DC Trawler

TheDC Morning: Michael Vick, animal lover

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1.) James O’Keefe takes on Medicaid fraud — Should Medicaid workers help self-described drug dealers apply for benefits? The answer may surprise you! TheDC’s Matthew Boyle reports: “Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released the first installment in a new video investigation Monday morning, this one focused on Medicaid fraud. The first video in the series shows government employees in Ohio assisting two men who have described themselves as Russian drug smugglers with applications for Medicaid. In the video, the men explain to Ohio Medicaid workers that they are Russian immigrants who sell illegal drugs, drive a modified McLaren F1 sports car with a gold-coated engine, and use their underage sisters to perform sexual favors in exchange for drugs. In response, Ohio employees tasked with disbursing federal Medicaid dollars are shown coaching the men through the process of applying for benefits. ‘If it’s not something registered here, maybe I just wouldn’t mention it,’ a Franklin County Medicaid officer named Traci Daniels tells the men, when asked whether they should mention owning a vehicle that retails for nearly $1 million, as they apply for government aid designed to help poor people. ‘Not that I can say that. You didn’t hear that from me. But, that would right there, that would throw him off. He would be immediately not qualified.’ Daniels also tells the men to describe their occupation as babysitting, though she apparently believes they are drug dealers.” Unfortunately for Daniels, we did hear that from her. Sure, exposing fraud in a massive government bureaucracy is nice and all, but is it worth making people twist themselves into knots to explain why this is different than any other undercover journalism? By the way, O’Keefe is putting up the entire unedited footage, because somehow it has become an issue that he actually — gasp! — edits his videos. As if the footage from every other undercover sting you’ve ever seen wasn’t edited.

2.) No Cut, No Cap, No Balance, says Obama — TheDC’s Amanda Carey reports: “Amid ongoing debt-limit negotiations, the Obama administration Monday sought to tie the Cut, Cap, Balance Act to the budget proposal put forth earlier this year by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. In doing so, White House officials characterized the debt-reduction proposal as extreme and further to the right even of Ryan’s plan, which was heavily criticized for its proposed cuts to Medicare. In a conference call with reporters, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer called the Cut, Cap, Balance Act which the House will vote on Tuesday, ‘Ryan’s plan on steroids.’ The administration announced Monday that President Obama would veto the bill if it reaches his desk for a signature. Both the House and Senate will vote on the bill this week. While it could easily pass the House, passage in the Senate will be an uphill battle. Nevertheless, Pfeiffer condemned the conservative Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, saying it ‘would require much deeper spending cuts than in the Ryan plan.’ He added that while the proposal ‘may be a good soundbite,’ it would have ‘devastating impacts on the economy.'” Well, if you can’t trust the Obama White House on the economy, who can you trust? They’ve done such a bang-up job so far.

3.) McConnell gets McCalled out — Not thrilled with Mitch McConnell’s plan to punt on the debt ceiling? Neither are TheDC’s Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, who write: “The debt limit plan designed by Senator Mitch McConnell is political engineering of the highest order: Take a thorny issue with lots of angles, distill it to its political essence and come up with a way to minimize your pain and maximize your benefit. No, the plan doesn’t reduce the size of the federal debt by one dollar. It doesn’t limit government or expand freedom, nor does it punish President Obama for failing to do the same. It may, however, give Republican officeholders an issue to run on in the next election cycle. For that reason, many in the Republican leadership consider it brilliant… Meanwhile, the laws of arithmetic remain unchanged. Last week, Standard and Poor’s announced that unless Congress reduces the federal debt by $4 trillion, the ratings agency will be forced to downgrade America’s bond rating. That would amount to disaster. Many of the countries and institutions that buy American debt could no longer do so if our bonds didn’t meet their portfolios’ AAA ratings requirement. The result: the cost of federal borrowing would rise by trillions over time, adding to the debt spiral. A downgrade would also mean that rates on all sorts of non-government loans would rise as well, adding to the individual debt of all Americans and American businesses. How does the McConnell plan respond to this imminent and dire threat? It doesn’t. Sen. McConnell and his growing band of Republican allies have apparently concluded that a debt downgrade is an acceptable cost of doing politics. It’s not. It’s horrifying.” Yep. As Mark Steyn puts it: “Accepting the terms of this debate is nuts, and Republicans should be mad about this. The Republican leadership should be saying, ‘We don’t want to play this game. You can play this game yourselves. We want to talk about the size of government. We want to talk about lowering spending. You guys spend too much.'” It’s the principle of the thing, which is why they’re blowing it.

4.) DNC = Deflect, Nettle, Cozen — When you get caught red-handed, sometimes all you can do is feign outrage at the ones who caught you. Matthew Boyle reports: “The Democratic National Committee jabbed at the Republican National Committee Monday for calling on the Justice Department to investigate whether President Obama had used the White House to record a political advertisement. The RNC requested an investigation after reports surfaced that Obama may have used government property to film a political advertisement. The spot is an indirect request by the president for people to contribute $5 or more for the chance of ‘Dinner with Barack and Joe [Biden].’ ‘This is a disgraceful, desperate and politically-motivated attempt at getting headlines by a Republican Party awash in special interest cash which is fighting to preserve tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires at the expense of seniors,’ DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in a statement. ‘This is also an effort to distract from the fact that the President has run the most open and transparent White House and campaign ever while the GOP and its candidates could not survive without being in the pockets of big oil, insurance companies and other special interests,’ Woodhouse added.” Rules don’t apply to Obama because… like… oil companies, man! He’s open and transparent, so stop asking questions. Besides, the evil Republicans want to fuel their corporate jets with Grandma’s blood, etc. Hey, why isn’t Debbie Wasserman Schultz fielding this one? Did they send her to charm school?

5.) Michael Vick, animal lover — Look out, dog-fighting enthusiasts. Michael Vick is on your case or something. TheDC’s C.J. Ciaramella reports: “NFL quarterback Michael Vick will be speaking to Congress on a subject he’s quite familiar with, and it isn’t how to read a zone defense. Vick and and Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle will be testifying before Congress Tuesday in support of the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which would strengthen laws against animal fighting. Introduced by Representatives Tom Marino and Betty Sutton, the act would prohibit attendance at organized animal fights and bringing a minor to such events. The current law only prohibits animal fighting or possession of animals for fighting.” Of course, existing laws didn’t prevent Vick from doing what he did, and he’d still be doing it if he hadn’t been caught. But hey, this is good publicity.

6.) Michele Bachmann gets headaches — They’re pretty bad, apparently.

VIDEO: Rebecca Black has a new one. Can you keep yourself from watching it?