TheDC Morning: Obama plumbs Tea Party’s ‘subterranean’ [read: ‘racist’] depths

Mike Riggs Contributor

1.) Obama: Tea Partiers are angry that I’m black and they’re broke — Pres. Obama has successfully avoided reducing the complex populist outrage of the Tea Party to racial anxiety–in public, that is. Behind closed doors, however, he allegedly has no problem distorting the motivations of anti-government types. According to a new book by Kenneth T. Walsh, Obama expressed to guests at a private White House dinner party his belief that “many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough.” When one of his dinner guests said that Tea Partiers were attempting to “stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president,” Obama responded that the Tea Party did indeed have a racist “subterranean agenda.”

2.) Could sense of entitlement block entitlement reform?— “Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was ‘unacceptable” to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit,” according to a new WSJ/NBC News poll. “Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security ‘unacceptable.'” The fact that less than 25 percent of respondents agreed to entitlement cuts is a lesson for the GOP: If the party ever gets around to addressing our looming entitlement disaster, don’t cut entitlements, reform them. Instead of raising the age at which people can retire, give them more time in their careers, bagging groceries at a Publix or driving a bus. Instead of decreasing their Medicare coverage, expand their options by encouraging them to undergo medical trials in exchange for free treatment of gout/heart disease/oldness.

3.) Wyden and Grassley team up to piss off medical cartels — “Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are collaborating on legislation to require the federal government to make public how much it pays doctors who participate in Medicare,” reports The Hill. “More transparency about billing and payments increases public understanding of where tax dollars go,” read a statement from Grassley’s office. “The bad actors might be dissuaded if they knew their actions were subject to the light of day.” What’s keeping Congress from revealing those payments now? “Payments to doctors and other individual providers in the Medicare claims database has been off-limits to the public since the 1970s, when the Florida Medical Association and the American Medical Association sued to keep it secret.” Sounds like the AMA could use a little vitamin D.

4.) TSA considered using x-ray scanners pretty much everywhere — Documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center reveal that the TSA has considered applying “anti-terrorism technologies” to every aspect of American life, ranging from “a walk through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest” to “covert inspection of moving subjects,” such as suspicious vans, and possibly your girlfriend. According to Forbes, “One project allocated to Northeastern University and Siemens would mount backscatter x-ray scanners and video cameras on roving vans, along with other cameras on buildings and utility poles, to monitor groups of pedestrians, assess what they carried, and even track their eye movements.” The TSA denied testing “the advanced imaging technology that is currently used at airports in mass transit environments” and said that it “does not have plans to do so.”

5.) Kurt Bardella not actually the first person to lose his job in wake of Issa investigation — “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is replacing the official behind an error-riddled report the agency released on for-profit colleges and is placing new constraints on the unit that produced the report,” reports The Daily Caller’s Jonathan Strong. “Rick Hillman, a career-long GAO employee, is replacing Greg Kutz as head of a special investigations unit responsible for the agency’s undercover sting operations and ‘forensic auditing’ investigations, according to an internal GAO memo obtained by The Daily Caller.” Kutz oversaw an incriminating investigation of the for-profit college industry, the results of which were released just in time for an August hearing by Sen. Tom Harkin. Within days of the report’s release, for-profit stocks tumbled. Three months later, Kutz’s team released a revised document which revealed, among other things, that GAO investigators had fabricated dialog with college recruiters.


6.) USPS wants a blue bailout
— “Without some kind of legislative action in the very near future, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will default on the money it owes to the federal government and could become the next large company to require a bailout, according to members of the House committee in charge of the postal service,” reports TheDC’s Alexis Levinson. The drama could begin soon, too. According to testimony from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, “The Postal Service will reach its statutory borrowing limit … thus resulting in a cash shortfall. Without changes…the Postal Service will be forced to default on a financial obligation to the federal government, due at the close of the fiscal year on September 30, 2011.”

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