Friday, September 18, 2009

No Health Care for Illegal Immigrants Because Everyone Will Be Legal

Representative Joe Wilson was formally rebuked for shouting "You lie!" when the president was speaking about illegal immigrants and health care coverage in Congress last week.

You lied, Mr. President?

Well, technically no, you didn't. All you're saying now is there will be no coverage/credit for illegal immigrants because everyone will be made legal immigrants. President Obama spoke to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute on Wednesday, Washington Times reports:

Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care (9/18/09 Washington Times)

"President Obama said this week that his health care plan won't cover illegal immigrants, but argued that's all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage.

"He also staked out a position that anyone in the country legally should be covered - a major break with the 1996 welfare reform bill, which limited most federal public assistance programs only to citizens and longtime immigrants.

""Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don't simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken," Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. "That's why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else.

"Mr. Obama added, "If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.""

There you go. 12 million newly minted US residents who will likely to vote for him and his party when they become citizens. The article ends with a quote from VP of La Raza:

""It's the first time I've certainly heard, publicly, him talking more about legal immigrants," said Eric Rodriguez, vice president for research and advocacy at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). "I think that was certainly positive progress. We were absolutely concerned about not hearing that." "

La Raza, by the way, has been accused of "Reconquista" - the right of Mexico to reclaim land in the southwestern United States. La Raza denies it. The organization now has its member in the Supreme Court.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missile Shield Call-Off in Exchange for Biz Deals?

President Obama "dismayed America's allies in Europe and angered his political opponents at home today when he formally ditched plans to set up a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic." (Dismay in Europe as Obama ditches missile defence, 9/17/09 Times Online UK)

The administration's move is clearly designed to placate Russia, whose cooperation is sought by the administration "on everything from nuclear weapons cuts to efforts to curb Iranian and North Korean weapons programmes" (9/17/09 Reuters).

What did Messrs Putin and Medvedev give to President Obama in exchange? Agreed to further sanctions on Iran and North Korea? Agreed to stay out of any potential armed conflict? I have a feeling Russia could care less on those.

Whatever the real "quid pro quo" was, what appeared in the news was that Putin will meet U.S. businessmen on Friday (9/17/09 Reuters).

"MOSCOW, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet several top U.S. executives on Friday, including General Electric Co and Morgan Stanley, the Russian government said on Thursday.

"Putin's meetings with top Western executives are usually a precursor of major business deals."

Halting the missile shield to give U.S. businesses good deals in Russia? Reuter's article hints as much:

"Talks with the U.S. firms follow a U.S. government decision to halt the deployment of a missile shield defence system in Europe, a move received positively by the Russian government."

Mr. Putin will meet:

  • David Bonderman, founding partner of one of the world's largest private equity firms, TPG
  • Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric
  • John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley who is stepping down in 2010
Washington Examiner is more sarcastic than Reuters:

"General Electric may be the company with the closest ties to the Obama administration (if not, GE is second only to Goldman Sachs), and here we see the company benefiting from an abrupt foreign policy change made by President Obama."

As Examiner's article points out, Immelt is President Obama's economic advisor. GE owns CNBC (the stock market cheerleader/greenshooter) and MSNBC, which Washington Examiner says is "the network famously friendly to Obama".

A free-market version of capitalism is just about dead, but another version of capitalism seems alive and well, as it always has been: crony capitalism.

(Has the House banned the word yet?)

Student Loans Get Nationalized

Everyday, I wish the power grab by the federal government and/or this administration would miraculously stop. No such luck.

The government is already the biggest mortgage lender (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae); it owns two of the three domestic auto companies (GM and Chrysler); it owns a diversified insurance company (AIG); it still owns a significant chunk of nation's financial firms (including Citigroup, whose share price plummeted earlier this week on a rumor that the government is planning to dump 1/3 of Citi holdings as early as October).

Now it is set to own the student loan industry.

House Passes Sweeping Student-Loan-Market Overhaul
(7/17/09 Wall Street Journal) [emphasis is mine]

"WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that would effectively end private-lender involvement in the student-loan market, establishing the federal government as the sole provider of college loans.

"The bill introduces sweeping changes to the U.S. higher-education system and serves as the third central plank of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.

[The third central plank of Obama's agenda? HOW MANY PLANKS ARE THERE?]

"Similar to the continuing efforts at overhauling health care, the changes to the federal government's higher-education policies would have a serious effect on the bottom line for private-sector players currently serving the marketplace.

"The House vote was 253-to-171, largely along party lines.

"Under the legislation, all lenders would be cut out of the market for originating loans. There would still be a role for private banks and lenders to bid for a limited number of contracts to service the loans after they are made by the government."

Goodbye, Sallie Mae (SLM). Effective nationalization of the student loan market is ostensibly to save money by cutting the fees that the government pays to private lenders. Private lenders will be allowed bid to service a small portion of loans after the government originate them.

"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that ending fees paid to private lenders would save the taxpayer $87 billion over the next decade.

"An alternative proposal floated by a group of lenders including Sallie Mae would realize the same level of savings, the CBO said."

$87 billion in fees saved over a decade. $8.7 billion a year. This government is issuing debt to the tune of $1 trillion a year. $8.7 billion is a scant 0.87% of new debt each year. Would you call this a saving?

In order to function as the sole lender of college loans, the government will need to hire a lot of people, put in the IT infra that actually works. But the government is confident that it can handle:

"Having lined up additional contractors to handle the anticipated increase in direct-loan volume, federal officials say they are prepared. Absent an unanticipated breakdown in the system, industry observers say borrowers are unlikely to notice the shift."

We recently witnessed how efficient the government system was when the government played a role of one gigantic dealership to the whole nation. The computer system for the cash for clunkers program suffered numerous system breakdowns, and dealers still haven't gotten all their money due from the government.

I have this feeling that the so-called saving will be used for setting up a new federal student loan agency. The burden will be on the schools who will be forced to change their system to accommodate this federal college loan behemoth.

Under the House bill, the savings "would use the anticipated savings to increase grants for low-income students and boost funding for minority students." (From my limited experience with the local community college and state university, that's where most of the money is going already anyway.)

The government has taken over huge part of housing, banking, transportation, and insurance. And now, if you need a loan to send your kids to college, you will go to the federal government.

Soon, they will own the health care industry entirely (they already own a huge chunk) or at least they will try to, with the threat of "racism" and "civil unrest" against anyone who dare opposes.

If the government get their hands on the consumer staples industry somehow, then all the life's needs will be provided by the government. (Oh wait, what country is this? North Korea?) You can be assured that one of the consumer staples, food, will be more heavily controlled sooner or later by the government under Obama's Food Czar who happens to be an ex-executive of Monsanto, of genetically modified crop fame.

We will also find out soon enough if they will successfully grab the Internet and radio stations. (They are already trying.)

Brave new world.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ONN: U.S. Condemned For Pre-Emptive Use of Hillary Clinton

Against Pakistan, ONN (Onion News Network) reports. (Warning: it's a joke, no matter how real it may or may not seem to you.)

Cap and Trade = 15% Income Tax Hike

so says the Obama administration, it turns out.

Remember Cap and Trade? The House passed this controversial climate change bill H.R. 2454 (what isn't controversial these days?) back in June, with an extremely close vote (219-212).

Declan McCullagh of CBS News, who has recently written probing articles on health care "reform" and cyberspace regulation, reports that Cap and Trade would cost families $1761 a year, equivalent of 15% increase in personal income tax.

The information comes from the previously undisclosed documents by the Obama administration and Treasury, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and released on Tuesday, according to McCullagh.

Obama Admin: Cap And Trade Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year
(Declan McCullagh, 9/15/09 CBS News)

"The Obama administration has privately concluded that a cap and trade law would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent.

"A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.

"A second memorandum, which was prepared for Obama's transition team after the November election, says this about climate change policies: "Economic costs will likely be on the order of 1 percent of GDP, making them equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation." "

The article has a link to the documents obtained under FOIA, which I link here also.

GOP's estimate is about $3100 per family a year, or $366 billion a year. Democrats' number is $800 per family, or less than $100 billion a year. The Heritage Foundation says it will be $1500 per family a year by 2035.

Considering the government's track record in containing costs, we could safely jettison the lowest estimate.

""Heritage is saying publicly what the administration is saying to itself privately," says Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who filed the FOIA request. "It's nice to see they're not spinning each other behind closed doors."

""They're not telling you the cost -- they're not telling you the benefit," says Horner, who wrote the Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming. "If they don't tell you the cost, and they don't tell you the benefit, what are they telling you? They're just talking about global salvation.""

Wealth distribution within the U.S., and from the U.S. to the rest of the world, particularly poorer countries. But the one who is set to gain most is the government: 15% more tax revenue, not from the polluting industries who will get numerous subsidies, but from the consumers, rich and not so rich alike.

"Because personal income tax revenues bring in around $1.37 trillion a year, a $200 billion additional tax would be the equivalent of a 15 percent increase a year. A $100 billion additional tax would represent a 7 or 8 percent increase a year."

(But watch out, opponents of cap and trade, health care, or anything that's been proposed. According to the former president Jimmy Carter and numerous other pundits (the article linked was written by a neo-conservative), it seems you are racist and you don't even know it if you dare oppose President Obama's policies. To me as a non-native here, it is totally incomprehensible, though I've been trying to understand the rationale.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lehman Brothers One Year After in London and Still Unraveling

On one-year anniversary of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, which many say triggered the global credit freeze and the stock market collapse, there were articles and commentaries about "what lesson we have learned (if any)". But the tone of most articles was rather muted, which I believe reflects a resilient stock market that has refused to go down since March low, and also reflects a growing consensus (right or wrong) that we're on our way to miraculous recovery with no jobs. Overall, the Lehman anniversary articles were rather pedestrian.

On the other hand, across the Atlantic, BBC Radio aired a very interesting program featuring two accountants sent to Lehman as administrators to sort out the mess and wind down the company's London-based operation. The "mess" is an understatement; as one of the accountants say near the end, "the most complex insolvency ever."

The accountants, Tony Lomas and Steven Pearson of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, speak to Steve Evans in the program Business Daily, aired on September 10. The interview is about 18 minutes long, and you can listen to the program by clicking the link (it opens in a new window).

They tell Evans that they still have over 400 Lehman people working with them. Lehman Brothers still has enormous balance sheet of over $1 trillion, loaded with very complex assets - derivatives and structured finance products, they say.

After one year, they are still in awe how complex and comprehensive the business environment is in a large financial institution like Lehman. And how unfathomable the risk is. They say they are just starting to unravel some of the complexities of the positions with some of the bigger clients.

"Almost a year on, we still have large household-name counterparties out there who have NOT reconciled their position with Lehman. They have not worked out exactly what they think Lehman owes them, or what they owe Lehman... Because of the complexities of the relationship, they still can't finalize what their position is with us, all these months on."

"All it happened here, is the market stopped believing. Suddenly this enormous organization that's been around for 100 years fell apart. It could have been a number of other market counterparties; it happened to be Lehman but it could have been a number of others. If we end up without vote of confidence again, you could have this sort of thing again..."

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Attorney Who Read the Entire H.R. 3200 Health Care Bill

Here's the blog of a retired attorney who has read the entire H.R. 3200 The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. The author, Michael Connelly, teaches Constitutional law. (I found the link to his blog from LRC Blog entry by Thomas DiLorenzo - thank you.)

He has 3 posts on H.R. 3200 and health care "reform" (in fact there are only 3 posts in his blog as of today), and his conclusion seems to be: "It is as bad as you think."

The Truth About the Health Care Bills (8/12/09)
More About the Health Care Bills (8/21/09)

In his "The Truth About the Health Care Bills", the author says [emphasis is mine]:

"Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

"To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

"However, as scary as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed."

In his posts he cites several examples which have been also covered by this blog. Nice to know my understanding coincides with the constitutional attorney :) He cites:

Heath Choices Commissioner: Obama appointee who will have access to personal, financial, and other information as he/she deems necessary; clear violation of the 4th Amendment

National health care ID card: whether you have a government plan or private plan. Backdoor national ID cards

Health care provided to illegal aliens (Section 246): all the section says is "that affordability credits to help them get insurance are not available to illegals. It does not say that they can’t participate in the overall program and get reduced cost insurance under the so-called “public option”. Nor is there anything in the bill that requires someone to verify their citizenship to get benefits from the Insurance Exchange in the program."

The last one is the issue that so irked Representative Joe Wilson that he shouted "You lie!" during the unusual Presidential address on health care "reform" on September 9. (U.S. presidents do not normally address the Congress other than at the state of the union address.)

But it doesn't really matter, as one of my friends remarked the other day. She used to volunteer at a local hospital, and said they (illegal aliens, undocumented immigrants, however you want to call them) don't pay a dime anyway. They already enjoy a free health care.

Wag the Dog (and Pass Health Care Bills?)

Last Friday we had a boat-load of headlines screaming an imminent trade war between the U.S. and China. Over the weekend China's counter-attack started, accusing the U.S. of subsidizing the exporters.

Then the president this morning was speaking about how they (he and his team) saved the world from financial catastrophe. It is 1-year anniversary of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy that many say triggered the global credit freeze which led to the global collapse of financial markets and trades.

But what's going on behind these headlines? While people's attention is being diverted, the Senate Finance Committee has been fast working on the health care bill. The chairman of the Committee (Max Baucus, D-Mont.) says his Committee's bill could be released as early as Tuesday (that's tomorrow).

Senate Finance Panel To Release Health Care Reform Plan This Week
(9/14/09 California Healthline) [emphasis is mine]

"On Friday, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced that his committee's health reform bill could be released as early as Tuesday, Politico reports (Budoff Brown, Politico, 9/11).

"Emerging from a meeting with the panel's so-called "Gang of Six" negotiators, Baucus suggested that it is time to proceed on completing a reform bill with or without Republican support.

"Baucus noted that a bipartisan deal still could be possible during the mark-up stage, slated to begin the week of Sept. 21, Roll Call reports.

"Baucus said, "We had a very good meeting today," adding, "Monday we'll meet in the hopes of reaching resolution. But again it's understood that we have to start making some decisions" (Drucker, Roll Call, 9/11)."

I didn't catch this news on Friday (the linked article below says the news was on Friday 9/11 on Politico and Roll Call), until I saw the headline today on C-Span.

Note the chairman Baucus's comment hinting that Democrats are ready to proceed without GOP's support. Normally it needs 60 votes to pass a bill in the 100-member Senate. There are 59 Democrats, 40 Republicans, one seat vacant in Massachusetts. There are a few Republican Senators who often vote with Democrats (Olympia Snowe of Maine, for one), so Democrats may indeed have the votes. To be sure of the passage, though, a procedure is more likely that allows them to pass the bill with simple majority and without filibuster.

That's called "reconciliation". This blog reported on the possibility back in June.

Reconciliation is a legislative process of the U.S. Congress (enacted by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974) intended to allow a contentious budget bill to be considered without being subject to filibuster. Reconciliation is the process more relevant to the Senate, as the House can pass rules to restrain debate.

Under reconciliation instruction, the debate is restricted to 20 hours, and the Senate can pass the bill with simple majority, instead of 60.

Now, you may ask "How come a procedure for a budget bill is used for the health care bill?" That what I asked myself. It turns out that since 1996 reconciliation can be applied to any legislation that could affect the budget (positively - reducing the deficit or negatively - increasing the deficit). In the case of the administration's health care bill, it is likely to impact the budget negatively (flip-flopping CBO notwithstanding) and therefore it's a fair game for reconciliation. (Wikipedia entry lacks citation though.)

Democratic leaders have already hinted at going it alone. President Obama himself said as much in his speeches last week, in which he berated the opponents as playing politics [and he isn't playing politics?] and tried to portray opposition as usual bickering in Washington. He is apparently oblivious to the townhall meetings across the country against health care "reform" as laid out by him and his party, and maybe didn't see the huge demonstration in Washington DC on September 12 as he flew over them in his Marine One helicopter. Just like his predecessor, he doesn't seem to care about poll numbers suggesting the majority of voters oppose his health care reform.

It's like the arcade game Whack a Mole. So many gophers are popping up at the same time and even if you are super-sharp and attentive one or two are bound to get away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's in Glaxo's H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccine?

A list of components of GlaxoSmithKline H1N1 vaccine is making the rounds on the Internet, which seems to have originated at the blog "Case About Bird Flu". The original article is actually about Glaxo's H5N1 bird flu vaccine Prepandrix, but it has been disseminated as about H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

Before dismissing it as disinformation or hoax (the original article is neither, as it is talking about bird flu vaccine), let's take a look at the ingredients OTHER THAN FLU VIRUS itself. Glaxo may use the same or similar ingredients to create H1N1 vaccine that they used in H5N1 vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline's press release says the H1N1 flu vaccine will use Glaxo's proprietary AS03 adjuvant system. Adjuvant formulation is used in order to boost higher immune response when using a smaller amount of antigen (i.e. H1N1 virus). This is important for drug companies like Glaxo and the governments who want to prepare a large number of doses as quickly as possible. Glaxo's press release describes the benefit as follows: "The vaccine containing the adjuvant system therefore helps to substantially increase the number of vaccine doses that can be provided for mass vaccination."

It goes on to say that the same adjuvant system AS03 is used in H5N1 pre-pandemic and pandemic bird flu vaccine, and shown to have "an acceptable safety and reactogenicity [capacity to cause adverse reaction] profile". Emphasis is mine. Note the word "acceptable".

So, it may still be useful to look at the ingredients of Glaxo bird flu vaccine to guess what may be in their swine flu vaccine. We know now for sure that AS03 adjuvant system is used. Let's start with AS03.

AS03: (Aka. "Adjuvant System 03") is a trade name for a Squalene based Immunologic adjuvant used in various vaccine product by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). It may also be used in the A/H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine. (

So now, what is Squalene?

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock [emphasis is mine];

"Novartis, the second contender, also has an agreement with WHO for a pandemic vaccine. Novartis appears to have won the contract, since their vaccine is near completion. What is terrifying is that these pandemic vaccines contain ingredients, called immune adjuvants that a number of studies have shown cause devastating autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.

"Animal studies using this adjuvant have found them to be deadly. A study using 14 guinea pigs found that when they were injected with the special adjuvant, only one animal survived. A repeat of the study found the same deadly outcome.

"So, what is this deadly ingredient? It is called squalene, a type of oil. The Chiron company, maker of the deadly anthrax vaccine, makes an adjuvant called MF-59 which contains an ingredient of serious concern--squalene. A number of studies have shown that squalene can trigger all of the above-mentioned autoimmune diseases when injected."

Squalene's property to stimulate and boost immune reaction, the very reason why it is used as adjuvant, is the problem itself, it seems:

"Because squalene, the main ingredient in MF-59, can induce hyperimmune responses and induce autoimmunity, a real danger exists for prolonged activation of the brain’s immune cells, the microglia. This type of prolonged activation has been strongly associated with such diseases as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and possibly vaccine-related encephalitis. It has been shown that activation of the systemic immune system, as occurs with vaccination, rapidly activates the brain’s microglia at the same time, and this brain inflammation can persist for long periods."

The danger is the prolonged brain inflammation caused by activation of brain's immune cells by squalene. In other words, your immune system may go overdrive and start attacking your own body due to artificially heightened stimulation by squalene.

Novartis's adjuvant MF59, Sanofi-Pasteur's AF03 are also squalene-based.

The rest of the ingredients for Glaxo's H5N1 bird flu vaccine, as listed in "Case About Bird Flu" blog, are as follows. Ingredients with possible adverse effects are in green:

alpha-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E)
aluminum adjuvant
disodium phosphate: food additive
magnesium chloride
octoxynol 10: detergent
polysorbate 80 (Tween 80): food additive; part of AS03 adjuvant system
potassium chloride: it is used in executions by lethal injection.
potassium dihydrogen phosphate: used in fertilizer, food additive, fungicide
sodium chloride
sodium deoxycholate
thiomersal (thimerosol): this is MERCURY
vitamin E