Police chased reporters away from the White House and closed Lafayette Park today in response to a gay rights protest in which several service members in full uniform handcuffed themselves to the White House gate to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
People who have covered the White House for years tell me that’s an extremely unusual thing to do in an area that regularly features protests.
The only satisfactory answer — “my boss is a brazen liar who’ll promise dopey liberals anything to get elected” — isn’t available. So we end up with the political equivalent of a conversation from a dysfunctional marriage. Why do we have to talk past each other, baby?
…it’s sad. The White House press pool is being given the mushroom treatment; and they know that they’re being given the mushroom treatment. But they don’t want to respond appropriately – which is to say, stop letting Robert Gibbs define what are or are not appropriate questions to ask. Until that happens – and the press corps internalizes the notion that Gibbs and the administration needs them a hell of a lot more than they need Gibbs and the administration – they’ll keep getting the mushroom treatment.
Ryan had a heated back-and-forth with Gibbs over whether White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers overstepped her bounds in the “Gate-Crash-gate” incident and was pressing Gibbs on the subject through repeated questions.
“Some might have called her the belle of the ball, overshadowing the first lady,” Ryan said.
Gibbs said he hadn’t heard that criticism before.
Ryan continued in her questioning, asking whether Rogers had invited herself to the first state dinner.
Gibbs shrugged it off, then told Ryan to calm down and take a deep breath.
“This happens with my son. He does the same thing,” Gibbs said, referring to his young child. It drew ooohs from the press corps.
While I don’t watch Glenn Beck, it is monstrous to hear a person associated with the White House say that Mao Zedong is “one of her favorite political philosophers.” If you read The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression you would understand that regarding Mao as a “political philosopher” is reaching a depth of depravity beyond understanding: some 65 million people died during Mao’s regime.
This woman is now at a top job in the White House. Roger Kimball writes,
Anita Dunn is not just an Obama hanger-on. She is part of his inner circle, one of his top aides, along with David Axelrod, Rahm Emmanuel, and Robert Gibbs. What does it mean that someone in that position proffers one of the greatest monsters the world has ever seen for emulation?
Matthew Vadum has been studying ACORN and its labyrinthine connections, which include Obama’s close advisor Patrick Gaspard. Gaspard signed a letter identifying himself as a member of the SEIU State Council and the Working Families Party; As Matthew points out, the ACORN website states,
“ACORN members spearhead[ed] formation of the Working Families Party, the first community-labor party with official ballot status in New York state in more than 50 years.”
Additionally, Moe Lane shows that Gaspard continues to assist the WFP in local elections.
The Senate and House bills are all-encompassing and tremendously complicated. Law professor William Jacobson has been reading ONE of the healthcare bills, HR3200, by selecting one page at random every day, and the results are mind-boggling. Take a look:
The page selected for today’s post is page 479 of the House Bill, which contains the final paragraphs of the 19-page long Section 1302, “Medical Home Pilot Program.” As you will see, whether this is a “pilot” program or a “permanent” program depends upon what the meaning of “pilot” is (I think you know where I am going with this). We may be seeing in Section 1302 the birth of a new home health care entitlement.
Suffice it to say that someone has spent a lot of time drafting a formula in Section 1151 to create an incentive for hospitals which have high readmission rates to lower those rates under threat of decreased Medicare payments. The key thing is that these calculations do not take into account whether any one particular patient’s readmission was unnecessary. Rather, this is a macro-level analysis of an entire hospital based on “excess” readmission rates.
And, by the way, the formula used is complex enough that Jacobson says,
Maybe a hospital administrator could follow the calculation and explain it in plain English, but I cannot.
So it is a good thing that “Obama Aides Aim to Simplify and Scale Back Health Bills.”
However, that’s not what the NYT article actually describes. Instead,
“It’s so important to get a deal,” a White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid about strategy. “He will do almost anything it takes to get one.”
Come to think of it, it makes perfect sense for the White House to make it look like they “Aim to Simplify and Scale Back Health Bills,” when it actually it’s all part of a sales pitch since, as Taranto (h/t Instapundit) put it,
We know July was a long time ago, but we distinctly remember back then that the administration was demanding that Congress pass ObamaCare before the August recess. And the president is only now getting around to telling us what ObamaCare even is?
U.S. unemployment will surge to 10 percent this year and the budget deficit will be $1.5 trillion next year, both higher than previous Obama administration forecasts because of a recession that was deeper and longer than expected, White House budget chief Peter Orszag said.
The Office of Management and Budget forecasts that the U.S. economy will shrink 2.8 percent this year, worse than the 1.2 percent contraction the OMB projected in May. For next year, the budget office said the gross domestic product will grow 2.0 percent, less than the 3.2 percent expected in May. By 2011, the economy would be well on its way to recovery, growing at a 3.8 percent annual rate, according to the administration’s mid-year economic review, released this morning.
The CBO is as pessimistic,
Separately, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office today predicted that the jobless rate would average 10.2 percent next year, gloomier than the White House projection
As a percentage of the total economy, the United States looks to have an astounding debt-to-GDP ratio of 11 percent this year, with that number declining to around 4 percent from 2015 though 2019. And total debt held by the public will rise to 68 percent of GDP by that year versus 33 percent in 2001.
Those numbers, however, are actually a bit on the rosy side. In his blog, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, notes that the forecasts presume no change in current tax laws, such as the continued existence of the Bush tax cuts and the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which grabs more and more taxpayers ever year at a lower and lower income level.
Such forecasts also assume annual spending increases grow at the rate of inflation. But tomorrow is rarely the same as today in Washington. A more realistic scenario — if the AMT were indexed for inflation, most of the Bush tax cuts continued and spending rose as it has in the past — would see the deficit at 8.5 percent of GDP in 2019. That is a level, before the current crisis, not seen since World War Two.
These are third-world economy numbers. Towering inferno numbers.
Many employers, single-payer advocates hope, will be happy to let their employees go onto the government plan. The Lewin Group, cited often by various analysts, estimates that a government-option plan, depending on how the law is written, could move as many as 100 million households off private insurance and onto the government plan in a few years.
Obama has never made his ultimate goal a secret; it’s the same as Schakowsky’s and Hacker’s. The video shows him saying in October 2003, when he was running for the U.S. Senate, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program.” He adds, “We may not get there immediately,” noting the Democrats must “take back” the White House and both houses of Congress — a condition fulfilled last Jan. 20.
Campaigning for president in May 2007, he says, “But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately.” That seems to imply that his goal remains the same as it was in 2003. “There’s going to be potentially some transition process — I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out, where we’ve got a much more portable system.” Which of course government health insurance would be. You couldn’t get away from it. The president’s defenders depict this video and others like it as a patchwork of irrelevant and misleading statements. They also cite Obama’s oft-repeated pledges that any health care bill he would sign would let you keep the insurance you have. They don’t address the point, raised by Hacker, that you can’t keep it if your employer stops offering it.
If the goal is to make each of us pay the health costs linked to our own indulgences, there’s a more efficient way to do it: Simply make everyone pay his own medical bills — and scrap nationalized health care altogether.
Lifestyle dictators will have none of that, of course. They’d rather end personal financial responsibility for health-care costs and then claim government has a right to mandate how we live — since it pays the bills.
Which is why a vote for government health care is a vote for government-run life. Let’s hope Americans understand that be fore ObamaCare goes to the floor.
On Monday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips posted a note on the White House web site complaining of “disinformation about health insurance reform.” “These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation,” Phillips wrote. “Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.”
Imagine the outrage if GWB had that request put on the White House website. But never mind that: we’re talking about a White House database of political opponents that will be both secret and permanent:
Senate Judiciary Committee lawyers studying the proposal say that although there is no absolutely settled law on the matter, the White House plan is likely not covered by the Privacy Act, which prohibits government agencies from keeping any records “describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained.” Therefore, it appears the White House can legally keep records of the emails and other communications it receives in response to Phillips’ request.
Those lawyers also point out that the White House is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, which means it would not have to release any information on the plan to members of the public who make a request.
In addition, the lawyers say the collected emails likely will be covered by the Presidential Records Act, which requires the White House to preserve and maintain its records for permanent storage in a government database. Phillips’ request suggests that whatever information the White House receives on health-care reform “disinformation” will be used to further the goal of passing a national health-care makeover, which is, of course, one of the president’s main policy initiatives. Such material, and whatever the White House does with it, would qualify as presidential records. Only after more than a decade would such records be publicly available.
Cornyn, who also leads the Republican effort to expand its 40-seat minority in the Senate, asked how the White House would use the information collected, what actions if any the White House would take against citizens linked to “fishy” claims, and whether they would be told about being flagged.
The blog and tips email was because, Gibbs said, “we have seen, and as I’ve discussed from this podium, a lot of misinformation around health care reform. Some of it I think spread purposely. We have used on many occasions the Web site to debunk things that are simply not true. We ask people if they have questions about health care reform and about what they’re hearing about its affects on them, to let us know and we’d provide them information to show that that wasn’t true.”
Continued Gibbs: “but nobody is collecting names.”