Tag Archives: Cronyism

Exelon Receives Another Deal from the Obama Administration

by Whitney Pitcher

cronyism00591

It is encouraging to see increased American development of energy having a worldwide impact. However, such impact should not come at the expense of subsidies and loans footed by the American taxpayer or special deals. Exelon, the largest nuclear energy company in America, has a diverse energy production portfolio. They also are involved in liquefied natural gas production and solar energy. With the current natural gas glut, prices are quite low, which has cut into Exelon’s profits. These low prices also make natural gas power plants competitive with Exelon’s nuclear plants. Never fear for Exelon though! The Obama administration is on the way! As an article at Crain’s Chicago Business reports: 

Exelon Corp. got a win last week when the U.S. Energy Department allowed a group of investors to build a facility in Texas that will export liquefied natural gas to countries without free-trade agreements with the U.S.

Don’t see the connection? Every cubic foot of natural gas that’s liquefied and shipped overseas is a cubic foot that doesn’t get sold at rock-bottom prices to gas-fired power plants that compete with Exelon’s nuclear plants. Low gas prices enable gas-fired plants to sell electricity cheaper, bringing down prices in wholesale power markets.

[…]

Exporting to non-free-trade countries requires special permission from the Department of Energy. Heated debate over the policy has erupted in recent months. Natural gas producers are pushing for more freedom to export, while environmental groups and big gas users like Dow Chemical Co. defend the current restrictions

Some see last week’s decision on the Texas facility as a sign President Barack Obama is leaning toward a looser export policy. It’s a little early to draw that conclusion. Rather than articulating a broad policy shift, the administration says it will evaluate proposed non-FTA export facilities on a case-by-case basis. Until Friday, the DOE hadn’t approved one since 2011. Nineteen applications are pending.

Seeing the implication that President Obama is going to loosen policy on anything related to non “green” energy development is a surprise. There is perhaps reason to evaluate such special situations for export to non-free trade countries, but when a company like Exelon receives a deal, it is suspect. Exelon has a reputation for being an energy giant, but it also has a reputation for its ties to President Obama.

As a Senator, Obama watered down an anti-nuclear energy bill to help Exelon. Why? In 2008, Exelon was Obama’s four largest donor. Additionally, Exelon has spent tens of millions of dollars for lobbying since President Obama took office. This lobbying has paid off. An Exelon acquired solar energy company received a $646 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2011 to build a solar energy plant.

It is exciting to see that natural gas production is booming in such a way that producers have opportunity to energize America and have opportunity for export. It is discouraging that “case-by-case” export opportunities are going to companies who have the political connections and clout to continue to receive special deals.

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President Obama’s Trickle Down Perpetual Campaign

by Whitney Pitcher

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then candidate Barack Obama was asked to compare his experience to that of Vice Presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin. Obama made a disingenuous comparison by only referencing Palin’s mayoral experience, but he also tried to bolster his executive credentials by referencing his ability to manage  “large systems” and millions of dollars in campaign funds:

It is now nearly five years later, and little has changed. The President’s executive experience still lies in running a campaign, but not one that comes at the expense of his donors (and actually often to his donors’ benefit) . He has turned his executive branch cabinet level departments into components of this perpetual campaign at the expense of American taxpayers.

President Obama ‘s Treasury Department has turned into a campaign opposition research department by targeting Tea Parties, religious groups, and pro-life groups and combing through every detail of these groups and their memberships. When this department got their hands caught in the cookie jar, the President scapegoated the already lame duck IRS commissioner who wasn’t even in the role of commissioner when these targeted audits were being performed.  His Department of Justice has also contributed to this effort by bugging the cloak room in the House of Representatives and seizing phone records of AP reporters who cover the GOP majority House. His elected colleagues, his constituents, and even his pals in the media became his political opponents.

During his campaign, the President would often offer a special opportunity for a donor to meet him. As President, he has done the same kind of thing, but on a much larger scale and at the expense of the American taxpayer and the American energy consumer. Instead of offering an expenses paid meeting, he is offering millions in taxpayer dollars and special favors. 80% of his Department of Energy stimulus loans went to companies tied to his donors. Meanwhile, the President has stalled on the development of Keystone Pipeline.  Several of his donors stand to benefit financially from the Canadian Sands Oil regardless of whether or not the pipeline is built, and just last week, scores of the President’s donors are sent a letter petitioning him to not build the pipeline. Moreover, the President is not only trying to turn return the favor to his actual political donors, his Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is essentially acting as a fundraiser to promote the President’s healthcare policy agenda. The President is repaying his donors with political favors and asking political favors to implement his policies.

Throughout the President’s perpetual campaign, he has tried to redistribute the blame of the burgeoning scandals. Rather than being a leader and taking responsibility, he has allowed his politically driven administration to trickle down the blame. Four rogue IRS employees are being blamed for the targeted Tea Party audits, yet IRS employees are claiming they were only following orders. In trying to make sense of the attacks on the Libyan consulate last September, the Obama administration–the White House, the State Department, and the CIA– has woven a complicated web of blame and responsibility in the midst of a presidential campaign.

When it comes to the President’s campaign claim of being able to manage “large systems”, it seems Obama has been disproved by his own former campaign adviser David Axelrod. In trying to defend the President’s ability to deal with multiple, simultaneous scandals, Axelrod inadvertently made the case for smaller government when he said that there is only so much a President can know “because the government is so vast”. The President has proven that when executive experience is manifested in a hybrid of small leadership and big government, it only perpetuates a campaign cycle that trickles down the blame.

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Climate Change and the “Green” Light District

by Whitney Pitcher

green pig

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.” – President Ronald Reagan

Last week, Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and others passed a resolution stating that climate change disproportionately affects women and may drive them to engage in “transactional sex” (i.e. prostitution). There is a nugget of truth in Lee’s ridiculous resolution. Climate change itself may not drive women to prostitution, but the farce of climate change has driven some men (and probably some women as well) to essentially engage in political prostitution.

Yesterday, a Bloomberg article noted that Al Gore is now worth upwards of $200 million. Gore has derived his wealth from several avenues, but many of these are tied to his peddling of green Henny Penny nonsense. The Bloomberg article notes that Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, led to speaker’s fees of around $175,000 a pop. Additionally, as has been often noted, Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera netted him $100 million by itself. Gore also has his hand in green investing, which has ultimately padded his own pocketbook. In 2004, Gore joined with former Goldman Sachs managing director David W. Blood to form Generation Investment Management (GIM), as Bloomberg notes (emphasis added):

By the time of the Capricorn investment, he was already starting to rake in cash from Generation Investment Management – – a fund that incorporates “sustainability” into its investment approach. Gore co-founded GIM in 2004 with former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Managing Director David W. Blood.

Public filings show that in 2008 through 2011 London-based GIM racked up almost 140 million pounds ($218 million) in profits to be split among its 26 partners. Gore and Blood as founders are thought to have the largest equity stakes.

Not of all of Gore’s investments have been successful though. GIM later partnered with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers on “green” investments. Kleiner Perkins backed Fisker, an electric car company, which received more than half a billion dollars in government loans in 2009 only to lay off about 75% of its staff last month. When Gore’s “investments” have been unsuccessful, often its the American taxpayer–non-consenting investors–who lose.

The American people became non-consenting investment partners in billion of dollars of Department of Energy grants and loans from President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package and other efforts over the last few years. Roughly 80% of those DOE loans went to companies tied to President Obama’s donors. The Obama administration has invested hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars in biofuels for the US Navy. A biofuel company that received a more than a half a billion contract, Solazyme, has ties to former Obama adviser and donor, T.J. Glauthier. Solazyme’s contract is equivalent to $16 a gallon for fuel, about four times as high as traditional fuels. Even as the Navy’s budget is being cut by sequestration, they are continuing to make this expensive type of fuel a priority.

At best, climate change and its cause are unproven. Some cite a summer of higher temperatures as proof of climate change. Others say that man-created pollution may be the cause of a cooler spring. Even if anthropogenic climate change was true, the methods of mitigating its effects are unhelpful. Electric cars are often charged by coal powered electricity and are prone to catch on fire (more carbon emissions!). Biofuels, like wood and grain-based ethanol and algae based fuels, have proven to be inefficient in both their production and their consumption. All this “green” light district business does is fill the bank accounts of the politically connected at the expense of the American taxpayer…and proves President Reagan right once again.

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Congress Clouds the Already Weak Transparency of the STOCK Act;Updated

by Whitney Pitcher
CapitolBuilding
At the end of last week without even a vote, both the House and the Senate approved a repeal of a portion of the STOCK Act.  The STOCK Act, signed into law last Spring, is a transparency and ethics law aimed primarily at Congress and their staff. The law requires those individuals to disclose their conflicts of interests (such as stock purchases) and  prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit. However, the bill also applies to many higher ranking federal employees as well. With the repeal of the portion of this bill (if signed by the President),  two components of transparency will become opaque, as detailed by the Sunshine Foundation (emphasis added):

The bill enacted last year would require already public financial disclosures of senior congressional and executive branch officials to be put online in order to prevent or root out insider trading. There were concerns that some provisions of the bill were overbroad and would put some government employees at risk. Rather than craft narrow exemptions, or even delay implementation until proper protections could be created, the Senate decided instead to exclude legislative and executive staffers from the online disclosure requirements.  

The sweeping exemption goes even farther than critics of the disclosure requirements requested. For those to whom online disclosure would still apply (the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation) the Senate bill made electronic filing of the information optional and struck the requirement that online information be searchable, sortable and downloadable, making even the disclosures that remain in the bill tepid and relatively unusable.

Even prior to the aforementioned legislation, implementation of the STOCK Act had already been delayed multiple times. Additionally, the bill was not even available for public consumption on the  Library of Congress website until after the measure was approved by Congress. Imagine that–a bill that would repeal transparency passed through Congress in a non-transparent manner.

In today’s data-driven, information age, if such government information is not online, it is essentially useless to the American public. How will constituents be able to hold their leaders and their leaders’ staff accountable if such information in not available online? If such online disclosure is merely optional, there is little motivation for politicians to be voluntarily transparent.

The STOCK Act was the ultimately a hybrid of two bills proposed by Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. When the STOCK Act was being discussed in Congress, Governor Sarah Palin called the bill ” particularly weak” because they did not require Congress to disclose their stock purchase or trades immediately. Governor Palin supported a more stringent bill from Congressman Sean Duffy,which would have required all Congressmen to create blind trusts or disclose stock trades within three days. Duffy’s bill never made it out of committee.

The research and work of Peter Schweizer led to such legislation being seriously considered at all. Legislation banning insider trading never got any traction until Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out was released in 2011. Schweizer called the passage of the STOCK Act a “victory”, but noted that the bill did not go “nearly far enough to deal with the problems of cronyism and corruption that we face.”

What must Governor Palin and Peter Schweizer think of the non-transparent weakening of an already weak bill?

The STOCK Act only received 5 “nay” votes total between the House and the Senate when it passed in early 2012. Why did a bill that received overwhelming support now engender such an overwhelming response for its weakening? Why didn’t the co-author of the original bill, Senator Gillibrand, call for at least a legitimate vote on the weakening of her bill? Why did Congressman Duffy, who proposed a stronger piece of legislation, not reject such a bill?

It seems that the political forecast in Washington D.C. remains cloudy with little chance of sunlight and transparency.

Updated:President Obama has now signed this bill only further confirming that the “most transparent  administration” is nothing but.

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Will ACES Be Discarded?

by Whitney Pitcher

During her CPAC speech last Saturday, Governor Palin included some Alaskan constitutional populism (emphasis added):

If Mrs. Thatcher were with us here today, she would remind us that there is a big difference between being pro-business and being pro-free market. On this there can be no mistake where conservatives stand. It’s time for “We the People” to break up the cronyism and put a stake through the heart of “too big to fail” once and for all.

That includes these resource-rich states like Alaska, my home state. Read your constitution, Alaskans. Realize that the natural resources that God has created for man’s use — they’re not owned by the big multinational conglomerates and the monopolies. They’re owned by the people. They don’t own them, so don’t let them own you. You have a right to those resources to be developed for our use.

Governor Palin rightfully notes two important issues in particular–1) the Alaskan constitution’s charge that development of resources for the good of the people 2) the warning that the people (and politicians) of Alaska  not allow themselves to be owned by the oil companies.

The Alaskan constitution notes that the state’s natural resources belong to the people and are to developed for their maximum benefit :

 The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.

Governor Palin’s point is especially salient and timely when it comes to Alaska’s natural resources. On Wednesday night, the Alaska state senate passed a bill that if passed in the House and signed by Governor Parnell would overhaul the oil tax reform plan, ACES, that Governor Palin signed into law in 2007. Unlike Governor Palin’s ACES, however, this bill was not discussed in a transparent and comprehensive manner:

 The newest version of the oil tax bill was introduced Thursday. In the hours before it passed there no public testimony. There was no testimony from Alaska’s independent oil explorers. The only industry testimony came from Alaska’s Big Three oil producers, which had been invited to testify.

“It was sort of striking that the oil industry gets a chance for public comment and the rest of Alaskans don’t,” Wielechowski said.

Many of the smaller independent players in Alaska’s oil patch are the beneficiaries of tax incentives aimed at new production from new fields, rather than the strategy pushed by Parnell and championed by legislative leaders of pumping oil, faster, from known fields.

Testimony from the Big Three acknowledged that the oil-tax changes proposed under SB 21 would make Alaska a more competitive tax environment. But they would not promise new production.

One of the positives of ACES is that smaller, independent oil companies have been able to develop in Alaska. In fact, the number of oil tax returns filed with Alaska has increased 383% since ACES was passed. Annual capital expenditures have nearly doubled since FY2007, meaning that producers are engaging in increased infrastructure development (i.e. more rigs) and the like. These expenditures are helping to lead to increased profits for even the major oil companies. For example, in 2012, 13% of Conoco Phillips’s oil and gas development occurred in Alaska, but Alaska contributed to 34% of their income. Additionally, according to Alaska’s own labor statistics, oil and gas jobs increased more than 15% between 2007 and 2012.

So, why is there a push for reforming ACES? Because of the very thing that Governor Palin warned against in her CPAC speech–being owned by the oil companies. In theory, the Senate bill is better for the oil companies because it flattens ACES’s tax rate and provides incentives for new oil. This sounds pro-business, right? That’s what Governor Palin warned about in her CPAC speech as well. There’s a difference between the invisible hand of the free market and the hand-in-hand “pro business” relationship between business and government. This “hand-in-hand” relationship is the very type of relationship that was the impetus for ACES being passed in the first place, as the Murkowski administration prior to Palin’s administration was shrouded in corruption due to the pay-to-play deals between the oil companies and lawmakers. Governor Parnell has not had that kind of relationship in his dealings, but he has had a revolving door relationship between the oil industry and politics. As I wrote nearly two years ago:

In the early and mid 1990s, Parnell served in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate. Following his time in the Senate, Parnell became director of government relations for ConoccoPhillips. He then went to work for Governor Murkowski as the director state division of oil and gas from 2003 to 2005. During part of this period time, Governor Palin had served as an oil and gas commissioner until she encountered unethical behavior from another commissioner and Alaska GOP chair,Randy Ruedrich, and she resigned and lodged a complaint against Ruedrich. Prior to running for Lt. Governor in 2006, Parnell worked at Patton Boggs, a law firm that represented ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil in the Exxon Valdex oil spill case.

Although the bill was passed in the Senate, it was proposed at the request of Governor Parnell. He found 11 allies in the Senate, and the bill passed 11-9. One Senator, Peter Micciche, who is also employed as a ConocoPhillips natural gas plant supervisor,  paid lip service support to ACES, indicating he would reject Governor Parnell’s proposal. However, Micciche ended up voting for the modified Senate bill that Governor Parnell applauded.

The Senate bill removed the capital expenditure credits that ACES has, which particularly benefited the smaller companies who were not given the opportunity to testify before the Senate. The credits gave companies breaks on infrastructure development and expansion (e.g. new rigs) and the like, which because of economies of scale, helped smaller companies (with their smaller budgets) be able to grow.  This was another thing Governor Palin noted during her CPAC speech, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”.  Such may be the case for these smaller companies who were not given a voice in these Senate debates.

ACES has not only helped boost Alaskan jobs and investments by oil companies, it has strengthen Alaska’s fiscal health. ACES has helped create $16.5+ billion in state savings and has contributed to Alaska being upgraded to a AAA credit rating by both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s in the past 14 months. As a House committee begins to discuss this bill today, one would hope that, rather than appeasing the oil companies for increased production that may or may not occur, legislators would look at the economic and overall fiscal benefits that ACES has brought to the state.

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President Obama’s Anti-Keystone Cronies

by Whitney Pitcher

Keystone-Pipeline-Obama-300x228

Last week the State Department released a report indicating the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on the environment and would create more than forty thousand jobs during construction. With this news (confirming what we already knew), why isn’t the Obama administration moving forward on developing this pipeline? Because regardless of whether or not the pipeline is built, his cronies stand to benefit.

It is already widely known that Obama crony Warren Buffett has gained from the lack of construction on the pipeline. Without the presence of pipeline, much of the oil developed in the Canadian oil sands are transported by train. Per Bloomberg:

 Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.

“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”

Interestingly, Buffett did not buy this railroad until a year after President Obama was elected. Per the American Thinker:

 A year after the election of Obama, Warren Buffett bought a giant railroad, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The BNSF has more than 32,000 miles of track and right-of-way in this nation, running from the west coast and through the agricultural heartland of America. It is also hauls coal from the mines in Montana and Wyoming and is the railroad with the best existing north-south infrastructure. In fact, it’s quite well-situated to perform precisely the task for which TransCanada has proposed to build a pipeline.

Should the pipeline fail, the oil will still be extracted, but it will then be transported by rail, and Mr. Buffett, thanks to the efforts of his friend Mr. Holland, will be uniquely situated to derive a fortune from that business, as well as enhance the value of his holdings in Conoco-Phillips petroleum. Is it possible that Warren Buffett’s assistance to Obama in both policy and public relations lately may be his way of trying to tip the regulatory scales in his favor? After all, nothing says “I love you” to a Democrat better than a public plea for more taxes.

Additionally, Buffett’s Union Tank Car Co is raking in loads of cash from transporting oil from the Bakken formation in the northern plains states. If built, the pipeline would transport 100,000 barrels of oil a day from the North Dakota portion of the Bakken alone.

Fast forward to this year. Just last week, the Washington Free Beacon reported a between China and a Canadian oil company with holdings in the Gulf of Mexico and in Canada’s oil sands:

The Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) reached a “definitive agreement” with Nexen, Inc., a Canadian energy company, announced on July 23, 2012, to buy all of the company’s outstanding public shares. Nexen has holdings in the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, giving the Chinese government access to millions of barrels of Keystone XL and Gulf reserve oil.

Nexen’s holdings in the Gulf, coupled with the Chinese government’s ownership of CNOOC, meant the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States had to approve the takeover, which it did on Feb. 12.

Judicial Watch, an organization focusing on transparency and integrity in government, announced last week that they are suing the Obama administration for documents relating to the approval of this deal to communist China. In their press release, Judicial Watch notes multiple ties between the Obama administration and investors who profited from the deal:

* Taconic Capital, which reported in its third quarter SEC filing that it had acquired six million shares of Nexen between July 1 and September 30, 2012. Taconic’s founder and managing director is Frank Brosens, an Obama bundler who has raised more than $1 million for the President. Brosens was Timothy Geithner’s first choice to run the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program).

*Farallon Capital Management LLC, which bought 8.7 million shares of Nexen (1.65 percent of the company) between July 1 and September 30, 2012. The founder of Fallon Capital is Thomas Steyer, is a long-time Democratic fundraiser who ridiculed Romney’s energy plans at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

*Eton Park Capital Management, which bought 6,737,000 shares (1.28 percent) of Nexen. Eton Park was founded and is directed by Eric Mindich, a bundler who raised more than $71,000 for Obama this cycle and has given more than $500,000 to Democratic candidates since 1990.

*D.E. Shaw & Co., which increased its position by 5.8 million to 6.5 million shares, or 1.22 percent of the company. D.E. Shaw was founded by David E. Shaw, an Obama bundler in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. He also sits on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as he did under the Clinton administration.

*Covington & Burling LLP, in which Eric Holder was formerly a partner, was hired by Nexen to lobby on behalf of the acquisition’s approval.

While the Obama administration continues to hem and haw about whether or not they will ever approve the pipeline, his cronies continue to benefit from the lack of a pipeline. Buffet’s train company ownership rakes in the dough from the lack of the pipeline. Nexen will benefit regardless of whether or not the pipeline is built as the Washington Times notes:

 If not through Keystone, mined oil will be transported by rail, truck, or planned pipelines in Canada. Last month, the China Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) completed the purchase of Nexen, a major producer of oil from Canadian sands, for $15 billion. CNOOC would not have purchased Nexen without assurance by the Canadian government that the oil can be harvested.

Last April, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that approval of the pipeline would “preemptively sacrifice American sovereignty”. However, in approving this deal with the Chinese government, the Obama administration is allowing the largest foreign holder of our debt greater access to North American energy resources–resources that America should gladly develop in concert with an ally. Where is the protection of American sovereignty in that?

The biggest critics of the pipeline are environmentalists. However, the lack of a pipeline is likely to cause more environmental problems than the pipeline. Transportation of oil by rail or road cause more injuries, death, and environmental damage than pipelines. Additionally,transport of the oil to China will use large amounts of energy (i.e. more carbon emissions). Rejecting the pipeline is not an environmentally noble decision; it’s just another example of how President Obama rewards his cronies at the expense of the American people.

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The John Does vs The Permanent Political Establishment

Gary Cooper Barbara Stanwyck Meet John Doe

By Gary P Jackson
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Sarah Palin has often said one of her favorite movies is the 1939 classic Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie follows newly appointed Senator Jefferson Smith [Stewart] , a naive and idealistic young man. As the story unfolds, Senator Smith runs up against the political machine, massive corruption and cronyism.

Before taking office, Smith was the leader of the Boy Rangers a fictional group akin to the Boy Scouts of America. It’s his goal, as Senator, to create a national boys camp, a noble idea that turns into a battle. It’s a great movie that I firmly believe all Americans should see. Like all Capra films, it has a strong message.

It’s easy to understand why Sarah Palin loves this movie. Sarah is a proven reformer, having gone after questionable politicians since her earliest days as a member of the Wasilla, Alaska city council.

In a move that kinda mirrors the movie, after an unsuccessful bid to be Alaska’s Lt. Governor, Sarah, whose political star was definitely on the rise, was appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski as Chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This is one of the most powerful positions in the state. It was here that Sarah uncovered massive corruption at almost every level.

After uncovering all of this corruption, Sarah went to the Governor and demanded action. After being told to let it go, she told the Governor to either get something done, or she would go to the media with the facts. This, of course led to Murkowski sending then Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who was also neck deep in his own corrupt dealings, to pay Sarah a visit, threatening her with legal consequences if she blew the whistle.

In the end, Sarah resigned from her high paying gig at the AOGCC and took on the entire corrupt Republican Party in Alaska. The rest is history. The FBI would eventually get involved, and two years later, months into Governor Palin’s term, corrupt Republicans were still being hauled off to prison.

It’s easy to see why Governor Palin relates to the struggles of Senator Smith. She’s lived the movie, and then some!

For me though, it’s another Capra film that hits all of the right notes. Meet John Doe is a wonderful film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. I relate to the film because of the parallels between the film and what is going on between the Republican Party and the Tea Party today.

Full Disclosure: I’m a huge Gary Cooper fan, something helped along by the fact that he was my mother’s favorite actor, and who I’m named after. And I simply adore Barbara Stanwyck. She is one of the greatest actresses ever to appear on film, and one of the most beautiful. As such, I love every film both of them made.

It’s interesting to note that Cooper and Stanwyck, as well as actors Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, and Irene Dunne [among others] were members of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Within Stanwyck’s online bio, the Internet Movie Database describes this group as “a rabidly right-wing political action group during the McCarthy-era ‘blacklisting’ period in the early and mid-1950s.” Wonderful actors and Conservative to boot. Good enough for me! If they were alive today they would likely be Tea Party members themselves. BTW, as we now know, MaCarthy was spot on!

Released in 1941, while America was still in shambles due to Roosevelt’s failed liberal policies, that turned a bad recession into what is now known as The Great Depression, the movie opens in the town’s newspaper office. The local newspaper has been bought out by oil tycoon D. B. Norton, deliciously played by Edward Arnold, and the first order of business is firing almost everyone, including popular columnist Ann Mitchell. [Stanwyck]

Angered, especially after being told to make sure her last column is done before she hits the door, Mitchell decides to leave a parting shot. She quickly types up a fictional letter to the editor in which a desperate, unemployed man, who calls himself “John Doe,” goes on and on about the state of the country, the political corruption, and the decline of the American way. As a gesture, this fictional “John Doe” promises to commit suicide by jumping off the city’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve.

Once published, the letter creates an uproar in the community. The new editor Henry Connell [James Gleason] summons Mitchell back. Connell figures the letter is bogus, and the town’s other newspaper is already saying as much. Ann’s a fast talker though and convinces Connell that his only course of action is to run with the story, as any admission that the whole thing was made up would harm the paper’s credibility. Mitchell then convinces Connell to hire her back, with a substantial raise.

It’s decided they will run an article asking “John Doe” to come to the newspaper office, and that they have employment for him. The thinking here is people would show up claiming to be “John” and they could pick someone to play the part. It works, as a long line of sad looking tramps parade through the office claiming to be “John.” Of course, none of these characters will do, but as luck will have it, an injured baseball player “Long John” Willoughby [Gary Cooper] walks through the door. Unlike the rest, the humble Willoughby doesn’t claim to be “John Doe.” He tells Mitchell and Connell that he just figured if there was one job, maybe there was two. The newspaper just found itself a sucker to play “John Doe.”

As it turns out, Willoughby is a good speaker, and inspires people all over the nation, when he goes on a nation radio show with his message, a message written by Mitchell. In an organic movement that mirrors the formation of the Tea Party, “John Doe Clubs” start popping up across the country, built on the ideals that Willoughby, speaking the words written by Mitchell, sets forth.

Seeing what he has, D. B. Norton starts outlaying his own cash to fund a national tour with Willoughby and Mitchell, and to help start up these “John Doe Clubs” everywhere. Norton also puts a plan in motion for a national “John Doe” convention.

There are several plot twists, and Willoughby starts having feelings for Mitchell, but we’ll skip past that. Besides, if you haven’t seen the movie, you simply must, not only because you’ll better get where I’m going with all of this, but because this is simply a damned good movie and I want you to experience it yourself!

Moving along, we learn that the kindly D.B. Norton really isn’t kindly at all. The oil man has bought up newspapers and radio stations across the country and plans to use them, as well as the now powerful “John Doe” movement, to launch his political career. It seems Norton has his sights on the White House.

The plan is for Willoughby, as “John Doe” to deliver the keynote speech at the convention, and endorse Norton for president. At least that’s Norton’s plan. Meanwhile Mitchell has actually bought into the “John Doe” movement and has written a wonderful and inspiring speech for the convention.

It all comes to a head when the newspaper’s editor, Henry Connell, gets wind of what Norton is up to and grows a conscience, though not before getting all liquored up. He informs Mitchell of Norton’s plan, and catches Willoughby before the speech. Willoughby then approaches Norton and tells him he refuses to go along. Norton informs Willoughby that if he doesn’t go through with it, he will expose him as a fraud to the world, and destroy him.

At the convention Norton has his union thugs placed throughout the audience, and newspapers pre-printed exposing Willoughby, just in case. He also has Ann Mitchell on lockdown, so she can’t blow the whistle.

It’s cold and rainy as Willoughby takes to the stage. His conscience simply won’t allow him to do Norton’s bidding. As promised, Norton’s union thugs start calling him a fraud, when he starts with the speech Mitchell wrote, rather than the one Norton wanted him to give, and newspapers magically appeared exposing Willoughby, conveniently leaving out Norton and his newspaper’s part in it all. Pretty soon the entire crowd turns on Willoughby.

Destroyed, Willoughby takes the role of “John Doe” all of the way to the top of the town’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve, where he intends to jump.

Much like the fictional “John Doe” movement, the Tea Party is an organic movement that got it’s inspiration from a man who was fed up. On February 19, 2009 CNBC anchor Rick Santelli, reporting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, went into a well deserved rant about the corrupt dealings going on in the financial markets and called for a new Boston Tea Party. This rant, heard around the world, spoke to tens of millions of fed up Americans who would form thousands of Tea Party groups nationwide.

Though mostly without a formal structure, and no national leadership unifying all of it’s members, the Tea Party has become a powerful force in American politics. It didn’t take long for politicians to try and co-opt the movement for their own gains. For the most part though, Tea Party members turned out to be more sophisticated than the politicians hoped, and with only a few notable exceptions, weren’t fooled by the phonies in the least.

That didn’t stop the GOP from riding the Tea Party’s coattails into 2010 and historic victories nationwide. With the help of Conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, we saw the greatest nationwide political turnover of power since Reconstruction after the Civil War.

Of course, not everyone the Tea Party helped put in power stayed true to their mandate, and those who have are despised by the Republican Elite. You see, true Conservatives cannot be corrupted by Washington, nor can they be controlled by the party bosses. The more the GOP has tried to get Tea Party members to “play ball” the more resistance they have met. The Republican Party bosses want to keeps the status quo. They want to keep their little power bases and corrupt deals alive and producing. They want nothing to do with real reform and real reformers.

True reformers, like Sarah Palin, are attacked unmercifully by the Republican Party Elite. The last thing they want are strong, powerful men and women who, if elected, would dismantle the entire corrupt establishment machine. [in both parties] Something that must be done if America is to survive.

Since they can’t control the Tea Party, the Republicans are again imitating the movie, and have moved into the seek and destroy phase. Recently we’ve seen Speaker of the House John Boehner purge Tea Party Republicans from leadership positions in Congress, and his minions bad mouth the Tea Party to any and all who would listen. As you can imagine, the democrats, and their corrupt media partners, are loving it all, and reporting it breathlessly.

History is being rewritten, and losses by establishment hacks are now being blamed on the Tea Party. The GOP is blaming the Tea Party for all of the loses in 2012, never mind it was their standard bearer, Mitt Romney, who lost to the worst president in American history, and it was their candidates who failed to win 10 seats. Seats that would have put the Senate in Republican hands.

Now we have Karl Rove, one of the most despicable human beings in politics today, renaming his failed political action group the “Conservative Victory Fund” in an attempt to not only co-opt the Conservative movement, but stop the Tea Party as well.

As we reported last November, Rove’s group spent between $100 million and $400 million [depending on who you ask] on various establishment candidates. Rove had a 1% success rate. In comparison, Sarah Palin had a 75% endorsement success rate and America Grizzlies United [Organize for Palin] a group of Palin supporters nationwide, had a 66% success rate, putting candidates in office locally, statewide, and of course, in national office. Thomas S Schmitz, Chairman of the Board of American Grizzlies United, tells me the group spent less that $1000 total, the rest was just good old fashioned hard work.

No wonder Rove wants to destroy the Tea Party and other Conservative groups. They are making him look like the worthless hack he is!

Though establishment candidates lost big in 2010, and Tea Party candidates won huge gains all over the country, the Rove wing of the GOP love to bring up two candidates who lost: Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle.

The elites use these two ladies as examples of why the Tea Party is a failure and can’t be taken seriously. For the establishment, this is a twofer, because they can bash Sarah Palin at the same time. The GOP lies when they bash Sarah, and they lie about Angle and O’Donnell.

First let’s look at Sharron Angle. For one thing, Sarah Palin didn’t endorse her in the primary. She didn’t endorse any candidate in that race, as both her dad and brother had endorsed Danny Tarkanian. BTW, Mitt Romney DID endorse Angle in the primary, something the GOP Elite never mention. Now Sarah did endorse Angle once she was the nominee, but so what. Who else was she gonna to endorse? Angle lost because many liberal Republicans in Nevada backed Harry Reid. Plain and simple.

Christine O’Donnell is another matter altogether, and if anyone is to blame for her loss it’s Karl Rove. Yeah, she was, and is, quirky. But O’Donnell was sincere and had a real Conservative message, and no doubt would have made a good Senator.

As it was, you had George Soros’ boy, Republican Congressman Mike Castle, who only voted like a Conservative at election time, and voted like a socialist democrat the rest of the time, or Mike Coons, the self-proclaimed “bearded Marxist” on the democrat side. Quirks and all, Christine O’Donnell would have made a far superior Senator then either one of those two idiots!

Karl Rove didn’t quite see it that way. You see, Rove had dealings with Congressman Castle, and had hoped to further them along with a Senator Castle. As Michelle Malkin reported at the time, Rove had met with Tea Party leaders in Delaware and tried to convince them to leave his boy Castle alone, and NOT support O’Donnell’s bid for the Senate. As it happened, the Tea Party told Rove to shove it, and O’Donnell got massive Tea Party support from around the country. She won the nomination handily.

O’Donnell was still giving her victory speech when Karl Rove took to the airwaves on Fox’s Sean Hannity Show and proceeded to rip her to shreds. In Fact, Fox [and Hannity] allowed Rove to bash O’Donnell for three nights in a row. As you can imagine, the left ate this up, and their media partners reported it all breathlessly.

Had Rove kept his yap shut, we’d probably be addressing her as Senator O’Donnell to this day. We’ll never know. What we do know, is before Rove’s despicable attacks, O’Donnell was favored to win over Coons by a respectable amount.

Now Rove, along with the rest of the Republican Party machine has targeted Conservatives for defeat. It’s Rove and the GOP’s intention to destroy the Tea Party, and stop Conservatives from winning primaries. Never mind that Conservatives have traditionally won, where the unprincipled squishes the establishment is in love with, do not, and cannot.

This is where you, the American People, come in. It’s time to hold ALL politicians accountable. All politicians from BOTH parties.

As Conservatives, we have very few places to go. The democrat party has been taken over by Marxists. The party of the KKK, Jim Crow, and Margret Sanger is beyond redemption. Thing is, the party of Lincoln and Reagan ain’t much better.

Since the days of Barry Goldwater, Conservatives have tried to reform the Republican Party, and force it to live up to the principles it pretends to stand for. The only brief moment of victory was the Reagan presidency, but Republican Elites have been trying to erase Reagan’s triumphs since the day he left office.

So what are we to do? There are dozens of registered political parties, but none have proven viable. I think at this point, a real reformer COULD win the presidency as an independent, but then what? A president without a party would have both the GOP and the democrats doing everything possible to stifle any attempts at real reform, both parties hoping to get back in power quickly. It would be a frustrating situation.

How about creating a new and vibrant alternative? I’m of the mindset that the Republican Party has become just as morally bankrupt and beyond redemption as the democrat party, but for different reasons. I personally think it’s time for the GOP to go the way of the Whigs, the party it replaced.

It takes time and money to create a new party, and one would have to convince many solid Conservatives already in office to leave the GOP and join that new party. Can it be done? I don’t know. It would take a dynamic leader, and a solid message of real reform. Sudden, and relentless reform. The American people thirst for that message and no-bullshit leaders who would deliver on it. But is it really possible to start a new party?

One thing I do know is the Republican Party machine, with the help of the corrupt media, and much to the delight of the democrats, aims to destroy the Tea Party and the entire Conservative movement, once and for all.

The question is, are you just going to stand by and let them get away with it?

The final scenes of Meet John Doe have D.B. Norton and all of his cronies atop the city municipal building waiting to see if Willoughby will show up and jump. In fact, Willoughby does show up, ready to make good on his threat, after mailing off a letter exposing everyone and everything.

Norton greets Willoughby and tells him that if he jumps, his people are already down there, ready to grab his body, and bury it in an unmarked grave, and no one will ever know. It’s at this point that Ann Mitchell, who has broken free of her captors, shows up and begs Willoughby not to jump, and in tears professes her undying love for him.

Willoughby is dead set on jumping, when members of the “John Doe Club,” folks we’d met earlier in the movie, make their way to the top of the building where Willoughby, Mitchell, and Norton are. They are accompanied by Henry Connell, the newspaper editor.

These “John Does” all plead with Willoughby not to jump. They tell him they don’t care how it all came to be, that they believe in his message, because they have used it in their own lives, and seen positive change in their own communities. It’s then that Ann Mitchell, crying, collapses in Willoughby’s arms and he picks her up and starts carrying her toward the crowd of “John Does

In the very last scene Henry Connell looks at D.B. Norton
and says with a dare: “The people, you just TRY and lick ’em!

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Following up on Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and Medicare Fraud at Houston’s Riverside General Hospital

By Gary P Jackson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the massive Medicare scandal revolving around Houston’s Riverside General Hospital and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who has deep, decades long ties to the hospital.

One of the things I really love about writing is sometimes I have the chance to talk with interesting, brave, and honorable men and women. People who do the right thing when doing nothing would be a hell of a lot easier. LaCheryl E. Whitlow is one of those people.

As a result of the story, I’ve had a running conversation with LaCheryl about the total mess in Houston, as well as the corruption. She’s been blogging continuously about the situation, trying to set the record straight as well as offering up sincere, heartfelt commentary.

LaCheryl is a long time Jackson-Lee supporter, and you can feel the hurt and pain in her writing. You can also see LaCheryl is one of those extraordinary people who refuse to sit back while surrounded by corruption, when she can speak out instead. Her blog Truth Hurts Like Hell is a must read for those looking to get the latest on the scandals, and goings on at Riverside General.

As many of our readers are Palin supporters, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why I find myself admiring LaCheryl greatly. Reform, ethics, corruption busting, is why we admire Sarah Palin so much. Anyone who stands up and speaks out, when it would be much simple to sit down and shut up [safer too] should be admired and thanked.

I only know LaCheryl through our interaction and her blog, but I admire her courage greatly. Like any reform minded person, she’s being attacked mercilessly. I’ve had several who have viciously attacked her in our comments section. [Though I’ve not given them the satisfaction of seeing their hate in print, I’ve saved them]LaCheryl tells me she’s been getting steady hate from those angry she’s doing the right thing.

I want to encourage our readers to go back and re-read the lengthy story on the massive Medicare fraud the management of Riverside General has been involved in, as well as the various comments LaCheryl left along with videos.

I also encourage everyone, Texans especially, to take a look at LaCheryl’s blog to learn more about the difficult situation the workers at the Hospital now face because of the incredibly corrupt management.

The latest from LaCheryl IF THE ADMINISTRATORS OF RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL WERE WHITE is a quite eye opening:

IF THE ADMINISTRATORS OF RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL WERE WHITE

…would any of this be a factor?

With all that has come out about Riverside General Hospital in the local paper and the media I often wonder had this hospital administration been all white would the unfolding issues that have been exposed in the public taken place in the same manner?

I wonder if the predominately black employees that have witnessed the abuse, neglect, and corruption that has taken place within the walls of that historically black institution been so passive at coming fourth with the truth or be as closed mouth had the administrators been white?

When payday rolls around and they have diligently worked hard, kept their work areas neat and clean, and respecting of management, and so forth and a white supervisor tells them, “Sorry we don’t have your check today because there is aglitchin the system, contact the Human resource dept.” Would they believe that had it come from a white person as the truth?

When they contact the Human Resources director and inquire about their pay and the H.R director (being white also in this case) told them to wait until the following week for their check or I’m not concerned if you got your check or not because I got mine, etc. Would the employees of Riverside General Hospital take that from a white H.R director?

What about the patient abuse that has taken place there? The shredding of files and other “cover-ups…IF THE ADMINISTRATORS OF RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL WERE WHITE would the black employees there still be as nonchalant about speaking out against them?

If the director of nursing and the charge nurse on Riverside general hospital were white and talked to people in the horrible and disrespectful way they are KNOWN for would it be different…IF THE ADMINISTRATORS OF RIVERSIDE GENERAL HOSPITAL WERE WHITE?

If the CEO raced in a room and told people that “they could have the scraps” in the conference room, and people cleared the hall when she stepped downstairs, or bowed their heads and closed their mouths when she entered a room…would they do it is she were white? If the president of that hospital was accused of the EXACT same thing he is accused of now would the employees believe it more if he had blond hair, blue eyes, and white?

Much more here.

LaCheryl is black, as are most of the employees and management at Riverside Hospital. This took real courage for her to say what she’s saying. Her post speaks to the REAL problem we face when it comes to corruption.

It’s not just blacks who tolerate corrupt blacks in the name of “solidarity” it’s many groups. We’ve seen Republicans excuse corruption among Republicans. I know, I got attacked for exposing Rick Perry and others last year. We see democrats excuse all corruption in the name of politics as well. This sort of behavior breaks all social, racial, and political boundaries.

Sarah Palin was attacked by fellow Republicans after she took down much of the corrupt Republican Party [including the Attorney General and the state GOP Chairman]in Alaska. The GOP hates her to this day for it. From what I’m already seeing, LaCheryl has faced much of the same, from her peers.

Peer pressure is a strong motivator. It can motive one to do great things, or cause great evils. It can also cause many a good person to sit by as evil occurs, rather than speak up. That’s why we admire people who will stand up, no matter what the personal cost to themselves is.

The 18th Congressional District of Texas is a mess. It needs new representation. Sheila Jackson-Lee has held that district since 1995. [18 years] That’s more than long enough. The voters deserve a fresh face, and a solid leader.

Toward that end, I’d like to strongly recommend voters choose to send Lt Col Sean Seibert to Congress in place of Jackson-Lee on Tuesday.

From Sean’s website:

Over his career he has led our nation’s greatest resources, its sons and daughters, in numerous deployments (to include Guatemala, Bosnia, Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan). In 2009 Sean was selected to join the 82d Airborne Division General Staff on their deployment to Afghanistan. Starting off as the lead planner for the Afghan National Police, whose stalwart performance was rated as immeasurable. The Commanding General selected Sean as his number one choice to lead the efforts at the key strategic board crossing in the Khyber Pass (where 80% of all NATO resources entered Afghanistan from Pakistan).

In this role Sean increased revenue by 203 Million Dollars, while improving commercial throughput from 17,000 to 22,000 per month. While leading the NATO effort on the border he facilitated regular discussions between the Afghan and Pakistani Government Officials.

Sean’s approach to the local Afghan community was one of constituents, where he regularly listened to their issues and negotiated with the Afghan Government and NATO to obtain what the people of the area needed and wanted. These efforts lead to job creation and economic growth in the area.

Raised in Texas, Sean is the eldest son of an immigrant mother (who became a U.S. Citizen in 1967) who instilled a multi-cultural view of the world and gave him the encouragement and confidence to be the first in the family to go to college obtaining a BA in Criminal Justice and furthering his education with a Masters in Organizational Management.

Sean Seibert is a fiscal conservative who believes in debt reduction and has a philosophy of pay as you go.
Honors and Awards:

*Meritorious Unit Commendation
*Superior Unit Award (2nd Oak Leaf)
*Bronze Star Medal
*Defense Meritorious Service Medal
*Meritorious Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf)
*Joint Commendation Medal
*Army Commendation Medal (4th Oak Leaf)
*Army Achievement Medal (5th Oak Leaf)
*Army Reserves Commendation Medal (4th Oak Leaf)
*National Defense Service Medal (2nd)
*Armed Forces Service Medal
*Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 Service Stars)
*Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
*Armed Forces Reserve Medal (w/ hourglass & 4 & M)
*NATO medal
*Afghan Campaign Medal with two service stars
*Army Service Ribbon
*Overseas Ribbon
*Army Reserves Overseas Training Ribbon (3)
*Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
*Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
*Army Lapel Button

Houston has a huge Chinese-Asian community, here’s an interview Seibert did with Local Houston Chinese TV:

This is from Red Radio back in January:

Texans, please get out and vote on Tuesday. And everyone, please go read LaCheryl’s blog and thank her for standing up and speaking out when sitting down and shutting up would be a hell of a lot easier. We need millions more like her!

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An Obama Crony Lands a $100 Million Obamacare Waiver

by Whitney Pitcher

Today, Crain’s Chicago Business reports that yet another one of President Obama’s cronies received an Obamacare waiver:

 Cook County hit a $100 million jackpot over the weekend.

In a little noticed but crucial decision announced Friday night, the federal government signed off on a request by county board President Toni Preckwinkle to enroll 114,000 low-income people a year early in the Medicaid program.

For the county, the decision is worth as much as $100 million a year, since its network of hospitals and health clinics already is serving most of the patients free of charge. The tab now will be picked up by federal taxpayers under a provision of Obamacare, rather than by Cook County taxpayers alone.

Ms. Preckwinkle isn’t only the Cook County board President (and Lady Liberty in the picture above). She is also an Obama mentor who infamously said that President Reagan could “rot in hell” for making “drug use political”, as Tony Lee reported at Breitbart.com this past summer:

 Preckwinkle was discussing drug policy and how she felt drug treatment should not be a part of the criminal justice system. She was defending the decision by Chicago city officials to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. And her comments were in reference to Reagan’s “war on drugs,” which President Richard Nixon started. During Reagan’s tenure, First Lady Nancy Reagan started the “Just Say No” campaign against drugs.

Preckwinkle made those comments in downstate Illinois. Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois.

Preckwinkle helped Obama challenge the signatures of his primary opponents to run unopposed in his 1996 state senate race. Obama often reminisces about this race as a heroic, Rudy-esque foray into politics in which he overcame all odds to win.

Preckwinkle also supported Barack Obama in his failed primary run against sitting Congressman Bobby Rush in 2000, his 2004 US Senate run and his 2008 presidential run. As The New Yorker stated in a 2008 article, Preckwinkle was the one who suggested Obama begin attending Jeremiah Wright’s church:

On issue after issue, Preckwinkle presented Obama as someone who thrived in the world of Chicago politics. She suggested that Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons. “It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners,” she said. “It’s a good place for a politician to be a member.” Preckwinkle was unsparing on the subject of the Chicago real-estate developer Antoin (Tony) Rezko, a friend of Obama’s and one of his top fund-raisers, who was recently convicted of fraud, bribery, and money laundering: “Who you take money from is a reflection of your knowledge at the time and your principles.” As we talked, it became increasingly clear that loyalty was the issue that drove Preckwinkle’s current view of her onetime protégé. “I don’t think you should forget who your friends are,” she said.

Beyond the cronyism, this “waiver” only serves to place the people of the greater Chicago area and Illinois further underwater fiscally. Most businesses, states, and areas who have sought an Obamacare waiver had done so to delay the implementation of Obamacare. Preckwinkle’s request for a waiver was to begin Medicaid expansion in Cook County early, and subsequently fill a budget gap for Cook County. This is normal for Illinois politicians who often seek federal dollars to cover their own budgetary failures.With Medicaid’s hybrid of federal and state funding, the solicitation of federal dollars has also led to state and local budgetary increases,and, of course, fiscal problems A recent report on state budgets in crisis notes that one of the things that has put Illinois in such great financial peril is Medicaid:

Illinois’ other structural problem is Medicaid. In FY 2010, Medicaid accounted for 23 percent of the state’s budget and that figure is going to grow under the Affordable Care Act. Under the best case scenario Obamacare will only raise spending 3.3 percent above the current baseline by 2019. However other scenarios suggest the increase could be as much as 20 percent by 2020.

Rather than address these structural problems, Illinois has resorted to heavy borrowing to cover its obligations. As a result, per capita debt in Illinois is the second highest in the nation at nearly $10,000 (NY is number one). And largely because of this high level of debt, Illinois’ bond rating is the worst in the nation. Moody’s downgraded the state most recently in January of 2012.

In fact, during FY2012, Medicaid was underfunded by $2.1 billion. With the growing pool of patients and a shrinking number of doctors, Obamacare has only proven itself to be nothing more than a politician promising the entire country a new car, but only giving them a set of keys. Real healthcare reform is not expanding insurance while shrinking care and paying back your cronies. Real fiscal reform is not seeking federal dollars as a stopgap measure for a county and state budget drowning in debt.

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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee Mixed Up In Massive Houston Medicare Fraud

By Gary P Jackson

Another stunning example of how cronyism and corrupt politicians are stealing tax payer money, giving it to crooks, and enabling criminal behavior.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, from the 18th congressional district of Texas, has deep ties to Riverside General Hospital in Houston. She also has close ties to top administrators who were just rounded up after massive Medicare fraud was uncover at the hospital.

M. Catharine Evans from American Thinker has the explosive details:

Systemic Medicare Fraud Under Houston’s Sheila Jackson Lee

Will Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee have to distance herself from Houston’s Riverside General Hospital now that top administrators have been caught in a major Medicare fraud scam?

Last week’s roundup makes me wonder why the Obama administration is cracking down on Medicare/Medicaid fraud in the first place. Aren’t they the ones shelling out hundreds of millions to their Solyndra-like cronies with no consequences?

Is it to make them look tough on crime, or is it to make sure the recovered monies are going into their own wallets at the end of the day?

Since her days on the Houston City Council, Jackson Lee has pushed to use city funds to keep Riverside’s doors open. At that time, the councilwoman suggested that the facility was a good investment for the city.

Jackson Lee’s interest in Riverside goes back to the ’80s when her husband Elwyn C. Lee, now University of Houston vice-chancellor (see video), served on Riverside’s board from 1981-1988. In his last year at Riverside, Mr. Lee was made chairman of that board, and over the years, husband and wife have been influential in keeping the financially strapped hospital open. Jackson Lee was voted into Congress in 1994, representing the 18th district, where Riverside is located.

The president of Riverside, his son, and five others were arrested on October 4 as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud sweep. Earnest Gibson III, chief executive officer of Riverside General Hospital for 30 years, has been charged with bilking $158 million out of Medicare over the last seven years.

His son, Earnest Gibson IV, was charged with thirteen counts, including money-laundering and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The older Gibson became president around the same time Jackson Lee’s husband was appointed to the board in the early ’80s.

Friday’s arrests at Riverside came nine months after the arrest of Mohammad Khan, the hospital’s acting administrator, who pled guilty to his role in the Medicare fraud scheme and is now serving time.

Four months after Khan’s arrest, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suspended payments to Riverside. Gibson, who was still president at the time, sent a letter to all past and present supporters, friends, community leaders, and activists to help stop the federal government in its attempt to aggressively “shut down the 94-year old hospital.” Gibson asked his addressees to contact President Obama and Sheila Jackson Lee, congresswoman for Houston’s 18th district.

Ten days after CMS took action against Riverside, Jackson Lee wrote CMS Acting Director Marilyn Tavenner requesting she reconsider the agency’s decision.

It appears that, in suspending the Medicare payments you in effect have jeopardized some of the most vulnerable patients whose access to Medicare is literally their lifeline,” the congresswoman wrote in a letter.

This is classic corruptocrat strategy. Jackson Lee not only asks taxpayers who have already been bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars to pour more money into an inner-city hospital run by alleged crooks, but she then blames them when her poor and vulnerable constituents are sacrificed to the streets while administrators and politicians rake in more dough.

It’s unlikely that Jackson Lee would not have been aware of the rife fraud and abuses occurring at Riverside over the last decade. Not only did it happen in her district, but Jackson Lee’s own husband served on the hospital’s board for seven years in the 1980s, when Gibson was president. The Lees’ interest in Riverside continues up to the present day.

In 2010, Jackson Lee personally handed Gibson a one-million-dollar check for the hospital’s new Post Traumatic Stress Clinic after she was able to secure the grant through the Department of Defense. Lee stated that the money would provide more resources for Houston veterans suffering from PTSD.

Last year, Riverside’s Edith Irby Jones Healthcare Center, a drug, alcohol, and addiction rehab facility, was awarded $19.4 million in FEMA funds for structural repairs following Hurricane Ike. The FEMA website explains that money is awarded to the state of Texas and then forwarded to the eligible applicant.

The storm severely damaged the second-story roof, allowing water into the 118,000-square-foot structure. The funding will cover the replacement of the entire Edith Irby Jones Facility.

This facility is a vital part of the south Houston medical community,” said FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Russell. “These grants will assist the state in its efforts to get the hospital and the city back on the road to recovery.

This award represents the largest in a series of FEMA-funded projects to date for Riverside General Hospital totaling $28.2 million.

In August 2012, a month after Jackson Lee appealed to CMS on behalf of Riverside’s indigent and vulnerable patients, 70% of the hospital’s Medicare payments were restored. CMS lifted the suspension even though federal investigators were only two months away from arresting Gibson and the others. Jackson Lee’s intervention seems to have caused even more taxpayer monies to be directed toward a hospital brimming with corruption.

CMS has yet to comment on why its people granted the congresswoman’s request to continue pumping money into Riverside despite the $116 million in Medicare fraud uncovered at the beginning of 2012, which led to the arrest of Mohammad Khan.

Amid a nationwide investigation and ongoing allegations of fraud involving cheating taxpayers out of millions in payments to ambulance services, home health care, and mental health clinics, could it be that CMS believed that Khan acted alone?

In February, the Houston Chronicle reported that Earnest Gibson IV, son of Riverside’s president, had previously been in business with Julian Vence Kimble. Kimble was found guilty in 2011 of operating an $8-million Medicare fraud scheme in which he used four ambulances to carry individuals posing as patients to various mental health clinics in the Houston area.

If Gibson IV’s association with a felon charged with Medicare fraud wasn’t a big enough red flag to shut down places like Riverside, what about U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA)’s testimony before a House Ways and Means subcommittee in early 2011, where he raised concerns about health care fraud, stating, “Nearly a year later, recent reports out of Texas suggest … providers continue to operate with impunity”?

Boustany was following up on a Houston Chronicle investigation into rampant Medicare fraud in the Houston area in which $488 million was paid out over 5 years for nonemergency ambulance services. In 2009 alone, Houston paid out $60 million in claims, compared to New York City, which paid only $7 million for the same year.

More here.

This is massive fraud, and like Evans, I have a hard time believing Congresswoman Lee didn’t know what was going on, especially since she and her family have been so intimately involved with the hospital for decades.

We can’t continue to tolerate this corruption. Obviously corrupt politicians like Sheila Jackson-Lee must be defeated this November, but more importantly, we must make sure we elect ethical men and women to replace them.

Of course, replacing these corrupt politicians is just the first step. We must demand Congress clean up it’s act. There is need for major reform. Reform creating laws that have actual teeth! It’s time members of Congress are not only are forced to live under the laws they create, but held to an even higher standard than the general public.

Congress is entrusted with trillions of tax payer dollars. OUR dollars. They do a rotten job of managing our money. The number of corrupt members of Congress who feed their cronies with our money is staggering. It’s time for this to come to an end, and people go to jail.

It’s time to clean house!

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