Sunday, June 30, 2013

And where David Axelrod tweet-whines that they were unable to co-opt the NFL

Obviously, we're having a lot of fun with this. The NFL has summarily rebuffed the Obama administration's effort to recruit them in order to promote the roll-out of ObamaCare, however they still haven't received any official or un-official thumbs-down from the NBA, NHL, MLB and... librarians?

It was learned, during the wooing process that two Republican Senators sent a letter to the league urging them to not co-operate with the administration.

From CNN:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn advised the NFL that it would not be a smart move.

"Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care [law], it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion," they wrote in a letter.

In addition to the NFL, the letter was sent to the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and the chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR.

Stating the obvious as well as just making good business sense didn't sit too well with the President's former top advisor, David Axelrod who took to Twitter rail against these threats and intimidation?

Now threats and intimidation? Appalling how far congressional Rs are willing to go to try and impede success of ACA

We got into the blow-back game:

Here's Sebelius from back in September of 2010:

President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won't tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.

Mr. Axelrod, that fits the very definition of what you are falsely accusing the Republican Senators of.

Recall, as well, the, ahem, solicitation effort Sebelius has recently undertaken to raise funds for ObamaCare roll-out programs; funds from the very businesses her department regulates.

WASHINGTON — Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has solicited sizable donations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block, the tax preparation service, as part of a multimillion-dollar campaign to ensure the success of President Obama’s health care law, administration officials said Sunday, even as a leading Senate Republican raised questions about the legality of her efforts.

Even if she is on legal standing, the optics of this just horrible.

You were all warned, however. We warned that ObamaCare becoming law would only further politicize parts of our lives that had not ever been exposed to the wretchedness of politics and recent events are bearing that out.

All that we have foreseen is coming to pass.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Good news: Sundays to remain sacred

This past week, we noted with much consternation that the federal government and specifically the Department of Health and Human Services were in contact with the NFL concerning "educating" the public about the federal health care law, aka ObamaCare. To what degree and extent was this contact? We'll let the head of the HHS explain:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday she is in talks with the NFL to help promote new options under ObamaCare.

Sebelius said the football league has been "very actively and enthusiastically engaged" in discussions about a partnership to encourage people to enroll in newly available insurance plans.

"We're having active discussions right now with a variety of sports affiliates" about both paid advertising and partnerships to encourage enrollment, Sebelius told reporters.

Now, despite the fact, we imagined this push to come in the form of bland and benign PSAs on Sundays... and Mondays... and Thursdays... we were nevertheless disturbed by the potential of politicizing the holy day on the calendar week.

You can imagine our delight, then, when we found out yesterday the NFL declined this invitation to pimp this miserable piece of legislation.

From the NFL league offices via the Washington Examiner:

We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about PPACA’s implementation.

(italics, ours)

It is duly noted that this strikes an entirely different tone than Sebelius's "active and enthusiastic" description of goings-ons.

Needless to say, this was absolutely the right call by the NFL. Putting aside for a moment that we were glad the League did not roll over and play stoolie for the administration, say you were a liberal during a conservative president's push for privatizing social security? You would rightly despise PSAs on Sunday afternoon attempting to educate you on where you could go on-line to invest 10% of your Social Security account.

Much of the beauty of sports is that, for the most part, it leaves politics at the door. Yes, it is escapism from the day-to-day assault we now get from the state of modern politics.

Sunday is a day of worship and for asking God to grant peace and tranquility to our lives. It is also a day of fellowship where we gather around the grill and 52" set with family and friends. Politics doesn't have any part in any of the above and we thank the NFL for their help in maintaining that.

Exit observation(s): Curious if Sebelius essentially lying through her teeth had the NFL heading to the exits and wording their statement the way they did in that they were in no way shape or form going to be patsies for the administration. Probably should have dialed in back a notch or two, eh, Kathy?

It speaks to a combination of desperation and hubris that Team O thought they were going to get away with this.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wait. So, this isn't about same-sex marriage nor the Voting Rights Act..?

...No, but pretty damn important none the less.

Good news on the religious freedom front and in the fight against the free contraception mandate imposed by the federal healthcare law aka ObamaCare and specifically with Hobby Lobby's efforts in court to be exempted from this mandate.

From NewsOK:

A federal appeals court in Denver has reversed a lower court's decision to deny Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s quest for an injunction against part of the Affordable Care Act that requires it to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for some of its employees.

In a 168-page ruling issued Thursday, the appellate court sent Hobby Lobby case back to a lower court for further review.

The panel of nine appellate court judges who heard arguments in the case in May ruled unanimously that Hobby Lobby and its affiliated Christian bookstore chain Mardel have the right to sue over the Affordable Care Act.

The ruling is a blow to the federal government's argument that as for-profit corporations, the companies cannot claim that the health care law is a violation of constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

Five of the nine judges found that Hobby Lobby meets at least part of the legal standard to receive a temporary injunction against the health care law while its lawsuit is ongoing.

The other four judges said the company fully meets the legal standard and that the appellate court should order the lower court to grant the company an injunction.

Hobby Lobby's lawsuit will now head back to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, which earlier ruled against Hobby Lobby's quest for relief from the health care law.

Beginning in July, the company faces fines of as much as $1.3 million a day for failing to comply with the health care law.

Of course, as free market types, we're perplexed by this distinction between for-profit and non-profits in the given context, as in, what the hell is the federal government doing in the health insurance business in the first place?

Somehow other lines of business from the auto manufacturing industry to the bar and restaurant industry can provide a dizzying array of options for customers without being told what cars to make or what to put on the menu or on tap by the federal government. And if they can't figure out what the public wants, they go out of business. No harm, no foul.* Why should the health insurance industry be any different?

No matter, we'll take these victories in shoving it up ObamaCare's wazoo where we can.

And in totally related news and in the wake of the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop. 8, the President moved quickly to assure everybody that despite those victories for proponents of same-sex marriage, he would not force churches to perform same-sex marriages.

Of course, we were thrilled with this monumentally magnanimous gesture towards the rule of law and constitutional republicanism as dubious as his actions have been in those areas.

However, remembering this is the same person who is forcing Catholic health insurance providers to provide free contraceptive and abortive devices, his reassurances have, in our humble opinion, the staying power of a puddle of water on a strip of pavement on an August afternoon in Yuma.

* Any Chick Hearn reference automatically raises the quality of your post/article by 15%-28%. This advice is free of charge. You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Progressives totally unwilling to admit... progress


Such is the nature of politics these days and particularly that of racial politics, you would have thought that the Supreme Court today struck down the entirety of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby vs. Holder, when in fact they did not. What the Supremes ruled unconstitutional was Section 5 of the VRA which determined that, depending upon the jurisdiction, any changes to voting rules and procedures, even at the local level, would need to be approved by the Justice Department.

In a 5-4 ruling with the court's conservatives in the majority, the justices ruled that Congress had used outdated facts in continuing to force nine states, mainly in the South, to get federal approval for voting rule changes affecting blacks and other minorities.

There have been two separate instances in which we have wrote about how the Section 5 has been used and used in a highly dubious manner. The first involved the city of Kinston, North Carolina which had decided that they were going to hold non-partisan city elections, i.e. candidates would no longer be affiliated with any particular party on the ballot, a practice that is quite common throughout the country.

The Justice Department denied Kinston this change to their voting process and a subsequent ruling by a U.S. District judge rejected a challenge to Section 5 reasoning that lack of access to party affiliation would discriminate against minority voters who otherwise would not be able to locate the Democratic candidate on the Kinston ballot.

You would not be mistaken if you believed this smacks of paternal plantation politics.

The second instance was with respect to the city of Port Chester which is located 25 miles northeast of New York City. In a city of 30,000 people, half of which are Hispanic, no Hispanic had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats. Federal Judge Stephen Robinson deemed this a violation of the VRA and in a bit of Solomon -like wisdom, approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates which prompted this response from one of the townies:

"That was very strange," Arthur Furano, 80, said after voting. "I'm not sure I liked it. All my life, I've heard, `one man, one vote.'"

Obviously, one man - one vote is an antiquated relic of the past when one is on a rabid mission to achieve the correct racial balance of a burg's dog-catchers.

And what the two examples above also represent is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

So, if pernicious meddling at the local level seemed to be the M.O. of late for Section 5, perhaps the Supremes figured it was time to pull the plug on what had been a very well-intended provision of a law that helped guarantee the franchise for people who did indeed need help at the federal level to make this happen.

Now a days, Mississippi the state of some of the worst cases of segregation and racial violence now boasts more black elected politicians than any state in the nation, not per capita, but total. And indeed, for states in the South, black voter registration as a percentage of their population pretty much mirrors that of whites.

Predictably, however, progressives flipped their collective lids over the Supreme Court decision and just as predictably took out their not-so-latent bigotry on Justice Clarence Thomas who sided with the majority.

Two things we'll never understand: 1) how it is your skin color should determine your politics. Is that not a form of bigotry in itself? And 2) how progressives simply will not acknowledge that we've made huge strides in race relations since the passage of the VRA and other civil rights legislation. Memo to Progs: it worked. It freaking worked! Rejoice!

Simply put, what is it about a black President, a black Attorney General and a black female National Security Advisor that gives lie to this?

Laws are amended, updated and, yes, repealed all the time but for some folks, time has stood still and acknowledging the success of these laws by rolling back some of their subsequent excessive tendencies is grounds for unhinged howls of apostasy.

It's a shame because at least in the case of guaranteeing the franchise for minorities, we won. We all won.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ads guaranteed to annoy the living hell out of us coming this fall

A not-so-wonderful confluence of two subjects of immense interest to us: the NFL and the not-so-new federal healthcare law.

We can't imagine anything more than some bland yet peppy PSA-type ads starring, perhaps, Peyton Manning, the most trusted man in America? but still....

Can we get a "C'mon Man!"?

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday she is in talks with the NFL to help promote new insurance options under ObamaCare.

Sebelius said the football league has been "very actively and enthusiastically engaged" in discussions about a partnership to encourage people to enroll in newly available insurance plans.

"We're having active discussions right now with a variety of sports affiliates" about both paid advertising and partnerships to encourage enrollment, Sebelius told reporters.

HHS is reportedly also in talks with the NBA to promote the law.

Partnerships with sports organizations are especially promising to HHS because the department hopes large numbers of young, healthy men will enroll in the law's new coverage options.

Recall it was Sebelus that, ahem, solicited donations from health insurance and tax preparation firms, some of the very firms her department regulates, in order to help with ObamaCare information awareness.

Wonder how those conversations between the two groups are going down? There's not the link between HHS and the NFL that there is in the situation described above but Congress always rattles its anti-trust saber from time to time and especially if they feel any particular professional sports league is getting out of line or not cooperating sufficiently with Congress. Hey, don't look at us that way. Sebelius has done nothing to dissuade us from any baseless suspicions.

Anyway, to Twitter we went to vent our dissatisfaction:

Though it is our beloved NFL, this situation has rankled us to the degree we're not above some cheap shots. Sue us.

Anyway, and again, we expect nothing more than some cheerily bland 30 second spots but our reviling of ObamaCare and then to have it infringe on sacred turf might just have us turning the air blue on Sundays in just a few short months.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Speech for me but not for thee

A few years back while he was either a candidate or our newly-minted 44th President, the camp of Barack Obama floated the idea of making battlefield-wounded military personnel pay for their own medical expenses as a way to help defray the costs of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

So repulsive and sickening was this idea, it mattered not a whit to us that it was merely a trial baloon. That violating the sacred trust that exists between this country and the men and women in our armed forces was allowed to germinate into a fully-formed thought within Team O, we have never been able to shake the contempt and disdain we hold for the character of the man and that of the people he surrounds himself to this day.

Currently before us, we have yet another big idea that though perhaps not as viscerally revolting at the gut level, certainly represents a greater threat to our Republic.

Stung by the Citizens United decision Senators Tester (D-MT) and Murphy (D-CT) are proposing a Constitutional amendment that would regulate corporate speech at the whim of Congress.

Here is the text of the amendment (via Volokh Conspiracy):

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. The words people, person, or citizens as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are unalienable.


Honestly can't recall ever reading more miserable dreck in our lives as Sections 1 and 3 are in complete and direct contradiction with Section 2.

Perhaps the good Senators would be pleased to know that many newspapers, churches, labor unions, non-profit political and charity organizations, etc., etc. are formed as corporations. It is the speech of these people Congress wishes to regulate? Are not these aforementioned groups merely individual people who have formed together freely as is also a constitutionally-protected right? How then can Congress lay claim to regulate the speech of multiple people as opposed to a single person?

Precisely what is it about the 1st amendment that is lost on these two?

This is what happens when statists get smacked down in court. They throw an infantile, yet Orwellian, legislative temper-tantrum with the desire to gut our first and most important amendment.

And ditching the overall narrative for a moment and getting into the nuts and bolts of the language: can anyone give us an operational definition of "deems reasonable"? The term "reasonable" in the context of its relation to Congress is tenuous at best. You would really trust Congress to behave in an impartial and august manner so as to not abuse the power they granted themselves? We didn't think so.

Not so hypothetically speaking then, we could have a situation where Congressman X objects to an ad being run in his home district by a PAC during election season and he would have the power to move forward to ban that ad. How is this a good idea?

This is precisely the opposite of what our Founders intended.

And if your argument is that we need some mechanism to get all that money out of politics, remember that all that money is merely a result of all that power that is in politics. That money is merely a method of purchasing the power that exists and continues to expand within politics and government.

We will not remove money from politics until we instead find a mechanism to remove that power from politics. Oh, wait. We do. It's called the ballot box. Unfortunately, too many of us would rather whine about Citizens United and champion idiotic legislation than doing anything constructive with respect to granting more and more power to the government.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photo image(s) of the day

Entrance question: how is it that foreign news outlets, particularly the Daily Mail (England), provide far superior photo-journalism content than their American counterparts on American news stories?

From the Daily Mail Online:

A set of seven stunning photographs emerged Thursday, showing the first official glimpse of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya that left US. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

The grainy, scanned pictures, released by the advocacy group Judicial Watch, were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request lodged with the U.S. Department of State. They are the first images of the Benghazi attack released by the State Department.

Three of them show Arabic-language spray paint graffiti. According to translations provided to MailOnline by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, they likely read 'Thrones of HamzaIn'; 'Allah-u Akbar'; and 'Unity of ranks.' The group's translator emphasized that his analysis was preliminary.

'Allah-u-Akbar' is a familiar rallying cry among Islamist radicals, meaning 'God is great.'

Click on the link for more pictures.

You know, it's weird. After looking at the pictures and reading the accompanying narrative we didn't see hide nor hair of any evidence of anyone protesting a crappy allegedly anti-Muslim Youtube video. You remember that video, don't you? You don't? Well, the administration sure does as they spent weeks blaming the attack on the Benghazi consulate and which resulted in the deaths of four Americans on that video. It was a spontaneous protest, y'all.

You'd be pleased to know that outside of those four dead Americans, the only person who is suffering any consequences for this whole sorry affair is that very crappy YouTube video maker who is languishing in jail for parole violations related to the making of that crappy YouTube video. You would not be guilty of hyperbole if you wondered whether the administration's fall guy who was very publicly hustled off to jail after the incident could be considered a political prisoner.

Meanwhile, then-Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, the stoolie who pedaled the-video-made-them-do-it narrative on the Sunday talk shows in the aftermath of the consulate attack has been named National Security Adviser. No, really. That just happened. We suppose that's what loyalty looks like when you make a complete ass of yourself on national television taking bullets for Team O.

But when elections need to be won, what difference does it make if you cover-up your own incompetence and negligence after leaving your own citizens to hang out to dry? Rest in peace, Ambassador Stevens, it was all for a good cause.

Go here for a nice wrap-up of the Benghazi cover-up.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Video clip of the day


Ahhhh.... the good ol' days. The good ol' days when it seemed our biggest concern as limited government, free-market types was loathe-some nanny state mayors on an endless quest to ban stuff.

Alas, these days, we are possessors of a rogue government that snoops on its own citizens, harasses political organizations of particular political hues, investigates reporters and, now apparently even hacks into the computers of some of those reporters.

So, in a nod to nostalgia, let's hit the way-back button and relish some of the good times of just a few months ago when was naming their Nanny of the Month for April of 2013:

"What sort of monster would ban Chipotle?"


Monday, June 17, 2013

Funeral for a Friend?

So, a buddy of ours was informed recently by his superiors at work that they were aware of his internet musings on politics and culture and let us just say for the sake of clarification that "aware of" was not made in the context of "Hey, we're big fans, where do we sign up?"

Our jovially cantankerous moral scold was sufficiently freaked out about this to the point that he related that he may scale back his activity on the 'net while simultaneously seeking in-house legal counsel. Legal bubbas told him management had no grounds to interfere in any manner in any legal activity he chose to pursue outside of work. We weren't privy to the conversation but the foundation for this rationale was most likely deeply rooted in the 1st amendment of this nation's Constitution - you may have heard of it.

Good news, right? Wrong. Yes, perhaps justice and sanity won out in the end, but the damage had been done. The fact that our friend actually had to consider the consequences of his actions with respect to his workplace meant that the bad guys had snuck in a left hook on free speech to the extent our friend felt/feels compelled to keep watching his own back. We guess this is what is meant by putting a "chill" on things, kind of like how the Department of Justice has put a "chill" on reporters, you know, doing their job by snooping on their phone records as is the case with 20 Associated Press reporters and Fox News' James Rosen in two separate leak investigations.

Now, as recently, perhaps as 6 months ago we may have told our friend he was over-reacting to this and that maybe some time off from work rather than blogging might do his inner worker bee some good.

No longer.

Folks, at this point, it very much appears we have a rogue government on our hands. The aforementioned DOJ investigations, the IRS harassment of conservative groups and the NSA snooping of U.S. citizens all without any seeming consequences rather smug denials of knowledge and/or responsibility and worse yet, reassignments, paid admin. leave and even promotions for people central to these crises (again, we refuse to call these scandals as to our knowledge, no one was getting laid as a result of this lawlessness).

Yes, we very much have a Constitutional crisis on our hands as the very institutions we formerly trusted to uphold the law and that constitution are quite openly and quite shamelessly working to tear them down.

The following is a related missive from our friend that was passed along to a group of his friends which he did not want to post on his own site and also which we believe there was an implied permission granted to share with you all:


On Friday, I worked at Catholic Charities food resource center. On Saturday, my wife and I taught the remarriage class for the Diocese. It's really weird, but the more of these things I do, the less American I feel. At the class, my wife and I worked to help people understand the problems and prepare for the issues of remarriage and blended families. It was great, but at the same time, in the back of my mind, I knew my government was actively working to hurt me and my faith. It's not that the government was indifferent, which I would fully accept, it was that it was pointlessly trying to hurt us through the HHS mandate.

We were working to keep society together while Sandra Fluke was giving speeches at the winning side's national convention and while the government actively looked the other way so Dr. Gosnell could slaughter babies.

I'm not disloyal or traitorous and I'm not going to pick up a rifle and go all Cristados, but I just can't help but think about this stuff.

Dittos for the Catholic Charities stuff. Many of our customers can't speak a bit of English despite being in the country for years. I used to get ticked off at this as an American, knowing it was idiotic not to have a common language. But now I see them as images of Christ and only want to help them. If the rest of America votes to give them government assistance and education in their own language, that's their problem, not mine. My problem is to love them.

I'm not leaving, I'm not giving up on fighting for what we collectively believe in through legal and proper means, it's just something I can't help thinking as I become more active within the Church.

It's such a tragedy that in working to improve society and help the poor I feel alienated from my government.


PS - And if you must know, we make all clients at the food resource center and all the people in the class sign a statement swearing they will always hate gays. It's just what we do. All the time. Talk about gays. "Gays, gays, gays!" that's us.

So, the NSA was in league with our boy's employers in "monitoring" the activity of law-abiding Americans? No. (Well, nothing is off the table at this point but for the sake of discussion let's assume the two are entirely separate abuses of power).

In short, we see this as the gradual march of statism through our nation's institutions that has occurred over the past 40-50 years to the point we now have an entrenched institutional bias in our governmental institutions. An institutional bias that is inherently opposed to free speech and the exercise thereof and of other freedoms and liberties we have for so long taken for granted (please see also the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendments).

(Side note: We find no end to the irony that this collectivist/statist ideological bent finds its roots in the Free Speech movement and the New Left of the 60s.)

Yeah, our statist friends figured it out pretty easily and moved forward with the master plan leaving us conservative/libertarian types scratching our heads wondering from whence came that 2x4 upside our collective heads. Of course, this can be rationally explained away as a structural disadvantage as a goal of conservo-libertarianism is to decrease the influence of government institutions in our daily lives. Sheesh. How is that effective do-nothing passiveness any strategy for preventing a former constitutional republic from descending into tyranny?

Closing thought: If, by now, you are not a Constitutional radical, you haven't been paying attention or perhaps you are, indeed, a patsy for tyranny.

(Addendum #1: The Beltway establishment types, Democrat and Republican alike, all crawled out of their holes on the Sunday talk shows to defend the NSA super-surveillance program citing various unnamed terror plots it had help foil. With the Tsarnaev brothers, the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber, to name just a few, all hiding in plain sight and all going quite un-foiled, the political class hacks are going to have to do a lot better job in convincing us than they did yesterday.

And let's just say we're 100% wrong and that the NSA super-duper citizen snooper program is teh most awesome counter-terror program ever all without infringing upon anyone's civil liberties, how can increased scrutiny and skepticism of the government ever be a bad thing?)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This is what Hope and Change looks like

In free market endeavors, when external restrictions are placed on trade and commerce, rationality exerts itself and work-arounds are found and implemented.

It has always been our hope that one of the silver linings to the wretchedness of the new federal healthcare law (aka ObamaCare) would be a robust participation of doctors and patients alike in a gray-market of sorts operating outside the boundaries of ObamaCare and indeed outside of the bounds of the traditional health insurance complex.

Back in May, we reported out on a doctor in Maine who was not any longer accepting health insurance coverage for his patients. It is his belief that getting out from the onerous regulations imposed upon him by the health insurance complex would a) allow him to price his services more competitively and b) allow him to better serve his patients' needs. A win-win for everybody, right?

Well, it would appear that lone primary care-giver in Portland, Maine is not alone.


A Kansas physician says he makes the same income and offers better quality care to his patients after he dumped all health insurance companies.

Thirty-two-year old family physician Doug Nunamaker of Wichita, Kan., said after five years of dealing with the red tape of health insurance companies and the high overhead for the staff he hired just to deal with paperwork, he switched to a system of charging his patients a monthly fee plus the price of an office visit or test, CNN/Money reported.

For example, under Nunamaker's membership plan -- also known as "concierge" medicine or "direct primary care" practices -- each patient pays a flat monthly fee to have unlimited access to the doctors and any medical service they can provide in the practice, such as stitches or an EKG.

For adults up to age 44, Nunamaker charges $50 a month, pediatric services are $10 a month, and for adults age 44 and older it costs $100 a month. Although Nunamaker calls the practice "cash-only," he accepts credit and debit cards for the fees and services.

Nunamaker and his partner negotiated deals for services outside the office. A cholesterol test costs the patient for $3, versus the $90 or more billed to insurance companies; an MRI can cost $400, compared with $2,000 or more billed to insurance companies.

Again, under the current system of third party payer which will only be exacerbated by ObamaCare, no one really knows the true cost of medical procedures leading to the gross pricing distortions described above.

Back to the article:

The practice encourages patients and families to also carry some type of high-deductible health insurance plan in case of an emergency or serious illness requiring hospitalization, Nunamaker said.

Nunamaker said his annual salary is around $200,000, and he gets to spend more time with patients providing better care because he is not watching the clock and he gets to spend more time with this family.

Most of Nunamaker's clients are self-employed, small business owners, or small companies that found the monthly fee and the cost of the high-deductible plan was a cheaper option, CNN/Money reported.

Lowering healthcare costs while improving the quality of healthcare provided to you by your doc... What's not too like about that? And the fact that these subversive gray market practices might just put ObamaCare out of business makes this a beautiful trifecta.

We are literally typing this with a smile on our face as nothing makes us happier than seeing individual Americans executing some free-market
entrepreneurship to stick it to the entrenched interests in D.C. while improving the quality of service they provide in their particular marketplace.

May these acts of subversiveness continue across this great nation of ours.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Radio KBwD is on the air

We found the following on the jukebox at Toronado recently and realized we hadn't heard it since owning a tape cassette of Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy years ago.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from England, it's The Who performing "A Legal Matter".

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Congress, like, totally bummed they will be subjected to their own law

We can't quite ever recall a more delicious lede for a straight news piece.

From Politico earlier this morning:

Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

In fact, the whole article is so wondrous we might just reprint the entire piece and provide running commentary. Go ahead and read while we luxuriate in our Schadenfreude...

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect - a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.

In what was perhaps the most idiotic line of reasoning ever formulated by a politician, it was Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that claimed we had to pass ObamaCare so we could find out what's in it. Fully 3+ years after its passage now, Congress kinda-sorta knows what's in it to the extent that they aren't asking if the new federal healthcare law is going to screw them, they are asking how bad it's going to screw them. Good times, gang, good times.

Back to the article:

If the issue isn't resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues - like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.

(italics, ours)

In light of monumentally dubious legislative achievements such as TARP, the American Recovery Act (Porkulus), Dodd-Frank Fin-Reg, Cash for Clunkers and, of course, the subject law away from which the very members that wrote it and passed it are running as fast as they humanly can, we'll let that term percolate for a moment....

And given the legislative trainwrecks mentioned above, someone please explain to us again what is so bad about gridlock.

And back to the article:

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they'll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

You do recall the President telling all of us that if we liked our current healthcare plan, we could keep it, right? We believe members of Congress sure do.


Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

"If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, 'Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,'" Larson told POLITICO. "They are federal employees."

Words that probably should've been aired some 4 years ago, wouldn't you say Representative Larson?

One more time for the Politico piece:

Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.

"It's a reality," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). "This is the law. . It's going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it's going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families." He said his fellow lawmakers are having "quiet conversations" about the threat.

Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan.

We've heard ObamaCare called many things and indeed this blog has had its share of pejoratives to associate with ObamaCare but referring to the federal law as a "threat" is a new one.

Woops, we lied... check this out:

The Affordable Care Act - signed into law in 2010 - contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are "created" in the bill or "offered through an exchange" - unless the bill is amended.

Wait. What? They had an opportunity to effectively exempt themselves from the apparent horribleness of ObamaCare during the crafting of the legislation and they failed to do even that?

We shouldn't be amazed but we are. It tells you all you need to know about the caliber of people we send to represent us in D.C. that they are now freaking out over that which they will be subjecting the rest of us. Yep, we're in the very best of hands.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Video Clip of the Day

.'s Matt Welch talks IRS and NSA surveillance with Stuart Varney on Fox's Business Network:

(Doggone it. So sorry, no embed. Please go here for 4 minute video)

The flippant who cares? attitude we have heard as a defense of the NSA snooping as in "I'm not doing anything wrong, what's the big deal?" is troublesome. In a vacuum, government represents, by varying degrees, an existential threat to our freedoms and liberties. The Founders realized this and that is precisely why the Bill of Rights is essentially a can't-do list for the federal government, a bugger-off and mind your own business manifesto.

But we're not living in a vacuum now are we? Matt Welch gets into this with respect to the IRS and its bullying of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Welch contends that it is actually a far greater problem if there is an entrenched, even intractable political bias within this powerful government agency rather than its employees acting upon orders from Washington DC as has been suggested by at least one Cincinnati office employee. One or two bad eggs can be taken out but institutional bias is forever.

Knowing what we do then about the IRS and the Department of Justice going after Associated Press reporters and naming Fox News reporter James Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator in two separate leak investigations, it would take a suspension of disbelief of the highest order to simply shrug off the deeds of the NSA in this snooping scandal as a who cares?

Again, even in a vacuum, it's always been our contention that the burden of proof with respect to wrong-doing by the government resides with that very government. With the IRS and now the NSA our consented-to government has much to answer for and we can't say we are necessarily re-assured with what we've been hearing so far.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Your California High-Speed Choo-Choo Update

Alternate headline: It's Come to This

A week and a half ago, B-Daddy of The Liberator Today alerted us to the latest goings on with respect to the legal wranglings of California's $68 billion (ha!) high speed choo-choo project.

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit that claims the project doesn’t comply with a statewide ballot measure approving $9.9 billion in bonds for the systems.

. . . Former Sen. Quentin Kopp, involved in planning high-speed rail since 1992, states in an expert declaration in the case that the so-called “blended” system forcing the bullet train and standard rail to share tracks from San Francisco to San Jose is not genuine high-speed rail.

The practical concern here is that using conventional tracks (non-high speed) would increase the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco over the advertised time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. For those of you in Placentia, California who are scratching your head thinking why this is such a big deal as one can jump on a commuter plane and accomplish the same feat in about 45 minutes have reached just one conclusion as to how colossal a clusterfark this has become.

The use of conventional tracks is just one legal matter facing California's high-speed choo-choos. Folks in the Central Valley are bringing suit against the Railroad Commission because they don't have all their funding and environmental approvals in place prior to construction.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The project faces several potential pitfalls, including technical reviews and legal challenges that could halt progress. Last week, attorneys for a farmer, rural homeowner and Kings County told a judge the authority is breaking its promise to voters who five years ago approved $9.9 billion in bonds to help fund the bullet train.

The case alleges the high-speed system violates several aspects of Proposition 1A, including requirements that the state have all funding and environmental approvals in place for an initial phase before starting construction. Lawyers representing the authority countered that the ballot measure’s provisions applied only to the promises bullet-train officials made to state lawmakers, not the voters.

(italics, ours)

You make me promises, promises... why do I believe...

There you have it, gang. The level of respect your betters in Sacramento have for you and the degree of honesty that is being practiced with high-speed choo-choos summed up in a single sentence.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

What we and others have been tweeting


But first... from our boy, KT at The Scratching Post:

Another mind-blowing week where on top of everything else that has been going on with respect to the IRS and the Department of Justice, we find that the federal government has been indiscriminately spying on tens of millions of Americans via a National Security Agency program called PRISM.

Of course, defenders of the program say it has already thwarted terrorist attacks on our soil. This claim rings hollow when...

Aside from the obvious privacy and civil liberty concerns, casting such a wide net doesn't pass the sniff test as an effective counter-terrorism method. Consider the Tsarnaevs and Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood terrorist*, who was in regular contact with the radical Yemeni-based cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki and who had "SOA" (Soldier of Allah) printed on his business card... these bums were hiding in plain sight and you didn't need any nation-wide, millions and millions-strong secret snooping dragnet to track them.

A very natural reaction to "do something" in the wake of 9-11 and which resulted in The Patriot Act has led us to where we are today: from targeted surveillance of overseas communicaes to a snoop-a-palooza free-for-all clusterfark.

Given the inherent Keystone Cops-like incompetence of huge, sprawling bureaucracies such as our federal government, it would almost be laughable if not for situations depicted in the image above; if they want to get you, they'll get hammer you. That's right, the patsie for the Benghazi terror attack, the crappy Youtube video maker who this regime blamed for it is still sitting behind bars.

But we were warned:

As we now know, amassing of executive power is as intractable as it is alluring. That President Obama would put on HGH that which President Bush should've surprised no one.

Yep, the ideological heirs of the New Left have proven themselves nothing more than power-mad thugs that have taken over our institutions in a cease-less effort to destroy their political opposites. Peggy Noonan's column linked below lays this out with respect to the IRS targeted harrassment of tea party and conservative groups:

We honestly don't know which is worse: an agency that acts upon orders from higher ups in Washington D.C. or just ideologically-bent institutional corruption?

And, of course, continuing our recent meme of "If you are still a big government liberal, you haven't been paying attention", Capt. Ed of Hot Air offers up an excellent piece:

Back to the domestic spying program, PRISM, for which the President was forced to address yesterday while fundraising here in California:

Totally related: we have noted how disinterested in politics our liberal friends have become over the past month or so. Yes, we're only human, so we'll cop to no small amount of schadenfreude over what has been going on of late.

Of course, when defending the indefensible there's always that reliable old saw:

And if he was behaving badly, his heart was in the right place:

This guy is good. If you Twitter, you should follow him.

Remember that goofy meme during the '12 presidential campaign: "Government is just things we do together"? We do...

OK, that's it for now but we'll leave you with what we think will be our personal Kronkite "Good night and good luck":

*If our government won't label it an act of terrorism, we'll be more than happy to do the heavy lifting for them

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When perceived attempts to bolster 1st amendment become cynical attempts to dismantle it


On Monday, we got into the curious case of a U.S. District Attorney making clear that federal civil rights laws would not tolerate people denigrating the Islamic faith on social media. In wrapping up the post we asked the following question:

Is this loser Killian suggesting that people on social media and "just bloggers" are not afforded the same 1st amendment protections as traditional media outlets? It would seem to be that way to us.

Now, consider what New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson, called the "criminalization" of news gathering in the wake of the Department of Justice's seizure of the phone records of 20 Associated Press reporters and those of Fox News reporter, James Rosen, in two separate leak investigations.

What this has led to is the resurrection of the medial shield law which would protect media organizations from investigation and prosecution for the disclosure of government secrets. We can't have an effective 4th estate and thus an effective constitutional republic if that 4th estate is worried they are going to be thrown in jail for merely doing their job, right? So, everything sounds good so far, yeah?

Here's where we hit the pause button, however, as with nearly every piece of proposed legislation in Washington D.C., there will be winners and there will be losers. What it's looking like more and more is our vaunted defenders of democracy are, via the media shield law, engaging in some good old fashion rent-seeking to not only protect themselves but to make exclusive their status on the whole question of freedom of the press and free speech.

Here's the Weekly Standard explaining things (as you are reading this, please keep in mind our good friend, U.S. District Attorney Bill Killian):

More than 50 news organizations (Reuters, Gannett, the New York Times, and so on) signed a letter protesting the AP subpoenas, and of course journalism guilds like the Society of Professional Journalists are using the subpoenas to agitate on behalf of the Free Flow of Information Act—and for the same reason guilds always lobby the government for special privileges. The act will go a long way toward establishing a government-sanctioned journalistic class. There will be, on the one hand, approved reporters who are immune to certain kinds of governmental inquiry, and, on the other hand, everyone else, those less exalted citizens who, faced with the same governmental inquiry, would just have to suck it up. The act is a classic restraint of trade, protecting favored journalists from the pressure of competitors who lack the proper credential.

We don’t doubt there are admirable libertarian impulses behind the shield law, too, if it is intended to encourage the exposure of illicit uses of government power. But like so many libertarian impulses, admirable or otherwise, this one ends up extending rather than restraining the reach of the state’s sweaty and thick-fingered hand. Any shield law must turn on definitions. Who’s a journalist? Well, says one version of the act, a journalist is “a person who, for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism.” Leave aside for the moment why anyone in his right mind would go into journalism “for financial gain.” The next question is, And what is journalism? It is “the gathering, preparing, collecting” etc. etc. “or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.” These are definitions without practical meaning. They will be refined on the fly, applied willy-nilly, by either unelected judges or self-interested legislators.

Even better, it reminds us of the advance our technology has made since the day of the great A. J. Liebling, author of the famous aphorism, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.” Now, of course, we all own one. Liebling’s press baron could be anyone with a laptop and a connection to the free Wi-Fi at his local Starbucks. From even so modest a perch a budding Lord Beaverbrook or Colonel McCormick can gather “news and information” on “matters of public interest” and disseminate it to a readership beyond Liebling’s wildest dreams. The Free Flow of Information Act reminds us that the free flow of information—the freedom of the press—the First Amendment itself—will thrive so long as the government doesn’t try to protect it.

Imagine that: a federal registry of government-sanctioned reporters. Not sounding too free-speechy, now, is it? But it shouldn't be surprising as the poltical class in this country, comprised of Democrats and Republicans alike, are fully vested in and thus fully supportive of extending/expanding the status quo. Never make the mistake of thinking otherwise.

And with respect to Killian's not-so-veiled threats to sic the federal government on those who say nasty things about Muhammed on social media, he knows damn well he would not be able to say the same things regarding the main stream media with or without any media shield law.

So, it's happening already where you have free speech for some but not free speech for others and if you are reading this now, which you are, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to assume that bloggers and blogging would be in that latter category. But we've engaged in journalism here on this blog if you believe the practice of journalism involves the "gathering, preparing, collecting” and then publishing of information, etc., etc., ... The rent seekers, in the fourth estate and indeed the entirety of the political class of this country are more interested in defining free speech in terms of who is engaging in it rather than the existential being of the speech itself. Speech is, man.

This is reminiscent of the arguments made by those on the ideological losing end of the Citizen's United case. Corporations are not people so their massive spending on political causes/campaigns is not considered speech as per the 1st amendment is the argument we have heard. But are not corporations made up of multiple individuals? And even that misses the larger point of, it's not about corporations or people or labor unions... it's about the "speech", stupid? In the Citizen's United context, an attempt to curtail speech was being made, regardless of the source of that speech, thus it ran afoul of the 1st amendment.

As we intoned before, regardless of the media shield law, there is move afoot to, on one hand legitimize speech and thus, on the other hand, delegitimize political/free speech which is poisonous for a fully functioning constitutional republic. Needless to say, government-approved speech is not free speech in any sense or manner of the word.

Special shout-out to new followers: "Joe", "Stuart Spivey" and "Jennifer Schaffer"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Suppose that'll teach them from trying to go tax-exempt

Knowing that Baghdad Jim McDermott (D-WA) was going to weigh in on the IRS crisis, you know you were in for some good stuff.


Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) offered a bizarre defense of the IRS's behavior at a House Ways and Means hearing on Tuesday morning, amounting to an attack on the Tea Party and conservative organizations present as potential money-launderers seeking a tax break from the government, not the exercise of their basic rights.

Shorter McDermott: You know, none of this would've happened to you if you didn't attempt to go tax-exempt*

This is unreal. This represents precisely why people are so freaked out over the IRS targeting crisis. That a long-tenured and powerful Congressmen can't see the fundamental wrongness of what he said represents a decadent corruptness that is now part and parcel to our federal government.

Don't get distracted by what McDermott was saying specific to tea party groups seeking tax exempt status; the larger point McDermott was making is that because tea party and other conservative groups dared to participate in the political process, they absolutely had it coming to them. And, yes, seeking to ease one's tax burden is as American as apple pie.

Please note that McDermott is actually confessing to wrong-doing by the IRS but guesss what? So what? As Marco Rubio stated flatly a few weeks ago, these are the words and deeds of a failed third world banana republic yet its happening right here in America: an elected congressman is telling the people who he works for that being targeted and harassed via endless bureaucracy and needlessly invasive questioning is now par for the course for the political opposites of the engrained statist/collectivist culture of the political class.

McDermott and other apologists for the IRS are bullies and thugs and their employment in their current positions needs to be terminated at the earliest possible moment as their championing of a culture of corruption and intimidation does not bode well for the continuing health of this Republic.

* How is it that OFA (Organizing for Action/America), ostensibly the sprawling and well-heeled former Obama campaign apparatus, is seeking the same tax exempt status as these local Mom and Pop organizations? We're sure the irony of progressive/statist groups campaigning/lobbying to raise everyone's taxes seeking tax-exempt status is not lost on you.

Monday, June 3, 2013

U.S. District Attorney not detecting any irony with his takes on the 1st amendment

But first some exciting news out of Egypt.

From the Washington Times:

An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian lawyer in the southern province of Assiut on charges of blasphemy and sentenced him to one year in prison with hard labor.

The verdict against Roman Murad Saad was handed down on Saturday. It’s the latest in a surge of blasphemy cases following Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

Saad was sentenced in absentia. If he’s arrested or surrenders to authorities, he will be given a retrial and will have to pay 10,000 Egyptians pounds (around $1,400) in fines.

Court officials say Saad was found guilty of ridiculing Islam’s holy book, the Quran, at a lawyers’ union library. No further details were immediately available in the case.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

(italics, ours)

No further details were immediately available? No, were good with just those. Don't need to know more about that case.

Well, good thing we've got that whole Bill of Rights thing to protect against anything untoward like that from happening here, right?

Good thing that 1st amendment protects us from being punished by our own government for potentially "offending" anyone elses religious sensibilities, right?

Well, a government official charged with upholding the Constitution appears to be looking at a looser interpretation of the 1st amendment than our "reasonable person" model.

Special speakers for the event will be Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville Division.

Killian and Moore will provide input on how civil rights can be violated by those who post inflammatory documents targeted at Muslims on social media.

“This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian told The News Monday. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”

(italics, ours)


Why does a talk about freedom of religion and federal laws and consequences seem a bit incongruous?

Killian gives a specific example of someone behaving poorly towards the Muslim community:

Killian referred to a Facebook posting made by Coffee County Commissioner Barry West that showed a picture of a man pointing a double-barreled shotgun at a camera lens with the caption saying, “How to Wink at a Muslim.”f

Killian said he and Moore had discussed the issue.r

“If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” he said. “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”

Actually, we do. There is precedence for this. We know it was 4 years ago, but do you all remember this?


We do. And we also remember the rioting that took place across northern Europe when that and other alleged offensive cartoons of Muhammed were re-printed in a Danish newspaper.

And let's not forget about Salmon Rushdie who still has a bounty on his head for his "Satanic Verses" that was printed over 20 years ago.

We wonder if Killian remembers this from about the same time period as "Satanic Verses"?

Yep. Good ol' "Piss Christ". And the amount of riots, death threats and overall incidents of violence caused by this piece of "art" have a common number. For Mr. Killian's benefit, that number would be "zero". A demeaning and degrading image of the central figure of Christianity elicited a relatively big fat whateverburger from Christ's followers.

Back to the article:

Killian said he has made other presentations in the state about Muslim culture and civil rights laws, and the Muslims he’s become acquainted with are outstanding citizens.

“Some of the finest people I’ve met are Muslims,”

Awwww.... he has Muslim friends!

And now for the money paragraphs:

“We want to inform everybody about what the law is, but more importantly, we want to provide what the law means to Muslims, Hindus and every other religion in the country.

“It’s why we came here in the first place. In England, they were using Christianity to further their power in government. That’s why the First Amendment is there.”

That this man is in any position of authority scares the living hell out of us.

That he says what he says without any hint of irony simply blows our mind.

The first amendment is there precisely to protect U.S. citizens from clueless idiots like you, Killian, that are on some sort of P.C.-driven power trip.

Descending into some third world crap hole where the law is selectively applied before our very eyes.

We have to break this off but an exit question: Is this loser Killian suggesting that people on social media and "just bloggers" are not afforded the same 1st amendment protections as traditional media outlets? It would seem to be that way to us.

* It has occurred to us that we may very well have violated Mr. Killian's police state interpretation of the law with this post.

Video clip of the day


Something nice and mellow to ease our way into the work week...

We've been getting a kick out of the general freak-out on the liberal-Left regarding the potential sale of the L.A. Times and other Tribune Company properties to the bogeyman Koch Brothers.

Surely the protesters gathered in front of the Times offices in downtown L.A. know that the Brothers Koch want to decriminalize drugs and fully support gay marriage. Surely. sent a crew down there to interview these folks:

"Um, I believe that regardless of their views, it’s not what the general populace needs."

You will note that this whole concept of free speech and freedom of the press is a rather one-way street.

We are not entirely dis-interested parties in these developments. The L.A. Times was a staple in our household while growing up. In fact, we basically learned how to read by reading Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Jim Murray’s work every Tuesday and Friday in the sports section.

The local newsstand here in San Diego stopped carrying the paper a few years ago and our folks dropped their subscription about 8 years ago as they believed, correctly so, their editorial bias was leaking over to their front section straight news items (one or two anti-Bush and or anti-Iraq war pieces could be reliably counted on appearing on the front page of their big Sunday edition during this time under the guise of “News Analysis”).

The print media industry has been in free fall for years (the Times has been operating under bankruptcy now for the past 3 or so years) so we are not going to necessarily blame their woes upon perceived bias alone but c’mon Angelenos… shake things up a bit and save your damn newspaper by embracing all that shadowy money from a couple of dudes whose social politics are somewhere to the left of the President’s.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Holder: Say, how about we talk about that whole freedom of the press thing, on the down low, of course

Please feel free to file the following under "You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up"

So, the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department was reported to feel just awful about his people seizing the phone records of Associated Press employees after reading about how chapped people were regarding this development as reported in the newspaper.

To assuage his guilty conscience bruised ego, what does he propose? Of course, a closed door off-the-record meeting with bureau chiefs of any media outlet that would accept the invite to discuss how it was that the Justice Department was going to protect/prosecute free speech in the future.

The 90-minute meeting was attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department's insistence that it be held off the record. The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms. The Justice Department is expected to meet with other news organizations and media lawyers in coming days.

Unreal. What you just read is something that should never have happened in a society that takes freedom of speech and freedom of the press seriously. It's apparent, by what was described above, we no longer do.

If you are keeping score at home, here's who did and did not choose to attend.

Those who did choose to attend should have stated going in that they fully intended on reporting out exactly, word for word, what was discussed and who it was that discussed it. Especially in light of the circumstances, those attending would be under neither legal nor ethical obligation to do otherwise.

The best read for this disgusting travesty was provided by HuffPo's Jason Linkins:

That said, everyone should just decline the opportunity to have this secret chat with Eric Holder about the Justice Department's bespoke approach to the "freedom of the press." Unless, of course, one of the attendees plans on going and then tossing the "off the record" rule in the garbage, which in my estimation would be an okay thing to do. Media organizations that conflate "journalistic ethics" with "bullshit political niceties" are conspirators in their own demise. So, you know, go right ahead and burn Eric Holder as a "source." What's he going to do? Petulantly deny you "access." Feh, who cares?

There are a number of good reasons for media organizations to avoid participating in this silly bavardage session with Holder. My bureau chief, Ryan Grim, cites the overarching principle guiding his decision: "A conversation specifically about the freedom of the press should be an open one. We have a responsibility not to betray that."

Eric Holder assures us he is all in for freedom of the press. He just doesn't want the media to say how much he is for or against it.

It's become blatantly obvious by this time, the Obama 2nd term agenda has been reduced to putting The Onion out of business.

While hanging out with B-Daddy last weekend, we noted that if we lay claim to nothing else in our blogging career, we correctly identified Eric Holder as the biggest hack in this administration a year into Obama's first term. Tell us we were wrong.