Obama Policy Starts U.S. Down Path To Losing Iraq War

McCain warns of losing fragile gains in Iraq

Obama administration finalizing details to withdraw most troops by 2010

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that security gains in Iraq could be lost if the new administration pulls troops out too quickly, but did not immediately dismiss the feasibility of President Barack Obama’s 19-month timeframe.

The administration was finalizing details this week on a plan that would withdraw most of the 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by August 2010. The proposal would leave as many as 50,000 troops behind to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to protect U.S. interests.

McCain, who lost the presidency to Obama last year, suggested that the timeline — three months longer than Obama’s campaign pledge but shorter than some military officials have advised — was an attempt to strike middle ground. He warned that while the plan might appease Americans weary of war, voters should keep in mind that casualties could continue.

“Let’s also be realistic — advisers in any conflict are in harms’ way,” he told an audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

In his speech, McCain outlined steps the U.S. should take to win the war in Afghanistan, including spending more to develop the country’s infrastructure and end the drug trade. He also suggested that the U.S. create an international fund to pay to expand the size of the Afghanistan army.

Since losing his White House bid to Obama, McCain has returned to Congress as the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29391388

Obama’s Mortgage Rescue Plan: Half of ‘rescued’ borrowers still default

Half of ‘rescued’ borrowers still default

Many modified mortgages in 2008 defaulted in 6 months, a top federal regulator says. A new study raises concerns over the quality of such loan adjustments.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than half of delinquent homeowners whose mortgages were modified earlier this year ended up redefaulting within six months, a top bank regulator said Monday.

Some 53% of borrowers with loans modified in the first three months of 2008 and 51% of those with loans modified in the second quarter could not keep up with payments within six months, according to U.S. Comptroller John Dugan, who spoke at a housing conference.

The report, which will be released in full next week, covers nearly 35 million loans worth a total of $6 trillion – or 60% of all primary mortgages in the United States.

The high redefault rate raises concerns about the long-term effectiveness of loan modifications, which many are pushing as a key solution to the nation’s financial crisis.

A record 1.35 million homes are in foreclosure, while the number of borrowers who have fallen behind on their payments soared to a record 6.99%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said last week.

Dugan said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is asking servicers for more details on the loans in his report to determine what went wrong. He wants to know whether the modifications reduced the monthly payments to affordable levels or whether the borrowers had too much other debt to keep their head above water.

“These answers are important, because they have important ramifications for the foreclosure crisis and how policymakers should address loan modifications, as they surely will in the coming weeks and months,” Dugan said.

Other regulators speaking at the conference questioned the quality of the loan modifications, saying that early efforts to restructure loans were not very effective. Many simply tacked on the missed payments and penalties to the end of the loan.

“The quality of the modifications are not what they should be,” said FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair.  Verifying income is very important. (McAuleys World: No kidding! – Who put these people in charge? – Verifying income should be the first thing that is done! If we keep repeating what got us here in the first place – we will never get out of this mess)

Other regulators said that federal money may be better spent on economic stimulus and job creation since a growing number of foreclosures are caused by unemployment. In those cases, loan modifications won’t help.

“I have to wonder whether or not focusing on job creation..is a better way to focus federal dollars than on a loan modification process that may be only partially effective,” said John Reich, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/08/news/economy/mortgage_summit/index.htm?postversion=2008120917

Reworked mortgages not working

Even after help, homeowners end up back in default

More than half of delinquent borrowers who had their mortgages reworked earlier this year to avoid foreclosure were behind on their new loan payments after just six months, a federal regulator said yesterday.

John C. Dugan, US comptroller of the currency, told a housing forum yesterday that data his agency is collecting show the increase in repeat defaults by homeowners is “remarkably high.”

“Put simply, it shows that over half of the loan modifications seemed not to be working after six months,” Dugan said.

The findings raise several major questions for government and lending industry executives as they struggle for a fix to the nation’s foreclosure crisis: Are lenders not doing enough to modify loans so delinquent borrowers can afford them? Or, are too many borrowers just not cut out to be homeowners and shouldn’t be bailed out of their debts?

Even an increasingly popular proposal floated by the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to refinance as many as 2.2 million troubled homeowners into affordable, fixed-rate mortgages estimates as many as a third, or about 700,000, could fall behind again by the end of 2009.

Other specialists said the problem is as much the homeowners. Paul Willen, an analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said too many borrowers simply cannot afford to own their homes.

“Many of the people in the foreclosure process are in deep, deep trouble. They are not a modified loan away from financial happiness,” said Willen. “Many people who are heading into foreclosure don’t need a modification, they need an exit strategy.”

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/12/09/reworked_mortgages_not_working/?page=1

John Coleman has dedicated his life to studying weather and the science that creates it—so shouldn’t we at least hear him out?

If the debate over climate change is closed, why is John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, still trying to prove it’s all a scam?

Well over a quarter-million weathercasts—that’s the ballpark figure the 74-year-old founding father of the Weather Channel guesses he’s probably performed in his 55 years in the business. Today, as for the past 15 years, he’s chalked up another weathercast like it’s his job, because it is. This, he tells me, is the best time of his career.

Which seems odd, because in the past few years, he’s admittedly become mad as hell. Coleman is angry because he believes we have been brainwashed into thinking we’re ruining our own planet. He wants to let us off the hook, and give us some good news for a change, because, you see, John Coleman says that climate change is a scam.

If you consume mainstream media, odds are you’re not hearing much debate about climate change these days. We’re told the debate is effectively over. Scientists say so, too. It’s our consumption that continues to ruin our planet’s environmental health, so there’s no longer time to debate—it’s time to act. Every time we do anything, like flip on a light switch or charge an iPod or turn on the A/C, we’re contributing to the release of greenhouse gases, and so the oceans rise and that’s a problem for the polar bears and, well, you know—something like that. It may be difficult to explain, but we know the state of the environment is bad. Most recently, in fact, we were told that the effects of man-made climate change are all but irreversible. [McAuleys World – The debate over “Global Warming is hardly over – In fact 1000’s of reputable Scientists dispute these theories]

John Coleman has dedicated his life to studying weather and the science that creates it—so shouldn’t we at least hear him out?

So, yes, the debate is over. And yet for some reason, somewhere outside the fray, the weather sage John Coleman decided it shouldn’t be. That we’d been hoodwinked. That it was still worth talking about. So a year and a half ago, determined he’d heard enough of the noise and the Al Gore and the polar bears, he threw his voice into the conversation.

When Coleman posted his first climate change brief online, he was surprised by the attention it got. “I thought I was the only one,” he says. “I started finding that there were plenty of people out there, it’s just that the media was ignoring them and the place to find them was on these little corners of the internet.” In May, 2008, an organization called the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released a petition at the National Press Club, with the signatures of 31,000 scientists rejecting the U.N. consensus of man-made climate change. 9000 of the names belong to Ph.Ds.

Encouraged, he delivered a speech last March at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York where he said that Al Gore and others selling carbon credits should be sued for fraud. His hope, he said, was that the publicity from such a suit would potentially debunk climate change in a court room instead of waiting for the media to do its supposed due diligence.

So is he a crank—Willard Scott with an agenda that goes beyond hooky old-school weatherman shtick? Coleman’s life has been dedicated to studying and presenting weather and the science that creates it—so shouldn’t we at least hear him out? He thinks we should, and he has supporters. He says the science we’ve digested is erroneous.

Coleman saw An Inconvenient Truth on DVD and he says he made it all the way through, but “not without screaming.”

Among other things, it took drowning polar bears and the internet to get John Coleman firing on all cylinders. “Gradually there’s this build-up, this hysteria about global warming,” he says. “The Al Gore book comes out. The Al Gore movie comes out and starts winning awards. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gets headline news status and starts issuing its predictions. The media is clamoring aboard and the next thing I know, it’s headline news every day, everywhere. And I’ve been studying it, reading stuff, and looking at it, and can’t figure out what the heck they’re talking about.”

What “they” are talking about, and we have heard much about is that climate change is one of greatest challenges we face in our lifetime and that humankind is generally fucking up everything imaginable involving air, water, and land. John Coleman says it’s perpetrated by the media who loves it some Gore. “You’ve got Al Gore. You’ve got the environmentalists. And then all the networks come aboard, because they love gloom and doom, the-end-is-near,” he says. “From Y2K to killer bees—God, give us something to tell people their lives are coming to an end—cancer scare, HIV, whatever we’ve got—let’s go, Man, scare the hell out of people,” he says. “This is awful. Shame on them, scaring people. That’s deplorable.”

According to Coleman, the media is biased and sloppy and perpetuates the climate change myth. “Has Larry King called me? Oh no. Has 60 Minutes been interested in our side of the story? Oh no. 20/20? Oh no.” Coleman continues: “I’ve been totally ignored by ABC, NBC, CBS—put down by CNN.” He has been interviewed by FOX News and also by Glenn Beck, who, he says, “used me as part of his rant.”

Coleman seethed. Soon thereafter, he posted a missive on KUSI.com’s “Coleman’s Corner.”

“So I get indignant and I write that blog and throw it on the website,” he says. “That’s kind of totally absorbed my life since.”

Sitting at our table overlooking Montgomery Field, a regional airport, just a few miles north of downtown San Diego late last spring. With the distant whir of single-engine props in the background, John Coleman tells me that all anyone really needs to know about the climate change scam is carbon dioxide.

“Environmentalists, they think CO2 is a pollutant,” he says, and then makes an act of exhaling. “There’s a little pollution for you,” he says, and then points in the general vicinity of vegetation that isn’t looking all that vibrant (unless brown is vibrant). “See that bush beside you there? It’d be dead without CO2.” Without CO2, he says, “We wouldn’t have any food. Humans couldn’t exist. CO2 is vital to life.” He pauses for a moment and then raises his voice an octave. “My God! Calling that a pollutant? Ridiculous.”

Coleman acknowledges that carbon dioxide continues to build up in the atmosphere. In 1958, he says, the CO2 atmospheric level was 315 parts per million. Today CO2 is 385 parts per million—more than a 20 percent increase. If you’re making a case for a direct correlation between increased atmospheric CO2 levels and climate change, you’re saying the increased CO2 is causing changes in ocean chemistry, which in turn is changing the entire climate equation.

“It’s a trace. How does that destroy the planet?” says Coleman. “And they publish their papers and scream and the media says, Oh God, the end is near! And it’s all baloney; there isn’t anything to it. It turns out to be sheer folly. But it all comes back to CO2—they haven’t got anything else.”

“Have temperatures gone up? No. Is global warming sweeping the planet? No. Is the ice melting at the poles? No. Is there any proof that it’s creating significant impact? No. Can you produce a computer model that predicts that it will? Oh yeah, anyone can manipulate a computer model, and they have.”

Of course, the prevailing wisdom is that yes, temperatures have gone up, that ice is melting, and that the scientists assessing climate data aren’t doing so with malicious intent. Attempting to debunk those who are attempting to debunk climate change, as it turns out, is complicated.

Coleman gives speaking engagements he says are well received, but won’t accept invitations from the petroleum industry. “They all invite me, because they are so tired of being the bad boys of global warming. So they want to have me come tell them they’re not bad boys,” he says. “And they want to give me money.” Coleman says he’s pro-alternative energy, because it’s a natural progression—not because of climate change, he says.

http://www.good.is/?p=14864&GT1=48001

Mexico Violence Spills Into US – County Attorney Claims 400 Kidnappings In Phoenix, AZ in 2008 – Democrats In Congress Fail To Act

According to the County Attorney for Maricopa County, Arizona (by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas | December 3rd, 2008 ) – Phoenix law enforcement says that Phoenix has now become “”ground zero”” for the violent Mexican drug cartels. There has been a 325% increase in kidnapping for ransom cases in Maricopa County since 2005.

Kidnappings for ransom are increasing in Arizona, as drug cartels and “”coyotes,”” or human smugglers, hold their own customers and other victims for ransom. Special interest groups that favor looking the other way when it comes to illegal immigration insist that illegal immigrants are peaceful, but this naïve outlook doesn’t take into account the violence that inevitably accompanies illegal immigration. This latest wave of violence hitting Arizona puts women and children at risk as they are frequently targeted as hostages and held for ransom. At the same time, combating this new type of Latin American-style violence is increasing the load on our justice system and straining our financial resources.

Powerful illegal drug cartels used to be considered a Latin American phenomenon, limited to countries like Colombia where drug dealers control the government. In recent years, the drug cartels have moved northward illegally into Mexico, turning Mexico into the kidnapping capital of the world. Over 4,400 people have been killed in drug cartel wars in Mexico this year. But the violence hasn’t stopped there. It has continued to move north, as the drug cartels and coyotes found a profitable market crossing the border illegally into the U.S. Phoenix law enforcement says that Phoenix has now become “”ground zero”” for the violent Mexican drug cartels.

Police estimate that over 300 kidnappings are investigated each year in Phoenix. So far this year we’ve had more than 200 referred to our office by law enforcement. There are more that go unreported, because many victims fear retribution from the drug cartels.

Looking the other way at illegal immigration and making excuses to avoid dealing with its associated crime by saying it is the federal government’s responsibility will not stop the coyotes and drug cartels from bringing their Latin American-style violence into the U.S. The federal government is still doing little in this area to protect us. As long as I am County Attorney, I will work to protect the residents of Maricopa County from this new wave of violence.

http://www.firecoalition.com/forum/yaf_postst3711_Kidnappings-Latin-America-Style-Violence-Sweeping-Arizona.aspx

http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2008/12/03/kidnappings-latin-america-style-violence-sweeping-arizona/

Las Vegas, Nevada has also seen an increase in the number of drug gang related kidnappings: “Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer, disappeared in May after stealing millions of dollars related to “major drug trafficking,” authorities have said, and investigators think Cole’s kidnapping was intended to send him a message. Tinnemeyer was already at the center of a federal investigation when Cole was kidnapped, Nichols testified. “There was on ongoing investigation involving a ton of money, a ton of drugs and a Mexican cartel that was serious about getting that money back,” he said. http://www.lvrj.com/news/33564389.html

Maricopa County Attorney Asks why National Guard on Border

Retreated from Armed Gunmen

Maricopa County County Attorney Andrew Thomas called for an inquiry by Congress and the Arizona legislature into the circumstances surrounding last week’s reported retreat by National Guard troops along the Mexican border after they were confronted by four armed gunmen from Mexico. This development was troubling given that Valley streets increasingly are being flooded with crime, drugs and violence flowing from the open border with Mexico. The Border Patrol acknowledged last week that National Guard troops abandoned a post along the Arizona border after being threatened by armed men entering from Mexico. This confrontation occurred along a porous border where drug lords and their gangs operate freely. http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2007/01/10/maricopa-county-attorney-asks-why-national-guard-on-border-retreated-from-armed-gunmen-2/

Of the 46,000 arrests made in Maricopa County last year, 6,000 involved illegal aliens. 120 arrests were made for the illegal summgling of human beings. http://www.mayorgordon.com/news/view.cfm?id=483420746

Latin America-style kidnappings move into Ariz. – http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-11-smuggler-kidnappings_N.htm 

PHOENIX — A woman leaving an eyeglass store is grabbed in the parking lot by four men who force her, kicking and screaming, into a pickup. The kidnappers demand a $900,000 ransom.

PHOENIX (Reuters) – The criminal underworld in the sun-baked Arizona capital of Phoenix has long enjoyed the hot money profits from illicit smuggling of drugs and people over the border from Mexico. But now its members are living in fear as they are stalked by kidnappers after their proceeds, authorities say. Police in the desert city say specialized kidnap rings are snatching suspected criminals and their families from their homes, running them off the roads and even grabbing them at shopping malls in a spiraling spate of abductions.”Phoenix is ground zero for illegal narcotics smuggling and illegal human smuggling in the United States,” said Phil Roberts, a Phoenix Police Department detective. http://www.tigardtimes.com/us_world_news/story.php?story_id=TRE4979VW

PHOENIX – Phoenix police have arrested a suspect wanted in the kidnapping of a teenage girl. 

Thomas was in a southwest Phoenix neighborhood Monday evening with other children and adults when an SUV with a strobe light on its front grill pulled up and two men armed with assault-style rifles and another two with handguns exited the vehicle. Two of the gunmen had utility belts that witnesses described as resembling the gun belts worn by police officers. Despite the strobe light and belts, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said the kidnappers never claimed to be police officers. http://ktar.com/index.php?hlpage=8&nid=6&sid=770438

Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are smuggled through Arizona from Mexico, most heading on to join relatives living and working in the shadows in towns and cities across the United States. The desert state also straddles a furiously trafficked corridor for drugs, especially marijuana, more than 400 tons of which were seized last year by the U.S. Border Patrol alone. Profits from the two crimes amount to billions of dollars.

In one recent kidnapping, a 14-year-old girl from south Phoenix was mistakenly picked up on the street by a gun-toting snatch squad looking for the daughter of a known drug dealer. The girl was subsequently released by her captors. “She happened to be standing outside in front of the home … they grabbed her in broad daylight … threw her in the vehicle and took off,” said Roberts. “Here is the perfect example of a young girl who has nothing to do with this, her family has nothing to do with this, she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”                                                                                                       http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4979VW20081008?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Man kidnapped from Phoenix store, police ask for your help. http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story/Man-kidnapped-from-Phoenix-store-police-ask for/ktkfLTjEk0ygMqGoNh_L0A.cspx

Phoenix police uncover organized crime ring

Police raided a Phoenix tire business Wednesday after receiving reports that the owner and employees were involved in organized crime, including armed robberies, home invasions and kidnappings across the Phoenix metro area. The owner, Manuel Torres, 39, was arrested in court Wednesday while facing other criminal charges, police said.  http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/hourlyupdate/275015.php

Oh Please! Obama & Democrats Reconsider Buying “Bad Mortagages” with Taxpayor Money

The latest Plan(s) from the Obama Administrtion change quicker than the press can publish the reports ……. Read these two stories as an example:
UPDATE 1-US financial plan won’t include “bad bank” – CNBC – http://www.cnbc.com/id/29109451
UPDATE 2-US plan to have some form of “bad bank” – CNBC  – http://www.cnbc.com/id/29110755
Obama and the current Democratic Adminstration in Congress (The Same Democratic Administration that has controlled Congress these last 4 years and created this mess in the first place) have decided to create a plan to buy “bad mortgages” with Taxpayor monies and then, get this, reduce the mortagage principle owed on the original mortagage before reselling the mortage to the same party who defaulted in the first place.
That is right, while you struggle to make ends meet and pay your mortgage, your tax dollars will be spent to help purchase a home for someone who obtained a “NINJA” or “LIAR” loan they couldn’t afford in the first place and while your stuck with the “current value” of your home – the realestate scammers who brought this mess on will get the benefit of your tax dollars to “payoff” any loss on the “investment” they conned the bank out of in the first place.
Some of you may be thinking, “What the Hell is Obama talking about now? Didn’t he attack John McCain for suggesting the same thing just a couple of months ago?”. The Answer, yes he did!
It was a bad idea then, when McCain suggested it. It is a bad idea now when Obama wants to pretend he thought of it first!
October 9, 2008, 1:41 pm <!– — Updated: 1:58 pm –>

Obama Calls McCain Mortgage Plan ‘Risky’

DAYTON – Returning to some of his tough, pre-debate language, Barack Obama this afternoon condemned John McCain’s plan for the government to buy bad home mortgages as “McCain’s bailout” for risk-taking banks and lenders, and described his approach to the financial crisis as “risky” and “erratic,” a word Mr. Obama used twice. 
 

Obama calls McCain mortgage plan ill-advised

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Democrat Barack Obama told Ohio voters Thursday that Republican John McCain’s mortgage buyout plan would cost them billions of dollars and reward bad behavior.  Obama said McCain’s plan would force the government to absorb the full cost of renegotiating mortgages to keep borrowers from losing their homes. 
Obama rejects McCain’s plan to buy mortgages

McCain’s proposal to spend $300 billion in federal funds to buy distressed mortgages was a highlight of Tuesday’s presidential debate, and it seemed to catch Obama off guard. At first, Obama’s campaign said he had made similar proposals and there was nothing new in McCain’s remarks.

But after McCain aides offered more details Wednesday, Obama’s campaign shifted gears.

The plan would cause the government “to massively overpay for mortgages in a plan that would guarantee taxpayers lose money, and put them at risk of losing even more if home values don’t recover,” Obama economic adviser Jason Furman said in a statement. “The biggest beneficiaries of this plan will be the same financial institutions that got us into this mess, some of whom even committed fraud.”

McCain’s proposal would devote nearly half the $700 billion from the recent financial rescue package to buying troubled mortgages directly, rather than indirectly aiding the nation’s financial markets. The government would buy distressed home loans at their face value, said campaign spokesman Brian Rogers. Then it would pay the difference between a mortgage’s original value and its renegotiated, lower value.

McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said Obama’s objections suggested he would rather “support a bailout of Wall Street than rescue Main Street America.”

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Oct08/0,4670,Obama,00.html

Sen. Obama went on the offensive today ripping into Sen. McCain’s mortgage buy-out plan in which the US Treasury would begin buying up bad mortgages and dealing with the homeowners directly.

http://www.youdecidepolitics.com/2008/10/09/obama-rips-mccains-ill-advised-mortgage-plan/

REMEMBER, JUST 21 MONTHS TILL ELECTION DAY! 

Revised Stimulus Plan Still Contains “Health Care Rationing” Provision – Where are you Senator Specter?

Despite his repeated assuarnces on TV that the provision would be removed from the stimulus bill – it still remains.

Isn’t your word any good Senator?

The language in question isn’t even remotedly related to “stimulating the ecomony” in the first palce – so the language/spending has no place in this bill.

This item should make its way through the Congress in the normal fashion and be subject to open and agressive debate – not smuggled past the American public in the dead of night.

A brief review of the provision follows – excerpted form the National Review On Line – the full article can be reviewed here: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=N2Y1ZTg5MDk4ZmE3MjU2MjBiMzk0ZjJhNTdiNmE5YmI=

The Stimulus and Health Care    [James C. Capretta]

The massive amount of spending in the so-called “stimulus” bill is startling, yes—but entirely predictable given the way the bill was set in motion.

There’s now $20 billion in new discretionary appropriations for HHS in the bill (not counting the HIT funding and Medicaid), and there is no real theme to any of it—other than more, pretty much across the board. $2.1 billion for Head Start. $0.5 billion for the NIH campus. $1.5 for university research facilities. $1.5 billion for NIH research grants. A $3.0 billion wellness fund. And on and on.

What’s just as troubling is the large number of far-reaching policy changes tucked away in the bill.

For instance, the Democratic majority is laying the foundation for government rationing of health care—and the public has heard virtually nothing about it.

The bill provides $1.1 billion for a new program of comparative effectiveness research. The idea is to study medical practice patterns, new products, and new technology to determine what is “cost effective.” In the UK, a similar program run by the National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE) is used to deny payment by the government for certain drugs and procedures that are said to be “cost ineffective.”

Democratic lawmakers will deny that rationing is their intent, but that is not credible. Why create a government program to study what’s cost effective if not to use the information to inform payment and coverage decisions? The problem is that this kind of research inevitably includes value judgments (how much is an extra year of life worth?) and interpreting the data is more art than science. In the wrong hands (like a distant government bureaucracy), so-called effectiveness research can be very dangerous indeed. (MCAULEYSWORLD: WORSE YET – MEDICAL DEVISE MANUFACTURERS OR MEDICATION RESEARCHERS CAN INFLUENCE THE SYSTEM WITH THEIR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AS HAS BEEN DONE IN THE PAST)

James C. Capretta is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a health policy and research consultant.

Stimulus Bill Raises Concerns Over Government Rationing of Health Care
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – Two provisions in President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan could give the federal government the authority to oversee the medical decisions made between doctors and patients, critics warn, which could result in the rationing of health care.
The bill provides $3 billion to computerize health records, a measure intended to cut costs and reduce medical errors. Language in the stimulus bill calls for “the utilization of an electronic health record (EHR) for each person in the United States by 2014.”
Further, the legislation also spends $1.1 billion to establish a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which would serve as an umbrella group for all federal health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP, and veterans’ care, with 15 members from various federal agencies making determinations about health care needs and cost-effective treatments. 
 
According to the bill, the secretary of Health and Human Services “shall seek to improve the use of electronic health records and health care quality over time by requiring more stringent measures of meaningful use” by health care providers.
 
The bill also indicates that a doctor who is not a “meaningful EHR user” in terms of using patients’ health records to provide the most cost-efficient coverage could face penalties

This will require the establishment of the office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The new office ‘‘provides appropriate information to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care,” according to the language in the bill.

One problem critics note is that the electronic medical records will be mandatory.
 
“I am not against electronic records,” Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, told CNSNews.com. “I am against coercing doctors to limit care. I certainly do not support vague guidelines. E-records are fine as long as they are not mandatory.”
 
McCaughey, an adjunct senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, told CNSNews.com there is “no question” that the goal is to ration health care to control costs. That is achieved, she said, by first putting every individual in a medical treatment database, and secondly by putting the new effectiveness council in charge of providing doctors with guidelines for how to most effectively treat those patients based on the data.
 
“The powers of the secretary of Health and Human Services are so vague as to raise constitutional questions,” McCaughey said. “The guidelines of what is cost effective could penalize doctors for providing too much care. Treatment decisions guided by the information in the database could determine if a doctor is providing inappropriate care, or excessive care, which would be defined as giving more care to one patient than other patients. This is harmful to patients.”

Though the bill, still under final revision in Congress, states that privacy of electronic health records will be protected, Sue Blevin, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, is concerned that there is not an opt-out for people who choose not to have their records computerized and entered into the national network.
 
“Without those protections, Americans’ electronic health records could be shared – without their consent – with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health records network,” Blevin said in a statement.

“Unless people have the right to decide if and when their health information is shared or whether to participate in research studies, they don’t have a true right to privacy.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=43358

Obama & Democrats Blow More Smoke Up Your Ass – Executive Pay/Bonus Limitations Dropped From Stimulus

So, after spending last weekend playing to the liberal media and launching a tidal wave of 10 second sound bites attacking the Bankers the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress continues to bail out – yes the same Democratic bankers who ran Fannie, Freddie, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and AIG ( Oh, you didn’t know they were Democrats, what a surprise, you must read the Main Stream Media)  – The OBAMA ADMINSTRATION AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS HAVE DROPPED EVERY PROVISION IN THE BAILOUT BILL 2 (Now called Stimulus 2) THAT WOULD LIMIT EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION OR BONUSES – That is right! Every single provision that would limit the Executive Compensation paid by your tax dollars, every provision that would limit Executive Bonus/Perk payouts or curtail the purchase or lease of Corporate Jets has been eliminated from the Stimulus/Bailout. THAT IS RIGHT – AFTER ALL THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS – EVERY SINGLE PROVISION HAS BEEN DROPPED BY OBAMA HIS ADMISTRATION AND THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS. So exactly what was all the chest thumping about while the cameras were on …. politics, pure poltics.  http://coloradoindependent.com/21333/executive-pay-cap-could-get-axe-in-stimulus-negotiations

Why did this happen? If you believe the bogus explanation “unamed” Democrats in Congress are offerring, it is because they, the Democrats, did not want to lose “the tax revenue generated by the payouts”. That is rich! 100’s of billions in bonus payments made out of trillions of dollars in tax payor’s money to collect a few million in taxes. Do you believe that expanation? Are you that stupid? 

The real reason – the people receiving the bonus payments made possible through our tax dollars are big name Democratoic Party Loyalists who grease the right palms come campaign contribution time.

http://coloradoindependent.com/21333/executive-pay-cap-could-get-axe-in-stimulus-negotiations

Who pays? You already know who pays ………

Only 21 months to election day ……….. 

 

Executive pay cap could get axe in stimulus negotiations

 By Mike Lillis 2/11/09 10:49 AM

Citing unnamed Democratic officials, The Associated Press reports that there’s “pressure” on Congress to drop the executive pay limits for bailed-out banks as lawmakers reconcile the differences between the House and Senate stimulus bills.

The reason? It would cost taxpayers too much.

 

That’s right — the federal government has lent or guaranteed trillions to Wall Street firms, many of which remain reluctant to lend the cash, and Congress might drop the executive pay cap because the $10.8 billion it would cost in lost tax revenue over 10 years (as scored by the Congressional Budget Office) is too much.

So: No conditions on lending. No restrictions on executive pay. It looks more and more like The Onion got it right when it said this bailout cash is being dumped into a hole in New Mexico.

http://coloradoindependent.com/21333/executive-pay-cap-could-get-axe-in-stimulus-negotiations

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