21 thoughts on “News/Politics 10-12-17

  1. If accurate, it’s very disturbing news.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worker-warned-hotel-before-las-vegas-shooter-opened-fire-on-crowd/

    “A maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel before the shooter began firing from his high-rise suite into a crowd at a nearby musical performance.

    The revised timeline has renewed questions about whether better communication might have allowed police to respond more quickly and take out the gunman before he committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

    Worker Stephen Schuck says he was checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard gunshots and a hotel security guard, who had been shot in the leg, peeked out from an alcove and told him to take cover.

    “As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right behind my head.

    “It was kind of relentless so I called over the radio what was going on,” he said. “As soon as the shooting stopped we made our way down the hallway and took cover again and then the shooting started again.”

    Police said Monday they believe gunman Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard through the door of his suite six minutes before he unleashed a barrage of bullets into the crowd of concert-goers, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.

    The injured guard used his radio and possibly a hallway phone to also call hotel dispatchers for help.

    That account differs dramatically from the one police gave last week when they said Paddock fired through the door of his room and injured the unarmed guard after shooting into the crowd.

    The company that owns Mandalay Bay has questioned the new timeline.”

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  2. And they ain’t the only company preying on young consumers.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/education/navient-lawsuit-pennyslvania-attorney-general-student-loans-20171005.html

    “The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed suit Thursday against Navient, the largest U.S. student-loan servicer, alleging widespread abuses and deceptive acts involving its administration of student loans.

    The suit against Navient Corp. and its subsidiary Navient Solutions LLC, formerly a part of Sallie Mae, could affect hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, adding that the office is seeking restitution for all borrowers affected by the practices.

    That includes anyone who received private student loans from Sallie Mae or who has had federal or private student loans serviced by Navient and has had problems with repayment.

    “Navient’s deceptive practices and predatory conduct harmed student borrowers and put their own profits ahead of the interests of millions of families across our country who are struggling to repay student loans,” Shapiro said in a statement.

    Navient said in a statement that the allegations “are completely unfounded and the case was filed without any review of Pennsylvania residents’ customer accounts.”
    ————————-

    “The Wilmington-based company, which has a large servicing center in Wilkes-Barre, already is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed this year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Washington state and Illinois also have sued the company.

    Pennsylvania residents have filed 1,059 complaints against Navient with the CFPB as of September, the Attorney General’s Office said.

    Navient has more than 12 million borrowers nationally, more than six million of them through a contract with the Department of Education, and handles more than $300 billion in federal and private student loans.

    The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, alleges that the company has “engaged in practices that have harmed countless student loan borrowers by … peddling risky and expensive subprime loans that they knew or should have known were likely to default, and … while servicing student loans, failing to perform core servicing duties, thereby causing harm to borrowers and cosigners.”

    The company’s subprime products included high interest rates and origination fees, according to the suit, in some cases as high as the equivalent of a 15.75 percent interest rate. One of the company’s emails on a subprime lending workshop described the subprime loan program as “the baited hook to gain …volume,” according to the suit.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Way out of student loan problem: End all government subsidies, regulation and guaranties. The amount of student loans would shrink dramatically. You would then be amazed at what would happen to tuition rates.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hold your breath. What follows is a defense of Trump. Many writers questioned whether Lindsay Graham was lying when he said Trump shot a 73 over the weekend.

    So I did some research. Jaime Diaz is a respected golf writer and he gives Trump’s game high marks. Golfers will appreciate that he is unorthodox and self-taught, but effective.

    https://www.golfdigest.com/story/how-good-is-donald-trump-the-golfer

    If he will get in shape so he can walk 18 holes, he is welcome to play with our group.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Re; Student loans and almost everything else.
    government can’t fix it.
    What happens is: The government establishes an agency.
    The agency takes a life of it’s own and every agency’s purpose is to grow..

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Re: Boy Scouts allowing girls to join their troops.
    I was a Star Scout, so I relate. I enjoyed my scouting days. I was in Order of the Arrow.

    But I can’t imagine taking a girl on a camping trip. The guys are going to fight over who shares her tent.
    This is just another mile marker on the road to national disaster:
    Do you realize this is new?
    Never in the history of civilization has the concept of women becoming men and men becoming women exdisted.
    Some, such has Muslims and ancient Chinese have tone the other way to terrible extremes, but no other has tried to neutralize gender.

    I can’t predict where this is going because I think it has to do with judgment. But I fear the consequences.t

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If I understand correctly, the Boy Scouts have NOT approved allowing girls into their troops but have approved allowing separate, all-girl troops to use their curricula. It may be a slippery slope, but it’s a big difference than all the hype about them “allowing girls to join their troops.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The President has spoken out against this, and it seems that his administration could stop it. But it is currently unclear how much muscle will be used or needed to ditch the deal. :–/

    In its heyday, the Chicago Stock Exchange helped introduce big-name American companies such as Marriott and IBM to investors. Now the 135-year-old Midwest institution could do the same for Chinese companies, after it agreed to sell itself to a group of investors led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group.

    The proposed transaction – an attempt to revive the fortunes of the exchange – has stirred fresh debate about foreign takeovers of U.S. corporations.

    The $20 million sale, which requires clearance by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been lambasted by Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, many of whom say it would be risky to sell such a critical part of the U.S. financial market to a foreign investor. Allowing China access to a U.S. exchange could pose a risk to national security, critics say.

    “An exchange license is a rare commodity,” Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., said. “It’s about more than the exchange itself.”
    …..
    The exchange is not the only financial-industry player with a potential Chinese buyer. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is selling his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, which has $11 billion in assets, to a Chinese firm. Some say that deal, like the agreement for the Chicago Stock Exchange, or CHX, could give Chinese firms new access to U.S. financial markets and a map to its most wealthy investors.

    “It’s a bit of a coup to get approved to be involved in the U.S. financial sector,” said Derek Scissors, a China specialist at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning research organization in Washington. “It’s a nice feather in your cap.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-chicago-stock-exchange-china-security-fears-20170905-story.html

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  9. Taken in conjunction with the impending purchase of the Chicago Stock Exchange, this should raise red flags. It has long been understood that the Chinese government supports its industries. Now this ‘support’ is taking an even bigger role as the government moves to officially place Chinese government officials on the boards of foreign owned companies doing business in China.

    HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) – President Xi Jinping’s closer embrace is bad news for Big Tech. China’s government wants stakes and board seats at web giants like Tencent, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Beijing is already influential behind the scenes in technology, and given its tightening grip elsewhere, a power grab in this vital sector was all but inevitable. This will nonetheless cost investors. ….

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-tech-breakingviews/breakingviews-beijings-closer-embrace-is-bad-news-for-big-tech-idUKKBN1CH0HK

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  10. I also was a Girl Scout (my mom was a leader) — they’re still going strong, but the organization as a whole took a decidedly liberal turn some years ago (socially, politically) which has caused some consternation for more conservative families.

    It’s probably akin to belonging to a mainline denomination that’s taken the wide left turn — individual troops (or churches) may still be solid, but the broader organization can still influence and have an affect.

    More on the fires, continue to pray:

    __________________________

    By ELLEN KNICKMEYER and JOCELYN GECKER
    Associated Press

    SONOMA — Wildfires already well on their way to becoming the deadliest and most destructive in California history could gain momentum Thursday and erase even the modest gains firefighters have made.

    Steady winds with gusts up to 45 mph with nearly non-existent humidity are expected to descend on the areas north of San Francisco where at least 23 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed.

    “It’s going to continue to get worse before it gets better,” state fire Chief Ken Pimlott said Wednesday. …
    __________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maybe there should be a separate co-ed “scouting” organization and then the Boy & Girl Scouts could continue as they are, but i doubt that will satisfy the social changers. 🙂

    I think the Girl Scouts may be a bit more adventurous now than they were when I was a member, but we did get to go camping (mountains for snow most years and Catalina in our final year when we were all young teens, now that was fun!) and horseback riding, etc.

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  12. There’s always been more than one way to skin this cat.

    Since Congress is inept, this will be the route to take.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/12/trump-obamacare-executive-congress-243696

    “President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order directing an overhaul of major federal health regulations, calling it the first step toward fulfilling the GOP’s promise to repeal Obamacare.

    The order is aimed at encouraging the rise of a raft of cheap, loosely regulated health insurance plans that don’t have to comply with certain Obamacare consumer protections and benefit rules. They’d attract younger and healthier people — leaving older and sicker ones in the Obamacare markets facing higher and higher costs.

    “We’ve been hearing about the disaster of Obamacare for so long,” Trump said. “I just keep hearing repeal, replace, repeal, replace. Well we’re starting that process.”

    It’s not yet clear how far the administration will go, or how quickly it can implement the president’s order. But if successful, the new rules could upend the way businesses and individuals buy coverage — lowering premiums for the healthiest Americans at the expense of key consumer protections and potentially tipping the Obamacare markets into a tailspin.

    “Within a year, this would kill the market,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation who previously worked at former President Barack Obama’s Health and Human Services Department.

    The focus of the directive is association health plans, which allow small-business owners, trade groups and others to band together to purchase health insurance. Such plans would be exempt from certain Obamacare rules, including requirements that it cover standard benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. To make those changes, the administration is already working to reinterpret ERISA, a massive federal law that governs many workplace benefits, people familiar with the order said — opening the door to more expansive changes that could affect Obamacare plans more directly.

    The administration is also preparing to roll back Obama-era restrictions on short-term health insurance plans, allowing insurers to once again sell stopgap policies which don’t cover pre-existing conditions, mental health services and many other costly benefits. Coverage could extend for as long as a year, up from a current three-month limit.

    Those changes are aimed at widening the array of health plans available to consumers and lowering premiums, Trump administration officials argue, in a bid to counter the struggles of the Obamacare markets.

    The action drew immediate praise from conservatives in Congress including Sen. Rand Paul, who had pushed Trump for months to encourage the use of association health plans.

    “President Trump is doing what I believe is the biggest free-market reform of health care in a generation,” the Kentucky Republican said. “This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an inexpensive price.””

    Liked by 2 people

  13. From FoxNewss online:

    college of Oxford University banned a student Christian group from appearing at a freshman fair out of fear it would lead to “alienating” students who practice other religions.

    The Christian Union of Oxford’s Balliol College was initially banned by an event organizer who felt students might feel “unwelcome” due to what he calls the Christian religion being “an excuse for homophobia and neo-colonialism,” The Times of London reported.

    “We recognise the wonderful advantages in having CU representatives at the freshers fair but are concerned that there is potential for harm to freshers who are already struggling to feel welcome in Oxford,” Frederick Potts, vice president of the undergraduate student body, reportedly said in an email to the Christian group.

    Liked by 2 people

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