Send in the Clowns. There Ought to be Clowns. (Open Thread)

by Miri                              AP Photo/Tiririca website, HO

A recent news story from south of the border caught my eye. Francisco Silva, a professional clown known by the stage name Tiririca, a candidate for “federal deputy” from Sao Paulo, has been accused by political opponents of not knowing how to read: 

“Brazilians seem eager to put a clown in Congress, according to the polls. But the courts are taking a less jovial look at a new report that the comic doesn’t meet a legal requirement that lawmakers be able to read and write. 

The Brazilian Constitution mandates that members of Congress must be literate, and prosecutors said Monday they want to force Tiririca — a name that means grumpy in colloquial Portuguese — to disprove the allegations. Otherwise, he could be tossed from office if he wins.

Tiririca, whose real name is Francisco Silva, has been this electoral season’s hit in Brazil, drawing millions of viewers on YouTube to his campaign ads. His slogans include, ‘It can’t get any worse,’ and ‘What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know. But vote for me and you’ll find out.

Polls show he is likely to win more votes for Brazil’s lower house than any other candidate, upward of 1 million ballots.”

Read more at: 

So here we have an enormously popular candidate who doesn’t appear to meet the eligibility requirements of his country’s Constitution. Brazil, however, is taking this quite seriously, as is their media, who at least try to learn whether or not Silva is literate, instead of attacking his questioners for their obvious elitism and classism.

After all, shouldn’t his opponents have to prove that he can’t read, that he doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements of their Constitution, instead of the other way around? He signed a sworn statement attesting that he can read. His campaign manager has said that he can read. Isn’t that enough for these naysayers? Do I detect the stinky whiff of racism here? Brazilians are notorious for classifying people by skin tone within a despicable, although informal, caste system. I sarcastically digress . . . 

The news article explains that Brazil’s courts will intervene and that Silva will be required to prove to a judge that he’s eligible under their Constitution, or else he’ll be tossed from office.

I’m thinking of another country, in this case a First World country, that has already placed a possibly Constitutionally ineligible “clown” into office. Unfortunately for that country, their media and courts seem willing, if not eager, to turn a blind eye to the situation, with its potentially dire consequences, as well as a deaf ear to the cries of the People who actually believe (perhaps foolishly) that their Constitution stands for something. Apparently, in that country, the rule of law is demode.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration of the irony.

NOTE:  The above is a true story, NOT a spoof or parody.

UPDATE:   10/5/2010:  The clown won!  See this story:

“With 1.3 million ballots cast in his favour, a professional clown named Tiririca won more votes than any other candidate in Sunday’s elections. It’s the second-highest tally ever recorded in Brazil’s history. . . . In one of his commercials, he pleaded for voters’ blessings so that he could help the needy, ‘including my family.’ . . . A last-minute legal challenge failed to remove him from the ballot, but electoral authorities say he could still lose his congressional seat if his literacy is lacking.” 

This story reports “Despite this, he may still be refused a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, which is what they call their Congress in Brazil. If Tiririca gets grumpy over this, the political party he ran under may be smiling at his expense. Under Brazil’s constitution, the Chamber of Deputies uses an ‘open list’ method of proportional representation based on the total votes received. So, because of the massive number of votes Tiririca won, the Party of the Republic (PR) may wind up getting to fill four seats in the Chamber with their other candidates should Tiririca be disqualified for being illiterate.”

Again, consider the irony:  Tiririca was spoofing when he said that he wanted to help his needy family.  Unlike our clown, who helps his family every chance he gets.  Can you say, Auntie Zeituni?  A last minute challenge wouldn’t remove him from the ballot, either.  So now it’s up to their Congress to seat him, or not.  If they play games, his party can use his win to install preferred others.  I’m thinking of Hillary here and how she was shoved aside by her party in favor of another clown.  Progressives, btw, want proportional representation schemes here in the US, too, as well as to do away with the Electoral College.   Tiririca is a good argument against those ideas.

138 responses to “Send in the Clowns. There Ought to be Clowns. (Open Thread)


    (Oct. 3, 2010) — In response to the statement by a staffer to Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, who stated that ““The Constitution is fluid and changing, and that requirement of natural birth IS NO LONGER VIABLE,” I submit the following:…..

  2. This could happen as early as November! Snips

    Eye-popping power grab: Licensing of U.S. colleges
    Federal scheme poses ‘greatest threat to academic freedom in our lifetime’

    October 03, 2010

    President Obama’s Department of Education, where Secretary Arne Duncan appointed a longtime homosexual activist who was part of the sometimes-violent Act Up organization to head his “safe schools” office, now is proposing to force colleges and universities to submit to a political agenda, according to critics

    “I think it is the greatest threat to academic freedom in our lifetime,” former Sen. Bill Armstrong, now president of Colorado Christian University, told WND. “But only if you love liberty.”

    “The Department of Education is attempting to subject every college and university in America – public and private – to political supervision,” he said in an e-mail to WND. Somebody, he said, needs to blow the whistle and put a stop “to this takeover, a huge threat to institutional autonomy and academic freedom.”

  3. State Dept. appointee tied to communists, terrorists: Barbara Shailor
    Husband founded radical group that crafted ‘stimulus’ bill

    October 03, 2010

    A recent State Department appointee is wife to the founder of a radical organization whose leaders include a socialist party founder, communists and a leader of the 1960’s anti-American Weatherman terrorist organization. Barbara Shailor, appointed by the State Department as special representative for international labor affairs in May, also carries her own ties to some of the same radicals.

    Prior to her appointment, Shailor was director of the international department of the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest union, and served as senior advisor to the union’s President John Sweeney on foreign and international policy issues. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Her husband, Bob Borosage, is a longtime progressive activist who co-founded the Apollo Alliance, a far-left group that has been instrumental in helping draft key policies of the Obama administration.

  4. Tea Party Opponents Threaten To Kill Coloring Book Publishers

    Leftist extremists are borrowing a page from book of Radical Jihad and threatening the lives of the publishers of a coloring book for children: in their rush to extremism, murder, mayhem, and stupidity, they overlooked one small detail, these purveyors of radical propaganda also produce a coloring book about the Obama Family.

    It is frightening to think of what could happen if adults started learning political activism and theory from children’s coloring books, it could upset Obama’s political agenda and derail the cause of Socialism.

  5. The Retort – One Nation Rally..Randy’s “Right” Version

  6. Chicago Lawyer Says Rahm Not Eligible to Run for Mayor

    At least one attorney believes a law could prevent Emanuel from being a candidate. Emanuel still owns a house in the city, but that’s not enough according to Burt Odelson, who has spent 38 years practicing election law. Odelson says an 1871 state law requires candidates to live in their jurisdiction for one year before the election.

    It seems unlikely that Rahm — who’s not shy about his ambitions to become mayor — hasn’t done his due diligence in this respect and that his house in Chicago isn’t sufficient to qualify him for residency. But Odelson’s 38 years practicing election law outnumber mine and Rahm’s combined, so I’ll reserve judgment for now.


    As jittery as conservatives are growing about a lame-duck session of Congress that might enact cap and trade or other costly programs without fear of voter retribution, the election rules of at least three states provide some solace.

    In Delaware, Illinois and West Virginia, state law requires the winners of special elections for Senate seats vacated before the previous senator’s term was up be promptly sworn in. So if Republicans win any of the seats previously held by Joe Biden in Delaware, Barack Obama in Illinois and the late Robert Byrd in West Virginia, their current 41-seat minority in the Senate would be strengthened, helping to sustain any filibuster in a lame-duck session.

  8. Obama Destroying the Democratic Party
    Oct 01, 2010 | Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

    Comparisons of Barack Obama’s presidency to Jimmy Carter’s miss the point. Carter’s presidency did little to change the basic party construct of the nation or to influence its ideology. Reagan’s presidency accomplished both. But Barack Obama is destroying the Democratic Party. It may not recover for a long time.

    Under Obama, it has borrowed $3.2 trillion more, in less than two years. Our healthcare system was deformed, manufacturing was terrified by the prospect of cap and tax, GM was absorbed by the government and conquered by the unions, and federalism was buried in an avalanche of subsidies that turned state governments into branch offices of Washington

  9. Just what we need..a depressed pResident. Can he do his job? On meds? Don’t know who is reporting this.. says an insider. Depressed people aren’t known to be able to make great decisions or be able to handle complex problems.

    White House Insider: Obama Battling Severe Depression
    Ulsterman on September 27, 2010 in World Politics SNIPS

    Our political insider details reports originating from inside the White House regarding President Obama having become increasingly depressed and uncertain over how to proceed following the impending midterm elections in November – elections that appear poised to sweep Democrats from power in Congress.

    the president has increasingly withdrawn emotionally from the day to day demands of his job – he has become what was described to me as “empty”.

    Just to confirm then – it is your belief that President Obama is on anti-depression medication? Yes – that is what I just told you.

    Just prior to the midterm elections, a significant figure within the party is going to break out and talk publicly to the media about much of what has and is going on both at the White House and Congress. We need to have a bit of a cleansing process as a party, and this individual is now willing to do just that

  10. White House Phasing Out Abstinence Education?

    The Department of Health and Human Services has announced new funding for teen pregnancy prevention grants, but a large part of the funding will be used to promote the use of contraceptives.

    “A group of anti-abstinence ideologues in the Senate introduced a bill
    before the Senate departed for their recess that would zero out even that little bit of funding for abstinence education,” she laments. “So make no mistake about it — there is an agenda here, and the agenda is to censor any abstinence-centered education from American’s youth.”

  11. This was on O’Reilly’s show. Some school in New Jersey went to court to get “Silent Night” banned from being sung or hummed at Christmas! Worse yet, they won! I wonder if this school has special foot washing basins or rug time instead of recess.

  12. Speaking of clowns and irony: Did you hear about how Pelosi and 30 Dems in the House are up in arms over bureaucrats at banks who signed foreclosure paperwork BEFORE READING IT as well as BEFORE THE DOCUMENTS WERE COMPLETED?

    Does this remind you of anyone else? Perhaps people who, instead of working for private industry (banks), WORK FOR WE THE PEOPLE? People who pass legislation that affects EVERY American’s life, not to mention the lives of their children and grandchildren, all WITHOUT EVEN READING the 2000 plus pages and BEFORE the “details” have been worked out by the unelected czars and bureaucrats in Obama’s Oligarchy?

    Again, respectfully submitted for your consideration of the irony.


    Miri scooped Greta by days with this story. Interesting also, that the court threw out a lawsuit against the clown that was making him prove he was literate. That too is ironic! Now Miri writes that the clown is facing the serving members of their Chamber of Deputies (congress ) who may or may not allow him to be seated. If he is proven illiterate, then the party can seat 4 people in his place. I wonder who will decide if he is able to read and write? Power of the people elected the clown, and their Congress has the final word. Interesting rule. I wonder if that could happen in the US.

  14. COVER-UP or a typical WH MIS-SPEAK?

    Obama’s oil-spill oopsie — You might want to sit down for this one: the Obama administration puts politics before the public interest!

    AP: “The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster… Among other things, the report says, the administration made erroneous early estimates of the spill’s size, and President Barack Obama’s senior energy adviser went on national TV and mischaracterized a government analysis by saying it showed most of the oil was ‘gone.’ The analysis actually said it could still be there.” Other than that, though, they’ve done an awesome job. Yes We (Oil)Can!

  15. NBC Universal and Microsoft, the parents of (an objective news web site), are holding high-level talks about a name change. They want to divorce themselves from the MSNBC cable TV. Why or why?

    Rebranding by changing their name! ( where have we seen this tactic used before?)

  16. An international flight from Philadelphia to Bermuda has been evacuated. There were three flight attendants ushering people onto the plane..and only two were hired attendants. The other one pretending to be an attendant, a man, has disappeared. How weird is that! I wonder how they suspected and decided that the guy wasn’t an employee. I wonder what nationality he was. I notice they always leave race information out of the news if they are middle eastern.

  17. The Federal Reserve is shrouded in secrecy. Their meetings are off-limits to the public. Their inner workings are off-limits to the public.

    And just recently, the Federal Reserve told Congress “NO WAY” when asked to account for $2 TRILLION in taxpayer-backed loans! Well, why do you think they refused? They know coming clean with Congress and the American people on how they doled out that two TRILLION dollars would result in an anti-Fed firestorm. Audit the Fed already has over 300 cosponsors!

    Sign this petition to your Senators and Representative DEMANDING they support Rep. Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill.

  18. Will Obama stop the intelligence sharing between agencies that was begun under Pres. Bush? I suspect he will as he has been doing continually by further undermining our national security.

    Intelligence leaks anger Obama; sharing rethought [After Wikileaks]

    President Obama is angry over recent public disclosures of classified information in Washington and the intelligence community is e-evaluating the post-Sept. 11 push for greater intelligence-sharing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday. Mr. Clapper said the leaks are upsetting Mr. Obama.

    “I was at a meeting yesterday with the president,” he said. “I was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town.” The intelligence chief continued, chastising “anonymous senior intelligence officials who, for whatever reason, get their jollies from blabbing to the media.”

  19. Oprah, Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres all beat Michelle and Hillary as the most powerful women listed by Forbes! Lady Gaga – powerful? WTH! I wonder where Nancy Pelosi is on that list or even if she is listed. All those ladies are TV/ entertainers! This is so upside down to me.

    I want to be powerful! I’m going to the butcher to buy a cow so I too can make a meat dress. I wonder what would be the best cuts to use. I don’t think I could wear a rump roast!

  20. Our government at work! Efficiency personified! Shocking. What will their excuse be this time? Redistributing the wealth …

    Stimulus monies..where did it go? The Obama administration paid 89,000 people approximately $18 million! 72,000 DEAD people received checks. Only 1/2 of those checks were returned to the government. Also, lucky were those who are incarcerated; 17,000 prisoners were also sent checks for about $250 each.

    FOX news

  21. Vote the commie’s OUT this Nov !!

    On the unanimous recommendation of Senators Carl Levin and William Riegle, Jr., Steeh was nominated by President Bill Clinton on September 24, 1997
    Health-Care Law Ruled Constitutional by U.S. Judge
    Business Week ^ | 10/07/2010 | William McQuillen
    Thursday, October 07, 2010 2:56:29 PM by speciallybland

    A U.S. judge upheld the constitutionality of the health-care overhaul President Barack Obama signed in March, rejecting an argument brought by a self- described Christian law center in the first legal victory for the new law.

    U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit today denied the Thomas More Law Center’s request for an injunction against the law and said the group failed to prove the statute is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

    “The minimum coverage provision, which addresses economic decisions regarding health-care services that everyone eventually, and inevitably, will need, is a reasonable means of effectuating Congress’s goal,” Steeh wrote.

    (Excerpt) Read more at …

    • What’s obvious, despite that I’m no lawyer, is that this judge doesn’t even seem to address the Constitution in his ruling. He talks about what’s “reasonable” to effect “Congress’s goal.” But that’s not the point.

      We know that they want to effect their goal. The point is that Congress can’t have a goal that’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL. They can’t set about “the fundamental transformation of America” or institute ANY feel-good goal, in spite of the CONSTITUTION. In other words, they don’t have the power if it’s not given to them BY the Constitution. And in this instance, it’s not.

      This is a Republic, with a system of checks and balances. With a CONSTITUTION. While the Marxists and socialists in Congress, as well as this judge, may WANT to effect their goal, that’s just TOUGH.

      We the People rule in this Republic. Not unelected judges. Not even elected Congresspersons or a POTUS, if they try to enact and enforce laws that go beyond the powers bestowed upon them by the Constitution.

      This will not stand.


    Gen. James Jones, National Security Advisor is Stepping Down!
    Effective in TWO WEEKS!

    His successor to be announced this afternoon. Tom Donilon

    • Sinking Ship? Resigned or pushed out?

      Resignations..Increasing. Before the midterms? Next?

      Rahm Emanuel, Larry Sommers, and now Gen. James Jones are added to those that previously left from the Economic team (Peter Orzag and Christine Romer). Add them to Gen. McCrystal who was fired. Was Jim Jones fired too (but allowed to resign) for talking to Bob Woodward?

  23. Donilon to Replace Jones as National Security Adviser
    October 8, 2010, 9:59 am

    President Obama will announce on Friday that Gen. James Jones, the national security adviser, is resigning and will be replaced by Thomas E. Donilon, the principal deputy national security adviser, senior administration officials said.

    General Jones’s departure had been long rumored, and he had previously indicated to his staff that he intended to leave by the end of the year. But the schedule was accelerated, and in recent weeks White House staff had been increasingly critical of General Jones for statements that he apparently made to Bob Woodward, the author of “Obama’s Wars,” an account of the internal decision making on policy Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Mr. Donilon began as young political operative for President Jimmy Carter and later was chief of staff for Secretary of State Warren Christopher in the Clinton administration. He has long operated in the area between politics and national security. He coached Mr. Obama on foreign policy for his debates during the 2008 presidential campaign.

    As deputy national security adviser, he has urged what he calls a “re-balancing” of American foreign policy to rapidly disengage American forces in Iraq and to focus more on China, Iran and other emerging challenges. In the Afghanistan-Pakistan review, he argued that the United States could not engage in what he termed “endless war,” and has strongly defended Mr. Obama’s decision to declare that troops will begin leaving Afghanistan next summer.

  24. “One Nation” Rally Organizer Linked to “Greensboro Massacre”, Black Radical Congress
    Oct. 7, 2010 Snips

    A key organizer of last Saturday’s “progressive” One Nation Rally in Washington DC was linked to one of the most violent incidents in US political history – the 1979 “Greensboro Massacre”.

    Roz Pelles,
    the Washington DC based Civil Rights Director, of the AFL-CIO served as one of three key “senior managers” of the rally – her official title “Steering Committee Liaison”.

    Thirty years earlier, Roz Pelles and her comrade and husband Don
    Pelles were leaders of a radical and sometimes violent Maoist sect known as the Workers Voice Organization or Communist Workers Party.
    The C.W.P. followed Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and for a time, the Islamic revolutionaries of Iran. The party also emphasized unionisation and “self determination” for black Americans.

    This led the C.W.P. into direct confrontation with the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan.

    In March 1998 “Endorsers of the Call” to found a Black Radical Congress included Roz Pelles, Washington, DC. Participants in the B.R.C.’s founding conference in June 1998 included several activists connected to Barack Obama.

    * Bill Fletcher, Jr.
    * Van Jones
    * Cornel West
    * Rev. Jeremiah Wright

  25. Guess not everyone in indonesia is happy with o — wish I knew how to transfer the photos here.

    “Hundreds of students from various universities in Surabaya reject the arrival of the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama to Indonesia. The arrival of the Indonesian nation Obama is considered beneficial.
    Action arrival of Obama’s refusal to Indonesia was voiced by students who are members of the Coordinating Board Campus Propagation Institute (BKLDK) in the Office of the Consulate General Surabaya (Consulate) Jl Dr Soetomo U.S., Surabaya, on Friday (12 / 3).
    “That Obama’s arrival will further strengthen economic colonialism and the capitalist system that became problematic in Indonesia. Therefore, all Muslims in Indonesia should unite reject Obama, “said Alven, one of the orators rally.
    In carrying out its action, the protesters carried a large banner that read “Kick Obama from Indonesian Muslims the Enemy.” They also carry dozens of small poster containing blasphemous to Obama….”

    • This is very interesting no ? It is so one sided. Pushing Islam on America yet anything associated with America is protested, disliked, rudely thought of and devalued. Why would any sane mind embrace people with such disdain for us ? It does not make sense. It is a one sided love affair at best.


    CA Federal Judge, Virginia Phillips, issued an injunction on the military gay ban. In a two week trial, held in California, she has done what Obama couldn’t accomplish. Right now, she has called the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional. A group called the Log Cabin? who took the suit to court, calls this a victory over the military and a win for gays.

    How will the military respond to this ruling?

  27. Who has not seen the rescue of the Chilian miners! So impressed am I with all the people that were involved in saving the lives of the 33 miners. I feel the emotional ties to a president of another country who has been so involved in all that was transpiring. The pride of the country has been seen throughout this whole effort. With each man coming out of the earth tears flowed. Have you ever seen so many hugs within 24 hours? I would be proud to be associated with a country that is so proud and so in tune with each other. Such patriotism! You can see the happiness and true joy in the President’s eyes. How nice that the president is the first that they hug. The president of Chili should be commended for how this operation was handled from start to finish. He appears to be a born leader, and has endeared himself to the world. What an honorable man. God was watching over these people! The 33rd miner who is the final miner was just pulled to the surface! Congratulations. What miracles! Celebrate, celebrate!

    What a contrast to the man squatting in our WH.

    • Noticed when the Chilian President gave his speech after the last miner came aground, he mentioned all of the country leaders who had called him in support. He mentioned Great Britain and Israel, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, and many Latin American countries, etc. Guess who didn’t call him…The United States President. Otherwise he would have mentioned it since the US helped by sending drilling experts, NASA employees, and supplied much of their technology. The US was mentioned for their assistance earlier, but no phone call. I guess he was to busy… campaigning.

  28. macare-is-the-obama-white-house-going-soprano-again-or-why-are-three-catholic-scranton-pa-hospitals-being-sold/#more-51376

      • From link above at NoQuarter:

        This story is a tad long, but it is chock-filled with a wealth of twists, turns, personalities, politicians, and much more. I strongly recommend.

        Politics is clearly a contact sport. No doubt not all of the punches are above the belt.

        I first referenced the Obama White House use of intimidation in the case of Tom Lauria, then lawyer for a group of Chrysler creditors. I wrote in early May 2009, Is Barack Obama Going Tony Soprano? How uncanny that the same reference is utilized today in an article centered on the impact of ObamaCare and the pending sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals. American Spectator writes in regard to ObamaCare:

        ….the White House is confronted with a rapidly accelerating set of unintended consequences spreading across the country. As listed by theWall Street Journal, those unintended consequences included 2011 premium increases shooting up as high as 9%; “multibillion-dollar corporate writedowns by Verizon, AT&T, Caterpillar and others”; the disruption of insurance markets, a show-down with McDonald’s, the imposition of price controls on premiums, insurers withdrawing from Medicare Advantage.

        In what appears to have become a pattern, the response from the Obama Administration has been repeatedly swift and harsh –compared by one critic as an episode straight out of the Sopranos, the famous HBO mobster series.

        While the reference to intimidation tactics by the White House in a commentary may grab attention, the simple ’sense on cents’ embodied in this story has to do with the implication of lessened revenues for hospitals as a result of Obamacare leading to their sale. That reality is absolutely referenced as a primary reason for the sale of three Mercy County, PA hospitals by CEO Kevin Cook.

        While the attached story is lengthy, I strongly encourage people to read it because it has major implications for your health care going forward. It also shines a light into the rough and tumble world of national politics. I have no problem with playing hard. I have major problems with those who may look to stifle freedom of speech. This commentary may take ten minutes. Might a version soon be coming to a hospital near you? Read on as American Spectator writes, The President’s Nun: Obamacare Scranton Scandal Explodes:

        Can you say “October Surprise”?

        A mushrooming political battle over ObamaCare involving the White House, two incumbent Pennsylvania congressmen, three Catholic hospitals and a nun has just exploded in, of all places, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Charges from the Scranton medical community of intimidation by the Obama White House and its allies are filling the air.

        All of this just as Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Scranton today to raise money for one of the participants.

        There are two issues at the core of the controversy.

        1. ObamaCare and the sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals.

        2. The re-election prospects of the two House members, Democrats Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney, both of whom cast key votes to pass ObamaCare.

        Here’s the list of players — major and minor — so far.
        • The President of the United States.
        • The Vice President of the United States.
        • Three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals suddenly for sale.
        • The CEO of the three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals for sale.
        • ObamaCare, otherwise known as “health care reform” or the “Affordable Care Act.”
        • A Catholic nun.
        • Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak.
        • A pen.
        • Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
        • Time magazine.
        • The Scranton Times
        • The two Scranton-area House members Kanjorski and Carney, both losing in the polls.
        • U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a native and resident of Scranton.
        • Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democrats’ nominee for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat.

        Where to start? That would be….

        March 22, 2010: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) into law in front of live television cameras and a packed East Room of the White House. According to news accounts, the President uses 21 different pens to sign his name, the highly prized souvenirs of the historic moment given to Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy along with a very select handful of others.

        The President, after being introduced by an exuberant Vice President Biden (who whispers “this is a big f…g deal” into the President’s ear and is picked up by a live microphone) says:

        “I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was going to be Armageddon. Well, two months from now, six months from now, you can check it out. We’ll look around and we’ll see.”

        Almost immediately — it didn’t take two months much less six — the White House is confronted with a rapidly accelerating set of unintended consequences spreading across the country. As listed by theWall Street Journal, those unintended consequences included 2011 premium increases shooting up as high as 9%; “multibillion-dollar corporate writedowns by Verizon, AT&T, Caterpillar and others”; the disruption of insurance markets, a show-down with McDonald’s, the imposition of price controls on premiums, insurers withdrawing from Medicare Advantage.

        In what appears to have become a pattern, the response from the Obama Administration has been repeatedly swift and harsh –compared by one critic as an episode straight out of the Sopranos, the famous HBO mobster series.

        The corporate writedowns — done in compliance with federal law — resulted in angry phone calls from then-Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and colleague Valerie Jarrett to corporate CEO’s and the heads of the Washington corporate offices of those involved. Congressman Henry Waxman threatened a congressional investigation into those companies whose obedience to the law put them at odds with the actual results of ObamaCare. Notification by insurers that rates were being forced up by ObamaCare resulted in a threatening letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to insurers warning that such candor would not be tolerated — at risk of not being allowed to participate in a future government-run health care exchange for insurers.

        Then, suddenly, on October 6 — five days ago — the fuse to what is becoming a huge political explosion was lit.

        In the unlikely location of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

        IN THE MIDDLE OF THESE two hotly contested re-election races for a pair of Pennsylvania Democratic congressmen, the controversy first erupted over the suddenly announced sale of three Catholic Hospitals spread out between Paul Kanjorski’s and Chris Carney’s two adjoining congressional districts.

        The initial announcement was made by Mercy Health Partners CEO Kevin Cook.

        Cook is based in Scranton, while Mercy Partners and the three hospitals up for sale are in fact a subsidiary of the larger Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

        The three Catholic hospitals involved are: Mercy Hospital in Scranton; Mercy Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke, both in Kanjorski’s 11th District. And the Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock, located in Carney’s adjacent 10th District.

        The Cook announcement was big news in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters of Mercy had opened Mercy Hospital in Scranton, a major facility for the city, in 1917 — 93 years earlier. Inevitably it drew media attention. Which is where the plot thickens.

        WNEP TV (Channel 16) reporter Jon Meyer filed a story about the sale at 4:40 pm. that afternoon. WNEP TV anchor Paula Giangiacomo led the story on the air by saying that “one big” reason for the sale “is the health care reform bill signed into law this year.” Mercy Health Partners CEO Cook was interviewed on camera along with Sister Marie Parker. When Meyer asked Cook if ObamaCare had anything at all to do with the sale, the CEO replied:

        “Health care reform is absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely.”

        Notice the use — twice — of the word “absolutely” by Cook, leaving no doubt with viewers that while ObamaCare wasn’t the “precipitating factor” it was “absolutely playing a role…Absolutely” in the decision by Mercy Health Care Partners to put the three hospitals up for sale.

        Then, on Friday October 8, only 48 hours after the story hit the local news on WNEP, the executive changed his story. Sort of. A second statement came out over Mr. Cook’s name as CEO. Headlined on the PR Newswire-US Newswire services, the statement was headed: “Mercy Reiterates Rationale for Sale Exploration.”

        Gone was any reference to the subject discussed in the WNEP-TV story. ObamaCare playing a role in the sale of the three hospitals? Where would an idea like that ever come from? Not from this second statement. There is not a word of Cook’s videotaped certainty that ObamaCare is responsible in some measure for this proposed sale. Yet curiously, there is no out-and-out retraction of Cook’s comments to WNEP either. The subject of ObamaCare bearing responsibility for this sale in any fashion is disappeared. Completely missing. The second statement just has Mr. Cook saying that sale discussions were being conducted “long before the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The decision was due to many factors.”

        But there appears to have been something else at work here behind the scenes that necessitated this second statement from Cook.

        Mysteriously, the very same day, came this statement, also released on the PR Newswire services. Out of the blue, suddenly released by Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the headline was sharp and pointed. The headline?

        Alarmist News Reports About Catholic Hospitals Are False; CHA Supports Difficult Decision by Mercy Health Partners.

        In a fury that fairly leaps from the page, Sister Carol says immediately that “false motives” have been assigned to the proposed sale of the three Mercy hospitals. Says the good Sister: “Reports that health reform is the primary motive behind the sale are completely false, misleading and politically motivated. Deliberations to sell the facilities began well before the Affordable Care Act became law and did not hinge on enactment of the legislation.”

        In other words, Mr. Cook — he the CEO of the hospitals who said flatly that ObamaCare was in fact “absolutely” and yet again “absolutely” playing a role in the sale of the three hospitals — was, in the polite language of a Catholic nun, in essence being called a liar.

        By Sunday, there was a third Cook statement, this one posted on the website of Mercy Health Partners. Cook statement # 3 was no longer as benign as statement # 2. The third Cook statement used some of the original language from statement #2, but its lead paragraph was now saying something else entirely. I have marked the change in bold print:

        Mercy Health Partners recently announced our intention to explore the sale of our facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania.The rationale for our initiative has been mischaracterized by certain politicized media outlets and severely distorted by some special interest groups.

        In other words, Cook statement #3 has picked up a flavor of the statement from Sister Carol. Now saying without saying it that Cook’s original WNEP answer about the role ObamaCare “absolutely…absolutely” played in the decision to sell the hospitals has been “severely distorted.”

        Curious, no? Very.

        WHY IN THE WORLD would a Catholic nun be so revved up as to denounce in such strong language what Mr. Cook insisted was a fact — that ObamaCare was “absolutely” and yet again “absolutely” playing a role in the hospital sale? Why the hair-trigger fire-breathing response. From a simple Catholic nun named Sister Carol?

        And why in the world would Mr. Cook feel compelled to issue not one but two re-statements of the rationale behind the sale of the three Mercy hospitals?

        One doctor in Scranton — who was deeply disturbed by the announcement — is certain he knows the answer. That answer? Mr. Cook was absolutely right the very first time he spoke to WNEP on camera. Hospitals, said this doctor — frequently run a debt. “What’s different? Why now?” he said in terms of the rationale for selling the Mercy hospitals. The reason is exactly as CEO Cook originally said it was. ObamaCare cuts in Medicare reimbursement have changed the rules so drastically for hospitals “you [Mercy Health Partners] are in an untenable situation,” said this physician. Most hospitals have accumulating debt because of capital investments, says the doctor. But they can’t deal with that debt if in fact their ability to earn money is cut off or drastically reduced over time.

        Alarmingly, the doctor, with a lifetime of practice in hand, says that “hospitals close in clusters where there is decreased income in terms of relatively low Medicare reimbursement…because they are the most vulnerable.” He adds that what is happening in Scranton, Nanticoke, and Tunkhannock with the Mercy hospitals “is just the beginning. It will happen everywhere because reimbursements will be reduced” under ObamaCare. Particularly, he adds, in areas where you have a high elderly population.

        If the doctor is right, and he is not alone in saying this, the proposed sale of the three Mercy hospitals becomes a harbinger of what will happen nationally as a result of ObamaCare slowly tightening its government tentacles over the private health care system. Which means the sale of the three Mercy hospitals has added Scranton to what the Wall Street Journal has already called ObamaCare’s “trail of destruction.”

        Ahhhh. But who is Sister Carol Keehan? What’s the big deal here with her? Why would a statement from simple Catholic nun appear to cause so much consternation with Mercy Health Partner CEO Kevin Cook in Scranton, Pennsylvania?

        LET’S GO BACK to that presidential signing of the health care reform law. There were 21 very powerful people in that little group who received signing pens from the President. As mentioned that included the Vice President, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy’s widow Victoria Reggie Kennedy. And someone else.

        That would be Sister Carol Keehan.

        Impressive, no? The Catholic News Agency thought so, and prominently noted the story here. It also noted that Sister Carol was receiving her presidential pen from the President himself because she had been “supporting health care despite bishops’ objections.” The story even pictured the pen itself alongside the presidential seal on the box in which it came, with “Barack Obama” clearly visible scrawled along the side. Meaning, Sister Carol had enough clout to take on the Catholic Bishops on the President’s behalf — and win.

        Does the name Bart Stupak ring a bell? The much ballyhooed pro-life Democrat Congressman from Michigan? The Catholic Congressman Bart Stupak who was said to be such a sturdy obstacle to passage of ObamaCare because it would allow abortions? In the aftermath of the ObamaCare passage, Slate came forward to note that a letter signed by “representatives” of Catholic nuns finally swayed Stupak to break his staunch anti-abortion pledge and sign on for ObamaCare with a simple promise of an executive order on abortion, executive orders being overturned by successor presidents with the rapidity of rabbits doing the breeding thing. Wait! Stupak was persuaded by Catholic nuns? Isn’t Sister Carol a …nun? How about that? What a coincidence? Yes indeed, the letter in question was signed — solo — by Sister Carol.

        In other words, Sister Carol is not just some kindly nun who reminds you of the nun whacking your knuckles in grade school for this or that offense. No, in the world of Washington Sister Carol is a powerhouse lobbyist — make that a liberal social justice lobbyist — with a clear set of political skills and a very, very high-powered set of very elite friends. She is quite decidedly not just the neighborhood nun. Sister Carol is the Washington voice of the Catholic Health Association, once called the Catholic Hospital Association, which means her clout with Catholic hospitals around America — like the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and its siblings in Nanticoke and Tunkhannock, all run by CEO Cook — is considerable. Not to mention her clout with the parent company located in Cincinnati — and not to mention with Congressman Bart Stupak.

        Selected as one of Time magazine’s “2010 Time 100″ most influential people, Sister Carol’s social justice passions were written up glowingly for Time by one of the other Obama 21 pen-receivers at the health care signing: Victoria Reggie Kennedy. AKA, Mrs. Ted Kennedy. Sister Carol, as demonstrated by her status as the receiver of a presidential signing pen, is clearly the President’s favorite nun.

        Thus her abilities to whack Mercy CEO Kevin Cook’s knuckles for speaking out of turn on what in fact he “absolutely” and “absolutely” saw a mere two days earlier as the impact of ObamaCare on his hospitals were considerable. And when the Cook statement #2 didn’t pass muster, he apparently was whacked again. After reining in a sitting Congressman Stupak and getting him to, in the yes of many pro-lifers, abandon his anti-abortion stance and pass ObamaCare, what’s a mere hospital executive like Kevin Cook to Sister Carol? It is safe to say that there are doctors in Scranton, furious at what they are seeing as happening to the local health care system, who believe Sister Carol — or someone else connected to the Obama White House if not the someone inside the White House itself — was behind the knuckle rapping of Kevin Cook.

        With the White House already on record for having senior staff making angry phone calls to CEO’s over corporate writedowns, having the Secretary of HHS send threatening Soprano-style letters to insurers not to blame ObamaCare for premium increases — the question in Scranton is why wouldn’t the same White House enlist the President’s favorite nun to intimidate Mr. Cook and the company he represents?

        Protecting ObamaCare turns out to be but one reason — albeit that alone is a big one with national consequences for this White House.

        THE OTHER REVOLVES around the struggling campaigns of Representatives Kanjorski and Carney. And the larger political picture in Pennsylvania. U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. is a Scranton resident. Indeed, one Scranton source pointed out that the Casey home is within walking distance of Mercy Hospital in Scranton. Casey and his father before him have succeeded in part by creating the image of the old-fashioned FDR-JFK working class Democrat whose values are revered in Scranton. This is the city that is the hometown of Vice President Biden. For Scrantonians and their fellow Pennsylvanians in neighboring communities to suddenly see a Catholic hospital that has been a mainstay for 93 years suddenly slip away has caused considerable upset.

        And notably, in a town that is heavily Catholic, the realization that three hospitals that did not perform abortions could be sold to owners who would allow the procedure is infuriating.

        Both Kanjorski and Carney have been under fire for their ObamaCare votes from GOP opponents Lou Barletta and Tom Marino respectively. The startling news of the Mercy sale was barely 24 hours old when State Republican Chairman Robert P. Gleason picked up on it, issuing statements tying the ObamaCare votes of the pair to the prospective loss of Mercy.

        And at that, Sister Carol, presumably not having the comings and goings of Pennsylvania politics on her mind, suddenly launched herself into the Scranton hospital debacle, presumably finally forcing a tougher stance from Mercy’s CEO Cook in statement #3.

        The explosion, all recent with its implications of White House pressure and lost Catholic hospitals, is about to bring in media ads from Says Communications Director Joshua Mercer: “Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney are Catholic and they both voted for ObamaCare.” Citing the sale of the three Mercy hospitals, Mercer says that the pro-ObamaCare votes of the two “has had a real impact on the community.” Mercer added a sentiment voiced as well by the Scranton doctor: “There are a lot of Kevin Cooks across the country…the CEO’s of small Catholic hospitals are all facing the same realities of more [ObamaCare] mandates and regulations.”

        Interestingly, a Scranton medical source notes the lack of coverage of the growing Mercy hospital sales controversy in the local Scranton Times. “It’s a Democratic paper,” the source said, mentioning that he listens to talk radio to get a better picture of the news. “I listen to Rush, to Sean, Fox News and local talk radio. But with a Democratic paper you have to listen to national talk radio to get another perspective.”

        Today, Vice President Biden arrives in Scranton to campaign for Congressman Carney.

        A Capitol Hill aide to a Republican U.S. Senator says of the Scranton controversy the Obama White House is terrified the Mercy Hospital sales story will “get legs” as a national story — further intensifying the anti-Obama vote pollsters are recording in potentially record numbers. And leading to the defeat of not only Kanjorski and Carney but another Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman who voted for ObamaCare: U.S. Senate nominee Joe Sestak. Sestak is trailing his own opponent, conservative anti-ObamaCare GOP nominee Pat Toomey.

        With less than a month to go until election day, one thing is certain.

        The story of the President’s nun and charges of possible intimidation of a hospital executive over ObamaCare will ensure the Scranton hospital sale isn’t going away anytime soon.

        Growing up in an Irish Catholic household and attending a local Catholic school, I am very familiar with getting knuckles rapped. A few of my brothers were even more familiar with that reality than I. That said, we probably deserved it. In fact, we definitely deserved it. Speaking your mind and freedom of speech in America is a prized virtue. That freedom is critically important for the pursuit of real truth, total transparency, and unbridled integrity. I say we absolutely stand up for it. Who’s absolutely with me?

        Larry Doyle

        Please subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook.

        I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

        • A Capitol Hill aide to a Republican U.S. Senator says of the Scranton controversy the Obama White House is terrified the Mercy Hospital sales story will “get legs” as a national story — further intensifying the anti-Obama vote pollsters are recording in potentially record numbers.

          Anyone here have any time to help this grow legs ?

  29. Terror Threat to the US…Breaking news.

    Chatter is the highest it has ever been. The US is on alert. The threat was for Europe previously and it has now spread and chatter is increasing. Those in charge for our homeland security are not sleeping well at night.

    There is supposedly a terrorist in the US who is associated with the Pakistani Taliban! We know the guy is here, but we don’t know anything about him. No name. Bomber sent from a Pakistani training camp. ..Information from three US Intelligence sources.

    Is Obama losing sleep..waiting for the 3 am call? Aren’t we lucky to have that Yoyo in the WH to make decisions for us! Will this be the emergency that will bring in Marshall Law just before the elections? Is this why all the US convoys have been seen throughout the US?

    Fox News

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