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Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Impossible Situation: Reid's Unhealthy Care

An Impossible Situation: Reid’s Unhealthy Care

Several leading legal scholars and professors of law have made the strong case that the US Senate’s version of “unhealthy care” legislation is not likely pass Constitutional challenges.     In essence, the legal argument is made that the proposed Health Care insurance mandates and excessive regulation coupled with “defacto price controls” on health insurance create a scheme in which the health insurance business is regulated like a public utility.    Given that perspective, in light of case law in the United States at the US Supreme Court level, it is likely that significant legal challenges will result based on the regulatory framework of Reid’s unhealthy care legislation. 

The combined impact of these interconnected provisions is clear: there is no feasible way that an insurance carrier can respond to the increased costs of servicing of its book of business either by declining coverage or by reducing services. With all escape hatches closed; the critical question is whether the health insurance issuer is in a position to raise rates in order to offset the risks in question. On this question, section 2794 introduces a complex system of de facto price controls that depends on the close cooperation of state and federal officials. The initial process that goes into effect in 2010 requires the Secretary and the states to develop a plan to look for “unreasonable increases” in charges for insurance coverage. At this point, all health-insurance issuers must submit to the state insurance commission authority “a justification for an unreasonable premium increase prior to the implementation of the increase.” (It is not stated as to how one justifies increases that are, by definition, unreasonable.) Thereafter, once the information has been submitted and evaluated, it appears that the state insurance commissioner shall make appropriate recommendations “to the State Exchange about whether particular health insurance issuers should be excluded from participation in the Exchange based on a pattern or practice of excessive or unjustified premium increases.” In effect, it appears that the State Exchanges can exclude health-insurance issuers from offering their plans through the Exchanges, at which point the subsidies to insurers will be lost.     Richard A. Epstein

Given the preceding argument by Mr. Epstein, he goes on to state why this conundrum for the health insurers combined with case law on the regulation of public utilities will set the stage for numerous legal challenges, of both the legislation and the administration by state and Federal agencies.     Simply, the complex scheme of “defacto price controls”, heavy regulation, government mandates and bureaucratic red tap found in the Reid bill that came out of the US Senate is likely not to pass the “reasonable person” or US Constitutional test.

There is, moreover, no quick fix that will eliminate the Reid Bill’s major constitutional defects. It would, of course, be a catastrophe if the Congress sought to put this program into place before its constitutionality was tested. Most ratemaking challenges are done on the strength of the record, and I see no reason why a court would let a health-insurance company be driven into bankruptcy before it could present its case that the mixture of regulations and subsidies makes it impossible to earn a reasonable return on its capital. At the very least, therefore, there are massive problems of delayed implementation that will plague any health- care legislation from the date of its passage. I should add that the many broad delegations to key administrative officials will themselves give rise to major delays and additional challenges on statutory or constitutional grounds.   Richard A. Epstein

Excerpt from Article: Impermissible Ratemaking in Health-Insurance Reform: Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional   By Richard A. Epstein  Manhattan Institute, NY

Richard A. Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a visiting professor at the NYU Law School, and a visiting scholar at the Manhattan Institute.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Bill a New Low

Health Care Bill an Historic Low for Public Policy in US
The leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is up against former president James Madison.  The Founding Fathers purposely designed government to be responsive to the people (for the people, by the people and of the people).  So when the liberal elite in Congress thought that had a mandate, and threw bipartisanship and GOP involvement out the window, they decided to go “all in with their leader” on health care legislation.   Now the wheels are about to come off, as the unwieldy Senate bill is simply a lousy bill, which lacks public support and confidence.     
Here is Rich Lowry’s take, from National Review Online:
It's astonishing that with 60 votes in the Senate and an 81-vote majority in the House, Democrats have still managed to push the health bill to the point of failure. When significant headwinds developed in August, the prudent play was obvious - scale the bill back, pick off a few Republicans, and settle for three-fourths or less of a loaf. They couldn't bring themselves to do it, preferring to work with duct tape and baling wire to try to hold together an unwieldy bill that isn't paid for and doesn't reduce costs as advertised.
Reid's struggle getting to 60 makes some liberals fear for their country. They lament that America has become "ungovernable." In other words, it isn't putty in their grasping little hands. Unfortunately for them, the founders created a balky system resistant to precipitate change. It is designed to frustrate ideologically drunken (and perhaps temporary) majorities insistent on passing sweeping, unpopular legislation. Reid's difficulty is exactly the way James Madison would have wanted it.
If the health-care bill is necessary and wise, it will withstand a temporary defeat. Democrats could campaign on it around the country next year. They could rebuild public support, turning around the polls. They could enhance their majority in the House and the Senate, bringing more Democrats to Washington determined to pass it. That's how you usually pass historic legislation in a system naturally inclined to the status quo.
But Reid knows long-term persuasion isn't an option. As his approval rating sags below 40 percent back in Nevada, even he might not be returning to Washington after 2010. Every day, every hour matters in the now-or-never calculus of Democrats who already feel their moment slipping agonizingly away.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. 

In a recent Detroit News Opinion piece , Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell lays out the Democrat ‘cram it down the throats’ approach like this: 

Many Americans are just as frustrated with the process as they are with the substance of this debate. In January, the president outlined a path to reform that would involve "not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN ..." Yet that particular pledge seems almost quaint after weeks of closed-door negotiations and a flurry of back-room deals by Democrats aimed at pushing their bill through by Christmas.
Throughout this debate, Republicans have pushed for common sense reforms that would lower costs without raising taxes, premiums, or increasing the federal debt. After all, reform should alleviate existing problems, not spread them. That's the message Americans have been sending all year. Democrats either haven't been listening, or they didn't think people would notice if they took the debate in a different direction. Whatever the reason, a growing number of Americans are demanding that we stop this bill, start over, and get it right. The bill we have simply can't be fixed.
Faced with a bill that does none of the things they said it would, the White House is left with nothing but an empty call for senators to "make history." Americans have a different message for wavering Democrats: Passing this bill would be an historic mistake.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the U.S. Senate Republican leader.

So we hear that US Senator Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, is the 60th vote for a controversial health care bill, that Americans oppose 2 to 1 in recent polling.   Why is there lack of support by the Amercian people?   The legislative process was not open, despite Democrat promises to the contrary.   The health care bill is simply too complex, too costly to taxpayers, too much like socialized medicine that the American people do not support.   

Now the US Senate votes on health care legislation depend on whether the Democrats Senators show up, are able to vote (US Senator Byrd’s health issues may preclude him from voting) and if they’ll keep their individual deals with the Democrat Leader Reid (such as Nelson, and other wavering Senators).  Meanwhile the Republicans are simple not supporting a bill the American people are opposed to by a 2 to 1 margin.  A Christmas gift?   No bill and a chance for the American people to get what they are wishing for:  That is true health care that works, is affordable, is responsible and honors the doctor & patient relationship.   And maybe even a bill that is truly bipartisan, rather that dictated by one party rule.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Monday, December 7, 2009

Real Jobs or Real Wishes?

Real Jobs or Real Wishes?
Recently the White House sponsored a PR Summit (officially known as the Jobs Summit).  Other than talking heads, who were there to defend old economy jobs and look good, not much happened other that PR photo ops for those in attendance.    Micheal Malone of Edgelings (a Silicon Valley business writer, and ABC News contributor) summed up the meeting in the following copy:
The White House Jobs Summit is underway.  And in case you have any hope for it actually helping produce real jobs, keep in mind two things.
First, it is billed as a “listening” event by the Administration – and everybody knows what that word really means:  We’ll pretend to listen in order to shut everybody up, then we’ll do exactly what we planned all along.
Second, the invite list is mostly representatives from academia and think tanks, Big Labor and Big Business . . . in other words, three groups of people who know almost nothing about how to actually create, rather than merely preserve, jobs.
In other words, if you’re on line at the employment office right now, and you’re hoping that the Jobs Summit is actually going to help you get, you know, a job, you’d better keep filling out that form in front of you.
Some of the recommendations to create jobs (from Michael Malone’s “Edgelings”, contained in the article:  “PR Summit”, a pithy article to describe the high profile, limited results “Jobs Summit” held on Thursday December 3, 2009 at the White House):
1)    No More Stimulus (a waste of the taxpayers money)
2)    Stop Favoring Unions (20th Century hold over, that needs to compete, not have union favoring rules in a new economy)
3)    De-regulate & cut taxes  (Over regulation & higher taxes saps productivity, discourages business start-ups, impedes creativity and job creation)
4)    Invest in the future, not the past  (best strategy is job creation, not company preservation)
5)    Embrace the revolution (The world is changing. The last practices of big labor, big government, too big to fail, make-work jobs to boost economy aren’t working.  Move on to company creating, job creating & pro-business policies)
For one thing, companies are going to be faster moving and will, thanks to the Web, increasingly compete on a global stage.  And, in part because of this, jobs are going to become more fluid, less-often permanent, and workers themselves will become more like freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs.  They will need access to vast stores of on-line training and education, portable health insurance, access to business and career support, new sources of capital, and most of all, not be punished (by law or taxes) for their growing independence.

For a decade's worth of Edgelings' editor-in-chief Michael S. Malone's columns on technology, society and culture, please visit is a news and features website founded by a team of prominent Silicon Valley media and technology executives.  Providing constantly updated news, reviews and commentary from technology regions around the globe, Edgelings provides easily accessible views on high tech culture, lifestyles and celebrities, including bleeding-edge profiles of new companies, gadgets and business trends.  

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Climate Research Change

Climate Research Change

The biggest news in the climate change world is the ongoing drop in public support for shoddy “climate change research” and rise in temperature for the climate researchers as their work is placed under the bright lights of the media, global warming critics and on-line bloggers. Based on media reports (see WSJ article below), British researcher Phil Jones is stepping down from his post as director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University (UK).

As reported in the Wall Street Journal on December 2, 2009
On Tuesday, Dr. Jones said the East Anglia institute couldn't continue to do its work with him as its director amid the controversy. "What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible," he said in the statement. "After a good deal of consideration," he wrote, he decided to step down from the director's job pending the investigation.

The East Anglia institute that Dr. Jones headed has become a key player in building evidence for the U.N.'s argument that humans are behind global warming. In statements released by the institute in recent days, Dr. Jones has defended the integrity of the institute's scientific work, while saying that he and his colleagues "accept that some of the published emails do not read well."

Longtime critics of the premise that humans are responsible for climate change cheered word of the move by Dr. Jones and the inquiry into Dr. Mann. "I think we're making headway," said Oklahoma's James Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Sen. James Inhofe, a critic of the belief that global warming is man-made.

On Tuesday, Mr. Inhofe sent a letter to the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) that called for hearings on whether any U.S. laws were broken by the scientists or "any taxpayer-funded research deliberately obscured or manipulated." A spokesman for Ms. Boxer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the meantime, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, in response to Republican Senator James Inhofe’s call for US Senate hearings into Climategate, and what role US researcher may have played in the debate and implications of the hacked/leaked e-mails. How much of the proposed public policy is based on “junk science”? Where does the global warming advocacy ignore the scientific record? Or is global cooling really the issue?

You call it ‘Climategate’; I call it ‘E-mail-theft-gate,’” she said during a US Senate committee meeting. “Whatever it is, the main issue is, Are we facing global warming or are we not? I’m looking at these e-mails that, even though they were stolen, are now out in the public.” Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California

So the climate change research is changing, perhaps warming, perhaps cooling, but certainly getting more global attention as scientific evidence and methods have come into question. Why does this matter? Later in December 2009, the international meeting on climate will be held in Copenhagen. And the US Senate is poised to debate a US energy policy, along with “Cap & Trade” legislation. At best, there are honest differences of opinion on whether we are experiencing global warming or global cooling (one of many factors in this debate)? At worst, we are being duped by mad scientists from the CRU and other “research institutes” whose political agenda has overwhelmed their scientific methods. And politicians in the US, Europe and Asia are debating climate change policy against a backdrop of “junk science” and “on demand science”, that may or may not support the public policy that is being discussed. Maybe it is time to pull the plug on various schemes, step back, take a breath, and refocus on good science and economically sustainable climate polices? But that is much too logical!

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Climategate: Exposing Global Warming

Climategate: Exposing Global Warming

There is good science, which helped mankind get to the moon, allowed for longer life and health through medical science and improved wildlife habitat through better biological and wildlife science.   Then there is junk science or “on demand science” used by industry, or environmental groups or “mono-maniacs” to drive political agendas and one issue public policy.   Thus we have the Waterloo for the global warming advocates, as e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU), located in the University of East Angila (British-UK) have revealed political advocacy over sound science, global warming trends unsupported by the actual science and collaboration with friends (of global warming) at the expense of peer reviewed research.   All using UK taxpayer dollars, and probably some US and other country taxpayer dollars to push a political agenda under the guise of global warming science. Climategate, as critics of global warming have called it, is turning the world of climate science upside down.

In the Wall Street Journal editorial page on 11.27.09 Kimberly Strassel writes:

Will Climate Scandal Be a Tipping Point?  So declares Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, taking a few minutes away from a Thanksgiving retreat with his family. "Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week. Now they are all in."

This week he's looking prescient. The more than 3,000 emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have found their way to the Internet have blown the lid off the "science" of manmade global warming. CRU is a nerve center for many of those researchers who have authored the United Nations' global warming reports and fueled the political movement to regulate carbon.
Their correspondence show a claque of scientists massaging data to make it fit their theories, squelching scientists who disagreed, punishing academic journals that didn't toe the apocalyptic line, and hiding their work from public view. "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," glumly wrote George Monbiot, a U.K. writer who has been among the fiercest warming alarmists. The documents "could scarcely be more damaging." And that's from a believer.
This scandal has real implications. Mr. Inhofe notes that international and U.S. efforts to regulate carbon were already on the ropes. The growing fear of Democrats and environmentalists is that the CRU uproar will prove a tipping point, and mark a permanent end to those ambitions.    Wall Street Opinion Journal 
For more Opinion from the WS Journal

Iain Murry is the Vice President for Strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute,  based in Washington, DC.   He has been a long time critic of global warming science, in particular with the lack of scientific protocol on climate change research that attributes global temperature variations exclusively to human activity.

“So what does this all mean? It does not mean that there is no warming trend or that mankind has not been responsible for at least some of the warming. To claim that as result of these documents is clearly a step too far. However, it is clear that at least one branch of climate science — paleoclimatology — has become hopelessly politicized to the point of engaging in unethical and possibly illegal behavior.
To the extent that paleoclimatology is an important part of the scientific case for action regarding global warming, urgent reassessments need to be made. In the meantime, all those responsible for political action on global warming should stop the process pending the results of inquiries, investigations, and any criminal proceedings. What cannot happen is the process carrying on as if nothing has happened.”   Iain Murray, CEI, Wash DC

And news from England indicates that the University of East Anglia’s “Climate Research Unit” CRU is moving towards releasing information, as the public outcry over how the climate scientists at the CRU handled their research.   Lack of peer reviews and lack of scientific protocols have been exposed in over 3,000 leaked e-mails and documents from the CRU.

“Releasing the CRU’s data files is a big breakthrough in the scandal and begins the process of bringing climate science into line with other scientific disciplines. It is standard practice in most scientific research to make data and methodologies available to other scientists in order that they can be checked and conclusions confirmed or questioned. In much climate science, secrecy has been the norm and many scientists have in effect demanded that their conclusions be accepted without any way to scrutinize their research. Thus the nations of the world have been embarking on policies that could cost trillions of dollars based on little more than assurances that “we’re experts and you can trust us.”  Myron Ebell, CEI, Wash, DC

Source: Myron Ebell, Director of Energy & Global Worming Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute,

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Conservative Case

The Conservative Case (Rep Mike Spence)

Rep Mike Spence made the compelling case for the conservative movement, as the keynote speaker at the recent American Spectator annual Robert L. Bartley dinner (and the keynote was posted on November 23rd on line   archives)

Here is the opening paragraph from Rep Mike Spence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference: “I stand before you today at an historic moment for the conservative movement and for this great country. The coming weeks and months may well set the course for this nation for a generation and beyond. How we as conservatives respond could well determine whether America retains her place as a beacon of hope in the world, or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of Socialism.”

Rep Spence related the position of John Adams, our second US President about the real American Revolution and yearning for a free society as Americans:  “According to our second President, the real American Revolution was a revolution of self-reliance and independence, casting off dependency on the crown, in the hearts and minds of the American people. It was a rejection of the spirit of dependence in favor of a society of free and independent people.”

Later, Representative Spence related a story and quotation to US President Abraham Lincoln, “Our 16th president knew that as well. Passing through my home state of Indiana, Abraham Lincoln stopped at the Clay Pool Hotel on 11 February 1861. Headed to Washington to assume the presidency, he said words that are now chiseled in a modest bronze plaque, and I quote: "I appeal to you, to constantly bear in mind that it is not with politicians, it is not with presidents, it is not with office seekers, but with you is the question: Shall the union and shall the liberties of the country be preserved?" Lincoln went on to say, "It is your business if the union of these states and the liberties of this people shall be lost, and it is your business to rise up."

For the complete text of the speech by US Representative Spence:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dem Altmire Votes No on Healthcare Bill

REP. JASON ALTMIRE: Why I voted no on health reform
Without cost-control, health-care reform is an empty promise

Friday, November 20, 2009
The need for health-care reform is clear: The skyrocketing cost of health care threatens America's financial future and our ability to effectively care for our citizens.
When Congress set out to accomplish health-care reform earlier this year, I had two main goals in mind: slowing the growth of health-care spending over the long term and building a system that focuses on quality of care, rather than simply quantity of care. Achieving these goals would allow us to greatly reduce the number of Americans without health-insurance coverage and improve the quality and affordability of our health-care system overall.
Unfortunately, the health-care reform bill (H.R. 3962) that was passed in the House on Nov. 7 failed to include the reforms necessary to meet these goals. This is why I voted against it.
I support many aspects of the House bill, such as the insurance reforms prohibiting both lifetime health-insurance caps and denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. I also support the emphasis the bill places on wellness initiatives; its promotion of health-information technology; its creation of a health-insurance exchange; and its investment in research to better inform patients and doctors about the difference between the best treatments and the most profitable treatments.
Despite the bill's strong points, it failed to address the one issue we cannot ignore in any truly effective health-care reform bill: out-of-control health-care spending. Until we tackle this core problem, we will simply be perpetuating an inefficient system that is unsustainable. This is the reason health insurance is so unaffordable to so many.
In recent months, politicians and analysts have discussed the need to "bend the health-care cost curve." The concept is simple: We must do something to make the system more efficient and slow the growth of health-care spending that is increasing at an annual rate well above that of wages and inflation. Until we bring these costs under control, premiums will continue to rise faster than incomes, more small businesses will be unable to afford coverage for their employees and government spending will escalate year after year.
The key to bending the cost curve and achieving true health-care reform is changing the way we pay for health care. We must transform our current fee-for-service system -- which pays providers primarily based on the quantity of care they provide -- into a system that pays providers based on the quality of care they provide. This is crucial because our current payment system incentives inefficiency and over utilization because providers are paid for the number of times they see patients and the number of tests they run -- not for how healthy they keep patients.
A number of academics, economists and health-care experts from across the political spectrum -- including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- have documented that under the House bill, both federal and overall health-care expenditures would increase in the long term compared to current law.
Instead of leaving the difficult decisions about systemic reform to future generations, I believe we must seize this historic opportunity and enact a health-care bill that includes incentives for providers to keep their patients healthy and out of the health-care system in the first place. The best way to contain costs and slow the growth of health-care expenditures is to change behavior through reforming the way health care is delivered and paid for in this country.
Supporters of the House bill have argued that it is fiscally responsible because it does not add to the federal deficit. While this is true, there is a big difference between not adding to the deficit and bringing down health-care costs. The House bill pays for itself primarily by raising taxes, not by making the fundamental reforms necessary to bring down the cost of health care.
We cannot simply add tens of millions of uninsured people into today's inefficient health-care system and expect that it will yield different results. Absent the necessary systemic reforms, this approach would only compound our nation's budgetary problems and do little to make health care more affordable for families and businesses.
The American people deserve better. I am hopeful that Congress ultimately will pass a bill that represents true health-care reform -- a bill that would both expand coverage and lower costs. The issue is too important for us to miss this opportunity.
Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, represents Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District (

Monday, November 16, 2009

Federal Deficits Up, State Revenues Down

Federal Deficits Up, State Revenues Down
The U.S. budget deficit for October surged to $176 billion, a record for the month, the Treasury Department announced today.
During the month, the government racked up $311 billion in outlays compared with $135 billion in receipts.  (Blogger note:  This means the US Gov’t spent 225% of October tax receipts!  Clearly a dangerous level of out of control spending.)
The October numbers mark the first month for the new fiscal year after the U.S. wrapped up the 2009 fiscal year that ended on September 30 with a record-high $1.4 trillion budget deficit due to increased government spending to stop the recession and the financial crisis. The final deficit for the 2009 fiscal year was equal to 10 percent of the nation's GDP, the highest shortfall relative to GDP since 1945, the final year of World War II.
Meanwhile, according to the Rockefellow Instititute, which has ongoing research on State budgets (by state and region) is reporting record drops in tax revenues, including declines in 49 states.  
In the RI report of October 15, 2009 (for 2nd quarter 2009);  “Both nominal and inflation adjusted figures indicate that the second quarter of 2009 marked the largest decline in state tax collections at least since 1963. The same is true for combined state and local tax collections, which declined by 12.2 percent in nominal terms.
Second quarter revenues fell by amounts unseen in at least five decades. Total state tax revenue in the second quarter of 2009 declined by 16.6 percent relative to a year ago, before adjustments. The income tax was down by 27.5 percent, the sales tax was down by 9.5 percent, and while the corporate income tax increased by 2.9 percent.
At the same time, in the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado, Idaho, Montana & Utah), personal withholding state tax collections were off 7.3%, while in the Southwest Region (Arizona, NM, Oklahoma) personal withholding declined 10.9%.     Estimated state tax payments (2009 vs 2009) for the April to June 2009 period (2nd quarter) were down 44% in Colorado and 44.9% in Arizona.    Across the US, state estimated payments (taxes) were down 32.3% (median)”   Lucy Dadayan & Don Boyd, 
States are being forced to cut spending by 5% to 15% (year over year), as they are unable to deficit spend (unlike the undisciplined Federal Government).   
According to the recent Rasmussen Reports, the US economy is at the top of the list of Importance of Issues to the American people.     Not health care  (#3), or the war in Iraq (#8).  
So what to do next?   Work with the US private sector, with the business community and small business to create a better environment for business in the United States.   Stop the health care bill, and start over with a bi-partisan approach. Put climate change legislation through an economic impact analysis, before passage of any bill.  Cut capital gains taxes for one year (or reduce down to 5% or 10%) and reduce corporate income tax (now the US is the 2nd highest in the world). Really address unnecessary Federal regulations, mandates and laws that adversely impact small business and tamp down innovation.  Finally, the hardest task of all, slash Federal government spending, programs and mandates.    Unless the Federal government is put on an austere financial diet, the US risks becoming a third world debtor nation, beholden to Far East (China) and Middle East sovereign wealth funds and unfriendly governments.
© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Josh Penry to Bow Out of Colorado Guv Race

Josh Penry To Bow Out of Colorado Guv Race

Breaking news and press reports on Monday 11/9/09 indicate that State Senator Josh Penry will announce his withdrawal from the Colorado Governor race in 2010 as a GOP candidate leaving former Congressman Scott McInnis as the front runner to challenge Democrat Bill Ritter.

The Washington Post (political blog by Chris Cillizza) reported on Monday November 9th that Penry would announce his intentions to withdraw this week:

CO-Gov: Penry to exit race  (from WP blog by Chris Cillizza)
“Colorado state Sen. Josh Penry (R) plans to end his gubernatorial campaign and endorse former Rep. Scott McInnis (R), according to two sources familiar with his thinking.
Penry's decision to opt out of the race is a stunner as many national Republicans had touted him as a potential rising star (and we had featured him in our "Rising" series that looks at up and coming politicians).
Political chatter in the immediate aftermath of Penry's decision suggested he might be considering a run against 3rd district Rep. John Salazar (D) who won the Western Slope seat when McInnis retired in 2004. Salazar's seat is one of 49 held by Democrats that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried in 2008. (McCain won it 50 percent to 48 percent for President Barack Obama.) But, Republicans already have a candidate -- state Rep. Scott Tipton -- they are high on in the race.
Sources close to Penry suggested that he was heavily influenced by the victories for Republicans in New Jersey and Virginia last week -- wins due, at least in part, to the lack of competitive primaries on the Republican side.
Penry was worried that a bruising August primary would potentially compromise the eventual nominee's chances of beating Ritter. Combine that with his youth (he is 33) and his role as state Senate Minority Leader and Penry decided that dropping out of the race was the best option for him and the party.”

By Monday evening, GOP Candidate Dan Maes had sent out an e-mail of the Penry exit from the race.    Club 20 had chimed in on e-mail and several other Colorado news outlets carried the impending announcement by Penry.

This will shift the competition for the 3rd Congressional District race, as newcomer Bob McDonnell (former US Army Ranger) is already challenging Democrat John Salazar, with reports that State Representative Scott Tipton and possible State Senator Josh Penry about to throw their hats into the GOP ring as candidates for the 3rd CD in Colorado.  Mr. Tipton was elected to the 58th state representative District (Montrose, Cortez) in 2008, and he was previously the GOP nominee for the 3rd CD in 2006 (but lost to Salazar).  

The recent mid term elections (November 2009) have emboldened GOP challengers across the Rocky Mountain West, and Colorado is no exception.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care Debate in the Balance

Health Care Debate in the Balance

From the blog of Representative Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma. Carried on the Hill web site, homepages of the

So where is the vote count in the US House of the socialization of 1/6 of US economy by Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress?   To give you an indication of how tight the vote count is, the newly elected Democrat Bill Owens from District 23 in New York is being sworn in so he can vote with the Dem majority.   But Majority Leader Hoyer may not have the votes.

All 177 House Republicans have long been expected to vote against the bill, meaning that Democrats can lose no more than 40 of their 258 members and still pass their highest legislative priority.

According to the Hill  “Democratic leaders, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have given away as many concessions as they could spare in an effort to get to 218 "yes" votes.

And they continued to try to do so even late into the day Friday, as a pocket of pro-life Democrats needed further tweaking of language designed to guarantee that federal funds won’t find their way to insurance plans offering abortion coverage. Into the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Rules committee approved an up-or-down vote on an amendment blocking any money in its healthcare overhaul from funding abortions, risking the votes of members who support abortion rights.”

According to Politico  at least 23 members of the Democrat caucus of 258 plan to vote NO on the health care bill.    If 41 members, plus the total GOP caucus of 177 members vote NO, the Pelosi-Reed-Obama health care bill with not pass the House.  Thus the secondary vote on taxpayer funded abortions, which the original bill had in the draft.    Now the Stupak amendment is being proposed the health care bill to bar Federal funding of elective abortions will be held, in order to keep the fragile majority of Democrats on board.

You may have been surprised by the American Medical Association endorsement of the health care bill?   According to Fox News   it turns out that the AMA took the controversial position without the support of the organizations House of Delegates.    Thus, the rank and file AMA membership is up in revolt and they have moved to have the endorsement voted on and withdrawn.

“The American Medical Association's much-touted endorsement of the House health care reform bill has triggered a revolt among some members who want the endorsement withdrawn.
Some members are outraged that the group's trustees made the endorsement without the formal approval of the organization's House of Delegates.
On Monday, delegates will vote on a resolution offered by some members that, if approved, will withdraw the AMA’s endorsement of the bill.
President Obama cited the endorsement of the influential AMA, along with AARP's, in a surprise appearance Thursday in the White House briefing room as he attempted to beat back criticism that the bill would gut Medicare.”  Fox News Political

On Saturday, the US House (on a party line dominated vote of 242-192 moved the Health Care bill to the full House for floor debate.   A vote could take place by Saturday evening, although some sources indicate it may be early next week before a vote is taken.   The delay is due to serious problems in the 2,000 page bill, that even Democrats are reluctant to support.     We’ll see which Democrats are willing to vote with their constituents and which ones cave to Democrat party pressure.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

The Weekly Standard Blog

The Weekly Standard Blog

Most leading political and news publications have Blog sections on their web site pages.    Usually the key reporters, colunmists, pundits and writers will pen short reports, feature web links and release breaking news.   The Weekly Standard has a great blog

With the recent 2009 mid-term election, health care debate and news that unemployment is over 10%, the Weekly Standard   has plenty of articles, columns and punditry.

(c) 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Friday, November 6, 2009

Alternative to Dems Health Care?

Alternative to Dems Health Care?

With the 2,000+ page Democrat health care bill cruising like the ill fated ship Titanic, the Democrat majority is trying to desperately push the massive bill as though we have no choice in America but their “government first” approach.

Instead, we could be debating the GOP alternative health care bill.  It has private sector incentives, a real reform provision on medical malpractice, reduces the deficit and leaves open personal responsibility for health care.   This compares to the Democrat bill which explodes the Federal deficit, sets the stage for the government take over of health care and makes the private sector (i.e. the private insurance industry) out to be a villain.

Three recent articles and blog posts in Washington DC Examiner are reflective of just how expensive the “government first” approach to health care is, and how the Democrats are struggling to keep 218 members of the Dem caucus (out of 258) voting for the unpopular health care bill.  
From the Washington DC Examiner:
“The CBO put the price tag for the GOP plan at $61 billion, a fraction of the $1.05 trillion cost estimate it gave to the House bill that lawmakers are set to vote on this weekend. And the CBO found that the Republican provision to reform medical malpractice liability would result in $41 billion in savings and increase revenues by $13 billion by reducing the cost of private health insurance plans.”

The Congressional Budget Office Wednesday night released its cost analysis of the Republican health care plan and found that it would reduce health care premiums and cut the deficit by $68 billion over ten years. 

The Republican plan does not call for a government insurance plan but rather attempts to reform the system by creating high-risk insurance pools, allowing people to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and instituting medical malpractice reforms. 

"Not only does the GOP plan lower health care costs, but it also increases access to quality care, including for those with pre-existing conditions, at a price our country can afford," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.   Source:  DC Examiner, Susan Ferrechio  
        See blogs section

And now of the Democratic “Hope & Change” health care bill, that is slated to be voted on within the week.  It will raise taxes on ALL Americans, and will overwhelm the Federal budget that is already underwater:

The CBO reports that, in their true first 10 years, the House bill would cost $1.8 trillion, and the Senate bill would cost $1.7 trillion. Pelosi would raise Americans’ taxes by $1.1 trillion over that period, while Reid would hike them by $1 trillion.  So the financial bottom lines are almost the same.

And if we discount the bills' claims to divert hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare (which is already on the edge of insolvency), the CBO says the House bill would raise our national debt by about $650 billion in its real first decade, while the Senate bill would up it by $740 billion.      Mark Hemingon, Beltway Confidential    

As Examiner colleague Susan Ferrechio explains the quest for 218 votes from the 258-member Democratic caucus in the House is providing plenty of drama on Capitol Hill: protesters outside, the president doing plenty of arm twisting, warnings to freshman and sophomore members about being fed to the wolves next year if they don’t tow the party line. 

It’s not a bill anyone likes particularly and those from swing district who vote for the plan will have to watch some of the socialistic benefits be erased by the Senate: All of the blame, less of the credit.

Writers Carl Hulse and David Herszenhorn were on the scene and talked to some of the 40 Democrats who will be allowed to vote against the bill. If the Speaker wants to keep her defection list at 40, the opt outs need to not seem to be so happy.     Source:  DC Examiner, Susan Ferrechio  

A point lost to many is that within the majority Democrat caucus, there are a number of recently election (2006 or 2008) Congressmen from moderate to conservative districts that are feeling (and seeing based on Nov 09 mid term elections) the heat from their constituents.    Now the liberal Democratic leadership in Congress is asking them to walk the plank.   Will at least 218 Democrat members walk away from the American people? 

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election 2009: Winds of Change

Election 2009:  Winds of Change

What is the number issue on voters’ minds?    The economy and the uncertainty around their pocket book were major issues.   According to ABC news exit polls from Tuesday November 3, 2009:

Voters who expressed the highest levels of economic discontent heavily favored the Republican candidates in both states – underscoring the challenge Obama and his party may face in 2010 if economic attitudes don't improve. The analogy is to 1994, when nearly six in 10 voters said the economy was in bad shape, and they favored the out-of-power Republicans by 26 points, helping the GOP to a 52-seat gain and control of Congress for the first time in 42 years.   

In Virginia on Tuesday, voters who were "very" worried about the economy concern supported the Republican winner, Bob McDonnell by a wide margin, 76-24 percent. In New Jersey, while the gap wasn't quite so broad, voters who were most worried about the economy backed Republican Chris Christie by 59-36 percent.     ABC News 

So how does this project into the upcoming 2010 elections throughout the US?    Not good news for incumbent Democrats, especially those in conservative leaning or GOP districts (that either Bush and/or McCain carried in 2006 or 2008).     But it also reflects that any incumbent that is running for re-election in 2010 will have his or her hands full.   

According to CCN exit polls from Election Day 2009, also indicate the power of the swing Independent (Unaffiliated vote) in the Governor races in Virginia (where GOP McDonnell leads with 59% of the vote  and in New Jersey where Republican Chris Christie is leading incumbent Dem Corzine). 

(CNN) - Independents appear to be playing an important role in the country's two off-year gubernatorial races. 
In Virginia, where 30 percent of voters identify themselves as independent; 65 percent cast their ballots for CNN's projected winner, Republican Bob McDonnell. That's according to early CNN Exit Poll data. Democrat Creigh Deeds earned the votes of 34 percent of independents.
In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie took 58 percent of the independent vote while incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, got only 31 percent. Independent candidate Chris Daggett got just 9 percent of the independent vote. Independents made up 28 percent of the voters in New Jersey race.

On Wednesday morning the Democrat and Republican pundits will begin spinning the election results.    The White House and Democrats will downplay the results.  The GOP will trumpet them.    But one thing is clear: Any elected official, at what ever level of public service, will need to heed the will of the American people in the area of the economy, taxes, jobs and government that is smaller, but actually works for the people.  Or they’ll be retired like Jon Corzine, despite an endorsement from President Obama and spending millions to be reelected.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1,900 Pages of Health Care Bureaucracy

In a ceremony at the US Capitol by Speaker Pelosi, that could only be attended by those on the invited guest list, the Democrats unveiled 1,990 pages of legislation intended by the Majority in the Congress to lead to a government take over of health care.     The public option is government healthcare.   Away with private insurance, and private "pay as you go" healthcare with options and welcome to Medicare and Medicaid on steroids.

What is the option?    The Republicans, who have been systematically denied access to the closed door Democrat negotiations among the Pelosi lead Congress, have some ideas.  
And Minority Leader Boehner (with a video clip) on the 1,900 page health care bill.

The health care bill debate goes to the floor on the Congress.     And the American people should very afraid of the government plans to reduce present program (cost cutting), increase premiums (more coverage to more folks with less money to pay), expand coverage (anyone, including non-residents) and increased government controls (under the guise of streamlining the system).     Let's see what other government success stories we have?    The Post Office?  Nope.   The GSE's (Fanny Mae or Freddie Mac)?  Nope, they went broke.   What about Indian Health Care?  Nope, it is not working very well.   What about Amtrack?   Nope, keeps losing money, even with increased subsidies.

So now the Democrats in Congress want to take over healthcare in the US?     Now is the time for the American people to say:  No, not this time.  

(c) 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prez Obama Slips in Polls

Prez Obama Slips in Polls

As fall weather cools, the President continues to see his polling numbers follow the trend toward lower approval and high disapproval by Rasmussen Reports:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13. That’s just a point above the lowest level ever recorded for this President. It’s also the sixth straight day in negative double digits, matching the longest such streak   

Let’s look at the President approval (positive numbers) when he was first sworn into office in January on the 21st of each month since then.    Now the Rasmussen Reports numbers (Approval Index) are negative for President Obama

January 21, 2009       Obama starts at +28
February 21st             Obama is down to +10
March 21st                 Obama in single digits at +4
April 21st                   Obama just positive at +2
May 21st                    Obama climbs to +7
June 21st                    Obama slips to negative -2
July 21st                     Obama trends down to -5
August 21st                Obama down to -8
Sept 21st                     Obama stays at -8
October 21st               Obama into double digits -13

It appears that the PR machine at the White House is failing to prop up support for the President, and instead the WH press office has decided to mount an attack and isolation campaign against Fox News.    Perhaps the White House under the Obama administration could change their policies and politics?   That is what is the likely cause for President Obama slide into a Jimmy Carter and George Bush type approval index.   While Mr. Obama campaigned as a moderate Democrat and one who was bi-partisan, the actual Presidential staff (Axelrod, Emanuel) and Administration is sharply partisan in their Chicago style political operations.  And the Presidential approval index reflects the opinion of the American people to that partisan approach.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media