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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for September 1st, 2009

Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

CBS News:

One of the problems with any proposed law that’s over 1,000 pages long and constantly changing is that much deviltry can lie in the details. Take the Democrats’ proposal to rewrite health care policy, better known as H.R. 3200 or by opponents as “Obamacare.”

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.” 

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details — there’s no specified limit on what’s available or unavailable — to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify “affordability credits.” 

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a “low-income prescription drug subsidy” but has not applied for it. 

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: “How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee…. So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years.”

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Corporatism, Economics 101, Health Law, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | 1 Comment »

New Republican Ad on “Senior’s Bill of Rights”

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Click & Learn, Health Law, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

This is a great piece on the plan for the government to shut down the internet from CBS news correspondent Declan McCullagh. Declan McCullagh asks some critically important questions about this proposed bill and policy that are worth examining:

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs–from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,” Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government’s role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is “not as prepared” as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller’s revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a “cybersecurity workforce plan” from every federal agency, a “dashboard” pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” in six months–even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”

Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance’s Clinton adds that his group is “supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective.”

Update at 3:14 p.m. PDT: I just talked to Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, on the phone. She sent me e-mail with this statement:

The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States. The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president’s authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. To be very clear, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill will not empower a “government shutdown or takeover of the Internet” and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false. The purpose of this language is to clarify how the president directs the public-private response to a crisis, secure our economy and safeguard our financial networks, protect the American people, their privacy and civil liberties, and coordinate the government’s response.

Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for an on-the-record answer to these four questions that I asked her colleague on Wednesday. I’ll let you know if and when I get a response.

Here are the four questions:

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Query from CBS News re: revised Rockefeller/Cybersecurity Act / S.773

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 14:20:11 -0700

From: Declan McCullagh <declan@cbsnews.com>

Reply-To: declan@cbsnews.com

Organization: CBSNews.com

To: charles_stewart@commerce.senate.gov

Charles,

Thanks for talking a minute ago. I’m reading a revised draft of the

Cybersecurity Act/S.773 dated this month and had a few questions:

* The original version of the legislation allowed the National

Cybersecurity Advisor to disconnect “critical” networks from the

Internet. The revised version says the president can “declare a

cybersecurity emergency” relating to “nongovernmental” networks and

“direct the national response to the cyber threat.” That seems vague:

does it mean the executive branch does or does *not* have the power to

disconnect private networks?

* The revised version gives the executive branch 180 days to “implement”

a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” and 90 days to develop

a plan to implement a “dashboard pilot project.” But the mandated legal

review won’t be done until 1 year. Why not wait until the legal review

is done before implementing a “comprehensive national cybersecurity

strategy?”

* In Silicon Valley and the tech industry in general, lots of employees

do not have formal training in computer security (they may studied math

or physics, for instance) but nevertheless work in that area. Bill

Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, don’t have college

degrees. Will the cybersecurity certification program be open to

non-degreed people? And does the “certified service provider” extend to

services like Gmail and Hotmail?

* One section says that private sector crit. infrastructure firms “shall

share” certain information with the federal government. Is this

open-ended, or are there limits to this requirement?

Thanks for your help!

Best,

Declan

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Government Gone Wild, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

L.A. Congressman Diane Watson: “Fidel Castro is one of the most brilliant leaders I have ever met….”

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

Wow. For those of you who don’t know Fidel Castro murders and or jails journalists and librarians and others who get in his way. Health care is not so bad in Cuba…IF your a VIP or a foreigner.  If anyone would like to challenge us on the treatment and standard of living that the average local in Cuba gets please consider this your personal invitation to try.

Oh by the way, if you disagree with Obama your a racist…

The Democratic Party has been co-opted by these hard leftists that are MUCH further to the left than most people who tend to vote Democrat. Democrats, YOU need to do something about this.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Economics 101, Health Law, Leftist Hate in Action, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

In The Tank: NBC & ABC Refuse Health Law Ads from Conservative Groups. – UPDATE: ABC Medical Correspondent is Obama $$$ Donor!

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

This is of course after ABC ran an infomercial for ObamaCare during prime time and as we and many others have documented, no one is in the tank for the Democratic Party on a day to day basis more than NBC News whose parent company, General Electric, has billions in government contracts at risk.

Dick Morris with Greta Van Susteren:

This is a rush transcript from “On the Record,” August 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST:Why won’t ABC and NBC run an ad critical of President Obama’s health care plan? This is the ad by the League of American Voters that won’t make it onto those two national networks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:How can Obama’s plan cover 50 million new patients without any new doctors? It can’t. It will hurt our seniors, end Medicare as we know it, ration coverage and care, limit life-saving medicines, impose long delays on cancer treatment and other vital surgery. It’s happening in England and in Canada. Don’t let it happen here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell Congress to protect American health care. Paid for by the League of American Voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the group behind that ad wants to know why the networks won’t run it. Their local affiliates have aired it, but the two national networks that we named will not. Why not? Well, ABC, who hosted an hour-long special on health care reform from the White House, says they rejected the ad because its policy is not to sell time for advertising that presents a partisan position on a controversial public issue, while NBC says it will reconsider the ad once the network gets some more information.

And still with us is Dick Morris, the author of “Catastrophe.” He’s also, though, the chief strategist for the organization the League of American Voters. And I’ve done a little research myself, not a lot, but says FOX is in talks about putting it on and CBS has approved.

So tell me, first of all, what is this organization, Dick?

DICK MORRIS, AUTHOR OF “CATASTROPHE”:It’s a conservative group that is opposed to health care, Obama’s health care proposal and feels very strongly about it. And the point that I made to them in my consulting with them was that this debate has to be focused on the elderly. The concerns about socialized medicine and government and taxes and so on are all well and good, but if you’re going to back the Democratic Party off this bill, it’s got to be by explaining to the elderly what this bill means.

In fact, I was just thrilled yesterday because Congresswoman Betsy Markey of Colorado, a Democrat, strong supporter of this bill, told her town hall meeting there’s going to be some people who are going to give up some things honestly for this health care reform to work, but we will do this because we’re are Americans. And she spoke about the cuts in Medicare that are coming. And this ad really explains those cuts.

Now, Obama says, I don’t have any cuts in benefits. There’s nothing here that says I won’t cover cancer or I won’t cover heart disease. But there is something in the bill that says that you have to cut $500 billion out of Medicare over 10 years. Now, when Gingrich tried to cut Medicare, he enumerated those cuts. Here Obama punts on it and says, We’ll set up a commission that will make the decision as to what to cut, and Congress will have a very limited window to modify it or override it, effectively no way of doing it.

And then he also says, We’re going to cut reimbursement rates to hospitals, which obviously means there’ll be less care and the people that’ll hurt the most will be the elderly.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Dick, the thing that bothers me about the bill most of all is I can’t even get to the substance of it because it’s 1,500 pages that, frankly, I find incomprehensible, very poorly written. And I think that a bill can be plainly written. And so I can’t understand reforming a system with, basically, you know, a pile of chaos. That’s the first thing.

But one of the — one of the things that is said is that this bill will cause rationed care.

MORRIS: Right.

UPDATE – Via the Media Research Center:

ABC’s newly hired senior medical editor is also an Obama donor, having contributed $400 to the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. TV Newser reported on Thursday that Dr. Richard Besser, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, would assume the position in September. A search on the website Open Secrets finds two donations by Dr. Besser on August 22, 2008.

As senior health correspondent, Dr. Besser can be expected to play a major role in ABC’s coverage of the health care debate this fall.

Dr. Tim Johnson, who currently holds the position for ABC, has long been an advocate for government-run solutions to the health care problem in America. Going back to the last big push in the early ’90s, he told then-First Lady Hillary Clinton on July 19, 1994: “So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage.” Johnson will become the “chief medical editor” for ABC News.

Besser was the acting Director of the CDC for the first five months of the Obama administration, but had a long professional career there as an expert on foodborne illnesses and epidemics.

Here’s a screen capture of the OpenSecrets search result:

On a related topic, the MRC’s Brent Baker observed on July 29, 2009 that, so far, 12 journalists have made the jump from reporting to actually working for the Obama administration, including former ABC News reporter Linda Douglass and ABC News Justice correspondent Beverly Lumpkin.

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Corporatism, Health Law, Journalism Is Dead, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

Big Business Goes Big for Health Care Reform

Posted by iusbvision on September 1, 2009

Just how bad is lobbying and corruptive influence in Congress? Follow our “Corporatism” category for some details. Here is ABC’s John Stossel with an important report.

John Stossel:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

“What disturbs Americans of all ideological persuasions is the fear that almost everything, not just government, is fixed or manipulated by some powerful hidden hand,” Frank Rich wrote in Sunday’s New York Times.

That manipulation should disturb us. But contrary to Rich, it is not the work of “corporatists” who have sprung up to attack progressive reforms proposed by Obama and the Democratic majority. Manipulation is what we got many years ago when we traded a more or less free market for the “progressive” interventionist state. When government is big, the well-connected always have an advantage over the rest of us in influencing public policy.

Observe: Although President Obama and big-government activists demonize health-insurance companies, the companies “are still mostly on board with the president’s effort to overhaul the U.S. health-care system,” the Wall Street Journal reports; and …

Although the activists criticize Big Pharma, “The drug industry has already contributed millions of dollars to advertising campaigns for the health care overhaul through the advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA. It has spent about $1 million on similar advertisements under its own name,” the Times reports.

Big Pharma and Big Insurance want Obama-style health-care reform?

It’s not so hard to understand. “The drug makers stand to gain millions of new customers,” the Times said.

And from the Journal: “If health legislation succeeds, the [insurance] industry would likely get a fresh batch of new customers. In particular, many young and healthy people who currently forgo coverage would be forced to sign up.” No wonder insurers are willing to stop “discriminating” against sick people. (Forget that the essence of insurance is discrimination according to risk.)

Not that Big Pharma and Big Insurance like every detail of the Democratic plan. Drug companies don’t want Medicare negotiating drug prices — for good reason. If it forces drug prices down, research and development will be discouraged. (Depending whom you believe, Obama may or may not have agreed with the drug companies on this point.)

As for the insurance companies, they worry — legitimately — that a government insurance company — the so-called public option” — would drive them out of business. This isn’t alarmism. It’s economics. The public option would have no bottom line to worry about and therefore could engage in “predatory pricing” against the private insurers.

But despite these differences, the biggest companies in these two industries are on board with “reform.”

It illustrates economist Steven Horwitz’s First Law of Political Economy: “No one hates capitalism more than capitalists.” In this case, big business wants to shape — and profit from — what inevitably will be an interventionist health-care reform. Can you think of the last time a major business supported a truly free market in anything?

In light of all this, it’s funny to watch Democrats and their activist allies panic over the protests at congressional town meetings around the country. Tools of the corporate interests! they cry. But anyone opposing “socialized medicine” at the meeting can’t be a mouthpiece for big business because, as we’ve seen, big business supports government control. Conservative groups may be encouraging people to vent their anger at congressmen who pass burdensome legislation without even bothering to read it, but that’s no reason to insult the protestors as pawns. What’s wrong with organizations helping like-minded people to voice their opinions? Why do Democrats, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, dismiss citizen participation as “AstroTurf” — not real grassroots — only when citizens oppose the kind of big government they favor?

They weren’t so dismissive when George W. Bush was president and people protested — appropriately — his accumulation of executive powers.

“When handfuls of Code Pink ladies disrupted congressional hearings or speeches by Bush administration officials,” Glenn Reynolds writes, “it was taken as evidence that the administration’s policies were unpopular, and that the thinking parts of the populace were rising up in true democratic fashion. … But when it happens to Democrats, it’s something different: A threat to democracy, a sign of incipient fascism … House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the ‘Tea Party’ protesters Nazis. … “

So when lefties do it, it’s called “community organizing.”

When conservatives and libertarians do it, it’s “AstroTurf.”

Give me a break.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Corporatism, Health Law, Journalism Is Dead, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »