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GOP Promises to Rid Nation of Obamacare

Original Article - GOP Promises to Rid Nation of Obamacare

Republicans are using their weekly radio address to reiterate their promise to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law.

The address is timed for this week’s decision by the Supreme Court, which is set to announce its ruling on the controversial law as early as Monday.

The justices could uphold the law, they could throw it out, or they could throw out the mandate that consumers buy health insurance but leave the rest of the law standing.

Many expect the ruling to at least go against the mandate — a survey of former Supreme Court clerks and attorneys who have argued before the court this week found 57 percent believe the mandate will be struck down.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week reiterated his pledge that the whole law will be repealed by House Republicans if the High Court does not rule the law is unconstitutional. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) repeated that message in his address.

“Not only is President Obama’s health care law not working – it makes things worse by driving up health care costs, making it harder for small businesses to hire workers,” Cassidy said. “The only way to change this is by repealing ObamaCare entirely.

“So, unless the Court throws out the entire law, we should repeal what is left and implement common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at the lowest cost,” he said.

One difficult issue for Republicans is that if the court does just strike down the mandate, repealing the rest of the law would eliminate some provisions that are popular, such as a provision requiring insurers to allow parents to keep their children on their insurance through the age of 26. Cassidy handled this issue by stressing that Republicans “would not repeat Democrats’ mistakes.” He said the party would not rush through a law to replace the existing healthcare law, and that the party would instead stay focused on jobs and the economy.

Republicans have repeatedly used members of the House and Senate who, like Cassidy, are practicing physicians to make the case against the law.

“I have practiced medicine for nearly three decades primarily treating the uninsured … I still see patients almost weekly,” Cassidy said. “Good health care starts in a doctor’s office, not a Washington backroom.”

Cassidy said the cost of healthcare remains a significant problem, but offered no specific solutions in his address to deal with that problem. Instead, he said containing costs “step-by-step” and not through expanding government is the “right approach to healthcare reform.”

“Families should be able to make their own health care choices, visit the doctor of their choosing, and receive the health care they and their physician feel is best,” he said. “That means implementing patient-centered solutions that lower costs and restore Americans’ freedoms over their health care decisions.”

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Maddow Melts Down on HBO’s Real Time: ‘Leave Me Alone About RomneyCare, All of You’ (Video)

Original Article - Maddow Melts Down on HBO’s Real Time: ‘Leave Me Alone About RomneyCare, All of You’ (Video)

MSNBC’s supposedly most intelligent “news” anchor almost had a total meltdown on HBO’s Real Time Friday.

When repeatedly asked by host Bill Maher and guest Nick Gillespie for her opinion of Massachusetts’ healthcare program, Maddow whined like a little girl, “Leave me alone about RomneyCare, all of you” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BILL MAHER, HOST: Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail last week, he said, “We’re going to get rid of ObamaCare and return to personal responsibility.” This is the return to personal responsibility is ObamaCare.

MARK RUFFALO, ACTOR: Which is why it was RomneyCare in the first place.

MAHER: Exactly.

NICK GILLESPIE, REASON: Wait, so now, so this is, to go back to the question, RomneyCare is something that you would agree with? You would say that’s a great Republican policy.

RUFFALO: Yes.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: You don’t know anything about me.

GILLESPIE: I’m just asking.

MADDOW: You should start making your arguments in places other than, “Here’s the thing I’m assuming about you.”

GILLESPIE: I’m sorry, it’s because I haven’t read your book or anything you’ve written.

RUFFALO: Why do you keep picking on her?

MADDOW: Just start from a…

MAHER: Wait, you’re not for RomneyCare?

MADDOW: Start from something that’s not about me. Make it on your own terms.

GILLESPIE: Wait, so are you a fan of RomneyCare?

MADDOW: What, make your point.

GILLESPIE: I’m sorry, I’m asking.

MAHER: You’re not for RomneyCare?

GILLESPIE: You’re not for RomneyCare?

MADDOW: Leave me alone about RomneyCare, all of you.

GILLESPIE: That’s a f—king no to me. I don’t…

MADDOW: Listen, my job is to cover these things, not to tell you how I like them or not.

MAHER: Oh.

Did I mention that this is supposedly the most intelligent person at MSNBC if not all of NBC News?

Yet when asked a simple question about her position on RomneyCare, she became childish, defensive, and downright foolish.

It’s especially odd given how often she’s spoken about the Massachusetts healthcare program, and in rather glowing terms.

This was from MSNBC’s coverage of January’s Florida primary:

MADDOW: Congressman Tom Rooney, honorary co-chairman of Mitt Romney`s campaign in Florida. Congratulations to you tonight as a Mitt Romney supporter with Mitt Romney the projected winner of the Florida Republican primary tonight.

I should note, as a person who lives in Massachusetts, when I hear people say there are 92 percent of people covered under Romneycare, that’s almost exactly the percent of people in Massachusetts covered under Romneycare, 92 percent of the people without insurance, because of Mitt Romney’s good healthcare plan.

So on MSNBC, Maddow’s comfortable calling it “Mitt Romney’s good healthcare plan.”

But when asked about this by Gillespie and Maher Friday night, she behaved like a kindergartner being taunted with a spider.

As for her claim, “My job is to cover these things, not to tell you how I like them or not,” isn’t calling RomneyCare “good” telling people she likes it?

In reality, the entire so-called “news” network she works for is full of people constantly telling viewers what they do and don’t like rather than just “covering these things.”

Any pretense to the contrary is preposterous. Judging from Maher’s response, it appeared even he agreed.

I guess this is what happens when MSNBC’s supposedly most intelligent anchor gets out of her comfort zone and is actually asked unscripted questions.

Kind of like President Obama without his trust teleprompter.

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Jarrett to NABJ: White House Bracing for Health Care Decision

Original Article - Jarrett to NABJ: White House Bracing for Health Care Decision

Jarrett to NABJ: White House bracing for health care decision

As the Supreme Court prepares to make a historic ruling on the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care law, his top adviser shifted attention on the rest of the White House’s legislative agenda rather than the potential dismantling of its signature piece of legislation.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser and close family friend, told a group of black journalists Saturday that the administration is prepared for the court’s decision – which could come as early as Monday – then went on to attack Republicans in Congress for what she called a strategy of “no.”

“The Affordable Care Act is a very important piece of legislation that we spent a great deal of time crafting,” Jarrett told CNN, but, pointing to legislation on fair pay for women, tax cuts for working families and college tax breaks, added, “he had a lot more going on than the Affordable Care Act.”

Still, she admitted that the administration was out-maneuvered by Republicans in the months following the law’s passage, as the other side turned up the drumbeat to repeal what they called “Obamacare.”

“The opponents of it out-organized – in terms of the ‘death panels’ – and distorted what we were doing early on.”

She then lashed out at what she called the “obstructionist” GOP members in Congress.

“It’s been very disappointing that the Republicans in Congress put politics ahead of the economy,” she said. “Their strategy has been to say ‘no,’ even to the detriment of the American people.”

She added: “I think, given how obstructionist the Republicans in Congress were, the president accomplished an enormous amount.”

Jarrett, in New Orleans to address the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, spoke for about an hour on a wide range of issues, from health care and immigration to gay marriage and the state of political discourse in the country.

She even reflected on her lowest personal moment working at the White House.

“The lowest low I can tell you was the debt-ceiling debacle (of 2011). It was the time that really crystallized to me that the Republicans were willing to just run the car right off the cliff.”

On the president’s recent announcement of his support for gay marriage, Jarrett pushed back against criticism that the timing of the decision was less about the issue and more about pure politics.

“He made the decision when he was comfortable making the decision. It was a very personal decision. He couldn’t accelerate that process any faster than he did. This was not something he was doing for politically opportunistic reasons,” she said.

On Obama’s clearly frustrated reaction to being interrupted by a conservative reporter during his White House remarks on immigration, Jarret said, “He’s human.”

“Does he get frustrated from time to time? Of course he does. He’s human. Does he let that frustration linger? He can’t afford to. He’s president of the United States. He’s got to get back to work.”

On the current level of political discourse in the country, she pointed to the conversations happening on the internet.

“There is a coarseness to the dialogue, generally,” she said. “Look no further than the comments section online to see how coarse our dialogue is getting towards one another.”

Jarrett, who is widely seen as Obama’s closest adviser and who has known the first couple for more than 20 years – she was even the first to ‘vet’ Obama when he and Michelle first started dating – said she has no desire to run for elected office, even though she considered a Senate seat after Obama’s election in 2008.

“I don’t have that appetite, I really don’t,” she said. “It doesn’t get any better than what I’m doing now. Being in the White House is just the most extraordinary experience of my life. It’s a good note to end my public service.”

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If the Obamacare Ruling Goes Our Way, It’s Worth Celebrating

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - If the Obamacare Ruling Goes Our Way, It’s Worth Celebrating

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

 

RUSH: This is Paul in Glenn Rock, Pennsylvania. How are you, sir? Welcome.CALLER: I’m wonderful, Rush. The more important thing is, how are you?

RUSH: I’m cool. Everything is hunky-dory. If I told you anything other than that it would cause a national panic.

CALLER: (laughing) God bless Rush Limbaugh, now and always.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: This is a very quick — Snerdley, I thought he was going to laugh right off his chair. I’m a first-time caller, but maybe a memorable caller. What does he mean — I’m talking about John Boehner and the other pundits — don’t spike the football with the health care thing?

RUSH: Are you really asking, or are you asking rhetorically?

CALLER: Rhetorically.

RUSH: He’s basically saying, “Let’s not gloat.”

CALLER: Huh?

RUSH: We’re not going to spike the football means we’re not going to taunt.

CALLER: We’re not going to taunt.

RUSH: We’re not going to gloat. We’re not going to have the ref throw a yellow flag on us after we score the touchdown.

CALLER: What was Queen Nancy doing when they ran this thing through on Christmas Eve and then just a little bit later marched up Capitol Hill with the ding dong gavel that they use in the carnival to ring a bell?

RUSH: I understand, but you see, if we do that the independents will get mad at us and vote for more communism. Well, that’s what the consultants tell our guys.

CALLER: Well, they’re wrong.

RUSH: So you want a little gloating, you want some celebrating?

CALLER: I’ve been celebrating my whole life, because I’m a winner. I’m 69 years old.

RUSH: It’s a character thing. I understand what Boehner’s saying. In fact, after the 2002 midterms, you might get mad at me for this, the 2002 midterms, I was on NBC’s election night coverage with Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert, and it was a Republican sweep. And both those guys were stunned. The first House race’s midterm elections in a president’s first term usually go against him. The conventional wisdom was that Bush was going to lose because of 9/11. The conventional wisdom was that history would be true to form and Republicans would lose a lot of seats in the House, and it was just the opposite.

We were coming off the Wellstone Memorial and all night long I’m watching the returns come in and it’s going the opposite of what they thought. It turned out to be huge and I was telling these guys why it happened. I loved Russert. Brokaw I like. He’s okay. But clearly they were shocked. They get stuck in their narratives. And when the night was over and it was my last spot, they said: “So what next, Rush?” I said it’s important for the Republicans not to gloat about this from the standpoint, “Let’s not act surprised we won. That’s what should have happened. Let’s not act surprised we scored a touchdown. Let’s not act like something that doesn’t happen very much. Let’s act like winners, like it’s something that we expect and move on.”

I didn’t want a repeat of 1994, where we won big and stopped teaching because we assumed everybody thought that we had become the majority. So what Boehner is saying, whether you agree with him or not, what he’s trying to express here is that we’re better than Pelosi, we have a little class. The country’s in dire straits and it’s not about us. It’s about saving the country from the direction we’re headed under Obama, and this is one step, but there’s a lot to go. But if you want to go out there and spike the football, you go right ahead. I’m going to spike the football. I’m going to have my little fun with it if that happens.

CALLER: And I could never be mad at you Rush. You are running the Institute of Conservatism. You’re the professor of conservatism. I look forward every day to listening to you and gaining your knowledge that you share with everyone.

RUSH: That’s what my wife, Kathryn, says to me about once a year.

CALLER: I guarantee you. I guarantee you. I’m just looking so forward to the coming weeks and the coming campaign. Could I ask you one other quick question?

RUSH: Sure, fire away. It’s Open Line Friday. That’s what it’s for.

CALLER: I’m speaking personally. In the ’10 election I worked about three months for the Republican Party in the ’10 election and I found out just being on the phones what a big difference that it can make. I found out, just using my head a little bit in my own family, there’s two people in my family that have never voted. Can you believe that? Two people. And they know how I feel. I guarantee you, they’re voting because I’m taking them.

RUSH: This is great. You found out, A, it feels good. And, B, you mattered, you were a factor. But B, it does matter. It’s fundamentally important to do so. I’m glad you did that. Spread the word. By the way, I want to get an indication from you, if you’re going to spike the football, what is that? What are you going to do? If we get a ruling that you like, how are you going to celebrate?

CALLER: How am I going to celebrate? I’m going to celebrate by telling all my friends, all my acquaintances, just sharing it.

RUSH: Yeah, but what are you going to do?

CALLER: I might go pop a cork.

RUSH: Well, okay. Pop popcorn and swig some Big Gulps eat some trans fat.

CALLER: (laughing) I came up with a good one for Mayor Bloomberg anyway. They probably would have come out with a piggyback where you get one, you get one free on a piggyback, that wouldn’t have –

RUSH: Yeah, the 15-ounce cups and sell them twice.

CALLER: Yeah. If everyone’s listening, look in their family, and if they can get one person, just one in their family to get out there that hasn’t gotten out there before. I’m going to drive two of them to the polls.

RUSH: Well, that is superb. One of our great sponsors here, FreedomWorks, that’s what they do. They put people like you together with other people who want to bring about that result. That’s cool. This spiking the football, I knew when Boehner said that, that there were going to be some people not happy about it, because it is a huge deal if we beat this. It’s monumental. It’s going to rank right up there with one of the most important things that ever happened to save the country. And it is worth feeling really, really good about. I understand — look it, folks, it’s inside the Beltway, the liberals run that show. They run everything inside the Beltway. And I guarantee you, they’re being advised by consultants, “Don’t gloat. Don’t spike the football. It will tick off the independents. Obama’s personally liked. People aren’t going to look at this as a personal defeat for Obama.” I can hear it all now.

By the way, I have it on good authority… I had a powerful influential member of the media, I had a super secret phone call this morning from the highest levels of the Republican establishment. I’ll just tell you what I was told. That nobody knows how the court’s going to rule. The person I talked to thinks it’s highly unlikely that Obama knows. I said: “You really think Kagan or Sotomayor or somebody hasn’t called him?”

“No, the Court’s done a pretty good job of maintaining security like this.”

Okay. Fine. Then I was told that if the mandate is thrown out, if the mandate is found unconstitutional, that the Republicans are going to move immediately to ban the rest of it. Not replace it. They are going to move to ban the rest of it. If only the mandate goes down, they’re going to immediately move to ban the rest of it. Now, you have to keep in mind they don’t have the votes right now to get rid of anything. They’re just the majority in the House. They can’t control what the Senate does. They don’t have enough votes to override Obama. But I think I was told the truth.

I think if the mandate goes down, I think House Republicans will make a huge show next week of going after the rest of the bill. If the whole thing is upheld, I think they’re going to make a massive move to repeal the whole thing, because I was told they know. They’re very confident in the polling data that only 30 percent of the American people want this. I’m just telling you what I was told. Time will tell, but it’s well understood at the highest levels inside the Beltway, that I can’t be spun. So I’m pretty confident that what I was told is truthful and heartfelt. Now, beyond making a big show out of repealing the whole thing, if there is an action to follow, we’ll all have to wait and see. Time will tell. And it won’t be very long.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Folks, I tell you: If you want to spike the football next week if the ruling on health care goes our way, you go right ahead. If there is anything worth celebrating out there, it’s liberty. If there’s anything worth celebrating it’s our freedom — and we don’t get to celebrate that enough. We don’t take the time to celebrate that enough. So if you want to spike the football, you go right ahead. Because if this ruling comes down, do you think the other side is going to sit there and whimper away?

They are going to be out there.

They’ve already got the plan.

They’re going to try to scare everybody to death with what’s ahead. “You’re not going to get health care! You’re not going to be able to afford it. You’re going to die. Grandma’s going to die. Grandpa’s gonna die.” You wait. They’re going to be loading this thing up with scare tactics like you haven’t seen. It’s going to become their number one campaign issue. I’ll tell you what it’s going to be. It’s going to be a variation of, “Five people just said that you can’t have health care while they keep theirs. Five people just said that.”

In fact, it’s going to be “five guys.”

“Four white guys and a misdirected black guy” is what they’ll say. “Four white guys and an Uncle Tom just told you that you can’t have health care. President Obama gave you health care. He’s the first president in 100 years to do it, and five guys on the Supreme Court have just taken it away from you.” It’s going to be bloody. You’ll be able to keep everything if this goes down the tubes. But you don’t keep your doctor; you don’t keep your plan if it is fully implemented.

“Five rich Republicans took your health care away from you and they have theirs. They didn’t lose theirs because they’re on a government plan that was just like what Obama tried to give you.” You wait. There’s a part of me that’s always believed that since the thing is so unpopular anyway, Obama wouldn’t mind it going down. And then he can just say, “You know what? To the hell with the incremental stuff. I’m just going to go single-payer from the get-go.” I’m just going to go straight for the whole ball of wax.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We go to Cincinnati. This is John. I’m glad you waited, sir. Great to have you with us.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, good to talk to you. I’ve got a projection and I want to see what you think about it.

RUSH: All right.

CALLER: If the Supreme Court strikes down this individual mandate, which I feel they should and they will, I think you’re going to see Obama and Holder pretty much say, “The heck with state rights.” They’re going to go after Massachusetts over its individual mandate just to distract and deflect and make another constitutional problem, and put the spotlight on Romney.

RUSH: Well, I think you have a point there. They haven’t done that yet. Obamacare, as the legitimate child of Romneycare, is something they have yet to spring. They’re going to do that. We know they are. (interruption) Snerdley is in there laughing himself silly but it’s the truth. They haven’t sprung that yet. But we know the Romneycare authors, advisors, were out publicly last year saying that they were called to the White House to put together Obamacare in the spitting image of Romneycare.

We all knew this during the primary. This is something the regime will use. They haven’t used it yet. When you hear John here say, “If Holder and Obama don’t get their way they’ll launch a national mandate,” and you pooh-pooh it, look: Folks, you cannot pooh-pooh that stuff. Barack Obama, a week ago today, basically said, “(Raspberry) to the US Constitution.” He knowingly, back in 2007 and 2008, admitted to a bunch of Hispanics that he just couldn’t legally grant amnesty to illegal aliens. It was against the law, he said, and he couldn’t do it.

Well he did.

He just did it.

Political re-election, and the desire for political re-election outweighed whatever is legal or not. This bunch has behaved outside the Constitution a number of times. That’s just the most recent example. So it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that they would, in a fit of pique and anger, say, “Oh, yeah? Oh yeah? Try this!” And just do it, on the theory: Who’s going to stop them? There isn’t an election until November. Who is going to stop them? Pelosi and the Democrats and the House goes along with whatever they do.

Pelosi is already out there encouraging… In fact, this is another thing. We had the story the other day that the debt limit may have to be raised in October. Right before the election. Another debt limit fight would not benefit Obama. Raise spending? That’s why he’s in trouble, one of the many reasons he’s in trouble. So Pelosi is urging him, under the Fourth Amendment, to say, “The hell with Congress!” and just raise it. She claims there’s a clause in the 14th Amendment that permits him to do it.

Remember this came up in one of the previous debt limit battles. Pelosi has said (paraphrased), “I’m perfectly happy with Obama granting amnesty to these 800,000 and more young Hispanics who are here through no fault of their own.” So If Holder and Obama want to spit on the Constitution next week? It’s much easier to believe that something that has happened will happen again than it is to believe that something that hasn’t happened will happen. And they’ve already done it. So it’s a legitimate fear, it’s a legitimate concern, when you understand Obama’s avowed purpose.

Obama’s purpose is to strip this country’s super-power status away from it. There are still a lot of people who can’t get their arms around that. They just can’t. You tell them, you give them the evidence, you throw all his words at them, and they still don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to believe we’ve elected somebody with that view of the country. It’s still a hard sell. But nevertheless, it’s a legitimate concern to have about what these people will do. This is the signature legislation. This is the reason Obama will have a presidential library. He’s the first president ever to have “affordable healthcare for all Americans.”

I know, but that’s what he’s angling for.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

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What We’re Up Against: The Obamacare Phone

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Original Article - What We’re Up Against: The Obamacare Phone

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

 

RUSH: Peter in Rochester. New York. Great to have you on the program, how are you, sir?

CALLER: Rush, I wanted to give your millions and millions of listeners a heads up as to what we’re up against. I’m a doctor in Upstate New York here, and I was seeing a patient in a room and the patient said to me: “Can you hand me my Obama phone?” So I said, “What?”

RUSH: I think I know where you’re going here. I think I’ve heard this, go ahead.

CALLER: Well, I had not heard of that. And so I asked, “What’s that?” And he said, “This is a free cell phone for poor people and we get minutes and everything.” So that was all the conversation I had with him. But it occurred to me that if these Obama phones are going out all over the country –

RUSH: They are.

CALLER: — then would it be hard to believe that there’s going to be text messages and phone calls and all kinds of things?

RUSH: No. In fact, let me give you a shocking statistic. I read this just this week. Obama has 27 million Facebook friends, followers. Romney has 1.8 million. The Twitter numbers are not as large. But the supremacy by the Obama campaign on those social sites is overwhelming. And with these Obama phones, of course they can send texts out. Absolutely they can. They probably do. But the same thing happens if you follow Obama on Twitter or Facebook. It’s not to say that everybody following Obama is a lap dog, eager beaver, can’t get enough of Obama, but that’s how many people have signed up and there’s always varying degrees of interest. Everybody following me on Facebook is rabid, for example, but they’re not that way for Obama. We first heard about these Obama phones, I was shocked, just like you are when you discovered it, last year sometime, and I had no idea. And you’re right, these people get minutes. It’s all paid for. The phone is paid for. The usage is paid for. By us.

CALLER: Around election time I’m wondering what kind of messages are going to be going out, “Meet at such and such a place. Come here get a carton of cigarettes and we’ll take you to the polls,” blah, blah, blah.

RUSH: I think your imagination is the only boundary limit.

CALLER: (laughing) Oh, God.

RUSH: I do. However they could use this. And that’s a good catch. Did you talk to this guy about it at all? Did you just let it drop?

CALLER: No, I let it drop.

RUSH: He asked you to hand him his Obama phone?

CALLER: Yeah, I was talking to him, and in the context of his medical care he was going to need to make a phone call to family. So he asked me to hand him the Obama phone.

RUSH: Let me just tell you. Here are the details of this. There’s a website ObamaPhone.net. I’m going to read to you: “The Obama Phone Program. What exactly is the free Obama phone? The free Obama phone is a program that is meant to help the financially unstable who cannot afford access to a cell phone. Communication should not be limited to people in relation to what they are able to afford.” They actually call it the Obama phone. And here are some frequently asked questions from the Obama phone website.

How do I Get an Obama Phone?
What is the Obama Phone?
Who Qualifies for an Obama Phone?
Who Pays for the Obama Phone?
Is the Obama Phone Real?

Now, in the “who pays for the Obama phone,” in the Obama phone questions: “Lifeline is a government sponsored program, but who is paying for it. Some people claim that the government is using taxpayer’s money to run this program, however, the claim is false. Universal Service Fund (USF) which is administers by Federal Communication Commission along the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), pays for the Lifeline phone assistance program.”

So you and I are paying for Obama phones via the charges that are tacked on to our phone bill for the Universal Service Fund. The Al Gore tax, do you remember that tax? It’s still on your phone bill. To wire farms for land line phones. We are still paying that tax. And then there’s Internet taxes, Internet access for the poor and number of other things. The outfit that administers that is the Universal Service Fund.

If you can decipher your phone bill you pay every month a tax that goes into the Universal Service Fund and that’s what’s buying Obama phones and providing service for the people who use them. And, of course, it’s known who has them. It’s known what their numbers are. And they can be mass texted, individually, I would assume. But, look, before you panic, folks, this is not new. This has been out there for years, and Obama is in dire straits. When you hear about this, and you think, “How do we fight this? Oh my gosh.”

These are the people that voted for him anyway in large measure.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Folks, this cell phone problem. Government-provided cell phones is not a new program. I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it’s not a new program. Calling them “Obama phones” is new. That’s what’s new about this. And, of course, that’s being done purposely to make the people think that these free phones are coming from Obama’s stash, that they’re personal gifts from Obama. And, in fact, the Obama phone site looks like Obama’s campaign site. It has the logo and all that stuff.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

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VA Delegate Robert Marshall Tells CNN ‘Sodomy is Not a Civil Right’

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Published on: June 22, 2012

Robert G. Marshall

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, led opponents in the move to deny a judgeship to Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland.

In a testy interview today with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on the Virginia legislature’s recent refusal to appoint openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, declared that “sodomy is not a civil right.”

Marshall, a U.S. Senate candidate and one of the General Assembly’s most conservative members, denied that he had lobbied against Thorne-Begland because he is gay, but instead termed him an “activist.”

Marshall said Thorne-Begland “displayed a pattern of behavior inconsistent with what we have come to expect in Virginia judges.”


Homosexual Prosecutor (denied judgeship) With Lover and 2 Children

As examples, he said Thorne-Begland had been forced to “misstate his background” in order to join the Navy in the late 1980s, defied regulation by going on television and been openly critical of the now-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“He can be a prosecutor if he wants to,” Marshall said, “but we don’t want advocates as judges.”

Marshall added that he was “concerned about possible bias” if Thorne-Begland had been appointed a General District judge, using the example of a barroom fight between a homosexual and heterosexual.

Marshall rejected Baldwin’s comparison of the issue to civil rights and women’s suffrage, remarking: “Sodomy is not a civil right. It’s not the same as the civil rights movement.”

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Did Supremes Tip Obamacare Vote in Union Dues Case?

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Did Supremes Tip Obamacare Vote in Union Dues Case?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

 

RUSH: The Supreme Court had a couple decisions today. One of them, big whoop, the FCC didn’t warn Fox and CBS early enough so the F-word was fine as it happened on TV. The F-bomb was inadvertent, the FCC didn’t tell ‘em soon enough not to do it or what have you.

Then there was a 7-2 decision where the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals got slapped down along with the Service Employees International Union. Now, in and of itself, it’s not monumental. Well, I could be wrong about that. Some of these Supreme Court decisions, it takes a while for me to digest them. Let me tell you what the decision is first. The Supreme Court today ruled that unions must give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases or special assessments that all workers are required to pay in closed-shop unions. The SEIU argued that their once-a-year warning was sufficient. The court said, no, it’s not. The court said that unions have to give nonmembers an immediate chance to object to unexpected fee increases.

So if you’re a nonmember of a union but you’re working in a union shop and the union decides to raise dues or whatever, they have to tell you immediately so that you can decide whether you’re gonna accept the new fee and pay it, or not. That’s what the court just decided. I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of this, but I want to read to you from the majority opinion. I’m gonna be very, very brief. “The majority thus decides, for the very first time, that the First Amendment does require an opt-in system in some circumstances [for union dues]: the levying of a special assessment or dues increase.”

Now, it’s not that big a leap to think that if the court says that for the first time, the majority for the first time, that the First Amendment does require an opt-in system. Meaning, you have to be told before they can make you do this. It’s not that big a leap to think that the court is of the same opinion when it comes to health care and striking down the mandate. So I don’t know. Off the top of my fertile mind, which I’m sure in subsequent e-mails that I will receive in mere moments, will be shot down by legal scholars. In my fertile mind, I’m thinking this could be a tip, a tip-off, an indication. I’m not saying that it is, and I’m not saying that Justice has intended that with the release of this opinion today, but it’s interesting, it’s a 7-2 decision.

originalHowever, two justices wrote their own opinion because they wanted to dissent from that aspect of the decision. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented from the opinion, but Sotomayor and Ginsburg said they did not join the majority opinion that the First Amendment requires an opt-in system. You could say that it was 5-4 on that provision, not 7-2, because Sotomayor, the wise Latina, and Ginsburg dissented from that aspect in the majority opinion. So on the notion of an opt- in, it was 5-4, not 7-2. Doesn’t turn out that way, but I’m just telling you the way if they could have voted provision by provision.

In and of itself the decision is interesting ’cause it slaps down the Ninth Circus and it slaps down the SEIU, who are able to simply levy increases whenever they wanted with nobody being able to opt out of it. And what happened was a nonmember by the name of Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the SEIU wanted to object and opt- out of a $12 million special assessment that the union required from its California public sector members for political campaigning. Knox said, (paraphrasing) “I don’t want my money going the way you’re gonna spend it.” Now, she’s not a member. She’s a nonmember working in a union shop, and she didn’t want to pay this special assessment. And they said, “Well, you didn’t opt- out in time.”

She said, “I didn’t know that I had to.”

“Well, we warned you every year that you have the opportunity.”

“Well, I didn’t see it, I forgot about it.” It went to court, and the Supreme Court said to the SEIU, “You’ve gotta tell ‘em when you’re gonna do this and you’ve gotta give ‘em notice and you’ve gotta give ‘em a chance to opt- out of it.” I don’t know, some might say, Pelosi’s office, they might call it a bitch slap, I don’t know. (laughing) On the Planet of Stupider. But it is pretty big in the sense that now the union has to tell people, nonmembers, at least according to this decision, that if they’re gonna raise dues for campaigns or whatever, these nonmembers have a chance — (interruption) Well, I don’t know if it applies all over the country or just in California. I don’t know what the jurisdiction is.

That’s why I say there’s always more to learn about these things. This stuff comes out this morning and with all the other show prep, there’s not enough time to delve fully into this. That’s why I want to leave it open ended. Basically what happened here is that the court struck down the money-laundering scheme, is what happened here, at least in California, the SEIU there. The vote was 7-2. We see that even Elena Kagan is further to the left than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but it’s another blow to the DNC’s fundraising mechanism. They just can’t raise money arbitrarily, special assessment, raise dues, however you want to characterize it, for political purposes. They have to give these nonmembers a chance to opt- out, and that’s big. So the money-laundering scheme suffers a bit of a hit.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

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Pelosi Promises to Replace ObamaCare’s Mandate if Struck Down, Insists “You have to eat your vegetables.”

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Published on: June 21, 2012

Original Article - Pelosi Promises to Replace ObamaCare’s Mandate if Struck Down, Insists “You have to eat your vegetables.”

Answering questions from reporters today, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi previewed her party’s likely legislative response should the Supreme Court strike down ObamaCare’s health coverage requirement, suggesting that Democrats will look for a functional alternative to the mandate — a way to mandate insurance coverage without running afoul of the Constitution:

You have to eat your vegetables — you have to have the mandate in order for this to work from a financial standpoint…If Americans like the idea that they and their children cannot be deprived for a lifetime of health care insurance because of a pre-existing health care condition, then that will require some other action if that is to happen. And what would that be? There could be something passed in the Congress, similar to what we had originally in the House bill, which was a surcharge on the wealthy to pay for aspects of that … States can take their own actions.

[Via ThinkProgress.]

“You have to eat your vegetables,” eh? A poor choice of words given the critical emphasis on the question of whether an insurance mandate would allow Congress to mandate the purchase of other private goods, such as broccoli? Maybe so, but in context the reference seems intentional. After insisting that the mandate was “iron clad constitutionally,” Pelosi brought up the broccoli question explicitly: “Let’s hope and pray that the Court will love the Constitution more than it loves broccoli and that we will have a decision that is based on the merits and the Constitution of the United States.”

The political prospects for a mandate alternative of any sort won’t be strong in the immediate wake of a high court ruling striking down the current requirement. But Pelosi’s remarks make it clear that regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, some Democrats will still want to explore alternative means of asserting congressional power to mandate coverage.

Last year I took a look at a number of possible mechanisms that might replace the mandate.

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School Uses Planned Parenthood Curriculum to Teach Kids Oral Sex

Original Article - School Uses Planned Parenthood Curriculum to Teach Kids Oral Sex

Parents could tell something was wrong with the children when they came home from school. They were quiet and withdrawn, embarrassed, and didn’t want to talk about what had happened. When Curtis and Jean Pannkuk began questioning their young daughter, they discovered that her elementary school principal had instructed her that day in how to perform oral and anal sex. The traumatizing instruction was delivered as a part of state approved sex education that was orchestrated, developed, pushed, and policed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, SIECUS, and a host of other agencies.

Though parents in the small town of Onalaska, Washington, are furious that their children have been violated and traumatized by the highly inappropriate sex instruction, the superintendent defended the principal’s delivery of graphic instruction in aberrant sex to the elementary school students, telling local media, “I think the principal handled it appropriately at the time; she only gave factual information, no demonstrations.” In another interview, he indicated that she “stuck to the curriculum.”

Curtis Pannkuk says if that’s the case, the curriculum needs to change. In an interview with Fox Radio News, Pannkuk said, “One of the other parents said it well—they raped the minds of the ten-year-old, eleven-year-old kids.”

Planned Parenthood’s influence in state-approved and state-mandated sexuality education is taking a ghastly toll on children. Onalaska parent James Gilliland expressed anger and dismay after his daughter’s innocence was stripped from her by the oral sex instruction. His wife, Kadra, said, “I was just shocked because I trusted my little country school. I trusted my school—that’s the bottom line, and they crossed the line.”

And that is exactly what Planned Parenthood relies upon when pushing its agenda through coalitions on the national, state, and district levels. Planned Parenthood operatives know that parents are busy with their lives and often trust their schools to do the right thing for their children. That creates the perfect opportunity for Planned Parenthood to enter the schools while parents are not paying attention, with all the wrong things for children.

Everyone is focused on Planned Parenthood and the evil it does through abortion. That evil is the ultimate child abuse and certainly renders the abortion giant unworthy of one penny of government funding. But even if Planned Parenthood never committed another abortion, the impact of its sex indoctrination programs on children, teens, and young adults is reason enough to strip it of government funding and run it out of the nation.

Visit our Defund Planned Parenthood action center and watch our ALL video report “Hooking Kids on Sex.” Then visit www.stopp.org to find out how to run Planned Parenthood out of your schools and out of your community. To book one of our expert speakers, contact [email protected]

Read Planned Parenthood is behind King County schools’ sex education for more information on Planned Parenthood’s intricate, not-so-well-hidden puppet-mastery of the HIV and sexuality education program in place in the King County, Washington, school that led to the forcible invasion of these children’s right to sexual innocence.

The curriculum in use in the King County, Washington, school where children in fifth grade were recently taught how to have oral and anal sex, is the Family Life and Sexual Health (F.L.A.S.H.) state-approved curriculum. Planned Parenthood is particularly enamored with this curriculum, highly recommending it on its website, alongside lesson plans from the SIECUS Sex Ed Library. (Dr. Mary Calderone, a former medical director at Planned Parenthood, was the first director of SIECUS.)

The state of Washington OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction)—the agency that approves sex education programs for use in schools—recommends the Rutger’s-based Answer in its flyer as the resource for teacher training and staff development for state mandated HIV and state approved sexual health education. Answer is also recommended on the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood website, which goes on to say, “Teachers can earn professional credits from the ETR Associates Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (ReCAPP).” (ETR Associates began its corporate life as the Education Department of the Santa Cruz Chapter of Planned Parenthood.)

Answer promotes a Teen-to-Teen Sexuality Education Initiative called Sex, Etc. It offers the usual Planned Parenthood fare, including links to Planned Parenthood websites, advice on how to skirt parents, immoral sexual advice, abortion rights information, gay rights information, and instructions on how to have gay sex. Its website features a video claiming that when it comes to sex, “parents obviously don’t have the answers, and teenagers still need them. That’s where honest sex ed comes in.”

And who do you think might be training the teachers who are teaching the F.L.A.S.H. curriculum? A visit to Answer’s TISHE 2.0 (In-Service Training) Core Staff 2012 page features Mark Huffman, who just happens to be a former vice president for education and training at Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. Also on staff is another former PP employee, Kurt Conklin, who is now the director of programs at SIECUS.

Additionally on staff is Nora Gelperin, recognized for her experience in training teachers nationwide in 2010. She received the Mary Lee Tatum Award from, that’s right, the Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education. You might say she wrote the Answer book, in that “she developed Answer’s three dynamic online workshops ‘Sexuality ABCs (Abstinence, Birth Control and Condoms),’ ‘STD Basics’ and most recently ‘LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) Issues in School.’”

Current Planned Parenthood employee Maureen Kelly rounds out the list of presenters. She is VP for programming and communications with Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. She also served for nine years on the SIECUS board of directors. “Kelly is the proud founder of Planned Parenthood’s Out for Health: LGBT Health & Wellness program.” Only two out of the six TISHE presenters do not list a current or past association with Planned Parenthood.

The TISHE 2.0 in-service teacher-training program is co-sponsored by SIECUS and Answer.

Planned Parenthood goes to great lengths to hide from parents its dominant position in school sex ed programming, but a few hours on the Internet reveals an extremely intricately woven web of deceit composed of organizations that spring from or are otherwise closely connected to Planned Parenthood. Those organizations and individuals are actually working with Planned Parenthood to call the shots when it comes to school-based sex education.

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Insider Poll: Legal Experts Now Expect Supreme Court to Strike Down Individual Mandate

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Published on: June 20, 2012

Original Article - Insider Poll: Legal Experts Now Expect Supreme Court to Strike Down Individual Mandate

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Supreme Court will soon announce its ruling on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care law passed in 2010, and for many legal observers who have worked in the court and argued cases before the justices, the federal government’s defense of the measure in March did not inspire confidence.

A new insider survey of 58 legal experts conducted after the oral arguments concluded found that most predict that the court will strike down the so-called individual mandate, a central provision within the law requiring that every American purchase a government-approved form of health insurance. The same expert survey was conducted before the hearings began, which found the opposite: Most thought the law would be upheld.

The survey was paid for the American Action Forum, a right-leaning organization and Center Forward, a centrist group, both based in Washington, D.C. It was conducted by Purple Insights, a bipartisan consulting firm. The pollsters received input from former clerks who have worked for justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum: Eleven clerked for traditionally liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, 18 clerked for justices on the right, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarance Thomas and nine worked for Anthony Kennedy.

Using a scale from 0 to 100, the pollsters asked the 38 former clerks of current Supreme Court justices and 18 attorneys who have argued before the court to rate the probability that the individual mandate provision would be declared unconstitutional. The insiders provided an average rating of 57 percent, a significant jump from the pre-hearing survey, when the average was just 35 percent.

“This is a fascinating snapshot of how true experts believe the Supreme Court will act on the future of American healthcare,” said American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as Director of the Congressional Budget Office under President George W. Bush. “Experts believe the oral arguments revealed significant insights into the court’s thinking.”

The notion that the entire law would be struck down if the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional received an average rating of 31 percent in the new poll, an increase of four percentage points from the pre-hearing survey. The average prediction that the law would remain even if the individual mandate is removed dropped to 21 percent from 36 percent in the new survey.

“I feel like a dope,” one of the experts said in the comments section of the survey, “because I was one f those who predicted that the court would uphold the statute by a lopsided majority–maybe even 8-1. Although you never know, it now appears pretty likely that this prediction was way off.”

After observing the justices during the health care hearings, seven out of ten of the experts said they felt the line of questioning “indicated that they were more skeptical about the law’s constitutionality” than they expected. No one who participated in the survey said they thought the justices appeared “less skeptical” than they anticipated.

Although none of those polled have precise knowledge of how the justices will rule on the provisions related to the health care law, their predictions–especially given the significant drop on confidence after watching the oral arguments–could foreshadow the fate of the law.

At the latest, the justices will announce their decisions on the health care law on June 28, although it could come earlier.

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NYT: Heart Trouble Early and Often in H.I.V. Patients

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Published on: June 18, 2012

Original Article - NYT: Heart Trouble Early and Often in H.I.V. Patients

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Mark Abramson has been HIV positive since 1988 and writes about his experiences in San Francisco.

 

Mike Godfrey was 19 when he found out he had H.I.V.

He was 29 when he began antiretroviral therapy.

He was 43 when he had a heart attack.

“I felt fluttery,” he said. “Weird and fluttery. It went away. I ignored it. A week later, it came back, and this time I felt something in my arm too. I was too stupid to call an ambulance. I got in a cab and went to the hospital.”

Mr. Godfrey’s experience exemplifies something a few AIDS specialists have long suspected, and cardiologists have now found evidence to support: People infected with H.I.V. have more heart attacks and have them earlier in life. Even patients whose infection is well suppressed by AIDS drugs are at higher risk.

Experts in the field said doctors need to be better informed about this little-known threat to their H.I.V.-positive patients. The threat also reinforces a message that public health experts keep emphasizing: H.I.V. is no longer an automatic death sentence, but it is still a dangerous disease.

“I think most cardiologists and most H.I.V. specialists are not really aware of this,” said Dr. Priscilla Y. Hsue, a cardiologist at San Francisco General Hospital who treats many AIDS patients. “Most of the people I see are referred to me after they’ve had a heart attack, a bypass, a stent. To me, that’s too late. We should be screening people for coronary disease, aggressively treating blood pressure, aggressively treating cholesterol.”

People with H.I.V. have more than four times the risk of sudden heart attack as their uninfected peers, Dr. Hsue and her colleagues reported last month in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The most likely explanation is that both the virus and the drugs that fight it cause chronic inflammation, said Dr. Paul M. Ridker, a Harvard Medical School professor who led pioneering studies that established the connection between inflammation and heart disease. (He was not involved in the study published last month.) Also, he said, the drugs cause the liver to make more cholesterol, another heart attack risk factor.

While the link between H.I.V. and heart disease is not generally known in the medical profession, some doctors who specialize in the treatment of AIDS patients have long suspected such a connection.

“I’ve had a number of patients — men in their late 40s and early 50s — who were just found dead at home,” said Dr. Steven G. Deeks, an AIDS expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. “I’ve always thought that was happening more than it should.”

Both the virus that causes AIDS and other infections that can accompany it can inflame tissues, he said. Inflammation can produce blood clots, which can cause heart attacks. And in the intestines, the virus can cause “leaky gut syndrome,” by which other inflammatory microbes enter the bloodstream.

Dr. Zian H. Tseng, a heart rhythm specialist and a co-author with Dr. Hsue of the new study, said he stumbled on the H.I.V.-cardiac connection while he was doing a survey of every sudden heart attack death in San Francisco and noticed that many victims were taking antiretroviral drugs.

“Initially, I thought it was just because of the high prevalence of H.I.V.-positive people in San Francisco, but it was clearly more than that,” he said.

The researchers scoured the medical records of 2,860 patients who were seen between 2000 and 2009 in Ward 86, San Francisco General’s famous AIDS clinic. For those who had died, they checked death certificates and paramedic reports and interviewed doctors and family members, trying to see how many had had heart attacks.

They acknowledged some limitations: Smoking and recreational drug use are more common among people with H.I.V., and few of the dead were autopsied. But all deaths that looked like overdoses, suicides or assaults, as well as slow AIDS deaths, were excluded.

There have been previous studies suggesting that people with H.I.V. develop high cholesterol and blocked arteries about a decade earlier than normal, but that is only now becoming widely recognized.

“I didn’t know I had a heart problem until I had a heart attack and a double bypass in 2003,” said Mark Abramson, 59, author of the “Beach Reading” series of gay mystery/romance novels.

Although he saw doctors and was intermittently taking AIDS medication when he had medical insurance during his years as a bartender, “no one told me I was in a high-risk group.”

He smoked and knew his blood pressure was “a little high.” He did not remember any cholesterol tests.

Sharon Hampton, 57, had heart trouble first and only later learned of a likely connection to the virus.

In her 30s, she developed high blood pressure and signs of congestive heart failure. A self-professed workaholic, she blamed the pressure of her job as a hospital claims processor. Her physician advised her to find something less stressful; she did for a while, but then moved to Sacramento and started working at another hospital.

At age 45, she said, “I had a heart attack right at my desk — thank God the E.R. was only seven feet away from the business office.”

After a quintuple bypass, she initially went back to work. But her health deteriorated, and she has lived with family members since.

Last Thanksgiving, after a health crisis hospitalized her, she learned she had H.I.V.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I totally freaked out. I thought it had to be a false positive. I’ve been celibate for a long time. I never had that lifestyle. I’m afraid of drugs.”

But when she was young, she said, she was briefly married to a man she later learned injected drugs.

“I just never knew,” she said. “He was Michelangelo’s David. I was a country bumpkin.”

She is apparently a rare “elite suppressor,” part of the 1 to 2 percent of the infected who, for unknown reasons, control the virus without drugs. Although she has a nearly undetectable viral load and no opportunistic infections, her doctors at U.C.S.F. believe that the virus contributed to her heart problems.

Jose Raneda, a 48-year-old former lawyer from Milwaukee, has seen the thinking about the H.I.V.-heart connection change in the last few years.

He has known he was infected since he was 21, started on AIDS cocktails as soon as they were available, never had a low CD4-cell count or an AIDS-related infection, and has always been slim.

But he had his first of two heart attacks at age 40.

“I asked my H.I.V. doctor if it was related, and he said it wasn’t,” he said. “I think he was mistaken.”

His former physician, Dr. Ian H. Gilson of the Medical College of Wisconsin, agreed.

“At the time, we didn’t have a lot of solid evidence of the connection,” he said. “My thinking has evolved. I’d tell him something different now.”

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Ginsburg: Expect “Sharp Disagreement” in SCOTUS Rulings (Obamacare R.I.P.)

Original Article - Ginsburg: Expect “Sharp Disagreement” in SCOTUS Rulings (Obamacare R.I.P.)

Sometimes, if you have nothing to say, it’s probably best to say nothing at all. This is an old saw which was apparently lost on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week, when she decided to take time out of her busy schedule and talk about the court’s upcoming decisions – including the one on the Obamacare mandate – by not really saying anything.

With a wry smile, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid waste Friday to all those rumors about the fate of the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court.

“Those who know don’t talk. And those who talk don’t know,” she quipped Friday night at a conference hosted by the American Constitution Society at the Capital Hilton.

Ginsburg said she was responding to a “steady stream of rumors and fifth-hand accounts” about the court’s deliberations on the law.

Careful not to tip her hand on the court’s ruling — expected in the next two weeks — Ginsburg described the oral arguments in the case as unprecedented for the number of “press conferences, prayer circles, protests and counterprotests” that occurred on the courthouse steps.

This does confirm one thing, however, which some of us have debated from time to time. The Justices absolutely do keep track of their own press coverage and are aware of the ebb and flow in the tide of public opinion. Lady Justice may be blind, but she definitely has access to cable TV.

A second quote from the event let another hint slip through the wall of silence.

The 21 remaining decisions, she said, were “many of the most controversial cases” that the court reviewed this term.

“It is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after,” she said.

That one shouldn’t be too hard to translate. Yet again, rather than finding some clear, general consensus on what the Constitution of the United States actually says and how it applies to the cases in question, we can expect yet another series of inflammatory rulings on high profile cases where the court splits 5-4 along partisan lines. (A concept which you might think most people would abhor in a body which is ostensibly non-partisan in nature.) Public faith in the court has been falling and may soon bottom out in the realm of the favorability of Congress.

So when Anthony Kennedy… I’m sorry, I mean the court… finishes ruling on all of these cases, what will the President and Democrats in general do if a significant portions of the rulings go against them? They have no idea.

Congressional Democrats who wrote Barack Obama’s health care plan into law say they’re getting virtually no guidance from the White House on how to deal with the fallout if the Supreme Court overturns any part of the law.

There have been no meetings, no phone calls and no paper exchanged with the administration, according to Democratic lawmakers and staff. The top aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, David Krone and John Lawrence, did meet with the White House’s chief congressional lobbyist, Rob Nabors, last week to discuss a variety of issues.

But Nabors didn’t provide any information on how the president plans to approach the court’s ruling, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

This is a bit of an odd duck to begin with, as political news coverage goes. What the White House or congressional Democrats plan to “do” if Obamacare is struck down is pretty much irrelevant, beyond what sort of excuses to make, who to blame and how to try to spin it. Once the Supremes speak the party is pretty much over. There is no higher appeal… at least until a significant number of them are gone and replaced with a new slate of partisan bulldogs.

My prediction? I still think they’re going to punt on Obamacare, claiming either that the law hasn’t ripened to the point where anyone can demonstrate damages from it or that none of the plaintiffs have standing to bring the case in the first place. But if they do rule definitively one way or the other, it’s going to bring the long, hot, dog days of summer into the political kitchen well ahead of schedule.

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Forced Abortion in China Prompts Apology and Three Officials Suspended (Graphic Photo)

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Published on: June 16, 2012

Original Article - Forced Abortion in China Prompts Apology and Three Officials Suspended (Graphic Photo)

Feng Jianmei is shown after having her 7-month-old fetus aborted because she was in violation of China’s one baby policy.

 

Three Chinese officials have been suspended and the government has apologized to a young mother who was forced to abort her child seven months into the pregnancy due to China’s one-child limit law.

Graphic images of the mother and the lifeless body of the baby sparked a public uproar after they were posted online by a Chinese activist group.

Feng Jianmei and her husband, Deng Ji Yuan, already have one child. Deng said that because of this, his wife’s pregnancy was found to be in violation of China’s one-child policy by the Family Planning authorities in their hometown of Zhenping City, located in China’s Shanxi Province.

News of Feng’s forced abortion on June 2 spread through the activist community within China and internationally. Xinhua News Agency ran a short account of her story, stories ran in newspapers and on website throughout the world.

Deng told ABC News that Feng, who is 25, was so distraught over the loss of her baby she slit her wrists in an attempted suicide.

Today the city’s government web site said Deputy Mayor Du Shouping visited the couple and apologized. He also told them that officials would be suspended pending an investigation.

“Today, I am here on behalf of the municipal government to see you and express our sincere apology to you. I hope to get your understanding,” the deputy mayor said according to the city’s website.

The official Xinhua News Agency said three officials would be relieved of their duties, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, another Chinese woman is faced with a decision whether to abort her second child or pay an exorbitant fine.

In Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province, Cao Ruyi, who says she is five months pregnant, is safe from a forced abortion, if only for the time being. Her relief follows an anxious few days.

When it was discovered Cao was pregnant, she was detained by authorities. In an interview with ABC News, Cao described how Family Planning Police dragged her from her home to a hospital for an abortion. She says she was released only after signing a contract promising to abort her child by Saturday, June 16.

Cao’s story took a different route than Feng’s. The news got out earlier through a network of concerned locals savvy enough to alert non-profit organizations dedicated to stopping forced abortions with ties in the U.S. government and international press.

Also on Monday, in Washington D.C., State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland acknowledged the case of Cao Ruyi.

“We’ve seen the reports that a Chinese woman is being detained and possibly pressured into a forced abortion by Chinese family planning authorities after purportedly violating China’s one-child policy,” she told reporters during a press briefing. “We have reached out to the authorities in Beijing to ask about this issue.”

Nuland reiterated that the U.S. strongly opposes “all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies,” which they have deemed a serious human rights abuse.

Groups from around the world became involved, including organization such as All Girls Allowed and Women’s Rights in China.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., sent a letter to local Changsha officials. The Texas-based group ChinaAid published his appeal online.

Cao was released within 48 hours after the letter was sent.

Chai Ling, the founder of the Christian activist organization All Girls Allowed and former student leader in Tiananmen Square, tells ABC News that according to Cao and her husband if they have the baby they will be forced to pay a “social burden fee” of nearly $24,000. This fee, an astronomical sum for the average Chinese citizen, is “required” for the child to be granted basic citizen rights such as access to health care and education.

Cao doubts she will ever be able to come up with that kind of money.

“She is too afraid to borrow the money,” says Chai Ling, “because she has no idea how she could pay it back.” Nor does she have any guarantee the government won’t ask for more money in the future. “That is the psychological pressure she is under,” says Chai Ling. “It becomes a money making operation for the government.”

Cao told ABC News she very much wanted to keep her baby, but she was unsure of what do to. For Cao, waiting for the Saturday deadline is torture, but every moment is also precious for the expectant mother.

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Canada Edges Closer to Legalising Assisted Suicide (National Healthcare=Asst’d Suicide)

Original Article - Canada Edges Closer to Legalising Assisted Suicide (National Healthcare=Asst’d Suicide)

The issue of euthanasia in Canada is no longer simmering on a back burner. After the Supreme Court of British Columbia found yesterday that Criminal Code provisions which prohibit doctors from helping their patients commit suicide are unconstitutional, it is on a full, rolling boil. In the landmark decision, Justice Lynn Smith set down that if suicide is legal, preventing handicapped persons from taking their lives must be discriminatory.

Judge Smith gave Canada’s Parliament a year to draft a law permitting assisted suicide. In the meantime she granted the principal plaintiff in the case, Gloria Taylor, an exemption. This makes Ms Taylor’s doctor the only person in the country who may now legally help someone commit suicide. The conditions set down by the judge are very similar to those across the border in the US states of Washington and Oregon for physician-assisted suicide.

Ms Taylor, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) released a statement which read: “I am deeply grateful to have the comfort of knowing that I’ll have a choice at the end of my life. This is a blessing for me, and other seriously and incurably ill individuals. This decision allows me to approach my death in the same way I have tried to live my life – with dignity, independence and grace.”

The controversial case was initiated by Ms Taylor, four other individuals and the BC Civil Liberties Association. They sought to have the court overturn a 1993 judgement by the Supreme Court of Canada. Sue Rodriguez, who also suffered from ALS, applied for help in committing suicide. The court denied her request but she subsequently committed suicide with the help of an anonymous physician a few months later.

The judge’s 395-page decision, which discusses many aspects of the contentious assisted suicide debate, is sure to be challenged. Basically, her argument can be summed up in one sentence: the plaintiffs “succeed because the provisions unjustifiably infringe the equality rights of Gloria Taylor and the rights to life, liberty and security of the person of Gloria Taylor, Lee Carter and Hollis Johnson [the other plaintiffs].” The case is certain to be appealed to the Supreme Court in Ottawa.

In addition to the legal arguments from Canadian law, the document raises a number of interesting ethical issues.

* Suicide, which was removed from Canada’s criminal code in 1972, now appears to be regarded as a right. “The claim that the legislation infringes Ms Taylor’s equality rights begins with the fact that the law does not prohibit suicide,” the judge wrote. Other people of sound mind can commit suicide if they want, so why not the physically handicapped? “In my opinion, the law creates a distinction that is discriminatory. It perpetuates and worsens a disadvantage experienced by persons with disabilities. The dignity of choice should be afforded to Canadians equally, but the law as it stands does not do so with respect to this ultimately personal and fundamental choice.”

* The judge acknowledges that there is no national consensus on assisted suicide. However, in her view, more important than a consensus is the existence of prestigious doctors and ethicists who do believe that it is ethical. “The Canadian physicians who deposed that they would provide assistance with hastened death if it were legal to do so were unchallenged with respect to their standing in the medical community or their understanding of and respect for medical ethics. Their evidence shows that the view that a physician can never ethically participate in terminating life is not universally held by reputable, experienced physicians, despite the position taken by the Canadian Medical Association and similar bodies.”

* The judge accepted the idea that assisted suicide can be successfully regulated. “There is a strong consensus that if physician-assisted dying were ever to be ethical, it would be only be with respect to those patients, where clearly consistent with the patient’s wishes and best interests, and in order to relieve suffering.”

Opponents of assisted suicide may highlight Justice Smith’s decision to admit as evidence two documents which missed the deadline for submitting evidence. The first is a report from the Royal Society of Canada which strongly backed the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia. It was published last November. The second is a March report from a parliamentary committee in Quebec which recommended the legalisation of euthanasia with strict safeguards.

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Thanks Obamacare: 83% of Doctors Surveyed Say They May Quit

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Published on: June 15, 2012

Original Article - Thanks Obamacare: 83% of Doctors Surveyed Say They May Quit

The Doctor Patient Medical Association has released a new survey of about 700 doctors, and the results are bleak. Scary bleak. Among other dismal figures, Doctors’ Attitudes on the Future of Medicine: What’s Wrong, Who’s to Blame, and What Will Fix It found that 83% of respondents are contemplating leaving the industry if Obamacare is fully implemented, owing to its disastrous projected consequences. Indeed, they openly blame the healthcare law for their industry’s woes:

KEY FINDINGS

  • 90% say the medical system is on the WRONG TRACK
  • 83% say they are thinking about QUITTING
  • 61% say the system challenges their ETHICS
  • 85% say the patient-physician relationship is in a TAILSPIN
  • 65% say GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT is most to blame for current problems
  • 72% say individual insurance mandate will NOT result in improved access care
  • 49% say they will STOP accepting Medicaid patients
  • 74% say they will STOP ACCEPTING Medicare patients, or leave Medicare completely
  • 52% say they would rather treat some Medicaid/Medicare patient for FREE
  • 57% give the AMA a FAILING GRADE representing them
  • 1 out of 3 doctors is HESITANT to voice their opinion
  • 2 out of 3 say they are JUST SQUEAKING BY OR IN THE RED financially
  • 95% say private practice is losing out to CORPORATE MEDICINE
  • 80% say DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS are most likely to help solve things
  • 70% say REDUCING GOVERNMENT would be single best fix.

If this isn’t an airtight argument for the repeal of Obamacare, nothing is. When the people providing the actual healthcare are thinking of getting out of the game, the system is clearly broken. Here’s hoping the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare this month.

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