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GOP Poised To Release Its Own Health Care Bill

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Yesterday, House Republican Leader John Boehner said Republicans are preparing an alternative health-care bill to the Democrat atrocities currently chugging through Congress. ( Read the almost 2000 page House Bill here.) The GOP has tried in vain to get proposals to the floor, so this may be an exercise in futility. Nonetheless, at least the American people will be able to see what Republicans have to offer– even if it goes nowhere. Hopefully, it WILL prove to be a viable alternative to Pelosicare and Baucuscare. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The Republican proposal is said to include many of the measures conservatives favor, and would cost far less than the Democrat proposals. Yesterday, Boehner said the alternative bill would propose grants for states that use “innovative” solutions to expand coverage. The plan would, among other things, propose new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits and make it easier for individuals and small businesses to pool resources to purchase insurance.

He said the bill wouldn’t raise taxes, or mandate that individuals and businesses purchase insurance, as the Democratic bills do. Encourage your Representatives to stand with the GOP on this alternative bill. We need to get it to the floor of the House for a vote, and that will be a big challenge. Every GOP proposal so far has died quietly in committee, and a vote on the House bill (Pelosicare) is expected this week. And it is the worst bill EVER.

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Shocker In NY-23: Scozzafava Backs Democrat

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Another stunning development in the hotly contested Congressional race in the NY-23 district: GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava has endorsed the Democrat candidate William Owens over Conservative Doug Hoffman. This is a major slap in the face of the party powers-that-be. Can the GOP get the $900,000 back that it spent supporting this lefty before she bowed out on Saturday? Why did they nominate someone endorsed by ACORN and The Daily Kos?!! Republican contribution dollars at work. Nice going, Newt et al.

The GOP has thrown its support behind Hoffman, albeit at the last minute. The election is tomorrow. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) encouraged Scozzafava to endorse Democrat Owens. His spokesman, Maxwell Young, said the senator called a number of north country political leaders after Scozzafava suspended her campaign. He reportedly had several conversations with the her ahead of her announcement. He said the senator also called other Democratic leaders about the situation, including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Yesterday, turncoat Scozzafava released this statement:

I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me. Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.

Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.

It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.

It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region. I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.

In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.

Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There’s too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.

Dede

Chicago politics has come to NY-23. It’s down to the wire, and the race isn’t over. Give Doug Hoffman all the support you can- we are sending a clear message to the GOP, who seems to have deserted conservatives in favor of RINOs.

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Tea Party Prevails: Scozzafava Bails Out Of NY-23!

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In a stunning development this morning, Dede Scozzafava— the Republican candidate in the hotly contested NY-23 Congressional race, has suspended her campaign. Conservative Doug Hoffman now has a serious shot at the seat which hasn’t been held by a Democrat since the Civil War. It’s a victory for the Tea Party faithful who have supported him against the liberal Republican, and a move that should leave the milquetoast middle of the GOP quivering in their boots.

A new poll released showed Scozzafava running third behind Democrat Owen and Conservative Hoffman. It was the last straw for Dede who withdrew from the race in tears.

Scozzafava says she’s throwing her support behind Hoffman. Smart move; she may want to take some notes from the conservative and rethink her supportive positions on abortion, gay marriage and massive government spending. Here’s Scozzafava’s farewell speech where she admits she’s been outspent by both sides and doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to win.

The race isn’t over until the polls close on Tuesday, and it is as tight as they come. Still time to throw Doug Hoffman some love and help put him over the top.

More on this breaking story as we get it–The Other McCain is on the scene now. A big ROCK ON to conservatives across this nation who have figured out how to send a message to the Republican powers that be (ahem, Newt.) No more RINOS.

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13 Major Tax Hikes In The Health Care Bill

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We’re still slogging through The Beast that is the almost 2000-page House health care bill: the “Affordable Health Care for America Act”. Nonetheless, we wanted to highlight thirteen ways our dear leaders will be sticking it to us should it pass. Nancy Pelosi wants a vote on this NEXT WEEK. This insanity will control over 20 percent of our economy. What’s left of it, that is. The time to make some noise is today. Click here, put in your zip, and let your Reps know they can kiss Washington goodbye if they vote for it.

Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275): If an employer does not pay 72.5 percent of a single employee’s health premium (65 percent of a family employee), the employer must pay an excise tax equal to 8 percent of average wages. Small employers (measured by payroll size) have smaller payroll tax rates of 0 percent (<$500,000), 2 percent ($500,000-$585,000), 4 percent ($585,000-$670,000), and 6 percent ($670,000-$750,000). Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296): If an individual fails to obtain qualifying coverage, he must pay an income surtax equal to the lesser of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium. MAGI adds back in the foreign earned income exclusion and municipal bond interest. Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324): Non-prescription medications would no longer be able to be purchased from health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Insulin excepted. Cap on FSAs (Page 325): FSAs would face an annual cap of $2500 (currently uncapped). Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326): Non-qualified distributions from HSAs would face an additional tax of 20 percent (current law is 10 percent). This disadvantages HSAs relative to other tax-free accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 plans, etc.) Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327): This would further erode private sector participation in delivery of Medicare services. Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336): Imposes an income surtax of 5.4 percent on MAGI over $500,000 ($1 million married filing jointly). MAGI adds back in the itemized deduction for margin loan interest. This would raise the top marginal tax rate in 2011 from 39.6 percent under current law to 45 percent—a new effective top rate. Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339): Imposes a new excise tax on medical device manufacturers equal to 2.5 percent of the wholesale price. It excludes retail sales and unspecified medical devices sold to the general public. Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344): Requires that 1099-MISC forms be issued to corporations as well as persons for trade or business payments. Current law limits to just persons for small business compliance complexity reasons. Also expands reporting to exchanges of property. Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345): Delays for nine years the worldwide allocation of interest, a corporate tax relief provision from the American Jobs Creation Act Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346): Increases taxes on U.S. employers with overseas operations looking to avoid double taxation of earnings. Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349): Empowers the IRS to disallow a perfectly legal tax deduction or other tax relief merely because the IRS deems that the motive of the taxpayer was not primarily business-related. Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357): Publicly-traded partnerships and corporations with annual gross receipts in excess of $100 million have raised standards on penalties. If there is a tax underpayment by these taxpayers, they must be able to prove that the estimated tax paid would have more likely than not been sufficient to cover final tax liability. Much more to come!

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Goldman Sachs And The Naked-Short Swindle

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Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is perhaps the biggest thorn in Wall Street’s side. He has doggedly investigated the biggest players–particularly Government Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. He explores their brazen take-down of their biggest competitors: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and their complicity in the massive fraud infecting all of our financial markets.

This month, Matt exposes the highly illegal, yet highly widespread practice of “naked short-selling”– selling a stock short and NOT delivering it to the buyer when required by exchange rules. Basically, this creates counterfeit stock that can be manipulated; it’s a very effective way to create a bear run on a company and make a boatload of money.

For years, this rape of companies was confined to the smaller ones, and the practice was mostly confined to boiler-room brokers. This time, however, Wall Street giants had begun to eat each other. Yes, the practice is illegal. Yes, Wall Street regulators did nothing about it. Investigate Goldman Sachs? That would mean the government was investigating itself.

In “Wall Street’s Naked Swindle”, Taibbi examines how a scheme to flood the market with counterfeit stocks helped kill Bears Stearns and Lehman Brothers — and the feds have yet to bust the culprits. He begins with an astounding story:

On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — “like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets,” according to one financial analyst.

But what’s even crazier is that the bet paid.

At the close of business that afternoon, Bear Stearns was trading at $62.97. At that point, whoever made the gamble owned the right to sell huge bundles of Bear stock, at $30 and $25, on or before March 20th. In order for the bet to pay, Bear would have to fall harder and faster than any Wall Street brokerage in history.

The very next day, March 12th, Bear went into free fall. By the end of the week, the firm had lost virtually all of its cash and was clinging to promises of state aid; by the weekend, it was being knocked to its knees by the Fed and the Treasury, and forced at the barrel of a shotgun to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase (which had been given $29 billion in public money to marry its hunchbacked new bride) at the humiliating price of … $2 a share. Whoever bought those options on March 11th woke up on the morning of March 17th having made 159 times his money, or roughly $270 million. This trader was either the luckiest guy in the world, the smartest son of a bitch ever or…

Or what? That this was a brazen case of insider manipulation was so obvious that even Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the pillow-soft-touch Senate Banking Committee, couldn’t help but remark on it a few weeks later, when questioning Christopher Cox, the then-chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I would hope that you’re looking at this,” Dodd said. “This kind of spike must have triggered some sort of bells and whistles at the SEC. This goes beyond rumors.”

Cox nodded sternly and promised, yes, he would look into it. What actually happened is another matter. Although the SEC issued more than 50 subpoenas to Wall Street firms, it has yet to identify the mysterious trader who somehow seemed to know in advance that one of the five largest investment banks in America was going to completely tank in a matter of days. “I’ve seen the SEC send agents overseas in a simple insider-trading case to investigate profits of maybe $2,000,” says Brent Baker, a former senior counsel for the commission. “But they did nothing to stop this.”

The SEC’s halfhearted oversight didn’t go unnoticed by the market. Six months after Bear was eaten by predators, virtually the same scenario repeated itself in the case of Lehman Brothers — another top-five investment bank that in September 2008 was vaporized in an obvious case of market manipulation. From there, the financial crisis was on, and the global economy went into full-blown crater mode.

Most of the Right Soup knows I spent over 20 years as a portfolio manager, and Bear Stearns was where I got my start. It’s death was a sad event for me; I competed against Goldman for many years. It is ludicrous that these obviously illegal trades haven’t been investigated…it isn’t that hard to track down the culprits, (the biggest suspect being Goldman Sachs.)

But Goldman is “The Club”, who has provided a multitude of alumni for the government for many administrations…especially Barack Obama’s. They’re going to make out like bandits if Cap and Trade passes. They rule our financial markets, their regulation, and our government. Nobody’s messing with them.


Matt Taibbi’s article is a MUST READ.
A must. He’s one of the best financial and political journalists out there, and he lays out a clear picture of what we’re really up against with the bankster thieves. Here’s Matt on naked short-selling and the massive Wall Street swindles. Somebody ring the schoolbell.

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Desecrating The Flag For Obamacare

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L.A. “street artist” Saber was the lucky winner of a contest held by the DNC, to find their fave video which schlepped Obamacare. The official name of the contest was “President Barack Obama’s Organizing For America Health Reform Video Challenge.” (Organizing For America is Obama’s continuous-campaign machine.)

Saber’s video features a mural of an America flag splattered with health care graffiti until it’s completely covered with black paint. The vid is accompanied by the sound of a heart monitor pumping and then flat-lining – while words such as “pre-existing conditions,” “homeless” and “death panel” ultimately obliterate the flag, which reappears on screen seconds later with the words “Health Will Bring Our Country Back to Life” on the blue field where the 50 stars usually are. Eh, yeah.

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Pelosicare Unveiled, Sortof.

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Nancy Pelosi grandly presented her House of Representatives’ health care bill this morning, and- as expected, it’s full of booby traps for all. If we have only 72 hours (not a guarantee) to read the almost 2000 page behemoth we’d best get moving. We have the beast for you here. GO!!

What we do know about the proposed legislation is this: Pelosi will include a public option in which doctors can negotiate their rates with the government, despite her obvious preference for a plan pegged to Medicare. The plan’s principal mechanism is creation of a new government-regulated insurance “exchange” where private companies would sell policies in competition with the government.

Federal subsidies would be available to millions of lower-income individuals and families to help them afford the policies. Nice, even playing field for the insurance companies, no? Well, it is if you can print your own money.

The legislation would be financed by a combination of cuts in planned Medicare spending and an income tax surcharge of 5.4 percent on individuals making at least $500,000 annually and couples making at least $1 million. The planned Medicare cuts total about $500 billion dollars, over half of the plan’s budgeted $890 billion price-tag. Exactly where this Medicare cash-pile is hiding remains to be seen. (We’ll also have to wait and see what the CBO says about the cost…they’re just now getting the bill too. Hopefully, they have speed-readers.)

The bill would require nearly everyone to sign up for health coverage either through their employer, a government program or the new exchange. By 2013 you should all be on the rolls. Schnell!

In the meantime, a “temporary” (ha!) government program would subsidize people turned down by private insurers because of medical problems. After that, insurers no longer could refuse to provide coverage to the sick, nor could they charge more because of poor health of the insured. Do you think this will lower premiums? Of course you don’t.

The plan also calls for a significant expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people. It would impose a requirement on employers to offer insurance to their workers or face penalties. Thanks, Nancy, for further complicating the jobs of every business owner in America, and burdening them with even more taxes and bureaucracy. It will be interesting to see how many of us will still be standing in 2014.

The Democrat’s plans are all the products of closed-door horse-trading sessions on the Hill. Republicans have been utterly, completely, even physically, shut out of the processes. So much for the promised CSPAN and internet coverage!! John Beonher, (R-OH) says the bill is a “profound disappointment…that the mandates on the states could bankrupt them.” Rep. Dave Camp, (R-Mich) says that:

“Americans’ health care is too important to risk on one gigantic bill that was negotiated behind closed doors. The Medicare cuts will hurt seniors, the tax increases will kill jobs and the government takeover of health care will increase premium costs.”

Insiders say abortion provisions, which were in the House bill before, are still under negotiation. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans DON’T want taxpayer money to fund abortions, this battle is still raging. “Health care for immigrants” is also still on the table. Of course it is.

Pelosi wants a vote on her bill next week. We’ll see if we get 72 hours to peruse it, or if that rare privilege is ours to posses only when the final, final, final conference bill is up at bat. Or if we get any time to read it at all. Don’t take your eye off of the ball, this isn’t called “Trick or Treat” season for nothing… and it could be far more destructive than having your car egged.

REMEMBER. No one has ruled out the possibility of Democrats using “reconciliation” to ram one of these suckers through, in fact, John McCain is actively warning that Dems may very well do just that.

Contact your Representatives and Senators here, just put in your zip and you’ll easily find them. Now is the time for the blizzard of calls, emails and even letters. You can do all of the above at the link. Let them know that pink-slips are coming for all who vote for this disaster. Tell them to watch what happens on Tuesday in NY-23, Florida’s Senate race, and New Jersey and Virginia’s Gubernatorial elections. The Conservative Monster has awakened, and it is loaded for bear.

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News Media Wars: Valerie Jarrett Folds Like A Cheap Suit

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Kudos to CNN’s Campbell Brown for standing up for the First Amendment. Clearly, it isn’t lost on the network that they could easily be next on the Admin’s media-chopping-block next to Fox News. Campbell points out to Valerie Jarrett the obvious Obama-shilling at MSNBC. Watch your mail, girl…a dead fish from Rahmbo is probably on the way.

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Leaked Internal House Memo Shows Dems Short Of Votes On Health Care Bill

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Look for the Democrat party leadership and the White House to dig deeper for pork to throw around, as a highly confidential House Whip count shows the votes just aren’t there to pass a health care bill with a government public option. Greg Sargent at Plum Line obtained the confidential doc, compiled by House leader James Clyburn, and distributed privately at a meeting between Clyburn and House progressives yesterday. Plum Line reveals:

Health care reformers are eagerly awaiting the House vote count numbers on the robust public option — which would reimburse providers at Medicare rates plus five percent — because a House bill with a strong public option would increase the of leverage House leaders in upcoming conference negotiations with Senate leaders over the final bill. The exact count has been hotly debated in political circles since last week.

Clyburn told the assembled members at the meeting that the leadership does not have the votes to pass the robust public option, according to a House progressive familiar with the meeting. That sparked aggressive pushback from liberals, who argued that leadership — and the White House — should be working harder to win over the remaining votes the bill needs.

The document shows that 47 House Dems are committed No votes, and eight are Leaning No, for a total of 55. That means of 256 House Dems, just under 200 remain, and a dozen of those are listed as undecided. The bill needs 218 votes for passage.

Now the real “Chicago politics” begin. Do not for a minute discount the depths these people will go to to win.

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Houston, You Have A Problem…

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Yikes. A new assessment of the financial situation of Houston, Texas looks butt-ugly. Uglier than California ugly. Former Big-8 accountants spill the bad news…like:

“At June 30, 2008 (date of the City’s last audited financial statements), the City’s total Citywide debt per capita of $5,338 was over twice the $2,528 debt per capita of the now bankrupt State of California.”

Wow. How do you deficit-spend for five years and no one notices? Will Houston have to file for bankruptcy?!

Lemer/Farb/Roberts assessment of City of Houston Finances (22 October 2009)

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