20 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-24-17

  1. Defunding the ObamaCare community organizers.


    “President Donald Trump’s administration has ended Affordable Care Act contracts that brought assistance into libraries, businesses and urban neighborhoods in 18 cities, meaning shoppers on the insurance exchanges will have fewer places to turn for help signing up for coverage.

    Community groups say the move, announced to them by contractors last week, will make it even more difficult to enroll the uninsured and help people already covered re-enroll or shop for a new policy. That’s already a concern because of consumer confusion stemming from the political wrangling in Washington and a shorter enrollment period. People will have 45 days to shop for 2018 coverage, starting Nov. 1 and ending Dec. 15. In previous years, they had twice that much time.”

    “Two companies — McLean, Virginia-based Cognosante LLC and Falls Church, Virginia-based CSRA Inc. — will no longer help with the sign-ups following a decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials not to renew a final option year of the vendors’ contracts. The contracts, awarded in 2013, were never meant to be long term, said CMS spokeswoman Jane Norris in an email.

    “These contracts were intended to help CMS provide temporary, in-person enrollment support during the early years” of the exchanges, Norris said. Other federally funded help with enrollment will continue, she said, including a year-round call center and grant-funded navigator programs. The existing program is “robust” and “we have the on-the-ground resources necessary” in key cities, Norris said.

    But community advocates expected the vendors’ help for at least another year. “It has our heads spinning about how to meet the needs in communities,” said Inna Rubin of United Way of Metro Chicago, who helps run an Illinois health access coalition.

    CSRA’s current $12.8 million contract expires Aug. 29. Cognosante’s $9.6 million contract expires the same date.

    Together, they assisted 14,500 enrollments, far less than 1 percent of the 9.2 million people who signed up through HealthCare.gov, the insurance marketplace serving most states. But some advocates said the groups focused on the healthy, young adults needed to keep the insurance markets stable and prices down.”


  2. We also need to cleanup the Obama era payoffs to other activists. We need to stop funding these community organizers as well. These are flat out rip-offs.


    “Their hearts in the right place. And so, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (TheDCNF) Investigative Group, so are their hands.

    Top officials with 14 anti-poverty nonprofits were paid as much as $869,900 as their organizations were enriched with $900 million of taxpayer money.

    The activist groups received as much as 85% of their revenue from federal, state, and local governments and collectively spent millions on lobbying, TheDCNF’s analysis found. Also, half of the charities’ CEOs made political contributions – nearly all of which went to Democratic candidates.

    The groups pursue various activist causes, but each participates in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Approved Counseling Agencies program, which pays nonprofits across the country to help people “find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes,” according to HUD.”

    “At least 14 recipients appear to be national-level activist groups and have raked in $916 million across government from 2013 through 2015, TheDCNF’s analysis found.

    Those organizations paid their top leaders more than $341,00 on average in 2015, according to their IRS Form 990 tax forms, which is nearly 14 times the annual income for a four-person family at the federal government’s official poverty line. Meanwhile, almost half of the revenue the groups received came from the government on average between 2013 and 2015.

    Six of the nonprofits spent a total of nearly $3.2 million on lobbying during those three years. Additionally, seven of the charities’ CEOs contributed nearly $44,000 to Democrats since 2008 and only contributed to one Republican candidate during the same time.”

    Talk about a scam. They’re using taxpayer dollars to lobby for more taxpayer dollars, and to pay back the Dems thru campaign donations that handed them the cash to do so.


  3. It struck me that American Christians and American conservatives may be at a Dunkirk moment. All around us, the enemy seems to be winning, but our job is to pilot our little boat and to help all we can.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A Sanders run for President in 2020 would get rid of your Trump problem (if his supporters forgive him for supporting Hillary). Again, sometimes the only thing worse than not getting what you want, is getting it. ;–)


  5. Providing sanctuary is one thing, but that certainly doesn’t appear to be what’s happening here.


    “When Andre Oliveira answered the call to leave his Word of Faith Fellowship congregation in Brazil to move to the mother church in North Carolina at the age of 18, his passport and money were confiscated by church leaders — for safekeeping, he said he was told.

    Trapped in a foreign land, he said he was forced to work 15 hours a day, usually for no pay, first cleaning warehouses for the evangelical church and later working at businesses owned by the sect’s senior ministers. Any violation of the rules risked the wrath of church leaders, he said, ranging from beatings to shaming from the pulpit.

    An Associated Press investigation has found that Word of Faith Fellowship used its two church branches in Brazil to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale. The Brazilians often spoke little English when they arrived and many had their passports seized.

    “They kept us as slaves,” Oliveira told the AP. “How can you do that to people — claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?””

    “Perhaps to circumvent the rules against employment, church leaders sometimes referred to the forced labor projects as “volunteer work,” according to Brazilians interviewed in both countries.

    Many females worked as babysitters and in the church’s K-12 school, and many males worked in construction, the former members said. The work included ripping out walls and installing drywall in apartments owned and rented out by a senior church minister, they said.

    “It was slave labor,” said Rebeca Melo, 29, who grew up in the church in Brazil and visited the U.S. about 10 times.

    Whaley’s brand of “love” also played a key role in enticing Brazilian males to Spindale — and keeping them there once their visas expired, according to former members of the church.

    Ten of those interviewed spoke of male Brazilians obtaining green cards for permanent residency and being able to legally work by being married off to female American congregants.

    It is illegal to enter a sham marriage for the purpose of avoiding U.S. immigration laws.”


  6. Poor babies. Whatever will they do now?

    How about trying the right and legal option for a change?


    “Here’s a refreshing twist to the story which ICE might want to look into. The LA Times has actually found an executive at a company that supplies labor to agricultural interests who is willing to come out on the record and admit that the industry has been knowingly hiring illegal aliens and participating in a scheme involving forged documents.

    “We’ve been masking this problem all these years with a system that basically allowed you to accept fraudulent documents as legal, and that’s what has been keeping this workforce going,” said Steve Scaroni, whose Fresh Harvest company is among the biggest recruiters of farm labor. “And now we find out we don’t have much of a labor force up here, at least a legal one.”

    Stated bluntly, there aren’t enough new immigrants for the state’s nearly half-million farm labor jobs — especially as Mexico creates competing manufacturing jobs in its own cities, Taylor said. He has calculated that the pool of potential immigrants from rural Mexico shrinks every year by about 150,000 people.

    You’ll notice how the LA Times once again chooses to disingenuously use the phrase, there aren’t enough new immigrants when what they actually mean is that there aren’t enough illegal aliens. In a number of columns here over the years I have repeatedly stated that one surefire way to reduce the number of illegal aliens coming to the country would be to divert some resources away from arresting the actual workers and begin prosecuting the CEOs of the major companies who employ or recruit them. As soon as that happened the jobs would dry up overnight and the incentive to cross the border would be vastly diminished.

    Now you’ve got a potential candidate for this bold plan, or at least somebody who probably knows enough to bring down the perpetrators. Steve Scaroni is one of the principals of SFC, the Scaroni Family of Companies. They employ more than 3,000 workers in that region and right on their front page they brag about their participation in the H-2A guest worker program. But it certainly sounds from this interview like Steve is aware that either he or his competitors are accepting fraudulent documents as legal in their organizations. Perhaps ICE would like to have a chat with him.

    So what are the farmers to do if the supply of illegal aliens is drying up? The robots they’ve developed for picking more fragile crops aren’t up to speed yet, but they are better than they used to be. Necessity is the mother of invention, and that progress would continue if the demand is there. And as the Times article notes, other competitors are already offering higher wages and even health care and other benefits to attract workers. Believe me… if you offer a good enough deal you will find citizens willing to do the work. Combing better compensation packages with improved technology to make the work less onerous would eventually solve the problem in a free labor market. Does that mean that we’ll be paying a bit more for a salad? Maybe. But that’s how the market works.”


  7. Meanwhile, in other news being ignored by the MSM……..

    Actual collusion with foreign agents. But it’s OK, these are Democrats. Nothing to see here……


    “FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.

    Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, an individual whom FBI investigators interviewed in the case told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

    An additional source in Congress with direct knowledge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis. Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.”

    “There is also evidence of financial schemes that extend beyond the Capitol Police’s purview and may expand to Pakistan, where Imran spends significant portions of the year.

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in March that the Capitol Police are “getting the kind of technical assistance they need to do that. This is under an active criminal investigation, their capabilities are pretty strong but, they’re also able to go and get the kind of help they need from other sources.”

    “Wasserman Schultz has demanded return of a laptop seized by the Capitol Police because it was purportedly used by Imran and was found hidden in a vacant office. The Florida Democrat used a Capitol Police budget hearing to threaten “consequences” for them if the laptop wasn’t returned.

    On Thursday it was reported that police have not examined its contents because of the invocation of the Constitution’s “Speech and Debate clause,” and after months of refusal, her lawyer is now “negotiating” access to the data on yet-to-be-determined terms.

    Members have been unusually mum about the apparent cybersecurity breach, especially given the pattern of cyberattacks on other government and political institutions.

    The Marine expressed disgust with the muted reaction, saying “I served in the Marine Corps for 14 years; if I downloaded files to an offsite server, I’m going to prison for a lot of years.”


  8. Social media giants, or enemies of free speech?


    “In early February 2017, they came for me.

    On February 7, 2017, referrals to my website, Jihad Watch, from Facebook numbered 23,783, and from Twitter, 1,718. These numbers were generally representative: referrals from Facebook for several years up to that point had averaged between 15,000 and 20,000 a day, and 1,500 to 2,000 a day from Twitter. But on February 10, 2017, those numbers dropped suddenly and precipitously, with only 2,923 referrals from Facebook and 295 from Twitter. That’s around where they have held since then: on March 20, 2017, there were 1,954 referrals from Facebook and 241 from Twitter.

    Did thousands of people who used to click through to Jihad Watch articles from Facebook and Twitter suddenly lose interest on February 10, 2017? Of course not. What happened on that day was that Facebook and Twitter began to censor Jihad Watch as “hate speech,” in accordance with the assurances they had given to the European Union.

    Blocking the Truth

    Facebook, immediately after concluding an agreement with the European Union, began moving aggressively against foes of jihad terror and mass Muslim migration in the West. Nina Rosenwald, the president and founder of the conservative think tank Gatestone Institute, on June 2, 2016 recorded Facebook’s haste to implement the new speech regulations: “On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) announced a new online speech code to be enforced by four major tech companies, including Facebook and YouTube. On Wednesday, Facebook deleted the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone’s Swedish expert.”

    Carlqvist’s crime, according to Rosenwald, was to take note of real crimes by Muslim migrants: “Ingrid had posted our latest video to her Facebook feed—called ‘Sweden’s Migrant Rape Epidemic.” In that video, said Rosenwald, “Ingrid calmly lays out the facts and statistics, all of which are meticulously researched.” Rosenwald added that the video was adapted from a “research paper that Gatestone published last year. The video has gone viral—racking up more than 80,000 views in its first two days. But the EU is quite candid: it is applying a political lens to their censorship…. ”

    Facebook banning anti-jihad opinions

    Facebook banned the page of a gay magazine, Gaystream, after it published an article by David Berger, its editor-in-chief, criticizing German gay activists and leftists for ignoring the Islamic root causes of the Orlando jihad massacre. Berger wrote, “Whoever had thought the culmination of masochism and Islam-appeasement by left-green professional homosexuals was already achieved, will now be mistaken: it becomes even more masochistic and perverse.”


  9. He’s got a point.


    “Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture.”

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to steal from you.

    Oh, he doesn’t call it that. He calls it “civil forfeiture.” But what it is, is theft by law enforcement. Sessions should be ashamed. If I were president, he’d be fired.

    Under “civil forfeiture,” law enforcement can take property from people under the legal fiction that the property itself is guilty of a crime. (“Legal fiction” sounds better than “lie,” but in this case the two terms are near synonyms.) It was originally sold as a tool for going after the assets of drug kingpins, but nowadays it seems to be used against a lot of ordinary Americans who just have things that law enforcement wants. It’s also a way for law enforcement agencies to maintain off-budget slush funds, thus escaping scrutiny.

    How police steal from citizens
    As Drug Enforcement Agency agent Sean Waite told the Albuquerque Journal, “We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty. … It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”

    “Presumed to be guilty.” Once in America, we had a presumption of innocence. But that was inconvenient to the powers that be.

    The problem is pretty widespread: In 2015, The Washington Post reported that law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did.”

    And it’s not only a species of theft; it’s a species of corruption. Starting in 1984, law enforcement agencies were allowed to retain the assets they seized instead of paying them into the general treasury. Not surprisingly, this has led to abuses in which law enforcement targets individuals based on how much money it can get and how easily it can get it, not on their status as criminals. What’s more, by retaining these assets, law enforcement agencies have money to do things that the legislatures haven’t chosen to fund. That undermines democracy.”

    And it severely erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight continue to miss. It doesn’t seem to matter who the Sheriff is either. There’s plenty of blame to go around here, to all 3 branches of govt.


    “Ahead of this week’s crucial Senate vote on health care, White House aides are already considering how to distance President Donald Trump from Congress and how to go after the Republicans who vote no — an idea the president seems fond of, according to people who have spoken to him. Several people said he plans to keep up the fight, no matter how this week’s vote goes.

    He threatened Republicans on Twitter Sunday, saying they would face electoral consequences, and complained about his party not defending him — even though congressional Republicans are tired of defending him all the time.

    “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President,” he wrote.

    Meanwhile, those close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say they are frustrated that the president has shown little focus on his political agenda, particularly health care. Trump’s interview with the New York Times this week, for example, where he raged about Attorney General Jeff Sessions instead of promoting health care, was “political malpractice,” one senior GOP aide said.

    With control of both Congress and the White House — and yet no major legislative successes to point to — the Republican Party is finding itself stuck. A GOP Congress is frustrated with the president, and is unsure what will happen next in his daily West Wing drama. And Trump wants to sign legislation to show he is effective, and is frustrated bills are not on his desk.

    A sudden White House shakeup on Friday made it even more clear that Trump, who campaigned as an outsider, is determined to govern as one, too — and not listen to McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and other orthodox allies. The president expanded the power of the political neophytes in his administration, elevating the Manhattan hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci to White House communications director, at the cost of an operative – press secretary Sean Spicer, who announced his resignation on Friday — with years of Washington experience.

    Spicer was not the only establishment casualty. Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff who, at least in title holds one of the most powerful jobs in Washington, has been largely sidelined. Several West Wing aides suggested he should quit — and wondered Sunday why he doesn’t, according to White House aides and advisers.””


  11. There are battles on Twitter tonight between the ideological Trumpkins and the Trump cultists. The ideological Trumpkins, who are concerned with immigration and other issues, are defending Sessions and are critical of Trump’s New York advisors and Trump himself. The Trump cultists are fiercely protective of their master.


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