Tuesday, November 5, 2013

U.S. Spies On Barack Obama, Too

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November 5, 2013

Andrew Napolitano: 'Asinine' That NSA Even Spies on Obama

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 04:54 PM
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The National Security Agency, under fire for monitoring emails and phone calls of all Americans, is even listening in on President Barack Obama, former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano says.

"The president has used the NSA to spy on the cellphone of Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany . . . She also uses that cellphone to talk to other world leaders, among whom is the president, which means that the NSA is spying on the president of the United States when he is speaking to other world leaders," Napolitano told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"Now, how asinine is that, that he has dispatched his spies with such utter abandon that they not only spy on Angela Merkel, they not only spy on the conclave that elected the Pope, they not only spy on the secretary general of the United Nations . . . they spy on the president himself?"

Napolitano, a senior judicial analyst for the Fox News Channel, says the revelation shows "an incredible addiction to the use of secret government power" far beyond the reasons for which the law authorizes the use of that power.

"Spying on the president . . . may actually be illegal, because the president uses terminology and reflects national security secrets which the individual spies listening to that phone call may not be privy to," he said.

Editor's NoteObamaCare Secrets Revealed

"If he knows that, he's spilling the beans in an unlawful way. If he doesn't know that, then he's presiding over a government of spies and killers that is utterly, utterly and totally out of control. Which is worse, that he knows it or that he doesn't?"




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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let Obamacare Crash!

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October 29, 2013

George Will: Let Obamacare Crash and Burn

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 06:58 PM
By Bill Hoffmann
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Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will says President Barack Obama has, by his actions, confirmed the Republican view that the Affordable Care Act is unworkable.

"It seems to me the president has been emphatic that the Obamacare can be implemented as written. Republicans have said it can't, and then the president confirmed the Republican view by his starkly and unambiguously illegal delay of the employer mandate," Will told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"That employer mandate starting date was written into the law. The law cannot be changed by presidents unilaterally. It just can't be done," he said Tuesday.

Editor’s Note: New 'Obamacare Survival Guide' Reveals Dangers Ahead for Your Healthcare

Story continues below video.

But now that the Affordable Care Act is law, Will said, he agrees with Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and others that the best way forward may be to let the Affordable Care Act crash on its own."The first thing I'd say is . . . he's embraced it, he wants to go forward. Let it. The quickest way to refute all the arguments for Obamacare is to experience Obamacare," Will said."My general feeling is stand back, be quiet, and, if anything, make the president ask — beg, really — Congress to rescue him from his own handiwork."Will also weighed in on the name of the Washington Redskins professional football team and whether it should be changed after charges it is racist toward American Indians."First, there's an empirical question: is it a fact that a substantial number of Native Americans are offended by this? We know they're not offended, really, by the Florida State Seminoles, by the tomahawk chop of the Atlanta Braves, by the name of the Cleveland Indians . . . go down the list," said Will, a Fox News commentator.

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"There are all kinds of names deriving from the Native American heritage. So, first, empirically, prove to me that a substantial number of Native Americans are offended by this and I will reconsider it.

"There are all kinds of various white liberals purporting to speak for Native Americans. Let's hear from the Native Americans," Will said.

You can listen to the Steve Malzberg Show each weekday live from 3-6 PM ET on SiriusXM 244.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Republicans Watchdogging Taxpayer Funds on Obamacare Rollout, Democrats? Ho Hum!

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October 28, 2013

From Newsmax;
President Obama sucking up to Health and Human
Services Head, but why? She has been one of the most ineffective
cabinet members ever and now on Oct. 30th must answer questions
from Congress as to why the website is such a failure. and why
Obama used this website company, CGI.. Could it have anything
to do with the fact that Michelle Obama and the head of CGI are both
black and were close while students at Princeton? Undoubtedly,
Sebelius will claim she had nothing to do with it and doesn't even?
know a thing about computers.
Hey,  Kathleen Sebelius, that's my line," says Barack Obama

Obamacare Website Company Had Ties to Obama Fundraising, Michelle Obama

Sunday, 27 Oct 2013 06:15 PM
By Jennifer G. Hickey
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CGI Federal, which secured a $678 million no-bid contract to build the Obamacare exchange web portal, has come under increased scrutiny for ties between senior executives and the Obama administration following the disastrous rollout of the healthcare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, a senior vice president at CGI Federal, is a Princeton classmate of First Lady Michelle Obama, the Daily Caller reported. In addition to being college classmates, both Obama and Townes-Whitley are members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

According to Federal Election Commission Records, Toni Townes-Whitley gave $500 in 2011 and 2012 to Obama's reelection, and another $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund.

Editor's NoteObamaCare Secrets Revealed

Close access to the White House was also enjoyed by other senior CGI officials, reports The Washington Examiner.
The Examiner reported that visitor logs show that "CGI Federal President Donna Ryan visited the White House six times prior to her company being selected to do the IT design work behind the high-profile website."

"Two of the meetings attended by CGI executives were with Vivek Kundra, Obama's chief information officer. Kundra was a key figure in Obama administration information technology initiatives across the government," the paper reported.

In addition to the $88 million contract awarded to CGI Federal for the health-insurance exchange website, the company has received a total of $422 million in contracts related to Obamacare since the legislation was signed into law, according to Bloomberg News.

Fox News reported a number of occasions in which the company had failed to meet deadlines or experienced botched launches similar to that seen with the launch of heatlhcare.gov. 

"In projects stretching from Canada to Hawaii, parent company CGI Group and its subsidiaries ran into complaints about its performance," Fox reported.

Despite the problems with other projects, the company has been awarded numerous government contracts from other federal departments.

In April, CGI Federal was awarded a five-year contract worth a total of $11 billion from the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard for Technical, Acquisition and Business Support Services (TABSS), according to Washington Executive magazine.

CGI Federal is also assisting the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the distributing of $1.7 billion relief aid for Hurricane Sandy victims, the Daily Caller reported.

In 2012, the company also won contracts worth $15 million with the Environmental Protection Agency and $900 million contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development to design and operate its IT security operations.

While the administration continues to state that the Obamacare website "glitches" will be fixed in the coming months, congressional committees are launching multiple investigations into how CGI Federal and other contractors won million-dollar bids and "who knew what and when" there were problems with the website development.

On October 23, the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Committeesent letters to the 55 contractors, including CGI Federal, who received between $400 million and $600 million to develop the federal exchange and the federal data services hub.

The committee is seeking "a detailed explanation of the number, types and amounts of contracts awarded to each company, all communications between the companies and the White House or HHS, and a detailed list of all meetings related to Obamacare implementation."

Committee inquiries also were announced in the Senate. On October 24, Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Charles Grassley of Iowa sent letters to the 47 companies who received contracts related to the development of the website requesting "a detailed analysis of the work each contractor has performed to date, the cost of that work, and timelines and deliverables that the entities had to meet for CMS as part of their scope of work in the development and creation of the website."

Editor's NoteObamaCare Secrets Revealed

Separate from the House committee request, Issa and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., issued letters requesting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provide documents to them by October 28 or face the possibility of a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee.

Issa and Alexander said Sebelius' failure to respond was troubling particularly since she has "been a frequent guest on numerous news and television comedy programs subsequent to October 1, 2013. It is unacceptable that you are providing information to numerous other outlets, but not to Congress."

Sebelius is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on October 30 to answer questions about the failed roll-out.


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't Be Surprised If First Class Mail Goes to 60 Cents in 2014


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Oct. 23, 2013

Tags: post office | 5 | billion | default | reform

Post Office $5.6 Billion Default Raises Urgency of Reforms

Image: Post Office $5.6 Billion Default Raises Urgency of Reforms
Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 11:13 AM
By Jennifer G. Hickey
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With Congress and the media focused on the government shutdown and how to avoid default on the national debt, little attention was directed toward the U.S. Postal Service which earlier this month defaulted on a required $5.6 billion payment for the healthcare of its future retirees.

The third default on the down-payment in just over a year underscores the necessity of much-needed reforms for the beleaguered Postal Service.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California told Newsmax that without "the freedom to realign its infrastructure and operations in line with the changing way Americans use mail, the agency will remain insolvent."

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 

"Prolonged insolvency of USPS will result in a massive taxpayer bailout and ongoing subsidy, or a sudden disruption in mail service, or both," the California Republican said.

Just days before the default, USPS Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnettannounced an increase in the price of stamps beginning in 2014, which he said was the result of USPS' "precarious financial condition" and the "uncertain path toward enactment of postal reform legislation."

It is not a new message from the USPS leadership. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has been vocal about the need for Congress to implement legislative reforms, including elimination of the annual prefunding payments, and its need for greater autonomy to manage its healthcare system.

Appearing before the Senate, Donahoe said the Postal Service was "in the midst of a financial disaster" due to the burden of an "outdated and inflexible business model."

Absent any flexibility to govern its own affairs, the Postal Service – which expects to end fiscal year 2013 with a loss of about $6 billion – has warned lawmakers it anticipates a government bailout of $50 billion will be needed in 2017.

Action on postal reforms looks unlikely this year, and "even the small reforms being proposed by Congress will only buy them a year or two," says James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation.

Gattuso tells Newsmax that attributing USPS's losses to the recession or faulty accounting are merely ignoring the real problem, which is that the market for traditional mail is diminishing.

In an October research report, Gattuso notes that first-class mail volume has already plummeted 30 percent since 2007, and it may drop another 40 percent over the next seven years.

In addition to a decline in standard mail as a result of increased email communications, more Americans are paying bills online.

A Household Diary Study found that bill payments by mail have declined almost 16 percent in the past two years, while a 2012 study by the consulting firm Fiserv reports that 75 percent of Americans pay at least one monthly bill electronically.

The USPS has "to bite the bullet and make serious changes that include closing post offices that do not cover their costs or even make a profit. They also need to be open to considering partnerships with local businesses, such as CVS, so people would still have access to postal services, but not necessarily at a dedicated post office building," says Robert D. Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Atkinson suggests the USPS should immediately move to a five-day or three-day delivery schedule and to identify underutilized post offices and postal sorting facilities for closure.

In a June report examining whether the postal service could survive in a digital age, Atkinson pointed to the fact that more than 21 percent of FedEx deliveries are dropped off by a USPS postal carrier. This burden sharing is known as "last mile" delivery, in which a private sector company, such as FedEx, will manage the sorting and transportation of packages, but the final mile delivery is done by USPS.

Rather than proposing full privatization of the USPS, Atkinson suggests opening service up to competition and for the USPS to focus on its core competencies, such as package delivery.

"They deserve credit for making some budget cuts and for being upfront about their fiscal condition. One of the problems is that they have been hamstrung by a lack of congressional approval for reforms," Atkinson tells Newsmax.

In the House, Issa introduced legislation similar to a measure he sponsored in the previous Congress that would begin to phase out Saturday delivery of mail, while maintaining Saturday delivery of packages, which is one of the few areas of growth.

The bill would allow the Postal Service to forgo past due payments owed to prefund retiree healthcare benefits, would eliminate the ability of national and state political committees to use the non-profit mail rate, and permit the USPS to sell advertising space on vehicles and facilities. The bill also would allow state and local services, such as the sale of fishing licenses, at postal facilities.

Legislative action in this session is unlikely considering the other issues Congress has on its agenda, but Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad says "with the notable exception of labor unions, all key stakeholders are in contact and working on a solution to save the Postal Service and prevent a massive taxpayer-funded bailout."

"The unions carry a lot of political weight because they are one of the largest unions and they are out there making a lot of noise, whereas the taxpayers are largely unaware of the situation or the need for reform," says Gattuso, who adds that labor opposition is "somewhat ironic as no one is talking about forced layoffs or drastic renegotiations of union contracts."

"The status quo is not sustainable. While some argue that the USPS's losses are due to faulty accounting or a temporary downturn in the economy, that claim is wishful thinking. The market for traditional mail has been shrinking rapidly," Gattuso tells Newsmax.

Unions have criticized the reform efforts, contending that the bills do not do enough to ease the burden of prefunding retirees' health benefits.

Editor's Note: Gov. Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

Neither Gattuso, nor Atkinson, see the USPS becoming extinct anytime soon. However, they say that, like newspapers and the publishing industry, a failure to adapt to an irrefutable trend toward digital and online communications will only exacerbate USPS's poor financial condition.

A Senate bill, co-sponsored by Delaware Democrat Tom Carper and Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, has moved closer toward the House measure, but even USPS' Donahoe has argued that committee's draft bill doesn't go far enough in granting the Postal Service greater control over its healthcare costs.

The Postal Service has proposed launching its own postal-specific healthcare plan – either within the broader Federal Employees Health Benefit Program or by negotiating directly with insurers.


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]

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Don't Save Detroit

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October 6, 2013

Should Washington Bail Out Cities?
By Don White

              
To Progressives, it sounds grand and glorious—America taking care of some of  its own. Or is the bail-out of defunct cities just another move by President Obama to increase the size of the national government? This would be at the expense of people who voted for honest and efficient lawmakers.  Virtually all of these healthy cities have little or nothing to do with Democrat-backed unions and corrupt politicians who only know what Washington taught them—spend, spend, spend. Much of the overspending concerns pension plans.
The following two paragraphs are from The Showme Institute in Missouri:                                          Many things led to Detroit’s decline, but pension obligations are almost certainly what broke the bank in recent years. Policymakers in Saint Louis, Kansas City, and Jefferson City would be wise to heed Detroit’s warning. As Mary Williams Walsh recently wrote in an article titled “Detroit Gap Reveals Industry Dispute on Pension Math”:
            It may sound arcane, but the stakes for the country run into the trillions of dollars. Depending on which side ultimately wins the argument, every state, city, county and school district may find out that, like Detroit, it has promised more to its retirees than it ever intended or disclosed. That does not mean all those places will declare bankruptcy, but many have more than likely promised their workers more than they can reasonably expect to deliver.            The reason a city goes under  may look complex, but itsn’t. It has to do with a spending mentality. Efficiency and frugality in spending has long been missing in places like Detroit. For example, because unions are so strong there, government worker retirement plans take most of the tax money available. The smart people moved out a long time ago. Detroit’s population used to approach two million people. Today, it is only 700,000 and that is largely due to the fact that Detroit’s auto industry failed.            General Motors miserably so badly that Barack Obama thought he had to bail them out. While it’s not as bad as it seems because most of what Americans gave GM has been paid back once the company got on sound financial footing. But it is not a good omen. Chrysler has been bailed out several times and what is left of that company? A New Yorki investment firm bought Chrysler hoping to bring it back and make a lot of money. It didn’t work, resulting in that firm selling 57 percent of it to a French automaker, Fiat, with the government and private investors holding the bag for the remaining 45 percent of the questionable stock.            Is it a good idea for Washington—particularly the White House—to bail out any city? I emphatically say no! Politics drives the desire for Barack Obama to “give” or “loan” Detroit vast amounts of money needed to rehabilitate the city. But with the following story, nowhere does it say the American people—at least Congress—will have a say in the operation of the city. No, Obama is “giving” Detroit millions of dollars without any commitments in return. If we the people—the vast majority of whom do not even like or believe in unions—are to bail out a union-backed city, we should be able to control the rehab of that city. In other words, we force down the city’s throat our plans for getting it back on its feet or—flat out--no money and no bailout!               In essence, this Obama bailout, like all the others, is a huge gift to unions which due to government bailout of General Motors owns half of the company. Unions  always support the democrat running for president or for any other office. It’s an unfair advantage and of course this is precisely why Obama carries out bailouts, to firm up every democrat candidate support in perpetuity. It’s patently unfair and we the people are being held hostage for this kind of political chicanery and fraud.
               What’s the answer? It is that private funds be solicited at favorable rates of return for the investors to help Detroit overcome years and years of mismanagement. If private money can’t be found, let Detroit die a natural death. Obviously, cities like Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City needs help—but the question is who should provide the help? It is said in the article below that there are 20 square miles of empty houses that need to be razed in Detroit—and that means demolished. It costs $10,000 for each such demolition and there are 70,000 empty and abandoned houses and 80,000 empty lots.
               If  the National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling’s figures are correct, the house tear-downs  alone could cost the American  taxpayer $700 million dollars. If the government manages such a project the cost will be well over a billion dollars for just that part of the cleanup. People left these houses because they lost their jobs in the automobile industry and couldn’t sell them. They sit empty and dilapidated, a blight on the parts of the city that are well maintained, which is diminishing day by day. Some wag suggested that we take those who are hardworking and willing to move and send them to places like Texas where they know how to run cities. And these are not union cities. My view is that perhaps we need to send all of the people of Detroit to different cities—even to different countries—then drop an A-bomb on what’s left of the city and call it the new frontier.  It would be a lot less expensive to fix the problem if the problem didn’t exist.
          One more aspect: Obama doesn’t want to pinpoint the cause of much of the grief  this city is experiencing, but I do.  It all starts with liberal unions, big union wages, and inordinate union retirement funds  the city can no longer honor because the population base just isn’t there any longer.
               Unions have become inherently corrupt. No, let’s be honest. The union concept was a good one at one time when the robber baron industrialists were keeping the poor working man down. But they have outlived their ability to manage their own funds and now they want to foist onto the well run cities and the country their own debt. I say no! It’s about time for union cities to eat it. If that means destruction of the remainder of the city, so be it. But don’t cut down the forest to save one rotten tree.   

Obama Administration Commits $320 Million for Bankrupt Detroit
Friday, 27 Sep 2013 06:05 PM

·         
·        0
With $320 million of federal, state and private aid in hand, top White House officials came to Detroit and vowed to help the bankrupt city fight crime, improve mass transport and eradicate blight.
The money is mostly grants from federal or state programs for which the city is qualified, or for which it needed red tape cut to speed access. Some is expected from private businesses and philanthropy groups. President Barack Obama also has appointed Don Graves deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, to oversee Detroit’s recovery, said Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.
“We only have one goal, and that is to have all of Detroit working together for one Detroit, with the Obama administration as a key partner,” Sperling said today.
The city, once an auto-manufacturing powerhouse, declared the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in history on July 18 after years of decline in which its population fell by more than half, to 700,000 from 1.8 million. The city has more than $18 billion in long-term obligations and is plagued by unreliable buses, broken street lights and long waits for police and ambulances.
Sperling led a delegation that included Attorney General Eric Holder, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. They met for more than two hours privately with about 70 city and state officials, as well as community leaders who included Mayor Dave Bing, a Democrat; emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who appointed Orr in March.
Civic Singularity
Asked at a press conference why it took so long for the federal government to intervene in a city that has declined for decades, Sperling replied, “With bankruptcy, this is an exceptional thing that requires exceptional effort.”
The actions underscore the fine line the administration and state officials must walk, tapping existing programs and unused or underutilized funds, while not asking Congress for federal dollars. Top lawmakers and administration officials have said there is no pathway for a federal bailout of the city.
Donovan said it doesn’t matter whether the aid to Detroit is considered new or redirected money.
“A family living next to a blighted house, they don’t care whether it’s new money or old money they never would have seen,” Donovan said. “It’s money that will make a difference in their view.”
Heavy Lift
Sperling said another meeting is planned this year to discuss education and job training.
“We don’t expect this to be easy, but we expect this to be successful,” he said
Bing said Detroiters will see positive change in two or three years.
Some city debt rallied today. General-obligation bonds maturing in April 2028 traded at about 94 cents on the dollar, the highest since July 18, when the city filed for bankruptcy. The yield on the securities, backed by Assured Guaranty Corp., is 2.23 percentage points more than top-rated bonds, the smallest gap since July 15.
The White House will commit $150 million for demolition of blighted properties and neighborhood redevelopment, in federal and other funds.
Empty City
Grants of $65 million and $25.4 million from public and private sources will be used to tear down and refurbish buildings. Detroit has almost 70,000 empty and abandoned homes and 80,000 empty lots, amounting to 20 square miles of vacant land, about the size of Manhattan, according to a Detroit Future City report.
The demolition money is welcome, though with a typical cost of $10,000 to tear down each forsaken structure, much more is needed, said John George, founder of Motor City Blight Busters Inc. His group is working to secure and remove empty structures primarily on the northwest side.
“We’ll take what we can get,” George said in an interview. “Blight is like a cancer: If you don’t nip it in the bud, it spreads and kills everything. You’ve got to start chemotherapy, if you will, especially in the neighborhoods.”
The Obama administration also announced $3 million from the Justice Department for additional police officers, establishing a bike patrol and supporting youth anti-violence programs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will expedite access to $25 million to hire 150 firefighters and to buy equipment.
First Step
Police take an average of 58 minutes to respond to priority calls, compared with a national average of 11 minutes, Orr said in a June report. The department’s roster has shrunk by 40 percent since 2003, he said.
“The only way to rebuild the city is to provide a safe environment for residents and businesses,” said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. “We need a lot of work. It’s going to take more than one gesture, but we’re excited about the recognition by the White House.”
The Obama administration will deploy almost $140 million in transit funding, by ensuring access to more than $100 million in Transportation Department grants, including $24 million for bus repairs and security cameras, according to the announcement. Another $25 million in grants will be made available to help a streetcar project.
“These are funds that are greatly appreciated,” said Megan Owens, executive director of Transit Riders United, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization. Typically, one of every six buses is off the road for repairs, Owens said.
“It results in extremely overcrowded buses, people left at bus stops,” she said. “In recent months it feels like it’s getting worse.”
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Don White was born during the height of the Great Depression, in 1936. He grew up in Salt Lake County, graduating from Granite High School and the University of Utah. He later received a law degree and became a professional underwriter. His insurance career ended in 1999, having served for 8 years as president of a mutual insurance carrier in Minneapolis. He has owned a mortgage notes firm and now writes for a living. He is author of three books and publisher of content on 20 web sites.