Thanks Barack… Illegal Aliens Benefitted From Up To $750M In Obamacare Subsidies

Senate Report: Illegal Aliens Benefitted From Up To $750 Million In Obamacare Subsidies – Weasel Zippers

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Didn’t Obama say illegal aliens would not be getting subsidies?

Via Fox News:
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Illegal immigrants and individuals with unclear legal status wrongly benefited from up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies and the government is struggling to recoup the money, according to a new Senate report obtained by Fox News.

The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, “the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.”

Keep reading

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Obamanomics Update: President Asshat Releasing $4 Trillion-Plus Budget For 2017

Obama Releasing $4 Trillion-Plus Budget For 2017; New Taxes And Spending – CNS

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President Barack Obama is unveiling his eighth and final budget, a $4 trillion-plus proposal that’s freighted with liberal policy initiatives and new and familiar tax hikes – all sent to a dismissive Republican-controlled Congress that simply wants to move on from his presidency.

The budget will be released Tuesday morning, the same day as the New Hampshire primary when it’s likely to get little attention. It comes as the deficit, which had been falling over the duration of Obama’s two terms, has begun to creep up, above the half-trillion mark.

The White House is countering the worsening deficit outlook with a proposed $10-per barrel tax on oil that would finance “clean” transportation projects. It also is sure to propose taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Long gone are proposals such as slowing the automatic inflation increase for Social Security benefits and other ideas once aimed at drawing congressional Republicans into negotiations on a broader budget deal.

Now, Obama has broken out a budget playbook filled with ideas sure to appeal to Democrats: A “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer; increasing Pell Grants for college students from low-income backgrounds; renewed incentives for GOP-governed states to join the expanded Medicaid system established under the health care law, and incentives to boost individual retirement accounts.

The $10-per-barrel tax hike proposal comes as the price of crude has dropped to the $30 per barrel range.

“We’re going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil – imported, exported – so that some of that revenue can be used for transportation, some of that revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that’s going to be needed for the energy sources of the future,” Obama said. “Then 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now, we’re going to be in a much stronger position when oil starts getting tight again, prices start going up again.”

Republicans, however, immediately rejected the idea after its release last week and it will meet the fate of prior dead-on-arrival proposals such as increasing capital gains taxes on the wealthy, imposing a fee on big banks, and cutting the value of charitable deductions for upper-income taxpayers. Higher cigarette taxes and a minimum 30 percent rate for wealthier filers have also gone nowhere.

Obama’s proposed tax increases also mean that he can present relatively reasonable deficit estimates without having to go for painful cuts to benefit programs such as Medicare, health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, food stamps, and Medicaid health care for the poor.

The budget deficit, after hitting a whopping $1.4 trillion in Obama’s first year, dropped to a relatively manageable $439 billion last year. But a softening economic outlook, combined with a round of tax cuts and increased spending enacted by Congress last year, will make the deficit problem about $1.5 trillion worse over the coming 10 years, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate.

CBO’s “baseline” deficit – what it expects would occur if Congress does nothing – would now total almost $10 trillion over the coming decade.

The White House hasn’t revealed what, if anything, Obama will propose to address the worsening deficit picture. In its budget roll-out, the White House has instead focused on new spending initiatives. The plan is also likely to call for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, highly unlikely in an election year.

On Monday, Obama proposed $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus, asking for the money immediately as emergency spending on top of the $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill that passed in December. The virus is spreading rapidly through Latin America. While most people experience either mild or no symptoms, Zika is suspected of causing a devastating birth defect – babies born with abnormally small heads – and the funding is aimed at fighting its spread both abroad and in the U.S.

Obama has largely shifted his focus elsewhere. After winning a higher income tax rate in 2013 on couples earning more than $400,000 per year, Obama and Republicans have battled over relatively small increases to the less than one-third of the budget passed by Congress each year. Republicans seeking higher spending for the Pentagon have been forced to accept Obama’s demands for additional funds for domestic agencies.

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Federal Dumbassery Alert!

Congress Wants To Turn The US Postal Service… Into A Bank – Zero Hedge

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It’s news that seems ripped from the pages of The Onion. Or perhaps Atlas Shrugged.

But incredibly enough it’s actually true: earlier this week, Congress proposed a new law authorizing the US Postal Service to provide banking and financial services.

It’s called the “Providing Opportunities for Savings, Transactions, and Lending” Act, abbreviated as… wait for it… the POSTAL Act.

And it provides explicit authorization for them to provide banking services including checking and savings accounts, money transfers, and “other basic financial services as the Postal Service deems appropriate in the public interest.”

Bank of the Post Office. It’s incredible when you think about it.

The US Postal Service hasn’t turned a profit in a decade.

As a matter of fact, its total accumulated losses now exceed $51 billion, easily ranking it among the least successful companies in history.

And the only way USPS can continue to maintain its operations is with regular bailouts from the American taxpayer.

The statistics are just horrendous. Mail volume is down dramatically, which means that revenue continues to fall.

Yet the Postal Service’s expenses and pension costs keep growing, along with its debt.

Just like the US government, the US Postal Service has its own debt ceiling that’s set by Congress.

USPS reached this debt ceiling back in 2012 and has remained at that level for years.

The only way they survive is by moving liabilities off-balance sheet and regularly going back to Congress with hat in hand.

Wow, talk about a responsible financial partner – this sounds like EXACTLY the place we should want to deposit our hard-earned savings!

Seriously, why would these people even consider an idea so absurd as to let an organization with a history of failed operations take over people’s savings?

Simple. It’s a cheap source of capital.

The Postal Service desperately needs cash. So what better way to raise capital than to sucker unsuspecting Americans into opening up Postal bank accounts?

When you deposit money in a bank, you are effectively loaning the bank your money.

In exchange, they pay you a whopping 0.01% interest.

This is what almost all banks do – they borrow money from depositors and (hopefully) make credible investments and loans with other people’s money.

Except in this case, the Postal Service needs to ‘borrow’ depositors’ savings to cover losses from its other operations.

There’s a term for this. It’s called a Ponzi Scheme.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses

U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses – Truth Revolt

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UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.

According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.

What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.

“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.

Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,

Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.

While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.

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If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money…

If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money… – Investors Business Daily

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Energy: There’s no shortage of points to pick apart in the president’s final State of the Union, as we’ve done above. But one deserves close scrutiny: Obama’s claim that he “reinvented our energy sector.”

In the middle of a lengthy section of a speech spent patting himself on the back, Obama talked about how successful his energy policies have been.

“Listen,” he said, “seven years ago we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.” Then he went on to list “the results”:

Wind power is cheaper, solar panels are a fixture on more rooftops, oil imports dropped by almost 60% and “we cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.” And then he added, to self-satisfied chuckles on the Democratic side of the aisle: “Gas under 2 bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

But up until very recently, Obama was telling the country that low gas prices were an impossibility. “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” was his mantra for years. He was emphatic about it.

“Anyone who says we can drill our way out of this problem does not know what they are talking about, or does not know the truth,” he said at a 2012 event in New Hampshire.

The reason, he said, was that we use 25% of the world’s energy but have just 3% of the oil reserves. So the only solution was mandatory conservation and spending billions on the “energy of the future.”

Turns out it was Obama who didn’t know what he was talking about. We did, in fact, “drill our way” to lower gas prices. Thanks to fracking, oil companies are now able to produce vast amounts of previously unrecoverable oil.

In the past seven years, domestic oil production shot up a stunning 77%, according to the Energy Information Administration, making the U.S. the biggest oil producer in the world.

That’s why gas prices are low today. And why oil imports have dropped so sharply. And none of it had anything to do with Obama, who tried to hamper oil production whenever he could – blocking Keystone, restrictions on federal lands, EPA attempts to hinder fracking.

Indeed, moments after bragging about low energy prices, Obama said he’d push to raise them, “to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

Fracking is also why we’ve cut carbon emissions, because it sharply lowered the price of natural gas, which in turn let power plants switch from carbon-heavy coal to low-carbon gas.

Yes, Obama did pour billions of dollars into wind and solar subsidies, and various state governments added still more to sweeten the pot. And what did the country get for all that money?

Solar and wind still account for just 24% of renewable energy supplies and a tiny 2% of total energy production, government data show.

And, incredibly, more than half of the gains in solar and wind under Obama were offset by declines in hydroelectric power — a clean, renewable energy source that environmentalists happen to detest.

So after spending billions subsidizing solar and wind, the share of our energy that comes from renewables is the same as it was when Obama took office.

Exactly the same.

The U.S. has a bright energy future despite Obama, not because of him.

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Feel The Bern: Commie Candidate And Wife Steered Campaign, Nonprofit Money To Their Family And Friends

Sanders And Wife Steered Campaign, Nonprofit Money To Family And Friends – Washington Free Beacon

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Bernie Sanders and his wife have on numerous occasions steered money from organizations under their control to friends and family members, public records show.

The payments benefitted the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate, his stepdaughter, and the son of a former colleague in city government whom Sanders has described as a close friend.

Sanders, a self-described socialist, is now running for the presidency on an anti-corruption platform, decrying public officials’ attempts to use their positions for personal financial gain.

Following 16 years as a member of the House, Sanders was elected to the Senate in 2006. His political campaigns were an early vehicle for payments to his family members.

According to Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, Sanders’ House campaigns paid her more than $90,000 for consulting and ad placement services from 2002 to 2004. She pocketed about $30,000 of that money.

Her daughter Carina Driscoll, Sanders’ stepdaughter, also drew a salary from the campaign. She was paid more than $65,000 between 2000 and 2004, according to her mother.

After working for the campaign, the senator’s wife would come under scrutiny for expenditures at Burlington College, where she was hired as president in 2004. While she led the school, it paid six-figure sums to her daughter and the son of a family friend.

Burlington College offered its students a study abroad program in the Caribbean, according to tax filings. It reported spending about $47,000 on that program in the tax year beginning in mid-2008.

Around that time, the son of Jonathan Leopold, a Burlington College board member, purchased a small resort in the Bahamas called Andro’s Beach Club and an accompanying hotel, Nathan’s Lodge.

Leopold served with Sanders in the Burlington city government – as mayor, Sanders appointed Leopold city treasurer – before becoming embroiled in scandal involving millions of dollars in payments to a Burlington telecommunications company.

Sen. Sanders has described Leopold as so close a friend as to be considered “family.” He reportedly discouraged Sanders’ socialist impulses early in their careers. Efforts to reach Leopold were unsuccessful.

Shortly after Leopold’s son, also named Jonathan, purchased the resort, Burlington College began writing it large checks for all-inclusive stays for its study abroad students.

The younger Leopold later said during a deposition related to a lawsuit filed by a student who was injured at the rest that he conducted boat tours and snorkeling trips “on behalf of Burlington College.”

From 2009 through 2011, when O’Meara Sanders stepped down as president of the school, it paid the resort about $68,000, according to annual tax filings. The payments stopped the year after she left the position.

Her departure was a source of controversy. She reportedly overstated pledged contributions to the school in order to secure a loan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. The diocese lost between $1.5 million and $2 million on the deal, according to local reports.

By that time, the school had paid huge sums to the Vermont Woodworking School, which is run by Driscoll. The college eventually paid the school more than $500,000 for classes at its Fairfax, Vt., campus, about 30 miles from Burlington.

Burlington College even established a Master of Fine Arts program in woodworking with leased space at the school as its major facility.

Tax filings show that the college continued paying the woodworking school in the year after O’Meara Sanders left, but stopped doing so the year after that.

The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Would Create 2.7M Jobs, Add $663B To Economy Annually

Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Worth $663 Billion Annually – Daily Caller

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Opening federal lands for natural gas, oil, and other drilling would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study by Louisiana State University and the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“We’ve seen a steady decline in lease sales year over year in the Obama administration… if not for oil and gas production on private and state lands, there would be no economic recovery,” said Thomas J. Pyle, the President of IER, in a teleconference with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The permit time it takes to drill on federal lands is over 200 days, that compares with 14 in North Dakota and 4 in Texas. As a result, production on federal lands has lagged behind.”

An executive summary of the study given to The Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that opening federal lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy. Over a 30 year period, this would create and support 2.7 million new jobs. More than 75 percent of the jobs would be in high-wage, high-skill employment, and many would be “support” jobs outside the energy industry.

The study is an update and expansion of a 2013 study that estimated that opening drilling would only be worth $450 billion over the next 30 years.

To put these numbers in perspective, the US military budget in 2015 was $598.5 billion.

Despite the lack of open drilling on federal land, the United States became the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015. This drastic change stems largely from America’s increased production of oil and natural gas due to new hydraulic fracturing techniques.

America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve – the Green River Formation in Colorado. Three-fourths of the formations is on federal land so it has remained largely untapped. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil shale, half of which may be economically recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined, and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than production in 2008.

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Obama’s HHS Gave Sweetheart Deal To Firm Linked To Medical Data Fraud

Feds Gave Sweetheart Deal To Firm Linked To Medical Data Fraud – Daily Caller

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell awarded a rarely used open-ended sole-source contract to a firm whose corporate owners were embroiled in a $400 million fraudulent medical data scheme that cheated doctors and consumers, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

The company Burwell selected is Optum Labs, which is part of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary. Andrew Slavitt, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was formerly a top Optum executive at the time of the fraudulent database involved in the scheme. The database enabled insurers to pay dramatically lower reimbursements to doctors and patients for out-of-network care.

Optum and UnitedHealth Group settled the landmark fraud case with then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in 2009 and paid out a record $400 million. Optum Labs – which is one of nation’s largest medical data analytics companies – was not a party to the settlement.

Under the contract, Optum Labs will provide HHS with 160 million administrative claim records it accumulated over 20 years and 40 to 50 million electronic medical records it collected over the last seven years, according to Optum Lab spokesman Jeffrey Smith. Some of the records to be given to HHS are part of the database involved in the 2009 settlement, Smith says.

Cuomo – now New York’s Democratic governor – said at the time of the settlement that Optum and UnitedHealth Group had “ripped off patients” by rigging out-of-network reimbursements to providers and consumers. “Too many people have been hurt,” he said.

UnitedHealth Group’s insurance division, United Healthcare, is the nation’s biggest health insurance company and warned last month it may stop participating in Obamacare in 2017 due to unexpectedly large financial losses.

Slavitt left Optum to join CMS as deputy administrator and became acting administrator when Marilyn Tavenner stepped down after the troubled launch of Obamacare. Obama nominated Slavitt as the permanent administrator July 10, 2015, but a confirmation vote has yet to be taken in the Senate.

Slavitt was granted a rare “ethics waiver” by the Obama administration that permits him to rule on issues involving past employers. American Commitment, a conservative non-profit advocacy group, recently delivered to the Senate more than 20,000 letters it generated demanding rejection of Slavitt’s nomination.

It was clear from the beginning of the award process Burwell’s choice for the contract was Optum Labs. In a May 29 public notice, she declared the contract would be awarded without any competition, declaring, “this is a notice of intent, not a request for a quote. A solicitation will not be issued and quotes will not be requested.”

Optum Labs has hundreds of rivals. There are 971 health IT companies registered with the federal government under the same service code in which Optum Lab was awarded the account.

Burwell added in the May 29 notice that the sole-source contract also was a “blanket purchase agreement,” (BPA) which means the contract will provide continuous government orders without competing bidders. No dollar amount is specified for the contract.

Federal officials aren’t required by BPA procurement rules to issue any public notice or solicitation when the contract is up for renewal. The contract is for one year, with options to renew over the following four years. It started in September of this year.

“This seems like another example of the revolving door paying off for a contractor, and more proof that who you know might be more lucrative than what you know,” Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, tells TheDCNF.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, tells TheDCNF that “sole-source contracts by their nature raise questions about whether the taxpayers are getting the best deal.”

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance that oversees Obamacare, demands the administration justify its decision to offer Optum Labs a sole-source contract.

“The administration should be explicitly transparent about the reasons for any sole source contracts, and especially here where the firm getting the contract has been controversial,” Grassley tells TheDCNF.

“Companies would love to get that contract because it means that there won’t be any on follow-on competition and the agency will place their orders only with them,” says a 30-year senior procurement officer in an interview with TheDCNF.

The procurement officer who requested anonymity tells TheDCNF that “when they say ‘sole- source,’ that means they’re not going to look to other people. They’re not going to consider anyone else. They’re going to go straight to who they’re going to pick.” He requested anonymity because he is barred from speaking on the record due to his governmental post.

“A sole source BPA is an instrument that any company would be probably would be happy to have. Let’s not kid ourselves,” the procurement officer tells TheDCNF.

American Commitment president Phil Kerpen says “it’s rather remarkable that a division of Andy Slavitt’s UnitedHealth Group, Optum Labs, has now gotten an open-ended contract from HHS.”

Kerpen points to the ethics waiver that allows Slavitt to make decisions involving his former employers as an especially important factor in questioning the Optum Labs sole-source award.

“I think that certainly the perception of corruption is one reason why the unusual ethics waiver from the administration is so inappropriate. You now have a top executive of a company that does business every day, both as a regulated entity and as a vendor, with a top executive right there in the building,” Kerpen says.

CMS officials insist Slavitt is not involved in the Optum Lab contract. But an HHS spokeswoman refused to make public the memorandum of understanding between the department and Optum Labs.

The Optum Lab contract is with an obscure HHS operation called the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The House Appropriations Committee zeroed-out the agency in June. The bill is in the Senate awaiting action.

Republicans charge AHRQ duplicates many other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health for which congressional Republicans have increased funding.

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Conservative Maine Government Doubles Down On Successful Welfare Reform Policies Despite Leftist Whining

Maine Doubles Down On Welfare Reform Despite Media Backlash – Daily Signal

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Mary Mayhew, commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, knows her politics aren’t always popular.

“I can’t stress enough what an attack campaign it has been from the media for four and a half years,” Mayhew said Thursday at an anti-poverty forum in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Heritage Foundation.

Then there are the more personalized critiques: “There is a poet, or he calls himself a poet, and he sends me poems all the time,” she added. “They are not nice poems.”

Mayhew claims that detractors – who mostly take issue with welfare reforms enacted by Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, since his election in 2011 – have gone so far as to call her “Commissioner Evil,” and her and LePage’s policies a “War on the Poor.”

The irony, according to Mayhew, lies in the fact that her and LePage’s efforts actually aim to empower Maine’s poorest citizens. She says a third of the state is on welfare.

“The welfare hurricane doesn’t just destroy one family; it destroys generations of them,” Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, said at the event Thursday. “This work is about giving children a better chance for a future.”

To illustrate that point, Mayhew told a story of one of her first days on the job as DHHS commissioner, spent touring a substance abuse treatment facility for adolescents:
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I was taken aback by one of the youth who came up to me – it was actually several youth, who were just completely focused on whether I could help them get disability. These were 15-year-old, 16-year-old young men clearly battling addiction, but they had decided that the answer for them was to pursue disability. And, frankly, as we all look at that pathway, that truly is committing individuals to a lifetime of poverty.

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Since LePage assumed the governorship, Maine has reduced enrollment in the state’s food stamp program by over 58,000; currently, according to Mayhew, there are 197,000 people on food stamps, down from a high of 255,663 in February 2012.

Mayhew says the decline is due to eliminating the waiver of the work requirement previously attached to food stamps, as also witnessed in Kansas. Under the new legislation, recipients would need to work 20 hours per week, volunteer for about an hour a day, or attend a class to receive food stamps past three months.

LePage and Mayhew have also rolled back Medicaid eligibility through a series of battles Mayhew called “fierce.”

With a population of roughly 1.3 million, Maine had 357,000 individuals receiving Medicaid benefits when LePage took office. Today, 287,000 people are on Medicaid, according to Mayhew.

“What we have done truly has taken the arguments to the public to underscore what has been lost as that program grew out of control, never mind that the resources that had to be devoted to Medicaid were being taken away from education, infrastructure, and reduced tax burden on the state of Maine,” Mayhew said.

In August, Maine DHHS announced they planned to redirect $3.24 million in welfare savings to fund home care services for elderly citizens as well as the Meals on Wheels program.

Lastly, Mayhew touched upon Maine’s efforts to retool the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card programs, stating that Maine had over 15,000 open TANF cases when LePage took office. That number is down to less than 5,000.

LePage’s and Mayhew’s policies, as Mayhew herself highlighted, have not been without controversy.

Earlier this week, amid an ongoing dispute over EBT cards being used to wire money abroad, critics accused the LePage administration of using last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris to justify reforms.

“This proposal is really an example of fear-mongering at its worst,” Robyn Merrill, executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners, told MPBN News.

But Mayhew does not plan to back down – especially if it means reducing her own influence long-term, and shifting that responsibility to local non-profits.

“I can’t underscore enough that part of the issue is government is too big, my agency is too large, and people are trying to preserve their jobs,” she said.

“We have got to reduce the size and scope of these agencies if we are going to have communities really take on the responsibility of supporting these families and these individuals on those pathways [to independence].”

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5 Muslim Foreigners Caught On Ohio Turnpike With Credit Card-Making Machine

5 Foreign Nationals Arrested On Ohio Turnpike; Passports Taken – WOIO

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Five foreign nationals arrested on the Ohio Turnpike will be back in court on Thursday. The men are scheduled to appear at a pretrial hearing in Newton Falls Municipal Court at 10 a.m.

Jibril Abdiselam, 24; Mohammeddeq Hassan, 27; Mahamoud Mohamed, 26; Zakaria Warsame, 25, and Said Abu were charged with possessing criminal tools and forgery.

The arrests happened Friday, Nov. 13, in Braceville Township near Lordstown in Trumbull County.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said troopers pulled over a car going east on the turnpike for making an improper lane change. During a search, troopers found a machine that helps create and duplicate credit cards, WKBN reported.

They are being held in the Trumbull County Jail on $25,000 bond each. The five men, who are from the Columbus area had to surrender their passports.

Police don’t know what country the men are from or where they were heading.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Clinton Foundation Failed To Report $20M In Donations From Foreign Governments

Clinton Foundation Failed To Report $20 Million In Donations From Foreign Governments – Weasel Zippers

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Gee, I wonder why she left that out?

Via Free Beacon:
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The Clinton Foundation failed to report $20 million in donations from governments to the Internal Revenue Service, newly refiled tax returns show.

Reuters reported that the foundation disclosed the $20 million it received from governments, most of them foreign, between 2010 and 2013 when it and a spin-off organization refiled tax returns from six years to fix errors.

The Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation did not previously separate out its donations from governments on old tax returns as is mandated by the IRS.

The foundation refiled tax returns from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 and a charity spun off from the foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, refiled its own returns from 2012 and 2013 after both were found to have made errors reporting funds from foreign governments. The revelations about inaccuracies came just as Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate for president, endured scrutiny for the millions of dollars that her family foundation has received from foreign governments.

Keep reading

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*VIDEO* Fox Business GOP Presidential Primary Debate (11/10/15)

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11 Of 23 Obamacare Co-Ops Have Collapsed, Leaving Half A Million More Americans Without Health Insurance

Obamacare Doomsday? ‘Collapses’ Drop Half-Million Americans – WorldNetDaily

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About half of Obamacare’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or co-ops, have imploded, leaving nearly half-a-million Americans looking for new health coverage.

And instead of addressing the problem, the Obama administration is pretending it doesn’t exist.

That’s the assessment of Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who recently wrote about the spate of failures in the Wall Street Journal.

“When it passed Congress in 2010, the Affordable Care Act offered substantial financial support to create nonprofit health-insurance plans. Today 11 of the 23 such regional Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans have failed – seven since the beginning of October,” Smith wrote.

“They’ve collapsed despite federal startup loans totaling more than $1.1 billion. These loans will likely never be fully repaid, while insurers and consumers will be on the hook for any unpaid claims left behind by failed insurers,” he added.

The congressman estimates 400,00-500,000 Americans lost their coverage in those 11 failed co-ops.

In an interview with Radio America, Smith says the co-ops were doomed from the start.

“I think they were improperly structured. They were allowed to charge too low a premium, not reflecting the actual costs. They thought the original subsidies – or loans if you will, but let’s face it, they’re subsidies, especially since they’re so unlikely to be repaid. That wasn’t enough,” said Smith, who is fuming more as he learns how these collapses transpired.

“The more I am learning about this entire situation, the more offensive it is, and this is just one part of Obamacare,” Smith said.

The congressman said what galls him most is that the government forced many people out of coverage they liked and then left those same people out in the cold.

“The thing that bothers me the most is when a good, upstanding citizen is doing everything they’re supposed to do to be a responsible individual,” Smith said. “Yet they are faced with canceled coverage, or they’re faced with a penalty for taking care of themselves.”

Adding to Smith’s frustrations is what he believes is utter indifference to the problem from the Obama administration.

“We had a hearing earlier this week, and the chief of staff from [the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services] was our witness,” Smith said. “[Dr. Mandy Cohen] sent the message that everything is just fine in the Obamacare co-op arena.”

He said it’s quite obvious that co-ops are not “just fine.”

“It’s not a win,” Smith said. “Nearly half of the co-ops have collapsed and that’s from New York to Nevada. Ours, with Nebraska and Iowa together, we were the first to collapse a year ago. Now we see them collapsing at a much quicker pace.”

How can the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, say all is well when almost half the co-ops have failed?

“In a very dismissive manner, I have to say, and it’s disappointing,” Smith said. “I started asking questions almost a year ago and HHS is not offering any answers.”

Not only is the government doing little to help, in some circumstances it is actually pushing co-ops to their deaths.

“The administrators of the Nebraska-Iowa plan saw a larger number of people sign up for their plan than they originally anticipated,” Smith said. “So they requested permission from HHS to suspend enrollment, to basically cap that at a number they figured was more manageable. They were prohibited by HHS from capping the number of enrollees.”

The congressman said that hastened the demise of the Nebraska-Iowa co-op. He said HHS did give permission for the Tennessee co-op to cap enrollment, but it collapsed anyway.

In the meantime, Smith is sponsoring legislation that would protect those who lost coverage with the failure of the co-ops from being fined by the IRS for not having coverage as mandated by federal law.

He believes all of Obamacare will eventually crater, but he hopes too many people aren’t hurt in the process.

“Ultimately, I think it collapses under its own weight,” he said. “I just want to do everything I can to minimize the damage in the ensuing time. That’s what weighs heavy on my mind is that the heavy hand of the federal government is actually hurting the very people Barack Obama was saying he was wanting to help.”

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Looks Like Governor Moonbeam Has Committed An Impeachable Offense

Analysis: Jerry Brown’s Oil Scandal Is An Impeachable Offense – Big Government

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California Gov. Jerry Brown appears to have committed an impeachable offense in using state experts to study the potential for oil development on his private property, as uncovered by the Associated Press on Thursday.

California public ethics laws forbid elected officials from using state resources for personal or political gain.

Section 8314 of the California Government Code indicates: “It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer… to use or permit others to use public resources for… personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.”

The term “public resources” includes equipment, vehicles, computers, and “state-compensated time.” The lawsuit that first exposed Gov. Brown’s personal use of state experts alleges that he diverted scarce state resources.

Violations are to be punished by civil penalties of $1,000 per day for each day of the offense, plus triple the value of the diverted resources.

Though not a criminal offense, Brown’s apparent violation would be an impeachable offense.

California Government Code Section 3020 specifies: “State officers elected on a statewide basis, members of the State Board of Equalization, and judges of state courts are subject to impeachment for misconduct in office.”

Another, more difficult option would be to recall the governor, who has enjoyed high approval ratings until now.

Just as in federal impeachment, articles of impeachment have to be filed in the lower house, the State Assembly, before moving to trial in the State Senate.

However, the Lieutenant Governor, not the Chief Justice, would preside.

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Harvard Law Students OUTRAGED That School Was Built With Slaveowner’s Money… Just Not Enough To Quit Harvard

Harvard Law School Was Built Using A ‘Brutal’ Slaveowner’s Money, And Students Are Starting To Protest – Business Insider

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Slave owner Isaac Royall Jr.’s gift to Harvard college upon his death in 1781 allowed the formation of Harvard Law School.

Now, students at the law school are calling for the removal of the law school’s seal, which is the Royall family’s coat of arms, The Harvard Crimson reported.

The movement is being called “Royall Must Fall” and formally began on campus at the end of October with a rally of about 25 people.

“These symbols set the tone for the rest of the school and the fact that we hold up the Harvard crest as something to be proud of when it represents something so ugly is a profound disappointment and should be a source of shame for the whole school,” Alexander J. Clayborne, one of the law students involved, told The Crimson.

More largely, the students aims seem to draw attention to and correct the legacy of slave-owning on Harvard’s campus.

“We demand the removal of the Harvard family crest as the crest of the law school and we demand that the Royall Chair of Law be renamed as well,” Students for Inclusion, a student group on campus, wrote on its Tumblr page.

“We also demand that systemic oppression be recognized as pervasive and endemic to the law school and we demand that it be addressed by the faculty and by the student body at large.”

However, there are dissenting opinions on whether the school should change its seal.

Visiting law school professor, Daniel R. Coquillette, recently published a book called “The Saga of Harvard Law School,” which details the relationship between the Royall family and Harvard.

While he calls Royall “a coward, and a brutal slaveholder,” he doesn’t believe Harvard should change its seal.

“As a historian… you just deal with the fact that this guy founded the school and tell the truth about it,” he said. “To change things is to act like [they] didn’t happen, and that’s a mistake.”

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Marco Rubio’s Newest Billionaire Backer Is Big-Time Amnesty Proponent

Marco Rubio’s New Billionaire Backer Top Funder For Open Borders – Breitbart

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Hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer’s decision to throw his financial weight behind the donor-class 2016 favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), has sparked fresh questions about Rubio’s coziness with the financial interests funding his career.

Singer was a major financial force behind the Rubio-Obama amnesty and immigration expansion push in 2013.

As Politico reported at the time, Singer “quietly go[t] involved in the fight for immigration reform, making a six-figure donation… to the National Immigration Forum” – a George Soros-backed organization that lobbied for Rubio’s legislation to issue 33 million green cards to foreign nationals in the span of a single decade. The announcement of Singer’s endorsement highlights an intra-party tension that has emerged with new strength since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s inauguration as Speaker of the House.

There is a growing chasm between the more than 9 in 10 GOP voters, who want to see future immigration rates cut, versus GOP donors that are desperately seeking to install leaders in the White House and Congress who will further expand the nation’s already record breaking immigration rates that are transforming the country’s economy and electorate.

Upon the announcement of the Singer’s decision, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump tweeted:
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I see Marco Rubio just landed another billionaire to give big money to his Superpac, which are total scams. Marco must address him as ‘SIR’!

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Even though Rubio’s donors stand to make an enormous profit from a surge of low-wage migrant labor, Rubio has repeatedly denied that his wealthy backers have influenced his agenda. “People buy into my agenda. I don’t buy into theirs,” Rubio has said.

However, a review of several of Rubio’s top donors reveals that many of them have benefited from the Floridian’s rise to power.

Perhaps one of the most widely-criticized areas of Rubio’s campaign pledge to create “A New American Economy” on migrant labor is his support for tripling the controversial H-1B visa program.

Throughout his brief time in Washington – noted primarily for pushing the La Raza and Obama-backed amnesty bill through the Senate – Rubio has co-authored two pieces of legislaton that would massively expand the wage-depressing H-1B visa program used to replace American workers in white-collar jobs. His most recent bill – known as I-Squared – would triple the number of H-1B visas imported into the United States despite the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau reports 3 in 4 Americans trained in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are not employed in those fields. The Walt Disney Company used H-1Bs to lay off hundreds of American workers and forced them to train their low-wage foreign H-1B replacements. Disney’s CEO has endorsed Rubio’s I-Squared bill.

Trump, who has called on Disney to hire back all of Rubio’s laid-off constituents, thundered:
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Lobbyists write the rules to benefit the rich and powerful. They buy off Senators like Marco Rubio to help them get rich at the expense of working Americans by using H-1B visas – so called “high tech” visas – to replace American workers in all sorts of solid middle class jobs… Senator Rubio works for the lobbyists, not for Americans. That is why he is receiving more money from Silicon Valley than any other candidate in this race. He is their puppet.

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According to open-secrets, Goldman Sachs has been one of Rubio’s biggest financial boosters. Since 2011, Goldman Sachs was the top donor to Rubio’s campaign committee, contributing $53,200. Interestingly, Goldman Sachs is also among the top 50 corporate users of the H-1B visa, which labor experts call an “indentured servitude” program. According to USCIS data analyzed by Computerworld’s Patrick Thibodeau, Goldman Sachs is the ranked number 33 among the biggest users of the program.

Behind Goldman Sachs, Microsoft is the second largest contributor to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, donating $33,100. Similarly, Microsoft is the 12th biggest user of the H-1B program, having brought in 1,048 foreign workers on H-1Bs in 2013. Last year, Microsoft announced its plans to lay off 18,000 workers at the same time the company was lobbying to increase the H-1B program, prompting strong condemnation from U.S. Senator Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a top opponent of Rubio’s H-1B expansion plan.

Morgan Stanley has also been one of Rubio’s top financial contributors – having donated $47,564 to Rubio throughout his career. Morgan Stanley is the ranked 66th among the biggest H-1B users.

Larry Ellison, the founder and executive chairman of the Oracle Corporation, has been another one of Rubio’s financial boosters. In July, the WSJ reported that Ellison gave $3 million to the pro-Rubio super PAC. In June, Ellison hosted a $2,700 per-person fundraiser for Rubio. Oracle is the 20th biggest users of H-1B and has endorsed Rubio’s Gang of Eight and I-Squared immigration bills.

Beyond the controversial H-1B expansions, however, critics allege that Rubio’s donors have benefited in other ways from his immigration legislation. For instance, according to open-secrets, Carnival Corporation is one of the top 20 contributors to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, having donated $14,500.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Section 4606 of the Rubio-Obama immigration bill included a “backroom deal” that, “creates a new nonimmigrant Z visa to admit individuals who possess ‘specialized knowledge’ to perform maintenance on airlines and cruise ships” in place of American labor. Rubio’s top immigration lawyer during the Gang of Eight push was Enrique Gonzalez. Prior to working for Rubio, Gonzalez had formerly made his living, in part, by bringing foreign workers into the country on behalf of large corporations. Gonzalez had been a partner at the nation’s largest immigration firm Fragomen, where, as Bloomberg reports, “he helped Carnival, Viacom, and other companies obtain visas for their foreign workers.” Gonzalez features this Bloomberg article on his profile on Fragomen’s website.

Yet beyond Rubio’s legislative action on immigration, reports document how Rubio’s donors may have shaped many more of his policy platforms.

For instance, according to OpenSecrets, Fanjul Corporation is the fourth biggest contributor to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, donating $25,200. The Fanjul family has boosted Rubio throughout his career. As Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman reports, the Fanjul’s sugar empire “includes Domino and Florida Crystals… Donors associated with Florida Crystals have given Rubio at least $81,100 since 2009.” The Washington Post has described Jose “Pepe” Fanjul as part of Rubio’s “inner circle”: “Over the years, Fanjul has played a key role in raising money for Rubio and introducing him to well-heeled donors.” In April, the Fanjuls hosted a fundraiser in Palm Beach for Rubio. The cost of attending the reception and lunch was $2,700. Rubio’s closeness with the family has been well-documented, as The Daily Caller’s Joanne Butler notes, “It’s been reported that one of the first people Rubio greeted after making his presidential campaign announcement was Pepe Fanjul, Sr.”

The Fanjul family benefits from the federal government’s policies that protect of the sugar industry. The Daily Caller writes these protections have come at a cost to Americans:
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While the Fanjul family has reaped the benefits of a protected sugar industry, other Americans have paid a price in lost jobs… What we have is a special interest group with lots of political muscle to protect its industry – to the detriment of 120,000 U.S. jobs lost over the past fifteen years.

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Multiple reports have documented how the Fanjuls may have influenced Rubio’s votes. For instance, the Washington Post has described Rubio as a “major player” and one of sugar industry’s “names to know”.
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Rubio, an outspoken defender of the sugar program… courted the Fanjul family during his 2010 Senate campaign. In his 2012 memoir, “An American Son,” Rubio credited a Fanjul fundraiser on Labor Day weekend in 2009 for helping him surpass a critical early fundraising goal. This year, 60 supporters paying $10,000 each gathered on the terrace of Pepe Fanjul’s Palm Beach home to toast Rubio.

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“The Fanjuls might be considered the First Family of Corporate Welfare… they benefit from federal policies that compel American consumers to pay artificially high prices for sugar,” says a report by Time Magazine’s Donald Bartlett and James Steele.

While Rubio’s campaign rhetoric decries corporate welfare, he does not seem to mind it when it comes to the Fanjuls. As the Washington Examiner has observed, “In June 13, 2012, Rubio cast a very odd vote: he voted to save the indefensible federal sugar program… [It’s] relevant that the biggest sugar family in Florida, the Fanjuls, was supporting Rubio early in his long shot Senate race in 2010.”

The news of Singer’s endorsement may bring Rubio additional endorsements. Another donor Rubio has actively courted is Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Reports have questioned whether Rubio’s support for Sheldon Adelson’s bill to stop Americans from gambling online was intended to woo the GOP megadonor.

“Rubio signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill… raising eyebrows and prompting questions from reporters,” the Washington Post wrote. “The Florida senator has assiduously courted the billionaire casino mogul.”

Shortly after the news broke that Adelson was considering endorsing Rubio, Trump declared, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”

Adelson stands to benefit financially from Rubio’s policy of expansive immigration as well. Indeed, Nevada has the largest share of illegal immigrants of any state in the country (4.7 percent), and roughly one in five Nevada residents is foreign-born.

In a recent piece in New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait writes that Rubio is the candidate best positioned to enact the donor-class agenda. Chait writes: “Rubio has carved out a valuable niche in the Republican field as the candidate who will carry out the agenda of the party’s donor base, but who has the identity and communication skills to sell that agenda more effectively.”

Rush Limbaugh has similarly warned that “the donor-class push” is to “get rid of Trump, and have Rubio or Jeb win the White House.”

Limbaugh predicts that, with Paul Ryan as Speaker and Rubio as President, in the “first 12-to-18 months, the donor-class agenda [will be] implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want.”

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Cruz Campaign Raises $1.1M In First 22 Hours Following CNBC Debate

Ted Cruz Campaign Announces How Much Money It Raised In The 22 Hours After The CNBC Debate – The Blaze

The Ted Cruz campaign on Thursday announced it had raised $1.1 million in the 22 hours after the CNBC Republican presidential debate.

The average donation was $54, the Cruz campaign said.

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Speaking to the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” the Texas senator said “this level of support shows just exactly how energized and excited people are by our campaign.”

“Whether it’s on the stage or on the stump, we are telling the truth to the American people about how broken and unaccountable Washington is, and how it’s going to take consistent conservative leadership to get America back on track,” Cruz said. “We are seeing conservatives begin to coalesce around my campaign.”
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“It’s Tea Party groups, libertarians, evangelicals, social conservatives, and millions more who have been disappointed by the career politicians and lobbyists of the Washington Cartel,” he added. “People want to unite behind someone who will take on Washington and I believe that’s why we’re seeing such tremendous support.”

Most political pundits said that Cruz performed well during the Wednesday debate. He earned the largest applause from the crowd when he blasted the moderators for their conduct and came in first in TheBlaze’s online poll.

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EPA Pisses Away Another $1.2M In Taxpayer Money On “Environmental Justice” Grants

EPA Doles Out $1.2 Million In Environmental Justice Grants To Prepare Poor Neighborhoods For Climate Change – CNS

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the recipients of nearly $1.2 million in grants to non-profit and tribal organizations “to address environmental justice issues nationwide.”

“The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution,” the Oct. 8 press release stated.

“EPA’s environmental justice grants help communities across the country understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks at the local level,” Matthew Tejada, director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, said in the press release.”

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is a priority for EPA and the projects supported by this year’s grants will help communities prepare for and build resilience to localized climate impacts,” Tejada said.

“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” thedocument announcing the recipients of the grant funding stated.

“Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal state, local, and tribal programs and policies,” the documents stated.

One of the recipients is the Green Jobs Corps in New Haven Connecticut for “Creating a New Generation of New Haven Environmental Justice Leaders.”

The Greater Northeast Development Corporation in Virginia will use a “community-based participatory approach for southeast community resilience and adaptation to address lung health impacts exacerbated by climate change.”

In certain neighborhoods in Baltimore, Md., the grant funding will “mitigate the impacts of climate change on these communities by increasing the area of ‘green’ spaces…”

The Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago will help make the Chatham neighborhood “rain ready” to prepare for an increase of “rain events” from climate change.

Some other projects being funded include:

• A program will install solar panels in the homes of low-income residents in Colorado.

• Teaching Washington state residents about producing “locally grown food with a low-carbon footprint.”

• Educate residents of the Chickaloon Native Village in Alaska about “the connection between coal surface strip mining, transporting, exporting, and consumption in relation to climate impacts, how climate impacts are being experienced locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. “

• Ground Water New Orleans will be “teaching students to design, build, and install solar powered charging benches on or near bus stops in underserved communities.”

This grant funding dates back to 1994, according to the recipient document.

“In 1994, the Office of Environmental Justice established the Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants Program whose purpose is to assist communitybased/grassroots organizations and tribal governments that are working on local solutions to local environmental problems. Funding specifically supports affected local communitybased efforts to examine issues related to a community’s exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks.”

The document stated that the funds are divided equally between organizations in 10 regions across the country designated by EPA.

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