Odd Ends

There are a couple things I noticed in passing that require a bit of light shined on them.

First, this report:

The federal Treasury expects to collect a record $2.712 trillion in taxes on Americans and U.S. business this year, shattering the 2007 high of $2.5 trillion in taxes.

 

More shocking in the president’s 376-page “Historical Tables,” is the projection that tax receipts will soar during the remainder of the president’s second term, reaching nearly $4 trillion in 2018, four times Uncle Sam’s take in 1989.

That’s odd. The president wants to raise taxes even higher. The ends justify the means, I presume.

Next, we have another guilty plea in the Blagojevich fiasco:

Another piece of unfinished business in the decade-long investigation of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration has been dealt with in federal court in Chicago.

Building contractor Jacob Kiferbaum pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted extortion in an amended plea deal. It calls for a prison term of about two years when he is sentenced July 17.

Why is this odd you ask?
Kiferbaum pleaded guilty in 2007 according to this report. So five and a half years after he pleads guilty he might get sentenced to two years– in three months. That’s odd. Not quite as odd as Joe Cari’s sentence- from the same report:
In August 2011, Joe [Cari] – a close friend of Joe Biden – was sentenced to three years of…wait for it…wait for it…yes, pro-ba-tion.  Oh, the state pension fund was for school teachers.
The lesson? Never steal money unless you have the assent of all your colleagues in Congress, comrade.
The NEW Improved Uncle Joe, now with more plugs!

The NEW Improved Uncle Joe, now with more plugs!

Truth is History

Mr. Chakra
Crazed Sex Poodle

It is said that the victor gets to write history. But what if their history is all lies?

Last night I got wind of the sale of Current TV to al Jezeera. That alone should create a bit of consternation but it just keeps getting better and better- or worse and worse, depending on your point of view.

Al Jazeera on Wednesday announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago.

Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Al Gore, wants to avoid taxation like one of Mitt Romney’s 1%. Who can blame him for that? I mean it’s not like he is releasing his chakra into the atmosphere like a  crazed sex poodle, creating GlowBull Wormening.

But this morning there was this:

“Before Al-Jazeera bought Current TV, TheBlaze looked into buying it but we were rejected by progressive owners.”

“Glenn Beck’s The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told that ‘the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view,‘ according to a person familiar with the negotiations.”

I don’t know if I would call that a tacit admission- it’s more like a public pronouncement that anyone on the right ‘need not apply’.  Does this mean al Jezeera? is aligned with AlGore’s point of view?

In the aftermath of Saddam’s Iraq, CNN’s  Eason Jordan admitted to withholding the truth:

Knowing the personal stories I knew about the brutality of the regime, I had three options: 1. Never repeat such horror stories. 2. Tell the stories sooner and, as a result, see innocent people killed. 3. Tell the stories after the downfall of the Saddam Hussein regime. I chose option three and could never imagine doing anything else.

Withholding the truth by news organizations is nothing new. The Chicago Tribune refused twice my request to confirm that the U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald statement thanking them for holding the story for weeks meant they knew of the Blagojevich wiretaps before the ’08 election.

But, now, instead of a Olbermann, or a Client Number 9 withholding the truth- their ‘minders’ will just buy the whole channel and make up the truth. It will be just like Air America, only different.

This is all reminiscent of the Dubai Ports deal that was torpedoed by Chuckie Schumer. Don’t expect him to object to this deal tho.

Algore got out at the right time, it appears, as a cable provider has moved to eliminate the ‘bundle’.

Intel is planning to deliver cable content to any device with an Internet connection. And instead of having to pay $80 a month for two hundred channels you don’t want, you’ll be able to subscribe to specific channels of your choosing.

 

And you thought Current TV‘s ratings couldn’t go any lower.

Preview of Coming Attractions? Illinois’ Medicaid Disaster

Today the Chicago Tribune reports on Illinois’ collapsing Medicaid program. The focus of the story is the impact that proposed Medicaid cuts and the end of property tax exemptions will have on many local hospitals.

Children’s Memorial Hospital would be faced with a $37 million to $50 million hole in its budget.

Norwegian American Hospital could be forced to close.

Swedish Covenant Hospital’s chief executive says the entire health care system in Illinois would be pushed to the verge of collapse.

A confluence of proposed cuts to the state’s Medicaid program and the specter that some hospitals may be forced to start paying millions each year in property taxes has Illinois hospitals on their heels.

Already stressed by declining government payments for Medicare, some hospital executives fear the latest threats to their balance sheets could prove a knockout blow. And as the issues inch closer, they’re increasingly sounding the alarm, trying to galvanize support from legislators, advocates and others to help make their case.

On Medicaid, she [Governor Quinn’s spokesperson] said, “We are looking at a problem so great that if we do not make the program sustainable this year, we are looking at a possible collapse of the Medicaid system. That, ultimately, would do a great deal of harm to providers and is what we are trying to avoid through making the system sustainable.”

Medicaid enrollment has increased nearly 100 percent since 2006, fueled largely by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s All Kids health insurance program, which extended coverage to all children from families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For an Illinois family of four in 2012, that equated to about $69,000.

Illinois is more than $2 billion behind in payments to Medicaid providers, and payments can take more than four months to process, state officials said. Projections call for those figures to double if no action is taken. Proposed changes include limiting eligibility, reducing covered services, cutting prescription drug coverage for adults and eliminating hospice programs.

Rod Blagojevich’s name is mentioned, but conspicuously absent is another name, one of someone who also enthusiastically supported the expansion of Medicaid that has gotten us into this unholy mess. Of course, I refer to Barack Obama, who co-sponsored the legislation expanding Medicaid. Sit back and enjoy the irony of the following paragraph, from Governor Blagojevich’s press release touting the signing of the law:

The governor appeared at a Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago today along with Director of Public Aid Barry S. Maram to highlight new legislation sponsored by state Rep. Sandra Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn, and state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago.  This legislation will enable 65,000 working parents and 20,000 children to now receive health insurance under the FamilyCare and KidCare programs.

Yes, that’s the same Children’s Memorial Hospital mentioned in today’s Tribune story.

That was 2003. For some real irony, flash forward to 2012. Illinois is under complete democrat control, but even they realize that the state’s Medicaid system is unsustainable, so they decided to make some very modest reforms to it. They decided that it might be a good idea to make sure that people receiving Medicaid benefits in Illinois actually live in the state of Illinois, as cruel and unreasonable as that sounds. It doesn’t sound unreasonable to you? Do you know who it does sound unreasonable to? You guessed it: Barack Obama.

From Forbes:

Illinois has one of the most expansive Medicaid programs in the country, with annual state and federal spending of $15 billion. That compares to a state budget of $33 billion. In the Land of Lincoln, you can qualify for Medicaid if your income is under 200 percent of thefederal poverty level—$44,700 for a family of four. Children qualify at 300 percent of FPL. One out of every five Illinoisans is on Medicaid, including one-third of all Illinois kids.

But in order to prove that you’re eligible for Medicaid in Illinois, all you have to do is provide a single pay stub. If that pay stub happens to be artificially low, suggesting a lower income than you actually have, it still counts as “proof” of Medicaid eligibility. As to proving Illinois residency? The nice people of Illinois merely ask that you write down an address. As a result, people earning more than the Medicaid threshold, and people who don’t even live in Illinois, are collecting Illinois Medicaid funds.

So in January, the State of Illinois, under a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Governor, passed a landmark Medicaid reform bill aimed at fixing this and other problems with the program. The new law required the state’s Medicaid recipients to provide a month’s worth of pay stubs, instead of just one, in order to provide evidence of residency and income. Not a big deal, you might think.

You’d be wrong. In July, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed Illinois that the seemingly innocuous reform violated federal law, because Obamacare doesn’t allow states to restrict Medicaid eligibility, and this reform, they decided, was an eligibility restriction.

So, Barack Obama, having helped plant the seeds of the unmitigated catastrophe that is Illinois’ Medicaid system, put federal legislation in place that not only is making it impossible to make even the most obviously necessary changes to the program, and now is trying to foist a similar financial and administrative nightmare on the entire country. If the Orwellian-named “Affordable Care Act” is not declared unconstitutional, he may be successful.

So many questions spring to mind; specifically, isn’t it amazing that none of the vigilant truth seekers in the national media have any interest in the situation that Barack Obama left behind in his home state? How can anyone think expanding Medicaid is good idea?  Are all the friends of Tony Rezko who deserve to be in jail actually behind bars?

For more on Illinois’ very illuminating experience on expanding government health care, please read this excellent piece from the Washington Examiner, “Medicaid expansions have already failed in Illinois.”