September 8, 2010
by Nile Gardiner
Democrats in Congress are no longer asking themselves whether this is going to be a bad election year for them and their party. They are asking whether it is going to be a disaster. The GOP pushed deep into Democratic-held territory over the summer, to the point where the party is well within range of picking up the 39 seats it would need to take control of the House. Overall, as many as 80 House seats could be at risk, and fewer than a dozen of these are held by Republicans.
Political handicappers now say it is conceivable that the Republicans could also win the 10 seats they need to take back the Senate. Not since 1930 has the House changed hands without the Senate following suit.
Is this a piece from National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal or Fox News.com, all major conservative news outlets in the United States? No. It’s a direct quote from yesterday’s Washington Post, usually viewed by conservatives as a flagship of the liberal establishment inside the Beltway. The fact The Post is reporting that not only could Republicans sweep the House of Representatives this November, but may even take the Senate as well, is a reflection of just how far the mainstream, overwhelmingly left-of-centre US media has moved in the last month towards acknowledging the scale of the crisis facing the White House.
To its credit, The Washington Post has generally been ahead of the curve compared to its main competitors such as The New York Times in reporting President Obama’s travails, but its striking front page coverage of the “Democrats’ plight” and talk of a possible GOP Senate win (regarded as fantasy just a fortnight ago) was a bold step for a publication that is probably read in every office of the Obama administration.
The Post also ran another headline yesterday on its front page – “Republicans making gains ahead of midterm elections” – which would undoubtedly have sent a shudder through the White House. It carried a new poll commissioned jointly with ABC News, which showed public faith in Barack Obama’s leadership has fallen to an all-time low, with just 46 percent approval. The Washington Post-ABC News survey revealed high levels of public unease with President Obama’s handling of the economy, with 57 percent of Americans disapproving, and 58 percent critical of his handling of the deficit.
For most of the year, America’s political and media elites, including the Obama team itself, have touted the notion of an economic recovery (which never materialised), significantly underestimated the rise of the Tea Party movement, and questioned the notion that conservatism was sweeping America. It is only now hitting home just how close Washington is to experiencing a political revolution in November that will fundamentally change the political landscape on Capitol Hill, with huge implications for the Obama presidency. What was once a perspective confined largely to Fox News, online conservative news sites, or talk radio is now gaining ground in the liberal US print media as well – historic change is coming to America, though not quite the version promised by Barack Obama.
April 16, 2010
by Sam Youngman
President Barack Obama struck a hyperpartisan note Thursday, telling Democrats that he was “amused” by the Tax Day Tea Party rallies.
Obama, addressing a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser in Miami, did little to endear himself to the Tea Party groups protesting around the country, saying “they should be saying thank you” because of the tax cuts he has signed into law.
The president went as far as to say that this week’s special election in Florida, which was won by Democrat Ted Deutch, was portrayed by Republicans as “a referendum on healthcare, a referendum on the stimulus.”
“And you know what, it was,” Obama said to applause.
Obama continued to dare Republicans to run on a platform of repealing healthcare reform, telling the audience “they won’t be very successful.”
Despite the president’s confidence, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine told the crowd that they should assume that Democrats are “running into a headwind” in the November midterms.
Kaine said Democrats, who gathered at one of two fundraisers that raised about $2.5 million for the party, are the underdogs this year.
“You don’t mind being the underdog, you don’t mind running into a headwind, you don’t mind an uphill race,” Kaine said. “You don’t mind being the underdog. Becasue that’s what Democrats do. We are the underdogs.”
Obama also continued to try to make the case that a vote against financial regulatory reform is a vote on behalf of Wall Street and against Main Street.
“Every member of Congress is soon going to have to make a decision, but the choice is going to be very simple between special interests and the American people,” Obama said.
The president was returning to Washington on Thursday night.
April 14, 2010
A watchdog panel overseeing the financial bailouts says the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage aid program lags well behind the foreclosure crisis and leaves too many families out.
The Congressional Oversight Panel says in a report released Wednesday that the administration projects only one million families will end up with lower monthly payments as a result of the program. The report says six million families are more than two months behind with their payments, and 200,000 more families receive foreclosure notices each month.
A year and a half after launching the program, “Treasury is still fighting to get its foreclosure programs off the ground,” Elizabeth Warren, who heads the independent panel set up by Congress, told reporters Tuesday.
Warren warned that borrowers who have their monthly payments lowered as a result of the program still could lose their homes because the payments remain high and many Americans are facing new financial strains.
“Redefault signals the single worst form of failure” by the Treasury Department, said Warren, who is a professor at Harvard Law School. “Billions of taxpayer dollars will be spent and families will nonetheless lose their homes.”
The main program gives money to mortgage investors and collection companies that reduce borrowers’ monthly payments.
Treasury highlighted the panel’s finding that the administration has continued adjusting and expanding the program as the crisis deepens.
“We strongly agree with the (panel’s) assessment that foreclosures are at an unacceptable high rate, which is why this program has been designed to prevent avoidable foreclosures,” Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said in a statement. She said the program was not designed to prevent every foreclosure, and “we cannot help those who simply bought a home
they could not afford.”
The report comes a day after top banking industry executives expressed skepticism about a new plan designed to help troubled borrowers by forgiving a portion of their debt.
The executives told lawmakers on Tuesday they are reducing the amount that troubled borrowers owe on their home loans only in limited cases. That’s because consumers who are paying their mortgages on time are likely to see such reductions as unfair, they said.
Such programs “could raise issues of fairness,” said Sanjiv Das, Citigroup’s top mortgage executive, who appeared in front of the House Financial Services committee with top executives from Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase.
David Lowman, chief executive of Chase’s mortgage business, told lawmakers that large-scale mortgage principal reduction “could be harmful to consumers, investors and future mortgage market conditions.”
Chase estimates that reducing home loan balances so that no homeowners would owe more than the value of their homes would cost up to $900 billion, with $150 billion of that borne by the government.
Many homeowners aren’t satisfied. After the hearing was over, dozens of activists from the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America chased Lowman through the marble-floored hallways of the Rayburn House Office Building, pressing him to do more to help troubled homeowners.
He did not respond to their requests for a meeting and eventually left the building with the assistance of police.
The four mortgage companies represented at the hearing are the largest in the country and have come under fire for not doing enough to help borrowers as part of the Obama administration’s $75 billion mortgage relief program.
Through March, more than 230,000 homeowners have completed loan modifications. That’s about 21 percent of the 1.1 million borrowers who began the program over the past year, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.
Last month, the administration expanded the program, launching a plan to reduce the amount some troubled borrowers owe on their home loans and give jobless homeowners a temporary break. But the details of those programs are expected to take months to work out.
President Barack Obama’s housing secretary, Shaun Donovan, said in a speech to a group of mortgage bankers Tuesday that administration did not foresee how much effort it would take for the mortgage industry to launch the program.
Many mortgage companies, he said, “were too slow to make the investments in systems and staff needed” to put the program in place. But he noted that many families are getting relief.
Republicans, however, say the Obama administration should abandon the effort and focus on creating jobs.
“The market needs to find its own footing free of government intervention and manipulation so we can revive our economy and get on with a full housing market recovery,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the committee’s senior Republican.
April 14, 2010
by Bruce Drake
Nearly seven out of 10 likely voters in this year’s election disapprove of the job that Congress has been doing this year, and both parties on Capitol Hill get almost equally high negatives, according to a George Washington University Battleground poll conducted April 5-8.
Sixty-eight percent overall disapprove of the performance of Congress, with 59 percent saying they “strongly” disapprove. Twenty-five percent approve and 11 percent are undecided.
Fifty-seven percent disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing and 59 percent disapprove of the performance of congressional Republicans.
Asked whether they would vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate in their district, 41 percent chose the Republican and 40 percent chose the Democrat, with 18 percent undecided. Two polls released yesterday came up with different results. Gallup said the Republicans held a 48 percent to 44 percent advantage on a generic congressional ballot while CNN/Opinion Research had the Democrats ahead, 50 percent to 46 percent.
Obama fared better than lawmakers, with 50 percent approving of his performance and 36 percent disapproving, with 7 percent undecided. But as a mark of how intense some of the opposition to him is, 40 percent put themselves in the camp of “strongly” disapproving of his performance.
When it came to who voters thought would better handle a range of issues, the Republicans tended to come out on top of both congressional Democrats and Obama on controlling wasteful spending, controlling the deficit, holding down taxes and promoting a strong national defense.
Voters put more faith in congressional Democrats on turning the economy around, reforming health care, promoting energy independence, creating jobs, and reforming Wall Street. They also came out on top by 45 percent to 40 percent on which party voters felt shared their values and by 41 percent to 32 percent when it came to “getting things done.” The balance of voters either gave the same marks to both parties, said they didn’t think either party would do better or were undecided.
The results were somewhat the same when the choice was between Obama and congressional Republicans, but Obama did not do as well as Democratic lawmakers on some of the measures. On turning the economy around, Obama and Hill Republicans were statistically tied, with Obama leading 42 percent to 41 percent, while congressional Democrats had a five-point advantage. The same was true on the “sharing your values” question, where Obama edged Republicans by only 44 percent to 32 percent, compared to the five-point advantage enjoyed by congressional Democrats.
By Sharyl Attkisson
(CBS) Few would argue with the U.S. having a presence at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. But wait until you hear what we found about how many in Congress got all-expense paid trips to Denmark on your dime.
CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports that cameras spotted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the summit. She called the shots on who got to go. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and embattled Chairman of the Tax Committee Charles Rangel were also there.
They were joined by 17 colleagues: Democrats: Waxman, Miller, Markey, Gordon, Levin, Blumenauer, DeGette, Inslee, Ryan, Butterfield, Cleaver, Giffords, and Republicans: Barton, Upton, Moore Capito, Sullivan, Blackburn and Sensenbrenner.
That’s not the half of it. But finding out more was a bit like trying to get the keys to Ft. Knox. Many referred us to Speaker Pelosi who wouldn’t agree to an interview. Her office said it “will comply with disclosure requirements” but wouldn’t give us cost estimates or even tell us where they all stayed.
Senator Inhofe (R-OK) is one of the few who provided us any detail. He attended the summit on his own for just a few hours, to give an “opposing view.”
“They’re going because it’s the biggest party of the year,” Sen. Inhofe said. “The worst thing that happened there is they ran out of caviar.”
Our investigation found that the congressional delegation was so large, it needed three military jets: two 737′s and a Gulfstream Five — up to 64 passengers — traveling in luxurious comfort.
Add senators and staff, most of whom flew commercial, and we counted at least 101 Congress-related attendees. All for a summit that failed to deliver a global climate deal.
As a perk, some took spouses, since they could snag an open seat on a military jet or share a room at no extra cost to taxpayers. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was there with her husband. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was also there with her husband. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) took his wife, as did Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Congressman Barton — a climate change skeptic — even brought along his daughter.
Until required filings are made in the coming weeks, we can only figure bits and pieces of the cost to you.
# Three military jets at $9,900 per hour – $168,000 just in flight time.
# Dozens flew commercial at up to $2,000 each.
# 321 hotel nights booked – the bulk at Copenhagen’s five-star Marriott.
# Meals add tens of thousands more.
Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, wasn’t against a U.S. presence. But he said, “Every penny counts. Congress should be shaking the couch cushions looking for change, rather than spending cash for everybody to go to Copenhagen.”
Nobody we asked would defend the super-sized Congressional presence on camera. One Democrat said it showed the world the U.S. is serious about climate change.
And all those attendees who went to the summit rather than hooking up by teleconference? They produced enough climate-stunting carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools.
Which means even if Congress didn’t get a global agreement
Watertown Daily Times
By Mark Heller
WASHINGTON — Federal health care reform will require most Northern New Yorkers — but not all, it turns out — to carry health insurance or risk a fine.
Hundreds of Amish families in the region are likely to be free from that requirement.
The Amish, as well as some other religious sects, are covered by a “religious conscience” exemption, which allows people with religious objections to insurance to opt out of the mandate. It is in both the House and Senate versions of the bill, making its appearance in the final version routine unless there are last-minute objections.
Although the Amish consist of several branches, some more conservative than others, they generally rely upon a community ethic that disdains government assistance. Families rely upon one another, and communities pitch in to help neighbors pay health care expenses.
The Amish population has been growing in the north country, as well as in New York generally. The state ranks sixth nationally in Amish population and posted the biggest net increase in Amish households — 307 — from 2002 to 2007, according to the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
Lawmakers reportedly included the provision at the urging of Amish constituents, although the legislation does not specify that community and the provision could apply to other groups as well, including Old Order Mennonites and perhaps Christian Scientists.
A professor and lawyer at Yeshiva University in New York complained last summer that exempting groups for religious reasons could run afoul of the Constitution. Marci A. Hamilton, who teaches at the University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, wrote at Findlaw.com in August, “If the government can tolerate a religious exemption, then it must do so evenhandedly among religious believers with the same beliefs. This is sheer favoritism for a certain class of religions, or even for one religion.”
In her column, Ms. Hamilton speculated that lobbyists for the Christian Science Church were responsible for the provision, given their public stance that health care reform bills around the country should include religious exemptions. In an e-mail message Friday, she said she was unaware of the Amish interest in the bill and that their objections to the mandate surprised her because the Amish do buy vehicle insurance, for instance.
Ms. Hamilton said the exemption could harm the health of children whose families avoid medical care for religious reasons, although the Amish objections relate more to insurance than to medical care itself.
Congressional aides said the exemption is based on a carve-out the Amish have had from Social Security and Medicare taxes since the 1960s. Whether Amish businesses, however, would fall under the bill’s mandates is still an open question.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who was a key negotiator on the Senate bill, supports the religious exemption, said a spokesman, Maxwell Young, who called the provision a “no brainer.”
FDA Approval of Antipsychotics for Children Mirrors Bayer, AMA Approvals of Heroin as Cough Medicine for Children
June 11, 2009
by Mike Adams
(NaturalNews) Today an FDA advisory panel approved the prescribing of powerful mind-altering chemicals for children. Seroquel, Zyprexa and Goedon have now been approved by the advisory panel to be prescribed to children as young as 10 years old to treat a fictitious disease invented by psychiatrists and given the name “bipolar disorder.” (There is no such thing as a bipolar disorder disease. It is merely a name assigned to children demonstrating the predictable side effects of correctable dietary imbalances.)
In light of this disturbing decision, it is instructive to remember the history of pharmaceutical medicine and children. One hundred and ten years ago, Bayer marketed heroin to children as a non-addictive alternative to morphine. Did I say “non-addictive?” Yes, it’s right from the company’s own marketing materials. It just goes to show you that drug companies have been lying to the public (and poisoning the children) for well over one hundred years.
Much like the FDA’s present-day endorsement of antipsychotic drugs for children, the American Medical Association endorsed Bayer Heroin for kids, touting its ability to ease coughs. Heroin definitely eases coughs. And so does smoking meth! In offering this endorsement, the AMA apparently borrowed some of the FDA’s screwy logic, which claims “The benefits outweigh the risks.”
This means, of course, that the benefits to the drug companies outweigh the risks to the children!
During all this, of course, the AMA utterly failed to inform parents that heroin was a highly addictive narcotic drug. So parents were dosing their babies with heroin — all with the full approval of the American Medical Association!
Today, the FDA spearheads the promotion of drugs to children, doing its best to promote toxic synthetic chemicals that artificially alter brain chemistry while outlawing any mention of natural remedies that work much better (like omega-3 oils, which are natural brain chemistry stabilizers). The FDA also utterly fails to ban toxic chemical food ingredients known to destroy healthy brain chemistry (like MSG and artificial food coloring).
Thus, in one hundred and ten years, western medicine has learned nothing! It still poisons the children with the full approval of “health authorities” all while enriching the powerful drug companies.
Big Pharma’s ties to Nazi Germany
In remembering the endorsement by the AMA of heroin treatments for children, it’s helpful to consider a bit more of the history of Big Pharma:
The name Heroin comes from the German word heroisch, which means “heroic.” Take enough heroin, and you might feel heroic, too. (At least until the high is gone.)
Bayer, of course, is a German pharmaceutical company with all sorts of interesting ties to Nazi Germany and the medical experiments conducted on Jewish prisoners during World War II. In 1956, for example, Fritz ter Meer became the chairman of Bayer. What’s so interesting about that? This was after he served seven years in prison for carrying out experiments on Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz.
One minute you’re committing crimes against humanity, and the next minute you’re the Chairman of Bayer. Amazing, isn’t it? (Amazing how deep the criminal backgrounds go for these Big Pharma people, it seems…)
More recently, Bayer has been found contaminating the U.S. rice crop with genetically engineered rice seeds.
There’s a lot more you probably didn’t know about the true history of Big Pharma’s dangerous experiments on humans.
Pushing narcotics for children – the Big Pharma way!
Bayer eventually pulled its heroin from the market in 1910, by the way. In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, which allowed heroin to continue to be prescribed as a medicine. In wasn’t until 1924 that the U.S. Congress banned heroin sales outright.
Interestingly, 85 years later, narcotics are routinely prescribed to U.S. schoolchildren as “ADHD medications” (they are actually amphetamine drugs). And now, with the help of the FDA, drugs like Seroquel and Zyprexa can be legally prescribed to children by doctors.
And yet even that is just a hodge-podge of FDA theater, because in reality, doctors have been illegally prescribing these drugs to children for well over a decade, and not one doctor has ever been arrested or fined for engaging in this “off-label prescribing” of dangerous, mind-altering chemicals. In fact, the FDA’s decision today isn’t really about medical science at all: It’s about sweeping under the rug the routine crimes of America‘s psychiatrists who have been poisoning children’s minds with dangerous drugs for years on end.
And rather than enforcing existing medical laws that forbid off-label prescribing of drugs, the FDA apparently finds it more convenient to simply legalize the criminal behavior of psychiatrists via a politically-motivated vote.
A hundred and ten years from now, this decision will be viewed with the same disbelief that we now evoke when looking back at the AMA’s endorsement of heroin cough syrup for children. Future citizens of our world will look back and ask themselves, “Were these people on drugs?”
And the answer, of course, is yes, the decision makers are all on drugs. They’re taking drugs, pushing drugs and profiting from drugs. And now they’re going after the children with those same drugs because there’s more profit to be found by expanding the age range of victims who can be targeted for financial exploitation by the pharmaceutical industry. Children are simply the next target on the corporate profits priority list.
Let’s be honest here: These are crimes against our children. And those FDA advisory panel members who voted to whitewash these crimes are, themselves, guilty of crimes against humanity (and should be arrested and tried accordingly).
The Nazis gassed Jewish children with Zyklon B. America now openly drugs its own children with Zyprexa.
Both chemicals, not coincidentally, were invented and manufactured by the same industry: The pharmaceutical industry.