ERICKSON – GOP schism; HANSON – Dem disasters to come; DINAN – USAF flies Congress to FLA; DINAN: The next Cruz; REICHMANN & DOZIER – Spied on France.
HEALTH CARE: Pollack – Limbaugh Plan better; WSJ – Ocare denial; Benson – Sebelius survives; Radosh – Future failures; Shapiro – Brosurance; Viebeck – Sebelius to testify; Barr – Verizon rescues.
DOMESTIC: Hawkins – fast & furious grenades; Irwin – QE (print $) forever; Enten – republicans rise; Hanson – Bay Area one-percenters; Hernandez – Nobody but us; Watson – $80 million for domestic guards; Howerton – Our missing army.
PA: Gibson – Impeach Kathy Kane?; Yurchak – Common Core
END NOTES: Palin – Endless DC extortion; Kuhner – TEA vindication; Canada Press -Michelle’s $1.6M staff.
“Let me just say this one for the record. No politician — I don’t care the political party — will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it. And this warning goes double for Democrats. We will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career,” Richard Trumka
1824: Seventy-six-year-old John Stevens of Hoboken, New Jersey, completed the first U.S. steam locomotive to pull a train on a track.
1864: Union forces prevailed in the Battle of Westport, near Kansas City, Missouri, one of the largest Civil War engagements west of the Mississippi.
1944: The three-day Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle of WWII, began in the Philippines; it ended in Allied victory.
1983: A suicide truck-bombing at the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, believed to be the work of the terrorist group Hezbollah, killed 241 American servicemen.
1993: The Statue of Freedom returned to the top of the U.S. Capitol dome. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
Erick Erickson, Red State: “The Republican Schism”
“There is a data set within yesterday’s CNN poll that even CNN largely overlooked, but that explains so much of the current tension within the Republican Party. . .
“While all the polling suggests a very real anti-establishmentarian mood in the country and within the GOP, small donors are gravitating toward conservative groups willing to fight. Heritage Action for American, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, Senate Conservatives Fund, Madison Project, etc. are all seeing small donors and activists gravitating to them. As attacks on these groups intensify from
Republicans in Washington, their support from the grassroots correspondingly intensifies.
This is shaping up to be a more destructive primary season for the GOP Establishment than either 2010 or 2012. Making it even more brutal, the Chamber of Commerce and large corporatist donors are teaming up to help the Establishment. With a base already feeling ignored by the K Street/Wall Street alliance whispering in the Establishment’s ear, the Chamber and large donor support of Establishment candidates will just give the base and conservatives more fodder for attacks.
“Ultimately though, and this is the key everybody is missing, we have arrived at this point because the leadership of the party has fundraised off its opposition to Obamacare in two campaign cycles, but has never aggressively sought to oppose it legislatively.
“There will be hell to pay because of it.’
Also: Jonah Goldberg, NRO: “A War That Might Happen”
“. . . Six months ago, most tea-party leaders were eager to get rid of the medical-device tax under Obamacare. But, in the recent budget battle, getting rid of it was suddenly an ideological betrayal and a sop to big business.
“A culture war is definitely raging on the right, and a civil war may follow, though I hope not. I’d hate to see the GOP establishment create an ideological rationale for being anti-Tea Party. It’s better for conservatism if the GOP establishment is pulled toward the Tea Party, rather than repelled from it. Likewise, it’s better if the Tea Party sees the GOP as a vehicle for its agenda rather than an obstruction.
If forced, I’d root for the tea partiers. And once they’re in power, I’d chuckle as the Richard Vigueries denounced them as sellouts too.”
Victor Davis Hanson, PJM: “The Democratic Disasters to Come”
“. . . The real story about the debt is that by the end of Obama’s eight years, he will have matched the borrowing of all previous presidents combined. Yet incredibly, the present huge sum of $17 trillion in debt is serviced at the same cost that we paid over 15 years ago. Such free use of money without raging inflation is almost historically unprecedented — and it won’t last.
“Indeed, we are paying today about the same amount in aggregate annual interest payments, in non-inflation-adjusted dollars no less, as in 1997 — even though the 2012 figure of $17 trillion in debt is about three times larger than it was a decade-and-a-half ago. That anomaly is possible only because today’s interest rate of about 2.2% is only a third of what it was back then.
“If interest ever returned to 1997 levels, at say 6.6%, we’d be paying over a trillion dollars a year in debt service. In crude terms, the winners of this Ponzi scheme are the very wealthy connected to Wall Street, which is flooded with foreign and domestic capital. It need not do much of anything more than outperform a pathetic 1% return on savings accounts.
“The poor benefit from the vast increase in federal spending and exemption from federal income taxes. In contrast, the middle class still pays high interest on its student loans, credit card, and, to a lesser extent, car debt, receives almost no interest on its meager savings accounts, and is not so ready, after 2008, to dabble in real estate and the stock market.
“In some sense, holders of U.S. Treasury debt and passbook savers are giving up hundreds of billions of dollars in interest returns (cf. the difference, say, between 1% and a more normal 5%) to subsidize the redistributive policies of the federal government.
“The lack of interest, or de facto negative interest, keeps the near-retired working and hampers job prospects of the young; discourages thrift, savings and investment; and plays an underappreciated role in the slow economic recovery. The Democrats must deal with the contradiction of needing zero interest rates to service their recent extra $6 trillion in debt, and higher interest to encourage savings, investment, and job growth. . .”
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times: “Congress to close down, fly Air Force planes to Florida for funeral of Rep. C.W. Bill Young”
“Congress will shut down on Thursday, and leaders have told lawmakers the Defense Department will fly them to Florida for the funeral of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died late last week.
“Mr. Young was the senior Republican in the chamber, and the move to close down business is a mark of respect for him — though it also means that there will be no floor votes and that many committee meetings have been canceled, cutting short what was already a mostly empty week. The House’s hearing examining the health exchange rollout will continue as planned, however.
“After passing a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, the Senate went on an 11-day vacation. The House was slated to be in Tuesday evening through Thursday but will now just be in for a day and a half, with the chief business a vote on a public works legislation.
“House officials told lawmakers to be ready to leave Washington from Joint Base Andrews early Thursday to make the funeral in Largo, Fla., and then plan to return late in the evening. . .”
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times: “Forget Ronald Reagan, Republican candidates race to be the next Ted Cruz”
“The competition to be the next Ted Cruz is extremely hot within the Republican Party, where a number of emerging challengers are hoping to capitalize on the newest brand name in conservative politics.
“In Kansas, Milton R. Wolf opened his fundraising pitch to supporters last week by asking them whether he could be the next Cruz candidate. In Mississippi, Chris McDaniel announced his campaign to unseat Sen. Thad Cochran last week and welcomed the comparison to Mr. Cruz, calling it “a compliment.”
“Then there’s Ben Sasse, a university president running for Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seat, who set state fundraising records by opposing Obamacare. He told the Lincoln Journal Star last week that he would have voted with Mr. Cruz to keep the government shut down last week, saying it was a better option than continuing to spend and run up debt.
“In many ways, Mr. Cruz has become the shorthand for the “tea party,” which was already a shorthand way to categorize conservative voters who subscribe to a low-spending, low-taxes philosophy of government. . .”
Reichmann & Dozier, Big Peace: “France is Latest US Ally Angered by NSA Snooping”
“Associated Press, WASHINGTON
“The sweep and scope of National Security Agency snooping abroad forced President Barack Obama once again to hear complaints from a U.S. ally angry about the surveillance net that has sparked an international debate over the limits of American spying.
“France is the latest in a growing list of nations _ Germany, Brazil and Mexico included _ demanding explanations from Washington. A report published on Monday said the U.S. swept up 70 million French telephone records and text messages and recorded some private conversations.
“President Francois Hollande’s office expressed ‘profound reprobation,’ saying the spying violated the privacy of French citizens. The White House said some news reports have distorted the work of U.S. surveillance programs, but said Obama acknowledged to Hollande in a telephone conversation that some reports have raised ‘legitimate questions for our friends and allies.’
“‘The president made clear that the United States has begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share,’ the White House said.
“The report in Le Monde, co-written by Glenn Greenwald, who originally revealed the surveillance program based on leaks from former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, found that when certain phone numbers were used, conversations were recorded automatically. . .”
HEALTH CARE . . .
Drudge Report (10/22-23/13)
OBAMASCARE: WOMAN FALLS ILL IN ROSE GARDEN!
CONSUMER REPORTS: 'Stay away'...
FOURNIER: Worse Than We Know...
Spanish website completely down...
Woman Featured in Administration Ad Spent 3 Days Enrolling...
Man Spends 4.5 Hours on Phone But Still Can't Sign Up...
Hannity Gets Through, Operator Says No One Likes It...
WH busted pushing false account of success...
NBA Stars Promote in CA...
CRUZ: 'Nigerian Email Scammers' Running Website...
Zero Enrollments in New York?
Democrats warm to 'delay'...
SEBELIUS: OBAMA DID NOT KNOW...
UPDATE: Judge will not issue injunction...
Carney Ducks Questions, Walks Out of Press Briefing...
'I'm Not a Computer Expert'...
Urgent White House meeting with insurance chiefs...
Joel Pollak, Big Govt: “Experts Conclude: Limbaugh Plan Better than Obama’s Stimulus”
“In 2009, at the height of debate about President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh proposed a compromise in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that would have devoted half the stimulus to tax cuts. Now, a new working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) concludes that Limbaugh was right, at least in terms of that portion of the stimulus that was directed to state governments.
“The paper, by Gerald Carlino and Robert P. Inman, finds that “ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] assistance would have been 30 percent more effective in stimulating GDP growth had the share spent on government purchases and project aid been fully allocated to private sector tax relief and to matching aid to states for lower-income support.” In other words: tax cuts and cash transfers would have been better. . .”
“. . . The White House pitched President Obama’s Rose Garden event on Monday as a new transparency, but the event amounted to an infomercial, complete with a 1-800 number. Operators are standing by and “the product is good,” the President said. He even encouraged Americans to bypass the website and apply for benefits over the phone or by mail.
“Too bad this infomercial lacked tangible information. Mr. Obama might have explained what went wrong, and why, and where the buck stops, or if there is even a provisional timetable for when the exchanges will function properly. Instead he minimized the severity of the problems, perhaps for political reasons. Or maybe he didn’t say because the defects are so deep that no one can identify the specific solutions.
“By the way, we called the hotline on Monday and the automated menu redirected us to Healthcare.gov, which in turn told us to get in touch with someone at the call center.
“In an era where Google is making self-driving cars and Amazon offers next-day delivery for just about anything, the White House plunged ahead with a system it knew to be defective and is relying on the technology of the 19th century as the fall-back. Five days before the exchanges launched, the Health and Human Services Department increased the Virginia information technology company Serco’s $114 million contract by $87 million—to help process paper applications. Are contingency plans in place to sign up via telegraph? . . .” “.http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304402104579149582888128734
Guy Benson, Townhall: “WH: Why Of Course We Stand By Kathleen Sebelius, Despite Obamacare’s Historic Failures”
“Anyone surprised? I mean, this guy still has his job, as does everyone who dropped the ball over Benghazi. Not to worry, Kathleen — the program you’re overseeing may be a trainwreck of epic proportions, but your job is safe:
‘The White House stood by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday, as Republicans called for her resignation over the botched rollout of ObamaCare. The primary website for consumers to sign up for insurance is still not functioning as promised, two weeks since its launch. Jay Carney said Tuesday that President Obama still trusts Sebelius’s stewardship of his signature legislative achievement. “The secretary does have the full confidence of the president,” Carney said during his daily press briefing. Republicans have said Sebelius should resign or be fired over the problems facing healthcare.gov — the portal for consumers in 36 states to shop for and buy insurance. The site was unusable when it came online, and is still not fully functional two weeks later.’
“One veteran Congressional Democrat has been even more generous, opining that absolutely no one should be fired over the healthcare meltdown. Ah, the fringe benefits of government work. The law’s technical snafus continue to pile up, and may be months away from operating somewhat adequately. CNN calls it a ‘debacle.’ In Maryland, one of the most prepared, pro-Obamacare blue states to create its own exchange, the Democratic governor has been forced to admit their system won’t be running properly for at least another month. That bodes very poorly for less prepared states, and especially the federal system — elements of which haven’t even been tested yet. I’ll again implore you to read Megan McArdle’s dissection of the problems, which are exclusively the fault of the administration. They made bad procurement choices, they withheld key regulations until after the election for political reasons, and they ignored a slew of warnings and missed deadlines. But its screwy mechanics are just one slice of its problems, as average people are discovering with each passing day. . .”
Ron Radosh, PJM: “The Flaw in ObamaCare Points to Its Future Failure: It’s Time to Propose Real Alternatives”
Entitlements never die but recruit every generation of hucksters and hackers who promise to “fix” them.
“Some Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, have argued that if ObamaCare goes through, an entire group of people will want and like the services offered, thus creating a new dependent culture of people hooked on the supposedly universal and free medical care being offered. Hence, any chances of repealing or reversing it in the future will be doomed.
“The events of the previous week have shown that this is an unfounded fear. More likely is that the inherent flaws in ObamCare, now more apparent than ever, will create a groundswell of public opinion demanding either its delay or a movement to scratch it completely and come up with a program that actually works to reform and improve health care in a meaningful way.
“We now know, as Stuart Stevens reports in The Daily Beast, that even left-leaning Vermont, the state with the only openly socialist senator, has seen that the roll-out of the health exchanges has been “an unmitigated disaster.” And in the reliably blue state of Maryland, only 1,000 people were able to enroll on the state’s own website, which had as many glitches and software problems as the federal website.
“While liberals and leftists argue that the program is solid, and that it is only the software that is bad, Stevens writes that the current problems serve to illustrate ObamaCare’s fatal flaw:
“One of the president’s key selling points of the ACA was the promise that if you liked your plan, you could keep it. We’re learning that’s often not the case as Obamacare is implemented across the country. And in Vermont, there has been no pretense of such assurance.
“As of January 1, 2014, in Vermont, the ability for individuals or employers with 50 or fewer employees to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies ceases to exist. As for policies already covering those businesses and individuals? Those cease to exist, as well. In other words, in Vermont, a good percentage of its population will have no choice but to buy health insurance through the state exchange.
“Now Vermont, like the federal government, is using PR to try to get people to register, as well as trying other methods, such as urging applicants to try to phone in their applications or do it via snail mail. Why not go back to early 20th century methods while we’re living in the 21st century? Perhaps they should also try to revive the Pony Express.
“Vermont, Stevens points out, has the highest insurance premiums in the nation. As good liberals, their government has stringent regulations on the insurance industry, thus preventing competition. ObamaCare will not help Vermont residents, since there are only two companies offering plans on the exchange. And rates are the same for everyone, whatever their age or condition of their health. What this reveals is the essence of socialist engineering to produce equality. To their eyes, it sounds good and moral since everyone pays the same and everyone gets equal treatment. . .”
Ben Shapiro, Big Govt: “Obamacare Ads Push ‘Brosurance’: ‘Don’t Tap Into Your Beer Money to Cover Those Medical Bills’”
“President Obama’s Obamacare “navigators” are proving to be a troublesome lot, with one navigator having an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and others having shady backgrounds.
Obamacare navigators are supposed to help Americans sign up for Obamacare exchanges. But some navigators in Colorado are doing their jobs by creating advertisements directed at college students. One pushes ‘Brosurance,’ shows three men engaging in a keg stand, and assures potential enrollees, ‘Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier. Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered. Now you can too. Thanks Obamacare!’
The ad refers people to doyougotinsurance.com, which redirects to gotinsurancecolorado.org, “a project of the Thanks Obamacare campaign, created by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education to educate everyone about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. . .”
Elise Viebeck, The Hill: “Embattled Sebelius to testify on rollout (Video)”
“The House Energy and Commerce Committee confirmed Monday night that Sebelius would meet with the committee next Wednesday.
“The notice capped a day of wrangling between Sebelius and congressional Republicans who repeatedly attacked her for rejecting calls to testify at a Thursday hearing.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused Sebelius of ‘seeking to avoid accountability and stonewall the public’ by declining to attend this week’s hearing.
“‘What is more important to Secretary Sebelius than providing answers to the American people?’ Boehner said in a statement. ‘I hope President Obama … orders his Secretary to fully cooperate with all congressional inquiries.’. . .”
Alistair Barr, et al, USA Today: “HHS brings in Verizon to help HealthCare.gov”
Another side . . . according to a Mark Levin caller, Verizon hardware has always been involved. Canadian software catches blame . . .
“WASHINGTON — The international telecommunications company Verizon has been tasked with helping the government fix the federal health exchange, USA TODAY has learned.
“An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official. . .”
DOMESTIC . . .
AWR Hawkins, Big Peace: “Three Mexican Police Dead, Explosives from DOJ Grenade Walking Scandal at Scene”
“Just as guns were walked across the border with impunity during Operation Fast and Furious so too reports now indicate grenade components were walked across the border as well.
“According to Fox News, Jean Baptiste Kingery was the man behind the grenade components “and he was also converting [firearms] into fully automatic.” When he was apprehended in 2009, DOJ “brass wanted to let him continue, hoping they could track his explosives” as they went to cartel members.
Yet grenade walking proved as difficult to track as gun walking and in the end, the grenade components disappeared into Mexico as had the more than 2,000 firearms–including AR-15s, Ak-47s, and .50 caliber rifles–from Fast and Furious
“Now there has been an attack in Mexico that killed three officers and some of the explosives from that incident have been traced back to the “American bomb-maker the U.S. attorney in Arizona refused to prosecute for grenade walking. The attorney described the grenade components ‘as harmless toys’ and said the case did not have ‘jury appeal. . .’”
Neal Irwin, WaPo: “When is the Fed going to taper QE? Probably not soon!”
“This time five weeks ago, markets were ready and waiting for the Federal Reserve to begin its “taper,” the beginning of the end of its program of pumping billions of dollars into the economy by buying bonds.
“Not only did Fed leaders elect to sit on their hands at that meeting; now the smart money thinks they won’t even start to slow their bond buying until this coming spring! That’s all the more remarkable given that there has been no radical shift in the tenor of economic data, just a series of mild disappointments, of which the September jobs report issued Tuesday morning was the latest example.
“After peaking at 1.88 percent in August, the yield on a five year U.S. treasury bond is down to 1.29 percent Tuesday — a hint that investors expect the Fed to keep buying bonds and putting downward pressure on rates. On Sept. 17, futures markets priced in a 46 percent chance that the Fed would increase its short-term interest rate target by the end of 2014. Those odds were down to 21 percent Tuesday.
“Here is Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan, describing his assessment in a new report to clients: ‘Absent some miraculous improvement in the data, tapering in 2013 now looks to be off the table. The 2014 calendar gets tricky. If our economic forecast were realized, we’d expect a first tapering at the March meeting. However, the date of the March meeting is right around when we expect the next ‘drop dead’ date on the debt ceiling. Given this, our modal view on the first tapering is now April’ . . .”
Harry Enten, UK Guardian: “Republicans rise in states, even as the national GOP sinks”
“Washington Republicans are in a disarray of sorts. Republicans lost the shutdown fight. They have, for now, lost ground in the race for the House of Representatives in 2014. It’s not clear that Republicans have found the sixth truly competitive Democratic Senate seat necessary to take control of that body in 2015.
“Yet, it would also seem that Republicans outside of Washington are in much better position than they were at the beginning of the year. Talk had been that Democrats would win control of the majority of governorships in the 2014 elections. They need to have a net gain of five (assuming Terry McAuliffe wins Virginia’s governorship in a few weeks). That is still a possibility, but it looks to be less than 50:50.
What happened? It’s a combination of Democratic incumbents tumbling because of unpopular legislation and bad state economies, Republican incumbents recovering thanks to strong state economies and moving towards the middle and co-operating with President Obama, and dumb luck. . . “
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: “The Bay Area’s 1 Percenters”
“Strip away the veneer of Silicon Valley, and it is mostly a paradox. Almost nothing is what it is professed to be. Ostensibly, communities like Menlo Park and Palo Alto are elite enclaves, where power couples can easily make $300,000 to $700,000 a year as mid-level dot.com managers.
But often these 1 percenter communities are façades of sorts. Beneath veneers of high-end living, there are lives of quiet 1-percent desperation. With new federal and California tax hikes, aggregate income-tax rates on dot.commers can easily exceed 50 percent of their gross income. And hip California 1 percenters do not enjoy superb roads and schools or a low-crime state in exchange for forking over half their income.
“Housing gobbles much of the rest of their pay. A 1,300-square-foot cottage in Mountain View or Atherton can easily sell for $1.5 million, leaving the owners paying $5,000 to $6,000 on their mortgage and another $1,500 to $2,000 in property taxes each month. Add in the de rigueur Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus and the private-school tuition, and the apparently affluent turn out to have not all that much disposable income. A visitor from Mars might look at their relatively tiny houses, frenzied go-getter lifestyle, and leased BMWs, and deem them no better off materially than middle-class state employees three hours away in supposedly dismal Merced, who earn 20 percent as much, but live in a home twice as large, with only 10 percent of the monthly mortgage and tax costs.
“Given exorbitant taxes and housing prices, obviously it is not just the high salaries that draw so many to the San Francisco Bay Area. The “ambiance” of year-round temperate weather, the collective confidence rippling out from new technology, the spinoff from great universities like UC Berkeley and Stanford, and the hip culture of fine eating and entertainment all tend to convince Silicon Valley denizens that they are enviable even though they must work long hours to pay high taxes and to buy tiny and often old homes.
“Silicon Valley liberal politics are equally paradoxical, reflect this quiet desperation, and mask hyper-self-interest, old-fashioned rat-race competition, and 21st-century suburban versions of keeping up with the Joneses. The latter may be green, support gay marriage, and oppose restrictions on abortion, but they still are the Joneses of old who define their success by showing off to neighbors what they have, whether high-performance cars or hyper-achieving kids.
“In the South Bay counties, Democratic registration outnumbers Republican often 2 to 1. If liberals like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi did not represent the Bay Area, others like them would have to be invented. Yet, most Northern California liberal politics are abstractions that apparently provide some sort of psychological compensation for otherwise living lives that are illiberal to the core. . .”
Richard Fernandez, PJM: “Nobody but Us”
“It may not be news in principle, but its still disheartening to learn the details of political corruption, rather like walking in on someone you knew was having in affair in theory before seeing them in flagrante delicto. Peter Schweizer lays out gory excerpts from his book, Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes and Line Their Own Pockets in the New York Times. It makes depressing reading, but it is also very illuminating.
“Schweizer describes ‘John Boehner’s ‘Tollbooth’,’ by which the Speaker of the House extracts money by soliciting political donations before he holds crucial votes on the House floor. He details the Obama ‘Protection Money’ racket, where the Administration targets industries for criminal investigation but passes over the lintels of those who are key political donors. Doubtless Schweizer regales us with many other forms of this activity, but they boil down to the same thing.
“Schweizer’s expose makes it easy to understand why the ‘showdown’ over Obamacare and the debt ceiling was in many respects an act. It wasn’t about ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but always about ‘how much’.
“Money, or rather the lack of it, is the root of all evil. And often the public, fatted on the narrative, is the last to know. We now learn that Federal Workers are going to get backpay for the days they missed and collect unemployment insurance for those same days to boot. That the Senate budget deal which ended the shutdown actually provided backpay as part of the bipartisan settlement. It turns out that nobody lost a dime in the crisis that was billed as the End of the World, unless of course you count the taxpayers. And they don’t count.
“But you didn’t really need to read Schweizer’s book to guess what it says. Of late government officials have taken to hawking influence openly, from the housetops. The Washington Post noted that Kathleen Sebelius had “gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.” I wonder what she needed the money for. . .”
Also – Tony Lee, Big Journalism: “NYT: ‘Extortion’ Reveals ‘Embarrassing’ Info About Lawmakers’ Use of Donations”
“In Peter Schweizer’s Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets, which hits the shelves on Tuesday, the New York Times found shocking revelations of lawmakers using donations to their leadership PACs to fund golf outings, commission paintings of themselves, finance trips to resorts, and throw lavish parties at their homes.
“Revelations in the book, written by Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) president Peter Schweizer, were detailed on 60 Minutes on Sunday. The Times explains that it could “draw attention to a number of questionable but legal fund-raising activities — some potentially damaging, others certainly embarrassing — that could prove uncomfortable for some on Capitol Hill. . .”
Paul Joseph Watson, InfoWars: “Homeland Security Spends $80 Million On Armed Guards for ‘Civil Disturbances’”
“The Department of Homeland Security is set to spend $80 million dollars on hiring a raft of armed guards to protect IRS and other government buildings in upstate New York during ‘public demonstrations’ and ‘civil disturbances,’ once again prompting concerns that the federal agency is preparing for food stamp riots, anti-tax demonstrations or some other form of domestic unrest.
“According to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Federal Protective Service (a unit of the DHS), is looking for a contractor to supply armed Protective Security Officers (PSOs) to guard a variety of government buildings in the region, including ‘IRS buildings(s) during tax season.’
“PSOs will be required to be armed and some posts may require screening of visitors using x-rays/magnetometers,” states the solicitation.
“The armed guards will be used during ‘public demonstration(s),’ as well as ‘civil disturbances, or other unanticipated events on an as-needed basis.’. . .”
Jason Howerton, The Blaze: “Army Chief of Staff Reveals His Greatest Fear”
“If Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno were to receive an order to deploy thousands of troops into a combat situation, he would be hard-pressed to comply. That’s because the U.S. Army reportedly only has two combat-ready brigades right now.
“Even the ones headed to Afghanistan are qualified for the trainer and adviser mission, not combat,” Defense News reports.
That’s also why receiving such an order is currently Odierno’s greatest fear, according to the report.
“‘There is going to come a time when we simply don’t have enough money to provide what I believe to be the right amount of ground forces to conduct contingency operations,’ he said. ‘We’re not there yet, but it is something we are going to continue to review. . .’”
Also – Andrew Malcolm, Investors: “Shocking admission on Army preparedness: No training the last 6 months”
PA . . .
Keegan Gibson, Politics PA: “Updated with Kane’s Response: Dems Rally to Kane as Metcalfe Threatens Impeachment”
“As outspoken conservative state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe prepares to impeach her over her refusal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Democrats are rallying around Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
“In July, Kane announced to fanfare that she wouldn’t defend the state’s ban on same sex marriage in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
“She was celebrated by Democrats and LGBT advocates and berated by social conservatives. Republicans and pundits teased Kane over her campaign’s trail statement that “The Attorney General does not have the right to pick and choose which laws he or she enforces.”
“State Rep. Metcalfe (R-Butler), the legislature’s fiercest opponent of political measures advanced by LGBT advocates, wants to take the criticism a step further.
November 9th, 1-4 PM: Stop Common Core
Where: Nittany Lion Inn, 200 West Park Avenue, State College, Pa 16803
Jo Yurchak: Common Core
“If you haven’t written to the IRRC (Independent Regulatory Review Commission) yet about Common Core, please do so. The IRRC is responsible for regulatory review of nearly all regulations before implementation occurs. They are currently reviewing the newly renamed ‘PA Core Standards’ implementation. They are asking for comments, and are supposed to listen to the public.
1. I urge you to send the IRRC your testimonial (comments) by E-Mail to: http://www.irrc.state.pa.us/contact.aspx
2. Reference IRRC #2976, and address your comments to Mr. David Sumner, the Executive Director of the IRRC.
3. Let them know why you oppose Pa Core Standards. They are particularly concerned about the cost of implementation. Your testimony will be considered.
4. I have attached a file that contains talking points. The first page is short and sweet; the second is more detailed.
5. If you want to do more, I’ve also attached a file of a CALL TO ACTION that contains E-Mail addresses and phone numbers for all legislators on the Education Committees, with live links for E-Mail addresses. Even a few sentences are fine. If you write one short note, you can E-Mail it to a myriad of legislators, etc. (best to do individually) in no time!
I have sent mine (shown below) in an E-Mail but am also going to send it certified by snail mail to: Mr. David Sumner, Executive Director, IRRC, 333 Market Street, 14th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101. You certainly don’t have to do this, but it can’t hurt!
Yurchak Letter about Common Core
“Dear Mr. Sumner:
After months of extensive research into the Common Core State Standards initiative (CCSS — recently renamed PA Core Standards), I am becoming increasingly concerned with regard to its unquestionable deleterious consequences on our students and our educational system, and also its fiscal impact on Pennsylvania’s fragile economy. In listing the various reasons why I oppose the CCSS, I speak from the perspective of a retired educator who has taught at the university level for decades and also as the grandmother of four public school students.
Although my personal primary concern of this transformational, untested initiative is the loss of local control, I shall first address the fiscal aspect since it is crucial that legislators and regulatory agencies understand the enormous fiscal impact that Common Core will impose on Pennsylvanians. The initial costs and ongoing execution of the CCSS will be prohibitive, resulting in massive unfunded mandates at a time when our Commonwealth is facing severe budgetary problems, including an exponentially expanding pension crisis. Initial and continuing costs for implementation will involve hiring countless additional staff, extensive training of both new hires and current teachers, purchasing new instructional materials and technology equipment, developing and aligning curriculum to the CCSS, providing remediation and project-based assessments, and administering and grading the innumerable mandated assessments, some of which will include essay and open-ended response items. Many of these costs will undoubtedly be the responsibility of local districts.
A major fiscal concern involves the Keystone exams which, under the CCSS Chapter 4 regulations (General Provisions for Academic Standards and Assessments), will be required for graduation (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology, with more to be added in later years). Students who don’t pass these exams can repeat them until they do. Those who continue to fail them must be remediated and/or given project-based assessments, which will undoubtedly prove to be exceptionally costly, particularly in the poorer districts.
It is astounding and inexcusable that no fiscal impact study was undertaken before PA signed on to the CCSS in July of 2010, but it is even more reprehensible and unfathomable that no complete fiscal analysis has been forthcoming to date, even though legislators have repeatedly requested this information from the PA DOE.
The Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project estimate that the cost of implementing the CCSS in PA over the next seven years will be $645 MILLION. Although this high figure has been disputed, the PA DOE themselves, in their initial requests for Race to the Top funding from the Federal Government (a document that can be obtained on-line), stated that, along with the federal dollars being requested, it would require an ongoing phase-in of $2.6 BILLION to districts in new state monies, to implement Common Core. The PA DOE stated specifically to the Feds that these amounts “are both necessary and sufficient to meet and sustain the ambitious goals summarized in our application.” Legislators and regulatory agencies should be aware of these enormous cost estimates that were presented to the federal government by the PA DOE in 2010, but are they?
Misrepresentations and Misleading Statements re: the CCSS by the PA DOE
In my opinion, the adjectives used by the PA DOE to describe the CCSS, namely, VOLUNTARY and STATE-LED, are deliberately misleading. Deception of this sort tends to lessen the credibility of any other statements that the obviously biased PA DOE makes with regard to this initiative.
State-Led???? The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO, which represents state education commissioners), in partnership with Achieve, initially led the creation and execution of the CCSS. In spite of their official sounding names, the NGA and the CCSSO are essentially trade organizations who received huge grants from special interest groups and corporations, many of which will profit from the implementation of the CCSS. Achieve is a nationwide education reform organization that, according to its own web site, currently provides technical assistance to states in their standards, assessments, curriculum and accountability systems. Its web site also notes that Achieve has provided Common Core boot camps to a number of states in the Network to support implementation efforts.
Voluntary???? At a time when the country and individual states were undergoing a calamitous fiscal crisis (2010), the federal government offered strong incentives (bribes) for states to adopt the CCSS. Stimulus funds and the possibility of opting out of the extremely unpopular No Child Left Behind (NCLB) were offered to states as an enticement to adopt the Common Core standards. A state could not get Race to the Top stimulus money unless they signed on to the standards. Indeed, a major fiscal concern of the states is that the CCSS will lead to Title I monies being withheld from low income schools if the federal government isn’t satisfied with a states compliance to the CCSS standards.
Diane Ravitch, a former assistant U. S. Secretary of Education under both Bill Clinton and GHW Bush (and a former CCSS supporter), disputes the contention that the CCSS are state-led, saying: President Obama and Secretary Duncan often say that the Common Core standards were developed by the states and voluntarily adopted by them. This is not true. They were developed by an organization called Achieve and the National Governors Association, both of which were generously funded by the Gates Foundation. There was minimal public engagement in the development of the Common Core. Their creation was neither grassroots nor did it emanate from the states.
The PA legislature was bypassed completely in the decision to implement CCSS in PA.
The PA State Board of Education (an unelected committee) adopted federally-controlled CCSS in math and English (ELA) on 7/1/2010 with an effective date of putting them into place of 7/1/2013. Standards for other subjects (science, history, etc.) were to be added later.
“Although writings by the PA DOE lead one to believe that this initiative was widely publicized to the public and to legislators, and particularly to those on the Education Committees, the opposite seems to be true. Although the PA legislature has the power of the purse, they were not provided with any fiscal analysis of this initiative (as is noted above). After attending several official meetings and hearings on Common Core over the last several months and speaking to various legislators, I have no doubt that most legislators, including many on the Education Committees, were virtually clueless until just recently as to the particulars of this initiative and its potential deleterious budgetary and educational impacts on Pennsylvanians. Just as egregious is that few parents, school board members, and taxpayers understood or were aware of the transformative educational implementation that was to begin in our schools in July of 2013.
“Finally, just a few short months before full implementation was set to occur, hearings were held in Harrisburg which enabled proponents and opponents to present their cases to the legislature. It is inexcusable that public hearings such as this were not held before PA signed on to the CCSS and began the expensive process of implementing them!
“One has to wonder why this transformational initiative was kept under the radar for so long. Emmett McGroarty, a CCSS opponent, provides the most reasonable explanation: The NGA (Natl. Governors Assn.) wanted to implement its plan quickly and avoid the tedium of the democratic process. If given the chance, the people — through their elected representatives — might muck around with, or reject, NGAs eventual product. The fact that an unelected committee such as the PA DOE made such a momentous decision with little if any input from our State Legislature and our citizens is a subversion of the democratic process.
Federal Control MeansLessening or Loss of Influence of Parents and Local School Boards on the Educational Process
Participating CCSS states must align 85% of their standards with the National CCSS with only 15% flexibility. This imposition of federal control will lessen or eliminate the influence of parents, teachers and local school boards in providing a curriculum tailored to their individual students needs.
Although the PA DOE insists that the CCSS is state-led and state-controlled — even to the point of their using a marketing technique of changing the name from Common Core State Standards to PA Core Standards, the fact remains that PA received money from the federal government in RTTT funds and that money has stipulations attached. Although theoretically it is standards that PA has to align with national standards, these standards are tied to curriculum and assessments. The federal government will be able to effectively control the Common Core curriculum by virtue of the fact that the results of the assessments that are based on the relatively inflexible CCSS standards are tied to funding.
Maggie Gallagher, a Fellow at the American Principles Project, states: Common Core advocates continue to insist that Common Core does not usurp local control of curriculum, but in practice high-stakes tests keyed to the Common Core standards ensure that curriculum will follow Once a state adopts Common Core, its curriculum goals and assessments are effectively nationalized. And the national standards are effectively privatized, because they are written, owned, and copyrighted by two private trade organizations (NGA and CCSSO).
Joseph A. Califano, Jr., former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, wrote, In its most extreme form, national control of curriculum is a form of national control of ideas. Unfortunately, in three short years, the present administration has placed the nation on the road to a national curriculum.
“The CCSS was neither field-tested nor validated before states (including PA) signed onto it.
“There is no empirical evidence that implementation of the CCSS will improve our educational system or learning outcomes. Diane Ravitch, a proponent-turned-opponent, in an article entitled: Why I Cannot Support the Common Core Standards, stated: The Common Core standards have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia without any field test. They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wouldn’t consider allowing the distribution of a drug to the general populace without extensive field-testing. Why should our students be guinea pigs in a pricey educational experiment to determine whether the latest educational design works?
There is far too much focus and time spent on assessments.
“A West Chester school board member told me that 17 days will be spent on assessments this year; other local school districts have reported even more testing days. The excessive focus on assessments and their influence on evaluations will put tremendous pressure on teachers to use their 15% flexibility to teach to the test — an educationally unsound practice — instead of providing unique and interesting supplemental modules that establish a love of learning in their students. Many have opined that the Common Core initiative will resemble the vastly unpopular No Child Left Behind on steroids!
“There are many other concerns that I have about the CCSS that are equally as important as those noted above. Two of these are the data mining of students and potential for indoctrination in subjective areas such as social studies and science when the federal government is in control. Im sure that other individuals will provide detail for these consequential issues.
“It is unfortunate and unconscionable that too many proponents of Common Core support this initiative because of the financial benefits that they will receive from its implementation. In spite of pressures from these sources, I hope that our legislature and regulatory agencies will come to their senses and see that it was a huge mistake to sign on to the CCSS and effectively sell our souls to the Feds.
“Although the PA DOE has been lobbying tirelessly to convince everyone that it is Pennsylvania and not the federal government that is in control, the fact that PA has taken money from the Feds with stipulations attached invalidates their contentions in this regard. Unless we return the money from the RTTT grant to the Feds, refuse any more of their money, and obtain a written release, the state of PA will not be in control! It is disappointing that Governor Corbett has recently applied for additional grant money for early childhood education. This further entangles us in the web of national control.
I strongly urge everyone in the legislature and regulatory agencies to stop the implementation of this disastrous initiative before we are so entwined that we cannot disentangle ourselves from it. Our children must not be used as guinea pigs in an educational experiment!
END NOTES . . .
Sarah Palin, Big Govt: “Exclusive–Palin: Congress Has America Caught Up in ‘Endless Extortion Scheme’
“. . . In a new book featured this Sunday on 60 Minutes titled Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets, Peter Schweizer explains how Washington politicians use a set of mafia-style legislative tactics to extort people and industries into donating to them out of fear of political and legal reprisals.
“Schweizer interviewed former Chairman of Apache Corporation Ray Plank. Plank said campaign cash and lobbying contracts now function as “protection money” to keep lawmakers and regulators from going after you.
“It’s what you expect from the mafia,” said Plank. “They basically come to you and say, ‘We are going to shove this bat up your ass and give you an enema. You better play ball.’ We saw a great deal of it. It’s an insidious blight.”
“There are left-wing progressives on Wall Street and in the high-tech world who bankrolled President Obama’s campaign because they love his radical agenda. But as Schweizer points out, many gave because they know they have to; if they don’t, Obama will come after them.
“That’s a lesson the Tea Party knows all too well. . .”
Jeffrey Kuhner, Washington Times: “The Tea Party’s coming vindication”
“. . .The conventional wisdom is wrong. The mainstream media — and their parrots in the Republican establishment — are claiming that President Obama decisively won the government shutdown battle. In fact, the narrative being peddled is that the GOP brand has been badly damaged, paving the way for a possible Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2014 elections. This is puerile nonsense. Tea Party Republicans, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, may have lost the battle, but they are poised for a major victory in the larger Obamacare war.
“Liberal pundits and Republican moderates, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, are blaming one person for the partial government shutdown: Mr. Cruz. They argue that for all their attempts to defund or delay Obamacare, Mr. Cruz and his conservative allies accomplished nothing. The final deal reopens the federal government until Jan. 15 and lifts the debt ceiling into early February. In exchange, no significant reforms or revisions were made to Mr. Obama’s signature health law. As for the repeal of the medical devices tax, a one-year delay in the individual mandate and an end to the exemption given to Congress and its staff, none of these proposals were accepted by the Democrats. Hence, the political and media class are convinced Mr. Cruz’s obstructionist tactics backfired, fostering the public perception that “right-wing extremists” have hijacked the GOP. Mr. Obama now openly refers to the Tea Party as a “dangerous faction.”
“This is myth and propaganda masquerading as analysis . . .”
Canada Free Press: Michelle’s Staff
“Just think, Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing China for the White House during the Civil War.
“And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary from her husband’s salary.
Total Personal Staff members for other first ladies paid by taxpayers
Mamie Eisenhower:— One– paid for personally out of President’s salary.
Total number of Personal Staff Members paid by Tax Payers.
Jackie Kennedy: ——- One
Rosaline Carter: ——–One
Barbara Bush: ——One
Hilary Clinton: ——– Three
Laura Bush: ———- One
Michele Obama: ——-Twenty-two
How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of MS Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by YOU, John Q. Public: (Do you think they’ve been affected by the Gov’t shut-down?)
Michele Obama’s personal staff:
One.. $172,200 – Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)
Two.. $140,000 – Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)
Three.. $113,000 – Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary for Mrs. Obama)
Four.. $102,000 – Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)
Five.. $100,000 – Winter, Melissa (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
Six.. $90,000 Medina , David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
Seven.. $84,000 – Lilyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)
Eight.. $75,000 – Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)
Nine.. $70,000 – Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Project for the First Lady)
Ten.. $65,000 – Burnough, Erinn (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
Eleven.. $64,000 – Reinstein, Joseph B.(Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
Twelve.. $62,000 – Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)
Thirteen.. $60,000 Fitz, Alan O.(Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
Fourteen.. $57,500 – Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)
Fifteen.. $52,500 – Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)
Sixteen.. $50,000 – Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)
Seventeen.. $45,000 – Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
Eighteen.. $43,000 – Tubman, Samantha a (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)
Nineteen.. $40,000 – Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
Twenty.. $36,000 – Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
Twenty-One.. $35,000 – Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
Twenty-Two.. $35,000 – Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)
Total $1,591,200 in annual salaries – all for someone we did not vote for and apparently have no control over. . .
Note: This does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and “First Hairstylist” Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom traveled aboard Air Force One to Europe … canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/12652