Archive for April, 2013

More Evidence Of Deadly Benghazi Screw-Up Found Under Oval Office Rug – Larry Bell, Forbes’ Contributor

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: U.S. Secretary of...

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill January 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers questioned Clinton about the security failures during the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of four Americans,  including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)


46-page “progress report” released by five Republican House committees of jurisdiction indicates that security cuts at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi prior to the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were approved by then-Secretary of State Clinton. This contradicts her January 23, 2013 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee declaring exactly the opposite.

On that occasion she said under oath: “I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level where the ARB (Accountability Review Board) placed that responsibility.”   Yet a cable bearing her signature dated March 28, 2012, acknowledges a formal request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz for additional security assets, but orders the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.  

Hillary clearly wanted to put all accountability for the ugly Benghazi matter out of public sight and mind. When Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked her why she, her State Department and the White House, who immediately knew differently, continued to blame the deadly assault on our consulate upon an obscure anti-Muslim video for weeks afterwards, she angrily pounded the table and retorted: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point, does it make?”

The Cover-Up Cover Story:

The House interim report states that “reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton”.  It also concludes that dishonest changes to the public talking points discussing the entire Benghazi debacle were concocted at the behest of the White House to make the Obama administration look good.   After original versions of the attack were drafted and the editing process began, “draft talking points were sent to officials, throughout the Executive Branch, (and) senior State Department officials requested the talking points be changed to avoid criticism for ignoring the threat environment in Benghazi.”

The report charges that: “The administration’s talking points were developed in an interagency process that focused more on protecting the reputation and credibility of the State Department than on explaining to the American people the facts surrounding the fatal attacks.” It quotes one email saying that there was concern that members of Congress would attack the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings”.   Further, it states that: “Those edits struck any and all suggestions that the State Department had been previously warned of threats in the region, that there had been previous attacks in Benghazi by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Benghazi and eastern Libya, and that extremists linked to al-Qaeda may have participated in the attack on the Benghazi Mission.”

The talking points representing the attack on the Benghazi compound as a “spontaneous” demonstration provoked by an anti-Muslim video were known to be false at the time soon after the attacks.   This was before the White House dispatched U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to present that story on five Sunday morning talk shows.   Also, contrary to administration rhetoric, protection of classified information had no influence in the editing process that produced the talking points narrative.   No concern about this issue was mentioned in email traffic among senior administration officials who were involved.

According to the House report, the White House and branches of the Obama administration knew or learned quite a lot about the Benghazi tragedy at the time disingenuous accounts were repeatedly released to the public.  CIA Director David Petraeus met with members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on September 14, telling them that CIA briefing notes included:

  • Information about five previous attacks on foreign interests in Benghazi since April 2012.
  • Potential links to al-Qaida connected to Libyan militia, Ansar al-Sharia.
  • Previous CIA assessment groups linked to al-Qaida in eastern Libya.
  • Information suggesting that Islamic extremists participated in the attack.


The Frustrating Witness Hide and Seek Dilemma:

Many in Congress believe that Benghazi survivors who were evacuated after the attacks have been held incommunicado to keep politically-damaging information about an Obama administration failure to offer a military response from being released.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News that “The bottom line is they feel they can’t come forth…They’ve been told to be quiet.” Graham said: “We cannot let this administration or any other administration get away with hiding from American people and Congress…people who were there in real time to tell the story.”

Fox News also reported that a congressional source told them investigators believe that including Ambassador Stevens and the three other casualties, 37 people were in Benghazi on behalf of the State Department and CIA on September 11, meaning that 33 were evacuated.  One of them, a State Department security agent, suffered a severe head injury during the assault. It is believed that Secretary of State John Kerry visited him at the Walter Reed Medical Center last January.

On April 17, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) told Secretary Kerry at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: “We have made request after request about, for example, just to get the list of the people who were evacuated from Benghazi, and we haven’t even gotten that, much less some important questions.”   Rohrabacher emphasized: “We need to talk to the people who are on the scene.  Can you give us a commitment now that this administration, you will be coming up with the request, the honest request of this committee as to who was evacuated and how to talk to them so we can get a straight answer and an understanding of what happened in Benghazi?” 

Kerry responded that he didn’t think anybody lied to anybody, and “let’s find out exactly,  together, what happened because we need… we got a lot more important things to move on to and get done.”

Kerry’s terse reply to a genuinely appropriate request must have come as quite a shock to parents of brave victims of the brutal siege. Seven months after September 11, Charles Woods and several members of Congress held a press conference urging the Obama administration to fully disclose circumstances that led to the murders of his son Ty and others. Mr. Woods said, “We don’t just want another paper report. We want people who were on the ground” to testify and explain “why they failed to provide support and protection.” He pleaded “This is extraordinary and we need to know…who was it that gave the order to stand down.

One week earlier, Patricia Smith, the mother of Benghazi casualty Sean Smith, wrote a letter to Congress regarding her son’s death. It said: “When I was in Washington, D.C., at the reception of the caskets, I asked for and received promises from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, V.P. Biden and several other dignitaries in attendance.   They all looked me directly in the eyes and promised they would find out [what happened in Benghazi].” She then recounted: “I got only one call from a clerk about a month later quoting from the time line, which I already had.”

As Representative Rohrabacher wrote in an April 9 Investor’s Business Dailyarticle“The identities of those Americans who were there, including those who were wounded, has been kept from congressional investigators who have a constitutional responsibility to oversee U.S. foreign policy in situations exactly like this.”   He further said: “It is widely believed, for example, that some of those involved in the Benghazi attack were also involved in the attack on the gas plant in Algeria in January where 37 hostages were killed, including three Americans…The false story of the Benghazi attack put out by the administration downplayed the magnitude of the radical Islamist threat that still faces our country.”

Were Obama and Clinton Missing in Action?

Members of Congress are also seeking clarification regarding President Obama’s actions at the time of the consulate attack. Special questions arose when departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified at a February Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that Obama talked to him only once by telephone during the time the consulate was under assault, and never called him back for updates. That single conversation took place about half an hour after the president was notified about the attack.

Senator Graham asked Panetta incredulously, “So you think it’s a typical response of the president of the United States to make one phone call, do what you can and never call you back again and ask you, how’s it going, by the way, showing your frustration we don’t have any assets in there to help these people for over seven hours?”

Both Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, who also testified at the hearing, stated that they were never in touch with Secretary of State Clinton throughout the evening of the attack on her ambassador and other personnel. “[W]e never received a request for support from the State Department,” Dempsey said, never explaining why the American military had not made any attempt to save the endangered Americans.


Congressman Trey Gowdy says more Benghazi hearings ‘coming quickly’, promises EXPLOSIVE evidence!!!

Congressman Trey Gowdy says that more Benghazi hearings are ‘coming quickly’ and they will be ‘explosive’.

When asked if it will include witnesses who were there but haven’t been allowed to come forward, he wouldn’t say directly because of confidentiality but told the Fox News host that she was ‘very warm’ and suggested it may include ‘direct testimony by eyewitnesses’:

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Obama Criticizes New States’ Abortion Laws In Speech to Planned Parenthood


President Obama spoke on Friday at a Planned Parenthood event in Washington where he assailed conservatives who have sought to restrict access to abortion and contraception.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times


President Obama spoke on Friday at a Planned Parenthood event in Washington.  President Obama waded back into the nation’s volatile culture wars on Friday as he assailed conservatives who have sought to restrict access to abortion and contraception, and promised women’s activists he would stand with them “fighting every step of the way.”

Addressing a meeting of Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama singled out lawmakers in North Dakota, Mississippi and, by implication, the nation’s capital for proposing and in some cases enacting “absurd” laws that he said would return the country to the days before the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights.

“When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar,” Mr. Obama said. “You want to make sure you’re still living in 2013. Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you.”

Mr. Obama was originally scheduled to address the group on Thursday but had to postpone his appearance to attend a memorial service in Texas for firefighters killed in a fertilizer plant explosion last week. Rather than pass off the obligation to another member of his administration, Mr. Obama asked the group to let him come a day late so he could speak out on an issue that galvanizes his liberal political base.

The president’s speech came at a time when several states have passed restrictive new abortion laws, and not long after a furor in Congress in which some Republicans objected to administration policies intended to ensure that insurance companies cover contraception.

North Dakota just enacted a law banning abortion when a heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Arkansas this spring similarly banned most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy. In Mississippi, conservatives tried to ban all abortions, only to have their effort rejected in a referendum in 2011. In Washington, some Republicans have questioned federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it provides abortion services, among other health care services.

Abortion opponents have also drawn attention lately to the trial of a Philadelphia doctor charged with killing viable fetuses during abortions. Three of seven murder charges against the doctor, Kermit Gosnell, were thrown out by a judge this week, but the grisly details of the case have, in the view of abortion opponents, highlighted the moral questions underlying abortion in the United States.

An antiabortion group said a local Planned Parenthood group had been aware of complaints about Dr. Gosnell but did not intervene. The Philadelphia Daily News quoted the local group’s leader as saying that women had complained to the group about conditions at Dr. Gosnell’s clinic, and that the group would encourage them to report their complaints to the health department.

“President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an antiabortion group.

Mr. Obama did not mention the case but condemned lawmakers who have targeted Planned Parenthood. “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve,” he told the group’s gathering, at a Washington hotel. “And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear they’re talking about telling many of those women you’re on your own.”

He pledged his loyalty to the group. “You’ve also got a president,” he said, “who’s going to be right here with you fighting every step of the way.”

ACLU: CISPA (Cybersecurity Bill) Is Dead (For Now)

ACLU: CISPA Is Dead (For Now)

The Senate will not take up the controversial cybersecurity bill, is drafting separate legislation

April 25, 2013

Sen. Jay Rockefeller says CISPA's passage was "important," but its "privacy protections are insufficient."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller says CISPA’s passage was “important,” but its “privacy protections are insufficient.”

CISPA is all but dead, again.

The controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week, will almost certainly be shelved by the Senate, according to a representative of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The bill would have allowed the federal government to share classified “cyber threat” information with companies, but it also provided provisions that would have allowed companies to share information about specific users with the government. Privacy advocates also worried that the National Security Administration would have gotten involved.

[READ: U.S. Military Writes Rules on Cybersecurity While Chinese Hacks Skyrocket]

“We’re not taking [CISPA] up,” the committee representative says. “Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we’re going to strengthen cybersecurity. They’ll be drafting separate bills.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the committee, said the passage of CISPA was “important,” but said the bill’s “privacy protections are insufficient.”

That, coupled with the fact that President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill, has even CISPA’s staunchest opponents, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, ready to bury CISPA and focus on future legislation.

“I think it’s dead for now,” says Michelle Richardson, legislative council with the ACLU. “CISPA is too controversial, it’s too expansive, it’s just not the same sort of program contemplated by the Senate last year. We’re pleased to hear the Senate will probably pick up where it left off last year.”

That’s not to say Congress won’t pass any cybersecurity legislation this year. Both Rockefeller and President Obama want to give American companies additional tools to fight back against cyberattacks from domestic and foreign hackers.

[READ: Lawmakers Who Pushed CISPA Were ‘Doxed’]

But cybersecurity legislation in the Senate, such as the Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2013, has greater privacy protections than CISPA does. Richardson says that bill makes it clear that companies would have to “pull out sensitive data [about citizens]” before companies send it to the government and also puts the program under “unequivocal civilian control,” something CISPA author Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., was unwilling to do.

Even if the Senate gets something done, Rogers and other CISPA supporters will likely have to compromise more than they’ve been willing to over the past year as Obama has made it clear he will veto legislation that doesn’t have more privacy protections.

“The way [Rogers] talks, [the House] has gone as far as they possibly can on privacy,” Richardson says. “I don’t know if that’s true and I’m not sure how they’ll respond when the Senate puts something back to them. But if they don’t figure out a compromise, they might not get any legislation at all.”

The commerce representative says that the Senate committee is “working toward separate bills” to improve cybersecurity, which are currently being drafted. But don’t expect these bills soon, as the Senate considers immigration, an Internet sales tax, the aftermath of the Boston bombing and the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control crisis in the wake of sequestration.

Richardson says she thinks it’ll be at least three months before the Senate takes a vote on any cybersecurity legislation.

“We need to be vigilant as the year moves on to make sure that whatever the next product is, it’s not CISPA-lite,” she says. “I think this is probably going to take the rest of the year.”



Michigan’s Legislature Resists Its Governor’s Call to Approve Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion – by Forbes’ Avik Roy

Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, was among the many GOP state executives who made national headlines this winter by endorsing Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, America’s government-run health insurance program for the poor.   But what isn’t making headlines is that Michigan’s legislature, like its counterparts in Florida, Ohio, and Arizona, is not going along.

Governor Snyder Holds Roundtable On Detroit's Financial Crisis

Expanding Medicaid, said Snyder on February 6, “makes sense for the physical and fiscal health” of Michigan. “It also puts Michigan, rather than Washington, in the driver’s seat in terms of implementation [of Obamacare], which allows us to better address Michigan’s specific needs.”

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A fiscal windfall in the near-term, perpetual losses thereafter

There’s plenty of reason to disagree. It’s true that the state is likely to enjoy a short-term fiscal windfall if it expands Medicaid. But by 2020, the expansion will sink into the red, and lose money for the state thereafter.

The big factor in the Great Lakes State is that Michigan today has a very large mental health program for low-income state residents who aren’t eligible for Medicaid. By implementing Obamacare, Michigan can offload the cost of this program onto federal taxpayers. Indeed, according to estimates from the University of Michigan, the entire fiscal windfall that will accrue to the state can be accounted for by a reduction in state mental health spending ($885 million over five years) and a corresponding reduction in spending on health care for prison inmates ($234 million over the same period).

Overall, U of M projects that the state will make $1.1 billion off of the Medicaid expansion over its first five years, from 2014 to 2018. However, over the next five years, as more people sign up for the program, and the proportion of federal funding decreases, the state will lose $113 million. If you project out the next five years, assuming (as the university does) that Medicaid spending grows at 3 percent, while offsetting savings grow at 2.3 percent, with a 90 percent federal match, the state will lose $325 million over that period, with larger losses in future years.

State projections could be optimistic

And that’s based on a middle-case scenario. If more people than anticipated sign up for the program, or if costs are higher than projected, or if Congress decreases the federal match rate, or cracks down on state provider taxes, Michigan’s losses will be greater.

Gov. Snyder likes to call himself “one tough nerd”—it’s even his handle on Twitter—but it’s hardly tough to saddle Michigan taxpayers with perpetual deficit spending in order to collect a windfall while you’re in office. Snyder insists that he will sock away a portion of the near-term windfall to pay for future spending, but the history of entitlement programs should make us skeptical of that promise. Both Social Security and Medicare accumulated substantial surpluses in their early years, only to incur losses later on. The savings were not put away for a rainy day, but rather were frittered away on other priorities.

Today, even without Obamacare, Michigan spends 45 percent of its state budget on health care. That compares to 30 percent on education, 12 percent on jobs programs, and 6 percent on public safety—police, firemen, and the like. Health care is crowding out these other important state services, a problem that Obamacare will make worse.

State legislators’ skepticism will increase

The good news is that Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature is displaying a responsible level of skepticism to Gov. Snyder’s proposal.  In March, the House Appropriations subcommittee excluded funding for the Medicaid expansion from its relevant fiscal legislation. Rep. Matt Lori, the chairman of the subcommittee, actually supports the expansion, but his colleagues do not. “The short-term economic benefit is very appealing,” said Rep. Robert VerHeulen. “But I generally don’t support expansion of government.”

A big sticking point for VerHeulen is that the 1965 Medicaid law forbids states from asking Medicaid beneficiaries from contributing meaningfully to the cost of their own care. “Even if it’s 50 cents, it’s something contributing to one’s own health care or well-being,” says VerHeulen. “I think that’s a healthy objective.”

Lori, for his part, seems optimistic that he can persuade House Republicans to go along with the expansion. “People just need to be educated on the whole thing,” he said. “It’s very complicated.” “We don’t have the votes for what the governor put out,” said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the votes to get something done that would expand Medicaid.”

It’s just as likely, however, that as Michigan legislators get more educated about the expansion, their skepticism will increase. That’s what’s happening in other GOP-controlled states.

Expansion founders in Ohio, Florida, Arizona

Last Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed its biennial budget; like its counterpart to the north, the House excluded funds for the Medicaid expansion from the bill, despite the fact that Gov. John Kasich supports the expansion. (As with Michigan, there remains the possibility that the expansion could be funded in separate legislation.) The Florida House and Senate have also rejected the expansion, though they remain open to attractive market-oriented alternatives.

Arizona, another Republican-controlled state with a pro-expansion governor, is also a place where expansion is stalled. “The answer now is no,” saidArizona House Speaker Andy Tobin. “And I’m not putting the governor’s language up on the board.”

Arkansas, which has a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor, did pass an expansion bill last week; there, leading Republicans—naively, in my view—hope that they can make the Medicaid program function like private insurance does. Pro-expansion Republicans there have already broken their promise to pair the Medicaid expansion with tort and tax reform, bills that did not pass the legislature. The legislative session ends on Tuesday.

From a political standpoint, these state-level battles are playing out pretty consistently. On the pro-expansion side are the all-powerful hospital lobbies, who jump at any chance to grab taxpayer dollars; and the usual collection of progressive activists. But legislators in conservative districts are wary of endorsing Obamacare, and local Tea Party groups have made clear that they feel the same way.

“I am not a dictator,” President Obama has explained. “I’m the president.” So too it goes in state capitals, where Republican governors are finding that their endorsements of expanding Medicaid are, for now, facing strong resistance. The game is far from over—these state legislatures could change their minds—but expanding Medicaid has turned out to be far more challenging than many people once thought.



Justin Amash, will he run for the U.S. Senate???

By George F. Will

America’s most interesting development since November is the Republican Party becoming more interesting. Consider the congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich., who occupies the seat once held by Gerald Ford, embodiment of vanilla Republicanism.

Justin AmashJustin Amash, 33, may seek the Senate seat being vacated by six-term Democrat Carl Levin, who was elected in 1978, two years before Amash was born.

Michigan supported Barack Obama over native son Mitt Romney by 9.5 points and has elected just one Republican senator since 1966. The governor, however, and nearly all other statewide officers are Republicans, the GOP controls both legislative chambers, and Amash, son of a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother, would benefit from Michigan having the nation’s second-largest Arab American population (almost 200,000).


He absorbed a libertarian understanding of opportunity from the example of his father, who began his very successful business career by buying stuff from small wholesalers and selling it door-to-door. Amash graduated magna cum laude with an economics degree from the University of Michigan, then earned a law degree there. “Some of my views,” he says mildly, “were a little bit different from my Republican peers.” He began reading Friedrich Hayek and other representatives of the Austrian school of economics, and less than four years after he left Ann Arbor, he was in Michigan’s Legislature, where in his one term he cast the only “no” vote on more than 70 bills.

When an eight-term Republican incumbent retired from Congress in 2010, Amash, supported by the free-market Club for Growth, handily won the primary and the general election because, he says, of “the simplicity of my message” — limited government, economic freedom, individual liberty. He refuses to vote for legislation the House has not been given time to read, which is eccentric, and he explains each vote on Facebook.  For example, he voted against reauthorizing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act because, he wrote, it “created new federal crimes to mirror crimes already on the books in every state pertaining to certain domestic violence offenses” and because it addresses “subjects over which the federal government has no general jurisdiction.”
The Constitution, he wrote, “explicitly authorizes Congress to criminalize only a few activities, which relate to matters that are clearly federal in nature (counterfeiting, crimes on the high seas, treason).” Furthermore, federalizing criminal law increases the danger that “a person may be charged in both state court and federal court for essentially the same crime.” This federalization of crime also burdens the federal judiciary and tempts budget-constrained state governments to leave many criminal matters to the federal government.Regarding illegal immigrants, Amash asks: “Does anyone want federal police going door-to-door searching for 11 million people?”

In foreign policy, “I’m a non-interventionist who believes there are reasons to wage war but defensive 

reasons,” meaning “an actual or imminent — meaning immediate — threat.”  Like his parents, Amash is an Orthodox Christian and pro-life. He believes marriage is a sacrament, but because others do not, perhaps “government should not be engaged in marriage at all.”He says, “Tell me how a Democrat is going to attack me on the social issues.” Republicans, however, might take up that task. Nevertheless, he thinks that he could win a Republican primary and that “my mix of positions is best for winning the general.”He adds, “Because I do not fit neatly in the Republican box, some establishment Republicans and pundits think I am extreme,” but “I am a moderate” because “the point of the Constitution is to moderate the government.”

 Immediately after Levin announced his retirement, Amash received a late-night text message from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), encouraging him to run. “There’s a great coalition over there,” Amash says, referring to freshmen Lee, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Arizona’s Jeff Flake, South Carolina’s Tim Scott, Texas’s Ted Cruz, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Florida’s Marco Rubio, a group whose average age is 48, 13.5 years less than the average of Senate Republicans.

Last month, when Paul was waging his 13-hour filibuster, Amash made his first visit to the Senate floor and was struck by the contrast with the House, which he says is “good fun” and “loud and boisterous.” The Senate would be more so with Amash inside, and Michigan Republicans, having lost six consecutive Senate elections, might reasonably want to try something new. But as Amash undertakes to “tear down the left-right paradigm,” he must consider how the delicate but constructive fusion of libertarians and social conservatives has served Republicans, and the sometimes inverse relationship between being interesting and being electable.

Our State Representative Greg MacMaster strives for public/private cooperation to build economy and job growth

Greg MacMaster“Private business owners have enough challenges for success without having to compete against their government”,  State Rep. Greg MacMaster said today, and that’s why he has introduced legislation to ensure Michigan allows anyone to bid on providing services or goods to the public.

 The Kewadin lawmaker this week sponsored House Bill 4549 to put in place protections against government unnecessarily competing against private enterprise, with the exception of certain essential, necessary government functions, such as fire and police.

“Private business owners and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood and future of continuing Michigan’s economic resurgence so having clear limits on where government can compete with private enterprise will boost that growth, protect the future of our economic opportunities and ensure that government does not act beyond its function,” MacMaster said. “This bill creates a fair competitive playing field where all stakeholders in any type of business, including unions, can bid for the work.

“The bottom line is that if a company can be found in the Yellow Pages listings, the government shouldn’t be a monopolizing competitor.”

Earlier this month, after learning the Department of Corrections rejected three bids to competitively bid health care and food services, MacMaster, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, also began work to ensure all submitted bids are evaluated fairly and forthrightly.

The policies he wants to implement would clarify the state’s “request for proposals” process, which is the basis for the bidding system.

“The system needs some checks and balances so that proposal reviews are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges,” MacMaster said. “We are on top of this issue and doing everything we can to ensure that our government runs efficiently.  The legislation and overseeing the procurement process for bidding of services is another reform we need to make so our hard-working taxpayers get the best value for their dollar in instances when the private sector can potentially provide services at a lower cost.”

HB 4549 has been assigned to the House Oversight Committee for consideration. MacMaster said the “request for proposal” language is being developed within the corrections budget legislation the Legislature expects to present to the governor in July.

Come have a Sunday Pasta Dinner and Support the Antrim County Young Conservatives!!!

This Sunday, April 21st, 2013 @ 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – American Legion Hall – 131/S. Williams St. in Mancelona will host a “Pasta Dinner” to raise money for the newly formed “Antrim County Young Conservatives”!!!

Your choice of Spaghetti/Mostaccioli with homemade Italian Marinara sauce with Sausage/Meatballs, side salad, rolls with butter, and cookies or Red Velvet cake for desert.  Choice of drinks or bottled water.

$5 per individual meal or $12 per Family,…Carry out dinners for $5 too! 

Learn more about these fine Young citizens at their Facebook page:  

Or, at this website link:

Antrim County Leaders

Domesticated Russians behind Boston Marathon bombings!!!

One Suspect in Boston Marathon Bombings Dead; Second Russian At Large

A Russian language social networking site bearing Dzhokar Tsarneav’s name paid tribute to Islamic websites and to those calling for Chechen independence. The author identified himself as a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He said he went to primary school in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, a province in Russia that borders on Chechnya, and listed his languages as English, Russian and Chechen.

His “World view” was listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” as “career and money”.

He posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles such as “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God by Allah, let that ring out in our hearts.”

He also had links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for independence after two wars in the 1990s.

Read more at this link:

“Shameful Day for Washington” per President Obama

Click on this link for the video of President Obama’s remarks which start at the 4:50 minute mark;

“A Shameful Day for Washington” per President Obama


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