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.

Pseudo-science in the news and other stuff

I was listening to the radio this morning when an ad was played for one of our local TV stations.  To summarize the ad, it said, Fracking! We’re all gonna die!!!!”

Yeah, another liberal scare tactic to block a technology in use for domestic oil drilling.  Call it, “Global Warming, Redux,” or the Gulf spill that was supposed to kill all sea-life along the Gulf Coast…only it didn’t, no thanks to Washington, FEMA, the EPA, and the Coast Guard.

I expect they will interview some little known “expert” who will have a couple of studies on hand to support the station’s bias.  Of course, they will ignore all the other studies that indicate Fracking is safe and presents no extra hazard than those expected when drilling for oil.

I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of Fracking. That is not the intent of this post. My question to that TV station and all the others across the country, Why should we believe anything you present?  Your history of inaccuracy, your history of falsifying data to support your viewpoint, your history of creating a crisis where none exists, your history of ignoring contrary data that refutes your story, all that history is more than sufficient reason why we should not believe anything your broadcast.

Why don’t you just stick to factual news instead of presenting a story laced with pseudo-science? Why don’t you investigate KC Mayor Sly James?  It seems his son is getting a free pass by the KC Police?  How many times has the boy been in bar fights and let go? He was a witness at a shooting but not taken in with the rest of the witnesses.  Why is that?  Or why don’t you investigate Congressman Cleaver’s tax problems? You know, that car wash that he used to get a million dollar loan but now Cleaver claims the property is worth much less and he should pay less.  What’s all that about?

Or how about Congressman Cleaver leasing, for $1900 a month, a vehicle here in KC at the taxpayer’s expense? Doesn’t Cleaver own a car?  Why should we pay for one here at home?  If he travels on business here in his district, why doesn’t he just use his own car and charge mileage at the standard government rate? If it’s good enough for other government employees, why not Cleaver? I admit this last lease was cheaper. Before this current $1900/mth lease he was charging taxpayers $2900 a month.  What about that, Kansas City media?

I guess it’s too much to expect from the KC media outlets.  That’s why the KC Star continues to lose subscribers and continues to lose money.  And, as cable use spreads, I wonder just what the ratings of the local KC stations are?  Last I looked, a year or so ago, they were dropping right along with the KC Star.

I used to run a series of posts under the label, “Dinosaur Media Watch.”  The demise of the media continues. when they continue to lie and manufacture news, the slide will continue, too.

When the KC Star and the other local media outlets fade away, I can guarantee you, they won’t be missed.

***

I ran across this article this morning. Abolish the TSA.  As far as I’m concerned, it not a moment too soon.  And while we at it, Homeland Security as well. Both agencies ignore basic constitutional rights and act more like the Gestapo of old.

I refuse to fly anymore.  The last time, a number of years ago on business, was enough.  Now, if I can’t drive there (and I can drive quite a ways,) I’m not going.

As for reforming the TSA, I’ll accept whatever I can get.

Rand Paul Launches Campaign to End the TSA

New legislation would abolish government involvement in airport security

Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars.com, Thursday, May 3, 2012

Senator Rand Paul has issued a press release in which he vows to lead the charge to “end the TSA” and put a stop to the needless and humiliating groping of toddlers and grandmothers.

Earlier this year, Paul was detained by the TSA after refusing to submit to an invasive pat down after already having passed through a body scanner. The incident prompted national headlines and caused the Senator to miss his flight.

“It’s time to END the TSA and get the government’s hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers,” says Paul in the statement.

The accompanying article sent out to Campaign for Liberty members encourages recipients to sign a petition in support of Rand Paul’s ‘End the TSA’ bill.

The legislation would forcibly privatize the TSA and kick government out of airport security entirely. A recently passed bill actually allows airports to replace TSA screeners with private security but they have to go through a complex TSA permission process to do so, meaning only a handful of small airports have applied to evict the TSA.

Financial contributions are also being sought to launch a “full, targeted media campaign to convince representatives and senators to either get on board or be held responsible for this continuing outrage.” A previous ‘End the TSA Money Bomb’ started by Congressman Ron Paul following his son’s treatment at the hands of the federal agency has already raised over $1.6 million dollars.

The email points out that the TSA’s invasive and dangerous body scanners have been proven to be completely useless, most recently by engineer Jon Corbett who was able to fool the device by simply sowing an object into a side pocket.

The email lists a handful of recent TSA outrages amidst the deluge that occur on a weekly basis.

  • A TSA agent patting down a young girl at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport in 2011. The video shows a cooperative family, and when the girl’s mother asks, “Can’t you just re-scan her?” the agent replies, “No” and proceeds to grope the poor child;
  • A cancer survivor in Charlotte was forced to remove a prosthetic breast;
  • A young mother of a two-week-old infant in Florida was harassed to open the bottles of baby formula she was traveling with on her flight, which would have spoiled the only food available to the infant;
  • Detroit TSA officers ignored a man’s warning about a colostomy bag, breaking it and forcing him to board a plane covered in urine.

I heard another story yesterday. A middle-aged woman approached the security gate with a box of cookies. She’s diabetic and prefers cookies to hard candy.  The last time she flew the TSA threw her hard-candy away.  Once again, the TSA refused to allow her to keep the cookies, when she asked why, she was told to shut up or she’d be arrested!

I personally watched an elderly lady nearly stripped of her clothing in the Milwaukee airport a number of years ago.  This was before the days of the body scanner.  The woman had a metal hip replacement.  She set off of the metal detector and was set aside to be wanded.  Nothing new there, it had happened to me. The rivets in my jeans set off the detector.

This woman, however, kept getting buzzed around her hip. She told the TSA agents, grown to four or five by this time, she had a replacement hip.  She was ignored.

Then they told her to take off some clothes. She was wearing jeans and a blouse as I remember. She has already taken off all her jewelry, her shoes, belt, glasses. Now they wanted her to drop her jeans!.

She refused.

When we boarded and the plane pulled away from the gate, she was still there, surrounded by TSA agents. I don’t know what happened after that but I suspect she didn’t arrive at her destination on time.

Bye-Bye, TSA. Ye won’t be missed.

Gone Viral

I posted the video below on my FB page a few days ago. Within minutes, I saw it appearing on others. It wasn’t a share from mine. A number of folks must have found it at the same time.

Now this video has hit the big time—it’s the headliner on Drudge.

This video didn’t have much impact when it was just floating around the ‘net.  When it’s the headliner for Drudge…well now it has a massive impact.  I wonder what the dems think of it, hummm?

***

The item below appeared in my inbox this morning.  If I remember correctly, submitting a budget is a requirement of law.  Nothing will happen with Holder as the AG. But…when the ‘Pubs take the White House next fall, one of the first items to be investigated are the criminal acts of Harry Reid and any other congressmen who have broken federal law as an act of omission.

April 29 marks the third year in which the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget — a staggering dereliction of duty, particularly given the country’s near-$16 trillion debt. But that’s not the Senate’s only blockbuster failure under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). From spending to jobs to energy policy, the Senate has totally dropped the ball, leaving one to wonder, “What’s the Senate thinking?”

But it’s not just a matter of a simple failure or benign neglect, like forgetting to take out the trash. The way some in the Senate are behaving is equivalent to buying a dog but then deliberately choosing not to feed it. These men and women sought elective office, won a seat in the Senate and now have the power to take action to confront America’s problems. But under the leadership of Majority Leader Reid, they’re making the choice not to do so.

When it comes to the Senate’s failure to pass a budget, the facts are bleak. From 2012 to 2022, federal spending per household is projected to rise to $34,602 — a 15 percent increase. Without entitlement reform, that spending is swelling to a crippling level, exceeding 40 percent of the economy by 2050. Despite all this, the Senate is sitting on its hands and not pursuing the significant reforms that are necessary — and opting not to pass a budget for three years is emblematic of their reckless inaction.

Last week, in fact, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), whose primary responsibility is to marshal bipartisan support of a budget resolution, declined to take on the task, remarking that it would be too difficult in an election year. Last year was not an election year, and they didn’t bother to do it then, either.

I think this should come under the label: Malfeasance in Office.

***

The Arizona Immigration Law will go before the Supreme Court today. The Court will hear arguments on whether the feds can block a state law that mirrors federal law.

The Senate dems must believe the SCOTUS will uphold Arizona.  Why? Because they are already scheming how to get around the Court’s verdict.

Democrats to intercept Supreme Court ruling on immigration

Schumer says law doesn’t belong to 50 different states

The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over Arizona’s immigration-crackdown law, but Democrats are already preparing for a potential loss by saying they’ll try to pass legislation stripping states of the power to enact their own immigration rules.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said his legislation would establish federal primacy in immigration by blocking states from taking any action. That would not only preclude state law enforcement efforts like the Arizona model now before the court, but also would overturn a Supreme Court ruling last year that upheld a different Arizona law requiring businesses to verify their workers’ legal status.

“I believe it is simply too damaging to our economy and too dangerous to our democracy to have 50 states doing 50 different things with regard to immigration policy,” said Mr. Schumer, chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee, as he convened a hearing on Arizona’s crackdown law, known as S.B. 1070.

Under that law, which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed in 2010, police are required to check the legal status of those who they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally. The law also requires legal immigrants to carry their papers with them at all times when in the state.

The Obama administration has sued to block the law, arguing that it interferes with the federal government’s right to set immigration policy.

If I understand the feds logic, it the feds won’t enforce the law, the state can’t either—even when that state law is the same as federal law.

Senator Schummer evidently believes he can overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling—by an act of Congress that the Supreme Court will probably end up reviewing—and will likely overthrow like the Court did when it upheld Arizona’s 2007 law to require employers to use the Fed’s E-Verify system. A system employers were also required to use by federal law.

Makes perfect sense…if you’re a democrat.

Friday Follies for April 20, 2012

The Friday Follies is a semi-regular feature at the Court—especially when I don’t have a singular topic, or…when I’m a bit rushed.  I skated yesterday with Mrs. Crucis’ post. Yeah, instead of working, I…, well let’s say I didn’t do anything productive. I futzed all day until it was time to leave for my eldest Grandson’s twelfth birthday.

Today’s topics: Free Speech, Freddie Mae/Freddie Mac, and the Constitution.

***

Ted Nugent’s remarks at the NRA Annual Meeting last weekend has the liberals all in a tizzy.  Outrageous, they proclaim while ignoring remarks from liberal politicians.

After Nugent’s remarks hit the wires, the liberals and their dem surrogates screamed!  He threatened us!  What BS.  The Secret Service called Nugent in for a few questions and found nothing objectionable.  It was just another liberal ploy to limit OUR free speech.

But what is almost as bad, maybe worse, are the remarks of some NRA members.  They feel that Nugent’s remarks are going to offend liberals or independent fence-sitters. Sebastian and Dave Workman asked the question whether NRA members thought Nugent’s remarks was helpful or harmful.  They received comments from both sides, but in my opinion the tilt was decisively favorable to Nugent.

To my opinion, those who had negative views on Nugent are the NRA’s equivalent of RINOs in the Republican party.

***

The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell has an interesting question today, “What would happen if Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac went away?”

So what would happen if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were phased out? Would the absence of their ability to offer lower interest loans and smaller down payments impact the cost of homes in America? Anaraki’s analysis shows that it would not. In fact, interest rates and changes in down payment requirements have little influence on housing prices. Instead, fundamentals–such as household assets, personal income, the S&P Index, and the effective tax rate–play substantial roles in shaping home prices. As such, she advises, it’s time for Washington to get out of the business altogether:

The federal government should avoid offering any subsidy in the form of lower interest rates or lower down payments because it adversely affects both the housing market and the economy over the long term. Although such a policy may boost the demand side in the short term, it risks inflating another housing bubble in the medium or long term.


Eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in fact, will help more Americans afford homeownership. Since these institutions increase demand — thereby increasing home prices — it becomes increasingly difficult for lower-income Americans to afford to purchase homes without subsidized interest rates. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are eliminated, interest rates may slightly go up initially, but Anaraki finds that “higher interest rates will lead to lower median home prices, which in turn will increase the ability of low-income groups to purchase a house.” What’s more, competition among housing lenders would increase, leading to lower interest rates in the medium to long term.

The answer would be—nothing too harmful.  Yes, it would be more difficult to buy a home. But those who do would be more able to actually pay for the home instead of having the FedGov subsidize the loan.  When the FedGov gets involved, the buyers lose any incentive to…actively be a homeowner. Instead, the home morphs into just another piece of federal housing.

***

On the Morning Bell’s side-bar is this item. An on-line analysis of the Constitution—line by line.

How well do you think you know the Constitution? If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about it, now is your chance. Heritage just launched ConstitutionOnline — a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of every single clause in the Constitution. 

Government and the Constitution isn’t taught in most (all?) secondary schools anymore.  When I met Dave Workman at the Second Amendment Foundation booth at the NRA Annual Meeting last week, he was talking to a gentleman about the proposed UN treaty to limit personal ownership of firearms.

This adult man, in his forties I’d guess by his appearance, didn’t know that the Senate was responsible for ratifying international treaties.  Nor did he know that it required a 2/3rds vote of the Senate—a level of difficulty purposely inserted in the Constitution to insure that treaties weren’t approved frivolously. This individual thought Obama could approve the treaty by fiat. Dave Workman and I were both surprised by the ignorance of this apparently well educated man.

It’s time we urged…no, require our educators to return to teaching government and the Constitution.  When I graduated from High School, in Illinois in the 1960s, I was required by the State of Illinois to pass a test on the Illinois and the US Constitutions as a requirement for receiving a diploma.  We now have graduation requirements for public service. Why can we not have a similar requirement to learn and understand our state and federal constitutions?  It seems to me that such a requirement would be more beneficial to the student that working the soup line at the local homeless shelter.                                 

Cartoons of the Week, Friday, Marchg 23, 2012

I had a full day yesterday doing errands and working on the computer of a church member.  Consequently, I overslept this morning.  I have more errands today and don’t have time to do my usual research for a daily post.  

So, I’ll punt.
***

It’s Cartoons of the Week time! If you understand the message below, you may not recognize the character.  This is for you who are old enough to remember the Dobie Gillis Show.

Yes, work.  Nothing in life, contrary to Obama, democrats and socialists, is free. Everything has a cost and sooner or later, the bills come due.  For America’s welfare state, that time is coming soon.

***

The left continues to attack Rush Limbaugh while ignoring the obscene statements from Bill Maher, Keith Olbmerman, Jon Stewart, Dave Letterman and a host of other liberals.  They have called conservative women much, much worse even to the extent of advocating rape of Sarah Palin’s daughter.  But have one conservative describe a liberal political activist by her proper name and the flood gates open.

The liberals are trying to get Limbaugh kicked off the air.  At the same time, they have accepted a million dollar donation from Bill Maher to Obama’s PAC and refuse to send it back.  Pure hypocrisy. It’s what we should expect from the left.


Michael Ramirez’ opinion on the matter is next.

You all have a great weekend, hear? The NRA Annual Meeting is less than a month away.

Thursday Thoughts

Darrell Issa tries to get documents from Holder’s DoJ.  After multiple delays, he receives paper so redacted as to be useless.  What remains that is readable is questionable.  After all, this administration is built on lies.  They manipulate data and when caught, deny the act.  All that makes this cartoon so appropriate.
***

The 2nd Amendment had a couple of winners recently.  First Maryland’s “May Issue” concealed carry statues were declared unconstitutional because they were capriciously granted to favorites.  This decision will undoubtedly be appealed but it puts another nail in the coffin of gun-control and makes the anti-2A forces retreat once again.

The second case was concealed carry on campus in Colorado.  The Colorado courts have declared unconstitutional the prohibition against student’s, who have all the proper state permits, from carrying on campus. No more gun-free zones in Colorado universities.  No more Virginia Tech-type shooting galleries.

***

We’re from the government and we’re here to help you!  Whether you can afford it or not.

***

And finally, Eric Holder blocked the use of photo-IDs for voting in Texas.  Yep, gotta protect democrat vote fraud in the Lone Star State.

***

As you can see, I had trouble finding a topic for today.  Cartoons are always a good fall-back and today, I had plenty to choose from.          

Happy Post-Valentines Day

The title is misleading. Mrs. Crucis and I haven’t observed Valentine’s Day for a long, long time.  We decided we could better use our money doing something else.  But I needed a post title and that’s what came to mind today.

I was listening to Laura Ingraham when she spoke about the Michigan primary race between Romney and Santorum. During that segment she spoke of some of the PAC ads that were being shown in the state.

I had to share this one by Santorum.  It’s worth a giggle.

***

Quote of the Day: “There should be no voting without respiration.” — John Fund, Editor, American Spectator, February 15, 2012 speaking on the lack of federal vote fraud investigations on the Laura Ingraham radio show.

***

Obama submitted his proposed budget this week.  Like his last one, it has virtually no chance of be passed.  His last budget failed in the Senate 97-2.

Unveiling a $3.8 trillion election-year federal budget loaded with deficits, tax increases and hundreds of billions of dollars in new stimulus spending, President Obama said Monday that his plan will “restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot.”
His budget — which calls for a total of $350 billion in short-term stimulus spending, a $475 billion highway program and $1.5 trillion in tax increases on wealthier Americans — has virtually no chance of passing as is, but is intended to highlight the differences between the two parties as Mr. Obama seeks re-election. It would impose a 30 percent minimum tax on those earning $1 million or more.

Mr. Obama also proposes to raise taxes on investment income for families earning more than $250,000. He would tax dividends as ordinary income, raising the top tax rate from 15 percent to 39.6 percent. Taxes on capital gains for the top income bracket would rise from 15 percent to 20 percent. — Washington Times.

One review said Obama’s budget was nothing more than “More taxes and more spending.” Obama’s puppet before Congress refused to answer a question if the budget was a spending increase.  Instead, he responded that the baseline budget had been raised, therefore the additional spending as actually a spending decrease.

Obama and the democrats must think we’re fools to believe such lies.  The cartoon below is Michael Ramirez’s opinion on Obama’s budget.