posed on the cover of People magazine in her cap and gown holding her son for a nice sum. Again we were told how tough it is having a baby and being a teenager, especially when when your parents are millionaires and you live at home, but they still expect you take care of the child by yourself.

Bristol’s attorney, most recently filed papers demanding $1,750 a month in child support from Levi Johnston. Attorney Van Flein is also requesting the judge subpoena any and every media outlet that her son’s father Levi might have done interviews with in order to verify his self-reported of income of around $100,000 for 2009. They are also requesting the judge to order Levi to supply Bristol’s attorney anytime he is going to be paid for anything he may do or say. Rumors have it Levi might be in the process of writing a book and Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic seems to be waiting for it.

Interestingly enough Andrew Sullivan and Levi Johnston were both guests a few months back on Joy Behar’s new show on CNN. Andrew mentioned he had a conversation with Levi in the green room. Interestingly enough anytime Andrew reports on Sarah Palin, her son Trig, her use of him as a prop or her hypocrisy over the use of her children, he now ends each post with C’mon Levi Fight Back! Makes me wonder just what Andrew and Levi discussed. Joy’s discussion of Sarah Palin with Andrew Sullivan is worth watching and will your mouth hanging wide open in amazement.

So what else have we for the latest Palin Hypocrisy Tour? Remember how a while back and I’m sure more recently Mrs. Palin kept warning America that any government involvement in providing health care for Americans was nothing more than the governments way of getting rid of people like her son Trig and her parents? You know the evil Government Death Panels! Remember how she decried socialized healthcare. Remember we should not see it as the governments job to provide us with healthcare or take care of us at all. Remember?

I’m sure you also remember how she told us that we need to pull ourselves up and not allow the government to get involved in our lives. Remember don’t expect the government to take care of you? Well, seems the Palin family has no problem with the government in Alaska or the taxpayers to take care of her family. Now I know you’re shocked and you think you might not have read it correctly so I’ll say it this way…………….wait for it……………here it is again………The Palin Family all receive > > >FREE< < < healthcare.

How do we know that? Since filing her latest documents for the custody battle bloggers have been reviewing the documents. Shannyn Moore a liberal radio and television host in Alaska wrote on The Huffington Post that that Bristol Palin’s son Tripp Johnston is enrolled as a tribal member of the Curyung Tribe and receives health care services at the state of the art Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. It seems that Levi requested to have a certain dollar amount deducted each week from his pay to provide Tripp with healthcare, but Bristol and Sarah’s attorney responded that it wouldn’t be necessary due to his enrollment in the free program.

Why do they receive that care? Because Mrs. Palin’s husband Todd is 1/16th native. According to this document it makes not only Todd eligible but his spouse, his children, and now his grandchild. Of course they don’t have to take advantage of this free healthcare considering the millions coming in from the book, paid speeches, paid photo ops, paid magazine spreads, paid pose with Palin photos, etc. But the Palin family takes full advantage as their financial disclosure for 2009 shows.

You might have also noticed the first notation on line 1 for Permanent Fund Dividend of $19,614.00. That’s the combined total of > > >FREE< < < money each member of the Palin family received from the state of Alaska in 2009 thanks to former Governor um, uh, Sarah Palin. So even the youngest in the family little Trip received $3,269.00 just because. Yes each citizen of Alaska gets a big old fat socialist check from the government every year. Alaska also receives more federal dollars in earmarks than any other state.

So we can just add this to the growing list of Palin Hypocrisy Syndrome.

To read more about Todd Palin’s native heritage and his involvement in Native issues HERE. It looks like Todd is suffering symptoms too.

I wonder what will be coming down the pike next.


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