Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KENYA-MAN TO THE RESCUE!





Citing errors in calculation that led Wellpoint to request a 39 percent rate increase earlier this year in California, the Obama administration issued rules that will require any insurer seeking to raise rates on an individual or small-business plan by more than 10 percent next year to file financial information justifying the raise to federal and state officials.

This is the same old ObamaCare story-a grab at power and the back pockets of the American people disguised as saving us from the big bad insurance companies.

Don't fall for it. The Kenya Bunch are crooks and liars.

All comments in italics are mine.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/21/AR2010122105497.html



The Obama administration announced proposed rules Tuesday aimed at curbing large, unwarranted rate hikes by health insurers by subjecting them to mandatory public scrutiny.


Define unwarranted. So now, the man from KENYA and his cronies are underwriters and actuaries and can determine the proper price for an insurance policy?
Under the proposed regulation, which spells out the details of a key provision in the new federal health-care law, next year any insurer seeking a rate increase of 10 percent or more for an individual or small group plan would be required to file financial information justifying the raise with federal and state officials. (Beginning in 2012, the percentage rate increase that triggers the review will be adjusted for each state to reflect its particular market trends.)

All of insurance is priced according to the risk. Automobile policyholders who have accidents pay higher rates than policyholders who do not. Unfortunately, the same holds true with health insurance. If you are a high utilizer, you will pay a higher premium than if you are not. This is another example of Emporer Obama trying to cram a Marixst system down the unsuspecting throats of Americans, who are sadly too uneducated to know the difference.
State authorities would then analyze the data submitted by the insurer to determine if the increase is "unreasonable." If federal officials determine that a state lacks the resources or power to conduct such a review, the federal Department of Health and Human Services would step in to conduct it.

Why is the Federal government involved at all? Insurance is regulated by the states, and I must have missed the paragraph in the U.S. Consitution that gave the Department of Health and Human Services this jurisdiction. Come to think of it, I missed the paragraph that gave Congress the power to create a Department of Health and Human Services.
Either way, if a rate increase were found to be unjustified, that finding would be posted on both HHS's and the carrier's Web site along with the company's financial disclosures - including, for example, how much it is compensating top executives.

Again, the Federal government lacks the expertise, and more importantly, the AUTHORITY for such a power grab. But I can already see mainstream Americonneds bending over and grabbing their ankles.




What happened to the customer exercising their right to say "NO?" If they can get a better rate, they'll go elsewhere. If they can't, doesn't that kind of support the fact that the rate increase is warranted?

The proposed regulation, which was published in the federal register Tuesday, will be open for public comment and will likely take effect in six months, according to HHS officials.




And the United States of America slides ever closer to being the United States' Socialist Republic!

I believe ObamaCare is not only a grab at more power at the Federal level, which makes the Kenya gang traitors to the oaths they swore, but totally unnecessary. Great strides could be made in improving healthcare coverage with a few tweaks:

(1) Eliminate the ability for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions-this would have an impact on premiums.

(2) Create an "assigned risk" pool for undesirable risks. This takes high risk applicants and assigns them to carriers in the state, and could be used to address the pre-existing issue as well. Premiums would still be on the high side, but the state could subsidize if it desired, and if it could afford to fund it-see item 3)

(3) If the uninsured are a concern, states could raise their thresholds for Medicaid eligibility. This would have to be funded.

(4) Eliminate lifetime policy maximums, or at least bring them in line with the inflation of the last three decades (again, there would be an impact on premiums)


I do not like the ObamaCare rules that cover children to age 26.
 
Our society already has a problem creating adults, and this just makes it worse.
 
Heck, they're allowed to consent to sex at sixteen. If they're old enough to screw at sixteen, be in the military at age eighteen, they should be allowed to vote, drink, drive and fend for themselves, including buying their own health insurance.  
 
But Kenya-Man and his thugs want Americans dumbed down. Easier to control that way.

 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WILL THE CONSTITUTION PREVAIL?


sub-titled: BREWER BATTLES ON! (YOU GO GIRL!)

A federal judge in Phoenix has dismissed a challenge to Arizona's new immigration law.


U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Wednesday granted the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed in July by the League of United Latin American Citizens.

The league sued over training materials distributed to Arizona law enforcement meant to guide the law's implementation, claiming the materials promoted racial and ethnic profiling.

Bolton says the league lacked standing and failed to establish any real and immediate threat of harm.


Gov. Jan Brewer says of the eight federal lawsuits against the state, six have been dismissed.

Portions of the remaining two suits also been dismissed.

The federal government's lawsuit against Arizona on portions of Senate Bill 1070 remains at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

So sanity may yet prevail, and since yet another death of a border official occurred Tuesday night, it cannot come soon enough.

Law-enforcement authorities are scouring mountainous, rocky terrain on foot and on horseback, searching for one of five men suspected of shooting and killing Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Tuesday night.


Four suspects are in custody, including one who is hospitalized.

Terry, 40, was killed about 11 p.m. while patrolling near Peck Canyon in a remote area by Arizona 289. The scene is about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border and west of Interstate 19.



You may remember my post about this area, a "no man's land" that has all but been surrendered to the Mexican drug cartels because our illegal alien commander-in-chief has sided with the illegals as opposed to the citizens who voted him into office. See the original post here.


I do not hold out hope that our friend from Kenya would make his minions DO THEIR JOB, which is to say defend the border like his cronies are charged to do in the US Constitution.

You remember the Constitution, right? Foundation of our government....the document all these politicians swore to uphold while crossing their fingers atop that bible?



Expecting responsiblity and accountability from Wahsington?

That's crazy talk!

Friday, December 10, 2010

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE (HYPO?)


Kathleen Sebeliusn the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a holiday message for us all, accoring to the USA Today:

"One of the best gifts you can give your family and friends during the holiday season is getting your flu shot."

Kathleen also goes on to say,

"Getting vaccinated is a safe, effective way to keep yourself healthy. And because we often get flu from the people around us, getting vaccinated is also the best way to protect your loved ones."



Really, Kathleen?

Are you sure you're not just trying once again to further the federal policy of scaring the population into subservience and the surrender of the freedoms granted to them under the Constitution?

I'm fifty and have never had the fly. My father is ei-well, he's older than me, and he's had it once. You know when? The ONE TIME he got a flu vaccine.

But if the federal government can scare the Amerconned sheeples into walking into get vaccinated unnecessarily (not to mention being fondled by TSA without foreplay of any kind), it will just make us that much easier to herd into those FEMA camps when the time comes. Anything for Big Brother.

And imagine what they can do with the DNA they collect when they administer the flu shot? Or what they could implant at the same time should they choose to do so?

More wisdom spewing from MS. Sebeliusn:

"This year for the first time ever, the nation's top flu scientists have said that every American 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. In past flu seasons, experts have recommended the vaccine for children, people at high risk for complications and those around them. But the H1N1 pandemic demonstrated that even healthy young adults can become severely ill from flu. So this winter, the guidance for you and your family is clear: Everyone needs to get vaccinated."


Come on, Kathleen-H1N1 bombed in the ratings-it was the pandemic that wasn't.

"According to our latest data, one-third of Americans have already gotten their flu vaccines as of last month. That's a good start, but it means far too many people still have not. "
Yes-we're called the Americans who THINK FOR THEMSELVES. And two-thirds of Americans is too high a number, so you can expect a bunch more of the sheep to pile into the vaccination chambers.

"But when it comes to staying safe and healthy this winter, the most important step you can take is getting vaccinated. This holiday season, show your colleagues, neighbors, friends, spouses, parents and children you really care. Get your vaccine, and do your part to promote better health this flu season."



Who don't we combine flu shots with TSA security screenings? Everyone can get a sticker, and then breeze right through the airport to their flight! For more convenience, why not just collect income taxes as part of the same transaction.



It'll be a slice of heaven on Earth!

We can have the Post Office organize and administer everything!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

AND THEY CALL ARIZONA'S LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL

-from the Airheadzona Repugnant (Arizona Republic)
-passages in italics are my own words

The House passed legislation Wednesday to give hundreds of thousands of foreign-born youngsters brought to the country illegally a shot at legal status, a fleeting victory for an effort that appears doomed in the Senate.

The so-called Dream Act, which passed the House 216-198, has been viewed by Hispanic activists and immigrant advocates as a downpayment on what they had hoped would be broader action by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress to give the nation's 10 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants a chance to gain legal status.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (The DREAM Act) is a piece of proposed federal legislation that has been floating around since August, 2001.

This bill, which I shall call "Amnesty Lite," would provide certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously and illegally for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning.

So who decides on the moral character? Our last three presidents do not have enough integrity between them to get a job at a Seven Eleven cash register.

And who will pay for the college education? Probably the same people who would pay the salary for the military service, that would be you and me, the taxpayers. What I've read says these illegals would be available for work study and student loans. And there is a pretty high default rate on student loans.

Critics railed against the measure, calling it a backdoor grant of amnesty that would encourage more foreigners to sneak into the United States in hopes of being legalized eventually.

The Senate is expected Thursday to vote on whether to advance similar legislation, but it's unlikely Democrats can muster the 60 votes needed to advance it past opposition by Republicans and a handful of their own members.

"It's an uphill struggle," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, acknowledged.

Debate on the measure was fraught with politics. Obama has made an intense public push in recent days in favor of the measure, eager to demonstrate his commitment to Hispanic voters, a key voting bloc that's been alienated by his failure to push broader immigration legislation.

There's a shock-the illegal Kenyan immigrant wants this bill to pass! He'd be first in line to claim his amnesty!

With the GOP taking control of the House and representing a stronger minority in the Senate next year, failure to enact the legislation by year's end dims the prospects for action by Congress to grant a path toward legalization for the nation's millions of undocumented immigrants.

Tamar Jacoby of ImmigrationWorks USA, a pro-immigration employers coalition, said the defeat won't end Congress' attempts to address the issue but predicted that future legislation will look far different. "Anything that they're going to do is going to disappoint comprehensive immigration reform advocates," Jacoby said. "It's going to be a tough haul" to tackle the subject in the new Congress.

The White House weighed in with Congress before the votes, issuing supportive statements that called the current immigration system "broken," and urged both chambers to pass the measure "while the broader immigration debate continues."

"Young people who have spent much of their lives in the United States and want to improve their lives and their nation by pursuing higher education or defending the United States as members of the armed forces should be given this opportunity to earn legal status," one of the statements said.

Obama's drive to enact the legislation and congressional Democrats' determination to vote on it before year's end reflect the party's efforts to satisfy Hispanic groups whose backing has been critical in elections and will be again in 2012.

The legislation would give hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to the United States before the age of 16, and who have been here for five years and graduated from high school or gained an equivalency degree, a chance to gain legal status if they joined the military or attended college.

Hispanic activists have described the Dream Act as the least Congress can do on the issue. It targets the most sympathetic of the millions of undocumented people - those brought to the United States as children, who in many cases consider themselves American, speak English and have no ties to or family living in their native countries.

Students who would be eligible for legalization under the bill have fanned out across Capitol Hill in recent days to personally lobby lawmakers to back it. A group of them was seated in the House gallery to watch the vote, and they broke out in cheers, some embracing each other as the vote on passage was announced.

Earlier, Democrats took to the House floor to paint the measure as a matter of basic decency.

"Have a little compassion," Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said, directing his remarks at the GOP. "These children came here, they didn't decide to come here. They know no other country. Some of them don't even know the language of the country in which they were born, and they deserve to have a right as free Americans."

Their pleas did little to move firm Republican opposition.

"It is not being cold-hearted to acknowledge that every dollar spent on illegal immigrants is one dollar less that's spent on our own children, our own senior citizens and for all those who entered this society who played by the rules, who paid their taxes and expect their government to watch out for their needs before it bestows privileges and scarce resources on illegals," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

Just eight Republicans joined Democrats to back the bill, while more than three dozen Democrats broke with their party to vote against it.

Cheers to Ms. Rohrabacher for telling it like it is! We have states going bankrupt, we're borrowing money from China like a drug addict steals money from his family, and a majority of Congress thinks it's a good idea to further burden an overloaded social welfare system with more cash outlay and no plan to balance the deficit issue we're already faced with.

Not to mention that the US Constitution says that these TRAITORS in Washington have a DUTY to protect our borders.

And they even have Federal LAWS that spell out how they are to do it.

But our President (TRAITOR), and Bilary Clinton (TRAITOR) and Nancy Pelosi (TRAITOR) and Janet Napolitano (TRAITOR) and Susan Bolton (TRAITOR) are preventing Arizona for defending its own border when this gang of criminal thugs refuses to do what they swore they would do.

Now why would our government want to make it easy for illegals to enter the country, and a cake walk for these children of illegal alien parents to gain legal status?

Well you have seen where I have hinted at the Marxist (read: Communist) agenda our government has seemed to be pushing for the last half century or so. If you read Stephen T. McCarthy's blog, he does not hint-he gives you an awful lot of examples.


The constant erosion of the middle class is not an accident! According to an article I read in the liberal toilet paper known as Time a few years back, for 2004, ninety percent of the income tax returns filed in America showed an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less!

Before you say "$100K is pretty good," wait a minute. That's 90% of RETURNS. That includes marrieds filing jointly, many of which are two income families. And $100K when you're raising a family...let's just say you're not living in a Donald Trump zip code.

Another interesting tidbit. The richest 0.5% make over $500,000 per year. This should scare you, no matter what party affiliation you hold.

Why?

When Obama talks about the rich, guess what? HE'S ONE OF THEM!

When Bill Maher talks about the money-grubbiong capitalists-DITTO!

When Bruce Springsteen sings about the working man-HE DON'T HAVE A FRIGGIN' CLUE!

When John Lennon wrote "Imagine there's no possessions" IT WAS ON LINEN PAPER WITH A SOLID GOLD PEN!

These people you are trusting to watch over your well being are the SAME RICH PEOPLE you want to be protected from.

Do you think there may be a conflict of interest here?

In the history of the world, has it ever happened that the rich gave all of their money away?

Is that what happened in Communist Russia?

Or was is closer to something like, I don't know, 99.5% of the wealth in the hands of half a percent of the people?

My mistake-that's the ratio in Socialist America!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CALL THEM MCVICTIMS


Call it the McVictim syndrome.


Too many pundits, public health experts and politicians are working overtime to find scapegoats for America's obesity epidemic.

The real answer, of course, is too many happy meals.

In his latest book, former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler argues that modern food is addictive. In it, he recounts how he was once helpless to stop himself from eating a cookie.






Are you kidding me? Could you be any less of a wuss? Man up, David!

In a paper in this month's Journal of Health Economics, University of Illinois researchers join a long list of analysts who blame urban sprawl for obesity.

How long before we're told that the devil made us eat it?

Personally, I blame the Liberals.

The McVictim syndrome spins a convenient — and unhealthy — narrative on America's emerging preventable disease crisis. McVictimization teaches Americans to think that obesity is someone else's fault — and therefore, someone else's problem to solve.

Which is one of America's problems-our government has grown out of control because the average citizen is all too eager to let Washington think for them. As long as they can stimulate their minds with programs like "Dancing With The Survivors" and "American Wife-Swapping Bachelor Idols" they are content to let the Council on Foreign Relations tell them what to think, what to believe, when to wear a seat belt, and when to wipe their children's behinds.

The truth: In the vast majority of cases, obesity is a preventable condition. So those of us in the medical community must be candid with overweight patients about the risks they face and the rewards of better health choices. But it's also time for American policymakers to show the same level of candor.

All things being equal, the simplest explanation is often the right one.

And the simplest explanation for the dramatic rise in obesity rates — roughly doubling as a percentage of the total population in just a quarter-century — is the surge in our daily caloric intake.

Excess food now, excess weight later. And Americans won't make better choices if the McVictim syndrome provides a convenient excuse to carry on as before.

Obesity is preventable, but its consequences seem difficult to avoid.

Consider that the cost of treating resulting conditions such as diabetes is about 7% of all U.S. healthcare spending — and a significant drain on federal and state budgets. Obesity is a national security threat because it severely limits the pool of military recruits; in 2009, the Pentagon indicated that since 2005, 48,000 potential troops had flunked their basic physical exams because they weighed too much.

Most important, obesity is a human threat, destroying otherwise healthy lives and increasing personal health costs, all for the sake of a few daily moments of instant gratification.

For these reasons, there is a role for government to play in attacking obesity.

Stop sponsoring school lunch programs that push our children toward obesity at taxpayers' expense.


Stop subsidizing businesses that use taxpayer dollars to produce and market unhealthful foods. In fact, stop subsidizing business.


Promote insurance reforms that support preventive medicine.


First and most important, we MUST eradicate the philosophy behind the McVictim syndrome.

Americans must accept the fact that a poor diet is almost always a poor personal choice.

Encouraging Americans to cut their dietary health risks is a responsible act of citizenship.

It's absurd to pretend that Americans are helpless to make that choice.

The McVictim syndrome is far too prevalent, which promotes the notion that regulations and laws are the primary solution to the problem.

Hey America-do you want the federal government to micromanage your waistline for you?


How about this? Walk to work and don't order a second piece of pie.


If Americans would just wise-up, and realize that it's all about the calories YOU consume. I have a lot more waist than I did twenty years ago, but no one put a gun to my head and said "Eat cheese steaks." I made that choice.


Also, Americans need to get smart about advertising. Stop eating 100-calorie Twinkies and thinking it's a miracle food.




Here's the miracle: IT'S SMALLER.


Here's how to make the miracle yourself: CUT A REGULAR TWINKIE IN HALF


Here's how to make it healthy: THROW IT AWAY AND EAT AN APPLE


Link to the full article...

http://mobile.latimes.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=294&nid=31196542&cid=16704&scid=-1&ith=0&title=Opinion

Monday, December 6, 2010

WINSTON SMITH TAKES IT ON THE JAW*



Well it did not take them long to start morphing ObamaCare into the real agenda, huh?

An Office of Personnel Management plan to launch a comprehensive database of federal workers' health-care records has raised the ire of some privacy advocates, employee unions and consumer groups.


The OPM is organizing a research database of insurance claims filed by the 8 million workers and dependents enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, as well as participants in two other federally administered programs. The claims data, which will be supplied by the private insurers that participate in the FEHBP, will help the OPM figure out ways to lower costs, improve quality and fight fraud, the agency has said.




But critics - including the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumers Union and the American Federation of Government Employees - argue that the government should avoid setting up a repository of sensitive information that could be vulnerable to privacy breaches. At minimum, they say, the OPM should provide more information about how the database, the Health Claims Data Warehouse, will work and who will have access to it.

"We're talking about a government database with health diagnoses, payment information and procedures," said Harley Geiger, policy counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a public interest firm based in Washington. "Enrollees are almost certainly unaware that the government plans to compile all that into one big federal database."

The OPM has asserted that it has "a strong track record" of protecting the privacy of sensitive employee information. It also extended, until Dec. 15, the comment period for the project and said it's considering putting out "a more detailed explanation of how the records in this system will be protected and secured."

The database, approved as part of the new health-care law, will collect data on health services from about 230 private health plans offered to federal workers through the FEHBP.

Information also will be compiled from enrollees in two other programs created by the health law. One involves the high-risk pools set up by the Department of Health and Human Services for people who cannot get insurance because of medical problems. The other involves private "multi-state plan options" for individuals and small businesses. These plans, to be administered by the OPM, will be available on state-based exchanges beginning in 2014. The database will be the largest government aggregation of private health plan data compiled in the United States, analysts say.

Once the OPM database is functioning, the agency plans to gather monthly updates on such things as medical diagnoses, surgical procedures and prescription drug use. In theory, the database will allow the OPM to scrutinize a specific group of enrollees - those with diabetes, for example - to identify the most effective treatments.

Or to target work force reductions...since when is the OPM qualified to identify the most effective treatments?

The data, according to an Oct. 5 Federal Register notice by the OPM, will be used by agency analysts, as well as some other federal agencies, to discern costs and trends. Certain outside researchers also could get access to the material, almost always in an aggregated form, according to a senior OPM official involved in the project who spoke on the condition of anonymity because details for the database remain under review.

Researchers say the database could be helpful if constructed and used properly; it could, for example, lead to wider adoption of "best practices" as well as lower costs, said Kevin O'Brien, a director of the California-based data analytics firm Berkeley Research Group.

Am I the only one who would rather my employer not know the intimate details of my health care? I guess there is no risk they'd save costs by laying off high utilizers, huh?

Even modest cost reductions could produce substantial savings for the government and workers. OPM Director John Berry, in a report on the agency's 2009 performance, said reducing annual premium growth by 0.1 percent for three consecutive years would save the FEHBP $1.25 billion over 10 years. The agency, on average, picks up 70 percent of the cost of premiums; workers pay the rest.

But privacy advocates aren't assuaged. They note that the data collected by the OPM will include names, birth dates and other personal identifying information. In addition, they say it is unnecessary for the OPM to set up its own database because insurers already store health information.

In the private sector, employer access to such information is restricted. Why wouldn't it be the same for the government? Oh yeah, I forgot, our democracy was overthrown.


"One of the big concerns here is the duplication," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel to the ACLU. Calabrese would rather see the OPM use a "pointer system" to locate the information it needs. "Instead of having all the information in one database, if you want info on Patient X . . . go directly to the record source," he said.




OPM officials counter that the privacy concerns are overblown. The senior OPM official said researchers will not be permitted to see personal identifiers. The agency had said earlier that the health data could be subject to the "routine uses" that apply to most federal databases under the Privacy Act of 1974. That means the records could be pulled by law enforcement officials in a criminal investigation or used in a congressional inquiry. Now, the official said, the agency is considering narrowing the list of agencies that would be granted special access to its records. Within the OPM, the data will be made available only to analysts with the proper clearances, the official said.

Overblown? Are you kidding me? In what alternate reality has the government shown it can administer ANYTHING?

In addition, the OPM official said, asking insurance companies to independently analyze their own data would defeat a key purpose of the database - which is to compare health plans. For example, one plan might charge more than another for prescription drug programs, and the data could help the OPM decide whether to drop one pharmacy benefits manager in favor of another. About 30 percent of the FEHBP's spending goes for prescription drugs.

Of course, you would not need patient-level detail to draw a conclusion about the cost of a prescription drug plan, and insurance carriers already provide this information routinely to their customers.

The OPM's proposal is not unprecedented - Tricare, the military's health-care program, has data on its participants, and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services keeps information on Medicare beneficiaries. But Tricare, Medicare and Medicaid are public health programs; OPM's database will be collecting health information from private plans. The California Public Employees' Retirement System maintains a database on the private health plans it manages. The OPM's project would be similar.

Get ready, America! Aunt Pelosi and Uncle O'Kenya would NEVER use your sensitive health information to further their own agendas.....right?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/05/AR2010120503994.html

*thanks to Utopia for the title (song title from their Oblivion album released in 1983)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

RON PAUL DEFENDS FREEDOM OF THE PRESS...MOST OF CONGRESS CLUELESS ABOUT BILL OF RIGHTS

Once again, Ron Paul stands up as the lone voice for freedom in our wasteland of a Marxist federal government gone amok over the last few decades...


Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is standing up for the founder of WikiLeaks, going against many of his Republican colleagues by defending Assange's leaks of secret American documents.


In a Thursday interview with Fox Business, Paul said that Julian Assange should get the same kind of protections as the mainstream media when it comes to releasing information.

"In a free society we're supposed to know the truth," Paul said. "In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."

"This is media, isn't it? I mean, why don't we prosecute The New York Times or anybody that releases this?" he added.

Many of Paul's Republican colleagues have voiced their outrage towards Assange, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said Tuesday that the site's founder should be tried for treason and even face the death penalty. Democrats have also been vocal critics of Assange.


Indeed, the WikiLeaks.org founder has few friends in Washington, with lawmakers lamenting the negative impact the release of the hundreds of thousands of private cables could have on national security.

On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department is weighing whether Assange could be criminally charged for posting the documents.

Paul is no stranger to unpopular stances, and has split with his parties on issues like the war in Afghanistan, the role of the Federal Reserve and America's membership in NATO. His son Rand Paul, a Republican Tea Party favorite, was elected to the Senate from Kentucky last month.

As my friend Stephen T. McCarthy has said many times, "Two Paul's are better than one!"


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20024605-503544.html

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OBAMACARE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL


Once again, Senator Jay Rockefeller is keeping the world safe for Marxism and government control of the free market. Even though consumers seem to want them, a congressional committee led by Rockefeller is widening its investigation of "mini-med" health-insurance policies to encompass potentially hundreds of plans offered by low-wage employers.


What started as a probe into McDonald's Corp.'s insurance plan for store workers is expanding into broad scrutiny of policies that could ensnare large mini-med carriers including Aetna and CIGNA.





Congressional investigators are taking a close look at the two carriers and culling insurance policy data on a range of large and small employers, a Senate aide said.

In a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Senate Democrats plan to detail how restaurants, pet-store outlets and hair salons are offering workers health-insurance policies with low caps on annual benefit payouts that leave workers footing the bill for care, according to the Senate aide. Lawmakers also plan to press McDonald's top human-resources executive on the chain's mini-med plan that covers nearly 30,000 restaurant workers.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans are covered by mini-med plans.

New restrictions in the Marxist health overhaul passed in March are expected to effectively eliminate mini-med plans as of 2014, when low-wage workers will qualify for tax credits to help them buy insurance. But whether to really intrude into another area of the private sector and impose tougher regulations on such plans to raise annual benefit payouts, or force them to spend more money on medical care in the meantime, has become a thorny issue for the Socialist-leaning Obama administration.

In recent weeks, federal regulators have granted dozens of waivers to mini-med providers so they can keep the caps on annual payouts.

Also, the Obama administration said last week that mini-med plans could spend half as much as traditional carriers on medical care under health-law rules that take effect next year.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation are looking at whether mini-med plans should face tougher regulations.

Committee investigators are building a case that such coverage misleads consumers into thinking they have health insurance when such policies pay out as little as $1,000 a year for hospital visits and contain loopholes.

The insurance industry argues that tighter restrictions on such plans, such as raising the limit on annual benefit payouts, could force employers to drop them altogether.

"For many part-time, seasonal and temporary workers, these types of plans are their only source of affordable health-care coverage," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's trade group.

The insurance industry does not hide the benefit limits on these plans, and has agreed to provide more information on the plan limits. Why then is Rockefeller so intent on his agenda?

Considering that most intelligent people perceive the real agenda behind health care "reform" to be the government takeover of the system in a bipartisan power grab, it makes sense that the administration would make moves to place more employees on the uninsured rolls, which would lead to more enrollees in the government plan.



And considering the number of Jay's relatives that infest the Council On Foreign Relations (see my post from last week), it is hard to belive that there is no ulterior motive with Rockefeller's agenda.

For the record, I work in the insurance industry and agree with some tweaks to the current process. One big one, coverage of preexisting conditions, should have been a done deal with the Clintons-not sure how that slipped through. Maybe Billy used that bill to clean himself off...oh never mind.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

THE MEN BEHIND THE CURTAIN


Today, everyone in the United States will sit down to a large meal, probably centered around a turkey, and stuff their faces until they have to loosen the button on their jeans or until their elastic waists are at maximum stretch. And we will all probably forget how lucky we are to live in a country where we’ve got a lot of personal freedom.


And that is after a half century of those freedoms slowly being whittled away. Sadly, most Americans are too blind to see it happening and too afraid to want to know the truth.

So we’ll watch football, and cheer every time the camera shows a person in uniform, and pretend that we’re patriotic and that America is number one. From Veteran’s Day through New Year’s Day, the amount of exploitation of our men and women in uniform to brainwash the rest of the not-so-swift populace is amazing.

I’d like to take some blog time to introduce readers to the power behind the throne of America, or the men behind the curtain. In other words, the organization that has been shaping America for the last century.

The Council on Foreign Relations



What is the Council on Foreign Relations? It began in 1921 as a front organization for J.P. Morgan and Company. By World War II it had acquired unrivaled influence on American foreign policy. Hundreds of U.S. government administrators and diplomats have been drawn from its ranks - regardless of which party has occupied the White House.

But what does the Council on Foreign Relations stand for?

In Their Own Words...

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

Founded in 1921, the Council takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. The Council carries out its mission by:

o Maintaining a diverse membership, including special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders;

o Convening meetings at its headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC, and other cities where senior government officials, members of Congress, global leaders, and prominent thinkers come together with Council members to discuss and debate major international issues;

o Supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling Council scholars to produce articles, reports, and books and hold roundtables that analyze foreign policy issues and make concrete policy recommendations;

o Publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal of international affairs and U.S. foreign policy;

o Sponsoring Independent Task Forces that produce reports with both findings and policy prescriptions on the most important foreign policy topics; and

o Providing up-to-date information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy on its website, CFR.org.

Seems benign, right? You would not expect their site to say they're bent on world domination, though, would you?

The Real Story...

Why do the major media avoid discussing the CFR?

The real truth, as detailed in books like The Shadows Of Power by James Perloff , is that the CFR has a goal of “submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all-powerful one-world government.”

To accomplish its goal, the CFR has infiltrated all levels of government with people who support its goals. Listen to their words.

President George H.W. Bush used to speak of a “New World Order.”

President Obama says,” We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation,”

Once you start to read about this topic, it becomes clear that we are being led down a primrose path by a group of insiders connected to the international banking community and very high level power brokers who keep a low profile (operating out of the shadows, as it were).

Need more convincing-here are some of the current CFR members:

• Michael R. Bloomberg (Current Mayor of New York City)
• George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
• Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
• Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States
• Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States
• Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State
• Alan Greenspan (former Chairman of the Federal Reserve)
• Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State
• John McCain, United States Senator from Arizona
• Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State
• Condoleezza Rice, 66th United States Secretary of State
• George Shultz, 60th United States Secretary of State
• Walter B. Slocombe (former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy)
• Paul Volcker (former Chairman of the Federal Reserve)
• James D. Wolfensohn (former president of the World Bank)
• Paul Wolfowitz (former president of the World Bank, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense)
• James Woolsey (former Director of Central Intelligence and former head of the Central Intelligence Agency)
• Robert Zoellick (President of the World Bank)

Doesn't it seem odd that so many leaders of both parties are in the CFR ranks? Is it a coincidence that Federal Reserve and World Bank executives walk the CFR halls?
Here are some of the corporations that support the CFR’s goals (a more complete list is shown on the CFR’s site):

• AARP
• Alcoa, Inc.
• American Express Company
• Bank of America / Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
• Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, The
• Barclays Capital
• Boeing Company, The
• Chevron Corporation
• Chrysler LLC
• Citi
• Coca-Cola Company, The
• Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
• Exxon Mobil Corporation
• Federal Express Corporation
• Ford Motor Company
• General Electric Company
• GlaxoSmithKline
• Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
• Google, Inc.
• IBM Corporation
• JPMorgan Chase & Co
• McGraw-Hill Companies, The
• Merck & Co., Inc.
• Mitsubishi International Corporation
• New York Life International, Inc.
• Nike, Inc.
• PepsiCo, Inc.
• PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
• Prudential Life Insurance Co.
• Shell Oil Company
• Sony Corporation of America
• Time Warner Inc.
• Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
• United Technologies Corporation
• Verizon Communications Inc.
• Visa Inc.
• Volkswagen of America, Inc.
• Xerox Corporation

If that is not enough to make you want to know more, consider this:

Heck, even the sexiest woman alive is a member!




Due to the number of high-ranking government officials, world business leaders and prominent media figures in its membership, it is easy to see how the CFR would have significant influence on US policy decisions. CFR members have been involved in many aspects of American foreign policy beginning with Wilson's Fourteen Points (in which he presented the idea of a worldwide security organization to prevent future world wars).

My friend Stephen T. McCarthy believes that the CFR is guilty of conspiring with others to build a one world government. If you frequent his blog, FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS, you will be familiar with the various materials he references to support his beliefs. I will not revisit his posts here-I would encourage you to read them for yourself.

Let me just say that there is a lot of compelling evidence that the CFR is in fact pulling the strings on our govermental puppets, and that the continued depletion of American wealth and the downsizing of the middle class is by design.

Go read the books.

Look at the actions of both parties.

Decide for yourself.



So why am I posting all of this today, on a day when we’re supposed to give thanks?

Many of us only have a vague notion of where the food that crams our grocery stores even comes from. Fewer still comprehend the reason for the abundance we now enjoy.



The source of our prosperity is our freedom. This liberty allows us to live lifestyles our grandparents could only dream of.

If more Americans do not wake up to the truth, these freedoms will become memories.

It may not be too many more Thanksgivings until all we have to share around that big table is the government cheese.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

ONE SMALL TOKE FOR MANKIND!

Possibly the first story in the Arizona Republic that I approve of!



Arizona voters have approved Proposition 203, which legalizes marijuana for medicinal use.


The Secretary of State's unofficial results indicate that the "yes" vote on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has won by a narrow margin of 4,341 votes, or 50.13 percent of more than 1.67 million votes counted.

This after Maricopa County officials finished counting about 11,000 outstanding ballots Saturday.

The "yes" and "no" votes remained neck-and-neck for more than a week since Election Night, with the "yes" vote trailing behind by at least 3,000 each day. But the "yes" vote picked up traction after election officials started counting provisional ballots and by Friday, it was leading by 4,421 for the first time.


Arizona would be the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The general-election canvass will be held Nov. 29. The Arizona Department of Health Services has 120 days from that day to finalize all rules for implementation. The department is expected to begin reviewing dispensary and patient applications by April 2011.

Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the pro-Prop. 203 Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, said he believes there are more Arizonans who support medical marijuana than what the votes show. He said voter skepticism was rooted in concerns that Arizona's medical-marijuana program would be similar to ones in California and Colorado.

But Myers said Prop. 203 was written to create a strict and regulated medical-marijuana program.



Mellow out, dude! Maybe I really DO have glaucoma!

"It's up to us now to prove them wrong and assuage those concerns," Myers said.

The state health department and local planning and zoning officials have said they would implement as many rules as possible to ensure the program is tightly regulated, and for the benefit of patients with debilitating diseases.

But Carolyn Short, chairwoman of the anti-Prop. 203 campaign Keep AZ Drug Free, said Friday that voters will find they voted for a "concept," and anybody who wants marijuana will get it. Short said Saturday that she is disappointed to see Prop. 203 pass.

Chris Ross, administrator and owner of Arizona's Medical Marijuana Community, an online forum where users can share information on doctors, dispensaries and marijuana strains, said there still will be a stigma around patients using marijuana for awhile. He created the website so patients could discreetly access information and find which doctors are sympathetic to the use of marijuana as a medicine, he said.

Ross, whose sister has stage-four breast cancer, said he is "ecstatic" Prop. 203 pulled through.

"It was disappointing (at first), but when the tide turned on Friday, I was just in shock," Ross said. "The people who oppose it see the worst-case scenario, but I see the best-case scenario. People like my sister - they're going to get the help they need."

Supporters of the measure attribute the vote surge to provisional ballots, which voters cast when there is a question about the voter's eligibility. Provisional voters tend to be younger people whose addresses do not match the voter roll because they move around often, Myers said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoking marijuana for medicinal use.

But these are the Feds, the same fascists who are suing Arizona over its immigration law. These people NEED to mellow out!



Licensed physicians could recommend medical marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and Alzheimer's disease. Patients would register for identification cards with the state health department. They could also receive up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from dispensaries or cultivate up to 12 plants if they live 25 miles or more from a dispensary.

The law allows for no more than 124 dispensaries operated by non-profits to start, proportionate to the number of pharmacies in the state.

Which brings us to an interesting dilemna. You see, that is not the only Arizona marijuana news this weekend.



Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies made a large marijuana bust north of Phoenix on Friday night. They seized 1,700 pounds of marijuana on Interstate 17.


It was found after deputies pulled over a limousine pulling a large trailer near Black Canyon City. They said the driver had been driving erratically.

Big surprise there.

But since this interesting turn of events with Prop 203, doesn't that make the guys in the limo a mobile pharmacy?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

SWING TO THE RIGHT?

Todd Rundgren once recorded a song entitled “Swing To The Right,” way back in the early eighties, and it was released on Utopia’s seventh album of the same title.

Swing to the right
Try to face the fact that I ain't that young no more
Hair's short again and a suit is in,
Better brush up on how to tie a Windsor knot
Swing to the right
Credit's hard to find and a dollar doesn't go so far
What's more important when the count comes in
A sell-out who's alive or a corpse that can't be bought?

As good friend Stephen T. McCarthy observed on his “Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends” blog, the pendulum has swung right once again.

Change we can believe in!

Or not.
According to the famed high-brow newspaper that is the Airheadzona Repugnant, many people are blaming Tea party-backed candidates for losing Senate seats held by Democrats that the GOP had big hopes of capturing.


The Republic describes GOP leaders “muttering that …tea party activists…hobbled the GOP's outside shot of running the Senate.

The same brilliant political minds state that Tea partiers largely spurned establishment candidates in the GOP primaries and helped nominate Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado.

The implication being that all three lost on Tuesday and it’s those darn Tea Partiers’ fault.

Now help me here. Explain it to me like I am a five year old.

Aren’t the Tea Partiers American people?

And isn’t the whole point of the election that the American people get to choose a candidate?

Explain to me, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, why the GOP did not embrace these candidates?

Why is it that party leadership is being critical of its party members rather than listening to the message they sent you?

The message is, if you did not get it, we’re tired of the same old song and dance!




The GOP was very clear that they would not support O’Donnell, so in my opinion, they alone are to blame for her loss.

And not only that, but they had a DUTY to represent the candidates chosen by their constituents, and they chose not to do their duty.

Instead, they try to force feed us RINO’s (Republicans-In-Name-Only) like Arizona’s John McCain, who tells you exactly what you want to hear to get a vote.

McCain ran for President saying he “knew how to get Bin Laden.”

Remember?




If he knew, why wasn’t he going public with that intel for the previous seven years?

Didn't he have, I don't know, a DUTY TO HIS COUNTRY as a member of the Senate to track down this terrorist who led an unprovoked attack on our shores?

Sorry, but that statement either makes him, senile, a liar, or a traitor.

And now he ran for his Senate seat (even though all he had done for two terms was campaign for the Presidency) saying he would be “tough on immigration.”

Hmm…wasn’t this the same guy who has been on record as supporting amnesty for a couple of decades?

Explain to me how simply telling everyone who came here illegally that they are now legal is “tough?”

It seems to me, it encourages illegal border crossing if you know all you have to do is stay under the radar for a few years and you’ll get a free pass.

I won't even go into how McCain waffled on our policy on torture and voted for the bailouts that mortgaged your children's futures and send us careening inot Marxism at an unprecedented pace.

I’ve stayed registered Republican so I can vote in primaries, because they sometimes do have good candidates.

Those of you who are represented by Ron and Rand Paul, you are lucky.

If Arizona real estate was not in the toilet, I’d sell my house and move to Texas.



Sadly, most good candidates do not make it past the primary.

This time a few did.

And the GOP abandoned them.

YOUR PARTY FAILED TO REPRESENT THE CANDIDATES YOU CHOSE!!!

Why would they do such a thing?

Stephen said it best on his blog-“ overall, it’s like deja-1994-vu all over again.” He even said it better when he says, ‘The Democrat and Republican party – one party pretending to be two in order to give you “a choice”.’

And the real power in the US is pulling both parties' strings.




Instead of ignoring the Tea Party candidates, the GOP was OBLIGATED to embrace them.

They did not.

Maybe they think this strategy will get people “back into the fold” for 2012.

They can write off my vote, unless they shock the hell out of me with a Ron Paul/Rand Paul ticket.

I hope that the Tea Partiers follow suit, and give serious consideration to Constitution and Libertarian party candidates.

Stop blindly voting the party line. Do that and they win.

Join me in being “Republican In Registration Only.”

And Arizona, please-can we vote out McCain next time?

Are you really going to let this lemon die in his seat?


Either a shot of McCain being tough on immigration
 or of him dying in his Senate seat...I am not sure which


Friday, November 5, 2010

SUPER SIZE ME!

Law Curbs McDonald's Happy Meal Toys


As the country continues to wage war against obesity, health advocates have set their aim on fast-food chains such as McDonald's in the way they market their kid's meal options.

A new San Francisco law looks to prohibit children's meals to be packaged with toys unless they have less than 600 calories in order to avoid children opting for unhealthy meals simply to earn a prize.

I've posted the article below in yellow text, with a link to the site is at the bottom of the post.

What's wrong with you California? First you cop out on legal weed, and now you want to keep kids and stoners from their free Transformer toys?



San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to pass a law that cracks down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children.



San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed the law on Tuesday on a veto-proof 8-to-3 vote. It takes effect on December 1, 2011.



The law, like an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, would require that restaurant kids' meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.


Opponents of the law include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald's Corp, which used its now wildly popular Happy Meal to pioneer the use of free toys to market directly to children.


"We are extremely disappointed with today's decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement.


"Getting a toy with a kid's meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald's," Proud said.


The San Francisco law would allow toys to be given away with kids' meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar.


Backers of the ordinance say it aims to promote healthy eating habits while combating childhood obesity.


"Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color," said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure.


"This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children's health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment," Mar said.


Fifteen percent of American children are overweight or obese -- which puts them at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some states, the childhood obesity rate is over 30 percent.



The Center for Science in the Public Interest this summer threatened to sue McDonald's if it did not stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants. A lawyer for that group said it is on track to file the lawsuit in the next several weeks.


McDonald's debuted the Happy Meal in the United States in 1979 with toys like the "McDoodler" stencil and the "McWrist" wallet. Modern offerings have included themed items from popular films like "Shrek" or sought-after toys like Transformers, Legos or miniature Ty Beanie Babies.


In 2006, the latest year for which data is available, fast-food companies led by McDonald's spent more than $520 million on advertising and toys to promote meals for children, according to a U.S. Federal Trade Commission report.


When the efforts of other food and beverage companies were included, promotional spending aimed at children topped $1.6 billion.


Here are some of the comments from readers….notice a trend here?


A very sensible idea. Let’s hope it catches on and that it reduces the harm done to children’s health by eating unsuitable, highly-salted food.


A very sensible move. Let’s hope it results in less damage to children’s health from eating unsuitable, highly-salted foods


Good idea, but it needs to go farther. To grocery stores to stop them from selling life threatening things like red meat, white bread, candy, sodas, and limit them to selling on healthy nutritious whole foods that do not contribute to the overweight diets of americans.


Good start, but why wait a year? Isn’t 30 days enough?


How about stop salting French fries? They douse them with salt and it’s gross. I’ll salt my own food if I want. They used that tactic to sell drinks. At the very least, give people a choice.


Now if we can get food companies that make things like soup to stop claiming there are 2 servings in a can to mask how much salt and carbs are really in there.


“Healthy Choice” soup has over 1600 mg of sodium in one can. That is absurd. I can’t buy a healthy can of soup so I make my own. I’m a single guy and I don’t want to do that, but I have no choice. Even “low salt” foods have a ton of it.

Explain something to me.

Why is McDonald's the villain here?

What about the lazy-ass parents who go to McDonalds because they can't be bothered to learn how to cook?

Maybe if parents took some f*%#ing responsibility for the children that they chose to bring into the world, their children might be in better shape, as well as better educated, better behaved, more responsible, more morally centered…I could go on an on.

I get that obesity is a problem in American.

It's been a problem for me since the beginning of the Clinton administration, but I don't blame Bill Clinton's jogging to McDonalds example for my midsection.

And trust me, I'd like nothing more than to blame the Clintons, especially since no one seems to remember that they're to blame for NAFTA.

But the truth is, I could have actually stopped eating Philadelphia cheese steaks at any time.

No one puts a gun to a parent's head to choose McDonalds over a healthy home-cooked meal, either.

But to assume responsibility for one's own actions? That's not the American way.

We need someone to blame, someone to point a finger at.

Since we've beaten the tobacco industry to near-death and made smokers outcasts, let's move onto the fast food companies.

Instead of pointing the finger where it really needs to be pointed.




At our own fat asses!




See the full article, plus comments, at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A25P220101103

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

UP IN SMOKE


Prop 203 - Arizona Medical Marijuana Act


"NO" Votes-662,371 (50.26%)

"YES" Votes- 655,502 (49.74%)

Margin of defeat-6,869 (which is coincidentally the average attendance for the Arizona Cardinals since relocating to the state).



We were so close.



We were almost living the dream. Music would have sounded better. Food would have tasted better.



Maybe next time.

Sadly, alcohol causes far more social problems than marijuana.

Ever see two stoners get in a fight? yet how many bar fights are there every HOUR? Do you really think a stoned driver could be going fast enough to hurt anyone or anything?

Consider the financial windfall for a state when you go from paying to keep it criminalized (cost of arrests, trials, incarcerations) to a revenue stream from taxing it.

I am amazed that every state has not legalized marijuana.

Keep trying, seventies children!

Post-mortem. The decriminalization on marijuana lost in California by a landslide!

This was a shock to me.

So you can have a California marriage that isn't straight, but you better be straight while you're doing it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

TEMPORARY SANITY

Maricopa County drops election apparel ban


Crunched for time to enforce a federal judge's decision Monday on today's election, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said she is allowing voters to wear any apparel, including clothing that supports or opposes a candidate or proposition on the ballot, inside Maricopa County polls.


"We're doing the best we can . . . but I'm too short of time to try to get . . . to the poll workers at this late date," Purcell told The Arizona Republic late Monday.

Purcell said she did not think her decision would violate U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg's ruling. However, that ruling set clear parameters for what apparel would be banned.


On Monday, Teilborg granted a temporary restraining order that allows people to wear a " 'tea party' T-shirt or any apparel that does not express support for or opposition to" a candidate, proposition or political party on the ballot.

Applying Teilborg's standard, apparel that promoted a labor union or the tea-party movement would be permissible, while a shirt supporting the Republican Party or Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard would not.

Purcell said she posted the judge's ruling on the county recorder's website but added that she was forced to allow any apparel to be worn because she did not know how to retrain workers less than a day before the election.

"What about someone wearing something (that supports a candidate) running for some legislative district (the poll worker) is not familiar with? How can I say it's OK if they let that through but then not some other (more prominent) candidate? I can't discriminate. I have to allow it all. I don't know of any other fair way. I wish I did," Purcell said.


The judge's ruling and Purcell's decision affects the estimated 63 percent of Arizona voters who reside in Maricopa County.

The judge ordered the county to immediately distribute his ruling through the county recorder's website and phone calls to anyone working at polling sites.

The case came to the court last week when the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix conservative think tank, discovered that Purcell determined that tea-party shirts were political advocacy and could not be worn within 75 feet of a polling place. The 75-foot zone is designated as a "campaign-free zone" to protect voters from being influenced or intimidated while casting ballots.

Clint Bolick, a Goldwater attorney, said he was "shocked" by Purcell's ban because a judge had ruled last month in favor of a Flagstaff woman who wanted to wear a tea-party T-shirt. But Purcell said that decision narrowly applied to Coconino County and only permitted the specific shirt representing the Flagstaff tea-party group.

Last week, Bolick filed for a temporary restraining order on behalf of Mark Reed, a Maricopa County voter who wanted to wear a tea-party T-shirt to the polls today. He asked the judge to allow the shirts on the basis that the apparel did not represent a registered political party, proposition or candidate on the ballot and as such did not violate electioneering laws.

Purcell said that officials were not singling out the tea party and would ban any politically charged apparel. She said other examples of prohibited apparel included T-shirts with marijuana plants because it could be considered support for this year's ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, and shirts from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, a national advocacy group.


County Elections Director Karen Osborne testified Monday that electioneering is hard to define but that "we know it when we see it."

That fuzzy standard, Teilborg said, had led to inconsistencies such as Osborne testifying that a labor-union or Chamber of Commerce shirt would be allowed even though those groups endorse candidates and propositions, while the tea-party T-shirt was banned because certain tea-party chapters endorsed candidates.

The judge ruled that Maricopa County had no clear standard for what constituted electioneering, which left voters without the information needed to determine what apparel could be banned. He also considered the ban a violation of First Amendment rights.

"Courts have consistently recognized the significant public interest in upholding First Amendment principles," he wrote.

Aftr the hearing, Purcell said she worried that the judge's decision would harm voters.

"It's going to open the floodgates (on electioneering). There's a quiet zone where the voter is supposed to be protected from (partisan politics) . . . with this decision, we're basically going to open the door to it all," she said.

Bolick said he considered the ruling a win for First Amendment rights.

"The idea that somebody could be (charged with a misdemeanor) . . . for wearing the wrong shirt is an offense to a free society. If someone wants to wear a T-shirt with (President Barack) Obama on it, that's just fine," he said.

The restraining order only applies to today's election. A hearing will be set to resolve the electioneering issue in the long term, county attorneys said.

We're going to new a neww prison to hold all of these renegade cheerleaders, savage teenage trick-or-treaters and the latest violent criminals-Tea Party Tee Shirt Voters.

Keeping America safe!

We'll let anyone swarm over the border, as long as they're dressed right at the polls!

"It was just another sneak attack
Of temporary sanity
I had a pleasant stay but now I'm back
From temporary sanity"

-Todd Rundgren

Saturday, October 30, 2010

THE "WHAT-ME WORRY?" TICKET


In the shadow of the Capitol and the election, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert entertained a huge throng Saturday at a "sanity" rally poking fun at the nation's ill-tempered politics, its fear-mongers and doomsayers.


"We live now in hard times," Stewart said after all the shtick. "Not end times."

Part comedy show, part pep talk, the rally drew together tens of thousands stretched across an expanse of the National Mall, a festive congregation of the goofy and the politically disenchanted. People carried signs merrily protesting the existence of protest signs. Some dressed like bananas, wizards, Martians and Uncle Sam.


Stewart, a satirist who makes his living skewering the famous, came to play nice. He decried the "extensive effort it takes to hate" and declared "we can have animus and not be enemies."

Screens showed a variety of pundits and politicians from the left and right, engaged in divisive rhetoric. Prominently shown: Glenn Beck, whose conservative Restoring Honor rally in Washington in August was part of the motivation for the Stewart and Colbert event, called the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. It appeared to rival Beck's rally in attendance.

As part of the comedic routine, Stewart and his associates asked some in the audience to identify themselves by category, eliciting answers such as "half-Mexican, half-white," "American woman single" and "Asian-American from Taiwan."

"It's a perfect demographic sampling of the American people," Stewart cracked to a crowd filled with mostly younger whites. "As you know, if you have too many white people at a rally, your cause is racist. If you have too many people of color, then you must be asking for something -- special rights, like eating at restaurants or piggy back rides."

With critical congressional elections looming Tuesday, Stewart and Colbert refrained from taking political sides on stage, even as many in the crowd wore T-shirts that read "Stewart-Colbert 2012."



Stewart sang along as Jeff Tweedy sang that America "is the greatest, strongest country in the world. There is no one more American than we."

Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow also performed, singing if "I can't change the world to make it better, the least I can do is care."

The idea was to provide a counterweight to all the shouting and flying insults of these polarized times. But there were political undertones, too, pushing back against conservatives ahead of Tuesday's election.

Slogans urged people to "relax." But also: "Righties, don't stomp on my head," a reference to a Republican rally in Kentucky at which a liberal activist was pulled to the ground and stepped on. And, "I wouldn't care if the president was Muslim."

Colbert, who poses as an ultraconservative on his show, played the personification of fear at the rally. He arrived on stage in a capsule like a rescued Chilean miner, from a supposed underground bunker. He pretended to distrust all Muslims until one of his heroes, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is Muslim, came on the stage.

"Maybe I need to be more discerning," Colbert mused. He told Stewart: "Your reasonableness is poisoning my fear."

Shannon Escobar, 31, of Bangor, Pa., came with a group of 400 people on buses chartered in New York. A supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008, she said she's tired of nasty rhetoric from both sides and disenchanted with lack of progress in Washington.

"I want to see real change -- not Obama change," she said. "We need a clean slate and start over with people really working together."

A regular viewer of Stewart's "The Daily Show," she said she had a dream that he ran for political office, but got "corrupt and dirty."

"I need him to stay pure," she said, deadpan.

Stewart is popular with Democrats and independents, a Pew Research Center poll found. Colbert of "The Colbert Report" poses as an ultraconservative, and the stage was stacked with entertainers associated with Democratic causes or Obama's 2008 campaign.

Even so, Stewart said the day was about toning down anger and partisan division. "Shouting is annoying, counterproductive and terrible for your throat," he said on his website.