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Posts Tagged ‘Democrat’

Wow: Obama to Order Banks To Eliminate Monthly Payments from Unemployed Borrowers; UPDATE: Obama Orders WaPo to Rewrite Article, WaPo Complies

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

President Barack Obama, fresh off his Obamacare victory, is now set to unveil a new mortgage initiative to force banks to slash or waive monthly payments from the unemployed

In what appears to be the next step in the path of increasing federal government control over the US economy, the Obama Administration is preparing a new initiative to order banks to slash or eliminate the monthly payments due to banks from unemployed borrowers. This crass political maneuver by the Obama Administration is clearly intended to get unemployed Americans to vote Democrat in November 2010 to keep the free money gravy train going. With this proposal, America may have truly reached the unsustainable age of free money as the new rules “could allow a borrower to make no payments at all”.  Apparently the idea that a contract, signed by free people, should be binding on both sides is now losing steam in America:

The Obama administration plans to overhaul how it’s tackling the foreclosure crisis, in part by requiring lenders to temporarily slash or eliminate monthly mortgage payments for many borrowers who are unemployed, senior officials said Thursday.

Banks and other lenders would have to reduce the payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower’s income, which would typically be their unemployment insurance, for up to six months. In some cases, administration officials said, a lender could allow a borrower to make no payments at all.

Of course, anyone with an ounce of economic training knows that this new Obama initiative creates a massive incentive for individuals to either remain unemployed or become unemployed to incur in the benefits of the lowered or eliminated mortgage payments from the government. This new move to buy off unemployed Americans while pushing some of the cost off onto the banks also works to paint potential GOP opponents of such plan as lackeys of the “fat cat” banks. Indeed, Obama appears to have made the calculation that new initiative to buy off the unemployed with free mortgage payments is more likely to work to generate Democratic votes in November 2010 than his floundering “job creation” programs in the Stimulus and other legislation.

The new mortgage “relief” plan also intends to push banks to cut principal from first mortgages and cancel second mortgages altogether with new “financial incentives” to lenders who “reduce the principal owed on a loan”:

For one, the government will for the first time provide financial incentives to lenders that cut the balance of a borrower’s mortgage. Banks and other lenders will be asked to reduce the principal owed on a loan if it this amount is 15 percent more than their home is worth. The reduced amount would be set aside and forgiven by the lender over three years as long as the homeowner remains current on the loan.

Until recently, administration officials had been reluctant to encourage lenders to cut homeowner’s principal balance, worrying this would encourage borrowers to become delinquent. But as federal regulators have struggled to make an impact on the foreclosure crisis, those qualms have weakened.

Second, government will double the amount it pays to lenders that help modify second mortgages, such as piggyback mortgages, which enabled home buyers to put little or no money down, home equity lines of credits. These second mortgages are an added burden on struggling homeowners, especially when their total debt, as a result, is greater than their home value.

Considering the absolute tragedy that the Obama Administration’s interventionist mortgage policies have been to date, with foreclosures spiraling upward and new home sales at an all-time monthly low in February 2010, the additional Obama interventions into the mortgage market announced this evening seem like more of the same counterproductive policies.

Regarding the amount of increased deficit spending to be caused by the new mortgage initiative, the Washington Post and Obama Administration have nothing to say, claiming that no new spending will be required. Indeed, the Washington Post has no specific mention of the actual cost of this new plan, as WaPo simply parrots the Administration line that there is “no new taxpayer funds will be needed” because the money already paid back into TARP by banks will be used again instead of used to retire debt of the United States, as the TARP legislation requires:

The new initiatives are expected to take effect over the next half year and will be funded out of money remaining in the $700 billion bailout program for the financial sector, administration officials said. They said no new taxpayer funds would be needed.

Considering the success the Obama Administration has just had using a clearly fraudulent claim that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history”, this move to avoid a damaging admission that Obama’s plans will actually spend TARP money that is now slated to retire federal debt by simply claiming that “no new taxpayer funds will be needed” without any pesky details is simply the latest dodge on deficit policy by the Obama Administration.   Sadly, the establishment media appears to be uncritically accepting this latest misleading Obama deficit claim, just as the prior Obamacare deficit claim was seconded and endorsed by the media.

However, the largest threat to the American workforce and overall economy from this new mortgage initiative is the powerful incentive created for individual Americans to both become and/or remain unemployed to obtain the government relief from making mortgage payments and the additional incentive created for borrowers to default on their loans and obtain relief from the principal amounts due on their loans.  Sadly, the prediction from the right that the Obama Administration would use repaid TARP funds as a “slush fund” leading up to the November 2010 elections appears to be coming true, and the federal spending which reduces or eliminates monthly mortgage payments for the unemployed if the first major payment from the “slush fund” this election season. One can only hope that the strength and vitality of the American economy can overcome the ongoing, destructive moves to expand the federal government’s control of the economy.

UPDATE: Apparently ordering the banks, car companies, health insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, medical device manufacturers, energy companies and states around is not enough for the Obama Administration, as they apparently also ordered the Washington Post to completely rewrite the headline of the article cited above, and WaPo, sadly, agreed. First, here’s the accurate headline chosen by the nominally “independent and objective” newspaper Washington Post:

“Obama administration to order lenders to cut mortgage payments for jobless”


That is an accurate headline as it actually describes the new initiative planned by Obama. Now, this morning, after some scolding by the Obama Administration, the Washington Post editors trashed the old headline, and replaced it with an Axelrod-drafted left wing talking point:

“Obama readies steps to fight foreclosures, particularly for unemployed”

The actual policy planned by Obama, of course, hasn’t changed. However, now millions of Americans will see that new headline, a pure dollop of spin directly from the Obama Administration, instead of the accurate former headline. Indeed, the word “order” now does not appear anywhere in the article. This latest manipulation of the establishment media by the Obama Administration is just another piece of evidence that proves everyday Americans can no longer trust the media to accurately report upon the activities of the Obama Administration.

Sadly, the tens of millions of hardworking Americans who actually pay their mortgages, on time, every month, are once again going to get the short end of the stick from the Obama Administration, as noted in a moment of candor by the NYT:

The escalation in aid comes as the administration is under rising pressure from Congress to resolve the foreclosure crisis, which is straining the economy and putting millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. But the new initiatives could well spur protests among those who have kept up their payments and are not in trouble.

The NYT also reports upon the risky plan of the Obama Administration to use the Federal Housing Authority to engineer principal reductions in mortgages, which, of course, creates a serious systemic risk of the collapse of the FHA should housing prices not rebound. Once again, the Obama Administration is laying off future risk on the American taxpayer to obtain short term political benefits now:

The administration’s earlier efforts to stem foreclosures have largely been directed at borrowers who were experiencing financial hardship. But the biggest new initiative, which is also likely to be the most controversial, will involve the government, through the Federal Housing Administration, refinancing loans for borrowers who simply owe more than their houses are worth.

About 11 million households, or a fifth of those with mortgages, are in this position, known as being underwater. Some of these borrowers refinanced their houses during the boom and took cash out, leaving them vulnerable when prices declined. Others simply had the misfortune to buy at the peak.

Many of these loans have been bundled together and sold to investors. Under the new program, the investors would have to swallow losses, but would probably be assured of getting more in the long run than if the borrowers went into foreclosure. The F.H.A. would insure the new loans against the risk of default. The borrower would once again have a reason to make payments instead of walking away from a property.

Many details of the administration’s plan remained unclear Thursday night, including the precise scope of the new program and the number of homeowners who might be likely to qualify.

One administration official cautioned that the investors might not be willing to volunteer any loans from borrowers that seemed solvent. That could set up a battle between borrowers and investors.

This much was clear, however: the plan, if successful, could put taxpayers at increased risk. If many additional borrowers move into F.H.A. loans, a renewed downturn in the housing market could send that government agency into the red.

Another helpful addition to the WaPo article ordered by the Obama Administration is this quote from the National Community Reinvestment Center (“NCRC”), which, of course, is a hard left organization that is pushing for all the same government controls over the banks and elimination of “principal” amounts due on mortgage loans that Obama wants:

“We would prefer to see a required principal forgiveness program. But this is helpful,” said David Berenbaum, chief program officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit housing group. “This is another tool that will help consumers weather the crisis.”

Of course, the WaPo whitewashes who the NCRC really is by calling them simply a “nonprofit housing group.” Unmentioned by WaPo is the extreme left wing posture of the NCRC and their long term alliance with none other than ACORN, as the NCRC and ACORN have been working together for years to bring “reform” to the housing industry.

A brief ride in the way-back machine (to Winter 2000) uncovers some truth about the NCRC: they were the key force, indeed the “umbrella group” behind the left wing group’s use of Clinton to change the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) to force banks to make “no money down” loans to unqualified borrowers, which, of course, led us to the housing crisis today that Obama’s new initiative is designed to “fix”:

The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act, a once-obscure and lightly enforced banking regulation law, into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities—and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation’s banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion for inner-city and low-income mortgages and real estate development projects, most of it funneled through a nationwide network of left-wing community groups, intent, in some cases, on teaching their low-income clients that the financial system is their enemy and, implicitly, that government, rather than their own striving, is the key to their well-being.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition—a foundation-funded umbrella group for community activist groups that profit from the CRA—issued a clarion call to its members in a leaflet entitled “The New CRA Regulations: How Community Groups Can Get Involved.” “Timely comments,” the NCRC observed with a certain understatement, “can have a strong influence on a bank’s CRA rating.”

The Clinton administration’s get-tough regulatory regime mattered so crucially because bank deregulation had set off a wave of mega-mergers, including the acquisition of the Bank of America by NationsBank, BankBoston by Fleet Financial, and Bankers Trust by Deutsche Bank. Regulatory approval of such mergers depended, in part, on positive CRA ratings. “To avoid the possibility of a denied or delayed application,” advises the NCRC in its deadpan tone, “lending institutions have an incentive to make formal agreements with community organizations.” By intervening—even just threatening to intervene—in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York; the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America has a $3-billion agreement with the Bank of America; a coalition of groups headed by New Jersey Citizen Action has a five-year, $13-billion agreement with First Union Corporation. Similar deals operate in almost every major U.S. city. Observes Tom Callahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which has $220 million in bank mortgage money to parcel out, “CRA is the backbone of everything we do.”

In addition to providing the nonprofits with mortgage money to disburse, CRA allows those organizations to collect a fee from the banks for their services in marketing the loans.

Umbrella group NCRC and others, of course, are in deep, passionate love with the Obama Administration, as Obama has appointed one of their ranks to run Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and doubled down on the Clinton-era CRA changes to increase the funneling of fees to left wing pressure groups. The NCRC release shortly after Obama’s Inauguration is indisputable evidence of the sad reality that present federal mortgage policy has been hijacked by hard left interest groups:

The stars and planets may be in nearly perfect alignment to support the cause of community-based organizations in their fight for those who reside in low- and middle-income neighborhoods.

Barack Obama, a former community organizer, is the president of the United States. “Can we really believe that?” asked Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) to loud cheers at the 2009 National Conference of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Obama has chosen to head the Department of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan, a former community organizer in New York City, who became that city’s housing czar.

Donovan reports HUD has been given “a seat at the big people’s table” as the Obama administration grapples with the foreclosure crisis and the effort to unclog the nation’s credit markets.

To participate in the push for economic recovery, HUD will get $13.6 billion under the economic stimulus bill—the $790 billion American Recovery & Reinvestment Act—including $4 billion for energy-efficient modernization and renovation of public housing, $2.5 billion for a special allocation of HOME funds to increase the preservation and production of tens of thousands of units of affordable housing, $2 billion for 12-month funding of Section 8 project-based housing contracts, $2 billion to mitigate the impact of foreclosures through the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties, $1.5 billion to prevent homelessness and $1 billion in community development block grants that will be distributed to state and local governments to spend on their own priority projects.

Donovan was loudly applauded by an audience that comprised myriad friends from his community organizing and housing advocacy days when he pledged that HUD will “be a partner and not an impediment” to the work of community-based organizations and that the department will make a major effort to promote and enforce fair housing laws.

It is way too early to predict whether the goodwill that the Obama administration has brought to the table will bear fruit in low- and middle-income communities, but the good feelings evident at the NCRC gathering have long been missing from scene.

http://www.who.is/website-information/ncrc.org/

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Epic Fail: Obamacare Going Back to House, Dem Strategy Collapses with GOP Parliamentary Win

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Closed the Proceedings at 2:45AM After A Parlimentary Ruling Ensured that the House Would Be Forced To Hold Another Vote

In a most unwelcome development for President Barack Obama and the Democrats, the Senate Parliamentarian made two ruling in the GOP’s favor on point of orders regarding the add-on student loans portion of the reconciliation bill, meaning that Obamacare must return to the House for another vote.  Democrats have been parrying GOP amendments all night long with the excuse that no changes can be made because the bill must pass now without any further House votes while admitting some agreement with some of the merits of the amendments themselves. Politico reports:

The all-night session came as Republicans offered 29 amendments in a final attempt to scuttle the bill, or at least force Democrats into taking politically difficult votes that could be used against them in November. Democrats steadily rejected each amendment, arguing that any changes would send the bill back to the House for another vote, an outcome Senate Democrats worked mightily to avoid before the parliamentarian’s ruling early Thursday.

Obama and the Democrats now face the worst of both worlds: after having voted down many reasonable amendments, such as closing the exemption from Obamacare’s rules for top Congressional and White House leadership or banning the use of federal funds to purchase viagra for sex offenders, for the sake of avoiding another House vote, now there will be another House vote, making the rejection of all GOP amendments appear unreasonable. It has been a long night in the Senate, with continuous voting occurring all night until about 3AM, with 29 GOP Obamacare amendments voted down in with only a few Democratic crossover votes. Of course, no GOP votes were with the Democrats, meaning that once again only the opposition to Obamacare was bipartisan. Obama and the Democrats were desperately attempting to avoid that exact outcome, as noted by the NYT:

WASHINGTON — With the Senate working through an all-night session on a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care legislation, Republicans early Thursday morning identified parliamentary problems with at least two provisions that will require the measure to be sent back to the House for yet another vote, once the Senate adopts it.

Senate Democrats had been hoping to defeat all of the amendments proposed by Republicans and to prevail on parliamentary challenges so that they could approve the measure and send it to President Obama for his signature. But the bill must comply with complex budget reconciliation rules, and Republicans identified some flaws.

The key question in Washington tomorrow is whether Obama and the Democrats can get the reconciliation bill out of the Senate tomorrow and obtain the needed additional House vote to allow the completion of the Obamacare legislating before the Easter recess:

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Republicans consulting with the Senate parliamentarian had found “two minor provisions” that violate Congress’ budget rules. The provisions deal with Pell grants for low-income students.

Manley said those two provisions will be removed from the bill, and he expected the Senate to approve the measure and send it to the House. Manley said Senate leaders, after conversations with top House Democrats, expect the House to approve the revised measure.

Both chambers are hoping to begin a spring recess by this weekend.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (D-IO) stated that Senate Democrats expected the House to “quickly pass the bill with these minor changes.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the provisions struck out by the parliamentarian were minor.

“The parliamentarian struck two minor provisions tonight from the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act,” the spokeswoman, Kate Cyrul, said. “These changes do not impact the reforms to the student loan programs and the important investments in education. We are confident the House will quickly pass the bill with these minor changes.”

A third issue, in addition to the two successful GOP challenges related to the add-on student loans measure, remains in front of the Senate Parlimentarian, so more changes may end up being made. The fact that another House vote will occur at all is sure to magnify the political impact of the votes cast on the 29 GOP amendments, as now the GOP can argue that some of the reasonable changes suggested by the GOP could just have quickly been passed by the House. One such issue that is sure to draw a lot of focus is the attempt by Iowa GOP Senator Charles Grassley (R-IO) to pass an amendment which would have closed a loophole inserted by Harry Reid which excludes White House and Congressional leadership and their staffs:

An amendment that would have applied the new health care law to the president, vice president, top White House cabinet members and staffers and certain Congressional staffers failed Wednesday night, 43-56.

Three Democrats—Evah Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska—broke with their party to vote in favor of the motion to waive the point of order on the amendment.

The current law signed by President Barack Obama Tuesday applies to members of Congress and their staffs, but includes a loophole that does not require committee or leadership staffers to participate in the exchanges established by the government.

Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who spent months over the summer working on the health care legislation in committee, said in a statement following the vote that “Congressional leaders have had other opportunities to fix the double standard but have repeatedly opted not to do so.”

“It’s only fair and logical that administration leaders and congressional staff, who fought so hard to overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves,” Grassley said. “If the reforms are as good as promised, then they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, public officials will be in a position to really understand the problems, as they should.”

Obama and the Democrats will now have to explain why they and their staffs need an exemption from Obamacare’s provisions while all other Americans do not, feeding into a narrative about how the Democratic leadership sees itself as above the law. GOP Senator David Vitter (D-LA) also got into the act by imploring the Democrats to pass his amendment, which would have exempted mobile breast cancer detection units from fuel taxes, because the “bill is already going back to the House.

Before the discovery of the parliamentary issues, Democrats had already succeeded in defeating more than two dozen Republican amendments or other proposals aimed at derailing the legislation or making changes that would delay it by forcing an additional vote in the House.

Shortly before 2:30 a.m., Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, put forward yet another amendment. Mr. Vitter’s proposal would have exempted mobile mammography units from paying a federal fuel tax.

In urging adoption of his amendment, Mr. Vitter declared, “This reconciliation bill is already going back to the House.”

The AP summarized the major GOP Obamacare amendments rejected by solely Democratic votes:

Senators voted on 29 consecutive GOP amendments between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 a.m. Thursday, when they recessed.

By 57-42, Democrats rejected an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., barring federal purchases of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. Coburn said it would save millions, while Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., called it “a crass political stunt.”

Democrats also deflected GOP amendments rolling back the health law’s Medicare cuts; killing extra Medicaid funds for Tennessee and other state-specific spending; barring tax increases for families earning under $250,000; and requiring the president and other administration officials to purchase health care from exchanges the statute creates.

It remains to be seen whether Pelosi will attempt to get another vote completed immediately after tomorrow’s likely passage of the altered reconciliation bill through the Senate. Considering the post-Obamacare passage polling that shows 62% of Americans, including 41% of Democrats and 66% of Independents, want the GOP to keep fighting Obama and the Democrats over Obamacare, we can expect the House GOP to use every procedural avenue at their disposal to delay the now-needed additional House vote on the Obamacare package.

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Obama Lies, Quotes Lincoln “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

President Barack Obama, pictured here at the House Democratic Caucus meeting today, implausibly claimed that after the passage of Obamacare, all Americans will keep their present health plans and doctors despite clear indications to the contrary

In his last speech before the historic vote on his Obamacare package in the House of Representatives set for tomorrow, President Barack Obama gave a speech to a members-only House Democratic caucus meeting today.   In his speech, the President sadly repeated many of the same lies and misrepresentations he made yesterday at George Mason, including his false claims that everyone can “keep their doctor” and “keep their plan” while also falsely asserting that Obamacare will be an “historic” deficit reduction bill.  Obama made these claims despite their debunking by even establishment media sources many months ago, and the CBO’s addendum to their scoring made public late yesterday that reports an addition to the deficit of $59 billion over the next 10 years from Obamacare once the “doctor fix” is factored in.

Despite making these misleading and explicitly false statements in his speech today, Obama recited an Abraham Lincoln quote about speaking the truth in his speech today, twice:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Apparently the establishment media has no interest in reporting on the explicit lies (you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan and Obamacare will be “historic” deficit reduction) repeated again by the President today, as the NYT, CNN, WaPo and the AP all focus on the rhetorical grandeur, the “history being made” and the “impassioned plea” in Obama’s speech to Democrats today while ignoring the substantively false claims made by the President.

Amazingly, none of the above-linked articles make any reference to the President’s claims that all Americans will be able to keep their doctor and keep their insurance after the passage of his reform plan; instead, the establishment media just completely ignores these explicitly false statements.

The Associated Press epitomizes the frenzied, wrongful efforts of the establishment media to cover for the explicit lies of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats regarding Obamacare, printing this as if it is fact:

The sweeping legislation, affecting virtually every American and more than a year in the making, would extend coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans, forbid insurers to deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade.

Congressional analysts estimate the cost of the two bills combined would be $940 billion over a decade.

In repeating the explicitly false claims above, as made by Obama and the Democrats, the AP fails to mention the fact that the CBO admitted last night that Obamacare will actually add $59 billion to the deficit over 10 years when the pending “doctor fix” is enacted and further fails to mention that the CBO has also stated that at least $50 billion in additional funds will be required to administer Obamacare over 10 years after its passage, meaning Obamacare will add at least $109 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Sadly, that $109 billion in deficit spending resultant from Obamacare does not account for the many additional budget gimmicks used by the Democrats to entrench the false perception that the bill that creates over $100 billion a year in new federal entitlement spending will actually be an “historical” deficit reduction bill. Even the NYT’s Obama-loving (literally) columnist David Brooks listed the many ways the CBO score is explicitly rendered false by no less than seven Democratic “dodges” designed to game the CBO scoring process:

They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

All of the above-referenced “dodges” and gimmicks to obtain a good CBO score are based on publicly available information, yet nowhere in the establishment media can you find this information actually reported to rebut the ridiculously false claims by Obama and Democrats over the past few days that Obamacare will actually reduce the deficit and be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.” The NYT yesterday even manages to lionize the CBO scoring as unimpeachable and nonpartisan while attacking those who dared to note some of the above-referenced dodges and gimmicks listed by Brooks. In short, the establishment media is allowing the President and the Democratic Party to use an explicit lie (Obamacare reduces the deficit) to sell their comprehensive plan to the American public without informing the public in any way of illusory basis for such claims. Such conduct is a true abdication of the 4th Estate’s role as a watchdog of the American government.

The Misinformation and Lies on Obamacare Presented by President Obama and Deemed by the Media as Truthful Remind Some of the World Described by George Orwell in his classic work, "1984"

Further, Obama concludes by claiming that Democrats must pass this bill for “the American people”:

“Help us fix this system,” Obama said. “Don’t do it for me. Don’t do it for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid — do it for all those people out there who are struggling. . . . Do it for the American people. They’re the ones who are looking for action right now.”

Amazingly, the Washington Post and the other establishment media articles fail to note that CNN’s latest poll found 73% of Americans want Obama and the Dems to either stop or start over from scratch and only 25% are “looking for action right now.” Similarly, Fox News’s latest poll found that 64% want Obama and the Dems to stop or start over from scratch and only 30% are “looking for action right now.” Even the highly left-wing Kaiser Foundation’s latest poll shows that 56% of Americans want Obama and the Democrats to stop or start over, while 42% want to proceed to a vote now. All of the establishment media reporting also omits any reference to the fact that a full 80% of the American public are satisfied “with the quality of medical care available to them” in the much-reviled “status quo”. Based on these polls, it is impossible to claim with a straight face that passing Obamacare now is what the American people are looking for “right now” – yet this is exactly what Obama is saying, and the media simply cheers without retort, notwithstanding the indisputable facts noted above.

Finally, Obama today made the equally ridiculous claim that Obamacare “runs straight down the center of American political thought” and “is a middle of the road bill” and, again, no one in the media even bothers to rebut this claim with the obvious fact that the only bipartisan thing about Obamacare is the opposition to Obamacare, as at least 31 House Democrats are joining a unified Republican opposition to the bill. Sadly, facts such as these go unmentioned by the establishment media reports as they scurry to defend their hero President Obama as the final hours tick away before the all-important House vote on Obamacare.

When the 4th Estate (media) work so strenuously to support both the President and the Congress in an effort such as Obamacare, avoiding the reporting of any facts which could possibly hinder the Democratic effort to “remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy” while cheerleading every step of the way, the continued viability of the American political system moving forward can reasonably be questioned by centrists and independents as such coordinated misinformation brings to mind the world described by George Orwell in his classic work “1984″.  Should Obamacare pass the House and become law, years from now historians will review Obama’s speeches from yesterday and today and likely designate them as some of the most misleading speeches by an American President in the history of our country.

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Gibbs Fibs re Slaughter Solution, Claims House Will “Pass the Underlying Senate Bill” and Then Take up Fixes

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Did White House Spokeman Robert Gibbs Lie this morning on CBS's Face the Nation When He Claimed the House will pass the Senate bill and President Sign it Before any "Corrective" Legislation is Passed by the House?

Despite White House and Congressional Democratic leadership support for a single, final House vote on Obamacare, in an incredible display of intentionally misleading statements by a federal official, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs today declared that the House will pass the “underlying Senate bill” next week, and that it will be signed by the President and then “corrective” bills will be passed through the House and Senate to “fix” the language of the Senate bill.   Gibbs even explicitly murmured “right” and “yes, sir” and nodded as CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer stated his understanding that the House must pass and President must sign the Senate bill before any “fixes” could be passed:

BOB SCHIEFFER: A– as I understand it, and– and the parliamentarians seemed to have ruled that the House is going to have to pass the bill that the Senate passed.
ROBERT GIBBS: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And then the President is going to have to sign that before the House votes on this so-called reconciliation package. It’s going to correct all those things they don’t like in
this Senate bill.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yes, sir.

Gibbs then continues after Schieffer pushed Gibbs on whether the Senate actually pass the “corrections” to the then-passed Obamacare:

ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah. Well, again, we’ve– we’ve worked with leaders in the Senate. We’ve talked to members of the Senate. The President has. And, look, members of the House, the President, and members of the Senate want to see some of those corrections made in– in that legislation. I– I think this is going to happen. Again, I think the House will have passed the Senate bill a week from today. We’ll be working now next on getting those corrections passed by both the House and the Senate. And we’ll have health care reform in this country.

These statements were made by the top White House spokesman despite actions of the White House and Congressional Democrats, who are planning to “deem” the Senate bill passed via a parliamentary trick known as the “Slaughter Solution,” named after the House Democrat who is the author of this unprecedented procedure, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Obama worshipper and Newsweek journalist David Stone explains the Democratic trickery to avoid an actual up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House:

In a perfect case study of how dramatic Washington can get on a Friday afternoon, attention on health care appears to have shifted from when the final vote will be (next week?) to the possibility of a new parliamentary procedure to greenlight the bill. At issue is what’s being dubbed the “Slaughter solution,” which, in a roundabout way, would let the House pass the Senate bill without actually voting on it.

Here’s how: Rep. Louise Slaughter is chair of the House Rules committee, and as such, figured out that the House could momentarily change its rules to say that the House doesn’t need to pass the Senate bill since both bills are pretty similar anyway (in that they’re about the same subject). That way, Democratic members reticent about voting for the Senate bill technically wouldn’t have to be on record voting for it. They would just have to vote not to stop it from passing. It’s effectively a shift from active passage of the bill to passive. Then, after this rule passed, the Senate bill would go straight to the president, he would sign it, and then both chambers would start working on a few fixes through reconciliation.

The Obamaphile journalist David Stone concludes it is ludicrous to think the Democrats would actually do this, despite Democratic House Rules Chairwoman Slaughter’s explicit plans to do so, as reported by the non-partisan Congress Daily:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Even left wing MSNBC journalist and former longtime Capitol Hill staffer (and veteran of the Hillarycare battle) Lawrence O’Donnell noted that the “Slaughter Solution” of “deeming” the Senate bill passed via rule-based trickery and then only holding a vote on the “fixes” to the Senate bill is an “unprecedented” maneuver in the legislative history of the United States that attempts to “amend a ghost” of an non-passed bill.  The entire uncut O’Donnell appearance on Morning Joe on March 12, 2010 can be seen here.  O’Donnell notes the “unprecedented” nature of the Democrats’ plan to switch gears after Scott Brown’s Senate victory and pursue reconciliation to pass Obamacare:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Will Democrats get health care passed?

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: I’m going to say what I’ve said all along in my humble approach to this subject.  I, having worked on this kind of legislation on the Senate floor, trying to get it passed, and in committee.  I do not see how they can do this.  Now, and part of that is because it’s never been done before. And they have moved into a legislative territory that has never previously existed.  The Republicans have not been very smart about trying to describe this. It’s difficult to describe.  But this is unprecedented, using reconciliation this way. Because what they’ve done, is that they’ve abandoned a bill in mid-conference. The Senate passed a bill, the House passed a bill. They were in mid-conference negotiating this bill, in conference, and they said it’s going to be impossible for us to pass it now because of Scott Brown, so we’re going to abandon conferencing this bill and move over to another legislative vehicle, called reconciliation.  To handle something you’ve already been legislating another way, now, that’s never occurred before.

SCARBOROUGH: That’s never happened?

O’DONNELL: Never, never, never.

Such emphatic condemnation of the Democratic endgame strategy to pursue the “amend the ghost” trickery in the House and reconciliation in the Senate to pass Obamacare from an explicitly left wing ideologue like O’Donnell is a bright red flag for centrists and independents. Perhaps Newsweek’s David Stone is correct in saying that it is “hard to imagine a scenario in which such a process would actually fly.Left-leaning The Hill concurs that the “Slaughter Solution” is a “sneaky, slimy sleight-of-hand” and that no one will be “fooled by this.”

The talking points distributed by House Democratic leadership on Friday, which Robert Gibbs and the White House were undoubtedly privy to and approved of prior to their release, make it clear that “Slaughter Solution” is part of the endgame plan to pass Obamacare:

The Van Hollen memo also advised members to avoid talking about the process.

“At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL,” the memo says. “People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.”

Leadership expects a CBO score on the reconciliation package by today or Monday. No decisions have been made on how the final process will unfold on the House floor, the memo says. So it appears Democrats are still grappling with whether they can use the process to pass the Senate bill without voting directly on the bill. Many Democrats view the Senate bill’s deals and policies as a toxic political mix that they would rather not endorse without first making changes to it.

Tellingly, Gibbs concludes his interview by stating that only one House vote will be required, impliedly accepting the “Slaughter Solution” and explicitly contradicting his earlier agreement with Schieffer that two House votes would be required, one to pass the Senate bill and another to pass the “corrections” to the Senate bill:

ROBERT GIBBS: –I– I do think this is the– I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform. And like I said I– I think whoever you interview just this time next week, you won’t be talking about a proposal in the House. You’ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country.

As this is the “climatic week for health care reform” it is truly unfortunate that procedural trickery such as the “Slaughter Solution” and reconciliation are being pursued by the Democrats on such an important piece of legislation, even in the face of criticism by left-leaning journalist allies like Newsweek, MSNBC and The Hill.   Unfortunately, the NYT and Washington Post have not touched the “Slaughter Solution” controversy to date, and the major networks are ignoring it as well, so outright misrepresentations like Gibbs’s claims on Face the Nation today will probably continue to slide under the radar until the deed is done as planned by the Obama Administration and the Congressional Democratic leadership.

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51% of Americans Think America Less Respected Now than in 2008

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Senior Democratic Strategist James Carville released a poll today that shows 51% of Americans think America is less respected now than two years ago in 2008; 41% disagree

James Carville, senior Democratic pollster and strategist, released a new poll today from his Democracy Corp polling outfit with results generally in line with other pollsters, showing Obama’s approval at 49% while finding a 3 point edge for the GOP in the 2010 elections amongst likely voters. However, one finding stands out: Over half of all Americans believe that America is less respected by the world than two years ago in 2008.

The Democratic polling firm’s release states that “a 51 to 41 percent majority says the U.S. is less respected in the world than two years ago. This is surprising, given the global acclaim – and Nobel peace prize – that flowed to the new president after he took office.” This finding is particularly newsworthy because of the massive focus of the Obama Administration in their first 14 months on improving the image of the United States on the world stage. The Washington Times reports:

A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than it was two years ago and think President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, a new poll finds.

The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Another finding of the Democracy Corps survey involves the overall handling of national security matters – a large gap has reemerged in the public’s mind, strongly favoring GOP handling of national security issues over Democrat:

While ratings for the president may be softening, his party is facing an even more troubling trend. When the questions move beyond the president to Democrats generally, we see that the public once again has real and rising doubts about the Democrats’ handling of national security issues, as compared to their faith in Republicans. This security gap, which has roots stretching back to Vietnam, was as wide as 29 points earlier in the decade. The deficit began to close in 2006, with the Bush administration’s catastrophic mismanagement of Iraq and other national security challenges. As public hopes about the Obama presidency rose and peaked, the gap all but vanished. Last May, Democracy Corps found Democrats essentially tied with Republicans (41 to 43 percent) on the question of which party would do a better job on national security.

But now the gap shows signs of re-opening, with Democrats trailing by 17 points, 33 to 50 percent on which party likely voters think would do the better job on national security. The erosion since May is especially strong among women, and among independents, who now favor Republicans on this question by a 56 to 20 percent margin.

While unpopular upon leaving office in January 2009, 51% of Americans now believe America was more respected in Bush's final full year of 2008 than now

It appears the so-called “security gap” is reasserting itself, as the public now prefers GOP handling of national security issues by a 17 point margin, 50%/33%, with independents going GOP by a whopping 36 point margin. While Obama’s personal ratings on national security are hovering around 50%, as noted by Democracy Corps, this new security gap may be a sign of trouble for Democrats leading into the 2010 election season.  The security gap, combined with the 51% of Americans who feel America is less respected now than in 2008, could be seen as polling evidence that the “Miss Me Yet” movement regarding George W. Bush has significant backing in security matters.

UPDATE: Hotair notes that Obama is also losing the public on the interrogation and prosecution policies regarding terrorists debate:

Fifty-seven percent of likely voters approve of Obama’s handling of national security—ten points higher than his general 47 percent approval rating, according to a new Democracy Corps/GQR/Third Way poll out Monday.

Where Obama loses: interrogation and prosecution of terrorism suspects, where a 51-44 percent majority disapproves. Republicans have hammered the administration for its decision to read the alleged Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights, and the poll results show the message is sticking…

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