Monday, April 30, 2012

Bob Damron has a Campaign for Liberty problem

Kentucky state Representative Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) is one of only two Democrats in the General Assembly who completed a Campaign for Liberty survey with 100% affirmative answers.

He might have a problem or two with that.

Interested voters who haven't already written off Damron for bad votes might want to ask him which federal official he wants to arrest first.

Question 4 on the survey asks if the candidate would support nullifying ObamaCare and "authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme."

Damron answered that he would do these things. I would like to see him say that on camera.

While he could certainly claim that he would take this approach to stopping ObamaCare since the opportunity has never come up, question 7 is a different story.

Question 7 asks "Do you oppose taking federal money to create a state health insurance exchange?" Kentucky has taken more federal money for this purpose than any other state except for New York. Damron has been there through the entire ordeal and has never objected once.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Steve Beshear hiding latest ObamaCare plans

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services officials are sitting on at least two periodic reports detailing state implementation of ObamaCare.

The most recent Health Benefit Exchange Planning Grant quarter report made public on the state's Division of Certificate of Need is dated July 15, 2011.

Kentucky has budgeted more money for setting up the state bureaucracy for ObamaCare implementation than any state other than New York.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kentucky paints itself into ObamaCare corner

A little-noticed provision in Kentucky's 2012 budget bill exposes a problem to be faced by states dumb enough to enact any part of ObamaCare.

Section 10 on page 296 of Kentucky's HB 265 would enable Kentucky to set up a state health insurance purchasing compact with contiguous states to allow for cross-border buys of health coverage.

Kentucky is actively setting up ObamaCare and is in the process of spending more than any other state in the nation other than New York on ObamaCare.

Kentucky has seven contiguous neighbors. Six of them have expressed an interest in a similar purchasing compact with their neighboring states. Of those six, five have taken specific legislative steps to protect themselves from at least one element of ObamaCare. They would have nothing to gain by combining with Kentucky on health insurance starting in 2014, when ObamaCare kicks in.

That leaves Kentucky and West Virginia, two ObamaCare states, to set up a multi-state health insurance purchasing compact. The way to avoid becoming an ObamaCare state is to avoid setting up a state-run health insurance exchange. Kentucky is too far into that process, with the legislature enabling and Governor Beshear expected to issue an executive order after the elections in November. Even a favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling later this year may not prevent that from happening if the individual mandate is invalidated but the rest of the law survives.

Our fearless leaders should have at least tried to avoid the insurance exchange trap when they had the chance.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beshear slams shut bogus "Open Door"

After the Tea Party shifted Frankfort's discussion in 2012 toward the massive accumulation of debt in state government, two weeks ago we noticed Beshear had scrubbed state sites of significant data related to that debt.

It never occurred to me to check out the silly, but award-winning state transparency site but when I did, I found the state's vaunted Open Door has been closed.

If you click here and look at "Kentucky's Transparency Portal," the link labeled "State Debt Report" takes you to an error message.

Might be an interesting news story for some intrepid Frankfort reporter. No doubt if Governor Ernie Fletcher had tried this he would already have been drawn and quartered. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Would Missouri jail Kentucky lawmakers?

Missouri's state Senate is considering a bill -- already passed by the state House -- to make it a crime to  help set up ObamaCare in that state. Kentucky's General Assembly just voted to spend $50 million to help set up ObamaCare in Kentucky.

And the really good news is the politicians prosecuted under this law wouldn't be subject to the Steve Nunn Exception and could lose their government pensions.

In all seriousness, Kentucky should return every dime of federal ObamaCare money and follow Missouri's lead in fighting against it. Granted, we would need more Republicans to go that far, but we should have had plenty to avoid getting in deeper than any state other than New York.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Legislative pension issue enters KY primary

One issue gaining traction this year in Kentucky legislative races is whether or not a candidate will accept a pension for serving in the legislature. It has finally become a point of contention in a Republican primary in Lexington's 76th state House district.

Richard Marrs is a conservative Republican who ran in this district in 2010 against Democratic Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo. Marrs holds the distinction in Kentucky of being the only House candidate for whom then-candidate Rand Paul campaigned by knocking on doors in his neighborhood. Marrs has pledged to reject a legislative pension if he is elected.

Marrs' opponent, Lavinia Theodoli Spirito, is taking the opposite approach by saying she will not refuse a pension.

In what might be a competitive race between conservative Richard Marrs and his opponent Lavinia Theodoli Spirito, this could be a defining issue.

Obama hopes you still don't read very well

I wonder how many people will send $3 (or more!) to President Barack Obama after reading this email, thinking that he is then going to fly them to Los Angeles to hang out with George Clooney. 

Probably a lot of the same people who still believe ObamaCare will lower their medical costs.

You may laugh, but your state representatives are just about ready to come home and tell you how conservative they are despite just setting up a ticking time bomb on Kentucky's health care system.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kentuckians can ignore Supreme Court ruling

A lot of people will be watching the U.S. Supreme Court this summer to see if the justices rule ObamaCare to be unconstitutional or not. Thanks to Governor Steve Beshear and the state legislature, Kentuckians need not bother paying attention at all.

The General Assembly have authorized expenditures of over $50 million dollars to set up ObamaCare in Kentucky. That's more than any other state but New York. It would have been better for our health and finances to refuse that money and let the whole sordid scheme wither from neglect.

Unfortunately for us, our representatives in Frankfort took the money and bureaucrats are working to set up ObamaCare for Kentuckians. Worse, they granted the state's Insurance Commissioner open-ended powers to take control of healthcare in the state.

So even if ObamaCare is overturned and other states are spared, Kentucky won't be off the hook. The legislature did their dirty work in House Bill 265.

Tim Kline, a rock star in the making

Tim Kline is a 34 year old Owensboro, Kentucky attorney running for state House of Representatives in the 7th district.

A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, Tim is a solid conservative and exactly the kind of person we need more of in Frankfort. Expect to hear a lot more about Tim in the weeks and months ahead.

Tim has the courage to campaign against the abuse and fraud in Kentucky Retirement Systems and pledges that  he will not accept a legislative pension.

Expect Tim to be an energetic leader among the new Republican wave coming in to augment Frankfort's decrepit legislature. The 7th district seat is currently held by a Democrat.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ready for Kentucky's bankruptcy?

While Kentucky's political leaders mostly clown for the cameras in Frankfort, the smart money is watching the show but they aren't laughing. They are apparently, however, exploring ways to capitalize on our state's insane recklessness. The graphic below comes from, a site which tracks IP addresses of site visitors to Kentucky Progress.

Lazard Freres is a top financial restructuring advisory firm. In fact, Lazard Freres worked on the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy at the start of the banking crisis. It appears someone at the firm's New York office has been reading on this site multiple times. If you want to know what they know, you should read two of the pages they read most recently here and here.

 States can't legally declare bankruptcy, but that may be of cold comfort to bondholders and/or pensioners when our fiscal situation gets so bad there isn't enough money to go around.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Long memories, short pencils and Bob Damron

Kentucky state Representative Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) is the only incumbent legislator this year who voted in 1994 to destroy Kentucky's individual health insurance market, subsequently apologized for it and then turned around and voted to spend $50 million we don't have to speed up ObamaCare implementation in Kentucky.

Damron called his vote for HB 250 in 1994 a "rookie mistake" and has claimed, correctly, that public backlash against Kentucky's attempt at creating "HillaryCare" here resulted in reforms that eventually enhanced what was left of our health insurance market.

Surviving his "rookie mistake" and then falling again under the spell of Barack Obama suggests strongly that it's time for Damron to call it quits. Damron's Republican opponent this fall is Nicholasville's Matt Lockett.

Barney Frank lives on in Frankfort, Kentucky

Massachusetts liberal Congressman Barney Frank is retiring in Washington D.C. but his thinking on ObamaCare seems to have taken hold in Frankfort.

Frank blamed the Democrats' loss of the House of Representatives in 2010 on President Obama's push for ObamaCare. It's not that he disagreed with the concept, he says they should have just waited until after the election because of the divisiveness of the issue.

Kentucky's politicians Steve Beshear, David Williams and Greg Stumbo appear to have taken to heart Frank's advice that Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi ignored.

Our Kentucky bunch waited until after the 2011 election to screw Kentuckians with a health insurance scheme that will haunt Kentuckians for years whether the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare or not.

Almost immediately after Beshear and Williams completed their uninspiring general election campaign -- in which Williams focused on calling Beshear a closet Hindu and Beshear focused on reminding people he was running against David Williams --  they set about passing a state budget that spends more money than every state but New York on ramming ObamaCare -- and worse -- down our throats.

If you liked how Frankfort destroyed Kentucky's individual health insurance market in 1994, you will love how they destroy it for everyone in the 2012 general fund budget. Oh, and you can thank Barney Frank for the political advice that helped make it happen.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ron Paul money bomb stokes hopes, fears

Ron Paul has raised nearly $800,000 in the last 25 hours and is shooting for another $1.5 million or so by Tuesday.

Congressman Paul has essentially gotten his wish of a head-to-head race against Mitt Romney and with this fundraising support has to be close to putting Romney in a box of hoping Paul goes away but not daring to blow him out of the water for fear he will bolt the party and launch a third-party campaign in the fall.

Recent polls show Ron Paul offering a stiffer challenge to President Barack Obama than Romney would.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why doesn't Kentucky have a Republican like this?

A New York state senator showed more guts with his opposition to ObamaCare this week than any Frankfort Republican has managed in a long time.

From LifeHealthPro:

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, does not see cost savings but more spending the state can ill afford. He issued a statement that said “any rush towards enacting ObamaCare is more political than reality. The promise of federal funding is not without strings and the program itself will ultimately, if enacted, cost New York taxpayers billions of additional dollars that we do not have. …. We can and should make landmark reforms, including reigning in big insurance in New York, but moving forward now to enact ObamaCare is simply not prudent.”

This was in response to a gubernatorial executive order setting up an ObamaCare health insurance exchange in New York. After telling Frankfort reporters for months that he had no plans to issue a similar executive order, Governor Steve Beshear stuck ObamaCare in his budget proposal and Kentucky's legislature pushed it on through without a peep.

And there hasn't been a single news article about it, either. The Democrats and big government Republicans are kicking our butts so hard they don't even bother to send out celebratory press releases any more.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Go directly to jail. Yes, you!

After the messy, expensive, wasteful General Assembly session ended Thursday and before the requisite "special" session starts on Monday, Kentucky taxpayers may want to check KRS 529.020 which prohibits paying someone who subsequently screws you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Who is to blame for budget failure

It's not a question. Both sides are to blame for the 2012 General Assembly blowing up last night.

The rush to pass a general fund budget with too much debt and no solutions to our short, intermediate or long term problems in order for legislators to go back to their districts congratulating themselves on all the bipartisanship and compromise now means nothing to anyone.

Well, there is someone who comes out ahead in this ordeal: the tea party.

We have been telling anyone who would listen that the problem lies with both Democrats and Republicans and here it is again for everyone to see.

Do they not realize what will happen in three years when the state pension funds start to need $600 million a year just to pay their bills? We aren't the only state to destroy our finances by using public employee pension money as a slush fund for vote buying. We are just among the worst.

In any event, those expecting a federal bailout for Kentucky Retirement Systems are certain to be sorely disappointed. When that time comes, remember that the ensuing chaos was created by a lot of polticians on both sides. The great shame is that none of them in a position to do so put a stop to this before it was too late.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frankfort's foolproof plan to eliminate debt

Kentucky's Office of Financial Management web site has been a rich source of state debt information that I tried for many months to get people to pay attention to with limited success.

It appears that ship has sailed. The only report left on the site with any debt data is apparently the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which pretty much requires the patience of Job to find useful information.

Long-time readers may recall last summer I was trying to draw attention to a clear, concise debt report on a web page the Beshear Administration had failed to update for three years as state debt soared. That site now no longer exists. (See for yourself.)

So the brilliant plan to get rid of the state's impossible level of debt is to simply take down the web sites.

Historians will point to this despicable behavior and the complete lack of mainstream media coverage of it some day. For now, you need to know we basically have three years till the state's finances implode due to exactly this kind of deceit and mismanagement.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kentucky House tea party tidal wave forming?

The Kentucky Right to Life (KYRTL) organization endorsed Democrat Kentucky House Majority Caucus Leader Bob Damron against his Republican opponents for years until 2010. That year, Damron escaped with a narrow win when Peter Kerr got a C- from the NRA.

This year will apparently be much different. The KYRTL has already endorsed Damron's 2012 opponent Matt Lockett. Damron has already shredded his fiscal conservative facade voting for a series of tax increases and horribly irresponsible budget bills. He has angered the most conservative part of his Jessamine County constituency by trying to jettison them away in the House's unconstitutional redistricting scheme.

The Barack Obama effect combined with Damron's self-inflicted difficulties set Lockett up for what would be the highest profile Republican pickup.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kentucky in way over our heads on ObamaCare

Not only has the Kentucky legislature given the state Insurance Commissioner unchecked powers to regulate your health care, the state has received and written into our budget more ObamaCare funding from the federal government than all states except for one.

An analysis performed by LifeHealthPro found that only New York's federal health insurance exchange grant total of $88 million exceeds Kentucky's $66.6 million take.

What an obscene mess. And Senate Republicans could have stopped this, but did nothing. Disgraceful.

Because of the way HB 265 was written, even if the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare Kentucky already has what it needs to push us all the way into socialized medicine.

Ron Paul rocks Kentucky Republican RINOs

State House and Senate candidates in Kentucky are getting loaded down with surveys from various organizations asking their positions on a wide variety of issues. There's one in particular that is not to be missed.

Ron Paul-founded Campaign For Liberty sent out a 7-question survey. Six of the questions should be pretty easy for any candidate to handle, dealing with personal liberties and fiscal responsibility. But the seventh question zaps everyone who voted for the state budget late last month.

The question reads as follows: Do you oppose taking federal money to create a state health insurance exchange? Standard operating procedure for Kentucky politicians might dictate that they try answering yes even though they voted for the 2012 budget bill, which accepted more than $50 million and spent it as well as obligating taxpayers to spend much more.

The smart thing for those politicians to do instead will be to just throw the survey in the trash and go hide under their desks. In a low turnout primary election, it will be somewhat better to be nailed by Campaign for Liberty for being too chicken to answer the questions than it will be to get nailed for trying to lie their way out of the mess they got themselves (and us) into.

Go ahead. Make our day.

If you know and support any good conservative candidates running against big-spending incumbents in Kentucky, please share this post as widely as you can.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I guess that's a "no"

An Ohio-based tea party group suggested to Kentucky 4th district congressional candidate Alecia Webb-Edgington today she should return her legislative pay for the days she spent last month raising money in Washington D.C.

Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) said she should reimburse "the Kentucky taxpayer" for whatever pay she received on her trip. COAST was an early supporter of Rand Paul in his run for the United States Senate.

The funny part about this is Rep. Webb-Edgington responded to this request by attacking primary opponent Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

What would you rather talk about?

A Frankfort reporter asked me yesterday if there was anything going on except for the state's debt problem or the legislature slipping ObamaCare into the state budget or the KRS going bust in three years.

Yes, I told him. The GOP establishment is still distracting itself with trying to kill off the Tea Party.

There is time to stop this from being the big news story on Monday, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for a handful of too-powerful Republican leaders to get with the program before then.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Don Butler takes on GOP tax hiker

Edmonton Kentucky Republican Don Butler tells voters in the state's 9th Senate district he will never follow the crowd in Frankfort in voting to raise taxes. On Thursday, he put that promise in writing.

Butler signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), committing to "oppose and vote against any and all tax increases." So far, only four other state Senate Republicans have signed the ATR pledge. Butler's opponent in the May 22 Republican primary is not one of them.

"Most people don't realize what Frankfort has done to us in the last four years in terms of overspending and debt," Butler said. "The new legislators going up there next year will be under great pressure to raise taxes on Kentuckians and they just have to know that I won't be supporting that."

According to Kentucky's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, state government in the last year has increased General Fund debt by $1 billion. Earlier this week, a federal whistleblower on the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Retirement Systems said the state pension system will run out of money within three years, costing $600 million a year. Butler said the state's fiscal problems will only be fixed by cutting spending.

"In the last four years we have had enough overspending and tax increases to last us several lifetimes," Butler said. "We can't afford anymore to elect or keep politicians who buy our votes with our own money and pretend that everything will just work out fine." 

Butler faces incumbent Senator David Givens in the GOP primary.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

More bipartisan Frankfort "hanky panky"

When the Securities and Exchange investigation of Kentucky's pension plan pay-to-play scandal finally blows up in a few short years, state Rep. Mike Cherry's comment about the legislative coverup will look particularly silly.

Rather than ban the practice of "placement agent" middlemen wasting millions of public dollars in the moribund Kentucky Retirement Systems, the legislature just made them permanent fixtures in Frankfort's political swamp. 

Cherry, the House State Government Committee Chairman, spoke to the Frankfort State Journal about his bill, HB 300, which didn't ban the wasteful practice. Instead the bill requires them to register with the toothless Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

“Having them register as lobbyists precludes any hanky panky regarding contributions and the like,” Cherry said.

This is a completely absurd thing to say because registering them in this way doesn't even require them to report their placement agent income, much less preclude in any way the vast amounts of contribution hanky panky that now gets to continue with state sanction.

Former KRS Board of Trustees member Chris Tobe says the state pension system will require $600 million annual payments starting in about three years. Enabling this waste and corruption will loom much larger when that happens.

The problem is that our representatives in Frankfort should be taking steps to correct this mess. Covering it up will just make it harder to fix later.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Governing by Google Alert

The federal whistleblower in Kentucky's ongoing pension investment placement agent scandal learned earlier today from an email Google Alert that Governor Steve Beshear prefers covering up the issue rather than dealing with it.

Chris Tobe, the whistleblower, had to read on the internet today that he has been replaced on the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Several other members of the Board have been subpoenaed recently to testify to the Securities and Exchange Commission in their ongoing investigation of the placement agent scandal.

Tobe says the state pension system will run out of money in about three years, necessitating annual payments of $600 million dollars to be made from other revenue sources.

The legislature failed to draw any attention to this situation by allowing scandal-enabling legislation (HB 300) to fly past them last week. The deafening media silence on this issue would not be happening if a Republican were Governor. This fact makes it all the more troubling that no Frankfort Republican could be bothered to speak out on this at all.

Kentucky goes whole hog for ObamaCare

Whether the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down some or all of the federal health insurance law known as ObamaCare may not make much difference in Kentucky thanks to language slipped into the budget bill by Governor Steve Beshear and approved by majorities of the House and Senate.

The last fifteen pages of the just-passed Kentucky budget bill (HB 265) creates a small business health insurance subsidy program, adds new ObamaCare style regulations and empowers Kentucky bureaucrats to seek and accept federal money and implement new regulations without limit. With all that, who needs ObamaCare?

The worst part of the new language goes far beyond Kentucky's 1994 flirtation with HillaryCare which destroyed our individual health insurance market and fit perfectly with Governor Steve Beshear's desire to implement ObamaCare in Kentucky without legislative approval. The two most horrible aspects of this health care power grab is that it, first, actually got legislative approval and, second, that it could create havoc in both individual and group health insurance markets in Kentucky even if ObamaCare is repealed.

Section 7(2) in the ICARE enabling language reads as follows:

(2)           The provisions of this section shall not give rise to, nor be construed as giving rise to, enforceable legal rights for any party or an enforceable entitlement to benefits other than to the extent that such rights or entitlements exist pursuant to the administrative regulations of the executive director of insurance.

 That means the executive director of Kentucky's Department of Insurance just became your health care czar. If your legislator voted for this mess, you should ask him or her to explain why. Some of us tried to warn you (here and here and here).