Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"This Is So Sarah Palin": Fox & Friends Hypes SarahPAC's Bus Tour

Right-Wing Media Attack Obama Over Medicare "Cuts" As They Praise Ryan Plan, Which Includes Same "Cuts"

From Media Matters:

Right-wing media figures are claiming that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal does not cut Medicare spending, while accusing President Obama of having "cut" $500 billion from Medicare as part of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, these "cuts" come through eliminating parts of Medicare "seen as ineffective or wasteful," and Ryan's plan retains this $500 billion in reductions, while increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors.

Right-Wing Media Figures Claim Obama Health Law "Cuts" Medicare Spending While Ryan Plan Does Not

Limbaugh: "Paul Ryan Doesn't Rape Medicare To The Tune Of $500 Billion. Your Guy Did."From the May 26 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Who is it that, in his own health care bill, took $500 billion out of Medicare in order to get his total price tag in under a trillion dollars? It was your guy, it was Barack Obama. It's there, $500 billion gone. Ryan didn't do that. Paul Ryan doesn't rape Medicare to the tune of $500 billion. Your guy did. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,5/26/11]
Bozell Denies There Are Medicare Cuts In Ryan Plan, Then Says, "Obama Is Taking $500 Billion Out Of Medicare." From the May 27 edition of Fox & Friends:
BRENT BOZELL (Media Research Center president): Both NBC and ABC reported cuts. And you heard the ABC reporter, Ann Curry, say "deep cuts." Folks, here are the numbers. You tell me if they're deep cuts. The present allocation for Medicare, $563 billion. What Paul Ryan proposes by 2021 is $953 billion. Folks, that's a 70 percent increase in Medicare. And ABC and NBC reported that as deep cuts. Folks, that's dishonest, There is no other way of putting this. That's lying on national television. And that's setting up seniors. That's a scare tactic, and maybe it worked. 
CLAYTON MORRIS (guest co-host): Well, are Democrats picking up on some of the talking points here, Brent, because The Wall Street Journal on April 4th reported that the Ryan plan would effectively end Medicare. And then all these Democrats jumped on that and said, "Hey, The Wall Street Journal said it's gonna end Medicare as we know it," and then you started to hear it trickle into the mainstream media. 
BOZELL: Sure. Well, why don't they look at Obama's health care budget? Obama is taking $500 billion out of Medicare. So, if you're worried about Medicare cuts, why don't you look at Obamacare, which takes it away? [Fox News, Fox & Friends5/27/11]

In Fact, Savings Come From Reducing Inefficiency; Experts Predict Quality Of Care Under Medicare Will Not Decline

FactCheck: Cost-Saving Provisions Are "Not A Slashing Of The Current Medicare Budget Or Benefits." According to FactCheck.org: 
Whatever you want to call them, it's a $500 billion reduction in the growth of future spending over 10 years, not a slashing of the current Medicare budget or benefits. It's true that those who get their coverage through Medicare Advantage's private plans (about 22 percent of Medicare enrollees) would see fewer add-on benefits; the bill aims to reduce the heftier payments made by the government to Medicare Advantage plans, compared with regular fee-for-service Medicare. The Democrats' bill also boosts certain benefits: It makes preventive care free and closes the "doughnut hole," a current gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors. [FactCheck.org, 3/19/10]
PolitiFact: Reductions "Aimed At Eliminating Parts Of The Medicare Program Seen As Ineffective Or Wasteful." From PolitiFact.com:
Under the act, Congress voted to reduce $500 billion in projected Medicare spending over the next 10 years, not in one substantial chunk. The reductions are aimed at eliminating parts of the Medicare program seen as ineffective or wasteful. For example, the plan phases out payments to the Medicare Advantage program, an optional program set up under the George W. Bush administration, where seniors could opt to enroll in a private insurance program and the federal government would subsidize a portion of their premium. [PolitiFact.com, 5/10/11]
PolitiFact: CBO Says "Spending For Medicare Will Continue To Increase Over The Next Decade." From PolitiFact.com:
On the surface, it may seem that lawmakers voted to cut Medicare spending under the new health law, but they instead cut the rate of growth. As a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office notes, the amount of spending for Medicare will continue to increase over the next decade, from $499 billion in 2009 to $929 billion in 2020. [PolitiFact.com, 5/10/11]
PolitiFact: "Experts Say The Quality Of Care Should Not Be Shortchanged." From PolitiFact:
 [E]ven though $500 billion in spending is being reduced, health care experts say the quality of care should not be shortchanged.
"Some (reforms) increase Medicare spending to improve benefits and coverage," said Tricia Neuman, vice president and director of the Medicare Policy Project at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, in a video on the foundation's website.
"Other provisions reduce the growth in Medicare spending to help the program operate more efficiently and help fund coverage expansions to the uninsured in the underlying health reform legislation," Neuman said. "Other provisions are designed to improve the delivery of care and quality of care." [PolitiFact.com, 5/10/11]
New England Journal Of Medicine: Affordable Care Act Eliminates "Substantial Overpayments" To Medicare Advantage Plans. From an article by Robert A. Berenson in The New England Journal of Medicine:
 [T]he currently projected savings come from two main sources: reduced payments to private Medicare Advantage plans and reduced payment updates for hospitals and most other providers. A phased elimination of the substantial overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, which now enroll nearly 25% of Medicare beneficiaries, will produce an estimated $132 billion in savings over 10 years.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has been calling for such fee reductions for years, to keep Medicare Advantage from undermining traditional Medicare.
The ACA also produces nearly $200 billion in savings by assuming that providers can improve their productivity as firms in other industries have done. On the basis of this presumed improvement, the law reduces Medicare's annual "market basket" updates for most types of providers -- a provision that has generated controversy. [The New England Journal of Medicine7/8/10]
FactCheck: Changes To Medicare Advantage Come With Extra Benefits For All Medicare Enrollees. According to FactCheck.org: 
The CBO has estimated that the move would change the value of the extra benefits Medicare Advantage participants get, but they would not receive fewer benefits than the rest of seniors who aren't on the Advantage plans. The bill does add some extras for Medicare beneficiaries, eliminating copays and deductibles for preventive services, for example. [FactCheck.org, 12/2/09]

Ryan Plan Retains $500 Billion Of Savings From Obama Health Law

PolitiFact: "Ryan's Plan ... Intends To Keep The $500 Billion In Reductions." From PolitiFact.com:
Ryan's plan, as noted in this news article from the Associated Press, also intends to keep the $500 billion in reductions that Republicans have criticized Democrats for approving under the Obama plan.
The vote taken by Congress was not to cut Medicare but to reduce the rate of growth by $500 billion by targeting inefficiencies in the program. That's a cost-reduction plan that Ryan himself kept intact in his own budget proposal. [PolitiFact.com, 5/10/11]

Ryan Plan Privatizes Medicare

LA Times: "Under Ryan's Proposal, Seniors And Others On Medicare Would Begin Receiving A Set Amount Of Money ... To Offset The Cost Of Buying A Private Insurance Plan." The Los Angeles Times reports:
Under Ryan's proposal, seniors and others on Medicare would begin receiving a set amount of money, starting in 2022, to offset the cost of buying a private insurance plan that would replace the federal government's Medicare plan.
Wealthier and healthier seniors would receive less, while poorer and sicker beneficiaries would get more.
This voucher system -- or "premium support," as Ryan calls it -- would give the typical 65-year-old American $8,000 annually to buy a health plan, about the same amount of money that analysts expect the Medicare program would spend on that senior in 2022 under the current program. [The Los Angeles Times4/7/11]

CBO: Ryan Plan Would Increase Seniors' Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs

AP: "CBO: Big Health Cost Shift To Elderly In GOP Plan." From an April 6 Associated Press article, headlined "CBO: Big Health Cost Shift To Elderly In GOP Plan":
Most future retirees would pay considerably more for health care under the new budget proposed by House Republicans, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that signals problems ahead for the plan.
The fiscal blueprint would put people now 54 and younger in a different kind of health care program when they retire, unlike the Medicare that their parents and grandparents have known. Instead of coverage for a set of benefits prescribed from Washington, they'd get a federal payment to buy private insurance from a choice of government-regulated plans.
"A typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal," the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in an analysis released late Tuesday.
The CBO said over time future retirees would pay much more, partly because the Medicare benefits package would be more expensive to deliver through private insurers. By 2030, the government payment would cover only about one-third of the typical retiree's total health care costs, the budget office said.
The sweeping fiscal plan by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would reduce total federal spending, deficits and debt, saving money for federal taxpayers. But it would be tempered by a cost shift to future retirees. [Associated Press, 4/6/11]
CBPP: CBO Found That Typical Medicare Beneficiary's "Annual Out-Of-Pocket Costs Would More Than Double." From the CBPP report:
Since the Ryan proposal would reduce the federal government's contribution for beneficiaries' health care costs even as it caused total costs to increase, beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending would rise dramatically.
CBO also finds that this beneficiary's annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double -- from $6,150 to $12,500.  In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater. 
The report included this graph showing the projected increase in seniors' health care costs under Ryan's plan:
[CBPP, 4/7/11, emphasis in the original]

Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife received $150,000 from anti-health care reform group

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas released his new financial disclosure form on Friday under pressure from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and others.
Mother Jones reported that his financial disclosure form indicates his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, received a $150,000 salary from the group Liberty Central in 2010 and less than $15,000 from an anti-health care reform lobbying firm she founded.
Liberty Central, which she helped found, supports the repeal of the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Weiner had taunted Thomas via Twitter on Friday, but his criticisms where quickly overshadowed by the so-called"Weinergate" fiasco that broke out Sunday. The congressman had previously called on Thomas to recuse himself from casesinvolving health care reform because of his wife's financial connections to groups dedicated to its repeal.
"The appearance of a conflict of interest merits recusal under federal law," a letter written by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and signed by 74 Members of Congress stated. "From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife's financial stake in the overturn of healthcare reform is blurred."
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires Supreme Court justices to disclose their spouse's income, but Thomas had not disclosed Virginia's income on his financial disclosure forms for 20 years.
"We knew that Justice Thomas' family had a financial stake in opposing health care reform," Weiner said Friday in a statement. "Now we know even more. It's pretty clear the justice has one option here: recusal

Rep. Anthony Weiner exploring legal action over ‘Weinergate’ fiasco

Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is consulting with his lawyers after it was reported that the New York congressman sent a racy photo to a female college student from Seattle via Twitter.
"We’ve retained counsel to explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken," Weiner spokesman Dave Arnold told The Daily Caller in an email. "This was a prank. We are loath to treat it as more, but we are relying on professional advice."
Weiner has claimed that his Facebook account was hacked and that, while the photo did appear on his Twitter feed, he did not send it. The photo shows a man's erect penis outlined in a pair of tight boxer briefs. The photo was first published by Andrew Breitbart'sBigGovernment.
The photo was quickly deleted along with all the other photos on the congressman's yFrog account.
Unlike a shirtless photo of former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY), which resulted in his resignation, skeptics have doubted the authenticity of the so-called "Weinergate" image.
An analysis of a screenshot of the congressman's yFrog account, which was published by BigGovernment, shows the image was manipulated, according to the progressive blog DailyKos. The screenshot was allegedly altered to make it appear that the racy photo was associated with Rep. Weiner's account. Another DailyKos blogger has suggested that nearly the entire incident was fabricated by a conservative Twitter user.
Reuters' Anthony De Rosa noted that the phone data on Weiners' previous yFrog images does not match the data of the racy photo. "Not conclusive evidence, but puts relative suspicious about the validity of tying the image directly to Anthony Weiner’s phone," he said.
Mediaite's "resident expert" Philip Bump added that the current evidence did suggest that the congressman was the victim of a hack, but there was little to no evidence to suggest that contributors to Breitbart's websites fabricated the lewd image.
Motor City Liberal Comment: This is what these right wing bastards do they cooked up something up then they ruined someone career and when they get busted they will say it was only a prank and beg not to be sued.

Rep. Allen West Slams DADT Repeal, Says Gay Soldiers ‘Can Change Behavior

The repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy last year did not mark the end of the GOP’s attempt to continue its war on open military service. This year, House Republicans slid multiple amendments into the FY 2012 defense authorization bill to delay the implementation of DADT. Many of this year’s potential GOP presidential candidates, including confirmed candidate Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), pledged to re-instate DADT upon election. GOP Rep. Allen West (FL) bucked this trend, however, by stating he wouldn’t do anything to prevent the DADT repeal. But today, at the Heritage Foundation, he made it clear that he nonetheless does not approve of gays in the military.
Dubbing the military implementation of DADT repeal as “considerable social experimentation,” the Heritage Foundation asked West what top leadership can do “to ensure that force effectiveness is sustained at a superior level.” West opted to “put it very simple,” stating that the military does not conform to the individual or “a very small special interest group” like the LGBT community. When noting that African-Americans were once barred from military service, West said while he can’t change his skin color, gay servicemembers “can change behavior”:
WEST: Let me put it very simple, the U.S. military exists to win the nation’s wars. When you join the military, it takes individual behavior that conforms into the military. Now, if we start to have a perspective and belief in this nation that the military conforms to individual behavior, then we have lost the understanding of what it means to be in the U.S. military. The rules are very clear in the U.S. military. If you don’t want to abide by the rules of the U.S. military, then don’t join.
But the U.S. military is not there as a social experiment and for those who will sit up there and say, Congressman, you should understand because you’re black. Unless I’m Michael Jackson, I can’t change my color. But people can change behavior. And you do not base being a part of the military on adjusting to individual behavior. That’s my concern. And when you look at what our young men and women have to contend with, we’re talking about men and women fifth and sixth tours in combat zones. Now is not the time to appease a very small special interest group and I’ll leave it at that.
Watch it:
West’s belief that gay soldiers can and should somehow change who they are to serve not only flies in the face of American ideals, but in the face of military experience. By insisting the LGBT community jeopardizes the military’s mission, West — who often touts his own military background — directly contradicts the advice and opinion of the military leadership and themajority of the American public who favor open military service. Indeed, the military service chiefs reported that there are “no issues” with implementing the DADT repeal.

Anti-Abortion Extremist Arrested For Trying To Murder Abortion Providers In Wisconsin

Two years ago today, Dr. George Tiller was shot to deathin his church by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder. Tiller was a Republican, a beloved physician in Wichita, Kansas, and one of the few abortion providers in that part of the country. For decades, Tiller had beenthreatened and harassed by anti-abortion groups for his work, and even survived an assassination attempt in 1993 after being shot twice. At his trial, Roeder arguedthat his crime was “morally justified” because he was “protecting the unborn.”
Last Friday, another anti-abortion extremist attempted to murder abortion providers in the name of God. A Wisconsin man, Ralph Lang, was arrested and charged with intent to murder doctors at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison. Lang had been arrested once before in 2007 for menacing nurses and doctors at the same facility:
Ralph Lang, 63, of Marshfield, was staying at a Motel 6 when his .38-caliber handgun discharged into an unoccupied room across the hall, according to the federal criminal complaint.[...] Lang, who was arrested for reckless endangerment, told police that he had a gun “to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies,” the complaint said.
Lang told police that he planned to go to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic the following morning to find the doctor who was doing the abortions and shoot him in the head, the complaint said. He was charged with attempting to injure and intimidate in violation of the federal access statute, according to U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil.
A nurse at Planned Parenthood in Madison said she is familiar with Lang, and that she saw him outside the facility last week, according to the complaint. Lang was arrested in 2007 outside Planned Parenthood, telling an officer at the time that the “Bible states that anyone involved in abortion should be executed.”
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, when asked if he planned to shoot just the doctor or nurses as well, Lang replied he wished he “could line them up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down.” Eerily, in Lang’s hotel room, the police found a map of the U.S. with dots in each state marking abortion clinics and the words ”Blessed Virgin Mary says Hell awaits any woman having an abortion.”
As the cases of Lang and Roeder demonstrate, the rise of anti-abortion terrorism threatens the health and safety of all Americans, not just women. Across the country, abortion providers fear for their lives, and as a result, fewer doctors and nurses are learning how to perform abortions. This is exactly what men like Lang and Roeder want. It’s become almost impossible for women in large swaths of the country to have access to safe abortions. In 2000, 87 percent of U.S. counties had no abortion providers and only 3 percent of rural areas had one – and the numbers have gotten even worse since then.
These “pro-life” extremists who are willing to murder for their cause are getting considerable help from their friends in politics. Congress is trying to prevent doctors from learning how to perform life-saving abortion procedures that are often necessary when women have incomplete miscarriages. This year, Republicans in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Iowa have pushed legislation that would essentially legalize the murder of abortion providers. If passed, these bills would protect vigilantes and constitute the first instances of state-sanctioned anti-abortion terrorism. Such radical sentiments have been echoed by prominent conservatives on the national stage like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who said during his 2004 campaign, “I favor the death penalty for abortionists.” When it comes to the modern anti-abortion lobby, it seems no position is too extreme.