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Steve Beshear is a Bad Choice to Deliver the Democrat Response to SOTU

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

22963766814_84d2172ff4_mWhen Steve Beshear delivers the Democratic response to President Trump’s first State of the Union address this Tuesday, he’ll be presented as a jobs creator and a man who delivered healthcare insurance as intended by Barack Obama. He, and the state of Kentucky, were singled out for praise by President Obama during the State of the Union Address in 2014.

Is Governor Beshear really the jobs creator he is purported to be? And was KYNECT—Kentucky’s implementation of Obamacare—really the smashing success that we’ll hear about this Tuesday night? Let’s look at the facts.

KYNECT sold insurance plans for several insurers. Some counties had a choice of insurers, some were given a single option. Three fourths of all policies purchased through KYNECT were sold through KY Co-op, one of several taxpayer-funded insurers across the nation. The failure of KY Co-op, which occurred during the term of Steve Beshear, cost the taxpayer $146,494,772. Misery loves company, and KY Co-op is one of at least 16 failed insurers from the original group of 23 states with similar healthcare ventures.

The failure of KY Co-op left 51,000 Obamacare customers without an insurer. The pool of insurers in Kentucky subsequently shrunk as the government failed to meet its reimbursement obligations. Obamacare customers in Kentucky were offered a fresh opportunity to shop for insurance through KYNECT/Obamacare. It would be disingenuous to call it “affordable,” as most who lost their coverage were forced to purchase more expensive plans. Even as it prepared for its demise, KY Co-op appealed for a 25.1% increase in its premiums. United Healthcare, one of the state’s and nation’s largest insurers, pulled out of the state of Kentucky’s implementation of Obamacare last year, a decision it had announced while Beshear was governor of the state. You won’t hear about this during the response to Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address.

And jobs, oh yes. You might hear about Beshear having a record of creating jobs. He proudly boasted that Kentucky’s unemployment dropped from 10.7% to 5.1%. While that may be true, it is equally true that Governor Beshear inherited an unemployment rate of 5.5% which soared to 10.9% after he’d been on the job for a year-and-a-half.

The unemployment rate in Kentucky, the Obama economy notwithstanding, was in worse shape when he left office than when he took office in 2007.

What you are unlikely to hear from Beshear this Tuesday is the current state of Kentucky’s economy. The unemployment rate has dropped rapidly under Republican Governor Matt Bevin. It currently stands at 4.8%. The last time unemployment was as low in Kentucky was April 2001, nearly 16 years ago.

Governor Beshear, might have been praised by President Obama for executing an ideal implementation of his signature policy, but Obamacare has been a splendid failure on most counts, and KYNECT has sunk with it.

Photo credit: Steve Beshear, https://www.flickr.com/photos/govbeshear/22963766814/

 

 

 

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NPR’s Fact Check Ignores Trump’s Strongest Charge

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

The omissions in NPR’s fact checking of Sunday night’s debate could have been predicted nearly one year ago, on October 22, 2015, to be precise.

You can be excused for forgetting the significance of that day. It was the day that Democrats let it be known that candidate Hillary Clinton’s dishonesty and dereliction of duty as Secretary of State did not, and would not, matter as they considered her to be their nominee for President of the USA.

It was the day that Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and testified about the events leading up to the day that our ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans, were burned to death at a consular facility in Benghazi, Libya. Her reaction and lies in the days, weeks, and months that followed have exposed her unpreparedness and her disregard for anybody but herself and her family.

So what, exactly, did the Benghazi hearing have to do with NPR’s so-called fact check?

On the night of the Benghazi hearing, Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep tweeted “Making Clinton go 11 hours seems a political gift to her, like a Senate filibuster: people will hear she lasted, no matter what was said.” His tweet, like much of the media coverage of the time, framed the story as one of endurance, instead of one of lies, incompetence, and neglect leading to the killing of a US ambassador and three Americans.

Framing the Benghazi hearings as being about Hillary did have its desired effect: Curious listeners and readers were told that there was nothing new to learn. The assumption being that NPR’s devoted listeners know everything already. Inskeep’s tweet, shortly after 7PM, was followed by a story a few hours later on NPR’s Politics page headlined “Clinton Endures An 11-Hour Grilling Before Benghazi Committee”. It was all about the endurance. Those that endure are the true heroes.

The next morning’s coverage on NPR’s flagship program Morning Edition, co-hosted by Inskeep, maintained the party line that Hillary was a trooper who endured an agonizing 11-hours of grilling by a hostile group of Republicans. To question whether there really was no new information was to have the question turned around and asked of the original questioner. In other words, if you seriously doubted that there was nothing new to learn, you’d have to sift through 11 hours of testimony (or “grilling”) for yourself.

One of many things that we learned that day was that the Secretary of State was sent multiple requests for help. They pleaded for extra security for the mission. In fact, there were over six hundred emails requesting additional security. Clinton claimed that she had not seen a single one of them. Not one. We learned this during the Benghazi hearings, no thanks to NPR.

There were 83 requests for extra security in July, August and early September 2012—part of the over 600 emails that didn’t reach the Secretary’s desk. During the same time period, we learned during the hearing, was that Clinton family confidante and trusted advisor Sydney Blumenthal had sent the Secretary 150 emails about the situation in Libya. Every single one of his emails did reach her desk. Congressman Mike Pompeo remarked incredulously:


“But a man who was a friend of yours, who had never been to Libya, didn’t know much about it, at least that was his testimony, didn’t know much about it, every one of those reports that he sent on to you that had to do with situations on the ground in Libya, those made it to your desk. You asked for more of them. You read them. You corresponded with him. And yet the folks that worked for you didn’t have the same courtesy.”

This damning indictment from Congressman Mike Pompeo was the substance of Donald Trump’s most serious charge against Hillary Clinton last Sunday night at the debate.

Clinton’s optimism, expressed in this well-rehearsed quip “I have a very positive and optimistic view about what we can do together. That’s why the slogan of my campaign is stronger together” was subjected to fact checking by their White House Correspondent Tamara Keith, one of its big guns that routinely contributes to NPR’s hard-hitting journalism.

What about Trump’s charges about 600 requests for security in Benghazi that never reached Clinton’s desk? We have no idea if that’s a fact or not, not from NPR’s fact check of the second presidential debate.

NPR’s listeners know everything they need to know. NPR thinks so.

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The Mother of the Birthers: Did Hillary Really Create the Birther Movement?

September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Donald Trump made news this morning for stating plainly that he believed Barack Obama was born in the USA. He didn’t stop at that. If the New York Times‘ command of facts is correct, he has also started a new and false theory: Hillary Clinton started the original birther controversy in 2008.

The Times quotes Mr. Trump as saying “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy, I finished it.”

Let’s look at news stories of the 2008 campaign.

The Los Angeles Times on August 13, 2008 ran a story headlined “Top aide urged Clinton to paint Obama as foreign” in which it quoted Clinton strategist Mark Penn suggesting that Clinton call out candidate Obama for his “lack of American roots”. Notably, he urged “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values.” The Clinton campaign chose not to employ that strategy, not in its entirety anyway, but rather to “explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values”. That’s right, she chose to identify herself as the American in the Democratic primary season of 2008.

notfundamentallyamerican

 

In a pre-emptive defense of Michelle Obama against the attacks of the Hillary 2008 campaign, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd feared that the “lack of American roots” argument would be used to portray the Obama’s as being less American than Hillary in their values. That was in June 11, 2008–well before Donald Trump ostensibly fathered the so-called birther movement.

It turns out that the Los Angeles Times writers do not read their own newspaper. Despite critiquing substantial portions of the Penn memo of 2008, today’s story on the LA Times website attempts to exonerate both Clinton and her 2008 campaign team. “No evidence exists that Clinton or her 2008 campaign team, when she ran against Obama in a prolonged fight for the Democratic nomination, did so.”

Don’t expect the Clinton camp to man up any time soon for ever wanting to denounce Barack Obama as a person “who is not at his center fundamentally American.”

It’s a strategy that did not pay off for Clinton’s 2008 campaign, but there is evidence that she continues to employ Saul Alinsky’s rulebook. In this case it was Rule #3, which says:
“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

Clinton or her campaign did not explicitly say that Obama was born outside of the USA, but they did suggest that she was the American in the race. Bad enough, we say.

The real father of the birther movement, Birther #0, if you like, was Barack Obama himself. The notion of him having being born in Kenya was promoted by his literary agency Acton & Dystel in 1991. In a promotional booklet they described a young Barack Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” That, the source of birther theories, also passes the Snopes test.


Sources:

Trump Drops False ‘Birther’ Theory, but Floats a New One: Clinton Started It

Top aide urged Clinton to paint Obama as foreign
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/13/nation/na-clinton13

Donald Trump finally concedes that President Obama was born in the U.S. after years of promoting conspiracy theory
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-obama-birth-20160916-snap-story.html

Mincing Up Michelle

Penn Strategy Memo 03-19-07
http://dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/4097983-Penn-Strategy-Memo-3-19-07.pdf

Best of Beck – Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals
http://www.bestofbeck.com/wp/activism/saul-alinskys-12-rules-for-radicals

The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii’
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2012/05/17/the-vetting-barack-obama-literary-agent-1991-born-in-kenya-raised-indonesia-hawaii/

Book Mark
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/booklet.asp

Kentucky Unemployment At Lowest Since 2001

Unemployment 12-2015 to 06-2016Even as Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has taken to social media to tout the occasional creation of new jobs—whether it’s 310 new jobs and $57 million in investment, or 150 new jobs in Russell County with a $43 million investment—Kentuckians have a good right to be proud of the turnaround in the state under the new administration. What’s more impressive is the declining rate in unemployment in the state. The truth is that the last time the unemployment rate was this low was in June 2001, fifteen years ago.

Steve Beshear liked to claim that his administration halved the unemployment rate —without admitting that they first doubled it. During the corresponding period of the first 7 months of the Beshear administration, the unemployment rate rose from 5.5% to 6.3%. The former governor left the state with a higher rate of unemployment than the one he inherited. Bevin, meanwhile, has reversed the trend and seen the unemployment rate drop from 5.6% to 5.0% today. This translates to 34,845 more Kentuckians earning a paycheck today than the day Matt Bevin was sworn into office.

None of this is likely to be celebrated by an antagonistic media, they’re more worried about a building that was named for Jane Beshear in the days before her husband left office. Priorities, Kentucky, priorities.


Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)

KY Journalists Feel Beshear’s Pain

July 16, 2016 1 comment

Poor Kentucky journalists, they feel a barrage of rejection emanating from Governor Matt Bevin’s office. Some reporters who generally avoid politics have also been drawn into offering editorial comment on the ostensible feud between the current and former governors. Tara Anderson of WFPL News went so far as to call it “Shakespearean”. Meanwhile, Al Cross, frequent columnist at he Courier-Journal, lamented Governor Bevin’s loss of the “high ground.” (We have no recollection of a time when Cross or any other prominent political journalist conceded the high ground to candidate or Governor Bevin.)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2013

The journalists’ latest wound was inflicted when former First Lady Jane Beshear’s name was removed from the Capitol Education Center adjacent to the Governor’s mansion in Frankfort. It hurt so badly that an empathetic Jack Brammer, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s man in Frankfort,  wailed on KET “Would he want someone to treat his wife like that?” Press conferences in Frankfort must make for deeply depressing experiences.

In most of the stories covering the former First Lady’s building story, few, if any, point out that hubby Beshear waited almost three years after the building was commissioned before he named it for his wife. In fact, he waited until after Matt Bevin was elected to give her this special shout-out. Coincidentally, it was his last day before he nominated her to the board of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. The former governor was in such a hurry to secure a spot for his wife on the KHPC that his order—an executive order nominating her to the board—accidentally referred to it as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Democrats in the state have a voice. It takes the form of whiny rants on social media and comments on articles by Cross, Brammer, and others among the press faithful. The insult du jour is to call Bevin “petty.” As long as Kentucky’s media focus on the relationship between Bevin and the Beshears, chances are that the state’s voters will never know that the unemployment rate has dropped dramatically under the current administration, or that the state’s pension fund is on its way to solvency, or that the debt is being paid off.

Bevin’s accomplishments are proving to be too painful to acknowledge by the press, because it hurts the narrative that he’s a one-man wrecking ball. Fortunately for the state, Bevin doesn’t care for liberal opinion and is taking care of the real business of the state.

 

Photo credit: Steve Beshear via Flickr under a Creative Commons copyright.

Trans Restrooms: Good Intentions Make for Bad Results

It’s been just under three months since Target, the superstore chain, made an announcement that it was “continuing to stand for inclusivity.” Its celebration of diversity, as they described their decision, would permit transgender people, or those who self-identified as transgender to use a restroom or fitting room which matched their gender identity.

The definition of “gender identity” is more fluid than gender itself. So when a man walked in to a Target store in April and asked permission to use the ladies room, he didn’t meet with any opposition. In fact, the store management offered to explain their policy in the event that women were uncomfortable with a male and were to demand an explanation. Andy Park was not even pretending to identify as a transgender female and posted a video of his conversation for the whole world to bear witness.

Target didn’t treat that as a lesson. More on that in a moment.

We’ve heard that a middle-aged male named Sean Patrick Smith, who calls himself Shauna Patricia Smith (how clever!) has felony charges of voyeurism for holding his camera over a Target changing room wall to film a woman in the next stall. Critics of Target’s inclusivity policy should not be surprised—the threshold for identifying as a person of the opposite sex is low—all it takes to identify as a person of the opposite sex is to say so.

Its celebration of diversity triggered a pledge by over 1.2 million Americans to boycott its stores. In mid-May, Target’s CEO was still quite uncertain that the boycott had impacted their sales. Investors, usually reliable with their own money, have been dumping target stock and have watched the price drop from a 52-week high of 85.31 to $73, a drop of over 14% in less than three months. The loss in Target’s market value is $7.28 billion.

A quarter of the world’s countries have an annual GDP that is less than the value of the loss in Target’s market capitalization. That’s a high price to pay for faux diversity and endangering our womenfolk.

 

UK Budget Cuts: Pathetic 48% Raise for President Capilouto

11439760685_148561e410_mOh the sorry state of Kentucky higher education! Even as the state’s institutions of higher learning reel from Governor Bevin’s budget cuts of 4.5%, Kentucky’s flagship university has managed to squeeze in a paltry reward for its President Eli Capilouto—he’ll have to settle for a paltry raise of $254,500. He is on record as struggling with the lack of funding

Liberals in Kentucky are understandably upset at the cuts and the significant damage this can cause to the state of the state’s education. The Lexington Herald-Leader, quoted UK French Literature professor Julie Human as saying “It’s really disheartening… It’s hard to see how he (Bevin) doesn’t value this kind of education…” while speaking of the Governor’s disdain for arts degrees.

Photo Credit: US Army National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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