Leftist High School Administrators Suspend Teacher Because His Students’ Science Projects Were Gun-Like (Video)

Teacher Suspended Over Science Project That Looked Like A Gun – Tell Me Now

Another mind-numbing example has surfaced of the left’s fight to ban all guns, things that resemble guns, things that might make you think of guns and people who utter the world gun. This time though, a good teacher has been removed from the classroom and consequently, students are suffering.

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Greg Schiller is a well-respected science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles. As his class was preparing for the annual science fair, two students’ projects were brought to the attention of administrators which caused a ridiculous amount of concern over nothing.

The two students were working on projects which the school staff apparently deemed to be gun-related and now Mr. Schiller has been accused of placing his students in an unsafe environment. He was immediately placed in ‘teacher jail’, which is basically his removal from the classroom with pay.

One of the gun-like science projects was an air cannon similar to the one which was featured in a White House science fair back in 2012. Obama was captured on tape firing marshmallows out of it along with the student who built it. You would think that if the Secret Service deems it safe enough to be fired in the presence of the President, there’s really not much to worry about – unless flying marshmallows haunt your dreams.

The other project was an electromagnetic battery powered coil gun.

Mr. Schiller never had the opportunity to see either one of the projects and both students have been disqualified from the science fair.

That, however, is perhaps not even the worst of it. While Mr. Schiller is banned from his classroom, his students have been forced to prepare for their Advanced Placement exams without the help of his expertise. Of course, their substitute has not been of much help, being that they have no background in science, and serves primarily as a glorified babysitter.

If the students cannot pass their exams without the help of Mr. Schiller, they risk rejection from better colleges in the near future. It all seems like undue consequences over a couple crafty science fair projects.

Students have organized a protest in support of their well-liked teacher. They plan to wear duct tape covering their mouths in a vow not to speak until Mr. Schiller is released from ‘teacher jail’. Their effort is commendable, but it probably will not do much to sway the views of disillusioned gun-grabbers.

Let us know how this most recent report of anti-gun shenanigans makes you feel in the comments section!

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Leftist Incompetence Update: Kathleen Sebelius Can’t Even Get Her Farewell Address Right (Video)

A Fitting End To A Disastrous Reign… Sebelius Loses Page To Her Farewell Speech – Gateway Pundit

A Fitting End to a Disastrous Reign -

Today outside the White House Kathleen Sebelius bid farewell to the president, officials and guests after resigning as head of Health and Human Services. And, as she bid farewell, she looked down at her notes and told the audience,

Unfortunately, a page is missing.”

And with that she departed the Rose Garden for the last time.

Farewell, Kathleen Sebelius. Better luck in your next endeavor.

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Connecticut Community College Punishes Student Veteran For Questioning Governor About Leftist Gun Laws (Video)

Asnuntuck C.C. Punishes Student Speech, Ignores This Exculpatory Video – F.I.R.E.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called on Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) to drop its disciplinary action against a student following a conversation on campus with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Making matters worse, ACC deprived the student of crucial due process protections, even refusing to review exculpatory video evidence.

On October 23, 2013, student Nicholas Saucier recorded on video a conversation with Governor Malloy, who was speaking at ACC that day. Saucier asked Malloy questions about recent gun legislation, and the conversation was halted abruptly when Malloy got into his car and left. A second recording shows ACC President James Lombella and a campus security officer leading Saucier off campus.

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Based on this conversation, ACC suspended Saucier and charged him with violations of its Policy on Student Conduct, including harassment, threats, and failure to “[d]emonstrate good citizenship by not engaging in conduct prohibited by federal, state, or other laws.” Saucier chose to defend himself in a formal hearing rather than agree to an informal resolution requiring him to plead guilty to all charges, withdraw, and submit to a mandatory professional evaluation for readmission.

At his November 18 hearing, ACC gave itself discretion to “decide what information is appropriate” for consideration, then refused to review Saucier’s videos showing his speech to be protected by the First Amendment. It also prohibited any recording of the hearing, depriving Saucier of a fundamental safeguard colleges routinely afford students. These unwritten abridgements to ACC’s written procedures severely impaired Saucier’s ability to defend himself.

ACC found Saucier guilty of all charges. It lifted Saucier’s suspension but placed him on probation with the condition that any future conduct violations “will likely result in Suspension or Expulsion from the College.” In a letter sent January 13, FIRE called on ACC to reverse its severe violations of Saucier’s free speech and due process rights. The college has failed to respond.

“This case stands as a startling example of what can happen when disrespect for student First Amendment rights is combined with disregard for student due process rights,” said Peter Bonilla, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “ACC’s myriad violations of Nicholas Saucier’s rights, effective rewriting of its conduct procedures, and failure to rectify its errors should give all Americans great concern.”

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

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Obama’s EPA Tested Deadly Pollutants On Humans To Push Regime’s Leftist Agenda

Report: EPA Tested Deadly Pollutants On Humans To Push Obama Admin’s Agenda – Daily Caller

The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting dangerous experiments on humans over the past few years in order to justify more onerous clean air regulations.

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The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.

These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.

The EPA conducted five experiments in 2010 and 2011 to look at the health effects of particulate matter, or PM, and diesel exhaust on humans. The IG’s report found that the EPA did get consent forms from 81 people in five studies. But the IG also found that “exposure risks were not always consistently represented.”

“Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms,” the IG’s report noted. “An EPA manager considered these long-term risks minimal for short-term study exposures” but “human subjects were not informed of this risk in the consent form.”

According to the IG’s report, “only one of five studies’ consent forms provided the subject with information on the upper range of the pollutant” they would be exposed to, but even more alarming is that only “two of five alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.”

Three of the studies exposed people to high levels of PM and two of the studies exposed people to high levels of diesel exhaust and ozone. Diesel exhaust contains 40 toxic air contaminants, including 19 that are known carcinogens and PM. The EPA has publicly warned of the dangers of PM, but seemed to downplay them in their scientific studies on humans.

“This lack of warning about PM,” the IG’s report notes, “is also different from the EPA’s public image about PM.”

The EPA has been operating under the assumption that PM is deadly for years now. The IG’s report points to a 2003 EPA document that says short-term exposure to PM can result in heart attacks and arrhythmias for people with heart disease – and long-term exposure can result in reduced lung function and even death. A 2006 review by the EPA presents even further links between short-term PM exposure and “mortality and morbidity.”

“Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should,” former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told Congress on Sept. 22, 2011.

“If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels it would have the same impact as finding a cure for cancer in our country,” Jackson added.

PM is a “mixture of harmful solid and liquid particles” that the EPA regulates. PM that is 2.5 microns or less is known as PM2.5, which is about “1/30th the thickness of a human hair.” These small particles can get into people’s respiratory system and can harm human health and even lead to death after just short-term exposure.

The EPA set PM2.5 primary standards at 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air on an annual average basis, but the agency exposed test subjects to PM levels of 600 micrograms per cubic meter – 40 times what the EPA sets as an acceptable outdoor air standard.

But in five of the studies, people were subject to levels higher than what they signed on for. The EPA IG found that one person was hit with “pollutant concentrations that reached 751 [micrograms per cubic meter], which exceeded the IRB-approved concentration target of 600 [micrograms per cubic meter].”

The EPA says that when PM2.5 levels are between about 250 and 500 micrograms per cubic meter “[e]veryone should avoid any outdoor exertion. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.”

No one was killed during the test, but a source close to the issue says that one test subject – a 58-year-old obese woman with medical problems and a family history of heart disease – was ordered to go to the hospital by the EPA after being exposed to “ambient air pollution particles” in October 2010.

Other test subjects also experienced health problems during their testing. One subject developed a persistent cough after being exposed to ozone for 15 minutes in April 2011 and two other subjects suffered from “cardiac arrhythmias” during testing in 2010 after being exposed to “clean air.”

Regulatory implications

The EPA has been trying to justify setting stricter PM2.5 standards in its upcoming national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). But the agency’s public statements on PM don’t square with its lax attitude about testing the air pollutant on humans.

“Maybe the biggest reason to slow down the new rule is that the EPA is talking out of both sides of their mouth,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said last year. “On one side exposure to it is deadly, and on the other they say human exposure studies are not harmful.”

The EPA has said for many years now that PM is a deadly air pollutant that can cause death even after short-term exposure, but it did not disclose the mortality risks in some of its human tests, despite exposing people to high levels of PM.

One manager overseeing EPA human testing told the IG’s office that “the exposure risk for healthy individuals is minimal” and that a person breathing 420 micrograms per cubic meter for two hours “would inhale the same concentration as they would breathing 35 [micrograms per cubic meter]” which is the EPA’s 24-hour regulatory standard for outdoor PM2.5 levels.

The manager also said “that PM risk is focused on susceptible populations and that the risk is small for those with no overt disease.”

This alarmed Republicans who said that either the EPA was misrepresenting the science around PM2.5 to advance its own regulatory agenda or it was exposing people to deadly pollutants for little scientific gain.

“It’s alarming how the EPA is purposefully and blatantly ignoring an ongoing investigation of the legality and therefore scientific legitimacy of the use of human testing,” Vitter said. “This is another example of the EPA continuing to pick and choose scientific ‘facts’ to support their overreaching agenda.”

“It is a concern that EPA would assert in the rulemaking process that PM2.5 exposure is deadly while simultaneously asserting in the waivers signed by participants in EPA human exposure studies that these exposures are not harmful,” Republicans wrote to the EPA in February 2013. “Furthermore, there are valid questions about the quality or usefulness of the exposure studies actually relied upon by EPA.”

The agency actually proceeded in its PM2.5 rulemaking while the EPA IG’s office was conducting a review of its human testing procedures.

“EPA policy decisions must be based on sound science,” Lek Kadeli, acting administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), said in response to the EPA IG’s report. “While there is a critical need for studies involving human subjects, ORD also understands that the research must be conducted in an ethical and vigilant manner.”

“As documented in the OIG’s report, EPA has established guidelines for conducting this type of research that are far in excess of what is normally required by universities, industry, and other government agencies conducting human studies research,” Kadeli said.

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Leftist Rag Blames Inability To Find Malaysian Jet On – WAIT FOR IT – Man-Made Climate Change

Lib Rag Mother Jones Blames Inability To Locate Flight 370 On “Man-Made Climate Change” – Weasel Zippers

The left has become a bad parody of itself.

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Via Mother Jones:

Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, setting a complex stage for the ongoing search for MH370. If the Boeing 777 did plunge into the ocean somewhere in the vicinity of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the location where its debris finally ends up, if found at all, may be vastly different from where investigators could have anticipated 30 years ago.

The search of 8,880 square miles of ocean has yet to turn up signs of the missing flight.

Even if the fragments captured in satellite images are identified as being part of the jet, which Malaysian officials say deliberately flew off course on March 8, investigators coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will still have an enormous task to locate remaining parts of the plane and its flight recorders. Among the assets deployed in the search – including a multinational array of military and civil naval resources – are data modelers, whose task will be reconciling regional air and water currents with local weather patterns to produce a possible debris field. “Data marker buoys” are being dropped into the ocean to assist in providing “information about water movement to assist in drift modeling,” John Young from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told a press conference in Canberra on Thursday.

While longer-term climate shifts are unlikely to play into day-to-day search and rescue efforts, these large climate-affected currents – among them the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the world’s most powerful ocean system – are an essential factor in oceanographers’ understanding of the literal undercurrents of search operations.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Days From Deadline, $200M-Plus Obamacare Website Has Zero Enrollees

Uncovered Oregon: Days From Deadline, $200M+ Website Stuck On Zero Enrollees – Breitbart

By all accounts Cover Oregon has been a spectacular failure. The state was granted $300 million dollars on an ambitious website that, to date, has not enrolled a single person. Thursday night, Portland News station KATU held a televised town hall to discuss what went wrong and where Oregon should go from here.

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The town hall was not structured as a debate but one quickly developed between two Republican state representatives who were extremely critical of the failure and two Democrats who alternated between placing blame on Oracle, the primary contractor, and suggesting moving forward was more important than placing blame.

Rep. Dennis Richardson was one of the Republican critics. In 2012 he became alarmed by what he read in quality assurance reports created by a firm called Maximus. The Maximus reports made clear the project was understaffed, under-budget and falling behind schedule. Rep. Richardson says he sent copies of the reports along with a letter to the state officials in charge of the project demanding to know what was being done. He received no response.

Rep. Jason Conger, the other Republican on the panel, says officials in charge including executive director Rocky King, who left his job in December, should have known better than to try to pull off a project of this scope without hiring an IT contractor to run it. “I think it reflects a certain amount of arrogance that it could be done in the timeframe, that it could be done at all,” Conger said.

But others on the panel tried to emphasize the positive. Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick suggested it was time to move forward saying ,“We’re trying to get things solved and I think trying to find out who is the bad guy is probably over.” He also claimed that he had no access to the QA reports that had alarmed Rep. Richardson in 2012.

Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Democratic State Senator who sits on the Committee on Health admitted part of the problem was “we bit off more than we could chew.” But she directed most of the blame for the failure at Oracle, saying “We were misled. I’d go as far as saying betrayed.” Dr. Steiner Hayward added “We hire IT professionals because we believe they’re going to tell us the truth… unfortunately in this case that didn’t work out so well.”

At this point, about halfway through the 90 minute town hall, a more fundamental debate about the efficiency of government broke out among the panelists. Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who had earlier said the time for casting blame was over, reacted strongly to the suggestion that the government had tried and failed to do the job of private enterprise. “It’s private enterprise that screwed it up,” Greenlick said, adding “I think the problem was we had too much faith in private enterprise in this case.”

That didn’t go over well with Rep. Richardson who recalled a bit of Ronald Reagan in his response “We’re from the government, we’re here to help. We can run a $200 million IT project.” The last line was delivered as sarcasm. Richardson said the problem wasn’t private enterprise it was “a failure in leadership to run this program.”

As for the future of Cover Oregon there was a sharp disagreement about that as well. Rep. Conger was pessimistic. “I think we’re continuing to throw good money after bad… I’m having serious doubts about whether it will ever work,” he said. Conger suggested seeking a waiver from CMS to allow the state to return to earlier programs that were working better.

Rep. Richardson pointed to the fiscal problem going forward “We’re not gong to break even so ultimately we’re either going to shut it down or take money from the general fund.”

Ultimately, the decision as to what happens next may not be up to anyone in Oregon. The GAO is currently investigating how federal grants to the state were spent. And near the end of the show a former Oregon representative, Patrick Sheehan, told the KATU host that he had contacted the FBI and asked them to look into the situation. Asked if an FBI investigation was taking place, Sheehan refused to say, though he did suggest obliquely that a big file was being put together.

Rep. Greenlick responded that there was no evidence of any illegality. Rep. Richardson once again took issue with that assessment saying, “When you have 200 million of federal money that has been expended… there may well be a federal law broken. We need the GAO audit. We need the FBI involved.”

As the town hall neared its end, Dr. Steiner Hayward returned to the issue of government vs. private enterprise. She told the story of a friend who had started a business with the help from experts. She said her friend eventually reached the point where the business started making a profit but that didn’t happen right away. She summed up her story saying “to hold the govt to be able to break even immediately in a way that we don’t hold private companies… I’m not sure that’s really fair.”

Rep. Richardson closed with a call for accountability saying, “We’re talking about $200 million… govt can’t just spend other people’s money and then just say ‘I’m sorry’” when things fall apart.

Rep. Conger got in the last word with a question, “Given the failure so far and given the lack of value… do we continue to spend more money on it?” That’s the question that Gov. Kitzhaber, legislators and Oregon’s citizens now have to wrestle with.

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Leftist Teachers Union President In Chicago Urges Teachers To Politicize Math In Class (Video)

Chicago Teachers Union Prez Urges Teachers To Politicize Math In The Classroom – Gateway Pundit

2 + 2 = Social Justice

The far left unionists are now successfully politicizing math in the classroom.

In March Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis urged fellow teachers to politicize math at their schools. Lewis spoke at the Network for Public Education conference in Texas.

Via EAG News:

“People always talk about how that there’s no politics and values in math. That you can teach math and there’s no place for social justice. So let me tell you how Bob (Peterson) deals with that,” Lewis said.

She went on to describe a math story problem about money and the cost of pencils.

“That’s a very political statement because it’s all about consumerism – it’s about buying stuff, right?

“Bob Peterson tells them about José working in a factory making piecemeal clothes. He uses the same numbers and gets the same answer. And yes, math is political, too.”

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Leftist Nutbag Alert! Obama Regime Calls For Wooden Skyscrapers To Stop Global Warming

Obama Regime Calls For Wooden Skyscrapers To Stop Global Warming – Moonbaterry

It’s not your imagination. The anti-human envirofascist luddites who rule us really are trying to force us back to the Middle Ages in the name of their preposterous global warming hoax. Now they want us to go back to constructing buildings out of wood – even high-rise buildings:

The White House launched a new campaign to sell its global warming agenda to rural America: “sustainable” buildings, including skyscrapers, made out of wood to lower carbon dioxide emissions.

The Agriculture Department (USDA) announced it was launching a new $1 million program to promote wood as a “green” building material to boost rural economies, as well as a $1 million competition “to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction,” according to Department.

Skyscrapers made out of wood. They are serious.

The project… combines parts of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the administration’s push to win over rural America using green jobs. The USDA hopes to spur the use of wood technologies in industrial building projects like “tall buildings and skyscrapers, as well as other projects,” claiming that such buildings would produce be more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.

According to the bizarre ideology of our rulers, wooden buildings make the weather more hospitable for man-eating polar bears by “storing atmospheric carbon,” thereby preventing the global warming that so conspicuously does not exist.

These lunatics know as much about building as they do about running the health insurance industry. But they are in charge, so they will have their way.

Among the many obvious downsides of wooden skyscrapers are excessive cost, structural weakness, warping, termites, and fire hazard.

On the positive side, Muslims won’t have to hijack airliners full of people to knock them down. A fast-moving Cessna ought to do the job.

Coming soon: government-subsidized high-rises made out of dung. They will be the ultimate in sustainability, and help us to celebrate multiculturalism by embracing the Third-World techniques favored in Obama’s ancestral homeland. Uniquely among government initiatives, dung skyscrapers will actually reduce costs, because the District of Columbia can produce a nearly infinite supply of the building materials required.

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Leftist Senator Udall From Colorado Pressured State Agency To Change Obamacare Cancellation Numbers

Sen. Udall Pressured State Agency To Change Obamacare Cancellation Numbers – Yid With Lid

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Rather than work to fix Obama’s healthcare bill like other Democrats, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) pressured a state agency to change the way its estimated healthcare cancellations because of Obamacare. Udall wanted the state Department of Insurance to downgrade its estimate of Obamacare-related insurance cancellations from 250,000 to just 73,000, because while the plans they liked were cancelled some Colorado residents were offered replacement plans.

Udall is broad brushing and assuming that because Anthem and Kaiser offered early renewals, the people who received that option after receiving a cancellation notice should not be counted. Commissioner Salazar would like to tell Sen. Udall that 250,000 people were in fact affected by cancellation notices,” insurance department director of external affairs Jo Donlin wrote in November, according the emails.

Emails originally obtained by CompleteColorado.com in January created controversy for the Senator and his vote for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In one of those emails, Donlin said Udall’s office was trying to “trash” the cancellation numbers as tallied by the DOI. In another email, Donlin complained that she received a “very hostile” call from Udall’s deputy chief of staff after she had informed the Senator’s office that the DOI was unlikely to change or modify their calculation of 250,000 policy cancellations in 2013.

Udall’s office did eventually issue their own press release, which netted them a significant story in the Denver Post. In another email, Donlin sent a link of the online Denver Post story to her colleagues, pointing out that the story quoted “Sen. Udall staff,” which seems to highlight that the story did not name an individual directly. Furthermore, Donlin said the online comments were “interesting.” Many of those online comments were critical of both Udall and the Post‘s story. For example, commenter dwschulze said, “So a Democrat who supported Obamacare says that most of the cancelled policies aren’t really cancelled. And you support that with a statement from another Obamacare supporter. You need to provide some independent verification of Udall’s statement for it to be anything but another dubious statement about Obamacare.

Can’t really blame Senator Udall, like other Democrats who worked to pass Obamacare, he is desperately trying to to put lipstick on the failed pig of the President’s signature program.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Obama-Loving SEIU Receives Second Largest Campaign Finance Fine In Michigan History

SEIU Hit With Second-Biggest Campaign Finance Fine In Michigan History – Washington Free Beacon

The Service Employees International Union will have to pay the second-highest fine in Michigan history for its failed 2012 campaign to preserve forced union dues among home care workers.

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Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said that the politically powerful union agreed to pay the state nearly $200,000 for failing to properly disclose donors and file timely campaign reports.

The union funneled more than $9 million into two 501(c)(4) non-profit groups, Home Care First Inc. and Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care, which served as the public face of a ballot initiative.

“These organizations cannot be used as a means to conceal the identity of the true contributors,” Johnson said in a release. “This agreement reflects our commitment to transparency and accountability in the campaign finance process, especially in an election year.”

The union could have faced millions of dollars in fines if it did not settle with the Secretary of State’s office. SEIU said in a statement that reporting oversights were inadvertent.

“We have decided not to dispute the preliminary findings of the Secretary of State and SEIU Michigan consider this matter closed,” the union said. “The mistakes were a result of errors and reports by the Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care regarding the receipt and transfer of funds.”

The fine stemmed from an August 2013 complaint filed with the Secretary of State’s office. It alleged that the union and its 501(c)(4) groups misreported its campaign disclosures. For example, SEIU reported more than $4 million in direct contributions to the 501(c)(4)s in September filings, but those contributions were later scrubbed from an October campaign report, according to the Secretary of State’s complaint.

Patrick Wright, a senior legal analyst with the free market Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the fine was an appropriate conclusion for an election battle “that started off ugly and ended ugly.”

The SEIU earned about $6 million per year from the forced dues program established by former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm. It was willing to spend big money to preserve it, according to Wright.

“They were willingly bend the rules to set the scheme up in first place, so their attempts to continue it through questionable campaign finance is in no way a shock,” he said. “Clearly it was a major income source and they were loathe to let it go.”

The fine is the second highest campaign finance violation in Michigan history. Former Democratic congressman Mark Schauer was forced to pay the state more than $225,000 for taking excessive contributions from his state Senate campaign fund in 2009. Schauer is now running for Michigan governor.

Wright said that the large amount indicates that the union recognized the state had powerful evidence of campaign malfeasance.

“They seem to be clearly admitting fault. The amount of money seems to indicate that the culpability was rather clear and that they’re hoping this will go away,” he said.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Secret Report Details Utter Failure Of MA ObamaCare Exchange

Secret Report Details Utter Failure Of Massachusetts ObamaCare Exchange – Breitbart

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Everything about ObamaCare is wrapped in lies, evasions, and obfuscation. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully never had to go through this many layers of cover-up to get at the truth.

That’s true of the state exchanges as well as the federal operation. For example, the Boston Herald had to use a crowbar to pry a secret “not for public release” report out of the Massachusetts Health Connector… a report so carefully buried that even exchange board members were unaware of its existence. The Herald gives us a good idea of why this report had to be kept from the public, while a shorter, somewhat less damning – but still “blistering” – was released:

There was never any actual performance testing of the website before it went live Oct. 1 – a failure that “should have been enough to delay its launch,” said Joshua Archambault of the Pioneer Institute. “Yet the state moved forward anyway, and we have witnessed the anxiety and pain these problems have caused”;

There was no accountability for staffers for failing to perform;

The project wasn’t properly coordinated. “People that were supposed to be talking to each other weren’t,” said Bill Curtis, the chief scientist at CAST Software; and

Even early on in the project, MITRE analysts found, the site was displaying the same glitches that would later plague applicants when they tried navigating.

“To sum it all up in one word – amateurish,” Curtis said. “There’s a lot more
information, and some of it is fairly alarming. It really looks like the first report is an
executive summary. The second report really provides all the details… some of which makes you suspect they found even more things.”

So ObamaCare managed to be an epic disaster even in a state that already had RomneyCare up and running. Nobody involved with this clusterfark gave a second thought to the inconvenience, anguish, and waste of time they dumped on the public by pulling the trigger on a system that was nowhere near ready for launch – either in states like Massachusetts, or Washington D.C.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Obama Refuses To Deport Fugitive Brothers Who Funneled $90,000 To His Campaign

Obama Refuses To Deport Fugitive Brothers Who Funneled $90,000 To His Campaign – Jammie Wearing Fools

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Maybe we should start talking about the Isaias brothers instead of the Kochs.

The donations kept pouring in: hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to President Obama and more than a dozen members of Congress, carefully routed through the families of two wealthy brothers in Florida.

They had good reason to be generous. The two men, Roberto and William Isaias, are fugitives from Ecuador, which has angrily pressed Washington to turn them over, to no avail. A year after their relatives gave $90,000 to help re-elect Mr. Obama, the administration rejected Ecuador’s extradition request for the men, fueling accusations that such donations were helping to keep the brothers and their families safely on American soil.

“The Isaias brothers fled to Miami not to live off their work, something just, but to buy themselves more mansions and Rolls-Royces and to finance American political campaigns,” President Rafael Correa of Ecuador told reporters last month. “That’s what has given them protection,” he added, an allegation the Obama administration and members of Congress reject.

So we have fugitives funneling money to Obama and nobody seems to care.

Donations from the relatives of criminal suspects have proved vexing before. In 2012, Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign said it would return more than $200,000 raised by relatives of a Mexican casino magnate who had fled charges in the United States and sought a pardon to return.

The White House says that the decisions in the Isaias case are not influenced by donations.

Of course not. Even the NY Times, which reports this, is instead obsessing over the Kochs, two men who are legal citizens who’ve broken no laws. Yet these fugitives give thousands to Obama and get protection. We’re officially living in a banana republic.

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Obamacare News Roundup… The Leftist Nightmare Continues

February Numbers: 6.2 Million Lost Insurance Thanks To Obamacare; 4.2 Million Sign Up For New Obamacare Plans – Gateway Pundit

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In February 2014, Karl Rove reported in the Wall Street Journal that 6.2 million Americans have lost their health care plans:

Mr. Obama saw the firestorm that erupted last fall when Americans lost their health policies because their policies didn’t conform to ObamaCare’s requirement for “essential benefits” and other mandates. Based on a flurry of reports and estimates that have come out since October, Jim Angle of Fox News says that 6.2 million have lost their health coverage so far.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that 4.2 million Americans have enrolled in health care plans.

Some 4.2 million people enrolled in health-care plans using government portals as of last month, the Obama administration said Tuesday, leaving millions more sign-ups needed this month to meet the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment targets.

Around 943,000 people picked plans in February, down slightly from 1.14 million who chose plans in January, a decrease that federal officials attributed to February’s shorter length.

That means two million more Americans are without insurance today than when Obamacare started.

Nice job, Democrats.

More… And, 900,000 enrolleesv still haven’t paid for their coverage.

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Obama Secretly Waives The Individual Mandate For Millions, Tries To Hide It From Public View – Right Scoop

Wow. The administration is more politically desperate than thought. Now they are waiving the individual mandate in secret and intentionally trying to conceal it:

WSJ – ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare’s wave of policy terminations qualified as a “hardship” that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.

But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”

This lax standard – no formula or hard test beyond a person’s belief – at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that “you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance,” which only requires “documentation if possible.” And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.

Keep in mind that the White House argued at the Supreme Court that the individual mandate to buy insurance was indispensable to the law’s success, and President Obama continues to say he’d veto the bipartisan bills that would delay or repeal it. So why are ObamaCare liberals silently gutting their own creation now?

The answers are the implementation fiasco and politics. HHS revealed Tuesday that only 940,000 people signed up for an ObamaCare plan in February, bringing the total to about 4.2 million, well below the original 5.7 million projection. The predicted “surge” of young beneficiaries isn’t materializing even as the end-of-March deadline approaches, and enrollment decelerated in February.

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Obama To People Who Can’t Afford Obamacare: Give Up Your Phone Or Cable To Pay For It – Weasel Zippers

Shared sacrifice?

(Washington, D.C.) – The President recently participated in a health care town hall with Spanish-language media. He responded to a question received via email, from a consumer who makes $36,000 per year and cannot find insurance for a family of three for less than $315 per month. The President responded that “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill… it may turn out that, it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”

According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums for millions of Americans. Ehealthinsurance reports that consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented. The high cost of policies is contributing to the continued weak enrollment numbers under the law, which are now showing signs of decreasing with less than 3 weeks left to enroll. When he sought the Presidency, Mr. Obama said his plan would deliver affordable care that people would be “desperate” to purchase. – See more at: http://www.thelibreinitiative.com/press/president-choose-between-cable-phone-or-health-care#sthash.Sccqkr8C.dpuf

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Georgia’s House Just Voted To Nullify Obamacare – Conservative Tribune

All across the country, the movement to stop Obamacare is spreading like wildfire. Doctors and hospitals, along with private businesses, are in open rebellion over this destructive monstrosity.

At the state level, governments are doing everything they can to undermine the law through the courts and through legislation. We’ve already seen attempts by Missouri and South Carolina to “nullify,” which, in a broad sense, means to undermine federal law.

Now, the state of Georgia is attempting to use the same legislative strategy that these other states are employing to keep Obamacare from being enforced in the state.

The legal basis for these attempts is what’s known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, which is a constitutional doctrine articulated by the Supreme Court in Printz and Mack vs. United States that simply states that Congress cannot commandeer states’ resources, agencies, and other state actors in the enforcement of federal law.

These laws make this explicit by prohibiting state officials from carrying out Obamacare in any way, shape or form. This would effectively gut the law by making its implementation in the state impossible.

Via Freedomworks:

The bill, H.B. 707 passed with an overwhelming 115-59 majority and travels now to the State Senate, where a solid Republican majority should be able to pass the bill.

The legislation effectively nullifies ObamaCare by stopping state and local officials from assisting in the law’s implementation in any way. This would stop Medicaid expansion in the state, stop the health insurance exchange, and would make it very difficult for the Obama Administration to force Georgians into the one-size-fits-all federal program.

Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe had this to say about the bill’s passage:

“The passage of this ObamaCare nullification bill would not have been successful without the relentless efforts of grassroots activists across Georgia. They’re the ones that insisted their legislators listen and pass this bill. If and when the bill passes the State Senate, Georgia will be a model for other states who want to effectively push back against the federal health care takeover.”

This is great news. States are using all available legal resources, including important legal doctrines like the anti-commandeering doctrine that spring from principles of federalism, to fight back against federal overreach. We need other states to follow the example of South Carolina, Missouri, and now Georgia to stop Obamacare dead in its tracks before it ushers in more developed forms of socialism.

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Leftist Union Parasites Threaten To Rape Company Manager’s Daughter, Hurl Racial Slurs At Security Officer

Union Thugs Threaten To Rape Company Manager’s Daughter, Hurl Racial Slurs At Security Officer – Weasel Zippers

Typical union goon behavior.

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Via Red State:

In the latest development of a more than year-long labor dispute in Vancouver, the National Labor Relations Board has accused picketers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4 of a multitude of horrific acts which include violence, threats of rape and implied harm to children, as well as racial slurs toward company security officers.

These acts, according to The Oregonian include the pinning of a security officer’s legs under a moving vehicle, blocking drivers’ vision and causing permanent eye injury to a security officer, reckless pursuit of company vans, as well as threatening a manager’s daughter with rape and “implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would ‘see his children at school’ and asking, ‘are (his) children okay today?’”

The labor dispute began in February 2013, when United Grain Corporation – a wheat exporter that runs a terminal in Vancouver, Washington – locked out 44 ILWU workers following six months of “fruitless negotiations” and after an ILWU member allegedly sabotaged the company’s equipment. [...]

In addition to the acts alleged by the NLRB, the union has used religious leaders to accuse the company of sins, “including the sin of ‘theft in stealing the right to work,’ the sin of ‘heartlessness in failing to acknowledge the humanity of their workers’ and the sin of “manipulation in hiring replacement workers who need the money.’”

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Leftist Incompetence Update: Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating… Again

Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again – Big Government

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Less than a year after suffering a major investment downgrade, Chicago has been downgraded again. Moody’s Investment Services announced Tuesday that it was lowering Chicago’s rating from A3 to Baa1, three levels above junk bond status.

Last July, Moody’s downgraded Chicago from Aa3 to A3. President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown now has the lowest municipal bond rating of any city in the U.S. except bankrupt Detroit.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as White House Chief of Staff for President Obama from 2009 to late 2010, and who is close to Bill and Hillary Clinton, has struggled to tackle the city’s looming pension crisis.

Through he reached an agreement with sanitation workers to reform the city’s garbage collection system, he has struggled to work with teachers’ unions and has not been able to rally the city behind broader municipal financial reforms.

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Leftist Intolerance Update: Obama Regime Wins Fight To Have Christian Home-School Family Deported

Team Obama Wins Fight To Have Christian Home-School Family Deported – Weasel Zippers

The Romike family doesn’t have the values the Administration wants for legal immigration.

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Via Fox News

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the United States in 2008 seeking political asylum. They fled their German homeland in the face of religious persecution for homeschooling their children.

They wanted to live in a country where they could raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs.

The Romeikes were initially given asylum, but the Obama administration objected – claiming that German laws that outlaw homeschooling do not constitute persecution.

“The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society,” the Justice Department wrote in a legal brief last year. “Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the Romeike’s appeal – paving the way for the Christian family of eight to be deported.

“I think this is a part of the Obama administration’s overall campaign to crush religious freedom in this country,” said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. His organization is representing family.

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Christians Vow Civil Disobedience If Home-School Family is Deported – Townhall

Christians in an east Tennessee community are vowing to engage in civil disobedience if the Obama administration initiates deportation proceedings against a Southern Baptist family from Germany who sought asylum in the United States so that they could home school their children.

“It may require civil disobedience with this bunch,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), who represents the congressional district where the Romeike family lives.

“I am furious about this,” the congressman told me. “You’ve got law-abiding people who did everything right who simply want to home school their kids. We used to be that great shining city on a hill. There’s some rust on that city if we are doing free people this way.”

Roe was among many Tennesseans outraged over the Supreme Court decision not to hear the Romeike’s appeal to stay in the United States. The Christian couple sought asylum in 2008 after they fled Germany so they could home school their children.

The family was initially granted asylum, but the Obama administration objected – claiming that German laws that outlaw homeschooling do not constitute persecution.

“The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society,” The Justice Department wrote in a 2013 legal brief. “Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.”

Rep. Roe told me the Justice Department needs to “butt out.”

“I don’t know what the Germans are thinking, but we’re not Germany,” he said. “I don’t want to be Germany. I don’t want to be Europe. I want to be America. And right now we’re not acting very much like the America I know with the administration we have.”

Roe called Attorney General Eric Holder “one of the most dangerous people in the country” and called his department’s assault on the Romeike family “appalling and worrisome.”

“I don’t see this as a Democrat or Republican issue,” he said. “It’s an issue of religious freedom. By golly, if we don’t stand for what, what do we stand for?”

Michael Farris, the chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, is representing the family. He said their future in the United States rests with the Obama administration.

“President Obama has the ability to say they can stay,” Farris said. “He can take that pen and piece of paper and make this right today.”

But since that hasn’t happened there are two possible outcomes for the Romeikes and their six children.

Farris said the administration could just ignore the family and let them live in peace. But the government could also file an order of deportation. If that happens, Farris promised a vigorous fight.

“If they come after this family and seek deportation orders, we will be there with our litigation team fighting every step of the way,” he said. “It sounds like their friends and neighbors will be there in a show of solidarity and stand in the gate and prohibit the government from acting.”

And Farris isn’t speaking figuratively. A number of the Romeike’s neighbors in Morristown, Tenn. told me they are prepared to engage in civil disobedience should government agents try to deport the family.

“The Romeikes have become a part of our family,” said Dean Haun, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Morristown, where the family attends. “I don’t think there’s any question that there will be some people who will be willing to stand with them to the very end – even if it means our imprisonment.”

The Southern Baptist pastor said should that day come, he would be counted among the local residents willing to go to jail to save the family from deportation.

“If that’s what it took, yes,” the pastor said. “This is an assault in the face of Christianity in America.”

“This is one of those situations where we are just outraged,” he said. “We are angered.”

He said the Romeikes are beloved in the east Tennessee town – where Uwe is the church pianist as well as an ordained deacon.

“They are not on welfare,” he said. ‘They are not trying to live off our system. They are very productive, godly, Christian people.”

Roger “Sing” Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, told me he was deep distressed by the Obama administration’s actions.

“I’m not sure what’s more chilling – that this administration views their presence in rural east Tennessee as a threat to our nation’s economic and political well being or that this administration lobbied to deport this family to a nation determined to coercively indoctrinate the children in government sanctioned ‘tolerance’ training,” Oldham said.

Oldham said the case is simply perplexing.

“This family is the antithesis of this administration’s political agenda – a heterosexual married Christian couple desiring to teach their biblical values to well-grounded children,” he said. “For whatever reason, our government does not want them in our nation.”

State Rep. Tillman Goins told me the community is “up in arms.”

“Everybody in Morristown knows the Romeike family,” he said. “You have a family who is doing it the legal way, taking every legal step they can to ask to come to this country and to participate as citizens in this country – only to be persecuted by the United States.”

Goins introduced a resolution calling on Tennessee’s congressional delegation to defend the family.

“I don’t know if all religious liberty is under attack in this country,” he said. “It seems like Christian values are under attack more than any other religion.”

Should the day come when the immigration agents show up to take the family away, Goins said he would meet them at the front door.

“Let’s hope that it doesn’t get to that point,” he said. “(But) should it come down to it – absolutely.”

And Morristown Mayor Danny Thomas would be standing alongside the state lawmaker.

“I can tell you this – I would stand with them,” he said. “There has to be a way to work this out before it ever comes to that.”

The mayor said there are no finer folks in his town than the Romeikes.

“They are good citizens without a doubt,” he said. ‘I don’t think you’ll find anyone with a better work ethic – kind, gentle people. I know that he has deep religious beliefs and he wants to stay and so does his family. I would hope our country would be able to accommodate them. They are an asset to our country.”

Farris predicted that if the Romeikes are deported, it would spark a movement among religious liberty supporters.

“If they come for this family, it’s going to ignite a movement that’s going to be the same as when they told courageous Rosa Parks to go to the back of the bus and she wouldn’t go,” Farris said.

“I think we may be approaching a similar moment in our country.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: 33% Of American Voters Say They’ve Been Personally Hurt By Obamacare

Already… 33% Of American Voters Say They’ve Been Personally Hurt By Obamacare – Gateway Pundit

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Already, one in three American voters say they’ve been personally hurt by Obamacare.

Rasmussen reported:

One-in-three U.S. voters now says his or her health insurance coverage has changed as a result of Obamacare, and the same number say the new national health care law had a negative personal impact on them.

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 56% regard it unfavorably, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This includes 16% who view the law Very Favorably and 41% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Favorable opinions of the law are down from 45% two weeks ago and are the lowest measured since late December. Unfavorables hit an all-time high of 58% in mid-November. Favorables fell to a record low of 36% in that same survey.

Thirty-three percent (33%) now say their insurance coverage has changed because of the new law, up a point from January and the highest finding since last July.

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Obamacare Cuts Home Healthcare For Millions Of Seniors – Washington Times

President Obama’s mendacious political promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” continues to cast a long and disturbing shadow of doubt and confusion over millions of Americans who have lost coverage as a result of Obamacare. As 2014 unfolds, the most vulnerable senior citizens – those who receive home health care services – are about to learn they are out of luck. Obamacare opens a trap door under them, leaving this elderly population in freefall – with many citizens losing access to home health care.

Add another compelling reason to reverse Obamacare. Whether by accident or intention, the “Affordable Care Act” empirically strips America’s oldest and poorest cohort, all part of the World War II generation, of this basic coverage. Here is how.

On Jan. 1, Medicare’s home health care services, formerly serving 3.5 million elderly beneficiaries across the country, were cut under Obamacare. The cut deleted exactly 14 percent, or an estimated $22 billion, from these lowest-income Americans over four years. News of the forthcoming cut only trickled out the Friday before Thanksgiving, yet another stunning attempt by the Obama White House to reduce Medicare benefits without attracting notice.

Guess what? We noticed. This cut does irreparable damage to recipients of Medicare’s home health care services, those who are aged, homebound and sicker than the average Medicare population. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Medicare home health care users live at or below the federal poverty level, meaning they are the most economically compromised of America’s precious senior citizens.

This cut is an indictment of White House policies. Home health care agencies have always provided services to homebound Medicare beneficiaries. No hoopla, but when these Americans needed skilled care, they got it. In contrast to expensive hospital care, critical health care services got into millions of American homes via clinicians. Home health care was – and still is – vital. It is also now effectively gone for these Americans.

How did home health care save money for taxpayers? Using 2009 as a reference year, Medicare’s average Part A and Part B payment for a home health care visit was $145, compared to $373 per day in a skilled nursing facility or a whopping $1,805 per day in a hospital. In addition, according to one leading expert, skilled home health care services saved the Medicare program $2.8 billion during the most recent three-year period. Approximately $670 million of that savings is attributable to 20,000 fewer hospital readmissions.

Given these facts, one would conclude that the value of home health care in driving down Medicare costs should be obvious, if this – and not a single-payer system – were the real goal of Obamacare. How did we lose sight of common sense? Just keep patients in a familiar surrounding – their homes, not in an expensive hospital – keep sound disease management programs that deliver better and more cost-effective outcomes, and continue to coordinate care for patients. That was working. Now we have the reverse – markedly higher medical and insurance costs, with absolutely no institutional connection, support or continuing benefits for these especially needy Americans, the ones who depended – with their families – on critical home health care benefits. The president and his Democratic surrogates in the House and Senate have done it again: They have wiped out another critical, working system with this Obamacare monstrosity.

What else will this home health care cut achieve? It will hit the small businesses that provide home health care nationwide, and is already doing so. More than 90 percent of those providing home health care are small businesses. According to the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 40 percent of these companies will be operating “at a loss” – that is, they will likely fold or end up in bankruptcy – by 2017 as a result of the cut. What does that mean? It means nearly 5,000 more Medicare home health care providers may go out of business, and nearly 500,000 more jobs within this flogged industry may be wiped out to fund Obamacare. Those who care about such things should put that into their future unemployment calculations – and then thank Mr. Obama and his congressional friends, who all got a waiver and probably do not worry about home health care anyway.

Attacking our weakest senior citizens is no way to run a country. It is, in a word, reprehensible. This abomination devastates another existing and essential Medicare promise, while throwing one more gut-wrenching punch at this job sector. Does the truth no longer matter? Do these lives no longer matter? Do these businesses and jobs no longer matter? When will Mr. Obama and his allies in Congress let up and allow Americans to look after themselves again, as we used to quite well?

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M

Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M – Fox News

Maryland could end up spending as much as $30.5 million as a result of a glitch in its ObamaCare website, as the Obama administration steps in to help states with problematic exchanges.

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Because of Maryland’s defective exchange, the state cannot determine whether customers remain eligible for Medicaid, according to a report by state budget analysts released Thursday.

As a result, the state has agreed with the federal government to a six-month delay in determining eligibility, meaning that payments will continue to be made to customers who are not eligible until the system is fixed. The delay will cost the state $17.8 million in fiscal 2014 and $12.7 million in fiscal 2015, the analysts estimated.

On Friday, the Obama administration said it would suspend some Affordable Care Act rules to help the 14 states with their own ObamaCare sites, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oregon, which have had the most problems.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan, completed a day earlier, states the federal government will help pay for “qualified” health-insurance plans for customers in those states who because of “exceptional circumstances” had to buy plans outside of ObamaCare exchanges, as reported first by The Washington Post.

The administration made the change before the end-of-March deadline for Americans to enroll in ObamaCare this year.

In Maryland, the exchange cannot convert income data from the existing Medicaid enrollment system into a calculation needed to review whether enrollees are qualified “because of a variety of system architectural flaws,” according to budge analysts.

The exchange has been plagued by computer problems that have made it difficult for people to enroll in private health care plans since its debut Oct. 1.

State officials have decided to stick with the exchange through the open enrollment period that ends March 31 but is evaluating alternatives with an eye toward the next enrollment period that begins in November.

Among the possibilities is adopting technology developed by another state, joining a consortium of other states, partnering with the federal exchange or making major fixes to the existing system.

Thirty-six states use the federal HealthCare.gov site, which crashed and had other major problems in the first two months of enrollment.

The Maryland report said the state may need to develop an interim solution while a long-term solution is being developed. However, that process would likely take at least nine to 12 months, pushing up against the next open-enrollment period.

The report also states the development of the exchange was “a high risk undertaking” from the outset, in large part because of contractors woes, tight deadlines, constantly evolving requirement and its need to interface with work-in-progress federal databases.

The administration changes this week are not the first to ObamaCare, to be sure.

In November, Obama helped Americans about to lose policies because they didn’t meet new minimum requirements by allow the substandard plans to be sold through the end of this year.

And administration officials has twice this year given medium- and large-sized employers more time to offer health insurance to most full-time workers.

However, the change this week is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has agreed to help pay for policies bought outside the new exchanges.

The coverage in the outside policies would have to be comparable to those offered on the exchange. And customers would have to start paying premiums, then get the subsidies after the state exchanges could determine their income eligibility.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange official told The Post earlier this week that roughly 7,000 applications are stuck in state’s system, but all of them might not need insurance and that officials were still looking over the administration’s offer.

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45-State Study: Obamacare Offers Less Choice, Higher Prices, Breaking Another Promise – Washington Examiner

A new and comprehensive comparison of health insurance options offered by Obamacare versus private websites finds that President Obama’s program offers less choice and higher prices than promised by the White House and leading Democrats.

Adding to the list of broken health care promises, the study from the National Center for Public Policy Research found that there were more and cheaper options available on websites outside the health insurance exchange in 2013 than on healthcare.gov and state Obamacare exchanges.

The report, “Obamacare Exchanges: Less Choice, Higher Prices,” looked at options available for a 27-year-old single person and a 57-year-old couple in metropolitan areas across 45 states.

The report found that a 27-year-old male had about 10 more policies to choose from on eHealthinsurance.com and finder.healthcare versus the exchange. The older couple had about nine more policy choices.

Ditto for the cost findings, with the 27-year-old male having access to 32 policies that cost less than the cheapest Obamacare offering, and the 57-year-old couple access to 29 cheaper policies.

“In general, consumers had substantially more policies to choose from on private websites such as eHealthinsurance.com and Finder.healthcare.gov than they presently have on the exchanges,” said the study.

“Obamacare supporters, including the president himself and Nancy Pelosi, claimed the exchanges would yield more choice and lower prices,” said the study’s author, David Hogberg. “This study shows those claims do not stand up.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, describes itself f as a “non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.”

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House Subcommittee Chairman: Obama Administration Policy Would Eliminate Half Of All Existing Medicare Part D Plans – Daily Caller

The Obama administration’s new proposed rule for Medicare Part D would eliminate half of all Medicare Part D plans and raise prescription drug premiums for millions of seniors by up to 20 percent, according to a U.S. House subcommittee chairman.

“Today, the average senior has 35 different [Medicare Part D] plans to choose from this year. This rule would reduce that choice to two plans. 50% of the plans offered today will be gone, and the health care that seniors like may go with it,” House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Pitts said in a statement at a Feb. 26 hearing attended by a top administration health official.

“Limiting seniors’ choices like this will inevitably lead to higher costs. By some estimates, the restriction on the number of plans that can be offered could cause premiums to rise by 10%-20%. Costs to the federal government may increase by $1.2-1.6 billion according to a study by Milliman,” Pitts said. “… I urge Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner to rescind this rule.”

The study Pitts cited also showed that the new rule would increase out-of-pocket drug costs for 6.9 million seniors who do not qualify for low-income subsidies, and would raise federal taxpayer costs for six million seniors who do qualify.

President Bush signed Medicare Part D into law in 2003 to subsidize prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Daily Caller reported that the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently introduced a new proposed rule on the Federal Register called “Medicare Program: Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs.”

The new rule “would revise the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C) regulations and prescription drug benefit program (Part D) regulations to implement statutory requirements; strengthen beneficiary protections; exclude plans that perform poorly; improve program efficiencies; and clarify program requirements,” according to the Federal Register.

The rule states that it also aims “to implement certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

The new rule’s stated desire to “strengthen our ability to identify strong applicants for Part C and Part D program participation and remove consistently poor performers” would give the Obama administration new authority to limit health insurance and prescription drug providers under the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.

The rule would also violate the Medicare Part D’s law’s “non-interference provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from interfering with the negotiations between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and sponsors of prescription drug plans,” according to testimony by American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, violating “congressional intent.”

Rep. Pitts expressed confusion and anger at CMS’ new rule.

“CMS itself says that 96% of the Part D claims it reviewed showed seniors saved money at preferred pharmacies, and nearly 25,500 seniors in my district have chosen Part D plans with a preferred pharmacy network. Yet CMS would take that away from them,” Pitts said.

“The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is a government success story. Last year, nearly 39 million beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan,” Pitts said.

“Competition and choice have kept premiums stable. In fact, in 2006, the first year the program was in effect, the base beneficiary premium was $32.20 a month. In 2014, the base beneficiary premium is $32.42 – a 22-cent increase over 9 years – and still roughly half of what was originally predicted,” Pitts added. “More than 90% of seniors are satisfied with their Part D drug coverage because of this. African-American and Hispanic seniors report even higher levels of satisfaction, at 95% and 94%, respectively.”

“The program has worked so well because it forces prescription drug plans and providers to compete for Medicare beneficiaries – putting seniors, not Washington, in the driver’s seat. Part D should be the model for future reforms to the Medicare program,” Pitts said.

House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton joined with Pitts at the hearing in criticizing the new rule.

“The proposed rule, issued on January 6, 2014, appears to be a direct assault on the competitive structure of the program. It inhibits the ability of plans to obtain discounts for beneficiaries, limits the range of market segments in which they may compete, and usurps the responsibility of states to license those able to prescribe. This 700-page proposal makes numerous changes,” Upton said.

CMS principal deputy administrator Jonathan Blum testified that limiting Part D sponsors to providing only two plans per region will “promote needed clarity of plan choices for beneficiaries.”

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Leftist Corruption Update: 30 States Wage War On ‘ObamaCore’

30 States Wage War On ‘ObamaCore’ – WorldNetDaily

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories about Common Core, the controversial new educational agenda aimed at imposing federal government standards on every aspect of public and private education in America, which some are even calling “ObamaCore.” The first part spelled out the high stakes for parents, students and education. The second part followed the money trail behind Common Core.

The battle over the deceptively titled Common Core State Standards Initiative, or CCSSI, is raging, and the rhetoric is fierce. Supporters of the national standards have called their opponents “right-wing nuts” and “black helicopter” types.

“All of us get lumped together as ‘the fringe,’ ‘the far right,’ tea partiers,’ etc.,” said Jane Robbins, co-author of the report “Controlling Education from the Top: Why the Common Core is Bad for America.”

“When they don’t have the facts on their side they resort to ad-hominem,” she said.

Opponents of Common Core claim it is the product of progressive elitists who want to put all children under control of federal government bureaucrats. That view was reinforced when a panelist at the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress discounted the opposition as only a “tiny minority,” claiming such views should be ignored because “the children belong to all of us.”

The term “Common Core” has become “toxic,” according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He continues to support the standards in spite of a unanimous resolution by the Republican National Committee in April 2013 to oppose them. Huckabee told state education leaders at a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers: “Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.”

So far, Arizona, Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania have followed his advice, eliminating the name “Common Core” from their state standards.

‘White suburban moms’

Education Secretary Arne Duncan claims opposition to Common Core is coming from “white, suburban moms” who are suddenly discovering their children are not “as brilliant as they thought they were.” When Duncan’s comments went viral, “white, suburban moms” quickly found many defenders in the blogosphere and opinion columns.

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In January, Duncan spoke to a gathering of curriculum professionals. As he lectured them on the distinction between standards and curricula, he asserted that “not a word, not a single semi-colon of curriculum [sic] will be created, encouraged, or prescribed by the federal government.”

But Duncan’s pep talk to curriculum specialists about their role in implementing the standards only increased the perception that it is indeed a federal, not a state, initiative. George Will noted in his Washington Post article “Doubts Over Common Core” that when the federal government initiates top-down “reforms” in education, any mistakes that result are “continental mistakes.”

Will stated the obvious: “National standards must breed ineluctable pressure to standardize educational content. Targets, metrics, guidelines and curriculum models all induce conformity in instructional materials.”

Indeed, textbook companies now advertise “Common Core Editions,” and educational testing companies provide “Common Core-aligned” standardized tests.

The link between the national SAT test and Common Core was forged when the College Board, which puts out the placement test for college-bound students, hired David Coleman as president. The Gates and Mott foundations gave Coleman’s nonprofit, Student Achievement Partners, money to write the standards, which were commissioned by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.

The new College Board assessments will start rolling out this year with the redesigned PSAT. The new SAT is scheduled for 2015. The once-venerable Iowa Test of Basic Skills is now Common Core-aligned, and even the GED is getting its first makeover since 2002 so it will line up with the standards.

Teachers withdraw support

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Fearing this link between the national standards and high-stakes testing, the board of New York’s teachers union voted unanimously Jan. 25 to withdraw its support for the national standards “as they are being implemented.” The union board also declared no confidence in Education Commissioner John King Jr., a Common Core backer, and asked the Board of Regents to remove him. Union leaders urged the state education department to make “major course corrections to its failed implementation plan” and enact a three-year moratorium on the testing.

The Board of Regents responded to the concerns by giving public schools five more years to implement Common Core. Public school teachers will not be held accountable for student test scores for two years.

There is some movement in Congress to oppose the CCSSI. On Jan. 30, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., introduced Senate Bill 1974. It is now in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on which Roberts sits.

The bill, titled the “Learning Opportunities Created at the Local Level Act,” would prohibit the federal government from coercing states to adopt education standards like Common Core. The act would forbid the federal government from intervening in a state’s education standards, curricula and assessments through the use of incentives, mandates, grants, waivers or any other form of manipulation.

Roberts opposed the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant program, and he and nine other senators have gone on record against spending any federal funds to develop education curriculum or standards, including the Common Core. Given the present make-up of the Senate, Roberts’ efforts may not gain much headway in Congress.

The real battle against Common Core is being waged in the states. As of Feb. 8, edu-blogger Mercedes Schneider had identified legislative action on the Common Core in 30 states.

“Legislators in most of these 30 states are advancing bills to halt the testing consequences of a CCSS that they admittedly do not understand – and for which they must now count the cost,” Schneider wrote.

Initially, the only states that didn’t compete for Race to the Top funds were Alaska, North Dakota, Texas and Vermont. For Texas legislators, that wasn’t enough. They wanted to ensure the State Board of Education would not follow Alaska’s example and adopt Common Core anyway. In June, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed H.B. 462, effectively banning the Common Core State Standards from Texas schools. The bill had passed by a 140-2 vote in the Texas House.

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Some states are now delaying implementation of the standards, such as New York. Illinois has bills in both legislative chambers to delay implementation. Colorado’s legislation would delay them until public hearings have been held. Rhode Island wants to study and evaluate the standards.

After its Board of Education voted in 2010 to adopt the CCSSI, Indiana became the first to align its teacher preparation standards to Common Core. However, even members of the state legislature’s education committees didn’t know much about what the adoption entailed until they started hearing from alarmed parents when the standards began to impact school curricula.

Opposition spreads

As opposition to the standards spread, former Indiana Superintendent of Instruction Tony Bennett visited tea-party meetings around the state to defend them. His Democrat opponent in the 2012 election, Glenda Ritz, told parents she wanted to “pause” adoption of the Common Core.

When election results came in, Bennett was out, in spite of the $90,000 reportedly given by the Gates Foundation to fund pro-Common Core advertising on Indiana TV and radio. Last May, newly elected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill delaying adoption of the Common Core. In January, the Indiana Senate Education and Career Development Committee voted to send a measure to the Senate floor to repeal the Common Core Standards. If the state legislature passes the bill, it would charge the State Board of Education with developing by July 1 new “college- and-career-ready standards,” a favorite phrase with the pro-Common Core faction.

Erin Tuttle, founder of the grassroots Hoosiers Against Common Core, told the Indy Star that the State Board of Education should not make a few tweaks and slap the label “Indiana Standards” on any new guidelines. She said parents will notice if their children are assigned homework that looks like Common Core.

“Parents will be outraged. They will feel tricked,” he said.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been an active advocate of Common Core, not only in Florida but across the country. His nonprofit, Foundation for Educational Excellence, which received $500,000 from the Gates Foundation in 2010, has lobbied for the Core and sent letters to state legislators in embattled states.

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Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project, said Jeb Bush “is the ‘big gorilla’ behind the Common Core movement.”

“Bill Gates is the financier, but Jeb Bush is the one who is twisting the arms of all of these Republican governors and legislators around the country not to do the right thing and regain local control,” Robbins said.

In 2013, after he was voted out as Indiana school chief, Bush’s protégé, Tony Bennett, was appointed Florida’s Education Commissioner. His tenure didn’t last long. He resigned after eight months when it was discovered he had been involved in a plan to improve the school evaluation grade of an Indiana charter school run by Christel DeHaan, a major donor to the Republican Party and to Bennett.

Now the question is whether Bush’s influence in Florida is strong enough to stop efforts there to repeal Common Core. A bill to prohibit the State Board of Education from continuing to implement the Common Core Standards has been introduced in the Florida House, which convenes March 4. The bill (H.B. 25) would stop implementation until certain requirements are met for the adoption or revision of state curricular standards. It also would prohibit Florida from implementing Common Core-aligned assessments.

Common Core supporters are hoping H.B.25 won’t go anywhere. It’s being held in the House and Senate education committees until a companion bill is offered in the Senate. Karen Effrem, co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, said a Senate companion bill has been written and will be submitted.

Effrem said that since Florida is “the land of Jeb Bush,” if these bills pass “it would be a huge shot in the arm to the anti-Common Core movement not only in Florida, but in the rest of the country.”

“And that is why ‘the powers that be’ are fighting us so hard.”

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Scathing report

The Heritage Foundation, Heartland Foundation, Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project, which produced the scathing report on Common Core, “Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America,” are all providing intellectual bullets and moral support to those on the battle lines. Co-authors of the APP report, Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins, have been traveling around the country to speak to groups that are fighting the standards.

Robbins said proponents of Common Core did not anticipate how much opposition they would face.

“They thought people would be sheep and roll over and accept what the experts told them to do; but it hasn’t turned out that way,” she said.

Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee now have bills in their state legislatures to halt or abolish the standards.

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Leftist Corruption Update: CA Democrats Block Expulsion Of State Senator Convicted Of 8 Felonies

Culture Of Corruption… Dems Block Expulsion Of Legislator Convicted Of 8 Felonies – Flopping Aces

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Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That adage has more application than usual in California, where Democrats hold all of the statewide offices and supermajorities in the legislature. They can enact any policies they want, with only the judicial branch offering belated checks on their power. And when I say belated, that’s literally the case with state Senator Rod Wright, whom a jury found guilty in January of committing eight felonies regarding his residency and eligibility for the office he held.

Normally, politicians who get that kind of a verdict have the decency to resign. If not, the body in which they serve would almost assuredly eject them – but not California Democrats:

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a move to expel their Democratic colleague Sen. Rod Wright by sending a Republican proposal to the Rules Committee, where it could permanently stall.

Sen. Steve Knight, a Republican from Palmdale, introduced a resolution to expel Wright from the Senate because a jury found him guilty of eight felonies last month for lying about living in the district he represents.

“This will be precedent-setting,” Knight said as debate on his measure was being quashed on a 21-13, mostly party-line vote.

Democrats insist that Wright does not need to resign until after sentencing, because the judge could overturn the verdict. That’s a possibility, but it’s rare. Judges almost always abide by the verdicts of juries in criminal cases, especially because they have the opportunity themselves to dismiss charges if they determine that the state has not met its burden of substantiating the charges for a jury to find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the past, a jury verdict of corruption has been enough to press for resignations from the California legislature. Democrats insisted yesterday that a resignation wasn’t necessary because Wright has been stripped of his committee assignments, and – I’m not making this up – he’s on paid leave, and apparently only since Tuesday.

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