AARP: Not a non-profit organization.

Like many, when I hit 50 I received an invitation in the mail to join AARP, originally the American Association of Retire People. I tossed it. Every year since then I get more invitations…several times a year. If they were big enough to line our cat’s litter box, I’d use them. They’re not so I toss them. Now that I’m Medicare eligible, I get something from AARP several times a month wanting me to sign up for their Medicare Supplemental plan. I ignore these too. Why? Because I will never be an AARP member. I’ll not support one of Obama’s cronies.

AARP purports themselves to be a non-profit association to benefit seniors.  They’re not.  Terrance Scanlon writing in the Washington Times has investigated AARP. His findings did not surprise me.

SCANLON: Picking seniors’ pockets

AARP doesn’t care about elderly members

By Terrence Scanlon, Monday, May 28, 2012

I’m going to come right out and say it: AARP is about money and power. That’s all it’s interested in.

Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, the nation’s largest seniors group hasn’t cared about its elderly members’ well-being for eons. It’s been too busy building a financial empire.

With $1.6 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in revenue in 2010, AARP is a moneymaking powerhouse. The bulk of its money comes not from membership dues but from product endorsements and business agreements with insurance companies.

These mountains of money and the generous salaries that AARP lavishes on its corporate executives recently drew the attention of members of Congress who have asked the Internal Revenue Service to review AARP’s tax-exempt status. Their findings appeared in an eye-opening investigative report, “Behind the Veil: The AARP America Doesn’t Know,” that was issued by Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Much of the self-described “nonprofit” group’s revenue comes from the sale of supplemental Medicare insurance provided by UnitedHealthcare, which pays a royalty fee to AARP to use its name for marketing purposes. This licensing earned AARP $284 million in 2007, a figure that ballooned to $427 million in 2009 and $670 million in 2010.

As it amasses huge profits, AARP also has become the 800-pound gorilla of special-interest advocacy groups.

As journalist Fred Lucas writes in the current issue of Capital Research Center’s monthly newsletter, Foundation Watch, AARP has a much deserved reputation for throwing its weight around on Capitol Hill.

AARP burned through $198 million in lobbying fees from 1998 to 2010, according to a recent congressional report. That places it behind the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Medical Association and General Electric but ahead of PhRMA, the trade association that represents pharmaceutical manufacturers.

AARP has run afoul of the tax man before. In 1994, it forked over a one-time settlement of $135 million to the IRS to settle an audit over its tax returns from 1985 through 1993. The IRS found that AARP had engaged in commercial activities and had to remit “unrelated business income tax” or UBIT. That same year, AARP also paid $2.8 million to the U.S. Postal Service to resolve claims that in 1991-92 it improperly mailed health-insurance solicitations at nonprofit rates.

Like other “liberal” organizations, AARP lies. They lie about their goals. They lie about their methods. They lie about their motivation.  To top it all, they are tax-exempt to boot!

Why should AARP be tax-exempt while it rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties by sponsoring health insurance and offering hotel and travel discounts and deals on auto rentals? That’s the question former Sen. Alan Simpson, Wyoming Republican, asked at a 1995 hearing on AARP’s operations.

AARP remains a steadfast enemy of even the mildest entitlement reforms. The group would prefer to send the bill for previous generations’ spendthrift ways to young people and those who have yet to be born.

AARP attacked Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, when he advanced an extremely modest proposal last year aimed at getting a handle on exploding Social Security and Medicare costs. Even though it knew the plan would not affect today’s seniors or anyone over the age of 55, a disingenuous AARP-produced TV ad said, “Some in Congress want to make harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security, cutting your benefits so Washington can pay its bills.” It was complete nonsense, but AARP didn’t care.

AARP CEO Barry Rand doubled down, misrepresenting the Ryan plan in an effort to scare seniors. Although the Ryan plan would not reduce Medicare spending, Mr. Rand told lawmakers in a letter that Mr. Ryan’s “proposed budget caps” would “very likely trigger cuts to Medicare benefits for today’s seniors.”

At the same time, AARP gave its enthusiastic support for Obamacare, which would slash $500 billion from Medicare’s budget. AARP’s cheerleading for President Obama’s socialist health care plan was decisive.

It is quite likely that without AARP’s lobbying for Obamacare, it would not have passed.  Their support gave liberals an appearance of support by seniors. Support that, if Obamacare had been fully described and documented, would not have been granted.  AARP, through their endorsements exemptions and the new medical referrals and provider pools under Obamacare, would reap huge profits under Obamacare. AARP pursued their own interests at the expense of their members.

At its core, AARP is, in essence, a fraud. Instead of turning their profits back to their members as should a true non-profit organization, they use those funds to support various liberal organizations—like the democrat party and other liberal social organizations.  Yes, crony socialism at its best, that’s AARP.

When I signed for United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage program last Fall, I didn’t know UHC paid royalities to AARP for the use of their name.  When it’s time to choose again this Fall, I’ll find another alternative. I do not want any of my money supporting AARP.

I’ve been advised to never feed a fraud. AARP’s political policies do not reflect that of their members. In fact, when members object, AARP ignores them.  I’ll follow that advice and will not feed them either.

A Review of KC Star articles

Survived the weekend.

That used to be a joke.  But…as we get older it becomes prophetic perhaps. I had a PT session Friday afternoon. On the way home I stopped at our park and walked a bit.  It was cloudy and threatening rain. The rain just threatened and fortunately, never appeared.  By the time I got home, I was whupped.

Saturday and Sunday was reserved for graduation parties. On Saturday, one of our church boys, man rather, graduated from Pitt State with an Education degree. Sunday was the graduation party for our church’s high school grads. We had two, a boy and a girl. They graduated from two different schools. They have known each other a long time and we expect a wedding at some time in the future.  They are a part of our church family and we’re all close-knit. These two, as a couple, have had some really stressful problems to overcome; they have done so successfully beyond most of our expectations.  Both will be heading off to college next fall and we wish them well.

The parties, the scurrying around, Mother’s Day prep, what a weekend.  I’m glad it’s over.

***

The rezident political commissar at the KC Star must have been out of town this last week.  The Star actually performed a Random Act of Journalism. Not only did the paper commit an act of journalism, it was about a union—a big liberal contributing union complete with three families of nepotists living grandly off the union membership while those members are losing jobs and the union rolls are dropping. Usually, the Star is nothing more than a liberal propaganda organ. This time they actually reported something important.

Boilermakers union leaders receive lofty pay, benefits

By JUDY L. THOMAS, The Kansas City Star

A prime suite at Kansas Speedway. First-class travel. Six-figure salaries for half the staffers. Plenty of plum jobs for family members.

Life is good at the top of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers.

The union, with its headquarters in Kansas City, Kan., represents about 59,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada who make and repair boilers, fit pipes and work on ships and power plants. The recession has hit their trade hard, reducing union membership.

At the same time, the president’s salary has surged 67 percent in the past six years, not counting a recent raise. Add in travel and some other expenses, and Newton B. Jones totaled more than $600,000 last year, putting him at the absolute top of the presidents of the dozen biggest unions in the country.

The Boilermakers value families — of officers, certainly. Many relatives ride the payroll.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/12/3608026/united-in-largesse-boilermakers.html#storylink=cpy

***

If you scan that same webpage of the KC Star you may see this headline. There’s no accompanying text to explain it, just a video. The only viewpoint you get, the only explanation of the article is the contents of the video. The video is  anti-Romney propaganda. The Commissar had his finger in this one. Oh, and that website, Midwestdemocracy.com? That’s the KC Star’s writers blog.

Obama uses KC steel plant in ad targeting Romney — but ad won’t run in KC

The ad mentioned in the title is a closed steel plant in eastern KC.  The primary product was steel wire in various forms.  There is no text in the story, just a video of the ad.  The reason it’s not being shown in KC is that we locals know the real reason the plant closed: unions, strikes, the refusal of the union to allow upgrades in the plant equipment (would cost some jobs donchaknow?), increasing operating costs due to the union wage scale and out-of-date equipment—equipment that was failing at an increasing rate due to lack of parts—many which had to be made on site. I serviced computers at that plant. I visited it regularly. I saw first hand the problems operating that plant.  It’s closing was NOT the fault of Bain Capital. It closed due to the direct acts of the steel workers union.

The ad was created for Obama’s re-election campaign to blame the closing on Romney. It won’t be shown in KC. We know it’s a lie from beginning to end. The union killed the steel plant, not Romney. Businesses can not be operated at a loss and that’s what happened to that steel plant.

You didn’t see those counter-arguments on the blog site, though. The video was presented complete and without explanation, as fact. That was an endorsement by the Kansas City Star.

They think we’re stupid.

They’re wrong.

***

This report from the KC Star caught my eye.  On the surface it appears to be about unequal application of the law.  Some years ago the Missouri Legislature passed a law governing the treatment, sentencing and post-incarceration activities of sex-offenders. A reader asked why these laws weren’t being applied to some individuals.

Christine Vendel | Missouri laws are in a time machine

By CHRISTINE VENDEL, The Kansas City Star

A Cass County resident recently wrote me to ask why a particular sex offender didn’t have to comply with the same laws that other sex offenders do.

I think the resident posed it as a rhetorical question, to point out that this guy was getting away with breaking laws.

But the fact is the offender doesn’t have to comply with the same laws as other offenders.

The reason lies in an unusual provision in the Missouri Constitution that forbids retrospective application of civil laws. Missouri is one of five states to contain such a provision.

So although Missouri passed a “buffer zone” law forbidding certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools or day cares, it only applies to offenders whose crimes occurred after June 5, 2006, when the law was last altered.

For example, the Cass County resident wondered why the sex offender could work at a business that employs teenagers. He also allegedly lives near a youth sports area.

His probation contained 10 restrictions, including that he have no contact with minors and avoid places that entertain or cater to children, like zoos and libraries. But he completed probation years ago and those restrictions no longer apply.

Legislators have tried at least three times since 2008 to allow citizens to vote to change the constitution, to allow the laws regarding sex offenders to be applied retrospectively. The most recent effort died last week when it failed to pass the House Judiciary Committee.

But experts say a constitutional amendment may not legally permit laws already on the books to be used retrospectively because the right has already been vested. Laws passed in the future, however, could benefit from the change.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/10/3605120/christine-vendel-missouri-laws.html#storylink=cpy

There’s a provision in the U. S. Constitution prohibiting Ex Post Facto laws, law created “after the fact.” That is what is at issue here.  As despicable as is the crime, our Constitution prohibits applying law retroactively.  There is a very real reason why we don’t want Ex Post Facto law. For instance, would all you libs care to have a law that any journalist who committed plagiarism be imprisoned? Anything you wrote all the way back to the first grand in elementary school?

No, I didn’t think so.  The principle is the same regardless of the offense.

Mz Vendel thinks we should ignore that provision of the Constitution.  She acknowledges it is a hindrance but she thinks legislation can change this constitutional prohibition.  (Where have we heard this before? Oh, yes, from Obama’s defense before the US Supreme Court on Obamacare.) Mz Venel appears to believe the same.

The Star’s Rezident Commissar must have returned when Mz Vendel submitted her story. It’s approach certainly is different from the one about the Boilermaker’s Union.

***

I had a momentary hope when I read the Boilermakers Union report that the KC Star had actually returned to its social function. Root out the news, report the news factually, and present the news in a fair and factual manner.  Silly of me, wasn’t it?

Pelosi: We want Republicans to be like Democrats

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that the establishment of both parties, the Ruling Class as described by the American Spectator, really have few differences. We’ve had examples of that this week with Boehner’s so-call spending cuts. After examination, it’s been found that actual cuts are less then $10Bn because the CR deal included money unspent from last year by the 2010 Census and some projects that were to be killed anyway—cuts already planned and approved by Obama and congressional leaders. 
The whole CR deal is a fraud.
The dems are escatic.  The deal just reinforced what the “insiders” already knew.  The ‘pub establishment is not all that much different from the dems.

Oh, those elections last fall?  That don’t matter according to Nancy Pelosi. She urges the ‘pubs to take back their party from those interfering Tea Partiers.

To my Republican friends: take back your party. So that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election, because we have shared values about the education of our children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, our security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors. Because there are so many things at risk right now — perhaps in another question I’ll go into them, if you want. But the fact is that elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do…But when it comes to a place where there doesn’t seem to be shared values then that can be problematic for the country, as I think you can see right now. The Weekly Standard, April 12, 2011.

Boehner and other ‘pub congressional leaders say that the CR doesn’t really matter.  The big effort is the 2012 budget and Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal.

I don’t believe them.  If the ‘pubs didn’t have enough backbone to stand up for their campaign promise to cut $100Bn this year, why should be believe they’ll have the backbone to standup to the dems, MSM, and the rest of the socialists when that plan cuts Trillions?

Frankly, I don’t.  Come 2012, we must remove the rest of the ‘pub establish and elect more Tea Partiers and take control of the Republican Party root, trunk, branch and leaf.

John Boehner, if he had one iota of a conscience, would resign and go back to Ohio.
Just to give some perspective to the money we’re talking about, here, again, is Michael Ramirez’s cartoon from earlier this week.

Breaking: Senator Robert C. Byrd (D) dead at 92

Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, AKA “Sheets”, died this morning in a Fairfax, VA hospital. There’s one less democrat in the senate—for a while.

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, a Democrat, will appoint a replacement for Byrd, leaving the seat in Democratic hands. — San Francisco Chronicle Online, June 28, 2010

However, Governor Manchin provided no time-line for choosing Byrd’s replacement. Byrd, a Kleagel, or recruiter, and a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, acquired the nickname, “Sheets” due to his membership in the Klan. Byrd is also the last surviving democrat in office who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As for me, he will not be missed. He retained his senate seat by being the senate’s most prolific user of bribes pork projects for his state of West Virginia.

Hmmm…Good question

Investor’s Business Daily asks the question, “If deep-water drilling is so unsafe, why are we helping Brazil drill in water three times as deep?”

Salazar’s Ban Is Soros’ Bonanza

While the U.S. seeks to ban drilling in 500 feet of water, Brazil's  Petrobras plans to go much deeper to tap oil and gas in a large area  off the...

While the U.S. seeks to ban drilling in 500 feet of water, Brazil’s Petrobras plans to go much deeper to tap oil and gas in a large area off the… View Enlarged Image

Energy Policy: Our interior secretary plans to reinstate the offshore drilling moratorium struck down by a federal judge. But if deep-water drilling is so unsafe, why are we helping Brazil drill nearly three times as deep?

Maybe Secretary Ken Salazar can explain why Britain and others can safely drill in the North Sea and no other nation has suspended its offshore drilling. Yet there he was Tuesday saying he’ll reissue a reworded moratorium that will make it clear to dunces like U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman why offshore drilling is unsafe.

Read the complete article here.

But, there’s more. The U. S Import Export Bank is funding Brazil’s drilling program.

Last August, the U.S. Export-Import Bank issued a “preliminary commitment” letter to Brazil’s state-run Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion, with the promise of more to follow. Why are we lending billions to a foreign oil company that made $15 billion last year?

These taxpayer dollars finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Apparently there are no pristine beaches full of tourists there. Someday we may be importing that oil we’re helping Brazil get at.

Has that letter been rescinded as part of the moratorium? Why are Brazil’s offshore fields safe but ours aren’t? — Investor’s Business Daily, June 23, 2010.

The pertinent point here is the US Import Export Bank. Just who is that organization?

Obama’s butt buddy, George Soros.

The New York-based hedge fund firm controlled by the billionaire philanthropist and backer of Democratic causes and campaigns bought and sold millions of shares in Petrobras — the largest of the firm’s holdings — prior to public disclosure of the Export-Import bank’s offer of new credit guarantees to the Brazilian energy giant.Fox News, August 20, 2009.

So now we understand. According to Salazar, it’s bad when the US drills offshore because it isn’t safe, but it is perfectly acceptable for a company controlled by Obama’s propaganda chief, George Soros, to do so in Brazilian waters. When the Brazilian oil fields start producing, we’ll have to pay—again, to import that oil. Our off-shore oil reserves will be siphoned off by China and Cuba who have no such artificial constraints on drilling.

Pure hypocrisy.

Hmmm…Good question

Investor’s Business Daily asks the question, “If deep-water drilling is so unsafe, why are we helping Brazil drill in water three times as deep?”

Salazar’s Ban Is Soros’ Bonanza

While the U.S. seeks to ban drilling in 500 feet of water, Brazil's  Petrobras plans to go much deeper to tap oil and gas in a large area  off the...

While the U.S. seeks to ban drilling in 500 feet of water, Brazil’s Petrobras plans to go much deeper to tap oil and gas in a large area off the… View Enlarged Image

Energy Policy: Our interior secretary plans to reinstate the offshore drilling moratorium struck down by a federal judge. But if deep-water drilling is so unsafe, why are we helping Brazil drill nearly three times as deep?

Maybe Secretary Ken Salazar can explain why Britain and others can safely drill in the North Sea and no other nation has suspended its offshore drilling. Yet there he was Tuesday saying he’ll reissue a reworded moratorium that will make it clear to dunces like U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman why offshore drilling is unsafe.

Read the complete article here.

But, there’s more. The U. S Import Export Bank is funding Brazil’s drilling program.

Last August, the U.S. Export-Import Bank issued a “preliminary commitment” letter to Brazil’s state-run Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion, with the promise of more to follow. Why are we lending billions to a foreign oil company that made $15 billion last year?

These taxpayer dollars finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Apparently there are no pristine beaches full of tourists there. Someday we may be importing that oil we’re helping Brazil get at.

Has that letter been rescinded as part of the moratorium? Why are Brazil’s offshore fields safe but ours aren’t? — Investor’s Business Daily, June 23, 2010.

The pertinent point here is the US Import Export Bank. Just who is that organization?

Obama’s butt buddy, George Soros.

The New York-based hedge fund firm controlled by the billionaire philanthropist and backer of Democratic causes and campaigns bought and sold millions of shares in Petrobras — the largest of the firm’s holdings — prior to public disclosure of the Export-Import bank’s offer of new credit guarantees to the Brazilian energy giant.Fox News, August 20, 2009.

So now we understand. According to Salazar, it’s bad when the US drills offshore because it isn’t safe, but it is perfectly acceptable for a company controlled by Obama’s propaganda chief, George Soros, to do so in Brazilian waters. When the Brazilian oil fields start producing, we’ll have to pay—again, to import that oil. Our off-shore oil reserves will be siphoned off by China and Cuba who have no such artificial constraints on drilling.

Pure hypocrisy.

Using the Oil Spill as an excuse for Cap ‘n Tax

Obama claims that the oil spill in the gulf shows why Can ‘n Tax is necessary.

What!?

Cap ‘n Tax has nothing to do with the oil spill. It’s all about placating the dem’s liberal, eco-wacko fringe. Cap ‘n Tax directly attacks coal and gas fired power plants among others. It attacks oil refineries, not oil drilling platforms. It’s just another excuse to take over another segment of our nation’s economy.

The EPA released its analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman version of Cap ‘n Tax and parrots that of the Waxman-Markey version submitted in the House. In both instances the EPA claim that by 2050 the bills would only impact American households by $146 per year. A bald faced lie.

It’s a lie. Every benefit, every cost, every claimed goal in both versions are lies. The proposals won’t even effect global carbon output since China and India are pushing ahead with rapid industrialization with no regulation of pollutants—carbon included. The net result of the Obama’s claims for Cap ‘n Tax would have no affect whatsoever on either China or India. It’s all flash and show producing no benefit nor is even cost-effective.

The Heritage Foundation has posted an analysis of the EPA report and documents the errors and false assumptions.

Most misleading in the EPA analyses of cap and trade is the use of discounting. A discount rate is an interest rate used to find present value of an amount to be paid or received in the future. In other words, present value analysis answers the question: How much would I have to have today in order to meet my financial obligations or pay certain costs in the future? Discounting is a legitimate tool in finance and for cost-benefit calculations. But discounting can give a much distorted view of costs, as is done by those misrepresenting the EPA analysis.


A fraud.

So. An oil platform in the gulf explodes and Cap ‘n Tax would have prevented it? Cap ‘n Tax would have done nothing. It’s becoming more and more clear that Obama has no intention of responding to the situation in the gulf because he thinks the American public is stupid and will roll over on more taxes and more regulation on the oil industry which is already to most heavily regulated industry in the country.

No, it’s just another ploy to seize an industry like Obama has done to the auto industry, healthcare and banking. What is more amazing is how Obama turns against those who support his agenda. BP was a supporter of Obama’s Cap ‘n Tax.

From another Heritage Foundation report…

Now that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has turned into an environmental disaster, the White House is again trying to turn public anger at one corporation into massive government intervention of an entire sector of the economy. In an email to his leftist Organizing for America activists, President Barack Obama previewed his Oval Office address tonight calling on Congress “to move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil.” Separately, Joel Benenson, a pollster for the Democratic National Committee and Obama’s presidential campaign, circulated a memo on Capitol Hill arguing that a comprehensive energy bill “could give Democrats a potent weapon to wield against Republicans in the fall.” Politico reports that Benenson’s recommended “messaging architecture” includes the slogan “Making BP Pay Isn’t Enough” and adds: “frame the opposition” as “Big Oil and corporate polluters who have blocked energy reform for decades” and “politicians protecting the special interests that fund their campaigns.”

The irony here is that BP has been a special interest pushing for carbon pricing on Capitol Hill for years now. It was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a corporatist entity that exists to enact “fair climate change.” And of course by “fair” they mean whatever subsidies and mandates they can extract from the federal government to best protect their bottom line. So this February, BP actually pulled out of USCAP because they thought: “We can be more effective if we show up in the discussion as BP.” As The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney reports: “They made out particularly well in the House’s climate bill, while natural gas producers suffered.”

No, BP was a tool. A means to an end all the while more oil is bubbling in the gulf. I heard a radio interview yesterday by another oil driller that said the oil won’t stop until the two relief wells are finished—if the US government bureaucracy will allow it.