Saturday, August 29, 2009

The "secret process" for economic recovery

The Associated Press released a 'news story' in which it claims that a "secret process" benefits pet projects. Yet when you scrutinize the story closer, you'll find that it's not so much 'news' as it is a distortion clearly biased against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (13.4 MB PDF) (the Act).

The story claims that "a process that is both secretive and susceptible to political influence" is being used for allocating economic stimulus funds. It gives examples of certain border checkpoints getting funds before other checkpoints of a higher priority for improvements do. However, if you read the article with a critical eye, you discover that it concedes there was justification for the order of allocation which was not so secretive after all. A simple Google search shows that there are millions of pages published about how "shovel-ready projects" would get the highest priority. This was a condition established in the Act that was widely publicized long before it was passed.

The story fails to report that there are numerous factors that must be considered when allocating funds to federal projects besides the single five-year-old report (which pre-dated the Act by years) the author cherry-picked to ground her distortion. While the author concedes that federal officials could similarly justify every decision they've made, she clouds her concession with the provocative and deceitful comment that, "they would not provide those justifications to the AP," as if the Feds were intentionally withholding the information from her. The Feds obviously could not give a laundry list of their justifications for every one of their countless projects to a random journalist. Yet her article makes it clear that they did provide her with information on every project she specifically inquired about.

The author is probably one of those poeple who claim that the economic stimulus funds are not getting into the economy quickly enough. Yet she decries the Administration spending stimulus funds on shovel-ready projects first. She's probably also one of those people who complains that the Act didn't result in economic recovery without acknowledging that it was enacted only six months ago and that the bulk of the $787-billion remains to be disbursed into the economy. Like most critics of the Act, she wants to have it both ways.

As far as the "secret process" is concerned, a visit to shows that there is more transparency over spending under the Act than there has ever been for any other bill. But that's a fact that the AP apparently doesn't want you to know.

Shocking news!

Tom Ridge is releasing a book in which the ex-DHS chief links politics to terror alerts. His book is expected to claim that the White House asked him to raise the official threat level just before the 2004 election, purportedly to swing voters to Bush. Ridge will claim in his book that, although he objected to it, he succumbed to the pressure of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

This revelation is not the surprising part of this story. What surprises me is that the media is all over it as if Ridge's revelation is some kind of shocking news story. The fact is that over four years ago I was writing about how the Terrorist in Chief was trying to manipulate the election by terrorizing the American people with his Homeland Security Advisory System. And the talk all over the street at the time, from everyday people like me, was the same.

If we laypeople could see what the Wizard of Shock and Awes was really up to behind his curtain, why did it take journalists -- whom you would think were insiders in DC -- more than four years to tell what was going on?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Death Panel

What is this "Death Panel" we've all been hearing about lately? Don't take my word for it. Don't let other people tell you what it says. Read the actual text of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 for yourself.

The Act is 1,018 pages long, so give the 1.7 MB Portable Document format (PDF) file a couple of minutes to download. Then go straight to SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION starting on page 424. This is the section that addresses the issue that somehow came to be known as the "Death Panel." It's about seven pages long but it's double-spaced with big letters and wide margins, so it won't take long to read.

When you're done, please post a comment and tell America the specific page number and lines of the Act which trouble you. It's simple; every page and line is numbered for easy citation. Be sure and explain how those lines legislate anything like what the Act's opponents say the "Death Panel" is. The first one to comment gets to show off how well informed they are, so hurry up.
GOP Scare Tactics