Tag Archives: Lies

Pete the Banker: Outrage Builds Over Gruber’s ObamaCare Lies

 ObamaCare Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Recently disclosed statements by the Administrations point man on the Affordable Care Act, Jonathan Gruber, are reminiscent of the Jack Nicholson phrase in the movie a “A Few Good Men”, “You can’t handle the truth”!
Image: Pundit From Another Planet
Image: Pundit From Another Planet
 
Jonathan Gruber was the architect of Romney Care in Mass, the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, as well as a paid contractor who served as an implementer and spokesman for the ACA under a $400K contract.  And now, according to the Washington Times, we discover Gruber made MILLIONS lying to the American public:
 
Those “stupid” people have been extremely generous to Mr. Gruber. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010 investigated the $297,600 that the Department of Health and Human Services paid Mr. Gruber to sing the praises of the health care scheme.

Minnesota, for example, used federal Obamacare grants to pay Mr. Gruber to attend one meeting, participate in a biweekly email list and print a copy of the report, all for $329,000. Wisconsin paid Mr. Gruber $400,000 for the same material, requested by the office of then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. When the report was presented, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, didn’t want Mr. Gruber at the news conference. Vermont is paying him another $400,000. Such a deal!

West Virginia, Maine, Colorado and Oregon have partaken of Mr. Gruber’s services, too, guaranteeing him a tidy sum. The money bought lies and deception. That’s Mr. Gruber’s characterization, not ours. “If you had a law which made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people get money,” said Mr. Gruber, “it would not have passed.”

Additionally, Gruber filed a Friend-of-the-Court-Brief defending the ACA in defense of the Administration’s position before the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This case is now pending appeal before the Supreme Court.
 
His comments reflect the ultimate deception of the ACA,
Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass…
Remember the Nancy Pelosi statement during the ACA debate, “We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”

But rest assured, Nancy says she has never heard of Gruber; just ask her.

Deception, lack of transparency are truly the foundation of the ACA.
 

Oops, except she has:

Gruber’s subsequent “apology” was,
 
The comments on that video were made at an academic conference.I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.

Note that his selection of words in his alleged “apology” suggest he apologizes for the comments, but not about the central ideas he espouses. Nuanced indeed.  When further pressed to elaborate on his response, he then launched into a tangential argument spinning blame on the Bush and prior Administrations for their lack of transparency.  An obvious deflection again intended to mask his true beliefs.

Since the release of this first tape, two more videos (and now another) have emerged verifying that the first tape was not a single incident, nor a one time slip of tongue, but a strongly held conviction.  Gruber again,

And again,

One more time(?),


But then, he is sorry for the comments?!?

And at a subsequent interview, Gruber has had the audacity to claim Republicans were confusing people??  He stated,

I think that this comes to the master strategy of the Republican party, which is to confuse people enough about the law so that they don’t understand that the subsidies they’re getting is because of the law.

Rather amusing that Gruber who admits “lack of transparency” and blames Americans for stupidity, then has the audacity to blame the bill’s opponents for confusing people?!  Perhaps this latest assertion will become the introductory statement in his next speaking engagement.

The promise of transparency has been the hallmark promise of Obama’s Administration from day one, comparable to Ulysses version of sea nymph sirens whose beguiling and enticing songs rendered his crew defenseless. The incessant chant of “transparency” parroted by both Obama himself and his Administration have mesmerized hard working Americans to believe that all their problems and in this case all their medical issues will be forever resolved. Among other instances, these melodic chants were introduced with the 2009 call to transparency:

reinforced by a 2010 promise, 

and who can forget the more recent Google Fireside Hangout Obama assertion in 2012 that, 
This is the most transparent administration in history.
And Obama’s White House Website itself repeats this pledge,
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Interesting that   while the Administration gave lip service to the concept of transparency, it eagerly embraced deception to pass ObamaCare.
 
Americans who accepted the Administration’s and the Democrat’s  promises assuring them that the ACA would reduce medical costs, prevent accelerating insurance costs, improving the quality of health care, all while allowing them to keep their existing insurance, doctor, and hospital access were beguiled.  Those melodic promises of the ACA’s architects were nothing more than a cruel illusion perpetrated on hard working, decent Americans, guilty of only trusting elected representatives and not stupidity.

Pants on Fire Alert! Bruce McCain: Metro’s Ballot Measure 26-152 Lies!

Metro logo

At this May’s primary election, voters will see the usual assortment of special district elections, the most significant of which are local school board races. But for the 1.5 million Oregonians who are within the jurisdiction of Metro’s regional government, they will vote on measure 26-152, which Metro touts as a badly needed local option levy to remedy issues from its last measure in 2006. In fact, Metro claims it cannot afford to maintain and restore its own assets without this levy, despite the fact Metro’s all funds budget increased from $383,743,000 in 2011-2012 to a whopping $535,818,000 in 2012-2013

But as you will see below, Metro has flat out lied to voters in its in-house prepared ballot measure filed with county elections officials on January 28, 2013. I do not make that claim lightly. As an attorney in Oregon, I have handled many ballot title challenges, including statewide measures argued before the Oregon Supreme Court dating back to the early 1990’s. Differences of opinion do not usually rise to false statements of material fact. This is not a difference of opinion. All the evidence we need to reveal Metro’s duplicity is found in the language of Metro’s own ballot measures.

The Metro Lie

Current Metro COO Martha Bennett

Measure 26-152 is a proposed five-year local option levy that seeks to raise $10 million per year. According to the measure’s summary statement, 26-152 would create “a dedicated fund to improve water quality for salmon and native fish, remove invasive weeds that threaten the health of these natural areas, restore wetlands and provide opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home.” The compelling need for this $10 million dedicated fund is explained in the summary, signed by Martha J. Bennett, Metro’s current Chief Operating Officer:

“Twice in two decades, Metro voters approved measures to acquire thousands of acres of natural areas throughout the tri-county region. Past measures could not include money for maintenance and restoration.” [emph added by editor of this blog]

Thus according to Metro, the regional behemoth with a half billion dollar budget needs this new local option levy for money in part to restore the lands Metro purchased with its GO bonds, since the previous bond measures could not include money for restoration. And here is where Ms. Bennett and the Metro Council have lied to their constituents.

Background

In May 1995 voters in the Metro region approved a $135.6 million bond measure entitled the “Open Spaces, Parks and Streams Bond Measure.”  The stated goal of the measure was to use the GO bonds to acquire land in 14 of the 57 regional natural areas identified in the 1992 Greenspaces Master Plan and six of the 34 regional trails and greenways identified in the Greenspaces Master Plan.

In 2006, Metro voters approved measure 26-80, which authorized Metro to issue $227.4 million in general obligation bonds, again to buy up land to add to Metro’s growing real estate portfolio. And Metro’s portfolio has now ballooned to more than 16,000 acres of newly acquired land, which even Metro’s own staff admit has created an unsustainable burden on the regional government’s general fund budget. According to Metro’s current ballot title summary, those general obligation bonds approved in 1995 and 2006 could not be used to restore the land purchased, hence the need for this new operating levy.

Measure 26-80

When Metro voters approved 26-80 in November 2006, what exactly did Metro say that $227.4 million would be used for? The first and best place to begin is with the ballot title facing every voter. Regardless of voter pamphlet statements or campaign materials, the ballot title is the official statement of what a measure intends to do. Here is the 175-word Summary of Measure 26-80:

Protects specific natural areas, lands near rivers and streams, wildlife and trail corridors through land acquisition and restoration. Funds specific local water quality, wildlife and park protection projects for local parks providers. Funds water quality and wildlife habitat restoration matching grant program for local communities. Requires 2 to 1 match for local community grants. Match may be met with volunteer hours. Approved bonds will:

· Preserve specified natural areas

· Protect and restore watersheds for improved water quality

· Protect streams, fish and wildlife

· Increase the presence of nature in neighborhoods

This measure directs Metro to buy and restore natural areas for the protection of water quality and preservation of fish and wildlife habitat for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations, establishes a citizens oversight committee and requires a yearly independent financial audit to be published in local newspapers. Bonds mature in not more than 20 years. Bond cost estimate is about 19 cents per $1 ,000 of assessed value per year. The average homeowner in the region pays $2.50-$2.92 per month.

Former Metro COO Michael Jordan

Despite Metro’s current position that Measure 26-80’s $227.4 million in GO bonds could not be used for restoration of the lands purchased with those monies, Metro’s former COO, Michael J. Jordan, certified with his signature that those bonds clearly would be used to “buy and restore” the lands Metro purchased. [Jordan left Metro in 2011 to become the State of Oregon’s COO under Governor Kitzhaber.] So which Metro COO is or was telling the truth? In 2006, Mr. Jordan and the Metro council sold Measure 26-80 in part on the promise that $227.4 million raised would be used not just for purchasing natural areas, but also to restore those lands for protection of water quality and preservation of fish and wildlife habitat.

Not once in 26-80′s ballot title, explanatory statement or arguments in favor in the voter’s guide was there any suggestion or statement that those bonds could not or would not be used for habitat restoration. To the contrary, restoration of habitat purchased was a major selling point, which even prompted an argument in favor statement to be jointly filed by 15 mayors within Metro’s boundaries, including five in Multnomah County.

But now in 2013, facing skyrocketing costs of maintaining that burgeoning real estate portfolio, Jordan’s replacement COO Bennett and the current Metro council are now pitching a local option levy by claiming Metro needs money to restore the land it has purchased since 2006 because Measure 26-80 “could not include money for maintenance and restoration.” Note the distinction between “maintenance” and “restoration,” because they are different issues. In Exhibit A to Metro Resolution No. 12-4398, Metro officials themselves acknowledged that “Money approved by voters for land acquisition in 1995 and 2006 cannot be legally used for operating expenses.” But “restoration” is more accurately described as a capital improvement, hence its inclusion as legitimate expense funded by bonds under 26-80.

Metro councilors know that if they go to voters with a local option levy solely to fund ongoing operating expenses, voters would surely and skeptically ask, “What are you doing with the half billion dollars we gave you this year?” So, instead the Metro council instructed Ms. Bennett to sign a ballot title with a summary that downplays the maintenance costs while repeating and overemphasizing the “restoration” theme:

Twice in two decades, Metro voters approved measures to acquire thousands of acres of natural areas throughout the tri-county region. Past measures could not include money for maintenance and restoration.

This levy creates a dedicated fund to improve water quality for salmon and native fish, remove Invasive weeds that threaten the health of these natural areas, restore wetlands and provide opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home.

Cost

The estimated cost for the typical household is $20 per year for five years.

Result of a “yes” vote

• Improve water quality in local rivers and streams for salmon and other native fish including the

Clackamas, Sandy, Tualatin rivers; Fanno, Johnson creeks.

• Restore wildlife habitat and remove weeds that choke plants wildlife need for food and shelter.

• Restore wetlands and floodplains to control flooding, provide habitat for birds and amphibians.

• Construct or replace capital projects in parks, such as restrooms, picnic shelters, playgrounds.

• Provide nature education programs in natural areas to visitors and school-aged children.

The proposed rate (at $.096/$1,000) will raise approximately $10.2 million in 2013-14. $10.4 million in 2014-15, $10.6 million in 2015-16, $10.9 million in 2016-17 and $11.2 million In 2017-18. The estimated tax cost for this measure is an ESTIMATE ONLY based on the best Information available from the county assessors at the time of estimate

dollarsign.narMetro’s new ballot title has compounded its error by claiming the general obligations bonds approved by voters in the past could not be used for habitat restoration (when in fact they could and were so used), but now Metro wants to use operating cost money raised by this local option levy to not only “restore” wildlife habitat, but also to “construct or replace capital projects” in its parks. Apparently the Metro council and staff cannot tell the difference between a general obligation bond and an operating levy, nor can they distinguish between ongoing maintenance and capital construction projects. Until Metro explains itself on these issues, Metro voters in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties should just say No to Metro’s manipulative lies and demand the agency finds the $10 million it wants from voters in the $536 million it its current adopted budget.

Bruce McCain is an attorney in private practice, a retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce. This post originally was published here at his blog.