masthead-highres

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tom and Deneen Borelli Discuss Tea Parties on G. Gordon Liddy Show


Tom Borelli, director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project, and Deneen Borelli, full-time fellow of the Project 21 African-American leadership network Project 21, discussed the 700-900 Tax Day Tea Parties across the national, taxation, ObamaCare, and cap-and-trade on G. Gordon Liddy's national radio program on April 15.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:17 PM

Monday, April 12, 2010

Congressional "Free" Travel Not Free to Taxpayers

How many taxpayers would love to have a bank account that "automatically refills itself and has no spending limit attached," as Congress does?

See this Paul Singer article in the April 13 Roll Call:
Members of Congress and their staff racked up almost $15 million worth of foreign travel in 2009, but Congress didn't have to pay the tab.

Under a Korean War-era law governing Congressional foreign travel, Congress doesn't pay for its own trips abroad, and there is no apparent limit on what the government can spend for Members' hotels, taxicabs and room service.

When a Congressional committee holds a field hearing in Wisconsin or a Member of Congress flies to a conference in Arkansas with a few staff members, those travel costs are paid for out of the annual budgets of either the committee's or the Member's office.

But when a Congressional delegation travels overseas, the accommodations are made by the State Department and billed back to a government account that automatically refills itself and has no spending limit attached.

The travel account dates back to a 1950s law that allowed the U.S. government to hold excess "foreign currency" in accounts around the world and use those balances to pay on-the-ground expenses of visiting Congressional delegations.

For years, the Treasury Department used revenues from sales of grain abroad or the income from foreign assistance loans to pay for Congressional travel, but in 1977 the U.S. comptroller general ruled that practice out of bounds.

So Congress amended the provision in 1978 to establish that "whenever local currencies owned by the United States are not otherwise available" to pay for local travel costs, "the Treasury shall purchase such local currencies as may be necessary for such purposes, using any funds in the treasury not otherwise appropriated."

Translation: The government can use whatever funds it has lying around to pay the travel costs of Congressional delegations overseas.

This language creates two conditions that are rare in federal budgeting. First, it establishes a "permanent appropriation," meaning Congress does not have to approve spending for its own travel each year, as it does for other Congressional budget items such as office supplies and salaries. Second, the program has no dollar limit...
Lots more here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:51 PM

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Bart Stupak Cartoon

Too bad I can't draw, because David sent over a nice caption for a Bart Stupak retirement political cartoon:

"New from Swanson, the Stupac... 5 seconds of heat and it's done."

Speaking of Bart Stupak, I'm not the only one remembering low points in his career today. Timothy Carney reports on a doozy in the Examiner.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:45 PM

Our Bart Stupak Story

Bart Stupak: Good riddance to a dangerous Congressman.

Most of you will suppose I'm referencing Bart Stupak's double-cross of the pro-life movement, but that's not the only thing. In the late 1990s, Stupak tried to have this institution charged with a federal crime for publishing materials inconvenient to the left on health care issues.

Up to then, I had naively supposed prosecutors didn't investigate policy disagreements in America.

The issue in question was Section 4507 of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which prohibited Medicare patients from contracting privately with medical doctors unless the doctor opted out of the Medicare system for at least two years, among other requirements.

Here's how Steve Forbes described it in the American Enterprise Institute's magazine (11/1/97):
...buried in the 1,200-page budget bill is a nasty, little-known provision, Section 4507, that begins to write socialized medicine into law. Starting January 1, 1998, American doctors will effectively be prohibited from treating elderly patients on a private basis outside of the Medicare program.

The government health care bureaucracy had already been using its regulatory powers to forbid doctors who accept Medicare patients from also treating senior citizens who choose to pay out of-pocket. Republicans originally tried to insert into the budget agreement a provision that would overturn this regulation, but President Clinton protested and the Republicans caved in.

Since over 90 percent of doctors accept Medicare patients, this law makes it nearly impossible for seniors to find a doctor who will also treat them on a private basis, outside Medicare's rules and regulations. Only doctors in the very wealthiest areas will be available to seniors hoping to engage in private health care between consenting adults. Astonishingly, even Britain, mother of socialized medicine, allows patients to contract privately with physicians. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is leading the charge to repeal Section 4507. He points out that the current law is the equivalent of forbidding everyone enrolled in Social Security from also investing his own money privately with stockbrokers: Such a law "would be met with disbelief and derision," yet it is no different from what the new Medicare law does.
To seniors, especially those not living in big cities, this had the effect of making some medical procedures unavailable to them unless they travelled long distances, as in small towns there might not be a single doctor providing the services they desired who also was willing to forgo treating anyone receiving Medicare for two years.

To conservatives, this provision was a step forward for government control of medicine and a violation of the civil rights of senior citizens.

To liberals, including the Clinton Administration, it was a way to restrict private involvement in health care. They further argued that doctors would overcharge vulnerable seniors for services, and that it would be better for seniors to be denied certain services entirely than to risk being overcharged privately.

Section 4507 received scant public attention when the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was adopted, but seniors soon began to report difficulties. Simple and inexpensive tests sought by people with diabetes or concern that they might have diabetes, for example, were not in all circumstances covered by Medicare, and now seniors could not get them unless they found a doctor who had entirely opted out of Medicare. Similarly, men over 65 were barred from privately contracting with doctors for screening tests for prostate cancer, although Medicare did not cover these tests for men without symptoms. And there were other examples.

We, along with several other institutions (not all of them conservative), began to call attention to the detrimental impacts of Section 4507 on seniors. One think-tank published a book. Another published numerous papers and held at least one symposium. A seniors group filed suit in federal court on civil rights grounds. And a U.S. Senator (Jon Kyl) and the then-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (Bill Archer) introduced joint legislation to repeal Section 4507.

Our work on this was routine for a think-tank. We published informational materials on it for the public and policymakers (for example, this, posted online at that time), press materials (for example, here) for talk radio hosts and editorial writers, and collected petitions from the public about Section 4507 and sent them to Congress.

Routine work, that is, until we got a phone call from a federal investigator. Rep. Bart Stupak, we were told, had a received a copy of some of our materials and had contacted law enforcement, alleging that the Section 4507 did not do what we claimed it did, and that our claims constituted mail fraud.

To me, this was preposterous, and as I was naive back then, I told the investigator to come over, and I'd share information about the provision with him. I didn't contact legal counsel, as I did not want to waste donors' money on such a ridiculous and (I thought) easily-rebutted allegation.

The investigator came over, and I showed him the book, and the policy papers by other institutions, and information about the Kyl-Archer bill to repeal, and press materials by the seniors group that had filed suit in federal court. The investigator, however, was unmoved. Just because other groups are saying the same thing you are, he said, doesn't make you right. Instead, he said, it is evidence of a conspiracy.

I was taken aback, as one might expect, and the investigator added his coup de grace: the Congressional Research Service says all of you are wrong on this, he said, and what did I have to say to that? He made it clear he considered the CRS the final authority, and believed that publishing anything to the contrary and mailing it would constitute mail fraud. I hadn't read what the CRS said, so I couldn't comment on its position. The investigator left, and faxed me the CRS document soon after, with a cover note that wasn't promising. The CRS document itself, however, was: The CRS agreed with our position entirely.

None of this should have happened, but it didn't end there. Before long, we received a subpoena from the U.S. Justice Department requiring us to turn over all documents, communications, etc. relating to our work on Section 4507. We complied, and also involved counsel. Our attorney phoned the Justice Department attorney whose name was on the subpoena and pointed out that First Amendment protects our right to publish as we see fit on public policy issues. In fact, he said, the investigator's entire line of questioning as to whether our papers were correct was inappropriate, as people have a constitutional right to publish things the government disagrees with. The Justice Department attorney told him she in fact agreed with him, but that, because of superiors, her hands were tied on the case. So we had to consider ourselves under active investigation.

We didn't hear anything from them for about two years (to the best of my recollection, between the 2000 presidential election and Bush's inauguration), when the DOJ returned all our subpoenaed documents. We never found out anything more about who at DOJ had considered the case worth investigating, but we couldn't help thinking it was someone inclined to discourage conservative groups from working on health care. No charges were ever brought.

So now that Congressman Bart Stupak, whose office thought it was perfectly proper to sic federal law enforcement on a conservative organization simply for publishing perfectly accurate materials inconvenient to the liberal big-government position, has decided to retire, I say good riddance. We don't need any Congressmen, on the left or the right, who believe in criminalizing policy disagreements, and who oppose the people's right to free speech.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:53 PM

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Deneen Borelli Talks Tea Party on Hannity

On Fox News' "Hannity," Project 21 full-time Fellow Deneen Borelli discussed attacks on and allegations against Tea Party activists and newfound flaws in President Obama's recently-adopted health care plan.

This show was broadcast on March 26.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:51 PM

Ouch

Ed Driscoll fisked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wires-behind-the-refrigerator health care analogy in a way that would have to hurt.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:33 PM

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Speaking of Racist Garbage Hurled by Liberals....

...would any liberal groups or politicians (or Keith Olbermann) care to disavow this....?

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(Open on a new page to enlarge)


Or perhaps emails like this?

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Speaking of racist garbage thrown by liberals (of which the above are just two of many), Project 21 issued a press release yesterday:
Where Is the Outrage When Black Conservative Tea Party Activists Are Called the N-Word?

Black conservatives opposed to government-run health care routinely are called the "n-word" and worse -- by liberals, says Deneen Borelli, full-time Fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network.

To black lawmakers allegedly receiving the same treatment, Borelli said: "Welcome to my world! I've been called worse than the N-word by alleged enlightened liberals for the outrage of expressing my views on topics such as the threat of government overreach on things such as ObamaCare, climate change legislation, the Second Amendment and pro-growth economics."

"It should go without saying that racial slurs are offensive and uncalled for," added Borelli. "But progressives seem far more aggressive in hurling racist comments than Tea Party members. I find that all the time on my e-mail after I appear on television or radio."

Responding to comments made by Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) about the racial aspects and alleged racial tone of Tea Party rallies opposed to a government takeover of America's health care system, Borelli said: "In an attempt to inject race into the national debate about government running our nation's health care system, Representative Charlie Rangel made false allegations about the Tea Parties when he said that '[y]ou don't see any black folks in these groups. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.' Considering he's never invited me -- or any of his conservative colleagues, for that matter -- for insight on reworking one-sixth of our economy, he obviously must not realize I am black. He also failed to see the other black faces I've seen at the many tea party rallies I've attended and spoken at over the past few months."

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by The National Center for Public Policy Research (www.nationalcenter.org).

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:30 PM

Third Video of Tea Party Protest of Black Congressmen Reveals No Racial Taunts

I found what is (by my count) a third video showing Rep. John Lewis and fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus walking from the House office buildings to the Capitol on Saturday, March 20 -- the walk during which the Congressmen claim to have been called the "n-word."

The other two videos, already widely viewed, are here:

I don't hear any racial epithets on any of these, although I agree with those who have said that is inconclusive. Still, William Douglas of McClatchy reported that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the n-word "was a chorus," so it seems odd that no videos or witnesses have appeared. This "n-word" story has been national news for four days now.

For what it's worth, I was there Saturday, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, and I didn't hear anything race-based the entire time. Unfortunately, that, too, is inconclusive.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:20 PM

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tea Party Video: Tea Partiers Sing "God Bless America"

As the March 20, 2010 Tea Party at the U.S. Capitol comes to an end, Tea Partiers sing "God Bless America."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:29 AM

Tea Party Video: Tea Partiers Chant as Obama Arrives at Capitol to Lobby Wavering Democrats


This video was shot from the left side of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, shot toward the south of the Capitol where the House of Representatives office buildings are located and where Tea Party protesters chanted "Kill the Bill" about an hour following the end of the March 20, 2010 Tea Party Rally. At the time this video was shot, President Obama's motorcade was expected to enter the Capitol grounds momentarily.


Although the President's motorcade entered from the north of the Capitol and avoided the protestors, the sounds of the continuing, if impromptu, Tea Party activities must have reached him loud and clear. The President's motorcade is barely visible on the video as the Capitol Police kept the public far away from the Capitol for over an hour before the President's arrival. This is as close as my son Jonathan and I were allowed to get.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:19 AM

More Tea Party Pictures

More photos of Saturday's Tea Party rally, taken by yours truly as my son Jonathan and I attended events this afternoon:

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I have to post a picture of this happy little guy first, because no matter where I looked, he caught my eye and mugged for the camera in some way.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) was generous with his time, approaching Tea Partiers to thank them for expressing their views and answering everyone's questions.

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Shot of the rally from a distance, after 90 minutes after it began.

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Far edge of the rally, with a shot of the Capitol.

And the rest are crowd shots...

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:47 AM

U.S. Capitol Tea Party Pictures

Photos of the Tea Party Code Red Rally at the U.S. Capitol Saturday, taken by David Almasi:

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Even the Johns oppose it.

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If I worked for the suicidal pharmaceutical industry or was one of its twelve zillion lobbyists, I would take note of apparently spontaneous grassroots signs like this one.

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Seems clear enough.

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Fewer doctors, probably. Even doctors gotta eat.

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Actor Jon Voight talks with an unidentified Tea Partier.

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Bill supporters figure people will forget about all this in a few months.

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Survivors know a few things.

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Some folks really know how to do lettering.

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The red star reminds me of something.

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The process, the results...

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At leftie rallies, the unions preprint the signs. Not so here.

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Christopher Gadsen would appreciate this.

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Nobody's child is safe.

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This photo of David Almasi must have been taken by someone else...


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:12 AM

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pelosi Tries to Clear Capitol; Crowd Isn't Leaving

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Spent much of the day at the Tea Party rally outside the U.S. Capitol and returned home to blog about it, but I think I'm heading back. David Almasi is still there [see addendum below] and he tells me the Tea Partiers spontaneously formed at the East side of the Capitol. The Rules Committee complained about the noise, and Nancy Pelosi ordered the grounds cleared. The crowd refused to leave and the Republican House members have joined the Tea Partiers in solidarity.

I don't see this on the news right now; don't know why, but I think I'm going back there and will blog and post pictures and videos from today later.

Addendum, midnight: First, a correction: Turned out it was Joe Roche who was texting me, not David Almasi. Amusingly, we even talked on the telephone in between texts, but the roars of the crowd were so loud I couldn't tell Joe's voice from David's and Joe couldn't hear me calling him by the wrong name.

Now for the news: When Joe, my daughter Kate, my son Christopher and I met up on the East front of the Capitol more than an hour after I posted this and after night had fallen, the crowd was breaking up in favor of an overnight vigil in front of the Supreme Court and, no doubt for some, their first food and drink since breakfast. Joe confirmed for me that Republican lawmakers had indeed come out to talk to the crowd, and that the events described above did happen. Joe added that he believed a few Democratic legislators who oppose the health care bill had joined the GOP members in speaking to the Tea Partiers, although he didn't have their names.

Among the group of perhaps 1,000 that stayed until nightfall were discussions of returning to the Capitol building again Sunday at 11:00 AM. Tea Partiers were being told by members at that time to expect that the House would begin preparing to vote around 1 PM Sunday, but to expect that the actual vote on the legislation would probably not be until 2 PM.

I've seen only vague references to these later events in just a few news stories. I can only assume most of the media stops working after a certain point on Saturdays.

And now to post some pictures...

Note: The photo in this post was taken by David Almasi.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:50 PM

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Investor's Business Daily Cites Us on Constitutionality of Self-Executing Rule

InvestorsBusinessDailyLogoFuzzy.jpgInvestor's Business Daily was kind enough to quote this blog in an editorial.

An excerpt:
Using a parliamentary trick ironically known as the "self-executing rule," Democrats plan on passing their massive health bill without voting. In November, they'll learn just how "self-executing" it was.

Just when you thought Washington couldn't get more corrupt, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week seems intent on trampling representative government itself. Unable to get the votes to pass their U.S. health care revolution, she and her fellow Democratic leaders have figured out a way to pass it without a vote.

The "self-executing rule" has been "used to adopt concurrent resolutions correcting the enrollment of measures or to make other technical changes to legislation," according to the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.

It's "a two-for-one procedure," as the CRS describes it, because the House of Representatives always must pass a rule, written by the House Rules Committee (where Democrats hold a 9-to-4 majority), setting the terms of debate on a particular piece of legislation. In this case, it's been rigged so that if the rule passes, the legislation passes too.

The trick has been used before, as cited by the CRS, on obscure measures like the prohibition of smoking on airline flights in 1989, an employee verification program regarding illegal aliens in 1996, the blocking of the use of statistical sampling for the 2000 census until federal courts could determine its constitutionality, and an IRS overhaul in 1997.

But never on anything approaching such landmark legislation.

Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, is among a number of legal scholars who believe this Slaughter Solution, named after House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., "would stand a very good chance of being tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court."

In the 1998 Clinton v. City of New York ruling on the line-item veto, liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for a 6-to-3 majority, "laid a likely road map for how the court might rule on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Slaughter Solution," according to Ridenour.

Stevens made note of "three procedural steps" that must be taken before a bill becomes law: The "exact text" must be "approved by a majority of the members of the House of Representatives"; the Senate must approve "precisely the same text"; and the same text must be "signed into law by the president. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may become a law."
There's more. You can read the rest here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:42 PM

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ObamaCare Would Harm Health Care Quality, Survey of Doctors Says

ALT TAGMatt Patterson


National Center for Public Policy Research Policy Analyst Matt Patterson has a new paper out today, "ObamaCare Would Drive Doctors Out of Business."

The paper begins:
If ObamaCare passes, you may lose your family doctor. Oh, and good luck finding a new one.

That's the stunning conclusion of a new study by the Medicus Firm, as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine. Medicus, a national physician search firm, surveyed 1,195 practicing physicians about the health reform plans pending in Congress. The doctors, representing a wide range of specialties and career levels, were asked to assess the possible impact of ObamaCare on their careers, including "income, job satisfaction, and future career plans."

The bottom line of that investigation, titled Physician Survey: Health Reform's Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care, is summed up by Medicus managing partner Steve Marsh: "What many people may not realize is that health reform could impact physician supply in such a way that the quality of health care could suffer. The reality is that there may not be enough doctors to provide quality medical care to the millions of newly insured patients."

Why? Put simply, doctors fear that ObamaCare would make the business and practice of medicine more trouble than it's worth. The surveyed physicians foresee...
Read the rest here.

Addendum, 3/18/10 Correction: The Medicus Study was not reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, but by the newsletter "Recruiting Physicians Today," which is published by the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine. Somewhat confusingly, the newsletter sports the logo of the NEJM on its masthead and prospective writers for the publication are told to submit articles to the New England Journal of Medicine, but the publication is, nonetheless, a different one. We apologize for the error.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:14 PM

Tea Party Video and Pictures from March 16 U.S. Capitol Code Red Rally

National Center for Public Policy Research David Almasi delivers petitions to Rep. Michelle Bachmann at Tea Party Rally at the U.S. Capitol, March 16


National Center Executive Director David Almasi and other National Center staffers loaded up petitions for delivery to Congress at Tuesday's Tea Party Express "Code Red" rally against ObamaCare.

The National Center delivered about 700 pounds of signed petitions (about 30,000) opposing any form of socialized medicine. Some petitions also expressed opposition to President Obama's plan to eliminate the popular Medicare Advantage option from the Medicare program. The petitions were accepted by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

National Center-affiliated activists were busy outside of Washington, too. Project 21 member Emery McClendon helped organize several tea party rallies in Indiana, including in the state capital of Indianapolis. Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie, who was in Plymouth, Michigan on Sunday and Monday speaking to the "Rattle With Us" grassroots organization, attended a tea party in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Here are some photos from the petition delivery and rally:

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The National Center's Stephen Saunders (front) and Matt Patterson carry boxes of petitions from the National Center's Capitol Hill office building to the delivery van


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David Almasi shares signed petitions with Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN)


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Rep. Bachman and David Almasi, who holds a copy of the National Center's book of horror stories from government health care systems (free PDF copy available here)


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The National Center's Caroline May (left) and Devon Carlin distribute copies of Shattered Lives


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Crowd scene


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Crowd scene


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Crowd scene


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:01 AM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Louise Slaughter's Denture Sob Story Raises Question

Speaking of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), why she didn't tell her constituent -- the one who allegedly wears her dead sister's dentures -- that Medicaid covers dentures in New York state?

It's possible the constituent makes too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, but if that's true, what's the point of Slaughter's sob story?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:11 PM

Project 21's Deneen Borelli on "Hannity" Tonight

Hannity

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli will appear on the "Great American Panel" on the Fox News Channel's "Hannity" program at 9:00 PM eastern on Tuesday, March 16.

Deneen has been interviewed on Fox News Channel, Hot Tea Radio and many other media outlets lately about the health care debate and how it is growing the tea party movement. Today saw several tea party rallies in Washington and across the nation related to the push for a health care vote this week, so it is likely Deneen will be speaking about this important issue tonight.

Check your local listings for Fox News Channel on cable. Fox News is available on channel 118 on Fios, channel 205 on Dish Network and channel 360 on DirecTV.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David W. Almasi at 2:14 PM

On the Slaughter Solution, A Few More Thoughts

Over at the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott has blogged about the constitutional issues I raised Sunday with regard to the so-called "Slaughter Solution."

The Slaughter Solution is a proposed rule to allow the House to (ostensibly) pass the Senate's version of ObamaCare by passing a rule saying, in effect, that it had passed without actually voting for it.

Although it is not yet clear if the Democratic leadership will decide to use the Slaughter Rule tactic, the left is pre-emptively defending the measure, claiming the Republicans used "self-executing rules" on numerous occasions when in the majority.

To that, a few thoughts of my own:
1) While the Republicans may have done so, they (insofar as I can determine) limited the use of the tactic to measures insufficiently controversial to inspire anyone to challenge the constitutionality of the tactic in court. According to a 2006 Congressional Research Service report (pdf), for instance, the GOP used the rule for the following purposes:
a) consider a law prohibiting smoking on airline flights under two hours;
b) place a voluntary employment verification program (vis-a-vis immigration status) into an amendment under consideration in the House;
c) incorporate into legislation a ban on the use of statistical sampling in the 2000 Census until a court ruled on its constitutionality;
d) incorporate four bipartisan amendments into an IRS reform bill;
e) drop from an intelligence authorization bill a provision allowing the CIA to offer a particular early retirement program;
f) to adopt a manager's amendment, H.Res. 75, to an immigration bill in 2005.
Do these strike anyone as roughly equivalent to the significance of the ObamaCare vote?

2) So what if the Republicans did it? Does that make it right? Or constitutional? The GOP leadership also broke the House rules by holding a three-hour roll-call vote on its prescription drug bill back in 2003 (which conservatives screamed about at the time; see here for example). Does that mean conservatives and others who believe in free markets (or free choice in health care) have to sit by let the Democrats break that rule in the same fashion, too? When do we start playing by the rules?

3) If I were a Democratic politician interested in future electoral success, even if I supported ObamaCare, I would be very wary of voting for it this way. What if the legislation passes via a Slaughter Solution tactic, and the federal courts rule the tactic unconstitutional? ObamaCare would be tossed out, making supportive politicians look both impotent and vaguely corrupt, and on a judicial timetable, which could be right before an election. If I were in that situation, I'd think it better to hold an up-or-down vote and live with the consequences.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:50 AM

Monday, March 15, 2010

National Center's David Almasi to Speak at U.S. Capitol Tea Party Rally, Will Deliver Tens of Thousands of Petitions Against Socialized Health Care

health care petitionsDavid Almasi with a box of the petitions

National Center Executive Director David Almasi will speak at the Tea Party Express "Code Red" rally against Obamacare on Tuesday, March 16. The rally will be on the U.S. Capitol grounds at Taft Park (on the Senate side) at 10:00 AM. David is scheduled to speak at 10:35 AM.

David also will present Representative Michele Bachman (R-MN) with tens of thousands of petitions collected by the National Center for Public Policy Research. The petitions oppose socialized medicine and President Obama's plan to eliminate the popular Medicare Advantage option for Medicare recipients.

Here are two (unsigned) samples of the tens of thousands of petitions David will present on Tuesday (open in a new window to enlarge):

StopSocializedMedicinePetition0310.jpg

MedicareProtestPetition0310.jpg


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:44 PM

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slaughter Solution Unconstitutional

John_Paul_Stevens,_SCOTUS_photo_portrait.jpgJustice Stevens' majority opinion in Clinton v. New York signals the Supreme Court's likely view of the Slaughter Solution

Frustrated by their inability to get President Obama's health care plan through Congress, the House leadership is now considering a mad new scheme, dubbed the "Slaughter Solution," to get the Senate version of the bill through a reluctant House.

As described by Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner, the Slaughter Solution would "pass [the] legislation by 'deeming' it approved under a House rule instead of following the process required by the U.S. Constitution in which they actually vote on the proposal itself... Slaughter's approach would bring to the House floor a reconcilliation bill to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of health care reform with the rule deeming the House to have approved the Senate version."

Mark goes on to say a senior House of Representatives GOP staffer has told him the Republicans can find no evidence such a ploy has ever been tried before in the history of the House.

In my view, there's a good reason why not: the legislation would stand a very good chance of being tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A dozen years ago, in a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the line item veto unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998).

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens laid a likely roadmap for how the Court might rule on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Slaughter Solution:
...our decision rests on the narrow ground that the procedures authorized by the Line Item Veto Act are not authorized by the Constitution. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is a 500-page document that became 'Public Law 105--33' after three procedural steps were taken: (1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may 'become a law.' Art. I, §7. If one paragraph of that text had been omitted at any one of those three stages, Public Law 105--33 would not have been validly enacted. [Emphasis added] If the Line Item Veto Act were valid, it would authorize the President to create a different law - one whose text was not voted on by either House of Congress or presented to the President for signature. Something that might be known as 'Public Law 105--33 as modified by the President' may or may not be desirable, but it is surely not a document that may 'become a law' pursuant to the procedures designed by the Framers of Article I, §7, of the Constitution.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Court in the line item veto case, one cannot deny that the majority decision here is a powerful sign that the Slaughter Solution would not be ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:40 PM

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Treat All Car Companies the Same

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker asks: "Will GM execs be dragged before Congress?" as the Toyota executives were?

Ordinarily I oppose Congressional show trials of corporate CEOs, finding it repulsive that people responsible for the insolvent Medicare and Social Security systems pretend to be morally qualified to sit in judgment of the business acumen of others, but now that the U.S. government is in the car business, Congress must bend over backwards to be neutral.

While the GM executives are testifying, I hope someone asks them to account for their membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which lobbies for cap-and-trade legislation. Tax money should not be used for lobbying.

P.S. My opinion in this situation is unrelated to my past ownership of a Chevrolet Cavalier with a so-called "sticky accelerator." Very scary situation to be in. I was able to get out of it by braking as hard as possible while switching the car out of drive and coasting to a stop. I took it to a Chevy dealership for repair, but the dealership said it could not replicate the problem, so I was left to take my chances. I sold the car instead (with full and emphatic disclosure) to a car dealer, and bought my first foreign car of my life to replace it. These days, ironically, I own a Toyota. 83,000 miles on it so far, and no problems.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:38 PM

Monday, March 01, 2010

Did Charles Rangel Vote for Sarbanes-Oxley?

Yes, on July 25, 2002, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) voted to agree to the conference report for the Corporate and Auditing Accountability and Responsibility Act, better known as Sarbanes-Oxley.

If you just came back from a deserted island, Rep. Rangel has been admonished by the House Ethics Committee for breaking House rules regarding corporate sponsorship of Congressional travel; Rep. Rangel's defense is that he didn't know corporations paid for his travel, his staff did, and he shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of his Congressional staff.

Under Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate CEOs can be held criminally responsible for signing false reports, including reports prepared by staff (as most are).

Regardless of the double-standard Rangel seeks to hide behind, Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center -- which broke the Rangel scandal in the first place and is still the best source of information on it -- says it simply is not credible that Rangel didn't know he was violating House rules by accepting direct corporate support for his travel.

Go here to visit the National Legal and Policy Center's website, which shows pictures of Charlie Rangel at the Caribbean conference, facing a sign listing the conference's many corporate sponsors.

Perhaps next the Congressman will claim he cannot read?

In related Charlie Rangel-scandal news, House Democrats are increasingly pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ask Rangel to step down from his post as chairman of the uber-powerful House Ways and Means Committee.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:57 PM

Friday, February 26, 2010

One Man's "Talking Points" Might be Another Man's Point

At yesterday's "Health Care Summit," President Obama frequently expressed opposition to the use of talking points during the conversation.

In our biz, that is to say, the non-political public policy arena of the think-tank world, "talking points" are simply a succinct version of one's remarks, distilled in such a way as to present information in an orderly an efficient manner. I assume the same goes for the use of the term in business settings.

As it is likely President Obama is not opposed to succinct presentations, his definition of "talking point" must be something else.

Might that "something else" be "speech uttered for political gain"?

My sense in watching the summit was that that President continuously assumed speakers who disagreed with him were engaging in political rather than policy-oriented speech. He could not, or would not, not see that disagreement with his proposed methods could be based on principle.

This says something, I think, about the insular world he inhabits.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:26 PM

"We Don't Think the Government Should Be in Control of All This"

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on the differences between conservatives and the White House on the way to improve our health care system:

Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:25 PM

No Climate Bill In 2010

InvestorsBusinessDailyLogo.jpgIn an article by Ed Carson that includes embedded video of our Tom Borelli, Investors Business Daily's "Capital Hill" Politics and markets blog is reporting that President Obama will fail to get his climate legislation adopted by the Senate this year.

This failure could turn out to be the best thing the Obama Administration ever does to reduce unemployment.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:30 PM

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bloomberg Covers National Center Questions for John Deere Management

JohnDeereLogo.jpgBloomberg News is covering Tom and Deneen Borelli's appearance at the John Deere stockholder meeting today:
...[John Deere CEO Samuel] Allen defended Deere's membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership amid questions from Tom and Deneen Borelli, with the conservative think tank National Center for Public Policy Research, who say proposed cap-and-trade legislation will push up fuel prices and hurt job growth. U.S. CAP is a coalition of companies and environmental groups seeking legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Cap and Trade

Allen said Deere wants to be part of the debate and is evaluating all proposals, and that cap and trade can succeed if done the right way.

'The best opportunity to help is to be at the table,' Allen said in response to public questions at the meeting.

Tom Borelli said cap and trade will be a tax on fossil fuels and hurt customers ability to buy Deere products. He noted the decision by Caterpillar Inc. not to renew its membership.

'Sitting at the table is not good enough,' Tom Borelli said.

Allen said he would evaluate cap-and-trade policy with the interests of Deere, its customers and shareholders in mind...
Read Bloomberg's entire article here.

Tom and Deneen attended the meeting as representatives of the National Center, which is a John Deere stockholder. Tom directs our Free Enterprise Project, and Deneen is a full-time fellow with the African-American leadership group we sponsor, Project 21.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:02 PM

Why is John Deere Lobbying for Cap-and-Trade?

JohnDeere022410DBorelli.jpg
Tom Borelli, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, and his wife Deneen Borelli, Project 21's full-time fellow, are spending the day at the John Deere headquarters, attending the stockholder meeting and asking company executives: Why are you members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership? Why are you part of an organization that exists to lobby for cap-and-trade, which will hurt your customers and the American people?

In an article published today by FoxNews.com, Tom sets out the issues in more detail:
Big business support of President Obama's health care and energy policy has put CEOs on the front lines of the nation's biggest political battles. Big PhRMA - the drug industry trade group - is credited with bringing Obama's health care plan to the precipice of passage and the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) - a coalition of business and environmental special interest groups - played a key role in passing the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in the House of Representatives last year.

Clearly, CEOs see big bucks in big government.

Beyond dreams of fortune, chief executives also proved to be a national risk when their mismanagement drove our nation into greater debt through taxpayer-funded bailouts.

While liberty-minded citizens can seek to elect politicians that support limited government, big government CEOs (or, perhaps, progressive CEOs) remain largely beyond our reach.

Because CEOs can represent as much of a risk to liberty as elected officials, limited government advocates need a voice in the boardroom.

For this reason, my wife Deneen and I are attending the John Deere annual shareholder meeting today in Moline, Illinois on behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market think-tank that owns shares in John Deere.

Our goal is to press management to justify why John Deere remains a member of USCAP and why these executives believe a cap-and-trade scheme is in the company's best interest. These questions are especially timely, as BP, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips made national news this month, after they abandoned USCAP...
You can read the rest of the FoxNews.com article here.

We'll have more updates later.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:41 PM

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harry Reid Proves Deficit Commission is a Joke

What a joke President Obama's "deficit commission" (deficit of leadership, I'd say) is. Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that one of the three big-spending liberals* he's appointing to a commission intended to convince us the left isn't spending us into perdition is Montana Senator Max Baucus.

Baucus has since 2007 held the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, which has oversight over the fiscal fortunes of Social Security and Medicare, both of which are insolvent. Does Baucus do anything about this? Does he even hold hearings to seriously discuss what to do?

No, except for spending much of the last couple of years working to expand the burden under which these systems operate (when he wasn't taking his girlfriend, who was on his taxpayer-financed staff payroll, on taxpayer-financed tours of exotic locales), Baucus has been doing nothing about the insolvent Social Security and Medicare systems.

And now we're supposed to believe he cares enough about the federal deficit to help make the hard decisions that can get the country out of this mess? Ha!

P.S. I hope the GOP gives one of its slots to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is likely to sit at all the meetings -- these meetings all will be on C-SPAN, right Mrs. President? -- and say "where in the Constitution does it give us the authority to spend this? Where in the Constitution does it give us the authority to spend that?" The leftists will ignore him but the public would love the fact that they can't give him an answer.

* The other two are Senators Dick Durbin and Kent Conrad, whose big-spending ways are legendary.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:01 PM

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Deneen Borelli Debates Al Sharpton on Jobs

In case you missed it -- video of Project 21's Deneen Borelli debating Al Sharpton about the President Obama/Majority Leader Harry Reid jobs bill.


The debate was on the Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends on February 12, 2010.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:18 AM

Monday, February 01, 2010

More on James O'Keefe Case

As I mentioned the other day, James O'Keefe has been charged under Title 18, Section 1036 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits persons from entering "any real property belonging in whole or in part to, or leased by, the United States... by any fraud or false pretense."

A thing that strikes me about the James O'Keefe case is that people enter Congressional offices all the time under false pretenses. They say they want to talk to the staff or the Congressman in the District office, but once there, they stage a sit-in to stop logging, to demand climate change action, to demand an end to the Iraq War, or to demand sanctions against one country or another.

Yet, the media greets them as heroes and O'Keefe as a criminal.

ACORN, by the way, has a long history of orchestrating sit-ins. I'm sure its members don't always come in and say, "Hi, I'm Jane Doe, I represent ACORN and I'm here to stage a sit-in. Would you mind terribly if I brought a few hundred of my friends in, too?" Obviously, Code-Pink has done it, too.

If at the end of the day the charges against O'Keefe are merely that he entered a federal office under false pretenses and all these lefties have denounced him for doing so, they'll have denounced him for doing essentially the same thing they do all the time.

Written by David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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Posted by David A. Ridenour at 9:09 PM

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tom Borelli to Appear on Varney & Co on Fox Business Channel Friday

FoxBusinessLogo

Tom Borelli, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of our Free Enterprise Project, will appear on Stuart Varney's "Varney and Co." show on the Fox Business Network Friday morning at 10 AM 10:30 AM Eastern.

Tom will discuss new guidelines issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission that may have an interesting impact on the climate change debate.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:23 AM

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Note to Project 21 Fans: Glenn Beck Rebroadcast of Most Recent Show Featuring Project 21 Members

GlennBeckLogoThe Fox News Channel is rebroadcasting, right this minute, the second of two Beck shows featuring a discussion with black conservatives (including Project 21 members).

If you can't catch it on the Fox News Channel for whatever reason, Booker Rising (a website I often visit, but don't mention as much as I should) has made available the video of the entire show, which is entitled "A Time To Be Heard."

We also posted on this blog the segments of the show featuring Project 21 members. Go here to watch Lisa Fritsch; go here to watch full-time Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli on the "A Time To Be Heard" Glenn Beck broadcast.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:01 PM

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