In what appears to be a first for a serious presidential contender, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going after five comedians who made fun of the former Secretary of State in standup skits at a popular Hollywood comedy club.
A video of the short performance, which is less than three minutes, is posted on the website of the renowned club, Laugh Factory, and the Clinton campaign has tried to censor it. Besides demanding that the video be taken down, the Clinton campaign has demanded the personal contact information of the performers that appear in the recording. This is no laughing matter for club owner Jamie Masada, a comedy guru who opened Laugh Factory more than three decades ago and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many famous comics. “They threatened me,” Masada told Judicial Watch. “I have received complains before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”
Practically all of the country’s most acclaimed comedians have performed at the Laugh Factory and undoubtedly they have offended politicians and other well-known personalities with their standup routines. Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Roseanne Bar, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Martin Lawrence, Jerry Seinfeld and George Lopez are among the big names that have headlined at the Laugh Factory. The First Amendment right to free speech is a crucial component of the operation, though Masada drew the line a few years ago banning performers – including African Americans – from using the “n-word” in their acts.
The five short performances that Clinton wants eliminated include some profanity and portions could be considered crass, but some of the lines are funny and that’s what the Laugh Factory is all about. The video features the individual acts of five comedians, four men and a woman. The skits make fun of Clinton’s wardrobe, her age, sexual orientation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the former First Lady’s relationship with her famous husband. The Laugh Factory has appropriately titled it “Hillary vs. The First Amendment.”
Masada told Judicial Watch that, as soon as the video got posted on the Laugh Factory website, he received a phone call from a “prominent” person inside Clinton’s campaign. “He said the video was disgusting and asked who put me up to this,” Masada said. The Clinton staffer, who Masada did not want to identify, also demanded to know the names and phone numbers of the comedians that appear in the video. Masada refused and hung up. He insists that the comedy stage is a sanctuary for freedom of speech no matter who is offended. “Just last night we had (Emmy-award winner) Dana Carvey doing Donald Trump and it was hilarious,” Masada said.
A group of 400 U.S. servicemen stationed in Ireland received an unexpected surprise while eating lunch at an airport.
Los Angeles-based philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz was on his way to Israel with his family when he spotted the servicemen eating standard bagged lunches, while other passengers ate at trendy restaurants. Rechnitz went straight to the commander, insisting he pay for all the servicemen to get lunch wherever they wanted.
The commander asked why.
In a video captured of the event, Rechnitz explained exactly what prompted his generosity.
“The reason is that… you guys risk your lives to protect me and my family,” Rechnitz tells the crowd of servicemembers. “If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines. That’s something that makes me proud. I’m on my way to Israel actually now. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’ll take it off my taxes, don’t worry,” he added.
The servicemen applauded.
The French Interior Minister said that more Mosques will have to be shut down in the wake of the awful terror strike.
From Huffington Post:
The interior minister of France has called for the dissolution of “mosques where hate is preached” following a string of attacks that left at least 129 people dead across Paris. Bernard Cazeneuve made the comments during an interview on French television, according to a report by MSNBC.
The minister has long been an advocate for addressing the concerns of the country’s five million Muslim residents, particularly after January’s attacks at the Charlie Hebdo office. But Cazeneuve has also made significant efforts to curb homegrown extremism. France increased surveillance at religious and cultural centers earlier this year and has been cracking down on supposed radicalization in prisons.
Around 7.5 percent of the country’s inhabitants are Muslim, but some 60 percent of prisoners are, according to a 2014 report.
France has also deported 40 imams – Islamic spiritual leaders – since 2012 for “preaching hatred.” Nearly a quarter of those deportations happened in the first six months of this year.
“Foreign preachers of hate will be deported [and their mosques] will be shut down,” Cazeneuve told Agence France-Presse earlier this year.
Now of course the liberals will howl and screech at the cessation of civil liberties, but after such a horrific attack that was obviously motivated by Islamic extremism, it’s hard to deny a civilization’s right to self-defense.
This morning, Donald Trump was interviewed by phone on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and said something that, of course, has started a cascade of hand-wringing and whining on Twitter: that he would shut down mosques. But is that what he said?
The Joe hosts were discussing the French stating that they would consider shutting down mosques that have “radical leadership” and that they can determine have “very specific ties’ to terror. Then Joe asks Trump’s opinion.
Joe: Donald Trump, the French are talking about that. Is that something that you would consider doing as President.
Trump: Well I would hate to do it but it’s something you’d have to strongly consider, because some of the ideas and some of the hatred, the absolute hatred is coming from these areas.
It’s something that many people, not me, it’s something that many people are considering and many people are going to do.
Leading up to that point, Trump talked about how previously New York City was monitoring mosque activity but have stopped under De Blasio.
Contrary to the panic on Twitter, Trump did not say, “hey let’s go close all mosques everywhere and also burn down the Koran” or anything like that.
Any reasonable nation would consider monitoring and then shutting down any institution that was a recruitment center or intelligence center for domestic terror or a foreign enemy. It is called self-preservation. Trump’s words this morning on Morning Joe are just a reiteration of something that would be obvious to any idiot. But apparently, not to any lefty looking for their Nobel Prize for Sanctimony.
Melissa Click is assistant professor at University of Missouri, but in her off time, she’s a fascist totalitarian who wants to set up a social justice warrior North Korean camp and doesn’t want any damn media to record it.
Here she is caught on camera calling for student “muscle” to take out a student journalist:
It appears that she tries to grab his camera, which comes pretty close to assault.
Amazingly, she is actually teaches communications, meaning that she would be instructing student journalists in her classroom.
She must have started to see the social media firestorm coming, because she’s protected her Twitter account:
Is funny that @melissaclick’s Twitter cover photo is a meme of her that states “Media is love. Everyone welcome!”
Yeah… she’s in trouble.
The Obama administration is praising protesters who successfully forced University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe to announce his resignation.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest praised the group of protesters for rallying together and demanding change, pointing out that Obama’s first presidential campaign was embodied by the same spirit.
“I think this also illustrates something that the president talked a lot about in the context of – in his campaign, that a few people speaking up and speaking out can have a profound impact on the communities where we live and work,” he said during the daily press briefing today.
The group of students accused Wolfe of enabling “a culture of racism” on campus and ignoring student concerns about recent events. Wolfe resigned after members of the college football team joined the protests, saying they wouldn’t suit up for the next game.
“That’s the kind of dialogue and work and unity that the Mizzou community is going to need to make progress on this issue,” Earnest said, in reaction to the decision calling it “a testament to the courage of the people on campus.”
He said that President Obama himself was unlikely to make a public statement about the events on campus, but didn’t rule it out sometime in the future. Earnest reminded reporters that he grew up in Missouri and shared his own thoughts on the situation.
“I think any state institution is a product of the state and that state’s history and there’s a very painful history – and it’s not ancient history in the state of Missouri,” Earnest said.
The list of demands by the protesters included that Wolfe “acknowledge his white male privilege” and hire more black college faculty members.
Police seized “offensive” Mohammed cartoons during a demonstration by the Dutch branch of the Patriotic European Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) movement in the city of Utrecht this weekend.
The rally, which attracted around 150 supporters, criticised the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands, with demonstrators also expressing their support for the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, a noted critic of Islamism.
DutchNews reports that police arrested 32 people at the demonstration for a variety of offences including failing to carry IDs, not following police orders and displaying “insulting banners”.
One such banner said the “Koran is poison”, while another claimed “Islamisation is EU-thanasia”.
Video footage emerged of police removing Mohammed cartoons, although their ultimate fate is unknown.
Utrecht City Council had banned the demonstrators from marching through the city so they gathered instead in a park on the outskirts of the city.
The PEGIDA marches started in Dresden, Germany last year as “evening strolls” through the streets every Monday to protest against militant and political Islam. The marches soon grew and spread across the country, but died down again at the start of this year to point where most commentators assumed the movement had petered out.
However, as the migrant crisis intensifies in Europe, especially thanks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s relaxed border policies, the marches have started again and are growing.
Authorities have hit back, however, charging founder Lutz Bachmann with hate speech for comments he made in Facebook posts back in 2014. State prosecutors in Saxony claim private posts in which Mr Bachmann uses terms such as “livestock” and “scum” to refer to migrants risked causing disturbances.
This weekend in the German capital Berlin, supporters of the anti-mass migration Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) party also held a rally criticising Mrs Merkel’s immigration policy and calling for her to resign.
The rally passed off largely peacefully, although violent scuffles broke out between police and pro-migrant counter-demonstrators.
Yale students are out in force today in protests against racism stemming from remarks the administration made about… Halloween costumes. Just so you are clear, that is not a typo. As we previously reported at Right Scoop, the kids are pretty fired up about Halloween costumes.
Today they are out by the hundreds. You might think it is crazy to be this upset about Halloween costumes, but that is only because you don’t realize there was an email.
Tensions at Yale University hit a boiling point yesterday after an email about Halloween costumes created a week-long controversy on campus.
Students called for the resignation of Associate Master of Silliman College Erika Christakis after she responded to an email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council asking students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes. According to The Washington Post, students are also calling for the resignation of her husband, Master of Silliman College, Nicholas Christakis, who defended her statement.
The idea that someone suggested that their Social Justice Warrior freakouts about costumes might be absurd has caused them to react totally reasonably by screaming in people’s faces and staging enormous pro-Halloween censorship protests. We shall overcome!
The entire thing has grown to epic proportions, as The Atlantic notes.
As you may imagine, and much like at Missouri, a huge part of the argument is about “Safe Spaces,” which is fast becoming the most absurd Orwellian euphemism for fascistic suppression of speech yet.
This is the American higher education system, folks. And soon the Democrats are going to make it “free” of charge, paid for by people with jobs who have better things to do than cry like infants about Halloween costumes they don’t like.
A professor at California State University, Northridge is appealing a finding by school officials that he retaliated against students who complained of anti-gay and anti-women discrimination after they voluntarily attended an event concerning family issues at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for class credit.
The Cal State Northridge professor is Robert O. Lopez.
The taxpayer-funded university’s office of equity and diversity conducted a secret, 245-day investigation against Lopez, a tenured associate professor of English and classics.
When Lopez was finally presented with the secret charges against him, school officials permitted him to defend himself in an interview with Susan Hua, Cal State Northridge’s Title IX Coordinator.
On three occasions during the two-and-a-half hour interview, Hua compared voluntary attendance at a conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to appearing at a Ku Klux Klan camp, Lopez told The Daily Caller.
Throughout the duration of the interview, Lopez also said, Hua did not permit him to see the actual complaint lodged against him or an official list of the charges he faced.
The Reagan Library conference occurred on Oct. 3, 2014. It was entitled “Bonds that Matter” and featured speakers discussing family issues and the rights of children.
Lopez gave an assignment to the students who opted to attend the six-hour conference. The assignment involved creating family-related exhibits drawing on in-class readings about family obligations.
“You should not be commenting on present-day debates about children’s rights, rather giving an objective view of children and family,” Lopez explained in his syllabi.
About 75 percent of Lopez’s approximately 160 students for the fall semester (across four different 300- and 400-level courses) chose to create exhibits and to attend the conference at the Reagan Library, about 40 minutes by car from the Cal State Northridge campus.
Lopez also attended the conference but was not among the five speakers. Students who chose to complete an optional writing assignment instead did not attend.
According to complaining students, conference speakers – all women – made anti-gay and anti-female statements during a question-and-answer session. These alleged statements include “women who use sperm banks are evil” and “gay people cannot be parents.”
Lopez categorically says the students are lying. He has presented a transcript of the Q & A session to prove his claim.
“Gay adoption came up a few times because students prodded the presenters on the topic, straying from the focus of the talks,” the professor has explained.
The students who prodded conference presenters about gay adoption are among the students who then complained about the issue of gay adoption being raised at the conference.
One of the complaining students, a gay English major, claimed to be so distraught after attending the conference on family issues at the conference that he could no longer continue attending Lopez’s class on Greek and Roman mythology and thus failed it.
Lopez disputes this student’s claim, primarily because the student had never enrolled in the mythology course but was instead enrolled in a course concerning American novels. Prior to the conference, the gay student missed 50 percent of the scheduled class sessions for the course in which he was enrolled, Lopez explains, and ultimately missed 85 percent of the classes. The student also turned in no assignments, Lopez says.
“It appears that the allegations against me can be summarized thus: Because I did not warn women and gays not to attend the conference I organized, I caused them to come unprepared for dangerous ideas,” Lopez wrote in his defense this summer. “In other words, the students allege the conference was sufficiently discriminatory against gays that they would have needed trigger warnings before going.”
Cal State Northridge officials cleared Lopez on all the original charges in October. They admitted that an offer of credit for optional attendance at a Reagan Library conference is not intrinsically discriminatory.
However, school officials then found the professor guilty of charges of retaliation – charges which Lopez says school officials only brought later.
In an October 2015 letter, Cal State Northridge provost Yi Li informed Lopez that he had found him guilty of a charge of retaliation by attempting “to intimidate and prevent” complaining students “from exercising their rights” to “report what they perceive to be a hostile learning environment.”
According to Li, one student now remembers that Lopez suggested there was “bad blood” between Lopez and the student. The student also claimed that Lopez threatened her by threatening to withhold an award nomination.
Lopez told TheDC that student was never eligible for any awards. He gave the student an A grade in the course, he added.
“The only thing I can think of is that she may have wanted me to write a letter of recommendation, in which case I might have told her I’m not the right person,” the professor told Campus Reform.
A charge of retaliation against students is a serious one in academia. Lopez faces the possibility of suspension without pay or outright dismissal.
Lopez describes the investigation against him – which has now persisted for nearly 400 days – as a politically-motivated witch hunt by students who oppose him because of his views concerning gay marriage and the fate of the children of gay couples.
“The case of the Reagan Library ‘affair’ is most chilling to me because it shows that universities have created a shadow legal system, in which a scholar can be labeled a ‘non-person’ for a belief he or she holds, and then everything that scholar does is tainted and open to excessive surveillance and investigation,” the professor told TheDC. “The Reagan Library event was not on campus, not mandatory for students, not funded with university funds, and not about gay issues, yet somehow the complainants created an anti-gay charge out of thin air because I organized it and I have been labeled – unfairly – anti-gay.”
The Cal State Northridge equity and diversity staff conducted a clandestine investigation against him and trained students to spy on him, Lopez said.
Lopez is an interesting case. He was raised by a lesbian couple. He is – or was – bisexual. He is now married to a woman. His critics, including the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates heavily for gay and transgender causes, have branded him as a conservative “exporter of hate.”
In 2012, Lopez wrote a piece in Public Discourse reflecting on his experiences as the child of two lesbian parents. The piece caused outrage and alarm among gay marriage advocates.
He “was emotionally very close to my mother’s lesbian partner,” Lopez told LifeSiteNews.com last month, but he was also “was alienated from my father and therefore from half of myself.”
“I oppose any agenda that compromises the sacred rights of children to their maternal and paternal lineages,” Lopez told LifeSiteNews, an anti-abortion website. “Whether it is straight or gay people doing this, I oppose it.”
Lopez has also argued in the cyberpages of American Thinker, a conservative website, that “children have an inalienable right to a mother and father, cannot be bought or sold, and are entitled to know their origins. Whether it is straight people or gay people using divorce, surrogacy, trafficking, or any other means to deny people these rights, I oppose it.”
As a consequence of his position that children deserve a mother and a father, he has been the target of harassment campaigns by gay and lesbian political pressure groups.
A faction of students at Cal State Northridge sees Lopez as a hateful bigot and wants him removed from the faculty, he told TheDC. “They feel it’s a great cause,” he said.
A Change.org petition seeking the dismissal of the charges against Lopez currently has 740 signatures.
The documents which indict Lopez have the names of the students redacted.
From July 8, 2015:
Amid Monday’s resignation of University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe, students formed a human blockade to keep out reporters.
Students protesting on the Columbia, Missouri, campus embraced efforts to establish a “safe space,” free of the media attempting to exercise its First Amendment right to cover a public event.
In addition to the “safe space” sign to warn reporters from doing their jobs, students also linked arms to form a human blockade against the press:
The move by students to keep out members of the press came as a shock to many, but left many others confused.
…I’m sick today, but I don’t think that’s why this has me confused https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:53 AM – 9 Nov 2015
A good way to (1) deter media from quoting one idiot to mischaracterize group; (2) completely undermining that goal. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:05 PM – 9 Nov 2015
Should make for interesting discussions at the esteemed Missouri j-school. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:04 PM – 9 Nov 2015
If you were wondering where Occupy went, we found it. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:58 AM – 9 Nov 2015
“Safe space.” https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:16 PM – 9 Nov 2015
This is insane. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:19 PM – 9 Nov 2015
This is a big, big problem. Hey @newseum, what do you have to say about this? #Missouri #FreeSpeech https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:58 AM – 9 Nov 2015
12:06 PM – 9 Nov 2015
“But please, press, next time we need a message to gain traction, come back!” https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:51 AM – 9 Nov 2015
What utter crap. https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
11:50 AM – 9 Nov 2015
At the home of one of finest journalism schools in the world, folks. What are we doing wrong? https://twitter.com/hochman/status/663760271781924864…
12:09 PM – 9 Nov 2015
It’s disappointing to see this response from college students, especially ones at a school with a highly regarded journalism program.
America has always prized the freedom of the press to report the news in the fairest way possible, and when students prevent that from occurring, they threaten the democratic process.
In the wake of a supposed racial controversy, the President of the University of Missouri has resigned.
The entire controversy began when a student, Jonathan Butler, began a hunger strike over alleged racial incidents. This weekend, Missouri football players decided to kind of sorta join the strike a bit. This morning, cowed faculty meekly walked out. Now the President has resigned.
The Daily Caller lays out Butler’s beef:
In a letter to school officials posted on his Facebook page, Butler indicated that he began his hunger strike because someone in a pickup truck allegedly shouted a racist insult at a black student government member, because state law prevents Planned Parenthood from performing on-campus abortions and because someone drew a swastika with human feces in a dormitory bathroom.
Some observers have suggested that the bathroom swastika may be a hoax. Why, law professor blogger Ann Althouse has asked, for example, would any dedicated racial supremacist create a swastika out of human feces?
Butler admits in the letter that none of the incidents he cites are Wolfe’s fault. Nevertheless, Butler has concluded, “as a collection of incidents at the university, they are his responsibility to address.”
This summer, prior to Butler’s decision to go on a hunger strike because of racism allegations, the graduate student’s substantially different agenda focused on a change in University of Missouri policy which ended subsidized health insurance for graduate students. To Butler’s chagrin, school officials also stopped offering certain grad student tuition waivers and tore down some graduate student housing.
At RedState, Leon Wolf takes the protesting football players to pieces in a blistering list of why they are complete posers. You should read all four points, but the conclusion is perfect.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a courageous strike against racism. It’s a lazy strike against practicing for a bad football team. The fact that the media isn’t reporting it this way is evidence of the media’s own laziness.
Nevertheless, under the pressure, the President has stepped down.
The Legion of Black Collegians and others (including football players) associated with the boycott at Missouri stemming from racial tension on Saturday published a list of demands they want met before things return to somewhat normalcy.
Here’s the list in its entirety:
1. We demand that University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a hand-written apology to Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exits, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands. We want Tim Wolfe to admits his gross negligence, allowing his driver to hit one of the demonstrators, consenting to the physical violence of bystanders, and lastly refusing to intervene when Columbia Police Department used excessive force with demonstrators.
2. We demand the immediate removal of Tim Wolfe as UM system president. After his removal, a new amendment to thd UM system policies must be established to have all future UM system president and Chancellor positions be selected by a collective of students, staff, and faculty of diverse backgrounds.
3. We demand that the University of Missouri meets the Legion of Black Collegians’ demands that were presented in the 1969 for the betterment of the black community.
4. We demand that the University of Missouri creates and enforces comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all campus departments and units, mandatory for all students, faculty, staff and administration. This curriculum must be vetted, maintained, and overseen by a board comprised of students, staff and faculty of color.
5. We demand that by the academic year 2017-18, the University of Missouri increases the percentage of black faculty and staff members campus-wide by 10 percent.
6. We demand that the University of Missouri composes a strategic 10-year plan on May, 1 2016 that will increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training, and promote a more safe and inclusive campus.
7. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding and resources for the University of Missouri Counseling Center for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals, particularly those of color, boosting mental health outreach and programming across campus, increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility of the counseling center, and reducing lengthy wait times for prospective clients.
8. We demand that the University of Missouri increases funding, resources and personnel for the social justice centers on campus for the purpose of hiring additional professionals, particularly those of color, boosting outreach and programming across campus and increasing campus-wide awareness and visibility.
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.”
It was supposed to be a “neck-and-neck” race between Tea Party-backed candidate and political newcomer Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway in the Kentucky gubernatorial race on November 3.
But Bevin crushed Conway by a whopping 9%, 52.5% to 43.8%. It was a bloodbath, with Bevin winning all but just a few counties.
If that wasn’t enough to twerk leftist Democrats and their establishment Republican brethren, the state elected another Tea Party champion, Jenean Hampton, the first black woman ever elected to statewide office in Kentucky.
But it’s not just Democrats and RINO Republicans who are threatened by these new anti-establishment, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution Kentucky leaders.
The unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats from Washington, D.C., who unconstitutionally pass rules, laws and regulations without any vote from Congress, were given a powerful two-word message from Governor-elect Matt Bevin.
The Tea Party favorite Bevin, fresh off his huge victory, appeared on The Glenn Beck Radio Program on Friday and said that in regards to the Obama EPA’s tyrannical and un-American efforts to shut down a great American industry – the coal industry – he will tell the controlist agency to “pound sand.”
“Why it is that we in Kentucky – that sit on two extraordinary basins, the Illinois basin and the Central basin, an abundance of this – how are we not participating in something that the world wants more of than they ever have?
And so, from my way of thinking, we will tell the EPA and other unelected officials who have no legal authority over us as a state, to pound sand.”
Bevin told Beck that the Constitution grants the EPA “no authority” over the state, because of the Tenth Amendment, and that the only thing the EPA can do is take the state to court because they have “no enforcement arm.”
Matt Bevin told Glenn Beck that he is fed up with the federal government “bribing us with our own money” and plans on putting a stop to it.
Lock your doors or learn your lesson, that’s the message from New Haven police.
Officers in East Rock are starting a pilot program.
“Cars will be checked for visible valuables,” said New Haven City Spokesperson Laurence Grotheer.
If they see a valuable Grotheer says they’ll take it if you car doors are unlocked. They’ll leave a note and you can pick it up at the police station property room.
“I think it might work,” said Audrey who lives in the neighborhood.
“It seems odd,” said Kristen Zalota who lives in East Rock. “It’s an interesting way to combat crime I guess.”
It seems a little invasive, I’m uncomfortable with the idea,” said Corey Hassell.
Grotheer says there’s a *caretaker* provision in state law that allows them to do it.
“There is an exemption in standard search warrant provisions to allow for this caretaker action,” said Grotheer.
With the holidays coming officers typically see a spike in car burglaries. That’s what they hope to stop with this pilot program. When I asked about some feeling it’s invasive Grotheer says they should tell the police.
“I suppose that would be part of the feedback we would get and the trial would reflect that. The results of this pilot program,” said Grotheer.
New Haven civil rights attorney John Williams says police are the ones who should learn a lesson here.
“What they’re doing here is in my judgement is not questionable a 4th amendment violation. They ought to get sued. I hope they do get sued,” said Williams.
He says this pilot program is against search warrant federal laws.
Williams saidm “In effect what they’re doing is stealing these people’s property. They have no right to enter their car at all because just because it’s not locked doesn’t mean it’s not your private property.”
Grotheer says all laws are open to interpretation.
New Haven police did not respond to our requests for interviews.
Just as detractors of President Barack Obama’s healthcare power grab predicted in the midst of Democrat lawmakers shoving their unread law down the throats of the American people, the finished product is living up to expectations: it is filled with deceit, waste, misconduct, and “a big bowl of fraud,” according to several attorneys and investigators who spoke with the ConservativeBase.com’s editor.
Although non-profit, conservative watchdog groups have frequently reported corruption, misconduct, malfeasance and deception within the Obama administration’s signature program known as Obamacare, the Democrats and their news media partners found it relatively easy to dismiss the watchdogs’ reports by claiming a right-wing conspiracy.
However, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) officials – who report to the U.S. Congress and are reputed to be nonpartisan at least when their reports prove the Democrats’ point of view – released their latest “indictment” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on Friday, the majority of denizens in American newsrooms ignored the GAO’s disturbing report describing its undercover operation.
The PPACA requires the health-insurance marketplace to review application information to verify applicants’ eligibility for enrollment and to review eligibility for income-based subsidies or Medicaid for those claiming such entitlements. The verification process includes reviewing and validating information about an applicant’s Social Security number, if one is provided; citizenship, status as a national or lawful presence; and household income and family size.
GAO investigators reported that they tested application and enrollment controls for obtaining subsidized health plans available through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) (for New Jersey and North Dakota) and two selected state marketplaces (California and Kentucky). Although 8 of these 10 fictitious applications failed the initial identity-checking process, all 10 were subsequently approved by the federal Marketplace or the selected state marketplaces.
According to GAO officials: “To perform our undercover testing of the federal and selected state eligibility and enrollment processes for the 2015 coverage year, we created 18 fictitious identities for the purpose of making applications for health-care coverage by telephone and online.18 The undercover results, while illustrative, cannot be generalized to the full population of enrollees. For all 18 applications, we used publicly available information to construct our scenarios.
“We also used publicly available hardware, software, and materials to produce counterfeit or fictitious documents, which we submitted, as appropriate for our testing, when instructed to do so. We then observed the outcomes of the document submissions, such as any approvals received or requests to provide additional supporting documentation.”
Four applications used Social Security numbers that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), have never been issued, such as numbers starting with “000.” Other applicants had duplicate enrollment or claimed their employer did not provide insurance that meets minimum essential coverage. For 8 additional fictitious applicants, GAO tested enrollment into Medicaid through the same federal Marketplace and the two selected state marketplaces, and was able to obtain either Medicaid or alternative subsidized coverage for 7 of the 8 applicants:
* Three were approved for Medicaid, which was the health-care program for which GAO originally sought approval. In each case, GAO provided identity information that would not have matched SSA records. For two applications, the marketplace directed the fictitious applicants to submit supporting documents, which GAO did (such as a fake immigration card), and the applications were approved. For the third, the marketplace did not seek supporting documentation, and the application was approved by phone.
* For four, GAO did not obtain approval for Medicaid; however, GAO was subsequently able to gain approval of subsidized health plans based on the inability to obtain Medicaid coverage. In 1 case, GAO falsely claimed that it was denied Medicaid in order to obtain the subsidized health plan when in fact no Medicaid determination had been made by the state at that time.
* For one, GAO was unable to enroll into Medicaid, in California, because GAO declined to provide a Social Security number. According to California officials, the state marketplace requires a Social Security number or taxpayer-identification number to process applications.
According to officials from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), California, Kentucky, and North Dakota, the marketplaces and Medicaid offices only inspect for “supporting documentation that has obviously been altered. So if the documentation submitted doesn’t show such signs, it wouldn’t be questioned for authenticity.
The latest survey by Rasmussen Polling shows that only 32% of likely voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Most voters (56%) continue to oppose Obamacare’s insurance requirement, and this is the highest level of opposition in nearly two years. Twelve percent (12%) remain undecided.
Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016.
When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year. The 2015 Obamacare price hike was 20.3 percent.
The Obamacare program’s federal exchange operates in 37 states where officials declined to set up state-run exchanges. Officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services, which manages Obamacare, only calculated price changes for the health insurance program’s Silver plan, thus ignoring data for the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans.
The CMS officials said they did so because the IRS uses the Silver plan as a “benchmark” for tax purposes. That approach, however, gave consumers an incomplete picture of what is happening in the health insurance marketplace through the Obamacare program.
The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
The 20.3 percent figure is the average for all plans. Premium increases in some states will be much higher. In Utah, for example, some enrollees in an individual plan will face a 45 percent price jump. In Illinois, the highest price hikes for individuals in the federal exchange will be 42.4 percent. Some insurers in Tennessee will experience a 36.3 percent price rise.
Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS 7.5 percent forecast number is “misleading and a meaningless statistic” that “isn’t actually relevant to any individual in any state. If you go across the four different metals, what happened in the Gold plan, what happened in the Platinum plan, what happened to the Bronze plan?”
Charles Gaba, a data analyst who tracks Obamacare trends and is an Obamacare supporter, reported earlier this year that Obamacare consumers in all 50 states will experience an average 14.4 percent increase. His analysis can be found on his web site, acasignups.net.
“I was hoping they would include all of the rates,” Gaba told TheDCNF. “I would love it ideally if they had all the medal levels.”
Gaba called the CMS price analysis, “fairly representative, but there’s the Gold, the Platinum, the Bronze, the catastrophic plan even, and there’s also a variety of Silver plans. So there are a bunch of different ones in addition to the benchmarks which they did not include.”
The difference between premium cost projections based only on the Silver plan and those that result from using all four plans can be dramatic. Silver enrollees in Pennsylvania, for example, will experience a 10.6 percent increase. Using all four plans, the average price hike for Obamacare enrollees is 20.3. Time Insurance Co. pulled out of Obamacare after state officials rejected its 61 percent increase request.
South Dakotans using Silver will pay 24.7 percent more this year. But among all exchange users in the state, the average increase will be 39 percent. Dakota Care hiked its Obamacare exchange prices 63 percent for 2016, while Blue Cross Blue Shield raised its rates by 43 percent.
In South Carolina, the Silver increase will be 10.8 percent, compared to 23.4 percent when all four plans are considering.
Some worrisome trends appear when specific Silver plan offerings are measured against other medal levels. The National Conference of State Legislators has begun tracking Obamacare price hikes by levels.
In Colorado, for example, Silver customers will see a 12.94 percent price hike. But Gold users will face a 20.33 rate increase and Platinum enrollees will see a 29.80 percent price rise, according to NCSL data.
Idaho Silver customers will have an 8.69 percent increase. But Bronze customers will face 11.03 percent rise and Gold will face 15.9 percent, according to NCSL. Idaho did not offer Platinum coverage for 2016.
The mainstream media was quick to embrace the 7.5 percent number, claiming it reflected the real- world experience of most Obamacare customers. The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reported in a story filed last Saturday that “the [CMS] analysis includes all plans being sold in the 37 states that will continue to rely on the federal exchange next year.”
In fact, Platinum, Gold and Bronze price changes were excluded from the federal analysis.
Thomas Miller a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS is “always trying to put the best face on things going forward.” But, he said, “you got your initial press release. Only a few people catch up with what might be the final results.”
What is the Obama administration exceptionally good at? Meddling and playing favorites.
Sure, there’s a long list of other things they have become known for, but they seem to actually enjoy those two. They especially enjoy playing favorites when it involves one of their special-interest darlings.
Too often, this administration has been caught using government resources, or agencies to reward their friends, and punish their enemies. Of course, this habit paints a lovely backdrop for the following:
There was an application for a building permit in Pittsfield Township, Michigan (Population, 35,000). In 2011, the elected officials weighed this against their Zoning master plan, and unanimously rejected the request. The land was zoned “Residential” and only small-scale schools were within the scope of the zoning plan. All of these reasons for denial were consistent with the will of the people who elected those officials.
So, they get the pressure groups involved. Michigan Islamic Academy (that was the school) goes to CAIR, who pledged to get the DOJ involved.
But wait… there’s more.
Earlier this month, the DOJ inserted itself into another municipal case. This one involved Des Plaines Illinois (a Chicago suburb). Here it was a request to convert an office building in a manufacturing district into a temple. The request was denied.
In both of those cases, the DOJ inserted itself to overturn the rulings of legally elected officials.
Duly-elected officials in a small town are responsible for – among other things – zoning decisions. They, rather than someone else, are elected to this specific purpose. They live in the area, are affected by decisions made there, and know the issues and people involved at a personal level.
The Federal Government was none of those things.
The DOJ frames this as advocating for religious rights of a group being violated.
(We’ve seen enough evidence of the this administration’s track record on Religious Freedom to call B.S. – the Romeike family; Hobby Lobby; and the Supreme Court unanimously ruling against their infringement of the Establishment Clause come to mind.)
No. CAIR swings a lot of weight in such cases. It portrays itself as a human rights group. But their practice seems to be that of bullies who, whenever rulings go against them, will initiate legal action as an end run to get the courts to do for them what elected officials will not. The strategy has even been given a name. It’s called “Lawfare Jihad”.
CAIR, while it hypes itself as a human-rights type organization, has a dubious history. (Something about its connections, including Hamas, are laid out here.)
Do we really want Federal Officials usurping local officials’ authority, invoking “compelling government interest”, just to appease special interest groups whose motivations are somewhat less than transparent, and probably not in the public interest?
Earlier this week we told you about a football coach in Washington state who was told he could no longer pray after games on the 50 yard line even though it’s been something he’s done for a long time and many on his football team have chosen to join him in prayer.
Well he’s decided not to comply with this unconstitutional dictate and fight the school in court. The school has responded now by putting him on paid leave from the school because he refuses to comply:
DAILY CALLER – A Washington state football coach has been put on paid administrative leave indefinitely Wednesday evening after refusing to stop holding impromptu prayer sessions midfield after games.
Coach Joe Kennedy, a Persian Gulf War combat veteran, has been praying at the 50-yard line since 2008, and it eventually became a tradition where the players joined him. But Bremerton School District told Kennedy last month that he must stop the prayers so as not to “alienate” any students. Initially, he agreed, but has since decided to fight the request.
He announced Monday he would file suit against the district because they refused to grant him a religious exemption and threatened to fire him if he continued praying after the games. The district has banned Kennedy from participating in any team activities or being present at public community activities, such as Friday night games.
“I spent 20 years in the military fighting to defend the Constitution and it didn’t seem right that I wasn’t allowed to say a prayer with my guys after a football game was over,” Kennedy told The Daily Caller News Foundation earlier this month. “I’m standing up for what I believe is right.”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a good point – America needs to be more like Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries. But he’s wrong about the reason why. He thinks socialism is the cause of their success, but the true cause is their older free-market culture and their recent efforts to return toward market and economic freedom.
Since the 1990s, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have expanded private property rights, business freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom. Each of these countries has increased its score on the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, and Denmark now outranks even the United States as a good place to do business.
Sanders sees the size of the Scandinavian welfare states and the relative health and happiness they enjoy, and thinks this correlation proves causation. A deeper look at the history and current affairs of Denmark and the surrounding countries tells a different story, however. These countries’ benefits arguably spring from their free-market pasts, not their brief dalliance with big government.
A Free Market Culture Under Attack
Scandinavian countries are well known for their unusually high levels of trust, a strong work ethic and an emphasis on individual responsibility. These traits are not the result of socialistic welfare states, but the explanation for why such bloated government programs could be implemented in the first place.
“In the early days, the unique culture of success in the Nordic countries meant that high taxes and welfare benefits could be introduced” with the negative side effects delayed, wrote Nima Sanandaji in her 2015 book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism. During the early 1900s and following the Great Depression, Scandinavia’s small government and free markets fostered a culture of hard work that paid huge dividends in terms of prosperity.
The success of these countries enabled the government to expand, as the wealth of average citizens allowed them to pay more taxes. More importantly, the culture of hard work meant few people tried to live off of welfare and “game the system.” After big governments were introduced however, the culture changed – for the worse.
The Scandinavians who left for the United States mark this change well – Sanandaji notes that Americans with Nordic ancestry are thriving better than their relatives back in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Contrary to Bernie Sanders’ belief, the 1960s-1990s expansion of welfare states actually held the Nordic countries back.
After their experiment with socialistic welfare states, “Nordic citizens now have unusually high levels of sickness absence (despite being healthy societies), high youth unemployment and a poor record for integrating migrants into the labour force,” Sanandaji explains. Big government has weakened the strong culture which enabled welfare states in the first place, and these countries know it.
In 2013, a Danish woman on welfare made the news. A liberal member of Parliament challenged the free-market politician Joachim B. Olsen to actually visit a single mother of two on welfare, and see how hard her life is.
Olsen took the advice, and learned that being on welfare isn’t so hard after all. The 36-year-old single mother, known as “Carina,” was making more money than many of the country’s full time workers, the New York Times reported. “All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.”
Reforming the System
“With little fuss or political protest – or notice abroad – Denmark has been at work overhauling entitlements, trying to prod Danes into working more or longer or both,” New York Times reporter Suzanne Daley continued.
“The welfare state here has spiraled out of control,” declared Olsen, the reform-minded politician who visited Carina. “It has done a lot of good, but we have been unwilling to talk about the negative side,” he added, saying that discussing the “Carinas” in public has long been considered “taboo.”
Denmark has been hard at work at reform, however. In 2013, it reduced early-retirement plans, and cut the term for unemployment benefits from four years to two. Reformers like Olsen have also pushed for limiting disability checks to those over 40 or with a severe mental or physical condition. In 2013, roughly 240,000 people – nine percent of the potential work force – were receiving disability checks, and about 33,500 of them were under 40.
In recent years, all the Nordic countries have decreased their corporate tax rates – each one is lower than in the United States. They also support free trade, unlike American Socialists like Bernie Sanders, who opposed the 1990s North American Free Trade Agreement.
Becoming More Like Denmark
Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are tiny – and not very diverse – compared to the United States. Denmark is a nation roughly the size of Maryland with the population of Atlanta, and nearly 90 percent of its population is of Danish descent.
Nevertheless, there are clear lessons a huge, diverse country can learn from the recent experiences of these small, homogeneous nations. The biggest lesson might surprise Bernie Sanders – socialism doesn’t work.
A cradle-to-grave welfare state has transformed the strong work ethic of the Scandinavian countries into a sad complacency. People like Carina game the system, and feel no shame in doing so. Indeed, “Lazy Robert” Nielsen, 45, did not even ask for a pseudonym when he told the media that he has been on welfare since 2001. “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life.”
Lene Malmberg, who works part time as a secretary despite a serious brain injury which affects her short-term memory, told the New York Times about her sister, who was receiving benefits and getting more money than Lene was – when she worked full time before the accident. “The system is wrong somehow, I agree,” Lene said. “I wanted to work. But she was a little bit: ‘Why work?’”
People in the Nordic countries are suffering from the ill effects of the very socialism which Bernie Sanders wants to bring to America. They know it doesn’t work, and they are working hard to achieve robust, free-market reforms.
America cannot ever be Denmark, but we should strive to copy their recent reforms. They have woken up to the woes of dependency and big government. They have cut their corporate tax rates and have made their country a better place to do business. We should follow their example and do the same.
So Bernie Sanders is right, let’s copy Denmark.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and 18 other members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution on Tuesday to introduce impeachment proceedings against Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.
According to Chaffetz, “Koskinen violated the public trust” and “failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena.” Also, “documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”
“Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress,” Chaffetz said in introducing the resolution. “This action will demonstrate to the American people that the IRS is under repair, and signal that Executive Branch officials who violate the public trust will be held accountable.”
Koskinen “failed to act with competence and forthrightness in overseeing the investigation into Internal Revenue Service targeting of Americans because of their political affiliations,” the resolution claimed.
The resolution states that Koskinen “engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties,” specifically, by failing “to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence.” He “failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order,” it stated.
The resolution also accuses Koskinen of failing to “testify truthfully” and of providing “false and misleading information” as well as failing “to notify Congress that key evidence was missing.”