With Senators Like These, Obamacare Repeal Was Always a Tease

This week will be marked by raging debate over the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate’s version of Obamacare-lite that is drawing a swarm of criticism from conservatives for failing to repeal Obamacare and from moderate and liberal Republicans for going too far toward repealing Obamacare. Over the weekend, several U.S. senators clarified their position on the bill – casting doubts on the feasibility of its passage in its current form.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., elaborated on his opposition to the current version of the BCRA in an op-ed published at the New York times, explaining that “it relies too heavily on government spending, and ignores the role that the private sector can and should play.”

“Once again, a simple solution is obvious,” Johnson writes. “Loosen up regulations and mandates, so that Americans can choose to purchase insurance that suits their needs and that they can afford.”

“Like many other senators, I had hoped that this was where things were headed during the last several weeks as the Republican bill was discussed. We’re disappointed that the discussion draft turns its back on this simple solution, and goes with something far too familiar: throwing money at the problem.”

Johnson was joined in his opposition to the bill last week by Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky. All have said they are open to voting for the BCRA if certain improvements are made. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Paul said that he would “consider partial repeal” if the Senate were to reach an “impasse.” Senator Cruz has offered an amendment to permit insurers to sell plans that are not compliant with Obamacare regulations, in an effort to allow insurance companies to give greater choice to consumers and drive down prices.

Senator Lee has made his vote conditional on an “opt-out provision,” acknowledging that other attempts at compromise from his position of full repeal have failed to move the liberal Republicans in the Senate.

“Conservatives have compromised on not repealing, on spending levels, tax credits, subsidies, corporate bailouts, Medicaid, and the Obamacare regulations. That is, on every substantive question in the bill,” Lee wrote Friday. “Having conceded to my moderate colleagues on all of the above, I now ask only that the bill be amended to include an opt-out provision, for states or even just for individuals.”

The liberal Republicans are wavering on the bill for vastly different reasons. Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev., declared his opposition to the bill during a press conference Friday, saying, “This bill would mean a loss of coverage for millions of Americans, and many Nevadans.” The contentious issue for these Republicans are worries that rolling back Medicaid expansion will cause some Americans to lose their insurance coverage as an entitlement is taken away. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Bill Cassidy, R-La., are among the moderates expressing concerns.

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, is waiting for the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill before making a final decision. ‘‘I have very serious concerns about the bill,’’ she said on ABC’s ‘‘This Week,’’ acknowledging that the CBO score ‘‘will be so important.’’ The CBO is expected to release its score of the Senate bill later today.

In the same interview, Sen. Collins objected to defunding Planned Parenthood in the BCRA, saying, “It makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.” The bill would block Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for one year. Eliminating that provision would further alienate conservative senators who have made defunding Planned Parenthood a condition of their support. Taking the provision out will alienate Sen. Collins and other liberals.

As these battles play out, other senators remain undecided or silent. Still others don’t know what to think. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is polling her constituents for their thoughts before taking an official position.

The bottom line is that intense negotiations on this bill will dominate the work of the U.S. Senate this week. The CBO score will complicate the matter. In all likelihood, the CBO will project that millions of Americans will lose their current health insurance coverage, just as it predicted (somewhat inaccurately) would happen in the House American Health Care Act. (For more from the author of “With Senators Like These, Obamacare Repeal Was Always a Tease” please click HERE)

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Feds Break Silence, Try to Explain Why They Didn’t Notify Victims in Secret Non-Prosecution Deal With Child Sex Offender Jeffery Epstein

Federal prosecutors went on the offensive this month, denying allegations that they bowed to pressure from billionaire Palm Beach resident Jeffrey Epstein and his high-priced lawyers at the expense of dozens of teenage girls he sexually abused.

In their first public comment since 2007 — when they negotiated a deal that allowed Epstein to escape federal charges — prosecutors filed hundreds of pages of documents in U.S. District Court, explaining what led to the now infamous non-prosecution agreement that has been decried as “a sweetheart deal.”

Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.

The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work. . .

In their [pending] lawsuit, the victims’ attorneys, Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell, say [one of the released documents] is evidence of their claim that prosecutors lied to the victims. They also claim that prosecutors never told Epstein’s victims about the plea deal. (Read more from “Feds Break Silence, Try to Explain Why They Didn’t Notify Victims in Secret Non-Prosecution Deal Child Sex Offender Jeffery Epstein” HERE)

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“If We Knew He Would Win, We Would Have Stopped Him”

This was the comment made by the lead reporter covering Joe Miller and his upstart race for senate, for the then little known, and financially unviable Alaska Dispatch, the night of the primary when Miller pulled off the biggest upset in the history of Alaskan politics, in Trumpian style, back in 2010.

The power, and sheer hubris of the media – had never been more on display – for those attuned to it, than in that race. To be clear- All the powers that be, the media, the left, the establishment GOP, the “deep state” – as it’s now referred to (those sitting in the bureaucracy taking an active hand against a populist or independent minded candidate), all had been taken off guard, and reacted with the full might of their power, doing all they could to sink his campaign in the general election. And, with some help from his own missteps and those of his well meaning staff of honest novices-none of whom, admittedly, had ever been on such a stage, against such seasoned foes- it worked.

It is fair to say, never had Alaskan politics experienced such an upset- and never had that upset been followed by such an assault, from all quarters. Page one lies, followed a week later by page seven retractions. Over an 8 week period of the general election, a count was done of the published articles on each candidate; 26 negative on Miller, 3 on McAdams (the Democrat) and 5, all favorable, on Murkowski, running as a write-in. The myriad of laws broken by state and federal election officials, the slanders by the media, and the betrayals by the party whose primary he won, are legion – too many to list here – but needless to say, the fix was in, and it was heaped on all sides, by all sides.

Fast forward 6 years – and on a much grander stage – a similar event takes place. An unprecedented and more importantly, unpredicted win takes place, and the pillars of power shake.

The response was immediate. The strategy predictable: discredit the win, disavow the mandate.

Never, in the recorded history of our national political scene, has the media, the left wing, the establishment right, and the “deep state” lifelong bureaucrats, all coordinated such a prolonged attack against a sitting president, over.. in realty, nothing..and yet, in a battle, essentially for everything. Make no mistake, the country’s soul is what is up for grabs, and if you do not think so, please take a moment to consider the stage that is set, and where we find ourselves.

A concocted narrative, with no facts, no evidence, and no proof, has dominated the last 8 months of American politics, and is all but insuring the failing of a legislative and executive agenda, which puts as it’s primarily goals, restoring peace and security to the nation and its peoples, and returning freedom and prosperity to the American body, and the individuals of which it’s made, as it’s central goals.

And that, is exactly the problem.

And that, is exactly the point.

The powers that be, on all sides, may not be “colluding” as is the new en vogue phraseology- but they all may as well be. They have a common goal, status quo- and thus- a common enemy: the President. More importantly – his agenda – but there’s more to it than that. A visceral hate, on all sides, because he is beholden to none of them, and this is key; none of them ordained him. In essence- his affront to their sensibilities is three-fold; his goals are in opposition to theirs (no matter what they say in the GOP), they did not create him, thus they cannot control him, and thirdly- they did not predict him, thus he disapproves their all knowing omnipotence.

The last, is the greatest sin.

You can never underestimate the sheer insult it is to the ruling class, when someone they don’t own, and didn’t create, beats their expectations. By extension their lackeys and sycophants in the media and academia are likewise injured, after all- they are the keepers of knowledge and the “knowers of all that is and shall be”, far be it from any citizen, be he small town judge, father of eight and decorated veteran, or billionaire New York real estate magnate and pop culture icon. If they don’t approve you, you don’t get in. If they don’t control you, you don’t get to make decisions. And most importantly – if your basic existence refutes the premise that they know all..

..you must be destroyed.

It’s that simple.

As we watch good men, like former Senator and now Attorney General Jeff Session, get drug thru the mud and have to defend baseless accusations that he should not be subject to…as we watch a media hate cycle feed itself it’s own stories 24 hours a day seven days a week…as we watch craven political operatives and elected politicians shiver with fear in the corner of inaction and cowardice- we may ask ourselves “Why?” And “How did this come to be?” To be be frank, the answer is really not that hard to discern.

For certain, there is money, lots of money at stake. Power, mainline power, the kind that money can’t buy- that is there, to be sure, all of that as well..and all of that has contributed to the decline of nobility of service and replaced it with the utter sleaziness of “job security”, but if you want to know what is really driving all of this, in a word, it is simply this:

Arrogance.

Not just any arrogance.

The kind of arrogance that believes a story shouldn’t be a story unless it was thought of or predicted in the minds of the journalists writing it weeks, months or years before.

The kind of arrogance that thinks the citizen works for the government, and not the other way around.

The kind of arrogance that thinks the powers that be should brook no insolence from the serfs and slaves that tend the fields.

And finally, the kind of arrogance that corrupts a man when he wakes up one day and thinks, not only does he know better than his neighbor how his neighbor should live his life, but that he should be entitled to compel his neighbor- thru force- to live his life accordingly.

At best, this arrogance is giving in to a weakness in all men and women- a failure to discipline oneself against base instincts and poor character temptation that tests us all– at worst, it is the embodiment of evil, and a desire to control ones fellow man, and see them all as merely extras, in the grand Play of ones life, to be moved about to for purposes other than their own, and not deserving of power over their own lives, instead of individuals, with thoughts and opinions and hopes and dreams, and as the only true masters over their own destinies.

It is this arrogance that we are, those of us who hold these beliefs the founders annunciated so well, have been fighting for for centuries. It is this arrogance that we confront now, in the face of the farce that are these hearings and investigations, innuendos and insults, and the attack on our intelligence that is the daily media and pop culture assault, on anyone who dare challenge this arrogance, and those who hold to its self centered axiom, and it is why we must continue to persevere.

This is the world when they have no true power. Full of lies, rumor, slurs, defamation, and character assassination. They are losing right now, thru the grace of God alone.

Imagine the world in which they win?

In the midst of all this, now more than ever, we cannot waiver. We cannot relinquish our freedom and our intellect. We cannot fail to resist. We cannot afford to lose.

______________________________________________

Dr Walter Campbell is a lifelong Alaskan, former Marine, and physician.

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Pat Buchanan: Are We Nearing Civil War?

President Trump may be chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, but his administration is shot through with disloyalists plotting to bring him down.

We are approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.

Thus far, it is a nonviolent struggle, though street clashes between pro- and anti-Trump forces are increasingly marked by fistfights and brawls. Police are having difficulty keeping people apart. A few have been arrested carrying concealed weapons . . .

Last week, fired Director of the FBI James Comey, a successor to J. Edgar Hoover, admitted under oath that he used a cutout to leak to The New York Times an Oval Office conversation with the president.

Goal: have the Times story trigger the appointment of a special prosecutor to bring down the president. (Read more from “Are We Nearing Civil War?” HERE)

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Illegal Aliens Offered Free Tuition at Georgia’s Freedom University

A Georgia university provides illegal immigrant students tuition-free education as well as scholarship aid and skills for leading social movements.

Freedom University in Athens, Georgia, an unaccredited school founded in 2011 by illegal immigrant students, activists, and four University of Georgia professors, provides these services and others specifically to illegal immigrant students with the goal of helping them enroll in accredited colleges.

The school lists its mission as “to empower undocumented youth and fulfill their human right to education.” Billing itself as a “freedom school,” Freedom University claims to have assumed a “leadership role in the national sanctuary campus movement.”

Freedom University has also facilitated the development of Mass Emergency Lookout Text for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (MELT ICE), a program which notifies illegal immigrant students when ICE agents are in the vicinity, according to Campus Reform.

“We believe that all human beings – regardless of race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or citizenship status – have a right to education,” states the university on its website. “We uphold Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to education and that higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” (Read more from “Illegal Aliens Offered Free Tuition at Georgia’s Freedom University” HERE)

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Obscene Immigration Policy Gets Cop Fired for Enforcing the Law

A police officer in Minnesota has been fired after simply asking a question about a suspect’s legal status. But were the policies that led to his termination really in the best interests of the people he was trying to protect and serve?

Here’s how it went down, according to Fox, earlier this month. An officer with the Minnesota Transit Police confronted a man suspected of fare dodging on a Minneapolis commuter train:

After the exchange with the transit officer, the passenger, Ariel Vences-Lopez, 23, was arrested for fare evasion and was taken to the Hennepin County jail in Minneapolis. He was eventually placed on a detainer for immigration violations, the Star Tribune reported.

The incident occurred May 14 and was captured on cellphone video. The officer is seen asking Vences-Lopez for a government-issued ID after an apparent ticket dispute. When Vences-Lopez shook his head, the officer asks: “Are you here illegally?”

A now-viral video captured by a bystander shows a portion of the incident, after which Vences-Lopez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is now scheduled for deportation to Mexico.

Now, that officer is out of a job, according to a statement from the Metro Transit Police Department, as the city has barred law enforcement officers from asking about immigration status since 2003.

A lengthy Facebook explains that, since the incident, the department’s policy was subsequently updated to “ensure equal enforcement of the law and equal service to all persons regardless of their immigration status” and states that the agency is “working to reestablish the trust that was broken by this isolated incident.”

But wouldn’t equal application of the law include enforcing the law on people whose immigration status is outside that law? David Ray, communications director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says so.

“It’s in the best interest of the American people if state and local cops and federal immigration officials can work in tandem to help control illegal immigration,” he tells CR. And at the end of the day, what’s standing in the way of the American people’s best interests are policies like that in Minneapolis, which, Ray says, is “wrong-headed and undermines public safety.”

While his organization does not comment on specific cases, “as it’s likely all of the facts have yet to come out,” the officer clearly did the people of Minneapolis a big favor by taking steps to identify an illegal alien who, for reasons unknown to us, was immediately flagged for removal by ICE. (For more from the author of “Obscene Immigration Policy Gets Cop Fired for Enforcing the Law” please click HERE)

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It Took 26 Hours for CNN to Fire Kathy Griffin

Twenty-six hours after a photo of comedienne Kathy Griffin posing with a severed and bloodied prop head of President Trump was published, CNN has finally fired Griffin. The announcement was made on Twitter Wednesday afternoon by the network.

The disturbing image drew outrage from people on both the Right and the Left. The Secret Service is even investigating “the circumstances surrounding the photo shoot.”

According to a report from TMZ, a distressed Barron Trump thought the photograph was real. President Trump said Wednesday that Kathy Griffin “should be ashamed of herself.”

CNN was criticized by many, including Donald Trump Jr., for taking too long to cut ties with Griffin.

Griffin apologized for the photoshoot Tuesday evening. But the controversy has ended several of Griffin’s business relationships, including a commercial for Squatty Potty that was terminated and a performance at an Albuquerque casino that was cancelled.

Since CNN has fired her as well, she will no longer appear alongside Anderson Cooper for the network’s New Year’s program.

Good riddance. It was unwatchable anyway. (For more from the author of “It Took 26 Hours for CNN to Fire Kathy Griffin” please click HERE)

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Judge Will Reconsider Ruling Blocking Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order

A federal judge Tuesday agreed to reconsider his ruling blocking President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick accepted the administration’s request to reconsider his April ruling. He gave the two California counties that challenged the executive order — San Francisco and Santa Clara — two weeks to file any documents opposing the request.

The administration was facing a Tuesday deadline to file paperwork to seek a second review by Orrick. (Read more from “Judge Will Reconsider Ruling Blocking Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order” HERE)

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Manchester Explosion: UK Has Been Targeted by Terrorists ‘Time and Time Again’

At least 19 people were killed and at least 50 injured in a suspected suicide bomb explosion Monday night at an arena in Manchester, England, where U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande was performing a concert.

Police said they were treating the explosion just outside the arena as a terror incident until they “know otherwise.”

Robin Simcox, a terrorism and national security expert at The Heritage Foundation, said the United Kingdom has been a target of Islamist terrorists “time and time again.”

“While the perpetrator of this attack is not yet clear, the U.K. has been targeted by Islamist terrorists time and again,” Simcox told The Daily Signal. “Manchester itself was targeted by Islamist terrorists on multiple occasions in the past, including by al-Qaeda.”

“Even though the U.K. has world class security services,” Simcox added, “this is a numbers game—and the amount of terror suspects in the U.K. is so high that it is impossible for authorities to be able to keep track of everyone that is of concern.”

The explosion occurred about 10:35 p.m. local time outside the Manchester Arena as people were exiting after the concert. The arena has the capacity to seat 21,000 people.

Videos shared online shows concertgoers, many of them children, adolescents, or teens, frantically fleeing a chaotic scene.

Some used Twitter to desperately search for loved ones who had attended the concert.

Andy James, an eyewitness who attended the 23-year-old singer’s concert in Manchester, told CNN the boom felt like it “rattled in my chest.” After the explosion, he said, there was “a stampede of people.”

Chris Pawley, another eyewitness, told Fox News the explosion occurred in an area just outside the arena where parents were waiting to pick up their “young children and teenagers.”

European Parliament member Nigel Farage said that if the explosion is confirmed as an act of terror, it will be a “new low” for terrorists.

“The direct attack on children … marks a new low in all forms of terrorism,” Farage said on Fox News.

A publicist for Ariana Grande told The New York Times during the initial confusion that the American singer and actress was “OK.”

TMZ later reported Grande to be “in hysterics” over the carnage, and Sky News reported her world tour had been suspended. Grande tweeted:

Her “Dangerous Woman” tour, which kicked off Feb. 3 in Phoneix, had been scheduled to take the singer to London for concerts Thursday and Friday, followed by cities in Belgium, Poland, and Germany.

The explosion coincided with President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East, where on Sunday in Saudi Arabia he urged Arab leaders to step up the fight to “drive out” Islamist terrorists and extremists. Trump was briefed on the explosion in Manchester, according to NBC News.

(For more from the author of “Manchester Explosion: UK Has Been Targeted by Terrorists ‘Time and Time Again'” please click HERE)

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Here’s How Far Behind Trump Is on Political Appointments Compared to Obama, Bush

President Donald Trump has begun to move on naming federal judges and will eventually be naming a new FBI director, but more broadly, he remains slow in filling political appointments compared to his predecessors.

Trump has made 85 nominations to the Senate at this point in his presidency as of Friday, according to the Center for Presidential Transition, which tracks presidential appointees. In that same period of his first term, President Barack Obama made 212 nominations, President George W. Bush made 161 nominations, President Bill Clinton made 182 nominations, and President George H. W. Bush made 135 nominees by this point.

Trump, so far, is leaving key management positions unfilled, said Mallory Barg Bulman, vice president of research and evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service, the parent organization to the Center for Presidential Transition.

“Leadership matters a lot, as does having the right people in place,” Bulman told The Daily Signal. “You can’t start the game until the whole team is on the field.”

Trump has no nominee for 460 of the 557 key leadership positions, as of Friday, according to Partnership for Public Service. Trump has nominated 49, announced the nomination of 19, and 29 people have been confirmed.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the administration is taking time to vet employees.

“We’re actually going through the Office of Government Ethics and FBI clearances before announcing most of these individuals,” Spicer said at the Monday press briefing. “And so, there’s a little bit of a difference in how we’re doing this. But we are well on pace with respect to many of these [appointments] to get the government up and running.”

Trump has not yet even named a director to run the Office of Personnel Management, which manages the federal workforce, noted Robert Moffit, a former assistant OPM director under President Ronald Reagan.

“The bottom line is that the president can’t run the federal government out of the White House and secretaries can’t run giant agencies huddled in an executive suite,” Moffit, now a senior fellow for health policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Unilateral disarmament is a victory for the swamp. The swamp creatures have won the fight. Unless you control the bureaucracy, the bureaucracy controls you.”

Moffit, who also worked in the Reagan administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, said Reagan took control of the federal bureaucracy shortly into his presidency.

He said congressional relations is a key area where political appointees should be working, instead of leaving it to career civil service employees in some cases. That’s because, Moffit stressed, it’s the job of the career civil service employees to execute administration policy but the job of political appointees to advocate and explain those policies to Congress.

The president can name about 4,000 political appointees.

Out of that, 1,242 are key leadership positions that need Senate confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service. Another 472 political appointees—largely White House staff—don’t require Senate confirmation, according to the partnership. Further, 761 non-career senior executive positions can be filled throughout the executive branch—though not all are presidential appointees. Finally, 1,538 non-career federal employees report directly to a presidential appointee.

The partnership did not have a final number on how many of these positions are filled or unfilled, because it only tracks key leadership positions—most of which require Senate confirmation.

The White House Transition Project measures a different metric, but still finds Trump well behind other presidents going back through Reagan. Trump officially fell behind in March, said Terry Sullivan, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the executive director of the project.

Rather than measuring 4,000 jobs, which includes all U.S. marshals, U.S. attorneys, and every inconsequential U.S. ambassador, the White House Transition Project looks primarily at 221 government appointments that are required for the essential function of government, have policy roles, and have the potential to be controversial, Sullivan said.

“This is not a result of a policy predisposition to shrinking government,” Sullivan told The Daily Signal. “He wants a tax cut but he isn’t staffing up the Treasury Department. He doesn’t want more EPA regulations, but he isn’t moving slower or faster with that agency than Veterans Affairs or Health and Human Services, things he cares about.” (For more from the author of “Here’s How Far Behind Trump Is on Political Appointments Compared to Obama, Bush” please click HERE)

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