Democrats Stand Against Border Fence And Security

One of the few responsibilities of our federal government is the security of this nation. For decades they have not done their job securing our borders. Now that We The People are calling for action and Arizona has passed a strong illegal immigration bill, the Republicans have started pushing forward with legislation to strengthen the borders.  While Obama is sending up to 1,200 National Guard troops to border, Sen. John McCain has referred to that move as inadequate and introduced a bill calling for 6,000 troops to be sent.

McCain got about twelve Democrats to join him, but it was not enough for the 60 vote supermajority needed and so the measure was killed.  As was a measure requesting more than $2 billion in additional border security spending that was introduced by Republicans John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona.  So the Democrats stood against more border security today.  But they were not finished with just these two pieces of legislation.

Jim DeMint proposed an amendment to finish the 700 miles of border fence in one year.  A press release from Senator Jim DeMint on the amendment said:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) today announced that he will introduce an amendment to the financial regulation bill to require the completion of 700 miles of double-layer physical fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border within one year. Senator DeMint’s amendment follows through on the four-year-old promise made by Congress to secure the border under the Secure Fence Act of 2006. According to staff at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), just a fraction of double-layer fencing has been completed to date, with only 34.3 miles of double layer fencing in total (11.8 in California, 9.1 in Arizona, and 13.4 in Texas).

Senator DeMint’s amendment was already approved last year by the Senate in a bipartisan 54-44 vote, with 21 Democrats joining 33 Republicans in support of the measure. However, Democrat leaders gutted the amendment behind closed doors after “the Obama administration had opposed rapid expansion of the fence.”

“We’ve now had two administrations fail to keep their promise to the American people to secure our border and Americans are tired of excuses,” said Senator DeMint. “Americans have demanded a real fence to combat the very real problems of illegal immigration that have led to human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping and violence on our border. Congress will never be able to achieve long-term reform to create a legal immigration system that works until we secure our borders.

“We’ve had rhetoric and promises for four years without results. It’s time we completed the fence and secured our borders to protect American citizens.”

Jim DeMint just tweeted at around 8pm ET this evening that the measure had been defeated by the Democrats in a vote of 45 to 52.  We cannot even get these incompetent imbeciles in Congress to at least build a fence.  A fence they promised us and are required by law to build.  A fence that has worked wonderfully for San Diego.  The Democrats are not interested in border security obviously.

The Andy Harris ‘job interview’ was….

…..cleverly disguised as an Americans for Prosperity meeting.

Last night over 100 people jammed into the back rooms of Brew River to have an opportunity to ask questions of the man who wants to be our next Congressman and avenge his close defeat by current Rep. Frank Kratovil.

Read more at Monologue here.

The Wicomico County Americans for Prosperity Chapter

Here is their organizational lineup.

Julie Brewington , Wicomico County Co-chair
Joe Collins, Wicomico County Co-chair
Vaughn Baker, Commnications Director
Terry Hickman, Events Coordinator
Matt Trenka, Wicomico County Liaison
SJ Disharoom, Salisbury City Liaison
Kim Trenka. Wicomico County Liaison
Eileen Lenehan Historian and Book club
Bruce Spicer, Speakers and Training
Jack Plumber, Organizer
Joe Raffa,Organizer
Kathleen Raffa, Organizer

Do Not Call Those Waging War Against America What They Are!

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan speaks to reporters in the White House Jan. 7. (AP Photo)

FOX NEWS

The president’s top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” arguing that the term “jihadists” should not be used to describe America’s enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of “political, economic and social forces,” but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in “religious terms.”

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not “terrorism,” because terrorism is a “tactic,” and not terror, because terror is a “state of mind” — though Brennan’s title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word “terrorism” in it. But then Brennan said that the word “jihad” should not be applied either.

“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a “struggle” in the name of Islam and the term does not connote “holy war” for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world’s most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.”

But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

“Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism — that the United States is somehow at war against Islam,” he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

“In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together,” Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.

Obama to Seniors: ‘Drop Dead’

by Robert E. Moffit

According to surveys, no group of Americans is more skeptical of Obamacare than senior citizens—and with good reason.

While bits and pieces of the massive law are designed to appeal to seniors—more taxpayer subsidies for the Medicare drug benefit, for example—much of the financing over the initial ten years is siphoned off from an estimated $575 billion in projected savings to the Medicare program. Unless Medicare savings are captured and plowed right back into the Medicare program, however, the solvency of the Medicare program will continue to weaken. The law does not provide for that. Medicare is already burdened by an unfunded liability of $38 trillion.

Medicare Advantage plans, which currently attract almost one in four seniors, will see enrollment cut roughly in half over the next 10 years. Senior citizens will thus be more dependent on traditional Medicare than they are today and will have fewer health care choices.

Initial Provisions

Under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Congress deliberately created a gap in Medicare drug coverage (the so-called “donut hole”) in which seniors would be required to pay 100% of drug costs up to a specified amount. Obamacare provides a $250 rebate for seniors who fall into the “donut hole” and requires drug companies to provide a 50% discount on brand name prescriptions filled in the hole.

In 2011, Obamacare will also impose a new tax (a “fee”) on the sale of these brand name drugs in Medicare and other government health programs, ranging from $2.5 billion in 2011 to $4.1 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, the law will freeze payments to Medicare Advantage plans and restrict physicians from referring seniors in Medicare to specialty hospitals where physicians have an ownership interest. In 2013, the law eliminates the tax deductibility of the generous federal subsidy for employers who provide drug coverage for retirees. This could further undercut provision of employment-based prescription drug coverage for seniors.

Fewer Plan Choices

With the freezing of Medicare Advantage payments in 2011, Congress has set the stage for a progressive reduction in seniors’ access to, and choice of, the popular Medicare Advantage health plans.

In 2012, the law will begin reducing the federal benchmark payment for these plans. In 2014, these health plans must maintain a medical loss ratio of 85%, and the secretary of Health and Human Services is to suspend and even terminate enrollment in plans that miss this target.

Enrollment in Medicare Advantage by 2017 is estimated to be cut roughly in half, from a projected 14.8 million (under current law) to 7.4 million. Since there are serious gaps in Medicare coverage, including the absence of catastrophic protection, roughly nine out of ten seniors on traditional Medicare already need to purchase supplemental insurance, such as Medigap. Without Medicare Advantage, millions more seniors will have to go through the cumbersome process of paying two separate premiums for two health plans.

Less Access to Physicians

In 2011, the new law provides a 10% Medicare bonus payment for primary care physicians and general surgeons in “shortage” areas. This is a tepid response to a growing problem.

With the retirement of 77 million baby boomers beginning in 2011, the Medicare program will have to absorb an unprecedented demand for medical services. For the next generation of senior citizens, finding a doctor will be more difficult and waiting times for doctor appointments are likely to be longer. The American Association of Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 124,000 doctors by 2025.

Obamacare has not ameliorated the growing problem of projected physician shortages and has surely made it worse. Under the new law, physicians will be even more dependent on flawed government payment systems for their reimbursement. Moreover, the congressionally designed Medicare physician payment update formula, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), initiates cuts that are so draconian that Congress goes through annual parliamentary gyrations to make sure its own handiwork does not go into effect.

Payment Cuts Mean Rationing

The new law also dramatically expands Medicaid, a poorly performing welfare program with low physician reimbursement rates, and this expansion will account for roughly half of the 34 million newly insured Americans. Furthermore, the law creates an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will recommend measures to reduce Medicare spending.
Formally, the board is forbidden to make recommendations that ration care, increase revenues, or change Medicare beneficiaries’ benefits, cost-sharing, eligibility or subsidies. For the board, reimbursement for doctors and other medical professionals seems the only target left. But payment cuts can effectively ration care.

More Medicare Payment Cuts

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than—and in a way unrelated to—the providers’ cost of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantial portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).

Indeed, creating a real problem for seniors, the CMS Actuary estimates that roughly 15% of Medicare Part A providers—the part of the Medicare program that pays hospital costs—would become unprofitable within ten years.

Higher Taxes

Under the new law, seniors are going to pay higher taxes. The higher taxes on drugs (effective in 2011) and medical devices (effective in 2013) will affect seniors especially, as they are more heavily dependent on those very products. Older people, of course, have higher health costs than younger people. But the existing tax deduction for medical expenses will be raised from 7.5% to 10% of adjusted gross income in 2013. The reduced tax deductibility of medical expenses is waived for seniors only from 2013 to 2016. Likewise, older people have larger investments than younger people—and thus high-income older persons will be more heavily impacted by the new 3.8% Medicare tax imposed on unearned or investment income (effective 2013).

New federal health insurance taxes—both the premium taxes and the excise taxes—will also impact older workers and retirees. The federal premium tax (effective 2014) will be applicable to Medicare Advantage plans and health plans offered to federal retirees in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). Likewise, starting in 2018, there is a new 40% federal excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans (defined as $10,220 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage). This will also apply to FEHBP plans, which enroll federal retirees.

A Better Policy

Forcing doctors and hospitals to comply with new rules and shaving reimbursement for treating senior citizens is not real reform. If Congress is going to reduce Medicare and impose a hard cap on Medicare payments to restrain per capita cost growth, at the very least it ought to channel those savings right back into the program to enhance Medicare’s solvency and lay the fiscal foundation for real reform. Seniors deserve better than what Obamacare gives them.

Mr. Moffit is director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

National debate plays out locally as immigration groups clash in Silver Spring Point, counterpoint lost amid a tsunami of flags, bullhorns

Kimmie Propreack - American Sellout

National debate plays out locally as immigration groups clash in Silver Spring

Point, counterpoint lost amid a tsunami of flags, bullhorns

An issue of national importance hit home in Silver Spring last weekend as several anti-illegal immigration groups rallied outside an immigrant-rights advocacy group’s headquarters on University Boulevard.

Flags were waved and fingers were wagged on both sides of the line Saturday in front of the Casa of Maryland worker’s center as members of the Langley Park-based immigrant-rights group squared off with members of Rockville’s Help Save Maryland. Both groups struggled to exercise their first-amendment rights against a backdrop of American flags, bullhorns and the flashing lights of several police cruisers parked along the street to uphold the amendment’s wording: the right of the people to “peaceably assemble.”

Up to 30 anti-illegal immigration protestors picketed outside Casa’s center while nearly as many Casa volunteers helped clean the grounds inside the fence.

Whitney Riley, of Baltimore, joined the Help Save Maryland protest as a way to voice her support for what she called “the rule of law” regarding immigration.

“We want [Casa] to stop funding illegal aliens with taxpayer money,” she said. “They have pamphlets that show how to circumvent the law; … in the end we need to be a nation that stands on the rule of law. Illegal immigration is illegal, period.”

Go to link for the whole story.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/05262010/silvnew184901_32551.php

*NOTE – I HAVE CONTACTED THE GAZETTE TO HAVE THEM RETRACT THE COUNT, THE COUNT WAS TAKEN PLACE AS THE EVENT WAS WINDING DOWN.  AT THE HEIGHT OF THE EVENT, 100 PEOPLE WERE THERE, NOT 30*

It’s time for mayor to work with Salisbury’s rental owners, for the city’s sake

A letter to the editor: The Daily Times

E: “Slum of Week tensions mount,” May 26

It’s past time for Mayor Jim Ireton to end the “Slum Property” nonsense and find a more effective way to deal with code compliance for rental properties in Salisbury.

Besides presenting a less-than-desirable image to visitors (potential residents and/or business relocations?) on the city’s website, there is no indication using a bludgeon rather than a “carrot and stick” approach is remotely effective.

I suggest Ireton make an overture to Salisbury Property Owners Association, asking to reinstate a program that was in place a few years ago: The city administration would notify SAPOA leadership of problems with specific properties. A committee of SAPOA members would approach the owner(s) of the subject property and attempt to get the problem resolved for the good of the city and the rental community.

More often than not, the problem was taken care of quickly and efficiently. Peer pressure can be a powerful incentive. It may not have created the level of drama some seem to desire, but it was effective. It also retains the bludgeon approach as an option for cases that were unsuccessful.

At the recent City Council meeting, we saw representatives of property owners practically begging for a cooperative effort at equitable code enforcement. The administration needs to reach out to those who are willing and able to help. They may be amazed at what a bit of quiet diplomacy can accomplish.

Full disclosure: I have no financial interest in rentals. I do not now nor have I ever owned any property other than the one occupied by me and my family.

Bob Caldwell

Salisbury